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JACK WEATHERLY — Monuments and unflagging passions

Morgan Freeman turned the tables on me while I was interviewing him about 25 years ago. “What should we do about the flag?” Freeman asked me. Flag? What do you mean? I said. Oh, right. The state flag with the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy on the upper left corner. I didn’t have a considered answer because I had ...

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TODD SMITH — Solar eclipse outshined Super Bowl on social

Last week’s solar eclipse spurred more than 9 million tweets globally, along with 240 million interactions (posts, reactions, shares and comments) from more than 66 million Facebook users. Twitter showcased how the volume of conversation about the eclipse aligned with its path across the U.S. with an insightful interactive map. The Weather Channel’s Chasing Eclipse 2017 Twitter livestream reached 7.1 ...

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BILL CRAWFORD — Does generals’ ‘coup’ put war-bringers in charge?

Seven Days in May, written by Fletcher Kneble and Charles Bailey and published in 1962, portrays a tense, nearly successful coup of American government by a cadre of senior generals. A quote on the cover of the paperback attributed to the Army Times said, “They say it can’t happen here, but if it does, it probably will be pretty much as Knebel and ...

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Analysis: Pressure rises on pension fund to seek more money

An outside adviser is telling Mississippi’s public pension system that it should change its accounting policies in a way that would sharply increase required contributions to keep the system solvent over the long run, adding to financial pressure on the Public Employees Retirement System. GRS Retirement Consulting made the recommendations last week, as part of its audit of the system’s ...

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JACK WEATHERLY — Book festival brings together thousands for solitary passions

The Mississippi Book Festival is held a week before the thunder of college football season just about drowns out everything else that is good in the state. Thousands packed the rooms of the state Capitol on Saturday for the third annual event celebrating the solitary passions of writing and reading. The sounds of music and smells of cooking emanating from ...

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TODD SMITH — It’s harder to separate news from opinion online

The line between news and opinion is increasingly becoming blurred online. News organizations aren’t doing enough to help readers understand the difference between news, analysis and opinion, according to a recent Duke Reporter’s Lab study that found only 40 percent of large news organizations provide labels about article types – and nearly all of those only label opinion columns. The ...

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PHIL HARDWICK — Mississippi is a paradox in so many ways

August 10, 2017. It is the final morning of a wonderful vacation in Ireland. Up early, I reflect on the kind and welcoming people of Ireland we have met. I marvel at Ireland’s ability to attract businesses to the Emerald Isle. Google, Accenture, Facebook, Paypal. The list goes on and on. I compare and contrast Ireland’s business attraction efforts with ...

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Analysis: State symbols don’t have to go on the ballot

Defenders of the Confederate battle emblem on the Mississippi flag have a ready-made argument that was handed to them nearly a generation ago by lawmakers who didn’t want to deal with the politically volatile issue of redesigning the banner. It goes like this: The people of Mississippi voted to keep the flag in a statewide election in 2001, and politicians ...

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BILL CRAWFORD: Do governor’s appointees not give a squat about his standards?

Did you read Geoff Pender’s terrific column “Take some aspirin before searching Transparency Mississippi website” in the Clarion-Ledger?  If transparency in government spending matters to you, this is a must read.   Pender pointed to non-transparent disclosures on the transparency site by the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, then said, “Apparently, they don’t feel like telling the public squat about their travel. ...

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