The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 18, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Governor Ellis Arnall had stepped aside in the fight for the Governor's office in favor of Lieutenant Governor M. E. Thompson, just sworn in this date. At the same time, Governor Arnall tendered his resignation as Governor. Mr. Thompson had now taken up the baton, therefore stating that he would ask Herman Talmadge to vacate both the Executive Mansion and the Governor's office at the earliest possible time, hopefully the next day.

In response to a question of whether he would follow the doctrine of white supremacy espoused by deceased Eugene Talmadge during his campaign for election as Governor, Mr. Thompson stated that he would follow the principles of the Democratic Party as adopted in its convention at Macon—which had included the re-institution of white-only Democratic primaries. He had instructed the Attorney General of Georgia to continue the suit against Herman Talmadge to invalidate his election as Governor by the Legislature.

The new Lieutenant Governor, declaring himself Acting Governor, had issued several appointments to state offices, including that of a new director of the State Highway Patrol. Those he had named, he said, had accepted and would begin immediately undertaking their responsibilities.

Both Governor Arnall and Acting Governor Thompson expressed confidence that their position would be upheld in the courts—as it would be.

News Associate Editor Harry Ashmore, still in Atlanta covering the situation, reports that Herman Talmadge had physical control of the State Capitol. But he also had been served with legal papers by Governor Arnall, seeking his ouster, claiming that the purported election by the Legislature was extra-legal, outside the procedure prescribed by the State Constitution. Mr. Talmadge was scheduled to appear in court on February 7. Most lawyers in Atlanta gave his chances of retaining the Governor's office as no better than 50-50.

The Federal Government had moved to suspend thirteen million dollars in highway funds allocated to Georgia, pending resolution of the dispute. Moreover, Mr. Talmadge had no access to state funds.

Herman Talmadge looked tired and drawn, sharply telling photographers not to take any pictures of him with a cigar in his mouth, as he had seen the press make his father look ridiculous in that way too many times.

The backwoods rednecks, who had responded to Herman's call for support, had, for the most part, retreated to the hills and left the Capitol primarily in the hands of the professional politicians. It had been these backwoods "wool hat boys" who had stimulated the action to take the Capitol and Executive Mansion by force, Mr. Talmadge personally having expressed initially a desire to wait for Governor Arnall to relent voluntarily on his claim to the office.

Mr. Ashmore describes Herman Talmadge as being not such a firebrand as his father, indeed, "almost an aristocrat" by comparison.

In New Orleans, Senator Theodore Bilbo was about to undergo a second operation on his mouth. He had undergone one to remove a malignancy several months earlier.

The President sent to the Congress his plan for merging the Army and Navy, to be overseen by a single Cabinet-level Secretary of Defense as administrator, a plan to which General Eisenhower and Admiral Nimitz, along with Secretary of War Patterson and Secretary of the Navy Forrestal had given their assent the previous day. Five Senators who had served in World War II, Senators William Knowland of California, Harry P. Cain of Washington, Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, Edward Martin of Pennsylvania, and Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin, each gave their support to the plan. Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington, who had served as a lieutenant in the Navy in the Pacific theater and was a personal friend of President Truman, expressed dissent to the plan.

The Polish Government dispatched 500,000 Security Police and militiamen to watch the polls, as the first election since the Nazi occupation had begun in September, 1939 was to take place the following day. More than 100 Election Commission members and militiamen had been killed in pre-election attacks by an underground organization dubbed "Win". Another 51 militiamen, Security Police, and soldiers had been killed in attacks on polling places, and 25 others kidnaped and presumed dead. The opponents to the election had asserted that a Communist-dominated government was a foregone result of the election.

The election pitted the Polish Peasant Party, led by Vice-Premier Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, againt the Government bloc, led by Premier Edward Osubka-Morawski. The former had charged the latter with suppressing the Peasant Party through the Security Police and mob violence, while the latter charged the former with aligning with a murderous anti-Government underground. Mr. Mikolajczyk, head of the London Government-in-exile during the war, stated that he had heard of a pre-determined outcome under which his party would receive eight percent of the vote.

The U.S. and Britain had addressed several diplomatic notes during the previous year to the Government, complaining of violating the terms of Yalta and Potsdam, guaranteeing free elections, and warning of non-recognition of any government established without legitimate popular approval. The Government had variously responded that the elections had been free and were the country's own business in any event. British teams were set to observe the elections in the cities, but the Government would not allow access to rural polling places.

The FBI announced the arrest in New York of twenty men and one other in Miami, in connection with the truck hijacking of a million dollars worth of goods during the previous year in Metropolitan New York. Special Agent Ed Scheidt—until the previous year the FBI Agent in charge of the Charlotte office—told of the "Westo" gang hijacking trucks to obtain leather handbags, electrical appliances, and other high-priced goods. The name of the gang came from the alias of Salvatore Westo, whose real name was Salvatore Imperiale, alleged ringleader. His chief lieutenants in the operation, also arrested, were alleged to be Romeo Garafola, also know as "The Judge", and Frank Gagliardi, "Frank the Wop", both of Brooklyn.

The gang would drop the merchandise at Paul's Produce Market, operated by Mr. Imperiale's brother, Paul Imperello, or at the King's County Taxi & Auto Service, owned by Bonny Todd. The gang would spot a truck to hijack, then assign a member who could start it without a key, whereupon other members would drive it away.

In Los Angeles, police were questioning several persons regarding the finding of the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short, found nude and bisected in a vacant lot early the previous Wednesday morning. She was reported to have had many suitors, but thus far no clues had been found in the death leading to any prime suspect—as the situation still exists today, 67 years later.

Police disclosed that there was evidence that the victim had been tortured and sexually attacked, possibly for hours before her death, accomplished by choking.

Ms. Short had been in San Diego a week earlier and had written a friend on January 8, a former Air Corps lieutenant and resident of Charlotte, now a commercial pilot, that she hoped to go to Chicago soon to do modeling.

The former lieutenant told The News that he had met her in Florida in 1944 before going overseas, and saw her again in Southern California after returning, having seen her for the last time the previous September. They had exchanged letters several times. The veteran flier described Ms. Short as having been attractive and nice, but without many intimate friends. Ms. Short had reportedly told friends that she was engaged to be married to a tall, handsome Army lieutenant, but the former airman stated that the two were not engaged.

Many theories have surfaced in the decades since the Short murder as to the identity of the assailant and what his motive was. One of the more interesting—as we noted a year ago in connection with the story out of Chicago of the January 7, 1946 murder by strangulation and cutting up of the remains of six-year old Suzanne Degnan and the subsequent confession, to avoid a death sentence, entered by 17-year old University of Chicago student William Heirens, said to be a genuinely schizoid personality who ascribed the murder and two other confessed murders to his alter-ego—is that put forward by a former Los Angeles police officer and homicide detective who contends that his own father, a prominent Los Angeles physician in 1947, was responsible for the Degnan murder and the Short murder. He has found evidence that his father had traveled to Chicago in early 1946, coincident with the time of the Degnan murder, and that certain characteristics of each crime, including perfect surgical bisection of the body along a particular line, were the same in both cases. The father, trained in surgery, also had a relationship with Ms. Short, and the motivation for murdering her, according to the son's theory, is that Ms. Short had traveled to Chicago to report on the Degnan crime and became aware of certain evidence connecting the doctor to the murder, that the doctor then became aware of her knowledge of the crime and had to silence her.

Regardless of whether this physician was responsible for the murder of Suzanne Degnan or others, there is compelling evidence, even leaving aside the illegally obtained eavesdrop evidence, that he was the perpetrator of the murder of Ms. Short.

By contrast, the other prominent theory receiving currency, that another physician, who happened to have previously lived close to the spot where Ms. Short's body was discovered, may have been the culprit, has little or no supporting evidence with any probative worth attached to it. The coincidence that the step-daughter of that doctor happened to be a witness to the marriage certificate of Elizabeth Short's sister two years before the murder, without more, is worthless. The rest, the facts that the man left his family for his girlfriend three months before the Short murder, that he supposedly told his girlfriend that he had some damaging "secret", and that he suffered from some form of dementia, constitute simply window-dressing which could fit thousands of potential "suspects". It borders on the absurd to try to construct a plausible theory of culpability from such a flimsy coincidence, when absolutely nothing else connects that physician with the crime, a like crime, any crime, or with Ms. Short. That someone, even someone suffering from dementia, would go to all the trouble evidenced by the victim's body and then dump it a block from where that person had lived three months earlier suggests the large fallacy in the premises. The moral seems to be to watch out for whom your relatives might act as a legal witness and wind up appending their name and address to a legal document to be filed permanently in the local recorder's office.

William Heirens died in prison in March, 2012, still proclaiming his innocence in the Degnan murder and the other two murders, the so-called "lipstick murders" for the signature lipstick note left at the scene of several murders occurring in Chicago during 1945, contending that he confessed, at the age of 17, only out of fear of otherwise being sent to the electric chair.

Parenthetically, prior to the murder of Suzanne Degnan and implication of Mr. Heirens in any of the murders, the police in Chicago had suggested that the prior "lipstick murders", which included one male victim, had been committed by a known woman.

It rained in Charlotte for the eighth straight day and the twelfth time during the month, with more rain expected on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, with 4.06 inches of rain for the month, .06 inches above normal for the entire month.

The wettest January on record for Charlotte had been in 1936, with 10.39 inches of precipitation, including 4.7 inches of snow. In 1882, rain or snow fell on fourteen of the first eighteen days of January and 22 days of the month, 7.24 inches in all, including 6.3 inches of snow, for the most consistently wet January in the city's history.

January, 1947 had been slightly warmer than normal, the average temperature being 45.1 degrees, 4.1 degrees above normal.

At noon this date, the temperature stood at 40 degrees, and a low of 36 was predicted.

Bundle up and assure yourself the protection of a sturdy mackintosh. It can be dangerous out there.

On the editorial page, "The Spirit of Un-Compromise" tells of the failing schools of the state and need for injection of money from the budget surplus, many advocating eliminating plans for the new medical school at the University to enable more funding for the public schools across the state. The health program and salary increases for teachers were now competing with each other for infusion of blood to restore the anemic condition of each.

Half of the 100,000 school children of the state who had failed a grade did so because of inadequate health. Thus attacking one program at the expense of the other was not the answer, but would only compound the problem.

"George Flutters the Shirt" discusses unionization efforts in the cotton mills of the South, where successful, such as in Gadsden County, Alabama, and in Georgia, having produced beneficial impact on local and state treasuries to the boon of education and other needed programs.

The organizing campaign, however, had flopped in North Carolina thus far, only three mills having been organized in six months of effort by the CIO. The unions were bitterly charging that employers were using unfair methods to head off unionization as soon as organizing efforts had begun, by raising wages enough to mollify employees.

Recently a New Jersey organizer from the Textile Workers Union of America, George Baldanzi, had reported to his organization on progress in the South, saying that the manufacturers were attempting to capitalize on the prejudices of ignorant Southern workers to placate the demand for unionization. He added that the organizing effort would likely prove costly in time, money, and "possibly blood".

The piece sees the statement as a call to violence, and, while manufacturers were not blameless in the South, the rhetoric of Mr. Baldanzi was apt not to engender him to the Southern textile worker.

"Presbyterians and Republicans" tells of the new Senate Chaplain, the Rev. Peter Marshall, having reminded that he held no party affiliation, was a resident of the District of Columbia and thus could not vote. He assured that he did not wear a Dewey campaign button, as insinuated by Republicans when they selected him from his New York Avenue Presbyterian Church by stating it was a natural choice because Abraham Lincoln had once attended church there.

The former Chaplain, Dr. Frederick Brown Harris, had said prayers before each Senate session since 1942, when Vice-President Henry Wallace had been the presiding officer. Senator Alben Barkley had told his colleagues that there was no reason to change chaplains at every change of party majority in the body.

The piece suggests that it could attach no great significance to the change such that the Republicans were confusing predestination with the high tariff or attempting to establish a state religion. It was probably resultant of the fact that Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, the GOP Whip, attended church before Rev. Marshall's pulpit.

A piece from the Shelby Star, titled "A Duke with a Brogue", tells of native son O. Max Gardner, recently confirmed as Ambassador to Great Britain, having received an apparent phone call from the Duke of Windsor, seeking to pay his respects to the new Ambassador. After Ambassador Gardner's secretary fell over herself to get the call through to the former Governor, he invited the Duke to lunch.

After a pause, the Duke identified himself as Jim Farley and said that he would be delighted.

Drew Pearson discusses the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Alexander Wiley of Wisconsin, with its ranking Democrat being Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, the two never having gotten along. Senator William Langer of North Dakota was next senior Republican.

He quotes a sample of the rhetoric between Senator Wiley and Senator McCarran regarding organizational issues, anent the number of secretaries and staff for each member, in which "jackasses" became the operative word on each side of the argument.

He next tells of new Housing Expediter Frank Creedon having been bawled out via telephone by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., housing chairman of the American Veterans Committee. Mr. Creedon had just issued advice under which the American Legion and the Chambers of Commerce would have dominated nationwide meetings on veterans' rental problems. Both organizations had opposed the housing program of former Expediter Wilson Wyatt.

Mr. Roosevelt called to register his protest, seeking representation at the meetings by all five veterans organizations. After speaking with several assistants heatedly, Mr. Roosevelt was advised that the order was meant to include all five of the veterans organizations in the meetings. Mr. Roosevelt also wanted veterans named to the promised advisory committees from the five veterans organizations.

Marquis Childs discusses the need for the 80th Congress to do something about the woeful state of education in the country. Many qualified teachers had quit their positions after the war, having taken the employment while their husbands were in service. Salaries were below the levels of those for other occupations requiring similar education and skills.

A report had been developed in 1945 by the Senate Education and Labor Committee which set forth the facts. Classes had been consolidated to produce unwieldy class sizes. In Ohio, 200,000 children had new teachers. Five thousand teachers, one-eighth of the teachers in the state, had been issued temporary certificates, meaning they were below normal qualification levels. Some of the teachers had salaries of $1,000 or less in 1943, had received temporary raises of $100 to $200 in 1944.

Colorado had reported a similar problem.

In all, 60,000 teaching positions had been eliminated since 1943, and 350,000 qualified teachers had quit for reasons other than by normal attrition since 1941. Enrollment in teacher colleges had dropped 60 percent from 1941 to 1943. Enrollment in normal schools, the former term for teacher preparatory schools, was also down by over 50 percent. Thus, the pool of teachers was also drying up.

Mr. Childs promises a future column on the proposed specific remedies within the context of Federal aid.

Samuel Grafton comments that business was busy rediscovering the "plain American", in everything from movies to retailing, the latter beset by an informal consumer strike in light of high prices. He wonders whether politicians might also respond likewise, in light of the changes in attitude. The former line from the previous summer among Republicans and conservative Democrats, that prices could rise without reaction by consumers, was no longer viable politically.

Consumers now supported the President's economic message that prices needed to be lower to increase consumer buying power.

The idea of reducing taxes across the board by 20 percent might prove increasingly unpopular when it was realized how much more the upper brackets would benefit than the lower. Even the feeling against unions might ease some when the public began to link the issue of higher wages with increased purchasing power. The labor revisions and tax revisions had in mind by the 80th Congress might thus become politically disadvantageous.

The politicians might have to realize, as had the movie producers and businessmen, that the "good, easy" years of the war were over.

A letter encourages the county to do better in finding housing for veterans.

A letter thanks the newspaper for its editorial criticizing the anonymous medical fact-finders for their venturing opinion against establishment of the new medical school at the University after the fact of its determination, and furthermore finding objectionable their presumed cloak of anonymity, as if voting for Klan Kleagle.

But the anonymous writer finds the editorial coming up short in giving in too easily to having the medical school located in Chapel Hill, thinks it a "'nigger-in-the-alumni woodpile'", hiding the designation of the site as a presumed necessity in furtherance of the interests of the Good Health Program.

The writer opines that Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro or High Point each offered clinical material far superior to that of Chapel Hill. The author also believes that the medical school would fall victim to the "country club atmosphere" of Chapel Hill, "where the 'gentleman's C' is a well-established tradition", and where the athletic budget dwarfed the president's salary.

The letter is signed, "Taxpayer".

The editors respond that they would not allow their own view of the shortcomings of Chapel Hill as a locus for the school to interfere with the passage of the entire program.

And, we might add, in response to the writer's view of the "country club atmosphere" of Chapel Hill, indeed, that might go hand-in-hand with a "gentleman's C". But should a dedicated student aspire to more, he or she would not leave four years at Chapel Hill with a lot more than fond memories of long nights at study in preparation for rigorous exams. That student would not recall much country-clubbing atmosphere, probably far less so than someone living in Charlotte in 1947.

As one professor educated at Harvard once remarked to a class at the University, a student has the opportunity at Chapel Hill to obtain the equivalent of a Harvard education, the difference being that at Harvard, the student is compelled to do the requisite work, while at UNC, it is largely up to the student.

"Taxpayer", as other such ill-informed graduates of Podunk College, if any at all, can take a hike on his "country club" views of the University. Try being more than a casual observer, Taxpayer. Trek into a classroom and partake of an actual lecture sometime, not just remain content to glean your observations from a stroll through a lackadaisical campus on a football Saturday and deduce from that limited experiential data a belief in having accumulated an objective view of a life dedicated to luxuriating in the warm sun tied to a toddified stupor, instead realizing those toed by the rose of valor into the empyrean intersecting the empirical with the intuitive, eliminating along the way the fanciful, enabling the clamber, sans shambling clamor, to the ethereal upper reaches of keen insight into the universal mysteries of life, art, and being.

Incidentally, to those who appear to spend their days, as if engaged as ants perpetually constructing an ant hill without purpose apace, by terminating user accounts on YouTube for alleged copyright infringement, we recommend this brief article. You need to adjust your daily intake of watches deposited by your greenhouse of late into your bowler, so that your spoon will effect less maladjustment in the cyclical roller which warms and cools your bridge-gate, besetting your tiny, overworked brain, taking respite to understand that substance which would fain have you sated, that which you obviously find not superficially accessible and so seek to destroy in the offing unbated, as if crusading ineluctable. We say that without prejudice as we hold no such account ourselves and do not upload anything external to this website, as that would spoil the daily hunting exercise in the gloaming, and also foil your temerarious spleen-spite. If you cannot understand, vest your complaint with King Wichard the saint, and then construct Bride-trust twice-baked, whereupon latent envy will subside in your kitty-willed guide and thrust you unto an untorqued grice-filled much less sorry mean state than that which heretofore has been your habit to endure, even to ingratiate.

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