Stories for August 2008


Sunday, August 31

More Housing Needed in Jackson Metro for Gustav Evacuees

Also see: Jackpedia: Hurricane Gustav to get/post vital information.

Evacuees Saying Contraflow in Mississippi ‘a Joke'

On the Gambit Weekly blog, New Orleans evacuees are complaining that the contraflow plan fell apart in Mississippi today. "Huck" wrote:

Barbour: ‘We're Geared Up for a Major Storm'

Also see: Jackpedia: Hurricane Gustav to get/post vital information.

MEMA Sends 100 School Buses to Coast to Pick Up Residents

(Verbatim) PEARL – The Mississippi Department of Education has deployed more than 100 school buses for people who need to evacuate the Gulf Coast today. People living in FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes, Mississippi Cottages and others in flood hazard areas have been ordered to evacuate Jackson, Hancock and Harrison counties today. Also Hancock County, including the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland, has issued a mandatory evacuation for all areas south of Interstate 10 and areas north of Interstate 10 that flooded during Hurricane Katrina. This includes all residents living on rivers, river inlets, bayous, creeks, in travel trailers, modular homes, mobile homes, homes that are under construction and or partially constructed homes.

MDOT: Traffic Contraflow to End Sunday Night

(Verbatim from MDOT) JACKSON, MISS., --- The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) announces the following traffic information. Officially LA/MS Hurricane Gustav Contraflow operations for Interstates 55 and 59 will terminate at 4:45 p.m., Sunday August 31, 2008. Louisiana is in the process of handing off Contraflow to Mississippi. MDOT anticipates it taking around four (4) hours to clear traffic in order to place the southbound contraflowed interstate back to normal southbound flow.

McCain Announces Scaled-Back Convention Due to Gustav

John McCain campaign manager Rick Davis is announcing now that the Republican Naitonal Convention will officially begin at 3 p.m. Monday for "business of the day," but no politics. He expects the session to end by 5 or 5:30 p.m. Beyond that, the convention is uncertain. He also said that McCain has asked for politics to be put aside and for Republicans to rally with the affected states, including Louisiana, which Republican leaders (such as Haley Barbour of Mississippi) pitted against the more Republican Mississippi during Katrina three years ago. In a sign that the GOP plans to treat Louisiana very differently this time around, McCain has offered campaign planes to take Louisiana delegates back home and to bring them back as needed, Davis said, and the campaign is calling for delegates to help raise money for the areas affected by Gustav.

Where Is Emergency Housing for Gustav Evacuees?

Are you fleeing Gustav and looking for housing? You can find a list of emergency shelters in Mississippi here. Print a Red Cross evacuation plan here. Here's a checklist of the supplies you need.

How to Volunteer to Help Gustav Victims

If you want to volunteer to help victims of Hurricane Gustav, please see this Jackpedia page, where you can also start posting about needs for specific volunteers. If you're available to volunteer, you can post contact info for yourself here. You can also go to both volunteer and donate money or goods, as detailed in the following statement today, verbatim:

Deadly Storm Surges Likely for Louisiana and Mississippi

As you're tracking the storm, don't just focus on where the eye of Gustav will make landfall. As we all learned during Katrina, the storm surge is one of the most dangerous components of a massive hurricane. You can track projections of the Gustav storm surge here (scroll down for map).

McCain, Palin Coming to Jackson Sunday for Gustav Face Time

The Associated Press is reporting that the McCain-Palin campaign is coming down to Gustav territory:

Saturday, August 30

Governor: Contraflow Traffic Begins 4 a.m. Sunday in State

[Verbatim] August 30, 2008—The State of Mississippi is assisting Louisiana with contraflow operations for Interstate 59 and Interstate 55. This means all lanes will be dedicated to northbound traffic beginning Sunday at 4:00 a.m.

Barbour Declares State of Emergency Due to Gustav

[Verbatim from Office of Governor] (JACKSON, Mississippi)--Today Governor Haley Barbour issued a State of Emergency for the State of Mississippi due to the threat posed by Hurricane Gustav, which has demonstrated potential to severely impact the entire state according to current predictions by the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center.

JFP Opens Hurricane Gustav Info Wiki on Jackpedia

As we did for Katrina in 2005, the Jackson Free Press will provide staff- and user-generated communications for resources needed in the wake of Hurricane Gustav to help connect people who want to help with those who need it. This time around, we are using a dedicated section of Jackpedia, the Jackson, Miss., wiki powered by the JFP. Please help us load up Gustav resources before the storm hits, and as you have access, we invite you to use Jackpedia as a way to communicate about needs for resources, housing, volunteers and information during the storm and its aftermath. See a long list of categories and links already posted to see what you can add to the Gustav wiki. Or e-mail us information at [e-mail missing], so we can post it for you. In the event that the JFP loses power, people outside the area will help us access e-mails and update the site.

Friday, August 29

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Obama's Explosive Acceptance Speech: The Transcript

Even as the country spent a minute saying "who the hell is Sarah Palin," Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama is basking in the glow (and poll numbers) of a remarkable night, on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Here is the transcript of his speech Thursday night in Denver:

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McCain Chooses Alaska 'Hockey Mom' as Running Mate

The New York Times reports that Sen. John McCain has chosen a 44-year-old conservative, pro-life governor who called herself a "hockey mom" as his running mate:

W-P: GOP Considers Postponing Convention

Faced with the prospect that Hurricane Gustav would make landfall on or shortly the GOP convention begins, the Washington Post is reporting that the GOP is considering a delay for the start of the convention:

Watching History Unfold

My mind is going in so many directions right now that I'm surprised that I'm not dizzy.

First, yesterday was the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington. Whenever I saw clips of his speech, I would wish that I was there to see it, even if it was just live on TV. Of course, that would not have been possible since I was born over eleven years later. Then, in an interesting turn of events, I watched the first black man to become a major-party presidential nominee, Barack Obama, give his acceptance speech on TV last night, on the anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech. My heart was beating so fast that I thought my chest was going to pop. Good thing I wasn't there in person - I probably would have fainted. It doesn't matter whether you're red, blue or purple - it was still a historic moment. Regardless of whether he wins or not, I will never forget what I saw because he did the unthinkable.

Wednesday, August 27

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The Katrina Effect: Politics After the Storm

Nobody had ever seen anything like Katrina. "When Katrina came, we knew we were in for an entirely different kind of animal," said Capt. Louis Skrmetta of Gulfport.

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Hurricane Green: Who Profited?

By now, it should be clear who is making the big bucks on Katrina recovery: contractors and consultants. The storm's victims haven't fared so well.

The Katrina Effect: National and State Politics After the Storm

Read Adam Lynch's in-depth analysis of how the inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina on Mississippi's Gulf Coast and in New Orleans—and the fact that so many people still leave in trailers as another massive storm looms—has dramatically changed the face of politics in the U.S. and in the South.

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Suburban Bootleggers?

Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham said a preliminary audit suggests the cities of Madison and Ridgeland have been bootlegging Hinds County's 800 MHz Motorola digital radio system with the help of a former Hinds County employee.

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Disaster: A Growth Industry

"The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism" (Picador USA, 2008, $16), is so well written and researched that you will find it as difficult to put down as anything by your favorite fiction writer.

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No Room for Doubt

For aspiring college bands, the arduous choice between school and a professional music career is a common one. But few people ever face that crossroads with a future music legend. Jacksonian Bill Kehoe is one of those people.

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[Rob In Stereo] Still Fighting

Few artists have the kind of a story to tell about the fragility of life as Alejandro Escovedo. He has used his previous two albums—2006's "Boxing Mirror" and the recently released "Real Animal"—to deliver his message.

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Bob Moser: 'Reclaiming the South'

Bob Moser, who has reported for The Nation and Rolling Stone, and served as the editor of the tough Independent Weekly in North Carolina, has written a book on the manner in which the Democratic Party lost the once-solid South.

[Pass The Mic] I Made You a Tape

Rob Gordon, the quintessential über music snob in Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity," sums it up best: "You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules." Gordon is talking about making a good mixtape.

Taking Risks

All risks are not unhealthy ones, like having unprotected sex with a stranger. Risk-taking can be a normal, healthy part of life.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Southern League baseball, West Tenn at Mississippi (7 p.m., Pearl, 1590 AM): The M-Braves open their final homestand of the season. … Junior college football, Northeast at Hinds (7 p.m., Raymond): The Eagles open the season hoping to challenge for a title again after a few down years. … NFL preseason football, Miami at New Orleans (7 p.m., Comcast Ch. 71/620 AM): The Saints face the Dolphins in the final practice game. Stay healthy, guys.

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Kaarlon Mann

If you have never seen a stray cat in Belhaven Heights, there's a pretty good chance Kaarlon Mann has something to do with it. She says her neighborhood has been "kitten-free for three years."

Yes, They Can

Last Friday, several interns sat in front of their computers, refreshing their e-mail inboxes. They also had their cell phones at the ready, impatiently waiting for the big text message to come from Barack Obama announcing his running mate.

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Hood Drops Barbour's Defense

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says he will not defend Gov. Haley Barbour in a Hinds County Chancery Court case, saying his defense would conflict with other branches of government.

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Melton: 'I'm At Peace'

Mayor Frank Melton praised Jackson's economic progress and outlined some of the city's persistent problems in his State of the City address Thursday morning, Aug. 21, at the TelCom Center.

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Ban the Paddle?

Minority and special education students are more likely than their peers to receive a paddling, according to a recent report by the Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union. Nationally, African Americans made up 35.6 percent of students paddled in the 2006-2007 school year, but only 17.1 percent of the student population.

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Start Asking Questions

Community response to the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Flora brings to mind a question every mother has asked an irresponsible teenager since time immemorial: "If 'everyone' jumped off a cliff, would you follow?"

[Kamikaze] The Media Fix Is In

Some of you may know that in a former life I was a journalist. Yes, your friendly neighborhood mad-rapper turned concerned-citizen was once an aspiring cub reporter trying to put a mass communications degree to good use.

[Rayburn] Time to Enfranchise Youth

The average American citizen has access to more information than ever before. Candidates are waging and winning political campaigns through grass-roots outreach efforts to Joe and Jane Citizen, and few elections of recent memory were as exciting and energizing as the current race for the White House.

Barbour and Hospitals Battle Before Judge

Attorneys for Gov. Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Hospital Association swapped arguments today before Hinds County Chancery Court Judge William Singletary. The Mississippi Hospital Association and a group of about 43 Mississippi hospitals are asking Singletary to enforce his July order that Barbour could not raise taxes on hospitals without legislative approval.

The Code Returns

The Code

Fondren Radio's Daniel Guaqueta and the guys at The Code, an online music broadcast featuring Southern artists, just released their fifth episode. The new show features Jackson's own Red Hill City, N.T. Bullock, and Bear Colony. Check it out.

[Sue Doh Nem] Rise of the Ghettocratic Party

Nurse Tootie McBride: "Brothers, sisters and ghettocratic delegates, welcome to the first Ghettocratic convention, held at the Clubb Chicken Wing Multi-Purpose Complex."

Tuesday, August 26

State Hall Of Fame To Induct Six

Two former Southern Miss football coaches will be among the six inductees in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2009.

U.S. Attorney: 595 ‘Illegal Aliens' Arrested

[verbatim from U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton] LAUREL, Miss.— U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents executed a federal criminal search warrant yesterday at Howard Industries, Inc., an electric transformer manufacturing facility, for evidence relating to aggravated identity theft, fraudulent use of Social Security numbers and other crimes, as well as a civil search warrant for individuals illegally in the United States. The announcement was made by ICE Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Investigations in New Orleans, Michael A. Holt, and Stan Harris, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.

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Northwest Cool Meets Jackson Soul

West Coast transplant Johnny Bertram, best known as the leader of indie synth-pop band Synthar, came to Jackson to help kids, but stayed to make music.

Monday, August 25

Football Schedules

When is your favorite team playing? Find out here.

[FLY] Guys: How to Be ‘Indy'

The Indiana Jones theme has become nearly as iconic as the film's protagonist himself. At the sound of the lively Raider's March cadence, one can't help but conjure images of Harrison Ford wearing his signature khaki togs, leather bomber, and fedora.

Sunday, August 24

Who Can Read This?

Why is The Clarion-Ledger in so much trouble? Here's a good hint: Top editor Ronnie Agnew's column today starts this way:

Friday, August 22

UPDATED: Government Ignores Own Bio-Lab Safety Studies

Alert: The government's deadline for comments on the bio-lab facility is Monday, Aug. 25. See below for contact info.

BREAKING: Mississippi Supreme Court Censors Dissenting Opinion

The Mississippi Supreme Court censored the dissenting opinion (PDF, 456 KB) of Justice Oliver Diaz yesterday, a possibly "unprecedented" move "in the history of American jurisprudence," according to Diaz.

"USA Today: Mississippi Edition"? The ‘Nuclear Option'?

Gannett blogger Jim Hopkins writes:

Things are so bad in the Gannett world (including layoffs nationwide, and 5 percent of The Clarion-Ledger staff, and dropping revenue and see-saw stock prices) that rumors are flying about what the company might try to do to save itself. Over on the very-active Gannett Blog, a tipster says that Gannett papers may "go nuclear"—in this case, apparently meaning to fold the local editions and become different editions of the national USA Today.

Fare thee well, mes amis

Today is my last day here at the Free Press. Tomorrow I have to go back to Oxford for my final year at Ole Miss. I've been in the office today fact-checking and revising, and I've also been wondering around the rooms remembering what I've been doing here for the past three months. There's the classroom where the interns had our classes with Donna and is also headquarters of the CCU (Cold Case Unit to you - t-shirts are forthcoming!). There's the Fly room where I would bug Stephanie while she was putting together purses and scarves for a new fashion spread. It's also where Lisa and I got ready for our brush with fame in the fashion shoot (My mom actually asked Donna to get her a blow-up of the Jackpedia issue with me on the cover, and I was dying of embarrassment because isn't it a little narcissistic to have a three foot tall picture of yourself in your house?). The editorial room where I spent ninety percent of my JFP life transcribing interviews, proof-reading, making edits and cold-calling strangers for this and that. It's also where I sang songs from Dr. Horrible to Maggie, Sage and Vince (they may have actually blocked this part out) and where I got to chat with other interns about Jackpedia and the Freedom Rides and what movies were coming out that weekend. The over-flow hallway which, while quieter, was a good place to get work done and get to see what's going on in the other parts of the office (Oh, my God, we have a kitchen?).

Thursday, August 21

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Melton's ‘State': ‘A Bit Of Hyperbole'?

Mayor Frank Melton praised Jackson's economic progress and outlined some of the city's persistent problems in his State of the City address this morning at the TelCom Center.

Congress Does the Right Thing

From the Environmental Working Group's EnviroBlog (verbatim):

Ed Peters Making a Deal with the Feds ... Or Not?

Patsy Brumsfield is reporting on the deal-or-no-deal confusion at The Daily Journal. (Hat tip to Folo.):

First black woman to serve as representative of Ohio dies

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones died of an aneurysm Wednesday. She was 58. From CNN:

Wednesday, August 20

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Something to Hide, Mississippi?

The Jackson Free Press recently submitted an information request to the city of Jackson for some fairly modest figures.

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JPD's High Gas and Low Morale

The Jackson Police Department's 330 patrol vehicles are constantly on the move, requiring engines and components designed for longer idle periods and higher speeds than standard car models.

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Juan Joseph

Juan Joseph, 20, did not plan on being a starting quarterback for a college football team. In fact, he did not even plan on playing football in college. But plans changed.

Magic of the Game

Some people are true sports fans. They venture out to every game, rain or shine, regardless of the projected excitement of the matchup; they tear up at the end of a losing game or at a monumental triumph. They have a fiercely passionate relationship with sports.

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[Gig] Rick Klein: 'Never Boring'

In January 1982, Rick Klein and his wife moved to Jackson, where the Louisville, Ky., native began working as a producer/director at Mississippi Public Broadcasting.

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Redefining Pregnancy

You're a woman who has been raped, and you're terrified that your rapist made you pregnant. You ask your doctor for emergency contraception, but she refuses to give it to you; she's morally opposed to it.

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Recycling Crime

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate has put the clamps on an effort to change a new state law regulating the metal-recycling industry. The law specifically demands scrap buyers keep all scrap purchases on their property for three days, so authorities can check it as potentially stolen merchandise.

[Sue Doh Nem] 'Slave Ship Enterprise'

Cholly Bossman: "CEO's log in the year of 2008 and 2/3: A couple of corporate supervisors and I made a surprise inspection of Crunchie Burga World's Food Distribution Warehouse, a place where processed Crunchie Burga World food items and products—such as Crunchie Burgers and Blackened Crispy Fries—are packaged and sent to Crunchie Burga World ghetto franchises nationwide.

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Vol. 6, No. 49

United Hypocrisy

The presumptive Republican candidate for president, John McCain, commenting on the Russian invasion of the country of Georgia, said: "In the 21st century, nations don't invade other nations."

[Queen] Raising a Man

As a single mother attempting to raise an astute son, I find that I am never sure what I'm doing.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Doctor S

A Dandy Dozen Plus One

Thirteen must-see Mississippi football games this fall.

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2008 College Football Preview

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder summed up what's going on in Mississippi college football when he sang: "It's evolution, baby."

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Reggie Collier: ‘The Ultimate Compliments'

On July 31, 2008, the University of Southern Mississippi announced its plan to retire Reggie Collier's #10 jersey. Collier, a former USFL Birmingham Stallion and NFL Dallas Cowboy, spoke with the Jackson Free Press at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

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[Guy] Translations

The ultimate [FLY] Guy, in addition to being well-read, well-kempt and well-muscled, is also well-prepared.

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[Guy] Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

A lot of things keep people up at night these days: terrorism, recession, environmental catastrophe. But these aren't the things I worry about. No, I worry more about zombies and the apocalypse that is sure to come one day if scientists keep up their horrible experiments.

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[Herman's Pick] Vol. 6, No. 49

The weekend gets kicking Thursday night at Martin's with Spoonfed Tribe and Zoogma.

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] The Album Formerly Known as the 'N' Word

David Dennis, Jr.

Nas always seems to be at the center of intense debate. Respected for his lyricism and creation of "Illmatic" (widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time), Nas has released inconsistent, and at times, uninspired albums.

Coffee Toss

Isaac Newton would be grinning in his grave at the sight of such antics. He, too, was known to pull an extreme stunt in the name of discovery, such as poking a bodkin (a small dagger) through his eye socket. Newton sort of makes playing catch with a polystyrene cup of boiling hot coffee look like child's play.

Coxwell Not Representing Melton

According to a report by WLBT, Merrida "Buddy" Coxwell has filed a motion informing the court that he and the mayor haven't "reached terms" and that he would no longer represent Melton. According to the story, Melton is negotiating with another attorney, Kenya Martin, to represent him.

Tuesday, August 19

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BREAKING: Jackson Loses Grant for Fire Truck

The Jackson City Council learned Monday that the city may have dropped the ball for a federal grant worth up to $800,000. The grant, according to Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon, was intended to finance a $1 million platform ladder truck for the Jackson Fire Department. The city currently has only one specialty-use ladder truck that is more than 10 years old and requires frequent repairs. The city needs two in order to keep residents' fire insurance rates down to a minimum.

Melton Pulls Reeves' Nomination

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton pulled his nomination Monday of former Rep. John Reeves, a Jackson Republican, for a Municipal Court position. Melton instead asked the council to consider putting Reeves on the Jackson Redevelopment Authority, an unpaid appointment. Melton had nominated Reeves to fill outgoing Judge Melvin Priester's seat after Priester, a long-time friend of Melton and his former private attorney, moved to an appointed position with Hinds County Circuit Court. The Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Priester to fill one of two full-time special judge positions in July.

Monday, August 18

[FLY] Guys Kan Cook

Look [FLY] Guys, we already know you can grill a hamburger and boil spaghetti. We've known that since seventh grade Home Economics. Why not show us some real skills in the kitch? We'd love to see a thoughtful meal with a bit of intrigue À la Carte every now and then. And never, ever, underestimate the power of risk factor to wow your dinner guests. By this, of course, I mean a lot less campfire, and a lot more blow torched crème brûlée.

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Commission Scrutinizing Entergy Rate Hikes

Consumer advocates criticized Entergy for not investing in energy conservation this week during a series of Public Service Commission meetings.

Shoot to Kill—Store Clerk Shoots Robber

So WAPT is reporting that a store clerk shot a man who had attempted to rob his store for a case of beer. This guy is facing murder charges since the robber died from the gun shot wound.

To: Employees of The Clarion-Ledger

To: Employees of The Clarion-Ledger

As you may have read in our newspaper or web site earlier today, The Gannett Company has announced a reduction of approximately 1000 jobs or 3 percent of the company workforce over the next two weeks. To respond to your concerns, The Clarion-Ledger took this difficult step two weeks ago when we reduced our workforce by 20 people or 5 percent of the staff.

Sunday, August 17

Adventures with the camera, audio recorders and microfilms

At the beginning of my internship with Jackson Free Press, I excitedly signed up to learn video and podcasting. There was a reason behind my eagerness: I'm horribly clumsy and inept with technology. Even after taking crash courses in multimedia from my more tech-savvy friends, I have the worst luck with the littlest tasks, like sending story attachments over I-Chat.

Saturday, August 16

ARTICLE: Calif. mom gives birth on front lawn by herself

Nothing surprises me any more. Nothing. From USA Today:

Friday, August 15

Nationwide Layoffs Announced Today at Gannett

An "undated memo" sent to publishers in the Gannett chain of daily newspapers confirmed something that was suggested two weeks ago when we learned that the Clarion-Ledger was laying off 5 percent of its workforce -- the cuts are nationwide, and they hit hard in Gannett's community publishing (daily newspaper) division. From Reuters:

Aug. 15, 2008 - Friday

Southern League baseball

Jackson Nationals (7 p.m., Jackson Speedway, Byram)

Thursday, August 14

Work excursion ... or an excuse for an all-girl road trip?

Last Thursday and Friday, three interns (including myself), one former intern and Donna took a field trip to South Mississippi for a story. Several stories, actually, but none of them are a part of this story, so never mind. We all split up into three cars, (Donna was with me, mostly, I suspect, because she wanted to road-trip in my Camaro - actually, I don't suspect it as much as I know it because she told me flat out).

Mo Goes To Cleveland

Former Murrah star Mo Williams has been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Wednesday, August 13

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Taxpayers $3 Million Short?

State Auditor Stacey Pickering filed an Aug. 5 motion in Hinds County Circuit Court for summary judgment in the 2005 Mississippi WorldCom settlement case that could prove costly.

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We Were Walking Downtown

Sweat pours down my brow as I'm walking on President Street in late July. The weatherman predicts at least 100 degrees, but with concrete surrounding me, it already feels like it has surpassed that.

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'People Appear Ghostly'

After years of taking photographs as a hobby, Andrew Willis has recently begun to devote more time to his art.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

Olympic men's basketball, U.S. vs. Greece (7 a.m., USA): The Redeem Team faces one of the teams that beat them in Athens.

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Jackpedia 2008

Have you ever sat at home on a lazy Saturday wondering what in the world you could be doing with your time in this buzzing metropolis? No worries, Jackpedia is here to help.

Repurposing Style

Ever get the feeling that all clothes look the same? Ever worry that you'll show up at that big party in the same dress three other people are wearing? Are you searching for somewhere that has sales year round, not just in July and January? If so, Private Collection is the answer you've been searching for.

Eye For Detail

Thomas Beck, 41, says he's a late bloomer. Growing up, he never had an interest in art, and at the University of Mississippi he majored in English and history.

Start A Revolution

Jeremy Polk and Paula Pellegrin wheeled Nelson Gibson's rusty, circa 1967 Schwinn twin bicycle from their large truck and began working on it. Spending about 12 hours over the course of a week, the two transformed the old cruiser that Gibson remembered his parents riding when he was a kid.

Smells Like Team Spirit

When interns show up at the Jackson Free Press, they come through the door a tad nervous, hoping to get some sort of experience. They have a foggy idea that they might be picking up coffee and lunch for the people doing the real work.

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Playing Disaster Politics

Mississippi Secretary of State Mike Chaney is disputing that Attorney General Jim Hood does not deserve credit for the recent State Farm settlement with Mississippi. Hood announced last week that his office had settled a breach of contract suit with the insurance giant, which had agreed to pay at least $74 million more to policyholders who had fallen victim to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

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Judge Discrimination Must Stop

Jackson attorney Dennis Sweet is calling attention to a recent change in Hinds County Circuit Court that should alarm every county resident, regardless of race. Hinds County Chief Judge Swan Yerger issued a memorandum to circuit court judges last November, dividing the four justices into two different case categories.

[Sue Doh Nem] A Good Purse Beat-Down

Nurse Tootie McBride: "It's 'The Nurse Tootie Factor' television show on the Ghetto Science Team Cable Network. And you have entered the 'Spin Zone'—plus 'Rinse and Wash' cycles.

[Kamikaze] Dear Whiners

This column is dedicated to the whiners. Loyal readers, I suggest you copy and paste this column into an e-mail message to all the naysayers, cynics and haters of Jackson.

[Kinnison] 'Motivate and Delegate'

This summer, after I crossed Interstate 10 and returned home after graduating from Loyola University, I showed up at the Jackson Free Press again. I had first interned at the JFP when I was still at Jackson Prep, in the early days of the JFP, when the office was in a duplex.

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David Butler

David Butler, a senior at Millsaps College, took an atypical route to his final college decision. However, since his arrival at Millsaps, he has never looked back.

Chris Joyner, Gotcha Journalist?

Meantime, I'll get Adam to try to sort it out and report back to y'all.

The Clarion-Ledger has a "big" story today that reeks of incomplete, gotcha journalism. Essentially the story is accusing David "Pops" Watkins, and perhaps others, of lying about investors in Farish Street. I sure do wish we were privy to Joyner's full interviews with Watkins and others. Joyner—the Ledger's rising "investigative" star—has interviewed me, and he lifted me far out of context that I wouldn't ever agree to such an interview again, and I don't trust anything he writes. A recent Ledger internal memo announced that he was becoming an investigative reporter, presumably sometime after they finish paying people overtime to take drunk pictures for their new, er, Gen X Web site. (At the same time that they are firing people.)

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Bell Denies Responsibility

Robbie Bell says she was not home on Trawick Drive when her son, George Bell III, raped and then bludgeoned Mary Heather Spencer with a flashlight the night of Sept. 10, 2007. So says her response to Linda Francomb's lawsuit, filed July 23.

Good Friend

When Jim and Jane Hudson realized that there were no other French Bistros serving Country French cooking in town, they wanted to introduce Jackson residents to the food that they love.

What's up with the Entertainment Industry?

Is it just me or have we decided involuntarily to accept any and all things thrown at us by artists and radio? I am just stunned to see that so many artist these days lack actual talent. This is really not just music, it's affecting the entertainment industry all together. People are no longer required to have acting skills to become celebrities. They can just sign on to a reality show, where no acting experience is required, and then suddenly they are stars. We are suddenly concerned about their entire life? Reality shows take up at least 75 % of what we see on television these days.

Tuesday, August 12

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Sweet Alleges Bias Against Hinds Judges

Jackson attorney Dennis Sweet claims Hinds County Senior Judge Swan Yerger violated the U.S. Constitution when he barred the county's black circuit court judges from hearing more serious cases.

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Pickering Move to Cost State $3 Million?

State Auditor Stacey Pickering filed an Aug. 5 motion in Hinds County Circuit Court for summary judgment in the 2005 Mississippi WorldCom settlement case that could prove costly. Pickering contends that Joey Langston's law firm attempted to "bypass the laws and legislative safeguards" of the state when they negotiated a $14 million attorney's fee with WorldCom during a $126.2 million tax-fraud settlement with the state in 2005.

State Democrats Slam McCain

Mississippi Democrats used the birthday of the 70-year-old Social Security program to attack presumed Republican presidential nominee John McCain last week, accusing the Arizona senator of wanting to privatize the program. "Just one month ago, on July 7, Senator McCain told a town-hall audience that the way Social Security works is a disgrace and told ABC this week that everything will be on the table if he becomes president, including the privatization of Social Security," said Mississippi Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Barbara Blackmon. "We're here today, exactly one week before the birthday of Social Security, to let the people know that we will not support any effort to privatize the most successful anti-poverty program in our nation."

WLBT: Mary Hawkins-Butler Rallies…at Starbucks?

According to WLBT, the Madison Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Hawkins-Butler rallied at the Madison Starbucks, which is slated for closure:

Edison-Walthall Soon the ‘Roberts Vista' Hotel

The Roberts Companies, the family owned-and-operated holding company of local television station CW34 and radio station 97.7FM WRBJ, announced today that its Roberts Hotels Group has acquired the 80-year old Edison-Walthall hotel out of bankruptcy.

Monday, August 11

[FLY] Guys Decorate [with found objects]

It all began with a wheel. And some glass. And one infamous fight scene between newly cohabitating love birds.

Sunday, August 10

Isaac Hayes: 1942-2008

After blogging about Bernie Mac's death yesterday, I wish I was kidding. From CNN:

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Of Lady Killers and 'Good Behavior'

Citizens can feel secure knowing that the men in green and white stripes working on the road crews are not rapists or murderers. Mississippi law says that violent criminals are not eligible to participate in work programs outside prisons.

Dear Larry: Jackson More Than a 'Market'

The Clarion-Ledger's current publisher Larry Whitaker announced in a staff memo last week that Mississippi's state-wide Gannett property will lay off 20 employees on top of the hiring freeze it has in effect, in order to maintain current levels of profitability.

Saturday, August 9

Bernie Mac: 1957-2008

The famous comic actor had been battling sarcoidosis and said he was getting better, but pneumonia is what took his life today. From CNN:

Friday, August 8

99% Honest and John Edwards

This begs the question - what is with these guys?!?

John Edwards' has recently admitted to an affair of some length with a paid campaign advisor.

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Ballet Magnificat! To Perform in International Festival

Jackson's Ballet Magnificat! Alpha Company has been chosen to represent the United States at the Festival Internacional de Ballet in Colombia.

DOJ Not Pursuing Bribery Charges Against Stevens

An attorney handling the appeal of Paul Minor noted a sharp contrast between how the U.S. Department of Justice prosecuted Minor and how it is chasing Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. While the DOJ prosecuted Minor on corruption charges—without the necessity of proving quid pro quo—they have chosen not to pursue those same charges against Stevens, who is Republican.

Thursday, August 7

Are The Olympics Doomed?

The Summer Olympics officially begin Friday in China. What could possibly go wrong?

Jet Favre

Brett is a Jet: Favre goes from Green Bay to Gang Green.

Wednesday, August 6

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Jennifer Gillom: 'Feeling of Pride'

This past weekend, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum inducted six new members, including Jennifer Gillom. Originally from Abbeville, Gillom, 44, played for Ole Miss after high school under Coach Van Chancellor.

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Anna Walker Crump

Two days before Anna Walker Crump worked with the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Heather Spencer's boyfriend murdered her on Sept. 11, 2007.

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Justice For Sale

Almost immediately after his appointment to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi in late 2001, Dunnica Lampton began to investigate key Mississippi Democrats.

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Funny Math At The Fair

The Neshoba County Fair was calm this year. There are no candidates fighting for state-wide races, leaving many politicians free to make jabs at national candidates like presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

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DOJ: No Break For Minor

The U.S. Department of Justice wants Mississippi attorney Paul Minor to stay in jail, despite his wife's imminent death. The DOJ filed a motion last week opposing Minor's motion for release pending appeal in his 2007 corruption conviction.

Digging Up Bodies?

For the first time since 1995, Mississippi will have a full-time medical examiner who is not Dr. Steven Hayne.

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Where There's Smoke, There's Haley Barbour

During his long tenure in Washington, Haley Barbour was known for his love of Maker's Mark bourbon, good cigars and Republican politics, not necessarily in that order.

Backpack Couture

I remember the first day of kindergarten when my mom packed my red Hello Kitty backpack. Stuffed with all the essentials I needed, I toted the bag proudly down the street to the bus stop.

UPDATED: Dee-Moore Families Sue County for Colluding with Klan

Read full complaint here. (PDF)

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Steven Wells Hicks: Writing For Sock Monkeys

Steven Wells Hicks was a creative advertising director for 35 years before becoming a novelist. Born in Omaha, Neb., Hicks has lived in Jackson since July, 1974 and calls himself a "southerner by choice."

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In Twilight

Perhaps the South will rise again someday. Until then, it's a photographer's feast.

The Best In Sports In 7 Days

NFL preseason football, New Orleans at Arizona (7 p.m., ESPN): The Saints and Cardinals meet in the exhibition opener for both. Many of the players you see won't be around in a month.

Attorney General Settles With State Farm

Attorney General Jim Hood just sent the following statement, verbatim:

Biloxi, MS-Attorney General Jim Hood announced the settlement of the state's breach of contract suit against State Farm, which was filed after State Farm refused to comply with a January, 2007, Hinds County Chancery Court settlement. Due to the state's suit against several insurance companies, State Farm has paid an additional $74 million and Nationwide has paid an additional $40 million to Coast policyholders. As a result of the settlement, State Farm will send out new notices to the remaining 148 slab and/or pier only policyholders, who have not yet sued, settled or already participated in the reevaluation process.

Tuesday, August 5

New Polling Numbers Show National 'Lead' for Obama

This doesn't mean much in the actual presidential contest (thanks in part to the Electoral College and its role of subverting the will of the American people), but it looks like nationally Obama has gotten a bounce from his "How would y'all like me to do this gig full-time?" tour of Europe and the Middle East, while McCain toured pancake houses and the back nine with George H.W. Bush to prove that, yes, presidents do live to be older than he is.

Is Clarion-Ledger Comatose at the Wheel?

I am simply astounded to see that, right this second, the top "breaking news" on the Ledger's site is this by Chris Joyner (who is about to be promoted to investigative reporter, we're told): "New trial date set for Melton, bodyguards." Adam found this out a full week ago, and reported it six days ago. Six. Not yesterday. Not Friday. What is up over there?!? Or, not up, we should ask. No wonder they're in such trouble.

Moore Demands 'Cover-up' Evidence from DA

In response to several desperate motions filed by Sharrod Moore's defense attorney requesting that the DA provide "any and all evidence in his possession regarding a police cover-up," Hinds County Circuit Judge Swan Yerger is delaying the capital murder trial of the 30-year-old, who has now been indicted twice for allegedly killing Jackson police officer Robert J. Washington in 1995. The original trial date was Sept. 15; Yerger has not yet set a new date.

Greenwood Teen Settles Cop Suit, ‘No Pun Intended'

James Marshall, a Greenwood teenager who scuffled with a police officer in 2006, has settled his lawsuit against Officer Casey Wiggins, the city of Greenwood, Greenwood Public Schools and others for an undisclosed amount, according to his attorney Carlos E. Moore. Matt Saldaña of the Jackson Free Press profiled Marshall in this cover story, "Unholstered: A Greenwood Family Fights For Its Rights". The JFP also sued the district over the release of a video of the incident.

[FLY] Guys Are Green

I know I'm going to get fingers wagging when I say that guys like to be at the forefront of all things technological. Over-generalization? Maybe. But every dude I currently know loves a good gadget.

How Do You Save Money?

they are saving money.

In light of the recession blues, high gas prices, and drop in house values, how do you save money? Let's let this be a forum for folks to collaborate on how

Monday, August 4

Help keep small cosmetics companies in business!

We've all heard stories of founders of large cosmetics companies who started out by mixing concoctions at the kitchen table. Carol's Daughter and Burt's Bees are two good examples. A lot of smaller companies who make all-natural beauty products are in danger of going out of business if the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 is authorized as is. Go here for additional details and to sign the petition.

No More Autopsies for Steven Hayne

Radley Balko at Reason Magazine and WLBT are reporting that Mississippi's long-time de facto medical examiner, Steven Hayne, will no longer be doing autopsies in the state. Balko writes:

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Barbour Gives Relief to 4 ‘Domestic' Killers, of 5 Total

Bobby Hays Clark murdered on-again, off-again girlfriend Veronica Conner in 1996 by shooting her in the neck with a 25-caliber automatic, hitting her carotid artery. Now, his record is clear, thanks to Gov. Haley Barbour, who has helped four "domestic" murderers in recent weeks.

A Hall of Fame Weekend

This weekend the MS Hall of Fame inducted six new members: Will Clark, Jennifer Gillom, Coach Paul Covington, Reggie Collier, Hill Denson, and Coolidge Ball. In a time when athletes are constantly embroiled in one sort of controversy or another, it was refreshing to see a sports event where everything anyone had to say was complimentary and laudable. Just days after the MLB trade deadline's headlines about Manny Ramirez's trade as result of his refusal to play for his club, this weekend was about celebrating those who were always willing to step up, period. In a time where athletes agonize over the to retire or not to retire question, Will Clark quietly retired at the end of one of his best seasons in the pros. Before an Olympics begins where the media is sure to constantly be talking just as much about the Chinese's ability to run the games, Jennifer Gillom - gold medal-winner 1988 - has only good things to say about her honors at the Olympics. In an era where coaches can be just as big drama queens as their players, Paul Covington and Hill Denson always just wanted to coach for the sake of coaching and for the sake of their players. Denson still loves coaching at Belhaven as much as he did fifteen years ago at Southern. Covington says he still finds time to stop by practices, just for the atmosphere. While players today sometimes complain about having to wait a year before NBA eligibility kicks in after high school, Coolidge Ball just wanted to play ball - even if that meant being the first African-American to earn a basketball scholarship from Ole Miss. Finally, when any professional athlete seems obsessed with immortality, Reggie Collier couldn't be more thrilled to have earned his place in history, as a Hall of Fame inductee and with the retirement of his jersey at USM. Truly, the contributions and legacies of these six Hall-of-Famers are still relevant and will always be praise-worthy.

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Morgan Freeman Seriously Hurt in Car Accident


Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman was seriously injured in a car accident in Mississippi on Sunday night according to the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Sunday, August 3

So, When Did Barbour Have a Change of Heart on Pardons?

Hmmm. When you poke just a little at Barbour's history on and attitudes about pardoning criminals—even men like Cory Maye who shot a police officer who burst into his home in the middle of the night—you see that, in the past, Barbour hasn't "believed" in pardons. Per Reason magazine:

Did Melton and Bluntson ‘Sponsor' Fairview Boys Camp ... or Not?

Boys II Kings Summer Camp Aims to Uplift

This morning, I Google-Newsed Frank Melton to see if anything new had happened while I was in Florida. An WLBT story summary popped up. Here it is verbatim:

Friday, August 1

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C-L To Lay Off 20 Staffers

Editor and Publisher magazine is reporting the contents of a memo circulated by the Clarion-Ledger's current publisher, Larry Whitaker, to his staff. The memo was leaked earlier in the day to Romenesko, a media "insider" blog hosted by the Poynter Institute.