Tag Archives: Katie Couric

Publicity and Plumbers named Joe

Publicity: n. an act or device designed to attract public interest ; specifically : information with news value issued as a means of gaining public attention or support

Plumber: n. a person who installs and repairs water, drainage, or heating pipes and fixtures in a building. From a Latin word meaning lead.

Much noise is being made over a guy named “Joe” from Ohio who was filmed asking Obama a question about getting his taxes raised if he expanded his plumbing business.  McCain used this incident during the debate last night in an attempt to drive home his point that all the mythical “small businessmen” of America would be screwed by an Obama presidency if they make more than $250,000 a year.

(McCain didn’t mention that this is on PROFIT rather than income. Less than 2 percent of small businesses in the US make more than $250,000 profit.)*

The video encounter made it all over the web and overnight Joe was famous!  At first it was really fun – being on Fox News and all, spouting the R talking points.

But then the media began digging deeper. Turns out he is a registered Republican (surprise!), but:

An official at Local 50 of the plumber’s union, based in Toledo, said Mr. Wurzelbacher does not hold a license. He also has never served an apprenticeship and does not belong to the union.


Unlike some other states, Ohio does not have a formal statewide licensing system for plumbers. But the city of Toledo and other municipalities do, Mr. Joseph said, and Mr. Wurzelbacher has not met those requirements.

“All contractors are licensed, and he does not have a license, either as a contractor or a plumber,” the union official said, citing a search of government records. “I can’t find that he’s ever even applied for any kind of apprenticeship, and he has never belonged to local 189 in Columbus, which is what he claims on his Facebook page.”

According to public records, Mr. Wurzelbacher has been subject to two liens, each over $1,000, one of which — a personal tax lien — is still outstanding.

Oops. But there’s more… a racist tinge – here’s what he said to Katie Couric:

“You know, I’ve always wanted to ask one of these guys a question and really corner them and get them to answer a question,” he said, “for once instead of tap dancing around it, and unfortunately I asked the question, but I still got a tap dance.”

He added, “Almost as good as Sammy Davis Jr.”

Here’s what the NY Times says about taxes and small business:

How relevant is Joe’s company to most small businesses in America?

If Joe’s company really makes over $250,000 and is an S-corporation, it might see a tax increase, but it does not reflect the majority of American small-owned businesses.

This is because most small businesses earn much less in profit. In 2009 about 35 million tax returns will report some income from small businesses, according to Roberton Williams, principal research associate at the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Of these only about 660,000 tax units — or 1.9 percent — would see an increase under Senator Obama’s tax proposal.

Joe probably overstated how much his company makes, though. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean wage for a plumber is $47,930 per year. A plumber in the 90th percentile earns $73,500.

If Joe’s business is less successful than he claims (which it probably is), then it likely won’t see a tax increase under Senator Obama’s plan — and in that respect, is a more relevant model for most Americans who own small businesses.

Potpourri of Pros and Cons on Palin’s interview by Couric

Potpourri: n. a combination of various incongruous elements; a miscellaneous anthology or collection.

I can’t believe the nerve I struck a couple of days ago when I wrote about Palin’s interview with Couric in which she couldn’t name the newspapers or magazines she reads.  Thousands of hits and a hundred comments, some of which were too viciously angry to leave up.

To spare you plowing through all of them I give you a judicious selection from both ProPalin People and the PalinPhobics. Enjoy.

ProPalin: What a stupid question anyways. Do you see anyone asking any of the other candidates what newspapers they read?  Does Couric thinks they don’t have mags or newspaper in Alaska? What an insult.

Palinphobic: it’s true: sarah is just like you!! Many americans don’t read anything other than People and US mag, with the occasional Enquirer for the juicy stuff…sometimes USA today. But would you choose yourself to be VP?  Is it OK to want someone like the average joe to run this country? NEVER. that would be like having your average joe perform heart surgery on you. If that’s called elitist, then guilty as charged. but i’d rather call it leaving the complex jobs to those best qualified to handle it.The rest of us should just try to be good citizens.

Palinphobic: I bet she doesn’t read anything, that’s why she can’t even give us an answer. This lady probably just gets her news from Fox news and that’s it.   Her not reading any newspapers would explain a lot…..

ProPalin: Geez, she’s already stated in detail how she plans to deal with Russia’s new aggressive stance, she’s been able to beat back big oil in AK and give back some of the cash to the residents there…who in the world CARES where she gets her info?

Palinphobic: If Obama had answered the same question the way she did, people would assume that he wasn’t ready to be president. Palin is no different.

Palinphobic: What scares me is that Gov. Palin has not developed her own world view, over time, from reading and interacting with people outside of Idaho and Alaska. That’s a pretty slim slice of the planet to be the leader of the free world. She is holed up, learning all of it, memorizing vast chunks of the world according to handlers, with a focus on sound bites. I want a vice president who has experience with rural people and city people and foreign people and a significant minority population to understand the subtleties of governing the world today. Especially if we’re electing a president as old as Sen. McCain!

ProPalin: People, Sarah Palin is a Governor. She’s done something right somewhere. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagon were Governors. From what I can tell she’s made it further in life than any one of us leving these comments. Please try to remember she’s running for VP not Pres. Remeber Al Gore, the inventor of the internet? I don’t think she can do any worse than that and we made it through just fine. The real fear in all of this is that a man the spent his most inpressionable years in a Muslim school becomes our President. That is very dangerous.

Palinphobic: I also have a special needs child, and my husband and I quit my jobs and he he changed his to be free to provide the care she needed her first five years. I couldn’t bring myself to farm that out, so I can’t identify with Gov. Palin on that call either.

ProPalin: If she had named any mags, newspapers – in the left’s eyes they would have been the wrong ones, or let’s say she only named a few, then the left would have said – look she ONLY reads 3. If she had named a slew, the left would have said – look she is just a book worm (acting only on what she reads with no real thoughts of her own) and can’t see the forest for the trees. It was a no win situation. Damned if she did and damned if she didn’t.

Palinphobic: “She’s one of us”? Just think about the past 8 years with someonoe we thought we could relate to. Yes, I am sure that he’s a nice guy and all, but the fact remains that we need someone who DOES read newspapers from both the right and left, has a grasp of world issues (not just her own opinion) and can back up statements (not just with her own beliefs). …look where that’s gotten us the past 8 years.

ProPalin: The question was insulting because it insinuates that Alaskans have no access to worthwhile reading material. Furthermore, if she HAD answered, the media and some of the other constant critics would have picked apart each of the magazines and expostulated on why they aren’t suitable or how they show her lack of knowledge. She can’t win with those critics, and she knows it. No other candidate has to answer such stupid questions, and I’m glad she didn’t. If you continued to read the transcript, you would see where she tells Couric that Alaskans do have access to the same reading material the rest of us have access to.

Palinphobic: She could’ve said she reads the Anchorage Daily News. I’ve been on this newspaper’s web site almost daily since she became the VP candidate just to see her past positions and read what politics are like in Alaska – and I live in New Jersey.

Palinphobic: This is an important question because she said in a prior interview that she has formed her opinions and knowledge of the world, not by actually seeing the world for herself, but by reading different magazines and articles.The notion that what someone reads is not important is ridiculous; it gives us an insider perspective on the person.

ProPalin: Before you risk being guilty of intellectual snobbery, remember – while we sit typing about her and her “debatable intelligence,” she is running for vice-president. Something tells me she might be smarter than either of us.

Palinphobic: I was going to vote republican until the massive irresponsibility of McCain’s VP pick started coming to light. Come on fellow conservatives, all of this defending of Palin is making us look like a joke. A sad, pathetic, terribly unfunny joke!!

ProPalin: Seriously, focus on the issues people. The American media spins people into these types of “doubt scenarios” and it looks like a lot of you fall for it. Don’t be a puppet of trivia. Focus on who can solve problems using different approaches. Ex. NO TO SOCIALISM, NO TO CORRUPTION, NO TO GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

Palinphobic: Katie asked Palin that question because it’s clear she is not the brightest crayon in the box. Attending five different community colleges just to end up with a journalism degree shows that she is just like the average Americans. Which is the main reason she’s not ready for the 2nd highest position in this country.

Palinphobic: Palin’s ignorance and lack of curiosity are scary, but even more scary is the fact that it won’t make a difference to most Palin supporters who are blindly defending her with equally vague and uncompelling arguments such as “She’s great!”

Palinphobic: Please explain to me why Gov Palin and her people want her to get a free hall pass? I don’t care how stupid the question was… but you know what, regardless she should have answered the question, period. I am sick of hearing everytime someone assk her a question the response is a “gotcha question” and how dare s/he ask that question… She is running for VP and will possibly be President, so there are no stupid questions. There are no “gotcha” questions. If she can’t handle these questions how can she run the country?

ProPalin: Obama is a newcomer. Have you asked yourself how he rose to the postion he has as fast as he did? What President can you name that had the likes of George Soro’s, William Ayers, Acorn, etc, backing their campaign? Thus far, people are content to believe that Obama explained away Reverend Wright, William Ayers, his affiliation with Acorn, and the top two Democrats that walked off with millions of dollars that benefitted them from the collapse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Palinphobic: I have seen several clips today of Ms Palin and in each of them she comes off like the poor South Carolina beauty queen of a couple of years ago, when asked about education in America. She started her answer quickly then stammered on and on and said exactly nothing that made any sense.

ProPalin: I don’t blame her for not answering. I wouldn’t either. SNL would have made a skit of it.

Palinphobic: No worries! Palin-McCain will soon be vaguely recalled like… “who was on that ticket that ran against Obama in his first term anyhow?Thank God we didn’t vote for them. Look how much our economy improved since Obama became President.”

Palinphobic: *sigh*  I’m not sure why I’m trying…   We are all stubborn aren’t we???

Perspective: blind men feeling up Palin?

Perspective: point of view; subjective evaluation of relative significance; frame of reference.

You know the story of the blind men who are feeling an elephant for the first time: the one who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the man who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a pipe.

Each in his limited way is correct. Each has a perspective based on limited experience. But what would happen if we gave the men a chance to feel every part of the elephant? Their perspectives would be significantly broadened and the accuracy of their interpretation of the elephant significantly increased.

In the case of Sarah Palin, everyone was surprised by McCain’s pick of a VP running mate who was pretty much unknown outside Alaska. At first we were kind of charmed (some were, anyway) by her fresh face and high energy on display at the Republican National Convention.

But as we’ve had more exposure, more opportunities to “feel” her different aspects, most of the thinking public, even some of those stalwarts on the right, like George Will and Kathleen Parker, are deciding that those new aspects (ignorance, incoherence, idiocy) are poor traits in a person who might become second in command of our country.

Unfortunately, there are those whose exposure to the news, to education, to the world, is so limited that they’re still just feeling Palin’s updo and declaring her their kind of gal.

I got an overwhelming response to my post yesterday about Palin’s inability to name a newspaper she reads,  thanks to a link from (of all places!) Fox News, where Mosheh Oinounou wrote a surprisingly critical post on the Couric interview.  From the comments (some of which were so incoherent that I deleted them), it’s obvious that some people made up their minds the minute they first encountered Palin and no amount of evidence to the contrary will affect their perspective.

“She’s a mom like me; that’s all I need to know. Why is the media so hard on her? Why do they keep asking her these trick questions?”


Panic mode: Palin can’t even tell us what news she reads

Panic: a sudden overpowering terror, often affecting many people at once.

We thought Katie Couric’s interview with Sarah Palin about the proximity of Russia was scary. Try this part of the interview on for size.  The woman can’t even name a single newspaper or magazine that she reads! This should bring us all to a state of panic. What if McCain/Palin are elected?? What if he dies????

Here’s part of the transcript, but you should watch the whole thing.

COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?PALIN: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

COURIC: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

COURIC: Can you name any of them?

PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.

She could at least have answered the Anchorage Daily News and Newsweek…

OK. maybe the Wasilla Gazette and the church newsletter.

From Popular to Pitiable: Palin’s pathetic Couric interview

Popular: widely liked or appreciated.

Pitiable: arousing or deserving of compassion, lamentable.

Pathetic: pertaining to, expressing or arousing pity; distressing and inadequate.

Palin’s ratings are plummeting as the public gets to see more of her. Well, we’re not seeing a lot more, since she’s only granted interviews to Charlie Gibson and now Katie Couric (four weeks since her nomination announcement!).

What I’ve seen of the Couric interview(s?) is a disaster. Palin is inarticulate, weasely, and seems incapable of actually answering a question.  My personal response to her vacillates from horror, to amusement, to disbelief, to WTF?, and now even to pity.

WHAT was the McCain campaign thinking (drinking?) when they chose her for VP?  Were they so cynical about the smarts of the American people to think we wouldn’t notice her critical failings?  Did the Republicans just make her a pawn in their political game? If this is the case, I feel sorry for her.

However, Palin has had presidential aspirations since she was elected mayor of Wasilla (wish I could find that cite), so to be offered a crack at the VP slot by an old duffer (with a 30% chance of dying in office) played right into her ambitions. Even so,  if she had even an ounce of self-knowledge, she would have recognized that she was not yet ready and said, “Thanks but no thanks…. ask me again in four years after I’ve done a lot more traveling, reading, governing, learning, thinking.”

But she jumped at the chance, “Didn’t even blink!”  Sarah the Unready.  So I say, “Honey, you chose this bed. Now sleep in it.

Here are a couple of transcript tidbits from the Couric interview. Tell me if you understood what she was saying:

Proximity to Alaska:

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–


PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

Bailout and Health Care

COURIC: Why isn’t it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries? … Instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: Ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy– Oh, it’s got to be about job creation too. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions.