Thursday, May 31, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "Rusk...tirelessly and skillfully demonstrated the value of using prolonged discussions to avert deadlines and disaster." p. 675.

Churchill: "We arm to parley." p. 679.

JFK: "The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution." p. 681.

JFK: "Our arms must be subject to ultimate civilian control and command at all times, in war as well as peace." p. 682.

JFK: "Our foremost aim is the control of force, not the pursuit of force, in a world made safe for mankind." p. 703.

Sorenson: "The essence of this [military] doctrine was choice: if the President was to have a balanced range of forces from which to select the most appropriate response for each situation...then it was necessary to build our own nonnuclear forces...." p. 706.

JFK: "We possess weapons of tremendous power...but they are least effective in combating the weapons most often used by freedom's foes: subversion, infiltration, guerrilla warfare, civil disorder." p. 710.

Sorenosn: "Finding little to go on in the Army field manuals, he [JFK] read the classic texts on guerrilla warfare by Red China's Mao Tse-Tung and Cuba's Che Guevara, and then requested appropriate military men to do the same." p. 712.

JFK: Military conflicts required more than military solutions.... The Communists exploited genuine noncommunist grievances." p. 715.

Sorenson: "A Lenin adage said Bohlen in one of our first meetings [on the Cuban Missile Crisis] compares national expansion to a bayonet drive: if you strike steel, pull back; if you strike mush, keep going." p. 763.

Sorenson on the Cuban Missile Crisis: "...the best performer...was the Attorney General [Robert Kennedy]--not because of any particular idea he advanced, not because he presided (no one dd), but because of his constant prodding, questioning, eliciting arguments and alternatives and keeping the discussions concrete and moving ahead, a difficult task as different participants came in and out." p. 765.

JFK: Our response would have to offer the Soviets a way out...." p. 568.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "The Soviet Union's Nikita Khrushchev had dismissed both candidates [Nixon and Kennedy] as 'a pair of boots--which is better, the right or the left boot?' " p. 609.

Sorenson: "While such a conference [summit meeting]...might be necessary when war threatened, or useful as 'a place where agreements...achieved at a lower level could be finally, officially approved...a summit is not a place to carry on negotiations which involve details.' " p. 610.

JFK: "It is my duty to make decisions that no adviser and no ally can make for see that these decisions are as informed as possible, that they are based on as much direct, firsthand knowledge as possible." p. 611.

JFK: "The Soviets and ourselves give wholly different meanings to the same words--war, peace, democracy, and popular will." p. 614.

Sorenson: "...the President picked out points in Khrushchev's letter with which he could agree...." p. 623.

Sorenson: "What Izvestia had to print was Kennedy's statement that the great threat to peace 'is the effort by the Soviet Union to Communize...the entire world...and to impose Communism by force'; that the Soviet Union had resumed nuclear tests even while its representatives were at the bargaining table; that if it would look 'only to its national interests and to providing a better life for its people,' all would be well." p. 626.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] prepared for each of those meetings--whether it was the President of France or Togo--with a searching inquiry into all available facts about the other country, its politics, its problems and its personalities. .... Citing their local statistics from memory, quoting from their writings or their history without notes, he left his hosts and visitors both pleased and impressed." p. 649.

Sorenson: "[JFK]...encouraged State Department officials to deal with their counterparts first-hand on special crises instead of through letters and ambassadors." p. 650.

Sorenson: "Kennedy set out to change the stereotype view of the United States...." p. 654.

JFK: "I hear it said that West Berlin is was, in fact, was Stalingrad...any dangerous spot is tenable if men--brave men--will make it so." p. 666.

JFK: "If we do not meet our commitments to Berlin, where will we later stand?" p. 666.

JFK: "West Berlin has become...a focal point where our solemn commitments...and soviet ambitions now meet in basic confrontation." p. 667.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

JFK: Together we shall save our planet or together we shall perish in its flames. p. 587.

Sorenson: "To those who said the money [for the space program] could be better spent relieving ignorance or poverty on this planet, he pointed out that this nation had the resources to do both...." p. 593.

Sorenson: "To those who argued that instruments alone could do the job [of going to the moon], he replied that man was 'the most extraordinary computer of them all... [whose] judgment, nerve and [ability to] learn from experience still make him unique' among the instruments." p. 593.

JFK: "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills...." p. 594.

Sorenson: "Liberals denounced [the Peace Corps] as a gimmick.... Conservatives dismissed it as a nonsensical haven for beatniks and visionaries.... Communist nations denounced it as an espionage front.... and its own backers threatened to dissipate its momentum by talking, even before it started, of a UN Peace Corps and a domestic Peace Corps and a dozen other diversions." p. 598.

Sorenson: "[Latin America]. With a rate of infant mortality nearly four times our own, a life expectancy less than two-thirds our own, a per capita annual product less than one-ninth our own, an illiteracy rate of 50 percent, a lack of schools and sanitation and trained personnel, runaway inflation in some areas, shocking slums in the cities, squalor in the countryside, and a highly suspicious attitude toward American investments: where were we to begin?" p. 601.

JFK: "...those who make a peaceful revolution impossible will make a violent revolution inevitable."

JFK: "...a world made safe for diversity." p. 606.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] also recognized more clearly by 1963 that 'the big dangers of Latin America are...unrelated to Cuba... [including] illiteracy, bad housing, maldistribution of wealth, balance of payments difficulties, the drop in the price of their raw materials...[and] local Communist action unrelated to Cuba.' " p. 603.

Sorenson: "The Communist bloc was not a monolith in the sixties, if it ever had been, and he wanted to encourage every nationalist strain present." p. 607.

JFK: "I think it is a very dangerous untidy world...we will have to live with it." p. 608.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

JFK: "When that day comes, and there is a massive exchange, then that is the end, because you are talking about...150 million fatalities in the first eighteen hours...the equivalent for this country of five hundred World War II's in less than a day." p. 597.

JFK: "We have to proceed in an age when the human race can obliterate itself." p. 577.

Sorenson: "In 1963 he would cite the 1914 conversation between two German leaders on the origins and expansion of that war [WWI], a former chancellor asking, 'How did it all happen?' and his successor saying, 'Ah, if only one knew.' " p. 578.

JFK: "A total solution is impossible in the nuclear age." p. 578.

JFK: "If this planet is ever ravaged by nuclear war--if the survivors of that devastation can then endure the fire, poison, chaos, and catastrophe--I do not want one of those survivors to ask another 'How did it all happen?' and receive the incredible reply: 'Ah, if only one knew.' " p. 578.

Sorenson: "He did not expect [the Cold War] to be lost...simply desired to dampen it down, to outlast it, to make it possible for the long-run forces of liberty and truth to work their way naturally and peacefully, to prevent the Cold War from monopolizing our energies to the detriment of all other interests." p. 578.

JFK: "...expect only at best a long, slow process...of evolution 'away from Communism and toward national independence and freedom....' " p. 579.

JFK: "Our words need merely to carry conviction, not belligerence." p. 580.

JFK: "If we are strong, our strength will speak for itself; if we are weak, words will be of no help." p. 580.

JFK: "World peace...does not require that each man love his neighbor...only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement." p. 580.

JFK: "Negotiations are not a contest spelling victory or defeat." p. 581.

Sorenson: "Indeed, the most successful diplomacy, in his [JFK's] view, was more often dull than dramatic." p. 581.

Sorenson: "Drama usually came with what he called 'collision' courses,' direct confrontations." p. 581.

JFK: "Unless man can match his strides in weaponry and technology with equal strides in social and political development, our great strengths like that of the dinosaur, will become incapable of proper control, and man, like the dinosaur, will vanish from the earth." p. 584.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Sorenson. Continued.

Sorenson: "As a Senator in 1954, he had assailed in a magazine article the 'myths' which 'surrounded...American foreign policy,' including '...the existence of inherently good, bad or backward nations...the impairment of an aggressor's military power by refusing...our diplomatic recognition...that the democratic way of life...will inevitably be the victor in any struggle with an alien power....' " p. 574.

Sorenson: "As President-elect in 1960-1961, he surprised Dean rusk... 'by the extent to which he wanted to look at everything from the beginning...the origins.' " p. 574.

JFK: "We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient...that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94% of mankind--that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity--and that, therefore, there cannot be an American solution to every world problem."

JFK: "We must face up to the chance of war, if we are to maintain the peace." p. 575.

JFK: "A willingness to resist force, unaccompanied by a willingness to talk, could provoke belligerence--while a willingness to talk, unaccompanied by a willingness to resist force, could invite disaster." p. 575.

JFK: "Because of the ingenuity of science and man's own inability to control his relationships with one another...we happen to live in the most dangerous time in the history of the human race." p. 576.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "Magnanimous in victory, as always, the President turned his attention to the problem of reconciliation." p. 516.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] permitted no gloating by any administration spokesman and no talk of retribution." p. 516.

JFK on Civil Rights: "The Negro baby born in America today, regardless of the section of the nation in which he is born, has about one-half as much chance of completing high school as a white baby born in the same place on the same day, one-third as much chance of completing college, one-third as much chance of becoming a professional...twice as much chance of becoming unemployed...a life expectancy which is seven years shorter, and the prospects of earning only half as much." June 1963. p. 530.

JFK: "I do not say that all are equal in their ability, their character or their motivation...but I say they should be equal in their chance to develop their character,their motivation and their ability." p. 530.

Sorenson: "Simple justice requires this program, he [JFK] would tell the Congress in concluding his Civil Rights message of June 19, 1963, 'not merely for reasons of economic efficiency, world diplomacy and domestic tranquility--but, above all, because it is right.' " p, 531.

JFK: "Any educated citizen who seeks to subvert the law, to suppress freedom, or to subject other human beings to acts that are less than human, degrades his heritage, ignores his learning and betrays his obligations." p. 553.

JFK: "...race has no place in American life or law." p. 556.

JFK on Civil Rights: "...legislation cannot solve this problem alone.... It must be solved in the homes of every American." p. 556.

JFK: "But law alone cannot make men see right." p. 557.

Sorenson: "At times he [JFK] found it hard to believe that otherwise rational men could be so irrational on this subject [of Civil Rights]." p. 568.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

JFK: The Joint Chiefs of Staff...advise you the way a man advises another one about whether he should marry a girl... He doesn't have to live with her." p. 438.

JFK: "The advisers may move on--to new advice." p. 438.

Sorenson: "...he [JFK] liked hearing alternatives and assumptions challenged before he made up his mind." p. 438.

Sorenson: "To help the next generation, he was always fashioning, not grand designs, but single steps--toward disarmament and space discoveries and salt water conversion and an end to illiteracy and disease." p. 439.

Sorenson: "As his [JFK's] months in office increased, however, he talked more and more about the limitations of power." p. 439.

Sorenson: 'He [JFK] was wise enough to know that in a nation of consent, not command, Presidential words alone cannot always produce results." p. 439.

Sorenson: "But as President, he [JFK] more than compensated for his limited background in economics by his superb ability to absorb information and to ask the right questions." p. 443.

Sorenson: "...that the Budget represented not a bureaucratic grab but loans to farmers and small businessmen, aid to education and conservation, urban renewal and area redevelopment." p. 472.

Sorenson: "We tried every possible way to make a dull economics speech interesting...used charts beside his desk...cited real-life human interest examples of individuals helped by his programs." p. 479.

Sorenson: "The challenge was clear, the answer was not." p. 489.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "In general his respect for artistic excellence exceeded his appreciation." p.. 433.

Sorenson: "Variety was the keynote of his reading habits: history, biography and current affairs dominated his list." p. 434.

Sorenson: "He studied The Guns of August, an account of the origins of the First World War, as a warning to his own generation." [It was a war that should not have happened.] p. 435.

JFK: "I am certain that, after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics but for our contributions to the human spirit." p. 436.

Sorenson: "What he could not accomplish through legislation--to fight recession, inflation, race discrimination and other problems--he sought to accomplish through Executive Orders, proclamations, contingency funds, inherent powers, unused statutes, transfers of appropriations, reorganization plans, patronage, procurement, pardons, Presidential memos, public speeches and private pressures." p. 437.

JFK: "The Constitution has served us extremely well...but...all its clauses had to be interpreted by men and had to be made to work by men, and it has to be made to work today in an entirely different world from the day in which it was written." p. 437.

Sorenson: "Within the Executive Branch he accepted responsibility for every major decision, delegating work but never responsibility to Cabinet, National Security Council, Joint Chiefs of Staff, White House aides or other advisers." p. 437.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "His administration had made clear that this country is not officially Catholic, Protestant or even Christian, but a democratic republic in which neither religion in general nor any church in particular can be either established or curbed by public act." p. 408.

Sorenson: "John F. Kennedy was a happy president." p. 410.

Sorenson: " 'Happiness,' he often said, paraphrasing Aristotle, 'is the full use of one's faculties along lines of excellence,' and to him the Presidency offered the ideal opportunity to pursue excellence." p. 410.

JFK: [The Presidency] "...represents a chance to exercise your judgment on matters of importance." p. 411.

Sorenson: "He still took his problems seriously but never himself." p. 414.

Sorenson: "He assumed that we all would have to live indefinitely with national and international tensions and imperfect humans and solutions and he was blessed with qualities which helped him to prepare to make the best of it." p. 415.

Sorenson: "He never self-consciously thought of himself as 'courageous,' but he lived by the Hemingway definition with which he had opened Profiles in Courage: 'grace under pressure.' " p. 415.

Sorenson: "He kept his own comments to a minimum and often cut short others, no matter how important or friendly, who were dealing with generalities or repeating the obvious." p. 417.

Sorenson: "...remarkable ability to absorb detail while keeping in view the larger picture." p. 417.

Sorenson: "When he was not working, he and Jacqueline liked having people around who were cheerful, amusing, energetic, informed and informal." p. 424.

JFK: "The quality of American life...must keep pace with the quantity of American goods." p. 430.

JFK: "This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor." p. 430.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "On the basis of our own reading, Salinger and I prepared lengthy lists of possible difficult questions--usually far more difficult than most of those asked [at televised press conferences]...." p. 362.

Sorenson: "His [JFK's] own extensive reading and his participation in every level of government was his best preparation [for press conferences]." p. 362.

JFK on press conferences: "It's like preparing for a final exam twice a month." p. 363.

Sorenson: "Above all, the televised press conferences provided a direct communication with the voters which no newspaper could alter by interpretation or omission." p. 364.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] listened patiently to long statements concealed as questions...." p. 365.

Sorenson: In his press conferences, "His [JFK's] answers were almost always brief. " p. 365.

Sorenson: "Groups of advisers could suggest outlines and alterations, and they could review drafts, but group authorship could not produce the continuity and precision of style he desired or the unity of thought and argument he needed." p. 370.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] deplored the 'discordant voices of extremism' which peddled their frighteningly simple solutions to citizens frustrated and baffled by our national burdens." p. 375.

JFK: "Presidents are bound to be hated unless they are as bland as Ike." p. 375.

Sorenson: "Without notes he would cite all the discouraging statistics: only six out of every ten students in the fifth grade would finish high school; only nine of every sixteen high school graduates would go on to college; one million young Americans were already out of school and out of work; dropouts had a far higher rate of unemployment and far lower rate of income; 71% of the people, according to Gallup, expected their children to go to college, but only 51% had saved for it." p. 401.

JFK to college students: "But I do strongly urge the application of your talents to the great problems of our time." p. 401.

JFK on the Supreme Court's banning of school prayer: "Pray a good deal more at home.... Attend our churches with a good deal more fidelity, and we can make the true meaning of prayer much more important in the lives of all of our children." p. 407.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosopy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: "From the diversity of talent which he had assembled, John Kennedy drew the divisions of opinions which he encouraged." p. 313.

Sorenson: "No decisions of importance were made at Kennnedy's Cabinet meetings...and few subjects of importance...were ever seriously discussed." p. 317.

Sorenson: "Kennedy relied considerably on his Cabinet officers, but not on the Cabinet as a body." p. 317.

Sorenson: "...he [JFK] usually had little interest in the views of Cabinet members on matters outside their jurisdiction." p. 318.

JFK: "The National Security an advisory body to the President.... In the final analysis, the President of the United States must make the decision...and it is his decision...not the decision of the National Security Council or any collective decision." p. 319.

Sorenson: "During these eight months he could at times be privately bitter about the mistakes he had made, the advice he had accepted, and the 'mess' he inherited." p. 329.

JFK: "The only thing that surprised us when we got into office was that things were just as bad as we had been saying they were." p. 329.

JFK: "All my life I've known better than to depend on the experts." p. 346.

Sorenson: "He [JFK] could find and fret over one paragraph of criticism deep in ten paragraphs of praise." p. 348.

Sorenson: "...he [JFK] read Time and Newsweek faithfully and felt their condensed hindsight often influenced their readers more than daily newspaper stories." p. 354.

"JFK...believed the press had responsibilities as well as rights--including the responsibility to get the facts straight, to consider the national interest and to save their bias for the editorial columns...." p. 357.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Soresnson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

JFK: "...civility is not a sign of weakness." p. 277.

JFK: Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. p. 277.

JFK: "All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days...nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet...but let us begin." p. 277.

JFK: "...a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself." p. 278.

JFK: "...with a good conscience our only sure reward...." p. 278.

Sorenson: " outlook more practical than theoretical and more logical than ideological; an ability to be precise and concise; a willingness to change; and ability to work hard and long, creatively, imaginatively, successfully." p. 287.

Sorenson: "John Kennedy, in selecting his associates, did not pretend or attempt to achieve an average cross-section of the country--he wanted the best." p. 288.

Sorenson: "...he knew that it was humanly impossible for him to know all that he would like to know, see everyone who deserved to be seen, read all that he ought to read, write every message that carried his name and take part in all meetings affecting his plans." p. 289.

Sorenson: " his [JFK's] administration, Cabinet members could make recommendations on major matters, but only the President could make decisions." p. 289.

Sorenson: "He often expressed impatience with lengthy memoranda from certain aides which boiled down to recommendations that he 'firm up our posture' or 'make a new effort' on some particular problem." p. 290.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

"...both he and the press were sometimes surprised, upon reading the transcript of a particularly successful extemporaneous tale, to find that the passages that sounded so memorable in his impassioned delivery were less impressive in cold print." p. 200.

JFK: "Do you realize...the responsibility I carry...I am the only person between Nixon and the White House." p. 203.

"In Rochester he quoted an earlier Republican candidate as having referred to it as Syracuse--proof, he said, that Republicans never did know where they were or where they were going." p. 207.

"It is a contest between the comfortable and concerned." p. 207.

JFK: "Last Thursday night, Mr. Nixon dismissed me as 'another Truman'...a great compliment and I have no hesitation in returning the compliment: I consider him 'another Dewey.' " p. 209.

JFK: "...not what kind of church I believe in, for that should be important only to me, but what kind of America I believe in." p. 215.

JFK: " the last seven days...he [Nixon] has called me an ignoramus, a liar, a pied piper... I just confine myself to calling him a Republican...and he says that is really getting low." p. 234.

"He [JFK] asked me to read all the past Inaugural Addresses (which I discovered to be a largely undistinguished lot, with some of the best eloquence, emanating from some of our worst Presidents)...." p. 270.

"He [JFK] asked me to study the secret of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. My conclusion, which his inaugural applied, was that Lincoln never used a two-or three-syllable word where a one-syllable word would do, and never used two or three words where one would do." p. 270.

"He [JFK] wanted his Inaugural Address to be the shortest in the twentieth century...." p. 272.

"...those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside." p. 276.

" age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace." p. 276.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

"A tremendous amount of staff research preceded every Kennedy talk." p. 72.

Reason for seeking the Presidency: "...because I want to get things done." p. 108.

On polls: "The weight of their answers often varies with the wording of their questions." p. 120.

"He knew he could not afford to be defensive, angry, impatient or silent, no matter how many times he heard the same insulting, foolish or discriminatory questions." p. 124.

"In short, the primary purpose of these speech-making trips was not to talk, but to listen and learn." p. 129.

"But Kennedy, speaking in softer tones and shorter answers, without notes, scored with local illustrations and specifics aimed chiefly at West Virginia." p. 159.

"There is only one legitimate question [with regard to religion and the Presidency]: Would you, as President, be responsive in any way to ecclesiastical pressures or obligations of any kind that might in any fashion influence or interfere with your conduct of that office in the national interest?" p. 161.

"Catholic Boston, he said, had in 1948 overwhelmingly supported Baptist Harry Truman because of the man he is." p. 164.

JFK: "Now I understand why Henry VIII set up his own church."

JFK: "The New Frontier...sums up not what I intend to offer the American people but what I intend to ask of them...holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security." p. 188.

"Upon the Caroline's arrival in each major city, the advance man came on board to brief the Senator on names, faces and local color...." p. 194.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosoophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

John Steven McGroaty of California in 1934 in a classic response to a constituent: "One of the countless drawbacks of being in Congress is that I am compelled to receive impertinent letters from a jackass like you in which you say I promised to have the Sierra Madre Mountains reforested and I have been in Congress two months and haven't done it." p. 63.

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "We always discussed the topic, the approach and the conclusion in advance." p. 67.

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "He always had quotations or historical allusions to include."

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "And he always, upon receiving my draft, altered, deleted or added phrases, paragraphs or pages."

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "Our chief criterion was always audience comprehension and comfort and this meant: 1. Short speeches, short clauses and short words whenever possible. 2. A series of points or propositions in numbered or logical sequence.... 3. The construction of sentences, phrases and paragraphs in such a manner as to simplify, clarify and emphasize." p. 67.

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "He was fond of alliterative sentences, not solely for reasons of rhetoric, but to reinforce the audience's recollection of his reasoning." p. 68.

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "At the same time, his emphasis on a a course of reason--rejecting the extremes of either side--helped produce the parallel construction and use of contrasts with which he later became identified." p. 68.

Sorenson on speech writing with JFK: "He wanted his major policy statements to be positive, specific, and definite, avoiding the use of 'suggest,' 'perhaps' and 'possible alternatives for consideration.' p. 68.

On JFK "...was not pack his speeches with statistics and quotations." p. 69.

On JFK "...Humor in the body of a prepared speech, however, was rare compared to its use at the beginning of almost every speech he made off the Senate floor." p. 70.

Sorenson: "In addition to the humor file, we kept a collection of appropriate speech-endings--usually quotations from famous figures or incidents from history which, coupled with a brief peroration of his own, could conclude almost any speech on any subject with a dramatic flourish." p. 71.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant sentences from Kennedy by Theodore Sorenson, a history of the words and philosophy of President Kennedy. Continued.

Sorenson: " always, he was listening and learning more than speaking." p. 16.

Sorenson: "When a flippant high school youth asked him, as we walked down a street in Ashland, Wisconsin, in 1959, how he came to be a hero, he gaily replied, 'It was easy--they sank my boat.' " p. 19.

Sorenson: "...he regarded his own good fortune as an obligation: 'Of those to whom much is given, much is required.' " p. 21.

Jackie Kennedy on JFK: " idealist without illusions." p. 24.

Sorenson: "[JFK's]...realistic emphasis on the possible...." p. 24.

Sorenson: "He hated to bore and be bored." p. 24.

Sorenson: "More amazing was the accuracy with which he remembered and applied what he read." p. 25.

Sorenson: "His self-confidence on the platform grew, and his ability to read and, at the right time, to discard--a prepared text increased." p. 26.

JFK on inconsistency: "We all learn...from the time you are born to the time you change...conditions change, would be extremely pursue policies that are unsuccessful." p. 27.

Sorenson: "Unlike those liberals who start out with all the answers, he had started out asking questions." p. 28.

JFK on his father's reading: "I've almost never seen him read a serious book." p. 35.

JFK: "Three is always inequity in life...some men are killed in a war, and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country.... Life is unfair." p. 47.

JFK quoting a legendary verse: "Among life's dying embers/ These are my regrets:/ When I'm right no one remembers,/ When I'm wrong, no one forgets." p. 57.

To be continued.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Kennedy. Theodore C. Sorenson. Significant Sentences.

Significant Sentences: Kennedy.
Theodore C. Sorenson, Special Counsel to the Late President
New York: Bantam Books, 1966.

Sorenson: "Few American Presidents possessed his sense of history--or his talent as a writer." p. 4.

Sorenson: "He was determined to elucidate, educate and explain." p. 5.

JFK: "An impassioned participant cannot be an objective observer." p. 6.

Sorenson: "Recollections differ, opinions differ, even the same facts appear different to different people." p. 8.

Sorenson: "John Kennedy's role will be recalled in wholly different fashion, I am certain, by those in different relationships with him." p. 8.

Sorensons: "...his [JFK's] insistence on cutting through the prevailing bias and myths to the heart of a problem." p. 13.

"As John Buchan wrote of a friend in John Kennedy's favorite book, Pilgrim's Way, 'He disliked [shows of] emotion, not because he felt lightly but because he felt deeply.' " p. 14.

"An interest in ideas and in their practical uses...came naturally to him." Arthur Holcombe, Professor of Government. p. 15.

To be continued.

Friday, May 4, 2007

On Writing Well. Zinsser. Significant Sentences. Concluded

Significant Sentences. On Writing Well. Zinsser. Concluded.

On jargon: "Ecclesiastes: I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, or the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all." Orwell translates this biblical poetic gem into jargon: "Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account." p. 126.

How to "dejargonize" the writing of educators: [Begin by sorting good and bad writing from administrators; distribute to educators and discuss; conclude by having principals rewrite bad writing.] p. 131.

How to help people to write clearly: [Go to the person who had the idea and get them to tell you in their own words how the idea came to them, or how they put it together, and how it will be used. Then rewrite in plain English.] p. 133.

"A distinction made between a 'critic' and 'reviewer'; a reviewer your job is more to report than to make an aesthetic judgment." p. 146.

"Zinsser to students: "I am not interested in 'creative writing,' flights of pure imagination and pointless whimsy." p. 166.

The End.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

On Writing Well. Zinsser. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant Sentences: On Writing Well. William Zinsser. Continued.

"His [the interviewee's] own words will always be better than your [the interviewer's] words, even if you are the most elegant stylist in the land." p. 75.

"[Seek]...the kind of information that is locked inside people's heads which a good nonfiction writer must unlock." p. 78.

Good use of quote: "I usually like to go downtown once a week," Mr. Smith said, "and have lunch with some of my old friends." Bad use of quote: Mr. Smith said that he liked to "go downtown once a week and have lunch with some of my old friends." p. 84.

"...don't strain to find synonyms for 'he said'.... Don't write 'he smiled' or 'he grinned'...never heard anybody smile..... Reader's eye slips over 'he said' anyway.... If you crave variety, choose synonyms that catch the shifting nature of the conversation.... 'pointed out' .... 'explained' .... 'replied'.... 'added.' " p. 85.

"Use active verbs unless there is no comfortable way to get around using a passive verb." p. 101.

"Most adverbs are unnecessary." p. 102.

"Most adjectives are...unnecessary." p. 103.

Qualifiers: "Don't say you were a 'bit' confused and 'sort of'' tired and 'a little depressed' and 'somewhat' annoyed." p. 104.

Paragraphs: "Short paragraphs put air around what you write and make it look inviting, whereas one long chunk of type can discourage the reader from even starting to read." p. 111.

To dictate or not to dictate: "Dictated sentences tend to be pompous, sloppy and redundant." p. 112.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

On Writing Well. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant Sentences: On Writing Well. William Zinsser. Continued.

"I would say...that 'prioritize' is jargon--a pompous new verb that sounds more important than 'rank'--and that 'bottom line' is usage, a metaphor borrowed from the world of bookkeeping which conveys an image that we can picture." p. 48.

"The only way to learn to write is to force yourself to produce a certain number of words on a regular basis." p. 53.

"All writing is ultimately a question of solving a problem...where to obtain to organize the material...a problem of approach or attitude, tone or style." p. 53.

"Unity is the anchor of good writing." p. 54.

Examples of style: "...impersonal reportorial; personal but formal; personal and casual." P. 56.

Examples of attitudes: "...involved; detached; judgmental." p. 56.

"What one point do I really want to make?" p. 56.

"...every successful piece of nonfiction should leave the reader with one provocative thought that he didn't have before." p. 56.

"The most important sentence in any article is the first one.... [If it ] doesn't induce the reader to proceed to the second sentence, your article is dead.... Each [sentence] tugging the reader forward until he is safely hooked...." p. 59.

"In fact, you should give as much thought to choosing your last sentence as you did to your first." p. 70.

"But what often works best [in the ending] is a quotation." p. 73.

To be continued.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

On Writing Well. Zinsser. Significant Sentences. Continued.

Significant Sentences: On Writing Well. Zinsser. Continued.

"...every profession has its growing arsenal of jargon to fire at the layman and hurl him back from its walls." p. 17.

"...inflated prepositions and conjunctions: 'with the possible exception of'' (except); 'for the reason that' (because); 'he totally lacked the ability to' (he couldn't); 'until such time as' (until); 'for the purpose of'' (for)." p. 17.

"Few people realize how badly they write.' p. 19.

"A writer is obviously at his most natural and relaxed when he writes in the first person.... I almost always urge people to write in the first person--to use 'I' and 'me' and 'we' and 'us.' " p. 22.

"If you aren't allowed to use 'I,' at least...write the first draft in the first person and then take the 'I's out." p. 24.

Elliot Richardson: " 'And yet, on balance, affirmative action has, I think, been a qualified success.' ...a thirteen-word sentence with five hedging words...give it first prize as the most wishy-washy sentence of the decade." p. 24. [Ray's note: "Wishy-washy" the sentence is, but I have read and reread that sentence and I can find only four (4) hedging words. Will someone please tell me where the fifth hedging word can be found in that sentence!]

"In fact, you will never make your mark as a writer unless you develop a respect for words and curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive." p. 35.

"...the small gradations between words that seem to be synonymous ...difference between 'cajole,' 'wheedle,' 'blandish,' and 'coax.' " p. 37.

Thomas Paine's " 'These are the times that try men's souls': 'Times like these try men's souls'; 'how trying it is to live in these times'; 'these are trying times for men's souls'; 'soulwise, these are trying times.' " p. 45.

"In terms of craft, there is no excuse for losing the reader through sloppy workmanship." p. 27.