Stories for June 2004


Wednesday, June 30

Stop the War

Friends, there is a war—indeed a food fight of major proportions—taking place at our collective American table. The proponents of protein hurl vicious insults at our friends, the carbohydrates, while the forces of fat sit by, saturated and satisfied. This war pits friend against friend, mother against daughter, and Shipley's doughnuts against everyone. I come to you today as a diplomat for diet, a statesman for sustenance. This war must stop.

Burning Bush: A Review of "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Perhaps the most controversial (and deservedly so) film so far this year is "Fahrenheit 9/11," a new release from Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore. Winner of last May's Golden Palm, the highest award of the Cannes Film Festival, it became the highest-grossing documentary in history in just one weekend. Now playing in modest wide release, the movie is currently showing in Tupelo and will open at the Tinseltown theater in Pearl Friday, July 2.

Summer of ‘64: A Mississippi Freedom Fighter Remembers the Struggle

with JoAnne Prichard Morris

You never know when something's going to happen that will change your life completely. If I had stayed in Florida canning tomatoes, I wouldn't have been here when the civil rights workers came to Mississippi in the summer of 1964. But here I was in Mayersville, chopping Jimson weeds and Johnson grass out of Mr. Wilkerson's cotton for $3 a day. It was 1964, and I was 31 years old. We were living in our old two-room shotgun shack without indoor plumbing.

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 The following is a chapter in an as-yet-unpublished manuscript on Freedom Summer that King hopes to publish.

A Third-Person Shooter

A Review of "Red Dead Revolver"

Never again will I laugh at the clichéd spaghetti westerns my uncle likes to watch. After playing "Red Dead Revolver," I think I might even start watching them myself. You take control of the bounty hunter Red, whose family was murdered by a group of outlaws. The game starts out as Red travels to a small town, somewhere in the West. He's ambushed by a murderous group of banditos, though they soon realize what a mistake they've made. A few days later, all that's left of the unfortunate marauders is being dragged in a cart to the local sheriff. From there out, the real story begins.

Ordinary People

Holmes County, Miss., was 72 percent black in the early 1960s, but less than 1 percent of eligible African Americans were registered to vote, while 100 percent of eligible white voters were registered. As Sue Sojourner states in her photography exhibit at the Old Capitol Museum, "The rule of Southern whites (so often outnumbered by blacks) depended on denying democratic voting rights to blacks."

[Ladd] Freedom is Just Another Word

When I was living in New York, we heard that the Klan was coming to march in Manhattan. This, predictably, caused an outrage in the city with folks screaming about why the stupid yuck-yucks shouldn't be allowed to march there. They oughta stay home in New Jersey, or wherever they were shlepping from. Tell them they weren't welcome.

Nickel and Dimed

Councilman Kenneth Stokes proclaimed at the June 1 Jackson City Council meeting that "kids looking for a job are often turned away and only have the dope lords to turn to." In response, Alfrenett Johnson-Orr, director of the Mayor's Youth Initiative, described her summer tutoring program as a remedy for that concern, asking for City Council to approve the funding for her program.

Fahrenheit 601

Over the last week, the online version of the JFP has been alive with efforts to bring Michael Moore's controversial film "Fahrenheit 9/11" to the Jackson area, as well as other independent and edgy films that often skip the Capitol City. The hoopla started with a news posting on June 19 about the radical right targeting theaters across the U.S., trying to dissuade them from showing the film, which takes a harsh look at President Bush's foreign policy since Sept. 11, 2001. After a blogger posted the news that the film was only opening in Tupelo in the state of Mississippi, even as it was opening in less-than-urban locales such as Shreveport, La., and Montgomery, Ala., readers mounted an online campaign to encourage calls to the theaters to demand the film.

[Stiggers] Your Car is a Hoopty When..

Your international hustler is here to help the peoples who drive their raggedy cars to a low-paying, no- Medicaid-benefits job with the greatest invention since the Pocket Fisherman.

[Cohen] Beware the Writhing of a Starving Beast

When Haley Barbour was running for governor, the national GOP pulled out its heaviest hitters to canvass the state for his campaign. George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Rudy Giuliani all came down on Barbour's behalf, as did both Bob and Libby Dole, J.C. Watts, Ari Fleischer and the president's brother, Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida. Each time a luminary would show up, the national media came along for the ride.

David Dennis, Jr.

Tall, slim, wearing his hair in neat, short braids, David Dennis Jr. looks like a high school basketball player, maybe on his way to play in college—if he's got the grades. That's the stereotype, anyway.

Weed and Seed: Successes and frustration with community policing

The duties of a policeman share a similarity to that of firefighting in that the majority of effort exerted by law enforcement usually happens after the brunt of the damage is already done. Like firefighters, policemen generally respond to a frantic call for help, rush to the scene, beat down the door, hose everything down indiscriminately, and leave a mess. This public perception may be oversimplified, but the generalization of a cavalry showing up belatedly at a field littered with the arrow-perforated bodies of settlers seems to stick.

Sunday, June 27

Reminders on the User Agreement

Saturday, June 26

Telling Our Own Stories

Our readers' grass-roots "Fahrenheit 601" campaign to bring Michael Moore's film to Jackson is inspiring them to band together to bring other independent and edgy films to Jackson. Since we launched, this has been one of the JFP's active goals to help improve the cultural climate in the capitol city—and we have helped with a number of e-mail campaigns to help get people out to films like "The Pianist" and "Saved!" (now in theaters here). We've also run several stories about the need to bring better films here, and to tell our own stories through film. We are pulling some of those stories back to the top of the site this week to add some fuel to the current fire.

We Want Our Indie Pics

Why can't we see "The Pianist" (pee-a-nist, it's OK to say it) in Jackson? For that matter, why can't we see "Bowling for Columbine" or "The Quiet American"? Why are our choices limited to the same 10 or 15 mind-numbing films at all three of our local multiplexes? Don't get me wrong, sometimes I'm all for a little cheap thrill of a movie or a quick belly laugh. But, on the other hand, when was the last time you saw a movie, on a big screen in Jackson, er, "the Metro," that made you think or challenged your sensibilities?

'Mississippi Burning' and Other Tall Tales

In one of those bizarre twists of fate that keep happening to me since I returned to Mississippi, I ended up recently spending a Saturday afternoon in Neshoba County with a camera crew from Glamour magazine. As if that weren't odd enough, we were at two of the most historic locations in Neshoba County, actually in the U.S. The über-hip crew, flown in from New York and Los Angeles, was doing makeup, arranging clothing, and taking pictures first at the spot where a gaggle of Klansmen killed civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner on June 21, 1964. Then the crew moved to Mount Zion, the black Methodist church that Klansmen burned to both punish the parishioners for trying to register blacks to vote, and to lure the civil rights workers to Neshoba County from Meridian so that they could be "eliminated."

Friday, June 25

[Hutchinson] What is ‘the Truth,' Mr. Cosby?

Comedian Bill Cosby's partial recant that his knock of allegedly bad behaving blacks was a call for action and not a broad brush stroke indictment of all poor blacks, came too little, too late. Rightwing shock jocks, conservative black apologists and op-ed columnists have giddily embraced him as their darling, and many blacks cheer him for supposedly daring to speak what they call "the truth."

Wednesday, June 23

[Jacktown] Aggressive and Musical, by Alphonso Mayfield

What's up, Jackson? I want to update you on a few develops on albums from some of your favorite Jacktown artists. With all the excitement going on surrounding Jubilee! Jam I decided to kick back, relax and wait for all these hot records to be released. Let's start off with a video shoot that should be going on in Clarksdale. You might remember my mentioning the group Hollow Point Disciples who are signed to Sony Music Entertainment. The group is reportedly planning an elaborate video shoot in their hometown, and some of Jackson's finest are planning on making cameos. More soon.

Nader Slams ‘Paymasters'

Green Party presidential hopeful Ralph Nader came to town June 16, sounding more like his old ball-busting, consumer-advocate self than a man trying to upset the presidential apple cart.

I Felt the Earth Move

It was like old home day in Neshoba County Sunday … with a few twists. The usual suspects—the people I've gotten to know in the struggle for justice and racial reconciliation in the state—were there to honor Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner: former elected officials and social activists and journalists and movement veterans and everyday citizens who want justice for victims of civil rights violence.

Sin City: Jackson Tries to Legislate Morality

In the old southern way of life in Mississippi, there are no boundaries between state and church, as long as it is an established church believing in the Good Book, the Good Lord and "good" values. So laws governing sex are not unusual, and more importantly, they tend to be feverishly upheld. After the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in March that there is no fundamental right of access to buy sexual devices, the Rankin County Sheriff's Department and the Jackson Police Department both led raids against shops selling sex toys, such as vibrators, in the metropolitan area. Due to a pending lawsuit, both the Rankin County Sheriff's Department and the businesses say they cannot comment. The JPD did not return phone calls by press time.

The Battle for ‘Public Morality'

We learned in civics class that the Legislature passes laws that the people want, and any bad laws that violate the people's rights will be struck down by the courts, or else changed by the Legislature when the people speak out. One of the glories of American democracy is how often our government has actually lived up to what we were taught.

[Stiggers] Join the Electric Slide for Medicaid Protest

…indicate precisely what you mean to say/yours sincerely wasting away/Give me your answer/fill in a form/mine forever more/Will you still need me/Will you still feed me/When I'm sixty-four." — The Beatles

[Ask JoAnne] The Dreaded Sentence Prayer

A. You're right, nobody really sent in that question. But it's not totally made up. It's a question I get all too often—the dreaded question. It's the dreaded question because my answer has been the same for far too long: "I'm still working on The Book, and I don't get out much anymore." Of course, I don't get out much anymore, not only because of The Book, but also because I have to answer "the dreaded question." It's a conundrum, and it takes me back to the sentence prayer.

Love and Eros

Painted feet slap the stage, fingers curl smoke-like around air, eyes balloon and rise with the audience; the Indian ballet begins. However, this ballet contains no plie arched by a pink tutu, no sugarplum fairy, no synchronous pirouetting. Called kuchipudi, this ancient form originating in southern India will be dancing its way into the Cain Cochran Auditorium at Hinds Community College on June 26.

Great Americans

Tamaya Daniels sat in the lobby of the new girl's dorm at Tougaloo College, watching the Lakers vs. Pistons game on television. A center for Nottingham High School in Syracuse. N.Y., she was routing for the Pistons because they were the underdog. Six feet tall, Daniels had to stand in the few higher portions of the ceiling in the basement of Slave Haven. She could not stand up straight in the room where thousands of slaves had waited to be taken through the Underground Railroad.

E. Willander Wells

"Elegance" is a word that keeps surfacing in conversations with fashion designer E. Willander Wells as we sit outside Broad Street bakery.

In the Zone: Getting Stricter

Sex-toy shops aren't the only local businesses pushing the limits of popular morality that are facing some challenges in the city of late. The Jackson City Council has passed a moratorium on the placement of new liquor stores in the city limits for 90 days; it awaits the mayor's signature. And, recently, shops that some see as pushing questionable practices—tattoo shops, body piercing, bingo parlors, among them—are facing tougher zoning challenges. The city's planning office asked the City Council to designate a list of certain types of businesses as C-2 businesses, meaning that they now have to go through a review process, rather than receiving approval simply by asking for it.

[Lott] Less Partisan, More Plainspoken

To win the War on Terror we must recognize it for what it should be—a deadly serious fight to save American lives. When we treat it as a political exercise or a word-parsing game, we do so at our nation's peril. The fight against terrorists will proceed regardless of who is President or which party controls Congress. The outrageous beheadings of Americans Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Paul Johnson and South Korean hostage Kim Sun Il show that terrorists will be stopped only by their own demise. Either we wait for them to kill Americans in our homeland again, or we kill terrorists on their turf, before they get here. Waiting for another attack is not an option, and it's time political leaders and some press folks are less partisan and more plainspoken about this conflict.

Barbour Revitalizing Democratic Party?

Bobby Harrison argues in the Daily Journal that Barbour is singlehandedly revitalizing the Democratic Party in the state. I think he has a point. "Haley Barbour lives, eats and sleeps politics. He knows it inside and out. Having said that, Barbour, a Republican political strategist dynamo, has done more to revitalize the Mississippi Democratic Party than any Democrat in the state. He has given a disjointed, divided group of Democrats something to rally behind - public education and Medicaid." [...]

1.6 Million Women Sue Wal-Mart for Discrimination

The NY Times reports: "A federal judge ruled yesterday that a lawsuit that accuses Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of discriminating against women can proceed as a class action covering about 1.6 million current and former employees, making it by far the largest workplace-bias lawsuit in United States history. The lawsuit, brought in 2001 by six women, accuses Wal-Mart of systematically paying women less than men and offering women fewer opportunities for promotion. The lawsuit stated that while 65 percent of Wal-Mart's hourly employees are women, only 33 percent of Wal-Mart's managers are.

Tuesday, June 22

Barbour Trying to Bring Back 1920s

Excellent column by Ole Miss professor Joe Atkins:

Monday, June 21

Down a Southern Road

Monday, June 21, is the 40th anniversary of the deaths of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

Dick Molpus Raises the Roof in Neshoba County

June 20, 2004—With Gov. Haley Barbour sitting right behind him, former Secretary of State and Neshoba County native Dick Molpus made a thundering speech in honor of slain civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner Sunday in his hometown. The speech went far beyond his historic 1989 speech in which he became the only public official to have apologized for the murders. Sunday, Molpus not only called for fellow Neshobans to provide evidence they've kept to themselves for many years, but also called for Mississippians to get past harmful race rhetoric that has divided the state for so long and to continue the legacy of the three men by taking care of fellow Mississippians. Following is the full text of Molpus' call to action that was interrupted frequently by applause and drew him a lengthy standing ovation by the diverse audience ...

Friday, June 18

UPDATED: Music Sked for Jackson Lounge at the JAM

Just in: The working schedule for the Jackson Lounge tent at the JAM. Check back or at the tent for schedule changes/updates. See you out there. It's a *very* good time

Barbour and his Deadbeat Mississippians

June 11, 2004–Today in The New York Times, columnist Bob Herbert nails Barbour's cuts to Medicaid recipients–the worst Medicaid cuts ever: "If you want to see 'compassionate' conservatism in action, take a look at Mississippi, a state that is solidly in the red category (strong for Bush) and committed to its long tradition of keeping the poor and the unfortunate in as ragged and miserable a condition as possible. How's this for compassion? Mississippi has approved the deepest cut in Medicaid eligibility for senior citizens and the disabled that has ever been approved anywhere in the U.S."

Wednesday, June 16

Hoops City

The Jackson Rage won't have to leave home for the playoffs, a luxury for both the team and its fans. The WBA will hold its first championship weekend at Jackson State's Athletic and Assembly Center on June 25-26.

"Folk Funk," Bobby Rush

So why the hell isn't Bobby Rush famous?

In a 50-plus year career, he's recorded well over 20 albums, one with Philly Soul legends Gamble and Huff. Last year he starred in one of the films in the Martin Scorcese-produced series "The Blues." He's won a stack of Living Blues awards and grabbed a Grammy nomination for an album made when he was nearly 60. Even soul-gospel greats The Staple Singers have done one of his songs. In the past two months he's played in eight states and Canada, and the next couple months will see him hitting a chunk of Europe.

City of Brutality: A Review of ‘City of God'

Crime, redemption and the viciousness of the human animal are the fundamental elements of "City of God (Cidade de Deus)," a brutal and beautiful drama from Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles. Nominated earlier this year for four Academy Awards, the film is now on video and DVD.

Politics of the Blues

Otis Taylor is one of the few blues artists today who has explicitly addressed lynching; his song "Saint Martha Blues" tells in painful detail the story of his great-grandfather's lynching in Lake Providence, La., who was taken from him home, hung and then torn apart limb by limb. The mob then went to his great-grandmother, Martha Jones, and told her where to find her husband.

Charles Hooker

Charles Hollingsworth Hooker Jr., 58, holds dear his faith, family, furniture—mid-century modern business furniture, that is—and jazz. After growing up in his father's downtown business, the Mississippi Stationery Company, the Jackson native now owns and operates its present incarnation—OffiSource on Old Square Road. A product of Jackson Public Schools, Hooker said he's pleased with the 36 years since he graduated with a business degree from State.

Men We Love

In honor of Dad's day, we want to spotlight just a few of the Jacksonian men we love.

Former Gov. William Winter, 81, is such an obvious choice for the "Men We Love" issue that we almost feel silly including him. But, as politics get uglier and more divided in the state, it's a perfect time to honor a man who brought integrity, dignity, and a devotion to progressive ideas and helping the poor of his state to the governor's mansion, a combination that has seldom crossed its threshold, before or after Winter. We especially love Winter for his tireless devotion to squarely facing the state's race past and, damn it, doing whatever it takes to right the wrongs.

Where's the Monk?

"Van Helsing—The Game" looks and feels like a medieval "Enter the Matrix" and plays like "Devil May Cry 2"—both of which flopped. Fortunately, it also manages to combine the good parts of the two (well-planned shooting sprees and superhuman powers) without the bad parts (glitches and monotony). Oh, and the graphics make me happy. All main enemies are well thought out, the areas are spooky and original, and the expressions on the faces of the characters are groundbreaking. Still, while the graphics are excellent, the sound leaves something to be desired. There is little music, and most of it is a bit bland.

18 Going on 21: Jubilee Jam! Almost Legal!

Mississippi's largest annual music festival has returned for its 18th birthday after its near-fatal deluge of rain and indebtedness in 2003. Jubilee! Jam, with its move to mid-June, has been imagined and re-energized by several changes. As you peruse the line-up, you'll notice that the festival has been scaled down to Friday night and Saturday only. The stages have shifted toward State Street so you won't have to trek back and forth to One Jackson Place from the governor's mansion. You'll have continuous music on two national headliner stages on Capitol Street, a Mississippi stage on Congress Street, and a variety of Jackson's musical offerings in the Jackson Lounge (organized by the Jackson Free Press and other local businesses). The Baroque Dresden exhibit has inspired a traditional German beergarten, complete with German music, food and beer to get your Weinerschnitzel-ed. And, bless us all, the Hallelujah Stage at St. Andrews Cathedral will continue the always-popular Gospel Jubilee on Saturday, and offer a new acoustic singer/songwriters stage on Friday evening.

Bigotry of Low Expectations

I was about to start my second year at Mississippi State when Ronald Reagan came to the Neshoba County Fair in 1980. My gut instincts told me one thing. "The Republicans are playing Mississippians for fools," I told my oldest brother then. He was a Reagan supporter, but he later tended to agree with me about the Gipper. My naïve hunch played out. No matter how many syrupy, lemonade-soaked reminiscences of that visit we read about now from one Fair cabin owner or another (the "elite" of Neshoba County), the net result of that visit hasn't been pretty.

Conservative Group Unveils Reagan Ad

AP is reporting: "Days after Ronald Reagan was laid to rest, a conservative interest group on Tuesday unveiled a campaign ad that aligns him with President Bush and criticizes Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The Club for Growth's ad, which is to begin airing Wednesday, portrays both Republican presidents as leaders - Reagan on communism and Bush on terrorism, while claiming Kerry was 'wrong then, wrong now' on national security. The ad shows Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, testifying to Congress in 1971 that 'we cannot fight communism all over the world and I think we should have learned that lesson by now.'

Tuesday, June 15

Title Hunter

Jackson native Lindsey Hunter is part of the Detroit Pistons team that is on the verge of winning the NBA championship. The Pistons lead the Los Angeles Lakers 3-1 in the best-of-7 series entering Tuesday's Game 5 (8 p.m., Ch. 16).

For A Good Time, Try Paddling

Buffalo Peak Outfitters is now holding its Kayak Demo Series weekly. You can check out the merchandise every Thursday at 6 p.m. at Mayes Lake in LeFleur's Bluff State Park off of Lakeland Drive. The park admission fee is waived for those attending the demo. For information, call (601) 366-2557.

Monday, June 14

Former Bush Staffer Working for Kerry

AP is reporting: "Randy Beers sat on the porch steps next to his longtime friend and colleague Dick Clarke and the words came tumbling out in a torrent. 'I think I have to quit. ... I can't work for these people. I'm sorry, I just can't.' It was a few days before the start of the Iraq war in March 2003, and Beers was President Bush's special assistant for combating terrorism, a job he had held for only a matter of months. But Beers was no newcomer to government; he had worked on foreign policy for four presidents.

Sunday, June 13

Neshoba County Coalition Calls for Justice

The newly formed Philadelphia Coalition of blacks, whites and Choctaws released the following statement calling for justice and issuing a long-overdue apology for the tragic murders that happened there on Father's Day 40 years ago. See for a schedule of the memorial service on Sunday, June 20.

The Next Generation

Those are six words I never expected to say. I grew up, like many restless kids, thinking my town was the most backward place on earth. That's normal. But when I was 14 and found out what occurred in Philadelphia, Miss., when I was 3, I was overwhelmed with shame. That's tragic

Friday, June 11

[Slate] the best in sports in the next 7 days

Pro baseball, Fort Worth at Jackson, 7 p.m. (1240 AM): Senators open a homestand with the Cats.

Running, Run To The Greater Belhaven Marketplace, 8 a.m.: The 5K run/walk, mile fun run and tot trot start behind the McDonald's at the corner of North State and Fortification streets. How ironic. 948-6436. … Pro baseball, Fort Worth at Jackson, 7 p.m. (1240 AM): It's Entergy Negro League Appreciation Night at Smith-Wills Stadium.

Sens Honor ‘Cool Papa Bell'

May 17 was the 101st birthday of one of the greatest baseball players many people have never heard of: James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell. The Jackson Senators will honor and remember Bell and and his fellow players on Saturday on Negro League Appreciation Night.

Thursday, June 10

AAN Applauds Ayana Taylor's Work for the JFP

Wednesday, June 9

[Lott] Upon the Death of Ronald Reagan

"On this sad day, I am thankful that, at a time when our country was down, and the cause of freedom was in danger, and so many had lost faith in the future, Providence gave to us and to mankind - Ronald Wilson Reagan.

The Ice Movie Cometh

A Review of "The Day After Tomorrow"

The worst-case scenario effects of global warming are the subject of "The Day After Tomorrow," a new action film heavy on breathtaking visuals but light on story and complex characters. While the film successfully and admirably calls attention to the problem of the treatment of the environment, it is often weighed down by Hollywood clichés, and, while suspenseful, never rises to any genuine dramatic heights.

Mississippi Home-Cooked Opry by Lynette Hanson

June 10, 2004—Mix five parts Harmony & Grits with four parts Heavenly Heritage and four parts Pearl Quartet. Blend in two of the Smiths—Wayne and Amanda. Add crowd to taste. Place in the Pearl Community Room right beside the Pearl City Hall. Be sure to start at 6:30 p.m. on June 12. Throw in $7.50 for the adults. Now you're ready for the Mississippi Gospel and Bluegrass Opry.

51 Ways to Have Summer Fun

We here at the Jackson Free Press know that our Mississippi summer is here—even if the summer solstice isn't until June 20 at 5:57 p.m. Central Daylight Time—all blazing hot and sticky-humid. The last thing we want is for Jacksonians to be caught off guard with absolutely nothing to do for fun. We know how humiliated you'd be, caught wandering aimlessly about town, perpetually searching, fun-less and sunburned. So we'd like to offer up our failsafe, low-carb, Atkins-friendly selections for summer fun. Arm yourself with our ideas, some energy and maybe a little sunblock, and you'll be ready to stave off boredom and cancer-causing agents alike.

[Artist in Residence] Living in a Mural

William Goodman lives his art, all the way down to his toenails—literally. They are painted blue and black with white dots in what appears to be acrylic paint. I notice them fanning out of his pants legs as he sits cross-legged on the floor of his fourth-floor loft in the Fondren Corner building—come to think of it, the blue on his toes and the exterior paint on his building are about the same shade.

[Young] Not About Conservatism

A few days after the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, an extraordinary panel met in New York City to discuss the urgent problem still posed by the racial gap in educational achievement.

He's My Brother

I may be even closer to Medgar now than when he was alive, if that's possible. He was the saint of our family and I cherished him. I didn't want him to leave Mississippi as I had, because I knew how much he was needed here. So whenever he needed money, I'd send him down some.

‘Lawsuit Abuse' Over

Champagne corks were popping at Bravo the evening of June 3, even as some diners were sobered by the day's events. That afternoon, the Mississippi House of Representatives had suddenly, and rather unexpectedly, accepted Senate tort-reform language, voting to send the legislation, HB 13, to Gov. Haley Barbour. The bill features major pro-industry tort reform, including $1 million damage caps for business liability—even for extreme negligence that leads to loss of limbs and disfigurements.


Hell broke loose at the Capitol Monday afternoon when two renegade legislators, Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, and Rep. Jamie Franks, D-Mooreville, filed an injunction against Gov. Haley Barbour, telling him he cannot end the special session without giving the House the chance to restore Medicaid benefits to 65,000 low-income and disabled Mississippians, who are losing coverage under the Medicaid bill Barbour signed during the special session. At least 5,000 of those are ineligible for Medicare, but Barbour and his Senate allies assure them that the U.S. will provide temporary assistance.

[Jacksonian] DJ Phingaprint

Timothy Washington's dreads are not a fashion statement, but a cultural and spiritual move the 25-year-old undertook eight years ago. "I always had a little Afro," he says, "but I wanted a truthful cultural image for myself." The dreadlocks gave him a sense of independence—of strength—that he could survive and create a means of living in today's society.

[Stiggers] Watch That Indecent Exposure

The following is an excerpt from the new E! program, "Mo'tel William's Celebrity Interview," with special guest, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.

Why Can't You Behave?

Sometimes plot just gets in the way. "Ain't Misbehavin'," at New Stage Theatre through June 20, highlights the music of Thomas "Fats" Waller—a strong personality—with the sexy backdrop of Harlem cotton clubs and jazz spots in the swing era.

Salter Bashes Holland on Medicaid

Sid Salter's column today bashes Rep. Steve Holland for originally supporting Haley Barbour's Medicaide bill, accusing him of "crawfishing": "Trouble is, the record shows that Holland was the chief House negotiator in the legislative conference committee that approved the Barbour-backed Medicaid reform bill which removed the PLAD category from Medicaid coverage in the first place. Holland signed off on the conference report, presented it to the House, and spoke passionately in favor of its passage. Holland sold his fellow House members on the wisdom of removing the category from Medicaid. Don't believe it? Ask them."

Tuesday, June 8

Brown v. Board Town Meeting Televised

Saturday, June 5

Can Smarty Jones Do It?

While you're waiting to see whether Smarty Jones can win the Belmont Stakes on Saturday (post time 5:04 p.m. on Ch. 3), and become the first horse to win the Triple Crown since 1978 (Doctor S says yes), here are a couple of interesting items of horse sense from Slate. First, why is the Triple Crown limited to 3-year-olds? And what the heck is a companion pony?

More Exposure For Soccer

The New York Sports Express reports the naked truth on a soccer player who received a lifetime ban for, uh, unsportsmanlike celebration.

Thursday, June 3

House Votes to Accept Senate's Tort Reform Bill

After a long floor debate today, the Mississippi House of Representatives voted 76-38 to concur with the Senate strike-all version of HB 13 — a bill that institutes $1 million damage caps on general business liability and removes the exemption for disfigurement. Rep Ed Blackmon—who had previously said he would not support any non-economic damage caps—made the motion to concur with the bill (which means it will go straight for the governor's signature). The measure passed 76-38 at 2:19 this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 2

[Rev] Singin' The Gas Shortage Blues

There we were at night, driving around to find the cheapest gas ($2.15). I had to fill up the van that I sometimes drive for work. (Hello, I have a day job at a plant nursery; you can't think this column pays all my bills.) Anyway, I got out, ran the gauntlet of spare-changers (I live in a rough 'hood), and delivered my 10-dollar bill to the lady behind a two-foot thick wall of Plexiglas. About two minutes later, I tapped on the gas gauge, which had barely moved. Then I realized that I'm becoming my grandmother, who always stuck a one-dollar bill in our birthday cards. Ten bucks ain't what it used to be.


the Best in Sports in the Next 7 Days

Pro baseball, Jackson at Fort Worth, 7 p.m. (1240 AM): Deep in the heart of Texas, the Senators tangle with the Cats. Do they call Fort Worth employees and fans the Cat People?

Alleged Victims

Jackson Family Wants Closure From the Church

The year was 1970, and 11-year-old Francis Morrison lay in his bed in the big house at 771 Belhaven St., listening for heavy footsteps, the covers pulled all the way up to his neck, his eyes squeezed tight in pretend sleep. His heart racing, he wondered if his room would be the first stop for nightly prayers.

Girl Drama

When I arrived for a rehearsal of Primrose Path's production of "Cowgirls: The Musical," I quickly saw that all of the actors are actresses. "Having an all-female cast is great," director Debbie Hardy says. "This group of women has been wonderful to work with—it's been a very collaborative process. These ladies brought a lot to the show." They include Ella Hardwick of Richland as Jo, Brighton Goode of Madison as Lee, Morgan Cowart of Pearl as Mary Lou, Liz Hogue of Brandon as Mickey, Kaeley Lovett of Brandon as Mo, and Jennifer Hudson of Florence as Rita. The rollicking musical, by Betsy Howie and Mary Murfitt, tells the tale of Jo, who has 24 hours to save her father's country-western saloon, Hiram Hall, from foreclosure.

Survivors Try to S.N.A.P BACK

Local victims of sexual abuse by priests joined other victims nationwide by forming a Mississippi chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (S.N.A.P.). Johnny Rainer, co-coordinator of the group and a licensed counselor, says healing can only really begin when the church comes forward with the truth. Instead, Rainer feels the church wants to minimize the problem and to blame anyone but itself.

The State of a Stalemate

The first week of the special session called by Gov. Haley Barbour to focus on civil justice reform ("tort reform") and voter ID was, at best, cantankerous. At the end of the week, very little had been accomplished, and many legislators expressed a great deal of frustration.

The Governor Sacrifices His Rook

One burning question from our past two weeks of reporting at the Capitol on the governor's special session is a simple, if surprising, one. Does Haley Barbour really want tort reform?

[Ask Joanne] Eureka, She Found It!

Q. I've noticed for years the signs at Fortification and Monroe Streets pointing south indicating some sort of "Community Children's Theater." And I've hunted for it, but I can't seem to locate where it once was. You know anything about this? — Mystified on Monroe

Denise Halbach

With an eyebrow arched and a gleam in her startlingly blue eyes, Denise Halbach captivates her audience immediately. The Louisiana-born, Jackson-raised dramatist begins our conversation with a surprising fact. "I got dragged kicking and screaming into theater," she says.

[Mizell] It's as Simple as That

I took a creative writing class in college recently that was small and intimate and we actually discussed interesting things. Usually we'd go over poems and plays; but recently we began to discuss Mississippi, and what we like about it, and what we don't like about it, and how we could change it. So I offered up the question of how my classmates felt about the controversy about the cigarette tax proposals that were recently brought up, and defeated, in the Mississippi Legislature. Most had no idea what I was talking about, and being passionate about the topic, I began to explain.

[Stiggers] Summertime, and the Livin' Ain't Easy

Ladies, gentlemen and po' folks, playwright and entrepreneur Pookie Peterz presents his critically acclaimed ghetto-tragedy opera "Porgy and Bush."

Medicaid Train Wreck

The most momentous action so far during the special session wasn't technically on the agenda: Gov. Haley Barbour signed HB 1434 Wednesday, May 26, a "landmark" bill to cut $106 million from the state budget and terminate 65,000 low-income and disabled Mississippians from the Medicaid rolls as of July 1. Of those, 60,000 will be shifted to the federal Medicare program by 2006 (which can see more cuts later), and the medical fates of the other 5,000 are uncertain. They will not be eligible right away for Medicare, nor are they certain to receive prescription drug coverage under Barbour's plan.

Mississippians and the Numbers

On Wednesday, May 26, Mississippians for Economic Progress released a poll in a press conference attended by Haley Barbour, which suggested that Mississippians support the notion of ending "lawsuit abuse" although the poll didn't ask specific questions about non-economic damage caps (and had some "push-poll" questions worded like the first one listed below). That same week, a poll by the Mississippi State University's political science department suggested that a majority of Mississippians were willing to pay more in taxes if it meant better service, echoing findings of a 2003 Stennis Institute study.

JFP Blog Keeps Breaking Its Records!