You can decide whether it has anything to do with Congressman Bennie Thompson giving his endorsement yesterday, but Hatiesburg mayor Johnny Dupree has charged ahead of Clarksdale businessman Bill Luckett in the Mississippi Business Journal poll, which asks “Who will be the Democratic nominee for governor?” … Click here to see the results
Despite Johnny Dupree receiving an endorsement today from Congressman Bennie Thompson, Clarksdale businessman Bill Luckett leads a MBJ reader poll asking who will be the Democratic nominee for governor. Click here to see the results and vote.
My wife understands that my brain works differently than most people’s. It could be the reason she loves me, or she could just be taking pity on me.
Either way, she keeps me around despite the random questions and statements I have and make.
Lately, the questions have been more frequent. She just rolls her eyes and keeps on moving.
Like last weekend. I was watching the Red Sox play on TV on July 4. I was horrified at the god-awful ugly hats my team was wearing that captured the American flag inside the “B” on the hat. I get it. It’s Independence Day. It’s patriotic, I guess. It’s an opportunity for Major League Baseball to make more money on the sales of the alternative hat. It’s still ugly.
But why were the Toronto Blue Jays wearing a similar-style hat? Toronto is still in Canada, right?
Will American teams wear ugly hats with a maple leaf imbedded in the logo for the Canadian independence day? When is Canadian independence day?
Another of my questions is why is a pickle named a pickle? I mean, it’s a pickled cucumber.
We have pickled okra and pickled beats and pickled eggs and even pickled pigs feet. So, what’s up with pickles. Was it the first thing ever pickled?
This may all seem silly, but all of this random thinking fits well in an election year.
Everyone has been, particularly in the governor and lieutenant governor’s race, endorsed by someone.
Both Dave Dennis and Phil Bryant have been endorsed by The Tea Party, which is odd.
A press release from the Dennis camp didn’t make it much clearer … The “Official TEA Party of Mississippi” (although others claim to be THE statewide TEA group) has endorsed Bryant. The Gulf Coast 912 Project and Alcorn County TEA Party Patriots have endorsed Dennis.
When the NRA endorsed Bryant, Dennis followed up by saying he had been a member of the NRA for 20 years. Then he ripped the endorsement, calling it “politics.”
Bryant gets the nod from “several law enforcement” groups.
Dennis gets the nod from the Madison County Journal newspaper.
Former Sen. Trent Lott endorsed Billy Hewes for lieutenant governor while Tate Reeves has endorsements from just about everyone else.
My favorite though, came on June 27 when Bryant’s camp announced it had received the endorsement from “Bully Bloc.”
The Bully Bloc, according to the press release, is a non-partisan political action committee, not affiliated with Mississippi State University.
So, let me get this straight.
An endorsement was given from an organization whose main claim to fame is that it is not affiliated with Mississippi State University.
Why even point it out?
I would rather contemplate the origins of the pickle.
It makes more sense.
Contact Mississippi Business Journal editor Ross Reily at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1018
Interest is growing about the proposition of building a NASCAR track in Mississippi.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant has used the economic development project as part of his stump speech as he campaigns for governor.
Many wonder why I would be against bringing a NASCAR or similar-type motorsports track to Mississippi. That’s not the point.
The Mississippi Business Journal is interested in the details of what it would take to make it happen.
We would be for bringing the Dallas Cowboys to Mississippi too, but we would want to know how it would be done and what Mississippi is willing to give up, financially, to make it happen.
Those type of details have not been offered. The only thing offered has been “We are for NASCAR.”
A Jackson blogger pointed that out about one of our critics today.
Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant knows every speed-loving Mississippian would support bringing NASCAR to the state, and he’s promising, as part of his campaign for governor, to help make it happen.
But there’s a big problem with that promise: Bryant can’t keep it.
There will not be a NASCAR track built in Mississippi. And even if one gets built, it’s highly unlikely NASCAR would schedule any races here.
In a recent speech in Rankin County, Bryant told a group of supporters, “We have even talked to some friends … about a NASCAR track. I’m gonna go ahead and tell you I want one. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we need a NASCAR track here in Mississippi. And I’ve got the people to come together that want to do that.”
However, motorsports insiders say that’s never going to happen.
The last track sanctioned by NASCAR was the $152-million Kentucky Speedway, which will have its first official race with the big boys in July. But it took five years and two lawsuits to get the track included in the series.
“NASCAR is looking to cut back on dates, not increase dates,” Sports Business Journal motorsports writer Tripp Mickle said. “That’s an empty promise. That’s never going to happen.”
NASCAR has been going through the same economic crisis as every other industry in the nation. It already cut purses for the Nationwide Series by 20 per cent this season, a move designed to make hosting the second-tier series a more profitable proposition for track owners. It also cut the number of races this year from 35 to 34.
But short track owners are losing money, too, and the industry is scrambling to come up with a viable solution.
Mickle estimated a new track in Mississippi could cost between $200 million and $500 million and take up to three years to build.
“Maybe you could get one of the minor series to come,” he said, “but, I don’t know.”
Even a Mississippi-born NASCAR insider, who wants a track in Mississippi, said there’s no way it will happen.
“No chance,” said former nascar.com managing editor Duane Cross, who grew up in Aberdeen. “To get up and talk about that is really not very fair.”
Promising a NASCAR track is one thing, he said, but laying out a clear set of plans and details is something else.
Bryant, for now at least, is keeping those details to himself.
Other than his comments on the campaign trail, Bryant would not respond to interview requests to detail the idea, but a statement attributed to him said he is for NASCAR in Mississippi.
That doesn’t add up. Bryant is on the campaign trail telling potential voters he wants to bring NASCAR to Mississippi, yet he doesn’t want to talk about the specifics of building what, at minimum, could be a $200-million track and breaking into the NASCAR schedule.
To get a national touring series race — Cup, Nationwide or Truck — a track must apply for a NASCAR-sanctioned license. The track must then meet minimum safety requirements.
“Even then,” Cross said, “the chances of NASCAR adding a date to the existing schedule is almost nil.”
The same is true for a local series race, like K&N Pro East or West, Whelen Modified or Whelen Southern Modified and Whelen All-American.
Cross, who is now editor of ncaa.com, said there is a better opportunity for Mississippi to get a local series track sanctioned “but the economic impact is almost minimal.”
So, is Bryant’s NASCAR talk just an attempt to get votes by misleading the public?
If it’s not and he’s serious about making this happen, his potential supporters deserve more than a weak promise built on the sands of political sentiment. Without the details, it looks a lot like Bryant is just spinning his wheels.
A Mississippi House bill passed Thursday afternoon places the burden of responsibility for illegal immigration on the employers of the state
Thursday’s 80-36 vote came after a short explanation and no debate.
The bill would also allow law officers to check people’s immigration status during traffic stops or other encounters.
POLL QUESTION: Are you for a new House bill that is tough on immigration in Mississippi, but also tough on business employers?
However, the business community has now been placed squarely at the forefront of the immigration debate as the House bill calls for fines of a minimum of $5,000 per day per employee to a maximum for $25,000 per day per employee.
And that applies to small and large businesses as well as everyday citizens, who might have an undocumented housekeeper or lawn service worker.
Businesses found to have broken the law would lose all tax breaks and incentives provided for them and a clawback provision would force previous offenders to pay back money already credited to them over a period of time.
“Illegal aliens are not coming to Mississippi to sell drugs,” David Norquist (D-Cleveland) said Thursday afternoon. “They are here to make money and send that money out of Mississippi and back to Mexico to support their families and the economies of the towns the families live in.
“What we have here with this bill is the penalties have to outweigh the risk of hiring illegal aliens,” Norquist continued. “If employers weren’t hiring illegal aliens, there wouldn’t be an illegal alien issue in Mississippi.”
With the shift of emphasis from law enforcement to Mississippi employers, the bill would make a fund in which all of the fines, from $5,000 to $25,000 a day, would go to re-imburse officials enforcing the law.
This leaves Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant in a precarious position as this bill moves into the Senate.
Does Bryant back the bill, which is tough on immigration?
Or will Bryant back the business community and water down or kill the bill?
On the enforcement side, the state auditor will have the authority to chase offenders, which leaves open the possibility of Howard Industries having to pay back more than $3 million in incentives after a human resources manager was charged after a sweep saw 595 illegal aliens placed on administrative arrest. Of those arrested, nine were charged criminally with aggravated identity theft and ultimately pled guilty to federal identity fraud charges.
Pro-business organizations, like the Mississippi Economic Council, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Mississippi as well as BIPEC (Business and Industry Political Education Committee) are certain to take a hard stand against the bill.
Meanwhile, organizations like the Tea Party are likely to support the bill as hard on illegal immigration.
After early morning voters had gubernatorial-hopefuls Bill Luckett and Phil Bryant dead even in a MBJ online poll, Luckett supports apparently went to work.
As of 11:30 this morning, Luckett had charged out to a big lead, with 75 percent of the vote.
After less than one day in the race for governor, Bill Luckett and Phil Bryant were in a dead heat in an online Mississippi Business Journal poll.
Considering that Mississippi is such a Republican-leaning state, these early results are interesting.
Obviously, these are not scientific results. Still and yet, they represent the views of readers of the Mississippi Business Journal, which consist of most, if not all, of the major business leaders of the state.
It will be intriguing to see how this plays out over the next few days.
(UPDATE) — In a story published on our website this morning, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says there is no legal basis for the state to block a casino proposed on Choctaw tribal land in Jones County.
—– (FROM TUESDAY, JULY 14) —-
Without getting into the political or moral issues of gambling, I understand why Gov. Haley Barbour and so many others don’t want the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to develop a proposed casino on tribal land in Jones County.
As most of you know by now, Gov. Haley Barbour and his “Gang of Six” Republican statewide elected officials have asked the Choctaws to withdraw plans for the casino, which would have 500 to 700 slot machines. It would be a $17-million investment, employing about 250 people.
The officials sent a letter to the Choctaws’ chief, Beasley Denson.
Those signing it with Barbour were Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, Auditor Stacey Pickering, Treasurer Tate Reeves and Agriculture Commissioner Lester Spell.
At the heart of the legitimate argument is the proposed casino has nothing to do with the way Mississippi has historically defined casinos as a “destination place”.
The Coast, Tunica County, Neshoba County as well as other locations along the Mississippi River fit that description, which is to provide other amenities, “such as a golf course, water park, and restaurants needed to ensure the developments are consistent with state policies,” as was stated in the letter from Barbour and the Gang of Six.
It’s a fair argument.
The problem is there appears to be no legal leg to stand on, and that’s exactly what the state House Gaming Committee said.
Democratic Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto has articulated that, saying Mississippi has no authority over whether the Choctaws move forward with the casino.
Moak says courts have upheld a gaming compact that then-Gov. Kirk Fordice signed with the Choctaws in 1992.
So, while Barbour and the Gang of Six may have one good argument in their bag, they will have to appeal to the Choctaw leadership on a different level in order to prevent legal gambling from surfacing in Jones County.