The Charlotte News

Monday, February 10, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Britain's worst fuel shortage in its long history had caused more than half of its industry to shut down, laying off four million workers. Prime Minister Attlee gave no prediction as to how long the period of idleness would necessarily last, suggesting that it might be spring before normalcy could be restored. Homes were required to cease using electricity for five hours each day. Industries in 38 of 64 English and Welsh counties had to suspend operations. The coal mines had been nationalized by the Labor Government, effective January 1.

Somewhat higher temperatures had eased slightly the disability imposed by the shortage.

Former Prime Minister and Conservative Opposition leader Winston Churchill challenged the Labor Party leaders to a debate on the underlying causes for the shortage, and Labor agreed to debate this night.

Italy and the four other former Axis nations, Rumania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, for whom peace treaties had been formed by the Allies, had signed those treaties. The Italian treaty reduced Italy to a "third-rate power". In response to the signing, a British brigadier was killed in Pola, a naval base ceded from Italy to Yugoslavia by the terms of the treaty. Angry Italian crowds jeered the American, British, and Russian embassies in Rome.

Yugoslavia, which had vowed not to sign the treaty with Italy as long as Trieste was internationalized under administration of a U.N.-appointed governor, reversed itself and signed the treaty. Nineteen other Allied nations signed the treaties as well, including the United States, save for the treaty with Finland, to which the U.S. was not a party as it had remained neutral with respect to Finland during the war.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Hatch Act, banning political activity by Federal employees and State employees receiving Federal funds, as against a challenge for limiting First Amendment freedom of speech, press, and assembly, and, in the case of state employees, interfering with state's rights. Two cases, one on Federal employees, the other on state employees in Oklahoma, had decided the issue.

The decision on the state employees, State of Oklahoma v. U. S. Civil Service Commission, 330 U.S. 127, was decided 5 to 2, with Justice Stanley Reed delivering the opinion and Justices Hugo Black and Wiley Rutledge dissenting, albeit without opinion. Justices Robert Jackson and Frank Murphy took no part in the decision. The opinion asserted that while the Federal Government had no right or interest in governing the action of state employees, it could fix the terms upon which Federal funds to support those employees were allocated, upholding the withholding of Federal funds from the salary of a State employee who had defied the Act.

The Federal case, United Public Workers v. Mitchell, 330 U.S. 75, was also decided 5 to 2, with Justice Reed also delivering that opinion, with a dissent by Justice Black and partial dissents by both Justices Rutledge and William O. Douglas. In both cases, Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote concurring opinions.

The Mitchell decision was cited, incidentally, in 2010 by Justice John Paul Stevens in his dissent to the 5 to 4 decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., holding that free speech was impinged by Section 203 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, "McCain-Feingold", preventing corporations and unions from spending their general treasury funds for advertising or other speech which expressly advocated the election or defeat of a candidate for public office, holding that the Act thus was unconstitutional. Justice Stevens cited the Mitchell case, inter alia, as footnote 45 of his opinion, for the proposition: "The Government routinely places special restrictions on the speech rights of students, prisoners, members of the Armed Forces, foreigners, and its own employees." Thus, the dissent reasoned, the impingement in question, imposed by McCain-Feingold, was no more onerous than that upheld by the Mitchell case and the other cited decisions.

We note, parenthetically, that Citizens United may be the only Supreme Court decision in history which ever dared refer to a former First Lady, former Senator, and, at the time, Secretary of State, by her first name, "Hillary", even if referring to a quasi-documentary of that title, the speech in question in the case. It made, no doubt, for fun and games among the Limbecks who like to follow the law and make some pretense, sometimes, of legal scholarship, of even being lawyers, with such statements as: "Some members of the public might consider Hillary to be insightful and instructive; some might find it to be neither high art nor a fair discussion on how to set the Nation's course; still others simply might suspend judgment on these points but decide to think more about issues and candidates. Those choices and assessments, however, are not for the Government to make." But then, there has probably never been a majority of the Supreme Court so politicized in the history of the Court as the present one, the Five.

It is time for a Change. That is Our Free Speech, Bony Maronie.

The Court this date also decided, 5 to 4, in Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, an opinion delivered by Justice Black, that public school funds could be used to transport children to Catholic parochial schools, without violating the First Amendment prohibition against the state establishment of a religion, the derivation of the doctrine of separation of church and state, or the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment. As publicly beneficial legislation, no citizen could be excluded, by virtue of the 14th Amendment Equal Protection clause and First Amendment freedom of religion doctrine, from its provisions by the fact of religion. The Court found binding precedent in the fact that the Court had, in 1930, approved the practice of the states supplying textbooks to public and private schools.

Justice Rutledge dissented, joined by Justices Frankfurter, Jackson, and Harold Burton. Justice Jackson added his own dissent as well, joined by Justice Frankfurter.

Unconfirmed reports stated that Chinese Government troops, with the approval of Russia, had moved to within four miles of the port at Dairen in Manchuria, having been stationed for months 45 miles away at Pulantien. Russians troops still controlled Dairen. Strife continued between Government troops and Communist troops at Lini on the Tientsin-Pukow railroad and along the Hankow-Peiping route.

A rare self-portrait by Rembrandt and two other German-owned paintings, one by Ter Borch and the other by T. H. Tischbein, seized at Dayton, O., during the war as property of an enemy state, were formally declared by Attorney General Tom Clark to be permanently the property of the United States. The Rembrandt was valued at $140,000. The three paintings had originally been sold to a Dayton resident in 1934 by two German merchant seamen who bought them knowing they had been stolen in 1922 from a museum in Thuringia. The Dayton buyer had also been aware of the theft.

In Washington, the former secretary of Col. Jack Durant, on trial for theft of the Hessian crown jewels, told of bringing into the U.S. part of the jewels alleged to have been stolen with the help of Col. Durant's WAC wife in latter 1945 and brought into the country in February, 1946. Col. Durant, according to the secretary, had made incriminating statements to her regarding the origin of the jewels.

The Durants, as pointed out last year, had been arrested at the La Salle Hotel just hours before the disastrous fire at that location on June 5, 1946, resulting in the deaths of 77 persons.

In Charlotte, twenty-two fire alarms, including one serious fire at Piedmont Junior High School the previous night, kept the Fire Department busy during the previous 24 hours.

A 52-page magazine report on North Carolina's Good Health Program would be presented by The News the following day, to provide an outline of the needs of the state in health care and the initiative's intended remedies.

In Parksville, Mo., a panther hunt, which attracted 400 participants, failed to turn up its quarry, which was believed responsible for the death of livestock in the area. The hunters, utilizing an airplane, did bag seven coyotes and two horned owls.

Louisiana Governor Jimmie Davis arrived in Los Angeles to discuss a film being made about his life. The Governor was best known for having authored "You Are My Sunshine". It was, however, raining heavily in Los Angeles when he arrived.

In Miami, it was announced that comedian Harold Lloyd would be the Imperial Potentate of the Shriners for 1950.

Some relief from the cold weather in Charlotte was predicted, as the temperature was supposed to reach 44 the following afternoon. The mercury, however, was set to drop again to 16 during this night. On Sunday morning, the temperature had dropped to 13 degrees in the city, 10 at the airport, the former being the lowest recorded since February 15, 1942. The temperature thus far in February had averaged 34.8, eight degrees below normal.

On the editorial page, "Round Two on the Boulevard" reports that engineers were at work surveying the possibility of alternate routes for the proposed cross-town boulevard, the original route, approved by the State, having been withdrawn by the City Council in favor of an alternate, less onerous to property owners, but one which ultimately failed to obtain State approval. It counsels awaiting the City's action before again protesting any proposed route. The mere presence of an engineer with a transit did not necessarily mean that a route would impose itself on a particular neighborhood or street.

The cross-town boulevard ultimately was constructed as Independence Boulevard—like it or not.

"The Case of the Gored Ox" tells of the Republicans in the House having passed the proposed Constitutional amendment, to become, at ratification in 1951, the 22nd Amendment, to limit the presidency to two terms. The President had proposed the bill in 1945 during the 79th Congress, which had not acted on it. So, the piece finds the notion ironic that it had now become a cornerstone of Republican policy.

The Democrats, in 1912, when they nominated Woodrow Wilson, had written into their platform a pledge of only one term, later repudiated by President Wilson when he ran in 1916 and narrowly defeated recently resigned Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes. The 1912 pledge had been premised as counterpoint to the fact that the Republicans had been continuously in power since 1861 when Abraham Lincoln was elected, save for the two separate terms of Grover Cleveland, in 1885-89, and 1893-97.

The Democrats had changed their tune, however, with the popularity of FDR, who had run four times successfully, the only President ever to run for more than two terms—setting aside the run in 1912 as a Bull Mooser by Theodore Roosevelt, who, while serving nearly a first full term, had first come to the Presidency by way of the assassination of William McKinley six months into his second term in 1901.

It suggests that the amendment would likely be applied first to a Republican President and that the day would come when the Democrats would be "pleased as punch" that the Constitution had been so amended.

Whether, incidentally, that is true, is subject to a great deal of guesswork. President Eisenhower suffered severe health problems in 1955 and 1956, and it was being suggested that Vice-President Nixon become Acting President, then run himself for the position—which would have made him the youngest elected President in the country's history, at 44, had he been inaugurated in 1957. Thus, had President Eisenhower, reasonably popular upon his exit from office in 1961, been able to seek the office again, it is highly questionable whether he would have done so, being then the oldest President in the country's history.

President Johnson withdrew from the 1968 race. President Nixon resigned 19 months into his second term. President Ford was never elected. President Carter was defeated for a second term. President Reagan, also popular at the end of his second term, may yet have chosen not to run again or would not have been elected because of noticeable detriment in mental acuity during his last term in office, ultimately diagnosed as Alzheimer's. President George H. W. Bush was not re-elected. President Clinton, despite the failed impeachment attempt by the Republican conservatives, left office with very high approval ratings and, in all likelihood, would have been elected to a third term, maybe even a fourth or fifth. So...

We rate the prediction of the piece, while reasonable in its premises, thus unlikely ever to have become a reality, the editors not being able in their wildest imaginations to foresee the political turmoil to beset the country for the ensuing 42 years of the Cold War, resulting in both extreme tragedy and various "comedies of errors". Indeed, if there was ever a schizoid nation, it was the United States during the Cold War. It could not quite make up its mind, it seems, whether to continue as a liberal democracy or go whole-hog into some third-world semi-militaristic dictatorship masquerading in quasi-democratic garb, or become a pleasantly unassuming benevolent oligarchy cloaked in semi-royalty.

In any event, the title of the piece and the "pleased as punch" phraseology were unwittingly prophetic in their own right.

The editorial finds the amendment wholly unnecessary, aimed at limiting the will of the people, rather than that of any President. It suggests that President Roosevelt had been as responsive to the will of the people as any President in the country's history, not the egomaniacal dictator his enemies had sought to portray.

And, of course, that was a completely true assessment which still reads as good history, when studying, that is, the facts, and not some fool's fanciful blackboard full of lies drawn as "train tracks of history", which, no doubt, the fool dreamed up on cold winter mornings in high school while reading the back of Post Toasties boxes and dreaming of the little surprise he might derive by collecting enough boxtops and cashing in on them.

We know it's not really polite to pick on the under-educated mentally infirm, but when they are rich and famous, and appeal to many thousands of morons via radio and television every day, we simply believe it to be inseparable from the duty of noblesse oblige.

"The Salvation of Jeeter Lester" tells not of the radio waves providing ground for suitable employment, but rather of an ad in The New Yorker for a woman's "desert-fashion skirt" made from "faded blue denim", the subject of which would, to avoid the feeling of wearing a "stiff boiled shirt", require the services of thousands of Jeeters throughout the South who had accumulated long experience in the art of breaking in denim, to act as consultants on the matter for the ladies who would don the garment.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Forty Miles above Macon", tells of National Geographic having presented ten color maps of the South as it would be viewed from 40 miles in space, including the locations of several prominent battlefields. But, it had neglected the several Revolutionary War battlefields, including the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in Greensboro, the Battle of Cowpens in South Carolina, and the Battle of Kings Mountain, the latter of which, according to Sir Henry Clinton, had "proved the first Link of a Chain of Evils that followed each other in regular Succession until they at last ended in the total Loss of America."

The omission, suggests the piece, would elicit disturbance among the members of the DAR, the Colonial Dames, and the Historical Societies of North and South Carolina, against which it proposed not to offer any defense for National Geographic.

Drew Pearson, with sorrow, corrects his February 6 column which had provided a cheerful outlook for Ambassador O. Max Gardner as he was scheduled the previous Thursday to set sail aboard the America for London, to begin his duties at the Court of St. James. Ambassador Gardner had suddenly succumbed in the wee hours of that morning to a heart attack, dying at 8:20 a.m., just a few hours before the ship was scheduled to depart.

He tells of Mr. Gardner's selfless attitude toward others, how, when the late Harry Hopkins was having trouble being confirmed as Secretary of Commerce under President Roosevelt, the former North Carolina Governor had sat up all night preparing him for the grueling examination by Senators. He had also given advice to Stuart Symington when he was suffering problems as War Surplus Property Administrator. When Mr. Pearson was sued by former Congressman Sweeney of Ohio for libel, Mr. Gardner had spent long hours on his behalf battling the suit.

Max Gardner "loved people more than position", had turned down numerous offers of high posts before reluctantly accepting the position as Ambassador to Great Britain.

Mr. Gardner, he relates, had sought his advice on whether to take the post as Ambassador, and Mr. Pearson had urged him to do so, that he believed relations with Britain had never been so important. Mr. Gardner's type of blunt-speaking personality, as opposed to a "social whirler", was, he told him, perfectly suited to the position.

When, a few weeks earlier, Mr. Gardner had sold his rayon mill which he had built from scratch, he showed Mr. Pearson a check for the proceeds of sale, making him a millionaire, saying he had no idea what to do with the money. His mill had been the first in the South to adopt the minimum wage, and he had voluntarily raised wages the previous year during the labor strife of the post-war period.

He had always believed in the creed he had expressed in 1932 to FDR when Mr. Gardner was Governor of North Carolina and Mr. Roosevelt was Governor of New York, that the people were moving forward and would actively support a more liberal government. "I am satisfied," he had said, "we are in the day of a New Deal and that many of our preconceived ideas and formulas are going to be thrown into the discard. We are more than blind if we think the American people can be hitched to the status quo. The camp fires of the past are now abandoned and the frontiers of thinking have extended beyond the limit heretofore held sacred by the conservative minds of this country."

He had adhered to the belief to the end of his days.

A few hours before his death, Mr. Gardner had phoned Mr. Pearson to say his goodbyes, appeared then in good spirits, looking forward to his journey to England.

He remarks that the social folderol which had come as a result of his appointment had been more demanding than had he run for the Senate in 1944 to succeed Robert Rice Reynolds, which he had declined to do, in favor of his brother-in-law Clyde Hoey, based on health issues.

At one such social occasion, where plaudits were heaped on him from people who scarcely knew him, he had risen, in the face of having it suggested that he might follow in the line of Ambassadors to England who had gone on to become President, and related the story, which Mr. Pearson had told in part the previous week, regarding his first trip to England in July, 1905, via cattle boat, arriving just as former Ambassador John Hay had died in New Hampshire that July 1, quoting then from memory Mr. Hay's poem "Little Breeches", which he had then quoted also from memory to the hansom cab driver taking him to Mr. Hay's memorial service in London. The audience at the affair in Washington had applauded the recitation, appearing to appreciate the intent of this Ambassador to follow the moral of the poem, that it is more salutary to mix with the common people than to spend time "loafing around the throne".

"That," Mr. Pearson concludes, "was Max Gardner—who always enjoyed sitting on his front porch in a rocking chair given him by the Negroes of Shelby, and who now sets sail for a great new destination where he can sit and rock and loaf around God's throne."

As we noted a couple of years ago, discovering the fact for the first time, W. J. Cash, in his youth, during his teens and the century's teens, had been a frequent visitor to Webbley, Mr. Gardner's home. At the time, from 1912 to 1932, the Cashes lived in Boiling Springs, ten miles down the tracks from Shelby, before moving to Shelby in 1932 at the height of the Depression. It is probable therefore that Mr. Gardner's abilities as a raconteur of note, his reputation for which having been related by Dr. Zeno Wall at the funeral the previous Saturday in Shelby, lent some formative fabric to W. J. Cash, which, no doubt, positively influenced his writing of The Mind of the South in the 1930's, largely written in Shelby.

Marquis Childs suggests that in the history of the Senate's fools and scoundrels, none had been so foolish as Senator Kenneth McKellar in relation to the confirmation of David Lilienthal as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, attempting to smear Mr. Lilienthal with a Red brush and even questioning his parental heritage. He finds it equivalent to Hitler's tactics.

The post had been offered to James B. Conant, president of Harvard, and to Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson, both having declined out of preference to remain in their current positions. Mr. Lilienthal, who had dedicated his life to public service, could have made far more in the private sector, but accepted the appointment.

The wife of Andrew Jackson of Tennessee had suffered at the hands of the press when her husband became President. Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was also the recipient of defamatory remarks by men seeking to destroy him politically.

Mr. Childs remarks that the Tennessee Congressional delegation, setting aside Senator McKellar, was comprised of able, dedicated, and honest men. But Senator McKellar, with Boss Ed Crump of Memphis close behind him, presented a blot on the state's reputation which was difficult to ignore. It left a question as to how such could occur under the American democratic system.

Harold Ickes discusses the President's tendency to backfill after making promises he could not keep. He had done so the previous year anent his promise of balancing the budget the following fiscal year, backtracking, following consultation with Secretary of Treasury John W. Snyder, to say that he only intended a "budget in balance". He had done so regarding his promise to hold the line on price controls, only to allow so many bulges in controls that the whole system finally had collapsed, save on rents and sugar. Now, his promised determination to hold the line on rents was also collapsing, as the director of the Office of Temporary Controls, General Philip Fleming, had been about to issue a statement announcing a ten percent rise in rents until CIO president Philip Murray got wind of it and called the White House, at which point the announcement was stopped.

Nevertheless, OTC was about to announce that where there was a question of doubt as to whether a landlord ought, to assure reasonable profit, be allowed a ten percent increase, the allowance would be granted.

President Truman had left the issue of rent ceilings to the Congress. General Fleming, a "hail fellow, well met" who had graduated West Point, appeared to be acquiescing to the real estate lobby in advance of Congress taking action on the issue. Yet, the President continued to express confidence in the General as an able administrator.

A letter writer suggests that, for its one-party control, the South, or virtually all of it, was without true democracy. He takes as example North Carolina, the state he regards as the most free of the one-party Southern states. Nevertheless, in twelve Congressional districts, there were twelve Democratic Congressmen. With 38 percent representation among voters, Republicans only held six State House seats, five percent of the total, four percent of the State Senate seats.

He predicts that time was running short for the Democrats in the South, that the walls would tumble as had the walls of Jericho, as the people had grown weary of excessive bureaucracy and taxation.

Of course, he failed to realize that as much Washington bureaucracy had been installed by FDR's three Republican predecessors, who began the alphabet agencies, as by FDR, and that the income tax was begun by the first Republican President, to pay for the Civil War. We note it only to balance the slate. To call the Democrats the party of Big Government and high taxes is a fool's game played by someone not very astute on history or seeking deliberately to play havoc with the truth.

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