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Issues the same in Indianola

October 25th, 2009 Comments off

Issues are issues no matter where you end up in Mississippi.
That’s one of the things I learned last week while moderating a mayoral debate in Indianola.
This Sunflower County town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta is battling the same problems that everyone is battle whether there or West Point or Natchez or Pascagoula.
Indianola needs better streets and schools, safer neighborhoods and more businesses.
The residents seem to be wanting a change of leadership, and they came to the Sunflower County Courthouse looking for answers from four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
Mayor Arthur Marble has been in office for the last eight years and is fighting to keep his office.
The challengers are a local businessman (Steve Rosenthal), a retired military officer (John Matthews) and a retired businessman (Clanton Beamon).
All of this came the same day that Alan Canning Company in Sunflower County announced that 140 jobs would be eliminated.
That was big news as the vast majority of the jobs are filled by folks from Indianola.
Sunflower County already has an unemployment rate of 11.8 percent, and the loss of another 140 jobs will be a tough pill to swallow.
Yet, none of the candidates really had an answer about what to do about unemployment.
“We have to try and recruit more business to town,” one candidate said.
“We need to bring businesses like a Red Lobster, something Greenville and Greenwood don’t have,” another said.
“We have to look for businesses that are willing to relocate to Indianola,” still another said.
Heard those answers before?
That could have been at the mayoral debate in most any small town in Mississippi.
But no one had a solution.
We need better schools, they all said.
Another said he will hold the school board accountable.
Still another said parents need to get more involved.
Yet, no specific answers.
When it came to the tax base for Indianola, none of the candidates new the exact number for sales tax numbers.
They all had a general idea, but facing uncertain times, no one had really done their homework.
They all want to work with other communities to bring more jobs to the area.
But there were no specifics.
Likely, there are two candidates that have a better understanding of the issues than the others, but, like so many communities in our great state, a specific plan needs to be in place.

Mac KOs PC

October 23rd, 2009 Comments off

While Microsoft rolled out Windows 7 Thursday, “a retooled version of its controversial Windows Vista program, will work out some of the technical kinks that killed Vista’s heavily promoted marketing momentum in 2006,” I am left to wonder.

Why?

PC people are PC people, and it is hard to convert them, but I don’t get it.

Macs are easier to use, more proficient and just plain better computers.

Are they a little more expensive?

Yes.

But when you are driving a Yugo, wouldn’t you rather spend a little more money and buy a car that isn’t going to break down on the side of the road, leaving you stranded?

Just asking.

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Michigan vs. Mississippi: Let’s get it on!

October 9th, 2009 Comments off

It is really easy to fall into the trap of trashing Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm after her recent barb at Mississippi.
According to the Gongwer News Service, Granholm was defending tax increases this week when she said, “Now is the time to stand up for those priorities. What we’re fighting for is Michigan not becoming Mississippi.”

Let’s throw the stats at her. … Mississippi has the 33rd lowest unemployment rate in the country at 9.5 percent while Michigan has the highest at 15.2 percent, according to the August statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Shame on you Governor Granholm,” Mississippi’s State Senator Dean Kirby, a Republican who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, wrote in an e-mail. “Have you compared your tax structure to that of Mississippi? Have you ever been to Mississippi? Shame, shame shame !!”

Shame, Shame, Shame !!!!!

OK, now let’s take a look at the real issue here — perception.

We still have a perception problem. Folks around the country view us as uneducated and backwoods.

We know that’s not true.

But it wasn’t so long ago that New York’s Charles Rangel made similar comments that enraged us all. Instead of firing back, we must do a better job of educating folks about our wonderful slice of the South.

It should be pointed out that whatever music Granholm listens to likely was born in Mississippi.

She should be reminded that every major form of music in America got its roots in Mississippi – from Elvis Presley and rock n roll in Tupelo to country and western in Meridian to blues and jazz in the Mississippi Delta.

Gov. Granholm should be reminded of the great literature and writers who have come from Mississippi – from Faulkner to Welty.

We also would like to point out the great journalism tradition that we have in Mississippi ranging from Pulitzer winners of the 1940s with the Delta Democrat Times to a 2006 Pulitzer winner in the Sun Herald of Biloxi.

Mississippi is a wonderful place, and we would like the opportunity to show everyone what we are talking about.

Many of us in Mississippi have visited Michigan and been treated wonderfully. We would like to show Gov. Granholm the type of hospitality we can extend.

Certainly, Gov. Granholm would not have made the insensitive comments she has against Mississippi if she had spent any significant time here.

Having said all of that, there are plenty of reasons that Mississippi isn’t always at the top of the popularity list.

We all know the reasons — education, racial tensions etc…

While we are right to defend ourselves against the ignorance of the Rangels and Granholms of the world, we must be honest with ourselves.

We have a long way to go, and people like Granholm and Rangel wouldn’t have made the comments they made if there we didn’t have a problem with perception.