Archive for December, 2011

Who’s to Blame?

December 20, 2011

WHAT’S wrong with this picture?

It will strike The Journal reader instantly that it is highly improper to combine silly farce with grim tragedy.

What, more or less, are some of our national leaders doing today with the problem of prohibition enforcement?

In the center you behold 1,376 victims of the shotgun method of law enforcement.

In the foreground are the common or garden variety of Drys, tilting their thumbs at one another.

“Let’s have an investigation.” There’s a good theme for a topical song. Gilbert and Sullivan could have done well with the suggestion.

But prohibition in the United States is not a farce comedy subject. As the number of victims of shotguns and poison piles up higher and higher the tragedy must be apparent to all.

What’s wrong with the picture?

The answer should be simple. The fallacy of all efforts to enforce prejudice, bigotry and fanaticism has been left out. And it is being left out of the argument by all of these wise men who, holding themselves blameless, “pass the buck” to their neighbors.

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Jan 4, 1930

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Jan 9, 1930

Burning Desire to Know

December 20, 2011


Four Year Old Boy in Peering Up Chimney Had Clothes Set Afire

Philadelphia. Dec. 23. — Albert DiPhillippi was four years old — and he did not understand that old Santa Claus descends only those chimneys that do not contain fire.

For three weeks his little mind had been troubled over the problem of how the fat jolly St. Nick could come down such a small aperture as that connected with the kitchen stove in his home.

Albert thought it wouldn’t do any harm to take just one peek this afternoon. His mother on the second floor heard screams of agony and found Albert  a human torch writhing on the floor. He had stepped too close to the fire. The blazing garments she ripped off, but it was too late.

A white coated doctor at the hospital told the mother Albert would pass into a place where it is always Christmas before long.

Dunkirk Evening Observer (Dunkirk, New York) Dec 23, 1916

X-Raying The Constitution

December 19, 2011

Image from Frugal Café Blog Zone

X-Raying The Constitution

The Constitution does not grant the Supreme Court specific power to declare legislation constitutional or unconstitutional. Nevertheless the court has declared many New Deal acts invalid. How has it gained this power? How has it exercised it through the years? Why have its decisions created a situation that has given rise to agitation for Constitutional change? In this last of his series on “Ex-Raying the Constitution,” John T. Flynn, NEA Service author-economist, reviews the history of the court’s domination over state and federal legislation.


(Copyright, 1936, NEA Service, Inc.)

A gentleman by the name of William Marbury, one day in the year 1800, filed a suit against James Madison, Secretary of State, to compel him to deliver a commission appointing him Justice of the Peace in Washington, D.C. Thomas Jefferson had just been elected President, sweeping the old Federalist party into the dust-bin. But the Federalists had several months left before inauguration to provide some jobs for “deserving” Federalists. Among others a law was rushed through setting up numerous judicial jobs. And on March 2, just two days before he was to go out of office, John Adams appointed William Marbury a Justice of the Peace under this law. He made many other appointments in this last hurry.

But the hurry was too much. Adams wanted to vacate the capital before Jefferson arrived. He wanted to snub Jefferson. And so in the haste of clearing out a terrible tragedy happened to poor Mr. William Marbury. His eleventh hour commission was not delivered to him. Many others failed to out. And when Jefferson came in he ordered them all cancelled. Marbury thereupon brought a mandamus action again James Madison, Jefferson’s Secretary of State, to force the delivery of the commission.

Jefferson resisted the suit, asserting that the Supreme Court had no power to interfere with the executive department. Thus the first great battle between President and Court was fought. And the case of Marbury vs. Madison became historic.

The tongues wagged, because it was felt John Marshall and his court would decide against Jefferson and that Jefferson would ignore the decision. But Marshall turned out to be too astute. He made one of the most cunning legal decisions in the history of the Court. Jefferson claimed the Court could not interfere with other departments of the government. But Marshall decided the case in favor of Jefferson and Madison. This is, he refused to order Marbury’s commission delivered. But he decided it on the ground that the congressional act under which Marbury was appointed was unconstitutional. Thus Marshall gave Jefferson the decision, but he did it by supporting the very principle which Jefferson so bitterly assailed. He asserted the right of the Court to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional.

That famous case — 136 years ago — settled that point and determined the whole course of our history. Because it is fair to assume that had Marshall held the Court could not declare laws unconstitutional, this would have been the end, as Senator Borsh had put it, of the inviolability of the written Constitution.


And so it has been in the Supreme Court that all the great constitutional battles of the last 136 years have been fought.

As already pointed out, these battles have revolved around two great tendencies. One has been the effort of the central government to increase its power. The other has been the effort of the propertied groups to prevent the states and nation from exercising control over their affairs.

First let us look at the struggle of the central government to exercise wider power over national concerns, particularly in the economic field. It’s not a new fight. It didn’t begin with the New Deal. The federal government has sought to increase its field through the power of taxation, through the power to regulate commerce among the several states and with foreign nations and through its power over postoffices and post roads.


One of the great weapons used by Congress to extend its power has been what is known as the commerce clause, under which Congress has power to deal with foreign and interstate commerce.

But in the last forty years countless battles have been fought over two points. What is commerce? What is interstate commerce? It was on this point the famous Schechter chicken NRA case was decided. The Court held that the poultry men in the case, while they handled chickens which were shipped in from other states, were not engaged in interstate commerce. When the poultry arrived at their plant, it was held there, handled there and the workers who did the work there were engaged in a business which was wholly within the state. Goods are in interstate commerce only when they are in “current” or “flow” not merely into the state, but into the state an on, with the manufacturer merely performing some function which is connected with this flow of the commodity in question.

Under this decision, a tremendous limitation was put upon the power of Congress to reach out and deal with various types of business on the ground that it is interstates.

Another weapon of Congress is taxes. Taxes were used in the AAA case. One of the first attempts to regulate industry through taxation was in the famous child labor cases.

The power to tax is the power to destroy. The courts have held that Congress can tax even to destruction. But the tax must be a legitimate tax — that is, for the purpose of raising revenue. Otherwise it would be invalid.

In the AAA cases, Congress attempted to tax processors to raise funds to pay benefits to farmers. This case also involved the power of Congress under the general welfare clause. This clause is frequently invoked to extend the power of Congress. In the famous AAA case, the Court held that Congress had no power to regulate agriculture, that under general welfare clause it could aid agriculture — that is give it benefits, but that if it attached conditions to the benefits, that could be regulating agriculture indirectly and that, therefore, the tax, imposed to aid this plan, was invalid. It was not a legitimate exercise of the taxing power.


The other great series of battles about the Constitution have to do with the effort of organized business to prevent the states or Congress from interfering with it. These fights are made chiefly under the so-called “due process” clauses of the fifth and fourteenth amendments.

The first first on this subject came in 1875 in the famous Granger cases. States started regulating railroads rates. The roads held that fixing rates was equivalent to taking property from the roads and hence was depriving them of property without due process of law. The Supreme Court upheld the right of the States in this famous case — Munn V. Illinois, 113, U.S. This became then the charter for all our state regulatory commissions in the utility field.

But later the court began narrowing this view. It held that a New York statute prohibiting bakeries from employing men for more than 10 hours a day was a violation of the due process clause. It has held that commissions in fixing rates must allow utilities a fair return on investment or they will be depriving them of property without due process of law. It has held that laws fixing minimum wages for women and children are violations of the due process clause.

The Court has been holding that the federal government was encroaching on the rights of the states. These problems of regulation belonged to them — they were able to deal with them. One state — New York — tried to deal with one such problem — sweatshops and starvation wages for women in industry. It adopted a minimum wage law for women. Only a few weeks ago the Supreme Court held the law unconstitutional. It violated the due process clause. So the state, too, is as powerless as the federal government to deal with its economic problems.


It is around these points — the commerce clause, the taxation power and the due process clause — that the New Deal measures have been argued. The court decided the “hot oil” case 8 to 1 against the New Deal; the railroad pension case, 5 to 4 against the New Deal; the AAA case 6 to 3 against the New Deal; the minimum wage law for women, 5 to 4 against the New Deal. It decided the rice millers’ case unanimously against the New Deal. The only cases won by the New Deal were the gold clause case and the TVA.

Two sets of reforms are being urged. One deals with the Court and is a plan to prevent the Court from declaring acts of Congress unconstitutional, save by a two-thirds decision.

The other plan suggests two amendments to the Constitution. The first would change the 5th and 14th amendments which prevents the government from passing regulatory laws because they tend to deprive men of property without due process of law. The other is to give the government outright jurisdiction of industry, corporations, power in all matters affecting the national economic welfare of the nation.

Around these measures, sooner or later, a great national struggle is certain to take place.

Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) Jul 12, 1936

The Mistletoe

December 19, 2011

The Mistletoe.

Oh, dainty odor of the mistletoe,
Sending my fancy off to long ago!
All this small room with faint perfume beset,
A modest mimicry of violet.

Those ancient days when linen robes of priest
Caught the green bough to deck some furious feast,
Breaking the brittlestems with knives of gold —
Those days were not so fine as some less old.

As jovial days, when jolly Christmastide
Filled all the earth with mirth, dear love beside,
Sweet was it then, beneath the mistletoe,
To catch a pretty maid and kiss her — so!

Oh,dear was yesterday beneath the bough,
And dear the kisses given there, I trow;
Full sweet the days we never can forget,
But, ah, tomorrows will be sweeter yet!

— New Orleans Picayne.

Edwardsville Intelligencer (Edwardsville, Illinois) Dec 21, 1892

The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Dec 19, 1911

Seven Die In Yule Tragedy; Grief-Crazed Mother Amuck

December 19, 2011

Seven Die In Yule Tragedy; Grief-Crazed Mother Amuck
(Associated Press)

Pittsburgh, Dec. 24.

The paper bells and tinsel garlands that made Walter Dempsey’s home ready for a happy Christmas grace a house of tragedy today, for all but one of the family of six are dead, slain, police say, by a woman driven mad by the death of her own son.

In addition, the woman herself and her sister are dead in the multiple Yuletide tragedy.

Coming to the suburban home of Dempsey, her brother, Mrs. Kathryn Schoch, 37, of Dunkirk, N.Y., a trained nurse made the family merry with gifts for all, but in the night shot them with a pistol and ended her own life with poison.

Five of the Dempsey family died in the shooting yesterday. The mother alone still lives.

A pitiful note, telling how she could not have her little seven-year-old son with her to enjoy Christmas happiness, was found by police who said it held the explanation of the motive for her act.

At Mrs. Schoch’s apartment in Dunkirk, police broke in and found her sister, Mrs. Ruth Dempsey Hughes, dead of a bullet wound. They said she possibly had been slain by Mrs. Schoch before the later left for Pittsburgh.

Besides Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Schoch, the dead are: Walter Dempsey, 42, a welfare worker; Robert, 12; Thomas eight; Walter, Jr., 10, and David, aged 15 months, all sons of Dempsey.

Mrs. Clara Dempsey, the mother, is in a hospital with a bullet wound in the head. Physicians said she has a chance for recovery.

Hamilton Daily News Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Dec 24, 1934

Opportunity Speaks

December 18, 2011

Image from IPINglobal


(William J. Lampton, in “Success.”)

I am Opportunity;
But say, young man,
Don’t wait for me
To come to you;
You buckle down
To win your crown,
and work with head
And heart and hands,
As does the man
Who understands
That those who wait,
Expecting some reward from fate —
Or luck, to call it so —
Sit always in the way-back row.
And yet
You must not let
Me get away when I show up.
The golden cup
Is not for him who stands,
With folded hands,
Expecting me
To serve his inactivity.
I serve the active mind,
The seeing eye,
The ready hand
That grasps me passing by,
And takes from me
The good I hold
For every spirit
Strong and bold.
He does not wait
On fate
Who seizes me,
For I am fortune,
Luck, and fate,
The corner stone of what is great
In man’s accomplishment.
But I am none of these
To him who does not seize;
I must be caught,
If any good is wrought
Out of the treasures I possess.
Oh, yes,
I’m Opportunity;
I’m great;
I’m sometimes late,
But do not wait
For me;
Work on,
Watch on,
Good hands, good heart,
And some day you will see —
Out of your effort rising, —

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 23, 1904

At Either Extreme

December 18, 2011

At Either Extreme

By Herbert Kaufman

To a Rut-jogger

IF you’re jogging along in a crowded way,
Stepping the same slow pace each day;
Like and old car-horse with his movements tracked,
It is time, my friend, you were soundly whacked
‘Til your eyes are open to the fact,
That the land on either side of the road
Is a virgin field that may be sowed.
If you need more space in which to do
There’s plenty of waiting room for you.
In farming, in business, in art, there are still
Enormous deserts for wit to till
What the world most needs are magic seeds
That are spread as dreams and are reaped as deeds.

But the beaten paths where so many pant,
And jostle and rant, is no place to plant
For high endeavor. Nobody ever
Achieved distinction within a rut
Or by following patterns the past had cut.
And the posted score declares you can’t
Securesuccess at a bargain rate,
Or snare it with stale and borrowed bait.
You must force a gap through the throttling throng
If you really expect to come along.
But the man who pines, and the man who whines,
Who skulks away from the skirmish lines —
He isn’t worth bothering over a minute;
He’s out of the game, and he never was in it.

To a Crested Popinjay

THOUGH lions and griffins may charge your crest,
If truth be confessed, nobody’s impressed —
Mere quarterings can’t lift you over the rest.
The fact that dim grandsires rode off to war
And rampaged and tore in a wild zeal for gore,
Doesn’t count any more;
The days of the snob and le sang pur is o’er,
In these times, even kings are poor, puppety things —
Ermined jumping jacks, jerking on parliament strings.
Your family tree may reach high up in G,
But we’re waiting to find out what your branch will be.
It’s you, not your father, we’re putting on trial;
It’s your exploits, not lineage, that reaches the file;
It’s the record you’ve made that we count worth the while.

A noble old oak drops acorns all day,
But that doesn’t say
They’ll all sprout the same way —
A lot will be spoiled by a touch of decay,
You may start in the peerage or start in the steerage,
As the son of a duke or a grimy coal-heaver;
‘Twill amount to the same if you’re not a believer
In self, and are ready to work like a beaver.
The world scoffs at men who can’t help to improve it;
It respects only brains with the power to move it,
Don’t flaunt coats-of-arms or take pride in beginnings,
Your birth won’t advantage or hinder your winnings.

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Jan 4, 1930

The Christmas Sting

December 18, 2011

Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Dec 19, 1911

Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) Dec 18, 1911

Files on Parade

December 17, 2011

WHERE are the President’s orders?
Where can a fellow trail
The code today that he must obey
Or land in a Federal jail?
Where are the latest edicts
Turned out by the cubic mile
By the ABC’s and the XYZ’s;
Where are they found on file?

SOME in the State Department,
Some in the Treasury,
Some in the courts or the weather reports,
Or the trucks of the D.S.C.
Some in the secret archives
Where dust of the ages blows,
And some you’ll find in the Brain Trust’s mind,
But — nobody really knows!

HOW can we find the orders
That tell us the way to do?
The various laws “with teeth and claws”
And fines and sentences, too?
We want to be strictly legal,
But we’re in a haze so far
As to what is what in these laws we’ve got
And where in the heck they are.

SOME in the War Department
And some in the NRA,
And some are kept in the Labor Dept.
And some in the Coast Sur-VEY.
And the Dead Letter Office has some,
And ever the tangle grows,
And the whole blame mess is a matter of guess,
For nobody really knows!

By Berton Braley.

Rochester Evening Journal (Rochester, New York) Dec 29, 1934

Letter to Santa

December 17, 2011

Davenport Daily Gazette (Davenport, Iowa) Dec 19, 1885

Appleton Post Crescent, (Appleton, Wisconsin) Dec 17, 1925