The Charlotte News

Monday, December 12, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had met with Republican Congressional leaders this date to preview his State of the Union message to Congress in January, likely to be the blueprint for the 1956 Republican election campaign. All indications suggested that the program would be geared closely to "peace and prosperity", which RNC chairman Leonard Hall had been echoing for months. The President would likely promote a broadened farm program aimed at halting the falling farm prices. House Minority Leader Joseph Martin of Massachusetts had forecast proposals offering compromises with the Democrats on the highway and school construction programs, two controversial issues held over from the previous session. He had also forecast tax reduction, provided that the budget could be balanced. But Senate Minority Leader William Knowland of California favored debt reduction instead of tax reduction, indicating that his farm views might not coincide with those of the President. The President had been ordered by his doctors to slow down his recent working pace, but this date had both a morning and afternoon conference, although careful observance was given to a 2 1/2 hour midday break, which the doctors had counseled as important after a weekend checkup of the President, still recovering from his September 24 heart attack. His personal physician had said that the President had shown signs of fatigue after some of his busier days at his Gettysburg farm. The doctor had suggested that the President wait at least until mid-February before deciding whether he felt strong enough to run for re-election. The following day, the President would meet with both Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders to review defense and foreign policies, before he would return to Gettysburg to continue his convalescence.

The cotton growers of the nation would vote this date on whether to accept Federal acreage and marketing controls on their 1956 crop, but whatever their decision would be, the support price for cotton was almost certainly to be cut. Federal controls would become effective only if approved by two-thirds of the farmers voting, as had been the case since the advent of the support program in 1938. Because of a growing cotton surplus and a big 1955 crop, Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson was almost certain to cut the following year's support price if controls were approved.

In Jerusalem, Israeli troops had attacked Syrian outposts overlooking the Sea of Galilee during the night, killing 55 Syrian soldiers in retaliation for the loss of four Israelis, according to Israeli officials this date. They said that 29 Syrians had also been taken prisoner in the fog-enshrouded battle on the northern shores of the lake. Twelve Israeli soldiers had been wounded. The attackers had occupied four Syrian outposts, had blown them up and then withdrawn. The action was launched along an eight-mile front the previous night to silence gun positions which Israel claimed had fired on fishing boats and on an Israeli police launch on Sunday, with no one injured in those incidents. Israeli military sources said that Army units had moved in a four-pronged advance aimed at the four Syrian positions along the eastern bank of the lake, with the attacking Israeli units supported by two detachments to block the approach of Syrian reinforcements. The Syrian opposition had been the heaviest in the Jordan River sector. U.N. truce observers rushed to the area to investigate the attack, and a U.N. spokesman said that the situation had now quieted. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that their forces had advanced against the Syrian positions to silence the batteries responsible for the unprovoked attack and to secure Israeli citizens engaged in their lawful occupations. Israel claimed that its territory included the entire Sea of Galilee, a lake about 13 miles long and three to seven miles wide, along the shores of which many of the events in the life of Jesus Christ had taken place. Syria held the northern half of the lake's eastern shore and Israel held a narrow strip along the southern half. The Israeli attack had taken place along that eight-mile northern stretch.

In Vatican City, it was announced that a Christmas midnight mass to be conducted by Pope Pius XII would be celebrated in his private chapel and broadcast via radio throughout the world.

Julian Scheer of The News tells of a lieutenant in the Air National Guard having made a decision at 5,000 feet over the outer edge of the city the previous day which might have averted a local disaster, when his T-33 jet trainer had flamed out, that is ran out of fuel, and he decided not to take a chance on gliding into Douglas Municipal Airport, but turned away from the populated area and ditched the plane in the woods, he and his co-pilot bailing out. The plane had crashed in an oat field in the Mint Hill section and the 27-year old pilot and his co-pilot had bailed out about 12 miles from the city and a mile from the crash site, both landing with only slight injuries, the pilot coming down in a broomstraw patch and the co-pilot, who had cracked a bone in an ankle, near Delta Air Base. They had been nearing the end of a flight from Philadelphia, having stopped at Andrews Field in Maryland to refuel, when the accident occurred. The aircraft had been demolished. The plane had barely missed a nearby home. The pilot, from Charlotte, was a second-year student at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. When they refueled, they had an estimated 65 minutes worth of fuel, more than 300 gallons, for the 310-mile leg of the flight to Charlotte, but after only 50 minutes of flight time, the jet had flamed out. The pilot said that there had been no unusual delays or strong headwinds which could have accounted for the extra fuel consumption. The pilot was a Korean War veteran who had flown 100 missions and logged 1,400 hours of flight time, indicating that until the previous June, he had never had any problem in an airplane. The co-pilot was an engineer for Philadelphia's Allied Chemical & Lye Co. and had previously had experience in bailing out during combat.

Ann Sawyer of The News tells of a proposal by Board of County Commissioners member Sam McNinch to consolidate the City and County Governments. Mr. McNinch had long been an advocate of consolidation, which he believed was the only answer to the problem of a rising tax rate and larger City and County budgets. He proposed to consolidate every unit of the governments, except those created by the State Constitution. His full statement is printed verbatim. Plans for consolidation had been discussed since the late 1930's and one of the strongest advocates for it had been the League of Women Voters. A story reviews that history. Charlotte Mayor Philip Van Every said that the total merger plan proposed by Mr. McNinch was "impractical, unfeasible", explaining his reasoning.

Below freezing temperatures were recorded across the Carolinas in practically every section, it having been the sixth straight day of below normal temperatures, as a cold air mass had strengthened its position over the South. The low temperature in Charlotte was 23 degrees, while in Asheville, the temperature had dropped to 10 at the airport, with the downtown area only dipping to 17. It had been 18 in Winston-Salem, 17 in Greensboro, 26 in Wilmington, 25 in Anderson, S.C., and 26 in Greenville, S.C. The Weather Bureau forecast little chance of relief from the cold until warm air came in from the south. The low for Charlotte was forecast for the following day to be 23 or 24, with a high of 50 in the afternoon.

Jack Kiser of The News imparts that a trip to the mountains during the weekend had been for Eskimos, with most of the northwestern part of the state and adjoining Tennessee having been coated with snow and ice. Heavy travel on main roads kept ice to a minimum but the lesser traveled ones resembled "a snow-covered mirror." Adding to the driving hazard was a brisk wind which kept the snow in continuous motion and cut visibility to a minimum. Even chains, which had been selling at a premium along the highways, had failed to help the situation much and many of the motorists had decided to take lodging until conditions got better.

On the editorial page, "How Should We Lure New Industry?" indicates that a small but loud minority, dissatisfied with the progress of the state in attracting new industry, had advocated for sweeping tax exemptions, industrial bond issues and the like to serve as enticements. Other Southern states had been making use of state and local government aid for the purpose for some time. Even prior to the 1930's, 16 states had offered some form of exemption from property taxes for limited periods to new industries. At present, six Southern and border states plus Vermont had localities which were permitted to exempt for five years new industries locating in them, while Louisiana allowed a 10-year exemption. In certain areas of other states, like exemptions were allowed.

A new Tax Foundation survey had found that under special circumstances, such exemptions did have a decisive influence on management to develop and locate in Louisiana rather than in another state, but also found that such cases were few in number.

Tax exemptions had the drawback of reducing revenue just as the state's economy was being expanded by new industry and thus in need of additional local services.

A sounder, more reasonable approach, the piece ventures, was the quasi-public development corporation, which avoided the doubtful use of public funds, the organization being privately owned while its purpose was essentially a public one, suggesting it as the suitable option for North Carolina. Governor Luther Hodges was promoting such a privately financed corporation, "devoted to the widespread promotion of industrial development." The state was also establishing a credit corporation which could make available long-term loans to eligible industries, loans which commercial banks often could not handle.

It finds that in that way, the state could progress without cutting its own throat or the throat of established industry.

"Lament for the Laughable Limerick" finds that diplomats, politicians, labor leaders, welfare workers, policemen, shop girls, and birdwatchers all had long faces, not indicative of the Christmas season. So it decides to join the club, lamenting the passing of the limerick, not the type which often was heard to raucous laughter around men's locker rooms or at poker games.

It yearns for the appearance of another Edward Lear, who had popularized the limerick in the mid-19th Century in his Book of Nonsense, published in 1846, still considered a classic by connoisseurs of the art.

It cites as example: "There was an Old Man with a beard,/ Who said: 'It was just as I feared!/ Two Owls and a Hen,/ Four Larks and a Wren/ Have all built their nests in my beard.'"

He had also written: "There was a young lady of Wilts,/ Who walked up to Scotland on stilts;/ When they said it was shocking/ To show so much stocking,/ She answered, 'Then what about kilts?'"

It finds that the only practicing limerick artist in the U.S. was Ogden Nash, whose most famous contribution had been: "There was a young belle of old Natchez/ Whose garments were always in patchez./ When comment arose/ On the state of her clothes,/ She drawled, When Ah itchez, Ah scratchez!"

It indicates that Mr. Nash had lectured at Davidson the previous year, cites another limerick appearing in his book, Versus: "An elderly bride of Port Jervis/ Was quite understandably nervis/ Since her apple-cheeked groom,/ With three wives in the tomb,/ Kept insuring her during the service."

He had come up with a predigested form of limerick, which he called a "limick": "Two nudists of Dover,/ Being purple all over,/ Were munched by a cow/ When mistaken for clover." It finds that one not to have the "snap, crackle and pop of the real article."

It fears for the culture unless some serviceable limerick writers turned up, especially given the President's illness, Chiang Kai-shek, "The $64,000 Question" and the ridiculous behavior of the stock market. "They will be much worse if we run entirely out of something to laugh at."

How about this one: The Lady said: "Let me give you a tip:/ It's as cold outside as a witch's lip./ Don't venture there unless you want to freeze solid/ Or should ye be greased or quite bollocks."

Atticus, writing in the London Sunday Times, in a piece titled "The Secret", tells of an eager journalist on a train having found himself opposite a doddering old gentleman whose ravaged countenance still retained a certain youthfulness, prompting the journalist, impetuously, to inquire, "Excuse me, sir, but I'm a reporter and I wonder if you would care to give my readers the secret of your youthful appearance." The old man obliged: "Riotous living. Since leaving school I have smoked like a chimney, drunk a bottle of champagne at every meal, and in my amours I have rivaled Casanova."

The journalist then asked him how old he was, and the old man said that he was 35.

Drew Pearson discusses the sale of 300 acres of Oregon timberland to a family in Alabama, a sale which had been consistently opposed by the Forest Service, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management, and by Oscar Chapman, former Secretary of Interior under former President Truman. Current Secretary of the Interior, Douglas McKay, reversed the ruling and sold the timber rights to the national forest for only a little more than $8,000, as originally reported by Mr. Pearson on September 29, 1954.

He had begun the column by indicating that Congressman Clare Hoffman of Michigan, who had gone to Oregon to appear before the committee, chaired by Senator Kerr Scott of North Carolina, investigating the deal, had been intent on protecting Secretary McKay and Interior Department officials, until he found out that someone was secretly recording the hearings. He initially became upset and demanded to know who was doing the taping, until the regional information officer of the Interior Department had spoken up from the audience and said that he was responsible for it, at which point Mr. Hoffman began defending the right to record the hearings.

An investigation of the New York Times, which had all of the earmarks of a witch-hunt, had been staged behind closed doors by the Senate Internal Security Committee in New York, in some respects, suggests Mr. Pearson, going beyond anything that even Senator McCarthy had done against a newspaper. A total of 22 members of the Times staff had been subpoenaed by the Committee's counsel, who had been the chief security prober both under Democrats and Republicans, with the 22 witnesses questioned as to whether they were Communists, as well about matters which appeared far beyond the scope of any Senate committee, such as which headlines certain copy desk readers wrote and the general organization of the newspaper. It appeared chiefly aimed at some of the original members of the Newspaper Guild, which in its early days had been troubled with pro-Communist and left-wing leanings, but many of those members having now become conservatives, at least in the case of the Times. Senator James Eastland of Mississippi was chairman of the Committee, and the managing editor of the Times, Turner Catledge, was also from the state, having once edited the Tupelo Journal. Senator Eastland had not appeared at the hearings. When Mr. Catledge had been asked about the probe, he said that it reminded him of what President Calvin Coolidge had said when Rupert Hughes had written a book critical of George Washington: "Well, I see the Washington Monument is still standing."

From The Mind and Faith of Justice Holmes, edited by Max Lerner, a brief quote from the Justice appears, indicating that it was no sufficient condemnation of legislation that it favored one class at the expense of another, as most legislation did so and nevertheless performed the greatest good for the greatest number. If the welfare of all future ages was to be considered, legislation might be abandoned for the present, and if the welfare of the living majority was paramount, it could only be on the ground that the majority had the power in their hands. The fact was, said Justice Holmes, that legislation in the country and everywhere else was empirical, necessarily made a means by which a body, having the power, placed burdens which were disagreeable to them on the shoulders of someone else.

By the way, for those who believe that the Fourth Amendment is an inconvenience and merely offers refuge for those bent on breaking the law and that the right of privacy is not deeply embedded in the fabric of the Constitution, examine Justice Holmes's dissent in the 1928 wiretapping case, Olmstead v. U.S., the majority having upheld the bugging snoop without a warrant, a dissent, along with that of Justice Louis Brandeis and his statement of "the right to be let alone" as being inherent in the Founders' conception of the Fourth Amendment protections, which would ultimately become the majority view of the Court in Katz v. U.S., decided in 1967, overruling the five-Justice majority in Olmstead, decided during the Prohibition era, and also realize the inherent problems attendant informal snooping, especially when aided and abetted by cops who do not pay much or any attention to the sacrosanct protections of the Fourth Amendment. Would not the plain Fourth Amendment violations by the cop in entering the woman's apartment under false pretenses, as a "board of health" inspector, and without therefore her informed consent, and then going back with the deli-operator neighbor and picking her lock to enter again while she was absent, all without warrant, probable cause or exigent circumstances to prevent immediate destruction of evidence or escape of a suspect, therefore have rendered suppressible and thus useless any evidence he might have discovered therein, including his lack of findings, such that he then went further in his search for the missing corpse, based only on hearsay initially from an anonymous source, but then largely promoted by the "guilty witness", as is wont to happen, coppers, when the guilty snoop on neighbors, even if the case presented by Mr. Hitchcock and company wound up with the usual twist of the discovery of the body in the usual place. Query whether the finding of the body in a common area of the building acted to eliminate the taint of the prior illegal search and thus also not work to violate the guilty wife's Fifth Amendment rights by a coerced confession in the basement, based on the previous plain violations of her rights under the Fourth Amendment in searching her apartment. Would she walk or face conviction for the killing, based solely on the discovery in the basement and her spontaneous admissions thereafter? If she then had killed the "guilty witness" in the basement, would she be convicted of more than voluntary manslaughter for "heat of passion" homicide? Would the result of your analysis be changed if, at the direction of the cop, the deli-operator had picked the lock and entered the upstairs apartment alone and discovered the body there? Should the homicide detective be fired or quickly retired by the police department? You have 60 minutes. Discuss. (The quality or not of your response will, you may be certain, determine your fitness to enter law school and thereafter to be duly licensed as a practitioner of the law.)

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., comments on having seen the performance of the Scots Guard, having found it wonderful and unforgettable, had liked "Hielan' Laddie" by the Regimental Band, which gave her the first impression that they were present in the hall, causing her to become so overcome with nostalgia that she wept, reminiscent of sounds from her childhood, as the Regimental Band had been part of her growing up, hearing them over the crystal radio set which her father had built and having seen them in parades and in concert. She finds that they were as good as they ever were. She says that her nearly three-year old boy was fascinated, sitting as still as a mouse during the first half of the performance and then parading up and down along the aisle with the band during the second half. Their daughter was thrilled and impressed beyond words.

Your son needs a tanning, as he will be standing someday in the English rain. (We still say that the actual name of the song, at least as to the pre-release version, as initally heard in latter May, 1966 via the little radio broadcasting the "Flying Dutchman Show", close by the dial telephone and old box of green paper boy's rubber bands, was "Atherback Righcher", at most as perceived by penguins.)

A letter writer from Concord, N.C., praises the same concert and thanks, as had the previous writer, Clan Donald for making it a once-in-a-lifetime evening.

A letter writer from Red Springs, N.C., president of Flora MacDonald College, also praises the concert, saying that she was thrilled with the pipers and the dancers. She congratulates Donald MacDonald of the newspaper for good reporting on the concert—or perhaps he had some other role than reporting on this occasion, maybe with Donner and Blitzen, as it does not appear in the newspaper.

A letter writer from Wilmington, N.C., also applauds the concert and the handling of the event by Mr. MacDonald, says that "The Fighting Scots" and the students from Flora MacDonald College, had added greatly to the occasion.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter regarding the abandonment of interscholastic athletics at the junior high school level in Charlotte, leaving only intramural sports, finding that the previous writer, who said that he believed that the people writing in favor of retaining interscholastic sports were coaches afraid of losing their jobs, this writer saying that the previous writer did not understand the basic facts concerning coaches who taught courses in the schools, that ceasing to be coaches would not cause them to lose that much money, though there were a few coaches in Charlotte who were well paid. Some of them, however, were not paid at all for the extra work, only doing it because they enjoyed it and were interested in the mental and physical development of the children. It meant longer hours than the average white-collar worker and going out at night with the teams, concerning themselves with transportation, sometimes having to use their own automobiles without reimbursement for gas. She says that the only thanks the coach received consisted of the smiles and thanks of a few "nappy kids and the thought that perhaps in some small way he has contributed to the healthy growth of our future citizens."

A letter writer comments on the pollution of Sugar Creek and the community's efforts to enforce the ordinance against industries using the creek for waste disposal, requiring them to have certain filtration systems in place. He says that if it was certain that the new, expensive equipment would eliminate the odor, then the City ought make an agreement with the businesses that it would refund the money if the new systems did not eliminate the odor. He says that he did not believe the odor was coming from industrial waste but rather from sewage, saying that he had lived in areas where industrial waste was dumped into streams and had never encountered such an odor as emanated from Sugar Creek at times during the summer. He agreed that the odor ought be eliminated, but does not think that the enforcement of the ordinance regarding industrial and laundry waste would do the job.

A letter writer congratulates News reporter Charles Kuralt for his recent feature story on jazz as heard at one of the local clubs on weekend nights, finds it pleasurable that the newspaper sometimes published editorials and stories dealing seriously with jazz. He says that the art was more often lambasted, sometimes made to appear ridiculous in many publications, but that the articles in The News had given jazz a respectable coat to wear.

A letter writer from Monroe, N.C., indicates that the recent editorial which had provided a brief synopsis of Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce's career in the arts would have made interesting reading except for the fact that she did not, as the editorial had stated, ban any film at the Venice Film Festival, including "Blackboard Jungle". She had declined to attend the festival and when asked why, had stated that she could not give the approval suggested by her attendance at the showing of "Blackboard Jungle". The festival officials then decided that they would rather cancel the showing than not have Mrs. Luce present and so elected not to show the film. He finds that the film presented a situation regarding delinquent children in the schools which did not exist in the country and that if moviemakers believed that presenting such a false picture of American life to foreign audiences was laudable, they should rise or fall on the fruits of their efforts. He finds there to be no reason why Ambassador Luce ought be forced to view such a spectacle, and "only a 'liberal' would contest her personal rights in this matter."

The editors note that Ambassador Luce did not have to go to Venice, but that if her opinion of movies entered in the festival was to determine whether she would go or not, she could have examined the list of films before attending. Instead, after she had arrived, she demanded that the festival choose between her attendance on behalf of the United States and the showing of the film, which the editors regard as banning of the film.

A letter from Harry Shuford, News reporter, indicates that he was thoroughly disgusted with the television basketball coverage announced for the current season, which would include Kansas, Washington University, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin in two games, Michigan State in two games, Northwestern University in two games, Iowa also twice, and Illinois and Indiana three times each. He says that not only were those teams practically without any local fans or interest, except as to where they would be in the national ratings, but that only four of the teams were in the Associated Press top 20 the previous week. He says that such a letter as he was writing would not have any impact since there was no competition for television viewers yet in the local area, but ventures that if the local television station really wanted to give local viewers what they desired, an effort ought be made to present better sports fare.

Don't worry, we have a feeling they will begin to learn their lesson next season, when a certain team in the state will go undefeated and win the national championship in three overtimes on each of two successive nights, the second opponent's star having as his given name the singular form of a pluralized word within one of the limericks on today's page and the coach of the winning team being Irish through and through, not to mention some of his players.

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