The Charlotte News

Friday, January 24, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that former Congressman Andrew May of Kentucky, the Garsson brothers, and Joseph Freeman, indicted the previous day for fraud in connection with payments for war contracts, following an intensive investigation the previous spring and summer by the Senate War Investigating Committee before the election recess in August, had pleaded not guilty to the offenses charged.

We note the oft-repeated journalistic sin, committed even by the headline, of labeling their pleas as "innocent", a non-existent plea under the law. Please note, journalists, this key fact. We still see such garbage in newspapers of considerable repute, written by reporters who have obviously never set foot in a law school or even taken a basic civics class in high school or college, and yet are reporting on court matters.

The plea does not exist. It never did under Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence.

Why? you may ask, insulted. The answer, another woefully deficient portion of the education implicit in such statements, is that in Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty, dovetailing with the presumption of innocence of the accused until the accused either pleads guilty or no contest, or is found guilty by a trier of fact.

It is really a very simple and very basic concept which every high school student ought be able to understand thoroughly, as we did in high school. Indeed, one ought not be able to obtain a high school diploma without such basic knowledge and understanding, for one is otherwise not even properly equipped to fulfill the basic citizen's duty of service on a jury without such knowledge and understanding.

To be forced to plead "innocent" implies that the defendant must prove his or her innocence. It leads to terrible confusion in the public mind. That is why it is of utmost importance for journalists to get the phraseology actually used in court correct. You, reporter, have never once heard any judge, lawyer, or defendant suggest a plea of "innocent". They ought be placed in jail should they do so.

George Harrison, not a lawyer, a graduate of the Kollege of Musical Knowledge, understood that. Why cannot you?

The story, itself, plainly says it: "I plead not guilty," said Mr. May. What do you think, he was stupid, employing some slick lawyer's trick? No. He was being sensible. We do not go into court and plead "innocent". That would be a tall order for most anyone to prove.

From now on, get it right.

And also drop all those stupid "iconic" thises and "iconic" thats, the most moronically trite usage of a word reserved for selected description in modern history during the last six or seven years. Go back to "awesome, dude". It at least served to place appropriately the speaker's educational level. "Iconic" is not only moronic but absurdly pretentious and increasingly becoming meaningless, as much so as imputing to a defendant the plea of "innocent" to criminal charges. You brand yourself as a tv-radio-head with such usage of terms. The purveyors of such garbage obviously never read a book in their lives which did not begin its circulation on the supermarket checkout counter.

Perhaps, a defendant ought sue the infringing newspaper or other organ of mass dissemination for so misstating the case on the potential that it would confuse prospective jurors on the defendant's burden. Then, the mistake would stop.

The trial of the defendants pleading not guilty in Federal court was set for March 19 and each was released on $2,000 bond.

Franz von Papen, acquitted of war crimes in the Nuremberg trials the previous year, went on trial beginning this date before the German de-Nazification court. A seven-person tribunal would hear the case within the American zone of occupation, in Bavaria. The 69-year old defendant contended unsuccessfully that his case should be heard either in the British or French zone.

Former OPA administrator Chester Bowles told the CIO UAW in Cleveland that the American work week would need to be reduced to thirty hours and wages doubled by 1967 if labor was to keep pace with its progress of the previous twenty years. Every generation, he informed, had doubled its production from that of the previous generation, and to do so in the ensuing twenty years meant reducing the work week and doubling wages accordingly.

The director of the U.S. Employment Service, Robert Goodwin, stated that he foresaw continuing high employment through 1947, despite slight increase in unemployment at the end of 1946, described as mainly the result of seasonal shifts.

The director of the Office of Temporary Controls issued a statement to regional OPA offices that rents could be raised in situations where to deny it would pose a hardship to landlords.

The CIO United Steelworkers union, led by Philip Murray, was meeting with the big steel companies to try to negotiate a new contract, one which would set the standard for wage increases.

The State Legislature provided a report to Governor Gregg Cherry recommending establishment of a three-year study to implement a merit system for determining teacher pay levels.

Bills to raise the age of legal marriage from 14 to 16 and to raise the age of consent to marriage without parental authority from 16 to 18 were introduced in the Assembly. A bill to eliminate jail facilities not meeting certain standards was also introduced.

Izvestia in Moscow contended that the new ten-year friendship pact between Turkey and Trans-Jordan, signed January 11, was intended eventually to revive the old Eastern bloc of Arab countries, uniting Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, and Afghanistan under Turkey, as in the days of the Ottoman Empire prior to post-World War I.

In New Orleans, C. R. McKennon of Arkansas, showed a check for a million dollars from sale of his 1946 cotton crop to Anderson, Clayton, the Texas cotton exchange in which Will Clayton, Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs, was a principal partner. The fourth-grade dropout said that he sold the crop for just a bit more than that for which he had paid to produce it. In fact, he said, he had taken a "tol'able beatin'" on it. He acquired his land by repeatedly selling it for a little more than he had paid for it, and then buying more with the proceeds. Despite his early end to education, he had always been able, he insisted, to spell well. He had shown them in the spelling bee where "the bear sat in the buckwheat."

But there is no "r" in "buckwheat". It must be a riddle.

In Lodi, California, the hunt for the abductor of the 17-year old girl who had managed to free herself from her bonds of imprisonment inside a motel room when the kidnaper was away, had intensified without success. The girl had led investigators along a trail she had trod with her abductor during the 20-hour ordeal, and certain evidence was discovered, according to the District Attorney, which corroborated the girl's story. The D.A. professed complete confidence in the accuracy of her statement.

The man whom the girl had identified from a photograph in a mugbook as looking like the kidnaper had hired a lawyer to sue the family of the girl for false arrest, after he had been cleared by the girl at San Francisco police headquarters. He had been detained for nearly twelve hours, according to his lawyer, based on the false identification.

You would be mad, too. His picture, after the ordeal, tells the story.

Or does it? Is it, objectively, only another counterfeit produced from the subject having been informed of a particularly ticklish jest, irrelevant to the matter at hand, an instant before it was popped by the fuzzy-popper—after which he became immediately dour again?

But, the defendant's attorney will contend at the civil trial, he owned a professional modeling studio, the reason for the focus on him as a suspect in the kidnaping, as the kidnaper had obtained access to the girl on the pretext of photographing her as a model. He should have known not to fall for the old ruse of smiling for the birdie.

Counters plaintiff's counsel: "What fool would give his actual occupation to the kidnap victim? It was absurd to believe this man to be a suspect. Moreover, the suspect did not understand how evidence works: witness the fact that he was previously convicted of a criminal offense and wound up as a result in a mugbook. Er... Strike that last part."

At San Francisco State College, married veteran students picketed the college for placing twin beds in their apartments. They demanded "double or nothing".

Put the twin beds together, shut up, and get some shut-eye. All you people do is complain all the time.

On the editorial page, "We Bring Forth a Mouse" tells of the State Planning Board's tabulations having been placed before the members of the State Assembly. It told the tale on education, per capita expenditure of $13.81 per year, five times the national average, placing the state, on that basis, second in the country. That it was two percent of per capita income placed the state first among the 48.

But for total expenditures per pupil, the amount ranked North Carolina as "Ol' 42" again. The state also ranked low in teacher salaries and value of school property.

Raising teacher pay would help alleviate the education crisis, but not permanently. The problems went deeper, and it urges solving them so that North Carolina could become a moderately prosperous state.

"Not How Many—How Good" finds the South's liberals concerned about the franchise and wanting more people able freely to exercise it, including reduction of the voting age from 21 to 18.

Louis Graves of the Chapel Hil Weekly, however, favored raising it to 25, as he found most people unable to think responsibly enough to vote before at least that age. He also favored having voter qualification end at age 75, based on senility.

It pointed up the need for better voter education, and the piece expresses the hope that the liberals would push as hard for that as they were for lowering the voting age to make it commensurate with the fighting age.

"Herman Raises a Threat" tells of Herman Talmadge, in the face of 1,200 college students marching on the State Capitol and burning his likeness in effigy, declaring that his opponents were advocating "anarchy". If such demonstrations persisted, he warned, he would call upon the white people to come to Atlanta to "show them a real demonstration".

The protestors included Atlanta's business, civic, and professional leaders, young women from Wesleyan College, and educators and religious leaders who had met at the Atlanta Civic Club. It also included legislators who had voted against Mr. Talmadge.

To the Atlanta Journal, which had already witnessed the "wool hat boys" from the hills taking over the State Capitol the previous week, it was a menacing statement, threatening an even greater demonstration of raw power. It perhaps portended the use of force by Mr. Talmadge to hold the Governor's office.

He had, it says, maybe forgotten that in the summer primary, the majority of Georgians had voted against Eugene Talmadge, and he had beaten his opponent, James Carmichael, only by dint of the county-unit voting system, which gave more per capita weight to sparsely populated rural counties.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "On Prayer and Legislation", tells of exception having been taken by some State Senators to an opening prayer of the State Senate which had sought divine guidance for "hard-working, underpaid school teachers."

A few years earlier, a State Senator, incensed by a prayer referring to the liquor question, had risen and protested on a point of order.

The prayer should be general, not political, but in this instance, praying for teachers did not necessarily imply politicking.

Drew Pearson tells of Chip Robert, the former DNC treasurer and engineer for some of the large Army-Navy construction jobs, having admitted to pulling all the strings he could in Georgia to effectuate the victory by Eugene Talmadge, and then son Herman in the wake of the death of the elder in December.

Mr. Robert had previously invited the President to come to Georgia, to have breakfast at Atlanta's Piedmont Driving Club, lunch at the City Club, and a reception at the Biltmore Hotel. Governor Arnall, seeing the announcement in the newspaper, told Mr. Robert that he was inviting Mr. Truman to the Governor's Mansion for breakfast at the same time Mr. Robert was inviting him to have breakfast at the Driving Club, as well as conflicting with the other events on the Robert itinerary. At that point, Mr. Robert had dropped his plans to entertain the President and began his campaign for Eugene Talmadge.

He next tells of the Democratic sergeant-at-arms of the House having left behind a mess of shortages totaling $125,000. And then the Republicans had chosen to replace him with a man from Delaware County, Pa., site of one of the most corrupt political machines in the country, the McClure machine, comprised of gamblers, bootleggers and petty chiselers. Mr. Pearson knew it well, as he had once lived there. The new sergeant-at arms, William Russell, had been county treasurer from 1936-39, placed in the position by the McClure machine, whose key players had each served jail sentences, but still ran things in the county from key positions.

Mr. Russell had also been treasurer for a swimming pool club which wound up with a $6,000 shortage, repaid by Mr. Russell only so that he might obtain the sergeant-at-arms position.

For now, the office of the sergeant-at-arms was closed for being audited.

Marquis Childs tells of the Senate Interstate Commerce Committee holding hearings on the Bulwinkle bill, sponsored by Representative A. L. Bulwinkle of Gaston County, N.C., which would allow railroads to set rates in unison without being in violation of anti-trust laws.

Opponents of the bill contended that the law would allow monopolistic practices on the part of the major railroads, squeezing out small operators, such as Robert Young, who was challenging the American Railroads Association by acquiring in bankruptcy three railroads including the highly profitable Chespeake & Ohio, and was now bidding for another, the Missouri Pacific.

Proponents claimed that the bill would subject railroads to the I.C.C. and require that they adhere to the public interest in their agreements.

Money had been expended from outside Georgia to defeat James Carmichael, the candidate favored by outgoing Governor Ellis Arnall in the 1946 election. Governor Arnall had personally fought against discriminatory railroad freight rates which favored the North against the South and West, and had succeeded in having the Supreme Court agree to hear the case. The money to defeat Mr. Carmichael had presumably come from the large railroad interests.

Mr. Childs warns of danger in allowing the large railroads to enter such agreements, as inefficiency for want of competition could become the result.

"The step from control by the 'private government' of a few executives and bankers to ownership by public Government is a short one. It is shorter than those who argue for agreement seem to recall."

Samuel Grafton warns that too much bipartisan harmony could lead to drift into apathy, cutting foreign loans, foreign aid, and other measures to restore countries to economic prosperity. It could also lead to a lackadaisical attitude toward effecting disarmament.

Editorialists were remarking that resignations by major U.S. personages at the U.N., who included most recently Bernard Baruch from the Atomic Energy Commission, would not impress foreign countries with the seriousness of the United States toward effecting the purposes of the U.N. Such was likely the result of too much stress on bipartisanship in conducting foreign affairs. It had led to a mentality whereby anyone objecting to the country's foreign policy was considered a creep.

During the war, President Roosevelt and the liberals were in agreement on foreign policy principles, but were at odds on details. Liberals, for instance, had bitterly protested when, in the wake of the invasion of North Africa in November, 1942, the Allies set up Vichyite Admiral Darlan as the French leader. The protest improved relations with the French Resistance.

There was danger, he counsels, therefore, in having bipartisan policy left to technicians and skilled specialists. There were, for example, reports of pro-Nazis still in key positions in occupied Germany, but such had drawn little protest.

"Postwar harmony on foreign policy gives us a soothing feeling of safety; but in this, as in some other fields, in the feeling of safety there lies a danger."

W. T. Bost, in the Greensboro Daily News, tells of newspapers having carried the photograph accompanying the obituary of Andrew Volstead, author of the Volstead Act, which gave teeth to the 18th Amendment imposing Prohibition in 1919.

It comments that the looks of the people who favored prohibition had hurt the movement more than anything else. They were usually older and appeared cadaverous.

Billy Sunday's opera bouffe sermons had "looked liquor back into some sort of repute", paradoxically, through his effort to demonize it.

But Mr. Volstead had refused to have his countenance in the newspapers, and had been wise in doing so. The Volstead Act was dishonest in its origins by condemning as intoxicating any drink with an alcoholic content of one-half of one percent or more.

It gave ground for the Turlington Act in North Carolina, still the law at the time in 75 of the 100 counties. Mr. Turlington, however, he relates, was a personable man who was not of displeasing appearance.

Mr. Bost recommends having the drys of the state find the prettiest women to be their best evidence for abstemiousness.

Ralph McGill of the Atlanta Constitution says that Georgians wanted a new gubernatorial election and a quick court decision on who was properly Acting Governor, but believes that they would receive neither. The people had so willed it by passing the new State Constitution.

The Georgia Constitution allowed for an election of the Governor only in years in which the Legislature was being elected, meaning the next available opportunity would be 1948. The new Constitution in this respect was the same as the old one—the primary thrust of the new one having been to eliminate the poll tax.

The Georgia Supreme Court would hear the gubernatorial succession dispute on February 7, but whoever lost would have 20 days to file exceptions, which had to be ruled on before the decision would become final. If that party waited the full twenty days, it would mean another 90 days of delay as the Supreme Court term would lapse before the case could be placed on the docket. Most states had abolished this docket system, but not Georgia.

The new voting bill, to establish a white-only primary independent from the state, was so thick that few legislators would read it before voting on it.

The people got the law and the powers, or lack thereof, which they chose at the polls.

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