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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 | 1 comment

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.”

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2014/jul/24/18192/

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 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 GotNews.com, 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.

July 11, 2014

Media Buying Firm Places Ads for Two Pro-Cochran Super PACS; Affiliated with Firm Paid by NRSC

By AnnaWolfe

All Citizens for Mississippi, the super PAC created by Bishop Ronnie Crudup of New Horizon Church International, bought radio advertisements at Jackson stations WKXI, WJMI, WOAD on June 20 to air June 21-24. The ads encouraged black voters to turn out to the polls in support of Sen. Thad Cochran and suggested Sen. Chris McDaniel, if elected, would hurt race relations in Mississippi.

The super PAC bought 52 radio spots for each of these stations, which cater to black audiences, amounting to $9,825. Bishop Crudup told The Clarion-Ledger he helped raise nearly $200,000 for All Citizens for Mississippi, which was mostly spent on campaign advertisements for Cochran.

Federal law permits super PACs to raise and spend unlimited sums of money, but they cannot give directly to candidates' fundraising committees nor coordinate with campaigns and must report their activities each month or quarter. For any expenditures over $1,000 from June 4 though June 23, including for advertising, Crudup's PAC was also required to file 24-hour reports with the FEC. A search of federal campaign-finance records yields no filings by All Citizens for Mississippi. Federal law requires the PAC to file a report with the FEC by July 15, detailing all donors to the PAC. The paperwork to set up the PAC, signed by Vann, indicated that it was filled out May 30, 2014, and not received and stamped by the FEC on June 6.

The All Citizens for Mississippi ads were placed by the media buying firm, American Media Advocacy Group, which also placed ads at WLBT for the super PAC Mississippi Conservatives, another campaign group in support of Cochran.

Jon Ferrell, a buyer from National Media Research Planning & Placement, bought the ads through American Media Advocacy Group for both Jackson TV and radio stations.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee filed $175,000 with the Federal Elections Commission on June 19 to the payee National Media Research Planning & Placement for the purpose of phone calls and media supporting Cochran; however, we have found no advertisements in Mississippi that are attributed to the NRSC or the media-buying firm they gave money to.

Checks from American Media Advocacy Group, signed by Ferrell, to Jackson’s radio stations show the same address as National Media Research Planning & Placement.

Sales orders for Cochran’s candidate fundraising committee, Citizens for Cochran, were not found in Jackson’s black radio stations' political public files. Citizens for Cochran did advertise in The Clarion-Ledger and distributed doorknob hangers in whiter parts of Jackson.

Calls to National Media were not returned. Read more here.

July 10, 2014

In Search of New Horizon, and a PAC Office

By AnnaWolfe

It really exists. Well, technically.

July 10, 2014

JFP Chick Ball Is July 19; Moves to Arts Center of Mississippi for This Year

By Donna Ladd

The Jackson Free Press and the Center for Violence Prevention are proud to announce the 10th Annual JFP Chick Ball, which will celebrate a decade of preventing domestic abuse, protecting families and empowering women to lift themselves and their families up after experiencing abuse.

Past JFP Chick Ball events 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 conceived 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!"

A performance line-up will be released July 11, as well as a list of restaurants providing food and a full sponsor list.

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, as well, with hundreds of gifts, pieces of art and gift certificates from local businesses and artists donated each year. The JFP will accept auction donations through Friday, July 18, but can only guarantee inclusion in the big Chick Issue Gift Guide if received by Friday, July 11, to 125 S. Congress St., Suite 1324, during normal business hours.

"One of the best parts of the Chick Ball is watching people of all ages step up to donate money, time or auction gifts in the months leading up to the JFP Chick Ball. You never know what's going to walk through the door!" Ladd says. This year, the items so far include a guitar, artwork by HC Porter and a barbecue grill.

At the event on July 19 at the ...

July 7, 2014

Reeves Makes Final 1% Sales Tax Commish Pick

By R.L. Nave

Verbatim release from the office of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves:

LT. GOV. REEVES NAMES SMALL BUSINESS OWNER TO JACKSON SALES TAX COMMISSION

JACKSON – Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves today named small business owner and local architect Michael Boerner to the 1-percent sales tax commission charged with overseeing expenditures from a recent sales tax increase in the city of Jackson.

The 10-member commission will develop a plan for infrastructure repairs and address how tax revenues will support the plan. In January, voters in Jackson approved raising the city’s sales tax by 1 percent to fund infrastructure repairs.

“Michael has a passion for the city of Jackson and wants our capital city to be successful,” Lt. Gov. Reeves said. “His experience managing a business and expertise as an architect will be useful as the commission prepares a plan to address Jackson’s infrastructure challenges.”

Boerner, AIA, LEED AP, is the principal of Wier+Boerner Architecture in Jackson. He has a bachelor of architecture degree from Mississippi State University and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Millsaps College. Boerner has architectural experience working for firms in Dallas, Birmingham, New Orleans and Jackson.

“Jackson needs a strong, reliable infrastructure to thrive,” Boerner said. “I look forward to serving on the commission and helping to shape the city’s future.”

The Jackson resident has worked on numerous projects around Mississippi, including Babalu restaurant in the Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, renovations to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds and Coliseum and the Iron Horse Grill restaurant in downtown Jackson. He also serves on the State Board of Architecture.

Boerner and his wife, Katherine, have one daughter and attend Galloway United Methodist Church in Jackson.

July 2, 2014

James Brown Biopic 'Get On Up' Screening Set for Malco Grandview July 27

By R.L. Nave

Verbatim release from the Mississippi Development Authority:

Exclusive Screening of Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment’s

Get on Up to Be Held Sunday, July 27, at Grandview Cinema in Madison, Miss.

Tickets on Sale Now, with proceeds to benefit Mission Mississippi

Jackson, Miss. (July 2, 2014) – On Sunday, July 27, Universal Pictures will hold an exclusive red carpet screening of the James Brown biopic Get on Up at Grandview Cinema in Madison. Mississippi native and Get on Up director Tate Taylor and Chadwick Boseman, the film’s star, will be in attendance.

In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award®-nominated blockbuster The Help, Taylor directs 42’s Boseman as James Brown in Get on Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the film will give a fearless look inside the music, moves and moods of Brown, taking audiences on the journey from his impoverished childhood to his evolution into one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. Boseman is joined in the drama by Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Craig Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter and Jill Scott.

Academy Award® winner Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind, 8 Mile) produces for Imagine Entertainment, with Mick Jagger and Victoria Pearman (Shine a Light) producing under their Jagged Films banner. Imagine’s Erica Huggins (Flightplan) also serves as a producer on Get on Up, while Taylor produces under his Wyolah Films label. Peter Afterman, Trish Hofmann, Jez Butterworth, John Butterworth, John Norris and Anna Culp serve as executive producers.

Get on Up was filmed over a 60-day period in various Mississippi locations—including Jackson and Natchez—with additional time allotted for pre- and post-production. Producers of the film worked with the state’s WIN Job Centers to hire Mississippians as extras and as qualified crew members.

The red carpet event begins at 2:00 p.m. with screenings starting at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and available for purchase in two packages:

The Director’s Package includes a reserved seat for a private screening of Get on Up with Taylor and Boseman, refreshments during the movie, a limited-edition commemorative poster and a post-screening reception hosted by Governor Phil Bryant and First Lady Deborah Bryant. Tickets for the Director’s Package are $200 per person.

The Individual Screening Package includes the screening of Get on Up, refreshments during the movie and a limited-edition commemorative poster. Tickets for the Individual Screening Package are $50 per person.

There are a limited number of tickets available, and proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Mission Mississippi (www.missionmississippi.net). To purchase tickets online, please visit www.getonupjackson.com. Tickets are also available for purchase by cash or credit card at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. For more information, please call (601) 353-0603 or visit the Coliseum Box Office.

To see the official movie trailer for Get on Up, visit www.getonupmovie.com.

July 2, 2014

Voter ID Rhetoric Inconsistent With GOP Reax to Primary Allegations

By R.L. Nave

Voter ID would secure the integrity of elections, they said. Voter ID would prevent election fraud, they said.

Yet, in the first election where voter ID was used in Mississippi, complaints of voter fraud among Republicans have been rampant.

Incidentally, none of the the accusations spelled out in a lawsuit filed yesterday over the GOP primary runoff for U.S. Senate have anything to do with voter impersonation, which voter ID was designed to stop.

Also, interestingly, a lot of the top Republican officials hollerin about voter fraud have made nary a peep about the the allegations that have surfaced about vote buying in the race in the race between U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who also chairs the Senate Elections Committee.

Where's Delbert? Haley? Phil Bryant? (All three are Cochran supporters, by the way)

Brandon Jones of the Mississippi Democratic Trust posed a similar question in a statement sent to the press on Monday: "The citizens of this state were sold a package of voting laws by leaders who told us that their main concern was election integrity. These leaders, like Secretary of State Hosemann, now have an opportunity to show that all the talk about protecting the vote wasn't politics as usual."

I did a quick search and found these examples of GOP officials over the years talking about protecting the integrity of the elections:

"I believe that anyone who understands (like I do) that there is voter fraud occurring in our elections throughout the state and who does not support meaningful voter reforms to help clean up that system is part of the problem instead of part of the solution. … The problem is real and a strong Voter ID law is part of the solution."

—State Sen. Joey Fillingane, Y'all Politics op-ed October 2012

“This legislation is about protecting the integrity of Mississippi’s elections. This legislation is a direct result of the majority of Mississippians expressing their desire for a constitutional voter ID requirement in the state. We want everyone to participate in the election process, and we want that process to be fair and secure.”

—Gov. Phil Bryant, May 2012

"Voter ID is not about intimidation; it is simply about integrity and having a fair and honest election."

— Pete Smith, spokesman for Gov. Haley Barbour, 2004

"We need voter ID and we can't stop until we get it. … We need to continue to prosecute those who steal your vote."

— Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Neshoba Democrat, July, 2009

July 2, 2014

Yarber Picks 2 for Sales-Tax Commission

By R.L. Nave

The city has made its picks to the 1-percent sales-tax commission.

City officials had requested an opinion from the Mississippi attorney general's office on whether members of the city council could sit on the commission. It's unclear whether than opinion has come back.

In any case, the city's picks include Yarber along with James Anderson, an attorney for the city of Jackson, and Dr. Charles Williams, interim director of the city's public works department. Jackson is advertising for a permanent public works director.

“Ninety percent of Jackson citizens decided on Jan. 14 they wanted better streets and an improved water and sewer system,” Yarber said in a press release. “We’re excited to put forth these appointments to the commission so citizens will finally have the opportunity to see their 1 percent sales tax go to work for them.”

The tax was expected to generate about $15 million a year for infrastructure upgrades, but a recent change in state law is likely to reduce that sum.

June 26, 2014

Watch the Trailer for "A Mississippi Love Story"

By Todd Stauffer

"A Mississippi Love Story" is a documentary about JFP's own Eddie Outlaw and his partner, Justin, living as a successful, committed gay couple in Mississippi, but without the legal right to marry.

The documentary is available to rent or own on Vimeo On Demand. A special screening will take place at the Mississippi Museum of Art Friday evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Here's the trailer:

A Mississippi Love Story - Trailer from Fisher Productions, LLC on Vimeo.

An the full release, verbatim:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 27, 2014

CONTACT: Eddie Outlaw, (601) 955-3474, eddie.outlaw@gmail.com Robbie Fisher, (601) 941-1865, robbiedfisher@aol.com

JACKSON, Miss – Mississippi-based film producer Robbie Fisher and Fisher Productions, LLC announces the release of a short documentary entitled A Mississippi Love Story. The film introduces the viewer to Eddie and Justin, together living what might otherwise be considered an ordinary life during an extraordinary time in history. It provides a glimpse into the relationships the two have with one another, and with family, friends and their Deep South hometown. Against the backdrop of legal battles about same-sex marriage, Eddie and Justin share their personal take on what love really means.

“It was important to us, as Mississippians, to tell the story of this loving and devoted couple who are productive business people and well-liked members of the community, and who want their legal union to be recognized in their home state,” said Fisher.

The 13-minute film is now available on Vimeo on Demand for a $1 rental fee or for purchase for $2.50.

Cinematographer Lauren Cioffi spent months, beginning in March 2013, documenting the day-to-day lives of Eddie Outlaw and his partner Justin McPherson Outlaw. A second unit team captured footage in Washington, D.C. as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on California's Proposition 8 and on the Defense of Marriage Act. Editor Azod Abedikichi employed an upbeat and whimsical style, which included animating original illustrations by Joy Abedikichi, to capture the essence and spirit of the subjects. Composer Chris Gibbons' simple and beautiful Red Tango reflects the energetic and optimistic disposition of Eddie and Justin.

WHAT: A new short documentary about the lives of Eddie Outlaw and Justin McPherson Outlaw in Jackson, Mississippi, throughout the months surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in the DOMA and Prop 8 cases.

WHO: Produced by Fisher Productions, LLC, featuring Eddie Outlaw and Justin McPherson Outlaw

WHEN: Now available on Vimeo on Demand

WHERE: vimeo.com/ondemand/mslovestory

June 23, 2014

AFA won’t be bought when it comes to anti-gay boycotts

By AnnaWolfe

The American Family Association won’t accept mail using the new Harvey Milk postage stamp—not even donations. AFA released a statement late May urging their supporters not only to refuse to buy postage donning the face of the late gay California politician, but also to reject mail received with that postage.

Experiments conducted by other bloggers show that the AFA will hold true to their incessant boycotts: each sender got his money back.

Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, promoted gay rights legislation and was assassinated in 1978. He is still an icon for gay activism and “gave hope and confidence to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the United States and elsewhere at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility and discrimination,” according to a USPS statement released after the reveal of the new Milk stamp.

The AFA, however, believes the commemoration of Milk is “disturbing to say the least,” touching on the fact that the stamp was introduced after seven years of lobbying by the drag queen (they leave out prominent LGBT-rights activist and San Diego Human Rights Commissioner) Nicole Murray-Ramirez.

The AFA cites Milk’s biography The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk to claim he was a pedophile. Milk, according to the source, had a relationship with a 16-year-old while in his thirties. “This is not diversity; this is perversity,” Tim Wildmon, AFA president, said in a press release.

Either way, AFA is missing out on a few $5 to $10 checks (and one $100 one) from some hilarious Internet trolls.

June 19, 2014

AFA Voter Guide Promotes Partisanship

By AnnaWolfe

The American Family Association Action Voter Guide has made its Internet rounds this election season, prompting Christian voters to prioritize conservative ideologies at the polls.

June 12, 2014 | 2 comments

MS Supremes Tell Hood 'No' on Byrom, Throw Out Man's Death Sentence

By R.L. Nave

The Mississippi State Supreme Court has denied Attorney General Jim Hood's request for an explanation of their March decision in the case of Michelle Byrom, Tom Freeland of the North Mississippi Commenter reports.

Byrom had been on a death row for participating in the murder of her abusive husband. However, evidence came to light that raised strong doubts about the extent of Byrom's participation in the crime and the state's high court declined to schedule her execution and ordered a new trial with a new judge.

Hood, a former prosecutor and the state's only statewide Democratic official, blew a gasket and demanded that justices explain their rationale.

Not only did justices not bend to Hood's request on the Byrom case, just for good measure they also threw out the death sentence of a man named Roger Lee Gillett and ordered him re-sentenced.

The Associated Press reports: "Gillett was convicted in 2007 in Forrest County on two counts of capital murder for his role in the deaths of a Hattiesburg couple and the transporting of their bodies to Kansas in a freezer. While in custody in Kansas, he attempted to escape. That crime was one of the aggravating factors prosecutors presented jurors to support the death penalty.

"The Supreme Court, in its 6-3 decision Thursday, says not every escape is considered a crime of violence under Kansas law. Therefore, wrote Justice Ann Lamar, the Kansas crime cannot be used to support a death sentence in Mississippi."

June 3, 2014

USDOJ: Hinds County Jail Under Investigation

By R.L. Nave

The U.S. Justice Department announced an investigation of the Raymond Detention center. Here's the full release:

The Justice Department announced today that it is opening a pattern or practice investigation of Hinds County Detention Center including both the Hinds County facility in Raymond, Mississippi, and the Jackson Detention Center, in Jackson, Mississippi. The investigation will focus on whether Hinds County protects prisoners from harm at the hands of other prisoners and staff. Attorneys for the County Board and the Sheriff were notified on June 2, 2014. They pledged cooperation with the investigation

The department opened the investigation pursuant to the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act. The investigation will include a comprehensive review of policies, procedures, and records, as well as interviews with county officials, jail administrators, staff, and current and former inmates. The Justice Department will also reach out to other stakeholders, including members of the community and groups with knowledge of conditions in the two facilities.

“Our investigation will focus on whether Hinds County protects prisoners from the harm that can result from prisoner on prisoner violence and the improper use of force,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We have not prejudged this matter, and will seek cooperation from county officials and other stakeholders during the course of the investigation.”

“The Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi will work diligently with the Civil Rights Division to ensure that the investigation into the detention center is one that will ultimately yield results that are helpful to the citizenry of the Southern District of Mississippi, and specifically, Hinds County,” said Gregory K. Davis, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi.

Individuals who have allegations about unlawful conditions in the Jail are encouraged to contact the Justice Department by phone at (202) 514-6255, by email at HCDC.community@usdoj.gov or by mail at:

May 29, 2014 | 6 comments

Fla. League of Women Voters Releases Startling Charter School Study

By HaleyFerretti

The Florida League of Women Voters released the following verbatim news release Tuesday, May 27, 2014 in regard to a recently-completed study on charter schools across the state.

League of Women Voters Releases State-Wide Study on School Choice

Tallahassee, Fla — Twenty percent of the state's charter schools close because of financial mismanagement or poor academic standards, according to the League of Women Voters of Florida after a year-long study of charter schools in 28 Florida counties.

"Charter schools could fill a niche in Florida's educational spectrum, but for many, their biggest contribution may be to corporate bottom lines," said Deirdre Macnab, President of the League of Women Voters of Florida.

With over 576 charter schools in the state, the League of Women Voters of Florida conducted a study in order to better understand the oversight, management, accountability and transparency of charter and private schools in Florida.

The study found that:

Approximately one-third of charters are run by for-profit management companies. Many screen students, then drop those who are not successful, which public schools are prohibited from doing. Charters also serve particular socio-economic groups, increasing segregation in schools.

Although charters tend to be smaller than traditional schools, there is no consistent difference in achievement for charter school and public school students.

Many charters blur the distinction between religious and non-secular schools. Some churches receive as much as a million dollars in lease payments annually for their facilities from charter schools.

In areas with declining enrollments, neither the charters nor regular public schools are large enough to adequately provide support for staff like nurses or counselors. Retaining teachers is also a problem; most charters offer lower salaries and benefits than public schools.

The League's study produced several recommendations:

Charters should be limited to those that fill unmet needs in identified local school districts.

Stronger local management oversight and disclosure policies are needed.

Financial mismanagement issues must be addressed, as too often the privatization of schools leads to financial abuse.

For more information, including further findings and recommendations, please see the state-wide study, along with the individual studies conducted by eighteen local Leagues across Florida.

The League of Women Voters of Florida, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, please visit the League's website at: http://www.TheFloridaVoter.org.

FLORIDA LEGISLATORS WITH A DIRECT INTEREST IN CHARTER SCHOOLS:

Conflict of Interest Concerns

Senator John Legg Chair of Senate Education Committee is co-founder and business administrator of Daysprings Academy in Port Richey.

Senator Kelli Stargel from Orange County is on board of McKeel Academies. She is on the Education Committee and sponsored the Parent Trigger Bill.

House Budget Chairman Seth McKeel is on the board of McKeel Academy Schools in Polk County.

Anne Corcoran, wife of future House Speaker Richard Corcoran has a charter school in Pasco County. Richard Corcoran is Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Senator Anitere ...

May 28, 2014

Miso Closing in Fondren; Walker's Owners Opening Wine Bar in Space

By Donna Ladd

Miso in Fondren will close this Saturday, with Derek and Jennifer Emerson, owners of Walker's Drive-In, taking over and renovating the space in the Fondren Place building at Duling and State Street. Their new restaurant, which they plan to open later in the summer, will be a wine bar and small plate lounge.

May 20, 2014

Lil Boosie Hits a Snag in Gulfport; Alsina Picks Lambo Over Jacktown

By R.L. Nave

First, August Alsina skipped out on a concert in Jackson—and possibly lost hundreds, if not thousands, of local fans in the process. Now it looks like Lil Boosie won't make it to Gulfport.

Recently freed from prison, Boosie had planned a concert for a Gulf Coast neighborhood baseball park, but was denied a noise variance permit.

Promoters said they would ask the local band of hip-hop aficionados otherwise known as the Gulfport City Council to reconsider.

The Sun Herald (http://bit.ly/TpIIxv ) reported that the promoters pointed to Boosie shows across the South in his native Louisiana as well as Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas.

"Mississippi is the only place he hasn't been able to play," said Walter Malone of Gautier, owner of Magnolia Vivid Productions, the company trying to produce the show, of the Baton Rogue-born Boosie.

It's been rough going for Louisiana rappers and the Magnolia State as of late.

Over the weekend, New Orleans' August Alsina pulled out of a show at the Mississippi Coliseum. Promoters of that concert claim that they held up their end of the deal, but that Alsina pulled out at the last minute.

In a "public-service announcement" posted on Instagram late Friday Alsina said only that "there was a mixup with the date and venue" as the reason he wouldn't be doing the show, but that he looks forward to coming to Jackson during his summer tour.

Apparently, the date-and-venue mixup was that Alsina actually wanted to go to Yo Gotti's birthday party in Atlanta and ride around in a Lamborghini the same night as the Jackson show.

Update: The Sun Herald is reporting that the Gulfport City Council has denied promoters of the Lil Boosie concert the zoning variance they sought to move ahead with the show.

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