The Charlotte News

Tuesday, January 28, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the State Department accused Poland of violating its pledge to conduct free elections in the country's January 19 national election, its first since prior to the war. The United States charged widespread coercion and intimidation at the polls, but for the time being, did not intend to sever diplomatic relations—good news for the Poles and Gerald Ford.

In Jerusalem, the two kidnaped Britons, a judge and a banker, had been released, presumably by the Irgun organization, after captivity since Sunday night. The kidnaping related to the scheduled execution of a convicted Jewish terrorist, whose execution was delayed so that he could appeal the matter to the Privy Council.

Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach took issue with Senator Joseph Ball of Minnesota in hearings before the Labor Committee as to the validity of the union check-off system, a ban of which was included in the Ball-Taft-Smith labor bill. The system permitted unions to deduct union dues automatically from members' paychecks.

The Army allowed the 700 enlisted WACS in Japan to wear civilian clothes in off-duty hours on weekends for the first time. Enlisted men and officers always had to be in uniform.

Near Albuquerque, a B-29 crashed on takeoff at Kirtland Field, killing eleven men.

In Walton, Ind., a train wreck the previous day had taken four lives, aboard a Pennsylvania Railroad Union passenger train, when a 400-lb. bale of fencing wire, stored alongside the track, had rolled onto the track and jammed a switch. Nearly twenty had been injured in the wreck. It was not known whether the wire had been deliberately placed on the track.

In Washington, a hearing was to be held on whether poet Ezra Pound, previously indicted for treason for his wartime radio broadcasts from Italy, could be released. Mr. Pound was determined the previous February not to be mentally sound and placed in a mental institution. The Government was set to oppose the motion. His lawyers sought his release to a private mental facility.

In Los Angeles, a rancher from Inyo County was committed to a mental hospital after signing a rambling confession to murder of another man in Pasadena, then burying his body and burning his car. He did not recall, however, where he had placed the body. The car had been found.

In Boston, the owner of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub at the time of the November 28, 1942 fire, which took the lives of 492 persons, died, two months after having his prison sentence commuted based on his suffering from terminal cancer. The man had told newsmen when he had been released in November that he was framed and wrongly convicted for manslaughter in the episode. He also stated that he wished he had been in the fire.

The State Senate was considering a bill to ban the sale and possession of fireworks in the state, but would permit manufacture and sale outside the state with county approval.

A piece by Tom Watkins of The News tells of the trial starting in Charlotte of two defendants for the murder of Thomas McClure, a coal company employee who had been killed in his office on January 3 through infliction of numerous stab wounds. The jury was in the process of being selected. The knife used in the murder had broken, one part being found in the skull of the victim, another part on the floor of the office, and a third part in the home of one of the defendants. Each defendant blamed the other for the murder. Both faced the death penalty if convicted.

The judge had denied a defense motion to quash the indictment for having been issued by a Grand Jury whose members had been selected with race stated on their identification cards. The judge, after questioning a commissioner, however, determined that the reference was not for purposes of discrimination but only identification. The defense contended that it had been used to exclude black persons from the Grand Jury. Both defendants were black.

On the editorial page, "It's a Problem in Incentive" finds the compromise bonus temporarily provided for the remainder of the fiscal year to teachers and State employees, higher than that proposed by Governor Cherry, to be good, even if only affording for most employees about $30 to $36 more than under the Governor's plan.

The present salary for college graduates was $1,245 and had a permanent ceiling of $1,623 per year, after ten years of teaching. With a graduate degree, the levels were about $150-$175 higher. It was the ceiling on earnings which primarily served to alienate prospects from the teaching profession. Governor Cherry's long-range proposal for a 20 percent hike, would only raise the salary ceiling from $32.70 to $39.24 per week, probably not enough to attract qualified personnel.

The South Piedmont District plan, favoring a 40 percent increase, was the better way to attract good teachers. But the State likely could not afford that increase without raising taxes.

The emergency bonus, while a stop-gap, was only a temporary solution to the problem.

"A. Volstead and A. Capone" remarks on the "monstrous irony" of death in the same week of former Congressman Andrew Volstead of Minnesota, sponsor of the Volstead Act of 1919 which provided the legislative teeth to the 18th Amendment making Prohibition the law of the land, and of Al Capone, notorious gangster and bootlegger of the twenties, who capitalized to the tune of a hundred million dollars from Prohibition. Both men had retired from public life at about the same time, Capone, however, for his being sent to prison for seven years on income tax evasion.

After his release, he spent his waning years in Florida, where he had died on Saturday, the most despised man of his day. But, the piece reminds, he had also been admired. His obituary ran five times the length of that of Mr. Volstead. By earthly standards, Mr. Volstead was a failure because of Al Capone, and Al Capone was a success because of Mr. Volstead's Act.

It concludes that while Al Capone understood the perverse nature of man, Mr. Volstead did not.

"The Parking Problem in Zebulon" tells of News reporter Pete McKnight, surveying Charlotte's parking issues in a series of articles, having concluded that the city was slowly strangling to death.

The Zebulon Record reported that Zebulon suffered also from a parking problem, double parking. It found that farmers were trading elsewhere because of the crowded streets.

The issue translated in manifold fashion to Charlotte. It favors, as had The Record, imposition of fines to curb the problem.

Whether Governor Cherry could aid the process was not stated.

Drew Pearson tells of lecturer Bob Gros of California having interviewed Ambassador Novikov of Russia, who stated that Americans should not rely on the atom bomb with respect to Russia and asserted that the Soviets had developed both a defense to it and something more.

The General Federation of Women's Clubs complained to the President tactfully about his not having appointed more women to positions in the Government, as had FDR. He had replied that he would like to do so, but that it was difficult to find qualified people for positions. He reminded that he had appointed Eleanor Roosevelt to the U.N. delegation and, recently, former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins as a Civil Service Commissioner. The women suggested a female appointee to a vacancy on the FCC, as women made up the majority of radio listeners in the country.

The column next relates of General Marshall having been scolded by the late General Leslie McNair, killed in France during the war, for General Marshall's statement in June, 1941 that the Russians would collapse before the might of the Nazi Wehrmacht within six weeks of the invasion, General McNair believing that the revolutionary army in Russia would not be defeated. Two years later, General Marshall, in discussion with a French general who had complained that their arms had been inferior to the German arms, corrected him by predicting that the French underground would fight valiantly and win.

Finally, he tells of Presidential military aide, General Harry Vaughan, saying, in response to a rumor, that between Mickey Mouse and Leon Henderson, as a potential appointee as war assets administrator, Mickey had the nod.

Marquis Childs comments that one of the blessings from the election had been that Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee was no longer in a position of power. Yet, at 77, he had more time therefore to carry on his grudge match against TVA and its new head, Gordon Clapp, succeeding David Lilienthal, appointed chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. Mr. Clapp had been the TVA general manager for the previous seven years. Unable to control any longer the proceedings of the Public Works Committee, Senator McKellar was concentrating his claptrap on Mr. Lilienthal.

Mr. McKellar had asked Mr. Clapp whether TVA had sent engineers to Russia, to which the answer was no. But during the war, to aid in rebuilding destroyed dams, TVA had complied with a Russian request, submitted through the Treasury Department, to send plans for dams to be rebuilt on the other side of the Urals.

Senator Brien McMahon of Connecticut had been forced to deny on the floor of the Senate that his position in sharing of the atomic secret had changed. He asserted that a statement attributed to him by the Hearst press had not been made.

The type of attacks being undertaken by Senator McKellar on appointees to the AEC constituted the principal reason for the difficulty of the President in finding qualified people to accept positions in Government.

Samuel Grafton writes from the sea, on his way to London, of the talk aboard ship, mainly from British passengers about the future of England. There was concern about it, quiet apprehension, resignation in some, that the period of the previous eight years had become so the custom that things would likely not soon return to the pre-war state.

A woman informed that she had become so frustrated with the bread rationing that one day she had jumped out of the queue, been pursued by the grocery clerk who insisted that she accept her ration, that the Government required it. When she left anyway, he sent the bread ration to her house.

He finds the British nation, which had not lost its discipline during the war, perhaps being in danger of losing it in peace. There was a fear with honor among the British of that result.

A letter from a homeless veteran relates in verse his plight in having his application for housing at Morris Field in Charlotte rejected for his family, with four children, being too large for the small apartments available. The writer had been wounded on Saipan and partially incapacitated. He and his family were living in two small rooms provided by his father-in-law.

His concluding verse:

Do you landlords remember that at Heaven's bright throne,
There will be children up there to make it their home?
I know this because in the Bible God said it is so—
If you can't stand children in Heaven, you know where you can go.

The Baltimore Evening Sun, commenting on the report by the London Herald regarding the probability that new Ambassador O. Max Gardner would entertain at the Embassy by serving mint juleps, tells of a member of the newspaper's staff who had been at the Embassy years earlier, stating that it would be a feat that others had been unable to accomplish for want in London of the basic julep ingredients, bourbon or rye or even mint. Lemons and limes had to be used as substitutes for the mint. The whole attempt had proved disastrous, with the resulting concoction not well received by the British guests.

Among the date's abstruse gems of Senator Soaper are: "Moreover this should be a poor year for the carnival grifter's dodge of drawing an iodine-painted finger through a split roll in lieu of the hot dog."

"In one of his sketches the late W. C. Fields was so good at pool he pocketed all fifteen balls on the break, though not out of work at the time."

That Senator Soaper is sometimes more adept at wit than we have the capability of full comprehension of its more arcane elements. We take, however, the first one to have something to do probably with Nelson Rockefeller. Or, a, perhaps, something to the effect of this about that...

Incidentally, as an aid to our foreign visitors, we should point out that the reference by the Senator the previous day was not to Martha Washington, but rather to the State of Ohio, long regarded as the "mother of Presidents", along with the State of Virginia, though neither state has produced one since Warren G. Harding in 1920 and Woodrow Wilson, by way of New York from Virginia, in 1912.

Since that time, we have had one President from Vermont and Massachusetts, one from Iowa and California, one from New York, one from Missouri, one from Kansas and Texas, one from Massachusetts, another from Texas, another from California, one from Michigan, one from Georgia, one from California and Illinois, one from Texas and Connecticut, one from Arkansas, another from Texas (or Tennessee, as you please), and our current President from Illinois, by way of Hawaii and Indonesia.

We Americans get around.


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