Stories for February 2007


Wednesday, February 28

Fifty Years Of Unrest: The JFP Interview With Leslie McLemore

Photos by Roy Adkins & Brian Johnson

Ward 2 Councilman Leslie McLemore is rarely afraid to speak his mind. He started young when it comes to being vociferous. He began his career as a social activist fresh out of high school, traversing the state and helping to organize demonstrations and voter-rights campaigns in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. He was vice chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party's original delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City and remains an authority on the MFDP.

Will More Cops Help?

Leslie McLemore is anxious to see the police chief's plan for fighting crime. This isn't the first time the council has been impatient. The same council—or at least four of them—kept the heat on former JPD Chief Robert Moore until he produced his Five Points Plan months after coming to the department. The council is getting jumpy after nearly two years waiting for a plan this time, however, and what the chief has offered so far centers around the construction of a misdemeanor jail and a focus on retaining officers by paying them better—even as the mayor has not presented a plan to pay them more.

The Teams of Dreams

A few weeks ago, I referred in this space to college football recruiting as "the 'Dungeons & Dragons' of sports" or something in that vein, but the truth is the analogy is better suited for that other athletic growth industry—fantasy sports.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Boys high school basketball, MHSAA State Tournament, Provine vs. Brandon (8 p.m.): It's city vs. the suburbs at the Mississippi Coliseum in the first round of the Class 5A play.

Beating Those Winter Blues

March is a stressful month. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day are all long gone, the days are often gray and cold, and we can't count on another holiday from work for months. The trees are all still bare, the lawn is still brown. I always get a cold or have sinus problems in March, wondering when it will ever warm up. When will the buds start sprouting and the weather warm up enough so I don't have to bundle up every time I go out?

Don't Catch It!

No doubt, stress lowers your resistance. But there are things you can do to stay healthy while everyone around you is bleary-eyed and runny-nosed. Here are some basics, old and new, from the most recent research:

A Fling Rekindled

My favorite beers are all strongly attached to memories of the places where I discovered them. Abita Amber, from my four years living in New Orleans, will always hold a special place in my heart. It has remained a constant in my life, and Jackson's nightlife offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy this excellent brew. However, during a three-week visit to Ireland in 2004, I had a fling with another beer: Smithwick's.

A Lent Lament

With three feet of snow and ice piled up in a gruesome combination of fresh snow and filthy sludge left over from the last blizzard, Lent in New England is a miserable prospect. The wind chill ensures that it never feels warmer than 20 degrees, and you've given up the prospect of meat on Fridays along with your comfort foods, which used to be one of the only consolations you had.

Legal Bullies?

February 28, 2007 On Feb. 15, Mayor Frank Melton told WJTV that he was going to sue WAPT because they reported that he had violated his probation by conducting a raid on the Upper Level club Feb. 11. "They have willingly and knowingly put information out there, knowing it was incorrect," Melton told WJTV.

It Takes All Kinds

Photos by Jakob Clark, and Natalie A. Collier

Saturday evening, March 3, folks from all over the city will gather at Hal & Mal's for Jackson 2000's Friendship Ball 2007 to celebrate camaraderie between the races. This year, the ball will honor former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and Mississippi Humanities Council founder Cora Norman for their efforts to further mutual understanding between blacks and whites. As in balls past, one honoree is Caucasian, while the other is African American. Jackson 2000, founded more than 20 years ago by Russell C. Davis, among others, is a volunteer organization dedicated to racial reconciliation. Proceeds from the ball will benefit Habitat for Humanity, 100 Black men and Stewpot Community Services.

Week 8: Abortion, Tobacco, Katrina

After declaring that he had no intention of considering abortion bills this year, House Health Committee Chairman Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, caved under the pressure from House Speaker Billy McCoy and a barrage of calls from anti-abortion supporters and allowed three anti-abortion bills to come up for a vote in the House.

Mobilize for the Monkey

A small group of protesters stood at the entrance to the University Medical Center Monday afternoon, holding signs and passing out information to passersby. They were there to protest vivisection, the practice of using live animals for medical research and training, often through programs supported by U.S. government sources.

Friendly Fire from the Forest

Speaking to the Jackson Free Press by cell phone from an undisclosed location in a Mississippi national forest, Hinds County supervisor and Mississippi National Guard veteran Charles Barbour took a break from military training to spew friendly fire at Jackson media outlets.

Judge Keeps Seale in Jail

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate denied several motions from lawyers representing James Seale, the 71-year-old former Klansman held in federal custody for his alleged role in the abduction and murder of Charles Moore and Henry Dee in 1964. Wingate denied a motion to dismiss all charges against Seale and a motion to revoke a Jan. 29 order for Seale to remain incarcerated without bond in federal prison.

LeFleur Lakes Barreling Toward the Falls

The results are in from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study of the LeFleur Lakes project, and, according to a report in The Clarion-Ledger, the Corps says it isn't economically feasible. Estimating a price tag of $1.2 billion—which is a figure quite north of the Lakes' developer $200 million-$300 million estimates—the Corps doesn't recommend federal involvement.

[Collier] There's More to the Story

It's done now. Elementary school teachers, if they haven't already, are taking down the laminated posters of Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall. Black History Month is over—time to make room for shamrocks and leprechauns. Television networks have aired all the projects and documentaries reserved just for this month, and it's back to normal programming, as usual. You know, the stuff everyone actually wants to watch.

[Stiggers] Everything Must Go

Big Head Fred: "During Black History Month, the corporate world has thrived on your impulsive buying habits. In spite of your overworked and underpaid status, they depend on you to spend your time on spending your hard-earned salary or tax-refund check on things that clutter up your home. I must admit, however, that I, too, need your money. I'm a small businessperson, with bills to pay.

No. 23, February 21 - 28

<b><em>The Phantom Flip-Flopper</b></em>

On the episode following Mr. Tim Russert's testimony in the Libby trial, where Cathy Martin revealed the Bush administration's tactics to manipulate the media, Mr. David Broder of The Washington Post came on "Meet the Press" Sunday and said: "I was struck at a conversation at the last Republican Convention with Haley Barbour, the former party chairman, now governor of Mississippi, who told me that he had taken (Rudolph) Giuliani to Hattiesburg, Miss., and he said he was like a rock star in Hattiesburg. I figure if he can make it in Hattiesburg, he can make it almost anywhere."

Tekla Sanders

Tekla Sanders fairly shone on the sunny day when we met for lunch, her glossy curls framing her expressive eyes and wide smile. At 27, she still considers herself a newly-wed after 18 months of marriage, and she's expecting her first baby, a boy already named David Caleb, in May. Sanders' mother has 12 siblings, 10 of them girls, so "the fact that we're having a boy is very big news," Sanders said. Her mother wants to see the proof for herself.

BREAKING: Council Cocks the Trigger

The Tuesday night City Council meeting devolved into chaos when council members attempted to read aloud a list of very pointed questions to City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans.

Tuesday, February 27

‘No Damn Trust' Between Council and Mayor

The story will appear in the print edition on Wednesday. Watch for updates after the Tuesday evening Council meeting.

Growing the Arts in the New Jackson - Feb. 27

On the cusp of a new era for the arts in Jackson, the Greater Jackson Arts Council, with support from the Jackson Free Press, is hosting a free community forum 6 p.m. Tuesday at St. Andrews Cathedral (305 Capitol St., downtown). The forum will take stock of where we are: what individual artists and art groups are accomplishing; our dreams for Jackson; and how we can realize this dream together. The forum will look at the many opportunities and events currently happening and in the works in our area. This discussion will explore pertinent issues to our community and the progress being made. This discussion is about making the arts more accessible to both the artist and the audience. This forum engages the emerging arts community into the

AG Gonzales to Old Klansmen: ‘We Are Still on Your Trail'

The U.S. Department of Justice held a press conference this morning in Washington to announce the formation of a cold-cases division to pursue old civil-rights murders, such as the case of Charles Moore and Henry Dee. Here are his verbatim remarks:

Monday, February 26

Juicy Stuff Over on

ARTICLE: Young Marine Dies Of PTSD - And Neglect

Jonathan Schulze was a United States Marine.

A soldier survives active duty in Iraq only to discover that when he becomes suicidal, he can't get treatment at the VA Center because he's number 26 on the waiting list. Well, since he did end up taking his own life, numbers don't matter any more, right?

Basketball Marches In

Mississippi's greatest sporting event, the MHSAA State Basketball Tournament, starts on Monday at the Mississippi Coliseum. Boys and girls champions in five classes will be crowned at the end of its two-week run. Meanwhile, the MPSA Tournament is underway at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Saturday, February 24

Corps: Twin Lakes Plan ‘Economically Infeasible'

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting:

Friday, February 23

You're From the South?

A few nights ago, at a reading for the book "Other People's Property" (supposedly a book about being white and loving hip-hop), a guy said, "Violent rap doesn't exist anymore. (Pause) Well, except in the South where it's all just bling."

Neither Do I Condemn You

Some people give things up for Lent, then resume whatever they gave up on Easter. I can appreciate the self-discipline aspect of this, but this year I think what I need to give up--and try not to resume again on Easter--is my hatred and bitterness.

Teen Hosts Free Expression Expo Saturday in Florence

On Feb. 24, Florence High School senior Jason Wilson, 18, will host the Free Expression Exposition at Hemphill Park in Florence. The music and arts festival, which features eight bands for a general admission of only $2, will encourage audience participation in collective art and impromptu musical performance. Several bands will play at the festival, including Wilson's own band, The Reggae Tribute. The JFP talked to Wilson last week about why he decided to plan a large festival, as well as signed on as a sponsor to help promote his event.

Thursday, February 22

Is Danks Unaware or Indifferent to the 1st Amendment?

In Dale Danks' letter telling Kim Wade to retract his petition for removal, Danks calls Wade's petition "Frivolous," harassing" and "vexatious". Danks' letter (PDF, 300KB) further (mis)characterizes Wade's petition as "without substantial justification, interposed for harassment," and having "no realistic hope for success."


CNN will examine the cultural value of Hip-Hop in an hour long special dubbed "Hip-Hop: Art or Poison?" tonight (Feb 21.)

Wednesday, February 21

Crafton Beck

In seventh grade, Crafton Beck agreed to play an instrument he had never heard of before. Beck had wanted to play the trumpet, but the band director at his middle school in West Memphis, Ark., said to him: "Son, you can't play the trumpet, you've got braces. How about the oboe or the clarinet?" Beck had no idea what either instrument looked or sounded like, so when the band director suggested the clarinet, he agreed. Years later, at Ohio State University, where he had received a scholarship to study clarinet, Beck finally parted with his arbitrarily acquired instrument and found his true vocation—conducting.

Hungry Kids: Jackson Music 2007

Life without music wouldn't really be life; it'd be a lot like life, an imitation of it, but it wouldn't be life. It's even more difficult to imagine a life in Jackson—the City with Soul—without its often under-appreciated, unrecognized music scene. The capital city has innumerable undiscovered jewels.

Artists To Watch In 2007

—Casey Parks

Yeah, you've been playing that same Living Better Electrically EP for years now. Your Colour Revolt EP got worn out months ago. Don't worry, though, J-town has plenty of other good musicians to fill up your iPod. And these artists are going to make 2007 hot. The Bold New City offers up everything from smooth R&B and acoustic to experimental twists of sound and thumpin' beats.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Women's college basketball, Mississippi State at Alabama (6 p.m., Tuscaloosa, Ala., FSN South): The Lady Bulldogs continue battling for an NCAA berth.

Cleaning House

Over two years on, Larry Eustachy claims not to remember much about his early practices at USM. Trying to recall that sad-sack squad after the biggest single win of his USM tenure Monday night, he used phrases like "prepare for the worst" and "tear the whole house down" about his first impression of the program.

The Sum Of Its Parts

The art in the 2007 Mississippi Invitational falls on both sides of the modernist/postmodernist ideological divide. Some artists relate to a modernist conception of art, which counsels that art is more than the sum of its contexts and that the best works of art supersede questions of how, where, why and who. Such work insists on being evaluated on its own terms; conditions external to the piece itself are marginally relevant to its meaning, if at all.

Wine Made In The Mountains

We have all heard plenty about Napa and Sonoma, but many of the other American Viticultural Areas in California want attention. The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA is one such region. Often ignored by the press, it is, nonetheless, home to several prestigious wineries.

Stuff Yourself

I grew up in a survival-of-the-fittest (or survival of who-knew-how-to-cook) atmosphere. Even though my mom was a stay-at-home type, she wasn't the have-dinner-on-the-table-by-5:30 type. My siblings and I soon learned that if we were hungry, we might just have to get into the kitchen and fire up the skillet.

ARTICLE: The Mental Health Parity Bill Finally Passes the First Hurdle

(verbatim from e-mail from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Guys, please do me a favor and click on the link in this article. Let our senators know that supporting this legislation is critical. The lives of many who suffer from mental illness depends on this.

And It Don't Stop

Lyrics tell a story, teach a lesson, influence your life for three minutes. Hip-hop comes down to just that, at the bare bones, some solid beats and words, lyrics.

Where I Want To Be

There wasn't much run-around, as there can be with some celebrity personalities. Setting up the time to interview Mississippi's son David Banner was a fairly easy process. Truthfully, it wasn't frustrating at all. Willie Nash, Banner's assistant, apologized that even though Banner was in Jackson, he'd just gotten in and regretfully wouldn't be able to meet the day we planned face-to-face, and we set up a time for the phone interview. And at 3 p.m., on the dot, David Banner was on the phone ready to answer any question I had.

BREAKING: $100 Million Sewer Crisis Ahead?

The city will be left holding what could be a $100 million bill if it does not move to regionalize its sewer treatment facility in the next few months, according to Council President Ben Allen.

Kim Wade: Turn the Mayor Out

WJNT radio host Kim Wade filed a petition for removal against Mayor Frank Melton with the circuit clerk's office Friday afternoon, as reported first at

Hood Threatens Insurance Industry

Attorney General Jim Hood attacked State Farm Fire and Casualty Co.'s decision last week to suspend new home-owners and commercial insurance policies in Mississippi. Hood said the national insurance company was essentially holding policies for ransom in order to influence legislators and judges.

Politics of Tobacco

The House sent a veto-proof cigarette tax bill to the Senate Thursday, along with the message that one side of the Mississippi Legislature is standing behind the tax, even if former tobacco lobbyist Gov. Haley Barbour and his Senate allies have no intention of letting the bill come up for a vote.

Oh Yeah, The Plan

The Jackson City Council cut off Police Chief Shirlene Anderson before she could go into the details of her proposed modular misdemeanor jail on Monday, saying they were looking for a more detailed version of the chief's crime plan.

Not Your Typical Two-car Garage

Hinds County Supervisors voted 3-2 to hire Integrated Management Services, Neel-Schaffer and McElroy 3 and Associates Architects to design a proposed $14 million parking garage. Supervisors Charles Barbour and Peggy Calhoun voted against the project, with Calhoun saying she had too many concerns about its long-term costs.

Take It to the Feds

Download the motion (PDF 1.44MB)

The Lawyers and the Statistician

Day three of the Michael Ellis termination hearing resumed on Wednesday, Feb. 14, with Ellis' attorney Lisa Ross concluding her cross-examination of Charlie Bonds, Jackson Public Schools executive director of internal audits. Ellis, Chastain Middle School's principal until Dec. 18 of last year, was fired from his position for failure "to achieve significant progress" in Chastain's performance, among other allegations. Ellis claims that JPS fired him in retribution for charging JPS School Superintendent Dr. Earl Watkins with sexual harassment. He and his wife filed a Title VII lawsuit against Watkins and JPS on Jan. 18, 2007.

In a Sentimental Mood

It's Tuesday, and I'm sitting cross-legged on the floor in Baltimore's Southwest terminal after spending several days in Washington at an alternative-newspaper training conference. I love these gatherings: I teach, I learn, I build relationships—especially with the younger editors and writers who are the future of the news industry. Those guys seldom ask "why?!?" in a discussion about how to best use the Internet to communicate and interact with readers; they ask "how!?!"—big difference.

[Gregory] You Call That Music?

My friends often make smart-ass comments about my taste in music. I write this sentence as Babs wails "Moon River" in the background, and my cats look at me distastefully while hiding their tiny heads under their paws. For the past five years, I've been happier listening to oldies and standards than being concerned with the newest hot stuff that is playing on the radio. In fact, I probably couldn't even tell you the name of the new hot song that is playing on the radio. I listen to old people's music. My parents don't even listen to the music I enjoy.

[Stiggers] Watching You Watch Us

Kunta "Rahsheed X" Toby: "Welcome to 'Why Aggravate a Brother?' It's Ghetto Science Television's new reality series about racial profiling. This episode is sponsored by the law offices of Cootie McBride, Aunt Tee Tee Hustle's Mending the Digital Divide Project, Nurse Tootie McBride Wound Center for Violent Beat Downs and bail bondsman Scooter D.

[Kamikaze] The New Independents

We've come to yet another music issue, and that means as in years past, it's time for my annual state of the music address. It seems I've become the "mad rapper" for all my political ramblings and such, but the music is my passion. It is the music that I think makes most folks in the private sector even give me the time of day. It is the music that's given me a platform to voice my opinions in this very publication.

Tonight, Feb 21 "The War Tapes" Screening at Rainbow, Free

Straight from the front lines in Iraq, "The War Tapes" is the first war movie filmed by soldiers themselves. This movie is the complete story of three very different soldiers. The film focuses on the war, life back home, and how the war affects families and relationships. This utterly unique film is a vivid depiction of the mindset of American soldiers and the incredible cost of war. Free, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Computer Co-op in Rainbow Plaza (2807 Old Canton Road). 601-981-6925

James Ford Seale Wants Charges Thrown Out

Read the JFP's full Dee-Moore-Seale package.

Tuesday, February 20

A Special Reunion Weekend

This past summer, I met my older brother for the first time. He was the product of a previous relationship my dad had, and although I knew he existed, I did not know his name or anything.

Weight and Insurance

Almost every single Tuesday morning since July of last year, I've sat with a group of equally weight-challenged individuals at the Baptist Nutrition Center, talking mostly about how to make the food we're supposed to eat taste better. We also talk about our small triumphs—even one pound lost is cause for celebration—and our backsliding—the holidays were tough for many. We are each other's accountability in the program, even more so than the scales, and our personal cheerleading squad.

Kill Rock Stars To Release Double Album From Elliott Smith

On May 8, 2007, Kill Rock Stars will release a double CD of music by Elliott Smith entitled New Moon. The album contains 24 songs recorded 1994-1997, a prolific time in Smith's career, when he recorded his self-titled album and Either/Or (both also released by Kill Rock Stars). The label will also be releasing a double LP of the album.

Monday, February 19

Confusion at Walter Reed

The Washington Post ran an amazing two-part series about the lack of follow-up care for soldiers returning from war to Walter Reed Hospital over the weekend. It's written by really a journalistic dream team of Dana Priest (She won the Pulitzer last year for her pieces on "black site" prisons) and Anne Hull (who, I think, is easily the best narrative writer in journalism. She's a magic worker, just truly astounding).

Saturday, February 17

Subjective Truths

French author André Gide wrote: "Trust those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it." I wrote the quote on a white sticky in magenta ink yesterday and attached it to my laptop… "doubt those who find it." After sitting in a hearing room for three days this past week listening to hours of testimony, it's apt. The law, I think, is all about finding the "truth," subjective as it usually is.

Hood and Barbour Disagree Over State Farm

Today, Jim Hood sent out a statement asking the governor and insurance commissioner to follow Florida's lead and require State Farm and other insurance companies to continue writing policies in the state. In a response, the governor say no. Both statements are below verbatim. First, the AG's:

Friday, February 16

BREAKING: Wade Files for Melton Removal

WJNT radio host Kim Wade has filed a petition for removal (PDF, 270 KB) against Mayor Frank Melton with the circuit clerk's office, Wade confirmed to the Jackson Free Press this afternoon.

The Lawyers and the Statistician

By day three of the Michael Ellis termination hearing, the Ellis women had moved up to the first row of the hearing room. They wore apparel appropriate for Valentine's Day—a red hat, a red coat, a red sweater, a red dress.

Is Bill O'Reilly In "Man-Love" With Ludacris…AGAIN!?

from O'Reilly obsesses over Ludacris after Luda pokes fun at him at the Grammys

Bill O'Reilly stabs at Luda, claims "rap destroyed music." In case some of you missed it, Ludacris shouted out Bill O'Reilly and Oprah Winfrey when picking up two of his Grammys this past weekend. Good old Bill apparently didn't appreciate the love and took it as an opportunity to take more shots at the Ludameister. After reporting on Luda winning a Grammy for Best Rap Album, O'Reilly immediately questioned his win, pointing out lyrics from "Slap," a stand-out track on Release Therapy in which the ATL rapper mentions "slapping a nigga" and killing his boss. Ehhhhh, it was hypothetical, Bill. "Do you think there's a liberal, secular, progressive culture in the music industry that makes it easy for these people to prosper?" Bill asked Nathan Davis, a Philadelphia journalist. "These people?" "People don't understand a guy like Ludacris saying the N word 50 times in a song and saying he wants to kill his boss in the song," he continued. "They don't understand why that merits a Grammy award. Why does it?" Constipated-ass Williams also pleaded that the N word will be used as long as albums that feature it prominently get awarded.

Last two summaries

Auditors: Billions Squandered in Iraq

AP is reporting:

About $10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses, and federal investigators warned Thursday that significantly more taxpayer money is at risk. The three top auditors overseeing work in Iraq told a House committee their review of $57 billion in Iraq contracts found that Defense and State department officials condoned or allowed repeated work delays, bloated expenses and payments for shoddy work or work never done. More than one in six dollars charged by U.S. contractors were questionable or unsupported, nearly triple the amount of waste the Government Accountability Office estimated last fall.

Thursday, February 15

Wednesday, February 14

BREAKING: Video of Melton at Upper Level

Last Sunday, the Jackson Free Press broke news that Mayor Frank Melton was out long after bed-time, leading a platoon of about 20 police officers on a raid on the club.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Women's college basketball, Ole Miss at Tennessee (6 p.m., Knoxville, Tenn., CSS): Can the Lady Rebels pull an upset against the SEC's best?

The Ping Means Spring

In some parts of America, people are doing weird things, off-the-wall seasonal stick-based rituals, like "lacrosse" and, stranger, "hockey." This is a sport whose proper performance requires ice and, ipso facto, winter. It is a winter sport, and classified as such by the NCAA.

The Wait is Over


Oh, Freedom

Canton is known for its impact on the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi. Lives were changed there. Lives were lost there. It was in Canton that Stokley Carmichael first shouted to a crowd, "Black Power," a call that would spark the Black Power Movement. Despite Canton's importance, many of the trailblazers who still walk the predominately black town have never been recognized.

Vista Arrives, Apple Connives?

The reviews and press coverage of Microsoft's long-awaited release of Microsoft Vista have been interesting for this particular Mac-centric writer to watch. Many reviewers laud the new features and eye candy in Vista, saying it runs particularly well on new PCs that can handle its hefty hardware requirements. Just as often, however, the suggestion is to wait before upgrading. Sometimes the recommendation is to wait until you buy a new machine that comes with Vista pre-loaded.

What I Learned in College

My niece Jessie, who is a freshman in college, recently called home pitifully exclaiming how tired she was of eating ramen noodles. I firmly believe, however, learning to survive off those 25-cent packs is a rite of passage into adulthood. Haven't we all been there? For me, college was the time in life to learn what it means to be independent, poor and hungry.

Unholstered: A Greenwood Family Fights For Its Rights

The bell rang for fifth period at Greenwood High School, and James Marshall walked to class. The 17-year-old wore his throwback Dave Wilcox jersey that his mom had bought him, a bright red 49ers uniform from 1964 with three-quarter sleeves that reached below his wrists. On the way, he spotted his friend Jarvis Williams, who was telling a group of boys about his tattoo.

The Mayor 'Runs Amok'

Mayor Frank Melton and 20 members of the Jackson Police Department stormed the Upper Level club early Sunday morning and closed it as a potential fire hazard, as first reported online Sunday by the Jackson Free Press.

Ellis Termination Justified?

This is an expanded web edition of an article that appeared in the Feb. 14 print edition.

Legislative Round-up—Week 6: Wasting Away

The Senate had another busy week, passing full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program Tuesday. With Gov. Haley Barbour finally onboard with fully funding MAEP—in an election year—the Senate got with the program and approved SB 238.

[City Buzz] No. 22 February 14 - 21

Dennis Grant, Probation Services Company Offender Services Coordinator said in a letter to Mayor Melton that he has not received proof of Melton's recent surgery in Texas. Melton's bond for his felony indictments requires him to report any departures from the state. A delay in the mayor's heart surgery required he file details with Grant.

All for One

There were some quiet days in Jackson while Mayor Frank Melton was recovering from surgery in Texas. I was in City Council covering the debate on digital billboards two weeks ago, and we journalists blinked at each other like it was the first day of spring. We could almost imagine what it would be like to cover government without Melton. Politicians will always argue and preen for the cameras, but in ordinary times, there are no states of emergency, no raids, no felony indictments.

[Head] Legislation Promotes Dangerous Abortions

Last Wednesday, the Mississippi State Senate passed SB 2795. Promoted as a simple ban on abortion, the legislation actually takes a far more novel and dangerous approach. The right of a woman to terminate her own pregnancy is protected under section 2(3) of the legislation—establishing a right to abortion for the first time in Mississippi legislative history. The right of a woman to obtain drugs that will help her terminate her pregnancy is also protected under subsection 1(3)(d). There's one catch: Any doctor who oversees the procedure faces up to ten years in prison. Under SB 2795, abortion wouldn't always be illegal—just incredibly dangerous.

[Stiggers] Butt Whippings for This?

Mr. Announcement: "On this Black History episode of All God's Churn Got Shoes, Mr. Teacher makes his History and Ghetto Science class think."

No. 22, February 14 - 21

<b><em>Thanks Where Thanks Is Due</b></em>

Following, Rep. Billy Broomfield, D-Moss Point, said that he was "grateful for the federal funds that Gov. Barbour's contacts in Washington" brought to South Mississippi in the wake of Katrina. It bothers me that this money, approved by Congress, is not being appreciated as charity from the country but instead is trumpeted as the work of Gov. Barbour, Sens. Cochran and Lott and lobbyist firms.

Althea Stewart

"I wear a lot of hats," Althea Stewart says. When Jim Hill students want to get something going at their school, they usually call on 39-year-old Stewart, who already sits on the Black History committee, is a cheerleading coach, coordinates homecoming and organizes all the school dances.

JFP Writer in New "Chicken Soup" Book

... and it's breaking news over at The Clarion-Ledger. OK, maybe not the JFP part. ;-) Congrats, Tiffany! We're proud of you, girlfriend.

Archive of the JFP's Coverage of the Dee-Moore Case

Following are links to the Jackson Free Press' full, and ongoing, package of stories about 1960s Klan activity in the Natchez-Meadville-Roxie, Miss., area, starting with the award-winning investigative story by Donna Ladd and a team of young Mississippians, working with David Ridgen, a documentary filmmaker from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., to chronicle Thomas' Moore's 2005 return to Mississippi to seek justice for his brother's murder.

Green Demands Melton Documentation

Dennis Grant, Probation Services Company Offender Services Coordinator said in a Jan. 29 letter (PDF, 100KB) to Judge Tomie Green that he has not received proof of Melton's recent surgery in Texas. Melton's bond for his felony indictments requires him to report any departures from the state. A delay in the mayor's heart surgery required he file details with Grant.

Police Officers Flood City Hall

More than 100 police officers crowded into City Hall to demand higher pay from City Council's Quality of Life Committee Monday, but council members say they haven't received any proposals for higher pay from Mayor Frank Melton and Police Chief Shirlene Anderson. They say that they are powerless to give the police a raise until Melton proposes it to City Council, which he has not yet done.

Tuesday, February 13

2007 Friendship Ball Honorees Announced

Jackson 2000, a racial reconcilation organization, has announced that the 2007 Friendship Ball honors are Harvey Johnson Jr. and Cora Norman. The Friendship Ball will be March 3 at Hal & Mal's. More details soon.

Senate Votes to Fully Fund Adequate Education

Verbatim from Nancy Loome of The Parents Campaign:

It is a great day for Mississippi children! This morning the full Senate passed, on a unanimous voice vote, a version of HB 238 that fully funds the MAEP! This is a major victory for Mississippi school children, and you made it happen! The calls, letters and e-mails from concerned citizens all across this state sent an undeniable message to legislators and other elected officials. You made it clear that Mississippians will stand for nothing less than a quality education for all our children!

Hiding Love in Iraq

This story ran two years ago, but on Valentine's Day, with the war in Iraq and war over sexuality still both in heavy effect, I think it's relevant.

Does this Ledger Headline Fit the Story?

A reader just sent me this Clarion-Ledger link and headline. Consider whether y'all think the headline portrays what's in the story: "Man charged in slaying may be released if DA doesn't hurry." Now, here's the beginning of the story:

Monday, February 12

JUST IN: Lumumba: Stop Melton's ‘Jackson Gestapo'

Audio of press conference: Lumumba_21207.mp3 (8.3MB)

WLBT Gives Close-ups of Melton's Scars

In a TV segment that is drawing its 15 minutes of fame, Frank Melton invited WLBT cameras into his home to show his scars up close and personal to dispel "rumors" that he didn't actually have the operation he said he had. The question that remains for us is: Why didn't he simply release his medical records as many other public servants have done over the years? That would have seemed more tasteful than taking of his clothes on television.

Sunday, February 11

BREAKING: Melton, Bodyguards Back in Upper Level

Club-goers are reporting that Mayor Frank Melton, and an entourage including bodyguards, Dets. Michael Recio and Marcus Wright, arrived at the Upper Level nightclub in Jackson close to 2 a.m. today—Sunday, Feb. 11. The mayor arrived in a black Chrysler, witnesses say, along with several JPD police cars. There are reports that Chief Shirlene Anderson was among the entourage, but her presence could not be confirmed Sunday.

Saturday, February 10

Some Thoughts on the 2007 Elections

With the March 1st filing deadline fast approaching, I don't see any evidence that any well-known Democrat has emerged to make a viable challenge to Haley Barbour. A channel surf to WJTV TV-13 a few minutes ago made this especially clear to me. The three announced D candidates are:

Thursday, February 8

Supreme Court Overturns ‘Crack House' Gag

In a decision today, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned an injunction issued by Circuit Judge Tomie Green last fall that forbid city officials from referring to the duplex in the Ridgeway incident as a crack or drug house.

Now, not yesterday or tomorrow

My lover-boy kitty, The Amazing Valentino (brother to Tallulah the Wonder Cat), waddles his furry little butt into my bathroom every morning to the sound of the water running in the tub. Every morning, he jumps up on the edge, and after receiving a perfunctory pat on the head and kiss on the nose, he trots to the other end of the tub, jumps in and watches the rush of water in complete fascination. To his daily and utter amazement, the flow from the tap suddenly turns into a torrent from the sky when I turn on the shower, and he runs through the water to get to drier ground. He's gone through the exact same routine almost every morning for five years. Val generally doesn't like water, but something, the attention from me, the sound or look of the water, something surely makes it all worthwhile.

The Senate Unloads

The Mississippi Senate went hog wild passing bills Wednesday, passing a voter ID bill and three bills that restrict abortion. Whether these bills stand a chance in the House remains to be seen. Head over to State Desk for Adam Lynch's latest legislative update.

Wednesday, February 7

Crime Plan Short on Specifics

Police Chief Shirlene Anderson gave the first few hints of a crime plan to the public this Monday following a City Council budget meeting. Anderson had stalled for months in response to calls by council members for her to present a crime plan, earlier telling the council that revealing the plan would give away too much information to criminals.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Rodeo, Dixie National Rodeo (7 p.m.): Grab your hats and boots, pardners, the Dixie National is beginning its seven-day run at the Mississippi Coliseum.

Finishing First, At Last

One of the rules of modern sports, according to the oft-cited Seinfeldism, is that fans "root for laundry" rather than the ever-changing identities that occupy their team at any given moment. Largely, this is true, but in Mississippi, we still care about blood, too.

Your Brain on Love

The state of being "in love," my therapist told me, is pretty close to insanity. A Jungian, she said that she would not take new patients who were in love; they were unlikely to make any progress. Now, she wasn't referring to the deep love and affection you have for your long-term partner or your mother. She's talking about the all-consuming, heart-pounding, wide-eyed stuff you've experienced during those first days of a new love—being madly in love—the substance of romantic poetry.

XX vs. XY

During a brainstorm session, a thought popped into my mind: I wonder what kind of questions the folks on our blog would ask about love and sex and whatever else if given the opportunity to air it all out, with Valentine's Day coming up and all. We even came up with a couple sample questions. Does jumping up and down really work? What are the skene glands? I didn't have many expectations about where the conversation would go, but I did anticipate a couple of key Web site personalities getting in on the conversation, and they did.

Just in: City Attorney Charges ‘Threats'

<i>City Attorney and Staff Exited Executive Session at Mayor's Request

A statement just came from City Attorney Sarah O-Reilly Evans about the City Council meeting she and others walked out of yesterday, as reported by Adam Lynch yesterday. Verbatim:

Sexy Side Effects of Seahorse

The world has forever been on the lookout for a good aphrodisiac. Henry Kissinger said it was power and money, which might be your only hope if you look like Kissinger (or The Donald). Isabel Allende said it's words, while Saul Bellow said it was being a writer. Others will swear that the most potent aphrodisiac resides between your ears and in your eyes. Whatever.

Magic Times Three

Because Feb. 14 is rapidly approaching, I was told that in writing this food piece I could "garnish with edible underwear or something," which I confess wasn't even the slightest bit tempting. So this is the Valentine's Day issue, but this isn't a Valentine's Day meal. Which is to say that you can certainly make it on Valentine's Day, and it will be delicious and romantic and all those other wonderful things, but it takes less than half an hour to make, it doesn't have a red theme, and it's just as good to eat by yourself on a Wednesday night as it is to eat with someone special on everyone's (least) favorite, high-pressure holiday.

[Chick] Hands Off My ‘You Know'

As Eve Ensler, author of "The Vagina Monologues," would say, I come from "down there" people. Actually, I come from "you know" people. That was our whispered code for vagina, penis, uterus, buttocks and even pregnancy. When I was young, I did not know, but who was I to ask my mother? I'm still not sure she knows.

Loving Jackson

Photos by Charles A. Smith

When Camp Best arrived at Aladdin's on Lakeland this morning, he was clutching an overstuffed portfolio under one arm and brushing off cat hair with his free hand (courtesy of his two cats, Little Man and Miss Pud). Best wears his good humor casually, and none of his warmth feels fake. He has bright eyes flanked with well-worn laugh lines that are fixed in a slight squint—like someone who has just woken up after a pleasant nap to find the afternoon sun glinting in his eyes. He is easily one of the most affable people I've ever met. Best has been in Jackson for a long time and in that time he has been (among other things) a left-handed child, a fridge salesman, a traveling wholesaler, and most recently, an artist and the executive director of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation. I myself am a newcomer to Jackson, and I don't know much about Best besides having overheard casual remarks about his devotion to Jackson's artistic community.

Supervisors 'Roadblock' Title Building

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors killed a motion to hire an appraiser for the Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Building in a board meeting Monday, effectively halting its purchase—and endangering the controversial purchase of a parking garage next door.

Legislative Round-up–Week 5: Getting Busy

With the Jan. 30 bill submission deadline gone, the House and Senate buckled down to serious floor action this week.

[City Buzz] no. 14 February 7 - 14

Photos by Brian Johnson and Jaro Vacek

The Jackson City Council is considering putting a moratorium on digital signs throughout the city, with the council set to debate the issue more thoroughly at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Real Love Can Be Tough

Love is a funny thing. It too often earns its status as a four-letter word. It bites us in the ass. It keeps us awake and alive. It motivates us.

[Collier] When the Clock Ticks

The incessant tick-tock of the biological clock has been the cause of anxiety for women who haven't yet had children but want them, and those who are still waiting for "the one." I've never bought into the internal clock phenomenon much. Until I had a birthday recently, that is.

[Stiggers] You Are Making Us So Hot

Mr. Announcement: "Kunta 'Rahsheed X' Toby and the George Washington Carver Holistic Health Commission of Tuskeegee, Alabama, present 'Global Warming in the Ghetto,' a documentary film about climate changes in poor neighborhoods."

[Kamikaze] Punked ... Again

Politics sucks! More so, politicians suck! Around these parts, the whole damn lot of you should be ashamed. This is a wake-up call to everyone serving in public office in this city: the ones I support and the ones I criticize, the ones I consider allies and the ones I think stand in the way of progress.

Nancy King

Nandy's Candy Store looks exactly how an old-fashioned candy store should. The floors are old hardwood, and the only thing that keeps customers from reaching their hands right in and grabbing whichever sweet confection tempts them is the domed glass over the display case. And as one of the customers who walks in on a lazy Saturday morning says, the place smells so sweet and sugary, "I probably gained five pounds just from breathing the air." Nancy V. King, the owner of Nandy's, wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, February 6

BREAKING: Council Mulls Mothballing Legal Dept.

Four members of City Council said they are considering withholding funding to the city's legal department after what they described as that department's clear bias toward the mayor's office.

Trial Date Set for Melton, Bodyguards

The Associated Press is reporting that Frank Melton, Michael Recio and Marcus Wright are headed to trial on April 23 for the demolition of the Ridgeway Street duplex and instructing at least one minor to help with the crime. For background, see Adam Lynch's breaking Sept. 1 story here and news and blog updates on JFP's MeltonBlog .

Ramie Ford to Head New Department

After a firestorm ripped through Jackson last week after the Jackson Free Press reported that Parks and Recreation Director Ramie Ford might be leaving city government, Mayor Frank Melton said at a press conference Tuesday that he is creating a new city department that Ford will lead.

Monday, February 5

Who Else Here Has Packrat-itis?

Previously published here.

Activism Really Satisfies

Did you catch the Super Bowl Snickers commercial? I didn't see it, but all day I've been following the anger it's generating among gays and lesbians around the country. Frankly, I don't even care about football. But outrage over thoughtless, anti-gay advertising? That's worth watching.

What The Hell Do You Mean I'm "Articulate"?

Another white politician gets foot-in-mouth disease again as Sen Joe Biden called Presidential hopeful Barak Obama "clean" and "articulate" In fact, he said Obama was the first African American candidate who WASN'T inarticulate. Whaaaaa?

More Prosecutions Possible in Neshoba Slayings?

We are transferring a posting from BenG (from the Hungry Blues blog) here in order to have a more substantive conversation about it and not take away from the Dee-Moore discussion where it was originally posted:

Melton: Back on the Job?

Mayor Frank Melton held a press conference as his 2 Carter's Grove residence today to announce his return from heart surgery in Texas.

Friday, February 2

Emmett Till Town Hall Meeting

Mississippians for Reparations (MFR) sponsors a town hall meeting tonight, Feb. 2, from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Fresh Start Christian church (5426 Manhattan Rd., Jackson). There, the praised documentary "The Untold Story of Emmett Till," produced by Keith Beauchamp will be shown; following that, a public discussion about the film, and other community concerns will take place. This is a historical and cultural event, you don't want to miss.

New Survey Reveals Concerns Over Rap Music Among Youth

From Tell me what you guys think...

The current image of rap music and rap music videos is cause for concern among Black youth, according to the Black Youth Project, a survey spearheaded under the direction of Dr. Cathy Cohen of the University of Chicago.

Grandma's Got Rhythm

I admit it. I was a dancin' fool at the JFP 2007 Best of Jackson party. I've lost 50 pounds since last July, and I think I look better than I have in 20 years. I bought a fabulous new outfit for the occasion and I had my high heels on. I had an absolute blast.

Leonard Pitts: Obama is Black

Leonard Pitts' column today is both smart and hilarious.

Kaze's co-hosting the Kim Wade show TODAY 5PM

Make sure you guys tune again to yet another action packed edition of the Kim Wade Show..I want to hear from more JFP bloggers(if you're able). Tune in 1180am and simulcast on 103.3fm @ 5:30. The number is 601 366 1180. We want to hear from YOU! I think Im going to go off about this "ex-con" issue today

Thursday, February 1

BREAKING: Shake-up in City Administration

Jackson Planning and Development Director Carl Allen and Parks and Recreation Director Ramie Ford are leaving city government, the Jackson Free Press learned Thursday.

Princess for President

Last week I spoke to fifth-grade girls about my career as a writer. Seems like just another day at the elementary school, except I'm a woman speaking to a gender-separated classroom where "no boys allowed" provides for more open dialogue. I was frightened.

Democratic Congress Earns Its Keep!

I've just received word that Congress has not only funded the $1 billion in Millennium Development Grants that it had promised, but added $450 million to the total. Link The $1.45 billion MDG contribution is the largest in U.S. history. President Bush has repeatedly expressed a willingness to support additional MDG funding--HIV-AIDS and malaria funding being a much bigger concern for evangelicals than abortion or same-sex marriage (seriously; read the polls)--so it's a no-brainer that he will sign this when it comes across his desk.

Molly Ivins

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was." ~Molly Ivins