Friday, August 31
In a January 2004 editorial defending Haley Barbour's "blind trust" in his lobbying firm, The Clarion-Ledger editorial board declared that it was hunky-dory because he no longer owned stock in the firm that had bought the firm:
[http://www.wlezfm.com/podcasts/jfp8_31_07.mp3]JFP on WLEZ 8/31/07 (mp3, 26.8MB)
We'll be talking about the recent flurry investigative stories about Haley Barbour, as well as the D.A.'s election and Mayor Melton's hiring of felons to work in city government. Tune into WLEZ.FM, 103.7, at noon today, listen live at http://www.wlezfm.com or click below for the podcast version of the show:
Salon is reporting that Gov. Haley Barbour has gotten HUD waivers that have redirected 80 percent of federal block grants awarded to help Mississippi's low- and moderate-income residents recover from Katrina—and media have ignored it, a national media watchdog group is charging. From Salon:
Thursday, August 30
LSU 45, Mississippi State 0: Remember when Doctor S predicted the Bulldogs would win six games? Based on what happened up in Starkville Thursday night, State will be lucky to score six points.
At District Attorney-elect Robert Smith's victory party, Mayor Frank Melton said that Smith is one of his long-time "kids" who will now help him with the young men of Jackson he is trying to save. "I thank God tonight that I have somebody now who will help me with these children ... who will put these drug dealers in jail."
The House Republican Conference officially declared war on House Speaker Billy McCoy today. The conference agreed this afternoon that GOP members will vote together as a group to elect a new House speaker to replace McCoy, D-Rienzi, at the next legislative session in 2008. "We're going to have a new speaker next January, and it's not going to be Billy McCoy," said Assistant Republican Leader Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, in a Republican Party press release. "… He cannot be re-elected Speaker without Republican votes, and it is clear he will have none."
Wednesday, August 29
In October 2006, Lelon Thompson did a one-day workshop at New Vibrations, Karen Parker's bookstore and just-plain-neat new-age shop in Fondren. The workshop, "You'll See It When You Believe It," struck a chord and started something powerful in Jackson. Earlier this year, I spoke with Parker and Thompson.
"We have an offer on your house," the caller said. If I had been selling my house, that would have been happy news. The problem was that I was renting my house, and an offer meant that I would have to move out at the end of my lease term, a mere 10 months away.
When I was a kid, my family and I would go on long fishing trips, involving hikes with several pounds of equipment, baiting our hooks with both a wriggly worm and our fingers, and getting our fishing poles stuck in a tree at least three times. My dad would "scout" out the "crick" (as creeks are called in Montana), and find everyone their own fishing hole: a deep, slow moving bend of the crick.
College football, LSU at Mississippi State (7 p.m., Starkville, ESPN/105.9 FM): The second-ranked Tigers invade StarkVegas. This could get ugly. … Millsaps at Mississippi College (7 p.m., Clinton, 1590 AM): Speaking of things that could get ugly, the Methodists invade the Baptists' sanctuary for the first time in forever.
"Robert, you're like a little brother to me. I love you and I'll always love you, and I had to distance myself from your campaign ...."
I suppose I was a late bloomer by most standards: I started dating at age 16, drinking coffee at 18 and got my driver's license at 19. I wasn't one of those weird, closed-off adolescents with no social awareness. No, no. I was just never in a hurry to do anything, a character trait that still haunts me.
The Jackson City Council has put the brakes on the administration's plan to re-finance the city's debt to fill holes in the budget.
Last week, the Mississippi Department of Human Services filled a motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed on behalf of eight teenage girls, who guards reportedly shackled, and in other instances abused, at Columbia Training School. The Mississippi Protection and Advocacy Systems sued a lengthy list of officials including Gov. Haley Barbour and Department of Human Services Executive Director Don Taylor on July 11, 2007.
An emerging Jackson Public Schools board voting bloc scattered an ant's nest of controversial ideas at the last board meeting. The meeting, which ran from 6:20 p.m. until past midnight, tossed around the idea of bringing spoken prayer to the board meeting and corporal punishment to the classrooms.
Throughout his trial, James Ford Seale appeared in court wearing slacks and a dress shirt. This morning, as he walked in shackles into a U.S. District Court in Jackson, he wore an orange Madison County-issued jumpsuit. In the courtroom, neither his siblings nor his children were present. He smiled at his wife, as guards escorted him to his seat next to public defenders Kathy Nester and George Lucas.
Racial discrimination, housing crises and neglect of prisoner rights in the wake of Katrina is the subject of a new ACLU report released Monday, Aug. 20. In anticipation of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, the ACLU released the report, "Broken Promises: Two Years After Katrina," which details Katrina victim injustices in Mississippi and Louisiana. It is a follow-up from last year's report, "Abandoned & Abused: Orleans Parish Prisoners in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina."
Mayor Frank Melton's State of the City Address was filled with determined talk, but no details.
Livingston Village rode in on the violent tendrils of Hurricane Katrina. It's one of those once-in-a-century opportunities made possible through astounding tax credits from the federal government, but the federal GO-Zone legislation that makes it possible comes with a deadline. Nevertheless, the council is smothering the $75 million endeavor, a project that developers say will net $150,000 in sales taxes and another $650,000 a year in ad valorem taxes.
Boneqweesha Jones: "In the world of home entertainment, consumers pay $300 to $500 for a brand new Blue Ray or High Definition DVD player. In the ghetto, financially challenged consumers pay $300 to $500 a month for an entertainment center—complete with wide-screen TV, DVD/CD player, and 'Bumpin' Bass' speakers—from a 'Rent to Own with Your Own Money' store.
Since my arrival in the Czech Republic, I've been getting abreast of Czech politics and a lot of the lightning-rod issues that folks here have to deal with.
Earlier this month, President Bush signed into law revisions to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It gives the Bush administration new power to screen your e-mails and listen in on your telephone conversations.
Bloomberg News is still hot on Barbour's trail. Today, they reveal much more about his so-called "blind trust" in the lobbying firm that lobbied the state for Katrina-related contracts—it pays him $300,000 a year. It starts:
For a man who has moved to a different place almost every year since he came to the United States from Turkey in 1996, laying down roots is a new experience for Jackson State University professor Zikri Arslan. "I'm getting old," jokes the 38-year-old environmental chemistry specialist. Between work and taking the kids to the reservoir, he says he only has time for the occasional pick-up soccer game. The University of Massachusetts graduate and father of 4-year-old twins describes himself as a "simple person."
Photos by Ronni Mott
Young Abraham left his father Azar's house after losing all hope of teaching him about God.
"And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers..." (The Qur'an, Chapter 24, verses 30-31).
Stepping off the tour-bus, four leathery-faced, rough-hewn men with ear-to-ear grins met us with handfuls of shiny, garnet cherries. "Eat, eat!" they said with proud enthusiasm, pressing as much fruit into our hands as we could hold. After four days of being fed copious amounts of prepared food at every meal, fresh fruit was a delight, and we eagerly bit into the ripe little orbs.
Robert Smith is getting a nice boost from the Supreme Court less than 24 hours into his successful run-off against former Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson. Using $160,000 in grant money obtained by Gov. Haley Barbour, the Mississippi Supreme Court decided to appoint a second special judge to assist Hinds County in reducing its criminal docket, months after county residents—and the outgoing D.A.—began screaming for help.
Coincidentally, by the way, Mayor Frank Melton was seen leaving Judge Yerger's chambers this week.
This is a serious question. Why did Supreme Court Chief Justice James Smith Jr. today appoint a special judge, directly by Judge Swan Yerger, to help the D.A.'s office prosecute more cases—to clear the "backlog"? Why not six months ago? A year ago? Two years ago? Seven years ago when the backlog was much worse?
As our state and our Louisiana neighbors face the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with many thousands of people still living in FEMA trailers, and the possibility of another hurricane looming, the Jackson Free Press pauses to send a prayer to all the victims of a devastating hurricane. Click here to view the JFP's KatrinaBlog, started the day after the hurricane hit the Coast, and archiving Katrina-related stories and posts by JFP writers and readers.
Citizen bloggers are reporting that a jubilant Mayor Frank Melton introduced Robert Smith, his choice for district attorney, last night at Smith's campaign gathering. In his remarks, made before Smith's, the mayor said that Smith was his choice for the office, but that he had needed to keep his distance during the campaign. Melton remarked to the cameras using first person: "The first thing that we have to do is take care of the staff." In a Clarion-Ledger photo this morning, Melton political operative Bob Hickinbottom is grinning over Smith's shoulder.
Tuesday, August 28
With 98 percent of precincts reporting and Robert Smith leading by 1,183 votes, District Attorney Faye Peterson just conceded defeat in the Red Room at Hal & Mal's, saying that she hopes that the next D.A. will be as tough on crime as she was, because "Hinds County has a crime problem."
Donna Ladd and Ronni Mott are blogging live from D.A. Faye Peterson's post-election gathering at Hal & Mal's.
JFP reporter Adam Lynch called in from the City Council meeting tonight to report that new Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill provided the swing vote to elect Leslie McLemore Council president, and to reject Melton's good friend, Frank Bluntson, who is acting council president. Charles Tillman was elected vice president. Voting for McLemore were the anti-Melton bloc—McLemore, Marshand Crisler, Margaret Barrett-Simon, plus newbie Weill.
District attorney candidate Robert Smith held a press conference today—not inviting the Jackson Free Press—to respond to Freddie Patton, a father he features in a campaign ad blaming D.A. Faye Peterson for not prosecuting the drunk driver who killed his baby daughter. Patton said yesterday that the Smith campaign brought him to Jackson from his home in Chicago and immediately put him on a TV set to do the ad. However, he said he soon learned that the Smith campaign lied to him about the role Peterson could have played—when, in fact, she was never given a case file to prosecute. Thus, he publicly retracted his endorsement, as the JFP reported yesterday.
OK, Robert Smith told me repeatedly that he is not "Melton's candidate," but some overnight actions are not exactly helping convince me. This morning, we found an "Elect Robert Shuler Smith" flyer duct-taped to our JFP rack in front of Cups with red duct tape. This little action is suspiciously similar to flyers duct-taped to our racks and boxes the day after the Melton acquittal for the Ridgeway duplex massacre. That one read "The Bottom Line: NOT GUILTY!" and was taped on with purple duct tape. When the tape was removed, it ripped off lettering from our property.
Monday, August 27
As the district attorney's runoff looms, challenger Robert Smith is combing the alleys of the criminal justice system, looking for people unhappy with Peterson's performance. One such foray produced a couple who claim in the footage that Peterson failed to bring to justice a drunk driver who killed their daughter in 2006—but now the father says he was tricked into doing the ad.
In one of my favorite quotes from "Mal Tiempo, Buenas Caras," my piece on Latino immigrants and Hurricane Katrina, Guadalupe Silva, an undocumented laborer from Peru, said, "I know that they are not all so, but I know there are racists—'rednecks,' as they say in Mississippi. They are very racist, and don't want us. But there is no such thing as pure blood. Everything is mixed. More than anything, we came to support the country with our shoulders and work."
Face-Off: Faye Peterson v. Robert Smith
The tour de force big rock & roll spinning toe hold of a show will happen tonight, Wednesday, August 29 at Club Fire. The $10 cover will get you Evans Blue, Submersed, Framing Hanley and Absence of Concern for mucho rock well into the night. If you want a less expensive hang-out next Wednesday, check out the blues jam of Cool Papa Bell at Fenian's for free. Local eclectic roots favorites Goodman County return to Martin's Thursday, August 30. Martin's continues to cook next Saturday when Cedric Burnside, Lightnin Malcolm and many others serve up a R.L. Burnside Memorial Blues jam. Pay respects to the North Mississippi icon by getting it on in glorious tradition. Another Southern Rock area favorite, The Electric Mudd will be at George Street Saturday night.
Sunday, August 26
A hat tip to The Clarion-Ledger for endorsing Faye Peterson, and for substantive, real reasons. They were late on the D.A. race—not endorsing and barely covering it before the primaries—but they seemed to have spent the additional time doing research on the D.A.'s office, its challenges and Peterson's real track record, not the one pushed by her opponents. This is the kind of journalism and studied decisions the public deserves to see more of from the Ledger. A lot rides on this race, and it appears that their editorial board got it. Good job, edit-boyz.
This week, President George W. Bush made one more attempt to shore up support for our continuing war in Iraq by comparing our experience there to the war in Vietnam, warning that withdrawing from Iraq might produce results similar to our withdrawal from southeast Asia.
Friday, August 24
The battle at quarterback at Ole Miss is over (for now). The school announced Friday that coach Ed Orgeron had named Seth Adams, a Hinds CC alumnus and former walk-on, the Rebels' starting quarterback for the season opener at Memphis.
A lot of people forgave the late former governor George Wallace for his segregationist stance, which he changed a couple of decades before his death. Now, the man who attempted to assassinate Wallace and severely wounded him in 1972 is scheduled to be released after serving 35 years of his 53 year sentence. Wallace's son says he forgives him, but the memories of his father's suffering are still a challenge to face.
Throughout his trial, James Ford Seale appeared in court wearing slacks and a dress shirt. This morning, as he walked in shackles into a U.S. District courtroom in Jackson, he wore an orange Madison County-issued jumpsuit. Neither his siblings nor his children were present. He smiled at his wife, as guards escorted him to his seat next to public defenders Kathy Nester and George Lucas.
Lots of determination, but no details formed the substance of Mayor Frank Melton's State of the City Address at the Alamo Theatre this morning. An emotional Melton, who is under investigation by the FBI, took the stage after an introduction from his 82-year-old Cuban aunt, apologizing for a myriad of snafus during his two-year term as mayor. "I've made some mistakes, but they've been mistakes of the heart," Melton told the audience. Ӆ I cannot and will not do anything that's designed to hurt another human being. That's not my nature.
It seems like each of these immigration posts builds off another. The last time I blogged, I brought attention to inherent flaws in the guest worker program, a modern form of indentured servitude, and what served as a psuedo-alternative to "amnesty" in debate over the since-failed immigration reform bill. An increase in the guest worker program (also known as H2B), which has existed in its current state since 1986, was in fact a major part of the bill. However, despite the bill's failure to pass through Senate, the guest worker program persists as one form of "legal immigration" (though one that provides no eventual path to citizenship). Now, according to allegations reported by the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice, the program's systematic disenfranchisement of worker rights may have resulted in a horrifying case of police brutality in Pascagoula, Miss.
All...we just got word from Derrick Johnson that his appearance today on Eric Stringfellow's show got...well...interesting when the discussion turned to the media and its community journalism responsibilities, with Derrick and Eric's other guest going after him a little for the Clarion-Ledger's city coverage.
This Saturday, Empowerment Mississippi, along with a handful of community sponsors, will explore economic issues for Mississippi's African American community, to "embrace strategies, goals and objectives" for solving problems and improving conditions.
A former Klansman, who was thought to be dead until the brother a man he kidnapped and helped kill went to Franklin County with the CBC and the Jackson Free Press and found him living in a trailer, was sentenced to three life sentences this morning on federal kidnapping and conspiracy charges, reported the Associated Press.
Thursday, August 23
The city administration updated an earlier estimation of a $3.9 million budget deficit today at the 3 p.m. budget meeting. "The city is currently out of budget about $13.1 million," said city Director of Administration Rick Hill, who then recommended the city make drastic cuts to the Department of Parks and Recreation and JATRAN, as well as engage in a debt restructuring plan that would get the city about $4 million in up-front money, but cost the city about $5 million over the course of 15 years. The $113,000-salaried City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans said she will get an extra $35,000 in attorney fees by being involved in the debt restructuring plan, thanks to a stipulation in her employment contract.
Wednesday, August 22
Advising 450 out-of-state pro bono lawyers along with 30 Mississippi lawyers and 120 law students on how to help thousands of people recover from "the biggest natural disaster we've ever seen" is overwhelming, Crystal Utley says leaning forward, her pale blue eyes widening.
I didn't know Faye Peterson from Eve when she ran for re-election four years ago. I knew much was being made about the criminal "backlog" (that she inherited). I knew that her white Republican opponent, oddly endorsed by The Clarion-Ledger, had never tried a criminal case, and that he was making a lot out of outdated crime figures.
Restaurant-goers and home chefs alike are becoming conscious of the beauty of a good food and wine pairing. A true gourmand should think of wine as an ingredient in the meal rather than just an accompaniment and, in doing so, find magical results. Instead of making random wine selections for your meals, take a few minutes to ask questions to find the perfect match. If that's too much trouble, or you're worried about making mistakes, here's a recipe and wine pairing guaranteed to work its wiles on you.
Pro football, New Orleans at Kansas City (7:30 p.m., Comcast 14): This is the game where the Saints play their starters for most of the first half. The future insurance salesmen play after that.
Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin endorsed Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson over Democratic challenger Robert Smith on Tuesday. McMillin announced his endorsement to the Jackson Free Press, saying he opposes Smith because of a suspected alignment with Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, and opposes "Melton's attempt to expand his sphere of influence to county offices."
On Friday, the U.S. District Court will rule on a Jackson Public Schools motion for a protective order that will allow virtually any document, file or record connected to the termination of former Chastain Middle School principal, Michael Ellis to be marked "confidential," without the court's review.
Mayor Frank Melton abruptly called the Jackson Free Press last week to correct what he thought was misreporting in the paper, in a July 25 story about a camp for boys that he organized. "You know I don't read your paper," he said, "but someone told me that you reported that the city paid for the camp. It didn't cost the taxpayers. I paid all costs out of my pocket."
City Council delayed a vote Monday to refinance the city's debt. The refinancing would give the city enough to cover its $3.9 million budget deficit, but would cost the city about $110,000 in counsel and bond fees, and dump higher interest rates upon the city over the next 10 years.
Hinds County Republican Party Chairman Pete Perry said a rift between his administration and that of his predecessor, Ken Avery, complicated the Aug. 7 primary with staff shortages, long waits and some crossover voting.
Hinds County Republican Party Chairman Pete Perry is down on the Coast this week, looking for voter irregularities in a Democratic Senate district.
For six years, with the aid of local businesses and organizations, Ward 6 Councilman Marshand Crisler has given a scholarship to students who attend the two high schools in his ward, Wingfield and Forest Hill. This year, he has expanded the $500 scholarship award to include a recipient from Lanier High School, where Crisler volunteers with 100 Black Men. Crisler awarded the scholarships this year to Tina Carter, 18, Forest Hill High School; Tiara Robinson, 18, Wingfield High School; and Alyssa Spencer, 18, Lanier High School.
This week, with the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, it's worth noting that the storm is still trying to knock down one more person as it blows its way into the history booksHaley Barbour.
Boneqweesha Jones: "Welcome to the Hair-Did University School of Cosmetology's Summer Lecture Series, at the Club Chicken Wing Multi-Purpose Community Development Complex. The guest speaker is Dr. Otis 'Nickel-N-Dime' Wilson of the Ghetto Science Team's Economic Development Council."
Greetings, all. It's my second week across the pond in the Czech Republic, and my body is still on Mississippi time. I've tried to intimate to people how physically demanding touring can be. Five shows in five days in five different cities. My muscles haven't ached this much since my football days.
If college has done anything for me, it has piqued my interest in politics. This year for the first time, I truly invested in the state and local elections. I researched candidates; I even braved the heat and humidity of the Neshoba County Fair to hear some good ole mudslinging and eat watermelon.
Charles Stokes and Dorothy Benford are vying just as furiously for the Hinds County tax assessor's office as they were on Aug. 6.
Where there was once darkness, there is now light. Where there was gloom, there is joy. Where there was despair, there is hope. But that's enough about Karl Rove, we're here to talk about college football.
The Aug. 7 primaries produced three run-off races in Hinds County, but the DA's race overshadows the other two races, pitting both old foes and warring factions against one another. Peterson got the most votes with 39 percent, while Smith collected the second highest ranking at 33 percent on Aug. 7. Challenger Michele Purvis came in third, with 27 percent, disqualifying her from the run-off.
Gotta love hypocrites.
So, Rudy "Take the Guns!" Giuliani is headed to Mississippi to campaign in a region where very few of his (historic) views actually resonate. We're guessing his kids won't be along for the trip to Dixie; at least one of them is too busy campaigning for Obama and trying to get over the fact that her daddy announced his divorce to mama on TV at a press conference. Of course, that was back before the cad became a conservative darling in a party that is just about fresh out of darlings.
Campaign season does not bring out the best in some of you, that's for sure.
This is to all the anonymous people out there working to unseat elected officials, especially the district attorney. Please stop sending me unsubstantited accusations and innuendo, claiming that it is evidence of wrongdoing. If you have evidence of wrongdoing, provide it to us. Pick up the phone and call me or Adam Lynch at 601.362.6121, identify yourself as an unnamed source, give us the information and sources that can verify it. Stop the anonymous games, the sound and fury that turn into nothing—I assume you just want me spending my time chasing false leads rather than doing my job, and I'm sick of playing games.
NEW: The System Was Broken
Someone just sent us the links to three new Peterson ads that are on youtube. They feature very interesting people in the community. we've also heard that there a number of hard-hitting radio ads out there by Margaret Barrett-Simon, Bennie Thompson, and maybe Leslie McLemore and John Horhn. Anyone heard those? Here are the videos:
Hinds County Republican Party Chairman Pete Perry said a rift between his administration and that of his predecessor, Ken Avery, complicated the Aug. 7 primary with staff shortages, long waits and some crossover voting.
On Friday, the U.S. District Court will rule on a Jackson Public Schools motion for a protective order that will allow virtually any document, file or record connected to the termination of former Chastain Middle School principal, Michael Ellis, to be marked "confidential," without the court's review.
Hey, I knew I was an introvert already, but DANG! Look at my score:
You Are 0% Extrovert, 100% Introvert
Tuesday, August 21
Here is a preview of information we have in the print edition this week. We did some factchecking in response to Robert Smith's comment that Peterson isn't involved in trying cases in her office. Here are some of the cases she herself has tried and the outcome of the cases.
Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin endorsed Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson over Democratic challenger Robert Smith this morning. McMillin announced his endorsement to the Jackson Free Press, saying he opposes Smith because of an alignment with Jackson Mayor Frank Melton, and opposed "Melton's attempt to expand his sphere of influence to county offices."
Monday, August 20
Here it comes.
If I'm lyin', I'm fryin'. See for yourself.
The Jackson City Council voted to hold items in the Monday Budget Committee meeting, including a vote to refinance the city's debt. The refinancing would give the city enough to cover its $3.9 million budget deficit, but cost the city about $110,000 in fees and dump higher interest rates upon the city over the next 10 years. Council members say they want to see the administration's alternatives to the debt refinancing before moving ahead with approving the move.
Former Hinds County District Attorney candidate Michele Purvis endorsed incumbent Faye Peterson over the weekend. "When looking at the remaining two candidates, based upon experience I feel she is the best person for the job as far as the community is concerned and what's best for the community. ... I know (the Jackson Free Press) did not believe me when I was running, but again, my only reason for running was trying to make a difference for the community," Purvis said Monday. "With the problems we're having with crime and things of that nature, I just believe Faye is the best person to try and correct those things."
Sid Salter has an intriguing bit today on his blog about PR firms under scrutiny by the legislative PEER Committee.
Sunday, August 19
We just got a tip that Hinds County Republican Chairman Pete Perry is in Hancock County conducting the ballot box examination for Scottie Cuevas in the Democratic Senate race down there, which insurance-company critic David Baria won by just over 30 votes. And I just clicked over to the Cottonmouth Blog and see that we must have gotten the same tip. Per Cottonmouth:
[Verbatim from Carolyn Redd] Jackson, MS - Mayor Frank E. Melton will address the City of Jackson in his State of the City Address on Friday, Aug. 24, at 10:30 a.m. at the Alamo Theater. The Mayor's address will focus on Housing and Economic Development. He will be flanked by the City Council, the City's CAO and Department Directors. The Melton Administration will also honor city employees with 25 and 30 years of service. The State of the City Address is open to the general public. Doors will not be open to the Public until 10:15 a.m.
David Hampton has a decent column today about all the ugly immigrant-bashing in our state and in the nation of late, as immigration becomes the new wedge issue. We've certainly seen our share of hateful immigration rhetoric right here on the JFP site (click here and here for those JFP threads). I especially appreciate this part near the end of his column:
Greetings again from across the pond. We've finally gotten over the hump, and the countdown is on until my return home to the states. And with the work we still have yet to put in, it's gonna go fast! The hardest part and the biggest crowds await me at the Hip Hop Kemp festival next week. Four shows in two days in front of literally 15,000 screaming hiphop fans. WOW! Rest assured the Czech Republic will know that MISSISSIPPI has been here when we leave!
Saturday, August 18
Found this on the Naturally You! MySpace page. I wonder if they ever showed this one on MTV or BET.
Also see: Jackpedia: Southern Strategy
Friday, August 17
I'm not kidding. I am completely and utterly enamored with that sassy little monkey who wants so badly to get out of Tupelo, er, his cage in the Tupelo zoo. I just love his tenacity. I find myself rooting for the little bugger, even thought that's probably not a good thing. Where were he go? What would he do? Could he defend himself? What would he eat? But, still.
Suddenly, today, FEMA is sending me press releases (see below). They have not sent me press releases before. I also am getting a flurry of statements from the governor's office about what he's doing on the Coast. Granted, I'm the suspicious type, but you don't suppose all this Katrina PR has something to do with this Bloomberg story yesterday, do you?
Thursday, August 16
Rep. Chip Pickering, a Republican representing the Third District, announced today that he is not seeking re-election next year. One wonders if the Democratic Party will now go out on a limb and attempt to take the seat, or if they will allow perennial candidate Jim Giles to take the seat by default.
Also see: Jackpedia: Haley Barbour
As Mississippi heads into the fall campaign season, the Jackson Free Press has re-launched the Truthwatch blog, in order that readers might question and test statements made by candidates. Truthwatch was active during the last city elections in Jackson. Now the blog has been converted into a reader forum so that readers might start their own posts, asking questions about statements made by candidates and in their ads. We encourage your participation. The first two new questions involve statements that Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson and her challenger Robert Smith made the day after the primaries. She accused him of "being in bed with criminals" (Truthwatch #43), and he accused her of "not being involved with cases" in her office. (Truthwatch #42). Go take a look and help us out.
Wednesday, August 15
Pro baseball, San Francisco at Atlanta (6:30 p.m., TBS/620 AM): Steroid, er, home-run king Barry Bonds tries his luck against the Braves.
Thirteen years ago, Larry Emmett and Michael Parker were traveling through Mississippi on their way to New Orleans from visiting friends in Nashville. On that fateful day, their car broke down. With little money and a car that could only move 40 mph, the two decided to take up residence in Jackson, and the city hasn't been the same since.
It caught my attention as I took a visual inventory of the jam-packed racks. In a mad dash, I went right for it. The red and white striped polyester fabric was a sassy halter dress and matching jacket. It screamed "hip and with it." OK. So, maybe it said something more like "hip and with it 30 years ago."
New Stage Theater is quiet. Artistic director Francine Reynolds sits in the lobby at a hardtop table littered with yellow acting class flyers. She is thoughtful, mirroring the calm anticipation humming in the theater.
In 1986 when Kathy Thibodeaux and her husband, Keith, decided to start a Christian ballet company, people thought they were crazy. At the time, Kathy, a silver medalist in the 1982 International Ballet Competition, was a dancer with Ballet Mississippi, and the couple had a stable life. But, Kathy says that she felt like she was not supposed to renew her contract with Ballet Mississippi. Two months and four dancers later, Ballet Magnificat! was born.
Gardening is not only for those of us endowed with large yards. One of Jackson's most unusual gardens is located in the back of a pickup truck owned by garden expert Felder Rushing. Vegetables, herbs and flowers follow him wherever he drives, proving Rushing's claim that gardens need not be large or complicated.
Ginger Williams almost gave up when she got an "F" in figure drawing at the University of Southern Mississippi. "I wanted to quit and do psychology," she said with a wry smile. "I had always wanted to be an artist, but I was so unhappy at USM; even my mother encouraged me to consider a different career." Williams, however, decided that a change of scenery would be better than a change of career, so she applied to schools on the Gulf Coast. She was accepted to William Carey College on the Coast with a full scholarship.
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a beautiful, scenic 444-mile-long unit of the U.S. National Park Service, which extends across three states from Natchez, Miss., to Nashville, Tenn. Within the Jackson area, "the Trace," as it is locally called, offers plenty of outdoor grandeur and fun.
Church attendance in the U.S. has remained static for 15 years. Many young people feel disconnected from religion, feeling that traditional churches don't address their real-world concerns.
Here is the soul of Jackson breathed onto paper.
Many Jacksonians know about N.U.T.S. (Neat Used Things for Sale), but they don't know about the social organization behind the trendy thrift store, the Good Samaritan Center. When Good Samaritan Center was founded in 1972, their goal was to assist families in need by practical means. Often assisting with bill payments and social services, Good Sam, as it is affectionately called, has been a place for the down and out to find a helping hand.
Eudora Welty's living female relatives include her nieces Mary Alice Welty White (director of the Eudora Welty House) and Liz Welty Thompson (librarian at the State Law Library) of Jackson; her great-nieces Leslie Thompson Jacobs (a Jackson social worker) and Elizabeth White (an Atlanta attorney); her great-great nieces Emily and Natalie Thompson (four-year-old Jackson pre-kindergartners).
John McKellar, a 21-year-old sophomore at the Raymond campus of Hinds Community College, is a busy man. Between taking classes in landscape management at Hinds, working as a landscaper, taking photographs for the Hindsonian, acting with the Vicksburg Theater Guild, planning his April wedding and singing at David Road Baptist Church in Byram, McKellar barely has time to do what he loves best - spend time with his fiance and fish at a local pond in Vicksburg, near where he grew up. McKellar has quite a resume who told me, "I don't have many talents, I don't think."
I wish I was kidding.
You've got to read it to believe it.
Tuesday, August 14
The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that candidate Jeff Weill took just over 50 percent of the vote to replace Ward 1 Councilman Ben Allen Tuesday night. Weill ran on a platform of fighting crime and not raising taxes—two issues that tend to resonate in the city's most affluent ward.
At City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans' request, the Jackson City Council voted Tuesday to accept outside counsel from Phelps Dunbar regarding potential civil lawsuits pending against the city for actions due to the mayor's actions against a nightclub, a duplex, an alleged criminal's elderly mother and a pallet company. Federal agents have subpoenaed numerous city employees, including City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans, according to sources inside the city, in an FBI probe of the activities of Mayor Frank Melton. O'Reilly-Evans suggested today that the council seek help from an outside firm in defending the city from potential civil lawsuits relating to the FBI's probe.
Have you guys seen this? David Banner has called Sharpton a permed-out pimp. And here is the response from one of Sharpton's spin doctors: ""From time to time we do encounter people that have sexual fantasies about Reverend Al Sharpton, but they are always women and Crump's proposition is a first." WOW! LOL I leave home for a few days and all hell breaks loose!!!
Monday, August 13
The Melton administration this week proposed to dip into the city's budget reserves in an attempt to cauterize the bleeding city budget—and even pay rent on police precincts that are months behind. The news of the budget crisis came in the wake of city moves to waive millions of dollars in fees to downtown developers.
Greetings all. Its my second week across the pond and my body is still on Mississippi time. Ive tried to intimate to people how physically demanding touring can be. For those that thinks its just fun and games, think again. Five shows in five days in five different cities. Shows that were either one, two, or two and a half hours away from home base(Prague). Couple that with a grueling 45 minute set inside of a hot club and then emerging tired at 5am to temps of 40-45 degrees(yes, summer nights in the Czech Republic are COLD!!!). Then imagine seeing the sun rise when you're trying to recover and get some sleep but then you've got a radio interview or meet and greet at noon and your body still thinks its 5am!!! My muscles havent ached this much since my football days.
I just bumped into this entertainment feature that The Clarion-Ledger is doing—basically a Q&A interview with a local musician or band. Cool. But then you get to the bottom of the piece and realize just how far away from journalistic standards this Gannett rag is willing to go:
Sunday, August 12
Also see: Jackpedia: Haley Barbour
Friday, August 10
The Wall Street Journal is blogging about the possibility that the Gannett Corp., which owns The Clarion-Ledger, may be girding itself to be sold:
Here's the link to the show. An interesting attempt that I made at hosting the show on my own. Flubbed it somewhat brilliantly toward the end.
Thursday, August 9
Wake Up Jackson Civic Association will meet Sunday, August 12, at 3 PM at the Capitol Green Plaza (632 Court St), in the conference room. Capital Green Plaza is on the corner of Court and Commerce St. Please send all questions to [e-mail missing].
Councilman Ben Allen just alerted us that WJNT 1180 and the Northside Sun are sponsoring a "Meet the Ward 1 Candidates" forum tonight, Thursday, Aug. 9, at Christ United Methodist Church (6000 Old Canton Road) in the fellowship hall from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. All candidates will be making statements and answering questions.
Wednesday, August 8
Go tell us here: Free WiFi?
Also, what are your favorite services, you know like "wash and fold" or shoe repair or whatever. Tell us here: Repair Services
Sorry. I'm not wearing a cactus.
I tend to reside on the outer edges of fashion forwardness. I don't dress according to the norm I guess you should say, and the contents of my closet are anything but bland. With all the brightly colored shoes and clutches, the knee- high combat boots, t-shirts with racy comments, red and black vinyl pants, and a couple dresses cut down to my navel and requiring 'fashion tape' to keep everything under wraps, and all sorts of anything-but-conservative clothing in my closet, I can honestly say there are some things that are even a little too off the wall for me and will never be a part of my wardrobe.First on this list are Sarah Hood Living Rings, $800. These are little living plants such as cacti or vine-type plants in tiny terra cotta pots atop sterling silver rings. When I see fashion such as this I can't imagine it being used for anything but a conversation peice or something for fashion photography. I would imagine walking down a crowded street would be considered rude if you were wearing a cactus.Next are 'roach brooches'. These are actual living crawling roaches that are decorated with Swarovski crystals and connected to a thin chain that acts as a leash so that the roach can crawl around flashing its little crystals and not slither down your blouse. They were designed in Salt Lake City by designer Jared Gold and sell for $40 to a much higher price depending on how much bling the roach is wearing. They live for about four days with minimum care. I have lost jewelry but not ever due to its death.I have also seen dresses made of bubble wrap, Ramen noodle packaging, and coin purses made of Skoal packages. These have no appeal to me though I would consider silver or black duct tape as possible fabric for an outfit or two.I am definitely on Jackson's extreme end of fashion but wearing a 3 inch roach from Madagascar that actually hisses is where I draw the line.
Read/hear interviews with the D.A. candidates
When I arrived at Boy Scout backpacking camp at the end of summer, the entrance to our ranch in the New Mexico Rocky Mountains was decorated with dozens of dusty hiking boots dangling from their shoestrings.
The three stickers on my car sum up my value system pretty well. There is the Amherst College sticker, an homage to my beloved alma mater, whose ever-increasing social consciousness is working to make higher education more accessible to the financially disadvantaged. Below that, and to the left—geographically and politically—is my equality sign from the Human Rights Campaign, which works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights. Finally—and perhaps dearest to my heart—there is the Herrell's ice cream sticker.
Tired of taking the same vacations? Even if you adore New Orleans, Atlanta or Florida, you might be itching to find yourself in new surroundings, doing activities unavailable at home. Why not try a visit to wine country?
"Breakdown" for the X-Box
Pro football, Indianapolis at Dallas (7 p.m., Ch. 40): Yes, it's a preseason game, but you can't pass up a chance to watch America's Team. And Peyton will be playing (for a minute), too. … Pro soccer, Los Angeles at D.C. United (6 p.m., ESPN2): Is it the night David Beckham finally makes his much-hyped, injury-delayed MLS debut?
"Take your family to a mosque or Hindu temple or synagogue this week. They need it and might learn something," reads the new bumper sticker that 44-year-old Dr. James Bowley recently designed for his green Nissan Sentra. Dr. Bowley, a native Nebraskan now in his fifth year as a religion professor at Millsaps College, professes and participates in this kind of interfaith dialogue both inside and outside the classroom.
Sunday morning, I was organizing my new writing room at home and turned on the Galloway Methodist broadcast on WAPT to keep me company. I didn't pay much attention until I heard Rev. Ross Olivier challenge his audience to "listen to the moans." I pulled up a chair to listen.
Photos by Adam Lynch & Roy Adkins
A Texas developer says the city of Jackson is holding up progress on $15 million in development, and she wants to know why.
After decades of bringing original alternative and independent music to Jackson and lending support to dozens of bands, Terry Butler closed the doors at W.C. Don's after the Tuff Luvs show last Saturday. If you listen closely, you might still hear the final notes fading away.
Robbery suspect Irving Blake said Tuesday in a telephone interview with the Jackson Free Press that he and his three companions were falsely accused of strong armed robbery targeting Latinos in Ridgeland.
Photos by Chelsi West & Maggie Burks
In the small, pastoral town of Jena, La., police arrested six black students 15 to 17 years old and charged them with attempted second-degree murder and conspiracy after a string of racially charged events climaxed with a school fight on Dec. 4, 2006.
Cootie McBride: "The Ghetto Science National Broadcasting Corporation Network presents the premiere of 'To Catch a Predator Who Takes Advantage of Senior Citizens, Racial Minorities, Poor Folk and the Uneducated'. The McBride family and I produced this television program to alert unsuspecting and financially disadvantaged consumers about how they can be deceived and tricked out of their money and possessions. In other words, we're 'Big Brotha' ghetto style.
<b><em>Trophy Wives and Slow Death</b></em>
Over the years my wife has been rightfully concerned about my time following and fighting Big and Brutal Tobacco. Get-a-way cruises can make wives more supportive. Regretfully, no cruises here as we need newspaper coupons to buy weekly groceries. (No sales tax on food and groceries would be a blessing for us. You?)
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the radio reported a plane flying into the World Trade Center as I was driving to work. The word "terrorists" hadn't yet entered into the picture. Later, settling in at my desk, I received a message from a friend leaving for a business trip. She was afraid to go to the airport, she wrote. She had a bad feeling.
Photos by Darren Schwindaman
Retiring Councilman Ben Allen got a super send-off Monday from friends and family at Bravo! Restaurant in Highland Village. A crowd containing personalities such as secretary of state candidate Delbert Hosemann, fellow council members, Ward 1 residents—and even Gov. Haley Barbour—showered gratitude upon the former councilman for more than 10 years of service.
As the dust settles on last night's primaries, one huge issue looms as the big statewide races begin in earnest: the Katrina effect. Get ready for a populist debate on insurance reform—not to mention health care, tobacco taxes and education—like this state has never seen as attorney John Eaves challenges Haley Barbour for governor; Rep. Jaimie Franks takes on Phil Bryant for lieutenant governor (and control of the Senate); and Gary Anderson battles Mike Chaney for insurance commissioner.
Democratic challenger Gary Anderson defeated incumbent Insurance Commissioner George Dale 51-49 percent Tuesday night. Dale had mounted his re-election campaign under intense scrutiny for his support of and by the insurance industry in the wake of Katrina. The tort-reform lobby had campaigned heavily for him, saying he was the candidate to counteract "lawsuit abuse" and accusing him of being the candidate for "personal injury lawyers." Many victims of Katrina have sued their insurance companies for trying to pay their policies, in most cases saying they lost their homes due to wind, not water. Because only a slab was left in many cases, policy holders could not point to a water line, as insurance companies said they needed to do. Many people on the Coast are still living in FEMA trailers.
Tuesday, August 7
It appears that Kimberly Campbell, who was forced out of the Jackson City Attorney's office for questioning city policy, has defeated Rep. Erik Fleming for the District 72 Hinds-Madison seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Predictably, Sheriff Malcolm McMillin won the right to keep his site over challengers tonight, including Mayor Frank Melton's choice, police spokesman Tyrone Lewis. WAPT guest political analyst Matt Friedeman summed it up well: "Mayor Melton is a loser tonight."
Be sure to include which precinct you voted in, what time and even descriptions of the poll worker if you had a serious problem. And, remember to call the secretary of state's office at 800-829-6786 to report problems. Call us here at the Jackson Free Press if you have a really egregious experience and think we should try to get out there: 601.362.6121 ext. 2, 5 or 7.
These are the ones we've heard about. Feel free to add others:
we are just staying at the headquarters at 1755 Leila drive and preparing for a run-off which will be on august 28th and then the general election. we are low key and it will be really a working night for us. we are inviting everyone to stop by. probably between 9 and 10:30 as we will know where we are then.
Remember the controversial list, "You Are a Jacksonian If ..." that we published two years ago? It was a throwaway piece, but it got all sorts of chatter going on the site. We always say that it's not the real controversy that causes controversy. Anyway, as we gather user- and staff-generated content for the print edition of Jackpedia, the coolest guide to Jacktown you've ever seen, I've resurrected the list over on Jackpedia, starting a version for 2007. So head on over and add your own by clicking right here.
Monday, August 6
... or a single woman, for that matter. The Ledger edit-boyz surprised us today by not enthusiastically endorsing one of the challengers of Hinds County District Attorney Faye Peterson in the race that is, arguably, the hottest contested and most closely watched in the city where they're located. They did, however, endorse candidates for Madison County district attorney.
[Verbatim/Aug. 6, 2007] Secretary of State Eric Clark today predicted that voter turnout in Tuesday's party primaries will be up slightly from the last statewide primary election and anticipates 710,000 ballots will be cast in races from Governor to Coroner. "I encourage every Mississippian to vote in these primary elections," Clark said. "Many important races will be decided tomorrow, not just in November."
Saturday, August 4
The "family values" mantra of the national Republican Party must really be in trouble when this is one of their front-runners:
Friday, August 3
All, beware that there is some cyber-fraud occurring by some lowlifes out there. We just received this e-mail, which constitutes fraud, and it is being investigated. Obviously, I do not send e-mails out on behalf of candidates, so please send us anything suspicious you get so they can be added to the file. Here's one fraudulent e-mail:
The city of Jackson has been hit with more subpoenas this week, according to Special Assistant to City Attorney Pieter Teeuwissen.
Thursday, August 2
Tell Your Senators to Support SCHIP
By a vote of 225 to 204, the House yesterday cleared legislation (HR 3162) reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and making important improvements to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. NAMI strongly supports the House bill passed yesterday and urges advocates to support the separate Senate bill that is currently under debate.
I always thought that jetlag thing was some kind of myth LOL. Ive heard stories about it from world travelers but didnt realize that the body is REALLY affected by time change. Prague is seven hours ahead of the US. Going to sleep while leaving Detroit and waking to the sunlight and a time of 11am when my body still thinks its 4am!!!!. Its almost 7pm here on Thursday and Im STILL catching up.
Wednesday, August 1
Extreme sports, X Games (8 p.m., ESPN): The 13th edition of the Stoner Games kicks off with skateboarding and motocross, brah.
At least three people were killed when an interstate bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapsed Wednesday evening, plunging cars and chunks of concrete into the Mississippi River below.
After being in Jackson for only a year, Creshawna Wilson, 19, of Indianola, Miss., has already made her mark on the city. Her desire to make changes in the media captured the hearts of the folks at Mississippi Public Broadcasting, earning her a five-year summer internship with MPB education services.
The primaries are almost here, and too many young hipsters in the 18-29 age bracket couldn't be further away from knowing what it means for Mississippi, and moreover, themselves. It always shocks me when someone tells me that they will not vote in an election, especially on the state and local levels. What is always more unsettling, however, is the reasoning behind this genius idea. I have compiled a short list of my favorite responses, all of which should evoke guilt and shame.
The council voted to approve an ordinance change that will save the Pinnacle at Jackson Place a gob of cash this year, though not all council members jumped behind it.
Minutes after Gov. Haley Barbour began his prepared speech at the Neshoba County Fair last week, a transcript of the speech arrived in the Jackson Free Press' e-mail box.
After a recent string of robberies targeting Latinos in Ridgeland, Lt. John Neal of the Ridgeland Police Department said that police had arrested the suspects and that the incidents should now stop.
Fans of retiring councilman Ben Allen threw a thank-you party in his honor at Bravo!, in Highland Village, on Monday.
Between 10 a.m. and noon on Friday, drivers on Mill Street honked their horns, encouraging eight protesters who walked up and down the length of A-1 Pallets with signs that read, "Wake Up Jackson". The silent protest came on the helm of last Friday's ruling to grant owners Charlotte and Monte Reeves an order extending the temporary restraining order against the city, its officials and contractors.
My family has never flirted with the GOP, primarily because we view Republicans as rabble-rousing upstarts who stand in opposition to the unimpeachable liberalism of Jefferson and Madison.
Photos by Adam Lynch & Roy Adkins
On Aug. 7, voters will turn out in droves—we hope—to make their voices known in the primary elections.
Photos by Matt Saldaña
This year, the Jackson Free Press interviewed Hinds County Board of Supervisors primary candidates by asking them identical questions. Of the 12 candidates, only Silas Bolden, Jr., the Democratic primary challenger for District 3, refused to participate.
And Thus, Earn Respect & Make A Difference In The Damn World
Whether you're a first-time voter or you've voted in every election since 1940, you might have a question about voting in the primaries. With a little help from the League of Women Voters of Mississippi Web site, we've put together info to help.
Photos by Adam Lynch & Darren Schwindaman
Secretary of State Eric Clark is shipping out this year after more than 10 years in office. His departure opens a rift in what might have otherwise been one of the few safe seats in statewide elections, so it's not surprising that seven candidates are jumping at the chance to grab it.
Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell is under attack this year, and faces stiffer competition than in earlier years.
Blog post by Donna Ladd:
Jack Mazurack never mentions controversial developer Gene Phillips in this story today about TCI's plans for downtown Jackson, helped along by City Council yesterday. And then there is this: