The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 1, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Republican Steering Committee for the new Congress was planning a strategy for ousting Senator Theodore Bilbo from his seat. The Justice Department meanwhile was conducting its own investigation of the evidence adduced at the hearings on the Senator. The War Investigating Committee was set to release its report this night, indicating that he had used his office for personal gain. The Senator vowed to fight to hold onto his seat.

Hamilton Jones was headed to Washington to become the new Congressman for the district serving Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. A Democratic Party caucus to elect the new leadership in the House would meet the following morning and the new Congress would convene on Friday. Mr. Jones succeeded Sam J. Ervin who had promised, after being appointed early in 1946 to complete the term of his deceased brother Joe, that he would not run for re-election.

Silver bugles greeted the New Year in Wales following a night of high revelry throughout European capitals. The New Year brought to Britain Government ownership of the coal mines. In London, one of the largest celebrations since V-E Day took place, with crowds packing the streets as Big Ben bonged the hour twelve times.

That Ben is uncontrollable on holidays.

Moscow radio declared 1946 to have brought victory to Russian foreign policy and an end to "atomic diplomacy", improving the hope for peace.

Muscovites, too, were obviously bonging in the New Year.

In Germany, parties were few, as economic merger between the British and American zones became effective. In Hamburg, theaters and restaurants were ordered closed at 7:00 p.m. henceforth to conserve fuel.

After saying "to hell with Konrad Adenauer" on Sunday, the Germans in charge of the civil governance of the British zone stated firmly that they wanted a Telefunken H-bomb.

Southern Italy faced threat of a general strike amid scarcity of food.

King George II of Greece proclaimed to a hungry and cold populace that some old allies had exerted unfair and hostile diplomatic and press attacks on the country.

Britain and America agreed to standardize certain military equipment to U.S. specifications, sparking reports that the two nations intended a coordinated armed effort.

The incoming Republican leadership in Congress expressed a desire for a statement from the President as to which of the remaining 500 or so emergency war statutes he desired to maintain, those not terminated by his act the previous day formally declaring an end to hostilties and thus terminating 18 statutes immediately and 33 others within six months, including the ability of the Government to take over industries and mines under the Smith-Connally Act. Lawmakers predicted that new labor legislation would be passed before that Act expired. The act of the President generally received approbation from the new Congress.

In Morganton, N.C., Dr. Joseph Riddle, first surgeon of Burke County, had died at age 76.

The weather across the country was chilly and damp, with temperatures below zero through the Midwest, freezing rain and sleet in Central Texas, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Tennessee, and parts of Virginia. There was also snow in parts of the South.

Through a tip from a parent, the Charlotte Police had discovered a two-story clubhouse, six by eight feet in dimensions, made of stolen materials, tucked away on the land at Morris Field, owned by the city. It had served as a rendezvous for twelve to fifteen teenagers, who possibly had entertained their "girlfriends" in the place. Obscene announcements pertaining to 55 named girls were found posted on a stolen bulletin board. Sorry, no details are provided.

The parent had reported the existence of the clubhouse when his son returned home late one night and thereupon confessed to having been at the establishment.

Freck Sproles tells finally of the results of the Empty Stocking Fund drive, the news of which had disappeared suddenly from the front page after December 17, keeping us worried for awhile that the Fund had been pilfered, one report which came our way even suggesting, by implication, that Billy Bailey might have been the culprit. But we were able to determine through diligent investigative journalism conducted by our staff of reporters that this report was simply a gross distortion of the facts, even defamatory and scurrilous, not to mention being laced with filthy words.

We wish to go on record as saying that the purveyors of these sorts of calumnious rumors ought issue a prefatory caveat that the subject is in a preliminary stage of investigation, rather than simply reporting the matter as if a foregone conclusion premised on irrefutable fact derived from impeccable sources and inferential conclusions otherwise of unpresupposing, immaculately scrutable objectivity, all with the plain intent and design of maintaining the public in a perpetual state of misinformed misanthropy and consequent entropy.

As we informed on Christmas Eve, F.B.I. Agent Chip Hardesty had possession of the Fund in safekeeping the whole time, reposited on the right side, upper shelf of the living room closet in his home in Washington, the missing tissue paper in which it was supposed to be wrapped, taken by his daughter for her angel wings, being irrelevant to the preservation of the Fund itself.

A total of 2,126 persons had contributed to the Fund and another 2,640 contributed to the Fund and the Salvation Army. The total amount donated was $5,659, and the total distributed through the Fund and the Salvation Army was $6,935.50. The Fund benefited 622 individuals through the Family and Children's Service Bureau, another 1,193 through the Department of Public Welfare, 91 through the Memorial Hospital Social Services Department, and a number of other individuals through several other agencies. There were no calls on Christmas Day, indicating that no one had been neglected. Some of the funds left over would be utilized to purchase toys for the following year, as in prior years.

We reiterate our great relief that Billy Bailey was cleared of wrongdoing in the matter, as that could have been messy for the hundreds of people across the land who follow his fate each Christmas with assiduity.

On page 5-A, George W. Crane offers sage advice to married couples in his New Year feature, "Marriage Resolutions". Don't miss it. The daily dispensing of advice in prints on marriage seemed to be working well in the country, in an era of record divorces.

On the editorial page, "Ring Out the Old, Etc." bids farewell to 1946 and welcomes 1947, finding the first full year of peace not very peaceful, as former allies became enemies and the dream of world government turned into a nightmare.

Domestically, the year was one of great prosperity in which no one was prosperous. Pay was higher than ever and employment was easy to obtain. But no one could afford the prices of the things in short supply which they wanted: housing, an automobile, a refrigerator. There was concern that depression lay ahead.

The people rose in rebellion against the Government, to put an end to economic planning—not entirely accurate as the thrust came from industry, not the people, who wanted price control maintained.

There was no great pleasure in the Republican mid-term election victory, even by the victors.

The general sentiment toward 1946 was "thank God it's over". The coming year might be better if things were to get worse, that is that the end of high economic expectation might bring about an adjustment to the market, stemming inflation, that lower prices would be greeted positively by business. Luxury items were already finding their market curtailed. Nightclub business was shot. Tommy Dorsey had disbanded his orchestra.

Collapsing markets to stabilize prices and some unemployment to sober up the labor unions thus might be ameliorative in the coming year.

It concludes that while 1947 might prove an even stranger year than 1946, it would, hopefully, be happier for all.

"Stampede Through a Loophole" comments on the Mount Clemens Pottery case, in which the Supreme Court, the previous June, had approved portal-to-portal pay as being required under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, stimulating in its wake more than a billion dollars worth of suits by employees and unions to obtain back pay to 1938.

The dissent of Justices Harold Burton and Felix Frankfurter had argued that an employer and employees were free to contract as they wished to establish a work week of a designated period, not limited to 40 hours—of zees on your knees to obtain big gees from Mr. Cheese, Mr. Swift, and the Myriad of Brokered Powers.

Now, with the Republicans in control of Congress, the likely result would be to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to get around this decision and curb the ability of employees to sue for back pay. If so, the piece finds it a favorable closing of a loophole opened by the Mount Clemens Pottery decision.

"View Through a Telescope" comments on Dr. Harlow Shapley of Harvard, a well-known astronomer of the time, being bitter at having his talents harnessed to the cause of developing rocketry. He had recently stated that "civilization is endangered by strong physics and weak sociology."

Turning science to the study of destruction and death was a threat to the future of mankind, to the point that Dr. Shapley ironically suggested destroying genius at an early age to prevent it from being so harnessed. He also had declared that biological warfare was a greater threat in the future than the atomic bomb, as the impact of the former, once unleashed, would be lasting and indiscriminate in its effect.

The choice he gave was peace or destruction. Every major scientist agreed with his assessment. They all could not be dismissed as merely academic idealists with heads in the clouds.

We note parenthetically that some in our society, given to too much consumption of tea, have, through the decades, taken Dr. Shapley's ironic advice as given without implied contingency, the case with all ironic statements, and the results are painfully obvious in this our time, as the world turns on its axis, burning, evidenced in every facet of our culture.

Drew Pearson suggests New Year's resolutions for various figures in the country, starting with the President, to whom he wishes that he resolve to become President of all the people, not just those from Missouri and Arkansas, referring to the native states of his principal advisers.

John L. Lewis ought, before starting any strike, count to 3.5 million, the amount of the fine assessed against the UMW in Federal Court for contempt for violation of the restraining order against declaring a coal strike on November 20.

Frank Creedon, new Housing Expediter, ought put veterans housing ahead of burlesque shows, the construction of one such theater having been approved by him while in his former position, as he slighted materials for private home construction which could have afforded veterans housing.

Patrick Hurley, former Ambassador to China, who ran unsuccessfully for the Senate seat from New Mexico, ought post a deadend sign on the Santa Fe Trail.

To principal Republican presidential candidates Thomas Dewey, Earl Warren, John W. Bricker, Robert Taft, and Arthur Vandenberg, he suggests patience and fortitude until 1948.

To the State Department, he wishes that it not allow Mr. Pearson to view any more of its secret documents.

He next tells of the House Merchant Marine Committee beating to the draw the Republicans in their promise to investigate everything in the 80th Congress. The committee had performed a thorough investigation of the Maritime Commission, finding among other things that its antiquated accounting system had lost track of over a billion dollars of taxpayer money. Three reports on findings anent the Commission were drawn up and the Democratic chairman of the committee wanted them published. But some of the Republicans on the committee wanted to block publication until the new Congress could convene. A vote favored release, but one Republican member objected for lack of a quorum, which became the final ruling. So the reports would not be published until the Republican Congress could take credit for them.

He awards kudos for accomplishments during the year to General Omar Bradley in his role as Veterans' Administrator, to Secretary of State James Byrnes for advancing foreign relations, to Secretary of War Robert Patterson for seeking to make amends for his having neglected veterans during the war, to General Eisenhower for reining in the brasshats, to Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan for keeping American foreign policy on an even keel, to former Senator Warren Austin of Vermont, Ambassador to the U.N., for presenting to the General Assembly the U.S. position on peace, and to DNC chairman Robert Hannegan for keeping alive the memory of President Roosevelt, the latter being presumably in reference to his having seen to it during the late campaign that certain excerpts from FDR's speeches, including the quip anent Fala from his September, 1944 speech before the Teamsters, were broadcast under the sponsorship of the DNC, thought to be a vain effort at distraction from the lackluster, rudderless present Administration.

Marquis Childs finds the most serious error in policy during the year to have been the elimination of price control, leading to a cycle of inflation. Once some of the controls were lifted, the dam broke, sending prices soaring through the marketplace and causing the need to eliminate other controls.

He notes that at Christmas, a tie had a price tag of $5, with an old OPA tag still visible, showing the price at $3.50.

He then recapitulates the ground which led to the removal of the controls, which, because Drew Pearson had gone through it the day before, we shall not repeat again.

Mr. Childs concludes that the newly organized Council of Economic Advisers could do enormous good in preventing a boom-and-bust cycle from occurring should their advice be followed by the President and Congress, acting in reasonable concert to prevent a recession or worse.

Samuel Grafton comments on the likely direction of the new Congress. Some Republicans wanted an across-the-board tax cut of 20 percent. Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma wanted to eliminate all immigration to the country for up to five years, until the economy could be stabilized.

But the issue being overlooked was housing, on which the Administration, in light of the election results, appeared to have given up. Every politician who stood up to say housing was needed was shouted down by a chorus of naysayers who proclaimed a prosperous year ahead should there be no strikes.

Yet, Senator Robert Taft had been a sponsor of the Wagner-Ellender-Taft housing bill in the 79th Congress and Governor Thomas Dewey had also advocated a housing program. So, the conservative wave in the election was not so conservative that housing should be left by the President, abandoned on the doorstep.

Raymond Foley, the new Housing Administrator, was not a friend to public housing, in favor of leaving housing to the private construction industry, standing to the right therefore of Senator Taft. The most recent trend was to raise or eliminate ceilings on both materials and rents.

The people had not voted for higher rents in the election. The need was to use Government subsidies to lower rents for veterans. The failure of the housing program, he asserts, was the President's principal failure to date in domestic policy.

He suggests that someone, perhaps General Eisenhower, could give one speech on the subject and raise a reaction which would eliminate quickly the roadblocks to construction of affordable housing for veterans.

A letter from the pastor of a Kannapolis, N.C., Baptist Church provides a resolution passed by its members deploring the stand of The News in support of abandoning prohibition in Mecklenburg County, in favor of the ABC system of controlled sales, thus making liquor revenue raising rather than simply hell-raising as under the auspices of bootleggers.

The resolution favored a statewide referendum on alcohol to determine whether any locality in the state would be permitted to sell it.

Argus Tressider, in the Madison Quarterly of Harrisonburg, Va., tells of the Southern accent not being a myth, even if not as pronounced as the novelists made it seem and even if not all Southerners possessed it—or were possessed by it, as the case might be. He clarifies that the accent of which he writes referred to the intonation applied to words, not so much their pronunciation.

He explains in detail what he means by way of examples, some from different parts of the South, too numerous to summarize, too accurate to abstract particular ones with justice conveyed to those omitted, and so we leave it to you to peruse at your leisure, and regardless of whether you say "leesure" or "leasure" or "laysure".

He concludes: "Another famous Southern usage is 'nekkid' for 'naked,' 'afred' from 'afraid,' and 'gret' for 'great.' Less than half of all Southern speakers say 'nekkid,' less than one in three says 'afred,' and even fewer say 'gret.' But all are real Southernisms."

Well, being reminded of this previous piece by Cash, we find ourselves quite afred of nobody save the nekkid and the daid, and so we take our leave.

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