The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 25, 1940


Site Ed. Note: …The Touch to cure the King’s Evil, by the Gold, in this one-act play in bowled, disemboweling the rake of cane that sings the frame of cray et tang loosened, fanged with cozener’s art of testament noosed in passion and reign of fashion wrought by a fire’s breath threat of cold keeper’s creep in Wishland seek, well before the Creation, the explosion’s peak; from it forth all sate, all set on this earth divine, breath’s bait by sign or shape, the Fates merely sum it. Sold, bought, some clearly, by not a phrase stung by the haze of trails in nearly all but the walled; rear-kneed provided to the gall of irreverence and haste, pasted to the frame of a gilded mortar-book in shame; wasted look at insurrection’s door, the Conquistador crippled, chromed by the sun, and Master Shallow, in all hallows, foamed, rent, and gone in stipple.

"The madman keeper crawls through brushwood, Axe under oxter."

"Next" may explain why the "Miscellany" page of that issue of Life we referenced carried a picture of a militia of women in training at the gun range, albeit with one of their line, no doubt, thinking, in Swedish, "The västerbotten stands alone."

This short letter to the editor appeared this date with praise for the editorial of two days earlier:

Agrees With News Editorial On Speed

Dear Sir:

Your editorial today, "Eight Minutes Late," is just the kind of advice I have been giving for a long time. I was prosecuting attorney for Union county for fourteen years, Recorder for four years, and my advice was to be a few minutes late rather than kill some innocent people. I wish you would add to your next editorial that such drivers are not worth a damn when they get there. there.



And we leave in the apparent typo as printed at the end. Perhaps, the printer was in a hurry, or just a member of the Bulova Race Car Society, that is to say a believer in fobs, that is to say keeping your watch in your pocket. Or, maybe the writer was suggesting, ab initio, that there is no there, there, once there, anyway—so stay home and think, or just out thee for a walk or run.

In any event, we heartily agree with Mr. Brooks--even if we were one of those drivers a time or two in the far distant past.

Speaking of speed—and, wethinks, methamatics, as well "Solid Banks" of the Wabash, we see from California that the Republican Party, not content with having stolen one election in Orange Country, and seeing the harbinger of troubling horizons perhaps from the toe-tapping jamboree within the chalet de necessité, so to speak, the chamber of commerce, the seat of sensitivity and injustice, in 2008, they are seeking to place a referendum on next June’s state ballot whereby rather than the usual winner-take-all formula for assigning electoral votes—all 55 in this instance, a mere fifth of the entire 270 majority needed to become President, (though whether a fifth by Fleishmann's barley hoppers' due process of olde Hyde & Beach's best of buttered-up marginal raincoats, or Olde Harper's pleading in scribbled Dutch in Pompei, near O'Farrell, by Hamburgher Helpers, we haven't the foggiest), they propose a proportional distribution of these 55 electors.

Thus, for instance, if the Democratic nominee achieves 57% of the popular vote, instead of taking all of the electoral votes California has to offer, the case since the election of 1852, the Democrats, Clinton-Obama, (defying conventional wisdom in the draw, as they are two Illinoisians--yet, so too Texers comprise the present team, albeit one a Wyominger and the other a transplanted New Englander of the Midlands), would receive 31.5 electoral votes, necessitating then the sawing in half of a half Democrat-half Republican Jacobin elector (that is the Carville-Matalin household), on the Senate floor come December 2008, a bloody mess in the offing to be sure. (No doubt to be achieved by the newly legislated position of Senate Clark, an amorphous person named Derne Dirk Clever.) The Republicans, Giuliani-Thompson, (promising in advance, to achieve further rapport with the country’s madness, McCain as Secretary of State and Stuart as Official Court Jester--yet alas, all to no avail, as the Dems got the Colbert preter-mature imprimatur), would then obtain the remaining 23.5 electors, despite only a 43% showing at the polls, (that, regardless of the law-and-awda Italians originally from Tennessee having voted in record droves). (That’s okay, because, post-election, they, that is the losing ticket, got a five year contract advertising the newest sensation in gastronomics, "Chef Doeuvre’s Boy Are Dese Good", a new haute cuisine based on instant powdered fried pasta and sourdough molasses biscuits, with or without, on the side, sow-belly and cornbread, fried in virgin olive oil, with just a hint of cayenne peppa. (Use soy instead of salt.) Mmmm-mmmm. Gooo-ood. (Sales went through the roof until it was discovered that it was based on a recipe left over from the making of Fellini’s Satyricon, using fallout shelter canned beans stored in a nuclear waste dump since 1960, and meant all along only as a glowing prop, not to be consumed by humans, except, that is, donkeys and elephants, as the circus heads on down la strada, clean out of Dodge, even if they were driving Fords built by Chevy, while piloting that B-52, when Moses’s train wrecked and all the Ark’s animals spilled sadly onto the tracks, as they performed a dual task as Wild Bill’s sidekick on Route 66 and one of the wounded of Armageddon in Crane’s ode to the world wars, the ones on which his characters were predicated but, prophetically, which had not yet occurred when finally committed to film in 1951--all collectively titled: "Bell, Book & Candlestick: An Experiment in Oranj-Golden Birdland Terra".))

We assume this ballot proposition, to be called "Prop 69-96, Then What?", composed by chefs with hungrier irised isises than even you, perpetually toting lunch, would look something akin to Antony Armstrong Jones taking a trip to Marakesh on the Orient Express; that is to say, Colorado’s 2004 initiative, one which was defeated 65-35.

Had that one succeeded, incidentally, it would not have changed the outcome of the 2004 286-252 electoral results, but would have, with the popular percentage spread being only 52-47-1, resulted in the following apportionment of Colorado’s 9 electors: 4.68 for the Incumbent, 4.23 for the Challenger, and .09 for the Martians, members of D.A.N., Daughters of the American Nut.

This, you see, would become problematic, or perhaps symptomatic of a deepening societal divide, one known colloquially as Schism Scherzetto, Code Orange-Grape Wrath, at work amongst us.

For, compound those figures nationwide, and the floor of the Senate, come December 18, 2008, will indeed make the marble of the Curia di Teatro di Pompeo appear by time tame in its indelible, rhyme-honored rubification. Never did even the gondoliers of Venice see such flayed carnage, in fact, within its midst, for exaction of interest or not; nor even eclectic pluperfect præfected Caesar’s Palace detract, nor Fond du Lac, nor even Biltmore House, from like barnaged domestic malice redact.

Well, but having thought on it some, we have actually little trouble with this notion: provided that the Republicans pointedly and expressly insist that the Florida Legislature and the Texas Legislature (and then we’ll throw in New York, for good measure) should insist upon the same, more democratized division of electors within those states.

Then, Bush v. Gore’s insistence upon equal protection of the laws, county by county by county count, within Florida, would be properly implemented nationwide, more or less, in accord with the theory enunciated in Baker v. Carr in 1962, that is, one-man, one-vote, proportional representation—except in the South, of course, where it is known, instead, as one doughnut-one hole, crême à la comtesse in the evening, crisp a la confess in the morning.

Of course, we might want to throw in a few more states--Pennsylvania, Ohio, Lousiana, Oregon, Illinois, for instance, to complete the fairness ratio. Then, of course, the others would naturally wish, one by one, over the next fifty or so troubling years of blooming red on the Senate floor every quadrennial, to ease our collective national pain at the morbidezza sight, and follow suit.

There is, however, a fly in the ointment, should it pass:

Its constitutionality would be highly dubious, as determined by initiative rather than by the state legislature. Moreover, the currently constituted Democratic majority of the California state legislature could overhaul it and render it essentially moot by amendment, albeit not without further voter education and approval. That, after a lengthy court fight, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars as it winds its way finally to the United States Supreme Court, all after being held up by unctuous injunction pending the outcome of that, which probably means, should it pass, that the 2008 election will not be decided until sometime in 2015.

For it is the case that Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution states: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress…"

Meanwhile, Article II, Section 10(c) of the California State Constitution says: "The Legislature may amend or repeal referendum statutes. It may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without their approval."

In the end, this new plan of the Republicans in California, always never-endingly hopeful and creative with the Law and Sancho Panza, serves only to point to the anachronism of the electoral college generally, in our view, and why it should be dumped entirely in our view—into the Bay, that is the Potomac, down by Foggy Bottom, in fact.

But, in the meantime, sawing it into pieces, painfully, state, by state, by state, by elector, by elector, by head and foot, chainsaws at the ready in the Chamber, may, first, wind up inhibiting many from wishing to serve as electors, and, finally, not be the best solution to insure fairness to all and freedom from the taint of banana-chip elections. (It might even revive the old practice of dueling axes on the floor of the Senate—which we used to have in the old days. But, don’t tell the children about that. It may prove shocking and lead to bad dreams.)

It seems to us, viewing things as they are and have been since 2000, that achieving political power through such a machinationistic machismatic mechanism, that is, axes, only, after all, simply proving the parallelismatic methamatics in the end, has much to offer only in the obtaining, but nothing in the reign remaining.

Chop, chop, chopwhoosh. Let the fun begin.

Let Us Pray!

That There Will Be No Sequel To The Council's Inaction

It needs to be remembered that the agitation over gasoline tank trailers is not something that has sprung up out of a clear sky. To the contrary, horrible examples all over the state have shown what a serious hazard to public safety these things are. Finally, the State Government had to take cognizance of the danger, although it appeared reluctant to do so, and lay down a few policy regulations which probably won't be enforced.

Charlotte has escaped so far all but the suggestion of what damage and injury these trucks are freighted with. It was a mishap to one of them on South Howard Street that brought the Council around to taking up the matter of a regulatory ordinance. It was another mishap a week ago, this time at Trade and Battle under circumstances most auspicious for a first-rate conflagration, that brought the matter to a head again.

And it was a mishap involving an automobile and two oil trucks near Charleston on the same day, with the burning to death of three passengers in the automobile, that seemed to illustrate what we had barely escaped in Charlotte and what we very probably were in for unless the City Council put public safety ahead of any other consideration.

The Council met yesterday and resolutely decided to proceed with the business at hand. It passed (on all three readings) an ordinance which is no more than the pious expression of the hope that the gas truckers will be careful and that there won't be any gruesome accidents in this jurisdiction.

We have seen in the past how to every action of the Council concerning the regulation of gas trucks there has been the sequel of a mishap loaded with the elements of destruction. For the Council's sake, we trust that this continuity of events has been merest chance and that there won't be, soon or late, a tragedy for the Council to bemoan. For if there is, the Council will find it hard to escape a dreadful feeling of responsibility.

Site Ed. Note:

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.
—W. H. Auden, 1940


Circumstances Make Nazi Move On Sweden Likely

French reports that the German transport fleet, accompanied by ice-breakers, has sailed from eastern German ports may not be true. If they are, then Sweden seems the logical objective. The only reason troops bound for Norway should be loaded in eastern ports is that it would keep them out of the range of British bombers while the loading was in progress, but that is pretty well balanced out by the fact that the long sea passage, exposed to observation by Swedish fishermen, etc., would be apt to give the British full warning that the convoy was approaching the Kattegat and so afford them a much better chance to destroy it.

In any case, the only place ice-breakers can be needed now would be in Swedish northern waters.

Regardless of the truth of this immediate rumor, it seems more than improbable that Sweden can long escape an attempt at Nazi invasion. The British appear to have Narvik surrounded by land and sea, though they have not yet proceeded to the destruction of the 5,000 Nazis in the place itself. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to suppose that they can and will do so before long.

And full command of Narvik and the destruction of the German forces there would give them a short and easy route to the Swedish iron mines. Moreover, they are now approaching much too close to the Swedish border behind Trondheim for the Nazis' comfort. Let them break through there, and they would be in position to throw an iron ring about the Swedish mines at will, and before the Nazis could possibly get there to intercept them.

Further still, Oslo is the only airbase from which Nazi bombers can operate with any efficiency against British positions at Namaos and further north. Oslo is extremely vulnerable to attack from Sweden, and there is a very good chance that, if the British reach the Swedish border, the Swedes will throw in their lot with the Allies.

Under those circumstances, Hitler is almost perfectly certain to strike soon.


A Bill Of Merit But Doubtful Workability

The Logan-Walter Bill is something of a puzzler to make up your mind about, if you don't go at it, as many Congressmen pretty plainly have, on a basis of partisanship. At least, we have found it so.

What the bill proposes, in brief, is that all the numerous administrative agencies of the Federal Government must follow a uniform procedure, and--what is more important--that they must submit all their rulings (the so-called "administrative law") to the courts before putting them into effect.

Uniform procedure for agencies engaged in widely different activities seems on the face of it open to some doubt, but the second proposition certainly has a good deal to be said for it. It is one of the most fundamental of democratic propositions that any exercise of power ought always to have a check upon it.

To be sure, Congress always has the power to control these agencies, since they exist only at its command. Moreover, the right of appeal from the rulings of the agencies already exists, of course.

In practice, however, Congress is often inclined to forget about these agencies once it calls them into being, and in fact it is quite impossible for Congress to legislate for them in detail. That is the sole good reason that they are empowered to make rulings which have the effect of law. As for appeal, it is notoriously an expensive and slow road to relief--often so expensive and slow that the protesting victim of what he regards as an unfair and illegal ruling prefers to submit rather than travel it.

On the other hand, the law plainly promises to overwhelm the Federal courts. If Congress cannot legislate in the tremendous detail necessary for the work of these agencies, how are the courts to be able to go over the vast mass of the rulings with a fine-tooth comb to search of violations of the Constitution and the general provisions of the laws which created and empowered the agencies in the first place?

Site Ed. Note: Two hundred and nine persons, all African-American, died in the fire on April 23 at the Rhythm Night Club in Natchez. The arson charges against five men described below as "drunken incendiaries" were subsequently dismissed for lack of evidence. It appears the cigarette was the culprit.

At its occurrence, it was the most deadly nightclub fire ever. Just two and a half years afterward, however, the Cocoanut Grove fire killed 492 persons on the night of November 28, 1942 in Boston.

Frying Pan

That Natchez Spot Was An Inexcusable Fire Hazard

Whether or not the Natchez fire was due to drunken incendiaries, angry because they were denied admittance to the hall, we don't know. The testimony of the man Wright that it caught from a cigarette carelessly lighted by a woman does not bear out that theory.

In any case, the responsibility of the town authorities in the case cannot be obscured. A wooden building capable of holding 300 or more people, which has but one single possible exit, which has had all the windows boarded up, which is covered on all sides and the roof with corrugated iron, is obviously nothing less than a huge frying pan.

And when such a building was hung with Spanish moss and paper for a festival in which drunkenness and carelessness were bound to be rampant, it became a fire hazard so obvious that the slightest attention and care on the part of the authorities ought to have spotted it instantly.

What makes the failure to ban the use of this place doubly astonishing is that it was located within a few blocks of the downtown district of the city, and inevitably constituted a menace to that whole area.

It is not likely, however, that Natchez is alone in the attitude of taking no proper account of fire hazards in Negro districts. Are there such places in Charlotte? We suspect there are. Down on South Church Street, for instance, there is an old store building, without apparent exit save the front door and with no windows, which is used as some sort of religious meeting place, and which is lighted with oil lamps at night while the audience rolls in trances and stamps and shouts. And we have some recollection of having seen some huge tenement houses made to order for a roasting. It is a matter which the new fire control agency should look into thoroughly.

Site Ed. Note: So fire and pain drowned out the music for a time; but the music remained.

As we perused the Washington Post this day, we ran across this zen piece which we find poignant, by a guitar-sculptor who lost his hearing a year ago in one ear, yet continually makes his last guitar, only for friends and family.

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