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Smart Talk March 10

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Move over, vice president for marketing “Most of our savings come not from the exploitation of employees but from things like large-volume buying, inventory management and distribution technology. Our CEO and other executives share hotel rooms on the road, fly coach and empty their own wastebaskets to save money for our customers.” — Sarah Clark of Bentonville, director of corporate communications for Wal-Mart Stores, in a letter to The Nation magazine, responding to a critical article published Jan. 3. Consolidation woes Cave City’s absorption of the former Evening Shade schools brought with it a little mascot controversy. The Batesville Daily Guard reported recently that Evening Shade resident Michelle Huff had called on the Cave City School Board to dump the current mascot, the Caveman. She said the dictionary definition of the Stone Age dweller is one “crude or brutal, especially toward women.” Huff noted that she could find only one other U.S. school district that has a Caveman as mascot and that an Iowa newspaperman had made fun of the mascot after spying a Caveman sign en route to Iowa after attending the Clinton Library opening. She noted that some other newly combined school districts had used the occasion to create new mascots. Board members said the idea was worth asking the community about. Since Cave City annexed Evening Shade, odds are that the Cavemen will carry more clout in the final decision. Bill v. Arnold? According to U.S. News and World Report, Democrats in Congress are considering voting for a constitutional amendment that would allow naturalized citizens like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president, in exchange for Republican support for repealing the Twenty-Second Amendment, which prohibits people who’ve served two terms as president — like Bill Clinton — from running again. See her in the funny papers North Little Rock artist Sherrie Shepherd, whose comic strip “Francie” had a decade’s run in newspapers nationally, has just signed a contract with the Creators syndicate in Los Angeles for her new strip, “Petey Peppercorn.” The strip is about a 6-year-old tomboy, Petey; her dog, So-Low; and her pals, nerdy, brainy Milton and wealthy Olivia, who wears her former private school’s uniform to public school for prestige. Creators also syndicates “Andy Capp,” “B.C.,” “Heathcliff,” the “Wizard of Id,” and two other strips generated from Arkansas, “Strange Brew” by Little Rock artist John Deering and “Zack Hill” by Deering and J. Newcombe. “Petey” will premiere late this year or early in 2006.

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