St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on December 3, 1931 · Page 16
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 16

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 3, 1931
Page 16
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i f ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1931. PAGE 2B - K . f 4?? ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Founded by JOSEPH PULITZER December 12. J87S The Pulitzer Publishing Company Twelfth Boulevard and Olive Street THE POST-DISPATCH PLATFORM I know that bit retirement will make no difference In Itm cardinal prtnciplesi that It will alwar fight Cor progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, alwar fight . demagogues of all parties, never belong; to may party, always oppose privileged e lasses and public plunderers, never lack sympathy with the poor, always remain devoted to the public welfare, never be satisfied with merely printing news j always be drastically Inde- , pendent! never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy, or predatory poverty. JOSEPH PULITZER. April 10. 1907. LETTERS FROM THE PEOPLE The name and address of the author must accompany every contribution, but on request will not be published. Letters not exceeding 200 words will receive preference. Raymond Robins and the Constitution. To the Editor of the Post-Dispatch: IN his defense of prohibition, Raymond Robins points out that Abraham Lincoln upheld slavery, and the return of fugitive slaves, because the Constitution required that fugitive slaves should be returned to their masters. Robins says that Lincoln, "who was giving his life to overthrow the Institution of human slavery, upheld the integrity of the Constitution when it seemed to run counter to the most precious rights of human liberty." Robins says further that Lincoln "legally took slavery out of it." But he did not. He abolished slavery by a proclamation of emancipation in 1863, as a war measure, leaving the slavery clause still in the Constitution. That clause, paragraph 3, section 2, of Article 4. is still in the Constitution. It reads: "No person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws therof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due." This part of the Constitution is still in force, though the abolition of slavery by Lincoln as war dictator was in direct opposition to its edict. I agree with Mr. Robins in the hope that the prohibition amendment may be legally changed, if at all, and that it will not have to be nullified because the people are not allowed to express their will regarding it. Lincoln was no worshiper of the Constitution as such. He was devoted to the idea of preserving the Union. But when he found that slavery stood in the . way, he did not advocate taking the fugitive slave law out of the Constitution, but, ignoring it, he used his power as a conqueror to give it a death blow. H. M. W. A Capricious Dame. To the Editor of the Post-Dispatch: READ with interest the letter com- 1 plaining of the St. Louis forecaster and the mistakes which have been made during the past three months. I have observed these forecasts myself, and can vouch for the large percentage of inaccuracy. While I agree with the facts, I think your correspondent is hard on the forecaster. He should remember that forecasters follow rules formulated by meteorologists. He should also remember the story of the, forecaster who was discharged because of his great accuracy. When his predictions were correct in over 90 per cent of the cases, the department discharged him on the ground that "he was guessing instead of following the rules." If we ever personified the weather, we would speak of It as "she," changeable, capricious and uncertain. MAZYCK P. RAVENEL, M. D. Columbia, Mo. A Still Brighter Idea. To the Editor of the Post-Dispatch: rw HE country should get behind the I proposal of one of our prohibitionists to stamp out prohibition by starting a buyers' strike. Unquestionably a 100 per cent buyers' strike, in which even the prohibitionists would join, would stop the wholesale violations of the eighteenth amendment overnight, and turn the bootleggers from their wicked ways. If further plans may still be proposed, however, I have a better one, because it 'strikes more thoroughly at the fundamentals of the situation. Let us have, not a buyers strike, but a sellers' strike. I,et our bootleggers Join to a man in a wholesale agreement, starting, say, on Jan. 1, not to sell any more liquor, even to prohibitionists. That will stop the thing at once. In other words, let us stop this wholesale violation of the eighteenth amendment by preventing any further contravention of the prohibition laws. Get it? What do you think? A. SELLER. A Tribute to Ir. James. To the Editor of the Post-Dispatch: THE International Mark Twain Society wishes to pay its tribute to the memory of George Oscar James of Washington University. For a quarter of a century, he has been a shining example of true scholarship, ripe wisdom, generous and affable manners, to countless young men and women. Chaucer's description of the clerk of Oxenford may well be applied to Dr. James: Of studie took he most cure and most hede. Nogbt o word spak he more than was nede. And that was seyd in forme and reverence, And short and quik, and ful of hy sentence. gounlnge in moral vertu was his speche. And glady wolde he lerne, and gladly tcche. CYRIL CLEMENS, president. International Mark Twain Society, THE WABASH RECEIVERSHIP. The Wabash receivership was precipitated by the depression, during which its business has steadily declined. The road's gross earnings in 1929 were $76,000,000. They lell to $62,000,000 in 1930, and for the first eight months of the current year slumped to $34,800,000, as compared with $42,500,000 for the corresponding period of the year before. So, too, necessarily, with the net income, which in 1929 was $7,854,000, dropped to $3,781,000 in 1930, and this year disappeared, sho-vlng for the first six months of 1931 a deficit of $1,789,000. Traffic experts attribute the shrinkage' in revenue to the curtailed production in the automobile industry, which formerly furnished a large and profitable tonnage for the Wabash. This loss of business was aggravated by the fact that the automobile industry, like many others, is utilizing other transportation agencies. It is delivering its products in trailers and "on their own power," a practice which is affecting all railroads, but which hit the Wabash a knock-out blow. i It is evident, of course, that no practicable advanca ia rates, no concession from the Interstate Commerce Commission, would have enabled the Wabash to carry on. It Is apparent, too, that no such method of relief will cure the difficulties which beset all the railroads. Depression or no depression, the transportation Industry is in a state of transition. Evolution is at work. Nothing can stop it The automobile ia here. The bus, the truck, the pleasure car, itself serving important business requirements, are bound to progress in efficiency and utility. We shall continue to build highways, wider and better. The revival of the rivers, and the airplane, with its future all ahead of It, emphasize a situation which will require a com plete reorganization of the transportation industry. CHARGES OF PEONAGE. Can it be that the millions of dollars devoted by the Government to flood control works have become the root of peonage and brutal practices against laborers? Thi3 is the charge made by investigators for the American Federation of Labor. They send from the Lower Mississippi region accounts of men held in "hideous slavery," of 4000 workers who have become virtual serfs, of miserly pay, and that frequently withheld; of exorbitant payroll deductions for commissary accounts, of floggings and assaults. Federal appropriations, designed to help the unemployed while benefiting the river region, would in deed be put to sorry use should these charges of de grading and exploiting labor by holders of Government contracts be sustained. Major-General Lytle Brown of the Army engineers, in charge of the work, says he doubts the correctness of the charges. "If there is any peonage, cruelty or exploitation, it has not come to my notice," he says. He will Investigate any specific charges, and will not tolerate such abuses if they are found to exist. These are not direct denials, of course, and indicate a willingness to seek out the truth. On the other side, the labor investigators say they are prepared with names, places and other definite data. An inquiry by the War Department, or one sponsored by Congress, is in order. Such charges from such a quarter demand an official inquiry, and the protection of American labor from any possible greedy exploitation cries aloud for it. . SUPPOSE WE FOUGHT TIBET. Gen. Smedley Butler has his depression panacea, too, and he guarantees it no whit sillier than hosts of others. Having observed the prosperity that goes with war. Gen. Butler suggests a war. To economize on lives, however, he would make it painless by choosing Tibet as the enemy. We would need some allies, of course, and they would want to buy some wheat, so that would solve the Farm Board's problem right away. Ocean carriers in war-time are forever getting sunk, and the necessary replacements would send shipbuilding Into another glorious boom. Of course, the Tibetans have no navy and couldn't really sink any ships, so Gen. Butler would merely set up a weekly quota of vessels to be theoretically sunk. Munition and other factories would go to work on 24-hour schedules, thereby rendering unemployment extinct. The munitions they turned out would be shot at the Tibetans or dumped Into the sea, boosting business in either case. Affluent workers and our allies would buy other products. No doubt it would be a delightful and prosperous war, with no hard feelings on either side. But our allies would demand the customary reparations of Tibet, and the impoverished Grand Lama would call around to borrow of our bankers. And when the bankers locked their vaults on him, and Tibet warned it could meet no more installments, and our devoted allies threatened to quit paying their bills for wheat, munitions and loans, and we hiked our tariffs, and everybody else did the same-will, we would be right back in the doldrums of 1931. So perhaps we had better hang on to the old, familiar depression, and not trade It in on a new one. - Streamlining will result in speedier automobiles and trains, engineers say. Perhaps they can tell us where a pedestrian, in self-defense, can go to get a good Job of personal streamlining. WE LIKE BANDS. The American Federation of Musicians has protest ed against the Navy's "contemptuous disregard of the law" in permitting the use of Navy bands at private entertainments, to the financial loss of professional musicians, who might otherwise have been employed The point is well taken if, as charged, the .bands are called on to play for purely personal dances, card parties and other affairs where someone in high places has the necessary "pull" to obtain a service band for the event. As the musicians advocate, the laws should be strengthened to prevent such abuses, But Congress should not go too far, as it is to be feared the musicians themselves have done on occasion. There are certain public events, without direct gain to the promoters or other participants, In which the appearance of our service bands not only is per fectly proper, but is something the taxpayers have a right to expect. At St, Louis' annual Veiled Prophet parade, visitors almost invariably note the absence of service, school and fraternal bands, with their color and cadence. How much better it would be to have one large professional band, augmented by volunteer and service organizations, as was the case in the Armistice day parade. Some time ago a movement was undertaken to halt the tours of the Army, Navy and Marine bands on the assumption that their concerts were keeping local musicians out of work. This theory seems unsound. There Is nothing to indicate that a local or traveling professional band would appear in place of the service organizations, while it is quite certain that the concerts cultivate the taste and Interest of the public in band music, to the eventual gain of the professional artists. . , . FOR A PERMANENT CONDEMNATION BOARD. " The need for a permanent board of condemnation commissioners, to pass on street wldenings and other public improvements, is recognized by the special al-dermanic committee appointed by President Neun to study condemnation procedure. While no vote was taken, an unofficial poll shows five members of-the committee in favor of a permanent board. Under the present system, each project has a set of three commissioners, appointed by the Circuit Judge in charge of the case. Even if the commisslonerships were always wisely awarded, which has not been true, the lack of co-ordination among the numerous commissions is an insurmountable obstacle to a smoothly working system. St. Louis has had numerous examples of the faults of our condemnation system, and by this time should be heartily in favor of a change. For 11 years, the city has been trying to eliminate the traffic bottleneck on Lindell boulevard, between Channlng and Grand, and in that time four different commissions have sat on the case. Last November, the city rejected the findings of the third commission, denouncing its work as slipshod. A fourth commission was appointed, and its findings were even less acceptable than the third's. The bottleneck remains. Awards made by the commission in the Hall's Ferry-Good-fellow circle case were denounced by Comptroller Nolte as a "damned outrage." Attorney for some of the property owners in this proceeding was Raymond Hartmann, son of the Judge who appointed the commission. After the Morgan street widenIng-om-missioners had consumed 800 meetings to complete their work, their findings were so bad that the City Law Department, by direct negotiation, was successful in scaling $119,000 from damage awards. These and other incidents prove that the present system must be replaced. Commission appointments are juicy plums for the Circuit Judges to distribute among their friends and political supporters, but the fruit has become overripe. By Charter amendement, the voters can set up a commission of well paid experts to devote their entire time to the lagging program of public improvements. We trust the alder-manic special committee will support the drafting and submission of such an amendment. "MOST VITRIOLIC." John K. Winkler, a biographer, who specializes in stripping the rich of their halos, has just done Andrew Carnegie in a book which he calls "Incredible Carnegie." Quite naturally, much space is given to the bloody Homestead steel strike and Its reflection upon Carnegie's reputation as a friend of labor. "Most vitriolic of press comments was an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch," Winkler writes, and then quotes the editorial in full. "Ten thousand Carnegie public libraries would not compensate the country for the direct and indirect evils resulting from the Homestead lockout," that ed itorial concludes. "Say what you will of Frick (then in active command of the steel company's operations), he is a brave man. Say what you will of Carneele (who had retreated to his estate in Scotland), he is a coward. And gods and men hate cowards." That seems not so much "vitriolic" as just plain, straight forward speaking. America today could stand more plain talk, less mincing, less dodging, less evasion of harsh realities, less hypocrisy. There is evidence that thj public is more than ready to hear the unvar nished truth. m$mmmMm f i ? - V"1! ' I'll 1 i I, y fyWrvV'V' A.- fiw?twiVj!.i..!' v- wSsSsW&k .',,.. ... 1 "t 1 1 1 ' yiassuL ' i ' I1. - 1 c!Erp'TM ST. WASHINGTON'S SYNTHETIC HALO. The George Washington bicentennial, to be cele brated nationally next year, promises to be a battle royal between the respective backers of fairy tales and facts. One school will seize the occasion to apotheosize the first President, to give full credence and even enhance the wealth of legend that has sprung up about him. The other faction will accept the anniversary as inspiration for historical delving, for digging out the elusive facts lost in the mists of two intervening centuries. One round of this en tertainlng match already is in progress, between F. Dumont Smith, Hutchinson (Kan.) lawyer, and Albert Bushnell Hart, Harvard historian. Mr. Smith thinks Washington was far too noble to swear occasionally, as Prof. Hart stated in a pamphlet, and denies that ho ever received a cent of salary, re pudiating the historian's statement that he was paid. The surest way for a writer to encounter a storm of protest is to discover or publish something about a national hero that removes the halo of perfection. When Rupert Hughes wrote of Washington's wine drinking and Indulgence at gambling games (with Washington's diary as authority), he was assailed as a committer of sacrilege. Prof. Hart is similarly under fire for finding in Washington an eighteenth century soldier who shared the characteristics of his times, and a laborer who felt he was worthy of his hire. These disclosures need not remove an iota of Washington's glory, and only those who would make him over into a pink god will object If the anniversary is to be an occasion for moralizing, even that can be done with greater effect if a human being with some share of human frailties is taken as the subject, rather than a figure of inimitable perfection. GRANTING MR. GILLETTE AN EXTENSION. Those who sat spellbound through William Gillette's return to Baker street two years ago and they were legion in every city visited will readily grant the veteran actor a continuation of his farewell tour. With many a figure of the stage, farewell tours have been annual affairs, and frequently of dubious value. In the case of Sherlock Holmes for Mr. Gillette and that imperturbable detective of chill, foggy London nights and damp, danger-fraught cellarways are one and the same reappearance behind the footlights was an entirely different matter. Age had left his tall frame as erect as ever. His step was the same sure step and his clear voice spoke the same calm commands that held in thralldom the playgoers of the century's turn. And so, if the passing months have been as kind as were the intervening years, the indolent sleuth of that sea-coal warmed room in dreary Baker street will be on the road again, making us alL as Booth Tarklngton so aptly observed, as happy as children at Christmas, That, Indeed, is a pleasant prospecU. HE TRIED TO MAKE A DEAL WITH A SCOTCHMAN. False and True Paths to Peace African war, costing hundreds of lives, started over stolen pig; most conflicts have similar trivial causes; disarmament alone is no cure, for these natives fought with' out modern weapons; superior force interfered there, but League of Nations has no power to take this step; brotherly love thus is the real necessity for pe?.ce. From the Belleville (111.) Messenger. IT was a costly pig that somebody stole somewhere in Portuguese Guinea on the west coast of Africa. Hundreds of Negroes were killed recently on account of that pig. Heaps of human bodies were found under the smoldering ruins of burned native huts. We don't know how it all started, except that somebody stole a dirty pig, and then the war began, between two tribes who didn't like "each other any too well to begin with. A more complete report might inform us that one man stole a pig, that the owner of the pig went after him with a club, that the pig- bad already been roasted and was being consumed by a jolly crowd of friends and neighbors of the thief, that the owner of the pig was abused by the jolly crowd, that he went back to his own tribe and gathered a band of men for a punitive expedition, that the jolly crowd got word of it and collected an army of its own, that the owner's party mobilized a still bigger force, that one battle was fought and then another, that whole villages were burned and hundreds of men, women and children destroyed, either by arms or by fire all because somebody stole a dirty pig. Most wars start about the same way. Somebody either steals a pig. or kidnaps a woman, or shoots a Crown Prince, or refuses to pay his debts, or spits on a flag, or removes his fence beyond the line, and then his friends and neighbors go on the war path in order to punish the thief, kidnaper, murderer, debtor, fence-mover and his friends and allies. One thing is necessary before war can start properly. The two parties must bear a grudge beforehand. They must know that there 13 danger of a conflict. Their 'minds must be prepared for war, and they must feel that it is advisable to keep their powder dry. Disarmament, after all, seems to be the only effective means to prevent . war. Armaments consist chiefly in big guns and machine guns, battleships and submarines, airplanes and poison gases, munition f ae- tories and trained armies, and plenty of money. Disarmament consists in doing away with these things. But there Is a .difficulty. Those Negro tribes In Portuguese Guinea had neither money nor munition factories, neither standing armies nor poison gases, neither submarines nor battleships, neither big guns nor machine guns, and yet they had a war, a real war, in which hundreds of men were slaughtered or burned to death In their huts. Those Negroes didn't need battleships and airplanes and machine guns for a war. Probably they used clubs, knives, stones and ancient muskets abandoned by Portuguese pirates and slave dealers. One sort of weapon they did use, and that was fire, and they made mightily effective use of It. That reminds us. There have been wars before in which fire was used to good effect. Gen. Sherman used plenty of fire in his march to the sea. The old Romans set fire to the camps and cities of their enemies. Our own American Indians had a weakness for fire. Warships were set on fire in former times. Liquid fire was a .powerful weapon once upon a time. We can imagine a war in which laden gasoline tank wagons, hundreds at a time, driven by men willing to sacrifice their own lives, rush into a big city and are exploded by their own drivers. What will disarmament amount to if fire Is not disarmed? We ourselves would much rather be shot down by a French 75 than be roasted alive in our private office. With genuine conviction, we offer that suggestion to the forthcoming great disarmament con ference of Geneva, Disarm fire and all the evil things connected with fire. No nation will be safe as long as any other is permitted to use fire in warfare. We read that the Portuguese Government had some 4000 Negroes of one of the fighting tribes arrested, transferred to a small island near the coast and deposited there for safe-keeping. That's another bright idea. We suggest that this same thing be done with the Japanese in Manchuria, Have every blessed one of them arrested, bind them hand and foot and "deposit them on the original Japanese islands for safe-keeping. However, and there's the rub, on whom shall we call to arrest the Japanese in Manchuria? The Chinese police force is inadequate. The Russians are too busy with their five-year plan to take time off for the job. Uncle Sam seems indisposed. Great Britain has cramps in the stomach, in the pocketbook and in India. France is not at all inclined to cause Japan any annoyance. Is there nobody, then, to handle the Japanese? Hold on. There is somebody. The League of Nations is still with us. Why didn't we think of the League right away? The League shall tell those confounded Japs where to get off. The League of Nations opened its mouth and spoke to Japan. All the world listened. But Japan closed her ears. The League ordered the Japanese to withdraw their military forces within a stated time. It was a risky thing for the League to do. Unless the League was prepared to use force, it .was unlikely that Japan would heed the League's order. Japan knew that the League was not prepared to use force. The League's order was disregarded. Under present circumstances, the League evidently does not possess the superior force which the Portuguese could employ against the Negro tribe. There win be circumstances when jie League's orders will be obeyed. But, under different circumstances, they will not be obeyed. Japan refused to ob y, because there is no way to compel her to obey. The League may try to give orders to France next year at the disarmament, conference. Will France obey? It Is more than doubtful. Those Negro tribes In Portuguese Guinea would never have gone to war If they had not borne a previous grudge against each other. France and Italy would not be In danger of war if neither nation felt unkindly toward the other. Indeed, we always have come back to the law of brotherly love. Disarmament and leagues will amount to very little until brotherly love becomes the superior force for the enforcement of peace. When will that bet Rainey of Illinois From the Springfield (Mass.) Republican, IP Congressman Henry T. Rainey of Illinois wins the position of Democratic floor leader in the House of Representatives, it will add to the spectacular interest of the Washington shov. Unless Mr. Rainey has dieted even more successfully than Chief Justice Taft did, his huge form and Its comfortable covering must weigh nearer 300 than 200 pounds. It is capped by a massive head and a heavy, unruly mop of hair, making him one of the conspicuous House figures. A voice of unusual power rounds out a striking physical equipment. House leaders are not selected, however, by weight or lung power, and Mr. Rainey can point to other qualifications. With the exception of a single term to which extent Mr. Garner bf Texas, probably the next speaker, has the advantage of him Mr. Rainey has served in the House continuously since 1903. For much of that time he has been a diligent member of the Ways and Means Committee, and the fact that the Republicans have been in control, with the exception of eight years from 1911 to 1919. has not prevented him from registering views on the tariff which are now likely to find easier expression than at times in the past. In the full flush of a Republican high tariff regime during th Roosevelt administration, Mr. Rainey once managed to stage a field day in the House of Representatives with charges that under the Republican schedules American manufacturers were "dumping" their products at lower prices to consumers abroad. The particular articles with which he chiefly dealt were watches. With a dramatic ability which he doubtless still cultivates against appropriate occasions, he gave a temporary national fame to "Keene of Lower Broadway, a shrewd jeweler who had found that he could reimport American watches sold abroad and profitably resell them at less than the listed prices to the American consumer. Probably Mr. Rainey got more fun out of the "Keene of Lower Broadway" episode than he has had on any other day of his 26 years of congressional service. Possibly he will never get as much fun again, for the post of floor leader for the majority, however small the majority, will carry with it responsibilities and perplexities which the carefree members of a relatively small minority the Democratic position threugh most of the Roosevelt era escape. HOOVEITS ECON03IY PROGRAM. From the Chicatro Daily Ne-. THE president seeks public approval of his policy of drastic economy. He has t tnd "houId hav it, but, as he points out. the trouble is that demands for retrenchment do not prevent political clique from advocating their pet projects involving new expenditures. True friends of econ-,Wl ,.COmbat aU dubious proposals tor tin Jf Government appropriations. They will distinguish between economy that does away with waste, red tape, duplication and unwarranted activities, and so-called economy which deprives the nation of indlspcns-n ,servlce8- A ""d Program of na-tlonal economy is certain of business and public support. But it Is the duty of the heads of the departments to make the program thoroughly sound. WHO WANTS THE EARTH? From the RocWer (N. Y.) Tim-Unlon. The meek shall inherit the earth. Coo. riderin the mess it's. in, you couldn't via it oa anybody else V7 C l

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