The Charlotte News

Monday, October 3, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that Argentina devalued its currency by 46 percent on the dollar, the first South American nation to do so. The Government said that the devaluation would apply more to the tourist trade than to exports. It temporarily suspended new import permits and froze prices. Twenty-five other nations had devalued their currencies, most by 30 percent, since the British devaluation of September 18.

Moscow radio reported that the Soviet supreme court had made it more difficult to obtain a divorce, to strengthen the Soviet family and marriage.

The House Rules Committee sent Social Security expansion legislation to the House under a rule barring changes. Republicans accused Democrats of a double-cross by bringing the bill up so close to the end of the session.

Democratic Congressional leadership and the President agreed that the civil rights program would be delayed until 1950.

Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan was reported to be in lung surgery in Ann Arbor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved, 9 to 2, the nomination of Judge Sherman Minton to the Supreme Court.

As indicated earlier, on orders of John L. Lewis, a fifth of the nation's coal miners, anthracite miners and those bituminous miners west of the Mississippi, returned to work. It represented almost all of the coal used for home heating. There remained a 46-day stockpile of coal otherwise.

A four to six-week supply of steel was onhand in the struck steel industry.

In the region between Corpus Christi and Galveston, a hurricane packing 100 mph winds headed toward the Texas Gulf Coast, sitting 125 miles from Brownsville at 9:45 a.m.

In Ontario, California, a passenger train hit a U.S. Air Force bus at a crossing, killing 17 of the 22 occupants of the bus, eleven from March Air Force Base and five from a local service club. No one was injured aboard the train and it continued on its way after the bus was cut away from the wreckage.

In Ames, Iowa, the westbound City of San Francisco streamliner had a car leave the rails and sheared open, killing one passenger, a man on his honeymoon, and injuring four others.

In Daisy, Tenn., family feuds continued from Saturday, with two more houses, a restaurant and a car being raked by bullets. A restaurateur had been slain the previous November and trials for the murder had brought a temporary end to the violence until the trials ended without convictions. The feud had started over moonshine.

In Washington, a rookie Park policeman had his car broken into and his badge and uniform stolen.

In Charlotte, the world's largest bubble bath was given free of charge after a large drum of shampoo rolled from an express truck on W. Morehead Street and broke open on the pavement. A car following the truck slid in the shampoo and crashed into the truck. When firefighters sought to wash away the goo, suds began forming in the street and flowed over onto the sidewalk, streaming eventually into Irwin Creek forming a foot-high sudsy layer. It took two hours to clear away the suds from the street.

On the editorial page, "Where Do We Go from Here?" finds that the steel strike, notwithstanding use of mediation to try to stop it, left the country without a chart for future conduct in the matter of labor disputes. After reviewing the timeline leading to the strike and the demands of the union, based on the President's fact-finding board recommendation, the piece finds both sides too unwilling to compromise.

UMW had a pension fund and Ford recently had agreed to one as well for UAW. Thus, for the steel companies to hold out for employee contributions to such a plan was now outside the norm of assurance of worker security.

But Philip Murray, president of the United Steelworkers, had turned down a proposal by U.S. Steel which would have required only three cents per hour in worker contributions and would have provided more benefits than he sought through the board's recommendation.

The effects of a long steel strike would impact the whole economy and produce hardship for millions outside the steel industry, all because of an impasse over two or three cents per hour in employee contributions to a pension fund. It views it as a sad commentary on the inability of labor and management to work together to reach a common goal.

It should be noted that there had been some fuzzy and contradictory reporting the previous Wednesday and Thursday on precisely what U.S. Steel and some other companies had proposed, but it appeared that it was a two-cent employee contribution added to an initial four-cent plan by the company, with a six-cent plan being phased in with four cents in contributions by the workers. If that version was accurate, it obviously was not superior, as the piece asserts, to the ten-cent employer-based plan with no required employee contributions, as the union sought based on the fact-finding board recommendation. Perhaps, the piece had at its disposal some clarifying figures from other sources.

"A Better Balanced State" supports Governor Kerr Scott's remarks at Lumberton that industry had concentrated too much in the Piedmont and Western parts of the state and had skipped the Eastern section.

Industry originally had come to the Piedmont and Western sections during the prior century because of the presence of rivers and streams which could be dammed to turn water wheels. James B. Duke had created a network of electric power which added to the equation. Industrialization was self-perpetuating in any given region.

But there was no reason in modern times that Eastern North Carolina could not be industrialized to enable greater progress across the state.

Auh, leave it alone. It's better without all that pollution you got up there in the Piedmont with all that tobacco smell everywhere on rainy days. It's killing you hourly and you haven't sense enough to see it.

"Of Hens and Humans" finds chickens to be smarter than humans. Some years earlier when the car first began appearing on the roads, chickens were apt to stray in front of the vehicle and wind up killed. But in time, they had learned the dangers of the roads, unlike many humans.

Confirming the notion, a Minnesota experiment had found that fitting hens with rose-colored glasses prevented them from seeing the blood from pullet fights, not enticing them to join. By the second year, the glasses could be removed from the hens and they still avoided the fights.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Are the Fields a Little Greener?" tells of the defunct State Planning Board having disclosed two years earlier that during the 1930's two-thirds of the students with either undergraduate technical degrees or graduate school training from Duke, UNC, and N.C. State had left the state.

But now the Placement Service at UNC had reported that three-fifths of UNC graduates remained in the state after securing jobs through the Service.

While that report did not embrace the wider number of graduates covered in the Planning Board's 1947 report, it did provide some hope that the state was beginning to hold its own in retaining the talents it trained.

Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weekly tells of visiting his dentist's office above Henderson Street at the corner of Franklin—a few years ago, the location to which Hector's, famous since 1969, had moved after relocating from the downstairs corner from which we recall it on many a chilled exam preparation night during freshman year, studying the gargoyles on Pettigrew. And we never even took ancient Greek history while at the University.

He finds that the old dread of the dentist's chair was no longer extant given the nerve-soothing novocaine, enabling him opportunity to peruse leisurely the street below while the doctor operated. He tells of viewing many friends and acquaintances crossing Franklin Street and how he had come to know each one.

One man he knew held his silver-headed cane aloft as he walked, in what to many might have signified anger. But he knew it as a gesture of bubbling "youthful spirits".

The Record Bar was downstairs, another supplier of breaks from the toils of study.

Drew Pearson finds that General Patton probably had turned over in his grave when the President announced the Soviet detonation of an atomic bomb, as the General might have retarded its development. In early May, 1945, his Third Army had entered Pilsen in Czechoslovakia, where the Skoda munitions works was located. General Patton's diaries showed that the withdrawals of troops from the suburbs of Berlin had been done on orders from General Eisenhower based on an agreement made between FDR and Stalin at Yalta the previous February. General Patton was ordered to withdraw likewise from Czechoslovakia and the Russians then moved in, taking over the uranium deposits at Jachymov. Outside visitors, even members of the Czech Government, were still not allowed to enter the site.

The former Czech foreign minister, Jan Masaryk, later murdered by the Russians, had told the U.N. in January, 1946 that the Government of Eduard Benes favored peaceful use of atomic energy and sharing of the uranium internationally. The Soviets protested and implied that unless the uranium remained under Russian control, the Red Army would march into Czechoslovakia again, quite manageable as the mines were only three miles from the East German border. The Soviet extraction of uranium utilizing East German labor continued. Without this resource for uranium, it was doubtful that the Russian atomic bomb could have been.

Mr. Pearson reminds that the Yalta agreement was concluded when Soviet-U.S. relations were going well. But he adds that Alger Hiss, accused by HUAC of transmitting secret information to the Soviets, had been an adviser at Yalta.

Mormon Senator Arthur Watkins of Utah was not supposed to drink any stimulants, including tea. And so when Senator Ralph Flanders of Vermont caught him with a teapot, he thought he had him. Senator Watkins, however, explained that it was only "Mormon tea", hot water, milk and sugar.

Senator Watkins, he notes, had found that Americans were spending over $67 per capita on liquor, more than $26 on tobacco, but less than $22 on education.

Mr. Pearson finds that the post of Attorney General was the most important in the Cabinet and that it was unwise always to place a politician in the position. So, former Senator and DNC chairman J. Howard McGrath, now Attorney General, would need to be watched for potential political favoritism. But thus far, he notes, Mr. McGrath was doing a job for the people of the country, not for politicians, continuing his predecessor's fight for civil rights, recently ordering the prosecution of an Alabama policeman for shooting a black man in the back two years earlier. He notes that Mr. McGrath, however, was spending long weekends at his home in Rhode Island.

Admiral Chester Nimitz had become a booster of the U.N.

With Dr. Philip Jessup temporarily in charge of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. General Assembly meeting, relations with Russia would be aided as he was on good terms with the Russian delegates, believing that the best method of opposition was sans vitriol.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the 81st Congress having performed just enough for the President to brag on its accomplishments while still being able to campaign in 1950 on its failures to act.

It had passed his foreign policy agenda, ratifying NATO and approving MAP, plus the full foreign aid package.

Domestically, with the help of Senator Robert Taft, it had passed the housing bill and the minimum wage hike. With great personal effort by the President, the attempts of the power interests to cut the Federal power program had been thwarted.

During the 1950 session, the Congress would likely address the President's farm program, aid to education and extension of Social Security benefits. It would be unlikely that it would repeal Taft-Hartley or pass the civil rights program, those being issues, however, on which the President could campaign, as in 1948.

It was becoming plain also that the President would seek to run again in 1952. The President could point with pride to things accomplished while portraying himself as a David against the Goliath special interests in the areas where he had not yet had success.

The Republicans had aided the process by not reforming. Senators Taft and John Foster Dulles, along with former Congressman Everett Dirksen, had engaged recently in rhetoric sounding as the Republicans of the 1930's, echoing isolationism. The President's bet was on the belief that the American people were not interested in that sort of regression. If his bet proved correct, then there was justification behind the confidence which now emanated from him and his cohorts.

Marquis Childs discusses the two recent deaths on the Supreme Court, those of Justices Frank Murphy, in July, and Wiley Rutledge, in September, both liberals. Justice Murphy had been replaced by former Attorney General Tom Clark and Justice Rutledge would be replaced by former Senator and Court of Appeals Judge Sherman Minton, about to be confirmed.

Rumors that the health of Stanley Reed, 65, had been failing and that he had been treated at Duke University Hospital had been denied.

In a sense, it was a new Court, dominated by President Truman's four appointees, including Chief Justice Fred Vinson in 1946 and Justice Harold Burton in 1945.

Mr. Childs finds that FDR's appointments of both Frank Murphy, in 1940, and Wiley Rutledge, in 1943, had been beyond politics, in the vein of TR's appointment of Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1902, all three staunchly upholding the tradition of individual rights.

He references the book The Case of General Yamashita, by A. Frank Reel, in which he quoted liberally from the dissenting opinion of Justice Murphy and that of Justice Rutledge in the war crimes case involving the Japanese General accused and convicted by a war crimes tribunal of responsibility for war crimes committed by those under his direction. The dissents had argued that due process had to be accorded even war criminals to the extent of being guaranteed a fair trial. The majority had declined jurisdiction to hear the case, upholding jurisdiction of the Army tribunal, leaving recourse only to the pardoning and commutation power of the President.

Mr. Childs concludes that this liberal tradition as exemplified by Justices Murphy and Rutledge was of utmost importance, and the more so in the troubled times of 1949.

One might note that General Yamashita received quite a bit more active post-conviction legal representation than did the hapless Monroe Medlin, who would be executed without any proper appeal on December 9, 1949 for the August 1 killing in Charlotte of Mrs. E. O. Anderson, after what Mr. Medlin described as her death resulting from a mutual struggle for the shotgun which Mrs. Anderson had retrieved and sought to use to order Mr. Medlin, a former employee, out of her house, sounding, if uncontradicted by the physical evidence, as no worse than second degree murder under a theory of imperfect self-defense. Yet, his appointed defense counsel threw in the towel and provided a no-issue letter to the North Carolina Supreme Court, effectively abandoning his appeal, relegating him to his death sentence.

A letter writer recommends an article by General Claire Chenault from the October issue of The Reader's Digest, in which he insisted that the U.S. had to save China.

She also wants to know why Charlotte could not be served by cheap natural gas as were twelve million families as far north as Pennsylvania.

Why do the chickens cross the road and avoid cockfights while wearing rose-colored glasses?

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