The Charlotte News

Friday, January 10, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page of the first edition of The News published under the aegis of Thomas L. Robinson reports that the President proposed a budget for the coming fiscal year of 37.5 billion dollars, eight billion above that favored by much of the GOP leadership. The military would be allotted 11 billion dollars under the proposal of the President, three billion higher than that proposed by House Appropriations Committee chairman John Taber of New York. Veterans were to receive twenty percent of the budget, 7.3 billion dollars. A chart shows the budget breakdown.

The Republicans responded that the budget was too high, exceeding the 35.8 billion proposed by the President a year earlier.

The House Labor Committee, headed by Representative Fred Hartley of New Jersey, determined to use the new Case bill introduced the previous day as a basis for labor legislation revision. One Republican declared that the House would not await Senate action, allowing Senator Taft, a prominent competitor for the 1948 Republican presidential nomination, to place his name on the proposed legislation.

In June, the Taft-Hartley Act would become the new labor-restrictive legislation, passed over President Truman's veto.

The U.N. Security Council was set to vote on the previously agreed treaty arrangement to place Trieste under the administration of the Council. The only nation among the eleven members which had indicated an intent possibly to abstain was Australia. At least seven and probably ten members were going to support the matter, needing only majority affirmation.

Italian sailors, reacting to terms of the Italian treaty requiring break up of the Italian fleet and distributing it as war booty, were broken up about the matter, recommended that the ships be scuttled before being surrendered under the treaty.

Next time, stupid, don't follow a Fascist dictator promoting nationalism to the destruction of your country.

The State Assembly amended proposed legislation on increases in teacher and State employee salaries to allow for 25 to 30 percent rather than the previously proposed 10 to 25 percent, inversely proportional to the amount of salary currently earned. Governor Gregg Cherry had recommended a flat 20 percent increase.

Butter prices dropped in the wholesale market for the third consecutive day, to the lowest prices since the previous July, a total in two days of 3.5 to 5.25 cents. Cheese makers, hit by lack of cheese consumption, had recently switched to butter production, causing the drop in price.

A & P stores in Indiana and Illinois would reduce prices by five cents the next day. You can travel there and buy yourself a truckload of butter, save a couple of bucks.

Blessed are the cheese makers.

According to Col. William Consodine, speaking in Elgin, Ill., atomic scientists were said to be worried about secrecy based on a verified report that an unnamed woman had dreamed of the atomic bomb explosion six months before August, 1945. The woman had supposedly telephoned Dr. Arthur Holly Compton, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, reporting of the dream contemporaneous with its occurrence.

Of course, she did not need to confine herself to dreamscapes as many newspapers and magazines of the day had predicted such a device before Trinity. Perhaps, neither the colonel nor the physicist, undoubtedly hard at work on other matters during the war, had heard about those sources at the time.

In Tokyo, Jo Shiba, king of the Japanese underworld, died and was reborn through sake, arising from his coffin to hosannas, under a new identity, Joji Shibata.

What else is new?

On the editorial page, bearing for the first time the name of Thomas L. Robinson as Publisher, and shifting the title of J. E. Dowd from Editor to Vice-President and General Manager, "The Battle over Zoning" comments on the effort to block in the City Council the zoning ordinance which would provide for minimum setbacks for new buildings to afford the ability in the future to widen streets and relieve congestion, as well as provide adequate parking. Private interests were behind the effort to block the new ordinance.

Charlotte was the only city in the country of 100,000 or more population without a zoning ordinance.

The piece asserts that the interests of the majority of the people of the city should be placed ahead of the small number of private interests who would suffer somewhat under the proposed ordinance.

"A Wheelhorse Gets the Nod" comments favorably on the election by the State Senate of Joe Blythe of Mecklenburg to become president pro tempore of that body. The position was one of great responsibility as the president pro tempore presided over the State Senate in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor. Mr. Blythe was also a possible gubernatorial candidate in the future—a position he would never hold.

"Oil under Troubled Waters" comments on Esso having discovered during the war, when U-boats plying the Atlantic threatened to cut off tanker shipments from the Gulf, a possible source of oil off the coast of North Carolina, as detailed in its brochure, "The Story of North Carolina Esso Number One". Because of the development, however, of the Big Inch and Little Inch pipelines transporting oil from Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to the East Coast, there was no need to develop that source, and the project was abandoned.

But in November, 1945, with the war over and the prospect of coal strikes making oil a more desirable source of fuel, Esso began drilling 1,620 feet southwest of Hatteras Light off the North Carolina coast, to determine whether this geological study had been correct. In the process, Esso wore out 50 rock bits, drilling to a depth of 8,516 feet at a cost of $477,000, to find no oil.

Nevertheless, Esso determined the effort to be worthwhile in justifying further search for oil off the North Carolina coast. A search was presently underway at Esso Number Two off of Pamlico Sound, at an underwater drilling cost of $25,000 per month, perhaps accounting for why, in rhyme and reason, Esso later changed its name.

Esso cautioned in the pamphlet, however, that the odds were long against finding petroleum.

While the presence of the greatest tar-producing region in the world—hence the "Tar Heel" state, from the location of those tar deposits being in the heel of the state, visualized as a shoe—would naturally predict the presence of petroleum, obviously Esso was using its tax advantages derived from drilling dry wells.

It was perhaps wise and a lesson in foresight, to avoid embarrassing nomenclature, that the first effort in 1945 was not originally dubbed "Esso A". Of course, they could have simply obviated the subsequent problem by going with the Ford classifications and claimed a play on letters, much as the auto industry for decades sat on the electric car and other alternatives to gasoline-powered locomotion at the cost, nearly irreversibly, to our environment.

Anyone, incidentally, who tells you that we ought "drill, baby drill", probably has a hole in their head to match another one a little further south of Hatteras.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "One of the Great Freedoms", comments on the intention of John Rankin on HUAC to investigate and eliminate "pink professors" from the nation's colleges and universities if they were found to be receiving funds from "questionable sources".

Academic freedom, it posits, did not include having a professor press a particular viewpoint on students, but rather to enable students to address an issue from all sides, search for facts, and then marshal those facts to a sensible conclusion based on them. But while Mr. Rankin might disagree with a professor, there was a question as to whether he could purge such faculty and whether such an attempt would degenerate into an attack on academic freedom.

The piece agrees that teaching of subversive ideas ought be investigated and eliminated, but questions whether HUAC could properly administer such a task, given its track record.

Of course, the real question was what is "subversive teaching". One person's "subversive teaching" might be another's notions of critical philosophical inquiry into certain traditions held dear by those who wed themselves to emotion rather than objective analysis and inquiry. Teaching of evolution and Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest, for example, was, and sometimes still is, considered subversive by the religious right, should you wish to call them "religious" and not, in and of themselves, quite subversive vis-a-vis established principles of rationalistic inquiry, principles of logical analysis, from premises to conclusion, which are antecedent to Christianity itself, not in the least detracting from Christian doctrine when viewed doctrinally as a matter of faith in the spirit, not materiality, in the first instance.

Drew Pearson reports that White House visitors since the November election had uniformly remarked how relaxed the President appeared, apparently relieved that the election had removed from his shoulders some of the burden of responsibility for the direction of the Government. An alternative explanation was that he was relieved that he was no longer obligated to carry out the goals of the New Deal and could assert, in lieu thereof, his own program based on the desires expressed by the electorate at the ballot box.

The President seemed genuinely eager to get along with the Republican Congress.

He mentions the gathering of former New Dealers in Washington at a meeting of the Union for Democratic Action, the meeting which included Eleanor Roosevelt, Mayor Hubert Humphrey of Minneapolis, former Congressman Jerry Voorhis, Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, Leon Henderson, Chester Bowles, and Paul Porter, among others.

Upon seeing the group, the chief economist for the AFL had stated: "The government in exile!"

He next discusses the original conception by a CIO organizer, Ben Riskind, for the portal-to-portal pay which had led to the Supreme Court deciding in 1944 by a vote of 5 to 4 the Tennessee Coal & Iron Co. decision and, in June, 1946, the Mount Clemens Pottery case, allowing the pay under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, thus opening the door to billions of dollars worth of lawsuits for back pay pursuant to the act. The key phrase on which Mr. Riskind had latched was "for hours worked", which he interpreted to mean hours from point of required arrival on the job until departure for home, including preparation time, including the time in the coal mines when workers were carted to and from the shaft.

The back-pay suits had begun when the Congress began its labor restrictive legislation with the previous year's Case bill, a strategy developed by Philip Murray of CIO.

Of course, there was now afoot an effort to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to try to restrict the back pay available.

Marquis Childs discusses the battle to reduce the Government budget. Congressman John Taber of New York, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, had asserted that the budget should be no more than 29.5 billion dollars for the coming fiscal year. Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, chairman of the Republican Steering Committee, believed it ought be no more than 32.5 billion. President Truman had asked for a budget of 37.5 billion dollars, allowing for two billion dollars to go to reduce the national debt accumulated during the war, whereas Mr. Taft's proposal assumed only a billion for this purpose.

The proposal of House Ways & Means chairman Harold Knutson for a 20 percent tax reduction for those earning less than $300,000, encompassing all but about a thousand taxpayers, appeared to have garnered more support among his colleagues than originally thought, including that of Senator Taft. The latter rationalized the reduction on the basis that many salaries of corporate executives were inflated to enable payment of high taxes and that reduction of taxes could mean reduction of these salaries, thus leading to reduction in prices.

The President had urged keeping taxes at their present levels, including wartime excise taxes. The Republicans wanted forthwith to eliminate all of the excise taxes, save perhaps that on liquor, leaving about half of the present excise tax revenue.

Mr. Childs warns against passing the buck to a subsequent generation by allowing the debt to continue unabated, through the device of lowering taxes to appeal to the current electorate in the short term. The price of the war, much of which went to lend-lease, had saved the country from both physical destruction at home and much higher casualties abroad. The least sacrifice which could be made was now to begin to retire that debt, as the President had proposed.

Samuel Grafton again discusses reaction to the President's State of the Union address of the previous Monday, finding that it had been punctuated by applause at times more by Republicans than by Democrats, the former glad to hear the conciliatory tone. But who might win from this delicately new-found unity remained a question.

None of the editorial comment had mentioned the still homeless veterans and the housing shortage. The President favored the Wagner-Ellender-Taft long-term housing bill. But the Republcians had not yet given their imprimatur to it. Indeed, they appeared in favor of turning housing exclusively over to the private sector, with virtually no controls attached to insure production of low-cost housing geared to the pocketbooks of veterans.

Thus, Mr. Grafton concludes, it was a star-crossed unity which left out millions in the process of engendering cuddly feelings.

A letter writer inquires as to the temporary quarters available in Charlotte for juvenile delinquents, an inquiry spawned from reading Albert Maisel's "America's Forgotten Children" in Woman's Home Companion. She says that the article told of a woman judge in Memphis having had such success at rehabilitating delinquents that a building was erected in her honor for the purpose. The writer had heard the judge speak in Mississippi and was impressed by her.

The editors respond that there was no central detention home for juveniles but a system of private homes operating under the County Department of Welfare. The small number of juveniles charged with serious crimes were sometimes detained in the City or County jail facility.

A letter from the State Labor Commissioner thanks the newspaper for its January 4 editorial on the proposed state minimum wage law to provide minimum wages for a large number of those not covered by the Federal law.

A letter from the president and secretary-treasurer of the Columbus County Teachers' Unit of the North Carolina Education Association provides a resolution which it had passed, recommending 40 percent higher teacher pay, significantly higher than the proposed 25-30 percent inversely graduated pay raise just introduced before the new legislative session, amending the proposal for 10-25 percent increases.

R. F. Beasley of the Monroe Journal writes of that which he would have done had he been in the same shoes of President Truman, becoming an accidental President. He says that he would have declared initially that he would not run as an incumbent and would instead focus solely on a determination of what was good for the country, informing the people of his conclusion after consultation with the foremost experts on a given issue, enabling Congress then to reach its conclusions based on such expertise.

While sounding well and good, this rather Pollyannaish view of life in Washington would be no more successful than an attempt to fly without an airplane. Such a President would immediately be regarded as a lame duck and thus ignored by Congress, relegated to the confines of the White House, a politically impotent non-entity. Like it or not, the ability to stand for re-election and to impact party apparatus for the ensuing nominee after a second term is part of the balance of power built into the Constitution to enable a relatively strong Chief Executive. Arguably, when Congress determined to limit the President to two terms, as recommended by President Truman, it invalidated a major part of the executive power, even if only utilized beyond two terms by FDR under emergent circumstances. Under the former system, the President could never be regarded as a lame duck.

Mr. Truman, having been a politically savvy Senator for a decade before joining the Executive Branch, undoubtedly understood this idea very well.

Parenthetically, we note again the curious notion imparted in Jacques Lowe's 1983 photographic essay, Kennedy: A Time Remembered, in which Mr. Lowe quotes Lady Bird Johnson as having recommended to President Johnson, shortly after he became President, as they discussed whether he would run in 1964, that he should do so and then not run in 1968, announcing that decision early in that year, to enable him to have time in retirement with his family, knowing that the Johnson men did not enjoy longevity—of course, as he would ultimately decide to do, announcing the decision in March, 1968, based at the time, he said, on his desire to devote his full attention to the Paris Peace Talks and ending the war in Vietnam. The cynics have another view of that decision, that he believed he could not win. The conspiracy diviners have yet another view, that he was forced out on threat of revelation of matters which would destroy his legacy, etc., those matters always being vague and whipped largely out of thin air. Had any such thing existed, why would it have not been used by the other side in 1964? In all likelihood, his decision was simply the result of his genuine desire to end the war, the hope that a President who was not politically motivated to achieve re-election might effect a better result than one distracted by the vicissitudes of a campaign.

That proved otherwise, and also, incidentally, stuck us with a conservative Supreme Court, beginning with the failed Chief Justice nomination of Justice Abe Fortas in 1968, in response to filibuster by segregationist Southern Democrats. That conservative Supreme Court majority, begun under President Nixon, despite changing times, still persists to this day. We still live with fading remnants of the ghost of Richard Nixon.

When finally the will of the majority of the people, and, moreover, the will of the Constitution, on the direction the law ought take, liberal, is again recognized, not based on intellectual dishonesty to render a decision which is preordained by political ideology, not based on political advertising and brainwashing to ensconce "conservatism" as an expression, indeed, the only expression tolerable, of Americanism, we shall be restored as a republic based on democratic expression. Until then...

We simply mention it because it dovetails with Mr. Beasley's piece. If you think it subversive, we do not care. You can join Mr. Rankin and Mr. Nixon on the ash heap of history.

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