Thursday, January 31, 2008
Magnolia Bar President Carleton Reeves publicly criticized Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Smith for not appointing black judges to help clear the backlog of criminal cases in Hinds County. Mr. Reeves claimed:
"Chief Justice Smith has made a habit of only appointing white male special judges to Hinds County," said Magnolia Bar Association President Carlton Reeves, a Jackson attorney.....
"The net effect of these appointments is that although Hinds County has only four elected Circuit Court judges, the representation of African Americans among Hinds County Circuit Court judges has been reduced from 50 percent to 29 percent, and the representation of women has been reduced from 25 percent to 14 percent," Reeves said...."
This is a serious charge leveled by the Magnolia Bar President against the Chief Justice. However, the Chief Justice stated that he has tried to find black judges to appoint and several have refused to serve:
"Smith said he has made a concerted effort to find African Americans willing to serve as special judges in the county but to no avail.
"For two years, I have actively looked to appoint an African American as a special judge in Hinds County without success," Smith said.
Smith said he recently offered a special judge position to Reeves and has offered positions over the last two years to retired African American judges and others.
Smith said he has told Magnolia Bar Association officials to send him names to consider, but he hasn't received any.
Reeves confirmed Smith asked him to consider a special judge appointment. "I told him it was not about me," Reeves said."
The Chief Justice also stated he was trying to use retired judges as it costs the state less money than paying an active full-time judge. In case Mr. Reeves has not noticed, this is Mississippi, which is not exactly the richest state in the union (am I allowed to use "union" in this state?).
In fact, the Chief Justice states he asked Mr. Reeves if he would like to serve and that Mr. Reeves declined. This makes one wonder what Mr. Reeves is more interested in when he has spare time: helping to reduce crime in Hinds County by serving as a judge or lapping up the attention and prestige that goes with being the president of the Magnolia Bar. So much for leading by example.
In case anyone thinks I am being too critical of Mr. Reeves, consider this suggestion. If Mr. Reeves thinks there are retired black judges out there who have something to contribute to the Chief Justice's attempt to improve the backlog in Hinds County, why doesn't he compile a list of them (after contacting them to see if they would be willing to serve) and publicly give it to the Chief Justice? The media would love to publish such a list as it would allow them to create some controversy. If they don't, send it here and I will gladly publish it on this website. However, making such a list does require some initiative and effort, but it would put the burden on the Chief Justice to either choose from these jurists or explain why he has chosen to ignore them. In fact, one would think as Magnolia Bar President, that would be part of his job. I hate these public food fights and would rather see these two learned men work together to help those of us who do live in Jackson. Mr. Reeves, get a list together and give it to Mr. Smith so we can tell him to put up or shut up.
Note: Feel free to offer in the comments sections any black jurists in the Jackson metro area so that the public can determine for themselves if Mr. Reeves's charges against Mr. Smith are true.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
(Top : Wendy Suares; Bottom Row: Megan West)
Why does controversy constantly follow JPD investigator Kent Daniels? It's understandable a police officer will occasionally receive some attention due to the nature of the job. However, it seems Officer Daniels appears in the news more frequently than other officers.
I first became aware of Mr. Daniels when he inexplicably reduced the charges against George Bell, III for his "alleged" beating on June 3, 2007 of Heather Spencer. I questioned his actions in an earlier post, http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/10/heather-spencer-case-update-after.html :
"The police reports states she had 57 staples ( 3 rows), a finger splint, a spring wrap on her wrist, and that he tried to strangle her. Ms. Spencer also states in the report she had a fracture....
It is at this point several questions about JPD's conduct are raised. The charge was reduced to Simple Domestic Violence, a misdemeanor, by Detective Daniels....
He stated the reason was the assault was not life-threatening.
The statute does not say that an injury or attack has to be life-threatening for a successful prosecution of Aggravated Assault. It says there only has to be an attempt. The case law on this statute also says that the issue of whether the mallet was a deadly weapon was a question of fact for the jury, meaning NOT the police officer. His stating that the attack was not life-threatening boggles the mind and makes one think this is more than an error in judgement. However, since that is not really an issue in the charge of Aggravated Assault, it is pretty clear that Mr. Bell attempted to cause serious bodily injury to Ms. Spencer. I don't know what type of training Mr. Daniels has received, but broken bones, severe lacerations, and repeated heavy blows to the head would be proof of an attempt to cause serious bodily injury to most people. One must really wonder what was going through Mr. Daniels' mind when he reduced the charges. It makes one think he is incompetent....or something else...."
The police report is available at http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/foi_pdfs/jfp_spencer.pdf
The next time Detective Daniels surfaced in the media was during the coverage of the Elicia Hughes trial as it was reported he took the statement of the girlfriend of the victim at Red Lobster (according to trial testimony). Police procedure dictates such statements are to be taken at the police station, not at a restaurant. Why exactly was Mr. Daniels interviewing a young woman at Red Lobster? Would the crab cakes and wine make her feel more comfortable? Such behavior is unprofessional and raises several questions. Such actions by the investigator violate the principles of basic ethics which hold that a law enforcement official should always avoid the appearance of impropriety.
Unfortunately, Detective Daniels's questionable actions do not stop at Red Lobster but unfortunately include an arrest back in 2000 as The Clarion-Ledger reported":
November 2, 2000 •• 417 words •• ID: jak9946482611217
"Patrolman allegedly had drugs in vehicle when stopped by trooper" By Theresa Kiely, Clarion-Ledger Staff Writer
A Jackson police officer was on administrative leave without pay Wednesday following his arrest earlier this week on a misdemeanor drug charge. Precinct 1 Patrolman Kent Daniels was stopped around 4 p.m. Sunday by the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol as he traveled north on I-55 in McComb. Jackson police spokesman Robert Graham confirmed Daniels' arrest."
Obviously the good detective was not convicted as he is still a police officer although one must question exactly how he avoided a conviction if he was caught with drugs in the car. Was it part of an investigation that JPD had in McComb? The police protecting one of their own? What exactly did happen? Why is he even a detective still?
What is even more troubling is this officer who has such a checkered past was assigned last year by Frank Melton to be a bodyguard for newly-elected District Attorney Robert Smith. The Jackson Free Press reported Meantime, D.A.-elect Robert Smith has two police officers—Ken Daniels and James Cornelius, we’re told—assigned to watch over him 24-7 due to vague threats. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=14929_0_7_0_C .
After examining the history of Mr. Daniels, one must ask why his name keeps appearing in the media. It is unfortunate he was picked by Melton to be a bodyguard for Mr. Smith but considering Melton's penchant for surrounding himself with shady individuals, it is par for the course. Frankly, I have a serious problem with an officer who reduces charges for no reason against a guy who beats his girlfriend within an inch of her life, is caught with drugs in his car, and likes to interview young women at restaurants. On the other hand, maybe Mr. Daniels can mentor Jared Foster as every Sith Lord must have an apprentice.
There is too much bad writing among the Jackson media. JFP uses dangling participles way too much, Clarion-Ledger uses the passive voice with reckless abandon, and the tv reporters, let us not even talk about them. So....here is the first grammar lesson. We will start at a level low enough for everyone:
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
does that mean Jim Hood is similarly tainted as well by the strong financial support from Scruggs, Balducci, Langston, and others?Click Here to Read More..
The editor of The Jackson Free Press finally addressed my post of two weeks ago concerning the listing of IRS liens on the JFP, http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2008/01/tax-problems-at-jfp.html.
Here is what Ms. Ladd posted:
Also, I'm going to say this only one time because I just saw one of the JFP-haters surface with it on Folo: The JFP does not owe back taxes. Suffice it to say, there has been an amateurish attempt locally to smear us without even a call to us to ascertain the actual facts. This is a teachable moment on the topic we're discussing—that anonymous blogger's story is getting a lot of play considering that it was *inaccurate*. On this side of the ethical line, we have to call and get a response, double-check facts, and not believe everything we see on the Internet before spreading rumors meant to do harm to someone's business..."
Well, I certainly do not want to be accused of smearing someone or being unethical, so I will address this point by point.
1. "The JFP does not owe back taxes."
I merely reported what is listed on the Secretary of State's website and is filed at the Hinds County Chancery Court. Those liens were reported by the Chancery Clerk's office and SOS as being active. There were three liens and one was released. However, there were at one time THREE IRS liens. Period. Case closed. Two of them are still reported by the government as open. If it were my business and reputation, I would have gone to the IRS, Courthouse, and SOS's office and made sure those liens were reported as released. If you take certified funds to the IRS, they will immediately fax a release to the courthouse if you provide them with a fax number. Her gripe is not with me but with the government.
2. " there has been an amateurish attempt locally to smear us .."
There was no smearing of the JFP. I merely reported what is listed with government agencies. There was NO editorial comment made in the post as I merely posted the information, nothing more, nothing less. Now what I would consider to be a smear would be when she reported young Michael Taylor as "Frank Melton's 17 year old live-in companion." or this post where she tried to smear Marshall Ramsey of The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=8659_0_27_0_C . Having said that, there was no attempt to smear the JFP.
By the way, if I were to speculate, I would guess at one time the publication had a tax problem and is probably on a repayment plan as it is a large sum of money to pay in full and probably would not be reported as released until paid. Many businesses have tax problems and work them out with the IRS.
3. "without even calling us to ascertain the actual facts..."
As there is no attempt to smear the newsweekly here, I will gladly post any explanation or rebuttal sent to me by its staff. There is a very good reason why I didn't call to ascertain the facts. Last year, Ms. Ladd and I had a spirited disagreement through emails. Here is what she told me in her last email to me (The emails had started that day with her criticism of one of my posts criticizing a writer) on October 18, 2007: "I want no more communications from you."
Sorry guys, but when someone tells me that, they get EXACTLY what they want. I'm not about to get accused of cyberharassment or any other form of harassment by anyone, much less by someone who is probably an expert on such laws. I personally have nothing against Ms. Ladd or her staff. Dealing with her or anyone else on my blog is similar to when I was in law school. In law school, you ripped each other to pieces in debates, then when you left the classroom you left it at the door as it wasn't personal regardless of how mad you got in class. Having said that, Ms. Ladd can't have it both ways by telling me in writing to never communicate with her, and by extension, her publication, and then complain I never contacted the JFP because I honored her wishes.
Does this even deserve a comment? I bash everyone. I didn't do anything sneaky or underhanded. I did not make any sleazy comments. I didn't steal any personal information. I personally went to the courthouse to confirm what the SOS website reported. I did not say any back taxes were owed. I reported what the government reported, nothing more or less. By the way, I am not a journalist. I never have claimed to be one. I consider myself a commentator and one better educated than most reporters. I comment on different aspects of Jackson and other issues. At times I try to connect the dots or post tidbits of information I come across but I have never claimed to be a journalist. If something is suspect when I post it, I try to include a disclaimer so as to show how credible the information is. There is no agenda or goal to "get" anyone. This blog is about whatever catches my interest at a particular moment and what I think about it.
That is my rebuttal to these false claims made on the JFP website.
Oh, as for my being an anonymous blogger....I think everyone, including most of the JFP staff, knows who I am.
Monday, January 28, 2008
As the Scruggs wildfire rages, there has been much bloviating by the media and politicians over reforming the legal system in Mississippi. Unfortunately, the only reason these pinheads are even discussing such changes is because the Scruggs scandal hit the fan. While they are shocked, shocked mind you, at the extent of the corruption, they are also interesting in keeping in place a system that benefits them while proclaiming that they are doing something about the problem. Their dupes in the media, like the uncritical lapdogs most of them are, refuse to truly examine the flaws in our legal system, beginning with the Mississippi Bar.
Last week Chief Justice Jim Smith and Mississippi Bar President Bobby Bailess came down from Mount Olympus, leaving with The Clarion-Ledger editorial board some proposed reforms while receiving much worship and praise by our esteemed media. Of course, they thought nothing was really wrong with the system itself as the editorial page stated, "I don't believe (the corruption) is widespread," says Smith. But, says Bailess, "We want to come up with a remedy that will be meaningful and responsive." Ah yes, the old "we want a proportional response" tactic. Can't have the rubes reforming the system as they might break some of the china. Let the gods on the State Street Mount Olympus handle things as they always have. In typical mealy-mouthed and uncritical fashion, the editorial page dutifully wrote:
"Smith and Bailess are right to worry about the public perception of the judiciary.
Given these scandals, it's understandable that "justice for sale" is being alleged.
Smith and Bailess should name a panel to recommend to the Legislature reforms of the judiciary that could be made to insulate judges more thoroughly from the potential for corruption. Smith favors appointment of judges at the appellate level, at least. Certainly, having judges take cash in the form of campaign contributions from those who appear before them is an issue.
The panel could also look at the way cases are handed out to outside counsel by the office of the state attorney general, which also can involve millions of dollars in legal fees for private attorneys doing public business.
While hiring private trial lawyers to sue on behalf of the state has proved lucrative for the state's taxpayers, too, the method of selecting them and determining their pay is problematic.
Mississippi's judiciary needs reform by a bipartisan, impartial panel."
Article . Just to make sure that we get the point, Mr. Hampton wrote in an earlier column (January 20, 2008) "The legal system cannot function without public confidence. People must have faith in the law and courts to fairly administer it. It's time to reexamine that system with reform in mind. No joke." Wow. Strong stuff as he strikes a blow for..........what? justice? True reform? Nope. Just studying the problem.
The fix is in as the Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, the President of the Mississippi Bar, and the largest newspaper in Mississippi had their summit and announced they wanted to have a panel study the problem. While the subject of judicial corruption and awarding state contracts (to sue) to campaign donors were somewhat addressed, the subject of reforming the Mississippi Bar, which licenses, investigates, and prosecutes attorneys was completely ignored. Just as Katrina didn't wake up the leadership in New Orleans, apparently the worst legal scandal in US history failed to wake up our elites in Mississippi for if there is part of our legal system that should be examined it IS the Mississippi Bar.
What exactly is the Mississippi Bar and why should we examine its role in the Mississippi legal system? It is the Mississippi Bar that licenses attorneys. The Bar handles complaints against lawyers, investigates the complaints, and makes recommendations on disciplining wayward attorneys as the Mississippi Code (Section 73-3-3) empowers the Bar with such responsibilities and powers while the Mississippi Supreme Court issues the final decision on disciplinary measures taken against attorneys.
The problem with this arrangement is incest. Lawyers elect the members of their governing body, write their own by-laws, and discipline themselves. The bar is governed by a board of commissioners and officers, who are elected by the members of the bar (meaning lawyers). Section73-3-105 Articles 3,4, & 5 of the Mississippi Bar by-laws, http://www.msbar.org/bylaws.php.
The code of conduct for lawyers is determined by the bar (lawyers), subject to final approval by the MSC. Sec. 73-3-143. Thus the lawyers determine what is ethical. The bar is given the authority to handle complaints by consumers against lawyers. However, the bar deters bar complaints by its policy of how bar complaint forms are issued. If one wishes to file a complaint, the bar website states: "You may file a complaint against a Mississippi lawyer by contacting The Mississippi Bar. You should call or write The Mississippi Bar to request a complaint form. The address and telephone number are listed elsewhere in this brochure. The Mississippi Bar will be happy to furnish you a form on which your complaint can be written." There are no complaint forms available on the bar's website. One can feel the sarcasm dripping from that last sentence as the Mississippi Bar sticks a finger in the eye of the public with a smile on its face. If the bar is truly interested in helping victims of crooked lawyers, then it should make the forms available on its website. Its simply hard to believe that the bar refuses do so in a 21st century where even the IRS publishes all of its forms on its website. It is ironic that the federal government moves faster than the Mississippi Bar.
However, back to the "process". A lawyer for the bar investigates the complaint and submits his findings to the Committee on Professional Responsibility. The committee, made up of lawyers, appointed by officials of the bar (which are elected by lawyers), then determines what action should be taken on the complaint. This can range from a dismissal to filing a request with the Court to take action against the lawyer. Mississippi Bar complaint. Keep in mind that the bar can NOT investigate or prosecute a lawyer unless a complaint has been filed or the attorney has been convicted of wrongdoing. The power to investigate attorneys by the bar is very limited. Suppose a lawyer is accused of wrongdoing; the bar can not do anything regardless of probable cause unless a complaint has been filed. The failure of leaders of the Mississippi legal profession such as Justice Smith and Mr. Bailess to not ask for more power to prosecute corrupt lawyers gives away their true agenda. They are all lawyers and if there is one thing they all agree on, regardless of political party, it is to keep you, the public, from looking too closely at their noble profession even as it tarnishes and torpedoes the rest of the state.
The incest among Mississippi lawyers becomes much more obvious when compared to other professions regulated by the state. The following is a sampling of how various professions are regulated by Mississippi:
Nurses: Chapter 15 of Title 73
The nursing profession is governed by the Board of Nursing whose members are appointed (to staggered terms) by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. "Charges may be brought upon sworn affidavit filed by the Board of Nursing against any licensee who has allegedly committed any act in violation of this chapter that is grounds for disciplinary action." (Sec. 31) The Board does not wait for the filing of a complaint by a patient or a conviction of a crime by a nurse. It can initiate its own investigation into a nurse's conduct.
Realtors: Chapter 35 of Title 73 The Real Estate Commission regulates Mississippi Realtors. Members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commission establishes standards for the profession and licenses Realtors. Section 73-35-23 states "The commission is hereby authorized and directed to take legal action against any violator of this chapter. Upon complaint initiated by the commission or filed with it...". UNLIKE THE BAR, the Commission has a complaint form that is available on its website, http://www.mrec.ms.gov/docs/mrec_forms_sworn_statement_complaint_form.pdf
Dentists: Chapter 9 of Title 73. The State Board of Dental Examiners oversees dentists and consists of members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate (Section 7). "Each member of the board and each licensed and practicing dentist and dental hygienist is constituted an agent who may investigate all complaints and all alleged cases of noncompliance with, or violation of the provisions of this chapter and may bring all those matters to the notice of the proper prosecuting officers, where it appears probable that an offense has been committed..." (Section 45). Unlike the Bar, the Board can initiate investigations instead of letting the newspapers do its job for them or waiting for a member brave enough to file a complaint. Complaints can be made via telephone and complaint forms, UNLIKE THE BAR, are available on the website. http://www.msbde.state.ms.us/msbde/msbde.nsf/webpages/Complaint_Complaints?OpenDocument
Public Accountants: Chapter 33 of Title 73, h Once again, the members of the Board of Public Accountancy are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate (Section 3). The Board regulates and licenses public accountants, sets fees, promulgates standards, and disciplines errant accountants. UNLIKE THE BAR, the complaint forms can be downloaded from the Board's website, complaint form and the website also states the the Board can initiate its own complaint.
Mortgage Brokers: licensed by the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance. Chapter 18 of Title 81, The Commissioner of the Department of Banking is appointed (once again) by the Governor with (once again class) the advice and consent of the Senate. Due to the financial nature of the profession, the Department employs examiners that conduct audits of Mortgage Brokers every two years. The Department can initiate its own investigations.
There is no disputing the level of incest in the Mississippi Bar between lawyers and those empowered to regulate them. Unlike other professions, Bar officials are NOT appointed by the state but are instead either elected or appointed by the members of the Bar. They write their own rules and discipline themselves. They make it more difficult for victims of crooked lawyers to file complaints. They play good cop/bad cop with the Mississippi Supreme Court. In the event the Bar does prosecute a lawyer, the actual punishment is meted out by the Court. Consequently, the Bar can claim it tried to prosecute the lawyer but then blame the lack of justice on a lenient Supreme Court. "I'm sorry, we tried to get that scumbag but the justices on the court reduced his proposed disbarment to a reprimand." Unlike other professions, the lawyers have also neutered Bar officials from initiating their own investigations against unscrupulous lawyers. In the professions listed above, they authorities were all given the power to police their professions without waiting for a complaint from a consumer, unlike the bar. Hey, if no one complains, there is no problem, right?
The Chief Justice, President and Legal Counsel of the Bar, the media, and politicians have made it clear there is no true interest cleansing Mississippi of this incest. Governor Barbour should call a special session for the sole purpose of reforming the Mississippi Bar. The Bar frittered away countless chances to police itself. The legislature should take jurisdiction of regulating the legal profession away from the Supreme Court and give it to a state agency or change how the Bar's commissioners and officers are chosen. The best solution would be to revoke the power to elect commissioners and officers given to the lawyers and divide it among the Governor, Attorney General, and Chief Justice thus allowing for the structure of the Bar to remain intact. The Bar would resemble other professions in that the board members are not elected by the members they are supposed to regulate. It should be asked if there is going to be a board and executive director if the office of the President should even exist. The transformed Bar should be given the power to initiate its own investigations against lawyers. The responsibility for regulating and disciplining lawyers should be taken completely away from the lawyers as they have driven our legal system into the proverbial ditch while they whined and dined at Char.
There is no reason why the incest should be allowed to continue as Mississippi lawyers have enjoyed a position of privilege not available to other professions. The "noble" profession should be governed by the same principles as doctors, realtors, nurses, and others. Unfortunately, The Clarion-Ledger, The Jackson-Free Press, and the broadcast media are not interested in such reform as shown by their coverage and editorials. Meanwhile the elites buy each other drinks at Ticos while laughing at how gullible and lazy Mississippians are as they blame the bastardization of our legal system on a few bad apples when its the grove itself that is rotten.
To think you people thought the s0-called economic stimulus package would settle the housing market because it was going to raise the loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Get ready for your rates to go up. Thanks Congress & Bush. Too bad none of the candidates except for Romney understand basis economics and markets (and that is NOT an endorsement of him).
Read why at Housingwire.com,
Additional commentary: http://www.housingwire.com/2008/01/25/commentary-on-economic-stimuli-and-raising-the-conforming-loan-limit/
Compare those articles with this one written by a CNN staff writer: http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/25/real_estate/stimulus_plan_targets_pricy_housing/index.htm
who doesn't know what the hell she is talking about.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Time for some exposure to the classics. No, I don't meant Hugo and Shakespeare. I mean the real classics. Some history is better than fiction. Suetonius wrote a book "The Lives of the Caesars" that provided biographies of Julius Caesar and the first 11 Roman emperors. His accounts are pretty lurid and racy, giving one a sense of what absolute power can do to human nature. Here is a passage from the chapter on Caligula. Start with paragraph XXIV as the first XXIII paragraphs are pretty boring. If interested in reading more Suetonius, start with his account of Julius Caesar, Nero, and Tiberius.
"XXIV. He lived in habitual incest with all his sisters, and at a large banquet he placed each of them in turn below him, while his wife reclined above. Of these he is believed to have violated Drusilla when he was still a minor, and even to have been caught lying with her by his grandmother Antonia, at whose house they were brought up in company. Afterwards, when she was the wife of Lucius Cassius Longinus, an ex-consul, he took her from him and openly treated her as his lawful wife; and when ill, he made her heir to his property and the throne. When she died, he appointed a season of public mourning, during which it was a capital offence to laugh, bathe, or dine in company with one's parents, wife, or children. He was so beside himself with grief that suddenly fleeing the city by night and traversing Campania, he went to Syracuse and hurriedly returned from there without cutting his hair or shaving his beard. And he never afterwards took oath about matters of the highest moment, even before the assembly of the people or in the presence of the soldiers, except by the godhead of Drusilla. The rest of his sisters he did not love with so great affection, nor honor so highly, but often prostituted them to his favorites; so that he was the readier at the trial of Aemilius Lepidus to condemn them, as adulteresses and privy to the conspiracies against him; and he not only made public letters in the handwriting of all of them, procured by fraud and seduction, but also dedicated to Mars the Avenger, with an explanatory inscription, three swords designed to take his life...." Read the rest of Suetonius's Life of Caligula (Gaius Caesar) at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/suetonius-caligula.html
The Index to The Lives of the Caesars: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/suetonius-index.html
Saturday, January 26, 2008
If I am going to criticize Bennie Thompson for not going to Iraq then I must do the same for former Senator Trent Lott as The Hill reported that as of August 1, 2007, 76 Senators have visited Iraq, http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/have-you- been-to-iraq--76-sens.-say-they-have-2007-08-01.html, and that former Senator Trent Lott was one of the Senators who would not comment or return a phone call. So the question remains, did Mr. Lott ever visit Iraq?
It is important for congressional leaders to visit Iraq for several reasons. As they have voted to send those troops in harm's way, they owe it to them to see to their well-being as well as making sure they have the support they need to succeed. It helps the morale of the troops when they see their political leaders are making the effort to visit them while they are away from home. The soldiers are making great sacrifices, are away from friends and loved ones, face danger on a constant basis, and too often are crucified by the media for perceived mistakes before the facts are known. In the age of the internet, the soldiers are affected by negative media coverage and outrageous sound bite politics. Political leaders, even those that are critics of the war, make a difference to the soldiers when they visit the troops. It's one thing for a politician to look tough on crossfire or making a speech against the war on CSPAN, it's another to actually take the time and visit the troops who endure much for little reward.
Having said that, did the Senator ever visit Iraq?
In the military there is a term, REMF. It stands for Rear Eschelon Mother F*******s. REMFs are those sitting in their air-conditioned offices in their expensive leather chairs sipping on expensive bourbon in the ivory tower with no clue as to what is going on in the real world, while the real soldiers are in battle fighting for their lives trying to survive the stupid decisions made by the ignorant REMF's.
The Clarion-Ledger reported today Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson FINALLY visited Iraq for the first time this week: "Rep. Bennie Thompson made his first trip to Iraq on Friday and predicted the Democrat-led Congress "will get more and more involved in the war."
The Democratic 2nd District congressman, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said he made the trip to try to determine the impact of the war on national security issues. ..." http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080126/NEWS/801260327/1001/news
This fits the classical definition of a REMF: Mr. Thompson is the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and after FIVE years in Iraq he FINALLY decides to visit Iraq to see what all the fuss has been about, while courageous soldiers from Mississippi make sacrifices, fight terrorists, are shot at, wounded, and at times killed in battle. While friends and families mourn their losses, Congressman REMF lives in Washington, sleeping in comfort every night after enduring the hardships of battle as the real combat rages at the cocktail parties in Georgetown.
Philistines such as myself should be grateful that Congressman REMF finally deigns Iraq worthy enough to visit. One would think a leading Congressional Democrat holding such a position would have gone to Iraq MUCH sooner as many other Congressmen, including war critics such as Senator Biden, have.
The New York Times reported on April 3, 2007 that "According to the Pentagon, as of mid-March, 365 members of Congress had visited the country since May 2003.....
A recent survey by the Medill News Service found that about two-thirds of House Republicans had been to Iraq, while fewer than half of Democrats had visited. ..."
(Incidentally, the lapdog, uncritical media in Jackson has not bothered to ask Mr. Thompson why he waited so long before visiting the troops.)
Congressman REMF should face the families of the soldiers from his district and explain why he has been so derelict in his duties, and apologize to them. To Mr. Thompson, the soldiers are meaningless fodder as has been shown by his disinterest in Iraq. Always watch what one does and not what one says as Bennie Thompson, for all of his rhetoric, has shown what he is NOT made of by not visiting Iraq while our soldiers face danger on a regular basis, never knowing a moment's peace. For Congressman REMF, Iraq is a talking point on Meet the Press, not a sacrifice faced in Mississippi.
For more posts on Bennie Thompson's actions as Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, see http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-on-bennie-thompsons-approach-to.html, http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2007/07/bennie-thompson-terrorist-sympathizer.html
The Washington Post is examining the role of jihadist websites in radicalizing Muslim-Americans to the point that they were willing to adopt the the jihadist agenda and carry out its foals.
"Ultraconservative Muslims from Georgia, were making surveillance videos that could help extremists plan "some kind of terrorist attack," as one man later acknowledged, according to court documents disclosed last week. One of their videos was sent to a notorious al-Qaeda publicist in London, authorities said.
New details about the videos -- featuring such sites as the World Bank headquarters, the Pentagon, fuel tanks and the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria -- emerged in pretrial hearings in Atlanta. The pair are charged with providing support to foreign terrorists and could be sentenced to 60 years in prison if convicted. They have pleaded not guilty. ....
Analysts said it also provides a glimpse of the growing threat posed by radical networks that have sprung up as a result of the Internet. One of the men, Syed Haris Ahmed, told authorities that they got to know extremists through Web forums and chat rooms, and they uploaded their D.C. surveillance video to "Jihadi people" online.
For a terrorist organization, "it doesn't matter anymore where your location is, and how many visa requirements" a country has, said Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which researches Muslim extremists and their online activity. "Being on the virtual network, [terrorists] have people virtually all over the world." ....
Such a story should not be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog as I have been warning about the danger posed by jihadist websites for some time now. For additional reading on the subject, Douglas Farah writes about how the increasing use of encryption by jihadist websites, http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/terrorism.php?id=1386318. The Middle East Media Research Institute now has on its website a "website monitor project, http://www.memriiwmp.org/. One may wonder how Americans could be influenced by such websites. The New York City Police Department published a study last year on the dangers of home-grown terrorism, http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0geu.x698ZGICwB1w9XNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE5Mjc4YzlrBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1BSMDA0XzgzBGwDV1Mx/SIG=134lpmo4s/EXP=1187531002/**http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/pdf/dcpi/NYPD_Report-Radicalization_in_the_West.pdf. Boring stuff. If not interested in staying abreast of how the dangers posed by jihadists, there is always Heath and Brittaney.
Friday, January 25, 2008
This is a very interesting explanation of the current crisis in the markets, the effects of the subprime mortgage implosion, and the current economic problems. The author makes many good points and is very colorful in his language. Although this is a VERY long column, it is worth reading and should be read by more than a few politicians and reporters, who tend to be ignorant about economics. Pour a cognac and enjoy.
"The Year In Review And a Look Ahead for 2008
This year saw “subprime” become the buzzword in the mainstream media, as people crowed about how horrible it was that banks and others made loans to “poor despondent people who could never pay them back”, and harping on the “predatory” nature of 2/28s and other similar death-by-debt traps.
The market saw three major swoons, the first in February, the second in August, and the last in November. It also saw multiple “Hindenburg” crash omens, all of which (on a technical basis) confirmed with the predicted plunges (a 5% move off the first observation downward qualifies as “confirmation”.)
Finally, in November, we got a primary bear market indicator according to Dow Theory.
There are many who argue that The Bear Market, however, not only did not arrive but that we will rocket to new highs, and have a solid market in 2008.
It is my view that they are sorely mistaken, and soon are to be not only dead wrong but dead broke....." http://market-ticker.denninger.net/2007/12/year-in-review-and-look-ahead.html
Damn. We done hit it big now. Ok, seriously, thanks to The National Journal for giving it a mention. For those of you first time readers, and there are many today, I apologize for the funky colors. This is a site about serious commentary, politics, culture, jazz, the war on terrorism, and at times "jackassery". The green, yellow, and red colors are a spoof on a comment a local alternative weekly made this week (The colors are normally black and red text on a black background), calling Mississippi the "Mexico of the U.S." Thanks for visiting the site and for voting in the poll.
My apologies for not posting a link as the link to "Last Call" is password-protected.
In honor of Jackson Jambalaya's change to Mexican Jambalaya, here is a program about jazz great Charlie Mingus called "Tijuana Moods", brought to you by the show, Jazz at Lincoln Center. Listen as Ed Bradley gives you a fiesta of Mingus's Mexican flair:
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Some just can't help themselves as they eventually write what they really think.
In The Jackson Free Press's "Best of Issue", Governor Barbour ironically won the "Best Public Figure" award. Ironic as the weekly newspaper consistently bashes Governor Barbour. Adam Lynch could not resist the temptation, writing: "Barbour’s anti-regulation persona made him big business’ best friend, just as Mississippi’s anti-regulation background has helped make it the Mexico of the U.S., with new big manufacturers like Toyota moving in to make a profit. ..." http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/comments.php?id=16056_0_9_0_C
Where does one start in criticizing such a statement? Since it is the JFP, where race is always an issue, this is a pretty racist statement as one must wonder what exactly Mr. Lynch means about Mexico, and thus Mexicans. Of course, one can not impute racism to the staff of the JFP as since it focuses on racial issues, it considers itself above such criticism.
One must also ask what Mr. Lynch exactly meant as referring to Mississippi as America's Mexico. Does he mean Mexico, and thus Mississippi, is poor, uneducated, and easily duped by its leaders? Does The Jackson Free Press belittle efforts made by Democrats and Republicans alike in trying to improve Mississippi by recruiting industry to our state? There is also the interesting part about Mr. Lynch saying that the manufacturers are coming to Mississippi for a profit. Since this is the state of Mississippi and not the People's Republic of Mississippi, Mr. Lynch, that means this is a free-market state, not one that subscribes to the principles of socialism you hold dearly. If companies lose money, they do not stay in business. Ask your editor and publisher about how important it is for a business to make a profit since you didn't learn that fundamental principle of economics, the dismal (and to a socialist, the non-existent) science.
Such a remark is bigoted, insulting, and condescending as it shows how when push comes to shove, the staff of the JFP truly do not respect Mississippians when they make choices that do not meet the approval of the JFP. In their minds, Mississippians are the great unwashed who need saving from themselves. Mexico of the U.S. indeed.
Charlie Parker, the Bird, saxophone player extraordinaire. Here is the second part of Jazz Profiles program about Charlie Parker. As this award-winning show is not carried by Mississippi Public Radio even though produced by National Public Radio, JJ brings it to you. Listen to the show at: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14156541.
"The legendary alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was one of those rare artists who seemed to come out of nowhere, captivating peers and fans so quickly and completely that the world was changed forever. Parker's innovative phrasing, and his discovery of previously unexplored melodic and harmonic possibilities, put him at the head of a group of bebop innovators that included Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. In the second of a two-part Jazz Profiles, we look at Parker's life and career from the acclaim of the mid-1940s until his death in 1955. ...."
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Ever wanted to know what legislators do while they are in Jackson? Well.... here is the 2008 legislative social calendar: http://groups.google.com/group/jackson-jambalaya. Select the link that is labeled "social calendar". Judging by the calender it looks like these enjoy a 3 month-long spring break.
This is a typical week for a legislator's social calendar:
February 18, Mississippi Agriculture Industry Council and
Monday Mississippi Seedman’s Association Reception
6:00 p.m. Reception
February 19, HEADWAE Luncheon
Tuesday Higher Education Appreciation Day
12:00 Noon Luncheon
February 19, National Guard Association of Mississippi
Tuesday Old Capitol Inn
5:30 p.m. Reception (By Invitation Only)
February 20, Montgomery County Day at the Capitol
Wednesday 2nd Floor Rotunda
7:30 – 10:00 a.m
February 20, MS Association of Realtors Day
Wednesday New Capitol – Room 216
9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
February 20, MS Association of Community & Junior Colleges Legislative Luncheon
Wednesday Marriott Hotel
11:30 a.m. Luncheon (By Invitation Only)
February 20, MS Economic Development Council Reception
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Reception (Legislators and Staff Only)
February 21, DeSoto County Legislative Breakfast Reception
Thursday New Capitol Rotunda
7:30 a.m. Breakfast Reception
February 21, MS Alliance of YMCA
Thursday Galloway United Methodist Church
11:30 a.m. Luncheon (Legislators Only)
February 22, Mississippi Tourism Association Luncheon
11:30 a.m. Luncheon
One of the stupidest letters to the editor in The Clarion-Ledger I've ever read:
I am at a loss about all the furor exhibited by black folks toward the Clintons. American or even black history will support her statement.
The Republicans are scared of the Clintons, but they do not fear Barack Obama at all. Black folks are being manipulated and divided again.
It seems a little fishy to me that a black man has come from nowhere and elevated to such a stature that he can make a serious run at president of the United States after making one speech at the Democratic National Convention.
I am so convinced that I bet he will win all the "Red" states, sapping strength from the Clintons.
Black folks and the enlightened folks of the other races can make it happen if they listen to the messages and the lessons being taught by the Clintons. The message must be sent to both parties: We want to hear about the real issues facing America and all the population.
One party does not want to talk about the real issues because all it has to offer is more of the same things that have been happening for the past eight years.
The issues will let you know who is the best candidate, folks!
So now because a candidate is black he's not legitimate. Or if the candidate is black, blacks shouldn't support him. Or Republicans fear Hillary? They do? They are praying for Hillary instead of Obama. Too funny.
Sorry about changing the poll. One little feature of the polls in blogger is once someone votes, I can't edit them. What happened was I left off Ms. Saures and Ms. Diehl and couldn't add them. Then I tried just two polls but I got too many emails and complaints about that SO I started over again.
By ladies I don't mean the reporters.
While others worry about whether Bush lied or not (never mind the CIA in 2000 said Saddam had WMD's), the terrorists are talking about blowing up Paris:
"[Possible] operations [in Paris] therefore fall into two categories:...those targeting the most popular and the most economically significant [sites]... and those targeting important Parisian figures - first and foremost the Mayor.
"The benefits [of an attack in Paris]:
"1. The collapse of the French economy, which would weaken France's global standing.
"2. [An attack] would restrain Sarkozy and thwart his constant aspirations regarding the Islamic Maghreb.
"3. [An attack] would turn the French public against this wretched infidel [Sarkozy] and weaken his popularity.
"4. [It would be] a lesson to the neighboring countries, especially to Germany and to anyone fighting against Muslim countries.
"5. [It would] cause the residents of [other] European capitals to fear similar attacks [on their cities] in the event that their countries continue to participate in the war on Islam.
"6. An attack will incite the French public against the gang that rules over them, if Parisian society loses its prominent historic and contemporary [French national] symbols.
"7. A communiqué explaining that [the attack] was the result of France's policy, its support of the tyrants [i.e. rulers in the Islamic countries], and its participation in the war on Islam would completely destroy Sarkozy and his policy.
"8. [It should be] explained that the situation of the Muslims in France and the discrimination against them is one of the reasons for the attack. Contrary to what everyone thinks, this will prompt [French authorities] to lift the security siege on the [Muslims in France] in an attempt to resolve the crisis. This, [in turn,] will allow the creation of [jihad] cells - both active and dormant - that will operate in the neighboring capitals...
"Anyone wishing to challenge [my claims] and to debate [the matter] is welcome to engage in an objective [discussion on this forum]. I will ask Allah to reward those who can pass [this message] on to the mujahideen in the Islamic Maghreb." .....
Read the rest of this "discussion" and the reponses at:
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Let’s take a break from the Mississippi Mafia for a short while. There’s something I want to talk about – NOW! Excuse me for screaming, but I am currently without any medication to calm my nerves.
In a cruel twist of fate, I now find myself entering menopause, raising 2 teenage boys as a single Mom, while also trying to deal with MEN and relationships. Can anyone explain how the heck I’m supposed to do all this at the same time? Yes, I know the answer lies somewhere between a bottle of good red and a bottle of Zoloft. I've purposely put off going the medication route, but recently I've been reconsidering it.
Here is a recent day in my life:
Get up at 4:00 am, wash 2 loads of laundry. Have to make sure my oldest has all his various clothing available for the day's sports. Today it's only basketball practice. WHEW. OOPS. Need clean towels, too. OK, 3 loads of laundry.
5:45 am. Get the boys out of bed and start the showers. Check personal email and respond accordingly.
6:15 am. Throw last load of towels in dryer. Find various lost belts, shoes, etc. for boys in bad moods.
6:45 am. Get bagels, cereal, yogurt out for breakfast. Listen to boys exchange words about their love for each other (Get outta my room! I need the computer! I need in the bathroom!).
7:00 am. Get in the shower myself and quickly out. (why do the boys use my color care conditioner?)
7:10 am. Run the boys out to wait for the bus AFER signing permission slips - get last minute notification of one's detention. Make sure both have money and house keys. Yell out the door I love you......embarass them in front of friends.
7:30 am. Bus has come. Dry hair and get dressed. Find something to take for lunch. Grab a bagel to eat on the way in. Fold last load of laundry. Take something out of the freezer for dinner.
8:00 am. Still trying to get out of the house.
8:30 am. Arrive at work. Bunch of sourpusses sitting around the office. They must all need to have sex, too.
10:00 am. Granola bar for energy. Re-fill water cup. Respond to yet another voice mail while EVERYONE ELSE is on break.
1:00 pm. Receive email from guy I met in California 2 years ago. Wants to meet up in NY and then if we still like each other, maybe go it Italy with him? GEESH. Am I crazy to even consider this?
12:30 pm. Forage in desk for food for lunch. Nothing. Run to Wendy's for baked potato and side salad. Why did they raise their .99 cent menu prices?
2:00 pm. Listen to jerks in the office yell and clap for each other. Someone must have put 2 intelligent sentences together.
2:15 pm. Avoid Wacko Woman making copies in copier room. She has that look of "just say something" on her face.
4:00 pm. LEAVE office and head home, put something in oven for dinner. Youngest son engrossed already in World of Warcraft for a couple of hours. Why the heck did I ever let him start that?
5:00 pm. Pick up one son at school after practice and convince him we don't need to stop at Wendy's for a snack before dinner.
5:45 pm. Get text message from former b/f (I think it was between marriage #1 and #2) that he is having open heart surgery. DAMN WE ARE OLD.
6:30 pm. - Get dinner out of the oven and heat up side dish in microwave. Tell boys to come get it. All food gone in 15 minutes.
7:00 pm. Clean up, pour a glass of wine, collapse on couch in front of ESPN with oldest son.
8:00 pm. - Son wakes me up and I take hot shower and collapse in bed.
OK, now I remember why I don't have sex anymore..............
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 21, 2008
"Comet McNaught was perhaps the most photogenic comet of our time. After making quite a show in the northern hemisphere in early January, the comet moved south and developed a long and unusual dust tail that dazzled southern hemisphere observers. In this image, Comet McNaught was captured one year ago above Chile. The bright comet dominates on the left while part of its magnificent tail spreads across the entire picture. From this vantage point in the Andes Mountains, one looks up toward Comet McNaught and a magnificent sky, across at a crescent moon, and down on clouds, atmospheric haze, and the city lights of Santiago. Comet McNaught has glided into the outer Solar System and is now only visible as a speck in a large telescope. The other spectacular comet of 2007, Comet Holmes, has also faded from easy view."
In today's Clarion-Ledger, David Hampton writes in his blog, " Lawyers and judges are very concerned about this situation and its impact on the public perception of the state legal system and the image of lawyers and judges. They should be. I don't think that the problems are widespread. All professions have people who lie and cheat and steal. It is more of an individual character issue than a systemic problem. " Editorial
Really? Nothing systemic? Just a few bad apples, eh. As much as I like Mr. Hampton personally, I must strongly disagree with him as there are several serious defects in the state legal system that contributed to the Scruggs scandal. Here are several ways to improve the system:
1. Stop the practice of awarding of legal contracts to campaign contributors. Currently the Attorney General acts as Santa Claus, passing out lucrative contracts to private law firms to engage in civil lawsuits for the state. Such legalized graft should be terminated and replaced with a bid system. As it is desirable to have the best firm possible representing the state, the bid system should allow for the AG to hire a firm within a certain range of the lowest bid. The temptation to hand out said contracts to campaign donors is simply too great. Lord Acton, meet Jim Hood and Mike Moore.
2. Abolish the payment of contingency fees to lawyers representing Mississippi. Mississippi should either pay them hourly fees or a retainer. What has driven this scandal is greed caused by the thought of piles of riches obtained through contingency fees on huge verdicts. It is pretty disgusting to watch lawyers who earn millions of dollars for themselves fight each other in court for over ten years over more millions. Its never enough for these modern day Shylocks as they had to have more AND their pound of flesh as well.
3. Do NOT change the system of electing judges. Yes, there a problem with electing judges as they have to take money, usually coming from lawyers. Unfortunately an appointed system will mean ess scrutiny of judicial nominees by politicians and the media. The adversarial nature of an election means each judge is scrutinized at some point. Imagine a Frank Melton or Dickie Scruggs appointing all of the judges. It only takes one bad Governor to really screw up the system worse than it is now.
4. TAKE AWAY FROM THE MISSISSIPPI BAR THE RESPONSIBILITY OF DISCIPLINING LAWYERS!!! There is a state nursing board. state medical board. state dental board. Those professions, as well as others are licensed, regulated AND DISCIPLINED by the state, NOT their trade associations. Mortgage brokers are disciplined all of the time by the Department of Banking and Consumer Finance. The state medical and dental boards successfully prosecute doctors and dentists on a regular basis. The state (and the Mississippi Supreme Court) has delegated its responsibility to the bar, http://www.mscode.com/free/statutes/73/003/index.htm. The bar drafts its own bylaws. Its officers and commissioners are elected from the bar membership. The bar, not the state, drafts its own rules of conduct. The bar, not the state, prosecutes and disciplines lawyers. It is time that this delegation of responsibility to the bar was scrutinized and possibly repealed.
What is obvious is that the Mississippi Bar has become a complete joke as it has abdicated its responsibility to discipline its profession. The remarks by lawyers this week in Mississippi about the bar and the current scandal shows they are either clueless or have no interest in truly reforming the bar. If such is the case, then we should do it for them. Sorry Charley, the ostriches had their chance and blew it. The Bar took no position on giving out no-bid legal contracts. No position on the current scandal other than a wait and see approach. Indeed, past presidents such as Jack Dunbar have perpetuated the incest by representing Dickie Scruggs in some of the suspect cases.
If there is one lesson of the Dickie Scruggs scandal it is that there is a high level of incest between the judiciary, the Attorney General's office, the lawyers, the prosecutors, and so-called consultants. The result is, which the bar refuses to believe, people see the entire system and its participants as corrupt and are sick of seeing this filth (and that is what it is is filth) sully Mississippi even more. Move over Bernie Ebbers, the Mississippi Bar has served up a legal and judicial system that dwarfs what you pulled off at Worldcom. One must give all of you rednecks credit, when you blow up something you REALLY blow it up. Who knew when Mabus said we would never be last again that this is what he meant?
The state should handle licensing and disciplining lawyers as it is quite clear that the bar can not discipline itself. The legislature and governor must reform the state legal system as there is a crisis of confidence in the ability of our judges and lawyers to act in an honest and professional manner. Sticking our heads in the sand is not going to make it go away as it will merely ensure one day we will be embarrassed yet again and wonder how such a scandal could happen.
Note: Great editorial by the Sun-Herald: http://www.sunherald.com/editorials/story/311941.html
Sunday, January 20, 2008
This issue was discussed in an earlier post, http://kingfish1935.blogspot.com/2008/01/leave-park-alone.html, and a poll was conducted. The question was "Where should the Junior League build the new Children's Museum?". The results were as follows:
Nowhere. Don't need one: 9 votes (14%)
LeFleur's Bluff State Park: 19 vots (31%)
Downtown: 14 votes (22%)
Tear down Smith-Wills stadium and replace it: 17 votes (27%)
Between High Street and Fortification near I-55: 2 votes (3%)
Placing the museum edged out tearing down Smith-Wills by 2 votes and Downtown by 5 votes. However, those two choices combined had 31 votes, 12 more than the LeFleur's Bluff site and had 49% of the vote. Only nearly a third of the votes were for the Junior League's proposed locatoin.
Until every leftist takes in one crackhead, killing homeless people for sport should be legal.I don't have particularly strong feelings on this, but sheesh. Talk about begging the question.
Posted by: Law talkin' guy on Jan 19, 08 10:38 pm
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Kingfish note: see comments. There are some excellent comments and a T. Frank gives several very good and plausible answers to these questions.
Mississippi Code Section 73-3-51 states:
"It shall be unlawful for the Attorney General or any assistant attorney general, or any district attorney, or any attorney at law associated in the practice as attorney or counselor at law with any attorney general or district attorney, to accept employment from or to represent as attorney or counselor at law any railroad corporation, street railway corporation, telephone or telegraph corporation, express company, or other common carrier, or public service corporation whatsoever, and any attorney violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, shall be fined in a sum not less than Ten Dollars ($10.00) nor more than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00), and shall forfeit his license to practice law in this state." http://www.mscode.com/free/statutes/73/003/0051.htm
The question is whether the law applies to former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore, who represented MCI when Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's office hired recently convicted attorneys Timothy Balducci and Joey Langston to seek recovery of taxes owed to Mississippi from the years of 1998-2002, when Mr. Moore was in office. The case was settled in May, 2005 for $100 million. The fees paid to Mr. Langston and Balducci were $14 million.
The case law is rather vague on this issue as Mr. Moore was a former attorney general when he accepted employment from MCI as he had recently left office in January, 2004. The question is then if the law applies to Mr. Moore as a former attorney general.
The purpose of such a law is to prevent unethical behavior by the state's prosecutors. It is a settled principle of legal ethics that a lawyer can not go to work for another side opposing his current or past client for obvious reasons. Trust in the legal profession would be completely shattered if a client or victim had to worry about his lawyer or prosecutor working changing sides. Such rules are in place to keep attorneys from being bribed by opposing parties. These principles were undoubtedly the goal of the legislature when it passed this law as such corporations are regulated by the state.
Mr. Moore was the attorney general until a little more than a year before the MCI case was settled. One would think that the legislature does not want its attorney general and prosecutors immediately representing someone that is the target of a lawsuit or investigation by the state after they leave office as they are privy to much privileged information. The state tax commission filed suit against MCI on March 26, 2004, barely two months after Mr. Moore returned to the private sector. Considering the size and complexity of the case, it is foolish to expect that such a complaint was put together in only a few weeks by a brand new attorney general.
Indeed, then-state auditor Phil Bryan states:
"According to the third and final report of Dick Thornburg, Bankrputcy Court Examiner, dated January 26, 2004, "To confirm the anticipated tax treatment of the royalty income by the Company, the Company (through special Mississippi tax counsel) and KPMG submitted a joint request to the Mississippi State Tax Commission seeking confirmation among other things....." http://www.osa.state.ms.us/documents/performance/mci-tax-review06.pdf (There is a timeline of the settlement on page 12). This statement was made three weeks after Mr. Moore left office, meaning the state was already investigating the tax liabilities of MCI.
Consequently, one must ask if the state's investigation against MCI for tax evasion was conducted while Mr. Moore was attorney general. If so, did Mr. Moore violate his ethical and statutory duties by representing MCI during the last two months of its settlement negotiations in 2005?
The following questions must be asked:
1. When did MCI become a target of an investigation by the attorney general or other state agencies for tax evasion?
2. Did any communications regarding the investigation take place between Langston, Hood, and Moore before Mr. Moore left office?
3. One news report said that Mr. Hood immediately began reviewing cases when he assumed office. Considering how quickly he retained a private law firm and filed suit, how did Mr. Hood and the law firm become aware of MCI's possible tax evasion?
4. Did Mr. Moore make Hood, Langston, or their associates aware of the investigation by the state tax commission?
If the law was violated, then it is clear and concrete: Mr. Moore should be disbarred and is guilty of a misdemeanor. The former Attorney General is entitled to due process and is presumed to be innocent. However, it might be time to see how much further the legal incest extended in the MCI case.
One futher question remains. The law says at http://www.mscode.com/ it was repealed at the end of 2006. It would be interesting to know which legislators sponsored the repeal and what was said during the legislative debate.
related story of the MCI litigation: http://djournal.com/pages/archive.asp?ID=193010&pub=1&div=News
Auditor's review of MCI settlement (Includes copy of settlement): http://www.osa.state.ms.us/documents/performance/mci-tax-review06.pdf
Madame DeLadd stitched another name in her quilt the other day (Ms. Rupp's passages are highlighted in yellow):
"I noticed today that reporter Leah Rupp now has her own blog, on top of her beat (I'll never understand papers giving blogs to full-time reporters, but I digress). So, now they have 13 on-staff male bloggers; two female, and only one of them ostensibly discussing serious issues.
Rupp inaugurated her new blog yesterday, starting out:
As a teenager, I never kept a diary. You know why? Because I was embarrassed to write entries to no one, and at the same time worry about everyone seeing them.
Today, the first day of my new blog, I find that writing to a million people who have access to — but probably are not likely to — peruse this little diary, is just as difficult.
So, what I want to do is offer you a disclaimer: I am just learning about Mississippi politics. I grew up in Kentucky. I went to college in the even-more-northern state of Ohio. I didn't realize I really, really loved politics or writing, or writing about politics until I got there — little more than five years ago.
Then get with it, girlfriend: talk about politics. I mean a young reporter from Kentucky/Ohio seems to be the Ledger's plan for a female take on Mississippi politics, so let 'er rip. Educate us. Make us think.
Today at the inauguration, Rupp talked more about technical difficulties than the Mississippi politics she's grown to love:
Again, I apologize, technical difficulties. To make it worse, my battery power is RED. That's bad. Whatever happened to a good old notebook and pen?
You gotta start somewhere, I guess. Maybe the Ledger will yet find a Mississippi woman to blog about politics. Let's hope.
Posted by: ladd on Jan 15, 08 1:44 pm
OK, I'm going to try not to pick on Ms. Rupp any more ... after this post. Her last post for the evening started out:
Hopefully, you're going to be out dancing all night long at Gov. Haley Barbour's inauguration ball. I have this sweet black sequined dress that would have definitely worked for the occasion.
Alas, that dress never left the hanger tonight. I was saving it for a ball in Louisiana anyway. It's 9 p.m. — as good as any bedtime I suppose.
Thus ends my first day blogging, surely not to be my last, if my bosses have anything to do with it. I will admit, to all of you who are surely not reading this blog anyway, I kind of liked writing in this diary.
The Honorable Terry Burton, chair of the Senate Elections Committee, will preside (did I mention I love his voice?)... but only the Senate can officially decide. Their final conclusion is expected by Monday.
OK, Ledger Boyz, this is not what we meant when we pointed out that you have no hard-hitting political (or social, for that matter) commentary by women. If she's going to *blog* about the inaugural, then where is the commentary about the governor's actual remarks and challenges? (Answer: Over in Sid and David's blogs.)
This is not Ms. Rupp's fault. She is a REPORTER, and a young one at that. She should not be expected to BLOG her opinion about the Legislature, especially if she hasn't had time to FORM ANY. She makes it clear right in her post that this blogging thing is her boss' idea. This absurd, Ledger. Can you really find no women columnists to add to your staff who have the depth in the state to say something real? They can then blog. If you don't know how to find any, or train some, you have worst problems than I thought.
This particular blog is an insult to everyone involved, starting with Ms. Rupp. Give her back her notebook, let her go report her face off, and try a smarter route.
Posted by: ladd on Jan 15, 08 10:26 pm "
I am not going to make any comment. Instead I will leave you with the following passage from Plutarch "Life of Cicero":
"And thus was he murdered, stretching forth his neck out of the litter, being now in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut off his head, and, by Antony's command, his hands also, by which his Philippics were written; for so Cicero styled those orations he wrote against Antony, and so they are called to this day.
When these members of Cicero were brought to Rome, Antony was holding an assembly for the choice of public officers; and when he heard it,and saw them, he cried out, "Now let there be an end of our proscriptions."He commanded his head and hands to be fastened up over the rostra,where the orators spoke; a sight which the Roman people shuddered to behold, and they believed they saw there, not the face of Cicero, but the image of Antony's own soul."
Ms. Rupp's blog can be found at http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=PluckPersona&U=0bfb1c0695174d95b9c4bba9ad080ad3&plckPersonaPage=PersonaBlog&plckUserId=0bfb1c0695174d95b9c4bba9ad080ad3
Friday, January 18, 2008
Click Here to Read More..
Nothing like good boxing, which is what the political scene in Mississippi this week has felt like with Scruggs, Peters, the media, DeLaughter, Langston, the bloggers, et al all duking it out. Watch the last part of the first round. Baer, last seen in Cindarella Man, hits Louis with everything he has, only to watch Louis take it and then give him some of his own medicine. The rest of the fight is on Youtube. Enjoy.
There is apparently a bogus email floating around that looks legit. It purports to come from Donna Ladd, the editor of The Jackson Free Press and was mentioned on their website yesterday. It reads:
From: Donna Ladd email@example.com
Date: Jan 17, 2008 1:30 PM
Subject: Jackson Jambalaya : Tax problems at the JFP?
Donna Ladd has sent you a link to a blog:
Do you have some money we could borrow to pay off these tax debts?
Blog: Jackson Jambalaya
Post: Tax problems at the JFP?
I received two of these yesterday at different email addresses. Cute little joke. Since some moron will try to blame me for it, I will say right now that I have nothing to do with any such email. It was done to me last year where someone sent out emails to the Ms. Ladd making some very unsavory accusations about one of her writers that looked like it came from my email address. I damn sure didn't appreciate it and I damn sure wouldn't do that to someone else. I have also received bogus emails since then that looked like they came from her and were turned over to her as it is fraud. If I have a problem with Ms. Ladd, I either handle it through a post on this blog or I contact her myself. Whoever is doing it, knock it off. If you have a problem with her, start your own blog and trash her all you want. However, cyberfraud is not the way to go.
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Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).
Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.
Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".
In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.
In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.
Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.
Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!
This is definitely a Beaver production.
Note: Security provided by INS.
There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.
If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!
This is definitely a Beaver production.
Note: Security provided by INS.