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February 5, 2016

Fantasy Sports Site Offers 'Live Fantasy' Game for GOP Debate

By toddstauffer

The website BoomFantasy.com, which up until now has focused on sports, is launching a "live fantasy" game to coincide with the GOP debate planned for Saturday, February 6, 2016.

For sporting events, the website focuses on in-game predictions such as "What will be the result of Payton Manning's next throw?"

For the debate, questions will hinge more on typical talking points and drinking-game style observations, such as: "Who will Donald Trump go after next? Which will be mentioned first: Ted Cruz's Canadian citizenship or his questionable Iowa tactics?"

Saturday's Republican debate, which begins at 8 pm ET, will be the first ever non-sports event for the Stanford startup, according to a press release.

"Watching Trump and Cruz combat each other seems like more of a sporting event than the Nets-76ers game on Saturday evening," said Stephen A. Murphy, co-founder and CEO of Boom Fantasy, in the release. "Our live fantasy format adds fun and excitement to all types of events, not just athletic contests."

After Saturday's foray into politics, Boom Fantasy returns to football on Sunday, when the Broncos face the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.

Boom Fantasy games can be played for real prize money in 12 U.S. states - California, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Residents of all states can participate in free-to-play tournaments, according to the company.

Boom Fantasy can be played at www.boomfantasy.com, and is available in the App Store and on Android.

January 28, 2016

Airport Bill Touching Down Next Week

By adreher

Sen. Josh Harkins, R-Flowood, is touching up a bill that proposes to change the Jackson airport commission structure. Harkins told the Jackson Free Press he will likely file his bill on Monday or Tuesday next week, which will change who appoints and who qualifies to serve on the airport's governing body.

The current commission is made up of five members, all appointed by the Jackson mayor. Harkins' bill will require the commission to include members from Madison, Rankin and city of Jackson. Harkins is still working on the details, but he said it is important for some commissioners to have aviation and business experience.

Jackson-based legislators have vocalized their distaste for the proposed bill, as well as Jackson business leaders calling the bill an attempted "takeover." Harkins said the city of Jackson will not suffer financially from the plan.

January 8, 2016

Airport Authority Hires Same Lobbyist the City of Jackson is Using

By R.L. Nave

The following is a verbatim press release from the Jackson airport:

Jackson, Miss. – At the Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority held earlier this month, the Board of voted to engage the services of W.T. Consultants.

As the official lobbyist for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority, Worth Thomas, along with the W.T. Consultants team will monitor and track all state and municipal legislation impacting the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority. Additionally, W.T. Consultants will coordinate communications with legislators and other officials concerning impacts to the economic development of the JMAA enterprise including the Jackson Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport and Hawkins Field Airport.

“We are most excited about the addition of Mr. Thomas to our legal team”, said Perry J. Miller, Chief Operating Officer for the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority. “The gravity of his experience is an added value in assisting us to meet our legislative goals in support of our enterprise."

Established in 1996, W.T. Consultants has been engaged in lobbying and business consulting with congressional, state, municipal and other local entities. The firm has been in good standing with the State of Mississippi as a registered lobbyist and has established bi-partisan relationships with government and legislative officials including the Mississippi House of Representatives and the Mississippi Senate.

December 3, 2015

Presley: Net-Metering Rules Pass Public Service Commission

By R.L. Nave

The Mississippi Public Service Commission's Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley issued the following statement about the approval of the state's first net-metering rule:

JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI - (December 3, 2015) – Today, the Public Service Commission unanimously passed a groundbreaking rule allowing net metering in the state. Net metering is the process by which individual utility customers who use solar panels or other renewable energy generators can sell back their excess power to the power companies. The electricity the customers produce can be placed back on the electric grid to offset what they otherwise would pay on their power bill.

In early January of 2011, the PSC initiated a study of the costs and benefits of net metering. Today’s decision is the culmination of nearly 5 years of work by the Commission.

“Mississippians are self-sufficient. They like to fix their own cars and grow their own food. They should be able to make their own power, too,” Presley said.

The rule requires that customers who produce excess electricity be compensated at the cost the utility will not have to spend each month, plus 2.5 cents for unquantifiable benefits. To assist low income customers, the Commission orders that each utility file a report on the feasibility of community solar by summer, 2016. Further, the first 1,000 low income customers will receive an additional 2 cents/kWh as a way of offsetting some initial costs. The order further protects consumers by establishing a joint working group to address all concerns raised in the docket. The effectiveness of the rule will be evaluated in 5 years.

“Passing this rule is a big step toward creating a solar market in our state; a step that could one day benefit all ratepayers. No one can predict what the cost of electricity or gas will be tomorrow but I can tell you that the sunshine will be free,” Presley concluded.

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2015/dec/03/23755/

November 25, 2015

City: Avoid Woodrow Wilson if Possible Due to Water Main Break

By R.L. Nave

From the office of the Mayor Tony Yarber:

Motorists are advised of road conditions on the east bound lane of Woodrow Wilson Drive, heading toward Interstate 55. There was a break on a 36-inch water line in the area. The City's team is assessing the condition of the site continuously to keep it safe for motorists. However, if possible, motorists may want to select an alternate route.

An emergency declaration was signed to expedite the process of securing a consultant for design and construction. That process can take up to several weeks, but we’re now finalizing an agreement with an engineering firm to begin design work.

The water main has been left active because it is serving critical facilities. At the same time, city engineers are working to design the repair, which is more involved because of the location, the materials for the pipe and the laying conditions. This project requires a custom built new pipe as the break occurred on a 36-inch water line constructed in the 1960s. The repair cannot be made in house. The pipe needs to be encased, requiring engineering design and a contractor.

The City's team is assessing the condition of the site continuously to keep it safe for motorists. As soon as the design is completed, the city will receive quotes to get a contractor mobilized to make the repairs.

November 18, 2015

District 79 House Race Will Be Decided by Drawing Straws

By adreher

Run-offs are old-school anyway, right?

The fate of District 79's representation in the House of Representatives will be decided on Friday by drawing straws, according to Mississippi election law. Rep. Bo Eaton, D-Taylorsville, has represented the district since 1996, but in this election he pulled in the exact same number of votes as his Republican challenger, Mark Tullos.

The two candidates tied with 4,589 votes each.

In a press release, Rep. Eaton said he will not challenge the result of Friday's straws. Technically, the loser on Friday has the right to challenge the vote and appeal to the House of Representatives, which would then decide who gets to take District 79's seat when they reconvene.

Eaton's press release said: "Whatever the outcome of the procedure, I will abide by the result and not challenge the election. I hope my opponent will agree to do the same thing."

The District 79 race straws will be drawn on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the governor's office conference room in the Sillers Building when the governor and the secretary of state return from Israel.

November 2, 2015

Robert Gray's Mom: I Always Wanted Him to Run for Gov.

By R.L. Nave

Judie Gray Livingston, the woman who didn't even know her eldest child was running for statewide office before August, said she always thought he'd make a good governor.

"It was always my desire that he would run for governor," Livingston told the Jackson Free Press. "I think that's every mother's (desire)."

Livingston joined her son and daughter, Angela Gray (who is also her big brother's campaign manager), at a prayer vigil for Democratic candidates this afternoon at Smith Park.

Gray, 56, unexpectedly won the Democratic primary in August to become the party's nominee.

Meanwhile, across town, Republicans held a cook-off and rally today at the Ag Museum to promote their slate of statewide candidates.

Judie Gray said she prayed for the passage of the school funding Initiative 42 as well as for salary increases for teachers and state employees as well as infrastructure upgrades.

"This is a positive thing he's done. There's nothing negative," she told me. "He's all about the people of Mississippi wanting to improve."

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2015/nov/02/23409/

October 26, 2015

Haley Barbour Comes Out Against Initiative 42, 42A

By R.L. Nave

The following is a verbatim statement from former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour:

Advocates of the proposed constitutional amendment known as Initiative 42 have twisted a passage in my 2007 State of the State address to mislead voters into believing I support their very harmful ballot measure. Not only am I against Initiative 42, I strongly urge all Mississippians to vote “against both” measures on the November ballot.

When I spoke to the Legislature in January 2007, our state had turned the corner in the Katrina recovery: The federal government had been extremely generous with disaster assistance legislation; state tax revenue had exploded as tens of thousands of homes had been rebuilt or repaired; casinos that year would have an all-time record gaming haul; all of which produced the highest state tax revenue in our 188-year history. Further, our country was in the sixth year of consistent economic growth and low unemployment.

Based on those facts I proposed record funding for our K-12 schools, a funding level that met the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP), as well as increased state funding for higher education. The money was there to spend at those levels, and everyone expected state revenue to increase in the coming years.

Yet the country began a deep recession in late 2007, which lasted nationally until mid-2009.
During the Great Recession, Mississippi’s general fund revenue came in $197.1 million or 1.67% below estimates in FY 2009 and a whopping $452 million or nearly 9.5% below estimates in FY 2010.

As Governor I had to reduce spending across the board in FY 2010 by 9.4% in order to meet our requirement of having a balanced budget. Consider the consequences if Initiative 42 had been the law at that time: Instead of all departments and agencies sharing in the 9.4% cut, K-12 (which absorbs about 40% of our state’s general fund budget) would have been exempt from cuts, and every other function of government – universities and community colleges, mental health facilities, and public safety – would have had to be cut nearly double, or approximately 18%.

As this recent history shows, Initiative 42 is terrible as a practical matter because it ties the Legislature’s hands and jeopardizes funding for other critical areas of state government.

It is also awful public policy because it totally eviscerates the constitutional system of separation of powers that has been fundamental to American government since 1789.

Initiative 42 would usurp the setting of K-12 education policy and budget, taking it away from the Legislature and Governor – elected by all Mississippi voters – and give it to the judicial branch; indeed, to one chancery judge, elected by one-fourth of the voters in Hinds County.

While advocates of judicial policymaking and budget setting say that one judge’s decisions would be appealable to the State Supreme Court, how is it a good idea to allow judges – elected for their judicial temperament, legal knowledge and ability to apply law to facts – ...

October 19, 2015

Election Official: Initiative 42 So Confusing Many Won't Vote on It

By R.L. Nave

Earlier this month, the 42 for Better Schools campaign asked the Mississippi secretary of state's office to review ballots across all 82 counties in Mississippi after finding errors on ballots in Hinds County.

A Mississippi voter in Hinds County found the errors when the voter went to complete an absentee ballot, 42 for Better Schools spokeswoman Patsy Brumfield said at the time.

The same errors on the absentee ballot had been visible on the Hinds County sample ballot. The letter "A" was removed from the Initiative 42-A choice, so voters can vote "FOR Initiative Measure No. 42" or "FOR Alternative Measure No. 42." Without the letter "A" to designate the alternative, voters might vote for the wrong initiative Brumfield said.

Now, Hinds County officials want to reach out to people who voted absentee and ask them to submit a corrected ballot. Pieter Teeuwissen, the attorney for the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, said the county otherwise could be open to litigation.

At today's board meeting, supervisors, attorneys and election commissioners braced for mass confusion over the ballot initiative, which requires the Legislature to adequately fund public schools or be compelled to do so by the courts.

Connie Cochran, the District 4 representative to and chairwoman of the Hinds County Election Commission, called the initiative "confusing."

"I think what we're going to have is a lot of people who just don't vote" on Initiative 42, Cochran told supervisors today.

Board President Tony Greer, the only Republican member of the board, said even though he believes Initiative 42 to be a "perilous slope to changing the constitution," he does believes voters need proper information when going to the polls.

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2015/oct/19/23307/

September 25, 2015

AG Jim Hood Again Hits Back Against GOP Opponent Mike Hurst On Mendenhall Scandal

By R.L. Nave

On Sept. 24, Republican nominee for Mississippi state attorney general alleged that incumbent Democrat Jim Hood interfered with an investigation into a Mendenhall police chief. Hood's campaign characterized Hurst's allegations as desperate and "a complete lie." Today, Hood's camp slammed Hurst again, releasing the following statement, published here verbatim:

JACKSON, Miss (Friday, Sept. 25, 2015) – The Mississippi State Auditor’s retired supervising investigator over the case of former Mendenhall Police Chief Bruce Barlow today refuted the lies told by candidate Mike Hurst in his failed effort to save his campaign for attorney general.

Denver Smith, retired Mississippi State Audit, Senior Special Agent with Investigations from 1992 to 2015, issued the following statement through the Jim Hood for Attorney General Campaign:

"In all the time that I worked on the Barlow case, we never heard anything about the Attorney General's office doing anything illegal or improper. I've never heard anything like this until today (Thursday). I knew that the AG's office had closed the case because we were already involved in it with the FBI.”

Smith, who served as the state auditor’s supervising investigator in the Barlow case, continued:

“I checked with other agents who worked the case and asked them if anyone ever said that the AG's office did anything illegal or checked to see if they (the Attorney’s General’s Office) might have tipped Barlow off. These other agents all said they'd never heard of this and knew nothing about it."

Smith’s statement confirms Attorney General Jim Hood’s earlier statement that his office had been investigating the Barlow case in 2010 and then coordinated with the FBI after learning they were conducting their own investigation. The FBI stated they planned to bring federal charges and, based on that information, the Attorney General’s Office transferred its case file to the FBI and closed its state case. Barlow was ultimately convicted,

“First, Mr. Hurst owes an apology to the dedicated investigators and staff in the Attorney General’s Office who he shamefully and falsely accused of wrongdoing,” said Jonathan Compretta, campaign manager for the Jim Hood for Attorney General Campaign. “Second, we call on him to cease airing his fabricated television ads and stop the lies.”

The true testament to Hood’s integrity and character is reflected in the 41 Mississippi sheriff’s and district attorneys who endorsed him on Thursday, the most of any candidate in this year’s statewide elections. Hurst, who used an outgoing sheriff defeated in a primary campaign to concoct the Barlow story, has prosecuted and convicted three times fewer public officials for corruption than Jim Hood, yet touts his undersized record as a reason voters should elect him.

"Jim Hood’s record and his support from law enforcement officers speak volumes about why Mississippians trust him to protect their families,” Compretta said. “Hurst has a record of untruths and ambitious lies that Mississippians from Houston to Hickory can spot in a minute. We hope he will do the right thing and take down his ads.”

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2015/sep/25/23070/

August 26, 2015

Unofficial Totals: Sykes Beats Begley, McGowan Over Stringfellow, McQuirter Shakes Archie; Coleman Wins

By R.L. Nave

Only 8 percent of registered voters participated in yesterday's local Democratic runoff elections.

With such low participation, it undoubtedly helped community activist Kathy Sykes, who had wide support among progressive grassroots groups and fellow activists. It's also a majority black district. Sykes is African American; her opponent, attorney, Sam Begley is white. In unofficial county results, Sykes defeated Begley with 54 percent of votes to Begley's 46 percent. Begley wrote on Facebook last night saaying while he appeated to "come up short," he has a responsibility to his supporters to canvass the boxes to "confirm the correct result." The winner of that contest will face Republican Pete Perry in November.

Meanwhile, another community activist, David Archie had less success in his bid for Hinds County Board of Supervisors against incumbent Darrel McQuirter. Before the runoff, McQuirter seemed vulnerable considering that on Aug. 4, he won 44 percent of the votes against Archie and former Supervisor Al Hunter, both of whom have battled McQuirter in past elections. It seemed conceivable that Hunter's supporters would prefer Archie, but in the end McQuirter received 57 percent of votes.

The other Hinds County supervisors' runoff ended with Bobcat McGowan, a county employee, defeating Eric Stringfellow, a public-relations professional and former Clarion-Ledger columnist. McGowan seemed to have solid backing among some local black talk-radio talking heads, but didn't do media interviews, including with the JFP.

Finally, Hinds County race of interest, veteran legislator Rep. Mary Coleman defeated Robert Amos for central-district rep to the Mississippi Transportation Commission.

Here are the totals for Hinds County from the county's website:

 TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 110 OF 113 PRECINCTS COUNTED 97.35%) Robert Amos. . . . . . . . . . 2,274 20.80 Mary H. Coleman . . . . . . . . 8,614 78.80 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 44 .40 HOUSE DISTRICT 70 (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 17 OF 18 PRECINCTS COUNTED 94.44%) Samuel Lee Begley. . . . . . . . 953 46.02 Kathy Sykes. . . . . . . . . . 1,114 53.79 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .19 SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 2 (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 29 OF 29 PRECINCTS COUNTED) David L. Archie . . . . . . . . 2,001 42.64 Darrel McQuirter . . . . . . . . 2,688 57.28 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 4 .09 SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 5 (VOTE FOR) 1 (WITH 26 OF 27 PRECINCTS COUNTED 96.30%) Bobby "Bobcat" McGowan . . . . . . 1,221 53.93 Eric Stringfellow. . . . . . . . 1,035 45.72 WRITE-IN. . . . . . . . . . . 8 .35 
August 25, 2015

LIVEBLOG: Run-Off Results - Jackson and Hinds County

By Todd Stauffer

9:38 PM With 100% in, McQuirter lost ground but appears to win with 687 vote lead.

With 94% in, Sykes leads Begley 54/46.

With 96% in, McGowan leads Stringfellow by 186 votes (54/46).

9:13 PM With 96.5% reporting, McQuirter leads Archie by just under 1700 votes.

At 83% in, Sykes leads Begley by 210 votes (55/44).

At 81.5% counted, McGowan leads Stringfellow by 294 votes (57/43).

8:59 PM With 67% reporting, Begley trails Sykes by 105 votes.

McQuirter leads Archie 57/43 with 83% reporting.

McGowan leads Stringfellow 58/41 with 70% counted.

8:53 PM McQuirter over Archie 65%/34% in Hind Sup 2 run-off (58% in).

McGowan leads Stringfellow by 96 votes (52% in).

8:50 PM With 44% reporting, Sam Begley leads Kathy Sykes by 48 votes in District 70.

8:40 PM: AP is reporting that Rep. Mary Coleman will win the Democratic Nomination for transportation commissioner in the central district.

August 18, 2015

Oxford, Home of Ole Miss, Votes to Not Fly Mississippi Flag, Called 'Pansies'

By Donna Ladd

Good news out of Oxford, Miss., just now. Legislative hopeful Cristen Hemmins and The Oxford Eagle are reporting on their Facebook pages that the Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to stop flying the Mississippi state flag until the Confederate canton is gone.

Per The Oxford Eage's Facebook Post:

"The Oxford Board of Aldermen have voted to remove the current Mississippi state flag from all city buildings and approved sending the state Legislature a resolution requesting the state flag be changed."

More than one person posting under the Eagle's post used the word "pansies" to refer to the aldermen. Robin Gittemeier Ware, who works with FNC Inc. Professional Services, commented underneath: "What we have here is a bunch of pansies afraid of "offending" someone. Everyone is offended by something but a flag never killed anyone."

Another commenter, Matt Sessums, took an irreverent approach in response to such posts: "Imagine how crazy some of these people will be when they name Obama as Chancellor."

August 4, 2015

Election Night Parties

By R.L. Nave

Here are the election-night parties we know are happening. If you hear about of any others, please let us know. Polls close at 7 p.m.

Gov. Phil Bryant Tonight at 7:30 PM at the Mississippi Republican Party Headquarters (415 Yazoo St, Jackson)

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will speak to supporters and members of the media at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Parlor Market, 115 W. Capitol St. in Jackson.

Vicki Slater, Democratic candidate for governor Hal & Mal's 200 Commerce St., Jackson

Sheriff Tyrone Lewis Lewis Campaign Headquarters 4255 Robinson Road

Victor Mason, candidate for Hinds County sheriff The campaign headquarters are located at 955 I-20 South Frontage Road, on top of the hill at the Gallatin Street Exit.

Stanley Alexander, candidate for Hinds County district attorney Martin's 214 South State Street Jackson, MS

July 15, 2015

Clinton Takes Mississippi in 2016? Probably against Trump, at least ...

By Donna Ladd

A new polling analysis published by examiner.com indicates something about Mississippi that has been in the works for a while: Based on recent elections, our state is trending blue.

Based on polling data on a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump showdown in 2016, Mississippi is one of the few Deep South states that would go for Clinton in that matchup.

This analysis might surprise many who think that Mississippi is the reddest state of the red (especially based on our statewide cavemen, er, elected officials). But several facts make it much more complicated than at first glance:

  1. State Democrats have provided very few even-marginally-progressive options historically, giving younger and less-conservative choices to vote for, creating voter lethargy among those who might turn out and vote "blue" otherwise. That fact is actually changing this year, with several openly progressive (and female) Democrats getting at least some party support, instead of the pseudo-Republicans the party has tended to put up in the last 20 years.

  2. More young people of all races are staying in Mississippi, and many of them are voting Democratic, and have since 2004.

  3. Demographics, demographics, demographics. The irony of Mississippi being the state with the highest percentage of enslaved people in 1860 is that our state still has the highest percentage of African Americans and is more likely than much of Dixie to go blue first. Put simply, African Americans tend to vote Democratic, ever since the Republican Party embrace of Dixiecrats back in the late 1960s after national Dems supported civil-rights laws, and we have the highest percentage of black residents in the country.

  4. And, let's be honest, even many Republicans don't want bat-shit-crazy Trump running this country.

  5. Finally, to be honest again, a lot of white people like Clinton better than Obama (even if I'm not one of them).

So, there are no surprises here: Mississippi has been steadily trending blue for a while now. The question, as always, is: Will the people who can flip the state into the blue column turn out both this November (to save public-education funding and turn out a governor who makes us look like the most stuck-in-the-past state) and next November?

Time, and voter registration, will tell. Progressive (which is easy to be here by rejecting the radical right) Mississippians must find the will to stop giving up our power to sellouts to bigotry and backward ideas (and ideologues) to lift our state up. I've watched this will grow since we started this paper in 2002—and saw serious evidence of it when we turned back Personhood, shocking the nation—and I believe in upcoming elections we may well surprise the world once again. I've believed this was coming for nearly 15 years now.

Stay tuned and register to vote.

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2015/jul/15/22172/

July 2, 2015

Bernie Sanders... Frontrunner?

By Todd Stauffer

He may not be leading money totals or straw polls, but Senator Bernie Sanders apparently did something that no other candidate has done yet in the 2016 presidential race... he had a record crowd last night in Wisconsin, pushing 10,000 people. Interesting.

June 26, 2015

NAE Takes Jesus Out Of Context on 'Definition' of Marriage

By Tom_Head

In response to the Supreme Court's ruling today on same-sex marriage, the National Association of Evangelicals sent a statement to media, that begins:

God designed marriage for humanity. As first described in Genesis and later affirmed by Jesus, marriage is a God-ordained, covenant relationship between a man and a woman. This lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship brings children into the world and thus sustains the stewardship of the earth. Biblical marriage —­­ marked by faithfulness, sacrificial love and joy — displays the relationship between God and his people. [1] While commentators, politicians and judges may revise their understanding of marriage in response to shifting societal trends, followers of Jesus should embrace his clear vision of marriage found in Matthew 19:4-6...

The most interesting thing about the NAE's statement is that it gives Jesus' answer to a question (Matthew 19:4-6) while omitting the question itself (Matthew 19:3). The passage in question has to do with divorce, not with same-sex marriage. Here's the NIV translation of the full exchange:

(19:3) Some Pharisees came to him to test [Jesus]. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”

(19:4-6) “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

While the NAE takes this statement to prohibit homosexuality (a topic Jesus never addresses), the National Association of Evangelicals does not take it to completely prohibit divorce. There are compelling pastoral reasons why it would be a bad idea to interpret it in that way.

The possibility that there may be similarly compelling pastoral reasons not to read the passage out of context as a condemnation of homosexuality does not seem to occur to our friends in the NAE at this time.

That said, it is worth mentioning that support for same-sex marriage among white evangelical Protestants has nearly doubled—from 14% to 27%—in the past ten years.

If this trend continues, the NAE is likely to follow Jesus' example and stop condemning homosexuality sometime around 2025.

June 23, 2015

Mississippi Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden Agrees With Speaker Gunn: 'Reconsider' State Flag'

By Donna Ladd

"I believe any state flag should be a common symbol citizens can unite behind and proudly embrace as their own. If our flag is no longer useful for those purposes (to instill pride and unity across the broad spectrum of citizens), then we should reconsider its current status. I certainly agree with Speaker Gunn that the time has come to have that conversation."

May 29, 2015

Kenny Stokes Wants a Bridge Named for Frank Melton

By R.L. Nave

Buried deep within the city council's 78-item agenda for Tuesday, is a proposed resolution from Jackson Councilman Kenneth Stokes to name the Pearl Street Bridge for the controversial late Mayor Frank Melton.

It's unclear what Stokes's motives are beyond the fact that he was an ally of Melton, who died on Election Night in 2009, and he seems to enjoy prolonging city council meetings as long as possible.

We'll try to find out more next week.

http://jacksonfreepress.com/users/photos/2015/may/29/21548/

May 29, 2015

Has 'Us vs. Them' Politics Taken Its Toll on Conservatism?

By Todd Stauffer

Call it "us vs. them politics"—like National Memo does in this piece—or what I call the "virtue of selfishness" that has been pushed for the last 30 years by conservative think tanks and pundits, but it boils down to this—social conservatives in this country like to blame the "other" for societal ills.

From the American Family Council calling an open-door campaign in the wake of anti-gay legislation "bullying" of Christians, to the persistent bellyaching here in the JFP comments about crime and social safety net programs, you see this "us vs. them" argument over and over again.

But here's what's interesting... the "us" may be getting smaller and smaller all the time.

For the first time since Gallup started asking the question in 1999, there's a tie between people who identify as "socially liberal" and those who identify as "socially conservative." The number is pinned at 31 percent each. Up until now, conservatives had led in that poll.

Likewise, on specific "moral" issues, again as measured by Gallup, the country has showed large left-ward shifts since 2001 on questions such as gay and lesbian acceptance, sex and childrearing out of wedlock, divorce, and stem cell research; smaller shift show on issues such as abortion rights, doctor-assisted suicide and against the death penalty.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183413/americans-continue-shift-left-key-moral-issues.aspx

Going into an election year in Mississippi, we probably won't feel that shift; most likely the we'll hear more about conservative wedge issues such as immigration, marriage equality and irrational rallying cries against expanding Medicaid and education.

But on a national stage going into the 2016 elections, this tilting landscape could spell trouble for the GOP, especially as it seems largely intent on trotting out the same candidates and many of the same tropes that have failed them in previous presidential election cycles. From the Salon piece:

Gen-X dreamboats Marco Rubio and Scott Walker, on the other hand, are offering young people a bleak vision of endless war, antiquated social values and economic hardship and they know it. It matters little if that dark picture of the future is offered by a youthful fellow with an ethnic name. It’s embarrassing for the Republicans that they don’t understand that.

If the country continues on its path to the left on social issues, it does seem that the clever politician who can marry a fiscally moderate position (strong economy plus strong safety net plus modern education and workforce) with a leftward social platform will likely continue to win outside of the gerrymandered districts of Congress.

From there, it's a question of rallying voters to the cause of fixing broken Congressional districts and campaign finance, so the voice of the people truly be heard at all levels of government.

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