MAY 8, 1958
NEW YORK—I was glad to read the other day in the Congressional Record a speech by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota on the use of our farm surpluses. He has been carrying on a crusade on this subject and he feels that at last a little ground has been gained. He says:
"A most encouraging recent development was a constructive editorial in the mass-circulation Saturday Evening Post entitled 'Our Farm Surplus Could Be an Asset in the Cold War.' It is high time more of our major national periodicals recognized this fact and devoted more attention to what could be done with our abundance—instead of criticizing farmers for producing it."
He inserted the whole Saturday Evening Post editorial in the Congressional Record and then added that he was glad to see that the State Department at long last had a change of heart and is "beginning to accept with less reluctance the importance of food as a weapon in economic warfare."
There is no question that we could not only use what surpluses we have but increase them if we would take this point of view.
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I keep getting notes from certain orthodox Jewish rabbi groups on the subject of the humane slaughter bill. But in reading the bill, I feel that their interests are safeguarded by clauses which carefully state that religious observances are not to be interfered with.
I am wondering whether the packers are using the fears of certain religious groups to preserve the present "status quo" and keep us from making any progress in legislation providing for more humane slaughtering.
The bills now being considered may not be perfect but they certainly seek to improve what has been a bad situation, and I would be sorry to see the packers win again in a struggle for a more humane attitude toward creatures that cannot help themselves.
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The time has come for all those who care about education in this country to think seriously about what is going to happen in the Congress to the educational bills this year.
Time is running out, and unless something is done soon, we are likely to find ourselves, in the rush of the session's last days, getting no aid-to-education legislation of any kind.
I think there are no communities now that are not conscious of the need for Federal aid to increase their school room space. In addition we must realize that we need more and better-paid teachers.
I told you of my visit to the best of the so-called "600" schools in Brooklyn. I did not see a single thing there that should not be in every high school in the country. Every boy who had made good there gave as one of the reasons the fact that the teachers had time to talk with him.
The reason is simple: The classes are kept down to 12 or 14 pupils and the teachers are better trained by a superintendent who cares what happens to the youngsters. This should be so in every high school in the country and even in our elementary and junior high schools.
I do not feel that we can afford to wait any longer to improve our whole school setup. If it costs money, then we must pay the bill, for our children are our greatest asset and in the end they, and we, will profit by a better development of their capacities. This can come only through really good schools.