Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

We would like to wish everyone a safe and happy new year!!!

You saw it here first!

If John Leek were writing this piece, he would say "You saw it here first!"

Roger Wicker is the pick for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Trent Lott. Wicker has represented the 1st Congressional District in Northeast Mississippi since 1994.

Senate Pick

Governor Barbour is expected to announce his nominee for Trent Lott's vacant Senate seat today at 11:00 a.m.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Reason #2 Not to Vote for Jeff Smith

Reason #2: Healthcare

We all thought Barbour was pretty rough on Mississippians when it comes to providing healthcare to the poor, elderly, disabled and the children of Mississippi, but Jeff Smith might just beat him. In 2007, for instance, he voted against funding the state's seven mental health crisis facilities (HB 245) and against the Burn Center at UMC (SB 2004).

In 2006, he voted against the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi smoking prevention program, and then in 2005 voted against reinstating PLAD Medicaid coverage and for providing medicine for the working poor and their families through Medicaid.

Mississippi is dead last in the United States in healthcare this year. Jeff Smith does not want to change that.

Just another reason we need Billy McCoy as Speaker.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Everyone else is doing it!

The Clarion Ledger published an article today about other states pushing voter ID bills.

Growing up, my mother would say: "If everyone else was jumping off the Brooklyn bridge, would you do it too?"

Of course not. Just because a law was passed in another state, does not make it a good law. Mississippi has had hundreds of bad laws that were either rejected by the courts or later eliminated by the legislature.

Voter ID laws are still unconstitutional. Voting is a right- not a privilege.

Click here to read what everyone else is doing in the Clarion Ledger.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Chaney taking office early

Incoming Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney will be taking over a few days early as George Dale prepares to resign on Dec. 31.

Dale is leaving early to take a mystery job. What kind of job would not let an elected official finish out 10 more days?

We'll have to wait and see... (on

Dale said Wednesday he was taking another job, which is part of the reason he was resigning early, but he would not say what it was.

“The place where I’m going to be going will be doing the announcing for me,” Dale said.

Any guesses?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Evelyn Gandy

With great sadness, this post is about the passing of Evelyn Gandy, one of the most notable figures in Mississippi's political history. A true pioneer in our state's political arena, she was the first woman elected to as a state legislator, state treasurer, insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor.

Below are a few snippets of the great things people had to say about her. The AP is the only one covering it right now.

Wayne Dowdy, Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party:
"Her success serving in public office helped pave the way for an increased role by women in state government. She will always be remembered for that, along with her dedication to making Mississippi a better place."

Governor Haley Barbour:
"Evelyn Gandy was a pathfinder in Mississippi. She broke the glass ceiling for women in politics and government and did it with dignity and calm effectiveness."

John Corlew- Senate, 1976-80:
"She was absolutely a public servant in the classic sense of the words. She had no interest in doing anything but the utmost for the public good. There were no ulterior motives. There were no political considerations. She was like that for her whole career."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

I'll be traveling over the next few days until after Christmas and my postings will be scarce at best.

Please join us again after the holiday for more reasons why not to vote for Rep. Jeff Smith for Speaker of the House and more information and commentary on the upcoming Congressional races.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Barbour Right; Hood Wrong

According to Haley Barbour, the election to replace U.S. Senator Trent Lott's open seat will be held Nov. 7, 2008. The only statewide-elected Democrat will have a big fight ahead of him.

From the Clarion Ledger:

Claiming executive authority under the U.S. and Mississippi constitutions, Gov. Haley Barbour stood firm Thursday that a special election to fill a vacancy created by U.S. Sen. Trent Lott will be held Nov. 4.

But Attorney General Jim Hood, who disputes the election's timing, says he'll turn to the courts as soon as next week to resolve the issue if the governor doesn't reconsider soon.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reason #1

As promised, we'll be sharing important reasons why Rep. Jeff Smith should not be Speaker of the House. Here's Reason #1.

"I didn't want to do anything to be perceived as against fully funding MAEP."
That's what Jeff Smith said earlier this year about his voting record on education. Hardly a surprise, Smith has cast many votes that did not support education at all levels in Mississippi. And when he wanted to protect the voters "perception" of him, he just just didn't vote for a bill at all.

(Check out HB 238 & 241 in 2007; SB 3019, 3021, 3022 in 2006 for a sample of his poor record.)

Politically maneuvering his way through the votes in the House, Smith frequently votes against bringing up MAEP bills. A critical piece to the education-funding nightmare Mississippi finds itself in every year, fully-funding MAEP is vital to Mississippi public schools.

Smith, however, is more concerned about his "perception" than our future. These are the lives of our children, and he treats it all like a political game.

Speaker McCoy has kept Mississippi first, not his political career!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wooten Winning

Before affidavit ballots are counted today, Adrienne Wooten has once again beat Johnny Reeves in the House District 71 race.


The unconfirmed results give incumbent Republican John Reeves 278 votes to Democratic challenger Adrienne Wooten's 299.

The hotly-contested race was again plagued by confusion at the polls. Many voters in the four split precincts complained of being turned away or being told that their affidavit ballots would not be counted.

There were several reports of confusion within these split precincts throughout the day. Hinds County Election Commission chair Connie Cochran was apparently just as confused as everyone else with the problems.

"There haven't been any problems reported," Cochran said. "The only thing that has been a problem are people who have gone to vote who don't live in that district."


Sen. Trent Lott has officially resigned from the U.S. Senate. Click here for an article about it.

Now we'll have to see what happens with 1) the election date stand-off between Attorney General Jim Hood and Haley Barbour 2) who Haley nominates to fill the vacancy.

Thoughts? Comments?

This quote was from earlier in the week, but it was too great not to share.
During the Senate floor ceremony, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., praised Lott as a colleague who keeps his word and works across party lines.

“I don’t want to damage his reputation in Mississippi to have one of the more liberal members of the opposite party praise him,” Leahy joked.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

AG issues opinion

The Attorney General has issued an opinion to the Governor's Office in regards to the upcoming Senate race.

From the Clarion Ledger:

The Mississippi Code is “unambiguous,” Partridge wrote. “If the effective date is after the 2007 general election, but before Jan. 1, 2008, the Governor must, within 10 days of receiving notice of the vacancy, issue his proclamation setting the election within 90 days from when the proclamation is issued.”

A personal letter from Attorney General Jim Hood to Barbour attached to the opinion said if no agreement could be reached on the interpretation of the law, a “resolution from the courts” may be the next option.

According to a Lott spokesperson, Sen. Lott will leave office sometime this week.

Rudy/Haley Ticket?

CBS News is reporting that Haley Barbour could be Rudy Giuliani's vice-presidential nominee.

(US News) A potential presidential teaming could lead to the sharpest-ever clash in the White House: a clash of accents, that is. Political allies of former Big Apple Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour are actively pushing the two together, with the 9/11 mayor and New Yawker on top of a ticket that would feature the just re-elected drawling hero of his state's Hurricane Katrina victims as veep.

They are being dubbed the "Masters of Disasters."

Monday, December 17, 2007

CL Endorses Speaker McCoy

In the contentious, often mean-spirited race for speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, what gets lost in the rhetoric is the fact that both current House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, and challenger Rep. Jeff Smith, D-Columbus, are honorable men with impeccable records of service in the House.

Both have a keen respect for the institution in which they serve. Both profess to be loyal to their political party, but are more loyal to what they both say is the duty to serve the interests of the people they represent.
The campaign of character assassination, name-calling and ridiculously insensitive remarks about McCoy's health, his status as a farmer and his legendary temper has on occasion reached the point of utter disgust.
Make no mistake - Smith is a man of character. Standing on the courage of his convictions, he has taken on a powerful sitting House speaker and risked his own political fortunes.
We find no fault in Smith - moreover, we like a lot of his ideas about the House rules being evenly and fairly enforced. McCoy might do well to listen to Smith's arguments in that regard and pay heed to them in the future.
During the last legislative term, McCoy battled back from a debilitating stroke and other health problems that threatened both his life and his livelihood. His mobility is slightly impaired, but he walks unassisted.
His speech is ever-so-slightly gaited, but his intellect and institutional memory are sound and keen. McCoy is neither to be pitied nor ridiculed over his health problems - he is to be respected for battling back in the face of long odds, fatigue and uncertainty.
It is clear that McCoy is able to serve as speaker, as able as he was prior to his health problems.
Given the fact that both McCoy and Smith are capable of serving in the post, it gets down to making a judgment of which candidate is best suited to lead the House for the next four years.
House Republicans are solidly behind Smith, but Smith will need more than their support to unseat McCoy. While McCoy has maintained that he has the votes necessary to return as speaker, the race remains tight and Smith seems to be in striking distance.
In the recent general election, state voters had a chance to remake the House. But in an election in which the GOP won seven of the state's eight statewide elected offices, the Democrats held their dominance in the House.
Gov. Haley Barbour will have a strong ally in Lt. Gov-Elect Phil Bryant in the state Senate despite a slight Democratic majority there. That gives him a launching pad for his legislative agenda. But there must be balance.
McCoy has a career record of delivering results on key issues in Mississippi - public education, transportation, economic development, public safety and social justice. The complaints against him are founded more in raw partisanship than in public policy.
We believe Speaker McCoy deserves another term in that post.

This is good news for McCoy and those that support him.

District 71 re-vote

Four precincts in Hinds County will hold a re-vote tomorrow in the hotly-contested House District 71 seat. Adrienne Wooten won the race in November, but Rep. Johnny Reeves contested the race.

At the center of the issue lies the Hinds County Election Commission. This is not the first time their shenanigans have caused mass chaos and distrust among Hinds County voters. Conveniently for many Republicans, in EVERY election cycle the commission is charged with administering, there are irregularities.

The following are the precincts involved in the re-vote: Baker Elementary School, Oak Forest Elementary School, Victory AME Zion Church and Lakeshore Baptist Church.

Justice Dept. Controversy

The controversies at the Department of Justice seem to be never-ending.

From McClatchy:

The Justice Department's voting rights chief stepped down Friday amid allegations that he'd used the position to aid a Republican strategy to suppress African-American votes.

John Tanner became the latest of about a dozen senior department officials, including former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who've resigned in recent months in a scandal over the politicization of the Justice Department in the Bush administration.

In recent months, McClatchy has reported on a pattern of decision-making within the department's Civil Rights Division, of which the Voting Rights Section is a part, that tended to narrow the voting rights of Democratic-leaning minorities.

Tanner has been enmeshed for months in congressional investigations over his stewardship of the unit that was established to protect minority-voting rights. He drew increased focus this fall after he told a Latino group: "African-Americans don't become elderly the way white people do. They die."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Commenting Update

Google has added OpenID technology to their comment options and I updated to allow user id's from many additional places. You don't have to have a google ID to comment anymore.

I'll see y'all in 2-3 weeks. Until then stay safe, have a very meaningful Christmas and enjoy the posting of the rest of the Cotton Mouth team.

Bryant's Recommendation for Pro Tempore

The Clarion Ledger published the following the morning:

Lt. Gov.-elect Phil Bryant has recommended state Sen. Billy Hewes, R-Gulfport, to serve as the next president pro-tempore of the Senate.

Traditionally, Senate members vote based on the lieutenant governor's recommendation. The president pro-tempore leads the Senate in the absence of the
lieutenant governor.

Bryant also recommended Kevin Upchurch, who is currently deputy executive director for the state department of finance and administration, to serve as secretary of the Senate.

Bryant says he is leaving the election of the Rules Committee members in the hands of the entire body.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Mike Moore Will Not Run for Senator

The Clarion Ledger is reporting that Mike Moore has said he will not run for the U S Senate seat being vacated by Trent Lott.

“I am happy doing what I am doing, my family is happy, and I look forward to making a big difference in my state and nation,” Moore said in a statement. “I have seriously considered the U.S. Senate vacancy as my friends urged me to do, but I have always known that what I am doing now is good enough for me.”
This is very sad news, since Moore would have made a fantastic U S Senator. The Cotton Mouth Team were big supporters, and we're very disappointed. Moore also had the best chance of any Democratic candidate to get elected.

Many are speculating this announcement was somehow a result of the Scruggs indictment. There is no doubt the Republicans would have used his relationship with Scruggs against him. And of course, Republicans are all hoping he and Attorney General Jim Hood - the bright stars of the Mississippi Democratic Party - are indicted as well - or at least tarnished by the Scruggs brush. Personally, I'm not worried a bit - let them rant and rave.

Cross posted at The Natchez Blog

Update John Leek: The Letter at The Clarion Ledger's Website

TVA keeps paying them

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the nation's largest public utility, has apparently paid huge bonuses that were unrelated to the performance of two top executives this year.

From the Daily Journal:

The nation's largest public utility told the SEC on Tuesday that it paid bonuses in the past year of $724,000 to former nuclear chief Karl Singer "without regard to actual performance" after Singer voluntarily resigned his $480,528-a-year job as executive vice president.

Knoxville-based TVA also disclosed that its former head of fossil operations, Joe Bynum, has continued to receive his $413,992-a-year salary since he resigned in June.Bynum, who will officially leave TVA on Jan. 7, also was paid another $401,421 in performance bonuses in fiscal 2007 even though he worked only half of the fiscal

Bynum collected nearly $3 million in deferred retirement benefits in September for funds he has accumulated during more than two decades at the federal utility. Singer walked away with nearly $1.6 million in deferred retirement benefits.

Both executives also will receive full medical coverage from TVA for the next year.

Tupelo, Miss., was the first TVA city.

While Bush is vetoing...

Merck, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, has pulled almost a million doses of a children's vaccine off the market, but still claims there is no threat to the general public. We'll see how this turns out.


Day vaccine maker Merck announced they are issuing a precautionary recall of close to a million doses of their Hib vaccine after a Pennsylvania factory developed a sterilization problem...

Merck officials say the vaccine itself does not appear to be contaminated but there will be a shortage while they work on their sterilization problem. CDC officials say this is not a health threat and there have not been any adverse events reported.

However, this is not a "no risk" situation.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bush Still Doesn't Care About Our Children

The President did it again - he vetoed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill again! But at least he was ashamed this time - he did it behind closed doors and sent a little note to Congress. What a macho man!

This is a bill supported by practically all Democrats and a goodly number of Republicans - and almost everybody else in the country. Although enough Senators supported the bill to override a veto, the House cannot quite get the two thirds vote required. What a shame! One third of the House is preventing the children of America from getting health care. I hope they're proud of themselves - and I hope a bunch of them get defeated in their next election. Don't they know politicians are supposed to love babies?

Guess which state has the highest uninsured rate? Guess which Governor doesn't support SCHIP? Guess which Senators voted against SCHIP? Guess which Congressmen don't care about their state's children?

Mississippi is the poorest state in the union and has the most children without access to health care. Do our elected officials care? Most do not. Governor Barbour is in the minority of Governors not supporting the SCHIP legislation. Senators Cochran and Lott followed in lockstep with their uncaring President and voted against our children.

Two men who are mentioned most frequently as being appointed as US Senator - Congressmen Wicker and Pickering - consistently voted against Mississippi children. Thank goodness for Congressmen Taylor and Thompson.

Why do Mississippians keep voting for politicians who vote against their best interests?

Rep. Gene Taylor on the Coast

U.S. Representative Gene Taylor hosted a town hall meeting Monday night at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

The Mississippi Press covered the meeting, where there was a lot of talk about the salt dome project. While very passionate about the project, Rep. Taylor did have this to say when asked about his potential run for Senate:

Asked after the meeting if he is considering vacating his House seat to run for Lott's seat in 2008, Taylor said, "That's the worst rumor I've ever heard. The only possible worse rumor is that Britney Spears and I are eloping tonight -- and that's not true either," he said, laughing.

Click here to read the entire article.

In the news

According the Clarion Ledger, Eric Clark, out-going Secretary of State, has applied for a job as the executive director of the State Board for Community and Junior Colleges.

But, he may have some competition.

George Walker, president of the state Community College board, said the body will review applications at its Dec. 21 meeting. Walker, who was reached at his Clarksdale home, didn't know the exact number of applicants, but estimated there to be about 20 to 25 qualified applicants. He said an additional 15 to 20 people are not being considered because they did not meet the qualifications.

The person must have a doctorate degree or equivalent and "five years senior-level full-time administrative experience in an applicable institution, government agency or industry," according to a job announcement posted earlier this year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Turning Homosexuality On and Off?"

John Tierney at the New York Times reports on new research:
To their surprise, neurobiologists have discovered that homosexuality can be turned on or off in fruit flies. They’d known that sexual orientation can be genetically programmed, but they didn’t realize it could also be altered by giving a drug that changes the way the flies’ sensory circuits react to pheromones.

Within hours of the treatment, previously heterosexual male fruit flies would be courting other males, and treatment could also cause flies who had been engaging in homosexual behavior to become exclusively heterosexual, the neurobiologists report in Nature Neuroscience. You can read a summary of it here from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the home of one of the researchers, David Firestone.
That's crazy wierd. I'm really uncomfortable with this for several reasons.

Tierney lists some possible problems and issues it could raise.
So let the discussion begin. I don’t think of homosexuality or heterosexuality as an “illness” to be “cured,” but I wonder how people would use the ability to control sexual orientation — to have a designer libido. Would some people, gay or straight, who weren’t having luck attracting one gender decide to switch to the other? Would some people casually switch back and forth?

Would some social conservatives (like Leon Kass), who normally object to biologists “playing god” and pharmacologists altering “human nature,” change their minds and urge the use of biotechnology to promote heterosexuality? Would some social liberals try to restrict the use of this biotechnology? Would parents, gay or straight, want to regulate their children’s sexual orientation — and should they or their children be allowed to do so?

What do y'all think?

The Hill:
Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-Miss.) son registered the domain name this fall, signaling strongly that the retiring minority whip will join forces with former Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) on K Street in 2008.

Chet Lott, a registered lobbyist, secured the rights to the domain name on Oct. 16 — six weeks before his father announced his retirement from the upper chamber.

Two days after Sen. Lott’s stunning announcement, Breaux told his colleagues at Patton Boggs that he was leaving the firm to start a lobbying firm with his son, John Jr.

Caught by Y'all Politics first.

Shopping At Wal-Mart This Christmas?

While I personally shop at Wal-Mart (partially due to low prices and partially due to availability) I think we should consider these questions and consider what can and should be changed.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wes Teel on Lott and Republicans (Humor)

Wes Teel who was one of the victims of the Minor prosecution writes at The Gulf Coast Realist:
Personally, I have a problem with Trent Lott. Any man whose hair does not get messed up in the middle of a hurricane is suspect in my book. His hair simply cannot be real. The coiffure is some sort of helmet. It may even be connected to the internet. Certainly, it is connected to Fox News, the O'Rielly Factor, Hannity (not Combs), and, of course, Rush.

I am convinced that each morning a designated staffer goes to his house and bolts his hair into place on his head. Yes, bolts it on with industrial strength bolts - probably supplied by a defense contractor. Lott would not take a chance that his personal head gear would fall off when he bends over while kissing a special interest on the butt - and he has never met a special interest he didn't like. Until the day State Farm denied his personal insurance claim on his storm damaged house - that was a character builder.

I agree that Trent's hair is something else. When I visited Washington D.C. the first time I told some staffer (of a non-Mississippian) that we were going to his office and he asked if his hair was real. It's kind of a big deal in some circles which is ridiculous and funny.
But, don't you know so many, many Republicans truly are gay and hide in the closet (as we Democrats know they do). By asserting macho issues they seek to hide their secret lives. That's why they pretend to be macho men - and in some cases macho women, are you listening Ann Coulter - by starting wars, rattling on against women's rights, opposing gun control, and, of course, let us not forget, denying there is any semblance of truth in the concept of global warming - bring on the oil rigs boys !

That last remark might seem to be a stretch, but think about it for a minute and it's really not. Oil rigs. Guys in work clothes. Hot sweaty guys working in hot steamy climates. When they bend over what shows ? Rhymes with racks. Yes you know. Remember the workman guy from the "Village People". The one with the tools hanging off him. Come on, I'm talking about the tool belt folks. Get your mind out of the gutter, will you ? The very image could could turn a low life right wing Republican on. Yes, yes it could. Now you just stop right there. Think about it.

You're thinking about it, aren't you ?

Bring on the oil rig boys.

Check out his site. He's been wronged, but he has clearly kept a sense of humor.

Wes Teel's Gulf Coast Realist

Rudy Giuliani: The Only Candidate Serious About "Security"

Hat Tip to Pensacola Beach Blog

It amazes me that someone who has failed so often and so consistently is being considered for the job of President of the United States. On September 11th he didn't fail miserably, but even that day was a lot more deadly due to his actions. He's no hero.

Rudy Giuliani in 30 Seconds

Figherfighters on Rudy Giuliani's Record

Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump get frisky

The Real Rudy

Rep. Roger Wicker and Ethics

Several folks e-mailed me about an article pointing out a possible ethics issue around Rep. Wicker and Aurora Flight Sciences:

The article highlighting what is best pork from the Project on Government Oversight

Will Bardwell summarizes the article while offering his own good commentary.

What is unknown is if this will effect Barbour's decision to appoint him to Trent Lott's open US Senate seat.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Posting Through This Christmas Season

Posting will be slow through early January as I have exams this week and then I will out of the country till January. If you are curious why you can e-mail me, but it's not something I want to put on a public forum.

Posting will continue with Jake Cooper having agreed to try to post for much of the month with an emphasis on the Speaker's race and Speaker McCoy's soon-to-be sucessful re-election. At least some of the posts will focus on why Jeff Smith should not be the Speaker.

Trey Parker and Casey Ann will also likely post a few times on topics of their choosing.

Have a very meaningful Christmas keeping in mind its history and the hope that story brings to you and this world. Let's not forget that this is not about shopping, decorating or some fat guy in a red suit. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Primerica Opposes Free Political Speech

They and/or Landrum had this video and the video used to make this video yanked off YouTube:

Online Videos by

This is still viewable because it is hosted on another server with a different company.

The law allows this kind of use.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Competitive District 3 Republican Primary Goes Negative (Anonymously) Early

This video titled "David Landrum on Lifestyles of the Rich and the Shameless" was placed on YouTube two days ago.

It excerpts generously from a Primerica promotional video that had been on YouTube, but has since been removed.

David Landrum's multi-level millions have bought houses, expensive cars, jewelry, and now, he wants to buy a congressional seat. It will be the icing on his cake.

Hat Tip to Mississippi Third Congressional District Blog, a new blog on the block. They're doing a great job so far at offering one place for all news related to the 3rd District election.

Democrats Considering Running For Open Discrict 3 Seat

Two candidates have been making calls to gauge support for a run in the 3rd Congressional District as Democrats. The seat is open due to incumbent Pickering's retirement.

The first is Randall C. Eads.

Eads is 30 and has degrees from the Virginia Military Institute and Mississippi College Law School. He worked 5 years in banking, is married, and will take the bar exam in Febuary of 2008. He is a resident of Oktibbeha County.

The second is Joel Gill.

Gill is 56 and is a graduate of Millsaps. He is a cattleman and is a member of the Pickens City Council. Though Pickens is not in the 3rd Congressional district there is no prohibition against him running. He is only required to be a state resident.

I was wondering when some Democrats would emerge for this admittedly tough Congressional District. Here are two early choices.

You read it here first.

Barbour's Press Release

Yep, It has nothing to do with the vacancy:
Governor Haley Barbour today ordered State flags lowered to half-staff tomorrow in honor of the more than 2,400 Americans killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The move coincides with the President's order that U.S. flags fly at half-staff in recognition of December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

“It is important to pay tribute to members of America’s courageous military forces who helped secure our liberty and especially to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the defining characteristic of our nation: democracy. I hope Mississippians will join Marsha and me in remembering the brave men and women who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, and whose unwavering efforts to defend our nation will never be forgotten,” Governor Barbour said.

In accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, Mississippi flags on all state buildings and grounds will be flown at half-staff tomorrow, December 7, 2007, from sun-up to sun-down.

Hat Tip to Will Bardwell

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Barbour Press Conference Friday / What Will He Do?

Will Bardwell reports that Haley Barbour plans to hold a press conference "to announce, and possibly introduce, his appointment to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Trent Lott."

He states that Barbour's choice will be Roger Wicker.

That would indicate that the two of them have already discussed it and decided as reported at Cotton Mouth exclusively Wednesday.

Punish them with punitive damages

To put it in the simplest terms, punitive damages awarded in civil cases are to punish companies for their wrongdoings. Granted, State Farm does not think they did anything wrong by denying homeowners claims after Hurricane Katrina, but let's hope that the 5th Circuit realizes how badly the insurance industry treated the people of Mississippi.

From the Clarion Ledger:

State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to throw out a landmark $1 million punitive damage award to a Mississippi couple who sued the insurer for refusing to cover Hurricane Katrina damage to their home.

A three-judge panel from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments from lawyers on both sides of the case, which was the first among hundreds of Katrina insurance lawsuits to be tried by a jury in Mississippi. The court didn't immediately rule on State Farm's appeal.

Democrat? Need Work? Musgrove is Hiring.

Former Democratic Governor Ronnie Musgrove is trying to put together some folks should he decide to run for Senate.

I hope Mike Moore runs and Musgrove decides against it. If Moore won't run then I hope he finds some good people and a better strategy than he had 2003.

I Put My Neck Out, Will The Traditional Media Even Ask A Question?

My sources still say that Wicker is Barbour's choice and I'm 75% sure they are right.

Will any paper or television or radio station bother to ask the Governor or Wicker abour it?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wicker is Barbour's Choice For Senate (Lott's Seat)

I hear Barbour has offered Wicker the appointment and that he has accepted.

This is after a poll polled Wicker vs. Democrats, but didn't include Pickering.

Nothing has been published, so I can't be sure, but if it's true you saw it here first.

Charlie Ross Chooses Run For House District 3

After some speculation that he might opt for a run for Senate, Charlie Ross officially announced today that he is a Republican candidate for the seat left open by retiring Representative Chip Pickering.
"It is critical that our next congressman have a proven record of fighting for conservative values and accomplishing goals," Ross said. "My record in the State Senate clearly shows I can do this."

His Website is in appropriate MSU colors.

Another View of the Scruggs Indictment

When Dickie Scruggs was indicted recently, it made many people happy. Of course, bloggers and traditional journalists are thrilled to have something so dramatic to write about. Democrats and left wing blogs are excited because Scruggs gave a quarter of a million dollars to the Bush campaign - plus he was Republican Senator Trent Lott's brother in law. Republicans and right wing blogs thought the indictment was great because Scruggs was a trial attorney (ie, devil incarnate), he gave quite a bit of money to Democrats, and he was about to have a fundraiser for Hillary at his house.

All in all, this guy looks guilty as hell and seems not to have any friends at all. NOT SO FAST.

No friends? According to the Wall Street Journal, Scruggs and his wife just had a party at his house in Oxford, MS with over 200 friends. One of those friends, Robert Khayat, the chancellor of Ole Miss, said, "The town really did turn out for them." Another friend was the most famous lawyer from Mississippi, John Grisham. Oxford's Mayor was there and said, "People appreciate him for his support of the community, and we're all willing to stand by and support him." Another friend was Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books, the famous bookstore and literary center of Oxford and maybe Mississippi.

So why are all these people so supportive of someone who looks so guilty? First, we should heed the words of John Grisham. "In a situation like this I’m always reminded how quickly we abandon the presumption of innocence. There’s always such a rush to judgment. " Grisham read the indictment against Scruggs and said, "As a former criminal defense lawyer, I started thinking about how I would defend it and started looking for gaps and holes."

After all the initial buzz of the indictment, those gaps and holes are becoming more prevalent. As Grisham said, "It’s only one side of what happened. There’s a whole lot more to the story. One thing is that there are a lot of recorded statements in the indictment but none from Dickie. There are no allegations that he delivered cash or was part of it."

The biggest argument against Scruggs' guilt is something along the lines that he was too smart to do something so stupid. Or why would a big time trial attorney bribe a judge over a small potatoes fee dispute. Since there doesn't appear to be any concrete evidence against Scruggs, the prosecution will have to answer that to the satisfaction of a jury. And there are no obvious answers.

The lawyer who sued Scruggs, John Jones, has one theory, which is outlined in an article in Fortune Magazine. Jones said he filed the suit in Oxford hoping to shame Scruggs. “I wanted a jury to hear it in Dickie’s backyard," he said. He thinks Scruggs wanted the judge to send the case to arbitration, which is a closed proceeding. But that theory doesn't seem to hold up, because most lawyers think the case would have gone to arbitration anyway. And even Jones admits to being shocked when he learned about the indictment.

The person caught on tape is Timothy Balducci. Those in attendance at the party in Oxford were contemptuous of him. Remember that Oxford is a small town, and everyone knows everyone. One comment kind of sums up their attitude: "This is a clear case of a young man wanting to endear himself to Dickie Scruggs in hopes that he might one day have a chair at his table."

I do feel fairly certain that this is not a political prosecution like the one of Paul Minor, Oliver Diaz, and the two judges. The prosecuting US Attorney in the latter case (in the Southern District of Mississippi) was Dunn Lampton, a political appointee with a serious lack of ethical standards. In the Scruggs case (in the Northern District of Mississippi), the US Attorney is Jim Greenlee, who by all appearances is an ethical and professional attorney.

Crossposted on The Natchez Blog.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Democrat Considering Open District 3 Seat

I heard a name today of someone looking at running for the 3rd Congressional District as a Democrat.

It's not a name y'all will have expected and as soon as I know he's public I'll let y'all know who.

Chaos Back Home / Supervisors in Ocean Springs Nearly Come to Blows

It's not a secret back home that I don't have the highest opinion of several of my Supervisors.

Leach has gotten into fights before and is known as somewhat of a bully.

McKay has been involved in some of those spats and stood in the way of progress after Katrina calling the planning process commissioned by the governor bull shit.

Well they're back at it again.
The Sun Herald:
A sheriff's deputy called for more help Monday at the Jackson County Board of Supervisors' meeting when two supervisors got into a shouting match some feared might come to blows.
The supervisors, John McKay and Frank Leach, had been down that road before, but this time they hit a new low with McKay asking Leach, "Did you miss your medicine?" and Leach calling McKay "a bald-faced liar."

As first reported on, it started when McKay chided Leach, saying he had not properly reported an accident in his county vehicle that caused $5,000 in damage.

Leach replied he had filed a report and the comments went back and forth quickly and escalated to shouting with Tim Broussard, the board president, matter-of-factly trying to calm the two.

"I'm not backing off. Why don't you tell him to shut up?" Leach said loudly to Broussard. "Mr. McKay starts this stuff when he's a bald-faced liar."

Broussard called a 15-minute recess to break them up and clear the room of county employees, some of whom said they were afraid the men were going to hit each other.

But the recess didn't stop Leach and McKay.

Read it all, it reads like fiction. Sadly it is not.

Leach was defeated in the Republican primary this year so he's only with us in elected office through January.

McKay was unfortunately unopposed so he should remain for another four years.

More News in the 3rd District Republican Primary

John Rounsaville was spotted with a float in the Meridian Christman Parade. The Saturday parade had about 100 floats and vehicles and several thousand attendees. John Rounsaville and his wife walked behind a vehicle that had "Vote for Rounsaville" on it and passed out push cards to those in attendance.

For the Mississippi sports fans

Mississippi's very own Brett Favre was named Sports Illustrated's 2007 Sportsman of the Year. Below is just a small excerpt from the article.

"2007 Sportsman of the Year" - Sports Illustrated

If Favre is weary, it's only because he has given so much of himself to Green Bay through the years. "He means everything to these people," says Donald Driver, who's in his ninth season catching Favre's passes. "He's not only our leader -- he's the symbol of the franchise, of the whole town. There's a generation of fans in Green Bay who don't know this team ever existed without Brett."

When Favre decided to return for the 2007 season, even die-hard Cheeseheads must have been hoping only that he would not tarnish his legacy. What no one expected was that Favre would reinvent himself yet again, enjoying one of his best years at age 38 while cajoling a talented but callow team to a stunning 10-2 record. Along the way he passed two significant milestones for quarterbacks, overtaking Dan Marino atop the alltime list in touchdown passes (436 at week's end) and victories by a starter (157). He trails Marino by 449 in passing yards, another mark that should soon fall.

But one record above all others speaks to what Favre is made of: his Ripkenesque streak of consecutive starts at quarterback, which stands at 249 -- more than five seasons ahead of the next player on the list, Peyton Manning. During last week's 37-27 loss at Dallas, Favre was knocked out of the game in the second quarter, when on the same play he separated his left shoulder and took a helmet to his right elbow, causing numbness in two fingers on his throwing hand. Afterward, to no one's surprise, Favre said he expected he would not miss a game. He has rarely been flawless (after all, he leads the NFL in lifetime interceptions, with 283), but he's always shown up. Through pills and booze, through cancer and car crashes and heart attacks, he has played on. Once reckless on and off the field, Favre has matured before our eyes while never losing his boyish love for the game.

It is for his perseverance and his passion that SI honors Favre with the 54th Sportsman of the Year award. But there is more to his story than on-field heroics. On game day the whole of Green Bay may live and die on Favre's rocket right arm, but his greatest legacy lies in how many people he has touched between Sundays.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Republican Primary Developments for Pickering's Seat

Hat Tip:Y'all Politics

Mississippi Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck says she has no interest in being appointed to the U.S. Senate.

Tuck attended a performance at the Roxy Theatre in Newton Thursday night. Her friend, Sen. Terry Burton, has a leading role in the play.

Tuck told Newscenter 11 she is not interested in serving in Sen. Trent Lott's seat until a special election is held Nov. 4, 2008, nor in Cong. Chip Pickering's seat, should he be appointed to the Senate position.

Rush on Congressional Lobbying

As the New York Times is reporting, there is a huge lobbying rush to get bills and other agenda items taken care of before 2008. The article discusses some very scary proposals, such as amending the Family Medical Leave Act to reduce the number of days for maternity leave, sick leave, etc.

But nothing was scarier than this:

If Democrats gain seats in Congress or win the White House, that could pose problems for all-Republican lobbying firms like Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, whose founders include Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee.

From "Business Lobby Pushes Agenda Before '08 Vote" New York Times

Chuck Norris Doesn't Endorse

Forgive me if John already put this video up, but everyone should watch the Chuck Norris/Mike Huckabee commercial. If you've already seen it, you probably want another good laugh.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Voters Reject Chavez / Victory For Democracy

Voters reject Chavez's referendum that would have granted an indefinite extension of his eligibility to serve as president.

Calling All Mississippi Blogs!

I'd like to put together a better list of Mississippi blogs and I'd like your help. If a blog is already listed on the sidebar it doesn't need to be added those blogs include:

Will Bardwell
AM in the Morning
Natchez Mississippi
The Gulf Coast Realist
Head Reactivated
Yaller Dog Blog
Jackson Progressive
Clearing the Cobwebs
The Editor's Blog (Sun Herald)
Tupelo Biz Buzz (Daily Journal)
Hampton Blog (Clarion Leger)
Magnolia Report
Pearl Mississippi CPA
Y'all Politics
Majority in Mississippi
Right of Mississippi

I may be removing the newspaper blogs and any that haven't been updated since the election, but please add any of interest.

They don't have to be political, just published from Mississippi. Leave your additions in the comments.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Saturday: World Aids Day 12/1/2007

I was suprised to see someone I knew from high school giving out ribbons and bracelets at Southern Miss while collecting donations for the ONE Campaign and World Aids Day. This nifty video trys to show the scope of aids and is artsy so check it out. Aids should not be political and thankfully it is becoming less and less so. Let's fix this thing.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Nowhere to Sit: The Trent Lott's Porch Story

The Website of Trent Lott's Porch Story

Break from Politics: My opinion on the Bower Firing!!

I could not believe it when I saw that Jeff Bower had "resigned" as Southern Miss football coach. I wanted to write my opinions immediately, but waited for a few days to see what had developed since then.

I watched AD Giannini's press conference that afternoon. During that conference, Giannini blamed Bower at times, and to my anger, he blamed the FANS!! In Giannini's mind, the fans were the problem with the program, and it was all Bower's fault.

A few questions need to be asked of Mr. Giannini. First off, who's idea was it some years ago to always put a home game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? More importantly, after it was proven that that game would not draw fans, whose idea was it to keep it up?? Giannini spent much time complaining that fan attendance at this last game was embarassing and lecturing the fans on their lack of enthusiasm.

He should point the finger at himself. You want fans, schedule games when fans will come!!! Also, schedule teams that fans care to watch. Arkansas State is not the only was Giannini's bright idea to open the season, after no football since January, with UT-MARTIN, a team not even in Division 1-A. Really Richard, what could possibly have motivated you to believe that USM fans would've sold that game out? Southern Miss at 9-2 would not have sold that game out. It has NEVER done well. In 2004, Southern Miss played UAB on November 27th, and the attendance was poor. The very next week, we play CALIFORNIA, and the attendance was excellent. See the difference? Thanksgiving holiday, no one on campus. Students come back, decent opponent, stadium near full. Let's not let the facts get in the way of a good story, or Richard Giannini's excuse train.

With his statements, Giannini proved that he a) had never attended a post Thanksgiving game, or b) believed that a game against Arkansas State or UT-Martin would draw fans out on a holiday. If answer A is correct, then he's a complete hypocrite. If B is correct, then he clearly does not know much about Southern Miss fans. Why on Earth would fans come out during a holiday, in 40 degree temperatures, and rain threatening, to see Southern Miss play a team that no one cares to see play? We have had records of only two or three loses over the years, and still had less than 20,000 show up for the game after Thanksgiving. Giannini's excuse on that front simply does not pass the smell test. Even if the rest of the stadium was full, there would still be a gaping hole in the student section, which, when full, holds a few thousand people. So either way, even if the rest of the stadium was sold out and full, the lack of students would still keep the attendance at or below the season average. What on Earth was Giannini complaining about?

It does not matter what you believe about Jeff Bower's coaching. The man dedicated his professional career to Southern Miss, and his firing was handled atrociously. No one, including Bower, according to reports, saw it coming. So unless Bower was shopping around on his own, he lost a chance to get started on looking for another job. A winning season, 14th in a row, is not usually considered to be grounds for termination. No one is arguing that Jeff Bower should've gotten an extension or a raise after this season. To push him out like that, in such a blatant and embarassing way, degrades Southern Miss and all of its fans, students and staff.

Jeff Bower was a class act. His team had a tough year, but all one has to do is look at the record. The list of teams that the Eagles defeated under Bower reads like a Who's Who list of college football powerhouses; LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Nebraska, Illinois, Georgia, Oklahoma State and Louisville being just some of the big wins. Off the field, Southern Miss under Jeff Bower boasted one of the most impressive graduation rates college football teams.

I can only hope that, if we find ourselves in this situation again, Dr. Saunders will remove the real man responsible, AD Richard Giannini. Though, true to form, Giannini would likely blame everyone else, but himself.

Erik Fleming: "Told You So"

Fleming's article at the Jackson Free Press:
I hate to say I told you so … but I did.

In 2006, when I was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate against Trent Lott, I basically predicted that he would not finish his term. If you remember, Lott was a little less than enthusiastic about seeking re-election, seemingly waiting for public opinion to prod him into the race. Remember when he said that the only reason he ran was because he felt compelled to help the Gulf Coast recover, being a victim himself?

It’s clear now that Lott wanted to retire and make some real money, hence the “Herding Cats” memoir. The GOP begged him to stay until Haley got re-elected, then the governor could choose his replacement. Well, Haley lived up to his end of the deal, and now Trent rides off into the sunset, which means greener (as in money) pastures ahead.

Basically, Sen. Lott is leaving the Senate to take advantage of the provision in the new lobbying reform legislation that allows a member of Congress to not serve in the next session and instantly become a member of the K Street Gang, as D.C. lobbyists are called. Had he served out the full term, Lott could not lobby Congress for two years after leaving office, meaning in his case, the year 2014.
The question is did Lott know he was going to do this when he ran for re-election or, if not, what really caused him to change his mind?

I'm not the judge (or jury)

Below are some excerpts and links to information pertaining to the Scruggs indictment. While other folks might like to speculate and decide before a trial is even set, at Cottonmouth, we believe everyone is innocent until proven guilty. It is not the responsiblity of the media to be the jury.

This isn't a "Grisham novel;" these are people's lives.

Scruggs Group to continue representing Katrina clients - Sun Herald

Don Barrett, a Lexington, Miss.-based lawyer who is part of the "Scruggs Katrina roup" but isn't under indictment, said Scruggs told him he expects to be vindicated and cleared of the charges.

"It's a sad day for everybody involved," Barrett said. "My job is not to be sad but to protect my clients."

Oxford lawyer indicted - Clarion Ledger
Multimillionaire Mississippi lawyer Dickie Scruggs, portrayed in a 1999 Hollywood film about his legal fight against the tobacco industry, is facing federal charges of conspiring to bribe a judge handling $26.5 million in attorney fees related to Hurricane Katrina claims.

Others indicted in the alleged scheme included Scruggs' son, Zach, former State Auditor Steve Patterson and attorneys Sidney Backstrom and Timothy Balducci.
Neither Dickie Scruggs nor Booneville lawyer Joey Langston, who represents Scruggs' firm, could be reached for comment.

Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, converting property and wire fraud. If convicted on all counts, each of those indicted faces up to 75 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.

Scruggs, the brother-in-law of U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, is best known for his handling of mass litigation on behalf of the state of Mississippi, first involving asbestos and later involving tobacco.

Indictment Document - Clarion Ledger

Hostages taken at Clinton office in New Hampshire. Man claims to have a bomb. Clinton in Virginia.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Who Will Be Our New Senator?

Once Senator Trent Lott officially resigns, the Governor will appoint someone to fill Lott's seat. That appointee will then have the advantage of incumbency when they have to be elected in the special election, which will be in March or November, depending on the outcome of lawsuits. There are lots of rumors about who that might be. At first, everyone assumed it would be Congressman Chip Pickering. However, his star seems to be fading, probably because he is not beholden to Haley. Another strong possibility is Congressman Roger Wicker from north Mississippi. There are many others mentioned.

However, there is one possibility I've heard about that seems brilliant - and Haley is certainly that. Mike Espy. He was the Democratic Congressman from the Delta area from 1986 to 1992, when he was appointed Agriculture Secretary by President Clinton, becoming the first African American to serve in that capacity. He only served for two years. He had to resign because he was being investigated for bribery and other charges. When he finally went to trial, he was acquitted of all charges.

So why would Haley appoint a Democrat? He wouldn't, of course. Espy would have to change parties and become a Republican. What makes me think he might? Because Espy infuriated the Democratic party last month by endorsing Haley for Governor. Plus, they're both from Yazoo City.

So why would this be a brilliant move for Haley?
  1. Espy, if ultimately elected, would be indebted to Haley big time - and that's important to Haley.
  2. Espy would undoubtedly enjoy significant support from African Americans, which would probably keep a Democrat from being elected.
  3. Think of the national implications. Mississippi has its first black Senator since Reconstruction - and he's a Republican! He would also be the first black Republican Senator since Edward Brooke of (liberal) Massachusetts in 1978. And Haley could take credit for it.

The only problem is that some Republicans might revolt. Espy has a somewhat liberal background which would turn off conservatives - and of course the white racists (of which there are quite a few in Mississippi) would have a cow. However, Haley has the stature to bring any reluctant Republicans on board if he puts his mind to it.

I, of course, hope Haley doesn't do this. Why? Because I'm a charter member of the We Want Mike Moore club.

Cross posted at The Natchez Blog

More Polling Numbers For Lott's Open Seat

Zata 3 has released polling numbers for three more Republicans and one more Democrat.

Here are the preliminary percentages based on 678 surveys:

Opinion Pickering Mabus Tuck Ross
Very Favorable 46% 12% 20% 6%
Somewhat Favorable 18% 16% 31% 20%
Somewhat Unfavorable 7% 28% 21% 18%
Very Unfavorable 7% 26% 14% 9%
Not Enough Info To Form Opinion3% 20% 13% 48%

Former Governor Mabus is the Democrat. US Representative Pickering, Current Lt. Governor Tuck, and State Senator Ross are Republicans.

It comes with this disclaimer:
Please note that this is a preliminary report. These figures have not been weighted for age, race, or gender. These raw numbers overstate the opinions of women and understate the opinions of African American voters by more than half. Additionally, the survey results understate the opinions of voters under age 50. This preliminary survey significantly overstates the opinions of Republican voters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Go Sign The We Want Mike Moore Petition

We Want Mike Moore for Senate

"Draft Moore for US Senate" Campaign Begins

We at Cotton Mouth are attempting to "Draft" former Attorney General Mike Moore into the race.

The following is our press release that we just sent to hundreds of blogs and which we will send the dead tree media a little later.

“Draft Moore for US Senate” Campaign Begins

Former Attorney General Being Drafted to Run in 2008 Special Election

Today Democratic Party activists and editors of the state’s leading political blogs are beginning their efforts to draft former Mississippi Attorney General Mike Moore as a candidate for US Senate.

John Leek, editor of Mississippi political blog Cotton Mouth said “ Mike Moore has been a tireless advocate for justice, both in his public capacities as District Attorney and Attorney General, and in his private practice where he represents those denied legitimate insurance claims as a result of Hurricane Katrina. It is this sense of compassion and integrity that our nation so desperately needs today, and Mike Moore will carry those values to the US Senate.”

The campaign is launching a website, that will provide a method for supporters to contact Moore. Efforts are underway to begin a media campaign to support the online organizing efforts.

In addition to serving for 16 years as the state’s Attorney General, Moore served as the district attorney in his native Pascagoula. In 1997 he was awarded “Lawyer of the Year” by the National Law Journal and portrayed himself in the Michael Mann film, The Insider, which focused on the tobacco law suit.

Local Democratic activists already involved include Victor Warnsley, Starkville; Jesse Johnson, Oxford; Renick Taylor, Biloxi; Mary Macki, Jackson County; Casey Hughes, Natchez; and Matthew Becker, Hattiesburg.


I'd like to add that the effort is entirely independent of any candidate considering a run for that office. Anyone who thinks otherwise can go pout someplace else. - The Editors

More speculations

The Clarion Ledger is listing Ronnie Musgrove, Mike Moore, Mike Espy, Erik Fleming and former Jackson mayor Harvey Johnson as possible contenders for the U.S. Senate seat Trent Lott is vacating.

Click here to read the article.

The Republicans are staying quiet, but there is serious doubt Chip Pickering will take the job, especially since he is retiring to spend more time with his family.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Early Polling Numbers On Potential Candidates For Open Senate Race

I've been scooped by Will Bardwell again.

He found the Zata3 numbers posted by by Markos Moulitas on Daily Kos.

The data is not head to head, but on whether folks like the folks or have even heard of them. Here is is:

Opinion Wicker(R) Moore(D) Graves(R) Musgrove(D)
Very Favorable 21% 25% 4% 17%
Somewhat Favorable 18% 23% 12% 22%
Somewhat Unfavorable 7% 16% 12% 20%
Very Unfavorable 6% 18% 7% 26%
Not Enough Info 48% 19% 65% 15%

This data comes with this caveat:
Please note that this is a preliminary report. These figures have not been weighted for age, race, or gender. Additionally, the partial surveys are included here. These raw numbers overstate the opinions of women (62% of respondents) and under represent the opinions of African American voters (14%). Additionally, the survey results understate the opinions of voters under age 50 (18%).

I don't think the gender gap is that big. I do know that there is a huge gap in voting based on age (Kerry actually won younger voters in Mississippi in 2004) and in party support by race so I think these numbers will move in Democrat's direction more.

Information on Graves can be found HERE on his website. Wicker is the 1st district Republican Congressman. Y'all know Musgrove and Moore.

Markos Moulitas also states that he has commissioned a poll which should be out in a few weeks. This could get even more interesting.

Washington Post on Katrina Recovery

Not to steal Trent Lott's thunder, but the Washington Post reported on the economic divide with Katrina recovery. If you have been reading any of the environmental reports from the Coast for the past two decades, you'll see that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is very polluted and does not create the same tourism that the cleaner waters of Destin might attract.

Even as the storm's debris was being cleared, this city's night sky was lighted up with the high-wattage brilliance of the Imperial Palace, then the Isle of Capri, then the Grand Casino. More followed, and so did vacation-condo developers.

Yet in the wrecked and darkened working-class neighborhoods just blocks from the waterfront glitter, those lights cast their colorful glare over an apocalyptic vision of empty lots and scattered trailers that is as forlorn as anywhere in Katrina's strike zone.
I hope others don't feel guilty like this gentleman. Louisiana had a far more progressive plan (outlined in the article) to help its low-income and middle-class residents.

Earl Parrish, 72, a retired pipe fitter, and his wife, Betty, are still living in their grandson's home in Ocean Springs, the next town over, trying to put their Hoxie Street house back together on a limited budget.

They received about $50,000 from the housing grant program, but it was not nearly enough to complete the job. Katrina flooded their house with about six feet of water.

They have put in their own savings, and a Lutheran church group handled a lot of the labor. But their home is not quite ready for them to move in -- it has no furniture.

Like his neighbors, Earl Parrish opposes redirecting the housing aid to the port. But he seemed to regret making a complaint.

"We're grateful for what we got -- don't misunderstand," he said. "But the people around here were just working folks who didn't have much. You see all these empty lots around here? These are people who just can't afford to come back."

Talking Points Memo Brings Us The Recent Best Of Trent Lott

Talking Points Memo:

Their caption:
Trent Lott may not have been good for America. But he was pretty good for TPM. So in honor of his announced resignation from Congress, in today's episode of TPMtv, we take a walk down memory lane to remember some of Trent's best moments (definitely don't miss the special Larry Craig/John Ashcroft duet moment) ...

This is a good compilation of video of "The Singing Senators", his comments that caused his toppling as Republican leader and his appearance on BET afterwards.

The comments that got him into trouble were as follows:
When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years either.

Strom Thurmond, of course, ran on the Dixiecrat ticket whose main policy difference with the available parties was that they were dead against civil rights and supported the preservation of segregation.

The video is even worth watching for the singing alone.

Google Hot Trends / Trent Lott Gay Affair?

Google keeps track of newly popular searches excluding longtime popular terms such as "weather" and inappropriate content.

Yesterday two Mississippi topics were in the top 50 for searches in all of English speaking googledom.

27. Trent Lott Gay

32. Jeff Bower

I would understand why the firing/"mutual agreement" of longtime Southern Miss Coach Jeff Bower would be newsworthy. He was the 4th longest currently serving coach after all.

What I was curious about and what you've probably already clicked on is the search term Trent Lott Gay.

Apparently political website Big Head DC and Larry Flynt Both state that they have reason to believe that Lott's resignation might be for reasons other than those "other opportunities" he spoke of.

I doubt the claims are true so I don't anticipate writing further on the subject, but it is of interest so I thought I'd pass it along.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why Are Republicans Afraid Of A Fair Fight?

The following is a guest post by Renick Taylor:

Trent Lott will serve less than 12 months into his current term. Lott had been making noise about not running in 06 and retiring. Then something changed his mind and he ran again sailing to victory.

Meanwhile, Chip Pickering MS Third District Congressman, decides not to seek reelection citing “future opportunities”. Pickering has long been considered as a replacement for either Cochran or Lott. Pickering’s retirement was shocking news at the time but it makes more sense after the Lott retirement announcement.

Lott’s retirement also sheds light on why so much out of state money flowed into the Barbour campaign for Governor, Barbour had to be reelected to be there to appoint a Republican (Pickering?) to Lott’s Senate seat. The new Republican Senator (Pickering?) can run his first election as an incumbent.

Why not just have a fair election over Lott’s senate seat? The people of Mississippi were not allowed to vote for a new Senator. Instead of voting we have shady backroom appointments.

Shame on Senator Lott for going along with this ploy. All Mississippians were tricked by him into thinking he would serve out his term or at least serve until a successor is chosen. Lott should have retired properly and let a fair election take place.

I’m very disappointed that this kind of election subversion can occur in Mississippi. Cochran was making noise about retirement before his next election as well. Perhaps after Mississippi reelects Thad Cochran in 08 he can suddenly retire and Barbour can appoint himself as Senator, another fair election could be averted by the Republicans.

Musgrove "Seriously Considering" Open Senate Race

Rothenberg Political Report:
Musgrove, who was defeated for reelection in 2003 by Republican Haley Barbour, is one of a few Democrats with statewide name recognition who have been mentioned as prospective candidates for an open seat.

The Democrat acknowledges that he would have to make a decision about the race quickly if Lott resigns before the end of the year, since that timing would require Barbour to call a special election within 90 days to fill the vacancy.

Hat Tip to Swing State Project

#1 National Political Blog (DailyKos) on Mississippi Republicans and the Senate Race

It's not considered polite to reproduce a work in its entirety without the permission of the author. I think I can assume that Markos Moulitas will forgive me for reproducing his analysis on the open senate race:

Mississippi Republicans are in a bind.

First, Lott wants out by the end of this year so new ethics guidelines that prohibit former members of Congress from lobbying for two years, rather than one. And we all know that Lott is ditching the people of Mississippi so he can cash in on K Street. He admitted it.

So Lott needs to be out by Dec. 31. However, if he does that, Mississippi law requires a special election within 90 days, and a low-turnout special might hurt the GOP. They want the presidential race to boost Republican turnout in a state that leans heavily Republican in presidential elections.

So what will win, Lott's desire to cash out ASAP, or the GOP's desire to maximize their possibilities of holding that seat? Well, if you're a Republican, there's always option 3: lie and obfuscate the law and try to pull a fast one on everyone else:

Pursuant to Mississippi law, specifically § 23-15-855 (1), of the Mississippi Code, once the resignation takes effect, I will call a Special Election for United States Senator to be held on November 4, 2008, being the regular general election day for the 2008 congressional elections.

Further, within ten days of Senator Lott’s resignation’s taking effect, I will appoint a Senator to serve until the winner of the Special Election for United States Senator is elected and commissioned, as provided in § 23-15-855 (2) of the Mississippi Code. My goal is to appoint the best qualified person who can do the most for our state and country.
Ha ha ha, that Haley. Such a joker. The law:

(1) If a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from Mississippi by death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor shall, within ten (10) days after receiving official notice of such vacancy, issue his proclamation for an election to be held... within ninety (90) days from the time the proclamation is issued and the returns of such election shall be certified to the Governor in the manner set out above for regular elections, unless the vacancy shall occur in a year that there shall be held a general state or congressional election, in which event the Governor's proclamation shall designate the general election day as the time for electing a Senator, and the vacancy shall be filled by appointment as hereinafter provided.
You get that? The law essentially mandates a special election within 100 days of the retirement. Barbour is trying to argue that the key point is the "proclamation", not the date the vacancy occurs. As election law expert Rick Hasen notes:

[T]he key question is the date of the "vacancy," not the date of the official notice or the date of the proclamation of the special election. If Lott indeed resigns in 2007, the vacancy is in 2007 and the election must occur under the 10/90 day rule described above.
And the Hill reports that MS's secretary of state (a Democrat, until the winners of the 2007 elections get sworn in later in January) agrees.

Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said in a statement Monday that he would schedule the special election for the same day as the November 2008 general election. State law, however, appears to require an earlier date if Lott retires this year, as he said he would.

While Lott sneaks in under the wire for the extended ban on lobbying Congress by retiring this year, the secretary of state’s office said Monday that state law appears to require a special election within 90 days if he does so.

Conversely, if Lott were to wait and retire in 2008, the law allows for the special election to be held the same day as the general. Of course, he would then be subject to the new two-year ban on lobbying his former colleagues, instead of the current one-year ban.
Lott will have a choice to make -- suck it up and wait an extra year before cashing out on K Street, or screw his party over one last time. And if Barbour persists on trying to rewrite state law, he'll have to likely justify his efforts in a court of law.

Update: Email press release:

JACKSON (Monday, Nov. 26, 2007) –Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, issued the following statement after U.S. Sen. Trent Lott announced plans to resign from office by the end of the year.

“According to multiple news reports, Senator Lott intends to resign his seat by the end of the year. Section 23-15-855 (1) of the Mississippi Code makes clear that if Senator Lott does indeed resign during this calendar year, as stated, then Governor Barbour must call a special election for within 90 days of making a proclamation – which he must issue within 10 days of the resignation – and not on Nov. 4, 2008, as he has announced he intends to do.

“We will wait for Senator Lott’s official notice of resignation, when he will undoubtedly announce the exact date he will leave office. But if he does resign this calendar year we expect the governor to uphold the law and call a special election within 100 days. It is important that Mississippi be represented in Washington by a senator who was elected by the state’s voters as soon as possible.”
.....end of Daily Kos post.....

I'd say he did an excellent job.

Barbour Trying to Manipulate Election Law

From the Hill:

Timing of Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-Miss.) resignation has opened legal questions about the date of the special election, which state officials were still trying to clarify Monday afternoon.Gov. Haley Barbour (R) said in a statement Monday that he would schedule the special election for the same day as the November 2008 general election. State law, however, appears to require an earlier date if Lott retires this year, as he said he would.

While Lott sneaks in under the wire for the extended ban on lobbying Congress by retiring this year, the secretary of state’s office said Monday that state law appears to require a special election within 90 days if he does so.Conversely, if Lott were to wait and retire in 2008, the law allows for the special election to be held the same day as the general. Of course, he would then be subject to the new two-year ban on lobbying his former colleagues, instead of the current one-year ban.Secretary of state spokesman Kell Smith said the fact that 2007 was a statewide election year could affect how the language of the law is interpreted. He added that the office is checking that law to make sure the 90-day window still applies.A spokesman for Barbour said the governor’s statement “speaks for itself.”An earlier special election would likely produce smaller turnout, which would probably benefit Democrats in an overwhelmingly GOP state with a concurrent presidential election.Either way, Barbour will be required to appoint someone within 10 days to fill the vacancy until an election can be held.Barbour said in the statement that he would not appoint himself and that he would not run in the special election.

Looks like Barbour is trying to manipulate MS Election Law. If Lott resigns in 2007, the law (according to the SOS) requires a special election within 90 days. If Lott waits til January 1, 2008, then Barbour could legally place that election on the ballot in November to coincide w/ the Presidential race. Wow!! This one is just getting started. What does Trent Lott do? Does he stick it to his party who hung him out to dry 5 years ago? Or does he suck it up, wait, and then be subject to the new lobbying laws? We'll find out.

Now We Know Why Cochran is Staying Put

Well I think we can clearly see now why Senator Cochran moved back from the retirement leaks and announced that he was running for re-election after all. Not that it matters now, but I highly doubt that it was Cochran's decision to make. He was likely boxed back in by Lott and a Senate GOP already facing more losses and horrified at the possibility of defending two open seats, even in a state that the GOP dominated recently in statewide open seat races. I'll publish more as I learn more. This is a fascinating development for MS politics as a safe GOP seat just got put into play and the GOP's heir apparent, Chip Pickering has already retired, giving the obligatory family values speech. What are they to do? This will be fun to watch!!!
All the coaches have been called back to USM from recruiting for the announcement.

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Jeff Bower is out. Press conference is at 4:00.

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More on the Lott Resignation

National Journal:
Senate Minority Whip Lott, who agonized about running for re-election last year before deciding to do so, now plans to resign before the end of the year, congressional and White House officials told the Associated Press this morning. Lott has scheduled two news conferences today in his home town of Pascagoula and the state capital of Jackson to reveal his plans. No reason was given for the sudden change of heart, although officials said nothing was wrong with Lott's health. One official said the 66-year-old Lott has "other opportunities" he plans to pursue. Lott was Senate majority leader when, during the late Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party, he praised Thurmond's segregationist presidential campaign, setting off a furor that resulted in his resignation. Lott will become the sixth Senate Republican to announce his retirement.

Trent Lott to Retire as Early as Today

NBC News has learned that Trent Lott's in the midst of informing close allies that he plans to resign his senate seat before the end of the year. It's possible a formal announcement of his plans could take place as early as today.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'll be gone for a short while.

Just in time for finals my computer has stopped working. Jake will do some updates, but don't expect much from me in the next week.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Is The Stem Cell War Over?

It looks promising.
The New York Times:
If the stem cell wars are indeed nearly over, no one will savor the peace more than James A. Thomson.

Dr. Thomson’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin was one of two that in 1998 plucked stem cells from human embryos for the first time, destroying the embryos in the process and touching off a divisive national debate.

And on Tuesday, his laboratory was one of two that reported a new way to turn ordinary human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without ever using a human embryo.

“Isn’t it great to start a field and then to end it,” he said.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Man Mistakenly Held For 4 Months Has No One To Sue

The Sun Herald has the story:

Man held 4 months by mistake has no one to sue

Mayor And Businessman Not On Their Best Behavior In Vicksburg

From the Associated Press:
A local businessman filed a simple assault charge against Mayor Laurence Leyens after a tussle at a restaurant.

Leyens and Trey Gordon III, owner of Gordon Roofing Co., exchanged words at El Sombrero on Monday night before Leyens called 911, Police Chief Tommy Moffett said.

Gordon and a man dining with the mayor were taken by Vicksburg police to headquarters, where both were charged with simple assault. Both were released without bond.

Before leaving the police department, Gordon signed an affidavit charging Leyens with simple assault.

"There is no indication that the mayor physically attacked anyone," the chief said.

Each of the parties said the other provoked an argument.

Leyens told The Vicksburg Post that Gordon put his hands around the mayor's neck. Gordon told the newspaper that he never touched the mayor.

Two Legislators affirm commitment to McCoy

Malone, Arinder support Speaker’s re-election

From a press release:
Rep. Bennett Malone of Carthage and Rep. Tracy Arinder of Morton announced today that they remain committed to Billy McCoy for Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives.

“The re-election of Billy McCoy as Speaker will pay benefits to the voters in my district,” said Malone and Arinder. “His commitment to education, health care and protecting jobs is in line with the values of Mississippi.

“It is evident that McCoy has the votes to be re-elected and it is important to our districts to support the Speaker.”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Currently Supporting John Edwards

I say "currently" because Democrats have so many great candidates this year that I'd be perfectly happy with most of them.

Happy Thanksgiving. Posting will be sporadic through the Thanksgiving holiday because I will be enjoying some quality time with the family as I hope you will too.

Monday, November 19, 2007

University of Mississippi to Host First 2008 Presidential Debate

That's really cool.

From a Commission on Presidential Debates press release:
Paul G. Kirk, Jr. and Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr., co-chairmen of the non-partisan, non-profit Commission on Presidential Debates ("CPD" or "the Commission") today announced dates, sites and formats of three presidential and one vice presidential debates for the 2008 general election. The dates and sites are:

First presidential debate:
Friday, September 26
University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

Vice presidential debate:
Thursday, October 2
Washington University in St. Louis, MO

Second presidential debate:
Tuesday, October 7
Belmont University, Nashville, TN

Third presidential debate:
Wednesday, October 15
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Mississippi Democrats comment:
Wayne Dowdy, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, issued the following statement in response to the Commission on Presidential Debates naming the University of Mississippi in Oxford as site of the first presidential debate on Friday, Sept. 26.

“The road to the White House no doubt runs through the South. Having the first presidential debate of the year Sept. 26 on the campus of the University of Mississippi clearly shows that the South – and Mississippi – will play an important role in choosing the next president.

“This also gives our Democratic Party nominee a chance to show Mississippi, the South and the rest of the nation why he or she must be elected president. Our Democratic Party candidates are the only ones taking important stands that will solve such critical national issues as ending the war in Iraq, strengthening the economy and improving health care.”

The University of Mississippi's official response:
The University of Mississippi has been selected to host the first of three presidential debates in 2008.

The announcement was made jointly by the Commission on Presidential Debates in Washington, D.C., and university Chancellor Robert Khayat in Oxford Monday. The debate is slated for Friday, Sept. 26 in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on the Ole Miss campus.

"We are honored, pleased and grateful for the opportunity to host such an important event," Khayat said. "The footsteps of American history have passed through our campus several times in the last 160 years and they have found their way here again."

UM was among 16 host sites considered nationwide.

Providing extraordinary experiences for Ole Miss students to participate in a major historical event was a significant factor in seeking the bid, said the chancellor.

The university began building its case to host a site more than a year ago, Khayat said. Attention now turns to providing housing, food, transportation, information technology, security and working facilities for the candidates, staff and more than 2,000 national and international journalists expected to cover the debate.

"It is an enormous challenge, but Ole Miss and Oxford are prepared to welcome America and the world to our community," he said.

Barbour promoting pollution

Southern Company has recently been named one of the two top polluters in the United States and the sixth worse polluter in the world. A company with strong financial ties to the Republican party and George Bush, once employed our very own governor, Haley Barbour, as its lobbyist.

From The Independent:

Haley Barbour, one of the main lobbyists for Southern Co when President Bush took office, played a crucial role in persuading him to back away from his original campaign promise to reduce CO2 emissions when he first ran for president in 2000. Mr Barbour is a former chairman of the Republican Party, and was reelected governor of Mississippi last week.

According to FrankO'Donnell of Clean Air Watch, after Mr Bush became president, "he was got at by Haley Barbour, who said, 'Hey, Mr President we didn't elect you to have high energy costs'".

Mr O'Donnell said: "Southern Company Lobbyists treated the president as if he was someone to give orders to and he took them. The upshot is that America's biggest polluters used their chequebooks effectively to block actions to stop global warming."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Unbalanced Mississippi Coastal Recovery On PBS

Bill Moyers' television show covered the Turkey Creek community, the Steps Coalition, and more in this video that can be viewed at the following link:

Recovery Gone Wrong?

A Minor Disagreement

In early October I asked Matthew Krell to read over some writings at the Legal Schnauzer website and give a response. I asked him to do so because I have no legal background and the Minor case is very complicated and almost entirely related to law. Here is what he had to say:
The Virtue of Virtue in a Venal World

Krell takes issue with the writings because he doesn't believe we should lightly throw around charges of partisanship in non-partisan positions.
This is the single, overarching issue; it's a simple return back to the culture of corruption. How can we trust any officeholder that was complicit in the development of this system, where we can believe that our judges aren't impartial and nautral? And that's the most frightening thing:

That we can believe that this is no longer a nation of laws, but of men.

Legal Schnauzer recently gave a response in two parts to Krell's criticism.

The first part suggests that Krell is too idealistic saying:
Our differences, I think, are attributable to age and experiences. I gather that Mr. Krell is a law student, so I'm guessing he's in the 22-25 age range. That would make him about half my age. And by virtue of my age, I'm guessing I've developed a more hardened perspective on life than has Mr. Krell.

Ultimately, I'm not sure that Mr. Krell and I disagree all that much. He's embarking on a career in the law, and it's probably healthy for him to think that he's heading into a noble profession. Meanwhile, I've seen the darker side of the legal world.
My Common Critic Part I
I'm not a big fan of the tone here as it could be interpreted (whether it is or not) as disrespectful, but the author attempts to be civil in the piece.

The second part addresses specific points raised by Krell and appears to reflect significant research:
My Common Critic II
Here's where Mr. Krell and I certainly agree. He writes: "What has happened when officeholders on trial for corruption can claim that their opponents are attempting to bring them down, and have it actually be plausible?"

Then he says it all goes back to the "culture of corruption."

"How can we trust any officeholder that was complicit in the development of this system, where we can believe that our judges aren't impartial and neutral? And that's the most frightening thing: That we can believe that this is no longer a nation of laws, but of men."

I hear you, brother. I hear you.
It will be interesting to see how the Congressional investigation concludes concerning possible selective prosecution of Democrats and heavy Democratic funders for actions also done by Republicans, but not prosecuted for.