Saturday, June 30, 2007

Exclusive Rickey Cole Video from Mississippi Municipal League Event

Rickey Cole spoke to the Mississippi Municipal League. Here's what he had to say:

Rickey Cole is running against Lester Spell who brought Mississippi the infamous "Beef Plant." He wants to bring needed leadership to the office to bring needed development to struggling communites and to take andvantage of emerging opportunities.

His website can be found at

Phil Bryant's First 4 TV Ad's

Bio Spot #1

Bio Spot #2

Illegal Immigration


1. It's odd to put them all out at once. He could get more free coverage if he staggered the placement. (Ex. Bio Spots launch on a Friday, Immigration on the next Monday, Testimonial on Thursday) This would generate more buzz and stories.

2. Same piano background music in all 4.

3. His name is repeated far more often in his ads than Charlie Ross' even though he has higher name ID. I'd say it's sound strategy.

Charlie Ross' Second TV Ad

Shorter: Be afraid, be very afraid AND yes you can shoot the guy knocking on your door.

This is from Mississippi Politics, though it isn't identified on the YouTube Page.


I'm going to a large outdoor festival in Hattiesburg now and will put up original video from that (in addition to one of Rickey Cole I still need to get up from the MML) over the next two days as time allows.

Update: I didn't get any good video from the event, sorry.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Charlie's Got a Donut

I have on good authority that Charlie Ross has adopted what is known as a "donut" strategy in his ad buy.

His buy has consisted of the early stuff which we are already seeing and a lot of reserved time in the weeks directly before the election.

He will go dark at some point in between. Look for that to happen mid-July.

If Ross manages to raise enough funding in addition to that which he has already raised to fill that 2-3 weeks time he will buy the time, but as of now he is scheduled to go black in between now and the primary.

You saw it first on Cotton Mouth.

Welcome Ana Maria to Cotton Mouth

I would like to welcome Ana Maria who is joining Cotton Mouth as a contributor. She will write primarily on issues related to insurance and coastal recovery.

She operates A.M. in the Morning! providing perspective from a Coast resident who is currently rebuilding and facing many of the issues around recovery and insurance first hand.

Selective Recovery on the Coast

Haley Barbour is going around the state saying that everything has turned around in the state since he took office and how he saved the Coast (with a little back pat thrown to the volunteers). (sarcasm alert) Isn't he awesome?

Bill Minor recently visited the Coast and described some of what he saw:
Ten minutes and a mile or so from the jangling slot machines of the pristinely restored row of casinos, you come upon the post-Katrina wasteland of East Biloxi where working-class neighborhoods stood two years ago and now, block-after-block, just gaping holes.
That's the painful dichotomy of Mississippi Gulf Coast "recovery." Some of our leaders like to say it's going well and that we just need to be patient.
He then gave perspective on how the money could have been spent:
Dr. Marianne Hill, senior economist for the state's Center for Policy Research and Planning, makes an intriguing assessment. She says that the $5 billion that Congress has made available to Mississippi for housing actually could cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing the entire 39,000 coastal area homes and rental units that received major damage.
Using pre-Katrina values of both owner-occupied units as well as rental units, Hill estimates that the cost to rebuild or repair should not exceed $3.5 billion.
So with the desperate need to provide hurricane-safe, affordable housing in the coastal area and available federal aid being channeled through the governor's office, why hasn't more genuine recovery progress been made other than the renewed glitz and jangle on Casino row?

Bill Minor's Aricle

Exclusive Jamie Franks Video From Mississippi Municipal League Event

Jamie Franks gave a 5 minute version of his stump speech as follows:

I've been hearing more good things about Jamie Franks from Republicans that about any other candidate. He has impressed them with his hardscrabble story, social conservative values, and his pro-consumer economics.

Give him a listen.

Mr. “I can do my job” isn’t doing his job

Mr. “I can do my job” isn’t doing his job
Our state’s insurance commissioner, George Dale, has been rather busy of late speaking before audiences spewing forth one or another talking points provided by the insurance industry with which he is in the preverbal political bed. In his latest appalling display of happily carrying water for the insurance industry, Dale told the Clarksdale Noon Lions Club Katrina [was] "the worst natural disaster in U.S. history . . . and put an undue burden on insurance companies.”

What?! This publicly elected official is unapologetically expressing concern over Katrina’s devastating impact . . . not for families, neighborhoods, communities, and cities all across the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, the state in which he is elected to protect consumers from corporate insurance running amok over them? That would be empathizing with the folks with whom we would expect him to empathize. After all, he is the insurance commissioner for the people of Mississippi.

No, sir. Dale has the gall to reserve his empathy for the industry which all through the Katrina ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast region has been ripping off consumers, families, businesses, right and left, Republican and Democrat, rich, poor and middle class. In his official capacity, Dale expresses concern for the corporations which boasted obscene billion dollar profits in the aftermath of . . . now, how did Dale characterize it? Oh yeah, “the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.”

A friend too shy for direct attribution and to whom I’ll refer to as a gloriously delightful celestial spirit who came to me in the night summarized Dale’s disgusting public betrayal in this manner.

”This is unbelievable. George Dale told the Clarksville Lions Club that Katrina ‘put an undue burden on insurance companies.’ If people pay premiums year in and year out, how is it an ‘undue burden’ for insurance companies to keep the faith with policy holders? I guess George thinks that it is an undue burden for a casino to have to pay off when someone pumps their dollars into a slot machine and hits the jackpot.” Read more . . .

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Exclusive Jeffrey Rupp Video from Mississippi Municipal League Event

Jeffrey Rupp was the second to give his stump speech at the MML yesterday. Unfortunately for him he followed directly after Max Phillips who couldn't quiet down his prop chicken.

Rupp's Campaign in Trouble?

Right of Mississippi posted earlier today that Rupp's campaign manager is leaving him.

An excerpt:
“Breaking news” out of Columbus, Rupp Campaign Manager Josh Blades has RESIGNED. Seemingly stalled fundraising success and Blades’ resignation could spell disaster for Jeffrey Rupp’s chances at the Republican nomination for Secretary of State.
With just over 40 days until the primary can ANY statewide campaign afford to lose their campaign manager?

Then he had the good fortune of having Rupp respond saying:
While we knew Josh’s departure would get the rumor mill going the truth is not nearly as exciting as the speculation. Josh has done a wonderful job creating a grassroots base for my campaign.We have mapped out a strategy from now through the primary. The remaining work will be public appearances and our media buys, etc., an area where I have more expertise than Josh.

Props to ROM for getting the candidate's response, but I agree with ROM it doesn't look good. A campaign manager doesn't often walk away from a winning campaign.

The Immigration Bill is Dead

Thad Cochran did the right thing and voted NO on this bill.

Trent Lott, unable to herd enough goats in favor of the bill, voted in favor siding with corporate interests.

The Washington Post Article

The Mississippi Municipal League Event

Some Observations:

- Barbour scheduled his appearance so that it would come during the luncheon event Wednesday. This way he guaranteed a crowd. All the other candidates had to speak at a seperate "stump speaking" event after the luncheon.

- Barbour went further into the story of Marsha Barbour and her heading down with the State Troopers after Hurricane Katrina. In his story he told of poor folks with twisted trailers and caved in roofs. He said he was touched by how selfless they were. (These are the same folks the Barbour tried to kick off Medicaid so he obviously doesn't care about them that much. They do make a good story though.)

- Other than the story he just said the same things he has been saying including, but not limited to, how absolutely wonderful everything is for everyone in Mississippi. (I think a sizable number of Mississippians would disagree.)

- I watched the state office candidates watch as all the folks left who they had been hoping to speak to either heading back to hotels or the casinos. (the folks are city officials from every community in the state)

- At the "stump speaking" event almost everyone there was a candidate or was specifically there with a candidate.

- Marty Wiseman is a great host and moderator and Todd Brand acknowledged him as one of the folks he had learned under. Wiseman was actually on Brand's doctoral committee.

- The candidates made mention of how they were only speaking to themselves several times and overall the speeches were good.

- In the props department Max Phillips featured a rubber chicken, Mike Chaney had a toy monkey, and one of the transportation commissioner candidates held up a newspaper to highlight some point.

- One candidate each from the Northern and Southern Transportation Districts played off their weight in promising the most transportation commissioner for the votes.

- Feel free to include your observations in the comments section.

Exclusive George Dale Video from Mississippi Municipal League Event

George Dale was not on the program to speak, but after a candidate didn't show up they allowed him to take their place. He spoke after Chaney and Anderson.

"I'm George Dale running for Commissioner of Insurance and I don't intend to blame anything on my predecessor." :) (Dale is the longest serving statewide elected official)

I felt his speach was the best of the three. However, his time has passed and we need new leadership on Insurance which Sen. Chaney correctly pointed out is a huge and growing expense for all Mississippians.

Update 6/29/07: Cotton Mouth contributor Ana Maria offers This Analysis of George Dale

Exclusive Gary Anderson Video from Mississippi Municipal League Event

Gary Anderson is running against incumbent George Dale for the Democratic nomination for Insurance Commissioner.

In much of the video you can see George Dale in the lower right hand corner. He sat to the side of the room and listened to the Republican And Democratic candidates who are vying for his seat.

Exclusive Mike Chaney Video From Mississippi Municipal League Event

This is the second half of Mike Chaney's stump speech. (I pulled out the camera when he pulled out a monkey)

"I don't know how you can take money from a company you're regulating, as a legislator it was hard for me to do." (he was cut off at this moment by the person keeping time.

I found it interesting that in a part of the speech I didn't record (apologies) he pretty much endorsed Dale for the position of Insurance Commissioner which is the postition Chaney is running for as a Republican.

(I failed to catch video of Chaney throwing the monkey into the crowd.)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Teaser:

Cotton Mouth will put up *Exclusive* video of Dale, Anderson, and Chaney at the Mississippi Municipal League tommorow about noon time. Other *Exclusive* video will be posted later in the day.

I know you'll enjoy it.

Mona Pittman: Education Is Her Passion

Soon after Mona Pittman moved to the community of Batesville she was approached by the mother of a student in need of help. From that day Mona Pittman took a keen interest in public education and the welfare of youth in Panola County.

With the desire there Mona Pittman needed an outlet for her passion. She found that outlet when Denis Hoskins spoke to the local Rotary Club about Boys and Girls Clubs. She and six others made it their mission to start a local chapter of the positive place for kids. With their hard work and her additional legal know how they started what was then the Batesville Boys and Girls Club.

As the organization grew in area and number of kids served the church owned property that they were meeting at was simply inadequate. The seven then saw an opening. The local armory had vacated their old building and they saw it as an excellent place to move so that they could help more kids. There was one small wrinkle in that for them to take over the building a local-private bill would have to be passed. To accomplish this two Boys and Girls Club supporters including a local bank president went to see their Senator, Finance Committee Chair Nolan Mettetal. When they tried to meet with him he was unhelpful and combative responding to them as if they were burdening him. They found another legislator who then sponsored the bill and got it passed.

The Boys and Girls Club of Batesville has been renamed The Boys and Girls Club of Northwest Mississippi to properly reflect the breadth of its reach. The original chapter now features positive, educational programming for nearly 200 youth and the community is the better for it.

In addition to working to help the disadvantaged youth in her community, she has also worked to strengthen public schools. She serves as current president of one of here children's local Booster Clubs and as treasurer of another. Mona Pittman cares deeply about the future of our children and our state and she is easily the best candidate for Senate District 10. She deserves your vote and support.

Barbour Abandons Delta While Continuing to Fundraise There

The Delta Democrat Times has an editorial describing their attempt to allow Barbour to give his plans for the Delta. Hint: He doesn't have any. Here are some excerpts:
Twice in the last four days, he has been asked specifically, by the Delta Democrat Times, what his plans for the Mississippi Delta are.

In both cases, he responded by saying, “I am more concerned with Southwest Mississippi right now.”

It's one thing to have told that to a media gathering in Biloxi Friday, but Barbour also said that Monday at a Republican fundraiser at the Greenville Golf and Country Club.
But a quote from Barbour's state of the state speech shows that he is aware he should be willing to work on more than one region of Mississippi at a time.

“Our incentives must be flexible enough to serve every area of the state. In a state as large and diverse as ours, one size does not fit all in economic development.”

However, he continues to leave out the Mississippi Delta.

Haley Barbour likes to talk about all that Mississippi has given America. Maybe, just maybe it is time that we worked to find an economic solution for one of our most culturally important parts of the state; the Delta.

The Delta Democrat Times Article

Eaves Issues Statement On Non-Debate

You may recall us being the first to report that the Mississippi Press Association had changed the format from "debate" to "forum" to protect Barbour.

Or you may recall the MPA's oh-so-witty reply to our breaking news that they had changed the format from "debate" to protect Barbour.

The Eaves Campaign has issued a statement (via press release) on the matter. Here are some excerpts:
“I was looking forward to giving the people of this state a chance to really compare where Haley Barbour and I stand on the issues that affect the lives of all Mississippians,” said Eaves. “The only way to do that is through a real debate, and while some people call this race a David vs. Goliath fight, the so-called Goliath keeps running away scared!”

During a normal debate format, Eaves would have had the opportunity to rebut misleading information provided by Barbour. However, because of the change in format that apparently came at the request of the governor, there was no debate.

“Gov. Barbour wants to paint a rosy picture about Mississippi’s economy, but the truth is we have the second highest unemployment rate in the country,” continued Eaves. “Under Barbour’s administration, unemployment has gone up, and we have a higher unemployment rate than Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Furthermore, everyone knows that good jobs start with a good education, and in the last four years college tuition has gone up 25 percent.”

A debate would have allowed for Eaves to confront Barbour with the tough questions. Instead reporters at the MPA event treated him with kid gloves failing to even ask him about his niece Rosemary Barbour being investigated by the FBI and having her offices raided the day before the forum.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Haley Leaves Out Some Key Economic Facts

“Mississippi's economy and, generally, life in Mississippi right now is about as good as it's ever been.” - Haley Barbour

When Haley Barbour says that we've never had it so good it would be could to stop and consider where we are.

Our state unemployment rate has actually increased under the eye of Haley Barbour. When he took office in 2004 Mississippi's unemployment rate was 36th in the nation; today Mississippi weighs in at 49th beaten only by Michigan.

Hurricane Katrina cannot be blamed.

Louisiana was 40th in the nation and now they stand at our old position at 36. Their unemployment rate improved from 6.1 percent to 4.8 percent with each 1/10 of a percentage point representing thousands of jobs. Mississippi's rate worsened to 6 percent placing it as stated previously at 49th.

Hell Freezes Over

MS GOP and NAACP Take Joint Action

Both ask to intervene in a lawsuit that has been decided by activist Judge Pepper.

From the Sun Herald Article:
Wallace said the Republican Party "seeks only to be left alone to conduct Republican primaries" under the law as exists until the Legislature changes it.

The NAACP, in documents filed by former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Fred Banks Jr., said voter ID "could harm participation of many voters who are elderly and poor - a disproportionate number of whom are African-American."

Banks said voter ID is not necessary to enforce problems Pepper found with the Democratic primaries. The court, Banks said, "should not coerce the state Legislature into such a sweeping change in electoral practices when the change is unnecessary to cure the violation."

The Sun Herald Article

(You know you enjoyed the headline)

Why I Disagree With The Red/Blue Blog

I want to first thank Jere Nash for linking here as a website to go to for political news. We appreciate the recognition. This was especially good of him seeing as it came after I posted this attack on the Red/Blue blog.

The Clarion Ledger's idea of a source where you could get the Republican (Red) and Democratic (blue) positions on an issue is a good one. The execution is bad.

As I said before Andy Taggart does an excellent job. His posts promote Republicans or attack Democrats and are written in a way that is easily readable and are clear in their partisanship.

Jere Nash draws from a strong grasp of state politics and history and is a Democrat, but he does not argue the Democratic postion well or even consistently.

When Jere Nash posts an issue post often Andy Taggart will step in with a rebuttal. When Andy Taggart posts a clear attack on Democrats often Jere Nash will step in to add details, but fail to defend Democrats.

Jere Nash is clearly very bright and very articulate. His analysis in his own seperate space would be a valuable addition to the political discourse. Unfortunately in his current position he makes poor use of his position for Democrats in this most critical of election years.

Hosemann: Pointless Fear Monger

Republican Delbert Hosemann who is running for Secretary of State isn't making a lot of sense.

First, like apparently all Republicans running for anything from Lt. Governor to dog catcher, he thinks that he has a plan to stop the brown people* from entering our state. Since when was it state responsibility to set immigration policy? Furthermore since when did it become a responsibility of the office of Secretary of State?

Now Hosemann inventing controversy. He says "if the election doesn't turn out on Aug. 7 like they want it, then they're going to call for another election." That's complete bull and he knows it. He knows it will get headlines and promote his image as a partisan Republican and that is why he is going through with this pointless exercise.

I hope that Republican voters haven't added telling half truths and lies to the necessary qualifications for a Secretary of State.

*I realize I shouldn't call them "brown people," but I use this as a jab at folks who attack illegal immigration when they IMHO would oppose their entry even if they were legal. A lot of the anti-illegal immigrant feelings and rhetoric are only meant to stir up racism for votes.

Litigation Brings Justice to Allstate Policyholders

The Scruggs Katrina Group and Allstate Insurance Co. reached a settlement Zack Scruggs announced Monday.

From The Sun Herald:
Scruggs said a tentative agreement was reached two weeks ago and finalized Monday. Terms are undisclosed, including the number of disputed claims settled. The group had filed 280 lawsuits against Allstate in U.S. District Court in Gulfport, but the agreement also covers policyholder claims that have not resulted in lawsuits.

Allstate spokesman Mike Siemienas said, "We are pleased that these customers, who join the 99 percent of Allstate customers in Mississippi whose claims are settled, can move on with their lives...We will continue to work until all claims are resolved."

While George Dale and the Insurance industry push unfair mediation Mississippi attorneys are making things right.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why Don't State Republicans Agree With Barbour?

Charlie Ross disagrees with Haley Barbour.

Phil Bryant disagrees with Haley Barbour.

Jeffrey Rupp disagrees with Haley Barbour.

Delbert Hosemann disagrees with Haley Barbour.

Mike Lott disagrees with Haley Barbour.

I'm having difficulty finding a Republican who agrees with Haley Barbour on this issue.

Haley Barbour opposes mandatory voter ID.

At the Mississippi Press Association "forum*" he had this to say:

“I do think, the courts saying it has to be a photo ID, is probably farther than we need to go at the beginning…Maybe ten years from, we would make it a photo ID, I don’t think that’s necessary at the beginning.

It appears he is more in line with Democrats running statewide than Republicans. His example of bringing in a utility bill is one I've heard several Democrats give.

How do ya like them apples?

*The "forum" had been scheduled to be a debate but likely Barbour pressure changed the format so that he would not have to acknoledge John Arthur Eaves. Click Here For More Info

I Oppose The Immigration Bill

There are many reasons to oppose the immigration bill being considered in the Senate right now. Here are a few of those reasons:

- It doesn't secure our borders.

- It doesn't give us a long term solution the the problems around immigration legal and illegal.

- It establishes a guaranteed lower class robbing those people of dignity and creating a permanent underclass.

- It does not provide a more streamlined and straightforward path to citizenship that is necessary.

- It will help destroy the last remaining skills training base this country has by farming out skilled labor jobs like carpentry by lowering wages and declaring that those jobs are now "jobs Americans won't do."

- It's a sham of a mockery of a mockery of a sham.

George Bush is wrong on this bill. Ted Kennedy is wrong on this bill. Trent Lott is wrong on this bill.

I'll end by quoting blogger "Trapper John" in saying "Mend it, or we're going to end it."

Good News In The Struggle For Equality

Black College Enrollment Up 52% Over Last Decade

A combination of higher entrance into historically white public universities and an overall decrease in the proportion of the population that is black has led to record levels of black college enrollment.

From the AP article:
For the first time ever in the South, blacks are as well represented on college campuses as they are in the region's population as a whole — something not yet true of the country overall.
Still, the report reflects the reality that many more Southern blacks are enrolling in college. In those states, about 1.1 million black students were enrolled in college in the fall of 2005, 52 percent more than a decade earlier.
"We've removed a lot of the barriers and accepted that we will have to provide higher levels of learning support in the short-term," said Erroll Davis, who oversees the 33 institutions in the University System of Georgia, noting minority students arrive on campus with lower levels of college preparedness on average.

Overall, blacks represent 31.4 percent of all Georgia college students, about 1 percent higher than the proportion in the overall population. The proportion of blacks in the state university system is about 24 percent _ higher than a decade ago but still below the population as a whole.

We should celebrate good news when we get it and this is great. As we move forward it is necessary that we fully fund education and secure even better teachers so that all students will be prepared should they go on to college.
The AP Article

Sunday, June 24, 2007

FBI Raids 2 More Of Barbour's Offices

The offices of Alcatec LLC, owned by the wife of Haley Barbour's nephew Hinds County Supervisor Charles Barbour, in Flowood and Jackson were also searched with an investigation concerning Katrina contracts.

From the Clarion Ledger:
Search warrants were served Thursday at Alcatec's locations in Flowood and Jackson, FBI spokesman Keith Moses said. An office in Brooklyn, south of Hattiesburg, also was searched that day.

Agents with the Department of Homeland Security's office of the inspector general joined the search. The agency oversees the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Moses said he could not specify what was seized because the warrants were sealed.

They've interviewed former employees and searched 3 offices. Any attempt now to make this look like a simple misunderstanding will just look silly. There is obviously an investigation going on.

The Hattiesburg American Article

Ross Wants Stubborn Leadership; Franks Wants A Diverse Mississippi

In the Mississippi Press Association debate (like it should be and not a Barbour demanded forum) the candidates differed greatly on how they would choose committee chairman, arguably the most important thing a Lt. Governor will do in their term.

Republican Charlie Ross promised to appoint chairmen who share his views. He also made a point of saying that his views shouldn't be influenced by others' opinions when making the decisions over committee chairmen. He's either showcasing his ability to be as stubborn as a goat in not taking into consideration others' opinions or he's not being completely truthful. I hope it's the later because we don't need another in office as stubborn as our president.

Democrat Jamie Franks promised diverse leadership that represented Mississippi. He promised that both black and white senators would be represented amoung the chairs. In a great show of bi-partisanship and his desire to make government work he also indicated that if elected Republicans would not be shut out of those seats. Franks was most specific when he stated that Sen. Tommy Robertson would NOT be returning as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Roberson has been very much a lapdog of Haley Barbour and after early support for the tax swap was instrumental in killing it.

Republican Phil Bryant declared his intention to include many groups, specifically including teachers (who by his own admission have been ignored by many Republicans), in the decision making process. This is just a cop-out. He could have indicated the kind of people he would support, but instead he indicated that he'd wait till after the election to decide.

Source Material included this Hattiesburg American Article.

Clarion Ledger Blog Acknowledge Our Influence

Recently Jere Nash on Red/Blue blog hosted by the Clarion Ledger posted sites of note to go to for political coverage and discussion. We were included in that list:
From the left there is hosted by John Leek, a student at USM and which is hosted by the folks at the Jackson Free Press. From the right there is hosted by Alan Lange, a local businessman. If you want to follow the latest in the war between Charlie Ross and Phil Bryant, this site usually has a thread of comments going all the time about what each of the campaigns are up to. There is also hosted by Brett Kittredge, a student at Ole Miss, who does a good job of following some of the GOP campaigns.
We were also linked to by the State Government blog for our hosting the Lott Immigration ad.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Eaves Speaks From His Convictions At MS Press Non-Debate

Appearing at the Mississippi Press Association non-debate Eaves spoke of how his faith inspires his politics. He made clear that it is necessary to provide healthcare for all children and that volunteer led prayer must be allowed to return to the schools.

Here are a couple choice excerpts from an article by The Sun Herald's Geoff Pender:
"Honestly, I don't believe we can gamble our way toward prosperity anywhere in Mississippi," Eaves said. "Our first priority on the Coast should be helping people get back into homes rather than helping the casinos send their money back to Las Vegas."


The conference, which continues through the weekend, is being held at Beau Rivage Resort and Casino. Eaves said this made him feel like "Daniel going into the lions' den," because he has vowed not to accept casino campaign contributions.

Barbour has received hundreds of thousands of casino industry contributions which have been hidden by funneling those monies thought the Republican Governors' Association. They are rewarding him for successfully pushing to allow the Coast's casinos to come on land.

The Sun Herald Article

Jerry Lee Lewis: Sunday Afternoon Mississippi Music

The great Jerry Lee Lewis sings "Haunted House" and "Great Balls of Fire."

Jerry Lee Lewis is originally from Nesbit, MS in DeSoto County near Memphis, TN.

More information on him can be found HERE or HERE.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gary Anderson is Ready To Serve

Gary Anderson recently sat down with reporter Adam Lynch from the Jackson Free Press for an interview. The following are some excerpts:

Gary Anderson on What He'd Do:
My background includes economic and community development, and I look forward to marketing this state and its $10 billion book of business for insurance. If a company feels like they have insured enough people and don’t want to insure any more, I’m not going to fall down on my knees, beg and plead with them. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and get busy replacing them, getting more companies in here who will aggressively fight for and seek out the business that another company may spurn. This book of business is not as large as that of some other states, but it’s still plenty big. We have a lot of good people in this state who are not committing fraud against the insurance company, and the companies should want to do business here.

Gary Anderson on Race:
People make decisions on who they vote for based on any number of reasons: Whether the person looks good in their eyes; whether or not the person is tall or short; and yes, sometimes it creeps in whether or not a person is of a certain color or ethnic background. I realize those are some limitations in the state. But let me tell you this: I also realize that the majority of Mississippians are kind-hearted people who want good things to happen in our state. I believe that the best in the state is to come. We haven’t lived our best, yet. We’re going to see our best in the future, and I hope to be a contributor to that future when that time comes.

Gary Anderson on Dale and Insurance:
We’re just calling it like it is. We’re not trying to duck and dodge this issue. We know the insurance industry is financing his campaign. Just last week, I received a letter that one of his close friends in the insurance industry had sent out across the state saying: “We need to stand up for George because George has been good to us. He’s been communicating well with the insurance industry.” In that letter, this person asked for 200 agents to stand up for George and give $1,000 a piece, and write private checks in the amount of at least $1,000. The letter also asked insurance companies to give corporate checks in the amount of $1,000 to raise the $250,000 that he needs to fight off this Democratic opponent, referring to me. So, you know, when I see letters like that and I hear the commission say he only accepts a little money from the insurance industry, I can’t help but think that somebody’s having a difficult time telling the truth.
The entire is titled "The Regulator" and can be found by clicking THIS LINK.

FBI Raids Barbour Office

The offices of Alcatec LLC, owned by the wife of Haley Barbour's nephew Hinds County Supervisor Charles Barbour, were searched with an investigation concerning Katrina contracts.

From The Hattiesburg American:
The agents would not disclose what documents they were looking for.

FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said she could only confirm that "the FBI is conducting a court-approved search at a place of business today (Thursday)." She said further details were not available.
Former Alcatec supervisor Ray Goldman said FBI officials interviewed him earlier this year for information on the company.

"They were looking for copies of paperwork - anything that would substantiate that Alcatec was asking employees to alter documents," Goldman said Thursday. "They were looking for some kind of substantial proof or document that Alcatec was looking to charge FEMA (money) for something that didn't happen."

Rosemary Barbour's Alcatec has received $28 million in contracts related to Hurricane Katrina.

The Hattiesburg American Article

Republican Senator Coburn Blocks Bill That Would Bring Justice

Yesterday (the 21st of June) was the anniversary of two important events in Mississippi history.

The first was that of the kidnapping and murder of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi. They were killed while working for civil rights in 1964

The second (and one we Mississippians are a lot more proud of) is that of the conviction of Edgar Ray Killen for those crimes in 2005.

On that day (yesterday) the United State Senate was to have passed a bill providing funding for quickly revisiting many of the old civil rights murders. There is an urgency because many of the witnesses are now dying off and the work needs to be done now or never.

After passing in the House of Representatives 422-2 with the entire Mississippi delegation supporting, Senator Tom Coburn announced that he will place a hold on the bill citing his concern for the cost (Roughly $10 million).

Isn't it worth the cost to finally bring justice?

Isn't it worth the cost to demonstrate again and again how far we have come as a country where we refuse to tolerate that someone can get away with murder based on the skin color who they murdered?

You can call Senator Coburn and ask him to release his hold at (202) 224-5754.

If this bill is allowed to come to the Senate it will easily pass.

Barbour Has His Way With The Facts On Charlie Rose

Haley Barbour recently appeared on the PBS show "Charlie Rose." In it he made himself out to be the hero of Mississippi. He had come in and saved us and everything was doing better. He was the ultimate in smooth and the host let him have his way.

Bill Minor offers his take:
And here's Barbour again, telling Rose that the surprise to him after taking office was having to contend with partisanship in the Legislature - "particularly the House of Representatives" and its speaker, Democrat Billy McCoy, said Barbour.

Mind you, this comes from the longtime professional Republican operative, who is the first Mississippi governor to install partisan politics in the Legislature. So much so that he had a staff member monitor House floor debates and send e-mails to Republican members, telling them how to vote. And if a Republican lawmaker voted the wrong way, Barbour went into his district to blast him.

Contrary to Barbour's contention, Speaker McCoy, the combative old hill country Democrat, assured Republicans were well represented on committees. Seven House committees are chaired by Republicans, including such major committees as Insurance, Banking, Public Buildings and Oil and Gas.

Bill Minor's Article

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Trent Lott Immigration Roundup: "Goats"

First, Trent's "Goats" remarks have made the rounds appearing accross the net:
The story that started it all

Laura Hipp has it up at the Clarion Ledger

We put up our original post. (I read it in the Sun Herald at breakfast.)

This influential political website (PoliticalWire) picked it up from us.

So did influential progressive blogging hub Daily Kos

A simple search of Google shows many more results."

My favorite response so far though is this: Photoshop of Lott's book on RightOfMississippi

And I might as well show my support for NAVY with Billy the Goat: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Gene Taylor And Ethically Employing Your Own Family

Wednesday' Sun Herald article based on information from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington stated that incumbent congressman are enriching themselves by paying family members from their campaign payrolls.

As the Sun Herald reported, Rep. Gene Taylor has paid family members for campaign work, but here is why (though left unclarified in the report) it is not unethical and should perhaps be applauded.

His wife and daughter who have both recieved minimal payments are doing the tasks for LESS than could be expected if they had hired someone else to do it.

For a total of $44,794 his wife and daughter together ran his campaign and raised $428,332. I'd say that is quite a deal.


Kathleen Koch who is a Southern Miss Alum and reporter for CNN had this report:

Notable Quote: June 21, 2007

"If the answer is 'build a fence' I've got two goats on my place in Mississippi. There ain't no fence big enough, high enough, strong enough, that you can keep those goats in that fence."

"Now people are at least as smart as goats," Lott continued. "Maybe not as agile. Build a fence. We should have a virtual fence. Now one of the ways I keep those goats in the fence is I electrified them. Once they got popped a couple times they quit trying to jump it."

"I'm not proposing an electrified goat fence," Lott added quickly, "I'm just trying, there's an analogy there."

- Trent Lott 6/20/07

From The Sun Herald

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Damage Phil Bryant's Car Did To Jamie Franks' Truck (with pictures)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Scratches On The Exterior
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
BIG Dent (right rear)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Jamie Franks' Truck For Sure

Our Original Scoop Story

Tuition Hike Hurts Families And State Economy

The Eaves Campaign released this statement on the tuition increase approved today:

“Under the current administration, public college tuition in Mississippi has increased by 25 percent. The cost of a college education is quickly becoming out of reach for middle-class, working families in Mississippi,” Eaves said. “We have provided tax relief to big corporations who want to build plants in our state, and we have an obligation to provide tax relief that makes a quality college education affordable to all Mississippians who work hard and play by the rules.”

“Higher education results in better wages, increased productivity and an increase in tax revenue for the state, and those things bring about a better quality of life for all Mississippians,” Eaves said. “Education is the future of our economy. We should not tax our future.”

I particularly agree with the part about education spurring development. We should not fight for low skill jobs because many of those jobs are the ones that can be easily moved to other countries. Quality companies are attracted most by good infrastructure and an educated workforce. Home grown businesses grow best under those conditions also.

Washington Post Profiles Struggling Mississippi Towns

The Washington Post has an article out today titled "A Slow Demise in the Delta." Here are a several excerpts:
Many of these towns are trapped in a long, painful death spiral, plagued by poverty, crime and unemployment. More than 100,000 people -- nearly a quarter of the population -- have fled in recent decades in search of a better life.

"It's just a sad situation," said Judy Hill, who leads a women's group that is desperately trying to rescue what is left of the small agricultural town of Shelby, which has a cotton gin, two liquor stores and not much else. "There's no industry, no factories, no hope for the future, nothing to keep the people here. And what the answer is, I don't know."
A few years back, Grim, Hill and a cluster of other spirited women formed a group called Shelby Women United to tackle the town's problems. With a state grant and a lot of elbow grease, they helped transform an old train depot into a library. Volunteers tore down 80 dilapidated buildings and removed abandoned cars. Now, the group is searching for ways to attract businesses and start a chamber of commerce.

"The goal is to get one new business to go into one of these abandoned buildings," said Hill, 66, who moved to Shelby nine years ago and is white. "That would be a good start."
Pat W. Denton, who is from a prominent white Shelby farm family, recently moved to Cleveland, Miss. He still rents out 1,600 acres back home and is part owner of the local cotton gin. "When I was a kid we had theaters, service stations and steakhouses in Shelby," he said. "Now, it's just going down."

As farmers shift from cotton to corn to take advantage of higher prices, even the cotton gin is emptying out. "We used to do 35,000 bales," Denton said. "We might do 15,000 this year."

Said Judy Hill: "That's what's happening all over. These Delta towns, they're just folding up."

We have a crisis in leadership. Haley Barbour has given up on rural Mississippi and Lester Spell can not be found when the small farmer or producer needs help.

We need new leadership. People like John Arthur Eaves will bring the technology necessary to rural areas to make business more viable. Rickey Cole, a candidate for Secretary of Agriculture and Commerce, will help to push for the programs that will bring rural Mississippi into the world economy instead of being left in the dust.

Numbers USA Anti-Lott TV Ad

A group that characterizes itself as an "immigration-reduction organization" has ads on Mississippi television and at least the Clarion Ledger website.

I apologize for missing the beginning of the ad. If you've got a better copy I'll link to it. :)

Numbers USA Website

Information on Numbers USA

American Greetings To Say Goodbye To Mississippi

From the Meridian Star article:
American Greetings Corp. is closing its Philadelphia plant, leaving about 140 full-time employees without a job.

Plant officials informed employees on Monday of the company’s decision to close, but a definite date to cease operations has not been set.
Philadelphia Mayor Rayburn Waddell said the plant opened in 1981. Until May of 2005, the plant was located on the Choctaw Indian Reservation.

“It’s sad for the employees because some of them have worked there all their lives,” Waddell said. “It’s very disappointing.”
While politicians like Haley Barbour like to trumpet new jobs (bought at great expense to the taxpayer), you will likely not see them speak of the smaller employers that are shutting down.

Haley Barbour actually opposed the Wellspring Project and fought for the very trade agreements (like NAFTA) that have led to many employers moving Mississippi jobs to foreign countries.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I hate to hit and run, but...

A source tells Cotton Mouth that Phil Bryant backed into Jamie Franks' truck outside the Mississippi Coast Coliseum after the debate they were both at today on the Coast.

More details will be added as they come available.

- Cotton Mouth

(please leave any information you have concerning this in the comments)

Tobacco-Free Kids Find No Ally In Barbour

Mississippi Supreme Court Ruling Puts Obligation on Legislature, Governor To Continue Funding Tobacco Prevention

Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

It is deeply disappointing that Governor Haley Barbour’s single-minded campaign to destroy Mississippi’s highly successful tobacco prevention program has resulted in a state Supreme Court ruling denying continued funding for the program without legislative action. Governor Barbour, a former tobacco lobbyist, bears responsibility for destroying one of the nation’s most successful tobacco prevention programs.

If Governor Barbour’s real concern was legislative authority over tobacco settlement funds, as he claims, he would not have vetoed legislation approved last year to provide legislative authorization and oversight for the state’s tobacco prevention programs or vigorously opposed similar legislation this year. With the Legislature having completed its work for the year, the state Supreme Court ruling means that a program that was making an enormous difference will no longer be funded. Governor Barbour’s actions have benefited the tobacco companies he used to represent at the expense of Mississippi’s kids, health and taxpayers.

Unless the Legislature and Governor act, this decision means that Mississippi is no longer keeping the promise it made to the state’s children to dedicate a significant portion of tobacco settlement proceeds to fund programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit. We urge the Mississippi Legislature at its earliest opportunity to enact legislation providing $20 million in annual funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and to override Governor Barbour’s veto if necessary. Unless funding for these programs is reinstated, Mississippi will pay a high price with more kids smoking, more lives lost to tobacco and higher health care costs paid by taxpayers.

By dedicating $20 million in tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention programs, Mississippi had become a national leader in protecting kids from tobacco. The state’s programs reduced smoking by 48 percent among public middle school students (from 23 percent in 1999 to 12 percent in 2004) and by 32 percent among public high school students (from 32.5 percent in 1999 to 22.1 percent in 2004). Unless funding is quickly restored for the state’s tobacco prevention programs, these dramatic health gains will quickly come to a halt and begin to reverse.

Mississippi must continue its aggressive and well-funded tobacco prevention programs because thousands of lives and millions of dollars are at stake. Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the state, claiming more than 4,700 lives and costing the state $719 million annually in health care bills, including $264 million in Medicaid payments alone. Government expenditures related to tobacco amount to a hidden tax of $561 each year on every Mississippi household. Unless the Legislature and Governor quickly restore funding for tobacco prevention, tobacco’s terrible toll will continue to mount.

(The bolding and coloring of letters has been added for emphasis)

- Cotton Mouth

Notable Quote: June 19, 2007

"The people of Mississippi should not have to file an open records request to find out if their State Auditor has been auditing."

- Charlie Ross (From a Press Release issued June 19, 2007)

Homeowner Grant Program Funds Misspent

Natalie Chandler reports massive waste in the program developed to help Coast families return home:
Airfare for employees' significant others, limousine rental agency services and last-minute plane tickets topping $1,400 are among taxpayer-funded items purchased by the Maryland-based company hired to manage a Hurricane Katrina grant program.
Travel expenses aren't the only things being questioned. Federal auditors also recently found problems with Reznick's grant calculations, saying the state allowed it to deduct unnecessary costs from some homeowners flooded in the storm. "As a result, the homeowners did not receive the maximum benefits from the program," according to an audit issued last month by Housing and Urban Development's inspector general's office.

Barbour farmed out the contracts with little oversight and you can see the result. Also from the article is Gene Taylor's reaction:
Said 4th District U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor of Bay St. Louis, a Democrat: "To spend that money on anything other than getting people back in their houses, or the realistic cost of doing the administrative work to make it happen, any luxuries or unnecessary trips are unacceptable."

Through a press release the Democratic State Party Chairman Wayne Dowdy had this to say:
Haley Barbour must be held responsible for this reprehensible action. As the state's chief executive officer, he has direct control over the Mississippi Development Authority by appointing its executive director and, therefore, is responsible for the pathetic way the Homeowners Grant Program has been managed.
Haley Barbour loves to boast across the state about all the money he's brought to Mississippi post-Katrina, about how we have a chance to rebuild the Coast as never before. But how can Haley boast when we hear reports about the pathetically managed Homeowners Grant program? And how can he boast when hundreds of people continue to live in FEMA trailers almost two years after the storm?

Democrats backed oversight when the program was started, but Barbour's Republican allies in the Senate blocked H1318. Three Republican have directly financially benefited including Republicans Sen. Tommy Robertson, Rep. Jim Beckett, and Rep. Jim Simpson. On homeowner grants Barbour and the Republicans want no oversight. One has to wonder why.

The Clarion Ledger Article

Monday, June 18, 2007

Charlie Ross' First TV Ad

Shorter: Charlie Ross was in the Air Force and also doesn't like lawyers.

What he doesn't tell you: Charlie Ross was only in for 6 years. He is a lawyer.

Eaves Takes On Barbour Over Partnership (WLBT)

"We can expand the Partnership. It will save the taxpayers money. It will save our kids a lot of misery. It will save lives."

This is from the Friday evening news on WLBT out of Jackson.

(The 4 million dollar figure is how much Barbour's firm was paid by tobacco companies, not direct campaign contributions. WLBT is in error on that point.)

A Possible Explanation for Ross' Wait

Writing in The Sun Herald, Geoff Pender brings up an interesting point:
Some observers/campaign experts were surprised Ross didn't roll out some TV ads to get his name out by early May. But there may be a pragmatic reason: TV campaign ad prices have gone through the roof, probably because of the $10 million Haley Barbour and Ronnie Musgrove spent bashing each other across the dial in '03. A single good round of statewide TV-ad coverage now costs about $200,000.

The discounted rate for political ads doesn't kick in until about 45 days out, so apparently Ross has waited and kept raising money.
I have been rather confused as to why the man with more cash-on-hand would continue to wait to go on television and radio. Now we have a possible reason.

Pender also leaves the impression that Ross doesn't have anything to work with in the realm of possible attack ads:

It's unclear what that mud would be. I have reports of telephone polling to test what might stick. Apparently it was all over the map, asking people's view of Bryant's support of the defunct Partnership anti-smoking empire, or what they thought about Bryant's auditor office having money left over each year, despite saying it's underfunded. I just don't know if either would get much traction with voters. The poll apparently asked people what they thought about the state-funded beef-plant fiasco, but as auditor, Phil Bryant didn't vote to fund it. As a senator, Ross did.

Well if Pender can't find it we sure did:
Does Phil Bryant Deserve a Promotion?
Phil Bryant is ForAgainst Abortion
The Appearance of Impropriety

The Sun Herald Article

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Our Governor's Misplaced Priorities

Hattiesburg American Columnist Joe Atkins takes Barbour to task for being ready to spend mega-millions on multi-national corporations, but not on pressing needs.
State revenues are up - some 12.7 percent for the first half of the 2007 budget year - so why not give that money to big, profitable corporations instead of the people of Mississippi? It's not a point you're likely to hear made on the campaign trail. No matter. Actions speak louder than words anyway.

Mississippi's revenues are up, yet its mental health centers went under-funded by an estimated $20 million this year. Gulf Coast residents are still struggling nearly two years after Hurricane Katrina. Every year public education officials have to beg for cash. By the way, weren't gambling casinos supposed to solve our public education woes?

Mississippi has always prided itself on being the most Southern of states. However, what's so "Southern" about a state whose political leaders refuse to reform a tax code that punishes the poor and rewards the rich? Even Alabama last year approved a long-overdue cut in its taxes on the poor, raising the threshold in which a family of four begins paying income taxes from $4,600 to $12,500. Arkansas recently agreed to cut its sales tax on groceries from 6 to 3 percent.

It is entirely irresponsible to buy into the extortion system of attracting big employeers. Most job growth comes from new independent businesses while large ones just consolidate in one place. Money would be far better spent creating platforms for Mississippians to sell their goods in the broader market and helping to educate folks so that they can be good employees or start their own businesses.

The Hattiesburg American Link

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The Sunday Funny #3

Click on the image for clearer text in another web page.

- Bronwyn Lane (Guest Contributor)

Also, all words are intentionally misspelled, so cool it you wanna be English teachers out there.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

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Senator Barak Obama Visits Jackson

He spent some time in Peaches Resturant taking some cobbler to go.

While there he said:
"I've always felt that you win votes by showing up and people getting to know you and understanding what your values are and what you care about," Obama said. "People in Mississippi are struggling with the same things people all across the country are struggling with - the lack of health care, trying to figure out how to pay for their children's college education, how they are dealing with retirement security (and) jobs."

He also thrilled those in attendance with a little performance.
At one point, the candidate belted out a few bars of the blues standard "Misty Blue" with Dorothy Moore, the Jackson singer who made the tune famous in the 1970s.

"I've been knowing that song," Obama said as he smiled at Moore.

The AP Article

Big Blue Truck: Saturday Afternoon Mississippi Music

"Four Beers in the Trunk"

Big Blue Truck loose on the streets of Starktown.

Big Blue Truck hails from Starkville, Mississippi and describes their music as "High-Octane Southern Psychedelic." Their MySpace page is found at: The Big Blue Truck MySpace Page.

Charlie Ross Opens With First Television Ad In Race For Lt. Gov.

Charlie Ross has sent out a press release saying that he has a TV ad up.

If I can get a hold of a digital copy I'll post it up here.

M. Arnold posted on June 1st what "Harvard Charlie's" first TV ad would look like in this post: A Preview of Things to Come

He was largely right.

Once I've actually seen the ad I'll give some commentary.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Note:

Feedback can now be left anonymously.

Comments will now have a delay because they will be moderated.


Eaves Interviewed by Bolivar Commercial

Eaves recently sat down with the Bolivar Commercial for an interview. Here are some choice quotes:
“I am a Democrat because I am a Christian,” said Eaves. “Jesus came to help the sick and heal the poor. He came and it was all about people, not about profit. He was not about self-service, He was not about greed, and He was about helping. I believe that at the core that is what the Democratic Party’s message is.
“I am so disturbed that we are striving for ‘adequate,’” said Eaves. “The great people of Mississippi deserve excellent education. We can do that in so many different ways. We have to give our children the investment that they need in order to create the economic opportunity that our people deserve.”
“I look around we have the greatest character of people in the world,” said Eaves. “We have the highest charitable giving in Mississippi. We are the home of the blues, the home of country music and the home of great literature. There is evidence of an outpouring and a soul in Mississippi like no other.”
Eaves is nothing if he isn't consistent. He is proud of his Christianity and is acting on it. I'm glad to see another Democrat who is willing to speak openly about his faith.

Haley Barbour's Partial Veto Is Illegal

This Spring Haley Barbour selectively vetoed a portions of budget bills. In doing so he cut funding for Mississippi programs involving the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Boys and Girls Clubs.

Jim Hood is suing the Haley Barbour in an attempt to overturn those vetos.

From The Hattiesburg American:
"My intent is to carry out the will of the Legislature and to ensure that the children of Mississippi are not used as pawns in some ill-conceived show of power,” Hood said in a statement.
Two previous governors, Kirk Fordice and Ronnie Musgrove, were unsuccessful in similar attempts to veto segments of legislation. State courts have repeatedly ruled against governors using a partial veto.

“It would be a dramatic shift of power from the Legislature to governor” if Barbour prevailed, Tollison said.

I think that his blocking of funds for youth programs, coupled with his attempts to severely cut state medicaid and his successful effort to shut down the Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi all come together to show us one thing.

Haley Barbour has a strange and dangerous view of government. He doesn't appear to believe that it has a role to take care of people. Haley Barbour wants to destroy the government's ability to do good. We must not allow him to do so.

Seale Convicted On All Counts

James Seale has been convicted of conspiracy and kidnapping. These charges are enough to possibly put him in jail for the rest of his life.

The Clarion Ledger:
In a closing argument, Justice Department prosecutor Paige Fitzgerald noted how Assistant Federal Public Defender Kathy Nester challenged jurors not to convict Seale based on the word of one untrustworthy man.

"Let me talk to you about one man's word," Fitzgerald said, referring not to chief prosecution witness Charles Marcus Edwards, but to Seale. Edwards acknowledged in his testimony he repeatedly lied to the FBI and the media about his involvement in the crime but said he was telling the truth now.

She recalled for jurors the testimony of a former FBI agent who arrested Seale after the decomposed bodies of Dee and Moore surfaced in an old channel of the Mississippi River near Tallulah, La.

"You know you did it. We know you did it. The Lord above knows you did it," Fitzgerald said, recalling the testimony of the former agent.

She said Seale's reply was, "Yes, but I'm not going to admit it; you're going to have to prove it."

"Those are the words of this man," she said, pointing at Seale.

That statement shows he is "guilty, arrogant, defiant and unrepentant," she said.

Justice be done.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Scottie Cuevas S-46 is a Democrat In Name Only

Voter ID has long been a Republican wedge issue used to attack Democrats.

Though the right to vote is expressly enumerated, Republicans in many states have pushed for mandatory photo ID to vote.

Mandatory photo ID has been proven to cut legitimate voter turnout.

It also unnecessarily brings up the specter of poll taxes and purposeful voter suppression in the minds of many older Mississippians.

Scottie Cuevas supports Voter ID laws as proven by his yes vote on Senate Bill 2067 in 2005.

More recently the State Senate faced the decision whether to keep our sales tax (the highest in the nation) where it is OR cut it in half and make up the difference in state revenues by increasing the cigarette tax. This would have both saved people money on food and helped people quit smoking leading to a lower public burden.

One of the key votes on the tobacco tax/grocery tax swap occurred on January 6, 2006, when the Senate (with Amy Tuck pushing it) passed SB 2310 by a margin of 36-15. Cuevas was one of the 15 NO votes and was one of only TWO Democrats who voted against the bill. The vote to override the governor's veto of this bill took place on March 22, 2006, which failed by 28-22 (they needed 2/3's). Cuevas was one of the 22 no votes. After the Senate failed to override the governor's veto of this bill, Tuck came back with another bill, specifically designed to address the concerns of he cities (with regard to the sales tax distribution). That bill passed the Senate on March 3, 2006 by a margin of 28-19, and again Cuevas voted NO.

In addition he has done unDemocratic things like vote to "delete the poverty level aged and disabled (PLAD) category from those individuals eligible for Medicaid assistance" (2004 SB 1434) and voted against teaching civil rights in public schools (2006 SB 2718).

Thankfully Senate District 46 voters have a strong Democratic choice in David Baria who will make a fine State Senator and advocate for Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

Accident At The Bay St. Louis Bridge

8 Taken To Hospitals, 1 Missing

The Sun Herald reports on an accident on the partially completed bridge over the Bay of St. Louis. The accident does not affect the portion of the bridge already open for traffic.

The Article:

MDOT District Engineer Ricky Lee said that a portion of the forming system used to pour supports collapsed and fell into the water. When it fell, it was away from the completed span, which was not compromised.

"It laid over in the water like a tree," said MDOT Engineer David Seyfarth, who said the column being worked on was near the span over the navigation channel near the highest portion of the bridge.

Update 5:08: 1 worker confirmed dead. (WLOX)
Red/Blue Blog Continues

We Will Not Be Getting Rid Of Elected Superintendents

Democrat Jamie Franks and Republicans Charlie Ross and Phil Bryant all agree that we should not elect school superintendents.

Regardless of who ends up as the next Lt. Governor, none of them will accomplish this because it will never get out of Billy McCoy's House.

Billy McCoy's father was a longtime elected superintendent and he is invested in that system. He will not likely let a bill including any language that could change that out of committee, let alone the House.

Enjoy your ELECTED school superintendents because they are not going away anytime soon.

Franks Promises To Fully Fund Education at MAE Debate

Laura Hipp at The Clarion Ledger reports:
The first thing that Democrat Jamie Franks and Republicans Phil Bryant and
Charlie Ross want you to know is that they love children. They love education. They think teaching kids well and letting them lead the way is good. They also agree that Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster to hit this country. They all want top phase out elected superintendents and raise qualifications for school board members.

Franks made a point of seperating himself from the GOP contenders. If he's chosen in November to lead the state Senate, he won't just take every plan that Gov. Haley Barbour presents and push it through, he says. He also made it clear that Appropriations Chairman Jack Gordon wouldn't return as chair under his watch. Gordon, though a Democrat, has sided with Republicans and helped block the "full funding" of MAEP, the almighty school funding formula.

It is only Franks who promises to actually change things so that MAEP can get through in a non-election year.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bowing Out

A very good thing has happened. I've accepted a position with a Presidential campaign. However, it's important for the campaign that the things that have my name on them reflect the goals of the campaign. That's not what Cotton Mouth was meant to do. I'm choosing to fight the fight rather than comment on it.

Cotton Mouth has been established as the national source for information about Mississippi Politics. We're the site other sites are linking to. Just short of five thousand people have visited and we've got a growing and apparently loyal community. Our friends in the blogosphere are very impressed. I believe that this is going to be the place to be for a long time. Properly managed it'll change the shape of both governing and campaigning. That's a good thing to be a part of and I'm glad I could help John get it off the ground.

So I leave the site and the community in the immensely capable hands of John Leek, who's going to be doing this solo for a while. I'll be commenting and occasionally forcing my taste in music and humor on ya'll through the Saturday Afternoon Music and the Sunday Funnies. I'm not going home, I just can't stay here. And as always, if anybody needs political help, be it a campaign or somebody looking to break into the business, I'm always available at

Pepper Decision is a Mistake

The Laurel Leader Call editorializes against Judge Pepper's recent Voter/Party ID decision:
U.S. District Judge W. Allen Pepper’s decision to order party registration and voter identification in Mississippi demonstrates why there are appellate courts.

The judge is overstepping himself.

It is one thing for the federal judge to rule that Mississippi’s longtime primary system is unconstitutional because it infringes on the rights of political parties to choose with whom they associate.

It is another for the judge to dictate that the Legislature adopt such widespread, expensive and problematic remedies as a statewide re-registration and photo voter ID - and to force Republicans, who didn’t seem to have a beef with the present primary system, to change the way they select nominees.

The Leader Call is right.

I don't know how many hundreds of times I've heard conservatives complain about "activist judges," but they sure aren't complaining now. This can not be seen as anything but legislating from the bench, something that has been condemned by many conservative legal scholars.

This looks to be a case of a Republican activist judge choosing a verdict in order to force a Republican wedge issue. The suggestion that the state start over with a brand new registration method by 2008 would be laughable if it weren't be taken seriously.

Does anyone actually think this will pass through the Justice Department? Does anyone actually care?

Hood Takes On Internet "Perverts"

Speaking at the Mississippi Association of Educators conference in Biloxi, Attorney General Jim Hood urged teachers to take action.

From the Sun Herald:

Hood's office has a cyber crime unit that works closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to catch Internet predators, but he also believes in more than an ounce of prevention. On Tuesday, Hood talked to educators at the annual state conference in Biloxi about tools they can use to keep students safe.

Pedophiles used to hunt children in parks or at events, groomed them, then moved in to exploit them. These days, Hood said, "perverts" can fish for kids online more quickly.

Hood said parents can find the tools they need to learn about protecting their children at, and teachers can build their own classroom instruction on Internet safety by visiting education. is a safe site for children of all ages, with activities, music and games that teach Internet safety.

This is far from just talk. Hood estimates that under that partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children his office makes an arrest every two weeks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Drink Liberally Wednesday in Natchez

South-West Mississippi liberals have the opportunity to meet Wednesday.

The Natchez Drinking Liberally Chapter meets Wednesday, June 13th, Starting at 7:00 at Bobby J's at 727 Franklin Street.

So what is Drinking Liberally you ask?
An informal, inclusive progressive social group. Raise your spirits while you raise your glass, and share ideas while you share a pitcher. Drinking Liberally gives like-minded, left-leaning individuals a place to talk politics. You don't need to be a policy expert and this isn't a book club - just come and learn from peers, trade jokes, vent frustration and hang out in an environment where it's not taboo to talk politics.

Bars are democratic spaces - you talk to strangers, you share booths, you feel the bond of common ground. Bring democratic discourse to your local democratic space - build democracy one drink at a time.

While drinking liberally, always remember to drink responsibly, and make liberal use of designated drivers. Drinking and driving is reckless and irresponsible, like a neocon war or corporatist tax cut. Liberals, don't do it.

Drinking Liberally

Al Hopkins Takes Advantage of Katrina Lawsuit While Accusing Hood of Doing Same

Al Hopkins, a Republican running for Attorney General, issued a press release attacking Hood for his handling of the case.

From the release:
Hood only files it now because he botched it the first time, causing Mississippians to get delays in their relief, and now he’s desperate to get headlines for the political race he is in. The people it hurts the most are those who’ve waited the longest for relief.

The case was thrown out the first time because it was too good to State Farm. You wouldn't know that from all the Republicans wailing that Hood is creating a bad business climate or even the ones that want him to let companies off the hook entirely.

Hopkins makes the argument that Hood isn't sticking it to State Farm enough which in the face of the public arguments and condemnations of "Activist AG Jim Hood" from most of his fellow Republicans rings hollow.

State Farm Pays Legal Fees for Dale's Deputy

According to his deposition in front of the Scruggs Katrina Group, David Lee Harrell, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance under George Dale, is not responsible for his legal fees. They're being paid for by State Farm Insurance Company.

See the transcript of his deposition at

The subject of interest is on page 7.

I can only interpret this as State Farm paying him to protect them.

Former Governor Musgrove Speaks Out On Children's Healthcare

Former Governors Ronnie Musgrove (D-MS) and Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ) speak out on reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program in The Washington Times:

As governors, we made children's health insurance a priority in our states. Congress must now do likewise by reauthorizing and expanding the successful State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This important state-federal partnership was born of bipartisan cooperation 10 years ago and has delivered quality, cost-effective care to millions of children since then and improved the health of our nation's youth.
States continue leading the way. Since January 2006, the District of Columbia and 29 states have acted or are acting to strengthen children's coverage. By providing routine and preventive care for children, states can prevent minor and controllable health problems from becoming lifelong health burdens.
Now is the time for Congress to act. Delays could undermine state efforts and a SCHIP reauthorization bill that falls short of the mark could unravel them. States are close to finishing the job for our children, but they need strong partnership and swift action from Congress to succeed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Nolan Mettetal S-10 is a Democrat In Name Only

To be a Democrat In Name Only (DINO) requires a lot of work.

The candidate must vote against mainstream Democratic groups AND openly embrace Republican ideals over Democratic ones.

In Mississippi support for public education has been one good way to separate the sheep from the goats.

Nolan Mettetal has failed to stand up for education when the issue of full funding has come to the Senate. His support has only been found in the election years of 2003 and 2007 when political cover was needed.

It is also said (correctly) that you are judged by the company you keep. Well, in the recent past he has personally attended the Tate County Republican Executive Committee meeting where Barbour praised him for his support of the Republican agenda. In the same recent past he has missed the Democratic meetings opting instead to send his wife in proxy.

There is also the saying that "You've got to dance with them that brung you." If you look at the checks Mettetal has been getting you will find many traditional Republican donors. Also you will find several checks from payday loan businesses. Anyone that these modern day loan sharks find to be their ally is not someone that belongs in a party committed to helping the poor.

Nolan Mettetal was asked Friday in the The Panolian why he is a Democrat and he practically ran away from the label offering positions in an attempt to differentiate himself from the Democratic label. Senate District 10 voters have a real Democratic choice in Mona Pittman and she deserves to be District 10's Democratic nominee.

State's Role in Jackson Proper

Jackson is a city in distress. No doubt about it. But it has a mayor. And it has a city council. It also has an army of law enforcement officials and policy makers. The City of Jackson is the responsibility of those folks who are duly authorized by the charter of the City of Jackson to be responsible for it. The only folks who should be doing the business of Jackson in the capitol are the elected representatives of the Jackson Metro.

In 2003 the Barbour for Gov. campaign sent out a direct mail piece that said the deterioration of Jackson was the fault of Gov. Musgrove.

In 2007 the Eaves for Gov. campaign said that Gov. Barbour was responsible for the deterioration of Jackson. Harvard Charlie has a three page white paper on how to fix it and puts a line about Jackson tarnishing the state's image in his stump speech.

This is not a state issue. There's nothing in the Republican "limited and local government" argument that says there's room for this. There's nothing in the Democrat's "fiscal responsibility" argument that makes room for this. Using a state to manhandle a city isn't really anybody's policy directive. It's probably a bit unconstitutional. Being within the bounds of commonly accepted practice ( I pass on saying the law or the constitution being that I am neither a lawyer nor a constitutional scholar of any note), all they can do is increase the budgets of state agencies, and again, that gets dispersed across the state. Not so much of it would go to Jackson.

Given that it's not the state's responsibility and that there's nothing the state can do about it, we hear a lot about it. There are two reasons:

1. It's an easy press hit. Mayor Melton dominates news coverage in Jackson, for better or for worse. A statewide candidate saying something about crime is an easy ad on. "Mayor Melton said today, and Harvard Charlie said last week."

2. Rankin and Hinds counties are in big play. They've got lots of votes and are highly persuadable. I'd bet a plugged nickel that "crime" or "the safety of my family" are in the top 3 in every poll conducted in that area. Pandering.

Campaign Monies Update:

The following numbers are the totals raised in the past month. They are not cumulative.

(R) Barbour: $904,256
(D) Eaves: $297,197

Haley Barbour's war chest continues to grow as a major pit stop on the special interest express.

Eaves continues to self finance saying "I am running for governor to change Mississippi, and I am proud to make a personal investment to ensure that we have the resources we need to take our message to all Mississippians."

(R) Bryant: $69,511
(R) Ross: $48,704
(D) Franks: $46,305

Ross's early fundraising success seems to have taken a backseat to his packed speaking schedule as has Bryant's. The question here is when do either of them start actually spending some money?

(R) Hopkins: $55,516
(D) Hood: $172,975

Hopkins had amassed an early fundraising lead over incumbent AG Hood, but if numbers trend like they did this month Hood should have any problems.

Thanks to Laura Hipp at the Clarion Ledger for the numbers.

State's Role in Jackson Proper

Jackson is a city in distress. No doubt about it. It has a mayor. And it has a city council. It has an army of law enforcement officials and policy makers. Jackson is the responsibility of those folks who are duly authorized under the charter of the city of Jackson to be responsible for it.

None of those people are state officials or candidates for state office. I'm almost certain that the only people in the capitol who are in any way responsible for Jackson are the elected representatives and senators of that area. Just a hunch.

In 2003 Gov. Barbour's campaign sent out a direct mail piece claiming that the deterioration of Jackson was Gov. Musgrove's fault.

In 2007 John Arthur Eaves' campaign claimed that the deterioration of Jackson was Gov. Barbour's fault. And Charlie Ross has a three page crime white paper and a line about Jackson tarnishing the state's image in the stump speech.

There's nothing that the state should or could be doing. There's nothing in the Republican 'limited government' argument that makes it good campaigning. There's nothing in the Democrat 'financially responsible" argument that makes it good campaigning for them either. And again, if they're elected, there's nothing they could do about it except throw money at it through the various state agencies. And that would still be dispersed across the state.

You want to know why you're hearing so much about it? 2 reasons.

1. Mayor Melton dominates the news in the Jackson metro. It's an easy piggy back in a newspaper article. "Mayor Melton says, and earlier this week Harvard Charlie said too."

2. Rankin and Hinds Counties are up for grabs. Both highly persuadable. I'd bet a plugged nickel that "crime" or "my family's safety" poll in the top 3 in both counties.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jackson Councilwoman Robbed at Gunpoint

The problem with crime in Jackson is large and seemingly impossible to ignore.

Just this Saturday afternoon Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon was robbed at gunpoint as she and her husband walked the short distance from their car to their home in the Belhaven area.

Haley Barbour seems to be able to do the impossible. He stands inactive while the city of Jackson, the only large city in Mississippi and the capital, grows increasingly lawless and violent.

Clarion Ledger Article

Friday, June 8, 2007

Guest Editorial: 'O Haley, Where Art Thou?'

Approximately one month ago, I sat home one weekend morning in Gulfport reviewing my new homeowners insurance policy. Astounded at the huge increase, in my mind I wondered how I would continue to make ends meet and pay for everything.The increased cost of the homeowners insurance was going to make the monthly mortgage payment DOUBLE! Yes, I said DOUBLE! This, combined with the rising costs of food and gas, and everything else here along the coast since the storm, is quickly approaching the point of being unbearable to most working class folks. You see, wages here have not kept up since Katrina with the rapidly increasing cost of living!

As my eyes glanced downward towards the morning newspaper, I began reading an article announcing that our Governor, Haley Barbour, would be on the coast soon, announcing a multi-million dollar grant award to be used to help restore the Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis' retirement home located on the beach in Biloxi. The public was invited to attend! A light went off in my mind, and at that time it dawned on me that this might just be a good chance to meet and talk to the Governor about the issue of insurance. Surely I thought to myself that he would be very concerned with this very serious financial and economic issue threatening to stifle the recovery of South Mississippi post Katrina.

I arrived at the Beauvoir an hour before the start of the big event, and began to talk to the many people starting to assemble on the grounds. Standing in the middle of the sidewalk leading from the parking lot, I knew that the Governor would have to pass right by in front of me. Ten minutes later, there he was with his wife Marsha by his side making his way towards the stage.

I approached him with my hand extended: "Governor, Billy Bova, glad to see you here today. I would like to talk to you about my homeowners insurance more than doubling on a yearly basis. This situation is greatly affecting my ability to remain a resident and homeowner here on the coast!" His response: "Billy, I don't have a thing to do or say about insurance and don't know anything about it. You need to talk to the insurance commissioner George Dale, he runs all of that stuff." My response back: "but Governor, you are the top elected official here in Mississippi, and I'm standing in front of you, here today, asking for some help, please use your bully-pulpit to help us on this, please!" The Governor then turned away from me and began talking to other people.

While walking away from the Governor and the crowd that had begun to mingle around him, many thoughts raced through my mind. Wow, this was the response( or lack of response )that I, a Mississippi resident, taxpayer, and voter residing in the state's second largest city(Gulfport) had just gotten from the Governor. The impression that I always had of this man, drawn from the national, state, and local media was one of wow, he is truly Mississippi's Mr.Connected-Republican Godfather! This was our famous former RNC Chairman, Washington-insider Governor, big friend of President George W. Bush. How could it be possible that he wouldn't be our biggest advocate on this crucial issue? While our Fourth District Democratic Congressman Gene Taylor is in Washington fighting hard for Federal Legislation to "reign-in" these out of control, anti-trust exempt, billions of dollars in profits insurance companies, our Governor has NOTHING to say.

He seemingly refuses to use the power of his office, his powerful close Washington political-connections, and his persona to weigh-in on this crucial economic issue confronting the Gulf Coast post Katrina. 'O Haley, where art thou?' I think I have figured this one out, he is on the side of big insurance companies. When it comes to homeowners insurance and Governor Haley Barbour, he is not on your side, you are not in good hands, and he is not a good neighbor!

- Billy Bova

(This is a guest editorial, if you have have written something that you think would add to or stimulate current debate please shoot us an e-mail. We may even post it.)