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Smart Talk Sept. 15

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Piling on Bush Eureka Springs is cutting-edge again. Thanks to the Lovely County Citizen, we’ve learned of an international, er, movement that began in Germany to protest President George Bush in a singular fashion. Pranksters around the world are now making small flags with Bush’s face on them and planting them in piles of dog excrement found in public parks and other places. The “Bush in Poo” campaign turned up in Eureka recently in a pile of dog waste on Spring Street, near the library. Many, many websites deal with this new form of protest. One of them, pooprotest.com, offers a template to make your own Bush flags. It says that, so far as is known, using dog excrement as a flagstand for a Bush flag is not a violation of the Patriot Act. Yet. The National Merit report National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists were announced this week and Little Rock’s Central High School is again at the top of the list in Arkansas, though tied this year with Fayetteville High with 16 semi-finalists each. The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science and the Arts in Hot Springs, a selective admissions high school, had 13. Here’s how the state’s 10 largest high schools fared, listed in order of 2004 enrollment with the semi-finalists at each: 1. Rogers (6) 2. Springdale (1) 3. North Little Rock (2) 4. Fayetteville (16) 5. Conway (7) 6. Cabot (6) 7. Bentonville (4) 8. LR Central (16) 9. Fort Smith Southside (3) 10. Bryant (1) Pulaski County note: After Central, top producers of semi-finalists were Pulaski Academy, 5; Mount St. Mary, 4; Catholic High, 3, and Little Rock Christian, 3. Temporary duty We were surprised to learn that Fort Chaffee was not becoming a temporary home for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Newcomers to Arkansas are being processed there but moved quickly to church camps and other temporary homes. Capt. Kristine Munn with the Arkansas National Guard said that Fort Chaffee is being used only as a staging point due to its “bare bones” facilities. “[The facilities at Chaffee are] from World War II. They’re open, bay-style barracks. They have been refurbished, so they have heat and A/C and basic necessities, but there’s only one bathroom per floor because we’re used to housing a bunch of male soldiers in there.” Munn said the decision to mothball Chaffee as a shelter for now was made by Gov. Mike Huckabee. “We started getting word a long, long time ago that if we did house people there, it’d be just because there were so many [evacuees] in the state that all the other places were filled up.” Could local jitters about housing thousands of New Orleans people in one place — as Chaffee would be able to do — have had anything to do with the decision? Munn said she hadn’t heard anything about that. While Munn said armed National Guardsmen were sent to Chaffee during the arrival of the first wave of evacuees “because of all the reports we were receiving from New Orleans,” the situation has been calm and very positive.

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