It's common knowledge that blind people are supposed to have superior hearing, but apparently Governor David Paterson is utterly tone deaf. One day after the Legislature approved his emergency budget plan to force 100,000 state workers to take unpaid furloughs, news broke that members of Paterson's staff are getting $70,000 in raises. But maybe he can probably hear just fine, and this is just one of the privileges of being a lame duck—no need to keep up appearances anymore! Ironically, four out of the five staffers receiving raises are members of Paterson's press team.

Most of the raises are in the $10K range, increasing two low-end staffers' pay grade from the mid-30s to the mid-40s. Others are getting bumped up from $65K to $75K. Paterson's communications director Morgan Hook ($150,000-a-year) describes the raises to the Post as "promotions" which are justified because "these people had added responsibilities and they have added work because we have fewer people doing the same job." Of course, the reason why there are fewer people is because of all the Paterson staffers who resigned in the heat of the scandal surrounding his alleged meddling in an aide's domestic violence legal trouble.

"This is a slap in the face to all of the public employees whose raises he's held back and who are going to lose another 20 percent per week because of these furloughs. He's just talking out of both sides of his mouth right now, doing one thing—the raises for his own workers—while at the same time saying everybody's gotta sacrifice," Ken Brynien, president of the Public Employees Federation, tells CBS2. That union and two others filed federal lawsuits yesterday arguing that the furlough of unionized state workers violates their contracts and "effectively revokes the essential bargained-for contractual rights" of the 100,000 workers affected. For all the furlough-philes out there, the Capitol Confidential has copies of the lawsuits.