The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 22, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Herman Talmadge's forces suffered their first defeat in the Legislature when they failed to obtain expungement from the record of the special oath of office taken by Lieutenant Governor M. E. Thompson, which had included his addition of words regarding his faithful exercise of executive powers. The vote had wound up in a tie.

Both Mr. Talmadge and Mr. Thompson went quietly about their business at the State Capitol, both claiming to be Governor, pending decision by the courts.

The previous day, 1,200 college students had marched to the Capitol demanding that Herman Talmadge relinquish his claim to power. They hanged him in effigy from a statue on the grounds of the Capitol.

Mr. Talmadge's appointment of a new Solicitor General paved the way for a quo warranto proceeding in the courts to test the validity of his power, a proceeding unavailable to challenge the Governor directly. Previously, the State Attorney General had been seeking a test on the basis of declaratory judgment. The quo warranto proceeding, however, could be heard in ten days and appealed to the State Supreme Court ten days after decision, thus speeding up the process.

Secretary of State George Marshall was formally sworn in to the post, then was invited to state his policy positions to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his earliest convenience.

Former Secretary James Byrnes had returned to his home in Spartanburg, S.C., to think and rest.

Former President Herbert Hoover had agreed to the President's request to tour the British and American occupation zones of Germany and Austria to study the food issue.

Republicans defeated Democrats in an effort to abolish the War Investigating Committee and turn its matters over to the Standing Committee on Expenditures. The committee appeared to be ready for Republican approval for it to last another year, thought by Democrats to violate the Reorganization Act passed by the previous Congress.

The Treasury ruled that companies forced to remunerate portal-to-portal back pay could deduct the sums from taxes paid in previous years, amounting to larger deductions because of higher taxes during the war. The Navy faced a possible liability of 720 million dollars for portal-to-portal back pay.

Governor Gregg Cherry delivered a special report to the State Senate on education, indicating his desire for special building funds and grants-in-aid for school construction.

The 1947 Legislature had received more bills than its 1945 counterpart and had acted faster on non-controversial legislation.

In Lodi, California, a seventeen-year old girl told of her 26-hour kidnaping ordeal, having been abducted at knife and gunpoint. She had been bound by the kidnaper and taken thirty miles to Sacramento. She told the San Francisco Call-Bulletin that she had cooperated completely with his requests. But, according to the Highway Patrol, she had stated earlier that she fought fiercely. Inside a motel the previous afternoon, she continued, she eventually broke free from the restraints while the kidnaper was away. She then telephoned relatives.

Her father, a wealthy grape producer, had received a ransom note the previous night, but a stakeout of the bar where the kidnaper was supposed to appear proved futile after the girl had obtained her freedom.

The motel owner questioned her story because she had not mentioned to him having been kidnaped when she came into the office to call her relatives. He said that she appeared calm and natural when she made the phone call and asked to be picked up. She then walked casually to the highway and returned a couple of minutes later to seek a quarter for a toll call. She left without mentioning any problem. The motel owner also had not observed evidence of any means of her having been bound within the cabin she had occupied. But the Highway Patrol said that the girl had turned over to them cords, tape, and blood-stained tissue.

On the editorial page, "Democratic Sounds of Discord" finds the exhortation to the Legislature to wrap up its work in a hurry and get home, as it was lagging behind the record efficiency of the 1945 session, to be misplaced. The 1947 Legislature faced more difficulties than had the wartime 1945 session.

We hope, nevertheless, that they do go home soon, because, candidly, we are getting tired of this local mumbo-jumbo. And if you have a lick of sense, you are, too.

"Are You Pro—Or Are You Anti—?" tells of Senator James Eastland of Mississippi proposing to impeach Federal Judge Picard who had rendered the original decision in the Mt. Clemens Pottery case on portal-to-portal pay, giving rise to billions of dollars in lawsuits for back wages. Mr. Eastland accused the Judge of being too pro-labor, nothing else.

It was curious because the lawsuits arose from the Supreme Court's decision in the case, not that of Judge Picard. Senator Eastland appeared to want impartiality in court rulings, and so should also be seeking impeachment of anti-labor judges, such as Judge Goldsborough who had found the UMW and John L. Lewis in contempt for calling a strike following a temporary restraining order that no strike be called against the Government, operating the coal mines.

While the lawsuits appeared ridiculous, the suggestion of Senator Eastland was more so.

"Awright Chillun, Let's Politick" comments on Variety suggesting that bandleader Kay Kyser, the Professor of the Kollege of Musical Knowledge, was planning to enter politics, possibly to run for Governor of his native North Carolina.

The professional politicians in Raleigh believed that Variety had confused Mr. Kyser's altruistic activities on behalf of the Good Health Program with political ambition. When he had spoken on behalf of the program the previous summer, he had impressed audiences with his magnetism.

He was ahead of Senator "Pass the Biscuits, Pappy" Lee O'Daniel of Texas, Governor Jimmie Davis of Louisiana, Governor "Big Jim" Folsom of Alabama, and Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, other musical politicians who had become popular on the radio before their foray into politics. For Mr. Kyser had earned kudos as a radio comedian as well as a bandleader. The others had not impressed anyone with their wit.

It finds the prospect perhaps interrupting the carefully laid plans in Raleigh for who would become the next Governor and possibly cause some of the "sobersided politicos" to begin suddenly to sign up for guitar lessons.

"Is evabuddy happy?"

A piece from the Salisbury Post, titled "Subterranean Tragedy in Rowan", tells of earthworms being flooded away by heavy rains in the area, drowned when the topsoil became saturated. In result of this catastrophe, the gardeners of the county would need to engage in better spade work and utilize more fertilizer. Earthworms, it notes, were worth millions of dollars to Rowan farmers. But the rains of this season had sold them short.

Drew Pearson discusses a planned, but abandoned, Justice Department probe of the Georgia primary election during the summer which saw intimidation and racial discrimination at the polls, in response to a call for same by Eugene Talmadge. It was now a Federal offense and thus under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. But the investigators could not interview Mr. Talmadge because of his ill health and so dropped the investigation. Herman Talmadge had refused to answer questions without a stenographer present. It was also feared that Federal intervention would backfire against the liberal forces which the Government sought to help.

He next indicates that observers would be attentive to whether Secretary of State Marshall would practice the same type of accessibility to the press as had Secretary Byrnes, the most open Secretary since Charles Evans Hughes. Mr. Byrnes had not, unlike Mr. Hughes, handled most of the press conferences himself, but had insured that a competent representative of the Department did. Neither did he object to news leaks.

Some were predicting that General Marshall would tighten this policy, not permitting leaks. Yet, his past record at times during the war was that of a leaker, himself. The captured German files in Berlin showed that in May, 1941, General Marshall had related across the dinner table, as told to the Nazis by German Consul General Hans Borchers via a woman named Herbig, that the U.S. was going to use Greenland, Iceland, and the Azores as bases for troops to facilitate invasion of Northern France, Norway, Spain, and Portugal. Ms. Herbig had posed as a Washington society woman—possibly having obtained her name from the late columnist Heywood Broun.

Those Nazis have always been a barrel of laughs.

The first meeting between the President and the bipartisan Big Six of Congress did not portend necessarily smooth relations between the White House and the GOP. The meetings would pertain to non-controversial matters but would not take the place of separate party strategy by the Republicans.

The principal subject discussed at the first meeting was the reorganization of Congress and the hope of the President that, per the Reorganization Act of 1946, few special committees would be created, that the standing committees should be assigned investigative tasks so as not to overlap one another. The President also supported ending the War Investigating Committee, which he had once chaired. Its work, he said, had been completed with the end of the war.

Marquis Childs discusses the future fate of the Senate Small Business Committee, previously chaired by Senator James Murray, now to be chaired by Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska, provided the committee would be continued at all. The Republicans were considering its abolition. In the latter phases of the previous Congress, the committee was planning to conduct an inquiry into the alleged monopolistic practices in the newspaper and newsprint businesses.

Attorney Morris Ernst, having recently published The First Freedom, attacking the growing concentration of control over radio and newspapers, had helped to plan the investigation. The committee was planning to hear witnesses who would suggest a plan for increasing the supply of newsprint.

One witness was to be Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug who would suggest a plan to harvest the timber of Alaska for production of newsprint, to provide a source within U.S. territory rather than relying so heavily on Canada. A low-cost source of power would be needed, to be provided by a TVA-type cooperative.

Whether the plan would be presented to the committee was now questionable. But even if it was not, a report by the Federal Trade Commission criticizing Canada for seeking to circumvent the anti-trust laws in the newsprint business would soon be made public.

Harold Ickes discusses the sorry state of pay for school teachers, more than half of the teachers in the country receiving less than $2,000 per year, in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, respectively 95 percent, 70 percent, and 65 percent of teachers earning below that level. The average teacher salary was $600 less than the lowest salary paid by the Federal Government to professional workers. Bar tenders and waitresses usually earned more than teachers.

The result had been a teacher shortage across the nation. Small communities relied on both state and Federal aid to supplement the local tax base to support good schools.

Governor William Tuck of Virginia had refused to engage the state in deficit spending to support the deficient schools. Mr. Ickes poses the question whether it was better to have a deficit in education or deficit spending.

"We would be stupidly blind if we neglected longer to provide ourselves with the true key to the door of opportunity—the teacher."

A letter from a Charlottean whose brother had been an inspector for the New York City BMT subway line tells of his brother commenting that he believed Charlotte would remain a hick town as long as it had no adequate mass transportation system. The writer finds the bus service ill-suited to the population. He wants the newspaper to begin a campaign for better bus service.

The editors respond that every other city was short of busses and seeking more.

A letter from Inez Flow responds to Alton Bassett's letter of January 14 in which he had suggested an Open Forum and a Closed Forum within the "People's Platform" column, to allow in the latter writers such as Ms. Flow to put forth their opinions without editorial comments being appended.

She disagrees with the position of Mr. Bassett on liquor and on the latter point, saying that editors had the right to respond to her expression of opinions. The people were the ultimate arbiters of the liquor issue, not editors or correspondents with the newspaper. Being on the right side of the question morally, as she was content to believe that she was, was enough recompense for her.

The editors respond: "Thanks, without a humph."

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