Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the body of Mohandas K. Gandhi was cremated on a funeral pyre of sandalwood in
New Delhi this date, one day following his assassination, while tens
of thousands of mourners looked on in tears. The Mahatma's ashes
were to remain at the site for 36 hours before being taken to the
River Ganges and cast upon the waters, a traditional rite among Hindus.
In Bombay, riots, in which 15 were killed, had followed the
assassination but had subsided somewhat this date, while in Poona,
home of the assassin, Nathur Ram Godse, and seat of reactionary
activity, the office of an extremist newspaper was torched and
property of those who opposed Gandhi, attacked.
Aviation pioneer Orville Wright,76, died in Dayton, Ohio, the
previous night. He and his brother Wilbur, who had died in 1912, had made their first
historic flights at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on the Outer Banks in
December, 1903. Mr. Wright died in his sleep at a hospital after a
bout with heart disease.
A meeting of Republicans agreed to propose a change to the
Marshall Plan whereby the administrator of the program would approve
or reject specific projects proposed by the 16 recipient nations.
The Congress, with direct oversight of the administrator, would
direct the administrator to withhold approval from projects which
might lead to socialization of industry or military mobilization or
expensive social security programs. Some Republicans thought the
proposed program by the Administration would underwrite European
Congressman Harold Knutson declared that he expected the
House to pass his 6.5 billion dollar tax bill, set to go to the
floor for a vote on Monday.
The American Meat Institute declared to the Senate Banking
Subcommittee that the fears of a meat shortage in the country were
unfounded, saying that by spring and summer it would be only about a
half ounce per person less than the previous year.
House Speaker Joe Martin told the National Association of
Women Broadcasters that saboteurs existed in the United States who,
if left unchecked, could orchestrate a campaign to take over the
Government. For years, this group, he said, had existed and had
infiltrated the press and radio. He urged the women broadcasters to
counter their propaganda efforts.
Near Digne, France, in the French Alps, two military aircraft
of the United States crashed, one a C-47, transport carrying wives
and children to join their husbands in Trieste, and the other a B-17
rescue plane seeking to locate the crashed plane. Fourteen died,
including ten passengers, in the C-47 and seven perished in the
Off Bermuda, planes searched for a missing and presumed lost
British South American Airways four-engine airliner with 29 persons
aboard, including Sir Arthur Coningham, retired British air marshal
and hero of the North African air war.
In La Salle, Ill., a man who confessed to killing his
schoolmate twenty years earlier, had been released from custody
after investigation disclosed that the killing had actually been a
hunting accident involving discharge of a weapon by the man's
friend. The police recommended to the World War II veteran that he
obtain psychiatric treatment.
The County Government of Mecklenburg County was preparing to
establish a planning board modeled after that of the City of
Charlotte, to be established when the city limits would be extended
the next January.
More cold weather capped the coldest January on record in
Charlotte since 1940, with freezing rain and sleet hitting the area
and temperatures dropping to the low twenties. The 1940 average had
been 31.6 degrees, 10 lower than normal. The 1948 average was 37.1
The entire state was cold. A bus traveling from Asheville to
Charlotte the previous night had skidded off the road at Hickory Nut
Gap, fifteen miles west of Mountain City.
On the editorial page, "Gandhi's Way for All Men"
finds that the assassin's bullet which killed Gandhi the previous
day could not destroy his spirit, which would endure and increase
It declares him a saint whose code of life had been the
Sermon on the Mount, thus unassailable by worldly bullets, his
treasure not requiring weapons for protection. Millions had so
understood him in life, and many more millions would so view him
posthumously. He had lived for all men, of all nations and
backgrounds, regardless of color or creed. His passive, non-violent
methods would lead the way into the future to contest and best the
men who followed the way of violence.
And, for the most part, with a few stragglers around the
world on a given day who continue to reach for the inarticulate
weapon to make their unfathomable point, rather than a book and
thought and debate reasonably divined therefrom, so it would.
"South Protests Against Change" discusses the
meeting of the 49 Democratic legislators in South Carolina
considering changing the course of the national Democratic Party for
its championing of causes "flagrantly repugnant to the South",
though not suggesting a bolt from it. The legislators acknowledged
tacitly that they were revolting as much against the times as their
party. The Old South and its traditions were crumbling, as surely as
the old columns of Dixie's once proud manses left to lay in ruin in
the back woods.
The Truman Administration's proposals were but a few
concessions to the forces who were working in the society for
change. Recent Federal court decisions had served notice that time
was running out on the old ways.
The Southern revolt came at a time when the Republicans were
also divided between conservative and liberal factions.
As we know, what finally happened during the 1960's and
1970's was that the conservatives and reactionaries all got together
within the Republican tent, slowly pushed out most of the liberals
within their own party and then went to work on liberals throughout
the country, seeking to denigrate anyone who dared to espouse
liberal doctrine as a dissident or worse. Since that time, the
society, in terms of the electorate, appears to vacillate between
recognition of this state of affairs, naturally rejecting it,
and forgetting that it exists, being swayed by caustic
Republican and right-wing propaganda predominating in talk-radio and
certain parts of talk-television, until again it sees the results in
stark relief and re-awakens to its own economic self-interest
after realizing that the litmus-test social issues sometimes
championed by the conservatives are not going to be passed as
contrary to the Constitution—over and over and over again.
"A Fine Choice for Supreme Court" lauds the
appointment of Sam J. Ervin to the North Carolina Supreme Court,
despite the fact that Mecklenburg County's choice for the vacancy
was Judge William Bobbitt. Mr. Ervin had long stood as a leader, in
the practice of law, in his term in the Superior Court in the Tenth
Judicial District including Mecklenburg, and in his year in
Congress, replacing his deceased brother, Joe, who took his own life
at Christmas, 1945, after a year in Congress.
Mr. Ervin, born in 1896, had been an excellent student at UNC
and a noted debater, excelling in history. He had gone on to
graduate from Harvard Law School before returning home to practice
law in Morganton. He had first been appointed to the bench in 1937
by newly elected Governor Clyde Hoey of Shelby—whose eventual death
in 1954 would lead to the appointment of Justice Ervin to the Senate
where he would finish his public career in 1974.
His legal skills, of course, were observed by the nation and,
for the most part, greatly admired, during his brief tenure during
the spring and summer of 1973 as chairman of the Senate Select
Committee on Watergate. It was those televised hearings, more than
any other single factor, which led to the resignation of President
Nixon in August, 1974, as it was those hearings which mobilized
public opinion toward favoring impeachment and prompted the House
Judiciary Committee to draw up and pass its articles of impeachment
in 1974. No one, save the extremely partisan and purblind, at the
time, ultimately defended Mr. Nixon for his many abuses of power,
which went far beyond the cover-up of the break-in at the Watergate,
as he clearly had tossed aside all consideration of law and order in
his grotesquely twisted insistence that law and order prevail in the
land, throwing out in the process most of the Constitution, except that part necessary and convenient
to his own succor.
We do not consider Mr. Nixon necessarily to have been a bad
man. But he was an unfortunate choice for public office from the
very beginning of his political career and certainly should never
have been elected as an occupant of the White House. Watergate and
the abuses of power it revealed as the tip of the iceberg proved out
that thesis. He was not dragged down by anyone, but was a victim of
his own unremittingly tenacious desire, coloring his whole public
career, to obtain perfect retribution from his most vehement detractors, a
mean-spirited approach to politics born of the no-holds-barred
Southern California political atmosphere in which he came of age and
cut his political teeth, as well set forth by Theodore H. White in
Breach of Faith in 1975, a book we still highly recommend
over any other on the subject of Mr. Nixon and Watergate, for a
thorough understanding of that about which it was in the whole of
That, of course, in no way detracts from the honest and
diligently thorough reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of
the Washington Post in 1972 and 1973, but for which the Ervin
Committee might not have been formed to investigate the matter. But
the substantial contribution to forming public opinion of which the
Ervin Committee, not initially the national press, was sine
qua non, is often overlooked historically. The two forces, the
press and the Senate Select Committee ultimately worked in tandem to
stop the Nixon express before it derailed the entire system of
American democracy, well on its way by 1973 to the dump.
Those who think that Hubert Humphrey or George McGovern would
not have made a far better President are living in a land of make
believe. But, we shall never know. And, meanwhile, Mr. Nixon remains
rightly the most disgraced of all of our 44 Presidents. We thank
Senator Ervin for leading that effort to see that the
Constitution, not partisan politics, was placed first and foremost
as the final arbiter of the limits of executive branch power, not
the Nixon Administration, which lived literally and expressly by the
rule that an act, any act, including murder, was not illegal if the President
authorized it, allowing for absolute power. We also thank Herman
Talmadge for renouncing tacitly his old ways and coming into the
modern era as a member of that Committee, as well its many
Republican members, save in one instance, who honestly and fairly
sought and obtained the truth in a bipartisan effort. It may seem to
the casual student of history as a negative effort, but if one lived
through those times or closely studies the period to understand what
it was like to live through those times, one might quickly come to
understand that these men and women of the Congress, in the Senate
and the House, who stopped Mr. Nixon and his cadre of warriors
against the law and the Constitution, were heroes, each and all.
Those who try still to characterize the whole matter as a tempest in a teapot, a stew about a "third-rate burglary" whipped insatiably by a press corps out "to get" Mr. Nixon, need to return to third grade elementary school history and relearn how to comprehend better that which one reads and hears, or at least reacquaint with the actual facts of the matter and its surrounding territory.
There is no doubt, incidentally, that had Mr. Nixon proceeded
to trial in the Senate, he would have been convicted and removed from office. That was the
reason he resigned, being told of that inevitability by Senator
Barry Goldwater, among other Republican Congressional leaders of the
time, and by his own adviser, Alexander Haig, following the House
passage of the articles of impeachment.
If you view that history otherwise, you are simply ignoring
the bulk of it and accepting instead propaganda purveyed by
hucksters with a political axe to grind on your head. Go back and
study it again more closely, as it actually transpired, not the way
the hucksters wish it had transpired in their fictional accounts.
Thus, we count Senator Ervin among our political heroes, a
true profile in courage, for preservation of the Constitution, that
despite some of his less progressive views to which he allowed
himself to be wedded, along with many others, during the 1950's and
early 1960's. One cannot simply go down a checklist of positions,
however, in accord with one's own wishes and conclusions, to
determine who ultimately had the better of the broad argument
A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled
"AFL Gets on the Beam", tells of AFL shifting from the CIO
line of needing increased wages from increased profits to keep up
with the cost of living increase, to one favoring a curb by the
Federal Reserve on loans by raising interest rates, the relatively
free availability of loans being, as AFL saw it, the root of
inflation. The piece finds the AFL approach to show statesmanship
and commends it.
Drew Pearson provides an account of the secret debate in the
House Banking & Currency Committee anent extension of the
moratorium on usage of grain by the nation's distillers, the 60-day
moratorium on such use set to expire this date. In the end, the
committee voted not to let the bill go to the floor, with all
Republicans, save one, so voting.
Senate Republicans had discussed behind closed doors that the
most which could be trimmed from the President's 40-billion dollar
proposed budget was actually two billion. Senator Taft had suggested
setting a goal and then trying to meet it. Senator Styles Bridges
proposed that two billion was the most which could be cut from
Government housekeeping expenses. Others protested that Government
departments were still full of wartime personnel who should be cut.
The conference ended with no definite figure set.
Four House Democrats, including past Ways & Means
Committee chairman, Robert Doughton of North Carolina, and future
Ways & Means chairman, Wilbur Mills of Arkansas, had bolted from
the President in a session of the Ways & Means Committee
considering the tax cut, by refusing to go along with the
President's proposed lower-bracket cut, the $40 credit for
individuals and dependents, and the restoration of an excess profits
tax on corporations, totaling 3.2 billion dollars, to pay for the
individual cut. Mr. Doughton defended a cut for the taxpayer in the
higher bracket equivalent to that of the lower bracket.
Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the devaluation of the
French franc being of grave concern to the men in Washington keeping
track of the world economic situation, as it could become prefatory
to other troubles in Europe, beginning with competitive devaluation
and consequent diminution of trade. The Belgians appeared to be
considering devaluation in train to the French. The British were
contemplating making requisite French trade in scarce dollars. The
U.S. Treasury and the IMF were acting to avert the worst of these
The real value of the British pound had been undermined by
the devaluation of the franc, as the pound was worth 862 francs at
the Bank of France, whereas the dollar was worth 350 francs, the
pound, a little over four dollars. By converting the dollar to
francs, one could obtain .4 pounds at the Bank of France, the
quotient of 350 divided by 862, rather than the .25 pounds by direct
With the pound thus devalued, so would be all other European
currency. The sort of crisis might transpire which created the
depression in Europe in the Twenties, ultimately leading to the
emergence of the popularity of Fascism and Nazism. It was the reason
why the IMF had pleaded with France not to devalue the franc.
The Treasury, however, had failed to act promptly when
alerted prior to the devaluation that it would occur, hint having
been provided to Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder as early as the
previous September. By the time the Treasury protested, France was
committed to the devaluation plan.
Any resulting European monetary crisis limiting trade would
quickly impact other world markets, including the United States.
Samuel Grafton tells of IBM having developed an electronic
calculator, with 12,500 vacuum tubes aboard, operated from a large
electronic console, which could swiftly solve mathematical problems.
He finds it emblematic of the times, a machine which could provide
answers to questions which no one even understood how to formulate.
He finds the calculator likely to be sporting a smirk. He suggests a
machine which would ask intelligent questions.
Have no fear, Mr. Grafton. As we have come to find out
quickly enough in the computer age, as daily proven by the internet
and the web of computers interlacing the world, they are only as
smart as the collective programming and input of data by all of us
providing the information, the conglomeration of which requires as
much human skill and discernment to eliminate, by reason, the chaff
from the wheat, as it ever did in the age of the printed page. And those given
to fluff and frill and tinsel will migrate, as usual, to that
which is facile and most easily accessible to their dim wits. As
news of both the grave and frivolous travels to the mind faster than
it ever has, so, too, is it, save for the most grave and most
frivolous, quickly forgotten and displaced by the equally
forgettable story of the next hour or day. Most of it, however,
which ever impacted the past, consciously and unconsciously, is now
preserved for the diligent inquirer, wanting to find out what the
frivolous and grave of yesterday and yesteryear might have been.
That is the principal change, that it is now available in the home
rather than requiring the more laborious and time-consumptive task
of dedicatedly plowing through card catalogues at the library to
find particular material, rarely undertaken in the past by those
other than the most determined of scholars. The
sad part is that the old, slower process also provides a foundation
for understanding how things work as one goes, whereas the modern
method skips a lot of necessary intermediate steps to glean that
understanding of the zen of the thing, that which, once firmly established, becomes as easily accessible again to the mind as the attainment of the skill to guide the flying ride on a bicycle without the assistance of training wheels or the sled.
Mr. Grafton finds that in this new age, everyone knew that
Universal Military Training was the answer, but that no one
understood the question. He wants a machine to which one could feed
the answer and then receive the question.
One answer was that the West wished to form a military union
of all nations which hated Russia. But the question was how the
world could establish peace. The two, he says, did not appear to
We recommend, quite seriously, to anyone desiring a better
understanding of how to read material and discern nuances, amid a
variety of opinions and competing theories, to reach the best and
most reasonable answer, that one take a trial version, available online,
of the law school admission test, as it does not test for any legal
understanding, but rather the ability to read carefully, in a
compressed time frame, and comprehend distinctions, logical and
factual, to reach the best answer out of several distinct
possibilities, rather than achieving the "correct" answer.
For that is the way the law works in a general sense. Unless one is
actually contemplating entering the law, one need not mind the
clock, although it does tend to impel, as a practical matter,
reaching a conclusion in faster heat than the slow track might
afford. Some nuances otherwise to be missed may be gleaned by the
slower approach, but sometimes, a too slow process may devolve to an
absurdity and result in ferreting out little more than nonsense from
what might be a practical exercise in rational thinking.
Mr. Grafton concludes: "And so we shudder, longing for
peace, but not knowing even how to ask for it, until finally, in
quiet desperation, we beg the answer machine to tell us where is
fancy bred, in the heart or in the head, or how does the moonstand? It is not what we want to know exactly, but it is the best we
can frame up to keep the apparatus busy."
A letter from the vice-president and sales manager of
Piedmont Steel Buildings registers objection to unintentional insult
suffered at the hands of The News by its reporting that the
City was weighing relative costs in determining whether to purchase
a Quonset Hut or construct a concrete-block structure for the
Teenage Club. He says that the term "Quonset Hut" seemed
to imply the wartime structures used by the military, made of steel
of inferior tensile strength, that the new hut being considered for
use as the clubhouse was much stronger.
A letter writer thanks the newspaper for apprising of the
dangerous bridge on Dowd Road in the city, one of the most heavily
traveled arteries during morning and evening commute hours. He
predicts that unless the bridge were repaired, there would be a
dangerous accident on its pedestrian walkway at some time in the
A Quote of the Day: "Out in California it's so dry they
are praying for rain. They ought to live right, like we do."
—Fort Myers (Fla.) News-Press
Because we unfortunately live in times where the nuances of
even blatant irony are missed or misunderstood, we stress that the
above statement obviously was so meant. Californians need not be
insulted, even if some in Florida might have so felt.