The Charlotte News

Tuesday, April 26, 1955


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Secretary of State Dulles had stated at a press conference this date, "We intend to try to find out" whether the Chinese Communists were sincere in wanting a peaceful Formosa settlement or were "merely playing a propaganda game." He said that any discussion with Communist China would be conditioned on Nationalist China's interests not being at stake in such a conference, that such talks could be held regarding a cease-fire in the Formosa Strait area, but that he would prefer U.N. sponsorship. Regarding peace settlement in Europe, he stated that the U.S. also intended to find out "whether the Soviet Union is sincere" in its proposals for concluding an Austrian peace treaty and ending the occupation of that nation, which had been ongoing since the end of World War II. The Secretary pledged to protect and respect the interests of Nationalist China in probing the intentions of the Communist Chinese, but would not specify precise steps in that regard as nothing yet had been firmly decided.

Prior to the press conference of Secretary Dulles, Senator Walter George of Georgia had said that the absence of Nationalist China from the conference table should not prevent U.S. peace talks with Communist China, with the Senator's comment going beyond what the State Department had thus far been willing to state. Senator George again called for a conference to seek a way to ease the tensions in the area of Formosa.

In Taipeh, Formosa, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek conferred this night with the two special U.S. envoys who had come as his house guests, Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Arthur Radford and Assistant Secretary of State Walter Robertson, the latter of whom had just returned from a surprise, secret visit to the offshore island of Quemoy, along with the Nationalist Defense Minister and Foreign Minister, and the chief of the American Military Assistance Advisory Group on Formosa. Mystery continued to surround the special mission of Admiral Radford, who was reportedly bedridden with a cold, and Mr. Robertson.

In Survival City, Nev., it was reported that in the first participation of females in a Nevada nuclear test, more than 100 women would participate the following day in the scheduled test, with seven volunteers crouching in a split trench only two miles from ground zero, set to demonstrate that by taking simple precautions, ordinary people could survive unharmed in relative proximity to buildings which were damaged by a blast. More than 75 women would be among the several hundred observers at News Nob, seven miles from ground zero, representing civil defense groups from all parts of the country and national women's organizations, such as the American Nurses' Association, veterans group auxiliaries and the Federation of Women's Clubs. One woman from Charlotte would also be present. Another 25 women would prepare and serve breakfast on News Nob for nearly 2,000 test participants, designed to typify an emergency feeding after a disaster. The director of women's activities of the Federal Civil Defense Administration said that as long as there was the threat of atomic bombs, housewives had to be prepared to protect their home and family from disaster. A blonde grandmother, 43, one of the volunteers who would be in the trenches, said that women should learn first aid, how to package and store food to protect it from fallout, and should have on hand an emergency food supply, a first-aid kit and a battery-powered radio. She said that in case of attack, the basement would become the most important room in the house, that if the family's bomb shelter and food were in the basement, the family could survive. But what do you do in California?

Near Valenciennes, France, a nearsighted young British Royal Air Force corporal, climaxing a wild aerial joyride, crashed a stolen RAF training plane through a French home at the village of Vicq the previous midnight, killing the pilot along with four villagers. Another home had been damaged and two persons had been injured seriously therein. The corporal, born in Pakistan, a ground crewman with only a student pilot's license, had stolen the plane the previous night from a navigation school in Hampshire, England, had nearly stalled and crashed upon takeoff, according to a witness, but had maintained the plane aloft, then circled the field and set off for London, 60 miles to the southwest, over which he flew then for three hours, flying back and forth at altitudes ranging between 20 and 1,000 feet, then vanished across the Channel, crashing in a coal mining region near the Belgian border, about 175 miles southeast of London. He had no parachute aboard and three of the four killed French citizens had died in their homes, two of whom were a brother and sister, ages ten and nine.

In Newport, R.I., an explosion of the Navy's underwater clearance station this date left four men known dead and one missing, with five others injured, all civilians.

In Hollywood, it was reported that actress Susan Hayward, 35, one of the top box-office attractions, had attempted suicide early this date by taking sleeping pills. Two detectives had to kick in the door of her Sherman Oaks mansion to save her life. She had made a phone call to her mother, saying that her mother should not worry as she would be "taken care of" , before taking the pills, and her mother had then hysterically telephoned police, who battered down the patio door and found the actress, clad in pajamas and a housecoat, sprawled unconscious on the living room floor. Near her had been two empty bottles of sleeping medication. A detective said that she was breathing so hard that he and his partner had decided not to wait for an ambulance and sped her to a hospital, where a doctor pumped out her stomach. He eventually pronounced her condition as fair and that she would now have to sleep it off, but that it had been a close one. Ms. Hayward's brother had said that the actress had been despondent after a recent argument with her divorced husband, actor Jess Barker, as well as from overwork. Mr. Barker had called a peace meeting two days earlier to stop what he referred to as a "tug-of-war" over the couple's twin nine-year old sons. He stated that his former wife would not talk to him whenever he called for the boys and would not even let the servants speak to him. He said that the children saw that behavior and that it was bad for them. He admitted that he had blown up at the end of that meeting, saying they had gotten nowhere, and that he had said some unpleasant things which he had concealed for two years. Ms. Hayward had been finishing work on a picture at 20th Century-Fox, while simultaneously starting a new one at MGM, the latter titled "I'll Cry Tomorrow", ironically the story of a reformed alcoholic singer, in which the character attempts suicide out of despondency. That appears to carry method acting much too far.

In Raleigh, a bill, already approved by the State House, to allow towns located in counties where regular beer was illegal to vote on the sale of 3.2 beer, was reported out favorably by the Senate Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, after being amended to exempt eight counties. The House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns, after a brief public hearing, approved a bill to allow the city of High Point to vote to have ABC stores sell liquor. The bill was opposed by the Allied Church League, a spokesman for which said that it was "bitterly opposed" to placing liquor in any city or county in the state. They should consult Haydn on the matter.

Julian Scheer of The News indicates that parents had become concerned after repeated reports that the supply of the Salk polio vaccine might become exhausted before all of the children received it, but that the reports were untrue, according to a local physician who was president of the Charlotte Pediatrics Society, who said that the supply would become increasingly plentiful in the coming months. The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis had stated that 4,173,122 units of the vaccine were presently available to schoolchildren who would receive the free shots in the first and second grades. A total of 9 million units would be used for both shots required for full immediate immunization, and that would be done before the end of the school year. The doctor had been informed by one of the large pharmaceutical firms producing the vaccine that by the end of July, they would have supplied 25 million units in excess of that already pledged by the Foundation, and that another six firms producing the vaccine had said that 900,000 units per week were being prepared, with four other firms also showing good production. In the meantime, it was reported that parents were making the lives of local pediatricians practically unbearable in demanding immediate immunization. The exact quantity of the vaccine to be delivered to doctors was unknown, but the supply was believed adequate to begin the immunization and that enough would be available to complete the additional shot about a month later and subsequent booster several months afterward. One of the reasons for the slight delay in delivery of the vaccine, according to the doctor, was that it was rigorously tested and that each lot was submitted to the National Institute of Health for final testing, assuring its absolute safety. Shipments therefore had to be staggered and a steady flow of vaccine was not readily available. He said that with the completion of the first stage of the schoolchildren's program at present in the community, there should be no major epidemic during the summer, and that if there were, there was a plentiful supply of the vaccine which would be available, each shot of which would offer about a four-week period of protection.

Also in Charlotte, the president of the Mecklenburg County Bar Association said this date that it hoped to go before the Board of County Commissioners to request that a small claims court be established, after the Association had been the first to propose the legislation which would enable Mecklenburg to have such a court, relieving the regular civil court of claims for $3,000 in damages or less. He said that as soon as they had a chance to read the bill and determine its effective date, they would go before the County Board to make the request. In neighboring Gaston County, which was also due to get a small claims court under the bill, the leading candidate for the judgeship there would be former Governor Gregg Cherry, who was now a Gastonia lawyer, the post not promising to cause any interference with his law practice.

Also in Charlotte, Dr. Vance Black, a local dentist convicted recently of the manslaughter killing of Herman Goldberg, at the local Elks Club, after the dentist had hit Mr. Goldberg, allegedly drunk at the time, following the latter's alleged insulting statement to him, was now being sued in Superior Court for wrongful death and deprivation of consortium by the decedent's wife for $100,000 . After his conviction on March 29 by a jury, he was sentenced to between 4 and 10 years in prison, suspended for five years on condition that he pay $2,500 to the Goldberg family and a $2,500 fine. The judge stated that he was being deferential in the sentencing to the poor health of the dentist, as he was suffering from cancer.

On the editorial page, "The Nonvoting Habit Is Dangerous" quotes from V. O. Key, Jr., in Southern Politics, that by any standard, precious few Southerners exercised their rights of citizens in a democracy, the piece finding it true of Charlotte in particular, based on the previous day's municipal election primary, in which apathy had been the watchword. In a city of approximately 150,000 people, it posits that a few well-organized neighborhoods voting in blocs could have completely reversed the results, and that only by turning out in respectable numbers for the general election of May 3, could the city erase some of that shame.

It finds that there was good judgment exercised in the voting pattern by the small minority of voters who did cast their ballots, but that it could become a dangerous habit, that a limited electorate did not inspire good government or healthy democracy. It concludes that the symbol of the entire democratic process, simply marking a ballot, had been "weak and flickering" in the city the previous day.

"Religious Prejudice & Public Office" indicates that the type of charges hurled at the Rev. Edward A. Cahill, an unsuccessful candidate for the City School Board in the previous day's primary election, had been based on religion, the fact that Rev. Cahill was a Unitarian minister, a fact which it opines should have made no difference to voters, as religious beliefs had nothing to do with his candidacy for public office.

It finds that appeals to religious prejudice cut deep into community life, threatening the community with hate, fear, suspicion and meanness.

Rev. Cahill, in response to the criticism, had stated that making qualification for holding public office contingent on holding a specific theological doctrine was against the weight of fundamental American procedure, and that it was a "sorry day when a man's religious beliefs become a political weapon" in free America.

It agrees wholeheartedly with those sentiments and indicates that most residents of the city, whether they supported Mr. Cahill or not, would also agree.

"When Americans anywhere stoop to malignant, intolerant political campaigns, based on religious prejudice, they turn their backs on a proud tradition."

"Tobacco Tax: A Reasonable Remedy" tells of a showdown on state revenue production occurring in the General Assembly, 110 days into the 1955 biennial session, with the showdown coming over a revenue bill produced by the special Senate and House Finance subcommittees, proposing a tax on tobacco products to fill the gap.

It indicates that if the alternatives offered by the farm bloc were accurate, then the Legislature had the duty to enact the tobacco tax, though the state had avoided it for years. While tobacco growing and manufacturing was of great importance to the state's economy, careful studies had shown that there had been no appreciable change in demand for tobacco products in states which, in recent years, had imposed excise taxes on such products. Presently, 41 other states and the District of Columbia had such taxes.

The suggested alternatives to the tax on tobacco, an increase in the individual income tax or the corporate tax, would, however, impact, respectively, either necessities or harm the state's economic growth, at a time when the state was placing emphasis on diversification of industry and agriculture. Thus the stress had to be on taxing luxuries, such as tobacco. That had been what Governor Luther Hodges and his advisers had in mind when they had proposed the tobacco tax on January 6. The tax would amount to very little for individual consumers and would not drive away business from tobacco products, as retail prices would compare favorably with those in other states. It would also not injure the economic development of the state.

Nevertheless, there were protests coming from the tobacco districts of the state regarding the move, placing severe pressure on the legislators not to enact it. It concludes that it was the duty of the General Assembly to overlook such special interests and see that the state and its financial problems were regarded as a whole, and if the legislators responded to that challenge, they would enact the tobacco tax as a reasonable remedy for the state's worst fiscal problem in years.

"The Haunting Problem of the Atom" finds the President's new plan for an atomic-powered merchant ship which would circle the globe on a peace mission to be a "propaganda coin with two vastly different sides." As a demonstration of America's devotion to the development of peacetime uses of nuclear energy, it was admirable, but there was also military significance to the plan, as it demonstrated that U.S. plans for a nuclear Navy were closer to reality than had previously been supposed.

It suggests that several developments during the previous three months had bolstered the possibility that not only the U.S. Navy, but also the British and Soviet navies, would eventually be propelled by nuclear power. One event was the success of the submarine, U.S.S. Nautilus, with its performance being secret but Navy officials having not concealed their satisfaction with it. The Sea Wolf, a second nuclear-powered submarine, would be launched during the current spring, and two additional nuclear-powered submarines had already been approved under the 1956 budget presently under consideration in Congress.

Another such development was the news of the Navy's proposed program for mobile sea bases as a bulwark of global offense in case of another world war. Such bases would consist of several small task forces spread over a considerable area, sufficiently large that a single atomic bomb or even a hydrogen bomb could not significantly impact them. Such flotillas would be bases for guided missiles and long-range aircraft, and if those ships were nuclear powered, those bases could be self-sufficient for long periods of time.

One unofficial report had set the target date for conversion to an all-nuclear Navy as 1975, but rapid development of the seagoing nuclear reactor could reduce that by five years, according to experts.

It suggests that the next step would be nuclear flight, as researchers were supplying the necessary technical controls to enable atomic energy to be used in many different applications. It ventures that if the social scientists could provide the necessary political controls, the world would be profoundly grateful.

You do not want a nuclear-powered plane flying over your neighborhood, any more than you would want a nuclear-powered car driving through it, any more than you would wish to buy a car from Joe Isuzu.

A piece from the Chapel Hill News Leader, titled "Dixie Accent and Bad Grammar", indicates that English filmmakers, in depicting American characters, were bringing in the Southern accent. For instance, in "The Detective", starring Alec Guinness, a rich Texan was made to indicate his Southernness by speaking ungrammatically, as in a sentence such as, "Them sheeps is yourn."

In an account of an Illinois man caught hunting illegally in Wisconsin, it was said that the arresting game warden had become suspicious because of the hunter's Southern accent.

It suggests that maps would have to be readjusted to enable Illinois to be a part of the South, noting that the commander of Federal troops who had entered Chapel Hill at the close of the Civil War had been from Freeport, Illinois, which at the time was supposed to be foreign territory. It then recalls that Walt Whitman had once stated that Abraham Lincoln could only be understood as a Southerner.

'Fore the Flood, Sparta, Miss., was located in southern Illinois, which dips a good bit farther south than the northern border of Kentucky, pert near to Tennessee. Everybody knows that.

Drew Pearson indicates that air strength superiority was beginning to swing toward the Soviets, that in the May Day parade of 1954, the Russians had flown over Moscow a giant jet bomber which was of equivalent size to a U.S. B-36, their first and only long-range jet bomber, known as a type 37. It had been reported that in the upcoming May Day parade, the Russians would have 15 of those giant jets on display, whereas the U.S. had only two B-52 jet bombers of the same size a year earlier and now had only three, indicating that the Russians were out-producing the U.S. by a ratio of 14 to 1.

White House chief of staff Sherman Adams had come up with a "counterfeit Democrat" to replace Securities and Exchange commissioner Paul Rowen, who had made the mistake of opposing the controversial Dixon-Yates contract, thus running afoul of Mr. Adams. By law, Mr. Rowen's position had to go to a Democrat, as the SEC was required to have two Democrats and three Republicans in a Republican administration. Mr. Adams had picked a "synthetic Democrat", former Congressman Johnny McGuire of Connecticut, who had made a deal to support Republican Governor John Lodge for re-election, with the reward that he would receive a nice job in the Lodge Administration. But Democrat Abraham Ribicoff had defeated Governor Lodge, with the result that Mr. McGuire had become a lobbyist in Washington representing Franco's Spain and the large natural gas interests which were trying to overrule the Supreme Court and prevent price regulation by the Federal Power Commission. The SEC was a quasi-judicial agency and was not supposed to be run by the White House, any more than was the Supreme Court. (Mr. Pearson said that in 1955, not us in 2022.) Yet, Mr. Adams had placed pressure on the commissioners to approve the Dixon-Yates contract, which had been awarded to the Arkansas firm without competitive bidding, for the purpose of supplying power for the Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky., atomic plants. But Mr. Rowen had defied the White House, and for doing so, would lose his job.

Senator James Murray of Montana had been conducting some important hearings which had received little publicity, regarding the "forgotten workers" of American business, the underpaid, overworked clerks of chain stores and other retail establishments. The Senator's bill would bring retail employees under the protection of the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act for the first time, and would raise the minimum wage for all workers to $1.25 per hour and lower the maximum net hours to be worked to 35. The Administration favored a compromise consisting of a minimum wage of 90 cents per hour, with no change to the 40-hour work week. Senator Murray's bill would only apply to retail employers who had five or more stores or who had a gross income of more than $500,000 per year, aimed at big chain and department stores, which had previously not been within the ambit of the Federal wage and hour standards. The secretary-treasurer of the AFL Retail Clerks Union had testified at Senate hearings that big retail establishments ought be subject to the Federal standards, just as industrial companies had to comply with the Taft-Hartley law.

Mr. Pearson lists some of the large chains which were presently not subject to the law but which would be under the Murray bill, including A&P, Safeway, Kroger, Woolworth, J. C. Penney, Sears Roebuck, and R. H. Macy of New York. He notes that another exempted company, W. T. Grant variety stores, was one which Senator Murray wanted to bring under the bill, after the Retail Clerks representative testified that a Grant store in Oakland, Calif., paid retail employees $1.08 per hour, while a Grant store in Tampa, Fla., paid them only 65 cents, despite both stores charging the same retail prices.

Democratic Digest suggests that should the President hazard a trip to Mars, it would likely be to try out the planet's "universally famous 'Burning Crater' golf course." In that vein, the White House correspondents, at their recent dinner for him, had spoofed the President's passion for golf, regarded as the most dedicated White House occupant yet of the game. It points out, however, that several of his predecessors had also liked the game. All previous Presidents had some extracurricular diversions to help them withstand the pressures of the office.

The previous month, during a period of premature spring, White House tourists had seen the President enjoying himself on the South Grounds with practice drives, chip shots and putts, with the old-timers recalling that President Warren G. Harding had once practiced his shots in the backyard of the White House, along with his Airedale, Laddie Boy. President Harding had been adjudged a "capable golfer" and had relaxed in congenial foursomes at the Chevy Chase Club or at the private golf course at the late Evalyn Walsh McLean's Friendship estate.

President Woodrow Wilson had also turned to golf as a diversion following the death of his first wife during his second year in the White House, in 1914. He had been offered an honorary membership in the Chevy Chase Club but had turned it down. The late Josephus Daniels had written in The Wilson Era: "Though a golfer, [President Wilson] did not wish to join the most exclusive country club. What was the matter with the man? Other Presidents had even felt honored to come into the most aristocratic club and putt with its members. They have yet to quit talking to this day about the golf player who didn't select his associates and appointees from his companions in the golf games."

We note, parenthetically, again, that Princeton University, the alma mater of Justice Samuel Alito, thinks that President Wilson was racist and so in 2020, they removed his name from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs—obviously, in truth, finding the former President not elitist enough, not standing above the Constitution enough, too aligned with the common man, despite his having been president of Princeton. Thus, maybe they would like to make it, eventually, the Samuel Alito School of Public and International Affairs, since he graduated from it and has never, apparently, owned slaves or made any controversial statements on race. Since "Alito" sounds something like "elite", at least in the French, it would likely be a perfect fit. But we digress from golf and putting around at Chevy Chase and so we shall abort this topic, for the moment, despite it being pregnant with currency through a premature thrust, myopically so, of one his writings into public intercourse at that Burning Crater referenced above.

We also have to say that we hope that those idiots who have sought to remove the name of Josephus Daniels from the UNC Student Stores, for the same stated ostensible reason, fail miserably in their purblind mission, but there we go again, digressing from golf.

The Digest indicates that President Wilson had become so enamored of golf that he played in the snow, using balls which were painted red. (President Harding, no doubt, did likewise, only with balls painted blue.)

The first President to play golf to any extent was William Howard Taft, regarded as a "good player"—obviously despite his girth, weighing, as the piece points out, 354 pounds at his inauguration, and despite his ability, in the space of one four-year term, as the piece does not point out, to be especially fecund at appointing Supreme Court Justices, of whom he named five, plus elevating Justice Edward White to the position of Chief Justice, the latter eventually being responsible for the entire Supreme Court attending a viewing of D. W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation", shown in 1915 before a joint session of Congress—but, yet again, we digress from golf.

According to reports, President Taft, in his first year in office in 1909, a bet having been placed between two men that the President could not play the difficult Myopia Golf Course outside Boston and score below 100, proceeded to play the course at 98. We shall bet that Justice Alito could not outscore him.

President Ulysses S. Grant, who had seen his first game of golf during a visit to England after his time as President, between 1869 and 1877, was reputed to have remarked, "That looks like good exercise, but what's the little white ball for?"

The most athletically inclined of the Presidents to that point had been Theodore Roosevelt, whom the piece compares among Presidents, for his affection for big game hunting, to Ernest Hemingway among writers. Roger Butterfield, in The American Past, described TR's active tenancy in the White House thus: "He bounded in and out of the White House, played six sets of tennis in an afternoon, waded icy streams in February, dashed off to the Rocky Mountains to shoot sheep, slapped the visitors on the shoulder, howled 'Dee-lighted!' and 'Bully!' at the least provocation." He had his own "tennis cabinet", a group of friends who played tennis on the White House grounds with him.

President Herbert Hoover had his "Medicine Ball Cabinet", playing with a group of friends each day at 7:30 a.m., throwing and kicking around the weighted medicine ball on the White House lawn, explaining that he preferred that form of exercise to tennis because it required less skill and provided a brisker workout in less time. In his memoirs, the former President had recalled that he had gone through the medicine ball routine even on the last day of his Administration, a gray, dreary morning, March 4, 1933, when FDR became the 32nd President.

President Calvin Coolidge, who had preceded President Hoover in office, and had followed President Harding after his death in 1923, 20 years to the day before Lt. j.g. John Kennedy's P.T.-109 had a fateful encounter with a Japanese destroyer, enjoyed fishing for trout, and according to his Naval aide, Vice-Admiral Wilson Brown, retired, had taken weekend cruises on the Presidential yacht, Mayflower, nearly always limited to the calm waters of the Potomac because of President Coolidge suffering from seasickness, which Admiral Brown suggested might have accounted for his lack of interest in a naval building program.

President Hoover, after he had come to office in 1929, had announced with great fanfare that he was decommissioning the Mayflower and closing down the White House stables, causing former President Coolidge to state publicly that he supposed the sailors and horses, the latter having been sent to nearby Fort Myer, would still have to eat at Government expense. When Rapidan Camp was built for the Hoovers, a large amount of the equipment and furnishings from the Mayflower had been used there and the camp was manned by Navy cooks and stewards.

In 1933, when President Roosevelt, being distinguished as both a yachtsman and small-boat handler, had come into office, he promptly reactivated the Mayflower, and for weekend fishing in the Chesapeake, used small, converted Coast Guard patrol boats, the Sequoia for a time, and later the Potomac.

Riding, hunting and fishing had ranked high among Presidents as pastimes since the days of George Washington. Another rotund President, Grover Cleveland, who weighed 250 pounds and served two separate terms, between 1885 and 1889 and again between 1893 and 1897—intervened by President Benjamin Harrison, who, despite not winning the popular vote, was able, also, along with another occupant of the office more recently, to appoint three Supreme Court Justices in the span of four years, though without the help of a Senate Majority Leader bent on kicking American democracy into a cocked hat—, had also enjoyed fishing, receiving campaign criticism at one point for going fishing on Memorial Day—the piece failing to point out that the criticism had not stopped there, his private life inevitably potentially having benefited from the availability of an extra row in the boat at a time of a putative, if disputed, youthful indiscretion during his bachelor days, which persisted for a year or so even into the White House. (That's a bit of a reach, but...)

President Andrew Jackson added thoroughbred racers to the White House stables and entered them at nearby tracks under the name of his nephew, Andrew Jackson Donelson.

Several of the early Presidents liked to swim in the early mornings in the Potomac, such as John Quincy Adams, who had the habit of rising at dawn, building a fire, reading his Bible, going for a walk or early morning swim, all while Government clerks still remained in slumber. Legend had it that a female reporter, who had sought unsuccessfully to obtain an interview with him, had once trapped him in his pre-dawn swim and sat on his clothes on the bank until he answered her question. We do not recommend that effort, incidentally, to anyone in the current White House pool, not even to the Fox News reporters, as it could get you a quick trip to the pokey, as, actually, that could be interpreted as false imprisonment.

In her White House Profile, Bess Furman related that the pious President J. Q. Adams had played billiards with his son and secretary, a fact over which the opposition had made political hay, which became incendiary when it was discovered that he had used $50 of taxpayer money to supply a billiards table, plus another $11 for balls and cues, for the East Room—rendering, it might be noted, the room in which Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy would subsequently lie in state after their assassinations, as a billiard parlor, suggesting sure enough Trouble in River City. President Adams had been disturbed by the uproar and so paid for the equipment out of his own pocket, and spent only $6,000 of the $25,000 appropriated by Congress to re-furnish the White House.

President Rutherford B. Hayes—who came to the White House after the controversial awarding of his job following the election of 1876 by a special commission weighted, by one member, toward the Republicans, that one vote making the ultimate difference in the outcome of that election, won by Samuel J. Tilden of New York, notwithstanding which fact, four disputed slates of electors eventually having been awarded by the commission, by a single vote, to Mr. Hayes, thus dubbed the winner of the electoral college, which still haunts the nation to this day—, was a fancier of croquet and was castigated for spending six dollars in Government funds on fancy croquet balls. In his time, he likely would have incurred even more criticism, even had he spent his own six dollars on crochet needles.

Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Harrison also played billiards, with the former having reluctantly abandoned plans to install a billiard room at Monticello, after Virginia had outlawed the game. Trouble...

All of the Presidents devoted substantial time to keeping in physical shape, and many medical authorities and philosophers took the view that the most beneficial form of Presidential recreation was that followed by Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, walking.

President Biden, we note, enjoys bicycling with the First Lady. He, it should also be noted, is the first President after the unfortunate vacation of the office for four years between 2017 and 2021. That vacationer had played a lot of golf, probably more than President Eisenhower did in eight years, though none on the White House lawn, reserved for his little poo-poo pow-wows with the press.

Speaking of fixed card games and searching for arrowheads in Wisconsin...

The Congressional Quarterly asks whether the U.S. Post Office Department should be run as a hard-headed business or as a public service, a perennial question associated with the perennial deficit of that Department. Soon, the Congress would begin hearings on bills to raise additional revenue for the Department, with a bill having been introduced by the chairman of the House Post Office and Civil Service Committee, Tom Murray of Tennessee, which would provide about 343 million dollars in additional postal revenue. Most of the increase would come from boosting the cost of postage for first-class letters, second-class newspapers and magazines, and third-class books and advertising circulars. The bill had the approval of the Administration, which had sought a postal rate increase since taking office, advocating a pay-as-you-go policy for the Post Office.

But others contended that mail delivery was a public service of the Federal Government and should not be expected to pay completely for itself. They argued that the service was a Government monopoly which everyone had to use or do without any form of postal delivery.

The postal rates had last been increased in 1951, but the deficit continued, with the Department having lost 399 million dollars during fiscal 1954. Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield estimated that the fiscal 1955 deficit would be 313 million, to go substantially higher if Congress were to provide a pay increase for postal workers. Such a pay increase had been vetoed by the President in 1954 because it did not contain a provision for increasing postal revenue at the same time. The Administration had indicated, however, that it would not hold up a pay increase bill during 1955 because of the lack of a simultaneous postal rate increase, but had let be known that it did expect such an increase subsequently.

Representative Murray said that a rate increase was justified to defray the cost of pay increases for workers, but the Senate Post Office and Civil Service Committee, chaired by Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina, was opposed to the idea. Both Mr. Murray and Senator Johnston had worked together on the 1951 rate increase, which had raised an additional 117 million dollars in revenue. But the Senator had not introduced a rate increase bill for this session and the Committee which he chaired would not consider any such measure until after the House had acted. Twelve Republican Senators had introduced a bill to increase postal rates, but the Committee contended that since revenue-raising bills normally originated in the House, they should await House action on the issue.

The bill of Mr. Murray also included a provision to establish an independent commission within the Post Office Department which would have authority to fix postal rates, relieving the Congress henceforth from the cumbersome and politically unpopular chore of having to raise the rates. But Senator Johnston had introduced a bill to remove from the Postmaster General the authority he now possessed to fix parcel-post rates with the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Of the new revenue which the Department hoped to receive from the proposed new rates, 237 million dollars would come from raising from 3 to 4 cents the rate on stamps to mail a letter, with a 30 percent increase, to be applied in two increments, on second-class mail to supply another 15 million at the end of two years. Newspaper and magazine publishers contended that the latter increase would force many small publications out of business. They also contended that the Department's bookkeeping methods, which showed a second-class deficit of 232 million dollars during fiscal 1954, did not tell the whole story, that the loss included costs of wrapping and sorting second-class mail, and publishers contended that they wrapped and sorted their own mail at no cost to the Government. Newspapers and magazines represented most of the second-class mail. The 1951 increase had also raised second-class rates by 30 percent, but over a three-year period.

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