Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Faces of Evil

Triumph of the Will was a propoganda film produced and directed by Leni Riefenstahl in 1934 to commerate the recent Nazi Party Congress and rallies in Nuremberg. The editorial review in states:
"Triumph of the Will is one of the most important films ever made. Not because it documents evil--more watchable examples are being made today. And not as a historical example of blind propaganda--those (much shorter) movies are merely laughable now. No, Riefenstahl's masterpiece--and it is a masterpiece, politics aside--combines the strengths of documentary and propaganda into a single, overwhelmingly powerful visual force. Riefenstahl was hired by the Reich to create an eternal record of the 1934 rally at Nuremberg, and that's exactly what she does. You might not become a Nazi after watching her film, but you will understand too clearly how Germany fell under Hitler's spell. The early crowd scenes remind one of nothing so much as Beatles concert footage (if only their fans were so well behaved!)... --Grant Balfour ."

There are now clips on Youtube of the film. I've chosen to make a post on this subject because one of the eternal questions in history is "How does evil happen?". How could people elect such a monster as Hitler? Could it happen again? Hopefully these clips will show how evil has many faces and even when we laugh at it, it is always waiting for the right time and place to strike.

Opening Scenes:

Hitler Youth rally. Scary.

Hitler's Address on Compulsory Domestic Service (remember the "voluntary" public service suggested by Democrats? Here are the roots):

Two more addresses:

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, June 29, 2007

Boy Meets Girl?

Local humorist, Emily Braden, has a funny story about her son discovering GIRLS (bringing back memories of that scene in Bambi):

"So Monkey spent his first day at day camp yesterday. Well, first day since last summer. He got dressed. He gelled his hair. He wore his Yoda "My Finger You Pull" t-shirt. He's worried about people seeing his knees that are bruised and scraped like any normal ten-year-old boy, so he had on his long shorts. Because that girl might have been there.

That girl is the most beautiful creature he's ever met. He dresses up to go to the convenience store for ice in the event he might see that girl. That girl was calling our house a few weeks ago, but since he's returned from the beach, Monkey has not turned his cell phone on. He's so riding the childhood/pre-teen fence right now. He's working on personal responsibility and chores, but he's easily distracted by anything shiny. He's gelling his hair, but he asks me where his action figures are.Last night over dinner, he explained his gender role ideals to me. I tried not to choke........"

read the rest of the story at:

Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

More Medicaid Malarky?

Is Dr. Robert Robinson, the current Director of the Division of Medicaid qualified to occupy that position?

The statute that creates the Director's position and establishes the criteria that must be met in order for him to be hired is SEC. 43-13-107 of the Mississippi Code of 1972. It states the following:
"Division of Medicaid created; director and other personnel; Medical Care Advisory Committee.....(2) The Governor shall appoint a full-time director, with the advice and consent of the Senate, who shall be either (a) a physician with administrative experience in a medical care or health program, or (b) a person holding a graduate degree in medical care administration, public health, hospital administration, or the equivalent, or (c) a person holding a bachelor's degree in business administration or hospital administration, with at least ten (10) years' experience in management-level administration of Medicaid programs, and who shall serve at the will and pleasure of the Governor."

The law is quite clear that the intent of the legislature when drafting this law was that the Director should have extensive experience along with a high level of expertise in the field of administering Medicaid programs or health care administration.

Unfortunately, Dr. Robinson does not meet the criteria as established by law. His biography on the DOM's website states:
"I chose Bob to serve in this position because of his leadership capabilities and many years of service in state government," Governor Haley Barbour said. "He served as Commissioner of Public Welfare, which is the predecessor of the Medicaid program today and understands the inner workings of state government. After a nation-wide search, he is the best person to fill this important role."
"Dr. Robinson is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, and received his doctorate of business administration from Mississippi State University. He has served the state as Executive Director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Industrial Board, Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Job Development and Training, State Personnel Director, and as Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of transportation."
(Note: A check of the Bluebooks did not mention Dr. Robinson as Commissioner of Public Welfare although he could have served as an appointment. His term must have not been one that covered more than one governor's term at the most.)

Dr. Robinson fails to meet the minimum qualifications as specified by the statute. He is not a medical doctor. While he has a Doctorate of Business Administration, that is not the equivalent of a graduate degree in a field related to public health, health care administration, etc. as the law says only people with medical, health care administration, or public health related degrees are considered to be eligible. The law does not make an exception for a nominee possessing a Doctorate of Business Administration with no health care-related background. It does allow for a person to have such a degree, even only an undergraduate degree but then it specifies that the candidate must have ten years of experience in administering Medicaid programs, which Dr. Robinson does not possess.

Dr. Robinson was once the Commissioner of the Department of Public Welfare which was the forerunner to DOM until over twenty years ago. It received federal welfare allocations and was in charge of administering them, not just Medicaid-related ones (There is also no question that Medicaid has changed drastically in over twenty years). However, Dr. Robinson did not serve ten years in that position and the law does not make an exception for previous commissioners who only served for a few years. The law created a new set of specific qualifications to be met before a nominee can be approved. The legislature was well aware of DPW's history and scope when it created the Division of Medicaid but chose not to include a grandfather clause for prior Commissioners that exempted them from the new requirements.

There is no question that Dr. Robinson has a commendable history of public service and is obviously dedicated to improving state government. However, one must ask why Dr. Robinson was confirmed by the Senate, as it is that body's duty to scrutinize the qualifications of candidates before confirming them. Did none of the Senators take their duty seriously enough to determine if Dr. Robinson was even eligible to be Director? It is tempting to give the Senate the benefit of the doubt as Dr. Robinson was appointed on October 1, 2005 which means that he was confirmed during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the Senate obviously had much more pressing matters.

One must also ask why the Barbour administration chose to deal with a Medicaid tar-baby that was experiencing deficits of hundreds of millions of dollars by nominating someone who was not qualified. Is the Governor serious when he states that out of all the Medicaid experts or experienced health care administrators/experts in the country none are as qualified as his nominee who has no experience in these fields whatsoever? Haven't the Republicans for years railed against faceless bureaucrats regulating from the ivory tower fields in which they had no expertise?

Mississippi has had enough trouble and controversy with Medicaid programs over the years without allowing an unqualified Director to administer them. Under the Musgrove administration, Medicaid operated under a huge deficit. Since Dr. Robinson became Director, Medicaid has continued to face turmoil (taxing the hospitals, battling deficits, etc).

The law and intent of the legislature is clear as to who should run Medicaid: someone who is a health care professional and has experience in Medicaid programs along with government health care regulations, not a bureaucrat who has served in a variety of agencies from welfare to transportation to personnel to farming. The position demands a Medicaid expert, not a floating jack-of-all trades bureaucrat. Dealing with infant mortality and health care for children is very different from pouring asphalt, filling potholes, and selling soybeans.

The question that remains is: Will the Director of Medicaid's resume finally receive some much-needed scrutiny and will there be some accountability?

Update: See additional story at:

Click Here to Read More..

Radio Lobes of Fornax A

Together, the radio lobes span over one million light years -- what caused them? In the center is a large but peculiar elliptical galaxy dubbed NGC 1316. Detailed inspection of the NGC 1316 system indicates that it began absorbing a small neighboring galaxy about 100 million years ago. Gas from the galactic collision has fallen inward toward the massive central black hole, with friction heating the gas to 10 million degrees. For reasons not yet well understood, two oppositely pointed fast moving jets of particles then developed, eventually smashing into the ambient material on either side of the giant elliptical galaxy. The result is a huge reservoir of hot gas that emits radio waves, observed as the orange (false-color) radio lobes in the above image. The radio image is superposed on an optical survey image of the same part of the sky. Strange patterns in the radio lobes likely indicate slight changes in the directions of the jets.

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Have you been a victim of crime recently in Jackson?

Please email me your crime stories in the Jackson area. Last week I made this post:

There was an email that was written by a woman who had been robbed at Broad Street Bakery that was circulated. I was able to establish contact with her and confirmed that this was not just another internet rumor and published the email after I sanitized it. I did it for several reasons. One reason is that it is news and unfortunately, unless it involves a murder or something sensational, the media generally does not cover such crimes in Jackson. It also doesn't help that even if sensational The Clarion-Ledger will still sanitize the coverage. When the female jogger was raped in Ridgeland a couple of years ago, Ronnie Agnew defended in a column his decision not to publish the race of the rapist, for example. The second reason is that the rumor mill knows no bounds and my posting the email tells you not just what happened but what did NOT happen. The victim in the case I posted was not raped or beaten, just robbed. On the internet that can quickly morph into something else more ugly.

If you have similar crime stories, please email them to me. Before I will publish them however, I do require that I speak to the victim in order to establish the truthfulness of the story. If the victim is unable to speak to me, a lawyer or legal guardian representing the victim will suffice. If there are police reports on the crime involved, a copy of them would be appreciated as well( a police report can also be used as a subsitute for contacting the victim.). I do not plan to mention any names as that would invite retaliation from the criminals and unwanted attention to people who have been through hell and just want to heal.

This is not an attempt to be sensational as Jacksonians DO need an outlet to make their stories concerning crimes that are not covered by the media heard. Jacksonians do have a right to know what is going on around them and also deserve some protection from the internet rumors as well.

Email me at

Click Here to Read More..

Update from the field in Iraq

This is from Michael Yon's website. For those of you who have not heard of him, Michael Yon is a writer who does not work for any news organization so that he can maintain his indedepence. He is a former soldier in Special Forces and has written several books.

"I have never gotten a penny from any book, movie or television deal, proposed or otherwise. Anything that might increase the audience for these soldier stories that I post on my website gets my attention. But anything that even hints of outside editorial control, or smacks of someone spinning this material to promote a commercial or political agenda, gets shown the door."

He is embedded with a unit out there. He files dispatches on a regular basis and is becoming recognized along with Gordon of The New York Times as the premier correspondents of the war. Here is part of his latest dispatch:

"On 19 June American forces sealed off Baqubah and began attacking targets within the city. The immediate goal of Arrowhead Ripper was to free Baqubah of al Qaeda, by trapping and killing its members, but according to American officers here, public remarks by senior military officials may have flushed many AQI leaders before the attack. Despite this frustrating and significant setback, progress toward the end-state goal of Arrowhead Ripper—turning over Baqubah to Iraqi government control—appears to be working, at least in terms of the removal of the current AQI leadership and its quasi-government. There are conflicting signals about how many of the AQI leadership escaped before Arrowhead Ripper launched. This weekend’s capture of a possible high-value target in Baqubah indicates that not all AQI leaders successfully fled the city before the attack......

Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had tarnished its name here by publicly attacking and murdering children, videotaping beheadings, all while imposing harsh punishments on Iraqi civilians found guilty of violating morality laws prohibiting activities like smoking. The AQI installed Sharia court had sanctioned the amputation of the two “smoking fingers” for those who violated anti-smoking laws. In part because local sentiment was shifting against it, AQI synthesized with other groups and undertook an image makeover, christening itself “The Islamic State of Iraq.” But the new name was just lipstick on a pig here.
On the evening of the 24th I spoke with a local Iraqi official, Colonel Faik, who said the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking. Other reports, from here in Diyala and also in Anbar, allege that smokers are murdered by AQI. Most Iraqis smoke and this particular prohibition appeared to have earned the ire of many locals. After an American unit cleared an apartment complex on the 23rd, LTC Smiley, the battalion commander, reported that residents didn’t ask for food and water, but cigarettes. In other parts of Baqubah, people have been celebrating the routing of AQI by lighting up and smoking cigarettes........

Although the battle is still unfolding here in Baqubah, Colonel Townsend reports that at least 50 AQI have been killed. Townsend’s subordinate commanders put the number as high as 100. More than 60 suspects are in custody, but Townsend is unsure how many of the suspects are truly AQI versus innocent men who will be released.
American losses include one soldier killed in action, with 21 wounded. One Bradley and one Stryker have been destroyed. The low numbers of friendly casualties have been largely due to the slow, methodical clearing operation where success is not measured against the clock. In meeting after meeting, I have seen Townsend stress to his subordinate commanders the importance of moving deliberately and at their own pace. Given the massive amounts of IEDs that have been found, my guess is that we might have taken dozens more killed by now if the clearing operation had been rushed. Doubtless many American lives have been saved by locals just saying “stop,” and pointing to bombs.
Another part of the success is just plain luck. On Sunday for instance, soldiers entered a home filled with explosives, but somehow escaped without injury. About 15 houses and buildings have been found rigged to explode. The Air Force has helped by dropping bombs on some of the rigged homes, and MLRS missiles have been fired into others. Early on Sunday morning, before embarking on the mission, I was doing a rapid bit of bird photography with an ornithologist named Captain Pike, when an Apache helicopter shot 30mm cannon into a car bomb downtown. We did not see the attack, but a mushroom cloud billowed in the background as I was rushing to photograph a beautiful bee-catcher. (Iraq has fascinating array of birds, and when this war is over, I’m coming back with a long lens and a tripod.)"

He is a very brave man who is sacrificing everything (and as he said, journalists are a top prize in Iraq) so that we get the real story from the field every day, unlike others who sit back in hotel balconies wearing field jackets while wearing make up from safe areas pretending they are out there in the field covering the story.

Click Here to Read More..

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Ike Brown: Democrat Party Official, Republican Ally

In a blatant show of racism, this leading Mississippi Democrat shows his true colors (several entendres intended) in a June 24 letter to The Clarion-Ledger:

Ruling lets 'progressive' Democrats lead
The current debate about U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper's ruling on primaries is about a power transfer.
For years, Mississippi had been controlled by Dixiecrats in a one-party structure called Democrats; blacks and poor whites were not allowed to vote. In 1965, the Voting Rights Act empowered the two groups to vote. In 1964, the Goldwater revolution began the rise of the modern-day Republican Party. It is controlled by former Dixiecrats.
The present day Democratic Party, of which I am a charter and the only remaining member still on the board, was controlled by "Blue Dog" Democrats with help from Dixiecrat cross-overs.
This is now being brought to an end.
As a result of Judge Pepper's ruling, progressive Democrats will control all statewide and local Democratic nominations; they constitute 85 percent of the party base. "Blue Dogs" like Eric Clark and Jim Hood, Sheriff Malcolm McMillin, Barbara Dunn, Jack Gordon, etc., have won their last Democratic nomination,
What is the basis for this claim is a surging black population, mainly on the eastern side of the state. In DeSoto County, minority population has increased 300 percent; south Madison has doubled; Rankin, Lee, Lowndes, Obtibbeha, Lauderdale, Harrison counties, etc., all have seen huge jumps in minority population.
What's needed is a voter registration, voter runout drive to bring 500,000 African Americans to the polls; there are more than 850,000 eligible African-American voters in Mississippi - roughly 41 percent of the eligible electorate.
As for voter ID, bring it on in the primary; we can handle it. Republicans may find it to be a double-edged sword.
Finally. in many rural counties like Noxubee, Kemper, Winston, Pike, etc., voters will have to start giving state and national Democrats some support or get out of local races entirely. Think about that.
Ike Brown
Democratic Executive Committee

If I was a Republican hack and wanted to write a letter that made the Democrats look stupid and sign a Democrat's name to it, this letter is exactly what I would've written. Mr. Brown has declared war on all White Democrat office-holders in Mississippi. Is this guy stupid? He considers people like Eric Clark to be Republicans in Democrat clothes? If he wants to pursue this course, get out of the way. His racism will merely drive moderate white voters in Mississippi who vote for Democrats to the Republican (bringing back memories of when the NAACP kicked out the Jews).

Some advice for you Mr. Brown. You are a MINORITY!!! That means you don't have enough votes. In order for you to achieve political goals, that means you have to actually work with others instead of throwing bombs or inventing a Black version of the KKK. People think of the Klan as being very stupid and are going to start seeing you in the same way. You are nothing but a racist and will be the Mississippi Democratic Party's worse nightmare if you are ever allowed to run it. If I'm Governor Barbour, I would be doing everything possible to make sure you took over the Democratic Party in Mississippi.

It remains to be seen if so-called "progressives" like The Jackson Free Press or any other Black elected officials criticize your remarks.

Racism is alive and well in Mississippi and it does have a face: Ike Brown. Welcome to the new Mississippi.

Update: Mississippi Democratic Party Officials take action against Brown.

Click Here to Read More..

More reaction to Fleming's Thong

Covered this Friday:

Laura Hipp, a reporter for The Clarion-Ledger had this to say on her blog:
"State Rep. Erik Fleming has some campaign schwag that's offending a few voters. The Jackson Democrat has used a Web site service to sell T-shirts, sweatshirts, and loads of other stuff with his re-election logo.A thong is featured. This is the description: "Panty-minimalists love our casual thong that covers sweet spots without covering your assets û putting an end to panty-lines. This under-goodie is ôoutta sightö in low-rise pants. Toss these message panties onstage at your favorite rock star or share a surprise message with someone special ... later." (Weird typos are from the text)

It's not right."

John Leek, of Cottonmouthblog, defended Fleming. He makes a good point but that quote from Fleming Friday about he would only take it down if his supporters asked him to do so sabotages any defense.

Click Here to Read More..

If Stella Can Get Her Groove Back, So Can I…..Or, How Fishing in Murky Waters Sometimes Makes It Seem So Much Clearer

After a two and a half year stint of celibacy, I recently decided enough is enough. I looked around and told myself I’m not getting older, I’m getting better. At least, that sounds good, doesn’t it?

I have always been fortunate to look younger than my age, so I decided to use it to my advantage. There’s a really well-built 25 year old I see often with dark hair and skin, who had been flirting with me from time to time, or at least I thought it was flirting. I’m so out of practice it’s hard to tell! I decided to take the bait and go fishing.

At first I told myself I’m an idiot. What 25 year old wants a 40-something year old woman? Women in Mississippi just don’t do that, or if they do, it’s a scandal on the gossip grapevine, at church, at the gym, at Char – well, you get my drift.

One day he surprises me and asks if I can get free one night on the weekend. I hesitate momentarily, but then tell him I am free on Saturday. I give him directions to my house and we make plans to text, etc., when it’s close to the pre-arranged time.

On the night of the date I am a nervous wreck. What the heck do I do with a 25 year old? I can’t decide if I should wear something sexy, something comfortable, or what! I end up wearing a black tank top and black shorts – something in between.

He arrives at the door and I can barely make it there to answer. I am shaking inside like I’m in high school. I open the door and he is standing there all cute and young and I’m really surprised he actually showed up. We sit on the couch and make small talk, while I’m sipping my second glass of wine to calm my nerves.

I’m sitting there trying to decide what to do next when I feel his lips on mine. My hands touch his hair, his back, his muscular arms and I feel flush all over. He touches me gently on my face, my neck, and feelings long forgotten, surface. Things quickly become more intense and we find ourselves drawn together, grabbing each other’s clothes, and I feel light headed. He talks in his sexy, very deep voice and tells me how long he’s wanted me, how much he wants me, and I tell him I want him too. I close my eyes and begin to enjoy the journey, not sure of the final destination, but let me tell you, the final destination was somewhere I’ve not been in a VERY long time.

Before he left, he stood in my kitchen eating chocolate chip cookies, with his tussled black hair and a remaining glint of moisture on his body. I stand there looking at him, still not quite believing just moments before we were exchanging bedroom dirty talk and enjoying the raw physical pleasures so rarely enjoyed so fully.

Everything about my time with him is like a dream, or of swimming in murky waters, but after it was all over, I have to say, DAMN, I caught a big one………………..

And yes, he’s been over again. Maybe it’s time to switch bait and see what else I can catch. Stay tuned for updates.

So ladies, stay open to experiences out of your comfort zone. You just might find yourself smiling again, even when there’s no one around………………

Click Here to Read More..

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Knowing Al Qaida

Dr. Forest is an Associate Professor at the U.S. Mililtary Academy, West Point and is the Director of Terrorist Studies at the Combating Terrorism Center.

"Knowing Al Qaida
James J.F. Forest, Ph.D

Al Qaida should be viewed not as a normal organization, but as a globally-networked movement with at least four dimensions......

To begin with, it is important to recognize that only one of the four dimensions of al Qaida provides any semblance of traditional command and control within the movement. This so-called “al Qaida central” is comprised of leftover leaders of the pre-9/11 organization, ostensibly led by Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and a small cadre of others, believed to be hiding in the mountainous border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. This dimension of al Qaida may be actively engaged in commissioning some attacks, directing surveillance and collating reconnaissance, planning operations, and approving their execution. But the importance of these individuals to the overall objectives of al Qaida is actually limited in comparison to the other three dimensions of the movement.

The second dimension of al Qaida is comprised of formally established insurgent or terrorist groups like those mentioned above, who have received training, arms, money, “spiritual guidance” and other assistance from al Qaida central. These groups are located in dozens of countries across Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.........

These so-called “al Qaida affiliate groups” – like Jemaah Islamiyah (in Indonesia), the Islamic Army of Aden (in Yemen), Harkat al-Mujahideen (in Kashmir) and the - Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group - have been responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks since before 9/11. Because of these groups’ ideological (and sometimes logistical) relationship with al Qaida central, we have often attributed these attacks to Osama bin Laden and his close colleagues, regardless of the absence of any direct command or control linkages. This is precisely what bin Laden envisioned for al Qaida – armed groups inspired to act on behalf of the global movement.

The third dimension of the movement is comprised of dispersed, ad-hoc groupings of al Qaida adherents who may have (or previously had) some direct connection with al Qaida, but are not members of any formal group.....

The fourth dimension of al Qaida includes radicalized individuals who have absolutely no direct connection with al Qaida or any other identifiable terrorist group, but nonetheless are prepared to carry out attacks in solidarity with or support of al Qaida’s jihadi agenda. Their relationship with al Qaida is more inspirational than actual. They are typically motivated by a shared sense of enmity and grievance felt towards the United States and West, as well as the apostate regimes it supports, and more generally complain about the oppression of Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, and elsewhere.....

Altogether, these four dimensions of al Qaida escape any sort of simplified description or sound byte for the news media. But instead of providing the public with a thorough understanding of this complex phenomenon, it is not uncommon for news media to apply the al Qaida label to any terrorist attack by religious extremists. Unfortunately, however, every time the media reports an incident as an al Qaida attack, al Qaida benefits. A primary objective of Osama bin Laden has always been to encourage and facilitate a worldwide Islamic revolution—to launch a socio-political action movement of global proportion, and to inspire, motivate and animate radicalized Muslims to join the movement’s fight. Join the Jihad. Think globally, act locally. These are the messages of al Qaida’s massive strategic communications effort. Each act of political violence attributed to al Qaida, rightly or wrongly, contributes to the image of al Qaida as a global movement...""

Click Here to Read More..

Friday, June 22, 2007

State Representative Fleming: Oink! Oink!

Look at what our esteemed legislator, Erik Fleming has on his website ( in a show of proof that he is a true Nubian warrior.

The website says the following:
Fleming District 72 Classic Thong
Size: Size ChartSmall Medium Large
AVAILABILITY: In Stock, will ship in 2 business days Product Number: 127191963
Tell a friend about this product!
Product Information
Fit: Form Fitting
This is one of the more tasteless things I've seen come out of a campaign in a while. While I could imitate the long-winded pundits who will offer us much bloviation on sexism, race, and politics but instead I will merely say this: Fleming, you are nothing but a pig.
However, I must wonder how his friends over at The Jackson Free Press will defend this one.
Update: That has now been taken down from the website. surprise.
Update II: Here is a quote from the WLBT story yesterday:
"Campbell, a Jackson Attorney, wants Fleming to remove the thong from the website. Fleming tells us he would consider taking it down if he hears complaints from supporters."
He'll only take it down if someone in his posse complains. How noble of him. It just shows I was right in calling him a pig and shows how little class he has.
By the way, its June 23 at 7:00 PM and still no mention of it over at the Jackson Free Press. One can only imagine the comments if that thong said "Frank Melton" or "Charley Ross".

Click Here to Read More..

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Robbery at Broad Street Bakery Parking Lot (Behind Building)

I received this email from a fellow Jacksonian. I contacted her in order to make sure this was not some internet rumor and she stated that everything described in this email was written by her and is what she experienced on June 19, 2007. Her name is not published so as to protect her from retaliation from the thugs.

I felt led to tell all of you about an incident (a very true and real one) that I was involved in yesterday, June 19, 2007, around 12 noon. I was sitting inside my car alone at lunch outside Broad Street Bakery on I-55 North in their back parking lot because there were no available parking spaces up front (all doors were locked but driver and passenger windows were down at the time long enough for me to eat my lunch quickly before heading back to work at xxxx).

All of a sudden, a black male suspect heaved himself through my driver side window, reaching across my body to grab my purse which was sitting on the front seat of my car on the passenger side. All he said was, "give me your purse OR give me that purse"! He was successful at grabbing my purse, then he backed out of my window area and got in a black truck that had a driver with him and possibly one or two other black males in the back seat. They drove off with my entire purse (a brand new one which had just been recently purchased), my wallet, my drivers license, all of my credit cards, my checkbook with checks, various other info, and pictures of my family and friends. There was no cash in my wallet, just my debit card. I quickly called to have all of my info cancelled and I have placed a fraud protection on my social security card number (in case something comes up later)...thankfully, my social security card was NOT in my purse!!

I'm okay physically, thank God, but not mentally right now. This was definitely a wake up call for me, to be even more cautious as I usually always am. I have always considered myself a very cautious person, but yesterday was a lesson for sure.

Never assume that something will not happen to you, just because you think, "Oh, I'll only be a minute here, etc."..."the place looks pretty safe to me"...people like these guys are on the prowl looking for an easy target and it doesn't take but just a SPLIT SECOND!!! I am still amazed at how fast everything happened!!! The security people who monitor Broad Street and alot of the area businesses in that area tell me that the suspects who approached me yesterday may be the same suspects who robbed a woman in the parking lot at Walmart in Ridgeland not too long ago. Those particular suspects (still not sure if they are the same ones who "hit" me) were arrested after being linked to the woman's credit cards, but then released I think...students from MS Valley State Univ...

PLEASE warn all of your family and friends about what happened to may happen to someone else!!!! Also, please continue to remember me through all of's going to be awhile before I feel safe again!!!


June 27, 2007

2 charged in multiple robberiesBy Andrew
The Jackson Police Department announced the arrests of two people suspected in four robberies in Jackson in a news conference today at JPD headquarters.
Isaiah Robertson, 18, and Lionel Kyles, 20 are suspected in the following incidents:
An assault and robbery of a 72-year-old woman in the parking lot of a shopping center at 2885 Terry Road on May 22.
An assault and robbery of a 61-year-old woman in the parking lot of the Kroger supermarket on I-55 North on June 4.
An assault and robbery of a 55-year-old woman who was walking to her vehicle at the Walgreens, 945 N. State St. on June 18.
A strong-arm robbery of a 35-year-old woman sitting in her vehicle eating lunch at 4465 I-55 North on June 18.
Robertson is charged with four counts of strong-arm robbery and three counts of aggravated assault. Kyles is charged with two counts of strong-arm robbery, according to a JPD news release. Sgt. Eric Smith of the JPD Robbery/Homicide Unit would not elaborate as to who is suspected of doing what.
Robertson was granted $150,000 bond and Kyles was granted a $50,000 bond in sperate initial appearances in Jackson Municipal Court today.

Click Here to Read More..

Sax great Sonny Rollins talks about his work with Thelonious Monk

Podcast interview with saxophone great Sonny Rollins about his work with Thelonious Monk. Its a little less than 14 minutes long.

I have the cd titled Thelonious Monk & Sonny Rollins. Its a great cd. Rollins plays sax with fire on the first two tracks and gives a great lesson in how a sax is supposed to be played. The sound quality is very good and like one reviewer wrote, sounds like it was made yesterday. Rollins climbs up and down the scales with such ease and fiery spontaneity that you almost forget Monk is playing.
Here is the Wikipedia entry for Mr. Rollins:

Click Here to Read More..

Good interview with author of Fiasco about Iraq.

This is a recent interview on National Public Radio with Washington Post correspondent Thomas Ricks — author of the bestseller Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. He talks about his latest trip to that country and the latest strategies the Pentagon is employing there. Ricks, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Wall Street Journal staffer, is also author of Making the Corps and A Soldier's Duty.

Its a very good interview. Those of you who are thinking it will be a hatchet job by a left-wing Post reporter or a Seymour Hersh wannabe will be mistaken. Its obvious he has alot of respect for the troops and he gives some much-needed sober analysis. He discusses the latest tactics used by our military, how Gates is thought of as an adult, and how the military and the pentagon is probably more in tune with what works or what doesn't work in Iraq than in the past.


His book:

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

72 Virgins Await

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Mississippi Leads Nation in Subprime Mortgage Lending

The Mississippi Business Journal reported that Mississippi leads the nation in subprime mortgage lending according to a study by the Mississippi Economic Policy Council (

Almost 40% of all homebuyers in Mississippi receive mortgages from sub-prime lenders, a rate higher than in any other state. Additionally, homebuyers buying in predominantly African American communities are more likely to receive a sub-prime mortgage, a new study shows.
An analysis by the Mississippi Economic Policy Center also finds that sub-prime lending to homeowners in Mississippi increased dramatically over the last 10 years.......

The study examined data made available through the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze mortgage loans from 1997 to 2004. Among the findings:
o Nearly four in 10 conventional home loans in Mississippi in 2005 were sub-prime, nearly double the national average.
o Fifty-six of Mississippi's 82 counties had sub-prime lending rates of more than 40%.
o Nearly two-thirds of conventional home loans made to African Americans were sub-prime.


I've seen several other studies and there is no question that Mississippi is one of the leading states in terms of subprime mortgages and mortgage delinquencies as well. However, there are several things to keep in mind about this so-called study.

This study, along with similar ones, has no access to credit scores due to privacy laws. The mortgage lending industry is primarily credit score driven. What type of program a borrower qualifies for is usually determined by the credit score. If a borrower wants to qualify for 100% mortgage with no down payment, then a certain minimum credit score is required by all lenders. If a borrower has a credit score that is considered to be not that good, such as below 600 in most cases, then the borrower can usually qualify for only subprime mortgages, which carry a higher rate to reflect the higher risk.

What would validate the study would be if there was access to the credit scores. If the credit scores of the average borrower are lower, than the figure of %40 would not be a surprise. If the credit scores are higher, then it could probably be concluded that predatory lending has occurred.

Another factor the study ignores is licensing. The study covers 1997-2004. Until 1999, there was no licensure in Mississippi for mortgage brokers. It was still a couple of years before the appropriate department could be created, guidelines issued, personnel hired, and audits of mortgage companies conducted.

Before Mississippi required a license to be a mortgage broker , anyone could be one. I personally know of cases where brokers were working out of their homes. One ran his shop out of the back of a dry cleaning store he owned, one ran it out of his butcher shop (no lie), and another was a cab driver who was doing mortgages on the side. There was no continuing education requirements nor minimum knowledge required. There was no requirement for a minimum level of experience. Anyone that wanted to be a mortgage broker could be one provided the lenders would allow him to submit loans. Too often, quick buck artists would enter the industry that had minimal, if any, experience, would sign up with only subprime lenders, and rack up the fees by putting even borrowers with good credit in subprime mortgages. Licensure forced many of them to leave the industry.

It is without question that alot of abusive practices occurred before licensure. While such practices still take place, licensure has cleaned up the mortgage industry in Mississippi substantially. There were more than a few quick buck artists in the pasts who have since either left the industry or have been prosecuted by the authorities.

Mississippi has also had a problem with mortgage fraud. This is a list of all the mortgage fraud cases in the last several years:
Typically these brokers that commit such fraud rip off both the lenders and the borrowers. Most of the cases listed that did not involve flipping, were from the pre-licensure era, which supports my contention that the reason the %40 figure might be high and not valid anymore is due to the time period covered by the study.

Another factor to be considered is that in a poorer state, the level of education is lower, and that includes knowledge about sound financial practices. People too often pay rent with cash or to a private individual. Most "prime" lenders require either 12 months of cancelled checks or a line on the credit report for rent or mortgage payments. A verfication of rent is never accepted from an individual due to the higher risk of fraud. Since too often people pay rent with cash, they are not able to show a capability of making a housing payment. This means that they usually qualify for only a subprime mortgage.

I'm not saying this study is completely invalid. However, there are some flaws in it and several factors that were not explained properly. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been very aggressive the last three years in offering low (if any) down payment "my community" programs to borrowers through mortgage companies that allowed lower credit scores and mortgage insurance premiums. These programs, along with continued enforcement of the licensure laws and the current shakeout in the subprime mortgage lending industry (resulting in a tightening of underwriting practices) means that the percentage of Mississippians who have supbrime mortgages will probably decline in the future.

This is a pretty ignorant statement on MEPC Website: "While not all subprime loans are predatory, all predatory loans are subprime."

Oh really? A mortgage company can gouge a borrower for fees just as easily on a prime loan as a supbrime one, especially on refinances where the closing costs are rolled into the loan. This tells me that no one who worked on this "study" has a working knowledge of the mortgage industry. I know plenty of local ethical mortgage professionals who could have proofread their study if they had been asked to do so. Apparently even that limited form of peer review is not used in this particular ivory tower.

By the way, after looking through the MEPC website, no email addresses are given. Guess they don't want to be bothered after they issue their proclamations from the ivory tower.

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Jacksonian has a wine blog.

Check out the wine blog of Farley Walker, formerly a bartendar at Bravo's now living in California: It is a pretty good blog and has a great deal of info on wines. One section of her blog that is pretty neat is her "Places to Learn More about Wine" section, a list of over 30 links to wine-related blogs, online journals, and websites. Her posts are brief, witty, and informative. She currently writes wine-related articles for The Jackson Free Press. Her site has a cornucopia of sections about wine, from news to advice to wine poetry.
This is a post from Bravo's website about Ms. Walker: Support a Jacksonian and visit her blog!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Double Negatives....

No newspaper that hasn't mastered journalism and writing basics should not bother to try to blog.

If you are going to portray yourself as an expert on grammar, at least try to avoid the use of double negatives in a sentence. ;-)

wait. I see there are three: no.....hasn't......not....

is that a triple negative? So does that go from negative to positive back to negative so therefor its ok? Sorry, between Algebra and English Comp 101 I get confused sometimes.

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Jackson cemeteries falling apart. Where is the lawn crew?

What exactly is that lawn crew doing? I read today in The Clarion-Ledger that the local cemeteries are not being being taken care of as they should be by the city. My question is where is our esteemed lawn crew that Melton hired? In fact, I remember Melton bragging on the radio a few weeks ago on Ben Allen's show about how they had cleaned up a cemetery.

Well, with Melton, you know the drill, keep on eye out for what actually happened. Here we go:

"Mary Landin, an expert on Hinds County cemeteries, said the graveyards have fallen into disrepair because of resources and the public's lack of interest.
"The problem is the city doesn't have the manpower nor the willpower to mow the cemeteries on a regular basis. Some graves have been vandalized, and the workers don't bother to pick the tombstones up. And they certainly don't clean them," said Landin, who published a book in 1988 based on 40 years of her research, The Old Cemeteries of Hinds County, Mississippi, from 1811 to Present......

The cemeteries are suffering from the same budget woes as every other department," City Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon said.
Jackson's Parks Maintenance Division has seven full-time employees, including one superintendent, who are charged with maintaining six graveyards: Cedar Lawn, Elmwood, Greenwood, Lincoln, Mount Olive and Willow Park. The crew tries to cut grass and weeds, trim hedges and clean streets inside each cemetery on an alternating two-week basis. An annual budget of about $270,000 pays for supplies, equipment and salaries. Last year, the division had to ask for $10,000 more."

Of course, this the department responsible is currently run by a "consultant" being paid a very high salary after being rejected by the Jackson City Council as a nominee for the head of the department. This is the same candidate who had no experience whatsoever in working in the field of parks and recreation although he was a good athlete at one time.

One must ask what happened to Melton's lawn crew, those young men that Melton said needed jobs to help them get their lives straight. Well, it helps when their leader is not getting arrested:

"A spokesman for the Hinds County Sheriff's Department confirmed that Frederica Brunson, 23, also known as Jermaine Butler, was arrested today for possession of a stolen automobile and contempt of court. Brunson, who owns the Wood Street Lawn Service, was last arrested Dec. 4, 2005, for armed robbery of the Headliners Barbershop near Wood Street. He was also arrested for rape in 2001.
Brunson's lawn service was financially seeded by Mayor Frank Melton, and the city has paid the service thousands for lawn cleanup over recent months. Brunson told the JFP in March that he took over the service about nine months ago after its original owner, Michael Mayes, reneged on paying the workers. Mayes has since been “picked up” again by police, he said."

Melton had announced that he was helping seed the Wood Street Lawn and Cleaning Service with $5,000 of his own money and asking the city to give them equipment, as well as selling them confiscated trucks for $1 apiece.Brunson said in March, however, that the city has never provided any equipment and complained that the city can take a month to pay his invoices. Melton originally bought them lawn mowers, he said, but they’re gone. “Michael (Mayes) did what he did with it,” he said.

I started writing this post not intending to drag the lawn crew into this to such a degree, however, when I read about the cemeteries not being taken care of and hear the mayor on the radio bragging about his lawn crew cleaning them up, it does make me wonder what is going on with this so-called lawn crew. I'm not accusing anyone of anything, I just think its a question worth asking.

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Mr. Jimmy Robinson, a true Jacksonian

Adam Lynch of The Jackson Free Press has a good story on Mr. Jimmy Robinson, Virden Addition Association President. Its so easy to get caught up focusing on the politicians and their antics and not pay attention to the real community leaders who street by street, block by block, make the community what it really is or try to change it for the better. To Mr. Robinson, I salute you.

"There are few faces in his community that Virden Addition Association President Jimmy Robinson does not recognize. He is the epitome of what draws a neighborhood together: a talkative nature and the kind of ambient nosiness associated with Mayberry’s Aunt B.......

“I’ve seen my city grow and I’ve seen my city stand still and I’m interested in people, especially young people, because those are the leaders of tomorrow and we need to invest in them more time. Not money—time,” Robinson said. “There’s a big difference.”........

Robinson’s interest extends to community policing. He knows firsthand that the police department is the most vulnerable minority in any neighborhood, and has no power without the backing of the larger community. Robinson helped form the Jackson Police Foundation in 1999, a program that raises money for training and equipping the Jackson Police Department....."

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

A leopard can't change his spots. Can Jere Nash?

Jere Nash, Democrat Operative extraordinaire and former campaign manager for Governor Ray Mabus, currently has a blog inThe Clarion-Ledger (

Last week he made a very interesting post concerning candidates for insurance commissioner taking campaign contributions from the insurance companies they will regulate. Mr. Nash wrote the following on his blog:

"In his wonderful new book, Twice Told Tombigbee Tales, Mike Mills remembers the advice former legislator Butch Lambert once gave to a young legislator about how to respond to all the fancy meals and receptions offered up by lobbyists during legislative sessions: “Son, if you can’t drink their whiskey, eat their steaks, smoke their cigars and vote against ‘em the next morning, you won’t ever be worth a damn in the Mississippi Legislature.” The same holds true in the world of campaign contributions, which means I tend to agree with Andy. Taking Anderson’s logic to just the next step means we should prohibit legislators from raising money from anyone who may have an issue come before the Legislature, which means no campaign contributions from anyone. Who gives a candidate money is not the issue. The issue is how a candidate once elected performs in office. And if I were the insurance industry, I’d be finding a way to support Gary Anderson, since polling I have seen currently has him in the driver’s seat."

One would think that as a Democrat (the party that usually decries the so-called "buying" of elections by corporations) he would oppose a candidate taking money from the companies he will be regulating. However, one must remember we are talking about Jere Nash, who was convicted for a few campaign shenanigans himself.

"Almost 55 months after confessing felonious conduct, Teamster money-laundering scandal figure, Jere Nash, has finally been sentenced. U.S. Dist. Judge Thomas P. Griesa (S.D.N.Y., Nixon) sentenced Nash Apr. 9 to a mere two years probation for his role in a series of schemes which lead to the embezzlement of some $885,000 from the Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters' treasury and to $538,100 in illegal campaign contributions to the failed reelection campaign of expelled IBT president Ron Carey. The sentencing appears to have been hush hush: the four N.Y.C. major dailies and the two Washington, D.C., dailies apparently did not cover the sentencing (as of Apr. 15), which is surprising given the red hot coverage of the scandal in the past.

Nash was Carey's campaign manager and pled guilty Sept. 18, 1997, to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements. Griesa agreed to show leniency to Nash, who served as the main prosecution witness in the failed perjury trial of Carey in Oct. 2001. "I have no intention of imposing a prison sentence," Griesa told Nash. Nash also testified against ex-IBT political director William Hamilton, who was convicted in Nov. 1999 and is serving a three-year prison term. Griesa ordered Nash to pay $25,000 in restitution, which has already been paid.

A bearded, bespectacled Nash apologized to the IBT before sentencing: "I felt so strongly about the need for Ron Carey to get elected that I was willing to substitute my judgment for the collective judgment of the union members that voted, and that was wrong." Nash faced up to three years in prison under sentencing guidelines, although prosecutors asked for less time because of his "substantial assistance." Griesa granted the request, noting that he had given probation to two other campaign aides convicted in the scheme. [Bloomberg News 4/9/02] This apparently was not a reference to Martin Davis and Michael Ansara, both of whom worked with Nash to facilitate the schemes and whom pled guilty on the same day. There has been no report that these two have been sentenced. Two minor scandal figures fund-raiser Charles Blitz and disbarred attorney Nathaniel Charny both received slaps on the wrists in 1998 and 2000, respectively. "

Felt so strongly? I seem to remember hearing similar words recently. In fact, I heard them yesterday uttered by Nifong as he tried to justify his crucifixion of the Duke lacrosse players. Mr. Nash merely got carried away? I think you will find that Mr. Nash was carried away not by a love for his candidate but instead by a love for something much more basic and understandable: money.

The Nation, that right-wing rag hated by liberals everywhere, informs us of the nature of some of these conspiracies:

"Nash's testimony also revealed that he may have been neck-deep in a shady conflict of interest. In 1996 he received $128,000 from Martin Davis's consulting firm, which was the largest vendor for the Carey campaign. This pay was ostensibly for six months of part-time work Nash did related to the Clinton-Gore campaign. (Nash's compensation from the Carey campaign was much less: $2,500 a month.) Nash simultaneously was managing the Carey campaign and employed by its biggest creditor. The swaps occurred when Nash and Davis were looking for money to pay for a $700,000 direct-mail push for the Carey campaign--a direct-mail effort to be handled by Davis and one that would result in large profits for his firm. With Davis his main income source, Nash, then, may have had a financial incentive to go along with Davis's swap scheme and not inform Carey of it. And as Carey's attorneys noted, Nash, who is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney, might be testifying against Carey to win a reduction in sentence. .....

it is important to understand that the affair may be a tale of political consultants perverting a union--and not one of traditional, top-down union corruption...."

No wonder he "felt so strongly" to get Carey elected.

A website with socialist leanings,, published the following report:

What Ron Carey did not know and what no one else on the Campaign staff or the Carey administration knew at the time was that while Nash was allegedly supposed to be working full-time for the Carey Campaign for a salary of $2,500 per month, he was also working for The November Group for a salary of $8,000 per month from April through June (allegedly part-time) and for $18,000 per month to work for them full-time from August through November, the final months of the Campaign. Furthermore, Nash not only worked for The November Group; but he was in charge of the Carey Campaign account at The November Group. In addition, it was revealed at the trial that Nash’s contract with The November Group provided lavish perks like first-class air travel for Nash and his family between Mississippi, where they lived, and Washington D.C., where campaign headquarters were located. And in December 1996, Nash got a $50,000 bonus!

In the spring, summer, and fall of 1996, Martin Davis, Michael Ansara, and Jere Nash came up with several illegal ways to raise Campaign funds, which would be funneled to The November Group, i.e., to themselves. One was soliciting funds from other union leaders. This is illegal and against the EO’s election rules and would have been vetoed by the Carey Campaign’s legal counsel and by Ron Carey had they been informed of such a plan. Under federal and EO rules, union leaders are considered “employers,” who are not allowed to contribute to union election campaigns. The other was “swap schemes”: to contribute union funds legally to non-profit or political action organizations and arrange that, in return, wealthy individuals who support these organizations or even the organizations themselves would contribute a certain lesser amount to the Campaign. "

So for $885,000, Mr. Nash "felt very strongly" indeed. Ironically this gives some weight to the charge that our criminal justice system is racist in nature. Nash and his cronies embezzled nearly a million dollars and yet he received no time in jail. If Nash was Black and had broken into a house, stolen the family jewelry and silver, then had been caught, he would have received some jail time. However, he steals nearly a million dollars with a pen and he walks away to his home and family because well, it was just politics and no one was harmed. It also says something to his character that he immediately flipped after he was caught and testified against everyone else. No G. Gordon Liddy is he.

When Mr. Nash writes in The Clarion-Ledger that it is fine for a candidate or office-holder to take campaign contributions from those they regulate, please remember his history. It is to be expected that he favors such a policy as it is consistent with his past history of felonious behavior. He tries to justify this by comparing the office of insurance commissioner to a seat in the legislature. The difference is the legislature writes laws while bound by certain laws of ethics. The legislature does not directly regulate companies, issue them licenses, set their rates, adjudicate disputes involving them, and punish them when they are in violation of state laws. The Insurance Commissioner can not recuse himself or everyone that works for him from dealing with campaign donors the way a legislator can on legislation that might involve a potential conflict of interest. Mr. Nash, a very smart man, knows this, and once again reveals his amoral compass. In Mr. Nash's mind, what matters is who gets elected, not how the candidate is elected. For Mr. Nash, conflict of interest is unfortunately not a crime but is instead a way of life. Apparently, the spots are still the same on this leopard.

Update: I just had a thought. He embezzled that much money from the Teamsters? Yet he is still alive?

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Links to Crime Stats for Jackson, MS Area

Here is a link to the FBI crime statistics for the Jackson area:

Here are the Safecity Crime Reports for November 2006 to Feburary 2007:

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Take cover, Jackson Free Press site is about to explode.

uh oh. just saw this on the Jackson Free Press website concerning the parking dilemma over by Lenny's in Fondren:

"Well JUST SO YA KNOW jackmann22...There is secuirty to keep the bums from hasseling the customers and the ONLY and I stress ONLY time a secuirty guard will not let you in that parking lot is because it is FULL......" (kaygee's post)

BUMS??? Did that poster call people begging for money BUMS on THAT website???
Moonbat eruption in 3...2....1.....

note: see earlier post on this subject:

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This brings back some memories

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Best Wishes to City Council President Ben Allen

Here's to hoping that Mr. Allen has a speedy recovery. Mr. Allen went to the hospital today as reported in The Clarion-Ledger:

"Jackson City Council President Ben Allen was hospitalized early today after suffering chest pains.Allen, a third term councilman, was undergoing tests at an undisclosed hospital.The Ward 1 councilman said he had just begun experiencing “tightness in the chest and tingling in the body,” before checking himself in about 11 a.m."

Mr. Allen is a true gentleman and has been a class act in his years of service. I hope he is fine and will be back on his feet soon. Get well Ben, we are pulling for you.

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1999 ABC Broadcast Discusses Saddam's Support of Terrorism & Gore slams Bush in 92 for Ignoring Saddam's Ties to Terrorism

This is an ABC News broadcast in 1999 on Saddam's support of terrorism. Many have said that Bush lied about Saddam engaging in international terrorism.

Here is Gore in 1992 discussing in great detail Saddam's extensive ties to terrorism, a far cry from what he and his Democratic friends say now about Saddam, Iraq, and terrorism.

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Updates on Iraq from its Prime Minister and Senator Lieberman

Here are two columns written recently by Prime Minister Malaki and Senator Lieberman. Regardless of your point of view on Iraq, they still have opinions that are worth considering.

Prime Minister Malaki wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week:

"Under the Baath tyranny, Iraqis were to endure a brutal regime the likes of which they had never known before. Countless people were put to death on the smallest measure of suspicion. Wars were waged by that regime and our national treasure was squandered without the consent of a population that was herded into costly and brutal military campaigns. Today when I hear the continuous American debate about the struggle raging in Iraq, I can only recall with great sorrow the silence which attended the former dictator's wars.
It is perhaps true that only people who are denied the gift of liberty can truly appreciate its full meaning and bounty. I look with admiration at the American debate surrounding the Iraq war, and I admire even those opinions that differ from my own. As prime minister of Iraq I have been subjected to my share of criticism in that American debate, but I harbor no resentment and fully understand that the basic concerns of Americans are the safety of their young people fighting in our country and the national interests of their society. As this American debate goes on, I am guided and consoled by the sacred place of freedom and liberty in the American creed and in America's notion of itself.

War being what it is, the images of Iraq that come America's way are of car bombs and daily explosions. Missing from the coverage are the great, subtle changes our country is undergoing, the birth of new national ideas and values which will in the end impose themselves despite the death and destruction that the terrorists have been hell-bent on inflicting on us. Those who endured the brutality of the former regime, those who saw the outside world avert its gaze from their troubles, know the magnitude of the change that has come to Iraq. A fundamental struggle is being fought on Iraqi soil between those who believe that Iraqis, after a long nightmare, can retrieve their dignity and freedom, and others who think that oppression is the order of things and that Iraqis are doomed to a political culture of terror, prisons and mass graves. Some of our neighbors have made this struggle more lethal still, they have placed their bets on the forces of terror in pursuit of their own interests.....

Our message has been the same to one and all: We will not permit Iraq to be a battleground for other powers. In the contests and ambitions swirling around Iraq, we are neutral and dedicated to our country's right to prosperity and a new life, inspired by a memory of a time when Baghdad was--as Washington is today--a beacon of enlightenment on which others gazed with admiration. We have come to believe, as Americans who founded your country once believed, that freedom is a precious inheritance. It is never cheap but the price is worth paying if we are to rescue our country"

In today's issue, Senator Lieberman wrote the following:

"Some of my colleagues in Washington claim we can fight al Qaeda in Iraq while disengaging from the sectarian violence there. Not so, say our commanders in Baghdad, who point out that the crux of al Qaeda's strategy is to spark Iraqi civil war.
Al Qaeda is launching spectacular terrorist bombings in Iraq, such as the despicable attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra this week, to try to provoke sectarian violence. Its obvious aim is to use Sunni-Shia bloodshed to collapse the Iraqi government and create a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, radicalizing the region and providing a base from which to launch terrorist attacks against the West.

Facts on the ground also compel us to recognize that Iran is doing everything in its power to drive us out of Iraq, including providing substantive support, training and sophisticated explosive devices to insurgents who are murdering American soldiers. Iran has initiated a deadly military confrontation with us, from bases in Iran, which we ignore at our peril, and at the peril of our allies throughout the Middle East.
The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally.
That is why--as terrible as the continuing human cost of fighting this war in Iraq is--the human cost of losing it would be even greater..........

Some argue that the new strategy is failing because, despite gains in Baghdad and Anbar, violence has increased elsewhere in the country, such as Diyala province. This gets things backwards: Our troops have succeeded in improving security conditions in precisely those parts of Iraq where the "surge" has focused. Al Qaeda has shifted its operations to places like Diyala in large measure because we have made progress in pushing them out of Anbar and Baghdad. The question now is, do we consolidate and build on the successes that the new strategy has achieved, keeping al Qaeda on the run, or do we abandon them?........"

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

3 Galaxies and a Comet

Diffuse starlight and dark nebulae along the southern Milky Way arc over the horizon and sprawl diagonally through this gorgeous nightscape. The breath-taking mosaic spans a wide 100 degrees, with the rugged terrain of the Patagonia, Argentina region in the foreground. Along with the insider's view of our own galaxy, the image features our outside perspective on two irregular satellite galaxies - the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Recorded on January 28, the scene also captures the broad tail and bright coma of Comet McNaught, The Great Comet of 2007.

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AP Aids the Enemy in Iraq

Here is the AP Story:

[June 12, 2007, 6:45 pm]
"(AP) U.S.-Iraqi Forces Raid Lollipop Factory"
By KIM GAMEL Associated Press Writer BAGHDAD

U.S. and Iraqi forces on Tuesday raided a lollipop factory being used to make bombs, finding boxes of explosives and two tons of fertilizer in the basement of the facility in northern Iraq, an Iraqi officer said.

The entry room to the al-Arij factory was booby-trapped and the building was empty because the workers fled after apparently being tipped off to the raid, according to the officer, army commander Brig. Gen. Nour al-Din Hussein. He said an anti-aircraft gun was hidden on the roof.
Hussein, commander of Iraq's 4th...

...Brigade, said the Christian owner of the lollipop factory was killed three years ago. He said the facility was currently rented to people whom police refused to identify for security reasons.
The troops, who found candy boxes filled with explosives, oxygen cylinders and two tons of fertilizer in the basement, spent three hours destroying the payload in controlled blasts in an industrial area of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. Bodies are often found in the area, located in the city's eastern section. The U.S. military said it was looking into the report.

The discovery illustrated the challenges faced by U.S. and Iraqi troops trying to stop the unrelenting violence even as militants consistently find new ways to thwart stepped-up security measures. ...

This is nothing but actively helping the enemy. Don't insult the rest of us with the claim that the AP is "just" reporting the news. In this case, our troops raided a bomb-making facility that was booby-trapped. You know, those are the bombs that are used to kill our troops and help destabilize Iraq. The operation was successful and thankfully, no American or Iraqi troops were killed.

Although the factory was a bomb-making one disguised as a lollipop factory, what do you think the AP says? "US-Iraqi forces raid lollipop factory" instead of "U.S.-Iraqi raid bomb-making factory". WKRN in Nashville bears some responsibility too as it is responsible for the final edit of the headline.

This headline makes it seem as if once again, American soldiers are baby-killers, bombing baby formula factories, and committing other atrocities or war crimes. I wish the administration would get some balls and prosecute the AP for this one or call them out on it. It's one thing to engage in vigorous debate over the Iraq War, its another to intentionally publish very misleading headlines about what happens in Iraq that are harmful to our soldiers and cause.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Update on Melton's "New" Tool for Fighting Crime is the previous post on this subject.

I seem to remember a similar story several years ago when Harvey Johnson was in office. Thanks to the power of the internet, I did some research and voila:

In a story dated June 20, 2005, WAPT reported:

"JACKSON, Miss. -- If you feel like you're being watched while on the streets of Jackson, you probably are.

The city unveiled its new Homeland Security Monitoring Center Monday afternoon.
Dozens of surveillance cameras are trained on the interstates, neighborhood streets and public buildings.

Mayor Harvey Johnson said the cameras will be used to monitor high-crime areas, help with traffic flow and aid the fire department during emergencies.

The program is getting mixed reviews from residents.

"It would be good for customers and patrons and some of the people that shop within the so-called high-crime areas," said grocery store owner Norwood Beal.

"It's illegal," said Jackson resident Gilbert Metz. "It's against the Constitution. You're invading people's privacy in a public place."

Johnson said the cameras will not be used to invade privacy -- only to monitor public areas.
A $1.4 million federal grant paid for the program.
Copyright 2004 by"

So how exactly new is this "new" system Mayor Melton is implementing? The next question is if Mayor Johnson was using it, then why did Melton turn it off. Reading the CL below, one could interchange the words Melton and Johnson and get almost the exact same story.

I must also offer some brickbats to the local news media. WAPT reported the Melton story last week yet completely missed its story from two years ago about the Johnson administration doing the same thing.

The point is is that once again this is a case of smoke and mirrors by the Melton administration. It is widely publicizing a tool that has been in use for years or at some point it turned off the system, then when crime skyrocketed, it decided to turn it back on in desperation, then loudly proclaim its new aggressive tactics in fighting crime.

Update: Watch out, the furies over at The Jackson Free Press are on the trail now (that is a very friendly jab at them. ;-) ): and in this link, they credit the WAPT story:
They still managed to scoop the Clarion-Ledger as well as WAPT and the other local media outlets on this story.

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Our Roman Origins

Luke Sheahan writes about the Roman origins of our Consitutional system of government.

Its a good article although it could have been written with some more detail and depth. He makes a good point about how a poor man in Rome could achieve wealth and/or power. Rome truly was one of the first societies that closely resembled a meritocracy. Its no secret that the cauldron of revolution boils greatly when those who do have ability are prevented by society from using their talent and intelligence (Like the French Revolution, See Voltaire's Letters to the English, or the Civil Rights Movement). However, I must disagree with him at the end. Aurelius was still an emperor, unlike Washington and perpeutated the imperial system instead of trying to return Rome to a more Republican system.

"Rome contributed the reality of constitutional government. The Roman Republic combined monarchical, aristocratic, and democratic elements to form an order that utilized all citizens for the public good while allowing individuals of particular talent to rise to positions of authority. It was a scheme that Aristotle would have recognized, although he believed it could not exist on a large scale. Republican Rome demonstrated otherwise.

Roman political power was divided between the consuls, the senate and the popular assemblies; each served its own function demonstrating the ideal of separation of powers and a system of checks and balances that the American founders would enthusiastically emulate. John Adams, away in England during the Constitutional Convention, wrote the Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States which his allies at the Convention quoted at length. He extensively cited the classical Roman historian Polybius on the advantages of the Roman constitutional system. ...

Cicero, the antirevolutionary orator of the first century before Christ, had an enormous influence on the Founders. The Founders studied his rhetoric and modeled their own political oratory accordingly. He articulated a system of ordered liberty, which shaped the Founders’ hope for the American Republic..... "

In addition to this article, an excellent book about the Roman Republic that is fun to read is Colleen McCullough's First Man in Rome. The setting is the generation before Julius Caesar when the cracks are beginning to appear in the Republican foundation. The book has it all: war, politics, religion, sex, romance, and murder. It follows the original Roman authors very closely. She includes a glossary and maps in the back of the book. Its a great book and was a NY Times best-seller. What will amazon you is how closely Roman politics resembles our own and you will recognize many of the controversial issues of that era as reflected in our own times.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Melton hijacking MDOT cameras?

Well, our fearless leader gave a big dog-and-pony show last week on the use of hidden cameras in Jackson, giving us the impression that Jackson had indeed entered the big brother age and was going to be aggressively using a silent army of cameras around Jackson to catch criminals.

However, as we have come to expect with Melton, not so fast my friend. With Melton you learn to ignore the headlines and publicity and focus on what he is really doing.

Well, I must give props to one of the JFP moonbats. ;-) Kudos to Grassy Knol Aust who has made this observation:

"FYI: After pausing and re-pausing and slo-motioning the WAPT report, it appears as though EVERY camera is simply a linked line to the cameras on the Interstates and a few MAJOR intersections throughout the city. This cameras have been up and primarily used by MDOT for monitoring traffic (if I'm correct).

From what I could tell, there are NO NEW cameras. Every single shot showed feeds from Lakeland/I-55, County Line/Ridgeland Cam, etc... These are pretty much the same cameras the news will use during the weathercasts (actually, I think it's WAPT that uses them).

Why did no one bother to ask what's so special about this? Most of the cameras are fed via the Internet.Expensive set of smoke and mirrors.... How many crimes actually take place at these major intersections and on the Interstate? Next to none.These cameras will have little-to-no impact... Much like the Eye in the Sky.Cameras are everywhere and record. Police use recorded footage all the time. Real-time screening of huge sections of street aren't going to prove valuable unless it's a living being within proximity to help PREVENT a crime.

You'll also notice that MDOT details the location of EVERY camera. So, a criminal with 1/4 of a brain cell would know exactly which route NOT TO TAKE.

Further, how many are actually in West/South Jackson which seems to be a hotbed for violent crimes right now? The answer is two...P.S. That restaurant was the McD's on Fortification and State... The camera is actually mounted a few feet from it. That's one of the only ones with good access to parking lots and places where a crime might occur."

Why does this not surprise me? I want to see more details but for some reason, given Melton's penchant for not telling the truth and making sensational claims, this would not shock me although I am not ready to believe it just yet.


Well, well, well, what do you know? The Clarion-Ledger had an additional story this morning:

Well, apparently Grassy Knol was correct after all (good job!!!). It seems Melton was using the MDOT cameras and passing them off as some super-secret know-all and see-all techonology. He must be one of those who is easily impressed. The story says: "Note: Cameras on the interstates are used by the city with the Mississippi Department of Transportation's cooperation."

In fact, here are a list of the intersections:
State and Fortification streets
High and Greymont streets
U.S. 80 and Robinson Road
High and Jefferson streets
State and Rankin streets
I-20 and Valley Street
Lakeland Drive and I-55
State and Fondren Place
I-55 and County Line Road

Those are some high-crime areas, aren't they? What did Melton say last week?
"There are dozens of cameras at secret locations all over town, paid for by a federal grant. The system has been in the works for two years, Melton said."

It just goes to show once again with Melton you have to ignore all the bombast and focus on the details. In this case, he simply is touting a link/feed to the MDOT cameras and promoting it as something it isn't.
But then again, he was found guilty of lying under oath in a Meridian courtroom so I guess he is just staying true to his character.

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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