U.S. takes formal possession of Alaska from Russia.
We can now see Russia from Sarah Palin's backyard.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Photo © Jim Young/Reuters
By LARRY ROHTER AND LIZ ROBBINS, The New York Times
Joe Wurzelbacher spoke to Senator Barack Obama about taxes while the candidate campaigned near Toledo, Ohio, last week.
One week ago, Joe Wurzelbacher was just another working man living in a modest ranch house near Toledo thinking about how to expand his plumbing business. But when he stopped Senator Barack Obama during a visit to his block this weekend to ask about his taxes, he set himself on a path to being the newest media celebrity — and, like other celebrities, found himself under scrutiny.
Turns out that “Joe the Plumber,” as he became nationally known when Senator John McCain made him a theme at Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate, may run a plumbing business but he is not a licensed plumber. His full name is Samuel J. Wurzelbacher. And he owes a bit in back taxes.
The premise of his question to Mr. Obama about taxes may also be flawed, according to tax analysts.
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. (The national plumber’s union, the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, endorsed Mr. Obama, it should be noted.)
“He’s basically playing games with the world,” Thomas Joseph, the local’s business manager, said in a telephone interview Thursday morning.
Just five days ago, Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, lived in anonymity, a single father who worked all day at his plumbing business and came home to fix dinner and help his son with his homework, as he said on national television.
But he became the hero of conservatives and Republicans when he stopped Mr. Obama, who was campaigning on Shrewsbury Street on Sunday, and asked whether he believed in the American dream. Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was concerned about having to pay taxes as he reached a point where he could afford to buy his own plumbing business, one he said would draw income of $250,000 a year.
“I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year,” he told Mr. Obama during an exchange that was filmed and later showed up on YouTube. “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”
That encounter led to New York Post headlines, appearances on the Fox News Channel and interviews with conservative groups, who seized on part of Mr. Obama’s reply.
“I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” Mr. Obama had said.
When Mr. McCain invoked Mr. Wurzelbacher in Wednesday’s debate — some version of “Joe the Plumber” was mentioned two dozen times during the 90 minutes — as a way to criticize Mr. Obama’s tax plan and wealth-sharing argument, Mr. Wurzelbacher suddenly found camera crews outside his home, Katie Couric on the phone, and himself in the full glare of the media spotlight.
Mr. Wurzelbacher did not respond to a message left on his home phone and there was no answer at his plumbing business.
On Thursday, he told the Associated Press that he felt like Britney Spears.
“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache,” he said. “Everybody wants to know about it.”
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.
And his question to Mr. Obama about paying taxes? According to some tax analysts, if Mr. Wurzelbacher’s gross receipts from his business is $250,000 — and not his taxable income — then he would not have to pay higher taxes under Mr. Obama’s plan, and probably would be eligible for a tax cut.
Mr. Wurzelbacher is registered to vote in Lucas County under the name Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher.
“We have his named spelled W-O, instead of W-U,” Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said in a telephone interview. “Handwriting is sometimes hard to read. He has never corrected it in his registration card.”
The records, she said, showed he voted Republican in the March primary.
Mr. Wurzelbacher told Ms. Couric that his encounter with Mr. Obama was a matter of impulse.
“Neighbors were outside asking him questions, and I didn’t think they were asking him tough enough questions,” he said.
He went on, “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.”
Five days later his decision to confront Mr. Obama has spawned a line of novelty T-shirts sold on the Internet.
“Vote Joe the Plumber ’08,” one shirt reads, with the tag: “No More Drips in the White House.”
So a well-meaning fan of OM sends this photo my way, asking if I was looking for an official mascot for the site. Hmmmmm. Is this Anderson Cooper with a tonsorial photoshop job?
I don't know, but you MUST stop by the office and apply IN PERSON...
Season's Greetings, indeed!!!
Who is this unmasked man??
The Art of DoubleSpeak and Obfuscation.
See how well-versed you are with the candidates, and their positions on the issues.
Live or die.
Make your choice.
That's SAW V.
Mr. McCain almost did not make it to the program (David Letterman) — again. His campaign plane was turned around after officials at Newark Liberty International Airport said there were landing delays of nearly two hours. The plane, with the traveling press corps, stayed behind in Philadelphia and Mr. McCain was whisked to New York on a helicopter.
Betcha didn't know "Joe 6pak" and "Joe the plumber" were heterosexual slurs.
Well, maybe not "Joe Plumber" but Mr 6pak sure is.
Guess who's unemployed this election season...
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Personally, I'm pissing my pants over the jeans. What? SPANDEX? Spray-paint?
If you watch the pot-calling-the-kettle-black interview of The Coop (of ALL people!) with Kenny, you'll note that Kenny denies the gay rumors with a dismissive "I'm not. I'm not."
Gay. He can't even say the word.
Really though. Listen to him talk about growing up. No wonder.
He's not "gay." He can't be. He's a country rock star...who likes guys! Sure, maybe there's a gal or two in there somewhere, but he's gay.
Looks great in those jeans.
They'd look a lot better though.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
"My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me and link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea high atop Widows' Hill - a house called Collinwood. A world I've never known, with people I've never met. People who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows. "
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Do THIS math:
LaChappelle x Mapplethorpe
What follows is the Tom Nolan|RS review from back in the day (1974)
TOM NOLAN_posted: Aug 15, 1974
Caribou is not wearying in the same way as would be an album whose makers were bored with their work. Caribou is dispiriting because it "logically" extends Elton's weak strengths and strong weaknesses, the superficial powers that have taken him so far. The thin roots that kept him in touch with an organically nourishing topsoil have been sundered and at last he's on his own, fulfilling his weird hybrid nature in a self-designed hothouse where nothing but lurid display is valued.
Nearly every song on Caribou suffers from a blithe lack of focus, an almost arrogant disregard of the need to establish context or purpose. It's as if Elton and his band are so convinced of their own inherent inspiration they no longer feel the need to establish coherent moods. Shifting from sentimental to heavy to mocking, they not only fail to touch all bases but undercut what credence they might possibly have achieved.
From the first track the album displays a strange overkill which simultaneously introduces many production elements and then buries them under one another. The opener, "The Bitch Is Back," is the slickest and strongest cut on Caribou, but it lacks real punch. The combined forces of Clydie & Sherlie & Jessie & Dusty and the Tower Of Power horn section fail to get this putdown-celebration of a certain sort of social pariah-piranha off the ground. And from there, it's all downhill.
"Pinky" is a love song set to a jerky syncopated melody, an ungainly tune that easily wins its battle against the words.
"Grimsby," with tripping tempo and ricky-tik riffs, may or may not be a comic song, but the overall feel is flaccid.
"Dixie Lily," a tribute to a riverboat sung by a citizen of the swamps, achieves a level of cultural assimilation comparable to that reached by "Bobbies on bicycles two by two."
"Solar Prestige a Gammon," an Italianate nonsense song, demonstrates the stiffness which plagues Elton even in his humor.
"You're So Static," a sort of revamped "Honky Tonk Women," wanders between facetiousness and heavy metal.
"I've Seen the Saucers," someone's wistful wish to be taken away from mundanity deus ex machina, is made irrelevant by last-minute, out-of-context science fiction sounds meant to be taken seriously.
The overlong "Stinker" convincingly proves Elton John is not a soul singer.
The centerpiece fiasco, however, is the melodramatic seven-and-a-half-minute finale, "Ticking," which fails not through musical ambiguity but from an appalling combination of simplemindedness, over-reaching and opportunism in the material itself. All alone at the piano (with a synthesizer adding tension), Elton "simply" unfolds this maudlin tale of a young man from a repressive background who goes berserk in a New York bar and shoots 14 people. Victim of society and a Catholic upbringing, he is a reluctant psychopath ("Promising to hurt no one, providing they were still") and when at last the fellow snaps and starts shooting, it is "with tear-filled eyes." The killings are dispensed with in half a phrase, their only apparent significance to set into motion the vindictive forces which for some reason are determined to exterminate this peculiar hero. In the presence of "the media machine" the understood murderer is cut down while surrendering, and he poetically expires in one-stanza slow-motion "on the vengeance of the law." Only in America. Queens, no less.
This selection ends, as do nearly half of the album's ten tracks, in an extended and pretentious synthesized drone. Each use of this device underscores not the intended emotion but, instead, the aridity of what has been, for one reason or another, a startlingly empty experience.
TOM NOLAN_posted: Aug 15, 1974