The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 17, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Karl Mundt of South Dakota, member of the Senate Investigating subcommittee looking into influence-peddling in procurement of Army contracts, denounced Maj. General Harry Vaughan as a "finagling bargainer" who applied "pressure, intimidation, bluff and bluster" to induce a Government worker to break the law. The claim against the President's military aide was in regard to testimony by a former Agriculture Department employee, Herbert Hathorn, who claimed the General had been "a little rough" with him to get him to grant an allocation of sugar to a New Jersey firm in 1946. Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina, chairman of the subcommittee, reprimanded the Senator, saying that, while he held no brief for General Vaughan, if such remarks had been made in a court trial, it would have been necessary to dismiss the case.

Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin demanded that John Maragon, a focus of the investigation, be indicted for perjury for claiming that he had never received money in connection with exerting influence through General Vaughan to obtain Government contracts. A Milwaukee insurance man testified to the subcommittee that he paid to Mr. Maragon $1,000 to obtain lifting of a sugar rationing suspension order for the New Jersey firm regarding which Mr. Hathorn had indicated General Vaughan had applied pressure. Mr. Maragon, claimed another witness, had represented himself as a White House liaison to General Vaughan when he sought lifting of the order by Mr. Hathorn. Mr. Hathorn had refused to grant the permit. He said that General Vaughan then made it plain that he could cause him to lose his job for refusing to grant the order. Senator McCarthy said that he wished that Housing Expediter Tighe Woods, who granted an exception to Tanforan race track in San Bruno, Calif., for allocation of scarce building materials with which to make improvements, had exhibited the same "guts" as Mr. Hathorn.

Secretary of State Acheson, in the wake of the Sunday elections in West Germany, warned the West Germans against abuse of the freedoms permitted them by the Western occupiers. He also said that he favored acceptance of the new West German Government into the Council of Europe, but that the invitation would have to come from the European members.

Secretary Acheson disclosed that Ambassador Alan Kirk had asked Premier Josef Stalin, during his 45-minute talk with him on Monday, to have the Soviet Foreign Office speed action on American protests against jamming of Voice of America broadcasts. He had also urged that the Foreign Office resolve the extended negotiations on final settlement of wartime Lend-Lease payments. The bulk of the visit, however, involved merely exchange of courtesies, as it was the first time Ambassador Kirk, who took over the post in June, had called on the Premier. Mr. Acheson added that the jamming was in violation of the Madrid and Cairo international telecommunications conventions, to which the Soviet Union was party.

The House Appropriations Committee recommended increasing funds for Voice of America by 11.5 million dollars, to be used for improved broadcasting strength to bypass attempts at jamming.

Socialist Norman Thomas urged the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees to take the lead in seeking world disarmament before voting to send military aid to Western Europe.

It was anticipated by House leaders, as debate on the floor began, that the 1.45 billion aid measure would be approved by the full House by the end of the week.

Housing Expediter Tighe Woods announced that rents would be decontrolled in more areas of the country among the thousand counties still under control.

Senator Irving Ives of New York urged defeat of the President's plan of reorganization to shift the U.S. Employment Service and the Unemployment Insurance Service from the Federal Security Agency to the Department of Labor. Senator Ives wanted seven other agencies, listed by the Hoover Commission report, included in the reorganization plan. The Senate was preparing to vote on the plan later in the day.

The President's plan to create a Welfare Department had been defeated in the Senate the previous day.

In Louisville, Ky., FBI agents found a cache of $7,516 which had been allegedly stored by an accused bank robber who was charged with the murder of one patrolman and wounding of another. The wife of the accused led the agents to the money and said it was part of the money taken from a bank robbery in Nashville on August 1. She also admitted driving one of the getaway cars. The bank claimed that the robber stole $25,500. When the police recovered the automobile driven by the defendant, they found $15,000. The bank had sued the accused for return of the money seized in evidence.

In Charlotte, in the trial of the woman accused of killing her third husband with a .22 caliber rifle in July after he allegedly bragged to her of seeing another woman, the defense had begun its presentation, seeking to prove that she was insane at the time of the shooting. A psychiatrist testified, based on his interview with the defendant, that he believed her mentally unbalanced, that she was paranoid schizophrenic, heard and saw angels telling her what to do and acted on those hallucinations, thus could not know the difference between right and wrong at the time of the killing. He added, however, that half of his colleagues did not subscribe to the reasoning, presumably in reference to the standard for sanity in determining mental culpability for murder. He said that the emotional stress to which the defendant was subjected immediately prior to the shooting, the argument with her husband about seeing other women, could have triggered an epileptic seizure of the type she suffered. She had told him during the interview that Jesus Christ had come to the jail and given her a ride to Heaven on a big black cloud. He said that many of her hallucinations were of a religious nature. She would stare out the window of her cell and call out to her six-year old son whom she thought she saw standing in the yard playing.

The defendant had testified the previous day that she had gone in search of her husband on the night of July 12 and found him at home when she returned, whereupon they argued about his relations with another woman. She said that she pointed the rifle at him but was not conscious of pulling the trigger. She then saw blood running from her husband's chest.

Guns—keeping America safe for democracy to flourish.

Parts of the Yadkin River near Elkin, N.C., were nearing flood stage after heavy rains, with 36 more hours of rain predicted. The river was high at North Wilkesboro and at Mount Airy, where the Ararat River met Lovill's Creek.

In Smuggler's Cove, Calif., Otis Barton, aboard the Benthoscope, dove for the first time to 4,500 feet below the surface of the sea, setting a new deep-sea diving record. Mr. Barton improved significantly the prior record depth of 3,000 feet, which he had achieved in 1934 off Bermuda. Mr. Barton described the various fish he had seen as the Benthoscope descended. The lights had failed, however, making superfluous a planned descent to 6,000 feet.

In Dover, England, Shirley May France, 16, had delayed her English Channel swim from Cap Gris Nez, France, because of weather conditions.

Come on, let's go. We can't wait all year. You've got the boat to pick you up if seas get unduly rough. Get on with it.

On the editorial page, "Too Much for Mr. Alexander" tells of the resignation from the State Board of Conservation & Development by Tom Alexander in protest of Governor Kerr Scott having undertaken responsibilities traditionally reserved to the Board, the cancellation of a State advertising contract and giving it to another firm, as well the appointment of a political supporter to become head of the State News Bureau, firing an able person from the post who had not supported the Governor in the 1948 campaign.

Mr. Alexander had been quoted in the press as saying that the award of the contract was to repay a political debt to the Raleigh representative of the Atlanta company receiving the contract.

The piece finds that Mr. Alexander left his post because it was clear that either he had "to be a rubber stamp for the Governor or else."

"Weakness of the Law" discusses the failure of the law to punish repeat offenders with greater punishment than first-time offenders, as exampled by the case of the taxi driver accused of manslaughter in connection with hitting Margaret Mitchell with his car in Atlanta the previous Thursday, after which she had died the previous day. The driver had 22 or 23 prior traffic citations, albeit eight of which had been dismissed.

The piece provides his lengthy record since October 10, 1944, three of which, to be fair, were only parking citations and another a violation of a "taxi ordinance". But the remainder involved either seven instances of speeding, six instances of reckless driving, or, in three instances, running a stop sign or stoplight. He had paid the fine on all of the speeding citations.

Regardless, he was still permitted to hold a license to drive a taxi as well as his regular driver's license. At the time of the accident, he was driving his own vehicle and was off duty.

The piece asserts that there was no place on the roads for such a driver and urges closing of legal loopholes which permitted such drivers still to operate motor vehicles on the roads.

As a piece by Duncan Aikman from the October 22, 1949 issue of Collier's would explain, a former traffic referee in Atlanta who had been extremely strict had been voted out of office in favor of a lax adjudicator after the citizenry had complained about the strict treatment. But in the wake of the death of Margaret Mitchell, there was a move to make state and local laws more strict on repeat offenders.

The taxi driver would be convicted of involuntary manslaughter by a jury the following November 16 and would serve 11 months of a 12 to 18 month sentence, the latter recommended by the jury. It appears clear from the evidence set forth, especially the 67-foot skid mark, indicative of a speed of 33-37 mph in downtown Atlanta on Peachtree Street at or near dark, (with police braking tests showing a speed in excess of 40 mph), that the driver was negligent and thus guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Speeding at the time of a fatal accident and a determination that the speeding was the legal cause of the accident are the only prerequisites for such a verdict, even aside from evidence in the case that the driver had been drinking. Only if it could be shown that irrespective of the negligence, the death would have occurred in the same way can the driver be relieved from responsibility.

In this case, had the driver been proceeding at the presumed speed limit of 25 mph, his abrupt stopping distance, leaving skid marks, would have been about 35 feet, (assuming a formula of the square root of 30 times .60, the average coefficient of friction on a dry, well-traveled asphalt surface, times 35 feet on a level road with no slope, as Peachtree Street NE at 13th Street appears today, equalling 25 mph). As the driver stated that he had nearly stopped the car when he struck Ms. Marsh, obviously, had he been proceeding at the speed limit, or even a few miles per hour slower than he was proceeding, he would not have hit her at all, as he struck her 60 feet into the skid. Thus, it is clear that his speed, in excess of the limit, was the proximate or legal cause of the death. If a traffic law is disobeyed at the time of the accident, which disobedience is the legal cause of the accident, then the driver is deemed negligent as a matter of law, both criminally, if death results, the so-called misdemeanor-manslaughter rule, and civilly, "negligence per se".

Since, under the law, the pedestrian always has the right of way, there is no question here of comparative or contributory negligence to attenuate or absolve the driver of responsibility by interrupting proximate causation. That would intervene to attenuate or alleviate guilt or liability of the driver only in the case where a pedestrian steps in front of a moving vehicle, the driver of which is proceeding with due caution, obeying all traffic laws, reacting as quickly as possible to the pedestrian's sudden movement.

That said, pedestrians always must exercise proper care lest they wind up seriously injured or dead, as the moving vehicle is a very unforgiving creature when juxtaposed to relatively fragile human flesh and bone.

Incidentally, the driver's statement, unclear whether made at the time of the accident or only many years afterward, that his vision of the crossing was obscured by a large truck in front of him or in the adjacent lane and that he only saw Ms. Marsh therefore, beginning her travel back to the curb, after or shortly before the truck cleared the crossing, does not make sense in the context of the events, as he obviously had seen Ms. Marsh at the point his skid marks began, 60 feet being more than enough distance to stop if proceeding at the speed limit. The fact, if true, thus did not change the scenario to his advantage legally, as his speed remains the proximate cause of the accident and therefore Ms. Marsh's death.

"Whither the Beard?" finds that the beard had disappeared from man's hirsuteness of late, whereas there had been a time, in the previous century, when it was considered extraordinary, in both the U.S. and England, not to have one.

Prior to the arrival in Rome in 296 B.C. of a barber, Ticinius Mena, the norm had been beards. Scipio Africanus was the first Roman to shave daily. The Romans began making a ritual of a man's first shave, offering the shaved hairs to a deity in sacrifice—Hairem Maximus Fraudulus.

Emperor Hadrian revived the practice of wearing beards, but only for a short time. Since, save during the nineteenth century, man had not usually followed the practice.

Wait twenty years. To everything there is a season...

A piece from the New York Times, titled "On 'Equity Capital'", tells of Thomas B. McCabe, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, urging Congress to investigate tax incentives on investment capital, as studies had shown that while only ten percent of American families owned any corporate stock, half the families making more than $7,500 annually owned stock, as did a quarter of those who earned between $5,000 and $7,500.

Tax barriers which discouraged investment needed to be lowered therefore or expansion of the market needed to occur to enable more investors from lower income groups.

Mr. McCabe favored elimination of double taxation on stock dividends and liberalizing of carrying forward and retroactive tax treatment of losses from business operations, to years where the tax burden was higher and the losses thus would provide greater offset to tax liability. He also favored education of the smaller investor and modification of restrictions on investments by insurance companies and other fiduciary institutions as trust holders.

The piece finds the second approach, encouraging the smaller investor by expansion of markets, to be the wiser and more practicable .

Editorial response is collected on the death of former News publisher W. C. Dowd, Jr., the previous Saturday night from a heart attack, as recounted Monday in The News.

The Greensboro Daily News praises him as "a prince of a fellow", a good newspaper man, citizen, and congenial companion.

The Asheville Citizen says that he had been ill for several years, had literally grown up serving the newspaper, as well as Charlotte and the state, including devotion to the N.C. Press Association and serving as past president of the Charlotte Community Chest.

The Winston-Salem Journal finds that he had been able, friendly, and likable, with deep religious faith, one of the finest citizens of Charlotte and of North Carolina.

The Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald says that he had a genius for friendship and public service, to Charlotte, the newspaper, and the Southern Baptist Convention. He was a patient and loving friend, devoted husband and father, who fought for what he believed to be right.

The Hickory Daily Record praises him as a friend, respected by his colleagues in the press. He had been active for a long period of time in the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, had been a "newspaperman's newspaperman". He had a keen sense of humor and was "one of the most thoughtful, courteous, and considerate fellow publishers" it had been their privilege to know.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of the President having given his support to extension for an additional year of the wartime relief bill for unemployed veterans, providing $20 per week for up to a year, so-called "52-20" relief. Representative John Rankin, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, had sought to pigeonhole the extension. But the President's support might enable other Committee members favoring the legislation to dislodge it.

While the President was defending military aide Maj. General Harry Vaughan at a press conference for his acceptance of gifts of freezers from a perfume company, Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer was chastising a subordinate for accepting a $2 bottle of a Cuban cordial and a $1.50 necktie from two business friends as Christmas gifts. The subordinate faced severe disciplinary action while General Vaughan was receiving a warm endorsement from the President.

The House had refused to renew funding for a Marshall Plan watchdog committee because it had been a source of patronage dispensed by chairman Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, as he was able to hire 21 staff members at five-figure salaries, among other things.

Some friends of Presidential assistant John R. Steelman had told him that he was a close friend of a man who had been fined $7,500 in 1946 in connection with Tanforan race track in San Bruno, Calif., the object of a Senate probe for obtaining favors through General Vaughan and James V. Hunt to have Housing Expediter Tighe Woods relieve restrictions on scarce building materials so that the horse track could go ahead with renovations when the materials were being reserved for veterans. Mr. Steelman said that he did not remember the man, to which his friend said that he had introduced him to Mr. Steelman. Mr. Steelman inquired whether therefore he had met the man one time, to which the friend replied affirmatively, adding that thus he now was a "bosom buddy of five percenters."

Marquis Childs discusses why Maj. General Harry Vaughan was such a target for Congressional sharpshooters. He had the temperament of a Newfoundland dog who wanted constantly to be petted. But now and then he thought he was a lap dog. As Senator Truman's aide he had been intensely loyal, had actual duties to fix problems. But when he became the military aide to the President, he found himself in a largely ceremonial role with lots of time on his hands.

As friends sought favor from the President, unlike other aides, he had responded with intervention on their behalf. As word spread, more friends called for favored access.

The President believed that General Vaughan had never taken money or gifts for these interventions.

One example was the freezers provided to General Vaughan, through the encouragement of John Maragon, from a perfume company for which, unknown to General Vaughan, Mr. Maragon was allegedly smuggling to avoid import duties, having been caught on one occasion by alert customs officials in the attempt. Mr. Maragon convinced the General that one freezer would be useful in the White House commissary. And so it was installed. Then the General decided that a few more would be useful as gifts for friends.

The President had asked General Vaughan three times not to bring Mr. Maragon into the White House.

The activity was not unlike that of the aides to FDR prior to the war. Part of the impetus for it was to reward political friends and punish enemies.

Two years earlier, Howard Hughes had been on the hot seat during the dog days of summer and into the fall. Mr. Hughes, with the help of a publicity firm, had turned the tables and made Senator Owen Brewster and his ties to Juan Tripp of Pan American Airways the target of scrutiny, making the investigation of Mr. Hughes's wartime contracts and whether he had received preference from Elliott Roosevelt in acquiring them appear disingenuous, as a favor to Mr. Tripp by Senator Brewster to eliminate TWA as competition for overseas routes.

Mr. Childs concludes that such repeated cries of "wolf" by Congress might ultimately serve to cause indifference in the public when something of true significance would be uncovered.

James Marlow relates of his time on a police beat in earlier years, when police officers would retire and then shortly thereafter die. He had wondered whether the tendency was the result of a sense before retirement that their health was failing or whether it was the sudden lassitude of retirement after a life of activity which drained their health quickly.

It was the same for any middle-aged person forced into retirement early, not yet elderly but also no longer young. There were increasing numbers of such people in the society being retired by government and business.

The Loyal Order of the Moose had undertaken to study the matter, seeking a solution. To that end, they had hired a psychologist with a staff to conduct research on the problem. He wishes the project success as it was terrible to be a person with viable contributions still to make and yet to be "out of the race".

We find ourselves very disterbed today because of this news we seen on the radio about Mrs. Clintone and her maneurisms. And so we took to looking up her maneurisms and got to this one and it really—oh, wordless is the word. It was just downright scarry, all that head shaking. We heared it was this dispashia stuff and we become more conserned, becaws this young lady, who seems awfully nice and true to everything that's right and good in the world, confermed the report of the dispashia because of the maneurisms.

And then we terned over to Mr. Shaw N. Sanity, who was playing this picter and moompicter over and over and we become convintsed that the dispashia was taking its told on Mrs. Clintone by the minit. Its offooll. It give us the shivvurs. She slipped in Feberwary on some steps and the Secret Survis had to help her to keep her from crashing down to the bottum. And it just gets werse and wurse everdaily. She may not make it to Novimber. Then what? Its her malappropriations that's causing the dispashia, according to Mr. Sanity's pannel of docters. They say that surching for a word you can't quite ... is evidense of that condishun.

And why should the Republican bare his onerous that way, as the young lady said last week? There is no reason for his onerous to be out there in public. We must protect our nashunnal treshures from malappropriations by those with the displeasia.

But the good news is that in one week, the poles have gone from 7.7 up for Mrs. Clintone to only 5.8 up. Somebody done said that was becaws they was "trunking the cakes"—some of that libral talk—from the poles and not avereging more than a half doesen at a time, when they was doing ten or twelve up til last Winesday. But if you can't see 'em, why bother? There all rigged anyway. No reason to clik your pointer thing to see the rest of 'em. If they don't think there important, why shud you? Their experts on the poles.

And then somebody else said, "Well, look over here, and here, and see what their saying. They got it up to 8 to 8.6 diffurents for Mrs. Clintone." And then somebody said to look at the electurals at the furst place, because now for the furst time it says Mrs. Clintone has more than 270 votes, enough for the electurals to elect her. But that's depressing and what good are the electurals, because their rigged the same as the poles. You got to have collage to be one.

We're going to study some more about Mrs. Clintone's displashia and her maneurisms. And we sure do appreshiate that young lady's setting us strate on the manurisms and those of Mr. Sanity's and his doctors also. We were losing confidense in their competents as the poles were dipping into the manurisms. But their going the right way, now. Rest ashurred. No manur of malappropriations are going to stop the U.S. of A. from being grate again.

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