Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pick Your MS-03 Choice in A WJTV Poll

Here's the link.

Your choices are Republican Harper and Democrat Gill.

Supreme Court Candidate Jim Kitchens lights it up in Neshoba!

From a campaign release:

If you were not at the Neshoba County Fair on Thursday, then you missed a great speech by our man Kitch.

In short, he laid out exactly why a change is needed on the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Kitch told a crowd of hundreds of people that he believes the Mississippi Supreme Court under Justice Jim Smith’s leadership is “out of whack”.

“The more I see what our highest court is doing, and the more I hear about the incumbent’s plans for the future, the more I’m convinced a change should be made,” Kitchens said.

Kitchens called into question Smith’s repeated plans to push for an appointed judiciary, saying it would not end corruption but instead would inject even more politics into the system.

“According to his logic, we can stop corruption in the courts by stripping the people of their constitutional right to vote and giving that power to a politician,” Kitchens said. “I say, if we can trust the people to elect our governor, and we can trust the people to elect our Legislature, then we can trust the people to elect our judges.”

Of course, Smith stood up right after Kitch and said he may believe we should have appointed judges, but he won't do anything about it.

Perhaps the promises he made when he became chief justice four years ago and the promises he made back in February were just lies.

Kitchens also pointed out that Smith has gone back on his word to voters about imposing term limits on himself.

After taking away a person’s right to vote for judges, Smith would recommend that judges serve no more than two terms of six years. However, Smith is currently seeking his third term of 8 years – even after saying in two different elections that he would not seek an additional term if elected.

While praising Smith’s personal character, Kitchens questioned whether or not the chief justice’s professional actions were leading the court down the wrong path.

Kitchens gave several examples of how Smith has sat on cases and ruled on behalf of his largest financial backers, despite calls of recusal from attorneys.

Kitchens also pointed to the activist nature of Smith and the court, which has overturned nearly 90 percent of jury verdicts against large corporations where an individual was harmed due to negligence or wrongdoing.

“Now, I’m not talking about frivolous lawsuits,” Kitchens said. “I’m talking about a woman who went into a hospital with a mild case of pneumonia and came out a brain-damaged paraplegic.”

Kitchens regaled the crowd with stories about his childhood when he worked for his father at the family’s grocery business and how he ended up in law school because his dad was fearful of allowing his little brother to go all the way to Ole Miss for college by himself.

Kitchens also talked about some of the more trying times in his life, such as when his 3-year-old son, Dan, battled cancer.

“Cancer is just about the worst word a mother and father can ever hear ... You learn a lot you didn’t know about prayer. And you learn that it works,” Kitchens said. “Dan was 3 then. He’s 34 now, and he practices law with his dad. That makes me mighty proud, and mighty thankful.”

Kitchens also told the story of when he was appointed to defend Byron De La Beckwith in the Medgar Evers case.

“Beckwith was for everything I was against, and against everything I was for,” Kitchens said. “During that trial, my family and I were harassed and threatened by Beckwith’s friends,” Kitchens said his heart sank when the judge told him the news.

“It would have been easier for my family and better for my career if I had come up with an excuse -- come up with a lie -- to tell the judge so that he would have appointed somebody else,” Kitchens said. “But to me, it was more important to do my duty than to take the easy way out.”

To view the entire speech, visit:

To download a pdf version of the file, visit:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here is what more oil gets you

Sixty more barrels of oil were spilled into the Mississippi today. Now they are finding oil in the mud of the mouth of the river. How much damage to the ecosystem can our area take? How many people as well as wildlife are going to die due to this pollution? How many deaths makes this story relevant to Mississippians who are sitting back while their natural resources are destroyed in the name of big oil? How many?

Who is to blame for high the high price of oil? UPDATED!!

Here is a little history course for those of you with selective memory who think Bill Clinton is to blame for the high price of gas. What is even worse is the false ad produced by the "straight talk express" that lays the blame squarely upon the shoulders of Barack Obama. In a twisted irony the McCain accusation completely refutes his standing claim that Obama did nothing as a Senator and carried no influence in Washington . Well how did he wreck the oil markets then?

In 2001 our Vice President Dick Cheney held secret meetings with unidentified persons to write the Untied States energy policy for the Bush administration. The Bush administration felt like the citizens had no business knowing who was writing their energy policy.

In 2007 some of those names were revealed. Let us all recall that Exxon Mobile has posted record profits several times since this energy policy was enacted. Enron was found guilty of fraud, when they were jacking up the rates on granny, as they so crudely put it.

From the Washington Post:

A confidential list prepared by the Bush administration shows that Cheney and his aides had already held at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from energy-producing industries. By the time of the meeting with environmental groups, according to a former White House official who provided the list to The Washington Post, the initial draft of the task force was substantially complete and President Bush had been briefed on its progress.

In all, about 300 groups and individuals met with staff members of the energy task force, including a handful who saw Cheney himself, according to the list, which was compiled in the summer of 2001. For six years, those names have been a closely guarded secret, thanks to a fierce legal battle waged by the White House. Some names have leaked out over the years, but most have remained hidden because of a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that agreed that the administration's internal deliberations ought to be shielded from outside scrutiny.


From the beginning, it was clear that Cheney was running the show, chairing meetings of the task force -- made up of about a dozen Cabinet officers and senior officials -- in his ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Much of the task force's work was done by a six-person staff, led by its executive director, Andrew D. Lundquist, a former aide to Republican Sens. Ted Stevens and Frank Murkowski of Alaska. In 2000, Lundquist was the Bush campaign's energy expert; Bush nicknamed him "Light Bulb."

Today, Lundquist is a lobbyist, and he has represented some of the companies who appeared before the task force, such as BP, Duke Energy and the American Petroleum Institute. He did not return phone calls for this article

Who do we know was there?

1. One of the first visitors, on Feb. 14, was James J. Rouse, then vice president of Exxon Mobil and a major donor to the Bush inauguration

2. A week later, longtime Bush supporter Kenneth L. Lay, then head of Enron Corp., came by for the first of two meetings

3. On March 5, some of the country's biggest electric utilities, including Duke Energy and Constellation Energy Group, had an audience with the task force staff.

4. British Petroleum representatives dropped by on March 22, one of about 20 oil and drilling companies to get meetings.

5. The National Mining Association, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America and the American Petroleum Institute were among three dozen trade associations that met with Cheney's staff, the document shows.

The list of participants' names and when they met with administration officials provides a clearer picture of the task force's priorities and bolsters previous reports that the review leaned heavily on oil and gas companies and on trade groups -- many of them big contributors to the Bush campaign and the Republican Party. But while it clears up much of the lingering uncertainty about who was granted access to present energy policy views to Cheney's staff, it does not entirely explain why the Bush administration fought so hard to keep it and other as-yet-unreleased internal memos secret.
The price of a gallon of gas was around a $1.50. The prices have nearly tripled under the Cheney-Exxon plan. How did the oil companies fare?

Exxon Mobil posts record profit of $10.7 billion

Record Earnings for Exxon

Shell and BP post record earnings

BP profits jump on back of record high oil prices

Enron Says, 'Oops'

UPDATE from July 31: Exxon breaks own record for biggest-ever profit

New Rasmussen poll for the Presidential shows McCain widening his lead in Mississippi

Rasmussen also came out with this poll today. I am unable to pull the crosstabs, because it is a pay service. John McCain nearly doubled his lead from the last two polls. I personally believe that the misinformation out there about drilling is hurting Obama in Mississippi. Unfortunately most Mississippians erroneously believe the canard that increased offshore drilling will lower their gas prices. The Republicans have even admitted this is not true when pressed. John McCain said it would have "psychological benefits." The GOP, not known for dealing in facts, are more than happy to play the drilling card even when they too know it is a LIE.

Rasmussen poll:

John McCain -- 52%
Barack Obama - 41%
MoE 4%

Help Jeff Buy His Plane Ticket To Denver: Chipin towards $520.

Jeff joined us a while back and has since been a more prolific writer than myself and has kept Cotton Mouth running during my regular absences.

He is our representative to go to Denver as a credentialed blogger and will cover the event from a different perspective as a citizen journalist.

He, like myself, is not independently wealthy and could use our help in getting there. He's too modest to ask himself so I'm asking for him.

Go ahead and donate $20. If 26 people do his ticket will be paid for. You'll help us provide top rate Convention coverage that you won't get anywhere else.

New Rasmussen Poll shows Wicker opening a 6 point lead

Roger Wicker is benefiting from his enormous cash advantage. He has been able to run a series of ads in all parts of the state, in effect to introduce the north Mississippi congressman to the rest of the state. Ronnie Musgrove has yet to really fire his guns, besides a DSCC ad.

A new poll is out today from Rasmussen, one of the best polling firms out there. In parentheses is last months result from Rasmussen.

Ronnie Musgrove -- 42% (47)
Roger Wicker ------- 48% (48)
MoE 4%

The lead grows to 52-43 when leaner's are included.

There is one major flaw with this poll. Being that this is a special election, there will be no reference to party on the ballot. The candidates will NOT be identified as Republican or Democratic in the polling booth. This poll erroneously identifies their parties, which has to be worth a few points to Roger Wicker.

This should be a call to arms for us Democrats. The first of the month will be here in a couple of days. Set aside some money to send to the Musgrove campaign. We cannot afford to sit around and wait for help.

My contribution: $

Oil: City of Madison files tresspassing charges against oil companies

The City of Madison filed trespassing charges against Crownpointe Resources, a contractor of Denbury Resources, for not abiding by terms agreed upon. Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler was quoted in the Clarion Ledger as saying "They have no regard for the unanimous vote by our Board of Aldermen, no regard for private property, no regard for city property and no regard for the law."

At dispute is whether or not the oil company can make use of the right of way as well as city property. Denbury is using a technique that involves using controlled explosions to create a seismic survey.

From the Clarion Ledger:

Denbury Resources, the largest oil and gas company in Mississippi, is surveying Madison County for carbon dioxide that could be used to increase oil production.

Crews recently have been setting off about 300 controlled explosions a day and have set up seismic survey equipment from Flora to the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Madison officials denied permission to use city rights of way, Butler said, but workers set up equipment on city property last week and this week.
The good folks of Madison support drilling, just not in Madison. I wonder how they feel about offshore drilling?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Y'all Politics profiteering on Dickie Scruggs case

I did have respect for Y'all Politics, and can still in the future, but they have crossed a line. This Free Dickie T-Shirt they are peddling smacks of exuberance over seeing a man go to prison. I will never defend Dickie Scruggs for what he did. But I also won't print t-shirts to make money of someone else's misfortune. You don't see "Free Bernie" t-shirts for sale on Cotton Mouth. The damage Dickie did to peoples lives pales in comparison to the P.E. major. Haha and Hehe it up boys, it fits you well.

Here are some tidbits of their shameful post.

They're movin' like sweet potatoes on a roadside stand . . .

There is a "FREE DICKIE" t-shirt that has been created. It was dreamed up on on the back of one of Judge Acker's orders while sipping a Grey Goose and tonic at City Grocery

Those guys should be ashamed of themselves. I doubt they are.

Obama voter registration kickoff

Here we come Mississippi!

I recently received this from the Obama campaign

Obama Campaign for Change-Mississippi
Voter Registration Kickoff!

When: Saturday, August 2, 2008
10:00 a.m.

Where: Obama Campaign Office733 N. State Street
Jackson, MS 39202

For more information: (601) 983-8331 or (443) 536-1731

See you there!!

Will Roger Wicker return the dirty money?

Hat Tip to the Senate Guru who runs a fantastic blog that covers all things related to the Senatorial elections. The website is a true resource for political junkies.

We already knew Roger Wicker likes to associate with such outstanding persons as Republican Senator's Larry Craig and David Vitter. Well let's just say here we go again.

News breaks today that Senator Ted Stevens from Alaska is indicted on seven counts of corruption and fraud by the U. S. Justice Department. Senator Ted Stevens also runs a PAC called the Northern Lights. Roger Wicker received a nice $5,000 check from Stevens.

Many other Republicans are already returning the dirty money as I write this. Will Roger Wicker show the good people of Mississippi that he does not want Ted Stevens dirty money? We already know he will take money from any special interest group with a checkbook.

This election is real simple. Do we want a Washington insider already bought and paid for, or a man with a proven track record of independent thinking like Ronnie Musgrove? I might not always agree with Ronnie, but I know he is not on special interest contract like Roger Wicker.

Economic benefits of offshore drilling revealed

Taggart spreading falsehoods about oil drilling in today's Clarion Ledger

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."- Mark Twain

In the blogs section of today's Clarion Ledger Andy Taggart insists on spreading misleading information to the readers. Taggart says "Drill here. Drill now. Pay less."

Let's go over this one more time. The U.S. Energy Information Administration concluded as late as 2007 that it would be year 2030 before any minimal effect would be felt at the pumps by increased offshore drilling. The U.S. Energy Information Administration is part of the Bush led Executive branch.

Year 2030. Year 2030. Year 2030. Repeat that until it sinks in.

Now either Andy Taggart is a liar or just misinformed. I find it hard to believe that he is misinformed being a man in his position, so I am going with option A.

Mississippians deserve the truth Mr. Taggart. You don't have to agree with my point of view, but please base your opinions on FACTS, not lies.

A Terrorist's Reading List

.....apparently includes Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, and Sean Hannity. Gee- who would have ever imagined that preaching hate would inspire hateful acts?

Before 9/11, the only successful major terrorist attack carried out on American soil was not the work of al Qaeda or even radical Muslims. When right-wing white separatist Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, his motive was taking revenge for the recent incidents at Waco and Ruby Ridge and and protesting the (in his mind) overreaching size and power of the federal government. At the time, Bill Clinton fought back tears as he railed against "purveyors of hate and division" on U.S. airwaves who "leave the impression, by their very words, that violence is acceptable."

Increased vigilance on the part of the Clinton Administration and the Justice Department prevented any further terrorist attacks on American soil for the rest of Clinton's tenure. The Republican administration and a successful terrorist attack on American soil by foreigners that followed helped to further quell some of the impulses for much domestic terrorism. But growing evidence of the Bush Administration's impotence in achieving conservative goals and a Democratic resurgence have frustrated some right-wing extremists and culture warriors; our domestic terrorism drought may be coming to an end.

The first major sign of this (the first one that I noticed, anyway) was a little more than a year ago, when some Liberty University students were arrested with pipe bombs they were planning to use against people who were protesting Jerry Falwell's funeral. Luckily that plot was thwarted by authorities. That was in Virginia. Over the weekend, this issue hit a little closer to home for Mississippians. Like next door. On Sunday evening, a gunman burst into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville during the presentation of a children's musical. He killed two people and wounded six others with a shotgun before he was subdued by several church members. Why did he target this particular church? Because of their liberal beliefs.

From The Knoxville News Sentinel:

Adkisson targeted the church, [Knoxville Police Department Officer Steve] Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, "because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country's hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets."

Adkisson told Still that "he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office."

Adkisson told officers he left [his] house unlocked for them because "he expected to be killed during the assault."

Inside the house, officers found "Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder" by radio talk show host Michael Savage, "Let Freedom Ring" by talk show host Sean Hannity, and "The O'Reilly Factor," by television talk show host Bill O'Reilly.

You should read the whole article. Apparently he aimed not at the children onstage but at the adults in the pews. Which means he at least has more principles than Tim McVeigh, who callously referred to the 19 children he killed in Oklahoma City as "collateral damage".

I really hope I'm wrong, but I'm concerned this is going to get worse before it gets better. Our thoughts and prayers at Cottonmouth are with all the victims and their families in Knoxville and anyone else who happens to find themselves in the crosshairs of an extremist. Be careful out there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Vets hit McCain on his new negative Obama ad

John McCain's new ad accusing Obama of "shooting hoops instead of visiting the wounded troops" is a load of you know what. It good to see Republicans like Chuck Hagel come out and call a spade a spade. Lies are lies anyway you slice it. The consensus on David Gregory's show tonight was that this ad was not meant for people of intellect.

A veterans organization had this to say today:

Former Chief of Medical Operations for HQ USAFE at Ramstein Air Force Base Responds to Latest McCain Ad

By Press Release
PUBLISHED: July 28, 2008

WASHINGTON - The former Chief of Medical Operations for United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) Headquarters at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany today ripped into Senator John McCain's latest ad, which attacks Senator Barack Obama for not making a campaign event of a visit to wounded troops.

Dr. Katherine Scheirman, who was Chief of Medical Operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom, said in a statement:

"John McCain's new ad is dishonest and shameful, and I say that as the former Chief of Medical Operations. Senators Hagel and Reed confirmed to Bob Schieffer yesterday that Senator Obama visited the Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad as a part of their CODEL, with no media present.

"In Germany, Senator Obama made the right decision to respect wounded troops, and the doctors and nurses doing crucial and time-sensitive work, by not making a visit that was characterized as a campaign event by the Pentagon. Senator Obama should be thanked for putting our military above politics. And, I would hope that John McCain would think in those same terms, the next time he is put in a similar situation.

"Senator Obama has voted for the troops when John McCain has not, most recently on the new GI Bill. I am happy that Senator Obama puts the welfare of our troops above politics."

Dr. Katherine Scheirman, MD, MHA, CPE, FACPE, is a Senior Advisor to, and has twenty years experience in the Department of Defense medical system. She retired from the Air Force in 2006 with the rank of Colonel. During her time in the military, she was assigned to a number of duties where she saw 'first hand' the shortcomings of the DOD medical system and its effect on troops. Most recently, she was at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, which saw the majority of those injured during the war in Iraq.

During that assignment as Chief of Medical Operations, she directed four branches responsible for medical operational and legal policy guidance for 10 USAFE medical facilities and an Air Force squadron at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and provided oversight and mentoring for 11 Chiefs of Medical Staff and over 700 medical personnel throughout Europe. She was responsible for all quality of care, patient safety, behavioral health, JCAHO compliance, community health programs and business plan execution there, among her decades of other assignments at home and abroad.

More Special Interest Numbers Updated

I keep looking at the fundraising numbers for the Wicker Musgrove campaign with amazement. Roger Wicker has raised an absurd amount of cash in his bid to win Trent Lott's Senate seat. Of course he does not enjoy the luxury of being labeled as an incumbent, since he was appointed by Haley Barbour, not elected by the people.

Using the publicly available data courtesy of The Center for Responsive Politics I was able to compile this staggering set of numbers.

Total Raised for the 2008 cycle:
Ronnie Musgrove -- $1,269,605
Roger Wicker ------ $3,853,335

From the page that list contributions by special interests groups I had to break out my calculator and come up with these numbers.

Total Special Interest Money from Top Special Interest Sectors
Ronnie Musgrove -- $296,383
Roger Wicker ------ $1,582,555

Does Mississippi really want a Senator known for pork barrel projects, special interests, and political payoffs via pork to his special interest contributors?

Donate to Ronnie Musgrove now. If you donate for $25 or more I will send you a pair of Obama '08 buttons and Obama '08 bumper stickers courtesy of Cotton Mouth.

My contribution: $

Mississippi In The News

One of the many negative side effects of the failure of the Clinton health care reform was that it made Big Willie C's administration gun-shy in advancing many more bold initiatives. This wasn't helped by hostile Republican Congress who was willing to shut the government down every time the Prez tried to drop a little extra federal coin for the benefit of all Americans. All of this forced Clinton to focus chiefly on incentives for business, balancing the budget, and foreign policy. Don't get me wrong- he handled those issues, for the most part, marvelously (insert Clinton "handling" joke here). But a lot of things got left by the wayside.

Like infrastructure repairs. Our Interstate System has been around longer than most of our citizens. And like a lot of our citizens, it's beginning to fall apart. This was most horrifyingly apparent last year when that Mississippi River bridge collapsed in Minnesota.

The current economic slowdown has hit our already teetering infrastructure system with a double whammy. Americans are driving less, 40 billion miles less, according to a report released by the Transportation Department today, which means revenues earned on fuel taxes are falling. Fuel taxes are what fund the interstate system. Add falling revenues with increasing maintenance costs and you have what my father used to call "a dilemma". He didn't use those exact words, but our fearless leader Mr. Leek has young, tender ears and this is a family blog. Or something like that.

Anyhoo- there is a nice, long informative piece on this predicament (or something like that) in today's Wall Street Journal (not even hidden behind the subscription wall!) that features some quotes from our own MDOT Executive Director Butch Brown:

Earlier this year, the House passed legislation that would provide an additional $1.7 billion to transit agencies over two years. Both chambers have passed bills that would significantly boost Amtrak funding.

The recent congressional action has raised some hopes. "I was ready until yesterday to have a list of projects to delay," said Larry L. "Butch" Brown, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, referring to the July 23 House vote to shore up the Highway Trust Fund. But going forward, he added: "There's going to be one hell of a challenge to come."


Like many counterparts across the country, Mr. Brown is diverting money from new road improvement projects toward simple maintenance of existing roads. The most immediate challenge for states is ensuring Congress moves to bolster the trust fund so they don't have to further curtail plans -- and cut jobs. Mr. Brown said Mississippi stands to lose $140 million and around 5,000 jobs.

It's nice when Mississippi is in the national news for being just as bad off as everybody else rather than leading the pack. I'll take "typical" over "worst" any day.

Clarion Ledger on poverty

If you have not read today's Clarion Ledger, you should. There are two fantastic editorials. One focuses on the increasing expectations in our schools. The one I am going to address in this post is about poverty, a favorite subject of mine.

These two articles deal with what defines us as Mississippians, poverty and lack of education. Like it or not, we are a poor uneducated state when compared to other states. Our leaders in education are working tirelessly to improve the conditions of our public schools. What we need is an effort to eliminate poverty in the same way are trying to eliminate ignorance.

The Clarion Ledger had this to say:

Now, 40 years later, a national report on poverty once again paints an ugly picture of poverty in America, and Mississippi.

The Measure of America study released earlier this month by Oxfam America and several private foundations found Mississippi last among states in most significant measures, from health care to education to the "opportunity to live a decent life."

The study was based on information collected before Hurricane Katrina struck, so conditions could even be worse now. According to the report:

Median earnings were among the lowest in the nation; figures for the Delta-based 2nd District were equivalent to the national median in the late 1960s.

School enrollment ranked nearly last.

More than one-fifth of Mississippi's adults lack a high school education.

Discrepancies were found in quality of life between genders and in ethnic and racial groups, with black males ranking lowest.

A Delta Task Force of the Mississippi Legislature found similar results and offered options for the state, but for the second time in two years lawmakers chose not to adopt the recommendations this year that could possibly help reverse the trend.
I just finished reading a book entitled "Ending Poverty in America". Sections of that book gave me hope that are things we can do that will slowly help pull people from the grasp of poverty. Too many Mississippians believe the canard that it is lack of ambition and personal responsibility that dooms people to a life in poverty. I would love to see a percentage count of those who believe that canard, who also grew up in HUD housing or on food stamps. I bet it would be less than a percentage point. The canard leads those who buy into this line of logic to think that they are somehow better than the poor, and that is the poor's fault alone for being poor.

We must help educate the poor and help them to build assets. This is not a political issue, or a social issue, but a moral issue. There are a lot of fresh ideas out there help those on the bottom to begin to create wealth. Putting the minimum wage on an index tied to inflation and the value of our currency is a good start. No one who works full time should be below the poverty line, period. Health care needs to be made available to all. Not just health care but preventative health care. If one family member becomes ill, it can bring the whole family into a downward spiral that is nearly impossible to get out of. Maybe creating an account for every child born that has $500 in it as a birthright, that cannot be touched until 18, except to add to, is another idea. There is strong evidence to show that asset creation is a major factor is transcending poverty.

I would love to see the recommendations of the Delta Task Force that our legislature rejected.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cotton Mouth Offer

Starting today, anyone who contributes $25 or more to Ronnie Musgrove or Travis Childers will receive an Obama spirit pack courtesy of Cotton Mouth. The Obama spirit pack will contain 2 blue Obama '08 buttons and 2 blue Obama '08 bumper stickers. By donating I will have access to your address, so no need to post your details. By donating you will be helping Ronnie and Travis join Barack Obama in bringing change to Mississippi.

Currently we are at $2000 and $400 in our fundraising campaigns. Anything donated past that will be counted, until I run out. I have 40 buttons and 40 bumper stickers.

We are quickly approaching the July 31 reporting deadline. As of June Roger Wicker is up nearly 3-1 in fundraising over Musgrove. Travis Childers has less cash on hand than Greg Davis. Do not sit on your hands and wait on good things to happen. Make it happen.

ABC: New McCain Ad Bashes Obama for Not Visiting Troops Using Footage of Obama Visiting Troops

Hat tip to Kos:

How poor of a campaign can a Senator run? It looks like we are gong to find out with the John McCain traveling circus.

New McCain Ad Bashes Obama for Not Visiting Troops Using Footage of Obama Visiting Troops

Oil Spill costs region $275 Million per day

This oil spill has caused untold and uncountable damage to our environment and native ecosystems. One thing you can put a dollar figure on is the economic damage. I wonder how many peoples health will be impacted by this toxic spill? A lot of people fish for food in this area. Someone should be liable and pay big.

From the AFP:

New Orleans city officials promised residents that the drinking water was safe, even as a chemical odor wafted over the waterfront city and scientists set up a rescue operation for oily birds and animals.

But some people including the head of the port of New Orleans were griping that authorities were not working fast enough to get the vital waterway open to commercial traffic.

The spill's effects and the closure of the port were costing the region a massive 275 million dollars per day, the New Orleans Times-Picayune cited port president Gary LaGrange as saying Friday.

Ninety-five vessels were waiting to transit the river as of mid-day Saturday, the Coast Guard reported.
I am sure residents of New Orleans trust the government. Thank George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Brownie for destroying governmental trust in the gulf.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hank Bounds speaks on raising expectations

This just released by the Mississippi Department of Education:

Mississippi's expectations for students now on par with other states

By Dr. Hank M. Bounds
State Superintendent of Education

If you pull out just about any education study that ranks the states from top to bottom, Massachusetts will be in the top five and Mississippi will be in the bottom five. Is that because the boys and girls in Massachusetts are just smarter than our children? Absolutely not. Our boys and girls are just as smart as children in Massachusetts or any other state.

Our ranking in many of these studies is not a reflection of our children's intelligence or our teachers' ability to teach the material. Rather, it is a reflection of low expectations. For decades, we have taught to a level far below what our students are capable of reaching. However, this is a new day for the boys and girls of Mississippi.

We have raised our expectations, which will lead to raising student achievement. Over the past couple of years, our teachers have begun implementing a new curriculum. Last Spring, we implemented a new assessment to reflect the increased rigor of the curriculum. After the tests are given, an important part of the process begins.

Teachers from across the state, who were each nominated by their district superintendent, gathered to review each test item and determine where the standards needed to be set. These standards set the scores that must be attained to reach minimal, basic, proficient and advanced categories. National experts were also brought in to review their findings.

Both the teachers and the national experts looked at each item and analyzed what level of knowledge the questions demanded. They have set the level of what is expected of our students on par with the expectations that other states have for their children. The Mississippi Board of Education approved these standards at their meeting today in Jackson.

This is a great day for children. By raising expectations, we will reduce the dropout rate and enable our students to be career and college-ready. Our students will be better prepared to complete on national assessments like ACT and SAT and perform well on skilled certification exams. In addition, it will improve our ranking on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams, which business and industry use as a key indicator of academic achievement when considering where to locate and expand.

We have expected this year's scores to be below last year's scores.
It would be foolish to expect our students to perform as well on a much more rigorous assessment the first year of administration. However, when we have raised the bar in the past, the first year always showed a drop in student performance as the teachers and students adjusted to the increased rigor, followed by marked improvement in the following years as students reached the new level of increased expectations.

It's time to expect more of Mississippi's children. We now have the correct standards in place. We have great teachers and great school leaders to implement the curriculum and prepare our students for the 2009 assessments.

Certainly, Mississippi has challenges that Massachusetts does not face.
We have a far greater percentage of our population living in poverty. We know that children in poverty have fewer opportunities for exposure to educational experiences and materials outside the classroom. However, we cannot allow this or any other excuse to hold us back.

We know Mississippi's children are as capable as any of reaching for the stars and we have set the standards to a level that is high, but reachable. One thing is clear: If Mississippi is going to move forward, it begins with education and with having high standards for our boys and girls and ourselves.

Special Interest Money in the Mississippi Senate Race

The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan, non-profit, independent watchdog group, has an informative website call Open Secrets. Open Secrets is your source for campaign finance information for politician, individuals, PAC's, as well as donors. There is a wealth of information on just about any candidate you can think of.

They have a page or a series of pages on the Mississippi Senate race. One of these pages lists how much each industry has donated to the candidates. Several items are definitely worth mentioning upon initial review.

Lawyers and Lawfirms
Roger Wicker ------ $163,800
Ronnie Musgrove -- $72,433

Roger Wicker ------ $90,400
Ronnie Musgrove -- $11,100

Roger Wicker ------ $74,075
Ronnie Musgrove -- $12,250

Oil & Gas
Roger Wicker ------ $87,825
Ronnie Musgrove -- $5,600

Health Professionals
Roger Wicker ------ $131,325
Ronnie Musgrove -- $11,600

My thoughts:

I would have never guessed that Roger Wicker would have a 2-1 advantage over a Democrat in raising money from lawyers.

That is a lot of bread to take from Insurance companies, considering their recent history along the coastal region.

I am actually surprised that the lobbyist figure came in at only $74,075 for Roger Wicker. If I were gambiling, I would have bet the over.

When you hear Roger Wicker calling for more drilling, remember these numbers.

When you hear Roger Wicker talk negatively about health care reform, remember these numbers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New poll ignites Hope for Change in Mississippi

Wow is all I can say after analyzing the crosstabs from the Research 2000 poll. Based on the results, Research 2000 has produced the more McCain friendly numbers in their two polls opposed to the two most recent Rasmussen polls of Mississippi. Rasmussen scored it a six point lead for McCain in both their May and June polls. Research 2000 had a 15 point McCain lead in May. Now they show a 9 point McCain lead in July.

What gets you excited if you are believer in Hope are the crosstabs of the most recent Research 2000 poll. This race is tighter than you think. Let me show you why.

First let's look at the sample. Research 2000 surveyed 600 Mississippians from July 21-23. Here is the breakdown of those 600 polled. Thanks to Dail Kos for not only paying for the poll, but for the data as well.

Sample Figures:
Men ----- 49%
Women -- 51%

Dem -- 40%
Rep -- 45%
Ind -- 15%

White -- 63%
Black -- 37%

18-29 -- 18%
30-44 -- 31%
45-59 -- 32%
60+ ---- 19%

Delta/Jack -- 37%
NE --------- 27%
SE ---------- 36%

Main Result:
McCain -- 51%
Obama -- 42%

Here is where it gets interesting.

White vote:
Obama ----- 19%
McCain ----- 78%
Undecided -- 3%

Remember 20% is the number of white voters we need to reach to have a big-time shot in this race as outlined in this post. Could Obama win Mississippi? For reference Kerry won only 14% of the white vote. Obama already outpolls Kerry in the white vote.

Black vote:
Obama ----- 81%
McCain ----- 4%
Undecided -- 15%

Fifteen percent undecided. Well let me decide that for them. Kerry won 90% of the black vote in Mississippi. Obama should get at least 94% based on my numbers. Let's see what the effect if applying the undecided black vote does to our numbers.

With the Black vote breaking a conservative 94-6:

Obama --- 47%
McCain --- 50%

Now let's make it 95-5, a reasonable number.

Obama --- 47%
McCain --- 49%

If we can reach 20% on the white vote for Obama, this thing is winnable. If we can raise the white vote for Obama to closer to 25% this thing looks solid. If we raise the black vote from 37% overall to 40% of the total vote, a feat entirely possible with the local disinterest in John McCain, we win period. The table favors the Republicans, but for the first time in my lifetime I can see openings to victory. Hope is alive and well in Democratic Mississippi.

Oil exploration in Madison County

A Texas based oil company is using controlled blasts to explore the earth underneath Madison county to look for oil drilling opportunities. When you ask a lot of Madison residents about drilling off the coast of Mississippi, they say drill, drill, drill and drill now. I wonder how they feel about beautiful Madison being home to constant blasts of dynamite? I also wonder how they feel about having oil production in their backyard, literally and figuratively. What say ye, Madison?

Clarion Ledger story:

In recent weeks, residents have heard loud blasts and seen crews on the ground, and officials with Denbury Resources say there could be a big payoff in store.

Denbury, which has the largest oil and gas presence in Mississippi, has set up seismic survey equipment from Flora to the Ross Barnett Reservoir that uses controlled blasts to create an underground map of the area, looking for carbon dioxide.

The company buys dead oil fields and pumps carbon dioxide into them to produce more oil.
Under normal conditions, about 20 to 40 percent of a reservoir's original oil can be extracted. Using the CO2 technique can push that to 30 to 60 percent.


Ashbrooke resident Kim Barlow said the testing should have been publicized more because those who did not know about it could have been scared.

"It was like we were being bombed," she said. "You hear the blasts, and you see this helicopter flying over."

Barlow, who has two children, said she could hear the blasts for about four days.

She worried that, especially with children in the neighborhood, the listening devices could have been dangerous.

New Mississippi polls out today

There are two new Research 2000 polls out today on Mississippi. Thank the Daily Kos for paying for the polling costs.

Musgrove - 44
Wicker - 45
MoE 4%

Obama - 42
McCain - 51
MoE 4%

Looks like the Wicker Musgrove race has settled into a near tie. The last three polls have been within 1 point one way or the other. Obama actually outperformed his numbers from the last Research 2000 poll run in May when he trailed by 15.

Travis Childers update

I received this from Congressman Travis Childers this morning. He sends out these updates on a regular basis as one way to keep his constituents informed. You may sign up to receive the e-updates here. Receive Updates from Travis Childers

July 24, 2008

Dear Friends,

Small businesses make up one of the most important parts of our economy and communities in North Mississippi. Throughout the state, there are an estimated 216,700 small businesses, which employ more than half of Mississippi's non-farm workforce.

I'm a small businessman myself, as well as a member of the Financial Services Committee in the House of Representatives, and I understand the commitment it takes to build a successful business on tight budgets and limited resources. This week, I introduced the Invest in Small Business Act of 2008 to make it less difficult for small businesses to raise seed money and get off the ground. My bill will help encourage investment in small businesses by making it easier for business owners to attract investors, cutting taxes on investors, and making more small businesses eligible for tax cuts.

By encouraging individuals and corporations to invest in small businesses, we can help strengthen the economy in North Mississippi and create jobs here at home. This legislation is especially important for communities that are working to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina and are counting on small businesses to create jobs and help their communities rebound.

However, small businesses are too important for us to stop there. I recently signed on as a cosponsor of the bipartisan Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Act to make it easier for small businesses to provide quality, affordable health care to their employees. By offering incentives such as tax credits to small business owners and self-employed individuals, as well as an option for small businesses to form statewide or nationwide purchasing pools, the act allows businesses to decrease costs and increase the accessibility of employee health care coverage.

Rising gas prices are also taking a toll on small businesses, and I'm committed to providing some relief. Last week, I held my very first tele-town hall to introduce my six-point energy plan and speak with the people of the First Congressional District about their energy concerns. During the call, a small trucking company owner from Marshall asked if I had any ideas to help smaller businesses afford skyrocketing diesel fuel prices, which are even higher than the price of regular gas.

To provide relief for farmers and truckers faced with the heavy burden of rising fuel costs, I proposed diesel tax credits as part of my energy plan. Offsetting these costs also means that increased diesel prices are not passed on to consumers at the grocery store.

I'll be working hard to pass the Invest in Small Business Act and other measures to promote the success of small businesses, and will continue to do everything I can to create jobs and improve job security in North Mississippi.

Congressman Travis W. Childers
First District, Mississippi

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

If this all the Mississippi GOP have, they are screwed

I wandered over to Y'all Politics tonight to what our right wing friends were up to. I expected to see mass pandemonium over there, considering their presidential candidate's implosion while Barack Obama looks like he is already President in the Middle East and Europe. Much to my disappointment no such luck in that regard. Digging deeper I find this submitted by the Mississippi GOP in response to Howard Dean coming to town. This post is from July 17.

I like Y'all Politics and this is not a slight on them. I would have posted it too, had I been in their shoes. But as far as the Mississippi GOP goes, this is pure comedy.

The Mississippi Republican Party joins Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Jamie Franks and U.S. Senate candidate Ronnie Musgrove in welcoming their leader, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean to Jackson on Friday.

"I'm thrilled that Howard Dean is coming to Mississippi. We wish he would come more often," Mississippi Republican Party Chairman-Elect Brad White said. "As a matter of fact, if he would like to stay for remainder of the election, we'll be happy to find him a place to stay."

Dean, known for his northeastern liberal views and disparaging comments about the South, will pass through the state on a cross-country voter registration effort for State Parties.
I love the "northeastern liberal views" part. You readers know it is your duty as a southerner to hate people from the northeastern United States, or at least that is what these jokers say. John Kennedy carried Mississippi. Bobby had no chance. Why the difference you ask? The Civil Rights Act, conceived by JFK and realized by LBJ gave birth to Richard Nixon's racially divisive, but winning "Southern Strategy" we still see, albeit in its waning days. It's nice to see our state GOP brain trust still thinks this form of divisive rhetoric, designed to summon our past demons as well as our current mistrust, is a solid message to attack Howard Dean. "You can't trust him, he is Yankee, and he is a liberal."

"When you look behind the curtain of the Mississippi Democratic Party that Ronnie Musgrove and Chairman Jamie Franks try to portray, you find that it is Howard Dean pulling the strings," White said. “They try to claim they are different and independent, but the national Democrats are running Ronnie Musgrove’s campaign, and when Howard Dean rides the Obama bus into town, is the Mississippi Democratic leadership hopping on board to get their orders.”

While Dean is selling his liberal brand of snake oil to the crowd in Jackson tomorrow, conservative U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker will be touring McNeely Plastics in Clinton, Mississippi, talking about job creation while receiving the endorsement of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association. Wicker’s event is open to the press.
Howard Dean has the Mississippi Democratic Party in the palm of his hand. He is the puppet master. If you believe that I have some ocean front property in Tippah County for sale, on the cheap. Spoken like a backwoods fire and brimstone preacher, the GOP press release characterizes Chairman Dean's politics as "snake oil". Please tell me you have something more to offer the voters of Mississippi, suffering from high gas prices, joblessness, the housing crisis, delayed or withheld Katrina reconstruction, and the loss of loved ones in the Middle East, than taunting that your opposition is selling "snake oil". Very weak.

Below are just a few past comments regarding Howard Dean and his questionable views on the South:

Dean In 2003: "White folks in the South who drive pick-up trucks with Confederate flag decals in the back ought to be voting with us, not them because their kids don't have health insurance, either, and their kids need better schools, too!" (CNN's "Crossfire," 2/21/03)
Howard Dean is dead on. The folks you see driving around with the rebel flags displayed are by far the working class, rural white voters who would benefit greatly by having access to health care, better schools, and affordable college for their children. The GOP has used racial fears to "enslave" this voting group using their own fears to serve as the shackles. These folks voted in high numbers for George W. Bush. What did he do for them? Besides reducing their access to grant money available for college, sending their children to war, increasing their share of the tax burden, taking away their ability to file for bankruptcy in most cases, or keeping minimum wage down until being forced by a Democratic Congress to raise it, I can't think of much he did for the rural working man in Mississippi.

This is just the first half of the post, read the rest at Y'all Poltics.

419,000 gallons of oil spilled into Mississippi River

While we sleeping last night a large ecological disaster happened in the Mississippi river around New Orleans. Close to a half million gallons of oil were spilled into the Big River when a barge collided with a Liberian oil tanker. CNN has the story:

The spill is much smaller than the ones that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the Coast Guard estimated that more than 7 million gallons of oil were dumped into the Mississippi and nearby waterways.

But Wilma Subra, a chemist who advises the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, said the oil could affect wildlife and work its way up the food chain into residents, many of whom fish for subsistence.

"This is a spill that occurred in a very urban area, and it can impact a very large number of people," she said.

The oil, widely used as marine fuel, is heavier than diesel but lighter than crude, and it is likely to stick to rocks, trees and wildlife, Stroh said.

Rich get richer, pay less taxes

The Wall Street Journal had an informative article on the newly posted income statistics by the IRS. The new figures are from 2006, the most recent data available. The data confirms what we already know. The Bush Tax Cuts have further widened the gap between the rich and the poor., and further lined the pockets of our top 1%.

In a new sign of increasing inequality in the U.S., the richest 1% of Americans in 2006 garnered the highest share of the nation's adjusted gross income for two decades, and possibly the highest since 1929, according to Internal Revenue Service data.

Meanwhile, the average tax rate of the wealthiest 1% fell to its lowest level in at least 18 years. The group's share of the tax burden has risen, though not as quickly as its share of income.


According to the figures, the richest 1% reported 22% of the nation's total adjusted gross income in 2006. That is up from 21.2% a year earlier, and is the highest in the 19 years that the IRS has kept strictly comparable figures. The 1988 level was 15.2%. Earlier IRS data show the last year the share of income belonging to the top 1% was at such a high level as it was in 2006 was in 1929, but changes in measuring income make a precise comparison difficult.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why Musgrove is a Democrat

There was a great interview of former Governor Ronnie Musgrove in the Delta Democrat Times. This excerpt of Musgrove explaining why he is a Democrat is insightful.

Note: The DDT interviewer make an invalid assumption that the GOP is the more fiscally responsible party. Funny thing, Bill Clinton is the most fiscally responsible President we have had in 30 years. That is a fact, Jack.

DDT: Speaking of the party, the term “fiscally responsible” and then some of your social positions don't really sound particularly in line with how most people see the Democratic party. What makes you a Democrat?

RM: There are a lot of things. Number one, the Democratic party stands for giving opportunity, economic opportunity, to all people.

I am a product of a big town, population: 42. My mom and dad never graduated from high school. Dad died when I was in the second grade, and my mom raised five of us.

And were it not for the fact that we live in the greatest country in the world, and policies that helped people like me go to college and to have opportunity, then I wouldn't be able to sit here and talk to you today. That's an important area.

My predecessor as governor (Republican Kirk Fordice) had put less than 1,000 children on the children's health insurance program. We retooled the program, and I added over 61,000 children to the children's health insurance program. It's opportunity, it's education, and it's the ability to take part of the American dream.

And yes, I've been endorsed by the NRA (National Rifle Association) in every race that I've run in. And I think that's very symbolic of Mississippi. It's my personal belief, and I think it's very representative, not symbolic. I think representative is a better word.

Likewise, I'm very conservative. I am pro-life, anti-gay marriage. And again, that's my personal belief, but I think it's also very representative of Mississippi.

And again, I think that people in Mississippi want someone who's going to stand up and represent them in the face of a Washington that is just broken and is not working.

It's not that there are just one or two problems today...For the sixth straight month, we've lost a tremendous number of jobs. The result of the borrowing and out-of-control spending has resulted in a very shaky economy, job opportunities that have been lost, trade agreements that haven't been negotiated for the best interests of our workers, a housing mortgage crisis. Available capital for someone trying to get into business or into the market (is) almost cut off.

Talk to car dealers and all, and they'll tell you it's hard to sell a car today because people have a hard time financing the car. And on top of all that, people see inflation at the highest rate it's been in years, and yet people's incomes have stayed stagnant or in fact gone down in comparison to inflation.

And Washington is sitting around and has not increased minimum wage. My opponent has been against the minimum wage every time, has not worked across the lines together to find solutions.

Monday, July 21, 2008

MS-01: DCCC locks in a million for Travis Childers advertising

Thanks to the diligence of the fellows at Swing State Project we have this good campaign finance news to report. The DCCC has locked in 1.06M in advertising for Travis Childers in his bid to defend his seat in the first congressional district, from once beaten Southaven mayor, Greg Davis.

As James at SSP points out, this does not mean the DCCC will spend the entire 1.06M. By reserving ad time early and in bulk, they qualify for reduced rates. Either way, money will be there from the DCCC for Travis if he needs it. Let's hope he does not need any help. Last report had Davis raising less than $10,000 in June, so maybe he is folding up tent?

One question for Republicans on ANWR and OCS drilling

Today Roger Wicker declared energy the number one issue. In this article in the Hattiesburg American, Wicker suggest the solution to the problem is more drilling.

Sadly Travis Childers and Ronnie Musgrove join their GOP colleagues Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker in support of offshore drilling. In Childers defense he released a six point plan that included a lot of sound measures like increased funding for alternative fuels, with drilling only being one part of six.

Folks, this is nothing more than a distraction from the real issue facing this country of ending our oil dependence. The George W. Bush appointed Energy Information Administration released a study that I already posted about once. I think this needs repeating. This is related to OCS drilling.

The projections in the OCS access case indicate that access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.

That aside I have one big question. Besides a few misguided southern Democrats this is completely a Republican issue. My question to all you Republicans:

Why did you not pass OCS or ANWR drilling during your six year period of dominance? The GOP owned the White House, the Senate, and the House, yet no drilling laws passed. Fast forward to now, and all I hear is that it is Bill Clinton or Barack Obama's fault that we have high gas prices because they opposed drilling. Huh? That does not compute. Someone from the right please explain.

The Day in Pictures

This was too good to pass up.

First Senator Obama and General Petraeus:

Then two grumpy old men:

Y'all Look Out For Super Exciting Posts In A Week

Lucky for me I'm off to another conference Wednesday with the United Methodist Church:

SEJ Convocation for Young People (I'm one of those younguns!)

What that means though is that I won't be able to post in the meantime so you're going to have to wait for great video clips from Netroots Nation and even better video from Gene Taylor's townhall today with a dozen congressmen including Speaker Pelosi.

A bonus clip will be Republican Insurance Commissioner saying nice things about Speaker Pelosi. I definitely thank him for giving me that exclusive (unless of course he's done the same elsewhere), but you're going to have to wait till next week to see it.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

List of Mississippi Starbucks Shutting Down

10385 I 55 & MAIN 1903 MAIN ST MADISON MS

The Huffington Post

Austin American Statesman Travesty Of An Article On Netroots Nation

I've submitted the following to the Austin American Statesman as a letter to the editor in response to an awful front page article:

I attended the Netroots Nation convention this past weekend and found Austin to be the wonderful place I remembered. Your people and local businesses were welcoming and lived up to the reputation of individuality and excellence.

Where I was disappointed was in the coverage of the conference especially seen in an article on the front page of the Statesman where writer Patrick Beach seems to have forgotten his role as a professional and instead tied together flippant statements that seemed to only serve to entertain the writer and reinforce his already held beliefs.

Under the guise of reporting on Al Gore’s surprise visit to the convention the writer proceeded to indicate that Speaker Pelosi holds communist Chinese views and other equally repulsive characterizations of convention attendees.

As a student of journalism at the University of Southern Mississippi I hope standards haven’t fallen that this kind of “news” is now acceptable.


I'll let y'all know if it or anything similar gets published.

Barack Obama addresses Netroots Nation via video

Read My Guest Column in the Clarion Ledger

In May I went to Washington as a student advisor for the Y2i program at the University of Southern Mississippi.

I accidently learned (like we didn't know already) the poor state of our current security measures:
The next day, the knife traveled through no fewer than five secure locations. I brought it into the U.S. Mint, the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian and I later gained admittance to the U.S. Supreme Court building standing feet away from the courtroom.

Most frightening, however, is that I went into the Dirksen Senate building, through its security, and met with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, all while I had a knife on my person.

It is with this in mind that I ask citizens to consider the actions of our government recently which it claims will protect us. Laws have been passed allowing government agents to tap into our phone calls, demand our records (without being required to tell those they're targeting), and detain U.S. citizens infinitely.

Read the entire column at the Clarion Ledger.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ronnie Musgrove needs your support, give now

Folks this race is getting serious. We are now less than four months away from election day. Former Governor Ronnie Musgrove has an opportunity to break preconceived beltway notions regarding the political leanings of this state. Poll after poll has Musgrove tied with replacement Senator Roger Wicker. Roger Wicker was appointed by our politically fading governor. North Mississippi thought so much of Wicker and the GOP they gave us Travis Childers in the special election to replace the seat vacated by Wicker.

This is not the time to sit on your hands and wait on others to save the day. There is no doubt the DSCC will be here with sacks of loot for political ads. That alone will not be sufficient. We have to show not only Roger Wicker, but our national party that we stand for change alongside Ronnie Musgrove.

Here are the latest Cash on Hand totals for the two contestants per Swing State Project:

Roger Wicker - - $2,953,000
Ronnie Musgrove - - $716,000

You can thank George W. Bush for $500,000 of that total according to reports. This is truly sad folks. We have a viable Democratic candidate for Senate that should win. Match these two up with even funding numbers and Roger Wicker is moving back to Lee County.

If you can spare a few bucks, please donate to the Musgrove for Senate campaign. With your help we will be celebrating President Obama and Senator Musgrove in November. Please give now while this race is still in our favor.

My contribution: $

The Best Folks Of Netroots Nation

Being the Mississippi Democrat at the liberal blogging convention makes me a little bit of a novelty and many folks hear Mississippi and ask if I write for Cotton Mouth? It's nice to see folks make the connection and remember us.

Folks who were nice and accommodating:

State Bloggers
Especially Ben Carnacki and Ryan McCleod
The Entire DFA Staff
All The Netroots Nation Scholarship Participants

Folks who didn't even acknowledge my presence when I walked up to them:

Sam Seder

Folks who rock:

Kid Oakland now working for Scott Kleeb
Bill Scher who ended up having dinner with my family and I by chance
All the fine folks who spoke with me at length and made this far more enjoyable than a series of panels

Roger Wicker on wrong side of 80-16 Senate vote on aid to those who need it most

Great news for those concerned about disease in third world nations. PEPFAR, created by President Bush is program will provide care for 12 million AIDS patients in the poorest areas of the world. This is a quality program that fits into the national security framework. It is in our best interest to not allow epidemics to destabilize an area, nation, or even region.

The program has received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Even Thad Cochran voted for the measure. Roger Wicker joined forces with Larry Craig and David Vitter to oppose the measure. Considering the fact that he does not care about the working man in the States, it is not hard to believe that he would not care about the poor abroad.

From the One campaign, an activist group dedicated to fighting poverty who pushed hard for the passing of this needed legislation:

“Even as Americans face serious concerns at home, the Senate has proved America’s commitment to providing lifesaving medicines to the world’s most vulnerable people. PEPFAR is an investment in people around the world; but it is also an example of America’s generosity and a critical piece of American diplomacy. By treating and preventing disease and saving lives, we can help to create more stable communities and a more secure future for Americans.

Senators Biden, Lugar and Reid are true heroes for their persistence and patience in passing this bill. This legislation received strong support from co-sponsoring Senators on both sides of the aisle, including both Presidential candidates.”
Nice vote Roger.

Current Panel: Whatever Happened to the Religious Left?

Rev. Osagyefo Sekou:

"My grandfather was both a railroad worker, a Pentecostal and a socialist" and they stood together in his hand.

Quoting the SCLC saying they were coming to redeem the soul of American.

"Are we willing to see Democracy as a meaning making activity (with the intent to expand rights for all)"

Ryan (?):

Frederick Clarkson's words:

"Charity is not to be confused with justice."

"Power is the ability to attain purpose."

"I can not find a single organization on the left where sustained electoral activity (is the central aim)"

"The religious left does not do democracy as well as the religious right (at least as far as electoral politics go.)"

Bob Barr Is At Netroots Nation: Feel The Liberty!


Bob Barr is the Libertarian nominee for President. He's from Georgia. His website.

I'll try to get a picture with him when the panel is over.


Last Night:

It was pretty cool.

I went to a private reception for Darcy Burner. She's a lady with class and guts and is going to be a great representative.

We then had a reception for many of the netroots candidates. I'm guessing it's one of the very few places where dozens of federal candidates can be found in one place other than the national party conventions.

Some of these folks will win and they will improve congress.

Friday, July 18, 2008

John Hlinko on Making Messaging Go Viral

John says a lot about how to get info across in a way that is entertaining or unusual or whatever so that not only do folks pay attention, but pass your message on.

I'll add video clips in a few days. I forgot a necessary cord at home. (Grrr.)

(oh, by the way. Everything I write about for the next few days are because I'm seeing them live at the Netroots Nation conference. I hope you enjoy it.)

Southern Bloggers Caucus

Didn't happen. Crap.

Last year it was on the official event calendar and had dozens of folks showed up.

I was actually a panelist.

This year there wasn't an official time, but we tried to do one anyway.

5 people showed up.

1 was in the wrong place.

Time to go somewhere else.

Markos Moulitas and Harold Ford At Netroots Nation

I'll soon be seeing Harold Ford (A former conservative Democratic congressman from Tennessee) and Markos Moulitas (The nations top liberal blogger).

I agree more with Harold on issues of faith. He's a christian and pro-life.

I agree with Markos more on issues of protecting citizens from corporations and the government.

I'll let you know what I think.

Update 1: Pretty boring so far. Kos is reasonable and plays well to the crowd. Ford talks a lot, but like a good politician he isn't saying a whole lot.

Update 2: We can overlook simple disagreements on policy, but we're looking for Democrats to stand up and be proud to be Democrats - Kos

Update 3: Ford makes a good argument in favor of FISA saying the government officials that order spying should be accountable; not corporations doing the will of their American government.

Update 4: Ford warns against attacking Democrats who fit their districts like Democrats for strong gun rights in the South.

Update 5: Kos says of elected officials "they work for us."

Update 6: Ford makes the point that Centrist Democrats and Liberal Democrats agree on much: universal healthcare, education, new energy, etc.

Public Question Portion:

1. How do we get more diversity in the netroots? Technology democratizes activism and blogging is just one small part of that. - Kos

2. Personal attack on Harold Ford. I have great respect for my former colleagues (from FOX News) - Ford. "I fit my district" - Ford

3. Attack on Obama saying he's going to the right. "I want to see Barack Obama elected president." - Ford

4. FISA longwinded monologue.

5. I hate this guy he talks too long and doesn't ask a question.

My tip is that they should have an egg timer so questions don't exceed 1 minute. It's annoying when people I don't care about hog the time.

Netroots Nation: Democracy For America Booth

You may recall that a big part of why I'm in Austin is due to the generosity of y'all and a scholarship y'all helped me get from Democracy for America.

I'm volunteering at their booth right now and they have a giant card for Howard Dean.

(I'll add a picture of it here later)

For those folks who donated to help me get here I've spent about $100 on gas and $30 on food. Thanks!

More soon...

CDC: Mississippi fattest state in the U.S.

For the 4th straight year Mississippi ranked as the most obese state in the nation according to a study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Several factors are in play here including, poor diet, poverty, and lack of education.

Read the full AP story here:

The 2007 findings are similar to results from the same survey the three previous years. Mississippi has had the highest obesity rate every year since 2004. But Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Louisiana have also clustered near the top of the list, often so close that the difference between their rates and Mississippi's may not be statistically significant.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Just because it's Friday

First this news:

Voters to decide: Bush memorial sewage plant?

San Francisco voters will be asked to decide whether to name a city sewage plant in honor of President Bush, after a satiric measure qualified for the November ballot today.

Backers of the measure, who for several months circulated a petition to place the measure on the ballot, turned in more than 12,000 signatures on July 7, said organizer Brian McConnell. The Department of Elections today informed those supporters, the self-proclaimed Presidential Memorial Commission, that they had enough valid signatures - a minimum of 7,168 registered San Francisco voters - to qualify for the November ballot, he said.

This one is for Chuck, Peckerwood, Reasonably Prudent Person, JD, Mathias, Mitchk and the rest if you Republican knuckleheads ;

New York Times on Netroot Nation 2008

Cotton Mouth founder John Leek is in Austin, Texas this weekend for the Netroots Nation 2008 conference. One thing is for sure, he will come back smarter than when he left. The New York Times examined both the netroots in general as well as the Netroots Nation 2008 gathering.

New York Times on Netroots Nation:

The convention, formerly YearlyKos and now Netroots Nation, or NN08, bills itself as “the most concentrated gathering of progressive bloggers to date.” About 2,000 bloggers, activists, office-holders, vendors and others are expected to attend, with 200 members of the mainstream media tracking them (yes, roughly one old-media type for every 10 new-media hipsters.).


Mr. Moulitsas said in an interview that like other bloggers, he is finding his own voice in the cacophony of the blogosphere.

“I’m positioning myself, at DailyKos, which isn’t the broader netroots, to not be carrying water for anybody,” he said. “We’ll work to keep our party honest. We’re not going to pretend that just because he’s Barack Obama, his actions aren’t sometimes problematic. But that doesn’t mean we’re abandoning him or that we won’t vote for him. That’s ludicrous.”

DSCC Ad In Support of Ronnie Musgrove

A tip of the hat to The Thorn Papers

Musgrove Nearly Bests Wicker In 2nd Quarter Fundraising

Daily Journal:
His Democratic opponent, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, whose fundraising lagged earlier this year, came close to matching Wicker's quarterly total - Musgrove raised $813,708 compared to Wicker's $822,476.

Musgrove actually outraised Wicker with $607,803 from individuals compared with $475,444.88 for his opponent.

This includes $200,000 from Wicker's President Bush Fundraiser. Apparently he needed the help.

That's good news. Donate to Musgrove in the right column; after all he came out for Net Neutrality today. A couple dollars goes a long way in Mississippi.

Breaking News: Ronnie Musgrove Voices His Support for Net Neutrality

“In such a short time, the internet has developed into a key tool for our free society. It has driven economic development, enabled innovation, stimulated political discussion and provided new forums for the exercise of our First Amendment right of free speech. Net Neutrality is vital to keeping the internet free and open, and protecting access to its information for all Mississippians and Americans.”

-Governor Ronnie Musgrove

Travis Childers introduces Invest in Small Business Act of 2008

Remember how a lot of our Republican commenter's said that electing a Democrat like Travis Childers would be bad news for small business owners? Travis Childers introduced legislation that would cut taxes on small business investors, as well as raising the threshold for a business to be considered a small business.

Read the whole story in the Daily Journal.

Rep. Travis Childers, D-Miss., a member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Invest in Small Business Act of 2008, which would make it easier for business owners to attract investors, cut taxes on investors and increase the number of small businesses eligible for tax cuts. Taxpayers that qualify under Childers' revised statutes would pay no taxes on capital gains.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cotton Mouth invited to the Big Tent

Thanks to Markos of Daily Kos and other premier bloggers we have a very cool blogger setup outside the convention in Denver. Cotton Mouth received an invitation to join the excitement of the Big Tent.

From the Big Tent Webpage:

The Big Tent will be the place to be for new media journalists, bloggers, reporters, and non-profit leaders covering the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.

We're creating a 9,000 square foot, two-story structure that will house the work space for journalists, bloggers and new media, a Digg Stage with prominent national leaders, as well as a Google Retreat with a YouTube kiosk where you can make your own YouTube videos. The Big Tent will be open throughout the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 25- 28.

In the New Media Lounge, your pass will be a ticket to to enjoy all the benefits of the blogger / new media lounge, including free WiFi, work space, television-coverage, as well as free food and drinks. And you get to hang out with some of the top bloggers, new media journalists, and non-profit leaders in the country.

MS-SEN: Roger Wicker's dirty fundraising

Roger Wicker has a nice edge in fundraising over Democratic challenger, former Governor Ronnie Musgrove. The race is tied according to last two polls. Musgrove is not going to be the most progressive Senate candidate ever, but he is a H*LL of a lot better than Rubber Stamp Roger Wicker.

We have blogged about Roger Wicker's abysmal voting record to the point we are blue in the face at Cotton Mouth. Today we find out that his fundraising is not only backed by special interests (Wicker is a king of pork, with a revolving door), but that Wicker is playing dirty pool.

The Musgrove for Senate campaign today filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) against Roger Wicker for accepting illegal campaign contributions. Wicker accepted contributions from individual donors and PACS in excess of the limit set by federal law by "double dipping" from two 2008 campaign accounts to fund his race for Senate.

Wicker violated federal election law by having contributors donate to his 2008 House reelection committee and his 2008 Senate election committee then combining the funds to exceed the limit allowed by law. This "double dipping" is illegal under federal elections law.

Following Wicker's transfer of $550,000 from his House Committee to his Senate Committee the FEC inquired about the funding. In response, Wicker said the transfers consisted solely of contributions from a previous election cycle. As the facts demonstrate, this was a false statement.

Wicker did not have adequate funding in his House account prior to the 2008 cycle to transfer the funds. Some of the contributions from the $550,000 transfer were matched in the senate account to exceed legal limits. The illegal contributions are listed below.

"Roger Wicker and his allies have proven that they will not let the law stand in their way in a desperate attempt to save a failing campaign. This type of Washington politics needs to change," Tim Phillips, Musgrove for Senate campaign manager said. "Rather than wait for the FEC to fine him, Wicker should return the illegal contributions."

The contributions received in excess of the contribution limits are listed below:
· $5,600 from Roy Anderson III: Wicker for Senate accepted contributions from Roy Anderson III totaling $4,600 during the 2008 election cycle. Friends of Roger Wicker accepted contributions from Roy Anderson III totaling $1,000 during the 2008 election cycle.
· $4,700 from Larry Homan: Wicker for Senate accepted contributions from Larry Homan totaling $2,700 during the 2008 election cycle. Friends of Roger Wicker accepted contributions from Larry Homan totaling $2,000 during the 2008 election cycle.
· $6,900 from W.D. Mounger: Wicker for Senate accepted contributions from W.D. Mounger totaling $4,600 during the 2008 election cycle. Friends of Roger Wicker accepted contributions from W.D. Mounger totaling $2,300 during the 2008 election cycle.
· Wicker Accepted $6,900 From Joe Sanderson: Wicker accepted $4,600 from Joe Sanderson on January 25 for his Senate campaign. He previously accepted $2,300 from Joe Sanderson for his House campaign bringing Sanderson's total contributions to $6,900.
· $5,500 from Todd Threadgill: Wicker for Senate accepted contributions from Todd Threadgill totaling $4,500 during the 2008 election cycle. Friends of Roger Wicker accepted contributions from Todd Threadgill totaling $1,000 during the 2008 election cycle.
· $15,000 from BanCorp South Bank PAC: Wicker for Senate accepted contributions from BanCorp South Bank PAC totaling $10,000 during the 2008 election cycle. Friends of Roger Wicker accepted contributions from BanCorp South Bank PAC totaling $5,000 during the 2008 election cycle.
· $13,800 from EADS North America: Americans for Competition in Aerospace PAC: Wicker for Senate accepted contributions from EADS North America: Americans for Competition in Aerospace PAC totaling $10,000 during the 2008 election cycle. Friends of Roger Wicker accepted contributions from EADS North America: Americans for Competition in Aerospace PAC totaling $3,800 during the 2008 election cycle.

MS-01: 2Q fundraising numbers out (updated)

Thanks to the guys at Swing State Project, who do a workmanlike job of compiling campaign finance reports into neat, easy-to-read charts, we have some good data to report. Last night at midnight was the FEC deadline to report the 2Q fundraising totals by congressional candidates. Here is what we have.

Travis Childers raised $1,032,000 from April 24 to June 30. His opponent Greg Davis raised $712,000 during the same period. The special election runoff was April 23, therefore the late start for the quarter. Childers has $161,000 Cash-on-Hand compared to $54,000 for Davis.

James at Swing State Project added this juicy detail after the original post.

Greg Davis' heart just isn't in it anymore. Despite raising over $700K from April 24 through June 30th, the Nathan Lane lookalike took in under $10,000 in the month of June.