by Max Brantley
Anything to cheer this evening up? One final note:
* FAT PAY IN BENTON COUNTY: A reader sent a link to an interesting story in the Benton County Daily Record (pay wall) about some giant pay raises for administrators at the Northwest Arkansas Community College. Those folks are apparently supremo valuable — Senior VP Steve Gates moves up $18K to $137K; human resources director Wendie Cadle jumps $18k to $83K; lobbyist Jim Hall moves up $17.8K to $87.5K; development director Meredith Brunen went up $15,000 to $80,000; senior VP Marty Parsons goes up $12,884 to $129,213 and even the president's secretary (executive assistant, excuse me) got a whopping $9,939 pay raise to $54,636. This is the same outfit that had to repay a bunch of illegal pay raises out of foundation money in 2011. Not to worry. Open jobs have been elminated to free money for the top dogs. Oh, faculty got a 1 percent pay raise. All they do is teach. Tuition jumped 3 to 4 percent to produce more dough for the big shots. Rep. Tim Summers is quoted as saying he trusts the administration to stay on top of revenues and expenses. No doubt. They have some big paychecks to protect. I thought 1) times were hard and 2) Benton County was home of lean, mean government.
* SANTORUM GIVES AWAY THE GAME: Rick Santorum, credit him, frequently says what he believes. As today, when he said the economy is getting better and conceded this could detract from the Republican "edge" in November. Arkansas Republicans and ther shills, such as the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Rep. Nate Bell, have been promoting wider publicity for every piece of bad economic news they can find, but not turning the same laser-like attention on good news — such as last week's job report and a new production line at Caterpillar. Bell reacted indignantly when I suggested he reveled in the bad news because of political implications. Santorum is man enough to admit the political reality.