Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We are...welders!

Penn State President Graham Spanier tells a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon that the highest paid PSU grads are welders. He also says college football's BCS is better than you read about.

We are...welders!


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: We are...welders!

BE: I don't know what that means.

JB: That's only because you were not at the Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon yesterday where Penn State President Graham Spanier said the highest paid PSU grads are, wait for it, WELDERS.

BE: Spot welders, cast-iron welders, stainless steel welders?

JB: Yes, yes, yes! The welding grads of Happy Valley "all have jobs waiting for them at salaries that are higher than many of us in this room are making," Spanier said.

BE: Was he looking at the press table?

JB: Well, he sure wasn't looking inward when he said "us." His reported salary tops $800,000 a year.

BE: Maybe welders do better than we think.

JB: If so, pass the soldering iron.

BE: I thought all they passed at Penn State was the football.

JB: Not often enough for many, but he also said college football's BCS (the much-criticized Bowl Championship Series) is much better than lots of fans think.

BE: What's that got to do with soldering?

JB: Nothing, but Spanier heads the BCS oversight board and claims the system is great, "though you wouldn't necessarily know that if you read the sports pages every day."

BE: College athletics have such a clean reputation.  And bashing the press at the Press Club? Nice touch.

JB: And safely so, when asked if he has any interest in politics, a question that came with the notation that Woodrow Wilson was president of Princeton before running for governor of New Jersey and later the White House, Spanier said he has "all the political intrigue" he needs and that Wilson left academia and ran for office "to get out of politics."

BE: There had to have been a question about 84-year old icon JoePA.

JB: Which Spanier ducked.

BE: And surely someone asked why he's named after a cracker.

JB: Or Alexader Graham Bell, or Billy Graham, or Martha Graham, or Otto Graham, or Graham Kerr...

BE: Enough!

JB: Or Grrrraham?

BE: Go get your welding box.





Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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