The Charlotte News

Friday, April 19, 1940

FIVE EDITORIALS

Site Ed. Note: All we can say about "One More Miss" is that it was very fortunate that there was lead in the pencil; it further proving the fair Rosalineís caveat overbated.

For more on this menace of the road, see the editorials cited in the note accompanying "Rip!", March 26, 1941.

For more on the attempt by the Japanese prior to Pearl Harbor to secure the Dutch East Indies, as chronicled further in "No Bluffing", see "Apt Pupil", November 30, 1940. (That freeway mentioned, incidentally, in our note re "Bombís Rival" is intersected by I-35, flowing all the way from the North Country of Minnesota, the east leg of which, as it separates wychingly above Dallas-Fort Worth, rides parallel to Stemmons Freeway, into the heart of Dallas, by the Trinity River, continuing then south through Austin, through San Antonio, by the Alamo, terminating finally at the border in Laredo, where crossed we first, in 1973, the Rio Grandeóbut, further on, some other day.)

One More Miss

But What Charlotte Just Avoided, S.C. Got

After all the dilly-dallying at City Hall, Lady Luck was still kind to Charlotte. It did not quite happen.

At Trade and McDowell Street yesterday an oil transport truck, loaded with 3,000 gallons of gasoline, collided with an automobile a few feet away from lighted flares, placed in the course of street repairs. Gasoline started from a hole in a 60-gallon auxiliary tank attached to the truck, but firemen came running and stopped the hole with a lead pencil until mechanics could be called to haul the truck away.

But suppose the gasoline had got to the flames? Suppose the big truck had exploded, as it certainly would have been likely to if the auxiliary tank had caught? Suppose, again, that the collision had been a little more violent than it was, that the big truck tank had been torn open to begin with? Suppose, under a hundred possible combinations of circumstances, that 3,000 gallons had burst out, flaming, upon that crowded corner, to go pouring in flood down that steep and crowded street, lined with crowded and inflammable buildings?

It happened in South Carolina yesterday. Near Charleston an oil truck, loaded with gasoline, collided with an automobile, burst into flames. Three Negroes in the automobile were burned to death. The driver of the truck and another Negro were seriously burned.

It can't happen in Charlotte, of course. Never has happened, has it? Nevertheless, under the laws of chance it will sometime happen,--may happen today or tomorrow--if the Council keeps on dodging its manifest duty.

Run-Around*

FDR Wants To Eat His Cake And Have It Too

Now appears the old run-around. The President's repeated requests for a relief appropriation of only $975,000,000, must confirm the most cynical sentiments of the most cynical anti-New Dealers.

Not because of the amount of it, which is a half-billion less than last year. But because he has asked Congress to relax its rule that a relief appropriation must be expended at a rate of one-twelfth a month to make it cover the full fiscal year.

The President wants to spend it in eight months, if "necessary to avoid suffering and hardship." It will be, of a certainty, and then the President may go back to Congress and get a deficiency appropriation for the remaining four months.

In this way the Federal books will show a relief appropriation of less than one billion until the conventions and the November election are safely out of the way. The real cost of relief for the eighth year of the New Deal will have been concealed, the potent WPA political organization will have been well-heeled with funds, and the Administration will have sailed self-righteously by under hidden colors.

Cry From Past*

Maybank Echoes Part Of What Johnston Contended

Governor Maybank of South Carolina seems, in part at least, to see eye to eye with former Governor Olin D. Johnston about that State Highway Commission.

The Governor announced Sunday that he had vetoed a bill which would have allowed Highway Commissioners to succeed themselves, Wednesday explained that one important reason for his doing so was that the bill violated a legislative premise made in 1936 when the power of appointment of these Commissioners was taken from the office of Governor and placed in the hands of legislative delegations in the various highway districts--that membership in the commission should rotate from county to county until every county in the state has its turn.

Then he went on to say sharply that his second and more important reason was that,

"The State Highway Department, as now set up, exercises both legislative and administrative functions and is, as you have yourself seen, directly answerable neither to sound legislative nor administrative control."

That is very much what Johnston argued. And indeed it is impossible to see any rational reason for such a system of selecting commissioners as South Carolina now has--save the cynical one that it serves the political interest of the members of the Legislature. Nor does the Legislature seem anxious to attempt to defend it. It heard Maybank's reasons in silence and apparently intends to drop the matter quickly.

Johnston's error, in short, seems to have resided less in his contentions than in the fact that he attempted impatiently to take the rectification of the case into his hands without regard to the limits on his legal powers. That remedy was worse than the disease. And there is little chance that Governor Maybank--a cooler head--is going to be tempted into repeating that foolish course. However, he may be able to arouse the people, who alone can bring about a more rational arrangement by turning the heat on those legislators who are now so busily ignoring it.

The Hornets

Will They Resemble The Team Of 1938 Or 1939?

Barring fouler weather than prevails at the time this is written, the Hornets will open the 1940 baseball season tonight. The whole town, or a good part of it, at any rate, will be anxious to see what sort of club Manager Calvin Griffith has to show this year.

The team of 1938 distinguished itself by an extensive losing streak at the beginning of the season, only to turn squarely around and fight its way to the top of the league by winning game after game, many of them by a Garrison finish that kept the fans on tenterhooks--and likewise kept them coming back night after night.

The team of 1939, to the contrary, won hands down to begin with, and then cracked up with such a terrific noise that the cash register could no longer be heard playing its cheery little tune.

Mr. Burke Davis, who is somewhat daffy about the Hornets but not to such an extent that it warps his judgment, is of the opinion that this year's Hornets have something of the potentiality of the 1938 team. It is too early to tell, but it is worth noting that our boys have won one and lost one, whereas the 1938 team by this time would have lost two and the 1939 team, as a sort of false prophecy, would have won them both.

At any rate, we should not be long in knowing about our Hornets. For the mutual pleasure of the team, the management and the town, let us all hope that the boys have got what it takes.

No Bluffing

Threats Need Backing If They Are To Halt Japan

The Tokyo newspaper, Hochi, is a bit more candid than Foreign Minister Arita, but still speaks the same language. Arita more blandly goes ahead to make it plain that under his view of the matter an invasion of Holland by the Nazis would ipso facto make a "change in the status quo in the Pacific" and "require" Japan to extend her "protection" to the islands.

Hochi says frankly that Japan doesn't like the status quo, and will never consent to it until it is replaced "not only in the Far East but in the whole world... by a fair and new order..."

What Japan means by a "fair and new order" is of course an order in which Japan, Germany, and Italy will be allowed to grab everything they like, murder at will, impose their rules when it suits them, and turn other peoples into slaves for their aggrandizement.

There is nothing new in this, but it is time we began to recognize it realistically instead of pretending that we have to do with a nation which has some respect for civilized standards.

Are we prepared to back up our warnings about the Dutch East Indies with the full force of the United States Navy? If not we are simply indulging in pious mouthing and getting ourselves into a dangerously ridiculous position. There is no reason to believe we can bluff Japan, with such a rare prize as the Indies at stake--a prize that would enable Japan to cripple us at will by cutting off our rubber and tin. It will have to be evident to her that we mean business to the hilt before our warnings have any chance of taking effect.

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