The Charlotte News

Monday, November 15, 1937


Site Ed. Note: "While the Ship Sinks" follows up on the story told to Congress by Joseph Kennedy regarding the dilapidated state of the merchant marine.

We also ran across this page today, not this time by mere serendipity, though per haps, but nevertheless finding it interesting and instructive, we thought we would pass it on to you. In one page, should you consider it some, even the cranberry sauce in drift, is summed perhaps a whole era of our history, starting with 1944 and D-Day, following on through to August 8, 1974—at least that long. One could drift back from D-Day to the Big Bang, (whether syphilitically begat or not, we don’t know, though more than a time or two we have encountered persons who might ha' been so begat, and generationally so), maybe, then drifting forward from there back to 1998-1999, and from there, with facility enough, right to the present day.

ABC—it’s so elementary.

The whole era might be titled "In Cold Blood", we posit.

Care to calypso in your capote?

And, we are happy to see that the Rutherford Gazette, during the first year of old Marty Van Buren’s tenure in office, (ah, matey, and a great time ‘twas too on the ol’ campestral greens!), was upholding the dignity and respect of our old alma mater against scurrilous calumny of the sort which it indicates had kept many a promising young, upstanding lad from attending, that being the absurdly licentious claim that there were attending young men of "immoral and dissipated habits", utterly false, scurrilous scuttlebutt of the lowest caliber, scandalously defamatory, and threat, though providing no cause in fact, to scuttle the whole ship, as we can quite thoroughly attest with unattenuated accuracy from our own tenure there some 135 years subsequent to the report from Rutherford—and that latter in a time, thus made the more remarkable for its saintly deportment, unlike the former, when many pressures were descending upon the attendees, especially the young men, who, after all, might any day, receive their call to forward themselves, toe to the lie, draws’ pinks deported on order, forthwith to the windy chill under Ol’ Tippecanoe’s command—which many of us, candidly, by that point, believed was little more than cranberry sauce with Turkey stuffed full of bread crumbs, and a little pumpkin pudding, with cocoanut sprinkled on top, for dessert.

Speaking of O’Hare, we were there, ourselves, just a few short weeks ago, and had occasion to stop on the concourse by an exhibit of an airplane of the type flown by Eddie O’Hare, a flying ace shot down and killed in the Pacific during World War II, after whom the place was renamed in 1949 (it having originally been planted on an orchard, thus dubbed Orchard Field Airport, hence the ORD designation--should you have ever wondered--as, no doubt, ace fliers through it might have become a little less enamored of flying from it should the designation have been changed to OH or simply O’ or even O’HA). Though not a part of the exhibit, we were thereby challenged to find out a little more about Mr. O’Hare, a Medal of Honor winner before his death: and, we discovered that Mr. O’Hare’s father was an attorney who had represented Al Capone. So, speaking of syphilitics, having been nabbed himself by the law, the senior O’Hare turned state’s evidence, and was instrumental in Capone’s conviction for tax evasion, from which he never emerged from prison, dying on Alcatraz Island, though actual death was delayed a few lingering, demented years further.

What it all means is left for you to ponder within the mysteries of the universe. Ourselves, never having seen it until a couple of weeks ago, are still pondering that ghost at O’Hare which had printed on his ghostly outfit that slogan, which, upon further analysis, we have interpreted instead as: "JA-CK Don’t Stand a Ghost Of A Chance". Besides being utterly absurd not only in appearance, but also as to the proper use of the English language, we might have then responded, in our second grade pluck, had we then lived in Burlington, which we didn’t: "Indeed, little ghostly apparition, with the curious eyes, JA-CK Don’t, but DI-CK Do." Instead we simply wore our little button: "All The Way With JFK And LBJ". Made better sense to us.

Growth in Moral Theory

The bulletin sheet of the Scottish Rite News Bureau, 1735 Sixteenth Street, N. W., Washington, has invented what seems to us to be the most novel rule of moral conduct which has yet turned up in this country where novelties of that sort are not exactly rare. Demanding that the Postoffice Department enforce a ruling issued on February 27, whereunder it is illegal to send through the mails any newspaper containing an account of The Irish Sweepstakes and the lottery-winners therein, it goes on:

"But what can be said in defense of a publisher who will deliberately violate the laws established to protect ignorant persons against their own destructive thinking and habits?"

Do you get it, messires and dames? That it's morally wicked, you understand, to chronicle the fact that some indecently lucky devil--with whom we all would cheerfully break a leg or two to exchange places--has tumbled into one million bucks? Great Jumping Jehosophat!

While the Ship Sinks

A little Greek steamer foundered in the dangerous waters of Cape Hatteras Saturday morning. But heroic work by the crew had kept it afloat for thirty hours--long enough for at least twenty-one of them to escape.

Maybe it was a good thing it wasn't an American steamer. On Greek steamers, it may be presumed, they still have discipline. But on American steamers they have CIO unions. And so, judging from the reports which have been appearing in the public prints, we may suspect that something like this would have happened.

"All hands on deck!" roars the captain from the bridge.

After a long time a voice from the fo'cas'le:

"What the hell? Don't the Ol' Man know we are on the eight-hour day?"

"Man the pumps! Rouse 'em out, Mister! Break out bulkheads to shift cargo!"

Voice from the fo'cas'le. "Man 'em yourself. Who th' heck do you think y'are anyhow? And if that so and so of a mate comes down here, we'll smack him into the forward hold!"

Captain and mate in chorus: "This is mutiny!"

Chorus from the fo'cas'le: "Tain't, neither! It's just American standards for sailors! Ain't you heard that industrial democracy has come to the sea?"

The Iron Horse and Water

A five-year study of the railroads in American economic life has convinced Dr. Lewis Sorrell, Professor of Transportation in Chicago University, that private ownership of the railroads is best for the public interest. But it has also convinced him that seven years of depression have left the carriers in such plight financially that unless they "recognize obsolete capital structures and effectuate early revision in order to," they are going sooner or later to end up in government ownership.

Five years of study, in short, has convinced the Professor of the obvious. The growth of railroads was accompanied by the most flagrant watering of capital values the country has seen. And though some of that water has since come to represent actual value, much of it has always remained. The result, under depression conditions, is that the railroads find themselves carrying so heavy an overhead that new capital won't touch them with a stick [indiscernible word] at bargain prices. They're trying to get around that now by raising their rates--a highly dubious economic measure and one which, inevitably making them unpopular, drives them headlong on the road to government ownership.

It won't be easy for them to revise their capital structures, no. It is going to hurt a great many innocent people. There is no escape from it, for if government ownership comes, the water will be squeezed out, anyhow--and probably by the most abrupt and painful method.

Rule No. 5

There are several ironic aspects of the last two killings of Negroes by Charlotte police officers, chief among them being the deadliness of the officers' unintentional aim and the circumstances that in neither instance was the victim fire-armed or believed to be fire-armed. But in view of the fact that a coroner's inquest is to be held in the latter death, and in view of the further fact that our whole system of justice is founded on the principle of equal treatment for high and low, white and black, we refrain from mentioning them.

It might be a good time, however, to refresh our understanding of the proper use of pistols by police officers. As set forth in the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission, it is this:

The circumstances under which a policeman may use his pistol are: in extraordinary cases, such as the actual defense of his own or another's life: when attacked with deadly weapons, or in active pursuit of escaping criminals charged with such felonies as murder, rape, housebreaking, arson, etc., or when there is no other means of apprehending them. Shooting at another is a crime, except when proven to be done as authorized by law. Therefore, if a policeman, sworn to execute the laws, should through cowardice, passion or malice, shoot at, wound or kill another, he would be a criminal in a double sense, for the reason that in doing so he would be guilty of violating his oath of office.

Propagation at a Price

A bill to require physical examinations before licensing men and women to marry will be submitted to the next Legislature by the State Health Department. There would seem to be, goodness knows, every reason in the world why such a bill should become law by unanimous consent. The Health Department estimates, for instance, that there are 300,000 syphilitics in North Carolina today, the adults among them free to marry merely by paying the standard license fee and thereafter to beget, if they can, syphilitic children like the 20,000 syphilitic children under fifteen already begotten by syphilitic parents. And for every syphilitic child who reaches adolescence, the figures show that one or more syphilitic children, probably to their and certainly to society's relief, have died in infancy or early childhood.

And of those who live, many are deformed either mentally or physically. A considerable number of inmates in State institutions for the feeble-minded and insane are there because of inherited syphilis. Prison populations are rife with heriditary syphilitics. Each day in North Carolina there are thirty-three cases of infection reported, and each day ten syphilitic babies are born.

Sixteen years ago North Carolina enacted a law requiring health certificates from would-be bridegrooms. The 1933 Legislature vitiated the good effects of this law by permitting the male simply to swear that he was free from said syphilis, and the 1935 Legislature, alarmed at the loss of license revenues to South Carolina and Virginia, repealed even this half-hearted precaution. Since that time the State has been working on the theory that it is better to license the marriage of syphilitics, at so much a throw, than to take the lead in preventing the spread of that dreadful disease even unto the third and fourth generations.

Now It Can Be Told

The ingenuous Associated Press reports that President Roosevelt, appealing to the nation last night to cooperate in the taking of the unemployment census, said the huge task to be inaugurated was necessary to furnish facts upon which the administration hopes to base a sound, long-range program of re-employment. [Italics ours.]

Sacred jumping purple cats! Isn't that to confess tacitly that the whole program for dealing with unemployment has so far not been demonstrably sound? Of course it is, for if these facts are necessary as the base of any sound policy, then it follows that any policy which is not based on them is not unsound necessarily, but still a mere stab in the dark, more likely to be unsound than not.

The astonishing thing about this confession is that common sense and some of the President's own advisers, including General Old Iron-Pants Johnson, were assiduously arguing that these facts were necessary to a sound policy as long as four years ago. Why has it taken the President, not an obtuse man, so long to make up his mind that it was so? Well, for one thing, we recall, there was an election in 1936. And one of the facts which such a census might have unearthed is that there are many people on relief rolls who have no business there. And if that had been unearthed, why, those people might logically have had to be thrown off--which, of course, would never have done in this world. Not with the secret of Maine and Vermont still locked in the future.

Site Ed. Note: One day, we shall impart to you the little story about our conversation with an old friend during which we off-handedly stated, preparing the next day to take flight, that, given our luck of late, the plane would likely crash, somewhere, we said, over Lawrence, Kansas, probably. It was just one of those spur of the moment things which came to us--why Lawrence, we have no idea. But, the day after we arrived at our destination, we picked up the newspaper, we kid you not, to find that there had been, not a plane crash, but a very bad train wreck in, of all places, Lawrence, Kansas. And, we do recall that we had just been to the movies a few nights earlier, very late at night; the film on the fare was "The Shining".

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