The Charlotte News

Monday, April 25, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that after the Chinese Communists had taken control of Nanking on early Sunday, local time, they were confirmed by Nationalist sources to be within 10 miles to the northeast of Shanghai and were unofficially reported racing toward the sea south of the city to trap 300,000 Government troops. Residents of Shanghai were preparing to welcome the Communists, and in Nanking a welcome was planned by the residents for later. The American consular general said that all U.S. ships were planning to depart Shanghai and that all Americans who wished to leave should be aboard. The Communists claimed that a million troops had crossed to the south of the Yangtze, while Nationalist sources claimed that only 20,000 had crossed from Kiangsu Province, just north of Nanking and Shanghai.

The British believed that two wounded sailors aboard the British sloop grounded since the previous week were being held by the Chinese Communists. The sloop continued to be trapped up the Yangtze but the 60 remaining sailors aboard were reported in good spirits.

In Frankfurt, the West German leaders had resolved their differences on drafting a constitution for the new government.

In Paris, V. P. Volgin, vice-president of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, addressed the "World Congress for Peace", stating to cheers from the audience that capitalism and Communism could peacefully coexist. The previous Saturday, former Assistant Attorney General O. John Rogge had told the meeting that there was no mutual threat between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. But he had drawn boos from the audience when he said that there was inadequate freedom for political minorities in Russia. Mr. Volgin begged to differ while criticizing the U.S. for creating the potential for nuclear war.

Secretary of Agriculture Charles Brannan stated that the goal of the new Administration farm program was not cheaper food for consumers but rather support for a fair farm income. He said that therefore the rumors that the program would be very costly were unfounded but could not assess the cost as it would be tied to changing business conditions.

A bill was introduced in both houses of Congress regarding the President's national health program, providing for a payroll tax of employers and employees to finance it. The bill was co-sponsored by eight Democratic Senators and two Democratic Representatives. They stated that the substitute measure sponsored by Senator Taft was the sure road to socialized medicine. Both plans are explained in an editorial below by James Marlow.

The Supreme Court refused review and thus let stand a lower Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that employers transacting business in interstate commerce had to bargain with unions on employee pension plans, provided the union could partake of NLRB services under Taft-Hartley, that is after compliance with the requirement that its officers file non-Communist affidavits.

The Court, in a 4 to 4 decision, effectively upheld a lower court ruling which struck down the basing point price system in determining freight prices as part of the sales price in the steel conduit industry. The Court had ruled a year earlier that the cement industry had entered an unlawful conspiracy to fix prices under the basing point system.

In Detroit, a planned strike at Packard Motor Car Co. was called off at the last minute by the UMW after settlement was reached between the company and the union the previous night.

In Lexington, N.C., Coble Dairy Co. cut its wages by ten percent for its 1,000 workers because of a general market decline in milk and dairy products, the products having declined in price about 30 percent during the previous year.

In Evarts, Ky., a bundle of 20 sticks of dynamite were found beneath the Mayor's bedroom window during the morning. The fuse had burned nearly to the cap before going out for unknown reasons. The Mayor had taken office a year earlier on a pledge to clean up illegal liquor and gambling operations in the dry Harlan County community of 2,100. The town had been forced to hire six police chiefs since the previous August, one having been killed, another convicted of manslaughter for the killing of the man who was under indictment for murder for killing the police chief, and the others resigned.

Near Carthage, Tenn., a fast freight train rammed a truck crowded with Sunday worshipers at a crossing the previous night, killing ten, nine of one family, and seriously injuring one other. The son-in-law of the driver of the truck had stopped at the crossing to let out passengers and when he saw his father-in-law go around him, he tried to warn him that the train was coming but his father-in-law did not understand. There were five people in the cab of the truck and six seated in chairs in the back. The truck burst into flames and was dragged a hundred yards down the track.

In Gastonia, N.C., a 25-year old man had been charged with the attempted rape of a high school student and stabbing her and her male companion, both 18. They were parked on a dirt road on the previous Saturday night when the man opened the car door and tried to pull the girl from the car, then produced a knife and began stabbing both of the victims. The man was caught with bloodhounds, leading to his home where bloody clothing was found. He was charged with two counts of assault with intent to kill and one count of attempted rape. The female victim was in satisfactory condition and the male was in critical condition.

In Charlotte, voting was heavy in the local election primary, possibly to top the record 24,000 turnout in 1941. Incumbent Herbert Baxter was being contested actively by Victor Shaw in the mayoral race. Thirty-six candidates were also vying for seven seats on the City Council. The voting had been conducted peacefully, without murder or mayhem or dog bites.

In New York, the mother of the year was named, a 60-year old Kentucky-born woman who was the wife of a postal worker in Fort Worth, Tex. She had raised six children and helped to educate eight others, all of whom had gone on to successful careers, one a production manager for NBC.

In Bishop Auckland, England, comedian Alex Munro clutched his throat and fell to the stage while the audience roared with laughter as he continued to struggle off stage. The laughter increased as an assistant asked whether there was a doctor in the house. Before returning to take a bow, Mr. Munro had managed to write a message on the off-stage floor which finally produced a doctor, explaining that his plate and false tooth had become stuck in his throat.

It must have been a rather toothsome performance, worthy of a fellow long in the tooth. At least, he wasn't a sword swallower.

On the editorial page, "Controlled Minds" tells of no one getting upset about the socialization of Puerto Rico, that the concern over danger was only while Rex Tugwell was Governor. Now, under the new administration, Government was entering into business, luring American capital by tax exemptions, and nationalizing the power and transportation industries. The Government was even broadcasting educational and cultural programming across the island.

It suggests that, while the residents could no doubt benefit from such programming, control of information media was the best way to promote the policies of a given political party. The Congress and the people would never permit the Government to get such a grip on the mainland's population. Since Puerto Ricans were U.S. citizens, the piece finds it strange that the Congress and the people would permit such conduct to transpire.

"Moderates to the Fore" tells of Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, in her new column, advocating more discussion of moderates rather than liberals and conservatives. She described herself as a moderate, not siding with either extreme but voting for what she believed to be for the good of both sides. Moderation, she said, should not be confused with fence straddling and weakness. She believed that the moderate would be getting more attention in 1952, as people were tired of politicians catering to special interests for one side or the other. "They want equality, and not extremes."

The piece finds the view encouraging and hopes that the new Senator would conduct her legislative duties accordingly.

"Senatorial Agility" tells of Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina speaking out against the Federal housing bill and then voting for it on the ground that it was better than previous housing bills. President Truman had proposed 1.05 million housing units over seven years and the bill approved by the Senate allowed for 810,000 units in six years, 240,000 fewer units in one less year.

It suggests that it was emblematic of what happened to people when they went to Washington. They heard so many large figures that they began to grasp for anything less objectionable, even on compromise of their principles in the process. The editorial suggests that if the Senator really opposed the bill, he should have voted against it despite its slum clearance aspects.

"Wise Appointment" praises the appointment by Governor Kerr Scott of Dr. H. L. Trigg, president of St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, as a member of the State Board of Education, the first black person so appointed. It predicts that the people would likewise approve. Dr. Trigg was well-qualified, having been principal of Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and president of the State Teachers College at Elizabeth City, as well as serving as supervisor of black high schools for the State Board. The Governor had pledged to give blacks better representation on State boards and commissions. The black schools in the state were improving but were still far below the standards of the white schools and, asserts the piece, with better black representation on the State Board, would gradually become better.

A piece from the Fayetteville Observer, titled "Popcorn Battle", tells of an Oregon legislator trying to prohibit popcorn and peanuts in that state's movie theaters because of the consequent noise. During hearings on the bill, the ban's proponents distributed popcorn to spectators, causing such noise that it had to be confiscated. Meanwhile, theater owners complained that the legislation was un-American and that popcorn enabled them to make a profit.

The piece says it did not like movies or popcorn, nor noise from jukeboxes in cafes and bars. But, it says, there was too much restraint of low-brow instincts of people to make noise, that somewhere they should have that freedom, and theaters were a proper outlet.

It's not the popcorn. It's the idiot in front or behind you who, invariably, has to pass on to their immediate neighbor and half the patrons within earshot that they have seen the movie and wish to convey the next scene's contents to prove it.

"Look, look, it's comin' up. It's comin' up. Right here. He's gonna kill him. I've done seen this movie three times. It's so good. He's gonna kill three more before the end. He's gonna cut the feet off one and feed 'em to his dog through a straw. I won't tell you which one though."

Drew Pearson tells of U.N. General Assembly president and Australian Foreign Minister Herbert Evatt steering the Assembly toward fairness. He had recently denied U.S. chief delegate Warren Austin permission to speak in response to Soviet chief delegate Andrei Gromyko because Mr. Austin had just spoken on a topic. The neutral nations had come close during the fall to getting the Soviet blockade of Berlin lifted and Mr. Evatt, instrumental in the process, had drawn fire from the West for meddling in the cold war. But a thawing of the cold war in the spring would be in no small measure the result of Mr. Evatt's efforts.

Lobbyists in Washington represented the diaper industry in New York and the cemetery industry in Ohio, from cradle to grave. The clothespin manufacturers also had a lobbyist. One lobbyist represented an interest dubbed "strictly personal"—perhaps unmentionables.

Some, as the latter, got nothing, while others received large salaries, such as the AMA lobbyist, one couple of which receiving $100,000 per year. He lists several of the major lobbyists and their salaries.

The British high command had allowed French and Belgian factories to produce the high-speed British-type fighters, the Vampire and Meteor, which were the only Western fighter planes capable of keeping up with the Russian 600-mph jets.

The President was looking for a replacement for Admiral Hillenkoetter as director of the CIA. He would remain until October, 1950.

The Italian Government was modernizing its airbase at Foggia, despite not being allowed military planes under the peace treaty. The modernization was for the purpose of accommodating the American B-36 to enable use of atom bombs against Russia in the event of war.

The U.N. would delay its decision on the disposition of Italian colonies until the fall while a commission studied the matter and then would provide a report in September.

James Marlow discusses the national health program proposed by the President, who had been advocating the program for three years and had just provided a special message to the Congress on the program as presented to the current Congress with stress on compulsory health insurance. The A.M.A. was actively opposing the plan and it was being called socialism by its opponents. Alternative programs had been suggested under which the Federal Government would provide funding to the states to assist in providing medical care. The Administration had said that this type of program would not cure the problem in providing medical care at an affordable cost.

Both types of programs would be funded by taxes, but the President had proposed a payroll tax to fund his health care program.

A new bill was about to be introduced to embrace all of the President's proposals, including the already introduced compulsory health insurance plan. It would include Federal aid to medical schools, aid for building hospitals and other medical facilities, and aid to the states and localities for medical care. The cost was not yet ascertained. The insurance program was estimated to cost five billion dollars or more per year. The program of state aid was estimated to run two billion dollars over five years.

The primary questions therefore were how much the program would cost and whether it would provide for the nation's health.

There was also a third question. How much would it cost the nation over time, in terms of foreclosures and bankruptcies, from the cost of medical care borne by individuals and families from catastrophic illness not adequately covered by private health insurance and the eventual skyrocketing costs of health insurance, itself, in not having such a program? What is the cost of loss of commerce and business when a family, magnified many thousands of times, can no longer afford a middle-class existence? Is it socialism to demand through the laws that capitalism be fair and not utilize economic power to achieve monopoly and raise prices beyond the reach of the market, especially in relation to the supply of an essential service? Those are questions, of course, for today more than in 1949, when they were also quite relevant.

If you are hell-bent for leather, short-sighted and stupid, go ahead and put the Republicans back in charge of all three branches and then recall firsthand the good old days. They cannot help themselves as they are bound by the issues on which they campaign and receive their support, in turn dictated by the need to appeal to the lowest common denominator of society, to continue the cherished identity as a party preserving of the past, unfortunately, in most cases, all that is both regretful and detestable about the past. If you really want change, then keep a Democrat in the White House another eight years and elect a Democratic Congress, for once, for all eight of those years. But first and foremost, find out how the country works. It is not an autocracy.

Joseph Alsop discusses the seemingly progressive amendment to the housing bill introduced by Senator John W. Bricker, forbidding discrimination in public housing. The actual intent of the amendment, however, was to goad the Southern Democrats into active opposition of the bill and thereby defeat it with a Republican coalition.

Thus, the amendment was not only supported by the housing lobby, firmly opposed to public housing, but also by Senators Kenneth Wherry and Homer Capehart, supportive of the lobby's efforts and opposed to the civil rights legislation.

The same Northern Democrats and Republicans who favored civil rights also favored the housing bill. But they were opposing the Bricker amendment. New Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois led the debate against the amendment and became the object therefore of criticism by Senators Bricker, Wherry, and Capehart, with Senator Bricker adopting the pretense of a more objective and scholarly demeanor, "'toothsomely regular, splendidly dull'", as Mr. Alsop paraphrases Tennyson.

Senator Taft, once the leader of the old guard, had recently criticized his fellow Republicans for this behavior and specifically decried the Bricker amendment. His was a change of style more than substance.

Mr. Alsop observes that such changes, coupled with the new approaches in the Senate injected by such persons as Senator Douglas, showed the country's adaptability, sometimes comic in its manifestations, but "richly complex and capable of great developments," which he finds good enough.

The Republican approach to public housing and slum clearance via the Bricker amendment in 1949 is somewhat remindful of the Republican foreign policy approach, while out of office, to the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-81.

A letter writer objects to the Raleigh News & Observer having editorially characterized the General Assembly session as a "Go Backward" Legislature, thinks the legislators were wise to curtail some of the "reckless" spending programs suggested by Governor Scott, which would have put the state back in debt after several years of fiscal responsibility.

A letter writer finds a cold war ongoing among Christians, carping at one another. He favors peace among believers.

A letter from the Red Shield Boys' Club expresses its appreciation for the newspaper's promotion of Boys' Club Week.

A letter writer recommends voting for the most qualified people for the City Council and Mayor.

And, April 25, 2016 is the 40th day that the American people and their democracy have been held hostage by the Republican-controlled Senate by refusing, for the first time in United States history, to hold hearings on a Presidential nomination to the Supreme Court. Since that Senate is unlikely to get anything positive done anyway, we recommend stopping all Senate business dead in its tracks until Mr. McConnell and Mr. Grassley, who have ceased to be worthy of the title "Senators", decide to join our democracy and heed the will of the voters in both 2008 and 2012.

What is it from which you are hiding, that you are so afraid of the American people finding out in hearings on a Supreme Court nominee? What are you covering up, Mr. Grassley?

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