The Charlotte News

Wednesday, February 26, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that President Truman had sent to Congress a proposed bill, titled the National Security Act of 1947, for the merger of the Army and Navy under a Department of Common Defense with a Cabinet-level Secretary. Within the Defense Establishment, there would be co-equal Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, each with secretaries, all operating under the Defense Secretary. The bill had been drafted by Clark Clifford, the President's counsel, after consultation with the heads of the Army and Navy and the Joint Chiefs, all of whom had approved the bill. The Joint Chiefs would act as the principal military adviser to the President and Secretary of Defense. Presently the Air Forces operated under the Army and Navy, but would be conjoined to form a separate Department within the Defense Department.

The President appointed Lewis W. Douglas to be the new Ambassador to Britain to replace O. Max Gardner who had died earlier in the month, hours before his voyage to Britain was scheduled to depart New York. Mr. Douglas was the president of Mutual Life Insurance Co. of New York and had previously been a Congressman from Arizona. He had served briefly under FDR in 1933 as Director of the Budget. Mr. Douglas had served in World War I. He appeared to be acceptable to the Republican Senate leadership.

In Brussels, Belgium, police and soldiers fought off more than 50,000 former prisoners of war and deportees who were attempting to storm the Government Building. Unconfirmed reports stated that a dozen people were killed, but only one death had been confirmed. About a hundred people were reported to have been injured. The demonstration had begun with former German prisoners demanding special status and payment of the remaining half of a bonus promised to them during the war.

In Sicily, a lava flow from Mount Etna threatened several communities in the area, reaching within 2,500 yards of Passo Pisciaro. The lava was flowing on a 300-yard front at the rate of about 70 yards per hour, and had broken into three streams, the largest flowing toward Cisterna Di Collabasso on the plains of Palombe. It was the first notable eruption of Mount Etna since 1928.

The Japanese train wreck near Tokyo the previous day was blamed on faulty air brakes on one of the derailed coaches. The derailment of four of six cars took the lives of 178 persons and injured another 350.

Thomas Reedy reports from Nuremberg that, according to an informant, Hermann Goering had managed the previous October to commit suicide while awaiting his execution after conviction by the War Crimes Tribunal, hours before the time the penalty was set to be exacted, by way of poison hidden in the plumbing system of his cell. The informant stated that Herr Goering had described his method to the prison commandant in a letter left at his death.

He supposedly had stated that he had three vials of prussic acid, one having been discovered, another hidden in his rectum, and a third in his luggage. German toilets were designed differently from American toilets and he took advantage of that difference in secreting his vials. He hid them in a hump in the piping of the toilet. He carried them with him each day into the courtroom in case there was a change of his cell in his absence, which occurred five times.

Pete McKnight of The News tells of a bill about to be introduced to the State Legislature to provide authority to cities and counties to build and operate offstreet parking facilities.

The Mecklenburg County Grand Jury returned indictments against eighteen dairymen for adulterating milk with water and mislabeling same as whole milk.

The trial of the two men for the January 20 murder of bootlegger Herman Satinover was scheduled to start in Charlotte this date. The murder had allegedly occurred when the sister of Mr. Satinover had been insulted and ordered to leave the home of one of the accused during a poker game in which liquor flowed freely. When Mr. Satinover angrily arrived at the residence, after his mother was warned by one of the men not to have him come there, one man fired a gun at Mr. Satinover, missing, then hitting him with a second shot, as the other man held him.

In Hollywood, writer Robert Light, who had a heavy beard, over which his former wife, actress Judith Webster, had divorced him, was set to be remarried to actress Jan Keller, who had appeared as the lead in the 1933 film, "Drunkard". She said that she liked beards.

On the editorial page, "Congress and the Good Health Program" tells that while the Legislature appeared ready to pass the Good Health Program in North Carolina, in Congress a battle was being waged which would impact it, that being the fact that the Federal Government would need foot one-third of the bill for the Program, the State another third, and the localities the remaining third.

The Hill-Burton Act was passed at the close of the 79th Congress to provide 1.125 billion dollars for hospital construction over a five-year period, but it was not funded, a job remaining for the economy-minded 80th Congress.

Federal aid for North Carolina would be almost one-third of that proposed by President Truman for the fiscal year, and Congress was showing reluctance even to appropriate that much. If the Congress failed to act, then the program in North Carolina as well in the other 47 states would fail for want of funding.

"Remember, ABC Means Control" argues for tougher anti-bootlegging laws to go along with controlled sale of liquor, should it pass in the referendum. The Dry forces had shown no interest in enforcing the liquor laws on the books, and the Wet forces should not repeat that bad performance.

"The Re-Election of Mr. Bridges" tells of the re-election of J. H. Bridges as president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, finding it a good choice. He faced in the coming year in office the need to establish more space for businesses to be able to attract them to the city. There was a proposal for a Merchandise Mart for trade exhibiters—eventually to be constructed in the latter 1950's on the new Independence Boulevard and still extant.

A piece from the Shelby Daily Star, titled "A Respected Bootlegger?" informs of the High Point Enterprise, in telling of the death of one of the town's people, having labeled him a "notorious but respected bootlegger".

"Black Diamond", as the 65-year old man was known, had 35 arrests for liquor law violations during the previous 15 years, but the Sheriff's Department nevertheless liked him for his giving $100 to the Red Cross and always being cooperative during raids of his home. He had also supposedly once bribed his way out of prison.

The piece thinks he had earned the adjective "notorious", but "respected" and "square shooter" were not labels which readily came to mind to describe such an individual.

Drew Pearson tells of Governor Thomas Dewey having quadrupled New York's health budget to provide for annual testing for tuberculosis and treatment of any cases discovered. Some health facilities in counties where health was good would be taken over by the State, to avoid having to build new facilities when materials were scarce and needed for veterans housing.

Mr. Pearson notes that Harlem was the worst area in New York and one of the worst across the nation for reported tuberculosis cases, from its attraction of migration out of the South and crowded living conditions.

Congressman John Rankin of Mississippi was no longer the friend to the Republicans he had been when his party was in the majority. He was more critical of the Republicans now than of Northern Democrats, his old nemesis. He had recently remarked that in the first month of the GOP Senate, the majority had only accomplished three things, the confirmation of General Marshall as Secretary of State and Frances Perkins as a member of the Civil Service Commission, plus deferring action on whether to seat Senator Theodore Bilbo. He figured that, based on annual pay, the monthly rate for the 51 Republican Senators amounted to $21,250 per accomplishment in salary.

Mr. Pearson's former partner, Robert Allen, before joining the Army and fighting in the war where he lost an arm, had just published Our Fair City, utilizing the services of a stable of newsmen across the country to dissect the cities of the nation and describe how they functioned under political bosses. Mr. Pearson suggests that the book gave rise to the notion that state and local governments in the United States were as susceptible to criticism as many abroad.

Denver and Cleveland builders had been summoned to court to explain why they had not filed sales reports as required by OPA regulations in effect until the prior December 24. The failure to file reports in many areas of the country were causing veterans to be cheated out of cheap housing. Legal action came after prodding from the VFW, the American Veterans Committee, and AMVETS. At first, the Housing Expediter's Office was reluctant, but the three organizations convinced it that the action was appropriate to assure enforcement.

Marquis Childs provides the prayer for Lent given by the new Senate Chaplain, the Reverend Peter Marshall, urging that the Senators act with knowledge that their actions were always being scrutinized and to inspire rather than disillusion the public. Mr. Childs believes that the 80th Congress needed the prayer and humility.

In 1930, the Congress had passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act to raise tariffs, closing the door on world trade. It had led to the formation of the sterling bloc, the collapse of the economies of Germany and Austria, the onset of Nazism, and global war. While there were many other factors, the initial spark may have come from the Act. The 80th Congress needed to bear that chain of causality in mind in rendering prudent economic decisions, which would inexorably affect world events.

If the Congress failed to confirm the appointment of David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, then it would signal a failure of self-government. It might suggest that the country did not entrust nuclear energy to any entity except the military.

Should the Congress make too many cuts in the budget, it would compromise the occupation forces in Germany and Japan, and cause the failure of continuing relief efforts to supplant the lapsing UNRRA. The world would interpret such action as meaning the U.S. was not ready for its new role.

Should another chain reaction result as after 1930, it could mean World War III and all of the dire consequences imported thereby. Mr. Childs thinks that the week ought be set aside therefore as Pray for Congress Week.

Speaking of which, we were listening briefly to a young Senator from Texas, who appears frequently in the news these days, expounding on the subject of climate change, claiming that originally, the "experts" back in the 1970's believed that the climate was cooling and then that the claim shifted in the 1990's, stimulated by "Al Gore and others", to global warming, and that now the nomenclature is "climate change", his point being, a common argument posed by obscurantists, that change in phraseology by the "experts" means necessarily that the "experts" do not know whereof they speak and so it is perfectly okay to go on driving the gas-guzzling SUV and pumping hydro-fluorocarbon emissions into the upper atmosphere at will on the hunch that good old Mother Nature will find a way to adapt and make life wonderful for us all on a continuing basis, no matter what we may do to irritate her. For, after all, if a god had not intended there to be cars burning petroleum, then why in Hell was the internal combustion engine discovered and why do all the automakers promote the SUV? No god would allow such a thing in Our World. Don't me-e-ss with Tex-a-as and its awl, bawy.

The Senator even wants to remove many of the environmental regulations, put in place originally by President Nixon, a well-known wild-eyed liberal who regularly swung in the trees to prevent logging and participated in other such frivolous activities in protest of environmental damage, once even having, we understand from reliable sources, painted himself in bright colors and danced naked one late night in the Reflecting Pool on the Mall.

We cannot blame the young Senator too much, of course, since he was born eight months after the first Earth Day in April, 1970, a month before Kent State, that latter incident having not been, per se, about Earth Day. But since the Senator holds a law degree from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from Princeton, we do find his obscurantist logic a bit more worthy of the uneducated than someone of his educational status. And so we make exception to our ordinary rule of not being too harsh in criticism addressed to the speech of the mentally infirm, as with the limbecks.

His argument, twenty years from now, if taken to its logical conclusion, would be that because some "experts" in the early part of the 21st Century contended that global warming and climate change of any sort were mere myths, based on transitory trends and ordinary climate cycles, the whole debate among the "experts" therefore was, disingenuously, shifted, thereby undermined, and now, in 2035, some extremist nuts trying to suggest outrageously that the flooding of New York's entire Battery is somehow connected with global warming rather than a natural rise in sea level brought on by the perfectly natural melting of the entire polar ice pack, which was due to occur at anytime anyway by the instruction of the gods, are simply coloring the facts to fit their own dissimulation on the matter. What alarmists! What pedants and fools these mortals be! Hail Caesar! Heil Hitler! De-regulation now, de-regulation tomorra, de-regulation faweva!

In point of fact, while we do not suggest it as a major topic of discussion in society generally or even so widely within the dedicated scientific community of the time, the topic of global warming was receiving some limited notice among geologists and climatologists as early as 1953 and, actually, before that. While the first Earth Day in 1970 placed its emphasis more on the pollution of the nation's rivers and air than on global warming per se, the idea of the "greenhouse effect" was being discussed at the time on college campuses if not in the general media. Moreover, the subject of emissions of hydro-fluorocarbons was receiving press at the time, and quite actively by the mid-70's, though more concerned then in the popular mind with the hole in the ozone layer than, per se, global warming. Global cooling was not being discussed very much, and certainly was not the scientific "trend", as the obscurantists, born too late to remember or understand the period and deriving their "facts" from superficial, self-serving gleanings put forth in isolated media presentations rather than from a survey of the scientific literature of the time, would have us believe.

We just thought that we should correct the invalid notion, put forth by the Senator and others of his belief system, that former Vice-President Gore invented global warming as a topic and that there has been some change in the past 50 years or so in the focus of the experts such that they have undermined their own claims with paradoxical counter-claims. None of that is true. And no one but a complete idiot, regardless of education, trying self-servingly to promote Big Oil interests among his or her primary campaign contributors and constituents, or under the spell of someone so politicking, to sustain for a short time the continuing myth of inexhaustible fossil fuel resources and thereby also to continue contributing to the greenhouse effect and global warming until we are all made, by the mid-21st Century or so, to pay the lasting price of an irreversibly ruined planet, would make the case with a straight face. It is simply psychological denial to enable a continued practice of profiteering off permanent spoliation of the planet and to drive without conscience those gas-guzzling vehicles.

The concept of global warming has to take into account the entire industrial age when compared, through carbon sampling in the earth's crust, trees, and the ice pack, to prior ages when there were no unnatural emissions into the atmosphere of hydro-fluorocarbons. It is not instructed by one year's weather or the weather pattern of a single decade or so. The Senator appears not very astute on that point, confusing temporary weather patterns with climate change. His solution to the problem would obviously be for everyone to move to a cooler place, inland, until the melting stops and the coast is clear.

The most recent qualified comment on the subject of global warming is in a joint report prepared by the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, suggesting that there has been, for the past 14 years, stagnancy in the warming trend, such that the expected warming, based on projections from recent prior decades of mean temperature increases, was not realized over the course of the entire planet. That, obviously, does not suggest, as the report also indicates, either that global warming is a myth or that it has been arrested. The period was still warmer in mean temperature than the prior decade of the 1990's. Instead, the scientists explain, the phenomenon is the result, at least in part, of the transitory effect from increased volcanic activity during the previous 14 years, releasing sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, reflecting, in changed form to particulate matter dubbed "aerosols", sunlight away from the earth. In another part, it comes from the effects of changed fluctuations in the El Nino and La Nina weather patterns observed during a chosen relatively short term.

But the Megiddophiles, as the Senator clearly is, continue to wish to play with fire, until The End, so that they might achieve, in their lasting prophetic wisdom charted in Denial, political power from the ignorant who accept on face value the facile views which enable continuation of traditional practices, the same mentality which, at one point in time, after World War I, led to World War II and the nuclear age, all contributing markedly to global warming.

It is perfectly sound, in the view of such Megiddophiles, to sound the alarum over one crazy act by a band of nineteen crazy people commandeering and crashing airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to the point of destroying civil liberties even unto this day over twelve years later, thus providing to the madmen the desired result to which their act aspired. But it constitutes absurd chicken-little tactics to suggest global warming, despite the evidentiary data spanning 164 years, and the plainly visible evidence of melting Arctic sea ice, over 40 percent of which has dissipated since 1979, raising sea levels, 8 inches since 1901, and consequently producing climate change, with the mean planetary temperature having risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, a substantial change, with each of the last three decades being successively the warmest since temperature records were first widely maintained, beginning in the 1850's.

If it were only a paper theory, based on an hypothetical premise still wanting of evidence in the real world, that would be one thing; but it is starkly evident all about us, not every day of every year, but enough, for those who remember, to be concerned beyond merely the empirical data on paper. It must also be realized that "global warming" is a term of art to a degree, and that shifts in climate inevitably cause cooling trends in some places and warming trends in others, wetter trends in wet places and drier trends in dry places, upsetting food production cycles, complicating the effect to the world the more, beyond the rise in sea level and its immediate devastating consequences, already irreversible for a thousand years even if unnatural carbon dioxide emissions were eliminated forthwith. One must try to understand the entire picture at once and abandon the little picture intrigued within the mind by the image of that fancied SUV on which the observer had the heart set because it suggests protection of the family against the Terror.

The report states that we cannot anytime soon arrest global warming, based on the irreversible trend already in place, at least not for another thousand years and more. But we can ease the arithmetic acceleration of pace, arrest the momentum into the dark ages, and preserve the planet for other generations, so that one fine day, 150 years from now, the drowning, starving masses baking in the hot sun or freezing in arctic temperatures in areas which once were temperate will not be damning this generation's souls to Hell.

Mark it well, 2164, if it turns out to be so and this generation does not heed the warnings. Start with the callous Senator from Texas seeking to tide over his oil buddies, and others of his ilk, who are in denial that they might benefit politically and economically. They, more than anyone else here, are destroying your future.

We might amend the wish of Mr. Childs to include a Pray for the Future Week.

Samuel Grafton, still in Prague, tells of the palpable tension in the country brought on by the shape of the economy. The Czechs had nationalized industries but not on the Russian model, rather intending each factory to be run by a small, autonomous state-owned corporation, as if emulating the Western capitalistic model while still having socialism.

The Czechs were intensely desirous of political liberty. But the attempt to fuse socialism with capitalism had opened up new problems anent competition. Questions arose as to how state-owned corporations would pay taxes to the state. There were puzzles posed as to how private firms could compete with the state-owned factories in the hybrid model. But if the system leaned more toward the traditional Soviet model, then there would be the dreaded state trust.

The Czechs, as elsewhere in Europe, were also wanting an active export trade of their best products, exports normally constituting 30 percent of the country's income. But no socialist country had ever maintained an active export trade.

There were rumors that the Russians wanted to expropriate middle class business property to obviate these issues and prepare the country for closer relations with Russia.

As in other areas of Europe, Czechoslovakia had been hit hard by the harsh 1947 winter snows. But the Czechs appeared calmer than in other areas, perhaps because the problems were presented in stark relief.

A letter finds that the South, prior to the Civil War, had produced the likes of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Randolph, Marshall, Tyler, and Polk, but since the Civil War, though the region had produced many competent Governors, no Southerner had made any impact on the national stage. He believes that the one-party system had caused most Southerners to lose their sense of civic responsibility. The politicians produced did not venture their opinions usually on public questions, and Democrats often supported Republican-favored policies in Congress.

He concludes: "'Great is Diana of the Ephesians.' Acts XIX 24-28. 'Great is the Solid South.'"

A letter from a native Californian finds North Carolina wonderful, as he toured the state to present his program, "Fun and Music at the Piano". He finds the schools receptive and gracious, hopes to be in the area for a long while.

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