Nicole Clinkscales has an active interest in the Columbus schools. She is a PTA leader and the sister of Columbus Municipal School District board member Angela Verdell. She regularly attends at CMSD board meetings and frequently speaks at those meetings. There is nothing wrong with any of that. But on Oct. 24, Clinkscales turned to her Facebook page to attack CMSD Board Member Aubra Turner, inferring that Turner, who like Clinkscales is black, is an Uncle Tom. Later, engaging with a commenter, she referenced abolitionist Harriet Tubman's quote about a mindset that kept blacks mentally enslaved. Tubman's comment, which Clinkscales quoted, compared such thinking to a snake that should be killed. Public figures are often the object of bitter criticism, of course, but what makes this incident different is one specific detail: Clinkscales is a municipal judge in Columbus. And that makes a huge difference.
As my first high school reunion rapidly approaches, I take some time to visit my previously attended schools and reflect on where our school district is today opposed to merely 10 years ago.
Senator Roger Wicker must be anxiously watching the Tea Party blitz against fellow Senator Thad Cochran. The two senators have much in common.
Shirley, my walking partner, invites some online friends to stay with her about once or twice a year. Cec (short for Cecilia) came from Toronto, Canada, and was the first to arrive.
A little more than a week ago my brother Stephen and I stood on a hilltop in central New York eating apples. We were lost in a maze of apple trees -- and, frankly, astonished; each tree was laden with more fruit than seemed possible. Endless rows of them, each with their own little street sign: Honeycrisp, Macintosh, Macoun, Empire, Northern Spy and so on.
Let us now praise competence. The praise is overdue. Competence is like the dull, but reliable husband a woman spurns for some sexy stranger with a flashy car. Then she finds out her new fellow has the manners of a pig, the depth of a wading pool and absolutely no interest in helping her study for her real estate license. Suddenly, dull and reliable don't seem nearly so bad.
While the nation's attention has been riveted on the Keystone Congress, the executive branch was busy developing its own comedy routine. Picture the cast (you know the characters) shrugging their shoulders in unison: "Who, me?"
The amazing story of Pei-Shen Qian has given the art world pause. A struggling Chinese immigrant, Qian painted fake works attributed to the stars of abstract expressionism -- Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, Robert Motherwell.
Most Americans of a certain age grew up hearing the adage: "Behind every great man is a great woman," or some variation thereof. The meaning is clear, though its origin less so.
Now that the Tea Party has recruited a Republican candidate to seek Thad Cochran's seat in the U.S. Senate, the paramount question becomes "will Thad run?"
It's a sad state of affairs, an institution so bitterly divided that problems aren't solved; they are simply kicked down the road. It has created a landscape dominated by obstructionists who, lacking the votes necessary to impose their will on the issues, can do nothing but delay, distract and seek to destroy.
California has found a formula for ending the partisan warfare that once paralyzed its government: Get rid of one of the parties, in this case, the Republican. The state's famously dysfunctional government now hums with calm efficiency.
Most of us know that getting Mississippians to support the idea of building a facility to store and recycle the nation's used-nuclear fuel would be difficult. But it deserves serious consideration given its many economic benefits.
Two things are often said in this town: "A day is a year in politics." And, "It's all about 2014." Combined, the two statements mean that much can happen between now and the midterm elections next year, when Republicans hope to hold the House and gain the Senate -- and Democrats intend to hold the Senate and recover the House.
Mississippi's journalism annuls are filled with stories of courage and strength under pressure. Most of those stories emanate from the civil rights era -- when truth in reporting wasn't valued in some quarters and thugs believed they could dictate the news with their fists, a burning cross or a shotgun.
Campers are an interesting lot. They've always been the nicest folks -- they share, they help, they send Christmas cards.
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