Stories for June 2005


Thursday, June 30

Clark Announces Voting Machine Contract

June 29, 2005/press release/verbatim from Secretary of State Eric Clark:

Secretary of State Eric Clark today introduced new touch-screen voting machines that most Mississippians will use to cast ballots beginning in 2006. "These voting machines will greatly improve the accuracy and integrity of every election in Mississippi," Clark said. "They are easy to use and are secure. Of all the machines we studied, they were the most 'user-friendly' and came at the lowest price. This purchase is another major step in making historic improvements to the elections process in our state."

Wednesday, June 29

Undead On Arrival: A Review Of "Land Of The Dead"

In the crafting of "Land of the Dead," the latest installment in his long-running zombie movie franchise, veteran director George A. Romero faces a problem: The genre he created four decades ago has gotten pretty played out. With Danny Boyle's superb "28 Days Later," last year's remake of Romero's own "Dawn of the Dead" and the British spoof "Shaun of the Dead," the zombie market has been flooded with imitators during Romero's 20-year absence. But this has not stopped Romero from delivering a consistently thrilling, funny film and possibly the best entry in the series since his original 1968 classic.

Colander and Mini-Bites

In the ABC's of kitchenware, C stands for the multi-purpose colander. Whether you're displaying summer's bounty or draining fresh pasta, you'll have no trouble finding just the right colander, or maybe several, for your kitchen. Today's aluminum and enamel ones look great on the kitchen countertop or breakfast table—filled with fresh peaches that please both the eye and the nose, or the colorful squash, peppers and new potatoes you'll soon prepare for dinner. Those same colanders' main duty is to quickly and safely separate the cooked from the scalding liquid that it was cooked in, whether it be pasta or boiled shrimp. And let's not forget the red-headed-step-child of colanders—the plastic one—it doesn't get much respect, but serves well in draining your washed salad greens. One last purpose for a colander is admittedly not a kitchen-related one—up ended on your head, an aluminum colander lends you an extraterrestrial air. Paired with a cape made from a shiny emergency blanket, you've got the makings of an award-winning costume.

Mixing Up Musical Chemistry

"I just gotta get stuff in the right place," says Matt Pleasant jauntily, throwing his eyes around the room. With the cooler on the floor over here, the movie poster on the wall over there, you get the sense that you're in a perfectly viable Animal House, and that at any moment a squadron of fraternity jocks will swarm you. But you are, in fact, at a recording studio—The Laboratory—and the only animal around is Ringo the dog, who will lick your foot as soon as you walk in.

If Melton's ‘Pro-Jackson' ...

We realized late in the production cycle for this issue that the Jackson Free Press is publishing its 100th issue this week. It may only be fitting that we reached such a milestone at the same time that the city of Jackson may be experiencing its most dramatic change since we began publishing—a changing of the guard at City Hall.

Killen's Bad Week Worsens

After a Neshoba County jury found Edgar Ray Killen guilty of three counts of manslaughter on June 21 for orchestrating the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, his week went from bad to worse. Being rolled out of the courtroom that day, the Baptist preacher struck and shoved a WAPT cameraman, showing a less genteel side of himself than the jury had seen in the courtroom, where he often dozed when they were in the room (and took notes when they weren't).

[Music] The Lamb That Roared

When Bethany Spiers played at Millsaps College last year, she pulled a reverse March on the crowd: in like a lamb, out like a lion. The lead singer of The Feverfew moved to the front of the room with an unassuming head down, pulled her guitar in close and started singing softly. By the second song, "Selby," the crowd had stilled. Her narrative songs—characterized by fresh lines that literally hook the crowd—entranced the listeners after only a few minutes. By the end of her 30-minute set, she had set her new fanbase: liberal-arts college kids ready to taste the beauty of her album. She played the concert without the other half of her band (John Linaberry is in other bands and sometimes doesn't tour with Spiers), but nothing about her performance hinted at any lack.

It's Melton Time: What's Next for Jackson?

On July 4, Mayor-elect Frank Melton will officially move into the mayor's office of Jackson. Word on the street says he has big changes planned for the city, changes many supporters say are long in coming.

[Fleming] Barbour: Be Proud, But Not Arrogant

"If thou desire the love of God and man, be humble, for the proud heart, as it loves none but itself, is beloved of none but itself. Humility enforces where neither virtue, nor strength, nor reason can prevail."

[Kamikaze] Two Steps Forward, Two Back

"If you don't learn from the past, you're doomed to repeat it." Well, don't be surprised if the drama that is the real world has started looking like a rerun. Too often, when Mississippi appears to be discarding the vestiges of racism that has crippled it for decades, someone here does or says something, well, stupid. Needless to say, it's kind of embarrassing how we've yet again given a platform for ignorance to rear its ugly head.

[Chick] Tankini Hell

First of all, I had every intention of boycotting the swimsuit industry this year. No, I was not going to be that chick you see at the public pool wearing gym clothes in the water. (By the way, if she's not going to suit up, she could at least get some band-aids. I'm just saying.) I spent big bucks on a suit last year that covers what needs to be covered and accentuates the few good things I've got going for myself.

Audrey Dabbs

Audrey Dabbs, 75, the mother of three, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of four, has painted, done ceramics, made wire-wrapped rock jewelry and acted with the Terry Station Players. She's organized and become queen of a Red Hat Ladies Society—The Red Hat CLASS (Charming, Lovely, Ageless, Sassy Sisters)—and got together a monthly domino club. She's collected rocks for 30 years. Almost all of them are on her 26 acres in Simpson County, in a bed of pea gravel just for them. Soon they'll make the move to Byram, like she did in March.

[Stiggers] Handle Yo' Bidness

Live from Grandma Pookie's kitchen: It's the Ghetto Science Team's syndicated pirate radio show "Handle Yo' Bid-Ness with Lil' Ray-Ray."

Bush Speech Justifies Indefinite War in Iraq

Here's a full, verbatim transcript of George W. Bush's speech last night at Fort Bragg:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Please be seated. Good evening. I'm pleased to visit Fort Bragg, "Home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces." It's an honor to speak before you tonight. My greatest responsibility as President is to protect the American people. And that's your calling, as well. I thank you for your service, your courage and your sacrifice. I thank your families, who support you in your vital work.

Tuesday, June 28

Rep. John Lewis: Bush, Powell, Rice Lied About Iraq

Rep. John Lewis, a legendary civil rights hero, this week tells Atlanta's Creative Loafing, the alternative weekly there, that the Bush administration lied to convince the American people to support his plan for war in Iraq. In the interview, he said:

Monday, June 27

Monta Ellis Faces Draft

Lanier High School's uber-talented guard Monta Ellis decided to bypass playing college basketball at Mississippi State and jump into the NBA draft. On Tuesday night, the wisdom of that decision will be revealed when the picking begins (6:30 p.m., ESPN). Ellis went to the NBA because he's been told he will be a first-round pick. Sports Illustrated says he wlll go to the Sacramento Kings with the No. 23 pick. says the Utah Jazz with No. 27. But About Pro Basketball says he's going to the L.A. Lakers with the No. 37 pick in the second round. That would be bad, because first-round picks' contracts are guaranteed; second-round pick's deals aren't. Good luck, Monta.

New Gallery of Killen Trial Photos Just Posted

Photographer Kate Medley has just posted a full gallery of 87 photos from the Edgar Ray Killen trial last week. Don't miss them! Kate—a Jacksonian and Murrah grad—did some amazing work over there and by Thursday was shooting for the New York Times, not to mention other publications and wire services around the world. Kate makes Jackson very proud.

Friday, June 24

Bobby Bare, Jr. at W.C. Don's July 18

Bobby Bare, Jr. shares his famous father's musical genetics, but he's hardly hiding in dad's shadow with his own blend of R&B swagger and SoCal country rock. He and his band of merry misfits, The Young Criminals' Starvation League, released one of last year's gems, "From The End of Your Leash." Think it's all talk and no walk? Well, SPIN called it "One of the 10

[Lott] Crossroads or Cross Hairs

June 24, 2005 Throughout American history, people of all cultures have sought freedom and opportunity in our nation – legally, for the most part. We know that immigration is an integral part of American history that has made us so successful. We trumpet America's being a unique crossroads of so many diverse groups. Yet, illegal immigration is another story. Many illegal immigrants don't see America through some bright prism as a fertile crossroads, but see us through sinister cross hairs. No nation, including a melting pot like ours, can long endure unchecked, illegal immigration, wide open to the world's worst characters.

Thursday, June 23

[State Report] Coast Park Open to Drilling?

Tempers are rising in the concerted efforts to open the Mississippi Barrier Islands to gas drilling. An emergency military spending and tsunami relief bill recently signed by the Bush administration carried an unexpected tag-along, an inserted rider that declares the state the owner of the mineral rights and orders the Department of Interior to allow exploration in the national park and directional drilling under it. More locally, it gives energy companies the right to explore for oil and gas inside a beach side national park replete with protected fish and birds, a large array of sea turtles and the Gulf's largest concentration of bottlenose dolphins.

[City Report] The ‘Who's Who' Unity Team

June 22, 2005 Mayor-elect Frank Melton announced his transition team June 14 at an informational session at the Crossroads Building in downtown Jackson. Hinds County Board of Supervisors President Doug Anderson is chairman of the team. Peyton Prospere, former chief counsel for Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, is executive director of the effort.

[Capitol Report] Open Hands Abound

The House Ways and Means Committee continued the hearing on bond project proposals at a June 16 meeting at the State Capitol. The hearing, part of the preparation for the June 28 special session, was essentially a forum for representatives of state organizations, both public and private, to vent their financial shortfalls for the upcoming year to the House committee.

Dogs Going To Sens

The Jackson Senators will hold "Bark at the Park" on Sunday, July 17. Fans are invited to bring their dogs to Smith-Wills Park for the Sens' game with the Shreveport Sports at 5:05 p.m. All dogs must be on a leash. Free tickets for the game will be available starting July 11 at all BankPlus branches.

Free Sens Tickets

From JFP head honcho Todd Stauffer, writing from his penthouse office atop the groovy JFP Tower:

SMITH-WILLS STADIUM for the JACKSON SENATORS game on Saturday June 25th.Gates open at six...first pitch at 7:05. They'll have a space jump and giantslide set up for the kids, tons of giveaways (TONS) and there will be afirework display. Prizes from Metrocenter Mall merchants including: Sears(a grill!), McRaes, Express, Express Men, Sports Avenue, Tuxedo Junction,Gold & Diamonds, GNC, Chick-Fil-A, and Sbarro, plus Metrocenter Mall GiftCertificates. FREE TICKETS TO THE JACKSON SENATORS GAME are available at theCustomer Service Center on the lower level between Bath & Body Works andExpress Men. (You should also be able to get tickets from me -- Todd -- ifyou see me prior to Saturday night's game. :-)

[Breaking] Killen Sentenced to 60 Years

Moments ago in Neshoba County, Judge Marcus Gordon has sentenced Edgar Ray Killen, 80, to the full 60 years possible for his guilty verdict for manslaughter in the James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner case. The judge sentenced Killen to the maximum 20 years for each count of the indictment—or for the death of each young man. Gordon could have sentenced Killen to as little as one year for each count.

Wednesday, June 22

"Surrounded by Silence," Prefuse 73

Scott Herrin, a former Atlanta native known as Prefuse 73, changed the face of underground music in 2001 by unleashing the groundbreaking glitch-hop release "Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives." Combining cut and pasted beat fragments, old school R&B samples and underground MC's throwing out tight rhymes, P73 crossed the indie, electronica and hip-hop genres on this and 2003s "One Word Extinguisher." The trend continues on "Surrounded by Silence," as Herrin claims: "this is a collection of collaborations between those I respect musically and those who I share personal friendships with." Guest musicians include El-P, Wu-Tang members Ghostface Killah, GZA and Masta Killa, as well as Aesop Rock, Tyondai Braxton, Cafe Tacuba, Beans, Broadcast, the Books, DJ Nobody and Blonde Redhead guitarist Kazu Makino. P73 has dropped another masterpiece. -- Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

Back To Reality

Nearly a decade after Joel Schumacher foolishly turned the Batman series away from Tim Burton's dark, gothic fairy tale into something resembling a mega-budgeted ice-capades version of the Adam West '60s TV series, director Christopher Nolan ("Memento") has delivered the Batman film I never expected from Hollywood. Nolan has made the ultimate Batman film, one that meets—if not beats—Burton's original big-screen version, all the while taking the comic book icon in a direction no one has ever thought: the real world.

Living, Breathing Art

The Mississippi Museum of Art is the perfect place to while away a few hours, indoors, away from the heat and humidity. But, more than that, it's the perfect place to stimulate your mind with the several exhibits on display right now.

[Geek] (Re)Enter The Atomic Age: A Review of "Atomika"

Imagine a world of ideals: black and white, good and evil, supermen full of vision and idealistic fervor, the perfect model and epitome of one doctrine. Now, imagine the ideal is Communism and the superman is the embodiment of Marxist doctrine. This is the world imagined by Sal Abbinanti and Andrew Dabb every month in "Atomika," the new series from Speakeasy Comics.

[Jacktown] Dirty South Take-Over

Either you've been in a coma or looking at Fuse TV too much if you haven't noticed the explosion of Southern hip-hop recently. According to sources, over 40 percent of the music played on pop radio in the last year has been starring, produced by or featuring Southern acts. Now major labels are striving to sign independent Southern artists to produce hits. An example is the recent renegotiated deal of Lil Scrappy, whose services will now be split evenly between Lil Jon's BME and 50 Cent's G Unit Records.

Sexy Experimental

When I meet with Bradley Nicholson of the band A Black Medic, the first thing I notice is that he's young—still a teenager. But age hasn't held back the Florence native and his bandmates from making their way to Jackson and giving the audiences at The Joint their own brand of "sexy experimental."

After Killen: What's Next For Mississippi?

A common, and easy, response to race-dialogue efforts today in Mississippi is that there is racism everywhere, so why should Mississippians keep apologizing, or be constantly under the microscope.

Trial Highlights

Day 1 – June 13, 2005 – The trial officially got underway with jury selection. About 120 people responded to about 400 summonses. The court reported that the racial makeup roughly reflected the county's demographic. There was brief excitement when Klansman Harper approached Killen to wish him well.

[Irby] Thank You, Mr. McIntyre

PHILADELPHIA, MISS.—Lawyers made closing arguments today in the State of Mississippi v. Edgar Ray Killen trial. I sat with the media in the courtroom shaking my head as defense attorney James McIntyre of Jackson avoided addressing the facts of the case and tried instead to convince the jury why it should not have been brought up in the first place.

Cochran and Lott: Sign On Now

In the wake of the Edgar Ray Killen trial and the media spotlight on Mississippi, another tumult over race and politics boiled to the surface last week when the U.S. Senate passed a non-binding resolution apologizing for years of the Senate's failure to pass Federal anti-lynching legislation.

Marianne Hill

While discussing politics and the economy with senior economist Marianne Hill, 58, I feel privileged to be sitting next to such an intellect. Hill earned her bachelors in economics from the University of Maryland. After graduating, she attended the London School of Economics to pursue her masters. She furthered her education with a Ph.D from Yale.

[Stiggers] What's In a Name?

Boneqweesha Jones and the Ghetto Science Repertory Theater present a sneak preview of the stage play "Colored Folk Who Considered Changing Their Ethnic Sounding Names When the Corporations Wouldn't Hire Them."

Civil Rights Education Summit in Neshoba County

PHILADELPHIA, MS – Public school teachers from around the region will converge in Philadelphia, Miss., June 22-24 for what is expected to be a landmark event aimed at providing teacher training through first-hand perspectives on the 1960's Civil Rights Movement. At the same time, two blocks away in the Neshoba County courthouse, Edgar Ray Killen stands trial for the gruesome murder of three civil rights workers forty one years ago in this small Mississippi town. The conference has been planned by Philadelphia Coalition, which initiated the call for justice in the 1964 case and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi.

Tuesday, June 21

Mardi Gras Girls Night Out

MARDI GRAS GIRL'S NITE OUT TO FEATURE EDEN BRENT AND THE VENUS MISSION. Greenville blues artist Eden Brent opens an exciting evening in downtown Jackson on Thursday, June 30th at Mardi Gras Restaurant and nightclub from 5-10 pm at MG's piano jazz lounge. Brent, who is considered the top female blues artist in the country, brings her high octane piano and vocal talents to Mardi Gras for the popular Thursday Girl's Nite Out promotion, co-sponsored by Q 105.1 radio. Named "Little Boogaloo" by the legendary bluesman, Boogaloo Ames, Brent has gained a huge following at Mardi Gras and has performed nationally with BB King as well as other lead blues artists.

[Archive] Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner

Since the JFP launched in October 2002, the following pieces have discussed, in one way or another, the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner and the effect of that tragedy on modern-day Mississippi. We present these stories together as an archive in honor of June 21, 2004—the 40th anniversary of their deaths in Neshoba County.


On the 41st anniversary of the deaths of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney, one man has been convicted. One thing to think about is the fact that the jury would not convict Edgar Ray Killen of murder. Although his role in the murders was obviously premeditated, they chose the verdict of manslaughter, which meant that he might not have known they would be killed—even as he was known to be the organizer and orchestrator of the murders. Also, a gravesite for the three men was already chosen; thus, how could this murder have been one of passion? Rita Bender and Ben Chaney gave us a reminder that this is only the beginning.

Uniwatch Returns On Court

Sports attire conniseur Paul Lukas uses the start of Wimbledon to take a look at the changes in tennis attire, from the days when women wore corsets and men wore long sleeves and long pants to the days of Serena and Nadal.

41 Years Ago and Still Waiting

Today marks 41 years since the murder of the three civil rights workers in Neshoba County. As jury deliberation continues all we can do is wait. As you know, yesterday after only 2 or so hours of deliberation Judge Gordon asked the jury what their current numbers were. Supposedly, his actions could be grounds for a mistrial. I don't know exactly what the rules are, but I don't believe he has the explicit power to inquire, at least not so soon after deliberation has begun. Hopefully 6 people will change their minds.

Mayor Harvey Johnson Returns to JSU Faculty

(JACKSON, Miss.) -- Mayor Harvey Johnson plans to return to his love of teaching next month as he joins the faculty of Jackson State University. Johnson, along with university officials, will make the announcement at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 21 in the College of Business.

Monday, June 20

Casey Phillips at 930 Blues Cafe

930 Blues Café's Blues Jam featuring Casey Phillips slated for Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, when the 930 Blues Café's Blues Jam featuring Casey Phillips will kick off weekly jam sessions every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Jackson's only authentic Delta blues venue.

Split Down the Middle

The case was turned over to the jury this afternoon at about 3:15. We sat in the media center while the jury deliberated and at approximately 5:30 Judge Gordon summoned the jury into the courtroom. As of today the votes are split 6 to 6. The jurors will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. tommorrow to continue deliberation.

Monkey Business

The morning began as Jim Hood stood to address the judge while in the process of putting on his suit coat. He was sternly reprimanded by the judge for his lack of etiquette.

Sunday, June 19

Updates - Days 5 and 6

There was much—or little—activity in the courtroom on Friday and Saturday, depending on how you look at it. But we've either been in the courtroom, and thus no connection, or scrambling to get our bigger package ready to go to press. We will be posting details on our observations on here, hopefully by mid-day Monday, so keep an eye out.

Men We Love

by David McCarty, Emily Braden Knight, Robert Williamson, Casey Parks, Thabi Mooyo, Swetha Regunathan, Todd Stauffer

Saturday, June 18

Cochran and Lott AWOL on Lynching Resolution

[Originally posted June 14] In a highly publicized resolution last night, the United States Senate formally apologized for the body's failure over the years to pass a federal anti-lynching law that might have been used for intervene in lynchings that occurred in the past century. The entirely symbolic resolution, co-sponsored by 80 Senators, was passed last night by unanimous voice vote ("All in favor say 'Aye'"). A recorded vote was skipped to, presumably, avoid embarrassing the one Democratic and 19 Republican Senators who decided not to put their names on the resolution as a co-sponsor, including both Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran from Mississippi. Bloggers have noted that both Lott and Cochran voted against federal hate crimes legislation in 2002 as well.

A Bloody Mess

The advertisements for "High Tension," a low-budget, rather arty French thriller that has inexplicably garnered a wide U.S. theatrical release, bill it as one of the year's most intense and uncompromising film experiences. In this aim, director Alexandre Aja has succeeded, technically, having crafted an occasionally suspenseful and overwhelmingly graphic account of a murderous rampage in the French countryside. However, while the word-of-mouth attached to this import since its appearances at film festivals suggested that it might inject new energy into the exhausted "slasher" genre, Aja has created little more than a formulaic horror story with one of the most laughable twist endings in history.

Thursday, June 16

Court is in Session or Recess?

The first day of testimonies ended up being less than predictable. One moment court is in session while the next moment the court is recessed for "some period of time."

Wednesday, June 15

BizProfile: Dedicated To The Board

Ricky Byrd was an avid skater in his youth. He spent the '70s street skating with friends and participating in several races. He grew up from his youthful skating ventures to have "real jobs" with Simmons and General Electric. He got married and started a family. However, Byrd says that skating has always been his passion, and owning a skate shop has been his dream for the past 30 years.

DIY: Sword Fighting

The choreography of a ninja and the slice of a Samurai is what you learn during a duel with Gabriel Gordon, 31. Gordon has sword fought since he was 7, when he trained under his uncle who taught Kendo, Japanese fencing.

Byram: ‘Worth Fighting For?'

The city of Jackson sallied forth with plans to creep its southern border a little further south June 13 when city attorneys pled a case for annexation before a Hinds County judge. The city had withdrawn its appeal of a Hinds County ruling that threw out the annexation bid, but then City Council members passed an ordinance putting new gusto behind the move to annex.

Odds And Ends

Have you ever eaten odds and ends? I'll wager not. I'll go so far as to bet you cannot even guess what makes up odds and ends.

Homage To Rogues

The last time Zach Rogue and his bandmates in Rogue Wave came to Mississippi, the concert didn't start off too well. Only a few lines into his first song, someone from the front row spit beer right into his face. But no worries, Rogue Wave kept on playing, and strangely enough after such an introduction, Rogue Wave decided they like Mississippi.

Jubilee! Jam Goes Street

Design by Jakob Clark

Make no mistake: The 2005 Jubilee!JAM will be markedly different from those in years past. Music coordinator Charles Abraham says the 19th JAM will be "more of a street party with really good music" than just "a big concert that happened to be on the street."

[Kamikaze] Jam On

Whew! It's been a whirlwind two weeks. Quite honestly, my head is spinning. But it seems a bit of progress has been made. If you haven't been out of town or off the planet recently, then you've heard about the stir Jubilee!JAM officials caused when this year's line up was announced a couple of weeks ago. Much to the chagrin of hundreds of JAM supporters, this year's festival was originally devoid of any hip-hop. Save for a performance by rock/rap hybrid Free Sol, there wasn't one hip-hop act—local or otherwise—on the bill.

[Parrish] Memo To The Mainstream

I have a three-word response to the media frenzy that followed revelation of the long-secret identity of Deep Throat: Downing Street Memo.

[Lynette's Note] My Heart Belongs To Daddy

Men fascinate me, and have for, oh, I'd say almost the entire 57 years I've been on this spinning orb. Men are deftly driving behemoth trains and trucks, fixing failed computers, making music on guitars and saxophones and turntables, frying fish and jalapenos, grilling steaks and pork tenderloins, coaching teams of youngsters, writing books, kneading bread or shaping burgers, wielding a chef's knife or brush or a computer program or a camera or a potter's wheel or a hammer in the name of creativity—loving and working for their families, friends, their cities and towns—all while expounding and enlightening and entertaining and enlivening.

Richard Kubow

Multi-talented musician-businessman Richard Kubow, is the owner of Richard's Music, a man who can play any instrument and sing any note. In 2003 a blaze set fire to his studio, which had been open since 1981, but Kubow got back on track. He and his staff teach many different music lessons to the public everyday in theMaywood Mart complex.

Opener: Killen Not on Trial for ‘Knowledge' of Crime

Well, the jury was finally chosen and opening arguments were heard. There are 12 members of the jury with an additional 5 alternates. The jury consists of 9 white women, 4 white men, 2 black women, and 2 black men. All are between the ages of 30-60.

Opening Statement/Audio Glitch

The trial's opening statements happened early this afternoon—but the judge forgot to turn the audio switch on, so only the people in the courtroom could hear it, and then only faintly. That means that the MPB and Court TV audiences didn't hear the statements, nor did the reporters in the media room. Tje "operator error" was, as the cameramen were calling it, because the judge had the switch turned toward the red light, which actually meant "off," which seems a bit backward, and I could frankly see why he'd make the mistake. Hopefully, tomorrow the tech stuff will be in better order. Meantime, I'm looking for a transcript of the opening statements.

Face to Face with Killen

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photo by Kate Medley: Edgar Ray Killen is helped into his car as his wife and supporters look on.

Low Turnout Paves Melton's Way

Read this story here.

Tuesday, June 14

The JFP presents Free Sõl

Led by Christopher "Free Sõl" Anderson, Memphis-based Free Sõl will perform in the Hal & Mal's Red Room, Friday, July 15, from 8:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Free Sõl starts with a Prince, Isley Brothers, and Sade influenced smooth and soulful R&B groove, then they kick into an eclectic high energy hip-hop-funk fusion of OutKast, Sugar Hill Gang, and the Chili Peppers. Think of them as Jay Z meets Rick James, with jazzy horns, and a shot of Linkin Park. The transitions are so diverse there truly is something for everyone…regardless of race, color, age, old or new school creed. C'est revolution de la Sõl.

Just In: Opening Arguments Start Wednesday

We just got word that jury selection is over (or nearly over), and opening arguments will start tomorrow (Wednesday). It is predicted that the trial will end by the end of next week, although that isn't certain, of course.

SurveyUSA's Senator Poll Results

On the heels of its 50-state governor poll, SurveyUSA -- in a poll not yet approved for consumption by the C-L (just kidding...:wink:) -- has released its 50-state Senator poll today. Results? Lott has a 65% approval rating (the same number that New York gives Sen. Hillary Clinton) and Cochran a 63% approval rating. Interestingly, eight of the ten least popular Senators are Republicans, including Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

Killen Trial — Tuesday News Round-up

Today, the Los Angeles Times has a good news piece co-written by Jenny Jarvie (who was one of the reporters who saw the Klan wizard at Killen's house Sunday night). Jenny (who is British) seems to be trying very hard to tell a balanced story, including about new generations of Mississippi. Kudos to her.

Monday, June 13

Thoughts on a Monday—in Philadelphia, Miss.

There was an eerie sense of expectation surrounding downtown Philadelphia, Miss., on this soon-to-be infamous afternoon. It was quiet...almost too quiet, underneath the blanket of sweltering humidity.

One-third of Jury Pool Black Today

Emily Wagster Pettus reports today:

Sovereignty Commission Blog

Delta woman Susan Klopfer has started a Mississippi Sovereignty Commission blog to highlight relevant parts of the Sovereignty Files (which are searchable online here. It is very important to understand that murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner (and others) were not just the work of a few Klansmen. The state-funded Sovereignty Commission was set up as a spy agency to keep segregation in place and keep out "agitators" (civil-rights supporters).

Mississippians Wary of Civil-Rights Trial

A JFP blogger posted this link in our media forum to an AP story about Philadelphia and the people's attitudes toward the trial. I decided to move it to the Neshoba Blog. It begins:

Barnett Confession Alleges Role of Burrage

Horace Doyle Barnett's Nov. 20, 1964, confession to the FBI

I was just provided this confession from 1964 by one of the alleged conspiractors in the murders. I have not verified its authenticity. It is pasted verbatim.

The Trial Begins ... Officially

We left Jackson early (7 a.m.!) to get to Philadelphia for the official opening of the trial — although there is not a lot of activity to cover today. There was a bit of excitement when Killen was wheeled into the courthouse — alongside J.J. Harper! Some reporters were asking his attorney why he was with a Klansman, and then Minna (Skau of Politken in Denmark, our friend from the day before) whipped out the business card Mr. Harper had given her the day before to show his Klan connection.

‘A Wider Examination'?

Journalist Oliver Staley is writing good stories in the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, trying to address larger questions along the way. He walked up to me today on the court square and told me that one of my old columns for the Progressive Populist (about Charles Pickering) inspired him to look into the investigative reports in the Sovereignty Files that fed information, including the station wagon's license plate number, to the local law enforcement and the Klan. He had a copy of my column printed out.

Sunday, June 12

The Scene of the Crime ... and a Klansman

After leaving Mt. Zion, I took the women reporters to Road 515, also known as Rock Cut Road, to show them where the three men were taken and killed.

Calm Before the Storm

Today, I heard that the Killen trial media was gathering in the afternoon and headed over to Neshoba County to see what was up. The town seemed very calm, other than the mass of cars around the media center, which is in the old Magnolia restaurant on Walnut Street a block from the courthouse. It's a loft-like building with low-hanging loft lights and a really rustic, yet hip interior with exposed brick. It's too bad this place closed; it was probably hard to compete with the casino restaurants.

Saturday, June 11

[Stiggers] At Play In The Fields Of Greens

From the makers of "Poor Folk Gone Postal" is a film about a man who follows that inner voice. While flipping Crunchie Burgas on the grill at Crunchie Burga World, chief cook Purvis Jackson hears a Barry White voice say, "If you plant collard greens, cook 'em with a juicy ham-hock and serve 'em with a nice slice of cornbread, people will come."

Friday, June 10

Mayor Johnson Weekly Newsletter 6/10

Firefighter of the Year. Firefighter II, Eddie James was recently named Jackson's 2005 Firefighter of the Year. James spends most of his time showcasing the Fire Safety House across the city of Jackson. The Fire Safety House provides invaluable fire safety education to young people. It helps children learn how to escape a fire and educates them about other hazards that may occur in the home. James has been with the Jackson Fire Department for nine years, four of which have spent working in the Fire Safety Education Division.

JFP Archive of Chaney, Goodman & Schwerner Coverage

Click here to read the Jackson Free Press' coverage of the Chaney, Goodman & Schwerner case and the arrest and trial of Edgar Ray Killen to date.

Woman Driver

Indy Racing League driver Danica Patrick has been getting lots of attention recently for making the Indianapolis 500 almost matter again. She finished fourth and ended up on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Slate's Robert Weintraub is among those who are not impressed.

Future NFL Player On Prowl?

OK, here's a story from Bad that involves one of America's favorite pastimes, burglary: High school cheerleader Lindsey Larsen of Clearfield, Utah, can't quite understand why a strange man is breaking into her family's home and stealing various items, most notably her underwear adding, "... That's just weird." ... The currently unidentified young man had already broken into the Larsen's home on several occasions prompting the family to set up surveillance cameras to catch him in the act. They did, but still haven't been able to catch or even identify the suspect.

Thursday, June 9

Matador Records News

Interpol: Currently in the midst of playing radio festivals across the US, Interpol have recorded a new song, "Direction" for inclusion on compilation CD 'Six Feet Under: Everything Ends, Music From The HBO Original Series, Vol. 2', coming out June 21 on Astralwerks.

Father's Day at 930 Blues Cafe Saturday

Celebrate Father's Day by Building Memories at the 930 Blues Café, Saturday, June 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Come and delve into the magical world of Father's Day at the 930 Blues Café with its Father & Son Blues Education Session and Tour, Saturday, June 18, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

[Music] Hip-Hop + Rock= Free Sol

Midway through my interview with Christopher "Free Sol" Anderson, the talkative, laid back front man of the Memphis-based "hip-hop fusion" band Free Sol, I ask Anderson if he thinks their own blend of hip-hop, rock, jazz, R&B, soul—even metal—will be easily accepted by the mainstream. He laughs. "I think we're gonna be the biggest in the world. It's gonna blow up," he says. Despite Anderson's jubilant tone, he isn't joking.

Wednesday, June 8

JFP Chick Ball Raises More Than $3,000

Please contact Natalie Collier (natalie at jacksonfreepress dotcom) if you're a female visual, musical or performance artist interested in donating performance or art to raise money to fight domestic violence during Chick Ball 2006. Details coming soon.

Boys In Their ‘Hood

In the mid-'70s, a new sport emerged from the beaches of Southern California, thought up by surfers during a summer drought. Using skateboards with urethane wheels, the teenage members of the Zephyr Team ("Z-Boys") took what had formerly been seen as little more than a toy and created what we now know as modern skateboarding, a multi-million dollar industry. "Lords of Dogtown" is their story.

Showdown At Everyday Stadium

At, there's this headline: "Nothing is really real unless it happens on television." Hardly. Iron Chef Everyday is a reality, alive and thriving at The Everyday Gourmet on County Line Road, not relegated to the tube.

JFP Interview: Myrlie Evers-Williams

Myrlie Evers-Williams, 72, and I talked long distance last Saturday at noon, separated by distance but connected by more than the telephone—both Mississippians, both widows, albeit by excruciatingly different circumstances, both left to raise small children without our beloved husbands, both survivors by the grace of God and with the love and support of family and friends.

Rape: The Forgotten Crime?

When The Clarion-Ledger recently published Jackson crime figures for 2004, numbers showed drops in most categories, including burglary, assault, robbery and larceny. The years 2002, 2003 and 2004 also saw reports of rape slide from 182, to 179, to 165, respectively. A more recent report, however, showed that both arson and rape saw a rise during the first few months of 2005, compared to last year.

North Toward Home

As House and Senate members met May 18 to hammer out the details of Gov. Haley Barbour's call for a special session, Barbour himself was nowhere to be found in either the Capitol or his headquarters in the nearby Sillers Building. Instead, Barbour spent that morning in Washington raising money for a personal PAC (political action committee).

For The Children

Myrlie Evers-Williams says she and her husband, Medgar, held each other and cried days before he died. They knew he was about to be killed for his tireless work to bring equality and dignity to blacks in Mississippi. "Promise me you will take care of my children," he told her as he held her.

[Wine] The One That Did It

Around this time of year, there are plenty of reasons to want just the right wine to celebrate with—graduations, weddings, summer celebrations. When you're looking for that extra special bottle for that extra special occasion, how do you make the decision as to which one will be special enough? How do we know which wine will be so hauntingly sweet or spicy with tannins aged to velvety perfection that it will make the situation absolutely perfect?

Such Great Heights

I've yet to see "In Good Company," but I have taken a listen to the soundtrack, and among the three tracks included by Iron & Wine, one stands out as a real show stopper. "The Trapeze Swinger" is a nine-minute plus saga that actually survives its running time, getting by as it does on the singer's sighing refrain, vivid reminisces and intimate (but not too intimate) voice. That this could grace multiplexes nationwide makes the film, without any viewing necessary, a good film.

Can We Be In A Band?

<b>Jackson Chicks Want In On The Scene</b>

As a rapper, as a female, Rachel James has run into a few problems. In studios, she has tried to get serious about her rhymes. She's approached producers—looking sexy, or not (it changes day-to-day)—with honest ambition, only to be met with offers for drinks and questions about her relationship status. But this 26-year-old woman (a simultaneous paralegal, novelist and graduate student) doesn't want to be your sex toy. She's not at the studio hoping you'll take her out for a drink. She doesn't want to be admired for her good looks. She's a woman, a damn good rapper, and she's serious about her music career.

A Cause To Rock For

Have you ever been physically touched by someone who had no business doing that? Ever been forced to have sexual intercourse when you had refused? Domestic violence is when one person deliberately causes either physical or mental harm to another such as a girlfriend, cousin, mother, aunt or acquaintance.

[Chick] She Is My Business

I think most of us women have had that friend at some point, and if you don't remember that friend, then I bet you were that friend. That friend was the one girl we really, really wanted to be. She made us laugh. She retained our confidences. She was strikingly beautiful and fiercely loyal, and we envied her just a bit, but loved her even more.

[Sawyer] What 'Pro Life' Really Means

As of last month, the Gallup Poll indicated that 23 percent of Americans wish to keep abortion legal, 53 percent indicated legal but with restrictions, and 22 percent support the illegality of abortion. What does this mean? Seventy–six percent of Americans overwhelmingly support the "safe and legal" option often purported by Democrats. I happen to fall into a fourth category that supports a real culture of life, but I'll get to that later on in this column.

Anne Friday

As I admired the various portraits of jazz, blues and rock 'n' roll artists that hang on the walls of Hal & Mal's, I was greeted by Anne Friday, 34, of Jackson. Then this amazing woman took the time to sit down and share with me a few experiences in her life that have made her who she is today.

Tuesday, June 7

WAPT 16: Melton Vows To Keep Crime-Reduction Promise If Elected

WAPT 16 reports:

JACKSON, Miss. -- Mayoral candidate Democrat Frank Melton told 16 WAPT News in an exclusive interview last year that he wanted to solve the city's crime problem within 180 days.

WAPT 16: Mayoral Candidates Vow To Bring Business To Jackson

WAPT 16 reports:

Democrat Frank Melton and Republican Rick Whitlow are vying to take over City Hall. Both men say they have plans to bring business and people back to the capital city.

Melton Wins Mayor's Race in Low Turn-Out

Remember that today is Election Day! You can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in your usual polling places. For vital candidate and voting information about Jackson races, read the JFP's Election Blog. Also, the JFP's Truth Watch site will remain past the elections and take on an expanded role to factcheck statements made by public officials and media outlets. Bookmark it today!

Monday, June 6

WLBT 3: Whitlow, Melton Could Stand Together

WLBT 3 reports:

Don't be surprised if you see the loser of Tuesday's mayoral race in Jackson at the winner's victory party.

NYC to Lower Voting Age to 16?

[verbatim from National Youth Rights Association]

June 8, 2005: New York City could become the first American city to lower its voting age to sixteen after Councilwoman Gale Brewer introduces her bill to lower the municipal voting age from 18 to 16 on Wednesday.

Charity Softball Game with Gov. Barbour

1 Braves Way, Pearl, MS 39208

Charity Softball Game for Metro Jackson Habitat for Humanity. Governor Haley Barbour's Softball Team "Barbour's Bombers" vs. Metro Area Media Softball Team "Media Giants." Saturday, June 18th, 5 – 6:30 p.m. Trustmark Park (Home of the Mississippi Braves)

Sunday, June 5

WLBT 3: Campaigning Continues in Final Hours

WLBT 3 reports:

We know that the city of Jackson will have a new mayor -- but will it be Republican Rick Whitlow or Democrat Frank Melton? Voters will decide when the polls open Tuesday morning.

C-L: Candidates prepare for vote

The Ledger reports:

Clarion-Ledger Navel-Gazes Own Coverage, Sort Of

All the recent criticism of The Clarion-Ledger and other media's abysmal coverage of the city elections—which has only been covered by the Jackson Free Press to date—must be ringing true over at the daily newspaper offices. Today, they have a very odd, and defensive, puff story about the local media coverage of the race written by feature writer Gary Pettus and on the cover of the Southern Style section.

Thursday, June 2

"Lost and Safe," The Books

This cut-and-paste folk tinged electronic sound collage is a duo that met in New York but now resides in North Adams, Massachusetts. Their first two albums, 2002's "Thought for Food" and 2003's marvelous "The Lemon of Pink," had a certain playfulness which nicely complemented the canonical nature of their innovative music. With "Lost and Safe," it seems that the fun is eschewed in favor of a more puritanical mood, resulting in a release that might seem sterile when compared with the colorful works of their back catalog. However, it is still highly recommended, as it is [still] much more groundbreaking than many other current releases. - Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

"Gods and Monsters," I Am Kloot

Since forming in 1999, this Manchester trio has had something to say and the means by which to express it. I Am Kloot is all about contradictions and their music is simultaneously "combative yet charming." Their third full length, "Gods and Monsters," contains 13 tracks encompassing happiness and sorrow, beauty and ugliness and all points in between. One might reference Belle and Sebastian or Clinic in terms of describing their sound, but this newest addition to the "new acoustic movement" stands apart on their own. Best described by John Bramwell, I Am Kloot's vocalist: "I Am Kloot is a little universe we've created, I Am Kloot is not a band, it's a world....It's ruthless and endearing, it's full of contradictions and — it shifts across the sky like the weather." --Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

WLBT 3: Melton, Whitlow in Final Stretch

WLBT 3 reports:

The race for mayor in Jackson is down to its final week, and both candidates are running very low-key campaigns. Democrat Frank Melton and Republican Rick Whitlow face each other in the June 7 General Election.

Wednesday, June 1

Planet Weekly: Q&A Interview with Rick Whitlow

The Planet Weekly this week interviews Rick Whitlow in a question-and-answer format as their cover story. Frank Melton did not respond to their requests for interviews.

[Kamikaze] Don't Get Nuked

What you don't know: filibuster, n. the use of extreme dilatory tactics in an attempt to delay or prevent action.

Momentum Gaining Momentum?

Tempers flared for the first real time on the floor of the Mississippi House of Representatives May 26 as lawmakers argued over an amendment by Rep. Bennett Malone, D-Carthage, to strike all bond measures from Gov. Haley Barbour's Momentum Mississippi incentives package for businesses and keep only Momentum Mississippi—the part that the governor wants. Fueled by the tempers of representatives like Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, and others, the House voted to block the amendment and sent the bill on its way, lugging an additional $98 million in other projects, from $56 million for Northrop Grumman shipyard in Pascagoula to a $900,000 lake in Alcorn County. The bill and its additions total $123 million in bond projects.

The Bold, The Red-Faced, and The Rest

At the May 24 City Council meeting, tension filled the chamber as the members worked through a number of rote actions. The source of the tension was revealed when Council got to Resolution 38. Ward 6 Councilman Crisler presented a resolution, co-sponsored by Council President McLemore, Ward 1 Councilman Ben Allen and Ward 5 Councilwman Bettye Dagner-Cook, encouraging Mayor Harvey Johnson not to make any bold changes to the city's employment structure—that is, not to move city staffers into civil-service positions to prevent their being fired by the new mayor who takes over in July. Council had discussed the resolution, which is similar to one passed in 1989 when Kane Ditto defeated Mayor Dale Danks, the day before in the work session so Johnson knew it was coming.

‘Legitimate Gripes' or ‘Rumor'?

A line of concerned students and alumni gathered May 25 at 9 a.m. on the pavement below the Jackson State University administrative towers building to protest the merger of the university's sociology and criminology programs. Students said they were shaken by the news that the university would be putting both schools under one administrative roof in a merger it claims will strengthen the faculty base.

Budget Deal Undercuts Education

The Mississippi Legislature left the state capitol with a $4.6 billion budget finally hammered into shape May 28 after a nine-day, $347,000 special session. The session was called into order specifically by Gov. Haley Barbour to deal with Momentum Mississippi, a telemarketer no-call list and other priorities. Initially, Barbour's call did not include either the budget or the state's under-funded education system.

Poke Salad Bessie

June 1, 2005 My friend Bessie Mae Evans used to keep house for us when I was a kid. She was a fountain of lore, especially when it came to snakes. She knew which ones could hoop up and roll downhill and which ones would wrap you to a tree with their coils and beat you to death. (She claimed that they would stick the tip-end of their tail in your nose every now and then to see if you were still breathing, and if you were, they'd keep whipping.)

[Music] Rappin' From The Ribs

"Never judge a book by its cover." That's what I've always been taught. But driving down the road in the monotony of a crisp spring morning, I decided to pop in a sample promo sent to me by a group of young men from an up-and-coming label they call Von Esper.

[Gospel] We Must, And We Will

In a field that has become increasingly competitive, sisters Erica and Tina Campbell, affectionately known as Mary Mary, have proven to the world that a family that prays together stays together. The gifts and talents of the gospel singing duo have led to many awards and accolades. It has also allowed them to travel the globe, delivering their message of hope, encouragement, and salvation through infectious beats of rhythm and praise.

Noooooooooo!!!!: A review of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith"

You know, sometimes the gaming industry confuses me. I'm really not sure how you can take the concept of "Star Wars"and make a bad game. It's one of, if not the, biggest movie series in history, and it's hard to deny how loved it is. But time after time, crappy games are released under the "SW" title. Attention all designers: Slapping a popular franchise name onto your high school science project is not an excuse for a game. So, against my will, I'm going to play the latest "game," affectionately re-titled by me, "Star Wars Episode III: At Least We Aren't On Hoth."

Artist In Residence: Clay's Mixed Core

Most of the surface space in Clay Hardwick's room is covered with an image, be it his own or another's: shots of friends checker one wall, posters for bands and music events another, with a good deal of knee space donated to canvasses leaning against the wall. Later, when I flip through his portfolio in the den, I think, "Close attention to space and composition. An interest in texture. Appreciation for large planes of color. Like his room."

The Mayor's Race That Wasn't

The JFP started out the election season in January determined to learn as much as possible about both the character and the specific plans of the candidates for mayor of Jackson. Because of the nature of the job of mayor—part business booster, part labor negotiator, part city planner, part "top cop," part statesman—we think that the labels Republican or Democrat are secondary to the mayor being a trustworthy power-broker, a champion against poverty and for education, a proponent of smarter government, and a progressive when it comes to exploring and promoting creative ideas to fuel the cultural renaissance of a city's urban core.

What a Difference a Week Makes

May marked the first full year of the Jackson Free Press as a weekly publication, a feat that we were excited to dive into last summer and, now more than 50 issues later, we're very glad that we did.

Eddie Gates

For most young people who aspire to a career in music, the trend is going into a studio to make beats. But one local Jackson State student chooses a more traditional form of music. Eddie Gates, a 22-year-old junior from Jackson, has been playing piano since age 6.

Left Alone Punk LP

Los Angeles' hardest working independent band LEFT ALONE featuring Elivs (guitar/vocals), Rick (bass/vocals), Ramrod (drums), and Noe (saxophone) has just signed with Hellcat records; home of punk heavyweights Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, Lars Frederiksen, Roger Miret, and Tiger Army.

WAPT 16: Money Underdog Says Don't Count Him Out Of Mayor's Race

WAPT 16 reports:

JACKSON, Miss. -- When it comes to money, the Jackson mayoral race is shaping up to be a David and Goliath story.

"Waiting for the Sirens' Call," New Order

--Alex Slawson and Herman Snell

What more can be said of New Order than has already been said- adept songwriters and pioneers of atmospheric dance music who stuck around long enough to make it big. After a flurry of releases and triumphs in the 1980's, their output slowed to a trickle in the 1990's with only 1 proper album ["Republic"] that received a luke-warm response from critics. Enter the comeback era and New Order's second release with the renewed vigor that this stage entails and "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" might appear [superficially at least] to capture a band taking their last gasp. However, this album has so many diverse elements going for it that it proves this is, in fact, the work of a band getting their second wind. Their best album, by far, since 1989's "Technique," New Order are once again on the map and look like they are here to stay a while.

"Odyssey," Fischerspooner

In no small part responsible for the electro-clash movement a few years back, Fischerspooner combined anthemic synth lines, punkish beats and over-the-top glam in their live performances to create quite a cult following. "Odyssey" is a new direction for the band, one where electro-pop replaces electro-clash and cerebral replaces glam- it seems as though they have been listening to a lot of Her Space Holiday as of late. Although this may initially appear off-putting, it actually works in Fischerspooners' favor as this is truly an accomplished album. Complete with live instrumentation, thought provoking lyrics and beautifully meandering movements, this could mark their cross over from dance-floor heroes to respected musicians- grows on you like a fungus. --Alex Slawson and Herman Snell