Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

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Supreme Court: Delbert was right.

The Associated Press reported:

"The court affirmed on Monday a lower court ruling allowing state lawmakers to run in their current districts this year. The justices rejected an appeal from the Mississippi NAACP."

This was the position taken by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a position opposed by the Democrats and even his own party. The Secretary of State issued a press release:

"Today (Monday, October 31, 2011), the United States Supreme Court affirmed the right of the State of Mississippi to redistrict itself in 2012 and not the federal courts.

“This means the elections we will hold next Tuesday to elect our Legislature are affirmed by the United States Supreme Court. As importantly, this means our Mississippi Constitution controls the election of our Representatives,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “The Supreme Court has affirmed what I have long contended, we should follow the State Constitution and protect our state’s right to redistrict our legislature without federal intervention. The Constitution had a very good day.”

On May 16, 2011, a federal three-judge panel upheld, “…We agree with the Secretary of State’s position that imposition of a remedy is premature and allow the 2011 legislative elections to proceed under the present districts…”

In addition, the Memorandum Opinion and Order issued by Judges E. Grady Jolly, Tom S. Lee, and Louis Guirola, Jr., stated:

* “…The plain language of the Mississippi Constitution thus demonstrates that under State law the Legislature is not required to reapportion itself until its regular session in 2012…” Section 254 of the State Constitution states, in part, “The Legislature shall at its regular session in the second year following the 1980 decennial census and every (10) years thereafter…apportion the state in accordance with the Constitution of the State…”
* “…we are certain that it is the most respectful of all proposals to the principles of federalism, to the unchallenged laws of the State of Mississippi, to the holdings of the Supreme Court of the United States, and to the proper placement of responsibility of reapportionment—the Legislature of the State of Mississippi

In other words, Delbert saved Phil.

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Howard responds.

WLBT anchor Howard Ballou filed an answer to the complaint filed against him by the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King. The estate filed a lawsuit last month seeking the return of various documents it claimed were in Mr. Ballou's possession. Mr. Ballou's mother was the personal secretary for Dr. King. Earlier post containing details about lawsuit, copy of lawsuit, and history of Dr. King's children.

The answer contains the standard response in such matters: all allegations or denied or fail to state a claim. Mr. Ballou has no liability to the estate. Read the earlier post linked above as it will provide a better idea what this lawsuit is all about: greed and trashing the legacy of Dr. King.

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New Dorsey Carson ad

This post is a paid advertisement.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Feed me baby one more time

I don't think this is what they mean when they say "if you got it, flaunt it".

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

More downtown drama

Looks like the Downtown Jackson Trash blog stirred up a little hornets nest yesterday as Rankin County's finest called up Mr. Crowley to give him a piece of well, what she might consider a mind.

"Ms. Rankin County appeared most annoyed with the statement that she was "white trash" and that I referred to her operation as a "whorehouse" (although that word was struck through). Then there was the obligatory threat to sue me for slander (actually it would be libel, but whatever). Of course, I will be hearing from "her attorney" (who's office is apparently located in a van down by the Rankin side of the Pearl River). Blah blah blah."

Get more of it here

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Friday, October 28, 2011

New Steve Simpson ad

This post is a paid advertisement.

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Local blog lays the wood to Wicker's office

Local blog Downtown Jackson Trash fired a few nukes at Senator Roger Wicker and his staff. Apparently a member of Roger Wicker's staff has an ownership interest in a nightclub downtown drawing the ire of a few downtown residents. Wicker staffer Saleem Baird is the CEO of Average Joe Entertainment (SOS website). Won't spoil the rest of the fun for you. Here is the link.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

You can't make this up.

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Blast from the past about Marshand Crisler

Wrote this about the Mayor's race several years ago but it still applies. Pay attention to the part where he favors a commuter tax.

What qualifies Marshand Crisler to be Mayor of Jackson?

Mr. Crisler's resume consists of the following items: Marine Corps and Air Force officer, Jackson City Council, Master of Public Adminstration from JSU, police chief of Utica and a deputy in the Hinds County Sheriff's office. Compare his background to the duties of the Mayor who administers a budget of several hundred million dollars, is responsible for economic development, appointing school board members, complying with federal regulations and programs, and operating the executive branch of city government with its various departments, programs and employees. The ideal candidate should have both government and business experience as the Mayor must wear many hats in performing his duties.

However, what exactly is on Mr. Crisler's resume suggesting he should be mayor? One rarely gets in trouble when following the principle "hire the resume". If Jackson was a private corporation, the Board of Directors would be fired for incompetence if it hired a person with so weak a resume to be CEO. Mr. Crisler's professional experience has been that of a local cop. He was a chief in a very small town, not even the equivalent of an assistant chief or commander in JPD. He is a deputy working for someone who potentially will depend on him for his job (can we say conflict of interest? It is my understanding he is still an employee of the Sheriff as reported last week in the Clarion-Ledger and this fall by The Northside Sun).

He has been a Councilman for some time now but the city council in Jackson is weak under its charter and councilman is a part-time position (can anyone name a major reform or piece of legislation he led?) They don't hire, fire, or make executive decisions, yet somehow this individual is considered to be a leading candidate for Mayor even though he's yet to show he can actually do something. One doesn't promote a corporal overnight to a general in charge of several divisions.

Jackson has suffered from four years of Melton. Crime is out of control, the budget is a mess, mismanagement has been the rule, not the exception in city government, yet the answer is to hire someone to clean it up who has NO experience in such affairs? In all of Jackson is this the best Jackson can do? On the recent list of supporters for a Crisler fund-raiser at Bravo!, there were several names much more qualified to be Mayor.

A Crisler candidacy points out one of Jackson's main problems: Its best and brightest never desire to lead the city, while we wonder why Jackson declines. Beverly Hogan. LeRoy Walker. Jeff Goode. David Watkins. Robert Gibbs. All MUCH more qualified than Mr. Chrisler yet sitting on the sidelines even though they are the talent Jackson needs in City Hall. If Jacksonians were serious about their city, someone whose claim to fame was being a councilman and a "crime prevention specialist" in the Sheriff's office would not be taken seriously as a candidate for Mayor.

What is also interesting is how the business community has apparently flocked to Mr. Crisler, ignoring his past comments on implementing some form of commuter tax or toll tax from a past interview with The Jackson Free Press:
"(Q) You see the commute lines every morning and evening. What ever happened to the toll-booth idea?
Canned. Flushed. Trashed. It required legislative action, and it got no traction. Every year we bring it up, and it doesn’t even get past a committee, but that’s not the only option. You could do a user fee. A road tax. An occupational tax—meaning if you work in Jackson, you should pay an amount of money there. It comes straight out of your paycheck.
(Q) The first thing business owners will say is you’re hurting business with a new tax.
So? Where are they going to go? Madison? Pearl maybe?My point is, how many jobs are in Pearl? Better yet, how many industries are in Madison? You can’t pick up and move the capitol city. It’s not going anywhere. We’re not talking about Greenville. States don’t change capitols. The industry here is government. As long as that’s the case it will contain the type of jobs that can support those $2 million homes in Madison. "

Does this sound like someone who is pro-business or understands economic development? Yet for some reason the NE Jackson business community has decided to throw in its lot with the South Jackson Councilman. Perhaps someone should ask Mr. Crisler to clarify his remarks on commuter taxes, occupational taxes, and whether government should be the leading industry in Jackson as they are great prescriptions for destroying a city's economy.

Jackson is in crisis right now. Jacksonians have an opportunity this spring to make a change from the last four years of Melton hell. However, this is not the time to give the keys to someone who has to find the clutch and then learn how to drive the car.

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Teenager robbed in Fondren

This post came from a close friend. I've been able to confirm its authenticity.

"In the wee hours of Saturday morning, around 2:00 am, my 17 year old son, a white male, was visiting a friend in the Fondren area of Jackson, along with another white male friend. The friend they were visiting just happens to be black, and the mother was also at home, as were a few other black males.

After running to the gas station close by to pick up some refreshments and snacks with two of the black males, and after arriving back at the home, an unidentified black male and two others jumped the 17-year old, with one grabbing the kid in a choke-hold (KF note: not the kind they use in Long Beach) and another sticking a gun to his chest demanding money. They were hiding behind the house. My son of course gave them whatever cash was on him, which unfortunately was over $100. He then got back in his car and drove out of there as quickly as possible and called me. I met him on Lakeland Drive, picked him up, and went back to the area, where a JPD officer had been called to report the incident. JPD did arrive at the scene soon after the call was made.

Yes, you Fondren-ites, it was late and the kids probably shouldn't have been out in the wee hours, but they were hanging out in a home with a parent present, and only left to pick up drinks and chips. These weren't kids sitting around drinking and smoking pot, but kids who chose to stay off the streets and just hang out, black and white, together.

We all worry about our teenagers when they are out at night, but when they try to do the right thing, and still get held up at gun point, you gotta scratch your head. How did Jackson get this way?"

KF Note: I left the racial descriptions in the story as they fact they were hanging out with black friends testifies to the fact they are not blaming blacks for crime as some do.

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Eminent Domain Initiative poll.

Vote in poll on the initiative. Here is the text of the amendment:

"No property acquired by the exercise of the power of eminent domain under the laws of the State of Mississippi shall, for a period of ten years after its acquisition, be transferred or any interest therein transferred to any person, non-governmental entity, public-private partnership, corporation, or other business entity with the following exceptions:

(1) The above provisions shall not apply to drainage and levee facilities and
usage, roads and bridges for public conveyance, flood control projects with a
levee component, seawalls, dams, toll roads, public airports, public ports,
public harbors, public wayports, common carriers or facilities for public
utilities and other entities used in the generation, transmission, storage or
distribution of telephone, telecommunication, gas, carbon dioxide, electricity, water, sewer, natural gas, liquid hydrocarbons or other utility products.

(2) The above provisions shall not apply where the use of eminent domain (a)
removes a public nuisance; (b) removes a structure that is beyond repair or
unfit for human habitation or use; (c) is used to acquire abandoned property;
or (d) eliminates a direct threat to public health or safety caused by the
property in its current condition."

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Graham getting desperate.

Hinds County Supervisor sent out this email to REPUBLICAN households in Northeast Jackson today. Pretty funny because he tried to say John Dennery is masquerading as a DEMOCRAT. You got it. Read on.

This post is not a paid advertisement so feel free to comment. I found the email quite amusing. Hmmm........ what core programs is he talking about?

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Another JPD hard-luck story.

Local attorney Jane Tucker sent me this report she wrote on her experience with Jackson's criminal justice system after a con man ripped off several car dealers last week. Enjoy.

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NECI President accuses Robert Graham of fraud (Video)

Charles Carter accused Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham of fraud at a press conference in front of Jackson City Hall Monday. Mr. Carter is the President of the National Emergency Communications Institute. NECI provides 911 certification courses to first responders nationwide. WLBT, Fox40, and the Clarion-Ledger were present. Mr. Carter issued a press release that is posted below.

Mr. Carter alleged Mr. Graham was authorized to provide NECI courses and 911 certifications in Mississippi. Mr. Graham was required to use NECI training manuals and materials to issue such certifications. Mr. Carter said Mr. Graham instead took manuals from another company not certified in Mississippi, inserted some of his own material, and passed it off as his own instead of ordering manuals from NECI. He then alleged Mr. Graham then provided NECI certifications even though he did not use NECI training manuals. Mr. Graham would charge $495 for the course and was supposed to forward $95 to NECI. The agencies reimbursed their employees the $495 fee upon completion of the course. Mr. Carter said few manuals were ordered from NECI while many NECI certifications were provided by Mr. Graham.

Mr. Carter claimed the certifications were not valid and the state made the decision to recognize them anyway. Mr. Carter argued such recognition violated the law. Mr. Carter said he visited Jackson to meet with an unnamed agency and seek prosecution of Mr. Graham for the alleged fraud. Mr. Carter claimed the fraud took place from 1995 to 2006 and he has been pursuing charges against Mr. Graham since he discovered the alleged fraud in 2006.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Walnut Grove mayor indicted.

A federal grand jury indicted Walnut Grove Mayor Grady Sims for allegedly sexually assaulting a prisoner and then tampering with a witness to interfere with an investigation. Mr. Sims will face an initial appearance in federal court today.

Count one states Mr. Sims "sexually assaulted "the victim"*, an inmate under the custody and control of SIMS at the Walnut Grove Transition Center, resulting in bodily injury to "the victim"....

Count two alleges Mr. Sims "did knowingly attempt to corruptly persuade "the victim" by instructing "the victim" to lie to investigators regarding the events in Count 1, with the intent to influence the testimony of "the victim" in an official proceeding, namely a federal grand jury proceeding.."

Looks like this is not the first time the Mayor has drawn scrutiny when it comes to prisons.

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CNN publishes another story on Dedmon case

CNN published another Dedmon story on its website this week. The story delves into the alleged prejudiced environment that is Rankin County (Hinds County fraudster Derrick Johnson is the source). CNN then raises the issue of whether police and school administrators ignored Dedmon and his friends after they were allegedly warned of his behavior. CNN reports:

"To get to Brandon, you have to drive across the Pearl River, a boundary that seems to separate black Mississippi from white.

In the town's center, a monument stands honoring the confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War.

This mostly white town in mostly white Rankin County is about a 30-minute drive from Jackson, Mississippi. It's here in Brandon that some residents say a gang of teenagers expressed their strong racial prejudice -- sometimes through violence..

CNN has learned that Department of Justice investigators have uncovered two other possible incidents where groups of white Rankin County teens, including Dedmon, have sought out and attacked a black person.

The story then puts the Brandon Assistant Police Chief on the spot:

"I've watched CNN and I've watched the news and you see something like this horrific act that happened that's, you know, terrible, but we don't have the issues that the media is portraying," the assistant police chief, Chris Butts said "You know it just goes back to, you know, you're going to have a couple of bad seeds. One guy, ran over the individual, not all six."

Asked if Brandon police had ever been concerned about Dedmon and his friends, Butts simply said, "Nope
." Rest of the article

My thoughts about Dedmon? If he is convicted, fry him. No needle, nothing painless. Hang 'im or fry 'im.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

2 Ole Miss clips I would love to get my hands on

1. The HIT Cassius Ware put on Eric Zeier.

2. Video of the Gerald Glass/Chris Jackson shootout.

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PERS: I report, you decide.

The Clarion-Ledger editorial page called PERS "successful" yesterday:
"Legislative leaders have sought to sweeten retirement benefits to make public service more atttraictive to many who must sacrifice financially to serve and to retain experience.

Ironically, that is the one reason PERS exists as it does and why it is so successful."

The editorial finishes with this example of positive reinforcement:

"Mississippi has a good retirement system that attracts for quality employees."

No surprise the newspaper would weigh in on PERS as the debate about the PERS Study Commission heats up. The Democrats charge the Republicans are trying to rob retirees. Some Republicans say PERS needs to change from a defined benefit (pensions) to a defined contribution (401k) system. Others say they are just trying to stabilize PERS. Lost in all the debate is some semblance of what the true picture is of PERS. JJ filed a public records request for the PERS audits of 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, and 2009 (The audits usually contain much information from the prior year so they were not requested.). Here is part of the PERS portrait after reviewing the financial statements.

PERS defenders claim it holds $21 billion in assets- a true statement shown by the chart below:

The system held $18.4 billion in assets in 2000. It has increased only $2.6 billion in ten years. Understandable as that includes the dot-com bust, the housing crisis, Lehman crash, the 2001 recession, and the current recession. However, PERS critics like to point to this chart to justify their desire to "reform" PERS:

PERS is funded at a level of 64.2%, no new news there. However, what is interesting is 15 years ago PERS was 70% funded and has achieved the desired 80% benchmark five times in the last fifteen years. If anything, 80% funding of PERS is the exception, not the rule. The next chart will provide some clue as to why PERS has a hard time staying above 80%:

Now that is a problem. PERS paid $410 million more for payments to beneficiaries than it received in contributions from employees and employers. The chart shows the problem has only gotten worse over the last ten years as it had an excess of $97 million in 2000 to the current deficit (or a 522% increase). PERS makes up the shortfall from either net investment income (See notes posted below) or from current assets. One major factor for the increase in this deficit is probably found in the next chart:

There were 6,267 more retirees/inactive members than there were active members in 2000. The difference mushroomed to 43,515 in 2010 (694% increase). So assets have only increased one-sixth or so in the last ten years while the excess of payments over contributions have increased 522% and the excess of non-active members over active members have increased nearly 700%. Here are the investment returns for PERS over the last ten years:

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%
2011: 25%

and the rolling averages:
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%

I think it is safe to say that serious people in either party or any official at PERS are probably concerned by those numbers. The "state" newspaper hasn't exactly gone out of its way to provide these facts to its readers as it tells them the system is "good" and "successful".

I am not against a defined benefit system per se. I like 401k plans but don't think they are a magic bullet either. What I do want to see is more informed debate and coverage about the PERS system because if we ever have to bail out PERS as taxpayers, the bill will be pretty steep. I seriously doubt most of the loudmouths screeching about PERS on both sides of the aisle really know much about our public employees retirement system. Anyone who says "PERS will be fine", "the markets will recover", "don't worry, PERS has $21 billion in assets", or something similar is sticking his head in the sand. I will leave it to others to debate whether or not changes should be made to the retirement system but we owe it to ourselves to at least have a true idea of the true state of PERS.

2000 audit
2002 audit
2004 audit
2007 audit
2009 audit
2010 audit

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's on!!!

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Gripe of the day

Dear local restaurants: Offer wi-fi to your diners. Seems to be fairly common practice when I travel out of town. Yes, I mean you Walkers, Ticos, Nagoya, Que Sera, Hal and Mals, and the rest of you. I realize you are in Mississippi but come on, it is 2011.

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Can virtual schools save Mississippi?

The Wall Street Journal published an essay a few months ago by a Fellow at the Hoover Institute arguing technology is about to drastically change how the educational system is organized. Using the Florida Virtual School as an example, he posits such schools will bring hope to those stuck in bad school districts or lacking access to quality education. The essay starts out as an attack on unions but halfway through it addresses the changes brought about by information technology. Read on:

"This has been a horrible year for teachers unions. The latest stunner came in Michigan, where Republicans enacted sweeping reforms last month that require performance-based evaluations of teachers, make it easier to dismiss those who are ineffective, and dramatically limit the scope of collective bargaining. Similar reforms have been adopted in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, Indiana, Tennessee, Idaho and Florida.

But the unions' hegemony is not going to end soon. All of their big political losses have come at the hands of oversized Republican majorities. Eventually Democrats will regain control, and many of the recent reforms may be undone. The financial crisis will pass, too, taking pressure off states and giving Republicans less political cover.

The unions, meantime, are launching recall campaigns to remove offending Republicans, initiative campaigns to reverse legislation, court cases to have the bills annulled, and other efforts to reinstall the status quo ante—some of which are likely to succeed. As of today, they remain the pre-eminent power in American education.

Over the long haul, however, the unions are in grave trouble—for reasons that have little to do with the tribulations of this year.

The first is that they are losing their grip on the Democratic base. With many urban schools abysmally bad and staying that way, advocates for the disadvantaged are demanding real reform and aren't afraid to criticize unions for obstructing it. Moderates and liberals in the media and even in Hollywood regularly excoriate unions for putting job interests ahead of children. Then there's Race to the Top—initiated over union protests by a Democratic president who wants real reform. This ferment within the party will only grow in the future.

Then there's a crucial dynamic outside of politics: the revolution in information technology. This tsunami is only now beginning to swell, and it will hit the American education system with full force over the next few decades. The teachers unions are trying to stop it, but it is much bigger than they are.

Online learning now allows schools to customize coursework to each child, with all kids working at their own pace, receiving instant remedial help, exploring a vast array of courses, and much more. The advantages are huge. Already some 39 states have set up virtual schools or learning initiatives that enroll students statewide, often providing advanced placement courses, remedial courses, and other offerings that students can't get in their local schools.

The national model is the Florida Virtual School, which offers a full academic curriculum, has more than 220,000 course enrollments per year, and is a beacon of innovation. Outside of government, tech entrepreneurs like K12 and Connections Academy are swarming all over the education sector. They are the innovative force behind the rise of virtual charters, which now operate in 27 states, enroll some 200,000 full-time students (who typically do their studying at home), and stand at the cutting edge of technology's advance.

This is just the opening salvo. Most American parents want their kids to actually go to school—to a physical place. So the favored virtual schools of the future will be hybrids of traditional and online learning. There are already impressive examples.

At the high-performing Rocketship schools in San Jose, Calif., for example, students take a portion of their academics online—generating $500,000 in savings per school annually. Schools use that money for higher teacher salaries and one-on-one tutoring.

As the cyber revolution comes to American education, it will bring about a massive and cost-saving substitution of technology for labor. That means far fewer teachers (and union members) per student. It also means teachers will be far less concentrated in geographic districts, as those who work online can be anywhere. It'll thus be far more difficult for unions to organize. There will also be much more diversity in educational offerings, and money and jobs will flow out of the (unionized) regular schools into new (nonunion) providers of online options.

The confluence of these forces—plus the shifting political tides among Democrats—will inexorably weaken the unions, sapping them of members, money and power. It will render them less and less able to block reform. The political doors will increasingly swing open to reforms that simply make good sense for children and for society.

So the unions can weather the Republican attacks of 2011. But the real threats to their power are more subtle, slowly developing—and potent.

Mr. Moe is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of political science at Stanford University. His latest book is "Special Interest: Teachers Unions and America's Public

Now here is where I think this could get real interesting in Mississippi. It is my contention that Mississippi is a poor state and will not have the money to give to education required for real progress in the next ten years. Let's face it, Mississippi is in last place. We are not going to have the money to get classroom sizes down to the levels desired by educators nor substantially raise salaries. The political will to hold teachers accountable and truly reform the schools is non-existent as the Democrats and Black Caucus will fight every effort to change things. What do you expect when Mississippi NAACP President says he does not see the need for the Barksdale Institute in Mississippi?* They are like the Redcoats in the French and Indian Wars: marching in the forest in formation in bright red coats while the snipers of illiteracy shoot from the darkness, wiping them out. We've been talking education reform for nearly thirty years and guess what- we are still at the bottom.

What could happen with new information technology is a high-performing district like Petal or Clinton could offer accredited online education (even for an affordable fee) to other Mississippi residents. Bring them in a few times a year for the standardized tests. It could work. Parents stuck in rural or bad school districts could finally obtain quality education for their children. However, the Democrats, teachers, and more than a few local government officials will strongly oppose such reforms. Well, they can stick their heads in the sand all they want but what will happen is a Mississippi private school will see the light and offer such a curriculum while dropping the price of tuition.

Jackson Academy, Jackson Prep and other quality private schools: looking for ways to raise money without increasing costs? Here is an idea worth examining: Set up an online curriculum for students throughout Mississippi and drop the tuition for the program down to $2,000 or less a year. St. Josephs: think of how many Catholics in Mississippi would love to be able to provide a Catholic education to their kids but have no access to such schooling in their areas? Don't look for ways to gouge these people or charge more money than if one actually attends the school (Now that would be the Mississippi way, wouldn't it?), set a price that will bring in the maximum number of students while earning a nice profit for the school. Such a reform could give more minority and disadvantaged children access to a better education much more quickly than waiting for public schools to fix themselves.

The truth is, education budgets are going to be strapped for quite some time and we will not be able to afford the extra $300 million a year the state Board of Education desires. That means Mississippi has to get smarter about how to improve education in Mississippi and that means looking at all ideas, not just the traditional ones that bear no resemblance to reality.

* From this article: "Derrick Johnson says that while he appreciates the urgency of Barksdale’s approach, he considers the principals program another example of the continual, disruptive churn of school reform.

“One of the things that I have always been interested in figuring out is why every two to three years, we’re always seeking to reform education, when in fact we have many best practices that have already been proven to be effective,” Johnson says. “It’s another example that children are being experimented with

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Football thread.

Have to admit, watching Texas Tech upset Oklahoma was alot of fun and the Michigan State game was pretty thrilling as well. Nothing like seeing a Stoops team lay an egg as Tuberville showed once again he can coach for the big games. Then LSU beat the hell out of Auburn yesterday as they said, we don't have our best players?, no problem, we have another Hilliard ready to go off the assembly line. Now we have a showdown with Bama in two weeks.

Then there is Ole Miss. They tried yesterday, really did but once again, Nutt showed he doesn't know how to keep a lead or coach in the last two minutes. Running plays with no timeouts? I thought Gary Crowton was out there calling plays. Unfortunately, he was for Maryland as they lost yet again yesterday and looked pretty bad doing it.

Today is the pros. Have at it.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

PERS Document Downpour

Here are all the docs PERS recently provided to the PERS study commission. If you are REALLY bored and have nothing to do, enjoy.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Medical website rebuts Wall Street Journal story about Dr. Adam Lewis

Orthopedics This Week recently took the Wall Street Journal to task for publishing an article on the front page that raised questions about local neurosurgeon Dr. Adam Lewis and his stake in Spinal USA:

"Gary Moore died at St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi on April 7, 2011 after undergoing a 360-degree spinal fusion procedure performed by his neurosurgeon, Adam Lewis, M.D.

This tragic event was then compounded by the Wall Street Journal article on October 8, 2011, titled, "Taking Double Cut, Surgeons Implant Their Own Devices."
Rosen: Unnecessary Surgery

The Journal article implied that Moore died because Dr. Lewis performed unnecessary surgery due his undisclosed ownership in Spinal USA, LLC., the company that supplied some of the devices used for the procedure.

As evidence of Moore’s unnecessary surgery, John Carreyrou and Tom McGinty, the writers of the WSJ story, cite two spine surgeons, "who later reviewed [Moore's] medical records," and said Moore's history of heart disease and bowel obstruction "made him a poor candidate for a 360-degree spinal fusion." One of those reviewing surgeons was none other than Charles Rosen, M.D., the founder of the Association for Medical Ethics. The Association is an advocacy organization that has been hyperbolically critical of surgeon/industry relationships. The other reviewer was not named.

Rosen, according to the story said, "No operation of any kind could be justified." The other surgeon said a less aggressive procedure might have been warranted, although the patient's records don't suggest it was needed. Rosen reviewed Moore's medical records and films for the Journal.

Dr. Lewis's lawyer said in the story that his client's financial interest in Spinal USA had nothing to do with his decision to operate on Moore. He said Dr. Lewis used the implants because he helped design them and believed they were the best on the market for the procedure.
Surgeon Quotes in “Bad Context”

Another surgeon interviewed by the writers was California neurosurgeon Scott Lederhaus, a member of Rosen’s Association.

Carreyrou and McGinty write that rather than use spinal implants from third-party manufacturers, "scores" of surgeons have started their own device makers to "churn out similar products, putting themselves in a position to benefit financially from the hardware they insert into patients." They write that "critics" of such arrangements say surgeon ownership gives surgeons an incentive to perform more operations, and that the conflict of interest has led to a "spate of unnecessary back surgeries that waste health-care dollars and often do patients more harm than good."

They quote Dr. Lederhaus as telling them that, "Patients are having huge operations that are un-indicated because of conflicts of interest."

We called Dr. Lederhaus to ask him if he thought that Moore's surgery was "un-indicated" and whether he thought Dr. Lewis operated on Moore because of his ownership in Spinal USA.

Dr. Lederhaus told us that he did not review Moore's medical records, nor was he speaking specifically about Dr. Lewis. He told us that his comments in the article could have been put in better context and that the writers did not tell him that his general comments would be attributed to a specific situation.
The Journal’s Failure

And there we have the critical journalistic dishonesty of the Journal article. The writers have taken a specific case and linked it, without direct evidence, to a general proposition that has been pursued by the Journal. That being, that physician ownership in the business of healthcare leads to medical decisions being made for the physician's own financial interests at the expense of the patients and payers.

That's a fair public policy question and debate. But that debate must be held with facts, data and honest reporting. The Journal failed here.
Confuses Distributors for Manufacturers

The writers also failed to get basic information correct regarding the supplier of the implants, Spinal USA, the company in which Dr. Lewis has a minority ownership stake.

The Wall Street Journal’s Carreyrou and McGinty erroneously describe Spinal USA as a POD (physician-owned distributor) and link a request by some U.S. Senators to the Office of Inspector General to look into the expansion of PODs and getting additional guidance for their legal structures.

Write the reporters, "The inherent conflict of interest is fueling concern. In June, five U.S. senators asked the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services to open an investigation into physician-owned device companies, citing concerns that the surgeons involved have a financial incentive to 'perform more procedures than are medically necessary.'"

They go on to write that a report provided to the agency by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the senior Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, "identified at least 20 states where surgeon-owned implant companies are present, and warned that they were spreading from spine surgery to other areas of medicine such as hip, knee and cardiac surgery."

Just one problem here, Hatch was writing about physician-owned distributors, not "surgeon-owned implant companies" as Carreyrou and McGinty report.

In an interview with OTW on October 10, Jim Pastena, the president and CEO of Spinal USA since July 2011, told us:

"In some respects, the article is sensationalized, in that it mixes different issues and statistics that are general in nature, but made to look like they are Spinal USA’s numbers. An example of this is that we are not a POD, but a small manufacturer that designs, manufactures, and sells our own products, very similar to a number of other fine companies like K2M, Kyphon, and Globus. When those companies were small, they had a large percentage of doctor ownership, and as they matured, that ownership became less dominant.

"Overall, the article focused on the potential conflict of interest that can arise when a doctor has ownership in a company that makes medical device products that he or she may use in surgery. We understand this issue and we have done everything possible to ensure that Spinal USA is structured in a way to prevent any possible conflict of interest.

“Our doctor investors are kept at arm’s length—we don't get involved in their medical practice and we don't advise them on any product usage. They provide technical expertise to us and help us develop new products that give hope for better surgical results.”
Wrong City?!

Another insinuation of the Journal story is that the number of spinal fusion surgeries performed in the area served by Spinal USA has increased because of the surgeon owners.

Carreyrou and McGinty write that at Huntsville Hospital (Alabama), one of the city's two hospitals, “351 spinal-fusion surgeries were performed on Medicare patients in 2009, up from 333 in 2006, before Spinal USA came to town, a Wall Street Journal analysis of Medicare claims data shows. At Crestwood Medical Center, the city's other hospital, there were 187 such operations on Medicare patients in 2009, up from 107 in 2006, the analysis shows. Huntsville Hospital says it spent $5.6 million on Spinal USA products in its most recent fiscal year.”

Again, we have a bait and switch scenario. The hospital where Dr. Lewis performed the surgery on Moore was St. Dominic's Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, not in Huntsville, Alabama.

We asked Spinal USA about the alleged overutilization of spinal surgery in the area.

A written response from the company stated, “All market data in the spine market historically show an increasing growth in spine surgery procedures projected to continue for years to come. This is primarily related to the aging of the population. As such, surgery will increase from a procedural standpoint necessitating by default, an increase in products used to do these procedures.”

The company told us that an internal analysis of shareholder procedural volume at one of their accounts “interestingly revealed that within the last four years, there was a 22% decline in surgeries dropping from 435 procedures in 2007 (January – June) to 341 procedures on 2011 (January-June)

According to the UCLA Anderson School of Management, The Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou was part of a team of Journal reporters who won the Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting for their coverage of corporate scandals in 2003. He has also won the German Marshall Fund's Peter R. Weitz junior prize for excellence in European reporting. In 2007, he was part of a team of Journal reporters who won the New York Press Club's consumer award for its coverage of health care. In 2008, he was named a Gerald Loeb Award finalist in the feature writing category for a series on the broken U.S. healthcare system. In 2009, Carreyrou and a team of reporters won the award for distinguished investigative reporting from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association for a series of articles on nonprofit hospitals.
Shifting Surgeon Roles and Responsibilities

As more surgeons become employees of hospitals and healthcare systems, their ability to select the implants or instruments to use in surgery is declining.

The rules and laws governing how physicians will be compensated for their intellectual property contributions to improve medical devices and their rights to own hospitals, manufacturing companies and distributors will continue to evolve.

Spinal USA’s Pastena says as a manufacturing company that has investors who are doctors who serve on the board the company is in full compliance with all the laws and guidelines that are part of the everyday operation of a medical device company. “We know the laws, we know the regulations, and we know what we need to do to compete in this market. Whatever changes are made in Washington, we will work within that framework.”

No doubt, changes will come. Let’s hope the changes are based on integrity, honesty and accurate data. This story by The Wall Street Journal meets none of those criteria. It is demonstrably wrong, misleading and the sensationalized tabloid type of reporting that other Rupert Murdoch owned publications are famous for

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Lost Rabbit PID may not be legal

The Lost Rabbit Public Improvement District submitted a resolution to the Madison County Board of Supervisors stating the district is broke and unable to afford legal counsel. The resolution states one "landowner is responsible for 98% of the income" and that landowner has not paid in two years. The resolutoin further states there are questions whether the PID was properly formed and thus the district may not have the authority to collect assessments. The district suspended all work by vendors as it lacked the ability to pay them. The resolution is posted below.

Docstoc is acting up so here is the link to the resolution.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Dorsey Carson ad

This post is a paid advertisement.

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Robert Graham only supervisor with two cars provided by the county.

A review of mileage records for the Hinds County Board of Supervisors reveals District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham had two county-owned vehicles assigned to him for all but a few months of his term. Mr. Graham is the only supervisor to receive two cars at the same time. The county provides each Supervisor with a car. Mr. Graham received one for himself and one for his assistant (Special Projects Officer), Flo Smith. Each supervisor has an assistant whose salary is paid by the county. However, the county did not assign vehicles to any of the other assistants. Mr. Graham's mileage records report 73,509 miles during the term used by the two vehicles and fuel charges of $11,717. Mr. Graham logged more miles than any other supervisor and recorded the second-highest fuel charges after George Smith ($14,457). What is interesting is Mr. Graham represents arguably the smallest district in Hinds County. Supervisor Hobson-Calhoun represents a district of similar size and recorded only 17,141 miles and fuel charges of $3,750.

The records state the following cars were assigned to the Supervisors in the following years:
Robert Graham: 2000 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)
Doug Anderson: 2000 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)
Peggy Hobson-Calhoun: 2000 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)
Phil Fisher: 1997 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)
George Smith: 2000 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)
Flo Smith: 2000 Ford Crown Victoria (2008. Ms Smith is Mr. Graham's assistant)
Robert Graham: 2008 Chevy Impala (2008. Car was changed).
Doug Anderson: 2008 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)
George Smith: 2008 Ford Crown Victoria (2008)

No supervisor received another car from the county after 2008. Supervisors Fisher and Hobson-Calhoun did not obtain new cars in 2008 but instead drive 1997 and 2000 Ford Crown Victorias to this day. Supervisors Smith, Anderson, and Graham all obtained 2008 (model year) cars several months after the start of the 2008 term.

Supervisor/Fuel Costs/Mileage
1. Robert Graham: $11,727/ 73,509 miles
2. Doug Anderson: $9,936/ 63,173 miles
3. Peggy Hobson-Calhoun: $3,750/ 17,141 miles
4. Phil Fisher: $2,288/ 11,554 miles
5. George Smith: $14,457/ 68,862 miles

Actual miles for Mr. Graham: 50,780; Flo Smith: 22,728.
Fuel charges for Mr. Graham: $6,899; Flo SMith: $4,828

20011 mileage records
2009 mileage records
2009 mileage records
2008 mileage records

Don't believe the media hype. Just read the records and map.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hmmm....where have we heard this before?

Ruth Ingram reports in yes, the Clarion-Ledger that Airwave may not be telling the whole story about the services it provides under its multi-million dollar contracts with Hinds County:

"Jackson-based company Airwave LLC maintains on almost a daily basis the city of Jackson's emergency radio communications system, an Airwave representative told Hinds County supervisors this week.>

But city officials say that's not so, and that the work is done by a city employee or Motorola, the manufacturer of the equipment that's under warranty through 2012...

City of Jackson spokesman Chris Mims said Airwave has not maintained the city's radios.

City employee "David (Pirman) is still dealing with the radios themselves owned by the city," Mims said. "He (Pirman) provides that maintenance and deals directly with Motorola on those. We're still under warranty with Motorola, so they provide maintenance."

Airwave representative Nathan Hargrove said Tuesday that he can't speak to any maintenance being done on radios by Jackson city employees - but that Airwave does service them. "I don't know that that's a contradiction," he said of Jackson employees repairing the city's radios.

"What I try to stay focused on is that we have an agreement in place for the repair of all the radios that Hinds County buys with 911 funds. The responsibility is ours," Hargrove said. "There are occasions where we repair equipment for the city of Jackson, like we do for everyone else." (Typical Hargrove-speak. Long on words, long on technical-sounding discussion but very short on actual applicable facts.). Article

Hmmm......... where have we heard this before? Nice get by Ms. Ingram. Probably a pattern as Cheryl Lasseter reported something similar WLBT a few months ago that was about Airwave but not the Jackson issue reported by Ms. Ingram:

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Crisler plays the race card.

Macon newspaper busted Marshand Crisler for playing the race card in recent campaign stops. Marshand Crisler ought to be ashamed of himself. I know his parents and they damn sure didn't raise him to be like this. See for yourself.

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LAST NIGHT: Kessler presents Beauty & the Beast

Click here for tickets
Special dinner at Capital Club at 5:30 each night.
$30 per person.
Open to non-members. 601-969-7101
This post is a paid advertisement.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ben Allen remembers Craig Noone

Ben Allen wrote a really poignant and sweet tribute to Craig Noone on the website of Downtown Jackson Partners:

"One of my blessings in life was seeing “Noonie” progress from an energetic, focused, gently mischievous student and athlete as a child, to such a “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” visionary, successful businessman and zealot for downtown, and for his beloved Jackson. What he accomplished and was planning, and so much that he did and was doing, was for the “results” and not the “profit”. The greater good if you will. He clearly has raised the bar for accomplishment and expectations, and will forever be remembered as the “Star that sparkled and made it happen….not just talk….happen”.

In football it is called “Leaving it ALL on the field”. Craig did that and more, and we that knew and loved him, can only thank God for the privilege of knowing him...
.." Rest of essay

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Salsa at AJ's Friday night.

Come enjoy an evening of Salsa on the patio at AJ's on the Lake Friday night from 6:30 til close. Beautiful lake, good food, Latin music, its all there at AJ's. Visit AJ's Facebook page.

This post is a paid advertisement.

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EF Johnson to Northstar: See ya.

I didn't go to the Hinds Board of Supervisors meeting yesterday but apparently EF Johnson cut off Nathan Hargrove. The Clarion-Ledger reported:

"A business that the Hinds County Board of Supervisors contracted with as the sole supplier from which agencies in the county could buy radio equipment no longer has a contract with a major supplier.

And that leaves two police departments in the lurch...

Utica Police Chief Tim Myles and Raymond Police Chief Jason Crotwell said supervisors and the E911 Board that provides funds approved EF Johnson radio purchases for them in July.

But the radios have not arrived, and according to an EF Johnson official, they won't.

Crotwell said on Oct. 7 he asked Nathan Hargrove, the owner of Northstar Wireless, Hinds County's only approved contractor, when he could expect his radios.

"I was told that the batteries were on back order and that the manufacturer, EF Johnson, refuses to ship the radios without the batteries, even though we can purchase batteries from a vendor locally," he said.

But an EF Johnson representative confirmed Monday that Northstar Wireless no longer has a dealer license agreement with EF Johnson.

"We terminated that agreement with them," said Karthik Rangarajan, vice president of marketing for EF Johnson.

He would not elaborate on why." Article

Of course, Mr. Hargrove's portly little attorney just could not understand why his client was being treated this way:

"Jamie Travis, the attorney for Hargrove and Northstar Wireless, said the contract was terminated as a result of the Byram Police Department's decision not to work with the county's approved contractors.

"The radios were ordered for Byram, and (Police Chief) Luke Thompson, for whatever reason, he decided he didn't want them," he said. "EF Johnson decided to cancel because Byram's order didn't go through as originally ordered."

Actually no, Jamie. It was probably because the order for the Byram radios was an illegal purchase. Since we documented two weeks ago you don't know how to read a contract, let me spell out some law for you. The Byram police radio order for EF Johnson was $113,0000. Since it was over $100,000, Hinds County had to get approval from the Mississippi Wireless Communications Commission prior to purchasing the radios, which it did not do. When this website and WLBT reported two months after the purchase order was issued that Hinds did not obtain the required approval from the state, suddenly Hinds County tried to get approval but then withdrew the request (See video. The scene is priceless.).

I suspect the decision by EF Johnson to terminate its relationship might be related to the fact it took back $113,000 worth of radios it had already shipped to Mr. Hargrove. It is about color Mr. Travis but in this case, its about green, not black or white. Your client dropped the ball on a major order in a major way and brought major media coverage to EF Johnson. Cost a new supplier a bunch of money and don't be surprised if he terminates the vendor. Just one question Mr. Travis. How many other customers besides Hinds County does Northstar Wireless have?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Clinton home for sale

Home in Southern Oaks subdivision listed at $359,900. 3,600 sq. feet. 3 BR, 3/1 bath, 3 car garage. 2 stories. Click here for the listing. Nick Clark Real Estate Broker, OWNER/ BROKER" (601) 317-2536.

This post is a paid advertisement.

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Did Madison & Ridgeland really "bootleg" off of Hinds radio system?

The Motorola lawsuit filed by Hinds County several years ago has been the subject of much controversy and media coverage. However, media coverage does not mean media scrutiny as there has been little reporting about the lawsuit itself, much less any analysis (I must disclose that this website is engaged in litigation against Hinds County and Motorola over the settlement agreement of the lawsuit as the two parties attempt to hide it from public view.). The case is important as Hinds received $1.5 million from the settlement while neighboring law enforcement agencies are once again unable to communicate with Hinds County and JPD.

Supervisor Robert Graham moved at a board meeting in 2008 to have Brown Communications "audit" the county radio system. Then-Brown employees Stacy Stowers and Nathan Hargrove examined the system and issued their report only eleven days later at a speed that can only be labeled as a model in private-sector efficiency. The report claimed Madison, Ridgeland, and other agencies were "bootlegging" off of the system. The Jackson Free Press reported in August 2008:

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

The Supervisors subsequently retained the husband of the board attorney on a contingency fee basis to sue Motorola for damages. Attorney Precious Martin asked for $15 million in damages from Motorola in a demand letter. Motorola did not comply with his demands and the county filed suit. The case settled earlier this year for an undisclosed amount after going to trial for two days. Such action probably boosted Mr. Martin's level of pay to 40% of the settlement and expenses. Several stories reported Hinds County received $1.5 million from the lawsuit as the amount appeared in the county ledger. The case was assigned to Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd. The jury was selected (11 black jurors, one white juror) and seated when Motorola settled the case. However, it is still unknown how much Mr. Martin was paid or what the terms of the settlement were.

Hinds County filed suit against Motorola, John Wilson, Bill Roberts, and several John Does on February 5, 2009. John Wilson was a Captain in the Hinds County Sheriff's Office for over twenty years and is now in the employ of Motorola. Bill Roberts was a Motorola sales agent. The lawsuit claimed Motorola conspired with Wilson and surrounding local governments to give those governments access to Hinds County's radio system and equipment. Hinds also claimed Motorola lied to the board about the need for upgrades in order to increase sales to the county. Hinds County argues it never intended for anyone to have a system key (fancy name for the password) to its radio system and it never authorized anyone to give such access.

The lawsuit charged the defendants with counts of fraudulent misrepresentation or omission, trespass, negligence, fraudulent deceit, breach of contract, intentional mismanagement, civil conspiracy, and breach of fiduciary duty. Oddly enough, Hinds County did not include Madison or Ridgeland as defendants. Odd if they are the ones who were allegedly stealing from Hinds County. Motorola answered on March 16, 2009 and predictably denied the allegations.

JJ examined the court records, talked to numerous individuals involved in the controversy, and has a pretty good idea of what took place. A major problem in metro area law enforcement has been in the area of communications. Specifically, Hinds County has always operated a radio system that can not communicate with other agencies. If police from other areas are in pursuit of suspects, they can not notify JPD or HCSO they are coming into their jurisdictions. If a disaster happens in Hinds County, first responders from other areas will have radio equipment that does not work in Hinds County. If JPD is in pursuit of a suspect into another county, they can't talk to the local police department for support.

Although the inability to communicate has been the subject of much controversy for many years, nothing was done until 2006 when the FCC decreed Sprint/Nextel had to re-band the 800 MHZ frequency. JJ obtained through public records requests copies of numerous emails, letters, and proposals between the parties that are posted below.

Madison and Ridgeland made a formal agreement with Hinds County through Captain John Wilson (See the first document posted below). Agreements were signed. Votes were taken. Captain Wilson negotiated with Motorola on behalf of Hinds, Madison, and Ridgeland.A letter from Madison Police Chief Waldrup to the Mayor and Aldermen states "The FCC has ordered Sprint/Nextel to update agency's radio equipment and/or relocate agency frequencies that will not convert to the reassigned frequencies." The letter also states the control panel for the "new interoperable system is located in Hinds County." Chief Waldrup then requested authorization be given to Captain Wilson to negotiate for the city.

Captain Wilson was the leading communications expert for Hinds County and was tasked to work under Hinds County EOC Director Larry Fisher. Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler issued a letter on May 30, 2006 approving the request and cc'ed Hinds EOC Director Larry Fisher. Madison spent $1.24 million (see documents below) on the new equipment. Ridgeland passed a similar resolution. Did everyone get that? Captain John Wilson of Hinds County negotiated with Motorola on behalf of Hinds County, Madison, and Ridgeland with Motorola. Does this sound like "bootlegging"?

The problem is there was no memorandum of understanding between the governments nor was there a vote by the Hinds County Board of Supervisors recorded in the minutes. Just because there was no MOU or vote taken does not mean the Board was not aware of the project. The minutes from July 18, 2005 state on page 3: "

"Mr. Larry Fisher, Emergency Management Director, updated the Board on communication equipment for the City of Jackson... They discussed moving forward with this endeavor and anticipate this has been brought before the Board in the near future. This will enable public safety communication between Hinds, Rankin, Madison, and Warren Counties. There was discussion on this matter, no action was taken."

Mr. Fisher told this correspondent he and Captain Wilson told the Board about the project. Mr. Fisher said he told the Supervisors they were working with Madison, Ridgeland, and other agencies to have a compatible system and it would not cost the county any money. He said Supervisor Doug Anderson said if that was the case, they did not need to take a vote so none was taken. Such claims would explain why Motorola sought copies of the audio recordings of the meetings (and why Hinds sought to exclude them if they existed.).

Mr. Fisher also disputed the audit's findings as he said there was no cost to the system to allow other agencies to use it. He said the towers would operate regardless of who used them while there was a need for law enforcement agencies to have the ability to communicate across county lines. It should be noted Hinds County did not include Mr. Fisher's deposition in any part of the court file.

Mr. Fisher DID send a letter to then-Mayor Frank Melton that stated Hinds, Jackson, UMC, AMR, Clinton, Vicksburg, Madison, Ridgeland, Warren County, and Rankin County would all be using the same system (See exhibit below). Captain Wilson stated in his affidavit (See second document posted below) Board President Charles Barbour and other Supervisors were briefed on the matter. Captain Wilson said he was authorized by Mr. Fisher and Sheriff Malcolm McMillin to create a system where first responders "could communicate with each other." However, Sheriff McMillin denied giving him such authority in his affidavit.

Motorola filed a motion to disqualify attorney Precious Martin. It is rather interesting reading and mentions the "Waffle House meeting". Copy of motion. Motorola also filed a motion seeking a change of venue. Hinds filed its own motions to exclude evidence on the Byram police radio controversy and allegations Stowers and Hargrove stole from Brown Communications. However, the case settled before any of these were adjudicated. Motorola has filed a request for a protective order sealing the case.

Editorial comment: What do I think happened? The inability of surrounding first responders and law enforcement agencies to communicate with those on Hinds County's radio system has been a HUGE problem for years. I think several Hinds officials such as Mr. Fisher and Captain Wilson as well as some Supervisors realized this and decided to fix the problem. There were negotiations, signed agreements and the like. What did NOT take place was a board vote or a memorandum of understanding between the different governments but since Mr. Fisher told the board there were no extra costs, its understandable they would not vote on the matter.

Mr. Graham comes into office, uses his expertise as a police communications expert to "audit" the system and shazam, the guys he picks discover a massive theft no one knew was taking place. They used the lack of a vote or MOU as a loophole to go after Motorola. What is really interesting is they never sued Madison or Ridgeland. Now if there was bootlegging or theft, it was done by those two cities and other governments, not Motorola. So why didn't Hinds sue the alleged culprits instead of the vendor? What is interesting is when Madison and Ridgeland went to the Wireless Commission a year ago to join the statewide radio system (MSWIN), Mr. Smith appeared at the meeting to oppose their leaving the Hinds system. Mr. Hargrove told the Commission it would cost Hinds money for them to leave the system although he was unable to specify how much or how such cost could be determined when asked by Commissioners. So if they stay on the system, they bootleg, if they leave, they have to pay. Heads I win, tails you lose.

Read page 12:

Copy of complaint
Motorola answer to complaint.
Dismissal of lawsuit
The audit
George Smith affidavit
Affidavit of Peggy Hobson-Calhoun
Affidavit of Doug Anderson

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Personhood amendment thread.

Haven't really looked at this one yet but if you guys want to discuss it, here is the thread to do it. Fire away.

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The almost TCI bankruptcy of the day

Here is another bankruptcy filed by several subsidiaries of Transcontinental Realty Investors' sister company, American Realty Investors (ARL). The two companies are publicly traded but have the exact same management and engage in the same practices.

In this case, Far East Bank loaned $28.7 million to ARL and several subsidiaries. The subsidiaries quit making their payments and filed bankruptcy petitions on July 19,2010. Far East Bank had some smart lawyers and unlike other lenders who were stiffed by TCI and their subsidiaries, Far East went after only American Realty in Nevada state court. Well, what do you think American Realty tried to do? Remove it to, you guessed it, bankruptcy court where its subsidiaries filed their petitions.

Far East Bank fought the transfer and won. The bankruptcy judge ordered it back to state court. The state case is now tied up on legal issues and is on appeal to the state supreme court although it has not been adjudicated at the trial court level. Far East thus is still trying to collect its $28 million. Does any of this sound familiar?

Far East motion. Background of case is nice read.
Far East Bank exhibit

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

More info on Jackson Convention Center Hotel Project

TPM has their data dumps, well, don't want to plagiarize so at JJ we are going to call them document downpours. Here are the closing docs for the 2007 transactions between Jackson and Transcontinental Realty over the sale of the land for the site for the convention center hotel obtained through a public records request. I've also included a copy of the presentation provided to the city council obtained in the same request. I requested a copy of any appraisals conducted for the property when the loan was closed and the PKF marketing study mentioned in Mississippi Business Journal article.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

THANK YOU Maryland!!!

Thank you Maryland, for taking Gary Crowton off our hands. This observation by CBS columnist sounds very familiar:

"2. Maryland's offense: Maybe this stems from The Curse of Ralph, but whatever it is, things are off to a dismal start for Randy Edsall in College Park. Danny O'Brien came into the season as one of the most promising young QBs in college football (22-8 TD-INT ratio as a freshman in 2010) but now looks completely lost. O'Brien has a 4-6 TD-INT mark and was benched after going 1-6 last week against Ga. Tech. O'Brien was sharp in last year's West-Coast style offense. In Edsall's new spread under Gary Crowton, the QB has been a mess. The Terps who were 9-4 last season and 29th in scoring and scored over 40 points five times last season, are 91st in scoring." Article

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Market Ticker slams the right.

Ouch. Just read this.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Farewell to Craig Noone. Update: Press release.

He died in a wreck last night. He enriched many lives, brought energy to downtown Jackson, and will be missed by many. No other details are known at this time.

Update: AP just released a story:

"JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Police say the owner of an upscale restaurant in downtown Jackson has been killed in a car crash.

WAPT-TV ( ) reports that Craig Noone, the owner of Parlor Market, was killed when the Chevrolet Tahoe he was driving collided with a Ford Taurus at the intersection of West and Capitol streets, not far from the restaurant.

Jackson police spokeswoman Colendula Green tells The Associated Press that Noone was killed in the crash that occurred about 1 a.m. Friday.

One passenger was in Noone's vehicle and two people were in the Taurus. Their injuries were not believed to be severe.

Noone opened Parlor Market at 115 W. Capitol St. a little more than a year ago. It focuses on regional and seasonal cuisine

Update: Press release sent to me a few minutes ago.

Contact:Michael Rejebian, 601-946-5169

Statement on the Passing of Jackson Restaurateur Craig Noone

Craig Noone, chef and owner of Parlor Market Restaurant in Downtown Jackson, passed away on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011. He was 32 years old.

Craig was foremost a very special person and friend, and an extremely talented chef. He had the courage to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant in the heart of Downtown Jackson. Even more, he was an incredibly giving person and touched countless lives with his generosity. He brought great happiness and joy to his family and friends and will be missed by many.

Through Craig’s efforts, Parlor Market, which opened in Sept. 2010, has become one of Mississippi’s premier restaurants. He was a true visionary who saw potential where others didn’t and understood that relationships are the key to the success of any business.

A Jackson native, Craig had a deep love of the city and especially Downtown, and took a keen interest in helping to ensure its revitalization. But most important, Craig was a true friend to all who knew him. While tragic, Craig’s death serves as a testament to the meaning of true friendship, drive, desire and love for those we know.

Parlor Market will be closed through the weekend. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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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