The Avengers Tear Up Cleveland (Cont.)

The trailer for the movie The Avengers has been released, and it includes a bit of the footage shot in Cleveland that I reported on recently.  As for the movie, it looks to be a rollicking, quip-heavy, explosion-filled, cool-costumed, testosterone-laden slugfest, with a despicable, ultra-powerful bad guy that only the combined might of the Avengers can hope to defeat.  Hmmm . . . sounds good to me!

At Today’s Sparse “Occupy Columbus” Protest

Today the “Occupy Wall Street” group held a protest in downtown Columbus at noon today.  The protest was mentioned on NPR this morning, so I walked over to check it out over the noon hour.  It was, to say the least, underwhelming.

I would estimate that about 20 protesters were there — and with the mention of the protest on NPR and the many college students and political types in town, I was expecting a much larger number.  The skimpy turnout was only a tiny fraction of the huge crowds that showed up for the Senate Bill 5 protests at the Statehouse earlier this year.  Then, the protesters filled pretty much every square foot of the Statehouse lawn and surrounding walkways.  Today’s little band, in contrast, was huddled on the sidewalk in front of the McKinley statute facing High Street.  Their numbers were so small that you could easily walk past them on the sidewalk.

The protesters were a motley group, with no apparent theme.  Among the signs I saw were one supporting prisoner’s rights, another opposing Issue 2, one simply reading “Glass-Steagall,” and another handwritten sign purporting to be a quote from Andrew Jackson.  There also was a sign opposing corporate greed, one that was anti-yuppie, one that advocated taxing the rich and ending “their war,” and another that blamed Goldman Sachs.  There were no chants, or drums, or much of anything in the way of noise. If it weren’t for the fact that two police cruisers and uniformed officers were present, you wouldn’t have even known a protest was going on.

According to the news media, the “Occupy Wall Street” protests are growing and spreading to other cities.  In Columbus, however, not so much.

“Joe The Plumber” Throws His Hat Into The Ring

“Joe the Plumber” is back on the national scene, and this time he is looking for more than his duly allotted 15 minutes of fame.  “Joe” — aka Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher — has filed papers to run for Congress as a Republican in his home district in northern Ohio.

In October 2008, Wurzelbacher was tossing a football with his son in the front yard of his Ohio home when he was touched by the Fickle Finger of Fate.  Democratic candidate Barack Obama was campaigning in the neighborhood and met Wurzelbacher.  Wurzelbacher told Obama he hoped to buy a plumbing business and asked whether Obama’s tax plan would increase his taxes and interfere with the American Dream, and Obama’s lengthy answer said, among other things, that he didn’t want to “punish your success” but that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

The moribund campaign of Republican candidate John McCain seized on Obama’s use of “spread the wealth” and McCain mentioned the exchange with “Joe the Plumber” repeatedly in the final presidential debate, raising Wurzelbacher to national prominence.  “Joe the Plumber” appeared on TV and at McCain campaign events, and the media and Obama’s supporters put Wurzelbacher under a microscope.  Was he a licensed plumber or not?  Did he owe taxes?  State employees even searched Ohio governmental databases for information on Wurzelbacher, resulting in a mini-scandal.

Now, three years later, “Joe the Plumber” has decided to re-enter the spotlight.  He’d better be prepared for searching scrutiny, because he’s likely to receive far more attention than the average, unknown challenger.  Every skeleton in Wurzelbacher’s closet will be rattled a few times before voters get the chance to decide they want “Joe the Plumber” to play “Mr. Fix-It” in Washington, D.C.