Stories for October 2003


Friday, October 31

Hattiesburg American Endorses Hood, Anderson, Brown

Gannett's Hattiesburg paper today endorsed Jim Hood for AG and Gary Anderson for treasurer, among others.

C-L Endorses Carroll, Predictably

Blackmon-Tuck Clash in Debate

Is it just me, or does it seem like a weird question to ask two candidates for a major office to waste time asking candidates if they can say something nice about each other? I wonder if the moderator would ask a man the same question? "Now, Mr. Barbour, don't you have something sweet to say about Mr. Musgrove, now?" Very odd. Seems like that space could have been filled with discussion about some major issue or another.

Barbour supporting NAFTA, on tape

The Governor issued the following statement

Musgrove revealed old TV footage yesterday showing that Haley Barbour, indeed, supported NAFTA (as if this is in doubt, but Barbour denies it). The statement: "In Mississippi, Barbour tries to cover up his efforts to pass NAFTA, but tape from Barbour,s years in Washington tells a different story Musgrove asks Congress to pass legislation to keep Mississippi jobs from going to China. ... (Jackson, MS) Governor Ronnie Musgrove held a press conference this afternoon to talk about Haley Barbour's involvement in the passage of NAFTA. The Musgrove campaign showed a Haley Barbour on C-SPAN talking about working to pass NAFTA and flatly saying "we supported [Clinton] on NAFTA." After NAFTA passed, Barbour held a press conference. During that press conference, when he was asked about trade issues, Barbour launched into a discussion of the passage of NAFTA. He said, "we did what we said we were going to do" What he was referring to was, of course, supplying to votes necessary to pass NAFTA — which he was absolutely successful in doing. Barbour was so proud of this success that he called it a "real, bright light" of that year. Recently, Barbour has tried to cover up his efforts to pass NAFTA, calling the suggestion that he was involved "silly." But tens of thousands of Mississippi jobs moving to other countries is not "silly." Neither are Barbour's efforts to pass NAFTA. Because Mississippi jobs, especially in the furniture industry in Northeast Mississippi, are being threatened by China, Governor Musgrove has expressed his support for S. 1586. This bill, which is co-sponsored by Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), would authorize tariffs of 27.5% on goods imported, directly or indirectly, from China into the United States. Senator Dole said: "Many of North Carolina's economic woes related to manufacturing can be summed up in one word. One word. And I know you know what it is: China." (News Observer, Dole blames China for NC trade woes, October 14, 2003). Haley Barbour hasn,t proposed any solution to the China problem - he only wants to investigate the issue. The time has come to do more than investigate. It,s time to take action to save Mississippi jobs.

Sampling ‘Strange Fruit'

The Jewish Film Festival takes place Nov. 1 through Nov. 6. Call 956-6215 for tickets.

Thursday, October 30

Friedeman: GOP Will Sweep Tuesday

Ultra-conservative columnist Matt Friedeman argues today in the Clarion-Ledger that next Tuesday will be a sweep for the Republican Party. You have to give the guy points for forthrightness: "We say we want a so-called "color-blind" society but based on election results, blacks apparently also choose, in large measure, to vote as a block for one political party. In a state that is moving toward the other political party, it seems a bit disingenuous to cry racism when people have a problem with you and your party affiliation. Only a matter of race? By their platform and public pronouncements, Democrats nationally are the party of the homosexual agenda, gun control, abortion rights, the welfare state, big government and higher taxes. If your race votes nine out of 10 times for people pushing that agenda, don't be surprised when voters associate that agenda with the color of your skin."

[Fry] Why Young Minorities Barely Vote

OK, I am ready to vote. But for whom? Let me go through my process of personal questions. The first question is obvious: Which one is a person of color? That one's easy to answer. Which one supports issues relating to minority communities? Who can I identify with? Which one can identify with me? Who can I relate to? Which one can relate to me? Who is going to come to my neighborhood after the voting process is over to see about me? Which one is actually targeting issues that relate to either me or my generation? Who seems more in touch with reality? Which one seems like a real person instead of some perfect image? I can continue asking myself questions, but I already know the person that I am voting for. It has never been more obvious. My answer is none of them.

[Ladd] You Got the Power

They call you "sorry." "Lazy." "Apathetic." Or, worse: "Dumb." At the same time, they treat you like an idiot. They don't talk about anything that matters much to you. They make fun of your music, and your baggy pants, or maybe your tattoo, or even your compassion. Or, they come speak at your church while they leave their lapel pins in their SUV's ash tray. They then expect you to turn out and vote for them. If you don't, you're "sorry."

The Rev. Ed King

June 18, 1963: Just six days after Medgar Evers had been assassinated in Jackson, white civil rights fighters Ed King and John Salter lay unconscious in Salter's blue 1961 Rambler on Hanging Moss Road—victims of what official police records called a traffic accident. "The accident destroyed the foundation of what we were trying to do; Medgar was dead and we were unconscious," King told me.

Miracle on North State

Forty years ago—October 1963—I was a tenth-grader at Provine High School. Never in my wildest imaginings would I have believed where I would be and who I would be with four decades later.

Wednesday, October 29

Country Changed Me, by Lynette Hanson

Luther Wade Lackey just doesn't look like what he is. I mean, he's a black man who writes, plays and sings country music. And it's not that pop country music, either. It's your daddy's country—all about heaven, love gone wrong, bars, dogs, jails and NASCAR's departed hero, Dale Earnhardt. Lackey, a 35-year-old husband and father of three daughters, works a factory job to pay the bills. His heart, though, belongs to country.

The NBA's Worst Coach?

It's NBA time again. The New Orleans Hornets have a new coach, Tim Floyd, a Hattiesburg native. Slate's Sam Eifling wonders why the NBA's worst coach has a new job.

Thursday, October 23

Go on the "Mayor's Pride Ride" - Nov. 8

Monday, October 20

Was Rush Right?

Rush Limbaugh quit his ESPN NFL pre-game show because the network couldn't take the heat it caught after Limbaugh said Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb is overrated and there's a media conspiracy afoot to make sure a black quarterback is successful. (What kind of drug was Rush on when he came up with that idiotic idea?) But El-Rushbo was right about one thing: McNabb sucks. So bad that Eagles coach Andy Reid considered pulling him from Sunday's games. The Eagles are 3-3, but McNabb deserves almost none of the credit for that.

Horse Race Politics—Whose Fault?

OK, here's a riddle: Why would political candidates talk about issues when the medium reporting them (the media) won't report them in any detail? The Clarion-Ledger today had a report saying that Mississippians want "more details and less rhetoric." Yes, I blame the candidates -- and have regularly on this blog -- for not talking more about issues. But we also have to examine the media's role here: how many publications and TV stations are running in-depth reports on the candidates' issues, fact-checking their statements, turning them inside out? Instead, they're covering the "horse race," as we call it in the journalism industry. That is, they covering the fight, the insults, the jabs back and forth. I guarantee that if reporters would try to sit down more with the candidates and ask them real questions, rather than simply seek out sound bites, then at least of the candidates would respond (at least the ones who have something to say). Worse, the quest for so-call "objectivity" means that if one candidate doesn't want to talk in-depth, the media outlet will shy away from real coverage of the other one in an attempt to seem "fair and balanced." This was a serious problem in the last presidential election and, I believe, why most Americans didn't know the established meaning of "compassionate conservatism" (nothing to do with bipartisanship or moderation) before the election. We talk a lot about how to avoid horce race coverage in journalism school, and then the reporters go to news outlets that tell them to cover the horse race. It's a vicious cycle.

Chasing Amy

<b>Can Barbara Blackmon Make History?</b>

Read the full transcript of this interview on the JFP Politics Blog.

Saturday, October 18

‘Mr. Washington Goes to Mississippi'

The Sunday New York Times Magazine is featuring Haley Barbour in a lengthy profile by Pulitzer nominee Nicholas Dawidoff. An excerpt: "While Barbour denies race-baiting, Winter says that Barbour's mention of the ticket is 'a nuanced racist message,' and Hodding Carter, president of the Knight Foundation and former editor of The Delta Democrat Times, says that Barbour's reference to liberals and tickets 'is simply code for n*gger-lover, integrationist, supporter of all the changes they've hated since 1964.' To Robert Haws, chairman of the history department at the University of Mississippi, the election has become a referendum on progress. 'If the subtle way Haley Barbour's using race is rejected by a Musgrove victory, then we may be into a genuine new era of Mississippi politics. I don't know why a middle-class white Mississippian would vote for Haley Barbour when he doesn't represent their interests at all, but race is still deep here.'" There's much more in the story.

Who Da (Next) Man?

Who's going to replace Jackie Sherrill as Mississippi State's football coach? The rumor mill is grinding overtime. (Speaking of rumors, word is that Sherrill agreed to retire as part of a deal to soften NCAA sanctions against MSU.) Dr. S offers some possible candidates, in no order except alphabetical:

Transcript of Tuck fund-raising letter on her JFP candidate page

Amy Tuck has not responded to requests for interviews or returned her voter questionnaire, but you can read the Sept. 11 fund-raising letter that is posted in its entirely on her candidate page on the JFP Politics blog.

Musgrove page updated on JFP Politics blog

The Musgrove page now contains a full interview, largely focusing on education and "tort reform," that the JFP did with the governor in August. We will also be updated this page with pertinent links to media stories and press releases between now and the election.

Let's Get Series-ous

The 100th anniversary World Series starts Saturday with the Florida Marlins playing the New York Yankees. Talk about unlikely matchups. Dr. S was pulling for the Red Sox, himself, but he was NOT pulling for the Cubs. The only good thing about the Cubs is most of their games are on WGN, so Dr. S can watch them lose regularly. Cubs whiners everywhere are blaming their meltdown in the NLCS on the actions of one man. Dr. S agrees, one man kept the Cubs out of the World Series, and that man is Cubs manager Dusty Baker.

Friday, October 17

Full transcript of Blackmon interview now on JFP Politics Blog

Read Blackmon quotes not included in the cover story: "We can say 'pro-choice' or 'pro-life,' but in the end it is what is about the best interests of those unwanted children who come into the world. What are we going to do to assist those families for those children to have opportunities to become healthy, productive citizens? I do know that the God that I serve says that the only sin that one is not forgiven for is blasphemy. If someone has to make a heart-wrenching decision to terminate a pregnancy, that is a personal decision they must make with prayer and God. As a Christian, I do believe in eternal life, so those individuals who have to make that decision, that soul, that spirit lives forever. If that is not true, then those who profess to be Christians do not believe in a resurrected Christ." (Blackmon)

Thursday, October 16

Thanks, Mr. Cooley

Barbour and the CofCC story taking off

Note that a number of national political blogs are talking about the Council of Conservative Citizens' endorsement of Barbour, and his picture on the racist group's site that first surfaced on the JFP Web site. Go see the links to the national blog chat, as well as the original posting on Haley Barbour's page on our site at:

125 Years Old, and Counting

Jackson State University has seen a lot of history in its 125 years. Originally founded in Natchez, the school was started to be a seminary for "the moral, religious and intellectual improvement of Christian leaders of the colored people of Mississippi and the neighboring states." The school was moved to Jackson in 1899 and came under state control in 1940, deep in the heart of the segregationist era.

Jackson's Losses

Over the last couple weeks, Jackson lost several bright lights of our big city. We salute the memory of three who will be missed by many. Thalia Mara moved to Jackson in 1975 at the age of 64, the age when most of us are planning our retirement.

[Fashion] Local and Proud

Hip-hop Designers Sell What They Know

Since hip-hop first emerged out of the slums of New York City's infamous South Bronx in the mid '70s as a new art form created by the DJs, MCs, breakdancers and graffiti artists of the streets, it has made a tremendous impact on pop culture. Whether it is music, dance, art, language or fashion, hip-hop has added a certain street-wise, stylish panache, as well as millions upon millions of dollars to the coffers of various industries.

[Stauffer] The Secret to Jackson's Future

The burning question of how to fix what ails Jackson is on the minds of, at the very least, newspaper editors and the people they've interviewed here in our fair city, thanks in part to The Clarion-Ledger's series called "The Changing Face of Jackson." So far, if you've missed the series, here's a recap: Week One: We need to get along. Week Two: We need to grow.

[Spann] Right the First Time

I don't really follow politics per se; the whole mess bores me. But I have taken note lately. Over the last year, the political scene has been a colorful place from Pennsylvania Avenue to Silas Brown Street, home of Jackson's temporary city hall. As I watch the political ads and listen to the news reports, I wonder: Wouldn't it be great if life were as carefree as the most idyllic childhood? Someone might goof during a game, everyone would chuckle, and then you'd simply yell, "Do over!" and all would be right in play land again.

Anna Barber

What little girl hasn't dreamed of being a princess? Anna Barber, a 20-year-old member of the Gena Band of Choctaw Indians in Gena, La., not only had that dream, but she was actually crowned princess when she was 15.

[Fry] Dear Mr. President

Dear Mr. President, Saddam is right here in my neighborhood. He is in the third house on the right. Yeah, the one that is all boarded up. So please send the planes, tanks and military to blow up my neighborhood. He has been in this area for quite some time now and quite frankly he is getting on my nerves. After all, my neighborhood could use a remodeling job just like the one Iraq is going to get.

Tuesday, October 14

Animal House Politics

Good Lord: Do we have a bunch of children running these campaigns? The state Republican Party has launched this silly anti-Musgrove Web site, registered to the state College Republicans at 415 Yazoo Street. (The site doesn't contain any links; only quotes lifted from longer media stories.) If these boys aren't careful, they're going to convince me to vote for Musgrove, yet, even in the wake of that "10 Commandments" mess.

Monday, October 13

Red Sox or Cubs?

Slate's Seth Stevenson asks the burning question: Red Sox or Cubs? Dr. S says, Red Sox, naturally because the Cubs are evil (and cheap and incompetent, until this year). Dr. S was dismayed to see Pedro Martinez knocking down 100-year-old Don Zimmer. Maybe Pedro was afraid Zim would hit him with his walker. Still, it was ridiculous for Joe Torre to deride Pedro as a chicken-hearted headhunter while Roger Clemens is wearing Yankee pinstripes. Feisty Zim showed more class than the rest of the Red Sox and Yankees organizations combined with his heart-felt apology on Sunday. Others should follow his lead.

Sunday, October 12

[Business] Dreaming Is Free

Congratulations to Chane—his clothing lines are now represented by a New York showroom.

[Drive] Focus on Chivalry

Ms. D and I have a running point of, er, discussion regarding, of all things, remote keyless entry. I say it's an absolutely must-have feature in terms of the next vehicle that we decide on, and that I'm willing to consider spending an extra $1,000 for a power package in order to get it. (As you might expect, our 1986 Toyota Tercel 4WD does not offer such a feature. To me, keyless entry still seems like The Future.) Ms. D has a different take. "It's unchivalrous. You don't open my door when you use it."

Salter Defends Barbour, Again

OK, here's a riddle? Why should it possibly matter that a potential governor of the state went off to Washington once and helped sell out the state's jobs and economy to corporate interests that wanted to move outside the country, and take jobs with them? It's about integrity, stupid! And about whether the candidate is serious when he says that he cares, really cares about the state of Mississippi and its people, including the ones who lost jobs due to NAFTA. Salter is apparently worried enough that this issue is going to derail his candidate, as it probably should, that he wrote again today about why NAFTA doesn't possibly matter to Barbour's candidacy. Then, he complains at the end of the column that Musgrove couldn't produce "the first scintilla of evidence" to prove that he didn't once support NAFTA (but Salter doesn't produce "the first scintilla of evidence" that says he did). And he manages to argue, without logic, that both elephants and donkeys in Washington supported NAFTA in those dark days—which I would agree is a huge black mark against Clinton's so-called legacy, which is shot anyhow—and, therefore somehow, that means that Barbour is off the hook for making money trying to push the NAFTA agenda on both parties back then. Please. Of course this issue matters to Mississippians (and is certainly more relevant than either Tuck or Blackmon's take on abortion). The fact is, if Barbour was willing to sell his state out then to national and international (and personal financial) interests, what happens when/if he's in office here? Let me guess: He leads the charge to stop "lawsuit abuse" on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Ah. There's another charge for Real Mississippi.

[Media Talk] Romper Rhetoric

Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger admitted in a Sept. 24 column that his paper might have screwed the pooch on "tort reform" coverage, as we detailed in our last cover story ("Hoodwinked"). But he started out whining about the "crybabies" who question his paper's coverage of the topic. "Wah-wah-wah. Oh, boo-hoo-hoo," he wrote about the critics' complaints.

Friday, October 10

Haley to Cure Jackson Crime

(Verbatim statement)-Calling for an increased focus on crime-fighting from the office of the Governor, Haley Barbour announced that he will use the authority given to the Governor to "direct the Attorney General to aid in the prosecution of cases by appointing assistant Attorneys General as special prosecutors." At a press conference at the State Capitol building today, Barbour stated, "State law gives the Governor the authority to direct the Attorney General to aid in the prosecution of cases by appointing assistant Attorneys General as special prosecutors. As Governor, I will exercise that authority in order to make sure criminals in Hinds County get tried swiftly and punished appropriately."

The Young And The Reb-less

Ole Miss called off its online mascot vote on Thursday, apparently because the only people voting in the non-binding election were Mississippi State fans. Also it seems that the artist who submitted the "new" Rebel Bruiser mascot forgot to mention that a statue of Bruiser beating up a Bulldog has been on sale for a year. Hopefully, we can all put this behind us and start concentrating on real news like the Siegfried and Roy disaster or Halle Berry's marital problems. Sure the University of Mississippi has released an official statement on this latest setback, but Dr. S is still waiting to hear from his personal choice as the new Rebel mascot, former Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf (left).

Wednesday, October 8

Rebel, Rebel

Breaking news: Dr. S' spies in Oxford claim — and The Daily Mississippian hints — that Mississippi State students and fans have broken into Ole Miss' computer system and are voting for "Rowdy Rebel" (aka Skinhead Colonel Reb) in the online referendum on a new mascot to replace Slaveowner Colonel Reb. Not that it matters: The vote is non-binding. But some Rebel rooters are frothing at the mouth, anyway.

Conservative Says Howard Dean Welcome Change

In his column today, conservative-but-independent columnist Charley Reese writes that Howard Dean is a real threat to the U.S. political establishment: "What people see is an intelligent man who isn't catering to the press, who isn't resorting to weasel words. This could be, and I pray it is, the start of a sea change in American politics. It could be that after so many disappointments, Americans are finally wising up to the professional politicians whose statements are manufactured for campaign purposes only."

Takes On Topics Of All Sorts

Theme? We don't need no stinkin' theme. Just in time for the State Fair, here's a midway of unrelated items:

Tuesday, October 7

[Talk] No More ‘Segregation'

Gubernatorial candidates other than Democrats and Republicans were determined to be heard Monday, Sept. 29. So much so that an unlikely alliance formed between Sherman Lee Dillon of the tree-hugging Green Party and John Thomas Cripps of the Rebel flag-waving Constitution Party. The men held a joint media conference on the south steps of the Capitol to protest the exclusion of "third party" candidates from the debates, scheduled for that night at Belhaven College.

"Hope"-ful Stringfellow Column Today

Musgrove's Economic Plan

October 5, 2003 -- (verbatim release) Today Governor Ronnie Musgrove proposed a detailed plan to keep Mississippi's economy moving forward. National unemployment has grown to a nine-year high, but we've seen 56,000 new jobs created in the last 3 years as a result of Governor Musgrove's tireless efforts to bring good jobs to Mississippi. According to the Bush Administration, Mississippi is one of only two states in the southeast to have seen a net growth in jobs last year. (Department of Housing and Urban Development for 2002-2003). MORE ...

[Web Talk] Clarion-Ledger's Big-Ass Jackson Series

Back in the Swing

The big boys are back, and they are golfing at Annandale Country Club in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic. We'll see them with their caddies and their Buicks, but what we won't see are the hours of practice, training and conditioning that brought them here. Many professional golfers now work with a personal trainer or personal physical therapist to keep themselves, and their game, in top condition.

[Media Talk] Students Blame Ledger

Fifteen-year-old Jonathan Minor was shocked when he saw his picture on the front page of the Sept. 16 Clarion-Ledger. "I thought I was a superstar. Then I read the caption," Minor said. The caption read: "Algebra Project teacher Peggy Quinn helps Jonathan Minor, 15, with an assignment at Lanier High School, one of 33 schools across the state performing at the lowest level, according to recently released state testing results." The large headline overhead was worse: "Students blame themselves." And the sub-head: "Parents, kids agree teachers not to blame for poor Level 1 rating."

Monday, October 6

Kennedy Derides Howard Dean's NRA Support

The Washington Post reports: "Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) scolded Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean for his friendly relations with the National Rifle Association during a Capitol Hill rally last week to drum up support for renewal -- and strengthening -- of the federal ban on assault weapons. While other speakers stuck to the subject of assault weapons, Kennedy assailed Dean, saying he was 'saddened' that one of his party's leading presidential candidates is 'pro-NRA.' He suggested that Dean has 'compromised his principles' as a physician by opposing stronger federal gun controls."

NFL By The Numbers

The Village Voice's Paul Lukas returns with another installment on the wonderful world of uniforms and how the players' numbers add up in the NFL.

Saturday, October 4

Blackmon Challenges Tuck to Debate Issues

Oct. 3 statement (verbatim): Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor Barbara Blackmon today called on her opponent to agree to a televised debate focusing on jobs and Mississippi 's economy and to condemn the secret spending that has resulted in vicious negative attack ads that distort her record. "The unfair attack by Amy Tuck and her big buck backers are occurring because I have the strongest economic development message in this campaign," Blackmon said. "I have put foreword a detailed, multi-point plan to create jobs and to get the economy moving. On Amy Tuck's watch, the state has lost 44,000 jobs, and she has not spearheaded any major economic development efforts."

Lester Spell JFP Voter Questionnaire Posted

We have just posted a very complete candidate questionnaire we received from Commissioner of Agriculture Lester Spell, a Democrat, who is running against Republican Max Phillips. Mr. Phillips returned a substantive questionnaire before the primary, which is also posted. Please see both sets of answers on the JFP PoliticsBlog.

AG candidate Jim Hood accuses opponent of lying

We received this letter today from attorney general candidate Jim Hood, the Democrat, accusing his challenger Scott Newton of intentionally lying about Hood's record. It is reprinted verbatim:

Rush Week

Some more logs to throw on the Rush Limbaugh-NFL firestorm:

Friday, October 3

Reaching New Political Lows

This whole lt. gov. abortion dust-up is absurd. Finally, we have two women, one black and one white, running for a major office in the state -- and we're arguing over abortion, and whether one had one or not. First of all, it's none of our business. Second of all, Ms. Tuck never should have played the abortion card first. It has nothing to do with this office. It's a wedge issue, stupid! With all that money, you'd think the candidates could figure out how to talk about issues that they actually would be elected to deal with. It's thoroughly disgusting. Y'all, they're playing Mississippians for fools again. Every time you watch another dumb-ass television commercial or hear another personal attack or another sound bite like "school discipline" without any substance behind it, remember you're being played like a fiddle by the political machine. We've got to put an end to this, or it's just going to get worse.

Her Perspective

To be 19 years old from a small town outside of Petal, newly married and living in "the big city" provides opportunities to see things other people take for granted. Jackson isn't far from photographer Natalie Bancroft's home outside Hattiesburg, where she was born in her grandmother's house, but it is an urban metropolis compared to her rural stomping grounds.

[Talk] Raising Flags

On Wednesday, Sept. 17, French Elementary School turned "green." After completing the first level of the Green Flag Program, French students were presented with a national recycling award and a vibrant green flag to hang at their school. Along with only 10 other schools across the country participating in the program, French Elementary "detectives" investigated environmental health issues within their own school. More specifically, they looked at the use of toxic chemicals and pesticides, indoor air quality and recycling practices. The students served as detectives alongside teachers, administrators and parents to complete their investigation.

Thursday, October 2

[Talk] Beauty and Mystery

September sunshine streamed through the Atrium windows at the Mississippi Arts Center as the small crowd waited. In truth, on that Friday, Sept. 26, the crowd looked like one anywhere; some members of the crowd are always seen as different, though. Why? They are disabled—some so that anyone can readily see it, with canine assistants or wheel chairs—some not so easily seen, with hearing aids or mental illnesses that have no outward physical manifestations. That day, though, they were the artists-in-residence. "The Mississippi Forum for Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities" was planned with them in mind.

ESPN: The S Stands For Spineless

While you were sleeping Wednesday night, conservative talk show howt Rush Limbaugh "resigned" from ESPN's NFL Sunday pregame show. In reality, ESPN fired Limbaugh for doing what it hired him to do: make provocative comments. ESPN didn't hire Limbaugh because he was a football expert (if that was the case, Chris Berman wouldn't be on the show, either); he was hired to increase ratings for ratings-challenged NFL preview show. Mission accomplished there: ratings were up 10 percent this year.

Restless Lucero, by Palmer Houchins

Calling Memphis country-rockers Lucero restless might be an understatement. Over the past two years, the group has logged almost 400 live shows. Despite a commitment to touring that would spell musical suicide for most groups, the band has also managed to record and release two records in just over a year. "It's always nice going home for a bit, but after you've been there for a bit, it's like 'What am I doing here?'," says Lucero vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ben Nichols after apologizing for sounding a bit sluggish due to a "late evening" the previous night.

No Fallen Angel, by Alphonso Mayfield

The world of hip-hop is a male-dominated jungle where the fiercest competitors survive by the ferocity of their lyrical acumen. Meaning that they eat off their words. Many female artists find themselves playing a game of career cat-and-mouse, being forced to fit into one of several stereotypes. MC Rachel James of Jackson is determined to not only survive in this jungle but to reign through her lyrical ability.

A New Politics

<b>How Cultural Creatives Are Changing the Map</b>

"A third party? I'd just be happy with a second party!" Agree with that statement? If so, there's a chance you've considered yourself a "centrist," an "independent," a "free thinker"—or you just think politics is for suckers. Perhaps you identify with a third-party cause or candidate—maybe you find yourself stuck in the middle, unsure of whether any political party or movement speaks to the issues that are important to you. Or maybe you don't vote at all.

[Ladd] Souls of Our Citizens

I left Mississippi in 1983 to find my place in the world. It wasn't in my home state, I knew then; I just didn't fit here. My spirit was a bit too free and independent to follow a traditional path; my heart bled a bit too easily to belong in the prevailing political climate; my voice was a bit too loud in a state that liked its women a bit more, shall we say, cooperative and demure.

[Stiggers] Anegrophobia

<i>"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

The Right, Reverend, Brother, PHD, DD, JD, M.O.U.S.E., Dr. Peanut of the George Washington Carver Holistic Health Commission of Tuskeegee, Ala., has issued an Anegrophobia mental health epidemic for this city and other cities nationwide.

Tell Me the Truth, JoAnne

Thank you for that question. If there's one thing I know about, it's losing things. I've declared mismatched earrings stylish because one in every pair I've ever owned has been lost. I've "lost" my purse more times that I can possibly remember. I even lost my skirt on Fifth Avenue one time! (It was one of those wraparound deals that ties in front. I was rushing across the street as the light changed, my arms full of packages and bags, and the strap on my shoulder bag broke. When I leaned down to retrieve the items that spilled from my purse, I accidentally untied my skirt, which of course fell down as I came up! Meanwhile, with trucks and taxis honking and engines panting down my neck, I somehow made it to the other side of the street, with both my life and my skirt—shall we say?—barely intact.)

James Meredith

Talking to Mr. James Meredith is a right-brain experience. The conversation isn't linear, organized, disciplined. It jumps around to topics that the thin, intense grandfather is interested in at the very instant. As the 70-year-old Kosciusko native talks first about the legacy of slavery in Brazil (where he just visited); the need for people to "blend" in society; Ole Miss back in 1962 when he integrated the stubborn old institution; the oddity of growing older; and finally young people's need to work harder, you can easily see why his name ended up in lights. It's hard to imagine someone more unique, more creative, more daring, more willing to offend one or another status quo.

Wednesday, October 1

Go, Rush, Go

The Associated Press reports: "New ESPN commentator Rush Limbaugh said on the network's pregame show that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback do well." McNabb reacts.

Barbour's company to profit off Iraq

The AP's Emily Wagster Pettus wrote an important story today about Haley Barbour's D.C. company's plans to make a lot of money in Iraq. She begins: "Lobbying partners of Haley Barbour have established a company that says it will help its clients with business opportunities in the Middle East, including rebuilding in postwar Iraq. New Bridge Strategies "will seek to expedite the creation of free and fair markets and new economic growth in Iraq, consistent with the policies of the Bush Administration," the company's Web site says." That's a busy little side business he has going up in Washington, eh?

Barbour choice of white supremacists?

The Clarion-Ledger today mentions Barbour appearance on a racist site, as a JFP reader revealed on our blog (scroll to bottom) last week: "Barbour wears a lapel pin with the U.S. and state flags and he is in a photograph on the Web site of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a neo-Confederate group accused of racist views. Barbour says he doesn't know anything about the council. The picture was taken at a council-sponsored barbecue in July used to raise money for private academy school buses." The Ledger doesn't go into more details about the barbecue; it is at the Black Hawk rally,which was started by the CofCC,the modern-day version of the White Citizens Council. The rally does still raise money for buses for white "seg" academies, even as it draws a variety of candidates, including Democrats and some African-Americans (much as the Neshoba County Fair). Interestingly, also in the photo is Bill Lord, a former campaign manager for Trent Lott, who was head, I believe, the Carroll County chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. You will recall that Lott's close involvement with the group caused a national stir (as it should have) a couple years back. Barbour's disavowal of knowledge about the Council is simply ridiculous and patently impossible. Here we go again. (By the way, readers, tell us if they take the photo off the CofCC site, which I'd predict will happen before the day is out. We have a screen shot we can post instead.)