Stories for August 2003


Friday, August 29

The Swami Speaks

It's that time of year again ... college football season. As always, Dr. S is here to tell you who's going to do what and why. But just remember, these picks are for entertainment porpoises only. If you're going to be hanging around town, why not check out Mississippi Valley State vs. Southern U. at Memorial Stadium (7 p.m., Saturday). Valley figures to be better in year 2 under Coach Willie Totten. And Southern is always worth watching, especially when the band performs at halftime. Funny how Valley refuses to move its home games with Jackson State down here and then schedules a game with Southern here. Dr. S expects a big crowd, and a good portion of them with be dressed in Jaguar blue and gold. Valley 28, Southern 27.

A Football Doubleheader

Boy, does Louisiana Tech suck or what? At least they got the satisfaction of losing on national TV. But Dr. S doubts that Maryland and Georgia Tech would agree. The ACC sucks, too. While you're waiting for college football to kick off at 11 a.m., here's columns by Jim Mashek of The (Biloxi) Sun Herald previewing Big 3 college football and this week in the SEC. Enjoy.

"How to Lose the Intelligent Vote, Part I"

Things are looking so positive in Mississippi. State Democrats chose the most qualified candidate for state treasurer regardless of race. Dialogue has started to happen about intelligent issues. There are signs that more progressive voters may turn out to the polls this November. Then: wha-powww, right in the kisser! Dear Gov. Musgrove: Your invitation to bring Alabama's "10 commendments" monument to the Capitol is a silly political ploy that may well lose you more votes than it gains (say, like this one). You are smart enough to know that the reason the First Amendment contains an anti-Establishment clause is in order that the Freedom of Religion can exist and be enforced. By pretending otherwise, and courting the vote of that conservative rural chick in Kemper County, you are insulting the intelligence and thumbing your nose at the support of many, many potential voters in Mississippi who understand that not allowing religious monuments in government spaces will help afford them their religious freedom. You are certainly doing *nothing* to help increase turnout among those who are so frustrated with the lack of a choice in political candidates. You don't play politics with the U.S. Constitution, not if you care about what's in it, or the people you serve. You should be ashamed. Furthermore, it's actions such as these that, in the long run, tarnish the reputation of our state and encourage our bright, young people to go live somewhere else where thinking and intelligence isn't ridiculed and mocked by our political candidates out to pander for some quick and easy votes. We deserve better. (I'm not even addressing Barbour's pander here; he's a member of the Grand Old Panderer party, so it's expected.)

Thursday, August 28

Mayor Johnson's ‘State of the City' Address

In its entirety: State of the City Address, Mayor Harvey Johnson, Jr., August 26, 2003, 5:30 p.m., Union Station

Wednesday, August 27

Dillon Celebrates Women's Equality Day

Gubernatorial Sherman Lee Dillon sent around a statement saluting Women's Equality Day. It reads: "Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate, Sherman Lee Dillon is fed up. As the father of four daughters and the grandfather to three granddaughters, Sherman Lee thinks it is time for Mississippians to heed the rights of our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts -- all women. August 27 is Women's Equality Day. Sherman Lee thinks that it is not enough that women have had suffrage for eighty-three years. More must done to honor women and ensure equality.

Howard Dean jumps to a 21-point lead in N.H.

Building on his incredible momentum, presidential candidate Howard Dean jumped to a 21-point lead over Kerry in New Hampshire, drawing a wide range of support, from liberal to moderate, men and women. The other candidates are in the single digits. This support is coming after a remarkable "Sleepless" tour of the last several days, with Dean raising $1 million on the Internet. See his Blog for America to get in the know about one of the most grass-roots campaigns we've seen in a long time.

Tuesday, August 26

The Pete Rose Mess

Why does Major League Baseball keep torturing Pete Rose? And did MLB reach an agreement to reinstate him? The Village Voice supplies some answers.

The D.C. Expos?

Should Major League Baseball move the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C.? Charles Pierce of Slate says not just no, but hell no. And there are numerous reasons — political, culutral and athletic. (But Dr. S says if you do bring a NL team to Washington, don't call them the Senators ... that was an AL franchise. Instead, call them the Nationals.)

Monday, August 25

More Mascot Madness

Anderson Township (Ohio) High School's nickname was the Redskins until the principal decided to change it in response to a diversity committee's recommendation. But now a student is bidding to keep the nickname. The twist: She's an Inca and says she was promised she could portray the Redskins' mascot this year.

Are We Living In Titletown?

The Jackson Senators have been a success on and off the field in their two seasons at Smith-Wills Stadium. On Monday night, they open the Central Baseball League playoffs (brought to you by Budweiser, America's favorite sports drink) against the Fort Worth Cats. Get out to the park and back our boys.

Sunday, August 24

Thursday, August 21

[Ladd] Gentlemen, Tone It Down

Every day of the past week I've heard someone, usually a white progressive, ridicule City Councilman Kenneth I. Stokes. "He's crazy." "He's a lunatic." "He's a racist." The outspoken Ward 3 representative is disliked pretty much universally in the white community. In fact, moderates and liberals probably dislike him more than conservatives do; his brand of outrageous race-baiting gives some conservatives what they want: a reason to bash black leaders. It's counter-productive at best.

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

Q. I hear you are a cat person, so maybe you can help me out. After putting a bell on my cat, I've noticed several owls hanging around. Do bells attract owls?

[Stiggers] McScruffie, the Crime Dog

"I know only three ways of living in society: one must be a beggar, a thief, or a wage earner." Honore de Mirabeau (1749-1791)

Mobilizing the Hip-Hop Generation

To anyone who watches MTV all day—where P. Diddy, Ja Rule and Nelly dominate the screen flashing fancy cars, gold chains and an entourage of scantily clad women—political empowerment and hip-hop may seem like conflicting terms. But hip-hop has been political in nature since its birth in the youth subculture of the Bronx during the late 1970s. Unfortunately, what started out as a gritty portrayal of what was really happening on the streets has been perverted in less than two decades into a seemingly endless supply of high-paid corporate clowns rapping about little more than the fact that they're rich. Today, mainstream hip-hop is worse than apolitical—it has become a tool to oppress and distract an entire generation of youth, especially youth of color.

[Talk] Common Cause

Slowly, a crowd begins to fill what once was the music store of MusiQuarium in Banner Hall. There are still remnants of the funky shop in nooks and crannies; a MQ neon light here, leopard-covered cushion there. A Blue Moon Café sign, left over from a recent Lemuria reading, hangs over a small stage where Eric Stracener strums softly on an acoustic guitar. It is a diverse crowd of about 30 people ranging in age from 8 to 80 gathered together on Aug. 14 for a common cause: to stop the death penalty.

[Talk] Testing for Tots

Although President Bush has been pushing his "No Child Left Behind" act as a way to help improve the standards of education in public schools, it seems the truth is that no child will be left alone. No matter how young. Even as the scores start rolling in for the first year of federal high-stakes testing—and with educators and families nervously awaiting federal report cards—the Bush administration will begin testing the limits of Head Start and Early Head Start starting in September 2003. Literally. In addition to the local tests these children take each year to chart their progress, 3- and 4-year-olds will now face federal testing in language, math and reading.

[Talk] Social Republicans

Aug. 21, 2003—Barbara Blackmon's race might hurt her chance at the lieutenant governor's post this November, but it might help put fellow Democrat Ronnie Musgrove back into the governor's mansion. That was one of the messages at the Aug. 11 Stennis Institute Capitol press corps luncheon at Hal and Mal's in downtown Jackson where two political scientists, one black and one white, predicted what is in store.

[Talk] The Way to Serendipity

You've been looking at that blank living room wall or that empty display shelf one too many times. Absolutely nothing you've seen has called your name and said, "Take me home. I'm just what you want for that spot." Now see yourself walking into Building 71 at the Mississippi State Hospital on Thursday, Sept. 4—any time between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. There, displayed on walls, easels and tables will be more than 250 original pieces of art and ceramics. Created by patients served by the hospital's Art Services programs and by individuals served at its Community Services Stubbs Homeless Center arts programs, these offerings sit proudly, each one waiting for its successful bidder in the silent auction.

Monica Minter

Seated comfortably with perfect posture, Monica Jeany Minter calmly focuses on the photographer, her eyes never leaving his face until she thoroughly understands his instructions. Nothing about the busy Friday afternoon outside Banner Hall distracts her. The Murrah High graduate is a young lady with a new role—Mississippi's Miss Hospitality. Since being selected in July, 21-year-old Minter—a senior at Jackson State University where she is a political science major with a 3.4 GPA, the current Miss Jackson State and active in many campus organizations—has already been on the job.

Get Your Grid On

<i>Dr. S' Amazing College Football Preview</i>

That chill in the night air (it got down to 75 the other night, brrr) signals that it's almost time for football. And here in Mississippi, the favorite brand of football is college football (unless Junior is playing for the middle school or high school team). College football is what binds students, alumni and fans together for a common cause. And causes them to be rude to other people wearing different colors. As Aug. 30 approaches, there are several burning questions on the minds of every true college football fan:

Important Correction About Run-Offs

In the issue of the JFP out today, we said you could vote in the run-offs on Tuesday ONLY IF you voted in the Aug. 5 primary. The secretary of state's office called immediately to call our attention to the mistake: *You can vote in the run-off* even if you didn't vote in the primary, but you do have to vote for the same party (I suppose, unless you didn't vote at all; then you can take your pick).

Wouldn't It Be Simpler To Just Win?

Here'a another reason to hate youth sports: A team playing in the Junior League Softball World Series had to forfeit a game for intentionally playing poorly. You see, it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

Little League World Series: Don't Believe The Hype

ABC and ESPN are showing every game of the Little League World Series again this year (the championship game is Sunday on ABC). Personally, Dr. S. regards Little League ball as the only baseball on TV worse than your average American League game. And talk about corrupt. Danny Almonte is the rule, not the exception in the history of the Little League World Series. Slate says that the Little League World Series sold out long ago and the actual games are about big bullies beating up on little kids.

Kobe Not Feeling Charitable

Dr. S believes that Kobe Bryant wakes up every day saying to himself, "Surely things can't get any worse." Wrong, Kobe.

Wednesday, August 20

Amy Tuck Revives State Flag Issue

Whoa. How should we read this interesting turn of events? Does Ms. Tuck believe it will be politically expedient to have a rebel flag debate as part of her race against Ms. Blackmon? It seems rather desperate. One thing, though: This story is rather odd: Is she just answering a question about the flag? Or did she bring it up herself? It seems like an important piece of missing information.

Sunday, August 17

Green Party of MS Says Stop Buying Public Offices

(Aug. 16, 2003, press release) The Green Party of Mississippi announces its support for a new project called "White House for Sale" which tracks the special-interest contributions to President Bush's 2004 re-election campaign and analyzes the record of favoritism, conflicts-of-interest and influence peddling related to those contributions. The project is sponsored by Public Citizen, a national, nonprofit public interest organization with 140,000 members, which focuses on returning the power of government to the voters and taxpayers.

Saturday, August 16

Gary Anderson confident about run-off

Gary Anderson, who could become the first African-American elected to state office since Reconstruction, told the Mississippi Link that he is confident about the Aug. 26 run-off with Rob Smith, who is white. "When I looked at the numbers we carried counties all over the state. Our voting strength was not in any one area of the state, but all across the state," Anderson said. "Smith had a very narrow margin even in his own county. We had big numbers everywhere, even in rural Mississippi."

[Talk] Rebels for NAFTA

Every year at the Neshoba County Fair, candidates bring in college students to do their dirty work. They did it back when I was head of "Students for Stennis" at Mississippi State—when, as it happens, Haley Barbour ran against him. We all stuck stickers all over us, screamed and yelled for our candidates, and jockeyed to get our candidate signs in front of the cameras—and in front of the opponent's signs.

School Daze: Testing Madness

As I proctored a classroom full of seventh-graders taking the Grade Level Testing Program (GLTP) test last April in a suburban Jackson public school, I couldn't help but think that some of the children are going to be left behind. The students in this room, although mostly white, were very different from each other. Some were fidgety, others defied any suggestion of authority, one or two were geeky and smart-looking, several seemed more concerned with their appearance than anything else. They all had one thing in common: They seemed extremely nervous about taking the writing exam.

[Talk] Kids in the Hall

At the 29th annual Jackson Music Awards, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Aug. 4, much of the action happened in the hallway. Yes, great music was going on inside, with Jacksonian Bobby Rush headlining, and the awards ceremony honored a veritable who's who from the Southern soul-blues community: Tyrone Davis, Little Milton Campbell, Benny Latimore, Willie Clayton, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bobby Rush, J.T. Watkins, Cadillac George Harris, Jesse Robinson, Big Moody Coney, King Edward, and Henry Rhodes.

Thursday, August 14

Barbour Denies NAFTA Charge

(Aug. 14, 2003, press release from Musgrove campaign) (Jackson, MS) Haley Barbour is trying to deny his involvement with NAFTA and to minimize the scope of his work for the Republic of Mexico. Unfortunately for Barbour, his public record is very clear on these issues. Haley says in 2003: He did not lobby for NAFTA Fact: Haley Barbour himself said at the time that he helped pass NAFTA. Fact: Over 41,000 Mississippi jobs were lost due to NAFTA (Economic Policy Institute)

Electronic Voting Easily Hacked?

The Washington Post reports that many states are backing away from electronic voting machines: "Since being released two weeks ago, the [Johns] Hopkins report has sent shock waves across the country. Some states have backed away from purchasing any kind of electronic voting machine, despite a new federal law that has created a gold rush by allocating billions to buy the machines and requiring all states, as well as the District of Columbia, to replace antiquated voting equipment by 2006."

Tuesday, August 12

Open Primaries in Mississippi?

Is the closed-primary system outdated? The Sun-Herald explores.

Thursday, August 7

"African Americans for Dean" Site Launches

It's intriguing to watch the efforts of the Dean campaign to reach out to the black community. Earlier today, the campaign announced that he has appointed a new deputy campaign director with impressive credentials of organizing in the black community. Now, Courtney Smith of Florida has announced a new African Americans for Dean Web site. I think the real test of this new grass-roots campaign is whether Dean can turn his success on the Internet with young, white progressives into a broad-based campaign that reaches into every American community. Let's keep watching.

Sun-Herald: A Question of Priorities

The Sun-Herald today editorialized about Tuesday's election: "Last year, 43,466 Harrison Countians decided it was worth a trip to the polls to vote on a flag. This week, 22,280 Harrison Countians decided it was worth a trip to the polls to vote on who would be the Democratic or Republican party nominee for governor.

Chasing the Youth Vote

Here's a story from Wiretap magazine about the strategies (and lack of) behind luring the youth vote. This talks about the Harvard report that our teen columnist Jessica Kinnison wrote about in the last issue. Not surprisingly, the writers find that "Generation Dean" is the only presidential campaign figuring out how to tap into young voters--and that is genuinely trying to increase turnout. They write: "What Generation Dean has figured out is that young people want to feel powerful. Young progressives are disgusted with Bush, and at this stage of the game, with no campaign announcement from Ralph Nader or any other third-party candidate, the Democratic Party is the only alternative. Dean, sensing the discontent of young partisans, said in one campaign speech, 'If you want young people to vote in this country, we had better stand for something, because that is why they're not voting.'" Mississippi candidates would do well to heed this advice.

[Stauffer] Where the Sidewalk Begins

I stepped out of Peaches Restaurant on Farish Street the other day after stopping in to hear Dorothy Moore sing and to celebrate her recent album release. When I got to the curb, my feet turned away from the car and headed south down what there is of the sidewalk that borders the torn-up street. This, I thought, is the Entertainment District. In a word, it's a mess. But, I thought, it seems to be a little less of a mess than it was a few months ago.

Reed Branson: Race No Longer a Factor?

Commercial-Appeal writer Reed Branson examines the Mississippi primaries in the light of their race implications: "Mississippians are once again about to dance with, or around, the awkward issue of race. And if history is an indication, it will be tense and sometimes clumsy. But it also could be a watershed moment."

So Little Time, So Much Blather

The Seven Minutes That Shook The World went down Wednesday as Kobe Bryant made his first appearance in court on a sexual assault charge in Eagle, Colo. As expected, the entire thing was a four-ring circus (counting the one he gave to his wife).

Is It Too Late For A Bass Action Suit?

Dr. S read in the latest JFP that Lance Bass of *NSYNC is being inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame. Lance Bass? LANCE BASS!!??? What th ----? Muddy Waters, Elvis Presely, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Rodgers and Lance Bass. Which of these do not belong in the hall of fame? Holy crap!

Wednesday, August 6

Kamikaze: Left Behind, by Alphonso Mayfield

The term "kamikaze" is a well-known phrase used to identify Japanese pilots who flew suicide missions during World War II. However, the term has a much deeper significance with the translation of the "Divine Wind." The last translation is a remembrance of two seemingly divine storms that crushed the attempts of Kublai Khan to invade Japan in 1274 and served as inspiration for those famed pilots. So on the surface a kamikaze can mean many different things. Like the term, rapper Kamikaze, born Brad Franklin, is not what he appears on the surface.

[Talk] Musical Education

"A significant part of our mission is education," explains Malcolm White, executive direction of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame. "Both getting Mississippi music education in the public schools and educating the general public about Mississippi's extraordinary story in the development of America's popular music." To that end, the fourth annual Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame (MMHOF) induction ceremony is complemented this year by two new events, a youth talent search and a seminar on the music industry. The latter, to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Thursday, Aug. 7, at 6 p.m. ($20 at the door), features *NSYNC vocalist Lance Bass and a panel of music industry heavyweights, who will provide insider's tips about breaking into and succeeding in the entertainment industry.

[Stiggers] Fall for These Books

"Kizzy Speaks: Massa George and Me" is a delightful narrative in ebonic dialect by Condoleeza Rice as she extols the virtues of the M.C. George Bushy's "I'm Not Down with WMD Pre-emption" Reggae Tour of African Nations. Lynne Cheney provides a poignant standard English introduction.

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

Q. I was reading your column in the July 10-23, 2003, edition and saw the question about the best fried chicken in Jackson. I was entertained, but a little disappointed in your response. You never answered the question. Now, maybe I can be of some assistance.

Tough Questions: Gov. Ronnie Musgrove

They said they'd give me 15 minutes. I took 23. In that minuscule amount of time—enough time for sound bites, but not as much substance as I'd like—I tried to pack in as much meat as possible about issues that matter in the state of Mississippi. I really wanted to focus on the No. 1 issue facing the state of Mississippi, the big kahuna that, as GOP opponent Mitch Tyner wisely pointed out at the Neshoba County Fair a week later, will pretty much solve all the other problems if we can get it right. In my interview with Musgrove, and at appearances I trailed him to over the next week to make up for the 23 minutes, I was impressed with the fact that he likes to talk education—even though he's not asked that many questions about it.

Blackmon Makes History

Will Barbara Blackmon become the first African-American -- and a woman at that!? -- to be elected statewide in Mississippi since Reconstruction? Time will only tell.

Sherman Lee Dillon's "Blog" ... of sorts

It's not a really a blog—you can't post comments—but Dillon's gubernatorial race journal is the closest I've seen to a candidate posting a blog, and direct comments to the voters, in the state. Dillon's race for governor on the Greens ticket officially kicks off today.

Treasurer Candidates to Run-off

Cindy Ayers-Elliott told me last week that Rob Smith was the candidate to look out for. She was right.

Election Returns

Get updated election returns from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Election Snafus Reported Statewide

The Sun-Herald reports about problems at the polls.

Love That Cup

I know that Jackson Free Press readers don't rate Popeyes chicken as the best in Jackson, but the fast-food restaurant has a neat cup it's giving away. It pays tribute to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and features the hats of Negro Leagues teams. It's a small thing but Dr. S thinks it's neat. Call it lagniappe.

Blogging the Body Politic

Read about presidential hopeful Howard Dean's remarkable grass-roots blogging campaign. And add your voice at the end: Will this campaign change politics as we know it?

Kobe's (First) Day In Court

NBA superstar sexual predator Kobe Bryant gets his first day in court on Wednesday at around 5 p.m. CDT. Pick just about any channel, almost all of them will be showing it. How will the Kobe case rank among sports celebrity trials? But whatever happens, it won't be good for the NBA, no matter what idiot Mavs owner Mark Cuban says.

Tuesday, August 5

Will You Bother to Vote?

There's no argument that the right to vote has been hard won in Mississippi, but this election year only a fragment of the state's citizens, black or white, is likely to bother to lock down a decision at the polls. You'd think after all the work that went into ensuring the right to vote here that it would be something to savor, if but for the sole excuse of slipping away from the workplace for an hour or just for the sake of democracy.

Monday, August 4

No More Nutella for Kobe

Bad news for Kobe Bryant: On Monday, two days before his initial appearance in court on a charge of sexual assault in Eagle, Colo., he lost his endorsement deal with Nutella, the chocolate-flavored hazelnut spread that's a big seller in Europe but no threat to replace peanut butter over here. (But Dr. S likes it.) The judge said Bryant has to show up in court, a rarity and major pain in the ass for a major celeb like K.B. Meanwhile, Bryant apparently had too much time on his hands over the weekend, so he went to the Teen Choice Awards to pick up a date, er, I mean, a trophy for favorite male athlete. Bad move, Kobe. After all, a teen choice is what got you into this mess.

[Kinnison] Engage This

"One of the most patriotic things you can do in this country is protest." — Keith, 21

[Stiggers] Darned Good Rhyme

In an effort to reach a younger audience, DGI (Darn Good Intelligence) and Bring Em On Records present M.C. George Bushy's new hiphop single "Back Dem Tanks Up: Speech Aftermath, pt 2 (The Remix)" from the CD "Those who Know Don't Tell, and Those who Tell Don't Know"—featuring George "Blame it on the Rain" Tenet, Condoleeza "Kizzy Speaks" Rice, Colin "Where's Waldo" Powell and the White "In the Howse" Staff. Here are a few lines from the single. ...

[Talk] Alabama on our Minds

In an effort that riveted the attention of the nation and even got Alabama favorable copy on The New York Times editorial page, Alabama's Legislature passed the largest tax increase in that state's history on July 7, 2003. (It's now headed for an up-or-down voter referendum on Sept. 9, 2003.) The act, spearheaded by the state's freshman Republican governor, Bob Riley, was designed to make Alabama's tax code less regressive by shifting some tax burden from the poorest Alabamans to the richest landowners and corporations. The goal: Increase revenues to fill a projected $800 million shortfall in the Alabama budget. Oh—and the governor wants to please God.

[Talk] Opening Doors

Too many physically challenged voters can't get to their polling place and inside to vote, says Mary Troupe, director of Mississippi's Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities. She described a situation a few years ago when she (a paraplegic) went to vote—only to find the doors locked. This issue has grown into a major concern as many citizens and politicians alike have started realizing that this society must accommodate the many types of people living in it. Previous elections might have missed out on many would-be votes due to inaccessibility.

Warming Up For Football

Players for the state's Big 3 college football teams, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss reported to campus on Sunday. They begin practice on Monday. All three play their season openers on Aug. 30. The rest of the state's college teams will begin practice this week. The high school and pro teams are already in camp. Ah, football season ... you can tell from the sauna-like weather it's getting close. Stay tuned for Dr. S' previews. And remember, his predictions are for entertainment purposes only. (They make me say that. You should bet the house on the teams Dr. S picks.)

Sens vs. the Fly Boys

The Jackson Senators open a three-game series at home on Monday night against the Coastal Bend Aviators. The Senators lead the Central Baseball League's Eastern Division'; the Aviators are atop the Western. This could be a CBL championship series. Regardless, it's baseball in J-town, so Dr. S prescribes a visit to Smith-Wills. Drink a beer, eat some ballpark food and enjoy.

Sunday, August 3

Bill Minor: Watch legislative races

This Tuesday, the state legislative races are some of the most interesting races to pay attention to, columnist Bill Minor writes.

Friday, August 1

Barbour Files Campaign Finance Report

The following are details of the report for the period of July 1—July 26, 2003:

[Trent Lott column] Beyond Casinos

I will be in Tunica County soon to officially open the new Tunica Airport. As most Mississippians know, Tunica County is one of the handful of Mississippi counties where citizens allow legalized gaming. No matter what one's opinion of gaming, one cannot deny that it has helped make Tunica County a much different place than it was decades ago, when the infamous "Sugar Ditch" was known worldwide as America's poorest spot. Yet, history teaches Mississippians to be wary of putting all of our economic eggs in a single basket, lest we risk a return to "Sugar Ditch." This is why projects like Tunica Airport and other infrastructure initiatives are so important.

Musgrove Campaign Holds $4 Million Cash on Hand

(Jackson, MS) July 29, 2003/press release: As required by state law, Governor Ronnie Musgrove's reelection campaign today will file its campaign fundraising report with the Mississippi Secretary of State. Musgrove has raised a total of $5,448,312 for his campaign to serve a second term. Between July 1st and July 26th, Musgrove reported raising $600,519. Governor Musgrove holds $4,070,500 cash-on-hand to face whomever emerges from next week's August 5th Republican primary.

Eat Free or Die

Radio ads announced a once-every-four-year opportunity for free food: the GOP candidate forum to be held at the Sports Museum on Lakeland Drive. A sucker for free food, I have subjected myself over the years to fried string cheese, frozen egg rolls, stale chips and bland salsa at many a Happy Hour buffet. Since political party registration would not be checked at the door, I headed for the museum.

[Talk] What's in the Water?

The City of Jackson was inconvenienced last week when officials released a precautionary boil-water alert because samples showed bacteria that can cause digestive problems. Everyone scrambled for alternatives. Residents lugged home gallons of store-bought water and cringed when they realized how hard it was to remember not to turn on a faucet. Restaurants fussed about ice and soda fountains. We're so accustomed to relying on a safe water source, and we're so used to expecting "them" to protect us. We're so spoiled to the convenience of turning it on and trusting it to flow and be safe. This alert caught everyone completely off guard when it showed up so "suddenly."

Run for Your Life

Just what is it about runners? They will get up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to race 3.2 miles at 8 a.m. and pay to do it. I'm thinking someone should pay me to get out of bed on a Saturday morning to go run. I did walk the Governor's Cup Race one year but stopped off at the Lamar to have breakfast, so I didn't finish. I did finish Port Gibson's Dilla Dash, tied for last with a gentleman on one crutch and his golden retriever.

[Drive] Less Than Zero

Ms. D likes to point out that I'm less of a car reviewer and more of an obsessive car shopper. She's right on many levels—while I like to take sports cars out for a spin, I don't quite covet every muscle car that comes down the line. I like a lot of cars, and I enjoy driving just about anything different. But what I really like is the idea of getting a good deal. I like a car that's practical and efficient and affordable at the same time. And I'm a bit of a sucker for that new car smell, too.

C-L Endorses Blackmon, Tuck for Lt. Guv

The Clarion-Ledger pointed to Blackmon's experience in the Senate to choose her over Democratic challenger Jim Roberts for the Dem nod, and to take on Tuck in November. Sid Salter pointed out in his fairtime column correctly that Blackmon's place on the ticket could help interest more black voters, which in turn could hurt Haley Barbour come November. He also pointed out that the black woman's race (to be the first black elected statewide in Mississippi since Reconstruction, by the way) could "result in an awakening of the 70,000 additional rural white male votes that Republican Kirk Fordice was able to get to the polls in his 1995 re-election." Presumably, all those presumably angry white guys would never think of voting for a qualified black woman as lieutenant governor. Talk about the bigotry of low expectations; maybe this year is the year that the state's voters will start bucking, er, conventional political wisdom. Let's hope.

Opponents: Barbour Helped Mexico Steal Miss. Jobs

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports on assertions by both Tyner and Musgrove yesterday at the Neshoba County Fair that Haley Barbour's lobbying for Mexico cost jobs in Mississippi. "The primary criticism of Barbour centered around his representation of Mexico as a lobbyist. Musgrove said Mississippi had lost 41,000 manufacturing jobs to Mexico since the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed by Congress in he early 1990s."

Fridays: Malcolm X Radio Show

Play Rugby!

Play Rugby, the toughest full-contact team sport you will ever love. All are welcome with no skill required. Jackson Rugby practices every Tues. and Thurs. 6 - 8 p.m. at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Madison. 714-4444.

[Talk] Broken Promises

"The AmeriCorps program is in a crisis," wrote its Mississippi director, Judy Stein, in a June 17, 2003, letter to Congress. And that crisis may leave Mississippi the hardest hit in the nation, with a 67-percent reduction in services—from reading programs to care of the disabled to Boys & Girls Clubs—as early as this fall. The AmeriCorps program, started by President Clinton and heralded by President Bush in his 2002 State of the Union address as a way Americans could together rebound after Sept. 11, is in a confusing mess on Capitol Hill. Many AmeriCorps supporters—including conservatives at the American Enterprise Institute—blame Bush for not following on his promise to increase AmeriCorps enrollments from 50,000 to 75,000 members.

[JoAnne] Tell Me the Truth

<b>No Amount Of Lovin'

Q. I'm thinking about getting married. What is the one best piece of advice you can give me?

[Spann] Tonight, Baby?

The nubile young bodies writhing on our television screens and the sultry voices emanating from our radio speakers would lead most of us to believe that Americans are having great sex … and a lot of it. But is that really the case, particularly among married couples?