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Smart Talk

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Fat chance

According to the liberal magazine American Prospect, “Mike Huckabee, the genial former governor of Arkansas, is enjoying an improbable moment as a favorite dark-horse GOP presidential candidate among liberals. (He wants to raise taxes to help the poor! He supports arts education in the schools!)”

But AP goes on to say that candidate Huckabee has a weakness, noting that since he lost more than 100 pounds, he’s written a diet book “and become a born-again exerciser and weight-loss advocate. But if there’s one thing Americans hate, it’s being lectured about their weight.

“Americans are fat, and red-state Americans are the fattest of all. Alas for Huckabee: The population that most enthusiastically supports state-led action on obesity is liberal Democrats, according to a public-opinion study by social scientists J. Eric Oliver and Taeku Lee. ‘Most obesity policies do not enjoy broad support,’ they concluded. ‘Most Americans do not see either the public’s or their own weight as a serious health problem.’ Which may pose a problem for the ‘recovering foodaholic’ who told Newsweek, ‘We should make it the cultural norm to practice healthy habits.’

“Huckabee may be running for the Daddy Party banner, but to his party’s base, he’ll look like just another soy-sipping, tofu-tasting Nanny State nag.”

Lacrosse they’d bear

Eager to see some fast field hockey competition? How about a spirited lacrosse match? Hendrix College at Conway is your venue, or will be next school year when Hendrix fields the first teams in Arkansas to participate in these sports at the intercollegiate level. Field hockey (women) will be played in the fall, lacrosse (men) in the spring. Hendrix is signing recruits for these teams now, but no scholarships will be given. Athletic scholarships are not allowed in Division III of the NCAA. Hendrix is a member of the Southern College Athletic Conference, a Division III conference, and is the only SCAC member in Arkansas. It competes in a number of sports, including men’s and women’s golf, tennis, swimming, and track and field.

Lacrosse is a sport historically associated with the Northeast, but Hendrix sports information director Parker Griffith said that it’s growing rapidly in Texas, where most of the Hendrix recruits are coming from. Field hockey is also a sport played more in the North than the South. Griffith said field hockey’s rules are much like soccer’s, but field hockey is played with sticks “and a very hard ball.”

Crystal ball

How much art has been acquired for Crystal Bridges Museum? Bob Workman, the director of the museum, which has made announcements in the past two weeks about the acquisition of seven historical paintings, said enough works have been bought to open a museum.

That means Alice Walton, who’s building the museum, has been busier than the Crystal Bridges website lets on. Only 18 paintings have been announced as part of the collection, which will cover American art from the 18th century to today, a broader range than initially envisioned.

The most recent acquisition: Thomas Eakins’ portrait of Professor Benjamin H. Rand, which was owned by the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Walton wanted to buy Jefferson’s more famous Eakins, “The Gross Clinic,” in partnership with the National Gallery, but Philadelphia museums pooled resources to keep the painting there.

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