Saturday, March 27, 1943

The Charlotte News

Saturday, March 27, 1943


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports of General Patton's forces launching a new offensive north of Faid Pass, toward Fondouk, fifteen miles from the Axis air base at Kairoaun, seeking the coastal objective of Sousse.

The area around El Guettar remained quiet, after a Nazi attack was repulsed east of Maknassy, along the road to Gabes.

The British Eighth Army, encountering some of the roughest fighting yet in North Africa, continued to plow ahead against the Mareth Line, taking Zarat, northeast of the line.

In northern Tunisia, the First Army struck against Jurgen von Arnimís troops with "reconnaissance in force".

On the Russian front, reinforced German forces were said to be attacking across the Donets River, north of Chuguev, along a stretch of river made hard to defend by the fact of a high bank on the west side and a low bank on the east, defended by the Russians. Within the snaking bends, Germans were, as reported the previous day, establishing fixed fortifications, behind which they were burning villages and clearing out all inhabitants.

General Georges Catroux and General Henri Giraud met to try to work out an agreement by which the Free French forces under Charles de Gaulle might be amalgamated with the French forces fighting in Tunisia. The demands were that Auguste Nogues, commander of French Morocco, and Pierre Boisson, governor-general of French West Africa, be removed from Giraudís war council.

In Ohio, housewives, alarmed by the announced start of meat rationing for Monday, began lining up in the pre-dawn hours before grocery stores to buy all the meat their money would allow. Some stores didnít open. The others quashed rumors that the run on the meat would leave none for the following week. The meat counters and the government urged the women to go home and eat what they had, that ordinary refrigeration would not preserve the meat long enough for it to be eaten.

--Better be content with your 16 points and the chart by which to calculate it, ladies, your three and a fifth pounds of burger per family member, quite enough to go around for a week. Go home. Just remember the new slogan: Home is where the meat is.

On the editorial page, "Go-Between" suggests Sir Anthony Edenís role in the United States as being as much to convince the U. S. to join the British in a joint policy with respect to the Russians as it was to represent, per se, the interests of Great Britain. At issue, as discussed the previous day by Raymond Clapper, was the question of post-war territorial acquisition of buffer states by Russia, the Baltic states and parts of Poland and Finland.

The piece indicates Britain's post-war goals as being preservation of the British Empire, a sharing in the international airspace, increased power in the Mediterranean, and an empowered France at the expense of a weakened Germany, to act as bulwark to any efforts at future expansionism by the latter.

But the United States, the piece further offers, wanted to know Russia's plan before it went along with Britain's plans for Russia, what Russia intended with respect to Asia, particularly China, when it planned, if at all, to join in the war against Japan. But, since Russia still had its flank and rear to protect from both Asian interests, with little promise in the past of Western aid in that regard to establish a track record, it likely would not be forthcoming in laying its cards on the table. Thus, so would the State Department likely remain coy with respect to Russia. Thus, concludes the editorial, Mr. Eden's mission had likely failed.

Yet, because the piece does not elucidate precisely what it regards as Britain's goals for Russia, on which was sought U. S. agreement, we are at a loss to understand precisely what it is the editorial is suggesting for Mr. Edenís mission. Was it merely suggesting, rather than specific goals, an attempt to foster general amiability between Russia and the United States? Churchill had visited Russia in recent months and met personally with Stalin. FDR had not; Secretary of State Cordell Hull had not, even if Undersecretary Sumner Welles had.

Was it suggesting that Mr. Eden's mission was to convince the likes of Martin Dies to give Russia a chance at parity among nations. But, if so, as Martin Dies and his anti-Communist ilk were equally disturbed by Perfidious Albion, viewed it as a socialist state only a step away at any moment from entering fully into communism, one might as well have sent the Devil's messenger to seek friendly relations with the Devil, as far as such people were concerned.

"The Traitors" counsels harsh treatment of the executives at Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corporation, in the surfacing scandal being investigated by the Truman Committee in the Senate, regarding falsified tests of failed steel plates sold under contract by the company to the Navy. The company executives had claimed seeing and hearing no evil and sought to lay the blame on low-level employees who, it assured, had been sacked. The editorial refuses to accept such passing of the buck and recommends giving the executives the works, indictments for treason. We shall see what Harry Truman and company thought of the matter and whether they passed the buck or looked the calves' heads dead in the eye.

Dick Young recalls, episodically, some of his past travails during his 25-year stint as a reporter. He remembers the fire where a wall nearly collapsed on him, a midnight on Christmas when he was summoned to the morgue by his fireman friend to view the pitiful corpses of nine killed in an automobile accident, the hard-pressed policeman, seeking to find a mother in "the colored section" of town to tell her that her child had been killed when, feet dangling from the back of an ice wagon, he had been hit by a streetcar running into its rear, the policeman having no success in calling out the woman's name until, finally telling generally of his purpose, she fell down weeping beside him.

Perhaps, it was no wonder that, after twenty-five years of that sort of uplifting fare, he had taken to writing a weekly column, sometimes about Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel in the tree next to the police dispatcher's second-floor window.

Samuel Grafton writes of the Republicans seeking to make political hay out of the alleged draft deferments obtained by a supposedly inordinate number of employees at the Office of War Information. It turned out, however, that of the 746 alleged deferments, only 46 had been sought by the government agency, most of those for necessary foreign language translators. The remainder, Mr. Grafton speculates, were either fictional or ordinary deferrals based on dependents, standard for everyone in the country, having nothing to do with government service.

He cites the example as emblematic of a trend of the out-party to inveigh against the in-party executive branch, no matter the truth or substance of the charge. He questions, rhetorically, whether the President was to blame for the condition, whether he should summon leading Republicans closer to his Cabinet counsel.

But, though Mr. Grafton leaves the question dangling, had not FDR already done so, and three years before, by naming, in 1940, Henry Stimson as his Secretary of War and Frank Knox as his Secretary of the Navy, both prominent Republicans? He had elevated, in 1941, Harlan Stone, a Republican, as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He had given his imprimatur to his 1940 election opponent, Wendell Willkie, the previous year to travel on an informal diplomatic mission throughout the war zones, in Africa, India, Russia, and China--even if, by the end of that mission, given Mr. Willkie's controversial statements regarding the need to open a second front to assist and relieve the Russians, the Administration quickly turned a deaf ear and distanced itself from him.

Regardless, the bi-partisanship displayed by FDR from 1940 onward was unprecedented in American politics, at the start of an unprecedented third term, in the most trying and extraordinary times the country had faced since the Civil War. No one could fault him for not trying to reach out to Republicans, even if they often sought to bite the hand which fed them.

In any event, Mr. Grafton concludes that the bi-partisanship demonstrated by the four Senators sponsoring the bill to provide Senate approval to United States membership in a post-war United Nations organization would perhaps set in motion a positive trend for Washington in a time when the public appeared tired of cross-partisan bickering and wished some level of cooperation to insure victory in the war.

It is nice that in these times, we never hear of such public complaints anymore.

"Strange World" speaks despairingly of the latest predictions of H. G. Wells in Britain, forecasting that radio and the telephone would soon supplant newspapers as the chosen method of acquiring news, that books, likewise, because of radio, maybe movies (but a couple of lines are missing), would be consigned to the dustbins of history. The editorial thinks otherwise, that print media would remain a staple in the American household.

But, little could it foresee the prevailing place in the living room which television would come to occupy, beginning in the 1950's and onward. Already invented, previewed at the 1939 World's Fair, and having broadcast its first transmission commercially out of New York on July 1, 1941, the same day Cash died in Mexico, (so, donít blame him), albeit largely to dead space without receivers to pick it up, the little box would indeed largely fulfill by the 1980's Mr. Wells's prophecies, almost single-handedly replacing both newsprint and books for the average American's daily fodder of entertainment and news, by the 1990's the two being nearly indiscernible from one another a good portion of the time.

In 1985, in the face of 24-hour news on cable, appearing for the first time in 1979, even The Charlotte News itself, along with a host of other afternoon dailies across the land, would succumb finally to the absent need for an afternoon newspaper.

Then, in the mid-1990's, the internet began to flourish, though around in one form or another since 1969, even if no one ever heard of it or knew it existed until the mid-1980's, then just a fledgling toy with airline reservations, Reuters News Service, and, its featured attraction, card games, all for about $10 per hour of time online.

Now, indeed, newsprint is increasingly a thing of the past. And, so is television. But, by the same token, books, good books, "old heavy books", as Cash used to call them, have undergone a renascence by becoming readily available on the internet without having to trudge back and forth to the library or spend a fortune for a library to obtain their authors' good offices for thine understanding of life and times, then and now.

What then will eventually come along to replace the internet? Hologramatic electrodes, which feed data directly to the senses, enabling the reading of books while one's eyes are closed, while one is even fast asleep? Heck, we can already do that, without any machine.

Tom Jimison provides another offering out of Richmond County, this time discussing the subject of mandatory respect for the elderly, questioning why it should be so, why he had to respect any old thief or scoundrel, scalawag or hypocrite, a fellow who prayed all day Sunday and then refused the door to a "hungry wayfarer" on Monday. He suggests that, moonshiner or derelict, if his wife liked the fellow, if his dogs liked the fellow, then so, too, should he.

Does that say anything about the copper we saw on the news today from Chattanooga, Tennessee, whose squad car's bumper pad was chewed clean off by the dog, formerly gentle, said its owner, but suddenly gone wild over this particular police officer's bumper pad and tires? The officer tried, futilely, to back up, seeking to unleash the dog's determined grip, moving forward haltingly, backing up again, all to no avail, as the tenacious hound refused to surrender its locked teeth, gnashing without respite the hard rubber, even after being shocked with a stun-gun and sprayed with the pepper. Apparently, this hound had watched "Cops" quite a bit.

Then, to make matters worse, his brother or pal or some stray hound in the neighborhood, probably drinking at the time, happened along and, seeing the problem immediately, joined the fray and started, likewise, helping his pal peel off the squad car's bumper pad, tenaciously doing so, ripping it clean off.

The owner conceded that the dog had to go, even though gentle in the past, lest it might next seek to rip off someone's leg, with equal vigor and tenacity.

We have our doubts. That old hound was probably just emulating that which he had seen on tv. Doggie-see, doggie-do, per the usual. Besides, that's really a form of doggie profiling, suggesting that because the dog attacked rubber, it would also attack humans.

We think it was all staged for publicity anyway. Somebody must have sprayed some cat perfume or something on that bumper thusly to excite the hound to that degree. In fact, are you fellows sure there wasn't something underneath that bumper and inside those tires, for which K-9's are trained to ferret out?

If you have ever tried to tear apart one of those bumper pads, you would know how resistlessly strong that doggie's jaws are. Maybe, the dog had consumed some sort of automotive additive with his pal, which they got from Mario Andretti, to make it so.

Maybe, in the final analyis, it just read The News and decided to stage itself as the wage controversy, positing the bumper as the high cost of living. Thus, the squad car, we suppose, would be the Fed. If so, it's all a bit of a mixed metaphor in its final effect, not to mention being a bit out of joint with the times. But, after all, it is a dog.

Anyhow, that was Tom Jimison's piece for the day.

Sorry about the missing "Visitin' Around". You can fill in your own to match the headers.

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