Stories for December 2003


Wednesday, December 31

Malcolm White, Super Chikan, Rankin Schools Honored

Bowl. Liberty Bowl.

Dr. S has to confess that he's been largely ignoring the college bowls in favor of Spike TV's 7 Days of Bond. You can't watch those James Bond movies enough. Even the bad ones are good. Most bowl games, on the other hand ... ugh ... OK, since Southern Miss is going to play Utah in the Liberty Bowl in, oh, 30 minutes or so, it's time for some pithy Dr. S analysis on the big game: USM 31, Utah 21.

Comic David Cross on voting and f*ckin' bumper stickers

Wiretap's Dan Hoyle interviews comic Dave Cross: "It's pretty galling that I know people will wait in line for a weekend to see a f*ckin' movie that's gonna be there for three months, but won't wait in line for 12 minutes to vote. If not for yourself, then for everyone else, it's truly one of the most selfish things you can do. Just the fact that you won't educate yourself on the issues. It's truly one of the most selfish things you can do. Especially because so many people have suffered to obtain that right, or obtain the idea of that right."

Tuesday, December 30

[Drive] Year of the Mini?

As another year fades into our collective rearview mirrors—OK, that was cheesy—it offers an opportunity for us to take a look at what the future may hold for us in an automotive sense. Around our household it turns out that 2004 will likely be the same as 2003, if Ms. D has anything to say about it—the Year of the Mini. But despite a recent home screening of "The Italian Job" (which is known around here as "the Mini movie," and has little else to recommend it), I think there's still a little more of an automotive frontier to be explored before we start sending our payments back to Bavaria. Here's a look at some of the things that are in store for 2004.

[City Buzz] Colonel Snoop Reporting for Duty, Sir

JACKAL SMOKED OUT … Like the rest of the world, Jacksonians of all political persuasions were all aglow in the days leading up to Christmas over the capture of long-time dictatorial butcher Saddam Hussein. We were surprised, though, to see how quickly some locals tried to make political hay out of the capture. Within two hours of the announcement, one loquacious blogger posted on the JFP site, "Game, set, and match. 4 more years. Yeeeeeeeehawwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!" About the same time, a local businessman sent around a photo of the bearded Saddam to his e-mail list, saying simply, "Recent photo of potential candidate that can out do even Howard Dean in demonizing 'W.'" It was forwarded to us by an artist with the subject header, "It didn't take long." We prefer a simple non-partisan "good riddance" to the Butcher of Baghdad. …

Monday, December 29

Saints: The Agony Continues

The New Orleans Saints' miserable season came to a merciful end on Sunday when the Saints defeated the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys, 13-7. The Saints finished 8-8, but were one missed extra point away from a possible 9-7 (and several stupid plays away from making the playoffs). In many ways, the Saints are what the NFL has become in the era of free agency. Just about any team is only a few plays from going to the Super Bowl. Dynasties are a thing of the past. This year's doormat could be next year's champ. It may drive the sports media (and bettors) crazy, but one can't argue with the results. The NFL is more popular than ever (and one of the few pro sports whose TV ratings have actually gone up this year). ... Paging Mr. Horn ...

[Spirituality] Hooked on Kwanzaa

Like a sunlit praise house in the middle of the woods, Kwanzaa is a wonderful retreat in an insane world, a laying-on-of-hands for my soul, a season to reflect on the past year and to fortify myself for coming challenges. But mostly, it is the time to dwell on the principles of Kwanzaa, to commit to living by them every day. I didn't really begin observing this cultural holiday until I moved to the Midwest in the early '90s. I was hooked from my very first Kwanzaa celebration, and this week of assessment, collective planning and rejoicing has become my favorite time of the year.

Saturday, December 27

The Death of Horatio Alger

Paul Krugman writes aboutreading "a leftist rag that made outrageous claims about America. It said that we are becoming a society in which the poor tend to stay poor, no matter how hard they work; in which sons are much more likely to inherit the socioeconomic status of their father than they were a generation ago." That "rag," he says, is Business Week. "The article summarizes recent research showing that social mobility in the United States (which was never as high as legend had it) has declined considerably over the past few decades. If you put that research together with other research that shows a drastic increase in income and wealth inequality, you reach an uncomfortable conclusion: America looks more and more like a class-ridden society. And guess what? Our political leaders are doing everything they can to fortify class inequality, while denouncing anyone who complains -- or even points out what is happening -- as a practitioner of 'class warfare.'"

Friday, December 26

God is not a right-wing zealot

A compelling story in Salon: "In the heart of the Bluegrass, a Bible Belt preacher is rallying people to political action around what he calls 'basic religious values.' Think you can describe his politics? Think again. This man of the cloth wants 'regime change' in Washington. The Rev. Albert Pennybacker, a Lexington, Ky.-based pastor, is head of the Clergy Leadership Network, a new, cross-denominational group of liberal and moderate religious leaders seeking to counter the influence of the religious right and to mobilize voters to change leadership in Washington. Pennybacker, affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a pastor of 35 years, is tired of the conventional wisdom that equates religiosity with conservatism. Nationwide, he says, the religious right often squeezes out the left in public debate. The group is 1,000 members strong -- and growing.

Tuesday, December 23

Bennie Thompson to endorse Howard Dean

AP is reporting that Rep. Bennie Thompson plans to endorse Howard Dean for president: "Dean's campaign had said Thompson would have a conference call on Monday with reporters and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke to announce Thompson's endorsement and discuss 'African-American outreach and strategy.' Thompson, a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus, said he's ready to endorse Dean, but not quite yet. 'I will make an endorsement, probably by the first of the year,' Thompson said. "I've looked at all the candidates. And Dean, in my estimation, has the best chance of beating Bush.' Unlike the other Democratic candidates, Dean is 'willing to discuss controversial issues,' Thompson said."

[Arts] We Are All Guinea Pigs

They are planting an olive grove in Brookhaven at the Mississippi School for the Arts. Olive groves line the hills in the Mediterranean, a testament to previous generations' forethought, labor and stewardship with the gifts of the land. While the Mississippi School for the Arts may not really be an idealized paidea under the olive groves with Socrates as a teacher, it may be as close as we can get in the 21st century in Mississippi; it is a work of art in progress that will benefit future generations exponentially.

Do Not Disturb

I first met Beaux Miller in 1996 at Fenian's. How he struck me there behind the bar, pouring, smoking, chuckling, angry one minute, ebullient the next, gathering a customer in for a joke, a bracelet jangling against a poised bottle of Beam, a plaque with his name on the wall: not Bo, as in a pet or frat brother, but BEAUX, an event.

The Frame Is Crooked

"If I could just make it to daybreak/Maybe I could find my way by the light of the sun

[Ask JoAnne] Avoid Shopping Hangovers

Q. Do you think rampant consumerism is ruining the true meaning of Christmas?

A. My dear, dear one, whoever you are, how do I begin? Rampant consumerism can ruin anything, of course, particularly one's pocketbook. But whose rampant consumerism are we talking about? Only my own pursuits of unbridled materialism can ruin my Christmas. I'm certainly not going to let someone else's out-of-control spending spoil the best time of the year for me. Over the years I've developed a couple of rules for getting in control of Christmas spending.

Caleb Hampton

If it weren't for the deep teal blue sign perpendicular to the street, I wouldn't have noticed the unassuming rectangle of concrete blocks at 3028 W. Northside Drive. Caleb Hampton, a Jacksonian who will turn 56 on Jan. 1, has owned and operated Hamp's Place, what I call an old-school-style club, since 1997. He opened his first club, Stardust, in 1975, back behind Hamp's on the Strip—on Moonbeam Street, just one block past Sunray Drive. It took some convincing by a friend who ran Birdland, but finally Hampton gave in. "I said, 'I'm going to try it for a minute,' and I've been trying it ever since," he told me in a deep, quietly resonant voice.

[Stauffer] To Peace and Prosperity

As I'm writing this, the Dow seems to have settled into a new level over 10,000 and up about 25 percent on the year. Our abysmal unemployment numbers have seen a little improvement recently (although some manufacturing jobs would be nice), and orders for durable goods have been up in past months along with GDP growth. That's all pretty good news, and it's news that I hope translates into peace and prosperity for all of us in the new year. There is, of course, a lot of work to do—particularly in government, where the red ink flows at both the federal level and here in the state capital.

[Taylor] Isn't It Ironic?

"And I want to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the negro race into our theatres, into our swimming pools, into our homes and into our churches."

[Stiggers] Post-Saddam Clearance Sale!

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is in jail. So it's time for a sale! Pookie Peterz, your international hustler, has capitalized on other people's property, and he is coming to your city with the greatest sale of 2003. Since the recent fall and capture of the totalitarian Iraqi leader, Pookie and his Hustler's international retail experts have smuggled—oops, I mean acquired—several valuable items from the headquarters and palaces of the former Iraqi dictator.

Idiot's Guide to Cocktails

Looking back over the last couple of decades, I've certainly enjoyed my serious journalistic life. But I must admit that some of my best times, my favorite memories, involved not just having fun, but helping other people have a good time—whether by hosting a fun party, deejaying at clubs, emceeing events or mixing drinks as a bartender. And I don't mean throwing together some vodka and tonic and a hunk of lime. I mean creating and serving delightful cocktails—heavenly and other-worldly concoctions that make your toes tingle and your tongue dance in delight: true golden margaritas; unpredictable martinis; saucy mojitos; and my all-time-favorite drink, the Brazilian caipirinha.

Sunday, December 21

Asleep at the Budget Wheel?

According to an AP poll, President Bush's economic policies are playing better with the country this week—the stock market is up, consumer confidence is rolling along and Bush's economy approval numbers bumped up to 55% approval and 43% disapproval.

Saturday, December 20

[City Buzz] Screw ideology; Mississippians want health care

MOVE OVER, VERMONT: The John C. Stennis Institute of Government announced the surprising results of a statewide poll on Dec. 8, showing that a wide majority of Mississippians want the state to pay more of their health-care coverage, and are willing to raise some taxes to pay for it: 78 percent favored guaranteed health coverage for every Mississippian, and 74 percent said they would pay higher taxes to make it happen. Of the 78 percent, 87 percent were Democrats, and 70 percent were Republicans. A full 89 percent want every child covered; 70 percent want smoke-free public places; 66 percent want smoke-free restaurants; 56 percent want the government to spend more to fight AIDS and STDs. The full results of the study are at …

The Cakemaster

"Hey Babycakes!" she shouts, eyes wide open, as I enter. "Come in!" Nestled between the JPD traffic division and Swann's gun repair on Old Canton Road, is a tiny green shop called Obbie's Cakes and Chocolates. Inside, a tall fair-skinned lady, Marsha Rose Davis, has just pulled her chestnut hair into a ponytail and started hand-sculpting a pound of white chocolate into a fruit topiary.

[Stiggers] Afrocentric Ghost of Kwanzaa Present

"Terminator 2003: No More Token Minorities" is an exciting sci-fi-reality-docu-drama starring Gov. Arnold Swarzenegger as he attempts to terminate college prep courses in predominately minority schools. Michael Jackson makes a cameo appearance as convicted pedophile "Touchie Feelie."

Friday, December 19

Checking Slate

Outside of the Amazing SportsBlog, Slate is one of the best sites on the Web to find good sports articles. Here's two of the latest: 1) Josh Levin wonders why football doesn't have its own numbers guru like baseball's Bill James. And shows the way to a couple of numbers-intensive football sites along the way. 2) In Uni Watch, Paul Lukas examines the ways in which pro athletes modify their uniforms.

Nader Eyes Bid

Will Nader run again? Of course some Republican pollsters would like it, but he doesn't appear to have the same support he had in 2000 -- he may not even run as a Green Party candidate. (He was never a card-carrying Green anyway.) At this point, his persistent desire to run looks like it involves more than a little hubris, especially in the face of this:

A Musical Interlude

Dr. S was on hand Thursday night at Hal & Mal's for the first JFP/H&M Southern Fried Holiday Karaoke Night. Or whateve they called it. Thankfully, alcohol and anarchy prevailed and the event became less organized as time went on. A good time was had by all. Dr. S (who declined to perform upon learning that "I Touch Myself" isn't in the H&M karaoke machine) thought that a couple of the performers were grossly overqualified to perform at a karaoke night. Other wannabes kept turning in requests to sing, but when they got on stage were satisfied to just dance with a microphone in their hand. (If you decide to booty dance during karaoke night, does that qualify as a karaoke performance?) JFP publisher Todd Stauffer graciously bailed out many of them with excellent backing vocals. JFP editor Donna Ladd kept things rolling with snappy banter between numbers (although she never did finish her "Get Out of Dodge" story) and generously loaned her boa to many performers, including Todd. Although Todd sometimes looked like Boy George, he always sounded like at least as good as George Michael. Dr. S believes that Todd doesn't want to be the next William Randolph Hearst. Todd wants to be the next Andy Williams. Or the next Sammy Davis Jr. Or the next Billy Ray Cyrus. Or maybe all three.

Wednesday, December 17

Dean's Foreign Policy: I Am No George Bush

An interesting piece about Howard Dean and his foreign-policy ideas by John Tirman of the Social Science Research Council:

‘Is this the neo-con century?'

(Be afraid. Be very afraid.)

Michelle Goldberg reports in Salon: "Neoconservatives are very sensitive people. Even those who've attained stature and power are exquisitely attuned to insults hurled from obscure quarters of the left as well as the barbs of French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin. It's not only bombastic blogger Andrew Sullivan who trolls Web sites like, hunting for evidence of moral relativism. No less a personage than Richard Perle, the neocon kingpin who sits on the Pentagon's Defense Advisory Board, bristled with irritation when mentioning Talking Points Memo, the blog of liberal Washington journalist Joshua Micah Marshall. To answer the criticism directed against his movement, Perle appeared with Marshall at a panel on Monday in Washington called 'Is the Neoconservative Moment Over?' Perle's answer: Not even close."

Tuesday, December 16

[Drive] Could It Be the One?

Ms. D and I had a driving trip planned for the long Thanksgiving weekend, and I saw it as a chance to give a good, long test to a car that I might honestly consider committing to. As I walked past the Avis rental lot, I saw that I was in luck—they had a Pontiac Vibe, which Avis rents in many locations, but not generally in Jackson.

[Whitley] Losing Our Religion

Dec. 10, 2003 It's not unusual for Robert L. Johnson to draw a crowd. Nor is it unusual for the Hickory, Miss., native to have camera crews, reporters and fans sit rapt with attention. But when the founder of Black Entertainment Television—who recently became the first African American to own an NBA franchise—gave a speech at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference last May, he spoke the unthinkable: He claimed that God wasn't responsible for his success; it was due to his own hard work and business savvy.

Rise of the Third Party?

Here's an interesting Washington Post piece on tech in politics and a little hint as to why the Dean campaign apparatus allows a smaller "third party" organization to organize politically. Could the Internet spells doom for the two-party "duopoly"?

Monday, December 15

Supreme Court to consider Cheney's secret task force

CBS Marketwatch is reporting: "The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the White House must reveal the energy-industry contacts that helped a task force headed by Vice President Dick Cheney formulate an energy policy blueprint in 2001. The high court on Monday said it would hear a White House appeal of a lower court ruling that ordered the Bush administration to hand over details of the task force meetings to Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, and the Sierra Club, an environmental group."

Heisman Hangover

Dr. S should have put this up on Friday, but he was in the official Dr. S spider hole, chilling and trying to remember where he left those doggone WMDs. ... Anyway, Slate's Allen Barra rails against the outrage of the Heisman Trophy while correctly predicting that Oklahoma's Jason White would win. Barra says there was another quarterback who was far more deserving than White. And, no, his name is not Eli Manning.

Dean Under Attack, Trippi Says

To watch the attack ad in Windows Media Player, click here:

E-mailed to Dean list this a.m. from Trippi: "A faceless group that the Washington Post calls 'despicable' is using hundreds of thousands of dollars to air vicious television ads that use pictures of Osama bin Laden to attack Howard Dean. Don't wait. We're under attack, and we need your help now.

Signs of Life

Elixir at LeFleur's Gallery, I-55, 981-7896, has opened its very sophisticated doors, offering delightfully potent potables, as well as a small menu of tapas. The JFP editor and publisher stopped in opening night—she sipped a mojito, he a dirty James Bond—and report that the tempura snowpeas, and both the cheese and chocolate fondue are divine. They do hope a couple more veggie tapas are added to the menu. A highly recommended spot. Dress cute and nibble until late.

Democratic ‘Shadow' Groups Face Scrutiny

The Washington Post reports: "Leading campaign finance watchdog organizations as well as Republican activists intend to challenge the new 'shadow' Democratic Party -- a network of independent groups gearing up to spend as much as $300 million on voter mobilization and pro-Democratic TV ads. The organizations -- the Center for Responsive Politics, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 -- contend that the pro-Democratic groups are violating prohibitions on the use of corporate and labor money for partisan voter registration and mobilization drives. Trevor Potter, chairman of the Campaign Legal Center, said the groups have become 'the new soft money loophole. . . . This is the beginning of an important discussion about how these groups are going to operate.'" ... Harold Ickes, who runs the pro-Democratic Media Fund, contended the Republican and watchdog critics are "one, trying to tie us up; two, divert our attention; three, force us to spend money on legal fees rather than electoral activities; and four, to try to chill our contributors."

Sunday, December 14

[Talk] Gettin' Safer

Jackson has lunged out of the "Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities" to No. 16, according to just-released 10th annual Morgan Quitno Press "most dangerous city" rankings for 2002. Using M-Q's standards, the city of Jackson made gains in 2002 over 2001 relative to other U.S. cities based on overall FBI crime figures, moving up six spots in the new rankings from the No. 10 spot (framed as "in the top 10" by key Republican candidates in the 2003 election) in the group's 2001 rankings.

Friday, December 12

Faith and Taco Bell

What does Taco Bell have to do with faith? It seems the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA finds a connection, as well as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.; 3.5 million members), the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ; 805,000 members) and the United Church of Christ (1.4 million members)—along with the American Friends Service Committee. It has been 15 years since the NCC endorsed a boycott, which makes our current boycott of Taco Bell significant.

Thursday, December 11

[Ladd] Just As I Am

I was baptized when I was 13 in a Southern Baptist church in Neshoba County. I wasn't particularly spiritual; there was more anger and selfishness and confusion in my heart than love. I couldn't have been ready to live a godly life; I didn't know what it meant. I just walked down the aisle because everybody else was doing it.

[Lott] A Generous Giving

To hear some folks talk, you'd think that big places with the most compassionate liberal attitudes and bountiful personal incomes would be teaming with the most generous, nicest, most appreciative people on Earth — thankful for and humbled by their material blessings and, in turn, always helping the poor, the downtrodden and anyone with less for which to be thankful. In fact, it's the opposite. Some of America's biggest, wealthiest and so-called "progressive" places are the stingiest in terms of the percentage of their charitable giving, while America's smallest, most conservative and less affluent states tend to be the most generous. Among these, Mississippi is the most giving.

Wednesday, December 10

[Jacktown] M-I-CROOKED's Year, by Alphonso Mayfield

First off, I really want to thank everyone for the love that I have received since I started writing this column. All the pounds and props I've been getting have been very appreciated. A lot happened this past year that helped put the M-I-CROOKED on the map. Of course, there is the obvious signing of David Banner and the subsequent release of his album "Mississippi," which sold 400,000 copies while being relatively slept on.

When Religion Becomes Good

In the spring of 1995, I journeyed on an interfaith tour to Israel, during that brief and hopeful interlude when an achievable Middle East peace seemed to be just over the horizon, when tourists could travel in that area without worrying much about being blown to smithereens. Sixty fellow Mississippians comprised our traveling group: 20 from Northminster Baptist, 20 from St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral and 20 from the Beth Israel Congregation.

[Spann] That's All I Want for Christmas, Santa

That time is finally here. For months, I've patiently waited for this special moment. As I head to the mall for a little afternoon shopping, I can finally pop in my Mariah Carey "Merry Christmas" CD! Yes! The Christmas season is officially here and no one, not even my poor chagrined husband, can stop me from indulging in my holiday guilty pleasure. I'll sing "All I Want for Christmas" at the very top of my lungs ... in the privacy of my own car or when my hubby isn't home. Come on; I have some pride.

[Talk] In for the Long Haul

Robert Langford, executive director of Operation Shoestring, expresses himself passionately about what goes on at 1711 Bailey Avenue, across from the Capitol Furniture store. Passionately, but not so loudly as to awaken his son, sleeping soundly draped over his left shoulder as we spoke last Saturday amid the bustling lunchtime crowd upstairs at Banner Hall. Taking care of the needs of children comes naturally to Langford, it seems.

Debra Kassoff

Seated demurely before me was the first rabbi I'd ever met—a slim clear-eyed young woman who looks like she could be a lawyer, a teacher, a counselor—not the stereotypical picture I have in my head of a rabbi—a man with a beard, wearing glasses and a yarmulke on his head. Debra Kassoff, 33 and a native of Maryland, joined the staff of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life in April 2003 as the director of Rabbinic services. Based on the old-time tradition of the itinerant rabbi, Kassoff serves small Jewish communities in 12 Southern states.

Sick Of The Knicks

Quitman native and NBA superstar Antonio McDyess is in a love/hate relationship. He loves making millions playing basketball, but he already hates playing for the godawful New York Knicks. McDyess has come up with a novel theory: The Knicks don't suck, they just don't care. Dr. S thinks Dice is a helluva player, but he's wrong. The Knicks DO suck and they DON'T care. McDyess has been to the playoffs just once since entering the NBA in 1985. Unless the Knicks figure out a way to work a deal for Kobe (work-release program, anybody?), McDyess won't get a sniff of the postseason anytime soon.

Tuesday, December 9

Jackal Bites Back

Former Mississippi State football coach Jackie Sherrill returned fire Tuesday, accusing the NCAA of distorting facts about alleged recruiting violations. Dr. S asks: Did you ever notice how State, Ole Miss and USM usually get in trouble over athletes they didn't sign?

[Ask JoAnne] There Ought to Be a Law

<i>— Enough of This Sh*t in Jackson</i>

Q. Most of my neighbors clean up after themselves, but not after the dogs they walk across my front yard. It's gotten to the point I can't get my garbage can from the street, much less get to my car because my own yard has turned into a minefield of dog sh*t. There ought to be a law! What can I do legally—or illegally—to stop this outrage?

Gore Endorses Dean

Former Vice President Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean for president today. AP reports: "Gore said Dean 'really is the only candidate who has been able to inspire at the grass--roots level all over the country.' He said the former Vermont governor also was the only Democratic candidate who made the correct judgment about the Iraq war. 'Our country has been weakened in its ability to fight the war against terror because of the catastrophic mistake the Bush administration made in taking us into war in Iraq,' Gore said."

Monday, December 8

MSU Slapped with NCAA Charges

First Croom, then the bad news ... The press release from State just in: Mississippi State University has received a letter and notice of allegations from the National Collegiate Athletics Association regarding the football program. The notice contains allegations of rules violations from 1998 to 2002. Mississippi State has been cooperating fully with the NCAA and has assisted in the investigation of these matters over the past two and a half years. The allegations address improper offers and inducements to prospective student-athletes. There is no allegation of academic misconduct and no allegation of lack of institutional control or failure to monitor. At this time, these are only allegations.

Mobilizing the Youth Vote

The New Voters Project announced plans to try to mobilize youth voters in 6 states for the upcoming election cycle. The six states areColorado, Iowa, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon and Wisconsin; a combined population of 2 million 18 to 24 year olds who are eligible to vote.

Gore to Endorse Dean

Reuters is reporting that Al Gore is to endorse Howard Dean for President on Tuesday morning at a Harlem event.

Friday, December 5

Bloggers Speak Out

Mississippi keeps cropping up out there on the weblogs (called "blogs," we're talking about Web sites that update daily with news and politics coverage) and—almost universally—in a familiar context. I saw our fair state mentioned last week on the Democratic "inside baseball" site]DailyKos, in a completely gratuitous mention that's par for the course: "Don't fear, however. CT is a safe Dem state. There's as much chance of Bush taking the state as of the Dems taking Mississippi."

Thursday, December 4

A Football Feast

Mississippi's greatest football weekend is upon us: The MHSAA championships on Friday and Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. This year, Mississippi ETV is going to broadcast all five games. But Dr. S says you owe it to yourself to see at least one game in person.

Wednesday, December 3

Sly Reaction

The Washington Post's Michael Wilbon weighed in with a very cranky column on the hiring of Mississippi State football coach Sylvester Crooms. Wilbon makes a couple of good points, but they're undercut by his lack of knowledge on the 1963 Mississippi State basketball team. (The school didn't try to stop the basketball team from going to the NCAA Tournament, as Wilbon writes while taking a particularly cheap shot at MSU. Indeed, MSU officials defied state officials and state law by allowing the Bulldogs to make that historic trip to the NCAAs.) ...'s Geoffrey Norman says everybody in America should be pulling for Sylvester Croom. Dr S says, he's right. ... The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal's Geoff Calkins writes about how Croom's faith, dreams and drive helped him make history.

Move Over, Boys

Lakshmi Chaudhr writes: "Whether she is a divorced waitress in Harlem, a welfare mom in Iowa, or that thirty-something singleton sipping a Cosmopolitan at your local bar, the unmarried woman may hold the fate of the 2004 elections in the palm of her hand. 'Unmarried women, given what they think and feel, are the group with the greatest potential to be agents of progressive change in this country because of their size, their desire for change, and their record of under-voting,' says Page Gardner, manager of the 'Women's Voices Women's Vote' project." Parties in Jackson this weekend

Heard of, the hip and powerful grass-roots movement that is doing an end-run around party politics and the media? This Sunday, Dec. 7, MoveOn is holding house parties all over the country to screen Robert Greenwald's new documentary, "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War." The Jackson screening and party will be held in Rainbow Plaza, at the corner of Old Canton and Lakeland, at 7 p.m. Steve Rozman, political science professor at Tougaloo College, will lead a discussion after the film. See you there. Read a story about here. And enter your zip code here for other parties around the country.

FOX Works for GOP warns: "The wall between objective journalism and partisan politicking at Fox News fell last week when it became clear that Fox News staff contributed to the orchestration of the Republican-led 39-hour Senate talk-a-thon intended to counter the Democrat filibuster against four of President Bush's most radically conservative judicial nominees."

Clarion-Ledger applauds church, "leadership"

[Drive] Cat-Like Reflections

Does your car say something about you? It's a question I can't seem to get out of my head, even though, intellectually, I'd prefer not to worry about it. Unwittingly, I'll look around at people I know when I see them in a parking lot and make subtle judgments. A Camry? Interesting. A VW Jetta? A-ha. A Hummer? Oh…I see.

Conerly Trophy Giveaway

The Conerly Trophy is going to be given out on Thursday night in Biloxi. The finalists: USM linebacker Rod Davis, the 2002 winner; Eli Manning, the 2001 winner; and Scott Eyester, Delta State's record-setting quarterback. Who's going to win? Dr. S predicts a young man is going to walk away as the Conerly's first two-time winner. And that man won't be Rod Davis.

Sly Is MSU's Guy

Mississippi State made it official on Tuesday, introducing Sylvester Croom as the Bulldogs' new head football coach at a raucous news conference attended by hundreds of State fans. State's pioneering hiring of Croom has created untold good will for the university and for Mississippi. Not to mention publicity: ESPN News aired Croom's news conference live and he was interviewed by both CNN and ESPN, to name a few. had lots of good things to say. Ivan Maisel says Croom is the right man at the right time. And recruiting analyst Tom Lemming writes, "Mississippi State is a sleeping giant in the college football world, and the hiring of Sylvester Croom could be just the wakeup call it needed."

Tuesday, December 2

MoveOn.Org Irritates the Right

Michelle Goldberg writes in Salon: "Bill O'Reilly wants its nonprofit status revoked. Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie sees it as part of the 'Democrat plan to subvert campaign finance laws.' House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's office plays phone pranks on its staffers. ... Clearly, has arrived."

A Great Bloggin' Month!

Monday, December 1

MSU, Croom Make History

Mississippi State has become the first SEC school to hire an African-American head football coach. Sylvester Croom, a former Alabama player and coach who's been an NFL assistant for the last 17 seasons. the last three with the Green Bay Packers, will be officially introduced at a news conference on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Starkville. Dr. S applauds MSU for being a pioneer, although a black coach isn't a cure-all for what ails the Bulldog program. But after what's gone on at State the last three seasons, particularly this season, it was definitely time for a new man in the top job. Regardless of race, a coach with Croom's qualifications is a good choice and State is lucky to get him.

"Letters, Prayers, and Journal Entries," Anne Davis

I have a confession to make: I am inherently suspicious of confessional albums with a message. So when I received a copy of Anne Davis' "Letters, Prayers, and Journal Entries"—which, by the way, is a very confessional piece of work—I had my misgivings about doing a review. As I glanced through the lyrics, credits and art work on the record, it became clear to me that Davis, a Jackson native and longtime Nashville resident, is serious about showing the world who she is, where she's been and how serious she is about her faith. I braced myself for a listen, thinking that this must be yet another earnest female singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice and not much new to say.

Waiting For Sly

Mississippi State gave prospective football coach Sylvester Croom a tour of the campus on Sunday. Now the Bulldogs are waiting on his answer. It could come as soon as Monday.