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Some stories get my goat more than others, such as the one published by Parade Magazine the other day. It disclosed how much various professions are compensated annually, including people I consider the most flagrant prima donnas.

Salaries in the millions of dollars were listed for a handful of Hollywood actresses and actors. These (for the most part) are the same groups of multimillionaires created solely by the free enterprise system who are quick to publicly denounce the capitalistic process that made them obscenely wealthy on our dollars purely for donning makeup and faking reality for our entertainment.

I have nothing against anyone rising as high and fast as they can, even these so-called "celebrities." Isn't that the idea in these United States? Our method provides the freedom as individuals to choose, lose or excel in whatever fields bring us income and fulfillment.

Rather, my disgust lies with the audacity of those who publicly lecture others over acquiring wealth and material goods (which includes them), while so often endorsing the reputed benefits, rather than tyrannies, of leftist socialism and worse over our system that created the greatest nation ever to exist.

I invariably develop painful gas attacks after continually hearing the ultra-privileged and ultra-wealthy elitist beneficiaries of our system, including politicians, blithely lecturing Americans about not forking over our fair share and how we must follow their political and social agendas to be acceptable. Oscar-worthy hypocrisy indeed.

Godspeed, Paul

The late Paul Darnell of Harrison was like so many good and decent people who pass largely unheralded through the brief and fragile existence we share. If you'd ever met Paul, you'd have appreciated his wry sense of humor, wisdom and mirthful approach after 89 years of living.

And, man oh man, did Paul ever relish thick crispy onion rings with catsup. And he enjoyed sharing!

When my time comes to board the mortality express, I hope those closest to me will remember all the good times we shared the same way our golf group regularly remembers Paul, now gone almost three months.

Each time we reach Harrison's 15th tee, out comes the familiar bottle of peach schnapps to be passed between us for a single-swig toast to Paul for having been such an enriching part of our lives. Therein, valued readers, lies the secret of one's immortality: Others pausing after we are gone to fondly remember all the ways we positively affected their lives, rather than everything we did for ourselves, which I guarantee no one will recall.

Ex-teacher speaks

I received several interesting messages from readers last week in response to my column about the record number of Americans leaving their chosen fields of education and law enforcement.

David Kelley was one with standing to comment. Here's is what that former career educator said (edited for space):

"Superb job today! As a (former) teacher I can say I have no clue why anyone would want to be a teacher or a cop. Not in this day and time. I taught mainly Special Education, in both large and small schools, and got fed up with the paperwork, the horrible behavior of students and parents and the constant criticism of those outside the profession. Including the editors of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette who blame teachers for anything and everything.

"I had a principal tell me, as I was being told my contract would not be renewed, that it is all about the paperwork. Silly me, I thought it was about actually working with students. The following story is 100 percent true.

"I was one of two Special Ed teachers at this particular high school. The other teacher did beautiful paperwork, student files in complete order, all very well done. However, parents did not like their children in his class, other teachers did not like working with him for various reasons, and the administration would move kids from his class to mine.

"On the other hand, I did horrible paperwork (my emphasis being on actually working with students). However, I was asked by the superintendent to monitor state-required tests and to proctor end-of-course exams. I had zero complaints from other teachers about working with the students, and zero complaints from parents, at least those who bothered to be involved with their child's education.

"Guess who kept his job year after year, and guess who basically was fired when the principal just looked at me and said, 'it all comes down to the paperwork'? It's a quote I will never forget. Please keep in mind I have 20 years' teaching experience."

In agreement

Another former Arkansas teacher named Danny wrote: "Having recently retired from public education after 20 years instructing math and science, your observations and testimonies about exiting educators is spot on. The statistics are out there to be found, but the problem started around 1947, accelerated in 1973, and has had legislated 'accelerants' added following years. Just have a look at the 'federalization' of education correlated to ACT scores. It started simple and it has become increasingly complex as the years passed."


Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist. Email him at

Editorial on 04/14/2019

Print Headline: MIKE MASTERSON: Millions made

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