Stories for January 2007


Wednesday, January 31

Coming Out

Telling people that I'm gay isn't a big deal for me anymore. I mention it when it's relevant, and if someone's shocked or offended, the most I usually tell him is to get over it and welcome to the human race. But when the news broke last week that two Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics officers were sentenced to mere house arrest for brutally assaulting two gay men, I was reminded that coming out publicly is still a profoundly important act—especially in Mississippi.

Ruben Rodriguez-Santos

Ruben Rodriguez-Santos, 31, lives for family. He beams when talking about his 3-year-old son, Ruben Alexander. Hopping up from the booth near the front door, which allows a constant stream of customers in and out, Rodriguez-Santos goes to retrieve his uncle, Alex Sivira, from the back.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Women's college basketball, Arkansas at Mississippi State (8 p.m., Starkville, FSN South): The Lady Bulldogs have been giant-killers lately.

The Recruiting Racket

The mania of college football recruiting in the South is peculiar. Like fantasy football, recruiting is an outgrowth from the game that somehow manages occasionally to supersede it. If you're not careful Feb. 7, National Signing Day for college-bound prospects, you might get the idea that winning on the field is mainly in service of wooing teenagers.

[Music] Beautiful Boy Genius

Sean Lennon's new record, "Friendly Fire" (Capitol Records), is so magnificent that it makes The Beatles' "Abbey Road" sound like a Herman's Hermits' record. OK, maybe not. But the truth is, this is no son riding on the long coattails of his genius father, the eternal godhead of pop music. With this album, Sean Lennon has earned the right to be judged on his own merits, even if John Lennon remains an impressive hurdle for him to jump.

[Music] The New Sound of Red Hill City

Many bands decide what they will sound like and stick to that formula, developing a recognizable style. Deviation from the original sound often results in a band split or name change. Red Hill City is proof that a band can evolve and change its sound without losing itself.

History as Art

The exterior of the spacious, charming house that sits directly across the street from a Jackson middle school is black. Inside James Luckett Powell's house, which was built in 1923, is a riot of color from the artifacts James has collected over the years. In the living room, there are dolls from other countries, fertility statues and stained glass windows. Art lines the wood-slatted walls. Clearly, both history and art are important to James.

Yearning for Home

When I was a child, we spent summers in the Catskill Mountains, where my mother ran a beauty shop. My father would drive up from Manhattan to join us on weekends. The small town of Liberty, N.Y., and the Appalachian foothills were my playground. I spent many happy days picking wild strawberries and blueberries, or catching minnows and salamanders in the clear creeks and ponds. I was 8 when these summer idylls ended.

The Search For The Elusive Wonton

Photo Jaro Vacek

I was a child when first introduced to wonton soup. During regular visits to the local Chinese buffet, I feasted only on the life-giving wonton soup and the occasional egg roll. I didn't know at the time that the strange-looking, meat-filled wontons floating in a delicate chicken broth were meant to represent clouds (the word wonton translates roughly into "swallowing a cloud"). All I knew was that I couldn't get enough of them.

Just the (Correct) Facts, Ma'am, on James Ford Seale Case

It's been interesting to watch the national media coverage of the arrest of James Ford Seale for the kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping of Henry Dee and Charles Moore in 1964. In some ways, the story has been a victim of the 24-hour news cycle, with small errors becoming headlines and big errors being completely overlooked or processed away.

[Hutchinson] Justice Demands More

The headline in many news accounts screamed "1964 killings finally solved." The headline referred to the indictment of suspected Klansman James Ford Seale on federal kidnapping charges in the murder of Charles Moore and Henry Dee in Mississippi. The two young blacks were kidnapped, savagely beaten and dumped into a river in 1964 by suspected Klan killers.

[Stiggers] Shafted by the Shift?

Grandpa Pookie: "Greetings, members of the Illumi-Nappy-Headed, Sausage Sandwich Sisters Electric Slide for World Peace and Rent Money, Stop the Ham Hocks and Decrease the Pork Grease Coalition, Women in Church Hats (Union # 297 1/3), and Ghetto Science Homeland Security Team. As a concerned chairperson of the Ghetto Science Team, I've ordered this special meeting because my senses have become quite sensitive. Maybe it's global warming or that Bubba Robinski soy protein sausage biscuit I ate. Nevertheless, I feel a paradigm shift. My concern today is how will people respond when the 'shift' moves to overdrive?

Janaury 31 - February 7

Many, Many Instances I Can't Remember

[City Buzz] no. 13 January 31 - February 7

The Mississippi AFL-CIO held a press conference on Monday, demanding the Senate pass two worker-friendly bills sent to them from the House.

Supes Debate Jails, Two Lakes

On Monday, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors held a contentious special meeting, discussing jail expansion, use of empty space at the Henley-Young Youth Detention Center, and the LeFleur Lakes ("Two Lakes") Project.

Legislative Roundup—Week 4: Smokin'

House Committees churned away this week, trying to make the Jan. 30 session deadline on bill submissions. HB 202 creates a criminal offense for attempted murder—something the state has never had. The charge currently falls under aggravated assault. Another crime-oriented bill, HB 982, increases penalties for crimes against Mississippi's disabled, and HB 1303, which allows the return of a weapon to a suspect after the charges have been dropped against him or her.

Senate Race Heats Up In Hinds

Belhaven Democrat David Blount threw his hat into the race for the Hinds County District 29 Senate seat last Wednesday. Blount told the JFP that he wants to present a more middle-class-friendly attitude to residents in Terry, Byram and South Jackson.

Council Protests Melton Picks

Council members bickered Monday afternoon over Mayor Frank Melton's decision to appoint Chief Administrative Officer Robert Walker and City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans to run the city while he recovers from surgery in Texas.

James Ford Seale: A Trail of Documents Tells the Story

James Ford Seale was walking tall and chewing on a cigar as he appeared before a subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities on Jan. 14, 1966, at 11:35 a.m. in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The Forgotten Case of Dee and Moore: A Media Timeline

Some Jim Crow-era murders have drawn much more attention than others. At the top end of the scale was the high-profile case of the Klan murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner on June 21, 1964—which draws thousands of entries in the Nexis news database (a search will not return more than 3,000 at a time). Several conspirators were tried in federal court in the 1960s and actually served some time for their role. Then the case continued to simmer on the national radar, finally culminating in the arrest and prosecution of Edgar Ray Killen in June 2005.

Ballad of Charlie Moore and Henry Dee

We found Marla Moore's freshly penned lyrics in honor of Charles Moore and Henry Dee on her "Punk Rasta" myspace page this week and asked to publish them. The JFP spoke with Moore Tuesday about the song she had just written for two fallen Mississippians.

Remembering the Slain

See full JFP Dee-Moore archive here.

Due to the similar nature (M.O.) of the crime that Seale and his cronies are accused of committing (picking up young black men, torturing and killing them), my brother met a similar fate. (He possibly refused a ride and was run down and then shot as he was waiting for a bus in Provident, Tenn.) He was found by a cab driver with a wound through the head on New Providence Boulevard, with a bullet round next to his head.

DISH with Ben Allen

Before the holidays, Council President Ben Allen set out a number of goals he said City Council would pursue in January, with the hope of making substantial progress by February. Where do things stand now?

Tuesday, January 30

Council Protests Melton Picks

Council members bickered Monday afternoon over Mayor Frank Melton's decision to appoint Chief Administrative Officer Robert Walker and City Attorney Sarah O'Reilly-Evans to run the city while he recovers from surgery in Texas.

Mississippi Senate to Vote on Abortion Ban

I've just received word that the Mississippi Senate Committee on Public Health and Welfare has approved SB 2795, an outright ban on abortion. The bill will most likely go before the Senate floor either this week or next week.

Monday, January 29

Last week's summary

Saturday, January 27

Dirty Tricks Against Obama ... Already

Per Joe Conason over at Salon, the right-wing machine is pulling some old dirty tricks out of its archive:

McGowan Against Eminent-Domain Limits

LeFleur Lakes developer John McGowan is coming out swinging against the limits to eminent domain to benefit private developers that is now before the Legislature. Head over to StateDesk for more details and to discuss this issue. (No registration required there.)

Friday, January 26

Music Issue Survey

The big music issue is coming up, and you can decide who we feature. Go vote:

Why Does Dee-Moore Have to Be the ‘Last' Case?

It's odd how so much of the media want to quickly proclaim the Dee-Moore case the "last" of the "cold cases" from the 1960s likely to be prosecuted. I'm hearing this over and over again, even in some of the more intelligent commentary on outlets like NPR. Why is this? There are many cold cases, and if the evidence is there, or can be found, they should be prosecuted as well.

Thursday, January 25

We're Sorry for the Murders of Dee and Moore

See full JFP Dee-Moore archive here.

When Thomas Moore came back to Mississippi in July 2005 looking for justice for the 1964 murders of his brother, Charles, and his friend, Henry Dee, he didn't know if he'd find it.

Wednesday, January 24

Excuses, Excuses

When it comes to exercise, or avoiding it, some of us have creative, if lame, excuses—my cat will miss me, for example. For the most part, though, our excuses aren't unique.

Supervisors' Clash Continues

On Jan. 3, Hinds County Board of Supervisors Vice President Peggy Hobson Calhoun arrived at a meeting between county supervisors and executives of Central Parking Corp. over a proposed $14 million parking garage in downtown Jackson. At a Board of Supervisors meeting the previous day, she had expressed concern over the $14 million price tag estimated by Central Parking and announced to

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Men's college basketball, Spring Hill at Belhaven (7:30 p.m., 930 AM): The Blazers try to claw their way up to the middle of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference standings.

The Bitter End

Advance apologies for the personal bitterness, which does not seem to be the general sentiment immediately following the New Orleans Saints' 39-14 loss at Chicago in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, a result that sends the Bears to the Super Bowl and New Orleans into sweet retrospectives of the greatest season in franchise history. Emotions subside, bitterness wanes, cynicism yields with time, and proper perspective will arrive, at some point. Deadlines being what they are, though, this feels pretty horrible.

[Music] Street Folk

Infinite is a street-conscious lyricist with southern beats. Laurel Isbister is an acoustic guitar player and singer with a background in Eastern European music. These seem like different worlds, but both artists work through musical traditions to express contemporary concerns. Interviewing each other, Infinite and Isbister found that they share similar struggles as creative women in the music business, and they even discussed the possibility of collaboration.

Fear And Pity

Photos by Nientara Anderson

What would happen if you took the camera in a typical crime movie and refocused it on the faceless mobster in the back? The brutish thug who's in and out of the movie in a flash, his blunt features and grunted lines leaving little more than general distaste in the audience's memory—what if he were the protagonist?

Legislative Update–Week 3: "The Fattest"

The House passed several bills last week, some more contentious than others. House Bill 555 extends the existence of the embattled Mississippi State Board of Health, though Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, said he expected Senate Public Health & Welfare Committee Chairman Sen. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, to enter his own Senate bill revamping the administration.

[City Buzz] no. 17 January 24 - 31

Convention Center Commissioners picked two construction companies to begin building the Convention Center, seven months after the groundbreaking. The construction contract, worth more than $52 million, will go to two companies, both inside the city of Jackson.

JSU Employee Alleges Harassment

Office Manager Kushuantia L. Jones is suing Jackson State University and JSU Communications Director Anthony Dean for sexual harassment. In her circuit court filing (PDF, 575 MB), Jones claims that through most of 2005, Dean made repeated unwanted requests for sex. Dean allegedly "slid his hand down her back into her pants lifting her underwear and asked, 'What color underwear are you wearing?'" He scheduled late meetings to get her alone, and he once offered to perform oral sex on his desk, according to Jones. At least twice, Dean exposed himself to Jones, once gesturing at his genitals and asking, "Can you handle this?"

[Collier] When the Flavor Just Ain't Right

"You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself," James Baldwin once said. He was an insightful man.

Tuck to Revisit Tobacco Tax

g forward a bill seeking to raise the cigarette tax.

John Hardy

The University Club is a hive of hospitality and networking. Jackson native John Hardy, 50, manages the 32-year-old establishment, which fills the entire 22nd floor of the posh AmSouth Building. The club is one-part ritzy restaurant and one-part entertainment extravaganza—an exclusive hot spot for Jackson's most interesting and influential.

[Stiggers] Aunt Tee Tee's Superhighway

Momma Church Hat: "You're watching 'Dateline TV: Ghetto Science Team Neighborhood Watch Edition.' I'm reporting live from the front porch of Aunt Tee Tee Hustle. For two weeks, neighbors and close friends have witnessed some very unusual activity at her house. Since this afternoon, the GSTV camera crew (also part-time surveillance detectives from the 'Cheaters' reality television show) and I have been monitoring the strange activity from across the street with our consumer-brand digital camcorder and parabolic microphone.

[Kamikaze] Don't Be A Hater

I've had a pretty prosperous 2007 so far—getting called an "idiot" by a right-wing fanatic while co-hosting the Kim Wade Show; blogging back and forth with a few independent thinkers on the JFP Web site; winning a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Martin Luther King Banquet; and doing some much needed reading. Yes, guys, rappers read!

Working Man

The JFP Interview With Jamie Franks

Rep. Jamie Franks, D-Mooreville, does not have the most expressive mug in the world. Somebody in his life taught this guy that looking you directly in the face is the only way to have a conversation, so his eyes keep a direct, unsettling stare on you throughout any exchange.

AG Jim Hood Celebrates State Farm Settlement

Attorney General Jim Hood said Tuesay that his office has reached a class-action settlement with State Farm in the Katrina lawsuit. Policy holders and Hood claim the insurance company wrongfully denied coverage for storm surge damage.

Outrageous story from Former Pres. Jimmy Carter's Hometown

Sagging may be the norm in the world of rap, but the trend may see an early end if some residents of a small southwest Georgia town have their way.

State Tax Slip-ups

I filed my 2005 income taxes for Mississippi last April, expecting a couple of hundred dollars back. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I call the State Tax Commissioner and ask what's up. They lost my files.

What a day!

Mississippi Lawmakers At It Again

On Monday, I blogged for choice (just like I did last year) as President Bush gave a speech declaring the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade to be "Sanctity of Life Day." The next day, in his annual State of the Union speech, he proudly defended war and torture. Interesting definition of "sanctity of life," don't you think?

Tuesday, January 23

Bush Doesn't Mention Katrina Recovery

AP is reporting tonight that Bush did not mention Katrina recovery a single time in his "State of the Union" address. Maybe he just forgot. AP:

Having It All; You're Doing It Wrong

I'm watching Oprah; the Princess is having a lemon tea and watching with me. Oprah asks her audience, "Can you have it all?" Can you have a career and a family and a self all at once? Elizabeth Vargas, who left the evening news during her second pregnancy, admitted that she felt constantly torn. I applaud her courage to make that decision, for what is best for HER, while the world watches and the National Organization of Women, and others, frowned upon her decision.

Mississippi Fat Possum label to Drop *NEW!* Dinosaur Jr 5/1

It's the reunion we all thought we'd never see. When J Mascis and Lou Barlow parted ways in 1989 following three hugely acclaimed and enormously influential albums it was generally understood that the relationship was, sadly, irreparably damaged. While J continued with Dinosaur Jr, Lou went on to form Sebadoh & Folk Implosion and the original Dinosaur Jr line-up seemed unlikely to ever rekindle their magic.

Bush to Go Domestic in ‘State of the Union'

President Bush must give a difficult "State of the Union" tonight to a nation that has turned against his policies. Please join us here at the JFP to blog it live. The New York Times is reporting:

Monday, January 22

Melton to Undergo Bypass Heart Surgery

Photo caption: Mayor Frank Melton and Dr. Robert Smith announcing that Melton will undergo heart surgery.

"Best Of" Party Was Faaaaaantastic!!!

My love and blessings go out to everyone who came out last night to the "Best Of" Party at Voodoo. It surpassed even my expectations. I was impressed with the love that JFP has out in these mean streets of Jacktown and eqaully humbled at how much love some of you have for your favorite neighborhood rapper:-)

Sunday, January 21

My Endorsement for 2008

To explain what's right about this candidate, let's look at what's wrong with Bush.

Well, Russ Feingold has dropped out of the race, and that leaves exactly one viable candidate for 2008 whom I can wholeheartedly support.

Saturday, January 20

Melanie Gabriel and Her Father

This is astonishingly good. Peter Gabriel has had some great backing vocalists in his time--the best, I think, was probably Paula Cole--but none sounds more like him than his daughter, Melanie, which makes sense when you think about it. Here she is from her father's Growing Up Tour, where they do a "Downside Up"/"OVO" medley with a really neat stage stunt:

Herman's Picks

The indie rock show of the fortnight comes by way of Philly, PA. on Tuesday, January 23 with Zelazowa at W.C. Don's. They take that crunchy, high energy ROCK 93.9 sound and smooth coat it with a heavy, but melodic Alternative College Rock.

Friday, January 19


No Love for Twinkies

I remember a running conversation a few years back about the half-life of Twinkies and Snow Balls—those gooey, sticky-sweet confections that make your back teeth hurt. Some folks felt that any food product designed to outlast cockroaches and nuclear bombs was a damn good thing. I never quite understood that viewpoint.

Have A Good Day

For the past month and a half I've transported one of my foster children to her old school every morning. She originally resided with her family in one part of town, but now lives in a foster home at the exact opposite end. Since she attends public school this means that there is no transportation available to take her to school other than one of the social workers. I decided this was my responsibility since I am the reason this change of homes came about. Anyway, this requires that I get out of Jackson before the rest of you fools have realized you are once again breathing and that Jesus has made the sun come up-yet again.

Learning More Online

It only takes a few years to start reminiscing about college, to begin wishing you'd done so much more. Only two years out, I'm already regretting all of the classes I didn't take, all of the students I didn't meet (because, seriously, sometimes in college you learn more from the people there with you than you do from the text books).

Monticello Mayor Speaks Out Against ‘Two Lake'

In response to The Clarion-Ledger's huge package of stories last weekend overwhelmingly in favor of the LeFleur Lakes development plan (including an odd pro-pro pair of columns), Monticello Mayor Dave Nichols II wrote the paper in protest, bringing up a vital point too little discussed by the developers:

Thursday, January 18

Touted Melton Attorney Wins Death-Row Case

Houston attorney Craig Washington, whom Frank Melton had said will defend him in his upcoming trial for destroying a Ridgeway Street duplex, has won in his effort back in Texas to keep client Tyrone Williams off death row. Williams, who was convicted on 58 counts of conspiracy, harboring and transporting immigrants, was responsible for the deadliest smuggling operation to date, back in 2003, when he abandoned his truck with over 70 immigrants on board. Nineteen of them suffocated in the back of his tractor-trailer in the sweltering heat. Washington withdrew from Melton's gun trials last fall, due to obligations back in Texas.

Attorney Chokwe Lumumba Re-instated

The Associated Press is reporting that the Mississippi Supreme Court has voted 8-1 to re-instate controversial attorney Chokwe Lumumba. Here's a JFP news story with relevant context, and an opinion piece against his disbarment.

Dems, Evangelicals Join Forces Against Global Warming

The new Democratic Congress is joining with the growing anti-global-warming evangelical movement to try to curb the dangers of global warming. Fortunately, denial is no longer the main strategy in Washington. The New York Times reports:

‘This Film Is Not Yet Rated' TONIGHT at Hal & Mal's

Head over to Hal & Mal's Red Room for the Crossroads Film Society presentation of "This Film is Not Yet Rated." This daring and funny documentary explores the mystery of the MPAA, a lobbying organization for the movie industry, and its hitherto unquestioned censoring process. 7 p.m., $7 ($5 for members). 601-510-9148 .

Wednesday, January 17

Best of Jackson 2007

Fenian's is one of those great bars that ought to be on tourist guides. There are no foam parties or sharks in tanks, no ice-tables or holograms of dead celebrities pretending to listen to your boring life story. There are no gimmicks, in other words, and the reason is that real character has no need for gimmicks. You could never make a Fenian's—it has made itself. Now, it is like a life raft for us all.


Best Place to Break Up, Best Free Internet Connection: Cups Multiple locations, 601-362-7422

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Junior college basketball, Gulf Coast at Hinds (6 p.m., women; 7:30 p.m., men; Utica): The Eagles entertain the Bulldogs in a juco double dip.

Two Democrats Eye Charles Barbour's Seat

It's the first month of 2007, and the elections are already gathering some momentum. Two Democrats are vying for the chance to square off with Republican Charles Barbour over his seat as supervisor of Hinds County's District 1 in the general elections in November.

[City Buzz] no. 16 Janurary 17 - January 24

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. gave State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. a heavy blow last week, telling them that they have to cover a policy holder's hurricane wind damage unless they can absolutely prove that storm surge was the cause of destruction.

Hell Freezes Over

Deuce McAllister won't "run it up in there," my dad likes to say. Or so said an opposing coach, he claims, debating the last position for the Magnolia squad in the 1997 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic. The Morton High back eventually made the team and saw the ball maybe twice amid a collection of more hyped pass-and-catch stars headlined by Romaro Miller. Miller set a Classic record by attempting 34 passes, but Mississippi lost, 10-6.

Only the Best Will Do

I grew up thinking I lived in the worst state in the country. I wasn't alone: I was surrounded by people with a collective inferiority complex—especially the ones who protested the most about what other people think of us, and how it doesn't matter.

Youth Rally for Justice

On a drizzling Martin Luther King Day morning, students, parents and advocates marched onto the Capitol's south steps to call for educational reform and protest the incarceration of more than 1,000 Mississippi children.

[Gregory] I Want Everything

New Year's Day, the SciFi channel ran a "Twilight Zone" marathon—the old black-and-white ones. I watched for a few hours because I love that they allow the weirdo host to smoke during his introductions and that they created most of the episode's eerie feelings with no special effects, whatsoever. After all, in this day and age, I can't leave the house without applying a hell of a lot of special effects to my own face.

Legislative Update–Week 2: Dissin' Youth

The House passed a statewide $7.25 minimum-wage bill, though they hobbled the bill, according to the Young Democrats of Mississippi, by voting in an amendment exempting part-time high school or college employees from the bill.

[Stiggers] An Already Angry Sista

TaaQweema: "I'm Boneqweesha's star student and Suma Cum Lawd Have Mercy graduate of the Hair Did University school of Cosmetology. You're watching 'Ask 'TaaQweema,' the new call-in and advice television show. Before I close, I must address a question via e-mail from 'AlreadyAngrySista-N-2007.' She writes:

Jason Marlow

Jason Marlow, the 2007 Best Filmmaker, isn't a guy who is going to wait for success to come knocking. At 27, he's seen more of the world than most of us ever dream. He recently returned from a trip to China, where he met several Oscar-winning filmmakers working on a new project. "It turned out to be awesome," he said. The people were just people, not what he thought of as "Hollywood" types, he told me, and were welcoming and supportive.

Envisioning Your Future & An Event for Women

Abraham Maslow said, "What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself," and Albert Einstein said, "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

"Less" Experience is EXACTLY What This Country Needs….

Ive sat back and watched with eager anticipation the Obama love-fest that has been going on lately. I must say Im pleasantly surprised..proud even..that an African American has risen to such heights. To be bandied about in the a good refreshing. Im currently reading his book "The Audacity of Hope" and have found it captivating. This after having just finished the book "Leadership" by Rudy Guliani just days before. And I found one thing to be true. When you vote person or conscience over party you almost assuredly will come out better. I don't subscribe to either a democrat of republican mindset...Guliani had good points and Obama does too. In reading, they BOTH want the same thing..its just that partisan views and rhetoric get in the way of good common sense..

Tuesday, January 16

Obama Is In the Race ... or Almost

He has launched his new presidential exploratory Web site, where you can read a transcript, or watch a video, of Obama explaining why he is (almost) in the race:

Leave Them Alone

I am very upset this morning - I can't even put into words how upset I really am. My older sister's home was broken into for the third time last night, and this time they went too far.

Monday, January 15

Blog/Read Verbatim ‘State of the State' at StateDesk

Right now, head over to StateDesk. We've just posted the full speech verbatim, so you can read along and comment as Gov. Barbour reads his speech. It's also live on MPB right now.

Blog about ‘State of the State' on StateDesk

Bush's Version of Iraq Ignores Facts

Mark Seibel, the head of international coverage for McClatchy news service, published a detailed piece this weekend dissecting how the Bush administration—especially Bush, Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley—is playing fast and loose with the facts in their latest push to ramp up the war in Iraq:

Honoring Dr. King: Toward Justice in Mississippi

Jacksonian Martha Bergmark, who runs the Mississippi Center for Justice here, has an inspiring call to action (especially for social-justice attorneys) printed at today, in honor of Dr. King's birthday today:

Sunday, January 14

That Bumping Sound You Hear… Bono banging his head against the wall.

Instant Replay: NFL Playoffs, Saints 27, Eagles 24

Carried by the strong legs of Deuce McAllister, the New Orleans Saints march past the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-24, and into the NFC Championship for the first time in team history. Their opponent will be the winner of Sunday's Chicago-Seattle game.

Saturday, January 13

A skunk need a ride home. Any takers?

In California, a skunk wondered his way into a transport truck, and after a seven-day trip, he ended up in Canada. Now Canadian wildlife specialists are trying to find someone who isn't afraid of being sprayed to take him back to California. Good luck with that one.

3pm Sunday - Ecumenical Martin Luther King Day Service

On Sunday, January 14th at 3:00pm, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jackson presents "Lift Every Voice: Breaking Barriers to Understanding," an ecumenical service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speakers include Bishop Joseph Latino of the Roman Catholic Diocese, the Rev. Jermaine Zanders of Bethany United Methodist Church in New Orleans, and the Rev. Jacqueline Luck of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jackson.

Stupid Quote o' The Day

Yes, it was uttered by President Bush while trying to defend his plan to ramp up forces in Iraq against bipartisan opposition—and it's a doozy, even for a man known for really stupid statements. As quoted by the Associated Press:

Friday, January 12

Just In: Rep. Leonard Morris of Batesville Dies

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Rep. Leonard Morris has died:

The Divine Right of Mayors

As every student of history knows, most of humanity's governments have been led by men who believed their authority derived from a "Divine Right of Kings." The rule of law did not exist, as "law" was simply whatever the king felt suited his purposes.

ALERT: Prison Escapee May Be in Jackson

Terry S. Thomas, 50, was seen Thursday in downtown Jackson, the release said.

Per a release posted on The Clarion-Ledger's site:

Barbour's ‘State of the State' on MLK Birthday

Mississippi Public Broadcasting will air Gov. Haley Barbour's "State of the State" address on Monday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. You can hear a live feed on MPB's Web site. The Jackson Free Press will be live-blogging the speech at our new statewide political newswire, StateDesk.

ARAB STRAP's Good-Bye Best Of Album

Chemikal Underground has finally set a U.S. release date for ARAB STRAP's swan-song compilation, Ten Years Of Tears. The album will be released February 20th. By no means your standard 'best-of', Ten Years Of Tears includes never before heard demos, b-sides, new tracks, remixes and more.

Perry Farrell's Satellite Party Debut

Alternative rock originator and one of music's most influential figures, Perry Farrell, has announced that on May 15, 2007 he will hit the airwaves with his most anticipated creation to date: Satellite Party. His new group is a bold and ambitious project that finds the founder of Lollapalooza in his first post-Jane's Addiction recording effort, creating an innovative conceptual album entitled Ultra Payloaded (Columbia Records). The idea behind Satellite Party was born out of Farrell's passionate belief that one step at a time people can change the world, and with this endeavor, he is launching a musical movement to do just that. Weaving together an array of genres with Farrell's modernist thinking, the music of Satellite Party tells a story through a collaborative brain trust of artists, musicians and environmentalists called The Solutionists, who seek to redesign and come up with solutions for the world.

Kids Writing Novels

I met a batch of fourth and fifth graders today who spent November writing novels. Novels. Their teachers enlisted them in this program NanoWrimo, wherein you write 30 minutes a day on a novel.

Thursday, January 11

Bush Tax Cuts Make Richest Richer, Middle Class Poorer

Big surprise, but here's the evidence from the congressional budget office that Bush's tax cuts are hurting the middle class and increasing economic inequality in the country:

LeFleur Lakes Critic Tom Pullen on Radio JFP Friday

Tune into WLEZ, 103.7 FM, at noon Friday, Jan. 12, 2007, for Radio JFP, Jackson's news and entertainment variety hour. Joining host Todd Stauffer will be editors Donna Ladd and Brian Johnson to talk about the week's news, as well as Tom Pullen of the Pearl River Basin Coalition to talk about flood control, the need for green space for economic development, and why he opposes the LeFleur Lakes proposal. You'll also hear songs from musicians playing out in Jackson in the next week.

The Sister Study

Here's a way you can make a difference if you are the sister of a woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The National Institutes of Environmental Health Services, part of NIH, is looking for 50,000 women to participate in The Sister Study in 2007. The study focuses on the environmental and genetic risks for breast cancer.

Probation Office: Melton Under Curfew, No Kid Contact

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that a probation official wrote a letter to Melton this week containing harsh warnings against violations of his bond:

City Releases JPD Crime Plan

You have to see this to believe it.

In December, the Public Eye made a public records request for "The Jackson Police Department's most current plan for fighting crime. If parts are unreleasable, state why and provide releasable portions of plan.", Powered by the JFP, Debuts Today

OK, being that y'all blogheads deserve to be the first to know about our various online shenanigans, allow me to introduce you to the state's brand-new political wire, It's in beta stage, of course, and we're still getting its bells and whistles loaded up (lots of surprises ahead), but we've started linking the state's political headlines around the state and blogging on what's happening at the Legislature and in state political races.

Education Rally Draws Hundreds; MAEP Passes

The House came out swinging this morning, passing five bills through floor votes. The most significant bill the House passed was was HB 238, fully funding The Mississippi Adequate Education Program with more than $2 billion. After an hour-long debate, the vote passed 119 to 1, with only Republican Rep. Steve Horne, of Meridian, holding out in opposition.

LeFleur Lakes Developer Plans to Go Around Corps

The Northside Sun has two intriguing pieces this week for John McGowan's next plan on how to get his LeFleur Lakes development to move ahead, one a slight news piece about a positive (and unscientific) poll on his Web site, and more interesting, a publisher's note by Wyatt Emmerich. He says that McGowan now wants to go around the federal government—and is worried that the new bill to restrict eminent domain in the Legislature will hurt his chances:

Mississippi's Infant Mortality Rate Rises

WLOX in Biloxi is reporting:

Barbour to Make Anti-Crime Announcement Thursday

Update: Barbour's statement is posted verbatim over on StateDesk.

Wednesday, January 10

Young Dems Oppose Minimum-Wage Amendment

Breaking news over at StateDesk.

Loome: Big Rally for Education Thursday

[verbatim from Nancy Loome of The Parents Campaign] Things are really heating up at the Capitol, and pro-education legislators are looking to The Parents' Campaign network members (you!) to win full funding for our children! All eyes are now focused on next week's rally, and legislators have said that your attendance there will be the key to a full-funding victory. WE REALLY NEED YOU THERE NEXT THURSDAY!

Welcome to Wellness

Greetings gentlefolk, and welcome to my Wellness blog.

As my good friend Terry said to me over the holidays, "You can't make a difference when everyone agrees with you." Amen to that, sister. And what better place to make a difference than in the health and well-being of the people of Mississippi. As corny as that may sound, I may have found my purpose for being here. Let's ignore the fact that it only took 10 years (I'm a late bloomer, OK?) and a mid-life crisis that Jung would be proud of the get me to this place.

The iPhone arrives…In June

You've got to feel as sorry as you possibly can for the richest man in the world. After all, here's Bill Gates on Monday, giving the keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest technology shows on the planet, and he's one of the most important people in the history of modern computing. He's amassed a fortune by being perhaps the person most instrumental in shaping our experience of computers in homes, businesses and governments around the world.

Radical Health: The JFP Interview With Dr. Joseph White

Photos by Ronni Mott

It can be challenging to write an upbeat article on health and wellness in Mississippi. We've all seen the barrel-bottoming numbers. Good news about the subject is difficult, though not impossible, to find. According to the United Health Foundation's rankings for 2006, for example, Mississippi moved to No. 49 on the overall health scale, up from No. 50 in 2005. That's a small blip on the radar, but every little bit counts, right?

Health Factoids

Your tongue naturally replaces all of your taste buds every 21 days. That means if you're trying to change your diet and switch to soy milk from cow's milk, for example, after 21 days the taste will seem right instead of foreign.

My Kind Of Doctor

I am so not good at being sick.

Mississippi: The Good and the Bad

Any paper addressing health in Mississippi would be remiss to not give the most recent statistics on how we're doing. Two recently published studies, one from the non-profit United Health Foundation and the other from the American Heart Association, provided the following stats and our ranks in comparison to all other states for 2006:

The Good Stewards

Last winter, filmmaker and musician Matthew Magee met up with his roommate from college, Wes Bonner, to build a coffee t8able using an old window that Magee had found. After converting the frame into a base and adding a layer of turquoise paint, the two finished the piece by attaching a set of finished barn rafters to stand as the table's legs.

Army Of The Night Kitchen

Photos by Roy Adkins

A bread maker's day begins at 1 a.m., so it's good that Amy Breckenridge is a night person. Breckenridge, the baker at Rainbow Natural Grocery, spends her nights baking bread, usually four different breads a night. When I meet her, she's in constant motion. It's Friday, and there's no baking over the weekend. "It's all gone come Monday morning," she says.

[Music] Perfect Harmony

There was nothing in particular about playing the Paul McCoy to Jessica's Amy Lee in a rendition of Evanescence's Top 10 hit "Bring Me to Life" that attracted Robert Renfroe. Lee, a regular whose last name Renfroe has never known, merely asked for support. So, in the communal spirit of Karaoke Night, the 27-year-old employee of the State Office of Volunteerism took the stage.

Legislative Round-up: Week 1

The House Appropriations Committee started the 2007 legislative session off with a gun-shot—but then fell on its face later that day. The committee approved a total of seven money bills that flew off to the House floor for a vote, but House members later stuffed the bills because they were unwilling to suspend rules, allowing for an early vote.

Not The Mayor's Man

Under heavy clouds and intermittent drizzle, Jackson Police Commander Tyrone Lewis declared his intention to run for Hinds County sheriff at a brief press conference in front of Lanier High School last Thursday.

Hurry Up And Wait

No one with the fortitude to support the New Orleans Saints for any appreciable amount of time is a stranger to sitting through the NFL's Wild Card Weekend with unspecific, non-wager-based rooting interest. In that sense, last weekend was typical of the first football weekend of any new year: plenty of postseason action, none of it wearing black and gold.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Women's college basketball, Georgia at Mississippi State (6 p.m., Starkville, CSS): Fresh off an upset of Arkansas, the MSU women play their Southeastern Conference home opener.

Back To Basics

This week, the Democratic Congress is likely to pass expanded federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, although President George W. Bush will almost certainly veto the bill. The Republican Congress passed similar legislation this summer, but President Bush used the first veto of his administration to kill that bill last September.

‘Black Power', According To Dr. King

In January, many of us make efforts to remember a visionary and his dream. If only briefly, we try to imagine the utopian society Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described instead of facing the lives we actually lead. King spent his life trying to unify a race of people in order to improve the lot of a nation, even as different philosophies increasingly segmented the black community until divergent ideologies split the movement.

[Stiggers] Work It, Miss Wanda

Bonqweesha Jones: "Welcome to 'Lookin' Good in the 'Hood Ghetto Make Over' television show, brought to you by the Hair Did University School of Cosmetology. Tonight my H.D.U. students will transform a plain Crunchie Burga World employee into a well-dressed individual.

No. 15, January 10 - 17

<b><em>Americans, Fix Our Country</b></em>

What happened to America? In the past, if something had to be done, America(ns) could do it. We were first. We could do it fast, and it was done right. "Made in the USA" meant pride by the manufacturer and dependability to the buyer. Back then, one would have thought that with modern methods and technology, and bigger and better machinery, that a new and glorious day was about to unfold.

Scotta Brady

Her disposition is calming; her voice, smooth; and she gives careful consideration to even the simplest questions. Scotta Brady, self-proclaimed yogi and owner of Butterfly Yoga in Fondren, says she feels at home in her yoga studio. Not only does she live in Fondren; her parents do as well. When she first opened the studio, however, in August 2002, it was downtown in the former Gallery 119 space. But she always intended to move the studio to Fondren.

Kamikaze on Kim Wade Show This Thurs-Fri. 5pm

We'll be back at it again THIS THURS and FRI at 5pm on the Kim Wade show (WJNT 1180AM/103.3FM) Been getting some great responses and I hope th JFP bloggers will tune and voice some opinions(on the site and on the show) The broadcast can now be heard (a lot clearer too I might add) on FM 103.3 at 5 p.m. each day along with its usual 1180AM spot!

Killing Them with Compassion

The Iraq War is horrific, no question--3,000 U.S. soldiers dead, an untold number of civilian casualties. 9/11 was horrific, no question--2,992 people dead. But the new Democratic Congress may soon do something that will kill far, far more.

Budapest's The Moog

When Budapest's The Moog (yes, that's in Hungary) started to play music, they had no idea that they were about to set off on a journey that would eventually whisk them far across the seas, release them into a whirlwind of rock and roll and land them on America's doorstep as the first Hungarian rock band signed to an American label.

Barbour Announces Alternative Coast Housing

[verbatim statement] Governor Haley Barbour today announced additional information regarding the state's Alternative Housing Pilot Program that was granted more than $280 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Under this plan some FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes would be replaced with more sustainable alternative housing, which Mississippi's plan identifies as Park Models, Mississippi Cottages, and Green Mobile units. The Governor's Office is hosting meetings this week with local and state officials of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties concerning the program.

Why Won't Ledge Identify Press Releases!?!

OK, this practice has long bugged me, but now it's really driving me crazy. Now that The Clarion-Ledger is turning its newspaper into "information centers," they are posting press releases throughout the day under the header "breaking news headlines," with a few actual news updates mixed in. OK, that's tricky enough, but when you click to the press releases, they do nothing to actually tell readers that they are press releases. They don't say "verbatim," they don't mark them "press release." They just post them with a byline that reads: "The Clarion-Ledger." No, it's not written by "The Clarion-Ledger"; it's written by a PR flack and then pasted in. I don't have a problem with them posting releases (if they actually have substance or relevance), but why the deception on the fact that they are just press releases!?! This is about as far from good, or civic, journalism as you can get. Do they think we're idiots out here?

Is Our Entire System of Government in JXN/Hinds/MS/U.S. Corrupt? Or just Incompetent?

I dunno folks. Ive become preeety apathtic lately and indifference has crept in. I think that if we as good citizens are to actually get something accomplished we can pretty much NOT count on elected officials for the good example of leadership that we look to to guide us.

Tuesday, January 9

Pelosi Be Damned: House Votes to Up Minimum Wage

The House passed an ambitious minimum-wage bill before adjourning on Tuesday. HB 237, which passed 68-to-50, calls for every state employer to raise minimum wage to $6.25 by July 1, 2007, and to raise it again to $7.25 beginning Jan. 15, 2008. Before approving the bill, representatives voted 64-to-54 for an amendment exempting part-time high school or college student employees from the bill, arguing that employers hiring part-time students would be likelier to do without the labor than pay higher costs. Amendment opponents argued that businesses like Wal-Mart would likely discriminate against full-time workers in favor of part-time students if the bill became law.

City Council Feuds Over Secrecy

A meeting of the City Council descended into bitter acrimony Monday over whether or not to go into closed session regarding a construction contract. Reginold Harrion, deputy city lawyer for public works, told the council that the city opened competitive bids for a bulldozer for a solid-waste facility south of Byram. The council initially accepted the bid of lowest bidder Lyle Machinery last July, but then rescinded their award and handed the contract to second-lowest bidder Puckett Machinery on Dec. 5, when Lyle Machinery did not deliver the bulldozer by the 120-day deadline, Harrion said.

Apple Intros iPhone, Due in June

With Apple's stock shooting up nearly 10% during his keynote address at Macworld San Francisco this morning, Steve Jobs introduce the iPhone, an iPod/mobile phone hybrid that runs Mac OS X. The phone, which will be available exclusively from Cingular in June 2007, will cost $499 for a 4GB model and $599 for an 8GB model. Jobs -- in all of his "SteveNote" reality-distorting glory -- put the introduction of the iPhone on par with two other events in Apple history: the introduction of the Mac and the introduction of the iPod.

Monday, January 8

Instant Replay: College Football, USM 28, Ohio 7


Southern Miss drilled Ohio 28-7 in the GMAC Bowl on Sunday night before an ESPN TV audience and a lot of wet USM fans in Mobile. The game was really over at halftime when the Golden Eagles took a 21-0 lead.

Democrats May Deny Funds for Iraq Surge

The Associated Press is reporting: In a blunt warning to the White House, congressional Democrats said Monday they may seek to deny funds for the type of short-term troop buildup that President Bush is expected to announce for Iraq Wednesday night. As Democrats began their first full week in the congressional majority, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would "look at everything" to wind down the war effort, short of cutting off support for troops already deployed.


James Murphy, aka LCD Soundsystem, returns with new album "Sound of Silver" March 20 on DFA/Capitol Records. "Sound of Silver," the follow-up to the massively acclaimed and eponymous 2005 debut, was recorded over the summer of 2006 in a farm in upstate New York by Murphy and visitors from the big city including live band members Nancy Whang, Pat Mahoney and Tyler Pope. There, between silver foil-covered walls, nine tracks were crafted into one of the pinnacle albums of 2007.

Juvenile Justice Group Applauds Edmonds Decision

Following is a verbatim release appauding the Mississippi Supreme Court's decision to order a new trial in the murder conviction of then-13-year-old Tyler Edmonds, accused of helping his half-sister pull the trigger to help kill her husband. Notice the part where the state medical examiner determined that two fingers pulled the trigger—although the murder rifle was never recovered. Hmmm.

Monticello Mayor: No Payments for Jackson

Mayor Dave Nichols II of Monticello has a letter in The Clarion-Ledger today opposing the move to pass a PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) bill for the capital city. It reads in part:

Friday, January 5

JFP on WLEZ 1.5.07 Podcast

Finally, we get Radio JFP recorded...we must be out of "beta." Enjoy.

JFP_WLEZ_10507.mp3 (26.3MB)

Jackson Gets New FBI Head

... and he seems to have a pretty impressive resume. Bets are that he'll stay busy in these parts:

Fred Brink, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and 21-year FBI veteran, today was named the new special agent in charge of the FBI's Jackson Division. Brink is coming to Mississippi from his post as special agent in charge of the FBI's special operations division in New York. Link

Rep. Leonard Morris Out of Surgery, Still Critical

The Associated Press is reporting: State Rep. Leonard Morris, D-Batesville, remained in critical condition Friday, a day after having kidney surgery. A spokeswoman for the University of Mississippi Medical Center said a tumor was removed. Lawmakers who had spoken with Morris before the surgery said the whole kidney was supposed to be taken out, but it was unclear whether that was done. The hospital would not release more information without the family's consent. [...]

[Lott] The Oreck Challenge

Before this column takes on the big issues expected in the Senate this year, I want to address something all Mississippians should note. It's a lesson about corporate citizenship and corporate responsibility that our state should resolve to remember, particularly as we try to bring new jobs here.

Wired Bloggers Picking Apart Jackson Spycopter

After the JFP's Adam Lynch wrote the only article that actually raised questions about Jackson's new helicopter, apparently purchased by Jim Barksdale and flown by his business partner's son, Coyt Bailey, a Wired magazine blogger picked up our story. Now, the citizen journalists over there are picking it apart, raising some very intriguing questions. Be sure to note the FAA regulations that they're discussing. Please post any comments under Adam's original story so the Wired bloggers can see them, too.

Melton Still Using Police Equipment

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Mayor Frank Melton has continued to use the Mobile Command Center, in apparent defiance of his bond conditions.

Thursday, January 4

Lewis Runs for Sheriff

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Photo: Jackson Police Commander Tyrone Lewis, left, declaring his entry into the 2007 Hinds County sheriff's race. Melton political operative Bob Hickingbottom is on the right.

Partnership Replacement Clears House Committee

The House Public Health Committee produced a replacement for the strangled Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi today. Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, who is chairman of the committee, made it clear that he was seeking to replace the Partnership after former tobacco lobbyist Gov. Haley Barbour and State Treasurer Tate Reeves challenged the legality of the Partnership in court last year.

Sweet Potato Queen's First Big Ass Novel Signing and Reading TODAY!

Jill signs at five, and she reads at 5:30.

Jill Conner Browne will kick off the Big Ass Bus Tour today with her first stop, of course, at Lemuria. This is the "Sweet Potato Queen's First Big-Ass Novel: Stuff We Didn't Actually Do, But Could Have and Might Still Yet" written with Karin Gillespie.

[Fleming] A Voice from the Capitol, Day 1

Barbour Doesn't Support Minimum Wage

No kidding, eh? Check out his reasoning, as reported by The Clarion-Ledger today:

The Ugly Death of Saddam Hussein

The New York Times is editorializing today about the gruesome way that Saddam Hussein was executed—and what that means for both the U.S.' reputation and the Iraqi people:

Viva La Cell Phone Cameras!

The controversy surrounding the video of Saddam Hussein's hanging holds a lesson for us here in Jackson. You'll notice that while the civilized world is outraged by the way Hussein was hanged, Iraqi officials are more outraged that someone videoed the hanging and thereby exposed their cruel methods. They have vowed to find and prosecute the scoundrels who exposed them to the world! Governments simply hate transparency, for it leads to accountability.

Wednesday, January 3

Insurance ‘Bait And Switch'

State Attorney General Jim Hood said he would be willing to settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit against insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate, Nationwide, Farm Bureau and USAA if they would come to the table, but blamed the companies for sticking to the courts and delaying a judgment.

Bad Deeds Unpunished

January 3, 2007 Hurricane Katrina brought out the best in many Americans, who braved treacherous conditions to help neighbors and who gave generously to help those in need. When it comes to some American companies, however, Hurricane Katrina set off a scramble after no-bid contracts that mirrors the corruption and greed surrounding contracts awarded for the Iraq War.

City Appeals Byram Incorporation

The city of Jackson shook off a recent deal with the community of Byram, after a Hinds County Chancery Court judge's decision to allow Byram residents to incorporate.

[Music] Substance, Style, And Sensibilty

Honestly, how many rappers admit to being educated? Let's take it a little further. How many rappers embrace their Christian upbringing?

House Votes for Eminent-Domain Changes

The House today passed an eminent-domain bill looking to limit the power of the state government to snatch private property for the use of non-government purposes.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Women's college basketball, Ole Miss at Auburn (7 p.m., Auburn, Ala., FSN South): The Lady Rebels face one of their biggest rivals in their Southeastern Conference opener.

Plucked Out

"The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" (W. W. Norton, $24.95) would be dreadful as fiction—a Disneyfied, feel-good failure. A 15-year-old black kid from a big family in the ghetto arrives at the doorstep of an all-white evangelical Christian school. He's adopted by a rich white family; hilarity ensues.

Bill Minor on the Willie Morris Library

I just ran into Mr. Minor's column about the Willie Morris library dedication. And I'm honored that he repeated what I told him at the dedication in it. The Jackson Free Press is also honored that Mr. Minor has offered us the use of his long-time desk in the media room in the Capitol this legislative session. We'll do our best to deserve to sit in it!

Melton Embarks on PJ Parties

The city issued a press release today announcing that Mayor Frank Melton will begin a "series of overnight visits" with members of the community to "see first hand living conditions experienced by citizens in each neighborhood." Melton will share his first "evening of fellowship" with the Austin family at Brotherhood Homes tonight at 6 p.m.

Vienna Via Mexico

Negra Modelo has become my favorite Mexican beer. I was perfectly happy with Corona until I discovered this darker, much tastier beer. Although Negra Modelo is a dark beer, it does not have the bitterness that most dark beers are notorious for. This is a smooth, slightly sweet and flavorful brew that complements traditional Mexican dishes very well.

The Fajita King

On rare occasions during my childhood, my family ventured to "Los Amigos," the one and only Mexican restaurant in our town. For a Mexican restaurant located in the Montana Rockies, at least 1,000 miles from the Mexican border, it wasn't too bad. It was always cool inside and a little damp. The smooth red pottery walls and the almost overwhelming green foliage made it seem exotic.

Full Throttle: The JFP Interview with Rep. John Reeves

Rep. John Reeves, R-Hinds, is a growing presence in the Jackson community. The 49-year-old father of five is a South Jackson resident who vows to stay in his community, despite the flight of many of his white friends and neighbors. He is well into his sixth term as a member of the State House of Representatives. The Jackson Free Press spied Reeves at community meetings all over the city at least three times in the last two months. He isn't afraid to field questions or demands from frustrated city residents and has yet to shrink from a fight within sight of the JFP.

Legislative Agenda

With coastal construction driving healthy tax revenues, you might expect smooth sailing for this year's legislative session. After all, tight budgets mean tough choices, and tough choices mean bare-knuckle fights among legislators. However, the House remains at odds with Gov. Haley Barbour and the Senate, and 2007 is a statewide election year. In other words, even though they have more money to distribute than in years past, we can expect some scrapping among legislators as they position themselves for the elections.

Jumping For Jackson

Jackson, like other cities and towns throughout the state, is submitting a list of requests for the state Legislature to consider in order to help Jackson balance tumbling revenues and the 40 percent of the city that is non-taxable property.

Where the 'Southern Strategy' Belongs

You have to watch closely, or you might not pay any mind to earth-shattering statements heard these days in Mississippi. For instance: "Mississippi will not take a back seat to anyone. We've made progress, and we're going to show it to the world."

[Gregory] Killing Me Softly

I have a Polaroid of myself taken sometime in this past year stuck in the edge of a mirror in the living room. One would think I was horribly conceited. This is probably true in some respects, but it isn't the main reason the picture is hanging near the front door. I keep it there because it was taken right before I quit my job of five years, and well, I also look horribly skinny in it. This past year held an assortment of upheaval for me. I went through three jobs in four months. It seemed every month I decided on something new I was going to be when I grew up. I'm surprised I didn't run off to join the circus. I probably would have if carnies didn't scare me and smell faintly of cabbage. Every so often, I look at this picture and think how the girl doing the fake "get-this-camera-out-of-my-face" grin had no idea what the next year held.

[Stiggers] 'I'm Black, and I'm Proud!'

Brotha Hustle: "Welcome to my street-corner tribute to the late, great musician, singer, songwriter and performer Mr. James Brown. Many of you know about his musical achievements and influence.

City Council's Resolutions

During last Friday's Jackson Free Press radio show (which airs every Friday at noon on WLEZ 103.7), Council President Ben Allen set out several items he said City Council hoped to address by February:

[Kamikaze] When Politicians Attack

I'm sure by now you've read enough reviews of 2006. You've probably read as many predictions for 2007.

A Voice From The Capitol

2007 should be an interesting year for the Mississippi Legislature. First, for obvious reasons, it is an election year. All of us will be trying to put our best foot forward to push for legislation to show our constituents why they should have us returning to the job of representing them for another four years.

City Council Pays Temps

Jackson's City Council reversed its position over withholding payment to temp agencies this Tuesday. Last month, four members of the council voted to withhold thousands of dollars to temp agencies after Mayor Frank Melton refused to disclose information on temporary workers.

‘District' of Jackson On Way?

Rep. John Reeves, R-Jackson, says he's looking to turn the property once owned by the Mississippi Schools for the Deaf and Blind, near Eastover Drive, into a real-estate explosion. "We're trying to convince the Legislature to sell or lease the old property off I-55 North over there. If we can get that into the hands of developers, it'll turn that whole neighborhood over in that part of Jackson," Reeves said.

Political Trash Needs to Go

Bob Kochtitzky, formerly head of Mississippi 2020, is set to bring a new initiative before City Council. Kochtitzky, an environmental activist who galvanized Jackson's recycling effort, says that when Sheriff Malcolm McMillin heard Kochtitzky was retiring, he urged him to become a reserve deputy managing work teams from the county jail.

Mary Troupe

"I told that photographer earlier to ignore my junky office. It's a mess. He said, 'It's a sign of someone who's busy.' I'll take that!" Mary Troupe, a native of Booneville, Miss., who has lived in Jackson for more than 40 years, now explains.

Needs More Speed

Platform: PS2 | PS3 | XBOX | 360 | GC | WII | PC

Saban Going To Tuscaloosa

Nick Saban is leaving the Miami Dolphins to become head football coach at Alabama. Saban, who previously coached in college at Michigan State and LSU, spent two seasons with the Dolphins, compiling a record of 15-17. He will reportedly become the highest-paid coach in college football.

Are Americans "Spoiled Brats"?

Got this email from a colleague of mine yesterday and it presents an interesting argument. I don't agree with over half of it but I'd thought I'd present to the intellectual masses for discussion. Are Americans indeed spolied brats? And does the rest of the world truly perceive us a s such? Please Read and discuss. sho nuff!

Tuesday, January 2

A House In a Hurry

Within hours of the Legislature convening on Jan. 2, the House Appropriations Committee approved a total of seven money bills seeking attention with little dissent. H.B. 238, a bill seeking to fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program for more than $2.2 billion easily passed the committee, although Rep. Bill Denny, R-Jackson, complained that the budgetary figures for the session were not recent enough to be a reliable gauge upon which to base a vote. He added that other priorities such as the Department of Corrections and Medicaid needed more immediate attention.

Americans Want Higher Minimum Wage, Stem-Cell Research

The Associated Press is reporting that as Democrats take over Congress this week, a large majority of Americans are supporting the party's primary goals:

AAN Awards Diversity Grant to Melishia Grayson

The Association of Alternative Newsweeklies announced today that JFP intern and columnist Melishia Grayson is the recipient of a 2007 diversity grant. Melishia will report, write and blog 20 hours a week for the JFP, focusing on state and city issues. She will be part of the JFP's expanded legislative team at the State Capitol for the 2007 legislative session. Melishia is a 2005 graduate of Lanier High School where she was student body president. She is now a Jackson State University sophomore studying mass communications. This is the third diversity grant the JFP has received from AAN; the first two went to Ayana Taylor, a graduate of Tougaloo College and now a contributing editor of the JFP, and photographer/filmmaker Thabi Moyo, a graduate of Howard University who now works with the Crossroads Film Festival and the Canton film office.

A ‘Truth and Reconciliation Commission' for Mississippi?

What do y'all think?

Rev. Ross Olivier of Galloway mentioned an article written recently by my former professor and mentor Howard Ball about the need to establish a "Truth and Reconcolition Commission" here. I hadn't seen the piece; here it is. (And thanks to Dr. Ball for quoting me and the JFP in the piece.

Legislature to Pass MAEP Today?

More details as they develop ...

The word out of the Capitol is that the Legislature's first order of business today—the first day of the 2007 session—is to pass the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. This would be a major victory for public-education propopents who have fought Gov. Haley Barbour and his legislative followers tooth and nail to get MAEP fully funded.

Boise State v. OU: I Dub It: ‘The Calls'

Those of us who watch a little too much football between teams that don't matter to us personally are probably doing it so that we can witness a game like the Frito-Lay Cool Ranch Tostito Dippers Fiesta Bowl that I just watched between Boise State and OU. OK, so I hate OU from my childhood in Dallas and for them having foisted, indirectly, Barry Switzer on my once-beloved Cowboys.

Eagles Set To Fly South

The Southern Miss football team returned to the practice field on Monday following a 10-day holiday break. The Golden Eagles will practice in Hattiesburg on Tuesday morning and then leave for Mobile, where they will play Ohio in the GMAC Bowl on Sunday. Unbelievably, tickets are still available. But they will be gone as soon as Jackson-area USM alums quit waffling and decide to go to Mobile for some gambling and gridiron.

Music Calendar Links

Jackson Music Calendar

Monday, January 1

2 College Games on TV Tuesday

Two state college basketball games are playing television games on Tuesday. Southern Miss hosts Auburn (6 p.m., CSS) and Mississippi State visits Missouri (7 p.m., FSN South). After that, you can watch the last half of the Orange Bowl.

Pro Hoops Returning To Jackson

Pro basketball will return to Jackson this spring. The Jackson Wildcats of the United States Basketball League will play at the Mississippi Coliseum from April through June. The Wildcats' home opener is scheduled for April 22.

NFL Instant Replay: Fred, Brett and Eli

Panthers 31, Saints 21: The Saints put false pride aside and let their reserves do most of the work. Hey, it was great to see Fast Freddie McAfee score. But how long has it been since you scored, Fred?