The Charlotte News

Tuesday, March 8, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Sofia, Bulgaria, the three-judge court sentenced the fifteen Protestant churchmen on trial for treason and espionage to prison terms, four to life, and the others from one to eighteen years each. All of the defendants said that they were satisfied with the findings and would not appeal. Each had confessed guilt before the court and begged for mercy, pledging their allegiance to the Communist Government. A Government press department had called them "squealing little rats". Two defendants were released on credit for time served. Most of the defendants had their property confiscated and suffered heavy fines.

In New York, jury selection had started in the trial of the eleven top American Communist Party leaders, on trial for violation of the Smith Act.

The trial of Mildred Gillars in Washington for treason for her broadcasts of Nazi propaganda during the war as "Axis Sally" was concluding, with final arguments being delivered by the attorneys, to be followed by the court's instructions to the jury.

A representative of Syria said that the country was ready in principle to participate in armistice talks with the Israelis.

In Winter Park, Fla., the President spoke at Rollins College and received an honorary doctorate in humanities. He said that the people struggling in front of the iron curtain offered the best hope for peace.

The President, in a letter to outgoing Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, proposed that all military pay be subject to tax and that members of the armed forces contribute to their own retirement fund. The letter was read to the House Armed Services Committee, considering a raise in service pay by an average of 14 percent.

The House Rules Committee approved sending to the House floor for debate the rent control extension bill, which would extend control by fifteen months, less than the 24 months sought by the President. Rent control would expire March 31, but there was a move on by Southern Democrats in the Senate to delay the bill as leverage against the civil rights program of the President.

The Supreme Court had decided the previous day that the states could impose stricter regulation of union shop contracts than that imposed by Taft-Hartley as that Act had not reserved to itself exclusivity of regulation in the area. Members of the House Labor Committee reacted by proposing that the new labor law should include provisions which would forbid states from overriding the Federal law regarding closed and union shop contract provisions. Taft-Hartley banned the closed shop but allowed the union shop, enabling the employer to hire non-union personnel provided that employee would subsequently join the union, where the contract was approved by the union membership.

In Raleigh, family, friends and dignitaries paid their respects to Senator J. Melville Broughton, former Governor, who had died the previous Sunday of a heart attack after serving only two months in the Senate. Vice-President Barkley led a large delegation from Washington attending the funeral.

Governor Kerr Scott said that he would not accept, as he was being urged, a deal whereby he would resign as Governor and allow the Lieutenant Governor to appoint him to the Senate seat. He said that he would appoint someone soon to fill the vacancy. He had already received a thousand pieces of mail recommending the replacement, which included suggestions of former interim Senator William B. Umstead, whom Mr. Broughton had defeated in the previous spring primary, future Senators Willis Smith and B. Everett Jordan. UNC president Frank Porter Graham, to be the appointee, is not listed among those suggested for consideration. In 1950, Mr. Smith, a Raleigh attorney, would defeat Senator Graham for the Democratic nomination in a race-baiting campaign orchestrated by Jesse Helms as campaign manager.

In Raleigh, the State House Committee on Courts and Judicial Districts considered a bill to provide salaries to justices of the peace, eliminating their fee system from court costs, and to provide for their appointment by county boards of commissioners to replace the extant system of either election or appointment by the Governor or the Legislature.

In Teterboro, N.J., Bill Odom landed his small plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza, completing a record journey of 5,000 miles non-stop from Honolulu in 36 hours. He said the trip was easy except for some bad weather over the Rocky Mountains.

There are no further clues in the "Mr. X" contest for the week. The man born in 1891 must be slender. He could be British.

On the editorial page, "Battle of the Statistics" again discusses the "Foundation Program" recommended by the State Education Commission, whereby educational costs would be borne by the State to the extent of 85 percent, with the remainder borne by the counties and municipalities.

The Mecklenburg County Commissioners had objected to the proposal, now before the Legislature in the form of a bill pending in each chamber.

The piece urges that statistics not become blinders to the ultimate need for improvement to education for the sake of the students. There was no better investment in the future than improvement to education, to build better citizens.

"The Building Is Gone" likens Joe Louis's retirement from the boxing ring at age 34 to the sudden demolition of a building which one passed every day. He had been heavyweight champion since 1937 when he defeated Jimmy Braddock, had defended the title successfully 25 times and amassed a reported income of 4.5 million dollars while establishing a growing myth.

Some deplored boxing as a glorification of assault.

"But that's taking it too seriously. Sure, Americans like a fight, whether it's in the ring or on the street corner, and they'll crowd around every time. It may not make sense, but it's still Americanism, and we wouldn't have it otherwise."

Incidentally, speaking of fights, we recommend to the Republican front-runner for the presidential nomination that he join the roller derby queens and get his violent aggression out that way rather than foisting it on the nation with a ridiculous and pointless run for the presidency, full of venomous vitriol by design to stimulate the worst latent passions of a certain under-educated segment of the population looking for someone to blame for their condition, a campaign therefore devoid of all substance, an exercise in megalomania that this candidate might achieve a crowning glory which he has not in the realm of business. After all, it is hard for someone to feel like they have accomplished something by taking 40 million dollars in seed money from their rich daddy and merely developing it into a few billion dollars over the course of forty years. Any dumbbell without a penchant for the horses or Las Vegas ought be able to do that. Indeed, normal investment would have achieved the same wealth which this idiot now claims.

We would recommend to this idiot that he become a wrestler or boxer to vent his obviously long-repressed adolescent aggression, but we know that he would be unable to sustain in either ring for more than a few seconds before hollering foul and for help from his handlers, as is made amply evident daily during his campaign by the fact that he cannot tolerate even small voices of dissent, indeed even silent sign carriers, without making a show of having them immediately tossed from the arena, with accompanying verbal insults from the candidate, a typical mama's boy reaction, crying to the apron strings, in this case his security police, anytime anyone dares to intrude, even momentarily, on his solipsistic exercise in demagogy, afraid that any interruption in the brainwashing process of his mesmerized audience might be interpreted by them as weakness, hence breaking the spell which he and his money, or, more to the point, the aura of his lucre, have thus far been able to create.

He claims that his name is worth two or three billion dollars, depending on how he feels on a given day, thus changing his net worth accordingly. After this campaign, most Americans would not wish to pay ten cents for that name, indeed are increasingly reviled by its mere mention. The one thing his campaign is demonstrating is just how far gone mentally about a fifth of the American electorate is and how decadent that part of the society has become, how easily impressed they are by mere riches, no matter how acquired. If this guy had no wealth, he would be laughed off the stage as a crazy person merely shouting into the wind.

"Odds and Ends" finds that since the vehicle inspection law had been abrogated by the Legislature, owners of jalopies which had been removed from the road as unsafe had begun to apply in droves for registration.

The National Safety Council had begun plans for a campaign to encourage mechanical inspection of vehicles, having found that such problems led to three to eleven percent of all accidents, and that the percentage of fatal accidents so caused had doubled since 1941.

The piece concludes that North Carolina, a notably progressive state, had abandoned its vehicle inspection program because enforcement had been poor, and gone backward instead of forward. Yet, no one seemed to care.

A piece from the Winston-Salem Journal, titled, "Hurting Themselves", tells of a report from the Greensboro News finding that when rent controls had been released in Greensboro between the previous November and February, rents had skyrocketed 105 percent, demonstrating the need nationally for continued rent control. While rent control had worked hardships on many conscientious landlords, the greed of some landlords caused it still to be necessary.

Drew Pearson tells of James Jones, a Western Union messenger in Florence, S.C., putting on an annual one-man campaign to raise money for the March of Dimes since its inception, having raised $2,500 in 1949. He had done so via bicycle until the residents recently bought him a motorcycle. He had, as a black man, helped to improve racial harmony in the community. Recently, the Hi-Y Boys Club had raised money for a black girl to have restorative eye surgery, such that she could now see.

Southern Democrats were seeking to block former Washington Governor and Senator Mon Wallgren as the President's appointee as chairman of the National Security Resources Board, in retaliation for the civil rights commitment of the Administration. The Southern Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee reviewing the nomination, led by Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, had teamed with Republicans, led by Senator Harry Cain of Washington, a bitter enemy of Mr. Wallgren, to delay consideration of the nomination. Senator Cain had leveled charges at Mr. Wallgren which the Southerners said needed to be investigated further, to the consternation of Committee chairman Millard Tydings of Maryland, who insisted that the charges were based only on unreliable hearsay and newspaper accounts. Senator Richard Russell of Georgia wanted to sabotage the nomination in retaliation over civil rights. Senator Estes Kefauver disagreed, wanted the hearings to proceed, warning that the hearsay charges could cause adverse reflection on the President and Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington. The vote on the nomination, nevertheless, was delayed.

The country, having restocked the world's food supply, now faced surpluses, and it was likely therefore that crop controls would need be reinstituted by July. If so, it would be the first time that acreage allotments would have been instituted on cotton, wheat, and corn since 1942.

Joseph Alsop discusses the failure of the Soviet effort in Western Europe for the immediate time, but warns of the Soviets only settling back for the long-pull. The question was whether the U.S. could do likewise. For without the support of the U.S. over the long haul, Western Europe could not sustain the effort to withstand the pressure from the Soviets over time. The changes would come slowly through political processes rather through precipitous events.

Russia was building 3,000 to 5,000 tanks per year, meaning that it would have a force of 20,000 to 30,000 tanks within six or seven years.

The U.S., following the creation of the North Atlantic Pact, would therefore need to stabilize the distant regions threatened by the Soviets, a task which would be long, complex, and costly. The emerging Anglo-American alliance would perhaps become the best instrument for accomplishing the task. But the major initial realization was that the task had to be accomplished.

Mobilization would then need be accomplished to meet Soviet rearmament, to retain for the West a strong defensive advantage.

If the dual requirements, stabilization and mobilization, were fulfilled, the country and the West generally would be safe. In the meantime, the hope was that inner conflict in the Soviet Union would produce changes which would transform the armed truce into real peace.

James Marlow discusses the process of developing a new labor law, based on the 1935 Wagner Act, with some changes, to replace Taft-Hartley, passed by the Republican Congress over the President's veto in mid-1947.

Labor had liked the Wagner Act while employers did not. Employers liked Taft-Hartley while labor did not.

He discusses the general process by which a bill becomes law, wading through committees of each of the two houses of Congress before passage and being signed or vetoed by the President.

The Senate Labor Committee, after holding weeks of hearings, had recently approved, along partisan lines, the Administration bill, unchanged. The House Labor Committee had now begun hearings. The bill, once it reached the floor of both houses, could change markedly before being voted on and sent to the President.

A letter writer responds to the front page stories of February 25-26 regarding the murder-suicide of a man who had killed his wife with a shotgun and then turned the gun on himself, leaving nine orphaned children behind, saying in a note that he committed the act because his wife could not leave men and boys alone.

The writer says that she knew the woman and that the note unjustly accused her of infidelity, that she was a dedicated housewife, mother and faithful member of the church.

A letter writer disagrees with a piece by Tom Fesperman appearing February 26, says that the country was not facing a depression but rather going through an adjustment between high and low prices, natural after a war. He says that no depression would come before 1952, and perhaps not before 1955. But then, he warns, the lid would blow off as there was too much money in circulation and too much building taking place. At 70, he had lived through four depressions, the worst of which had been in 1893 when Grover Cleveland was President. The next was in 1907 during Theodore Roosevelt's Presidency, and then in 1913-14 during President Wilson's first years in office, followed by the Great Depression, beginning in 1929.

He thinks that another world war would occur by 1965 if the Federal Government continued on its present course.

A letter writer, a veteran of both world wars, who was not receiving any benefits as a veteran, responds to a letter of March 4 which supported the giving of a pension to veterans. He believes veterans ought get their fair share of Government expenditures, otherwise going to foreign aid for "appeasement". He advocates establishing a veterans political ticket to obtain the rightful benefits due veterans.

A Quote of the Day: "We are trying to grow a patch of strawberries this year for the third time. The first year the birds ate them up and the second year the grass ate them up. Unless we have a little better luck this time we intend to give up farming and go into the poultry business." —Omega (Ga.) News

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