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Smart Talk

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Cold shoulder

The national scandal that has erupted since the Bush administration removed U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins of Little Rock to replace him with former Karl Rove aide Tim Griffin has mostly turned on weighty issues — separation of powers, false testimony to Congress, political manipulation of the Justice Department.

But a Justice Department release of internal documents turned up some more personal items, such as this e-mail that Griffin sent to Monica Goodling, the Justice Department’s liaison to the White House about his coming permanent interim appointment.

Wrote Griffin: “I am good friends with both chiefs of staff to [Arkansas Senators] Pryor and Lincoln. Pryor’s chief of staff is a good friend and Lincoln’s was my high school girlfriend,” Griffin writes. “Should I say anything to them? I would hate for my senators to be told without my peeps knowing?”

Peeps, indeed. Pryor, whose staff is led by Bob Russell, has led the fight against the appointment of Griffin without a confirmation hearing. Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s press spokesman said Lincoln staff chief Elizabeth Burks was at Magnolia High School with Griffin one year. But girlfriend? “Tim Griffin’s claim is absolutely untrue,” the spokesman said. She said they never dated.

Schools: a rainbow coalition

It’s no longer sufficient, when speaking of public schools in racial terms, to talk of white and black students. The state also identifies students as Asian and Hispanic. Hispanic students are the noticeable growth population.

Here’s the top 10 school districts in Arkansas by total Hispanic enrollment, with the number of Hispanic students in 2006-2007 in each district and their percentage of the district’s total enrollment:

Springdale 6,258 38 percent

Rogers 4,912 37 percent

Fort Smith 3,059 22.4 percent

Little Rock 1,553 6 percent

DeQueen 1,200 48 percent

Bentonville 1,069 9.6 percent

Fayetteville 924 9.5 percent

Siloam Springs 786 22 percent

Van Buren 716 12 percent

Russellville 645 12.7 percent

Notable: Springdale also has 1,158 Asian students, or 7 percent of total enrollment. Fort Smith enrolls 898 Asian students, or 6.6 percent of total enrollment.

QB or not QB?

During the Mustain-Nutt unpleasantness, when there was much talk about quarterbacks and coaches, we heard it said that Tarvaris Jackson, who started a couple of games for the Minnesota Vikings last year, was the only ex-Razorback ever to play quarterback in the NFL. Jackson was at Arkansas briefly before transferring to Alabama State, a predominantly black school. We wish him well, but he’s nowhere near being the only NFL quarterback from Arkansas.

Drafted in 1973, Joe Ferguson played 13 seasons in the NFL, mostly as the starting quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He has been inducted into the Bills’ Wall of Fame. While at Arkansas, he broke virtually all the Razorback passing records and was named the Southwest Conference offensive player of the year in 1971.

Real old-timers can remember Lamar McHan, who played 11 years in the NFL. He was selected by the old Chicago Cardinals as the first overall pick in the 1954 draft and was their starting quarterback for five years. He also played for the Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers. At Arkansas in 1953, he led the Southwest Conference in passing, total offense, punting and punt returns.

Other ex-Razorbacks, such as Clint Stoerner and Scott Bull, played a little quarterback in the NFL.

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