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A few years back, a British diplomat in Nigeria wrote home that “Africans as a whole are not only not averse to cutting off their nose to spite their face, they regard such an operation as a triumph of cosmetic surgery.”

If that's true, Africans as a whole have much in common with certain Arkansas state officials. These are the ones responsible for laws that say illegal aliens who're living in Arkansas and who want to attend a state college or university must pay the higher tuition fee that is charged students who live outside Arkansas.

The laws discourage illegal aliens who may have lived in Arkansas most of their lives, and who may plan to continue living here, from bettering themselves by attending college. In other words, the laws further restrict the number of college graduates in a state already painfully short of them.

Researchers have found a link between prosperity and the percentage of college graduates in a state. Chancellor Joel Anderson of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock sees the connection. At a public meeting last week, Anderson called for revision of the laws, so that illegal aliens who've graduated from Arkansas high schools and spent a number of years in the state won't be required to pay out-of-state tuition. “The more graduates we have, the better off we'll be,” Anderson said, adding perceptively that Arkansas's current practices are like “cutting off our noses to spite our face.” We need noses, and graduates.

When zebras attack

The old cartoons always showed convicts wearing stripes. Today, football officials wear stripes even before they've been convicted. The prominent NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens was one of many who commented on the way SEC officials cheated Arkansas in the Florida game last Saturday at Gainesville. CBS announcers reached a similar conclusion while the game was in progress, once pointing out that a foul had been called on an Arkansas player – at a crucial time – for doing no more than Tim Tebow had been doing the whole game. It's said officials were making the alligator-chomp motion as the teams left the field. Maybe one of them will win the Heisman Trophy. It's not only the Razorbacks who've been jobbed by officials pandering to the home crowd lately. A week earlier, Arkansas State played the University of Louisiana at Monroe and was penalized 16 times, a school record, while the Monrovians were virtually penalty-free. (Appalling but not surprising in a state that elects Billy Tauzins and Bobby Jindals to public office.) This sort of thing may win games, Florida and ULM. It will not win respect.  


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