The Charlotte News

Friday, July 15, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Big Three of the steel industry, U.S. Steel, Bethlehem, and Republic, agreed with the proposal of the President to accept the plan for a 60-day strike moratorium during which the fact-finding board of the President would consider the dispute and make findings. They said that they would not be bound by the board's recommendations and they still believed the President ought use the power to seek injunction of the strike provided under Taft-Hartley. The United Steelworkers Union had said that, otherwise, it would have struck the Big Three companies starting this date.

The President met in secret conference with top military, atomic, diplomatic and Congressional leaders at Blair House for two and a half hours, presumably regarding international control of nuclear energy. There was no indication of the precise topic.

They're gettin' ready to declare martial law and drop the bomb on Russia. Run for cover. Pour some concrete.

Don't tell anyone we told you, because it is Eyes Only, Top Secret, but Russia will conduct their first successful nuclear test at the end of August.

Hey, come back here. We said not to tell anybody.

In Prague, the Communist minister of justice claimed that Archbishop Josef Beran was a traitor to the State, as he proposed a law under which the Government could seize the property of the Roman Catholic Church.

The British Government was studying with alarm the revived practice of tribesmen of the African Basutoland whereby they chopped each other up to make "good luck" medicine, giving them, according to belief, spiritual, sexual or political powers. Twenty such killings, accomplished in stealth, had been reported during the previous year. The tribesmen would cut off a part of the victim, then brew it in a secret elixir and either drink it or scatter it about the house, depending on the type of powers sought. One tribesman had sold his brother for the purpose for $400.

Don't you come around here with that medicine.

In London, British troops began loading cargo on the Thames River docks after a wildcat strike had paralyzed shipping for 19 days, idling over 14,000 stevedores.

In Calcutta, a bomb killed one policeman and and injured 40 others during an address by Prime Minister Nehru.

The Senate agreed to vote on NATO ratification the following Thursday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee tentatively agreed to cut 1.25 billion dollars from the proposed military budget for the fiscal year.

Fifteen Democratic and two Republican Senators introduced a bill aimed at boosting production to 300 billion dollars per year in the country, as urged by the President.

In Walla Walla, Wash., Jake Bird, 48, convicted ax murderer of a woman in an incident occurring October 30, 1947, was hanged.

In Pine Hall, N.C., a tenant farmer who refused to let neighbors extinguish a fire destroying his 125-year old home, the oldest structure in Stokes County, was being held under $10,000 bond after being charged with arson. Two neighbors testified at a probable cause hearing that the farmer had threatened to kill them if they sought to put out the fire.

In Charlotte, C. A. Fink, head of the State Federation of Labor, became president of the North Carolina Railroad, possessed only of a line of tracks between Charlotte and Goldsboro, and no trains. The state-owned Railroad, created by the General Assembly in 1849, leased the tracks until 1994 to Southern Railway at a rent of $286,000 per year. Southern maintained the tracks and ran the trains.

John Daly of The News tells of Charlotte ranking first among North Carolina cities in the number of manufacturing establishments, with 233, but ranking second below Winston-Salem in production employees.

That's 'cause they got them big tobacco buildin's and hosiery mills. They just run trucks out of Charlotte.

On the editorial page, "Political Demagoguery" finds the President to have engaged in demagoguery in his Wednesday night television and radio chat to the nation regarding the economy by erecting a "smokescreen" regarding achievement of better government at a better price, criticizing as "selfish" the Congress and lobbying interests for urging that he cut 5 to 10 percent across the board from the Government operating budget.

It suggests that a statesman would unite the country behind an economy drive instead of stooping to a "spineless alibi for the shortcomings of his own Administration", laying the blame on Congress for not cutting the budget.

The piece again urges cutting, not from the 32 billion dollars for defense, foreign aid, or the interest on the national debt, but rather in the remaining ten billion dollars in basic administration expenses and social programs, especially such things as the new public housing and slum clearance program.

Oh yeah, let's cut that out altogether and make sure crime stays up and the poor develop no means over time to contribute positively to the economy.

Blah, blah, blah... Hoover Commission Report.

You can read the rest of this silly editorial, as it echoes so many others of late that we are jaded to the point of being jaundiced beyond print on the topic.

Get out an adding machine and a few sociological tracts, stupid. The cost of the social programs, especially when offset by the societal costs for their absence, is practically nothing. And the President did not say he was not going to make the cost-cutting measures recommended in the Hoover Commission Report. He was being critical of Congress for passing the buck to the White House for cost-cutting, traditionally the role of the Congress.

"Controlling Campaigns" supports the proposed local ordinance to coordinate and regulate the fund-raising drives of local civic organizations in the community.

"Democratic Predicament" tells of Representatives Albert Gore of Tennessee and Adolph Sabath of Illinois proposing to sidetrack the plan of Agriculture Secretary Charles Brannan, providing for subsidies for overproduced perishable produce to keep the farmer's price up while the consumer price would remain at the market low while preventing waste of the produce through Government warehousing. The two Congressmen proposed to replace the program with the old parity system, which would remain intact for non-perishable produce, as cotton and tobacco, under the plan of Mr. Brannan. Congressman Gore had found the Brannan program to be the product of "fuzzy, befuddled politics", proposing to force-feed the farmer something he did not want.

The piece agrees and believes that the plan ought be abandoned for being without firm understanding of its costs and calculated to appeal to the farmers for their votes in 1950. It cautions, however, regarding any substitute which the Democrats might propose to attract votes were the Brannan plan scrapped.

Wright Bryan of the Atlanta Journal tells of losing a close friend, Bill Newton, and two acquaintances in the crash of the KLM airliner near Bombay earlier in the week, carrying journalists home from Indonesia. The crash claimed the lives of 13 American reporters, including Pulitzer Prize winners H. R. Knickerbocker and S. Burton Heath, plus 31 others. He had known Mr. Knickerbocker and George Moorad, also killed in the crash. The plane had hit a hill on its approach for landing during a monsoon rain.

He relates that despite the tragedy, the airlines generally were able to overcome most problems encountered in the air and land the planes safely.

He was also a friend of publisher Bill Matthews of Tuscon, who, along with a female reporter, had decided not to take the flight because of the woman's fear that it would be sabotaged. Mr. Bryan finds that likelihood generally, regardless of whether it had occurred on this flight, to be remote.

He believes that overseas air travel would continue to grow.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Joseph O'Mahoney of Wyoming and Representative Emanuel Celler of New York having been instrumental in trying to get legislation passed which effectively would have nullified the Supreme Court's decision outlawing the basing point system, enabling major industries, such as cement and steel, to absorb freight costs in shipping to certain geographical areas to enable prices for their product to be the same throughout the country, a practice deemed by the Court to have been monopolistic by cutting out small business competition in local markets.

Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and Representative John Carroll of Colorado added amendments to the legislation, however, to eliminate price-fixing, as the O'Mahoney-Celler proposal had language which would have permitted absorption of freight costs to meet "in good faith" a low price of a competitor. Congressman Celler claimed that he supported the Kefauver-Caroll amendments though he had made statements, according to the Congressional Record, which were to the contrary.

Marquis Childs discusses the private-power bill, having passed the House with a key provision intact to enable private utilities to be the primary beneficiaries of low-cost public power. But the Senate Appropriations subcommittee had engineered cutbacks in appropriations to market power produced by the Southwestern Power Authority, effectively wrecking that project. Without the funds cut, the power had to be sold for whatever a private utility wanted to pay for it.

A number of key items were also cut which provided for the Central Valley project in California.

The amounts cut were not for reasons of economy as the Senate appropriation for the Interior Department was 54 million dollars higher than the House version, the difference including a lot of pork-barrel projects for individual Senators.

The Senate was likely to approve the subcommittee and Committee action and so the only hope for the bill was reconciliation in the Senate-House conference.

Stewart Alsop, still in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, finds rubber planters to be deeply suspicious of the President in his effort to promote synthetic rubber in the United States, thereby causing the price of natural rubber to drop sharply. They believed that some dark plot existed to end their rubber export market.

During the Thirties, the rubber planters of Malaya and Indonesia had schemed to maintain high rubber prices through their monopoly on the rubber plant, especially for the U.S. market. So it was not surprising that they thought a counter-scheme had been used against them.

Synthetic rubber was more efficient than natural rubber and soon would be cheaper than the natural material. Once that happened, rubber planters would pretty quickly disappear, along with hundreds of thousands of Chinese, Malayan, and Indian rubber-workers. The British were thus fearful that while they would beat Communism in Malaya, synthetic rubber would eventually beat them.

Malaya was the richest dollar-earning part of the sterling bloc for the British and rubber accounted for most of it. The sterling bloc included most of the non-Communist world outside the U.S. The loss of rubber, therefore, could mean the final collapse of the sterling bloc by preventing recovery.

Similarly, nylon had eliminated silk trade with Japan and dried up its dollar supply. Substitutes were being found for jute, India's chief source of dollars. Synthetic alternatives to tin and cocoanut oil also were being produced.

If the world could not sell products to the U.S. for dollars, it could not buy U.S. products, regardless of their necessity to those dollar-starved nations. Thus, the very ersatz forms of raw materials to make life easier in America were also threatening its ruin. He concludes that insofar as the Far East was concerned, the Marshall Plan was only a beginning of the job of rebuilding political and economic structures disrupted by the war, avoiding repetition of the same structures which brought about the war.

A letter from the president and the membership chairman of the YWCA thanks the newspaper for support during the organization's membership enrollment drive.

We have noticed recently that is skewing its average of polling data to favor the Republican presidential candidate by artificially truncating the number of polls included in its daily average, some days including as many as eleven, other days, as now, only seven, each change reflecting a favorable shift to the Republican, including always the grossly misleading Rasmussen poll which shows the Republican this week supposedly up seven points, an unlikely shift of fully twelve points in four weeks, when the other polls show no such dramatic shift in that period, most showing no shift of any consequence, CBS this week showing a shift of six points in the past month, the only other poll showing even so much as a tie between the two candidates.

But if the more sensible averaging is used, that is, taking the 18 non-redundant polls issued over the past month, back to the Bloomberg poll which finished sampling on June 13, the average is a 5 point lead for former Secretary of State Clinton. Subtracting Rasmussen from that total renders a 5.6 point average lead. But the artificially depressed average between only seven of those polls is, instead, a 2.7 point lead. Such an inclusive average is fairer also because it dilutes the Rasmussen poll, which publishes a new poll weekly and appears to be playing games by skewing its sample to favor the Republican, as it has in past elections.

The sample taken over the longest period, that of Pew Research, sampling respondents between June 15 and June 26, just released last week and showing a 9 point lead for Secretary Clinton, is not included in the truncated average, though two of the seven polls included in that average were taken during the latter days of that same period.

Presently, it does not matter much as there is no impending vote obviously. But as election day gets nearer, it could matter, as a close race in polling tends to bring out voters in greater numbers than in a race seemingly out of reach for one candidate.

Yet, in the interest of accuracy and fair reporting to the public, we think that whoever the mad programmer is for RealClearPolitics ought to reflect on the public responsibility they have and not play games with statistics by artificially changing the average through selective cherry-picking of polls, producing a more favorable result to one or the other of the candidates. Certainly, at very least, some level of consistency ought be maintained such that artificial averages are not the result, as some news organizations publish that average number without any explanation or reflection as to how accurate the averaging is or on what it is based. We therefore stress that it is not accurate at present, reducing the race to a statistical tie when in fact the more accurate difference between the two candidates is 5 to 5.6 points in favor of Secretary Clinton—as may be confirmed by pressing the "All General Election" link at the bottom of the truncated list and then averaging the non-redundant eighteen polls back to the Bloomberg poll.

Such artificiality, at present, we note, also could stultify, if it has not already done so, any effort by the Republicans at their convention next week to change the candidate of their party—which, we think, would be very wise. But you dream what you will, live in a sugar-coated world as you please, and do what you want. The advice is free.

RealClearPolitics, however, does need to reflect on its public responsibility to be as accurate as possible, as many press organs are relying on their quick view afforded of the polling data.

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