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September 15, 2014

Schools Join MAEP Lawsuit

By AnnaWolfe

Jackson, MS – Five Mississippi school districts have joined the fight to recover their share of almost $134 million owed to them by the State of Mississippi under the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (“MAEP”).

Greene County, Humphreys County, Leland, North Bolivar and West Bolivar, join Clarksdale, Clay County, Greenville, Hattiesburg, Leake County, Okolona, Prentiss County, Richton, Simpson County, Smith County, Tate County, Wayne County, West Tallahatchie and Wilkinson County in seeking declaratory judgment to restore funding owed to them by the State. Previous release reported Forest Municipal would join legal action. School Board representatives have confirmed they will not.

The new districts will be joined into the same legal action with the original fourteen districts that filed legal claims in Hinds County Chancery Court in August. The districts allege the State of Mississippi has violated its own laws requiring full funding of the MAEP formula as amended in 2006. The law allowed the State a three-year period – 2007 through 2009 – to phase in full funding to the amounts called for by the formula.

The legal action also seeks to require the State to fully fund MAEP at the current formula levels the law requires. The State of Mississippi has failed to fully fund MAEP in every fiscal year since 2010.

As noted previously, under Miss. Code Ann. § 37-151-6, the law clearly reads:

Effective with fiscal year 2007, the Legislature shall fully fund the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.

Under Mississippi law, use of the word “shall” imposes a legal and binding agreement with the people of Mississippi. It is compulsory and provides no room for interpretation by the State. If the court rules that use of the word “shall” is open to interpretation, the State would be unable to make people pay their taxes, prosecute hundreds of crimes, or truly function as a government.

During the most recent legislative session, the State placed over $400 million in its “Rainy Day Fund” while underfunding education by more than $250 million. Filing for declaratory and injunctive relief is the only way for school districts to recover the money that has been kept from them over the past 6 years. These districts are also seeking injunctive relief to require the State resume full funding of MAEP for all districts going forward – not just those that have joined in the lawsuit.

Now that the suit has been filed, school districts that have not already joined the legal action may do so without court permission until the State’s answer is due. The Attorney General must answer on behalf of the State on or before September 29. After filing of the answer, remaining districts may only join after court permission is granted. School districts that fail to file for legal action may lose the right to recover any of the lost revenue.

For additional information, contact George Shelton at (601) 927-3044 or George@Company-Politics.com. You may also find more information at www.maeppromisecampaign.com or go to www.facebook.com/mississippiadequateeducationpromise.

September 12, 2014

Give Us Your Ideas: How to Be the Change in Jackson

By Donna Ladd

Every year, to celebrate the JFP's birthday, we put the focus on great things happening in Jackson. This year, we're ratcheting up the effort with a special "GOOD Ideas: Be the Change in Jackson" issue to celebrate the JFP's 12th birthday. The issue, publishing Sept. 24, will include all sorts of great ideas of things we can all do to bring positive change in Jackson.

But here's where you come in. We want our readers to share YOUR best ideas for Jackson, whether or not it's an idea that is already happening or you think it should or could. For the next week, we will collect your ideas and publish as many as we can pack into the birthday issue.

Here's how to share: Email the ideas to ladd@jacksonfreepress.com with links or other information; or tweet or Instagram them using the hashtag #btcjxn. We'll get as many in the issue as we can.

Then is where it really gets fun, and the rubber hits the road. We're asking our readers to take a 30-day "Be the Change Challenge" in the Jackson metro to help encourage others to get involved, no matter how big or small, to help our city/metro reach its full potential. We challenge you to do something to Be the Change Jackson every day for 30 days starting on Thursday, Sept. 25. Snap pictures of you and yours being-the-change and use the hashtag #btcjxn on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. We will give gift cards from local businesses to random be-the-changers over the 30 days. If you participate every day for 30 days, you will go into a drawing for a large grand-prize package of gift cards (we'll announce soon exactly what will be in it).

Gandhi told us all to "be the change we want to see in the world"; we urge you to focus your efforts on our city in the next month or so to help inspire others, and especially our young folks, to step up and do whatever is in their power to do.

Thank you for whatever you can do and for inspiring others! Remember #btcjxn.

September 12, 2014

College Football Week Three Picks

By bryanflynn

I correctly picked 16 of 19 games last week but I also had my first missed picked involving a Mississippi team. That brings my season record to 32-5 so far this young season, which isn't too bad if I say so myself.

So, I had Millsaps beating Mary Hardin-Baylor and go undefeated. That picked looked good when the game was tied 7-7 late in the first quarter. Then Mary Hardin-Baylor dropped 36 unanswered points on the Majors and pick was done. Millsaps faced one of the toughest teams in Division III and losing is not something to be ashamed of and the team can still have a strong season.

I picked Stanford to win over USC but then the Cardinal did everything they could possibly do to lose the game. Stanford punted deep in Trojan territory several times instead of rolling the dice and going for it. If the Cardinal wasn't punting when knocking on the USC door, they had penalties that killed drives and took scores off the board.

The strangest thing was USC Athletic Director Pat Haden coming down to the field help argue a call because head coach Steve Sarkisian asked him to come help him. No coach should ever call his AD down to the field over calls and someone as respected as Haden never should have come down.

It just looks bad for everyone involved. I don't think it will have any baring on Haden being on the playoff selection committee because he would have to recuse if USC was in the discussion. It was smart of the committee to set up the recusal system before the season before this incident happened.

My last incorrect pick was Michigan State over Oregon. That picked looked good in the third quarter then it looked like the roles sudden reversed. The Ducks had the relentless hard charging defense and the Spartans looked lost and slow on defense.

Oregon scored 28 unanswered points to win the game and they did pretty much what every they wanted on offense and defense while taking control of the game. Michigan State tackled poorly on defense and compounded their poor tackling with even poor coverage.

Stanford plays a similar style to Michigan State and had beaten the Ducks in their last few meetings. Oregon beating the Spartans might mean they have figured out how to go toe to toe with other more physical teams.

This week, Delta State is off and it would be a shame not to mention the Statesmen going on the road and demolishing Fort Valley State University. Delta State routed FVSU for a 56-13 win to get the season off on a nice foot. Now the Statesmen have two week to prepare for Valdosta State.

Be for getting to this weeks picks, here is something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season. Could BYU crash the playoff party. The Cougars are 3-0 after getting past Houston ...

September 11, 2014

TedxJackson Speakers Announced

By R.L. Nave

The speaker lineup for the first TedxJackson, taking place Nov. 6 is out. Here they are:

Marina Bers, Professor at Tufts University, co-founder of KinderLab Robotics

George Bey, Professor of anthropology, researcher of Mesoamerican archaeology

Joel Bomgar, Founder and chairman of Bomgar

Jill Connor Browne, Author and humorist, Queen Boss of the Sweet Potato Queens

Gary Butler, Founder, chairman and CEO of Camgian Microsystems

Kristi Henderson, Director of Telehealth, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Kermit the Frog, Actor, singer, author, Muppet

Andy Lack, Chairman of Bloomberg Media, media industry veteran and visionary

David McRaney, Author and journalist

Melody Moody, Executive director of Bike Walk Mississippi

Hakeem Oluseyi, Professor of physics and space sciences, TED fellow, Science Channel contributor

Joe Reardon, Former mayor of Kansas City, Kansas, economic development consultant

Robert Santelli, GRAMMY Museum executive director, music historian and author

Joe Stradinger, Founder and CEO of EdgeTheory, technology investor and entrepreneur

Richard Summers, University of Mississippi Medical School professor, physician, researcher, scientist

Herman Taylor, Cardiovascular researcher, physician, former director of the Jackson Heart Study

September 11, 2014

Report: Jackson State a Top 20 HBCU Value

By R.L. Nave

Verbatim press release:

For the eighth consecutive year, U.S. News has produced a ranking measuring the quality of the undergraduate education at historically black colleges and universities. In order to be on the list, a school must be currently designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an HBCU. To qualify for the U.S. News ranking, an HBCU also must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first-year, first-time students and must be a school that is part of the 2015 Best Colleges rankings.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as "any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary (of Education) to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation."

If an HBCU is listed as Unranked in the 2015 Best Colleges rankings, it is also listed as Unranked in the HBCU rankings

In total, there were 80 HBCUs eligible to be included on the list; 69 of those were ranked and 11 of those were Unranked.

  1. Spelman College
  2. Howard University
  3. Morehouse College
  4. Hampton University
  5. Tuskegee University
  6. Xavier University of Louisiana
  7. Fisk University
  8. Florida A&M University
  9. Claflin University
  10. North Carolina A&T State University
  11. North Carolina Central University
  12. Tougaloo College
  13. (Tie) Delaware State University
  14. (Tie) Dillard University
  15. (Tie) Morgan State University
  16. (Tie) Winston-Salem State University
  17. Johnson C. Smith University
  18. Clark Atlanta University
  19. Jackson State University
  20. Elizabeth City State University
  21. (Tie) Lincoln University of PA
  22. (Tie) Tennessee State University
  23. (Tie) Alabama A&M University
  24. (Tie) University of Maryland-Eastern Shore
  25. (Tie) Bennett College
  26. (Tie) Bowie State University
  27. Alcorn State University
  28. (Tie) Albany State University
  29. (Tie) Fayetteville State University
  30. South Carolina State University
  31. Bethune-Cookman University
  32. Virginia State University
  33. Oakwood University
  34. Norfolk State University
  35. (Tie) Philander Smith College
  36. (Tie) University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff
  37. Prairie View A&M University
  38. (Tie) Fort Valley State University
  39. (Tie) Kentucky State University
  40. Stillman College
  41. (Tie) Alabama State University
  42. (Tie) Central State University
  43. (Tie) West Virginia State University
  44. Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  45. (Tie) Paine College
  46. (Tie) Southern University and A&M College
  47. Savannah State University
  48. Livingstone College
  49. Texas Southern University
  50. (Tie) Bluefield State College
  51. (Tie) Florida Memorial University
  52. (Tie) Grambling State University
  53. (Tie) Mississippi Valley State University

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2014/sep/11/18835/

September 11, 2014

Federal Judge Dismisses Oakley Training School Lawsuit

By R.L. Nave

U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate has dismissed a federal lawsuit over conditions at Oakley Youth Development Center.

According to a press release, Mississippi Department of Human Services officials credit the ruling with the agency's efforts to "better the conditions for all youth adjudicated delinquent and assigned to Oakley through Mississippi youth courts."

“The Division of Youth Services has worked to improve conditions and education, while ensuring the safety and security of youth at Oakley,” said MDHS Executive Director Richard Berry. “We appreciate the Department of Justice and the federal court’s affirming the progress and advances made for youth in state custody.”

Gov. Phil Bryant also weighed in, through the release, saying: “I want to thank Richard Berry and the Mississippi Department of Human Services for working hard over the last nine years to bring conditions to their current levels at the Oakley Youth Development Center. The diligence of their staff to meet the many compliance issues is apparent, and they have succeeded in improving the center drastically from where it was from almost a decade ago.”

In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice conducted an investigation of Oakley and the now-closed Columbia Training School in response to three federal lawsuits alleging abuses ranging from staff forcing students to eat their own vomit, to hog-tying students and leaving them naked in dark cells for days at a time. The DOJ successfully sued Mississippi to correct the brutal treatment of inmates and the deplorable conditions of the facilities in 2005, and had worked with the DHS to devise and implement a plan of action.

DHS added: "In 2010 the state had met 51 of those requirements, and an amended agreement was entered into by all parties. Earlier this year the federal monitor assigned to the case found that OYDC had maintained substantial compliance with the 23 remaining provisions for a significant period of time. As a result of that report, DOJ and the State of Mississippi filed to dismiss the suit.

"Numerous changes have occurred at Oakley since 2005. Expansion of medical and dental services, better mental health care, and an updated education program accredited by Mississippi Department of Education are just a few of the programs now successfully operating at facility. Although DYS has had numerous challenges to overcome, the division has accomplished its goal of meeting the requirements of the lawsuit."

September 11, 2014

MY NFL Week Two Picks

By bryanflynn

It was a bloodbath for my picks in week one. I scratched and clawed my way to ten correct picks. TEN! That is good enough to get in the playoffs most seasons but instead I felt like the 2013 Arizona Cardinals after the week was over.

I was just one game above .500 to start the season. That puts me in a hole early.

Here is what I missed:

I picked the Saints over the Falcons but how was I supposed to know that the New Orleans 2012 defense would show up against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Either Atlanta is really going to bounce back this season or the Saints are really going to struggle. Saints fans hope last Sunday was an aberration.

It was a toss up between the Rams and Vikings. Matt Cassel versus Shun Hill quarterback battle didn't inspire confidence in either choice. Cassel and the Vikings pounded the Rams as Hill went out with an injury and former Southern Miss quarterback Austin Davis didn't have any better luck.

So the Bills outlasted the Bears and I took Chicago. Buffalo is forced three turnovers making me wonder if the Bears are going to be a contender with Jay Cutler at quarterback. Chicago should be a better team than Buffalo. Maybe the Bills will be the surprise team of 2014.

I thought Washington would be a better team this season than Houston. Sure, there is a quarterback controversy building in Washington but Robert Griffin III should be a much better choice than Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Texans defense dominated the game and Fitzpatrick managed the game and made plays when he had to make them. If RG3 play doesn't improve quickly it, he could be on the bench in favor of Kirk Cousins.

Jake Locker out-dueled Alex Smith making my pick of the Chiefs over the Titans. Smith was Kansas City's leading rusher against Tennessee which is a bad sign. The Chiefs looked like they were ready to turn the corner and be a contender but maybe they were just a product of a weak schedule last season. If Locker can stay healthy it looks like the Titans might have some hope in the AFC South.

I totally blew the Patriots over the Dolphins. New England's offensive line was dreadful against the Miami. Brady had little to no time each time he dropped back to pass and there was zero running game. I don't think I have ever seen an offensive line play that badly after the team traded away a guard. Is the Patriots run finally coming to end? Is Miami, New York or Buffalo ready to take over the AFC East?

The first week is always tough to make picks. Week two isn't a cakewalk as teams that lost in week one know they need to bounce back quickly. Teams know going 0-2 means they need to throw the kitchen sink at their opponents the next two weeks.

September 9, 2014

Jackson Gets Adulterous

By AnnaWolfe

There are 22,000 Jackson residents on AshelyMadison.com—the dating website with the slogan, "Life is short. Have an affair." A study released today shows that 9 out of ten of the highest ranked Jackson neighborhoods based on number of affairs are north of Fondren.

Ashely Madison CEO confirms this is consistent with the link between money and cheating.

“The Jackson data is consistent with what we’ve seen in other cities,” says AshleyMadison.com founder and CEO Noel Biderman. “Affluence is a common element found on most cities’ top ten lists while the proclivity to cheat often goes hand in hand with opportunity. Those with discretionary income and freedom to travel are even more likely to stray.”

Top 10 Jackson neighborhoods with the most affairs are:

Heatherwood 9.3% Bellvue Oaks 8.8% Fondren North 8.7% Northgate 8.3% Woodlea 7.9% Northlake 7.4% Woodhaven 7.1% Rolling Hills 6.6% Lake Trace 6.2% Woodville Heights 5.8%

Average Ages M: 37 F: 35

Female/Male Ratio 2014: F: 45% M: 55%

Female/Male Ratio 2012: F: 31% M: 69%

Members in Woodville Heights have the most children, on average. Members in Heatherwood have the most affair partners.

September 5, 2014

Starkville First to Grant LGBT Benefits

By AnnaWolfe

WASHINGTON, DC—This week, Starkville became the first city in Mississippi to extend essential medical benefits to the partners of city workers who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, commended the Mayor and Board of Aldermen for acknowledging the dignity and worth of LGBT citizens in Starkville.

“Loving LGBT couples should have equal access to medical care, and we applaud the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen for their leadership on this critical issue,” said HRC Mississippi Director Rob Hill. “This measure successfully provides the necessary benefits that the partners of hardworking LGBT city workers deserve, and the city of Starkville demonstrated its commitment to upholding the Golden Rule by treating them with dignity and respect.”

The item passed by a unanimous 7-0 vote Tuesday night. This week, Mayor Parker Wiseman also announced plans to appoint two LGBT liaisons to support the needs of and provide resources to the LGBT community, including working with the city’s police department. Earlier this year, Starkville was also the first city in the state to pass a resolution welcoming LGBT people and their families. The resolution recognizes all citizens should be treated with respect and equality.

According to a 2014 study by HRC, 57 percent of LGBT people surveyed have called Mississippi home for more than 20 years, however, almost half have experienced harassment in a public establishment; 41 percent of those earning less than $45,000 have experienced at work; and roughly a quarter have experienced harassment from a public servant like a police officer or firefighter. HRC Mississippi is working across the state to change hearts and minds, advance enduring legal protections, and build more inclusive institutions from the workplace to the church pew.

September 4, 2014

My NFL Picks Week One

By bryanflynn

Preseason is finally over. Starting tonight, when the Seattle Seahawks take the field as defending Super Bowl Champions against the Green Bay Packers, the games in the NFL count for real.

The first four weeks of the NFL season are always hardest to pick. History tells us some team will go from worst to first (it has happened the last 11 years) and at least four (since the playoffs expanded in 1990 there has been four teams at least who didn't reach the playoffs two years in a row) of the playoff teams from the season before will likely not make it back to the postseason.

Another thing that makes picking NFL games so hard the first month of the season is that everything you base picks off is from 2013. No professional league in America changes year to year like the NFL and past performance doesn't dictate future wins.

Most of the time the preseason doesn't help much because teams aren't trying to win preseason games. They are evaluating talent and normally don't game plan or run much more than base defense and offense.

This is truly a throw everything against the wall and see what sticks philosophy. If I pick half these 16 games correctly I will be happy. If I get 12 right I will be ecstatic and if I get all 16 then I know I'm set up for a huge fall for the rest of the season.

So without anymore rambling, here are my week one NFL picks (winner in bold):

Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks

Throw last year's game when the Baltimore Ravens lost their opener as defending champs to the Denver Broncos. The Ravens had to go on the road (the Orioles wouldn't budge on their home game) and the 2012 game that was played on a Wednesday.

Seattle has one of the best home field advantages in the NFL and one of most complete teams as well. The Seahawks crowd will be hyped and loud and that will cause problems for the Packers. Green Bay was injury plagued last season but still found away to get into the playoffs.

Aaron Rodgers is healthy and I expect the Green Bay defense will keep this game close. Seattle pulls out the win with a dominate fourth quarter.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

This is one of the NFL's best rivalry games. It might not have the national appeal as other games but it does feature two fan bases that don't like each other.

Atlanta went from Super Bowl contender to dumpster fire because of injuries last season and Matt Ryan wasn't himself at all. You think this would be a bounce back season for the Falcons but I'm not so sure.

New Orleans has looked the part of Super Bowl contender this preseason. The defense looks deep and the offense always looks dangerous. As long as Drew Brees is healthy there isn't ...

The Arts Blog

September 4, 2014

Support Mississippi Indie Filmmaking

By amber_helsel

Story on the 48 Hour Film Project by Jordan Sudduth

Nearly 200 filmmaking cast and crew participated Aug. 15-17 in the resurrected Mississippi competition of the 48 Hour Film Project—an international organization that promotes independent filmmaking through awareness and competitions. With a required character, prop, line of dialogue and genre, each of the 15 teams set out to produce (write, film, edit and musically score) a short film, between four and seven minutes in duration, within a 48-hour timeframe.

While it may sound easy to some, that is simply not the case. The process is grueling, adrenalin inducing and a test of skill for all involved.

With the recently wrapped “The Hollars,” which John Krasinski of “The Office” directed and starred in, and the soon-to-film “Dixieland” and “By Way of Helena,” which stars Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth, the Mississippi film industry continues to be on the move. With the increasing awareness of what our state has to offer, both independent and major filmmakers and their proponents are garnering more attention than ever.

Official judges for the 48 Hour competition included film-industry professionals who either live in or have strong Mississippi ties. The unveiling of the judges will take place at the premiere.

Whether you are a film buff or just someone interested in something new, this is a great event to support not only the these 15 participating teams, but the Mississippi film industry.

The premiere screening of all 15 films is Sept. 4 at the Malco Grandview Theatre (221 Grand View Blvd., Madison, 601-898-7823). The event starts at 7 p.m. and costs $10 per individual. After the screening, the filmmakers will host a Q&A session, and audience members can vote for their top-three favorite films. For more information, visit 48hourfilm.com/mississippi and filmmississippi.org.

Jordan Sudduth organized this year's 48 Hour Film Project.

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2014/sep/04/18700/

September 4, 2014

College Football Picks Week Two

By bryanflynn

Heck of a way to start the season for me. Overall I finished the week 16-3 and correctly picked every game involving a Mississippi team.

I blew the Texas A&M and South Carolina game big time. Who knew Kenny Hill would play his first game as the starter like he has been the starter for the last three years.

I also tripped up on the Rutgers against Washington State game. The Scarlet Knights went across country with a late kickoff and escaped with a win for the Big Ten over the Pac-12 Cougars.

Finally, I missed Louisville beating Miami. I thought the Hurricanes would be better this season but they folded as the game went along.

This week every Mississippi team begins play after Milsaps, Mississippi College and Delta State were off last week. Nationally, the schedule has some tasty games but a lot of the top 25 are playing cupcakes.

Here is the list of the top ten of AP Top 25 are playing this weekend: The Citadel, Florida Atlantic, Michigan State, Tulsa, San Jose State, Oregon, Virginia Tech, Lamar and Northwestern State. Georgia is off this week and Michigan State and Oregon play each other and Ohio State faces Virginia Tech.

Even with all the cupcake games there are still plenty of games to waste your Saturday watching. Here are my week two picks starting with the Mississippi games, as with last week, winners are in bold.

Delta State at Fort Valley State (Saturday/1 pm)

This is the first game for both teams this season. The Statesmen make the trip to Georgia to face the Wildcats. I think Delta State will be good this season and this will be a good first test. I'm going with the Statesmen because a gut feeling.

UAB at Mississippi State (Saturday/1 pm/FSS)

The Blazers rolled over Troy last Saturday and everyone knows the Bulldogs demolished Southern Miss. Mississippi State will be 2-0 after this game but I expect UAB to put up a fight.

Mississippi at Vanderbilt (Saturday/3:30 pm/ESPN)

On paper before the beginning of the season, this looked like a good matchup. That was before Vanderbilt got blasted by Temple at home. If Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace can keep from giving the other team the ball, this game should be a blowout win for Mississippi.

Mary Hardin-Baylor at Milsaps (Saturday/6 pm)

The Majors kickoff their season against one of the better teams in Division III. If Milsaps wins this game I think they will run the table. I really think the Majors are going to run the table.

Alcorn State at Southern Miss

The Braves wasted no time dispatching Lynchburg last week. The Golden Eagles played tough against MSU for a quarter.

This game is must win for USM or they are going 0-12 this season. The Braves won't roll over for anyone and will put up a fight. Southern Miss is in a dogfight for ...

September 2, 2014

'Stand to Expand' Rally: Citizens Support Medicaid

By AnnaWolfe

On August 3rd, Michael Johansson celebrated his 65th birthday and became eligible for federal government funded Medicare. While he said he is grateful for the coverage, he is saddened that other citizens of Mississippi are denied federal government funded Medicaid.

This is why he has coordinated a monthly rally called “Stand to Expand,” where Mississippi citizens will come to express support for Medicaid expansion the first Sunday of each month at the south steps of the capitol building from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Johansson pledged that he will rally until “Medicaid is expanded for the tens of thousands of women, men and children who are in dire need of healthcare.”

Johansson called the state’s failure to provide adequate healthcare to the people “shameful, inhumane and callous treatment of our citizens.”

“Most, if not all, who are eligible for this healthcare program—100% paid for by the federal government for the first years of the program & 90% thereafter—are citizens living under great financial stress. To add to their anxiety, having a sick child or a diabetic parent who cannot afford healthcare treatment is intolerable, if not cruel, for a society such as ours. This crisis could be solved by mere approval of the legislature and the governor's signature,” Johansson said.

Johansson points out that the number of uninsured Mississippians has risen, which is a disgrace when one considers the state’s reputation of being generous and hospitable. This, Johansson said, must change.

“This rally is unaffiliated with any organization. It is a TRYPARTISAN EFFORT (take out the "I" and ask the "Y") welcoming like-minded Republicans, Democrats and Independents who agree with Medicaid expansion for Mississippi. I urge any signage brought to the rally be respectful and be directed towards the cause of Medicaid expansion and not be directed against government officials or political parties,” Johansson said.

The next rally will be this Sunday, September 7th at 2 p.m.

August 29, 2014

Justice Has No Timetable: A #mssen Retrospective

By AnnaWolfe

“Justice has no timetable,” said State Sen. Chris McDaniel throughout the course of his challenge to U.S. Senate run-off election results against Sen. Thad Cochran. In the past two months, McDaniel has complained relentlessly about Mississippi’s election process, the one he has a hand in regulating as chairman of the Mississippi Senate Elections Committee.

From the beginning, the McDaniel camp tried to make the claim that so many “bad” votes were cast in the June 24 runoff between their guy and Cochran, that not only did they want Cochran’s win reversed, but they wanted McDaniel named the winner.

They made the claim that the use of election poll books was intentionally screwed up to skew the vote. When Pete Perry, Hinds County GOP Chairman, said that poll workers only found about one-fifth of the votes claimed to be invalid in Hinds County, the McDaniel camp said otherwise.

They compiled a binder of “evidence.”

The McDaniel camp blamed racial messaging. They blamed Democrats.

At more bizarre times, they involved a California blogger in the madness and even named their own lawyer as one of those “bad” votes. When the attorney general’s office launched an investigation into the shady election happenings, the camp’s spokesman was named in said blogger’s subpoena (which ended up on Twitter).

The validity of the challenge was further challenged when the Republican Party refused to hear the case.

Then, when the challenge finally reached the courts, it was shut down before things could get even sillier. Justice may have no timetable in the eyes of McDaniel, but today the presiding judge dismissed the case because he took too long to file.

Of course, McDaniel could always appeal. After reporting on the developments of this story in the last few months, believe us, we’ll be expecting it.

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2014/aug/29/18623/

August 29, 2014

Childers Responds to McDaniel Lawsuit Dismissal

By AnnaWolfe

Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator Travis Childers responded to Judge Hollis McGehee's decision to dismiss Sen. Chris McDaniel's lawsuit challenging the election results of the Republican run-off for U.S. Senator. Childers looks forward to debating Cochran on issues including the minimum wage and equal pay.

JACKSON, Miss. — I congratulate Senator Cochran on his win today in court. The allegations of the past couple months have raised serious questions about the electoral process, and I strongly believe we must ensure that every vote in Mississippi counts. With the Republican primary finally nearing the end, it is time for Senator Cochran to focus on the issues of today and spell out his vision for the future. I look forward to a spirited discussion and debates about the issues that affect millions of Mississippians.

The senator and I differ on increasing the minimum wage. I believe the minimum wage should be a living wage. We differ on demanding equal pay for women. If a woman does the same job as a man she should be paid the same and not 76 cents on the dollar, which is the current average. Women are the heads of many Mississippi households and co-bread winners in many others. Women pay the same for milk, gas and child care as a man and it's only right they be paid equally. These are just two of the many issues we must debate in the next 10 weeks.

Mississippians deserve no less.

August 28, 2014

Rebels' Offense Comes Alive in Second Half to Trounce Boise State 35-13

By bryanflynn

In sports sometimes, it not how you start but how you finish. For the University of Mississippi it was an ugly start but a beautiful finish in the Rebels 35-13 win to open the 2014 season.

It was an ugly first half for Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace against Boise State. Wallace struggled in the opening two quarters as he threw three interceptions.

The first half wasn't much better for Boise State quarterback Grant Hendrick. The Broncos quarterback also threw three interceptions in the opening half and four interceptions for the game.

Wallace wasn't the only Rebel who struggled on the big stage. UM had several offensive penalties, with most coming in the form of false starts. Linebacker Serderius Bryant didn't have a good night either after he was ejected for targeting midway through the first quarter.

The stars of the first half for the Rebels were the defense and punter Will Gleeson. All night long the UM defense was able to bring relentless pressure on Hendrick each time he dropped backed, tackled soundly and covered pretty well all game long.

After three straight punts by both teams, the interception fest began on the second possession for the Rebels. Wallace threw his first pick on the very first play of the drive. It looked like Boise State would take that turnover in for a touchdown but Hendrick managed to turn things aroung by throwing his first pick on the ensuing drive, with Senquez Golson making the interception in the end zone.

The Rebels would then go on a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Wallace throwing a 36-yard touchdown to a wide-open Cody Core. Boise State's busted coverage on the scoring play gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Hendrick would throw an interception on BSU's next drive and Wallace would return the favor on the Rebels' next drive. The Broncos would end up kicking a field goal after the Wallace pick to cut the Rebels lead to 7-3 in the second quarter.

Both teams would spend the rest of the half either punting or throwing interceptions. Mississippi would head into the locker room with a 7-3 lead at halftime.

The third quarter wasn't very good for either team offensively as the Rebels and Broncos struggled to get anything going. Boise State managed a field goal late in the third quarter to cut the UM lead to 7-6 heading into the fourth.

With the game on the line, Wallace finally came alive in the final 15 minutes. Wallace found LaQuon Treadwell for a 14-yard touchdown as the Rebels marched 75 yards down the field in 10 plays.

The Treadwell touchdown would give UM a 14-6 lead. Hendrick threw his fourth and final interception on the next Broncos possession.

Wallace would only need two plays to make the Broncos pay, as he found Quincy Adeboyejo for the 36-yard strike to give the Rebels a 21-6 lead and break the game ...

August 28, 2014

JPS Agrees to Refrain From Convocation Prayer

By AnnaWolfe

"...the District will ask its convocation speakers to refrain from religious activity," Jackson Public School District Superintendent Cedrick Gray wrote in a letter after complaints about prayer in school convocations.

(Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2014)—In response to the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center’s letter sent on Aug. 25, 2014, the Jackson Public School District in Jackson, Mississippi, has agreed to eliminate religious activity, including prayers and sermons, at future convocations for its faculty.

“We’re very pleased that the school district has promptly responded to this issue and has made assurances that future school-sponsored assemblies will comply with the Establishment Clause,” said Monica Miller, an attorney with the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

Earlier this week, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the school district on behalf of a concerned teacher, who reported that a Christian reverend included prayers, a liturgical call and response, and biblical references in his remarks. Other speakers at the event also included religious language in their speeches and specifically invoked Scripture, “God” and the “Lord.” In a letter sent yesterday, representatives from the district state that such religious activity will not be included in future convocations.

“By upholding the separation of church and state, the school district is respecting the rights of teachers of minority faiths, as well as the rights of teachers who do not profess any faith,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

A copy of the letter sent to the school district can be viewed here, and a copy of the school district’s response can be viewed here.

August 28, 2014 | 1 comment

College Football Week One Picks

By bryanflynn

Finally it is that time of year, the return of of college football. O.k. to be honest there was college football on Saturday when FCS teams Eastern Washington and Sam Houston State played and on Wednesday night Georgia State faced Abilene Christian.

Nearly the rest of the college football world begins play this Thursday through Monday. This weekend offers a plethora of intriguing games with some big matchups sprinkled in the mix as well.

Now that my daughter is sleeping through the night (fingers crossed), I hope I will have time to do weekly picks once more. The upside is having a daughter now, if my picks go badly I can let her make them.

Here are this week's picks (starting with Mississippi teams) with the winners in bold:

Mississippi versus Boise State (Thursday/7 pm/ESPN)

This game is going to be played in the Georgia Dome as Boise State makes the long distance trip. The Broncos are one of the last mid-majors not to have moved to a bigger conference. The Rebels get a national audience to announce to the rest of the country all those recruits have arrived.

Boise State finally lost head coach Chris Petersen and replaced him with Bryan Harsin former BSU quarterback and offensive coordinator. The Broncos have slipped a bit recently from the height of their mid-major power.

Mississippi is one of the trendy choices for dark horse in the SEC this season. The Rebels will have more talent on the field and should blow this game open in the second half.

Boise State will keep this game close but they don't have the talent to win as Mississippi is a better team.

Southern Miss at Mississippi State (Saturday/6:30 pm/SEC Network)

Southern Miss might be on the right track under Todd Monken and on road back to where neither state SEC wanted to play them. Mississippi State has slowly built an impressive squad under Dan Mullen.

The Bulldogs have more talent but expect the Golden Eagles to put up a fight for a half. Brighter days are ahead for Southern Miss but not this Saturday. Bulldogs will roll.

Florida A&M at Jackson State (Saturday/6 pm)

These two teams haven't met in a decade. Florida A&M is coming off a losing season and Jackson State is breaking in a new head coach and quarterback.

This game will be close but the Tigers are at home. The Rattlers are going to be a tough out but I trust in JSU.

Virginia University at Lynchburg at Alcorn State (Saturday/4 pm)

Alcorn State wins. In fact, the Braves win big...very big.

University of Faith at Mississippi Valley State (Saturday/4 pm)

The Delta Devils start the Rick Comegy era off with a big win.

Belhaven at Texas College

Just a gut feeling, I'm picking the Blazers.

The rest

Texas A&M at South Carolina (Thursday/5 pm/SEC Network)

The Gamecocks are replacing the number one pick in ...

August 26, 2014

Watch Party for Rebels Versus Broncos on Thursday Night

By bryanflynn

On Thursday Night, the University of Mississippi will finally get to play in the Georgia Dome making Vanderbilt the only current SEC to have never played at the site. If you can't make it to Atlanta to watch the Rebels take on Boise State, there is a place you can go to watch with fellow University of Mississippi fans.

Below is a full press release of times, where to watch and other information:

Are You Ready for August 28th?

Jackson, Miss. (August 26, 2014) –The Ole Miss Rebels are ready to buck the broncos. They will be facing Boise State for their first game of the season on August 28th. While the Rebels will be gearing up at Atlanta's Georgia Dome, the Central Mississippi Ole Miss Rebel Club (CMOMRC) will be cheering them on in Jackson.

The CMOMRC will host a watch party for the game at 7 p.m. at Fondren Public. There will be door prizes and a Rebel of a good time. Anyone is welcome to come watch the game with their fellow Rebels and cheer on the football team.

“We are very excited to kick off another great football season. The CMOMRC is a great organization that celebrates all Rebel things,” said Bob Box, President of the Club. “We hope everyone will join us and come out to Fondren Public to cheer on our team.”

To learn more about your local Ole Miss Rebel Club, please visit OleMissAlumni.com/Clubs and Facebook.com/CentralMississippiOleMissAlumniClub. For more information on Fondren Public, visit their website at FondrenPublic.com.

August 26, 2014

Feminist Majority Foundation Launches Pop Quiz

By AnnaWolfe

WHEN: Tuesday, August 26, 2014

WHERE: Online

WHAT: Pop Quiz for Equality

ARLINGTON -- Women’s Equality Day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920, but it was a right that took decades to realize. This landmark Amendment institutionalized every person’s right to participate in the electoral process regardless of sex, and now it’s time to use the priceless power of the vote to advance another crucial amendment for women’s rights: the Equal Rights Amendment.

This Women’s Equality Day, the Feminist Majority Foundation is taking this important anniversary in the fight for women’s suffrage to continue building momentum around the Equal Rights Amendment with an online quiz testing voters’ knowledge of the ERA.

The Equal Rights Amendment will finally cement equal rights under the law – for all – for the first time ever in the United States Constitution. Now it’s time to make sure voters know what the ERA is all about, and how they can be agents in the fight to ratify the ERA right now!

Take the quiz and join the conversation all day long: Follow @majorityspeaks, @femmajority and #WED2014 all day for reasons to ratify the #ERANow!

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