by Max Brantley
What's momentous about it you ask? Well, that might be an overstatement, but:a U.S. Supreme Court case argued yesterday about the plaintiff friendly rules of Miller County, Ark., a "magnet" for lucrative class action suits. It probably won't be about his loose use of the state share of lawsuit settlement money (won by big-time class action lawyers in various courts). It probably won't be about his demagoguery of the Little Rock desegregation case. It probably won't be about his noble support of the Obama administration on broadening health care for all. It probably won't be either about his equally noble opposition to gay bigotry in the form of the anti-adoption measure a few years ago.
No. It will be about sex. And, more importantly, about the question of whether an extramarital affair brought untoward appearances in McDaniel pillow talk with a Hot Springs lawyer who's had cases in which the attorney general's office has a role. How McDaniel meets this embarrassment going forward will be vitally important in his race for governor and thus its outcome and thus, in at least some way, the political future of Arkansas. Momentous enough?
* UAMS AND THE CFO: Critics continue to have lots to say about UAMS' $312,000 deal to pay former CFO Melony Goodhand to answer the phone for the next year should they need to talk to her at her new job in Bristol., Tenn. The money comes from the UAMS Foundation. Did those who gave to contribute to health care really think they'd be paying for a computer, health insurance, an iPad, a car allowance and fat on-call privileges for someone who, as far as we know, still hasn't officially informed UAMS of her whereabouts and contact information. And about that car allowance..... A correspondent writes:
Goodhand was one of those on the state car list exposed by the D/G. Shortly thereafter, the revised list that D/G ran after the crap began to hit the fan showed that I believe all but 2 at UAMS had turned in their state cars. Goodhand turned in her state minivan but it appears from the memos you posted that she was receiving a $500 per month car allowance paid from "private funds" instead. Nice move on UAMS' part to move that car "benefit" out of the public eye and try to make themselves look like they were trimming their state car list down. Private funds at UAMS which I'm sure the donors assumed would be spent on improving patient care. I wonder how many other UAMS employees are receiving "privately funded" car allowances and if the UAMS donors realized that this is what their donations are going for - hush money and car allowances. The CFO doesn't do a lot if any car travel for UAMS and did not need a state car or car allowance. Our state car ferried her to law school on UAMS's dime when other UAMS employees have either gone part time or taken time off from work at the expense of their paycheck to attend courses to further their education. Having a law degree was not in the CFO job requirements I am sure so unnecessary for the performance of her role at UAMS.
Awkward in timing, at least, for an institution hoping for additional millions from the 2013 legislature.
* GUN NUTS LOVE OBAMA: What's that I say? Gun nuts love Obama? Sure they do. Leaks to the Washington Post from his gun task force, which suggest an interest in some meaningful gun regulation — closing the gunshot loophole that allows private arms to be traded without background checks — has set fire to the gun worshippers, temporarily sheepish over the latest mass firearm slaughter.
“[The article] was a Molotov cocktail right into the middle of this thing,” Dave Workman, a former board member at the National Rifle Association, told TPM Monday. “That lit the fuse, it really did.”
Biden has “galvanized the gun community,” Workman said. Though no longer on the NRA board, Workman still spends most of his time advocating for expanded gun rights. He’s an official with the Second Amendment Foundation, communications director for Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and a prolific writer on the gun rights. Both groups Workman serves on are sponsors of Gun Appreciation Day, a nationwide effort to highlight gun ownership scheduled for the weekend of President Obama’s second inauguration.