The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 14, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Mississippi tornadoes and raging rivers in seven states had left ten persons dead and 42 hospitalized, as well as thousands homeless in near freezing weather. Nine of the dead were claimed by the Mississippi twisters. An eleven-year old boy was drowned in Indiana. Virtually all of the country was suffering harsh weather.

President Truman signed legislation increasing veterans' subsistence benefits under the G.I. Bill, totaling about 217 million dollars per year.

The Russians sent letters of protest to the State Department and British Foreign Office, as well, presumably, to France, regarding the planned conference by representatives of France, the U.S., and Britain the following week in London to discuss economic unity in Western Germany.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon said that GOP leaders had expressed in private conference that rents would rise a hundred percent if rent controls, set to expire at the end of the month, were not renewed.

Senator Morse, Senator J. Chandler Gurney of South Dakota, and Senator Ed Johnson of Colorado, each a member of the Armed Services Committee, objected to a letter sent by Secretary of Defense James Forrestal directing the Army, Navy, and Air Force to clear all statements released to the public before making them, including testimony to Congress. The Senators believed it infringed freedom of speech. But Senator Elbert Thomas of Utah, also on the Committee, believed that the rule would enable freer speech for mandating better preparation through consultation with superiors.

Speaking in Denver, Senator Taft said that he believed that 5.3 billion dollars in aid the first year for Europe, as proposed by the Administration and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Senator Arthur Vandenberg, was too much, especially when an additional 800 million dollars would need be spent on feeding the German people. He favored a total expenditure between four and five billion dollars.

The previous night in Omaha, he expressed opposition to Universal Military Training.

Henry Wallace, in a written address read for him in Cambridge, Mass., at a rally of "New England Students for Wallace", said that the "wedding of Republican big business and Democratic militarism" could only result in unprecedented war.

Congressman Robert Doughton of North Carolina, the oldest man in Congress at 84, said that he would run again for his Congressional seat, attempting his twentieth term, begun in 1911. "Muley Bob", as the former Ways & Means Committee chairman was affectionately dubbed, had close races in 1910, in the North Carolina 1920 Harding landslide, and the 1928 Hoover landslide over Governor Al Smith of New York.

Governor Gregg Cherry of North Carolina denied the reports that he was going to try to urge his appointees not to support former Governor J. Melville Broughton in his bid to contest Senator William Umstead in the Senate race. Senator Umstead had been appointed by Governor Cherry in the wake of the December, 1946 death of Senator Josiah W. Bailey.

Grain prices halted their downward slide for the first time in eleven days. Corn also held about even. Only soybeans continued to fall.

In Charleston, S.C., the 21-year old rheumatic fever victim who was given only months to live before undergoing first-time surgery by Dr. Horace Smithy of the Medical College of South Carolina to remove a heart valve blockage, was getting ready to fly back home to Canton, Ohio, where it was expected she could resume a normal life.

In Hollywood, Warner Brothers planned to make a film on the Wright Brothers, in the wake of the death on January 30 of Orville Wright. The studio had purchased the rights twelve years earlier on condition that the film would not be made until after Mr. Wright's death. Wilbur Wright had died in 1912.

On the editorial page, "It's Not a 'Puny' Contribution", half of which is compressed beyond readability, compliments Mayor Herbert Baxter and City Manager Henry Yancey for their effort in coordinating voluntary compliance by local oil companies to assure adequate supply to residents during the winter fuel oil shortage. They had no legal authority to enact any regulations on the matter.

Any further effort would have to come from Washington or the oil industry itself. It hopes that a letter writer, whose letter is reprinted on the page, would be successful in obtaining action from Congress, but objects to his reference to the Mayor's effort as "puny".

"New Era for Parks & Recreation" welcomes the new superintendent, Arthur H. Jones, finds him well qualified for the position. He had contributed to the long-range parks plan developed by the Planning Commission. The piece urges that parks and recreation were a prime ingredient to the progress of Charlotte.

"Deflation Trend in Hollywood" comments on the announcement by Samuel Goldwyn of MGM that executives of the company were going to take a voluntary salary cut of 50 percent. While the piece finds it an honorable undertaking, it places it in perspective based on taxes. If the salaries in question were $50,000, the actual salary cut after tax differentials between the adjusted brackets would be only $8,330, on $75,000, only $9,365, on $100,000, $9,500, and on $150,000, a mere $9,350. At $200,000, the 50 percent pay cut amounted to no more than $10,500. And exemptions and deductions would render the actual amount of the pay cut even less, such that the executives might actually not be taking a pay cut at all.

Nevertheless, these were honorable men, even if, effectively, all they were doing was depriving the Government of revenue so that the studio could make more superbly patriotic films, without Communist influences, and, offers the piece, the id of it, at least insofar as the Inuit was concerned, intuitively speaking, could produce a social revolution in Hollywood.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Winter Brightens Europe", tells of the mild winter in Europe, as had related the piece of the previous day, in contrast to the harshest winter in over 50 years the prior winter, while North America now had it rough. Europe had only rain and it was unlikely there would be a repeat of the spring floods of the previous year. The death rate was 16 per thousand, half of the 1947 winter rate. Fields were green in England. France anticipated one of its best harvests since prior to the war. Winter wheat was doing well in northern Italy and the fruit trees were in bloom outside Rome.

It concludes that the hope thus supplied in combination with the Marshall Plan was buoying Europe's spirits.

Drew Pearson tells of Boss Ed Flynn of the Bronx, key at the 1944 convention in getting Harry Truman on the ticket, visiting the White House to urge appointment of two men, one to the SEC, and the other as New York chairman, with the former opposed to the Holding Act which FDR had gotten through Congress to limit the power of the major utilities and the latter supporting the former for the SEC post. Mr. Pearson finds it ironic that such a position, contrary to the economic interests of all but the wealthy, had been staked out by Mr. Flynn when he had been pushing for the President to appoint a black person to the Federal bench in New York.

He next informs of Otis & Co. of Cleveland and the First California Co. of San Francisco having undercut the initial public offering of seventeen million dollars worth of stock by Kaiser-Frazer Automotive after a successful year turning out 1,100 cars per day, with a goal of 1,500 after the IPO. Henry Kaiser was the first person with guts enough to take on the Detroit giants and succeed, only to have the underwriters he sought for the stock offering stab him in the back by revelation of his secret plan to buy up his own stock the day before the offering to keep the price up, triggering a sell-off of Kaiser stock so that stockholders could buy it back cheaper the following day, at the time of the IPO.

Alice Roosevelt had coined the phrase "little man on the wedding cake" in reference to Thomas Dewey in 1944. Now she said that he was a souffle, as he never would rise twice. She had said of Calvin Coolidge that he must have been raised on a pickle.

In any event, the wedding cake moniker stuck to Mr. Dewey, as he would rise a second time.

Just who may have gotten a piece of the wedding cake, Carter or, possibly, Ford, we have no idea.

Anyway, Sweet Loretta Fat was just a frying pan.

It was anticipated that Henry Wallace would take the Harlem vote in New York as well as a large section of the labor vote and that Mr. Dewey would capture the Jewish vote, thus depriving President Truman of New York in the November election. For that reason, the Democrats had written off the state.

Jim Farley, former FDR kingmaker, was for the Republican tax cut and Taft-Hartley, and so was refraining from making political speeches at present. DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath, Senator from Rhode Island, had been given his first job as U.S. Attorney by Mr. Farley and so was a strong supporter.

Friends of General Eisenhower were suggesting that he run for Governor of New York in 1950.

In the Middle East, Arab attacks had taken place on the Arab-American Oil Co. offices and the State Department feared that the pipeline might be next.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop, the fully readable form of which is here, find that the Southern white supremacists in Congress were looking to either Senator Walter George of Georgia or Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia to contest President Truman for the Democratic nomination. The move counter-balanced the West Coast effort, being spearheaded by former California Attorney General Bob Kenny, to position Henry Wallace as a contestant for the nomination.

The fear of the Southerners that such an overt move would cause the Democrats to lose the election and place the Democrats on the outside of the White House for the first time in 16 years, might head off the movement. But the movement would receive Northern money, as the segregationist campaigns of Eugene Talmadge in Georgia once did. Several Southern states would likely send uncommitted delegations to the Democratic convention, with the avowed purpose to obtain from the platform committee a watered-down declaration on civil rights.

There had been anxious negotiations between the Southern leaders and the White House, during the previous few days in which the Southerners had hinted that they might send overtly anti-Truman delegations to the convention unless the President backed down on his demands regarding civil rights legislation. Hints had come from Administration officials that the President might accept a compromised plank in the party platform. The Southerners had said that if such were to occur, they would only hold a post-convention rally, as in 1940, at which they would ultimately profess reluctant support for the President. Such white supremacists as Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina supported such a plan. Governors Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and M. E. Thompson of Georgia, both thought to be moderates on civil rights, had also indicated support.

In consequence, the White House was breathing a sigh of relief, but one which had to be tempered by the realization that a watered-down plank in the platform would alienate Northern Democrats and that the Fair Employment Practices Commission might in the meantime be passed into law by the Congress, provided cloture could be achieved in the Senate to avoid a successful filibuster. Such Republicans as Senators Taft of Ohio, Harlan Bushfield of South Dakota, and Albert Hawkes of New Jersey would determine whether the two-thirds cloture vote could be achieved. Senator Taft would likely approve cloture though opposed to FEPC, whereas the other Senators in question would be acutely aware of it being an election year and might sit tight on their hands.

The Alsops conclude that anything could happen.

Marquis Childs also discusses the Southern revolt and finds Administration and DNC officials not so much concerned about the revolt per se, not believing that the Southerners would send separate delegations to the convention or seek to nominate someone other than the President. But they were concerned that the Southerners in the Senate would seek to hold up the President's appointments, starting with the unpopular nomination of Thomas McCabe to head the Federal Reserve Board in place of demoted Marriner Eccles. They also worried that Southern funding to the national race would be severely reduced. In the past, because the one-party South had no need for fall campaign chests, most of the campaign funds collected went to Washington and the national campaign. North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee had in 1940 and 1944 contributed the most money of any state Democratic organizations, other than New York and Pennsylvania.

The White House had stated that the President would not water down his civil rights program proposed to the Congress, such as by elimination of the proposal to desegregate buses and trains. The President's advisers were surprised at the Southern rebellion, as the 1944 platform had a plank plainly stating the premise of dedication to equal rights to "live, develop and vote" and "share the rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution". The President was only providing substance to that expression of principles.

The plain fact of the matter is, as any carpenter knows, that if one places in the open an initially true plank, allowing it then to become watered-down long enough, left to lie in the subsequent steaming heat while not uniformly monitored in the levelling by pressure, one is likely to find it warped when comes time to build the house, such that an ark may become necessary to avoid the cataclysmic results once the rains begin.

A letter to the President, Senator Vandenberg, and Speaker of the House Joe Martin, on which "It's Not a 'Puny' Contribution" remarks, urges putting aside partisan politics in favor of a program to supply adequate fuel oil to the people, insists that the Mayor's "puny" efforts had not relieved the local shortage.

A letter writer finds City snow plows being used to clear the P & N Railroad tracks on private property in Charlotte and wonders whether its tracks could not be relocated to reach the Hormel Company plant so as not to tie up traffic.

The editors respond that the City had no agreement with P & N to plow the area around the tracks as it was on private right-of-ways, and that it had no authority to move the tracks, as the railroad had property rights. But the City was open to suggestions of working out a compromise fair to all interests.

Head 'em up, move 'em out.

A Quote of the Day: "An Associated Press dispatch says that fishermen never put to sea on the 7th, 17th, or 27th of the month and won't return on a date ending in five. All the time we've been thinking that the trouble with our fishing came from leaving a hat on the bed or getting in on the left side of the car." —Lexington (Ky.) Herald

Another Quote of the Day: "Possibly objecting to the iron sweaters they wore in those days, Lana Turner has refused to accept a role in 'The Three Musketeers'." —Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press

MGM may have sweetened her tea with lowered wages in exchange for the perq of booty in kind, consisting of two letters viti, objets d'art.

Another Quote of the Day: "Pearl Deeter, who wrote a letter to the Gazette, Fears Union Is Getting In A Fearful State. Well, some fearful states have got in the Union." —Arkansas Gazette

It suggests, more or less, a semi-chaotic, elastic, chiastic situation, full of semiotic implications, whereby an organized clique, as of Cheops, having belted down those caught in their unawares, hoisted by the copse, to the point that, for rebound, would require, in the superordinationary corse, either thorough integration or certain communized conflagration, nay, self-immolation emulated in the cold hand's mirror stuck in time's bonds infrangible, a blight mosaic, conflated fair searer.

Ah, but she be thy cloak in mottle, a braked doll sing a-down a clown, she would cease not but to be thine closed throttle, hieing thus to away yon hung inexecrable frown as though cajoled, coddling not an egg in twain, rather winging free in the ring of destiny's plaint.

Happy V-Day. Don't take Liberté too literally. En garde.

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