Thursday, January 26, 2023

Congratulations Wordsmiths, State Gets an A+ For Plain Writing

Sadly, compliance with that Act has not been uniformly great. For 2022 the average federal agency scored a mere C, which may not come as a surprise to you if you are familiar with any federal agencies. But I am pleased to report the State Department got an A+. See the Federal Report Card for 2022 here

So, what accounts for this competent drafting? Did State start passing out the Elements of Style, which once upon a time was a routine handout for new college students? That would be good. 

Better yet, it could stock all offices and annexes with collections of Hemingway novels! Now there was some good plain writing. 

"You must face the white bull that is a screen with no text on it" were his exact words of advice to writers, I think I recall from one or another of his stories. 
All you have to do is write one real bullet point. Make your action memo a clean, well-lighted place. Write the truest Ambassador Briefing Checklist you know. 

That's some good stuff, even if we no longer drink grappa all day long and write with pencils in little French notebooks. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

German Military Music: I Like the Tune, But Can They Dance To It?


Will Germany send in the Leopards to Ukraine? Im Sturmwind dahin

I have no idea, but the Panzerlied is a kick-ass tune, and I am happy to see it is used once again by the Bundeswehr. It shouldn't have been banished due to its origins in the WWII Wehrmacht armored troops. 

It's hard to remember, now that Germany has the smallest army in NATO, but at the height of the Cold War it had about 4,000 Leopard 2s. Today it has about 350.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

RT Hon Cleverly Answers Your Questions

I have to hand it to the Rt Hon, this kind of thing makes a lot more sense as light public outreach than do Anthony Blinken's annoying Spotify playlists.

Plus, he only took up six and a half minutes of your time to deliver those Qs and As. He got in and then he got out. Very good.