This, That and the Other Thing

Commentary

This: Mike Pence; That: Trader Joe’s; The Other Thing: ‘YO-se-MIGHT,’ er, ‘YO-se-min-NIGHT.’

Busy times, with so much to report and so little time.

Today, Around the Block will focus on three things that caught our attention and deserve comment.

THIS – Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence in his “sanctimonious” pose

The New York Times reported today that Vice President Mike Pence assailed Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. on Wednesday as a “disappointment to conservatives,” criticizing him for siding with liberals in several major decisions during his Supreme Court tenure.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network*, Mr. Pence said “We have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives.” Pence went on to say that the record of the Roberts court serves as “a reminder of just how important this election is for the future of the Supreme Court,” citing the chief justice’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act in 2012, as well as more recent rulings this year on abortion and church services in which he was also the swing vote.

(*You were expecting any other news organization would actually interview Mike Pence?)

The abortion case specifically, in which Chief Justice Roberts joined the court’s four more-liberal members to strike down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with just one abortion clinic, had been “a wake-up call for pro-life voters around the country who understand, in a very real sense, the destiny of the Supreme Court is on the ballot in 2020,” Mr. Pence said.

Allow me to remind the all-holy Mr. Pence, in case he wasn’t aware, Chief Justice Roberts, like all justices, took an oath of office upon acceding to the Supreme Court of the United States. That oath could have been exercised through two separate oaths, the Constitutional Oath and the Judicial Oath, or one combined oath.

Here they are:

SCOTUS OATH #1 – The Constitutional Oath

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

SCOTUS OATH #2 – The Judicial Oath

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

SCOTUS OATH #3 – The Combined Oath

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States; and that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

As I read through those oaths, I noticed that nowhere is stated that “I swear not to disappoint conservatives,” or “I swear to uphold the views of the President of the United States and his right-wing minions.” What it does say, is “I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States…”

Time for a little boning up on what’s right and wrong, Mr. Vice President.

THAT – Trader Joe’s

The grocery retailer Trader Joe’s, one of the most beloved chains in America, has been in the news lately because of its seemingly politically incorrect branding of certain products.

Recent criticism has charged that the branding it uses on certain product lines, such as Trader Ming’s and Trader José’s, are racist. An online petition critical of the branding gathered thousands of signatures last month. In response, Trader Joe’s said it had begun phasing out those labels. Some of those brands that have been, or will be phased out include, Trader Joe San for Japanese-style food, Trader Giotto’s for Italian-style food, Trader Jacques for French-style items, and Arabian Joe’s and Armenian Joe’s for, you guessed it, Middle Eastern and Armenian-style products.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes political correctness goes too far. Is this really necessary? Does this branding deserve petitions and boycotts? I think not.

But here’s what I do think: I’m really annoyed at Trader Joe’s because I’ve never seen, and I guess I never will see, their frozen packages of potato, kasha and chopped liver knishes labeled Trader יוֹסֵף‎ (Yosef).

Oy veh!

THE OTHER THING – YO-se-min-NIGHT
YO-se-MIGHT National Park…or is it YO-se-min-NIGHT National Park

USA Today reported that President Donald Trump turned heads on Tuesday when he mispronounced the word “Yosemite” at a White House event to sign a bipartisan conservation bill.

“When young Americans experience the breathtaking beauty of the Grand Canyon, when their eyes widen in amazement as Old Faithful bursts into the sky, when they gaze upon Yosemite’s — Yosemite’s towering sequoias, their love of country grows stronger and they know that every American has truly a duty to preserve this wondrous inheritance,” Trump said.

But he stumbled over Yoh-sem-it-ee, pronouncing it YO-se-MIGHT, and then correcting himself by adding a syllable, YO-se-min-NIGHT.

Good catch, Mr. President. You’re doing a fantastic job! Or was the whole thing really a dog whistle to his base. You know “yo-se-MIGHT…yo-se-min-NIGHT…anti-se-MIGHT?”

Given these gaffes (I don’t know about you, and I know he doesn’t drink, but he really sounds like he’s on something*)…do you think it might be time for the Trump campaign to take down the the Biden attack ads accusing the former vice president of “flubs” and “gaffes?”

Just saying.

(*By the way, listen carefully; he also stumbled over the word “inheritance.”)

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

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