The Charlotte News

Friday, January 31, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the British Government had ordered the evacuation the following Tuesday of some 2,000 British women and children from the Holy Land in Palestine to enable more effective action against terrorism. Terrorists had targeted civilians recently, with the kidnaping of a banker and a judge. British correspondents were also encouraged, but not required, to leave.

In Commons, Winston Churchill called on the Labor Government to produce at once, along with the United States, a plan to provide a solution to the problem of Palestine, or submit to the U.N. for resolution of the crisis. He called the present situation one of "blood and shame". He also stated that Britain, having broken its pledges to the Jews—apparently referring to the Balfour Declaration of 1917, promising in principle the establishment of a Jewish homeland—, should give up the mandate over Palestine if no solution could be found. He favored Britain remaining in the Suez Canal Zone of Egypt and abandoning the mandate in Palestine, where he believed there had never been any strategic interest for Britain.

The former Prime Minister charged the Government with bowing to threats of terrorists and criminals, referring to the recent postponement of the execution of a convicted Jewish terrorist, demanded by the Irgun organization for release of the kidnaped banker and judge. The Government denied that it was acceding to the demand but rather was only affording a right of appeal to the convicted terrorist to the Privy Council, delayed because a prison riot between Arabs and Jews had broken out on the day of the scheduled execution, making it impossible for the prisoner's legal counsel to undertake their last-minute efforts to effect attempts at reprieve.

In Dachau, a German civilian was sentenced to hang by an American war crimes tribunal for shooting an American flier in the back in 1944 during a bombing raid on Kiel after the flier had parachuted from his downed plane.

The President, contrary to a New York Times report, had no plans to poll the governors of the various states to determine problems.

Congressional tax experts reported that the Federal budget would exceed by about 400 million dollars the President's proposed 37.5 billion dollar budget.

A new bill with higher graduated teacher salaries, based on level of education and experience, was introduced in the North Carolina Legislature, with salaries starting at $1,560 and going up to $3,000 after 13 years of teaching experience, and $2,000 to $3,300 for those with graduate degrees, even higher in the 14th and 15th years, to $3,600.

In Boston, an 85-year old man had reportedly knifed his 81-year old wife and then himself, following an argument regarding his alleged giving of ten pounds of sugar, whether figuratively or literally not being fully clear, to an 80-year old woman to court her favor.

In New York, a 40-year old Brooklyn widow was charged with receiving stolen property in allegedly directing four 12-year old girls, including her daughter, to steal $40,000 in money and jewelry during the previous year. They roamed the streets until they spotted apartments in which women leaned on windows or sat on the front porch. The girls would then enter and steal the goods.

That's what it says.

Also in New York, a jury had found a mother guilty of contributing to the delinquency of her minor son, convicted of shooting three persons. The mother was constantly drinking and entertaining men at her apartment in front of her son. He had stolen a .22 rifle from a pawn shop and indiscriminately fired it at West Side residents. The mother was sentenced to a year in jail.

Since the conviction had been announced, twenty to thirty calls had been received by the probation department from parents describing the delinquent behavior of their children.

New Ambassador to Great Britain O. Max Gardner was preparing to leave with his family the following Thursday by ocean liner for London. They were taking along a 60-day supply of food to avoid having to place stress on the rationed food of England.

On Thursday, Ambassador Gardner would die of a sudden heart attack in New York, just before departure.

Dick Young of The News reports of a heavily loaded gasoline tanker truck overturning in Charlotte during the morning, after it had been sideswiped by a pick-up truck on Rozzelle Ferry Road. The driver of the pick-up had been killed and a passenger, seriously injured. The driver of the tanker escaped with minor cuts. The pick-up truck was starting to pass another vehicle when it came in contact with the tanker, which had swerved onto the shoulder to try to avoid being hit. The tanker spilled gasoline onto the roadway but Fire Department personnel were quickly on the scene to avoid ignition.

Five persons were injured in an auto accident on Wilkinson Boulevard.

Tom Watkins of The News continues his reportage on the murder case against two defendants for the January 3 murder of Thomas McClure by repeated stabbing during the course of a robbery. The defense lawyers provided their summations of the case to the jury, contending that the evidence could not show which of the two defendants actually committed the murder.

The prosecutor then argued in rebuttal, and the judge provided the instructions, indicating three possible verdicts, one for first degree murder, mandating the death penalty, one for second degree murder, providing a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, or a verdict of not guilty. If a felony-murder, that is a killing committed during the course of a robbery, then the verdict could only be for first degree murder. If the jury determined that the robbery was only incidental to the murder and not the reason for it, then the normal rules applied for first degree murder, requiring a finding of premeditation.

We note, incidentally, that the argument of the defense, as stated, appears ostensibly preposterous. If the jury found that both men were present at the time of the crime and entered into the robbery or the murder together, they are each equally and fully culpable as aiders and abettors of each other under the law. Each aider and abettor is deemed a principal. That one of the accused may have stabbed the man while the other only observed could only serve to spare the other defendant in the event that the other was genuinely an innocent bystander to the whole criminal scheme, including the robbery, and was unaware of the intentions of his co-defendant, entering the victim's office only for an innocent purpose. It would appear from the testimony that one of the defendants claimed not to have been in the office at the time of the murder but had gone to the company with the other defendant to meet the latter's brother, then left and proceeded downtown. It is conceivable that the facts were such, as contended, that a like scenario was plausible from the evidence, or that Mr. Watkins somewhat misunderstood the line of argument.

In any event, as indicated, it is Constitutionally mandated now, in a case where one defendant implicates the other, on motion by the defense, to sever such cases from one another to assure a fair trial for each defendant.

This 1947 farce is hopeless.

On the editorial page, "Georgia Backs into a Narrow Corner" tells of the editorial hue and cry being raised against the effort in Georgia to reimpose a white-only primary by passing legislation to divorce the primary from the State, making the party into a private club which could make its own rules and bar blacks from voting, the enunciated object of the legislation. The bill, sponsored by Herman Talmadge, fulfilling his father's campaign promise, and not opposed by Lieutenant Governor and Acting Governor M. E. Thompson, had passed the Georgia House and soon would become law.

It would then be tested in the courts, in the face of the Allwright Supreme Court decision of April, 1944, which had forced Texas to admit all voters to the state-sponsored Democratic primary.

The isolationist-nationalist Chicago Tribune had inveighed against the Georgia effort, counseling that the Fourteenth Amendment suffrage clause might be used to deny Georgia some of its electors to the electoral college and representation in the House, based on its disfranchisement of 35 percent of its population, requiring under that Constitutional provision a proportional reduction in representation and electors equal to the amount of deprivation of the right to vote.

The Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed the right to vote.

Congress was also considering legislation to prevent such maneuvering in Federal elections.

Even the conservative Greenville News in South Carolina had indicated that other Southern states, such as North Carolina, had permitted the franchise to blacks for years without any cataclysmic change.

Both inside and outside the South, newspapers were objecting to the effort, and, the piece predicts, such pervasive editorial opinion would render short-lived the remaining vestiges of such efforts to subvert the Constitution.

Unfortunately, it would take the 1965 Voting Rights Act, promulgated originally by the Kennedy Administration in the last months of President Kennedy's life, to end the practice of seeking to circumvent the laws of the land.

The absurd practice, informally sanctioned by certain Southern State Administrations, which resulted in direct violence, such as the shooting death of Viola Liuzzo in March, 1965, in Alabama, and the murders of the three civil rights workers seeking to register voters in Mississippi, in June, 1964, continued largely unabated into the 1960's.

Ultimately, denying the right to vote to a citizen meant that the citizen could be viewed by the "wool hat boys" as something less than a citizen. And if less than a citizen, that person could also be viewed as something less than human. It provided the Neanderthals a way of feeling superior to someone. It was born, of course, from the fears passed generationally from the real abuses experienced at the hands of Radical Republicanism during Reconstruction, a systemic effort to punish the South for the Civil War. But that was then, an entirely different socio-economic milieu and time. The people who grew up in the hills and on the farms and in small towns had not always come completely in contact with modernity, and so it was much easier to live apart, in a framework more in tune with the time of the 1870's than the 1940's and beyond.

That mentality certainly continued in pockets of the South through the 1970's, and, in some, to this day. But it is passing apace from the mental landscape generationally.

It is fine to study the Civil War and remember the conflict. But to elevate the Confederacy to anything more than a band of fools bent on subverting the Constitution to preserve an outmoded and short-lived economic system which had as its presupposition determination of a race as subhuman, and served as much to keep down the poor white as the slave, is to continue being a fool seeking to subvert the Constitution and its true Americanism, not that fabricated on the basis of waving a piece of fabric and claiming to be a patriot merely because of it.

Should you, you lie.

"What Sort of Pace-Setting Is This?" tells of the University of North Carolina News Letter reporting that teachers in the state had not fared as well as other State employees in salary levels. The contrary assumption was the premise for the proposal of the Governor and the Legislature for an equal percentage of salary increases for all State employees, including teachers.

State employees in April, 1945 earned an average of $101.54 per month, ranking the state 42nd in employee earnings. The non-school State and local public employees, however, received an average of $115.28, ranking the state 28th. The average for non-school State employees only was $128, ranking the state 31st. The average school employee salary was $90.23, 46th among the states, ahead of only Georgia and Arkansas.

The piece urges that no uniform increase in State employee salaries should occur until the inequity was corrected between the teachers and other State employees.

"For Those Who Kept Notes" hopes that Henry Morgenthau, former Secretary of the Treasury, and Harold Ickes, former Secretary of the Interior, both would win their fight to retain their copious diaries, Mr. Morgenthau's stretching to 900 volumes of notes, maintained during their tenure in office. Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder was seeking the return of the Morgenthau notes as being the property of the Government, compiled on Government time and through employees of the Government. Likewise, an Interior official was seeking the return of the notes of Mr. Ickes.

The piece thinks that if the notes had to be returned to the Archives, they would not see the light of day for decades, inhibiting the ability to shine a light into the Roosevelt Administration. It suspects that the controversy would not have come to be were it not for the fact that the notes had made some damaging revelations about those in power. Even if the opinions expressed were skewed and, in the case of Mr. Morgenthau, not very astute, they still deserved to be heard and weighed with the rest of the anecdotal information available from the time.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "Musical Tar Heel Hounds", tells of the hound of W. F. Biggers being not only an efficient rat killer, rabbit chaser, and watchdog, but also a musical genius.

The piece thinks the hound would not, however, have any truck with the likes of boogy-woogy. And it reserves judgment as to whether a musical education department for hounds ought be created until the verdict was in as to whether the hound would or wouldn't.

Man, you are, like, Squaresville, daddy, down there in Shelby. You just don't dig.

Without the boogy, there would be no woogy. Without the woogy, there would be no boogy.

Drew Pearson relates that the American Veterans Committee had expressed frustration to the President regarding the housing shortage, impacting four million veterans. The President angrily blamed Congress for the inflation in prices of housing.

Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington had informed the President that he believed soon the electricity generated by TVA and other Government-owned power producers could be distributed throughout the country. The reason the distribution lines were limited was cost. The extended distribution required the construction of booster stations, which were now being improved such that the cost was being reduced. Thus, he recommended legislation to support such a network. The President responded that he was quite aware of the matter and supported it. They agreed, however, that the power trusts would oppose it in Congress and make such legislation difficult to achieve.

Forty-one of 42 Senate Democrats had voted against retention of the Senate War Investigating Committee for an additional year. Only Senator "Pappy" Lee O'Daniel voted in favor of it. None of his fellow Democrats, who pleaded with him to join them, understood his reason for doing so.

Marquis Childs criticizes Federal District Court Judge Picard in the Mount Clemens Pottery Co. case for becoming an administrator, stepping beyond the role of a judge, in assessing damages for portal-to-portal pay, upheld in June, 1946 by the Supreme Court.

Mr. Childs views the case as an usurpation of judicial authority, finding it not dissimilar to the manner in which the conservative majority of the Supreme Court had in the 1930's abused its authority in striking down social and economic legislation of the New Deal, and then, subsequently, a liberal majority of the Supreme Court had abused its authority in upholding New Deal-promulgated measures. He views it as having become in those instances a super-legislature.

He remarks that deceased Chief Justice Harlan Stone had, both before becoming Chief in 1941, while sitting as a Justice, dissented to those abuses, as he had later as Chief.

He then quotes former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes, in the position from 1931 to 1941, when, before coming to the Supreme Court as a Justice, he ran for Governor of New York in 1908, condemning the notion of changing the structure of American jurisprudence to allow appeals of questions of fact, as well of law.

Mr. Childs, in this instance, is out of his element, and does not appear to understand well the curious admixture of fact and law which inevitably comes before the appellate courts at times, especially in matters involving cases which impact large numbers of people. In the Mt. Clemens Pottery case, the trial court was simply assessing damages anew, having been directed to do so by the Supreme Court, consistent with its decision. Deciding facts, in a case without a jury, is the ordinary province of the judge at the trial court level, that of Judge Picard. He was not acting as an appellate judge. That is the role of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

In assessing damages, performed everyday in American courts by civil juries or, where waived by the parties, by a judge sitting as fact-finder, he was performing his proper role. He was not setting himself up as a super-legislature or administrative body, indeed, was carrying out the function which he had been properly directed to do by the appellate decision of the Supreme Court in upholding the portal-to-portal pay as properly falling within the purview of the 1938 Wage and Hours Act. It was interpretation of that legislation by the courts, leaving it up to Congress to amend the measure, if it saw fit, specifically to exclude this type of retroactive pay, for time required by the employer in preparation for work but left uncompensated.

That it cost billions of dollars in back pay, to be allowed as tax deductions, reducing by billions revenue to the Government at a time when it had a war debt of 280 billion dollars, did not subject the courts to criticism for "legislating" from the bench. The Supreme Court fulfilled its proper function of merely interpreting the law as passed by Congress, in a fair and just manner to labor and management. Judge Picard merely assessed damages pursuant to that decision. His original decision to include portal-to-portal pay, upheld by the Supreme Court, was neither legislating from the bench nor exceeding his proper role. Again, trial judges everyday pass on legal issues when raised by the parties in the form of motions, objections, requests for instructions to a jury, and the like.

When a jury is sitting, a judge rules only on the legal questions, leaving the fact-finding to the jury. When there is no jury, by stipulation of the parties, the court sits as fact-finder. Usually, the parties will stipulate to the judge sitting as fact-finder when the law and facts are complicated and the issue is primarily one of legal interpretation of a statute, as in the Mt. Clemens Pottery case.

The District Court had appointed a special master or referee to determine the factual issues and make recommendations to the Court, which the Court then largely adopted. The master had found that the claimed uncompensated work was either not properly documented, as no records were maintained by the employer, or that the small amount of time, calculated to average seven minutes, after punching the time clock, while uncompensated, was not considered work. The Court had accepted all of the master's findings save the last one, and held that the seven minutes per day was compensable time. The Supreme Court found that not only was that seven minutes compensable, but also the unrecorded time, if required by the employer, that the absence of employer records should not fall on the employee. It thus sent the case back to the District Court for further findings of fact on this uncompensated time and a determination of damages therefor, areas normally within the purview of a trial court.

There is nothing at all unusual about this scenario. Neither the Supreme Court nor the District Court exceeded its ordinary functions.

Mr. Childs, normally quite astute on matters, missed the mark in this editorial.

Harold Ickes finds disturbing the effort of HUAC to investigate every aspect of American life, now focusing on the movies, to determine subversive influences, primarily concerned with allegations of Communism or sympathy with Communists. He finds the accession to the chairmanship of the committee by J. Parnell Thomas of New Jersey to be not a good thing. The committee began with the un-American notion that a man was guilty until proved innocent, a standard for the committee through its history, from the time it had been chaired by Martin Dies of Texas, who did not seek re-election in 1944, through the chairmanship of racist John Rankin of Mississippi, from 1945-47.

He finds that the un-American principle had been adopted among "the timid men and women" who ran the colleges and universities, seeking to root out faculty members who espoused "subversive" doctrines inimical to the values which the committee upheld as "American". Professor Fowler V. Harper of the University of Indiana was an illustrative case. Professor Harper had made speeches on behalf of retention of the FEPC, after which Representative Roger Slaughter of Missouri, defeated in the Truman purge in the summer Democratic primary by Enos Axtell—not Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals...—sought an investigation of Professor Harper by the Department of Justice for violation of the Hatch Act, which regulated election expenditures and election activities by Federal employees. At the time, the professor was Solicitor for the Department of Interior, of which Mr. Ickes was Secretary. Mr. Ickes found it necessary as part of his duties to admonish him, but did so, stating that he probably would have said the same thing.

In the fall of 1945, Professor Harper returned to his teaching duties, and sponsored the local University NAACP group. He also became the first president of the first teacher's union on campus and had acted as trustee for distribution of funds to aid the families of striking G.M. workers. Finally, he had urged Governor Ralph Gates to have the Board of Election Commissioners certify the Communist Party for the fall ballot, as the party had qualified under Indiana law.

Pursuant to a demand by the American Legion, the Governor, who did certify the Communist Party, ordered an investigation into subversive activities. Thereafter, under vocal pressure, the University withdrew its support from Professor Harper, who was then forced to resign after seventeen years on the faculty. The students rebelled, with the student newspaper publishing editorials and letters supportive of the professor and condemning the Legion. Both the student post of the Legion and the student American Veterans Committee demanded that the University invite the professor to return.

Mr. Ickes adds that it was not consoling to note that Fascist President Juan Peron of Argentina was also conducting a purge of "Communists" within his country.

A letter writer from Eastern Airlines provides some air safety data culled from the Congressional Record, the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the Air Transportation Association. He says that they showed that the rate of passenger deaths per million miles of flight was lower in 1946 than in any other year. The airlines carried twice the passengers and flew twice the miles of those of 1945. Yet, there was only one more fatal accident in 1946 than in 1945, and three fewer fatalities.

He also cites other improvements, such as the cost of insurance for passengers and the five-fold increase, from $5,000 to $25,000, maximum coverage available.

Now, therefore, in 1947, the buher can carry onboard a buh, with more long-term efficacy for the buh back home, should one, that is, be inclined to being a buher.

A letter from a survivor of the Winecoff Hotel fire of the previous December 7 in Atlanta, the worst hotel fire in the country's history, advocates legislation to establish and insure proper adherence to safety regulations for hotels, making mandatory fire escapes and fire doors, sprinklers, and fire-retardant fabrics on furnishings, all absent from the Winecoff. Watchmen were needed to make regular rounds and alarm systems installed to insure the waking of guests in the event of a fire.

He urges that the horror accompanying such a fire was beyond the most vivid imagination and that the cost of preventing the loss of human life could not be measured in dollars and cents.

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.