The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 10, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Housing Expediter Tighe Woods, testifying before the Senate Investigating subcommittee examining influence-peddling in Army contracts, said that he recalled Maj. General Harry Vaughan asking him in early January, 1948 to hurry along the construction permit for the Tanforan horse track in San Bruno, California, that otherwise the track would lose its franchise. He was accompanied at the time by Eugene Mori, president of the track. Mr. Woods, the next day, sent letters to the Justice Department, urging modification of a court order which had stopped construction on the track because of scarce building materials. The next day, the permit for the construction was issued by the City of San Bruno.

A committee investigator testified that James V. Hunt received $5,000 in 1946, while he was still working at the War Assets Administration, as a retainer to get the Lido Beach Hotel on Long Island, N.Y., returned to its owners.

Bill Ross of the Associated Press recounts the story told by John Maragon to his lawyer the previous day as to how he went from being a shoeshine boy on the streets of Kansas City to becoming a five percenter, able to obtain the ear of the White House. The tea tycoon and yachtsman Sir Thomas Lipton figured in the picture, as did General Hugh "Old Ironpants" Johnson, NRA head in the early days of the New Deal. Even Kaiser Wilhelm had been encountered in Mr. Maragon's circuitous journey. He had been an FBI agent and spent time as an official interpreter for the Government mission to Greece. He denied receiving any money, however, for access to Government personnel, including his friend Maj. General Harry Vaughan, military aide to the President.

The President signed the new Armed Services Unification Act, which provided more authority to the Secretary of Defense. The President expressed regret, however, that the bill placed restrictions on the membership of the National Security Council, whereas under the previous 1947 law, the President could add up to two members as he deemed necessary, from any department and from certain agencies. The law added the Vice-President as a member of the Council.

A group of ten Senators requested that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson recall General MacArthur from Japan to testify on the proposed 1.45 billion dollar military aid bill, insofar as the proposal to provide part of the aid to the allies in the Pacific, especially China, for which Senator William Knowland of California and twelve other Senators had proposed earmarking 175 million dollars in aid. Senator Harry F. Byrd was the only Democrat among the ten Senators making the request.

Army chief of staff General Omar Bradley testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the bulk of the military aid for the NATO signatories would go to France. He dismissed any effectiveness in providing further aid to Nationalist China or any other part of Asia. He urged quick approval of the entire 1.45 billion dollar package.

Robert L. L. McCormick, not the isolationist publisher, research director of the Citizens Committee for the Reorganization of Government, continues his look at the reorganization effort pursuant to the Hoover Commission report. Next on the agenda was reorganization of the Post Office, the modernization of the Civil Service system, and implementation of modern financial practices.

In Bloomington, Ind., a Greyhound bus crashed into a bridge abutment shortly after midnight and burned, taking the lives of 15 persons, including two young children. Twelve injured survivors, including the driver, were transported to an area hospital while a thirteenth survivor was allowed to go home with only minor injuries. The driver said that he believed a tire had blown out, causing him to lose control of the bus. One of the passengers had kicked out a rear window through which most of the survivors had escaped.

In Seneca, S.C., two sisters, ages 6 and 8, died when a train hit the car in which they were sitting, stalled on the tracks as their mother and two other women sought to push the car out of the way. The three women, one of whom was a teacher, were not injured.

In Charlotte, Donald MacDonald of The News tells of two girls posing as boys, pretending to be brothers, and intending to continue to do so after being arrested by the State Highway Patrol for driving a stolen vehicle on Highway 29-A into Charlotte. The vehicle was from York, Pa. The officer thought he had stopped two boys but found out differently when he asked one of them to remove "his" shirt. The "boy" complied after warning the officer of impending embarrassment. The officer was then quite shocked by what he saw. The two girls said that they had used the disguises for nine years, since they were both ten. They had been in and out of reform schools. Their arms bore homemade tattoos, etched while in the reform schools. They had never dated boys but had gone out with other girls, who eventually would find out the ruse. One of the girls had masculine traits while the other was more effeminate.

While on the topic, we relate that, despite the adverse publicity to the state of late for the restroom law, limiting access to the restroom of the gender on a person's birth certificate, North Carolina was one of the first states in the nation, before California, way back in 1975, which recognized, for purposes of changing birth certificates, transgender operations. Go figure.

Such are the things one learns in law school.

In Hollywood, Jimmy Stewart had married Gloria Hatrick McLean late the preceding day in what was described as an average wedding, taking place at the Brentwood Presbyterian Church before 50 friends, as 500 well-wishers waited outside. Among the guests were Frank Morgan and wife, future California Senator George Murphy, David Niven and wife, Gary Cooper, Ann Sothern, Spencer Tracy, and the wives of Van Johnson and Jack Benny.

On September 18, Mr. Morgan would pass away.

On the editorial page, "New Klan Edict" remarks on Klan Imperial Wizard Dr. Samuel Green having issued an edict in Atlanta that Klansmen would be forbidden from wearing masks to avoid being confused with non-Klansmen whose acts, he said, had given the organization a bad reputation, such as the whippings of white people in Alabama. The penalty for violation was banishment.

His effort was to convince people that the Klan was a law-abiding organization. The piece remains unconvinced of the sincerity of the edict or that the Klansmen would abide it. It merely enabled the members to mask themselves and undertake their usual lawless activities without encumbering the reputation of the Klan.

The Klan was ordered to unmask in 1940 by Dr. James Colescott, a horse doctor, while he was Wizard. But the Klansmen had still worn their vizards. There was no reason to believe they would be more likely to obey the edict of Dr. Green, the dentist Wizard—which the piece notes parenthetically was defined by Webster's as a "witch doctor".

"Clyde Hoey's 'New Look'" tells of North Carolina's Senator Hoey, the personification of the Old Look in his swallow-tailed sartorial habit, providing a New Look in Senate investigations, with his subcommittee looking into the five-percenter schemes of James V. Hunt to obtain Government contracts for clients through influence-peddling. The Asheville Citizen had seen nothing like it in the past, as the investigation was taking place without the usual flashbulbs popping and dramatic stances in the hearing room, instead transpiring amid decorum and dignity.

The dual purpose of the probe was to uncover the influence peddling and to shape future remedial legislation, the latter being the more important. The practice had enabled big companies to maintain contacts with the Government, preventing smaller businesses from competing for Government contracts.

"Reflections on Voting Habits" tells of Virginia having discovered that despite only 315,000 voting in the gubernatorial primary, it represented half the registered voters in the state while but 17 percent of the voting age population. The winning candidate, John Battle, supported by the Byrd machine, had polled only 20 percent of the registered voters and eight percent of those of voting age.

The Washington Post had suggested that the poll tax inhibited turnout. The Atlanta Journal found it a poor machine which could muster only a fifth of the registered voters in the state. It suggested that Georgia, which had required all voters to re-register in 1949, look to the adverse example of Virginia and reinstate the franchise, unfettered for all, lest an "invincible political dictatorship" be established.

The piece finds that the Byrd machine had at least provided "good government" in Virginia while the Talmadge machine in Georgia had provided bad government. Nevertheless, the principle that a minority of voters were easily manipulated was applicable to both states.

The fact could easily occur in North Carolina where a new machine was being set up by new Governor Kerr Scott, though he had run the previous year in opposition to the old machine.

The answer, it posits, was to remove voter restrictions and encourage greater voter participation to achieve at least a democratic majority of voters going to the polls. If the people then made a mistake, it would at least be one arising from exercise of the democratic weal.

"The Bishop's Blast" finds Methodist Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam of New York not benefiting his case by adopting the same tactics to attack Francis Cardinal Spellman as the latter had in criticizing Eleanor Roosevelt for her position in favor of limiting public funding of education to public schools. Bishop Oxnam had described Cardinal Spellman as engaging in "character assassination" of a type parallel to Communism. He viewed the Cardinal's criticism of the Federal aid program as intended to destroy it, as he did not want public schools to exist. He further suggested that Catholic leaders might be planning to form a separate political party.

While having the right to differ with Cardinal Spellman, the Bishop, it ventures, would be more effective by recognizing that everyone had the right to express their beliefs without being attacked abusively.

A piece from the Wall Street Journal, titled "Deficit Explained", tells of Massachusetts Representative John McCormack, House Majority Leader, explaining that the reason for the deficit was the previous GOP Congress cutting taxes, not excessive Government spending.

The piece regards it as the defense of the hold-up man who claimed that he was required to beat up his victim after he found that the latter had no money in his pockets.

Drew Pearson relates of the trouble he was having with his wife over scheduling a precise date to begin their vacation and the locale to which they would go to take it. He finally had given in to her entreaties and so announces this to be his last column until September. In the interim, his old prewar writing partner, Robert Allen, would take over the column.

He states that while he deplored many of the White House cronies, the general legislative program of the President was praiseworthy. He finds him "sincere, honest, diligent, sometimes vindictive, frequently impulsive, and not always efficient." But 90 percent of the time, he had been fighting for the average person, more than could be said of most Presidents. But certain cronies, kept around by his devotion to loyalty, had hurt his program.

Former Secretary of State James Byrnes had written Mr. Pearson to correct a previous column in which he related that the President and Mr. Byrnes were at odds during the latter weeks of his tenure at State, hastening his resignation. Mr. Byrnes disputed that version, said that there was no ill feeling, and so Mr. Pearson apologizes. He adds that he believed that the country would have been better off had Mr. Byrnes remained on the job, as General Marshall, for all his good points, had to adjust for a year from his life in the military, delaying progress in foreign relations during that time.

He disputes the criticism of the appointment of Tom Clark as Supreme Court Justice, which some Republican Senators and newspapers had been assailing for his not being qualified for the position. He appeared as a politician but when the chips were down, he was a tough fighter with a fairly consistent record of fighting for the average person. When he had become Attorney General, his critics said he would not have the nerve to go after the trusts. Yet, he had, initiating twice as many such cases as any of his predecessors, including against the problematic du Pont empire.

When at the University of Texas, he refused to join a fraternity until his Jewish roommate had graduated, as the latter had been barred from admission. When he helped to organize the Federal Bar Association, he insisted that black lawyers be admitted for the first time. He had always been a champion of civil liberties.

The Freedom Train, which he had organized at great expenditure of time and effort to bring copies of the primary founding documents of the country to the people, would go down as one of the most constructive moves ever made to educate the nation on civil liberties.

Joseph Alsop discusses the necessity of ERP administrator Paul Hoffman spending the previous six months lobbying Congress for full allocation of the necessary funds to carry on the program of rebuilding Europe effectively, rather than being able to attend to his normal duties of administration of the program. Such actors as Senators Styles Bridges, Kenneth McKellar, Pat McCarran, and Kenneth Wherry had, for the sake of their special interests back home, severely delayed and hamstrung the appropriations measure.

For instance, Senator McKellar had questioned Mr. Hoffman on whether ERP had control of the broom trade in Europe, a bow to a broom company in the Senator's home state of Tennessee.

"Dozing and bulldozing", Mr. Alsop relates, were the specialties of the Senate Appropriations Committee's chairman, Senator McKellar.

Vice-President Barkley's ruling that the amendments to the appropriations bill were out of order as seeking to inject new legislation into an appropriations bill had, at least temporarily, checked the effort. The Congress as a whole would have to exert itself if the appropriations committees were to be returned to their intended functions, else the country would pay the penalty.

Marquis Childs discusses the feeling the previous summer when Senator Alben Barkley was nominated to be vice-president, that at 70 he was too old for a strenuous campaign but that it really did not matter much as President Truman would not be elected and the honor to Senator Barkley would nicely cap his career. Since that time, those who had expressed such sentiments had come to regret them, as Vice-President Barkley had become something of a phenomenon, having traveled farther and made more speeches than any other Vice-President in history, showing no signs of slowing down.

He provides a partial list of his many engagements during the summer months. He received from 40 to 50 invitations per day and so had to decline more often than accept. He customarily declined any appearance which included an honorarium, usually paid his own expenses from his $30,000 annual salary and $10,000 expense allowance.

The cynical critics tended to sneer at the Vice-President's frenetic pace as absurd and futile. But if he relieved the President of some of the ceremonial functions of the job, then his service was of practical value.

At the time he was nominated, Mr. Barkley remarked that the position of Vice-President was a "cold biscuit". But, Mr. Childs suggests, he had warmed it up and made it into a popular dish.

A letter from the minister of the Benton Heights Presbyterian Church expresses the belief that teachers were not properly appreciated for the training it took to become a teacher, and that salaries should more closely reflect that level of education, as it was an investment in the future of the children of the society.

A letter from the Reverend Herbert Spaugh praises County Police Chief Stanhope Lineberry and his fellow officers for ridding the county of slot machines, which were lures to the unsuspecting who sought "easy money", despite their being set up to take the player's money.

A letter writer wonders why civil rights laws were necessary when the Constitution provided for the civil rights of the citizenry. She urges enforcement of the existing civil rights. She finds the President to have shirked his duties by not taking action against draft evaders, whereas in Russia they were placed before a firing squad. She wants action "for our enemies".

Let's put the little cowards before a firing squad without excessive trial and headache. Then we can be like the Soviet Union, tough and strong.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for carrying the complete text of the letter of Cardinal Spellman to Eleanor Roosevelt and her "My Day" column which had spawned it.

We note that even Senator Jesse Helms in 1994, after making remarks warning President Clinton to have extra bodyguards when he came to North Carolina because of the supposed ill feeling among the military toward him, making those remarks on, of all days, November 22 of that year, issued an apology the following day after being excoriated for his statements by both his Democratic and Republican colleagues in the Senate.

But today, Connie Donny, following similar nearly unanimous rejection, refused any apology for his remarks two days ago in Wilmington, N.C., instead lied about it, saying he only meant that the "Second Amendment people" would be pro-active in blocking any unacceptable Supreme Court nomination of President Hillary Clinton, not that they would or should "do" something about it which would be "horrible". He also said that no one except "haters" had made anything of his statement, plainly encouraging others to resolve any "rigged" conflict with their anticipated victory in November by violence, obviously, therefore, referring to those haters in his crowd who received that statement with glee and approbation, not with dead silence and revulsion as any people with normal sensibilities would have.

Well, there will come a test of your premise, dog. Get ready.

Is there a quid pro quo being promised by the Republican nominee to Russian hackers of the State Department and the DNC, that is leaving the Crimean situation and the Ukraine, generally, alone, fare thee well?

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