The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that speculation was running at the Pentagon that the Administration was seeking to replace Admiral Louis Denfeld as chief of Naval operations, based on the recent controversy with the Air Force and the Navy's objection to the B-36 as improvident and dangerous to the country's security.

Douglas B. Cornell, in the third of a series of articles on the controversy, explains the conflict in terms of the B-36, whether it was, as the Navy complained, a "billion dollar blunder", or, as the Air Force touted it, the answer to the country's strategic bombing needs, capable of high altitude, long-range bombing of the heart of the enemy, without the necessity of an accompanying fighter complement. He provides the vital statistics on the plane, its size and performance data, and then reviews that to which various Government and military personnel, notably Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington and Admirals Arthur Radford and William Halsey, had testified before the House Armed Services Committee during the previous two weeks.

Secretary of State Acheson described charges by the Communist Czech Government, that two U.S. Embassy officials and a civilian employee were spying for the U.S., as "trumped up", but nevertheless agreed to withdraw the two officials per the demand of the Czech Government that they leave the country within 24 hours. A clerk at the Embassy accused of spying, not entitled to diplomatic immunity, had been arrested and held incommunicado since the prior Friday. Secretary Acheson said that efforts were being made by the State Department to communicate with him.

The coal strike had stopped many trains this date but the President still showed no signs of entering the situation by instructing the Justice Department to seek an injunction pursuant to Taft-Hartley to stop the strike.

Meanwhile, at least two steel companies had asked Government mediators to recall the President's steel fact-finding board to help resolve the steel strike.

The President signed the bill increasing the minimum wage from 40 to 75 cents per hour, estimated to hike the pay of 1.5 million workers, about half of whom were in the South and Southwest. The bill had narrowed coverage, however, excluding about 600,000 workers, rather than expanding it, as the President had requested, to include farm and domestic workers, among others.

In London, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Stafford Cripps warned Britons not to depend too heavily on Marshall Plan aid or other charity extended by the U.S., that only increase in productivity, the responsibility of each citizen, could ultimately extricate Britain from its economic crisis and heal the sterling-dollar gap which had precipitated it.

Also in London, the Honorable Peter Beatty, son of a famed admiral and grandson of Marshall Field of Chicago, committed suicide by leaping from the sixth floor of the Ritz Hotel for the fact that he was going blind, a slow degeneration which had been taking place over a period of years.

In High Point, N.C., a music teacher on trial for manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of a pedestrian the prior December, changed her plea from not guilty to nolo contendere and was sentenced by the judge to a three-to-five year suspended sentence on condition, among other things, that she make contributions to the victim's estate and to another woman who was walking with the victim at the time of the incident. The defendant claimed that she did not know she had hit anyone and therefore drove on after striking the victim in the street. She had first denied to the FBI being in High Point on the night of the incident. But the agents had found bits of pottery and other particles on the car consistent with that which the victim was carrying at the time she was hit.

In Hendersonville, N.C., the North Carolina State Grange unanimously adopted a resolution condemning rump tobacco sales, lest the entire tobacco auction system might be destroyed, to the detriment of the entire industry. A recent decision by a Superior Court judge had held "rump sales", extra sales, illegal, a decision being appealed to the State Supreme Court.

In Cleveland, O., a Federal jury, "this time", awarded the Erie Railroad a $100,000 judgment against a trucking company, resulting from an accident in which a steel-laden truck owned by the company had stalled on the tracks for seven minutes before the approach of the train without any attempt to warn it, causing a collision.

In Philadelphia, a restaurant had removed its suggestion box after a two-day trial because most of the suggestions both days had urged hiring prettier waitresses rather than regarding the food.

On the editorial page, "Mr. Truman Must Act Soon" finds that though the President was reluctant to take advantage of the Taft-Hartley Act to seek an injunction to end the coal strike, as it would imperil his stance in favor of repeal of the Act, he would have to take some action soon with the onset of cold weather imminent. Coal, being also the backbone of the steel industry, had paralyzed the country industrially and left many citizens without the means to heat their homes. (But the anthracite mines, responsible for most home-heating coal, were back in operation.)

As there were no signs that either the coal operators or John L. Lewis would come to terms on the dispute regarding whether operators should bear sole responsibility for contributions to the welfare and pensions fund, the President, it urges, should lose no time in taking action.

Get that coal out of the pits for Christmas. Santa Claus is going to need it for the stockings.

"Politics and Nuclear Energy" finds the investigation of the Atomic Energy Commission by the House-Senate Atomic Energy Committee to have reached an unsatisfactory conclusion, with the ten Democrats having found no evidence to support the charge leveled by Senator Bourke Hickenlooper of gross mismanagement, while the six Republicans issued a minority report which found that a more effective atomic energy program was needed. Thus, it was to be gleaned from the investigation that the perception of whether the AEC was doing its proper job depended on political party affiliation.

The suspicion lingered in the public, as confirmed by nuclear physicist Dr. Harold Urey, that the AEC was not making sufficient progress in developing atomic energy, though stockpiling atomic bombs. The inquiry left many unanswered questions, such as whether good scientists were being scared away by too much emphasis on the manufacture of weapons and not enough on peaceful uses of atomic energy. Instead, it had devolved to a partisan inquiry, leaving the country in doubt at a time when it needed, in the wake of the development of the bomb by the Soviets, greater certainty.

"Symbolic Building" finds the new Manhattan U.N. headquarters, the cornerstone of which the President and other dignitaries had just dedicated, to be symbolic, situated on land donated by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., which had once held slums inhabited by poor immigrants from many foreign lands.

The President, in his address, had spoken of making the Charter as strong as the steel in the building and pursuing its objectives with resolution as firm as the rock on which the building stood, while conducting affairs as foursquare with the Charter as was the cornerstone.

It finds it good that the President had reminded again of the goal of the U.N. to provide and maintain peace and a better life in the world, as it had sometimes become lost during some of the U.N. failures during its first four years of existence.

"Are You Doing Your Part?" tells of the preparations for the annual Carolina Christmas Festival in Charlotte proceeding on schedule, save for the contributions to support it, which lagged behind the $20,000 goal. The Festival was a boon to merchants and thus the city as a whole, was enjoyed by the residents and visitors, and so it urges giving to it.

It hopes that it would one day reach the proportions of Mardi Gras or the Memphis Cotton Festival.

You don't want that at Christmastime with the children around.

Dick Young of The News tells of a teacher who had retired in 1944 after 22 years of service having then received $8.04 monthly as a retirement check under the then new retirement system set up by the State. Now at 73, she received, after a raise by the 1949 session of the Legislature, $10.05 per month. She paid virtually all of her retirement income to the City and County in property taxes on the home she owned.

Meanwhile, steelworkers and coal miners were striking to obtain $100 per month in pension funds without contributions by them. The teachers, by contrast, made a 4 percent contribution to their State retirement fund.

He recommends boosting the retirement stipend to at least $50 per month, an amount for which the teachers would be grateful.

Drew Pearson tells of the IRB claiming that it could collect a billion dollars more in tax revenue annually if it had better enforcement. The previous Congress had cut appropriations, causing termination of many tax examiners. Part of that body had been reinstated but the IRB remained understaffed. There was also wire-pulling in the prosecution of tax fraud, allowing big shots to escape prosecution or at least to delay prosecution for some time, leading the average citizen to try the same thing. He provides several examples of wealthy persons escaping prosecution through political favor.

He concludes that a more diligent effort needed to be undertaken in the prosecution of tax cases and in enforcement of income tax regulations generally if a tax increase to balance the budget, as being urged by the President, was to be avoided in the coming year.

Marquis Childs, in Stockholm, tells of Swedes being convinced that their Government had done the right thing by staying out of the NATO accord, to prevent Russia from being provoked into sending forces into Finland. Most Finns, with whom Mr. Childs had discussed the matter during his recent visit there, had agreed.

Swedes loved their aging King Gustaf V, 92, as a medium of connection with the simpler past and with neutral isolationism which had preserved the country through both world wars.

Yet, there was some uncertainty about the choice not to join the Pact, with Russian V-2 bases, taken over from Germany after the war, on the Baltic shores and Russian jets located a mere twenty minutes away. Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander, however, believed that in the event of an East-West war, the Russians would not attack Sweden because, being a non-naval power, they would not want to extend their supply lines to that extent. But taking Norway would be a strategic necessity in the event of war and to do so would likely entail encroachment on Swedish territory.

Moreover, neutrality exacted a psychological price, causing guilt and resentment to arise, resulting in a defensive attitude toward the big powers, a conclusion that they were all bad. There was, however, no change evident in official policy, which had kept the country out of any war for 150 years.

Henry C. McFadyen, superintendent of the Albemarle, N.C., schools, in the eighth of his series of articles on child education, again, as in the first of the series, stresses the difficulty of the task of learning to read proficiently. He tells of a group of eighth grade teachers, who had just provided to their pupils a standardized test of reading proficiency, comparing notes to find that a third of the 150 students were rated poor readers, with one at a third-grade reading level, while five others were at college level. Most of the remainder were average for their age and grade.

He says that one would not expect an eighth-grader to be proficient at the piano, and that the same level of expectation ought be applied to reading. Students who picked up the skill with relative ease enjoyed reading and so the additional practice increased their reading skill the more. But students who found it difficult became quickly disenamored of books and thus their skills went begging.

Some students who were quite bright were "word blind", unable to discern the shapes of letters. These students required creative approaches to remedial steps to eliminate the problem, one approach being the use of large letters and having the student trace them with their hands, thus learning by touch rather than sight what each letter represented.

Those students who could not read for want of the requisite skill set required special remedial attention which many teachers did not have the time to provide.

He concludes that there was a lot more to reading than the average adult might think.

At our school, beginning in the fifth grade, one period per day was devoted to reading, with each classroom divided into four segregated groups based on a standardized reading test score, with each section then taught by a separate teacher from the regular classroom teacher and in that teacher's classroom. The most proficient students were the country clubbers at the top, for whom reading came as easily as sliding down the sliding board on the playground in first grade. At the next level were those who were bright, good at word comprehension, but whose minds, for perhaps too much creative input, sometimes wandered into vacation land while reading the page. The third level was comprised of those deemed in need of some remedial attention, and the fourth level, those in need of much greater remedial attention. But nobody was cast out as hopeless and everyone received more attention to their reading skills than would have been possible within the main classroom, and without the social stigma of being around other, more proficient readers given to giggling at mispronunciations and stumbling over words generally when reading aloud.

Of course, the counter-argument to that notion is that a little social humiliation early in development could be an incentive for a student who was merely lazy to spend more time at home learning the rudimentary skills to avoid the unwanted social consequences of appearing ignorant—akin to having to learn in the sixth grade how to perform jumping jacks in front of the mirror. There is also the notion that all boats rise when there are brighter students in the class to serve as examples for the others, to light all the lights in series and thereby avoid a few dim bulbs despoiling the whole lighting effect in the classroom, as in some, single-strand circuits, the whole string will darken when merely one blows its filament, not the case in the double-strand circuit.

Then there was the subject of the Christmas decorations which came up one time in sixth-grade reading class, regarding the little blue balls which the teacher redundantly referenced and which little boys found, for some reason, humorous. But that is for another day's explication.

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