The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 19, 1948


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President spoke, broadcast nationally via NBC radio, in Raleigh at the State Fairgrounds on farm policy and urged the South to stick with the Democrats or face "another ride in a Hoover-cart", an invention of a North Carolina farm, whereby a T-Model Ford was pulled by a mule. He urged unity among Democrats to defeat the GOP "money-baggers".

At the dedication of the monument to the nativity in the state of three former Presidents, Mr. Truman praised deceased Josephus Daniels, former Secretary of the Navy and Ambassador to Mexico, who had originally chaired the monument commission. He also praised each of the three Presidents, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, for facing crises during their terms.

Tom Fesperman of The News reports that a large crowd, estimated at 15,000, greeted the President at the dedication of the monument. He spoke in a quiet tone, without the fire typifying his recent campaign tours. When talking of the three Presidents' troubles, he appeared to be making veiled references to his own problems in the White House. The crowd was polite and restrained, applauding infrequently, appearing to understand that this dedicatory address was not a campaign speech.

Crowds lined both sides of the street along which the President's motorcade passed to the Capitol grounds. People applauded as he passed, but there were no cheers.

One sign held aloft said: "Hey, Harry, North Carolina may be cloudy, but it sho' ain't Dewey."

As Air Force planes flew overhead and the crowd and dignitaries craned their necks to observe them, a flock of pigeons flew by in formation, seeming intent on racing with the bombers.

Too bad that they were not doves.

In Berlin, the Russians announced that any vehicular traffic entering the city from any point had to pass through the Soviet sector where all vehicles were being searched for food and other declared contraband. All traffic therefore had to go around the city and enter from the east rather than through Potsdam in the American sector. Trains were still allowed to enter directly but with close inspection by the Communist-controlled police, ordered to confiscate all foodstuffs over a maximum of eleven pounds per passenger.

That's a fair amount of food for one passenger to be carrying. One hundred and eighty passengers could schlep in a ton.

The Big Three Western powers denounced Russia for tightening controls on Berlin traffic while the Security Council deliberated on the Berlin crisis. They said that as long the blockade remained, direct negotiations with Russia on Germany were useless. They said that they would not negotiate regarding the August 30 agreement between Premier Stalin and the three Western ambassadors to Moscow as long as the blockade remained in effect, a condition precedent to the original agreement.

In Paris, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to order an immediate ceasefire by Israelis and Arabs in the Negev desert fighting, pursuant to the recommendation by interim mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche. Both Egyptians and Israelis had agreed to negotiate, and Egypt had agreed to the three or four-day ceasefire, which the Israelis had rejected. For the fourth consecutive day, Israeli planes bombed Gaza, Egyptian forces headquarters and seat of the Arab Palestine Government. The Egyptian Air Force struck for the first time at Jewish settlements, Nir Am and Dorot.

In Hamburg, former Nazi Field Marshal Walther von Brauschitsch, 67, died of a coronary thrombosis the previous night in the British zone military hospital, under guard awaiting trial for war crimes. He was to have been tried in January with former Field Marshals Gerd von Rundstedt, Erich von Mannstein, and Col. General Adolf Strauss. Von Brauschitsch in his Panzers had been the commander of the German Army until December 20, 1941 when Hitler removed him from his Panzers for bogging down in the Russian offensive begun the previous June 22 and slated to last six weeks. His Panzers proved too big for his breaches.

In Detroit, a witness testified that a man named Carl Bolton had offered him $15,000 to kill Walter Reuther, object of a murder attempt on April 20 at his home. The witness had never been a member of the UAW but had known Mr. Bolton for 20 years. Mr. Bolton, a former vice-president of a Ford UAW local, had called Mr. Reuther a "dirty Red Communist." Mr. Reuther was shot at his home but recovered from his wounds. He had said that as far as he knew there was no enmity with Mr. Bolton. The witness said that Mr. Bolton came to his home the day before the shooting and picked up two shotguns he had left there and said that he was going to get himself a "god damned Commie".

Dick Young of The News continues his report on the need for more revenue for towns and cities to maintain their roads and other services, the lion's share of gas taxes and licensing fees being taken by the State and not distributed to the cities and towns. The North Carolina League of Municipalities had formed to try to get the Legislature to make fair return of the taxes collected, one of every six cents in gas taxes for the improvement of streets, equating to six million dollars, six times that currently made available to towns and cities for the purpose.

A new serialized novel begins on page 12-A, Second Time Girl by Rob Eden, bound to be a classic piece of high-brow literature. Mr. Eden, it says, was "one of the outstanding serial story authors", as opposed to serial killers, in the country.

On the editorial page, "A New Challenge for the General" tells of the speech by General Eisenhower at his installation as president of Columbia University, stressing the notion, as articulated a century earlier by the British historian Macaulay, that demagogic appeal to class "selfishness, greed and hate" would lead to the extinction of democratic government. General Eisenhower asserted that only through education could the society escape the "heavy curse of tyrannical regimentation or the collapse of our democratic civilization in social anarchy."

The piece thinks it a noble sentiment expressed from the portals of one of the nobler institutions of higher learning in the country.

"For Poets or for People" begins by quoting the first four lines of "The Waste Land" by T. S. Eliot, starting in the Twenties a revolution in the poetry of personal symbolism, initiated in the previous century in Paris by Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Verlaine.

T. S. Eliot turned 60 the previous month, as a royalist in politics, an American by birth turned Englishman by choice, a member of the Church of England, probably the greatest poet thus far of the Twentieth century but also a poet who had not touched the people with his poetry.

His latest contribution, "Four Quartets", was obscure in its imagery, causing problems of interpretation. As obscure were the heirs of his poetic legacy who practiced the craft along the same lines. It quotes from William Gibson, whose poetical antecedents were both Mr. Eliot and Ezra Pound:

Dog and angel of skills
Who barked and chimed me a progress
Sweet in the sour, air of sewer hung,
carious Tenement jails...

Such poets had taken poetry from the people and made it an esoteric journey, with "beautiful but private music."

Hart Crane had been a "gifted word musician", but few cared to take the plunge into his "bottomless, undulant sea of symbols" and consequently few knew him. It ventures that the consequences of the arcana of his poetry might supply the reason that, in 1932, while returning from his year in Mexico on a Guggenheim Fellowship, he plunged headlong into the sea from the deck of the Orizaba taking him back to New York.

It posits that the poets needed to return poetry to the people. While there was no desire for Longfellow's banality or a generation of Robert Frosts, "without communication, poetry will atrophy."

One might add, anent today's "poetry"—which we prefer to call "proesy" for its utter lack of poetic rhythm or meaning, merely simple, usually stiff, prose sentences set in pretentious visual verse form—, that without poetry, poetry in the nation, in the world, poetic meaning will cease to exist, extraneous symbols suddenly wrenched from their too tedious moorings and thrown back to the waves of the future as an omnipresent threat to the immobile, the frightened of the next step, that it may trip the precipice and hurl any movement dared into the abyss, not tied, not controlled, irrelevant to currency, the mundanely serio-comic "iconic", and instant novelty—"awesome", "beyond belief", "the best ever" meteoric redundancies, crashing to earth in failed advertising campaigns, making way for the next "best ever" average shadow of the past's nearly forgotten paradigmatic caster on which rolled the mold for the cradle.

In any event, we observe that, judging by the quoted stanza, the poem of William Gibson—eventual playwright who a decade hence would pen The Miracle Worker—, obviously predicts the selection by General Eisenhower in 1952 of Senator Richard Nixon as his running mate on the Republican ticket, making it not only a prophetic 1948 poem but also a utilitarian one of political significance. We would venture that there must be something in the poem, or the book of poems from which it comes, regarding water and streams, as recondite references to plumbing and dogs are already present.

A piece from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, titled "Miracles That Convince Skeptical", praises the "Miracle Day" demonstration in Charlotte of the previous Thursday, rehabilitating a soil-depleted 120-acre farm with the collective efforts of 300 people and donated farm machinery to demonstrate to others soil conservation techniques.

The News, co-sponsor of the event, had published a 32-page soil conservation section of the newspaper in the "Carolina Farmer" section to go along with "Miracle Day".

The program duplicated similar demonstrations in Virginia, at South Hill and Louisa earlier in the year.

Such demonstrations were beneficial to all involved, especially the farmers, not only those directly benefited but the observers who carried the techniques back to their own farms for slower but demonstrable progress in production by countering soil erosion.

Drew Pearson relates of two partners in the Arlington Asphalt Company, responsible for paving the roads in the Pentagon complex, having apparently short-changed the Government, according to Treasury agents, by half a million dollars in income taxes. They had pulled off the maneuver by various machinations involving taking phony business expense deductions for luxury cars, bogus employee salaries, and the like.

They had sought the aid of Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia to head off the tax case, but, while initially saying he had not ever heard of them, his staff later corrected that he had but had refused to help.

Press secretary Charles G. Ross was getting most of the blame for the slip-up which allowed the leak of the President's abortive decision to send Chief Justice Fred Vinson to Moscow to discuss nuclear control with Premier Stalin. Mr. Ross was supposed to contact the radio networks and request airtime for an important announcement. But he went further and disclosed to CBS the nature of the announcement, causing the leak. The President was said to be furious with him but had not canned him.

Mr. Pearson notes that while Mr. Ross was personally likable, he was too slow with his head sometimes to withstand the tough job of handling the White House press corps.

Stewart Alsop, in Atlanta, examines the incoming administration of Governor-nominate Herman Talmadge. No one knew what to expect. Outward appearances suggested a sharp contrast from his father Eugene, the younger favoring a more moderate stance, replete with a less flamboyant, traditional Southern gallus-snapping wardrobe, and a more stilted, educated delivery. He had refused during the campaign to heed advice to speak fire and brimstone without grammar, in the manner of his deceased elder.

He had said that one of his first acts would be to try to find a way to disfranchise blacks, but he had done so without the rancor of his father.

He had won some of the urban counties as well as the rural areas won by his father.

Mr. Talmadge was considered highly intelligent, more so than his father, tough and ambitious, seeking to pass beyond the confines of Georgia. Gene Talmadge had never been considered Senatorial material because of his backwoods approach to politics. Herman had refused to embrace the Dixiecrats, giving the President a chance to carry Georgia.

A central ingredient to determining how far his moderation would go would be his relationship to Dr. Samuel Green, imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr. Talmadge appeared as a bitter enemy of social change, as were his most ardent supporters. His relationship to Dr. Green would measure the chafing between Southern moderation and genuine social change. Most believed that the relationship would be distant but not unfriendly.

The many people of good will in Atlanta and in Georgia were convinced that change was coming but that the threat of its imposition from Washington had raised anew the hackles of the Klan.

There was tension in the air, "a smell of violence to come."

James Marlow predicts that Congress one day would have to face the question of whether it should be shown at work on television. At present, that decision could be deferred at least a couple of years, as there were inadequate numbers of receiving sets in American living rooms, about 600,000 with fewer than 50 stations broadcasting, to make television yet a viable medium.

Congress had refused to allow radio broadcast of its proceedings. Congressmen could feel relaxed in that way to say what they pleased without trying to appeal to a radio audience. Small mistakes would be magnified on the radio.

But television would not only allow the viewer to hear what was said but to see who was saying it and so its cameras might one day receive an invitation to sit in on the sessions. Schools might have sets in house as tools of education. Congress on tv would provide a lesson in the practical workings of government, making everyone a more astute citizen.

The manners of some members of the body, in that event, would have to change. They could not doze off or read the newspaper during speeches of other members. The cameras might induce more members to show up, to make speeches to let their constituents know what was going on and that they were on the job.

The Government, itself, might pay for such a television network, or it might be provided by the commercial networks without cost to the Government.

That's a novel idea. Wonder what happened.

A piece from the Congressional Quarterly informs that 61 former Congressmen and Senators were seeking to re-enter the Congress. Fifty-one were Democrats. Only 35 of the 435 members of the House were retiring and only eight Senators of the 33 up for re-election were throwing in the towel. The piece suggests that the numbers implied that the lot of a member of Congress was not so bad as it was sometimes made out to be by some of the membership, a bipartisan complaint.

The oldest of the would-be returnees was former Congressman and Senator from West Virginia Matthew Mansfield Neely, seeking to defeat Chapman Revercomb, the incumbent. Mr. Neely had first entered the House in 1913 and had served a decade, then 16 years in the Senate.

Twenty-three of the Democrats, 22 from the House, and three of the Republicans seeking re-entry were given a fair chance of victory. Two of the Republicans and most of the Democrats had supported the New Deal while in Congress. Three former Senators and four former Congressmen were running for Senate seats.

A letter writer, a veteran of World War I and father of a World War II veteran, has a portion of Drew Pearson's column of October 14 underlined, anent the traits known about President Truman and those known about Governor Dewey. He stresses the portion in which Mr. Pearson had said, regarding Mr. Dewey, that he did not consider it a necessary qualification for the presidency that a candidate had served in the war, but that he did believe the public had the right to know why a candidate chose not to serve.

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