The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 24, 1941


Site Ed. Note: Today's primary topic, as communicated in both "Ah, Fall" and "Wind and Bombs", is something about which man has never, fortunately, found how to control--weather.

Or, has he? Have we not, slowly through time, abhoring the cold, preferring the heat, decided en masse to heat the planet up, to afford tropical climes where once it was somewhat cooler?

Oh, but the particularly astute will counter: "Why, just the other day it was unseasonably cool where I am. Global warming? Hogwash." Thus ignoring the notion that when we speak of global warming we are really talking about global climate shifts which will transpose over the course of time agricultural patterns and potentially upset the very sustenance of life, the food sources on which the world depends to eat, sometimes supplanting warm climates with cold and vice versa. Nor is it just a pattern seen in the course of a few days, months or even years, but rather one which is remarkable, if at all, only over time.

And time proves the point: the spike in carbon released into the atmosphere since 1850 compared with that of the previous 10,000 years, as determined by carbon samples garnered from rock and soil sedimentary layers, ice, and the ocean depths, even tree rings; the sudden erosion of the polar caps, 20% of which have melted since 1979 and which continue to melt with increasing exponential celerity, producing the bathtub effect of flooding of coastal regions, as the ice released into the ocean waters consequently decreases the temperature of the Atlantic current, which in combination with general warming trends of the water because of the warming of the atmosphere by retention of greater carbon produced artificially by man through the use of fossil fuels in operation of motor vehicles and in industry, will cause a collision of warm and cold water, producing yet other undesirable impacts on weather patterns and atmospheric temperature. It is not something which arose overnight, even if, given the stark and irrefutable evidence now before us, we only talk about it more now than in the past.

We have to remark that in the first presidential debate this past Friday, there was only passing mention of global warming. We realize that this debate was about foreign policy, and that therefore perhaps one of the next two debates will be suffused more thoroughly with this crucial topic. Even so, foreign policy and global warming go hand in hand. Foreign policy is not entirely about war and preventing war between nations or even about international trade, but also is about how we get along and cooperate as nations with respect to commitments to maintaining the environment of the earth.

If the climate changes radically in the next forty years or so, then so will there be great shifts in world power, great changes in world trade, and consequently great shifts in the manner in which foreign relations are conducted--that is if the planet itself as a whole is able to feed itself at all in forty years. But, who needs to think about forty years or thirty years or twenty years from now? Don't worry; be happy.

We were distressed that neither candidate in the debate, in ticking off ever so quickly the need to explore alternative energy resources, made any mention of the electric automobile, even if Senator McCain did mention hybrid automobiles. Why? Well, again, maybe it will be a subject saturating one of the other two debates to come. It should be. This threat to our collective well-being is far more grave than that of terrorism, even if the perception presently created in the population at large by too much watching of television, too attuned to terrorism as a practically obsessive-compulsive topic, is that a terrorist lurks on every street corner in every neighborhood.

In forty years, if not four, Usama Bin Laden will be dead. So, too, might the entire planet if we keep chasing bogeys du jour around the globe mindlessly, while not paying more than passing attention to this most critical problem, not just for the future but for the present, as we exhaust the expenditure of billions of dollars annually in directly consequential flood and storm relief, as typhoons hit foreign lands with greater force and frequency, necessitating international relief efforts.

We can't control the weather, but we can do something to prevent our adversely impacting it in these major ways over time, as we daily decrease the macroscian occlusion to a pip on the dirt and dearth of snow melting fast in the sunshine in what once, just a few years ago, was frozen tundra.

But, the wittily keen observer will note with acuity: "Hey, they had a hurricane hit Houston there in September, 1941, just as 'Wind and Bombs' says. And, we had one hit Houston here in September, 2008. There's always been them hurricanes. Hurricane's been here since my great-grandfather and maybe even some before that. What's so new about that?"

To this most acute observer of time and coincidence, we say again that the point is missed. For in 1941, global warming was taking place with a vengeance just as today, even if they didn't yet have a name for it, and with only 130 million people in the U.S. compared to something now over 300 million, with fewer than a third of the cars and motor vehicles today present on the roads then, even if today's vehicles burn fuel more efficiently and emit fewer harmful waste products into the atmosphere than the smog machines of the pre-1975 era, after which EPA standards kicked in to force manufacturers to put catalytic converters on automobiles. Nevertheless, that innovation did not stem the problem with respect to global warming, which is the result of release of CO2 into the atmosphere, not the carbon monoxide which the catalytic converter attacks to reduce smog. The catalytic converter converts the bulk of the poisonous CO to harmless CO2, harmless insofar as its immediate consequence to the atmosphere is concerned insofar as breathing. But its accumulation over time is what produces the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere which warms the planet, melts the permafrost, and produces flooding, as well as turbulent ocean currents producing increased hurricane activity.

We need now more than studies of these issues, which have been transpiring with glacially moving and retracting results for decades since the late sixties, forty years ago. We need leaders who themselves understand the issues and understand what to do about them.

Well, leaving aside for the moment the present, let's return to 1941 and discuss "Wind and Bombs" a little in light of that time.

Sixty-four days after this September 25, on November 28, 1941, (November 29, Tokyo time) the Japanese Foreign Ministry sent to Admiral Kichisaburo Nomura, Japanese Ambassador to the U.S., the following transmission, as intercepted at the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington:

In case of emergency (danger of cutting off our diplomatic relations), and the cutting off of international communications, the following warning will be added in the middle of the daily Japanese language short wave news broadcast.

(1) In case of Japan-U.S. relations in danger: HIGASHI NO KAZEAME [EAST WIND RAIN].


(3) Japan-British relations: NISHI NO KAZE HARE [WEST WIND CLEAR].

This signal will be given in the middle and at the end as a weather forecast and each sentence will be repeated twice. When this is heard please destroy all code papers, etc. This is as yet to be a completely secret arrangement.

Forward as urgent intelligence.

Tokyo added the message on the same day that the three wind codes would be merely Higashi, Kita, and Nishi, to be repeated five times and at the beginning and end of the weather report. It also clarified that "Japan-British relations" included Thailand, Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies.

Though ONI then kept a round the clock vigil on the radio transmissions from Japan, the codes were never heard. Speculation exists as to whether they were ever used to communicate to the embassies the imminent attack on Pearl Harbor, as communications systems between Tokyo and Washington were never interrupted prior to the attack and thus the matter of impending emergent interruption of diplomatic relations with one of these nations--meaning war--could have easily been communicated directly rather than intermingled with otherwise normal short wave radio broadcasts.

As we have suggested before, perhaps in truth the message as to where the attack would likely be derived from the previous day's intercepted telephone conversation, that of November 27, between special Japanese envoy to the U.S., Saburo Kurusu, and Kumaichi Yamamoto, chief of the American Bureau of the Japanese Embassy, in which Kurusu stated: "As before, that southern matter--that south, SOUTH--southward matter, is having considerable effect." Yamamoto had responded, "Oh, the south matter? It's effective?" To which Kurusu replied: "Yes, and at one time, the matrimonial question seemed as if it would be settled. But--well, of course, there are other matters involved, too, but--that was it--that was the monkey wrench. How do things look there? Does it seem as if a child might be born?" Yamamoto: "Yes, the birth of a child seems imminent."

The "hidden word" code in use by the Japanese led the ONI decoders to believe that this conversation meant that hostilities were imminent, but utilizing a literal interpretation of the stress on "south", decided that the message indicated the likelihood of eruption of hostilities in the south, that is in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, not therefore endangering Hawaii or directly other U.S. interests.

But read this above colloquy of Yamamoto and Kurusu together with the wind codes. There are three simple things which jump forth: first, that the four points of the compass are filled; second, that the three points afforded by the wind codes point literally in the direction of the country whose diplomatic relations are about to be severed in the event of announcement of the particular code as a weather forecast; and third, that NO KAZE or NOKAZE, as represented, means "wind". The south matter in conjunction with the wind codes thus would be a redundancy of directional implication, pointing to the same compass point as "west" in the wind codes. To what end these observations, if at all significant?

First, as we have pointed out before, Japanese Foreign Minister Yosuke Matsuoka, as quoted in the June 22, 1941 edition of The New York Times, the day of the Nazi invasion of Russia, spoke also, as did Kurusu to Yamamoto five months later, in terms of marital fidelity when assessing treaty commitments to Germany and Russia:

"In the event of an attack on any of the parties to the triplice [the mutual assistance pact between Germany, Italy, and Japan] there arises the obligation for Japan to participate in the war. The Japanese Government would most carefully study the situation before it decided to enter, but the nation would never demean itself by resorting to subterfuge in order to evade its obligations. Even though Japan may have to stake her very existence on the issue, she would remain faithful to her obligations under the pact... Should the United States enter the war, for the sake of fidelity and the honor of the empire we will be forced to participate in it."

He went on to say that that the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Act then prevented Japan from entering the Russo-German "tension" and if that tension led to war, such a war would "postpone a decision [on neutrality toward Russia or fulfilling triplice commitments] pending demonstration of [the war's] effects on both Germany and Russia."

As we have indicated also before, there is a Section 9 (and stretching a few paragraphs into Section 10) of the last chapter of The Mind of the South, "Of the Great Blight--and New Quandaries", pages 372-374 of the original hardcover edition of the book published February 10, 1941, which reads:


In the schools the growth of the modern mind and the new analysis and criticism was going steadily forward. They had been considerably crippled, of course, by the reduction in income consequent upon the depression. In truth, the more reactionary forces in the various states, and this was particularly true in North Carolina, had more or less successfully taken advantage of the prevailing mood of the depression to cut appropriations for the state universities more than was made necessary by the collapse of the general economy, in the hope of starving the new spirit out and rendering its activities impossible. At Chapel Hill there was for a while a veritable exodus of distinguished professors to more lucrative and promising jobs in the North. But the men who were most immediately valuable to the South, as Howard Odum and Frank Graham at North Carolina, generally stayed on.

And the losses of funds and great names were to a large extent counterbalanced by two other considerations. One of these was that now fairly large numbers of the young Southerners who were joining the faculties had been trained in the new attitude and viewpoint. The other was that the students were now more amenable to the thing. This generation of youth was probably the soberest-minded the South had ever known. The colleges still swarmed with those who dreamed hopefully of acquiring riches as Babbitts, of course; but the more intelligent sort were aware that they belonged to a world quite unknown to their fathers and were willing and sometimes eager to lay aside the old sentimentality and unrealism and try to understand the case.

For all their handicaps, the universities and colleges of the South were generally to become more intelligent and more useful in the thirties than they ever had been before.

The period would see the publication by the University of North Carolina Press of a mass of searching material about the South, of which the most considerable items were Howard Odum's great sociological compilation, Southern Regions, Rupert Vance's Human Factors in Cotton Culture and Human Geography of the South, and These Are Our Lives, a compilation by the Federal Writers' Project which is one of the most enlightening and moving human documents ever printed. But it is significant that it was not merely North Carolina men who wrote the books and monographs published at Chapel Hill, but men in schools scattered over all the South.

There were still plenty of Southern colleges whose only claim to respect was a football team, but they were becoming fewer as the years hurried on.

In journalism, too, the decade was to see a notable development of intelligence and realism. Under the editorial direction of Virginius Dabney, the Richmond Times-Dispatch developed into one of the most liberal newspapers in the nation; one which so far dared to flout the tradition of its milieu that it campaigned against the poll tax in Virginia and in 1938 supported the Wagner-Van Nuys anti-lynching bill, in both cases against the active opposition of Senators Carter Glass and Harry Flood Byrd.

For my own part, I have always been doubtful of schemes for Federal control of lynching, fearing that their net effect on the South would only be to rouse its trigger-quick dander, always so allergic to the fear of Federal coercion, and so tend to increase rather than suppress the practice. But that does not change the fact that the stand of the Times-Dispatch was an unusually courageous sort of journalism.

In Raleigh Jonathan Daniels made the News and Observer equally liberal, at least on the economic and political tide--sometimes waxing almost too uncritical in his eagerness to champion the underdog: surely a curious charge to bring against a Southern editor.

At Charlotte J. E. Dowd, one of the owners of the Charlotte News, took over the editorial reins of that once stodgy journal and made of it one of the most lively, intelligent, and enterprising in Dixie. In 1937 this paper, through a member of its staff, Cameron Shipp, carried out the most uncompromising and thorough survey of local slum conditions ever carried out in a Southern town.

The Richmond News-Leader, the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, and the Montgomery Advertiser--all already distinguished for intelligence--added steadily to their reputation for liberality in the decade. In Birmingham John Temple Graves II and Osborne Zuber made the Age-Herald and the News consistently tolerant. And in Atlanta the Constitution and the Journal at least acquired a more open-minded attitude than had formerly been theirs.

Just as important was the fact that many of the smaller newspapers were now getting more liberal and intelligent editing. One of the happy results of the depression, from the standpoint of the welfare of the South, was that it had gone a long way toward halting the old exodus to the North of talented young men with journalistic ambitions. The development of standardized daily journalism helped to that end, also. Unable to secure jobs in the East or Middle West, they were perforce driven into service at home, and carried their brains with them. They were far from free, even where they owned their papers, and had to proceed against the prevailing prejudices with great caution; but in the course of time they gradually enlarged their latitude.


Mention of university presses, newspapers, printing, suggests something else that properly ought to be noted in this connection. The South had now begun to have a greatly flourishing literature.

All along from 1900 Ellen Glasgow had of course been exercising her irony on her native land, in a long series of tales which grew constantly more penetrating and impatient of sentimentality. And in 1925 she produced, in Barren Ground, what I judge to be the first real novel, as opposed to romances, the South had brought forth; certainly the first wholly genuine picture of the people who make up and always have made up the body of the South.

In the same period there was also Cabell, playing Olympian Zeus on Monument Avenue, and in both the Poictesme and Lichfield, Sill, cycles holding up a thinly hidden mirror to his fellow countrymen and their notions. That Colonel Rudolph Musgrave is a Virginian and a Southerner anyone can see. But so, I have no doubt, is Jurgen or Florian de Puysange. And the Cabell women are all concocted in very great measure out of the legend of Southern Womanhood, just as Horvendile is unmistakably related to the most celebrated character in the repertoire of the Southern pulpit.

We note yet further, in the prefatory section, "Preview to Understanding", of The Mind of the South the following statement:

And Howard Odum has demonstrated that the economic and social difference between the Southeastern and Southwestern states [of the South] is so great and growing that they have begun to deserve to be treated, for many purposes, as separate regions.

Well, take that stuff and sort through it and play decoder at ONI for a change, while we eat the popcorn. You have until midnight, December 6 to find out what the code is saying, so as to afford time of communication to President Roosevelt in time to communicate to Admiral Stark who will relay word to Admiral Kimmel and General Short to assure adequate readiness for the attack on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field at 0755 hours, December 7. That is at least sixty-one days more time than the actual decoders had at ONI as of November 28, with considerably less head-start than we have provided you and that history in hindsight provides you by the simple foreknowledge that there would be an attack at Pearl Harbor.

If we remember, we shall return to it on December 6 and report what we think it means. If we forget, please remind us.

In the meantime, we refer you back again to our note in conjunction with "After the Storm", re the Long Island Express hurricane, September 24, 1938, and as well to the note in association with "A Tall Man Dies", September 15, 1938, not neglecting "Blurb on the Weather", October 19, 1938, and "Weather Notes", January 24, 1940.

We quote from Hugh Johnson's column today this astute observation: "As far as this column is concerned, it never did believe in any danger of elimination of the British fleet nor any Japanese naval combination threatening our shores in the Pacific." Thank God that danger passed.

Anyway, we report also that the University of North Carolina football team intercepted a pass yesterday afternoon in the end zone, but for which a touchdown likely was imminent, as the last ten seconds ticked away, having come back from a ten-point deficit in the last ten minutes of the game, having been behind the entire game until the last 46 seconds, to defeat the Miami Hurricanes, known colloquially as the 'Canes, 28 to 24. UNC is now coached by Miami's former coach. That fact does not factor into 1941. We just thought we would mention it along with Hurricane Ike hitting Houston a couple of weeks ago as a particularly interesting coincidence between the present and past.

Incidentally, right after the debate Friday, we did an unusual thing in our experience: we listened to a little talk-radio. They weren't talking about the debate. Instead some woman expert in something or other was holding forth on various topics, starting with electromagnetic microwave pollution from wireless technology causing increase in the incidence of tumors and brain cancer during the last decade. We've heard something about that hypothesis and so we listened a little while. Then she got off onto animal mutilations and how, in numerous documented cases of such, the pericardial membrane around the hearts of cows had been somehow emptied of their substantial contents without apparent incision, sucked out mysteriously as if by vacuum.

Then came a caller speaking about her expertise and employment in some official capacity as a medium with the "ET's"--by which we assume she meant, in her terribly abstruse lingo, extra-terrestrials. Well, she proceeded to talk about how the ET's were the ones doing these animal mutilations, as if everyone took that for granted.

The expert lady didn't appear to blink a verbal eye at the caller, as we might have anticipated, but rather proceeded chirpily to chime in, indicating that she had heard many reports over the course of decades that the ET's had abducted people into their spacecraft and there these abductees had witnessed animals having their innards sucked out by some mysterious method for nourishment of the ET's.

The expert also suggested that all of this bloodless animal mutilation indicates the future of molecular-specific surgery whereby the molecules will be penetrated by their specific identifiers and surgery will take place thereby bloodlessly. We decided at that point that we had heard enough talk-radio from extra-terrestrials about their fellows for awhile and turned it off.

We mention this point because earlier, before the debate, we had heard over the same station some talk radio man on WABC out of New York talking very pro-McCain and speaking of Obama as some sort of extreme liberal out to cause havoc in the country, being followed by wild-eyed liberals of the same stripe.

No doubt, this talk-radio man, too, like the lady who followed later on the same station, had heard of all the experiences about the animal mutilations by the ET's, as reported by the ET abductees. His audience appeared astute enough to be credulous of this secret knowledge of the universe intoned to them with laser-like precision and certitude, hidden from them otherwise by a vastly conspiratorial government.

Well, pardon us. We have to go busy ourselves being a good citizen, after the manner encouraged by Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska, and keep a watch on those skies for Vladimir Putin flying over in an airplane, as she told NBC Thursday she regularly does, informing thereby of her vast and nervy experience in international relations, including keeping her other neighbor in check, troublesome Canada, these last desperate 22 months during which she has served that office.

And if not for Prime Minister Putin, we should keep a check on those extra-terrestrials who might swoop down any minute and abduct and mutilate our animals in a most foul and hideously indescribable manner. But first, we must go out and charcoal a nice juicy steak, rare and bloody.

By the way, we have to wonder, given that little piece on the page from Business Week about the Schiaperelli lipstick "Sleeping", in two shades no less, "Sunset" and "Sunrise", just how that would have looked on a bull. Whatever the case, we offer nothing of added significance regarding that comment in the piece about waking up, after playing the owl on the prowl in the heat of the languorous nightshade, Morelle somnifique, cooled only by the pink marble out in the cemetery, where the petals of the langue de boeuf, the bugloss cowslip, fall at dawn with sleepy lipstick glaring at you from out of the newly born rays of sunrise as the languescent crescent of the paling moon wanes and wanders elusively to its last winking peek, its daggered-streaking reap of horizon, somewhere behind the morning toast.

One more thought--ever wondered, as we have, why the Nazis never bothered the Swiss? It wasn't because they were afraid of being cut off from their prized cuckoo clocks, as those were and are primarily manufactured in the Black Forest of Germany. Well, besides the threat of being cut to pieces while trying to cross the treacherous Alps, the Clapper column of the day offers another plausible explanation.

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