The Charlotte News

Tuesday, September 20, 1949


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the U.N. General Assembly, starting its new session in Lake Success, N.Y., had elected Brig. General Carlos P. Romulo of the Philippines as the new president of the Assembly, taking over from Herbert Evatt, Foreign Minister of Australia. General Romulo was known as a bitter foe of Communism and hoped that the session would become known as the "Peace Assembly". Foreign Minister of Canada Lester Pearson was elected chairman of the primary Political Committee.

In Washington, the U.S., Britain, and Canada began "exploratory" negotiations regarding the potential of an agreement which would permit exchange of atomic secrets and sharing of uranium. The President had promised that he would make no commitments before consulting with Congress. The negotiations were being conducted in strict secrecy.

In an effort to woo American buyers, Canada and France devalued their currencies, Canada by ten percent and France to be determined by the free market, in response to the British devaluation of the pound the previous day. General MacArthur authorized the Japanese to buy cheaper British pounds but rejected an effort to devalue the yen.

Meanwhile, the press in Britain criticized the devaluation of the pound, saying that the Labor Government was not showing signs of cutting taxes or spending to give the public more pounds to purchase the costlier goods following devaluation. There was also concern about inflation, especially if new wage increases were demanded. Leaders of the Trades Union Congress were meeting to determine their action in response to the Government's wage freeze order. Work slowdowns were reported across the country.

Both Conservative Party Leader Winston Churchill and Liberal Party Leader Clement Davies demanded the recall of Parliament, out of session until October 18, to address the issue of other steps the Government intended to take beyond devaluation to revive the economy.

The nationwide U.S. coal strike, begun the previous day, had now caused a half million miners and coal-carrying railroad workers to leave the job. The strike regarded failure of some of the companies, especially the Southern operators, to make contributions to the UMW welfare fund during the shortened three-day work week period since July 1, when the old contract had expired. The Southern operators had refused to contribute the 20-cent per ton royalty during the period of low production, contending that lapse of the contract voided their obligation.

In the second day of mediation between the steel companies and the United Steelworkers regarding whether the companies would bear sole responsibility for the ten-cent per hour increase in pension and social insurance benefits recommended by the President's fact-finding board and accepted by the Steelworkers, but not yet by the companies, no progress was reported. The strike had been postponed by agreement between the companies and the Steelworkers first for 60 days and then an additional ten days, until September 25, to permit mediation on the fact-finding board's recommendations.

In New York, Paul Robeson testified for twenty minutes for the defense in the months-long trial under the Smith Act of the eleven top American Communists. He said that he knew all of the defendants and had once studied law at Columbia under Judge Harold Mesina, presiding over the trial. But the Government had objected to almost all other questions and the objections were sustained. There was no cross-examination by the Government.

Mr. Robeson told the press afterward that he believed that the Government did not want the truth to be told. He said that the Communist Party had helped to advance the cause of American blacks in the society.

In Pottsville, Pa., a Reading Railroad passenger train hit a truck carrying 4,500 gallons of gasoline at a grade crossing, causing an explosion and killing the truck driver and injuring four crewmen on the train. Flames swept through the ten-car train.

The number of dead from the train wreck in Newton, N.C., as recounted the previous day, was increased from two to three. Criminal charges were being considered against the engineer. The cause of the accident, however, had not yet been ascertained by railroad investigators.

In Fort Worth, Tex., the Magnolia Refinery No. 1 exploded, causing a huge fire and killing at least two men and injuring at least eight others.

In Ravenswood, W. Va., a six-foot section of a flag pole broke and killed a 13-year old boy standing below when it hit him in the head.

Tom Fesperman of The News tells of a fire at the old rock quarry on W. Tremont Avenue in Charlotte, causing a cloud of smoke to hang over the southwestern area of the city during the morning. It had erupted from a pile of old automobile tires which had been dumped into the hole. It was anticipated that it would take several hours to extinguish the fire. According to a Fire Department captain, fire in the quarry had become routine.

On the editorial page, "Housing Projects Needed" tells of the Charlotte Housing Authority preparing to ask the City Council the next day to approve 1,500 new black housing units and 300 white units, a request likely to provoke opposition by the real estate interests. The piece approves the request.

The News had disapproved the Federal Housing bill because of its cost, the questionable premise that the Federal Government was responsible for housing the indigent of society, and that it would discourage private enterprise from doing the job of constructing low-cost housing. A compromise measure had been passed under the leadership of conservatives as Senator Robert Taft and signed into law by the President.

With that done, it was unlikely that the society would ever revert to the philosophy of every-man-for-himself. The City Council, it urges, ought act in behalf of the people's interest, to relieve the abject existence of 1,800 families in the community, as such conditions only bred disease, crime and dissatisfaction.

"An Inevitable Step" finds the decision of Britain to devalue the pound to demonstrate the harmony which had prevailed at the recent tripartite Washington conference on the economic crisis in Britain.

It would mean, however, that Britons, already a world example of enduring austere living conditions during and since the war, would have to tighten their belts yet further. Prices of wheat, tobacco, machinery, and other items imported from the dollar-based countries would rise but the prices of British exports would fall, enabling greater purchases by the dollar countries, thus easing the depletion of Britain's reserve of dollars.

If inflation through demands for higher wages could be avoided in Britain, then the long-term effect of devaluation would be salutary. Britain would also need to refinance its war debt held by other sterling bloc nations, and British factories would need to be overhauled to increase production.

In response to the British move on this side, U.S. tariffs needed to be decreased and customs red tape eased to allow British imports to enter the U.S. market. The agreed terms in Washington under which ERP funds could be used to buy goods outside dollar areas and reduce purchases from the U.S. also needed to be implemented promptly.

Sir Stafford Cripps, Chancellor of the Exchequer, hoped to have Britain on a self-sustaining course by 1952 when ERP aid was scheduled to end and it was to be hoped by Americans that such would be the case.

"New Enforcement Weapon" tells of State ABC Board chairman Robert Winston providing to law enforcement and the Governor a list of suspected bootleggers who had repeatedly made large purchases of liquor in other states, possibly intended for import to dry counties of North Carolina. While the idea to use the list to focus on certain persons and determine whether they were bootleggers would accomplish no more than to reduce the number of bootleggers, the piece believes it a positive step in the right direction and deserving of a try.

"Fireplace Magic" finds that more than a few people looked forward to the prospect of an open fire in the fireplace with the coming of fall and winter, despite the many drawbacks.

"The dancing jets of fire, sputtering and whirling like genii, encarmine the drabbest furniture, turn the commonplace corners of the room into deep valleys of shadowy mystery. The miniature torches take fantastic form before your eyes, limning a remembered dance before the chimney."

Whatever you say to fill empty space. It's still September. We'll get there.

Joseph C. Harsch, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, tells of the investigation into the B-36 at the instigation of the Navy, upset with competition by the Air Force for control of strategic long-range bombing, having backfired badly. He reviews the matter, already adequately covered herein.

Drew Pearson tells of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee having given a luncheon for the British leaders present for the economic conference, prompting light-hearted exchanges, some of which he imparts.

The Senate would soon begin considering the middle-income housing bill sponsored by Senator John Sparkman of Alabama—to become the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 1952 with Governor Adlai Stevenson. The bill had emerged from the House quite mangled by the real estate lobby, with the aid of Representative Jesse Wolcott of Michigan and American Labor Party Representative Vito Marcantonio of New York.

With housing costs soaring, almost a third of American families had insufficient incomes to afford to rent or buy decent housing. The recently passed housing bill designed to benefit lower-income citizens would not assist those with incomes between $2,000 and $3,750 annually, the target group, chiefly war veterans, of the Sparkman bill. It would provide direct, low-interest Government loans under a cooperative arrangement, similar to the financing of rural electric cooperatives. But with 340 members absent from the House, most attending the swearing-in ceremony for Justice Tom Clark, the housing lobby had maneuvered to eliminate this provision of the bill. Senator Sparkman, however, was confident that the votes were present in the Senate to restore the provision.

Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson would soon cut another 30,000 civilian jobs from the Defense Department as an economizing measure. The cuts would also lead to terminations of military and civilian detectives conducting loyalty checks of Government employees.

Robert C. Ruark, in Atlanta, tells of Ernest Rogers holding a grudge against him for three years, since Mr. Ruark had composed a diatribe against Southern cooking, saying that it was, by and large, unfit for consumption "by the average indigent billygoat".

At Mr. Rogers's expense, Mr. Ruark had dined at the Magnolia Hall, an old dwelling moved board by board from the city to the suburbs. The corpulent hostess regarded Mr. Ruark, a Southerner originally from North Carolina, as a carpetbagger, refusing to allow him to order, insisting, "We'll feed you." She brought out biscuits, an ample salad, a platter of fried chicken, crisp country ham, preserved peaches, fluffy rice with choice of gravies, non-greasy stringbeans, candied yams, creamed onions and pecan pie. The coffee was excellent, rare in the South.

The table d'hôte was supposed to have reformed his negative view of Southern cuisine, but it had not for the fact that the Magnolia Hall was too far off the beaten path to be regularly patronized by the outsider, exhibited the sort of fare one obtained in good homes of the South, atypical of public eating places. The hostess contended that the problem with Southern cooking was that Northerners had invaded the South, the while propagandizing against Dixiecrats.

The average diner or coffee shop, insists Mr. Ruark, shoveled on axle grease to every dish, served the "solid-clay biscuit and the evil-eyed egg on a slag of burnt rubber heel", plus "gluey rice and the sodden greens, with the two-inch pasteboard crust on the shriveled shred of uncooked apple."

He had found in Atlanta a half-dozen restaurants serving good food, including a couple of "French joints", a considerable improvement since the war.

But for all that, he clung to his original premise that most of the food was bad and that the only way to avoid ptomaine poisoning was to know someone who could steer the outside patron to a refuge of gastronomic salvation.

Ovid A. Martin discusses farm price guarantees by the Government. The Agriculture Department had just announced a change in its program for support of hog prices, saying that it would no longer assure a minimum price but would attempt to prevent the average of prices received by all farmers from dropping below the support level. Prior to the change, the Government had sought to maintain prices at all local markets at the support level. Now, the individual farmer could only hope to obtain approximately the support price, as it would be based on the average of all markets.

The program greatly reduced the possibility of Government purchase of pork during the coming fall and winter. It likely, however, would bring criticism from farmers and their Congressmen. The primary contention against it would be that it should have been implemented gradually, before farmers had already bred and raised the hogs under the expectation of finding support prices in local markets.

A letter writer responds to a recent letter from Inez Flow regarding her objection to the efforts of the Mayor of Monroe to campaign in favor of a referendum for sale of beer and wine. This writer thinks that both Ms. Flow and the Mayor had missed the point that the church was becoming involved in a political matter. He thinks they had forgotten about the roaring twenties.

A letter from the Mayor of Monroe, J. Ray Shute, tells of his constant fight to maintain separation of church and state and suggests to church leaders to do the same as they entered the political campaign regarding the prohibition question.

Yeah, dog. Wooo-wee. Get down. Dis, dis here, woooo, yeah, is just what we need to make Amerika great again. Hmmm-hmmm, oh yeah. Yo. Teya it all down and start ova. Shred de Consitution. We don't need dat. Thens we can have de Man come out dyne heya on de street heya and crack some heyds real good and nobody crost de tracks in Honkytown gonna say one word, are dey? 'Cause President Don and his Chief Boy, Steppin, will be makin' the rules den. See? You might even get free pay-per-view boxin' on de tv, down at de pen, onced they in and you in, too. You won't have to worry about nothin', den, even room and board. Yeah. Won't dat be Great?

Smile and smile...

By the way, Donny, how's you and you little hoes in the 'hood gonna get by dis heya, heya, and heya if yous gonna announced from de top on de tv dat you gonna be profilin' again, based on race and religion? How you gonna do dat, boy? Huh? Who you gonna appoint to dat open seat, Hitla? Or, are you just stupid? Who you got on yo legal staff, Kukuklannes or Bossy Goonygoon?

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