We just received the following press release announcing a news conference for Ward 2 Councilman and City County President Melvin Priester Jr.:
Jackson City Council President Melvin V. Priester, Jr., is scheduled to hold a press conference, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 2:00 p.m., at Priester Law Firm, PLLC, 5375 Executive Place, Jackson, MS, regarding his plans for the upcoming Special Mayoral election.
Priester, the current City Council President, represents Ward 2 in the City of Jackson. He was instrumental in working to help pass the 1% sales tax with the late Mayor and he led the charge to re-establish bus service for the City of Jackson’s after-school program. He sits as an ex-officio member of all council committees. A practicing attorney for 10 years, Melvin Priester, Jr., is a member of his family based Jackson law firm, Priester Law Firm, PLLC.
Priester grew up in Jackson and has deep ties to the community. He is the grandson of the late Jackson matriarch and business owner, Mrs. Bernice Allen Stimley, who was a community activist and operated a grocery store in the Georgetown community in Jackson for over 30 years. He is the son of Hinds County Judge Melvin Priester, Sr., and Attorney Charlene Stimley Priester. Priester graduated from Jackson Public Schools as Valedictorian of the Class of 1997, Murrah High School. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard College in 2001, and received his law degree from Stanford University in 2004. On the council, Priester has fought for an improved relationship between JPD and neighborhood groups. Priester has also fought to transform the city’s budgeting process. Priester prides himself on addressing constituent concerns about potholes, drainage, and blighted properties.
Someone just forwarded me a letter they say was distributed today at Cade Chapel M.B. Church that appears to be from former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. asking for support in his run in the special mayor election. We have been hearing that he is running again, and are trying to confirm it from him directly. Here is a JPG of the letter forwarded to us. I apologize that it's a bit blurry.
I just ran into a Facebook post that hints that (a) Councilman Tony Yarber might be running for mayor and (b) that the hashtag #runtonyrun is trending.
After posting about it earlier, Yarber got back in touch with me via Facebook message, saying: "I'm heavily considering a run. I'm being encouraged by a lot of people. Most importantly, people I trust."
When asked when he would decide, he said: "There won't be an announcement right now. I'm going to watch my children do liturgical mime and dance tonight."
Meantime, here are the social-media posts, and a screenshot of the #runtonyrun tags on Twitter that seem associated with him (and I saw three on Facebook). My sense is that there may be more of an effort to take it trend.
And we're off.
Travis Childers is officially entering an already-heated Senate race for Thad Cochran's seat. Tea Party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel is in an ugly battle with Cochran for the Republican primary seat. Here is Childers' statement, just released, reprinted verbatim:
“Today I am filing to run for the U.S. Senate to make sure that all Mississippians have a Senator in Washington looking out for them.
“Regular people and small businesses across Mississippi are still hurting in this economy, but Washington is more partisan and dysfunctional than ever. That has got to change. What I know is that the old ways of Washington aren’t working, and a new breed of partisanship isn’t the answer. Right now the powerful corporations and special interests have all the power, and the middle class and seniors are paying the price. We need to end tax breaks for big corporations that ship jobs overseas, protect Medicare and Social Security, give small business owners a tax break, and pass a balanced budget amendment to force the politicians to cut the wasteful spending.
“I look forward to formally launching my campaign and traveling to every corner of our great state in the weeks to come. Mississippians know that I have a solid record of being an independent guy who will work across party lines and stand up to the powers that be when needed. In the U.S. Senate, I will continue to put Mississippi’s middle class first.”
From Northeast Mississippi, Travis Childers is a small business owner and a local economic development leader, who has brought over one thousand jobs to his local community. During his time in the House of Representatives, Travis had one of the most independent voting records in Congress. Travis is pro-gun, pro-life, and was endorsed by the NRA. In the Senate, Travis will lead the fight for a Balanced Budget Amendment, protect the Medicare and Social Security benefits that seniors have earned, and protect Mississippi jobs by ending tax breaks for big corporations that ship jobs overseas.
The Sun-Herald just broke the news that Rep. Gene Taylor will run as a Republican to try to reclaim a seat in the U.S. Congress:
Taylor said he was on his way to Jackson to file to run as a Republican. The primary is June 3.
Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2014/02/28/5377861/moore-will-run-again-for-congress.html#emlnl=Breaking_News#storylink=cpy
Gov. Phil Bryant has proclaimed February as Voter Registration Month. He and fellow Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann are urging Mississippi citizens to register to vote for upcoming party primaries--and not to forget their voter IDs.
Mississippi's voter-ID law is scheduled to be in place for the June 3 statewide primary. This comes after years of legal wrangling and claims from civil-liberties groups who say the law might deter African Americans and other minorities from bothering to try to vote.
But The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for voter ID last summer when the court's majority ruled unconstitutional parts of the Voting Rights Act that required some states to obtain federal approval for voting changes. The ruling basically said that in the past 40+ years states like Mississippi had suffered enough punishment for rigging its electoral system to keep blacks away from the polls for the past 100+ years.
The fact that the Voter Registration proclamation-cum-voter-ID reminder is taking place at the start of Black History Month is probably 100 percent, purely coincidental.
Or it's 100 percent, purely intentional.
Here's the release from Bryant's office, though:
Jackson, Miss.— With the new photo identification requirement beginning June 3rd, Governor Phil Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann want Mississippians to remember the key to our democracy lies with voting. Therefore, the Governor has proclaimed February Voter Registration Month in Mississippi.
“The right to vote is the cornerstone of our nation, and countless service men and women have given their lives in defense of this freedom,” Gov. Phil Bryant said. “I encourage Mississippians to register to vote and participate in the electoral process at the local, state and federal levels.”
“We believe there are approximately 360,000 Mississippians over the age of 18 who are not registered to vote,” says Secretary Hosemann. “Voting is our most important right. We thank Governor Bryant for his commitment to the electoral process and hope this designation will encourage Mississippians to register to vote.”
To register to vote in Mississippi, you must be:
• A resident of the State and the county/city for thirty (30) days prior to the election; • At least 18-years-old by the date of the general election; • Not convicted of a disenfranchising crime; and, • Not adjudicated mentally incompetent. • A statewide primary election will be held in Mississippi on Tuesday, June 3, 2014. The voter registration deadline for that election is Saturday, May 3, 2014, at 12 p.m. A statewide general election will be held in Mississippi on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. The voter registration deadline for that election is Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014, at 12 p.m. To register to vote, please visit your local circuit clerk’s office or, you may download a voter registration form on the Secretary of State’s website at http://sos.ms.gov/links/elections/voter_information_center/tab1/Voter_Registration.pdf.
For information regarding the voter identification requirement, please contact 1-844-MSVoter or visit www.MSVoterID.com.
It hardly seems like yesterday that LaRita Cooper-Stokes was running for Ward 3 councilwoman and then running again when a judge ordered a new election, which she also won. But it wasn't yesterday. It was spring 2012, after Cooper-Stokes' husband, Kenneth, won a seat on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors.
Now, the Jackson Advocate is reporting that Cooper-Stokes will run for Hind County Circuit Court judge long before serving out her entire first term. Both Stokeses went to law school and both have a penchant for missing important meetings, so it'll be interesting to see how she conducts business on the bench. It could also mean a whole lot of recusals for Mr. Stokes, who, as a supervisor, approves all the county's bills including those for the courts.
Sorry I don't have more information, but I didn't have $.50 on me to buy a copy of the Advocate and the story is not yet posted on its website.
Soon, Mississippi's worst-in-the-nation status for everything from obesity to gun deaths to 4th graders being able to spell their own names will be wiped away thanks to an effort now underway in the Legislature.
This morning, the state Senate passed a bill to add the words "In God We Trust" to the state seal, which now just says some junk in Latin or Greek or whatever language it is Ivy League eggheads talk.
The proposal, Senate Bill 2681, which is almost sure to turn around the state's mind-boggling child poverty rate by as early as next Monday morning, also ensures that that the government cannot interfere with Mississippians' right to exercise their religion. The U.S. Constitution has protected that right for almost 240 years, but everybody knows it doesn't really count until the Mississippi state Legislature says so.
SB 2681 now heads over to the House for consideration.
Here's the statement from the office of Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat who represents the Mississippi Delta in the the U.S. House of Representatives, on today's vote in the House to pass a Farm Bill.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02) released the following statement regarding his vote in support of H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management FARRM Act), also known as the Farm Bill:
“I am pleased with today’s bi-partisan efforts to pass the Farm Bill of 2013. Today’s bill provides a safety net for farmers, while ensuring that no Mississippian participating in SNAP will see a decrease in their benefits. This legislation ensures that foreign grown fish will be subject to the same rigorous inspection as Mississippi Farm Raised Catfish. And this bill will provide funding for agriculture research at Alcorn State University, and for wildlife conservation programs in Mississippi.”
“Agriculture is Mississippi’s number one industry, employing over 29% of our state’s workforce. I am pleased that Mississippi’s over 42,000 farmers will now benefit from a robust federally backed crop insurance program. Today’s Farm Bill will also fund infrastructure projects, community facilities, small business grants and loans in rural areas through the USDA’s Rural Development programs, helping to boost Mississippi’s economy and increase job growth. I support today’s Farm Bill and urge my colleagues in the Senate to move quickly on this legislation,” said Congressman Thompson.
So the old-school Republican strategist Haley Barbour has stuck his foot in his mouth again, perhaps purposefully. He went on CNN to defend New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's administration, which is under fire for various corruption allegations, including a serious accusation by Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Dawn Zimmer. When Barbour appeared on camera to downplay the allegations, he just looked and sounded like a garden-variety sexist grandpa when he called Zimmer a "lady mayor." As in, what the hell does her gender have to do with anything?!? And why would a man supposedly as smart as Barbour make such an error?
It could have been purposeful, of course, considering that the base of Barbour's party hasn't realized that we have moved into the 21st century and that blatant sexism ain't cool or attractive, and it sure won't attract the kinds of younger voters the GOP will desperately need to survive.
So how exactly does this help Christie get into the White House? The national GOP might think seriously before letting such an old-school political strategist speak for their candidates. Don't forget, after all, that he was the one who tried to pretend that the Citizens Council had good intentions in his hometown.
Most frustrating, this ignorance on a national stage once again makes Mississippi look bad.
The legislative session has not been without drama. But with the deadline to introduce general bills passing earlier this week, it seems like there have been relatively few bills related to traditional red-meat issues.
Only one bill title mentions abortion and it was put forth by Rep. Nick Bain, D-Corinth. Bain's bill, HB 513, says that "any discussion of abortion must be presented from the medical perspective of the potential long-term and short-term hazards presented to patients as the result of having the procedure performed."
Sen. Michael Watson, a R-Pascagoula, has a bill that would make it a felony if exposing a fetus or a child to a controlled substance or chemical substance causes serious physical injury to the child or fetus. Watson's bill carves out exceptions for legally administered prescription drugs.
Attempts at regulating immigration are also non-existent thus far. Besides a bill from Rep. Reecy Dickson, D-Macon, that authorizes a task force to study the role of immigrant communities in alleviating poverty, we haven't seen renewed attempts to impose strict show-your-papers kinds of immigration bills (at least not yet).
That said, there are a handful of gun bills.
U.S. Senate hopeful Chris McDaniel would prohibit state cooperation with any federal effort to ban firearms. Rep. Mark Formby, R-Picayune, has a similar bill in the House. Another proposal, from Rep. Andy Gipson, R-Braxton, makes certain exceptions to concealed-carry permits for gun and ammo-related companies.
The numbers are in, and it looks like the soon-to-be-law, one-percent local option sales tax won in every precinct last Tuesday.
The results, which you can view here, show that the vote received the highest support in north Jackson, but enjoyed widespread support throughout the city's seven wards.
The four wards with the highest turnout went overwhelmingly for the measure. To wit:
- Ward 35, which votes at Spann Elementary School in Ward 1, voted 475-34 in favor of the tax.
- Ward 45, which votes at St. Philips Episcopal Church in Ward 1, voted 463-48 in favor of the tax.
- Ward 46, which votes at Christ United Methodist Church in Ward 1, voted 689-90 in favor of the tax.
- Ward 83, which votes at New Hope Baptist Church in Ward 2, voted 648-38 in favor of the tax.
State Rep. Deborah Dixon, D-Bolton, has introduced a bill that modifies the state's so-called Castle Doctrine, which establishes parameters for when homicide is justified (e.g. self-defense).
Under Dixon's legislation, HB 179, the Castle Doctrine would only apply within 30 feet of the exterior of a dwelling. Outside of that 30-foot threshold, the shooter would not be immune from criminal liability.
The legislation would also require some shooters in Castle Doctrine cases to "submit to a sobriety test or drug test at the time of investigation to determine whether the individual was under the influence of an intoxicating liquor or controlled substance."
The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary A Committee, chaired by Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and the City of Jackson is hosting another Town Hall meeting tonight to discuss the 1-percent local sales tax option. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at Christ United Methodist Church at 6000 Old Canton Road in Ward 1.
City leaders are putting the option for the tax to voters next Tuesday ( Jan. 14). If passed, it would levy an extra 1-percent on all sales in the city except groceries, prescription drugs, cable TV packages, hotel rooms and food and beverages at restaurants.
After his election as mayor, one of the biggest questions hanging over Chokwe Lumumba's new administration was what kind of relationship he would have with the state Legislature.
Historically, that relationship has been icier than our weather the past few days. Lumumba's predecessor, Harvey Johnson Jr., wasn't known as someone who liked to hobnob and press the flesh.
Today, Lumumba opened what he called a new "era of cooperation" as he gave the Legislature a warm welcome to the capital city.
"I want you to feel welcome; I want you to to feel like you're home. Go out and spend lots of money," Lumumba told members of the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Lumumba even recommended a couple of his favorite haunts, Chitoes African Deli in west Jackson and Pearl's Southern Kitchen on Terry Road, and urged members in need of a new set of wheels to stop in at a Jackson car dealership.
Then, he struck a slightly more serious tone.
"Vote for all the pro-Jackson stuff," he said. "What's good for Jackson is good for Mississippi and what's good for Mississippi is good for Jackson."
There's a new place for state government news, commentary and analysis. It's called Rethink Mississippi, and it's a project of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at Ole Miss.
According to the site's "about us" page, Rethink Mississippi "is a forum for insight, analysis, and debate about Mississippi’s critical long-term issues — run by and intended for the people committed to working on these issues in the future. RM offers a space for Mississippi’s emerging leaders to be heard, and, more importantly, to hear from each other. In short, we want the people who will shape the public policy of tomorrow discussing it today at RM."
An interesting piece in Salon this week seems to have discovered (bless their little San Francisco hearts) that 'open carry' is a "new craze" (ahem) out here in flyover country.
But, now that they've caught on, the piece does take a fascinating look at some of the psychology of open carry and presents a case for the idea that open carry actually contributes to violence instead of curbing it.
How can that be? Here's a couple of the key points they make:
- People with guns tend to see guns, even when they're not there. Result: higher chance of shooting an unarmed "threat."
A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggests that when people are holding a gun, they’re less capable of evaluating a threat than they would be if they didn’t have a weapon in their own hands.
- The presence of a weapon can make a hostile environment more hostile.
Since 1967, researchers have been observing the “weapons effect,” a phenomenon in which the mere presence of a weapon can stimulate aggressive behavior. Of course, a person doesn’t respond to a gun the way a cartoon bull reacts to the matador’s cape; we aren’t spontaneously enraged every time we notice a firearm. But empirical research has repeatedly shown that when people are already aggravated, seeing a gun will motivate them to behave more aggressively.
- Your body responds involuntarily to threats, and the presence of weapons is frequently interpreted as a superior threat in a given environment.
“The ‘threat superiority effect’ is the tendency for people to be able to pick out very quickly in their environment things that might pose a threat to their security — anything that might be dangerous,” explains Isabelle Blanchette, a professor of psychology at the University of Quebec. “People have a tendency to be able to see these things before they see other things.”
Read the whole piece; it'll fly in the face of some people's worldview, but if you've got an open mind about this topic it really is food for thought on the psychology of open carry.
The American Family Association's president, Tim Wildmon, sent out an "AFA ActionAlert" this morning to let us know that our worst fears are, indeed, coming true. Thanks to an "activist" Federal judge in Utah, "...polygamy is now essentially legal in the United States."
Whoa! I tell you, those activist judges are out. of. control.
Of course, Wildmon had tried to tell us...
We warned from the beginning that once the biblical standard of man-woman marriage was breached, there would be no logical place to stop.
The AFA ActionAlert somewhat surprisingly links to this USA Today story about the ruling—I say surprisingly because, presumably, we're not actually supposed to read the USA Today story, since it only barely says anything like what Wildmon's ActionAlert says.
There is a judge, and a lawsuit—one brought by the reality TV stars of "Sister Wives," a show which focuses on a polygamist family formerly of Utah—now in Vegas.
From USA Today:
U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups said in the ruling that the phrase in Utah law that forbids cohabitation with another person was a violation of the First Amendment.
Utah, it seems, has the most limiting polygamy law on the books—while 49 other states have laws against polygamy (being legally married to more than one person at a time), Utah's law "makes it illegal to even purport to be married to multiple partners or live together."
In other words, it's illegal in Utah to pretend to be married to more than one person at a time; in every other state it's only illegal to actually be married to more than one person at a time.
Back to Wildmon:
Though we have been accused of exaggerating and scare-mongering, this ruling shows that we were right all along to sound the alarm. Bans against incest are now at risk of being overturned.
Ahhh. Well, I guess we could see that one coming. Feels like a bit of a stretch… unless those rumors I've been hearing about a new show being cast in Appalachia called "Cousin Wives," prove to be true…
Mississippi routinely lags the rest of the nation when it comes to educating or kids.
Apparently, Gov. Phil Bryant is under the impression that the federal government -- with everything it's dealing with related to the rollout of the health law -- now wants to try to fix Mississippi's public-education system.
He can probably relax. Mississippi officials haven't even seemed interested in educating Mississippi's kids, considering the chronic underfunding of the state's public-education formula in recent years. So it seems unlikely the feds are interested in taking on that task.
But this afternoon, Bryant issued an executive order "affirming Mississippi’s right and responsibility to define and implement its own public school standards and curricula" and making it clear that "under state law, this core function of state government cannot be ceded to the federal government."
According to a news release from Bryant's office, the order comes as on the heels of the state's implementation of Common Core State Standards, and affirms that:
-the state and its local public school districts, not the federal government, shall determine public school standards and curricula.
-the state and not the federal government shall select statewide assessments, and local school districts may implement additional assessments to monitor academic progress.
-no federal law or grant currently purports to mandate the adoption of any uniform, nationwide academic standards, curricula, or assessments.
-the state is under no obligation to comply with any future federal mandates for uniform academic standards, curricula or assessments.
-the collection of test data and other student information pertaining to academic performance shall comply with all laws that protect student and family privacy.
-the constitutional rights of Mississippi school children and their families will not be violated as result of federal education decisions.
-that, in accordance with applicable law, homeschool students are not bound by K-12 academic standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and the City of Jackson will host three additional town hall meetings to discuss the merits of the proposed 1-percent sales tax option currently before Jackson voters, the city announced Monday morning.
Wards 1 and 2 will meet at 6 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Word and Worship Church at 6286 Hanging Moss, Wards 5, 6 and 7 will meet at 6 p.m. on Dec. 22 at the Battlefield Community Center at 953 W. Porter St. and Wards 3 and 4 will meet at 6 p.m. at St. John M.B. Church at 4895 Medgar Evers Blvd.
Jacksonians will vote on the referendum on Jan. 14, 2014. If approved, the city would gain a penny on every dollar spent for all retail sales except for groceries, prescription drugs, hotel rooms, food and drinks at restaurants and television cable packages.