One of the biggest complaints my mother has these days about her eighth-graders is that they don’t know how to look stuff up.
“They put two words into Google and figure if it doesn’t tell them something, the thing can’t exist,” she groused last weekend when we were trading “top this” teaching stories.
I’m wondering how many of her kids are working for Scott Walker…
Gov. Dead Eyes got in trouble (again) for failing to properly vet someone (again) before making a big public display (again).
In his State of the State speech, Walker lauded Christopher Barber as an example of what’s going right with his jobs policies. Barber was unemployed but landed a job at a Brillion welding company on a seasonal basis. He eventually got a full-time job and served as a beacon of the old “welfare to work” model, complete with a nice set of bootstraps by which he pulled himself up.
The problem? Barber’s employment issues likely had something to do with his status as a registered sex offender. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that he has two felonies and three drunk-driving offenses to boot.
A Walker spokesman noted that the administration wouldn’t have invited Barber if it had been aware of his checkered past.
It’s mindboggling that the folks in Walkerland weren’t “aware” of this guy, given that it’s not that hard to find this kind of information. Hell, Dan Bice (a hell of a journalist, don’t get me wrong) managed to find it and report it within a DAY of the speech. There are also things like CCAP and sex-offenders registry in this state, two pretty easy databases to search. It’s not like you’re trying to get documents from a Russian safe house during the Cold War.
This isn’t the first time Walker fell on his keys in terms of vetting people. In 2011, he planned to sign the state budget at Badger Sheet Metal Works near Green Bay.
“Green Bay, and certainly the company that we’re going to, reflects really what this budget and what Governor Walker’s first term here is all about,” Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said in a Journal-Sentinel report at the time.
Turns out, the CEO of the company, Gregory DeCaster was convicted of eight counts of income tax evasion in the 1990s. Shortly after Bice got ahold of the administration for a comment, the signing was moved to Fox Valley Metal-Tech.
Spokeman Cullen Werwie said of the incident, “It was something we wish we would have known on the front end.”
Crime records are public documents. Anyone with an interest can take a peek at these things. They’re also digital at this point, so it wasn’t like you had to send an intern down into the bowels of a precinct somewhere to breathe in enough dust to contract black lung disease in order to figure this out.
I can forgive Walker for the Taylor Palmisano incident, because I can’t imagine it is realistic to search through the Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Google+ accounts of every single person attached to your staff for any rants that might offend people.
However, if journalists can find this stuff in less than a day in an era where budget cuts, staff “culling” and other fatal blows have been struck against their organizations, why can’t you find this stuff out with a staff that is large enough to invade a Third-World country?
Instead of cutting higher education, perhaps the Walker folks should sign up for some courses in reporting at the local JC or UW branch. It might help save them from some more embarrassing situations as they launch their 2016 presidential campaign.