Columns » Max Brantley

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Sometimes direct quotes and a bit of context are all that's necessary for commentary on news events. See what I mean:

  • "Dinner & Reception SOLD OUT to @realDonaldTrump." Twitter post by Doyle Webb, Arkansas Republican Party chairman, on the enthusiastic response to Trump's appearance at a Republican Party fundraiser in Hot Springs.

  • "He is not a war hero. ... He is a war hero because he was captured." Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaking in Iowa, hours after his July 17 stop in Arkansas, about U.S. Sen. John McCain, who spent five years as a POW in Vietnam.

  • "Democrats are the party of the future ... Republicans "may have some fresh faces, but they are the party of the past." Hillary Clinton, 67, during remarks Saturday at Verizon Arena to the Arkansas Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.

  • "Judge Womack ask [sic] that he be recused from the above referenced case, due to the natural [sic] of the case. He believes that this case would require a more experienced judge with a greater criminal background." From a letter by an assistant of Circuit Judge Shawn Womack of Mountain Home last August. Womack didn't want to hear a pending robbery case. Womack is a candidate for the Arkansas Supreme Court, which hears many criminal cases. He is so far unopposed.

  • "Law clerks for the Court of Appeals shall receive the same salaries as Supreme Court law clerks." Arkansas state law, quoted in an article on the Arkansas Blog about pay raises awarded to Arkansas Supreme Court clerks effective July 1. Arkansas Court of Appeals law clerks got 1 percent pay raises, in line with COLAs received by 28,000 state employees, their first general raise in several years. Of the 14 Supreme Court clerks, two got 5 percent raises and the rest got 9 percent or more. One working for Justice Rhonda Wood got a 23 percent raise; a clerk for Justice Karen Baker got a 36.8 percent pay raise. More than half the 24 Appeals Court clerks make less than the lowest-paid Supreme Court clerk.

  • Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Jo"Hart said the Supreme Court had a heavy workload and tried hard to decide cases speedily." News coverage of the appearance by Hart and Justice Karen Baker before the independent citizens pay commission, which had recommended an 11 percent pay raise for the justices to $166,000. The justices said it wasn't nearly enough. Baker and Hart successfully blocked a decision in the same-sex marriage case, which finally was dismissed without an opinion by the Arkansas Supreme Court after eight months, though it had been granted "expedited" status.

  • "I will restore your trust in the treasurer's office." Campaign slogan of Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan. He has illegally hired a cousin. He got new job qualifications set by the legislature waived so he could hire a former TSA agent, Jim Harris, as his chief of staff and just gave him a whopper of a raise to $105,000 a year though he and Harris remain defendants in a lawsuit (state is paying legal expenses) by an already disgruntled former employee of the office. Taxpayers have paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle claims and pay legal fees arising from Milligan's actions as Saline County circuit clerk. The American Cancer Society has confirmed that one of its employees campaigned on its time and equipment for Milligan, in violation of the agency's rules. Allegations over improper and unreported campaign expenditures have been made. The Jefferson County Republican County Committee has called for his resignation.

  • "Term limits are anti-democratic. The vote is an effective term limit." Columnist Max Brantley, when Democrats were the majority party in Arkansas and Republicans were leading the charge for term limits.

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