Tag Archives: mississippi

Candidates Draw Straws for Seat After Electoral Tie in Mississippi

Turns out that in the event of an electoral tie, where equal votes are cast for both candidates – some state allow a coin toss or drawing a straw to decide the matter. It is a lot less expensive than holding an entire new election. Perhaps an Act of God, or just sheer luck will save the state from going down the rabbit hole like Kansas and Louisiana with failed conservative economic policy. Mississippi is already the poorest state in the Union…At least the Rethugs don’t get to turn it into a 3rd world hell hole….Yet.

Democrat Wins Mississippi House Race After Drawing Straw

Candidates Tullos (l) and Eaton (2nd from l) Drawing Strawa

Sometimes American politics is about ideas, powered by Jeffersons and Adamses and Reagans. Sometimes it is about strategy, with races determined by the chess-match machinations of Axelrods and Roves.

But every once in a while, the fate of governments is determined by a considerably less eminent character, one usually found lurking in back-alley craps games and on the Vegas strip: Lady Luck.

In Mississippi on Friday, luck smiled on a Democratic state representative, Blaine Eaton II, who had been forced, by state law, to draw straws for his seat after his race for re-election ended in a tie. On Friday afternoon, in a short, strange ceremony here presided over by Gov. Phil Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Mr. Eaton and his Republican challenger, Mark Tullos, each removed a box from a bag. Mr. Eaton opened his box to reveal a long green straw.

And with that, a mathematically improbable tie for the House District 79 seat — each candidate had received exactly 4,589 votes — had been broken, though not by the voters.

Moments after winning, Mr. Eaton, who raises cattle and grows timber and soybeans, attributed his win to a farmer’s luck. “There’s always happiness in a good crop year,” he said.

An attorney for Mr. Tullos said that a challenge had been filed with the State House of Representatives. Mr. Tullos, a lawyer, declined to comment but had said he planned a challenge if he lost the draw. He had cited concerns about the way a county election board handled nine paper “affidavit ballots” filed by voters who believed their names were erroneously left off the voter rolls.

Resorting to a game of chance to break an electoral tie is common in many states, and coin tosses are often used to settle smaller local races. But in few instances had the pot as rich as this: If Mr. Tullos had won, his fellow Republicans would have gain a three-fifths supermajority in the State House of Representatives, the threshold required to pass revenue-related bills.

At stake, potentially, was hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue. The three-fifths requirement has allowed the Democratic minority to block Republican tax-cut proposals in the past on the grounds that Mississippi needs the revenue to finance schools and other services. Republicans, who also control the State Senate and governor’s mansion, say the cuts, including a proposal to phase out the state’s corporate franchise tax, will jump-start the economy and promote job growth….Read the Rest Here


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confederate Bombs Walmart For Not Selling Confederate Flag

“Heritage not Hate”?

Since Walmart and other stores have decided against selling confederate flags…This “upstanding citizen” decided to throw a bomb into a WalMart store…

Confederate flag lover throws bomb inside Walmart after online threat: ‘No messing around anymore’

A Mississippi man was arrested on Sunday morning for allegedly throwing a bomb inside a Walmart just days after threatening the retail giant and other businesses for refusing to sell Confederate battle flags.

According to the Tupelo Daily Journal, 61-year-old Marshall W. Leonard will be charged with placing an explosive device after allegedly throwing it inside a local Walmart.

“There was an employee on break, and the suspect told him, ‘You better run,’ Police Chief Bart Aguirre said. “The employee did run and was away from harm when the package went off. It wasn’t a large explosion. It didn’t cause a lot of damage to the store.”

Leonard named Walmart and the Daily Journal as targets in an Oct. 28 post on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

“Journal corporate, you are on final warning,” he wrote Oct. 28. “You are part of the problem. As a result of this, y’all are going down, along with Walmart, WTVA, Reeds department store, and all the rest of the anti-American crooks. I’m not kidding. No messing around anymore!”

Leonard told WAPT-TV last month that the flag, which has been derided as a symbol of slavery and oppression, had nothing to do with race.

“Changing the state flag isn’t going to change nothing,” said Leonard, who opposed a bill that would remove the symbol from the Mississippi state flag. “There’s still always going to be hate. There will still always be racism.”

WTVA-TV reported that Leonard was kicked out of the Confederate flag advocacy group Mississippi On Guard in August after protesting at a Tupelo City Council meeting while being draped in the flag.

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Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Domestic terrorism


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Highway Robbery…And Debtors Prison

One of the problems with the Great White Wing Tax Giveaway is the municipalities are increasingly strapped for cash to pay for basic services. Heaven forbid that the very clowns who voted to cut taxes to the point their jurisdictions are insolvent (Louisiana and Kansas to mention a few states whose Republican Governors and legislatures have led them down that desolate garden path), pay any of the costs.As such, along with other failed draconian measures like requiring that Welfare recipients be Drug Tested (In Tennessee, Out of more than 16,000 applicants from the beginning of July through the end of 2014, just 37 tested positive for illegal drug use, meaning only .2% – which is mirrored by results in other White Right states), the concept supported by the White Wingers has been to shift the tax burden onto the poor through increasingly punitive and regressive measures…

Never mind those poor folks wouldn’t be poor if they could afford to pay the bill in the first place, or that the State has become the singular major hurdle for most of these folks to build any sort of financial nest egg to escape poverty.

In most Reprobate run states, this takes the form of massively escalating fines and penalties for civic and traffic fines. Can’t pay your $100 in Car/property tax on time? Well you now owe $300.

Got a Parking Ticket? They used to be $20…Now they are $100. And in the case of one municipality near where I live, they jacked them to $300, until the local businesses complained about the drop in revenue from shoppers who chose to shop elsewhere rather than risk the Meter Nazis. In any event, that Parking Ticket, now $50 – just doubled or tripled if you can’t pay the fine. As extreme, but not uncommon as the situation in Ferguson, Mo, as described in the Ferguson Commission Report, the poor are the overwhelming victims of these punitive measures. Measure which further erode the public trust.

Biloxi, Mississippi, apparently yearning for the long gone days of real slavery – takes it a step further by jailing debtors.

Meaning they have now just lost their $8.00 an hour jobs, putting them further in the hole.

One of the reasons for the American Revolution was just this kind of shit.

Qumotria Kennedy, 36, stands at the baseball field in downtown Biloxi where she works as a contract maintenance employee, making just $10 an hour one to two days per week.


A poor single mother seeks justice against Biloxi after she was imprisoned for not paying $400 in court fees, a practice that systematically criminalizes poverty

Qumotria Kennedy, a 36-year-old single mother with teenage kids from Biloxi,Mississippi, was driving around the city with a friend in July when they were pulled over by police for allegedly running a stop sign. Though Kennedy was the passenger, her name was put through a police database that flashed up a warrant for her arrest on charges that she failed to pay $400 in court fines.

The fines were for other traffic violations dating back to 2013. At that time, Kennedy says she told her probation officers – a private company called Judicial Corrections Services Inc (JCS) – that she was so poor there was no way she could find the money.

She worked as a cleaner at the baseball field in downtown Biloxi, earning less than $9,000 a year – well below the federal poverty level for a single person, let alone a mother of two dependent children. Her plea fell on deaf ears: a JCS official told her that unless she paid her fines in full, as well as a $40 monthly fee to JCS for the privilege of having them as her probation officers, she would go to jail – an arrest warrant was duly secured to that effect through the Biloxi municipal court.

Nor was Kennedy’s inability to pay her fines as a result of poverty taken into account by the police officer when he stopped her in July, she said. Discovering the arrest warrant, he promptly put her in handcuffs and took her to a Gulfport jail.

There she was told that unless she came up with all the money – by now the figure had bloated as a result of JCS’s monthly fees to $1,000 – she would stay in jail. And so she did. Kennedy spent the next five days and nights in a holding cell.

“It was filthy,” she told the Guardian. “The toilet wasn’t working, there was no hot water and I was put in the cell with a woman who had stabbed her husband, so I was scared the entire time. For the first three days, they wouldn’t even let me tell my kids where I was.”

Kennedy is the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit lodged on Wednesday with a federal district court in Gulfport against the city of Biloxi, its police department, the municipal court system and the private probation company JCS. The filing, drawn up by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), claims that the agencies collectively conspired to create a modern form of debtors’ prison as a ruse to extract cash from those least able to afford it – the city’s poor.

In a statement, the city of Biloxi said it had not yet seen the lawsuit but insisted that it treated all defendants fairly. “We believe the ACLU is mistaken about the process in Biloxi,” the city said. “The court has used community service in cases where defendants are unable to pay their fines.”

A request for comment from the Guardian to JCS was not immediately answered.

Kennedy v City of Biloxi discloses that between September 2014 and March this year, at least 415 people were put in jail under warrants charging them with failure to pay fines owed to the city. According to court records, none of these 415 people had the money available when they were locked up.

Nusrat Choudhury, an ACLU attorney involved in the lawsuit, called the Biloxi system “a debtors’ prison from the dark ages”. She said that people were being “arrested at traffic stops and in their homes, taken to jail and subjected to a jailhouse shakedown. They are told that unless they pay the full amount they will stay inside for days”.

That’s not just an idle threat. One of the plaintiffs in Kennedy v City of Biloxi, a 51-year-old homeless man named Richard Tillery, spent 30 days in jail for failure to pay fines for misdemeanors that mainly related to his homelessness and poverty. Another of the plaintiffs, Joseph Anderson, 52, who was physically disabled having had four heart attacks, was handcuffed in front of his girlfriend and her son and put in jail for seven nights for failure to pay a $170 police ticket for speeding.

Debtors’ prisons were abolished in the United States almost two centuries ago. The informal practice of incarcerating people who cannot pay fines or fees was also explicitly outlawed by the US supreme court in 1983 in a ruling that stated that to punish an individual for their poverty was a violation of the 14th amendment of the US constitution that ensures equal protection under the law.

In that judgment, the nation’s highest court ordered all authorities across the country to consider an individual’s ability to pay before jailing them or sentencing them to terms of imprisonment. Yet the plaintiffs in the Biloxi lawsuit all found themselves carted straight to jail without any prior legal hearing and with no representation by a lawyer – a fast-tracking to detention that the complaint argues is a flagrant abuse of the supreme court’s ruling, now more than 30 years old.

The pattern of judicial behavior outlined in Kennedy v City of Biloxi is replicated throughout the US as local authorities seeking new revenue sources jail their poor citizens, allegedly as a way of intimidating them to hand over money they do not have. In 2010, the ACLU exposed similar practices they say are akin to modern-day debtors’ prisons in Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio and Washington. Lawsuits have followed, with Georgia and Washington both being sued this year.

At its most extreme, the incarceration of poor debtors can cost them their lives. Last month David Stojcevski, 32, died in a Detroit jail 16 days into a 30-day sentence for failing to pay a $772 fine for careless driving – a sum which he could not afford, his family said. Ray Staten died in 2011 in the same Gulfport jail in which Qumotria Kennedy was held five days after he was locked up for failure to pay a $409 court fine.

There is no nationwide database of the syndrome of pay-or-stay incarceration, but Choudhury said that anecdotal evidence pointed to a growth in the practice in recent years. “We see cities relying increasingly on court fines and fees as a way of generating revenue.”

In Biloxi, a town of 44,000, the amount of money raised is disclosed in the budget of the city’s municipal court general fund. In the 2014-15 budget it was $1.27m; in the 2015-2016 budget it had risen to $1.45m.

Yet census data from the American Community Survey shows that the percentage of the city’s population that lives below the federal poverty level doubled between 2009 and 2013, from 13% to 28%.

That makes people like Qumotria Kennedy increasingly vulnerable to the trap set for them – pay up or go to jail. As a result of her jail time in July, she lost her job at the MGM Park baseball fields having failed to turn up for work and currently she only gets one or two days cleaning a week.

A judge at the municipal court placed her on 12 months’ probation under a new private company – JCS having ceased to operate in Mississippi – and she is still clocking up an additional $40 a month in fees owing to them. Her current burden to the city, rising with every month that passes, stands at $1,251; unless she can find a new, well-paying job and begin to pay off the fines soon, she faces a return to the holding cell.

“The probation person told me if I don’t pay it, I will be arrested again sooner or later,” Kennedy said. “I don’t believe this is right. I just hope other people in the world don’t get treated like I have.”


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Republican in Mississippi Lets Racist Cat Out of the Bag

Yep…Dem ebil black folks is going to steal you hard workin’ white folks money…

Busted: Watch Mississippi lawmaker openly race-baiting at GOP rally to oppose black school funding

Video shot by a local radio broadcaster caught Republican Mississippi state Rep. Bubba Carpenter using racial language to suggest to fellow Republicans that a ballot initiative to improve education was actually a plot to fund black schools at a cost to white schools.

The Clarion-Ledger reported that Carpenter was filmed by WMRG while speaking to the Tishomingo County Midway Republican Rally about the danger of Initiative 42, which would give a Hinds County judge control of school funding if the Mississippi legislature failed to lift the state from its last place national ranking on education.

According to the Clarion-Ledger, Republicans in the state had been using the phrase “Hinds County judge” as a racial dog whistle because the county is predominately black and has two female black judges.

But Carpenter dropped the coded language in a plea to defeat the initiative.

“If 42 passes in its form, a judge in Hinds County, Mississippi, predominantly black — it’s going to be a black judge — they’re going to tell us where the state education money goes,” the lawmaker warned. “So what’s he going to do? ‘[Predominately white] Tishomingo County, you’ve got a little bit of extra money, we’re going to take a little bit of that — I can see the happening, it may not, but I can see it — we’re going to help [schools in predominately black] Rolling Fork because they don’t have as good a tax base as you guys do, so we’re going take a little bit of that money and we’re going to to transition it to Rolling Fork.’”

Carpenter promised the crowd that Gov. Phil Bryant and other top Republicans would “tell you the same thing.”

“There it is, folks,” the Clarion-Ledger‘s Sam Hall wrote. “Let’s all thank Bubba Carpenter for saying what he means and illustrating to the world the filthy rhetoric that still passes for political discourse by some here.”


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Freedom Summer

For folks too young to be fully aware of what happened in the Civil Rights Movement, and grew up after the violent pernicious legalized Jim Crow racism of the 50’s and 60’s – this documentary chronicles Mississippi in 1964, through a period called Freedom Summer. One of the interesting aspects some young folks are unaware of, of this is what the segregationists did to their neighborhood white folks who in any way showed support for any of the Civil Rights groups, or even aiding people caught in the crossfire at the 1 hour mark.

The modern Republican Party in the South are the descendants of these very segregationist whites who bombed home, churches – beat and murdered Civil Rights proponents both black and white. And while their public vitriol is hidden now – they really have not changed. These are the folks who have assumed control of a large segment of the Party, and are the reason for the racial dog-whistle politics.


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Strange Justice in Mississippi – Black Judge Fired For Not Convicting Enough People

The strange case of Judge Ricky Thompson, and the Mississippi Judicial system…

It would seem the New Jim Crow System of a carceral state functioning to deprive minorities of their voting and other rights, and to keep them in their place is in full force in Mississippi.whether in Ferguson, Mo, or Harris County, Texas – the forces of supposed “Law and Order” have become nothing more than the instruments of the Modern Jim Crow. This system functions to suppress minority voting, having the same effect as the Old Jm Crow era Poll Tax through disenfranchisement.


Judge Thomson, center at rally to support his judgeship

Whites Quit Working With Black Mississippi Judge, Then He Got Sacked

Rickey Thompson started a drug court to start treating offenders and stop imprisoning them. Then he says officials quit sending him offenders altogether.

A black judge in Mississippi claims he was removed from office following years of resistance from a mostly white legal system to his push to treat drug offenders instead of imprisoning them.

Justice Court Judge Rickey Thompson of Lee County—named for Confederate general Robert E. Lee—is the first and only black judge in the county’s 149-year history. In May, the Mississippi Supreme Court removed him from the post that he’s held since 2004 over a slew of misconduct allegations.

“It came to the point where they couldn’t beat me at the ballot, so they had to find another direction,” he said. 

Thompson said the sheriff quit sending him suspects and fellow judges quit sending the accused to his drug court. Warrants he signed for the sheriff’s department went unserved. A bailiff even once refused to open his court. 

Officially, Thompson was found by Mississippi’s highest court to have violated several rules, including what amounts to making clerical errors like using the wrong form when filing paperwork. That should not be surprising given Mississippi requires only a high school diploma to be a justice court judge. (Thompson, a registered nurse with an associate degree, has more education than that of his fellow justice court magistrates.) 

Thompson’s crimes include speaking up for a bail bondsman who had been previously suspended from operating by the sheriff; preventing a drug court defendant from choosing her own attorney over one he advocated for; keeping some people in drug court longer than the two years allowed by state law; wrongly incarcerating four people.

The last charge is the most important: When a handful of offenders violated the drug court’s rules, Thompson found them in contempt of court and sent them to jail. The longest sentence was six months.

If Thompson hadn’t created his drug court in the first place, the four people he locked up for contempt would have almost surely been in prison longer than they would have been for their drug offenses. That means Thompson was kicked off the bench, in part, for not locking up drug offenders for longer than he did.

The judge was popular with blacks in the county, and he kept quite a few of them out of jail for minor offenses like marijuana possession. The sheriff evidently wanted to see them in his jail or prison.

“When I first started, obviously there was a learning curve, but you see some of the bad things that are going on,” Thompson said. “And as people got to know me and know that I was going to be fair, that I wasn’t going to be a rubber stamp, that’s when the trouble started.”…More on the story here…

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Posted by on August 31, 2015 in The New Jim Crow


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Pray the Potholes Away

The Devil made those potholes?

Jackson, Mississippi Mayor, Tony Yarber recently tweeted that a little faith would fill them.

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber: We can pray potholes away

Think the mayor may want to look into the idea of self help…


Posted by on August 28, 2015 in Nawwwwww!


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