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Words, Feb. 9

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It's not what Grant wore at Appomattox (at least not where you could see it) nor what ironworkers wear to a meeting of their local:

Tommy Durham writes, "I got a chuckle from a recent headline in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Business and Farm section: 'ABF files appeal to revive union suit.' "

"I'd vote to bring it back," Durham says. "I still have an old one in my closet that I bring out for parties. That business editor is probably too young to know what a union suit is."

Probably wouldn't even know what the trapdoor is for.

If Tommy wears his union suit with swagger — and we've heard from party guests that he's a caution — he'll win the approval of Gov. Mike Beebe, who wants all of us to do more swaggering.

"I hope that what they write is that in my time we found ourselves as a state and as a people and that we started that swagger," the governor told a gathering last week. "I don't mean in a bad way. I don't mean in an egotistical, evil way. I'm talking about in a positive proud way where we have the swagger that we can do anything, we can take on anybody, we can solve our problems and help other people solve theirs just about better than anybody else."

Beebe himself, we've heard, has taken to carrying a swagger stick around the Capitol, and passing out licks to feral legislators with it. Some of them won't go positive without that sort of persuasion.

There's always somebody who doesn't get the message, though, or gets it incorrectly. Sen. John Boozman reportedly understood that Beebe wanted more "Swaggart" in Arkansas, and is seeking federal funds to pay for performances by Jimmy Swaggart at white churches across the state. Accused of violating the First Amendment, Boozman allegedly responded that he's never without his sidearm.

n Let a swagger be your umbrella on a rainy, rainy day.

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