The Charlotte News

Friday, November 29, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that John L. Lewis was ordered to trial on his contempt charge after the Federal District Court Judge denied his motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction to issue the restraining order, violation of which was the basis for the contempt charge. The court held that the Norris-La Guardia Act preventing injunctions of strikes did not apply when the interests of the nation and the union itself were at stake and being harmed by the strike. Mr. Lewis waived his right to an advisory jury. The Government proceeded with its case.

In Berlin, a spokesman for the Central Administration of the Russian occupation zone of Germany stated that the zone was being divided into five states with separate provincial governments for each one. It suggested a Soviet swing to the British-American point of view, that Germany should have a Federal-State governing system rather than a strong central government.

Reports from the American zone stated that the Russians were engaged in large-scale redeployment of troops in the Russian zone.

At the U.N., the Foreign Minister of White Russia, Kuzma Kiselev, stated that without arms limitations, there was a danger of world war and that sole possession of atomic power could not last forever. He joined Russia in the desire to scrap the atomic bomb.

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union, Andrei Vishinsky, stated that the atomic bomb stood as a "sword of Damocles" hanging by a thin thread over the world and that security could be had only by its removal.

The Soviet Union reported a population explosion pushing its census toward the 200,000,000 mark, seven million higher than in 1940, despite heavy war losses estimated at 20 million.

In Copenhagen, a court condemned a woman to death, the first such sentence by a Danish court imposed on a woman, for reporting 47 Danish patriots to the Gestapo during German occupation.

President Truman announced that more grain would be allotted distillers and brewers and that restrictions on domestic flour would be removed.

In Atlanta, stalling tactics by the Ku Klux Klan attorneys had apparently been successful in halting the efforts of Governor Ellis Arnall to revoke the Klan's charter. A hearing on a motion was to be scheduled for the day before the end of the Arnall Administration in January. Governor-elect Eugene Talmadge—who would soon die—had promised to withdraw the legal action against the Klan.

In Trenton, N.J., a State tax court of appeals overturned a local ruling of 1944 which had assessed over 250 million dollars in taxes for the years 1942-43 on intangible personal property of the Duke Endowment. The court ruled that there was no jurisdiction to make the assessment. During his lifetime, James B. Duke had been a resident of Hillsborough, N.J., the township in question.

The National Safety Council reported 69 traffic deaths during Thanksgiving, plus fourteen other traffic-related deaths, higher than the preliminary estimate of 50 deaths for the holiday. The number was less, however, than the average of 110 on typical November Thursdays.

California suffered the most fatalities, seven. There had been 3,120 deaths nationally during October, and 27,520 during the first ten months of the year.

In Berlin, police files told of a German "Bluebeard", Bruno Luedtke, who had killed 49 women and the husbands of four of them during a twenty-year period, using variously a knife, a club, and a noose made from electrical cord. The Nazis had hushed up the case, including the death of the murderer in prison in Vienna in 1944, following experiments conducted by Nazi doctors. Herr Luedtke had committed his first murder at age 16 and had been arrested in 1943. He stated that he had killed the husbands of four of the women only because he was forced to do so. He had been arrested as a suspect in the murder of a woman and then confessed to the other killings.

In Philadelphia, six tons of sugar were stolen from a chewing gum factory by means of a coal truck. The thieves held a gun on the night watchman while they loaded the truck. They would have gotten away with more loot had it not been for a trick by the night watchman, holding the phone receiver down while pretending not to get a connection when his security company called. The thieves fled as the police arrived shortly thereafter.

In Detroit, a man was fined $10 and admonished by a judge to stay out of places where he might get embalmed, after he got drunk and wound up passed out inside a casket in a funeral parlor.

In New York, a man had been to a party and decided to take a nap afterward. The police pulled him off of railroad tracks over which a train had just passed. He was untouched, said, when informed of what had occurred, that he was glad he was skinny.

On the editorial page, "The Coalition in '47" discusses the probable legislative agenda for the Republican-controlled 80th Congress when it would convene in January. The Case bill was a top priority, previously vetoed by the President. It provided for a mandatory 60-day cooling off period before a strike could be called, prohibited strikes and lockouts in public utilities until five days after recommendation by a presidential commission, and other labor restrictions. There would also likely be an amendment to the Wagner Act to outlaw the closed shop.

The President would likely veto both efforts and then the Congress would have to override by a two-thirds majority of both houses. To obtain that majority would require a coalition again forming, as in the 79th Congress, between Republicans and Southern Democrats. There having been no considerable change in the Southern delegation, that fact appeared likely of occurrence. The Southerners had voted 56 to 11 to override the veto of the Case bill earlier in the year. With the South traditionally opposed to a powerful labor movement, it was likely that the Southern members of Congress would support all Republican legislation on labor.

And the piece was essentially correct. The matter would proceed in that general fashion with the Taft-Hartley Act being passed by the Congress in 1947, vetoed by the President, then overridden by the Congress.

The editorial again asserts that the one-party system in the South led to chaos. With a viable two-party system in the South, it believes, there would be some form of compromise likely on labor legislation. It suggests that the fact of the Southern distaste for Republicans might overcome the desire for restriction on labor and work to continue the status quo anent labor legislation.

"An Investment in People" reports that North Carolina's teacher pay ranked 32nd in the nation in 1944. South Carolina's pay scale ranked dead last. The problem in education and teacher shortages was nationwide, but was especially acute in the South. A hundred chambers of commerce in the South were studying the issue. Whereas some viewed additional local and state taxes to raise revenue for education as impeding the location of industry in the South, others took the long view, that an investment in education would attract industry to the state.

It hopes that the study by the chambers of commerce would stress investment in people, to break down the resistance to taxation to pay for education.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Sentinel, titled "Evolution of the Language", takes issue with The Shelby Star critique of overuse of hyperbole by sports writers in describing losing efforts. "Pulverized" and "atomized" were only some of the terms used, it says, and provides a few others. But while such language might upset an English professor from England, it would not ruffle the feathers of schooled football fans in America.

"Decimate" was a term often used to describe pulverizing the opponent, and "decimate" originally meant to take the tenth part of something, such as choosing every tenth man for exaction of the death penalty.

As the language was constantly evolving, the sports writers were only doing their part.

Drew Pearson discusses the fact that John L. Lewis was involved in a tug of war within the UMW as to who would succeed him. He was in failing health and it was believed that he would soon retire. (He would remain head of UMW until 1960 and live until 1969.)

His logical successor, says Mr. Pearson, would be Thomas Kennedy, secretary-treasurer of the union and former Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania. Mr. Kennedy was more studious and statesmanlike than Mr. Lewis.

John L. Lewis, however, wanted his brother, roughneck A. D. Lewis, head of the District 50 union, to become president after older brother retired at full salary. A. D. Lewis employed thugs, mobsters, and gunmen to organize District 50.

He next tells of A. F. Whitney's continuing grudge against the President for the public rebuke in the spring he had given to Mr. Whitney as head of the Trainman's Union. Mr. Whitney told the story of a trainman discussing where to erect a memorial to President Truman. In proximity to the Washington Monument was out because Washington never told a lie. Likewise, Roosevelt had kept his word and so a statue near the FDR memorial would not work. Finally, the trainman decided that placing the statue near that of Columbus would be best because Columbus, like the President, did not know where he was going, where he was when he got there, or where he had been when he returned home. Moreover, he had performed his venture on borrowed money.

He reminds that Mr. Whitney and the Trainmen had raised considerable money for Senator Truman in his 1940 re-election campaign and so felt doubly betrayed.

A small tempest was brewing in Ohio regarding the interim election of Kingsley Taft, a distant cousin of Senator Robert Taft, to fill the Senate vacancy created by Harold Burton a year earlier when he was appointed to the Supreme Court. The question was whether Mr. Taft could take his seat the day after the election and thus have a 59-day term or had to wait until December 15, shortening his term to 19 days. The forces of former Governor and Senator-elect John Bricker wanted to keep the term short so that another Taft would not be able to run on the 1948 ballot with some claim of experience in the Senate. A Senate vacancy could occur should either Senator-elect Bricker or Senator Robert Taft become the Republican nominee.

Marquis Childs describes the scene of the trial of John L. Lewis for contempt. It had the feel of an ordinary, mundane case. But lights were going out all over the world in consequence of the coal strike, the legality of which was ultimately at issue. In Paris, electricity was being cut two days per week during the daytime through early evening hours. France had been receiving on average 400,000 tons of coal per month from the U.S. In Copenhagen, the dimout would become a blackout in short order.

A million men were being laid off in the U.S. as a result of the strike impacting other industries.

Former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins had told in her recently published book, The Roosevelt I Knew, of a discussion with the President in early 1940 with Teamsters leader Dan Tobin present, the latter urging the President to run for a third term. FDR had told of a visit from John L. Lewis during which he urged that the President place him on the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee to dispel among labor and liberals all concerns about the traditionally eschewed third term.

A few days later, Ms. Perkins sought from Mr. Lewis commitments of support for certain legislation, which he refused until he obtained an answer from the President on his proposition.

Mr. Childs thus wonders whether the motivation for this latest strike was simply spite because of being denied satisfaction of his political ambitions. With the future now dependent on the actions of one man, the country was being pushed back to the stone age.

Samuel Grafton describes the three positions on troop strength disclosure before the U.N. The U.S. favored both domestic and foreign deployment numbers; the Russians wanted only foreign deployment disclosed; the British wanted the matter deferred until it could be considered together with the subject of multilateral disarmament.

The U.S. wanted the domestic numbers disclosed because Russia's home troops could easily be transported over Eastern European borders. Russia wanted that information secret until the world had agreed on disarmament, meaning a delay of at least a year or two. Russia's desire for foreign deployments related primarily to American troop strength in the Pacific.

The British believed that there was nothing to be accomplished in such disclosure until there was agreement on disarmament. The British were regularly announcing plans to remove their troops from the League mandates and yet they did not want to provide the numbers. They either worried that they would reveal small and vulnerable forces or did not want to admit the forces they had.

The American plan, he asserts, appeared the best of the three because it lacked evasiveness. The British plan, as the Russian plan, sought to prevent disclosure of numbers. The American position was as Americans liked to see their Government operating, with the offer of full transparency.

A letter from a member of the Citizens' Committee reprints a letter sent to the North Carolina General Assembly urging amendment of the Barbers Law which imposed an unjust licensing fee to support the Barbers Board. He tells of the requirements imposed on barbers before they could be licensed and the fees charged after they were licensed. He also claims that black barbers who had worked in white shops for decades were being squeezed out of the white shops by the Barbers Board.

A black barber had written a letter to the Governor a year and a half earlier contending that, as a returning veteran, despite cutting hair in the Marines, he had been forced to retake his examination to have a barber's license and had flunked. He claimed that the reason for the requirement was that he had been a black barber working in a white shop.

A letter writer says that he would debate with anyone Biblical scripture, finds the Reverend Herbert Spaugh's column of November 21 to be wanting by suggesting that Jesus had stated his promise of paradise to the thieves on the cross with him in declaratory manner rather than as an interrogative. One preacher whom he had heard preaching on Daniel and the lion's den had at one point placed the children in the lion's den and Daniel in the fiery furnace.

The editors respond by quoting the King James version of Luke 23:43: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in Paradise."

So there, Mr. Smarty.

Just why, incidentally, the editors spelled it "Paridise", whether a deadline slip or a Devil in prints conversion, it tends to render the implied choice conveyed by the words, pregnant with the potential of a negative, a sort of parimutuel exercise, as to whether it would be lost or won, or won or lost, depending on perspective.

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