FEBRUARY 8, 1950
NEW YORK, Tuesday—I have been thinking of all those potatoes that the Secretary of Agriculture is going to destroy. To support the potato price by buying potatoes is one thing, but not to plan as to how these potatoes may be used, even at a loss, seems to me a questionable policy.
I would not mind half so much losing a part of this money if the food actually nourished someone in the world who needed it. It seems to me that these fields, which have borne so many potatoes, might perhaps under proper guidance have produced something even more useful to us or to someone else in the world. Potatoes are bulky and not easy to ship abroad, though I understand if they are dehydrated at once it is possible to ship them more economically.
I cannot help feeling, however, that this whole question bears studying and that we need a food and agriculture commission of our own.
I think, too, that it makes more sense to give food to people who need it at the present time than to destroy it. Also, it seems to me that we should not lay up these big surpluses. Once they have been bought by the government we should resell them or exchange them for other goods that we do need. Even if the government must accept a loss, it would not be as great a loss in that way to the taxpayers, and it does some good. I have always objected to waste, and this seems to me a very wasteful policy.
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It is interesting to see a Democrat and a Republican sponsoring the change in the electoral college system. I can well understand that some people will object to the proposed change, but on the whole it seems to me very sensible. The system of the electoral college was devised when transportation and communication in our country was very much slower than it is today. Conditions today make it quite easy for the voter to vote directly for a candidate.
I wonder how the Republican party feels about Gov. Earl Warren of California, a former Vice-Presidential candidate, filing for reelection on a nonpartisan basis. This is rather difficult to understand for those of us who do not live in a state where a cross-filing system prevails. I cannot say that the system makes much sense to me. But, of course, it is equally fair to both candidates as long as they both use it, and I suppose the voters of the West Coast are accustomed to this system.
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I saw Ethel Waters in "The Member of the Wedding" last night and it is certainly a most charming play. There are moments when it is very poignant. The Georgia kitchen, with the colored mammy and the two white children, in the first act gives one a sense of their being bound together. The children were very good and Ethel Waters was, of course, inimitable. I did not feel that the tragedy of the racial pattern quite fitted the rest of the play, but perhaps it had to be there or the final picture of the old colored woman and the doll would not have had its full meaning.