Stories for March 2008


Sunday, March 30

Jackson's Cure

How do we save a city in the throes of blight? This has been the omnipresent question for the last 20 years facing residents and public officials here in Jackson. And, yet, how successful have we been?

Saturday, March 29

Bill Clinton—Carville's Mafia Boss?

Does James Carville really think that people should make political decisions based on loyalty above all else? No matter what someone does? No matter who else comes along who is more impressive, and inspirational to a new generation of voters? Carville's "Judas" comment—and this column today in The Washington Post showing no remorse for it—shows how hopelessly out of touch both he and the Clintons are. You don't run a country, or elect a president, based on loyalty. That is patently absurd and and an insult to the American people. Good he's honest about what he's all about, though. This should cost the Clintons even more votes (and watch for the part where he makes it sound like Bill Clinton was the mafia boss who "made" him). This is gross:

Republicans Singing the Blues?

A New York Times Magazine piece chronicles the depression that is setting in for Republicans now that the strategies that gave them temporary power are starting to turn off new generations of voters:

Friday, March 28

VIDEO: Bronx students discuss Obama's race speech

Out of the mouths of babes...

Meeting Addresses Crime, Calls for Tax Increase

Straight talk was the theme at a March 27 town hall meeting on Jackson crime at the Board of Education auditorium in downtown Jackson. The meeting, hosted by the Jackson Police Officers Association and the Jackson Free Press, featured Jackson Police Chief Malcolm McMillin, Assistant Chief Lee Vance, former Assistant Chief Edna Drake, Rev. Hosea Hines, and Det. Juan Cloy and David Domino of the police union. Hinds County DA Robert Smith was also slated to be on the panel, but his assistant called just before the event to say he wouldn't attend. City Councilman Margaret Barrett-Simon canceled earlier the day of the event.

Hillary Clinton Crosses the Right-Wing Line

I tell you, I'm really starting to believe that Hillary is scum. I'm sorry to put it that way, but she is starting to turn me off in entirely different ways than her husband did. And the two of them together is a lethal combination of ambition and hubris. Joe Conason writes in Salon:

Thursday, March 27

The Rev. Wright Controversy: More Than Meets the Eye?

"Dear Jodi: Thank you for engaging in one of the biggest misrepresentations of the truth I have ever seen in sixty-five years." This is how Rev. Jeremiah Wright begins a letter he sent to Jodi Kantor of the New York Times because of an article she wrote that was published on March 6, 2007.

Ron Polk To Resign

Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk will resign at the end of the season, The Clarion-Ledger is reporting. He has recommended long-time assistant and former MSU player Tommy Raffo as his replacement.

Canton Police Arrest Protesters

Canton police arrested demonstrators protesting racial profiling this morning after protesters allegedly violated a city permit.

Melton Vetoes Use of Eminent Domain

[Verbatim release] Mayor Frank E. Melton issued a veto today that will prohibit the use of eminent domain by the Jackson Redevelopment Authority to acquire owner-occupied residential property located west of Jackson State University. The controversial proposed University Park Project-Phase I, consists of single-family homes and apartment complexes that would be constructed on at least 50 acres near the Jackson State University campus and anchored by Dalton Street and J. R. Lynch Street.

"Policing Jackson: Problems & Solutions" – Questions?

Post your questions for the panel or specific panelists below.

The Jackson Police Officers Association and the Jackson Free Press are presenting a town-hall meeting with police officers and other concerned citizens for real talk on fighting crime in Jackson. JFP Editor Donna Ladd will moderate the discussion in the Department of Education auditorium (the old Central High School) at 359 North West Street in Downtown Jackson (print map here) on Thursday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. A reception and fellowship will follow.

Attorney General Amending Beef Plant Lawsuit

[Verbatim from the Attorney General's Office] Attached please find a copy of the Circuit Court lawsuit (645 KB) filed by the Office of the Attorney General against Facility Construction Management and Facility Holding Corporation in a case arising out of the failure of the Facility Group to perform its contractual and professional duties in the construction of a cattle slaughtering and beef processing plant in Yalobusha County, MS.

Philadelphia Coalition Calls for More Justice

Statement of the Philadelphia Coalition

The Philadelphia Coalition—the multi-racial group in Philadelphia, Miss., that called for the prosecution of Edgar Ray Killen for the 1964 Klan murders of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner—want further justice in the case. This weekend they are issuing the following statement, verbatim:

Wednesday, March 26

The Other Side

When I was at Neshoba Central back in the 1970s, I would get called to the office quite a bit. The students around me would look at each other, cutting their eyes from side to side. "What has she done now?" was the question hanging in the air. I was editor of our school newspaper (which was printed in the Neshoba Democrat), and one of my mentor/instigators was Ms. Oneida Hodges, who dressed all in black and encouraged me to sing my opinions at the tops of my non-conformist little lungs.

Lakes Plan Still Alive, Despite Vote?

Photos by Melissa Webster & Mississippi Museum Of Natural Science

Also see: Archive of Two Lakes/Pearl Coverage

Rebirth of a King

What a long, strange, trip it's been. The co-developers of the King Edward Hotel are holding a groundbreaking on March 27, at 11 a.m., after years of the project languishing in the planning stages. Developers, including Jackson attorney David Watkins, HRI Properties co-founder Pres Kabacoff and New Orleans Saints star Deuce McAllister will be on hand with Gov. Haley Barbour to celebrate the "Rebirth of Jackson's downtown and the commencement of renovation" of the King Edward.

A Smoking ‘Play on Words'

A Jackson City Council committee on Monday approved a change to a 2003 city ordinance banning smoking in many businesses, extending the ban to restaurants—unless they have a bar.

Walker, Belafonte Appearing at JSU Civil Rights Conference

Actor Harry Belafonte Jr., writer Alice Walker and filmmaker Keith Beauchamp are headlining the third annual Conference of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement at Jackson State University starting this Thursday.

Workers Rally Against Human Trafficking

A group of about 70 Indian workers marched onto the Mississippi State Capitol Thursday, March 20, protesting treatment by Pascagoula construction company Signal International, LLC.

Legislature: Subtle Casualities

Deadlines both made and spayed bills last week. Many bills passed in the two chambers of the Mississippi Legislature, but now face conference committee to bang out their differences.

Medicaid on Hold?

Rep. George Flaggs, D-Vicksburg, said he wants the Mississippi Senate to belly up and help the House fund Medicaid.

Kill Two Lakes, Enhance The River

A vote this week by the Rankin-Hinds Pearl Flood and Drainage Control District ("Levee Board") appeared to overturn its decision of last July to support a "Lower Lake" plan based, in part, on the Levee Board-sponsored charrette featuring noted architect and city planner Andres Duany and his company, DPZ. We feel that's unfortunate, and hope the Lower Lake plan, if viable and responsible, will still be considered in the future.

[Sue Doh Nem] Gripe, Moan and Complain

Grandma Pookie: "Welcome to the Gripe, Moan and Complain Weekly Business Report with Pookie Peterz. I'm Grandma Pookie sitting in for my very busy grandson. He's preparing taxes for financially challenged citizens, making them eligible for those long-awaited stimulus checks. Something is better than nothing.

[Kamikaze] Let the Chickens Roost

It appears that the chickens did indeed come home to roost. No, not in the Rev. Jeremiah Wright sense. Not even the Malcolm X sense. These "chickens" are a direct product of America's passive attitudes toward race relations. Its longstanding dismissal of the obvious problems between folks of different hues and different histories has now come back to bite it on its hind parts.

[Dickerson] Presidential Politics 101

A word of warning: If you don't want to know who's going to win the presidential election, don't read further.

Spring ‘08 Sports Issue

Welcome to the first installment of the JFP sports supplement. This issue offers previews of state college baseball, the Mississippi Braves and their new radio voice, bloggers-choice sports heroes, NCAA basketball tournament predictions and Doctor S' favorite band of tough women, the Capital City Roller Girls. All of this comes at you in that famous—or infamous—JFP style. Enjoy, and we'll be back around football time.

Behind The Seams: College Baseball 2008

Ping! That sound means one thing: It's college baseball season. And now is the time when the games really count, when teams are playing conference games.

Brave New Voice

It's springtime in Jackson. The days are getting longer, the birds louder, and the shirt sleeves shorter. For the diehard baseball fans among us, this can only mean one thing: Only a week remained before the Mississippi Braves' first home game at Trustmark Park on April 8.

NCAA Tournament List


North Carolina and Washington State. I like it when there is a bi-coastal match up whenever possible.

Michael Rubenstein

Michael Rubenstein's office in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame is cluttered with sports awards and pictures, and a little plastic sumo wrestler stands on his desk. Born in Booneville, Miss., he moved to Jackson for a state job in 1974 after graduating from Vanderbilt University. How he ended up in sports broadcasting and working for a sports museum is serendipity.

Olga's Moving to Jackson

It's Flowood's loss and Jackson's gain when Olga's Fine Dining re-opens in the city of Jackson—in the old Posh location next to Habana Smoke Shop—on May 1. It'll be BYOB. Here's to Olga and her fine Russian cuisine.

The Clintonian ‘Divide-and-Conquer' Strategy

Both David Brooks and Maureen Dowd are skewering Hillary "I ducked, really I did" Clinton in New York Times columns today. Dowd even accuses her to trying to muck it up for Obama, so that she can run against McCain in four years. What's sad is that it seem plausible for the Clinton's style of trailer-park politics. Dowd writes:

Tuesday, March 25

DA and AG Dismiss Case Against Robbie Bell

Attorney General Jim Hood

[Verbatim statement from the AG's office] "The criminal case against Robbie Bell was dismissed today for lack of evidence in the case. The decision was made by both the Hinds County District Attorney's Office and the Office of the Attorney General after an exhaustive investigation and finally, discussion with the victim's family."

New National Articles on the Jackson Free Press

The magazine, Next American City, just published an article about the Jackson Free Press in their new issue. It also quotes Ben Allen, Harvey Johnson and Kamikaze about the JFP and what's going on in Jackson. (In the piece, Ben Allen—who first came up with "JFP Nation" to describe our readership—adds ads yet another descriptor of the JFP when he called us "urban warriors" in the piece. We like it.)

Monday, March 24

ARTICLE: Disabled pregnant woman used as target practice

Six people, including a 12-year-old, are in jail on $1 million bond for torturing a pregnant woman with developmental delays who lived with them.

Subject: Send to your Republican friends all across MS

The following e-mail went around the Sunday before the March 11 primary. When one of the JFP writers got it (through an account for an organization he volunteers with), it had the sender's name listed, as well as a list of other e-mail addresses it went to, including many people who work at a bank in Brookhaven and members of the local business press. We are seeking a comment from the sender.

Friday, March 21

Workers Rally Against Human Trafficking

A group of about 70 Indian workers marched onto the Mississippi State Capitol Thursday protesting treatment by Pascagoula construction company Signal International, LLC. "These people endured a kind of slavery," said Saket Soni, director of the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice. "That is really the word for it."

Is Hillary Clinton's Candidacy Over?

Politico seems to think so, exposing what it calls "the Clinton myth", and explaining why they believe Barack Obama already has the nomination in a lockbox:

Thursday, March 20

Lori Gregory and Emily Braden Guests on Radio JFP Friday

Join JFP columnists and chicks-about-town Lori Gregory and Emily Braden Friday at noon on Radio JFP. They will draw on their social worker and teacher experiences in Jackson to talk about problems facing inner-city young people and what you can do to help. Donna Ladd and Todd Stauffer host. The show is on WLEZ-FM, 103.7 from noon to 1 p.m., and stream live at . Tune in!

Come FLY with us: What to Make from Old Sweaters?

OK, here's a Fly question of the week. We have two old wool men's sweaters here with a few holes in them (moths?). One is black; one is gray. What kind of DIY project would you use them for?

Wednesday, March 19

Capitol Police Re-locate War Vigil at Last Minute

Sharon Lobert, Jackson resident and organizer of the candelight vigil today in Jackson protesting the war in Iraq, said Capitol Police moved the vigil to the steps of the capitol at the last hour. Organizers had originally planned the vigil at the War Memorial, on State Street, but were ferried away to a different location at the last minute.

Don and Becky Potts

Don and Becky Potts' backyard would be noticeable even without the horse. Behind their Fondren home, the couple maintains an elaborate garden and two greenhouses. Somehow, they also have room for Little River, their 7-year-old miniature horse.

The Rocky Race to the White House

Warning: If you're considering running for president, there are several pitfalls to expect, as we've learned over recent weeks.

Legislative Update: Medicaid and Marriage

This week marked either the victory cheer or the death knell for a round of money bills seeking approval. Tuesday, specifically, marked the deadline for the House or Senate to consider bills coming in from the opposite chamber. Among those bills are the House's ensuing attempt to balance the state's ailing Medicaid budget by raising the cigarette tax to $1.18.

Miss. No. 1 in Past Due Mortgages; No. 8 in Foreclosures

According to a new report (pdf) by the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, "Mississippi has the eighth highest foreclosure rate and the highest percentage of borrowers with past due home loan payments in the country. The high rate of delinquency coupled with a very high rate of subprime, or high cost, lending suggests that Mississippi is likely to experience increasing rates of foreclosures in the months to come," the MEPC said in a release.

snark >:-(

Given the chance to be the mainstream media authority during a primary with a shocking turnout, The Clarion-Ledger flubbed it, instead displaying how deep its culture of incompetence runs. On primary night, as networks called the election for Obama before any results came in, the Ledger's reporter-on-the-ground, Natalie Chandler, seemed clueless about what she was watching happen in living color.

Dealing Death

The Senate passed a bill that expands the use of the death penalty in the state. Senate Bill 2921 provides that multiple murders in a single incident or a murder committed in conjunction with an attempted murder—a classification that did not exist in Mississippi until the Legislature took up a bill creating the classification this year—shall constitute capital murder, which comes with the possibility of a death sentence.

Immigration Bill a Reality

Well, he signed it. Gov. Haley Barbour caved in to the screaming fury of conservative talk radio and the raging rant of phone calls and signed into law SB 2988, which makes an undocumented immigrant with a job in Mississippi a potential felon. The bill also makes employees who hire undocumented workers felons, with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Let's Make a Deal

The Mississippi Center for Justice is still looking to buy the old library building at 301 N. State Street, the site of the historic "read-in" by nine Tougaloo College students during the Civil Rights Movement. MCJ, a nonprofit, public-interest law firm, wants to make the building—which had served as the city's "whites only" library until the read-in—the future site of its offices. MCJ President Martha Bergmark said the role the building played in the Civil Rights Movement made it a fitting location in synch with the nonprofit group's prime agenda of providing equal justice to everybody.

‘The Nightmare Is Over'

After serving 18 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, Levon Brooks walked away from the Noxubee County courthouse a free man on March 13. Arrested for the rape and murder of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, Courtney Smith, in 1990, Judge J. Lee Howard released Brooks on his own recognizance on Feb. 15, pending today's hearing. Brooks received a life sentence for the crimes in 1992 after two years in jail waiting for his trial.

One in 100 Behind Bars

America reached a new record this year, but it's not one that comes with bragging rights: We've reached the point where one in every 100 adults is behind bars. In Mississippi, one in every 97.3 adults is in prison or jail.

Pandering for Cheap Votes

Senate Bill 2988, a bill making felons out of employed undocumented immigrants and their employers, is now law. Mississippi Building and Construction Trade President David Newell says the law will help prevent the displacement of working U.S. citizens, while associations that represent employers say a law like this is going to present one more hoop to jump through on the way to filling a thin work schedule.

[Sue Doh Nem] Price-Gouged Victims Unit

bu Sue Doh Nem

Mr. Announcement: "In a recessive economy, opportunists overwhelm financially challenged individuals on fixed incomes with inflated prices. As the price of gas and other necessities increases, poor folk commit desperate acts of retribution. Greed, desperation and retaliation are elements in the stories of the men and women of the Price Gouged Victims Unit."

Vol. 6, No. 27

<b><em>Immigration Lies</b></em>

As a recent transplant from Texas and an American of Mexican decent, I am appalled at the ignorant comments made by some radio personalities and politicians running ads in Jackson regarding the immigration issue. "Pedro" jokes are no less insulting than jokes against African Americans. Unfortunately, though, Mexicans who are here illegally can't defend themselves. Thank God, these same "Billy Bob" imbeciles would not dare to make their racist comments against blacks anymore, but hey, "Mexicans" are fair game.

[Mott] Pulling Hard for Our Future

Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Prize-winner from Kenya, planted seven trees in 1977 in honor of seven women environmentalists. Jailed and reviled for her own environmental activism, Maathai's seven trees became 40 million over the course of two decades, planted by village women in her honor. When she received the call about the Nobel Prize, her first reaction was: "I didn't know anyone was listening." Maathai's story demonstrates power. Her actions generated far-reaching results, even when they were mostly invisible to her.

Flashback: JFP Cover Story, March 19, 2003

As the Jackson Free Press prepared to go to press five years ago this week, we knew that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was immiment. Even as most of the media supported Bush's war, and dissent was unpopular, our consciences told us to speak out against the war, even though we were only a few months old. So we pulled our cover story (about Chief Robert Moore and Jackson crime hysteria; ran the next week), and published this piece instead, "13 Myths About War in Iraq." The cover was an overlay of the word "WAR" over photographs Jaro Vacek had taken of small, local anti-war vigils.

The Emerging Mississippi: Are New Voters Changing State Politics?

Photos by Kenya Hudson

When presidential hopeful Barack Obama entered the Rose Embley McCoy building at Jackson State University on March 10, he flowed easily into the hungry arms of the crowd. At least 100 young people—mostly females—pressed against the metal barricades, screaming and crying to shake his hand, crushing hapless reporters who had the misfortune of already standing at the barricade.

It's About Turnout, Stupid!

Crunching the state's numbers from last week's primaries shows that something is happening in Mississippi. The question is: Will the Obama Effect linger in the state, creating a new political landscape?

The Issues 2008

What's on your mind this election year? As the national media focus on the presidential horse race, and who's sprinting ahead, chances are good that these issues will crop up.

[Lunch Lady] Brand Spankin' New Downtown

In some cities, storefronts are full, and any time one business vacates, there is another one on its heels to take over. In other places, storefronts stay empty for years and fall into disrepair, and the vacancy seems more like an epidemic than an opportunity. The restaurant scene in downtown Jackson seems to be tilting toward the former lately, which is great news for local diners.

[Green Girl] Fewer Cow Pies, More French Fries

One major solution to the problem of global warming is making small changes in our own homes. A multitude of things—cars, factories, power plants—heavily contribute to global-warming pollution. We've heard a lot about driving less, changing our light bulbs, recycling. Even our weekly grocery trips have come under scrutiny. We've talked about the importance of incorporating organic and locally grown foods into our diets. But the issue is bigger than that. A major contributor to global warming is … the cow.

Which is Worse: An Uninformed Electorate or a Bad Newspaper?

The Clarion-Ledger today has a somewhat-admirable editorial blasting the Legislature for passing such a stupid anti-immigration bill. It's called "Immigration: Pandering to fears is shameful." It starts out:

Calling All Shoes! Still Accepting!

Northwest Rankin senior Alecia Edney needs your help. For her senior project, she is collecting used (or new) shoes for women and children to donate to the Center for Violence Prevention, the shelter that the JFP works with to raise money. I met Alecia at the Flowood library in November when Sandy Middleton of the Center and I were on a panel about domestic violence, and she was in the audience and waited afterward to talk to me about wanting to make a difference. I urge all of you to search through your closets to help Alecia meet her goal of 500 pairs of shoes by March 15. I have offered the JFP offices as a collection spot for the shoes. So please drop them off here between 9 and 6 Monday through Friday, or call or e-mail to arrange a good time: 601.362.6121 ext. 2 or sage (at) jacksonfreepress (dot) com.

Monday, March 17

David Paterson sworn in as NY Governor today

Lieutenant Governor David Paterson became the fourth black person in the state and first visually impaired person in the nation to hold the title. Although he became governor due to the resignation of Eliot Spitzer, Paterson still spoke optimistically about the future of New York, with a sense of humor to boot.

Mississippi GOP Politicizes Scruggs Plea

The head of the Mississippi Republican Party is using the guilty plea of Richard "Dickie" Scruggs to try to focus the scandal spotlight away from Republicans and put it squarely on Democrats, especially Attorney General Jim Hood, who was re-elected last November with more votes than any statewide elected official, including Gov. Haley Barbour. Scruggs, the brother-in-law of former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott and known for campaign contributions to both major parties, pled guilty last week to conspiracy to bribe a Lafayette County Circuit Court judge.

My St. Paddy's Day Parade Photo Album

On Friday afternoon, I decided at the last minute to participate in the parade on Saturday. Since this is not something I do on a regular basis, I decided to bring the camera along and take a few snapshots for posterity.

Hot 97.7 No Longer Blazin' Hip-Hop

[verbatim statement] Effective March 17, 2008, HOT 97.7FM has changed its name to 97.7FM WRBJ and no longer promotes itself as "Jackson's Blazin' Hip-Hop and R&B Station." In addition, the station will no longer carry the nationally syndicated Russ Parr Morning Show. 97.7FM WRBJ will now dedicate more of its programming to R&B music that is more appropriate to the entire expanse of the community. In addition, 97.7FM will air the nationally syndicated Rickey Smiley Morning Show.

Sunday, March 16

Civil Rights Museum Part of Tougaloo ‘Master Plan'

Tougaloo College President Beverly Hogan told The Clarion-Ledger today that a civil rights museum has been part of the college's "master plan" for years:

Saturday, March 15

SNL Slams Mississippi

"Saturday Night Live"

"This week Barack Obama won Mississippi with 90% of the black vote and a quarter of the white vote with Mississippi's one Asian guy still hiding indoors afraid to go outside."

Friday, March 14

SI's Don Banks Sees Hope for Saints 2008

In this Don Banks' Inside the NFL column this week, he lists the Top 5 most improved teams of the off season (meaning talent signed and gained), listing the New Orleans Saints at #3 and predicting a rise from 7-9 to 11-5 next season.

Scruggs Pleads Guilty

The Sun-Herald is reporting that attorney Dickie Scruggs has pled guilty:

U.S. House to Consider FISA Bill Sans Telco Immunity

The bill is coming out of committee in the House and should get a floor vote this afternoon. It grants the president many of the powers he wants for roving wiretaps, but it doesn't immunize the phone companies for going along with the administration's previously illegal use of those powers.

Thursday, March 13

Need a Crazy Paddy's Crown? Then D.I.Y.

Don't miss our gallery of "Head Games" crowns that we put together this issue. Much of the JFP staff let me do really crazy things to their heads, and the result is pretty fun. Enjoy.

Chick Talk on Radio JFP; Ladd on San Francisco Talk Show

Tune in as Laurel Isbister, Maggie Burks, Kimberly Griffin and Sage Carter-Hooey talk about stuff we chicks care about—the St. Paddy's Parade, shoes and presidential politics, among them—Friday at noon on Radio JFP on WLEZ, 103.7 FM. (Streams live at

‘The Nightmare Is Over': Levon Brooks Finally Free

After serving 18 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, Levon Brooks walked away from the Noxubee County courthouse a free man this morning. Arrested for the rape and murder of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, Courtney Smith, in 1990, Judge J. Lee Howard released Brooks on his own recognizance on Feb. 15, pending today's hearing. Brooks received a life sentence for the crimes in 1992 after two years in jail waiting for his trial.

Join the JFP Tonight at Pi(e) Lounge

The JFP's monthly Lounge is tonight—Thursday, March 13—at Pi(e) Lounge, Sal & Mookie's new tres-chic cocktail spot. Please join us 6 to 9 p.m. for a specially designed "creative class" cocktail concocted in honor of the JFP (we haven't even tried it yet!), and free munchies. And if you haven't been to Pi(e), yet, now is your chance to visit the hottest little watering hole in town. Oh, and there are also tables out front for what looks to be a gorgeous night. Please join us!

Who Are Mississippi's Top Sports Heroes of All Time?

Folks, we're preparing a special sports issue and want to get your nominations of the best sports heroes from/in Mississippi of all time. Talk to us.

Are ‘HillPublicans' True Dumba$$es?

Just ponderin'. (See Alternet article).

OK, if all these desperate Republicans are going to follow Rush Limbaugh's advice and turn out to vote for Hillary Clinton in order to try to keep Obama (and his turnout) from beating McCain in November, then why in holy hell don't they *not* telling the exit pollsters what they're up to? Because, uh, doesn't it rather negate the purpose of trying to get Democrats to think that Clinton is more electable (when she's not) by 'fessing up to your crossover-crime as soon as you leave the poll booth? I'm thinking this just makes the Republican Party look kinda out of tricks, no?

Wednesday, March 12

Who Did In Doc?

Scott Ross, the reptilian state College Board member and mayor of West Point, is being blamed for the sudden resignation of MSU President Doc Foglesong. And some State fans aren't happy about it.

Lorenzo Bailey

Go to college. Play basketball. Live out your dream.

Seize the Day

What a bizarre, crazy week. As we've been putting together this special Fly issue, dedicated to the madness that is the Mal's St. Paddy's Parade, not to mention lots of loud women running around with padded boobs and butts, we've also been covering the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. To boot, JFP folks have been interviewed by international media curious about what is really going on in Mississippi politically.

Suddenly, Mississippi Matters

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama rocked the campus of Jackson State University March 10, committing to an agenda of ending the Iraq War, universal health insurance and providing $4,000 in annual tuition credits to college students under his administration.

Undocumented Workers, Felons and Fines

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin warned that legislators had better be ready to back up Senate Bill 2988 with more funding if they intend for local law enforcement and jails to cover the impending crowd of convicts.

Legislative Update: It's About Money, Stupid!

The Mississippi House of Representatives deeply involved itself in appropriation bills last week. The House is up against a March 12 deadline to weigh in on "money bills" originating in the House, but it also faces a March 18 end-date for House committees to ruminate over general bills coming in from the Senate.

Voice of Change

Since Mississippi State University President Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong announced his resignation last Friday, students have vocalized mixed feelings about his two-year administration. A decorated four-star Air Force general, Foglesong held promise as a new, strong leader who would promote academic advancement. But many students and faculty members found his dictatorial leadership style overbearing.

Tougaloo Site a 'Done Deal'

A Civil Rights Museum commission appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour approved the location of a planned National Civil Rights Museum, March 11, with a 22-to-9 vote in favor of a controversial site near Tougaloo College. Commission members, including Tougaloo President Beverly Hogan, voted in favor of the Tougaloo location despite outcry from advocates of a downtown Jackson location.

Barbour: Reset Museum Decision

This week, the commission appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour to choose a location for Mississippi's Civil Rights Museum voted 22-9 in support of its location committee's recommendation that the museum be located on property leased to the museum by Tougaloo College.

[Sue Doh Nem] A Black Dog Like Me

Mr. Announcement: "On this edition of 'Animals 'n' the 'Hood,' Poochie, the shiny, black, talking and literate dog, addresses a very sobering phenomenon called 'Black Dog Syndrome.'"

[Kamikaze] Rising Above the Muck

By the time you read this column, the cameras will be gone. The reporters will have packed up all their pens, pads and voice recorders, and moved on to Pennsylvania. All the ballots will be counted.

[Williamson] 100 Years of Waste

You flip a switch, and the light goes on. It's like magic. It is easy to forget how much impact electricity has, how it allows us to work at night, stay warm, send e-mail around the world and compute our debts. But generating electrical power has other effects. It is still one of the largest sources of air pollution, although—primarily due to emission controls—the levels of most air pollutants are dropping, according to the EPA.

For Goodness Snakes!

Professional herpetologist Terry Vandeventer has been studying snakes for 50 years and is Mississippi's foremost expert on snakes (Mississippi, alone, has 55 indigenous species). Vandeventer is a crusader against the flood of misconceptions about snakes, and bears the mantle of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation's Conservation Educator of the Year in 2006 for in his efforts to stomp out the wriggly little lies surrounding reptiles.

Krewe of Broccoli

Can't get enough of Mal's St. Paddy's Parade? Continue the party at home, and have another Mal-athon on your dining room table. You need only to create a krewe of broccoli stalks marching on a street paved with split peas and red beans—and, presto, you've got a green parade. This year's theme celebrates nutrition and health. (Stick the broccoli in candle holders or use pin frogs.)

One Potato, Two Potato, Three Potato, Four…

Mark McCrary, executive director of the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits and enthusiastic St. Paddy's Day celebrant, grew up eating potatoes—the most Irish of vegetables. His mother no doubt used them because potatoes are not only nutritious and inexpensive, but can be cooked in endless ways. Mark was kind enough to share his mother's recipes for scalloped potatoes and ham, and Irish coffee.

How to Make Irish Coffee

Step-by-step instructions for a tasty beverage.

DIY: The Day After

For the past three months I've been stuck inside the four walls of my house, braving this new-fangled "southern winter" we're experiencing, and I am bored. I'm dying in here. I've clung to the fact that the St. Paddy's Parade is only a few days away. I know that, on that day, everyone will once again leave their homes—suspiciously tan—dressed in anything but dull winter clothes. I crave this day every year. The day after the parade? Not so much.

Irish Cocktails

If you can't find anything green in your closet, a green drink could be your best defense against pinchers ready to pounce on their non-green companions. You can add green food dye to pretty much anything and make it festive, but to be truly St. Paddy's ready, try a more organically green cocktail. Below are some recipes that will suit any taste, and if not, I hear absinthe's legal now.

Beer Me Up, Scotty

This St. Patrick's Day, forget the artificially green light beer, and pick up a real Irish beer. The Irish have been brewing beer since at least the 12th century, so you can figure they are good at it. Beer generally falls into one of two categories: lagers and ales. But Irish beer has one more category: stout, or porter.

St. Paddy's Done Right

Follow this St. Paddy's Parade Schedule for the most awesome day possible (compiled from various parade experts):

Queen for a (St. Paddy's) Day

No tiara? No time? No problem. There's a tiara for you 10 minutes (or less) away from wherever you live in Jackson.

Schedule of Events

Hal & Mal's Schedule of Events visit

[Fly] Green, Pink, and Over The Top

Welcome to Fly: St. Paddy's edition. Here at the JFP we are big fans of the Sweet Potato Queens and didn't want to miss our chance to give a shout out to all things green, pink and over the top. But we also know that St. Paddy's weekend isn't just about The Queens, so we tried to find something for everyone. There are paper dolls for the young-at-heart, beer guides and hangover cures for the party-goers, recipes and decorating tips for party-throwers, and more. Hope you enjoy and as always, keep coming back for more DIY tips and creative guides to throwing a party! If you have DIY ideas, get in touch with me at [e-mail unavailable]

The Nation Blogs on the ‘Hell-Raising' JFP

This is how he starts out:

Folks, Bob Moser at The Nation is blogging about our Obama commentary last night, quoting from us liberally (which he asked permission to do because he is a class act). Check it out. (I bet it's the first time that Pike-the-Republican has been quoted by The Nation!). I like the "hell-raising" part, I must say.

Clarion-Ledger Downplays Huge Turnout, Hosemann's Error

Remarkably, even in the light of day, Clarion-Ledger reporter Natalie Chandler is still repeating an abysmally off turnout prediction by Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann as if it were accurate, and she as yet has not corrected or apologized for a massive error about party turnout that she posted on the Ledger site last evening. (Click here for last night's discussion of those errors as they unfolded.)

Another Cheap Shot At Ole Miss

This is wrong on so many levels. Doctor S can't help himself, he has to pass it on.

Tuesday, March 11

OBAMA WINS; Eyes on Mississippi Tonight

Thoughts? Comments? Returns? Concerns?

The polls just closed, and the world is watching Mississippi's Democratic primary. (Sit up straight.)

An Open Letter to Jackson: The Old, Next, and Now Generations

I'm torn. I wrote in my column this week that it is indeed a great time to be alive. These days will be recorded for posterity, and stories will be told to generations not yet here about the year 2008. The year that an African-American and a woman both ran for the presidency of the United States. The year that Jackson saw what $750 million looks like at work. The year that we had a spirited debate on NOT whether we would build a civil rights museum, but WHERE to build the museum. The year that my generation rose up and said NO MORE! We want in! I felt change had finally come to Mississippi.

‘I'm Keeping the House'

Amy Ephron is blogging on Huff Post about women who publicly stand by their cad husbands, as Eliot Spitzer's wife is doing, despite the humiliation:


Beau Rivage Box Office – (888) 566-7469 / Beau Rivage Room Reservations – (888) 567-6667

Showtimes: VariousTicket Prices: $9.95, $19.95 & $29.95 plus tax and service chargeVenue: Beau Rivage Theatre

UPDATED: Civil Rights Museum a ‘Done Deal'

A Civil Rights museum commission appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour approved the location of a planned National Civil Rights Museum Tuesday with a 22-to-9 vote in favor of a controversial site near Tougaloo College. Commission members, including Tougaloo President Beverly Hogan, voted in favor of the Tougaloo location despite outcry from advocates of a location in Jackson.

Monday, March 10

What a ‘Bad Week' Obama Has Had

Since the media narrative flip-flopped once again toward Hillary Clinton in the last week, just how has Barack Obama actually fared. Read Kos' analysis of Obama's "bad week"—including all the superdelegates he's picked up, including Everett Sanders of Mississippi.

Chelsea Campaigning for Mama at Cups, Broad Street

Update: See Roy Adkins' photos of Chelsea Clinton at Cups here.

Obama Speech Streaming at WJTV" border="0" alt="pic" width="300" />

As they did with Senator Hillary Clinton last week, WJTV plans to live-stream the video from Senator Barack Obama's appearance at JSU later this evening. WJTV's e-mail anticipates that things will get underway around 7pm. The viewer widget is below the fold.

VIDEO: Girl in Clinton's "3 A.M." ad an Obama supporter?

You can't make this stuff up.

The young lady, whose first name is Casey, was eight years old in this commercial, which was originally for a railroad. Whoever produced the Clinton ad bought the file footage and used it for her campaign ad. The irony of all of this is that Casey, who is now 17, has been actively campaigning for Obama (she'll be old enough to vote in November), so she was stunned to see herself in Clinton's ad. No foul play here - just plain weird.

Sunday, March 9

Listen to DJ Doc's Hot Talk @ 9 on 97.7 this Monday

601 981 0977 is the request line..

In light of the March 11th vote on the Civil Rights Museum, Ben Allen, Dr. Gene Young and myself will be on 97.7 Monday morning 9am pushing for downtown.

Saturday, March 8

Another Major Victory

Millsaps defeated Mary Hardin-Baylor 57-56 on Saturday night at the Hangar Dome in the NCAA Division III regionals. The Majors are going to the Sweet 16 for just the third time in school history.

Friday, March 7

Rights Museum Hidden Costs, Lobbying Questioned

As a vote to approve a controversial placement of a new civil rights museum looms, a commission member is saying that extra taxpayer costs of locating it in a planned development zone near Tougaloo College are being dramatically downplayed by supporters of that plan. "(Consultants) say the road wll be completed by April 8. That's impossible. ...The road is not going to be able to begin construction until the railroad is raised, and I believe there's some funding missing for the railroad at the current time," Civil Rights Commission member Susan Lunardini told the Jackson City Council Thursday.

Obama Coming to JSU; Clinton Speaks in Canton

Mississippi has suddenly found itself a focus of presidential politics as the March 11 primary approaches, and the two major Democratic candidates scrap for votes. Sen. Hillary Clinton attended the 26th annual Jefferson-Jackson Hamer Day Dinner last night in Canton, and Sen. Barack Obama announced today that he would attend a rally at Jackson State University on Monday evening.

SF Bay Guardian Wins Suit over SF Weekly

Many will rightly consider this insider baseball, but we've been watching with interest a long-standing battle between the independently held San Francisco Bay Guardian (the sort of alt-weekly that defines the term, particularly those with long roots) and the San Francisco Weekly, owned now by Village Voice Media, the largest chain of newsweeklies in the country. VVM owns, clearly, the Village Voice, as well as the Dallas Observer, Houston Press, LA Weekly, Denver Westword, Seattle Weekly, Nashville Scene and others. The company was formed in a 2006 merger between Village Voice Media (which owned 6 papers) and New Times Newspapers (which owned 11), having originated as the Phoenix New Times. Management is largely that of the previous New Times company.

Booming Jackson Topic of Radio JFP Friday

Tune in at noon Friday, March 7, to hear JFP Publisher Todd Stauffer interview Ben Minnifield of Novia Communications and Charles Richardson of the Fondren Renaissance Foundation about the renaissance of Jackson. Show is on WLEZ-FM, 103.7 FM, or listen to a live feed at

Thursday, March 6

JFP Editor on MPB Friday 8:30 a.m.

Mississippi Public Broadcasting will interview JFP Editor Donna Ladd Friday at 8:30 a.m. about next week's Mississippi primary. Tune in at

Mental Health Parity on the Way?

{verbatim email} - House Passes Mental Health Parity Bill - March 6, 2008 By a vote of 268-148, the US House of Representatives on March 5th passed its version of the mental health insurance parity bill (HR 1424), setting up what is likely to be a difficult negotiation with the Senate, which passed its version (S 558) unanimously this past fall. Both bills require group health plans to cover mental illness and substance abuse disorders on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses - equity with respect to durational treatment limits (inpatient days and outpatient visits) and financial limitations (cost sharing, deductibles, out-of-pocket limits, etc.). However, there are important differences between the House and Senate bills that must be resolved.

WJTV Plans Live Stream of Clinton Speech

WJTV called this afternoon to let us know that they'll have a live stream of Senator Hillary Clinton's speech tonight at the Democratic Party's 26th Annual Jefferson Jackson Hamer Day Dinner in Canton. Viewer widget below the fold.

Favre's Farewell

The tears flow as Brett Favre officially announces that he is retiring from the Green Bay Packers after 17 seasons in the NFL. "I know I can play but I don't think I want to," the Mississippi native and former Southern Miss star says. "It's been a great career for me, but it's over."

Clinton's Plan for ‘Forgotten' Afghanistan

Hillary Clinton's Plan for the Forgotten Front Line in Afghanistan

With the Mississippi primary next week, suddenly the Clinton campaign is courting Mississippi voters with a vengeance. This is one of her statements that are filling our inbox today/verbatim:

*BULLETIN*..Special Council Mtg on Civil Rights Museum TODAY 3pm @ City Hall..BE THERE!

The City Council is holding a special 3pm mtg TODAY to vote on a resolution about the future site of the Civil rights museum. We need concerned citizens to show up for public comment and go ON RECORD with your support of a downtown location.

Passing the Torch to Obama

Letter to the editor,

It's a new thing for Mississippians to have the world giving a damn about how we're going to vote on something. But the primary next week suddenly is drawing international attention, and my inbox is filling up with attacks on and support for both Obama and Clinton. Here's a (form) letter from an Obama supporter I got this a.m.:

Wednesday, March 5

[Lunch Lady] Beer Me!

Lunch Lady's friends hear it all the time: Lunch Lady's getting too old for this. Too old for what, you ask? And for what, short of wearing footie pajamas, could a 24-year-old be too old? Well, Lunch Lady is too old to go out with her friends, watch them drink too much, wait around until they're ready to go home, and then follow them here and there to make sure they're not making regrettable decisions. This isn't college anymore, folks. (Well, maybe it is for some of you.)

[Green Girl] Clean, Green Water

With the current bottled-water craze, millions of Americans are paying more money per gallon for water than for gasoline, even though most cities charge less than 1 cent per gallon for municipal water. If you incorporate a few daily changes, and figure out how to filter your own tap water, you can get all the benefits of water without the high cost—and save the environment from all that additional plastic.

The Questioning Soul

What do you do when you're not sure? This question looms over New Stage Theater's production of John Patrick Shanley's 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning "Doubt," but don't expect any easy answers.

Dating the Candyman

After exploring Beijing's Chaoyang district for much of the afternoon, my boyfriend JP and I escaped the heat of the July sun, ducking into a Starbucks. The three stories of the coffee shop were packed with foreign and Chinese businessmen, 20-somethings on their laptops, and friends gathered for a mid afternoon coffee break. After scanning the menu, we both ordered plain coffee and found a seat on the second level to check our e-mail accounts.

Hillary Clinton Comes to Canton

Hot off her wins in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton is turning her attention to Mississippi. Clinton will be appearing tomorrow at the Mississippi Democratic Party's 26th Annual Jefferson Jackson Hamer Day Dinner in Canton.

Playing Civil Rights Favorites?

Animosity continues to rage between advocates of the city of Jackson and friends of Tougaloo College over the proposed location of a National Civil Rights Museum with advocates of a downtown location saying that neither the commission nor the consultants tasked with choosing a location has played fair during the process.

Undocumented Workers, Felons and Fines

Illegal immigrants and employers of illegal immigrants beware. The House passed Senate Bill 2988 by a wide margin today. The bill, called the Mississippi Employee Protection Act, forces all employers in the state to check employees' resident status with the E-verification System, available online at the Department of Homeland Security's Web site. It also makes any undocumented worker and anyone employing an undocumented worker a felon, with a punishment of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.


Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office sent out a bizarro, mistake-riddled press release this week that, ultimately, seemed to avoid taking a position on what to do about "felon voting." The release complained that of the "50,000 criminals which are incarcerated at our expense," "only 12,000 are prohibited from voting." It then added: "Meaning, 38,000 felons are allowed to vote on state officials as well as the judges and district attorney's (sic) who sent them to prison. The release said that the following are not allowed to vote currently: "criminals convicted of murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, false pretense, purgery, forgery, embezzlement or bigotry." Bigotry? Purgery?

Challenging the Next Generation

It was our own hometown David and Goliath story. Bernie Ebbers and WorldCom were the symbol of what Mississippi could be. WorldCom was the lone Fortune 500 company in the state, and Ebbers its ebullient, charismatic, down-to-earth hero. Everyone—from employees to stockholders to Wall Street—were charmed. Believers invested everything, buoyed by the company's phenomenal growth.

OurCity: Jackson Belongs to Everyone

Last issue, the Jackson Free Press told you about SafeCity's attempt to make parts of the city into what one JFP reader called on our Web site, "Baghdad by the Pearl." The "watchdog" group wanted to create some sort of bizarre, gerrymandered "green zone" situation that, essentially, would have allowed the Mississippi Highway Patrol and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith (who is also a state employee) to run our law enforcement.

[Sue Doh Nem] Foreclosure Folly

Mr. Announcement: "Welcome to the premiere television episode of 'The Finance Pimp Gets His Homes Back.' Our story takes place in a barren suburb of foreclosed homes. Predatory lending, sliding interest rates, the 'War on Terror' and a recessive economy over the past eight years have restructured the lifestyles of the working and middle classes who have returned to apartment living.

We're All Newcomers

Thank you for an excellent article on the challenges, myths and realities of illegal immigration ("Los Cuentos Chinos: Immigration Myths and Realities," Feb. 21, 2008).

[Dickerson] Shame on You, Hillary

The weekend after the Texas debate, I saw Hillary Clinton on television losing her cool over Barack Obama's criticism of her health-care plan. I don't think that I will ever recover from the image of her looking a bit like a crazed televangelist, as she scolded, "Shame on you, Barack Obama!"

The Scruggs Saga Comes Home To Hinds County

Photos by Jaro Vacek

On June 11, 2005, Jackson Police Officer Jeffrey Middleton ran a red light on Highway 18 while coming back from Raymond. Middleton had no siren or police lights on at the time, and a cop car without a blaring siren is just another death machine when it decides to ignore a traffic signal. When Middleton slammed into a car making a turn under a green light, driver Desmonde Harris probably didn't know what hit him—and certainly not that it was a man pledged to uphold the law.

Mitchell Shears

Looking like a giant among the three-feet-tall first-graders pouring into the bright, sun-filled hallway of Clausell Elementary School, Principal Mitchell Shears steps into the main office where three students await his arrival. "I know it's good," he says, willing their presence to be one of praise instead of punishment. "Oh, it is," one of them replies. No sooner are the words out of his mouth that a kindergarten student is attached to his navy blue pants leg. "Great morning, Mr. Shears," she says, shaking her head and smiling, as the white beads hanging from her braided hair rattle. "Thank you," he tells her.

Clinton Gets 12 New Delegates; Obama Still Leads

Even as Hillary Clinton is trying to claim a major victory last night—and seems to think that Ohio speaks for the nation—her wins Tuesday netted her 12 new delegates when all was said and done, according to the Associated Press. Still, even though she still trails Obama by 101 delegates, she is hinting today that he should be her vice president (because Ohio said so):

‘Quixotic Do-Gooders': ‘They Really Are Right'

It's good to start seeing the mainstream press in Mississippi taking seriously the idea that there may be many innocent people in our prisons due to a screwed-up judicial system and plain ole racism. Vicksburg Post editor Charlie Mitchell has a good column out about the work of the Innocence Project, which the JFP's Ronni Mott's has been chronicling for months now. Here are some money quotes from Mitchell:

Monday, March 3

Kaze, Councilman McLemore and Matt Allen on Kim Wade Show Wednesday 5pm

FYI..we're going to continue the debate Next Monday on DJ DOC's Hot Talk @ 9. on 97.7.

Kamikaze writes: Tune in today...5pm...As we continue the civil rights museum debate. With myself, Councilman Leslie McLemore, Attorney Matt Allen, and Ben Minniefield. 1180am. Call in with your questions 601 366 1180...

Landrum Campaign Reacts to Voting Revelations

From Bill Lampton, campaign manager for David Landrum, who is running for the Third Congressional District as a Republican/verbatim:

I Have Been On Hold for 91 Minutes ...

I'm trying to call Comcast "customer service," and I've now been on hold for 91, er, 92 minutes with them promising to get with me momentarily. Nice.

Ban Shirley Q. Liquor, blackface minstrel character

What Don Imus did pales in comparison to this disgusting portrayal of black women.

AP Reports on Columbia Training School Abuse

This isn't exactly a new story–see the JFP story from January 2005–but it is good to see the Associated Press taking our training-school horrors to a national stage. The story, about juvenile abuse claims across the country, begins:

Delbert Tries to Hose More Felon Voters?

[verbatim statement from Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann]Jackson, MS—Our current Constitution excludes certain felons from having the right to vote. These include criminals convicted of murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, false pretense, purgery, forgery, embezzlement or bigotry. Yet, there are hundreds of other felonies in which the right to vote is not taken away. The Mississippi Legislature has begun to debate this issue.

Major Victory

The Millsaps men's basketball team is headed to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time after upsetting Centre 69-60 on Sunday in the SCAC Tournament championship game. The Majors are a good bet to host an NCAA regional. The pairings will be announced Monday at 11 a.m.

Sunday, March 2

Would you like to appear in a documentary?

Bridgitte Krupke, producer of a documentary tentatively titled "Red State Blues" will be in Jackson on March 9 and 10, and she is looking for people to interview.