Thursday, March 31, 2011

More on the recusal ruckus

Got an email from someone about Judge Reeves and Judge Graves. I don't have time to dissect it right now so I'm going to post it here and let you guys have some fun with it.




From the NAACP website...

Its from the NAACP’s website on voter volunteering. Look at “CALL CENTER PROCESS”, Step 3 and see who is listed as a contact. None other than Carlton Reeves. We have a conflict, and its from the NAACP’s own website.

there’s also this

“Hearing Held for Walthall Students”
Mississippi Political.com story

Article from Mississippi Center for Justice

As far as follow-up, the African American students were placed in alternative school for the remainder of the school year, but will be allowed to return to their regular school in the upcoming fall semester. Their parents are represented by noted civil rights attorney Carlton Reeves, and their hearing has been postponed. The hearing was probably postponed once the campus video tape showed that the parents did not participate in any altercation at the school. Dexter Attendance Center Principal Jerry Piget has resigned, and Walthall County Schools Superintendent Greg Ellzey has decided not to seek re-election. I cannot say as to whether or not either’s decision is directly related to the assault of the black children. The NAACP is set to meet with the Department of Justice in the next couple of weeks to determine if federal/civil rights charges will be filed against the bus driver and the district. For other questions, contact the NAACP or attorney Carlton Reeves"

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One perfect example of why people are leaving Jackson.

GREAT example in the Clarion-Ledger today:

"The mother of a 3-year-old girl says the 27-year-old man who raped the child and gave her two sexually transmitted diseases should have gotten life in prison.

Jake Jerome Bias pleaded guilty this week to statutory rape and faced from 20 years to life in prison.

But he only has to serve 15.

Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green sentenced him to 20 years, but suspended five. He will serve three years on probation after his release."

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Sweet Potato Queens and the Zippity Doo Dah Parade: Yam? or Yawn?

Various feedback regarding the first annual SPQ Zippity Doo Dah Parade is anywhere from "I wish the Sweet Potato Fools would just strut their stuff right out of Mississippi", to "Amazed at the vitriol toward the SPQs. They have been very good for Jackson."

No one actually came back to post after the parade, probably because the post was so far down the line by that time. Jill Conner-Browne's daughter Bailey, however, did come to the defense of her Mom and the SPQ dynasty:

" I wonder if any of you have met my mother, read her books, or have any idea who/what you are actually passing judgment on? The books have a positive, uplifting message amid the humor. Just because the humor is not in your taste does not mean you have to publicly bash her. She and Kyle do not drink and none of the actual Queens do at the festivities. Also, my mother and Malcolm are not having some childish, egotistical, power struggle. It's not really any of your business what went into the decision process for the creation of a separate parade and none of it was really broadcast for that matter. If you're a resident of Jackson, one would think you would appreciate the money they ALL bring in. No one is on bad terms with anyone. I still go in Hal & Mal's all the time and get treated very well!"

I am very glad to hear there is no rift between Jill and Malcolm. I do hope that statement is true. I believe there is more to the story concerning the actual "break" between the two, but it's all supposition on my part. I perused the photos of the SPQ parade online at the Clarion Liar website, and it looked as if everyone had a good time. I would love some feedback on the parade and activities from those who attended. Please post and let us know. Was it largely attended? Were the wannabes drinking and drunk? Do we really need two parades back-to-back?

I'm all for raising money for Blair Batson, but I'm still not convinced the SPQs are really thinking about sick and terminally ill children. Maybe publishing the financials of the ZDD parade would convince us all. If they advertise giving "all" money to Blair Batson, let's see it.
Let the comments begin................................

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Nothing to see here, move along.


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Animal Cruelty bill passes House

Senate Bill #2821, the animal cruelty bill, passed the House a few minutes ago. The vote was 117-5. The bill cleared the conference committee and was approved by the Senate yesterday. The bill will now head to the Governor's desk.

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Judge Jordan recuses himself

Judge Dan Jordan, III recused himself this morning from the NAACP's redistricting lawsuit against the state of Mississippi and various state officials. The case has been reassigned to Judge Carleton Reeves, former President of the Magnolia Bar.





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Latest minutes

Here is the latest roundup of minutes from various local government bodies:

Hinds County Board of Supervisors minutes from February 28, 2011 (redistricting).

Hinds County Board of Supervisors minutes from March 7, 2011.

Rankin County Board of Supervisors minutes from March 3, 2011.

Madison County Board of Supervisors minutes from February 7, 2011.

Madison County Board of Supervisors minutes from February 21, 2011.

Ridgeland minutes from March 1, 2011.

Levee Board minutes from February 14, 2011.

PRVWSD minutes from February 17, 2011.

Mississippi Wireless Communications minutes from January 6, 2011 board meeting.

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Damn.

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The contenders start to appear



Local attorney and former Governor Barbour crony Joe Nosef posted this message about Walter Michel's seat on Facebook this morning:

"Just wanted my Facebook friends to know that I'm seriously considering a run for Miss. Senate (District 25 Madison/Hinds). In the coming days I'll be talking to donors, supporters and potential staff. I will make a decision soon even though the qualifying deadline is June 1. I will be honored to have your support if I run - I'll keep you posted."

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Germany responds

Local attorney Bob Germany responded yesterday to the lawsuit filed against him by his wife. Ginger Murphree Germany sued her husband, Robert Germany, and his alleged paramour, Holly Morgan in Madison County Circuit Court on February 24, 2011. Mrs. Germany charged Mr. Germany with "breach of contract", "fraud, deceit, and deception", "constructive trust and unjust enrichment", "conversion", "accounting", "intentional infliction of emotional distress", "negligent infliction of mental distress", "alienation of affection", "intentional infliction of mental distress", "negligent infliction of mental distress", and a request for injunctive relief. Mr. Germany achieved some fame in the Mississippi legal community when he was one of the lawyers who obtained a huge settlement with tobacco companies on behalf of the state of Mississippi several years ago and is considered one of the leading plaintiff's attorneys in the state. Mr. Germany denied all allegations of misconduct, including adultery.

Earlier post containing details of lawsuit, including copy of complaint.



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Read 'em and weep. Here is what's in the bond bill.

Wondered what exactly is in #3100? Here ya go. This is what $422 million dollars gets the taxpayers of Mississippi (warning: I created this list so no plagiarism by other websites, hint, hint.):




By the way, Senator Hob Bryan defended the price tag yesterday. He compared it to when someone buys a home, the size of the debt at closing seems staggering but then the homebuyer pays it down. Yes Hob, and many of those homebuyers LOST their homes because they could not afford the house or the interest. Charlatan.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Coming platform collapse at RIM?

Michael Mace, former VP of Product Development at Palm, publishes a pretty good mobile phone industry blog. He wrote a post last fall about a possible coming "platform collapse" at RIM. It received a great deal of attention in the industry and more than a few long comments on his blog. If you're a phone geek who gets into this sort of thing, not a bad post to read. Warning. its long. Original post. Shorter but updated post from December. Read original one first.

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Governor submits revised budget (Copy included).

Governor Barbour released a revised budget proposal today. Governor Barbour wrote:

I propose spending $5.447 billion in FY 2012, which is $30 million more than
legislators agreed upon in their own budget recommendation in December and
$45 million above my original budget. I do not believe revenue will rebound
significantly in the coming year. My offer to spend $45 million more than I
recommended in the EBR, albeit reluctant, is a significant compromise.

The House has added almost $100 million more revenue since the Legislative
Budget Recommendation was adopted in December, including $68 million in
nonrecurring revenue. The House would spend $475 million in nonrecurring
revenue in FY 2012 and would leave only about $180 million in reserves. The
House also would spend $15 million more in FY 2012 than this year. The House
plan is predicated on hopes, not economic reality.

My plan would reduce nonrecurring revenue spending from the $507 million
originally proposed by the House to $407 million – a $100 million reduction. By spending less now, my plan would leave $231 million in the state’s reserves for my successor and the next Legislature. Saving now allows us to avoid tax increases and drastic cuts later..."









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Senator Walter Michel says its been fun.

State Senator Walter Michel is not going to run for re-election.


Senator Kingfish. Hmmmm........ it rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

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Interesting

Republican operative Josh Gregory owns Alpha Golf Aviation, LLC. The LLC owns a plane, n385cp, according to the FAA. When you search for the plane on Flightaware.com, it states:

"ALPHA GOLF AVIATION LLC (COLUMBUS MS)
This aircraft (N385CP) is not available for tracking per request from the owner/operator"

Boyce Adams of Banktel is registered as an "airman" for the plane as well. Interesting.

Note: And before Alan and Brett start accusing me of being in the tank for Dennis as they did the MBJ, I posted this because I found the information interesting. Haven't decided who I'm voting for for Governor yet. Mr. Dennis's campaign purchased an ad, which Mr. Bryant and the Democratic contenders are welcome to do.

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River Hills ruckus



Study of site proposals

Over 100 area residents packed River Hills Racquet Club yesterday to discuss the plans for a proposed $50 million Tax Commission building on the corner of Ridgewood Road and Lakeland Drive. The mood was one of disbelief and anger as details were provided. Lobbyist C. Stevens Seale addressed the crowd. He said Ed Morgan, Commissioner of the Department of Revenue, was "adamant" in wanting to place a new building on Lakeland Drive. Mr. Seale also said the final decision was postponed until October. The Tax Commission needs a new building to house 500 employees as they currently work in an old warehouse in Clinton that well, has its issues. It should also be noted neither Councilman Quentin Whitwell or Supervisor Robert Graham attended the meeting.

Leland Speed then spoke to the crowd. Mr. Speed said no one knew about this proposal until the last 72 hours. The proposal calls for clear-cutting all trees from the Workers Compensation building to Ridgewood Road. He repeatedly said the state was going to pay for the bonds, the interest on the bonds (Kingfish note: Interest on $50 million will probably run $15 million or more but that is my personal estimate without doing any calculations. Jackson's $50 million retirement bonds in 1997 had $25 million in interest cost. The $25 million bond refinance last year projects interest costs to be nearly $11 million.), and then again to lease the property. Yes, the Tax Commission will pay the Department of Finance and Administration to lease the office space from the state.

Mr. Speed forcefully said "This is nuts", "This isn't right", and "We got it stopped temporarily. He said it costs $250 a square foot to build the Pinnacle Building and this project was going to cost substantially more than Pinnacle. This WAPT video includes more comments by Mr. Speed and other residents. Mr. Speed and others repeatedly said it was crazy to cut money from education, law enforcement, and mental health while spending $50 million on brand new buildings (Kingfish note: Or kick Downs Syndrome kids off of the Medicaid rolls so Mr. Morgan can have his palace.).

The Kingfish has done some more digging and here is what he has discovered. The main force driving this project is Mr. Ed Morgan and his vanity. He is the one who wants a brand new building and it has to be on this site. A nice proposal was made to the state for renovating the Delphi building in Clinton. It was turned down. Other sites have been proposed: the Worldcomm building in Clinton, the Regions Building, and the Capitol Towers building. Doesn't matter as Mr. Morgan makes it clear to several sources he wants a brand new building and he wants it on Lakeland Drive where everyone can see it. Knowing Mr. Morgan, he probably sees MDOT's Taj Mahal and gets jealous. One lobbyist said the problem with the Worldcomm building was the investors who own it wanted too much money.

The study also includes additional proposed sites: the property by the School for the Blind (p.40), Whitfield in Rankin County (p.46), and the Worldcomm building (p.55). The study does not include other proposals. All proposals but the one for the World- comm site promote the construction of new facilities for the Tax Commission. No other possible lease arrangements, renovations, or downtown locations are examined.

It should also be noted Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby, a resident of Pearl, made it clear last year he wanted to move the Tax Commission and Department of Public Safety to Rankin County. MHP is probably moving to Rankin and UMC is trying to obtain the MHP facilities but the deal is not final. Mr. Bryant, as he has done in other cases, kicked the can down the road in a meeting this weekend with several people defending area residents and said the decision will be made in October. Mr. Kirby and Mr. Morgan made it clear where they stand. Mr. Speed and others said they are going to organize opposition to the proposed Lakeland site.

Earlier post




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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fight the power.

Meeting today at 5:00 at River Hills for concerned residents. A bond bill is in conference committee right now. Apparently Ed Morgan of the State Tax Commission wants a brand new shiny building built for his agency on the corner of Lakeland and Ridgewood. There is an email circulating about this matter. JJ confirmed the email's claims are true and spoke to the author of the email. The email states:

"Please join us tomorrow, Sunday March 27, at River Hills Club at 5:00 p.m. to learn more about this development and what you can do to help prevent it from being built.

The State Tax Commission is pushing a bond issue to build a 200,000 square foot building, parking garage and parking lots that will be shoehorned on a 10 acre site at the R&D Center between the Workman's Compensation Commission Building, the new State IT office building, Lakeland Drive and the Eastbrooke town homes. The plan is to cut down the trees on Lakeland Drive for this new state development. The majority of the trees along Lakeland will be cut down and 1,800 visitors per week plus 500 employees will further clog Lakeland Drive. What is already considered major traffic congestion on Lakeland Drive would dramatically increase and the green buffer around the R&D Center would continue to be destroyed. The residents of Eastbrooke would no longer be looking at a forest, but staring at the back of a state office building, parking garage and parking lot.

This is of great concern to members of LOHO. PLEASE JOIN US to learn more and how you can voice opposition to this un-needed development tomorrow,March 27, at River Hills Club at 5:00 p.m."

JJ was able to confirm with several lobbyists this is indeed true. In fact, here is a promoting the site as well as several others.

Clarion-Ledger story this morning:

"The day was not a total loss. Legislators agreed to a $422.9 million bond bill filled with economic development incentives and infrastructure projects for state agencies, colleges and universities.

Agreement was not reached on funding for a new civil rights museum and Mississippi history museum, though a vehicle is alive for continued negotiations.

House Ways and Means Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, called the large bond agreement "a good bill."

It was filed just minutes before the 8 p.m. deadline. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby said disagreement over the Department of Revenue's $50 million request for headquarters at the wooded corner of Lakeland Drive and Ridgewood Road nearly derailed talks.

Several businessmen and area residents protested the deal as a waste of money that could bring traffic to a standstill on one of the city's busiest intersections and ruin neighborhoods.

"I have serious questions and concerns about the economic practicality of the state borrowing $50 million to build an office building when we have over 1 million square feet available in the Jackson metropolitan area that would be available at about half the cost," said Leland Speed, chairman of two publicly traded real estate companies and interim director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

State-owned facilities can turn into an enormous liability for taxpayers, Speed said. He suggested leasing space inside the old WorldCom headquarters in Clinton or the Regions Plaza or Capital Towers facilities in downtown Jackson.

The agency operates out of a converted warehouse in Clinton.

"We have from the beginning been wide open to looking at any and all options," said Revenue Executive Director Ed Morgan. But those mentioned by the developers will not work, he said.

In the end, the bond bill included only $3 million for the department to plan a new facility on nonspecific state-owned property in Jackson.

A public meeting on the agency's proposal is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at River Hills Tennis Club
."

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American Spectator cover story: Barbour is a "wonk in sheep's clothing"

The American Spectator will publish a cover story on Governor Barbour in its April 2011 issue. The article is now available online. Here are some excerpts:

"In news accounts assessing the likely 2012 Republican presidential field, there are a number of descriptions typically associated with Mississippi governor Haley Barbour. White Southerner. Thick accent. Gifted fundraiser. Connected. Former lobbyist. But when you ask those who know him, another characterization comes to mind.

"He's a policy wonk, which a lot of people don't realize," said Ed Gillespie, a political strategist and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, who has known Barbour since 1993 and considers him a mentor. "[People] tend to think of Haley Barbour as very politically savvy and good on television and smooth, but he really is a policy wonk at heart...."

Policy wonk? That would be true. There are more than a few stories of Haley asking aids to brief him on subjects. When it came time for the briefing, the aid assigned to the task would find to his chagrin Haley had studied the subject too and knew more than he did. Read the rest of the article.

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Late night mix







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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sad chapter in a sad story.

Hinds County Chancellor Dewayne appointed Charles Irby the conservator of the estate and person of Stuart Irby on March 22, 2011. Charles is the brother of Stuart. Judge Thomas issued the order on the same day the petition was filed. Copy of order

Stuart Irby filed the petition requesting the conservatorship. Dr. Clea Evans (Ph.D) and Dr. Sudhakar Madakasira (M.D.) filed affidavits in support of the petition. The two doctors stated he is "incapable of managing his own estate and person by reason of mental weakness caused by damage to the frontal lobe of his brain in an automobile accident on February 11, 2009."

Another sad chapter in another sad story.

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Latest crime stats

No new crime stats posted for Jackson this week.

City of Madison crime reports through March 22, 2011.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

House arrest.



Here is footage from the Irby bond revocation hearing in Madison earlier this week (WLBT video). I think it was the right call. Anyone that knows Stuart Irby knows his brain is not "all there" and he is suffering from brain damage of some sort. House arrest is probably the best punishment for him right now. I've seen him out in public as many of you have and even though he can drive, walk, and talk, we can all pretty much agree he is not the same person he was before the wreck and probably never will be. He did blow off a Judge's order and any time you do that and get caught, don't be surprised if the Judge hammers you for it.

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Sad but true



I can't say a word. I'm starting to hate this Torch.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doctors and Dice

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CNBC food fight.




Santelli and Liesman go at it then a decent debate on health care breaks out.

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Hinds tries to squeeze Nextel for $1.3 million, FCC says no.

The FCC recently slammed Hinds County not once but twice as it sought to squeeze Sprint NExtel for a million dollars. Hinds County signed an agreement with Nextel in 2007. The FCC ordered a reconfiguration of the 800 MHz band in Hinds County. Nextel agreed to pay Hinds County $573,067. Apparently that was not enough money for Hinds because Hinds tried to issue a change order and charge Nextel an additional $1,309,892 for "added services" such as consultants, outside legal counsel, and the "County's internal labor costs." Footnote #3 states the claim was $62,250 for Precious Martin, $215,300 for the consultant AIRWAVE (Nathan Hargrove works for this very small company), and the remainder for the so-called internal labor costs.

The FCC said there were two problems with this change order. The first problem is the contract did not any "provisions" for "consultants, outside legal counsel, or the County's internal labor costs." It should be pointed out the wife of the "outside legal counsel" is the board attorney who is paid an annual salary. The second problem is Hinds provided no documentation whatsoever for these additional costs. The order states:

"After the County submitted its Change notice, the TA Mediator requested the County to provide Sprint Nextel .. with timesheets and other details supporting the additional costs already incurred and for which reimbursement is requested in the change notice."
Copy of order

Seems like a reasonable request. You want more money, show the actual work performed. Just one problem. The documentation existed in the same place as the notice for Derrick Johnson's contract or the Clarion-Ledger notice for the special hearing on redistricting: in never-never land:

"No time sheets or supporting documents were filed.
Hinds County has no records of any work being performed in Hinds County (funding needs to be made available for (admin asst, project manager and clerk, attorney, consultant). "

The FCC said it was "impossible to verify the County's claim because, ready for this?:

" the County refuses to provide time records, invoices, or other evidence documenting that the services were performed. Indeed, it claims it “has no records of any work being performed in Hinds County.” The claim is problematic inasmuch as the County offers no explanation of why the records do not exist, or why it has not attempted to recreate them. We therefore agree with Sprint that it would be irresponsible to “more than triple the costs associated with Hinds’ reconfiguration” without any supporting documentation"

Its hard to imagine Precious Martin didn't keep timesheets for the 290 hours he claimed but I digress. Hinds tried to blame Captain John Wilson, the project manager who negotiated the contract and a member of the Sheriff's office at the time, but the FCC said it was "reviewed by the City's legal counsel and ratified by the President of the Board (Ronnie Chappell at the time)".

Well, Hinds County didn't take its ball and go home but instead, asked for a rematch. Mr. Martin filed a petition for de novo eview on September 17, 2010, a petition for waiver of the FCC's rules that petitions for such reviews be filed within ten days of the decision (because he didn't file the petition on time), and a petition for reconsideration of the FCC decision on October 13, 2010. Its sole excuse in the two page request for reconsideration was Mr. Wilson negotiated in bad faith, ignoring the fact the FCC specifically addressed this issue in its order. Nextel filed its own opposition to the petition for review. Nextel pointed out Mr. Martin filed his petition fifteen days past the deadline.

The FCC agreed with Nextel and spanked not just Hinds County, but Precious Martin for his inability to follow the rules for meeting deadlines. Mr. Martin indeed filed his petition for review fifteen days after the deadline. The FCC also stated Mr. Martin filed his petition for reconsideration twenty-one days after the deadline. It states no new facts or circumstances were presented. The FCC dismissed the petitions with prejudice on February 2, 2011 and made it quite clear it didn't want to see Hinds County again on this matter. Copy of decision.


Note: Nathan Hargrove works for AIRWAVE (See page 5). The same Nathan Hargrove who operates at the same time Northstar Wireless, and worked for Brown Communications. It was Mr. Hargrove who audited the radio system for Supervisor Robert Graham and "found" Madison and Ridgeland were "bootlegging" from the radio system.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Note from Management.

Apparently scribd switched to HTML 5 a few days ago. If you're using Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, no problem. You know where I'm going, don't you? If you're using IE, problem. Have gotten a few complaints from readers about the page loading slowly or getting script error messages. I'm trying to resolve the issue but if you're having that problem, switching browsers should avoid the problem until its fixed. Sorry.

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Uh-oh. The bond pimp is back.

Help. Porter Bingham is back and he brought some friends. The Clarion-Ledger reported today:

"Hoping for a quick strike in a volatile bond market, the city of Jackson has hired a team of strategists, aiming to save $1.5 million in debt on bonds issued in 2002 for water-sewer system work.

The city has hired Malachi Financial Products as financial adviser, in addition to attorneys and underwriters, whose purpose will be to land an interest rate that will give the city a little pocket change while it pays the tab on a $40 million 2002 bond package.


That amount is only one-tenth of the $400 million the city faces to renovate its crumbling sewage system
..... (Kingfish note: This is NOT Malachi in Ridgeland.)"

Porter Bingham of Malachi said his financial advisory firm has represented the city in "a number of its financial transactions." Article

What snake oil is Porter's posse selling Jackson this time? You might remember he conned the city council into approving a $25 million bond refinance a year ago that will cost the city $8 million more than if no refinance took place. See earlier post. In fact, the city budget is going to have a nice $6 million hole in the budget between years four and six of the bond refinance when Jackson goes from receiving a $5 million payment from the refinance last year to paying $1 million a year. The payment later increases from a $1 million to $4 million a year for several years and $6 million in the last year (The data is in the post linked above. Click on the picture in that post for the table. Its fairly easy to read.).

JJ also reported last year Mr. Bingham and Malachi group were disciplined several times by various regulatory agencies since 1997:

"A check of FINRA's database reveals NASD suspended Mr. Bingham for twelve months and fined him $10,000 in 2007 for not telling the truth on Malachi's financial statements provided to NASD. FINRA Report (Page 9).

Mr. Bingham has never re-registered with the FINRA or SEC. He is not registered with the state of Mississippi as a broker/dealer or an investment adviser. However, Mr. Bingham is not the only party in this deal who has faced regulatory problems as Malachi has its own checkered history. Regulatory agencies have disciplined Malachi seven times since 1997. The National Association of Securities Dealers expelled the firm for not paying fines in 2006."

Mr. Bingham is not currently registered with a FINRA firm. Malachi did register with the SEC as a municipal adviser. Dodd-Frank now requires the registration of such advisers. One can only wonder what Porter's Posse has planned for Jackson.

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FOOD FIGHT!!!

The Kaze, Queen, and Madame DeLadd are going at it. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

March 31: Art for the Park

March 31, 2010, 6-9 p.m.
The Fairview Inn
Tickets: $40 per person

Support Belhaven's efforts to renovate the entrance to Laurel Park. Tickets may be purchased NOW by mailing a check (made payable to Greater Belhaven Neighborhood Foundation) for $40 per person to ART FOR THE PARK, 1839 Piedmont Street, Jackson, MS 39202. Please include your name, address, and phone number for your ticket information. Your tickets will be reserved under your name at the registration table. March 25 is the deadline for advance ticket purchases.

Presenting Sponsors: The Fairview Inn and Kat's Wine & Spirits
Co-Sponsors: Bon Ami, Keifer's and Nandy's Candy
To donate art for the silent auction, please contact Emmie King at emmieking@yahoo.com or Rachel Misenar at rachel.misenar@gmail.com.

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Madison County Supes: The Fix is in. (Video)

The Madison Board of Supervisors met yesterday to discuss redistricting. All the media coverage, all the people who showed up to oppose their plans, all the criticism, all of it didn't matter one bit. The Gang of Five made it quite clear they were going to approve a plan that drastically redraws the districts in Madison County so they can perpetuate their machine, which is exactly what they are: a machine dedicated to gouging the taxpayers of Madison County.

It is crucial to remember the Board appointed two members to a committee that approved the new maps. Appointing only two members allowed them to circumvent the open meetings law so these vipers could do their work in secret. The election commissioners were not allowed to sit on the committee. Even the Hinds County supes allowed the election commissioners to participate. Not this board. Everyone was frozen out of the process while the Gang of Five had the committee do its dirty work. The obvious goal for Tim, Karl, John Bell, and Paul was to redraw the lines after the qualifying deadline of March 1 so they could eliminate all opposition.

Two of the Districts needed little or no alterations. District two currently has the target population. It needs no changes. Period. District 1 only needs five hundred voters to be within the goal. Shave off a few precincts from District 3 and voila, that is done. The problem is District 5 is short by 3,500 voters or so. District 5 is entirely adjacent to District 4. If Karl has to give up votes to Paul, that means his district gets whiter. Keep in mind the goal of this redistricting exercise is to protect Karl Banks. This is why Karl spouted off yesterday about wanting nothing but black voters in his district. The map rids John Bell of one opponent and places the favorite to replace Tim Johnson in a district to face incumbent D.I. Smith and Ridgeland Alderman at-large Gerald Steen. District 3 is redrawn to include more Ridgeland districts which will undoubtedly favor Mr. Steen. By the way, has anyone noticed how quiet Mr. Steen has been lately? Meanwhile Karl gets a much blacker district and only Paul has to worry about a real opponent. Gotta love it.






Here is the current map:


and here is the proposed map:

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Painting of the day.




OK. I'm going to help y'all out a little bit with this clue:


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Monday, March 21, 2011

Stuart Irby arrested for DUI. (Video)



Stuart Irby was arrested for DUI yesterday in Ridgeland. I don't think I need to add any comments to this story. WAPT has it on their website and it will undoubtedly be on the other stations. Let the media frenzy begin. I'm sure Claiborne is grateful.

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Taggart, Wilson, Herring show up to fight Madison BOS

Madison County redistricting attracts opposition from well-known Republican lawyers: Cory Wilson, Andy Taggart, and Jim Herring. All three lawyers filed notice of appearances and are representing parties opposing the Board of Supervisors' redistricting of Madison County. Madison County filed suit in U.S. District Court seeking to extend the qualifying deadlines as it claimed it needed more time to complete the proposed plans. The so-called "plans" turned into a serious attempt to "draw out" serious opponents for several of the Supervisors. The county sued the state of Mississippi, the Executive Committees of the Madison County Republican and Democratic Parties, and the Madison County Circuit Clerk.

Mr. Herring, former Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, represents the Executive Committee of the Madison County Republican Party. Mr. Herring asks the court to deny the complaint filed by Madison County and allow the 2011 elections to take place under the current district lines, arguing there is ample precedent for such an outcome (Mr. Herring's memorandum to court is posted below.). Circuit Clerk Lee Westbrook filed an answer requesting she be dismissed from the complaint. Attorney General Jim Hood filed a response and a supporting memorandum opposing Madison County (see below). The AG also filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing there were no genuine issues of fact. Sources also tell JJ Madison lawyer, former Fordice Chief of Staff, former radio talk show host, former Madison Supervisor for District 3, Republican operative, Clarion-Ledger blogger, and Fordice campaign manager Andy Taggart is representing the City of Madison in filing a motion to intervene in the lawsuit. The Board filed its own motion in support of its complaint.

Post on proposed maps. Maps included.

See Madison page in "special coverage section" on right side of page for all Madison County posts.


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Sweet Potato Queens - Zippity Doo Dah Parade

New Topic: How was Mal's St. Paddy Day's Parade and what's the scuttlebutt on this weekend's Sweet Potato Queen's parade. It was originally scheduled for Ridgeland and was changed back to Fondren.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

CEO's defend MississippiCAN at hearing

The House Committee on Medicaid held a hearing on the MississippiCan program last week on March 17. MississippiCan is an attempt by Medicaid to imitate Medicare Advantage. The program is administered by United Health Care and Magnolia Health Plan (Centene is the parent company.). Medicaid pays the two companies a capitated rate. Under a capitated rate plan, Medicaid pays the insurance companies a flat fee per patient. The insurance companies keep the difference between the health care costs for the patient and the capitated rate (See March 1, 2010 on MississippiCan below.) thus there is a financial incentive to contain health care costs.

Medicaid representatives at the hearing stated the program aimed to save the state five percent a year in Medicaid expenditures. Medicaid made several classes of enrollees eligible for MississippiCan: SSI, disabled child at home, working disabled, Department of Human Services Foster Care, and breast/cervical group patients. Medicaid claimed these groups had the highest costs.

The program has generated no small amount of controversy, as was evidenced at the hearing. Medicaid, UHC, and MHP representatives all predictably extolled the virtues of MississippiCan. It was going to lower costs. Personal stories of patients saved by MississippiCan were told. It broke new ground in actually being proactive in focusing on the patient's healthcare. Mom. America. Apple Pie. Who could be against MississippiCan?

Well, more than a few health care providers are. This correspondent has spoken to several who have experienced MississippiCan and the picture is not pretty. The testimony of several doctors at the hearing support what was privately reported to JJ. Medicaid states the program is voluntary. However, what Medicaid does is enroll the patient in MississippiCan and allows them to opt-out if a form is submitted. Many patients submitted such forms in December only to find out after January 1, 2011 the forms did not matter as Medicaid enrolled them in MississippiCan anyway. This is a big deal when the patients find out their doctors or therapy providers are not enrolled with either of the two plans.

In-network? What do you mean Kingfish. Frankly, MississippiCan is a cluster____ as it is creating many problems with healthcare providers. Medicaid actually had a very good system. If a provider submitted the proper paperwork before a deadline each week, Medicaid paid the claim a week later. Providers are now being told by UHC and MHP the payments can take over thirty days and up to ninety days to be made to the health care provider. Keep in mind these providers are not all hospitals enjoying millions of dollars in revenue streams. Many are special-needs therapists, pediatricians, solo practicioners, and others who aren't exactly able to enjoy a sudden cut-off in income for several weeks or months. In other words, small businesses we conservatives claim to love so much.

The insurance companies operate as do most in the industry: there are in-network and out-of-network health care providers. The in-network providers are paid a higher rate for services rendered to the patient than are those out-of-network. Unfortunately for the health-care providers, few were enrolled with either insurance company on January 1. Many of the providers lose money on the out-of-network rates and more than a few have quit accepting MississippiCan. Few, if any, will go on the record to complain about this because Medicaid has earned a reputation for auditing health care providers that make the wheel squeak too loudly. Then there is the paperwork. One doctor testified at the hearing it took her 45 minutes to an hour to complete the paperwork only she could complete for ONE MississippiCan patient.

Several providers reported to JJ the two insurance companies tell them it takes up to 90 days (or more in some cases) to process their application to become in-network providers. Not a big deal unless you are the mother of a special needs child forced to suddenly find a new pediatrician because the one who treated him his whole life is now suddenly out-of-network or is not enrolled with either company. Then she finds out there are only two or three such doctors in her area and oh, by the way, its going to take a while to get one to see a new patient. If the doctor will accept the patient.

The stories about the enrollment mess among healthcare providers sounds very similar to the one created when the government forced radical changes upon real estate appraisers two years ago. No one is prepared, there is a huge bottleneck of providers trying to get enrolled, and many face a sudden termination of revenue. Several have been forced to lay off employees as they were not able to afford such a drastic change in circumstances. These companies are small businesses. They don't get rich off of Medicaid patients but can't afford to see MississippiCan patients if they can't get paid. That is one tenant of capitalism you know: have to avoid losing money in order to stay in business.

The Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement (posted below) that argued "MississippiCan is not resulting in improved quality of care, improved efficiency, less paperwork,and more preventative care as Medicaid promised." Dr. Weissenberger gave her own stories that were in sharp contrast to the rosy picture portrayed by the suits (Her letter is posted below.). The CEO and CFO of Grenada Lake Medical Center damned the program as well. He made it quite clear no patient is turned away that needs help but the program is a huge mess they can no longer handle (My apologies. The camera only had two hours of memory and his testimony was not recorded.). Meanwhile, Mary Troupe of the Citizens with Disabilities downplayed the concerns of the doctors and those with complaints about the program as she shilled for MississippiCan. She testified it is a much-needed program, worked well in other states, and while the complaints didn't need to be ignored, not too much weight should be given to them as all of these companies were good folk that are going to work things out and have already made a positive difference for Medicaid patients.




Medicaid & United Health Care testimony


Magnolia Health Plan (Centenne) testimony


Dr. Weissenberg of American Academy of Pediatrics


Dr. Weissenberg (continued) and Dr. Chance (11:30)



Documents presented to Committee:
United Health Care Highlights
Mississippi Medicaid facts on MississippiCan
Magnolia Health Plan
Dr. Weissenberg's letter, Agenda, Letter from Academy of Pediatric Physicians



Agenda:
Opening remarks: Chairman Dirk Dedeaux
Medicaid: Phyllis Williams
United Healthcare: Jeff Drozda
Centene/Magnolia Health Plan: Pam Shipley
MHA: Mike Bailey
Grenada Lake Medical Center: Keith Hartsill, CEO
Citizens for Disabilities: Mary Troupe
American Academy of Pediatric Physicians: Dr. Weissenberg
Physician: Dr. Gerrihill Chance

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Nice.

Nice. They are finally tearing down my favorite home on Ridgewood Road. Most of the trees are now gone. Out of all the houses on Ridgewood, including a bunch of crappy worn-out ranch homes, they just had to pick the best one on the street. Let me guess. Patio homes or something similar. Got to love progress.

Update: Turns out its going to be a church. Wonderful.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Forbes blogger: Mississippi number one in "deadweight ratio"

Ouch. Forbes blogger William Baldwin argues when analyzing whether to invest in a state, one should look at more than "The traditional measures of credit risk in state and city bonds are the ratings from Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, budget deficits, outstanding debt and pension underfunding. These measures are all valuable to investors. But they are only symptoms of the disease."

However, Mr. Baldwin argues investors need to look past the ratings and examine what he calls the "deadweight ratio:

"The structural problem is that government has too many mouths to feed. It’s possible to quantify that problem. The result is a metric that I call the Deadweight Ratio. It tells you how many beneficiaries of government spending there are for every private sector job.

The Deadweight Ratio suggests that Connecticut and New Jersey are, despite well publicized budget deficits, in better shape than most states. It also says that California and New York are going to be sickly credits for a long time to come.

Every state has one set of people contributing to the coffer—namely, private sector workers—and another drawing from it—namely, government workers and welfare recipients. In healthy states, the contributors outnumber the users. In unhealthy states the reverse is true."

So where does Mississippi rank in terms of deadweight ratio? Um, number one at a ratio of 120. Translation: For every 100 producers in Mississippi, there are 120 recipients of state money (He adds Medicaid recipients and state and local government employees.). Here is the link for the rest of the article and the table. I wonder if any of the media and blogs in Mississippi will ask candidates about this ratio during the election cycle.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Whooooooaaaaaaaa!

Look what was found by a certain um, coach's mailbox.













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Latest crime stats

Jackson crime stats for week ending March 13, 2011.

Jackson major crimes overview for week ending March 13, 2011.

City of Madison crime reports through March 16, 2011.

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Redistricting roundup

The news is out. The Senate said screw you to Billy's threats to go to the Justice Department. The NAACP jumped into the fray (Derrick Johnson was strangely silent) and filed suit. Here is a round-up of various stories and reactions to yesterday's events.

Y'all Politics is muted in its reaction to yesterday's events while Majority in Mississippi is back at its role of Phil Bryant hack, giving him the glory for everything yesterday with the headline Good day for Phil Bryant and the GOP". Some quotes: "First, this is a major win for Phil Bryant." "Whatever the press says about Bryant is too be determined, but he certainly delivered a win for conservatives in this case. Whether it was because of his leadership or not, when you are in that position and things go your way you get the credit."

Um, not so fast. There is one name not mentioned here and that is Haley. One lobbyist said last night when I asked him what happened that "they were still scared of Haley" as the Governor really weighed in behind the scenes. Despite MIM's efforts to help the Lieutenant Governor, the truth is the old master showed up and showed why he is indeed the old master. The fact is, this mess was created by Mr. Bryant's neglect, naivete, or inability to count votes, depending on whom is talking. The other fact is its become clear this website and others are in the tank for Phil. Any criticism of Bryant is considered pro-Democrat or pro-Dennis and everything is done to puff up Phil. You would never know for example, Governor Barbour intervened yesterday or sent out a letter to Republicans about redistricting this week. No, you'd have to go to more liberal websites to get that nugget of information.

Then there are our good liberal-pinko-commie bomb-throwing America-hating yankee outside agitatin' friends over at Cottonmouth. ;-) They are rather happy with what took place yesterday:

" Word around the Capitol is that Republicans were betting that Speaker Billy McCoy (D-Rienzi) would blink and appoint conferees. Betting on McCoy to blink on anything is always the wrong move. That certainly doesn't look any more likely now.

Anyone else wonder how the phrase "NAACP v. Barbour" is going to play in Des Moines? Or what about New Hampshire? What's going to be their take on an overweight, drawling, white Southern governor with that lawsuit hanging around? Barbour's congratulatory message couldn't have been more poorly timed."

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal called yesterday's actions a "lost opportunity" and editorialized "McCoy's declaration on Wednesday against further negotiations does not reflect the good faith efforts of bipartisan negotiators in the House and Senate committees who tried to craft fair plans.

The Senate leadership, abetted by Gov. Barbour, also is undeniably injecting raw politics into the issue to gain approval of a House plan assuring a Republican majority and, thus, a Republican speaker in the 2012-2016 term. Or, the goal may be to push the elections to 2012, when it is anticipated that a surge of Republican voters opposing President Obama's re-election would prevail in marginal districts, especially those with white Democratic representation. The tactic is overtly cynical, but it could be effective.

The better opportunity to achieve redistricting in the spirit of the Constitution is further negotiation in conference committee." Editorial

The Clarion-Ledger is silent but then David Hampton is off this week. The Sun-Herald is so far silent as well. The JFP merely reported the story but give them time. There will be a few comments made about this over at that site. Firemccoy.com was rather jubilant.

Stay tuned.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

One question about the NAACP lawsuit.

Did Derrick Johnson represent the NAACP?

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What's next, Billy?

29-18. They called your bluff. Do you go to the Justice Department or not?

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Superintendent Mike Kent endorses Brad Harbour






Brad coordinated our Security and traffic for the past 10 years. His managerial and administrative skills are outstanding. I will be supporting Brad for Sheriff of Madison County in the upcoming election.”

Mike Kent
Superintendent of Education
Madison County



This post is a paid advertisement.

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Hinds to Madison & Ridgeland: get lost.. wait.. come back.

Well, well, well. While doing some research, I came across these minutes from the October meeting of the Wireless Commission. It seems Madison and Ridgeland decided to say goodbye to using the Hinds radio system after Supervisor Robert Graham accused them of "bootlegging" in a Jackson Free Press story and Hinds sued Motorola:

"Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham said a preliminary audit suggests the cities of Madison and Ridgeland have been bootlegging Hinds County’s 800 MHz Motorola digital radio system with the help of a former Hinds County employee. The audit, conducted by Browns Communication of Jackson, also suggests the unauthorized users have passed Hinds County’s system key along to other vendors, who are also using it without Hinds County Board of Supervisors’ approval.

“It’s like handing out a county patrol vehicle—something that’s bought and paid for by Hinds County taxpayers—to one of your friends,” Graham said.

One alleged vendor, Jackson Communications of Pearl, did not return calls, although Browns Communication General Manager Nathan Hargrove said the company has yet to produce their authorization for using the key. Other unauthorized vendors, according to the audit, could be Warren County, Rankin County and the city of Vicksburg." Article

Ah, Mr. Hargrove. Where have we seen his name before? Graham helps him out last week, he helps Graham out with the audit to squeeze Madison and Ridgeland, they work together on making Hargrove some money off of the weather sirens.

However, the story doesn't stop there. Read and and pay close attention to the numbers quoted:

"The county board also claims that Madison and Ridgeland owes the county money for its use of its emergency communications service.

“This system is going to cost us close to $9 million, and we can determine that there’s been approximately 30 percent usage of the radio system by Madison and Ridgeland, and from all counts, that should equal out to almost $3 million,” Graham said, adding that Motorola revealed to him that Hinds County had also financed about $5,000 worth of equipment for Madison and Ridgeland’s radio system—also without the board’s approval."

Graham also unveiled a little threat to the two cities:
"That system is wholly supported by Hinds County taxpayers, and if they don’t pay it they’re going to get cut off,” Graham said, adding that the cities were welcome to “go out and buy their own $9 million system.”

Well, Madison and Ridgeland said no problem, we'll save you the trouble of cutting us off and applied to the Mississippi Wireless Commuication Commission at the August meeting for permission to join the statewide system. However, Supervisor George Smith and guess who, Nathan Hargrove, the Hinds County "consultant" who works for Northstar Wireless yet has no contract under his name or Northstar Wireless with Hinds County, appeared at the meeting to protest Madison and Ridgeland leaving the system. Have to love it. They gripe when they use it, then gripe when they leave it. Here ya go:

"Chairman Epps continued with the Commission agenda, stating that Mr. Roach had explained what was to be done for Madison and Ridgeland. He then noted that Mr. George Smith, Hinds County Supervisor, District 5 was present and asked if he would tell the Commission of any concerns that he has as it relates to the MOUs for the cities of Madison and Ridgeland. Commission members Mr. Lariviere and Mr. Houston left the meeting at that time.

Mr. Smith stated that Hinds County has a stand-alone system for which they have paid $8 to $9M. The system was to furnish Hinds County communications. They have learned that they were connected with Madison and Ridgeland. They have no opposition to Madison and Ridgeland coming off the Hinds County System. However, when Madison and Ridgeland moves off the Hinds County system additional funds will be needed to make the Hinds County system whole. Mr. Hargrove, their technical specialist, was present and Mr. Smith indicated that he would be able to share the technical aspects. Please see the attached letter in reference to Mr. George Smith’s comments.

Chairman Epps asked Mr. Roach if there would be any costs to Hinds County for the MOUs. Mr. Roach stated that the MOUs are strictly between the WCC and the cities of Madison and Ridgeland. Hinds County will not incur a cost for the MOUs. Chairman Epps shared that the Commission has received information that for some time now the lack of good communications has been affecting public safety. Madison and Ridgeland want to get on MSWIN so they can provide public safety for their cities. Mr. Smith said that he was unaware of that.

Chairman Epps called for questions from the Commission for Mr. Smith. Representative Ellis indicated that information was given that the system was 5 years old, not working properly, and that Madison and Ridgeland have been without communications for 20-24 days. Mr. Smith said he was not aware that they were out of service. He offered that perhaps their attempt to disconnect from the Hinds County system, which he knew nothing about, had caused their problem of not being able to communicate. Representative Ellis also inquired about the costs associated with this disconnect and what they were. Mr. Smith reiterated that a gap will be left when the cities disconnect and that Mr. Hargrove could better answer that question. Mr. Hargrove stated that a process is required to disconnect. Equipment has been expanded to accommodate Madison and Ridgeland and these devices have to be reset to the preconnection state in order for Hinds County to be made whole. Mr. Epps asked if Mr. Hargrove has an estimated cost for this process. Mr. Hargrove stated that he does not have an estimate at this time. It will require detailed analysis of the system architecture to determine the cost. He went on to state that the issue is not to prevent Madison/Ridgeland from transitioning. Their concern is some loose ends on Hinds County’s side and who is going to be responsible for making the county whole. Colonel Ladd asked who Mr. Hargrove represented. Mr. Hargrove said that he is with NorthStar Wireless and provides technical services to Hinds County. Colonel Ladd asked if Mr. Hargrove could help the Commission understand what the technical implications are and what it takes to transition without a negative impact. Mr. Hargrove said that there is microwave equipment which links the sites to the zone controller that has been expanded to accommodate the Madison/Ridgeland users. That microwave piece would have to be put back to its original configuration in order for the county to be able to use it. Channel banks will have to be reconfigured and reprogrammed, master switches reconfigured and reprogrammed, and databases that have to be cleaned up once Madison and Ridgeland have been disconnected. Mr. Womack asked if Mr. Hargrove could give the Commission a ball park figure of the costs. He said that he could not since he has not had a chance to look at this at all. Mr. Womack asked if they were aware of any written agreement between Hinds County and these two cities in question for these services. Mr. Smith said no – as far as the Board is concerned. There were no further questions or comments.

Chairman Epps then noted that the MOUs were still before the Commission for action. Mr. Huff made a motion to approve and ratify the MOUs between the cities of Madison and Ridgeland and the WCC. Colonel Ladd seconded the motion. Chairman Epps called for any discussion. Rep. Ellis stated that as chairman of the Advisory Committee, for the record, that he felt that to put the MOUs into effect without making an effort to address the concerns presented by the Hinds County Board of Supervisors is a disservice. There was no further discussion. The motion passed with one opposed vote from Mr. Steve Gray. Mr. Lariviere and Mr. Houston were asked to rejoin the meeting
."
Minutes

Not making any accusations here. Just found the whole thing very interesting.

Note: Hinds filed suit against Motorola. The suit is in Hinds County Circuit Court and is still active. Madison and Ridgeland are not defendants.

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Attention local health care providers:

MississippiCAN hearing today at the capital. Representative Dirk Dedeaux will hold a hearing at 2:00 PM. I expect he has a few questions for them as the program is one big cluster.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hinds BOS does a little shuffle on Byram police radios (Video included)

The headlines read last week "Byram police get their radios." Now that the ruckus has died down a little bit, its time to point out what a masterful spin job Supervisor Robert Graham did in the Board of Supervisors meeting last week.

Keep in mind Mr. Graham was a long-time spokesman for JPD. He is a master at spin.The video posted below shows how Mr. Graham and the rest of the Board appeared to give Byram what it needed, only to every so subtly shaft the taxpayers at the end. The Board first moved up the discussion of the radios to the beginning of the meeting from its later place in the agenda. Mr. Hargrove, the consultant who is allowed to have a conflict of interest by the Board in this matter was curiously absent from this portion of the meeting but suddenly appeared twenty minutes later when the matter was concluded.

Mr. Graham opened up in classic spinmeister mode, praising the officers, pointing out his law enforcement background, stressing how much he supports police officers. Mr. Graham took charge of the Board, making a motion the Board would purchase the radios "today". Mr. Graham even said "it was a mystery to him" why there was a controversy. Its simple Mr. Graham. Your friend Nathan Hargrave is recommending to the county it buy his radios. Radios on which he makes a profit if the Board follows his advice.

Mr. Graham moved to purchase thirty car radios and fifteen walkie-talkies now and the ability to purchase up to fifteen more walkie-talkies. However, the end of the motion changes the ability to purchase the radios from the city of Byram to the county: "and to authorize the emergency management director to purchase"... ah the ever so subtle shift.

Know what that means? It means the county selects and purchases the radios and then gives them to Byram. Does anyone want to bet the chief gets his Motorolas instead of the EF Johnsons pushed by Mr. Hargrove? The fix is in on this one and no one got it. There is a resolution from the March 15, 2010 meeting giving municipalities the authority to purchase such equipment with E-911 funds provided by the County. However, Hinds County officials told this correspondent it does not apply to Byram since the Attorney General has not approved its interlocal agreement with Hinds County. The motion was approved. The media reports Byram got its radios. The Supervisors act all happy. The story is now ancient history.

However, just one little question must be asked: Will Hinds County purchase Motorolas or EF Johnsons for Byram PD and if so, how much money does the consultant stand to make from the purchase?


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"I can't eat an Ipad"

I don't think I need to add anything to these comments by the New York Fed President. Keep in mind the Fed does not include food and energy prices in "core inflation". Read on.

"NEW YORK (Reuters) – Memo to central bankers:

Best not to cite the price of the new iPad as an example of why inflation isn't a problem when you head into a working-class neighborhood.

In Queens, New York, on Friday, New York Fed President William Dudley did just that. He got an earful.

After being bombarded with questions about food inflation, Dudley attempted to reassure his audience by putting rising commodity prices into a broader economic context -- but that only made matters worse.

"When was the last time, sir, that you went grocery shopping?" one audience member asked.

Dudley tried to explain how the Fed sees things: Yes, food and energy prices may be rising, but at the same time, other prices are declining.

He then stretched for a real world example. The only problem was he chose the Apple's latest tablet computer that hit stores on Friday, which may be more popular at the New York Fed's headquarters near Wall Street than it is on the gritty streets of Queens.

"Today you can buy an iPad 2 that costs the same as an iPad 1 that is twice as powerful," he said."You have to look at the prices of all things."

This prompted guffaws and widespread murmuring from the audience, with one audience member calling the comment "tone deaf."

"I can't eat an iPad," another said
."

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Proposed Madison County redistricting maps are out

First map is the current map. Read 'em and weep.

















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Relax..Rejuvenate....Renew.

JJ has picked up a new sponsor: DeSheila Hughes, Licensed Massage Therapist, at Kosmos Hair Designers and Day Spa on Highland Colony Parkway.Call DeSheila Hughes at 601-405-7311. Ms. Hughes also accepts appointment requests via email at dehughesmassage@gmail.com. More info at her Facebook page.

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Judge has a few things to say about Claiborne Frazier

Warning: Mature and adult subject matter in this post.

Update: Did not know when writing this post yesterday Mr. Frazier sued Mr. Reynolds for slander. Copy of lawsuit. The two sides traded answers, responses, and motions. Nothing has happened in the case since July of last year. Lawsuit is obviously meant to harrass Mr. Reynolds as there was plenty of evidence in the bankruptcy court as well as state courts to support the so-called slanderous statements Mr. Frazier accused him of making.


There are many victims of Claiborne Frazier scattered throughout Mississippi. Business partners. Abandoned children. Insurance companies. Banks. An ex-wife. A former girlfriend now in jail for embezzling from her employer on his behalf. Innocent purchasers of condos . Lawyers stiffed on their fees by Claiborne. The examples given are supported by numerous documents posted on this site or filed in various courts. However, the divorce and subsequent custody fight waged by Sherry Frazier, Claiborne's wife in Madison County Chancery Court, shows the true nature of the Fraziers as made clear by Judge Janice Harvey-Goree in her order awarding full custody of Mrs. Frazier's child to her ex-husband.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

MBJ: Hinds County defies the law. Again.

Mississippi Business Journal interviews Forrest Thigpen of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Apparently Hinds County refuses to respond to public records request. Hmmm... what a coincidence, Hinds refuses to respond to mine as well as it is a week overdue on answering one I submitted. Here is the video and accompanying text:



MBJ reports:

"While most of the state has responded to the requests, Thigpen says he’s still waiting to hear from Hinds County.

“Hinds County has not responded at all,” Thigpen says. “They’re by law required to respond within seven days. When we submitted the request it was at the end of last fiscal year and it was 14 days. We actually intentionally did it before the new law went into effect to give them a little extra time to respond.”

Thigpen says that while he and his staff have predominantly focused on the compliant counties and getting those records online, he intends to follow up with the unresponsive counties soon.

“We’ll be returning to pursue some of these folks and we’ll have to take some of them to court
.” Article

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Redistricting: Phil Bryant's albatross or just a small bump?

Redistricting. One of those chores everyone hates doing but has to be done because as Clarion-Ledger columnist Sid Salter so aptly described it yesterday:

"It's about protecting the "good" precincts and getting rid of the "bad" precincts. It's also about using the process in a self-serving, crassly political manner to "carve out" potential or declared challengers in the next election to avoid the costs of a contested re-election bid. At the political DNA level, redistricting for incumbent lawmakers is about getting re-elected."

By now you know the plot: the House passed a plan written by Democrats later killed by the Senate. Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant empaneled a committee split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats. The committee approved a plan creating a gerrymandered but majority-black district for Hattiesburg. Mr. Bryant tried to substitute his own plan but it failed last week as the Senate passed the committee plan.

Last week's events were a huge fiasco for Mr. Bryant as they called into question his ability to lead the state as well as his own party. The real story last week was not about one vote or the Senate killing the House plan even though it was all the media covered. The redistricting unraveling began when Mr. Bryant assembled the committee. Mr. Bryant could have told the House to assemble a more bi-partisan committee or else he would follow Mr. McCoy's example and appoint only a token Democrat but chose not to do so. Sun-Tzu's maxim that every battle is won or lost before its even fought applies to politics as well as war and redistricting fights are no exception. Mr. Bryant sowed the seeds for this debacle when he handed control of the committee to Republicans and Democrats.

Numerous sources tell JJ what happened next was easy to predict. Senator Hob Bryan ran rings around the rest of the committee. More than a few lobbyists said Mr. Bryan "is so intellectually superior to most Senators" that he had them eating out of his hand when the maps were drawn. Other sources said the Burton plan was really the Bryan plan as he co-opted the Republican chairman while the plan was created even though Mr. Burton said "it had his fingerprints all over it". The Lieutenant Governor was strangely absent while the committee did its work.

The result of Mr. Bryant's negligence and Mr. Bryan's persistence was a plan Democrats found they could easily support while many Republicans were forced to suddenly oppose a plan produced by a Republican chairman- a dilemma that should have never happened yet did happen thanks to Mr. Bryant's, and I'll use the term again, negligence.

Negligence? What exactly do you mean, Kingfish? Simple. Mr. Bryant appoints the committee chairman. That is one of the perks of being a Lieutenant Governor. He could have made it real clear to Mr. Burton what was expected of him. He probably could have solved the lame duck problem by obtaining support from Billy Hewes and Tate Reeves to tell him regardless of who succeeded Mr. Bryant, the winner will hold him accountable. If Mr. Bryant was a leader in the mold of say, Buddy Newman, the plan would have already been drawn up and handed to Burton with the orders "Here it is, hold your hearings, make your findings, then produce this map." Mr. Bryant and his represen-tatives could have been involved with the drawing up of the plan from the beginning, thus ensuring a more favorable outcome. A committee chairman ignoring a leader of his chamber in such a manner would have never happened under Newman, Tim Ford, Brad Dye, or even Amy Tuck....... or Sillers.

However, Mr. Bryant did none of these things. He handed the ball off to a bi-partisan committee, ignored its work, then discovered too late the committee drew a map that not only did he not like but one that would also cause problems for him in his own party. Mr. Burton and his committee completely blew off the Lieutenant Governor and did an end run around him as the Burton-Bryan plan passed the Senate. Mr. Bryant is undoubtedly hoping to save face in a conference committee scrum where the whole redistricting mess will eventually land. The defining moment took place during the debate: Democrats praised the plan from the floor of the Senate while only a few Republicans meekly opposed it.

More than a few Republican insiders are questioning Mr. Bryant's ability to lead or even count votes. The most common statement made last week about the redistricting mess was "How can Mr. Bryant deal with the legislature as Governor when he can't even control it as Lieutenant Governor" or "Does he even know what is going on in his own chamber?" Serious questions. The Lieutenant Governor enjoys much more power over the legislature than does the Governor. Barbour's legislative success is due to three things: His ability to use the special session rules in his favor, the use of the Senate to counteract the House, and is ability to count votes (which in turn depends on knowing everything that goes on in the legislature). Governor Musgrove found out how weak the office really is despite being a former Senator, former Lieutenant Governor, and Democrat as the legislature repeatedly ran roughshod over him. Mr. Bryant looked more like Mr. Musgrove last week than he did Mr. Musgrove's successor.

Mr. Bryant can recover from this episode and is the front-runner in the race for Governor. His opponent's candidacy has been a well-kept secret in Mississippi so far this year. Mr. Dennis made no public moves to exploit last week to its advantage as he is apparently following another maxim of politics: Don't get involved when your opponent is hanging himself. While much of this story is inside political baseball stuff, the fact remains any successful gubernatorial candidate is going to need the help of the "insiders" as well as their local organizations, fund-raising, and get out the vote operations. Only time will tell if the redistricting ruckus last week is a small bump in the road or an albatross for the Lieutenant Governor.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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
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