Stories for September 2003

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Tuesday, September 30

Changing Gears

Jackson now has a bicycle lane. It runs from Duling to Crane Park on Old Canton Road in the Fondren-Meadowbrook area. The lane is part of a pilot program in conjunction with the Fondren Renaissance Foundation. Tim Bryan, Jackson's assistant traffic engineer, said that the residents in that area had an interest in working with his department to create the lane. They are hoping it will produce a traffic-calming effect and encourage biking and walking in the neighborhood. If the pilot goes well, Jackson is looking to add more biking lanes in other parts of the city. And a bike trail, called Little J, is being proposed for the Jackson State area.

October Ball

Baseball's regular season is over and now it's time for the good stuff: The playoffs start Tuesday.

Monday, September 29

Monday's Papers: Colts Bag Saints

The Colts just scored again. Final score: Indianapolis 195, New Orleans 21. The Saints are turning into the Aints again. Break out the paper bags. Hey, Steve McNair and the Titans looked good didn't they? And if the Cowboys can play all of their games at the Meadowlands, they will go to the Super Bowl.

Sunday, September 28

Sunday Papers: Postmortems

Turn out the lights, the party is over for:

Mississippi State and Jackie Sherrill. After losing to LSU 41-6, Sherrill said he saw "improvement" on State's defense. By improvement, does Sherrill mean giving up just 41 points instead of the customary 42? Put a fork in the Jackal, he's done.

Baseball's Dirty Secret

OK, you can relax Detroit Tigers fans. Your collection of Triple-A castoffs in major-league uniforms won't replace the 1962 New York Mets as modern baseball's worst team. Still, as regular season ends on Sunday and the playoffs begin on Tuesday, Slate's Allen Barra writes that it's time to stop believing the hype: Baseball is more competitive than it's ever been, no matter what Bud Selig and his lackeys in the mainstream press say.

Friday, September 26

Huskers Do In Eagles

Southern Miss got its moment in the national spotlight on Thursday night, playing host to the storied Nebraska Cornhuskers before a packed house and a national cable TV audience. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Huskers stapled, folded and mutilated 'em 38-14. Here's how they covered the game in Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Natchez, Lincoln, Neb., Omaha and Huskerpedia (which has links to even more game stories, including other Mississippi and Nebraska papers.

Public Radio and ETV Election 2003 Coverage

Do you know who's who in this year's election race? Are you interested in hearing what the candidates have to say about the issues that affect the state of Mississippi? Join the public television and radio stations of the Mississippi Broadcasting Networks (MSBN) for

Thursday, September 25

Major League Scoop

Baseball season is almost over and a Village Voice writer just noticed that some people hate the New York Yankees. This just in: Dr. S has learned that water is wet.

Shucks, It's Huskers vs. Eagles

It's finally here: Nebraska vs. Southern Miss, Thursday night live in Hub City before a national cable TV audience (ESPN) and an almost sold-out Roberts Stadium. Ditch work Thursday afternoon, pick up a sack of Wendy burgers and a case of Natty Light and do the tailgating thing. Or just stay home and watch the tube. Dr. S rates this a can't miss. He also rates it a Nebraska win, 24-14. Don't believe Dr. S? Just ask Psychic Herbie.

Wednesday, September 24

Rebel Reversal

In the biggest retreat for the University of Mississippi since Gettysburg, the school has placed its search for a new mascot to replace Colonel Reb on hold. The official line is that the search committee isn't happy with the submissions. The real problem is that so many Ole Miss alumni (like the Joneses) are unhappy with UM officials for trying to replace the Slave Owner with a more politically correct mascot. Will Chancellor Robert Khayat and AD Pete Boone survive the turmoil? (Dr. S suggests they invest in moving boxes.)

Tuesday, September 23

Is this even parody?

"Treasury Secretary John Snow announced Monday that the federal government will discontinue its long-term, low-yield investment in the nation's youth," The Onion "reports."

First Gubernatorial Candidate Debate Sept. 29 at Belhaven

WHAT: The first of four 2003 gubernatorial candidate debates to be held across the state. The event is being sponsored by WLBT-TV and Belhaven College and will be aired live on WLBT-TV.

Monday, September 22

Monday's Papers

The Saints went retro up in Nashville on Sunday, i.e., they got waxed by the Titans 27-12. Here's how the New Orleans and Nashville papers covered it. This is the kind of nostalgia Dr. S can do without. But, hey, Steve McNair (the pride of Mount Olive and Lorman) looked good, didn't he?

Burning Up the Highway

More than 40 years ago, a few dedicated people boarded buses and rode through the South to try and make life better for African Americans. They called themselves the Freedom Riders. This month it's happening again. Caravans of buses are leaving nine major cities across the country this month to try and improve the lives of immigrant workers. They will depart from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Chicago, Houston and Miami. After stopping in cities along the way, including Jackson, the protesters will converge first in Washington to lobby Congress, and then they're moving on to New York for a rally in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens on Oct. 4.

Sunday, September 21

Sunday's Papers

With a few exceptions, it wasn't a good weekend for Mississippi's college teams. Here's a roundup of stories on Saturday's games that you won't find in your Jackson paper.

Saturday, September 20

Football Fat Guys and Modest Cheerleaders

Here's some items of interest:

Fat guys are alive, well and prospering in the NFL, says Slate's Levin.

Friday, September 19

Tights Pants and Beer

On the first day of an introductory psychology course, I learned that Freud believed people strive to seek pleasure and avoid pain. With all the knowledge I needed, I dropped the course and adopted Freud's belief as my philosophy of life. Not everyone, however, is as fortunate as I. People exist who actually seek pain. It's true—I met one once. Known as "athletes," they seem to enjoy pain, the risk of injury and even sweat. Short of a major power outage in August, I never sweat.

Healing Port Gibson

Those of us with the desire to integrate people through art need look no further than Port Gibson this weekend, when a diverse, intergenerational community will come together in Jo Carson's play "How the Deal Rocked Up." Commissioned and presented by Mississippi Cultural Crossroads, the play interweaves 50-plus years of local narratives collected by the organization as a part of the Claiborne County Oral History Project. Themes touched on—first-person accounts of shootings, racial tensions, land purchases under the New Deal—can be problematic to address anywhere, let alone in a town of 12,000 people in southern Mississippi.

Thursday, September 18

[Drive] The Ultima Armrest Test

I rolled up to Ms. D. and pulled the car to a stop, as I'd successfully navigated the Hertz desk and become the proud temporary proprietor of a red 2003 Nissan Altima. "It's got bird #[email protected]% on it," she said, pointing. n fact, she did not say "#[email protected]%," but rather an actual expletive that I feel I should censor here in the interest of our discerning readers. I will admit that I was not shocked, however, as I have been conditioned to expect this behavior.

Clothes Make The Player

Here's an interesting Village Voice piece on changes in NFL uniforms. However, it fails to address the disturbing trend in NFL uniforms: matching shirts and pants. Seahawks, Bills, Bengals (all black, ugh) and the rest, how about some damn contrast? You look like CFL teams. Go here to see what Dr. S means.

Meaning and Nothingness

Hey, did you know that Dr. S is ineffable? And a content provider? That's what Dr. S read in the latest issue of the Jackson Free Press. Somebody please tell him what that means. Dr. S also read that he upset patrons at some sports bar. Just doing his job ... Speaking of upsetting (for some Ole Miss fans), here's where some Rebel diehards are rallying around the flag, er, Colonel.

Wednesday, September 17

Newspaper Bites VP

The Star-Trib's editorial seriously takes Cheney to task for his appearance on "Meet the Press." How about this line:

Clark: The New Dean?

Salon has posted Clark: The New Dean? -- a story that takes as look at how various interests in the Democratic party are looking at a Clark bid for the presidency as a way to save them from Dean, who scares some of the establishment. A key line comes toward the end, where the writer makes the case that "all of the liberal positions that Dean has staked out" actually boil down to one thing that party insiders fear make him unelectable -- civil unions.

[Spann] Nothing Sacred?

I'm tired of being politically correct. I'm tired of tiptoeing around people's feelings and trying to make everyone comfortable. So I'll just say it: I'm very disturbed by the recent confirmation of Bishop Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, an openly gay clergyman, by the Episcopal Church. The event has been heralded as a history-making moment and perhaps a divisive blow to the Episcopal Church. I'm sure Robinson is a nice guy, great father and even better partner to his longtime companion, but I don't believe he should be a leader in any Christian-based church. His confirmation demonstrates what is wrong with religion and specifically Christianity today.

Stokin' the Flames

and Donna Ladd

It's the most tasteless kind of three-way tussle one could imagine: The Clarion-Ledger and Councilman Kenneth Stokes are fighting over who's more under the sheets with the Ku Klux Klan. The current flare-up started Sept. 2 when WLBT-3 reported that fliers, tucked neatly into copies of the Thrifty Nickel, were being tossed into yards in Byram. Thrifty Nickel is a classified newspaper that typically doesn't offend a soul. The fliers reproduced an editorial as well as a poliical cartoon from The Clarion-Ledger, both on Stokes' comments about the city's new redistricting plan. The editorial labeled his remarks as "racial demagoguery at its worst."

Bizarro NAFTA logic

Sid Salter often reminds me of George Will: Clearly, he has a good mind, which shows up sometimes in his columns, but he's so busy using it to shill for the GOP that it's hard to remember that sometimes. Case in point: His Sunday column apologizing for Haley Barbour's hands-on role in NAFTA implementation—which led directly to the loss of so many Mississippi jobs. The point of the column is to remind voters that NAFTA was signed into law by a Democrat — duh. Who doesn't know that one of the Democrats' biggest sell-outs to the GOP in recent years was NAFTA? This is a major black mark on Clinton's record, and the main reason I first started turning against "New Democrats" (other reasons soon piled up). But, the point here and now in Mississippi, is whether we should elect a governor who is the CEO of a D.C. lobbying firm that handled much of the NAFTA implementation, not to mention helped push for it, despite warnings that it would take away jobs back in his home state? The closest he could come to tying Musgrove to NAFTA is his membership in the party who agreed to come on board the train being conducted, in part, by Haley Barbour. That's really weak. It's not like Musgrove is a poster-boy Democrat, after all. He can easily argue that NAFTA is one of the many issues that he takes umbrage with national Dems over. This one's a pitifully obvious shill.

Tease photo

Hoodwinked! The U.S. Chamber Pulls a Fast One on Mississippi with 'Tort Reform'

It sounded mighty convincing: "Mississippi faces a crisis in medical malpractice insurance." The warnings by industry have been dire: "This is a wake-up call for Mississippi." The reports of doctors bolting the state have been breathless: "It's the harassment of dealing with meritless lawsuits." When the tort-reform hysteria blew up in 2001, Mississippi, it seemed, was finally on top of something: The state's "trial-lawyer cabal" was harnessing "runaway juries" willing to mete out "jackpot justice" and drive all our good doctors and job-producing businesses out of "lawsuit central" (the state).

Tuesday, September 16

[Acker] My Church's Courage

The consent on Aug. 6, 2003, to the election of Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop Co-Adjutor of New Hampshire filled me with joy and hope. I am an Episcopalian and a member of the Cathedral parish of St. Andrew in Jackson. Many in my community, and some in my parish family, received the news of the decision to confirm an openly gay man as a leader of a diocese with great distress. They saw this as a negative for the Episcopal Church and for the future shape of the Christian community in the United States. I find it overwhelmingly positive—a move on the part of the leadership of the Episcopal Church that will produce both numerical and spiritual growth and will foster the spread of the kingdom of God on earth.

Tights Pants and Beer

On the first day of an introductory psychology course, I learned that Freud believed people strive to seek pleasure and avoid pain. With all the knowledge I needed, I dropped the course and adopted Freud's belief as my philosophy of life. Not everyone, however, is as fortunate as I. People exist who actually seek pain. It's true—I met one once. Known as "athletes," they seem to enjoy pain, the risk of injury and even sweat. Short of a major power outage in August, I never sweat.

[Stiggers] What You Talkin' About?

"I'm sick and tired of hearin' your song tellin' us how you're gonna change right from wrong. Well, if you really want to hear my view, you haven't done nothin' "

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

If nobody e-mails any questions to me (see below) or gives me any when they see me around town, I have two choices: (1) harass friends, neighbors and total strangers to think up questions, or (2) make them up myself. I'll harass almost anybody anywhere before I resort to the second option.

Keith Tonkel

For going on 35 years, Keith Tonkel has been in the pulpit, serving the congregation and neighborhood of Wells United Methodist Church on Bailey Avenue. His office, on the second-story back corner over the parking lot, is filled with memorabilia and books tightly packed into floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and atop every surface except for the big wooden desk and where the blue iMac sits. An old cloth-covered armchair and black vinyl loveseat, both well-sat-in, provide seating for Tonkel and his many visitors.

Monday, September 15

Sid Salter on Haley Barbour

In the Sept. 13 issue of National Journal: "I think (Barbour's) been successful in changing his image from someone who just showed up on Crossfire to a guy who rolled up his sleeves, went out into rural Mississippi, shook hands, and sweated through his shirt," said Sid Salter, a political columnist with The Clarion-Ledger, in Jackson, Miss.

Saturday, September 13

Scary Burbs

<i>Urban Flight May Shorten Your Life</i>

Last spring, during the media frenzy over crime in the city, I interviewed a Brandon woman who had been the victim of an armed robbery in Jackson. She wasn't physically harmed, but she clearly had been terrified by her experience, and understandably so. But to hear her tell it, life in Jackson was a sheer every-day hell where you put your life on the line every second you spend in the city. And life in the suburbs, she seemed to think, was the most safe and healthy alternative to big city.

Thursday, September 11

How Did College Football Exist Before The Net?

Speaking of SEC football disasters, those Auburn fans are getting creative:

[Drive] Mocked in a Mustang

I have never been in a hardtop Mustang that was made after 1972. But I have seen them around and wondered about them. So, I was determined a few weeks back to rent one and report my findings here. Unfortunately, as I have been in the past, I was thwarted by a clever Hertz representative who, by using mind-control mojo, got me to take a convertible instead. She did this by saying, "Would you like a convertible instead? It's only $7 more a day."

[Talk] Perception vs. Reality

and Donna Ladd

Police Chief Robert Moore seems a bit more relaxed these days. It was pretty touch-and-go for him there for a while, especially during television sweeps time last spring when property crimes happened to have spiked dramatically in the city and young men were committing a series of armed home "invasions" in Fondren.

[Talk] ‘You Don't Need No Ticket'

Hope was palpable in the new Union Station the evening of Aug. 26. Mayor Harvey Johnson had wisely chosen the almost-completed "multi-model transportation center" as the site of his annual State of the City address. The building itself is remarkable: the renovation keeps (or replaces) the retro styling of a train depot of the past, while avoiding the mistake of over-designing that so often makes new construction tacky and uninviting.

Your Grid or Mine?

<i>Jackson Designers Push 'New Urbanism'</i>

Turn off U.S. 51 onto Hoy Road in Madison, toward the reservoir, and drive past a number of bland gated communities until the gravel ends and you're on dirt. Keep going through the trees, under a Natchez Trace bridge, through more trees—and, suddenly, you'll emerge at a clearing near the water. In that clearing (assuming I had my bearings right) will one day be the business district of Lost Rabbit, a "town" planned for this stretch of about 260 acres of this land. Right now, it's muddy, with water lapping the shore, two-by-fours and building materials (and fast food trash) scattered as if construction workers had skedaddled after sighting a gator.

[Stiggers] Escape from Jacktown!

Funkee Fanger Filmworks/Productions, Inc., Esq.,Co.,LLC,OPP,Yeah U Know Me (producers of the upcoming HBO Pay-Per-View event titled "Rumble In The Political Arena"—featuring City of Jackson officials and journalists) lyrically proposes this rough treatment/music video idea titled "Escape from Jacktown: Urban Flight."

Wednesday, September 10

Monday, September 8

Time For Rebels To Cut Their Losses?

Here's what a loss to Memphis and a bad-looking win over Vanderbilt will get an Ole Miss coach:

David Cutcliffe shouldn't feel too bad. Florida "fans" have had http://www.fireronzook.com up and running since he day he was hired as Gators coach. Cutcliffe should be flattered if his site is half as good as Zook's.

Sunday, September 7

Always in the Action

Pete Sampras, winner of 14 Grand Slam titles, retired from tennis following the opening ceremony of the 122nd U.S. Open Tennis Tournament at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., last week. The first thing he said was, "I'd like to thank my parents for giving me the opportunity to play." To an average fan, that sounds like a simple statement, but "the opportunity to play" has an enormous interpretation. "When you watch a Venus, Serena or an Andre play today, know they all spent a minimum of five hours a day, every day on the court," said Walker Sahag, a tennis instructor in Jackson.

[Talk] Home to Roost

The chickens George W. Bush hatched in January 2001 when he signed the No Child Left Behind education bill are starting to come home to roost. Now in the second year of high-stakes federal testing requirements that treat every student just alike—regardless of background, special-ed status or need for remediation—public schools are beginning to feel the pressure of federally required but under-funded tests. The NCLB standards may cause them to shut their doors if they can't figure out how to bring every student up to "proficient" (next to highest out of four levels) with the sole determination being the outcomes of controversial tests.

Saturday, September 6

Cheers to Gailya Porter!

Last week, we learned that Smith Elementary has ranked as a Level 5 school. We featured principal Gailya Porter as "Jacksonian" a month ago in our education issue. Here's an encore of that story in honor of a remarkable school and community.

Football and Fine Print

Memphis will beat Ole Miss

Dr. S is running late, so he will make this quick (and remember, don't use these for anything but entertainment purposes unless you want to be a millionaire ... in Iraq):

Friday, September 5

Wesley Clark for President?

Salon reports today: "On Wednesday Clark officially declared himself a Democrat, telling CNN that if he ran for president, he'd seek the Democratic nomination. 'It's a party that stands for internationalism. It's a party that stands for ordinary men and women,' Clark said. 'It's a party that stands for fair play and equity and justice and common sense and reasonable dialogue.' He told the network he hadn't made up his mind to run but added, 'I'm closer to working my way through it.'"

Clinton's Own Invention

I fell through the looking glass and ended up in Clinton. Surrounded by clouds of patchouli incense tinged with freshly brewing coffee aromas, luminous saris in glorious purples and reds, I was in Clinton's newest gallery, Colorwheeler Designs. Michelle Campbell, gallery owner, not only runs Colorwheeler, but the house-turned-gallery doubles as family home.

[Talk] No Discernible Effect

With no discussion to speak of, the Jackson City Council re-instituted its youth curfew ordinance at its Aug. 26 meeting. With City Councilman Ben Allen out of the room temporarily, the rest of the panel voted unanimously to re-up the curfew. The ordinance makes it unlawful for any minor under 18 "to remain in or upon any public street, highway, park, vacant lot, establishment or other public place within the city" during the forbidden hours of midnight to 6 a.m. Saturday and Sundays, and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays. The curfew also includes a truancy clause requiring school-age kids to be in school from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on school days.

Fixin' the Burbs

We hear and read a lot about the hidden costs of sprawl, for example that the average American now spends 443 hours behind the wheel every year, the equivalent of 55 nine-hour days. And we hear about new kinds of subdivisions and building projects such as "new urbanism" and "pedestrian pockets" that may help reduce both sprawl and unwanted driving. But we don't hear much about what can we do to enhance the health of existing suburbs. The fact is, we've already sprawled. How can we fix existing suburbs like Madison and Rankin, two of the most sprawling counties in the country ?

[Ladd] No More Wink-Wink Politics

Waaaa-powwww, right in the kisser! So, what was that loud explosion that hit the middle of last week? Certainly, it could have been me letting out 42 years of pent-up frustration at yet another act of stupidity by an elected official in Mississippi.

Camp Best

Seated in his corner office at 3318 North State Street, Camp Best beams his excitement about that eclectic part of the city known as Fondren. He calls the area's artistic renaissance the "Fondren glow," explaining, "It causes this light to shine on a community; it causes a feeling amongst people of community, and it starts to heal things."

Dead-End Paradise

Don't miss free indy films at Millsaps, starting Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Leggett Center.

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

<b>Complicated and Loquacious

Q. I'm new to Mississippi, and everybody talks too damned much. You ask someone a question, and you can't get them to shut up. Whatever happened to "yes" or "no"? — New in Town

Thursday, September 4

Thursday Nite Throw-downs

Southern Miss at Alabama-Birmingham (6 p.m., ESPN2)

Dr. S was 3-3 picking games last weekend, but we won't go there until later. First there are Thursday night games to be prognosticated.

Title Time For Our Guys?

The Jackson Senators return home on Thursday night, needing just one victory over the Armadillo Dillas to claim the Central Baseball League championship. The Senators won the first two games of the best-of-5 series out in Texas. So Thursday might be your last chance to see the Senators, especially with Ryan Creek pitching for Jackson. He's the closest thing to a sure winner on the Sens staff. Dr. S urges you to check it out.