The Charlotte News

Wednesday, January 7, 1953


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that U.S. Sabre jets, flying a shield for fighter-bombers striking at the North Korean rail system, had shot down one enemy MIG-15 and damaged two others this date, in two dogfights, just south of the Yalu River boundary with Manchuria, involving eight Sabres and ten enemy jets.

In the ground war, the heaviest enemy thrust had been against allied positions on "Sniper Ridge" at "Pinpoint Hill" on the central front, in a two-wave attack which was repulsed by the allies in an hour-long battle, with 13 enemy soldiers reported wounded and seven killed.

The Navy announced that the U.S.S. Missouri had returned to the Yellow Sea on Tuesday and joined British warships in hitting Communist targets along the west coast of Korea.

In Washington, four young Army soldiers and two Marines, who had died heroically in the Korean War, received posthumously the Medal of Honor, presented by Secretary of the Army Frank Pace to the relatives of the Army soldiers, and by Secretary of the Navy Dan Kimball, to the two Marines' relatives. One of the Army recipients was from Rutherford, N.C., another from Jefferson, S.C., and a third from Old Hickory, Tenn.

Immediate vaccination of all U.N. troops in Korea against influenza had been ordered, to cope with the threat of widespread flu, according to an announcement by the Army surgeon general's office. Additional supplies of vaccine were being rushed by air to Korea. The announcement stressed that there was not yet an epidemic of flu and that the action was largely precautionary, with the cases reported so far having been relatively mild with no deaths resulting.

The President, in his final State of the Union message to Congress, delivered in writing only, warned Premier Joseph Stalin that if an atomic war were to come between East and West, it could bring only "ruin" for the Soviets and their homeland, might "dig the grave not only of our Stalinist opponents, but of our own society, our world as well as theirs." He said that he believed the Communist world would change its character and moderate its aims, becoming more realistic and less implacable, if the Communist rulers were to understand that they could not win through war and if the West frustrated their attempts to win by subversion. He said that the recent atomic tests in November on Eniwetok had indicated that man was moving into "a new era of destructive power, capable of creating explosions of a new order of magnitude, dwarfing the mushroom clouds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." He referred to the tests as "thermonuclear", indicating that they were hydrogen bomb detonations. The President pledged to back President-elect Eisenhower and wished to him and all fellow Americans, "Godspeed". The President would deliver via broadcast his farewell address to the American people on January 15.

President-elect Eisenhower suggested that his designated Cabinet be confirmed by the Republican Senate on January 20, inauguration day, but Democrats balked at such quick action. Senator Taft confirmed that a move was underway to obtain quick approval of the Cabinet nominees right after inauguration. Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, who had refused to endorse the Democratic ticket during the campaign, had said that he believed it would be unwise to confirm Cabinet officials without committee inquiries. There appeared no doubt that all of the appointees to the Cabinet would ultimately be confirmed shortly after their nominations were formally submitted to the Senate. The President-elect had cited as precedent the quick approval of FDR's Cabinet appointees on inauguration day in March, 1933.

But the country was in a depression at that time brought about by three successive laissez-faire Republican Administrations, a rather different set of circumstances from that of 1953.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this date that record production levels had increased manufacturing employment to a postwar record of 16.5 million in November, and that for every 1,000 workers, only eight had been laid off during the month, one of the lowest lay-off rates since the war and half the lay-off rate of a year earlier. The hiring rate for November had been about the same as in 1951.

Former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the liaison person between the new Administration and the outgoing Administration, predicted a "very smooth transition" between the two administrations. Mr. Lodge would be the new Ambassador to the U.N. and said that in a meeting this date with the President-elect, they had discussed U.N. affairs "a little bit". The President-elect would meet later in the day with Prime Minister Winston Churchill, after they had met twice the previous Monday, immediately following the arrival of the British Prime Minister in New York. The previous night, the Prime Minister had met for dinner with Secretary of State-designate John Foster Dulles and Ambassador to Britain-designate Winthrop Aldrich at the home of Bernard Baruch in New York.

Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois contended that unless there could be an immediate change to Rule XXII of the Senate rules, requiring a two-thirds vote of all Senators to effect cloture of filibusters, they could say goodbye to the prospect of any civil rights legislation during the current Congress. Senator Taft had stated that he would like, as the Majority Leader, to end the fight over the rules change later this date, but there were signs that the vote on the issue might have to await the following day to allow more time for debate. The effort to change the rule was foredoomed to failure by a coalition of Republicans and Southern Democrats. The opponents of the present rule wanted it amended to allow for a simple majority vote to cut off debate. Senator William Jenner of Indiana, who was the new chairman of the Rules Committee, said the previous day that a resolution to make it easier to end a filibuster would be the first order of business before his Committee, and that he had prepared a resolution which would permit cloture by two-thirds of the Senators present and voting, the original rule prior to an amendment in 1949 put forth by the late Senator Kenneth Wherry of Nebraska. Senator Taft said that he objected to the present timing of testing the rule, that the backers of civil rights legislation should wait until later in the session. He feared that a filibuster of the rule change, itself, might delay business regarding the new Administration.

Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas, the new Minority Leader in the Senate, named Senators James Murray of Montana and Edwin Johnson of Colorado to the Senate Democratic policy committee. Some liberal Senators had sought to elect Senator Murray as the Minority Leader, but dropped the fight in apparent hope of getting a larger voice elsewhere in party affairs. Senator Ed Johnson had been the campaign manager for the unsuccessful presidential bid of Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. Senator Lyndon Johnson also named Senators Burnet Maybank of South Carolina, John McClellan of Arkansas, Willis Robertson of Virginia, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, Matthew Neely of West Virginia, and John Pastore of Rhode Island, to six vacancies on the Democratic steering committee, which handled many of the party's problems of assigning Senators to committees. Senator Lyndon Johnson would serve as chairman of both the policy and steering committees.

Republican Senators this date unanimously approved the plan to increase the size of ten major Senate committees by two members, to assure Republican control of all 15 regular standing committees. The plan was drafted to make certain that Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, who had recently become an independent, would not hold the balance of power between Republicans and Democrats on any of the committees. Senator Morse was considered part of the minority with the Democrats regarding committee assignments.

A C-46 transport plane carrying 37 soldiers, who arrived in Seattle the previous day from service in Korea and Japan, had been reported missing this date over southern Idaho after leaving Seattle, with a destination of Fort Jackson, S.C. An aerial search had begun in the area around Cheyenne, Wyo. It would be the eleventh crash of a military or military-chartered plane in the Pacific Northwestern states, Alaska or Korea since the previous November 7, and would raise the number of victims to 340 if none survived.

In Sheridan, Tex., a fiery explosion at a giant synthetic gas plant caused a raging inferno this date, killing four men and injuring three. No cause of the explosion had yet been indicated.

In Costa Rica, a strong earthquake was felt this date, lasting approximately 18 to 20 seconds, with no immediate report of damage, following a strong earthquake of the previous week, which had taken 26 lives.

In Raleigh, the 1953 North Carolina General Assembly held its first sessions this date, and immediately voted to increase the compensation of the Governor and other top state officials, passed unanimously by the Senate and approved by the House by a vote of 105 to 7. The bill did not raise the Governor's $15,000 annual salary but increased his expense allowance from $600 to $5,000 per year, and provided a $1,000 expense allowance for the Lieutenant Governor. Other members of the Council of State received a $1,000 increase in salary to $10,000 per year, while the State Attorney General had his salary increased from $10,080 to $12,080 per year. It was necessary to pass the pay increases this date, in advance of the inauguration the following day, as salaries could not be increased during the terms. Previously, the members of the Council of State had received $7,500 per year, with the current members slated to receive the $9,000 pre-increase salary, and the Attorney General had received $8,400. State Representative E. T. Bost, Jr., of Cabarrus County was named the new Speaker of the House, and Senator Edwin Pate of Scotland County was chosen president pro tem of the Senate.

On the editorial page, "Another Job for the General Assembly" indicates that the previous day, it had said in an editorial that the General Assembly of North Carolina could save lives on the highways through adoption of a point system of punishment for traffic offenses, with the accumulation of a certain number of points leading to revocation of the offender's driver's license. Now, it urges consideration of another aspect of traffic regulations by the Assembly, that of a fairer and more comprehensive system of vehicle liability insurance. The present system, it indicates, often penalized the safe driver, with a driver with a perfect safety record forced to pay about $30 more per year than someone who had been convicted of reckless driving because the latter, if there was no operator in the household under age 25 and the person did not use the car for business, obtained the cheapest rate.

It indicates, however, that there were many good drivers who were under age 25 and a lot of dangerous drivers who were over 25. In addition, juries were rewarding large verdicts to victims of traffic accident injuries, resulting in higher insurance rates, and because many drivers were not insured, the victim who was injured by such a driver suffered severe financial hardship along with the injuries.

As a remedy for the latter conditions, Governor Dewey in New York had recommended to the Legislature compulsory liability insurance in that state, while the insurance companies preferred that a fund be set up, as presently used in New Jersey, to satisfy such judgments. Under that plan, insured motorists paid one dollar and the uninsured paid three dollars into the fund for the purpose of satisfying judgments rendered against uninsured motorists.

Another idea, put forward in Best Insurance News, appeared sensible to the piece, as it rewarded the careful driver. Under that system, the state would require that every licensed driver designate the car on which he had operating experience and that each person issued a license tag would be required to list the names of the operators of the particular vehicle, resulting in the issuance of an insurance classification with the license tag, with each newly-licensed driver classed in the middle, able to move up, the longer the vehicle remained accident free and moved downward with each accident.

It recommends these suggestions to the new General Assembly.

"Rise and Fall" indicates that the President's State of the Union message to Congress, to be delivered this date in writing only, along with his final budget, to be delivered on Friday, were for the historical record only, with the budget probably not receiving any attention at all.

The following Saturday, Jean Monnet of France, the architect and chief executive of the incipient united Europe, would deliver his first State of the Union message in Strasbourg, and offer his first budget to the six-nation European Community.

Thus, it concludes, that as an era ended in the United States, another was beginning in Europe, and it suspects that the history books of 1993, when referring to the 1953 "State of the Union" message, would mean to indicate Mr. Monnet's message rather than the President's.

Or, neither one, for want of any such reference in 1993, it being lucky by then that any historian on the scene would take note of much of anything about 1953, save the beginning of the Eisenhower Administration and the armistice, mid-year, in Korea, perhaps also the deaths of Chief Justice Fred Vinson and the appointment in his stead of Governor Earl Warren, and of Senator Taft.

"Johnston Makes a Belated Discovery" tells of Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina, just returned from a seven-week trip to Europe and North Carolina, having said that U.S. Government employees abroad were receiving too much money and living too high, while doing too little work, recommended firing half of them and cutting the pay of the remainder.

The piece suggests that Government employees were always fair game for politicians and if the Senator had his facts right, something should be done to remedy the matter. It doubts, however, that any Congressional action on the basis of a seven-week tour by a committee of Senators would be appropriate. The report of the Hoover Commission, in 1949, had indicated that the Government had 200,000 employees in 96 countries, working for 44 agencies, controlled by 30 Congressional committees, and had recommended a bipartisan study of foreign affairs, similar to the one it had just completed on domestic functions of the Government.

The piece indicates that because the newspaper had editorialized many times on the topic, it was not surprised or stirred to anger by Senator Johnston's belated discovery of such practices. It concludes that if there was duplication and overlapping in functions of Government employees working abroad, and if salary schedules were out of line with the type and quality of work being performed, then Congress had no one to blame but itself. The matter, it opines, should be turned over to a competent bipartisan commission to evaluate and make recommendations for remedy.

"No Clemency" indicates that it had detected no signs of sympathy for Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, condemned to be executed for their conviction for providing atomic secrets to the Russians. To the contrary, it had found that the country appeared that the couple would be getting what they deserved if electrocuted as scheduled. It indicates that the case against them had been airtight, that U.S. District Court Judge Irving Kaufman had stated, in passing on the defendants' recent motion for clemency, that he had seen nothing in the record to cause him to change his mind from the original sentence imposed 18 months earlier.

It suggests that had the Rosenbergs confessed and expressed remorse and had assisted the Government in rounding up other members of the spy ring, then a plea of mercy might have received favorable response. Instead, they remained steadfast in their denials. It concludes, therefore, that the Rosenbergs had chosen martyrdom and in so doing, had waived any claim for clemency from the President, to whom their final appeal would lie.

Louis Graves of the Chapel Hill Weekly, in a piece titled "Terrific Is the Word Now", tells of the word "swell" having been part of the language for a long time, while having acquired fresh usage a few years earlier during the 1940's. But now "swell" had faded from fashion, being replaced by "terrific". Everyone now described everyone and everything as "terrific".

Radio and television critic John Crosby, in the New York Herald Tribune, had reviewed a television show during the week, calling it "terrific". Shortly thereafter, a neighbor had told Mr. Graves that she had gone into a store and a saleswoman had shown her a frock which she described as "terrific". Another friend had come back from New York after seeing a play about which he had been reading, and said it was "terrific". And he goes down a list of such usages of the word.

He suggests that "terrific" would also fade out of fashion, just as "swell" had done, to be replaced by some other word. He would not favor a return to "swell", as there had been enough usage of it for one generation.

Wait until you get a load of "awesome" and "iconic", those coming into vogue in the Eighties and onward to replace "cool", from the Fifties and onward, for everything which was swell or terrific. And, again, while at least "awesome" is generally used in its intended context to mean something awe-inspiring, "iconic" is not synonymous therewith, is routinely misused, in an apparent effort to make the user sound semi-educated, when the word bears no relationship to the usage grossly overworked in general parlance, to the point of utter absurdity. When one says, "the iconic motion picture" or the "iconic actress" or the "iconic tail-fin" of the Fifties Cadillac or other such silly nonsense, you are literally saying that those things represent something, but not that they are anything special. An icon is merely a thing representative of something else, most usually used correctly by reference to religious icons, meaning the thing, for instance, dangling from the mirrors of some motorists, lighting up in the night to assure, in the motorist's mind, safe passage from Jesus, but does not thereby suggest that Jesus, himself, was an "iconic" figure in the sense of being special. The icon is the symbol, not the thing or person it represents.

Please try to understand, especially if you are a journalist, referring to sports figures and the like as "icons". No, they are not icons, unless you are referring to a little statue or something of the type, a bobble-head doll, for instance, of Michael Jordan, representative of the person. Those are "icons", though most refer to them as trinkets and souvenirs. Otherwise, eliminate "iconic" from your stupid vocabulary and seek another adjective, such as "special" or "unique" or "trail-blazing". Stick with what you know and can understand.

Drew Pearson regards the Senate Elections Committee report on Senator Joseph McCarthy's financial transactions, finding it a "weird" matter, and involving months of delay and many attempts by Senator McCarthy to pressure the members of the Committee, especially the lone Republican member, Senator Robert Hendrickson of New Jersey. Senator Hendrickson was honest, but subject to human pressures and had gone along with the two Democratic members of the subcommittee until nearly the end of the process, at which point he almost did not sign the report and refused to do so unless its recommendations were removed. Thus, the Elections Committee submitted a report with 238 exhibits of Senator McCarthy's financial transactions, providing "amazing evidence of concealed misuse of funds", and yet making no recommendations to the Senate. Senators Thomas Hennings of Missouri and Carl Hayden of Arizona, the two Democrats on the subcommittee, felt it was important to have a unanimous report and so they acquiesced to the demand of Senator Hendrickson.

Senator McCarthy had first attempted to place pressure on the subcommittee by threatening Senator Hennings with exposure of Communist members of his staff if he proceeded with the investigation. Senator Hennings was not cowed by the threat as he knew he had no Communists on his staff and was, himself, a respected former member of the House and former District Attorney of St. Louis. Another delay occurred when Senator Mike Monroney left for Europe the previous November without telling other committee members of his plans. As the report was completed, Senator Hendrickson had gone home for Christmas and delayed reading the report until New Year's Eve, which meant that a delay for a day in having the report printed would not enable it to reach the Senate before the new Senate was convened at noon on Saturday, January 3. The other Senators began to believe that Senator Hendrickson was deliberately delaying issuance of the report and so urged him by telephone to conduct his review of the report. After concluding that it was futile to try to make minute changes to the report over the telephone, his fellow Senators urged him to come to Washington the following day, to which he agreed. Meanwhile, the Senators urged the Government Printing Office to standby on New the Year's Day to receive the report for printing so that it could be released on Friday. Senator Hendrickson finally signed the report, with the stipulation that it would not be released until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, preventing it from being discussed at either party caucus that morning and any significant press comment. Later it was learned that Senator McCarthy had flown to New Jersey to see Senator Hendrickson at his home, while other Republicans had urged him not to sign the report.

Mr. Pearson concludes that those reasons and the fear that Senator McCarthy would retaliate by campaigning against the Senators in their states explained why no one had objected to the seating of Senator McCarthy on Saturday, despite the revelations in the report.

Marquis Childs also indicates the reasons why the Senate Elections Committee report on Senator McCarthy's financial transactions had not been utilized to deny him his seat in the Senate. First, he had won re-election the prior November with most of the facts contained in the report already before the public. The Senate traditionally was reluctant to discard the results of an election.

During the discussion of whether the report would be released to the public as a unanimous report and how it would be used, Senator Hennings, chairman of the McCarthy investigating subcommittee, received a warning which purportedly had come from Senator Taft, that any challenge to the seating of Senator McCarthy would lead to a challenge to the seating of Senator Dennis Chavez of New Mexico, after his challenged victory over General Patrick Hurley. There was concern over the latter action because New Mexico politics had been rife with corrupt elections for some time. Senator Chavez was seated without challenge, as was Senator McCarthy, and if the Senate had voted, it would have likely conditionally rejected Senator Chavez and accepted Senator McCarthy.

A canvass of Senators had shown that only three Republicans, Senator Hendrickson, Senator Irving Ives of New York, and newly independent Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon, would likely have voted to deprive Senator McCarthy of his seat. Meanwhile, a number of Democrats would have voted to seat him, making any test of the issue a foregone conclusion, vindicating Senator McCarthy in the process. Senator Hennings and others responsible for the decision, therefore, decided not to challenge Senator McCarthy's seating.

The report on the Senator's finances, however, remained for the Republican majority to consider in the new Senate. It might ignore them, but it could not long ignore the Senator, in his drive for power.

Robert C. Ruark, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, tells of having flown from Cairo to Nairobi three times with the same pilot, including on a Christmas Day flight, after a night of partying in Cairo. Mr. Ruark and his photographer for his upcoming safari therefore needed sleep on the plane, afforded by their confidence in the pilot's ability. Once they landed, the pilot invited them to Christmas dinner with his family in his home, and Mr. Ruark describes the pleasant setting.

"I don't know what I'm trying to say except that it was sort of wonderful for two waifs to be picked up and carted home to start on a first-name basis with an entirely strange family, under a brilliant African moon and a pale sky, with the hyenas just out of earshot and the yaps of pariah dogs sounding clearly over the hills.

"Once in a while you become overwhelmed with the simple kindness of people who are doing it effortlessly. In the past 24 hours I had accepted the hospitality of a half-dozen different races who were interested only in being kind to strangers far from home. There was something of the gifts of the Magi in the entire attitude."

A letter writer says that he normally disagreed completely with the newspaper's editorials, but agreed with the recent piece regarding the firing of playwright George S. Kaufman from a television show for his remark regarding the program being one on which "Silent Night" would not be sung, causing severe reaction from those who believed it to be an anti-religious remark. The writer indicates that he had wondered how Mr. Kaufman had survived as long as he had without being fired, as his remarks, as with his plays and other literary efforts, were not "slanted to please the moronic trade, and it is indisputable that radio and TV producers consider that the mass audience is slightly feeble-minded and sub-normal."

He indicates that it was noteworthy that the local Charlotte station no longer carried the weekly talks of Bishop Sheen, but still had "that sin-shouting, yammering mountebank, Billy Graham, thrown at us on any and all occasions."

Oh, you're going to hell, for sure. They've got a whole parkway named for him, nowadays.

A letter writer from Pinehurst compliments the editorial of December 30, "This Loyalty, above All Others", indicates that in October, several people had been discussing the campaign, when one of them made the remark that if the Republicans were to win, there would be the "damnedest witchhunt" the country had ever witnessed, and that judging by the reports, the prediction was coming true. He finds that the pendulum had swung to the conservative side politically, and in many cases, to the reactionary view, such that there might be a concerted effort to destroy "real liberalism under the pretense of fighting internal Communism." He indicates that Jesus was in every sense a real "liberal", as he preached to the "'unorganized mass of people'" and was fought by the "traditionalists, conservatives and reactionaries" of his time. He wonders whether the people who believed in the right of free speech and free thought and the other guarantees of the Bill of Rights were going to sit idly by and watch the present-day Sadducees and Pharisees destroy "the very essence of American freedom and beliefs".

He also tells of the newspaper's "Year-End Report to Our Readers" having aroused mixed feelings, some pleasant and some not so pleasant, indicating that he had laughed at the remark that many of the readers had wondered which candidate would finally be endorsed by the newspaper, stating that the political leanings of The News had been known for some time and therefore there was no surprise in its eventual endorsement of General Eisenhower. He wishes the best in the New Year to the newspaper and thanks it for its courtesy in publishing his previous letters, as well as expressing New Year wishes and appreciation to several readers who had written him from time to time expressing thanks and approval for his letters.

A letter from three Marines in Korea indicates that they would appreciate hearing from friendly people in Charlotte, to keep them informed of happenings in that "nice town", of which they had become aware through The News, which they had read while stationed in North Carolina.

A letter writer from Webster Groves, Mo., Cyril Clemens, editor of the Mark Twain Quarterly, indicates that he was editing the anecdotes of his kinsman, Mark Twain, and would be happy to hear from readers of the newspaper who might have stories or anecdotes to relate.

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