The Charlotte News

Tuesday, December 27, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that accidents during the three-day Christmas holiday weekend from Friday at 6:00 p.m. took the lives of 556 persons, with automobile accidents accounting for 397 of the fatalities, fewer than the 435 deaths predicted by the National Safety Council. The next most destructive force resulting in death was fire, accounting for 65 fatalities. There had been 396 accidental deaths over the 1948 two-day weekend, with 277 traffic related. Texas led the nation in deaths, with 56, 35 of which were traffic related. California suffered the second most with 40, 36 of which were traffic related. North Carolina had 26, 16 of which were traffic related, winding up seventh among the states, behind the two leaders and Illinois, with 38, New York, 34, Ohio, 33, and Pennsylvania, 28.

In New York, Dr. Albert Einstein had put forth the previous day his generalized theory of gravitation, a mathematical representation of gravity. Other scientists said that if proved, it would be the greatest scientific achievement of all time. Dr. Einstein said, however, that he had not yet proved the theory or developed a test for it. It would be published the following February as "Appendix II" of a new edition of The Meaning of Relativity, originally published in 1922. (He would revise the theory in 1954 and present it in the fifth edition as "Relativistic Theory of the Non-symmetric Field".)

In central Japan, a new heavy snow added to the misery already suffered after eight people had been killed by twenty-odd earth temblors since Sunday night. Most of the dead lived in Imaichi.

The United States of Indonesia changed the name of its capital from Batavia to Jakarta, not to be confused with Jogjakarta in eastern Java.

Republicans were expecting considerable support from Democrats in opposing the President's proposed tax increase. House Minority Leader Joe Martin renewed his plea for a cut in the war-imposed excise tax. He said that he expected the President to propose a multi-billion dollar tax hike to pay for his "extravagant and illiberal plan to socialize America".

A veterans' pension bill in the Senate and a veterans' insurance bill in the House were top priority items for the new Congressional session to start January 3.

The AFL was planning to seek substantial wage increases in the coming year.

The Cleveland, O., transit strike ended after a State court injunction so ordered pursuant to a statute outlawing strikes by public employees.

Howard Blakeslee reports that, according to a study conducted for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, low income Americans were improving their diet.

New York City, which had suffered from drought conditions causing a severe water shortage with its reservoirs two-thirds empty, received a good rain of .65 inches during the prior 24 hours, albeit less in the critical watershed area. Engineers, meanwhile, were planning a 600 billion gallon reservoir system to serve New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for the ensuing century.

In Statesville, N.C., a wealthy New York grocer, originally from Russia, was found dead in a stream, his body shoeless but otherwise clothed expensively. There were no outward signs of violence but absence of identifying papers and a wallet led police to believe the motive for the killing was robbery. An autopsy was being performed at Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem.

In New York, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor arrived for another visit to the U.S.

Cheerful Charlie, from Sierra Leone, was being fed in London.

On the editorial page, "Safety vs. Speed" tells of automobile deaths per 100 million passenger miles equaling 2.1, while scheduled air transport suffered only 1.3 deaths, and buses and trains, .18 and .13, respectively. The principal reason, it posits, for the number of deadly automobile accidents was speed, whereas public transportation placed a premium on the safety of passengers.

"A Prudent Course" finds the State Department acting wisely in banning U.S. merchant ships from Shanghai on penalty of having their captains' licenses removed. As the Communist-held port was blockaded by the Chinese Nationalists, the U.S., with this move, avoided any armed confrontation which would pave the way into the port for the Communists, and at the same time had not taken action which would be perceived as unfriendly to the Nationalists.

"Well-Deserved Honor" applauds the Associated Press newspaper editors for naming Federal Judge Harold Medina as the top citizen of 1949 for his role as presiding judge in the trial of the top eleven American Communists. He had demonstrated great patience in the face of disruptive tactics by both the defendants and their counsel.

It suggests that it was refreshing to see good judges on the Federal bench in a year when the President had diminished the prestige of the Supreme Court by making two political appointments, Attorney General Tom Clark and former Senator Sherman Minton.

"Our Greatest Enemies" relates that half of the people who had died in the country during the year, though the lowest death rate in history, had succumbed to cancer or heart disease. It urges giving first to the organizations fighting these diseases, even if they received less publicity than such dreaded diseases as polio.

A piece from the Louisville Courier-Journal, titled "Earned Pensions—Not Doles", tells of life expectancy in the U.S. having risen from 40 years in 1850 to 48 in 1900, to 67 in 1949. Thirteen percent of the voting age population were over 65 and 34 percent were over 40. Thus, a large segment of the population was pension-conscious.

It finds the proposal to expand Social Security, with employer and employee contributions, to be the best way to provide for old age, in conjunction with private pension plans. It was superior to the Townsend Plan of giving stipends to the aged.

It suggests that Congress ought provide, per the advice of Fortune, a tax exemption to employees for the amount contributed, as already enjoyed by employers.

Drew Pearson tells of the secretary of the Senate Leslie Biffle ordering that names and salaries of Senators' employees be published. It had been the rule before 1947, when the Republicans took over control of the Senate. Senator Burnet Maybank of South Carolina had sought to restore the rule in 1947 but was blocked by Republicans.

The AEC had decided not to take action against Senator Ed Johnson for going on a television show and revealing that the U.S. was working on an atomic bomb a thousand times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb as well on a means to destroy inbound atomic bombs in midair. Senator Johnson, as a member of the Atomic Energy Committee, wielded power over appropriations to the AEC and so could retaliate if action were taken. Moreover, it would clue the Russians to the fact that the information he provided was true. Also recently, a Pentagon official had revealed that atomic bombs were being stored in caves in the Southwest, a fact generally known previously by reporters but maintained in strictest confidence until the Pentagon official leaked the story.

The Navy was quietly going about preparing for antisubmarine warfare, to thwart the threat being posed by the Russian submarine force. The plans were largely secret but among the preparations was sowing mines along the seacoast, placing submarine nets in harbors, and putting spikes in the base of harbor entrances. Patrol planes and blimps were also to be used for reconnaissance. Smaller submarine interceptors were being developed to engage quietly the enemy in undersea battle, and plans were being laid for a special amphibious force to demolish submarine bases, albeit with the precaution in mind that the plan could be turned against the U.S.

The State Department, according to the Army, could not make up its mind whether to send arms openly or in secret to Europe.

Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of West Germany had told the State Department privately that his recent appeals for a West German army were strictly for home consumption.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop tell of the 70th birthday of Josef Stalin having affirmed the fact of his actual deification taking place in Russia, with Pravda having described him as the "Inspirer of Creation" and "Gladness of Life". A three-tiered society had developed in the Soviet Union, with Stalin as god-head, similar to the ancient societies in Peru, Egypt, and China, even ancient Rome, with the oligarchy which ran the State next in the pecking order, below which was the large proletariat.

Ascribed to Stalin were three godlike qualities, omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. He had not yet had immortality added to this triad.

Communism had become a state religion. The original Communist doctrine, as put forth by Marx and Lenin, assumed that government would wither away when true communism obtained. But the Government in Moscow would not so wither away, as technology had given all power to the Government, much as the ancient emperors and kings had attained absolute power by controlling irrigation.

But theocratic empires, they advise, usually expanded until they were defeated. They suggest giving prayerful thought to the bleak facts thus set forth regarding history and politics.

Robert C. Ruark, in Honolulu, tells of his friend from the service, Don Beach-Comber, formerly known as Don Beaumont-Gant of Louisiana. He had become wealthy in the restaurant business in Chicago and Los Angeles by being a wheeler-dealer, much as he had been a chief scrounger while in the service. He had gotten the urge to sell it all, however, and invest in a nightclub catering to tourists in Honolulu. Now, he was regarded as a pillar of the community, active in civic organizations, promoting the tourist trade, of which he knew much.

His nightclub was the most striking thing offered to tourists to convince them that they had arrived in the South Pacific. With the backing of the Matson Navigation Co., having the largest stake in the tourist industry, he had become the recognized local authority on the tourist trade.

Henry C. McFadyen, superintendent of the Albemarle, N.C., schools, providing his seventeenth in the series of articles on childhood education, discusses guidance counseling. It started with standardized aptitude tests, on the theory that students would then be directed by the guidance counselor into studies simpatico with their demonstrated mental skills.

But he finds that the system wasted a lot of educational energy on areas of study which were not the student's forte. And sometimes teachers were ill-equipped to spot certain demonstrated interests, as in the case of a friend who, as a student, had an abiding desire to be a forester, had always liked roaming about in the woods, but was discouraged from the occupation for it sounding to his teachers not enough white-collar, yet followed his muse and eventually became a forester, now worked for the forestry service.

Most schools did not have devoted guidance counselors who were so trained. But those who were could often tell more about a student than could the parents, could tell by tests and interviews whether a student should be a lawyer or a plumber. (Simple determinative question on that one: Do you have a notion to break into the Democratic National Headquarters or do you think you might wish to represent the burglars after they are arrested 23 years hence?)

He suggests taking the student to the guidance counseling services of either Duke or UNC to be tested at a cost of $15 to $25. He believes that the cost was well worth the result, even if the services were limited to a select number of students.

Duke may have made at least one mistake in its guidance counseling in the case of one particular lawyer. He probably would have been better fitted for plumbing. But that was already likely determined back in the hallowed chambers of Whittier.

Third Day of Christmas: Three French horns blasting hard in Trumplanderkind.

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