The Charlotte News

Monday, July 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President signed the NATO treaty, ratified by the Senate by a vote of 82 to 13 the previous Thursday. He then immediately sought appropriation from Congress of 1.45 billion dollars for arms aid to the Western European members of NATO.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan, the chief GOP foreign policy leader in the Senate, called for a stop-gap arms measure instead. Newly appointed Senator John Foster Dulles of New York, formerly the leading GOP delegate to the U.N. and foreign policy adviser to Governor Thomas Dewey during his 1944 and 1948 presidential campaigns, favored a smaller arms program than that proposed by the President.

Republican Minority Leader Senator Kenneth Wherry, who opposed the treaty, denounced the proposal.

House Speaker Sam Rayburn announced that he would order hearings to begin immediately on the President's proposal.

The Administration launched its regional jobs aid plan this date, but the President appeared ready to wait six months to determine whether the economy would improve before determining what aid was required and seeking it from Congress.

Southern Democrats were frustrated in an attempt to adjourn the House prior to consideration of the anti-poll tax measure. It was the fifth House effort led by Democrats to effect an anti-poll tax measure in ten years, each time defeated by coalitions of Southern Democrats and Republicans.

In Chicago, Federal District Court Judge Elwyn Shaw held the entire 1949 rent control law unconstitutional, finding that Congress, if it wanted to continue the old law in effect, should have simply set a new expiration date without imposing a new local option provision enabling localities to opt out of the law if the state approved. The Government intended to appeal the ruling forthwith to the Supreme Court, bypassing the Court of Appeals for the emergent nature of the matter. The law would continue to be administered and enforced pending the outcome of the appeal.

The House Commerce subcommittee approved use of 35 million dollars for health services in private and public schools based on needs of the states, similar to a bill passed by the Senate. The bill was separate from the controversial measure for 300 million dollars passed by the Senate but stalled in the House Labor & Education Committee, prohibiting use of Federal money for private and parochial schools.

Eleanor Roosevelt replied in part in her "My Day" column of this date to Francis Cardinal Spellman's letter, reprinted on Saturday's editorial page along with the original June 23 "My Day" column, though explaining that she had only recently read the letter as it had been delayed from the Hyde Park post office in reaching her. She said, in response to Cardinal Spellman's contention that her position that it was appropriate to deny public funding to private and parochial schools based on separation of church and state made her "anti-Catholic", that she had supported the late Al Smith, a Catholic, in his gubernatorial elections in New York and in his presidential nomination and run in 1928. She said that she did not intend to encourage any form of bigotry against the Catholic Church. Her position was determined by her desire to see freedom of religion flourish and that it could only occur where separation of the church from the state was complete. The "My Day" piece is reprinted on the front page.

In New Bern, N.C., a robber robbed a seafood market owner of $307, using a toy pistol, then was captured 20 minutes later on Saturday. He was charged with armed robbery.

In Rockingham, N.C., Judge Susie Sharp—future North Supreme Court Justice, appointed to the Court by Governor Terry Sanford in 1962, and later Chief Justice, elected by the people to the position in 1974, the first female in the nation to occupy that position through popular election and the second female Chief Justice of any state—took her seat this date as the first female North Carolina Superior Court judge. Her first case involved sentencing a man to two years on the roads after being found guilty by the court of non-support and assault on a female. She would serve as Chief Justice in North Carolina from 1975 until 1979 at her mandatory retirement age.

Rose Bird in California would become the third female Chief Justice, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 1977, serving until her defeat for confirmation in the controversial Paul Gann-led "revolt" in favor of "law and order" justices in 1986, resulting in the failure of confirmation of three of four justices of the seven-justice Court standing for confirmation at that time. It was a dark day for California jurisprudence, which has never recovered since, causing the State Supreme Court to go from being a leading edge in the law across the nation to being a hopeless lackey, plodding along behind the learning curve in retarded fashion, unable to read the law as written, substituting their "common sense" for common decency, generally in favor of big business at the expense of the individual—though gradually improving since fall, 2011. And the basis for the Gann-led "revolt" was the death penalty not being carried out in numerous cases, against the blood-thirsty desires of the mobs outside the prison walls wanting death row inmates to "fry" without Due Process in the courts, too slow to accord the blood-drinking mob.

That stated goal, however, was never realized because it was not susceptible of realization in a modern world, a fact recognized by the Bird Court. Instead, what was accomplished was the actual goal of the campaign's hidden agenda, a roll back of progressive consumer protection legislation passed under Governor Brown's leadership between 1975 and 1983, the "revolt" against which having been led by the moneyed business interests funding the effort not to reconfirm the Justices, a campaign calculated to induce the gullible to follow along on an emotional hot-button issue—the old, old bait-switch technique of demagoguery being practiced by the Republican nominee in this presidential election of 2016, regarding bigotry toward Arab and Hispanic immigrants, a general campaign of xenophobia in favor of nationalism, dead both economically and in terms of foreign policy since the 1930's, a form of stupidity which led directly to World War II. And what do you think you will get instead of that program, which is unconstitutional for the most part in the premises?

In Del Mar, California, former boxing champion Barney Ross, recipient of the Silver Star for gallantry at Guadalacanal in August, 1942, perhaps also in his spare time, a prize sucker, and his actress wife, Cathy Howlett Ross, were married for the second time after the first marriage ended in divorce in 1946.

On the editorial page, "Farm Prices and Politics" finds that with the death in the House of the Brannan agriculture plan by a vote of 239 to 170, no new plan would likely make it through the Congress during the present session. The Aiken plan, a 30 to 90 percent sliding parity program, passed by the previous GOP Congress, was set to take effect in January unless a new plan were substituted.

Thus, the Senate could either do nothing and let the Aiken plan take effect or return, as had been proposed by Congressman Albert Gore and adopted in the House, to the old standard 90 percent parity program. Politics would likely determine the choice, even though the Aiken plan had been supported by the President and Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan at the time of its passage.

Under the Aiken plan, however, lower farm prices would likely result and farmer resentment in the coming year could be used by Democrats in the 1950 elections to garner the farm vote. Adoption of the Gore plan would mean higher prices for farmers and thus enable Democrats to claim credit for it.

The 90 percent parity price support system was established as a wartime necessity to encourage production of an adequate food supply. But with production returning to normal, the piece believes it proper to reassess the program and work out a plan to benefit the entire nation, not merely the farmers.

"Opening the Bottlenecks" commends Mayor Herbert Shaw and the City Administration for the way in which it was eliminating traffic bottlenecks in the city. They were requiring the cooperation, to the extent allowed by law, of the railroads in eliminating dangerous grade crossings and otherwise opening public streets. The plan had been one of the major campaign promises of the new Mayor and, unlike those of previous administrations, was being fulfilled.

"A Dependent People" tells of Mecklenburg County Welfare superintendent Wallace Kuralt—father of later News and CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt—stating to The News recently that an attitude had developed among some of the people of dependent entitlement to Government benefits. Demands had increasingly been made on his agency and while some of the increase was the result of increased unemployment, another major factor was the "gimme" attitude.

Dick Young of The News offers a piece on the page telling of the same story with respect to the feeling of everyone generally seeking more City services.

It finds that the fathers and forefathers would be deeply chagrined at this development, as were the editors.

A piece from the Memphis Press-Scimitar, titled, "We Owe It to Ourselves", urges emergence from the Dark Ages and allowance of a reasonable day's wage in equivalence to a day spent in the Work House for an indigent defendant having to work off a fine in lieu of payment. At present, the rate was calculated as $1 per day, but no one worked any longer at such a slave wage. It proposes $8 per day as the fairer measure.

A piece from Business Week examines the Southern Railway on its 55th anniversary, with its slogan, "Look Ahead—Look South". Rail freight traffic had dropped off sharply in the first half of 1949 because of growing truck competition. Profits had shrunk in industry, further reducing traffic.

During the war, the railroad acquired new customers, as Reynolds Aluminum in Listerhill, Ala., which had built over a thousand new factories in the three years after the war, with the result that Southern had spent 160 million dollars in capital outlays for new equipment and roads, boosting its income between 1940 and 1948 from 7.4 to 19.2 million dollars.

Its main artery was from Washington through Charlotte to Atlanta, with another important route running from Cincinnati through Chattanooga to New Orleans, and other arms stretching to Memphis and St. Louis and to most of the ports along the South Atlantic coast.

About 19 percent of the passenger and 10 percent of the freight locomotives were the new diesels, but the latter handled 60 percent of the freight ton-miles and the former 56 percent of the passenger miles.

We have to run, to catch the 4:05 train to Philadelphia via Memphis. Now, then, you see, Hate GOP 2016 delegates, tonight's first night of the Democratic convention represented the way to hold a convention before the nation, full of hope and good cheer, inclusiveness and unity, not the reverse. But, of course, we recognize that the Democrats have a great advantage in that their nominee is progressive and looks to the future rather than to the past for inspiration, to inclusivity of the American people and immigrants to the country, rather than exclusivity, for the basis of policy determination. And, as a result, the second contender for the nomination among the Democrats, not being questioned by his opponent for his heritage or attacked personally as in the case of the other party, has been able to work effectively with the nominee to forge a platform which embodies those progressive programs, including free public college tuition to every student of a family earning less than $120,000 and a public option for health care, continued dedication to reversal and amelioration of the effects of climate change, and other such policies, rather than trying to turn back the clock to a time which no longer fits reality, as does the Republican nominee's dictated platform, ignoring the pressing issues of the day in favor of escape into Never-never Land, where only the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class becomes slave to both classes as a result.

If you like a dictator who wants to sell you a bridge while building you a wall to keep you out, then you will want to support the Republican nominee. If you want a person who will listen to others and reach out in a cooperative way, proven by her track record, to embrace the will of the majority of the country to continue building the bridge to the future, free of glass ceilings and walls, then elect the Democrat, both for the presidency and for Congress. That is the proper direction of change, not trying to retreat to the Dark Ages so that a billionaire can have better times than he has been able to enjoy in the last eight years, though still making record profits, just not enough to satiate his insatiable desire for more.

Go forward over the bridge, rather than allowing it to be blown up so that a cheap billionaire, unskilled at both statecraft and the way things work in the law and the government, can rebuild it with a sales pitch, telling you he will provide one thing at one price while providing you with something else, an inferior product at a higher price—just as his "Trump University" bait-switch scheme which defrauded thousands out of thousands of dollars each, all for fattening his already over-gorged pocketbook. He would be the cardboard president, there in name only, the foundation, by his own estimate, of about a third of his claimed net worth, nowhere to be found in substance, the story of his entire life insofar as it is known.

It would have been nice, no doubt, for all of us to have received in the latter 1960's a gift from our rich pappies of a million dollars with which to establish a business. But, Donny, boy, the great bulk of us, including the Democratic nominee, had to go out and work for a living in our chosen paths of life.

All aboard. See you in Philly—so that we don't wind up taking the non-stop train back to Philadelphia.

Drew Pearson says that he does not wish to write anything further about Maj. General Harry Vaughan which might prompt the President to refer to him, as he had the previous February, as an "S.O.B." But he thinks that the the Senate Expenditures Committee investigating the "five percenters" should take a look at the renovation of the White House because a friend of General Vaughan and of "five percenter" James V. Hunt, involved with the two suspended major generals charged with influence peddling, had been placed in charge of the renovation work. The man was retired Maj. General Glen Edgerton, formerly of the Army Corps of Engineers. He had been a good general, as had been the suspended generals.

He goes on to explain the intricacies of the relationships, including that to General Vaughan's friend John Maragon, who also posed as a friend to the President. Mr. Maragon had been able to pull strings to get some of the Government surplus property at low prices, appearing to get special favors of access along the way.

DeWitt MacKenzie discusses England's court system, starting with the recent "vampire" murder case out of Lewes, in which John George Haigh had been sentenced to hang. He had boasted of killing nine persons in four years and drinking their blood. He was tried only on one murder, that of a wealthy widow whose body he dissolved in acid. Scotland Yard believed that at least six other persons who had disappeared were also his victims.

During the trial, the London Daily Mirror was charged with criminally interfering with the trial by publishing an account contending that Mr. Haigh had committed several murders, calling him a "vampire" in the story. The newspaper was found guilty of contempt and fined $40,000. One editor was sentenced to three months in jail.

Under British law, both public comment on prior convictions and prosecutorial introduction of evidence of prior convictions were prohibited until after conviction. (Under American law, prior convictions for felonies or for conduct which involves dishonesty may be introduced in most jurisdictions to impeach the defendant if he or she testifies, provided the prior conviction is deemed sufficiently probative given its prejudicial impact on the defendant, for instance, not being too remote in time such that its probative value is attenuated. In some jurisdictions, similar prior offenses may be introduced to show a pattern of conduct to establish the likelihood of commission of the present offense or modus operandi, dependent on degree of similarity between the conduct and relevance based on remoteness in time.)

In the British system, the judge frequently intervened in the trial as it was his duty to see that the truth was adduced, and if the attorneys did not sufficiently set forth the evidence, the court would. He relates of having heard a judge tell a jury, for instance, to disregard completely a witness's testimony as not credible, impermissible under the American system. He had also seen a judge ask a witness a leading question resulting in conviction of the accused—something which, on occasion, albeit infrequently, does occur in the American system.

The British system was also famous for its bench wit. He tells of one jurist quipping in a case in which a witness was testifying that he went into the elephant house of the London Zoo to make a telephone call, that the judge thus presumed it was a trunk call.

The British system was quick and efficient: a death sentence at the time resulted in hanging three weeks after it was rendered, unless the defendant appealed.

Once as a cub reporter, Mr. MacKenzie was covering a trial and was unsure of the effect on the case of certain evidence, went to the judge during the recess and sought an explanation, to which the judge said patiently that he was not allowed to discuss the case while it was proceeding but that if Mr. MacKenzie were to study the evidence in question he would come to the conclusion that it was damaging to the defendant.

Dick Young of The News tells of the City Manager having received a call from an irate woman who had just moved into a new house in the Myers Park area of Charlotte and discovered an unbearable odor which she wanted abated by the City. The City Manager listened patiently but suggested that the problem sounded to be the result of something on her private property for which she, not the City, was responsible and that she should therefore call the exterminator. A few days later, she called again, telling of the exterminator having found a dead cat underneath the house and that she wanted the City to pay the $20 fee.

Another woman had called the police department at around midnight complaining of some animal making a sound as if it was in distress. When the police investigated, they found toads croaking on a lily pond.

These were but two examples of the tendency of the citizenry to complain to City Hall about the most trivial of matters. Years earlier, a woman would have sent her husband to look for the source of the foul odor under the house or to investigate what was making the strange sound.

The examples, he posits, showed why the annual local tax bill was growing larger.

Well, what if the sound turns out to be that of a Siberian tiger or a giraffe or elephant and the smell turns out to be emanating from decomposing bodies of victims of another Lewes-type vampire-killer on the loose? Then you won't be complaining about frivolous complaints. You'll eat your words, mister.

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