Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Category: Politics

Parents and Citizens Resist Government Overreach

It is good to see a fair amount of pushback on governments moving to impose mandates and restrictions in response to a resurge of COVID.

We have watched the last week unfold in abject horror – observing our government institutions and leaders failing our children at every turn, again. Your renewed calls for lockdowns, enforced mask mandates, and masking in schools is not rooted in science and is objectively cruel to the most vulnerable
in our society, our children. We believe that you are in fact aware of this and continue to play political games with our children, despite our efforts to work with you over the last twelve months.

We are here to inform you that this ends today.

Effective immediately we will not:

1. Mask our children in schools

2. Allow you to use your private sector counterparts to enforce invasive mask mandates on our children in various stores or at community activities

3. Subject our children to any further local, regional, or national lockdowns or movement restriction

Simply put, these are not your children. They are ours and they too, are Americans with rights. They are
our responsibility and our most beloved. They are not yours.

Given the miniscule chance that children will be significantly harmed by COVID and the proven detrimental effects that masks and lockdowns cause on their mental health and education, it is bordering on child abuse to impose those things on kids.

Federal Eviction Moratorium Finally Nearing End

If you aren’t paying rent, can you really be called a “renter?”

While many landlords say they can only go so long without being paid, some tenants are left worried about what their next move will be.

 

“The moratorium ending, it basically means that at any moment I could end up on the street,” said Heather Waller, a renter who has benefited from the eviction moratorium for months.

 

“I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. So, my anxiety has been really severely bad just thinking about how I might not have a roof over my head.”

Vaccinated Face 0.004% Chance of Serious Breakthrough Case

Once again… if you are vaccinated, then why would you be concerned over the vaccination status of others? You made your choice. They made theirs. Let’s get on with living.

(CNN)More than 99.99% of people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalization or death, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

The data highlights what leading health experts across the country have highlighted for months: Covid-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness and death from Covid-19 and are the country’s best shot at slowing the pandemic down and avoiding further suffering.

 

The CDC reported 6,587 Covid-19 breakthrough cases as of July 26, including 6,239 hospitalizations and 1,263 deaths. At that time, more than 163 million people in the United States were fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

 

Divide those severe breakthrough cases by the total fully vaccinated population for the result: less than 0.004% of fully vaccinated people had a breakthrough case that led to hospitalization and less than 0.001% of fully vaccinated people died from a breakthrough Covid-19 case.

Government and Media Stoke Animosity Between Vaccinated and Unvaccinated

If you are vaccinated, or not, and you are getting angry at those who made the other choice, you are being played by your government and the media. They are doing it for a reason.

But with Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations now surging again and officials across the US suddenly reimposing restrictions after a summer of semi normalcy, McCullough and many other vaccinated Americans are becoming increasingly angry at those who are refusing the shot.
“I did what I had to do,” McCullough told CNN. “Now, these people who are making this selfish decision are going to make me suffer the consequences.”
The average number of new cases daily is up more than 400% since last month. Hospitals are again filling with Covid-19 patients — many younger than ever before, and most unvaccinated. Mask mandates are back in parts of the country. And this week, the CDC updated guidance it issued in May and said fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial” or “high” Covid-19 transmission to prevent further spread of the dangerous Delta variant. More than 80% of the US population lives in a county impacted by that guidance.
First, notice how they have all switched to using percentages instead of actual numbers. Why? Because percentages are scarier. If 2 people died yesterday and 4 died today, that’s a 100% increase. But looking at the actual numbers, we aren’t seeing anything close to what we saw at the peak of the pandemic. Here are Wisconsin’s numbers:
That doesn’t look as scary, does it? But our government overlords have fallen in love with their power fueled by the pandemic. If the pandemic isn’t scary anymore, then we don’t need them to take extraordinary measures like multi-trillion dollar spending sprees, do we?
But back to the vaccinated vs. unvaccinated… follow the logic. If you are vaccinated and the vaccines are effective, then why do you care if your neighbor chose to not get vaccinated? Because they might spread it to you? But you are vaccinated, right? And if you are vaccinated, you might (although it appears to be extraordinarily difficult) spread the virus to someone who is not vaccinated. So? Why is that your concern? They weighed the risks and made their own choice. If they get the virus and have a bad case or die, then it sucks for them. Stuff happens. We’re all going to die sometime.
The politicians and media are stoking division because it gives them power. Don’t fall for it. Love your neighbor whether they are vaccinated or not.

City of West Bend considers huge pay increases

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News earlier this week:

This column has been warning for some time that the city of West Bend’s government has skewed more liberal in recent years. After almost a decade of thoughtful conservative leadership, local conservatives got lazy, and the Common Council was taken over by liberals and big government enthusiasts. After choosing to increase taxes as much as legally possible last year, the council is considering a hefty pay increase for city employees.

 

At the Common Council’s July 19th meeting, City Administrator Jay Shambeau shared the results of a compensation study. That study compared the city of West Bend’s employee compensation to several other cities including Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, New Berlin, and Brookfield and found that West Bend’s compensation lags other cities. Citing employee turnover in some departments and perceived below market pay, the city administrator advocated for a pay increase for almost every nonunion city employee in addition to an annual cost of living increase of about 2%. The overall proposed cost would be $451,940 with an average pay increase of $4,519 per employee.

 

While evaluating and adjusting compensation is a normal part of any organization, there are some concerning aspects of this proposal that require further inquiry. Several years ago, the city of West Bend implemented a compensation system that more closely resembled one from the private sector that rewarded employees based on merit. The proposed compensation plan abandons compensation based on merit in favor of a model that provides blanket pay ranges based on job function. The proposed compensation plan is a return to an old-school government plan where everyone is paid the same irrespective of how good they are at their job. Furthermore, it is difficult to see how the pay increases will result in more talented employees. The purpose of any compensation plan is to attract and retain the level of talent that the organization requires to be successful. The justification for the pay increases is that West Bend is having difficulty attracting and retaining talented people in a competitive labor market.

 

At the same time, however, the plan would give almost every current employee a pay increase because they are all good at their jobs. According to the plan, only employees in good standing would receive a pay increase, but there are also no employees who are not currently in good standing. If the city is having difficulty finding good employees, would it not stand to reason that some of the existing employees would be sub-par performers?

 

If all of the employees are performing to standards, then why would the taxpayers need to pay more to attract better employees? If the taxpayers agree to pay city employees more, will the city management leverage the better pay to replace some of the employees with more talented ones? What are the taxpayers going to get for their increased spending on employee compensation?

 

As proposed, the spending increase would not result in a tax increase this year. This is because the city is proposing to use some financial gimmickry to hide the spending increase until it is baked into the spending pie. The total proposal would spend $451,940. $283,553 of that total would come out of the general fund that is supported by the property tax. But the city administrator is touting it as tax neutral because that amount would be covered by debt payments being paid into the general fund by Tax Incremental Districts 5 and 9.

 

TIDs are property tax set asides where the property taxes from those properties are segregated for improvements only in those districts. They are used to encourage development. TIDs 5 and 9 ran debts in previous years and the taxpayers filled the gap from the general fund. Now those districts are in the black and paying those debts back into the general fund. The proposal would fund most of the pay increases from those debt payments and then, when the TIDs expire, with the funds that those properties contribute to the general fund. The balance of the pay increase would be funded by surpluses from the water and sewer utilities.

 

Does it sound like gimmickry? It is. The fact remains that all of that money is taxpayer and utility-payer money. The city could reduce taxes and utility bills or spend the money on other priorities, but is proposing to increase employee compensation instead.

 

While there is not a tax impact for the proposed pay increase in the first year, it does set a new baseline for all future budgets. There is no such thing as a free lunch. The taxpayers will keep paying these bills forevermore.

 

The West Bend Common Council meets again to consider this proposal on Aug. 2. At the previous meeting, only two members, Randy Koehler and Meghann Kennedy, expressed any skepticism. The majority — including the mayor — expressed support for the proposed new compensation plan. It is clear that the taxpayers are not a top priority for a majority of West Bend’s Common Council.

Congress Moving to Increase Inflation

In light of the inflation pressures the economy is experiencing, the Congress is making a bipartisan effort to make it worse.

(CNN)The Senate took the next step on Friday to bring up a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal that will fulfill key priorities in President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Senators voted 66-28 on a motion to proceed, a vote that will open up the legislative package to potential changes through the amendment process.

CDC Changes Recommendations Under Withering Political Pressure

How about “no?”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.

 

Citing new information about the variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.

The science is clear that the vaccines work and that people who have already had COVID are largely immune from getting it again. Vaccines are widely available. It is also clear that even if you get COVID, it is not life threatening for the vast, VAST, majority of people. At this point, everyone has had the opportunity to get vaccinated and whether someone chose to get vaccinated or chose to not get vaccinated, the consequences are on them. I made my choice. Other people made their choices. Now we get on with life.

City of West Bend considers huge pay increases

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

Furthermore, it is difficult to see how the pay increases will result in more talented employees. The purpose of any compensation plan is to attract and retain the level of talent that the organization requires to be successful. The justification for the pay increases is that West Bend is having difficulty attracting and retaining talented people in a competitive labor market.

 

At the same time, however, the plan would give almost every current employee a pay increase because they are all good at their jobs. According to the plan, only employees in good standing would receive a pay increase, but there are also no employees who are not currently in good standing. If the city is having difficulty finding good employees, would it not stand to reason that some of the existing employees would be sub-par performers?

 

If all of the employees are performing to standards, then why would the taxpayers need to pay more to attract better employees? If the taxpayers agree to pay city employees more, will the city management leverage the better pay to replace some of the employees with more talented ones? What are the taxpayers going to get for their increased spending on employee compensation?

Evers puts politics over people with workforce development spending

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

A few weeks ago, Governor Tony Evers held back Wisconsin’s economic recovery by vetoing a bill that would have ended the federal enhancement for unemployment benefits early. Last week, Governor Evers compounded his putrid decision by launching another wasteful donothing economic development government program with the taxpayers’ money.

 

The data coming out of other states continues to show the foolishness of Evers’ veto of the bill to end enhanced unemployment benefits early. The principle is very simple. If you want people to do more of something, then pay them more to do it. In this case, the federal government, in a moment of misguided altruism, is sending money to states to pay people more money to stay out of the workforce.

 

The economy is groaning out of the government-enforced recession in fits and spurts with some sectors roaring and others continuing to struggle. One of the most pressing problems in many sectors is that employers throughout the country are struggling to find workers to fill their open jobs. With an unemployment rate of 3.9% and a labor participation rate of 66.3%, most of Wisconsin’s employers are having the same problem.

 

For the states that ended enhanced unemployment payments in early June, they saw a 33% decline in new jobless claims compared with 4% in states that are still paying people more to not work, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics analyzed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Those states that withdrew in late June saw a decline of 12%. Those that withdrew in July saw a decline of 10%. Every week counts when it comes to economic recovery. Even better, the labor participation rate in those states that withdrew in June increased by 0.25%. People are getting back to work faster in those states and more people are reentering the workforce. Evers’ decision to keep the enhanced federal unemployment payments through September will keep Wisconsin’s economy dragging behind other states.

 

As a tacit acknowledgment of his damaging veto, Evers announced last week that he would spend $130 million in federal COVID relief funds for workforce development to help with the worker shortage.

 

Of those funds, $100 million will be spent on a “workforce innovation grant program to encourage regions and communities to develop leading-edge, long-term solutions to the workforce challenges the state faces.” In other words, a bunch of unelected government bureaucrats are going to hand out your money to groups and businesses that can meet whatever version of “solutions” meets the liberal definition of “leading-edge.” Expect that money to go to things like green energy and education initiatives that are run by people who give money to Democrats.

 

$20 million of your money will go to subsidize “employment and skills training opportunities with local employers.” The remaining $10 million will for to “provide workforce career coaches.” This money will be used to pay people to teach unemployed people how to work as if it is the responsibility of the taxpayers to pay to train people to work.

 

There are already dozens of programs like this in every community in Wisconsin, but Evers seems to think that one more will do the trick. The fact that he is spending tens of millions of dollars that will be doled out at his administration’s discretion is a convenient political advantage the year before he seeks reelection.

 

With all of this spending, however, Evers admitted that the impact will not be felt any time soon – if ever. Speaking to reporters in Green Bay last week, he said that the initiatives “will be a fall enterprise.” While Wisconsin’s employers are struggling right now, Evers jumps to the rescue with a plan that will not even begin until the trees take on their autumnal hues.

 

In these two decisions we see the liberal mind of Tony Evers at work. Faced with a worker shortage that is retarding Wisconsin’s economic recovery and causing irreparable damage to many Wisconsin businesses, he vetoes the partial solution that would have had immediate effect and saved taxpayer money in favor of dumping $130 million of taxpayer money into the pockets of political allies for a solution that might begin to help sometime next year. In Evers’ calculation, spending taxpayer money to purchase political favor is more important than solving the state’s problems.

Texas Democrats “Pissed off” that Biden Hasn’t Met with Them

Perhaps Biden does still have his wits about him… or Mrs. Biden does.

But they still await the biggest get of all: President Joe Biden. And on Thursday, they expressed frustration over the White House’s apparent disinterest in scheduling a meeting with members of the Texas group.

 

During a Zoom conversation with U.S. Rep Lloyd Doggett of Austin, state Rep. Richard Peña Raymond of Laredo vented about the holdup.

 

“He won’t meet with us on Zoom like this, and I’m trying to be tactful, but I don’t know how else to say it, man. I’m just pissed off at this point. He doesn’t give us the respect the way you have,” Raymond told Doggett.

 

And in a subsequent Zoom meeting with Beto O’Rourke, in which the former Democratic congressman and presidential candidate announced a $600,000 donation to help pay for the Washington sojourn, O’Rourke encouraged them to ramp up pressure on the White House.

 

“I feel very strongly about this. I think you need to center and focus all of your effort on the president,” O’Rourke said.

Biden Spreads False Information About COVID

Facebook and Twitter should ban him immediately for spreading lies about the efficacy of vaccines.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden offered an absolute guarantee Wednesday that people who get their COVID-19 vaccines are completely protected from infection, sickness and death from the coronavirus. The reality is not that cut and dried.

 

The vaccines are extremely effective but “breakthrough” infections do occur and the delta variant driving cases among the unvaccinated in the U.S. is not fully understood.

 

Also Biden inflated the impact of his policies on U.S. jobs created in his first half-year in office, misleadingly stating his administration had done more than any other president. He neglects to mention he had population growth on his side in his comparison.

Media Begins Push to Normalize Higher Crime Level

Here we go. This is a good example of how the media works to shape the narrative for the express purpose of swaying elections to Democrats.

A clear majority of Americans believe there is more violent crime in the U.S. today than in the 1990s, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll — even though today’s violent crime rate is much lower than it was 30 years ago.

 

This common misperception doesn’t come out of nowhere: U.S. homicides rose by about 25 percent between 2019 and 2020 — the largest single-year increase since reliable tracking began in 1960 — and 2021 has seen a similar year-over-year jump, due in large part to gun violence.

 

Yet as disturbing as it is, America’s pandemic-era murder spike has not yet lifted the overall violent crime rate to anything approaching its early-1990s peak, or even the level to which it fell by the end of that decade. The fact that 56 percent of Americans now believe otherwise, according to the poll, underscores how challenging it has become to keep crime rates in perspective at a time when viral media and political polarization are making valid concerns feel like unprecedented emergencies — and how quickly and easily the politics of crime could become untethered from reality in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections.

 

[…]

 

The question now is whether such misperceptions are getting worse — and how that widening gap might distort the politics and policy of crime going forward.

 

[…]

 

The Yahoo News/YouGov poll supports the notion that concerns about violent crime are outpacing its actual prevalence. A majority of Americans (52 percent) now describe “violent crime” as a “very big problem” in the United States — far more than the share who said the same last month about the coronavirus pandemic (36 percent), race relations (39 percent) or the economy (41 percent).

 

Make no mistake: After decreasing for decades, violent crime is up substantially and has become a major issue in a number of places in the U.S., particularly in communities of color. But we’re still far off from the level of violence seen 30 years ago.

There is nothing factually incorrect in the information presented. But ask yourself, “why is this in the news?”

Crime – particularly violent crime – has risen dramatically in the last year or so. This is a problem for Democrats who are up for election this year and next. Not only are they on record supporting idiotic mantras like “defund the police,” they have a decades-long history of supporting soft-on-crime policies, open borders, and the decriminalization of various things. The polls are showing that crime is becoming a serious issue for voters and they largely see Republicans as better on crime issues than Democrats.

In jumps the media to the rescue… the entire point of this poll and the story is to try to tell us that crime isn’t really that bad. After all, it was much worse 30 years ago. We just don’t remember it right and are blowing the issue all our of proportion. Right? You are overreacting if you think crime is a real problem. You should really be more worried about things like global warming, race issues, or any other issue that Democrats like.

No, you are not nuts if you are worried about crime. Yes, crime has risen dramatically. Yes, it was worse 30 years ago, but that doesn’t make it OK. The fact that crime is so much worse than it was 3 years ago is a huge problem. We are going in the wrong direction and we do not need to wait for it to reach the proportions of 1990 before being concerned about it.

Alcohol Delivery on the Docket

What do you think?

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — People can order just about anything with the touch of a screen — except for alcohol. Some business leaders want to change that. Others argue it’s a safety hazard.

 

Online grocery shopping was popular before the pandemic, and it’s only grown since then. Now customers want alcohol included in this perk. But is it safe? It depends on whom you ask.

 

Instant gratification drives the retail and foodservice market with delivery apps thriving in a technology-driven world.

 

“One of the things customers want is to have a six-pack of beer, a bottle of wine, or booze delivered to their home,” said Brandon Scholz, CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association.

In the abstract, I support this. Whether it is the family making their weekly grocery order and wants to include alcohol or the replacement of the very dangerous late night beer run, alcohol delivery does not seem like something that government has a pressing interest to prohibit.

Also, here again, Wisconsin is hardly in the vanguard on this issue. Several other states already allow this and I can’t find any data to show that it has had a negative impact. If there isn’t a provable negative impact, then government should not restrict the free exercise of commerce. Even if there is a negative impact, that must be weighed against the restriction of freedom and commerce to decide if those consequences are severe enough to justify government regulation.

I did find this concern comical:

Lawmakers will have to consider several issues. One is how delivery drivers plan to check the photo IDs of those who are ordering.

So we can vote by mail with a photo copy of an ID, but we can’t make this work? I think we can handle this concern.

City of West Bend Abandons Merit Pay and Proposes Massive Blanket Pay Increases

Geez… you can’t stop paying attention for a minute…

Last night the City of West Bend Common Council heard from the City Administrator about why the city should abandon merit pay and approve big pay increases for all city employees (police and fire not included since they are covered under union contracts. Here is the full presentation:

Compensation Presentation 7-19-21 – (002)

Here is the main thrust:

  • Salary increase for 92% of positions
  • Average salary adjustment of $4,519
  • Salary general fund impact $283,553
  • Overall salary impact $451,940
  • New ranges established and range placements effective January 1, 2022
  • Salary adjustments only provided for employees in good standing
  • There are currently no employees on a performance improvement plan
  • Salary adjustments implemented on January 1, 2022
  • Performance reviews required for annual cost of living
    merit increase

In the City of West Bend, there are apparently NO employees who are underperforming. They ALL deserve a fat raise. This is despite the fact that the same presentation laments that there has been extensive employee turnover (no detail provided) and that the current compensation is not competitive to attract talent. How can all of the employees be performing well if the compensation only allows the city to attract mediocre talent? If the taxpayers pay more for employees, shouldn’t they expect the city to upgrade the level of talent? If not, then what are the taxpayers paying for?

The proposal is to pay for the pay increases without raising taxes by raiding two TIDs. Remember that TIDs are set up as a mechanism to fund infrastructure improvements for economic development. This proposal would raid a couple of those TIDs that have “leftover” money to pay for salary increases. Of course, those TIDs will eventually come to an end and the pay increases will remain. The funding will have to come from the regular tax sources after that.

I warned last year that the City of West Bend has drifted strongly to the left. This is another step in that direction.

 

Evers puts politics over people with workforce development spending

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

As a tacit acknowledgment of his damaging veto, Evers announced last week that he would spend $130 million in federal COVID relief funds for workforce development to help with the worker shortage.

 

Of those funds, $100 million will be spent on a “workforce innovation grant program to encourage regions and communities to develop leading-edge, long-term solutions to the workforce challenges the state faces.” In other words, a bunch of unelected government bureaucrats are going to hand out your money to groups and businesses that can meet whatever version of “solutions” meets the liberal definition of “leading-edge.” Expect that money to go to things like green energy and education initiatives that are run by people who give money to Democrats.

$20 million of your money will go to subsidize “employment and skills training opportunities with local employers.” The remaining $10 million will for to “provide workforce career coaches.” This money will be used to pay people to teach unemployed people how to work as if it is the responsibility of the taxpayers to pay to train people to work.

 

There are already dozens of programs like this in every community in Wisconsin, but Evers seems to think that one more will do the trick. The fact that he is spending tens of millions of dollars that will be doled out at his administration’s discretion is a convenient political advantage the year before he seeks reelection.

 

With all of this spending, however, Evers admitted that the impact will not be felt any time soon – if ever. Speaking to reporters in Green Bay last week, he said that the initiatives “will be a fall enterprise.” While Wisconsin’s employers are struggling right now, Evers jumps to the rescue with a plan that will not even begin until the trees take on their autumnal hues.

Conservative Group Floats Granular Funding Formula for Education

This is interesting.

Republican groups are calling for the restructuring of Wisconsin’s convoluted K-12 education funding system — including additional funding for students living in poverty — as education becomes a focal point heading into the 2022 midterm elections.

The idea that low-income students need more resources to succeed has long been championed by academics, public school advocates and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who in 2010 proposed an overhaul of the state’s now 30-year-old school funding system. Republicans have dismissed Evers’ so-called “Fair Funding” proposal as too expensive. Instead, they have focused on distributing an equal amount of new state aid to each student regardless of background while expanding the state’s private school voucher programs.

The conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty provided the Wisconsin State Journal with a new report calling for a more granular funding model for funding K-12 schools that focuses on the individual financial needs of each student, rather than each district — a concept similar to a proposal put forth by a statewide bipartisan Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding in 2019.

I don’t think this is necessarily a conservative vs. liberal issue. If we accept that it is the role of government to fund education, then we’re talking about the how and who. Tailoring funding to the actual need of the student makes sense. In the past this would have been unachievable, but in the technical era, this is not difficult at all.

The next step is the who. Who will receive the money? If we are tailoring funding for government schools base on the students’ actual need, wouldn’t that apply to voucher funding too? But that gets the liberal nervous because if we treat students as individuals, then that moves us closer to making the money follow the kids instead of the institution. Personally, I think that’s where the focus needs to be.

WILL’s report also says it’s necessary for private voucher and public charter schools to be included in the proposed weighted funding formula.

Currently each student who receives a private school voucher gets between $8,300 and nearly $9,000. Public school districts are limited by the state to having between $10,000 and $24,000 to spend per student, depending on the district and not counting federal funds and certain other state aid programs.

Julie Underwood, a member of the blue ribbon commission and president of the liberal Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools, pushed back against WILL’s effort, calling it a Trojan horse to get more money for vouchers.

Don’t be ‘That guy’

Here is my full column that ran in the Washington County Daily News last week.

I hate group projects. How many times have you heard that statement or uttered it yourself ? When a group project involves a group of people voluntarily coming together to achieve a common goal, they can be terrific. But more often, group projects like those in school entail a hodgepodge of people with different motivations, varying work ethics, and suspect integrity who are thrown together to accomplish an assigned task.

 

Every group project seems to have “that guy.” You know the one. He’s the lazy slacker with a bad attitude. He shows up to the first couple of meetings for the group project. He offers a thought or two, but they are terrible. He then proceeds to bash everyone else’s ideas before retreating to sulk for the rest of the project. He doesn’t contribute anything meaningful and disappears for days or weeks at a time. The rest of the group gives up on him and finishes the project without him.

 

When the project is presented and is well received, that guy is suddenly everywhere. He is taking credit for the work and acting as if every great idea were his. With shameless audacity, that guy shoves his colleagues out of the way to bask in unearned adulation for work that was not only someone else’s, but that he actively maligned. In the great state budget group project, “that guy” is Governor Tony Evers, and his budget project teammates in the Legislature are justifiably piqued at his behavior. When Governor Evers first proposed his budget in February, it included a massive 12% spending increase that needed a tax increase of $1 billion to support it. Evers argued that Wisconsin needed to tax and spend more than ever in order to fund, “the future we dream.” Several weeks ago, the state announced that unprecedented tax collections would potentially result in a massive surplus in tax revenue in the state’s coffers. Governor Evers was quick to trumpet that every dollar of that surplus should be plowed into even more government spending. For his entire tenure in office, Evers has advocated for more taxing and more spending at every turn.

 

As the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee finished its work on the budget a month ago, the Republicans included a $3.3 billion tax cut. Not a single Democrat on the committee voted for the tax cuts. Instead, the Democrats lambasted the tax cuts as a missed opportunity and a sop to the rich.

 

When the final budget that included those tax cuts was passed by the Assembly, only four Democrats voted for it. In the Senate, only three Democrats voted for the final budget. Democrats slammed Republicans for passing tax cuts with Democrat Senator Chris Larson going so far as to accuse Republicans of, “kicking the dust in the faces of our kids.”

 

Yet after all of the scorn and derision that Evers and the Democrats threw at Republicans for cutting taxes, Evers was first to step to the front of the class and claim credit for them. When he signed the tax-cutting budget (after reducing the tax cuts with his veto pen), Evers took credit while declaring, “I’m providing more than $2 billion in tax relief and cutting taxes for middle-class families at a time when our economy and families need it most.”

Gone were the lamentations about not spending money. Absent was any acknowledgment that Evers had actually proposed a tax increase in his budget. Missing was a hint of credit for the Republicans who actually wrote and passed the budget that included the tax cut. Even though Evers vociferously opposed cutting taxes every step of the way, he was quick to take credit for them when they proved popular.

 

In every possible way, Governor Evers is “that guy.” After his initial budget proposal that included a tax increase, he sulked in the corner and threw insults at Republicans as they crafted a real budget. When the work was done and included really popular things like a huge tax cut, Evers took credit for the good work. He did not even have the common decency to admit that he opposed the tax cuts or give credit to the people who did the hard work to include them.

 

Just like when Evers was caught multiple times plagiarizing the work of others during his tenure as the state school superintendent, Evers has demonstrated again that he has no scruples about taking credit for the work of others when he thinks it will serve his personal ambitions. His inability to give even a little credit to others or admit when he was wrong reveals an insecure man of poor character. He is the guy that nobody ever wants on their group project.

Low Flow Shower Regulation Is Back

Ugh. The federal government insists on regulating the smallest things in our lives.

Now, with a new president in office, the Energy Department is going back to a standard adopted in 2013, saying it provides plenty of water for a good soak and a thorough clean.

 

The rule change will have little practical effect, since nearly all commercially made showerheads comply with the 2013 rule — the pet peeve of the former president notwithstanding.

 

The Energy Department said the action clarifies what’s been happening in the marketplace. Showers that provide the extra supply of water desired by Trump are not easily found, officials said.

 

Since 1992, federal law has dictated that new showerheads should not pour more than 2.5 gallons (9.5 liters) of water per minute. As newer shower fixtures came out with multiple nozzles, the Obama administration defined the showerhead restrictions to apply to what comes out in total. So if there are four nozzles, no more than 2.5 gallons total should come out among all four.

American Communists Unite In Solidarity Supporting Cuban Regime

Is anyone really surprised?

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Cori Bush of Missouri have yet to weigh in on Black Lives Matter declaring its support for Cuba’s communist regime, even though the congresswomen have been vocal BLM supporters in the past.

 

Black Lives Matter sparked a backlash late Wednesday after posting a statement that blasted the U.S. embargo and praised Cuba’s government.

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