Monday, May 31
It's Memorial Day, which means TV will be filled with two things: war movie marathons and major league baseball. The latter is usually more entertaining (unless you're watching an American League game that doesn't involve the Yankees, Red Sox, Athletics or Angels). Wanna find out more about big league ball? Read former big-leaguer John Kruk. In this installment, the man mountain weighs in on coming furor over the All-Star Game, the majors' slowest players and is thankful Charles Manson doesn't play for the Red Sox anymore.
Sunday, May 30
The NBA has declared war on silence in arenas during games. Robert Weintraub writes about the league's deaf jams. Bring your earplugs.
Delta State's baseball team defeated Grand Valley State 12-8 on Saturday night and won the school's first Division II national baseball championship. In case you're counting, that's the second national title for the Cleveland school in the past four years. The football team won the D-2 title in 2000. Congratulations to Delta State, its alumni and fans.
Saturday, May 29
Delta State has one of the best Divison II college baseball programs in the country. Yet for all of the Statesmen's success in the last 40 years, first under Boo Ferriss, then under Bill Marchant and now Mike Kinnison, DSU has never won a national title. That could change on Saturday night when the Statemen play Grand Valley State at 6:30 p.m. in the national championship game. The game can be heard on radio station WYAB (93.1 FM) out of Yazoo City, but picking it within the Jackosn city limits can be tricky sometimes. Go Okra!
Doctor S has been busy in his penthouse office, high atop the JFP Tower, modifying the Amazing SportsBlog. The Amazing improvements include adding new links (check out the new Jackson Rugby Club site) and repairing some other links. You're welcome.
Friday, May 28
Wolfgang Petersen's "Troy" is part Hollywood war movie, part Greek tragedy, part beefcake calendar, all cinematic spectacle. With Brad Pitt in the lead role and a price tag that falls somewhere between $175 million and $200 million (remember when we gasped at a $30 million production cost?), it's hard not to hate.
Looking at visual images from U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, news watchers now find themselves in the midst of a jolting experience that roughly resembles a process described by Donald Rumsfeld: "It is the photographs that gives one the vivid realization of what actually took place. Words don't do it. ... You see the photographs, and you get a sense of it, and you cannot help but be outraged."
After spending eight days in special session, costing taxpayers a total of $41,162 so far (see below), the Mississippi House of Representatives went home Friday, saying they will return next Tuesday and start over on tort-reform legislation after the Senate and governor ceremoniously rejected their plan, saying it was "flawed" and "halfway tort reform." House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, spoke forcefully on the floor of the House late Thursday afternoon, saying that civil justice reform is "one of the most delicate subjects that exist in American democracy, but, in the end, this House spoke." The Senate should have let the democratic system proceed, he said: "I conferred with the governor and assured him that this House would pass any measure brought by and referred by conferees. ... That was the best we could do. They did not believe that; I regret that very much. They were wrong. ... They made a mistake; they have wasted the people's money."
In Mississippi this week I've fielded many questions about our high gas prices. People demand to know, and we deserve to know, why Mississippians from the Coast to Corinth are paying anywhere from $1.85 to $2.15 a gallon for gas and spending $40 or $50 per fill-up. I've been talking to key players in the global energy arena—from our existing suppliers, to our domestic policy makers, to potential energy vendors —trying to determine why gas is so high and what America's next move should be. It's clear there's really only one way to avoid $3 per-gallon gas prices. Congress must quit stalling and pass a national energy policy this year, before America's dependence on foreign oil tops 60 percent, and filling our tanks takes $60 or more.
The sign,"!Stop! HYSTERECTOMY DAMAGES WOMEN," strapped to the side of a royal-blue Subaru parked in front of the University Medical Center, caught the attention of many Jacksonians the first week of April. Standing near the car on State Street was Nora Coffey of Philadelphia, Penn., the president of Hysterectomy Educational Resources and Services, which she refers to as HERS.
Thursday, May 27
UPDATE, 4 p.m.: After an apparent lunch meeting between Gov. Barbour, Speaker Billy McCoy and Senate President Pro Tem Travis Little, Sen. Charlie Ross, R-Brandon, announced on the floor that the Senate would reject HB 4, the tort-reform bill the House sent to conference committee this morning because they do not believe it will result in damage caps. The House will reconvene at 5 p.m.; the stalemate continues.
Bull riding is usually the feature event at a rodeo. But the Professional Bull Riders have turned it into the whole show. Lily Burana writes that PBR is trying to appeal to a younger audience by promoting bull riding as the original extreme sport. It must be working, PBR shows are consistent rating winners on NBC and cable TV. The key to a successful bull ride: Don't let the bull step on your hat, especially if you are still wearing it.
Wednesday, May 26
The Neshoba Democrat is reporting that a multi-racial coalition of leader, business owners, newspaper editors and citizens in Neshoba County today issued a long-overdue statement, calling for justice for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The group—whites, blacks and Choctaws—also issued an apology on behalf of the citizens of Neshoba County to the families of the three men:
Where: Smith Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive
Come out to Smith-Wills Stadium for JFP "Cheap Date" Night, for $1 beverages and, if you bring the ad from LAST WEEK's issue—the Howard Stern cover story—you'll get 2-for-1 tickets! If you haven't been out to a game yet this season, this is a perfect day for it. It's cheap, the weather looks perfect and it's a great time to enjoy a good ol' fashioned ballgame! (And if things get dull between innings, you can grab a copy of the new JFP in our rack at the stadium.) The Senators lead their division but have lost two this series against Edinburg—they need a home crowd to rally them to a victory! The Game: Senators v. Edinburg Roadrunners
Sitting at the round corner table at Hal & Mal's—his team's Pub Quiz table—I realized that with young men like Earl Fyke IV around, there's reason to hope. This 24-year-old Jackson Prep graduate represents well the gamut of multi-talented 20-somethings, male and female—those grounded in the here and now and, thankfully, still here right now—who will eventually reshape and remake Jackson.
My favorite dive bar has a glass display case featuring action figures of all the bartenders. There's Tonya, the retro-50s glam gal with her carefully combed bangs and lacy skirts; and Todd, the curly-haired, regular-guy guy wearing a button down; and Buck, the pierced and tattooed fella wearing black Carhartts and a ripped T-shirt—all in miniature. Details. Their ability to capture the essence of a person in molded plastic is eerie. This is why, when I found myself outside of Toys 'R' Us, I couldn't help but go in—I wondered what do these dolls drive?
It goes without saying that the banana, fleeting as it may be in its perfection, is one fine fruit. For Americans, it's raw fruit numero uno as well as our favorite smell, according to a recent survey. Produce expert Tony Tantillo, syndicated as the "Fresh Grocer" in major TV markets across the country, says that the average American eats 29 pounds of bananas each year. If the average banana were to weigh, say 4 ounces, that's 116 bananas, or two bananas plus a bite every week, give or take.
The following films are on area screens. Hurry. Only films with an asterik are reviewed.
13 GOING ON 30 (PG-13)Jennifer Garner is Jenna, a pre-teen who makes a wish and wakes up on her 13th birthday as a 30-year-old woman. Also stars Mark Ruffalo.
THE BEST IN SPORTS IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS
College baseball, SEC Tournament and C-USA Tournament: Ole Miss and Southern Miss continue play in their league tournaments. Will the Rebels and Eagles be around for Sunday's championship games?
This past week I've taken advantage of my access to a press pass to sit in on some fascinating meetings in the Capitol. From Judiciary A meetings on "both sides of the hall" (as we insiders say) to the floor of the House of Representatives, I've watched our democracy in action. And, while some might be inclined to call this particular show of democracy a train wreck, I've gotten a little too much of a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" feel to completely denigrate the process.
Despite efforts by the Mississippi Legislature to compromise on voter identification during the regular session, Gov. Haley Barbour held a May 13 press conference to demonstrate that he wants no one exempt from mandatory voter identification requirements. He sent the Legislature into a $34,000-a-day special session to push through his versions of voter identification and tort reform.
"Honey, I think I'm becoming a Republican!" I exclaimed to my husband one sunny spring afternoon while perusing a magazine. As usual, he calmly examined me for physical evidence of my latest revelation, questioned me about my claim and decided that a few conservative views did not a Republican make. But I wasn't so sure. Besides, if I wasn't a Republican and I couldn't identify with the Democrats anymore, what on earth was I? I had to have a party affiliation and fast.
AP reports: "Some black lawmakers say they think Gov. Haley Barbour and Senate leaders are trying to bypass House Judiciary A Committee Chairman Ed Blackmon in a debate over limiting lawsuits—and that it's happening, in part, because the chairman is black."
The following is an editorial from chief linguist Dr. Trey Cognac Courvoisier Jackson Jr. of the James Brown "Say It Loud" Ebonics Speech Therapy Centers of America.
WLBT reported"Leading the charge was Representative Ed Blackmon (D-Canton), a key negotiator of tort reform. Blackmon and other committee leaders say they never talk face-to-face with senate leaders and Govenor Barbour about important issues. They feel things are done behind their backs. "
Tuesday, May 25
A Clarion-Ledger story today about a Leland Speed speech talks about the "Creative Class" concept that we started talking about way back in our preview issue: "Other successes are discussed in The Rise of the Creative Class, by Richard Florida, he said. The book says successful locations sold themselves because people sought them first as places to live in, then they searched for a job. That goes against tradition, Speed said."
When Sen. Gloria Williamson walked up to the podium on the first day of the 2004 Extraordinary Session called by Gov. Haley Barbour, she had one goal. The senator from Neshoba County, a Democrat, wanted to convince the Senate—an assembly of mostly well-to-do Republican men lined up behind Barbour's mission to end "lawsuit abuse"—to do the right thing. She wanted to appeal to the human side of the chamber, to convince them to continue allowing Mississippians who had suffered horrendous disfigurement as a result of a defective product, negligence or an act of malpractice to collect "pain and suffering" damages.
Tort law is used to determine who is responsible when someone is injured and how much a guilty party should pay an injured person. Our current tort system is designed on the principle that the responsible party should be required to pay for the costs of an injury, including economic damages—lost wages and medical bills—and non-economic damages, such as "pain and suffering" damages. A jury can award a third type of damages, called punitive damages, when they feel that the damage is due to overt negligence.
Some persistent myths seem to surround the tort reform discussion—even in media reporting—while other items are often offered as facts while they're closer to either assumptions or just simply guesses. Here's a look at some of the whoppers and some of the facts that refute them:
Gov. Haley Barbour may be getting more than he bargained for in the 2004 Extraordinary Session he called to wrangle the House of Representatives into accepting his versions of tort reform and voter ID. A coalition of legislators, consumer advocates, civil rights organizations and everyday people gathered this morning at the Capitol to call for insurance reform in the state of Mississippi—a first for the Magnolia State. Rep. Jaimie Franks, D-Tupelo, organized the press conference to call for legislation to roll all insurance rates—not just medical malpractice—back to 2001 levels. Franks said that insurance companies saw nearly $30 billion in profits in 2003, and have no intention of lowering rates, whether or not the Legislature gives Barbour his non-economic damage caps—the sticking point in the special session. Franks wants Mississippi to follow the lead of states like California and Missouri, which have regulated insurance companies to ensure that doctors, small businesses and everyday citizens aren't bilked by exploding rates.
In January, I wrote an editor's note about the governor that miffed some Democrats around the city. They told me I went too easy on Barbour. I wrote then that although his wink-wink, race-tinged, nationally financed campaign tactics had really turned me off, I still hoped that he really wanted to come in and bridge gaps, not widen chasms. I wrote: "It's up to Barbour. This wasn't our game; the new governor needs to convince me, and other Mississippians, that he deserves the benefit of our doubt. Can he do that? Sure, if he will."
Monday, May 24
Chicago Cubs corker Sammy Sosa threw out his back last week by sneezing. And he's not the first baseball player to sneeze his way onto the disabled list. But Darren Rovell writes that the leading cause of injuries among baseball players remains hanging around the house. And Jeff Merron recounts stories of some of sports' real he-men. Doctor S' favorite is Satchel Paige, who during his Negro Leagues heyday once pitched three doubleheaders in one day (the third with a broken arm). And changed a flat tire.
You may have seen the press on Gatemouth Moore's passing on Thursday, a Yazoo City, MS resident. Rev. Moore's funeral will be on Tuesday, May 25, in Jackson, MS at the Pearl Street AME Church at 2519 Robinson Rd. at 11 AM. Arrangements are being handled by Shaffer-Collins Funeral Home, Yazoo City.
Saturday, May 22
In Salon this week, economist James K. Galbraith challenges the conventional notion that the relvelations of torture and prisoner abuse in Iraq have caused Bush's current record dip in the polls. He makes a case that the decline has been steady over some time: "The four-month decline is a bit higher on average than Bush's long-run downward trend. But it is not much higher. It is not enough higher to show that anything exceptional has happened. In particular, February's decline is not significantly greater than normal. And May's decline is within the normal range of 0.6 percent, give or take, around the standard minus 1.6 percent -- the 95 percent confidence interval. This suggests that Abu Ghraib has not had any special effect on public opinion. Not yet, anyway.
Friday, May 21
What the hell does this have to do with sports? Nothing, but Doctor S thought it was funny and vaguely unsettling, especially when one considers the source. Have your way with this chicken.
By a razor thin 49 to 47 vote, the Senate narrowly missed an opportunity to put overseas military bases ahead of domestic facilities in the anticipated 2005 base closure round. I introduced this amendment because a growing number in Congress feel it's time that we radically rethink America's antiquated commitment to aging Cold-War-era military bases overseas, especially in Western Europe where politically temperamental nations like Germany and France should start shouldering their own defense burden. The close vote shows support for changing or delaying the base closure process is growing, and this vote signals a significant shift in the base closure issue.
The City of Jackson Municipal Court Services will hold a Traffic Ticket Amnesty Day, Tues., May 25, allowing citizens who have failed to take care of parking/traffic tickets to come in and take care of those infractions without the theat of arrest or having to pay warrant fees that may have accrued. Traffic ONLY, Does NOT apply to criminal cases. Come between 9 a.m.-1 p.m., and 3-8 p.m. to pay tickets OR appear before a judge. Traffic court will be open for all walk-ins to appear for all old or new traffic tickets. 218 W. Pearl St. 960-1932.
Well, they can't say the House hasn't gotten a chance to vote on tort reform. They have, in the first day of the 2004 Extraordinary Session called by Gov. Haley Barbour. And they voted against it.
The JFP's Ayana Taylor is the only journalist who has really gotten inside the Voter ID issue--and challenged its supporters to explain just why this regulation is needed. The issue is now before Gov. Haley Barbour's $34,000-a-day special session, along with tort reform.
Why do some athletes pee on their hands? Does urine really toughen the skin? No, it's just the opposite, writes Dan Kois, but this practice's benefits might be more psychological than physical.
Bulldog Nation is squabbling over an attempt by two members of the State College Board, both MSU alums, to oust MSU athletics director Larry Templeton. The one-year contract extension appears to Doctor S to be the kiss of death for Templeton, especially since his arch-enemy Scott Ross will be leading "review" of the MSU athletics program. What kind of person is Ross? He sheds his skin once a year. To hear what they're saying, check out any of the MSU message boards, especially the infamous (and often hilarious) Six Pack Speak Which is where Doctor S found these new words that have joined the MSU fans' lexicon:
Thursday, May 20
Maybe New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner really is the devil after all. The Yankees have quit selling Cracker Jack at Yankee Stadium, replacing it with Crunch 'n Munch? What? "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" doesn't say a damn thing about "Crunch 'N Munch." Expect the Apocalypse to commence any minute now.
Wednesday, May 19
AP is reporting: "When Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry meets with independent rival Ralph Nader on Wednesday, Kerry isn't likely to ask him to leave the race. And it's even less likely that Nader will offer to bow out. Kerry probably will point out that the two rivals share a goal - ousting President Bush - and contend that a joint effort is the best way to achieve it, aides to the Massachusetts senator said. Nader told The Associated Press that he looks forward to discussing 'certain common policies' with Kerry. 'I think that's for the good of our country and for the benefit of the American people that are being ignored or repudiated by the Bush regime,' Nader said in an interview.
Howard Stern is Freedom's New UnLikely Hero
Advertising Age says we are a nation not of red versus blue but of a "moral minority" versus an "edgy elite." And the moral minority is winning. Let us recite the litany of America's new official religion: "This mad race to the bottom," in the pronouncement of one member of the Federal Communications Commission, began when Bono said "f—ing brilliant" at the Golden Globes and when Janet Jackson's silver-studded globe invaded the family fun of the Super Bowl. Which begat politically panicked FCC chairman Michael Powell—Mr. Media Deregulation, and son of Colin—suddenly embracing government regulation of content (read: censorship). Which begat a congressional orgy of legislation to multiply broadcast indecency fines—from $27,500 to $275,000, then $500,000, then $3 million.
Godfrey Morgan, the Jamaican native whose food delights JFP staffers more than any other, is fulfilling one of his (and our) dreams: He now has a restaurant downtown. On May 12 Godfrey's Take Away, A Taste of the Caribbean opened in the Merrill Lynch building, 111 E. Capitol Street, across from the parking garage. Godfrey's Take Away serves breakfast and lunch between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. You can walk in, call in (949-3011), or fax in (949-6990) your orders. Two four-tops and 11 stools along the window-counter offer seating for those who want to walk in and sit a spell.
Stern isn't the only thorn in the FCC's paw. Bush's conservative agenda has spawned several new definitions of what indecent means, resulting in tons of FCC battles.
He was found amid the stench of discarded wet coffee grounds, smushed cereal boxes and blackened banana peels. Ten fingers, 10 toes, a perfect baby. But a dead baby. Little John Paul Doe, as the sheriff's deputy began calling him, was filled with life when he was born, but then life was smothered out of him. He was discarded like yesterday's trash.
Almost anything that can be said about the recently revealed abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American and British troops is going to be a cliché. It's horrifying and sickening; it's a disgrace to the uniform; it damages our cause in the war against terror by displacing us from the moral high ground; and it drops a highly effective recruitment tool in the lap of those waging jihad against the West.
Freddie Mac is guaranteeing up to $10 million in loans that SouthTrust Bank will be offering as mortgages to new homeowners in West Jackson, which can be used to buy or refurbish homes in the 1100 through 1300 blocks of Grand Avenue, south of West Capitol Street and parallel to Robinson Road. The loans, which require a lower down payment than standard mortgages, will be given to families identified by the Voice of Calvary Community Development Corp. as having completed classes on debt management and personal finance; once prepared, the new homeowner can borrow up to 120 percent of a home's value to be used for improvements or debt consolidation. The program is called "Catch the Dream Jackson."
Sure, there are many faults in Bush, just as there are in any politician. I am the first to admit it. But in the JFP "Donkeys Have a Shot?" you directly imply that Bush is retarded. If it were a little liberal joke, that would be understandable. Just like saying Clinton is a lying nymphomaniac. Or that Kerry is on both sides of every issue. But in the context of the article, it is literally stating that Bush is retarded. Are you saying that Democrats discriminate and make fun of handicapped people? What happened to your bleeding heart?
Leslie Gross Davis, Esq. Sounds pretty dynamic, doesn't it? Everything about Leslie Gross, who added the Davis on April 24 when she married Christopher, is dynamic—from her smile to her handshake, to her speaking voice, to her intelligence that radiates as she speaks to her commitment to make the world a better place.
Ever pored through an old high school yearbook to find your class's power elite surprisingly unimpressive? The girls who once stomped on your heart, the guys who stomped on your ass and the sea of snarky jerks whose mere existence sent shockwaves of inadequacy into every crevice of your being? But, after a decade (or three) of "perspective" (life!), the once unassailable arbiters of social hierarchy suddenly look just like a bunch of goofy kids.
The "Nu Apprentice: First Hired, Last Fired," starring Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, will return after this message.
The war in Iraq has also become a war of images. This week, we were troubled by a video of the be-heading of an American. The week before, it was pictures of tortured Iraqi prisoners. Every week, we see photographs of American soldiers who have given their lives there.
Like thousands of you, Doctor S has been asking, "What the heck happened to SlamBall?" A quick Web search turned up the disturbing news that Spike TV has dropped SlamBall so that it can show three more episodes of "Star Trek" every Saturday night. But SlamBall officials vow that season 3 of every hyperactive person's favorite sports will return to the tube soon and the league will go on. What really needs to happen is the creation of a real Rollerball league. But not to the death, of course. Except during the playoffs.
Tuesday, May 18
Did you know that a car columnist recently won a Pulitzer Prize? His name is Dan Neil, and he writes for The Los Angeles Times. I told my mom, and now suddenly she's proud of me and my profession. Of course, Dan's in a different league. For instance, he probably got to attend the freaking New York City car show last week. The NYC show is the equivalent of the last few seconds of a Fourth of July fireworks display—automakers go all out to show off their new production vehicles, and pretend they are serious about various concept cars they've developed. It is the highest-attended car show in North America, and it's been going on for over a hundred years. It's the ultimate assignment! And I didn't get to go! Not enough money in the budget.
Reason magazine's Cathy Young provides perspective on the attempt to place 9-11 blame: "With the 9/11 commission holding its hearings, the blame game is in full swing. It's Bush's fault. No, Clinton's. No, it's everyone's fault. No, it's no one's fault. And so it goes. Attorney General John Ashcroft goes before the panel and gets grilled on his lack of attention to terrorism pre-9/11. Ashcroft turns the tables and points the finger at panel member Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, for tying law enforcement's hands with guidelines that made cooperation with intelligence agencies virtually impossible. Whether you think Ashcroft or Gorelick ended up in the hot seat generally depends on which one of them you'd like to see squirm. Everyone, it seems, is being confirmed in what they already know."
Monday, May 17
Jeff Clark of the Daily Times reported Members of the Mississippi Congressional Delegation are outraged by the recent turn of events that have unfolded in Iraq, including the beheading of an American contractor and the allegations regarding Iraqi prisoner abuse.
Shelia Byrd of the AP reports "Gov. Haley Barbour says he won't accept a voter identification bill that exempts older people from proving who they are. Barbour has called lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session that begins Wednesday, with civil justice changes and voter ID on the agenda. During the regular session, the House passed a voting bill that said people born before Jan. 1, 1940, would not have to show an ID. The exception addressed concerns that requiring ID could be used to intimidate older black voters who once had to pay poll taxes. "
Sunday, May 16
The Clarion-Ledger reports today: "Mississippi Republicans say President Bush can bank on a solid re-election showing here and in much of the South, but the latest poll shows him in a dead heat with Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry. ... Despite the fallout from the conflict in Iraq and U.S. abuses of Iraqi prisoners, Mississippi's GOP congressmen and Gov. Haley Barbour said they are confident Bush can hold onto the presidency."
Saturday, May 15
Ready for some down-and-dirty brass funk, courtesy of the Big Easy's most popular brass band? Ready to dance 'til you drop, to funk like there's no tomorrow? The Rebirth is coming back to Jackson—at Soulshine Pizza next door to Hal & Mal's— for a show that promises to be an event. For more than 20 years, The Rebirth Brass Band has taken the traditional New Orleans brass-band sound and given it their own funky flavoring. No doubt inspired by their predecessors, The Dirty Dozen, The Rebirth has marinated in the flavor of the streets with a no-holds-barred attitude and a krewe of musicians as energetic as they are talented.
They call it the Seabiscuit effect. In 2003, the combination of Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Funny Cide's unsuccessful bid for the Triple Crown and the popularity of the movie "Seabiscuit" spawned a surge of interest in horse racing. Naturally, a horde of books on horse racing followed. It also brought another book about Seabiscuit back into print, Ralph Moody's "Come On Seabiscuit!" Eric Banks fondly remembers that book and others on the sport of kings that he enjoyed in his youth. Banks' favorites include Walter Farley's immortal "Black Stallion" series. For Doctor S, Farley's horse series is still the champ.
Friday, May 14
WDAM reports "Fulfilling his promise, Gov. Haley Barbour is calling lawmakers into special session next Wednesday to address changes to Mississippi's civil justice laws. Barbour announced the special session Thursday during a news conference at his Capitol office. He said the call also would include voter ID legislation."
Andy Kanengiser of the C-L reports"Mississippi public schools can expect to face hard times at least through 2006, key lawmakers said Thursday. School superintendents, left with weak budgets for the fiscal year beginning July 1, received the gloomy forecast at a meeting in Jackson. Senate Education Committee Chairman Mike Chaney, R-Vicksburg, said lawmakers can expect to face a shortfall of at least $270 million for next year. Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, told superintendents from Mississippi's 152 school districts that it will be 'very difficult next year, even with a good year of revenue growth.' The 2005 Legislature will face the same dilemma of trying to fund another round of 8 percent pay raises for teachers and taking care of many other needs, from Medicaid to prisons to expensive insurance plans, Brown said."
Doctor S had assumed that roller derby had become extinct, much like the 10:30 Saturday night movie on your local TV station and wooden bats in Little League. But Felix Gilette reports that they're still strapping on the skates and trying to get past the jammers out in Texas. You can take U.S. pro sports out of the carnival, but you can never take the carnival out of pro sports.
Thursday, May 13
The economy is growing, and jobs are being created. But don't take my word for it. Just look at the latest numbers by the Department of Commerce. Virtually every economic indicator is up, and the U.S. Senate has moved decisively to keep the momentum going, passing a jobs bill to stimulate even more economic growth, specifically in the manufacturing and energy sectors.
The Best In Sports In The Next 7 Days
Pro baseball, Amarillo at Jackson, 7 p.m. (1240 AM): The Senators open a three-game home series against the Dillas. … College baseball, Arkansas at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m. (620 AM): The Dogs and the Hogs begin an SEC series at Starkville.
[Verbatim statement] Governor Haley Barbour is standing by his pledge to call lawmakers back to the Capitol since the House of Representatives failed to address lawsuit abuse during their Regular Session. Today he called a Special Session to address tort reform, which will convene at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, May 19, 2004. Governor Barbour is also including the voter identification issue in the Special Session agenda. "I would have preferred for comprehensive tort reform to have been achieved during the Regular Session," Governor Barbour said. "Since it was not, this Special Session became necessary." While the Senate has been strongly supportive of tort reform, the House has not been allowed to vote on it.
The three finalists for the first Ferriss Award, which goes to Mississippi's top college baseball player, were named on Wednesday. They are: Mississippi State outfielder Brad Corley, Ole Miss first baseman/pitcher Stephen Head and Southern Miss second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir. The award will be presented on Monday, May 17, at 11:45 a.m. The ceremony will be held at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum on Lakeland Drive in Jackson. The winner was selected in voting by the major league scouts who cover Mississippi. The award is named for Boo Ferriss, the legendary former Delta State coach and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer. For tickets, call (601) 982-8264 or 1-800-280-3263. Who's going to win? Doctor S says Stephen Head should make room in his trophy case.
Wednesday, May 12
CBS News is reporting: "President Bush's overall approval rating has fallen to the lowest level of his presidency, 44 percent, in the latest CBS News poll, reflecting the weight of instability in Iraq on public opinion, despite signs of improvement in the economy. Two weeks ago, 46 percent of Americans approved of the job President Bush was doing. On April 9, his approval rating was 51 percent. American's opinion of Mr. Bush's handling of the economy is also at an all-time low, 34 percent, while 60 percent disapprove, also a high of the Bush presidency. Increasing employment is seemingly not affecting Americans' view of Mr. Bush's economic policy.
I set foot back in Jackson on Feb. 10, 2004, after a year and a half of moving around. I had traveled to what I considered the most liberal parts of the country, California and New York. I left in search of something different, a place of new ideas and open minds, where I could feel free.
It was the late spring 1953, and Gov. Hugh White had called a crucial special session of the Mississippi Legislature. He needed to mobilize a group of moderate lawmakers. If he could get the numbers right, White would ask them to do something that would make them hated throughout the state.
To be an artist means to spend time alone, creating your work. The opportunity for us to be voyeurs and peak at the creative process happens twice a year in the spring and fall at "Art in the Courtyard—A Celebration of Mississippi Artists" sponsored by Southern Breeze Gallery and Highland Village. In addition to the many artists painting, throwing pots and sculpting to the music of the New Sound Jazz Trio, Southern Breeze Gallery is hosting the opening The Mississippi Art Colony Traveling Exhibit: Spring 2004.
The city of Jackson moved a step closer to a convention center last Saturday, when the Legislature passed a bill that allows for a voter referendum on the issue. The bill will enable the city to raise $65 million by putting additional taxes on restaurants and hotels in the Jackson city limits. Now 60 percent of voters in the city of Jackson will have to vote yea for it to pass and become a reality, assuming Gov. Haley Barbour signs it; he has indicated support for a Jackson convention center.
FREEDOM IS JUST ANOTHER WORD
News came Monday that The Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American are suing the U.S. Marshals Service for seizing and erasing journalists' tape recordings of a peech by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to high school students in Hattiesburg. The news organizations filed the lawsuit in federal court in Jackson. "It's been more than a month since this happened, and we're still angry about it," said Dave Tomlin, AP assistant general counsel said in a report by his wire service. "People who enforce the law should know what the law is, and especially the basic law that says citizens can't be shaken down by their own government.'"
Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, was right. The Mississippi Legislature passed a $3.7 million budget in the nick of time—on Mother's Day as he had predicted. Lawmakers finally agreed at the 11th hour of the 120-day session on the big items they had been stuck on—education and Medicaid—leaving tort reform for a probable special session.
I was talking to a young woman the other day who is in the family of a Jackson man who toiled and lobbied and prodded and threatened for many years to try to block school de-segregation and then to encourage white families to pull their children out of the public schools. The young woman told me that she admires my work. She has progressive ideas. She likes the JFP.
Margie Thompson's second-grade classroom blooms. Dancing bears proclaim the longness and shortness of vowels. Colors swirl, and pep-talk art tells children that they can excel in math, in literature, in social studies. This space at McWillie Elementary School is all about learning and is one of the reasons Thompson was selected Jackson Public Schools' Teacher of the Year for 2004.
My daughter attends a historically black university, the school from which I graduated, as a matter of which I graduated, as a matter of fact. But she could go anywhere, provided she has the grades and her mother and I have the money. She still might.
When Thurgood Marshall hung out his shingle in 1933 as an attorney in his hometown of Baltimore, he immediately became a very popular attorney among fellow African Americans. One problem, though: His clients couldn't afford to pay the young man who received his law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.
The Cream-O-Wheat Meals on Wheels Foundation International (We Got A Big Hot Pot In the Back) presents Commentary Concerning Cream-O-Wheat by the Cream-O-Wheat man.
The 1957 Murrah High School yearbook is filled with happy white faces, and names like Hederman, Copeland and Mize. One photo shows the yearbook staffers cutting up and having a good time; one young man's grinning face is painted black. The 1958 yearbook shows another boy in blackface, that year clearly ridiculing Little Richard. That was four years after the U.S. Supreme Court had declared school segregation illegal. But there were still no black children in Murrah High School; they would not cross the school's threshold for years to come.
The two best jobs in pro sports are backup catcher and backup quarterback. These guys make a lot of money for doing relatively little and the fans love them. Backup catcher is better because there aren't any fans or journalists insisting that you should be playing. The Slate's Stephen Rodrick writes about these successful slackers
In an editorial, The New York Times exposes the strategy to protect the White House from prisoner-abuse fall-out: "The administration and its Republican allies appear to have settled on a way to deflect attention from the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib: accuse Democrats and the news media of overreacting, then pile all of the remaining responsibility onto officers in the battlefield, far away from President Bush and his political team. That cynical approach was on display yesterday morning in the second Abu Ghraib hearing in the Senate, a body that finally seemed to be assuming its responsibility for overseeing the executive branch after a year of silently watching the bungled Iraq occupation." [...]
Tuesday, May 11
Athletes have found a new way to give reporters the finger: the Jock blog. Slate's Bryan Curtis writes:
Monday, May 10
Fresh off a 1-2 season-opening series at Coastal Bend, the Jackson Senators will play their home opener on Monday night. The Senators' game against the San Angelo Colts begins at 7:05 p.m. at Smith-Wills Stadium. In a pregame ceremony at 6:30 p.m., the Senators will get their rings for winning the 2003 Central Baseball League title and the championship banner will be raised. ... And remember, Tuesday is dollar beer, uh, beverage night.
AP is reporting: "The Justice Department said Monday it is reopening the investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a black teenager whose death while visiting Mississippi was an early catalyst for the civil rights movement. Till was abducted from his uncle's home in Money, Miss., on Aug. 28, 1955. The mutilated body of the 14-year-old from Chicago was found by fishermen three days later in the Tallahatchie River. Pictures of the slaying shocked the world. Two white men charged with murder - Roy Bryant and his half brother, J.W. Milam - were acquitted by an all-white jury. Both men have since died."
Opening: DiFatta's show will open Thursday, May 13, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. and then hang at Nunnery's Gallery, 426 Meadowbrook Road, through June 13. For more information, call 981-4426.
Groundbreaking for the Mississippi Braves' stadium will be held Tuesday at noon in Pearl. The site is behind the Tinsel Town movie theater. A free lunch (ballpark food) will be provided. The $25 million, 6,000-seat stadium is scheduled to be completed in time for the Class AA team's opener in 2005.
GIVEAWAY: The Pearl River Resort is giving away a free Harley every Saturday through May 22. Ride your own bike to Choctaw for the Pearl River Run bike rally, Motorcycles and Music, May 21-23. Visit pearlriverresort.com for details.
Sunday, May 9
This column was originally published in 2003. We feature it this week in honor of a very special mama. The first issue of the JFP was published on Sept. 22, 2002, Miss Katie's birthday.
If there's one JFP-related question I've heard more than any other from folks around Jackson in the past few weeks and months, it's been this one: "Are y'all going weekly?"
Saturday, May 8
The Sacramento Kings were on track to be the best offensive team in NBA history this season, Slate's John Hollinger writes. Then they put Chris Webber back in the lineup. Will Webber kill the Kings' chances to win an NBA title? Doctor S says yes. See for yourself when the Kings play Minnesota on Saturday (7:30 p.m., TNT) in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinals series.
Friday, May 7
Support local baseball! The Senators' first home game is Monday, May 10, at 7:05 p.m. against San Angelo at Smith-Wills. (Click here for full schedule.)
The New York Giants and their fans will get their first look at No. 1 draft choice and franchise savior Eli Manning on Friday on the opening day of the team's three-day mini-camp. "I know how it works," Archie Manning, Eli's father and a former NFL quarterback, told the New York Post. "Some guys are going to sit over there and they are just going to watch him a little. They are going to watch his actions. They are going to watch how he deals with this, how he does that. I am going to tell him that you have to be yourself, you roll up your sleeves, you go to work and you just deal with it. I am confident that he will handle that part of it very well."
Spider-Man won't be on the bases at major league games after all. MLB killed a plan to put logos for the movie "Spider-Man 2" on the bases on Thursday, just a day after the deal was announced. The fans didn't like it and, more importantly, the New York Yankees didn't like it.
Thursday, May 6
Pro baseball: Jackson at Coastal Bend, 7 p.m. (1240 AM): The Senators begin their season in Texas. ... College baseball, SWAC Tournament, Houston: In the first round, East champ Mississippi Valley State plays West runnerup Texas Southern at 11 a.m., and East No. 2 Jackson State faces West champ Southern at 2:30 p.m.
Support local baseball! The Senators' first home game is May 12 at 10:30 a.m. against San Angelo at Smith-Wills. (Click below for full schedule.)
Keegan's, 7049 Old Canton Road, behind Brookshires on Lake Harbor, (898-4554) began serving their lunch buffet about four weeks ago, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. There's soup, salad, meats, vegetables and breads. All-you-can-eat lunch buffet is $7.95, while soup and salad is $5.95. Drinks are extra.
Do the Republicans have a lock on the state of Mississippi? Does a Democrat, or even just a non-elephant like myself, have a chance of voting for the winning candidate in the upcoming presidential election? Or should I just give up and stay home?
Funkee Finger and Pookie Peterz Homeboy Hook-up Productions present M.C. Booty Cheeks' premiere hip-hop CD, "Their Eyes Are On The Ghetto: The Real Crack Epidemic." This controversial, socio-political CD features chart-topping hits like "Don't Drop Yo' Drawers," "Sumbuddy's Looking, Put Yo' Clean Underwear On" and the dance party favorite "Clubb Bootie N The DayTyme: Yo' Behind Is Exposed." Check it out!
NFL Hall of Famer and Fox NFL host Terry Bradshaw is steamed about the way Eli and Archie Manning manipulated the NFL draft to place Eli with the N.Y. Giants. Bradshaw, who was the first overall pick in 1970, said: "When you avoid something because your mama and your daddy and your agent say you shouldn't do it, that's not right. Hey, partner, you been to San Diego lately? It's a pretty nice place."
Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffeured Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night—she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question —"Is this all?" — Betty Friedan
Bad news, Rage fans. Former Mississippi State star Mario Austin might not be with the team when they play their home opener on May 15. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on Wednesday that Austin has settled his lawsuits with his former agent and a Russian league team in Moscow, clearing the way for him to sign with the NBA's Chicago Bulls. Well, the Bulls are in the NBA ... barely.
It's not exactly the '80s again. But there is a time warp-theme in Jackson theater right now (no, not Rocky Horror) with lots days-gone-by fare offered this spring. If you want a weekend with a truly historic feel, head on down to the river city for the Vicksburg Theater Guild's production of "Our Town" about early 1900s small-town life.
Wednesday, May 5
A recent article in The New York Times Magazine portrayed a group of women who have decided to step away from careers to raise their young children. The title of the article was "The Opt Out Revolution." While evocative of an important decision that many women face, the article described only one small faction of society.
Anticipation stalked the halls of the Mississippi State Capitol. Agency heads showed up, educators camped out, advocates for children and families rallied. It was clearly crunch time. Lawmakers had only a few days to pass a budget, and they still had to fund the big-ticket items.
As I listened to Wendy Eddleman at Flashbacks Espresso Café in Byram, I couldn't help thinking of those serene beauties often seen in Renaissance paintings. Not only is the 29-year-old Jackson native outwardly lovely, but an evident inner strength and capability makes her glow.
May 6, 2004 In the spring, even the most urbanized Southerners exhibit an itch to plant tomatoes. Many Southern gardeners take stock of their formal perennial beds and despair of finding a sunny spot for a tomato plant. Some acknowledge their passion for this vegetable by planting cherry tomatoes in hanging baskets or dwarf varieties in containers, but other braver souls violate the horticultural code that consigns vegetables to the back of the house, and have been known to plant a bed of Big Boys in a sunny spot out front next to the SUV.
When I was a child in the 1950s, white middle class society pitied childless women. They had few options for a productive life outside of motherhood. The husband of a childless woman was well tended, though. That's all the poor woman had to do.
Great—another Hallmark holiday, as if picking out cards for your half-sister's secretary's niece's baptism wasn't enough already. Hoping to spark a national trend, American Singles Education Inc. is sponsoring a singles-mixer celebration in San Rafael, Calif. Single Mother's Day is May 8, the day before traditional Mother's Day.
The University of Southern Mississippi has reached a settlement with two professors whose suspensions touched off a storm of protests by faculty and students two months ago. The university will pay sociology professor Frank Glamser and English professor Gary Stringer their salaries for the next two academic years, but the men will not have any teaching or on-campus responsibilities. Former Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson negotiated the settlement after an April 28 hearing ended abruptly. Two days later, the state College Board accepted.
How far has Major League Baseball fallen? MLB is going to prostitute itself further by decorating the fhe field wih "Spider-Man 2" logos during games on June 11-13. Instead, why not have the home team dress as Spidey and the vistors dress as Doc Ock? Meanwhile, Ralph Nader (aka Dubya's Best Friend) is steamed about ad patches on uniforms. Don't let Nader watch a NASCAR race.
One Thursday evening last November, I saw a group of women dressed in purple, the odd bit of red plumage on their bright red hats, listening to Rhonda Richmond sing "Mood Indigo" upstairs at the Mississippi Museum of Art's Jazz, Art and Friends. Turned out those ladies were members of one of the Jackson area's at least eight official Red Hat Society chapters—they call themselves the Divine Dixie Divas. I knew two and finagled an invitation to one of their future monthly meetings, realizing this diverse group surely had a story or two to tell.
Brad Locke of the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal tells the sad, but amusing, story of "reality journalism" gone awry up in Minnesota. Are Jack Kelly and Jason Blair eligible?
Tuesday, May 4
Julie Goodman of C-L writes"Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, who has walking pneumonia, has been admitted to the hospital again, this time to the intensive care unit. Tuck was in stable condition at St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital on Monday and is not expected to be discharged for a few days. 'Ms. Tuck was readmitted to the hospital for further medical treatment and testing,' her doctor said in a statement Senate President Pro Tempore Travis Little, R-Corinth, read on the Senate floor.Tuck, who was initially treated at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, switched hospitals because her pulmonary specialist, James Jones, has his practice near St. Dominic's, Tuck's office said."
C-L reports today: "Lawmakers left the Capitol late Monday night with no agreement on the how to fund the state's public schools, how to cover Medicaid recipients or how to pay other expenditures. Failure to agree on the budget on the last day to adopt money bills for the session makes a special session a likely scenario. Rep. Charlie Capps, D-Cleveland, a former appropriations chairman and 32-year legislative veteran, said he had never seen an impasse like the one lawmakers face. 'I've never seen this happen before, where we just break down and we don't have any revenue bills, appropriations, or other bills,' he said. The House moved late in the day to extend the session to buy lawmakers time, but the Senate did not take up the resolution"
British sports writers don't waste time with boring game coverage. Instead, they're on the David Beckham story. The latest: Real Madrid is going to cut loose soccer's top star because they're sick of reading about his sex life in the papers. So he wants to go back to Manchester United, but only if the coach leaves. Who the hell does Beckham think he is, Eli Manning?
The NBA playoffs have been going for — what, two months now? — and the last first-round series finally ends on Tuesday night. The New Orleans Hornets and Miami Heat meet in Game 7 (6 p.m., TNT). These two teams hate each other, so this should be entertaining. The Hornets hate their coach, Tim Floyd, and he might get fired if they lose. What's a self-absorbed millionaire to do?
Monday, May 3
Andy Kanengiser of the C-L reports: "Using money from Mississippi's tobacco trust fund to avoid slashing school budgets was one of the proposals discussed Sunday at the Capitol. But the suggestion from Senate negotiators to help break a budget impasse was quickly shot down by House counterparts. Taking tobacco trust fund dollars for education needs "is just not going to happen," said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Johnny Stringer, D-Montrose, during a break in stalled budget talks shortly before 8:30 p.m. on Sunday. 'There is over $600 million in the bank,' Stringer said. And it helps Mississippi's bond rating to keep the tobacco money there, he said."
The latest issue of the Nex York Express asks: What if William S. Burroughs was a Yankee Stadium bleacher creature? This is the kind of fantasy sports Doctor S prefers. Warning: Burroughs was never a straight shooter.
"Remember when wrestling kicked ass?" Yeah, when Doctor S was 12. Anyway, that's the marketing motto of Full Throttle Wrestling, which will tape the first episode of its TV program, "High Octane," on Saturday, May 8, at the Mississippi Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. The performers include Erik Watts (right), formerly of the NWA and son of Mid-South wrestling legend Cowboy Bill Watts. Tickets are $15. By the way, why don't the pro wrestlers like the amateurs do?
Sunday, May 2
AP is reporting: "In a daring escape, American hostage Thomas Hamill pried open the doors of the house where he was being held late Sunday morning and ran a half-mile to a military convoy that was passing by, officials and his wife said. Insurgents attacked U.S. forces across Iraq, killing 11 Americans.
Saturday, May 1
NFL sack king Michael Strahan is among the New York Giants dismayed by the team's dismissal of veteran quarterback Kerry Collins in favor of No. 1 draft pick Eli Manning. Collins departure is a huge loss to the Giants, Strahan said. Is Strahan talking about the same Kerry Collins who led the Giants to eight straight losses to end the 2003 season? Just checking.
The Jackson Rage opened its inaugural season with an 87-86 victory over the Kentucky Reach Friday night at Elizabethtown, Ky. Former Mississippi State star and Russian refugee Mario Austin scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the Rage. The fledgling WBA experienced growing pains in the days leading up to the league's debut on Thursday. One team, the Tunica Gamblers, folded, and another relocated from Chattanooga to Bristol, Tenn. The Rage had to adjust its schedule, but the team will still play its season opener on May 15 at Jackson State.