Stories for February 2008


Friday, February 29

If Your Life Had a Soundtrack, What Would It Sound Like?

What songs reflect your personality, temperament and beliefs? I tend to like songs that are funky, mellow or whimsical. Here are some examples:

Kaze and Ladd Host Radio JFP Today at Noon

Kamikaze and Donna Ladd will host Radio JFP today (Friday, Feb. 29) today at noon for a special "Leap" edition. Adam Lynch will join us with a legislative update. And Jacksonian Bruce Golden, a teacher and jazz musician, is a guest. And, yes, we will probably also talk about the Civil Rights Museum a bit. Tune into WLEZ 103.7 FM or listen to the live stream at

Thursday, February 28

Happy Bissextile Day!

Got your attention, didn't I? Ha ha...


ARTICLE: I Refuse to Buy into the Obama Hype

Can't wait to read your responses.

DailyKos blogger GrassrootsMom goes into painstaking detail, with links to government Web sites. I've never seen the likes of this since I started paying attention to this campaign. It's a must-read.

Huge 'Leap' Show at Swell-o-Venue Friday

Swell-o-Venue kicks off their 2008 season on Friday, Feb. 29, with their first show of the year featuring Bear Colony (Esperanza Plantation), Look Mexico (Lujo Records) and Captain & Company (featuring ex-Colour Revolt-er Drew Mellon). Bear Colony are touring in support of their 2007 debut, We Came Here to Die, and are debuting new material on their first tour of 2008. Doors are at 7 P.M., the event is all-ages, and the cost is $10. Bear Colony will also be playing an earlier acoustic in-store performance at Be-Bop Record Shop (Maywood Mart) at 4 P.M. that is free to the public.

Watch ‘Former' Lobbyist Barbour Pander for Big Energy

... and you wonder why Mississippi ratepayers are being asked to pay for a risky Entergy plant venture in advance, and whether it comes to fruition or not! Robert Novak writes in the Washington Post about vice presidential hopeful Pawlenty of Minnesota. But it's the part buried within that should interest Mississippians:

Wednesday, February 27

'This Isn't Anti-Tougaloo'

A group of about 100 gathered at the Smith Robertson Museum on Feb. 25 to advocate locating the proposed Civil Rights Museum in downtown Jackson.

'Yes, I Said Shoe Closet'

I can't tell you how many intense business meetings I've been in with a group of dynamic women, negotiating or planning this or that, and suddenly one of us pauses mid-sentence and proclaims, "Where did you get those shoes!?!"

Going For Number Eight

It has become a rite of late winter for the Murrah High girls basketball team. It's the last week of February, and the Lady Mustangs are headed for the MHSAA 5A Girls State Basketball Tournament at the Mississippi Coliseum. The tournament began its two-week run on Monday.

Week 7–Butt Tax and Task Force

Two tricky bills survived their respective sides of the Legislature, most likely to be stoned to death or ignored into oblivion by the opposing chamber in the upcoming weeks.

JSU Tries, Fails to 'Quick Take' Private Land

Jackson State University tried to accelerate the eminent-domain process with a bill tailored to its needs in the Legislature, but the bill died in committee this week.

A Blank Check for Entergy?

Consumer's rights advocates and environmentalists alike are furious about a Senate bill that would pave the way for the state Public Service Commission to let utility companies charge customers for construction of a new nuclear facility at Grand Gulf, in Port Gibson. Current law only allows utility companies to raise rates after the facility is online and producing electricity.


Dorothy Triplett and Shirley Tucker became friends as they began navigating through small, intertwining circles in Jackson. Finding they had similar passions for several things—the city of Jackson, empowerment of young people and leadership in the community—the two women have maintained contact over the years.

Ask Us Before You Leap

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. Everywhere Jacksonians look, we discover that somebody is trying to slip something by us—to benefit themselves in some way that ranges from completely absurd to annoyingly selfish.

[Sue Doh Nem] Caucus, Cabaret and Disco

Boneqweesha Jones: "Welcome to this special edition of 'Qweesha '08!' I'm honored to bring you this historic event and special report—live via rigged satellite—from inside the second-floor office of Big Roscoe, owner of Clubb Chicken Wing. Our balcony camera has a bird's-eye view of a serious political party going on at Clubb Chicken Wing. Correspondent TaaQweema Jenkins is on the scene. Let's cut in on the action to see what's happenin'."

[Kamikaze] Change Is Gonna Come

"Change" has become the buzzword for 2008. I never thought such a tiny word could be so powerful. It holds promise for some, and negativity for others. Ultimately, I've found that those who shun a message of change are usually the ones who will benefit least from it, regardless of its benefit to the greater good. They are the ones who are comfortable with the way things are.

[Gregory] Hello, City Lights

For the past two months I've sat on my new front porch overlooking part of downtown Jackson, and tried to quell the automatic self-doubt that arose in my gut every time I reminded myself that I left the veritable "safety" of Madison County for a town so blighted with rumors of crime that it inspired a bumper sticker espousing the only way to save it: "pray for it."

Bruce Golden

During the day, he's Mr. Golden, the mild-mannered school librarian who dispenses copies of "Tuck Everlasting" and "Because of Winn-Dixie" to the book-loving kids at Peeples Middle School in South Jackson. Mr. Golden's library is a peaceful world of words, a refuge for literary-minded students from their hectic and often stressful school days. But on nights and weekends, he's Bruce, a jazz percussionist who trades in his Dewey decimals for complex polyrhythm and syncopated beats.

Spring Arts Preview: Shouts And Murmurs At ‘Ground Zero'

A few weeks ago, as I stood in the crowd at the opening reception for the Jacob Lawrence "Migration Series" at the Mississippi Museum of Art, I wondered exactly what each individual person was getting out of the tiny, simplified, almost abstract panels spaced across the room. The gallery was filled with a mix of black and white people that included old men and women clad in perfectly pressed garments, sporting sweater pins and ties; middle-aged and young professionals in casual evening wear, the men wearing open-collared shirts and the women's heels clicking across the museum floor; trendily accessorized young people; and artists who set themselves apart with their clothing.

The Love Triangles of Figaro

Thousands of operas exist in dozens of languages, but the Mississippi Opera selected a classic masterwork by Verdi for their next production, "The Marriage of Figaro," and they'll be doing it in English.

We Got Served

On a Tuesday night, six members of Trill'Agy, a Jackson hip-hop dance troupe, goof off in a dance studio on Hattiesburg Street. The six young men, mostly high school students, are with their coach Bridget Archer and a few women from the Bridget Archer Performing Arts Company, or B.P.A.C. They're practicing for an upcoming Black History Month performance. To the sound of old-school hip-hop breaks, the dancers face the studio's long mirror and play a version of "follow the leader," each taking a turn improvising steps and poses. By the time the music stops, everyone is winded and laughing.

Global Handmade Goodies

Take a left onto Grants Ferry off Lakeland Drive, and tucked in the back of a small plaza, inside a tobacco store, treasures await those who appreciate a bargain, value handmade beauty and cannot stand a 24-hour period without some kind of shopping. I swing open the door, and a bright, smiling face greets me.

Spring Arts Preview: Dance

"Cinderella" presented by the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet March 1 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m. On March 1, a Cinderella Ball will follow the performance at the University Club with entertainment by Hunter and the Gators. On March 2, a Cinderella Tea Party follows the performance at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Call 601-853-4508 or visit

The Lost Art Of Eating Breakfast

When I was a child growing up in Montana, my family would take annual trips to California to visit my mom's parents. My Nana and Pompa lived in a big house high above the San Francisco bay. I would wake up every morning to the smell of coffee wafting through the heater vents. As I staggered downstairs, I could hear Pompa watching "Kathy Lee and Regis Live!" in the other room. Nana would make me oatmeal with sweet chunks of peaches and bananas. Ah, breakfast, your beautiful beacon of sustenance and motivation.

Scruggs Paid Lawyer to Convince Hood in State Farm Case

It has emerged in court documents that attorney Dickie Scruggs paid attorney Steve Patterson $500,000 to lobby Jim Hood to try to get him not to indict State Farm. The informant says that Patterson talked to Hood, but it is unclear whether Hood was convinced by that conversation or knew about the lobbying fee. He says he did not. Clarion-Ledger:

Tuesday, February 26

SafeCity Miffs McMillin, Residents

JACKSON—Local crime watchdog group SafeCity miffed the police chief, the Jackson City Council and many residents of all political stripes with its apparent stealth efforts to get the Legislature to create a discriminatory city "safety zone" that would have carried stiffer penalties for crimes committed in better-off parts of the city and allowed the state and the district attorney to usurp the chief's authority.

Describe Your Life in Six Words

Stephen Colbert's contribution: 'Well, I thought it was funny."

On The Early Show on CBS, there was a segment about the book, "Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure." The book is a collection of six-word statements people made to sum up their lives. Here are some celebrity examples:

Monday, February 25

Innocent Man Goes Home for First Time Since 1993

INDIANOLA—Arthur Johnson, 48, wrongfully convicted in 1993 of rape and burglary, went home with his family Monday, Feb. 25, for the first time in a decade and a half. Sunflower County Circuit Judge Ashley Hines still levied $25,000 in bail, even though DNA testing proves Johnson did not commit the rape. Johnson has already served 15 years of his 55-year sentence in Parchman.

Yerger Orders Investigation of Ed Peters

Whoever thought you'd hear those words!?! It does seem like a long, long time ago when Ed Peters was the driving force behind Robert Smith's campaign for district attorney, appearing in Smith's ads to help oust a D.A. who had challenged his friends, and to put North Jackson's minds at ease, eh? Oh right, it was only a dozen weeks or so.

JUST DO IT! Let Your Voice Be Heard on the Museum Issue: Who to Call..

Here it is folks..Let your voice be heard!! Let this commission know that suggestions and decisions CAN'T be made in our city until the PEOPLE have spoken.

Americans Change Faiths at Rising Rate

The New York Times has a story today about a new report surveying how loyal people remain to the church they were raised in:

Obama Campaign Comes to Mississippi

The Associated Press is reporting that the Barack Obama presidential campaign is opening an office in downtown Jackson in order to work toward the March 11 state primary. The JFP learned separately that the office will be in the site of former gubernatorial candidate John Arthur Eaves' campaign offce. Former Gov. Ray Mabus and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson are Obama's state co-chairmen.

Family Shelter Needs Furniture

I just got this from Sandy Middleton at the Center for Violence Prevention, which provides shelter and assistance for women and children escaping domestic violence. Please help if you can:

Downtown Civil Rights Museum Supporters Gathering at 1 p.m.

Council President Leslie McLemore is leading a diverse group of Jacksonians who want to see the new Civil Rights Museum located in downtown Jackson, rather than then the suggested locale of Tougaloo College land north of the city. Join the group at 1 p.m. at the Smith Robertson Museum in downtown Jackson today (Monday, Feb. 25) to show your support.

Smith-Wills To Be Independent Of Baseball

The Jackson Whatevers, a South Coast League expansion team, won't be coming to Smith-Wills Stadium this year, after all. A team in Florida won't be able to play this season because its stadium isn't ready, so the league contracted to four teams. The league, which has been bleeding money since it began in 2007, says it will field a team in Jackson in 2009. We'll see.

Sunday, February 24

Why Not Answer the Question, Mr. Agnew?

Clarion-Ledger Executive Editor Ronnie Agnew has a truly absurd column out today. Once he gets through the crap in the beginning about Jim Hood bothering to talk to them on President's Day (who cares?), Agnew reveals that Hood asked him if he's going to hire a Democratic columnist to balance his partisan Republican columnist Sid Salter. Agnew then goes into a diatribe whining about how various people question fairness, and how Salter is fair to Hood, blah, blah.

Trouble Running a Campaign, Much Less a Country

Frank Rich has an excellent column in the New York Times today about the Clinton ineptness at organizing good campaign, and how that speaks to her specious claim that she has the "experience" needed to run the country:

Saturday, February 23

Schedule Changes for JSU, Belhaven, Tougaloo

Jackson State's men's basketball game at Grambling has been moved to 1 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised by ESPN Classic.

Friday, February 22

Finding James Ford Seale Alive: A Timeline

This is how the discovery that James Ford Seale was alive transpired

Media folks often ask the Jackson Free Press to clarify why the timeline in the original story, "I Want Justice, Too," published in the JFP on July 20, 2005, about Thomas Moore's July 2005 trip to Meadville varies from the "Mississippi Cold Case" documentary released about that trip back to Meadville nearly two years later. The truth is that that documentary muddles the timeline in some small, but significant ways, that leave out the role of the Jackson Free Press. (The original intent of the documentary was to document Mississippi journalists covering Moore's journey for justice.)

Immigration Myths on Radio JFP

Join Todd Stauffer, Donna Ladd, Adam Lynch and Erik Fleming of the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance today on WLEZ 103.7 FM at noon for a discussion of immigration myths and realities. You can also listen to a live stream here.

ARTICLE: First Female African American City Council Member Dies

From WLBT:

One of the first African Americans to serve on the Jackson City Council died of natural causes Wednesday morning. Doris Smith was 79-years-old. Smith was a civil rights activist and pioneer before she won the Ward Three City Council seat. She joined E.C. Foster and Louis Armstrong as the first black city representatives after the governing body changed from a three person commission to a seven member council form of government in 1985....

Thursday, February 21

‘Friday Night Lights' To Keep Burning

"Friday Night Lights" may be saved, so please shut up now

Republicans Kill Law Enforcement Bill

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood berated House Republicans Wednesday for voting down a bill that would have allowed him to ask a judge for permission to wiretap phones for white-collar crimes. "It's nothing less than a partisan attack. This vote was too solidly along party lines to be anything else," Hood said at a Wednesday press conference.

Pecos Bill and the Haunted State

I participated in my first political debate last night. I use the word "debate" loosely because it wasn't really a debate; it was, in fact, a polite exchange of sound bites, many of them false and a good number of them based on myths about immigration.

WSJ Law Blog on the Growing Evidence Against Lott

The Wall Street Journal is talking about the explosive news that is coming out of the federal investigation of Dickie Scruggs—including Tim Balducci's testimony that Scruggs promised a judge that Lott would help him get a judgeship. That judge is Hinds County's own Bobby DeLaughter bringing this state mess home to our Hinds door step once again. The feds are investigating Lott's role, so keep an eye on what they release on this case.

McCain's Relationship With Lobbyist Scrutinized

The New York Times created a national firestorm today when it published a story about a close relationship McCain had in the past with a female telecommunications lobbyist. Apparently, his aides were worried enough about the way it looked to ask him to distance himself, and there is concern that he may have done favors for her clients. I guess you call this the "February Surprise." The story begins:

Wednesday, February 20

‘You're Free To Go'

Photos by Roy Adkins

(View a full gallery here).

[Lunch Lady] Local Flavor

As you may know, to be a true Jackson Free Press foodie, you must require a few things of your restaurants: Located in Jackson? Check. Locally owned and operated? Of course. Local flavor? You got that right.

Blackface and Chorus Girls

As you enter the "Blues in Claiborne County: From Rabbit Foot Minstrels to Blues & Cruise" exhibit at the Smith Robertson Museum, you can see white platform plaques and posters lining the brick walls. Straight ahead is a large display plaque titled "Bobby Rush." Pictures of Rush holding his cigar-box-one-string diddley bow accompany his testimonial of Port Gibson's Rabbit Foot Minstrel.

Inky The Clown

The pink-and-blue (Calvin Clown designed) striped arms disappear beneath the table, drawing forth a plain-looking hardcover black book. "You don't mind if I read?" Inky asks casually, waiting a second for my surprised, affirmative nod before opening his book to unleash a flame blazing from the page. "Jeepers!" he cries, shutting it with a start. "Must have been a cookbook."

Fellow Tougaloo Grads: The Civil Rights Museum should be in downtown Jackson.

***UPDATE: The rally will be at 1:00 PM instead of 2:00 PM.

Some of you may have heard about Tougaloo College being selected as the location for a new Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi. However, even though I am a Tougaloo graduate and love my alma mater, I believe that it would be better for the museum to be located in downtown Jackson.

Legislative Update: Week 6—Ailing Bills and PR

Legislators were pounding away like never before this week to meet the Tuesday deadline to pass general bills out of committees.

Mayor's Home on the Block?

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton is in danger of losing his $353,000 home at 2 Carter's Grove in North Jackson to foreclosure. Melton told The Clarion-Ledger that he was making arrangements with his mortgage lender, OmniBank, to save his northeast Jackson home, which he has not made a payment on since last October.

McMillin Rags Media

Echoing complaints of former Police Chief Robert Moore, Hinds County Sheriff and Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin said Tuesday that he took personal offense to a Feb. 13 Clarion-Ledger story questioning his openness with city information.

Dongles Back in Action?

One of the most conservative U.S. appeals courts in the nation outlawed Texas' ban on sex toys last week, and local retailers could use the decision to overturn a local municipal ban. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a Texas law making it illegal to sell or promote obscene devices, punishable by jail time, violated the right to privacy guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Money in For Farish

Development of the Farish Street Entertainment District got a shot in the arm this month. Farish Street developer Performa Entertainment Real Estate Inc., announced the closure of a $1 million Trustmark Bank loan for Phase 1 of the district's $12 million re-development. The money puts the finishing touches on plans for the King Biscuit Café and Funny Bone Comedy Club.

Civil Rights Museum Should Be Downtown

Last week, the location sub-committee of the National Civil Rights Museum Commission in Mississippi recommended Tougaloo College as the location of a proposed civil rights museum in Mississippi. While we recognize Tougaloo's extraordinary role in the fight for civil rights in Mississippi, and we proudly support efforts to immortalize the role of both the college and its students and teachers from that era, we submit that it would make more sense for the people of Mississippi that the museum be located in Downtown Jackson.

[Sue Doh Nem] Waiting for (Pocket) Change

Big Roscoe: "As the rich get richer and the broke remain broke, a tiny ray of hope for the nation's financially challenged consumer appears in the form of $600 to $1,200 economic stimulus packages. Upon receipt of this monetary package, consumers are urged to shop until the money is gone, and stimulate the nation's economy.

[Hightower] Surrendering to the Terrorists

Good grief. With Democrats like these, who needs Republicans?

[Hutchinson] Obama and Male Voters

This is an election with some strange things happening. One of the strangest is the penchant for so many white males to join with African American voters in a few primaries to back Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama. It's strange not because of anything Obama has said or done to get so many white males behind him. It's strange because of the possible motive of many of the men that are voting for him.

Immigration: Myth Vs. Reality

Illustrations by Melissa Webster & Darren Schwindaman

"They can vote themselves in a pay raise, but they can't do nothing about all this illegal immigration," says Jackson talk show host 'JT,' of the JT and Dave show, after the House approved a raise for government officials, including a $10,000 raise for in-session work for legislators.

Tuesday, February 19

Civil Rights Museum to Tougaloo?

Jackson hip-hop artist Kamikaze is organizing community feedback regarding a consulting group's recent recommendation to place the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum north of County Line Road in Ridgeland. Museum consulting firm LaPaglia & Associates recommended Tougaloo College as the site of the museum on Feb. 11, even though it received a No. 10 ranking on a site list (PDF, 177 KB) as recently as November when the top spot under consideration was the site of Smith Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive.

Monday, February 18

Join JFP Editor for Congressional Debate Live on, 7 p.m.

I am joining moderator Sid Salter, Rankin Ledger reporter Josh Cogswell, Stennis Institute director Marty Wiseman and MSU student Lori Ann Holland Monday night for a two-hour debate of the 3rd District congressional candidates Monday night in Rankin County. The debate will be Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. and broadcast live on the WAPT Web site. Now, though, I would love help with questions; I need about 10, and I would love to hear what readers would like asked. So bring it on!

Controversy Over Civil Rights Museum Growing

[Promoted from forums] If approved by a commission studying the issue, the museum would be built on the college's property off County Line Road, west of I-55 and south of I-220.

'The Grand Ole White Party Confronts Obama'

In his current New York Times column, Frank Rich dives into the racial fray that Republicans are facing in trying to campaign against Barack Obama:

Sunday, February 17

USDA Recalls 143 Million Pounds of Beef

The Associated Press is reporting:

Ledger Suddenly Questioning ‘Expert' Testimony

After many years of extolling the virtues of the death penalty and cheering on the state with gleeful editorials about prisoners about to "ride the needle," The Clarion-Ledger is suddenly acknowledging that just maybe, possibly the criminal-justice system in Mississippi might not be perfect. It's good to see them at this place, finally, but they don't really have any choice now that the Innocence Project has come to the state and is exposing questionable autopsies and "bite mark" testimony that has sent so many people to prison in Mississippi. And that includes death row.

Friday, February 15

College baseball: Belhaven Changes Schedule

Baseball Double Header Moved

Belhaven is shifting games due to the threat of rain on Saturday. From the school:

Are Americans Hostile to Knowledge?

A new book, by Susan Jacoby, asks this question, especially about why so many Americans are so little interested in actual facts before forming (and spewing) opinions. Read more, as reviewed by the New York Times:

BREAKING: Levon Brooks Released

A Noxubee County judge released Levon Brooks on his own recognizance without bond after spending 18 years in prison for the rape and murder of a 3-year-old child. After Noxubee District Attorney Forrest Allgood reviews the case, Brooks will reappear in court in about three weeks, at which point he is fully expected to be exonerated. The judge could not talk specifically about evidence in Brooks' case because it will be used to prosecute Justin Arthur Johnson, who is now charged with the two murders Kennedy Brewer and Brooks served prison sentences for.

BREAKING: Kennedy Brewer is a Free Man

More to come on this story.

The Jackson Free Press' Ronni Mott called this morning from a Noxubee County Circuit courtroom to say that the judge hearing Kennedy Brewer's case has granted his freedom. There was not a dry eye in the courtroom as Brewer's grandmother lifted her head to the sky, crying out "Thank you Jesus!"

John Lewis Switches Support to Obama

The New York Times is reporting that the great civil rights leader John Lewis is saying he will cast his superdelegate vote for Barack Obama, rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom he endorsed in October:

Free At Last? Brewer May Go Free Friday

Two men who have served a combined 34 years behind bars for crimes they apparently did not commit may walk away free men on Friday, Feb. 15.

Thursday, February 14

Sexist Media Depictions of Hillary Clinton?

We've had a side conversation going on this topic over on our Super Tuesday thread, and I don't want it to get lost. Would love to pick up that thread here, and hear what people have to say about it. Also see Maureen Dowd's "A Flawed Feminist Test."

Wednesday, February 13

Romantic Devastation

A few weeks ago, I was in snowy Park City, Utah, at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. While there, I attended the premiere of "Ballast," a made-in-Mississippi movie that rallied the efforts of a 35-member Mississippi cast and a mostly Mississippi crew, including Producer Nina Parikh and Production Manager Todd Stauffer.

Show Up and Be Counted

This weekend, the Jackson Free Press is proud to be sponsoring the Gulf States Music Conference, a day of panel discussions and performances arranged by JFP columnist and Best of Jackson award recipient Kamikaze. I call your attention to it not only because it's something you might consider attending if you have aspirations for the music business.

Legislative Update—Week 5: Medicaid, Jobs, Land

Legislative committees worked furiously this week during the run-up to the Feb. 19 deadline for House and Senate committees to act on general bills and constitutional amendments originating in their own chamber. Committees are also entertaining briefings regarding state issues.

Free, Green Money

Entergy Mississippi is offering free money for community development and environmental projects in the state.

Riding the Needle

"I think I will go out and beat an old lady to death tonight. I don't have anything to worry about if I get caught. I won't even have to worry about being stuck with a needle because it might hurt too much."

Power APAC Builds

Every year, Power Academic and Performing Arts Complex, or APAC, and its staff and students partner with their adopters, the law firm of Watkins Ludlam Winter & Stennis, for a community project. In the past they have worked with local organizations including Baptist Children's Village, and last year they raised $3,000 in a penny drive that went toward the construction of a new living area for two elephants at the zoo. This year, they decided to collaborate on a Habitat For Humanity home at 924 Hunt St. in Jackson. On Saturdays in February and March, students ages 16 or older and their performing arts instructors can volunteer to work on the house.

Local Businesswoman Gives to JSU

On behalf of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Educational Advancement Foundation, Jackson State University alumna Juanita Sims Doty added $5,000 to the Juanita Sims Doty Scholarship Fund for financially burdened students. The additional contribution to the fund, which was established in 2000 and currently totals $16,000, is a boost to JSU's Campaign For Jackson State effort. The campaign seeks to accrue $50 million in additional scholastic funding by the year 2010 and has raised $23 million to date.

Enact Campaign Finance Reform Now

The recent scandals surrounding political donors like Dickie Scruggs and Joey Langston, former elected officials like Ed Peters and judges like Bobby DeLaughter has brought a chronic problem in Mississippi front and center: Lax campaign-finance laws have left the state ripe for corruption.

[Sue Doh Nem] 'Barack Obama' Hope

Rev. Cletus: "Welcome back to the weekly radio broadcast of the Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church Show. I have a reminder for our financially and health-insurance-challenged, 80-plus senior citizens who are unable to vote because, in the old days, issues of race, class, poverty, and oppression produced improper documentation or certificate of birth: 'Tell your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to vote!'

[Kamikaze] Grammy Rehab

Amy Winehouse is a train wreck. She is rumored to use a variety of illegal substances. However, I've found that the music industry's tolerance level of addicts is directly proportionate to how hot their last single or album is. In fact, the music industry's tolerance of anything depends on how many records you've sold in the months prior. (Insert R. Kelly reference here).

[Schaefer] Get 'Em (Voting) While They're Young

As the buzz of eighth-graders swarming down the hall reached my classroom, I felt my stomach sink. I was definitely going to bore them. To start our lesson on persuasive writing, I was planning a discussion of presidential campaign ads. It had seemed brilliant the night before, but now, seeing students bicker and flirt their way to my door, I was positive they wouldn't care.

Jayur Mehta

After leading me through the maze of bookshelves and cataloguing drawers and into his office in the downtown Charlotte Capers building, archeologist Jayur Mehta motioned me to sit down and began rummaging through opaque rectangular boxes in a corner. Once he found the one he was looking for, he beckoned me to them, smiling.

Living in the Shadow of AIDS

Photos by Ronni Mott

The two-story wood house, white with red trim, sits squarely on a corner lot in Jackson. The grass on the lawn is January brown, the same as in the other yards in the quiet city neighborhood. A locked, cast-iron security door bars the front door, which is topped with a domed, candy-cane striped awning.

Senate Votes for Telco Immunity in Wiretapping

Cochran and Wicker both voted "yea."

The Senate caved to the White House on immunity for telecommunications companies while overturning amendments that would have provided greater checks in the interest of civil liberties. Senator McCain voted in favor the final measure, while Obama and Clinton did not make the vote. Clinton issued a statement from Texas saying she would have voted No.

[Release] Performa Gets ‘Phase One' Loan for Farish St.

[Verbatim Release] Funding Complete for Phase One of the Farish Street Entertainment District; Focus Turns to Phase II -- BB King's Blues Club and Stimley Performing Arts Park

Tuesday, February 12

Can You Get More Irrelevant Than This Guy?

Headline over at MSNBC: "Bush condemns noose displays President says displays 'have no place in America today.'" Thank you, Dubya Bush. Nice to see you go out on a limb there. Geez, Louise.

Obama & McCain Win Virginia, Maryland

This about says it all, I guess, from The New York Times:

To Booze or Not to Booze

Police Chief Malcolm McMillin submitted an ordinance proposal to the Jackson City Council this week that would restrict alcohol retailers from doing business after 2 a.m. The ordinance specifically makes it unlawful for any owner, proprietor or an employee of any establishment with a liquor license to dispense light wine or beer—whether sold or given away—after 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday. The ordinance also restricts businesses from allowing patrons to bring their own alcohol onto the premises after 2 a.m.

Monday, February 11

Hood Renews Call for Campaign Finance Reform

[verbatim statement] JACKSON, Miss. - Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood—as he has done since 2004—is again calling on state lawmakers to reform campaign finance laws.

Friday, February 8

Nebraska Suspends Executions

The New York Times is reporting that the electric chair is "cruel and unusual punishment," suspending executions there until the state can find a more humane way to kill prisoners:

Why the Republican Party Is Tanking

You have to read this Orwellian speech by Veep Dick Cheney this week in which he proclaims that his borrow-and-spend government does not torture, respects the Constitution and "treats tax dollars with respect and restraint." Better yet, read the hilarious annotated version on DailyKos, called "The Wonderful World of Cheney":

Prayers for Adam Lynch's Family

Folks, the JFP was saddened to learn that Adam Lynch's mother died this week after a long illness. Please send your prayers to Adam and his family.

Poll: Obama Would Beat McCain; Hillary Would Tie

A Time magazine poll finds that, thanks to the independent vote, Barack Obama would beat John McCain head-to-head; Hillary Clinton would tie him. Per Time:

Preventing Identity Theft

[verbatim from AG's office] Attorney General Jim Hood, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Better Business Bureau President Bill Moak are joining together with a host of private partners to help Mississippians tak a pro-active approach in the fight against identity theft.

Thursday, February 7

Man opens fire at city council meeting in Missouri

Six people, including the shooter, are now dead:

Creativity in Politics

Here are some current examples I find either to be inspiring, clever, or just plain silly:

It's amazing how a hot-as-fire political campaign can get the creative juices flowing. You get catchy slogans such as "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," or the viral video of a Bush/Kerry cartoon back in 2004 that nearly tore the Internet down because people were playing it so much. I also recall a cool tortoise/hare JFP cover of Harvey Johnson and Frank Melton during the 2005 mayor campaign.

UPDATED: Suspect Arrested in 1992 Murder of Toddler

Updated with new information

[verbatim from AG's office] Jackson, MS-Attorney General Jim Hood today confirmed that an arrest has been made in the 16-year-old murder of a 3-year-old girl in Noxubee County. Albert Johnson (age 51), of Brooksville, MS, was arrested on Monday, February 4, 2008, by investigators with the Attorney General's Office. He is charged with capital murder in the death of 3-year-old Christine Jackson in Noxubee County on May 3, 1992. The little girl was taken from her home in the middle of the night and was raped and murdered. Johnson made his initial appearance on February 5 before Noxubee County Justice Court Judge Dirk Dickson, and was denied bond. Johnson is being held in the Chickasaw County jail.

Ledger Needs Help Finding Positive Stories

Clarion-Ledger Perspectives Editor David Hampton ends his navel-gazing (and defensive) column this week about why his paper is so bad, and so negative, this way:

Feds Say Country Club Employed Undocumented Workers

The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that the feds are targeting the Country Club of Jackson for violating immigration law:

State Farm Suit Against AG Hood Dismissed

As Attorney General Jim Hood predicted yesterday, The Sun Herald is reporting that a State Farm lawsuit against him has been dismissed, allowing the civil investigation of State Farm's actions after Katrina to continue:

In the Cuff_020708


Have no clue what to get the beau in your life for Valentine's Day? Whether he's metrosexual, geek chic or a metal head, you can make a pair of cufflinks to fit his taste.

JSU Town Hall Meeting on HIV/AIDS Today

In honor of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Jackson State University is hosting a "Prevention is Power" town hall meeting today (Feb. 7) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Jackson Medical Mall Community Room. Miss JSU Jasmin Searcy will moderate. Free rapid HIV testing will be provided by Crossroads Clinic, located on the third floor of the Jackson Medical Mall.

Wednesday, February 6

Katie Gill

Some would say trivia is, well, trivial. True, except when your grasp of it lands you on "Teen Jeopardy." Katie Gill, a 15-year-old Murrah High School student, earned the attention of Jackson when she landed a coveted spot on Alex Trebek's knowledge challenge for young contestants. Through the Jeopardy e-mail list, officials made an all-call for teenagers in the area. Gill did well enough on the online test to qualify for the Nashville finals.

Let's (Health) Care For Ourselves

As the presidential race has become more competitive, media are starting to focus attention on specific issues that directly affect the American public. One of the more popular topics in presidential debates in the recent weeks has been health care. There is much need for reform in a severely broken system of inflated premiums and costly plans that doesn't even guarantee coverage to people with pre-existing conditions who can afford it. But the question is, with whom should that reform begin?

Partners For Life

It was lunch time on a Wednesday, and two groups of young adults raced to assemble Spiderman and Diego puzzles without the help of the pictures on the box lids. The point of this frustrating exercise was to demonstrate the second habit of a successful marriage or relationship: Begin with the end in mind. How can a couple move forward productively in their relationship without having a shared sense of what they are working toward?

Exposing A Killer

"It's something you don't want to know," Ken South said, "but you need to know."

Legislative Update—Week 4: IDs and Immigrants

The Senate followed up on the whack-a-Pedro rhetoric of conservative talk radio this month by passing a bill refusing state contract work to businesses that do not screen employees for their immigration status. Judiciary A Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, admitted Senate Bill 2037 would only affect a small percentage of state businesses that have contracts with the government, but added the bill was only the beginning of more far-reaching immigration reform planned by the Senate.

Stanley Cole Indicted

A Hinds County grand jury has indicted former JSU criminal justice student Stanley Cole in the death of JSU accounting major Latasha Norman, 20. Police arrested Cole, 24, last November after he eventually led police to Norman's body 16 days after she went missing on Nov. 13. Police said Cole was a person of interest in the case early on. Investigators found blood and other DNA samples in the trunk of a car traced back to Norman.

Cold Case Revived

Jackson Mayor Frank Melton told reporters last week that he's getting telephone threats for pursuing a murder case against Jackson resident Sherrod Moore. Police arrested Moore last week in the deadly shooting of 37-year-old Jackson Police Officer Robert J. Washington, who disappeared Nov. 14, 1995, while patrolling his beat in Precinct 2. Police located his body the following day in a field near U.S. Hwy. 80 West and Whiting Road.

Kill Telco Immunity Clause

It's odd, really, to hear Republicans on Capitol Hill extol the virtues of "original intent" doctrines for interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Especially when they're so busy subverting the original intent of our Founding Fathers this week in legislation.

[Sue Doh Nem] Love Connection in the Recession

Brett Starrchild: "I'm Brett Starrchild, the other token Caucasian TV host of the Ghetto Science Team Cable Network. Welcome to the final round of the new dating show, 'No Romance Without Finance During the Recession!' Bachelorette Shay-Shay Dupree must ask the three bachelors behind the wall two more questions before she makes her final decision. Which one will she pick?"

[Hightower] Listen Up, Eggheads

Economists have this to say to those of you who see your family's economic fortunes on the decline: "Don't be so glum, chum!"

[Braden] Conversations With (28-plus) Women

Conversations with my two best girlfriends occur while we wait in the drive-thru line for a Diet Coke, during our new baby girl's nap time (we have an 8-month-old in our mix now) or when we are rushing through our grocery shopping. We have accepted this reality, as we are now all older than 28, and have also submitted to the sad fact that our once-profound wisdom has been simplified into Forrest Gump-isms: Life is like a box of chocolates, and sometimes there is sh*t in them.

DailyKos: Obama Now the Front-runner

Kos is making the argument that Barack Obama won Super Tuesday and that now the Clinton campaign is "reeling" because she couldn't accomplish what she needed to in order to cement the nomination:

[Fly] How to Do Valentine's Day, Sans Date

If you've recently kicked your valentine to the curb, don't sit in front of your private bonfire burning every item that reminds you of him or her. Instead throw a "Love Stinks" anti-valentine bash. Have everyone purge their useful and gently used items that bring up remembrances of the ex from hell to offer to the greater good. Everyone gets to pick up stuff they want, then pile everything no one wants into the community bonfire and howl in concert to let it all go up in smoke.

[Fly] Valentine's or Anti-Valentine's Playlists

I used to boycott Valentine's Day, but Cupid finally hit me square in the butt with one of those arrows a few years ago. Now my pro-Valentine's playlist is actually longer than the anti-Valentine's. Hooray for love! But for those of you still swearing off all things Valentine's, I've got you covered, too. Here are my picks for your Anti- or Pro-Valentine's playlists.

Surprise, Surprise: Supreme Court Backs Barbour

Gov. Haley Barbour told us all that the Mississippi Supreme Court would overturn the lower court decision requiring him to follow statute in scheduling the special election to replace Sen. Trent Lott, and he was ... drum roll ... right. His statement today:

[Fly] DIY Play Dough

This year, make a quick and easy Valentine's gift for the kids in your life. Experiment with color, scent and glitter to create homemade Play Dough. Use scents like cinnamon, vanilla, almond or peppermint extracts or any essential oils you have on hand. If you're feeling really ambitious, make a batch of white, a batch of pink and a batch of red.

[Fly] Decadence and Chocolate

On Valentine's Day, forsake your inhibitions and romp with your lover beginning with a little chocolate. Taken to the extreme, it could conceivably lead to cuddling and even (dare I say it) participating in more strenuous lovers' "exercise." And though I am not recommending such dual endeavors, I am not necessarily discouraging them.

[Green Girl] Love the Planet

When I was in high school, chocolates, flowers and stuffed animals on Valentine's Day were a must—the more, the better. Girls came up with elaborate schemes to call each other's boyfriends and make sure that they had spent enough money on bouquets, and that they knew to bring them to school rather than save them for the obligatory dinner date that night. Recipients of dozen-rose-bouquets and larger-than-life-teddy-bears strutted the halls, scornfully passing those of us with single roses—or worse yet, carnations—desperately trying to hide in our lockers.

[Lunch Lady] Setting the Mood, With Food

Lunch Lady is excusing herself from offering you any aphrodisiac advice this year, in part because she realizes that you can't all agree with her on the powers of tweed jackets with elbow patches, cheap cologne and a week's worth of facial hair, and in part because she has a replacement. For this special fly Valentine's Day, Lunch Lady is taking a break and yielding to her French counterpart, La Demoiselle de Déjeuner, who might have a better idea of romance and increasing your (sexual) appetite.

[Fly] In the Mood For Love

Here it is, the much-anticipated Valentine's Fly issue of the Jackson Free Press. Dive in to find hot fashion tips, cool party ideas and do-it-yourself projects, from cuff links to scrapbooks to Play Dough. Read about aphrodisiac foods, fun party ideas and more as you make plans for romance. And don't forget to check out my perennial favorite: tips on how to make your holiday a little greener.

Tuesday, February 5

Super Tuesday Thread

What's your take? Already some suprises with West Virginia going to Huckabee and Ron Paul actually pulling a few delegates. (Are you supposed to say something after typing "Ron Paul" like "Yee-haw!"?)

Jackson High School Press Association Forming

Are you a Jackson-area high school journalism teacher or adviser (or want to be)? Are you a student leader at a high school publication? Are you trying to start a high school newspaper? The Jackson Free Press is joining forces with the Mass Communications Department at Jackson State University to form the Jackson Area High School Press Association (JAHSPA). All area high schools, public and private, are invited to participate in the effort, which will provide workshops, mentoring and other resources to student-run publications, in print and on the Web. Attend the first meeting Friday, Feb. 8, at 4 p.m. at JSU armed with your list of needs. Broad Street refreshments provided. RSVP to Dr. Sunny Smith at [e-mail missing] or JFP Editor Donna Ladd at [e-mail missing] for more information.

Times Columnist on the New Evangelicals

Regardless, this evangelical shift should be noticed ... and applauded, I would add.

In a way, it was great to see the New York Times' Nick Kristof write about the changes that have hit the evangelical movement in this country—specifically the move away from telling women what to do with their bodies and adults what to do in the bedroom toward issues that, well, seem to follow the teachings of Jesus a bit closer like alleviating poverty, protecting the earth ("creation care") and fighting the AIDS epidemic. But the remarkable part is that this column is written as if he just figured this out. (Guess he hasn't been listening to Speaking of Faith religiously every Sunday morning, eh?) And that says a whole lot about the New York media elite—they tend to be clueless about what is happening in the rest of the country, and they still make proclamations on behalf of the rest of us. (I recall that yuck David Brooks using a town just across Maryland in Pennsylvania a few years back as an example of crossing the meatloaf line into "red" America, for instance.)

MVP Eli Chooses Hybrid Escalade

Maybe, sort of, Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning set an example for others when he and fiancee Abby McGrew chose the new Escalade Hybrid as his reward for being named Super Bowl MVP. Some greenies, though, are accusing the SUV of being "greenwashed." But, hey, it could have been worse:

Monday, February 4

Folo Exposes Shocking Hinds County Case

The Folo folks are still doing a great job digging out documents related to Dickie Scruggs controversy, and most compelling and relevant to us here in Hinds County, cases related to former District Attorney Ed Peters, who still has his fingerprints all over more recent, shall we say, situations here in Jackson. This stuff today, on the Keith Shelton case, is being called "explosive" in some quarters. The first bullet points state:

A Giant Upset

Eli and the Giants ruin the season of the Anti-Christ and his godless minions. Perfect Patriots, my ... Archie's kids own the Super Bowl these days.

Bell Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Life

For background on this case, read the JFP's investigative feature, "Grant Me Justice."

Back from San Francisco

Todd and I are just back from several very busy days at two alternative newspaper conferences in San Francisco—one a Web conference and the other AAN West, which is the West Coast staff training for alternative newspapers such as ours. It was crazy busy—Todd gave a presentation at the Web conference (he's very popular there, being such a comedian and all), and I gave a diversity presentation at AAN West. Then we both led roundtable discussions at the Web conference. AND I attended a long AAN board meeting on Saturday. So when someone asked me this morning, "How was San Francisco," I can honestly answer, "I don't really know." We barely left our Japantown hotel (Kabuki; I don't recommend it; they are terrible with the basic details of stuff like replenishing coffee) except to have dinner.

George Bell III Pleads Guilty to Murder

Just saw it on WAPT. The C-L also has an article.

Sunday, February 3

Eli, Eli, Eli ...

Eli Manning and the Giants take down Tom Brady and the Patriots. Insert karma comment here.

Saturday, February 2

Five women shot to death at suburban Chicago mall

CBS News link

There is no known motive yet, and the suspect is still on the loose. What would make a person do something so sinister?

Soldier Suicides Soaring in Iraq

This is a blog on the human cost of empire.

Despite an increased effort by the Pentagon, the Army is reporting that suicides by soldiers stationed in Iraq is dramatically climbing.

Friday, February 1

Save Me From The Old White Men

We hate fat people. Or rather, that is now what everyone in the blogosphere is screaming.

The MS State Legislature made The Smoking Gun today

New Deputy Chief Revives Cold Murder Case

Jackson Deputy Police Chief Gerald Jones announced that police issued an arrest warrant on Thursday for Jackson resident Sherrod Moore, who is a suspect in the deadly shooting of Jackson Police Officer Robert J. Washington. Washington, 37, disappeared Nov. 14, 1995, while patrolling his beat in Precinct 2. Police located his body the following day in a field near U.S. 80 West and Whiting Road. He had died of multiple gunshot wounds to the head.

Gannett's Cookie Cutter Web Sites

John Leek, at Cotton Mouth Blog, has linked to three Gannett sites—including The Clarion-Ledger—that all basically look just alike (although The Ledger's still manages to look the tackiest, somehow). At least Des Moines had the good sense to tweak the color scheme a bit.