The Charlotte News

Tuesday, February 22, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from London that the Soviet Union, via monitored Moscow radio, had claimed that it was leading the U.S. in the production of both atomic and hydrogen weapons. The announcement was made on the eve of Red Army Day. It said that the Soviet Army and Navy were equipped with "every kind of weapon and the most modern military equipment." Soviet Foreign Minister V. M. Molotov had claimed, in a speech before the Supreme Soviet on February 8, in the wake of the resignation of Premier Georgi Malenkov in favor of his replacement, Nikolai Bulganin, that the U.S. was lagging behind the Soviet Union in the production of the hydrogen bomb.

In Las Vegas, an atomic explosion atop a 300-foot tower, the second of the 1955 nuclear test series, jolted Las Vegas just before dawn this date. Dubbed the "George Shot", in honor of George Washington's birthday, it had rattled the windows and awakened many persons in Las Vegas, 75 miles southeast of the test site at Yucca Flat. Seventeen members of Congress and 200 military observers were present for the detonation, the orange flash of which was visible in Los Angeles 275 miles away. The Civil Aeronautics Authority warned all pilots planning flights within 300 miles of the Grand Canyon Airport to check first with the CAA because of the potential for radioactivity in the area. Members of Congress had viewed the tests from at least eight miles from the point of detonation, and military observers were stationed in trenches 4,000 yards from it, about two and one-quarter miles.

In Taipeh, it was reported by the Nationalist Chinese Air Force that its warplanes this date had attacked more than 200 armed motorized junks about 12.5 miles north of Nanchishan Island, renewing their attacks on the Communist build-up in the Taishan Islands. A communiqué indicated that two waves of Nationalist planes had hit the Taishans, destroying "many" military installations, the second in a series of raids on those islands during the day. At about noon this date, official Nationalist reports said that Communist war vessels were heading toward Nanchishan and that Nationalist planes and warships were rushing to engage them, but that there was no attack as yet on the Nationalist-held outpost island and no immediate clash between the Nationalists and Communists.

The President, in a special message to Congress this date, sought approval of his 101 billion dollar highway program, stating that the country had to have a road network to permit people to move out of target areas quickly in the case of an atomic attack. He said also that better highways would save lives, reducing the annual death toll of 36,000 and more than one million injured in automobile accidents, with a total economic loss of about 4.3 billion dollars per year. He said that poor roads also added to the cost of operation of motor vehicles by as much as a penny per mile, for a total loss of another five billion dollars per year. He said that without modernization of the highways, given the growth of the nation, existing traffic jams would "only faintly foreshadow those of ten years hence". The message followed the general lines of a report drafted the previous month by an advisory committee on highways, headed by General Lucius Clay.

Representative Charles Halleck of Indiana, House Minority Whip, said this date that he would advise the President to veto any tax bill which included the Democratic proposal for a $20 per person income tax reduction as of the beginning of 1956. Democrats said they saw little chance that Republicans in the House, after having voted earlier for a $10,000 per year increase in their own salaries, would kill a tax reduction bill impacting every taxpayer. Regardless of the outcome in the House, however, trouble loomed in the Senate for any reduction of taxes, as Finance Committee chairman Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia renewed his opposition to tax reductions until the budget was balanced. Senator Walter George of Georgia, senior member of that Committee, said that the House measure was "unwise and unfortunate". The House Ways & Means Committee had voted 15 to 10 the previous day to wrap the $20 per person tax cut into the Administration tax bill, which would postpone for another year about three billion dollars worth of reductions in corporate and excise taxes scheduled currently to go into effect on April 1. Mr. Halleck said that if Republicans could not knock out the individual income tax cut, they would oppose the entire bill. Congressman Jere Cooper of Tennessee, a member of the Ways & Means Committee, said that a Republican bill the previous year had provided tax cuts primarily to the wealthy and big corporations, in the face of a bigger Federal deficit than anticipated at present, and that the President had already stated that he was anticipating tax cuts for the following year, with Democrats only wanting to make sure that the relief went to the low-income taxpayers where it was needed most.

In Washington, Harvey Matusow, former Communist who had previously been a paid Government informant and witness and had now recanted his previous testimony before Congress and grand juries, swore this date before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee that he had been a paid liar against some Democratic candidates in the 1952 Congressional elections and had also offered to provide candidates with "material that would expose the lies of McCarthyism", but did not say whether there were any takers on the latter point. He said that he had telephoned Jack Anderson, a reporter for columnist Drew Pearson, in March, 1954, telling him of the offer because he thought Mr. Anderson "might know who might be attacked" in the campaign by Senator McCarthy, and that he hoped that Mr. Anderson might pass on the information to such vulnerable candidates. He had testified the previous day that he had "lied for money" as a witness against hundreds of persons. This date, he continued his statements of the previous day, saying that Elizabeth Bentley, an admitted former Communist who had provided information to the subcommittee in 1948 regarding alleged Communists within the Government, had told Mr. Matusow that she had also lied as a Government witness against accused Communists. Mr. Matusow related of a dinner engagement with Ms. Bentley in New York on October 3, 1952, but never directly quoted her as telling him on that occasion that she had lied, instead saying that she had told him, while weeping, that she was broke, unable to find a job, and was therefore having to find information about which to testify, to supply her only source of income.

In Chicago, E. Smythe Gambrell of Atlanta was nominated for the presidency of the ABA this date, tantamount to election. He was a native of South Carolina, had received his law degrees from the University of South Carolina and Harvard, and had been in general practice in Atlanta for 33 years, having founded the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and formerly having been the president of the Georgia State Chamber of Commerce. He had family ties through his brother and sister-in-law to Charlotte.

In Raleigh, a bill was introduced to require mechanical inspection of motor vehicles once per year, following approval of a bill by the House Judiciary Committee No. 1, which would restrict use by the Highway Patrol in deploying "whammies" for speed detection.

Donald MacDonald of The News tells of a "Big Brother Camp" for boys to be developed on the grounds of the Charlotte Police Club at Morris Field. The program had been a longtime dream of Police Chief Frank Littlejohn, and he hoped to have the camp underway by June. Underprivileged children would be given summertime and weekend programs of recreation and rehabilitation, and it would be used by those who got into trouble and were under surveillance by the Youth Bureau, including first-time offenders who needed a little discipline to straighten themselves out. The police chief said that it was not a reformatory but a form of missionary work by the Police Department, enabling them to act as big brothers and lend a helping hand. Accommodations for at least 100 boys at a time would be available. The camp was going to be built by the policemen themselves, with little or no actual cost to the City, as among the police officers were carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and brick masons.

Also in Charlotte, Dick Young of the newspaper reports that firemen would increase their contribution to the effort to bolster their tottering retirement system by agreeing to boost their contributions to 6.48 percent of their salaries, going beyond the recommendations of actuaries who had suggested 5 percent contributions. The contribution increase would make it possible for the City Government to reduce its additional contributions from 7.1 percent of the payroll to 5.62 percent, to take care of the unfunded accrued liability.

On the editorial page, "The Target—Charlotte's Speedsters" indicates that the coming of the automobile to North Carolina streets at around the turn of the century had marked the beginning of citywide traffic laws in 1900, countywide traffic laws in 1905, statewide laws in 1909 and nationwide recognition of the traffic problem in 1925. Before 1930, North Carolinians and other citizens of the country were still dreaming of a network of miracle roads stretching in every direction to speed people to their destinations in comfort and safety, but as thousands on thousands of new high-speed automobiles had poured onto the streets and highways, the dream had become a nightmare.

The need had thus developed for speed-detection devices to apprehend those breaking the speed limits, with the "whammy" being developed for the purpose, now finally having been authorized for use in Charlotte, at the request of Police Chief Frank Littlejohn and the traffic captain of the Police Department. Previously, it had only been used in the city to calculate general speed of cars and vehicles on thoroughfares of the city. It approves of the move and believes it would increase safety, that criticism of it because drivers would alert other drivers to its presence was no argument for eliminating it, that instead such communication increased its deterrent effect on speeding.

They ought not pick on the Porsches, just because they look fast and have a fast-sounding emblem.

"The Girls Are 100 Years Old—Congrats" congratulates the YWCA upon its centennial, having been founded in London in 1855, and within 12 years having established 100 YWCA's within the U.S. It indicates that it had pioneered such programs as the National Travelers Aid Association, the National Federation of Business & Professional Women and the National Institute of Immigrant Welfare. It had worked directly with other YWCA's in 34 countries to foster international goodwill, aiming to promote Christian and democratic values for all women and girls. It provides its congratulations to "one of the community's finest organizations."

"Waiilatpuan? Palmettoria? Gulchland?" tells of West Virginia having so much trouble keeping its identity separate from neighboring Virginia that a special commission had been appointed in the state to examine the issue. The piece thinks that the like ought occur with respect to South Carolina, suggests that the latter might wish to change its name to some old Indian name, such as the first choice presented by the title, or to the second or third such choice, or perhaps Sassafras or Trumania, the latter for the former President. It says that it would serve as godfather at the christening.

"About Face" indicates that by 1960, it was estimated that the Soviets were likely to have an advantage over the U.S. in men under arms by a ratio of 9 to 5, and that therefore it was no time to be cutting U.S. ground strength, that such would only encourage the Soviets to plan isolated ground actions where atomic weaponry would be logistically ineffective, that the U.S., in planning for a major war, might instead be faced with a series of small wars.

It might be noted historically that in the last several days on Fox "News" in February 2022, the Lilliputians of intellect have engaged consistently in unprecedented traitorous remarks for an American news network, with several Trumpy Republican Congressmen and Senators being interviewed, including "Lying Ted" and "little Marco", as formerly called by the Trumpy-Dumpy-Doers, plus a former "Secretary of State" under Trumpy, the same who was preparing in December, 2020 for a "second Trump administration", like the lunatic that he is, all so blindly partisan in their consistent attacks on the Biden Administration for the past 13 months that they have actually tacitly supported the blind territorial ambition of Vladimir Putin against the Ukraine in recent weeks, by blaming the Biden Administration for "weakness", which they claim encouraged the attack, not stopping for a moment to blame the source of the attack, their good buddy, Mr. Putin.

Trump, of course, also appears to be siding with his old buddy, calling "genius" his initial move of declaring unilaterally the breakaway regions in southeastern Ukraine "independent republics" and then sending in Russian "peace-keeping" forces for their "protection", nevertheless plainly constituting an invasion of sovereign territory of another country. If there is anything partisan to be made of this attack, from the U.S. perspective, it is more properly blamed on Trumpy and his minions for having divided the country such that foreign adversaries such as Mr. Putin see the possibility of being able to acquire new territory with no united American resolve to combat it. If the Fox claims were at all correct that Russia would never have pulled this stunt under Trumpy, it would only be because of the perception that the latter was so crazy and lawless that Russia was afraid he might not have paid any heed to international law, the U.N. and NATO, and perhaps might have sent U.S. forces to aid Ukraine directly—which the U.S. and its NATO allies cannot do under the terms of the treaty as Ukraine is not a NATO member. Only the U.N. can act with force, and it is hamstrung in this instance by the unilateral veto of any one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, including Russia, a party to the dispute not being excluded by Article 27 from participation when a resolution proposing force is before it under Chapter VII. Which is why nothing can be done save for sanctions and moral suasion, without being dragged into the never-ending abyss of tit-for-tat lawless action in response to an initial aggressor's lawless action, a place where no sane republic and its people want to be. We urge the Russian people to engage in a sitdown strike, crippling their nation's economy, until their leader returns to sanity and withdraws his troops from the Ukraine. You can do so now, and have only temporary economic disruption or allow him to continue on his present course and face potentially decades of economic trouble ahead, necessarily becoming reliant on Communist China as a servile republic, ultimately to be gobbled up and enslaved as a result.

In any event, the notion that the Biden Administration has caused this invasion of the Ukraine by Russia is not only stupid and bizarre, but factually without any support whatsoever.

It does, however, say with unerring force that the traitorous little bastards at Fox and their directorate, in the form of Aussie Murdock and family, have finally shown their true colors, if they had not already many times before, that they hate the United States and its Constitution, would like to drag it into chaos and disruption for the sake of building their own media empire on its back. Any citizen of the United States who falls for their garbage should understand that they become now party to traitorous lunacy of the worst type ever on display in a time of war with potential international repercussions. Far from any unity, which other networks have consistently demonstrated and urged in such times, regardless of the Administration in office and its party, they display only cowardly, traitorous, partisan attacks, rolling out the most ridiculous, hypocritical and least credible Republicans to have ever come down the pike. And, of course, none of them have a single substantive answer as to what they would be doing any differently were they in charge of the executive branch at the moment. Outside of extralegal action, such as assassination of a foreign leader or sending in U.S. forces without legal authority, what could they do other than to impose the same economic sanctions being imposed, working dutifully and in concert with NATO allies? They respond, "weak" Administration. We reply that, to the contrary, it is, if anything on this side of the equation which is stimulative of the lawless action of Russia, the reactionary, disunifying liars of the Republican far, far right and their media minions at Fox and other such rightwing champions of hate and disruption, undermining democracy by spinning the preposterous fable that there was a "stolen election" in 2020 and that, therefore, the Biden Administration has no legitimate right to govern, a traitorous package of assertions.

Underscoring this attitude was the fact that the RNC put out on President's Day this week a cute little tweet which had listed a salute to the supposed "greatest Presidents", including Richard Nixon, resigned in disgrace ahead of certain bipartisan removal from office otherwise, Trumpy, twice impeached and who, were there any semblance of objectivity left within the bulk of the present Republican Party, would have been removed from office for soliciting in 2019 a bribe from the President of the Ukraine in the form of releasing impounded financial aid in exchange for digging up dirt on then former Vice-President Biden, and "silent Cal" Coolidge, another brilliant Republican President who is remembered mainly for his naps in the White House. The ad could not stop there, of course, for the idée fixe compulsion on which the Republicans today routinely operate, having therefore to add a photo of a masked President Biden, with the overlayered, "Not You"—on President's Day.

To the contrary, the facts show that after 13 months in office, the President is doing a terrific job, especially given the trashy circumstances which he encountered coming into office, replacing a silly bastard who did not even have the class and courtesy to show up for his successor's inauguration, a first in U.S. history since 1869, after having fomented a riot at the Capitol two weeks earlier, on January 6, because he is the consummate sore loser who cannot face reality or show the least bit of humility. Even Richard Nixon had the basic dignity to do that, even if refusing to "grovel", as he should have after the mess he caused our democracy for some twenty years after his departure from the political scene.

A piece from the Dawson (Ga.) News, titled "Ways To Destroy Your Town", presents 13 ways to ruin one's hometown, as compiled by the Sedalia (Mo.) Democrat, which are listed but can be summarized as don't participate in anything having to do with the betterment of the community, including participation in any form of community government or generally support of local businesses, local police and fire departments or even positive talk about the community.

Drew Pearson discusses the present Senate confirmation hearings on nominated Federal Communications Commission chairman George McConnaughey. Behind the scenes, AT&T had been trying to get the FCC to change its basis for fixing phone rates from the cost of the original equipment to the replacement cost, which the phone companies argued was much higher. Phone rates already had been increased by 800 million dollars in recent years.

When asked earlier in informal hearings when he was not under oath, Mr. McConnaughey had answered no to a query as to whether or not he had ever had clients as a lawyer involved in the phone business, and specifically AT&T, when in fact one of his principal clients had been Ohio Bell, a subsidiary company of AT&T, and Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone, having fought successfully for those two companies in rate cases, reaching the Ohio Supreme Court, upholding the right to base their rates on replacement cost rather than original cost, just as AT&T and the other telephone companies were now seeking from the FCC. Mr. Pearson concludes that had he been under oath, he would have been guilty of perjury.

Ohio Bell, in consequence of the rate hikes, had earned at the rate of 6.8 percent in 1954, while Cincinnati and Suburban had earned at the rate of 9.3 percent, with other Bell companies averaging only 6.1 percent. Mr. Pearson concludes that it was no wonder that Mr. McConnaughey had not wanted the Senators to know of his prior history representing AT&T affiliates and other large communications companies, which the FCC would be charged with regulating.

Stewart Alsop tells of Atomic Energy Commission chairman, Admiral Lewis Strauss, at the instructions of the President, finally having leveled with the American people regarding the radioactive potential of the hydrogen bomb, that the fallout could affect 7,000 square miles, Mr. Alsop noting that he and his brother had, the prior fall, underestimated the potential when they had reported that the area affected would only be between 1,000 and 6,000 square miles. The President had at least now made it possible for Americans to consider their situation in light of reality. Admiral Strauss had also answered the question as to whether hydrogen bomb testing should continue, stating it in the affirmative, again with the President's approval.

The testing presented some degree of risk to the health of Americans, but it was outweighed in the Administration's mind by the potential for a decisive advantage to be gained by the Russians should the testing by the U.S. cease. The continued testing would entail competition for ever-increasing potency of the nuclear bomb, with ever-increasing risk along with it. The most important question had been left unanswered by Admiral Strauss, whether the U.S. was correct in relying on the hydrogen bomb as its principal offensive weapon.

There were experts who believed that there were suicidal dangers inherent in the hydrogen bomb, of which Admiral Strauss had only hinted. His report noted that strontium-90 from hydrogen explosions could fall out at great distances and could later be eaten by humans or by grazing animals, the meat or milk from which could then be passed to humans, with fetuses and infants being especially vulnerable in that chain from milk. The report had stated that studies of strontium-90 had so far been "reassuring", but Mr. Alsop questions whether that would apply to great use of hydrogen bombs in the event of a nuclear war.

Some scientists also believed that large numbers of hydrogen explosions could greatly increase the incidence of cancer on the planet and, according to Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Edgar Adrian, could lead to a "degree of radioactivity which no one can tolerate or escape" and thus "end the human race".

Even if those dire predictions were inaccurate, the question remained whether the U.S. was prepared to use a weapon which would produce death in an area the size of New Jersey, especially when it was also possessed by the enemy who could reply in kind. He concludes that no one in their right mind would suggest that U.S. production of the weapons should cease as long as the Russians were making them, but reliance on such suicidal weapons as the central part of the country's power was another issue, and he believes that it was time to ask whether it was correct in doing so.

A letter writer who does not identify him or herself but indicates that they had a professional position which entailed a great deal of contact with law enforcement, had witnessed an incident downtown the previous Friday involving three police officers, one of whom had initially encountered an individual who refused to move along as directed, whereupon the officer had drawn his gun and ordered him to do so, while a crowd of about 50 citizens stood around, and then when the individual still disobeyed, was hit multiple times by the officer, not just twice as he had contended, whereupon another officer arrived and placed a half-nelson hold on the prisoner, all while the prisoner did not attack the officers or attempt to escape. He continued to be roughed up by the two officers, with the second officer frequently applying extra pressure in his half-nelson "for no evident reason", and a third officer eventually arrived who kicked the prisoner as he fell into the back seat of the squad car. The official report, says the writer, indicated that the latter officer only pushed the prisoner with his foot. He or she indicates that he did not see the beginning of the episode, and that it was possible that the individual had struck the officer initially, that the writer only saw the first officer with his gun drawn and then striking the individual multiple times. The writer stresses the belief that law enforcement should have the right to apply force when force is used against them initially, but indicating that there was plainly no force used against the second officer or the third one on the scene, and believes, therefore, that they had exerted unnecessary force. The writer thinks it would be good for city officials to apprise officers of their full responsibilities to the community in enforcement of the laws, adding that such shameful incidents as that which the writer described could be a source of the high crime rate in the city. "Officials of the city must realize that crime prevention does not come through fear of the law but respect for the law."

A letter from the regional CIO representative comments on an editorial of February 15 regarding the proposed 55-cent state minimum wage law, finds the industrial wage ranking of 47th by the state to be disgraceful, indicates his approval of the editorial except for the part which said that there was good reason for exempting from the proposed minimum wage law those who customarily earned part of their remuneration from tips and gratuities. He says that restaurant workers and the like earned a substantial part of their income from tips, and it was unfair for them to have to depend on such tips for a living rather than a decent minimum wage from their employer, citing the instance of a waitress who had shown him her pay envelopes for 50 hours of work, with total earnings from the restaurant being $8.59, while her total tips were $19, which she indicated was an average week's wages. He believes that all employers ought be required to pay a decent minimum wage.

A letter writer from Waxhaw comments on the February 18 editorial, "Crime Causes—Color? Nationality? No, but Poverty Is and Causes Crime", agrees with the position, asserts that when the slums of Charlotte were gone, the crime rate would improve and not before that point.

A letter writer comments on the articles and editorials regarding the need for additional members of the police force, and wonders whether there were not already too many policemen as it was. He relates of having his car ticketed for unlawful parking on the wrong side of the street in front of his apartment house, where he had parked for his convenience, resulting in his having to pay a three-dollar parking fine. He believes it was completely unnecessary, as there was no curb in the location. He thinks it was just a convenient way of adding three dollars to the city kitty.

A letter writer from Cheraw, S.C., seeks to point out some of the effects of the lowering of tariffs in the country, currently being considered by Congress, that, as workers, he and others did not want to have their jobs cut or wages cut at the behest of encouraging foreign trade, and so says that buying an American-made watch rather than one from abroad was good enough for him and his fellow workers.

A letter writer from Florence, S.C., indicates that the young people of Florence had found a cure for juvenile delinquency in the Christian Crusade Rallies, with regular speakers and song leaders from among young people.

You had better get hip and get Elvis on board.

A letter writer from Phoenix, Ariz., says that her father was from Kentucky and said that he had not been able to obtain the deer tongue leaf in Arizona where they were living, to supplement his smoking tobacco, and she wants to know where in tobacco country the deer tongue leaf might be found.

The editors respond that they were stumped, soliciting ideas from readers.

Oh, you don't know nothing. You know where to find 'em. Why just tell the little lady there that the deer tongue leaf is as plentiful as any other leaf around, that you just go up 'ere a mite beyond the curve, take a left, then a right, and three more lefts in succession, and you'll come right to a huge grove of deer tongue trees, with as many leaves as you could possibly ever pick. Don't pick too many though, 'cause then there won't be enough left for the others.

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