Category Archives: history

On My Way To Cleveland, Ohio

Next weekend I’ll be traveling to Cleveland, Ohio to attend one of the international conventions hosted by my network marketing partner.  I consider it  part of the business I’m involved in, part of the commitment I’ve made to succeed at this business, to attend this convention.  It will be my first trip to Cleveland, so that will be a new experience.  But, for that reason,  it will not be possible for me to post a blog here next week.

After practicing law in California for over forty years, network marketing is a new challenge for me.  I got into it at the behest of my oldest son, who is also in the business, to help him escape the financial constraints  of teaching.  One of the exciting aspects of the business is to be able to help others change their lives by becoming independent business owners.  Helping a client start a new business when I was practicing law was always a rewarding  endeavor for me.  Now I can do it all over again in my network marketing business.

Many, many years ago when I was in prep school in Pennsylvania, I took a course in English writers.  One of the writers I studied was John Keats.  Keats was not with us on this planet very long.  He died of tuberculosis at age 26.  That was back in 1821.  There was no cure for it in those days.  But while he was here he wrote some memorable poetry and one of the poems was “On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer.”  It was Chapman’s translation  (Chapman was a writer himself who lived in the 1600s) of  the epic Greek poet Homer (who lived around 700-800 BC and is famous for the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”) which excited Keats so much.  He described his excitement in this poem as akin to that of an astronomer watching a new planet swim into his field of vision, or that of Spanish explorer Cortez when “with eagle eyes” he stared out upon the vast expanse of the blue Pacific.  The network marketing business is likewise an exciting experience and it provides vast opportunities for personal and financial growth.  Excuse me for going a bit overboard, but you get the idea.

I’m also reminded of the Los Angeles blender salesman who one day got an  order for blenders from a small hamburger shack in San Bernardino, about 90 miles East of LA.  He drove out to San Bernardino to deliver the blenders and look at the hamburger shack’s operation himself.  He found a business that was a model of simplicity.  All the little shack  served was  hamburgers, fries, and shakes.  He also saw a business that was easily duplicated.  The blender salesman, whose name was Ray Kroc, bought the little hamburger shack, decided to keep the shack’s name, McDonald’s, and the rest is history.  I only mention this story because my business is also simple in operation and easily duplicated.  This is the key to growing the business.

It’s not just the potential financial rewards that motivate me in this business.  It’s also the personal satisfaction from the thought that I’m actually helping the economy by reducing unemployment.  I have often voiced my extreme displeasure with the current occupant of the White House for being someone who is not only unqualified for the job of being president but is incompetent to boot.  The continued stagnant economy in this country marked by high levels of unemployment attests to that unpleasant fact.  So I feel I’m doing my part by helping others to move ahead financially despite the shortcomings of the present administration.

The company I’m in partnership with now now operates in Mexico as well as other parts of the world.  This factor provides me with the opportunity to expand not just in this country but in Mexico and worldwide.  I have also taken an increased interest in Mexico in my efforts to expand my business into that country.  Mexico is a whole new universe of opportunity.

So this is why I’m going to Cleveland.  Attending the convention will enable me to keep up with developments in the network marketing business, hear firsthand from eminently successful business leaders, and to share in the excitement from being a part of a huge and ongoing industry.

Copyright 2014.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

Finding and Using The Right Word is Pivotal For Clear Writing

At a recent 2-day business symposium I attended, the  written materials furnished to all attendees unfortunately contained a few typos.   One of the more glaring mistakes was where the author wrote “capitol management” instead of “capital management.”  This mistake brought to mind an article I posted back in November , 2012, dealing with word selection.   It is still very relevant today.  Here’s the article, with minor modifications.

Last week’s blog emphasized the need to have correct diction, the choice of correct, clear, and effective words, as a step towards clear writing. There are several pitfalls to avoid.  Being concise in your writing and eliminating excess language is part of this process. Having a powerful vocabulary is also necessary to achieve this goal.   But a strong vocabulary will also help to avoid another pitfall on the road to correct diction – failure to use the exact word.  Using the correct word is of singular importance in your writing.  It ranks right up there with correct spelling.  It is the mark of an accomplished writer.

Searching for, finding, and using, the right word is a process I’ve learned to focus on for many years.   Many years ago I was involved in defending Doris Day’s lawyer, Jerry Rosenthal, against legal malpractice charges.   Despite his many legal shortcomings as found by the court,  I was always impressed with Rosenthal’s writing skills, and in particular with his efforts to find and use the exact word he wanted to express his thinking, whether in writing or speaking. He had a fixation on word selection, and an extensive vocabulary to go with it.  He boasted to me one day that the clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court had advised him that his framing of the issue in a petition he had written was the most clearly worded issue the clerk had ever seen. My involvement in this case and the writing tips I picked up are discussed in more detail in my eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available at amazon.com/kindlebooks and in print.

Don’t settle for approximations of your thoughts.  Imprecise words and expressions detract from clarity and may cause your reader to question all  other statements you make.  Generalities will roll off a reader like water off a duck’s back.   Accuracy of word usage is what you are after.  The U.S. Government has attempted to encourage the development of better writing in the Plain Writing Act of 2009, which inspired some of the ideas used in my eBook.  This legislation is an attempt by Congress to enhance citizen access to government information by mandating that government documents issued to the public must be written in plain English.  But as pointed out in the Acknowledgements for my eBook, the government’s use of the term “plain writing” is not as accurate as the use of “clear writing” would be, because the former is somewhat ambiguous.  What is “plain” writing?  Is it “plain” because it is not fancy, because it is not written in some esoteric script, or for some other unknown reason?   The mental discipline of searching for and finding the right word will pay huge dividends for you in developing a clear writing style.

The use of the word “cool,” greatly overused in today’s society, is a good example of a word which has no precise meaning. It has little place in formal writing.  Use of precise words to describe exactly what you see in a certain locale is one example of where specificity is greatly needed.  Generalization here will fall flat.  For example, if you were to write that Murphys, California is a “cool” place to visit, the reader would have little understanding of what you mean and would have no incentive to go there.  But if you wrote that it’s nestled in the farmland of the upper San Joaquin Valley, that you must drive through rolling pastoral countryside to get there, that it’s a living remnant of the Old West, and that it’s a shopper’s delight complete with casual dining and a nearby winery, the added specificity will make a visit sound much more inviting.

If you were writing a review of a machine and you simply wrote that it is a “bad” product, this description is far too general. “Bad” is an overworked word and not very specific in this context. But if you wrote that the machine requires far too many repairs to meet acceptable consumer standards, this is an obvious gain in specificity.

An overly general choice of words is frequently the mark of a lazy mind. Sharpen your word selection by resorting to an unabridged dictionary. A general word will usually have many definitions to choose from to make your meaning definite. When a shorter synonym for a word is available, use it. Often you will find that the use of a shorter synonym for the word you are using is the best option. Use common words such as “end” instead of terminate”, “explain” rather than “elucidate,” and “use” instead of “utilize.”

Copyright 2014.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

Hillary Clinton – A Non-Entity With No Credibility

Last Sunday the Wall Street Journal published an article which referred to Hillary Clinton’s recent “hawkish” views. This article was objectionable in my view because it provided some semblance of credibility to Hillary’s political posture. This attempt at foisting some credibility upon her is totally and completely misplaced. She is not qualified to hold any public office. She is unqualified and incompetent. Period. The views I posted on this site some 2 years ago about her tenure as secretary of state are still relevant to her purported qualifications for office today. Here is what I wrote.

The Secretary of Mistate, Mistake, er, State.

What makes a great Secretary of State? By what marks is he/she defined? Carrying out the president’s foreign policy? Getting treaties signed? There are no easy definitions. But you know a great Secretary when you see one.
Appointing Hillary as Secretary of State, as his first cabinet post, marked Obama as a lightweight, because she is a lightweight. She is in fact a no- weight. I can’t begin to find any credence in this appointment. At the time of her appointment Hillary had no experience in foreign affairs; she never wrote, lectured, taught, or spoke on it, nor has she done anything since her appointment to distinguish her as as deserving of the appointment, nor as being a great or even a good one.

Maybe it’s because Obama has no foreign policy to speak of, none that can be defined.
Her lack of experience in public office preceded her into the present job. She was elected to the U.S. Senate – in a very liberal state of course. But she flew in on the back of her husband, an impeached president, who disgraced himself, his family, the White House and the country. She certainly was no leader of any kind in the senate, not having introduced any resolutions that come to mind.

Even before that when entrusted with “Hillarycare” by husband Bill, this endeavor, decried by many as a form of socialized medicine, was a miserable failure. The book, “It Takes A Village,” ostensibly written by her, did nothing to further the cause for her program. The book was a fraud, falsely proclaiming a crisis in education and then clamoring for government intervention to cure the non-existent crisis.

Once in a while Hillary makes a little whimper of noise about one thing or another, but in actuality she does nothing. Joining other nations in favor of a change of leadership in Syria does nothing to show her leadership. Clearly, on Obama’s part, the appointment was an act of political expedience, just to get her out of his way and keep her quiet – so far as attacking him or his administration, that is.

Today’s (2/25/12) liberal leaning LA Times carries an article proclaiming that “Clinton Hints at Coup Against Assad.” The writer, Patrick J. McDonnell, attempts to provide Hillary with some credibility by pointing out that she is one of the leaders of a coalition calling itself “Friends of Syria.” The writer credits her with calling for Assad’s security forces to oust him, citing the cases of Tunisia and Egypt, where militaries stepped in to oust “longtime autocratic leaders” (i.e., dictators) after popular protests. Of course, joining others in the swell of protest against Assad does not exactly stamp her as a leader.

A clear sign of her lack of credibility is the fact that as of 2/24/12, she has no part in talks between the U.S. and North Korea concerning food aid to the impoverished country, dismantling of its nuclear weapons program, and other issues. The U.S. is represented by Glyn Davies, who is described as special representative for North Korean policy. Hillary is nowhere in sight.

The main problem with Hillary’s holding any public office is that she has little if any credibility. Remember, when she ran for president, she was caught in a bald-faced lie – claiming she was caught in sniper fire in [Bosnia] when landing there during a visit. This was a total lie, which she later admitted. So, can you believe anything she says? As all trial lawyers will know, there is a jury instruction you can ask the trial judge to give if the evidence warrants it i.e., falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus. What this means is that if the jury finds that the defendant (or a witness) lied about one thing, the jury can find that the defendant (or witness) lied about everything.

And of course hubby Bill was no slouch at lying either.

So much for Hillary’s credibility. Who’s going to believe her?

It’s not to late for Hillary to remove herself from the limelight and move into the kitchen, where she can concentrate on making toll house cookies. There, at least, she can hopefully avoid putting her foot in her mouth. But, of course, with her, anything’s possible.

Copyright 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

Remembering President Richard Nixon – 40 Years Later

On March 1, 2012, I published a blog about President Richard Nixon. He resigned from the presidency 40 years ago, on August 9, 1974, the only president to do so. Despite the shadow of Watergate, he accomplished a lot as president. To honor his presidency, here is a reprint of my blog.

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON’S EMBRACE OF “RED CHINA” – A MASTER STROKE OF FOREIGN POLICY.
The impact of relations between the U.S. and China should be examined in the context of President Richard Nixon’s legacy.

Before Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the U.S. fades from memory, and bearing mind the occasion of President Obama’s visit to China in 2009, it is fitting to put those visits in historical perspective. Recall that it was President Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Peking in 1972, some 40 years ago, which opened the door to improved relations with “Red China,” as the Chinese mainland was then known. This trip took place after two decades of bitter hostility, isolation, and non-existent diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China. The two countries had no framework in place for dealing with each other.

Some would say there is nothing about Richard Nixon worth remembering. But if one can cast aside the disgrace of Watergate and the horrors of Vietnam, horrors he inherited from his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson, and focus instead on the visit to China, it stands out as a major foreign policy accomplishment, one which should have earned Nixon the Nobel Peace Prize. Whatever else the personal shortcomings of Richard Nixon were, and there were apparently many, credit should be given where credit is due. Opening up the gateway to China was a brilliant master stroke of foreign policy which revolutionized world diplomacy and world trade. It was all the more remarkable in light of Nixon’s strong anti-communist stance during his political career.

The benefits of Nixon’s decision cannot be understated. What had been a miniscule dollar amount of trade between the two countries, roughly five billion dollars in 1979, has grown to the staggering total of between four hundred billion and five hundred billion dollars today. Moreover, cultural exchanges continue apace, involving many hundreds of exchange students. Last year there were over 3 million mutual visits between the two countries. Further, China, while still harboring a communist government, embraces an emerging capitalist economy, resulting in an ever improving life style for its people. For example, China today is the number one automobile market in the world. American capitalistic icons GM and Ford are strongly entrenched there, as are McDonalds and Coca Cola.

Obama’s 2009 meeting with Chinese President Hu, and his recent meeting with Vice President Jinping is hopefully a harbinger of deepening ties between the two countries, as well as mutual cooperation on trade and other issues.

However, historical perspective notwithstanding, the fact remains that Obama received a tepid response in his efforts to gain China’s cooperation in responding to the global economic showdown. This may be due to China’s recognition that America should focus on its own problems first, or it may be that China is simply not impressed with Obama and his administration.

It is clear that Obama is an excellent politician and a gifted speech maker, but it is equally clear that he is simply a novice when it comes to government management and making major decisions. He has no experience at all in administration and governing of anyone or anything. In other words, he comes across as a lightweight president, a figurehead, who has yet to prove himself as a leader. So, China has humored him, adopting a wait and see attitude before agreeing to anything. It remains to be seen whether Obama will have any real impact on the course of world affairs or whether he will be swept into the dustbin of history.

Copyright 11/20/09, updated 2/27/12, All Rights Reserved. Arnold G. Regardie.

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

An Immigration Update – Bill O’Reilly’s Take

I’m a long time follower of Bill O’Reilly on Fox News and find his reporting usually to be in depth, factual, and concise. Recently he suggested that viewers check out his suggestions to solve the immigration crisis as found on his website, BillO’Reilly.com. I did that and found many of his suggestions to have some merit. Here is a sampler, mixed in with some of my own thoughts.

Much of the problem lies with the failure of President Obama to be preprared for this crisis. He has had five and one half years to get his act together on this as well as other problems and has done virtually nothing. Mexico itself is a primary issue. Tougher policing of that country’s northern and southern borders would be a first step. Increased surveillance by Mexican police and military forces on the southern borders would help to stem the flow of would be illegal immigrants from Central America on their way to the U.S.

The same steps should be taken to help secure Mexico’s northern border with this country. The U.S. should have sent national guard troops to the border long ago. Apparently the president is now moving in that direction. Also, the U.S. should send patrols by U.S. aircraft into Mexican airspace to target activity by cartels and smugglers.

The trouble with these steps is getting Mexico’s cooperation and that perceived difficulty, in my opinion, is because Mexico is still fighting the Mexican-American War, i.e., there is lingering great resentment towards the U.S. over how the war ended. Remember that in the Treaty of Gualdalupe-Hildago, signed in 1848, Mexico ceded to the U.S. huge amounts of territory which now comprise California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. But the threat of trade sanctions against Mexico would certainly get that country’s attention.

As concerns the illegals presently in the country, O’Reilly advocates having them register at the nearest post office within three months with name, address, and birth date. Failure to do so would be a felony, justifying deportation in and of itself if convicted by a special immigration court. Registration would result in the issuance of an ID card which would be used to apply for a work permit. Registrants unable to find work would be deported, as would be criminals, addicts, etc. Those desiring citizenship would have to get in line behind all others. Entitlements would be denied to illegal aliens although their children would be eligible to receive benefits. This is not amnesty but a vetting process. A hard working, honest individual should be able to find a place in this country but there is no guarantee.

Illegal immigration is a huge, complex issue and there are no easy answers. But these suggestions outlined here would be a productive start.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

A Centennial Salute To The Babe

Lost amid all of the swirling problems arising from the Middle East and the Ukraine, among others, and the many scandals engulfing Barack Obummer, er, Obama, is the fact that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Babe Ruth’s breaking into major league baseball. Babe Ruth is one of the great athletes produced by this country. His feats deserve some recognition in this centennial year.

It was 100 years ago, 1914, that The Babe, as a 19 year old, jumped from reform school into the major leagues. Enrolled at St. Mary’s School for Boys, Baltimore, Maryland, since he was about 6 years old, in and out since then but mostly in, he was signed to his first professional contract with the then minor league Baltimore Orioles. Later that year he was sold to the Boston Red Sox.

Hidden among his many batting feats is the fact that Ruth was a premier American League pitcher for many years. He won 89 games for the Red Sox from 1914 to 1919, including 23 wins one year and 24 another. He also pitched 29 consecutive scoreless World Series innings during that stretch, a record that lasted for many years.

In 1919, after recognizing Ruth’s value as a hitter, Ruth became an every day player, playing as a full time outfielder for Boston. It was a momentous year for Ruth as he hit 29 home runs, setting a new major league record. No one had ever hit that many home runs in a single season before. But the best was yet to come.

Following the 1919 season, Ruth was sold to the New York Yankees. Harry Frazee, who owned the Red Sox, was also a Broadway producer and he needed money for a new show, “No No Nanette.” The sale of his biggest star helped to ease his financial strain.

In 1920, his first year as a Yankee, Ruth hit 54 home runs, an astounding feat, and another single season home run record. Ruth thus virtually single handedly helped the world of baseball awake from its lethargy following the Black Sox scandal of 1919, as fans clamored to get a glimpse of this budding new star. And then in 1921, as if to prove the previous year was no fluke, he hit 59 home runs, yet another single season record, the third year in a row for new home run records, a feat never since duplicated, as he led the Yankees to their first American League pennant. It was the first of many to come.

The 1920s was to see Ruth continue to hammer out home runs, including 60 in 1927, a record that stood for many years. In 1925, he was joined in the Yankee lineup by first baseman Lou Gehrig, who batted fourth, right behind the Babe. Together they became an integral part of the famous “murderers row” as the lineup was to become known, a lineup that was to give headaches to many pitchers in the coming years.

Ruth retired in 1935, finishing with 714 career home runs, a record that stood until finally eclipsed by Henry Aaron many years later. He was one of the charter members of baseball’s Hall of Fame, being one of the first five players elected in 1936.

Babe Ruth was truly a giant among baseball players. No one else in the annals of baseball has been both an outstanding pitcher as well as a great hitter. Ruth did a lot for the game of baseball. His accomplishments should be remembered as long as the game is played.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement

Versailles 1919 – Planting The Seeds of Middle East Discontent

Recently I attended a luncheon which featured a university professor speaking on the current repercussions of the 1919 Paris peace accords. Notably absent from his comments was any reference to what effect the Versailles Treaty had on the Middle East, specifically, how this region was affected by the peace treaty drawn up by the victorious Allied Powers. This was a major omission, considering the ongoing chaos in Iraq and surrounding areas today.

I explained in a blog on June 13,2014, that the central feature of the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” depicted an army of arabs crossing the desert to attack the port town of Aquaba from the rear, completely taking the Turkish garrison stationed there by surprise. This army was led by Colonel T.E. Lawrence of British intelligence, portrayed brilliantly by the late Peter O’Toole.

The point to be remembered here is that the arabs had been promised a free and independent arab state by Great Britain and France, in return for their cooperation against Germany and the other central powers during the war. These promises were never kept and instead the vast arab lands once controlled by the Ottoman Empire were partitioned by Great Britain and France into what is today Iraq and Iran. A minority sect, the Kurds also petitioned for the establishment of their own country, Kurdistan, but this plea was also disregarded.

These promises are discussed at great length in Margaret MacMillan’s fine book, “Paris 1919,” especially in the chapter entitled “Arab Independence.” Much of the discontent existing in the region today can be traced to these broken promises.

If there is to be peace among the warring factions today there must be some form of representative government. Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds must all be equally represented. This is the first issue, to get agreement on this point. Next is the question of how to implement this agreement. Also to be considered is the question of what countries are to be involved in the decision making. None of this can be achieved without a cease fire and some form of crisis conference to establish an interim government including an election date while all of the details are worked out.

Strong American leadership will also be required. This may be beyond the capabilities of the current president, Barack Obama, but the effort must be made. The idea must be imparted to the warring factions that all interests will be appeased in a representative government and that the current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will not be supported by the U.S.

Copyright 2014. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under active voice, clear writing, good diction, history, sound sentence structure, tips for good diction, Writing Improvement