The Charlotte News

Thursday, April 10, 1947


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the long distance portion of the telephone strike begun the prior Monday appeared to be on the verge of settlement, as a proposed agreement with A.T.&T. had been reached the night before, still needing approval, however, from the policy committee of the National Federation of Telephone Workers.

The Federal Judge in Washington who had found John L. Lewis and the UMW in contempt the previous December for violating the Court's temporary restraining order to call off the strike begun November 20, refused, until Mr. Lewis and the union showed good faith, to order the refund of 2.8 million dollars of the 3.5-million dollar originally imposed fine, as remitted by the Supreme Court in upholding the contempt citations.

The Judge believed the order should be delayed until July 1, but set a hearing date two weeks hence at the request of the Government to afford Mr. Lewis opportunity to show good faith compliance to the condition on which the fine had been partially remitted, that no strike be called as previously threatened on March 31. The six-day mourning strike of the previous week regarding the Centralia, Ill., disaster, and the ongoing shutdowns until Federal mine inspectors could affirm the safety of each mine caused the Court concern as to whether Mr. Lewis was in good faith. His public statements calling the Court's order a "yellow dog injunction" also gave the Court pause for consideration.

In Exeter, Pa., a blast in an anthracite coal mine killed nine men and injured nine others, 350 feet underground. The explosion occurred just after the start of the work day and was caused by gas. Only 18 men were in the shaft at the time.

The second in the series of Associated Press reports on the state of the nation's economy appears, stating that Jack Strauss, president of Macy's in New York, the world's largest department store, had stated that with prices at current levels, the present period of prosperity could not be sustained, that a recession would follow. Most major economists agreed that prices were too high.

Business leaders, however, were more optimistic, with the vice-president of Westinghouse predicting continued prosperity in 1947 and only a mild recession the following year, with no prolonged depression before the latter 1950's.

The National Industrial Conference Board had stated in its publication, Business Record, that as the recession had failed to materialize, short-term confidence appeared to increase, even if warnings of pending disaster persisted.

It provides several more assessments by individual economists.

The President stated at a press conference that the responsibility for lowering prices rested with business, and that unless prices were lowered, wage increases would be justified. He opposed reimposition of price controls as a solution. He also sought to dissuade consumers from refraining from purchases. He hoped that there could be group price reductions without running afoul of anti-trust laws, through consultation with the Justice Department.

A terrible tornado had struck Woodward, Oklahoma, cutting a 100-mile swath which included parts of Texas, starting at White Deer, Tex., at 5:45 p.m. and proceeding northeastward, killing an estimated 152 persons in its path, a hundred of them in Woodward, and injuring more than a thousand others, blowing cars down streets and generally wreaking havoc, causing millions of dollars in property damage.

An earthquake struck Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada at 7:59 a.m., doing no serious damage. The quake was felt for nearly a minute. Tall buildings in Los Angeles noticeably swayed. A quake had hit Owens Valley on March 15, 1946, but likewise caused little damage and no injuries.

The world is coming to an end, friend. Mark it down: July 4, 1956.

Hal Boyle has moved inland to Raleigh, writing of the twice-told tales of Tar Heels he collected along the way from the coast. From the dubious apocrypha book came the one about the cow which could fish by the swish of its tail across the brook. There was the lady who swallowed the snake egg, and hatched in her stomach a snake which crawled out from underneath her pant leg, without making her sick. There was the forest ranger who choked and hog-tied the chubby mama bear, gave her a drubbing, so that he could make off with her two cubs which were nigh on a little stubby. Then there was the farmer, probably from Mattamuskeet, Varina, or Duck, who ostensibly died after surgery, was buried in a hurry in the pump organ box. The rest of that truncated story lies here.

Whatever happened to that 3,000-year supply of synthetic gas produced from coal? as suggested by the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal editorial. It must have been in there with the snake egg.

Our own is a true story though, from circa 1956. It was just a robin's egg.

On the editorial page, "Votes That May Be Regretted" finds the belated confirmation by the Senate of David Lilienthal as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, beset as it was by prejudice and unfair and calumnious accusations, to be in the end a triumph for tolerance and reason, even if the margin of victory was narrow.

Those who opposed him did so on the unsupported charge of being sympathetic to Communism. But it did not become a partisan issue, as many of his most ardent supporters were Republicans. Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, chairman of the Atomic Energy Committee, had been fair in conducting the hearings and was perhaps most responsible for the ultimate confirmation, reminding his colleagues that their responsibility was to determine the fitness of a Presidential appointee, not to make their own appointment.

The piece finds a parallel, as earlier made, between the appointment of Mr. Lilienthal and the appointment to the Supreme Court by President Wilson of Louis Brandeis, who also suffered some of the same type of slings and arrows for being supposedly too leftist in his orientation, but ultimately became one of the foremost jurists on the Court in its history.

"A Briton Discovers the South" tells of British historian Arnold Toynbee, in A Study of History, finding the contemporary South to be evidence of a great civilization falling into decay. Specifically, he targeted Virginia and South Carolina as being two Southern states which had never gotten over the Civil War and likely never would. They appeared as a country under a spell, as if time had stood still.

But in North Carolina, Mr. Toynbee found a notable exception to this rule, with modern industries flourishing, good universities, and the Yankee spirit of hustling in evidence. Yet, he ascribed the difference to the fact that North Carolina had been backward during the antebellum era, while Virginia and South Carolina had flourished amid aristocracy, albeit, he notes, Virginia falling behind after 1825, while South Carolina, under the leadership of John Calhoun, marched onward toward secession and Civil War. Thus, North Carolina was able to avoid, after the Civil War, so much idolization of the past.

The piece finds Mr. Toynbee's assessment overly generalized as to North Carolina's antecedents having been rejects from Virginia and South Carolina aristocracy, that the state had some aristocrats in its own right and many had migrated directly to the state. It finds his theorizing invalid when reduced to cases, comparable to a Marxist thesis on economic determinism.

Not mentioned by the piece is the observation by Professor Toynbee that, through this concept of relatively virgin soil producing new creativity which, in its more developed form in neighboring lands, has winnowed through use, its vitality eviscerated by stultification, whether brought on by war or other forms of decadence, but mired within insistence nevertheless on adherence to traditions venerated and memorialized beyond rational account or coincidence with the actual past, another social phenomenon is explained: "the tendency of a creative minority to degenerate into a dominant minority", the "dominant minority" being, within his phraseology, static, while the "creative minority" is dynamic, emblematic of a society "on the move". He attributes this process to a cycle: "The gift of creativity, which, when originally brought into play, produces a successful response to a challenge, becomes in its turn a new and uniquely formidable challenge to the recipient who has turned this talent to best account."

The editorial may take exception to particulars of no moment in the overall context of Professor Toynbee's argument, perhaps not dissimilar in theoretical form to that adduced by Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West, or more accurately translated, "The Downgoing of the Evening Lands"—which inevitably leads to Friederich Nietzsche's Also Sprach Zarathustra and the concept that man is an overcoming and a downgoing, leading inexorably to the Zapruder film.

"Preview of Verbal Battles to Come" finds State Representative Harvey Morris to have complained too much when he protested against the open expression of opinion in favor of continued prohibition in Macklenburg County by County Attorney Walter Clarkson, on the ground that Mr. Clarkson was a public employee. The piece thinks everyone, regardless of whether they were government functionaries, had the right to express their opinion on the liquor issue.

A piece from the Shelby Star, titled "Babies and Anti-Noise Week", tells of National Noise Abatement Week coinciding with National Baby Week during the last week of the month. The babies would naturally violate the noise abatement week standards. But the piece nonetheless decides to side with the babies.

Drew Pearson tells of the Supreme Court defeat hitting hard John L. Lewis, upholding the contempt citation and fines to him personally and to UMW, remitting the UMW fine in substantial part on condition of no further strikes being called against the Government. The rank-and-file of the union were griping about Mr. Lewis's power, did not like the idea of the November strike in the first place, had always groused at him during non-strike periods but followed his lead during strikes. That condition, however, persisted only while he consistently won his points for the miners. Now, they were unhappy. They talked now of wanting to turn the union over to Tom Kennedy, the popular secretary-treasurer of the union and former Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania, and have Mr. Lewis replace William Green as president of AFL.

But the Centralia, Ill., disaster two weeks earlier had worked to distract this attention from Mr. Lewis and divert it to mine safety, enabling Mr. Lewis to act again as the bold champion for the miners' interests.

The primary reason that the operators had not approved the contract negotiated the previous May with the Government and resumed operation of the mines was a clause which allowed the miners, in committees, to shut down the mines if they deemed them unsafe. The owners regarded it as revolutionary in its implications.

But having won the concession, Mr. Lewis had not formed many safety committees and many miners were oblivious to the clause, the result of so much power being vested in Mr. Lewis and his small clique of loyal staff, including a raft of his own family members, whose presence on the UMW payroll had also aroused regular enmity among the rank-and-file.

Mr. Lewis had so loudly proclaimed Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug guilty of murder in the mine mishap at Centralia because, opines Mr. Pearson, he wished to take attention from his own shortcomings and liability for the unsafe mines.

He next reports that Frank Sinatra was going to be honored in New York with a miniature Jefferson for his work to promote democracy among the nation's youth.

The Flexible Tubing Co. of Philadelphia was preparing to cut its prices by 41 percent.

The State Department was about to begin broadcasts to Greece and Turkey.

Marquis Childs tells of liberals in Congress sending a letter through Henry Wallace to the liberals of the British Parliament. It was signed, among others, by Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, who would assuredly vote against the aid package to Greece and Turkey, and by Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, who would likely vote, in the end, for the aid to Greece, but would also in the meantime champion amendments to the bill to prohibit military aid and otherwise limit the program.

Mr. Childs views the Wallace visit to England as potentially dangerous, as many in Britain would support his attack on American "interventionism" in Greece and his support of Russia's right to exert influence within its sphere.

The previous week, an important part of the British Labor Party nearly voted to repudiate the foreign policy of Ernest Bevin, and relented in doing so only out of exhortation from party leaders.

They would support Mr. Wallace's view, but should understand his limited role in American politics. He could not achieve political office from his native state of Iowa, conservative and Republican, or from a like political base in his recently adopted home of Westchester County, N.Y. He did represent the hopes and dreams of several million Americans, but those included a tiny minority of American Communists and fellow travelers, who were interested in seeing the Wallace bandwagon prosper politically for advancement of their own ends.

The danger in his visit was that he could kindle emotional support for the view that the Truman Doctrine would lead inevitably to war, when, in the view of Mr. Childs, nothing of the sort was true. He views it as a policy aimed at promoting peace and stability in the world.

Joseph Alsop discusses the factionalism surrounding the proposed labor bill, a schism between the Congress and the President, unlikely to be bridged, a schism between the House and Senate, the House desirous of a tougher bill, likely to be healed, and a schism within the Senate Labor Committee, hopelessly split into four factions.

He examines each of the factions in the committee, the first led by chairman Robert Taft, who wanted a bill which prohibited jurisdictional strikes and secondary boycotts, and provided for a 60-day cooling off period before a strike could be called, with only diluted provisions regulating the closed shop and industry-wide bargaining.

The second faction was that of Senator Joseph Ball of Minnesota, who basically aligned with Senator Taft to achieve a majority, but favored also a tougher bill.

The third faction was comprised of Republican Senators George Aiken of Vermont, Wayne Morse of Oregon, Irving Ives of New York, and Democrat Lister Hill of Alabama, all of whom wanted a moderate bill.

The fourth faction was made up of the remaining three Democrats on the thirteen-member committee, Senators Claude Pepper of Florida, Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, and James Murray of Montana, each of whom wanted no labor bill at all. They would, however, go along with a compromise bill drafted by Senator Hill, to enable a coalition to block the more restrictive bill of the first two factions, comprising but six members, thus a minority short by one of a majority

In the end, Mr. Alsop believes, because of these divisions, there would be no new legislation to come from the 1947 session of the 80th Congress. The only likely measure he foresees was the extension of the emergency powers afforded the President by the expiring Smith-Connally Act, passed during the war. But that would only be a stop-gap measure. He provides a contingency that should there be a new round of crippling strikes, his prognosis might be altered, but that there was insufficient cohesive will in the Congress, under present circumstances, for a measure which would pass over the President's veto.

Mr. Alsop, in this instance, was incorrect, as the Taft-Hartley Act would be passed over the President's veto the following June, including the ban on the closed shop.

A letter writer tells of his being a dry most of his younger days, until he fell into the company of evil companions, at which time he became a wet, while still voting dry. He now realized, he says, after reading a recent letter to the newspaper, why he had voted dry: the dry argument was premised on Christian principle.

A letter from a patient at the State Hospital at Morganton states appreciation for the Wednesday night movie recently shown the patients, "Meet Me in St. Louis". The woman who sang about her man not paying her any mind "sure had it". The little girl was fine also.

A letter writer thinks that Charlotte should not pass an additional property tax to support a local supplement to the teacher pay raise provided by the State. He was for better education and higher teacher pay, but believed it ought derive from the surplus generated by State sales taxes.

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