Stories for April 2008


Wednesday, April 30

A Man Shortage?

No, this isn't some desperate rant about finding a mate. I'm talking about a bonafide, honest-to-God decrease in male births.

[Folayan] A Clear Path for the Journey

I recently experienced what I like to call my very own voyage to Mecca. Like one of my lifelong heroes, Malcolm X, I've encountered a brand new world, a new ideal and a new revelation.

Salter to Hood ... Drop Dead

Why did C-L Perspectives Editor Sid Salter react to AG Jim Hood's criticism with a personal attack instead of discussing the role of corporate media in our politics?

[Lunch Lady] A Cold, Sweet Goodbye

You can do a lot of thinking after you've gone under general anesthesia; memories and regrets come to you, and you contemplate what might have been.

Ready for Ambassadorship

After an early-morning Saturday warm-up in the studios at the Mississippi Art Commission building, a group of young Ballet Mississippi dancers breaks off into small factions, transforming into chattery teenage girls. As they wait to begin rehearsing "Swan Lake," some of them stand at the barre talking as they transfer their weight from one pointed foot to the other. There isn't a single pair of worn-looking pointe shoes in the bunch; they all don shiny pink shoes with crisp ribbons. Performing "Swan Lake Act II" for a crowd at the city auditorium is a special occasion, which calls for special new shoes.

The Women of Ivy Gap

It all begins with the parting of dark purple velvet curtains, revealing the yellow-green walls of the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church of Ivy Gap. Littered about the room are white crates painted with ubiquitous red crosses. The year is 1945, and the task is making bandages for the boys at war. One by one, the women of Ivy Gap get ready to work, and the audience gets ready to be charmed by six genuine, loveable Southern ladies.

The Best In Sports In The Next 7 Days

Pro baseball, Chattanooga at Mississippi (7:05 p.m., Pearl, 1590 AM): Maybe the M-Braves can turn things around in the friendly confines of the TeePee.

Quick and Sloppy

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson's office said a more thorough preliminary damage assessment might have prevented the Federal Emergency Management Agency's initial rejection of Gov. Haley Barbour's petition for federal damage assistance for storm damage in Hinds County.

Agency in Jeopardy Over Ad Oversight

House Democrats and Gov. Haley Barbour are squaring off against one another regarding how the state spends advertising dollars. The House and Senate were unable to come to terms with a Mississippi Department of Employment Security reauthorization bill on the last day of the regular session, and the department now verges on the point of evaporation.

'Tort Reform' Not Working?

There's just no pleasing some people. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's tort-reform lobbying arm, the "Institute for Legal Reform," released a report last Wednesday ranking Mississippi as the 48th worst "legal climate" in the country.

snark >:-(

Sometimes life has a way of spiraling in on itself. Last week, I was asked to speak about advanced reporting and media ethics during Journalism Week at Ole Miss. Apropos to both topics, I spoke on the "myth of objectivity," among other things. I zeroed in on the problem of he-said-she-said journalism, where an important story and its facts and context get lost (or left out) in a battle of sound bites between two "sides" or, more likely, "spokesmen" with polar-opposite agendas. So "objectivity" ends up as opinion-vs.-opinion, and neither is very enlightening.

Make A Pinata

How to Make a Piñata

Bringing Up the Rear

The number of binge drinkers in Misssissippi is significantly lower than the national average, state residents are pretty good about wearing seatbelts, and we are third in the nation for the number of beds in community hospitals in the state. Otherwise, the state brought up the rear in the "Health Care State Rankings 2008," published by CQ Press in March—earning the dubious honor of being named the nation's unhealthiest state.

State Advertising Needs Oversight

Gov. Haley Barbour was crying his eyes out Monday over poor, starving, unemployed Mississippians, according to a statement from his office. The Legislature's failure to reauthorize the Mississippi Department of Employment Security will seriously hurt that demographic, he said.

[Sue Doh Nem] ‘No Pay' Into ‘Co-Pay'

Pork-N-Piggly Customer Service Representative: "Attention Pork-N-Piggly Supermarket shoppers! As you know, prices throughout our store have drastically changed. High fuel prices, housing and credit crisis and the economic recession have affected the way folk spend their dollars. Our Pork-N-Piggly marketing staff reports that consumers have resorted to hoarding food.

[Hightower] Stop Subsidizing Big Oil

In 2006, the CEO of Exxon Mobil exclaimed that, gosh, his corporation was rolling in so much profit that he simply didn't know how to spend it all.

Quincy Jackson

The life of Quincy Jackson, Rainbow Co-Op's gregarious new outreach coordinator, contains the kinds of surprise twists and dramatic turns more befitting a character in a television sitcom or convoluted novel.

Holding On: One Artist's Leap Of Faith

Artist H.C. Porter sits down with Terri Cowart and talks about her inspirations.

Gas is Giving Me Heartburn

This morning, I paid more than $52 to buy 3/4 of a tank of gas. Lucky for me that I live in Mississippi instead of San Francisco, where the cost of regular topped $4 per gallon this week. But the end isn't in sight, and despite the general outcry over the astronomical profits of the corporate oil giants, gas prices continue to climb. People are paying more than $100 to fill up their SUVs.

Tuesday, April 29

Barbour Toots Own Horn, Rags Musgrove

Gov. Haley Barbour released a statement today about, well, himself. Here it is, verbatim: When Haley Barbour became Governor of Mississippi in January 2004, Mississippi was in its worst financial shape since the Great Depression. The State was in a $720 million budget hole; the State's Rainy Day Fund reserves had dropped 90%, to less than $25 million; and there were loud calls for tax increases.

Gov to Allow Public Comment on Tax Study – May 19

[Verbatim statement] Mississippi citizens and interest groups will have the opportunity to speak to members of the Governor's Tax Study Commission, Chairman Leland Speed announced today. The opportunity for public comment will take place on Monday, May 19, 2008 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Telcom Center.

Monday, April 28

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Voter ID Regulations

A U.S. Supreme Court known for its anti-regulatory bent today voted 6-3 to uphold Indiana's voter-identification regulations, making Republicans happy and clearing the way for voter-ID laws in other states, including Mississippi. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, praised the ruling in a statement:

Sunday, April 27

JPS Board Moves Toward New Superintendent

In a special meeting Sunday, the Jackson Public Schools board agreed to employ the Mississippi School Board Association to help in the district's hunt for its next superintendent.

JSU's Jaymar Johnson Goes In Sixth Round of Draft

The Associated Press is reporting that the Minnesota Vikings chose Jackson State University receiver Jaymar Johnson in the sixth round of the NFL draft today. The No. 198rd pick overall, Johnson is the first player from a Mississippi college to be drafted in the 2008 NFL draft and the first JSU player to be drafted since 2000.

Greg Davis…Logician for Congress

So look at this, er, classic slippery slope argument by Southaven's mayor:

Check out Davis' attack ad on his opponent, Democrat Travis Childers. These two are vying for the seat in District 1 that Roger Wicker gave up after his appointment to the U.S. Senate by Haley Barbour (filling the hot seat Trent Lott jumped out of last fall to begin his lobbying career). Childers surprised a lot of folks by jumping out to the lead in the special election, nearly pulling off a major upset in an area assumed to be very right-leaning. Childers, considered a very conservative Democrat, is nevertheless running on a platform of economic development, healthcare expansion and "progress before politics."

[Kamikaze] Prom Night

Yep, race in your face. Again. In this new round of race discussions, I've found the antibody to be none other than our young people.

Friday, April 25

Melton Hires ‘Rogue' Debris Removers?

Two council members say Jackson Mayor Frank Melton has enlisted a Louisiana company to do rogue debris removal work in the city. "These guys were on the street all over the city this morning," said Council President Leslie McLemore. "They have not been authorized by the council to do this work. The council has already selected a private contractor for that work." McLemore said he believed Nungesser Industries, of Pearl River, La., is doing unauthorized work, at the behest of Melton.

‘Irreparable Breach' Between Blacks and Bill Clinton?

A respected African American congressman thinks so. Rep. James E. Clyburn tells the New York Times:

It's True: Favre On Cover Of Madden ‘09

Brett Favre isn't done with football yet. From Wired: To celebrate twenty years on the virtual gridiron, this year's Madden won't feature a current football superstar, but instead is turning to an NFL legend: Former Green Bay Packer and "There's Something About Mary" star Brett Favre.

Radio Free Jackson

The show streams live at

Join Todd Stauffer and Kamikaze at noon on WLEZ (107.3 FM) as they talk about race and the media with Rebecca Miller and Queen, the JFP's newest columnist.

Lott Uses Old Campaign Cash to Help Lobbying Clients

The Associated Press is reporting that former Sen. Trent Lott is redirecting leftover campaign millions to lawmakers who can help his new high-profile lobbying clients—and it's legal:

Southern Fried Karaoke TONIGHT at Hal & Mal's

Join Todd and me as we host another chapter of Southern Fried Karaoke at Hal & Mal's tonight, starting about 9 p.m. This one is dedicated to designer Darren Schwindaman, who is headed to Europe and then a freelance life for a while. Good singers, costumes, boas, smark alecks and various impersonations welcome. No cover.

Bloom, Improv, Bloom

There is something happening in Jackson: Creativity has met community, and they are embracing.

Thursday, April 24

Black Preachers in America's ‘Whitest City'

Our friends at the Williamette Week in Portland, Ore., are taking on a provocative topic this week: African American preachers trying to be heard after the Rev. Wright controversy in what they themselves call "American's whitest city":

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Thursday, April 24

Pro baseball, Mississippi at Mobile (7:05 p.m., Mobile, Ala., 1590 AM): The M-Braves open a series by the bay. Maybe a change of scenery will help.

Wednesday, April 23

Gettin' Pumped?

The $220 million Yazoo Backwater Area Project, which involves installing a huge pumping station to drain 66,945 acres of Delta wetlands, horrifies many environmentalists, who say the 60-year-old endeavor is a leftover from a more callous age.

Lift Up Your Voices and Chant

One of my most favorite things about going to church is singing. Whether it's belting out a hymn or the softer sounds of the liturgy, raising my voice in praise to the divine is pure, unadulterated joy.

Tennis Fuel

Is a sub sandwich (thin turkey, whole wheat) the answer after grueling exercise session?

Blog On

Back in 2002, a small group of us had a radical idea. Sure, we also decided to start a progressive weekly newspaper in the heart of Mississippi, but the really cutting-edge idea was what we decided to do online. We started blogging.

Council Grills JPS Over Delays

Members of the Jackson City Council grilled representatives of Jackson Public Schools and the JPS Board of Trustees Monday over holdups of $150 million in construction and renovation work on some Jackson schools. Jackson voters approved the work in a 2004 referendum vote, but school officials say skyrocketing construction costs are making it unlikely that every school slated for work will get everything originally planned.

Fed Money for Sirens?

Hinds County supervisors sent a grant application Tuesday to U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, for up to $1.6 million to replace the county's 67 emergency sirens. Supervisors Robert Graham, Peggy Calhoun and George Smith visited Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, two weeks ago to discuss funding new sirens with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Graham is optimistic about their chances.

The Art of Sistahood

"If you seek the soul of a people, look to its women."—Jerry Taliaferro

Legislative Update: The End — But Not Really

The legislative session ended with less fighting than expected, though a few battles didn't quite get finished—meaning that Gov. Haley Barbour is likely to call one of his pricey special sessions to resolve issues that didn't yet go his way.

Berry Killed on His Birthday?

As Earl Berry's attorneys continue their protests that the state's method for killing inmates is flawed, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a motion this week to reset the execution of Earl Berry for the 1987 murder of Mary Bounds to May 5—incidentally Berry's 49th birthday.

Don't Cheat Inner-City Schools

The Jackson City Council is frustrated and looking for answers as to why new schools aren't being built two years after Jacksonians agreed to up their taxes to finance the construction.

[Sue Doh Nem] I'm No Elitist

Judy McBride: "Greetings fellow Ghetto Science Team psychologists and mental-health counselors. Welcome to my brief presentation, 'What Happens to a Dream Deferred: Overcoming Bitterness in the Ghetto.' Before I start, I want the audience to know that I'm sharing my honest opinion. If I offend anyone, please forgive me. My intention is not to be condescending or elitist.

[Hutchinson] Hillary's X Factor

Chelsea Clinton is incredibly naïve, incredibly sheltered, incredibly in denial or maybe a bit of all three. In late March, Hillary Clinton's daughter told a North Carolina Young Democrats audience that she was shocked at the nasty things some male (and even female) folk on the campaign trail are saying about her mother, such as "Iron my shirts," and "the nutcracker in your …" The vulgarities are heaped on top of the hard-headed belief of many men and women that a woman just doesn't have the right stuff to be the nation's commander in chief.

Ridin' the Wave: The JFP Interview with Ronnie Musgrove

Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has his eye on Sen. Trent Lott's old seat. He's running on a "throw the bums out" platform against his opponent, and the Republican Party.

Bill Minor: ‘I Hate to Be So Blunt'

Mississippi journalist and columnist Bill Minor spoke with Adam Lynch of the Jackson Free Press yesterday about his views on the prosecution of his son, Paul Minor, and discussed the newly disclosed information that his son's prosecutor, Robert Coughlin, is now under federal investigation. The JFP had called Minor for response to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee's report last week about possible selective prosecution in Mississippi and other states by the Bush administration's Justice Department. His remarks follow, verbatim.

Tuesday, April 22

NYT: Clinton's Negativity ‘Squandered' 20-Point Lead

The New York Times seems to be turning on the Democratic candidate they endorsed, saying she took the "low road to victory":

Forthcoming U.S. Chamber ‘Lawsuit Climate' Report a ‘Phony'?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "Institute for Legal Reform" plans to release a report Wednesday ranking Mississippi as the 48th worst "legal climate" in the country. In response to "Lawsuit Climate 2008: Ranking the States,", the Mississippi trial-attorney group, the Mississippi Association for Justice, released the following statement today, headlined the "U.S. Chamber's Phony 'Rankings' Serve Extreme Corporate Agenda." The statement, e-mailed to the JFP, follows verbatim.

JFP Launches 'JFP 3.0' Beta

April 14, 2008–We've switched things over to the new content management system, imported everything over from the databases and -- hopefully -- we've even gotten your user account transferred over correctly. (See the "login" link at the top-right of the screen.) Please take a look around and note any problems on this can also post requests, suggestions, criticisms and so on in this section. (And please write me at [e-mail missing] if you are having trouble with your user account and aren't able to post on this thread.)

Bands (And Others): Build Your Own Jackpedia Page!

Now that the new JFP site is up, it's a perfect time to ensure that you, your band, your company, your business, etc., has its own Jackpedia listing. Just go to Jackpedia, sign in (your same user name probably works) and have at it. Remember that the JFP's second annual user-generated print version of Jackpedia comes out in August, so we need your help getting Jackpedia more loaded up than ever. Pass the word.

Sid Salter Lets Hood Hatred Boil Over on Blog

Today Sid Salter stooped to the level of garden-variety anonymous bloggers today with his belittlement of Attorney General Jim Hood's legitimate concern about the corporate media that pays his paycheck. Nice effort to change the subject, Sid; I'm surprised you didn't find a way to work Jesse Jackson into your whine.

SurveyUSA Says: Clinton 50, Obama 44

According to the final SurveyUSA poll before the primary election today, Sen. Hillary Clinton will take Pennsylvania by 6 points over Sen. Barak Obama, 50-44. Obama has made a remarkable swing upward in the final days of the poll, suggesting that Clinton may not see the double-digit advantage that pundits have suggested she'll need for her campaign to gain the much bally-hooed momentum through this primary. (What that "momentum" might mean given Obama's insurmountable lead in pledged delegates is open to even more question.)

Come Fly With Us on Earth Day

Happy Earth Day, Jackson! Last week's print edition of the JFP was devoted to all things green—and positive actions you can take to give back to this great planet we've been loaned—from urban farming to holding clothes swap parties. For great ideas, visit our Culture Blog, and read Brandi Herrera Pfrehm's fun, but serious cover story about Jackson recycling. Meantime, tell us what you're doing to live more green.

WAPT: Former JSU Student Shot, Recovering

WAPT is reporting that former Jackson State student Lamar Smith, 24, of Lithonia, Ga., was shot once last night. He was treated and released from St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Former Planned Parenthood Head Faye Wattleton Honored Tonight Downtown

[verbatim invitation) In the Spirit of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) We seek to support minority businesses and downtown Jackson revitalization, Women For Progress of Mississippi, Inc.and Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative Cordially invite you to attend a reception honoring Ms. Faye Wattleton, co-founder of the Center for Advancement of Women.

Monday, April 21

The Trash Man Cometh

Your efforts at greening your life do make a difference, and they will add up with all the other actions by those around you.

High Suicide Rate Among Doctors

Not only is the suicide rate high, but according to a Newsweek article, it is the highest compared to any other profession.

Update: State Wants Berry Executed on May 5 ... His Birthday

As Earl Berry's attorneys continue their protests that the state's method for killing inmates is flawed, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a motion yesterday to reset the execution of Earl Berry for the 1987 murder of Mary Bounds to May 5—incidentally Berry's 49th birthday. Hood's announcement came after the U.S. Supreme Court lifted Berry's stay of execution Monday after ruling last week that lethal injection is not unconstitutionally cruel. "The higher court's ruling has cleared the way for us to move forward in the Berry case," Hood said in a statement. "Our filing today will request that an execution be set to take place within 30 days." Berry's attorneys, however, argue that the court's decisions does not render Mississippi's lethal-injection method constitutional.

Fed Dollars for New Sirens?

Hinds County supervisors are applying for up to $1.6 million in federal grant money to replace the county's 67 emergency sirens. Supervisors Robert Graham, Peggy Calhoun, and George Smith visited U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson last week to discuss funding new sirens with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. Graham is optimistic about their chances.

Friday, April 18

More Pay for JPD Awaits Barbour Approval

Mississippi Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, said legislation he sponsored to pay the Jackson police department $16,000 survived a conference committee and is now waiting for Gov. Haley Barbour's signature. "The chief and I talked about this months ago. I've been working hard on it all session, and I appreciate very much the help of Lt. Gov. (Phil) Bryant and Sen. Alan Nunnelee in helping to pass the bill," Blount said this week.

AP Poll: Obama ‘Best Hope'

A new Associated Press poll finds that, despite petty controversies like the dust-up over his preacher, Barack Obama has become the candidate that most Democrats believe has the best chance of beating John McCain in November. And that is despite the fact that 15 percent actually believe he is Muslim:

Thursday, April 17

[Grayson] I Changed the World

According to JFP columnist and intern Melishia Grayson, even younger adults can make connections, mentor, and change lives in Jackson.

So Long, Steve

Baltimore Raven -- and Mt. Olive native -- Steve McNair announced his retirement this past week.

ABC Disgraces Itself During Debate

The world is talking today about how poorly ABC's George Stephanopolous and Charles Gibson handled themselves during last night's Democratic debate. Over on The Root, Marc Lamont Hill writes:

Karl Rove Called to Testify About Probes, Including Minor and Diaz

The House Judiciary Committee today requested that presidential adviser Karl Rove appear to testify "concerning the troubling issue of the politicization of the Department of Justice during this Administration." It also released a report (PDF/323kb), "Allegations of Selective Prosecution in Our Federal Criminal Justice System," that talks in detail about the stringent prosecution of attorney Paul Minor and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz, raising concerns that the prosecutions might have been a way for Republicans to weaken Democrats in Mississippi. Minor was convicted and is serving time in federal prison; Diaz was acquitted.

Best Insult Ever

This post by a long-time JFP-despiser is so fabulous that I'm not sure what else to say. I'm taping it to my office door right now. :wow:

Calling all Chicks!

4th Annual Chickball (Flyer PDF—print and distribute!)

Snark: Gran, You're on the Internets!

The Clarion-Ledger re-re-re-designs its Web site and finds itself in logo limbo.

Wednesday, April 16

The Agony of Appropriations

As the 2008 session of Mississippi Legislature session draws to an end, some bills will likely wither and die.

Senators: Don't Disrespect Jackson

Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, acted shamefully this week in circumventing an attempt to get better funding for Jackson's cops.

[Sue Doh Nem] Come and Get It

The struggling economy has 'shocked and awed' the poor and middle classes.

[Hightower] Hey Big Spender!

George W. likes to pose as the Texas president—in the rough-hewn, rancher model of Lyndon Johnson.

A Yankee Girl Digs Through Our Trash

Jackson immigrant Brandi Herrera Pfrehm finds that the magic Trash Fairy doesn't fly the streets of Fondren at night to separate our trash.

[Fly] DIY: Urban Farming

Farmer Brad's ideas for farming your own food right here in the city.

Green Kitchen Tricks

Living green in the kitchen means, in part, replacing toxic cleaners with green alternatives, and eliminating unnecessary use of energy and trips to the grocery store by being good stewards of what we already have. Try these tricks.

[Fly] Shopkeep

The vibrant life buzzing throughout Bee Tree Meadows makes it hard to believe that the Western honeybee is in grave danger. From 1997-2006 Colony Collapse Disorder has dramatically diminished the number of federal and maintained bee colonies in North America. But at this 100- percent organic bee farm, there is no sign of worker bees abandoning ship; they're every bit as satisfied with the arrangement as their keepers, Todd and Mandalyn Goode.

[Fly] Super Simple Foot Scrub

This is the scenario: Yesterday it was 40 degrees and cloudy. This morning you awake to the weather channel forecast of 80 degrees and clear. Sandal season has finally arrived. You reach into your closet and pull out a really cute dress and those little sandals you found at last summer's clearance sale. You shower, dress, lotion and eagerly slip your feet into your sandals. Yikes. Your outfit is perfect; your feet, however, are far from it.

Coffee Quiz

How much do you know about the coffee you drink? Take the quiz!

[Green Girl] Got Organic?

Millions of dairy cows live in small pens on conventional factory farms with little or no access to grass and fresh air. Dairy farmers pump the cows with growth hormones that cause them to produce 10 times as much milk as Mother Nature intended. Farmers also use antibiotics to treat the mastitis caused by over-filling of their udders. Both the growth hormones and antibiotics pass through to the consumer in their milk.

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Warning: Barbara Kingsolver's nonfiction book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" (HarperCollins, 2007, $26.95), co-written by her husband and one of her daughters, may inspire you to run screaming out of Kroger and into your closest farmer's market.

Changing a Bike Tire

What could be a better way to love Mother Earth, get some exercise and save a few bucks than riding a bike? But what do you do when you are pumped to ride but realize your tires are flat? You don't have time to take your bike to the shop, and you don't have enough money to pay for the repair, so you need to know how to change your own tire. You'll get back on the road sooner, save a few bucks and impress your friends.


Whether an all-out eco-adventure sounds right up your alley, or resting your head on an organic cotton pillow at a chic, sustainable hotel is more your style; travel's now the perfect way to explore the great big green world around us.

Mississippi Beats Louisiana; Now Most Unhealthy State

CQ Press has released its annual list of unhealthiest states—and Mississippi comes out the winner, taking out last year's winner, Louisiana. And the reasons couldn't be more direct:

Scruggs Takes the Fifth 19 Times

The Sun-Herald is reporting that attorney Dickie Scruggs is refusing to incriminate himself in a bribery trial in Oxford:

Tuesday, April 15

Senate Kills Police Pay Raise Bill

Jackson residents almost got a chance to vote on a proposal to raise hotel taxes to fund a police pay raise before a Senate subcommittee killed it Monday. The bill's death came just hours after Jackson police managed to push the legislation through the House. House Bill 1710 would have allowed the city to hold a referendum vote on a proposed $1.25 per day tax upon each occupied hotel or motel room inside Jackson city limits. The vote, similar to the 2004 referendum vote to fund the construction of the Capitol City Convention Center, would have required a 60 percent majority.

Mother Stabbed to Death by Children's Father

A young mother of six, Tracy Collier, is the latest victim of domestic violence in Jackson. Police found Collier, 33, stabbed to death in her yard at 2408 Brookside Drive on Monday, April 14. As a final indignity, her accused attacker, Torrian Holmes, also 33, allegedly ran over her body with his car as she lay in the yard of her home. The autopsy on Collier's body, reportedly completed Monday night, should indicate whether she was already dead at the time.

Courthouse Fitness Opening in Jackson Place Downtown

[Verbatim statement] April 15, 2008—Parkway Properties Inc. (NYSE:PKY) announced today that the Courthouse Racquet and Fitness Center has signed a five-and-a-half year, 10,000 square foot lease to bring a premier fitness facility to downtown Jackson. The facility will be located in the Shops at Jackson Place, on the ground floor of the newly renovated Parking at Jackson Place facility.

Need Feedback on N-Word Episode

Hey folks, I need your feedback. I'd love to hear some response to this analogy I posted in response to an alt editor's use of the n-word when referring to a white friend of his (this analogy was suggested by JFP staff members during a conversation about this incident, to give credit where its due):

Monday, April 14

The ‘Bible Belt' Bill, Resurrected

When HB 520—the state's latest anti-abortion bill—passed the Mississippi House earlier this year it was a bill designed to keep divorced Mississippians from falsely accusing their betrothed/enemy from claiming child abuse to throw the divorce settlement in their favor.

Sunday, April 13

No ‘Unnamed Sources,' Ledger? You sure?

Cledger-Ledger honchos have been known to declare that the paper does not use "unnamed sources." We already know that's not true due to mucked-up stories like the one by Ledger Washington Bureau reporter Ana Radalat (OK, they called her that before the muck-up) where she wrote a story based on an MBN memo in 2003 "obtained from" Frank Melton, who was then an unnamed source. Ledger Metro editor Grace Simmons accepted the piece, despite the supposed policy against unnamed sources—and, alas, the memo turned out to be largely false, blah, blah.

Saturday, April 12

With Humble Praise

Praise and worship albums abound for contemporary listeners.

Friday, April 11

My Statement About Mike Lacey's Use of Racial Slur

April 18, 2008—When I first heard that one of AAN's highest ranking executives had used the n-word to jokingly refer to a deceased friend of his, I assumed his friend was black and was shocked. When I learned that the friend was white, I was just as appalled. The issue, to me, is not who he was talking about; it was about his use of the most notorious white supremacy label as a flippant term of endearment. Even more puzzling to me is why Mr. Lacey, or other white men, would even consider doing such a thing considering the baggage that word continues to carry for so many Americans, black and white.

Opening the Flood Gates

The imposing iron gate along West Street had been locked to the North Midtown neighborhood since the mid 1980s. Would anyone from North Midtown even want to walk through?

ARTICLE: Rape and Race: We Have to Talk About It

In this article on, Melissa Harris-Lacewell talks about a public discussion that took place in a church in Brooklyn, NY - a discussion of the touchy subject of intra-racial rape in the black community.

90s Brit-Pop meets 70s Punk Rock meets Y2K Williamsburg

We Were The States release debut album merging The Walkmen, Oasis, Dead Boys, Murder City Devils, et al. "The building blocks of this spry full-length debut are dynamic left turns slathered in the Lower East Side guitar fuzz of Television by way of The Strokes. Opener "Up Your Sleeve" sets the scene with a badgering garage rock riff from The Sonics' playbook that repeatedly burns itself down to the wick." -- Austin Chronicle

Thursday, April 10

Village Voice Media Owner Offends with Racial Slur

OK, so this was not the best moment for the alternative-news industry. The owner of the alternative newspaper industry's most corporate chain, Mike Lacey, accepted an award from the Phoenix Society of Professional Journalists on the anniversary of Martin Luther King's death. At the podium, he referred to his deceased (white) friend, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tom Fitzpatrick, as "my n*gger." In the audience were black journalists, as well as an 82-year-old mother of a deceased black sports journalist there to accept a special award on his behalf.

Coldplay Drops Long Awaited New Album

Coldplay release their fourth album 'Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends' on Capitol Records on June 17.

Wednesday, April 9

Children of Cowardice

Why should I apologize if I don't mean it?

Matt Massingill

18-year-old Matt Massingill raised $1,100 through a charity golf tournament benefiting Ducks Unlimited.

Helpin' the Little Guy

Fifth Circuit throws out punitive damages against State Farm.

Watkins Hits the Road

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Earl Watkins announced that he will not seek to renew his term.

Gone and Back Again?

Resolution 655 may pave the way for a tobacco tax designed to pay for Medicaid shortfalls.

Time to Be Responsible, Pet Owners

This issue of the Jackson Free Press, owned and operated by animal lovers, is dedicated to the idea that Jackson, and Mississippi as a whole, can quickly become a whole lot smarter when it comes to taking care of animals. Even though the state has long had a bit of a laissez-faire culture—choosing to put certain things off or justify not taking action altogether—the issue of animal care must be high on our priority list.

[Sue Doh Nem] Hush and Be Cool

Boneqweesha Jones: "Stimulus checks come to those financially challenged citizens who wait for a few months. Today hundreds of consumers have gathered at the Funky Ghetto Mall parking lot to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of their stimulus checks and view the procession of the Ghetto Science Team's Post Tax Refund and Stimulus Check Day Parade, broadcast live on Ghetto Science Public Television. Kunta ‘Rahsheed X' Toby, controversial filmmaker and media mogul, is my co-host for this unique event.

[Kamikaze] Parental Precepts

It's 2008. Do you know where your kids are? Better yet, do you know what they're plotting behind those closed bedroom doors, between cell phone texts and e-mails on MySpace or Facebook? Do you really "know'' what they're doing? Know this. When a 15-year-old is shot down on a street corner at 2 a.m. or three 10-year-olds are accused of hatching a plot to kill a teacher, something has gone wrong in the matrix.

[Gregory] ‘Mom, What Did You Do?'

Recently, at a flea market in a town a little south of here, I dug into a bin of old newspapers and found a copy of the Jackson Daily News printed 35 years ago to the exact date. Besides reinforcing all my superstitious beliefs, I decided that there was a reason I was led to this exact spot, in this exact time, to read this paper. That may seem a little strange to some of you, but I watch enough bad horror and am just Catholic enough to hold on to a whole barrel of irrational beliefs concerning fate, destiny and black cats—and I actually own two black cats.

Animal Intelligence

Tallulah the Wonder Cat plays fetch, and can figure out that she has to go to the other room when she bats the toy under a door—a sure sign of abstract reasoning. The Magnificent Valentino leaps into my arms after my shower to luxuriate in the hot, steamy towel. He never jumps up unless invited. But does my cats' behavior indicate intelligence, or are they simply automatons?

The Animals We Love

Little River For years now, Todd and I have delightfully referred to the delightful creature as just "Don Potts' horse." And Little River is definitely a miniature horse, and most certainly not a "pony." Now that we've moved to Fondren, my morning walking routes are planned around visits to Little River, as I've learned the horse is called. And I even got special permission from mom Becky to give Little River a wedge of organic apple from Rainbow divided into thirds at certain times. Let's just say that Little River isn't quite as stand-offish anymore to Big Donna.

[Green Girl] Growing a Greener Inbox

OK, you've ditched the bottled water habit, unplugged all your home electronics when they're not in use, and started a compost pile in your back yard. Pat yourself on the back for making the effort to get greener at home. But don't forget that some of your biggest waste may actually be at work.

[Lunch Lady] One-Offs

"Sometimes we have to be judged on our one-offs," wrote Nick Hornby...

The Untold Thousands

Life is bleak for many unwanted animals in Mississippi.

Who's Got the Biggest Fallacy?

The MississippiforMcCain Web site is truly acting like a cyber-moron at the moment. We just turned up this general swipe at "another lefty"—who, it turns out, is a guy with radical, inconsistent (at best) views at best who wrote a letter to the Ledger the McCain crowd doesn't like. George Lambus wrote to the Ledger complaining that:

Court System, Autopsy Expert Slammed

Innocence Project attorneys, activists and a man who served 12 years in Parchman for a crime he did not commit are calling for a radical overhaul of the state's criminal-justice system in order to keep innocent Mississippians out of prison. Part of that overhaul, the Innocence Project says, is to revoke the medical license of Dr. Steven Hayne, the de facto autopsy expert in the state who has filled the role of state medical examiner in an unofficial capacity.

City In Recovery

A spring storm went overboard last Friday, spawning about five tornados in the Jackson area and leaving a large portion of the city and some adjoining communities without power well into the following week. Hinds County Emergency Operation Director Larry Fisher called the storm the worst thing to hit the city since the Easter flood of 1979—another meteorological disaster spurred by frumpy spring weather.

Tuesday, April 8

M-Braves Star Suspended

Just in time for Wednesday night's home opener, Mississippi Braves outfielder Jordan Schafer has been suspended for 50 games for using human growth hormone. The Roger Clemens wannabe is ranked as one of the Braves' top prospects and was expected to be Atlanta's starting center fielder no later than 2009. At least he won't have to play in Pearl for a while.

Monday, April 7

JPS Superintendent Earl Watkins Resigning

After months of controversy stemming from a sexual harassment charge by a male educator, JPS Superintendent Earl Watkins announced tonight that he is resigning, effective June 2009.

[Herman's Picks] Vol. 6, No. 29

The Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will host their Bravo V: Appalachian Spring concert at Thalia Mara Hall this Saturday, 7:30 p.m. $25-$40. The Americana tribute will feature choirs from Tougaloo College and dramatic vocal presentation by Jackson State University Concert Chorale. The MSO will have the more intimate Chamber IV: Treasures and Gems, the following Saturday, April 12. Go to for tickets.

Barbour Declares State of Emergency, Includes Jackson

2:45 p.m.—(JACKSON, Mississippi) - Governor Haley Barbour today declared a State of Emergency for 12 Mississippi counties following a severe weather system and tornadoes which hit parts of Central Mississippi, including the Jackson Metro area. The Governor announced the State of Emergency while touring neighborhoods in Northeast Jackson, which were among the hardest-hit areas from Friday's storm and tornadoes.

Friday, April 4

The Show Goes On: Crossroads This Weekend

Crossroads Highlights This Weekend:

Despite the weather, all is well at Regal Cinemas Parkway Place, the Mississippi Museum of Art and Hal and Mal's. All events are on schedule and the Crossroads "show" will go on!

It's been 40 years. What have we learned?

Today marks the 40-year anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. Dr. King was only 39, but the man was eloquent and mature way beyond what his age would indicate.

Thursday, April 3

Need ‘Famous' Jackson Pets

OK, what animals do y'all know of in the community that are "famous" in some way—meaning have to know people beyond their owners. Pets that live in businesses? Pets with lots of friends? You get my drift. Need fast!

Wednesday, April 2

Owning Our Stories

The last time I talked to documentary filmmaker Micki Dickoff, we were standing on Center Avenue in my hometown during the Edgar Ray Killen trial. I was yelling at her for trying to own the story of long-overdue justice and the people who had fought for it for so long.

JSU's Ronald Mason: Gee Whiz, I'm Sorry

Jackson State University President Ronald Mason mea culpas to residents he had earlier tried to displace from their homes.

Voter ID: Up for the Final Count

Voter ID may be an issue in the Legislature again this week, though the bill ultimately has a slim chance of getting anywhere this session.

Legislative Update: Back Door to Abortion Restriction?

The House and Senate spent all of March firing bills at one another, waiting to see what the other side was going to do with them. It's that time of the session now where both chambers get to face the mutated monsters that come back to them.

Damn these bills!

The Jackson City Council learned in a Monday meeting that the city may have to pay back $278,000 in federal grant money.

Known For Something Else

The distinct smell of acrylic paint greets you as you arrive at the top of the stairs leading to the fine arts hall at Lanier High School in Jackson. Paintings line the floor of the corridor, where they can dry without interference. Students will exhibit many of them in an art show and auction at Rainbow Whole Foods Co-op on April 10.

snark >:-(

As if having charges dropped against the woman who allegedly stayed in the house with their beaten-to-death young relative wasn't bad enough, the family of Heather Spencer was hit with a March 26 Clarion-Ledger article that was riddled with errors, including one of the most chilling fashion. Ledger reporter Nicklaus Lovelady actually gave the last name of the victim to the mother of George Bell, who has admitted to bludgeoning Spencer to death last year, referring to Robbie Bell as "Robbie Spencer."

Be Part of the Crime Solution

The town-hall meeting that the local police union and the Jackson Free Press sponsored last week downtown was eye-opening and sobering. Audience members seemed genuinely flummoxed when they saw the PowerPoint slides of how few police officers are available in a given department at any one time. The numbers are grim—especially considering the naive ideas about crime-fighting pushed by local politicians and media.

[Sue Doh Nem] Refusing to Walk in the Shadow

Brotha Hustle: "Many of you know me as the cutting-edge, forward-thinking and constantly evolving Juicy Juice-selling entrepreneur. Many of you may also know I collaborate and coordinate other business opportunities with my computer-technology-inclined Aunt Tee Tee.

Vol. 6, No. 29

Shoes, Shoes and More Shoes - There is no better way to burn some time than to count shoes in the spring afternoon on my front porch, knowing it's worth every minute.

[Braden] Do You Care?

Young people in Jackson are grieving this week- but you didn't see the reason for their grief on the breaking news when we lost another student to violence. In fact, all news sources in Jackson reported different information, and they asked questions that they probably won't bother to follow up on for the answers. Young people know their day-to-day world doesn't make breaking news.

Dance the Night Away

You're sure to feel compelled to dance upon hearing Latinismo's vibrant, pulsating tunes. Combining traditional Latin music—like salsa and merengue—with rock and jazz, the band surges forward with the bold vitality that has made Latin music and dance popular in recent years.

Barefoot In The Delta

Story & Photography by Cheree Franco

Like an omen, Floyd Graham stands in a Coahoma field, backlit against a fiery Delta horizon. Fifty-something, chain-smoker, charismatic and self-admittedly privileged, he recounts the story of this field—one of many his family owns, one of many where, for decades, 20th-century plantation owners exploited African American tenant farmers. Fifteen people, deceived by the earlier high temps and now clad only in light jackets, huddle in the February chill, spellbound by Graham's booming voice.

Cinematastic!: Crossroads Film Festival 2008

It's April again, and that means the Crossroads Film Festival is here. The perilous task of choosing films is over, and now all you have to do is sit back and enjoy a wide variety of film shorts and features. Some films have been reviewed here, but there are many more showing at the festival. Take some time this weekend and have a whole new movie experience with Crossroads. For a screening schedule and more information, visit

Shopocalypse Now!

Activist and entertainer "Reverend Billy" visits Crossroads Film Festival to promote his film, "What Would Jesus Buy?"

What Would Jesus Buy?

This feature documentary follows the Christmas tour of Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, a group that traveled the country to use humor, spirituality and song to get Americans to stop shopping. Through sing-ins and protests in colleges and malls across America, the group encourages Americans to consider where their Christmas presents are made, and to stop the "Shopocalypse" by buying fewer and simpler goods that are made in the USA. The intentions of the filmmaker were excellent: Reverend Billy has an important message, and the tour was a terrific adventure.

Tarra Riggs

The audience laughter that followed her delivery of that line was all actor Tarra Riggs needed to hear.

The JFP Bloggers' Guide to Success in Life and Business

Thanks to a conversation that started about tipping over on under Kaze's column about race dialogue, I promised I would start a thread so that JFP readers could discuss tips about etiquette in life and and business (and continue the tip conversation if they want). So here is my thread, as promised. I'll start with a few random things I've learned from running my own business in Mississippi; feel free to add your own and discuss:

Murrah Girls Finish In Top 10

Murrah high school's girls basketball team is ranked No. 8 in USA Today's final poll. The Lady Mustangs (32-2) won the Class 5A state title. Ranked No. 5 is Indianola Gentry (40-0), the 4A champ. The Lady Rams defeated Murrah in the Grand Slam last month.

Tuesday, April 1

Associated Press: Gregg Harper Wins GOP Run-off

Gregg Harper defeats Charlie Ross for the Republican nomination in the Third Congressional District.

Why Women Back Obama

Especially younger ones. This is extremely well said, and captures something that resonates with me—I like the way he treats women. The Clintons seem to come from another generation, when men sh!t all over their families, and their wives blink lovingly back at them, no matter what. And, as the writer points out, Obama promises change on so many levels—from the personal to the most public. And that's what so much of the American public craves. Money quotes:

Obama Picks Up Two More Mississippi Delegates

Yesterday Secretary of State Delbert "Low to Moderate Turnout" Hosemann certified the results of the Mississippi Democratic Primary, giving him essentially two new delegates because he made it over the 62.5 percent margin that draws him yet another at-large delegate. According to, Obama ended up with 62.512 percent of the vote (even with all those DeSoto County Republicans crossing over for Hillary Clinton). The final numbers were:

Clarion-Ledger Buys, Renames ‘JFP' (April Fools)

The new publication will be named "The Jackson Ledger."

[Jackson, Miss.] The Jackson Free Press and The Clarion-Ledger announced the acquisition of the Jackson Free Press, Inc., by Gannett River States, Inc., the holding company of the Jackson-based Gannett property.