The Charlotte News

Saturday, September 3, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma demanded that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson furnish records of all trips by Administration officials taken aboard military aircraft. The demand came in the wake of Secretary Johnson denying to Senators flights on military planes, saying that it could result in a savings of $25,000 annually.

In York, Maine, Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge, 55, remained in a coma, into which he had lapsed on Thursday, but was clinging to life. Justice Rutledge would die September 10.

A Harvard geologist who had lunched recently with Marshal Tito in Yugoslavia reported that Tito had informed him that relations with Stalin had not been good as far back as 1944 when the two visited during the war. Tito had become Prime Minister of Yugoslavia in 1945, apparently hand-picked for the position by Moscow, but relations had deteriorated such that the Cominform denounced him in June, 1948 for being too independent of the Soviet Union.

In New York, Governor Thomas Dewey ordered all available police to the site of the planned concert of Paul Robeson the following day at Peekskill to prevent a recurrence of the violence which had taken place the previous Saturday at a planned concert which never took place because of a demonstration by veterans and three-hour bloody riot which followed, injuring eight persons, two seriously. A U.S. District Court judge had refused to grant to the organizers of the concert an application to restrain the veterans from staging a protest parade again at the concert site.

Maj. General Vernon Ford of San Francisco completed the National Air Races with an average speed of 529.6 mph over the course of three hours, 45 minutes and 51 seconds, across 1,993 miles, the fastest time ever recorded in the Bendix Cross Country Jet Division. General Ford flew in a Republic F-84 Thunderbolt, capable of 600 mph. The winner, however, had not been determined as three other jets left at staggered intervals. The previous record speed was under 500 mph, set in 1947.

In Fairfield, California, a pilot and his co-pilot were killed the previous night while trying to land a crippled "Flying Boxcar" C-82 transport plane at the Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base. Six others aboard parachuted to safety. One of the two engines of the plane had quit working. The plane had originated at the air base in Greenville, S.C., and was on its way to Alameda Naval Air Station near Oakland.

In Dallas, Texas, a spurned S.M.U. student suitor of a young woman secretary walked into the downtown Southland Life Building the previous day where she worked and shot her to death with a pistol, fired six times. She had told him that she was going to marry another man and did not want to see him anymore. They had met in their teens in 1942 and had been seeing each other off and on since that time. The journalism student was charged with murder. He said that he had purchased the pistol at a hardware store the same day, did not go to the building with the intent to shoot the victim but only wanted to talk to her.

Forty-one persons had been killed in accidents, 36 in auto accidents, thus far before Saturday at noon on the Labor Day weekend. The National Safety Council predicted that 280 would die during the 78-hour weekend period. In 1948, 407 accidental deaths had occurred, 207 of which had been in traffic accidents.

Near Hickory, N.C., one boy, 19, was killed and six others injured in a head-on collision between two automobiles on Highway 70-A on the eastern edge of Burke County. The driver and passengers in the other car were from Winston-Salem.

Bad weather hampered search efforts for a small plane missing for four days on a flight from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Lexington, N.C., piloted by a Lexington businessman.

In Charlotte, the man accused of first degree murder in the killing of Mrs. E. O. Anderson the previous August 1 in her Myers Park home was convicted, following a four day jury trial, and sentenced to death in the gas chamber. The prosecutor had argued that the defendant, the former butler at the residence, recently fired for stealing, had gone there on the morning of the killing to steal and, to that end, had sought to "eliminate" the present butler by knocking him in the head and cutting his throat with a razor blade. The prosecutor said that the defendant then crept into the home, went to a sleeping porch where Mr. Anderson kept a shotgun, then to a closet where shells for it were kept, hid in the closet until Mrs. Anderson entered the room, whereupon he came out of the closet and fatally shot her in the shoulder. He then took a radio, a watch, Mrs. Anderson's pocketbook, and her car keys, the latter of which items he then dropped, as he had admitted to police, and could not locate. The prosecutor sought a verdict of first degree murder without mercy.

Parenthetically, the origin of the theory that the defendant hid in the closet is unclear.

The appointed defense counsel contended, consistent with the defendant's admission to involvement in the killing, that he had come to the house for his belongings, had, after encountering the new butler in the separate servant's quarters, entered the house where he encountered Mrs. Anderson, who ordered him to leave the house and then retrieved the shotgun and pointed it at him. Fearing that she might shoot him, he sought to take the gun away from her and after a tussle, the gun went off, killing her. The defendant had claimed that he then hit the new butler in the head and cut his throat when the butler confronted him. The butler, who survived the ordeal, had said that he was already down from the blow to his head when he heard the shot fired, but did not know that his throat had been cut or how it happened.

The principal focus of the defense argument was to spare the defendant the death penalty, saying that he had been "out of line" his whole life, was not "cunning or shrewd", had not even been smart enough to leave town after the killing but remained at his apartment.

The jury of ten white and two black men returned the verdict following only a few hours of deliberation during the afternoon.

To what extent the defense attorneys argued that the matter was a case of imperfect self-defense and thus either second degree murder or manslaughter is not clear, but apparently little if any time during final summation was spent on legal theories. Instructions on verdicts of the lesser degrees of homicide were, however, given by the court, and, presumably, defined. But whether imperfect self-defense was defined is not stated. There was no question that the defendant was involved in the killing but a reasonable issue does arise as to whether it was first degree murder or the result of an accident during the struggle for the shotgun, thus availing him of either imperfect self-defense or the justification of self-defense. As indicated previously, however, that scenario is complicated by the felony-murder rule, assuming it was proved to the satisfaction of the jury that he entered the premises with the intent to steal and thus to commit felony burglary and that the homicide occurred during the commission of that crime, making it then first degree murder and, presumably, also therefore subject to the death penalty in 1949. That would depend, however, on the felony-murder rule in the state in 1949 and whether it included accidental homicides. The present felony-murder rule applies only to a murder taking place during commission of a felony, in which case, imperfect self-defense would still be viable to reduce the degree or self-defense to work an acquittal. The nature of the wound, in the victim's shoulder and not a more likely fatal location as the chest or head, should have been central in such a defense argument to raise reasonable doubt as to first degree murder. The fact that the victim's hand was nicked by the gunshot, indicative, according to police, of fending off the gunshot, was not necessarily inconsistent with a struggle and accidental discharge of the weapon or errant shotgun pellets.

After the appeal failed for want of any effort whatsoever by defense counsel—an unbelievable abandonment of a client's interests which merited no less than disbarment in such a case or in any contested criminal case—, the defendant would be executed the following December 9.

In Shelby, N.C., a hospital patient unknowingly walked away with a facial bandage containing $2,000 worth of radium. The Highway Patrol recovered the small lead vial of radium inadvertently left in the bandage. Doctors said that the man might have been seriously affected had the vial remained for long close to his skin.

In Dover, England, Ferdinand Du Moulin was within four miles of the English coast after a Channel crossing from Cap Gris Nez, France. He had been in the water 18 hours, and was confident he would reach shore within four or five hours despite a tide sweeping him westward.

Two Egyptians planned to attempt the crossing the following day, provided weather permitted.

Fresh southwest winds of 15 mph delayed further the attempt by Shirley May France, 17, of Somerset, Mass.

In Moss Beach, California, Sheriff's deputies, summoned by an eight year old boy's mother, looked high and low for the boy, who was believed lost. Finally, they noticed that the family dog was standing outside his doghouse looking dejected. On a hunch, the deputies peered inside and discovered the boy sound asleep.

On the editorial page, "'5 Per Center' Inquiry" praises the new director of the General Services Administration Jess Larson, who had vowed to put an end to the need for "five percenters" by making information on Government contracts easily accessible to small businessmen who had to rely on the "five percenters" to make the contacts in Washington and then exert influence to get the contract information for their clients. These firms could not afford to maintain a regular staff in Washington for the purpose.

It finds that the Senate inquiry into the matter had produced no startling revelations, only information about this coterie of individuals who made contacts and exerted influence and the officials who showed poor judgment in allowing them to exert that influence. No one, insofar as the evidence adduced thus far, had violated any criminal laws in the process. But it had served to make the Government appear as a cheap bargaining bazaar and it especially hurt the President to have someone as General Harry Vaughan, greasing the wheels for "five percenters" John Maragon and James V. Hunt, as his military aide.

"Another Inquiry Ends" tells of the investigation into the origins of the B-36 contract, after an irresponsible statement the previous June by Representative James Van Zandt of Pennsylvania had called into question the matter and the reputations of Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, former Army chief of staff, General Marshall, former chief of staff of the Air Force, General Carl Spaatz, and others, fizzling without any showing of misconduct by anyone.

The investigation into the Atomic Energy Commission and its chairman David Lilienthal, with Senator Bourke Hickenlooper, up for re-election in 1950, charging gross mismanagement of the AEC, had likewise fizzled without any such showing. By its end, interest in the inquiry had so lagged that the chairman of the subcommittee could not find a quorum to vote on ending the matter.

"It is the duty of Congress to investigate the agencies of the Government whenever there are reasonable grounds for suspicion; but it is no wonder that many able and competent private citizens decline opportunities to render distinguished public service for fear their reputations may be blackened by some publicity-hungry member of the legislative branch."

The same thing might be said of despicably and unprecedentedly politicized Republican majorities of both houses of Congress who have carried politics beyond the pale over the past three years in conducting their petty little "investigations", merely seeking to erode the popularity of President Obama and call into question the trustworthiness of former Secretary of State Clinton.

"Valuable Service" tells of Charlotte having lost the services of a valuable public official when Paul B. Guthery resigned as a member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, on which he had served since 1947. He had found the demand on his time too much and so had to leave the position. While understandable, the loss of his expertise was regrettable.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Economy in Defense", praises Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson's effort to cut spending in the defense establishment by cutting 135,000 civilian jobs built up during the war. The savings would amount to about one-third of the total defense establishment savings recommended by the Hoover Commission. The jobs lost would send the civilian personnel into the private sector where they could be productive, whereas defense work was, essentially, non-productive.

A piece from the Gastonia Gazette tells of two Methodist camp meetings held each August in Rock Springs in Lincoln County and Balls Creek in Catawba County and the tradition from which they derived. It was not unusual for 12,000 to 15,000 people to attend the final day of the Rock Springs meeting on the second Sunday. It hopes that the meetings would continue as a "stabilizing force" and "wholesome influence" on the lives of those they touched.

Robert S. Allen, substituting for vacationing Drew Pearson, tells of the mysterious Major Robert T. Lincoln, secret intelligence officer in the Middle East, upon whom American diplomats and Pentagon officials relied most heavily for their information. Currently in Iran, few people had ever met Major Lincoln as he drifted in and out of the shadows, mingling among the nomadic tribesmen of the region. The tales associated with him were more numerous and extraordinary than Britain's Lawrence of Arabia. His whereabouts and missions were known only to the Joint Chiefs. Questions about him were answered with a blank stare. He provided the "eyes and ears of democracy" in the Middle East.

One story had it that he had posed as a native guide for a Russian armored patrol making a raid in Azerbaijan earlier in the year and obtained from it valuable information. Another story went that he had bought food from pursuers trying to capture him, and another that he had posed as a British tourist in Baghdad while on a mission.

During the current summer when Justice William O. Douglas was mountain climbing in Iran, he was led on horseback into the wilderness by two Bakhtiari horsemen. As the party halted by a stream to water the horses, one of the horsemen spoke to Justice Douglas in perfect English, introducing himself as Major Lincoln and wanting him to carry a message to Ambassador John Wiley regarding funds for his next mission. After a brief conversation, Major Lincoln suddenly disappeared, his normal course.

When an Iranian colonel learned of the meeting, he ordered a cavalry detachment into the area to look for Major Lincoln, but after riding all night, they found no trace of him.

Joseph and Stewart Alsop inform that such was the official concern regarding the potential for war between Russia and Yugoslavia that the American and British Ambassadors to Moscow were urging their governments to address notes to Moscow warning of the peril of waging war in the Balkans. No note was sent as the determination was that it might make the Soviets more eager to attack Tito for the expression of Western sympathy toward him.

Nevertheless, concern of war remained high. Russia was not going to tolerate the Tito heresy indefinitely as the independent spirit could affect the other satellites and the economic blockade, meant to punish Yugoslavia, was also upsetting of the satellite economies.

Moreover, Tito had closed the Greek border to supplies for the guerrillas, bringing the Soviet-sponsored rebellion in Greece nearly to a halt. Tito had also threatened to move on Albania and the loss of it by the Soviet sphere would damage severely Soviet prestige in Eastern Europe.

In addition, Western aid was increasing to Tito, with the World Bank getting ready to give him a 20 million dollar loan. But with Western Europe not yet rearmed, the Soviets had the best opportunity to move on Yugoslavia at the present time. They had already positioned five Red Army armored divisions along the Yugoslav border.

Because of Russian maneuvers along the border and because of the harsh tone of the war of nerves being waged of late against Tito, represented by the shrill notes being exchanged between Moscow and Belgrade, the possibility of war was being weighed by the British and Americans, even though still deemed improbable.

The only hope of settlement short of war appeared to be in the event that the Soviets were forced to relax their grip on the satellite area. But if Yugoslavia were gobbled up without Western protest, that hope would be gone.

Marquis Childs discusses Leland Olds, nominated June 22 by the President to a third term on the Federal Power Commission, but whose nomination had not been considered yet by the Senate or a date set for hearings. Mr. Olds had taken the side of the public against private utilities, understood the regulatory system well and had made many strict regulations against the utilities, thus causing many Senators not to like him.

He had been particularly tough on natural gas producers, not allowing them to charge what the market would bear. In this regard, he had a formidable opponent in Senator Robert Kerr of Oklahoma, a believer in the free market for natural gas producers even though also a proponent of public power. He had introduced a bill to take natural gas regulation pricing away from the FPC. Such would have a great impact across the country as use of natural gas had grown enormously in recent years.

Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas was named as chairman of the subcommittee reviewing the proposed bill. Coming from a major gas-producing state, it was not to be expected that Senator Johnson would favor regulation by the FPC.

If the Senate did not act before adjournment, then Mr. Olds would likely be given a recess appointment by the President. Mr. Childs suggests that in view of his long service to the Government, the least Mr. Olds could expect would be prompt consideration of his nomination. And given the impact on millions of consumers of natural gas, the public had a right to expect as much.

We note that this is the 172nd day that America has been held hostage by the most recalcitrant and dishonorable Senate majority in the history of the body, refusing even to hold hearings on D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland, nominated to the Supreme Court by President Obama March 16, 2016, a move which is without precedent in the history of the country.

Instead, the Republicans have been busy beclouding the political atmosphere regarding four-year old and older e-mails of former Secretary of State Clinton, catering in the process to the uninformed and plain stupid among the electorate, and after three years of investigations in the House and Senate, have turned up exactly nothing to show any form of misbehavior.

Get rid of these bums who revel in political mischief at taxpayer expense for plainly partisan political reasons while letting the legitimate business of the country, confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice, hang. They are traitors to the Constitution and American democracy, not recognizing that the majority of the electorate in both 2008 and 2012 voted for President Obama, who therefore has the right and obligation under the Constitution to nominate a justice to fill a vacancy on the Court, or that the Senate has an obligation to hold hearings on that nomination promptly, if for no other reason than to inform the public of any legitimate reasons why that nominee is unacceptable, beyond cheap, grossly partisan politics, trying artificially to maintain Republican control of the Supreme Court of the United States and thereby defeat, insofar as possible, even to the point of turning the Constitution back on itself, the independence of the Federal judiciary.

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