Thursday, February 28, 1946

The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 28, 1946


Site Ed. Note: For the second consecutive day, most of the front page is consumed by the news of the abduction of the four-year old daughter of a prominent local physician. The police now knew the true identity of the nursemaid, 19, who abducted the girl, her name given to her employer having been an alias. It appeared not to be "Branik", a name on the laundry mark in one of her dresses. Police were still checking into her background, but did not announce her true identity.

The police were investigating the lead in Kannapolis of witness Homer Lee—who probably wasn't nothing but a hippie—concerning his sighting of a young woman with a child generally fitting the young girl's description, wearing a white kerchief, matching that which the child was wearing when she was last seen. But his sighting was at 12:30 and other evidence suggested that the woman and child had boarded a bus in Charlotte during the morning and rode to Winston-Salem, then to Richmond.

The girl's father had traveled to Danville, which it was believed the young woman had chosen as a destination, and delivered a radio appeal for the safe return of his daughter. He intended to leave Danville and travel to Winston-Salem to check tips and leads there. He had discovered a woman in Danville who had seen a little girl in the bus station Tuesday night who seemed to match the description of his daughter. He had managed to enlist several volunteers, including Boy Scouts, to aid in the search.

Her mother, worried and sad, hoped to have her daughter return soon, told of her being a "happy-go-lucky little devil—just as full of fun and trouble as you please", had once taken to bed a single jar containing a frog, a lizard, and a caterpillar, which her mother allowed her to keep.

She'll make it. Don't worry. We have a feeling.

In Philadelphia, three thousand striking G. E. workers and sympathizers engaged in a violent battle with police, breaking through barricades, bowling over six officers before eighteen of the police rode through the mass of people, injuring 20. Another 20 were arrested, including the CIO regional organizer. A violent confrontation had likewise taken place the previous day, prompting an injunction against mass picketing. The union leaders contended that they were not violating the court order but were leading a march on City Hall, where a thousand demonstrators arrived shortly after noon.

President Truman urged Americans to share their homes with veterans to alleviate the housing shortage.

Meanwhile, the House voted to terminate on June 30, 1947 any emergency power it would grant to the Administration to issue orders to encourage production of housing. Democratic Leader John McCormack of Massachusetts complained that the powerful building lobby was working against the best interests of the veterans. Representative Wright Patman of Texas declared that the amendment would "scuttle" the President's efforts to encourage more low-cost housing. The President had called for 2.7 million new houses over the course of two years. The program proposed by Wilson Wyatt, Housing Administrator, entailed housing subsidies to fill the gap in prices.

A firing squad in Budapest executed former Hungarian Premier Bela Imredy, pursuant to his conviction the previous November for war crimes and anti-Jewish acts. Sentences of other former Hungarian leaders during Nazi rule would take place the following day.

In Wilmington, Del., 240 student nurses engaged in a brief sitdown strike to win the right to wear makeup while on duty. The hospital acceded to their demand, as long as the makeup was not "used indiscriminately".

None of that killer-diller lipstick, please.

On the editorial page, "A New Broom Goes to Work" comments on the new attitude of the Superior Court on processing cases with the new, young Solicitor, Basil Whitener now prosecuting. Judge Clement was issuing capiases for witnesses and defendants who failed to respond to subpoenas, and cases were going to trial in large numbers.

The piece wishes the new Solicitor well, commenting that he was off to a flying start.

Incidentally, we were just reading a report compiled by the Associated Press in which it was stated that a prosecutor contended in his closing argument that his "client" had been assaulted. We are not concerned with the particulars of that story, but wish to clarify for young reporters that a prosecutor's client is the State, not the victim or primary prosecuting witness or witnesses. They are witesses, not parties.

In a criminal prosecution, the State is one party; the defendant is the other. It is important to maintain that distinction, first, so that your reports will ring of knowledge and credibility, and, second, to make clear the principle of American jurisprudence, that the prosecutor's role is to represent the State and not the prosecuting witness or witnesses. In other words, the State's interest is in seeing the laws of the State prosecuted faithfully. It is not to see a conviction of a particular defendant at the behest of a particular prosecuting witness. It is not a college football game.

The role involves the quest for truth. The prosecutor should not have a personal stake in the outcome. That is why it is considered highly improper for a prosecutor to assert any form of personal belief during the course of a criminal prosecution, regarding the guilt of the accused. When it happens, it is ground for reversal of a conviction. Thus, you will never hear a prosecutor, acting appropriately, state, "I believe the defendant is guilty." If you do hear it, you should hear, immediately, the defense attorney loudly registering an objection for improper argument.

Prosecutors often include in their final arguments the idea that they represent the empty chair next to them at the table, that being symbolic of the People or the State or Commonwealth, what have you.

Thus, also, when we make silly remarks about an empty chair, or hang the empty chair...

"Old Muley Stays in Harness" reports that House Ways and Means chairman Robert Doughton of North Carolina, at age 83, had declared his candidacy for re-election, would undoubtedly win. Most of his colleagues from all sides of the political spectrum, reported the Atlanta Journal, had requested him to stay.

The piece thinks, however, that the Journal perhaps overstated the case, that it would be surprising if any left-leaning members had urged Mr. Doughton to remain. He had supported the New Deal actively, but in recent years had opposed most new appropriations for domestic programs. The President, a few months earlier, had singled out Ways and Means as a principal stumbling block to his legislative program.

The primary issue for Mr. Doughton was to curtail the national debt and balance the budget. Consequently, he had opposed virtually every measure offered by the President. His re-election, it asserts, would work to continue the Congressional deadlock, ongoing since VJ-Day. Mr. Doughton and his powerful committee shared a great deal of the responsibility for the sloth in reconversion by turning back nearly all of the President's proposals without substituting any of their own.

It expresses that it was tragic that in his latter years, Mr. Doughton, by dint of seniority, was cast in the role exclusively of an obstructionist.

"Counteracting a Caricature" tells of the reporters in Washington from the "Deep North" calling "quaint" the speech of new Congresswoman Helen Douglas Mankin of Georgia, when she said "you all" to introduce herself to reporters, followed by her expression of a wish that she had something to feed them.

It was no wonder that such warmth and receptivity had greeted them with surprise, accustomed as they were to cold reactions and having to extract information by any means necessary. She was also candid, replying to a question regarding the issue of suffrage in the District of Columbia by saying that she didn't "know a dog-gone thing about it."

Ms. Mankin had been for some years in the Georgia Legislature and so was no political neophyte. She had used her charm to great effect and the editorial looks forward to hearing more of her, that she might counteract some of the influence of "the pompous old Southern Democrats who for so many years have caricatured the manners and morals of the region."

Ms. Mankin, having been appointed to fill the seat of Robert Ramspeck, who resigned to enter the private sector, would lose in the 1946 primary within a few months, albeit winning the popular vote, but losing in Georgia's county-by-county electoral process. Her term in Congress therefore would only last eleven months.

A piece from the High Point Enterprise, "Thirst Without Sympathy", expresses its lack of compassion for the 25 wet counties of the state which wanted the state board of alcohol control to help them solve the problem of residents of neighboring dry counties entering the wet counties and purchasing liquor, when quantities were limited. The stores were left unable to supply their own county's residents.

The piece says that these stores had made profits from the dry counties for years, reducing their tax burden otherwise, and that they had actively sought this business. So, now that the tables were turned, there was little reason to find saving grace in their contention.

Drew Pearson discusses the remarkable job being done by Oscar Chapman as Acting Secretary of Interior until a new Secretary could be confirmed to replace Harold Ickes. He had no assistants or undersecretary to help him.

He next again addresses the need of the Army to eliminate inequities between officers and enlisted men, such as in terminal pay, where G.I.'s received $200 to $300 mustering-out pay, depending on whether they had served overseas, while officers received two months leave before discharge with full pay, $400 for a captain, plus other benefits as well, rendering a total of nearly a thousand dollars.

He turns to the subject of New York City Councilman Michael Quill, also head of the Transport Workers Union, recently having threatened a strike to get his way on the city's ownership of utilities, to avoid divestiture. Under Federal law, a Federal employee would be prosecuted for such dual roles. Two Congressmen had already suffered the fate or nearly so. Mr. Quill, he points out, was a close friend of Mayor William O'Dwyer.

President Truman, he informs, had refused to meet with representatives of the Operating Railroad Brotherhoods regarding their wage demands, stating that with arbitration pending, it would not be appropriate, suggestive of his taking sides. He would only meet with them along with management representatives.

He did, however, meet with the Trainmen's and the Railway Engineers' unions, which had refused to join in the negotiation of wage demands along with the other unions because the negotiations only concentrated on wages and not other conditions. If these two unions were to strike, the entire rail system of the nation would be paralyzed. The President was left with only one option, to appoint an emergency fact-finding board to settle the dispute.

Marquis Childs comments on Adam Stephen Cardinal Sapieha, formerly Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, having been among the 32 new Cardinals in the Catholic Church. He came from an old, aristocratic Polish family. During the Nazi occupation, he had remained in Poland, working in the underground to aid victims, had won a wide popular following in the process. He stood in contrast to August Cardinal Hlond of Poland, who had fled to France after Poland was invaded and remained there until France fell in spring, 1940, then was moved to a monastery in Westphalia until the Allies liberated the area. After he returned to Poland at war's end, he issued several attacks on the Provisional Government, received with deaf ears.

Soviet propaganda included the name of Cardinal Sapieha in their attacks on the Vatican. It would likely, however, have no impact on the Polish people whose fierce independence had been borne out by their toughness through the war.

Poland was being regarded now as a satellite of Russia, but it was too early to tell, suggests Mr. Childs, whether the status would last. Conditions remained chaotic under the new Government, a compromise between the various factions. It needed support from the West.

Samuel Grafton comments on the consternation caused in many American correspondents in Europe by the continuing presence of strong nationalistic trends. In their idealism, they had hoped that such tendencies had been crushed by the war. But now the new nationalism appeared to be driven by the left rather than by the right. The left had led the fight for independence and liberation during the war and so the shift was not surprising. It coincided with the victory of Labor in Britain the previous July.

The trend extended into Germany where the Communists and Socialists wanted a return of the Rhineland and Ruhr, sought by France to be internationalized to prevent the resurgence of German industrialism to form a war machine. The left had seized power in Germany following World War I but was hampered by its acceptance of the Versailles Treaty, leaving reform to the right. Now, the left was accepting nothing, was entirely revisionist in outlook.

The leftist orientation might work to the advantage of Russia, making Germany into a kind of India which would work for independence from the West.

France, too, had a leftist nationalism.

None of it was a throwback to the rightist form of nationalism, but was a natural outgrowth of the pride and independence developed in each nation during the war.

A somewhat regular letter writer attacks the News editorials stumping for legal liquor sales in Mecklenburg, wondering whether the editors would take responsibility for the result, infecting neighboring Monroe. Atlanta, she reports, had teenage girls drinking in the streets soft drinks spiked with liquor.

Why not legalize narcotics, abolish the churches, and close the schools? she asks.

The editors respond that while they agreed that many evils accompanied liquor, the only hope for improvement was in controlled sales, rather than leaving it to bootleggers. They were stunned to find her charging that they had "subtly" suggested the abolition of prohibition. They had openly advocated it and had done so consistently.

Incidentally, Flossie ran away, while Blue Belle and Fluffball remained. We do not know why.

A dry letter writer expresses his contrary belief that, while he opposed whiskey, it was already in the community and controlled sale was the better method. He suggests that the woman who wrote that A.B.C. stores would bust her marriage because her husband could not pass such a store without buying whiskey, had not much of a home in the first instance. The bootlegger, which she had said he would never patronize, would come right to the customer's home and personally deliver the goods.

He was ready for the election to be held and intended to vote for legal sale.

Another letter starts out sounding like someone talking to themselves without bothering to inform of the context of the thought, other than that it had to do with the "People's Platform" and some remarks about something in it, left for "better minds" to figure out.

But he wished to congratulate another letter writer for his opinion on miscegenation.

"Down here in the South we become used to the fact that the colored people will do the work,—yet we will let the same people work for starvation wages,—according to the agitators. We will let them raise our children, and our children fraternize with them,—and yet despise them,—according to our good friends,—the agitators. I wonder.

"We have Robins, we have Bluejays, we have Cardinals, we have Orioles, we have sparrows, we have Crows. We have corn, we have wheat, we have rye, we have cotton. The only things that try to crush these God-made things are carnivorous species of their same kingdom. But between them they never try to produce a hybrid. That remained for Man with his superior wisdom."

He adds that he was of the same opinion as the first writer who wrote of miscegenation, "but I abhor the expression as of yesterday."

The editors explain that the second opinion to which he refers was that of a letter from a black writer who had responded bitterly—but, unless in some other edition of the newspaper, not per se on miscegenation, rather principally regarding the Southern filibuster of the FEPC bill. The editors, while appearing to become a little confused on the subject of the "second" letter and that it preceded rather than responding to the other letter, assert their view that both opinions were relevant, as both fell under the heading of race relations.

We have to wonder, incidentally, why the letter writer did not capitalize "sparrows", not to mention gathering not quite the rest of his rather recondite meaning.

You got some problem with Sparrows? If so, we intend to teach you a lesson.

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