Stories for April 2004


Friday, April 30

Just Another Church

Methodist minister Ed King worked and lived Freedom Summer in Mississippi in 1964. The Vicksburg native ran for lieutenant governor on the Freedom Vote mock election ballot while Aaron Henry was the gubernatorial candidate. The two were pitted against actual candidates. The Freedom Vote's two main goals—to show whites in Mississippi and America that African Americans wanted to vote; and to give African Americans, many of whom had never voted, a chance to practice casting a ballot—were met when 93,000 voted on mock Election Day in November and Freedom Party candidates won. Mr. King vividly remembers how journalists of the day covered the atmosphere in Mississippi that eventful summer. The following is a chapter in an as-yet-unpublished manuscript on Freedom Summer that King hopes to publish.

Thursday, April 29

With "Friends" Like These ...

What does the inexplicably popular sitcom "Friends" have to do with sports? Nothing, unless you consider civil suits a spectator sport. But as you watch the last three episodes, mull on the juicy details of a sexual harrassment suit against the show's writers. This is what it takes to produce a hit TV show.

Monday, April 26

Lawmakers face budget decisions

Andy Kanengiser of C-L reports: "State House and Senate negotiators will try to reach compromises on a slew of budgets for agencies, public schools, community colleges and universities as lawmakers enter the final two weeks of their four-month session at the Capitol. In conference committees, they also hope to find more money for prisons, Medicaid, mental health and other needs in the state's $3.7 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Lawmakers have until Saturday to file conference reports."

A ‘Livable' Retreat

On Monday, April 12, the JFP revealed on our Web site the fact that Jackson had been named one of the "most livable places" by Partners for Livable Communities ( Let's be frank here. We were all a little shocked. OK, maybe that sounds cynical—it was just surprising that Jackson was already on that list. It's been clear for at least a year or two that it was headed in that direction, but you get used to the crime headlines and suburban politics and empty storefronts—and all that jazz. (Or is that the blues?) But the rest of the week after that announcement followed it up nicely—especially the street festival atmosphere in Fondren, which capped at least a week's worth of jawing on Jackson's problems—and their solutions.

Good Eye For The Sports Guy columnist Bill Simmons was supposed to write a column about the NBA playoffs. Eventually, he did, but thank God he first wrote about what he watched on TV, instead.

It's Eli's World

Doctor S rounds up all things Eli Manning: Eli is going to be the New York Giants' starting quarterback sooner rather than later, which means Kerry Collins won't be a Giant much longer, Gary Myers of the N.Y. Daily News writes. Ditto, says Newsday's Neil Best... and Eli will survive and likely thrive all the flak surrounding his draft, the Biloxi Sun Herald's Jim Mashek says. ... But Eli cannot be good, he has to be great, writes the N.Y. Post's Paul Schwartz.

Sunday, April 25

Eli's Coming To Manhattan

Eli Manning to what he wanted on Saturday — he was the first player taken in the NFL draft, by the San Diego Chargers, but he's going to start his career with the N.Y. Giants, not in San Diego. Doctor S says God bless the former Ole Miss quarterback for manipulating the draft to his benefit. It was nice to see a player get over on the NFL for once. That's a rare thing ... Now Eli has a chance to follow in the footsteps of another former Ole Miss QB, Charlie Conerly, who played for the Giants back in their glory days. Not so coincidentally, Conerly was Archie Manning's favorite player when he was a kid ... More Mississippi players, including Southern Miss star Rod Davis, figure to be selected on Sunday.

Saturday, April 24

Exposing The Angels

UniWatch exposes the dark underside of the Anaheim Angels' cap brims. No detail is too small if you're a sports uniform nut.

Friday, April 23

Black College Women Take Aim at Rappers

AP reports: "Maybe it was the credit card that rap superstar Nelly swiped through a woman's backside in a recent video. Here at Spelman, the most famous black women's college in the country, a feud has erupted over images of women in rap videos, sparking a petition drive and phone campaigns.

Former NFLer Killed In Afghanistan

Pat Tillman, who left the NFL in the prime of his career (and gave up $3.6 million) to become an Army Ranger, was killed in a firefight in Afghanistan. He was 27. Think about this guy the next time you hear some sportscaster call an athlete a "hero" for something he does on the field.

GOP Warriors vs. Rap Music

Salon reports: "'We need to understand rap, folks,' Limbaugh told his listeners, in a mocking tone. 'There's a lot of poetry and anger in this. Social energy. It's important. Look, it's one thing to say you like it, but to try to pass this off as something you've intellectually examined and assigned value to? Sorry, senator. Don't stand up for white music -- associate yourself with rap.' (In the edited version of his comments on Limbaugh's Web site, his reference to defending "white music" is deleted.)

No. 1 In The Hood, G

Doctor S hasn't watched much of the interminable NBA and NHL playoffs. He's been too busy watching his favorite new extreme sports TV show, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" on Cartoon Network. OK, well, it's not a sports show, but it's extreme, anyway. Check it out.

Good Move, Eli

So Eli Manning doesn't want to play for the San Diego Chargers? Doctor S told you the guy was smart. The Chargers leaked this info to take the pressure off them. They didn't want to take Manning with the No. 1 pick in Saturday's NFL draft, anyway. Now they can say, "Eli doesn't want us to pick him anyway." Sure Archie and Eli are taking heat from all over the nation, but all of those guys will be safe in the press box every Sunday while Eli is getting his ass pounded. And Archie knows how that feels.

Thursday, April 22

America's Pastime: Moneyball

The Oakland A's have turned conventional baseball wisdom into a lie. Many people who work in, report on or follow major league baseball say that the game has changed from an athletic contest into a financial one. The small-market and/or cash-poor teams have no chance to compete against free-spending clubs like the New York Yankees and Mets, Boston Red Sox or Atlanta Braves.


College baseball, Southern Miss at Tulane, 6:30 p.m.: Need a reason to go to New Orleans? The Golden Eagles begin a three-day CUSA series against Tulane. Baseball and decadence mix well .


Tee Martin, who succeeded Peyton Manning as Tennessee's starting quarterback in 1998, with some advice for Micheal Spurlock as he prepares to take over for Eli at Ole Miss next season: "There's only a certain amount of Mannings born, and they are who they are, and you are who you are. Don't give in to the pressure of people saying you're not a great player because you're not a Manning."

Mississippi's lieutenant governor released from hospital

AP reports: Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck was released from a hospital Wednesday night after doctors determined she had pneumonia but could recover at home. 'She's under strict orders to rest as much as possible,' said Tuck's chief of staff, Ben Thompson. He said she was feeling 'a little tired and weak.' Tuck, 41, was admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center on Saturday complaining of nausea and severe headaches. Thompson said he didn't know when Tuck would return to the Capitol, where lawmakers are holding budget talks that usually include her. The House and Senate must agree on budget bills by May 1.

House considers tort reform

The AP reports: The House voted 110 to 8 to allow a new bill to be filed. The bill will address several issues, including limits on where product-liability lawsuits can be filed. It will not include proposals to limit pain and suffering damages that can be awarded in civil suits. The Mississippi Senate has to agree before a new bill can be filed.

[Lott] Young Mississippians Choosing to Lead

Web exclusive

Mississippi has produced some of the world's most significant artists, writers, politicians, business leaders and humanitarians. Though materially poor, our state has always been rich in human resources, and too much of that potential has left our state upon maturity. I believe that's changing, and the University of Mississippi's new leadership institute is just one example of how Mississippians are choosing to lead—not necessarily for someone somewhere else, but for Mississippi.

‘I'm Going to Get There,' by Lynette Hanson

Telling the story of his first encounter with the record business—other than the normal retail one that many 44-year-olds remember—brings a smile to Greg Preston's blue eyes. "I was about 7 when my dad brought home these two guys from CBS Records in New York," he said. His dad had met them on the plane coming into Atlanta; his mom, always a saint, made them a home-cooked meal, and Preston thought it was cool when, later on, he began to get records from them in the mail. He'd found his calling.

View from the Co-op

It's the grocery store for hippies, no doubt. Rainbow Co-op bumper stickers often find themselves on cars next to such declarations as "People Over Profit" and "Meat is Murder." But the Co-op is more than just a hippie grocery store, workers and Jacksonians say. It's a community outreach program, in place since May 1980, that offers good food—even meat!

Whither the Noble Avocado

There was a time, younger food aficionados, when one expected to see the "half avocado with oil and vinegar on a bed of iceberg lettuce" or the "avocado and grapefruit salad with poppyseed dressing" on the menu of any restaurant sporting a decent wine list. Alas, fruit and veggie lovers, this is no longer true. Once a fine dining experience, the avocado has become a cult food, eaten by vegans, fans of the faded California cuisine and those who frequent Mexican restaurants where it is served in its adulterated form—"guacamole."

Paycheck Not Enough

Maybe it's a natural cycle after the excessive '80s and dot-com '90s, maybe it's because of the recent business scandals or the inner reflecting many are doing in the wake of Sept. 11, but the Millennium Generation seems to want to do business in a different way. Some plan to use their MBAs to do good, and that might be very welcome news for the nonprofit and academic communities.

Young People Want to Be Own Boss

Justin Reed gets it. He can see why African-American junior high and high school kids said in the Interprise Poll, Junior Achievement's 2003 nationwide survey, that they wanted to become entrepreneurs more than they wanted to be doctors or lawyers or teachers. "You can be your own boss," said the 10th grade Calloway High School student. "You can make a lot of money."

Clash of the Generations

Maybe you once diapered somebody who is now your boss' age. Or maybe you supervise someone who once babysat you. Regardless, the two of you likely look at the world, and the workplace, very differently. And that might make working together kind of sticky. That's the concept behind "When Generations Collide," (Harper Business, 2003, $15.95), an engaging book by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman, whose company BridgeWorks is designed to broker generation gaps at work.

Cyrus Webb

Read about Cyrus Webb's more recent activities and controversies here

Lobbying for Arts

"Give us a dollar, we'll give you a dime." That's the main refrain of the Motion Picture Incentive Act (House Bill 1780), which won the endorsement of the Mississippi House two weeks ago and was awaiting approval by the state Senate as the JFP went to press. The bill passed out of the House by a landslide margin of 117 votes to 2—gratifying news to Ward Emling, Nina Parikh and Betty Black at the Mississippi Film Office, as well as Reps. Diane Peranich and Mark Formby (she authored the bill, he presented it on the House floor), and other advocates of enhancing the state's appeal to filmmakers.

Calm the 'Runaway' Rhetoric; Do the Homework

As we go to press, it seems likely that Gov. Haley Barbour will call a special session this year to try and push through more "tort reform" measures after failing to reach a compromise with Democratic leadership in the House. The slogan leading up to Gov. Barbour's special session will be that the House leadership is not "allowing the majority to speak." But if general tort-reform liability caps pass, it will be the lobbyists and big industry who are being heard. The "majority" wants health care and jobs. Capping non-economic damages provides neither, and a special session will be a waste of taxpayer dollars on a partisan, ideological enterprise based on rhetoric and sketchy facts.

[Johnson] ‘60 Minutes' Missed Pickering's Real Record

President, Mississippi NAACP

"60 Minutes" seemed intent on making the point that African Americans within Pickering's hometown know best about Pickering's qualifications for the appellate court, and that their support is revealing: "Pickering enjoys strong support from the many blacks who know him." This misses the point completely about federal judicial nominations. The Senate's advise and consent role is not reduced to a personality contest limited to a nominee's popular support in his hometown. Nominees—even controversial ones—can receive overwhelming support from local friends and associates.

[Ladd] Life in the Fast Lane

Not to be a drama queen here, but hanging out at the Mississippi Legislature can really shatter one's faith in humanity. After doing years of research on harmful youth policies (zero tolerance, adult sentencing, "superpredator" rhetoric, media demonization of youth), I'm already convinced that most people don't give a damn about young people they didn't raise. And too many don't really care enough about the ones they did.

[Stiggers] Adventures on the U.S. Censor Ship

Hey, hey, hey! Here's what on-the-scene reporter Bone-Qweesha Jones gotta say!

Wurd Up, peoples! As summertime approaches, the news seems to get as hot as a Nelly "It's Hott In Herre" album release party in a steam room. And as Dr. King said, "Trouble is in the land, and confusion is all about … but only when it's dark enough, you can see the stars."

Wednesday, April 21

Not Too Hip to Vote

Christopher Hayes writes for Alternet: "[T]his crowd, which formed a line that snaked around Astor place onto Lafayette, was garbed in American Apparel t-shirts, thrift store blazers, and the hyper pointy-toed shoes that are currently standard issue for women south of 14th Street. ...

‘Built This City' Tops Worst Song List

AP reports: "Starship may have built this city on rock and roll, but Blender magazine is tearing it down, naming the band's 'We Built This City' as the worst song ever. Some tunes on the '50 Worst Songs Ever!' list were selected for their melodies, others 'are wretchedly performed' and 'quite a few don't make sense whatsoever,' the magazine said. The list, which appears in the May issue, includes songs by New Kids on the Block, Meat Loaf, The Doors, Lionel Richie, Hammer and The Beach Boys, among others."

Tuesday, April 20

Are We Losing the Peace in Iraq?

Fables of Reconstruction: A Coalition memo reveals that even true believers see the seeds of civil war in the occupation of Iraq

The Kill Zone

Moving wounded and dodging American bullets in Fallujah

Entering the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah was difficult, but not impossible. We came in along the backroads, following the Euphrates River past beautiful date groves, villages of clay houses, and herds of goats. The air is marvelously dry, clean, and bright, the polar opposite of Baghdad's choking, fume-ridden skies. It is a fantastic and timeless landscape.

Sunday, April 18

Jesse Jackson Seeking Macon Man's Release

AP is reporting: "The Rev. Jesse Jackson will contact religious leaders in Iraq to seek the release of Thomas Hamill, the American civilian truck driver abducted in Iraq, Hamill's wife said Saturday. Kellie Hamill, who has been pleading in the media for her husband's release, said Jackson made the offer last week and she asked him to intervene. 'We talked with him several days ago,' she said in a telephone interview from the couple's home in Macon. U.S. Sen. Trent Lott said Friday at a news conference in Tupelo he had talked with Jackson and helped the longtime civil rights advocate contact the Hamill family.

NAFTA Tribunals Stir U.S., Mississippi Worries

More NAFTA woes ... New York Times reports today: "Any Canadian or Mexican business that contends it has been treated unjustly by the American judicial system can file a similar claim. American businesses with similar complaints about Canadian or Mexican court judgments can do the same. Under the Nafta agreement the government whose court system is challenged is responsible for awards by the tribunals. 'This is the biggest threat to United States judicial independence that no one has heard of and even fewer people understand,' said John D. Echeverria, a law professor at Georgetown University.

Saturday, April 17

State GOP Twists Kerry Out of Context

Linked to the top of the conservative Magnolia Report right now is a press release the Mississippi GOP put out April 15 to explain "why John Kerry is wrong for Mississippi." Beyond focusing on emotional wedge issues (that "reflect the values and ideals of folks down here") that don't actually affect most Mississippians' everyday lives ("partial-birth" abortion, death penalty for drug-related murders) rather than issues that do (jobs, public education), the GOP twisted John Kerry right out of context to apparently prove that he's some Yankee who doesn't give a damn about southerners.

Wednesday, April 14

Who's Scaring Whom?

April 14, 2004 -- This is a weird press release from Gov. Barbour's folks, blaming school administrators, who are facing funding cuts thanks to the governor and the Senate, for "scaring" teachers. Who's scaring whom here?

[Ask Joanne] Think Big, and Small

Q. What is the single most obvious opportunity for a citizen to assist the City of Jackson in addressing a community problem? By this question, I am referring to all the problems faced by our city. Isn't there one that, if addressed by working toward a solution, would effect the greatest change for our city? Is it teenage pregnancy? Is it crime? Is it lack of a CC's Coffee House? Is it education? Is it drugs? Is it the antics of the City Council? Is it corruption? Is it potholes? Is it 'white flight'? Is it lack of nightlife? What is the solution? How can the average citizen help? What will make the greatest impact?

Dresden Draw Lagging in Ticket Sales

Tuesday, April 13

[Cohen] The Enemy Within

Our new NOISE section will highlight the JFP's breaking online stories, hot blog discussions and exclusive online op-eds. Starting this week, the JFP is asking a number of opinionated souls to regularly contribute pieces on the fly about issues of the day to our Web site. If you are interested in joining the NOISE team, please e-mail [e-mail missing], and we'll provide you the guidelines. And if you're a reader, check back throughout the day; you never know what will pop up next!

[Lott] Keeping Up Our Recovery

Web Exclusive

Twice as many jobs were created in March than expected, more than 300,000 nationally. That shows the U.S. economy is indeed rebounding with a total of 750,000 jobs added since September, thanks to tax cuts which are spawning economic activity. Yet Congress could do more. From a legislative standpoint, energy and transportation should be the top priorities of U.S. Senators right now. Perhaps no two issues can propel our economy more than having good roads and affordable fuel prices. Without passage of highway and energy bills, our economic recovery is at risk.

Monday, April 12

Bush: Drop ‘Political Posture'

The New York Times editorializes today: "No reasonable American blames Mr. Bush for the terrorist attacks, but that's a long way from thinking there was no other conceivable action he could have taken to prevent them. He could, for instance, have left his vacation in Texas after receiving that briefing memo entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.' and rushed back to the White House, assembled all his top advisers and demanded to know what, in particular, was being done to screen airline passengers to make sure people who fit the airlines' threat profiles were being prevented from boarding American planes. Even that sort of prescient response would probably have been too little to head off the disaster. But those what-if questions should haunt the president as they haunt the nation. In all probability, they do and it is only the demands of his re-election campaign that are guiding Mr. Bush's public stance of utter, uncomplicated self-righteousness.

Business Students Shifting Focus

"Corporate responsibility" is becoming the mantra at many business schools, AP reports: "As the stereotype goes, business students are supposed to be single-minded in their career goals: making money, more money and still more money. But don't tell that to Daron Horwitz, who spent his spring break in Iraq - visiting schools that will be helped by a nonprofit group he and a small group of students formed at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

Student Trades Rock Posters for Food

Wiretap reports: "'If I give food to the hungry, they call me a saint,' Brazilian Bishop Dom Helder Camera once famously quipped. 'But if I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.' Colorado-based food gatherer Justin Baker will tell you he isn't really interested in being either one. Rather, the 24-year-old honcho of Conscious Alliance is more into swapping one kind of hunger for another -- the appetite for music and art, and the desperate craving for, well, food. But the carte du jour of this non-profit is definitely more Chef Boyardee than escargot.


The company that makes KOOL cigarettes is deviously trying to entice young people of the hip-hop generation into the trap of consuming tobacco, a group that fosters healthy habits in the black community charges. KOOL, owned by Brown & Williamson (of "The Insider" film notoriety), is sponsoring a hip-hop DJ competition called KOOL Mixx 2004 in cities throughout the U.S. The idea is that local undiscovered DJs can display their talents in hopes of realizing their dreams of being in the music industry. The company claims to "understand the vibrant world of the trend setting, multicultural smoker," it says in press materials.

[Stiggers] Help Wanted: WMD Detectives Needed

The Weapons of Mass Destruction Detective Agency is looking for a few good people! Now, a few words from our founder head inspector/agent Mr. Cholly Banks.

Sex and the Single Voter

"Single women are the hot, must-have demo for the 2004 presidential race. But will they put out this November?" Rebecca Traister explores this burning question in Salon.

[Stauffer] A River Running Through It

The LeFleur Lakes project will be something that Jackson talks about for some time to come. Originally the brainchild of developer and engineer John McGowan, the "Two Lakes" project, as it�s often called, is a plan to dredge a canal in the bed of the Pearl River and then flood the river to create what (arguably) could be called two lakes—an upper and a lower, with the dividing line somewhere around LeFleur's Bluff Park. Some supporters tout the project as a miracle solution to Jackson's problems—or, at least, the flooding and economic development woes. With waterfront lapping up to the outskirts of downtown and all along the eastern edge of Jackson, people will flock back to Jackson and once again fill the city's tax coffers, they say.

Friday, April 9

AP Poll: Bush 45%, Kerry 44%, Nader 6%

AP reports today: "Bush was backed by 45 percent of voters and Kerry by 44 percent in the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Independent candidate Ralph Nader had 6 percent support. The numbers are essentially unchanged from AP-Ipsos polls taken in early and mid-March."

Thursday, April 8

No Strings Attached

Puppets, pussycats, soldiers and spiders will all be taking center stage in various metro Jackson theaters this month. Puppet master Peter Zapletal is directing the "Hansel and Gretel" puppet show, which runs April 15-17 at Millsaps College. Featuring music, fairy-tale sets, live actors and carefully crafted puppets, the show should prove to be something of a spectacle. The Hansel and Gretel characters are four-foot-tall puppets; the Sandman is a larger-than-life, seven-foot-tall puppet. Playing opposite the fantastical puppets are Millsaps students, portraying the witch and Hansel and Gretel's parents.

Light Fantastic

A great work of art seems effortless, with an inevitability about it; an "of course" almost crosses your lips when you see it for the first time. So it is when looking at glasswork from Pearl River Glass Studios. Great fat tomatoes hang on a fuzzy, chlorophyll-colored vine, surrounded by panels of white and colored glass—some roughly sandblasted, others smoother and painted to achieve tomato-plumping perfection. "'Maters" is one of several panels depicting classic Southern scenes at the Millsaps Avenue studio.

[Browning] As Good Fridays Go

I am constantly haunted by water. I try to drink eight full glasses a day, swim as often as possible (the dog paddle is my favorite stroke), do some menial hard labor task so that I coax tiny droplets to ooze out of me, and I adore soaking in a hot spring during those quiet crepuscular hours before dawn in contemplation of all that the day may bring. But my favorite association with water is sitting on top of it in a canoe, rhythmically stroking a good wooden paddle again and again and again, in motion meditation.


College baseball, Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss at Smith-Wills Stadium, 6:30 p.m. (620 AM and 97.3 FM): Expect a packed house for the latest edition of the Mayor's Trophy Game.

Plugging a Dam

Former Supreme Court Justice Reuben Anderson might help to calm a storm that has raged at the University of Southern Mississippi for weeks: protesting students, unhappy instructors, flying allegations, proclamations of innocence, resignation demands.

Susan Haltom

Can you even imagine your first job right out of the University of Mississippi being curator of exhibits at the Old Capitol? And then, almost 20 years later, when you're back with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History—part time—being asked to go check on Miss Welty's yard? And having that turn into a 10-year-long odyssey of cohesive research and tireless effort that culminated this past weekend with the opening of the garden at Eudora Welty's Belhaven home?

[Hughes] Travels with Gary

I didn't know when I called Gary Baldwin the other day that I'd be going on a 25-mile bike ride. I just wanted to talk with him about the newspaper he's published for 13 years in Vicksburg, where my mother grew up and where I've lived, off and on, for a good third of my adult life. I'd read The New Times before, just hadn't paid much attention to it 'til I picked up this month's issue.

Ole Miss Crime Watch

Six Ole Miss baseball players were suspended for three games this weekend for violating unspecified team rules. Doctor S wants to know: How are these guys supposed to know they're breaking the rules if the rules are unspecified? Here's hoping none of these guys have girlfriends who are UM varsity athletes; otherwise, one of those women might punch baseball coach Mike Bianco's lights out.

Wednesday, April 7

Two-Party Bickering

State lawmakers have a little more than a month left in this legislative session, and they are getting down to business on the most important item on their agenda: Passing a budget. Advocates, educators and concerned citizens are rallying for their piece of the budgetary pie, and legislators are hanging up over the usuals—Medicaid and education—but for the first time, they are splitting over these issues in a major way along party lines.

Triple Trouble at MDHS

The Mississippi Department of Human Services' latest troubles have come in threes: Children's Rights, a national advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit against it; the state auditor is investigating the agency; and children and family advocates are criticizing Executive Director Don Taylor for closing some programs that serve poor families.

Monday, April 5

Alabama Apologizes

Alabama football coach Mike Shula apologized Monday for taking former Alabama player Sylvester Croom's name off of a spring award because Croom is now head coach at Mississippi State. Shula said the award will be reinstated in Croom's name. The apology is nice, but Shula is still an idiot. Doctor S gives him 3 years.

Saturday, April 3

A Rare USM-Ole Miss Game

Here's another big soccer event in the metro area. The Ole Miss and Southern Miss women's teams will play a game on Saturday night at 7:30 at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland. Tickets are $5 for adults, but if your kid shows up in a soccer uniform, they get in free. If you show up in your replica Pele uniform, Doctor S suspects it will still cost you $5 to get in.

Friday, April 2

Clarion-Ledger Acknowledges Crime Drop

C-L editorial today: "Jackson's 30 percent drop in overall crime the first quarter of this year is an encouraging sign that with persistence by the police and public the decline could turn into a trend. All but aggravated assault (up 14 percent), among major crimes, showed a decrease from the same first three months last year, Jackson Police Department figures show. Could this be a trend? Police figures show 17,144 major crimes were reported in 2003, a 3 percent drop from 2002 and the lowest since before 1988. So, if the rest of 2004 continues at this rate, it will show substantial progress."

Thursday, April 1

Here Are Your Mississippi Braves

Remember, you heard it here first earlier this week: The Atlanta Braves Class AA team will move to Pearl for the 2005 season. They will play in a new state-of-the-art stadium (they'd better start building now if they're going to be finished in a year). The official announcement will be made Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Capitol.

JFP Web Traffic Up 26 percent!

Bama Slaps Croom

Whatever class and mystique the Alabama football program still had left over from the Bear Bryant era left Tuscaloosa with Gene Stallings. The Crimson Tide program hit a new low this week. Since 1987, Alabama had awarded the Sylvester Croom Commitment To Excellence Award at the end of spring practice. But this year Tide coach Mike Shula changed the name of the award to the Bart Starr Award. His explanation? He didn't think it was appropriate to have an Alabama football award named for a man who's now head football coach at Mississippi State. Even worse, Croom didn't know about the change until a Clarion-Ledger reporter told him about it on the practice field on Tuesday. Clarion-Ledger columnist Rick Cleveland wondered whether Shula resents Croom. Bama was heavily criticized when it chose Shula over Croom for head coach in 2003. The Birmingham News' Kevin Scarbinsky was even more blunt: "Given the way Paul Bryant felt about him, if the Bear were alive, Croom might have his name on more than an award. It also might be on the head coach's office door." Alabama didn't have the guts or vision to hire the right man as coach in 2003; thank goodness State did.