The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 26, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Taipeh that, according to the Nationalist Chinese Air Force headquarters, Nationalist warplanes early this date had attacked Chinese Communist craft northwest of the tiny island of Wuchiu in the Formosa Strait, destroying two. The report did not describe the tonnage of the Communist ships and stated that all Nationalist airplanes had returned safely. The main value to the Communists of the half-square mile island was for propaganda purposes in furtherance of their vow to "liberate" Formosa. Earlier, the Defense Ministry had reported that Communist Chinese gunboats had shelled the small island, but said that it was not regarded as preliminary to an attempt at invasion. It said that the exchange of gunfire at the island, 80 miles west of Formosa, had broken out when 11 Communist gunboats and armed motorized junks had happened to pass by it. Meanwhile, Nationalist Premier O. K. Yui, speaking to the Yuan, the parliament, said that the Nationalist forces would, under no circumstances, give up the outpost islands of Quemoy and the Matsus without a fight. A news agency operated by the Nationalist Interior Ministry and which specialized in reports from Communist China, reported that a Communist fleet had left the north China port of Tsingtao on February 20 for the Foochow area of Fukien Province, opposite the Matsu group of islands, that the fleet included six new-type torpedo boats, 20 landing craft and 12 gunboats, most of which, it said, had been provided to Communist China by the Soviets the prior November.

Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and Representative Francis Walter of Pennsylvania agreed this date that the House would demand some substitute for the tax-free fund which caused a surprise Senate rejection of a compromise on Congressional pay increases. The previous day, the Senate had registered a voice vote against the measure previously approved by the joint conference committee, and sent it back to conference. The bill had provided for a $22,500 salary for members of Congress, $7,500 more than they presently received, plus a controversial $1,250 non-taxable allowance for excess office expenses, as well as increases of between $7,500 and $10,000 for Federal judges, and increases in salaries of the House Speaker, U.S. attorneys and their assistants, top Justice Department officials and the Vice-President. The five Senate joint confreres, led by Senator Kefauver, told a reporter that they were sure the House would insist on some other concession as a substitute for the expense fund. Representative Walter, who was one of the House confreres, said in a separate interview that he believed the Senate might have to give up a provision which provided members their expenses for five round-trips home each year, plus one round-trip which they presently received at 20 cents per mile, estimated to be worth $2,500 to a member from the West Coast. He said that if that provision were dropped, the confreres might agree on $24,000 as the salary, $1,000 less than originally voted by the House, but $1,500 more than provided by the Senate bill. The primary objection was the tax-exemption feature of the expense fund, opposed by Senators Alben Barkley of Kentucky, Spessard Holland of Florida, Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, John Williams of Delaware and William Knowland of California. Several members had recalled the sharp criticism of Congress in 1946 when it had voted for a $2,500 tax-free, non-accountable expense fund for all Senators and Representatives, eventually made taxable in 1952 and made part of the present $15,000 salary of members. They could call it the "Checkers Fund" and promote it to the public with a little picture of a black and white cocker spaniel, which would obviously make it more palatable to a good percentage of the public at the time, saps for little doggies and, perhaps, cloth coats and 1950 Oldsmobiles.

In Thurmont, Md., it was reported that the President had taken special care in selecting the color he wanted for his barn on his 189-acre farm in Gettysburg, Pa., selected with the approval of Mrs. Eisenhower, a pastel greyish green with white trim. The President had spent five hours at the farm the previous day inspecting the nearly completed new home he and Mrs. Eisenhower were building, and looking over the repair work on the old barn, which was currently a weather-beaten red. He had found painters applying a coat of primer white over the red and experimenting with a yellowish green trim, then telling the building contractor his choice and going to work with one of the painters on getting the desired color combination. Why not paint it red, white and blue for the Union? especially given that the farm was located on the Confederate side of the lines.

Near Appomattox, Va., a man shot and killed two other men, according to police, and then fought a 90-minute gun battle with nearly 30 law-enforcement officers before he was wounded and captured. His victims were his brother-in-law and a physician who had been called to the scene to aid the wounded man. Though he denied the shootings, he was charged with two counts of murder. Authorities were unaware of any motive for the shootings. Police said that the assailant's wounds were not serious.

In Birmingham, Ala., in the trial of Albert Fuller for the murder of A. L. Patterson the prior June, shortly after the latter had won the Democratic primary for State Attorney General and thus was assured of winning the office in the general election, a witness testified this date that Mr. Fuller, former Phenix City chief deputy sheriff, had been wearing a gun when he saw him with Mr. Patterson just before the latter was murdered, apparently for his pledges made during the campaign to clean up vice in Phenix City. Three other witnesses had already testified that Mr. Fuller was without his gun when they had seen him following the killing, two of the witnesses saying that he had worn an empty holster. A carpenter had testified the previous day that Mr. Fuller and another man, whom he identified as Arch Ferrell, former prosecuting attorney in Phenix City, had run from the scene seconds after the murder, the same witness providing more details during this morning under cross-examination by the defense. He said that he did not see the gun immediately after the shooting, at which time he saw both Mr. Fuller and Mr. Ferrell standing by Mr. Patterson's car where the slaying had taken place, and he had also not seen the gun in the hands of either man as they had run away from the scene. He said that he saw Mr. Fuller leaning against the car with his left hand at the top of the door, where the defense admitted his fingerprints had been discovered. Mr. Fuller had told newsmen that he had touched the car while getting a Montgomery reporter away from it following the murder. A State investigator, however, had testified that the defendant told him subsequently that he had been careful to avoid touching the car. Mr. Ferrell and a third defendant, former State Attorney General Si Garrett, were still awaiting trial separately from Mr. Fuller.

Near Miami, Fla., a Brotherhood Week meeting scheduled for this night in the Hialeah youth center was canceled after a group of ministers sponsoring the meeting said that they feared violence, with a rabbi who was one of the sponsors of the event declining to specify who might be responsible for the violence. A mimeographed sheet stapled to the Florida Independent, a weekly newspaper, had been distributed, calling the meeting a "phony brotherhood meeting" where "our Hialeah High School choral group is to sing for a mixed group together with an all-Negro choir," urging: "Stop this before it starts. We do not want mixed meetings and communistic activities in this city." The rabbi said that had no children been involved, they might have gone through with the meeting anyway, saying that perhaps the residents of Hialeah would someday grow up and that the incident had prostituted Brotherhood Week. Another sponsor of the event, a Methodist minister, said that there was not going to be any racial mixing at the meeting, that while a black choir was to appear as a group, the amount of opposition caused them to conclude that instead of promoting brotherhood, they might start another civil war. The owner of the newspaper said that he was not aware of who had attached the mimeographed sheet.

In Okemiah, Okla., a 60-year old woman encountered a snarling wolf just outside her farm home the previous day and dispatched it with one blow of the garden hoe before it had a chance to attack her.

From London, it was reported that American evangelist Billy Graham would start his second British crusade the following month and would very likely encounter the same problem of his first three-month crusade the prior year, inadequacy of seating and standing room for people who wanted to see and hear him preach. His first crusade had become the first event to fill both Wembley and White City stadiums in a single day. He would start his new tour in Glasgow, Scotland, on March 21, where he would preach for six weeks, with closed-circuit television enabling those not able to obtain one of the 3,000 permanent seats within the hall. There was also consideration being given to holding a final event in Hampden Park, Britain's largest stadium, holding 140,000. The crusade would go to London between May 14 and 21, and would then proceed to the major cities of continental Europe. He had addressed more than 1.5 million Britons during his first crusade and had obtained some 36,000 converts to Christianity. The London Evening Standard had reported that it had taken a sample of 336 such persons and checked with 20 vicars, showing that only about a third could truly be called converts. The British Weekly, an interdenominational newspaper, had found from contacting 1,500 pastors that they had received 3,222 Billy Graham conversion cards, and of those, 1,565 had not been regularly attending church before hearing him, and about a year later, 1,002, or 64 percent, were still attending church services. That newspaper thus extrapolated from that sample to the conclusion that 17,485 of the 36,000 converts were outsiders or irregulars, and 11,196 were still attending church. Reverend Graham's well-organized counseling and follow-up unit claimed that its check of pastors showed 26,500 persons, or about 75 percent, who had been handed conversion cards during the crusade, had turned those cards in to pastors and that about six months after the crusade, 86 percent were still active in the church.

Donald MacDonald of The News indicates that the local traffic captain of the Charlotte Police Department had stated that drivers would not be ticketed for speeding in the city unless they exceeded 35 mph, the maximum speed limit within the city. State law set that speed limit for residential areas and 20 mph for business areas. But the city law specified that 30 mph was the speed limit for arterial highways or through streets, as well as 20 mph in the business districts and 25 mph in residential districts. The variance was explained by the fact that the motor vehicle laws allowed local authorities to reduce the speed limit in particular situations.

In Winston-Salem, the new campus of Wake Forest College was approaching completion, with the scheduled move from the suburb of Raleigh, the town of Wake Forest, scheduled for the following year to the new 300-acre campus with its Georgian architecture built around a plaza and four quadrangles, the site having been donated to the College by Charles Babcock and the late Mary Reynolds Babcock from a part of their Reynolda estate adjoining the campus. The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation had promised annual income of up to $350,000 for the College. It planned to enroll about 2,000 students, though the basic facilities could handle 5,000. Four photographs of the new campus are included.

On the editorial page, "'The Helpless Babe': Forgotten" indicates that if a 3 percent sales tax on milk were to be proposed to the General Assembly, the person who proposed it ought be prepared to duck for the brickbats which would follow, objecting to "a tax on the sustenance of helpless babes".

The State Senate had passed and sent to the House a bill authorizing the State Milk Commission to fix minimum prices on milk at wholesale and retail levels, provided it found it advisable. The sponsor of the bill was a State Senator, related to U.S. Senator Kerr Scott, and, like the latter, also a dairy farmer, arguing that milk was a public utility and so should be regulated in price like other public utilities. A Charlotte attorney had protested that utilities were regulated as to how much they could charge and not how little, but despite that position, the bill had passed and its fate in the State House was uncertain.

It finds that the bill was designed to keep out competition on prices, the essence of free enterprise, with the result that there would be higher prices for consumers based on the costs of less efficient producers, that the whole experience of regulation in the country had been to foster monopoly and higher prices, with higher governmental subsidies resulting. The piece indicates that the newspaper was against most of it in principle and in practice, and was also against a State-regulated price on milk for the same reasons.

"Do You Go That Extra Mile?" suggests that it was becoming easier to make a living in the country and, in consequence, less invigorating for the average employee, as work continued to proceed toward shorter hours, more days off and fringe benefits, plus broader coverage by Social Security and unemployment compensation. It meant progress for the nation, provided that the great majority of the people learned how to use constructively their new leisure time, to strengthen their health, fortify their moral fiber and give more of their time unselfishly to church, civic and philanthropic activities.

It posits that the growing rates of juvenile delinquency and adult crime in the country showed that many citizens were indifferent to the opportunities given to them, suggesting to employers that they be wary of the applicant who asked a lot of questions about days off and fringe benefits, and to be more receptive to those who, instead, suggested that they only wanted to get ahead by doing a good job, no matter how rough the going might be, and even indicated their willingness to work a month or so before establishing their exact salary. It suggests that in the latter case, an employer might faint dead away, but, in the end, would probably hire that person, as would the newspaper.

"Mecklenburg Can Always Secede" indicates that the way things were going regarding redistricting in the General Assembly to provide Mecklenburg County with its proper representation in the State Senate based on relative population, it might as well secede from the state and become part of South Carolina, as it enjoyed kinship with the state as it was and would be pleased to be part of it, begs the legislators not to tempt the notion, as sarcastically had been suggested during the week by a State Representative from the eastern part of the state.

A piece from the Washington Post & Times-Herald, titled "Kefauver's Resolution", indicates that the state of Tennessee was notable for many things, including Senator Estes Kefauver, who had won his original Senate race on a platform pledging support for the concept of Atlantic Union. He was now again calling for a convention of the NATO powers to explore that concept, leading a group of 15 Senators on February 8 in a speech before the Senate regarding the matter. Those Senators were supported by Secretary of State Dulles, who had spoken repeatedly in favor of Atlantic Union, in contrast to the former Truman Administration, which had not been receptive to the idea. The new resolution was designed to win more support than had the previous one, the new one seeking an exploratory convention regarding the concept, the title of the new resolution reflecting that basis more than had the previous resolution, even though the earlier one had as its object the same thing, only discussing the possibility of such a union rather than actually creating it by a vote of the NATO members.

The ultimate aim was to form a federation for the Atlantic community, following the exploratory proceedings regarding methods of achieving the political unity of purpose necessary for its formation. Without such a political instrumentality among the NATO nations, it would continue to exist amid chaos and confusion, as exampled by the Formosa policy. There was only a weak, intermittent effort to harmonize policy statements on relations with the Communist powers, such as tackling the Soviet diplomatic notes regarding rearmament of West Germany.

The piece urges therefore acceptance of the Kefauver resolution as presently reframed.

Drew Pearson tells of two angry Democratic Congressmen having invaded the Republican cloakroom recently, cornering an embarrassed Republican, calling him a liar, with an expletive attached, and inviting him to take his choice as to which of the two he preferred to fight, either Representative Jim Richards of South Carolina, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, or Representative Wayne Hays of Ohio. The startled Representative, Jim Fulton of Pennsylvania, who sometimes voted with the Democrats, declined both offers. The two Representatives had confronted Mr. Fulton over a news leak for which he had earlier blamed Mr. Hays, who had been out of town when the news had leaked, and the two Representatives wanted to know who had accused Mr. Hays, Mr. Fulton having responded that it was Mr. Richards. Mr. Hays then went to Mr. Richards, who denied having accused Mr. Hays of causing the leak, and then the two proceeded to confront Congressman Fulton in the cloakroom, considered off limits to Democrats, where Mr. Richards said that if Mr. Fulton had accused him of accusing Mr. Hays, then he was a "goddamned liar". Mr. Fulton had denied having told Mr. Hays that he got the information from Mr. Richards, and Mr. Hays then said that Mr. Fulton was a "goddamned liar". Witnesses to the encounter recalled that Messrs. Hays and Richards offered to poke Mr. Fulton in the nose, but Mr. Fulton had declined the challenge and departed, muttering something about people who invaded the privacy of the Republican cloakroom.

A series of backstage hassles had taken place inside the White House before the President had finally sent his message on his highway program to Congress. Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey had wondered where the money for the program would come from, which was why the message had been postponed four times before finally going to Congress. When it was finally sent out on February 22, there was still no definite plan for financing the program, passing the buck to Congress.

Robert Bendiner, writing in Harper's, describes the medical examiner system in New York City, as the editors note that North Carolina's coroner system had come under fire and the suggestion made that the medical examiner system replace it to assure expert examination of corpses to determine causes of violent or unexplained deaths. The system in New York replaced the coroner system in 1918 and since that time the position of chief medical examiner had been occupied by Dr. Alexander Gettler, chief chemist in toxicology, who had determined about 100,000 cases, taking over from the detectives of the past in favor of science.

Until the advent of the medical examiner approach, drowning was apt to be found as the cause of death for any body fished from the water, unless there was an obvious modality of causation otherwise. As example, the bodies of a man and a woman had washed ashore within the city limits and a cursory police examination had found that death was from drowning, until Dr. Gettler determined that there was no difference in the salt content between that found in the left chamber of the heart and that in the right chamber, indicating that death had occurred prior to entering the water, and, upon further examination, found head injuries indicative of murder, leading eventually, on the basis of a few drops of blood, to the arrest of a local shopkeeper, who then confessed to the crime and having disposed of the couple as potential business rivals.

In another case, he determined that an ostensible death from a gas leak in an apartment from a broken fixture had, in fact, occurred before the time the fixture was broken, and further examination showed the imprint of fingers on the back of the victim's neck plus a broken cartilage in her throat, indicative of strangulation, leading to the arrest of her husband for murder.

In yet another case, a mortician had taken out a large double-indemnity policy on his own life, naming his partner as beneficiary. A few months later, their bungalow had burned to the ground and a body was found amid the ruins, burned beyond recognition. The beneficiary claimed that the victim of the fire was his partner and applied for the insurance proceeds. But some of the internal organs of the corpse remained sufficiently intact to provide Dr. Gettler the means by which to determine that the corpse had an advanced case of pneumonia, whereas the missing undertaker had been in perfect health just two hours prior to the fire. There was also no trace of carbon monoxide poisoning within the body of the dead person, plus there was the indication of formaldehyde, showing that the body had previously been embalmed. The obvious conclusion was that the undertaker and his partner had used one of the corpses of the establishment for the purpose of trying to defraud the insurance company.

The old coroner's office had been a political plum, and, as a result, adroit murderers often could escape punishment by eluding the non-expert, as there were no more than three men in the city capable of providing a considered opinion in the matter of toxicology and their expert services were quite costly, and so resorted to only once every four or five years.

Dr. Gettler said that even now, medical students did not receive much instruction in the subject of toxicology and his opinion was that few general practitioners knew a case of strychnine poisoning when they saw it, as they were all looking for rare diseases. While Dr. Gettler was not an M.D., but rather had a Ph.D. and an LL.D., his skill in toxicology permitted him to determine the difference in detection of poisonings, drownings, and other types of deaths where expertise was necessary to discriminate between the accidental death and the deliberate homicide. He also was able to teach others in the art of reading cadavers. The result was that New York City, while still high among American cities in crime, was no longer a mecca for the disguised homicide.

A letter writer indicates enjoyment of the editorial on February 22 regarding the desire of some West Virginians to change the name of their state so as to distinguish it from Virginia, finding that they had a point. He liked especially the part of the editorial advising South Carolina to change its name to distinguish it from its northern neighbor, but suggests that it might as well be North Carolina which would change its name, leaving Virginia and South Carolina "in their 'resplendent isolation' within their self-styled royal 'aristocracy' and become known by our state's name as the unpretentious, thoroughly new stock we are, just Americans." He feels that the newspaper should pursue the matter to that conclusion, although not offering any suggestions for the new name of the state.

As we have previously suggested, it might be named Verrazzano or even Verrazzano-De Soto, good American names, as long as it would not then become confused with the manufacturer of the automobile made by Chrysler. You could, of course, in keeping with its nicknames, just call it Old Shoe—not intending thereby any subliminal reference which might confirm the comments of actor Paul Douglas regarding Greensboro. Then you could change the motto for the state from the complicated Esse quam videri—the latter word pronounced as "wideri" for those who never took Latin—to "Look at that son-bitch run..."

A letter writer objects to the way a fireman had been treated for failing to report to a meeting on his day off, when the meeting was not in the line of duty, and suggests getting a new fire chief and giving the fireman in question a promotion. He says that after having talked to at least 50 others, that appeared to be the prevailing sentiment, and wants politics abolished in the fire department.

A letter writer, who worked for the Jefferson Standard Broadcasting Co., comments on the editorial, "Expert", discussing sarcastically a news item appearing in U.S. News & World Report regarding a man who supposedly knew Russia from the inside, finds its hooker title an example of advertising present in all forms of media, intended to sell more copies or items or whatever might be for sale, and not a hinge on which to base an attack or expression of disapproval, that if the newspaper did not like the magazine's reporting, content, or choice of interview subjects, then it should simply say so rather than attacking the wording of its headlines.

A letter from W. D. James, a medical doctor and the vice-chairman of the State Senate Committee on Insurance, asks for help in planning some good health insurance laws to protect the public from out-of-state insurance companies taking millions of dollars from the state each year and refusing to pay health insurance claims because of pre-existing conditions, suggests that the newspaper could do that by getting its readers to write their members in the General Assembly and urge support of the health insurance legislation, stating when they believed they had been wronged by their health insurers, that they would be surprised at how much weight a few letters addressed to their representatives would carry. He advises that the lobbying in the legislature against better health insurance laws by insurance officials and insurance lawyers was "terrific".

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