Democratic cowardice with guns

Facebook Friend Michael Smith:

Democrats’ mission to ban certain guns has very little to do with the Second Amendment or public safety – the American Psychiatric Association revealed the true purpose – to eliminate masculinity in society.

If you read through the list of weapons in the Feinstein Fantasy Ban Bill, the thing that jumps to the forefront is how much these weapons appear to be masculine and of military design – her list reads like the prop inventory from a John Wick movie – even though these weapons are no more deadly than their non-military looking ones that are not banned (and the bulk of the list have non-scary looking variants).

It should be pointed out that in 2017, the greatest increase (111%) in applications for concealed carry permits came from women, not men.

Feinstein lists “Mass shootings that took place last year using military-style assault rifles” but with mistakes and omissions – along with Parkland (illegally purchased weapon due to federal and local law enforcement failures), she lists the Vegas (legally purchased weapons) and Sutherland Springs (illegally possessed weapon due to a government information sharing issue) shootings that happened in 2017, not in 2018 – and she omits other shootings like the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks, California that involved legally purchased semi-automatic pistols.

I’m not excusing those shootings, I’m merely pointing out that Feinstein and the Democrats lack the courage of their convictions to ban all guns and choose to go after a certain style of weapon for purely political purposes.

Not that I need to tell you that.

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And don’t come back

J.D. Tuccille writes about a segment of federal workers not getting paid due to the “shutdown”:

Understandably, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees are no more enthusiastic about working when their paychecks are delayed than is anybody else on the planet. That’s why they’ve been calling-in sick in increased numbers—some to seek temporary work elsewhere in order to pay their bills—as the more-theater-than-reality“government shutdown” drags on. But, isn’t this an opportunity for us all? Given that the world is a better place when TSA employees and other government minions don’t do their jobs, and some are already seeking alternative employment, what a great opportunity to shut down their agencies, shrink the government, and make everybody’s lives a little better!

“If you don’t have a check to pay your bills, what are you going to do?” complains Rudy Garcia, president of the chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees that represents Dallas TSA employees, many of whom have been calling in sick in as they seek part-time employment. “You will look for something outside of what you’re doing now.”

And who can argue with that? Nobody wants to work for an employer who holds off on cutting paychecks until a more convenient moment, and that’s just what the federal government is doing during its “shutdown”—a spectacle that almost seems crafted to demonstrate how easy it is to live without the leviathan in Washington, D.C.

Along those lines, it’s nearly ideal that the federal sick-out has begun among TSA employees, since their agency is so astoundingly incompetent and abusive at its assigned tasks and is skilled only at angering travelers of all political persuasions. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) may be more explicitly malevolent, but their fans and detractors tend to break down along ideological lines. Even the Internal Revenue Service can find boosters among whoever it is who keeps weeping over those regurgitated press releases about how hard it is to be a tax collector. But sharing vicious comments about the TSA clowns squeezingpeople’s junk is a game we can all play while suffering in line at the airport.

Not that there’s any point to all of that groping beyond the purely recreational aspect. Undercover investigators were able to smuggle weapons and explosives past TSA agents 95 percent of the time, according to a 2015 Homeland Security Investigator General report. Maybe that’s because agents are relying on dowsing rods or Spidey sense—they’re certainly not depending on the expensive equipment they make travelers and baggage file through.

“Because TSA does not adequately oversee equipment maintenance, it cannot be assured that routine preventive maintenance is performed or that equipment is repaired and ready for operational use,” The Inspector General office also noted.

Given the pointless hassles inherent in passing through the security checkpoints at airports, I’m not sure why we don’t all get ourselves those security badge backstage passes that let airport workers wander hither and yon through secure areas; TSA oversees the issue of those badges and they don’t seem that hard to get.

“An official from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said that, over 2 years, more than 1,400 badges were lost or stolen,” the Inspector General added in 2016. “Some members of Congress expressed concern that these missing badges would allow an unauthorized person access to an airport’s secured areas.”

TSA agents aren’t getting paid? Are they sure? Maybe they just misplaced the checks.

I kid. They really aren’t getting paychecks at the moment, but I can’t really think of a good reason why their jobs should exist at all.

“Security theater” is what security expert Bruce Schneier, a lecturer at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of government, calls most of what the TSA does. They’re “measures that make us feel safer without improving security… I’ve repeatedly said that the two things that have made flying safer since 9/11 are reinforcing the cockpit doors and persuading passengers that they need to fight back. Everything beyond that isn’t worth it.”

If it isn’t worth it, why pay for it?

And now many TSA agents are looking for alternative employment. Most of them are probably landing gigs in the private sector (we know the feds aren’t paying at the moment) for employers willing to exchange their own money for what the sometime federal security agents have to offer. That suggests a good chance that their new jobs may well be worth something more than what they do for the government. So let them go!

And maybe they could take their federal colleagues—including those at the ATF and the DEA—with them.

“ATF operations nationwide employed rogue tactics, including tapping those with mental disabilities … then charging them with gun crimes,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported in 2013 as part of a series of horrifying stories on the federal agency. Among the failures of the agency tasked with regulating firearms, “ATF agents lost track of dozens of their own guns.”

The DEA “has existed for more than 40 years, but little attention has been given to the role the agency has played in fueling mass incarceration, racial disparities and other drug war problems,” the Drug Policy Alliance notes. That’s what DEA agents do when they’re not enjoying “‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels,” as The Washington Post puts it.

Without even turning to the larger federal apparatus, isn’t a widespread sick-out among government workers sounding like a pretty attractive idea right about now?

So, TSA agents, I wish you good luck in finding new jobs as you try to cover your bills. And once you land those new gigs, please, don’t come back.

Presty the DJ for Jan. 13

The number one single today in 1960 topped the charts for the second time:

It’s not a secret that the number one album today in 1973 was Carly Simon’s “No Secrets”:

Today in 1973, Eric Clapton performed in concert for the first time in several years at the Rainbow Theatre in London:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Jan. 13”

Presty the DJ for Jan. 12

It figures after War and Peace-size Presty the DJ entries the past few days, today’s is relatively short.

The number one album today in 1974, a few months after the death of its singer, was “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”:

The number one single today in 1974 introduced the world to the word “pompatus”:

Today in 1982, Bob Geldof was arrested after a disturbance aboard a 727 that had been grounded for five hours:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Jan. 12”

La-la-la-la-la-la-la-LaFleur

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports reaction to new Packers coach Matt LaFleur:

National writers and talking heads had plenty to say when it came to the Packers’ hiring of Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to be the franchise’s next head coach, and while many felt the match with Aaron Rodgers was a good one, many well-known talking heads questioned LaFleur’s experience and recent track record.

Danny Heifitz at The Ringer makes note of the success LaFleur has had with quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Jared Goff and Matt Ryan and notes the obvious: LaFleur’s success in Green Bay will hinge on his work with Rodgers.

“The Green Bay Packers have hired Aaron Rodgers a new head coach. I mean, the Packers have hired a new head coach. According to reports, Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur will lead Green Bay next season, and while he’ll be leading a staff and a 53-man roster, he’ll be graded primarily on how well he does as Rodgers’s boss. Rodgers, the highest-paid player in NFL history and perhaps the most gifted quarterback of all time, needs a Super Bowl win to justify his contract and burnish his legacy, and LaFleur’s job will be facilitating that.” …

Some high-profile sports-opinion personalities question the hire, including Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports.

“Congratulations on hiring somebody who people question whether he has the stature and gravitas to lead a coordinators meeting. Maybe you’ve heard Aaron Rodgers is aging, he ran a Super Bowl-winning coach out of town. Good luck to Matt LaFleur.” — @ColinCowherd

Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless of Undisputed discussed the hire on Fox Sports, with Bayless summarizing by suggesting Aaron Rodgers arranged for a “pushover” to be the next coach. Bayless pointed out that LaFleur was simply a coordinator at unheralded Ashland University as recently as 2007 and doesn’t have any head-coaching experience at any level.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith felt underwhelmed by the hire, as well, again pointing to the recent track record.

“The offensive coordinator chosen to coach Aaron Freaking Rodgers — talent wise, the best, as far as I’m concerned, that I’ve ever seen  …. the offensive coordinator that you hire had the 27th ranked offense? 25th in points? The 29th ranked passing attack? That’s the guy you chose? What am I missing?”

Deion Sanders at the NFL Network was similarly unimpressed, suggesting that the Packers should have looked to hire someone who could address problems on the defensive side of the ball.

“I want the man to get an opportunity, I want his family to be blessed, trust me. But are you kidding me? Tennessee’s offense? So, I’m going to get somebody from Tennessee’s offense and put him with arguably the best quarterback in the national football league? please. the problem isn’t their offense. It’s their defense, isn’t it? … You can put Aaron Rodgers on the field with me, you and Amber, and we’re going to get it into the paint. The problem is, are we going to stop anybody? That seems to be the problem with me.”

“The offensive coordinator chosen to coach Aaron Freaking Rodgers — talent wise, the best, as far as I’m concerned, that I’ve ever seen  …. the offensive coordinator that you hire had the 27th ranked offense? 25th in points? The 29th ranked passing attack? That’s the guy you chose? What am I missing?”

Peter Schrager of the NFL Network disputes the idea that he merely serves at the pleasure of Aaron Rodgers.

“Knowing LaFleur and Rodgers … I think it’s a great mix. I think all Rodgers really probably wants is innovation and something new and a fresh look in the same offense I’ve been running for the past 10 years. LaFleur will bring that. This guy is one of the one’s who will sit in the lab all day long working on X’s and O’s, but he’s not a pushover. … He’s the kind of guy that will push back, and he’s pushed back on (Sean) McVay, he’s pushed back on (Kyle) Shanahan. And I’ll tell you that he and (Titans coach Mike) Vrabel, as great as they got along, he was an equal voice in that room when it came to offense, and he pushed back on Vrabel.”

Turron Davenport of ESPN looks at the past season with LaFleur as Titans offensive coordinator to present a glimpse of what the Packers can expect, and he arrives at a positive conclusion.

“Putting players in position to excel shouldn’t be an issue for LaFleur in Green Bay, as the new coach’s scheme seems like a perfect fit for Rodgers.”

Ryan Phillips of the Big Lead writes that the hire is “exactly what NFL teams are looking for.”

“Is LaFleur going to be successful as a head coach? Time will tell. But the trend in the NFL clearly points towards teams hiring young quarterback whisperers with a history of offensive innovation. Everyone wants the next McVay or Matt Nagy. If they can’t go young, franchises will still go after quarterback coaches/offensive coordinators. They’ve seen Doug Pederson and Frank Reich have success as well.”

Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead also considers the move the “ultimate referendum” on team president Mark Murphy.

“When Murphy relieved Thompson of his duties and installed Brian Gutekunst as GM, he also enacted an odd structure where Gutekunst and McCarthy both reported to him. By all accounts, Murphy had final say over the coaching hire, and it is doubtful that the reporting structure will be any different under LaFleur than with McCarthy last season.

“Therefore, this hire should stick to Murphy. There are eight head coaching openings this offseason and just by the math and the way the NFL works, 1-2 of those new coaches are going to enact an immediate turnaround. Even with a lack of obvious slam dunk candidates in this coach cycle, there will be a unicorn that hastens other organizations’ impatience with fast results like Sean McVay and Matt Nagy have done the last two seasons. Maybe LaFleur is That Guy.”

More reaction comes from the Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein:

LaFleur comes to the Packers with a solid coaching background that includes jobs on the same staffs as San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay. He also has been a coordinator for just two seasons, only one of which included play-calling duties.

Almost all the opinions here solicited from or randomly offered by NFL scouts, former Packers staffers and agents of coaches leaned in the same direction: “Why did they choose him?”

Around league circles, it was not a heavily embraced decision, and many wondered what role Murphy’s influence played in picking a 39-year-old with no head-coaching experience and only one year of play-calling experience.

Time will tell whether it was a good decision, but here are 20 burning questions as the LaFleur era is set to begin:

1. Was this hire made to satisfy quarterback Aaron Rodgers? It smacks of that given the bent toward the McVay offense, so what message does that send to Rodgers? That it’s all about him? Do the other players feel LaFleur is their head coach?

2. Did general manager Brian Gutekunst truly approve of this hire or did Murphy pick the candidate he wanted to coach the team? Who led the search and who was the front man in the interviews?

3. Why did Murphy and Gutekunst move so quickly on LaFleur? Did they get so blown away by his interview Sunday night that they had to hire him Monday, even though no other team sought to interview him? Ted Thompson’s last interview in 2006 was with Jim Bates and it went great, but what did Thompson do? He slept on it and asked himself, ‘Who’s the best candidate?’, instead of who’s the best interview?

4. Along those same lines, why wasn’t LaFleur brought in for a second interview? Shouldn’t he have toured the facility and met with others in the organization so the brass could see how he relates to people? Didn’t they have any follow-up questions that needed to be answered in person?

5. Was the desire to tap into the McVay/Shanahan offensive revolution the primary goal in selecting the next head coach? Do they see that as the future in the NFL and what makes them think it’s not just a fad that defenses will figure out next season?

6. Did the Packers pass over Josh McDaniels and Adam Gase because they thought their personalities were too abrasive? Did they think they might rub Rodgers the wrong way? If they said no to them for that reason, didn’t they just play into Rodgers’ need for control? Wouldn’t hiring either of them send the message that the coach would be in charge?

7. How strongly was consideration given to McDaniels? How much did they weigh his success with Tom Brady and more importantly, did they consider how capable he had been in putting together a coaching staff? Or did they feel he burned all his bridges with his last-second pullout in Indianapolis last year?

8. Was this a Trace Armstrong manipulation? Did Armstrong, who is Mike McCarthy’s agent, orchestrate it all so that LaFleur and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, two other clients, were brought together to replace his first client?

9. And did Armstrong make it seem like there was a mystery team involved with LaFleur, thereby making Murphy panic and pay more than he probably needed to? Why else did Murphy move that quickly to sign a guy who had no other head-coaching options?

10. How much is LaFleur getting paid? Is it anywhere close to the $8 million-to-$9 million McCarthy made last year?

11. Did Murphy require that LaFleur hire Pettine? Or did LaFleur single him out as his favored defensive coordinator?

12. In the month before the season ended, did Murphy put a full-court press on Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and make him feel this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass by? Did he think Fitzgerald was the perfect guy for the job and, if so, why couldn’t he get him to at least interview?

13. And while dealing with Fitzgerald’s agent, Bryan Harlan, the son of former Packers president Bob Harlan and also the agent of Baltimore coach John Harbaugh, did Murphy and Gutekunst try to find out if Harbaugh was a possibility? Did they ever consider offering the Ravens a draft choice for Harbaugh just to see if there might be interest?

14. Why wasn’t Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio interviewed?Was it because he has a reputation as a bit of a curmudgeon or was it because Murphy and Gutekunst were locked in on bringing Pettine back? Wouldn’t you want to talk to one of the best defensive coordinator’s in the game?

15. Did McVay vouch for LaFleur and was it sincere or was he just helping one of his best friends get a job? Has LaFleur been riding the coattails of McVay and Shanahan or is that just the opinion of those who don’t know him well enough?

16. What separated LaFleur from former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Todd Monken? At age 52, doesn’t Monken has far more experience, including a head-coaching stint at Southern Mississippi?

17. Who will be the voice of experience on the offensive side of the ball? Does LaFleur have plans to hire a veteran quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator to help him learn the head-coaching ropes?

18. Will LaFleur’s easy-going manner be an asset as he becomes the face of the organization and can he maintain it with the criticism that will come if the team struggles? How well is he prepared to deal with the daily media obligations a head coach bears?

19. Should LaFleur be expected to turn things around offensively right away? Or will he need a year to get the system in place, the same way Pettine needed time to get his defense running smoothly?

20. If this works out, will it solidify Murphy’s legacy with the Packers? If it doesn’t work out, will the executive committee clean house? Will McCarthy’s record be the standard by which LaFleur will be judged? And will LaFleur have a street named after him?

The street part depends on a Super Bowl win, of course. As for question 19, history says the Packers are unlikely to make the playoffs next season. In fact, no Packers coach has ever gotten his team into the playoffs in his first season.

The new guy

Dan O’Donnell:

Wisconsin got a bold new leader on Monday; a young, dynamic, charismatic figure who is as innovative as he is likeable and who promises fundamental change through sheer force of will.

To say that the Packers hiring Matt LaFleur to be their new head coach overshadowed Tony Evers’ inauguration would be the understatement of the new year. After news broke late Monday afternoon that the former Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator would be Green Bay’s coach, Evers’ inauguration became an afterthought.

That’s not a dig at a state or a media far too obsessed with football, mind you; it’s an acknowledgement of the reality that LaFleur is likelier to make a more lasting impact than is Evers.

LaFleur, after all, has a mandate to make dramatic change that Evers simply doesn’t and LaFleur, unlike Evers, won’t be rendered politically impotent by a State Legislature and Judiciary unlikely to approve of his more radical instincts.

As different as Wisconsin’s two new leaders may appear—LaFleur is a good-looking 39 year-old with a reputation as a forward thinker while the 67 year-old Evers is a self-described bore—their fates may well be inextricably linked to the same basic theory of management.

The Peter Principle, as defined in Laurence J. Peter’s 1969 book of the same name, is the idea that “every employee tends to rise to the level of his incompetence.” In other words, in a given organization (be it a football team or a state government), an individual who succeeds in—or is merely adequate in—his job, he will be promoted. If he succeeds again, he will be promoted again, and this cycle will continue…until it doesn’t. The Peter Principle dictates that everyone has a level of core competency and, once it is exceeded, failure will result.

Rise one level above your competence, the Peter Principle holds, and the results would be disastrous.

This is why many Packer fans breathed a sigh of relief that Green Bay hired LaFleur instead of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. A very highly regarded young coordinator in 2009, he was hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos and failed miserably. Almost immediately, he so alienated starting quarterback Jay Cutler that Cutler said he could no longer trust the organization and demanded a trade.

Josh McDaniels thus stands as a grave warning for NFL teams like the Packers who hire first-time head coaches. So too should the people of Wisconsin be leery of a new Governor who seems to have just been sworn in to exactly one level above his abilities.
After a lackluster 8-8 season in 2009, the Broncos cratered in 2010, and McDaniels was fired after they dropped to 3-9 and were fined for illegally taping an opponent’s practice.

The next season, McDaniels returned to his core competency—serving as an offensive coordinator—and he has remained one of the best in football ever since, winning five Super Bowls as the leader of the Patriots’ offense.

According to the Peter Principle, this is where McDaniels should remain since a promotion to head coach exceeded his level of aptitude.

Josh McDaniels thus stands as a grave warning for NFL teams like the Packers who hire first-time head coaches.

So too should the people of Wisconsin be leery of a new Governor who seems to have just been sworn in to exactly one level above his abilities.

If one is a believer in omens, Evers flubbing his Oath of Office—literally the very first thing he did in office—is an ominous one, especially since it seems as though State Superintendent was above Evers’ core competency.

After all, he was wholly unable to perform what is perhaps the primary function of that role—making requests for funding—without resorting to plagiarism. Will he similarly resort to stealing others’ ideas when he presents his State Budget next month? Will he have a staffer swipe an old Obama speech when he delivers his first State of the State Address?

Even before he took office, Evers showed signs that he was not up to the job of Governor. In an embarrassing backtrack last week, he was forced to meekly promise to follow Wisconsin’s laws just a day after defiantly proclaiming that he would have to be sued in order to abide by legislation Republicans passed in extraordinary session last month.

This dithering, combined with Evers’ apparent inability to provide any sort of policy specifics or even articulate a coherent vision for Wisconsin, reveals him to be just as much of a disaster-in-waiting for the state as Josh McDaniels might have been.

There is, after all, a reason Wisconsin rejected him as State Superintendent twice—even relegating him to a third-place finish in the 2001 primary—and there is a reason he has been wholly unremarkable since finally winning the position that the Peter Principle had long denied him.

Even Evers’ most diehard supporters would be hard-pressed to name Evers’ most significant (or, for that matter, any) accomplishments as Superintendent, forcing a serious examination of whether that role, too, eluded his highest level of job skills.

His primary qualification for election, though, was that he is not Scott Walker and thus, despite his rather obvious shortcomings, the people of Wisconsin promoted Evers to Governor.

No wonder the state tuned out his inauguration as soon as the Packers hired a new coach: At least Matt LaFleur offers a glimmer of hope.

Presty the DJ for Jan. 10

The number one British single today in 1957 was the same single as the previous week …

… though performed by a different act:

The number one British single today in 1958:

The number one album for the fifth consecutive week today in 1976 was “Chicago IX,” which was actually “Chicago’s Greatest Hits”:

Continue reading “Presty the DJ for Jan. 10”

Governor Flippy Floppy

Chris Rochester:

Last week, Gov.-Elect Tony Evers reversed course on a handful of issues that were cornerstones of his campaign.

The incoming governor already has a well-documented record of changing his story on whether he plans to increase taxes on Wisconsinites. But as he made the rounds in the media, Evers went on the record discussing a slate of hot button campaign issues – and, in several cases, directly contradicting his own previous statements.

When it comes to taxes, Evers has gone from “everything’s on the table” to an 11th-hour campaign promise to “raise no taxes” and, remarkably, back again.

Evers has changed his tune on key policy issues like school choice, Foxconn, abolishing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), the minimum wage, and Act 10. While his rapid 180 on whether, as a constitutional office holder, he will follow the laws passed in last month’s extraordinary session received some notice in the mainstream media, we have assembled a comprehensive list of every issue on which Gov. Evers’ has changed his position.

TAXES

When it comes to taxes, Evers has gone from “everything’s on the table” to an 11th-hour campaign promise to “raise no taxes” and, remarkably, back again.

During the campaign, Evers talked about cutting middle class taxes and paying for it by scrapping or scaling back the state’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit. But in the final days of the campaign, on Nov. 1, Evers reversed course, telling The Washington Post that,”I’m planning to raise no taxes.” Some speculated that the Governor’s change was a last-minute attempt to keep the support of voting taxpayers.

Now, he has reverted to his earlier position. In a round of interviews last week, Gov. Evers said he wants to cap the state’s manufacturing and agriculture tax credit at $300,000 a year in income.

That would amount to a significant tax hike on Wisconsin businesses and farmers, many of whom file business income on their personal income tax forms.

Evers also said last week that his first budget will roll back protections for local property taxpayers, breaking his campaign pledge “to raise no taxes.” It would also overturn one of Gov. Walker’s hallmark accomplishments – the statewide property tax freeze.

The governor-elect also told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he’s open to the idea of allowing local governments to raise their sales tax.

EXTRAORDINARY SESSION LAWS

Evers quickly changed his mind about whether he’d follow, or ignore, a slate of laws passed in the Legislature’s extraordinary session last month.

He told reporters during a series of interviews on Wednesday that he would refuse to follow some of the laws, signed by Walker in December, that restrict certain powers of the governor’s office. By ignoring some of the laws, he was hoping to draw lawsuits from his foes.

“Tony Evers says it will take a lawsuit to get him to go along with lame-duck legislation,” read a headline in the Journal Sentinel published Wednesday.

He slept on it, and changed his mind by the next day. At a Thursday news conference, he again reversed course.

“I have no intent of breaking the law,” he told reporters.

SCHOOL CHOICE

While Evers’ change of tune on the extraordinary session laws was his fastest, maybe his most significant is his new position on abolishing school choice.

The state’s school choice programs offer state support for families who want to opt out of the public education system and send their children to private schools. On the campaign trail, Evers made his stance clear: he wants to abolish the program.

“As governor, I would work with the legislature to phase out vouchers,” he said in a School Administrators Alliance survey. “I’ve spent the last 20 years fighting back against vouchers and privatizers. On my watch, we’ve removed more than 30 schools from the voucher program and prevented dozens from joining,” Evers said.

But he reversed course in an interview with WisconsinEye. Ending the state’s school choice program “can’t happen,” he said. “We have 30,000 plus kids in there … that can’t happen, and I’ve never said that can happen.”

Faced with a Republican Legislature unlikely to go along with any effort to abolish school choice, Evers now offers vague promises of “transparency.” Among them, he will push to include the cost of school choice on property tax bills in hopes it sparks a “conversation” about the program.

Evers’ choice of advisers suggests a conflict in his incoming administration’s stance on school choice. Heather Dubois Bourenane, director of the Wisconsin Public Education Network, was named to Evers’ “What’s Best for Kids” Advisory Council. Bourenane is a top-flight foe of Wisconsin’s school choice program and a persistent advocate for the public education industry.

Bourenane has described the popular school voucher program as a “laundering scheme.”

Evers’ new, unequivocal statement rejecting the dismantling of the choice programs isn’t likely to sit well with Bourenane and those in her corner. Something to watch as Gov. Evers puts together his first budget.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

“I’m not going to be proposing anything in the budget about WEDC,” Evers said in Wednesday’s WisconsinEye interview.

That stands in stark contrast to his campaign pledge to abolish the quasi-public economic development agency championed by Walker as a replacement for the state’s old Commerce Department.

He’s also backing off his criticism of WEDC’s top achievement over the past eight years, Foxconn. While he never went as far as his primary opponents who called for the wholesale cancellation of the milestone economic development deal with the Taiwan-based electronics giant, he was highly critical of the project.

During the campaign, Evers said he would hold Foxconn’s feet to the fire, saying just enough to placate the far left that hates the deal and the tens of thousands of private sector jobs it promises to bring. But Evers recently backed off much of that rhetoric.

“We have to have good working relationships with them (Foxconn),” Evers told WisconsinEye’s Steve Walters. While he repeated the vague assertion that he would “hold their feet to the fire,” Evers also admitted that the company is “making some proactive steps” in how the company is handling wetlands as construction proceeds.

Construction is currently underway on Foxconn’s massive, $10 billion manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant that promises to create 13,000 high-tech jobs – the largest economic development deal of its kind in U.S. history.

MINIMUM WAGE

During the campaign, Evers’ vision for a minimum wage increase was pretty clear: “We’re going to $15 an hour minimum. Minimum,” he said at a rally at UW-Milwaukee to roaring applause from the crowd of Bernie Sanders supporters.

But in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Evers seemingly backed off the $15-at-a-minimum promise, declining to give a specific figure. While his first budget will offer a “clear pathway” to raising the wage, “Evers declined to say how, or how much, his budget would propose to increase the state’s minimum wage,” the newspaper reported.

A stalled drive toward a higher minimum wage would be good news for the Badger State. Such a drastic increase might sound good to the Bernie Sanders crowd, but it would likely backfire on those it’s ostensibly supposed to help.

As a growing body of research shows, the forced $15 is coming with some ugly consequences. A new study from the University of Washington found Seattle’s path to a $15 minimum wage to date appears to have caused employers in the Emerald City to trim low-wage worker hours by 9 percent on average. They earned $125 less each month following the most recent increase, according to the study, funded in part by the city of Seattle.

A 2014 MacIver Institute study found 91,000 Wisconsinites would lose their jobs if the minimum wage was raised to $15. Considering that many of those are entry level jobs, a “living wage” mandate would eliminate countless opportunities for young workers just getting started in their careers.

ACT 10 AND RIGHT-TO-WORK

During the primary, Evers backed repealing Act 10, Walker’s signature collective bargaining reform law that’s saved taxpayers more than $5 billion.

“Tony is supportive of returning collective bargaining rights to public employees,” said campaign manager Maggie Gau in a statement.

If Republicans were to maintain control of the Legislature, Evers said at the time, he’d still work toward a compromise giving government employees more bargaining power and tipping the scales of government away from taxpayers and back in favor of state workers.

Now that he’s the incoming governor with a Republican-controlled Legislature, Evers is telling the media he hasn’t made decisions about Act 10 yet.

“[T]hat’s part of the budget we haven’t made any determinations on,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal. Indeed, any significant changes to either Act 10 or the state’s right-to-work law would need to go through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Instead, he’s looking for ways to circumvent the Legislature.

“[I]n a nod to the improbability of passing such a change through the GOP Legislature, Evers said he has considered non-legislative moves such as hiring Cabinet secretaries ‘that value input of employees,’” the paper reported.

 

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