State and national Democrats encouraged by Doug Jones’ win over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama special election
One of the current political rumors making the rounds as 2017 draws to a close is Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley will enter the 2018 contest for the seat currently held by Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. If Presley gets in the race, it will not really be because he is taking on Wicker but would run in the event Wicker is upset by state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the GOP primary. It’s never been a secret Presley has bigger ambitions for higher office and would like to run for statewide office. His statewide political liabilities are pretty obvious. Presley, despite serving as one of three public service commissioners since 2008, is not well known outside of North Mississippi. It is also a very valid question if Presley, especially within Mississippi, can raise the vast amount of money needed for a statewide race. The reason for a possible candidacy is obvious besides his own ambition. Democrat Doug Jones’ victory over Republican Roy Moore in Alabama has made both national and Mississippi Democrats giddy over possible inroads into the strongly Republican south. However, it is easy to dismiss some of the Democrats’ glee of the Jones victory. The narrow win by Jones was not the result of a rapid increase in anti-Republican feelings or anti-Trump backlash in a state Trump won by 63 percent. Roy Moore lost a very narrow race to Jones because Moore was a terrible candidate. In the past I have used the word “wacko” to describe some left-wing Democrats, but the wacko description certainly fits Republican Moore to a T. If Democrats were to pick an ideal Republican candidate to oppose, in any state, Moore would be the winner in a landslide. The Democrat scenario in Mississippi is pretty obvious. McDaniel beats Wicker in the GOP primary with Presley ready for McDaniel next November – a Mississippi version of Alabama’s Jones versus Moore. If McDaniel were to upset Wicker in a primary, he almost defeated Cochran in a close and bitter primary in 2014, there’s no doubt in a contest with Presley, McDaniel would be taking shots not only from Democrats, but from the state’s left leaning press and the so-called establishment Republicans who supported Wicker. However, whatever you think of McDaniel, he’s not a Roy Moore. McDaniel’s negatives, while many, would never approach the negatives associated with Moore. The flip side is Wicker is leaving nothing to chance. He has a ton of campaign cash to spend and is making all the textbook moves needed to ward off a challenger. He has embraced President Trump and will have a first rate team as campaign consultants. On the negative side, Wicker’s strong embrace of changing the current state flag with its Confederate emblem will not be popular with a significant number of Mississippians who will vote in a Republican primary. Wicker cannot be encouraged by a recent poll that showed him with very mediocre approval ratings in the state. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could be hung around Wicker’s neck. While many state Republicans are not fans of the Steve Bannon, Tea Party and other Republicans who often seem to attack Republicans
Yes, the earth is still flat for college administrators and some students
By now, most of us have heard about how the University of California – Berkley spent $600,000 for security when conservative speaker Ben Shapiro spoke to students at the school. Heck, for $600,000 I would think Cal could have hired the 101st Airborne to provide security for Shapiro. Shapiro is a conservative commentator, columnist, author, radio talk show host and lawyer. He is no right wing crazy or neo-Nazi. He graduated from high school at age 16, graduated from UCLA summa cum laude and was a Phi Beta Kappa member. At age 20 he graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. If it weren’t bad enough for Cal to spend $600,000 on security for Shapiro’s appearance, the officials at Cal provided counselors for students who might be upset about him making a speech on campus. The “wienie generation” is on the heels of the millennials.
After the state flag, what’s next?
As I’ve written previously, if and when our state flag is changed, what’s next? The list is long. Recently the Jackson Public School District decided to consider changing the names of three schools in the city. The schools are named after Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and James Z. George. George was a colonel in the Confederate States Army and later served as a U.S. Senator from Mississippi until his death. Yes, the JPS system is the second largest in the state and is over 95 percent black. There is a very real possibility that the school district could be taken over by the state because of the many failings of Jackson schools. Let’s face it. Jackson Public Schools are rotten. I have often wondered how many
A number of years ago, I attended a men’s NCAA basketball regional in Charlotte, NC. In the opening game, Mississippi State defeated Stanford before losing in the regional finals to Duke which had beaten North Carolina in its opening game. One of my sons and I cracked up laughing at the Stanford mascot, a Tree. For those who don’t remember, at one time the nickname for Stanford’s athletic teams was the Indians. Stanford is a great academic institution, but the Indians nickname was certainly not satisfactory to the p.c. police at the California school. Stanford changed its nickname to the Cardinal, the color, not plural Cardinals as the baseball St. Louis Cardinals, NFL football Arizona Cardinals or the Cardinals of the University of Louisville. My wife and I went to the recent NCAA Women’s Final Four in Dallas. We got in our seats early to see the first semifinal game between Stanford and South Carolina. In the second game the Mississippi State women shocked the basketball world by ending the 111 game winning streak of defending national champion UConn. As the Stanford women came on the court, I turned to my wife and told her she was about to witness the worst, most stupid, goofiest mascot in the history of college sports – the Tree. She agreed as she watched the Tree dance up and down the court like a ballerina. Even better were the Stanford students wearing “Fear the Tree” shirts. I don’t think it struck much fear in the hearts of the South Carolina women’s team. While Stanford is quick to say the Tree is not the school’s “official” mascot, it is what it is. Only in California. I also agreed with my wife’s comment, “Attend Stanford and find your inner weirdness.”
The Left-Coast Never Disappoints
Through an Open Records request, Judicial Watch obtained records of a committee of the California Legislature. According to Judicial Watch, the law firm of former Obama U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr., will be paid $25,000 per month for 40 hours work each month. This $300,000 annual payment will not be for legal work but to provide “legal strategies regarding potential actions of the federal government (i.e. Trump Administration) that may be of concern to the State of California.” In January, California legislative leaders announced the hiring of Holder to assist them in any federal challenges to state policies such as climate change and immigration. Never mind, however, that California has major state budget problems.
In defending her profane rant at the women’s march the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Madonna said her words were “taken wildly out of context.” If you think her speech to hundreds of thousands of women was taken out of context, I suggest you watch the video of her vulgar remarks. At least three times she yells “F… you in her speech. Despite an Associated Press report that labeled her speech, among other things, as “fiery,” there is nothing taken out of context when the singer-actress screams “F… you”. The really, really sad part is the three times when Madonna yell “F… you”, the assembled thousands attending the women’s march cheered Madonna. I repeat. That is pretty sad.
A Mississippi Senate staff member and the State Capitol used for political fundraiser
Sen. Bob Dearing, a Natchez Democrat, was a longtime and respected senator until he was defeated by Republican Melanie Sojourner in 2011. Sojourner’s tenure in the legislature was marked by controversy, and she was also Chris McDaniel’s campaign manager during his nasty GOP primary campaign against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Four years after his defeat, Dearing took on Sojourner again and won a very narrow victory. Legal battles over
I have a framed memento of that horrible day in our history, Sept. 11, 2001. It is a White House pass issued to me for the morning of 9/11. Prior to the changes made after that fateful day, Members of Congress were able to secure tickets for constituents to visit the White House. Even more in demand were so-called VIP passes to the home of the President of the United States. U.S. Representatives and Senators could take visitors to the White House and if you were a chief of staff for a member, which I was at the time, you could also, for a limited number of times, take people to the White House for a VIP tour. If my memory serves me, a VIP tour of the White House only allowed visitors to see one more room than a regular White House tour ticket. Of course, since it was called a VIP tour, the demand from constituents, most who considered themselves VIPs, was high. Early on the morning of 9/11 I picked up a constituent and his grandson at their hotel and drove them to the White House parking lot across the street from the U.S. Treasury building. After showing my pass and ID, the German Shepherd bomb sniffing dog and uniformed Secret Service checked my vehicle, we were allowed inside the White House gates. Unlike members of Congress who could just drop off a constitutent, a chief of staff was supposed to take the constituents inside to the White House visitor’s office. I had previously found I could avoid that step, so I dropped off my two visitors from Hattiesburg and headed back to my office. I decided to eat breakfast first. As I drove into the Rayburn House Office Building garage, by cell phone rang and I noticed it was my wife. I wondered why she was calling since she knew I had gone to the White House. I decided to eat breakfast. Kim called again and told me what had happened. I quickly walked to the office. I did not see any of the rest of the staff. I soon found them huddled in the back room, watching television showing shots of the first plane to hit the Twin Towers.
(Editor’s note: Packing up, moving, unpacking and getting my computer on line again has prevented any recent commentary from being published. I apologize to readers of the WeidieReport and I’ll do better now that I’m up and running.)
New Orleans is truly one of America’s great cities. While I have lived the majority of my life in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., I was born in New Orleans. I graduated from both high school and college in Mississippi, but also attended high school and college in Louisiana as well. My oldest son was the first member of the Weidie family to be born outside of New Orleans (Pascagoula). In many ways, post-Katrina, New Orleans is better than ever. After the devastation of Katrina, the economy has roared back and thanks in no small part to charter schools, K-12 public education has made great strides. Tourism is booming and major conventions are booked far into the future. However, a very serious and dark threat hangs over the city. Violent crime in NOLA is out of control. Unlike some cities, the violent crime does not know the usual boundaries. In Mississippi, south Jackson and parts of west Jackson are very high crime areas as opposed to the rest of the city. Even in Washington, D.C., the worst crime is mostly confined to southeast D.C. and those areas south of the Anacostia River. In New Orleans, violent crimes frequently occur in very nice neighborhoods such as the Garden District, along beautiful St. Charles Ave., Uptown, on Canal Street and in the main areas of the French Quarter. Mayor Mitch Landrieu should worry about major crimes in NOLA instead of spending $1 million dollars to take down a statue of Robert E. Lee and even more money to take down more statues honoring other Confederate generals. Just a few months ago some of NOLA’s famous restaurant and lounges were the scene of armed robberies. The restaurants, as well as their customers, were victims. This is not to even mention the more than $5 million it cost to fix a huge sinkhole at the foot of Canal Street. Sooner or later there is going to a terrible tragedy involving numerous tourists or others attending one of the many conventions that are held in the city. NOLA is on borrowed time if something is not done to bring violent crime under control.