Smart talk 

Ambidextrous attorneys

It's said that a good lawyer, trained to rise above his principles, can argue either side of a case. Bloomberg News reports that some of Washington's big-shot law firms are demonstrating their versatility.

Shiite Republican Kenneth Starr hated Democrat Bill Clinton so much he all but burst into flames while serving as a special prosecutor assigned to get Clinton (and Mrs. Clinton). But in the current presidential race, the law firm where Starr works, Kirkland and Ellis, has given more money to Hillary Clinton than to all the Republican candidates combined. And Jones Day, the law firm that represents the Republican National Committee, has given three-and-half times as much to the Democrats as to the Republicans. Disembarking a distressed vessel, perhaps.

Wants it settled

Gov. Mike Beebe has told Arkansas historians and the state Education Department to get together and resolve their differences on guidelines for teaching Arkansas history in the public schools, according to Tom Dillard of Fayetteville, president of the Arkansas History Education Coalition. Dillard said he'd talk to the other coalition members soon to see how they want to proceed. Whatever agreement the two sides might reach presumably would go into effect in the 2008-09 school year, if the governor approves. Beebe's instruction is something of a victory for the coalition, which had earlier sought, unsuccessfully, to block the Education Department from implementing new guidelines in the 2007-08 school year. Beebe declined that request. The coalition, made up of college history professors and others, says that the guidelines weaken the teaching of Arkansas history. Conflict between the historians and the Education Department has been heated.

Where have all the beauties gone?

The Miss America Pageant hangs on by a thread this year, belatedly picked up by the TLC cable channel through 2010. The struggle of the national pageant has implications down the line. Pageant culture remains relatively strong in Arkansas, compared with some states, and the Miss Arkansas Pageant still draws a good crowd to Hot Springs.

But what about the feeder pageants? In what may or may not be a sign of the times, we read in the Ashley County Ledger last week that the Miss Ashley County pageant at the Ashley County Fair had to be postponed a week because, six days before the scheduled event, no one had entered. We are sure there are still beauties in Ashley County, if not the contest-entering kind.



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