The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 29, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State George C. Marshall had set aside machinery he had set up while envoy to China, and arranged for prompt withdrawal of 9,000 Marines and Army officers from the troubled country. The Army would withdraw first, then the Marines. There were reportedly a total of 15,000 Marines stationed in Peiping, Tientsin, and Tangku. The 6,000-man discrepancy was not addressed.

Diplomatic observers believed that the move would lead to full-scale civil war in the country, already beginning since war's end, between the Communists under Mao and Nationalist Government forces of Chiang.

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved General Marshall's action, and assured that the committee was unanimously in favor of it, trusting in the new Secretary's judgment, gleaned from a year of first-hand observation of the situation in China.

An official source in London stated that it was expected that Josef Stalin would call for a general military alliance with Britain to replace the current mutual assistance pact, lasting until 1962, to combat mutually any aggression by Germany.

The Irgun organization in Tel Aviv broadcast notice that one of the two kidnap victims, a judge, whom they had taken Sunday, had been freed, and the other, a banker, described by Irgun as a British Intelligence officer, would soon follow.

The House voted by voice vote to prevent amendments from being introduced to the bill to retain the wartime excise taxes on luxury items, including furs and liquor. Representative Albert Engel of Michigan sought to block the bill of Republican House Ways & Means chairman Harold Knutson of Minnesota to provide a 20 percent decrease in taxes to everyone earning less than $300,000, a bill primarily benefiting the wealthy. Mr. Engel doubted that he would succeed in the effort.

Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, New York socialite, had been outbid by a rare books dealer, Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach, who shelled out $151,000 for one of eleven extant copies of the first book printed in the colonies, "The Bay Psalm Book", published at Cambridge, Mass., in 1640—fifty-two years before the Salem witch trials. Perhaps, some of them were not ready to read.

Mr. Whitney had been one of the trustees of his mother's estate, which had sold the book at the auction. The proceeds of sale were to go to a community hospital on Long Island.

The highest price previously paid for a rare book was $106,000, for a Gutenberg Bible, also purchased by Dr. Rosenbach, in 1926.

Robert Young had acquired the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, as part of his acquisitions under the Alleghany Corp., along with two other, bankrupt railroads.

In Georgia, the Legislature was likely to vote this date on the bill to provide for an all-white primary independent of the State, to try to circumvent the April, 1944 Allwright decision of the Supreme Court, requiring state-sponsored primaries in Texas to be open to all voters, regardless of race or religion. The Georgia House Speaker refused to allow a bill to be introduced which would leave the primary controlled by the State but increase voter qualifications, and also refused an amendment to require the bill to be signed by both claimants to the Governor's office, Herman Talmadge, elected by the Legislature, and Lieutenant Governor M. E. Thompson, claiming rightful succession under the State Constitution following the death in December of Governor-elect Eugene Talmadge prior to taking office.

The North Carolina Legislature proposed a new agency to conserve fish and game, to separate the current division responsible for those duties from the Department of Conservation & Development.

Tom Watkins of The News reports of the start of testimony in the trial of the two defendants accused of murdering Thomas McClure on January 2, stabbing him repeatedly to death in the course of a robbery at his office at the Electric Ice & Fuel Co. The State called its first witnesses, and the defense sought to discredit their testimony.

A police officer described finding blood-stained clothing and money in the possession of the defendants, less than two hours after the crime had occurred. The twelve-inch long bone knife used to commit the murder, a portion of which had lodged in the victim's skull and another portion allegedly found in the possession of one of the defendants, being burned with clothing in a stove at the time the defendant was initially detained for questioning, had not yet been introduced into evidence.

When a baby among the spectators began to cough, the Solicitor suggested to the Judge, after approaching the bench, that it might be whooping cough, to which the Judge replied that he could stand it if the Solicitor could, and directed the prosecutor to proceed with his case.

The district manager for Southern Bell Telephone Co. was critically injured in a car accident in Charlotte shortly after midnight this date, when his car was struck by another as he backed out of his driveway between 412 and 414 Poplar Street, throwing him from the vehicle. The driver and passengers of the other vehicle fled, and the driver was located, on the tip of a child, hiding in shrubbery, initially claiming no knowledge of the accident. The police found car keys, however, to the vehicle in his possession. He was charged with hit-and-run.

The piece does not explain why it was that the other driver was at fault or if so, or ipsa loquitur. Was the Southern Bell manager's vehicle partially in the street when the collision occurred, or did the other car veer from the roadway and strike the vehicle? Was the other driver speeding, or did he run a stop signal? These are questions to be answered. But, nevertheless, hit-and-run will only become potentially manslaughter, should the Southern Bell manager die, if one of them is answered in such manner to prove beyond a reasonable doubt negligence of the other driver, without an act by the Bell manager which would impute to him either causation in fact, that is, but for his actions the accident would probably not have occurred, or actions which make it probable that he also violated the standard of care in backing from his driveway, such that the negligence of the other driver, if any there be, would not have produced the accident without the Bell manager's negligence having intervened.

In any event, the Bell manager needed a good cut man.

We almost did, but for the intervention of the swinging slings of outrageous fortune, more than once. Save your comments. We know it's not funny. It rarely is. That is why we laugh. We do not really know why or how or what fate awaits, only that one day, at one precious moment...

In Los Angeles, the Joker was Wild. Daniel S. Voorhees, "sullen restaurant porter", was booked on suspicion of being the perpetrator of the gruesome murder of Elizabeth Short, whose bisected body was found in a vacant lot on January 15. Mr. Voorhees confessed to the crime, providing some details of the murder which lent credence to his story. But detectives stated that they doubted he was involved. He had claimed to have met Ms. Short in Los Angeles in 1941, but investigation had shown that she did not arrive there from her Massachusetts home until 1943.

The suspect had called the police, stating that he was sick and could not stand it anymore, that he had murdered the "Black Dahlia", the nickname given to Ms. Short by the Los Angeles press because of her reported penchant for wearing black clothing and a black flower headdress.

Many crank notes regarding leads or confessions had already been received by the Los Angeles police.

—Yeah, Bob, did you see? I knew it was him all along. During the campaign, I figured it out. You know, it's that Commie stuff that runs them completely nuts after awhile, and...

—What's that?

—Well, couldn't it be his brother or cousin? We could link it.

—Oh. Different spelling. But you know, Bob, some of these Commies hide that way, by changing the spelling, even sometimes the whole name.

—No. No, Bob, no. That makes no difference. You've never been a lawyer. You don't understand. Why, that's the oldest dodge in the world, to confuse the investigators by giving them some accurate facts along with the [expletive deleted]. Then they don't know what to believe, and when you have them by the heart, why...

—Yes, well Happy New Year to you, too, Bob. I thought I said that earlier. Press of the new role in Washington.

—Give your best to the wife and children.

—Oh, okay. None yet. Hang in there, Bob.

—Lunch? Sure, Bob. Maybe the Brown Derby one day, when next I'm out there.

—Yeah, I worked up a good appetite reading that story, myself.

—Yeah, good. The Rose Bowl.

—Didn't have to say any thank yous to California teams. Good. Good, Bob. Well, less work. I thought we covered that though, yeah.

—Yeah. Until next time, Bob.

The weather in London was cold, with seven straight days of temperatures below freezing, reaching 15 on the morning of this date, the lowest temperature in London since prior to the war.

On the editorial page, "Righteous Wrath in Dixie" finds the editorial response in Time to Georgia's gubernatorial battle to be representative of the publication's anti-Southern bias historically. It quotes the use of ironic vernacular in describing derisively "Hummon" Talmadge's stimulus to "horrible varbiage" descending from the hills. "'He chewed corn-pone, had old Gene's cowlick, and stood four-square for White Supremacy...'"

The piece finds it more a blast at the South as a region than at Mr. Talmadge and Georgia politics in particular, that South "which is largely a state of mind."

The piece says it could not dismiss the harsh rhetoric as a libel, but rather would counter with the reminder that the South had lost the war, was exploited thereafter by carpetbaggers, and so the reasons for the reactionary impulses lay as much in the geographical bailiwick of Time as in the South.

Yet, nothing of the type had occurred anywhere outside the South in modern times. It posits that the root cause of the problem was the one-party system in every state.

It decides not to waste prideful energy on response to snide Time. It awaits a time when it could say to the detractors of the South: "'You lie.'" But that day was not yet at hand.

Of course, merely changing stripes to another party did not and has not changed too much the racists who spitefully insist that they are better than someone else because of the fact of skin pigment. Their claim to better heritage is instantly perceived invariably as a lie, q.e.d., by the very fact of attempting to associate certain negative behavioral characteristics, witnessed amply in every race and nationality, with race, rather than the social milieu out of which those characteristics inevitably derive and thrive. It was that, not the one-party system, of which the piece really complained, as more fully explicated by W. J. Cash, confirmed by subsequent history when the South swung Republican, beginning in 1968.

It was a form of Neanderthal Republicanism as surely as the Neanderthal Democratic movement had been, of which it was the descendant.

The primogenital origin was and is, not affinity to a given political party or a system which promotes only one party, but rather to the savage ideal, an intransigent insistence, to the point of violence from the henchmen if resisted in the slightest, that tradition must remain unassailable, no matter how senseless the tradition and how ingrained in medieval notions, long since abandoned, that tradition is. Or how much the traditions which came about to confront the fear produced by those notions, the dragon on the other side of the sea, the tribe on the other side of the horizon, had been preserved, not as ethical principles, but rather as superstitious beliefs that to abandon them was to accede once again to the jungle, always encroaching, always beckoning.

The piece might well have been instead titled "Righteous Wraith in Dixie".

"Onward, Downward with the Arts" tells of a meeting at the North Carolina Press Institute the previous week, which had determined that commercialism increasingly was reducing the tastes of the American public to banality. Playwright Paul Green accused radio and the movies for the problem. Novelist James Street added newspapers as aiding and abetting the diminution of appreciation for art.

It suggests the problem as being inherent in the use of commercial media to produce a product palatable to the audience rather than seeking to elevate the public mind. The loyalty was to the advertising agency, not the producers who sought to find an audience on a higher plane of appreciation. Entertaining and informing were only secondary motives to the larger cause of making money.

John Crosby of the New York Herald-Tribune had attacked the theory that reliance on commercials to sell products necessarily entailed a drive to produce programs of quality. He cited WEAF of New York, the first radio station, in 1922, to carry advertising. The executives feared that the public would react negatively to the presence of commercials, especially for such personal things as toothpaste, which they consequently refused to accept for several weeks after beginning to advertise.

Printer's Ink at the time had suggested that to make radio an advertising medium would be offensive to most listeners, that newspaper readers could ignore advertising—obviously, not appreciating how the subconscious mind works and how the purveyors of the print medium learn intuitively to exploit that mental process by careful placement of ads with clever attractions, either by words, cartoon, or photograph. Parenthetically, the only way fully to ignore an ad is to watch it or read it, as the case may be, and criticize it for what it is.

It is meant to creep into your mind, whether you consciously realize it or not, and one must train one's mind not to be so influenced. We recommend studying old ads with which you grew up and consider how they influenced your material desires and buying habits, and whether that actually brought any satisfaction beyond a momentary exhilaration at a new toy.

In 1967, we believe it was, we read an article regarding subliminal advertising, which suggested ghoulish images were present, deliberately placed, within the ice cubes and glassware displayed in liquor ads, for the purpose of appealing to alcoholics in a state of dipsomania. We examined some liquor ads in Look, the handiest magazine at our disposal of the moment, and sure enough, they were there. Knowing the ruse ends any chance of being seduced by them. If you do not see them, either get some glasses or stop drinking.

Mr. Crosby believed that the intrusiveness of radio advertising was its strongest selling point. He had cited the annoying Lucky Strike cigarette slogan, "LS/MFT"—the subliminal meaning of which every schoolboy for decades has been aware, obla-di—which had resulted in increased sales of Lucky Strikes—not to mention more uplifting unawares.

So, he contended, his premise was proven, that radio advertisers were not constrained to sell more than their product, that annoyance could sell, regardless of the content squeezed between the LS/MFT commercials.

Sobriety thus is important in the face of such advertising.

Radio reformers had championed publicly supported networks, such as the BBC, which would not have any advertising. But, it suggests, radio advertising might contain the seeds of the medium's salvation. For there was a trend away from steady radio listening to more selected tuning. That part of the audience thus far alienated would likely, in time, grow to the point that the advertisers would have to take notice and change the content of the programs to attract once again a larger audience, to enable their advertising to be heard.

Most programming at present was aimed at the bobby-soxers, and the growing group which was being slowly alienated ultimately had greater purchasing power than the younger audience.

"The Pursuit of Sir Reynard" tells of the fox hunt and the hunters sometimes finding sentiment for the quarry, Sir Reynard, setting him free from the hounds. But the farmers saw the fox as a marauder and so had little patience with such humane largesse.

A letter had come to the Statesville Daily from a farmer, urging that the hunters clear his land of foxes which regularly invaded his chicken coops. He had set some traps and caught an opossum.

The hunters would find the catch significant, allowing blame to be spread among other animals without using Reynard as a scapegoat.

The piece finds the whole controversy connotative of a definite return to normalcy.

But there were things just as mundane going on during the war. Perhaps, this piece is by Harry Ashmore, busy fighting at the time, without the leisure, in between fusillades and issuing orders to the men under him, to pay too much attention to those finer details.

Drew Pearson tells of a two-hour private talk between Henry Ford II, U.S. Steel, and Standard Oil, which had led to the announcement of price reductions on Ford cars. At the conference, the vice-president of Ford had suggested that U. S. Steel cut its prices to stem inflation and enable more consumer purchasing power. While U.S. Steel protested, Ford was adamant.

Standard Oil also favored industry lowering its prices, both among the food and steel trusts. Food industry profits had soared as much as 250 percent over those in 1945.

But U.S. Steel remained insistent, stating that fewer strikes and higher production was the way to control inflation and lower prices.

Ford countered that with higher prices would come inevitably more strikes.

Standard Oil responded that eventually, industry would need guarantee an annual wage to workers. Standard had developed methods by which to prevent seasonal layoffs through pushing its line of home-heating fuels. Mr. Ford said that he hoped that his company could also develop ways to avoid layoffs.

A few days after the two-hour meeting, Ford announced its price reductions, averaging $50 per vehicle.

Marquis Childs tells of the game of musical chairs within the Republican Party in vying for the 1948 presidential nomination, being in quest, from both left and right, of the middle chair.

Former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen was seeking to move from the left to a viable position in the public mind by making demands for large budget cuts, more than even House Appropriations Committee chairman John Taber of New York. Mr. Stassen placed national defense, veterans benefits, housing, and national debt interest off limits to the budget cut, leaving 23.5 billion dollars from which 25 percent, he believed, could be eliminated. He stopped short of specifying what programs would suffer under the proposal. He had the fortunate position of not being in public office and so could make suggestions without having to provide specifics to substantiate them.

On the other side of the spectrum was Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, wishing to convince the public that he was not an ultra-conservative, indeed, wanted to be perceived as a liberal. To that end, he had taken stances in favor of social legislation, unlike most other Republicans. His position on labor was more moderate, claimed his supporters, than that of Governor Thomas Dewey of New York.

Mr. Dewey had repeatedly passed up speaking engagements in recent weeks, contending that he was too busy with the Legislature. But since it was heavily Republican, that excuse seemed thin. His best strategy appeared to be to keep out of the spotlight for the moment.

Harold Ickes again discusses the prospect of forming, among liberal Democrats and Republicans, a third party. He believes that it would fail as badly as prior third party efforts, the Bull Moosers of Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 and the independents of the elder Robert La Follette in 1924.

Mr. Ickes had been in charge of organizing in Illinois the Progressive Party between 1912 and 1916, and had run into a host of difficulties, one being the inability to find candidates for state positions. It would be an even more formidable challenge to organize a third party in 1947, as more people were voting and populations were greater. Thus, even to qualify for the ballot meant collecting vastly more signatures than 35 years earlier.

Election laws geared toward the major parties and to prevent third party movements had to be overcome. There was no popular national leadership which could coalesce such a movement around a center. There was an absence of even a skeletal machinery as a base for such a movement. The press would frown on it. Campaigns were more expensive and were more mobile than in the past. Radio time was now mandatory to wage an effective campaign, requiring lots of money.

He advises therefore against any such movement.

The Public and Education, publication of the National Education Association, discusses the problems inherent in economizing on education. By not paying teachers a proper salary, 350,000 qualified teachers had left the profession during the war. The students who might enter teaching were dissuaded by the low income and sought other jobs. The result was a confusing succession of teachers for school children, resulting in cyclically low student and teacher morale.

National income had risen 400 percent between 1932 and 1944, while expenditures for public education had increased by only 12 percent.

The country had expended 300 billion dollars for the war effort. The piece wonders whether it was not equally important to spend a few billion on education, to instill a peaceful future.

Former Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia writes in the Christian Science Monitor of the South of the future holding out new potential for the removal of former social obstacles through increased democracy.

He states that the anticipated economic depression had been present in the country since early summer, 1946, beginning in the industrial areas, not impacting so greatly agriculture. Decentralization of industry, spreading it into the South, would help alleviate this trend.

Free enterprise, with recognition of the need for full competition, was necessary to realize economic progress throughout the country. There had to be one world or none, and one country or none. America was through with colonialism.


Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.