The Charlotte News

Thursday, November 23, 1950


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that peace rumors had circulated around the front in Korea, which remained quiet on Thanksgiving Day. The Chinese Communists suddenly released 27 wounded American prisoners of war, who were part of the Eighth Cavalry Regiment, cut off and brutally attacked by the enemy at Unsan in the northwest sector on October 31 and November 1. These released men said that the Chinese did not want war with Americans, said that they were well fed and treated, had received care from two American doctors and were not questioned by the enemy regarding American positions.

The estimated 100,000 Chinese Communists in northwest Korea continued orderly withdrawal and U.N. troops did not move up to take over the abandoned fortifications. A spokesman for General MacArthur said that there was a reason for the lack of advance but, for secrecy, could not say what it was. The headquarters information officer in Tokyo denied that there were any peace negotiations going on at that level or that there was discussion of mass surrender by the Chinese.

Secretary of State Acheson said at his weekly press conference on Wednesday that creation of a demilitarized zone between North Korea and Manchuria had been discussed with friendly foreign governments but that no agreement had been reached.

In New York, two crowded Long Island Railway passenger trains collided at Kew Gardens in Queens the previous evening at 6:30, during the Thanksgiving eve rush hour, killing 76 persons and injuring more than 150 others, many critically, the worst rail disaster in New York State's history. Most of the dead were wedged between two smoking cars which had to be pried apart to free the bodies and the injured, extending through a period of more than ten hours. The surviving motorman of one train said that he had slowed for a signal and the brakes had locked for an unknown reason causing the train to stop, after which the other train pounded into the rear of the stopped train, boring through the rear car, sending flying glass and steel through other cars. The Mayor of Long Island issued an order that all trains operating within the city would be limited to 25 mph. He estimated that the second train had been traveling between 40 and 50 mph at the time of the crash and that its brakes had been working properly when it left Pennsylvania Station bound for Hempstead, about thirty minutes before the collision. Both trains carried about 2,100 passengers. There was no explanation as to why the block system had not halted the second train. A passenger on the first train said that the accident occurred only seconds after the train had stopped and then tried to start again.

Doctors and rescue workers from all over the city turned out in force to free the injured passengers from the wreckage.

An account by Jack Ryan and Lou Dolphin tells of how the tragedy had impacted the families of the victims at Thanksgiving.

Thirty-one persons had died on a Long Island Railway train on February 17, 1950 in a head-on collision at Rockville Centre. The present accident was the worst rail disaster in the nation since 1943, when seventy-nine had died in a wreck of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Congressional Limited near Philadelphia. A list of major U.S. rail disasters is provided, back to one occurring in Astabula, O., on December 29, 1876, when 84 were killed.

At the U.N., American and Middle Eastern votes were expected this day to send to the Little Assembly the appeal by the Nationalist Chinese for investigation of their claims of Soviet intervention in the Chinese civil war in defiance of a 1949 U.N. resolution asking nations to refrain from such aid. The General Assembly's political committee scheduled a session to resolve the issue. The U.S. backed sending it to the Little Assembly, though Britain, France, Australia, Canada, and the Soviet Union favored dropping the matter completely. The objecting Western nations believed that the U.N. already had more than it could handle on its plate.

The nine-member Communist Chinese delegation was set to arrive in New York the following day for the purpose of participating in discussion at the U.N. of charges that the U.S. committed aggression in Formosa and that China had committed aggression in Korea.

Attorney General J. Howard McGrath the previous night issued a 5,000-word petition charging that the American Communist Party was ruled by Moscow and owed its first allegiance to Russia. He called on the new Subversive Control Board set up by the McCarran anti-subversive law, to register the names of the Party's leaders and members and provide an accounting of the source of its revenue. He said that the Party must appear before the Board and explain why it had not registered per the Act. After hearings, the Board would then decide whether to order registration, and failure at that point to register could result in fines and imprisonment. The ensuing legal battle, however, could take years to resolve in the courts.

The second cold wave of the week was hitting the Midwest this date, with temperatures reaching below zero in parts of Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota. New England had fair but cold weather. The Southeast had chilly temperatures below normal.

The President asked Americans on Thanksgiving to pray for peace. It was cold and generally fair across the country. The President and Mrs. Truman had a 35 lb. turkey at their table.

That's pretty big for two people.

Some states, including Texas, maintained a dual Thanksgiving, one on the third Thursday and one on the fourth Thursday of November, the latter having been proclaimed by President Lincoln in 1863—not 1864 as the report indicates. FDR, in response to merchants' desires for more shopping days for Christmas, had moved the holiday in 1939 to the third Thursday, but derisive complaints, calling it "Franksgiving", and refusal by some states to move the holiday, prompted a uniform return to the fourth Thursday in 1941.

Not mentioned on the page was the fact that Thanksgiving had fallen this year on St. Clement's Day.

Was that, mystically, in honor of Mr. Nixon's election to the Senate? Only Robert Ruark seems to know.

On the editorial page, "Turkey in Korea" tells of all of the troops on the Yalu River in Korea being served turkey this Thanksgiving, a welcome bit of warmth to the chilly troops camped at the location reached Tuesday in Hyesanjin.

It wonders, however, what these young soldiers had for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Certainly it was not their skimpy summer-issue clothing or the threat of approaching Chinese Communist troops, nor for the fact that they would likely still be there at Christmas.

But for one of the troops from North Carolina, he might be thankful for his memory of having been able a couple of years earlier to enjoy a football game in a stadium with other yelling fans. Or for the house in which he had grown up, free from threat of famine or plague or invasion by political police. Or for a warm church or synaogue where he had been able to worship as he wished. Or for his high school where he had the opportunity, despite perhaps not having the best facilities or teachers, to learn all he wished. Or for his city hall, stocked with the representatives elected by his family. Or for the newspapers and radio stations which could print the truth or entertain him with Jack Benny, Bob Hope or Dinah Shore, as they saw fit, without State interference. Or for the girls at the high school dances or the drugstore, the weekends at the beach or the mountains of the Blue Ridge.

This soldier could, in short, be thankful for his memories and that he had been given hope and faith that he would see all of the places and faces again as he had remembered them and left them behind.

And, it concludes, the people could be thankful for that soldier.

"Here We Go Again" tells of Senator Joseph McCarthy vowing to fight against the confirmation of the five persons named by the President to the Subversive Control Board set up by the McCarran anti-subversive act. At least two of the appointees were Republicans. Senator McCarthy thought the appointed chairman, Seth Richardson, had been too soft in his chairing of the Civil Service loyalty board. Dr. Kathryn McHale, another of the appointees, had defended a woman who denied Senator McCarthy's charge that she was an assistant to Alger Hiss. The Senator had not yet stated his objections to the other three.

While stating that it held no brief for the five appointees, the piece finds the Senator's conduct disturbing in trying to defeat their confirmations as he had taken the stance that once accused, a person was a Communist unless they could prove the contrary, a dangerous standard by which to gauge loyalty.

The McCarran Act, if poorly administered could be dangerous to American civil liberties, while, if properly and judiciously applied, it might curb acts of sabotage or other harm to national security. It urges the Senate to consider the integrity and qualifications of the five appointees rather than the "unsupported suspicions" of Senator McCarthy.

"Governor Scott on Speeding" accepts the sentiments conveyed by Governor Kerr Scott regarding trucks and buses speeding on the state's highways. He had cited the Highway Commission's findings that 25 percent of buses traveled faster than the applicable 55 mph speed limit and 48 percent of the tractor-trailer trucks went faster than their 45 mph limit. He asked for the Utilities Commission and the DMV to crack down on these speeders. The Commission, he advised, should change bus schedules to obviate the need for speeding to meet the stops on time. It should also adopt a file system by which it could keep track of those drivers who obeyed the laws versus those who consistently violated them. He wanted the DMV to step up enforcement and enlarge its educational division.

He noted that some of the truckers were taking advantage of the state's good roads and that trucks and buses had a remarkably low accident rate, but that it did not give them the right to speed.

The piece finds that one reason for the low accident rate was that motorists took extra precautions around these large vehicles. It also finds that ordinary motorists were the worst speed violators and hopes the Governor's program would also crack down on them.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "Hot Rods on the Road", tells of the local police department having obtained three new "hot rod" cruisers, one of which had gotten its baptism under fire the prior Saturday as related in Monday's Citizen. A speeder was spotted on College Street and the police gave chase into the congested Beaucatcher Tunnel, where the car continued to flee into the open road, reaching ninety-five miles per hour along one stretch.

The piece praises the officers for their courage in pursuing the speeder and finally catching him. Yet, it finds, the account of such a harrowing chase through congested traffic gave pause to consider the danger exacerbated by the chase. It wonders whether it was not possible to clock the speed, get the license number of the car, let the speeder move on and cool off, slow down and then pick him up later.

When is Double-Dooby-Speed-Limit Pirro going to be fired by Fox News for endangering the public by going 119 mph in a 65 mph zone, claiming she did not realize how fast she was going?

Oh, we understand; you can't fire her until there is some sexual harassment allegation made, some grab of a man's buttocks during a photo, no matter how old or flimsy or utterly ridiculous the claim might be, to match the trending opinion among the moronic patrons of the alt-right part of the internet, social media, and cable news channels. 'Cause we have to sell them cornflakes to keep the million-dollar salaries available to the ditzel-haired readers of the Moron News to the Morons to make them feel better about their Moronic state governed by the Moron-in-Chief, who doubles as the Groper-in-Chief.

She can go as fast as a bullet if she wants and still read those Moronic scripts with gusto, no matter how many lies they contain. Then she can afford her car which speeds so quietly along the highways and byways of New York that she cannot tell whether she is going 70 or 120, passes the other traffic so fast that they blur in a blent with the scenery.

Where are the howls for her firing? It's a bit of a double-dooby standard, wouldn't ye say?

Kurt Von Gleichen of Wiesbaden, West Germany, where, in the states of Hesse and Wuerttemberg-Baden, the voters had the prior Sunday voted for the Socialists in preference to the Christian Democrats who controlled the Government of West Germany, provides his insights to that election. The voters had rejected the call of Dr. Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of West Germany, to rearm. The leader of the Socialists, Dr. Schumacher, had called for no rearmament until at least fifty American divisions were in Europe, not just the present three.

Americans might question this and other developments in Western Europe as giving pause to consider whether to bother with aiding nations which were not apparently desirous of fighting for themselves against Communism. "Re-liberation" was the word most feared by Europeans, especially Germans. For in the event of war and victory by the Soviets, the purges and transportation to labor camps would occur among the intellectuals and democrats while the workers continued with their daily occupations. Then would come one day the re-liberation by the West. But the question they had was whether they would survive that day, given the potential need for use of atom bombs and other weaponry to effect the re-liberation.

West Germans had no peace treaty. They did not want to fight against other Germans in East Germany. They had been told by Western occupation powers that they should not rearm. They were told by the Kaiser and by Hitler that rearmament prevents war, only to endure two world wars as a result of rearmament. They had been fooled twice and were hesitant to trust the same line again. They also held the belief that the scant number of divisions potentially available in Western Europe under rearmament, numbering perhaps 27 in all, could not stop the Russians.

He thinks, however, that their minds could be changed, as long as they were given reason for belief in the future. They had been restored physically and economically by the Marshall Plan. But they considered the political situation hopeless. The European Council at Strasbourg had not made the progress anticipated. Though all of the member states were dependent on the U.S., they were bargaining separately and did not want to give up their individual sovereignty.

He advises enforcing unification for the good of the nations by providing aid only on condition that a European governing body would be formed forthwith. America should also provide a substantial fighting force and guarantee that it would back Europe to the last. In that event, hope would return and Germans would be ready to fight for their future.

Well, soon it will be Christmas and all will be well in das Vaterland. We heard it on the Telefunken radio.

Drew Pearson, on Ellis Island in New York, tells of immigrants still arriving in America over three centuries after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1620. But on this Thanksgiving, he suggests, the new arrivals had little for which to be thankful, as the Statue of Liberty had its back turned to them under the new McCarran anti-subversive law, barring immigrants who had been affiliated at any time in the past with a political party endorsing totalitarian government, whether Communist, Fascist, Nazi or some other manifestation. These thousand or so barred new immigrants were now behind the red brick walls and fences of Ellis Island awaiting disposition. Yet, only a handful were actually suspected of being Communists, the primary target of the new law. The others had been forced to belong to the Nazi Youth or the Fascist Black Shirts, usually as school children.

He provides the stories of some of these persons, gathered from personal interviews. Some were comforted by the notion that Attorney General McGrath had said that those who had only nominal membership in such parties could be admitted temporarily for six months. They hoped that in that time, the law might be changed.

One expectant mother arriving from Italy had sought economic freedom in America. She had admitted belonging to the Fascists when she was six. All students at her school had been compelled to join the Fascist youth movement. Though she might be sent back to Italy, the child she was bearing, she proudly proclaimed, would be an American citizen.

The immigrants who had been approved for admission for six months entered the ferry to go to the mainland of New York City. Those left behind waved after them with white handkerchiefs. The new temporary admittees reached the dock with glee and burst forth into the new land.

But, he adds, unless the new Congress changed the law, they would be deported six months hence.

Robert C. Ruark, in Miami, tells of talking recently to his "old chum", Bull Connor—the subsequently notorious police chief of Birmingham who would sic his German shepherds and turn municipal fire hoses on young black demonstrators in spring, 1963, revolting the nation against him permanently. Mr. Connor, who had also arrested Senator Glen Taylor in spring, 1948 for trying to enter the black-only entrance to a black Birmingham church where he was scheduled to speak, had said something about the midterm elections which reflected, according to Mr. Ruark, the attitude of the voters from Ohio to Florida, that he believed the people were starting to think again.

Mr. Ruark says that he had met no one who was unhappy about the defeat of Senate Majority Leader Scott Lucas, losing to Everett Dirksen in Illinois, or objecting to the landslide victory of Senator Taft over State Auditor and political hack Joe Ferguson in Ohio, where both the farm and, surprisingly, the urban vote turned out in the Senator's favor. Nor had he found anyone disturbed about the loss of James Roosevelt, son of FDR, to Governor Earl Warren in California, as the latter was elected to his third term as Governor. He had likewise found no one upset about the loss of Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas to Congressman Richard Nixon in the California Senate race.

Positive "jubilance", he found, attended the loss of Senator Millard Tydings in Maryland—aided in that result by Senator Joseph McCarthy's stumping tirade against the Tydings-chaired subcommittee's "whitewash" of Senator McCarthy's charges of Communists in the State Department, which the subcommittee had labeled a "fraud and a hoax". Likewise, Congressman Mike Monroney's victory in the Oklahoma Senate race was greeted with applause.

New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers alike hailed the victory of independent Vincent Impelliteri as Mayor of New York as a rejection of the old big-city boss system. The same group liked the defeat of New York Congressman Vito Marcantonio, an American Labor Party representative thought to be sympathetic with Communist interests and accused of importing hordes of Puerto Ricans to vote for him.

Mr. Ruark finds the people more concerned with issues than he had ever seen them previously, in a campaign "marred by muck on all sides". The cab drivers, the waiters, and the barkeeps were saying that they were glad that the Democrats had maintained a slim margin in Congress so that the President could no longer blame the Congress as during the 1948 campaign. Previously, they had been more concerned with the status of Joe DiMaggio's heel.

He concludes that it was "kind of wonderful" to see "machines flouted, established political names spurned, rascals tossed out, and blocs beaten." He thinks that maybe Bull Connor had been right, that the people were beginning to think again after being so long apathetic.

And Taft was not an established political name. And Mr. Nixon was certainly no rascal. Just like your old friend, there, Bull.

You best stick to baseball, Mr. Ruark. You evidence little knowledge of politics or the duties of a journalist to lead on the basis of his or her good education rather than pandering to the popular trend to obtain free drinks at the local bar, free appetizers at your favorite restaurant, and free cab rides across town or uptown to get there. And cab drivers, waiters, and barkeeps also produced, in Germany, Adolf Hitler.

But since you died a middle-aged drunk in 1965 after becoming the Great White Hunter, in aspiration apparently to proof of the manliness of Ernest Hemingway, you likely already are aware of that.

Marquis Childs tells of "Pleasant Valley" being a prototypical American suburban community in a Midwestern state, where families this day were sharing Thanksgiving dinner amid Cape Cod cottages dotting the landscape, most with television antennae protruding from their roofs in proclamation of having the latest means of receipt of information.

In this Pleasant Valley, a so-named "Discussion Group" had formed shortly before World War II, at the origin of the community. They met every two or three weeks to discuss community problems, sometimes reaching topics outside the community, as the U.N. or the proposed world federation or American foreign policy.

Recently, the wife of one of the members had approached a leader of the group, explaining that her husband, a statistical analyst, was about to undergo clearance for a top secret Federal Government agency. She wanted the name of the group changed, as the Government might find it unduly suggestive of subversive activities if they saw on their list of memberships, "Pleasant Valley Discussion Group". At the next meeting, the question was considered, and while some found it silly, they finally agreed to change the name to the "Pleasant Valley Improvement Association".

Mr. Childs says that he had no idea whether this anecdote conveyed the typical American feeling, but that he felt that the "looming bigness" in American life, whether of the Government, business, labor unions or other organizations, had imposed "a conformity that is deadening and sterile."

That result cut against the grain of the tradition of America, as the first Americans, those who had left their comfortable homes in England for the place they would call Plymouth, daring to settle in a wilderness, had given thanks on that first Thanksgiving for the courage that had seen them through the long ordeal, in addition to the food and other comforts they were able to enjoy. They had defied fate because they had refused to conform, choosing to worship God in their own way. They had reached an answer which evidenced a belief more deeply in freedom than in comfort and security, "the American heritage which we shall forget or ignore or deliberately destroy at the peril of all that America means."

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