Stories for July 2003


Thursday, July 31

The Kobe Case: The Law, The Media, The Lakers

Slate's Dahlia Lithwick says the upcoming Kobe Bryant trial will showcase America's mixed-up rape laws. Meanwhile, as more information in the case surfaces, media organizations are asking the judge to unseal court records. A hearing is being held Thursday.

Sens Here

Fresh off a disastrous road trip, the Senators (your first-half CBL East champions) open a six-game homestand on Friday when they play the Fort Worth Cats at 7:05 p.m. Get ready for the roar of ThunderStix.

Wednesday, July 30

Plea to Candidates: Prosecute Civil Rights Murders

John Gibson writes: "Please call the candidates for District Attorney for Mississippi District 8 (includes Neshoba county) and ask will they and how will they aggressively pursue prosecution in the murders of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman and others whose bodies were found before, during, and after the search for the three civil rights workers . Please call or write others, especially residents of District 8 (Leake, Neshoba, Newton, and Scott counties), and ask them to contact the candidates. Assistant district attorney Mark Duncan (601 656-1991) of Philadelphia and Johnny Pope (601 267-5636), a Carthage attorney and former justice and municipal court judge, will meet in the Democrat primary. There are no Republican challengers. The vote is on August 5, 39 years and one day after the finding of the three civil rights workers bodies. The state of Mississippi has never charged anyone in the those murders as well as many other murders."

[Gardens] Of Soil and Soul

"This will never do," I said to my sister Judy when she showed me her herb garden. In fairness, it was not all bad. It was perfectly located near the kitchen door, and it had its own picket fence and a barnwood birdhouse. The problem was that Judy relegated her few herbs to poor-cousin status while she lavished all her attention on her flowerbeds. As I looked at her paupers, I thought of my own kitchen garden: a wild fecundity of color, texture, and fragrance spilling in a riotous revelry down the hillside and into the woods like a gleeful band of gypsy dancers. Clearly, Judy needed some help.

Heroes of Hedonism, by Alphonso Mayfield

To attend a 2 Live Crew concert is to experience a mixture of hedonism and mass hysteria. Between the kick of 808 drum patterns and thongs moving to the rhythmic swing of the music, who would guess this group had once fought one of the most significant wars regarding free speech in the United States?

7/30 - Mayor Harvey Johnson to Speak

Take That, Joe Lieberman

After all the talk-show babble of the last couple days about Howard Dean being such a "far-left" candidate, it's a relief to see a New York Times story today that actually explores his hard-to-define independence—which may well be drawing much of his surge of support: "But in Vermont, whose political center of gravity lands left of the nation's, one of the secrets to Dr. Dean's success was keeping the most liberal politicians in check. Over 11 years, he restrained spending growth to turn a large budget deficit into a surplus, cut taxes, forced many on welfare to go to work, abandoned a sweeping approach to health-care reform in favor of more incremental measures, antagonized environmentalists, won the top rating from the National Rifle Association and consistently embraced business interests."

Haley Barbour's New "Democrat-Lover" Nastygram

July 30, 2003: Gubernatorial hopeful, and former national GOP party head, Haley Barbour seems more stressed about Davidian challenger Mitch Tyner than you'd think. A rather breathtaking nasty-politics flyer landed in the JFP PO box this morning. In a tone worthy of Ann Coulter, the four-color (read: expensive) Barbour fold-out shows Mitch Tyner in the backseat of a stretch limo driven by a donkey (you'd think that'd be hard to afford with the $209,484 Tyner has raised to date, compared with Barbour's $5,316,884) with "Liberal Trial Lawyer and Democrat-Lover Mitch Tyner." With a huge photo of a zebra on the front, the headline reads: "A zebra can't change its stripes and neither can a donkey!!" READ MORE ...

Tuesday, July 29

Haley Barbour Issues Statement Posted

Go take a look at Barbour's positions on a list of issues just posted on his JFP candidate blog.

New answers up from Max Phillips

I have to say, two of the agriculture commissioner candidates, both Republicans, are leading the pack on substantive questionnaires as far as I can see. You've got to go read the very thoughtful answers of Max Phillips and Roger Crowder and about very important issues for Mississippians (pesticides, organics, grocery-store safety and so on). Go on to the Ag page. These are the kind of thoughtful answers we're looking for; I applaud them. On a lesser note, I don't think that anyone's running for lieutenant governor, and I thought the treasurer field was crowded and competitive, but only two have been in touch about their answers. Oh well. To Haley Barbour's credit, his campaign staff has called repeatedly to apologize for not getting answers in, yet. Until they get them done, we're going to post issues information from his Web site. But the campaign has promised a full and substantive line-up of answers in the next couple weeks at least. (You get the feeling they're not worried about primary challenger Mitch Tyner.) We do look forward to the answers, and we appreciate them communicating with us about them. A point added to the Barbour column.

Monday, July 28

The (NFL's} Boys of Summer

All of the NFL teams are finally in training camp, even the Bengals, who win about as often as they spend money (rarely). ... Training camp has changed over the years. Players don't go to get in shape the way they did back in the day, thanks to minicamps and "voluntary" workouts virtually year-round. But how important is it for rookies? ... Meanwhile, the Saints get a scare in training camp.

Musgrove statement to JFP, more Klotz answers posted

This morning, we posted a statement from Gov. Musgrove on the Politics Blog addressing several of the substantive issues in our questionnaire. And House 66 candidate Chris Klotz sent over his free-expression answers, which we added to his page. (We're rather impressed with how Klotz is making time to answer our questions, even in chunks. We haven't heard from his opponent at all, yet.) Head on over and check out the latest round of answers.

The Kobe Case: O.J. Returns

Sports Illustrated's Roy S. Johnson writes what a lot of people are thinking: Kobe Bryant is new O.J. Does this mean that Bryant is going to spend the rest of his life on golf courses looking for the real culprit?

Sunday, July 27

[Talk] eVoting Next for State

Hurry, you only have until Monday, July 28, to get in your two-cents about Mississippi's voting upgrades.

Saturday, July 26

Hollywood Horse Story

This week's big movie release is a sports flick, "Seabiscuit" (not to be confused with the Shirley Temple movie). The reviews are mostly good, but the Washington Post's Stephen Hunter says the movie's populist fable is at odds with the real story, and Slate's David Edelstein says what's missing from "Seabiscuit" is ... Seabiscuit.

Help Save *Teach for America*

Fun Politics? Imagine ...

Right now, over on Howard Dean's blog, there's a fund-raising "bat" marathon going on to beat the $250,000 that Dick Cheney is going to get from a few wealthy contributors Monday night. As of right now, they're up $130,000 since last night in small contributions—and has two days to go. Go check it out: Whatever you think of Dean, this energetic grass-roots movement is something to behold. Sure beats the hell out of conventional political, er, "wisdom."

Saddam, Middle Reliever

The Cubs got Kenny Lofton. The Phillies got Mike Williams. Armando and Orosco went to the Bronx. But Al Leiter is still happy. Who know the Hussein brothers could play ball?

Friday, July 25

Tour de Lance

OK, Dr. S admits that he's pulling for Lance Armstrong to win his fifth straight Tour de France. But the issue is still in doubt going into Saturday's big time trial. This year's race has suspense that's been missing all too often in the past. ... Now, if Lance could just popularize the bath in France ...

The Kobe Case, Part 3

Here's one of the more sordid aspects of the furor surrounding the rape charge against Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant: Several Web sites and at least one radio show have identified the alleged victim. Some have gone so far as to publish her photo, give her address, etc. Turns out they might be trying to smear the wrong person. (Is the New York Times involved?) And the shock jock who put her name on the air has an "incident" in his past, too. But maybe he would rather not have that broadcast.

Uh Oh, Ole Miss

Ole Miss admits that the NCAA has been sniffing around Oxford again. Where there's smoke, there's definitely fire. How long before the strippers turn up again?

Thursday, July 24

Tyner Lunges, Barbour Defends

The two personalities on the Republican primary ballot of the gubernatorial race couldn't seem any more different. Tyner, with his innocent gee-whiz demeanor and Boy Scout-ish philosophies, stepped quietly into the political boxing ring like a million-to-one-long-shot prize fighter with a toast-rack chest, diminutive little legs and oversized boxing gloves.

Vickie and Bill Giles

The old saying goes: Marriages are made in heaven. Actually, some are made at football games and barbecues as well. In November 1979, Meridian native Bill Giles was a graduate football assistant at Mississippi College. He smiles as he tells how he finally got up the courage to ask out the blonde-haired, blue-eyed majorette from Jackson that he had been admiring from afar, even though he didn't figure she'd give him the time of day. Funny, but Vickie says that when she sat behind him in PE class, he "never gave me the time of day," either. Bill quickly points out that he was "kinda shy," and Vickie agrees, smiling at him, her fingers intertwined in his.

Not Fit To Print?

You would think that after the disgraceful disclosures of recent months, The New York Times would make every effort to avoid sloppy reporting and questionable sources when reporting the news. Terry Pluto says that you would be wrong.

The Kobe Case, Part 2

Here's two bonus prizes from the sexual assault case against Lakers uberstar Kobe Bryant:

1. A scumbag who revealed the alleged victim's name on his nationally syndicated radio show.

Tuesday, July 22

The Kobe Case

Akron Beacon Journal columnist Terry Pluto has a great column on Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who's been charged with rape in Colorado: "When your best defense is infidelity, your life is a mess. He called this 'the mistake of adultery.' I know a guy who says, 'Dropping the pizza is a mistake. Messing around on your wife is a lousy decision.' ''

Will Eagles Be Golden?

Conference USA football coaches have selected Southern Miss to finish second this season behind TCU. And USM linebacker Rod Davis was named C-USA's preseason defensive player of the year. Stay out of his way.

Monday, July 21

The Boys Are Back

The Jackson Senators (your CBL East first-half champions) opened a four-game homestand Sunday night with a 4-2 victory over the San Angelo Colts. And if your scared of the water, remember that soft drinks and adult beverages are available at Smith-Wills.

Thursday, July 17

The Best Sports Writer?

Who's the best sports writer in America? Slate's Ben Yagoda casts his vote for Sports Illustrated's Gary Smith (who wrote an incredible story in the June 16 SI). Dr. S thinks Charles P. Pierce belongs in this conversation. (But not Charles B. Pierce, the guy who made redneck scary classics like "The Legend of Boggy Creek." and "The Town That Dreaded Sundown.")

Wednesday, July 16

[Talk] Let It Shine

It probably goes back to his babysitter on the southside of Chicago who was a deejay. As he grew older, Corio Thomas continued to fall in love with the music of the streets. By age 14, he was playing house and hiphop, sampling old disco records seldom heard outside nightclubs. By age 17, he moved to Ripley, Miss., to live with his grandmother; there he started spinning on the radio in Tupelo. Thomas realized that music was his niche; he started to observe any and everything related to music in and around Mississippi.

[Talk] Revered and Feared

If you were to walk down the 300 block of Farish Street today you would find a Federal Building, a few reserved parking spots and possibly a couple of state officials with top-secret information in their briefcases. Forty years earlier, in 1963, you would have found 10-year-old Robert Graham—now Lt. Robert Graham, police department spokesman—shining shoes at his father's shine shop. It was also in 1963 when Mayor Allen Thompson swore into office James Earl Johnson, Ellis Sonny Weathersby Jr., Joe Louis Land, Levaughn Carter, Charlie Corley and William Carter—Jackson's first African-American policemen (then called "colored officers"). Due to the strict order that all officers be dressed appropriately and clean at all times, plus the fact the African-American officers could only patrol Lynch and Farish streets, young Graham had the opportunity to shine all six of these officer's shoes on a regular basis.

[Ladd] Stuck in the Middle with You

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of nastiness. Of sniping. Pettiness. Silly arguments. Name-calling. Divisiveness. It seems as if hurling insults has become the new national pasttime. Chris Matthews yelling louder than his guests. Michael Savage telling a presumably gay listener he hopes he contracts AIDS. Ann Coulter accusing anyone left of Attila the Hun of committing treason. Michael Moore exploding at the Academy Awards.

[Stiggers] Col. Reb's Last Stand

Concert and event promoters: Have I got an idea for you! Man, this could be the biggest gala event in the "state of minds" of Mississippians! I'm thinking of a retirement celebration for Col. Reb. Let's call it the "Stone Soul" picnic, disco, gun show and hiphop concert featuring guest M.C. George Bushy, D.J. Dick "Off the" Cheney and Secretary of "D-Fence" Rumsfeld's Weapons of Mass Destruction Search Posse performing the chart-climbing single "Back Dem Tanks Up"; the new millennium world beat hit (oops, I did say hit?) "Preemption Song"; and the billboard No. 1 single "Air Strike: Drop It Like It's Hott!"

Misery on the Bounty

The splendor of the season's bounty thrills thousands at the open-air farmers market. More than ever, people prefer purchasing their produce directly from the farmers who grow it. You can pick up fresh fish, shrimp and oysters from reputable fishermen just back from trolling, or taste organic, artisanal cheeses made from grass-fed sheep, goats and cows. During this time of the year, the farmers market is a lush and lavish multi-sensory spectacle.

Tuesday, July 15

Does The All-Star Game Really Count?

It's time for baseall's All-Star Game (yawn). Or make that a so-called All-Star Game. After last year's disgraceful tie, FOX forced MLB to change the rules to 1) give homefield advantage in the World Series to the league that wins the All-Star Game, hoping that this will get the starts to play harder (it won't); and 2) expand the rosters in hopes of avoiding another tie. How ridiculous are Fox's TV ads that claim "This Time It Counts"? Listen to Fox Sports Radio sometime. The guys on there have been mocking the ad 24/7. And they work for Murdoch.

Saturday, July 12

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

Q. I've been hearing a lot about crime on the evening news. Should I consider moving out of Jackson to raise my children? – Running Scared

[Spann] Breaking through the Ice

So Vanilla Ice is a rock star these days? I heard that he even played a set at a club in the Jackson area not so long ago. Perhaps a heavy-metal version of "Ice Ice Baby" was at the core of his set. Well, maybe he's finally found his place in the music world. Sorry … was that too cold, too cold? White fans of hiphop and artists like Eminem have had to contend with comparisons and jokes since the dark days when Vanilla Ice donned those baggy Hammer pants and did that annoying neck-jerking dance on the Arsenio Hall Show. But a whole new generation of rappers and rap aficionados with a lot of heart and no pretensions of ghetto hardship has cropped up in the white community.

Thursday, July 10

[Drive] Sonata for a Song

Ms. D wrinkled her nose the second she saw it and called to me through the open window of the Miata. "It's white," she said, stating the obvious. I told her that I knew it was white, but that she was to keep an open mind because we needed to evaluate the car on its merits and white was all that they had available at the Hertz counter. She shrugged and popped the Miata into first gear. I plunked the Hyundai into "D" and followed.

Downtown: The ‘Neighborhood' Solution

On Thursday, July 3, 2003, real estate developer Mike Peters and his wife drove to Memphis to stay in the Peabody Hotel. After dinner, they were told in the lobby to check out the roof of the hotel, where a dance was going on. Peters tells us he was amazed when he got off the elevator. "There were 3,000 or 4,000 people up there," he said. "And most of them were 25- to 35-years-old. They probably thought I was some (sort of) chaperone!" Peters said that what surprised him was not that a party was going on, but that it happens every Thursday, not just the one prior to the Fourth of July.

[Talk] Colonel Bedroom

If you think that Lawrence v. Texas is just about homosexuals, you're wrong. The crux of the decision is not really about love, or sex, or sodomy, or whatever you want to call it: It's about what Justice Louis Brandeis, way back in 1928, called "the right to be let alone." Justice Anthony Kennedy, in all his Ronald Reagan-appointed glory, wrote for the Court that "there are other spheres of our lives and existence, outside the home, where the State should not be a dominant presence." The decision leaves many Americans, gay or not, cheering that for the first time in years someone has put their foot down and said that the government can go no further.


Note: As the JFP went to press, the organizers of Hobstock cancelled the event altogether.

[Questions] Danny Goldberg Takes on Teen Spirit

Just months before the 2002 election, Danny Goldberg, the music industry macher who shells out big bucks to progressive causes, received an invitation to a Democratic Party fundraiser. The invite featured the following quote: "Never before in modern history has the essential differences between the two major political parties stood out in such striking contrast, as they do today."-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1945. Goldberg could not believe what he read. "It seemed to me a terrible commentary on today's Democrats that they had to go back to the 1940s to evoke a contrast with Republicans," writes Goldberg in "Dispatches From The Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit," (Miramax, 2003). His debut book delivers a blunt warning to Democrats: get with it or get trounced.

Jay Sones

Jay Sones, 28, sits across the small table at Fenian's talking on his cell phone (the kind you can send pictures through) with his baby sister, Meg. He tells her that I'm interviewing him and responds when she asks why, "I guess people just can't get enough of me," and gives his characteristic chuckle. He's wearing a three-quarter sleeved gray-and-scarlet baseball shirt with jeans. Dark spiky hair covers his head and frames his greco-roman facial features.

Wednesday, July 9

[Web exclusive] JFP Talks to Jucifer's Amber Valentine

Amber: I'm a vegan, and we have been looking all over for a health food store. We finally found one today. The fridge [in the r.v.] shut down on us, so I'm not only looking for vegan food, I'm trying to find vegan non-perishables!

Sunday, July 6

A Soldier's Daughter

I read recently that patriotism is learned behavior. If that is true then I learned from my dad that America is beautiful. He joined the Navy at the end of World War II and served as Yeoman 3rd Class on the aircraft carrier USS Rendova.

Saturday, July 5

Love It, Don't Leave It

Zack Exley, the organizing director of the populist, challenges Americans to move past divisive patriotic rhetoric to something that can bring the country together: "Perhaps as old political categories such as left and right lose their relevance, we can aim for a new political unity based on a new kind of patriotism. Let's leave behind the hollow patriotism which is based on disdain for and fear of others. Instead, let's define a new patriotism -- one that expresses our unconditional love for America and lives up to our responsibility to our fellow Americans."

Friday, July 4

General Gourmet

You would never guess that the man standing at attention—waiting for me on the sidewalk, dressed in a crisp linen short-sleeved shirt and cuffed khakis, cordovan wingtips softly gleaming—is 90 years old. His bearing has none of the surrender to gravity that usually accompanies that venerable age. Yet, indeed, retired Marine Corps Major General Carey Randall will be 91 in November.

Saturday With Maury

Maury Wills, the 1962 National League Most Valuable Player, came to Jackson June 6, 2003, 44 years to the day after he was called up to the major leagues. He was here to meet 47 inner-city elementary and middle-school kids—all wannabe pro ball players—at Battlefield Park for a baseball clinic. None of the kids knew who he was. In fact, very few of the Jackson Senators who helped Maury with the clinic had heard of him. They soon learned.

Competing Forces

I imagine different people have their own meaning of what the term "patriotic" really means. I believe it means "one who strongly supports and serves his or her country." Implicit and explicit in this definition is the will to fight to death, if necessary and warranted.


In 1996 I studied for a year in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, a city of about 400,000 people. Though politically a democracy, true capitalism had not yet set in, and I treasured a world made bright by people rather than advertisements. My trip was made possible by a Fulbright Award for Travel and Study. The U.S. started the Fulbright program after World War II to discourage further war by offering Americans a chance to really live inside another culture, develop an understanding and humanize the "other."

Whose Desecration?

Most likely you've heard that various lawmakers, such as co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-3rd District, have once again voted for a constitutional amendment that creates penalties for desecrating the U.S. flag—an act that, while technically against the U.S. Flag Code, doesn't currently have any penalties attached to it. The last time Congress tried to attach penalties—a fine and up to one year in prison—was in the Flag Protection Act of 1989. The Supreme Court struck down the act in 1990.

Got Patriotism?

Whether your answer to this question is yes, no or not sure, you may want to check out the Patriotism Experience exhibit now open at the Mississippi War Memorial Building on 120 South State St. to help rekindle that American spirit. Originally intended for a young audience, the Patriotism Experience allows citizens of all ages to take a walk through our country's history and learn of the symbols, wars, and leaders that have helped shape the United States of America.

[Ladd] ‘Say These Words With Me'

"How is everybody?" Bob Moses asked the congregation in his famous whisper. He paused and then added, "Say these words with me."

Wednesday, July 2

Senators Blast Off

The Jackson Senators (your CBL East Division first-half champs) return home on Saturday, July 5, to play the team with the ugliest uniforms in baseball, the Springfield/Ozark Mountain Ducks at 7:05 p.m. It's the first game of an 8-game homestand. And there will be postgame fireworks, always worth the price of admission. Dr. S rates the Sens a must-see.

Tuesday, July 1

[Video] Twisted Orchid

When I was working as a maid in Yosemite National Park, a departing guest left a stack of New Yorker magazines. An article in one of them struck me with its depth of understanding and command of the English language. It chronicled the life of an orchid collector in south Florida who had been arrested for stealing rare, endangered orchids from federal land, most notably the Ghost orchid. The author, Susan Orlean, was so fascinated by this collector's story that she lengthened the article into a book, "The Orchid Thief." Orlean, a staff writer for The New Yorker, is considered a master of the narrative-style human profiles and one of our modern-day writerly wonders.

On the Patriotic Road

As a child in the early 1960s, I remember my mother playing military marches on the piano. I would march around the house carrying the American flag and singing every word to "Anchors Aweigh," "The Caisson Song," "The Army Air Corps Song" and "The Marine Hymn." One day my father, a World War II veteran, bought a larger-then-life American flag and dug a hole in the front yard for the pole. From then on, at the beginning of each summer all the neighborhood kids would gather in our front yard for the official seasonal search for the pole hole, complete with map and the raising of the flag, at which point my dad would recite the Boy Scout Oath.

Liberal and Patriotic

One recent Sunday morning, while we were spending a wonderful weekend in Memphis, my husband was flopped on the bed of our hotel room watching TV. Being a news junkie, and because the only other things on TV on Sunday mornings are infomercials and televangelists, he was watching C-SPAN. The guest that day was Lee Bandy, a palsied older man who is the chief correspondent for The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. Mr. Bandy was there to speak about the recent debate among the nine Democratic presidential candidates that had taken place in South Carolina in early May.

We Are All Americans

Patriotism is a sincere love or devotion to one's country. Patriotism is a cause for which many lives have been taken. Patriotism is people linking arms at a prayer vigil. Patriotism is people singing, "We shall overcome" because they believe our homeland can evolve and weather the storm. Patriotism is suicide bombers who kill themselves in order to kill others for their country. Patriotism is a homeless man wrapped in newspaper and a garbage bag, sleeping beneath an American flag wrapped tightly around the top of the flagpole. Beside his sad eyes and toothless smile, rests a sign with three simple words, "God Bless America."

Bitter Waters

Artist Martha Ferris and husband and playwright Kos Kostmayer of Vicksburg believe we're in danger. Since 1985, we have lived in the shadows of Entergy's Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Plant in Port Gibson, which provides a third of the state's power and creates about $20 million in tax revenue. The couple warns it also poses a grave risk of both security breaches and serious accidents such as the April 26, 1986, Chernobyl nuclear-power meltdown. They want to "alert the public about what Entergy is up to, who's footing the bill, and the incredible hazards of building a second nuclear reactor in our back yard poses," as Ferris wrote in an e-mail.

Civil Obedience

It wasn't much of a Juneteenth celebration, but the Mississippi ACLU and the Mississippi Green Party (which can, at times, appear to be one person—activist Landon Huey), sponsored a Freedom Forum at the temporary city hall downtown in honor of the holiday that celebrates African-American freedom from slavery. The forum itself held the interest of the not-quite-scores of people in attendance, with a presentation and discussion regarding the USA PATRIOT Act, the current Department of Justice and the potential dangers posed to civil liberties.

Funkee Fanger Productions

"Unsolved Mysteries of Butt Nekkid Divorcees" combines reality TV with the paranormal. The premiere episode (titled "Know a Playa When You See His Azz") features a segment about a mysterious news photographer who videotapes a surprised and "buck nekkid" Kirk Fordice. News anchor Bert Case is the special guest host.

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

Q. I'm fairly recently divorced, and have even more recently returned to the North Jackson area after a few years away. Do your sources have any idea where interesting single/divorced women hang out? Some places I won't name are just packed with 22-year-olds who wouldn't give me the time of day.