Posts Tagged ‘Clarion Ledger’

Advice to Live By

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

Terry McMillan’s Advice to Aspiring Writers can also be used for the non-writers alike.

Advice #2: “Try not to read, revise or rewrite what you’ve written until you’ve had a chance to let it simmer.” This can be applied to all of us: simply put, when the emotions run deep, think twice before you speak or communicate, for those words, no matter the medium, you have to stand by. I try my hardest to live by this, and I fall short because the emotions sometimes get in the way. And then I ask myself, do I really want to stand by the words that flew off my fingertips or tongue? Most likely not; or perhaps yes, but maybe the tone should have been checked prior to the words reaching the receiver. And before you know it, the proverbial line in the sand is drawn–how do you come back from that?

As Clarion Ledger’s Editorial Director David Hampton says, “Republican leaders made redistricting a line-in-the-sand issue. The GOP wants to control the House speaker’s position to put a lock on the legislative branch. The party also wants to be in control of the Legislature for congressional redistricting, which lawmakers will tackle next year.”

Advice #5: “Write about what frightens you. What you find perplexing. Disturbing. What breaks your heart. And what you wish you could change.” As Hampton says Democrats are to blame as well. And this leaves many nervous: from school districts to county supervisors and I could continue. The fear of the unknown, especially now, is perhaps too great a price for our legislators to take now because their political lives or elections are quickly approaching. A good friend of mine says, “they [legislators] punted to protect themselves.” So while redistricting may be fearful, frightening, or just difficult to deal with, the tough decisions in the end have to be made.

Advice #13: “You have to have conflict in your story. Even fairy tales and cartoons have them.” And so a little conflict and even complexity is what life is about. So when I speak those words out of fear, fright, or just plain ol’ rejection, let it simmer, think twice. But because a difference of opinions leads to a little conflict, that shouldn’t be the end of relationships. Hopefully, our legislators will recognize that as well. That a little conflict, which in my mind’s eye equates pluralism, leads to diversity of opinions and views. And yes, conflict will arise. But it is how we deal with that conflict that marks the courage of a woman or man. I am issuing a challenge to myself and to my legislators: the future is today, so let’s seize the moment.


The “New” Modern Civil Rights Movement

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2010 at 9:26 am

While browsing this morning newspapers, I came across a rather interesting question from the Clarion Ledger’s Jerry Mitchell: Should jobs be a civil rights issue? Some time ago I wrote about the NAACP’s struggle to find its true identity following the freedom and equality movements. “The NAACP’s top two leaders said this weekend that education, immigration, and health care are the new front lines of today’s civil rights movement.”

To reinforce this point, Mitchell discussed the “hollowing out” of the Black middle class in Memphis; which according to a New York Times article is a city that “epitomizes something more grim: How rising unemployment and growing foreclosures in the recession have combined to destroy black wealth and income and erase two decades of slow progress.” The recession has hit all races hard, but particularly African Americans. The AARP conducted a survey earlier this year that essentially reiterated what analysts have been saying for quite some time. For AARP Vice President Edna Kane-Williams says “the recession has driven many African-Americans to make hard choices now that may lead to serious problems down the road. Raiding your nest egg or ending contributions, even in the short-term, will have long-term consequences because you will have less time to make up the losses.”

Click It or Ticket and Something More

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

The season has begun, you know the one: Click It or Ticket! For Mississippi law enforcement agencies, the campaign looks to, according to its Facebook page, “stop the excuses and buckle up Peeps…it’s the law & it saves lives. Same goes for all the LEOs out there…State, city or county…write a ticket if u see someone not wearing their seatbelt, you never know when they may be in a crash and writing a ticket will remind them to always wear their seat belt!!” But the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is also embroiled in another campaign, a campaign to distance itself from an organization that practices discrimination.

According to Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, “it is obvious that there is a structural problem within the Department of Public Safety as it relates to African American state troopers.” DPS spokesperson Jon Kalahar stated that Commissioner Simpson “stands behind not only the Mississippi highway patrol…but the Mississippi Employee Appeals Board. They backed up the highway patrol’s ruling that he [McField] should be terminated and the commissioner stands with both rulings.” The Appeals Board “found four of five charges against McField justified, including two incidents of failure to respond to accidents…[and] he arrived on the scene late and allegedly was out of uniform, wearing tennis shoes, shorts and a jacket.”

Adam Lynch of the Jackson Free Press reported the “Mississippi NAACP is condemning Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson’s decision to ignore a May 11 finding by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the department fired Horn Lake trooper Michael McField for racially motivated reasons.” The NAACP filed a formal EEOC complaint against DPS alleging “discriminatory practices and racial slurs with the knowledge and approval of Assistant DPS Commissioner (and Highway Patrol Chief) Col. Michael Berthay, or in many instances, committed by him.”

The EEOC’s decision may be forwarded on to the US Department of Justice, to which a separate investigation could be initiated. See also the Clarion Ledger.

But, that Old Powerful But

In Uncategorized on March 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

Last week First Lady Michelle Obama came to Mississippi. Her visit to the Hospitality State garnered a lot of attention, both locally and nationally. While I wanted to be present for this historic visit, I was out of town. So I intently followed the events. Granted, I wished her visit would have been for more positive reasons–it turns out that for the past five years, Mississippi has been deemed the fattest state in the union. But…

The old powerful but–But, she did point to progress in creating a healthy Mississippi. She mentioned Starkville School District’s removal of deep fryers from the schools’ cafeterias. This is great. But, there’s that thing again, but, while surfing the newspapers last night, I came across a rather interesting sidenote to the Obama visit. Long time Clarion Ledger columnist Eric Stringfellow, well, his column for the paper has been axed. According to the Jackson Free Press, “Eric Stringfellow, who has worked with The Clarion-Ledger as a writer or editor since 1982, revealed today that the executive editor of the paper, Ronni Agnew, has dropped his column…Stringfellow accuses Agnew of dropping his column because he revealed that the paper had killed his column about first lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Jackson.”

What’s all this flap about? Hmmp. So I kept reading…In the axed column, Stringfellow writes “Barbour is carrying the flag in the GOP’s assault on the president’s agenda but still managed to do a day-long waltz with the First Lady as the local big shots in the president’s where pushed to the back. Barbour’s gifts, perhaps coupled with the White House’s political incompetence, made part of Obama’s show offensive.” For more on Eric Stringfellow and his dismissal from the paper, click here.

Expansion of Powers

In Uncategorized on December 2, 2009 at 2:23 am

In the spirit of the holidays, the economy is simply just not cooperating. Thanksgiving has come and gone, Christmas is on the horizon, and Republican Senator of Pontotoc and Lee counties Alan Nunnelee predicts Governor Barbour will issue another round of budget cuts in the very near future to make-up for the revenue shortfall. The state was short some $25 million dollars in November, and the Governor has stated that cuts are evident, yet no timeframe was given for these cuts. Furthermore, state law allows the Governor to cut individual agencies up to 5 percent, with subsequent cuts being even across the board. According to the Clarion Ledger’s Laraye Brown, Governor Barbour “wants this statute changed to allow him more flexibility.” Nunnelee supports such a measure and notes that an expansion in the Governor’s powers would come with several restrictions. Such restrictions can be found by reading the Clarion Ledger’s article.


In Uncategorized on November 17, 2009 at 9:03 am

Yesterday, Governor Barbour released his much anticipated budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, to which controversy quickly followed the announcement of it. The controversy–more budget cuts. But this time, it is the dreaded word that all hate to hear around budget time: consolidation. The plan: consolidate higher education. The state of Mississippi funds 8 public universities: Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi, Mississippi University for Women, Delta State University, Mississippi Valley State University, University of Southern Mississippi, Jackson State University, and Alcorn State University. Under the Governor’s plan: Mississippi University for Women would merge or be consolidated with Mississippi State, and the states three HBCUs would become one super-HBCU (consolidate Alcorn and Mississippi Valley with Jackson State).

To say the face of higher education would change is an understatement. This morning there are many questions, concerns, and what-ifs. Yet there’s one guarantee about the upcoming legislative session: it will be a struggle, a fight to preserve the future of these institutions and even education in Mississippi. Kelvin Buck of Holly Springs, Chairman of the House and Colleges Committee sees the proposed plan as limiting access to higher education. In a Clarion Ledger article, Buck stated “I would disagree with the governor or anyone who would suggest that closing universities or reducing access and opportunity to a variety of educational course options is the way to go. While this may appear to some to be the answer, it is my view that this method would serve as only a short-term approach and would do considerable damage to the state’s future long-term economic viability.”