The Charlotte News

Monday, February 7, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports from Taipeh that the evacuation of the Tachen Islands was moving forward this date under the protection of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, whose carrier pilots had said they had been fired on by Communist anti-aircraft guns, as Communist torpedo boats cruised 17 miles away but had made no attempt to interfere with the evacuation of 40,000 Nationalist soldiers and civilians from the islands. No damage was reported from the anti-aircraft fire. Communist artillery located on recently captured Yikiangshan island, eight miles away from the Tachens, was pointed at the islands and hundreds of Russian-built MIG-15 jets were poised on the mainland. A patrol party of U.S. Marines had gone ashore to help in the operation. Civilians were being evacuated first, and the Chinese Nationalist commander of the garrison said that he still had no orders from President Chiang Kai-shek to evacuate the islands. The first evacuation ships were not expected to arrive in Formosa until the next day, as the Tachens were 200 miles to the north. Everything was, thus far, going according to schedule, according to the Navy's first communiqué.

In London, Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden said this date to Commons that Britain had asked the Soviet Government to urge restraint on the part of the Chinese Communists regarding the Formosan situation, but refused to discuss the matter in detail. He also said that the British Government was in close consultation with the U.S. Government and other governments to bring about a cease-fire in the area, and that despite the Chinese Communist rejection of a U.N. invitation to participate in those talks, Mr. Eden held out hope that other means and methods might effect a cease-fire.

In Tokyo, it was reported that two American jet fighter pilots, who had shot down a pair of Russian-built MIG-15's over the Yellow Sea after the latter and six other MIG's had opened fire on them the prior Saturday, reaffirmed this date at a press conference that the Sabres were far superior jets. The five-minute battle had taken place ten miles off the North Korean coast and 40 miles southwest of Pyongyang. Both pilots said that there was no damage to any of the 12 Sabres and one reconnaissance plane for which they were flying cover. They had seen no markings on the attacking aircraft which identified their nationality. There had been no warning before the planes had started shooting at them from above and behind their location. After shooting down two of the planes, the other six had made a brief firing pass at the Sabres and the reconnaissance bomber and then fled to the north.

In New York, police had identified a boyfriend from whom a slain NYU graduate student had been hiding for several weeks. The coed had been found the previous day choked and stabbed to death in a dingy tenement flat in downtown Manhattan. The boyfriend was questioned along with his wife the previous day and then released, with police saying he would be further questioned this date. A female friend of the victim told police that she had been living in the friend's apartment because she wanted to be alone after splitting up with the boyfriend. The friend had found the girl's body after returning from a ten-day trip to South Carolina. A police captain said it was one of the most brutal murders he had ever seen, with the girl having been stabbed almost 40 times. No weapon was found and it was apparent that there had been some kind of sexual assault. A neighbor told police of having heard screams at around midnight, and another said that the phone had been ringing in the apartment about three hours later. Police theorized that it was the victim's father seeking to reach her after she had tried unsuccessfully to reach him earlier in the evening. The victim was a 1953 graduate of Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. The story makes note at the outset of the fact that the former boyfriend being questioned was a Negro, as does the headline for the story, as if that had anything to do with the investigation—presumably designed to make the average reader think along the lines: "Well, you know he done it. Why don't they just get the ropes and save the taxpayers the money?" It points up the problem these days, incidentally, since mid-2020, in adopting this new convention of capitalizing "Black", as in "Big Black Buck", about as racist and condescending as you can possibly get without resort to overtly racial epithets, as it calls attention to race rather than remaining race-neutral in reporting and wording of stories save in the context of a situation where race plainly is a primary issue, not just that there is a black participant and a white participant caught in one of the inevitable webs which beset life daily. Some of you have lost your minds during the pandemic, suffering, apparently, from extended cabin fever, coloring your judgment.

In Shelby, N.C., it was reported that Shelby native, Federal District Court Judge E. Yates Webb, 82, who had served the Western District of North Carolina for 28 years before his recent retirement, had died this date in Wilmington, where he was on a brief vacation. For three decades, he had been perhaps the outstanding advocate in the state for prohibition. As a member of Congress, he had co-authored a prohibition measure which preceded the 18th Amendment establishing prohibition. Shortly before his death, he had predicted that the country would again demand prohibition within 20 years. He had also sponsored a bill while in Congress in 1904, which had called attention to the fact that the Battle of Kings Mountain was the turning point in the Revolutionary War, and had pushed through another bill calling for an appropriation of $30,000 for the erection of a monument at the site, the bills having passed by unanimous vote. He had introduced another bill of which he was proud, to require patent medicine makers to print on bottles the amount of narcotics and alcohol contained therein, but a storm of protest had prompted withdrawal of the measure, though eventually incorporated into the Pure Food and Drug Act. He had been elected to the State Senate in 1900 at the age of 28, and to Congress two years later, where he served until 1919, at which point he was appointed to the Federal Court by President Wilson. He was the oldest Federal judge in the country in terms of length of service, having been inactive since 1947. He was an 1893 graduate of Wake Forest College, where he had played football and baseball, and had studied law between 1894 and 1896 at UNC and the University of Virginia.

Ann Sawyer of The News tells of one of the civil cases arising from attempts by black residents of the community to use the Bonnie Brae Golf Course in 1951 having been decided this date by a Superior Court judge, ruling that reverter clauses contained in deeds transferring property from private interests to the Park & Recreation Commission were valid, causing one of the parcels to be returned to the donors based on the condition that if Revolution Park were ever used by nonwhites, the transferred land would revert to the original grantors. The judge also ruled that reverter clauses in deeds of another parcel on which the golf course was situated in Revolution Park would not result in reversion of ownership because the private donors had released the reverter clauses insofar as racial restrictions so that the Commission would have the property without those conditions. Spottswood Robinson III of Richmond, the regional NAACP counsel, said that the defendants, who had sought to use the golf course, would appeal to the State Supreme Court. The Park & Recreation Commission of Charlotte had brought the declaratory judgment action to determine the issue, prior to two sets of black citizens having filed suit in 1952, contending that their rights were violated by not being admitted to the golf course in 1951, the lawsuits having been delayed pending the outcome of the declaratory judgment action.

The following June, the State Supreme Court would affirm, with one exception, the trial court's decision, finding also that there was no state action by the courts in the matter and thus was not violative of the rule enunciated by the Supreme Court in Shelley v. Kraemer, which had held in 1948 that seeking in state courts enforcement of racially restrictive housing covenants contained in deeds did constitute state action and so violated the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, here the Court finding that the reversion to the original donor of the property, because of violation of the restrictive condition, would be legally passive, without necessitating therefore any enforcement action in the courts by the original grantors or their heirs. Thus, it held that the first gift of property would revert to the donors if the defendants used the Bonnie Brae Golf Course—sounding by its name a bit clannish as opposed to being truly open for the beneficent use of the community at large, the donors apparently having forgotten in their racist haze that the first American to die in the Revolutionary War was Crispus Attucks, in the Boston Massacre in 1770, a black man, who was bound for North Carolina. As to the second parcel, on which the donors had released the racially restrictive condition, there was, of course, no reversion because of its use by black citizens, and it was on that parcel that the golf course was situated. They apparently had, in time, an epiphany which caused them to abandon their prior racism extant at the time the property was donated for the park. A petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court was subsequently denied. To avoid confusion, it must be distinguished that the municipality could not enforce the racially restrictive condition without running afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment, apparently the contention in the two lawsuits filed by the black citizens who had sought to use the park's golf course and were prohibited from doing so by the municipality. (We note that the North Carolina decision used the old form "negro" throughout, Justice R. Hunt Parker, who announced the unanimous decision, on the Court since 1952 and later to become Chief Justice of the Court in 1966, having been born in 1892, before "Negro" became accepted practice, sometime in the 1920's. That is not to excuse the faux pas, completely out of the mainstream norm by 1955, but it does suggest that it did not necessarily imply subliminal racism to conform to the old convention, though diplomacy would not have been out of line for some other, younger Justice on the Court to have delicately suggested to the Justice that he capitalize the word to avoid the appearance of atavism. Of course, it was possible that the way their country mamas had raised 'em caused 'em all not to know no better. "Negro" or "Negroid", like Caucasian, is a racial classification, and thus must be capitalized to accord proper English, while black and white, in the racial sense, refer, albeit only with imprecision, to color classifications, and are thus not, by proper English convention, capitalized. The use of "Black", especially when juxtaposed in the same article to "white", is a form of silent advocacy in print, which has no place in any unbiased news presentation, or in legal opinions, communicating any number of potential meanings and leading only to confusion over time. In another sense, of course, it does not matter a hill of beans on Bunker Hill, as it is the thought behind the totality of the expression which is important substantively. To write, for instance, "No Black people should have rights under the constitution," is an obviously undemocratic and racist statement worthy of the most implacable and unreconstructed Afrikaner in South Africa during apartheid, not salvaged from the groundling class, or even from the Grauntlignes, by being prettified with a capital "B", merely applying makeup to a pig.)

Parenthetically, this case is causing us a bit of cognitive dissonance, if not outright psychic pain, as it dredges up our first year law school moot court experience, involving an hypothetical case with almost the exact same racially restrictive covenant in issue, as we recall, you know, with some landed racist cracker, a lubber-cracker, seeking to revoke from his grave his gift to the municipality of dedicated park land should his intent to control integration of the community with conditions be violated in some future time—though, candidly, we have forgotten the side of the issue to which we were assigned. Though the moot court went fine, it is just bringing up all of the unpleasant, extreme angst which preceded it, making us a little nervous all over again. We recall that we were watching episodes of "Roots" during the preparation of that very first oral argument. Guess you have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice—else twenty years of schooling and they put you on the dayshift. The second year moot court dealt with a nurse-anesthetist and whether there was actionable negligence from failure to take into account a condition of the patient making the patient allergic to the anesthesia provided, with some other sub-issues regarding consent, contributory negligence, some qualified immunity of the municipal hospital, and so forth. We also do not recall on which side we were in that one. But that is not really important. Do you remember your moot court issues from the time of "Roots"? Sardines...

Dick Young of The News reports that current collections of municipal taxes stood this date at about 5.7 million dollars, more than $160,000 above the amount scheduled to be raised for the 1954-55 municipal budget. Never before, within the memory of tax officials, had collected taxes exceeded the budget in a fiscal year. The budget was set at about 5.5 million dollars for the year.

In Rochester, N.Y., a mother left the hospital this date with her second set of twins within ten months, expressing both "a thrill and a problem", saying that the thrill was that she had twins twice over and the problem was adjusting their household for expansion from two to six persons in less than a year. The father, an apprentice carpenter, said that two years earlier, he had been a bachelor.

On an inside page, a story appears this date on the speech on Saturday night before the Young Republicans of the state by Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who said that the line drawn around Formosa by the Administration was one which should have been drawn by the Democrats much earlier—neglecting to point out to his audience, ever seeking the answer of why they are, that President Truman had done so in mid-1950, at the outbreak of the Korean War, with the deployment of the Seventh Fleet as protection of Formosa, President Eisenhower not doing anything fundamentally different from that policy, the more defined issue of whether the U.S. would defend the outpost islands, such as Quemoy and Matsu, still being up in the air and having not arisen in any event until the previous fall. But extremism in defense of liberty is no vice.

On the editorial page, "Higher Education: Gather the Pieces" indicates that the state's method of supporting public institutions of higher learning had been akin to a Chinese puzzle for years, finding it commendable that the Legislature had set aside millions of dollars every biennium for state-operated colleges, but also finding that the college system was no system at all, instead being a jumble of uncoordinated institutions, duplicated facilities and uneconomical practices.

It had been suggested some years earlier that the state's teachers colleges and black institutions of higher learning be brought into the administrative framework of the Consolidated University, but because of concern over the "'race issue'", nothing had occurred. Now, the Commission on Higher Education had developed an alternative plan, calling for creation of a board to coordinate public education at the college level, coordinating functions without any actual consolidation.

It indicates that the plan would be opposed by persons in the eastern part of the state who took pride in the growth of East Carolina College and feared that influential UNC backers on any state board might try to block its further expansion.

It finds that the higher education board plan deserved thoughtful consideration and study and that if it would eliminate uneconomical practices, it would be worth adopting. Every biennium, legislators were besieged by various lobbies and pressure groups trying to obtain every penny they could for their favorite institutions of higher learning, with political contests then exploding during budget hearings, producing a sideshow. It favors trading that chaos for coordination, enabling the state's education funding to stretch much further.

"Legislature's Honor Hangs in Balance" indicates that advocates of legislative redistricting were being skillfully outmaneuvered in the battle for representative government in the state, with a bill providing for redistricting having been approved by the State Senate, but only after deletion of a requirement that the redistricting study commission bring in a specific plan. The eastern rural bloc of the state had prevailed in so amending the bill, which would only cause considerable delay.

It finds it to be emblematic of the same old story, redundant of the delay by the Assembly in 1951 and again in 1953 in passing redistricting, with the same strategy developing now in 1955. It indicates that if the legislators were fair-minded, they would discharge their responsibility and adopt a plan, as required every ten years by the State Constitution based on the decennial census.

"Dinner Guests and Bedside Reading" tells of there being regular White House stag dinners in the Eisenhower Administration, with 38 having thus far been held, attended by a total of 555 persons, according to U.S. News & World Report. The magazine had broken down by state and occupation the guest lists, determining that only five North Carolinians, including UNC president Gordon Gray, had been included, with only one South Carolinian, a businessman. Utah, West Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico and North Dakota had not been represented at all.

It lists the occupational categories for the guests, starting with 294 businessmen, followed by 81 Administration officials, 51 editors, publishers and writers, 30 educators, 23 Republican Party leaders, 18 scientists, artists and sportsmen, 16 old friends of the President from his military days, etc.

It indicates that the President was entitled to eat with whomever he pleased and relax as frequently as he could. But, according to U.S. News & World Report, he was using the dinners to learn what people thought of his program and gathering first-hand information about national conditions, causing the newspaper to wonder whether he could obtain a balanced viewpoint of what people thought from such a group of people so heavily weighted toward businessmen and Administration officials. Moreover, the few farmers and ranchers in the group, nine in all, were not representative of the nation's farmers, being large ranchers and landholders.

It suggests that, because it was said that there were two good ways to get the President's attention, that in addition to the stag dinners, there was the placement of reading material on his bedside table, someone ought provide him a copy of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass during the centennial of its publication.

A piece from the Memphis Press-Scimitar, titled "Help De-Surplus", tells of a man in the Ozarks having come up with a solution to the butter surplus, which had been a headache for the Federal Government for many months, as well as for taxpayers. The editor of the Ozarks Mountaineer of Branson, Mo., had estimated that 300 million meals were served daily in the eating establishments of the nation and that they served 300 million pats of butter or 3.3 million pounds per day. He found that each pat weighed one-ninetieth of a pound, but if they were thickened to 60 portions per pound, five million pounds would be consumed daily, an increase of almost 1.7 million pounds, or a gain of 608.4 million pounds per year, enabling the butter surplus to disappear.

The editor had not explained how operators of eating establishments could be persuaded to serve thicker pats of butter, but had provided a hint as to how every person eating out could help reduce the surplus while at the same time serving their appetites, by demanding a second helping.

Barbara Smith, writing in the Michigan Journalist, tells of a method of financing highway construction, which the News editors suggest in a prefatory note might be an equitable solution for North Carolina, indicating that heavy trucks, according to a study conducted from 1949 to 1952 in Maryland by the Interregional Council on Highway Transportation, when loaded with 22,400 pounds, caused 6.4 times more cracking of concrete highway surfaces than trucks hauling 18,000 pounds, and that roads lasted longer when trucks traveled several feet from the shoulder, necessitating widening of two-lane roads to four lanes. Roads able to accommodate heavy trucks cost several thousand dollars more per mile than roads for passenger cars, with a Senate Interstate Commerce subcommittee having determined in 1952 that the cost was $15,000 per mile for the latter roads, while roads necessary to accommodate trucks up to 20 tons cost $46,000 per mile. Thus, according to the president of the American Automobile Association in 1952, owners of passenger cars were paying more than their just share for highway maintenance and construction.

She also points out that about 25,000 American communities not reached by railroads were entirely dependent on trucking for supply, and that trucks carried 15 percent of the nation's freight.

The American Trucking Association was fighting against a proposal to make trucks pay more to travel on the highways, the truckers pointing out that they already contributed 32 percent of all highway usage taxes, license fees, gas and other road expenses. A proposed weight-distance tax could raise truck fees to 40 or 45 percent of that total, giving, according to the truckers, railroads an unfair advantage, causing truck cargo to be shipped instead by rail.

A New York tax organization estimated that an owner of an automobile weighing 3,450 pounds paid 34.64 cents worth of gas taxes and fees per ton, per 100 miles, while the owner of a truck weighing 60,000 pounds paid only 12.49 cents per pound for the same distance, despite the latter doing much more damage to the road. Diesel trucks used less fuel than regular gasoline trucks and so paid less money per mile for fuel, with the gasoline tax helping to finance the roads.

A transportation engineer had pointed out that in 99 percent of the cases, the actual culprit for road damage was the nature of subsoil, quality of construction and efficiency of maintenance crews, that despite the fact that trucks accounted for 22 percent of all highway mileage, they comprised only 18 percent of all vehicles using roads. Of all trucks and trailers in the haulage business, 85 percent were in fleets of fewer than eight vehicles. Truckers with long-distance cargoes were often unfairly penalized, with states varying in their taxes, such that transcontinental truckers usually had to pay large tax levies, while local truckers paid smaller fees.

Oregon had adopted a solution to the problem whereby it collected a weight-distance tax from commercial vehicles, taxing trucks by weight and distance traveled. The price changed incrementally for every 2,000 pounds of truck weight, so that the heaviest trucks causing the most road damage were taxed the highest. Enforcement of the tax cost almost 11 percent of the revenue raised by it, but officials checking trucks could also enforce maximum weight limits, which a number of states had implemented.

She concludes that the weight-distance tax appeared to be the best and fairest answer for maintaining and constructing roads.

Drew Pearson indicates that if one ran a racetrack in Maryland, it paid to be a staunch Republican and friend of top Republicans, indicating that a particular racetrack, Bowie, which had previously been the least important of the tracks in that state, had just received a bonanza, the allocation of 33 consecutive non-competitive racing days, when the track did not have to compete with other tracks. The two adjacent tracks, Laurel and Pimlico, had only 18 and 16 non-competitive days, respectively. RNC chairman Leonard Hall had been given credit in racing circles for the generosity to the Bowie track, but he claimed he had not intervened in the matter. He was a good friend of a New York investment banker who owned Bowie and admitted having introduced the owner of the track to Governor Theodore McKeldin of Maryland, whose good friend was the chairman of the Maryland Racing Commission, a Republican national committeeman and chairman of the Republican state central committee, who allocated racing days in the state. Previously, Bowie had received no better deal than any other track in Maryland, but in the current year, it was not only getting its 33 non-competitive racing days, but also receiving them consecutively, attracting better crowds and enabling it to make more money. Of Laurel's 18 days, only 10 were consecutive, while Pimlico got 16. Bowie also was able to run on six Saturdays, the best days for racing receipts, while Pimlico only received three Saturdays and Laurel, only two.

When asked about the matter, the chairman of the Racing Commission said that Bowie was receiving its days in March, which were risk days because of weather, but the officers of the other two tracks said that they had asked for March days also, willing to take a chance on the weather, but were turned down.

Mr. Pearson concludes that perhaps New York was not the only state where politics came in handy when one owned a racetrack.

Time Magazine indicates that despite the largest construction boom in the nation's history, there was a notable failure to clear slums, with such areas becoming larger and worse. Part of the problem was that real estate businesses had labeled as socialism the government housing projects which often accompanied slum clearance, with another part being that do-nothing municipal governments had ducked the problem. Mayors and city councils were learning that slums were not only festering eyesores and areas stimulative of high crime rates but were also burdens on city budgets. It provides supportive statistics from Baltimore.

During the previous five years, the Federal Government had allocated almost 500 million dollars for slum clearance and urban development, and President Eisenhower had asked Congress for another 500 million. It urges passage of that proposed expenditure, indicating that it would virtually guarantee a high level of building for decades plus eradication of slum areas. The Housing and Home Finance Agency had estimated that the combined Federal and municipal government share in the cost of slum clearance and urban rehabilitation would be at least 24 billion dollars, and that for every dollar spent from public funds, HHFA estimated that private enterprise would spend 4 to 5 times that amount. About 20 million urban dwellings needed replacement or rehabilitation, and over a 20-year period, the bill for public and private spending could reach five billion dollars per year, about a seventh of what the U.S. had spent the previous year on all construction.

According to President Eisenhower's Advisory Committee on Housing, occasional piecemeal efforts to clear small slum areas in a section of a city only tended to push slums to other sections, necessitating an effective program for attacking the entire problem of urban decay. Part of the problem was in neighborhoods where middle income homeowners had let their property become shabby.

To combat the overall problem, the President had proposed to stop the spread of blight by strict enforcement of occupancy and maintenance standards, to rehabilitate areas which could be saved by remodeling and improvement, building of parks and playgrounds, etc., and to raze and redevelop slums which could not be saved. The new Federal approach would be to help cities help themselves and harness private interest enterprise for the long haul. Federal aid was conditioned on each city's adoption of an overall plan for preventing as well as destroying urban blight. To become eligible, a city had to convince the HHFA that it had adequate building codes, was equipped to enforce them, and had a city plan or zoning regulation and a sound financial program to pay its share of the costs, provision of arrangements for relocation of families displaced by slum clearance and assurance that the citizens of the community were supportive of the plan.

Eight cities, including Chicago, had already qualified for Federal aid under the 1954 Housing Act, and were thus eligible for such benefits as 95 percent mortgage insurance for low-cost private housing, and grants up to two-thirds of the cost of the project, including improvements such as schools and parks. Chicago had already begun four slum-clearance and redevelopment projects and was planning three others, which would generate about 95 million dollars in private investment. Baltimore had received more than nine million dollars to help clear about 80 acres of slums, forcing owners of 6,000 houses and apartment buildings to repair or remodel under city codes. New Orleans had started a nine-year program to require the repair and modernization of 5,000 houses per year, primarily by private financing. Civic groups were preparing campaigns to help cities improve housing.

The President's housing committee, after studying ten cities, had found that tax receipts in slum areas rose two to ten times after redevelopment, that in seven of the ten cities, the cost of slum clearance and redevelopment could have been paid off in 15 years or less with only 75 percent of the increased tax revenue. If the savings in police, fire and public health protection were also added, all ten of those cities could have paid off the entire cost of slum clearance.

Burke Davis, former editor and associate editor of The News, now of the Greensboro Daily News, writes from Raleigh that on February 4, the General Assembly had posed with both feet in its mouth, without letting the left know what the right was doing, with the State House having passed a resolution at the behest of two of Guilford County's Representatives, pleading with the President to erect high tariff barriers against foreign competitors on behalf of North Carolina textile interests, the resolution easily passing. The next day, after some superficial debate, a resolution, however, passed with the opposite effect, asking Congress not to raise tariffs on imported potash so that North Carolina tobacco farmers would not have higher costs, reasoning that tariffs would protect American producers of potash on the West Coast.

Mr. Davis indicates that the debate made the two Guilford County Representatives appear increasingly Republican despite being Democrats, with one of them saying that it was his policy to save their hides in whatever way they could, while withholding his vote for the potash resolution, in the interest of consistency.

A letter from the general manager of the Prevention of Delinquency Club says that juvenile delinquency had to be eliminated in the community and that he was determined to get it done. He urges giving money to support youth baseball in the community as a means to curb delinquency, to teach self-respect and discipline, as well as respect for the rights of others.

What about basketball and football?

A letter from the chairman of the Mothers' March on Polio thanks the newspaper for its cooperation in making the 1955 March of Dimes a success, informing that on January 31, some 3,000 volunteer workers in the community had participated in the March on Polio, raising over $38,000, saying that the effort would have been hindered greatly if it had not been possible to inform people in advance of the hour-long march, something which The News had done for them.

A letter writer responds to a previous letter writer, agreeing with her suggestion that people could do without things they could not afford, such as a car, a television set and other luxuries, saving their money for their health, but that the letter writer had made her feel bad when she brought pediatricians into the issue, indicating that men did not go to a VA hospital because their baby was sick. She says that there were a lot of good doctors in the community, but that for every good doctor, there was one who charged too much.

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