The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 15, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Herman Talmadge, trying to secure his place as Governor of Georgia, had won the third case in Superior Court, this one also in McDonough, providing Mr. Talmadge access to $95,000 in public funds left in the executive department bank account by former Governor Ellis Arnall. All three cases would be appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, including the first case, decided in Rome in favor of Lieutenant Governor M. E. Thompson.

The contest was between whether the election of Mr. Talmadge as Governor by the Legislature was a legitimate exercise of power, based on the notion that the death of his father before taking the oath of office had invalidated the election results, or that the line of succession in the case of the death of the Governor-elect allowed, pursuant to the State Constitution, the Lieutenant Governor-elect, Mr. Thompson, to become Acting Governor.

In Britain, the Northern industrialists stated that they could not resume operations for at least another week. Coal production was beginning to return to normal, as more than a hundred colliers and a hundred coal trains were scheduled to reach London this date. Prime Minister Attlee declared that in Manchester the situation was still difficult but improving.

The Joint House-Senate Budgetary Committee continued meeting behind closed doors as Democrats on the Committee vowed to fight the proposed six billion dollar slash of the President's proposed 37.5 billion dollar budget. The cuts included two billion dollars in reduction of military spending, which Democrats urged would compromise the security of the nation to enable the Republican-proposed 20 percent across-the-board tax cut, primarily beneficial to the wealthy.

The President flew to Grandview, Mo., to be with his mother who fell and fractured her hip Thursday night. It was her third broken hip in seven years.

At Petah Tiova in Palestine, two masked men armed with machine guns abducted a Jewish youth the previous night.

In Philadelphia, it was reported that the circulation of the nation's newspapers had increased by two million over the previous year.

Burke Davis of The News tells of a proposed bill before the Legislature which would establish an experimental merit system for teachers to determine pay scale.

Senator William B. Umstead of North Carolina announced that the War Assets Administration had authorized the State to lease the hospital at Camp Butner as a mental facility, pending permanent acquisition of the facility for the purpose.

In Detroit, a woman who took her pet snake with her shopping, had been given her freedom following her arrest for disturbing the peace with the snake. The Recorder's Court dismissed the charge as the snake was deemed harmless. The woman had 39 other snakes, willed to her by her father.

In Marion, Ill., a woman holding her six-month old child jumped down a well to drown herself. The woman had been informed recently that she suffered from a chronic illness. Both bodies were recovered from the well.

In New York, quadruplets were born prematurely and placed in an incubator.

In Baltimore, a truck veered to avoid hitting a dog, struck a light pole, and then a mother pushing her infant child in a baby carriage. The baby was thrown from the carriage and landed under the truck, but was unhurt. The mother's leg was in danger of needing amputation.

In Cincinnati, a three-year old boy was run over by a freight train and just missed crawling into the path of another, but escaped with only bruises and a possibly fractured jaw. The locomotive and four boxcars had passed over him, but he had stayed in the prone position and had two feet of clearance.

In Hollywood, the Academy Award nominations were announced. The nominees for cinematography were: "Anna and the King of Siam", "The Green Years", both black-and-white films, "The Jolson Story" and "The Yearling", both in color. The nominees for Best Picture, not provided, were: "The Yearling", "The Best Years of Our Lives", "Henry V", "It's a Wonderful Life", and "The Razor's Edge".

Also in Hollywood, actress Barbara Billingsley described her husband Glenn, a Hollywood restaurateur, nephew of New York club owner Sherman Billingsley, as an absentee husband, was granted a divorce decree. She said that he would arise at 11:00 a.m., rush off to work, and would not return home until 2:00 a.m.

He was an eager beaver.

Three North Carolinians were starring in Broadway productions, Norman Cordon of Charlotte, Anne Jeffreys of Goldsboro, both appearing in "Street Scene", a musical by Kurt Weil and Langston Hughes based on the play by Elmer Rice, and Shepperd Strudwick of Hillsboro, in "Christopher Blake". Jean Meegan of the Associated Press covers that story on page 12-A.

Don't miss it. Everybody wants to know.

Warlord of Mazelaine, a boxer, won the Best in Show award in the Westminster Kennel Club Show at Madison Square Garden. The others went down for the count.

On the editorial page, "Veto Power on the Home Front" reports that the Mecklenburg County delegation to the Legislature had rejected certain requests from the City Council for legislation. The rejections included lowering of the minimum age of firemen from 21 to 18, permitting City employees to live outside the city limits for as long as the housing shortage persisted, regulating the keeping of fowls and bees by city residents, and the paving of through-streets without public petition or special assessment against adjoining property owners.

Since all of the requests affected only residents of the City of Charlotte, the piece questions why the State ever became involved. The County should not be effectively serving as an upper house of the Legislature with veto power over the City.

"Notes on State Board 22" tells of a bill before the Legislature to establish a board to regulate the undertaking business, introduced by the state's undertakers. Its membership, to be appointed by the Governor, would be based on recommendations of the undertakers themselves. The board would have the final say on whether a person could enter the undertaking business, thus limiting competition. The bill would thus run contrary to the public interest and should not be approved.

"Prohibition Via the Back Door" discusses the proposed statewide liquor referendum introduced during the week in the Legislature, given a slight chance of passage. It was loaded in favor of the prohibitionists, only affecting hard liquor and wine, not beer, and was phrased so that voters could vote only for prohibition, not for controlled sale.

While it would support a competent statewide referendum on liquor, it suggests that more dangerous than liquor was the subversion of the democratic process, as this bill would accomplish.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "A Fertile Field for Gobbledygook", finds the memorandum of the CIO union representing the workers of the big four rubber companies to be a piece of cryptic circumlocution in which it was hard to find anything concrete with which to grapple. It could not be predicted from it whether the workers would strike after the companies had walked out of negotiations. It predicts therefore a hard winter ahead on the labor front.

Drew Pearson tells of a group of Communist leaders, led by William Z. Foster, leaving the country ahead of the probe being conducted by the Congress and the Justice Department into the Soviet political network. The FBI had two New York nightclubs under surveillance as suspected "message drops" for Soviet agents. The Justice Department was seeking to outlaw the American Communist Party, and lists of persons had been developed by the FBI for possible apprehension. There was a good chance that Mr. Foster would not return from his trip to Moscow.

He next tells of fast-talking Nebraska lobbyist George Johnson who had managed to obtain reductions on the interest owed by Nebraska on Government loans and had also been able to move the position of the loans into that of a second mortgage, though senior to more recent Wall Street loans provided the state.

He next deals with the confirmation hearings on David Lilienthal as chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and suggests the challenge led by Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee to be a function of the desire to have atomic energy in the hands of private interests. The same tactics had been used in the period 1938-40, when Senator Styles Bridges of New Hampshire had set about investigating the TVA and its directors, led by Mr. Lilienthal. His investigation had gained no traction.

The only difference was that in the prior fight, Senator McKellar had supported TVA and had accused Senator Bridges of slinging mud. Now, they were battling arm-in-arm on atomic power.

Marquis Childs similarly compares to a twenties movie running at a faster pace the hearings on confirmation of David Lilienthal, finds the smear tactics being employed by Mr. Lilienthal's old enemy, Senator McKellar, to be grounded in irrelevancies.

The reason behind the tactics, the attempt to paint Mr. Lilienthal with a Red brush, was the attempt to place control of atomic power in private hands of corporations, actually aimed at TVA. The Acheson-Lilienthal report, recommending that atomic power be placed under an international authority and concluding that exploitation of it by private interests would be effectively to surrender to private dictatorship, contained findings inimical to the purposes of Senator McKellar and the clique of business interests backing him. The Hearst-McCormick-Patterson press were along for the ride.

It explained, Mr. Childs notes, why the House-Senate Atomic Committee had so bitterly attacked Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson.

"At times you have a little of the feeling that it was at this point in the movie that you came in."

Samuel Grafton, still in Paris, tells of the squirrel cage quality to life in Western Europe. Britain, for instance, had nationalized the coal industry to assure enough fuel for all export industries, industries now shut down for want of coal during the harsh winter.

The French had the feeling that they, too, were living in such a squirrel cage. Prices were not being controlled as in England, the consequence of which being that prices would rise when products became scarce in the face of increasing exports, causing then exports to rise in price, cutting export trade.

Thus, the squirrel cage was manifested with or without control.

The French peasant could not afford the linen they desired and so saw little use in selling their farm products, ate the meat they produced, with the result that city dwellers were without meat.

An American woman who had been in France for twelve years longed to be back in America where she could buy gas and food and did not have to wait in lines or endlessly fill out forms, where she could take a decent hot-water bath when she wanted. America and Western Europe, while liking to think of themselves as united politically, were in fact separated by a gulf of practical differences.

A letter writer commends the newspaper for the issue on the North Carolina Good Health Program which had appeared as a 52-page insert to the Tuesday edition.

Changing topics, he thinks that if controlled sale of liquor were to be permitted in the city and county, the increase in tax revenue from it would quickly be eroded in time by the increase in crime consequent of increased consumption of liquor.

A letter writer, the business manager of the Valdese General Hospital, also found the health program issue interesting, reports that the Valdese Hospital had four doctors on staff who were always ready to provide emergency care when needed.

Four other letter writers each briefly express their approbation of the issue.

A letter writer was glad to see Herman Talmadge in office in Georgia and suggests that North Carolina needed someone like him. He also likes Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, urges readers to view the 1915 film "Birth of a Nation" or read the Doubleday, Page published books by Thomas Dixon on which it was based, The Leopard's Spots of 1903 and The Clansman of 1905.

It is hard to know whether he is being facetious. We would like to hope so, but we fear not.

Assuming his sincerity of purpose, however disingenuous in the abstract it may be, such correspondence perhaps provides insight to why the state had so many mental cases that it needed Camp Butner to afford them care, not so much to house people of the stripe of this letter writer, who, no doubt, had a passionately supportive network of amply voluble friends and family, but rather, primarily, those they such as he ran crazy.

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