The Charlotte News

Saturday, January 4, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Republican Senate leaders had consulted with Democratic Minority Leader Alben Barkley to try to end the battle regarding the seating of Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi. Senator Robert Taft of Ohio indicated that the Republicans intended to keep the Senate in session throughout the weekend and through the ensuing week, if necessary, to resolve the situation. Senator Taft firmly opposed his being seated.

Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, not on speaking terms with Senator Bilbo, nevertheless defended his right to take his seat as his credentials were in order. Other Southern Democrats vowed to delay holding a vote on the matter until investigation of the allegations against the Senator was complete. Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina stated that there was no point in states holding elections if the Senate was going to override those results. Keeping Mr. Bilbo out, he added, was tantamount to accusing him of a crime without trial.

The matter was preventing the Senate from transacting any other business, including the swearing in of the other 35 Senators-elect from the late election. The Republican leadership stated that the matter would continue, even to the exclusion of Monday's scheduled State of the Union message by the President.

Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota, the new chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, stated his intent to send his proposed twenty percent tax cut directly to the House floor for a vote without hearing from Government witnesses. The Committee would hear from the Secretary of Treasury, John W. Snyder, and from tax experts in the Congress.

Senators Taft, Joseph Ball of Minnesota, and H. A. Smith of New Jersey would co-sponsor a modified Case bill, previously passed in the 79th Congress and vetoed by the President the previous June. It would be designed as a starting point for labor legislation. The original bill mandated a 60-day cooling off period before a strike could be called, outlawed jurisdictional strikes and secondary boycotts, and took away collective bargaining rights for supervisory employees. The new bill also required filing of financial statements by unions with their members and the Secretary of Labor.

Pete McKnight of The News concludes his three-part report on the background of newly appointed Senator William B. Umstead, replacing recently deceased Senator Josiah W. Bailey. He focuses on the contrast between William and his older brother John, a perennial State Assemblyman, who looked younger than his six years younger brother. Whereas William was cautious, religious, and a teetotaler, John was none of those things, but was an aggressive politician. Both possessed good oratorical skills, though different in delivery. They regularly consulted with one another on issues.

There were three other members of the so-called Eastern alliance of state politicians, of which the Umsteads were members, opponents to the Western alliance of Senator Clyde Hoey and Ambassador-designate to Great Britain, former Governor O. Max Gardner, both of Shelby. One member was banker Leroy Martin of Raleigh, brother of Sanford Martin, editor of the Winston-Salem Journal. He had been a long-time opponent of Mr. Gardner and former Governor J. Melville Broughton. Another member of the alliance was A. H. (Sandy) Graham, the Highway Commissioner, who had run for Governor in 1936. The fifth member was Wilkins P. Horton of Pittsboro, who had wanted the appointment to the vacant Senate seat himself.

Alton Blakeslee continues his report from the U.S.S. Olympus within the Byrd expedition to Antarctica, telling of a seaplane with nine men aboard having disappeared without trace on the previous Monday, amid fog and snow, while on a photographic mission in the area of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Sea and James W. Ellsworth Land.

In Atlanta, two brothers had been arrested on Federal charges of assault, based on the beating of a 19-year old black witness who had testified before the Grand Jury regarding the lynchings of the two couples near Monroe, Ga., the previous July. The two brothers had allegedly beaten the young man with fists and a pistol when he refused to tell them what he had stated to the Grand Jury. One of the brothers was in the Army.

The Grand Jury had reported on December 19 that it was unable thus far to establish the identities of any of the twenty or more men who had participated in the lynchings. Presumably, the witness had such information.

In New York, the U.S. Attorney filed charges of manipulation of the price of butter against the Dairymen's League Cooperative, its president, and three board members. Butter had dropped ten cents per pound on December 24, the date on which it determined the price of milk for January. The charges stated that the effort was deliberate to keep milk prices low.

In Kansas City, a male nurse had been beaten to death early the previous day at the University of Kansas hospital. While the body lay in the morgue, attendants found the door unlocked three times during the night without explanation. It was determined that a police detective had opened the door to examine the body.

The Ohio State professor, E. E. Kimberly, whose 20-year old daughter had disappeared New Year's afternoon in the company of a 42-year old former convict with a long conviction and prison record, spanning the previous twenty years, stated that he had reasonable evidence that his daughter had been drugged during a two-day trip with the man.

Young Miss Kimberly, who had returned home the previous night unharmed, had mentioned taking capsules during the car trip between Cleveland and Lorain. The professor stated that he would file charges of abduction against the man. He was jailed as a "suspicious person" by the police, insisting that the young woman, a senior at Ohio State, had accompanied him of her own free will and that they had planned to marry in Bowling Green, O. He denied giving her any drug.

Red-haired Miss Kimberly, however, was quoted by her father as saying the experience was "awful" and the "old fool" wanted to marry her. Her mother also stated that she did not leave home of her own volition, but did not provide any further explanation of why she departed New Year's afternoon. Previously, the parents had said that the man had lured their daughter to go with him on the pretext that he was throwing a surprise party for her and his own daughter.

Miss Kimberly was confined to her bed in nervous shock.

Later, the would-be suitor would pose, alternately, as Miss Kimberly's long-lost uncle from Spain or aunt from Ireland, and again seek her affections via those wily guises, in which coign-of-vantage, however, occasional sticky situations would arise.

H. L. Mencken signed a contract with a Canadian film company and a brewery to receive two cases of ale monthly for the duration of his life in exchange for the film rights to his essay, "History of the Bathtub", published 30 years earlier. Mr. Mencken said that the essay had passed into the public domain and the company could have had the rights for nothing. His contract specified that he could not receive a return deposit for the bottles in which the ale was contained.

In Moscow, a former monk had amassed a small fortune, equivalent to about $50,000, from street begging over a period of the previous six years.

On the editorial page, "A State Minimum Wage Law?" tells of the effort of the State Commissioner of Labor to obtain a minimum wage law in North Carolina. There did not appear any organized opposition to the proposal. The law would extend the Federal Wages and Hours Act to workers not covered because they were employed only in intra-state commerce, not subject therefore to Federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The law would guarantee workers 40 cents per hour for a 40-hour work week. It would cover about 40 percent of the workers in the state, but would not reach farm workers or workers employed in seasonal occupations, such as fishing.

Many employers were already paying the $16 per week minimum but also were demanding more than 40 hours per week to earn it. The new law would impact about 60 percent of the 40 percent of workers not covered by the Federal minimum wage. There was nothing daring in the proposal, and it would likely work well.

"The Schools Are Also Business" suggests a businessman's approach to the failing public school system of the state, with 86 percent of the schools having a heavy turnover rate in teachers and staff, and thirteen percent of the employees being found unqualified for their positions. The number of vacancies had led to the necessity of eliminating some schools and consolidating the teaching staffs with other schools. It was a recipe for disaster and it needed to be treated with the same concern that a businessman would give to a faltering business.

"It Doesn't Compare with Sherman's" tells of the Washington Times-Herald having printed a story that General Eisenhower had told a fishing companion that he would not mind being President. When a reporter then inquired of the matter, the General told him it was a lie.

Mamie Eisenhower had remarked that neither she nor her husband had ever voted and she had never discussed politics, had never heard the General do so.

The piece recommends to both parties General Eisenhower as a sound potential candidate, as he was a small "d" democrat. It would not be safe, it suggests, to rule him out as a candidate until both conventions in 1948 would conclude.

Drew Pearson discusses the new Speaker of the House, Joseph Martin of Massachusetts. He had been as a young man a star baseball player in the semi-pro league and had begun a career in journalism at the same time. It was at that point, at age 21, that he decided to enter politics, against the advice of his father.

Mr. Martin was now the first Republican Speaker since Nick Longworth 16 years earlier. He would be a Speaker who would not exalt tradition for the sake of it, realizing the need for change. He had gone along with the New Deal under FDR. He was neither a militant liberal nor a conservative. He was honest and abhorred greed and crookedness, as well as public suffering.

He had supported the right of labor to organize, Social Security, the making permanent of the Fair Employment Practices Commission, and many other Roosevelt reforms. He had eschewed Wall Street entreaties to weaken the SEC on the pretext of strengthening business.

He had also supported the President's requests for appropriations for military preparedness prior to Pearl Harbor and sought actively to marshal Republican support for the measures.

Mr. Martin had met Massachusetts State Senator Calvin Coolidge when Mr. Martin first arrived at the State House as a Senator. Mr. Coolidge befriended Mr. Martin, and in 1924 during the campaign for the presidency, President Coolidge supported Mr. Martin's first run for Congress, enabling him to win easily.

He had been instrumental in nominating Alf Landon for the presidency in 1936 and helped engineer the nomination also of Wendell Willkie in 1940, having declined an invitation by several friends to run for the nomination himself.

Mr. Martin was a good friend of the previous Speaker, Sam Rayburn. Both were bachelors and shared a similar political stance. The new Speaker also liked children. Heading home for Christmas one year, he called his office to request that his secretary hurry to Union Station with a package which he had left behind, labeling the matter urgent. It turned out that the package contained a doll for his grandniece.

Mr. Pearson urges Mr. Martin to clean up Congress, held in low esteem by the public from the investigations of former Congressman Andrew May, Senator Bilbo, and other such revelations involving graft and nepotism at government expense. He wants the pocketbook Congressmen, who put personal interest before that of the public, purged.

Marquis Childs tells of the War Department presenting off-the-record press conferences at which it warned of the future menace of biological warfare and the radioactive fallout from a nuclear war. The Department was immediately concerned over the occupation of Germany, Japan, and Korea, insuring an adequate budget for the purpose.

Meanwhile, the new 80th Congress was going to be busy trying to pare down the budget.

The War Department had three major points to present to Congress: consolidation of the Army and Navy to eliminate costly duplication and to streamline and coordinate the command structure, a matter which proved problematic in the early part of the war in the Pacific, and which had been set forth as a primary fault leading to lack of preparedness and advance warning at Pearl Harbor before the attack; universal military training, as volunteers had recently slackened, and many of the volunteers to date had been young and green; and continuation of Selective Service beyond its current March 31 deadline should recruiting not improve by that time.

The latter could be problematic as the new Congress would be reluctant to jeopardize its good will with the people by calling for an unpopular renewal of the draft.

Harold Ickes finds the meeting at the Commodore Hotel in New York of the Progressive Citizens of America, led by Henry Wallace, to have missed the mark by attempting to work within the Democratic Party. It faced the challenge of dissociating itself from Communists, by making a firm policy statement against their admission to the group.

Instead, the Progressives had provided a meaningless statement, that it would not defend against charges of Communist infiltrators because then it would be forced to defend on the question of other minorities among its members. But that was a spurious argument as racial, religious, and ethnic minorities were on a different plane from Communists, a political and economic ideology.

There were too many leaders within the group, with a board of directors numbering 200 and 30 vice-chairmen. The top-heavy structure suggested weakness.

The CIO PAC had stated its desire to remain independent as a labor organization, not to become part of a political organization. Thus, the Progressives would also be unable to effect a solid coalition with the PAC.

Mr. Ickes recommends instead that the Progressives form an independent third party to champion the truly liberal policies which neither major party any longer upheld, apparently notwithstanding his comment earlier in the year that a third party was as superfluous in politics as one on a honeymoon.

A letter writer who had been a resident of Charlotte for a year suggests some improvements to the city, such as better street lighting to reduce crime, the placement of benches along the sidewalks, the fining of motorists who failed to yield the right-of-way properly to pedestrians, and a bus service which adhered to its published schedule.

A letter writer suggests that the country check its swell-heads.

A letter from the Columbus, O., WCTU president, vice-president of the national organization, accepts the apology from The News which had been sent to her for the paper having printed a report from the The Columbia Record, quoting in turn an U. P. report, via Collier's, that the woman had thrown in the towel on prohibition and instead was promoting abstinence. It was not true.

A letter from the outgoing director of the North Carolina Association for Wine Control thanks the press for cooperating in the effort to publicize the wine industry's dedication to self-regulation and policing, and to engender in the populace interest in production of native-grown grapes.

In any event, happy Eleventh Day of Christmas and Twelfth Night.

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.