TRB from Washington: Matters for Mencken
July 09, 1977
How H.L. Mencken would have skipped his paunchy knee and twinkled his china-blue eyes in cynical rapture over the Neutron bomb as another example of human folly. Really, the thing is wasted without Mencken around. The Neutron bomb, you see, is small, it's "clean"; it's teensy-weensy; it's a cutrate H-bomb that kills all the people in the neighborhood with radiation but lacks the punch to destroy buildings. How economical. What a weapon tor cleaning out cities. And what a plaything for the generals. At last we have invented a humane bomb: humane to buildings.
September 14, 1974
I confess that Alan Greenspan startles me. He is President Ford's new top economic adviser. I heard Sen. Proxmire ask him questions in an otherwise all but deserted Banking Committee room recently and my astonishment grew. So, I think, did Proxmire's. Witness testified, without notes, with an earnestness and sincerity that left no doubt of his conviction. At a big financial loss he is leaving his Wall Street consulting firm of Townsend-Greenspan & Co.
July 08, 1967
Operation Bootstrap The spread of communism into underdeveloped countries might be of economic advantage to the United States. Who says this? Only as affluent and respectable a financial service as Value Line could afford to tell its $150-a-year clients anything as startling. In a recent copyrighted analysis it offers this calm argument. The only way to lift an economy in a country is to acquire capital. The simplest way to acquire capital is to hire it from a rich country.
TRB from Washington
September 17, 1966
Ghetto and Garrison To understand the Negro city problem, you have to realize how most big American cities are now developing. There is the downtown business-amusement area, generally close to the factory area. This is surrounded by a noose of slums increasingly Negro ghettoes. And beyond that are the white garrison suburbs; segregated, of course. To get downtown, the white commuters have to go through, or over, or under, the ghetto which, of course, they don't see.
WASHINGTON, D.C. The present British attitude toward the United States seems to me jittery and touchy beyond any thing I can remember in past visits and protracted stays in England. The American attitude on the other hand seems to me almost arrogantly complacent. The atmosphere, broodingly explosive as a July sky before a storm, has brought Churchill and Eden to Washington. Take a concrete illustration. The State Department asked the right to search foreign ships to block aid to Guatemala.
TRB: Washington Wire
July 05, 1954
Eisenhower has one last month to make the lackluster 83rd Congress pass his program. "This is the crucial test. Ike wasted his first year in office, then last January dropped a two-year load into the hopper. Will Congress act? The pace quickens now and the big lobbies start to grind. The tariff battle is lost. This was an issue where progressives backed Ike. He repeatedly promised to base his whole foreign economic program on "trade not aid" and now his ineptness has lost the fight.
July 26, 1948
Harry Truman may not have given his party victory at Philadelphia, but he gave it self-respect. It was fun to see the scrappy little cuss come out of his corner fighting at two in the morning, not trying to use big words any longer, but being himself and saying a lot of honest things that needed to be said. Unaccountably, we found ourself on top of a pine bench cheering. We have always thought of Truman as Mr. Average Man himself, nice and likable and commonplace and mediocre. These attributes make something of a problem when one is President.