The Charlotte News

Tuesday, October 11, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that a Navy weapons expert testified to the House Armed Services Committee that the Russians had anti-aircraft guided missile technology developed by the Germans, falling completely into the hands of the Russians after the war, and that if the war had gone another year, U.S. bombing raids over Germany could not have flown without being intercepted at 40,000 feet by such missiles. He had no doubt that the technology had been developed further by the Russians since the war and asserted therefore that the B-36 was vulnerable to it, that it would be folly to place complete reliance on the strategic bomber and the atom bomb for the nation's defense.

Representative Chester Holifield of California said that the previous day's testimony by a Navy munitions expert that the atom bomb had limited destructive capability was "dangerous" and based on the obsolete Hiroshima bomb, that the bomb's destructive capacity had been increased many times since 1945. Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson stressed that the appraisal of the bomb the previous day was not an official one.

Rear Admiral Ralph Oftsie testified that he believed the random mass bombing which would victimize civilian men, women and children was morally wrong.

Senator Homer Ferguson failed to get the new displaced persons bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee, but a new effort was set for this night if acting chairman Senator Harley Kilgore could assemble the Committee. The measure, seeking to eliminate the discrimination against Catholics and Jews imposed by a bill passed by the previous Congress, had been passed already by the House.

The President met with Democratic Congressional leaders at the White House and urged quick action on the farm bill. Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas said that he would push the flexible price support bill sponsored by Senator Clinton Anderson, providing for 75 to 90 percent of parity. The President was said to support price supports of 90 percent of parity, but press secretary Charles G. Ross declined comment on whether the President would insist upon it. Other Senators planned to push the Brannan plan.

The Government Mediation Service was stepping into the steel strike for the fourth time, with mediator Cyrus Ching set to meet separately during the week with industry leaders and the United Steelworkers.

The possible alliance between the AFL and CIO appeared to have been at least temporarily set aside as the AFL voted at its convention to remain independent.

The CIO Farm Equipment Workers had voted to merge with the United Electrical Workers, in an apparent attempt to form a third labor organization made up of leftists and Communist sympathizers. The CIO had ordered the FEW to merge with the UAW but they were defiant.

Winds reaching 100 mph had left sixteen people dead across the Midwest, strongest in Minnesota, and had moved into the Hudson Bay this date. Temperatures were in the high 80's and low 90's in the South and in some Eastern cities the previous day.

In New York, the son of Senator Harley Kilgore of West Virginia was taken to a psychiatric hospital following his arrest for assaulting a police officer at his apartment after the police responded to a call that there was trouble at the location.

In New Orleans, a trolley bus collided with a tractor-trailer truck at a street intersection, injuring 25 persons.

In Los Angeles, police were seeking a man who had been seen in a cafe with a movie bit player, Jean Elizabeth Spangler, several hours after she had reportedly disappeared on Friday. The man had been seen with her also the night before she disappeared. Her purse had been found with the handles torn loose in a section of Griffith Park, along with a cryptic note.

In Sydney, Australia, Sydney Ure Smith, one of Australia's best known artists, died at age 62. He had specialized in etchings and water colors.

Earl Rickert of the Scripps-Howard news service continues his series on consumer prices and the hidden taxes within them, looking at eggs, which had at least a hundred taxes added in the process of production, not including income taxes paid by labor or sales taxes on tools. He does not relate the impact these taxes had on prices.

In Raleigh, it was reported that the Federal Government had received $100 stamp taxes on at least 473 slot machines in the state, though they were illegal. About one-third of them were operating on Army, Marine, and Coast Guard bases where local jurisdiction did not apply and the stamps were free. Most of the remainder were operating in clubs, the largest numbers in Elks Clubs and VFW posts. Charlotte had 64 and Shelby, 19. Fort Bragg had 112.

On the editorial page, "Senator Hoey and the AFL" suggests that the AFL, which had targeted Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina for defeat in 1950, had overlooked the Senator's great popularity, the comparative lack of effectiveness of organized labor in the state, and the political intricacies of the candidacies of both Senator Hoey and Senator Frank Graham, the latter having to run in a special election in 1950.

Former Governor Hoey had been on the political scene statewide since 1936 and was known by everyone in the state. He was a supreme orator and even those who disagreed with his conservatism could not find any motive for his positions beyond the principle of enabling equal opportunity for all.

It was unlikely that the forces behind Governor Kerr Scott would seek to run a candidate against Senator Hoey in the Democratic primary out of concern that Senator Graham, who was appointed by Governor Scott, would be opposed in retaliation.

It was not the first time that the state had sent to Washington two Senators of opposing ideological beliefs and many of the voters, it predicts, would be content to leave things as they were, despite the wishes of the AFL.

But you must not have heard yet of Jesse Helms, the state's angelic savior from Monroe, who will stop Communism dead in its tracks and wall it off in that bastion of Commie gestation, Chapel Hill.

"Test of Integrity" tells of the revisions to the 1948 displaced persons act being considered in the Judiciary Committee in the absence of its primary opponent, Senator Pat McCarran of Nevada, in Spain visiting Generalissimo Francisco Franco. The bill passed by the previous Congress had discriminated against Catholics and Jews, and the revisions were designed to eliminate this discrimination. The piece says that the vote on the bill would be watched closely.

"On Alcohol and Colds" tells of the AMA having burst the myth of use of alcohol in snakebite treatment, thus requiring fishermen to adopt a different excuse for carrying along a bottle. But now the AMA had endorsed moderate use of alcohol in treatment of the ordinary cold, as it sent blood into cold skin or nose linings to ward off the bacteria producing the infection.

It thinks nippers would continue to nip and those who abstained would likewise continue their abstinence. It concludes that there was no moral to the discussion.

Yes there is: Doc Adams. But you don't know what we are talking about yet.

"Greensboro's Lack of Distinction" takes note of the following editorial out of Greensboro and notes exception to its "one-bomb town" categorization of Charlotte, says that Atlanta, too, according to four Emory University professors quoted in the Atlanta Journal on Sunday, would only require one atom bomb for its destruction by the Russians.

It wonders whether Greensboro had been omitted from the list of favored cities by the Russians because of its "'decadent, capitalistic, bourgeois'" nature, not thus in need of an atomic bomb to accelerate its downward path.

But make note of the testimony the previous day before the House Armed Services Committee by a Navy munitions officer who contended that standing at one end of the 1.5 mile runway of Washington National Airport, one would be perfectly safe in the event of an atomic bomb detonated at the other end. Surely Atlanta and Charlotte would therefore require more than one bomb for devastation.

Of course, the officer did not point out that Washington National's runway was coated in a specially developed new anti-stick formula called Teflon, as used at Oak Ridge.

A piece from the Greensboro Daily News, titled "Charlotte's Distinction", congratulates Charlotte, as stated in a recent piece by Tom Fesperman, for being singled out among all Carolinas cities as the only target worthy of an atomic bomb among 92 cities nationwide in the event of war with Russian "suicide bombers" coming over the pole in a jet. But it also thinks that as it would be only a one-bomb proposition, the honor made Charlotte also therefore sound as a "one-horse town".

It also wonders what the citizens of the city would do if the bombs started falling and Stalin were to overlook Charlotte, perhaps sue for abandonment and non-support. They might obtain an advance guarantee from Russia but it would not be worth the paper on which it was printed. It concludes that they would just have to wait and hope.

They could laugh about it now, but come January 4, 1953, Charlotte would become Ground Zero for the first bomb, eventually to set off Armageddon and destroy the entire earth by the turn of the calendar one more day. Which is why we think to survive in a world openly hostile to our existence.

Quick, we must be off to think.

A piece from U.S. News & World Report discusses John L. Lewis having produced 17 strikes in the coal industry since 1940, a record for all industries. It lists the gains he claimed from those strikes, including the welfare fund, to which non-contribution by some of the Southern operators since expiration of the contract on July 1 was now the basis for the latest strike.

It then proceeds to examine the future of coal mining as an industry, with its price more than double that of 1942 and the cost of labor for mining likewise nearly doubled. In 1900, coal had made up 95 percent of all mineral fuels, but in 1949 comprised only 44 percent of the market. Mine owners therefore had to try to find ways to save money.

Jobs in the mine were on the decline, from 785,000 in 1920 to 465,000 in 1949. And with strikes and reduced time of work to three days per week since July 1, full paychecks were not being received.

Railroads were shifting from steam to diesel and electric locomotives. Heavy industries and some utilities were shifting from coal to gas, oil or water power. Artificial gas made from coal was losing out to cheaper natural gas. Homeowners were switching from coal furnaces to oil or gas, as uncertainty of supply and the cost of coal made the switch practical.

Coal remained high, however, on the list of preferred fuels for large industry, especially steel, as there was no substitute for coke in its production.

The biggest problem for the coal industry was to find a market for the coal it produced each year. Even the reduction to a three-day work week had not substantially cut stockpiles, the object of John L. Lewis's move so that he could seek better terms for the new contract. He soon went to a no-day work week over the pension fund. But the miners working three days at higher wages were scarcely better off in terms of actual income in their pockets than they had been at lower wages on a longer work week. And the pension fund was insecure.

In consequence, there was grumbling among the miners regarding the leadership of Mr. Lewis, though most remained loyal. The pension fund was their major current interest as the average age of the miner was 55 and he was thus looking toward a pension within a few years, was willing therefore to fight for the $100 per month the fund would provide him, even if the resulting strike deprived him of income presently and, in consequence, reduced company contributions to the fund, based on per ton of coal production.

Drew Pearson reviews some of the past insubordination of the Navy during the previous 25 years, but generally it caused more trouble during Republican than Democratic administrations. Under FDR, a former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the Navy generally received whatever it wanted. Now, that preferential treatment had ceased under President Truman. Mr. Pearson had written in 1932 that leaks by the admirals to the press or a member of Congress constituted their most effective means of propagandizing.

In 1946-47, Congress had given the Navy a complete hearing regarding unification of the armed forces. Admiral Gerald Bogan had testified at that time and yet recently had written a letter to the press claiming that the admirals never received a hearing. At that earlier time, though the Navy protested against unification, the Congress voted for it.

The previous winter, further hearings had been held on unification, and again, after hearing from the admirals, Congress made unification tighter.

Admirals Bogan, Denfeld, and Radford now complained of low Navy morale. Congress in early 1946-47 had proposed that Navy officers be allowed to transfer with equal pay and rank to either the Air Force or Army, but the proposal was opposed by the admirals and so the provision was removed from the unification bill. The real reason, therefore, why morale was low was that the battleship was now an anachronism and officers in the Navy had no other branch to which they could transfer.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop discuss the U.S. reliance on the deterrent of the B-36 and B-29 strategic air complement and the atomic stockpiles against the Soviet military buildup, find it wanting but better than nothing. The Navy carpers had some valid ground for complaint in that there was no balance in the military since the end of the war. But at the same time, there was no rational basis to stress the Navy when the Russians had no Navy beyond submarines.

The main reason for the gamble on this dual deterrence was that the essential personnel who had campaigned for rearmament in earnest were either dead, in the case of former Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, resigning before his suicide the previous May, or assigned to Paris, as in the case of Averell Harriman, or departed from the Government, as in the case of Robert Lovett.

Secretary of State Acheson, with all of his skills, could not hope to have the same role in defense planning that Mr. Lovett had as Undersecretary of State to George Marshall. He had his hand fulls just to protect against encroachment by the Department of Defense in the field of policy-making.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, while doing an excellent job of creating a more efficient military establishment through economizing, was also ambitious and likely to undertake economizing for the sake of political expedience when the longer view would favor less economy in certain areas of national security.

Also, the practicalities imposed by the Bureau of the Budget, the President's Council of Economic Advisors, and Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, tending toward conservative spending, played a major role in limiting the military.

Thus, it was not surprising that the military wound up with the dual deterrent strategy, though inadequate. It had grown systemically more than by conscious choice of the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs.

But, the Alsops caution, it was also to be remembered that Stanley Baldwin, British Prime Minister during the mid-thirties, had made a choice to do only what was convenient insofar as rearming to meet the threat of Nazi Germany. That, in turn, in September, 1938 at Munich, led, for the relative weakness produced, to appeasement by his successor, Neville Chamberlain, leading, in turn, a year later to World War II.

Henry C. McFadyen, superintendent of the Albemarle, N.C., schools, in the sixth in his series on childhood education, finds that the greatest challenge to teachers was trying to establish reasonable standards of education alongside the realization that the larger portion of the class could not attain them. Every year, students graduated without knowing basic information such as who discovered America or the year in which it was accomplished by George Washington, or the ability to do basic math.

Employers then would later ask what had gone wrong in the schools. The truthful response was that some students were simply uneducable. There was no magic attainment necessarily indicated by possession of a high school diploma.

That is what happens when you slud rather than bud.

Those students who had made good grades in school did graduate with knowledge. The schools did a good job with those students capable of learning. But the standards were set too low for the students who could not as easily accumulate knowledge. Thus, educators pretended that the students had the requisite skills for graduation when it was simply not the case.

The law required the student to remain in school until age sixteen, regardless of whether he or she was able to learn anything. He says that he was not suggesting implicitly that the education of the incapable student be terminated at some arbitrary point so that he or she might then become a juvenile delinquent. But the schools did not yet know what to do with them.

He relates this issue, he says, to let the public know that school standards were generally too easy for the capable student because they had to be easy enough for those not so.

Why did you have to make typing so hard? We spent a whole semester on that in high school and still hunt and peck. It's just not fair that some people have nimble little fingers and others are more adept at other methods of prestidigitation.

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