The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 01, 1913, Page 9, Image 9

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The Commoner
Jccturo, and should not outweigh tho absolute
written and physical examinations of the men.
"I became primarily interested when on read
ing the report of the board I found that they
had placed a man by the name of Foster as
eighth on the list, and had given him a mark
of 59. Foster was an enlisted man, who had
worked his way up, and had prepared himself
to take the examination for a commission. I
inquired of tho board upon what basis tho mark
ing of Foster was made, and learned that they
had marked him down on 'aptitude and prob
able efficiency.' I told tho board that this would
never do; that Foster had served in the ranks
with credit, and had risen above his fellows by
earnest attention to his duties, and in ambi
tion. Obviously, I contended, he had demon
strated 'aptitude and probable efficiency' as
absolutely as it could be demonstrated namely,
by his past record. Moreover, rejecting his
mark on this subject, I found that on his writ
ten examination he stood second on the list.
"Coming then, to tho cases of three men who
failed at the naval academy, I found that they
had 'bilged,' as you call it, on some one sub
ject like arithmetic. I took the position that,
as they had stood fairly well in other subjects
at the academy as candidates for commissions
in tho marine corps, they probably were better
equipped than the graduate of some school who
had never drilled in his life and knew nothing
of naval training.
"Inasmuch then, as they had passed tho writ
ten examination, but had been marked down on
'aptitude and probable efficiency' simply because
they had 'bilged' from the academy, tho mark
ing was not fair. I agreed with tho board that
it would probably be better not to admit men
to commissions in the marine corps who had
failed at the academy, but that I contend is a
stand that should be taken before men are per
mitted to take the examination. It is not fair,
howover, after accepting their applications to
'flunk' them solely on this ground. In other
words, I have thrown out the back window tho
test of 'aptitude and probable efficiency.'
"The real point in this matter is that tho
question of 'efficiency' or 'adaptability' is mere
ly one of opinion. It is not decided by any
examination. It opens the door to selection by
a test that is not uniform. There has been
criticism in the past, that it has been employed
to help applicants known to or favored by public
officials or boards. Inasmuch as the opinion of
men is open to such diverse influences, it can
not be contended that it is a test that Is always
just or fair. I wish examinations that give equal
test to all to govern, and to eliminate all chance
and varying opinion. As long as the opinion of
one man or three men as to 'efficiency' or 'avail
ability prevails, there is danger of injustice or
favoritism or mistake. If selection is made
purely upon written examination, thoro is no
element of personal judgment or favoritism, and
no danger of either. I am trying to eliminate
all temptation and opportunity to favor any
Tho experiment of issuing a "Weekly News
Letter to Crop Correspondents," the first num
ber of which was issued on August 13, has al
ready proved very successful, judging from the
many letters of commendation received from the
farmers and press of the country. This "Weekly
News Letter" gives the department a medium
through which it can give to the man on the
laud prompt warning as to the best methods of
dealing with sudden crop pests, and also for the
circulation of practical advice which enables the
farmer to take advantage of sudden conditions
to improve his crop yield and profit.
Following tho abolition of the Crop Reporter,
there was a strong demand on the part of many
farmers that the department continue to supply
them with detailed statistical crop information
prepared by the bureau of statistics. To meet
this demand the department has inaugurated
two new measures through which it is believed
the farmers wilL receive valuable crop data far
more quickly and in time sfor them to apply it
to the business operation of their own farms.
Beginning in September, a new type of farmers'
bulletin to bo known as the "Agricultural Out
look" wilL be issued promptly as occasion war
rants duilng the crop season. This bulletin will
consist of from sixteen to twenty-one pages and
will supply details of the crop reports by in
dividual states and also will give carefully pre
pared discussions of general crop conditions in
a popular form not requiring special statistical
ability for their interpretation. It is realized
that to mako theso data of highest value to tho
farmors, tho bulletin must bo placed In tho
hands of tho farm readers with tho least pos
sible delay. Tho present plan calls for tho
printing and mailing of this farmors' bulletin
within two days after the completion of the
crop reports. Tho first number, in addition to
the statistical summaries, will contain articles
by specialists on the applo crop situation, tho
potato situation, and tho cotton crop, and also
a discussion of hog cholera conditions
During September an experiment also will bo
inaugurated with the aim of placing tho state
crop details in tho hands of farmers from ton
to sevonteon days earlier than Is possible
through tho mails. Tho department, therefore,
will try tho experiment of telegraphing tho statu
detr.lls to the central weather bureaus in Illi
nois, Missouri, Minnesota, Iowa, Kunsas and
Texas. The weather officials will then duplicate
theso telegrams without delay to all the papers
In tho state. In this way tho detailed crop re
port should bo In tho hands of tho small rural
papers, as well as tho big dallies, In from ten
to eighteen hours after tho compilation of tho
figures In Washington. If tho experiment proves
successful, It will then ho extended to ail tho
states so that the newspapers In oach state will
have tho state crop details very promptly. Tho
cost of telegraphing this information will bo
only seven ty-fivo conts for each state. This
telegraphic distribution Is judged to bo very
important, for the reason that the actual crop
conditions in his state Is found to bo more Im
portant to the farmer in marketing his product
than the statistics of total crops for tho United
States heretofore supplied to the press associa
tions for telegraphic distribution.
In the administration of the food and drugs
act and tho insecticide act, the department has
adopted tho plan of giving much wider publicity
to seizures made and judgments rendered in
food, drug, and insecticide cases. As rapidly as
decisions are handed down by tho courts or
seizures actually made, the department issues
impartial statements of the facts, penalties, and
tho reasons for the government's action. Theso
are given broadcast circulation to newspapers
and trado papers, through the columns of which
the consumer now receives Immediate warning
of adulterations and misbrandings on the part
of the manufacturers.
The administration of tho food and drugs act
in the past has been largely devoted to the
economic side of food protection. Major em
phasis heretofore has been placed on tho pre
vention of the adulteration and misbranding of
labeled foods, and tho regulation of the use
of preservatives. It is felt that the food and
drugs act can bo made a far moro effectivo
agency for protecting the health of the people if,
in addition to preventing misbranding and mis
use of preservatives, it could bo extended to
regulating the interstate traffic In foods largely
unlabeled and shipped commonly in packages
open to the air. These foods, if contaminated,
can become direct carriers of serious contagious
and infectious diseases, and the spread of dan
gerous bacterial Tho department, therefore, has
planned a wide extension of its work with foods,
to take in the regulation of interstate shipment
of dangerous milk, meat, flsh, shell-fish, vege
tables, and other similar products. Special
attention will bo given to protecting rural com
munities which because of their nearness to
state lines obtain more or less of their food
through interstate commerce. These rural com
munities, save in tho states which extend stato
health protection to the small villages, com
monly have no systematic or efficient health
protective systems. Tho federal authorities, of
course, can not extend this rural sanitation ser
vice to small towns in the centers of tho states,
as these towns got comparatively little of their
food from across state lines, and federal action
Is limited to Interstate commerce traffic. It Is
believed, however, that by extending its protec
tion to theso border communities the depart
ment can sot an example and so reduce tho
death rate as to encourage the states to extend
such a health protective system, now largely
centralized in tho big cities, to tho safeguard
ing of the farmers and other dwellers In tho
country and small communities from the danger
of contaminated food and water, and dangerous
sewage disposal methods.
The first step in fixing definite grades for
grain, as authorized by tho agricultural ap
propriation act, was begun on August 21, when
the department announced the fixing of tenta
tive grades for commercial corn. These new
grades class corn by color, percentage of mois
ture, percentage of damaged corn, percentage
of forolgn material, and porcontago of badly
broken corn. It also grados corn by tho dogma
of acidity, which Is the most important factor in
determining tho soundness of corn and its de
gree of safety for storage and for shipment. Be
fore finully fixing the grade, tho department
will, hold a formal hearing at which grain pro
ducers and shippers will be given an opportunity
to discuss tho tentative standards suggested.
The department Is contemplating tho uso of
moving picture machine? as an adjunct to tho
talks and lectures of ltd demonstration and ox
tension field workers. During Septcmbor the
department will send out two locturors with
such machines on an oxporimcntal trip to de
termine tho actual valuo of the plan and to dis
cover tho best mothod of using moving pictures
in agricultural instructions.
Tho secretary has issued invitations to state
food, dairy and drug inspectors to attend a moot
ing to bo held In Washington about November
15, at which mothods of co-operation between
tho federal authorities and tho officials of the
several slates will bo fully discussed.
Tho department has been giving especial at
tention to tho eradication of the cattlo tick in
tho south. As a result of tho co-oporatlvo work
between the counties, tho states, and tho-foderal
officials, tho department was able to release
from quarantlno for Texas fovor, on September
1st, 9,191 square miles of territory In tho states
of Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia, and
South Carolina. During the year, nearly 30,000
square miles have been released from quaran
tine. Since tho campaign was begun In 1906,
190,395 square miles havo been freed from tho
cattlo tick. Tho department's efforts will now
bo continued with Increased activity In tho ter
ritory not yet released from quarantine.
Responding to tho sentiment of service to
tho masses of the people, sought to be promoted
by tho present administration, the commissioner
of pensions, Hon. G. M. Saltzgaber, has arranged
to havo tho bureau of pensions represented at
tho national encampment of tho Grand Army ot
tho Republic, during the week of tho 15th to
tho 20th of September, and is making elaborates
preparations to respond to tho numerous in
quiries of tho old comrades who will bo at
Chattanooga on that memorable occasion.
Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the
Republic Beers writes Mr. Saltzgaber that:
"It Is a most excellent Idea and ono that ha
never been attempted before. I congratulate
Nyou upon having presented a new idea and one
which will undoubtedly be received with a great
deal of pleasure by all of the comrades."
Allegations having been made to the depart
ment of labor as to the quality and condition
of the food served to tho immigrants and em
ployees aUEllis Island by the contractors, Sec
retary Wilson with characteristic zeal Immedi
ately ordered a complete Investigation of the
charges preferred. In order that the Investiga
tion might be conducted In a thorough and Im
partial manner by men not connected with the
Immigration service at Ellis Island, the secre
tary detailed as Investigators, Assistant Commis
sioner of Immigration James L. Hughes, of
Philadelphia, P. L. Prentiss, inspector in charge,
Chicago, and Richard Taylor, Immigrant inspec
tor In the field service. Tho investigating com
mission Is now holding hearings In New York
and is making a rigid and complete Inquiry Into
the entire feeding privileges at Ellis Island.
Through tho good offices of the department
of labor, the differences which havo existed
since December, 1910, between the Baltimore &
Ohio Railroad company and tho machinists in
tho shops on its system, extending from Phila
delphia to Chicago and St. Louis, have finally
been satisfactorily adjusted. Immediately fol
lowing the great strike that existed on the Bal
timore & Ohio in 1910, efforts were made by the
machinists to get a conference with the officials
of tho road, but without success. In March,
1912, representatives of tho machinists mot with
F. H. Clark, superintendent of construction, and
presented a set of agreements which were not
satisfactory. In February of tho present year
negotiations wero begun anew, but no satisfac
tory arrangements could be made. On July 15,
1913, Secretary Wilson of tho United States de
partment of labor, through a representative, My.
John A. Moffitt, tendered the good offices of the
department in an endeavor to bring about as
amicable adjustment of the existing difference,
(Continued on Page 14.)