The Charlotte News

Thursday, December 8, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Nationalist Cabinet in China shifted its capital from Chengtu on the mainland to the island of Formosa, signaling perhaps the end of 22 years of large-scale warfare on the mainland. Two guerrilla forces were left behind to continue to harass the Communist forces. The Nationalists hoped that in so doing, they might be able ultimately to defeat the Communists the same way they had been beaten. Chiang Kai-Shek was reported to be headed to the island.

A resolution passed by the U.N. General Assembly urged the world to keep out of the conflict in China and to respect its treaties. It promised to keep watch on developments regarding charges by the Nationalists of Soviet intervention on behalf of the Communist forces, and to that end, referred the charge to the "little assembly" which remained in session all year. The Nationalists agreed with this resolution, passed by a vote of 45 to 5 with no abstentions in the 59-member body, after it had become apparent that their own resolution, which included strong condemnation of Russia, would be defeated.

Retired Lt. General Leslie Groves, presently vice-president of Remington Rand, said in a telephone interview that during the war, he had withheld secret reports on atomic energy from Vice-President Henry Wallace, reports which would normally have gone to him. He said that he simply preferred not to show them to Mr. Wallace, that it presented to his mind an "unnecessary, recognizable risk" to do so. He showed one report to him in fall, 1943, but none thereafter. Otherwise, the reports were shown only to the President and high military officials.

The General also said that the Russians definitely had obtained secret information during the war but he did not know how much.

In New York, in the retrial of Alger Hiss for perjury, Henry Julian Wadleigh, former economist with the State Department, denied that he supplied any Government documents to Whittaker Chambers. The defense was seeking to prove that the documents in question came from Mr. Wadleigh, not Mr. Hiss. Mr. Chambers had admitted on the stand that at least one of the documents might have come from Mr. Wadleigh. Mr. Wadleigh did admit providing documents to a prewar Russian spy ring. He also said that some of the originals of the documents which Mr. Chambers claimed to have received from Mr. Hiss may have crossed his desk but that he had no recollection of giving any of those documents to Mr. Chambers or any other courier.

Maj. General Bennett E. Meyers was going before a parole board this date to plead for early release after completing the minimum time of his 20-month to five year prison sentence for subornation of perjury of a witness testifying before the Senate Investigating Committee.

Some miners had returned to a full five-day week in the Midwest and South after some companies had accepted the terms of John L. Lewis, which included a 15-cent increase from the current twenty cents in the per ton royalty paid to the welfare and pension fund, plus a 95-cent per day pay increase which meant the basic wage for miners rose to $15 per day. He continued to use the three-day work week as leverage with the other companies. The major operators, however, remained resistant to the terms.

In Vallejo, California, an Arrow Airways passenger airliner crashed the previous night among the hills shortly after taking off from the Oakland Airport, killing all nine people aboard, three of whom were children.

New York was without adequate water to allow residents to wash their cars. The Water Commissioner for the first time imposed restrictions on nonessential usage, which included no filling of indoor swimming pools or flooding of tennis courts to make ice skating rinks. Cleaning of the tiled walls of the subways was also halted. Water wardens were deployed by the Police Department to go to homes and urge people to conserve water. The wardens were to report waste to authorities. One woman asked if it was alright to take a shower.

Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray of Winston-Salem was reported to be gaining support from a special committee charged with selection of a new president of UNC to replace Frank Graham, appointed to the Senate earlier in the year by Governor Kerr Scott.

News Editor Pete McKnight described to the Charlotte Kiwanis Club the origins of the Empty Stocking Fund to collect money with which community agencies could purchase Christmas gifts for needy children, sponsored by The News, started during the Depression in 1930. It had been conceived by News publisher W. Carey Dowd, Jr., who had died the previous August, the Commander of the Salvation Army, William Gilks, and former Fire Chief Hendrix Palmer

In London, a burglar entered the Christmas residence and stole 14 pounds sterling which the woman of the household had saved to buy presents for her eight-year old daughter and seven-year old son. The thief also made off with three pounds which the children had saved to buy presents for their mother.

That's nothing. In 2016, America had the decisive majority of its popular votes nullified by a thief in the night called the Electoral College. Perhaps that thief might yet become honest and provide a majority vote for the candidate who received the majority of the popular votes, and thereby comport with the manner of selection of the chief executive practiced by every other civilized modern democracy on earth.

The News wants some good crowd pictures from downtown scenes. Photographers would be paid $3 per picture published. The grand prize winner, to be announced December 17, would receive $10. Get out your Brownies.

How about a picture of a disappointed Wildcat crowd in Las Vegas on that day? Then a disappointed crowd of Trumpies two days later? That would make for Christmas.

Incidentally, the absurd claim of the "President-elect", reiterated this date in response to the CIA findings that the Russians deliberately sought, via hacking of computers, to sway the election toward him, that he won the election by "one of the biggest electoral college victories in history", betrays again his lack of understanding of U.S. history or his willingness to dissemble. In point of fact, in elections since 1888, only the 1916, 1968, 1976, 2000, and 2004 elections were closer electorally than the tentative count of 306 to 232 in 2016, 56.8 percent of the electoral votes for the Republican. The 1948 result was 57 percent of the electoral votes for President Truman; the 1960 result was 56.4 percent for Senator Kennedy, that only because nine electors from Alabama and Mississippi departed from the popular vote victories for Senator Kennedy in both states; and both 1968 and 1976 were also close to the 2016 results, with Richard Nixon winning 301 votes or 55.9 percent, and Governor Jimmy Carter winning 297 votes, 55.2 percent. Thus, of the previous 32 elections, the electoral "victory" in 2016 stands as one of eight of the closest electoral results, essentially tied with four others, 1948, 1960, 1968, and 1976, beating by any significant margin only 1916, 2000 and 2004.

Of the elections prior to 1888, the 1836, 1848, and 1884 electoral wins were within a point of the same percentage as the 2016 results, with only the 1800 and 1876 electoral results substantially closer, while in 1824 neither principal candidate earned an electoral majority.

Directly contrary to the assertion of the "President-elect", therefore, the election is among the closest electorally of the 58 presidential elections in U.S. history, as one would expect, given the fact that former Secretary of State Clinton won the popular vote by at least two percent, more than 2.8 million votes and still counting. The "President-elect" is either again lying through his teeth or stating something as fact which is not, without conducting even superficial research into the matter—unless, of course, he perceives U.S. "history" as having started in the year 2000.

Only if the elections are isolated out in which the popular vote winner suffered an electoral vote loss in the end, or, in the case of 1824 a loss in the House, would 2016 come in second ahead of three of the other four, 1824, 1876, and 2000, with Benjamin Harrison winning 58.1 percent of the electors in 1888 despite loss of the popular vote, a notorious subset of elections with which the "President-elect" apparently would not wish to admit company.

In terms of popular vote margins, Secretary Clinton's two percent is tied for eighth closest, ranking ahead of the popular vote margins of 1844, 1880, 1884, 1888, 1960, 1968, and 2000, and is virtually tied with 1976, 2.1 percent. In all save two of those elections, 1888 and 2000, the popular vote winner became President.

As the 2016 Republican nominee, himself, said in 2012 when he thought that President Obama would win the electoral college while losing the popular vote, that such demanded a "revolution", a revolution ought take place on December 19: the electoral college should recognize the will of the majority of the voters.

On the editorial page, "More Housing Units?" tells of a City Councilman who had, a few weeks earlier, voted for a maximum of 400 low-income public housing units and said that would be the limit of his recommendation, now advocating more units, admitting a mistake earlier in the limited number for black residents. He now favored 800 units.

The piece finds that the Councilman was probably right, as the column had said at the time the 400 units were proposed. A problem had been that no up-to-date survey of housing had been conducted since 1940. The Housing Authority had asked for enough money to conduct a new survey to determine needs of not more than 1,800 units.

"Quarrelsome Queen" tells of Freedom Park residents objecting to the suggestion by the Latta Park residents that the proposed juvenile recreation center be relocated to Freedom Park.

The piece urges that the Park & Recreation Commission had a duty to all the citizens of the community, not just one neighborhood, and the Latta Park area was the most sensible location for the center given its half-mile proximity to a fourth of the junior high school age residents of the city.

"Nuclear Fission Developments" discusses the new breeder reactor which could produce fissionable products from more readily available materials, U-238 and thorium, than the scarce U-235. It was hoped that the development would allow cheap atomic energy for powering homes within a few years.

David Lilienthal, resigning head of the Atomic Energy Commission, was practicing operation with more transparency by holding monthly press conferences, announcing in the latest one the breeder reactor development and the scheduling of new atomic bomb tests on Eniwetok. He said that the chief problem surrounding development of atomic energy was the jitters anent anything atomic and enveloping with secrecy that which was no more secret to scientists than the rising of the sun.

It hopes that his successor would be as enlightened.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Wasters of Land and Water", tells of scientists and engineers of the Geological and Biological Surveys having determined that the subterranean water table, once the insurance against drought, was being depleted in the East by removal of trees and other vegetation, which helped to humidify the atmosphere and produce normal rainfall. Bad farming and forestry were reducing the water table in Indiana. And nearly everywhere, streams were being polluted or siphoned dry.

The lack of water in New York was a reminder that ruthless exploitation of natural resources had consequences which could prove disastrous unless Americans paid more attention to conservation of soil and water.

The new EPA head to be appointed by Connie Donny wants to take the "P" out of the clean water and air, believes that the "argument" on climate change is still open to debate, wants to return to a time when America was Great, perhaps to its more pristine state in 1491.

Ralph Gibson of The News continues his look at the Domestic Relations & Juvenile Court in Charlotte, examining more closely the domestic relations side. The Court counselor, the equivalent of a prosecutor, aided the Court in making decisions by first interviewing the complainant in such matters as non-support, illegitimacy, neglect, or spousal battering. Sometimes, married people came to the counselor seeking only advice on how better to get along.

Many times, the situation giving rise to the complaint did not amount to a criminal charge, such as a complaint that a husband would not buy clothes for his wife as ground for "non-support".

In one case, a temperate woman had turned into a "hussy", according to her husband. It turned out, after physical and psychological examination, that she was going through a period of middle age during which women were prone to mental disturbances—presumably referring to menopause. After treatment, she was fine.

The Court reported that adult sex crimes rarely came before it, confined typically to exhibitionism by a man before high school girls. The man usually was in need of psychological treatment. If he did not respond, then he might be jailed.

Mr. Gibson finds the $80,000 spent on the Court well worth the money to the taxpayers of the community, as it prevented more serious situations from arising.

Drew Pearson finds that Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson should have stuck by his original decision questioning the Government expenditure for a European junket of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee, led by Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma. For the net result had been to offend the Swedes regarding Senator Thomas's claim of lack of hospitality, threatening their ERP aid, and then, after receiving too much hospitality in Spain from dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco, proposing a hundred million dollar American loan to the country. The general impression left among Europeans was that the Senators were ignoramuses.

At one point, during an interview with the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune, Senator Thomas had confused the French defense minister, Rene Pleven, with the Premier, Georges Bidault, whose first name he could not recall. He said he found the Paris night life to afford "good shows". He also admitted that as chairman of the committee, he always received the best suite of rooms.

Mr. Pearson contrasts the junket with the trip to Europe by sea of freshman Senator Hubert Humphrey and wife Muriel, undertaken at their own expense, paid from a $500 bond left to them by Mrs. Humphrey's father at his death for purposes of giving them a honeymoon.

Senators Owen Brewster and Homer Ferguson had taken a quiet, hard-working tour of the world's trouble spots without drinking to insobriety, as had most of the members of the Thomas subcommittee.

The Bolivian Government had stopped payment on the P-38 fighter plane which caused the collision with the Eastern Air Lines passenger plane, claiming the lives of all 55 aboard as they both tried to land simultaneously at National Airport in Washington. That was so despite the plane having been insured by the Bolivian Government through Lloyds of London. Moreover, the relatives of the dead could not sue Bolivia without the Government's consent.

The U.S. charges d'affaires in Madrid had informed the State Department that crop conditions were so bad that a Spanish revolution could begin at anytime and that the only way to stop the overthrow of Franco was a U.S. loan to Spain. Vice-President Barkley's son-in-law was on the staff of Franco and though the Vice-President usually disagreed with his son-in-law's policies, a new drive for the loan appeared certain.

Mr. Pearson finds the new FHA ban on guaranteeing loans on properties subject to restrictive covenants on race, religion, or national origin not to be worth much as it could not be enforced unless the covenant was in writing and recorded. It banned recordation of such a covenant on penalty that the loan balance could then be accelerated by the lender.

Secretary of State Acheson had asked chief State Department planner George Kennan to draw up a new plan for atomic energy in light of the Russian atom bomb.

General MacArthur wanted to rebuild the Japanese Navy as a bulwark against Communism in the Far East, wanted the recently returned lend-lease ships from Russia given to Japan.

Republican leaders in Georgia were holding a strategy meeting to try to revive the party in the South, and, to that end, Republicans were maintaining close ties to Southern Democratic members of Congress whose voting records were closer to Republicans than to Democrats.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow had warned the State Department that Russian industry, contrary to predictions, was breaking all production records, that Moscow was planning to announce that its latest five-year plan had been achieved in four.

DeWitt MacKenzie tells of Formosa or Taiwan, the island to which Chiang Kai-Shek and his Nationalist forces had fled for their last stand against the Communists, having become an "international hot potato".

General MacArthur apparently believed the island key to American security in the Pacific for its flanking of key island-base positions such as Okinawa, had said that he would favor sending troops to defend it against Communist invasion, which was reportedly planned for the following summer. The southern tip of Formosa was only 250 miles north of Luzon in the Philippines, containing Manilla and the base at Cavite. It was only 650 miles from Japan and about 400 miles from Hong Kong.

The island had been ceded to Japan at the end of the Sino-Japanese war of 1895 and had a valuable harbor.

Some military brass believed it was essential to control the island, while others deemed it not so important as America controlled the sea and air. Politically, control of Formosa was considered widely to be undesirable, that its occupation would raise the cry of imperialism, already heard through the Asiatic world.

There were many Communists on the island and it had been reported that some 2,000 inhabitants had been shot for collaboration with the Communists. The economy had declined following the influx of Nationalist refugees, causing many to be antipathetic to the Nationalist cause.

The U.S. thus far had made no policy declaration regarding the island and the situation had not yet reached a critical point. Chiang's forces were comprised of about 300,000 men on the island, equipped with American arms. Informed sources believed that the U.S. would thus approach the situation by watching and waiting.

Robert C. Ruark, in Oakland, California, tells of visiting West Coast steel and aluminum magnate Henry Kaiser in his impressive offices. He was enthusiastic and was working ahead of his most current project by about a decade. If he was building a Kaiser-Frazer automobile from aluminum, he was considering how to build one of spun glass or moonbeams.

He was sensitive about charges that he had built his empire off Government borrowing, contending that during the war he had saved the Government nearly a half billion dollars in the production of ships, magnesium, steel and cement, versus that charged by competing firms. And, plainly, his production of the Liberty ships and, later, the jeep carriers, had a decisive impact on the war. Yet he had to finagle his way into being given the opportunity to build the ships by first building thirty for the British to prove he could do the job efficiently. Admiral Emory Land had nearly thrown him out of his office for suggesting that he could mass-produce carriers. He was able to sell the idea to FDR, however, via a picture-postcard painting of one of them. Sixteen admirals had protested the plan.

When production hit full stride, Mr. Kaiser was forced to enter the steel business, with which he was unfamiliar. As a result, he had to enter a dozen other collateral industries which he mastered in turn.

He thrived on surmounting the insurmountable and then quickly would lose interest once conquered. Some believed he would thrive in the automobile business as he had never before "throve".

In that, he slud and winded up out.

The "Better English" answers could have near been: "You didn't used to have went there."; kiro-poe-dust; eauditarium; a golden lion; promiscuously procreative.

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