The Charlotte News

Wednesday, December 29, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Paris, the French National Assembly was seeking to reach its final decision on the problem of West German rearmament, with the second reading of the proposed agreement set for a vote sometime later this date, a confidence vote for the Government of Premier Pierre Mendes-France, after the matter had been rejected by the Assembly on its first reading the prior Friday, not based on a vote of confidence. A heavy police force stood guard outside the Assembly to prevent mass demonstrations while the deputies were reaching their decision, which had been delayed for four years. The deputies had been called on to vote twice during the day, both confidence votes, with rejection not only causing the Government to fall, but the U.S. and Britain likely to rearm West Germany without respect to the opinion of France. The Premier was expected to win both votes, but by narrower margins than the 289 to 251 vote on Monday to admit West Germany to NATO. In theory, no debate could precede a vote of confidence, but the deputies could explain their votes, with rules allowing only five minutes for each explanation, a rule, however, interpreted so liberally that the explanations sometimes lasted for hours. The two vital questions before the Assembly were entry of West Germany and Italy to the expanded Western European Union, the basis for rearming West Germany, rejected on Friday by a vote of 280 to 259, and final action on the admission of NATO on its second reading. Regarding the re-submission of the WEU expansion proposal, Premier Mendes-France had written in additional provisions since the Friday defeat, which would provide for consultation with the Assembly before there would be any increase in the armed forces of WEU members. At the opening of the afternoon session, however, a Gaullist deputy, who had first proposed that amendment, suggested that the additional provision should be suppressed, causing optimism that the Premier would win in the votes this date.

In Augusta, Ga., White House press secretary James Hagerty said that the President would send a special message to Congress on January 11, recommending pay increases for Federal civil service workers and postal employees, that another special message would be sent to Congress on January 13, outlining a program of increased pay and benefits for members of the armed forces, as well as dealing with the new reserve program outlined recently by Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson, that the pay increases and adjustments of job classifications would add about 202 million dollars per year to the present payroll expenditures, about five percent of the current payroll for classified civil service workers. Mr. Hagerty did not provide specific figures on the pay increases. He said that the Administration believed that increases in pay for postal workers ought come from increased postal rates and that any proposed legislation would include such provisions. He declined to say whether the President would recommend a penny increase in the rate for first-class mail, bringing the letter rate for stamps to four cents, an increase which Congress had rejected during the year, at which point the President had vetoed a pay increase for civil service and postal workers the prior August because it did not contain a provision for postal rate increases. Mr. Hagerty said that the civil service and postal recommendations would not be linked in the same bill.

In New York, the stock market reported such heavy buying that price reporting facilities had been swamped, with gains registering between one dollar and two dollars per share in frequent trading and few stocks reporting losses. Right after the opening bell, the tickertape was as much as four minutes behind in recording actual transactions on the floor of the Stock Exchange and the congestion had lasted most of the first hour of trading, the longest such time during the year. The market had been in a steep incline for the previous 15 months, and since the November midterm elections, had been booming in an unprecedented manner.

In New Hope, Ala., it was reported that an Air Force C-119 Flying Boxcar had crashed into a mountain near the town during the early morning, and at least six of the 11 occupants had been killed, with two bodies hanging in trees, though it was not immediately known whether they were dead or alive. The plane had been flying to an Air Force base in Tennessee from an undisclosed field. An eyewitness to the crash said that he was pretty sure he had seen several parachutes and a lot of debris in the sky, and his wife said that she heard a terrific roaring, had run outside and seen a flame nearby which lit up the entire sky.

In Atlantic City, N.J., the FBI said that a tall and trusted bank official had admitted embezzling $48,000 which had been spent on "personal enjoyment, entertainment, and to meet social obligations." (It begs the question as to whether, had he been short, he would have been trusted, especially after he came up short.) The employee, according to the FBI, attributed his downfall to an effort to live beyond his means. The accused was married and the father of a son in college, and had fought to hold back tears during his arraignment the previous night before a U.S. commissioner. In addition to his position as assistant vice-president of a bank, he served as treasurer and vestryman for his Episcopal church. An FBI agent said that the total sum had been taken from the bank over a ten-year period, but that the initial charge dealt only with $9,600 in a misappropriation made the day before Christmas, with further charges to be brought regarding the remainder of the embezzled money.

In Charleston, W. Va., Florida authorities were en route to pick up a North Carolina trucker charged with embezzling a tractor-trailer and $1,000 from a firm in Winter Haven, Fla., after the man had been arrested on the West Virginia Turnpike the previous day and identified by State Police as residing in Winston-Salem. An officer said that the man had been contracted about six weeks earlier to haul a trailer of citrus fruits from Winter Haven to Canada, and had his own truck to pull the trailer and fruit which were owned by a brokerage company in Winter Haven, the police indicating that after he delivered the fruit, he had driven to Ohio and Illinois instead of returning the rig and the firm's money to Florida. Wanted posters had been circulated and another trucker spotted the man the previous day, leading to his arrest. He waived extradition.

In Atlanta, a doctor suffered a stroke while attempting to revive an attractive female patient in her home, after she had successfully attempted suicide through an overdose of pills, and then later died in his wife's arms, an autopsy the previous night showing that the endocrinologist and former paratroop surgeon had died of a hemorrhage at the base of his brain. Seven empty or partially empty sedative bottles had been discovered in the room and the woman's husband said that she had attempted suicide twice before. He said that he and his wife had separated two months earlier after 14 years of marriage and that he had agreed to give her a divorce so that she could marry the endocrinologist. A detective quoted the husband of the deceased woman, who had previously been a patient at a mental hospital, as saying that the doctor's wife had also consented to a divorce, but that the wife, herself, had made no statement on the matter and could not be reached for comment.

In New York, entertainer Arthur Godfrey reported this date that he had fired another of his staff, though only partially. Larry Puck, a veteran showman, was said to have been ousted from his job as producer of one of Mr. Godfrey's shows because he became engaged to the singing star, Marian Marlowe, about 30 years his junior. He had been retained, however, as producer of another of Mr. Godfrey's programs, as reported by the New York Journal-American. At CBS, neither Mr. Godfrey nor his spokesmen were available for comment. The partial firing revived memories of the firing on the air of singer Julius LaRosa over a year earlier. Mr. Puck, between 57 and 60, had been producer of the Wednesday night program, "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends", as well as the Monday night program, "Talent Scouts". Ms. Marlowe, 25, was the singing star of the Wednesday night program. As a Christmas gift, it was reported that Mr. Puck had presented to her a 6.5 carat emerald-cut diamond solitaire engagement ring. Shortly after hearing of the engagement, Mr. Godfrey had reportedly announced at one of his regular meetings of the staff that he would produce the Wednesday night program himself, providing no reason. Ms. Marlowe had told the reporter who wrote the story that she could not imagine that the change had any relation to her engagement to Mr. Puck.

In Vienna, Austria, it was reported that rolls imported from Poland had in them papers, cigarette butts, dead mice, spiders, hair, nails, a human tooth, rope, stones, coins, safety pins, screws and wire.

In Long Beach, Calif., an escaped monkey in the Hall of Mirrors left no time for idle reflection in the Pike Amusement Zone the previous day, as a young man had been polishing glass in the maze of mirrors when he spotted the monkey and 19 reflections of monkeys staring back at him, prompting him to seek help, as the monkey snarled and spat at his own newly polished reflections, whereupon concession workers, animal shelter officials and police arrived, their reflections adding to the general confusion within the maze, out of which the monkey leaped into the rafters and fled to the quiet of a restroom, where he sulked until he was captured.

In Grafton, W. Va., people of the town were relieved this date to find that there was a sensible explanation about how an octopus had turned up in the hills of West Virginia, the second such octopus, both of which had been found by four small boys in a stream on Monday, each measuring about 36 inches from tip to tip of their various arms. A supermarket had reported that it had sold all except one of a pre-Christmas shipment of frozen octopi.

On the editorial page, "The Question of Local Legislation: Some Creaks in Democracy's Joints" starts by indicating that if poet T. S. Eliot had been a newsman covering the previous night's meeting with Mecklenburg County's legislative delegation, he might have summed it up with one of his famous lines: "The intolerable wrestle with words and meanings." For two hours, legislators, City Council members and County Commission members had wrestled with terms like "home rule" and meanings for such phrases as "formulas agreeable to all parties and for the good of all concerned".

Out of the welter of words, worthwhile proposals had emerged, including requests for an habitual criminal act, laws regulating hypnotic drugs and charity rackets, a crackdown on county residents who were able to evade taxes on their automobiles, identical tax payment timetables for the city and county if they could be arranged, and other proposed legislation. There were holes in the legislative program requested, as no one had asked for adequate urban redevelopment legislation, but both the Council and the Commission would have additional opportunities to make their wishes known to the county legislative delegation. It hopes that the opportunities would not be lost and that the members of the two governing bodies would take a somewhat firmer, more positive approach to their legislative needs in the future.

"Urban Traffic & Hardening Arteries" indicates that Charlotte Mayor Philip Van Every had become caught in a traffic jam on one of the city's hardening traffic arteries and another motorist had leaned out of his car to taunt him, asking when he was going to do something about the traffic, at which the Mayor grinned and said, "How would you like it if we didn't have all this traffic?"

It indicates that in a sense, heavy traffic was an earmark of the astounding postwar growth of the city, with accompanying economic advantages which affected all levels of the population. But for years, the public facilities had not kept pace with the growth and only in recent times had a system of enlightened planning and improvement taken the place of ad hoc remedies, a change for which the City traffic engineer, Herman Hoose, deserved much of the credit.

The city had still not caught up with its growth, with commercial vehicles and passenger cars carrying workers, businessmen and shoppers overflowing the main thoroughfares, and cluttering up side streets in a vain effort to bypass the congestion. The growth of Charlotte would continue, but the rate and health of the growth would depend to a large extent on how vehicles were routed through the city. Farsighted plans were needed to provide for the needs, and Mr. Hoose had many plans in various stages of development, deserving complete cooperation to bring them to fruition as soon as possible.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Big (Shhh!) Government", indicates that the White House had 107 rooms, counting all the pantries, but that the secretaries, stenographers and mail clerks nevertheless had to sit in cramped quarters while they worked each day, that if the President wanted to meet the press on the premises or greet various dignitaries or delegations, everyone had to move to the Rose Garden, as there was no other place with sufficient elbow room available, even if in cold weather. Such were the complaints of the President's staff, who said that they had to function in what was the most crowded building in Washington, despite a 5.7 million dollar expenditure to rebuild its interior during the Truman Administration. In addition to the famous balcony President Truman had added, he had sought an addition to the West Wing to provide some more room, but the request had been rejected by Congress because it would spoil the architectural balance of the executive mansion.

It supposes that the country would have to accept the fact that Presidential government was big government and needed big quarters, but that it would be a hard admission for the Republicans to make, as such expansion and expensive nonsense was supposed to come from Democrats. Yet, it concludes, there appeared to be the need for an FHA improvement loan at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Drew Pearson indicates that the resignation of Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson was at the White House and his successor had already been selected, Deputy Secretary Robert Anderson. No announcement would be made, however, until Mr. Wilson would have a chance to appear before Congress and defend the economized Defense Department budget, a tough fight which the Secretary had said he wanted to lead himself. Mr. Wilson's career in the political realm had gotten off to a bad start in 1953 when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee that what was good for General Motors, of which he had been president, was good for the United States. It had reached a crescendo of public protest when he made his dog remark in Detroit the prior fall, appearing to compare workers to dogs, with many Republicans suggesting that the remark had caused the defeat of Senator Homer Ferguson in Michigan—which, if true, also, therefore, would have been the cause of the Republicans losing control of the Senate by a single seat. Mr. Wilson had also been responsible for the policy of concentrating defense production within a few large companies, a policy in which he thoroughly believed but which had led to more contracts for General Motors and eventually to the reversal of the policy.

Mr. Anderson was a lifelong Texas Democrat, who had left the party to work for General Eisenhower during the 1952 campaign, was manager of the second largest ranch in the country, the Waggoner estate at Vernon, encompassing 500,000 acres in Texas and 300,000 acres in New Mexico. He had gotten to know General Eisenhower through oil tycoon Seth Richardson, and his appointment as Secretary of the Navy was considered a tribute to President Eisenhower's friendship with Texans and the tremendous amount of Texas money which had been contributed to his campaign. Mr. Anderson, immediately after becoming Secretary of the Navy, had shown that he intended to run the Department, a departure from the practice of many civilian secretaries, not allowing the admirals to run him, giving them a rebuff when he promoted Captain George Hyman Rickover, the atomic submarine specialist, to become Admiral, after the admirals had twice turned him down. He had also reprimanded a group of top officers for a striptease party at Key West, Fla., after a junior officer had been made the scapegoat. When Roger Kyes, another General Motors graduate, got tired of Washington and resigned as Deputy Secretary of Defense, Secretary Anderson was transferred from the Navy Department to replace him. As Secretary of Defense, he would not be in the headlines but would run the Pentagon.

Whether the story was accurate until its printing killed the resignation and appointment or it was a bum steer in its origins, Mr. Wilson would remain as Secretary of Defense until October, 1957, and Mr. Anderson would stay in his position until the following July, eventually appointed Secretary of the Treasury in mid-1957.

Senator John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky, who had been defeated in November by former Vice-President Alben Barkley for re-election, had been twice in the Senate for short terms and twice defeated, but was now being urged by White House advisers to begin maneuvering to run again, and it appeared he would do so. Mr. Pearson notes that Senator Earle Clements of Kentucky, the Democratic Whip of the Senate, though leaving the headlines to Democratic Leader Lyndon Johnson, had been in large part responsible for the smooth-working organization within the Senate, but Democratic members of the steering committee wished sometimes that he would call a meeting occasionally.

Following the death in April, 1956 of Senator Barkley, former Senator Cooper would again win election to the Senate, defeating the appointed interim Senator, Robert Humphreys, in the 1956 general election.

The New York Times Magazine tells of the British Royal Society of Arts having held a competition to determine what life would be like in the year 2000, with entries received from all over the world, including clergymen, doctors, engineers, architects, schoolboys and housewives among the entrants, the piece setting forth some of the predictions, the weird as well as the normal.

In science and medicine, it was thought that a device would be invented to prevent at a distance the fission of atomic nuclei, countering the dangers of atomic warfare; that radiotherapy would become the basis of medical diagnosis and treatment, on the theory that all viruses and bacteria radiate detectable energy on fixed frequencies related to their particular species; that the greatest advance in medicine would be the recognition that physical and mental illnesses were connected and had to be treated together; that virus infections would still be rampant because of their tendency to modify themselves to meet new treatments; and that hypnotism would be the accepted means of eliminating physical and emotional pain.

In education, it was predicted that no specific subjects would be taught in schools, that education would consist of games and occupational therapy; that hypnosis would be used as a mechanical aid to learning; and that importance would be attached to voice training as a result of development of television and recorded talks.

In communications, the predictions were that traffic problems in cities would be solved by the use of rooftop roadways, with cars running along between the roofs of business buildings, all of the same height; that underground roadways would accommodate vehicles which did not run along the rooftops; that the rocket letter post would make possible return mail to Australia within a single day; that pedestrians would move along main streets on automatic speed walks and that levels of main streets would be raised to first-story levels to allow wider roadways for vehicular traffic below; that airports would require less surface area as runways would be run underground; that a channel tunnel would connect England and France.

It goes on providing such predictions, some having come true and some not, in the fields of agriculture, technology and industry, food and living, and regarding England, with the sole prediction in the latter category being: "As the year 2000 thunders in with that portentous plop, that mildly derisory anti-climax which is the fated doom of the purely chrono-grammatical jour de fete, the chances are three to one or thereabouts that in southern England it will be raining."

It did not predict, notably, that the U.S. would have a national presidential election decided by 537 disputed votes in Florida out of the more than six million cast, determining by two votes the outcome of the quaintly anachronistic institution adopted by the colonies, the electoral college, while the popular vote winner by 500,000 votes was deemed the loser by a politicized Supreme Court which unceremoniously stopped, by a 5 to 4 decision, the recount of the Florida votes in the middle of the thing. Well, we digress...

Robert C. Ruark indicates that as an enemy of the frauds perpetrated in the name of psychiatry, he was somewhat delighted to read a news story in which a psychiatrist, Dr. Thomas French, associate director of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, was quoted as saying that a failure for eight members of the profession to agree on a particular point "practically invalidates psychoanalytic interpretation as a trustworthy scientific procedure." Dr. French had been reporting on an experiment in which patients' personality difficulties caused various physical disabilities such as ulcers, high blood pressure, thyroid malfunction and skin ailments, with none of the experts able to agree on what produced the problem. He also said that psychoanalysts had fallen into "very uncritical and irresponsible habits in interpreting their patients' emotional symptoms."

The most common conclusion reached among the psychiatrists was that since each of them was a human being with his or her own personal bias and special personality, they could not possibly be an inflexible measuring instrument of others' frailties, which Mr. Ruark claims he could have told them years earlier.

He regards the profession of psychiatry as about as scientific as "sociologists or faith healers", that a nervous nation had sought an excuse for its nerves, looking for someone to provide a crutch, and the "voodoo doctors" served admirably. They had done some good and some harm, but one had to measure the patient by how the doctor had been getting along with his own traumas on a particular day of counseling, as "one man's trauma is another man's poison." He finds that the psychiatrists had read their own personal emotions into their diagnosis of the patients' problems, giving patients additional problems to their own original set, "loosed bats in belfries which already had enough bats", had started people thinking about thinking, "when just thinking is trouble enough", along the way using enough "pseudo-scientific claptrap to make themselves sound dignified and professorial."

He knew one psychiatrist whose wife had left him to be near her dog in another city, and who was able to justify her departure, suggestive to Mr. Ruark that he should not trust him as an adviser for his own problems. The doctor would say that she had a deep-seated impulse to desert her father's memory for the symbol of the new life, as represented by the dog, whereas Mr. Ruark would say that she did not care much for either her husband or the city in which she was living and had simply taken off, and would leave her father out of it.

He knew one man who could not write a book and went to the psychiatrists, all of whom were frustrated authors, to find out why he could not write, with the psychiatrists having told him various things, most of which had related to early insecurities, "mama fetishes" and a preoccupation with his sister's red sleigh, whereas Mr. Ruark would tell him that one could not write a book unless one obtained some paper and a pencil or a typewriter, sat down and wrote the book.

He concludes that it was possible that a man who was lost could find his way again if he obtained solid counsel and a rude shock, but such functions had been performed by priests, rabbis, and country storekeepers for many years, and the psychiatrists had only recently "muscled into the racket."

Bergen Evans, in The Spoor of Spooks and Other Nonsense, indicates that in reading history, one was often moved to shout advice back down the vistas of time, believing that if the reader had only been living during the witchcraft persecutions, for instance, he might have spoken sense to avoid the calamity, but that a moment's reflection was enough to make one realize that such was an "hallucination of hindsight". For the Bible says that there were witches and that they were to be put to death, and the skeptic would simply have been hustled to the pyre, as one more witch.

The evidence suggested that the forefathers were much like present day people, "credulous and incredulous at the wrong times, enamored of their own ignorance, learning the simplest things only through repeated disasters and reserving their admiration chiefly for themselves."

Fifth Day of Christmas: Five cold octopings.

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