Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Obama’s Many “Number One” Priorities

December 3, 2008

Remember this simple catchphrase for priorities: “It’s the economy, stupid”?

Many think that should be the watchword for the new President Barack Obama.  But a confusing and dangerous miasma of foreign policy challenges lurks and lurches ahead. Without carefully applied wisdom, the United States could make matters worse on a wide range of international fronts and issues…

President-elect Barack Obama waits to get on his plane with ... 
President-elect Obama with his two Blackberris and some light reading.
(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

Yesterday, two think tanks said the U.S. should move away from Iraq and work like the devil on the nuclear covetous Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran.

The Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations said it is time to make peace in the Middle east as a “top priority.”  For the past six years under President George W. Bush, U.S. foreign policy in the region has been dominated by Iraq, said Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center at Brookings, and Richard Haass, president of the Council.

Now the two agree the real problem is Iran.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the U.N. ... 
Nuclear aspirant: Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran

One difficulty with this line of thinking is that, depending on the day, the think tank report one considers, and the newspaper headline, America faces stadium full of “top priorities.”

In Russia, Medvedev and Putin believe they should be tops on the Obama agenda.  Mr. Medvedev even threatened to deploy nuclear armed missiles in Eastern Europe unles and until the U.S. backed off of its missile defense ambitions with Poland and the Czech Republic.

And the Medvedev/Putin thrust cannot be overlooked: the two had no qualms about invading Georgia to get the attention of the U.S. and NATO: and it worked.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russia’s Medvedev, in front of a startegic Russian missile, said his missile advances will overwhelm U.S. defensive measures in the next few years.
AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov

Terrorism could be the number one priority.  Just yesterday the U.S. Director of National Security said in essence that the Pakistani Islamist radical militant group  Lashkar-e-Taiba  blew up Mubai, India, last week, killing nearly 200.

On the same day, yesterday, a group of wise men said the U.S. can expect to face a biological or chemical attack.

Is another 9-11 in America’s future?  And are we ready to defend or respond?

Pakistan itself might lay claim to Mr. Obama’s top priority.  Bankrupt, last weekend rioters ripped through the nations largest city, the Pakistani Army was pinned down by terrorists in the tribal areas, and the nuclear-armed government was under fire from all domestic and international sides over Mumbai.

A Pakistani newspaper wondered yesterday if the Army was about to break with the elected government of mr. Zardari and his Minister Mr. Gilani.

Then there are a few small matters with China, North Korea and you name it.

Oh and there are just a few domestic realities and campaign promises that need our next president’s attention: OPEC and oil, drill or not to drill, schools and education, tax relief, jobs and unemployment,health care, AIDS and the list goes on.

You won’t convince me for a second that the modern miracle of multi-tasking and several Blackberries will resolve this poisonous soup.

America needs to take a deep breath and close its eyes: too much Obama-mania could cause one not to think.

Mr. Obama, the United States, all Americans and all Western allies are in for some very hard work, sacrifices of an unknown nature, and difficult decisions.

Here’s a simple truth: The age of simplicity is over.

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From Wikipedia:

It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf war. The phrase, coined by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

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Can You Name World’s Most Spoken Language Or Nations That Make Great Britain?

November 20, 2008

Most people do not know how many countries make up Britain or which is the world’s most spoken language, a national survey has found.

Telegraph (UK)
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More than half wrongly believe that English is the most common language, while just over a third (37%) correctly identified it as Mandarin Chinese.

And less than a quarter correctly identified England, Wales and Scotland as being the countries that make up Great Britain.

The poll of 2,000 adults was commissioned by geographic technology company ESRI UK to mark Geography Awareness Week.

It found that a quarter of people would like to be an explorer – although many have trouble identifying where cities such as Leeds and Sheffield are in England.

When asked to rank a list of UK cities, Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield, Birmingham and Luton, in the order they are located, from north to south, eight in 10 correctly placed Newcastle and Luton.

But only half could only identify Leeds as the second most northerly, while a similar number put Sheffield correctly in third place.

The poll found that just under a quarter of people have visited a local attraction or museum in the last month.

Dr Rita Gardner, director of the Royal Geographical Society, said: “The poll raises some questions about how engaged people are with the many geographical issues in the wider world and about geographical factual knowledge.”

She added: “Good geographical knowledge and skills are vital for all of us, as responsible citizens, if we are to fully understand the nature of change in the world’s people, places and environments.”

Angela Baker, community programmes manager for ESRI (UK), said: “Geography helps us make sense of both our local surroundings but also the world’s bigger challenges like climate change, war, energy and poverty. It’s remarkable that so many people don’t know some simple facts like how many countries make up Great Britain.

“What is encouraging is that explorer came top in people’s preferred careers and that map-reading and compass skills beat being able to use a sat-nav.”

REFILE - CORRECTING FULL NAME OF APEC Chinese President Hu Jintao ...
There are 1.3 billion people in China and Chinese people live world-wide.  Here Chinese President Hu Jintao greets members of the Chinese community in Peru upon his arrival at Lima’s airport November 19, 2008. REUTERS/Handout/Andina Agency

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat
/3486403/Three-quarters-of-Brits-unable-to-name-Great
-Britains-three-countries.html

“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

November 19, 2008

“Barack Obama is just like Lincoln,” a youthful and eager fan reported to me.

And I thought: except for the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the preservation of the Union and his record as President of the United States.

Bill Sammon of the Washington Examiner said, “The American press has turned into a joke by comparing Barack Obama to FDR and Abraham Lincoln.  They do him no favor by raising expectations to a level that is not achievable.”

Barack Obama, the first ever black man elected to America’s highest office, should be honored for sure; but we should also put our regard for him in proper perspective and watch how the next four years transpire.

Barack Obama is still, to me, a potential agent of manifest change: and not yet a historically overpowering figure we honor for his many accomplishments.

Oh I agree with others that the election of a Black American is historic and memorable; but while it says a lot about our new President-elect it says more to me about the American people.

The notion that Barack Obama is, in many ways, “Linconesque,” is at least premature and could seem a tad bizarre, especially to historians seeking meaning, accomplishments and proven character.

Obama has not yet managed through his Cuban Missile Crisis, his Vietnam War, his Great Depression or whatever real crises we can anticipate — and even whatever nobody could ever anticipate like George W. Bush’s “Nine Eleven.”

Yet both Lincoln and Obama certainly share Illinois and a place in history.  Lincoln’s place in history is “writ large.”  We do not yet know if Barack Obama is a chapter or two of history; or just a paragraph or two. 

President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist's question ... 
President-elect Barack Obama answers a journalist’s question during his first press conference following his election victory in Chicago, November 7, 2008.(John Gress/Reuters)

Barack Obama grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia. He graduated from  Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

Obama is an “indoorsman,” who wrote two books about himself and arguably became addicted to his BlackBerry.

Lincoln was an outdoorsman who grew up in a log cabin in the rough “west” of the United States in his time, including Kentucky and Illinois.

Wikipedia says “Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.”

Lincoln’s formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling, but he was largely self-educated and an avid reader. He was also a talented local wrestler and skilled with an axe.

Barack Obama is skilled with a computer keyboard, a teleprompter, and as a very eloquent public speaker and, though I myself have been moved by the style of many Obama speeches, the next day I have found something sometimes lacking. Yet like some of Mister Lincoln’s orations and remarks, Mr. Obama’s speeches are filled with “hope” and “change.”

Obama's speech earned him praise from politicians on the left and right. But not everyone was impressed.

Above: Barack Obama before a crowd in Germany. Photo: Getty Images
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Lincoln participated in the most studied and recalled political debates ever held in America.

Barack Obama’s debates with John McCain will be recalled for one thing only: Obama became the elected president.

“I don’t think we need any big media-run productions, no processed questions from reporters, no spin rooms, just two Americans running for the highest office in the greatest nation on earth responding to the concerns of the people who’s trust that we must earn,” John McCain said well before the debates with Barack Obama.

Famously, McCain said he wanted ten “Lincoln-Douglas” style debates with Barack Obama.

The nation ended up with far fewer than ten debates and not one came close to resembling the famed and historic Lincoln-Douglas debates.

But the world is a different place now and our national attention span and will to concentrate is short for good reasons, even though we are multitasking…

Creators Syndicate

Oprah Already Has Dress For Obama's Inauguration
WireImage
Access Hollywood

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are pretty much comfortable everywhere — from public speaking in Germany to Bill Ayers house and onward to Oprah’s TV show and to Hollywood.

Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd, which many historians believe was at least “on the edge” and probably crazy, were famously uncomfortable in most settings.  Many Hollywood and TV people today say that Lincoln’s looks would probably make him unelectable today.

Lincoln mourned the loss of one of his own children: and he watched in horror as Civil War casualties bled the nation white.  He even took the time to pen a letter to a grieving mother who lost five sons in “Lincoln’s war.”

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln’s most famous oration, the Gettysburg Address, took just two minutes to deliver.  For more than a century, American school children memorized this magnificent piece of writing and oration, one of the finest speeches ever given in America, some say, and all in less than 280 words.

On the day of that address, Lincoln was not the featured speaker, who droned on for some time.  But nobody without a deep history education can even recall the man who delivered his remarks before Lincoln on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the cemetery in Gettysburg.


Soldiers National Cemetery, Gettysburg

Lincoln freed the slaves and preserved the Union.  So far, Obama freed the media and the electorate of the feeling and belief that racism kept good men of color from key posts.

Lincoln was unafraid of firing his top generals — and then while U.S. Grant was gaining ground and winning battles and his staff said the man was a drunk, Lincoln issued an order to send Grant a case of his favorite spirits, or so the story is told.


Lincoln in the field during the Civil War

Lincoln had to sneak into Washington DC for his inauguration.  Obama will be greeted by a throng of millions.

Lincoln assembled a cabinet that was a train wreck of disagreement to the point of dysfunction.  Some in the media today say that Obama is emulating Lincoln’s ability to be “inclusive” in his cabinet selections.

But Lincoln did famously “reach out” to all great leaders who could help him including the Catholic Archbishop of New York, “Dagger” John Hughes.

Linoln also gave a seemingly open door to the White House to Abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who pushed President Lincoln to create and issue the Emancipation Proclamation — against the advice of many including his top military commanders.


Above: Frederick Douglass, in about 1879.

Above:  Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Barack Obama’s challenges have yet to unfold.

Lincoln’s challenges were manifest.

History has judged Lincoln.  Obama’s first full chapter, now, at least in part, well chronicled by eager contemporary media scribes, is mostly still a way off for historians to evaluate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 19, 2008

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The Topeka Capitol Journal began an article on November 9, 2008 with, “Plans are being made to promote a national holiday for Barack Obama, who will become the nation’s 44th president when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20.”

My Vietnamese American relatives say, “We seem to have the Easter before the Palm….”

Lincoln’s Day, once celebrated on his birthday, is now largely forgotten and squeezed out by the celebration of other great Americans like Martin Luther King.  Frederick Douglass has no day at all. It might be prudent to hold off on the “Barack Obama Day” just a tad….

Related:
Barack Obama Needs To Know: Lincoln’s Dysfuncional Cabinet Was Not Your Mother’s A-Team
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 Frederick Douglass: Turning Points
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“Most Famous” Lincoln Letter of Civil War Found?

Economy won’t stop Obama’s priorities, aides say

November 9, 2008

The economic crisis will not stop President-elect Barack Obama from expanding health care, overhauling education and energy policy, and passing a middle-class tax cut soon after he takes office in January, senior aides said on Sunday.

Meanwhile the U.S. Congress should act to ease the pain of an economy sliding into recession by extending unemployment benefits and boosting aid to states struggling to meet their health-care obligations, they said.

Obama’s transitional team has outlined an ambitious agenda for the next several months as it scrambles to assemble an administration in the face of what is widely viewed as the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

By Andy Sullivan, Reuters

The economic crisis will not prevent Obama from pursuing the priorities he outlined on the campaign trail, said John Podesta, co-chair of Obama’s transition team.

These include extending heath care to the nation’s 47 million uninsured, reducing U.S. reliance on foreign oil, and improving public education, Podesta said.

“These are all core, if you will, economic questions and they need to be tackled together, and I think you’ll have a program, and a strategy to move aggressively across all those fronts,” Podesta said on CNN’s “Late Edition.”

Congress is expected to return in a temporary session as soon as next week to take up a stimulus package defeated by Senate Republicans in September.

That package should not be tied to a free-trade deal with Colombia as some Republicans have suggested, said Illinois Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who will become Obama’s chief of staff when he takes office on January 20.

“You don’t link those essential needs to some other trade deal,” Emanuel said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081109/pl_nm/us_usa_politics_
stimulus;_ylt=AuXMEwYg.GtybLaxEx.SZdGs0NUE

Capitalism, fiscal woes; contempt for economic liberty

November 9, 2008

There has always been contempt for economic liberty. Historically, our nation was an important, not complete, exception. It took the calamity of the Great Depression to bring about today’s level of restrictions on economic liberty. Now we have another government-created calamity that has the prospect of moving us even further away from economic liberty with the news media and pundits creating the perception that the current crisis can be blamed on capitalism.

We see comments such as those in the New York Times: “The United States  has a culture that celebrates laissez-faire capitalism as the economic ideal.” Or, “For 30 years, the nation’s political system has been tilted in favor of business deregulation and against new rules.” Another says, “Since 1997, Mr. Brown [the British prime minister] has been a powerful voice behind the Labor Party’s embrace of an American-style economic philosophy that was light on regulation.”

By Walter E. Williams
The Washington Times

First, let’s establish what laissez-faire capitalism is. Broadly defined, it is an economic system based on private ownership and control over of the means of production. Under laissez-faire capitalism, government activity is restricted to the protection of the individual’s rights against fraud, theft and the initiation of physical force.

Professor George Reisman has written a very insightful article on his blog titled “The Myth that Laissez Faire Is Responsible for Our Financial Crisis.” (http://georgereisman.com/blog/2008/10/myth-that-laissez-faire-is-respo nsible.html) You can decide whether we have an unregulated laissez-faire economy. There are 15 Cabinet departments, nine of which control various aspects of the U.S. economy. They are the Departments of: Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Commerce and Interior. In addition, there is the alphabet soup cluster of federal agencies such as: the IRS, the FRB and FDIC, the EPA, FDA, SEC, CFTC, NLRB, FTC, FCC, FERC, FEMA, FAA, CAA, INS, OHSA, CPSC, NHTSA, EEOC, BATF, DEA, NIH and NASA.

Here’s my question to you: Can one be sane and at the same time hold that ours is an unregulated laissez-faire economy? Better yet, tell me what a businessman, or for that matter you, can do that does not involve some kind of government regulation.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/09/capitalism-and-fiscal-woes/

Chicago, Academics Defend Bill Ayers; Former FBI Agents Outraged

October 16, 2008

By Steven Gray
Time Magazine
 

In recent months, Chicago has bathed in pride as the place Barack Obama calls home, in spite of the attendant scrutiny on people like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. and Tony Rezko. But it is now particularly defensive, if not irate, about the latest local figure to haunt Obama’s presidential candidacy: Bill Ayers.

Ayers, 63, is the University of Illinois at Chicago education professor who, during the Vietnam era, was a leader of radical group the Weather Underground. In recent weeks, Republicans have mounted an increasingly potent assault on Obama’s past dealings with Ayers. Sarah Palin, the GOP vice-presidential candidate, depicted Chicago as a hotbed of radical politics. Earlier this month, she referred to Ayers when she said Obama “sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.” During Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, continued to question Obama’s association with Ayers, insisting that the Democratic nominee launched his political career in Ayers’ living room. Obama very audibly interjected that such criticism was a falsehood.

For a sense of the reaction in Chicago, consider the headline of a recent Chicago Tribune blog post: “Question for Ayers alarmists: Where were you in the 1990s?” That was the period in which Ayers evolved from a bomb-throwing radical into a socially acceptable pioneer in education. At the university in recent days, Ayers’ colleagues have circulated letters expressing support. Similar formal statements may soon come from a group of alumni and the university itself. “Bill has nothing to be ashamed about in his scholarly career – it’s one that any scholar can take pride in,” says Victoria Chou, dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois here, and a friend of Ayers for years. She adds, “I’m just disappointed in those in our country who would try to tear down and destroy his reputation for political purposes. This is about Obama, not really about Bill, but it’s troubling us all.”

Ayers’ Illinois roots run deep. His father was a top executive at Commonwealth Edison, a local utility company. The young Ayers, inspired by the 1960s civil rights movement, later emerged as a leader of the Weather Underground, a group that bombed the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. He and other members of the group soon fled into seclusion, taking on assumed names. He and his wife, fellow radical Bernardine Dohrn, turned themselves in after charges were dropped because of tainted evidence. (Ayers’ famous quote afterward: “Guilty as hell, and free as a bird. It’s a great country.”) By the mid-1980s, Ayers had re-emerged as an education scholar and was on track toward tenured status at the University of Illinois. In the early 1990s, Chicago’s mayor, Richard M. Daley, named him an assistant deputy mayor for education, and by the decade’s end, he’d been named the city’s Citizen of the Year.

He became an influential fixture in Chicago society. In 1995, Ayers and his wife hosted a coffee at their home in the leafy intellectual enclave here known as Hyde Park. The Obama campaign has stopped commenting on it. Based on other reports, the gathering may have been a campaign event for Alice Palmer, the Illinois state senator who was one of Obama’s mentors and, at the time, was plotting a bid for Congress. It may also have been one of several coffees organized at the time to allow Obama to be introduced as Palmer’s heir apparent. Or both. (Palmer and Obama had a falling-out soon after; she supported Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.) It’s clear that during the coffee, Obama, then a young University of Chicago law professor, met an influential group of Chicagoans who would be crucial for his eventual bid for Palmer’s Illinois senate seat…..

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20081016
/us_time/chicagosaysthereistoomu
chadoaboutbillayers;_ylt=AhIBkMZ0ps1gPa7aLFfmJIGs0NUE

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Former FBI Agents Outraged At Ayers, Obama Ties

By Ronald Kessler
Newsmax
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Former FBI agents who worked the Weather Underground case are angry about the longtime relationship between Barack Obama and William Ayers, a leader of the domestic terrorist group who has admitted widespread bombings.

“It outrages me to think that a person would be seeking the presidency of the United States and was close to an individual like Bill Ayers,” former agent Max Noel told Newsmax.

Ayers said in his book that he participated in the bombing of New York City police headquarters in 1970, the U.S. Capitol in 1971, and the Pentagon in 1972. In September 2001, the New York Times quoted him as saying, “I don’t regret setting bombs . . . I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Ayers’ wife, Bernardine Dohrn, was sent to prison for failing to cooperate in solving the robbery of a Brink’s armored car in which two police officers were killed.

Charges against Ayers were dropped because the FBI used so-called national security wiretaps that could not be used legally in criminal cases.

 

Obama launched his political career at Ayers’ home in 1995. From 1999 to 2002, he served with Ayers on the board of the Woods Fund of Chicago. In response to criticism of their relationship, Obama has said he was 8 when Ayers was bombing buildings.

But the presidential candidate was a grown man when he sought and obtained Ayers’ blessing for his entry into politics.

Former FBI agent Willie Reagan said, “I spent seven years of my life hunting down people who described themselves as revolutionary communists and were involved in bombings.”

Reagan, who infiltrated the Weather Underground in New York, said he witnessed members of the group making bombs.

“At some point, Obama knew of his background and should have repudiated him, not later when he is running for president,” Reagan told Newsmax.

Read the rest:
http://www.newsmax.com/headlines/fbi_obama_
ayers_/2008/10/14/140252.html

Infuriated By Possibility of Higher Taxes? So Is Joe The Plummer (See Video)

October 16, 2008

John McCain may have found a blue-collar face to help him argue that no American — not even the richest 5 percent — should pay higher taxes.

“Joe The Plumber” has weighed in on Wednesday’s presidential debate and he says that Barack Obama’s tax plan “infuriates me.”

“To be honest with you, that infuriates me,” plumber Joe Wurzelbacher told Nightline’s Terry Moran. “It’s not right for someone to decide you made too much—that you’ve done too good and now we’re going to take some of it back.”

“That’s just completely wrong,” he added.

Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama speaks ...
Joe the Plummer (L) Wurzelbacher talks with a guy that wants to raise his taxes and redistribute his wealth.  John McCain calls it class warfare….Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama spoke to Joe as Obama canvassed a neighbourhood in Holland, Ohio, October 12, 2008.(Jim Young/Reuters)

Read the rest and watch the video from ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Hope Ditto:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/
2008/10/joe-the-plumber.html

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By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Barack Obama and John McCain may have turned him into the most famous small-business owner in America, but Joe the Plumber isn’t about to return the favor with an endorsement.
The morning after he emerged as the unexpected star of Wednesday night’s presidential debate, Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, declined to say who he will vote for in the November 4 election.

“It’s a personal decision, and myself and the button I push will know the answer,” the 34-year-old plumber and single father said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.

Later outside his home he told a crowd of reporters “I want the American people to vote for who they want to vote for,” and in an informed way.

He also said he was proud of what the U.S. military has accomplished in Iraq, feels his views are shared by many middle class working people he knows, is tired of people criticizing the United States and feels that the U.S. Social Security program is a “joke.”

Wurzelbacher came to prominence last week when he asked Obama about his tax plan during a campaign stop, which led to an appearance on a Fox News talk show and an invitation to a McCain rally.

Wurzelbacher said the sudden attention hasn’t yet translated into increased business.

“I hope I have a lot of jobs today. Yesterday I worked on a water main break for a gas station and that’s why I didn’t give any interviews. I was muddy and soaking wet,” he said.

Obama and McCain repeatedly invoked Wurzelbacher in their final debate as they sought to appeal to average Americans. McCain, a Republican, said Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year would hurt small-business owners like Wurzelbacher.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081016/us_nm/us_usa_politics_
plumber;_ylt=Am6aXw2iArr4XUtRD1GD8HGs0NUE

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Joe Doesn’t Have License as Plummer

By By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer

“That bothered me. I wished that they had talked more about issues that are important to Americans,” he told reporters gathered outside his home.

Wurzelbacher, 34, said he doesn’t have a good plan put together on how he would buy Newell Plumbing and Heating in nearby Toledo.

He said the business consists of owner Al Newell and him. Wurzelbacher said he’s worked there for six years and that the two have talked about his taking it over at some point.

“There’s a lot I’ve got to learn,” he said.

Wurzelbacher said he started his day with an early morning workout and came back to his suburban Toledo home to do live interviews with TV networks.

Reporters camped out by his house overnight and by midmorning there were 21 people on his driveway surrounding him, holding cameras and notebooks.

Wurzelbacher said he’s feeling overwhelmed.

“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache. Everybody wants to know about it,” he joked.

Joe Wurzelbacher, right, or as Republican presidential candidate ...
Above: Joe Wurzelbacher, right, or as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain dubbed him during Wednesday’s presidential debate, ‘Joe The Pumber’, chats with members of the news media outside of his home in Holland, Ohio, Thursday Oct. 16, 2008. Wurzelbacher was cited by the GOP presidential candidate as an example of someone who wants to buy a plumbing business but would be hurt by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s tax plans. In Toledo on Sunday, Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was preparing to buy the plumbing company, which earns more than $250,000 a year, and said: ‘Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?’ Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.(AP Photo/Madalyn Ruggiero)

In Toledo on Sunday, Wurzelbacher told Obama that he was preparing to buy the plumbing company, which earns more than $250,000 a year, and said: “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.

Wurzelbacher said Obama’s tax plan wouldn’t affect him right now, because he doesn’t make $250,000. “But I hope someday I’ll make that,” he said.

“If you believed (Obama), I’d be receiving his tax cuts,” Wurzelbacher said. “But I don’t look at it that way. He’d still be hurting others.”

As he leaned against the Dodge Durango SUV parked in his driveway Thursday morning, Wurzelbacher indicated to reporters who crowded around that he was a conservative, a fan of the military and McCain. He said meeting McCain would be an honor but said he hadn’t been contacted by the Republican campaign.

Still, the plumber wouldn’t say who he was voting for and brushed off a question about whether he could influence the election or other voters.

“I don’t have a lot of pull. It’s not like I’m Matt Damon,” Wurzelbacher said.

“I just hope I’m not making too much of a fool of myself,” he added

Fewer Voters Well Informed, Knowledgeable

October 16, 2008

LiveScience.com

Some news audiences are more politically savvy than others, according to a new poll, with readers of The New Yorker and similar high-brow magazines being the most knowledgeable.

The survey, conducted between April 30 and June 1 by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, measured the political knowledge  of 3,612 U.S. adults. Participants were asked to name the controlling party of the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. secretary of state and Great Britain’s prime minister.

Overall, just 18 percent of participants answered all three questions correctly.

More than 50 percent of Americans knew that the Democrats have a majority in the House, while 42 percent could identify the secretary of state (Condoleezza Rice). Less than 30 percent could name the prime minister of Great Britain (Gordon Brown).

Perfect scores

The best-informed news audiences crossed the ideological spectrum. Nearly half of regular readers of The New Yorker, The Atlantic and Harper’s Magazine answered all three political knowledge questions correctly.

A perfect score was obtained by 44 percent of regular listeners of National Public Radio (NPR), 43 percent of regular viewers of MSNBC‘s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” and 42 percent of the Fox News Channel‘s “Hannity & Colmes” audience. Thirty-four percent of “The Colbert Report” audience and 30 percent of “The Daily Show” audience got all three questions correct.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20081015/sc_livescience/
americansflunksimple3
questionpoliticalsurvey;_ylt=Am1nW4irDdwRgBfgf2_J0Gis0NUE

Who Won Final Presidential Debate?

October 16, 2008

The morning of September 16, 2008, the Rasmussen poll is reporting that likely voters are for Obama 50%; McCain 46%…..

CNN polled people who wathed and said 58% said Obama won last night’s debate.  At Fox News, a “text-in” poll said 87% thought McCain won.  Dick Morris at Fox News said McCain won but Charles Krauthammer said the debate was a draw.  Most others said Obama won.

Who DID win?  Depends upon who you asked….

HEMPSTEAD, New York (CNN) — A majority of debate watchers think Sen. Barack Obama won the third and final presidential debate, according to a national poll conducted right afterward.
McCain, Obama get tough in final debate

Fifty-eight percent of debate watchers questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll said Democratic candidate Obama did the best job in the debate, with 31 percent saying Republican Sen. John McCain performed best.

The poll also suggests that debate watchers’ favorable opinion of Obama rose slightly during the debate, from 63 percent at the start to 66 percent at the end. The poll indicates that McCain’s favorables dropped slightly, from 51 percent to 49 percent.

The economy was the dominant issue of the debate, and 59 percent of debate watchers polled said Obama would do a better job handling the economy, 24 points ahead of McCain.

During the debate, McCain attacked Obama’s stance on taxes, accusing Obama of seeking tax increases that would “spread the wealth around.” But by 15 points, 56 percent to 41 percent, debate watchers polled said Obama would do a better job on taxes. By a 2-1 margin, 62 percent to 31 percent, debate watchers said Obama would do a better job on health care.

Sixty-six percent of debate watchers said Obama more clearly expressed his views, with 25 percent saying McCain was more clear about his views.

By 23 points, those polled said Obama was the stronger leader during the debate. By 48 points, they said Obama was more likeable.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/
10/15/debate.poll/index.html

Final Debate: McCain Lands Blows But Obama May Have Escaped

October 16, 2008

Senator John McCain used the final debate of the presidential election on Wednesday night to raise persistent and pointed questions about Senator Barack Obama‘s character, judgment and policy prescriptions in a session that was by far the most spirited and combative of their encounters this fall.

By Jim Rutenberg
The New York Times
OCtober 16, 2008

At times showing anger and at others a methodical determination to make all his points, Mr. McCain pressed his Democratic rival on taxes, spending, the tone of the campaign and his association with the former Weather Underground leader William Ayers, using nearly every argument at his disposal in an effort to alter the course of a contest that has increasingly gone Mr. Obama’s way.

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

But Mr. Obama maintained a placid and at times bemused demeanor — if at times appearing to work at it — as he parried the attacks and pressed his consistent line that Mr. McCain would represent a continuation of President Bush’s unpopular policies, especially on the economy.

That set the backdrop for one of the sharpest exchanges of the evening, when, in response to Mr. Obama’s statement that Mr. McCain had repeatedly supported Mr. Bush’s economic policies, Mr. McCain fairly leaped out of his chair to say: “Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago.”

Acknowledging Mr. McCain had his differences with Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama replied, “The fact of the matter is that if I occasionally mistake your policies for George Bush’s policies, it’s because on the core economic issues that matter to the American people — on tax policy, on energy policy, on spending priorities — you have been a vigorous supporter of President Bush.”

The debate touched on a wide variety of issues, including abortion, judicial appointments, trade and climate change as well as the economy, with the candidates often making clear the deep differences between them.

But it also put on display the two very different temperaments of the candidates with less than three weeks until Election Day. The lasting image of the night could be the split screen of Mr. Obama, doing his best to maintain his unflappable demeanor under a sometimes withering attack, and Mr. McCain looking coiled, occasionally breathing deeply, apparently in an expression of impatience.

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/16/us/
politics/16debate.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin