The United Methodist Church's South Central Jurisdictional Conference 2008 kicks off today at the Hilton Anatole -- and, yup, The Hot Topic for some will be the George W. Bush library-think tank planned for the SMU campus. From the looks of the agenda, the real fun should come tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., when SMU president Gerald Turner addresses the assembly on the state of the university; no doubt, a few folks -- like familiar face and SMU grad Andrew Weaver, who looks as the conference as the last chance to stop the inevitable -- will have something to say about Sunday's story concerning a Houston lobbyist's trying to sell six-figure meet-and-greet packages in which he'd swap Bush Administration access for library bricks made of gold.
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The upcoming firestorm gets a major mention in The New York Sun this morning in a story headlined "Opponents of Bush Library Invoke Limbaugh, Coulter." Which isn't technically true, if you read the story. Folks like SMU church history prof Valerie Karras are more worried about the school's "academic reputation," she tells the paper. "By not having university control of the institute there can be no guarantee that it will conduct itself in accordance with normal academic practice in hiring fellows." --Robert Wilonsky