Wednesday, June 26, 1946

The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 26, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Senate was still grappling with the House-Senate compromise bill approved the previous day by the House. Some Senators wanted the bill sent back to conference to restore the elimination of controls which the compromise bill had reinstated on meat, poultry, dairy products, butter, and cigarettes. Despite the more palatable compromise bill, however, OPA head Paul Porter and Economic Stabilizer Chester Bowles were expected to recommend that the President veto the bill. Some signals from the White House indicated, however, that it would be signed in its compromise form.

Navy Secretary James Forrestal informed the President in writing of his intent to cooperate fully to achieve the proposed merger of the Army and Navy, and assured that Navy chief of staff Admiral Nimitz would do likewise. Secretary of War Robert Patterson had already written the President providing his and the Army's support for the plan.

It was expected that President Truman would sign the House-Senate compromise draft bill before the temporary extension to the draft would expire on July 1, but the companion bill, to raise the pay of enlisted men, had no such deadline, and whether it was signed before July 1 or afterward would determine whether the Government would have to spend an additional 50 million dollars to provide for the increases in monthly pay, otherwise delayed until August 1.

Wartime inflation in Europe was made evident by the issuance in Hungary of a 100-trillion pengo bank note, before the war worth 20 trillion American dollars, now worth but twenty cents.

In New York, an Army captain, who had fatally shot his estranged wife's live-in companion on December 28, received a suspended sentence, as recommended by the prosecution. The defendant had acted in the heat of passion, finding his wife living with the Captain who had been imprisoned by the Japanese after the Bataan Death March. The defendant had just returned from two years overseas.

An ostensible confession by a man in Phoenix, Richard Russell Thomas, to the kidnaping and killing of six-year old Suzanne Degnan in Chicago in early January had become questionable, as investigators found inconsistencies in the man's story. He contended that he had taken the surgical instruments used to dismember the girl's body after she was strangled to death from his job as a male nurse at a hospital in St. Louis. But the superintendent of that hospital stated that there was no record of the man having ever worked at the facility. He was awaiting sentence for a sex offense. The man complained of being tortured by police when he failed to recall certain details of the killing.

The slayer of Suzanne Degnan was thought to be the "Lipstick Killer", linked to several other murders in Chicago. Police had found similarities between the Degnan ransom note and writings left behind in the Lipstick murders. The Chicago police, however, had indicated their belief, prior to the Degnan case, that the Lipstick Killer was a woman known to be a vicious murderer.

College student William Heirens, who would be convicted for the crime and spend the rest of his life in prison, dying in March, 2012, would be formally accused of the murder in another month in Chicago. By coincidence, he was arrested this date on an unrelated charge of burglary in Chicago, an arrest which would lead to him becoming a suspect and finally to his confession. He later recanted, claiming that he was tortured by the police into making the confession, actually an accusation against a fabricated friend, and maintained his innocence until his death.

Harold Ickes, in his column, discusses the practice in Congress of attaching unrelated riders to appropriation or revenue bills to avoid veto, which he viewed as a "shyster legislative trick", effectively nullifying the power of veto and its Constitutional check on the Congress.

The most recent example was a rider to the Agricultural Appropriations bill, a rider which would forbid any Government employee from belonging to a union which asserted the right to strike against the Government. While supporting the principle, Mr. Ickes did not think it should be sneaked into law in this way.

In 1937, Senator Millard Tydings of Maryland had utilized the practice to attach to the District of Columbia Appropriations bill a rider regarding a requirement that retailers sell at the price fixed by manufacturers. Mr. Ickes had implored President Roosevelt to veto the bill, but, while condemning the practice, he had determined that the risk was too great.

In 1943, former Texas Congressman Martin Dies had used the rider to the Deficiency Appropriations Act to try to stop payroll payments to three particular Federal employees who Mr. Dies claimed to suspect of Communism. Congressman John Kerr of North Carolina chaired a subcommittee which passed the bill, stating that the Congress had the right to determine who would be paid in the Government. Congressmen Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Frank Keefe of Wisconsin had also supported it.

But the Supreme Court had deemed the rider to be a bill of attainder and thus unconstitutional.

Mr. Ickes recommends that Congress ban this practice of "tie-ins" just as it had banned tie-in sales whereby one product is sold only in conjunction with another.

John Daly reports that it was likely that Charlotte would receive a direct air route to Chicago starting in the fall.

Plans moved forward regarding the financing of the 50 homes for veterans to be built in Charlotte at no profit by the J. A. Jones Construction Company, as directors were chosen for a non-proft corporation to supervise the construction and obtain the funding.

Dick Young reports that a State Department of Education officer told him that registration could begin immediately for a proposed one-year junior college to be established temporarily in Charlotte for veterans that they might take advantage immediately of the G.I. Bill.

Since Charlotte's abattoirs had not been approved by the State Department of Agriculture, it was, according to a State veterinarian, illegal for out-of-state cattle to be shipped to the city for slaughter and consumption. The Department of Agriculture was concerned with the spread of Bangs and other cattle diseases.

The evidence was adduced in the trial in Recorder's Court of a slaughterhouse owner accused of bringing 50 bulls in from Kansas in violation of the law and then slaughtering them for consumption.

The producer was found guilty and was, himself, therefore ordered to be slaughtered for increasing the risk of Bangs.

On the editorial page, "Note on Federal Morality" discusses the criminal case for tax evasion against U. A. Zimmerman. The IRB had filed liens against him in October, 1944 for $441,000. In December, 1945, an indictment was filed. Mr. Zimmerman subsequently made restitution of most of the amount owed plus penalties, but the Federal Judge nevertheless insisted on imposing a prison term.

The piece concurs, given not only the amount of the tax fraud but that it had continued during the war when revenue was needed to support the war effort. The usual tendency of the IRB to take the money and let the moral part of the offense go was not allowed in this case.

"The Man's Call to Arms" indicates that Mississippi had, during the war, exempted all veterans from paying poll taxes. But a few days earlier, a black veteran had sought to register for the Democratic primary and was beaten. Then, Senator Theodore Bilbo gave a radio broadcast calling upon "every red-blooded Anglo-Saxon man" in Mississippi to employ whatever means necessary to prevent blacks from voting in the July 2 primary.

It was not a surprising tactic for Mr. Bilbo to employ. The shedding of blood meant nothing to him.

Many residents of Mississippi, however, would be repulsed by his temerity. Many newspapers had already been vigorously campaigning against his re-election. But the Jackson Daily News had lamented: "When Theodore G. Bilbo runs for office we have more damphools to the square inch within our population than any spot on earth outside of an institution for the insane and idiots."

The black vote would not determine Mr. Bilbo's fate. It was simply a way for him to exercise his demagogic power.

It expresses thanks that at least in Georgia, Gene Talmadge was having a tougher go of it in playing the same old game in his run to become again Governor.

"There is reason to hope that Theodore Bilbo will be the last of his despicable breed to disgrace the South."

He would not be, of course, which is why, fifty years ago this month, on June 11, President Kennedy addressed the nation regarding the resolution of the admission of the first black students to the University of Alabama, and to urge passage of the landmark Civil Rights bill to forbid discrimination in service within privately owned facilities engaged in interstate commerce, including restaurants, lodging, theaters, and the like, the death, in essence, of Jim Crow.

In his eloquent urging of the nation to conscience, he also included the necessity for the right to vote and to enjoy equal opportunity in employment.

Just a few hours after the speech, Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers would be shot to death in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi, a victim of the ghost of Bilbo and his ilk, reincarnated 17 years hence. Byron De La Beckwith of the White Citizens Council was arrested for the murder. Two juries hung in the case at the time. Over thirty years later, in 1994, based on new evidence, Mr. De La Beckwith was brought to trial again and convicted. He died in prison in 2001.

In what may prove a short-lived victory for the Rightist elements in this country, the Supreme Court this week, in another 5 to 4 decision, in Shelby County (Ala.) v. Holder, ____ US ____, declared unconstitutional a part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that being the "coverage formula", as codified in 42 USC 1973b(b), for determining states or political subdivisions thereof which require Federal oversight before making changes to their voting laws. The formula, the Court declared, is outmoded as there is now parity between the percentage of blacks and whites voting in the original six states targeted by the 1965 Act.

As we shall explain at greater length, the decision leaves to the Congress the task of re-writing a new formula which will pass Constitutional muster. The old formula allowed the Attorney General to identify those districts wherein there was any "test or device" for qualification of voters which also produced voter registration at a rate less than 50 percent of the voting-eligible population or less than 50 percent of eligible voters actually voting in certain specific elections.

The provision had been re-enacted six times since 1965, the most recent being in 2006, with a 25-year extension, which added to the offending laws any which could have favored minority group participation in elections but failed to do so based on a "discriminatory purpose".

The case did not touch the underlying basis for the Act, to eliminate discrimination in voting based on race or color, but it eliminated the test by which Federal oversight via the Attorney General may be had regarding any changes in voting laws in the identified areas, without resorting to a more cumbersome lawsuit.

The provision deemed outmoded reads as follows:

(b) Required factual determinations necessary to allow suspension of compliance with tests and devices; publication in Federal Register

The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall apply in any State or in any political subdivision of a State which

(1) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 per centum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 per centum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964.

On and after August 6, 1970, in addition to any State or political subdivision of a State determined to be subject to subsection (a) of this section pursuant to the previous sentence, the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall apply in any State or any political subdivision of a State which

(i) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1968, any test or device, and with respect to which

(ii) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 per centum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1968, or that less than 50 per centum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1968.

On and after August 6, 1975, in addition to any State or political subdivision of a State determined to be subject to subsection (a) of this section pursuant to the previous two sentences, the provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall apply in any State or any political subdivision of a State which

(i) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1972, any test or device, and with respect to which

(ii) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 per centum of the citizens of voting age were registered on November 1, 1972, or that less than 50 per centum of such persons voted in the Presidential election of November 1972. A determination or certification of the Attorney General or of the Director of the Census under this section or under section 1973d or 1973k of this title shall not be reviewable in any court and shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.

"The Careless, Heedless Killers" comments on the high automobile fatality rates, increasing dramatically since the end of the war and the end of gas rationing, with a return to normal speed limits. Many fatalities were occurring because of a failure to inspect the aging automobile, not replaced since before February, 1942, and insure that it was properly maintained, in addition to inattention while driving.

Ah, well...

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled "The Land of Opportunity", comments on the observation of Peter Drucker, who wrote for Harper's, The Saturday Evening Post, and other such publications, that the South held out economic opportunities for ambitious young men interested in capitalizing on what he deemed an "industrial frontier". The South was expanding its industries to use its metal resources to produce tools and machines.

Such a trend had been ongoing for years, says the editorial, and had been particularly noticeable during the war.

Many young men, especially Southern war veterans, were doing precisely what Mr. Drucker counseled.

Drew Pearson relates that President Truman had discussed informally the week before with CIO president Philip Murray ways to prevent inflation. The President expressed his appreciation in heading off the threatened maritime strike. Mr. Murray believed that a good OPA bill which would continue to stabilize prices would increase production and act as a hedge against inflation. The President added that the country also needed fewer strikes. Mr. Murray reminded that CIO had asked the steel workers and the auto workers to extend their contracts from the previous October to February to avoid the prospect of strikes, and reminded further that the CIO did not call the recent coal and railroad strikes. Mr. Murray suggested that if a good OPA bill emerged which would hold down prices, he could give virtual assurance that few strikes would take place.

The column next tells of Andrei Gromyko routinely crossing swords at the U.N. with Herbert Evatt of Australia. Both men respected each other as tough negotiators.

He relates among his "Capital Chaff" that after Bernard Baruch and the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission attended the fight between Joe Louis and Billy Conn, Mr. Baruch took the members to the Stork Club to meet Walter Winchell.

President Truman's lawn maintenance man in Independence had quit the job to take a higher paying position at the local Methodist Church.

Marquis Childs, as had Herblock cryptically on Saturday, discusses the House Military Affairs Committee's treatment of the atomic bomb as a military weapon at the very time when the United States, through Bernard Baruch at the U.N., was trying to convince the world that its intentions with regard to nuclear energy were exclusively peaceful.

Representative Andrew May of Kentucky was chair of the Committee and had led the effort in the direction of military oversight of the atomic program, insisting on having a military representative on the commission with a veto over its decisions. Everyone else, the President, General Eisenhower, Secretary of War Patterson, and Secretary of the Navy Forrestal, had opposed such a plan. The Senate had held exhaustive hearings and likewise concluded that nuclear energy should be managed by a civilian authority.

Congressman May had also sought to weaken the draft bill by voting the proxy of Congressman Walter Andrews, in the Pacific to view the Bikini tests. Mr. Andrews, however, was able to wire his actual vote to break the impasse on the draft bill when it was in joint House-Senate conference for reconciliation.

It was rumored that chairman May was attempting the same sort of proxy voting with regard to atomic energy.

Mr. May had blundered previously, announcing an early end to the war prematurely and thus producing false hope in the country. He had also sided with his native state's coal interests to oppose public power authorities which might threaten the preeminence of coal as an energy resource. Some had suggested the latter course as a motive for his seeking to mess up the prospect for cheap nuclear energy.

Generally, his actions were providing the necessary ammunition to the Soviets to claim propagandistically that America wanted to use nuclear energy for military purposes, moving the world toward an arms race.

Samuel Grafton, still in Los Angeles, discusses the mirror imagery of the Soviet plan for control of nuclear energy versus the American plan. The United States wanted to set up a world security system first, then share the secret with the created atomic authority, free of any veto. Russia wanted America first to destroy its entire cache of existing bombs and share the secret, then create a policing system based on each nation's own criteria, preserving the veto on the authority.

The different approaches were consistent with each country's general approach to the post-war world. The Soviets approached the matter with fundamental distrust, based on the notion that the majority Western bloc on the authority would always rule matters against the Soviet.

By producing the fly in the ointment, perhaps Russia was buying time until it had its own bomb and thus be in a position to bargain more effectively.

A difficult job therefore lay ahead for Bernard Baruch. His plan was one minimally acceptable to Congress, while he tried to take into account the division in the world. Given the fact that every question appeared to generate great debate, there would be no piecemeal solution to the problem.

A letter writer from New York comments on the column of Samuel Grafton appearing June 20, in which Mr. Grafton had observed that there appeared to be a strike among consumers in the face of higher prices. The writer, who traveled east of the Mississippi, including Texas, had noticed a similar phenomenon of consumer caution. He had observed that hotel space was more available, as was space on trains and in restaurants.

He finds the consumers' rebellion a good thing and hopes that it would succeed in bringing down prices.

"He", in "Herblock", from a week ago, is now here.

A letter again asks for the return of the Eric Brandeis column, "Looking for Life", wants his "sermon" back in the Saturday editions for the sake of the shut-ins who could not get to church.

The editors respond that the column was still appearing on Saturdays but only in the final edition—or do we misunderstand the editors' use of "sermon" to be figurative rather than literal? in which case, we think the editors may have read too fast the letter which referred to Mr. Brandeis's "sermon".

We leave it to you to ferret out the truth of this mystery, at the library.

Another trio of letters also favor the return of Mr. Brandeis, the middle of which also favors the retention of Samuel Grafton, suggesting that his daily screams at the "Wailing Wall" were "amusing and gratifying" to conservatives.

A letter notes that there had been three hotel disasters in the space of a little over two weeks, starting with the June 5 La Salle Hotel fire in Chicago, the Canfield Hotel fire in Dubuque four days later, and the Baker Hotel explosion in Dallas on June 21. A total of 84 lives, 61 in the La Salle fire, were taken in the three disasters.

The letter writer, however, concentrates on his belief that all three of the fires generated from the cocktail lounge, lending another argument for prohibition.

The editors note that Texas forbade open consumption and sale of liquor except in liquor stores, and so any cocktail lounge in the Baker Hotel would have been a speakeasy.

Based on the reports, the fire in that latter instance was generated by an exploding boiler.

And, perhaps eerily, given the latter letters, as well the Herblock of June 8, we note that President Kennedy, 17 years hence from this date, fifty years ago today, provided his address to West Berliners living in the shadow of the Berlin Wall, erected in August, 1961.

Another of his latter fateful speeches had been provided at American University on June 10, 1963.

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