Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe Blow

Joe Blow

Joe Six Pack
Joe the Plummer
Joe Black
Joe Shmo
GI Joe
Hey Joe
Morning Joe

American as apple pie?
Just a name?

Are we talking
about a stereotype —
white, working class, a small
business man who fixes toilets,
for instance,
crawls under a house
to replace broken pipes,
the guy with the proverbial
butt crack,
salt of the earth?

Are we saying
Joe Blow doesn’t like Democrats
because they will tax the rich
bring his son or daughter
home from Iraq
create universal health care
prevent him from losing
his house,
protect his parent’s
life savings?

Or are we saying
no way Joe Blow will
vote for a black
man for president?

Are we saying
there is a class of people
in America who
would lie, cheat, threaten
or even kill to keep another class
of people from rights
guaranteed them
by our Constitution?

Ya think?

And is Barack Obama’s
very existence a class
affront to those people?

Anyone think
inciting crowds
to shout
“Kill Him!”
isn’t going to cut it
in America
any more, and
that candidates who
resort to that are

We are better than that —
We are not stereotypes.
We are human beings.

Obama counts on that
on that every time
he stands up in a crowd,
reaches across a rope line
risks his daughter’s futures
on the conviction
that America is worth
our best efforts to fix.

©Susan Bright, 2008

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

'Joe the Plumber' Isn't Licensed
by Larry Vellequette and Tom Troy

© 2008 Toledo Blade

"Joe the Plumber" isn't a plumber - at least not a licensed one, or a registered one.

A check of state and local licensing agencies in Ohio and Michigan shows no plumbing licenses under Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher's name, or even misspellings of his name.

Last night, his name, "Joe the Plumber," came up about two dozen times in the debate between Mr. Obama and Republican nominee John McCain.

Sine last night Mr. Wurzelbacher who lives alone with his 13-year-old son has been besieged with local and national news media, willingly granting interviews.

Mr. Wurzelbacher told reporters Thursday morning that he worked for Newell Plumbing & Heating Co., a small local firm whose business addresses flow back to several residential homes, including one on Talmadge Road in Ottawa Hills.

According to Lucas County Building Inspection records, A. W. Newell Corp. does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell's license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work.

He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio, which means he's not a plumber.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was hired by Mr. Newell six years ago and that the possibility of him eventually buying the company was discussed during his job interview.

He said it's his understanding he can work under Mr. Newell's license as long as the licensed contractor works on the same site.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he is working on taking the Ohio plumbing contractors' license test.

Mr. Wulzerbacher's notoriety has raised the ire of Tom Joseph, business manager for Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, who claimed that Mr. Wulzerbacher didn't undergo any apprenticeship training.

"When you have guys going out there with no training whatsoever, it's a little disreputable to start with," Mr. Joseph said. "We're the real Joe the Plumber."

Mr. Joseph said Mr. Wulzerbacher could only legally work in the townships, but not in any municipality in Lucas County or elsewhere in the country.

"This individual has got no schooling, no licenses, he's never been to a training program, union or non-union, in the United States of America," Mr. Joseph said.

The association has endorsed Barack Obama, according to Mr. Joseph.

Questions were raised Thursday morning whether Mr. Wurzelbacher is a registered voter.

Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said a Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher, whose address and age match Joe the Plumber's, registered in Lucas County on Sept. 10, 1992. He voted in his first primary on March 4 of this year, registering as a Republican.

Ms. Howe said that the name may be misspelled in the database.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, acknowledged during an interview at his home late Thursday morning that he knows he's "a flash in the pan," after his fame spread for an impromptu debate he had in front of his Springfield Township home with Mr. Obama last Sunday.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he objects to Mr. Obama's plans to raise income taxes on incomes above $250,000. He said he makes no where near that much money but he would not say how much he makes or if he ever expects to make $250,000.

Court records from a divorce show Mr. Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.

He said, "Is it right to take someone's money because they work a little harder? It's taking away from someone's hard work."

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he disagrees with the idea of people being taxed at a higher rate because they earn more.

"They're going to take more of your money because you've been more successful," he said.

In December, 2007, the Ohio Department of Taxation placed a lien against him because $1,183 in personal property taxes had not been paid, but there has been no action in the case since it was filed.

Mr. Wurzelbacher was playing football in his front yard with his son, Joey, on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Obama made an unscheduled stop to go door to door greeting voters and asking for their support.

In his conversation with Mr. Wurzelbacher, Mr. Obama tried to justify his plan tax breaks to 95 percent of Americans and raise taxes on incomes above $250,000.

Mr. Obama said his plan would improve the economy for other people trying to get a start in small business, and "spread the wealth."

The phrase was quickly picked up by conservative bloggers and commentators saying it reveals a desire to redistributed wealth on the part of Mr. Obama.

During that same conversation, Mr. Wurzelbacher advocated a flat tax to Mr. Obama under which everyone would pay the same rate of tax which was a feature of Mike Huckabee's unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination this year.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was surprised by the spread the wealth phrase.

"That's a pretty socialist comment. Two-fifty ($250,000) is his number now. When is it going to be one fifty ($150,000), when it's going to be one hundred ($100,000)?"

He continued: "If you believe him, I would be receiving his tax cut," adding that he would not want the tax cut.

He won't say who he will vote for on Nov. 4, but did say he likes Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

He said he was born in the Toledo area, lived until he was 13 in the Florida Panhandle area, went to Springfield High School, and then entered the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at an Air Force base in Alaska from 1992 until 1995. He said he was honorably discharged.

Mr. Wurzelbacher also said he lived in Arizona from 1997 until 2000.

© 2008 Toledo Blade

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. This is one is absolutely brilliant!

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thoughtful posting as usual--


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm tired of Obama supporters trying to make any white American that doesn't support him feel like a racist.

I feel sorry for my fellow Americans that get railroaded by all this racial crap.

Basically, if we want to vote for a highly qualified candidate we must be white supremists!

For crying out loud. Either way you vote make sure you vote for the person that factually has the knowledge, experience and proven record.

I could care less as long as you aren't voting out of guilt or pity.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's worse is the thousands of African Amercians standing in line to register to vote. People that have never voted in their lives.

If this isn't racism, I don't know what is.

2:41 PM  
Blogger SB said...

The two preceding comments are more negative than we usually see on earthfamilyalpha and remind me of the rancor we have been seeing in Palin crowds, and McCain crowds too.

Of course, the McCain/Palin ticket features the most unqualified VP candidate ever. Even conservatives are speaking out against her because the Presidency is a huge responsibility.

Thousands of new African American voters for Obama are not making a choice that is "racist" - the word means to demean, undervalue, deny rights to a person because of their race. It isn't John McCain's right to be president. He isn't entitled. We have elections here.

Racism and sexism (prejudices in general) come from fear and are irrational -- incoherent "reasons" rise up to defend these positions -- like the ones mentioned above.

I believe America has grown past this kind of negativity and rancor -- and as the McCain campaign stokes up the old flames, plays back the old stereotypes, i think they will flash up, and quickly die back.

We are better than that.


3:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post was in response to the poem. The poem clearly belittles McCain supporters and clearly brings up race as a main issue. Hence,

"Or are we saying
no way Joe Blow will
vote for a black
man for president?"

To say that the response to the poem is negative- is petty and ridiculous. It's funny you compare the comments to something a McCain supporter would say. I am not.

The fact that you made this assumption proves my point.

I didn't post to argue, but you didn't want to hear what anyone without similar ideals to yours had to say in the first place, obviously.

So that is that. I won't be back. But thanks for your interesting insight as to what my negative comments really mean.

6:07 PM  

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