The Charlotte News

Friday, December 10, 1954


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that at the U.N. in New York, an overwhelming vote of condemnation against Communist China appeared assured this date, as numerous countries had joined in assailing the regime for jailing the 11 American airmen as spies. The 60-nation General Assembly was pressing for a vote later in the day on a resolution condemning the action, backed by the U.S. and its 15 Korean War allies under the U.N. Command, with Western diplomats predicting that the resolution would receive at least 45 votes and perhaps 50. Cuba had begun the debate during the morning with a vigorous statement of support of the resolution, and the Union of South Africa, one of the sponsors of the resolution, followed with an appeal for general support of it. Czechoslovakia, as expected, followed the Soviet lead in insisting that the Chinese Communists had acted correctly and that the case was outside the legal competence of the U.N. The resolution indicated that the action was contrary to the Armistice signed in July, 1953, ending the fighting in Korea and which had agreed that all prisoners captured during the war held by either side would be repatriated per their desires. The Political Committee, meanwhile, continued its debate on a Soviet demand that the U.N. condemn the U.S. for alleged aggression against Communist China, with the Nationalist Chinese delegate beginning the debate with a strong defense of the U.S., indicating that the Soviet Union was the chief aggressor in the world.

Democratic opposition threatened this date to hold up a Senate Banking Committee report on alleged scandals in the FHA, with Senator John Sparkman of Alabama indicating in an interview that he was "greatly disturbed" because the report, as presently written, "blankets in entirely too much and has not given an accurate picture of what really happened." He said he did not want to see a condemnation of the whole building industry just because it contained a few bad actors. The report was scheduled for public release on December 15, and Senator Sparkman said that he was hopeful that the chairman of the Committee, Senator Homer Capehart of Indiana, would not insist on filing it until December 20.

In hearings before the Securities and Exchange Commission, attorneys for groups opposing the Dixon-Yates utility combine contract with the Atomic Energy Commission were attempting this date to show that the contract was based on inaccurate cost estimates and would not be a prudent financial operation. The hearings would determine an application by Dixon-Yates for approval of stock financing of the proposed power plant at West Memphis, Ark., to supply electricity via TVA lines to that area, normally served by TVA, designed to compensate for power supplied by TVA to atomic facilities at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Paducah, Ky.

In New York, Dr. Jonas Salk of Pittsburgh, in a prepared speech before the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Diseases, reported this date new evidence that the polio vaccine which he had developed could create powerful, long-lasting protection against the crippling disease, and that the work in the area might also pave the way someday for vaccines giving long-term protection against the common cold and the flu. The vaccine was made from a dead polio virus and Dr. Salk said that he saw no reason why a vaccine made from a living virus, altered for safety, would be any better, that the dead virus could create as many or more antibodies as received from natural exposure to a live polio virus, and that he was working on a theory which would show that the dead virus produced even superior protection to that from normal exposure to the live virus, potentially contributing to research on the flu and the common cold, as when people recovered from them, they did not achieve lifelong immunity, obviously, against another attack, as was the case with the polio virus once exposure occurred. Dr. Salk said that the vaccine would create large amounts of antibodies against the polio virus within the bloodstream, which would neutralize the living virus. The vaccine had been provided to hundreds of thousands of children during a nationwide test the prior summer and a peer review report was due around April 1 regarding its effectiveness. The questions surrounding the test were whether the antibodies could protect against naturally invading viruses.

In Stockholm, Sweden's King Gustav Adolph VI presented the 1954 Nobel prizes, worth about $140,000, to five Americans and two Germans this date. Of the Americans, only Ernest Hemingway, the winner for the year in the category of literature, had failed to appear for the ceremonies, as he was in Cuba still nursing injuries suffered in two African plane crashes. Three of the Americans were awarded the prize for their work in discovering new weapons in the fight against polio, Doctors John Enders of the Harvard Medical School, Thomas Weller of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Frederick Robbins, their former associate, presently at Western Reserve Medical School in Cleveland. The other American was Dr. Linus Pauling of the California Institute of Technology, the winner in the category of chemistry. The two Germans, Doctors Max Born and Walther Bothe, shared the physics prize.

In Phenix City, Ala., a prosecutor and a former sheriff's deputy, who had risen to power during the racketeering days of the city neighboring Fort Benning, Ga., were indicted the previous day as the murderers of Albert Patterson, who had been killed the prior June 18, shortly after his primary victory in the race for State Attorney General, vowing to clean up the graft, gambling and prostitution proliferating within the city. The indictment did not specify which of the two men had actually fired the three fatal shots, as under Alabama law, an accomplice to murder was as culpable as the person actually committing the murder, subjecting both to the death penalty. A third unidentified defendant was indicted the previous day by the same grand jury which had eliminated the vice empire which had reigned there for many years. The prosecutor was described by prosecutors from the State Attorney General's office as the "brains" of the city's political organization, and the deputy sheriff, as the "master". The prior June, a Birmingham grand jury had found evidence of vote manipulation in an effort to defeat Mr. Patterson, and he had announced only a few hours before his death that he would testify before that grand jury. The two indicted men pleaded guilty four days earlier to charges of vote fraud and were fined $250 and $200, respectively. The former deputy had already been convicted of taking bribes to allow a house of prostitution to continue in operation and had been sentenced to seven years in prison. At one time, the indicted prosecutor and Mr. Patterson had been close political friends, and it had been on the recommendation of Mr. Patterson that former Governor James Folsom had appointed him circuit solicitor in 1948. Mr. Patterson's son, John, had since been appointed to be the replacement nominee and thus became the new State Attorney General in the one-party state.

In Anniston, Ala., arsenic had been found in the body of the second husband of a confessed killer of four prior husbands, who admitted administering to them rat poison. She was being held in Tulsa, Okla., following a detailed confession to police. A former husband, the only man to have survived a marriage to her, had asked authorities also to look into the deaths of their two children. Authorities had also found arsenic in the body of the woman's mother of Lexington, N.C., but the woman had denied poisoning any blood relatives.

In Cleveland, O., the first-degree murder trial of Dr. Samuel Sheppard, accused of killing his wife, Marilyn, the prior July 4, continued this date with the defendant's testimony, his attorney asking him whether there was any truth in the accusation made against him, to which the doctor stated there was not, eventually repeating twice more, in response to questioning, that the accusation was false. The denials followed his account of how a bushy-haired intruder had struck him in the back of the neck, causing him to lose consciousness temporarily, as he entered the darkened upstairs bedroom after hearing his wife's "cries" for help, consisting of "loud moans" and calling out his name once or twice, plus "other noises of some sort", awakening him from a prolonged nap on the downstairs living room couch, regaining consciousness on the floor and then chasing the suspect, who had exited the house toward the adjoining lake shore, where the doctor again encountered him and was knocked unconscious a second time, after which he re-entered the house, returned to the upstairs bedroom and checked his wife's pulse, finding that she had none, whereupon he phoned a neighbor, the mayor of the village, saying that he believed someone had killed his wife. He said that he had believed, upon awakening to his wife's loud cries for help, that she was experiencing convulsion as she had earlier in her pregnancy, but that when he entered the bedroom, he "could visualize a form of some kind with a light top", and then felt that he was struck from behind, at which point his recollection was cut off, then having a very vague recollection of regaining consciousness right next to the bed, vaguely recognizing his wallet on the floor beside him, without any ability to determine how long he had been unconscious. He said that he had a very vague recollection of being aroused between the time he had originally fallen asleep, at around midnight while his wife and a visiting neighbor couple were watching television, and the time when he heard his wife cry out, having a definite recollection, however, of being aroused momentarily by his wife telling him she was going to bed. The State contended that a brown corduroy jacket which the doctor was said to be wearing when he had fallen asleep had been found in a neatly folded condition on the couch the following morning, not appearing to be in the condition it would have been had he slept in it or on it, with the defense contending that the doctor could have taken off the jacket during a brief interval of semi-wakefulness and draped it over the couch and then fallen back to sleep. The doctor had been on call during the day on Saturday, July 3, and had a particularly difficult surgery involving a small child who had been run over by a utility truck, crushing his skull, eventually dying during surgery at around noon on Saturday, and was thus extremely tired that night, physically tired from having to administer a continuous hour of heart massage and emotionally wrung out by the incident.

In St. Louis, a woman said that she loved her birthday present, a want-ad placed in the Post-Dispatch the previous Sunday among a list of special notices telling of broken homes and shattered dreams, instead imparting her story of love, saying: "I am responsible for all debts and obligations of my wife, both present and future, and am more than happy to be the provider for a woman who has borne me six lovely children and, with an overabundance of love and care, has made the past 21 years of loving kindness the nicest years of my life. On this, the eve of our 21st wedding anniversary, I wish to publicly express my gratitude." The ad had been signed by her husband, who showed his wife the newspaper at her birthday dinner, prompting his wife to cry.

On the editorial page, "The Leviathan and TV's Channel 9" indicates that Arthur Krock of the New York Times had once called the Federal Government "the biggest fish in the world", and at times it did appear to toss and turn, flip and flop, and get as little done as a dyspeptic whale, an example being the FCC's slow, red tape-ridden procedure in the case of approval of Charlotte's television channel 9, with three candidates vying for the spot, the first application having been filed in 1948, with hearings having been delayed to the middle of 1954 and the recommendation of the examiner not due until the following February or later. Meanwhile, many thousands of dollars had been spent by applicants in preparing their cases and conducting arguments in an effort to obtain the channel designation.

For several years, no new television stations had gone on the air and no new applications had been processed because of a freeze by the FCC, but since the freeze had been lifted, applicants had encountered one block after another, and even after the examiner made the recommendation, appeals could tie up the process for months or even years. The case could even wind up in the Supreme Court.

It concludes that it had no objection to a thorough examination of the merits of each applicant for a television channel but did object to needless delay, and it appeared that many of the delays were unnecessary and preventable in that process. It finds it a part of a larger problem, the ineffectiveness in government, complicated by uncoordinated growth, requiring repairs to the nation's political machinery so that it would be capable of getting things done when they needed to be done.

You just want a greater variety of television shows, tired of poring over books and newsprint.

Don't tell anyone, but we predict that WSOC will obtain the right to channel 9.

We had no idea, incidentally, that Dr. Kimble drove all the way to Mayberry, N.C., and back to Stafford, Ind., on the evening his wife was killed. That is very suspicious. We have to wonder why a major point of it was not made at trial by the prosecution, as it appears as a deliberate alibi, suggestive of the doctor hiring the one-armed man.

"Tsk, Tsk, This Older Generation" indicates that Henry Ward Beecher had once declared that "nothing marks the increasing wealth of our times and the growth of the public mind toward refinement more than the demand for books." It suggests that if that was true, there was hope for North Carolina, as the public libraries were slowly rising in their circulation in the state, with 2.92 books per capita having been checked out during the prior fiscal year, with a total of about 12 million, an increase of around 11 percent over 1952-53.

In Mecklenburg County, the figure was 3.14 books per capita—that is pi books on cooking—, and there was an increase in circulation among youth, the piece producing a table from 1941 through 1954 showing the raw figures for books checked out by children and those by adults within the county, demonstrating that in that 13-year period, circulation of children's books had nearly tripled, while circulation of books in the adult department had increased less than 25 percent. It finds one factor in the increase, particularly among the children's books, to have been the start of the book mobile service in 1949. (But how do you know that many adults were not checking out children's books, because of functional illiteracy?)

It indicates that circulation within the public library's juvenile department represented only a small portion of the books actually read by children, and circulation within the city school libraries had been about 22.2 books per student during the 1950-51 school year, while the previous year, it had been nearly 30 books, with 32.8 books checked out from the elementary school libraries and 23.1 from the high school libraries.

There was also an increase in popularity of book clubs and book stalls within the state, leading the entire nation in book mobile service, with 10 percent of the total nationally. More than 95 percent of the population of the state had access to public libraries, ninth in the country. The state had furnished that service despite it ranking tenth from the bottom in per capita expenditures for public libraries.

It points out that North Carolinians had done more than their share of producing books as well, as UNC's Walter Spearman's quarterly roundup on books by North Carolina authors indicated. The previous weekend deserved awards had gone to Dr. Hugh Lefler and the late Dr. Albert Ray Newsome for their North Carolina history, and to Ovid William Pierce for his novel, The Plantation.

It concludes that in view of those statistics, young people, though reportedly busy with television, comic books and wild parties, "and of course the afternoon News", were somehow squeezing in time to read more books, including good ones. Although the finger-wagging older generation were improving their reading habits slightly, it suggests that they must be spending a good deal of their time with television, comics and wild parties—"and of course the afternoon News."

Are you suggesting that reading this newspaper on a daily basis is the equivalent of watching television and reading comic books? If that be the case, why write it? Just present a giant headline every day which says: "See TV and Comic Books Page for Further Information", and leave off all stories and editorials, surrounding the comics page with the television schedule, the radio schedule, and about 30 pages of advertising. Why are we bothering to put forth summaries of the front pages and editorial pages 67 years after the fact? Cf. Marshall McLuhan and Rene Descartes.

"Laugh Harder and Live Longer" indicates that a group of scientists had confirmed what it had long suspected, that laughter was good medicine and that the bigger the dose, the better the results, that it could have ameliorative effects on the digestive system, blood pressure and the heart, according to the experts. When one laughed, the diaphragm was lowered and raised vigorously against the right portion of the heart, acting as a direct stimulant to it, increasing the heart rate and its beats. Leading physicians believed that if people could laugh more heartily, they would laugh off many of their minor physical ailments.

It posits that unlike most wonder drugs, laughter was free, available to everyone, and could be taken in quantity without the advice of a specialist or a prescription.

In conclusion it indicates that, as Greville had observed, man was the only creature endowed with the power of laughter, and the only one who deserved to be laughed at.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "That Subject Is Booby-Trapped", indicates that its "whimsical friend", the News, had borrowed a pack of trouble recently when it strayed into a minefield of taboos and took on Santa Claus and Christmas. After the editorial had appeared, usually gentle old ladies cried a pox on the newspaper and men of substance flailed the December air with walking sticks, with one part-time, semi-pro Santa Claus speaking for the profession, having defended the children in general and assailed the editors in particular in a letter to the editor of The News.

It says it could and should have warned the News to lay off, as even the faintest allusion to the Santa Claus myth was as risky and profitless as intervening in a dogfight, having discovered that lesson years earlier after writing an editorial about the dispensations of state patronage by the Byrd machine in Virginia, captioning the piece, "Yes, Santa Claus, There Is a Virginia". They had been accused of dragging Santa into politics, and it admits that the accusers had been correct. It was tantamount to suggesting that Christmas came early from Washington during this election year to the 10th Congressional District of North Carolina and Representative Charles Jonas. Levity in the Santa Claus department was dangerous, not because it offended children but because it affronted adults, as Santa was their idol. They took umbrage when the young refused to believe in Santa, indicating that it knew a little girl whose eyes were sometimes blue and sometimes green, who was probably kidding the old folks with her Santa talk, just out of kindness.

It concludes that the safest subject for light ridicule was still the man-eating shark, and again advises against anti-Santa talk, as the adults believed in Santa, as it made life worth living every year, until the bills arrived.

Drew Pearson indicates that when the Kansas City Star and its publisher, Roy Roberts, had been indicted criminally during the closing days of the Truman Administration, almost everyone in politics had assumed the indictment would not last long after the start of the Eisenhower Administration, as Mr. Roberts had been one of the first to urge General Eisenhower to run for the presidency, advising him during the pre-convention campaign, and becoming a frequent caller at the White House after the President's election. Yet, the indictment persisted and the Justice Department planned to begin the prosecution early in 1955. The reason, Mr. Pearson posits, was that the antitrust division of the Department was led by California Republican Stanley Barnes, a student of former Governor Earl Warren's school of political thinking, becoming one of the most forthright members of the Administration, just as tough on big business and monopoly as any member of the Roosevelt or Truman Administrations, even perhaps including the trust-buster Thurman Arnold. A former California judge, Mr. Barnes was not playing political favorites, and a close study of the Roberts case had convinced him that it was by no means a political indictment brought because of the rivalry between former President Truman and Mr. Roberts, but rather an appropriate case regarding freedom of the press and the right of the people in Kansas City to advertise in the publication of their choice, not as dictated by Mr. Roberts and The Star.

White House advisers were not publishing the fact that they had been busy behind the scenes on a new security program which would head off the Democratic probe of the so-called "numbers game", regarding the supposed large number of persons fired by the Administration for being "security risks", as Vice-President Nixon, Attorney General Herbert Brownell and other Republicans had claimed during the late campaign, implying that the Democrats had left behind numerous security risks in the Government, a claim denied by Democrats. To prove their case, Senator Olin Johnston of South Carolina, to become chairman of the Civil Service Committee in the new Congress, planned a sweeping probe of Republican firings, believing that he could prove that half of them had been hired by Republicans since the start of the new Administration.

To head off the probe, the President had referred the problem to the National Security Council, which had already prepared a top-secret report which would not be made public for some time, but which recommended giving a better break to security risks and establishing a standard procedure for all Government agencies, instead of a haphazard system of firings. White House advisers were considering a plan to help accused persons pay the cost of defending themselves or make the cost of defense cheaper. In the past, State Department officials charged by Senator McCarthy with being Communists had to raise money from friends to wage the fight against being fired or being indicted. He cites two such cases. The White House advisers were also proposing separation of bona fide security risks from such employment problems as heavy drinking, loose talk, and misfits, previously grouped under the rubric "security risks".

Doris Fleeson indicates that Democrats, in the DNC meeting in New Orleans the previous week to select a new chairman, had decided that they were going in the direction of Adlai Stevenson, electing Paul Butler of Indiana as chairman to replace outgoing Stevenson man, Stephen Mitchell, who had supported Mr. Butler as his successor. She indicates that the regime would control the national convention machinery in 1956, and while it would no doubt behave correctly, Mr. Stevenson was its candidate.

She regards it as clear that Mr. Mitchell had been justifiably confident when he picked Mr. Butler to be his successor, following two years of travel up and down and across the country, hearing the grassroots murmurings. Mr. Butler was not a prestige candidate, lacking the glamour and aura of victory, as Republicans ruled his state. He was also handicapped by former President Truman having expressed disfavor of him for his having deposed the former President's friends in the Indiana Democratic organization. But with the backing of Mr. Mitchell, and Mr. Mitchell's backing by Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Butler had been chosen by the DNC.

Mr. Mitchell had believed that Mr. Stevenson would not openly interfere in the choice of a new chairman, which he had not, and in the resulting vacuum, the Butler-Mitchell forces had exploited the Mitchell-Stevenson intimacy, with Mr. Mitchell's understanding of practical politics thus displayed indicating that he would be around for quite awhile.

The Congressional Quarterly indicates that the outlook for farm legislation in the new Congress was talk and tinkering, but no retooling, according to authorities checked by the Quarterly. Headlines would again focus on the argument between rigid and flexible price supports, but Congressional action probably would be limited to less dramatic issues, with most new agricultural laws being designed to enhance existing legislative machinery.

The Congress had voted the previous summer for flexible supports, varying between 82.5 and 90 percent of parity, to replace the 90 percent of parity rigid support, with the new system set to have supports rise when supplies were short and fall when surpluses mounted. Losers in the 1954 contest were not predicting any reversal in the coming Congress, even though no one doubted that rigid support legislation would be introduced and hearings would be held when Senator Allen Ellender of Louisiana would become chairman of the Agriculture Committee. The latter had told the Quarterly that he would be on guard to see that Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson met his commitment to keep the 1955 flexible supports for all of the basic commodities except wheat well above the minimum. Thus, since supports would stay near the 90 percent level anyway, the Senator said that he saw no point in pushing rigid supports through Congress only to end in another failure with a Presidential veto, without the necessary two-thirds support in both houses to override it. The Senator said he remained in favor of fixed 90 percent supports and predicted their passage, however, in 1956. For unless the Congress acted, the price support minimum would drop to 75 percent in 1956 year, based on the law passed in 1954.

A spokesman for Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota contended that the Democrats were "morally obligated" to try to repeal flexible supports in 1955, and that if they did not, they would lose a real issue in the 1956 presidential election. Outgoing Senate Agriculture Committee chairman George Aiken of Vermont had told the Quarterly that the "extremists" were so loud in their warnings against flexible supports that they would have to try to repeal or cripple the law or stand exposed as "false prophets". He did not believe rigid supports would have much more chance in 1956 than they had in 1954 or would have in 1955.

The November parity ratio stood at 87 percent in November, 1954, the lowest level since prior to World War II, and the highest annual parity level since the war had been 115 percent in 1947. According to the Agriculture Department, parity would not change much in 1955.

Senator Spessard Holland of Florida had told the Quarterly that the new program would last beyond 1955 since a thorough tryout of it required more than a year. Mounting surpluses had begun the dispute over price supports and the success of the flexible program would be judged largely by reports from the warehouses. At the end of September, the Government held 3.9 billion dollars worth of price-supported commodities, an increase of 1.5 billion dollars worth over that held a year earlier, with part of the inventory being normal reserve rather than surplus. If surpluses were to drop to more comfortable levels, the flexibility program would receive much of the credit.

It indicates that Congress would probably debate price supports for feed grains, cattle and the dairy industry, but revision in those areas would also probably be defeated.

It lists several other farm issues due for consideration in the coming Congress. If you plan to farm in 1955 and 1956 or eat from a table which does, you will want to study those thoroughly and write your Congressman according to your wishes for a full plate.

A letter writer indicates that for awhile, he had thought something was going to be done about the smog situation in Charlotte, after a lot of talk about it, with politicians having produced high-sounding statements, and the newspapers having carried editorials about it, but nothing had occurred, the populace still waking up to a "city choked with smog", with the same unhealthy conditions extant, if anything, worse. He wonders what was wrong with the people.

A letter writer indicates that after printing a delightful spoof of department store Santas, the newspaper had allowed a lot of "humorless complainers" to browbeat them into nearly a retraction. He liked it better the first time and thinks the great majority of editorial readers had, too. He longs for another H. L. Mencken or Philip Wylie.

A letter writer from Marshville indicates that the "How's Your I.Q.?" column of November 29 contained an error in question 10, asking, "What salary and expense allowance does the President of the United States receive?" answering $100,000 with an expense allowance of $50,000 per year. He finds from The American System of Government by Ferguson and McHenry, published in 1953, at page 346, that the compensation of the President was fixed by Congress, and that in January, 1949, it had been raised to $100,000 plus an additional $50,000 tax-free allowance per year, that beginning in 1953, the salary had been raised to $150,000, fully taxable, and the expense allowance eliminated. He wonders whether the Congress had violated the Constitution in changing the compensation for the President, "which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which" the President shall have been elected. He notes that Benjamin Franklin had argued in the constitutional convention against having any salary for the President, and at times, he wondered whether perhaps Mr. Franklin was wrong.

The editors reply that they had forwarded the writer's letter to the director of the Educational Research Bureau which compiled the "I.Q." column, and he had replied that the answer provided on November 29 was correct, for there had been no increase to the President's salary since January, 1949, having verified the information with the White House press relations officer, who agreed that there had been no increase to $150,000 beginning in 1953. He states that the letter writer would have been correct, had there been an increase, that it would have conflicted with Article II of the Constitution, prohibiting any voted salary increase by Congress from taking effect during the current term of the President. President Truman had not received the benefits of the 1949 increase.

A letter from the commander of the Earp-Williams Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4059 in Mint Hill expresses appreciation to the newspaper for the many times it had published announcements of the Post's various sponsored functions, as they believed the coverage had been instrumental in the success of many projects they had undertaken.

A letter from Rock Hill, S.C., indicates that on October 27, shortly before the midterm elections, the Egyptian Embassy in Washington had released a statement in which it attacked Americans for their "partial criticism of United States foreign policy" which "clearly indicates where their real loyalty lies," and further criticized them for trying to "discredit" the Administration. The writer indicates that the Egyptian Embassy was probably unaware of the process of free self-government, but to inject itself into internal American affairs, contrary to the accepted role of foreign diplomats, for the purpose of instilling mistrust and hatred among the electorate, was clear evidence that the Ambassador from Egypt was not versed in the right of U.S. citizens to question and differ with the views of their Government. He finds the apparent lack of concern by the Administration and the meddling by a foreign ambassador in the internal affairs of the country to be disturbing, and wonders why there had been no comment made by the proper Administration official to the effect that internal affairs of the country were no affair of the ambassador of a foreign country.

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