The Charlotte News

Monday, October 24, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President, at 12:30 this date, in an address to the U.N. General Assembly and 16,000 people, in an unprecedented open-air speech before the body to commemorate the laying of the cornerstone of the new headquarters building in Manhattan, delivered new pleas for control of atomic energy.

A crowd of about 750,000 greeted the President along his route from Pennsylvania Station to the headquarters site. A band played "Sidewalks of New York", a neutral song chosen by U.N. officials, as he arrived in a 25-car motorcade for the ceremony and speech, attended by Governor Dewey, Mayor William O'Dwyer, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who had donated the land for the site.

In London, American diplomats from countries behind the iron curtain began a meeting for two days to discuss the growing feud between Moscow and Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia and the church-state disputes in Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, among other East-West issues of concern.

Also in London, Prime Minister Clement Attlee proposed to Commons cuts in dollar spending and defense costs as well as some of the free medical services, to ease the British economic crisis. The total savings projected in the cuts were 280 million pounds, 30 million of which would come from cuts to the armed services. Patients of the National Health system would be required henceforth to pay a shilling, 14 cents, for prescriptions, previously free. Britons were paying eightpence, about ten cents, for medical care out of a small weekly social security tax. Purchases of goods from dollar areas would be limited to 1.2 billion dollars worth per year, down from 1.6 billion the previous year and the same rate during the first half of 1949, to go into effect immediately. Mr. Attlee said that devaluation of the pound had opened up new avenues for obtaining dollars through exports.

Congress approved a 30 million dollar initial fund for research into increased atomic weapons development, as requested by the President. Much of the funding would go toward wind tunnel testing of new weapons of the future. The total funding, approved in the closing days of the session, was for 252 million dollars.

Douglas Cornell, in the first of a series, reports on the quarrel between the Navy and Air Force regarding strategic bombing, which had been aired during the previous two weeks before the House Armed Services Committee. The Navy believed that the Army and Air Force had ganged up on it in decisions made by the Joint Chiefs. The Air Force, according to the admirals, was getting more money than it deserved to wage a type of war which was morally wrong and ineffective, intercontinental atomic bombing.

The Air Force had responded that they were not trying to eliminate the Navy but that a war as the previous one against Japan would not be fought against a non-naval power such as Russia, and so opposed the supercarrier desired by the Navy, canceled earlier in the year by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson shortly after assuming his post.

The fight stemmed from the unification of the military in 1947, which the Navy had opposed. The law had been revised in 1949 to provide more responsibility to the Secretary of Defense, a move which the Navy also bitterly opposed.

Of immediate concern had been the B-36 and whether, as charged in a Navy memo drafted by the former assistant of the Undersecretary, it had been the result of financial self-interest by high officials in contracting with Consolidated Vultee for its development, a charge which was debunked in the earlier hearings before the Armed Services Committee. The more recent inquiry dealt with claims by the Navy brass of dangerously low morale and compromise of national safety by reliance too much on long-range strategic air power rather than the Navy carrier.

There was no progress in either the steel or coal strikes, idling nearly a million employees. There was no indication that the President was ready to intervene in either strike. With industries dependent on steel and coal becoming idle, Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer reported that a total of nearly four million workers were no longer on the job, and the number soon was likely to climb to five million.

Disputes which had led to a rail strike involving 5,000 employees and a dock strike involving 2,000 employees were settled during the weekend.

William D. Horgan of the Associated Press tells of the crash of 1929 having occurred exactly twenty years earlier, with market values having plunged by billions in a matter of minutes, ultimately leading to the Great Depression. Leading to the crash had been rosy projections for the economic future of the country and exhortation to buy stock, which people had followed with enthusiasm. As a result, stock prices had soared to the point of being beyond their realistic value based on the ability of companies to earn and pay dividends, as many shares were purchased on margin.

During the week ending October 19, 1929, the bull market of recent times had paused but it was seen as nothing unusual, as such pauses had occurred previously. But the following week, panic set in, with some stocks not being able to be sold at any price. Trading was rampant, causing the exchanges to remain open long after normal hours. The market rallied for awhile on Monday and Tuesday, October 28-29, but on "Black Tuesday", the bottom fell out and stocks of the country's leading industries collapsed under sales of more than 16 million shares in one day. Brokers and their staffs worked long into the night to catch up with the burning ticker tape. Millionaires saw their fortunes evaporate in short order.

Thus came into existence the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate trading. Now, we have fuses which blow to prevent a precipitous crash from happening.

In Warsaw, Poland, unofficial reports had it that more than 200 persons had been killed when a train derailed northwest of Warsaw, the worst rail disaster in the country in 30 years.

In Houston, a youthful New York cafe society man, who had attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head, remained alive though in critical condition. A surgeon said that it was inadvisable to remove the bullet, lodged in his brain, probably paralyzing him. The man was wanted on two felony warrants for removing a mortgaged automobile from a Texas county and for check-swindling. He had been found guilty of robbery in 1945 in California.

In Asheville, N.C., the State Board of Conservation & Development could not decide whether to award its controversial new advertising contract to a firm in Charlotte or one in High Point, or to return to the original contract of another Charlotte firm which had the contract for two years.

Well, hurry up and make up your mind because this is boring.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of Dr. D. Leigh Colvin, president of the World Prohibition Federation, who had run against FDR in 1936 on the Prohibition Party ticket, claiming that the country was drying up, town by town and county by county. He cited statistics for several states, including North Carolina, to prove his point. He was in Charlotte to speak at the the North Carolina convention of the Prohibition Party. His wife was head of the WCTU.

On the editorial page, "A System of Giving" tells of Cleveland, Ohio, having adopted a "United Campaign Plan", providing for voluntary employee wage donation of one-third of one percent as a deduction from base monthly pay, 80 percent of which went to the community chest for distribution and the rest directly to other charities. It thinks it a good plan for Charlotte to simplify the process of raising money for charities.

"Better Business Bureau" tells of Charlotte about to get a chapter of the Better Business Bureau, founded in 1912, to protect both legitimate businesses and consumers from unethical business practices, though the city had recorded only infrequent instances of such fraud and chicanery.

"Training to Avert Accidents" tells of 90 students at Charlotte's three high schools participating in driver training courses. The AAA had found that most drivers thought they drove well when tests showed the contrary. Many drivers drove erratically, crossing center lines and not stopping properly by applying brakes adequately ahead of a required stop.

The AAA had prompted driver training courses for most of the cities of the nation. The Carolina Motor Club had been instrumental in spreading the driving program in the Carolinas.

A piece from the New York Times, titled "Edison's Light Bulb", tells of it being the seventieth anniversary of Thomas Edison's invention of the electric incandescent light bulb, considered a miracle at the time. Previously, the only practical electric lights had been arc lamps, dating from the early part of the nineteenth century.

Mr. Edison searched for a suitable filament to replace that which had previously lasted only a few minutes, albeit prolonged in a vacuum. The first lamps of fall, 1879 used paper-carbon filament, until bamboo filaments proved acceptable for nine ensuing years. Mr. Edison sent explorers to China, Japan, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Ceylon, India, Burma and the Malay Peninsula in search of a better filament material. But in the meantime he succeeded in developing an artificial carbon in the laboratory which proved superior to anything found naturally in the jungles.

Drew Pearson tells of the National Association of Manufacturers surprisingly sending out brochures portraying the Brannan farm program as good. It neither endorsed nor opposed the plan but the facts it raised placed it in a favorable light. He quotes extensively from the brochure.

The RNC was so bad off that its credit was no longer good in the Capitol radio room, which now asked Republicans in Congress, in case the RNC could not pay the bill, to sign slips taking personal responsibility for the cost of recordings they made to send back home to constituents.

He relates of two Lt. Sam Ingrams, one a Naval Reserve officer and the other on active duty in the Navy, at the center of the Army-Navy row.

Marquis Childs, in Helsingfors, Finland, tells of the country having been perceived alternately as heroic against the aggression of the Russians in the winter war of a decade earlier and then as villains, as sympathizers with the Nazis during the war, once again considered heroic stalwarts standing up to Soviet threats.

But, in truth, the effects of the cold war in Finland were magnified by the West. The Finns were strong, independent people who had maintained their sovereignty and there was no hint to be found of typical iron curtain harshness.

Helsingfors had a new, modern hospital and schools, which averaged 24 pupils per classroom in the lower grades and eighteen in high schools, most of which were free.

While hit hard by the territorial demands at the end of the war by the Russians and the 225 million in reparations, 200 of which already had been paid in goods sent to Russia, the Finns nevertheless had undergone healthy reconstruction.

He concludes that meddlesome Americans who were carrying on their "childish version" of the cold war in Northern Europe were doing a great disservice in that effort to Finland and its proud, worthy people who had suffered much but had not spent their time mourning or complaining.

Robert C. Ruark tells of Newbold Morris running for mayor of New York against incumbent William O'Dwyer on the platform of eliminating the sin of horse-books, betting at the racetrack through bookies. Mr. Ruark laments the fact that there was such sin and says that he would like it eliminated, but does not know how anyone would accomplish the fact. Furthermore, he does not understand how it was morally acceptable to place bets at the parimutuel windows run by the State and not acceptable to do likewise through a bookie. He is sad that sinfulness existed in the world but was sad also that the kind of unpleasantness existed which the U.N. sought to eliminate.

"We must drive out sin; we must stop wars; we must put two chickens in every pot, and I will lead the first charge if somebody will just tell me how."

A letter writer, who had been a member of General Patton's Third Army during the war, praises Senator Clyde Hoey for voting to return the Displaced Persons bill to the Judiciary Committee, finds Senator Frank Graham's impassioned plea for the bill somewhat disingenuous in saying that it would deliver persons from the throes of Communism, when Dr. Graham, he thinks, had made UNC, of which he had been president before being appointed to the Senate the previous March, a "cozy nest" for Communists.

He thinks the riffraff of Europe—"bums, black marketeers, and subversives of every hue and odor!"—, as he had encountered during the war, would be admitted to the country under the bill.

The writer, J. R. Cherry, Jr., of Chapel Hill, had been prolific in his condemnation of Hans Freistadt in the Daily Tar Heel the previous winter and spring, during the controversy, becoming eventually national in scope, over Mr. Freistadt, an acknowledged Communist, being a graduate student at the University, attending on a scholarship from the Atomic Energy Commission. Mr. Cherry had acquired such a reputation as to become the object, along with Mr. Freistadt, of some mockery by fellow students. Mr. Cherry had written Senator Hoey of Mr. Freistadt's open embrace of Communism and his receipt of the AEC scholarship, starting the Congressional investigation into the matter which led eventually to the scholarship being withdrawn.

A letter writer appeals for donations for the Spastic Hospital during its campaign to raise funds for the care of children patients.

A letter writer tells of being able to put all he knew of the atomic bomb on a penny postcard, but that it was bound to be in the hands of a dangerous man now that Joseph Stalin had it.

The Jackson (Miss.) Daily News  delivers an ode to the future "barefoot man" who was then a child, for the fact of 25 million little children being saddled with a national debt of 250 billion dollars, predicted to double within a decade.

If you study this chart for just a minute with your pointer in play along the graph, you will quickly conclude that a vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 is a vote for lowering the national debt as a percentage of gross domestic product, the true measure of the debt's danger to the economy of the nation. For during the period of Bill Clinton's Presidency, the percentage came down substantially for the first time since the Nixon years, from 62.7 percent in first-quarter, 1993 to 55 percent in first-quarter, 2001, having risen precipitously during the Reagan-Bush years from 30.8 percent in first-quarter, 1981 to the 62.7 percent level, the latter a function of spending unprecedented sums on defense during the 1980's, plus the arithmetic increase from the ever-burgeoning interest bill on the higher debt. The Clinton decrease resulted from cutting of defense spending with the end of the Cold War and reduction of the size of Government to its lowest levels since the Kennedy Administration, the latter a program successfully administered by Vice-President Gore. Moreover, real Gross Domestic Product rose more steeply in the Clinton years than in other recent Administrations, from 9.4 trillion dollars in first-quarter, 1993 to 12.6 trillion in first-quarter, 2001.

By comparison, real GDP rose from 6.6 trillion in first-quarter, 1981 to 8.7 trillion in first-quarter, 1989 during the Reagan Administration, to 9.4 trillion in first-quarter, 1993 during the George H. W. Bush Administration, from 12.6 trillion in first-quarter, 2001 to 14.4 trillion in first-quarter, 2009 during the George W. Bush Administration, finally suffering a precipitous decline during the bailout year of 2008, from 14.9 to 14.4 trillion. It has risen to 16.6 trillion as of the second quarter of 2016—belying, incidentally, the misleading Republican/Fox News mantra of late that the economy is growing in recent quarters at its slowest rate since 1949. That is not only a Republican/Fox-concocted lie, conveniently neglecting the steep decline in growth of 2008, it is poppycock when viewed in the context of the overall Obama Administration performance on growth, much greater than during the Bush years from 2001-09, 2.2 trillion versus 1.8 trillion, 15.3 percent growth during the Obama years versus 14.3 percent during the Bush years. The champion is again President Clinton, with 34 percent growth during his eight years, compared to 32 percent during the Reagan Administration.

Just ask Fred.

The very last person you want in charge of it all is a billionaire who brags about debt accumulation as a way of doing business, has been in and out of bankruptcy several times during the past 25 years, and, in the meantime, does not pay his bills when it suits his fancy.

Of course, you never know. He might be able to pull for the nation the same trick he pulled with insurance companies on his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida following Hurricane Wilma in 2005, collecting 17 million dollars, much of which went into his own pocket, from claimed damage which no one seems to remember actually occurring, save for a few blown roof tiles. Most of us, were we to do anything like that or even claim falsely a few hundred dollars worth of damage, would be investigated for insurance fraud and sent to prison for many years. Who is getting away with what? By the way, in most jurisdictions, the statute of limitations on fraud claims does not commence running until the point where the fraud is discovered by the aggrieved party.

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