The Charlotte News

Monday, January 26, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that France, in spite of objection by Britain and the International Monetary Fund, devalued the franc, in an effort to avert economic ruin and widespread unemployment. Many London investors rushed to buy gold, believing that the French action could affect adversely the value of the pound. The rush, in turn, caused African gold shares to rise in value and British Government securities to drop.

The House Interstate Commerce Committee recommended an immediate ban on all exports of petroleum products to alleviate the fuel oil shortage in the country. It also recommended that new funds and authority be provided the Interior Department to accelerate development of oil derived from coal and shale.

Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug proposed in a report that nine billion dollars be appropriated over the ensuing ten years to encourage production of synthetic oil and gasoline. He also reported that an ingredient in corn cobs could be converted to sugar and fermented into liquid fuels.

The President formally nominated General Omar Bradley to succeed General Eisenhower as chief of staff of the Army. General Eisenhower was scheduled to retire February 15 to become president of Columbia University. The decision had been made months earlier and was already known.

Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher, who had successfully pleaded her case to the Supreme Court to be admitted to the University of Oklahoma Law School or a suitable separate-but-equal in-state facility absent from the landscape, was petitioning anew to the Court to be admitted to the University on the basis that the law school which the State was seeking to set up pursuant to the decision could not possibly be equivalent to that at the University. It consisted of only three faculty members and was being instituted in a one-week period, with Ms. Fisher as the only student. Her attorneys also stated that the Oklahoma Supreme Court had refused to abide the Supreme Court decision of January 12 by refusing to admit Ms. Fisher to the University Law School, insisting that state law had to be followed, requiring segregated facilities. The decision had allowed for admission to the University Law School absent an equal in-state facility to which Ms. Fisher could be forthwith admitted. Her lawyers essentially contended that the effort to create such a law school on the spur of the moment was a sham.

And, indeed, anyone who has ever been to law school will understand her complaint, that the Socratic method of a law school class involving multiple students, at least in the first year, is invaluable preparation for the practice of law.

The Court was in recess for the week and so it was unlikely that any action could occur on her petition before February 2.

HUAC chairman J. Parnell Thomas was reported to be seriously ill from a stomach hemorrhage during a voyage to the Canal Zone in Panama, reportedly to investigate rumors of subversive activities there.

Don't worry. Our crystal ball tells us that he will recover and live until 1970, plenty of time still to ruin more people's lives, even if his criminal prosecution and imprisonment will sadly cut short that time soon enough. Don't worry about that though, as there is someone on the Committee ready and willing to pick up the ball, the one floating in the porcelain tank.

In Manila, a strong earthquake hit, following a four-hour series of quakes on Sunday which had killed 27 people. Iloilo on Panay was hardest hit, though Negros, Cebu, Leyte, and Marinduque islands were also jolted.

In Merrill, Mich., in Saginaw County, a 20-year old man was arrested after forcibly taking his former fiancee, 17, who had broken off their engagement, on a 300-mile car ride before she finally talked him into driving no further. She had convinced him that taking her across the Michigan line into Indiana would add ten years to his sentence. He then told her to take the wheel and she drove home. According to the prosecutor, he would be charged with kidnaping and breaking and entering. He had taken her on such a ride the previous summer, but was not prosecuted at the time.

Perhaps, the cold weather on this occasion had induced him to wear mittens, leading to difficulties with his adductor pollicis.

In Baltimore, a night watchman called the president of the City Council to tell him of a plan to improve the city's transit service. Because it was 3:30 a.m., the Councilman asked if he could call the man back later during the day. But the watchman refused to give his number because he might be awakened by the call.

Emery Wister of The News tells of a freezing rain and snowstorm moving in from the Southwest, threatening renewed sleet and ice, already a problem since Saturday. Rain was hitting Muscle Shoals, Ala., and snow was forecast for Knoxville, Tenn.

You had better stay indoors, kid, and continue reading that book, or maybe, another, if you have finished the first one or are desirous of a different adventure.

Rusty Riley joins the comic strips on the comics page.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte's Dream and Reality" tells of City officials having made a tour of Charlotte's slums the previous week. They had paused before a "crackerbox" which rented for $1.50 per week, occupied by an elderly black woman. In full recognition of her plight, the woman had said to them, "Ain't it terrible that people have to live like this?"

The slum area was to be replaced eventually by a park with a broad esplanade, based on the vision of a consultant from New York City hired by the Planning Board to plan urban renewal. It was the hope of the future.

"Ike Brightens Democratic Outlook" suggests that Henry Wallace's third party candidacy may have caused the GOP to re-think its election strategy and decide that it could win with a more conventional candidate than General Eisenhower. The General had led President Truman 55 to 45 percent in the Gallup Poll. Senator Taft was losing 63 to 37 percent, and Governor Dewey was slightly behind in a close race, at 51 to 49 percent. General MacArthur was behind the President 57 to 43 percent. The Fortune Survey showed similar results, with General Eisenhower leading 48 to 34 percent over the President, and the President leading Governor Dewey 43 to 40 percent.

The independent vote would largely determine the outcome, and the Republicans appeared, with General Eisenhower out of the race, to have lost their only chance to attract those voters. Mr. Wallace appeared to be taking votes from all of the candidates and so was not a factor.

The Republicans apparently were counting on later poll results to bolster their chances.

"Beware of Love While Courting" tells of a sixteen-year study by sociologist Dr. Ernest W. Burgess on marriage, as reported in Collier's, finding that companionate marriages were happier than those of romantic love. Sex or physical attraction had to be relegated to third or fourth place in selecting a mate. If the marriage were to thrive, mutual understanding, common interests, and temperamental compatibility took precedence.

Dr. Burgess recommended first being friends before becoming lovers, and that love at first sight was a warning to leave out the back, Jack.

The piece finds the advice practical but offering no assurance against a drab life and nothing to ward off the heartbreak of losing the true love of one's life in exchange for the pragmatic. To be fair to Dr. Burgess, however, he did expressly leave room for finding romantic love within the context of the companionate relationship, provided the cart came not before the horse.

The piece offers that the actual reason for higher divorce rates was not as the study had found, but rather simply the result of modern living conditions. It opines that love would do better when the economic and social problems of the society were solved.

We might suggest further that the modern age had enabled more choices, outside the formerly confined community and neighborhood in which one came of age and often spent an entire lifetime. Opportunities for travel, both physically and, moreover, by flights of the imagination spurred by movies, radio, and now the new television, about to begin to pop up increasingly in living rooms within a couple of more years, had provided the visual and sensual stimuli to transplant one from the current surroundings to that Great Elsewhere, where all was lovey-dovey and everyone happy in the end, no matter the exigency or querulous interlude or other inevitable conflict encountered for the duration of the show, all assumed by vicarious experience of the passive viewer to be necessary incidents of domesticity to keep the paradox in the box interesting, within the tragicomic confines of modern stagecraft, magically, via the running headlong script of the persons in the family appointed director and writers for the day, transmogrified into the actual mid-Twentieth Century home.

Life had become a scripted affair and, to those inclined to live their lives by such absorption of fantasy transference to reality, hopeful of that place depicted on the screen, it had to be thus and such and not such and thus, counter the script, or dissatisfaction would become the rule of the day. No dead air in the living room, as that was not part of the program, even in the silent era. Dead air was a sign of abnormality, an aberration of the new generation instructed by incessant auditory vibration and, alternatingly, either visual mortification or gratification, or both at once to the warped, breeding in that deathly silence tension.

And so, the spot on the wall widened until the only thing left was the larger spot on the wall, leading, naturally enough, without the good offices of Bon Ami working even to ameliorate the problem, to either the end of the marriage or trekking somehow through the spot into that other realm of imagination, searching for where the kid went, or making up one to pass the time.

Each case in the cage is different though, we suppose.

A piece from the Milwaukee Journal, titled "Tax Sleuths Worth Their Hire", tells of the IRB developing new ways to find tax cheats, among whom were commercial fishermen, doctors, and farmers, either not keeping books or manipulating them to hide income.

James Marlow discusses the three anti-lynching bills pending in Congress. Some 200 such bills had been offered since 1900, and had sometimes passed the House only to be filibustered to death in the Senate, as in 1938, the last time such a bill had been passed by the lower chamber.

The new bills provided for a fine of $10,000 or twenty years in prison for anyone aiding a lynching, $5,000 or five years for any law enforcement officer failing to protect a prisoner from a lynch mob, and allowing the next-of-kin of a victim to sue, for as much as $2,000, the municipality where the lynching occurred.

The primary argument offered against the law was that it invaded states' rights.

The President's Commission on Civil Rights had reported that often communities condoned lynchings and public officials participated in them, either actively or passively. Effort to punish the crime was thus resisted. The threat of lynching stood as a chilling reminder, constantly hanging over the heads of blacks in a given community, that a misspoken word or out of place gesture could lead to death.

Drew Pearson tells of GM having recently placed Richard Mellon, of the wealthy Andrew Mellon family, on its board. The company manufactured almost half the motor vehicles in the country the previous year and needed adequate steel for the purpose. Mr. Mellon and his family controlled the largest share of stock in Bethlehem Steel, and the National Bank & Trust, controlled by Mellon, ran Jones & Laughlin Steel. So GM would have access to even more steel in 1948, causing independent manufacturers, such as Kaiser-Frazer automobiles, to have a tougher time.

Many of the largest companies were doing likewise.

He notes that Mr. Mellon was a close friend to Secretary of Commerce Averell Harriman, who was pleading with steel companies voluntarily to allocate steel across business, but had refrained from getting tough.

He tells of six Italians, including Enrico Fermi and five of his schoolmates, having obtained a patent on atomic energy in Italy in 1935 and in the U.S. in 1940. During the war, the Atomic Energy Commission had expropriated all patents on atomic energy, but was now planning to compensate the patent holders.

The last paragraph of the segment causes us to think that it might have something to do with Watergate, but we are not certain of that. It could be our eyes lost in rhymes.

He next tells of Montana Congressman and future Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield having prepared a report on why Panama had refused to grant long-term leases to the U.S. for bases it had sought for the protection of the Canal Zone. Mr. Mansfield found that it was a function of the pendency of local elections and believed that the National Assembly would ultimately reverse the decision. The legal basis for refusal was that, technically, the treaty under which the leases were made was set to expire a year after the Japanese surrender. The popular uprising which supplied the fuel for enforcing that provision had been the result of three professors at the University of Panama fanning the flames of dissent among a few college students. The spirit then was quickly transferred through the population. The 51 delegates of the Assembly who voted against the leases were all up for re-election the following May. Communists in the country only played a secondary role.

Joseph Alsop tells of Herbert Hoover having suddenly become the point man for opposition to ERP. His plan was to reduce ERP to a charitable commitment, crippling ERP's intended purpose to bring law and order to Dodge by means of establishing economic and political stability. Apparently some Republicans, such as Representative Christian Herter of Massachusetts, had advance knowledge of the former President's proposal, as Mr. Herter's proposal had resembled it.

In the Senate, prior to the Hoover proposal, there had been an effort to reduce the appropriation for ERP for the first 15 months from the President's proposed 6.8 billion dollars to five billion, and in the House, to four billion, with the plan that the figure would finally be reconciled at the mid-point. President Hoover had pegged the appropriate amount at four billion. So the Hoover letter to Senator Vandenburg, containing the proposal, had merely given weight to an already extant initiative brewing among conservative Republicans.

The normal efforts at compromise between the Executive and Congress did not apply in this instance as the State Department had already pared ERP to the bone, in the hope of quick passage, given the emergent need for the aid in Europe by early spring.

The members of Congress were carefully keeping track of the pulse of their constituents in determining how to vote on ERP, but that would not change the situation for those in the 16 nations to receive the aid. ERP was the final test for dependability of the U.S. in dealing with Russia. The country would seem to Western Europe as a "broken reed" should the contest in the Congress be lost.

Marquis Childs tells of the anonymous case of "Mr. A" who came to Washington from a private sector job in which he had earned $60,000 per year, to take a job at $10,000 per year, and after being kicked around, left. They would not have Mr. A to kick around anymore, but his job in the Government had cost, he figured, $90,000 for the year, including losses from lack of attendance to his businesses and the like, and loss of the ability to deduct business expenses. Mr. A had a lot more than an Oldsmobile and a cloth coat when he came to Washington.

The President had been criticized for appointing too many military men to Government positions, the latest being the failed nomination of Maj. General Laurence Kuter to become head of the CAB. But the four other men, all civilians, who had been the most qualified competing candidates for the job, had turned it down. One reason they gave was the salary, $10,000, and another was the potential for abuse by Congress and the aviation industry. So, the President had nominated General Kuter and had sought to obtain from Congress an exemption so that he would not have to forfeit his military status and flight pay. Congress refused and nixed his nomination.

A letter from failed Republican Congressional candidate P. C. Burkholder wants to make it "perfectly clear" that the New Deal had a "bloodthirsty hunger for power and control over the American people". He is against New Dealers, no matter who they are or where they come from. They were causing departure from the Constitution. They falsified the facts and blamed it all on Russia, when they were only trying to accomplish what Russia already had done, "complete control over the people, plus."

The "plus" would probably have to await his next letter for exposition, which we shall await, as always, with bated breath.

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