True the Vote, the Houston—Texas-based pollwatching organization that is suing Mississippi political and government officials over alleged voter suppression—has submitted two affidavits from people to support their claims that the integrity of the June 24 Republican primary for U.S. Senate might have been compromised.
One submitted to TTV by a woman named Susan Morse in Noxubee County claims that a Macon woman participated in the GOP primary after voting in the Democratic primary June 3, which state election laws prohibit.
Another, filed in Harrison County by a man named Phillip C. Harding III, claims that at about 2 p.m. on July 1—one week after the election that U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran beat state Sen. Chris McDaniel, he observed election officials discard ballots.
Harding writes: "In a one of the bins I found a small stack of provisional ballots, unopened. I gave te provisional ballots to an exec committee member who took control of them. I also found absentee ballot bags in several o the supply bins. Some had opened envelopes and applications in the them. I took the applications and envelopes out because I did not know what to do with them, but believed they should be saved. After setting them aside I saw another volunteer dispose of them at executive committee members' direction."
The group filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court in Jackson late Wednesday against election commissioners in several Mississippi counties, including Hinds County, as well as the state GOP. A teleconference took place this morning at the federal courthouse.
The motion for the TRO detailed the counties it says is not complying with the law: While some counties provided proper voter records, Copiah County, Hinds County, Jefferson Davis County, Lauderdale County, Leake County, Madison County, Rankin County, Simpson County, and Yazoo County refused. These counties, who have been sued via their respective Election Commissions, also wrongfully maintain that the birthdates of voters must be redacted from voter records, at Plaintiffs’ expense."
In the GOP's continued saga of internecine warfare, there's another front opening in the Battle of Mississippi with a shot coming from... Missouri?
The chairman of the Missouri GOP wants the campaign investigated by the Republican National Committee, according to the Washington Post. The Missouri GOP chair wants the RNC to investigate racially-charged robocalls and ads that appear to have been placed in Canton, Miss., and elsewhere in support of Cochran's run-off bid.
The head of the Missouri Republican Party on Tuesday asked Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to appoint a task force to investigate what he called “racially divisive ads and robocalls” critical of state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate in Mississippi.
Ed Martin, the GOP chair in Missouri, is apparently concerned that Henry Barbour, nephew of former Governor Haley Barbour, may be behind a radio ad that was reported by Britain's Daily Mail.
The Daily Mail story, which offers an in-depth investigation to determine who placed the ads and how, notes that the ads were tagged "paid for by Citizens for Progress," a group that isn't registered with the FEC.
According to the Daily Mail, this same group name had been used previously by Mitzi Bickers, an Atlanta pastor, who, coincidentally, was being paid by Mississippi Conservatives -- a "super PAC" created by Haley Barbour and run by his nephew, Henry Barbour.
The younger Barbour told the Daily Mail he didn't know about the radio ads, although he acknowledged hiring Bickers to run a robocall campaign in the Cochran-McDaniel runoff.
In the radio ad, McDaniel is linked to an "ally" of the KKK, and listeners are warned that a McDaniel victory could mean a loss of government benefits such as food stamps, lunch programs and disaster assistance.
Verbatim statement from the Travis Childers campaign:
"One thing is clear tonight; Senator Cochran does not have the confidence of his state, let alone his own party. The majority of Republicans voted for change in Washington. And if we are going to change Washington, we will need to change who we send to Washington.
"The same people will give us the same results of gridlock, and elected officials will continue fighting each other rather than fighting for Mississippians. It is time for a change, and I believe I can best represent the future of Mississippi in the United States Senate.
"I look forward to a spirited debate with Senator Cochran on the many issues facing Mississippi. And I am calling for Senator Cochran to join me in a series of debates beginning next month, so voters can clearly see the differences."
Verbatim release from Chism Strategies:
Last night we conducted the final track of our MS Senate GOP runoff surveys. We surveyed 697 voters statewide. The MOE was +/- 3.8%. The survey was restricted to voters from the GOP primary on June 3rd. It does not include potential voters who did not participate in that election.
McDaniel holds an eight point lead among GOP voters who went to the polls on June 3rd and plan to return on Tuesday.
How We See It
Unless Cochran expands the electorate with general election Republicans and crossover Democrats, McDaniel wins.
The electoral math is much closer than the polling. Cochran heads into Tuesday only about 6,200 votes down out of a total of almost 319,000 cast on June 3rd. (We assume the third candidate’s supporters do not migrate to Cochran.)
No Polling Can Measure the Implications of Two Unprecedented Actions in Mississippi Politics
- Surrogates for the 42 year GOP incumbent are groveling for Democrat and union votes in the runoff after his campaign spent millions in the Primary bashing President Obama and his policies. Can Cochran’s team execute their elaborate, expensive GOTV plan?
- Will this pivot to a more centrist message erode his conservative base? Republican office holders have gotten way out ahead of their constituents. Are the establishment Republicans able to bring the rank and file to Cochran? Will there be a backlash from this top down directive?
Tyrone Hendrix and Dennis Sweet IV will be heading for the Ward 6 City Council Election, which is scheduled for July 1.
In yesterday's election, Hendrix came out on top with 546 votes. Sweet was only nine votes behind with 537 votes total. Rashaad Crisler came in third place with 429 votes. The polling results can be viewed in its entirety on the city's website at http://www.jacksonms.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=79.
Hendrix was born and raised in Jackson. He is a longtime Democratic Party operative who helped manage Jonathan Lee's campaign for mayor in 2013 and worked with Regina Quinn during the recent special election for mayor. Before working for Lee last year, Hendrix—who runs a political consulting firm with his wife, Ercilla—was deputy campaign manager for Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree's 2011 gubernatorial bid.
He was also state director for Organizing for America, a grassroots advocacy group affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, and other community-organizing groups. During the 2009 Jackson mayor's race, Hendrix worked on the campaigns for state Sen. John Horhn in the Democratic primary and Harvey Johnson in the runoff and general election. In 2008, Hendrix worked on Barack Obama's first presidential campaign.
In a recent interview with Jackson Free Press, Hendrix explained what his top priorities would be if he obtained the Ward 6 seat.
"Hands down, in the first few weeks I’ll be going to the residents of Ward 6," Hendrix said. "I think that we can’t get so caught up in what we think the issues are, and I think we have a pretty good sense of what they are because I, personally, go knock on doors and make phone calls every day to residents of Ward 6. But at that particular time I think we’ll have to reinforce what we think the biggest issues are.
"…We also have problems with our children not having a place to go so they walk the street, they stay at home, they get in trouble. They say an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. The saying is often used, but it also applies particularly in Ward 6 because a lot of places have closed down, particularly the parks. The park areas that we have in the ward, if they are open, they are unsightly. It’s not inviting for people to want to come and spend time in that green space, which would be a great place for kids to go."
Sweet works with his father at Sweet & Associates, where the younger Sweet specializes in civil litigation, civil rights, personal injury, medical malpractice, premises liability and criminal defense.
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Chicago, Sweet has practiced law in Mississippi since 2008. He has also worked as an adjunct professor and volunteer pre-law adviser for Tougaloo College, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 2004. Sweet attended Thurgood Marshall School of Law, and he received a Master of Laws from the George Washington University Law School in 2011.
In a recent interview with JFP, Sweet talked ...
Mississippi may be in the midst of the nation's slimiest political contest, the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Now, a new study purports that Mississippi is indeed the crookedest state in the union. Researchers at Indiana University and University of Hong Kong "studied more than 25,000 convictions of public officials for violation of federal corruption laws between 1976 and 2008 as well as patterns in state spending to develop a corruption index that estimates the most and least corrupt states in the union."
The full article is not publicly available, but based on the study's methods, Mississippi tops of the corruption list—surpassing even Illinois where two of the last three governors served time in federal prison on corruption charges—whose Top 10 is full of other southern state:
- South Dakota
It should be noted that by some other measures, Mississippi has one of the nation's lowest "corruption risks," thanks to a strong state auditor and insurance commissioner, both of whom are elected in Mississippi, unlike in some other states.
The campaign of state Sen. Chris McDaniel issued the following statement about McDaniel's latest high-profile endorsement for U.S. Senate:
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Mississippi today announced he received the endorsement of former U.S. House Representative and presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul.
"Ron Paul has been an inspiration to so many to become involved in politics and to engage the system, which is exactly what our nation needs at this crucial juncture," McDaniel said. "Dr. Paul is a true champion for civil liberties and opponent of government overreach and out-of-control spending, and I'm very excited to have his endorsement in our fight for liberty in Mississippi," McDaniel concluded.
On his endorsement, Dr. Paul said, "Chris McDaniel has been a fighter in the Mississippi Senate for smaller government and more personal liberties. We need Chris McDaniel in the U.S. Senate and I am proud to endorse his campaign."
McDaniel has been endorsed by a wide array of elected officials and organizations, including , Gary Bauer, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Phyllis Schlafly, American Conservative Union, Club for Growth, Family Research Council, FreedomWorks, Gun Owners of America, Madison Project, National Association for Gun Rights, Senate Conservatives Fund, Tea Party Express, and Tea Party Patriots, Coalition to Reduce Spending, and Young Americans for Liberty.
Chris McDaniel is a constitutional conservative running for United States Senate. He represents District 42 in the Mississippi State Senate in his second term where he fights for individual liberty, free markets and fiscal responsibility in government.
I've been asked a couple times recently by national media to comment on the Senate race between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel (and, oh, Travis Childers). I begged out of an MSNBC request a couple weeks ago because I just couldn't get excited to talk about it. But when The Guardian wanted to contract me this past Monday to write a column, I said OK. But my main thought was, "I just don't give a damn." I've watched election after election pass with no candidate for even moderate Mississippians to vote for. Our city and state are brimming with good people who want progress for the state, and we get stuck with the worst candidates, brimming with backward ideas, and told we HAVE to vote for the Democrat among them any way.
Meantime, we watch the Democrats lose over and over again.
I don't want "apathy," as somebody accused on Twitter. I want just the opposite: I want Mississippians to demand better from the candidates then the most reasonable one loving all over the NRA and bashing women's reproductive freedom. We need to demand, at least, that Travis Childers, the Democratic nominee not campaign against our rights, and actually address solutions to health care, povery and other vital 21st-century populist issues. If he wallows in the mud with the wingnuts, it's not ME who is encouraging apathy. It is up to him and the Democratic Party to break that apathy and be inspiring, rather than try to out-conservative the conservatives.
I don't identify with any political party (don't even really like the concept), so perhaps it's easy for me to take this stand in an international newspaper. But the response has been overwhelmingly positive, especially from southerners; my Twitter feed and Facebook post on it are filled with cheers. It's as if everyone wanted to say this, but didn't quite know how to say it out loud. But I said it. Read more here, post under The Guardian piece if you want (many great comments of various positions), and then come on back and talk about it here on southern soil.
The City announced the following people as candidates in the upcoming Ward 6 election for City Council:
- Daniel Myers
- Robert Amos
- Dennis Sweet, IV
- Tim Rush
- Wayne Lewis
- Robert E. Green, Sr.
- Rashaad Crisler
- Tyrone C. Hendrix
The deadline to file for candidacy ended at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The unofficial list originally consisted of 11 candidates. However, some names were ultimately cast out due to problems with signature filing.
The election is scheduled for June 17, and a runoff election, should it be in order, is set for July 1.
The Clarion-Ledger is reporting that Mississippi Tea Party vice chairman Mark Mayfield appeared in a Madison County court for his alleged participation with a story to that continues to roil the Mississippi Republican primary for U.S. Senate.
Mayfield, an attorney in Jackson, was arrested today along with an unnamed suspect, but charges were not released, the paper reported. (Clarion-Ledger political editor Geoff Pender later tweeted from court that Rick Sager, a soccer coach in Laurel, is the other individual arrested)
Mayfield may be familiar to readers of the Jackson Free Press for his participation in a 2012 interview in which then-president of the Central Mississippi Tea Pary Janis Lane said that America took a wrong turn when women gained the right to vote.
Mayfield quietly exited the interview as Lane began her anti-woman rant, but he had some harsh words for sitting U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.
In response to a JFP question about whether Congress's core function is to bring federal dollars to their home districts, Mayfield said:
"They sure think it is. We've got a senator up there right now—Thad Cochran—who's just as guilty as anybody. He's probably the worst one up there in terms of pork-barrel legislation."
Mayfield said he was apolitical for much of his life "until I saw the direction we started taking with the bailouts, the stimulus, TARP, Obamacare--you name it--this endless, mindless overspending and over-borrowing."
He added that he believed certain Tea Party principles could attract more African Americans, among them, he said: "Jobs and economic development. Things like giving voters a choice on where to send their kids to school. They don't have to keep sending them to a failing public school. We want to give them the option of sending them to a successful charter school or perhaps look at vouchers where they can send them to a successful private school."
McDaniel's camp has maintained that the state senator had nothing to do with the blogger who allegedly photographed Cochran's bedridden wife, Rose, and released a statement about the arrests of Mayfield and Sager.
"As we have said since day one, the violation of the privacy of Mrs. Cochran is out of bounds for politics and is reprehensible. Any individuals who were involved in this crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," McDaniel said
Mayfield later posted bond, the Ledger reported.
VERBATIM STATEMENT: Seventh Mississippi city to pass diversity resolution recognizing the role LGBT people play in thriving communities
WASHINGTON – Tonight, Waveland, Mississippi unanimously passed an anti-discrimination resolution recognizing the dignity and worth of all city residents - including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). Waveland becomes the seventh Mississippi city to pass such a resolution and joins Starkville, Hattiesburg, Greenville, Magnolia, Bay St. Louis and Oxford.
“This is another important step forward to ensure that all Mississippians are treated equally and with respect and dignity,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin, a native of Arkansas.
Public opinion on equality in Mississippi is far ahead of law in the state. A poll conducted last summer found that 64 percent of residents back workplace non-discrimination protections for LGBT employees and nearly 60 percent of Mississippians under the age of 30 support marriage equality.
“The approved action is important for the people of Waveland. This sends a strong message throughout Mississippi that LGBT citizens are welcome in our fantastic city,” said Mayor David Garcia. “We are proving to the country that our city is on the right side of history.”
Just last month, HRC launched Project One America, an unprecedented effort to expand LGBT equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. This summer, HRC Mississippi will open office space in Jackson staffed with a statewide director, community organizer, and faith organizer. The community-based program will focus on changing hearts and minds, gaining enduring legal protections and building more inclusive institutions from the church pew to the workplace.
For details on Project One America in Mississippi, visit http://www.hrc.org/states/mississippi
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel issued an open letter to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. The GOP primary race has taken a sharp turn in recent days since allegations surfaced that a conservative blogger and McDaniel supporter photographed Cochran's bedridden wife in a nursing home. Here is McDaniel's letter in its entirety:
Dear Senator Cochran,
When I announced my candidacy for the U.S. Senate I told my supporters that I respected you as a man of honor as well as your longtime service to our state. I emphasized that I decided to run for the U.S. Senate simply because we have fundamental differences on some of the most important policy issues facing our nation today.
Sadly, the actions you campaign has recently taken have forced me to reconsider my position.
Over the past several weeks, your campaign has resorted to shameful slander, even going so far as to call me a “criminal” without a shred of evidence to back up these accusations.
No doubt, many political campaigns resort to juvenile behavior when they are down in the polls, but this kind of slander goes beyond childish pranks. It is, frankly, an embarrassment to our great state. Mississippi deserves better than this.
Senator, if you are inclined to cast aspersions on my honor and integrity then I call upon you to do it to my face in a debate forum. (We are both grown men capable of engaging in a spirited debate about our differences. There is no need to hide behind campaign surrogates.)
Many television stations across Mississippi have extended debate invitations to our campaigns and I remain more than willing to participate in any of the debates we've both been asked to join.
To date, you have refused to come home to Mississippi and debate.
Until then, I will not engage either your campaign or the liberal media in their absurd witch hunt. No matter how many press releases your campaign puts out, I will simply not stoop to your level. Win or lose, I’d like to be able to wake up on June 4th and be proud of the primary campaign I ran on behalf of Mississippi. Trailing in the polls, your campaign has made it apparent they will say and do anything to win.
Instead, we will continue to talk to voters about the issues they care about. And we will also continue to educate voters on your record, including your votes to fund Obamacare, your support for tax increases, your many votes to increase your own pay, and your support for billions of dollars in wasteful spending like the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska.
These are legitimate issues and these are the kind of policy differences this campaign should be about.
Chris McDaniel Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate from Mississippi
This past week I wrote a Publisher's Note called "AFA Bearing False Witness Against Businesses?" about the American Family Association's "action alert" wherein they called the "We Don't Discriminate" campaign discriminatory, despite the very basic tautological problems with their argument. (It seemed to me they were going to have to define "don't" as "do" in order to make their argument make any sense.)
So I was intrigued this week to see the AFA has now edited that exact same alert from its original headline of "A List of Businesses Displaying Hatred Toward Religious Freedom" to the new headline "Businesses Suckered By Homosexual Reaction to MS Religious Freedom Restoration Act."
The alert is otherwise dated the same (suggesting, falsely, that they wrote the current text on May 9, 2014, when it actually sometime between May 16th and 19th), it has the same URL and it still has the title "A List of Businesses Displaying Hatred Toward Religious Freedom" at the top of the window.
Here's a screenshot of the original:
Here's the new one:
Aside from the fact that replacing their earlier statements and pretending they wrote them 10 days ago once again calls into question this self-proclaimed Christian organization's relationship with the Ninth Commandment, it's also instructive to note where they now pretend their argument has been the whole time -- gays are apparently suckering businesses into putting the sticker in their window.
Again, a reminder: The campaign is a reaction to a law signed recently in Mississippi that may allow businesses to discriminate against other based on their religious beliefs. The sticker proclaims a given business' desire to work with all customers despite that law.
Given that the law -- which AFA, partner organizations and Governor Bryant wanted -- is now in existence, the sticker can help people at risk of being discriminated against know that a business won't discriminate against them.
The sticker doesn't say a darned thing about other people or businesses who don't have the sticker.
That said, this is, at least, a slightly better tactic on the part of the AFA for its own sake, since the original plan (still evident) was to simply castigate the businesses for proclaiming their anti-discriminatory stance.
Blaming the businesses, in hindsight, was pretty stupid, as the businesses have a clear right (a.) not to discriminate against their customers and (b.) to tell people about it.
(Pretending that The Gays are using their convince-o-tron on hapless business owners is, at least, a slightly less stupid tactic. Progress!)
Now, the new text calls on those who read the alert to further the AFA's agenda by asking the business owner if they aware the sticker is "part of a plan to bully, intimidate and demean Christians."
Since it's not, then that's false witness, but the AFA seems to operate with a special exemption from the 9th.
Maybe re-reading Proverbs 6:16-19 would help?
Republican Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, has a long history of railing against "Obamacare." But according to the Washington Post, he may become the next governor to expand Medicaid in his state.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence, after months of discussions with the Obama administration, is offering a new plan Thursday morning to expand coverage to low-income uninsured Hoosiers. As expected, he's doing it through an existing state insurance program for adults that's been championed by some conservatives.
The Indiana program offers health spending accounts to folks that are slightly above Medicaid eligibility; Pence is looking to expand that access, much the same way that the ACA was designed to expand Medicaid access for the working poor and those slightly above the poverty line, up to 138 percent.
Pence is getting credit (and criticism) for finding a clever way to accept Medicaid expansion while still saving a little face as an Obamacare denier; any chance Governor Bryant could do the same and help the 300,000 Mississippians in the insurance gap?
After all, his logic that the state would be stuck once Obamacare was struck down seems less and less likely at this point.
Maybe it's time to go ahead and help working Mississippians get access to decent healthcare?
Jackson, MS – Earlier today, Rashaad Crisler, the son of former city councilman Marshand Crisler, filed qualifying papers with the City Clerk’s office as a candidate for City Council, Ward 6; the seat recently vacated by Mayor Tony Yarber the day he was sworn in as mayor of the City of Jackson. A special election has been set for June 17th to fill the vacancy. Rashaad Crisler stated, “I am excited about the opportunity of continuing the work Mayor Yarber initiated during his tenure as city councilman of our ward, and I’m equally thrilled about the possibility of achieving a similar community service record as my father when he served two terms in that very same seat.”
It is well known that Crisler’s father, Marshand Crisler, was a big supporter of Yarber’s bids for both city councilman in 2009, and recently, as mayor; hence Rashaad Crisler sees a direct correlation between his bid for the Ward 6 seat and the efforts of Mayor Yarber and the elder Crisler during their respective tenures as city councilmen.
The younger Crisler, who will turn 28 years old next month, went on to say, “I believe Ward 6, and South Jackson as a whole, have a lot to offer citizens throughout this state. In an effort to enhance those amenities, our campaign is committed to conveying to the citizens of Ward 6 that we intend to vigorously promote a safer community by working with local law enforcement as they enforce existing laws, and when elected, helping create new city ordinances when necessary. One of our primary focuses is on major street resurfacing projects throughout our ward in an effort to address our failing infrastructure, which will also assist with job creation, along with offering incentives to small business owners who want to do business in Ward 6.”
Crisler will officially announce his candidacy for the Ward 6 seat at a press conference scheduled tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in front of City Hall.
About Rashaad Crisler Crisler is a product of the Jackson Public School System; graduating from Forest Hill High School in 2004. He is also a graduate of Jackson State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management in 2011. He is currently working towards receiving a master’s degree in theology while attending seminary school at Flag Chapel Baptist College. Crisler serves as an associate minister at Flag Chapel Independent Baptist Church. Crisler is also a 7-year veteran of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, and he was recently hired as a (part-time) mail carrier with the U.S. Post Office. He has been married to the former Amy Sims, for almost 7 years, and they are the proud parents of a newborn son, Aiden Rashaad Crisler.
Tyrone Hendrix's campaign issued the following verbatim news release this morning:
JACKSON, MS — South Jackson native Tyrone Hendrix has formally announced his candidacy for the vacated Ward Six City Council seat.
A grassroots organizer for nonprofits and political campaigns, Hendrix has been dedicated to organizing around social and economic issues, and supporting candidates who are committed to improving the communities in which we live. Hendrix's political involvement includes working with former candidate for Mayor of Jackson, Jonathan Lee; former gubernatorial candidate and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree; and President Barack Obama. Hendrix also served as state director for Organizing for America (OFA), the grassroots effort that grew out of the 2008 Obama campaign.
“I’ve known from a very young age that I wanted to feel like I was making a positive impact on society, and I found my calling as an organizer. My organizing career began working in low to moderate income communities, helping them to harness their collective power to affect change,” said Hendrix.
“I grew up in South Jackson, went to school here, and spent almost every evening of my teenage years playing basketball at the Southwest YMCA on Flowers Drive. My wife and I have chosen to raise our children here, and we experience the same challenges that everyone in this community faces. I am running for city council because we believe in the people and potential of our community,” he continued.
Tyrone Hendrix is managing partner of Hendrix & Dometz Organizational Solutions, LLC. He is a graduate of Forest Hill High School and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Jackson State University. Tyrone and his wife Ercilla Dometz-Hendrix have two children, Farah and Tyrone II.
The Special Election for the Ward Six city council seat is June 17, 2014. In the event a candidate does not receive 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff election July 1, 2014.
This falls in the can't-make-it-up column.
Most of you know that Mitchell Moore of Campbell's Bakery, who is straight, and Eddie Outlaw of William Wallace Salon, who is gay, and others started the amazing "If You're Buying, We're Selling" campaign. They want Mississippi business owners to put stickers in their windows to indicate that they don't discriminate, in response to SB 2681, Mississippi's version of the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." (See lots of business owners with the icon in their ads in this week's JFP, too.)
So, the religious right is apparently not happy with the international media coverage the campaign is getting -- and from Mississippi, which is supposed to be their wheelhouse, you know. They really didn't like it when Emily Pettus of the AP (the JFP's next-door neighbors) did a story about this that was picked up by many outlets.
In response, they went on a PR tear to take back the messaging. Greg Scott, who tweets at @adfmedia, led the way, tweeting this week in response to the AP story: "Sticker folks protest imaginary law .@AP bows false narrative, RFRA not "vaguely written," no threat to "=treatment" http://bit.ly/QEU2El
Curious, I did some research. Turns out, Scott is the VP for media communications for Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund), a nonprofit group founded in 1994 by extreme-right and vocally anti-gay leaders including James Dobson of Focus on the Family and Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association. (Interestingly, Mississippi's Judge Charles Pickering is also on the board.)
Not to be outdone, the American Family Association, an alliance co-founder, also blasted the sticker campaign on a Christian "news" site, which is part of the American Family News Network, which is part of the ... American Family Association. "It's not really a buying campaign, but it's a bully campaign," said Buddy Smith, executive vice president of Tupelo-based American Family Association, "and it's being carried out by radical homosexual activists who intend to trample the freedom of Christians to live according to the dictates of scripture."
The Southern Poverty Law Center includes the alliance (and AFA) on its list of a dozen groups that drive the "religious right's anti-gay crusade." On its website, it brags that its "attorneys have successfully defended marriage as the union between one man and one woman in over 40 cases nationwide."
SPLC indicates that the alliance was established in the early 1990s in response to gay-rights battles in the courts—which it clearly believes is the "principal" threat to religious freedom. ADF President Alan Sears and Vice President Craig Osten wrote " The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom," which ties homosexuality to pedophilia and other "disordered sexual behavior."
SPLC states: "The ADF has also mounted legal challenges to gay military service, marriage, adoption and foster-parenting, as well as to domestic partner benefits around the nation. It trains other attorneys 'to battle the radical homosexual ...
Bennie Thompson, the only African American and only Democrat representing Mississippi in Congress, is locking horns with Gov. Phil Bryant over the guv's staunch objection to Medicaid expansion.
Buzzfeed reported yesterday that Thompson called into a telecast of the New Nation of Islam to discuss a number of topics, and made several eyebrow-raising remarks.
Thompson never says Bryant's name on the tape, but points out that in turning down Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, "he also turned down $426 million in federal funds."
"It's not just that this man (Bryant) turned it down, he also turned resources down that could go to help his citizens who are already documented as having some of the worst health conditions known to man," Thompson said, adding "just because a black man created it."
Live Tweeting the #jxnmayor Run-off. Who will be mayor in this special election for Jackson's next mayor?
Go to any campaign event for either candidate, and you'll hear it.
Both Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber and Chokwe A. Lumumba claim to be the everyman who represents "everyday people." In fact, Yarber incorporates the phrase in his campaign literature and stump speeches. Lumumba has also adopted the mantra, to tie into his family's history of legal and civil-rights activism, especially for the poor.
Inevitably, you'll also hear something else: the familiar chorus of Sly & and the Family Stone's 1969 hit "Everyday People." At Yarber's events, the song plays as if it's on a timer. At Lumumba functions, the song appears in a slightly different form, as a sample in the 1992 song "People Everyday" from hip-hop group Arrested Development.
Both are great songs that celebrate diversity and question racial and ethnic prejudice. The songs also highlight generational differences in the candidates' bases.
The average Yarber voter, I suspect, is older, and maybe of the Motown generation For them, songs like "Everyday People" comprised part of the soundtrack of their youth, a time when the nation was amid cultural upheaval.
The Family Stone sings:
There is a long hair/ That doesn't like the short hair/ For being such a rich one/ That will not help the poor one/ Different strokes/ For different folks
"People Everyday," a Lumumba favorite, on the other hand, is emblematic of the conscious Afrocentricity that permeated hip-hop in the early and mid-90s. For a lot of people, Lumumba's father, the late mayor, embodied a lot of that spirit. I'd guess that the prototypical Lumumba enthusiast is younger, a Generation X-er or millennial, who was drawn to his father's revolutionary political philosophies that rejected bourgeois complacency.
"People Everyday" speaks to this; Arrested Development group member Speech rhymes in the song:
So they came to test Speech cause of my hair-do/ And the loud bright colors that I wear [Boo!]/ I was a target cause I'm a fashion misfit/ And the outfit that I'm wearing brothers dissin' it
It's now been a generation since Arrested Development came on the scene (use the phrase today and people assume you're referring to the cult mockumentary). And they came on the scene a generation after Sly and the Family Stone.
Interestingly, Lumumba and Yarber—31 and 36, respectively—and their candidacies embody the same kind of generational blending, between "old head" and "thundercat," as "Everyday People" and "People Everyday."
Tonight, after the ballots are cast and counted, one the songs and the campaign it represents will be more resonant than the other.