Gov't Computers Used To Dig Up Info On Joe The Plumber

from the and-so-it-goes dept

We have pointed out in the past that people need to realize that any government database of info will be abused. It's almost impossible for it not to be abused. People use it to look up info on ex-girlfriends or friends or relatives. The data is there, and if someone has access to it, it's simply too tempting not to look up some info, no matter what "safety precautions" are in place.

Over on Slashdot there's yet another example of this happening, as apparently three separate people accessed various databases to look up info on Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," right after the third Presidential debate, in which Joe was a central part of the discussion. It's not entirely clear what the nature of those database lookups were, though it wouldn't surprise me if it was just individuals who knew they had access to the government databases, and were just curious and couldn't resist looking. But, what's more interesting is that no one caught this database snooping until the Columbus Dispatch asked for log information.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 5:26am

    Databases

    We have pointed out in the past that people need to realize that any government database of info will be abused.

    Why limit your statement to government databases? Your phrase would be better as "any database of info will be abused." Want to bet that Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher has been looked up on private databases, included those kept by credit bureaus?

    But, what's more interesting is that no one caught this database snooping until the Columbus Dispatch asked for log information.

    I am unsure of why you are surprised. I am sure that the government has hundreds of thousands of users and I would be willing to be that no one is assigned to watch for people looking up Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. Even if someone was watching, they would likely have no idea whether the usage was legitimate.

     

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  2.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 28th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Joe the

    More like Joe the Liar.
    Still isn't a real plumber.

     

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  3.  
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    jonnyq, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:24am

    Re: Joe the

    ...

    A private citizen challenges a politician on an issue, and since you disagree with him, then, what, attack the private citizen?

     

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  4.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:25am

    Re: Databases

    I am with Lonnie, this should not be a surprise. Nobody monitors who is accessing a database or what information they are accessing within the database. The number of transactions are far too large to keep track of on a proactive basis.

     

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  5.  
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    Palmyra, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:34am

    At the least one was a legitimate search.

    The Columbus Dispatch, which BTW has endorsed McCain, reported on Tuesday that an employee of Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services searched state records after consulting with the departments director. The director stated that it is SOP to check the "Support Enforcement Tracking System" to see if a person thrust into the public spotlight has to and is behind on any child support payments.

     

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  6.  
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    Seatec, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:35am

    jonnyq is right. What does Joe have to do with the point th whole situation brought up? Now its not "Shoot the messenger" but "shoot the questioner". Wow, we have evolved. The point is that if i ask a legitmate question, i don;t want my life to become an open book so i can be discredited. This article is about how we can secure or at least obstruct random people from looking up info about me if they happen to work at an office that has access to my info like SSN or DMS. It's not really that hard. All you need is a queary logger and make sure peole dont share their logon info.

     

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  7.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:45am

    Re: At the least one was a legitimate search.

    Why is it relevant that they have endorsed McCain? But since you brought it up; is anybody beside me bothered by the fact that news outlets endorse candidates or anything else for that matter? Seriously, if they support one candidate, then anything they write about either candidate is highly suspect. Maybe it is good that they publicly endorse things as that clearly exposes their bias?

     

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  8.  
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    Overcast, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:56am

    Nothing new there. People abusing trust.

    It's why such good ideas like RFID tracking, Electronic Voting, Cameras Everywhere, etc make such very good sense, it would allow these people to further abuse the system. The party zealous sheep will do anything for their party.

    How many times you think a security guard sitting on a camera pans in on your wife or daughter's chest or tail?

    How often do you think ex-wives/husbands that work for Government keep tabs on the ex? Or how often that nutty stalker looks up current info on your aunt's driver's license at the BMV or where ever?

    Some of these political zealots are even worse, they'd kill their own mother if they thought it would get their candidate elected.

     

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  9.  
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    Palmyra, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:02am

    Why is it relevant that they have endorsed McCain?

    Because I wanted to make the point that the article was published by a paper that supports the Republican candidate. Thus it is not a Democratic paper trying to whitewash the situation.

    And no it does not bother me that a paper/news organization supports a candidate. I see it as just an extension of their editorial department. I don't need the Dispatch's endorsement to ascertain their leaning. Nor do I give a dam that they endorsed XYZ. I'll makeup my own mind thank you very much.

    Palmyra or Joe the retired Economist

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:28am

    Re: Joe the

    Nice talking points. Did you get those from MSNBC?

     

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  11.  
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    SeaTec, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:32am

    You say you dont care what news agency endorses what affeliation? Whatever happened to" We just report the news, We dont make it"? Is is very important that CNN for instance not show a favorite. You know as well as i do that the majority of the people are easily swayed by so called public opinion or what the news reports.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: At the least one was a legitimate search.

    While they may have endorsed McCain there are still plenty of slants the other way in the Dispatch.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    I still ask:

    Who the fuck is Joe the Plumber?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    You don't get out much do you?

     

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  15.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    I assume you are saying that CNN should not show favoritism as it is very evident they do. All you have to do is watch the Cafferty file. That guy is in the Dems back pocket and yet is allowed to rant and rave as if it is "fact". They don't call it the Clinton News Network for nothing.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re:

    Those are editorial shows. Fox, MSNBC, CNN they all have them, but the problem is when news is presented in a very slanted way. MSNBC looked like idiots earlier this year, because they were so biased on their news presentation. Just as long as you stay within the reasonable slant I guess it is ok.

     

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  17.  
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    P Cotter, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:54am

    How could that happen?

    But my Congressman told me the chances of things like this happening are very, very, small. He said government employees would never do anything like this and that is why he supported the Patriotic Act. I'm beginning to think he wasn't telling me the truth.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    "Is is very important that CNN for instance not show a favorite"

    Yeah because they're not bias at all. I'd much rather have them come out and say it than report a lot of slanted news like your CNN buddies led by dumbass Jack Cafferty.

     

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  19.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Is The Blitzer Report editorial? It is during his show that Cafferty comes on multiple times to rail against the Republicans. Wolf always thanks him and says he makes a great point or asks a great question. Thus Wolf is legitimizing Cafferty by lending him his credibility (if he has any).

    And no, bias at all is not ok. Unfortunately we have accepted it though.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:07am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    But he's not a licensed plumber. Where is your argument?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    The private citizen wanted to have his cake and eat it too.
    Americans are becoming this people of "do the least to make the most".
    Douchebag should go get licensed and stop bitching about the world.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Spoken with a true Socialistic view. God help this country from people like you.

     

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  23.  
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    Geoffrey Allan Plauche, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    Doesn't matter whether he has some stupid government license or not. If you do plumbing work, you're a plumber.

     

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  24.  
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    TX CHL Instructor (profile), Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: Databases

    My wife works with sensitive personal information, and every access she makes to the database at work is logged and audited. If she accessed anything that was not "need to know" in that database, she would run the very real risk of 1) getting fired, and 2) going to jail.

    A similar situation is in place where I work (under ITAR regulations). Among other things, every email sent or received at work is audited at the end each month. Which is a good reason that I have not given out my work email to ANYBODY outside the company. And I do my personal email with my cellphone.

    Some companies care enough to put teeth in the rules. The government needs to do the same.

     

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  25.  
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    Lucretious, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:17am

    Re: Joe the

    whether he was a plant or not isn't really the issue. he was a catalyst for a an important discussion.

     

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  26.  
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    Urban, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Databases

    Your assumption is positive but a bit naive.
    The fact is that when authorized staff by design is given access to data, auditing of this access is rare although almost guaranteed to be logged.

    When a database produces millions of individual log entries per 24 hours there is no way to verify all the "normal" traffic.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Thank you.
    To me this is a compliment.
    I understand this is an insult from you, but you obviously are clueless about what socialism is.

     

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  28.  
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    Urban, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    We still have to see this "important discussion".
    All I hear from McCain is "Yadayadayada tax increase for everyone" when this is dead wrong. So please present us with an argument that works.
    If something is good for 95% of the population then suck it up and do it.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    Some random Joe (haha) who is too lazy to play by the rules and expect the world to fall on its hands and knees for him while sending him oodles of cash for no reason.

     

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  30.  
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    MAtt, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    No, but you don't have to be a licensed plumber to, you know, plumb. My brother-in-law works as a plumber. He is not licensed to contract work on his own, but he can do work under the supervision of the head plumber of the company, who is licensed.
    People like you are very anxious to discredit even a related hypothetical discussion stemming from this mini-media circus. It's OK for your candidate to be scrutinized. That's how the game works.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:25am

    "National Socialism today is Germany's guiding political idea and worldview. The entire German nation affirms it. To criticize National Socialism today therefore means to criticize the entire German nation."

    -Joseph Goebbels

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:27am

    Re:

    Yes it does matter.
    That is how reality works, and if you don't like it you can go find a democracy you like better.
    Quit your whining and do what the world demands from you.
    Crying over a license? Grow up.

     

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  33.  
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    Benjamin Wright, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:36am

    transparency in government

    This story illustrates the unprecedented transparency that technology is bringing to society. Just as (allegedly) Plumber Joe's privacy was breached, access logs in Ohio's information systems show when his data was accessed and from which particular government offices. That's powerful stuff. Data logs can probably enable a deeper investigation into precisely who made the access and whether it was legal. If people acted illegally, the digital evidence can lead to their punishment. Such transparency represents a big trend in society. See detail of trend --Ben

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    I believe the argument presented by McCain was that this plumbing gentleman will be excessively taxed if Obama is eventually elected.

    There is nothing hypothetical about this.
    Since the poor fella is not licensed to run his own plumbing business McCain is incorrect and Joe will end up getting a tax cut 3 or 4 times larger than if McCain is elected.

    And you aren't scrutinizing Obama. You are disagreeing with my opinion.

    I back Obama because to me as naive as I am he symbolizes a change to a "me first" culture. And you can make your arguments about my opinion all you want. But I have yet to hear anything truthful from McCain that makes me think he is even a remotely pleasant person to be in the vicinity of. Crashing 5 planes doesn't make you a hero. It makes you a fucking fuckup. Graduating as close to the bottom of his class at the academy supports this view. There is nothing about the man that shows me that he will take this country in a better direction.
    He keeps talking about fixing the image of USA.
    And then he picks Gov. Palin as a running mate. This shows a complete loss of sense of reality to me.
    If he honestly has Americas best in mind he would not be running. McCain will guaranteed by me be a continuation of the last 8 years. He has said nothing to disprove this other than "I am not Bush". He states nothing concrete that separates his views from the current administrations agenda.

     

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  35.  
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    Urban, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:47am

    Re:

    "If this was a dictatorship it would be a heck of a lot easier ... just as long as I am the dictator."

    -George W. Bush

     

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  36.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re:

    He must be a Democrat.

     

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  37.  
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    thematrix777, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    So you have an opinion but no name? I find that cowardly.

     

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  38.  
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    thematrix777, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 9:03am

    Joe the Plummer

    I think everyone should learn the difference between an "opinion" vs "news".

    That should solve many of these issues.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nonono... You got it all wrong.
    Democrats are just up front about the cost.
    They after all have to fix the gaping hole that is the economy left behind by the Republicans.

     

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  40.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    How is picking Palin as VP any worse than picking Obama as P? He has little to no experience; at least she is running a state. And at lease she will be second in command, Obama would be first.

     

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  41.  
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    Urban, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Ah, and finally the only argument presented by the republicans. "We know we are clueless, but that guy is worse!"

    Grow up.

    There are international polls showing a huge favor for Obama.
    And the simple fact that you can even ask "How is picking Palin as VP any worse" means that it is overdue you open a newspaper and see some of the extremist tirades she spews forth.
    Look into why she argued against research of fruit flies as an example. But she is excused, she is after all a creationist, and since nothing every changes what is the point of any research? Oh, and the sun circles the earth, not the other way around as is popular belief.

     

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  42.  
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    boost, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 9:57am

    Re: Joe the

    What do you mean by, real plumber? Because he's not licensed? Who cares? The guy helps buddies in his part time. If Tony Schumacher lost his drivers license, would you tell him he's not a real driver? I work on cars alot, and am pretty compitent in car repair, but I am not ASC certified...would you accuse me of not being a real mechanic? Would you not value my opinion?

    My point? Okay, I don't have one other than to ask you, what is your point, you twit?

     

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  43.  
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    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Ah, funny you resort to insults. Seems Obama didn't like people questioning his experience early on either. So now they use that approach on Palin.

    Oh, and I am a creationist as well, so your rant about fruit flies means nothing to me.

    So international polls favoring Obama is a good thing? Ever think that their motives for favoring Obama are less than pure? Maybe they think they can push him around?

     

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  44.  
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    Richard, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: At the least one was a legitimate search.

    You have no idea how much it bothers me that news outlets will support one candidate over another. It has always been my opinion that the free press was in effect the 4th branch of our government. A branch independent of the other three meant to keep the people informed of the other three branches BS. Now it has become just as corrupt and money hungry as the government it was supposed to keep honest. They spin everything to whatever side they believe will generate more viewers/readers thereby generating more add revenue. You want real reform...don't look at DC look at NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC and CNN. That is where the biggest problem in this country currently lies.

     

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  45.  
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    Tony, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't normally get into the political stuff, but I'll make an exception.

    I won't argue that the Republicans seriously screwed up the economy. But the Democrats have screwed it up pretty badly too. Remember, it was under Clinton that Freddie and Fannie were basically mandated to start giving out loans to people who couldn't repay them.

    Also, keep in mind that Pelosi & co. have had 2 years to do something about this. So what, exactly, have THEY accomplished?

    The biggest problem I have with the Republicans is that, for some reason, they don't even TRY anymore to articulate truly conservative economic policies - all they are anymore is Democrat Lite.

    So, yes, the REPUBLICANS won't help things at this point, because they're almost the same as the Democrats anymore. We might actually see something change if a real fiscal conservative got into office - but that's not going to happen until after Obama totally tanks the economy over the next 4 years.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 11:27am

    Re: Joe the

    "Oh, and I am a creationist as well"

    I really wish you would have told me from the beginning.
    Had I known I wouldn't have wasted my time on you.

     

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  47.  
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    Joe the Poster, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    Power to the People

    Yeah, my name really is Joe...

    Obama - Lawyer / lifetime campaigner
    Biden - Lawyer / lifetime politician
    McCain - Military Brat / lifetime politician

    Palin - regular person tired of the bullsheep, got off her ass and did something about it.
    Joe the Plumber - ditto

    Even if you don't agree with Joe and Sarah, they should be praised for their courage! A lot more than I can say about most of us....

     

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  48.  
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    wellsaidtony, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dit-FUCKIN-to!

    They are all to blame.
    They all want our money...they just spend it differently.

     

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  49.  
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    Steve, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Joe the

    Welcome to an Obama administration. It will only get worse as he strives to gain control over everything in our lives including our speech. You Obama supporters should look up some of his earlier comments on our constitution and the people he associated with before you pooh pooh this as right wing garbage.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous of Course, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Power to the People

    Look at what people do, not what they say.

    How did Obama/McCain improve the lot of those
    in his district while he was senator? What
    legislation did they support, not support or
    actively work against?

    When Obama was given an executive seat on the Annenberg
    Chicago Challenge (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Annenberg_Challenge)
    Did he obtain any of the objectives with the considerable
    sum that he administered?

    As for McCain... I'll note that he sponsered bills like
    Kennedy-McCain, McCain-Feingold and his failure to support
    Bush's tax cut.

    I can't get too excited about either candidate. Although
    Obama is the more photogenic of the two.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Joe the

    What do you mean by, real plumber? I work on cars alot, and am pretty compitent in car repair, but I am not ASC certified...would you accuse me of not being a real mechanic? Yes! Would you not value my opinion? No I wouldn't! I also would't value your spelling help either!

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Remember, it was under Clinton that Freddie and Fannie were basically mandated to start giving out loans to people who couldn't repay them.

    Also, keep in mind that Pelosi & co. have had 2 years to do something about this. So what, exactly, have THEY accomplished?
    ******************************88
    So while Pelosi & Co. should have fixed the problem in 2 years, you'll totally let off the republikans for not fixing the Freddie and Fannie problem in six years?

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:18pm

    Obama - Lawyer / lifetime campaigner
    Biden - Lawyer / lifetime politician
    McCain - Military Brat / lifetime politician
    Palin - regular person tired of the bullsheep, got off her ass and did something about it.
    Joe the Plumber - ditto

    ******************
    How about:

    Palin - Tired of floating through life (four universities?) decide to get some of what other AK politicians were getting. Before she has even been elected we know that she hired all her friends while in office, tried to fire Bro-in-law, billed AK for staying in her own home, raised taxes in Walsila. Tells so many lies that she can't even name what newspapers she reads without lying. (Another Dumbo?)

    Obama - Raise in broken home, puts self through college, graduates top of his class, gives up high paying career to help others. (that sure sounds evil to me)

    Make your own decision, but I think we know what electing another Dumbo would do to the country.

     

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  54.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Lover, General Annoyance f, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Socialism,tried twice, failed twice, killed more people than any war, twice as deadly as any virus, and gave us such great people as Stalin, and Chairman Mao.

    Think I understand history...Thanks,

     

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  55.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Lover, General Annoyance f, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    International Polls mean nothing... Please pack-up your talking points and form a real opinion. I know its hard, you will have to think for yourself, oh, and the thing that i notice for BOTH Rep. and Dems. you will actually have to take responsiblity for your actions (or in-action)...I know scary... but that is the future..

    Think for yourself, Be Responsible, Be Free -Libertarian...

     

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  56.  
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    CastorTroy-Libertarian, Lover, General Annoyance f, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re:

    Lets try again... the United States of America is not a Democracy...End, no buts, no changes, no nothing... We are a Republic (say the Pledge of Allegience if you must, if you dont know it, look it up and smack your teacher)...

    Last time...

    Think Free, Be Resposible, BE FREE - Libertarian.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Ssgt. Miller, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    Obama - Raise in broken home, puts self through college, graduates top of his class, gives up high paying career to help others. (that sure sounds evil to me)

    Just an ammendment, from the actual facts and records
    "puts self through college," - in correct, his sheik buddy paid for his scholarship to college.
    "gives up high paying career to help others" - what career he has always been a politican and party hax....


    Sorry Junior, Case Closed.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Joseph Durnal, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Political Discussion

    I knew from the title that the comments here would turn into a political discussion mostly not related to the subject.

    It should come as no surprise that government databases are abused. You see this much more in government than in the corporate world, because corporations have to follow the law and not upset customers or risk ruin, governments don't really have that worry. The point is, that personal information that can be abused, will be abused.

    For the record, I just made the final decision today that I'm voting for McCain. I've been leaning that way for a while. I'm just a little right of center in my political views. I made my decision based on the candidates as they were on Jan 1 2008, disregarding all of the campaign garbage. I think more folks should think about that, as in, before the candidate started running for president, what was he or she up to? Anyway, I think that Mr. Obama could use some more experience and move a little more to the political center. It took so long because I was waiting for one of them to really screw up!

    Joseph M. Durnal

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Joe the

    It is funny how anti-religous bigots feel like they are the enlightened ones yet cannot hold a reasonable discussion with anyone who disagrees with them. If you are so enlightened, why can't you discuss your views rationally?

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Pope Ratzo, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    It's how it's supposed to work

    "It's not entirely clear what the nature of those database lookups were"

    The information that was "dug up" on Joe "the Plumber" was public information available to anyone who asks. Here's how it works:

    #1: The Plumber's License (or Lack Thereof): You go to a municipal or state office and you ask if so-and-so is a licensed plumber. The person in the licensing body looks it up on a "government computer" and gives you the answer. Naturally, it will show up on a log. This is the way people find out if the guy that showed up on your doorstep with an unmarked van and box of wrenches is actually a plumber or not.

    #2: Joe "the Plumber"'s Tax Liens: All federal income tax liens are recorded with the Clerk of the Circuit Court's office. That's how ambulance chasing lawyers find out who to send the unsolicited mail to people with tax liens offering their services. Anybody who's had a tax lien can tell you all about the tons of unsolicited mail that comes to you with these offers. At the Clerk of the Circuit Court's offices here in Chicago, for example, you don't even have to ask for help. There are "government" computers lined up for the public to use to look up recent tax liens. It's all perfectly legal. Reporters do it ever day to find out what cases have been filed recently, looking for news. Naturally, there are logs kept.

    It's amazing that there is an outcry because people looked up Joe "The Plumber" on publicly open records, but practically nothing about NSA agents listening in on personal phone calls of Americans working overseas, including calls of a very personal nature, and then joking about it. Listening in on military personnel, reporters, aid workers, peace activists, contractors, and others.

     

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  61.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 28th, 2008 @ 6:05pm

    Re: It's how it's supposed to work

    It's amazing that there is an outcry because people looked up Joe "The Plumber" on publicly open records

    Actually, I believe you're confusing two separate things. No one is complaining about the 2 items you described above -- both of which were publicly available. The complaints are that gov't employees looked into *non-public* databases. It's not clear what info they found, if any, or what they did with it -- but the issue is the looking into non-public databases.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Eldakka, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 9:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Socialism,tried twice, failed twice, killed more people than any war, twice as deadly as any virus, and gave us such great people as Stalin, and Chairman Mao.
    Stalin and Mao were not socialists, they were dictators who used Communism (Communism != Socialism) to maintain power.

     

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  63.  
    identicon
    Rob Bliss, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 11:06pm

    Re: Re: Databases

    "The number of transactions are far too large to keep track of on a proactive basis."


    Then the database should not be kept, at least not by those who cannot insure it's security.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Annon, Oct 28th, 2008 @ 11:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    John Doe, you said,
    "It is funny how anti-religous bigots feel like they are the enlightened ones yet cannot hold a reasonable discussion with anyone who disagrees with them. If you are so enlightened, why can't you discuss your views rationally?"


    No one can have a rational discussion with you Because you have DECIDED to divorce yourself from rationality.

    Your decision that legitimize scientific proof, scrutinized by many other scientists and researchers and backed up by scientific evidence could not possibly be right because YOU cannot understand the difference between word for word fact and an allegory marks you as being unable to actually have a rational discussion.

    Yes I believe that god created the universe, however I am not ignorant enough to think that a story told to explain how, to people with no scientific knowledge whatsoever would be literal truth.

    When we (humans) were as little children, the explanations were simple, as we grow as a race God expects us to learn
    the secrets of his creation, so that we may be amazed and revel in the glory of his handiwork and intricate plan. God does NOT expect us to remain forever ignorant as you have chosen to be. Our learning and understanding Gods creation, is the way for us to glorify God.

    So all I can say is, it's been 2008 years since he saved you, grow up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    Grow up? Did you just learn how to use that phrase in a sentence and now it is your favorite?

    Of course any God that can create all of this in a week could spend millions of years doing it through evolution. But seriously, what scientific proof is there for evolution? The missing link has never been found for any species. Some of the early "humans" found have now been proven to be apes rather than people.

    Why is it that when Christian scientists present evidence against evolution it is suppressed and even met with threats and violence? What are "legitimate" scientists afraid of? If they are right, then why can't they debate the issue?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    My point was simple, he claimed to be something he wasn't.
    You are not claiming to be ASC certified, are you?
    Clearly you are not.
    It just so happens that in his state, it requires a license to be a plumber, so no, that makes him not a real plumber there.
    Thank you for taking an abstract view though.

    Also, note that Techdirt has done posts in the past about why setups like that where it is required to be certified are not the best idea.
    If his state requires it, and he is not, then that makes him a fake when he claims to be. That was my point.
    Had I realized you were missing so many of the facts I would have explained more. I will do better in the future.

     

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  67.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 5:30am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    Hardly.
    What I disagree with is claiming you are a plumber when your state says that you are not unless you are licensed.
    I may not agree with the requirement for being licensed, but that is how it currently stands, which makes him a liar.
    Pretty simlpe really.
    If he is going to challenge Obama, there are plenty more ways to do it than flat out lying about yourself just so you can challenge him.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 5:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Databases

    "The number of transactions are far too large to keep track of on a proactive basis."

    Then the database should not be kept, at least not by those who cannot insure it's security.


    Assumption: A database containing personal information exists.

    Assumption: The database is maintained for some ostensibly legitimate purpose.

    Assumption: The database is accessed by users.

    Assumption: A monitoring program, or log, exists to document who accesses the database.

    Assumption: Because taxpayers or stockholders prefer to pay only for those things that add value, no one is proactively monitoring database access.

    Conclusion:

    Either all databases must be eliminated.

    Or

    The limitations of databases must be considered when placing yourself in a position to be included as a member of the database.

    Essentially, you are advocating elimination of all databases. It will never happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Joe the

    I never suggested he was a plant there in my post.
    Where did you get that from?
    My simple point is that his state requires him to be licensed, and he is not.
    He would know that if he actually cared about being a plumber.
    Therefore, he is a liar, and not a plumber.
    I do however, disagree with the requirement to be licensed. The market would pretty quickly weed out the fakes without such a requirement, as well as they wouldn't be charging extortionist fees anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Oct 29th, 2008 @ 5:36am

    Re: Why is it relevant that they have endorsed McCain?

    "Why is it relevant that they have endorsed McCain?"
    It shouldn't be. Shouldn't be at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    You're just playing with semantics to discredit him (which doesn't change anything with reqard to what BO said).
    He's not a "licensed" plumber, but that doesn't mean he doesn't plumb for a living [read: plumber].

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    No, I mean grow up, you are thinking as a child, unable to distinguish between a parable and the truth behind it.

    As far as proof of evolution, there is so much of it that your refusal to accept it proves your lack of rationality, you may as well be insisting that the world is flat.

    Also, you are not a "Christian scientist" You are fundamentalist, a biblical literalist. You have no clue what scientific process consists of, part of your argument is that you don't need to as you have faith instead.

    You are also the only one bring up violence.

    And by the way, saying "No it's not" is not and never will be debate, it is simply blind argument.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Databases

    The limitations of databases must be considered when placing yourself in a position to be included as a member of the database.
    Such as being born.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    You're just playing with semantics to discredit him
    So to you truth is just "semantics"? Typical. I bet you think Fox news is fair and balanced too.
    He's not a "licensed" plumber, but that doesn't mean he doesn't plumb for a living [read: plumber].
    In this case the legal definition of "plumber" is pretty clear. And if he were going around calling himself a medical doctor or attorney without being duly licensed as such that would also be a lie. Can you not tell the difference between the truth an a lie or do you just not care?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    It is funny how anti-religous bigots feel like they are the enlightened ones yet cannot hold a reasonable discussion with anyone who disagrees with them.
    Not being ignorant is not the same as being anti-religious. However, accusing anyone who disagrees with your own personal religious views of being "anti-religious" is a hallmark of the kind of intolerance and that seems to be a common trait among people who like to kill other people (like by flying planes into buildings). Dude, you're scary. I don't particularly like McCain or Obama, but you're just about enough to make me vote for Obama anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Joe the

    you may as well be insisting that the world is flat.

    Well, if it isn't then how come The Bible says it has four corners?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: Joe the

    What do you mean by, real plumber? Because he's not licensed? Who cares?
    Umm, the law?
    The guy helps buddies in his part time.
    Doesn't make him a plumber.
    If Tony Schumacher lost his drivers license, would you tell him he's not a real driver?
    If he lost his NHRA license, then I'd say he was no longer an NHRA driver. Absolutely.
    I work on cars alot, and am pretty compitent in car repair, but I am not ASC certified...would you accuse me of not being a real mechanic?
    The law doesn't require that to call yourself a mechanic. But, if it did and you weren't licensed then I'd sy you weren't a real mechanic. Just like if you had no medical license but went around calling yourself a medical doctor anyway I'd say you weren't a real doctor.
    My point? Okay, I don't have one other than to ask you, what is your point, you twit?
    Ahh, name calling too. Figures.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Remember, it was under Clinton that Freddie and Fannie were basically mandated to start giving out loans to people who couldn't repay them. And Bush put a stop to that just as soon as he got into office. Oh, wait... Never mind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 2nd, 2008 @ 8:31pm

    Re:

    "Doesn't matter whether he has some stupid government license or not. If you do plumbing work, you're a plumber."

    So if you self-medicate then you must qualify as a medical doctor. Go ahead, put that M.D. after your name and start writing scripts for controlled substances. See you in prison.

    Are all McCain supporters that stupid?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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