Saturday, February 9, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 9, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Western Union in New York City had voted to end its month-old strike on Monday. Details of the agreement were not provided. The union had previously rejected the War Labor Board's grant of a 12.5 cents per hour wage increase.

The tugboat workers in New York for the second time rejected a proposed agreement to end their strike, forcing Mayor William O'Dwyer to order the most drastic fuel oil rationing in the city's history.

The War Department, through acting Secretary Kenneth Royall, stated to Congress its opposition to a separate Air Force, favoring instead the President's proposal that all branches be unified under a Department of Defense.

In Cairo, Egyptian students, shouting down imperialism, protested the refusal of Britain to revise its 1936 treaty with Egypt providing for British forces in Egypt for 20 years and a military alliance between the two countries. About 50 students and 30 policemen were injured and another 150 students arrested.

In a broadcast election speech, Josef Stalin announced his third five-year plan, this one being aimed at revitalization of the Soviet Union following the war. He called for increased production and reduction of costs of goods. He declared the Soviet system better than any non-Soviet system.

The Congress gave bipartisan support to the President's proposal for a building program in the country to provide 2.7 million new homes within the ensuing two years.

The Senate Navy Committee appeared evenly divided on the nomination of Ed Pauley to be Undersecretary of the Navy, meaning that the nomination likely would go to the floor without the committee's critical endorsement, probably dooming Mr. Pauley's confirmation. The vote stood at 9 to 9 with two Democrats joining the Republicans in opposition to the nomination.

George Allen, however, appeared likely to be confirmed as chairman of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

It was announced that another shipment of 454 wives and children of American G.I.'s would come to the United States, this time from Ulster, shortly after March 1.

Hal Boyle reports again from Hong Kong, back from Macao, stating that he was now bidding farewell to the Orient, which he describes as either the "cradle of new liberty or womb of World War Three". He was headed to Europe to revisit the battlefields he had last seen during the war, then back home to the United States. He hoped that the five-cent hot dog was still a reality.

During a six-month tour of the Far East he had visited every country except New Zealand, the equivalent, according to his friends, of admitting that he "ate the shell and missed the oyster". He left with the impression that the Japanese slogan, "Asia for the Asiatics", had caught on despite its loss of the war and that Asia stood on the threshold of industrial progress, as had Russia a generation earlier. While some wrote off China and India as being too corrupt to achieve world power, the same had been said of Russia after World War I, and had been the case with England in the 18th century, prior to Queen Victoria. The Chinese were in a position to dominate Southeast Asia, but many Americans and Europeans believed that the Japanese would reassert themselves in the region.

He reports that the consensus in the Orient was that should the U.N. fail to function and should Asia become a fencing ground for power blocs of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, the conditions would serve as the prelude to another war.

In Margherita, Assam in India, a tiger and a wild buffalo invaded a tea garden the previous day. The tiger killed seven persons and injured five before being gored to death by the buffalo. The patrons who survived watched the melee from treetops.

Blame it on the British.

Where was Sara Clare when they needed her?

Probably waiting for sunspots.

A photograph appears of the President enjoying a laugh with general Hap Arnold as he turned over the reins of the Army Air Forces to General Carl Spaatz. The jest probably had something to do with shooting tigers and rabbits in Chicago-New York, or buffalo in Philadelphia-Buffalo.

On the editorial page, "Intolerable Situation" remarks that the representative of the abattoir owners, who had called Burke Davis's description of the handling of the butchery in the city "a terrible attack", was unjustified.

The purpose of the attack was to show the absence of sanitation and lack of inspection, constituting a menace to public health. Some of the blame was to be placed on the owners, some on the City, some on the County. And the only reason, according to the chief inspector, that the abattoirs were not closed was because the city needed the butchery to continue.

It suggested the necessity of tightening inspection procedure and the building of a new abattoir, with the abandonment of the old. Either the owners should build the new one or the City should undertake to do so.

"Winter Paralysis" again looks at the muddy back roads of the State and the inequities which existed in some counties. Iredell was near the top in population and road mileage but next to last in paved roads. The Statesville Daily accused the Highway Commission of providing political favors to the few.

The problem was serious as school buses could sometimes not tread over the roads, causing loss of school days. Doctors often could not reach dying patients on farms. Dairies could not reach farms to obtain milk, necessitating on occasion the bringing of milk from Wisconsin.

"Old, Sad Refrain" discusses the constant plaints of the Southern textile industry that rising costs of materials and labor had pinned them against price ceilings so that they could not afford the proposed 65-cent minimum wage and that price controls needed to be removed. Yet, despite the rhetoric, textile stocks were on the rise. Apparently, either the investors had an inside track on Washington politics or they no longer believed the textile industry propaganda.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Ladies Prefer Tar Heels", comments on 299 British war brides coming to America aboard the Queen Mary, 29 of whom were headed to North Carolina. It finds the fact not so surprising as the State's motto, Esse Quam Videri, had been culled from Cicero's Essay on Friendship. As the Latin compressed six English words, "To Be Rather Than To Seem", to three, it bespoke directness, important to courtship.

It quotes the third verse of "The Old North State" and asks who could resist such a picture.

It concludes: "First at Bethel, farthest at Gettysburg, last at Appomattox, and much in demand from John o'Groat's to Land's End!"

'Twas probably a good thing that the Old South State did not lead the way.

Drew Pearson reports of one of the least realized inequities between officers and enlisted men in the Army, that of disability pay to officers, regardless of overseas service, at three-fourths of base pay, tax exempt, for the rest of their lives. Something as minor as ulcers could qualify the officers for disability. The enlisted men, even with limbs missing, would draw only half as much as a colonel with ulcers. Furthermore, the officer received the payments the rest of his life while enlisted men with conditions which might improve had to undergo annual examinations, with reductions in pay commensurate with improvement of the disability. Mr. Pearson recommends that Congress eliminate these inequities.

He next tells of the Sophoulis Government, continued in power in Greece by the British, attempting to stack the election in favor of itself over the left wing parties, including issuance of registration cards to ten Greek-Americans, nine of whom the American Embassy had returned to the United States to be drafted into the Army. The tenth bore the name of U.S. Ambassador Lincoln McVeagh.

The column next imparts of Senator Claude Pepper of Florida, while in London having lunch at the House of Commons, having overheard someone, whom he believed was Winston Churchill, remark that Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin appeared as a fat Anthony Eden.

Finally, he tells of the secretary to Senator Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi having resigned in part because he was tired of his boss's race-baiting tactics and believed that his own career plans might be impeded by the widespread criticism leveled at Senator Bilbo.

Marquis Childs comments on the struggle of the President and his advisers to reach a wage-price formula to resolve the steel strike which would not cause undue increases in prices. It was nigh an impossible task.

Chester Bowles had threatened resignation as head of OPA regarding the rejection of his $2.50 per ton maximum price increase for steel, the President favoring $4, steel wanting more than $6, rumors now placing the Government's proposed increase at $5.25. Mr. Bowles had been convinced, however, by Bernard Baruch to remain. Now, Mr. Bowles had resigned himself to the hope that production would be so increased in the coming year that prices would fall.

Should the labor victory cause prices to rise, it would defeat the wage increase with inflation. And it was unlikely that pent-up desire for purchasing goods would be spent within a year, causing demand, and consequently prices, to rise. Thus, a year hence, another wage-price dispute might occur, more bitter than even the present one.

Dorothy Thompson suggests atomic power, as a shared resource, to be a panacea to remove the cause of war insofar as it was waged for obtaining coal and oil.

In America, though having been free from war, there was a serious housing shortage, forcing many veterans and families of veterans into homeless situations.

Most of the country appeared opposed to the showdown between management and labor.

The possibilities of atomic energy would have little impact until resumption of production of steel, asphalt, concrete, and the other building blocks for the country.

Samuel Grafton discusses the worldwide food shortage, with grains scarce in Europe. Britain had just cut fat rations and had returned to black bread. France had returned to rationing of bread. Weather patterns had added to the problems, with frost hampering the grain crops of Europe and drought cutting production of livestock in South Africa.

The grain producers and the prune and raisin producers of America wanted shipments to Europe cut or eliminated, shrinking into a new form of isolationism.

Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana asserted that America was deliberately starving Germany. Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska wanted an investigation by a delegation sent to Europe.

"Strange and dreamy are our doings, and the world watches with wonder and dismay: its jaw, with no better occupation in prospect, dropping yet another inch."

A regular contributor to the letters column writes that, if, as someone had written, there was a desire to preserve the back pages of the newspaper for posterity, surely there must be someone wanting to save also the editorial page "for the edification of our progeny."

Consider it done. It has only taken us over fourteen years and counting to save eight years of it, albeit over five continuously on a daily basis.

In any event, for the sake of that foremost edifier in the world, he offers his contribution to "The Saga of the American-Type Smile", that being in reference to the individual who wrote on January 19 of his disdain for the "Dago Jews" and that the Germans had got it right, that to which the present writer refers in shorthand as the "ATS letter". (We might wish to help him a little and suggest it rather as "the American Sadist's Smile".)

He had originally written a response immediately on reading the ATS letter but tossed it aside as being "'siklied o'er' with puerility". Since so many had taken that tack, he wished to return the debate to a lighter vein. He proceeds to hail the letter as revealing "umbriago", reminding of Senator Bilbo's speeches, making as much sense read backwards as forward.

He believed that if the author truly had "God in his mind", as he had claimed, he would, rather than sending the Dago Jews to hell, have wanted "to put a hook in their jaws and send them spinning along the Straight and Narrow."

We are not quite sure that he offers much of an improvement in such apparent condescension, but we suppose it to be a little better. Or do we misinterpret his remark?

He also wants the author to write some more on his thesis as it had proved so arresting.

Incidentally, our friend in the Caribbean, from whom we have not heard in quite some time, sent along the string and wires from his little thatched-roof shack, across three oceans, then via Western Union by special encoded teletype, marked, "Of urgency and utmost secrecy: EYES ONLY", the following abstract. Drivel of the driven rain though it is, nevertheless, we shall honor his wish and set it forth anyway, in light not only of his importunate insistence that the case be so, but also because of the serendipitous intersection with today's page, even if only remotely and hardly worth mention, except, well, except in the realm of the mystically relevant roman a clef, where it might, with due digression into memory, sometimes join to reality, imbedded either in the deep background of the subconscious mind or, more recondite, in the purely metaphysical empyrean of the welkin, that which is, to us humans, incomprehensible, save that we know it when we see it.

Per the usual case, our correspondent stresses to us that the below was set forth originally in October, 1992, prior to his having ever read any of these pieces from The News, save those few in "The Reader" section accompanying the 1967 biography of W. J. Cash.

This false-spring, Jan Steen, late February Friday evening scene, Wilbur walked over to the Little Pep for a meeting with a couple of the Chitterlings. He sat down at the plain-backed booth. The middle-aged, slender waitress immediately approached.

"Why hi the'ere Mr. Cash. How are you this evenin'? Where're the others?"

"Oh, they'll be along directly. How are you, Libbie?"

"Why, I can't complain. What'll it be?"

"Oh, just bring me a Pabst."

"No Stout tonight, huh?"

"No, no John o' Groat's ale for me...just plain old waving purple barley hops."

Libbie laughed. "You give me more to chew on than any customer comes in here, Mr. Cash. Alright. I'm goin' to tell my Joey that when I get home. How's that book comin'?"

"Oh, don't ask. Hammering away."

"Get it done so you can afford Stout again or that, that whatever it was, Goat's ale." Exhibiting joie de vivre, Southern-style, at her own twist of the word, Libbie turned and communicated the order to the bartender:

"Gimme a 'P' under glass. Hold the Goat by its cap. Snap up those other orders, Pap. I can't earn a livin' this way."

She turned back to Wilbur with a haughty grin as he warmly chuckled in admiration of her pleated feat in strain.

"Sounds like you've on order, in familiar quotations, a ruffed grouse from the fiery species of the pear tree rather than my aperitif, Libbie."

She waved the notion away as she laughed again. "Oh, Mr. Cash. You never know when to stop."

A man in the booth in front peered over his shoulder and nodded with a slight one-sided grin. Wilbur acknowledged the skinny fellow with the full face and dark, receding hairline by slightly bumping his head toward the man's direction.

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