The Charlotte News

Thursday, July 29, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Southern Democrats, led by Senator John Stennis of Mississippi, began a filibuster of the anti-poll tax legislation, the first of the civil rights bills presented to the floor in the special session which began the previous Monday. The Southerners, through Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, thus far denied that they were beginning a filibuster, saying they were informing the country of the nature of the bill. Senator Stennis called it unconstitutional. The bill was submitted to the floor by Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska. It would ban the poll taxes still extant in seven Southern states and New Hampshire.

A potential deal with the Southerners, whereby the House-passed bill would be altered to become a proposed amendment to the Constitution and the anti-poll tax provision would be the only part of the civil rights program brought up during the special session, failed to reach agreement. Senator Wherry said that he still wanted to bring the anti-lynching and FEPC bills to the floor.

Senator Taft said that the Republicans would undertake every parliamentary effort available to avoid filibuster and pass the civil rights laws.

Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin of Britain stated to Commons that the Government was considering a halt to its military demobilization program because of the tension between the West and Russia regarding Berlin. The program had reduced manpower at the rate of 20,000 per month.

The Big Three ambassadors to Moscow were shortly expected to approach Foreign Commissar V. M. Molotov with a plan to end the blockade of Berlin, based on a plan of U.S. Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith. It was hoped that the talks would lead to a four-power conference in Paris in September.

In Nuremberg, a U.S. military tribunal acquitted all 24 directors of the I. G. Farben chemical combine for plotting and waging aggressive war, but convicted nine for looting countries overrun by Germany, specifically, France, Poland, Norway, and Russia. Findings on two additional counts of crimes against humanity would be determined the following day. The decisions followed an eleven-month trial. The court found that the directors knew too little about the plans of the Nazis for waging aggressive war to make them culpable.

The verdict came a day after a massive explosion of undetermined origin killed at least 300 at the I. G. Farben plant in Ludwigshafen.

Food prices, especially meat, showed a drop, attributed to boycotts by housewives. The Dun & Bradstreet wholesale food price index fell 12 cents since the previous week and 18 cents from its all-time high of $7.36 two weeks earlier. But that represented only 2.5 percent of the total of wholesale prices of 31 foods in general use. Some food prices continued to rise, notably eggs, flour, peas, potatoes, and hogs.

Cigarettes rose a penny per pack retail and zinc and lead also rose in price, to name but three poisons.

The President provided to Congress the Administration draft of the proposed anti-inflation bill, which included provision for a small OPA, with a goal of pushing back prices to those of November, 1947, at which point the President had called a special session and presented price control legislation. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed the belief that the bill was doomed from the inception.

DNC treasurer Joe Blythe of Charlotte said that the Democratic Party was not broke, as reported. The parties were limited to three million dollars in expenditures and he believed that the Democrats would reach that limit by election day. Contributions, he said, had exceeded expectations.

Harold Stassen, former Minnesota Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 1948, was named president of the University of Pennsylvania. At 41, he was the youngest president in the history of the University.

Near Shanghai, a C-46 transport plane of the Chennault lines crashed, killing 19 persons aboard, all except one, the American pilot, being Chinese soldiers. It was the first crash of a plane owned by retired U.S. Maj. General Claire Chennault.

In North Carolina, 39 new cases of polio were reported, bringing the record total for the year to 1,037, 622 of which had been reported during the month of July.

In Smithfield, N.C., a tobacconist was jailed for allegedly murdering his wife the previous night with a shotgun, following by a week and a half their separation. He confessed to the crime.

John Crosby, radio critic, tells on page 2-A of the new radio program, "The Greatest Story Ever Told", a non-commercial dramatization of the Scriptures.

On the editorial page, "The President Shows His Hand" comments on the notion that the Truman Administration was running out of talent and ideas, with Secretary of State Marshall and Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, a Republican, being the only remaining members of national stature, the rest being leftovers and Missourians. It finds that the President's program to combat inflation was more of the same recipe which had not worked in the past, was hopelessly outdated, in some respects a program to maintain high prices.

Experience during the war with the excess profits tax, which he sought to revive, was that it had the effect of raising prices as it encouraged profligate spending by corporations after they reached their profit limit, resulting in extravagance and higher prices. High taxes were responsible for the high prices and so it made little sense to add more taxes.

As to his proposal for consumer credit controls, that applied to consumer goods rather than the primary source of the high cost of living, food.

The proposed Federal Reserve regulations on bank credit, limiting the amount of funds a bank could lend and the purposes for the loans, would do little as the banks were more conservative than the Government in spending money.

The proposal to authorize regulation of speculation on commodities would not remedy the goad for the speculation, Government subsidies on commodities maintaining them at 90 percent of parity, keeping prices artificially high and thus stimulating speculation.

Allocation and inventory controls of scarce commodities were useful in regulating business. Proposed rationing might not have to be used, as conceded by the President. It was thrown in for good measure.

Rent control, still in effect, would be enhanced under the President's program, with added enforcement. The piece concedes that such would be salutary in light of the housing shortage, provided rents were allowed to increase to reasonable levels, in line with new building costs.

The President had failed to provide a comprehensive program, however, including limits on wages, indicating that prices under the program would remain stagnant. He urged that wages be paid from high corporate profits, but such was an unrealistic expectation.

It concludes that it was a "weak exhibition by a weak President, hardly worth the interruption of Congressional vacations."

"Kefauver's Fight Against Crump" tells of Congressman Estes Kefauver, running for the Senate in Tennessee, showing that Boss Ed Crump of Memphis was losing his grip, at age 72, on local and state politics. The gubernatorial challenger to the Crump machine in the August 5 primary was Chancellor Gordon Browning, former Governor ten years earlier.

Progressive Congressman Kefauver, completing his fourth term in the House, represented the new leadership in the Democratic Party. He had led the movement for reorganization of Congress, including the elimination of unnecessary committees and revision of seniority rules regarding chairs, putting forth his recommendations in his book Twentieth Century Congress. He was strongly in favor of TVA, campaigning against the opposition to it by Boss Crump and both Senators, Kenneth McKellar and Tom Stewart, the latter being one of the opponents in the primary, along with a circuit judge from Memphis to whom Boss Crump gave his support.

Forecasts suggested a victory for Mr. Kefauver—who would win and go on to be the 1956 vice-presidential nominee, narrowly defeating Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts for the nomination in an open convention, running with Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Blue Sky", celebrates the blue sky as the "blue of infinity" without illusion. "Blue light is there, the blue end of the spectrum filtered out of the sun's rays by dust particles that float high in the upper atmosphere." Above it was a deep purplish gray.

"Clear the sky and look up to the depths of infinity, and there it is, the blue that is healing to the heart and soothing to the senses."

Which poses the philosophical question of the day: How do we know that it is infinite when we cannot conceptualize of any such thing? save by way of a circle or, likewise, in the case of the mathematical symbol, to avoid confusion with nullity, a figure eight on its side. Thus, if one, theoretically, were to venture far enough into space, would one eventually and necessarily, to adhere to notions of rationality, come back to the place of origin? If there is an end to it, what lies on the other side of the wall?

When we refer to conceptualization of infinity, we mean to exclude mere analogy as a reference point to some vague idea of infinity or simple substitution of terms, such as eternality for infinity. That merely forms an argumentative tautology.

Conversely, as already implied, we can neither conceive of an absolute nullity, a cipher, a void, death as a final state of non-being. We can analogize to it by sleep, but always with consciousness in play, even if not always consciously perceived as such, certainly, under ordinary circumstances, with the expectation of waking. Do infinity and the finiteness of nothing actually exist?

We posit that consciousness of nothing for eternity would be tantamount to Hell.

Drew Pearson tells of State Department representative in Germany Robert Murphy informing the House Foreign Affairs Committee the previous week that it was not possible to get private capital interested in investing in Germany's reconstruction for fear that when the U.S. departed, Russia would move in, with the consequent confiscation of private property. He said that it was one of the primary reasons that the U.S. could not leave Berlin. When a German set up a private business in the Western zone, a Russian would warn that after the West had evacuated, he would be liquidated. General Lucius Clay, military governor of the American occupation zone, concurred.

He next relates that his idea of floating weather balloons over Russia with attached messages of friendship, bearing candy, soap and other small tokens from the American people, had received a good response from the people and the Government, albeit slow in the latter case. He provides a cross-section of the mail on the subject, including one from a woman in Bat Cave, N.C., who favored the idea.

Marquis Childs suggests that the President would have been better served by sharing blame for inflation with the Republicans of the Congress and suggesting that the time had come to redress the problem. He finds the worst part of the President's message to the special session on Tuesday to have been that regarding higher wages, recommending "non-inflationary wage increases" to keep pace with the rising cost of living, finding that many profit margins were adequate to absorb the higher wages without commensurate price increases. While theoretically true, it was impossible to compel management to take wage increases from existing profit margins. To try to control that process would be to alter the free enterprise system.

The President had also recommended restoration of the excess profits tax extant during the war, of which, three years earlier, at war's conclusion, he had recommended repeal. Parenthetically, it was through this mechanism that the President hoped to encourage business to take increases in wages from profits.

The most glaring omission was the failure to face up to the record of high farm prices in a year of record-breaking crop yields. A makeshift subsidy-loan program was extended until 1950 by the Congress just before the June 19 adjournment and signed into law by the President. Potato subsidies, for instance, had cost the Government 40 million dollars in 1947 and 17 million thus far in 1948. The potatoes taken on consignment were then destroyed by the Government. The Government had loaned 60 million on wheat in 1947, with it possibly reaching 200 million in 1948. The amount might be recovered, however, if demand for wheat remained high and if prices did not fall below existing levels.

But under controls, food prices might drop. That, however, was academic as the Congress would not pass the controls which the President had proposed.

Another curious recommendation was to allow the Federal Reserve Board to regulate inflationary bank credit, a course urged by Fed chairman Marriner Eccles, demoted a few months earlier by the President to vice-chairman.

He concludes that recommendations and good intentions were measured against past performance, a penalty for having been President for three difficult postwar years during which inevitable economic readjustments had to be made.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of the U.N. commission for conventional armaments having decided that such weapons could not be controlled until there was agreement for an international police force, atomic control established, and peace treaties made with Germany and Japan.

He views it as shadow boxing since the U.N. could not function as a peacekeeping organization until the cold war was settled. It could not be resolved until the issue of world revolution for the spread of Communism had been resolved.

A British weekly publication, Time and Tide, had aptly summed up the matter by saying that the issue was whether Russia had the wherewithal to carry on with its plans for destruction of the democracies or would abandon those efforts. In all probability, it continued, Russia did not want war at present, awaiting a time when the democracies had so eroded internally that the slightest push could topple them.

Thus, only when Russia decided to cease in its effort at engulfing the democracies would come a reduction in the tensions constituting the cold war. It would not mean its end, only an armed truce. Communist revolution on the world scene would last as long as Red dictatorship remained in control of Russia. That would remain until the people under the dictatorship determined to overthrow it.

Russia was determined to get control of Germany and was disturbed by the way the three Western powers persisted in seeking to establish a West German government apart from Russia. Mr. MacKenzie finds that it would not be surprising to see Russia seek compromise to buy time to begin counter action.

He counsels that there could be no peace while Communism was grasping for power across the world, including in America.

Samuel Grafton, no longer carried by The News, tells of having attended the Progressive Party convention in Philadelphia, just as he had the Republican and Democratic conventions in the same city. Yet, he had come away from the three without any firm conviction of support for either of the parties or their candidates. He supposes it derived from some inner failing that he chose to stand alone in 1948. But he also reckons with the notion that a person should commit to his or her own inner lack of calling to a particular movement.

He has, on second thought, however, the sense that he was in the majority, not the minority, in feeling that neither Governor Dewey, the re-invented President, nor former Vice-President Wallace would be able to lead the country into the promised land of peace and prosperity for the ensuing four years.

He chooses to go along with the many who doubted, as he did. He finds that there might be something healthy in the doubt, that to make loud partisan noises in such a year was to join the minority and commit oneself against the work of understanding and conciliation which had to lie ahead.

A letter writer congratulates Tom Fesperman for a splendid job revealing the problems of the slums in the city. The unnamed "Reader" says that in other cities in which he or she had resided, there was never the filth and garbage besetting Charlotte allowed to remain on the streets. The reader sees no justification for the name "Queen City", wants it to earn the title "Clean City".

A letter writer, "Dubitante", recollecting a story of his boyhood, recommends taking to the woods on election day rather than following either the road to Hell or the road to Damnation.

A letter from the president of the Save the Children Federation asks for donations of old clothing to send to the children who would otherwise suffer from lack of adequate clothing during the coming winter, both in rural America and in Europe.

A letter writer favors a Christian burial for Jim Crow. He relates of two poems which had stuck in his memory, the first, from some years earlier, being:
All the world that I have known
Is made of glass, and steel, and stone.

And the temple where I kneel
Is made of glass, and stone, and steel.

Even these must pass—
The stone... the steel... the glass...

The second, more recently heard, was:
Jim Crow
Must go.

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