Saturday, April 27, 1946

The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 27, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a Burlington Railway investigation into the train wreck at Naperville, Ill., on Thursday had thus far revealed that the conductor on the lead train, the Advance Flyer, was not aware just prior to the collision that the trailing train, the Exposition Flyer, was on the same track, believing that it might instead be on a parallel track.

The District Attorney interrupted the investigative proceeding to summon Burlington Railway officials to testify before the Grand Jury on Tuesday after they had failed to show up voluntarily for the hearing, stated that he did not wish the witnesses to have opportunity to rehearse their testimony in the Railway's inquiry.

A report by the Interstate Commerce Commission on the accident would be released July 30, 1946, finding that the collision occurred in clear weather at 1:05 p.m., two minutes after the Advance Flyer had made the unscheduled stop in Naperville to inspect the train after an object was seen flying from underneath the carriage. The trailing Exposition Flyer, pulling nine passenger cars, was traveling at about 80 mph when it passed a yellow signal 1.25 miles from the stopped lead train, observable by the engineer for at least a mile, telling him to prepare to stop at the following signal, and then a second, red signal telling him to stop, the latter about 310 yards up the tracks from the accident. The flagman of the Advance Flyer was waving his red flag about 100 yards from the rear of the Advance Flyer at the time the engine of the trailing train passed. The emergency red flasher on the back of the Advance Flyer was not operating, but some question remained as to whether it could have been seen by the engineer of the rear train in any event, as the approach of the rear train was around a curve and the bright sunlight would have further obscured the lamp.

The rear train had slowed to a speed of no less than 45 mph at the time of the collision, but the crew indicated that there had been no noticeable application of the brakes until midway between the two signals. The report found that no emergency application of the brakes was made as required by the signals. The fireman of the Exposition Flyer jumped from the train just before the collision and was killed. The engineer was injured but survived. In all, 45 people were killed and 69 injured. All equipment, including the brakes of the second train and available signals, appeared working properly.

The I.C.C. concluded therefore that the accident was caused by failure of the engineer adequately to heed the track signals. A contributing factor to the deaths and injuries was the fact that the Advance Flyer carried lightweight stainless steel cars intermingled with standard all-steel cars, the report thus recommending that the railroad be ordered to discontinue that practice. The report also states that a determination was being made whether to mandate henceforth automatic-stop signals on lines where trains traveled in excess of 50 mph. The engineer of the Exposition Flyer, with charges pending against him, was not available for questioning during the investigation.

Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson denied that the Government intended to requisition wheat and flour from farmers, as hinted by Undersecretary of State Dean Acheson might become necessary, along with rationing, to obtain the necessary quotas to feed the hungry overseas.

Senators expressed renewed hope of approval of the 3.75 billion dollar loan to Britain as three additional Senators expressed their intention to approve it, bringing the total to 32 who had publicly announced their support, while 27 had indicated intent to oppose.

Senator Theodore Bilbo, who had spoken a day and a half against the loan, requested and received permission to return home to Mississippi until the July 2 primary.

The four-power conference of foreign ministers in Paris was reported to have tabled temporarily the question of the treaty with Italy, to deal with the less complicated issue of settlement of the Italian-French frontier.

The fate of Trieste awaited completion of a study, with Secretary of State Byrnes reportedly supporting its remaining Italian because of its predominantly Italian populace, but with an internationalized port, rather than being ceded to Yugoslavia or made an internationalized city.

The Premier of Iceland reported that the United States had sought the previous fall a long-term lease of three military bases established there by the U.S. during the war. In return, Iceland was promised American support in its application to join the U.N. and that the bases would be included in any obligations to the U.N. under the Charter. Iceland was on the direct air route from New York to Moscow and thus deemed of strategic importance.

It was reported that American forces in Iceland had been reduced from 45,000 to 1,000 men, the remainder to stay until the final peace treaties from the war were concluded.

John McKnight, substituting for Hal Boyle, tells of the return of hot jazz to Rome after being driven underground during the reign of Mussolini and Fascism, during which it was barred from the radio by Il Duce as "barbaric" and "decadent".

Seven Rome students had formed a combo modeled on the Benny Goodman band, which played all of the traditional swing favorites—"Basin Street Blues", "I've Found a New Baby", "Honeysuckle Rose"—, the only band featured on armed forces radio and a favorite of the G.I.'s, being broadcast for half an hour thrice weekly as they played live for Red Cross dances. Five of the seven were students at Rome University, the leader of the band being Aldo Letteri, having graduated in engineering three years earlier, while the vibraphonist was set to enter the University upon graduation from high school in the spring.

Arrangements were strictly on the fly. Talk was a mixture of American jive and musical terms, "legato", "rubato", "glissando", combined with (or becoming) "solid", "drive", "gutbucket".

The band viewed themselves, explained Leader Letteri, as missionaries out to teach Italians to appreciate good jazz rather than "the insipid ballads which Italian popular composers, too much influenced by the classics, feed them."

As extensively quoted, former Prime Minister Winston Churchill spoke at Aberdeen in Scotland, suggesting that the unity of English-speaking peoples made them unconquerable in a world rife with hatred.

"In many countries, where even united efforts would fall far short of what is needed, party strife and faction is fomented or machine-made, and skeleton fanatics rave at each other about their rival ideologies."

A fourteen-year old girl in Charlotte committed suicide with a pistol, leaving a note to her father stating that she feared she had caused him worry and disappointment, and had to hurry before she changed her mind again. Her brother heard two shots.

She may have emulated the suicide of lovelorn Julia, the disappointed would-be war bride of a married man, reported earlier in the week from Rome by Hal Boyle, who also used a pistol, fired twice, and left a note to her sister.

Moral therefore is obviously not to allow your fourteen-year old to read the newspaper. Plants ideas in their heads.

A war bride who had come from Worcester, England, to be with her husband whom she married in September, 1944, and never had a chance to complete their honeymoon before he was shipped off to France, arrived aboard the Queen Mary in New York to find no husband waiting; distraught, boarded a bus west to Albuquerque. He had ventured east, believing the ship to be docking three days later, found what had happened, flew back to Albuquerque, went to his wife's hotel room at 3:00 a.m.

Plans were to live in Quemado, N.M., 200 miles southwest of Albuquerque.

We hope they have plenty of Cheerwine.

In Chicago, a woman, whose first husband had been killed in the war, had been married a second time for two days when she sought a divorce with alimony from her newlywed.

Her attorney contended that the husband was rich and could afford to pay and that the bride had given up a war pension to marry again.

His attorney said that his client was lovesick and that alimony for two days would set a bad precedent.

The judge suggested reconciliation and continued the case until May 3.

Give her enough for two good belts of Cheerwine, one for each day, and send her packing.

In Chelmsford, England, the local Bishop, who had offered marriage counseling to service men and former service men, had found that a large problem was meddlesome mothers-in-law. Many were helpful but many were not.

In Portsmouth, Va., a veteran was jailed for bigamy after he mistakenly believed that his first wife had obtained a divorce, as she stated she would. The second wife was pregnant and the first wife invited her to live in her home until the child was born.

Happy ending for all.

Burke Davis tells of Chapel Hill's Noel Houston making a pile with his recent book, The Great Promise, on page 10-A.

Daylight savings time begins Sunday in 25 states, in 19 of which only portions observed the change. Remember to turn your clocks back 24 hours.

On the editorial page, "The Separate Court Is at Stake" comments on the certainty that challenger Ben Whiting of Mecklenburg would face interim Solicitor Basil Whitener of Gaston County for the position, despite efforts of the local bar and politicians to head off the confrontation by having Mr. Whiting hired as assistant solicitor, only to be turned down in the effort by the County Commissioners.

The hope was to divide the overcrowded docket of the judicial district between Gaston and Mecklenburg, and having a Gaston Solicitor, per the informal tradition, might deter the Legislature from so doing. Thus, the opposition by Mr. Whiting when normally the race for the position was unopposed.

The piece finds it good that there would now be a choice provided the citizens and endorses Mr. Whiting, to insure that no roadblock to district reapportionment would occur, both men being well qualified.

"Jimmy Byrnes and the $64 Question" asks whether the territorial desires of Russia in Eastern Europe represented fulfillment of the need for buffer territory, as expressed, or was part of an expansionist scheme to bring about world revolution, the question facing Secretary of State Byrnes in Paris in the four-power foreign ministers conference, a question for which he plainly did not have an answer.

It explained the funambulism being employed in New York and Paris, not being completely cooperative with the Russians out of fear of the latter, not refusing to cooperate to a degree, in hope of the former. But the division of opinion undermined the work in both New York and Paris.

There was a tendency in the country to place blind faith in the U.N.'s ability to preserve the peace. Meanwhile, time was wasting away and conflict was growing larger between East and West.

"Post-Mortem on the Bond Election" comments on the peculiarity of North Carolina law which mandated that "non-essential" projects, in this case, a new library addition, a new airport, parks and recreation facilities, and a new auditorium, were subject to a rule of passage only by a majority of those registered to vote rather than those actually casting ballots, thus effectively counting a non-vote as a negative vote.

The piece wants the validity of the statute tested in the Supreme Court as inherently unfair, diluting the franchise. Persons failed to vote for all sorts of reasons, weather, illness, or lack of interest, and to count that vote as a negative vote denied due process and effectively took away the rights of voters who did vote. In other words, the law placed a non-voter on the same footing as a voter for a particular bond issue, casting an unfair burden on the voter who wished to vote for the issue, requiring that he cast his ballot, when the registered but non-voting citizen could remain mum and go fishing on election day down by the olde mill pond. (Cf. Bush v. Gore ____ U.S. ____ (2000))

But, regardless of that, the real problem was lack of registration, only 11,000 of 55,000 eligible voters in Charlotte being registered, that despite unprecedented publicity for a bond campaign. Even the negative campaign, that approval would raise taxes by 50 percent, failed to draw voters to the polls.

"We are reminded, watching paralysis creep over our democracy, of the disillusioned poet of the disillusioned Twenties who predicted that the world would end not with a bang, but with a whimper."

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Eye-Rubbing in Asheville", finds the curiously arduous but tortuous reasoning of the Raleigh News & Observer, assiduously applied to reach inconsistency on the issue of alcohol, to be of interest: on the one hand, opposing ABC stores, on the other, after the citizens had declined approval of a bond to build a new airport in Wake, favoring that the money for the airport come from the ABC profits.

It reminded, says the piece, of Mr. Dooley's reflection on the consistency of Theodore Roosevelt on monopolies: "The trusts is heejus monsters; on the one hand I would stamp them under foot—on the other hand, not so fast!"

Drew Pearson discusses the passing of Chief Justice Harlan Stone the previous Monday, regards him as having been a fit role model for Mr. Pearson's son because, apart from his achievements, he had never lost his zest for living. He had, for instance, a secret passage behind a bookcase in his study which opened by pushing a button to afford access to his dining room in his home. While at Amherst, he had led a raid on the Boston express offices and stole the statue of Sabrina, goddess to the Amherst men, and hid it in a Chesterfield, N.H., barn. Later, he married the daughter of the man who owned the barn.

Some of his neighbors in his youth thought his name was Harlequin because of his night-raiding exploits, which got him expelled from an agricultural college.

But then he started selling typewriters, insurance, and tutoring other students to finance his way through Amherst, where he excelled academically and in athletics, starring on the football team, and was voted president of the class for three years.

Calvin Coolidge had attended Amherst a year behind Mr. Stone and it was perhaps that connection which finally earned him the appointment to the Supreme Court in 1925.

He worked his way through Columbia Law School and eventually became dean of the Law School. One of his students had been William O. Douglas, who was broke at the time. Characteristically, Mr. Stone talked to him for two hours, explaining of his own difficulties in financing his law studies.

When Mr. Stone joined the Court, he encouraged young artists, writers, and musicians, including a young Yehudi Menuhin, who had impressed him in concert.

He also encouraged his elder mentor, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who, according to Mr. Stone's direct praise, wrote opinions in the virtuoso style of young Mr. Menuhin.

Once, Mr. Holmes, over age 90, told Mr. Stone, 61, when asked by the younger man for a guiding legal principle, that he had realized about 75 years earlier that he was not God. "And so, when the people of the various states want to do something I can't find anything in the Constitution expressly forbidding them to do, I say, whether I like it or not, 'Goddamnit, let 'em do it!'"

Mr. Pearson suggests that Justice Stone must have had these words in mind when, in his dissent in U.S. v. Butler in 1936, in which the majority had struck down the Agricultural Adjustment Act, he had written:

The power of courts to declare a statute unconstitutional is subject to two guiding principles of decision which ought never to be absent from judicial consciousness. One is that courts are concerned only with the power to enact statutes, not with their wisdom. The other is that while unconstitutional exercise of power by the executive and legislative branches of the government is subject to judicial restraint, the only check upon our own exercise of power is our own sense of self-restraint. For the removal of unwise laws from the statute books appeal lies, not to the courts, but to the ballot and to the processes of democratic government.

The same principle, Mr. Pearson notes, was at work in the last of Chief Justice Stone's read opinions before his collapse Monday afternoon, the dissent in Girouard v. U.S., the majority holding that the Congress, by having allowed in 1942 citizenship for conscientious objectors, had implicitly waived the earlier statutory requirement of recitation of the part of the oath of citizenship pledging to serve in the armed forces in any conflict, regardless of whether it was thought morally justified: "It is not the function of this Court to disregard the will of Congress in the exercise of its constitutional power."

We note that the latter dissent poses a bit of a puzzler, which might be discerned from closer reading of the two earlier cases in which Justice Stone had joined Chief Justice Hughes and Justices Holmes and Brandeis in two dissents in 1931, U.S. v. Macintosh, 283 U.S. 605, and U.S. v. Bland, 283 U.S. 636. Both of the latter cases reached contrary decisions to the outcome in Girouard, and yet Mr. Stone dissented in all three cases.

Figure out that conundrum, aspiring student to the law, without resorting to the cop-out, "I guess he done changed his mind in the fifteen-year interim," and you may divine whether you have the wherewithal to study the law and then practice it. We assure that there is a consistent answer running through the three opinions. As an added bonus, also discern why he did not join the dissent of Justice Holmes, joined by Justice Brandeis, in U.S. v. Schwimmer in 1929.

Of course, part of the study of law is also the ability to recognize in the first instance when such puzzlers exist, so that you might ferret them out and then understand. No one will tell you that when practicing.

Marquis Childs reports that no action had been taken on the passed and signed Full Employment bill of February 20. Pursuant to it, the President was to appoint a Council of Economic Advisers, consisting of three members, with advice and consent of the Senate. The President was also required to submit an annual report of recommendations for promoting useful employment.

Leon Henderson had issued a report in early 1937 predicting the "second depression" of 1938, and had it received the imprimatur of the President, it might have drawn enough attention from the Congress to prevent the economic crisis which ensued. Instead, the report, showing that monopoly prices were increasing as employment decreased, was brushed aside and budget-balancers proceeded prematurely to cut back on New Deal expenditures.

Mr. Henderson had been suggested as the leading candidate for membership on the Council of Economic Advisers but had stated he was not interested. Part of the reason might have been the necessity of forfeiting a large salary and the other part the reluctance to join the Truman Administration, which had not encouraged liberal economists, favoring caution and ultimately indecision.

Unemployment at present stood at 2.7 million, compared to 800,000 on V-J Day, but was not considered a serious problem at this point as being far below original predictions. At present there were 1.5 million unemployed veterans who might be directed into work via the recommendations of the Council of Economic Advisers.

Bertram Benedict reviews cotton in the country, reports of the efforts of the cotton bloc in Congress to weaken OPA as cotton farmers blamed OPA for the fall of cotton prices a penny a pound during a single day the previous week.

A fourth of the nation's farm population lived on cotton farms. Cotton was second to wheat as a cash crop and had been ahead of wheat until recent years. Cotton prices varied mercurially, from ten cents per pound prior to World War I to 38.5 cents in 1920, then back to 9.5 cents a year later and up again to 19.5 cents in 1923, then back down to 5.75 cents in 1931.

To limit excess production, the Bankhead Act of 1933 penalized cotton growers by imposing a 50 percent tax on those not participating in acreage restriction. The AAA processing taxes were invalidated in 1936 by the Supreme Court, but the Soil Conservation Act of 1936 authorized payments of benefits for restricting acreage to afford soil conservation. The AAA of 1938 provided for loan on cotton of 52 percent of the parity price, raised to 85 percent in May, 1941, to 90 percent in 1942, and to 92.5 percent in 1944.

On March 15, 1946, the average price was 22.7 cents per pound while parity was at 22.2 cents. Acreage in cotton fell from 20 million in 1944 to 17.7 million in 1945, with production in 1945 the lowest since 1921 and the second lowest since 1896.

The rising price of cotton had stimulated world production, with the U.S. accounting for two-thirds of world production in 1920 but only 40 percent in 1940.

The higher domestic price of cotton would mean greater competition from substitutes such as rayon and paper.

A letter from the secretary of the Committee for North Carolina urges eligible voters to vote, finding that only 15 percent of registered voters usually voted in the off-year elections, eight percent of the total population, reminding that Hitler came to power via a plurality.

A letter urges that Britain was using the Red scare to hoodwink Americans into giving it the 3.75 billion dollar loan. And Russia wanted a loan also while it destroyed the peace with its efforts in Eastern Europe, Iran, and Manchuria. Communists at home urged America to destroy its military capability.

If the loan were to be approved, then she favors a nationwide movement to boycott the payment of taxes.

The editors respond: "Let's be sure that we've got this straight. There'll be two lights if the British are coming by sea, and one light if the Russians are coming by land?"

A letter says that the nation could expect atomic war in the time of that generation.

Mrs. Roosevelt thought that a common language might deafen the country somewhat to the drums of hate.

"In other words, suppose that only an average of one thousand citizens are left alive, per nation, after the atom war. They would at least have their own native language left to them intact. Being a fair man, however, I am forced to admit that there is something to be said for both sides."

He adds that alcohol was habit forming and expensive, gruesomely so.

A letter from Dayton, Ohio, indicates that one could visit the Mount in Palestine in spirit. The previous week, an historian had written to a Dayton minister that the ten tribes of Israel had migrated to England and that Jesus was not a Jew.

But he finds it immaterial who preached the sermon on the Mount or where it took place, that it was the thought expressed which mattered.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links
Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i><i><i>--</i></i></i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.