The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 28, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page analyzes the status of John L. Lewis at the end of the first day of trial for contempt, finds that unless he could muster some argument other than lack of legal standing of the court to issue the restraining order, he would be found in contempt. The Court had already so indicated on Wednesday. The trial would resume the next day. The defense had argued that the order had imposed "involuntary servitude" on the 400,000 miners of the UMW by not allowing them to participate in a strike.

The judge had rejected the argument that the Norris-La Guardia Act rendered his order invalid by prohibiting injunctions in union cases, holding that there was contempt regardless of his authority to issue the order. The order carried the presumption of validity and until struck down by an appellate court, the refusal to honor it was a contempt.

Some 90,000 workers in industries directly affected by the coal strike were now out of work. Steel workers and railroad employees made up the bulk of the idle workers. It was predicted that the number would rise to 100,000 within a week. The auto industry stated that it was remaining idle for the most part until Monday to stretch coal supplies.

The Republicans on the Senate War Investigating Committee, chaired by Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia, charged that the 6 to 4 vote along party lines by the committee to cancel a long proposed investigation of the Miltary Governments in Germany and Austria implied that the Administration and Democratic Senators were trying to hide something about the governments.

Secretary of State Byrnes rejected the Russian charge that one of the Russian delegates to the U.N., Gregory Stadnik, had been shot in the hip deliberately by two unknown robbers in a 58th Street delicatessen in New York City after midnight on November 21. He assured that the New York police had found that the shooting and robbery were not premeditated. Another Russian delegate had also been present but was not injured.

The United States and Britain rejected a proposal to the U.N. by Egypt that any member nation should withdraw all troops forthwith from the territory of other member nations not specifically covered by the Charter, meaning withdrawal of troops from League of Nation mandates. Russia favored the proposal. The U.S. and Britain called it too vague.

Housing Expediter Wilson Wyatt had visited the White House the previous day, emerged saying that he had not resigned, but an aide later clarified that he did not mean to exclude the possibility in the future. He was frustrated by his lack of power vis-a-vis the Civilian Production Administration, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and the War Assets Administration. He wanted the power to force these agencies to accept his decisions. The implication was that if he did not obtain the power, he would resign.

A piece states that, despite speculation that General Eisenhower's public speeches and appearances predicted his run for the Democratic or Republican nomination for President in 1948, the men around him had stated that he was not running for any office and wished only to retire to private life after he would end his tenure as chief of staff of the Army. He could not picture, said the aides, any set of circumstances which "could ever induce him to abandon that picture."

In Nanking, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek presented the National Assembly with a draft constitution for self-representative government and stated that he considered his political career at an end. The Communists refused to attend the National Assembly as set up. Fighting was continuing in Northern China and Manchuria. Chiang had ruled the country and its military for twenty years, since the death of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. There was no indication as to whether he intended to renounce his powers.

The Bengal Government banned the September 30 edition of Life because it contained three pictures of Calcutta communal riots from mid-August.

A power failure in downtown Charlotte for 45 minutes had delayed the publication of The News this Thanksgiving Day. The pots carrying the metal for the linotype and stereotype had to be reheated. Sorry.

They might have gone with only linotype, but without the stereotype, how could you properly run a newspaper?

On the editorial page, "'Give Thanks Unto the Lord....'" agrees with an editorial in the Stanly News & Press which ventured that few people in the United States were in a thankful mood in 1946.

In 1621, the Pilgrims knew that if their crops did not flourish by the coming spring, they would starve by the following winter in the wake of the harsh winter of that year. The crops did not flourish and they faced starvation, though the weather was kind and they were able to survive by what they deemed was an act of divine providence. Thus was born Thanksgiving.

The tradition, however, had come to lack the sense of humble thankfulness on which it was founded, even in 1946 after the harrowing experience of the war was behind them and they now experienced plenty. America was far better off than its neighbors and there was, in theory, peace and relative prosperity abroad the world.

Yet, there was a sense of uneasiness, that celebration would be premature. The vision of loss of what might have been obscured the blessings of what had come to be. The country was irritated.

"In 1621 a man could offer thanks in good conscience, for he knew that things had been so bad that they could only get better. In 1946 a man can only gnaw his turkey in sullen silence, nursing a dark suspicion that things are so good they are bound to get worse."

"The High Cost of Politicking" finds the City Council's change of the route of the cross-town boulevard to accommodate the complaints of residents along the original route to have jeopardized the entire project. It was dependent for its 1.5 million-dollar funding on the State and Federal governments and whether it would still meet the standards in its altered form necessary to receive those funds was now questionable. The new route did not accomplish the goals of the highway, which the original route proposed by traffic experts had.

Former Mayor Ben Douglas of Charlotte, now the State Highway Commissioner, had been able to get the funding set aside for Charlotte but had suffered nothing but personal attacks for his efforts. The ten of eleven City Councilmen who caved into the "Councilmanic" route would have, as a result, it predicts, an uncertain political future.

"Virginia's Flexible Statutes" reports of Virginia having charged John L. Lewis with violation of its "blue sky" laws prohibiting sale of securities, alleging that Mr. Lewis's membership dues for his union amounted to a sale of securities. Governor Tuck had loudly supported the action.

For being a trumped-up charge, it was, says the piece, as irresponsible as the action of Eugene Talmadge in Georgia. Every Elk or Mason or Legionnaire would be likewise subject to such a charge in Virginia.

Virginia had also thought about drafting into the militia under state law the strikers in a recent strike of electrical workers.

While it supported curbing the power of Mr. Lewis, it did not support bending laws to fit him. Virginia, it suggests, was old enough to know better.

A piece from the Elizabeth City Daily Advance, titled "New Low in Press Agentry", finds a depressing low to have been reached in staged events, arranged by clever press agentry, when Sister Kinney of Australia, known for her controversial work on polio, laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington. Nearly everyday of the year, someone laid a ceremonial wreath at the Tomb. But this one, with 48 flowers, each from a state of the union, bore no relationship to the Army and Navy, rather appeared solely as a device for Sister Kinney to obtain publicity for her cause.

Drew Pearson provides a story on the White House turkey from South Carolina slated to be eaten by the Truman family at Thanksgiving dinner. After the story was received, the editors note, an A.P. dispatch gave instead the account that the Trumans would feast on a turkey from Boston, supplied by the newsboys of that city who had contributed their pennies to buy the bird of 18.5 pounds—the same weight as the length in seconds of the June 20, 1972 gap on Tape 342, but that's another issue, to be dealt with later.

The President had received four birds, three of which would be consigned to the freezer, according to Mary E. Sharpe, White House housekeeper.

The editors think that were South Carolina a two-party state and thus not secure for the Democrats in 1948, the President would have chosen instead the South Carolina fowl for the carving knife.

Mr. Pearson then goes on to tell of the South Carolina bird, a 35-lb. soybean-fed present of Wilton E. Hall of Anderson, who had served as a 1944 short-term Senator with Senator Truman. Senator Olin Johnston of the Palmetto State had given the bird to the President a day or so before Thanksgiving. The President said that he had already seen the bird and liked what he saw.

Earlier Presidents had received their turkeys from different parts of the country. President Roosevelt had obtained many of his from Rhode Island, providing the largest birds, the Naragansett and bronze, the latter being the variety received by President Truman. FDR, however, got Georgia turkeys when celebrating Thanksgiving, as he preferred, in Warm Springs. Five birds were necessary to feed the children at the Foundation. The President carved the first turkey for twelve boys and girls who sat at his table.

Senator Ollie James used to send Kentucky turkeys to President Wilson. President Taft before him received his turkeys from Tazewell County, Virginia, from which Queen Victoria had received annual turkeys during her reign.

Until the Constitution was amended in 1933 to eliminate the lameduck Congress, the Thanksgiving holiday was spent by the President preparing for the new Congress to take office in December. Meanwhile, the lameduck Congress gave speeches which usually caused headaches for the President.

President Truman, however, now had nearly as many headaches as Presidents in those earlier times. The Republicans were conspiring under his nose to pull the rug out from under him. And there was the coal strike.

Thanksgiving was deemed by Democrats to have been a Northern Republican invention, shoving it down the throats of the South. It was not therefore much of a holiday until 1845, becoming popular only as a means for merchants to do extra business.

Mr. Pearson neglects to point out that the first officially proclaimed recognition of Thanksgiving came from Abraham Lincoln in 1863, setting Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26, a week following his Gettysburg Address. FDR moved the holiday back a week, to the third Thursday, beginning in 1939, where it remained through 1940. The move proved so unpopular, however, with some states continuing to celebrate the holiday on the fourth Thursday, calling the third Thursday "Franksgiving", that he returned it to its original time in 1941.

He next tells of Margaret Truman being undecided whether she would make her opera debut in the coming season or study for another year. She had studied opera for seven years under Margaret Armstrong Strickler of Kansas City. Her public singing had been confined to the Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence. Mrs. Strickler described Margaret's voice as being "birdlike and sweet".

The critics did not quite agree when she did make her debut, prompting a notorious letter from the President to one who he believed had been unduly unkind.

Marquis Childs tells of the Plymouth Colony having tried, according to Governor William Bradford's account, an experiment in communism which failed. At that point, the colony distributed to each family a parcel in proportion to their size. The result was successful as everyone worked their own land industriously, with more corn produced than under the communal arrangement.

Governor Bradford determined that the experiment disproved the notion that taking away private property would lead to a happy and flourishing state, as theorized by Plato in his Republic. By 1623, the colony was flourishing, without famine as in the first two years under communism.

While private property remained, communal effort, as barn-raising, husking of corn, and quilting, all became staples of American farm life, and so communism did have some remaining utilitarian manifestations.

Commie farmers.

Out of these experiments came Brook Farm, New Harmony, and Oneida, all 19th century experimental communes. The experiments were just as much a part of the American story as the saga of individualism. There was a danger, Mr. Childs suggests, of making individualism into a golden calf at the expense of cooperation for the common good, the cement of society.

Samuel Grafton suggests that Congress had been used for some time as an "instutionalized Bela Lugosi", warning labor that if one more strike occurred which impacted the economy, then Congress would clamp down with severely restrictive legislation. The scare tactic had been used so often, however, that its stimulus to fear had worn off.

He reminds that 19 years after the Conservative Party in Britain had placed on labor the most restrictive curbs in Britain's modern trade union history, the Labor Party had won its victory in July, 1945. No one side had permanent control of a society. Life was not a movie with a happy ending for one party.

Senator Robert Taft's recognition of this reality was impelling him toward moderate leadership of the new Republican Congress. Labor could not be restrained completely without dire political consequences.

The farmer and business man had found their places in the system of checks and balances, but labor had not. FDR had served the function for labor, the reason big cities were more interested in the occupant of the White House than Congress. The system worked well during the 12 years President Roosevelt was in office. But with his death in April, 1945, President Truman became the captive of the leaders of Congress, from which he had come just three months earlier.

To try to hold labor down was akin to trying to hold oil under water with one's hands. The labor crisis could not be resolved until the leadership of the country recognized its full place at the table. Just as the Populist movement among farmers ended when they obtained political recognition, so, too, would reckless strikes when labor obtained again its proper recognition. If the Republican Congress sought to repress the movement, it would only accelerate it.

A letter to the Trustees of the University of North Carolina from several alumni and one former psychology professor of The Woman's College at Greensboro favors the Legislature making the college co-educational, to alleviate the shortage of higher education facilities for veterans.

A piece by R. F. Beasley from The Monroe Journal discusses his recurring dreams, which included one in which his father, deceased since 1896, would periodically return, and all in his family would wonder where he had been, irritated at his absence.

Another was that he was wandering a city looking for his forgotten hotel room, worried of running up a high bill.

A third was that he was heading toward a serious traffic accident in a car he could not control. His feet were caught in the gears and he could not put on the brakes.

Dream? We have been there many times, in reality, Mr. Beasley. Nothing to get hung about. As we said, relax, and let the car do the work, letting off the gas, downshifting, if the brakes are gone but there is still traction.

A fourth dream he had regularly, which he had read was very common, was that of flying, a psychological means of escape.

You are in serious trouble, Mr. Beasley.

He says it came only when he was worried about something. He never was in a plane or had wings, but simply flew.

We apparently do not worry that much.

He tells of Jeremy Taylor writing in "The Deceitfulness of the Heart" in 1652 of the dream in which one is aware one is dreaming, in that case a dream of a person who placed his trust in dreams having suddenly become aware during his dream that his dream was vain along with all dreams, and so took from that dream the belief that all dreams were vain, "and so round again."

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