The Charlotte News

Saturday, May 28, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Brand-New Plea" tells a sad story. It is one which, no doubt, were the country ever to revert to the sad practice of flatly disallowing a woman her right of choice in childbirth--or shaming her from exercising that choice with reason under the particulars--, would likely be repeated.

We do not, and we doubt anyone of sound mind would, advocate abortion obviously. But there is a large difference between descrying what a government ought be telling a woman she may and may not do with her body, prior to the point at which the state acquires a legitimate interest in preservation of life within the womb, that point at which viability is reached, and advocating abortion.

We won't go into it at any length as we have commented on it once before. It is not so simple, however, as the "pro-life" lobby would make it sound and have us believe. Nor is it truly a matter of Christian or religious principle--that is, unless you are Pythagorean. But then you must, adopting perforce the concept of Transmigration of the soul, determine when that soul or souls performs transmigration to animate the being of the individual, independent of the mother. Ah, there's the rub.

Insofar as we perplexed and perplexing humans can say, it is a political and legal principle, premised on science and the extent to which science may understand, in its feeble grasp, the secrets of life--nothing more. The rest is mystical, poetic, theoretical, in the realm of ethics, but not religion. To posit that we may know such things is to say that we are God or a god. And, if so, Pegasus might throw you a curve ball.

Oh no, you might retort: we are Pegasus. That's who we are. And we shall not tolerate therefore any Bellerephons on our back, seeking the house of the gods. We shall rebel.

Ah, then, that is why your mane, in the main, has no end in the Milky Way...

We are all, should we not be suicidal or homicidal--by definition in any rational framework, even if not legally or clinically, insane--, in favor of each human being living out his or her full term of years from the moment those years begin.

Yet who is to adjudge when life begins? How do we know it ends or when?

Again we ask the question: Do you honestly recall the point at which your life began, not poetically speaking, but actually? If so, please step forward and be frank enough to tell us all about the journey into literal light when you first glimpsed the masked-man with the back-slapper. We would all wish to hear of it, first hand. It should be rather fascinating.

And did you ever die after you got here? Can you say, for sure? If so and you are positive you haven't, then account for every second of every day and night, all twenty-four, for as many days as you are since that one which is printed on the certificate they provided you to prove who you are in cases of emergency or to obtain a passport. Again, it should be, especially those first few days, a rather interesting story to behold.

Perhaps, we die every night and come back to life in the new morning.

Do we know?

Conception, by the nature of the word itself, is an idea, not an act. And the idea for the birth of each of us is what is important poetically. The act which invigorates the idea to cooperation with the mutual spirit has manifold antecedents, manifold post-operatives, some holy, some not so. Some about which we might not wish to know much. Some may not be truly mutual. But the idea, whenever it occurred, before or after the act, and who we are today from that idea, are of greatest importance once we get here.

Should two people jointly have the idea and then, for their own reasons, pretermit that idea before the physical act to push the idea forward, would we be prepared to say that too is a crime?

Or, under the law, is conception to be regarded as being similar to that of conspiracy, that the idea, the planning, however brief or long, is not important until it has behind it an overt act, transmuting then the legal standard by which we adjudge untoward acts into that which is also propagative of the species? And then, what would that say of us collectively? There may be no good coming from merely an idea, only action which propounds the idea to being? Would that not deny all that is, and is becoming, which is good within the universe, leading finally to that which is nothing, a chimera, or at best, ephemera?

As Cowper said in 1781:

Faith, the root whence only can arise
The graces of a life that wins the skies.

Also from this date's page:

The Sea

By Maude Waddell

The sea is a mother who rocks her child,
With a soothing song of rest,
And you hear her murmur sweet and mild,
Deep down in a pink shell's breast.
And a sailor's love for the ocean wide,
And the taste of salt in the foam,
Is the love of her child for the mother's side,
And the call of a strong men's home.
For the sea's a mother to the fisher folk,
And she gives them food and rest.
And a haven after their stern lives' yoke,
Folded close to her breast.

Silver and gold.

It's all poetry, my friend.

Some good--some middlin'--some not so.

From cradle to grave, maybe even back from then.

That Mystery Again

The United States is committed by law to the purchase of silver in world markets until (a) the price reaches $1.29 an ounce or until (b) it has on hand a third as much silver as gold. Current world price, after four years of indomitable buying, is less than 43 cents, a far cry from $1.29. Current U. S. silver holdings, after the spending of millions of good hard dollars, nowhere near approach a third of our gold holdings for the simple reason that our gold holdings have constantly increased.

And as for what we are going to do with all this expensive silver, now that we have got it and are still getting it, no man knows. No one pretends to know. Seventy-one recognized economists, including such men as Ayres and Kemmerer, have found the contentions originally advanced in behalf of the silver-buying policy to be demonstrably "invalid," and they have urged its abandonment. Senator Bailey this week introduced a bill to discontinue silver purchases, except of silver mined in this country, by June 30, but this bill will get nowhere. And that's a curious part of the whole silver business, for while nobody can be found to justify the policy, the Government won't listen to motions for its repeal.

Site Ed. Note: For more on the joining principle between the rowdies' disportation of Montana Congressman O'Connell and that of the Storm Troopers of Pastor Niemoeller, see "In a German Church", March 8, 1938.

Protecting A Congressman

It was "protective custody" into which Congressman Jerry O'Connell was taken in Jersey City last night, the same kind of custody in which Mr. Hitler specializes.

"We're taking him home," said Public Safety Director Daniel Casey. ...He wanted to go home..."

It sounds exactly like a Storm Trooper reporting on Pastor Niemoeller. But for that matter, the Congressman probably did want to go home. For when he got to the place where he was going to speak, there was a huge crowd, armed with sticks and missiles, and they had a chorus which ran, "Kill him!" More than that, a crowd outside the police station continually cheered the cops after they had forbidden him to speak.

We need not, however, believe that Jersey City as a whole was a party to the crime. It was all carefully organized. One Hugh Kelly, secretary to Boss Hague's stooge Governor of New Jersey, Harry Moore, called a meeting night before last and organized it--announced flatly that he'd have his American Legion gang on hand to see that the Congressman was denied the first of American rights--that of free speech.

Meantime Boss Hague remains Vice-Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and the President of the United States, who could have him removed for a mere nod of the head, does exactly nothing.

A Brand-New Plea

With the jury's acquittal of young Donald Carroll for the confessed murder of his sweetheart, a new plea is given uncodified standing in American jurisprudence. It takes rank along with the unwritten law and the sort of self-defense that was claimed by the Kentucky Garr boys when they shot General Denhart as he ran from them as fast as his legs could carry him.

Obviously, Donald's attorneys had to think of a new one. To put a pistol to the heart of your love as she lay with her eyes closed, chattering on to keep herself from screaming aloud; to pull the trigger only to find that no bullet had yet been injected into the gun's chamber; to work the carriage to make sure that the bullet was in firing position, and then to pull the trigger--ah, no; that would hardly come under the head of self-defense. And the unwritten law would not have applied, since the unwritten law is not to be invoked save against some despoiler of your wife or your daughter. In fact, for Donald's attorneys even to have mentioned the unwritten law would have been extremely tactless, not to say a downright faux pas, for the despoiler in that courtroom was the accused himself, Donald Carroll Jr., father of the child in Charlotte Matthiesen's womb.

No, a brand-new plea was badly needed by young Donald, and the jury's verdict indicates that his attorneys hit upon it. Murder by request--not a mercy killing, you understand, but a killing to obviate the embarrassment of people's finding out that a boy and a girl had got themselves a baby illegitimately, a killing to do away with the mother of the child and the embryo itself, a killing to save the girl from shame and the feeling of tragedy that was smothering her--go free, Donald Carroll! Thou couldst not have loved thyself half so well had thou not loved thine honor more.

Man in a Hurry

The President is thoroughly logical when he argues that, under the system of taxation according to ability to pay, there is no reason why a $500,000 profit on stocks should be taxed at the same rate as a $5,000 profit on stocks. He makes sense again when he says that, under the same system, there should be a strong compulsion upon corporations to disgorge their profits instead of withholding them to save some large stockholder from having to pay thumping surtaxes on his individual income.

But the President has nobody to blame except himself for repudiation by Congress of two basic income tax principles. Year after year he has stressed the great importance of co-ordinating the whole Federal tax system, and year after year, peremptorily and without warning, he has pitched Congress a ready-made tax bill and said, "Here, boys; put this through for me before you wind up." The bill containing the undistributed profits tax is an excellent illustration. It was not even presented to Congress until March, 1936--March of an election year. It followed on the heels of a new tax law enacted the year previous--and before that tax law had even gone into effect. It was jammed through Congress despite its radical nature and admitted inequities, all because Mr. Roosevelt, after four years of calling for co-ordination of the Federal tax system, was in a hurry for a new and completely different kind of tax.

It was another case of haste's making waste, the waste being the repudiation by Congress of taxation principles so sound that Mr. Roosevelt finds himself unable to sign the bill eliminating them.

Site Ed. Note: For another editorial in praise of contributions to medical science, see "On Heroes", May 27, 1939.

Jokichi Takamine, mentioned as the borrower of the discovery, was a chemist engaged in the manufacture of fertilizer. He also isolated an enzyme of rice malt, Taka-Diastase. In 1884, incidentally, while attending the Cotton Exchange in New Orleans, living in Le Vieux Carre, he became friends with Lafcadio Hearn about whom Cash had in 1932 proposed to the Guggenheim Foundation, on his first unsuccessful application for a grant, to write--to be titled "Anatomy of a Romantic".

The precise name for the hormone isolated by Dr. Abel--of which whether he permitted Takamine freely to take, we don't know--, by any other name than adrenaline, is epinephrine. We regularly dose ourselves with it naturally of course when confronted with that fight or flight notion. Anyone who has ever faced a deadline will understand.........._______√Ω√Ω√\A√\A√\ÆOU...............

But, remember that, in the parable anyway, Cain slew Abel; so don't try to stimulate it artificially ever, without a qualified physician or paramedic doing the stimulating in a true life-threatening emergency, even if Cain is said to cure your headache.

For old Cain is wont to cause heartache by the numbers, babe. And he will definitely cure your headache, some say for good.

Once, when we were a little tyke, we broke out in spots, everywhere. Had to stay home from school so as not to infect the others. We were sure we had something terrible. Spots were getting worse.

Having nothing better to do that day, we started looking in the medical encyclopedia to see what it was we had.

We found it, that which fit all our symptoms--including the apple juice, craving for the sweets, eating a lot, always thirsty. Maybe those spots were boils and carbuncles even.

We decided we had diabetes.

We were afrighted.

All those shots we had heard about. Oh no.

We didn't like that idea at all. Told our mama.

She didn't seem to think so.

We were convinced though.

Fretted about it. Sweated all night about it. Couldn't sleep. We knew we were going to die any day, any moment maybe.

What would that be like? Oh no. Nothingness. What is that? Frightful.

Couldn't sleep.

We had heard all about encephalitis, too--the sleeping sickness. Maybe that was it. Comes from the spots, they say. Looked up the symptoms for that, too. More spots. Oh no. Better not sleep then. Might not awaken.

Worried ourselves sicker.

Turned out we had the German measles.

Too many decades later to count, we're still here--at least we think so.

Went to sleep a lot. Woke up most of the time, too.

Never much worried since about getting sick.

Take Off Your Hat

A great man is dead in Baltimore. You will not find his passing recorded on the front pages where politicians thrive. And it is unlikely that even Baltimore will soon get around to giving him a monument along with its men on horseback. He is Dr. John Jacob Abel, and it is quite possible that you never heard his name while he lived. For he was an uncolorful professor of pharmacology at the Johns Hopkins. But all the same, you and every man alive in the civilized world are greatly in his debt.

He did many things, but he did at least two things of capital importance. If you fell over in the street today with a heart attack, the chances are that the doctor would fetch you back to life again with a shot of adrenaline. And this man is the man who first isolated that stuff, the hormone from the supra-renal bodies, two tiny structures clinging to your kidneys. A Japanese chemist, Takamine, visited him before he announced his work, saw what he had done, improved his process a little, and beat him to the draw by taking out a patent on the stuff, as Abel had not intended. But the credit of the thing belongs primarily to Abel.

And the second great achievement? If you came down with diabetes today, it would no longer be necessary for you to resign yourself to a miserable life and a miserable death in coma and convulsions. You'd simply take insulin and lead a pleasant enough life quite as long as you would have lived in any case. Insulin is the isolated hormone of the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, and the stuff makes it possible for your body to carry on the digestion of sugar, necessary to your life. This man Abel isolated insulin.

Site Ed. Note: Here, else.

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