.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pick a Presidential Candidate

The following is an interesting exercise. You answer a few questions then click the "find your candidate" button, and the program selects the candidate whose positions on the issues are most like your own. You may be surprised at what you find... I was... Click the link below:

Select a Candidate

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Nixon I Didn't Know

by Joseph Sobran
August 2, 2007

I liked Richard Nixon, and he seemed to like me. I
met him a couple of times after he resigned from the
presidency. He was nothing like the ogre liberals

I found him kind, decent, gracious, intelligent,
well-spoken, charming, witty, easy to like, and, though
able to relax sociably with strangers, indisposed to
share his innermost thoughts. I realized I'd never really
know him.

He was impressive but not awesome. And he completed
my disillusionment with politics.

He had been the most powerful man on earth, with
life and death power over billions. I'd expected to be
awed. But the only thing that awed me was that he was so
little different from the rest of us. I was shocked and
awed that we should have permitted any man to hold such
power. You and I aren't fit to have it. Nobody can be.
Jesus didn't want it.

The genius of the original American constitutional
system was simple. It just dispersed power. The "free and
independent states" kept their sovereignty and
"delegated" (that is, lent them, with the right to take
them back) only a few specific legislative powers to a
congress. The executive was not royal. He could be
impeached and peacefully removed for any act the congress
deemed criminal. The federal courts were also weak.

The states, being sovereign, could secede for any
reason. That is, they could reclaim the powers they had
only delegated to the Union. In principle, they still
can. The "Civil War" was actually the North's war on all
the states and the Constitution. Michigan and Maine were
fighting to destroy their own sovereignty! Apart from the
late and accidental war aim of abolishing slavery, the
Northern victory was a defeat for liberty.-->-->-->-->-->

All About the "Jena Six"

Here's an excellent resource from The Town Talk of Alexandria-Pineville, Louisiana, which answers frequently asked questions about the "Jena Six." This page also has links to videos and photo galleries, as well as articles going back to September of last year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Jena Six Through the Looking Glass

You'll note that Steve has purposely switched "black" and "white."

by Steve Sailer

Last Thursday in the small Louisiana town of Jena, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led a march of thousands of protestors chanting "Jail the Jena Six!"

The demonstrators and the press had come from all over the country to condemn the savage racist attack of December 4, 2006, in which a black high school student was jumped from behind, knocked unconscious, and then kicked and punched by six white football players until they were dragged off their supine victim.

"Phrases like 'stomped him badly,' 'stepped on his face,' 'knocked out cold on the ground,' and 'slammed his head on the concrete beam' were used by the students in their statements," wrote reporter Abbey Brown in "Documents Give Details of Fight," a June 11, 2007 article in the local Alexandria-Pineville Town Talk.

On Thursday, the two ministers demanded that hate crime charges be added to the indictments against the six muscular white athletes accused of beating black student Justin Barker senseless. "Why in the world isn't this being called a hate crime?" asked Sharpton. "Given the long series of racial incidents in Jena, this was clearly a racially-motivated attack."

The black leaders denounced District Attorney Reed Walters's decision to reduce the main charge from second-degree attempted murder to second-degree aggravated battery. They implied that only bias could account for his leniency toward the white athletes. "These six football stars might well have killed this poor boy if they hadn't finally been stopped," said Jackson. "Let the jury decide whether it was attempted murder or not."

The Rev. Jackson blamed school authorities for not disciplining their star white players for earlier crimes. He pointed out that the only one of the football players so far to be tried and convicted, fullback/linebacker Mychal Bell, had been accustomed to running amok off the field because of preferential treatment he enjoyed due to his athletic stardom. In the twelve months leading up to the attack on Barker, Bell had scored 18 touchdowns and been convicted of four crimes, two of them violent. Capping off the junior's busy year, on December 17, 2006, Bell was named All-State while he was sitting in his jail cell. -->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->-->--> Read more...

The New Seven Wonders of the World

Following a global poll organized by Swiss filmmaker Bernard Weber, a new list of the top seven man-made marvels was recently published. Weber's aim was to help protect these examples of human achievement, but he drew criticism from the United Nations' cultural organization, UNESCO, which claims the list is nothing but hype and doesn't help preservation efforts.

The Great Pyramid of Giza - the only structure on the original Seven Wonders list that is still in existence - was not included on Weber's list. The other six on the original list were (1) the Colossus of Rhodes in Greece, (2) the Lighthouse of Alexandra in Egypt, (3) the Statue of Zeus at Olympia in Greece, (4) the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Iraq, (5) the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Turkey, and (6) the Temple of Artemis in Turkey.

Below is Weber's new list:

1. Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil
2. The Great Wall of China
3. The Colosseum in Rome
4. Petra in Jordan
5. Machu Picchu in Peru
6. Chichen Itza in Mexico
7. The Taj Mahal in India

(Source: National Geographic)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Do You Give to the Red Cross?

The Red Cross donated supplies, including water and snacks, to the marchers in Jena, Louisiana last Thursday. The following was written last Friday by a resident of Jena (gee-nuh).

I thought that the mission of the American Red Cross was to help people in times of disaster. I have a problem with what I saw happening in Jena yesterday. My problem is not with the people coming to Jena to march-- they have that right-- but with the American Red Cross giving away supplies to the marchers. The newspapers have stated that approximately 25,000 bottles of water were given out.

I will not mention any medical care that was provided, but we do have a local hospital that offers excellent medical care, but not for free. I sat on the balcony of my office and watched the marchers arriving carrying no supplies, but when they left Jena they were carrying bottles of water that were supplied by your organization [the Red Cross].

These people were not in a disaster mode... they knew what they were getting into when they came to rally, and should have planned better and brought their own supplies. I had a house burn in 1985 and lost everything, including my cars and dog, but never got even a call or a note from the Red Cross. I did not mind that I was not contacted by you and have not ever given it a second thought until yesterday. I have donated faithfully to the Red Cross for the better part of my 56 years, but no more. I know that in the scheme of things I am just a small drop in the bucket, but I will tell everyone that I know what has happened here, and maybe this small drop will turn into a flood. And yes you can use my name... it is James L. Broadwell III, and my address is 329 Pleasant Hill Road, Jena, LA 71342.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Jena: Nooses and School Beating Not Linked

Here's a story from CNN's website. I watched CNN's "Judgment in Jena," hosted by Kyra Phillips, last night. For a CNN broadcast, it was no more biased than usual. Kyra, you may recall, once was embarrassed when she mistakenly left her portable microphone on, and her ladies' room conversation went out over CNN's air. She was heard bragging on her husband and bad-mouthing her mother-in-law.

Isn't it amazing? Hanging nooses in a tree is equivalent to knocking someone unconscious, then six people stomping him while he lies helpless on the ground.

Wednesday, September 19 (CNN) -- There is no link between the nooses hung by white students outside a Louisiana high school and the alleged beating of a white student by black teens, according to the U.S. attorney who reviewed investigations into the incidents.

The events, though likely symptoms of racial tension, were separate incidents, said Donald Washington [who is black], U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana.

The events occurred three months apart last year in Jena, Louisiana.

"A lot of things happened between the noose hanging and the fight occurring, and we have arrived at the conclusion that the fight itself had no connection," he said.

Thousands of protesters are descending on the town of 3,000 to demonstrate Thursday against the way the cases have been handled.

Many said they are angry the six black students, dubbed the "Jena 6," are being treated more harshly than the white students who hung the nooses. The white students were suspended from school but did not face criminal charges. The protesters argue they should have been charged with a hate crime. The black students face charges of aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy in the schoolyard beating.

Civil rights activist [and comedian] Al Sharpton, speaking to the media in Jena, said there is no intention to stir up violence.

"We didn't come to start trouble; we came to stop trouble," he said Wednesday. [Yes, now that Rev. Al has solved all of the problems in his hometown of New York City, he's getting Jena straightened out. Remember Tawana Brawley? Remember Freddie's Fashion Mart?]

"We're going to walk past the scene of the crime, where this tree was. ... This is a march for justice. This is not a march against whites or against Jena."

While critics contend the nooses and the beating are two sides of the same problem, U.S. Attorney Washington said a direct link would be hard to prove.

There was "no connection that a prosecutor could take into court and say, 'You know, judge or jury, we're prosecuting these white kids for these nooses, and look at all the damage they caused downstream, all the way down to the fight at Jena High School on December 4,'" he told CNN's Kyra Phillips on Tuesday.

"We could not prove that, because the statements of the students themselves do not make any mention of nooses, of trees, of the 'N' word or any other word of racial hate."

LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, who oversaw the local investigations into both incidents, rejected the idea there was "a direct linkage" between the hanging of the nooses and the schoolyard attack.

"When this case was brought to me and during our investigation and during the trial, there was no such linkage ever suggested," Walters said in a news conference Wednesday in Jena. "This compact story line has only been suggested after the fact."

Washington noted that after the noose-hanging incident at the start of the school year in August, school routines went forward as usual; there was no apparent lingering anger.

"There were three months of high school football in which they all played football together and got along fine, in which there was a homecoming court, in which there was the drill team, in which there were parades," Washington added.

Asked if the incidents had been blown out of proportion, he replied, "To a degree, I believe so, yes."

The noose hanging occurred after a black student asked whether he and some friends could sit under the tree, a place normally used by whites.

Washington said FBI agents who went to Jena in September to investigate the noose report, and other federal officials who examined what happened, concluded it "had all the markings of a hate crime."

The incident wasn't prosecuted as such because it didn't meet the federal standards required for the teens to be certified as adults, Washington said. A court makes the final decision on whether to drop their juvenile status.

The three white teens were under 18, with no prior records, and no group such as a Ku Klux Klan was found to be behind their actions (bold added).

It was left up to the school to discipline the students, who were briefly suspended from classes, despite the principal's recommendation that they be expelled, Walters said.

Washington said federal officials examined the way the school handled the infractions, and whether black students were being treated differently than whites. The officials found it was not unusual for the school superintendent to reinstate students after the principal recommends expelling them (bold added).

Washington said he thinks most people were disappointed the three students didn't get more severe punishment.

Racial tension in the town increased after the noose incident. In November, someone burned the main academic building. The arson has not been solved, but many believe the incident is linked to racial tension.

Then, in December, the Jena 6 were accused of brutally beating a white student, Justin Barker.

The beating is considered a state, not a federal, crime, and all six defendants pleaded not guilty.

Parents of the Jena 6 say they heard Barker was hurling racial epithets, but Barker's parents insist he did nothing to provoke the attack.

On Friday, the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lake Charles threw out the conviction for aggravated second-degree battery against defendant Mychal Bell, saying the charges should have been brought in juvenile court.

Earlier this month, a district court judge vacated a conviction for conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery, saying the charge should have been brought in juvenile court.

Washington said Bell had several previous assault charges on his record. [BINGO!]

He and the other five members of the Jena 6 -- all of them African-Americans -- were initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the December 4 beating.

Charges against Bell were reduced, as were charges against Carwin Jones and Theodore Shaw, who have not yet come to trial. Robert Bailey, Bryant Purvis and an unidentified juvenile remain charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Here's the link to this CNN article.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Jena: What the National Media Has Gotten Wrong

It's hard to believe that the liberal media cartel would misrepresent a racial incident, isn't it? As Steve Sailer, author of the piece below, says, "The Jena Six weren't poor outcasts but were instead Big Men on Campus -- six football stars in a football crazy town who between them had scored at least 29 touchdowns in the season that had just ended. And they had a long trail of juvenile convictions but nobody would crack down on them and suspend them from the football team because they were stars. So, stomping that white kid was the culmination of a long reign of terror by them. They had finally gone too far and they got the book thrown at them."

As we saw with the Duke lacrosse case [in North Carolina], there’s a powerful hunger in modern America for tales of white violence against innocent blacks. So, on Thursday, the national media descended on the small Louisiana town of Jena as the Revs. Jesse and Al protested a racially charged case in which six young men stomped a high school student into unconsciousness.

Of course, things being the way they are these days, the protesters in Jena were on the side of the stompers, not the stompee.

A local minister, Eddie Thompson (who was one of the earliest critics of white racism in Jena), has posted on the Internet a list of everything the national media has gotten wrong about the Jena story. I’ve taken the liberty of rearranging it and shortening it, so go here to see the original:

- Jena does have racial problems. Jena does have bigotry and prejudice, just like every other town in America, perhaps even worse than some. If there were no racial problems, there would have been no nooses hung from a tree. [According to Stacey M. Chapman of Jena, the nooses were originally hung as part of a football pep rally and had nothing to do with race. Jena was preparing to play a team whose mascot was "Cowboys."] There would not be one white student beaten and six black students charged with attempted second-degree murder. The local ministers would not have hurriedly called a meeting to deal with the issue. The cameras of the world would not have focused their lenses on Jena.

- The actions of the three white students who hung the nooses (on a tree at the high school) demonstrate prejudice and bigotry. [Again, that was not the original intent of the nooses. It was some black adults in Jena who first made a racial issue of the nooses.] However, they were not just given “two days suspension” as reported by national news agencies. After first being expelled, then upon appeal, being allowed to re-enter the school system, they were sent to an alternative school, off-campus, for an extended period of time. They underwent investigations by federal and state authorities. They were given psychological evaluations. Even when they were eventually allowed back on campus, they were not allowed to be a part of the general population for weeks.

- There was no “fight” on December 4, 2006 at Jena High School, as the national media continues to characterize the event in question. Six students attacked a single student who was immediately knocked unconscious. According to sworn testimony, they stomped him as he lay “lifeless” upon the ground.

- Justin Barker, the white student attacked, was not the first white student targeted by these black students. Others had been informed they were going to be beaten, but stayed away from school and out of sight until they felt safe. -->-->-->-->-->--> Read more... [When you get to this page, you'll need to scroll down a little over halfway.]

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jena, Louisiana: the True Story

This was written by Stacey M. Chapman, a resident of Jena. Population 3000, Jena is located northeast of Alexandria, Louisiana, and is the seat of LaSalle Parish. It's some 50 miles west of Natchez, Mississippi, where I grew up.

I'm not even sure how to start this post... . I decided that it was time that there was a dose of the facts.

Once upon a time, a school assembly was held to discuss dress codes at Jena High School. An assembly was held for the boys, and one for the girls, as the dress codes do have some differences. As a joke during the boys' assembly, a black boy, who is known to always joke around, asked the principal, "Can we sit under the tree?" There are no boundaries as to where anyone can or cannot sit at the school. That tree was a twig when I went there. It grows right smack in the middle of the school square. Kids tend to congregate in areas with their friends. Kids congregate under the tree, on the benches, around the "casket," and other areas of the school. Blacks and whites are welcome at any one of those locales. People tend to congregate where they feel comfortable. That usually is where the majority of their friends are. However, there is nothing saying that they cannot go elsewhere. Same is the case here.

The square at Jena High School has been known as the center of school spirit and/or pranks for many years. I've seen everything from "funerals" of opponent football teams to the tree and surrounding area covered with toilet tissue. Jena High School is known for themed activities surrounding football games. This particular week, JHS was playing a team whose mascot is "Cowboys." Hence, the nooses in the tree... "hang'em high!" Not for one moment did the thought of racism cross my mind or the majority of the others. It was football season. We were playing the Cowboys. The kids, both girls and boys, wore boots to school and had a western themed pep rally. Nooses = cowboys and horse thieves in my world. Maybe I've watched too much "Gunsmoke," but racism was not even a thought. Due to the reaction of ADULTS in the black community, not the kids at the school, the boys were suspended. The entire punishment for those boys was never published because of the confidentiality of the issue. However, the boys were suspended. They and their families were required to go to counseling. The boys had hours of community service. The boys and their families continue to receive threatening phone calls, but yet no one has addressed that issue.

In the wee hours of a Thursday morning, arsonists set fire to Jena High School. The main building burned. Blacks and whites alike wiped tears as their alma mater was for the most part gone! The fire has not been proven to be related to the noose incident or any other racially motivated activities.

The weekend after the school burned, a private party was held in Jena. Invited guests were black and white. However, some uninvited guests showed up at the party and wanted to come in. A fight ensued between a white boy and a black boy. This fueled fights that took place over the weekend.

A white young man was leaving a convenience store that is located on the outskirts of town. As he was leaving, black boys jumped him. He did have a gun in his truck, as do many of the males that hunt in this part of the world. When he went to get his gun, the black boys took the gun from him. Police were called. Black boys were arrested for stealing the gun and attacking him. He was not involved at the incident at the party, nor was he even at the party.

The following Monday, the kids returned to JHS, the first day after the fire. Emotions were still running high due to the fire. Everything that had been "normal" was not "normal" any more. There was no intercom system. Classes were held all over what remained of the school building. It was chaos, but controlled for the most part.

The students stayed in the gym area during their lunch break. When the bell rang for them to head back to class, one of the "Jena Six" cornered a freshman white boy in the lobby of the gym. He was trying to get the boy to fight him. The freshman boy was clad in blue jeans and Red Wing boots, hence the typical "redneck." Another black boy, the very SAME one who had asked about sitting under the tree, pulled this "Jena Six" member away from the white boy and told him that there would be none of that fighting there.

However, that didn't stop this "Jena Six" member. As the students were returning to class, he pulled the hood of his sweatshirt up over his head and pushed the white boy down into a concrete wall. When his head hit the concrete, he was knocked unconscious. It was at this time that five other boys [the rest of the "Jena Six"] joined in and continued to stomp and kick the boy as he lay unconscious on the ground. Guess what? The SAME boy who had asked to sit under the tree was doing everything that he could to pull them off of the victim. The color of his skin is also black! A friend of the victim managed to lie over his body until teachers could get there to break the fight up. Remember, there was no intercom system, no way to call for help! The victim was unconscious when the ambulance arrived. Hospital records will verify that. Thank God, he ended up not being hurt any worse than he was.

On that same night, the junior class had their ring ceremony at a local church, since the auditorium of the school had burned. The victim of the attack was a junior and was able to attend the ceremony. His face was swollen and bruised, but yet he was able to walk up and get his ring. The audience applauded as his mom placed the ring on his finger. One of the "Jena Six" was also at this ring ceremony.

So many are asking whether the victim was hurt bad enough for the "Jena Six" to be charged with attempted murder. I, for one, am not sure exactly what the statutes or guidelines are for determining charges. However, the extent of one's injuries does not have a thing to do with that. Think about it: one could shoot at someone and miss, and never harm a hair on his head. That's just something to think about.

Oh by the way, here's something else to consider. Think about the black girl who was consoled by her white friends the day after the fight. She was having to be consoled because some of the blacks, the color of her own skin, were threatening her, stating that she was the one who had turned them in. Ask the media to talk to that girl and her mom about what happened. There just may be a different twist on everything.

This is an unfortunate situation for everyone involved-- the kids, their families, the school, and the community. The community has come together on more than one occasion with prayer meetings seeking unity and harmony. There are consequences for certain behavior. I hope that you will join with us in praying for just consequences.

The moral of this whole story: do not believe everything that you hear in the media. Remember, there is more than one side to the story. Unfortunately, the side that is most newsworthy is the one that makes the news.

Please remember our community in your prayers.

Stacey M. Chapman
Jena, Louisiana

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Finally Home

Grieving for our fallen soldiers.

by Greg Asimakoupoulos
September 18, 2007

Your son waved goodbye
then left for Iraq.
You checked off the days
'til your boy would be back.

With pride in your heart
and fear in your face,
you spoke of your son
and a longed-for embrace.

And then...

He came back in a box
lifeless and still.
Home from a war
that wasn't his will.

Home to a nation
weary and worn.
Tired of being
divided and torn.

Home to a country
jaded and numb
that numbers the reasons
why peace can't be won.

Finally home on a
permanent leave.
His sacrifice questioned.
No wonder you grieve.

This article was printed from www.partialobserver.com.
Copyright © 2007 partialobserver.com. All rights reserved.

Georgia... Georgia...

23 of Georgia's 159 counties held elections Tuesday, and voters were required to show photo ID. The process went smoothly.

Georgia's first voter ID law was struck down, but a federal district judge recently upheld the second such law, clearing the way for its implementaion on Tuesday. Any voter who is without a photo ID is allowed to cast a provisional ballot. The voter then has 48 hours to furnish the proper ID in order to have his or her vote count.

A state-issued photo ID is available free to any voter who lacks a photo ID. This card has "For Voting Only" printed on it, but some Georgians have nevertheless used it for check-cashing purposes.

A Wall Street Journal editorial mistakenly included Mississippi in a list of states whose photo voter ID laws have been upheld by courts.

The Mississippi legislature has never enacted voter ID, despite efforts going back to 1995.

U. S. District Judge Allen Pepper, in declaring our state-mandated open primary unconstitutional, also ordered voter ID and party registration. This is the first time a court has ordered a state to enact voter ID or party registration, and both items are among the four appeals to the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.

The case involving Indiana's photo voter ID law is the one that bears watching. The federal appeals court upheld the law, and the Indiana Democratic Party and the ACLU have appealed. The U. S. Supreme Court will consider at its September 24 conference whether to review this case.

The plaintiffs in the Georgia case may be waiting to see whether the Supreme Court agrees to hear the Indiana case before deciding if they will appeal.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

John Adams on Democracy

My favorite definitions of direct democracy: (1) Two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner, and (2) the right of the 51 percent to pee in the popcorn of the 49 percent.

"[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy
that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man's
life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every
one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination
of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers
of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the
capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few."

-- John Adams ("An Essay on Man's Lust for Power," 29 August 1763)

Adams (1735-1826) was 28 years old when he wrote this!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Oh No-o-o, Mr. Bill!!

At this point in his long career, columnist Bill Minor's research evidently consists mainly of delving into his mental files.

"Many Democrats in Mississippi's era of one-party politics were elected by hitting the "n-word" harder than their opponent. But Democratic pols dropped race after the 1965 Voting Rights Act gave blacks access to the ballot box."

I'm sure the "n-word" was used in the 1903 campaign, when James K. Vardaman was elected governor. (That was the very first campaign that Mr. Bill covered.) It was probably used for some years thereafter, but I can attest that it was not used in the 1959 or 1963 campaign. The "i-word"-- integration-- and the "s-word"-- segregation-- were the ones used then. And, by the way, there were a few thousand Mississippi blacks registered to vote prior to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

In 1967, Jimmy Swan of Hattiesburg ran for governor promising to establish a system of "free, white, private schools." Feeling threatened by the Swan candidacy, former Gov. Ross Barnett ran radio spots in south Mississippi in which he said, "If you want private schools, Ross Barnett will see that you get them!" Swan finished a strong third in the Democratic primary, while Barnett was a distant fourth. State treasurer William Winter, the most liberal candidate, led the primary but lost the runoff to Congressman John Bell Williams. (A friend of mine once described Williams as "Ross Barnett with a little sophistication and one less arm." Personally, except for John Bell's racial views, I rather liked him.)

In the 1967 campaign, Winter noted that many generations of his family had lived in Mississippi, and that he had always defended segregation. He said that his ancestor had fought in the Civil War under General Nathan Bedford Forrest, from whom Winter had received his middle name.

Swan didn't do as well in the 1971 governor's race. The two Democratic runoff candidates, former district attorney Bill Waller and Lt. Gov. Charles Sullivan, both ran as racial moderates and promised to integrate the state highway patrol. As governor, Waller, who had twice prosecuted Byron de la Beckwith for the murder of Medgar Evers, appointed the first blacks to state posts and ended the Sovereignty Commission by vetoing its funding. (This, to be sure, was the commission that had functioned to maintain segregation in the state.)

Ironically, Waller's opponent in the 1971 general election had been the independent Charles Evers, who was the mayor of Fayette and brother of Medgar Evers.

"What do you think was the bottom line of Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" in 1968? Remember, while Nixon was peddling his Southern Strategy, Lee Atwater, the master of GOP dirty tricks, was honing his skills."

The Republican Nixon must have had a pretty poor "Southern strategy" in 1968, since the independent George Wallace carried five Southern states and the Democrat Hubert Humphrey carried Texas. Nixon finished a distant third in Mississippi, with 13.5 percent of the vote.

Nixon clearly had a "national strategy" in 1972, when he carried 49 states.

The Democrats must have a "Southern strategy," since the last three Democratic presidents have been Southerners. Also, the Democratic vice presidential nominees were from the South in 1960, 1988, 1992, 1996, and 2004, and the 2000 presidential nominee was a Southerner.

The "Southern strategy" is one of the basic tenets of the Keepers of Odd Knowledge Society (KOOKS).

Lee Atwater was still a teenager in 1968, and I'm sure he had things on his mind other than political "dirty tricks."

"When [Haley] Barbour entered the governor's race in 2003, he didn't forget some of the old tricks. Barbour played the race card, donning in his lapel a miniature state flag with its Confederacy stars and bars while attacking Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove for trying to change it."

So wearing an emblem of the state flag in one's lapel amounts to playing the "race card," eh? The only time Barbour mentioned the flag in 2003 was when he was asked about it, and he certainly didn't attack Musgrove on the flag issue. Let's not forget that some 64 percent of Mississippians voted to keep our current flag. Even several black-majority counties voted for the current flag.

According to Mr. Bill, the only way any Republican ever wins any election is through "dirty tricks" and/or playing the "race card."

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning!"

You may have seen the Vietnam War movie, Apocalypse Now, which starred Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, and Dennis Hopper. Some of the recent pieces on the Mississippi Democrats' challenge of our primary election law could well be titled, "Apocalypse in the Near Future."

One of the things that has been stated in the wake of U. S. District Judge Allen Pepper's ruling is that the forced re-registration of ALL Mississippi voters is inevitable. That's not true. The legislature is free to start a system of registration by party in which all voters already on the rolls are considered to be independents. The only voters who would need to re-register would be those who wanted to affiliate with a party.

If our current primary election law is ultimately struck down-- as I believe it will be-- independent voters will continue to have their choice of either the Democratic or the Republican primary, since both parties have said that they will invite independents. Democrats will also have their choice of either party’s primary, while Republicans will only be able to vote in the Republican primary.

Both Rhode Island and Utah have fairly recently begun a system of registration by party in which old voter registrants are deemed to be independents. Consequently, the largest group of voters in each state is registered independents.

Incidentally: can you name the actor whose line is the title of this post?

Memorable Quotations

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."
-- Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."
-- Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary."
-- William Faulkner… about Ernest Hemingway

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
-- Groucho Marx

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it."
-- Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends."
-- Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play: bring a friend... if you have one."
-- George Bernard Shaw… to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night: will attend second, if there is one."
-- Winston Churchill... in response

"I feel so miserable without you: it's almost like having you here."
-- Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator."
-- John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial."
-- Irvin S. Cobb

“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others."
-- Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up."
-- Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy."
-- Walter Kerr

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork."
-- Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go."
-- Oscar Wilde

Lady Astor once remarked to Winston Churchill at a dinner party,
"Winston… if you were my husband, I would poison your coffee!"
Churchill replied, "Madam… if I were your husband, I would drink it!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

California's Independents and the "Big Tent"

A successful political party cannot become a "narrow sectarian party in which all must swear allegiance to prescribed commandments. Such a party can be highly disciplined, but it does not win elections. That kind of party soon disappears in a blaze of glorious defeat."

~~ Gov. Ronald Reagan, from his 1967 "Big Tent" speech

September 8-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked the California Republican Party to change its rules and allow registered independents to vote in the party’s February 2008 presidential primary. The GOP currently is only inviting independents to vote in its June 2008 primary for offices other than president.

California’s Democrats have already invited registered independents to vote in ALL Democratic primaries.

According to this article, the deadline for changing the rule has already passed.

Certain Mississippi Democrats might take note of the above quote from Ronald Reagan.

September 9-- The California Republicans adjourned their state convention today without changing the rule that blocks registered independents from voting in the GOP presidential primary.

The California Republicans are the only major state party in the nation that allows independents to vote in its state and congressional primaries-- and yet excludes independents from its presidential primary.


Let's say that you're now a registered independent in California, and you want to vote in the 2008 Republican presidential primary. Under Golden State law, you may change your registration up until two weeks before the February 5 primary.

Let's say that you then want to vote in the June 2008 Democratic primary for offices other than president. You will have until two weeks before the June primary to change your registration from Republican to either Democrat or back to independent.

1960 and Other Presidential Election Years

This is from an exchange that I had recently with Tom Head at Yall Politics. Tom's comments are italicized.

It’s worth noting that Gov. Strom Thurmond’s running mate on the 1948 States Rights ticket was the governor of Mississippi, Fielding Wright of Rolling Fork. This third-party ticket gave Southerners unhappy with the national Democrats an alternative besides the Republicans. If memory serves, Mississippi was one of four Southern states in which Thurmond/Wright had the Democratic ballot line. President Harry Truman was not even on those ballots.

“Mississippi went for… a second third-party segregationist candidate [Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. of Virginia] in ‘60...”

Mississippi in 1960 elected a slate of unpledged presidential electors. The hope was that neither the Democrat John F. Kennedy nor the Republican Richard Nixon would have an electoral majority, and both would be forced to bargain with the unpledged electors for their votes. But Kennedy won an electoral-vote majority, so Mississippi’s electors wound up voting for Sen. Byrd, who had not been a candidate during the presidential campaign.

“... it’s only over the past 30 years that Republicans have done all that well in Mississippi in national elections.”

“Only” 30 years, eh? We’ve gone Republican in each of the last seven presidential elections and nine of the last 11. Mississippi is one of the most reliably Republican states at the presidential level. In 1992, we gave President George H. W. Bush his highest vote percentage of any state in the nation.

“... I hope… that Mississippi politics does not break down narrowly on racial lines, with all-white Republicans versus all-black Democrats.”

Since the black vote routinely goes 90%-plus Democratic, Tom, maybe you need to use your influence to persuade more of our black citizens to join the Republicans.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

More From the Echo Chamber

Here’s another dispatch from the echo chamber, this one bearing the imprint of Sidney Salter: “When [Ike] Brown and Ellis Turnage went to court seeking to close Mississippi’s open primary system, they did so on the basis that they didn’t want Republicans… having any influence over the outcome of Democratic primaries and the choices made by Democratic voters in those primaries.”

This lawsuit was authorized by the state Democratic Executive Committee, the party’s governing body, of which Ike Brown is just one member. Attorney Turnage is representing the party pro bono in this case. If the suit had been improperly filed, U. S. District Judge Allen Pepper would have dismissed it.

If the courts ultimately strike down our state-mandated open primary system-- as I believe they will-- the state will no longer determine who votes in which party primary. Rather, each party will decide that. The Republicans have said that they will keep open GOP primaries: ALL voters will be invited. The Democrats, on the other hand, have indicated that they will have semi-closed primaries: independents will be invited, but Republicans will be excluded from Democratic primaries.

“... it’s disengenuous (sic) for Democrats who have sat back and let [Ike] Brown and others… file lawsuits to force a more partisan electoral process in the state...”

Once the final ruling has been issued in the Democrats’ suit, Mississippi will likely have what some 28 states already have-- a primary election system in which the state does not force the parties to let non-members vote in their primaries, their candidate-selection process. When a state has two competitive parties, there is bound to be partisanship.

“As the two-party system matures in Mississippi, partisanship will supercede (sic) race as the lowest common denominator in state politics.”

I wonder if Sidney means this literally. Some of our greatest leaders-- Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Reagan, e.g.-- have been quite partisan. If you want to see partisanship, take a look at the Thomas Jefferson-John Adams presidential races of 1796 and 1800.

The way a two-party system is supposed to work is that the parties compete for power, and the one that winds up in the minority functions as the "loyal opposition" and as a "watchdog" on the majority party.