Stories for February 2004


Saturday, February 28

A Dirty Game?

What is the dirtiest college sport? According to Slate, it's flag football. Who knew? During Doctor S' undergraduate days (both of them), flag football was a good way to work up a thirst before repairing to the local beer emporium and a school-sanctioned venue for smacking around some KAs and petroleum engineering majors.

Friday, February 27


Doctor S organizes your sporting life. You must obey.

The Best in Sports for the Next 14 Days

Thursday, February 26

Will Goldwater Followers Vote Against Bush?

Sidney Blumenthal writes in Salon about the father of modern-day conservative, and why he turned on the right of today: "It was Goldwater, the genuine article, who established the image of conservative as Western hero. His persona was indistinguishable from his ideology. He was the imperial individual, the free spirit embodying the free market. He seemed a natural force in Arizona, a state on the economic frontier. With less than a million inhabitants before World War II, it exploded afterward. In his time, Goldwater appeared as new and startling as the booming suburbs in the desert."

Three Houses Divided

It was as if State Rep. Charles Young, D-Meridian, had conjured it all up: this meeting, for the first time, of Mississippi's three houses of education: K-12, Community and Junior Colleges, and Universities. The day before this Feb. 19 meeting, Young had told the House Universities and Colleges Committee, which he chairs, that the state's children and its workforce suffer because there is no "bond" or "seamless" transition from one area of education to the other. He did not know that State Superintendent of Education Henry Johnson had planned this education summit.

[City Buzz] A Time to Speak

A TIME TO SPEAK: Due to it being the 40th anniversary of Freedom Summer, 2004 seems to be the year of activism in the state of Mississippi. In fact, at a Feb. 24 press conference in the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., members of the Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner Justice Coalition officially launched what they're calling "Freedom Summer 2004," to honor the memory of the three young men killed in Neshoba County by Klansmen in 1964. And the group isn't just about memorializing; they want positive action. A 20-bus caravan will leave New York City on June 9 bound for Mississippi, making 20 stops along the way for memorials, door-to-door voter registration and anti-racism workshops. Alice Walker, Andrew Young and Marian Wright Edelman are honorary chairmen of the group. …

Jobie Martin

In the library at Morrison Academic Advancement Center, where he substitute-teaches, Jobie Martin's delivery is as graceful, his timing as sharp, his voice as mellifluous as when he was hosting James Brown, Joe Louis and Mahalia Jackson in the 1970s, back when he was the first African American in Mississippi to host a commercial TV program.

Gov. Barbour, Do More Than 'Hope'

Read last issue's "No Deposit, No Return", the story that helped set off the education firestorm against the governor the week after it came out.

[Stauffer] Movin' On Up

Read about the JFP's exciting moves—from moving into new offices in Fondren to hiring a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter.

[Stiggers] Denials Without Confessions

Network affiliates, Other Brotha/Funkee Finger Productions present "Denials without Confessions," a fresh, exciting and controversial soap opera for this spring. Here is a rough promotion/synopsis of first episode: Supa producer, TV talk-show host, herbal Viagra distributor, root doctor and investigative journalist Mo'tel Williams seeks the "buckey nekkid" truth within a scandal-ridden nation in denial.

[Ask JoAnne] Because I Said So

A. It's column time again, and I have not received any bona fide questions to answer lately. (It's not difficult, by the way, to have your questions qualify as bona fide.) But I'm nothing, if not serious about my duty, and so I'll give you answers anyway. Maybe after you read these, you'll take your job more seriously. Then again, maybe you already have.

A Monumental Mess

An old man sits in a shower of sunlight staring straight ahead. It is hard to tell his age; he could be 60 or 80. He is abnormally quiet. An old lady sits with her back to her fellow residents, too still. Across from her, another man, younger, sits and also stares. They are not playing games or exercising or visiting with relatives. They are just here, and some have lived in this West Jackson nursing home for decades.

Vasti, Proud and Strong, by Scott Barretta

Feb. 26, 2004—Guitarist, songwriter and producer Vasti Jackson may well be the busiest musician in Mississippi. In the last several years, the Hattiesburg resident has appeared in several feature films, a documentary and a TV show, co-produced a Grammy-nominated album, and worked as a session man and road musician for numerous artists. Jackson also performs with his own band and as a solo acoustic act, and recently stepped up front with a new CD, "No Border to the Blues," that might be seen as a distillation of all the work he's accomplished to date.

Amen, Smoke , by Charlie Braxton

Feb. 26, 2004—Whoever coined the phrase "where there's smoke, there's fire" must have been a fan of Jackson-based rapper Smoke D. When Smoke hits the microphone, he spits nothing but blazing lyrics filled with a burning truth that ignites your soul like a serpentine fire, giving you the kind of tingling sensation that you get in your spine when someone confronts you with a verity so profound that you can't help but shake your head and say "amen."

Farish Street Blues: Rebuilding A ‘Music Town," by Scott Barretta

I wouldn't have a gal on Farish Street, I wouldn't speak to one that lived on Mill

— Doodleville Blues, by John Henry "Bubba" Brown & Cary Lee Simmons

Six to Watch, by Palmer Houchins

Want to make it big in the music industry, but discouraged because you're from a small city like Jackson? Don't despair; here are six who are breaking out.

Temple for Talent, by Eric Stracener

Since the heyday of recording on Farish Street passed, the only local label with any real national name recognition has been Malaco Records, which has continued with a steady output of high-quality R&B and soul from the label and its in-house studio. Recently, though, other studios have started to surface here. One of them, Sonic Temple Recording Studio, has worked with artists from Cassandra Wilson to David Banner, Scott Litt of R.E.M. to Young Agent Jones.

The Alamo Lives On, by Scott Barretta

The spirit of Farish Street in the '50s and '60s is evoked at the Alamo Theatre on the third Friday of each month when The Musicians take the stage for the Jazz, Blues, and More concert series, now in its fourth year. The Musicians' broad repertoire ranges from jazz standards to soul classics; on their most recent program, songs included Bobby Bland's "Further Up The Road," Junior Parker's "Next Time You See Me" and Marvin Gaye's "Pride and Joy."

Young and Restless, by David Chilton

Two years ago I went to an all-ages show at Musiquarium. As I entered Banner Hall, I heard this massive buzz from upstairs. My jaw dropped when I entered MQ, because there were well over a hundred kids packed in the room, jumping up and down to a heavy riff scratched out by a handful of fans who were no more than 16.

State of Hip-Hop, by Alphonso Mayfield

Label Musical Chairs

The biggest news involves one of the most storied labels in hip-hop. Island Def Jam head Lyor Cohen recently left his position to head Warner Music Group's U. S. Recorded Music right on the heels of WMG being purchased by former Vivendi Universal exec Edgar Bronfman Jr. for $2.6 billion. As a result, former Arista chief Antonio "L.A." Reid has been named chairman of the Island Def Jam Music Group. Reid will report directly to Universal Music Group chairman and CEO Doug Morris and president Zach Horowitz. However, trouble is in the air as Def Jam President Kevin Liles reportedly has decided to leave the company in March.

A Sweet Little Scene, by James Hughes

It's September 1983, and I'm hanging around the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, regretting that I've shown up six months too late to get into grad school and waiting to catch a bus to wherever. With evening settling in and the campus growing quiet, I drift into town, wander around awhile, and stumble into a little music lounge with handbill-covered windows called The Secret Garden—a bare-bones joint, nowhere near as sumptuous as its name, but one I'll still remember even 20 years later as the place where I first paid attention to the music of R.E.M.

Wednesday, February 25

McCoy releases budget

AP reports: "McCoy said the House plan would inject $673 million into the anemic state budget. He says the money would come from several sources, including increasing costs for licenses and similar fees, using the annual payment from a tobacco lawsuit settlement and raising the revenue estimate, a technical move based on optimism that the economy will perk up."

Tort reform raises rally

Byrd of the AP reports :" 'We're saying that we know better than the citizens of this state as to what value a life might be, and that's wrong,' Tollison said. The Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association opposes the bill. 'The object of the exercise is to close the courthouse door to the average citizen. If you would notice, none of this legislation affects corporations,' said John Christopher, president of the trial lawyers' group. Christopher also said it would be difficult to find doctors to sit on a medical review panel and admit one of their colleagues is at fault."

Tuesday, February 24

Wyatt Emmerich: Raise Cigarette Taxes

Emmerich writes: "For Pete's sake, let's raise the taxes on cigarettes. Mississippi currently has one of the lowest cigarette tax rates in the nation. Just a quarter-a-pack increase could raise $100 million or so. We all want to reduce smoking. Raising the price not only puts money in state coffers but discourages smoking as well."

House, McCoy Budget Puts Education First

Clarion-Ledger online today: "Mississippi's Adequate Education Plan that funds K-12 public schools and the state health insurance program would be fully funded under a House budget plan unveiled today at the Capitol. As hundreds of cheering teachers and state workers looked on, House Speaker Bill McCoy, D-Rienzi, presented details, with the massive bill expected to face a floor vote Thursday. The proposal would increase licenses and similar fees by $17.6 million. Gov. Haley Barbour has said he considers fee increases a tax increase, and that he would veto such legislation. As copies of the plan began to circulate around crowded Capitol hallways, McCoy noted: 'We've got much work to do.'"

Barbour Urges Tort Reform Rally

[Verbatim; from Barbour office) Governor Barbour is asking tort reform supporters to attend a rally at the New Capitol Building this Wednesday (2/25) at 1:30 p.m. on the second floor rotunda. He is encouraging those who attend to arrive early that morning to talk to their legislators. This week will be a very big week for tort reform legislation as both the Senate bill (led by Chairman Charlie Ross) and the House bill (led by Chairman Jeff Smith) are officially introduced in the Legislature. If we can generate enough support for either bill or both bills, we can get comprehensive tort reform legislation to Governor Barbour's office where legal reform has extremely strong support. We believe this tort reform rally will be a great event to build tort reform,s grassroots—resulting in new civil justice laws that will make our courtrooms fairer for Mississippians. We strongly encourage you to help Governor Barbour get as many people to this event as possible. Please notify your friends and encourage them to attend the tort reform rally. Again, we would greatly appreciate folks on-site by 1:00 p.m. We hope to see you at the New Capitol Building on Wednesday.

Monday, February 23

Barbour, McCoy on course for collision

Geoff Pender of THE SUN HERALDwrites "Barbour is slick; McCoy is sly. Both are powerful - Barbour through his alliance with Tuck and the Senate, his considerable public relations skills and Washington contacts; McCoy through his position as leader of the House he has served for 24 years and the process he knows intimately. The state has limited funds and growing needs for fiscal 2005. Barbour wants to lay off state workers, revamp their insurance to make some pay more, cut Medicaid and focus spending on job creation, colleges and universities."

Sunday, February 22

Nader Wants to Be 'POTUS'; Barbour Sez Dems 'Nervous'

AP reports: "Nader's decision was greeted with a chorus of condemnation from Democrats, longtime friends and former supporters who blame him for Al Gore's loss four years ago. They suggested that Nader would not pull close to the 2.7 percent of the vote he won before without the backing of an established party and some of his past supporters."

Not The Dogs' Day

Alabama rolled into Starkville on Saturday and beat No. 4 Mississippi State 77-73. It was the first time the Bulldogs had lost since mid-January and only the second time all season. Sure, it was nice to be ranked highly in the AP poll, but the NCAA Tournament seedings are what State is really playing for.

Saturday, February 21

Senate passes bill to raise pay

The Clarion Ledger reports today: "Senate Bill 2647 would allow a 22 percent hike for tax assessors and tax collectors, along with a $5,000 bonus for anyone serving in both capacities. Supervisors, sheriffs, justice court judges and coroners would see a 20 percent hike. County attorneys, court reporters, bailiffs, constables, circuit clerks and chancery clerks would see raises based on other criteria, such as years of experience. The provisions revise the salary scale, which is tied to the county's assessed valuation or, in some cases, its population."

Barbour supports bill saying teacher jobs can't be cut

Emily Pettus of the AP reports "'Getting rid of teachers should not be the first, knee-jerk reaction to saving money in education,' Barbour said. But, with K-12 public education facing a $161 million shortfall next fiscal year under recommendations by Barbour and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, some school officials say the bill to block teacher job losses would create problems for districts. 'I truly find it insulting that the Senate would pass an unfunded education mandate and then tell us how we can and can't make our budgets or make our cuts,' said Greg Kelly, director of teacher recruitment for Jackson Public Schools."

Bungling in Boulder (updated)

Colorado has named an interim football coach, but suspended coach Gary Barnett says he expects to be reinstated. Think again, Gary. If there was ever a candidate for the NCAA death penalty, it's Colorado's football program. But it will never happen. CU football will go on, but without Gary.

Friday, February 20

[Lott] Protecting Gun Rights

I'm co-sponsoring a Senate bill that will protect America's firearms manufacturers and sellers from outrageous lawsuits holding them liable for crimes committed with guns. Like the tactics we're seeing employed with the homosexual marriage issue, the left is also pushing an unpopular anti-gun agenda through a few sympathetic courts, city councils and other cherry-picked venues, trying to bypass the American majority. Lawsuits by individuals and local governments against gun makers are just the liberals' latest move against gun ownership. Most law-abiding gun owners, including myself, see through it, and we're taking action to stop it.

Escape from Hollywood

Attend "Daddy Cool" Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Millsaps College, Ford Academic Complex, room 215. Free. 974-1299.

Thursday, February 19

Jackson Miss Hospitality Sought

Between ages 18 and 24 by July 25, 2004

The Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau needs qualified applicants for the competition to be held April 10, 2004 at 921 North President St. Winner receives a $1,000 scholarship to a Mississippi college and will compete in the state pageant July 25-31, 2004, in Hattiesburg. First runner-up gets a $500 scholarship. Qualifications:

Another Question You Didn't Ask Answered

In a shocking development, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia has come out of the closet and revealed that he is heterosexual. Uh, thanks Jeff. Meanwhile, Garcia refuses to answer two burning questions: 1) Why didn't the 49ers make the playoffs last year?, and 2) Jeff, why do you fumble so much?

Dumb and Dumber

Colorado will probably be looking for a new football coach soon. And a new athletic director and president, too. Coach Gary Barnett said something really stupid in response to a former female kicker's charge that she was raped in 2000. So stupid that the school president suspended him with pay. Doctor S predicts Barnett will be gone in a week. And the prez will soon follow.

Kerry and his ‘Band of Brothers'

Mary Lynn F. Jones writes on Alternet: that Kerry has strong appeal with veterans, who could swing the election. Kerry is finally giving Vietnam veterans a platform. "They're eating it up because no one has ever done it before," says Douglas Brinkley, the author of "Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War." Kerry has promised to be a "veteran's veteran" if elected. But he also has more going for him besides the appeal of electing a decorated serviceman. Many veterans are also unhappy about the Iraq war. Bobby Muller, who heads the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and has endorsed Kerry, says, "We're hearing from so many of our guys that might traditionally be conservative guys [that] the war in Iraq has really pissed them off."

The Progressive Populist Moment?

Tom Hayden writes for Alternet: It's been a remarkable shift after the past decade of Democratic catering to corporate interests and conservative voters, Only one year ago, candidates John Kerry, John Edwards and Richard Gephardt had voted for the Iraq war resolution, and Gephardt alone, among the leading contenders, opposed pro-corporate trade agreements like NAFTA. ...

The DLC vs. Howard Dean

Naeem Mohaiemen writes for Alternet: "[A] core part of Dean's appeal was his overwhelming support among young people. In 2000, one of the lowest voter turnouts was among young people. If you were under 24, you tuned out and stayed home in November. By contrast, the bulk of Howard Dean's support was among the youth of America. Energized by a strategy focused on Internet campaigning, 'Generation Dean' or 'Dean 2.0' spread across college campuses and gave a youthful aura to the man from Vermont.

Wednesday, February 18

No Deposit, No Return

If you were the melodramatic type, you might call it a nightmare. Barely a year into the new mandates, and increased (and largely unfunded) costs, of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, public school districts in the state fear that the state Legislature may not even fully fund them as much as they're required to under state law. Adding insult to injury, the new Republican governor did not even mention the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) in his State of the State Address.

A ‘Crucial' Tax

To help the city fund a convention center, the Jackson City Council has approved Mayor Harvey Johnson's proposal for a 1-percent optional sales tax increase, and other proposals that will go before the state Legislature in the next few weeks. The tax, which would exempt grocery and pharmaceuticals, would have to be approved by 60 percent of the city's voters. The exemptions might make the proposed increase more palatable to opponents who have said the regressive tax would hit people with lower incomes harder because more of their income is spent on items that are charged sales taxes.

[Just In] Barbour Says He Won't ‘Streamline' Education

We just received this from Barbour's office: Contrary to what some have said, the "Operation: Streamline" legislation does not affect funding for education at all. There are no bills dealing with schools, teachers or K-12 funding. My executive budget submitted last month simply accepts the Legislative Budget Committee's unanimous recommendation for K-12 funding * nothing less. Read full statement ...

Mississippi Mulls Marriage Amendment

The Advocate reports: Mississippi gay and lesbian leaders are trying to raise awareness about a bill that would constitutionally ban gay marriages. "We've got the word out through memberships, through our e-lists, our Web sites. This is part of educating the public on the situation," said Jody Renaldo, executive director of Equality Mississippi. "We're trying to educate general Mississippians who really are not aware of gay and lesbian issues."

Barbour Details ‘Streamline' Budget

[verbatim statement] (Jackson, Miss.)-- Governor Haley Barbour was joined today by Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck and scores of legislators as he filed the bill that represents his budget-fixing plan, "Operation: Streamline." "Operation: Streamline recognizes that we cannot move forward as a state until we confront our budget problem," Governor Barbour stated. "Workforce development, job creation, education and economic development all depend on keeping Mississippi's budget deficit under control. "Operation: Streamline" has a simple goal and that is to cut Mississippi's budget deficit * all $709 million of it * in half in one year, and eliminate it altogether in two years. It took many years to get in this budget hole and we will not get out overnight."

Barbour Faces Budget Opposition

... especially on education cuts. The Clarion-Ledger reports today: On Tuesday, dozens of lawmakers — mostly GOP allies — gathered with Barbour to pledge support for the changes. "I'm willing to make the tough decisions ... if you'll join me and you'll let me," said Barbour, who distributed small calculators to legislators as symbols of his cost-saving intentions. The Senate has 28 co-sponsors of Barbour's legislation — more than the majority needed for passage.

[Stiggers] Walking Abreast in the Naked City

Hey Yawl! This is Bone-Qweesha Jones of the Hooked on Phonics Hair and Touch-up Beauty Salon proudly presenting an exclusive literature experience with the poet laureate of the street corner, Bruh Zeke Johnson, author of "The Anthology of 'Skreet' (Street) Limericks: Writings From The Walls of Toilet Stalls," currently the No. 1 best-selling book on the 7-11 convenience store rack.

Tuesday, February 17

[Buzz] Don't Say ‘Tort Reform'; Collective Forms

DON'T SAY 'TORT REFORM': It's kind of fun to watch lawmakers try NOT to talk about a favorite topic: tort reform. Although legislating against "lawsuit abuse," especially with industry-friendly damage caps, is believed in these parts to be the cure to cancer, as well as a guaranteed treatment for unemployment, the erosion of the family and even young people's bubbling hormones, the new no-nonsense House Speaker Billy McCoy (D-Rienzi) seems determined to hear more than one side of the story this term.

High Tech, Free Trade and ‘New Labor'

The blogosphere seems a bit a-flutter over the dawning awareness that an increasing number of "knowledge worker" jobs -- mostly high-tech -- are being outsourced by American corporations to other countries such as India. Democratic presidential primary candidates are bring it up in their stump speeches and materials. Meanwhile, White House econ adviser Gregory Mankiw is getting slapped around by some bloggers and columnists for making the argument that outsourcing these jobs has long-term merit. (It may, in an economists' world-view sense, but not in a "they're closing the plant and we can't money out of our house and how are the kids going to eat" sense.)

PEER slams state veterans' homes

Andy Kanengiser of the Clarion Ledger reports "Mississippi's watchdog agency today slammed the state's four veterans homes in a hard-hitting report that says residents' health and safety is at risk."

Amendment opposed

The AP reports "Same-sex marriages are already banned by Mississippi law. The legislation proposed by Sen. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo would protect that law from court challenges by making it a part of Mississippi's Constitution."

Random Rants

YES it's been sort of a slow sports month, outside of college basketball. However, Uni Watch weighs in with an excellent critique of the uniforms pro sports leagues dress their players in for their all-star games. (Did February always have so much all-star crap? And did anybody besides Doctor S actually watch the Pro Bowl? Doctor S would have watched the NHL All-Star Game, but there was a "Barbarians" marathon on the History Channel that day. And yes, the Doctor did watch the NBA All-Star Game, but only because he's a huge Michael McDonald fan.

Monday, February 16

C-L Crime Coverage Improves

Sunday, February 15

Tolerance Onstage

"Papa Married a Mormon" will be performed Feb. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. on the main stage in the Marion L. Smith Auditorium, located in the Christian Center on the Millsaps College campus.

Bush "Dead Even" with Kerry; on Defensive

AP is reporting: "Republicans have a lot to worry about; hence the reason Bush has been on the defense, says national pollster Mark Schulman."

Smooth Talk: Barbour on the Budget

The former lobbyist was smooth. Gov. Haley Barbour touched on a lot of issues that many Mississippians think are important in his first State of the State address last month. He also glided on by a few on which some say he should have dwelt. Barbour talked about education, creating jobs and developing the workforce. He spoke about quality health care, tort reform and cost-cutting measures, like making Medicaid more efficient and using private prisons.

[Lott] Doing Our Job

The U.S. Senate is considering highway legislation that will improve public safety, make transportation easier and help create new jobs. Since the beginning of our republic, Congress has been charged with establishing and maintaining roads. This duty stands shoulder to shoulder with other charter federal responsibilities like national defense, currency, law enforcement and the courts. Roads are a basic part of what makes our country a country, and it's Congress' job to make sure America's roads and bridges are good.

Friday, February 13

[Sex] An Unsaintly Valentine

If there'd been an award for Best Adult Emporium in last issue's Best-of-Jackson roundup, first prize would surely have gone to Romantic Adventures, an unassuming-looking establishment—on the outside, that is, and that's about to change—situated just across the Pearl River on Highway 80 East. "A Very Nice Naughty Shop," says the sign, and indeed, this is one clean-scrubbed, brightly lit sex-stuff place, perhaps a first for the Jackson area. On any given visit you're liable to see—in broad daylight, mind you, and right in Rankin County, no less—demure-looking couples perusing sexy DVDs or ladies on their lunch break picking out nasty-girl lingerie and selecting among personal stimulation devices so stylish they could be displayed on the mantel.

[TV] A Soapbox Alternative

Tired of standing on that shaky box of wood, the sound of your voice becoming moisture laden with 90 percent (or more) humidity? Take a cue from June Hardwick and Stacia Glasgow, two Jackson women who have traded in their soggy stances for the air-conditioned studio of public access television. Both Hardwick and Glasgow produce shows for Public Education and Government (PEG) Network Studios. The shows alternate weekly time slots at 1:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Fridays on channel 18. Glasgow's "Candlewax Café" focuses on local visual, performance and literary arts, while Hardwick defines her "Village Drum" as more issue oriented.

Smith-Wills Coming Attractions

March 16: Mississippi State vs. Louisiana Tech, 6:30 p.m.

Jackson-area fans of the Big 3 will get a chance to see their favorite team this season at Smith-Wills Stadium. The schedule:

The Boys of Winter

Waterproof Arctic weather gear? Check.

Nope, just assembling the required equipment for a trip to an early season college baseball game in Mississippi.


The Best in Sports for the Next 14 Days

Rodeo, Dixie National, 7:30 p.m., Mississippi Coliseum: The annual rodeo begins its 7-day run at the Big Barn. Don't forget your boots.

Thursday, February 12

[Ladd] Rest In Peace

When Dr. Monique Guillory called me and said she wanted to bring the "Without Sanctuary" exhibit to Jackson, I swallowed hard. I knew about the horrifying and controversial exhibit of lynching photographs, the images that sear themselves into your psyche and refuse to let go. I hadn't seen the actual exhibit; I lived across Central Park from it for a while in New York, but never quite got up the courage to go. But since returning home, I had looked at the 81 photos posted online; I knew this would be rough.

[Cannon] Stamp Out Black History Month

It's here again. Black History Month. "Roots" will be played over and over and over again. The Black Heritage Movie Network will show films like "Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song." And we'll be blessed with all those precious Black History Moments: "Madam C.J. Walker was the first black female millionaire," says the smiling local news personality. Why is that remarkable thing significant only in February? Answer: It's not.

[Spann] Road-Tested, Mother-Approved

I still remember the day I discovered my first gray hair. I was blow-drying my hair and just as I parted a new section to dry, I saw it in all its pale, wiry glory. I gasped and froze, not sure whether to jump for joy or cry out in despair. I raced from the bathroom into our home office to share my discovery with my husband. "I have a gray hair," I said with a mixture of confusion and delight. I saw him pause suddenly with his hands poised above the computer keyboard. "OK," he said tentatively. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he deliberated his next response. Were congratulations in order, or should he be prepared to comfort me with some lame comment about wisdom? Luckily, I broke the tension with something like "I guess I'm officially a grown-up now. This is kind of a special moment, huh?"

Dan Joyner

I met with Dan Joyner recently at Cups, in the heart of the Fondren district where, as Joyner puts it, people interested in the arts can hang out together. Joyner, 28, himself is an example of creativity nurtured. Now he is the area manager for Cups, but when I first met him in the spring of 1993, his senior year at Forest Hill High School in South Jackson, I also met his parents Evelyn and Robert. Like many supportive parents, they were again involved with one of Dan's creative undertakings—Colonel's Classics, a Forest Hill tradition that gave high school students, aided by dedicated teachers, a place to hang out: to write scripts, build sets, rehearse and present skits to an audience of their peers and loved ones in packed auditoriums.

Reality Check: State of the State

Gov. Haley Barbour laid out his agenda and policies, in many ways for the first time, when he gave his State of the State address on Jan. 26. Of course, as usual with such speeches, what he didn't say is about as important as what he did. Thus, here's a look at a few of the facts that ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Senator says he won't approve local and private taxes

Bryd of the Associated Press writes:"The chairman of the Senate Local and Private Committee says he won't approve any tax increase bills, including those from cities that are trying to fund special projects. Sen. Ralph Doxey, D-Holly Springs, is head of the committee that handles legislation dealing with requests from cities. Doxey on Wednesday said he wouldn't support the city of Jackson's request for a 1 percent tax increase to fund an $85 million convention center. 'It's not just Jackson. There are many local and private bills being introduced that call for 1, 2 and 3 percent tax increases for various specific purposes,' Doxey said. 'Right now, under the current spirit of this Legislature, I will not pass any tax increase out of Local and Private.'"

Holding Steady

Tuition increases may be imminent in the state, especially if the Legislature does not at least fund state colleges at their current level—but even that would mean they wouldn't be able to meet growing needs. Earlier this month at both State College Board and State Board of Community and Junior Colleges meetings, a primary concern was budget cuts. The Legislative Budget Committee has recommended a 12.4 percent cut to universities and a 16.7 percent cut to community colleges.

Let Us Rise in Love, by Carole Cannon

Sweet Honey in the Rock shows up and shows out. This hurricane of African American women whirling, playing percussive instruments, moaning, humming, laughing, soothing, sassing, singing. In voices as deep as the Atlantic Ocean, as high as the sun at noon. These Grammy-winning musicians charm and challenge, scold and inspire, teach history and tout freedom, touch souls and tackle the heavy issues from AIDS to race. They placate, they push, they raise hell, they heal.

[Jacktown] Hip-Hop High Society, by Alphonso Mayfield

I should call this the good and the bad issue because there are several Jackson artists who have benefited from good fortune and several that have suffered from some severe mishaps affecting the game lately. One of the biggest headline-grabbers has been Crooked Lettaz alumni Kamikaze. Of course, he threw his album pre-release party (if someone knows what exactly a pre-release party is please e-mail me and let me know) Saturday, Jan. 31, at Freelons. The city's hip-hop high society attended in full mass. The party came on the heels of a recent rumor in industry circles of Kamikaze signing to SRC/Universal. That is the same label as his former rhyme partner David Banner. Keep your eyes open for this situation.

Wednesday, February 11

Young People to Pols: Don't Forget Us

Scott Beale writes for Alternet: "Dean's campaign was the first ever to reach out to young Americans, not just as campaign runts, but as participants in a discussion of political issues, as small financial contributors, as canvassers knocking on doors, as volunteers at service events, and as major leaders on the campaign. He appealed to young progressives with his willingness to stand up against the Iraq war, as an executive who had balanced budgets and as a courageous leader willing to fight for what is right, even if it is not popular."

Bill will open schools

Sun Herald reports : "The bill would still let children take most of their classes at home. But they could go to public schools for classes that might be difficult to teach at home, such as chemistry lab or foreign languages. Nunnelee's bill also would let home-schooled students participate in any extracurricular activities available to public school students in their grades."

White wins Senate election

Posted from the Associated Press: "It's been a struggle, but I'm telling you it's been a learning experience, Republican White said Tuesday night. I did the job before, but I'm going to be a little bit more active now."

Tuesday, February 10

Andy Sullivan Turns On Bush

Andrew Sullivan, the (mostly) conservative warblogger and pundit, has written a piece for the New Republic called Attention Deficit, vigorously taking issue with Bush's recent appearance on Meet the Press.

[Featured Blog] Obesity, Cars and Suburbia

Good column today from Ellen Goodman, especially for those of us interested in urban planning, the creative class, and all that stuff (Philip and Todd, I'm looking at you). It gets at the notion that one of the reasons Americans are getting fatter is because we spend more time in our cars. And we spend more time in our cars, because we live far away from work, shopping and school. This part caught my eye:

Saturday, February 7

5 Questions to Ask President Bush

Joe Conasan at Salon outlines 5 questions he'd like to ask the president. I'd love to hear the answer to these, too.

Friday, February 6

Support for Bush Dropping

The presidential elections this year may actually be interesting, if the Democrats have a shot at winning. It seems like Bush has hit a rough patch:AP poll notes sharp decline in support for Bush.

Wednesday, February 4

[Featured Blog] Kerry, Bush and the Economy

Originally posted Feb. 4, this has been our busiest blog of the last week or so. It's turned into an interesting discussion about Bush's economic policies. Feel free to join in.

State Lottery propsed for new revenue

Eric Stringfellow of the Clarion Ledger writes: "This measure also would be a great boost to morale, at least for the remaining employees. Barbour has also proposed reducing state government by 700 jobs."

Tuesday, February 3

Barbour Signs First Bill: Private Prisons

(Jackson, Miss.) -- Governor Haley Barbour signed House Bill 544, the Tallahatchie County Correctional Authority Bill, into law today making it his first piece of legislation to sign into law as governor. "By signing this bill, we are demonstrating our willingness to do all we can to save Mississippi jobs. Protecting these 280 existing jobs is just as important as creating new ones," said Governor Barbour. "I am honored that this is the first bill I have signed as Governor."

Miss Jackson You're Nasty

Now Janet Jackson says the Super Bowl halftime strip show was planned, but it went too far. It was a wardrobe "malfunction." At least JJ and Justin Timberfake are sticking to their script. Oh yeah, Janet's label released her new single on Monday. Doctor S is sure tha was just a conincidence. CBS should gladly pay the fine that's coming. You can't buy this kind of publicity. We're still talking about it, aren't we? (If you didn't see the ballgame and the boob, don't feel alone. Hitch magazine's Rod Lott never watches the Super Bowl. The heathen.)

Monday, February 2

Football Recruiting or Whither Willie

Wednesday is the big day when high school seniors can sign with the college football factory of their choice. But before you make your national championship hotel reservations based on all the so-called blue-chip recruits your team signs, remember a few things:

Cock Of The Walk

Meanwhile, on the male nudity front, British buff-master Mark Roberts is celebrating his successful streak at the Super Bowl. The second half was delayed after Roberts got on the field wearing a referee's uniform and then showed his ass. Roberts is the self-proclaimed world's most profilic streaker, but said this was the ultimate. He called the Super Bowl "the holy grail of streaking. It doesn't get any bigger than this." Doctor S wants to know: How did Homeland Security let this happen?

Money Grab

WJTV-12 might have to break out its checkbook and write the FCC a check for $27,500 or more. Why? The FCC has promised to investigate the "deplorable stunt" during the Super Bowl halftime when Justin Timberlame ripped off a piece of Janet Jackson's costume, exposing her right breast. The action appears to have been anything but spontaneous. The FCC is also miffed about the crotch grabbing by male performers during the show. CBS faces a big fine and the FCC could fine each station that aired the halftime show up to 27.5K per violation. Anybody count how many times the male performers grabbed their packages? ... Meanwhile, Doctor S knows every American will be relieved to learn that President Bush slept through the entire thing.

Sunday, February 1

Mississippi Gospel and Bluegrass Opry

Mississippi Gospel and Bluegrass Opry - Sat., Feb. 12, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Harmony & Grits. Pearl Community Room, next to Pearl City Hall, Old Brandon Rd. $7.50, Kids free. 924-1175.

Bach to Blues

Bach-To-Blues series offers live secular or sacred music at Trinity Lutheran Church every 3rd Sunday at 6 PM. The Jackson church is located at 6401 US Highway 18 W at Siwell Road. The public is invited to enjoy live music followed by a Harmony Meal. Previous guests were Rev. Gatemouth Moore, now deceased, Dorothy Moore, Steve Cheseborough, Amanda Bradley, Grady Champion, Scott Albert Johnson, Harmony Guys, London Branch Trio, Al Sagar, Gloria Lenhoff and others. Learn more about Bach-To-Blues Series at