Hinds County lawsuit shows at least one, and probably more Rebel boosters are nervous
Without question, some Ole Miss alumni and boosters are nervous about their names being made public in connection with their role in the NCAA allegations of illegal recruiting involving the football program. One booster, “John Doe” filed legal action against the University of Mississippi and the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). The suit was filed May 23 in the Hinds County Chancery Court and heard by Judge Denise Owen. “John Doe” sought to enjoin Ole Miss and IHL from publicly divulging his name in connection to allegations made against him regarding his involvement in football recruiting cheating. As the legal action was filed in Hinds County, it was not hard to surmise that “John Doe” is from the Jackson area. On March 22 the WeidieReport filed a Freedom of Information request with the University of Mississippi with a copy to the IHL commissioner. The request was for the names of any alumni/boosters Ole Miss had disassociated from the Rebel athletic programs as the result of the NCAA allegations. After several email exchanges and phone conversations, on May 3 the Assistant General Counsel at Ole Miss sent me a cover letter and copies of four letters that had been sent to alumni/boosters notifying them of the school’s decision to disassociate them from Ole Miss athletic programs. The names of the boosters, (a.k.a alleged cheaters) were redacted. I thought at the time the blacking out of the names in the letters was akin to changing the names to protect the guilty. Steve Robertson, who covers Mississippi State athletics for Scout.com, has been tenacious and like a bulldog, no pun intended, in digging into the NCAA allegations against the Ole Miss football program. When Robertson’s FOI request resulted in him receiving the same redacted booster names, Robertson filed a complaint with the toothless Mississippi Ethics Commission. And I emphasize the word “toothless.” It would have made more sense, but also been more costly, to file action in a chancery court to force Ole Miss to release the names of the
However, Congressman Thompson’s chief of staff won’t join the march – his weekends are spent in prison
I’m sure many Mississippians were thrilled earlier this week when it was announced that socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders would join the state’s own Congressman Bennie Thompson to march against Nissan on March 4. Unfortunately, since March 4 is a Saturday, Thompson’s chief of staff, Lanier Avant, will be unable to join Thompson, Sanders and radical actor Danny Glover at the protest. Avant, who has been Thompson’s chief of staff for more than 15 years, spends his weekends in federal prison. According to the Justice Department, Avant was sentenced to four months in prison for failing to file an individual federal income tax return for five years. It should be noted when he pled guilty, Avant acknowledged he “willfully” failed to file the tax returns. The Washington Examiner reported for each of those five years, Avant’s salary was more than $165,000 per year. Avant filed a form which claimed he was exempt from paying federal income taxes. If that excuse were not bogus, I worked for 14 years on Capital Hill and could have avoided significant tax liability. Avant is serving his time in an unusual manner. After serving 30 days of his sentence in jail, he serves the rest of his sentence for 12 months on weekends. The sickening part of this is even after his guilty plea and sentencing, Avant is still Thompson’s chief of staff. After he completes his prison time, he will be on probation for one year and have to pay $149,962 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Why didn’t a certain newspaper report that Avant is spending his weekends in prison while he is still Bennie Thompson’s chief of staff?
Now, you may ask why isn’t the fact Avant is serving weekends in jail and is still Thompson’s chief of staff not been published in the state’s largest newspaper? The Clarion-Ledger had a report when Avant was charged with the crime and later reported
Pettus column – “New Yuletide lyrics to mark Trump regime” – Over the line and tasteless
Gary Pettus is a regular contributing columnist for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. For many years, Pettus was a member of the newspaper’s staff. At the end of his Clarion-Ledger columns, it notes “Gary Pettus is a Jackson-based journalist and contributing columnist.” It should also be noted Pettus is a state employee and works in the public affairs office at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Why is this relevant? On Dec. 19, Pettus wrote a column entitled, “New Yuletide lyrics to mark Trump regime.” He suggests revised lyrics for a very popular Christmas season song. Pettus’ revision is entitled, “It’s the Most Trumper-ful Time of the Year.” Here are just a few of the comment Pettus labeled as the “new code” for president-elect Trump: “There’ll be few books for learning, Cause most will be burning – good times for bigots – Muslims they’re jailing, Latinos expelling – great times for the sociopath. – It’s beginning to look just like the Third Reich – A swastika there and here – Christians kissing a tyrant’s rear, Burning churches all aglow – It’s going to look like Nagasaki August of ’45 – The prettiest sight to behold is not traffic on the road, Cause no one is left alive.” The “lyrics” of the Pettus column go on with more lack of taste, but I think you get the idea about the column. Hillary Clinton calling Trump supporters “deplorables” is mild compared to Pettus tossing out terms like book burners, bigots and writing about swastikas and the Third Reich. Because the anti-Trump column crosses the line, it is logical to ask other questions. Why was the column published in the Clarion-Ledger in the first place? The obvious answer is that the executive editor of the newspaper, Sam Hall, is a Democrat partisan. Unlike most editors, Hall probably didn’t bat an eye if he reviewed the column by Pettus. Pettus has taken other cheap shots at president-elect Trump. Perhaps even more significant is he has taken similar shots at Gov. Phil Bryant and Republicans in general. Reminder: Seven of the eight statewide officials in our state are Republicans and the GOP has solid majorities in both the state Senate and House. Another reminder: The Senate and House make appropriations for state government and Gov. Bryant signs the appropriation bills.
Biting the hand that feeds you in a tasteless way
The next obvious question is if I raise an issue about Pettus being a state employee, what about Charles Mitchell and Sid Salter, two other former journalists who are state
The day after the election, one of my neighbors rode by on his bike while I was walking my dogs. He shouted out just two words, “Crazy election”. Crazy election indeed. None of us have ever seen anything like the 2016 contest for President of the United States. I’m sure this is a sentiment shared by both Trump and Clinton voters. I repeat: Thank goodness it is over.
Election thoughts related to Mississippi …..
After the election, one of my dear liberal friends from Mississippi talked about the “masses” who voted for President-elect Trump. Sounds a lot to me like earlier in the campaign when Hillary Clinton referred to Trump voters as “deplorables”. Isn’t liberal elitism wonderful?
Vulgarity and corruption are not one-sided
Clarion.Ledger executive editor Sam Hall seemed to delight in the vulgarity of Donald Trump. Several times Hall “tweeted” his disgust about vulgar and tasteless statements made by Trump. There’s no question Trump frequently exhibited vulgarity and crudeness. However, I notice the liberal Hall didn’t ever tweet or appear disgusted with Clinton corruption.
I really hope Gov. Bryant and U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper’s remarks were “tongue in cheek”
Mississippi U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker served as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. When he took the position, I can’t think of anyone who didn’t think it was a no-win situation for Wicker. Incumbent Republicans in the U.S. Senate had far more seats
In a previous post on May 16, I stated my opinion that Sam Hall, former executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, now executive editor of the Jackson Clarion.Ledger, is still a partisan hack for Democrats. That opinion was based on a lot of things that I seen in the left-leaning newspaper. In this case my comments were based on a particular commentary of Hall in which he wrote that there was a “bankruptcy of leadership” among statewide officials and the Mississippi Legislature. In a Tweet, Hall responded, “Partisan hack calls me a partisan hack. Irony lost on him.” Maybe so, but there is a big difference between writing a blog of political commentary and being the executive editor of the state’s largest newspaper. Hall’s comments also confirmed something I have known for many years. Journalists talk about politicians being thin-skinned, but editors and columnists like to dish it out but don’t like it when they get it back in return.
Liberal campus Gestapo leads anti-free speech march
Jason Riley is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. In the May 4 WSJ, Riley wrote a column entitled, “I Was Disinvited on Campus.” His column is certainly worth reading. It should also be noted Riley is not only a conservative, he is a black conservative. In April, Riley was invited by a professor to speak at Virginia Tech this fall. Last week his invitation to speak was rescinded because the department head of the professor who invited Riley objected to the speaking invitation. Other VA Tech faculty also objected to Riley being allowed to speak. So much for another case of liberal tolerance, support for free speech, and open mindedness to other views. Riley’s entire column should be read, but I particularly found interesting his comments about a book written by two political scientists. The book is entitled, “Passing on the Right.” The research of the two professor shows that in the humanities and social sciences, about 18 percent of college professors identify themselves as Marxists. That is nearly double the percentage of professors that describe themselves as Republicans. Does this really surprise anybody? (Note: Because of widespread national coverage by print and broadcast media, Virginia Tech has backtracked and now re-invited Riley to speak on their campus.)
Contributions and enrollment fall at the University of Missouri
Most people remember the turmoil at the University of Missouri when the inmates took over the asylum. Mob rule was the order of the day when students demanded the resignation, and got it, of the school’s president and chancellor. They were joined by 32 Mizzou football players who said they would not practice and would also boycott games until the president and chancellor stepped down. It is now worth noting that two Missouri dormitories have closed because of decreasing enrollment and contributions to the university have taken a nosedive. Should we be surprised?
Tea Party’s circular firing squad takes aim again
The Tea Party sends out frequent emails asking people to join that organization or make contributions. Currently, one of their hot button issues is to seek money to help them
Former ED of state Dems still pushes the party line
As I have mentioned before and most people are aware, Jackson Clarion.Ledger executive editor Sam Hall previously served as executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party. During his tenure as editor, Hall has made it pretty obvious he intends to make the state’s largest newspaper an organ of the Democrat Party. The headline of Hall’s Sunday column was “Bankruptcy of leadership among state leaders.” It was a huge headline on the front page of the Perspectives section. I agree with a couple of text messages and emails I received about Hall’s column. One comment was do you think the Gannett newspaper would ever hire a former executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party? I think the answer is pretty obvious although I don’t know of any former EDs of the Mississippi GOP who have a journalistic background. Even if one of them had very impressive newspaper credentials, I think the answer is again obvious. During the most recent legislative session, Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn and the Mississippi Legislature did not meet the policy expectations of Hall. One person suggested if that is the case, Hall should run for political office. During many years in journalism, I knew many reporters who fashioned themselves to being smarter and more capable to govern than election officials. Very few took that opportunity to run for elected office. Another comment I received said that Hall is “nothing more than a partisan hack.” I fully agree. Also, it is clear the newspaper is out of step with many readers as The Clarion.Ledger continues to lose circulation. Perhaps even m0re interesting regarding the newspaper’s credibility is the circulation it claims in the Mississippi Press Association’s Newspaper Directory does not match up with the newspaper’s annual report it is required to file with the United States Postal Service. So much for objective journalism.
A Reaction Of Near Hysteria Nationally And By The Press
Mississippi’s “Religious Freedom” Law (HB 1523) passed overwhelming by the Senate and House and was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant: The legislation was useless, worthless, dumb and should never have been passed and signed into law. Passage of HB 1523 could be described as political pandering. Yet, what is almost worse is the near hysterical reaction to the law by many people, various organizations, the LGBT community, national corporations and most of all, the press. Some of the same corporations that have spoken out against HB 1523, often with indignation and outrage, are companies that do business in countries that stone homosexuals. On the front page of the daily newspaper serving the Gulf Coast, it was headlined that a “No Hate In Our State” rally is planned in Gulfport. The law has nothing to d0 with “hate” and no supporter of the legislation has advocated hate of anybody. On Tuesday we learned that John Grisham and other Mississippi writers (however, Grisham lives in Virginia) released a statement calling for the repeal of HB 1523. Grisham and the others will have as much success with this line of advocacy as they did with their calls to change the state flag. In the same Clarion.Ledger article, a booking agent expressed concerned about gay friends finding a place to stay in Mississippi. Let me assure him, there is not one hotel or motel in the state that will ask if a person is gay when they make a reservation. No one dining out at any restaurant will be asked if they are gay before they are seated. The statement by Grisham and the other writers also talked about the “rhetoric of hate.” There is no rhetoric of hate in the HB 1523 or from those legislators who supported the bill.
North Carolina was the first state to get hit with the political correctness of the LGBT agenda. That state passed a law that prevents cities and counties from forcing businesses to give transgender people access to the bathroom of their choice. It is commonly called the “bathroom bill.” Do you really want a person who is biologically a male to have access to a restroom for women and female children? Of course, the governor of New York banned state employee travel to North Carolina, and now added Mississippi. This is the same governor that is promoting travel and trade with communist Cuba and its brutal regime that jails opponents left and right.
Pay Pal cancelled a major expansion in North Carolina because of the bathroom bill. PayPal might want to explain why its international headquarters is in Singapore where people engaged in private consensual same-sex acts can face two years in jail. It might also want to explain why it announced in 2012 that it would open offices in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While North Carolina placed some common sense limits on public bathrooms, the UAE reportedly jails gay and transgender people. On the subject of New York, it is laughable that Mississippi ex-pats living in NYC cancelled the annual Mississippi Picnic in Central Park citing the passage of HB 1523 and expected protestors if the event was held as it has been for almost 40 years. Not so laughable: the Clarion.Ledger’s making a big deal of the comments about HB 1523 by the gay brother of a state senator who voted for the bill. On Tuesday, the daily Clarion.Ledger email to subscribers noted that “Lawmakers call for do-over on religious objection bill” and that first-term Rep. Jay Hughes of Oxford was calling a press conference on the issue. Not much chance of a do-over of a bill already signed into law. When he grows up, Hughes wants to be Nancy Pelosi. I am also confident that a lot of people who are outraged about HB 1523 have not read the full bill. Earlier this week I had lunch with a friend who agreed with me that the bill should not have been passed by the legislature. On the other hand he noted the hypocrisy of some opponents of the legislation. He told some people opposed to HB 1523 to read the entire bill and then let him know why they had problems with it. He added that they should read the bill and not go by what liberal Clarion.Ledger executive editor Sam Hall and others say what the bill says. He didn’t hear back from them. There is one positive side to the uproar over HB 1523. Because of the Clarion.Ledger’s own hysteria and obsession with HB 1523, at least the constant barrage of change the state flag stories has slowed.
Let’s be clear on one thing. The current LGBT issues and HB 1523 are not the same thing as the 50s and 60s in Mississippi. Those were days of segregation, racism and violence that will always be a terrible mark on our state’s history. Colin Powell had it right when he was chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and Bill Clinton pushed his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Although Powell has since changed his tune on gay marriage, at the time Powell said, “Skin color is a benign, nonbehavioral characteristic. Comparison of the two (black civil rights and gay rights) is a convenient but invalid argument.”
The Mississippi Flag issue
Let me get a couple of things out of the way. When the vote to change our state’s flag took place in 2001, I had left Mississippi and was living in Washington, D.C. If I still lived in Mississippi I probably would have voted, like an overwhelming majority of Mississippians, to keep the existing state flag. I have never considered the state flag or the Confederate battle flag to be racist. It has sickened and disgusted me to see the KKK and other white supremacist groups co-op the flag. At an early age I was fascinated by Civil War history and read as much as I could about the Civil War. Today, my personal library has more than a hundred books dealing with the Civil War. As yes, some of the titles are even about Lincoln, Grant and Sherman. There are very few of the major Civil War battlefield parks in the nation I haven’t visited. An ancestor, John C. Breckinridge, was vice president of the United States but was later a major general in the Confederate States of America army, and later Secretary of War for the CSA. Of course, Breckinridge was wrong when he defended slavery before and during the war. Of course, he was right in 1870 when he denounced the Ku Klux Klan.
Flag hysteria in the press
The nine murders in Charleston were a horrible tragedy. The alleged killer is clearly a twisted, racist redneck. That doesn’t justify the mass hysteria in the media about the Confederate flag. The terrible murder of innocent black church goers in South Carolina is no cause for massive advocacy journalism concerning the state flag in Mississippi. As far as the press in concerned, during more than 20 years as a journalist, I have had no problem with newspapers taking an editorial stance, even when those opinions were contrary to my own. My problem is when obvious bias creeps into the news pages. Few newspapers are as guilty of advocacy journalism than our state’s largest newspaper, The Jackson Clarion Ledger. On Wednesday, the CL online home page had nine headlines dealing with the flag issue and the “Right Now” section contained three stories. Thursday’s print edition front page had only three stories, all dealing with the flag. Friday’s lead story on the top half of the front page was about the newspaper’s survey of state legislators
Ole Miss alumni on both sides should move forward
A week ago the battle of Ole Miss apparently ended with Chancellor Dan Jones’ press conference and his statement that he and the college board could not reach an agreement to extend his contract beyond September. Jones finally did what he should have done earlier. Despite the actions of his supporters, the college board did not reverse its decision on extending Jones’ contract. When the college board voted 9-2 on March 20 not to renew his contract, it never received much publicity that the two board members who supported Jones did not go to Ole Miss. Of the four members that voted with the 9-2 majority to fire Jones, two of the four attended school on the Oxford campus and two went to school at the medical center in Jackson. There was never a presumption in the press that the overwhelming majority, with the facts they had at hand, made a decision that was in the best interests of Ole Miss. Now it is time for Ole Miss alumni to move forward regardless of their support or non-support of Jones. I have little doubt that the college board will conduct a nationwide search for Jones’ successor. The best thing that can happen now for Ole Miss is that a truly outstanding candidate will be selected to lead the university.
Not everyone who wanted Dan Jones removed as chancellor at Ole Miss wants to wave Rebel flags, bring back Colonel Reb, or sing Dixie. From the drum beating on the left you wouldn’t know that. There are three quick assumptions that can be made about the Dan Jones situation at Ole Miss: 1.) With the lopsided college board vote of 9-2 not to renew Jones’ contract as chancellor, there must be a strong justification for the vote. 2.) Jones did not make a graceful exit after the board voted not to renew his contract. His statement and actions since then have done nothing but harm the University of Mississippi and add fuel to the fire of the messy divorce. 3.) The coverage by the press, especially The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, has had a lopsided, pro-Jones bias and has also been harmful to the school.
In most cases it should not matter if a college president is liberal or conservative. In the case of Chancellor Dan Jones it does matter. Jones is an avowed liberal and those on the political left in Mississippi have rushed to support Jones. His support has not been just from those left-of-center, but liberals have certainly been leading the pro-Jones charge.
Clear pro-Jones press bias
An interesting point was made to me Friday morning. After the Mississippi Department of Corrections scandal and other state contracting problems, there was a lot of outrage at The Clarion-Ledger and other newspapers. Why haven’t we seen similar outrage about the contracting problems at UMMC?