The Charlotte News

Friday, September 16, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that in Budapest, Laszio Rajk, once Hungary's number two Communist, told a people's court in his trial for treason that he plotted with two named Americans and other Westerners to overthrow the Communist Government, to make Hungary a colony of Yugoslavia. He pleaded guilty to all charges, including conspiring with Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia to assassinate leading Hungarian officials. The trial proceeded under the presumption of guilt.

In Berlin, an American soldier who had burrowed out of an East Berlin jail and escaped into West Berlin, told of beatings and mistreatment during his ten months of confinement by the Russians. Because he had a Polish name, the Soviets had believed him to be a Polish displaced person sent to spy on them. He had inadvertently ridden a streetcar into East Berlin on the previous November 5, when he was taken into custody, was then questioned for 16 nights and days, beaten when the Soviets accused him of lying. Three British soldiers, who had been in custody for 18 months, escaped along with him. They confirmed the story of brutal treatment and being fed scant rations.

A bipartisan group of eleven Senators recommended earmarking 10 to 25 percent of the military aid for the NATO Western European members for establishment of a NATO police force. The group included Senator Clyde Hoey of North Carolina.

The International Monetary Fund voted unanimously to begin studying a proposed higher price for gold as sought by South Africa. The U.S., which had said it would veto the proposal, reluctantly assented to the study.

Lack of a quorum prevented a vote on the Fair Employment Practices Commission bill in the Senate Labor Committee.

In Pittsburgh, the United Steelworkers urged the steel companies to accept the recommendations of the President's fact-finding board to avert a strike on September 25. The union had already accepted the recommendation, a ten-cent per hour increase in pension and social insurance benefits.

Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin had to have an eye tooth extracted by a Washington dentist and it was being preserved for its two roots instead of the usual one. The tooth had given him trouble during the financial conference.

In Fort Worth, Texas, a B-36 bomber taxied the previous night into Lake Worth on takeoff at Carswell Air Force Base, killing at least one of its crew of thirteen. Four were missing and eight were injured. A power failure in one of the engines was blamed for the accident.

In Valley Stream, N.Y., a former associate of executed gangland boss, Louis (Lepke) Buchalter, was found dead from six bullet holes, three in the head and three in the back, on the eighth anniversary of the start of the trial which had sent Mr. Buchalter to the electric chair in 1944 for the murder of a candy store operator. The body of the victim, Phil (Little Farvel) Cohen, had been dumped near a Long Island parkway. Police said that they had heard that the killing was because Mr. Cohen was head of a new mob shaking down all of the important bookies in New York. Mr. Cohen had been indicted for the candy store murder but was never brought to trial, was sent to prison on a narcotics charge from which he had been paroled six months earlier.

In Santa Maria, California, a man from Ireland turned 100, saying that he had never refused a drink. In a hospital, he was not provided anything to drink of an alcoholic nature on his birthday.

In Columbia, S.C., the defense presentation began in the trial of the University of South Carolina associate professor of engineering accused of burglary and assault and battery with intent to kill, resulting from his alleged pistol-whipping of a former girlfriend, a nurse, with whom he was upset for not accepting his proposals of marriage. According to a jeweler, two days before the incident, he had bought two diamond rings, one for "Ann", the name of the nurse, but returned them the next day, seeking a more expensive ring. Another witness, a USC student, said that a week before the incident the professor had brought to him a German Mauser pistol, which he identified as that in evidence connected to the beating. The gun had three bullets in it at the time and the witness said that he had reloaded it.

Near Mooresville, N.C., near Charlotte, twenty children were injured during the morning in a school bus wreck after the front wheel came off on a dirt road when the bus was traveling at 25 mph, causing the bus to veer into a ditch. The children were thrown to the front of the bus in a pile. Some 28 or more children were aboard at the time of the accident.

Tom Fesperman of The News continues his look at the overcrowded schools of Charlotte, focusing on the causes of the overcrowding, starting with the 1943 baby crop beginning school, which had increased by 287 over those born in Charlotte in 1942. The schools had been built to accommodate the rate of births during the 1930's, about half of what they were in 1941, 1942 and 1943. In 1944 and 1945, the birth rate decreased slightly but then rose again successively in each postwar year, 1946-48. The rate in 1949 was headed again toward an increase over 1948. Thus, the problem was only going to become worse with time. Complicating matters, school authorities also had to predict how many new families would move to the city and how many would move away.

Pictured are some of the 57 children crowded into a single classroom of a black school in the community.

There is only one solution: split the apple. That's what they did with us.

On the editorial page, "Charlotte's School Problem" discusses the overcrowding of Charlotte schools as discussed on the front page by Tom Fesperman the previous day and this date. The reasons for the problem were that construction had been halted during the war, the birth rate meanwhile rose precipitously, and Charlotte had attracted many families from other areas.

The major problem facing the system was that the baby boom was expected to continue through 1955, taxing the schools even further.

The last local bond issue for education, amounting to six million dollars, had passed overwhelmingly and the people would vote for more money if asked to do so. But by the State Constitution, the County could not vote more than an additional 3.5 million in bonded indebtedness and school needs were conservatively estimated to be eight million dollars.

It lays forth three alternative plans for obtaining the needed money, pay-as-you-go, increasing the borrowing capacity per state law, and revaluation of property to raise taxes by as much as four times the current revenue.

It urges that one or all of these plans be undertaken, that it was no time to look to Raleigh or Washington for aid.

"The Minton Appointment" finds former Senator and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sherman Minton, appointed to the Supreme Court to succeed deceased Justice Wiley Rutledge, to be a "cut above" Tom Clark, appointed to succeed deceased Justice Frank Murphy the previous July. At least Judge Minton had eight years of judicial experience. Otherwise, however, his only claim to fame was his strong support of the New Deal while a Senator from 1935-41, and his being the chief proponent of the brief bid by fellow Indianan Paul McNutt for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1940.

He had actively supported FDR's 1937 ill-fated Court-packing plan and his Reorganization Act of 1938. He had also sponsored a bill making it a criminal libel to publish a "known untruth" against a Federal public official and sought to muzzle publications which had been critical of the New Deal by denying them mail privileges.

It suggests that some Americans were naive enough to believe that the Supreme Court ought be populated by the greatest legal minds in the country, but the President apparently viewed the qualifications differently. It expresses hope that the Court would not suffer too much from the Clark and Minton appointments.

"In Defense of Pigdom" tells of a professor at N.C. State defending pigs as neither dirty nor gluttonous by nature, that man had corrupted them through captivity and improper diet. Pigs had no sweat glands and so suffered from heat, compounded by a layer of fat beneath their tough skin. They could bathe in a cool brook but if not available, then a mud puddle had to suffice. Thus, their reputations were sealed. The reason they behaved hoggishly at the trough was that the average farmer did not feed them properly.

It wonders therefore how, henceforth, the mother would chastise her young for coming into the house "dirty as hogs" and "eating like pigs".

Just tell them that the professor's premise was all hogwash, trying to put lipstick on well-established behavior patterns.

Drew Pearson tells of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, who he had been revealed in his column three years earlier as having been speculating in cotton while making speeches on the floor which could affect the price of cotton, now owning ten carloads worth of egg futures while criticizing the high price of eggs and seeking to have the Agriculture Department reduce its price supports for eggs, launching an investigation into the matter through the Agriculture Committee of which he was chairman.

Senator Thomas had successfully headed off the investigation into his cotton dealings by Senator Homer Ferguson when he threatened to reveal connections between the Ferguson family and Chrysler.

Senator Thomas had used the same operative in the egg transaction whom he had employed in his cotton speculation, and that individual was pushing before the Committee investigating eggs the notion that the price-support system was flawed.

Joseph and Stewart Alsop tell of Senator Robert Taft's first speeches in his bid for re-election in 1950 indicating that he would wage an isolationist campaign. A victory for him would fortify the isolationist wing of the Republican Party.

The Democratic leaders nationally had left it to labor to put forth the candidate to beat him. Their candidate was Murray Lincoln, but he remained hesitant to run, though it was likely that he would finally throw his hat in the ring. Though Mr. Lincoln was a formidable opponent, it was likely that Senator Taft would win.

A Taft victory would mean that General Eisenhower would be more receptive to the 1952 GOP presidential nomination if the only other viable alternative appeared to be Senator Taft, as General Eisenhower viewed isolationism as anathema, dooming the cause of world freedom.

The Alsops issue the caveat that their predictions were peering perhaps too far into the political future, nearly three years hence, but that they did serve to underscore the importance of the Ohio Senatorial election to the national picture in 1952.

Robert C. Ruark, in Atlanta, finds Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray to have acted somewhat preemptively in retiring Maj. General Alden Waitt without benefit of court martial for his activities in relation to influence peddling in procurement of Government contracts. The action suggested that the General was guilty of something serious, Secretary Gray's comment to the contrary notwithstanding. General Waitt left the service in disgrace but with a lifetime retirement income of $6,000-plus per year. He might also be exempt from some taxation if retired on a disability, a likely scenario.

The enlisted men were hit with court martial for petty offenses such as mislaying a rifle. Officers could be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, befitting, he thinks, General Waitt for his writing a false memorandum belittling the men in competition with him for his position as head of the Chemical Corps.

Mr. Ruark concludes that his faith in the brasshats would be measurably increased if every so often a high-ranking officer were given the same sort of justice meted out to enlisted men for like or lesser offenses.

A letter from Inez Flow, who had not written in some time, tackles her favorite subject again, prohibition. She complains that the Mayor of Monroe was appealing via radio to the citizens of that community to vote for legalization of wine and beer on September 24. She hopes that the Allied Church League, campaigning against the referendum, would be victorious.

A letter writer complains about the corner of 9th and Brevard Streets in the city as a dangerous intersection in need of correction with a traffic light.

A letter writer praises Francis Cardinal Spellman for his stand in favor of public funding for parochial schools and finds no change of attitude communicated by either his letter to Eleanor Roosevelt explaining his position or his visit with her at Hyde Park in August.

She does not understand the issues.

A letter writer finds that the Republican victory in the special election in Pennsylvania, as noted editorially the previous day, did not hearken a Republican victory in either 1950 or 1952, that the GOP would not win the White House until they adopted FDR as their own by virtue of his relationship to TR.

A letter writer thanks the newspaper for publicizing the bicentennial of Anson County.

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