[Stauffer] The Secret to Jackson's Future | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Stauffer] The Secret to Jackson's Future

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

Most of the changing faces in The Clarion-Ledger's articles have been the same faces we usually see in the C-L. And while I think it's certainly important to discuss the issues that face Jackson with the business and civic leaders in our community, I'm hoping we'll hear from, at the very least, the under-50 crowd soon.

In fact, if the C-L happens to be casting around for a hint on what could really help with both getting along and improving economic growth, they need look no further than their own mothership, USA Today. On Friday, Oct. 10, the McPaper offered a front-page story headlined "Smaller Cities Get Hip to Attract Young People." The story focuses on second-tier cities that have figured out that stadiums, convention centers and shopping malls are not the panacea for all their urban woes.

"We built the stadiums. We built the hotels. We built the convention center. We still lost people. And the '90s were a phenomenal decade," Bruce Katz, the director of the Center of Urban and Metropolitan Policy and the Brookings Institution, was quoted in the story. He said the "big-ticket items" haven't done the trick.

Instead, the population continues to age in these cities, which are simultaneously hurt by urban flight and a beleaguered manufacturing sector around the country.

For some smaller cities, the solution has been to get hip. Or to find their city's inner hipness and celebrate it at every turn.

This is something we discussed in the preview issue of the Jackson Free Press over a year ago. (The story is still linked to the front page of our Web site.) The future prosperity of any urban environment, including Jackson, rests on the shoulders of younger people. Suburbanites have, largely, made up their minds. They're not coming back while the city is in Renaissance mode—they'll wait it out, then dip a toe in the move-back-in-town trend once they're empty nesters or the commute gets truly unbearable.

Young professionals—USA Today calls them, inevitably, "YPs"—are not as interested in dog-eat-dog corporatism—they want to work for smaller startups and have more opportunity to both contribute to the bottom line and to know they're making a difference early in their careers. Conspicuous consumption is not the top priority.

These folks are, overwhelmingly, members of the Creative Class that we discussed in that piece back in our preview issue. The story was based on research in Richard Florida's book, "The Rise of the Creative Class," that found that Jackson was ranked 21st in the nation for the percentage of its working population that falls into the Creative Class (as opposed to Working or Service class). These are artists and teachers and doctors and architects and computer programmers. We've got a lot of them, and one solution to growing Jackson is to encourage more young professionals to move here.

For instance, when Professor Florida asks a promising graduate student—a pierced, wild-haired technologist—why he planned to leave Pittsburgh for a software company in "a smaller city in the middle of Texas, a place with a small airport and no professional sports teams," the student replies simply, "It's in Austin!" This hard-working, hard-playing creative saw a better life in Austin because of its music, diversity, outdoor recreation and nightlife. It's a place where a young, expressive, educated professional could be accepted, stimulated and challenged.

Here's where city leaders need to listen up. According to Professor Florida, attracting creatives is more important than attracting the corporate headquarters of multinationals, building large municipal structures or "creating jobs." It's a myth—one debunked both by Florida's book and people like Bruce Katz from the Brookings Institution—that a city has to put all its energy into costly municipal projects to woo industry.

It's actually much simpler. We don't need just a costly convention center or a downtown stadium or a mix-master infrastructure of highways. What's required is simple in theory and yet more complex to manage and grow—quality of place.

The question is how to get there. We absolutely need to tackle schools, poverty and keep taxes in check. A good quality of place depends on a safe neighborhood, a decent cost of living, good air to breathe and natural surroundings in which to breathe it.

But when we do have a few municipal dollars to spend, we've got to take risks and get creative. We need to encourage people to live, open shops and do business downtown. We need small-business incubators and enterprise funds—maybe one with an office right on Capitol Street. We need a serious downtown civil rights museum, a strong focus on public recreation and outdoor activity—adult leagues, biking trails—and any new municipal structures need "mixed use" design that encourages both visitors and residents to enjoy them daily.

The city, law enforcement and licensing departments need to "get" downtown parties, entertainment, outdoor art and impromptu hangouts, and we probably need to take a hard look at the state's liquor laws. Tampa has a "manager of creative industries." Maybe Jackson could use a YP recruiting office.

Consider this—what would happen to Jackson's demographics if just an additional 10 percent of Mississippi's college graduates decided to settle inside the city limits because it's the cool thing to do?

One way younger adults can make this happen is by voting. Even better—by running for office. Cincinnati, according to the USA Today piece, has five of nine city council members under the age of 40, and most of them are under 35. That town has worked hard to feel cool by improving adult-league sports, bringing edgier shows to downtown museums, offering under-30 discounts to the arts and pushing a "Give Back Cincinnati" program to encourage more volunteerism from young adults.

For starters, I encourage city leaders and media outlets to reach out to younger adults and start asking them what they'd like to see in the new Jackson. Put them on your board and committees—and not as tokens. After all, among our changing faces are many young adults, and they are, clearly, Jackson's future. It's time their—our—voices are heard.

Todd Stauffer, 32, is the publisher of the JFP.

Previous Comments

ID
68547
Comment

Todd, I know of two young married couples, creative, techie types, living in Houston, that want to come back to Miss. The two guys are computer geeks of the first order and one of the wives is a tv producer. Not sure what the other lady does. They are young, creative, extremely smart, educated - just the type needed downtown. How do we sell them on the idea? I should say that I've not mentioned anything to them about it. To be honest, I don't know how to present the idea. I'm over fifty years old, heh heh. What could you, are any readers/ interested parties tell these young folks to get them thinking the 'unthinkable' - picking up and moving to downtown Jackson to become a part of something. In other words, how can we get it started?

Author
dw
Date
2003-10-17T22:03:39-06:00
ID
68548
Comment

I know several YPs who would love to be able to "go home again," but the lack of a frank and honest debate about Mississippi's continuing race problem stops most of them from going beyond just wishing they could move back. Most Mississippians still can't admit the state has a problem. They refuse to acknowledge the ongoing institutional racism that pervaades most aspects of life in the state. Building all the theaters and convention centers in the world won't change the way people treat each other. Changing the liquor laws isn't likely to make black and white people start going to the same houses of worship. And having hip hangouts isn't likely to desegregate schools and neighborhoods. Mississipians--black, white, native, latin--will have to change their culture. And you can't legislate that.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-18T00:22:35-06:00
ID
68549
Comment

My take on that Nia is that those YPs should come on home and join in the "frank and honest" debate that is starting to happen here now (or do it from a distance via the Web ). Seriously, here in Jackson, we are really starting to talk; watch the next issue for a piece about an amazing public dialogue I was involved with the other night. No, you can't legislate a culture change. But you can help the culture evolve, one person at a person. And, yes, we need theaters, and good places to hang out together ("third places," some call them) in order to get that dialogue going in order to change that culture. And a whole lot of folks here right now, of various races, are working together to do just that. It is very exciting to watch the effects happen around us.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-18T16:04:57-06:00
ID
68550
Comment

Also, I just found this piece about young people running for office that is pretty inspiring: "Many teenagers have been inspired by the quick success that Derrick Seaver found after graduating from high school two years ago, but any new grads wishing to follow his path should be warned: To get your first job in his field, you have to shake 50,000 hands." "Seaver says thatís just one of the things that helped him get elected to the Ohio House of Representatives just months out of Minster High School, sparking a youth-targeting strategy among Ohio Democrats. Since Seaverís victory in 2000, two more teenagers have run as Democrats for the Statehouse. Now serving his second term, the 21-year-old grapples with his stateís $4 billion deficit while his friends grapple with college textbooks and kegs." http://www.youthtoday.org/youthtoday/story4.html

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-18T16:06:29-06:00
ID
68551
Comment

DW, I'll let Todd give you his take on your question (he's teaching a digital video class today and is away from his computer, BTW). Your posting did make me think, though; a recruitment plan is a good idea. What can we all consciously do to get young creatives to move back to Mississippi and join the revolution, so to speak? We're actually hearing from all sorts of people who have recently moved back, or plan to, or want to. Parents are sending subscriptions to the JFP to their kids who live in other places. There are so many people who would like to come home and contribute to their home state's move to the next level. (And add their votes and their voices and their ideas to the pool.) I tend to think the more noise we make here (about Jackson, the arts, politics, whatever), the more attention we'll attract to what's happening here. Everytime someone visits us here from elsewhere, they tend to be very surprised at "our" Jackson: the music, the lofts, the great bars and restaurants, the delicious food, the stimulating conversation, the diversity, the progressive ideas, the artists, the writers, the famous heroes, the hospitality, and so on, that we live in the midst of here in the city of Jackson. I suspect it won't hurt to get the word out about what great spaces in Jackson there are to live in and fix up for very little money around here. ;-D It is important here to live near everything, I've discovered; we've known people who've come back and lived outside town somewhere and never caught the fever. The action is definitely happening in the city where you can be near the energy and activity, and be a couple minutes from home. All those folks who flood out of town at night and on the weekends and whine about Jackson are clueless about what's really happening going on here under their noses. And that's their loss. Another thought: 2004 is the 40th anniversary of Freedom Summer. As a result, a lot of people will be visiting Mississippi and Jackson; that'll be a great chance to show off the potential of the city. Any other ideas out there?

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-18T16:33:08-06:00
ID
68552
Comment

Although the thought of a downtown neighborhood is nice, Fondren is currently Jackson's best bet to appeal to the "creative class" homefolks who've fled the state. There is plenty of still-cheap housing stock in the area for those tired of paying NYC or SF rents and lots of commercial activity that would appeal to fans of Little Five Points in ATL and other urban centers. It's something you can drive visitors to today and show them new things are afoot. Plus it's still early in the game to buy in. Fondren also has good visuals that would work well in a magazine spread. *** Suggestion - get the editor of Budget Living to do a piece on Fondren. She's a Natchez native. The magazine caters directly to the creative class set.

Author
ironsides
Date
2003-10-20T15:09:24-06:00
ID
68553
Comment

I think Nia makes a compelling point about race relations and local culture. I was raised in KY, spent 2 years in Jackson and 2 years in Charlotte. Mississippi is a different type of "south." The issues of race and class permeate society in a way that inhibits development. Another issue of critical importance is migration. Jackson is largely populated by native Jacksonians or Mississippians who--by and large--are content with the status quo. Jackson doesn't reach out to newcomers who lack the Ole Miss or private academy pedigree. Regarding Richard Florida's work, Jackson lacks one of the four pillars of creative cities--TOLERANCE. If you want the type of gentrification and reinvestment that has occurred in cities like Atlanta and Charlotte, you've got to be marginally tolerant of homosexuals and non-whites. I realize that Jackson is changing, but it is still mired in old southern traditions. Without fresh blood, new voices and alternative visions Jackson will continue to plod along, one pothole at a time.

Author
kchilton
Date
2003-10-21T12:20:13-06:00
ID
68554
Comment

I LOVE Budget Living (sorry, JFP). I had to add that because part of the reason I've taken a liking to the magazine has nothing to do with the magazine and a little bit to do with the fact that the EiC is from MS. I can't at the moment seriously consider a move back to MS, but I'm doing my part via the Web. Hope it helps! One of the nastier aspects of racism and ultraconservatism is a refusal to acknowledge that diversity is a key component of security and progress. Believing that you can have those things without the input of 10% of your population (homosexual people), or 12% (blacks), etc. implies that the only valuable contributors are white heterosexuals.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-21T13:06:07-06:00
ID
68555
Comment

Kenneth, I agree with you about the need for tolerance here -- and I'd argue that the building blocks of tolerance are indeed here, but that too few people have truly tried to put those bricks together (certainly, not to take away from the ones who have, but even a lot of them stop short of what it really takes). There's not enough simple outreach and conversation over good food and drink (all Mississippians like to talk, eat and drink). One of the best conversations I've had, yet, in Jackson happened last Sunday when Todd and I and Stephen were invited to the house of some black friends out Northside Drive. As always there, we stayed seven hours eating great food, drinking Red Stripe and rum punch, and talking about everything from the Rolling Stones to David Banner's lyrics and pride to the death penalty to The Clarion-Ledger's divisiveness to the city's race politics to the death penalty, to growing up on plantations in the Delta, to the state elections. I'd guess that we all learned a lot from each other, and had a wonderful time, to boot. The key, to me, is that people -- of whatever race -- simply reach out to each other. Go to dinner. Visit each others' homes. Cook for each other. Go dancing. Bowl. Visit each other's church. Whatever. Just get to know each other, and tolerance will follow. If this happens often enough, "Jackson" will no longer be all about people who give a damn about academy degrees or Ole Miss fraternities. (They can be a part of this, too, of course. It just won't be all *about* them and what they want.) I promise you: Jackson has "fresh blood, new voices and alternative visions" -- we just need as many people as possible to jump on the train and help this evolution happen. Re race: you're absolutely right. This state is obsessed with race and unresolved race issues (which the current elections make painfully clear). The irony is that race is such a barrier precisely because so many people pretend it's not an issue (like C-L editor Ronnie Agnew saying last year that no one could tell him why anyone would want to discuss race in Mississippi in 2002. P-shaw). Of course, it's an issue, and we can deal with it -- IF we talk about it, and learn about each other's realities, so that Mississippians can learn that our reality, history, heritage is SHARED. We swim together, or we sink. So far, we've sunk.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T13:08:29-06:00
ID
68556
Comment

MORE ... It's really not a hard choice to make in my book. I'm simply not content to let racism, or politicians spouting coded racism, keep our state on the bottom, so that a small handful of the very rich can benefit off us. I'm a born-and-bred Mississippian, and that's not good enough for me. I know a lot of other people, of various races, who feel the same way. We have the power if we use it. And we can have a lot of fun along the way. Rum punch, anyone? ;-D

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T13:08:50-06:00
ID
68557
Comment

I like Budget Living, too. I just read it for the first time. The fact that the editor is a southern girl certainly explains it. There's a quirkiness to it that's hard to find above the Mason-Dixon IMHO.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T13:10:13-06:00
ID
68558
Comment

Before I found out the EiC was from MS, I thought that it had a decidedly un-NY "quirkiness" to it. And that was part of why I liked it. The "I'm-so-chic-because-I'm-from-NY" haughtiness and East Coast-centric copy just wasn't there. This thread is starting to sound like the Haley Barbour thread, but...How do you get people to reach out past their perception and history and embrace each other long enough to learn something?

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-21T13:19:16-06:00
ID
68559
Comment

Yep, I hate that NY snottiness, too, even as I love many things about that great city. (Imagine: holding two thoughts at once again ). Let's not talk directly about Barbour on this one, but on the topic of reaching out ... this is going to sound hokey and idealistic, but I am seeing it work. You appeal to people's inner goodness and their humanity. You talk to them, not at them. You tell stories they can relate to. You let them know your motive isn't to make the state look bad, but to make it better for them and their children, no matter what race. As a white Mississippian (which I am, as y'all know), you show compassion, but without too much anger -- that is, you also show compassion for white people victimized by racism, even as you don't excuse when they go along with it. (Again, hold two thoughts at once.) You have fun, you dance, you laugh, you connect. I get a lot of mail from African-Ameriican readers, thanking me for what the JFP is trying to do to bridge gaps here. They use words like "genuine compassion" and "apparent sorrow" and "willingness to seek change." To me, it's so simple, yet so elusive: If whites here would simply face the past with compassion and sorrow and then be willing to say, let's work together to make up for it (as in public education) and make sure it doesn't happen again, it would all heal naturally. (And if politicians would stay out of the way, I think this could have happened already, or be much further along.) And I'll appeal to the Christians among us: Isn't that exactly what Jesus would want you to do? (I just don't think he would approve of the "Southern Strategy.") But, white Mississippians are wounded, too. Certainly not as wounded as blacks who were enslaved both by slavery and then by Jim Crow, but by a history and a legacy that hasn't allowed us to fully embrace our own humanity because it's hammered into our heads that it's all not our fault, somehow.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T13:58:44-06:00
ID
68560
Comment

MORE ... It can't be about fault anymore; it's about moving forward. We must face our history squarely, allow ourselves to feel the compassion that too many work hard to bury (that, instead, becomes ulcers and clogged arteries and stress and violence and hate), and then, say, I'm ready right now, Just As I Am (so to speak), to help move Mississippi forward. I'd also hazard to suggest that, in return, African-Americans must return compassion to whites who live with these legacies of shame and confusion and who are stumbling and scratching their heads to figure out how to reach out (now, I'm paraphrasing the Dalai Lama). I believe so many whites don't reach out more simply out of fear of how people will react to them. This Mississippi puzzle is certainly reassembled from within. Perhaps that's why the attempts of national politicians to take advantage of our broken history to help immunize industry from lawsuits, or such, makes me so damned angry. They need to get their grubby hands off us MIssissippians, and let us deal with our own history, and learn to love and respect each other again. We can do it, and to tie this back to Todd's original piece, we're going to have fun doing it.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T13:59:07-06:00
ID
68561
Comment

The Creative Class Rising story!! The home of my first post to this website!! Click here http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=111_0_9_0_C and scroll to the bottom for a belated response to this story.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-21T13:59:53-06:00
ID
68562
Comment

One thing Mississippi needs badly is a couple of performing arts schools for the youth who are interested in the arts as a career. from Ballet to Music, On the same platform as those in Baltimore, New york and California with 9-12th grades that give the kids of Mississippi something to aspire to other than selling drugs on the corner with NOTHING to do after they graduate from High School. College is not that appealing to them because the entire High School curricullim is outdated and misleading therefore they don't look forward to college like other bigger cities do. they are more or less forced or persuaded to go to college by their outdated traditional parents who are doing nothing but giving them a good dose of that Bible belt mentality which keeps them mentally trapped all the way through adulthood. on the race issue: I live in Dallas and the race issue out here is worse than Mississippi ever was so don't feel bad about the race issue in Mississippi. at least the rednecks in Jackson let you know they hate your guts.

Author
Ron
Date
2003-10-21T15:54:57-06:00
ID
68563
Comment

Dallas worse than MS? Really? How?

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-21T16:03:48-06:00
ID
68564
Comment

Actually, there are not many rednecks *in* Jackson. I think they're afraid of us. ;-D

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T16:36:56-06:00
ID
68565
Comment

The race and gay issues are a big part of the (in)tolerance issue, no doubt about it. But IMO it goes deeper and beyond that (howís that for an oxymornic phrase!). To me, itís a matter of ìdifferenceî in general ñ even ìminorî personality and lifestyle differences! Growing up in an isolated Delta town 90 minutes from Jackson and attending one of the private academies there, I can assure you that anybody with a ìdifferentî personality is ignored if lucky and outright persecuted if unlucky. True, you find this teen conformity problem everywhere to one extent or another, not just in the Deep South. Nevertheless, growing up in that culture, I acquired early on a very limited definition of ìnormal personî; which cause serious personal problems for me later in life, but Iíll spare you that sob story. Letís just say that the lack of diversified personality types found in the Mid South region (i.e. neither Preppie / Yuppie nor Good Ole Boy), aside from New Orleans and Memphis (the latter where I attended U of M for 2 years), seriously discourages people from moving here. Even without the intolerance issue, there still the fact that the Mid South (barring the two cities I just mentioned) has a very thin, if any, network for non-Preppie, non-Good Ole Boy types to plug into. Without claiming I am as brilliant as these two gentleman, I have to say that growing up here is almost like Van Cliburn being the keynote speaker at a Ducks Unlimited banquet in Greenville or Vaclav Havel being a faculty advisor for a fraternity, or like Steven Hawking hanging out at a Egg Bowl tailgate party. No matter how lacking in snobbish elitism these gentlemen may be, you donít really seeing them fitting in with any of these crowds. Ron: Yes, Dallas does have its problems too (I live here as well), but despite "Big D's" problems on the political level (which would be way off topic), on the "street level" I think interracial dating and marriage has been accepted here longer than in Jackson (where it's now gotten off the ground)

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-21T18:20:10-06:00
ID
68566
Comment

I sure won't argue that there aren't race problems in other places, but we have to deal with ours right here. And ours are in direct proportion to how horrendous our race history was. The truth is, *every* level of (white) Mississippi society, law enforcement and government worked together to keep Jim Crow going in a very dramatic and conspiratorial fashion; as a result, we were the worse off, economically and otherwise. (Blame it on karma, if you wish.) Therefore, it's been harder to dig out; we've had farther to come. Meantime, we, on the whole, have been so reticent to discuss our past that it's been difficult to resolve and get past these issues. So they just hang out there, waiting for one or an other demagogue to use them for political gain. I believe we can heal the wound and, thus, move on into the future. In fact, with our unique brand of diversity and delightful people, I believe we are set to far outpace many other states. I, for one, can't wait to see it happen. Imagine the response when we suddenly zoom past the others and become a model of racial reconciliation. Call me naive, but it'll happen. Mark my words. I believe in Mississippians. Philip, I understand your complaint (I felt it growing up here, too), but I must say that we live and work among amazing people here in Jackson, with only a reasonable number of preppies and good ole boys mixed in. I truly believe you attract the energy you put out; don't take that wrong: I just mean that we all have the power to build the diverse, interesting communities we want to live in, if we just believe and get out of the house a lot. And I've never been surrounded my more diverse, interesting, compassionate people than I am now here in Jackson. And that community seems to be swelling by the day.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-21T18:46:26-06:00
ID
68567
Comment

I apparently posted my last comment about Jackson's future under the original story by mistake Anyway, I speculated if Jackson could become a biomedical engineering center 30 years from now. Nothing actually creative, though. Just throwing out some basic facts and seeing how they all can work in our favor. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=111_0_9_0_C for how I answered this question.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T00:38:21-06:00
ID
68568
Comment

Philip, that was a great posting. I might grab it and put it here for you, too, when I get a minute. Or you do that. dl

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-22T09:34:31-06:00
ID
68569
Comment

As a fifth generation Jacksonian now living on the Coast, I would love to see Jackson come to the forefront as the "place to live" in the mid-South. It has a lot to recommend it...

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-22T11:27:38-06:00
ID
68570
Comment

Alright, here's the outsider's perspective. While I was born in MS, I've only lived here a short while after growing up in New Orleans and living there for 30 years. Mississippians are kind of crude. Not all of them, but most of them and that is a big turnoff. When I was a kid, I'd come up to Tupelo with my parents to see family. Usually, I'd fall asleep in the backseat and wake up at the first stop in or near Jackson. I could tell big differences in my surroundings and the people just by looking around. One thing that stands out from that time of my life is that all the black people I saw in MS were dirt poor. In NOLa, I saw black people of all socio-economic background, as I did white folks. In MS from that time, I also remember some strange white folks. We've all seen them, they speak like they're sucking on marbles and talking at the same time, they are physically dirty and they are rude, crude, ignorant people. Like one poster said, you can't change that through legislation. Continued....

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-22T13:23:14-06:00
ID
68571
Comment

Another MS thing that's a big turnoff to outsiders is the influence churches and religious people have in this state. Jackson, Tupelo, Greenville, the Coast, Natchez and Vicksburg seem to be church happy, one on almost every corner. Also, speaking casually with anyone on the street and the subject of religion will certainly come up. For me, religion should be a private thing. I wish more Mississippians realized this. More about MS people: why would anyone aspire for a manufacturing job? That was always the thing that scared me the most when I was younger. I thought that if I failed a class in college (or h.s.) that I'd end up hammering a nail into parts on a factory conveyor belt, that I'd just be another cog in the gears of a dead-end job. Now why is it that MS people aspire for so little? Why would any parent want their kid working at the local factory?

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-22T13:27:28-06:00
ID
68572
Comment

Now that I've given the outsider's perspective on some MS people, who seem to be everywhere, even in Jackson, now I can explain why Jackson is a bad home for me. I lived in Tupelo for a year before moving down here. When asked by Tupeloans what Jackson is like I respond: "oh it's alot like Tupelo, it just has more rednecks, more trash, more crime and more traffic." Until rednecks wake up and realize they are damaging this state, MS will always lag behind the rest of the nation (and I know rednecks are universal, they are everywhere but MS seems to have more than its fair share of them). I think the lead redneck is Haley Barbour as of right now. Not to worry, Trent Lott will come back and run for guv'nuh soon!

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-22T13:31:04-06:00
ID
68573
Comment

Gosh, Diogenes, I never realized you were such a snob

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-22T13:52:20-06:00
ID
68574
Comment

Sorry, in retrospect I shuldn't have posted that last comment, but damn...

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-22T13:53:45-06:00
ID
68575
Comment

A couple of notes on the above posts: 1 - There is a state-funded performing arts school in MS now, it's in the pleasant little burg of Brookhaven and they began their first year of classes in September of this year. 2 - I see much talk of more tolerance as an enticement to move to Jackson. This is all well and good, and to some degree, needed. But let?s not forget the first thing young tech/creative types need is JOBS, preferably ones that pay well. The tech sector here is very small and practically invisible from within the city. It is also suffering the same economic problems as the rest of the country. Tack on MS's continual economic woes and there are not many employment opportunities begging young tech/creative types to jump into a life here in Jackson. Intolerance is one of the most complex examples of circular causation I know: the cause is the effect is the cause. Owning and subjugating a group of people to maintain economic stability (slavery) breeds a social atmosphere conducive to such thought and action (racism) which makes it easier to maintain said economic choke hold. In my opinion continually hitting a community full-bore with the 'let's talk about intolerance' issue makes for few tangible results. The people who are going to listen and get involved are probably tolerant to begin with; those that aren?t tolerant will ignore you. The formula to breed tolerance, unfortunately, has to be as complex as the formula that created it. Yes, I would prefer to think that all it would take to make Jackson a more tolerant place is the knowledge that we are all humans, as perfect or imperfect as each other. I myself am victim to such naivetÈ. More likely, though, is that the intolerant people of Jackson will have to be given reasons to be tolerant; probably ones that improve their economic situation. That in turn also attracts interesting, talented people to the city as well. Keep rapping about intolerance and how nice it would be if people weren?t that way, I don?t think it detracts from any progress that might actually be made. But realize that the solution to the issue is probably not in the conversation you are having among like-minded people, but out in our city doing thankless work among those with whom you disagree the most.

Author
lowgreynite
Date
2003-10-22T13:58:24-06:00
ID
68576
Comment

dio: One thing that stands out from that time of my life is that all the black people I saw in MS were dirt poor. In NOLa, I saw black people of all socio-economic background, as I did white folks. Philip: Check out NW Jackson, especially the Hanging Moss and Bailey Ave. areas if you want to see a clean, prosperous middle-class-to-rich black community. You might be surprised. I certainly was when a black co-worker showed me the area. dio: (the religion complaints) Philip: I agree with you about that part. It's VERY hard to avoid (unless you are on this board, of course :P). I complained about this very thing in my first post. Not even La Tech Univ, where I spent most of my college days, was as bad as Jackson -- and Tech is knows as a very fundie / evangelical friendly. dio: (dead-end manufacturing jobs). Have you even heard about the Nissan plant? Do you even know what it takes to build an automobile? Admittedly I have no real answer myself, but I KNOW it takes A WHOLE LOT more than a mere high school diploma. Future plant workers' training sessions took many weeks, if not months - and many had to go to Tennessee, or even Japan for further training. Plus, I hear the absolute lowest starting salary at Nissan is $13/hr - that's $26K per year with perfect work attendance. Some jobs start out at almost $20/hr - or $40K with perfect work attendance. Sure doesn't sound like a dead end job to me - and it's certainly not a dead end development strategy (unlike, sorry to say, casinos seem to be. they're necessary, true, but they offer little more than a paycheck for the people of this state). Last, but CERTAINLY NOT least, I agree with Fielding's remarks - outright derogatory attacks against "rednecks" define you as a snob. That's no worse than saying "Until the blacks wake up and realize their lazy work habits and lack of initiative are damaging this state.." See what I mean? In short, your remarks are just as bad as the very rednecks you love to put down. My self, I find little about "rednecks" I relate to about (as you can see from my post above). Still, this state has had MORE "us vs them" mentality. No need to add to it by attacking rednecks. Ladd's right -- blaming each other does nothing but hurt others feelings and create resentments. Start being part of the SOLUTION, dio!!

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T14:10:38-06:00
ID
68577
Comment

CORRECTION I said to dio: Philip: Check out NW Jackson, especially the Hanging Moss and Bailey Ave.... What I meant to say was "Hanging Moss and BEASLEY RD..." My apologies for the error. ALSO, Watkins Dr. (what Bailey turns into when it crosses Northside Dr.) is pretty packed with middle-class blacks (and maybe upper income ones as well). To everyone: Anybody know of any strongly middle class blacy /strongly black middle class areas in the metro?

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T14:28:02-06:00
ID
68578
Comment

Here! Here! For the counter comments against the redneck comments. I was surprised by that myself and was hoping that the masses would not tolerate such words on a public board. One thing that bothers me most about this particular conversation is the impulse to "recruit" outsiders! Screw 'em! If they don't want to be a part of the Renaissance for the sake of being a part, they don't have to be.... We all know the city is brimming with creatives. Why the hell pull in more when the ones we have are struggling to survive due to a weak marketplace? Seems like the smartest idea is to fund creatives through grants, loans and incentives rather than pull in outsiders to further oversaturate the market with more boring watercolor landscapes and flowers of all media! Frankly, if Jackson turns into the "next big thing," and this mid-size, diverse community begins to boom with outsiders and the uppity, snob types that want a "piece of the pie," you can bet your catfish nuggets I will be on the next train leaving with a slew of others that do not want our "secret" being publicized as a boom town.

Author
Knol Aust
Date
2003-10-22T14:30:24-06:00
ID
68579
Comment

This is an interesting discussion. Economic clout can do a lot to overcome negative stereotypes. Unfortunately, about 29 percent of black Jackson residents live in poverty. Similar numbers for Birmingham, Charlotte, and Nashville are 28%, 17%, and 23.5% respectively (within the city limits). A strong black middle class is needed to counter intolerance and Jackson doesn't have it. Jackson also has a high proportion of workers who are public-sector employees (21.6%). The numbers are different elsewhere (Birmingham, 13.2%; Charlotte 8.9%; Nashville, 9.3%). Unfortunately, bureaucrats aren't known for their innovativeness and creativity. Unless and until Jackson employers or small business folks build a sustainable economy, the best efforts of reformers will yield diminished returns. I'm glad someone brought up the church. I hate to sound like Christopher Hitchens, but the acceptance of poverty being the Lord's will is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It leads to a caste system where people accept their lot in life. I always wondered how parishoners of First Baptist could worship without guilt within a mile of dire poverty. As for the comments about outsiders, that's typical Mississippi. If you don't like it, leave it (at a different scale, but the same sentiment). Again, this is a self-fulfilling wish.

Author
kchilton
Date
2003-10-22T14:51:38-06:00
ID
68580
Comment

Kchilton, I'd welcome any "outsider" who is willing to become part of our community. I'm reminded of a Lewis Grizzard tale about Yankees coming to Atlanta - they would always say something like "Well let me show you how we did this at home..." Grizzard's reply was "Delta is ready when you are..." (Their old advertising slogan) (sigh - I miss Grizzard's columns)

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-22T15:02:13-06:00
ID
68581
Comment

Diogenes, your opinion of Mississippians sounds terribly biased. I was born and raised in MS, lIved in NY for nearly 20 yers, and have traveled all over the planet, and I don't find MS folks any more or less crude than anybody else. I find that comment more snobbish than your use of the word "redneck," which I would call racist--no matter what ethnicity you are. I don't think most white people in MS are accurately described as "rednecks." Miseducated, culturally unaware, perhaps, but "rednceks" doesn't serve to describe people beyond making assumptions about their personal beliefs, which you can't possibly know. And most black people, by far, in NE MS are solidly middle class. I don't know about the rest of the state.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-22T15:03:30-06:00
ID
68582
Comment

Ladd, I guess I'll put up the "wrong board" post here. Save you the trouble of reediting it so it can fit the board's specifications :) Q: Could Jackson become a biomedical engineering center in 30 years? A: Yes, indeed! Providing we all get organized and on the same page! Why? Medical Resources: ï UM Medical school ï A high proportion of educated people for this region - Outside the Southís ìgrowth crescentî ( Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Atlanta-Huntsville-Nashville), Jackson metro has one of, if not the, highest proportion of college educated people in this region ï Doctors ñ (for potential research) ï Lawyers ñ to advise biomed startup firms ï State Capital ñ Gives potential researchers and entrepreneurs easy access to government advice and administrative help. Skilled Labor ï By even 2013, there should be plenty of skilled labor, thanks in vital part to the Nissan plant and itís suppliers. Transportation /Location ï 3 major four-lane routes and at least 2 major railroads cross here, ï Half way between the Texan and SE growth areas ï Access to several Gulf Coast ports for export ï Equally easy access to Memphis (warehouses, FedEx). CONTINUED......

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T15:06:09-06:00
ID
68583
Comment

...CONTINUED from previous post Education ï U of M Med School is located here, as I just said. ï FOUR universities with mechanical engineering programs (which I think is the most relevant for biomed enginnering) within a 2.5 hour drive of Jackson that have strong engineering programs: Miss St. Univ., Ole Miss, LSU, and La Tech (the latter just 150 miles straight west of Jackson on I-20, where I earned my two degrees from). Louisiana Tech itself explicitly has a Biomedical Engineering program. Expanding the circle to a four hour drive takes in we can include U of Memphis and Bama . ï Jackson St. has a civil engineering program, which could advise the city about how to plan a biomedical engineering area. Itís computer science programs have an obvious function, given our digital-oriented times. ï USM, from what I hear, has a highly rated polymer science (plastics) program. Again, this would be of obvious use for biomed engineering. Access to Culture ï Jackson does indeed have a potential identity. ï Not just homegrown culture (literature and music), but location makes it easy to hub all the cultural influences from Memphis to the Gulf Coast, possibly forming unique future identity for the city. ï Jubilee! Jam ï The arts area along Lower State Street, including the unique Museum of Muslim Cultures, a treasure in and of itself. Ditto for the Museum of Southern Jewry. ï The metroís huge African-American population could make it a smaller and more attractive alternative for A-Aís who might find Atlanta, Houston, and even Memphis too large for their tastes. There are lots of problems we need to overcome first, of course , which we have all discussed over the last several days: tolerance, education, the right set of policies, and appropriately targeted and managed funding thereof. But the good news is that even if Memphis (another potential player), Birmingham, and the Gulf Coast prevail instead of Jackson, Jackson is still in a good position to become at least a secondary / support center.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T15:06:51-06:00
ID
68584
Comment

Great conversation, all. I'm determined not to blog much the rest of the week, but I'll make a few comments on the fly. Diogenes make an interesting point about manufacturing jobs, although we certainly do need them, as well as others. As a state, we should also aspire to "better" (paying and otherwise) jobs as well that can keep and attract young people here. I personally think the key to Mississippi's (and certainly Jackson's) success is a mixture of keeping (and motivating) do-ers, so to speak, in the state, and attracting newcomers as well as expatriates to come back home. We're certainly not choosing one or the other here. It's nice to say that this is our little secret, but we also *need* a lot that others can offer, not the least of which is a good tax base. As someone said, it's not either-or. And I certainly like the idea of bringing our people home, so to speak -- folks who've gone out there, picked up some good ideas and contacts, and perhaps some extra dollars that they can come back and invest into businesses that creative interesting jobs and creative outlets. Yes, we might have to fight to keep Starbuck's from running out cups and The Gap off Capitol (imagine), but that a problem's a bit in the future (but worth keeping in mind as we plan). Lowgreynite mentions the discussion of intolerance. Again, I'm in no way advocating that that is the only thing we need, and the formula is certainly more complex than just talking with like-minded people, as he referred to. If it's all we ever did, it wouldn't be enough. But I can attest to what I'm seeing daily: I'm involved in all sorts of discussions about intolerance these days -- and I'm usually not bringing it up; people know I'm willing, so bring it up in my presence -- and I can truly say it seems to be motivating action on the part of at least some of the folks (especially young) who weren't as active in the community before. Sure, this is anecdotal, but it's also true. And I also know that a lot of the people trying to strike up those conversations are doing, and encouraging, thankless work in the community. Come to think of it, in Jackson, community work doesn't seem thankless to me; I've never lived in a place where people are so likely to come up out of the blue and thank you for doing something for the community. That's not a reason to do it, but it's nice to live among such gracious people.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-22T15:19:10-06:00
ID
68585
Comment

Re poverty, Kenneth, I couldn't agree more. It should not ever just be accepted as the way things are. And finally re the redneck comments. As a fifth-generation redneck (sorry, Fielding ), I'm not that offended by the comments, and I've been known to make a redneck joke or two myself. I do know from my own life that quick "redneck" labels often miss the point of the combination of poverty, lack of education and fear (thus prejudice) that poor whites in the South often suffer from. These are the people that, so often, are taken advantage of by politicians who do not have their interests at heart at all. They are, in many ways, the least understood and the most used, IMHO. And many of their children are just watching and waiting for a way out of the trailer park. We can't forget the "rednecks" when we're mentoring and spreading the good word. Enough for me. Back to work. Soon ...

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-22T15:19:55-06:00
ID
68586
Comment

kchilton: Jackson also has a high proportion of workers who are public-sector employees (21.6%). The numbers are different elsewhere (Birmingham, 13.2%; Charlotte 8.9%; Nashville, 9.3%). These are interesting and legitimate stats, no doubt about it. However, only Nashville is a state capital, and one three times the size of Jackson at that. I'd like to see the stats for similar-sized state capitals In particular, I'd like similar figures for Des Moines, Columbia, and Little Rock ESPECIALLY, because I see these as the state capitals most closely resembling Jackson in all its particulars (although Des Moines it has only a tiny black population). Columbia takes care of the race obstacle where determining relevent stats is concerned, but like Baton Rouge, it's also the home of a large, mid-prestiege university. Little Rock is probably comes the closest to qualifying for Jackson's sister city, but like Jackson, it's got a lot of unflattering statistics as well, so the LR ones value would probably be very limited for the purposes of this discussion.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T15:39:35-06:00
ID
68587
Comment

kchilton: I don't know about the churches you've been to, but of the ones I've been to (inculding Baptist, though I no longer am one), I have NEVER ONCE heard them talk of poverty being "the Lord's will" - nor have I heard anything in their teachings even remotely implying such. As for "how parishoners of First Baptist could worship without guilt within a mile of dire poverty" -- If I had to guess, it would probably a sense of resignation and hopelessness. They think "well, this area's not gonna get any better anyway - so why worry yourself sick about it". Is that actually what the churches or the Bible teachs? Definitely not! But is it a plausible explanation as to how people can easily feel this way? I think it is. They are trapped in the same sense of mental resignation as many, if not most, of us are. Again, blaming the conservative churches is a non-starter, even if there are "theological issues" of theirs I don't agree with

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T15:52:02-06:00
ID
68588
Comment

oops, kchilton sorry I misattributed my comments to you. Where I put a colon, I should have put a comma and hit ENTER.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T15:57:50-06:00
ID
68589
Comment

I've always thought that the only white person who didn't mind being referred to as a "redneck" is that comedian what's his name. It's kinda' funny that Donna doesn't find it offensive. I've always heard it used negatively so it hadn't occurred to me that people use it positively. I guess it's like it's counterpart, the "n" word. Philip:I'm still looking into this, but I believe that the biomedical industry is one of the reasons for the Golden Triangle's prosperity when compared to other parts of the state. I'm gathering info on this, but some of the largest healthcare operations in the US (healthSouth inparticular) have major operations (hospitals, GPs, subacute care facilities) in NE MS. Those facilities support a lot of second- and third-tier jobs in addition to the obvious opportunities for MDs, nurses, and therapists. Also, a lot of black churches have a "tradition" of teaching black people to be satisfied with what little they have on the theory that their life in heaven will be better.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-22T16:11:18-06:00
ID
68590
Comment

Nia, maybe it's just my own experience, but I grew up around folks perfectly happy to call themselves "rednecks," as a badge of pride. ("Crackers" always seemed more offensive.) I've always said that I wear my hair long to cover up my red neck. ;-D Seriously, I don't think it was a "taking back" of the word, either, as has been done by groups of other slur-words. It just seemed accepted, at least among the country folk. (I'm sure the rich townpeople used it as a slur against the country folk.) Now, that said, I didn't want to always be considered a "redneck"; I wanted to do something with my life, escape the trailer-park world and so on. That is, escape the redneck life. Certainly, uses of the word -- "just a bunch of stupid rednecks from Neshoba County" -- could be offensive, but it certainly never struck me as a word in and of itself, that it was nearly as offensive as the n-word. But I realize my feelings and experience on this may not be representative, so I'm certainly not trying to speak for everyone on this; just sharing my gut reaction. I'd be curious to hear what others think about it. Again, I'll see y'all later. Work beckons.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-22T16:27:56-06:00
ID
68591
Comment

Nia, The news about the Golden Triangle's biomed industry IS news to me (my knowledge of East Miss is rather weak. Anything west of I-55... THAT I can tell you about :D ). Branches of health care operations IS an important start (that's how Austin laid the foundations for its own tech boom back in the 70s and early 80s). Austin's next step was to keep it's young people there by not only providing the image of jobs available, but to make the place seem "cool" to live in. Again, I don't know, but I've never heard anything about that area that indicates a high "buzz" factor. As for Jackson specifically, I was thinking in terms of actual design of new never-before-seen products AND their actual production. How far along is the Triangle in that regard? Even though I didn't specificaly mention it, I was also thinking of genetic engineering (which IS a "red flag" topic, I know. but still...). Many of the same factors I mentioned in my post are easily transferable to that field too. We may or may not catch up with Georgia (which last year allocated $400 million of its state budget to developing genetic engineering development), but this field is still relatively young, so I think the field is still wide open. Even if we don't become a "Genome Valley", we can still be an Austin, like Todd said in his article. (i.e. Silicon Valley #1, with Austin #2 or 3). Heck, even becoming a #2 or 3 within The South alone would entitle us to bragging rights! But as I said...2033! In the meantime, there's work to do.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-22T16:56:30-06:00
ID
68592
Comment

I don't know how developed that aspect of biomed is for the GT; haven't heard anything about it though. (I only get home to MS about three times a year these days.) Plus "we" also have the Tenn-Tom, which brings a lot of work to the area.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-22T17:10:18-06:00
ID
68593
Comment

Thanks for the feedback. I included Nashville because it is southern and part of what might be deemed the "new south." Your critiques are valid, though. As for Des Moines, it is too white and too different for valid comparison (FYI: about 11% of the workforce is composed of government personnel). I happen to believe that "new blood" is the lifeline to new ideas, bolder perspectives and dynamicism. If you look at Jackson, only about 1.7% of the population is not white or black. The numbers for other cities are as follows: Chattanooga (4.3%) Mobile (3.4%) Little Rock (4.5%) Baton Rouge (4.5%) Raleigh (1.7%) Columbia, SC (5.1%) Jackson isn't a magnet for immigrants and this probably suits many people. Yet, it is an indicator of stagnation. As for poverty, the ratio of black-white poverty for Jackson is 3.23. The numbers for other cities are as follows: Chatt (2.59) Mobile (4.23) Little Rock (3.92) Baton Rouge (2.64) Raleigh (2.19) Columbia (2.64) These numbers are a bit misleading. Both Columbia and Baton Rouge have higher rates of white poverty than the other cities. I have purposely used cities like Charlotte and Raleigh to highlight the differences between New southern towns and Old southern towns. Race still matters, but it isn't omniscient. A black middle and upper class exists, and the local economies are more advanced. As one of the 60s activists declared: The key to black power is green power. Jackson compares more favorably with cities like Mobile and Baton Rouge than Chattanooga or Charlotte. Remember, though, 30 years ago Chattanooga was all but dead.

Author
kchilton
Date
2003-10-23T10:14:57-06:00
ID
68594
Comment

oops, the percentage of non-white/non-black residents in Raleigh is 9.3%.

Author
kchilton
Date
2003-10-23T10:16:21-06:00
ID
68595
Comment

Phillip, regarding manufacturing jobs, Nissan is an exception to the rule, and I was not refering to Nissan. One thing I have to say about it is it is certainly the kind of manufacturing MS needs, but it is only one plant in central MS. In north MS the furniture market is still dominant and many local 18 year olds aspire for hammering in nails on a sofa frame for the rest of their lives. Why don't they aspire for more? Oh yeah, they do, a pickup truck? No, really, why doesn't a north MS high school kid want to go to college, travel, or do something different? I would say it lies in his or her education. Alright, I might be a snob, consider that my grandparents in north MS call themselves rednecks. I am not one and wouldn't become one just to fit in here. My definition of a rednecks is as follows: They let their kids play with rifles, atv's and fireworks. Their kids come away mangled from their "fun" and then the parents go to church where a preacher asks God why He let this happen to this good family. Anyone see what I'm getting at? This is a usual scenario among MS families (yeah it happens elsewhere, but it's more notable here). Rednecks also like to drive without insurance, cruising down the road going way too slow throwing cigarette butts out the window along with empty beer cans. Rednecks are just bothersome people. Keep in mind that it has been my experience that rednecks don't look a certain way, it is more of their actions that makes them a redneck. I know some rednecks, for example, who wear Cole Haan shoes and Ping golf sportswear. I know Patagonia sporting rednecks, cruising around in their Lexus. Redneckedness is a state of mind. About my snobbery, I worked as a truck driver to get me through college. Not vans or bob-trucks, semi-tractor trailers. I've seen and worked with more rednecks and downright dregs of society and I never judged these people. I admired them for their honesty, most times. Continued....

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-23T13:35:57-06:00
ID
68596
Comment

Earlier, I posted some negative criticisms of MS and now I want to say some positive things this state has to offer: 1. Jackson State radio is awesome! 2. Traffic isn't that bad in Jackson, actually it's worse in Ridgeland! 3. Weekly at State, Ole Miss, Southern and others I'm not mentioning, people get together by the thousands to tail-gate for football games. There's lots of drinking (and some drug use) going on but there's hardly ever a violent altercation. That is simply amazing. Elsewhere, there'd be fights and riots. 4. When walking down the street in any MS locality, people nod or smile, sometimes even saying 'hello' to a complete stranger. That is unique. 5. The transportation department's highway program is really coming along. I can take the Trace to 82 (mostly fourlaned now) and then cut across to Starkville, then to West Point and then to my grands' home in Tupelo. It sure beats the the hell outta the 50 mph Trace! 6. Ole Miss (I can't speak for the other schools) offers a fine education, that is if one wants to learn while they are there. I have heard So. Miss has a great history department and Hattiesburg is one of the premier small cities in the nation. 7. The entire time I lived in Tupelo, I never locked either my car door or the front door to my home. Never was I a victim of crime. Same thing in Oxford, never locked my doors and never had anything stolen (and Haley Barbour says MS has a 'crime wave') Now, as long as I can stay away from the rednecks who say, "if'n you don't lahk it hee-yere, then you ken git out!" I'll be alright!

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-23T13:44:33-06:00
ID
68597
Comment

Nia – to answer your question in another thread, I believe the Governor's Mansion underwent extensive remodeling/renovation in the early 90's. I believe I understood you to say that you write for an architectural publication? Also, I gather you have not visited Jackson often – if at all? With that said, I invite you to come visit your home state's capital city, take a tour of the mansion and the capitol building itself and write an article on your findings. We may be poor, backward, and a bunch of dumb asses, but by god, those two buildings take a back seat to no one's. In fact, that might make an interesting angle for your article – the irony of the nation's poorest state having the nation's most beautiful state capitol building and guv's house Both buildings have architectural value and are historically significant. Employees at the capitol building can share many great stories and legends concerning it's construction. You will be impressed. Come see us!

Author
dw
Date
2003-10-23T14:50:39-06:00
ID
68598
Comment

DW: I don't get to Jackson often, but since my older brother recently relocated there, I'll likely be making the trip more often. (Those homing devices really do work--apparently they kick in right around your 40th birthday!) I have to confess though that I've never paid much attention to the capital building or the governor's mansion. (Sorry, my area of specialty was northern Italian Baroque.) But now you've piqued my interest. I doubt I can get a mag to buy me a ticket to Jackson for the story, but I may be able to swing down to Jackson during my next trip home. It'd be nice to get a couple of stories out of the trip. They'd pay for my plane ticket! I might come see y'all for Christmas! BTW, I don't think MS folks are backward. Poor, yes. Backward, no more than anybody else. :-)

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-23T15:12:53-06:00
ID
68599
Comment

Nia, While you are making plans for the visit to Jackson, you might want to research the Yellow Pages, particularly the restaurant section (non-chain Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and I believe a non-chain Mexican too. Sorry, I don't know of a Thai, Mid-Eastern or Ethiopian that I'm aware of). Lower State Street (where Millsaps & Belhaven Colls., and the Belhaven and Fondren neighborhoods are) is the budding creative district of the city. Granted it's not anywhere near SoHo' calibur (yet!! :P), but a little look-see shows that seeds are starting to germinate. Museums: The Old Capitol Building is worth a serious look-see. Also The Mississippi Museum of Art is pretty cool. You'll probably want to be here in 2004, since the Arts Council is sponsoring YET ANOTHER Int'l exhibit -- art from Dresden, Germany. Over the previous 10 yrs, there's been exhibitions of art from Versailles, St. Petersburg, and Spain [*] Speaking of exhibits and museums, there's the International Museum of Muslim Cultures (yes, in MISS, of all places! Established about 2 yrs ago in response to the Spanish exhibit, to show the glories of Moorish Spain/al-Andalus) The Museum of Southern Jewery is in Utica, I believe, about 20 miles SW of Jackson - down St. Hwy. 18. Speaking of other religions, there's a Hindu Temple (I believe that's what it is) tucked away in West Jackson, west of Hwy. 18 - not far from the Wal-Mart. I stumbled upon this while rambling around the area. So, nia, you will see what knol aust means by "our little secret". Had I had the money at the time, I would have probably spent more time down there, had I had the money and were not busy working and studying for professional exams. [*]Somebody who knows one of the directors told me that many pieces were only reproductions. I'm not sure about that one, but even if true, it's still a grander show than most other cities in the Deep South its size. I can tell you first-hand that Jackson demolishes Shreveport in virtually every aspect of culture - and probably many aspect's of Baton Rouge's as well. Little Rock might give Jackson more competition but I'm not sure. Alabama, I have no first-hand knowledge of)

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-23T16:21:15-06:00
ID
68600
Comment

Good God, kchilton!!! I can see we have a lot to fight about stats over Shiner Bach and BBQ (if you happen to be in Dallas some time, look me up, so I can show you some REAL TEXAS BBQ - the way God intended it!!). {}...SERIOUSLY though... Continued...

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-23T16:35:33-06:00
ID
68601
Comment

....as I said, I'm no expert, but stats fascinate me because there are SO many ways you can look at them (not an insult to your integerity or skill, mind you). I've found that city stats are important, but to get the full picture you have to have both the city and metro stats (why forget about 1/2 the Jackson Metropolitan area's population?) The suburbanites, despite it all, are legitimately connected to the city - even if their world-view is differently from the city proper (I lived in Ridgeland during my 13 mths in the area). Jackson's suburban area's (at least the public schools, which dominate one's formative years) are certainly more integrated than the city despite the presence of academies. Pearl and Ridgeland are the most striking proof of this. Clinton seems pretty integrated too. So ironically, it's the inner-tier suburbs that seem to lead the way in integration (I see something similar in Dallas. Check out the racial stats for Richardson and Garland, first-tier suburbs, for clues). Therefore, we cannot limit our vision of the future merely to the Jackson city limits.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-23T16:49:58-06:00
ID
68602
Comment

Dio, for someone who claims to know what rednecks are like, you have lot of ignorance about their lives. "They let their kids play with rifles, atv's and fireworks." Nothing wrong with any of these, provided they're done under parental or adult supervision. "Their kids come away mangled from their "fun" and then the parents go to church where a preacher asks God why He let this happen to this good family." a. they won't be mangled if properly supervised, and b. you're making sarcastic comments about someone's faith "Anyone see what I'm getting at? This is a usual scenario among MS families (yeah it happens elsewhere, but it's more notable here)." where are your statistics howing this happens here more than in, say Alabama or Michigan or Oregon... "Rednecks also like to drive without insurance, cruising down the road going way too slow throwing cigarette butts out the window along with empty beer cans." people who typically can't afford auto insurance don't automatically like driving without it, and it isn't being a redneck that causes people to drive too slow or throw trash out the car window - your faux intellectual snobbery is showing again and please don't try to throw around credentials about driving a truck as an immunization - I helped work on rebuilding Hwy 49 through Hattiesburg with a construction crew - big whoop lastly, there are "rednecks" in every state of the union I've been to -granted thats only 39 or the fifty, that counts as a good representative sampling to me I'm not a redneck and don't claim to be one - (I don't like NASCAR at all '-)) - but they're the salt of the earth - in most cases - and Mississippi's culture is richer for having them here on the other hand, you point out many of the good things here Mississippi also

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-23T16:57:17-06:00
ID
68603
Comment

I'm a writer so I don't ever condone censorship or deleting words from the dictionary. But Diogenes, I do find your usage of the word "redneck" here, in this context, distrubing. You're making such sweeping characatures. Maybe I just don't get it, but your usage of the word seems insincere and intended entirely as a negative descriptive. Your usage varies quite a bit from the more positive usage donna described. Philip: You should get a kick out of the fact that some of the biggest names in dining in NY are busy trying to figure out how to make "authentic" TX BBQ in Manhattan. I haven't tasted any yet that reminds me of Hill Country. But they keep tryin'. I'm going to sit down tonight and make a list of "things to do when you're in jackson."

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-23T17:24:35-06:00
ID
68604
Comment

Diogenes, I'm not as bothered by the word "redneck" itself, as I've said, but I have to agree that you seem to be generalizing out of control about "rednecks." Why do that? It reminds me of a discussion we had on another thread about someone calling a poster (I believe you) "anti-Semitic" for questioning policies of Israel. As I said then, name-calling like that is offensive, especially one-on-one as that was, but so is generalizing an entire group of people. I realize you're coming up with these stereotypes based on a group's perceived actions (or "state of mind"), not their skin color exactly, but it is still offensive the way you're doing it. Not all poor whites can even afford ATVs, for example. So, please, on the blog, refrain from such inflammatory stereotypes.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-23T17:37:20-06:00
ID
68605
Comment

Not once did I call anyone anti-Semitic. Not once did I claim rednecks are poor. The ones I've known in Mississippi are quite well-to-do, as a matter of fact. To respond to Fielding, yes I was being a bit sarcastic and the point I was making is the redneck families I've been around don't supervise their kids, that is the exact problem I have with them. When something bad happens to their kids, then they ask God why it happened. Well, it happened because some MS parents (alot, I might add) don't care about their kids. They also don't care for or treat their pets with any dignity either. Be angry with me all y'all want, but the fact of the matter is, most MS redneck types are new to me. I'm still undergoing culture shock in this state. Never in my life have I come across people, all over this state, who don't play by the rules, meaning: supervising your children, caring for your pets, following traffic rules (including keeping your kids restrained), driving ATV's all over the county roads harrassing automobile users, shooting guns early in the morning in the fall and the spring to kill doves, ducks, deer and other nice creatures, hooting and hollering and shooting guns at parties, and picking fights with folks at parties because you are talking to their wife, or girlfriend. I have a good friend who's a Tupelo attorney. She mostly handles divorces and you wouldn't believe the stories she's told me. To sum up some of the custody battles she has, children to her "redneck" clients are commodities like the ATV, shotgun or satellite dish. These parents treat their kids just anyway, as long as they are getting back at their estranged spouse. How sad... Most of what I'm describing I experienced in north MS. Down here, I just work all the time begging for a transfer and fearing the crime wave that I hear about on the news and gubernatorial candidates. I might have been offensive and if so then you all are easily offended, but in some cases the truth hurts. Rednecks or just average citizens, whatever you call them, it is hard for someone from New Orleans to adjust to MS culture. I thought you all might want an outsider's perspective on the people of this state, but now I see that you don't so I won't comment on this anymore.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-23T18:31:14-06:00
ID
68606
Comment

Nia: Philip: You should get a kick out of the fact that some of the biggest names in dining in NY are busy trying to figure out how to make "authentic" TX BBQ in Manhattan. I haven't tasted any yet that reminds me of Hill Country. But they keep tryin'. Philip: "Hey, Y'all! This stuff's made in New York City!" "NEW YORK CITY!!!!" (the commercials for the San Antoino-based Pace Picante Sauce) Nia, Tell them to do what they did with Italians, Jews, etc. - import about a million of them so they can have a big pool of people who know what the hell they are doing (well, I'm not really Texan yet, so I can still say "them"). Until that happens, NY'ers should stick with what they do best - pizza, deli style sandwitches, and kosher foods. There just ain't no substitute for the real thing!

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-23T18:35:52-06:00
ID
68607
Comment

Diogenes, of course, we want an outsider's perspective here. We're simply asking you not to generalize about an entire group of people, as we will ask anyone to do. (As in: "All blacks ....) I didn't say you called someone anti-Semitic; I thought someone called you that on a different thread, and I told them to stop it. (I'm sorry if that was someone else.) Yes, there is way too much poverty and lack of education in this state, which leads directly to the types of problems you are talking about. What the posters have expressed, though, is that is seems offensive to fling around stereotypes about "rednecks." I do think people define that differently, as has been expressed, and I think you're using it as an easy label for people with different values, to put it mildly, than yourself. I'm not a fan of the "deer camp" culture, either, for instance -- but I have to tell you that I lived on ritzy Nantucket Island for a while (off Cape Cod and as a worker), and the hunters there loaded up their deers in the backs of their pick-ups and drove them around the cobble-stoned streets to show them off. So, what you're seeing here are Mississippians (white and black, current and expatriate) saying, "wait a minute, don't stereotype us," just as "outsiders" say to us, "don't stereotype us." And, no doubt, Mississippians can get defensive a bit about called rednecks; that's the way the media tend to portray us. We get a little sick of it.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-23T19:22:19-06:00
ID
68608
Comment

dio, I think I can speak for everyone (or at LEAST ninety percent) of this blogsite when I say "we DO appreciate outsider's perspectives". The issue is TONE. Virtually any point can be made without lapsing into bad taste, as MANY posts by outsiders prove. I myself am not quite a Miss "insider" and I certainly offered a lot of different perspectives, some of them critical of the state (click on the Oct 21, 12:59 pm link, among others, to see what I mean). Nevertheless, I am/was close enough to Miss. both geographically and culturally, to have at least an intermediate-level Mississippi-insiders' perspective. You need a good grasp on both the outsider AND insider perspective to get the full picture, as ALL of us have our blind spots. Let's talk about Donna Ladd and Nia now. Both grew up in the state, yet both attended Columbia Univ. and spent much time in NY and out in the wider world. Donna returned to Miss. after many years, but Nia is still living in NY. Can you REALLY say these two ladies don't bring in "outside" perspectives? (btw, if anything NY is even more snotty/elitist as a whole than NOLA, Nia obviously hasn't let their attitudes infect her - and she seems FAR from a knee-jerk Conservative Republican. Also, she's Black and even she has no frankly bigoted rancor toward Miss Whites. What excuse do you have?) Furthermore, I also brought in "outside perspectives" when I put up a whole series of links to the BR Advocate stories. Most recently, I brought up the racial integration situation in Jackson's inner-tier suburbs seeming to parallel Dallas's counterparts. Can you say ANY of these tidbits are NOT an outsider's perspective? I am not really any more of a Miss insider than you are - although the culture of N. La., where I grew up and spent most of my college years, is virtually identical to Miss's. Continued....

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-23T19:34:02-06:00
ID
68609
Comment

...continued from my previous post.. dio: (custody battles) And you don't think those families with Huxtable-like incomes and tastes, regardless of race, have all those nasty battles? If you don't then I've got news for you - my cousins from N. Virginia had a terrible time with their parents splitting. I admit they don't have super-elegant tastes, but they were/are far from "redneck". Here's an idea - rent Liar! Liar!, staring Jim Carey, he plays a lawyer representing a rich vindictive lady in a divorce. Watch how she behaves just after the trial's outcome. If you can't see non-rednecks (by YOUR definition, that is) behaving this way in real life, then I don't know what else to say. As for the nitpicky, non-character aspects of the redneck lifestyle, no less than half of those are mere judgment calls. If you don't get into hunting, that's your call. ATVs on the road? Drivers, both of cars and ATV's, expect each other to be on the road. Certainly ATVs on the road is illegal, but is it REALLY such a morally repugnant practice on the level of racism, homophobia, and the like? General Traffic Rules, yes, Miss does have its faults here, no question. so does everywhere else. If you want to see REALLY NASTY traffic, take a drive on Interstate 15 between Las Vegas and San Bernadino - like I did at 4 am on New Years Day in '95. It's as close as you can get to the Indy 500 while being on a U.S. Public Highway. Dallas drivers may be more prone to signal and less likely to bottle up traffic than Miss ones -- but they are also LESS likely to move over for you when you leave the exit ramp. HOW are Miss moving violations any more of a sin that TX ones? I rest my case.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-23T19:35:13-06:00
ID
68610
Comment

NY traffic violators trump all others except those in Rome (apologies to my Italian friends). Just this morning I was nearly run over by a guy riding a bicycle the wrong way down a one-way street while running a red light. And he had the nerve to yell at me and I was a pedestrian in the crosswalk!!! Only in NY--or Rome. Anyway...Given Diogenes' description of a redneck, NY is full of them. In Manhattan any halfway interesting custody battle will cost you at least $50,000 (I know), and I'd be willing to bet that the roughly 16 x 4-mile island of Manhattan has WAY more guns than MS--and people shoot each other with them. They don't even bother with the deer. And when I'm at home I ride my father's ATV. Does that make me a redneck? :-)

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-23T21:04:26-06:00
ID
68611
Comment

That's $50,000 minimum per person, BTW, for the custody battle.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-23T21:05:45-06:00
ID
68612
Comment

Hey, I just want folks to slow down stop at Stop signs in Belhaven so they don't run over my kitty cats, or the neighbor's kids. Otherwise, it's a bit unsettling to be talked about in third person on my own Web site, but I do appreciate Peter's comments. I certainly feel rather stuck between the worlds -- as both an insider and an outsider -- but I try to make the best of that by drawing on what I know about both "sides," so to speak. And he's right: Tone really is so important here; everyone can easily see for themselves whether someone wants to discuss actual issues, or is just trolling to be difficult. My personal rule is to ignore the ad hominem snipes ("don't feed the troll!"), even thought I slip up now and then. And fortunately we don't get much trolling (knock on wood). Thanks, all, for great conversation. Donna

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T00:27:12-06:00
ID
68613
Comment

Oops, I meant Philip, not Peter. Sorry, guy. Don't you go huff away on me because of it.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T00:28:56-06:00
ID
68614
Comment

OMG! I like NASCAR. I AM a redneck! Okay, I'll stop now.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-24T00:34:10-06:00
ID
68615
Comment

BTW, all you jealous "outsiders." I just came back from (a) attending a diverse and fun Jazz, Art and More night at the Mississippi art museum with wonderful jazz by Raphael Semmes and friends, with the lovely Rhonda Richmond sitting in (protege of Cassandra; her CD is released nationally in the next couple of weeks; Nia, get ye to Tower), where several folks gathered over the food table (crawfish balls by Julep anyone?) to discuss strategies for bringing back downtown, and we meant business (b) attended part of a town-hall meeting, again very diverse, in the Old Capitol, House chamber (where the state voted to secede back when) about the death penalty, and Earnest Gaines' book, "A Lesson Before Dying," which the whole community (or much of it) is reading at the same time, and (c) ended up for nightcaps and witty reparte at Hal & Mal's with a lovely group of people from the worlds of literature, the arts, music and the media. And that's just another night here. Don't let anybody tell you life in Jackson is ever dull.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T00:39:06-06:00
ID
68616
Comment

Hey girlfriend, that means you're more of a redneck than I am. Who knew? I just can't do NASCAR, but would defend the right of anyone to partake in such a low-rent pasttime. :-P Now, when I was growing up, I watched wrestling every Wednesday and Saturday, and it wasn't that ritzy kind they do today. I was crazy about the, er, sport. I'd get mad at anybody, to the point of tears, if they tried to tell me it was fake.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T00:43:32-06:00
ID
68617
Comment

after culling through the posts on this thread from the last two days, I must tell diogenes that: everywhere, parents ferry kids around without proper restraints. everywhere, people kill animals for sport. everywhere, parents question God when something awful happens [even if they aren't to blame, even if said event doesn't involve the kids, and often even if said parent isn't neccesarily religious]. And plus: Mississippi didn't invent animal cruelty, or nasty divorce settlements involving kids, or late night fights involving drunken conversations with ladies who are spoken for. if you get the transfer you're "begging" for and you can escape all of this bad stuff, send me an email. i'll come be your neighbor in la-la land. sorry if all that sounds mean. i just love this town.

Author
Jlosset
Date
2003-10-24T03:43:40-06:00
ID
68618
Comment

and this state. warts and all.

Author
Jlosset
Date
2003-10-24T03:48:38-06:00
ID
68619
Comment

Donna, You sound like you had one heck of an evening! Had I known of this, I might have made the 7 hour drive just to be part of it :D I suppose I shouldn't have addressed you in the "unsettling" way I did - and apologize for bringing your name up in such a manner. As you can tell, I was pretty peeved at dio's self-righeteous, "I have-God's own truth in this matter" attitude. Jackson dull? I started to write something, but then it occured to me that I'd insult someone's lifestyle. Besides, the types of people I associate with the aforementined lifestyle would fairly soon find a way to be bored even in Ft. Walton at the height of Spring Break.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-24T07:31:15-06:00
ID
68620
Comment

Oh, I didn't mind at all, Philip. No need to apologize! Definitely make the drive soon, especially on one of our crazy weekends when there are a million things going on at once and everyone's frantic running from one thing to the next. Join the Lounge List if you haven't already for event updates. Agreed on the last point: I even knew the occasional person in Manhattan who was continually bored. You can be a couch potato anywhere, and prefer must-see TV to getting out and sampling life. And there's a lot of life in Jackson.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T08:06:38-06:00
ID
68621
Comment

Philip, I agree with your observations about statistics. You can indeed lose the context when only looking at the city. However, when we're talking about revitalizing Jackson, I interpret that to mean the downtown and inner-suburbs. These areas are in direct competition with Madison and Ridgeland for residents. Concentrated poverty, school quality (affected by the low city tax base), perceptions of crime in the city, etc. all have the pernicious effect of stifling Jackson's recovery. At this point in time (it could change), neither Madison nor Ridgeland are suffering massive disinvestment. Thus, I think it's fair to say that revitalizing Jackson proper is contingent upon breaking down concentrated poverty near the city core. I've heard that TX barbeque is good, but the folks around here swear by eastern NC style Q.

Author
kchilton
Date
2003-10-24T09:34:28-06:00
ID
68622
Comment

Hey you guys, I've been to France, Hawaii, British Columbia, and all of the lower 48 and I know that rednecks are nationwide, if not world wide. OK? Redneck to me is a state of mind. The state of mind is "i am not responsible for my actions" and "i will not learn from my mistakes." Not once did I say that all Mississippians are rednecks. I said most Mississippians are rednecks. When you work with nice folks, family men and women who invite you to their home and they don't have book one in their house, that tells you something is wrong with them. What do they read to their children? And, why do they let their children act any sort of way? I know that well-to-do people have bad children and they fit the redneck state of mind well. Anyone, regardless of race or socio-economic status can be a redneck. Look at my definition above, the one about responsibility and learning from one's mistakes. And, to reassert what has been said about me, I am a snob. I know it but out on the street daily, I treat no one any different than anyone else. I equally hate all of humanity. As humans we are nothing more than thinking apes and that quality is rather loathsome.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-24T10:54:05-06:00
ID
68623
Comment

Diogenes, I understand your point, but your terminology is what's offensive. One of the key markers of racism is attributing personal character traits of a few people to an entire group of people based on race or ethnicity. You've used "redneck" to describe a character flaw that could be attributable to anyone. And since you've used a term with a very charged history as a racist term, it seems disingeuous to try to broaden the scope of meaning. It's a classic bait and switch--only the bait smells fishy before it's even hit the water.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-24T11:10:43-06:00
ID
68624
Comment

"And, to reassert what has been said about me, I am a snob. I know it but out on the street daily, I treat no one any different than anyone else. I equally hate all of humanity. As humans we are nothing more than thinking apes and that quality is rather loathsome." Now I feel bad - I hope you can get out this sad feeling about all humanity being loathsome. I'll pray for you, Dio...

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-24T11:36:24-06:00
ID
68625
Comment

Dio, I understand the frustration of walking into a home and not seeing a book in sight (but inevitably a big-ass TV), and you are right that it happens to me more in my home state than it certainly did in some other places I've lived. But, writing off an entire swath of people because some of them, tragically, were never turned on to the magical, life-transforming power of books, is extremely cynical and short-sighted. Instead, I try to take a positive approach and continually suggest books to people that I think they might like. Or give books as gifts, especially to their children. That's exactly what some amazing adults did for me when I was growing up in a virtually book-less household (although my Mama certainly bought me Golden Books and a set of World Book encyclopedias; she didn't read to me because she didn't know how, and that is the case still for too many people here of all races). Those adults changed my life. And, certainly, they are responsible for anyone who has ever found value in a single word that I've written. The power of such suggestion and mentoring cannot be understated; it is exponential. You're sure not going to get a population of people to start reading and thinking more and loving the idea of education because you write them off as hopeless. You have to believe in them, in their humanity. People frustrate me no end in their refusal to look at the big picture, or to simply reach out to others instead of haranguing them, but I believe in the power of goodness and love and compassion to win in the long run. If I didn't, I wouldn't see the point of humanity; making money sure ain't it.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T12:54:49-06:00
ID
68626
Comment

Cynical, ah you are finally catching on. Ms. Ladd, I've long ago lost hope in humanity. We are nothing but thinking apes. We have the ability to reason and reflect on our lives and what do we do with this ability? We use it to undermine our fellow humans, other species and to destroy our environment. Until the human race begins using our unique abilities to better ourselves spiritually and morally, I'll always be cynical. Fielding, don't waste your time, pray for something you really want. That's all prayers are for, ain't it? Quid pro quo, that's why Christians believe, right? It's not about glorifying God, it's more about asking God for stuff!

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-24T15:02:45-06:00
ID
68627
Comment

It's unfortunate, Diogenes, that you look back at the long crawl of human cultural evolution and see only the bad things. True, we are a particularly stubborn bunch; though we have a recorded, written history going back several thousand years, we are still hampered by many of the exact same problems that hindered our early development. But we are also a truly giving lot. When confronted with the worst of our nature, inevitably others of us will offer the best we are capable of being. And that is the promise of our future as a people: We are diverse even in our ability to have hope, to sacrafice for each other, and to teach each other. BTW, apes think, too.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-24T15:35:04-06:00
ID
68628
Comment

If that is your concept about Chistianity, you're wrong. If you're trying to get a rise out of me, you'll have to do better than that. I won't claim to be a good Christian, but I'll say I'm always trying to do better... If you're really interested in Christianity, there are lots of places to learn - I would hope you're sincere about finding faith - but I'm guessing from your posts you'd think it is a waste of time. It isn't. My faith is an integral part of my life. I would sincerely hope you find a rock upon which to base your life - instead of empty cynicism.

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-24T15:38:35-06:00
ID
68629
Comment

I've tried Christianity and it did not work for me and it will not work for me. In my opinion, Christianity is a false reality. I am glad, however, that it works for you and others and you all should continue with that, just leave me out of it. Don't pray for me and don't condemn me to hell (like some Christians have in my past). I may be cynical but that doesn't mean that I am unhappy. At my work here in Ridgeland, and at my previous employment in Tupelo, I was the one employee known for my rosy temperment, my jovial sense of humor and my uncanny ability to pick others up when they are down even when faced with incredible work pressure. I really feel like I cannot explain my beliefs and life philosophy here in the text box of an internet blog. My email is active and feel free to email me about this. If you want, we can have coffee at Cups sometime and, in person, in verbal communication, I can explain my life outlook better. Otherwise, let's go back to the original subject on this thread. I think Jackson has potential. Is there anywhere else in MS that has a population of ~180,000? If you include the suburbs, the areas where everyone is moving to, then the pop. of the metro area exceeds 300,000. That's an awful lot of folks. We need a center to coalesce and that should (conditional here) be downtown Jackson. Things keep us away though. At the Wynton Marsalis show, my car was broken into as were many other cars parked on that street. This is one thing that plagues Jackson and the surrounding communities. In order for any revitalization to begin, Jacksonians and their suburbia counterparts must address crime and its causes. Criminals are usually impoverished and drug addicted. Throwing them in jail and throwing away the key doesn't solve longterm problems, so something has to give. Anyone care to talk about this? And, I apologize for steering the conversation in another direction.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-24T16:33:34-06:00
ID
68630
Comment

Fair enough Dio - another time for that discussion. When I was in DC there was a lot of talk about getting funding to make a "boulevard" of Old Canton Road from say - Duling to I-55 - whatever became of that?

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-24T16:39:28-06:00
ID
68631
Comment

Fielding, they didn't exactly make it a "boulevard", but they did re-stripe that section of Old Canton, down from 2 lanes in each direction, to one lane in each direction, with a center turn lane and bike/walking lanes. And it has slowed traffic down tremendously. (Prior to the re-striping, something like 70% of traffice was over the speed limit, with a hefty percentage clocked at over 50 mph, and some at over 60 mph. In a residential area, posted at 35 mph.) I live off of Old Canton, and I love it. Now, if I can just get people to stop at the stop sign on my street, and stick to the 25 mph speed limit, I'll be happy. And, I'd like to add - you people had lots of fun without me while I was out of town! I'll be sending the evening catching up on all the posts.

Author
Kate
Date
2003-10-24T17:01:38-06:00
ID
68632
Comment

Welcome back, Kate. We missed you. And I agree, those bike lanes are great. I want to see more of those.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-24T17:11:51-06:00
ID
68633
Comment

The population of the metro in 2000 was 440,801 - but that includes every square yard of Hinds, Madison, and Rankin Co's. Everyone, but especially kchilton...for a great wealth of barebones population info for states, counties, and metro areas in one convenient place (plus year by year pop estimates, including yearly net migration rates by national origin [ok, only domestic and foreign, but still..]) http://recenter.tamu.edu/data/popm/ It's part of Real Estate (Research) Center at Texas A&M

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-24T18:16:03-06:00
ID
68634
Comment

Wow--I guess I got to this conversation a bit late. dw -- in response to your first post a while back -- invite them to a Lounge. Seriously. We generally get a fascinating mix of people who will all have plenty of recommendations and probably a few contacts for the types of professionals you're describing. I think that moving back from Houston, they would need to be struck by the opportunity to live in a relatively small pond, whether so that they could make a difference on the social scene or even start a company. I think a software firm in downtown Jackson would be a great idea, as it could easily attract grads from all Mississippi schools and get them here for a hip urban experience while budding MS computer scientists would provide relatively cheap labor. I could see a cool little tech firm somewhere near the MS Architecture Building on Capitol, for instance, which would put it only a block-and-a-half from the Electric Building, so those couples can live in style once they've made their millions creating important applications for the biomedical engineering industry. ;-) Plus, there's going to be this huge telecom center down there soon... Phillip -- This may sound a little dumb, but "biomedical engineering" is mostly Greek to me. Can you talk a bit more about the biomedical engineering industry itself? What does it sell? What are its necessary environs? Does it need proximity to research universities? Hospitals? Other than support professionals, who else does it need to support it? Why do highways and region matter, if they do? What gets shipped? For instance, if someone told me that we need to become the "silicon porch" or "silicon forest" or something, I would know what it takes to support that -- access to universities, quality of life, a solid telecom/broadband infrastructure (preferably cheap) and a pool of creative support workers -- artists, writers, programmers, designers -- who aren't computer scientists but are needed to package and sell the products. So, how would biomed engineering be different and/or the same? What would it look like? Factories? Office parks? Research campuses? Just help me to picture what the products are and what sort of landscape/urban design it would need to get started, if you don't mind.

Author
todd
Date
2003-10-24T21:44:46-06:00
ID
68635
Comment

Todd, Biomedical Engineering center was more speculation than anything else (I really have no clue about BME). My real point is "we need focus if we are gonna shine in 2033". Otherwise, Miss stays stuck in economic mediocrity!! One day, the Nissan plant will shut down. So we need to lay the foundations for the next wave ASAP! Biomed occurred to me because Jackson seems to have a high number of docs. So why not put our doctors to good use? Todd: Phillip -- This may sound a little dumb, but "biomedical engineering" is mostly Greek to me. My name has only one L . ***Can you talk a bit more about the biomedical engineering industry itself? Dr. C. S. Tritt's of the Milwaukee School of Engineering has (I think) a pretty good page explaining what BMEs do. http://people.msoe.edu/~tritt/whatbeis.html It's pretty basic but still specific. He asks and answers 5 basic questions about the field which are (with a teaser answer I post for each question): 1. Some products biomedical engineers would be involved in the development, design, manufacture, sales, use or maintenance of include -- Devices allow medical professionals to "see" inside patients without resorting to surgery (X-Rays, Ultrasound, CAT, etc. 2. Some things biomedical engineers typically do not do include: --BMEs usually do NOT usually design prosthetics in the traditional sense. ìHowever, designing completely new prosthetics, say one controlled by electrical signals from the body, WOULD be a job for biomedical engineers.î (emphasis mine) 3. Some principles (subjects) biomedical engineers apply include: --Natural sciences (chemistry and physics), a wide variety of engineering disciplines. 4. Some types of places biomedical engineers work and some jobs they do --Hospitals, research institutions, government regulatory agencies, Medical manufacturing companies. (Note well that Jackson bats .750 under this one!!) 5. Some other types of professionals biomedical engineers work with include: -- A LOT of support personnel but they consult with the whole spectrum of medical personnel, chemists, physicists, mathematicians, engineers. Jackson seems to have a good supply of most of what the list has, and those we donít have we can easily get from Ole Miss especially (since itís the parent institution of UMC, if I recall right. Or am I confusing UMC with the Med School?)

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-25T02:42:12-06:00
ID
68636
Comment

http://people.msoe.edu/~tritt/whatbeis.html ***What does it sell? See Point 1 of Trittís site **What gets shipped? See Points 1 and 2 ***What are its necessary environs? See Points 4 and 5 **Does it need proximity to research universities? My unprofessional opinion? Not ALWAYS, but it would surely help. I presume UMC and St. Dominicís, just to name two, take care of this. And I understand UMC has broken MAJOR ground on at least two occasions. First Human Lung Transplant: http://master.emedicine.com/ped/topic2844.htm First Ever Heart Transplant http://www.mhanet.org/i4a/pages/headlinedetails.cfm?id=118&archive=1 Also, JSU has a computer science program, which can be useful in a field like this one. It also has a civil engineering department, which (I think) could be vital when it comes to laying out a biomedical zone, and (already) could be helpful in enhancing the infrastructure aspects of Lower State Street (is there another artsy area near downtown?) **Hospitals? Not always, but they are a big beacon for them. Thereís UMC, St. Dominic, and others in the ìMedical Zoneî (if we can call it that) at Lakeland & State. **Other than support professionals, who else does it need to support it? See Point 5

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-25T03:10:24-06:00
ID
68637
Comment

Todd: Why do highways and region matter, if they do? Philip: Unless somebody group invents the Star Trek type transporter beam within 30 years, the highways will still matter . Seriously, Jackson is centrally located to growing markets, itís practically the crossroads of the Gulf South, and practically all the Mid Southís cultural and recreational amenities are all within only a few hours drive away; theyíre absolutely certainly within an easy weekend-getaway distance. What more can one ask for? (especially when the ìwork/supportî cities and the ìplayî cities are often identical!) Todd: Factories? Office parks? Research campuses? Philip: Probably all three if you ask me, although obviously there are some abandoned places in or near downtown that can be used; and probably preferable ñ so as to cut commuting time to and from the UMC/St. Dominicís area (which I presume would be the primary destination for the BMEs) Todd: Just help me to picture what the products areÖ. Philip: Answered in the first post of my response to you Todd: (a) So, how would biomed engineering be different and/or the same? What would it look like? Philip: Let me get back to you about that one, Todd Todd: Öand what sort of landscape/urban design it would need to get started, if you don't mind. Philip: That part is still wide open, although suggested downtown off the cuff for the reasons I just mentioned

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-25T03:28:34-06:00
ID
68638
Comment

If anyone cares, I just rented a house in Bellhaven, after apartment dwelling for months now. I think the Belhaven area is so neat, it reminds me of Mid-city NOLa., except Jackson has hills and no bayous like Bayou St. John, which runs through the center of Mid-city NOLa. Across the street from me are a couple of professional families, homeowners and a about a stone's throw are a wide range of inhabitants. Now this is the kind of area that attracts young people because it has character, unlike the apartmental and cordoned off areas so exhibitive of Ridgeland and Madison. From my new house, I have downtown and Walker's drive inn just three miles in each respective direction. Fenians and Keifers is nearby as well. A couple of blocks over is I-55 and nine miles up is work, I can get there in no time. While I'm excited about my new place, I am apprehensive as to the crime and whatnot. If only we had a police department with effective policing, would this area of the city be more inhabitable. Then again, if more folks wanted to live in Belhaven, then the prop. owners would price people like me out of the area. This leads one to believe that greed is keeping the city from attracting young people. It is fear that is making people want to leave!

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-25T15:19:31-06:00
ID
68639
Comment

Dio, we live in Belhaven, too. It's a lovely community, although it can use a bit more diversity. I can't imagine worrying about crime here; I've never felt scared two seconds anywhere in the city (and I live in the WHOLE city), except for being startled one time two years ago when a homeless man popped up in the library parking lot suddenly to ask me for money, and that was momentary. We put a Club on the Miata, which we park on the street (it has a soft top, and the old Toyota's not worth anything, bless its heart). We always pay attention to our surroundings just in case something weird happens. And we get on with life. I really don't understand the apparent appeal of living in fear (not that I'm accusing you of this; it just seems the favorite hobby of so many people). When I used to live in NY, it always amused me to watch the tourists clutching their purses with fear and darting their eyes from side to side. It did make one (particularly muggers, probably) wonder what was so valuable in those bags. I hate crime as much as the next guy, but I really can't stand the idea of living in fear. Has everyone seen "Bowling for Columbine"? We finally watched it last week. I expected it to be about guns; I hadn't really understood what the actual point was. I highly recommend it to everyone, no matter your views on gun control. And it's very entertaining (especially that little history cartoon in the middle!).

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-25T16:17:43-06:00
ID
68640
Comment

BTW, this is a blatant plug for a local advertiser, but Video Library as a coupon in our current issue (p. 34) for rent one/get one free. Remember: think global, shop local! ;-D

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-25T16:24:38-06:00
ID
68641
Comment

thanks for the info - that's my neighborhood growing up - I even went to Duling for elementary - that dates me heh heh

Author
Fielding
Date
2003-10-25T16:56:16-06:00
ID
68642
Comment

Yeah, Bowling was about the U.S. culture of fear more than it was about guns. Guns are the symptom of our fears, nothing else...well according to Moore. I read his book, or I started it and he had so many sloppy logical fallacies that I couldn't read anymore of it. He's the left's version of Ann Coulter. His movies was thought provoking and he made Heston and the dude from Northrup/Grumman look like idiots.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-26T00:57:27-06:00
ID
68643
Comment

Ms. Ladd, the apt complex I'm living in now is in Belhaven has had a rash of auto and apt breakins. We think it is someone in the complex doing it. One happened Friday afternoon and one happened about a week ago. All in all, there's been a break-in every week since I've been in Jackson. Crime is bad in Belhaven. Worse is the police are powerless.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-26T00:59:46-06:00
ID
68644
Comment

I've never really wanted to read Moore's books; I suspect they would be too cloying. But this film was really good, and the exploration of our culture of fear was thought-provoking. Fear seems so meaningless, really. You do what you can to prevent/deter crimes and danger, and then you live. I'd rather be enjoying life, rather than hiding inside, when something goes wrong. Of course, there is crime, and crime is always bad in all instances. That's a given. But I don't understand the level of fear that people here seem to be gripped with; it seems way out of proportion to the actual danger of violent crime here. I personally don't fear auto break-ins, and don't particularly count those as "violent crimes." It doesn't mean it's not bad, or shouldn't be lessed; it just seems senseless to live in fear of them, especially in a bad economy. (I find myself much more on edge when driving through a larging parking lot with cars shooting out of everywhere, and driving on I-55 alongside folks in mammoth vehicles talking on cell phones. Those dangers I can easily see!) How do you mean that the police are "powerless"? I've heard police called many things over the years, but seldom "powerless." ;-) Powerless to do what exactly? They seem to have done a been pretty good job of responding to the property crime spike of earlier this year, which is all they can do; they can't do much to stop it ahead of time; it seems silly to think they can "stop" crime. When you say a break-in a week, do you mean of your own apartment complex? You said you just moved to Belhaven; was the complex you're talking about with the weekly break-ins in Belhaven, or elsewhere in the city?

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T01:40:38-06:00
ID
68645
Comment

The apt complex is on Morningside in Belhaven and yes there's been either an auto breakin weekly or an apt breakin. I mean the police are powerless because I had my car broken into downtown during the Wynton M. concert (about a dozen cars on that street had windows busted out). They gained access to my trunk and got my briefcase. They acquired a palm pilot and a checkbook (the only items of worth). Now the criminals are cashing fraudulent checks all over town. I called the police wanting to talk to a specific detective about the checks. I was put on hold approximately 14 times and I talked to 14 people who couldn't tell me anything. The last person I did talk to (not the detective) said that it was "out of our hands" and the bank would investigate. Talking to customer service at my bank, they said they turn over stolen checks to local police agencies. When she noticed I live in Jackson she added "good luck with that." The police responded that night to work the dozen or more auto breakins and the lady doing my report said more than likely, the theives would not use my checks, but they are. About daily since it happened, they've cashed a check for about $300, the same amount is the limit at most check-cashing places. In addition, I got an approval letter from a credit card company the other day. The thing is, I didn't apply for the card, someone else is using my identity now. I was never a victim of crime (I'm 34) until I moved to Jackson. Consider that I've lived mostly in New Orleans and briefly in central Richmond, VA.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-26T10:15:34-06:00
ID
68646
Comment

Diogenes, why didn't you call your bank immediately after realizing your checks were gone? The bank should have then closed that account and opened a new one for you. I've left my wallet in a cab, on a city bus, in another state...and each time I had a new bankcard and a new account immediately after informing the bank.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-26T11:13:52-06:00
ID
68647
Comment

I'm heard about break-ins at that complex; another poster a while back was writing about it, I think. That complex is technically in Belhaven Heights, which is seeing more crime, especially property, from what I understand. And the neighborhood suffers from more poverty than across Fortification in Belhaven. I really like the Heights, and think it's got a great future as a community. I know a ton of very interesting people who live in and around Morningside. My last office was in an apartment building in the Heights until about 10 months ago, and I never had any crime problems over there, day or night. And I came and went all the time by myself in the middle of the night. The check thing sounds like a hassle, and I'm sorry to hear that. I agree with Nia that it sounds like it's not entirely a police problem--and anything like that is always a major hassle, and the police, like it or not, are never going to see stolen checks as the same as more violent crime. I certainly have had similar annoyances living in other places; in New York, I was mugged; the guy stole my wallet and hit me in the face. I identified him, but he no longer had the wallet, and I didn't have a mark on my face. So the police couldn't do anything to him. (Although I must say that a group of my homeless friends came walking up just as it happened, and then went looking for him. I don't believe in vigilante justice, but he might have gotten his butt kicked a bit, and that makes me smile, I must admit.) Anyway, all sorts of "minor" crimes in New York get "desk appearance tickets," and people always complain that the police don't take their problems seriously enough. In Washington, another vehicle hit my parked car, and no one would take responsibility. It was never resolved, and I had to pay for it. I know stories like this from about every city in the U.S. I only say this to say that these kinds of things don't only happen in Jackson. It doesn't lessen their severity in any way, but we do need some perspective on this, and to cast a skeptical eye when politicos try to use crimes here to push their agendas, which very often aren't going to change the crime problem.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T12:09:16-06:00
ID
68648
Comment

MORE ... The thing I find fairly unique to Jackson as a city, though, is how often I hear about people leaving valuables in their cars, often open on the seat. Checkbooks, PalmPilots in cars, cameras, and so on. Dio, I understand that yours was in your trunk, where it should have been if it was in the car, but I do think that Jacksonians need to realize that we live in a big city, and we're going to have crime, especially property. Yes, we should fight it and try to prevent it and apprehend the criminals, but that doesn't mean you should leave valuables lying around in a car -- especially in a city where auto theft is very high. A friend of mine in New York, a former NYPD honcho who used to be head of community policing for the city, doesn't lock his car in the city, and didn't back during the last round of bad economics in the late 80s/early 90s when crime hit an all-time high in the country. He drove a Taurus, which he figured no one would steal, he didn't leave a single thing of any worth in the car and he left the doors unlocked. He figured a burglar would just rifle through, see nothing and move on. He didn't want to have to deal with broken windows (although he was a master at dealing with the "broken windows" theory -- but that's another discussion for another time). I must say that I picked up a lot of what I consider my "balanced" view of crime from him. Buy a club; take valuables out of your car; be aware of your surroundings; don't flash money around. Prevent crime, fight it, lessen its impact, but don't freak out about it all the time. And, for goodness sake, keep it in perspective -- if the community doesn't do that, we're going to start hearing a lot more about police chasing after car burglars and hitting innocent bystanders. Our reactions to crime as a community don't happen in a vacuum. One of the most difficult challenges to crime-fighting is when the community (and, of course, the media) sensationalize and hyperbolize crime -- that is, when they have a perception that it is out of control. Of course, we live in an either-or society, so when you argue as I do that we can keep it in perspective and fight it at the same time, people start screaming that I don't care about crime. Thus, I repeat my mantra: We can hold two thoughts at once. Crime is bad, and it is not out of control. You don't have to live in fear in Jackson.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T12:14:33-06:00
ID
68649
Comment

I keep my car locked even in small towns. It costs me little or no body energy to do so...and it saves a lot of grief (even though I slipped up a few times, and paid for it via time and effort at the bank when my checkbook was stolen).

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-26T12:51:16-06:00
ID
68650
Comment

The other thing, by the way, that is different here than in most cities is how often people carry around their checkbooks here and use them for small purchases. In New York, for instance, you don't write checks out at businesses, so everyone leaves their checkbook at home to use for bills and the like. I seldom use mine for anything outside the home, although I certainly use a debit card. That might be a small point, especially for men to consider: don't keep your checkbook in your car. Ever. Your debit card will fit in your pocket.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T14:01:02-06:00
ID
68651
Comment

True thing about using checks in other places. I *itch about the fact that I have to order checks JUST to pay my rent because my landlord doesn't take credit/debit cards. It's annoying. That's the only check I ever write. Not counting my subscription to JFP. :-)

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-26T16:27:35-06:00
ID
68652
Comment

So if someone stealing Dio's checks isn't worthy of the attention of JPD, why the &*(^ are uttering forgery and stealing still against the law? If they can't be bothered to enforce it, why not take the laws off the books? Jeez--what does it mean when the police are to this point?

Author
Becky
Date
2003-10-26T18:18:23-06:00
ID
68653
Comment

Becky, no one said that getting checks stolen isn't worthy of the attention of JPD. It isn't the police's responsibility to stop payment on the checks, and I don't see how in the world police anywhere could be expected to stop someone from actually passing the checks once the checkbook is stolen. It does certainly sound like that was a communication problem after he had reported the stolen checks if Dio was put on hold 14 times. Perhaps you know more about law enforcement than I do; do you have any suggestions on how police should better stop people from passing bad checks?

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T20:33:07-06:00
ID
68654
Comment

We could do away with checks. :-) The NYPD created a special force just to deal with "quality of life" crimes such as petty theft so that most of the police could concentrate on violent crime and drug-related crimes. This may not be the case in Jackson, but once someone steals your wallet, checkbook, etc. the chances of retreiving it are slim to none. However the police can tell you what to do afterward to minimize damage. Also there is a unit within the NYDP that's called "victim's services" that helps people deal witht he aftermath of crime so that street cops can get on with policing the streets. It's worked wonders in NY, so much so that NY crime is much lower per capita than it is in Jackson. Incidentally, every one of those times I lost my wallet, I got it back (with everything in it) so that I was annoyed later that I went through the trouble to get new bankcards!

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-26T20:46:39-06:00
ID
68655
Comment

Nia, I did. Do you think I'm an idiot? I guess you do, oh well, think what you will.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-26T21:33:33-06:00
ID
68656
Comment

Geez, who knew y'all were over here arguing the snobbery in the use of the word redneck, and it's relative goodness and/or badness, and here I was on the other blog page proudly proclaiming my progressive redneckery. (smile). I do think it's like the "n" word in some contexts - all right if used by the people who were stuck with it all those years (but not of their choosing), but not if used by those who say it with all those bad connotations flitting thru their minds. It is the thought that counts (too bad a person can always claim good thoughts without fear of being proved wrong).

Author
C.W.
Date
2003-10-26T21:45:56-06:00
ID
68657
Comment

About the checks, y'all. It doesn't really bother me, it's just that if the perps are cashing them at check-cashing places, then there's a camera on them and they can probably ID these individuals from other crimes, other times they were run through the system. The problem I had with JPD was they didn't have any semblence of organization when I called down there the other day. I talked to 14 different people who all said the same thing that Nia said in her post, "stop payment on the checks....." Which I did, even changed banks because Union Planters sucks. Anyway, my co-worker's wife works at the downtown, main office of UP bank and she informed me of the cashed checks, which are fraudulent at this point. The cashed checks never affected me, never affected my account. I am not out dime one, except for the palm pilot and the repair bill on the window. What does bother me is that someone now has my particular information in order to attain credit with a false identity. That is what concerns me the most, I could give a f*ck about the checks or the palm pilot (also I did have some research in that bag that I really want back). Yeah, I know I'm dumb for leaving that crap in my car. I was rushed that day, leaving work late to meet my friends for dinner and then straight to Thalia Mara. Since I'm the only one with a four-door, I drove. What rotten luck. If any of my friends had driven, it would have happened to them. I think the only reason I brought it up in the first place was to illustrate people's fears about crime are real. I really think about my car now, whenever I'm downtown or home for that matter. That is why I rented a house (costing me a fortune), breaking a lease (must now hire a lawyer) just so I can park my car in my fenced-in back yard where I will be able to see it from my bedroom window.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-26T21:47:09-06:00
ID
68658
Comment

Hmm, this is starting to sound more and more like the Creative Class / Improve Jackson's Quality blog Then again, maybe this tangent on the Blackmon blog isn't so strange, since politics can have a lot to do with quality of life. Anyway, my two cents about "quality of life police". It sounds like a good one, trust me. However, we have to remember that whatever lofty aspirations we may have for Jackson, it still is much smaller than New York in every way imaginable. NYC proper is over 40 times the size of Jackson proper (similar figures for the suburbs). So let's be keep in mind that insisting Jackson can become like NY is the same as hoping that Magee or Aberdeen can have all the goodies Jackson can now have. The Crime Issue: I think, however controversial, Guiliani's pursuit of the "Broken Windows Theory" has yielded substantive results. Nia will have to have the last word on this, but I understand Times Square is reasonably safe to take your children to, and murders dropped by 70% or so within 8 years. Maybe the NYPD or Guiliani could have tweaked their policies to be a little less harsh (from what I hear, anyway) -- I don't know. Still, I think a "broken Windows" policy, refined to keep from repeating whatever mistakes NY made, could work wonders.

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-26T21:47:14-06:00
ID
68659
Comment

CW, my great aunt died several years ago at 99 years old. She had great wits about her for her age, even a few days before she died. Anyway, she always used the N-word, but not with any malice. She just didn't know any better. She was just a walking relic from the past and did alot of things the old fashioned way. She had a dishwasher and microwave but still used the stove and sink. One of my friends met her and she referred to some of her hired hands by the N-word. I had to explain to my Yankee friend that old habits are hard to break and she had been mostly a shut-in since 1970 anyway.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-26T21:50:59-06:00
ID
68660
Comment

CW, That's EXACTLY what "redneck" is like. Nothing more need be said as far as I'm concerned

Author
Philip
Date
2003-10-26T21:51:04-06:00
ID
68661
Comment

Dio, I don't think anyone's calling you an idiot. Your posting above about the police and the checks made it sound like the police were supposed to stop people from writing bad checks on your account, and that the bank was continuing to pay them. That doesn't make sense. Maybe I (we?) am just confused: If you stopped your checks and the bank isn't taking money out of your account, you're not in serious danger of further harm, right? I can understand you handing over additional info to the police, of course. But explain more clearly what you're upset about with the checks and how the police are being powerless; I'm just not clear on your point, I think. And why would someone apply for a credit card under your name that is coming to you?

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T21:51:45-06:00
ID
68662
Comment

Dio, I posted the above as you posted your last one, so you've already explained the check part, so never mind on that. I certainly understand the annoyance of what happened to you, but this doesn't demonstrate the need to live in fear of violent crime that grips so many people around here. As for the police, this "rudeness" complaint about them is an old and common complaint. I remember in NYC, when people would get so mad at the police because they acted like they didn't care (and their attitudes are much more direct than here). Or people would call the police repeatedly to complain about something relatively minor (in the police's world) and then get mad because the police didn't respond appropriately in their eyes. Often the victim was yelling or very rude themselves because they're upset. The police, in turn, would think the caller was overreacting, because the police see much worse things than missing checkbooks every day. It becomes a vicious cycle of lack of communication. A major component of community policing (and "broken windows," to some extent) is getting the police and the community to communicate better with each other, with some give and take on both sides. Often, when people start to understand what police are up against, and that it's much more than their current problem, they will become more understanding of the police's side. And when police are forced out of their own box and trained to deal with victim mentalities with greater sensitivity and patience, they start to get along better with the community. I've been encouraged to see Chief Moore really make strides toward improving this community-relations approach; changing a police culture takes time, mind you, but it does seem like he's dedicated to trying. But the community has to play a role, too, which he continually reinforces in public statements. Unfortunately, he's quoted out of context so often that I don't think most Jacksonians have any clue as to what he's really trying to do. And many don't seem to care; they just want to complain or use the crime hysteria for their own purposes.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-26T22:05:44-06:00
ID
68663
Comment

Philip, the last thing I would hope for Jackson is that its police department becomes like the NYPD! I just think the "quality of life" squad (and victims' services) is a very useful and effective model that can be emulated in any size police department. Not every police officer has to be a narc or a homocide detective. Some should be beat cops who patrol the streets for petty thieves, double-parkers, non-dog-curbers, etc. Most of NY is very safe. NY has the lowest crime rate of any major city in the US, including violent crimes. I always get a chuckle out of tourists who walk around with their goodies practically duck-taped to their bodies, meanwhile, their hometowns are probably more violent than NY. Yes, that's due partly to Giuliani and his policies. One of the few positive changes he made. The fact that he left the police unchecked, however, is not something I'd like to see emulated anywhere. Diogenes, I didn't say you were an idiot and I don't think that either. I simply questioned how it was possible that if you'd reported the checkbook stolen to the bank, they were still cashing those checks. That part didn't quite fit together.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-27T00:07:59-06:00
ID
68664
Comment

Dio - I've lived in the Belhaven area for over three years, including about 16 months on Whitworth in the Heights (South of Fortification). In all that time, my vehicle has never been broken into. I know what you're referring to about Morningside, though. An old roommate moved into Morningside Terrace about a year ago, and was excited about the prospect of having a gated lot in which to park. I thought he was unneccessarily happy, since he had been parking on the street for years and had never had a problem, but I didn't say anything. Sure enough, within 6 months, his car is broken into and his briefcase stolen. Which brings up again the sanity of leaving goodies in plain view. I hate your loss, I hate it when anything similar happens in the city because that only reinforces the fear and stereotypes that outsiders have about Jackson. Anyway, I think you should stick around. I'm not sure where you plan to rent, but I like the Heights better than Belhaven proper. It's more funky and diverse. Like Donna said, buy a club and calm down. There are MANY MORE great things around here that outweigh the bad: Judges' Hill (Bellvue St. east of Jefferson to Whitworth. Rumored the highest point in the city. Robert, who's ALWAYS at Kats. The cool lady at the Fuel Depot who always manages to make me laugh. Keifer's. Lisa at Fenian's. The hassle that IS Jitney 14 (I wouldn't want it any other way). The "cut-through" at the end of Madison in the Heights that puts you out behind Chimneyville. Being within jogging distance of Red Beans, Jubilee!JAM, St. Paddy's Parade, and just downtown in general. CS's is around the corner. 930 Blues Cafe is in our backyard. I could go on. Yes, there are bad folks out there who want to steal things and hurt people. But that's anywhere. Everywhere. Why not live in a place that offers more than just exquisite WalMarts and golf courses? A place that has soul?

Author
JLosset
Date
2003-10-27T11:28:06-06:00
ID
68665
Comment

Amen, brother Jay, amen.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-10-27T11:33:46-06:00
ID
68666
Comment

Now I'm jealous and I live in Manhattan. :-)

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-27T12:35:33-06:00
ID
68667
Comment

Nia, the bank is not cashing the checks, the criminals writing the checks are cashing them elsewhere. My friend at UP said the checks are coming in daily. She's just a grunt and doesn't have any influence there, but she said their investigative department has been informed and my checks, along with coutless others, will be investigated. Apparently the crooks were too stupid to put a different address on the credit application. I got the approval letter stating that my card would be arriving soon. I called their customer service and told them I didn't want their card and didn't apply for one. JLosset, my car wasn't broken into at home, but downtown the night of the Wynton concert and I explained why I stupidly left my briefcase in my trunk. Ms. Ladd, I was talking about crime in general, not specifically violent crime. See, this whole deal will affect me for a long time because I have good credit and these crooks will use my identity to exploit my credit. Yes, in the grand scheme of things, it is my fault, but I have to sit here and watch it happen. I'm considering changing my SSN, and I don't know what that entails but I guess I will find out. What a hassle. The police are powerless in leiu of breakins because this has been happening for a while, before I even lived on Morningside. The police know this is going on and they can't stop it. The property owner has been on them to patrol more and they do, even coming in the gate at my apt complex, yet the breakins still occur. I have to go home every break I take just to make sure pets are O.K. And you know, this really sucks. I've lost all my peace of mind and I know that I'm probably overreacting, but this is my world now. I might stress here, I could give a f*ck about my possessions. But I am concerned about my cat and dog. I don't want them stolen or let loose to be run over in the street. Now I wish Haley Barbour would get elected so he'll start whipping kids at school so all the criminals in Jackson will shape up and fly right and return my stuff to me so they won't feel the lash of Haley's paddle! I also want Haley to get elected so he can whip some kids at schools around the state and that will inevitably attract more manufacturers here and all the criminals will get jobs to support their drug habits, rather than breaking into cars and apartments.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-27T19:51:39-06:00
ID
68668
Comment

I've unknowingly been a redneck my whole life, and now that I know, it's suddenly uncool to be one. :-) Kidding. Here's a piece from abcnews.com: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/US/Living/redneck031029-1.html

Author
Nia
Date
2003-10-29T11:24:18-06:00
ID
68669
Comment

Thanks for the link, and I've met Anthony Harkins two years ago at a function. Another history prof. interested in this is J. Wayne Flynt (well known for his book on the Scottsboro nine) who wrote a scholarly book called 'Dixie's Forgotten People: The South's Poor Whites.' One thing I have to add, is people need to be able to laugh at themselves. I do on a regular basis. I call my home an 'ivory tower' and usually refer to me and my co-workers as the 'evil, liberal and communist media.' I guess evil is synonomous with communism, huh?

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-29T13:46:41-06:00
ID
68670
Comment

Diogenes, I share your concern about having our pets stolen and/or let loose to run about the roads. This is a serious issue in the metro area that hasn't been fully addressed by our lazy (Jackson) police department. Let's get on this immediately! I am also sleepless. This aggression will not stand! ps : are you SERIOUS???

Author
Jay
Date
2003-10-30T03:11:34-06:00
ID
68671
Comment

I lived on Morningside last year. I have nothing in my vehicle to steal, so I never locked my doors because I did not want my window broken. Every now and then I could tell when someone went in my truck because my ashtray would be opened. I moved to an apartment complex near ridgewood and old canton (stupid move) and my window was busted out just the other day, even though I had nothing in my truck. Hell, at least in Bellhaven/Morningside area the crooks are kind enough just to steal from you and not destroy things.

Author
jimjam
Date
2003-10-30T11:08:24-06:00
ID
68672
Comment

Jay, I am serious. I've heard horror stories of people who've had their dogs stolen, only for the crooks to show up later trying to sell the people their own dog back. This happened to my friend in Chattanooga. He said three dudes showed up at his apt. the day after his apt. was broken into. They didn't say who stole the dog, they just told him for a fee, they could probably have the dog returned. My friend paid the guys $200 and one stayed with him until the others returned with his dog. Since my friend is a martial arts expert, he whipped their butts, got his $150 of his 200 back, then called the cops and had them arrested. A day later, the three youths were back on the street, hanging around the neigborhood, most likely casing others' apartments. Needless to say, they never messed with my friend again.

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-30T12:28:22-06:00
ID
68673
Comment

P.S. I appreciate your sarcasm, Jay!

Author
Diogenes
Date
2003-10-30T12:30:14-06:00
ID
68674
Comment

Dio: Was your SSN on your checks? Or did they get your wallet, too? I agree that identity theft is an awful problem that no one would want, and I could see that being totally out of the realm of the JPD to deal with. Does anyone know if you can go to the FBI with an identity theft problem? Or the AG's office?

Author
todd
Date
2003-10-30T20:15:52-06:00
ID
68675
Comment

Follow up -- figured I'd google it. Here's a handy web site: http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft/ They do say to get a police report (which you probably have, at least regarding the checks, etc.), to write the credit bureaus and contact the FTC.

Author
todd
Date
2003-10-30T20:18:00-06:00
ID
68676
Comment

Sorry to interrupt the election madness with some mundane statistics, but... The Census Department (that's where I pull the data I use on this blog) released a report yesterday on the migration patterns of "Young, Single and College Educated" folks from 1995-2000. Guess where Mississippi is on the list? Near the bottom. MS lost 4,972 of these potentially "creative" types. The outmigration rate was -134.1 compared to -130.2 for Louisiana, -116.3 for Alabama, -90.4 for Arkansas, -62.0 for Kentucky, and -40.7 for South Carolina. This type of brain drain represents a huge loss of potential and investment. Southern states that fared well on this measure were TN (+15.2), NC (+50.2), and GA (+150.5). That is, they had a net positive gain of young, educated professionals. Charlotte gained over 10,000 and Atlanta gained 31,987 through net migration. The challenge is clear. Can Jackson recreate itself as an attractive option to this demographic niche? Evidence around here suggests otherwise (we have posters from Dallas, NY, Charlotte). Another recent Census report found that 2 African Americans migrated to the south since 1995 for each African American who left. Perhaps Jackson can capitalize on its racial history to be a magnet for young, professional African Americans. It sounds more plausiable than morphing into Austin and trying to attract young whites from Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo.

Author
kchilton
Date
2003-11-04T11:27:26-06:00
ID
68677
Comment

Kenneth, no problem on the interruption. I certainly need to think about something other than the election. Todd swore I kept muttering "beat Barbour" in the middle of the night last night. (I think he's lying, BTW.) I absolutely agree with your last point about African-Americans, by the way. Neither Todd nor I have meant to come across saying that we want to turn into another "white" Austin. We want Jackson to be the more diverse, soulful version of Austin, so to speak. We don't need to replicate Memphis' Beale Street even, where only two (right, Todd?) businesses are owned by African-Americans. We need to be Jackson and play to our strengths; I absolutely agree with you that Jackson's success lies in doing just that. That's part of the reason I keep harping on the need for a Caribbean restaurant/nightspot downtown: we need a really fun place where people of all races enjoy going with appealing music, good drinks and great food, not to mention fun decor. This is only one idea, but it represents a way of thinking to me that's quite different from Austin, for instance. We are Jackson, and that's a very special thing; we need to celebrate it and capitalize off it.

Author
ladd
Date
2003-11-04T11:42:13-06:00
ID
68678
Comment

Mmmm...roti.

Author
Nia
Date
2003-11-04T18:27:04-06:00
ID
68679
Comment

More life after dark downtown? Let's hope this is long term! http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0311/04/ma04.html

Author
Philip
Date
2003-11-04T22:28:26-06:00
ID
68680
Comment

On the other hand, Kenneth, the report showed that, for once, Miss is not in the bottom three (That would be both Dakotas and Iowa) - Miss ranks 42nd (but still suffers from outmigration of young, single, college-educateds, which is still a bad sign). La is 40th, AL 38th, Ark 31st. GA is 3rd, NC 8th, TX 9th, and FL 10th (btw NV is 1st). PS, AR can thank the Fayetteville area for its relatively high rank. That place is a Gulf Coast size metro area with an Atlanta-like growth rate!! (the area is Wal-Mart's and Tyson Foods' corporate homes, among other things)

Author
Philip
Date
2003-11-04T22:34:54-06:00
ID
68681
Comment

I think an update is in order: I just bought the paperback edition of Rise of the Creative Class the day after Christmas, and in Jackson too! (yes, I took a friend from NE La for a little day trip here that day. More about that later). Anyway, the book has an updated list of most creative cities, whose rankings bounce all up and down the list. First, a long spiel of the bad news: As a whole, the cities of Mississippi and the states that border it LOST ground ñ sometimes MAJOR ground. Louisiana was by far the biggest loserÖ especially Baton Rouge (dropped in creative class rank from 72th to 195th..a 123 place loss!!) Monroe lost 80 places dropping from 151 to 239, while New Orleans had a 64 place drop from 83 to 147. Shreveport lost 9 places, which is much worse than it sounds since it was already dead last among US metros with populations between º and ? million. Only Lafayette made any gains at all, from 175 to 157 ñ an 18 place gain. Alabama and Tennessee didnít fare particularly well overall. Alabamaís big losers were 3 of the 4 largest cities in the state, ìleadî by Montgomery, which dropped 57 places from 120th to 177th. Mobile and Huntsville didnít fare much better. Still, the news wasnít all bad for Alabama. Tuscaloosa made a TREMENDOUS gain of 57 places from 238 to 184. Dothan did fairly well too, a 21 place gain from 193rd to 172nd. Auburn-Opelika only became a metro area in 2000, but it made a fairly respectable debut for a new metro - the 126st most creative city in the nation. As for Tennessee, Memphisís place remains unchanged ñ still holding at 132 while Nashville dropped from 42 to 66, a 24 point loss. Chattanooga lost a whopping 98 places from 139th to 237th!! Only Knoxville made any gains ñ it jumped from 89th to 80th Arkansas made some solid gains despite Little Rockís 9 place drop from 53rd to 62nd. However, three of its metros made huge gains: Fayetteville, Texarkana, and Pine Bluff. They gained 39, 46, and 24 places respectively, although only the first one jumped as far as the middle of the list (currently Fayetteville ranks 161st). Nevertheless, Arkansas still has work to do before it can shine. NOW we get to Mississippi!!! On one hand, Biloxi dropped a painful 41 places from 186 to 227 while Hattiesburg debuted on the list at 220 (like Auburn, it wasnít a metro area in 1990). On the other hand, JACKSON made a MODEST GAIN of 4 places, jumping up to Number 71, although within the º to ? million population rank it slipped to 16th place of the 63 such metro areas. So I will say that congratulations are in order for metropolitan Jackson. Their may not have been any substantial gains in creative class rankings, but it could easily have been a lot worse given how the rest of the region did. But donít rest on your laurels ñ thereís still a lot of work left to do. (repeated in another post)

Author
Philip
Date
2004-01-18T18:51:54-06:00
ID
68682
Comment

Hey, Philip, that is good news; I hadn't heard. And you're absolutely right about not resting on our laurels. Every Jacksonian who cares about the city must do their part to build the Creative Class here. I'm happy to report that, since we first published, that people are talking about the Creative Class concept. We even heard that Leland Speed, Barbour's development authority appointee, told his staff to read the "Creative Class" book! So we're glad to hear that the new administration is taking this seriously. That's why we keep pounding it home: to get through to people who can help build the creative class here. Feel free to re-post your update on the main Creative Class story, too, Philip. Everyone else, remember to check out Richard Florida's Web site: http://www.creativeclass.org And listen to a radio interview about Michigan's attempts to build creative class: http://www.onpointradio.org/shows/2003/12/20031203_a_main.asp

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2004-01-18T19:00:12-06:00
ID
68683
Comment

FIRST IN A SERIES OF NEW CREATIVE CLASS POSTS: INTRODUCTION My following posts are inspired by Dr. Floridaís various indices measuring community creativity. Given that I have a strong, though amateur, interest in the sciences, I wanted a general idea of where interest in science tends to be greatest. The assumption is that scientists and technologists (and the allied high value-added industries) are strongly drawn to locales that outwardly demonstrate strong community interest in science. Therefore, I feel that prosperity in the creative economy depends as much on community enthusiasm for the sciences as well as the arts and entertainment amenities many members of the Creative Class crave. The Science Index is based how many subscriptions to a popular but still fairly ìHigh IQî science magazine are sent to a metro area (Iím not revealing the magazine's name because people will think Iím merely soliciting). This magazineís subscription rate is assumed to be a rough measure for the general level of interest in science in a metro area, especially among the college educated people who would undoubtedly make the overwhelmingly vast majority of its subscribers.

Author
Philip
Date
2004-03-29T04:21:35-06:00
ID
68684
Comment

Even though science is only one aspect of knowledge, it is a highly important one that communities neglect at their peril for at least 2 reasons: (1) From a Strictly Monetary Perspective low community interest in science means that it is highly unlikely the community will be attractive to industries seeking to locate new plants producing cutting edge, high-valued products - the very ones that provide fat paychecks for its employees. It also severely inhibits an areaís potential to grow its own start-up companies that happen to catch the next technological/economic wave. The disadvantages of this are obvious to everyone in a community. (2)From a Creative Class Memberís Quality of Life Perspective (at least the ones who create, run, work in, or generally are closely associated with these kinds of companies) -- communities with generally low interest in science means creatives are much less likely to find kindred souls with whom they can discuss topics that interest them. You can see how this can strongly influence these peoples' image of a community, regardless of its general level of education. Despite this, I doubt that a community's weak interest in science has to be an absolute deterrent to attracting, developing, and retaining high-value-added industries. Strong community interests in the arts and humanities can make up for this to a certain extent (fortunately Jackson does have this much going for it). But even in this case, the metroís interests remains ìunbalancedî. As Florida is fond of saying ìCreativity is multidimensionalî, meaning that all forms of creativity feed off each other. This means that science, liberal arts, home and engine repair, and all the gamut of so-called "high brow" and so-called "low brow" fields get inspiration from one another - causing a beneficial a feedback loop that makes a community stronger overall. This, in turn, greatly increases the odds that the community's businesses and entrepreneurs will dream up new variations of existing products, or even entirely new products; which in turn means more job opportunities for the community, and so forth.

Author
Philip
Date
2004-03-29T04:29:55-06:00
ID
68685
Comment

Floridaís divides U.S. Metropolitan Areas into 4 size categories, with Jackson falling into the 1/4 mil. to 1/2M mil. category. There's both good and bad news for us. Modeled after Floridaís list, I looked at the % of each metroís 25- and- over population with at least a 4 year degree. My own list 63 such metros nationwide within Jacksonís size category {2} shows that metro Jackson ranks thirteenth of all such U.S. metros ñ considerably (!) higher than 29th ranked Fayetteville, Ark., which is literally growing every which way like an Atlanta, Jr.!!! So Jackson Metro certainly has the educated population to be a potential Growth Star! On the other hand guess where we rank on The Science Index? At or Near The Bottom!!!! Of the 63 Metros in Jacksonís category, my various Science Indices Show Jackson ranks: % of 25 and Overs with 4 year degrees who subscribe: 63rd --- DEAD LAST % of General Population 25 and Over who subscribe: 52nd -behind Shreveport and the Biloxi, and just barely ahead of Lafayette, LA (although we do better against Montgomery) ìCombo Indexî (a less biased figure I conjured up): 62nd - we beat only Hickory, NC And this is before we even consider that some copies aren't sent to private residences (in fact, to subtract the subscriptions mailed to libraries and other non-residential addresses would lower the scores, so I'm already giving metros the benefit of the doubt!!). So whatever objections you may have toward these stats, this is hard evidence of what Iíve felt all along: The Jackson area is highly apathetic toward science, especially given its fairly strong rankings in its % of college educated people. In fact, even Jacksonís high ranking in its % of college educated works against it here, since one can reasonably expect a more educated citizenry to have a higher interest in science than most other areas. This only further reinforces my view that Jackson citizens as a whole care little, if anything, about matters scientific, with the consequences for Jacksonís future alluded to earlier in this post. To be fair, I will be the first to admit that, as I said earlier, science is only one aspect of human knowledge. In fact, Jackson does a good job of making up for its apparent lack of science-based interests with its strong and enthusiastic support of the arts in all its various forms. Therefore, I think Jackson would rank at least fairly high in a similar survey of equally ìHigh IQî arts and humanities focused magazines. Even conceding this much, the fact remains that there is hard evidence that the Jackson communities interest in intellectual endeavors is strong but unbalanced. {1} Because I am looking at the magazineís 2003 subscription rates, I did an admittedly ad hoc estimate of each metroís 2003 population. Therefore, my list of metro sizes will not necessarily match Floridaís list as published in his latest edition of ROTCC

Author
Philip
Date
2004-03-29T04:38:25-06:00
ID
68686
Comment

As stated earlier, a low community interest in science severely damages not only Jackson's quality of life image but its long-term economic prospects despite its strong interest in the arts, humanities and entertainment aspect of knowledge (more in a soon-to-be-made post). The one bright spot in all this is that there are likely enough college educated adults to be interested in ìbeaconî science-oriented organizations that appeal to the scientifically-inclined members of the Creative Cla-ss (such as the Jackson Astronomical Society). To pull this off successfully and sustain this in the long run, our college and university professors will likely have to be much more pro-active in reaching out to the community in forming more such ìbeaconî groups where people with these kinds interests (not just scientific) can find their outlets. If and when this happens, the Jackson metro can TRULY be said to be, if not actually a high-powered creative place, then at least well on its way to becoming one (consider Austin. Itís got high interest in both culture AND science. Ditto for San Francisco, Boston, Raleigh-Durham, and virtually every other city on the cutting edge of economic evolution). I honestly think Metropolitan Jackson, both central city and suburbs, can pull this off, especially since Jackson already has experience in building a strong Arts and Humanities community. If Jackson can build a small but highly successful and devoted Arts and Humanities community, then there is no question that it can build a strong science-oriented community as well -- if the organizers and the citizens themselves really wanted to. What the community seems to lack in this area is leadership. There is the Jackson Astronomical Society, which is a great place to start ñ more aggressive advertising by the group canít possibly hurt. Occasionally bringing in speakers who are noted experts in astronomy and allied topics could be a further draw. Also, I think we can leverage the faculty and students of ALLthe areaís colleges and universities. To be fair, Rome was not built in a day, but you can bet your bottom dollar the first few bricks of the city were. Anybody up for the jobs of bricklayers and foremen?

Author
Philip
Date
2004-03-29T04:39:45-06:00
ID
68687
Comment

FINAL NOTE....BEFORE I GO TO BED (I hope that java has enough kick for me in the morning ) Yesterday afternoon, I met some friends at Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair, of which one was a judge. That center was was just chock full of what had to be at least 300 exhibits by Jr. High and High School students. These kids are absolutely AMAZING, I tell you!! I am well aware that Central Mississippi has science fairs too, undoubtedly with exhibits as high a quality as you can find at the Dallas fair, even if fewer in number. Nevertheless, one exhibit in particular vividly showed me how creativity can mean big money for the inventor AND the community - especially if the product or idea will require a factory or lab to transform the idea into a marketable product. To way over-simplfy it, the exhibit showed how ordinary algae can be a potential non-polluting, sustainable energy resource. Given the big push these days to develop such energy sources, the potential economic impact is quite obvious!! Congratulations to the community that manages to develop a workable algae-powered generator (now how would you like Jackson to be to DNA-modified-algae-sourced energy what Texas was to oil 40 and 50 years ago!!!). This is why the Jackson area's people as a whole need to develop stronger interest in science. Also, given that scientists tend to be very independent-thinking people, this is also why the area can very well benefit economically from a culture with a broader definition of "acceptable person". In the industrial era, the location of new job creation was largely defined by easy access to raw materials, efficient transportation links, manpower, infrastructure, and good schools. That was 95% of what defined where industry located. In the present increasingly creativity-oriented economy, the main raw material is the human brain itself! Unlike oil, coal, and iron ore, this resource is not tied to one spot, especially not the "more valuable" ones (i.e. the people who come up with the most economically valuable ideas, and hence the ones most likely to be swimming in money -- and spend it in the community, btw). This means this resource is, for the most part, free to move wherever it chooses. By now, I think you can see why appreciation for high level topics, tolerance (i.e. "broad definition of acceptable person) are important for any community, especially in the 21st Century. This, plus interest in the sciences are precisely where Jackson and surrounding areas need to focus its energies the most. It will literally pay this state in the long run to do so - and even give the stateís children to stay home.

Author
Philip
Date
2004-03-29T05:01:55-06:00
ID
68688
Comment

Re "acceptable persons": I wonder if a chapter of the American Humanist Association might help. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-08-18T15:26:38-06:00
ID
68689
Comment

Tom, that's certainly one aspect of it. Another aspect of it has to do with accepting people of every human category (race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation -- and even eccentrics). In short, truly progressive communities accept anyone harmlessly who is "different" in some way. Otherwise, they, by definition, would not be all that progressive.

Author
Philip
Date
2005-08-18T17:20:14-06:00
ID
68690
Comment

Good point. I'm trying to think of something I could actually implement (or help implement)... Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2005-08-18T17:44:08-06:00
ID
68691
Comment

Crime should be the least of our concerns. What would make me move back to Jackson after, or even during college would be: Thriving Downtown, Diversity, Educational and Recreational Oppritunities. Maybe a scientific research center, medical research center, energy research facility, and promoting the arts district and continually improving these areas. It doesn't take much to make a good city. We can always start with the race relations, and city-suburb conflict resolution. We need progressive ideas which probably means more young people in office. I think we have smart young people who are ready to tackle the problems head on. If someone would fund me I would run as soon as I reached the proper age.

Author
optimisticaboutNewJackCity
Date
2006-11-06T17:10:50-06:00

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