Monday, October 16, 1944

The Charlotte News

Monday, October 16, 1944


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports, in a by-lined story by Alex H. Singleton who on Friday the 13th had reported the story of the disturbed witch of Scrapfaggot Green in Great Leighs, England, that the two converging First Army forces on Aachen had conjoined at Wurselen, east of Aachen, to cut the last part of the supply and escape route of the Nazis defending that city. Five German counter-attacks were repulsed during the course of three days, knocking out 50 to 60 enemy tanks.

Following ten days of close-quarters fighting, including the "weird" battle of the tunnel-wall bullet deflection, the Third Army failed in its attempt to take Fort Driant defending Metz. General Patton's forces uncharacteristically withdrew before dawn on Friday.

Sometimes, fixed fortifications are effective.

Second Army British patrols crossed the Neder Rhine in Western Holland on probing expeditions, five miles west of Arnhem, where, three to four weeks earlier, the "Red Devils", the parachutists of the British First Airborne Division, had been trapped for eight days before withdrawing after heavy losses.

Canadian First Army forces placed two pincers on the sea approaches to Antwerp. Three bridgeheads across the Leopold Canal had been joined.

French forces of the Sixth Army Group in the south advanced in the Vosges Mountains to within 32 miles of the Rhine, north of the Belfort Gap.

The RAF had attacked Wilhelmshaven and Hamburg the previous night.

In Hungary, a civil war had broken out between the forces still clinging to the Germans, led by Count Ferencz Szalasy, and those wanting to surrender to the Russians. Regent Nicholas Horthy had appealed to the Allies for terms of surrender. The Nazis had, in response, occupied all buildings in Budapest.

The Russians and Partisans of Marshal Tito had entered Belgrade after reaching the suburbs on Saturday.

The Russians had captured the Finnish port of Petsamo, cutting off the sea escape route by the Germans from Northern Finland. It opened the path to Norway for the Russians.

Red Army troops had advanced three miles west of captured Riga in Latvia.

A British force, as promised by General Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, had arrived by sea at Piraeus, the port of Athens, and was preparing to land. Athens and Piraeus had been liberated on Saturday. It appeared that Germans were evacuating Greece completely after the loss of Athens.

In the Pacific, the Japanese contended that their Imperial Fleet was engaged in a furious three-day battle east of the Philippines with the American Third Fleet and that the Japanese had inflicted heavy damage to the Americans. The engagement was as yet unconfirmed by Admiral Nimitz.

The American Fleet for the previous two years had been hoping to engage the Japanese Fleet in a decisive battle. Speculation of reporters ran that the Japanese may well have decided that defending both the Philippines and Formosa was worth the risk of bringing their Fleet into the open.

But Admiral Nimitz only indicated that there had been a third Japanese counter-attack on Friday in the face of further air and naval attacks on Formosa, and Luzon in the Philippines.

It was reported that a second wave of B-29's had struck Formosa.

Governor Thomas Dewey, entering the last three weeks of the presidential campaign, with election day coming on November 7, was speaking in St. Louis this evening. His running mate, Governor John Bricker, was appearing in Southern California, at Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Glendale.

Senator Harry Truman, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, was scheduled to make a major speech in Los Angeles on this night.

The New York Times and the Chattanooga Times, both of which had endorsed Wendell Willkie in 1940, reversed themselves and gave their editorial support this time to a fourth term for Franklin Roosevelt.

The Dallas Morning News of George Bannerman Dealey endorsed Mr. Dewey.

On the editorial page, "The Answer" predicts accurately that the rule of German defense of Aachen, fighting for every inch to the death against hopeless odds, would become the basis for defense of Germany all the way to Berlin, ultimately to the wrack and ruin of the country.

"The Rats" tells of the full-scale attempt to rid Charlotte of rats, in light of recently reported cases of typhus in the downtown district.

Call in the Pied Piper of Hamelin, let him lead them to Salisbury or somewhere.

"Cabal" reports of the new competitor for traditionally hand-picked King Cotton within the Mississippi Delta region. Now, the mechanical harvester had been introduced on the plantation of the Brothers Hopson, reducing costs to less than 10 cents per pound. One operator could replace 30 to 40 cotton hoers, choppers, and pickers. (The choppers would therefore go on down to New Awlins and pick 'em up some hoers down theyer...)

The complicating factor was that the new mechanization would tend to squeeze out the small farmer.

"Swooners" regrets the continuing shadow of Sinatra hanging over the nation. The teenagers were swooning in ever-increasing numbers. Witness the fact that his performance the previous week at the Paramount Theater in New York had attracted 25,000 screaming females, just to catch a glimpse of the Man. Most had even, it suggests, played hooky from school to be there. (We think not, though, as it was said by police to be the fault of Columbus Day, who, it is told to us, allows hiatus from school each October 12 in New York City.)

In any event, juvenile court judges became alarmed at the rate of absenteeism leading up to the day, were concerned also about the tendency of dress, being sweaters, bobby socks, and saddle shoes, a sure sign of a delinquent attitude. Moreover, said the authorities, they could no longer tolerate the public display of young people losing control of their emotions.

Concludes the editorial: "That's it. Why can't they swoon privately, like Mama did for Valentino, and Grandma did for Edwin Booth?"

Your mother should know.

Samuel Grafton, writing from Chicago, reports that the fourth term issue had not been raised much during his travels about the country. The primary attacks on Mr. Roosevelt were instead running to personal complaints, such as the hotel-keeper who only received two sheets every three months to accommodate ten rooms, or the businessman who was tired of being told by the agencies the price of his products while having the unions on the other side fixing his costs.

But, he occasionally found the surprise in the mix of opinion, as the man who told him that he was voting for Roosevelt because the world had a tradition of crucifying humanitarians, a custom which he wished to crucify.

Some entrepreneurs, we note parenthetically, in the 1960's, at least from the little ads in the back of the teenage rock 'n' roll magazines, which sometimes we peeked into for sociological research, made a mint off selling little one-inch "documented" squares of sheets, being those supposedly where one or more of the Beatles had slept--even if having to become pretty small to do so. We contented ourselves in the fifth grade, in precocious sapience, with the Rossi wig having the hair which shed all over the place and smelled incessantly of shellac, or something.

Marquis Childs, still in Los Angeles, writes of Helen Gahagan Douglas, actress and wife of Melvyn Douglas, running for the Congress out of the predominantly black and Mexican-American Fourteenth District. Mr. Childs does not explain how Ms. Douglas had managed to run in that district when she lived in the Fifteenth, comprising Hollywood, where a more competitive race was afoot.

Regardless, she was predicted to win the race against William D. Campbell, the Republican. Ms. Douglas, a liberal who had fought at the Democratic Convention to keep Henry Wallace on the ballot as Vice-President, was already being labeled by her opponents as Communist and Red or radical.

Ms. Douglas would run for the Senate in 1950 against Richard Nixon and be labeled by him as the "Pink Lady", "pink right down to her underwear". She would lose the race but retain her dignity.

Whether, incidentally, Mr. Campbell was the same, a.k.a. Mr. Shears, who has been going around since 1966 pretending to be Paul McCartney, we couldn't say. But the age disparity must pose some sort of barrier.

Hal Boyle, reporting from Belgium on October 9, states that the one thing which impressed the French, Belgians, Dutch, and Germans the most about the American troops was that they were able to obtain white bread while in the field. It was a luxury they had not enjoyed for five years, since the beginning of the war. The Americans had mobile bakeries from which they continually produced bread, just a few miles from the front. Over a quarter ton of bread was dispensed every 25 minutes.

The quartermaster's unit had suffered no casualties thus far, were always maintained just out of enemy artillery range. They had been cheered by the infantry when they had landed on the Normandy beaches, a rarity. But the infantry knew that the piping hot white bread would soon be warming their stomachs.

So, the bakers were the their heroes.

A letter to the editor finds offensive to the Constitution and democratic notions generally the fact that some groups were lobbying to mandate the teaching of the Bible in public schools, a debate which would be raging and would reach the Supreme Court 19 years later.

While the letter writer wanted what he termed an "amoral" peace in the world, unfortunate in its choice of word, generally his conception was consistent with our Constitution and its separation of church and state, manifested in the First Amendment prohibition against establishment of religion by the state.

We have heard some of the morons of the right argue that there is no separation of church and state mandated by the Constitution.

"Folks, do you see in there where it uses the words 'separation of church and state'? I don't. But these Liberals, you see, these Liberals will try to tell ye that something is there that isn't, in their typical hocus-pocus fashion..."

But, of course, it is there for the fact of the establishment clause. How can the Government be prohibited from establishing a religion and also provide in publicly-funded organizations or schools for the teaching of a particular religious doctrine?

To argue the contrary is to seek unilaterally to throw out the Constitution and impose in its stead royal rule by those who Know Good Best, imposed by idiots who can't read and who want to dumb down the rest of the society, by insisting that without literal words of a catch-phrase, the logic of the words which are there does not convey that which they plainly assert.

The demagogues try to argue that only atheists or agnostics seek to impose this sort of doctrine and, once started in the schools, it leads to the home, and that Bibles will soon be confiscated and burned as in Communist Russia.

If one wants to read the Bible, we each can do so as we please, anywhere we please, including in the school, as long as we do so on our own time. Religious instruction must come in churches, Sunday schools, and parochial schools, not in the public schools.

If these fools were to spend as much time worrying about preservation of freedom of speech and expression of ideas as they do worrying about preserving the Christian religion against supposed atheistic attack, then our society would be infinitely better off. As it stands, we have been led by these idiotic rightwing nuts into a form of Fascism in the country, which, we can report from firsthand experience, exists strongly from North Carolina to California.

It is a better thing to pay more attention to that object lesson and less to an automobile racing accident in Las Vegas.

The driver was from a town, incidentally, not far from Scrapfaggot Green, believe it or not.

And our Saturday note, while tweeked a little with some links after we originally posted it Saturday night, had been placed there in relevant part, that of the latter paragraph, and the whole of October 13, without change, prior to the race in question, of which we knew nothing until today.

And Mr. Wheldon's car was No. 77, believe it or not.

Those who bet frivolously with their lives typically lose them early. Save your crocodile tears. We have seen them quite enough. You encourage the playing with fire and you get what you pay for finally. You play with fire, for no salutary purpose, you will likely pay the price, which is, most usually, premature death. It is not due martyrdom, but rather is to be labeled a silly, useless waste of life.

Oddly enough, though we had no awareness of this race about to transpire, somehow, if you read through our notes for the past couple of weeks, starting here, something appears, as if trying to reach these individuals before it was too late, too late to cram 34 cars on a small track going at speeds of 225 mph, thereby playing Russian roulette. Now, it's too late.

Dig the hole in the desert and end it.

Drew Pearson relates that Governor Dewey, if elected President, would likely fire J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the FBI and replace him with some of Mr. Dewey's old law enforcement cronies in New York from his time as New York City District Attorney. Many Republicans, however, were advising him that it would be a bad move to remove Mr. Hoover, who enjoyed at the time a reputation for efficiency and honor. He had been appointed Director in 1924 by Republican President Calvin Coolidge and had been retained by President Roosevelt, most thinking it to have been an astute move by the President. The FBI had been considerably strengthened in manpower and prestige during the Roosevelt years.

Of course, Mr. Hoover remained Director until his death on May 2, 1972, a month and a half before the break-in of the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate.

Mr. Pearson next tells of the story from Senator Josh Lee of Oklahoma, as told to the President, regarding Governor Dewey's speech in Oklahoma City. The rostrum was too tall for Mr. Dewey and so when he got up to speak, the Republican state chairman realized the discrepancy in height and grabbed an eight-inch thick volume prepared by Senator Ed Moore as an attack on the New Deal for its sheer volume of laws which he had compiled into this thick decennial--never minding the bi-decennial.

So, rather than attacking the volume of the New Deal, Mr. Dewey wound up with his voluble speech being delivered while standing on its tenets.

Finally, he reports of General Eisenhower's exceptionally good teeth, which, by the General's own account to Congressman Karl Mundt of South Dakota when the latter was visiting England, were in perfect condition without ever having had any work on them by a dentist. Scientists had even gone to his birthplace in Dennison, Texas, to see whether the water there had special qualities. They had found traces of fluorine, a poison, but effective in preventing tooth decay, although also having the tendency to blacken teeth.

Now, you know, Mandrake, why it is that the water supply is polluted. It was not the doing of the Reds or even Helen Gahagan Douglas. Rather, it was because of the reaction to the perfect teeth possessed by General Eisenhower.

Now to attend to the string in your leg.

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