The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 29, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the nation had suffered 2,717 accidental deaths during the six major holidays of 1949. Of the fatalities, 1,705 were in traffic mishaps, 391 were from drowning, 66 in fires, and 555 from miscellaneous accidents. The report provides the breakdown by holidays. The National Safety Council predicted that another 330 would die in traffic accidents over the coming holiday weekend. The president of the Council said that only a blizzard could prevent the toll from rising at least that high during the three-day weekend starting at 6:00 p.m., Friday.

Simple solution: Don't drive or ride in a car after 6:00 p.m. on Friday until after 6:00 p.m. on Monday.

Representative Robert Doughton of North Carolina, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, said that there would be a vigorous crackdown in 1950 on tax cheats, responsible for shorting the Government as much as five billion dollars in revenue, the amount of the budget deficit. He said that Congress should take action immediately to reduce the wartime excise taxes, particularly those which slowed business and caused undue hardship to consumers. But he also cautioned that the lost revenue would need to be found elsewhere. He said that there was not much sentiment in the Congress in favor of raising taxes, as being urged by the President.

The Federal Reserve Board stated that Americans were paying an average of nine percent of their income in Federal income taxes, about the same as that spent on consumer goods as automobiles, furniture and home appliances.

In New York, Dr. Leona Baumgartner of the Children's Bureau charged that the Federal Government was spending far more on atom bombs than on child health research.

Senator Tom Connally of Texas urged cuts in spending of up to a billion dollars on Marshall Plan aid in 1950 as well as cutting a substantial sum from the military budget. He also called for continuation of the "non-partisan" foreign policy. He told newsmen that after consulting with Secretary of State Acheson, he was assured that there would be no recognition forthcoming of the Communist Government in China without first consultation between the State Department and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, of which Senator Connally was chairman.

As the U.S. prepared for the largest peacetime maneuvers in the country's history, to take place in the Caribbean in January through mid-March, it was reported that three Russian ships were in the vicinity. The Army, Navy, and Marines would have 80,000 men involved in the exercises. The Russians claimed that the ships were fishing vessels, but it was believed that they were there to observe. Similar reports of Russian ships occurred in spring, 1948, just before U.S. maneuvers in the area.

On Luzon in the Philippines, an earthquake shook the area for two and a half minutes, recording an intensity of 7.0 on seismographs. Several people apparently had been killed and injured, but no tally was yet available.

Democrats were confident that they could continue winning elections, but the President's social programs faced potential roadblocks from Southern Democrats.

The President had scheduled to deliver to Congress his State of the Union message the following Wednesday at around 12:30 p.m. Press secretary Charles G. Ross said that the President's address would last about 25 to 40 minutes.

Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon stated that despite the three-day work week in the coal mines potentially causing a cut in rail service, the President did not have the power to seek an injunction to restore the full work week, that Taft-Hartley's provision for an emergency injunction applied only to strikes, not merely to economic hardship.

The North Carolina Retail Coal Dealers Association informed Senator Clyde Hoey of a critical shortage of coal in the state.

In Goeppingen, Germany, the chairman of the Communist Party in nearby Salach, committed suicide. He had recently despaired, according to family, that the Communists killed everybody with whom they disagreed and said that he was done with Communism.

In Fayetteville, N.C., an elderly druggist died after suffocating from smoke inhalation from a fire caused by his smoking in bed.

In Morganton, N.C., a young woman's body was found dead, shot through the temple, with the gun in her hand and a suicide note beside her body.

Hal Boyle tells of everyone looking back at the first half of the century of late, but finds that the big achievements during the period, the airplane and the atom bomb, had done little for the individual, whereas the small personal occurrences were more important.

In 1918, for instance, he had thrown a punch at a bully for harassing some girls in his grammar school class, making him a lifelong pacifist. He had hated war and distrusted the Sir Galahad legend ever since. Then in the seventh grade, in 1924, he was ditched by a girl in favor of a taller boy, leading him to believe that one could trust something more than women—though he had not yet figured out what that was. In 1929, he had lost his entire pocketbook of $4.50 playing pool with a friend from junior college, thus ending his gambling career.

When he was young, he believed that he would never learn to swim but persisted until he did. And it saved his life 18 years later when, with General Patton's landing force, he had to swim the last 50 feet to shore in North Africa.

When he came home from the university, he told his mother that other parents did more for his fellow students, causing her to break into tears. He then wanted to give an arm to take back what he had said.

So, he concludes, while the major events impacted everyone and made the history books, it was actually the small events which made up individual life experience.

On the editorial page, "Utilities Commission on the Spot" finds that the State Utilities Commission action to send a transportation expert to Charlotte to study the adequacy of the Duke Power bus system, focused attention on the weakness of state utility regulations. The City Council had asked for the expert the previous summer when Duke Power applied for a fare increase on buses and the Commission had denied the request for want of such experts at the time. But since, the Commission, authorized to hire such an expert, had done so.

"Taxicab Fare Increase" finds that the City Council had acted appropriately in allowing the taxis a fare increase, as they had been losing money. The increase was not excessive. But it warns that continued increases could be offset by a commensurate drop in passengers able to avail themselves of the service.

"False Heroics" comments on a letter to the editor on the page which took exception to the December 22 editorial on public housing, thought that the City Council had acted wisely in objecting to the "principle" of public housing. The piece agrees with the letter writer that it was time "for Uncle Sam to stop playing Santa Claus" and stresses that it was for that reason that the newspaper objected to the Federal Housing Act of 1949, on the belief that the Federal Government was not responsible for putting a roof over a person's head and that the need for Government economy did not allow for the funding in any event.

But, it adds, once the bill had become law, the City Council had a responsibility to take advantage of the available funds to remedy the need for eradicating slums, the action in curtailing the request for units having denied to the community its fair share of the available funds. As a result, the slums would be a drag on the community for years to come. The Council, it asserts, should have passed a resolution before the Act became law if it wanted to make a statement on principle. By taking the action they had, in limiting the request for funding to 600 units rather than the thousand recommended by the Housing Authority, the Council set itself up as being wiser than the Congress, "a role which ill befits them."

A piece from the Christian Science Monitor, titled "An Invasion of Personal Rights", remarks on the public protest against the decision of the New York Public Service Commission to provide music and advertising via the public address system of Grand Central Station and the like decision in Washington regarding buses and streetcars. It regards the protests as well-grounded and supports the effort. To pipe such announcements and music on public transit facilities, it opines, was to invade the rights of the individual to be free from intruding advertisements. Patrons paid for a service and should not be subjected to the transit companies further making profits by selling advertising at the expense of the privacy of each passenger. It advocates resistance by the public to such intrusive violations.

Drew Pearson tells of George Wadsworth, American envoy to Turkey, and his unusually late daily schedule plus insistence the while on strict protocol at parties, meaning that guests could not leave until he did, usually not before 3:00 a.m. He notes that Mr. Wadsworth was an admirer of the Arabs while denouncing the Jews.

The Public Health Service would soon make a survey of the effects of the urban water shortage on water pollution and the nation's health. New decontamination facilities were needed.

The State Department, after achieving the release of Angus Ward, U.S. Consul General at Mukden, was at work trying to free two more Americans held by the Chinese Communists, a Marine sergeant and a Navy chief electrician, both in custody for more than a year after being taken captive on October 19, 1948, after they inadvertently landed in Communist Chinese territory during a routine training flight. After the Navy unsuccessfully sought to obtain their release, the State Department began its effort. But thus far there had been no success, with the State Department limited in what it could do because of the impracticability of sending troops into Communist China to effect rescue of the two men. He suggests, however, that it should not have taken a year for the State Department to ask Communist foreign minister Chou En-Lai to grant the men the privilege of writing to their families.

Marquis Childs discusses the internationalization by the U.N. of Jerusalem and the complications it would cause in Arab and Israeli relations. The resolution had passed by a strange coalition between the Arab states, save Trans-Jordan, the Soviets, and Latin American nations. The resolution had been initiated by Herbert Evatt of Australia, aware that a tough election was coming up in Australia, one which his Labor Party had recently lost.

The resolution now threatened the integrity of the U.N., causing the doomsayers to suggest that it would be as Ethiopia was to the League of Nations when the League sought to maintain a protectorate over the latter nation, one which Italy defied, to the destruction of the League's prestige. Now, Israel and Trans-Jordan, which had agreed on joint occupation of Jerusalem, were in defiance of the U.N.resolution.

The supervisor of the U.N.'s armistice commission for Palestine, Brig. General William Riley, however, was not so pessimistic. He hoped that a compromise could be achieved whereby only the holy places in Jerusalem would be internationalized to permit Christians to visit them. It remained the hope to which the optimistic had to cling to avoid a renewal of hostilities in the Holy Land.

Joseph & Stewart Alsop again discuss the President's mid-term elections strategy, this time regarding foreign policy. He was reliant on the Republican resurgence of isolationism to continue to help to defeat them at the polls. Senator Vandenberg understood this problem and so had returned from the hospital against doctors' advice to lead the party away from this tendency.

But he faced three problems, first, the diminution of bipartisanship in foreign policy, which the Alsops attribute to the policy of the President, not being inclusive enough of Republicans in the formulation. Second, Senator Taft, gearing up for a run for the presidency in 1952, had entered the field of foreign policy, traditionally left to Senator Vandenberg, for the sake of his 1950 Senate campaign. Third, the chief party contributors were demanding isolationism, a dramatic reduction of foreign aid, both military and rehabilitative.

If the Republicans and conservative Democrats made inroads in this direction by November, the electorate would likely take notice and respond accordingly. To put the Republican isolationists on the spot, the President only had to stop feeding the country "soothing syrup" and give it the "bleak truth" about the world situation.

The Republicans would face the "welfare measures" on the domestic side, another thorn with the voters if the Republicans proved obstructionist. Thus, the Democratic strategists hoped at a minimum to defeat Senators Donnell, Capehart, Hickenlooper, and Millikin, and increase substantially Fair Deal representation in the House, to break thereby Republican Congressional strength.

A letter writer, as indicated in the above editorial, objects to the December 22 editorial on public housing, critical of the City Council's decision to limit its request to funding for 600 units. He thinks the Council properly objected thereby to the principle of public housing.

A letter from a physician objects to the editorial "One Blue Baby" as giving approbation to the Harnett County welfare superintendent who asserted that the AMA was responsible indirectly for the absence of funds to provide for the blue baby in need of an operation to save her life, forced to rely on civic organizations to raise funds for the purpose. The AMA opposed the President's compulsory health insurance plan. He says that the AMA had no objection to use of public funds for indigent care but did object to a compulsory insurance plan to achieve it, as it opened the door to "complete political control of the practice of medicine."

A letter writer supports Governor Strom Thurmond in his bid for the Senate and James Byrnes for Governor, finds the criticism of Mr. Thurmond by the CIO-PAC to be misplaced.

A letter from the chairman and cubmaster of Pack 5 of the local Cub Scouts thanks the newspaper for giving publicity to their activities during 1949.

Fifth Day of Christmas: Five goldfish drowning deep in Trumplanderkind.

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