A great guy or what?

July 7, 2016

“‘Cause he’s oh, so good
And he’s oh, so fine
And he’s oh, so healthy
In his body and his mind.
He’s a well respected man about town
Doing the best things so conservatively.”—Ray Davies

By Ray Mosby

WebColumn_MosbyROLLING FORK — Mississippi’s Republican super-majority government—you know, the neat group of men and women currently occupying almost all the most powerful legislative and administrative offices and whose collective volume of the milk of human kindness can be measured on the same gauge as is desert rainfall—has itself a new poster boy.

Meet one state Rep. Jeffrey S. Guice. He lives in Ocean Springs where he sells real estate (but only to the right (wink!) kind of people, of course) and he represents the good folks of Jackson and Harrison counties who reside within the lines of House District 114 in the Miss. Legislature.

And last week, Rep. Guice made the kind of news that nobody holding any sort of elective office likes to make—the kind that revealed himself to be that special variety of complete and utter jackass that he apparently is.
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Conventions are a family tradition

July 6, 2016

By Wyatt Emmerich

12829497_10207518814919972_6613157018262825034_oBILOXI — The Mississippi Press Association celebrated its 150th anniversary last week at the Golden Nugget casino in Biloxi.

After the Mississippi Bar Association and the Mississippi State Medical Association, it is the oldest state professional association.

Unlike the legal and medical professions, the newspaper industry is actually a manufacturing enterprise. It makes an actual product that comes off a printing press. That makes the longevity of newspapers even more impressive. No other manufactured product has had such staying power.

As president of Emmerich Newspapers, I oversee 26 community newspapers, primarily in Mississippi. Most of these newspapers are well over 100 years old.

As someone who daily drives two old cars, a 51-year-old Mustang and a 31-year-old Alfa Romeo, pilots a 37-year-old airplane and sails a 30-year-old boat, I suppose the newspaper industry is a good fit for me.
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Convention trip stirs memories

July 2, 2016

CU-Lf9bJBy Bill Jacobs

It was a long and very hot drive in those days. My parents would pack us up early and we would arrive what seemed like days later. Packed like sardines in the back seat – me in the middle and my two brothers perched at the open windows on either side. Our Rambler station wagon did not have air-conditioning and the two-lane roads that wound through every town along the way meant lots of stop and go traffic.

But it was Mississippi Press Convention week and worth every bit of the abuse little brothers receive from older ones on long hot boring rides.

It was that left hand turn on to US 90 off Highway 49 that the excitement began – the smell of the Gulf Coast, passing by the Friendship House restaurant, the Edgewater Hotel and those whirly-gig kites that vendors hawked all along the beach at each traffic light.

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Changing of the guard comes with the territory

June 9, 2016

By Layne Bruce
Executive Director

Bruce, LayneIn the latest edition of MPA’s newsletter, Fourth Estate, is a column by MPA President Joel McNeece describing some of the lasting relationships his association with this Association has afforded him.

I can relate.

Joel and I first met at a Mid-Winter Conference nearly 20 years ago after he’d gone to work for Wyatt Emmerich at The Winona Times. Joel and I shared a connection through Tim James, the publisher in Winona at the time who had also once employed me in Eupora at the Webster Progress-Times.

I learned sitting across the table from him that night at the conference that Joel’s a man of measured words and temperament. I typically run somewhat counter to that, often at my own peril. I often keep talking long after I should have shut up. In fact, first encounters between me and anyone who’s parsimonious with speech usually ends with me having talked way too long and soaked in my own flop sweat.

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Block that quote!

May 26, 2016

When inaccurate quotes by a defendant can be defamatory

By John C. Henegan, Sr.
MPA General Counsel

2016 henegan, johnEarlier this year in Sioux City, Iowa, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — when describing the loyalty of his supporters — said that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”  The natural reaction upon first hearing this is stark incredulity: any political candidate who made such a statement would ordinarily be seriously politically damaged by it because it ordinarily raises fundamental questions about his character and judgment. A journalist’s first impulse would be to check its accuracy because the media’s publication of a materially inaccurate quote by a person that is defamatory can give rise to a claim for libel.

In the past there would ordinarily be no question about the authenticity of a person’s statement about herself. The journalist would obtain a quote directly from the person in response during an interview or would report about a statement the person published orally or in print.  As social media becomes in increasing source of information for journalists, ascertaining the authenticity of statements attributed to an individual on social media is going to become increasingly important. Read the rest of this entry »

Religious freedom bill fires up edit pages

April 11, 2016

Bryant

The first wave of editorials and columns by Mississippi opinion writers since the signing of HB 1523 hit the press over the past several days, and the results ain’t purdy.

The so-called “Religious Freedom” bill not unexpectedly caught the attention of media nationwide and globally. Corporations of Fortune 500 pedigree voiced protest. Celebrities weighed in. Some canceled planned shows in the “Hospitality State.” A who’s who of noted writers and novelists have cried foul.

Associations tasked with marketing the state as friendly place to visit and a nice choice for spending your vacation budget have scrambled to send a message of inclusiveness.

Then, late Monday, there is word some in the legislature will seek a do-over.

And, to be sure, not all the attention has been negative for the state or Gov. Phil Bryant, who signed the bill a few days after it was passed out of the legislature.

But what ink has been spilled over the issue inside the state has been decidedly harsh. Several newspapers, including The Clarion-Ledger and the SunHerald were quick to condemn the legislation as condoning discrimination against the states’s LGBT community. There’s also criticism the bill opens a Pandora’s box of unintended consequences.

Here’s a roundup of what’s being written by Mississippi newspaper media and opinion writers on what’s being touted as a major battle between religious freedom and civil rights in the 21st Century.

WebColumn_Mosby» Ray Mosby, editor and publisher of The Deer Creek Pilot, Rolling Fork – “This bill, this now most unholy law is the state of Mississippi’s codifying discrimination beneath a shroud of religious belief and in the very name of holiness, itself. And if that is not sin a la government, then I don’t know what is.”

» An editorial in the Madison County Journal says the legislature has poked a tiger in the eye with the ill-advised legislation — “Gov. Bryant says the law doesn’t compel anyone to do anything and he’s right. But any yokel should have been able to predict the reaction because the law certainly has the appearance of discrimination against a certain segment, even if it isn’t literally written so.”

» The SunHerald Editorial Board accuses lawmakers of fiddling as Mississippi burns – “It’s too late to save our lawmakers from themselves, but it’s not too late to save Mississippi. We don’t expect them to act, so everyone who opposes this travesty of a law should join us in the chorus of inclusion.

» Rod Guajardo, editor of Tupelo’s Daily Journal writes the bill is damaging Mississippi’s future – “In Mississippi, two leading state business associations and a number of large corporations came out against the bill this week prior to Bryant signing it into law Tuesday. One of those corporations included Toyota, which employs nearly 2,000 in Blue Springs just miles up the road from Tupelo.”

ponder,jace» Jace Ponder, editor and publisher of The Gazebo Gazette, writes in an editorial that the coast delegation in the legislature is breaking form by pushing an increasingly conservative social agenda — “Coast Republicans have traditionally been socially liberal and fiscally conservative. The perfect mix to represent us. Our current Republican leadership seems to have forgotten this.

» Joel McNeece, publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce writes in a personal blog that Mississippi deserves better – “Many have stated this action by this governor and legislator is a bad solution to a non-existent problem. I couldn’t agree more.”

» Clarion-Ledger Executive Editor Sam R. Hall argues Christianity does not condone discrimination – “This bill, regardless of its intent or what well-meaning citizens believe its intent to be, legalizes discrimination against gay people and transgender people — not to mention people who have extramarital affairs, people who have premarital sex and people who have divorced and remarried.”

» The Commercial Dispatch in Columbus writes in an editorial that Bryant has backed another lost cause – “This is…a loud, embarrassing solution looking for a problem that does not exist. Bryant himself acknowledged this new law does not supersede any federal anti-discrimination laws. By his own admission, the new law achieves absolutely nothing — except, of course, further damage the reputation of our state and its people.”

» Clarion-Ledger Political Editor Geoff Ponder writes the legislature is obsessed with social agendas to the detriment of jobs and education – “Now that they’ve tackled the most important issue facing the state — gay weddings — lawmakers can move on to the more mundane tasks of slashing state budgets and services, underfunding education and crumbling roadways, and wondering why our economy is in the tank when it’s picking up elsewhere.”

Charlie-Mitchell» Syndicated columnist Charlie Mitchell asks how much it costs to do nothing? – “Hypocrisy has never been a popular trait, and this state — deeply dependent on dollars from other American taxpayers — insists again we know better. We are wiser, more prudent and insightful, you know. We honor religion while others don’t.”

» In an editorial, The Sea Coast Echo asks if legislators who voted for HB 1523 truly represent their constituents in Bay St. Louis – “Seems our representatives were more concerned about party politics than of the views of the majority of folks back home. Or maybe they eagerly wanted to pander to the wishes of the governor or those of the Speaker of the House, Philip Gunn, one of the authors of the bill.”

» Kevin Cooper, publisher of The Natchez Democrat answered a call from a gay man who plans to relocate from California to the river city – “He thanked me for my comments against the law, but mostly he was worried and looking for a bit of reassurance. Was Natchez not the gracious, accepting town that he’d grown to love and in which he’d hoped to grow old? As we talked, I felt a sense of deep worry and slight disappointment in his voice.”

» An editorial in The Meridian Star reads the flames of the past are burning still in Mississippi — “The law embraced by the governor and the legislature blatantly says charities, businesses and government employees can discriminate against a fellow Mississippian or visitor to the state based on personal religious beliefs. That covers way more than same-sex marriage. And the consequences will range wide when it comes to attracting businesses, conventions, big-time sporting events and other interstate commerce.”

More to come.

Sunday Reader: 10 years after Katrina

August 23, 2015
JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD Katrina Trees, Long Beach, Feb. 12, 2015

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD
Katrina Trees, Long Beach, Feb. 12, 2015

While eyes have been watching Tropical Storm Danny as he barrels toward the Caribbean, hearts and minds have turned to remembering the utter devastation wrought on the Gulf Coast 10 years ago this week. Hurricane Katrina was the defining natural catastrophe of a generation, resetting the bar for our worst fears of what Mother Nature can do.

9-1-05MS_SHThe Sun Herald in Biloxi has been building for weeks to a crescendo of retrospective Katrina+10 coverage that includes the haunting feature Ghosts of Katrina by photographer correspondent John Fitzhugh, which looks expressly at the remnants of the live oaks that a decade later are painful reminders of the storm.

Meanwhile, coverage in The Clarion-Ledger includes many stops along the Gulf Coast, exploring the recovery in arts, infrastructure and day-to-day life at ground zero in Bay St. Louis.

More on the Gulf Coast 10 years after Katrina in today’s Sunday Reader for Aug. 23, 2015:

  • Katrina dolphins: Untold story some believe never should have happened – Sun Herald
  • Tiner: In one awful day, ‘the world we had known was swept away.’ – Newseum
  • Marsha Barbour: ‘The face of Mississippi recovery’ – The Clarion-Ledger
  • Pass Christian native Robin Roberts brings national attention to recovery – The Sea Coast Echo
  • One silver lining: A bigger, better gulf coast airport – Sun Herald
  • Pender: An ordinary, amazing Katrina story – The Clarion-Ledger
  • Famous tree sculptures get a face lift along the coast – The Clarion-Ledger
  • We Remember: Profiles of those lost to the storm – Sun Herald

Sunday Reader: Letter calls for flag change

August 16, 2015

FullSizeRenderThe signatures on the letter read like a Who’s Who of influential, respected and otherwise revered Mississippians. Names like Manning, Freeman, Grisham, Carter, Anderson, Buffett.

The full page ad appearing in the Aug. 16 edition of The Clarion-Ledger calls on Mississippians to look into their hearts and then to the future, embracing a possible state flag design that would be inclusive of all residents.

“It is simply not fair, or honorable. to ask black Mississippians to attend schools, compete in athletic events, work in the public sector, serve in the National Guard, and go about their normal lives with a state flag that glorifies a war fought to keep their ancestors enslaved.”

It’s a powerful message. Will the impact of the message and those who bring it make a difference in the arena of public opinion?

Here are more articles worth ruminating in this Sunday Reader for Aug. 16, 2015.

It’s so bad they’d rather join ISIS?

August 12, 2015

635749637164557753-Miss.-ISIS-couple-2

Was it so bad for them that these two kids from Mississippi would rather flee the state and join one of the most notorious global terrorist organizations? Did they suffer from a lack of familial and community support? Or did they just fall for the promotional video to “join the club?”

Either way, the bizarre story has thrust the state into the spotlight of an international story now that the kids – intent on marrying and joining ISIS – tried to do so by catching an international flight from , of all places, Golden Triangle Regional Airport near Columbus.

Here’s the roundup for Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015, provided by Mississippi newspaper media on the story.

Sunday Reader: Primary endorsements

August 2, 2015

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Incumbents facing opposition in the Tuesday primaries essentially got the thumbs up from The Clarion-Ledger and other newspapers this week with one notable exception. The controversy surrounding State Auditor Stacy Pickering has given some late-in-the-game traction to the campaign of Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler of Madison. The Madison County Journal, hometown newspaper for Hawkins Butler, also endorsed the Mayor’s insurgent campaign, but added another incumbent to its naughty list – Treasurer Lynn Fitch.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested in the goings-on of some politicians who are not up for re-election Tuesday, consider the news that some of the Starkville Board of Aldermen think they’re due a 33 percent pay increase.

Plus, there’s plenty more to sink your mind into with this Sunday Reader for Aug. 2, 2015:


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