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August 20, 2014

Christian Right Exploits High-Profile Deaths

By AnnaWolfe

On American Family Radio’s talk show "Focal Point with Bryan Fischer" yesterday, the group's spokesman offered his explanation for the events that have led to the movement in #Ferguson. The policeman who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown did so because, Fischer says, Brown was "hyped up" on marijuana. Fischer cites recent reports that Brown may have had marijuana in his system, making him go "berserk" on the policeman. He also includes reports that Brown was shot six times in his front.

"We know now he did have marijuana in his system," Fischer explained, "and we've had stories, remember, we've had stories from Colorado, people going berserk on marijuana and killing people, hyped up on marijuana. So it's more dangerous than people think."

Not only does Fischer lack evidence to back up his claim that Brown was an aggressor, but, in the words of the late Robin Williams, "Marijuana enhances many things, colors, flavors, sensations, but you are certainly not f***ing empowered."

Speaking of Williams, the Christian right has attacked the actor following his recent death as well. While Rush Limbaugh alluded that Williams' suicide was a result of his liberal worldview, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said Monday that Williams' death justifies gay conversion therapy.

"…Why aren’t you trying to outlaw rehab? I ask the question because such activists are trying to ban a form of mental health treatment—not drug and alcohol rehabilitation, but 'sexual orientation change efforts' ('SOCE'), also known as 'sexual reorientation therapy.'"

Sexual reorientation therapy, or reparation therapy, has nothing to do with the death of the beloved comedian, and it is also considered unscientific and ultimately harmful by the American Psychiatric Association.

But scientific evidence won’t stop organizations like the AFA or the FRC from using death to push an ideological agenda. How would Fischer and Sprigg be politicized when they die?

August 19, 2014

Carson announces Ward 1 candidacy

By AnnaWolfe

Today, Jackson attorney Dorsey R. Carson, Jr. announced that he will be running for city council to represent Ward 1 and replace Quentin Whitwell, who resigned earlier this month.

“After much thought, consideration and prayer with our family and friends, I am proud to announce my candidacy for Jackson City Council, representing Ward 1. Having lived most of my life in Northeast Jackson, I have never seen our city so poised for growth and prosperity as it is right now. I will use my talents to help us seize this unique opportunity, and will fight for all of our people and businesses. We humbly ask for your support in our work and campaign, and for your vote in the special election," Carson said.

August 15, 2014

Saints 2-0 in Preseason with 31-24 Win Over Titans: Quick Thoughts

By bryanflynn

The score never matters in the preseason but it is always good to get a win. It is even better to win on a night where the Saints were sloppy on offense and defense.

New Orleans was once again without Drew Brees. That doesn't matter unless he doesn't play in the third or fourth preseason game. Sure, Brees doesn't need a ton of preseason work but some action with a live defense being thrown at him is a good thing.

The Saints get to head to Indianapolis knowing they are 2-0 after their 31-24 win over the Tennessee Titans. That should be a good dress rehearsal game against the Colts who were in the playoffs last season.

Here are my quick thoughts on tonight's game.

Both offense and defense was sloppy

New Orleans started the game sloppy and it ended the game sloppy. The team piled up penalty yardage like they were trying to break a record.

Jimmy Graham had two 15 yard penalties himself after he dunked after his two touchdown grabs. Hopefully Graham was getting the dunking out of his system before the season starts. Sean Payton won't be happy if he does that in a game in the regular season.

After the first quarter the Saints had five penalties for 44 yards. They broke the hundred yard mark before halftime and ended up with 14 penalties 109 yards after the first 30 minutes.

The Saints had eight penalties for 68 yards over the third and fourth quarter. Overall, the Saints had 22 penalties for 177 yards. That doesn't even count all the penalties that were declined.

New Orleans must clean up this sloppy before the season starts. The Saints were lucky and good to win tonight with this type of penalty yards.

Saints defense forces five turnovers

I can count five reasons why the Saints did win tonight. That is five turnovers the defense forced tonight.

New Orleans almost had a turnover on the Titans first drive but it was overruled by replay. The Saints would allow Tennessee to score thanks to penalties and poor defense.

On a play were Cam Jordan missed a sack, a New Orleans defensive back missed an interception. That was two turnovers among a few others the Saints could have had on the night.

In the second quarter, New Orleans got a forced fumble from Kenny Vaccaro and Cam Jordan would get a strip sack to cause a fumble. When the Saints didn't get turnovers in the quarter the Titans got a touchdown and a field goal.

In the second half, New Orleans got a interception that ended up as fumble by Stanley Jean-Baptiste on a wild play. The Titans receiver bobbled the ball and popped it into the air right into the waiting hands of Jean-Baptiste.

Vinnie Sunseri got into the act with a interception in the fourth quarter. The final turnover came in the fourth quarter ...

August 12, 2014

The Tea Party's Prayer

By AnnaWolfe

The Tea Party’s Prayer:

“We ask for your blessing upon the conservatives in this state, that they might stand strong and firm. Father, we even ask for you to bless our enemies, and Lord they are truly our enemies that head the Republican Party and the whole political establishment.

‘We’re asking, Father, for two things. We’re asking, Father, that you would expose them, set division amongst them, set them one against another, bring confusion and fear into their camp, into their thinking, for the purpose of pulling them down, for casting them down out of their high offices and reducing them, Lord, to having no power in this state.

“So, Lord, that you might raise up and seek the righteous in the positions of power that this state might once more be a state that honors you in all that it does.”

I’m not this good at satire. These words, in this order, were truly spoken when Mississippi Tea Party Chairman Roy Nicholson included them in his opening prayer at a Tea Party meeting on Monday.

Something tells me this is not how Christianity works.

Still, the crowd gave a generous “mhm” as the man on the stage asked God to smite the GOP.

The group was welcoming blogger Charles Johnson from California to speak about the U.S. Senate election, through which he’s made a name for himself. Tea Partier Tricia Raymond called Johnson a fearless bulldog, saying “God gave us this red-haired man.”

The red-haired prophet then went on to chastise Mississippi’s 76-year-old U.S. Senator for living in a house with his executive assistant and defended the men who broke into the Senator’s wife’s nursing home to take pictures of her by using the First Amendment as justification.

“Father, we’re asking that in all of the tribulations were asking you to bring upon them, that it would work change in their heart—that you would use it to bring true Godly sorrow, that they might truly repent for their iniquity and their wickedness, for that they would be restored to you, that you would have honor in the state of Mississippi for the great works that you’ve done in correcting and purifying the government and rescuing and saving the worst of us,” Nicholson went on about the establishment Republicans.

It was the most ominous tea party I’d ever been to.

August 8, 2014

Saints Beat Rams 26-24: Quick Thoughts On First New Orleans Preseason Game

By bryanflynn

The New Orleans Saints defeated the St Louis Rams 26-24 in the preseason opener for both teams. While the win is great if you are a Saints fan, in the preseason the final score doesn't really matter much.

What does matter is how individual players look in game action. As New Orleans looks to build this year's team, questions must be answered, jobs must be won and future stars need to shine.

Here are my quick thoughts:

Ingram shines in first half

Mark Ingram looked like he was entering a contract year. The running back out of Alabama looked lighter, had more speed, quicker feet, made defenders miss and finished off runs.

Ingram had 30 yards on his first three carries of the night and he finished the night with 83 yards on 8 carries and a touchdown. His night was done before halftime but he looked impressive and picked up where he left off late last season.

New Orleans didn't pick up Ingram's fifth year option. The reason Saints declined to pick up the option because they would owe Ingram $5.2 million (way too much to pay for a running back in today's NFL) and Ingram hasn't played like a first round pick due to injuries and being inconsistent.

Tonight Ingram looked like he wanted to be the lead man in a crowed backfield. Another running back Khiry Robinson also had a good night with 23 yards on five carries.

New Orleans has plenty of talent at running back. Ingram is not just playing for this season but for next season as well when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.

Backup quarterback battle

Drew Brees didn't play tonight while he recovers from a strained oblique. Brees will be fine as long as he gets some work before the season begins.

The injury does give the Saints a chance to figure out their backup quarterback situation. Veteran Luke McCown is battling second year player Ryan Griffin for the right to sit behind Brees.

Tonight, McCown got the start, he didn't look terrible as he got to play with the starters but he wasn't super impressive either. His final line of the night was seven for ten for 49 yards with no touchdowns.

McCown did have an ugly interception that killed the Saints first drive. New Orleans had been moving the ball very well on the St Louis starting defense.

Griffin replaced McCown and went 11 for 16 for 103 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions at the half. In the second half, Griffin went five for seven for 76 yards and a touchdown (Saints first touchdown of the preseason).

I have been hearing how the Saints were impressed with Griffin. Tonight he looked impressive with a strong arm, the ability to avoid the rush, nice pocket awareness and some quick feet.

If Brees doesn't play or plays sparingly in the next preseason game, New Orleans should give Griffin some work ...

August 8, 2014

WLBT: Quentin Whitwell Retiring Oct. 31

By R.L. Nave

Jackson Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell will retire this fall, WLBT reports.

Whitwell told WLBT's Cheryl Lasseter today that he would submit a letter of resignation to the city clerk; the resignation would be effective Oct. 31, the station said.

Lasseter: "Whitwell cites family commitments in Oxford and increasing demands from his professional life as reasons for his decision. He tells us he has tremendous respect for the City of Jackson and its leaders, and he believes the city deserves a Ward 1 Councilman who can dedicate maximum time and resources to the position. He is currently in his second term with the City Council."

After he steps down, the city would have to hold a special election to fill his northeast Jackson seat. Ward 3 Councilwoman LaRita Cooper-Stokes is also running for Hinds County judge in the November general election.

Jackson has already held one special election this year to fill the Ward 6 council seat that Tony Yarber vacated when he won election to Jackson mayor.

August 6, 2014

MS GOP Response to McDaniel: Er ... Try Court?

By Todd Stauffer

The Mississippi Republican Party has responded to the McDaniel campaign in the form of a statement to the public and a letter to Chris McDaniel's attorney, Mitch Tyner, from Joe Nosef, MS GOP chairman. (Here's the letter in PDF format.)

The upshot is that the MS GOP is suggesting to Tyner that they go ahead and take their fight to court, in part because the MS GOP's executive committee would only have 24 hours starting Aug 13th (once the requisite seven days notice for a meeting was circulated) to figure out whether it makes sense to overturn a U.S. Senate primary result. That's just one day before McDaniel would be forced by law to go to court on Aug 14th.

So, they're punting. (Which sometimes makes sense on Fourth and Forever.)

Jackson, MS. –– Joe Nosef, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, issued the following statement today regarding a challenge to the results of the June 24th primary runoff and a letter sent today by Chairman Nosef to Mitch Tyner, lawyer for the Chris McDaniel campaign:

"Our 52-member volunteer Republican State Executive Committee has been asked to spend just five hours listening to legal arguments and then overturn a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes.

It is neither prudent nor possible in a single day for any political committee to process and review the significant amount of complex evidence necessary to make such a decision, and attempting to do so would be prejudicial to both candidates.

Under these circumstances, the only way to ensure that the integrity of the Mississippi Republican Party and our election process remains intact is to have a proper, public review of this matter through the judicial system in a court of law. Both candidates have said they look forward to such a review, and now is the time. "

August 1, 2014

And It Continues: McDaniel Announces Press Conference Monday

By AnnaWolfe

In case anyone is worried that Mississippi's U.S. Senate election madness is winding down, Sen. Chris McDaniel announced today he will be holding a press conference Monday.

August 1, 2014

Report: Ole Miss Should Rethink Symbols, Create Top Diversity Post

By R.L. Nave

Today, University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones released the following recommendations regarding diversity and inclusion:

Action Plan on Consultant Reports and Update on the Work of the Sensitivity and

Respect Committee

To: All Who Love The University of Mississippi

From: Dan Jones, Chancellor

Aug. 1, 2014

In the summer of 2013, an expanded Sensitivity and Respect (S&R) Committee

completed its review of the university’s environment on race and related issues.

Following the committee’s report, two consultants with relevant experience at major

universities were assigned separate but complementary tasks. One was charged with

evaluating the University of Mississippi’s organizational structure related to diversity and

inclusion, and the other explored issues the committee raised concerning building names

and symbols. (Both consultant reports are attached.)

We are grateful for the good work of the S&R Committee and our independent advisors.

Consultants Ed Ayers and Christy Coleman have been leaders in Richmond, VA, in

establishing a more balanced view of history for that community, where symbolism has

been a prominent topic. Their recommendations encourage us to broaden the visible

symbols of our history to be more intentionally inclusive. Greg Vincent offers insight

about our organizational structure out of his own experience reorganizing the approach at

the University of Texas, where they adopted several time-tested practices implemented at

other flagship universities, including creation of a new senior level leadership position

with a focus on diversity.

Both of these reports are candid in suggesting that more can be done here to improve our

environment for diversity and inclusion. Both also note the good work and positive spirit

for continued progress in our university. Our success in improving diversity within our

faculty and student body has been dramatic, but we can do more. And despite negative

publicity related to recent bias-related incidents, it is good news that the number of

minority applicants to the university continues to increase each year. In addition, the

improvement in diversity within our faculty has been extraordinary, placing us among the

top three flagship universities in the nation in percentage of African American faculty

members. Still, we can and will do more.

It is my hope that the action plan outlined here – reflecting the hard work of the S&R

Committee and our consultants – will prove valuable in making us a stronger and

healthier university, bringing us closer to our goal of being a warm and welcoming place

for every person every day, regardless of race, religious preference, country of origin,

ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or gender expression. We know that the

issues discussed here are associated with many evolving attitudes and opinions. There

were and will continue to be differences of opinion among us. But I am encouraged that

while our discussions over recent months were frank, even tough, they also were ...

July 30, 2014

How much new music...

By tommyburton

New music for this week...

July 30, 2014

How many new releases...

By tommyburton

New music for this week...

July 25, 2014

Jackson Summer Music Mix

By tommyburton

The Jackson Summer Music Mix

July 24, 2014

State Supreme Court Denies McDaniel Rehearing to View Poll Books

By AnnaWolfe

On Thursday, July 24, the Supreme Court of Mississippi denied to rehear Sen. Chris McDaniel's request to view poll books without voters' personal information redacted.

“We find that the motion is not well taken and should be denied,” the order stated.

McDaniel wanted full access to information included in poll books to determine the validity of votes counted in the run off against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Harrison County. The county would only make the poll books available if the McDaniel campaign would pay the administrative fees associated with redacting information—such as voters' social security number, telephone numbers and date of birth—from the records.

The McDaniel campaign tried to use Mississippi Code section 23-15-19 to make the claim that poll books are included in the materials necessary to confirm the legality of the votes in an election. Harrison County Circuit Clerk, Gayle Parker, and the Mississippi Attorney General, Jim Hood, responded that the section McDaniel cites does not include poll books.

The Mississippi Supreme Court agreed on July 17, writing, “After due consideration, we can discern no legal requirement that poll books be included in the contents of ballot boxes.”

But today’s court decision was not uncontested. Justices Michael Randolph, James W. Kitchens and David Chandler made a statement that McDaniel should be granted a Rule 33 hearing.

“Assuring the integrity of the electoral process is a matter of the highest priority and implicates the fundamental rights of all Mississippians,” the statement said.

McDaniel's lawyers said last week that a formal challenge to the results of the senatorial election will be made by tomorrow, claiming that a large number of abnormalities compromised the vote count.

July 24, 2014 | 3 comments

AFA: Cartoon's Depiction of Black Jesus 'Blasphemous'

By R.L. Nave

Kanye might not be here to argue about his facial features or to convert atheists into believers.

But it appears that the American Family Association is.

This morning, the Tupelo-based conservative mass-media machine sent out a press release alerting its followers in 26-point bold font that the Cartoon Network is planning a "New Blasphemous Show Called ‘Black Jesus’"

The the second line of the release, written in 18-point font, suggests it's the Lamb of God's swearing and using violent behavior that the AFA finds abhorrent. Yet, the 717-word release mentions the name of the show — 'Black Jesus' — seven times and has just three references to violence.

It goes on to say: "Late-night shows on the Cartoon Network fall under the block known as 'Adult Swim,' and a new program in the lineup includes the non-animated show 'Black Jesus,' which portrays the Son of God as a black guy living in the hood.' The blasphemous, irreverent and disrespectful show depicts him living in Compton Gardens and makes a mockery of the Lord."

Compton is a black-majority city in the south-central region of the Los Angeles metro. Thanks to the rise of Compton-based hip-hop groups like N.W.A. in the early 1990s and films like Boyz in the Hood (named after an N.W.A. hit song), Compton holds a place in the American imagination as a poor and violent place — the kind of place where Christ would probably hang out.

AFA President Tim Wildmon, speaking through a release said: “The garbage that passes for entertainment continues to disturb us. This new show is a complete misrepresentation of Jesus Christ and the message of hope and salvation He brings to the world. Even the three-minute trailer was too vile to watch, with multiple uses of the f-word by the actor portraying ‘Black Jesus.’ Christians and anyone who believes in respecting faith must come together to make sure this program never airs.”

Wildmon's father, Donald, started AFA because he was offended by a TV scenes of unmarried people having sex.

A group called One Million Moms and American Family Association want Americans to "send a loud and clear message to Adult Swim, its owner Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (a Time Warner Company) and all potential advertisers on 'Black Jesus' that this kind of programming is insulting and unacceptable."

“If we speak with one voice now, we can keep this program from ever seeing the light of day,” a one of the million moms said. “Christians must take a stand and not be silent. Networks like Adult Swim continue to mock Christianity, and we will not stand for it. Christians should no longer sit idly by and allow this blasphemy to continue without speaking up in protest. ‘Black Jesus’ is another attempt to distort the truth about Christianity.”

July 18, 2014

Chick Ball this weekend!

By tommyburton

Live music this weekend...

July 17, 2014

10th JFP Chick Ball to Honor Decade of 'Chicks We Love,' Local Heroes, Combatting Violence

By Donna Ladd

The Jackson Free Press and the Center for Violence Prevention are proud to announce the 10th Annual JFP Chick Ball on Saturday, July 19, 2014, at the Arts Center of Mississippi in downtown Jackson at 201 E. Pascagoula St. This year's special JFP Chick Ball is moving to the Arts Center for this year's special gala, which will celebrate a decade of preventing domestic abuse, protecting families, and empowering women to lift themselves and their families up after experiencing abuse.

This year, at 8 p.m. the JFP Chick Ball will honor three heroes who embody the event's motto of "prevent, protect, empower": Abuse survivor Sarah Reynolds, state Sen. Sally Doty, who helped create the state Office Against Interpersonal Violence, and the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Academy, for their work against sex trafficking in the state. The JFP is also honoring a decade of Chicks We Love at the event.

Past JFP Chick Ball events, all at Hal & Mal's in Jackson, have resulted in the purchase of a new mini-van for client transportation, the launch of the Batterer's Intervention Program, and legal assistance for victims. Proceeds from the 2013 Chick Ball were used in addressing an emerging issue in our area—human trafficking, which is also known as modern-day slavery.

This year's JFP Chick Ball is honoring and supporting all the work of the Center for Violence Prevention and its efforts to save and improve lives of families in central Mississippi. "Domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking occurrences continue to rise in the Central Mississippi area, as we are hearing almost daily about another woman or child whose life has been negatively impacted by it," Sandy Middleton, executive director of the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl, says. "These interpersonal crimes cross all social-economic, racial and cultural boundaries, meaning they can affect any of us or our children."

JFP Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd launched the event a decade as a way to give Jackson-area adults of all ages and income brackets a way to help fight the abuse epidemic, which strikes all communities. She also wanted it to be fun, creative and a celebration of female performers.

"The Chick Ball has always cost $5 to get in. I purposefully designed it to welcome all who want to come. And chicks must be prominent in all performances! That, of course, means it's a very popular event for our arm candy as well; men are some of our best donors, supporters and dancers!"

The JFP Chick Ball has become a fashion fete as well, with all kinds of dress welcome—from jeans to bling. The Diva of Bling (her) and Best Arm Candy (him) take home prizes from local businesses every year.

The event's silent auction is one of a kind, with hundreds of gifts, pieces of art and gift certificates from local businesses and artists donated each year. The JFP is accepting auction donations through Thursday, July 17 (at 125 S. Congress St., #1324), during normal business hours.

"One of ...

July 16, 2014

Who needs new music?

By tommyburton

Let's get "Tacky"...

July 15, 2014

McDaniel Campaign Skeptical of Hinds Ineligible Vote Count, Pete Perry's Role

By AnnaWolfe

This morning Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry told reporters that the runoff election between Sen. Thad Cochran and Sen. Chris McDaniel went smoothly and was conducted properly. He denied allegations that Hinds poll workers were denied poll books so that they could check to see if anyone had already voted Democratic in the initial primary on June 3, which would have made their vote ineligible.

These illegal crossover votes had been the topic of much discussion by the McDaniel campaign, who believed they’d find enough to challenge the results of the election.

Perry told reporters that Claude McInnis, who initially told Breitbart about the lack of access to poll books, lied. When asked about allegations of vote buying, as reported on, Perry said, “It’s time for them to put up or shut up.”

He said the McDaniel campaign would have to find proof of voter fraud and vote buying to move forward with those claims.

“I’m not aware of any vote buying,” Perry said.

Perry’s company, Paradigm Government Relations, was paid $60,000 by the pro-Cochran super PAC Mississippi Conservatives, started by Henry Barbour.

Still, Perry said he oversaw the examination of poll books and absentee ballots and that representatives from both campaigns only found roughly 350 ineligible votes.

McDaniel’s campaign plans to hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss the findings from their inspection of ballot boxes and how they plan to move forward in challenging the election results. McDaniel supporters are anxious to hear how he will respond to Perry’s statements that the campaign was conducted in accordance with the law.

Noel Fritsch, McDaniel campaign spokesperson, said:

"We hope that the fact Pete Perry was paid $60,000 by Thad Cochran's super PAC to move Democrat votes in Hinds County had nothing to do with the fraud he is alleged to have engaged in, but we're glad Pete has taken a sudden interest in the integrity of the election, and hope he helps Mississippians find the truth about whether he ordered precincts to allow ineligible Democrats to vote illegally on June 24th."

July 15, 2014

Judge June Hardwick: I Haven't Quit or Been Fired

By R.L. Nave

"I've not resigned and not received a termination letter," June Hardwick, a Jackson municipal judge, told the Jackson Free Press this afternoon.

Hardwick, whom Mayor Chokwe Lumumba appointed to a judgeship in 2013, was responding to rumors on a local blog that she had stepped down from her post last week.

Fueling the speculation that Mayor Tony Yarber, who has been cleaning house of many of the late mayor's appointments, is the fact that two municipal court appointees are up for nomination on tonight's city council—Gerald Mumford and Bob Waller.

The city's website lists six municipal judges, including Waller. Hardwick's name does not appear on the list, but it's unclear when the site was last updated.

Things have been tense between Hardwick, a former Hinds County public defender, and Yarber since May when Hardwick set a bond for a murder suspect that Yarber felt was too low. Yarber told WJTV that he would considering removing judges who weren't tough enough on violent criminals.

"We intend on ensuring that if you sit in a municipal judge seat in this city then the expectation is that you will value the lives and the families of those people who are affected by violent crimes by setting a bond that is appropriate in terms of that crime," Yarber told WJTV, "and $50,000 bond for a life that was taken...we're not tolerating that."

In that case, a 19-year-old named Wilber Clay was arrested for the Mother's Day shooting death of 29-year-old Ebony Hervey.

Yarber demurred when another WJTV reporter asked about the situation with Hardwick earlier today.

"I'm focused on the two (people) we have nominated," Yarber said.

The city code briefly talks about the rules of judicial appointments — "at the time provided for the appointment of other officers, not more than three municipal judges shall be appointed by the mayor and confirmed by an affirmative vote of a majority of the council present and voting" — but also stops short of stating specific circumstances for removing them from the bench.

In the meantime, despite all the consternation over Clay's bail being insufficiently tough, records from the Hinds County Sheriff's Office shows that Clay remains incarcerated in the Raymond Detention Center.

Hardwick is scheduled to sit on the bench Wednesday afternoon.