Deeply ingrained in both the history and culture of Northeast Mississippi is the Black Prairie. The prairie takes its name from the dark, almost black soil that typifies its range. From the time of the earliest European-American traders and settlers, the region has attracted attention.
The English language is alive and evolving. The word "friend" has been considered a noun for a very long time. These days it is also a verb, as in "to friend" someone, such as on Facebook.
It must be true what they say about women -- that they are smarter, stronger, wiser and wilier than your average Joe. How else could one explain the magical thinking that apparently has prompted Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to abandon all reason and lift the ban on women in direct combat?
You are missing the point. Or at least, you are if you're one of the bazillion people following the Manti Te'o story, dutifully trying to determine whether the Notre Dame football star was the victim or the perpetrator of a bizarre hoax. Granted, the story is irresistible as one of those 15-minutes-of-fame-kitten-stuck-in-the-well fables without which people who gather around the water cooler wouldn't have anything to talk about.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?"' Many citizens in our community responded to that question on Saturday by volunteering their time to serve our community during the third annual MLK Day of Service, coordinated by the United Way Community Volunteer Center and hosted in part by Dream 365.
It was in 1981 that the United States Supreme Court, in a decision I still have trouble explaining to my students when I teach it, held that it was constitutional for the Selective Service, acting under the authority of Congress and the president, to require all men -- but not women -- between the ages of 18 and 25 to register for a potential draft.
Education has been one of the dominant themes in this year's Mississippi legislative session. Although the methods vary, the one thing all parties agree on is that Mississippi's educational system is broken. Most often, a deficiency in math and English skills are cited as being areas of particular concern.
The Obama administration initially billed France about $18 million to cover U.S. military support for its mission in Mali, while Canada offered similar services at no cost. Wall Street Journal columnist Bret Stephens expressed shock at this alleged nickel-and-diming, noting that $18 million is pocket change to a Washington spending over $10 billion a day.
My inner Pollyanna was basking in blissfulness, rolling in the hay of righteous rhetoric, backstroking through the sunny sibilance of aspiration. Drunk, apparently, on alliteration.
When Mississippi State and Ole Miss come together, it is not generally marked by a spirit of congeniality. Long and bitter rivals on the athletic fields, the two schools also compete for students and funding. But MSU and Ole Miss play well together in other, less-publicized arenas.
If ever there is a time that a Governor can speak beyond his base to all residents, it is the state of the state Address. In Mississippi it is generally the only time this happens.
The Mississippi Insurance Department, in the news due to a disagreement between its elected director, Mike Chaney, and Gov. Phil Bryant, is 101 years old. It is a clearinghouse. If a company wants to sell any type of insurance in Mississippi, the company needs the state's permission and stamp of approval.
It is hard to remember how much better things are in America today than they were four years ago when Barack Obama took the oath of office for the first time.
You often hear there isn't much to do in Columbus. That is hardly the case this past week, especially. The week offered an embarrassment of riches for anyone who wanted to be informed, entertained and inspired, with two outstanding events unfolding almost simultaneously at the Trotter Convention Center (and other venues) and Mississippi University for Women.
Aaron Swartz: Robin Hood or John Dillinger? He was not as virtuous as Robin and hardly as bad as John. Call the computer genius saint or sinner, few will argue with labeling his suicide at age 26 a "tragic loss."
In the days before the re-inauguration of President Obama, there have been the usual curtain raisers, with the usual suspects screaming from their respective corners about the usual stuff. And then there have been interviews with "real" people.
Last week, at a meeting in New York, it was announced that a group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers have agreed to get together once in a while and chat. This made news nationwide. Does that not tell you all you need to know about the sorry state of American politics?
Puffy little dark-eyed juncos are popping in and out of the leftover Christmas tree. The same Christmas tree we bought at Marvin's the day after Thanksgiving. A couple of years back we decided we were no longer able or nimble enough to trek hill and dell to secure the tallest and finest cedar tree in the Prairie.
Thursday night it was my good fortune to see Spike Lee's heart-rending documentary, "4 Little Girls." The screening was the second item in a remarkably dense schedule of events Dream 365 organizers have programed over six days, beginning with a spelling bee on Wednesday and culminating tomorrow with a prayer breakfast.
Over the years searching for the route of the Hernando de Soto Expedition through Alabama and Mississippi has been about like hunting a ghost. So I guess that in looking for the route of his 1540 trek through what is now Lowndes County, it is only fitting that an old ghost story turned up.
1. Ask Rufus: It was 75 years ago LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Our View: County's school district should not take 'no' for an answer DISPATCH EDITORIALS
3. Roses and thorns: 10/19/14 ROSES & THORNS
4. Possumhaw: The persimmon is possible to eat LOCAL COLUMNS
5. Michael Gerson: Ebola challenges America's ability to adapt NATIONAL COLUMNS