Friday, September 30, 2011

Clarion-Ledger showing its age.

The Clarion-Ledger is showing its age. The "state newspaper" published an editorial on the problems at the U.S. Postal Service. The editorial opined long and hard on how people pay taxes and government is expected certain services such as those offered by the post office:

"Some might want to frame this debate as one between postal unions and management, or as a budget issue, but it's really one that strikes at the heart of what Americans want from government.

It goes back to the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 that began chipping away at USPS from being a regular tax-supported agency to be more "run like a business
."

The editorial even goes so far as to state why the postal service is failing:

"But what has happened is that private businesses have taken the easy, lucrative routes and left the hard and expensive ones for USPS. The result is not the fault of hard-working employees being paid livable wages, but the fact that it costs a great deal to deliver mail to rural, unpopulated and remote areas, which USPS does every day.

There probably is no other government service that touches citizens so intimately - within every home from mountain to valley to farm to city - than the postal service.

Government is supposed to provide services to citizens, even and especially if it's unprofitable. Let's stop this madness of everything supposed to be "run like a business
."

Cut costs, sure, but fund USPS. Stop shutting down post offices that often form the heart of the community, here in the Capital City's neighborhoods and across the state in small towns, and across America."

David Hampton and his crew have obviously been lost in space, as they might have looked no further than their own computers as to the reason why the postal service is in trouble: email. Yup David, there is this wonderful innovation called email. It's pretty cool. You log on to your computer, open up what is called an email program (they are offered by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Comcast), type up a message, and then send the message to someone else's email address. It's pretty cool. The message gets there within seconds. What is really cool is you can even attach documents, videos, and photographs to email messages. Millions or billions of emails are sent across the internet every day.

Unfortunately, Mr. Hampton, that means there is a lesser need for the postal service, as consumers can use a service that is free, more flexible, and much faster. You should check out modern day technology and you might find out why snail mail is suffering the same fate as the horse and buggy a hundred years ago. You can whine all you want about running government like a business but there is one thing you can't change and that is supply and demand. Unfortunately for your outdated editorial, there is little supply of mail and even lesser demand for it.

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Today's show on WJNT

Here are the audio recordings for the Kent and Larry on WJNT yesterday and today. Kent and Larry discussed the Convention Center Hotel yesterday. Kent did some research on the cost per square foot and other aspects of the deal. Here ya go.







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Hinds paid $2.2 million to Airwave since 2008

No bids. No problem. Didn't exist as a company when two contracts were awarded by the Board of Supervisors. No problem. $2.2 million paid out? Definitely no problem. See spreadsheet below obtained through a public records request.



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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tomorrow morning on WJNT

The Kingfish will be on WJNT tomorrow morning with Kent & Larry. I'm sure you can guess what the topic will be.

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FUR BALL IS TONIGHT!!!

The Mississippi Animal Rescue League's 7th Annual Fur Ball is TONIGHT at the Eurocurve of the Renaissance in Ridgeland. Support MARL and have some fun at the same time. Tickets are $60 per person and $110 per couple. To make a reservation for tickets or for more information, contact Rebecca Ezell at 601-896-5157 or rebeccancezell@gmail.com. Click on the ad at the right for more information.

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PERS budget hearing (Video)

PERS officials Pat Robertson, Greg Gregory, and Lori Tingle went before the legislature last week for the annual budget request. PERS sought a budget increase of only $106,173. The hearing quickly turned from a presentation on the financial shape and profile of PERS to a debate over the PERS study commission created by Governor Barbour (See note at end of post before reading any further.

The session was colorful at times as Democrat Representatives Steve Holland, George Flaggs, and others used the hearing as an excuse to attack the commission.

Notes from videos: 29:40 of Part 1 and beginning of Part 2: Holland attacks commission in rather colorful fashion. Its worth watching. Another legislator 17:00 wants to make consultants employees. Um yeah, financial experts who handle multiple portfolios for large clients such as PERS will give all that up to go work for a state salary. Yeah. Cecil Brown starts at 20:20 in Part 2. Cecil then brings up converting retirement system from defined benefit to defined contribution.

Senator Dean Kirby (commission non-voting member) starts at 23:30. This is the part where Senator Kirby says the Commission Chairman said they would not touch the 13th check. Um, not so fast as the video posted on this website two weeks ago shows no such thing and in fact at the end of the hearing, the Chairman pointed out the large expense spent on the 13th check. The Republicans follow up behind him.

Part 3 at 2:03: Ms. Robertson points out the problems with the 1999 increase in benefits passed by the Legislature. Senator Hewes and Ms. Robertson have a nice exchange at 8:30 on Part 3.







Here are the materials distributed by PERS to the committee:



Items of interest from the budget request:

*PERS requested $13,619,557. Salaries are $9.4 million.
*PERS has 162 authorized positions.
*PERS has consistently come in under budget by several hundred thousand dollars for the last several fiscal years each year.





*NOTE: Information on PERS from a previous post:


Before we get started on what took place at the hearing, here are the basic facts about PERS according to its most recent audited financial statements and Executive Director Pat Robertson's comments at a May luncheon videotaped by this website. All figures are based on the financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2010. READ THIS BEFORE YOU READ ANYTHING ELSE.

Employees: 165,644
Average years of service is 31
Average age is 59.

Asset allocations:
47.8% in US equities
25.4% in debt securities
4.6% in real estate
19.5% in non-US equities

Total assets: $21.2 billion on May 1,2011, $17.1 billion in 2010 ($15.5 billion in 2009, $19.7 billion in 2008).

Investment rate of return: 14.1% for 2010.
3-year rolling average: (5.5%)
5-year rolling average: 2.1%
10-year rolling average: 2.3%
20-year rolling average: 7.4%
30-year rolling average: 8.7%

Investment performance since 2000:
2000: 8.4%
2001: -7.1%
2002: -6.6%
2003: 3.5%
2004: 14.6%
2005: 9.8%
2006: 10.7%
2007: 18.9%
2008: -8.2%
2009: -19.4%
2010: 14.1%

Current funding level of actuarial accrued liability: 64.2%. Ms. Robertson said 80% is considered to be the "benchmark of a well-funded plan." Ms. Robertson stated at the May 3 luncheon PERS' accrued liabilities have doubled since 1998 (thanks to the legislature's increase in benefits in 1999 with no additional improvement in "funding mechanisms"). 2010 audited financial statements

Page 8 of the 2010 audit states PERS spent $409 million more in benefits payments than it received in contributions although that does exclude the $2.1 million income from investments. PERS lost $3.7 million in investment income in 2009.

Post on Commission hearing Video included.
PERS Investment Committee August meeting Includes Videos and reports.



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Feds award $1.2 million grant for Byram-Clinton corridor

The U.S. Department of Transportation announces a $1.2 million grant to Hinds County to be used in the construction of the Byram-Clinton corridor.




District 3 Supervisor Peggy Hobson-Calhoun issued the following statement:

"We are very excited about the award of $1, 250,000.00 for the Byram Clinton Corridor. We appreciate the Federal Highway Administration/FHWA for its acumen in selecting Hinds County as one of the grant recipients, and for recognizing the importance of the Byram Clinton Corridor to the future growth and development of Hinds County. The Byram Clinton Corridor is the largest and most comprehensive planning economic development project in the history of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors. This project is an 18 mile, multi-lane, parkway style transportation route between Byram at I-55 South in the southern portion of the Jackson Metropolitan Area, extending northwestward to the Norrell Road Interchange at I-20 in Clinton. The corridor will consist of retail, residential (high end), and commercial development.

The segment of the corridor that the funds will be used for will help to create a connection between I-20 to Sam Herring Road in Raymond, Mississippi. Improving Sam Herring Road is crucial to providing the needed access into the John Bell Williams Airport and Industrial Park, and having
the park and airport more attractive for business and economic development
."


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dennery on Gallo.

John Dennery, candidate for Hinds County Ward 1 Supervisor, appeared on Paul Gallo a couple of weeks ago. Here is a link to the audio. Not a paid ad so fire away with the comments. ;-)

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Bought a Vizio tv set?

MSNBC reports good luck if you are out of warranty and it has problems. Story.

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Clarion-Ledger: pimps itself out to pump up the hotel deal.

The "state newspaper" took the role of pump monkey for the Jackson Convention Center Hotel deal in its editorial today:

"Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. and the City Council did the right thing picking up the ball and moving forward with a proposed hotel for the Jackson Convention Complex. The council voted Monday to buy about 3.1 acres along Pascagoula Street for $14.3 million. The city will then lease the land to the developers."

Well, Hampton should have written "The council voted to buy its own land back" as the City funneled a HUD loan to TCI back in 2007 to purchase the land from the city. Yup, we are buying back our own land.

"As The Clarion-Ledger reported, Transcontinental Realty Investors Inc. says construction could begin by the end of the year and would take 18 months.

The 16-story, full-service hotel will feature 309 rooms, a restaurant, lounge, bar and 12,700 square feet of meeting space, including an 8,000-square-foot ballroom.

There will be 175 on-site, surface-level parking spaces, with room on the adjoining parcels to bring that total to more than 300
."

Wow. Hollywood comes to Jackson. We'll finally hit the big-time.

"It's about time that there was some movement on this project. While the $14.3 million is a big pill for the city to swallow, it's nearly the amount the city has lost by the land being idle.

The Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau has estimated the convention center has lost at least $13 million in business since opening because it did not have a complementary hotel.

And the city had only a narrow window of opportunity for financing at advantageous rates.

The city is using Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds allowed for building projects in the wake of Hurricane Katrina with a Dec. 31 deadline.

While it's not a great idea for governments to be putting funds in risky ventures, it's certainly not unusual for governments to enter in to public/private partnerships. It makes projects like this possible.

The Jackson Redevelopment Authority is a case in point, where a quasi-governmental agency spurs development through city, state and federal cooperative agreements
."

You have to forgive the newspaper as its pretty clear the concept of risk is beyond its powers of comprehension. Mr. Hampton and his writers ignore the fact the city is on the hook for the bonds, over $100 million when interest is added to the principal, if TCI goes under.

However, the Clarion-Ledger went past the point of negligence or incompetence in writing this editorial. The staff at the newspaper is aware of the TCI problems reported on this website. All that mattes to Mr. Hampton and the editorial staff is how much money can they dump into this project. After all, we have to do something, and do it NOW. Here is what Mr. Hampton ignored:

1. TCI has lost $52 million this year, $76 million last year, and $80 million the year before. TCI has turned a profit, and small ones at that, only three times in the last ten years.

2. TCI is trading at a little over $2.00 per share. Its share price has dropped 75% in the last twelve months. Its market cap is only $20 million. TCI has performed at a lower level than other publicly traded companies in the same industry. Much lower.

3. TCI is highly leveraged. $1.3 billion in assets. $1.2 billion in liabilities. Nearly 100%. Parkway Properties is leveraged at only 60% in comparison.

4. Multiple lenders have accused TCI of committing fraud in several lawsuits filed in the last twelve months. The lenders accused TCI of transferring properties purchased with commercial real estate loans to another TCI company without telling the lenders. The lenders thus claim their collateral in effect disappeared when the lenders went to foreclose on the properties as the borrowing company no longer owned the property. The loans were nearly $100 million.

5. Bankruptcy court twice dismissed bankruptcy petition filed by the TCI subsidiary mentioned above after the lenders objected and claimed the bankruptcy petitions were made in bad faith so the company could avoid lawsuits. The trustee objected as well. The court agreed both times and threw out the petitions.

The editorial mentioned none of these facts. Risk is a foreign concept. Due diligence? The writer probably has all of his cds. Mr. Hampton and his staff are either ignorant of them or (more likely) simply don't care. Its one thing for the Clarion-Ledger engage in sloppy reporting about the hotel deal and omit the facts mentioned above about TCI. However, publishing an editorial pumping up this deal without taking into account TCI's problems goes past negligence. It is nothing but editorial irresponsibility as the editorial completely abdicates its duty to tell its readers the truth. If TCI fails, the city is on the hook for over $90 million. Mr. Hampton has been derelict in his duty as a journalist, editorial page director, and community leader. If this deal blows up, we are going to not just hold Mr. Hampton and his newspaper accountable but we are going to run them into the ground.

You know what the first syllable of hotel is? Well, that first syllable applies to the Jackson city government, city council, and the Clarion-Ledger as they have completely sold out their responsibilities and principles while putting us on the hook for over $90 million.

Oh, here is one last link for you. Enjoy. Old Wall Street Journal story


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is Banking Commissioner John Allison moonlighting or is he reincarnated?











We report, you decide.

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MARL Food Drive. Fur Ball is Thursday night.

Folks, the Mississippi Animal Rescue League is VERY low on food. Here are pictures of their complete inventory three weeks ago at noon:














Here is the deal. If you purchase dog food, cat food, or cat litter for the Mississippi Animal Rescue League at Briarwood Pet Store, The Dog Wash, or The Snooty Pooch, they will keep it as I will deliver it to MARL. You don't have to worry about driving all the way out to South Jackson and taking a couple of hours out of your day. Purchase the food, tell them it is for the JJ food drive, and I will take care of the rest. The food drive will last until September 29, the day of the Fur Ball. It is pretty obvious the Rescue League is very low on food. Be sure and tell the store its for the Jackson Jambalaya food drive for MARL.


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TCI's outlook is "bright". Share price down 75%, $52 million loss, Nearly 100% leveraged. Very bright.

The Jackson City Council approved the convention center hotel deal with Transcontinental Realty Investments (TCI) yesterday by a 5-0 vote. Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell did ask TCI Vice-President Al Cozier about the company's health. The Clarion-Ledger reported:

"Crozier told Whitwell some of Transcontinental's subsidiaries have had to file for bankruptcy in recent years, but the parent company is in good shape, with about $1.4 billion in assets.

He said all real estate firms have faced a downward trend.

"I think our outlook is bright," Crozier added.
"

One can only wonder if Mr. Crozier uses a braille Kindle as the future of TCI is anything but bright. Take a look at S&P's analysis of the company below. Read it carefully.



First thing that pops out is the share price: $2.54 per share. While some may argue REIT's have suffered, TCI performed worse than its peers as shown in the graph at the top of page 2. The company has a YTD return that is a NEGATIVE 62% while the industry has a positive 2.6% return on investment. The industry has actually outperformed the S&P 1500 this year. The one year return is a negative 75% while the industry was 1.1%. One figure jumps out from the chart: $10,000 invested with TCI five years ago is only worth $1,954 today while the industry is $7,218 and the S&P 1500 was $9,424.

Still think the future is bright? Take a look at the income:
2010: -76.1 million
2009: -81.9 million
2008: -30.3 million
2007: .93 million PROFIT
2006: 1.95 million PROFIT
2005: -17.2 million
2004: -11.2 million
2003: -27.7 million
2002: -36.9 million
2001: 29.8 million PROFIT

This company has turned a profit only three times in the last ten years. Its June 30, 2011 SEC 10-Q filings show the outlook for TCI is not getting any better. The consolidated balance indeed shows assets of $1.2 billion. but liabilities of 1.1 billion. In other words, the company is leveraged at nearly 100%. In contrast, Parkway Properties has assets of $2 billion and liabilities of $1.2 billion and is leveraged at 60%.

S&P's notes state (p.3): "Transcontinental Realty Investors Inc. announced unaudited consolidated earnings results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2011. For the quarter, the company reported net loss of $40.83 million..

For the six months, the company reported net loss of $52.88 million
...."


Tell me, does this future smell "bright" to you, Mr. Crozier? Did I mention the market cap for TCI is only $20.6 million dollars? Yup. Jackson is going to buy the land from TCI for the hotel at a price that is roughly three/fourths of what the company is worth.

Time to recap what we know about our new partner. The partner has lost $52 million this year and lost over $76 million each year for the last two years. The company has only earned a profit three times in the last ten years. It is leveraged at nearly 100% if one examines assets against liabilities. The share price has performed substantially worse than the industry average and is trading at around $2.50 per share. The company has been accused of committing mortgage fraud by at least three lenders in three separate lawsuits filed this year. A bankruptcy court in Texas twice this year threw out a TCI subsidiary's (FRE Real Estate) bankruptcy petition filed this year after lenders showed the court other TCI subsidiaries were transferring properties to FRE even though they were secured by nearly $100 million in loans provided by those lenders. Does this sound like a partner whose future is "bright"?

5-0 vote. Remember that, folks. 5-0 vote.

Calls to Mr. Whitwell were not returned.

Earlier post
Copy of resolution




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Monday, September 26, 2011

Welcome back

Welcome back Jimmy Houston. Ridgeland Board of Aldermen voted 5-2 tonight to take Jimmy Houston back as police chief.

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Meet Jackson's new partner. Bankruptcy. Mortgage fraud. Straw companies. Who cares?

Update: Resolution passed 5-0. Here is a link to the resolution.

The Jackson Free Press published a good story last week on Jackson's efforts to build a hotel next to the convention center. The city pushes a storyline of Jackson working with a reputable developer to revitalize downtown. The city acts as a partner with the developer. The developer builds a hotel for the convention center, and we all live happily ever after.

However, there are two sides to every story and the other side of this story is about the developer: Transcontinental Realty Investments (TCI). A company in deep financial trouble. A company charged by more than one lender of committing mortgage fraud. A company thrown out of bankruptcy court twice this year after the lenders and trustee accused it of filing multiple bankruptcy petitions in bad faith. The company is leveraged at nearly 100% and lost $80 million last year. Several lenders sued TCI and its subsidiaries this year after TCI defaulted on nearly $100 million in loans. This is the company Jackson wants to make a partner in building a hotel.

The JFP reported:

"the city would partner with Transcontinental Realty Investors, or TCI, to build the hotel. Representatives from TCI said a convention center hotel will increase business at the Jackson Convention Complex and at downtown businesses."

"If the council adopts the plan, the city and TCI will issue $70.1 million in tax-exempt Gulf Opportunity Zone bonds through the Jackson Redevelopment Authority and $22.5 million in taxable bonds to help pay for the project. Total funding for the project would be $96.1 million...

Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell expressed concerns about the city guaranteeing the bonds and what would happen if TCI defaulted on its obligations, but Swerdling (City adviser) said that was unlikely. Whitwell also asked what would happen if the hotel did not do as well as they hoped
..." Article

"Under the plan, the city would purchase land from TCI for $14.3 million. Either the city or JRA would then lease the land for the hotel to TCI to develop. Since the parcel of land is larger than would be needed for the hotel, the city could sell or develop the extra land around the hotel."

So the city issues bonds, pays $14.3 million to TCI, and jointly assumes the risk with TCI. Naturally the adviser assures Mr. Whitwell and the rest of the city council that everything will be fine. The risk is "manageable". You know, trust us.

Armed Forces Bank filed suit on March 9, 2011 against Transcontinental Realty Investors (TCI) and several companies owned by TCI. One of these companies is TCI MS Investments. Armed Forces Bank claimed it was owed $72,526,355 on a 2004 loan made to TCI. Armed Forces Bank accused TCI of transferring the title to the property purchased with the loan to a "straw" company on December 23, 2010. The straw company filed for bankruptcy on January 4, 2011.

TCI subsidiaries sold several properties to the "straw" company, FRE Real Estate on December 23, 2010. A TCI-owned company changed its name to FRE Real estate on the same day. The properties were secured by loans made by Armed Forces Bank. The plaintiff stated "the transfers and bankruptcy were without notice to Armed Forces" (p.30, paragraph 96).

Petra CRE made similar allegations in its own lawsuit filed on March 15, 2011 in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana against TCI. Petra stated it loaned the money to (TCI company) TCI Amaco on August 30, 2007 to purchase a commercial office building in New Orleans. Petra claims TIC owes $19,500,000 and the company played similar games in New Orleans after purchasing the property.

TCI purchased the building. TCI even signed an agreement with Petra stating tenants would make all rental payments directly to Petra.The shenanigans started in October 2010. Petra claims TCI notified the tenants to "make all rental payments" directly to the TCI-owned management company instead of Petra in violation of the agreement. TCI transferred ownership of the building to FRE on December 23, 2010 as well and recorded it with the Parish Clerk of Court. Once again, the lender said it was never notified of the transfer (Just think Claiborne Frazier, just on a larger scale) and saw its collateral vanish into the ledgers of the straw company.

FRE filed a bankruptcy petition in Bankruptcy Court in the Northern District of Texas on January 4, 2011. FRE listed the Amco building as one of its assets in the bankruptcy petition. The Dallas Business reported in January:

"FRE owns 29 land parcels, six office buildings, an apartment complex and two airplane hangars, with a combined value of $234.5 million, according to the company’s bankruptcy filings. FRE owes a total of $181.5 million on the properties, the company’s filings say. All except four of the properties are in North Texas.

FRE’s filings list more than 150 secured and unsecured creditors, including Armed Forces Bank NA and Wells Fargo Capital Finance Inc." Article

Petra, Armed Forces, and other lenders such as Wells Fargo objected to the petition and accused FRE of filing in bad faith. Wells Fargo also alleged FRE was created as a shell company. TCI subsidiaries transferred assets to FRE even if those assets were secured by loans. FRE then filed bankruptcy while creditors saw their collateral disappear. Wells Fargo claims it lost ten properties securing loans of $8.2 million due to these maneuvers by TCI. The court agreed with the lenders and dismissed the bankruptcy petition on March 1, 2011. Undeterred, FRE filed another bankruptcy petition on April 4. The trustee filed an objection to the petition. The court dismissed the petition in June. However, TCI's legal problems did not stay in Texas. A federal district court in Arkansas entered a $3,441,634 judgment against TCI on March 14, 2011. The court decreed land owned by TCI in Benton County, AR would be sold to help satisfy the judgment.

So let me see: Bankruptcy fraud. Mortgage fraud for tens of millions of dollars. Multi-million dollar judgments. Foreclosures. Phony companies created to hide assets from creditors. Yet, according to Jackson's "advisor", the risk is "manageable" and we should pay $14 million and put the taxpayers on the hook for nearly $100 million.

















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William Winter is now an expert on football

Yup. Letter to the editor written by our Solon Emeritus himself in the newspaper yesterday:

"As a lifelong citizen of Mississippi, I feel compelled to take this means to express my strong disapproval of the negative and divisive attack on the administration of the University of Mississippi which was contained in paid advertisements in several area newspapers this week ("Are you tired of losing, Ole Miss fans?, Sept. 19). I regard that as an unjustified attack on all of the institutions of higher learning.

At a time when our system of higher education is enjoying a great surge of progress and enhanced national respect, it is incredulous that there are those who purport to be its supporters should try to launch a campaign of discord and dissension that can only do grave damage our state. This kind of harsh, negative thinking about one of our educational institutions is also a threat to the well-being of all of them.

We have has come too far in Mississippi in building a justified reputation for excellence in our public universities to let an emotional reaction to the outcome of a few football games interrupt that progress. I am as much a sports fan as you will find. I have probably seen as many college football games as anyone alive. I have supported the team in good times and bad. I always want to see them do well, but I also know that it is much more important that we excel in the kind of education we give our students and the service that we provide our people. That must be the primary responsibility and goal of the University of Mississippi's leadership just as it is for all the other of our fine schools.

Ole Miss is blessed to have a chancellor as able and dedicated as Dan Jones. He is a leader of great insight and courage, with an inspired vision for the vital role that Ole Miss and, for that matter all of higher education in Mississippi, must play in shaping the future of our state. He is a strong unifying force for all of our institutions of higher learning. He is deserving of our united support and gratitude.

Ole Miss can and will in a proper and orderly way correct whatever mistakes that may have been made in its football program. That has been done before, and I am sure that it will be done again.

The mistake that we must not make, however, is to interrupt the great progress that Chancellor Jones and his administration are making in moving Ole Miss to a new level of academic excellence and achievement and in joining with his colleagues in higher education in Mississippi to ensure that our entire system is supported by all of us and becomes the best it can be.

All of us who love our state must work together in that effort.

William F. Winter

Jackson
"

Attack on all institutions? Oh please, Governor, quit being a drama queen. The supporters of other state schools are enjoying the controversy, if anything. Its nice to see you are so concerned with all things Ole Miss. I must have missed your silence when Pete Boone fired Cutcliff, hired Orgeron, fired Orgeron, and then hired a coach who was run out of Arkansas. In case you forgot, Mr. Nutt lost control of his program to parents and thugs at the end. Yup, his players were even electing as team captains players out on bond for drugs. You never seem to say anything whenever Ole Miss is a laughingstock on national tv. In fact, I don't remember you saying anything when Bo Jackson literally took a nap on the sidelines during an Auburn ass-whupping. However, when someone does say enough is enough, THEN you go on the warpath. Well if I was an Ole Miss supporter, Governor, I would tell you to shut the hell up and sit down because you were nowhere to be found as Pete Boone ran the athletic program into the ground. Stick to what you know: Racial reconciliation and education reform. Last time I checked by the way, your reforms had not lifted Mississippi out of 49th or 50th place.

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Jim Rogers: dollar not a safe haven

Legendary investor and Demopolis, Alabam-ee native Jim Rogers had a few things to say about the dollar last week on CNBC:



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Sunday, September 25, 2011

WSJ: Rest of country surrenders to the SEC

The Wall Street Journal reported tonight:

"The rest of college football formally surrendered to the Southeastern Conference Sunday, ending a decades-long war that had become hopelessly one-sided.

The surrender took place just outside Appomattox, Va. SEC officials declined to explain why this site was chosen.

"What began 85 years ago in Pasadena has been finished today," the SEC said in a statement, referring to Alabama's 1926 Rose Bowl victory over Washington, which established Southern schools as a threat. "This is our sport now."



The commissioners of major-college football's other 10 conferences made the decision to capitulate in an emergency conference call Saturday night, following LSU's 47-21 demolition of West Virginia. The rout was the latest in a series of unfortunate encounters between SEC schools and supposedly quality opponents, including LSU-Oregon Sept. 3, Alabama-Michigan State in January and the last five national-title games, only one of which was in doubt at the end.

The terms of the surrender were released by the SEC. They include a number of reforms that seek to restore some dignity to the rest of college football, while giving the SEC its proper due:

The national championship: The Bowl Championship Series title game will continue to be held, but just as a matter of ceremony and to stimulate the economy. The real national-championship game will be designated each year by the SEC. This year it's LSU at Alabama, Nov. 5.

National-championship rematches: The SEC also reserves the right to campaign for an LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS "title" game if the initial meeting is close and there are no other undefeated major-conference schools at season's end. The rest of college football will not bring up 2006, when SEC partisans pilloried the idea of an Ohio State-Michigan title-game rematch.
.." Rest of Article

JJ has been unable to confirm a rumor claiming Ole Miss was shipped to the SWAC as part of the deal or that the idea of leaving the SEC for the SWAC was Pete Boone's idea.

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MLK "estate" sues Howard Ballou. Who sired these children? Martin Luther King or Don King?

Part I: Coverage of complaint
Part II: Copy of complaint
Part III: History of similar antics by King children & the "estate".

Part I

Attorneys for the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. filed a lawsuit against WLBT anchor Howard Ballou in U.S. District Court in Jackson Thursday. The Clarion-Ledger reported:

"The estate of Martin Luther King Jr. says Jackson television news anchor Howard Ballou has some of the slain civil rights leader's historic documents and other items, and should give them up.

King's Georgia estate has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force Ballou to return the material, which also includes photographs and transcripts.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court by Jackson attorney Bob Owens, says the documents and other items are rare and irreplaceable, and are believed to be valued at more than $75,000
."

Mr. Ballou's employer, WLBT, reported

"Maude Ballou was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s personal secretary when he led the Montgomery Improvement Association in Alabama. They worked together for several years, and Ms. Ballou helped Dr. King establish his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in 1960.

The two maintained a trusting professional relationship; a handwritten inscription on a book authored by Dr. King reads "To my dear friends Maude and Leonard, whose friendship I will always cherish very deeply." Leonard is Maude's late husband.

During her employment, Ms. Ballou wrote letters on Dr. King's behalf, and he also corresponded with her through letters at times....

In 2007, some of the correspondence, along with transcripts of Dr. King's sermons and other documents, were discovered in storage at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina, where Maude and Leonard Ballou worked. The family of Dr. King says Howard Ballou has ownership of those documents now. According to the lawsuit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Jackson, the property is wrongfully detained by Mr. Ballou, and there's no dispute the documents are Dr. King's property.

Mr. Ballou's attorney, Robert Gibbs, says he was contacted in July by lawyers for the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr., a private company owned by the children of the civil rights icon. But Gibbs says there was no negotiation about giving the items back. "I can tell you there are some things similar to what's described in that lawsuit that are in Ms. Ballou's possession. But these are her documents. We're going to do whatever we can to make sure they remain her documents," Gibbs says.
" Article

The lawsuit claims the items in Mr. Ballou's possession are:

1. A sermon by Dr. King from May 17, 1956 entitled "The Death of Evil Upon the Sea Shore."
2. A transcript of Dr. King's statement the day after the Supreme Court ruled bus segregation was unconstitutional.
3. November 26,1956 newsletter written by Dr. King about the "events related to the Montgomery Bus Boycott".
4. Transcript of Dr. King's speech at Holt Street Baptist Church in Montgomery Alabama on December 3,1956.
5. "A handwritten letter to Mrs. Ballou, signed by Rosa Parks on April 29,1957, "regarding the work of the MIA".
6. Transcript of Dr. King's statement after being arrested in Montgomery, Alabama in 1958 for loitering.
7. "Undated 'Message from the President' authored by Dr. King as the President of the SCLC, bearing Dr. King's signature."
8. "Handwritten letters to Maude Ballou" from Dr. King while overseas regarding his work at the MIA.
9. Transcript of Dr. King's speech to the MIA on December 3, 1959.

Part II


Part III

Unfortunately, the King children have greed for blood as they earned quite a reputation over the years for their shameful treatment of Dr. King's legacy. Repeatedly fighting each other in court. Pimping of the King legacy as everything is for sale. Suing everyone at any time if they even think about Dr. King without paying them for the right to think about Dr. King (For the lawyers, yes, that last phrase was a use of parody and satire as Dexter King may be too stupid to realize it as such.). The lawsuit against Mr. Ballou, one of the classiest and most respected gentlemen in Mississippi, is just one more chapter in the sorry history created by Bernice, the Third, and Dexter. What exactly have they done? Here is the short list:

1. The AP reported in 2009 the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation "the foundation paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by King's family. Documents also show a "management" fee of $71,700 was paid to the family estate in 2003." The foundation is operated by Dexter King while Bernice and Martin III sit on the board. You read that right. They charged a licensing fee of nearly a million bucks. The Gawker reported:

"The King kids told the AP that they charged the fees because the memorial's fundraising drive has cut into contributions to their own King Center. According to the King Center's Form 990 tax returns for 2006, Dexter drew a $186,000 salary from the King Center, which also paid $1 million consulting fee to Intellectual Properties Management
." Article

2. Charged CNN money to replay the entire "I Have a Dream" speech. A federal court ruled in 1999 in the Estate of Martin Luther King v. CBS the speech was not in the public domain but a performance subject to copyright laws. Hmmm..... I like this idea. Any of you thinking of replaying my "performances" on the radio? Better open up the wallets.

3. This is a good one. Penguin agreed to a $1.4 million book deal for a book about Coretta Scott King with Dexter King. Bernice and Martin III sued Dexter. Penguin demanded the return of a $300,000 if certain promised documents were not provided to the publisher. Article The deal never materialized but it led to the this fight:

4. Dexter King sued his siblings to get, ready for this?, the personal love letters between Dr. King and his wife so he could use them in a book deal with Penguin. You simply can not make this up. The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reported in 2008:

"Coretta Scott King kept the love letters beneath her bed, in a blue Samsonite suitcase.

The amorous writings of her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., were among the most cherished possessions of a famously private person, said Lynn Cothren, Mrs. King’s special assistant for 23 years. “That’s why she kept them so close, in her room, underneath her bed.”

The family corporation that Dexter King leads, called King Inc., is seeking a temporary restraining order that would force Bernice King to give the papers to Reynolds. A judge ordered her to bring the letters and photos to court Tuesday, though they are not expected to be shown in court. At stake is the book contract with Penguin Group, the New York-based publisher that has threatened to pull out should Bernice King fail to hand over the papers by Friday.
" Article

5. Not even Obama is immune to the King children's greed. Fox News reported

"The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is demanding a share of the proceeds from the sudden wave of T-shirts, posters and other merchandise depicting the slain civil rights leader alongside Barack Obama.

Isaac Newton Farris Jr., King's nephew and head of the nonprofit King Center in Atlanta, said the estate is entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees — maybe even millions.

"Some of this is probably putting food on people's plates. We're not trying to stop anybody from legitimately supporting themselves," he said, "but we cannot allow our brand to be abused
." I'm surprised Mr. Farris didn't try to copyright Isaac Newton and the phrase "law of gravity". Article I can see it now, Junior files a lawsuit against Steve Jobs wanting money for the use of Apple.

Think I'm through? Oh no, there is more.

6. Bernice and Three opposed a Martin Luther King museum in Atlanta for reasons Madison County Supervisor Karl Banks will appreciate. Coca-Cola donated land downtown for the museum. The children instead argued it should be located in the Auburn Avenue Corridor, which would just happen to be near (and boost traffic for) the Martin Luther King Center for Non-Violent Social Change. Guess who owned operated that facility? Yup, the King children. Never mind the National Park Service wanted to buy it and said it needed $11 million in repairs as the center suffered from years of neglect. The donated land was worth $10 million at the time and had the support of the Mayor as well as other local leaders. Article

7. Then there is the infamous 2008 lawsuit over the management of the estate of Dr. King. From the British Telegraph:

"Two of King's children have filed a lawsuit against a third, accusing him of misappropriating "substantial funds" from one family account and mismanaging a company they set up to license their father's image and intellectual property.

In the suit, Bernice King, 45, and Martin Luther King III, 50, claim Dexter King, 47, took "substantial" funds from the estate of their mother, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006, and "misapplied or wasted" assets from the company. Bernice King is the administrator of their mother's estate." Copy of complaint.

The British Times reported at the time: "the estate made $32 million from the sale of Dr. King's papers to the City of Atlanta in 2006. The sale was reportedly necessary "to protect the papers for future generations because of crumbling infrastructure and mounting debt at the King Center in Atlanta"

The case settled. Dexter King kept his title. However, he lost control of the company, King Inc., that manages the estate after the court appointed a custodian to manage the operations. There is more. Just google "Martin luther king children greed".

Are Kings simply concerned children who wish to preserve an important part of American history? Its hard to take that view when they've squandered millions of dollars, exploited the legacy for more millions, and and treated even Dr. King's love letters as something to be sold at auction. Now they want to drag Mr. Ballou through the mud (I've already seen one blog stating he was in possession of "stolen property"). The character and reputation of Mr. Ballou doesn't matter. The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King doesn't matter. The story of civil rights in this country does not matter. All that matters to the King is the King children and everyone else - yes, that includes their mother, father, and all black people - be damned. Mr. Ballou should fight this lawsuit and expose these people for what they are: shameless hustlers who act as if they were sired by Don King, not Martin Luther King.






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Friday, September 23, 2011

Are fewer people drinking "American" beer?

MSNBC reported the following major brands of "American" beer have seen their sales plummet in the last few years:

1. Michelob: down a whoppin’ SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT from 2006 to 2010
2. Michelob Light: down 64% for the same period
3. Bud Select: down 60%, same period
4. Milwaukee’s Best: down 53%, same period
5. Old Milwaukee: down 52%, same period
6. Miller Genuine Draft: down 51%, same period
7. Milwaukee’s Best Light: down 34%, same period
8. BUDWEISER(!): down 30% for the same period

MSNBC article. A columnist on the website Seattle PI wrote "What does this list really say? That Americans are rejecting mass-produced crap beers in record numbers." Just one problelm? The list says nothing about the sales numbers for Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, and yes, Bud Lite. I don't think its any secret more people are leaving the regular beers listed above for the less calorie versions. Poor reporting by MSNBC and an poor interpretation by the columnist. However, he did make some good points about American brewing:

"I think American small business is the very beating heart of our society. In 1980, there were about a half-dozen American craft breweries. That number is now almost 1,500. And this is that small-business paradigm that, I firmly believe, is the eventual antidote to all questions of economic down-turns. Free enterprise doesn’t work unless everybody can dream and have a reasonable hope their dreams can come true. It was categorically impossible for any American brewery to compete, on anything like a level playing field, with AB and Miller/Coors. So our country’s aspiring craft brewers simply didn’t try. They embraced their own wildly creative interpretations of virtually every other style of lager or ale produced anywhere else on the planet. They ceded the ground of wimpy, fizzy yellow Pilsner to the mega-brewers and concentrated on…everything else.

It was, after 80+ years of AB’s ruthless suppression of every brewer who threatened to grown beyond local appeal, the one strategy for which AB and Miller/Coors had no answer. AB/InBev has tried, God Knows, whelping a bizzarre and increasingly-desperate roster of faux-craft beers
,...." Column



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Simple question

Those of you bragging PERS has a 25% return for the past fiscal year, I have just one question. What has the S&P done this year and what has it done since oh, July?

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EEOC sues Bass Pro for racial discrimination.

WARNING: LANGUAGE

The EEOC filed suit against Bass Pro Outdoor World two days ago in federal court in Houston, Texas (Added Texas in case anyone thought Houston, Mississippi.). The EEOC accused Bass Pro of discriminating against blacks in its hiring practices in several states and retaliating against employees who resisted the alleged discrimination. The government also accused Bass Pro of destroying records relating to the investigation.

The federal government made the following accusations:

"Defendant has engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawfully failing to hire qualified Black applicants for hourly and salaried positions at its retail stores nationwide. An illustrative example of this corporate practice occurred around summer 2006, when a recently hired Bass Pro Human Resources Manager interviewed a qualified Black applicant for a position at a Bass Pro store in Louisiana. An Assistant General Manager -- who had participated in that store’s hiring decisions for years -- told the Human Resources Manager that the candidate “really doesn’t fit our profile.” When the Human Resources Manager asked for an explanation why the qualified Black applicant would not be hired, the Assistant General Manager replied “we don’t hire niggers.”

Ouch. Feel sorry for Bass Pro in court if that is true as they will get torched. There is more:

*In 2005, the Store General Manager of a Bass Pro store in the greater Houston area told the Human Resources Manager that “it was getting a little dark in here you need to hire some white people.”

*Several times in late 2008, a department “Lead” in a Bass Pro store in Indiana was seen discarding employment applications after he decided that the name on the application “sounded like a ‘nigger name.’” This Lead employee opined that “niggers steal and did not make good employees.”

*Defendant has engaged in a pattern or practice of unlawfully failing to hire Hispanic applicants for hourly and salaried positions at its retail stores nationwide. As an example, in addition to directing a Human Resources Manager to “hire some white people,” the General Manager of a store in the greater Houston area would, on a daily basis, use the words “wetback,” “Pedro,” and “Mexican” to refer to people of Hispanic origin. At a store in Indiana, a Lead employee who screened applications stated that “Hispanics should be shot at the border by the border patrol.”

*a managerial employee at an Alabama store complained to a Regional Human Resources Manager that the store General Manager was discriminating against female employees. The store General Manager was informed about the complaint, and told his subordinate that she “better not complain about him again.” Later, the managerial employee met with the store General Manager to voice her concerns about retaliation by the store General Manager. Shortly after the meeting had concluded, the employee was fired by the store Human Resources Manager, who advised that the General Manager had ordered her termination.

The government asks for an injunction against such behavior, an order to make the victims whole, and damages of the compensatory and punitive type. EEOC press release. Needless to say Bass Pro vigorously in a press release of its own. It accused the government of bias:

""This investigation and the EEOC's conduct demonstrate a troubling tendency by the EEOC to stereotype those who love outdoor sports and support conservation as people who unlawfully discriminate or oppose equal opportunity for all," Bass Pro's Vice President for Human Resources Mike Rowland said in the statement.

"For example, EEOC staff investigators have suggested on several occasions that because Bass Pro sponsors a NASCAR race team the company is more likely to discriminate against minorities," the statement said." Article




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Thursday, September 22, 2011

C Spire? Cease fire? C what?

Cellular South is now C Spire? What marketing genius thought of this one? Better yet, perhaps the Creekmeenas should have watched this video first:



If they did watch this video before they made the name change, I hope they realize the video was a joke and not something to be taken seriously.

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Dear Haley....

Nice to see you can't even control your own communications directors:


"In my America, a contract is a contract is a contract. If PERS changes are to be considered, they need to be considered for new employees. The state has already made their deal with current and past state employees.. posted by Francis Rullan on 09/22/11 at 03:43 PM"

over at the Jackson Free Press on a story about the PERS hearing this morning. Mr. Rullan is the Communications Director for Medicaid.

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Dept of Education asks for extra $300 million (Video included)

Mississippi Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham asked the Joint Legislative Budget Committee for a $300.3 million dollar increase in funding for the State Board of Education for fiscal year 2013 today (p.9 of budget request posted below). The request included $230 million to fund the requirements imposed by MAEP (p.7). The Superintendent also asked for an additional $18.7 million for school supplies and $20 million for school buildings to restore funds diverted by the legislature for those areas over the last few years.

Mr. Burhham told the committee before a packed room there were going to be nearly 60 new Superintendents of education next year and he needed $2.5 million to establish a "Superintendent Academy" adequately prepare them. Posted below is a booklet given to the committee containing budget request information.








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Rick goes on the warpath

Santelli & a Yale professor go at it over how to cure housing woes. Naturally the professor wants to reduce the principal for those who are underwater and can't pay their mortgages. Of course he doesn't say anything about the people who are living next to him, making their payments, and could use some help as well. Where does it stop? Anyway, its an interesting little exchange.




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Robert Graham still likes to play Lieutenant.











He may have left JPD at the end of 2006 but Hinds County Supervisor still likes to play Lieutenant. Mr. Graham spoke at an August 2010 conference of the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO). Mr. Graham introduced himself as "Lieutenant Robert Graham of the Jackson Police Department" in the first three minutes of the audio recording posted below.



Here is a transcript of his opening remarks:

"Good morning. I am your instructor for the morning. I'm Lieutenant Robert Graham of the Jackson Police Department and I'd like to talk for an hour. I'm going to move pretty quickly about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. The subject is called "Officer Down". For over 35 years I spent in the dispatch center as a dispatcher I'm a little but unusual type of police officer. The reason why I'm kind of unusual is every time the chief would put me on the street, I would mess up bad enough for them to put me back in dispatch. So I love dispatchers. I have a passion for dispatchers, I'm a dispatcher yesterday, I'm a dispatcher tomorrow, I'm a dispatcher forever."

Mr. Graham left the employment of JPD at the end of 2006 and was never a certified law enforcement officer but was a civilian employee of JPD. He served as a JPD reservist until earlier this year.



Mr. Graham also presented himself as a JPD Lieutenant earlier this year at an APCO conference and at APCO conferences in April 2010, November 2009, and 2008. N. A bulletin for a 2012 conference mentions him only as President of Professional Dispatch Management.




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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MDOC hearing yesterday. (Video)

Here is the video of the MDOC hearing at the Joint Legislative Budget Committee yesterday.







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John Dennery Meet & Greet




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Vann Leonard now in federal custody

Patsy Brumfield reports in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal the Feds took custody of Vann Leonard after he pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement:

"Leonard agreed to avoid a trial by pleading guilty to one count that he embezzled money from a bankruptcy estate he administered.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000, as well as possible restitution.

Friday, Northern Mississippi U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock unsealed the case after Leonard's sentence hearing was not held Thursday, as scheduled.

Since last Tuesday, he's been in federal custody in the Lafayette County Detention Center.

U.S. marshals moved him from the Rankin County Jail, where he was held after serious legal problems of a similar nature.

Criminal accusations against Leonard arose in the Southern District, where a client alleged he stole $327,585 from an accident settlement after she declared bankruptcy.

The criminal and bankrutpcy cases were transferred to North Mississippi.

Leonard also was accused in a Madison County circuit court case of stealing the proceeds from a life insurance policy that should have gone to a doctor's widow and in a Rankin County estate case over $111,000 he's accused of taking.

The Mississippi Bar took possession of all his client files this past summer.

On Sept. 12, Leonard's irrevocable resignation from the Bar was accepted by the state Supreme Court.
" Article

Not a bad story and a hell of a lot more than was published by the Jackson media, which was ZERO!!!






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Video of Medicaid hearing yesterday.

JJ is trying something new this year. The Solons of the Mississippi Legislature are conducting their annual budget hearings this week. JJ is videotaping some of them. Here is Medicaid's from yesterday. No big fireworks. When possible, I'm going to include any materials distributed at the hearings. Video from Corrections and Mental Health hearings will be posted later today. Warning: Medicaid Executive Director Bob Robinson tries to tell a funny joke. The key word is "tries". Enjoy





Some facts from the presentation yesterday:

*Medicaid requested a $107 million increase (P.3 of documents below). This includes a projected increase of $118 million in Medicaid service expenditures (7.4%).
*Medicaid adds 2,000 enrollees every month.
*76% of Medicaid funding is provided by the federal government.
*The 2012 and 2013 Medicaid budgets include no stimulus funds. The 2011 budget included $262 million of such funding and 2010 included $256 million.
*There are 638,860 Medicaid beneficiaries in the system as of August 31, 2011.
*Page 13 is the one to read. It projects a "moderate" increase of Medicaid beneficiaries from 707,450 in 2011 to 1,009,000 in 2014 after Obamacare is implemented. The "Full" (I guess they mean worst case scenario) estimate projects it to be 1,114,000.


*Sorry for the poor video quality as I'm still trying to figure out how to use this camera. Had it set on HD and still looks pretty bad. Its also hard to get a good angle in that room as there are so many support beams.








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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Byram still can't get access to Hinds radio system.

Hinds County Board of Supervisors had its regular meeting yesterday. Nothing exciting although for a few minutes District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher claimed Hinds County still has not given Byram access to its radio system.

Byram purchased its Motorola radios several months ago after Hinds County tried to force Byram to purchase EF Johnson radios through its "consultant". Although Byram has access to the statewide radio system (MSWIN), it is unable to gain access to the Hinds system. Translation: They can't talk to Hinds County Sheriff's Office, Clinton PD, Terry PD, JPD, or even its own volunteer fire department.

Mr. Fisher produced emails from Hinds EOC Director Jimmie Lewis stating he was only doing what the Supervisors told him to do (See 15:56 in third video below. Notice how Mr. Graham turns away from the discussion.). The Supervisors previously took the position Byram had to allow Airwave to program its radios so they could access the Hinds radio system. Such reprogramming means Airwave has to take physical possession of the radios. The city takes the position the wireless commission can program the radios over the air to have access without the radios ever leaving Byram's possession. The commission and Motorola can issue a system key giving Byram limited access. Supervisor Hobson-Calhoun ended the discussion by asking why Byram couldn't follow the procedures of other cities in Hinds County, to which Mr. Fisher agreed.



Part I: 1. 8:23: Election Commission asks for authority to retain legal counsel. 2. 20:00. Dan Gibson discusses selection of insurance policy.


Part II: Discussion of insurance coverage continued. 1. 10:00. Dispute with county over Buck Road with landowners.


Part III: 1. 8:00: Discussion of employee health insurance quotes. 15:56: Fisher brings up Byram police radios.






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Reunion food fight?

Seems a few people are not happy about some of the plans for Reunion. They have apparently started up a little website.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Latest crime stats

Here are the latest crime stats from Jackson and Madison.

Jackson crime stats for week ending September 11, 2011
Jackson major crimes overview for week ending September 11, 2011


Page 5 of the major crimes overview report is the one to read. Good news for residents of Precinct 4. House burglaries dropped 21% (19 to 15) from week to week. The YTD report improved as increase in house burglaries fell from a 33% increase for most of this year to 22%. Hopefully this trend will continue in the right direction. Unfortunately, rapes in Precinct 4 are up 100% year to date (doubling from 12 to 24 incidents this year.).

City of Madison crime reports through September 11, 2011.



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Once a Leftenant always a Leftenant?

Check out the last entry on the left side of the page:





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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dick Hall fund-raiser tomorrow night.



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Mississippi GOP FOOD FIGHT!!!

Looks like the Todd Wade saga is heating up. The former pro football player won the Republican Primary for Senate District #9 in August. The Election Commission met on September 9 to make several decisions before the November general election. Attorney General Jim Hood, Governor Haley Barbour, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann are the commission. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported

"Wade, 34, was the only candidate who qualified to run against incumbent Gray Tollison, D-Oxford. Tollison did not contest Wade's qualifications, but the Secretary of State's office discovered during its routine check of all candidates that there was no record of Wade registering to vote before September 2010 in Lafayette County.

The Constitution requires candidates to have been a qualified elector of the state for four years.

"I am opposed to pulling anybody off the ballot," said Hosemann. "If I could have found any modicum of evidence .... I could not find anything indicating he was a registered elector before last September."

Wade signed an affidavit saying he registered to vote about 15 years ago while a senior in high school. Rankin County Circuit Clerk Carol Swilley signed an affidavit saying there was "the possibility for human error" in accounting for the fact that there is no record of Wade registering to vote in Rankin County.

When Wade registered to vote in Lafayette County in September, he did not fill out a portion of the form asking if he was registered to vote at a different address. Wade told the commission he did not pay attention to that portion of the form
."

Well, let the games begin. Wade fired his lawyers and obtained new counsel. His website accuses Delbert of using his candidacy as a "stepping stone":

"Many people believe that Hosemann plans to seek higher office in years to come, but we will not allow him to illegally use his political opposition as stepping stones to achieve that goal."

"Todd Wade registered to vote in his senior year of high school (1995), and he has been a resident of Lafayette County since returning from the NFL in January 2009. He has voted regularly since returning, and Hosemann and Hood have acknowledged this. Thus, he is constitutionally qualified and entitled to run for Senate. That is the reality of the situation."

Mr. Wade (no relation to KIM Waaaaaaade) cites Mississippi Code § 23-15-963 in support of his position:

"(1) Any person desiring to contest the qualifications of another person …shall file a petition specifically setting forth the grounds of the challenge not later than thirty-one (31) days after the date of the first primary election …

The procedure set forth above shall be the sole and only manner in which the qualifications of a candidate seeking public office
…"

"After quoting some law he opined: "The primary occurred on August 2; thus, Mississippi law states that the last day to challenge a candidate was September 2. Further, Mississippi law requires any challenged candidate to receive two days notice of his challenge. This is called due process. Hosemann gave Wade just under two hours notice, and, had Wade not been on his way to Jackson, Hosemann and Hood would have made this decision without even allowing Wade to be present. When presented with this law, Hosemann said, “This Commission has special powers, and we’re going to figure out what those are.” Well, you needn’t look far because they are clear."

and concluded:

"Wade was fully qualified, and Delbert Hosemann decided to be investigator, judge, jury, and executioner in appointing Wade’s opponent to the District 9 Senate Seat. He unequivocally took that vote away from the public and granted it to himself. Thousands of voters have been disenfranchised by Hosemann’s actions, and his only explanation for his actions is that he has “special powers.”

No elected official should have the audacity to claim to have “special powers” to violate the laws of the State of Mississippi, but, as of now, Hosemann has gotten his way.

It is just this type of political maneuvering and disrespect for the voters that Wade sought to oppose as a newcomer to public service, but, for some unknown reason, Hosemann has chosen his own desires over the plain language of the law.
"

However, over at Y'all Politics, Frank Corder, who replied to an emailed request yesterday he had performed work for Mr. Hosemann's office on the Tidelands Commission last summer, wrote a stern editorial defending Mr. Hosemann:

"Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann should be commended for carrying out his duty as the chief elections officer in the state, even at the detriment of his own political party....

The citizens of Senate District 9 deserve a candidate that meets the qualifications to hold the seat and one that has a track record of being involved in the electoral process. The Mississippi Constitution Article 4, Section 42 should be strictly followed and enforced by the Board. Barbour/Bryant and Hood should join Hosemann in ensuring the law is upheld, in practice and spirit, and make a determination based on law and not political expediency.

Further, not voting since his senior year in high school does not show commitment or concern on Wade's part. This is troublesome and indeed unfortunate for the people in SD 9 and the conservatives who have worked to flip this seat.

While Republicans would love to unseat Democrat Sen. Gray Tollison, this is not the proper way. The rule of law outlined in the Mississippi Constitution must be upheld over political will.
.." (Um, why didn't he vote once during those fifteen or so years?)

However, State GOP Grand Poobah Arnie Hederman jumped into the fray in a letter to Mr. Hosemann (and this letter was not mentioned on YP)arguing not Mr. Wade was a qualified voter Lafayette County but Mr. Hoseman violated the law himself by challenging his candidacy after the deadline:

"The Secretary of State has the same right as any citizen to challenge the qualifications of any individual candidate, but it should have been done in a timely fashion according to Mississippi Code Section 23-15-963. As Chairman, it is my responsibility and duty to defend the Party’s interest in this case. This is not about Todd Wade, but a matter of election law and due process. The Election Commission’s 2-1 vote to remove a certified candidate from the ballot is unprecedented and unfair to all political parties and candidates. The State Executive Committee correctly certified Todd Wade; Governor Haley Barbour and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant agreed with your decision by voting to allow Todd to stay on the ballot.

Since you sit on the Committee that initially certified Todd Wade, I wanted to provide you with the events leading up to Todd’s removal from the ballot, as well as the section (below) from the Mississippi Code related to contesting candidates in the general election
..." Letter

Needless to say, this decision by Mr. Hosemann has Republicans in an uproar. Stay tuned. This one is going to court.

Note: If you want to have some fun, read this comments calling Delbert a Democrat.





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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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