As usual, the idiocy wave field was so great I had to be very selective this week.
I am always amused at the ability of federal agency and department spokesmen to talk endlessly while saying nothing. This is not an easy talent to acquire. This week's Speak- But- Say- Nothing Award goes to State department spokesman Mark C. Toner who was being quizzed about the propriety of his boss breaking the news in Ecuador that Obama would be challenging the Arizona immigration law.
QUESTION: ... [the] Arizona governor said in a written release, "To learn of this lawsuit through an Ecuadorian interview with the Secretary of State is just outrageous. There's no way to treat - this no way to treat the people of Arizona." Is there an apology here?
MR. TONER: The Secretary responded to a question she was asked in an interview. This is obviously an issue of great concern and resonance domestically, but it is as well in the hemisphere. ... Her words speak for themselves. And I would just defer you to the Justice Department ...
QUESTION: So you're saying she did not misspeak?
MR. TONER: I'm saying her words stand for themselves. ...
QUESTION: You say that her words stand for themselves, but that doesn't answer the question of whether she misspoke or spoke too early. Can you answer that? ...
MR. TONER: - I'd defer you to the Department of Justice.
QUESTION: I think you would want to refer me, not defer me.
MR. TONER: I said refer you. ...
QUESTION: But the question is ... about what the Secretary said.
MR. TONER: And I will say for the third time that her words speak for themselves.
QUESTION: In other words, that you don't -
MR. TONER: Not in other words.
QUESTION: You don't want to -
MR. TONER: Not in other words. And I would also say, as I just spoke, is that the President, the Secretary, others in this Administration have said the long-term solution to this is comprehensive immigration reform.
QUESTION: All right. Well, let's [talk] about the short-term solution to the Arizona situation, not the long-term solution. Let's talk about what she actually said in the interview. Did she misspeak?
MR. TONER: Her words speak for themselves.
QUESTION: That doesn't answer the question.
MR. TONER: No. She - her words speak for themselves.
QUESTION: She did not misspeak, so the Administration is intending to sue Arizona?
MR. TONER: Her words speak for themselves.
QUESTION: Is the Administration intending to sue Arizona?
MR. TONER: Defer you to the Justice Department on -
MR. TONER: - the next steps legally. I said refer.
QUESTION: You're saying defer.
MR. TONER: Am I saying defer? Well, anyway, go ahead.
QUESTION: ... You know, State sends us to Justice, Justice goes back to State, and so on and so on. Was she - did she mean to say maybe that the Justice Department was studying this lawsuit or -
MR. TONER: Look, I'm not going to parse the Secretary's words....
QUESTION: So it's no misstatement in any way. What she said -
MR. TONER: They stand -
QUESTION: - she stands by it.
MR. TONER: They stand for themselves ...
QUESTION: Okay, well then, you know, this is a daily briefing. So is the Administration intending to sue Arizona over this -
MR. TONER: That's a matter for the Department of Justice.
QUESTION: Is that perhaps not the answer that she should have given when she was asked the question?
MR. TONER: Matt, her words speak for themselves, okay?
The How- Far- Will- They- Go- to- Attack- Sarah- Palin award goes to the Washington Post's Colbert King, the man who sees racism and armed right wing militias behind any opposition to Obama and who really stretched to attack Sarah on Father's Day. Colbert King.
He claims that Obama is far better at upholding family values than Palin is because her sister-in-law and the mother of her daughter's former boyfriend (the father of her out of wedlock child) have criminal convictions.
This didn't pass the gimlet eye of Don Surber who notes that in his comparison, King left out Obama's support of late term abortion; his long term affiliation with anti-American racist Reverend Jeremiah Wright; his use of illicit drugs while a student.
Don saves his sharpest critique for the end:
How does her sister-in-law's behavior or the behavior of the mother of the boyfriend of Mrs. Palin's daughter reflect on Sarah Palin's values [?] [snip]
Many girls get knocked up at 18.
Obama's mother was one.
She married the father (although the father already was married in Kenya) and 7 months later Barack Jr. came along in Hawaii.
President Obama is no more responsible for the situation than Governor Palin is.
If premarital sex by a family member bounces you out of family values then there are not many people left.
But I do agree with Colbert King. Obama is a better father than Mrs. Palin is.
Two items this week might be filed under Shipping News.
In the first, about 500 anti-Israeli protestors in Oakland initiated what they thought was a boycott of an Israeli ship, trying to block it from unloading.
According to Israel News they made a significant mistake. They blocked the unloading of a Chinese, not an Israeli, ship.
The Israeli ship arrived only at 6 PM, more than 12 hours after the protestors, but by that time most of the latter had left. The local union decided not to order night shift workers to unload the Israeli ship, and it will be unloaded sometime on Monday. A Foreign Ministry official told Israel National News that the general practice is that ships that arrive towards evening are unloaded the next day, "such that the protestors did not actually accomplish much other than to block a Chinese ship... The police are planning to be on hand on Monday to ensure that all goes smoothly."
The Picture, Not the Facts Asked about the fact that the anti-Israel protestors actually blocked a Chinese ship and not an Israeli ship, Israel's Consul-General in San Francisco, Akiva Tor, said, "The protestors were basically interested in painting a certain picture, and they don't generally get down to the exact facts..."
Proving the extent of this phenomenon, protest organizer Richard Becker actually said, "This is the first time [that] an Israeli ship was blocked from unloading in a U.S. port... We consider this to be a huge victory and a historic moment."
In the second bit of shipping news, food fascists (I prefer the name to food Nazis derived no doubt from Seinfeld's soup Nazi) have their toques in a twist because Nestle plans to bring chocolate and ice cream by boat down the Amazon to potential customers on Brazil's Para and Xingu rivers.
People obviously prefer more than subsistence dining even on the Amazon and Nestle hopes to bring it to them. It's interesting to see who is protesting this -- folks who make a living touting the latest in French truffles, Italian hand cut pasta, Himalayan purple salt or imported Swiss mineral water:
At Alternet, Michele Simon, a public health lawyer and author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back, calls this an "especially disgusting news item" about which "writing about it is the only way I know to release my outrage. My version of screaming from the rooftop." Her post was tweeted approvingly by food luminaries like the New York Times' Mark Bittman and (the late) Gourmet's Ruth Reichl, who suggested that reading it would be a good way to bring one's blood to a rolling boil. Simon writes:
If there are people out there so backwards to still be subsisting on food found in nature, Big Food will find them, by land or by sea, and set them straight.
Life without powered milk and snacks--even if they are appropriately low priced and nutritionally enhanced, as many of the products on the boat are--would somehow be better, purer, simpler, Simon suggests: "They probably don't even realize they are missing out on Toll House, Raisinets, and Sno-Caps," and Nestle should leave it that way. Her reaction is pretty much the opposite of "whatever floats your boat"--something more along the lines of "that boat had better be powered by locally-grown leafy greens, mister!"
Surely Julia Child watches all this from a lofty perch in heaven rolling her eyes in disgust at this bizarre end to the American food revolution she and James Beard and Craig Claiborne led.
Maybe he could spread his good works to people whose principal works don't involve murdering civilians. Just a thought, Jimmy.
Finally, Paul McCartney who forgot that Laura Bush was a librarian and her husband an avid reader, made news with yet another stupid observation. Jay Nordlinger of NRO writes:
As you know, some years back, global-warming campaigners hit on the idea of calling their opponents - global-warming skeptics (many of them top-flight scientists) - "deniers." That was meant to be parallel with Holocaust deniers. Al Gore is only one of many who use this term "denier." (I once asked Václav Klaus about this. And he said, in essence, "Well, then, I'm denier-in-chief.") Okay, here's McCartney, saying that the oil spill in the Gulf could have a positive effect, because it would wake people up to the badness of oil: "Sadly we need disasters like this to show people. Some people don't believe in climate warming - like those who don't believe there was a Holocaust."
Maybe that vegan diet is affecting his thinking or-just maybe-his musical success doesn't qualify him as an expert on scientific or even historic observations.
In any event, his greenie remarks are far less threatening to our welfare than the eco freaks who this week threatened the life of Judge Feldman (no relation) for enjoining the oil drilling ban.
Why do I have the idea that the eco and food freaks are hubristic nutcases who are so impressed with their own views, tastes or interests that they insist no one else's be heard or considered?