The Charlotte News

Friday, November 18, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the President had reiterated at his press conference the previous afternoon his desire for an increase in taxes to eliminate the deficit. But members of Congress, as Senator Eugene Millikin of Colorado, ranking GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee, insisted in response on budget cuts instead, said that a cut would likely be enacted of the excise tax.

Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson said that henceforth the Department would do its own budget-slashing rather than Congress.

Russia announced that it would repatriate 10,000 Japanese prisoners, the last, according to the Russians, of the 95,000 soldiers still in their hands. Official estimates both by Japanese and occupation authorities, however, had the number at 400,000.

In New York, the second perjury trial got underway against Alger Hiss after the first had wound up in a hung jury the previous July, with opening statements taking place. Mr. Hiss's new counsel told the jury that the Government's case hinged exclusively on the veracity of admitted Russian spy Whittaker Chambers. The Assistant U.S. Attorney stated that the defendant had lied twice when he said that he denied providing Government documents to Mr. Chambers and when he denied ever seeing Mr. Chambers again during the relevant period in 1938 when the Government contended the transcribed documents, 47 typewritten and four handwritten, were provided to Mr, Chambers.

—Yeah, Bob, glad they put in the report the final tally of the hung jury, 8 to 4 in favor of guilt. That tells the new people that there is only one reasonable verdict to reach.

—Yeah, of course they do. They don't listen to the judge telling them not to read the papers. These are Americans, not Communists.

Also in New York, in the espionage trial of Judy Coplon and her alleged Russian accomplice, the judge denied all remaining defense motions for dismissal and ordered the trial to begin the following Tuesday. Defense counsel indicated that he would appeal the adverse ruling on his motion to suppress the documentary evidence as having been seized improperly from Ms. Coplon's purse without a warrant and that the notes in question were personal property which should be returned to the defendant.

The formerly pro se co-defendant had finally hired counsel and sought a three-week continuance that he might prepare for the case. The court denied the motion but indicated it might reconsider if the defendant showed up Tuesday with the attorney.

National Maritime Union president Joseph Curran charged that a national plan of desperation by the Communist Party had led to a brawling conflict in the union ranks, following two days of left-wing versus right-wing street fighting outside NMU headquarters in New York. The previous night, Mr. Curran had dodged eggs and brickbats to wade into a fighting crowd of 4,500 seamen to quell the action, in protest of his leadership. He jammed through a resolution by the union, passing by a slight margin, censuring the left-wing foes.

In Tampa, Fla., another B-29 crashed on takeoff, the sixth lost in five disasters during a 15-day period, killing in all 35 men, with 15 still missing. Five were killed in the latest mishap. The plane was preparing to join the massive search around Bermuda for the missing B-29.

In Berryville, Va., a 19-year old Navy Department employee admitted to police that she shot and killed her boyfriend before dawn, saying that it was after he had attempted to rape her and threatened to blow both of them up with dynamite he had in the car, two sticks of which he had produced along with two pistols. She said that she then took one of the guns from him and shot him. She then went to a nearby home and reported the incident. She was charged with manslaughter

In Atlanta, the off-duty cab driver who had struck and killed Margaret Mitchell the previous August, suffered minor injuries, himself, in an automobile accident the previous night, less than two days after his conviction for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Ms. Mitchell, with a jury-recommended jail sentence of 12 to 18 months. His car collided with a truck as it pulled from a side road. No charges were filed. His sentencing in the manslaughter case was to occur November 23. He had stated that he would not appeal the verdict.

In Florence, S.C., the "man without fingerprints" would have his bond increased after a note had been found threatening that the prosecutor would be "full of holes" before the trial, in which he was charged with having robbed a storekeeper of his life savings of $41,500 at Crossroads, S.C., on August 13. The amount of increase in the bond from $15,000 had not yet been determined.

In Butler, Pa., a youth smelled smoke, stopped his car to look underneath, heard a crash and discovered that his car had been displaced by another which had rammed his vehicle. He was shaken but unhurt.

In St. Louis, Vice-President Alben Barkley, a widower, was wed to a St. Louis widow, Mrs. Carleton Hadley, after which an estimated crowd outside the church cheered wildly as the couple emerged. The wedding, itself, was small, with 33 guests of the two families present. Mr. Barkley was 72 and the bride was 38.

In Lebanon, Ore., it was so foggy that the bus company hired a man to walk ahead of the bus to tell the driver which way to go.

In Washington yesterday in 2016, it was so foggy that most of the country was telling the "President-elect" which way to go.

The latest popular vote totals, incidentally, show former Secretary of State Clinton leading the Republican by 1.3 million votes, 62,523,526 to 61,201,031, a one percent lead, and still counting, with the final result likely to give Secretary Clinton a 1.7 to 1.8 million vote margin, 1.5 percent.

We suggest to this individual who has assumed the duties of "President-elect" that if he really wants any chance of being able to govern this country, he had better start rethinking his very partisan initial prospective appointments and begin to move instead toward a bipartisan effort at governance, not appointing extremely conservative Republicans to his Cabinet and to prominent positions otherwise in the Government. You cannot govern 63 million opposing voters, losing substantially the popular vote, by seeking to impose your dictatorial will as during your tawdry little campaign, the most divisive and outrageous in American history. You seem to have forgotten that you did not "win" the election in any conventional sense. You won an outmoded electoral college, and even that is subject to quite a bit of dispute, indeed, meriting a recount of the votes in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida, where exit polling data was significantly at variance with the outcome, in each state, the exit polls indicating that Secretary Clinton won, shifting, in that event, the electoral college majority to her column, either by the three states less Florida or Florida plus any one of the others. You had better think again your outrageous proclamation of some "mandate".

You cannot have it both ways, Trumpies, griping disingenuously regarding the supposed "stealing" of the Democratic primaries from Senator Sanders by virtue of some insignificantly inconsistent exit polling data and then ignore the significant variance in the general election in those four crucial states, two of which, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, having been in the Democratic column in at least the previous six presidential elections.

On the editorial page, "Slum Clearance Plus" suggests that no matter the ideal desire of eliminating slums completely through eradication and providing public housing for displaced residents, there would always be some form of slums. Thus, it was necessary to make the dwellings at least healthful, safe, and habitable.

It finds the five-point slum clearance program of the Charlotte Real Estate Board, while failing in some respects, being, overall, enlightened and more productive of results than the average slum clearance program. It provided for a standard housing ordinance, minimum requirements for new residential subdivisions, playground facilities, better lighting and street improvements, and a deadline for bringing existing housing up to standard. The organization now had launched a sixth point, extension of the community social service program into slum areas, with playground supervisors, social service workers, and neighborhood libraries, plus increased sanitation and health education and family counseling.

While such a program could not work miracles overnight, it would help in the long run.

"The Roosevelt Boys" suggests the prospect that James Roosevelt might become Governor of California and that Congressman Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., might become Governor of New York in the 1950 election. It would be bad news for Republicans and the President. But it could happen, it posits, given the magic of the Roosevelt name.

Neither contingency would occur.

"The Pecan Ave. Controversy" tells of the effort to close the Pecan Avenue rail crossing in Charlotte as it was never designed to carry the volume of traffic it had in 1949, one of the busiest streets in the city. It was to be circumvented by the new Independence Boulevard, but State engineers nixed that plan. While traffic would drop considerably when that section of the new crosstown boulevard was opened, there would still need to be a connecting link with Chantilly and Seventh Streets.

"A Spur for Private Pensions" finds that the pension and welfare plans being achieved by the unions with big business would not be possible in all likelihood for small businesses. Workers at those businesses would thus not have the benefits of those at the larger businesses. A method of easing the burden on small businesses was necessary.

It suggests allowance of a deduction from taxable income for contributions to retirement plans. Such was only fair to people endeavoring not to go on welfare after retirement, under which they would receive a larger stipend than under Social Security, which still did not cover all workers.

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "Judge Medina's Fan Mail", tells of 50,000 letters coming from everywhere in the country praising Judge Harold Medina for his job in presiding over the lengthy trial of the eleven top American Communists for violation of the Smith Act, winding up in guilty verdicts against all defendants. The letter writers commended him for being fair, not for the sentencing.

It tended to counterbalance the harsh criticism of Judge Samuel Kaufman from the press and some members of Congress for his handling of the first perjury trial of Alger Hiss, winding up in a hung jury.

Both judges had followed the maxim that the accused had to be accorded every benefit of the doubt under the presumption of innocence. The letter writers seemed to grasp that Judge Medina was being provoked by the defendants' attorneys to try to convert the trial into a sounding board for Communist propaganda, but that he had come through the ordeal as a winner.

The piece suggests that it was a victory for democracy.

Drew Pearson, still in Los Angeles, suggests that the President, while championing civil rights for the South, was practicing discrimination among Young Democrats organizations. The Young Democrats, having once been young firebrands, had devolved in some places into tools for the big city bosses. Democratic state chairman for New York Paul Fitzpatrick appointed the president of the Young Democrats of New York out of fear that they might bolt to support Congressman Franklin Roosevelt, Jr., thought to be a chief rival to Mr. Fitzpatrick for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination the following year.

In California, a new, more vibrant group of Young Democrats, some 4,000 strong, sought recognition from the national organization over the failing established group, which had only 100 members. Yet, because of intervention from the White House, the new group had its approval delayed from early July until the past week, because of a call from cattleman George Luckey, a friend of the President, who asked that the new group not be recognized.

Mr. Pearson notes that one problem with the organization was that many party bosses did not want young, intelligent people in the organization as they became discouraged and did not make good party hacks.

The AMA had aligned with the big insurance companies to oppose the President's compulsory health insurance proposal.

The British general staff had just sent a secret report to the American Joint Chiefs telling of the London subway system being impervious to the atom bomb because it was so deep in the ground, the deepest in the world. The subways, the report also said, were going to be reconditioned.

The real estate industry was nibbling away at rent control in Los Angeles by pressuring suburban towns to decontrol on their own. Governor Earl Warren, however, would not approve the action.

Marquis Childs, in Belgrade, tells of the effort by Marshal Tito and his men to modernize Yugoslavia from a peasant economy into an industrial nation, with very little help from the outside world. Every effort was being directed toward construction of railroads, factories, highways, government buildings and like projects. Most workers, after a seven-hour workday, were required to "volunteer" for labor on government projects for an additional six or seven hours daily. Political prisoners were commonly sentenced to such work details.

Beyond the bare necessities, prices were very high and only soldiers and certain preferred workers were allowed to buy in special shops on special rations. Life was difficult for everyone.

Younger Communists spoke of constructing a new civilization and believed fanatically in Marxist doctrine, transformation from bourgeois decadence to a workers' paradise—similar to Trumpland. These individuals were badly shaken by the break with Moscow. Yet, arrests growing out of dissidence surrounding the break were small in number and the reconverted were being admitted to grace again.

Some 222 students who had been sentenced for political dissidence had signed a letter of repentance, saying they deserved to be punished, praised and thanked those in authority for caring for them and forgiving their sins.

Another viewpoint told of the denial of freedom and that the methods of the police state caused any real material achievement to be worthless. There were arrests without trial on charges of associating with foreigners and stories of men and women simply disappearing.

Between the two viewpoints were the mass of the people, the peasant farmers forced into the collective farms, who had known little beyond toil and bloody conflict. Most of the discontent was limited to griping and there was no chance of it being mobilized into hostile expression against the government, as the controls were too far-reaching.

Pressure on both the Roman Catholic Church, particularly the monastic orders, and on the Serbian Orthodox Church, was increasing. Observers suggested that the reason for such tightening of authority was the awareness of the party bosses that Western influence was bound to grow with greater trade and thus they were making certain that the escape hatches were nailed down.

Robert C. Ruark, still in Denver, finds the hotel business returning to its glory days at the turn of the century when guests were treated with gentility and not contempt, when tips were not expected for exceptional service.

The Ritz-Carlton in New York, the St. Charles in New Orleans, the St. Francis in San Francisco, Vernon Manor in Cincinnati, and the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs were all surviving exponents of this sort of service and hospitality.

But his favorite was the Brown Palace in Denver, built in 1882 by an itinerant carpenter and then sold for $1,500 in 1906 to a disgruntled guest who had the habit of coming in from the mountains on weekends and raising the roof. When guests had complained, he was prevented from registering and so went to Mr. Brown and bought the place, lock, stock and barrel, fired all the staff and hired his own. From that point onward, the guest was always right.

"Hotels are fine things, indeed, but utterly useless without patrons, and patrons are notoriously cantankerous people."

A letter writer bemoans the fact of Charlotte holding its Christmas Festival even before Thanksgiving, in mid-November, for the sake of merchants, finds it to be secularization of a sacred holiday.

Somehow, he appears to blame the late President Roosevelt for moving Thanksgiving from the fourth to the third Thursday for a short time prior to 1941 as having started the trend toward secularization.

The modern version of Santa Claus was invented in the late nineteenth century, about a year before the birth of FDR in 1882, as a boon to merchants. Does that not qualify in your world? Or is everything objectionable traceable to FDR and the New Deal?

Life was so good under President Hoover. Make America Great Again. Put candles on the Christmas trees as in olden times.

A letter writer appeals for further donations to the campaign for the Spastics Center, $12,000 short of its goal.

A letter writer praises the report on the slums of Palmer's Alley, believes the responsible parties should be brought to court for permitting it to exist.

A letter from a person in the life insurance business thanks the newspaper for an article and the November 12 editorial on National Service Life Insurance for veterans' beneficiaries.

A letter writer from Atlanta takes issue with a letter writer who, while criticizing an editorial on the New York special Senate election between former Governor Herbert Lehman and interim Senator John Foster Dulles, had claimed that eleven out of thirteen people in New York were middle class, and thinks the editors had responded to the writer properly. He suggests that the previous writer ought to travel more.

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