by Max Brantley
Odds and ends from the mail and morning paper:
* LET'S YOU AND HIM FIGHT: News yesterday of a possible split in the House Republican delegation that could produce a compromise House speaker was the apparent prompt for this Twitter post from the fiery demagoguic preacher from Conway, Sen. Jason Rapert:
The only thing worse than a known enemy, is a traitor who betrays his colleagues. A man's word should be his bond and be worth something.
* LOTTERY WOES AND FAIRY TALES CONTINUE: Lottery revenues declined for a fourth month, the Democrat-Gazette reports, and Lottery Director Bishop Woosley has gotten creative in explaining away a trend that most likely indicates little more than the expected maturity of the game and a widening understanding among the public that it is a game for suckers. It's gas prices. It's the drought. But, whoa Nelly, it is also the FISCAL CLIFF. Really. Woosley said that. Indeed. While I was buying a half-pint of Popov in the Warehouse Liquor the other day, a fellow who'd walked up from his loft residence beneath the Markham Street viaduct to purchase a flagon of Mickey's Bigmouth Malt Liquor struck up a conversation. He remarked that he was swearing off Arkansas Lottery tickets for the time being because of Congress' failure to deal with the fiscal cliff. He's a little unsettled about economic stability.
On a more serious note: Is anybody giving any attention to whether the legislature is meeting its constitutional obligation under the lottery amendment to NOT reduce support for higher education. The ever dwindling scholarship fund and the likely squeeze on general support for colleges in the coming legislature brings this question to mind.
* DID THEY POLL ARKANSAS?: Speaking of Jason Rapert and other haters of President Obama and his legislation to broaden health care coverage in the U.S. Here's poll news:
As a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll reports, the majority of Americans don’t support repealing Obamacare. In fact, after the presidential election, the number of Americans advocating for a full repeal of the health reform law dropped to an all-time low at just 33 percent — compared to nearly half of Americans who would rather keep the law in place:
* AND SPEAKING OF POLLS: EXPLAINING THE ARKANSAS VOTE: Talk Business and Hendrix College polled Arkansas voters on their election choices. They voted for Mitt Romney as a vote FOR him, not AGAINST President Obama, a majority told pollsters and the economy was the top concern, with health care way down the list. A plurality said their vote was for a candidate who shared their values. No question was asked about skin color.
* HARD TIMES? WHAT HARD TIMES: The Pulaski Quorum Court, including its supposed budget hawk Republicans, yesterday ratified another annual bonus to themselves and county employees, a bonus that means, in raw dollars, the most money for high-dollar employees. County employees in many cases, the sheriff's office particularly, deserve consideration. Elected officials like the Quorum Court and other county officials? Not so much. And JP Phil Stowers, enough with the "deserved reward for tough times" sermon. This will be the FIFTH YEAR running for a pay raise or bonus, more than 3 percent when revenues are expected to increase by only 1 percent. Find me a private sector employee who has gotten a 3 to 5 percent bump every year each of the last five years. Find a state employee, for that matter. Some JPs said they won't take the money. All of them should be so sensitive.
* BEWARE OF CEO DEBT 'FIXERS': Be warned. There's a movement afoot, through a Fix the Debt committee, depicting itself as a compromise solution for the U.S. fiscal situation. It's nothing but a bunch of corporate CEOs looking for more tax windfalls.