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Jewish World Review Apr. 5, 1999 /19 Nissan 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas
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(JWR) ---- (
PEOPLE CONCERNED ABOUT WHETHER THEIR GOVERNMENT can do the equivalent of bombing and chewing gum at the same time ought to be reassured by a couple of government memos that have recently come to my attention.

The Training and Career Development Division of the National Institutes of Health's Program Support Center is inviting employees to a May 4 "intensive three-hour workshop on a process proven to create documents that drive action and support strategic decision.'' The purpose of the workshop is "to learn the six steps for meeting the president's plain language requirements.'' Maybe the program should start with the memo.

The Six Steps to Plain Language workshop is supposed to "boost productivity for both writers and readers; develop strategic thinking; ensure customer-focused documents; and demonstrate a commitment to quality.'' Workshop graduates are assured they will be able to apply what they've learned immediately and so begin to carry out President Clinton's June 1, 1998, directive to simplify government language. The cost is $199. For this attendees receive "a vest pocket guide to business writing; workbook with materials addressing plain language; a laminated wallet card containing Six Steps to Reader-Centered Writing and the focus sheet; and refreshments.''

You have to wonder what has taken government so long to get around to communicating more effectively with its citizens. How do average people learn to write the language of the complicated tribe? Shouldn't those who composed the indecipherable Tax Code many of us are currently wading through be required to take this workshop?

Memo 2 concerns a Conference on Gender and Human Sexuality, scheduled for April 30 at the National Press Club in Washington. This gathering is sponsored by the Office of Research on Women's Health at NIH and the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University. The goal of the conference, says the memo, is to "provide an appreciation of gender differences in the basic physiology of sexualresponse and in the pathophysiology of sexual dysfunction.'' Basically it appears to be a "how to have better sex'' get-together targeted to women (hey, isn't this sexist?).

The sponsors are Procter & Gamble and Pfizer, the latter best known for its development and (with the help of Bob Dole) marketing of the male potency drug Viagra. Unlike the class on better memo writing, the better sex course can be taken for credit. Want to guess which one will have the larger enrollment?

Is it possible that talking too much about sex has created a lot of our sexual dysfunction (or, as Dole would say, "ED'')? Day and night, night and day, we are drowning in sex. The mystery is gone and, with it, the interest of many. Everybody's working. Dating services in New York offer to link people up who are too busy to do it the old-fashioned way. "It's Just Lunch,'' one is called.

These government memos ought to be re-prioritized, as the unsimple might say. We need simpler language, but we urgently need simplified lifestyles, to make better use of the equal amount of time given to all so we can do more of what we know matters most. That would include sex. The aphorism about teaching -- those who can, do; those who can't, teach -- might be applied to sex and even memo writing. If people would write the way they talk, they might be better understood. Why make it so complicated that you need a class to be simple?

Before "alternative lifestyles'' and workdays of 10 hours or more, sex seemed simpler. Now it's complicated. Maybe it's to keep the teachers employed, the government big, and the bureaucrats happy.

I'll have more in a simplified memo.


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03/25/99: Yasser Arafat:
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03/23/99: Bubba’s multiplied lies
03/18/99: Reinventing AlGore
03/16/99:Americans get bull while China shops
03/12/99: Bill Lan Lee: Flouting the law
03/09/99: Don't worry about your child, be happy
03/08/99:The ‘lady' is a tramp
03/04/99: Proving myself to President Clinton
02/24/99: New slaves to a new slavery
02/22/99: Character-plus
02/19/99: GOP losers tell winner how to win
02/17/99: The Clinton legacy
02/10/99: More a man, less a president
02/08/99: Mr. President: Tear down this wall
02/03/99: Guess who's coming to breakfast
02/01/99: NBC gets the message;is CBS missing it?
01/25/99: Let's not make this deal
01/25/99: Gov. George Bush's 'responsibility era'
01/19/99: Prophets without honor
01/12/99: The Senate's predicament and opportunity
01/08/99: ‘Compassionate conservatism’ is redundant
01/06/99: Don't give my regards to 'Narroway'
01/04/99: In culture war, a parking space trumps sex
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12/22/98: The slime machine brings Apocalypse Now
12/15/98: The 'moving finger'
12/11/98: This sorry president
12/09/98: The eclipse of principle
12/03/98: Destroying Jewry on the installment plan
12/07/98: Before the Age of Clinton
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11/19/98: Ken Starr's moment of truth
11/19/98: The fall of journalism's empire
11/17/98: Republicans drift while conservatives float
11/13/98: Supreme Courtupholds freedom of school-choice
11/10/98: The revolting Republican 'revolution'
11/06/98: Hulk Hogan for president?
11/03/98: Clinton's greatest peril isn't Monica
10/30/98: Mother Teresa was right about killing
10/27/98: Clinton to Netanyahu: 'You're despicable'
10/21/98: A 'peace' agreement: Wye not?
10/19/98: Vanity Fair snubs some of the greatest women 'leaders'
10/14/98:The mean machine
10/09/98: Impeachment: an outside perspective
10/07/98: The corruption of the Secret Service
10/02/98: Land erosion in Israel
10/01/98: The race panel: lies in black and white
9/18/98: The Clinton strategy and the Clinton legacy
9/18/98: Stopping him before he sins again
9/15/98: Repenting when the end is near
9/11/98: Faithfully executing: Congress vs. the President
9/10/98: The degrees of separation between Dan Burton and Bill Clinton
9/08/98: Joe Lieberman and the Democrats' conscience
9/04/98: Clinton vs. Reagan and the struggle for power
9/02/98: If only Bubba had been a Boy Scout
8/31/98: Liberal clergy and the Lewinsky affair
8/27/98: Combating the terrorists among us
8/25/98: The president as 'Chicken Little'
8/20/98: That was no apology
8/18/98: Big government's crab grab
8/14/98:Untruths, half-truths and anything but the truth
8/12/98: Lying under oath: past and present impeachable offenses
8/10/98: Endangered species
8/04/98: In search of an unstained president
7/31/98: The UK is ahead of US in one area...
7/28/98: Murder near and far
7/21/98: Telling the truth about
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7/17/98: One Nation? Indivisible?
7/14/98: Who cares about killing when the 'good times' are rolling?
7/10/98: George W. Bush: a different 'boomer'
7/08/98: My lunch with Roy Rogers
7/06/98: News unfit to print (or broadcast)
6/30/98: Smoke gets in their eyes
6/25/98: Sugar and Spice Girls
6/19/98: William Perry opposed
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6/17/98: The President's rocky road to China
6/15/98: Let the children go
6/9/98: Oregon: the new killing fields
6/5/98: Speaking plainly: the cover-up continues
6/2/98: Barry Goldwater: in our hearts
5/28/98:The Speaker's insightful remarks
5/26/98: As bad as it gets
5/25/98:Union dues and don'ts
5/21/98: Connecting those Chinese campaign contribution dots
5/19/98: Clinton on the couch
5/13/98: John Ashcroft: another Jimmy Carter?
5/8/98: Terms of dismemberment
5/5/98: Clinton's tangled Webb
4/30/98: Return of the Jedi
4/28/98: Desparately seeking Susan
4/23/98: RICO's threat to free-speech and expression
4/21/98: Educating children v. preserving an institution
4/19/98: Analyzing the birth of a possible new nation
4/14/98: What's fair about our tax system?
4/10/98: CBS: 'Touched by a perv'
4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
4/2/98: How about helping American cities before African?
3/31/98:Revenge of the children
3/29/98: The Clinton strategy: delay, deceive, deny, and destroy
3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

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