The Charlotte News

Wednesday, August 11, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at his press conference this date, said, in response to a question regarding a statement made by retired General Mark Clark to a Senate Internal Security subcommittee the previous day that he favored breaking relations with Russia and reorganizing the U.N. to exclude Russia, that he believed the U.S. could not possibly serve its interests by severing diplomatic relations with Russia and, in response to another question, that preventive war against the Communist world, as some had urged, would be unthinkable for the country to undertake, that there was no such thing as a preventive war. He said that he believed many world tensions had eased in the previous couple of years and that the free world presently had a better chance than before to obtain a solid peace. In response to questions about the threatened strikes at atomic energy plants at Paducah, Ky., and Oak Ridge, Tenn., the former scheduled to start the following day, he said he would use whatever legal devices at the Administration's disposal to avert them, including obtaining an injunction under Taft-Hartley. He said that the mid-year economic report would appear hopeful, that it would be made public within a day or two. He did not want to speculate on whether there would be a cut in income taxes in 1955 or a balanced budget. He said that he was working on an address to Congress reviewing its accomplishments during the previous 18 months.

The President also expressed great satisfaction regarding the passage by the Senate of his flexible price-support farm program the previous day, but said that he did not regard it as a political victory, rather as another step in a program designed to promote the welfare of the American farmer and to enable a healthy, stable economy benefiting all Americans. Both houses had adopted a variable range of supports between 82.5 and 90 percent of parity, although there were some minor differences in the two bills which had to be worked out in conference.

In East Berlin, Dr. Otto John, who had defected on July 20 from West Germany, where he had been its security chief, told a press conference that he had done so to expose the revival of Nazism in West Germany and to tell the "real truth" about the European Defense Community treaty to establish a unified Western European Army, that the U.S. was using Britain, France and West Germany as "tools" for another war which would destroy Germany. It was the first time that he had personally made it clear that he had voluntarily defected, the official West German position having previously been that he had been kidnaped and taken against his will to East Germany by the Communists. None of the reports appearing on the front page of the newspaper had yet pointed out that he chose to defect on the tenth anniversary of the failed July 20, 1944 plot to kill Hitler via a bomb placed under his conference table at the Wolf's Lair, a plot in which Dr. John, as a Gestapo agent, had been a participant, managing to escape Germany to London where he was given safe haven for his valuable information on the Nazis. His escape was effected through Lufthansa, to which he had ties, avoiding thereby the Gestapo search for him.

The special six-Senator committee assigned to examine the resolution of censure against Senator McCarthy, winnow the charges, eliminating duplication and charges which were not subject to censure, then report its findings to the full Senate, indicated this date that it had decided to close the hearings if they showed signs of becoming unruly.

Former Senator Glen Taylor of Idaho, who had run in 1948 as the vice-presidential nominee of the Progressive Party with former Vice-President Henry Wallace, was planning a political comeback, having won the Democratic nomination for the Senate in the previous day's primary. Incumbent Senator Henry Dworshak easily won renomination in the Republican primary.

In Nebraska, Representative Carl Curtis defeated Governor Robert Crosby in the Republican Senate primary.

In Arkansas, Governor Francis Cherry lost his bid for renomination to Orval Faubus, a weekly newspaper publisher, by 6,000 votes. The latter would become notorious for his stands against school integration.

In North Wilkesboro, N.C., an early morning fire this date had burned up a furniture company plant, having erupted in the dry kiln at one end of the 400-foot structure, the second largest manufacturing company in the town.

Julian Scheer of The News reports from Indian Creek, a mill village near Charlotte, about to be wiped out by the following May, presently nearly deserted, the mill having slowed its pace and its workers moving elsewhere to work at other mills. The village was being bulldozed to make room for a new mining operation of lithium ore.

In Charlotte, a County police officer said that he arrested a drunk under a warrant issued in the basement corridor of the County Courthouse during the morning. The officer, who was not in uniform, said that the man had caught his attention while staggering around in the corridor, approached the officer and asked in a rough voice why he was staring at him, whether he thought he knew him or something, to which the officer responded that he did not know him, at which point the drunk provided his name and address, and the officer then signed a warrant and arrested him.

On the editorial page, "The Town Drunk's 'Right To Wobble'" indicates that a State Supreme Court ruling that drunks could not be arrested for public drunkenness without a warrant, as long as the person was not creating a breach of the peace, had caused drunks across the state the previous weekend to wobble to their hearts' content. It suggests that drunks were a nuisance, though not, per se, a breach of the peace. It urges that if residents of the state wanted to enable law enforcement to remove drunks from public places, it would take the General Assembly to do so.

It recaps the history which had led to the decision, State v. Mobley, involving a defendant charged in 1953 with public drunkenness, resisting arrest and simple assault, a jury having rendered a verdict of not guilty on the public drunkenness charge, but guilty on the other two charges, whereupon the defendant appealed, leading to the Court holding that police officers had to have a warrant of arrest to take someone into custody for drunkenness, notwithstanding that the officers had seen the defendant "wobbling across the driveway" and that it was obvious to them he was drunk, so arrested him, at which point the defendant began resisting and then hit one of the officers in the head and knocked his hat off, started toward the other officer, and swung at him with a glancing blow. The defendant testified, along with several bystanders, that he was not drunk. The Supreme Court held that a person had a right to resist arrest by use of the amount of force applicable to self-defense, only as reasonably necessary to prevent an unlawful restraint of liberty, and where excessive force was used, the defendant could be found guilty of assault or, as the case might be, homicide. The Court said that under common law, an arrest could not be effected without a warrant, subject to certain exceptions defined by statute. The state statute indicated that a peace officer could make an arrest without a warrant if he had reasonable grounds to believe that a felony had been committed or a dangerous wound had been inflicted. Since public drunkenness was a misdemeanor, a warrant was ordinarily necessary. But there was another exception, that if it appeared to the peace officer or to a private citizen that there was a breach of the peace, an arrest could be effected without a warrant. The Court held that mere drunkenness, without more, amounting to a breach of the peace, would not justify an arrest without a warrant.

It urges getting the Legislature to change the laws.

It might be noted that while the piece placed emphasis on the public drunkenness charge, of which the defendant was acquitted, the Court had emphasized the resisting arrest charge, of which he had been found guilty, as the putative basis for probable cause for the arrest without a warrant, finding, however, that neither the statutory felony exception nor the "breach of the peace" exception for misdemeanors was applicable to excuse the lack of a warrant to effect the arrest. While not articulated by the Court, the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine appears to play some role in the outcome, as the probable cause, if hinged to the charge of public drunkenness, of which the defendant was acquitted, could not serve as the basis for a lawful arrest in the first instance because of the lack of "breach of the peace" associated with it, and so the defendant had the right to resist the unlawful arrest by use of reasonable force under the circumstances, the basis for the resisting arrest and assault charges. The piece misunderstands the complexity of the issue under the particular facts of the case and so its suggested simple fix to eliminate the common-law based statute requiring a breach of the peace would not remedy the issue it views as a problem. Nor would it make sense to carve an exception for public drunkenness as a misdemeanor, equating public drunkenness per se with a "breach of the peace", while not allowing for same with other misdemeanors, transgressing, in the process, common law principles and risking having the statute determined in the Federal courts to be unconstitutional as vague or overbroad, much as were subsequently statutes making "vagrancy" unlawful. There are, after all, polite drunks on the streets. There are noisome children also, without proper adult supervision in public places, but we do not propose to arrest them for being noisome children in public, or even their irresponsible parents, unless there is a violation otherwise of the law.

Query whether the Mecklenburg County officer's arrest of the man inside the Courthouse corridor for being drunk, recounted on the front page, would have survived scrutiny under the Fourth Amendment and North Carolina law, assuming he had not obtained a warrant as he did in that instance. Was the man's behavior tantamount to a breach of the peace? The fact that he provided his name and address adds nothing to the equation, except that he was being cooperative with the officer, not resisting a lawful detention for suspected public drunkenness. To rebut any contention by the prosecution that exigent circumstances necessitated the arrest, for public safety concerns or to avoid destruction of evidence, generally considered grounds for an arrest without warrant, as in the drunk driving scenario, the arrest and its probable cause in this instance having occurred in the Courthouse, could not the officer easily have stepped into the magistrate's office or a courtroom, briefly explained the situation, and obtained a warrant while the man was being lawfully detained by another officer?

Whether the man, assuming lawful arrest, would then be convicted for public drunkenness would depend on the fact-finder and how it saw the evidence presented to support the charge, whether the objective indicators, assuming proper argument by the defense, were sufficiently marshaled to support the charge, whether those objective factors could be interpreted otherwise, consistent with other, innocent conduct, flu and flu medication, for instance, presenting outward signs of intoxication while being completely sober, or whether the entirety of the evidence was based on subjective observations by the officer or other eyewitnesses, not tested in any manner objectively, such as by established, accepted field sobriety tests.

"Flexible Price Supports at Last" indicates that the Administration's major victory in its farm program was pleasing for several reasons, that the principle of flexible price supports, which had been enacted, was sounder than the existing system of rigid supports, enabling the Government to control production of surplus crops. While there would still be surpluses, the flexible supports could curb continued overproduction and thus diminish the surplus problem. The Administration had fought hard for the program, and a few months earlier, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson was being urged by critics to resign, while the victory now vindicated his position. The Administration had waged a fight for a principle in which it believed, despite it being politically unwise on the eve of midterm elections, and demonstrated moral courage in the process. It thus praises the Administration and Congress for doing something desirable, though politically risky.

"Estimable Gent" indicates that former President Hoover had not been one of the better Presidents, despite having distinguished himself before becoming President by his skill in administration of the post-World War I world food program. He had also distinguished himself during the Truman Administration by heading up the commission advising reorganization of the executive branch. It observes, however, that he had been neither profound nor wise in some of his recent analyses of world and national affairs, but was an "estimable old gentleman" nonetheless and indicates it did not hold anything against him on the day after his 80th birthday.

A piece from the Richmond News Leader, titled "Of Jack Rocks and Little Girls", indicates that recently an eight-year old girl known to the writer had come wandering into the house thoroughly bored with the usual occupations which she pursued, complained that there was no one with whom to play, that she was tired of playing fort, had skinned her knee climbing a tree and wondered what she could do. The writer had suggested playing jacks or working on some doll clothes, to which the little girl had responded with a look of derision, asking who made doll clothes anymore and what were jacks.

The writer was nonplussed at the answer that she had never played jacks, as in the writer's childhood 125 years earlier, all little girls played jacks and were virtuosos at it, that sometimes even little boys played jacks. A neighborhood inquiry had failed to produce any doll house, and the little girl was not impressed by the description of jack rocks. The only thing which appealed to her had been some root beer, eventually saying, "Guess I'll jet off." She then flew back to her space station in the tool house.

Jose Figueres, President of Costa Rica, in a piece reprinted from Central America and Mexico, tells North Americans how they appeared as a people through Spanish eyes, from a culture where there were two distinct spiritual groups, the Quixotes and the Sanchos. In the U.S., there were conservative Americans who ran much of the nation's business, and liberal Americans, who sometimes went into government, their coordinated efforts providing the greatness of the country. The two political parties reflected those differences. But he believes that the gap between the two types of mind in the U.S. was not so great as it was with Spaniards, accounting for the success the U.S. often attained in getting together in common undertakings. The conservatives provided efficiency, high-pressure production, and the liberals provided idealism, world leadership, overall planning, social progress, enlightened conception and a long-range view. Conservatives considered idealists as useless dreamers and the liberals regarded conservatives as shortsighted, greedy reactionaries. Yet, it appeared to him that both contributed to the well-being of mankind and that the governments of the U.S. had been successful in that combination.

He did not foresee the possibility, however, of some jet-offed, jack-rockers "electing" a jet off jack rocker super-salesman businessman born with a silver foot in his mouth from his slumlord daddy, turned reality tv star, coming to occupy the White House for four years, serving the interests of the far right and their checklist issues du jour in the process, the Federalist Society agenda, enabling the steal of the country and its government while convincing the jet-offed, jack-rockers, enamored of the sociability of the "rallies", that it was to make their country "great again", not to poison their wells and give them a virus from which there was no vaccine at the time, eventually leading many of them who survived the first nine months to eschew the vaccine when it became available, on the basis of it being just another gov'ment plot to take away their freedoms, like guns, as the jetoff jack rocker had already won them over with that basic rhetoric, never bothering to stress too much that he and his daddy had accumulated their wealth in the first instance through that gov'ment plot.

Drew Pearson indicates that the President's order allegedly opening all Government information to the public unless it involved national security was not doing very well, as legitimate news was being hushed up as much as ever, citing two recent cases. The previous year, the State Department had sent cables to U.S. embassies abroad asking the reason for the alarming slump in U.S. prestige and popularity, and without exception, the ambassadors reported that the primary reason was Senator McCarthy. But the State Department reports on the matter were marked "top secret" and had not been made available to the press, and even the six Senators investigating Senator McCarthy would not be able to obtain them, despite their having no relevance to national security.

A second example had to do with the identity of the person inside the Budget Bureau who prepared the plans for a Government-financed private power plant under contract between the Atomic Energy Commission and an Arkansas utility without competitive bidding. It was indicated that a public utilities expert had been brought into the Budget Bureau from the outside, had worked a few weeks with the Bureau and then had gone to work for the private utility. The information had nothing to do with national security and so should be made public under the President's prior executive order. The column had sought from the director of the Bureau the names of the persons responsible for the plans, but he replied through a secretary that there was no comment.

The huge supply of surplus wheat in the country could be turned into rice to feed the Orient, as rediscovered by Dr. Francis Weiss, author of Foods in the Bible. He pointed out that the method of turning wheat into rice had been practiced in Biblical times and was quite simple, required parboiling the wheat grain to make it into boulgar, which tasted like rice, even looked somewhat like rice, and was cheaper than rice with more nutritional value. When Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota had heard about this technique, he immediately sent his agricultural assistant out to do some further research, coming to the conclusion that it would be feasible to turn part of the nation's surplus wheat crop into rice, which, according to Senator Humphrey, could be one of the best ways to combat Communism in the Far East, especially in light of the loss of the biggest rice bowl of the Orient, the Red River delta of Northern French Indo-China.

Marquis Childs, in Bonn, West Germany, indicates that pressure to return the German assets confiscated at the end of World War II to the German people had not only come from the Congress, the British Parliament and from inside Germany, but also from a powerful lobby consisting of lawyers and publicists with large sums of money to spend both in Germany and the U.S. U.S. allies from the war were disturbed by the plan to return the assets, as it upset a plan carefully crafted by the Inter-Allied Reparations Agency and the War Claims Commission, under which the assets were to be liquidated and the proceeds paid to those who had suffered direct losses from German attacks. The German government was to compensate the German owners, and the entire plan was to be in lieu of the kind of reparations assessed against Germany after World War I, which had proved disastrous in their consequences.

A report from a subcommittee chaired by Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois had cited the Harry Dexter White case as evidence of a plot to destroy Germany, the case serving the interests of German propagandists, with a popular German picture magazine recently having run a highly publicized series titled, "Those Who Wanted To Destroy Us", regarding the White case, as put forth by Attorney General Herbert Brownell the prior fall, and citing material directly from Senator McCarthy's files.

Mr. Childs indicates that Senator McCarthy had given German neo-Nazis a rich propaganda windfall when he charged U.S. officers with beating and torturing German prisoners accused of the Malmedy massacre in December, 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, the murder in cold blood of American prisoners of war.

If the Dirksen bill passed, Congress would have to appropriate about 200 million dollars to replace the value of the assets already liquidated, but of greater value would be the patents and trademarks which would be given back to the large firms, such as I. G. Farben, a chemical combine which had been a huge firm prior to the war. Under the decartelization program, Farben was broken up after the war into four separate companies, but that separation was more theoretical than actual, as the four companies had closely coordinated their activities, and, in any event, the decartelization would end in 1956. Farben had grown immensely since the war, with one of the four companies showing an increase of 42 percent in exports for the first half of 1954, compared to 37 percent during the first half of 1953, and the stocks of the four companies were soaring, would likely still go higher if Congress returned the major assets, such as GAF, with a great number of patents and trademarks attached.

Secretary of State Dulles had approved the bill sponsored by Senator Dirksen on the ground that taking over the assets of private owners was contrary to American principles.

Mr. Childs indicates that the pieces were falling into place more or less as they had been before the war, that perhaps such a situation was inevitable from the beginning, but some observers feared that the hope of a pluralistic society for Germany, with healthy conflicting forces which could strike a democratic balance, would be frustrated again.

Doris Fleeson indicates that Tennessee and Alabama voters in their Democratic primaries had demonstrated that there was no longer any reason why Southern statesmen could not become national leaders as well, citing the substantial victories of Senators Estes Kefauver and John Sparkman in their respective primaries, despite the forces of reaction having coalesced behind aggressive young opponents in those races, charging that Senators Kefauver and Sparkman were liberal Democrats and internationalists, with a strong effort made to use the segregation issue against them. But both had successfully defended their records and had stood by the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The victories showed that the South was willing to go forward and support the national Democratic Party and serve the U.N.

Ms. Fleeson indicates that it had been a drawback to the nation that Southerners appeared to feel that they could not keep up with the Democratic platform and maintain their power at home, with the result that Northern liberals had dominated the political conventions and elected Presidents through their hold on pivotal states. Meanwhile, the political skills and brains of Southerners had swayed the course of Congress and given FDR and President Truman the legislative majorities which had made their programs possible.

She suggests that Southerners' own fears had helped keep them from the national ticket, and in some cases from Congressional leadership. Senator Lister Hill of Alabama, for example, probably would have attained the position of Democratic leader had he not held back years earlier out of concern he would be called upon to sponsor or at least defend civil rights legislation.

Senator Kefauver's availability as a candidate for the presidency had been strengthened by his big victory in the Senate race, and the easy victories for both him and Senator Sparkman had increased the availability of all of their Southern colleagues. Ms. Fleeson concludes that the South, therefore, could look forward again, provided the trend continued, to having a Southerner in the White House. She indicates that the last of the planters to become President had been Zachary Taylor, taking office in 1849, a Whig and also a slave-owner from Louisiana. But after him, the North, the Midwest and the West had taken over sending Presidents to Washington. There had been a couple, Andrew Johnson and Woodrow Wilson, who could claim Southern ancestry, but were not thereafter Southerners.

She finds that the Southern states who had voted for General Eisenhower in 1952 showed that the old allegiances were no longer in effect, and there could have been no illusions held by Southern voters that in voting for the General they were not voting for a progressive Republican faction opposed to segregation.

A letter from the vice-president of Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co. explains to letter writers who inquired on the subject why WBTV, channel 3, showed repeat programming during the summer, indicating that the cost of a half-hour program usually ran between $15,000 and $30,000, with typical examples being "G.E. Theater", "Private Secretary", "Badge 714", or the "Ford Theater". Most television advertisers bought for 52-week cycles, and if every program were new, it would cost more than a million dollars per year to produce each program, before purchasing time and facilities on television stations in many parts of the country to show the programs. Because of those high costs, several years earlier, a major advertiser had tried an experiment whereby, instead of purchasing 52 half-hour programs, it bought only 39, intending to repeat 13 of them, the advertiser finding that there were no complaints about the repeats. The success of the experiment had attracted other advertisers who wanted to save money in production costs, and began purchasing only 26 programs per year. The problem arose in a single station market such as Charlotte, rather than the multi-station markets elsewhere, where there was little complaint about repeat programming, as other competing programming could then be watched during the summer months, missed during the earlier part of the year. He indicates that the repeated programming was fed to them by cable from the networks and that they had no choice but to accept it and show it to viewers, but that for locally filmed programs, they resisted showing repeats. Most advertisers chose the summer to broadcast repeats because of the unavailability of casts, production crews and other personnel.

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