October 17, 2010
SPORTS � B1 Mississippi state ....... 10 alabaMa ..................... 23 lsu ................................ 32 Florida ........................... 7 ole Miss ...................... 10 Mcneese state ........... 10 southern Miss .......... 41 GraMblinG ................. 38 Jackson state ............ 49 MeMphis ..................... 19 alcorn state .............. 28 southern.................... 45 TOPIC � C1 HOMetOWN tO HArVArD r rVA sam Wright's been around the world SUN DAY, Oc t O ber 17, 2010 � $1.50 tO Trick-or-treating in Vicksburg and Warren County will be from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31. `I see us being a model school district. We didn't get to where we are overnight. No one should expect us to get out overnight, either.' Dr. ElizabEth Duran SwinforD WeAtHer Today: Sunny with a high of 83 Tonight: Clear with a low of 50 15.6 feet No change Flood stage: 43 feet Mississippi River: A9 DeAtHS � Michael W. Harris � Stephen Alan Tillotson A9 tODAY IN HIStOrY 1910: Social reformer and poet Julia Ward Howe, author of "The Battle Hymn of Julia Ward Howe the Republic," dies in Portsmouth, R.I. at age 91. 1931: Mobster Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion. (Sentenced to 11 years in prison, Capone was released in 1939.) 1933: Albert Einstein arrives in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany. 1973: Arab oil-producing nations announce they will begin cutting back oil exports to Western nations and Japan; the result is a total embargo that lasts until March 1974. 1990: The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is created. 2009: Songwriter Vic Mizzy, 93, who'd composed the catchy themes for the 1960s sit-coms "The Addams Family" and "Green Acres," dies in Bel Air, Calif. New superintendent sees `a model district' By Pamela Hitchins firstname.lastname@example.org The day a cadaver was placed in front of first-year medical student Elizabeth Duran Swinford, she went home and told her mother she was dropping out of school. "I told her I was probably born to be a doctor, but not a medical doctor," Swinford said and laughed. "She said, `No, no one withdraws from medical school;' I told her I was about to become that first statistic." Swinford took her biology degree and turned to teaching, eventually earning a doctorate in educational leadership. "I kept my promise to my mother -- I became a doctor," she said. The new superintendent of the Vicksburg Warren School District has told the story to civic and business groups she has addressed in her first six weeks on the job. It's appears to be an apt KATIE CARTER�The Vicksburg PosT Dr. Elizabeth Duran Swinford walks through the halls of Vicksburg High School. illustration of her approach to things: see the end result, and map a course to get there. "Small steps," she said in an interview last week in her office at the district headquarters on Mission 66. "I'm a visionary. Things can be broken down and done in smaller pieces, but I have to see where I want to end up before I start." Swinford, 48, was born in New York, a "surprise" baby born to a U.S. Navy chaplain in his 50s and a former school teacher. When Swinford was 8 -- "the same time the first person walked on the moon," she noted -- her father retired and took his family to Puerto Rico, his birthplace. Two older children were already grown. Swinford went to school on the island, received her undergraduate degree and made that promise to her mother. After the anatomy class, however, Swinford saw that maybe her mother's course -- being a teacher -- was the right path to the goal. She began with a position at the American Military Academy in Puerto Rico, teaching science to advanced, English-speaking secondary students. She was married and had two children, and in 1988, she and her family moved to Florida, where she took a job at Warner Christian Academy. "It was convenient," she said. "My kids attended preschool there at the time. They were right there with me, in the same building. As soon as my daughter hit first grade, I got a job as a biology teacher at Deltona High School." Within nine months, she was promoted to dean of students. "I always set small goals," she said. "When I was a See Swinford, Page A2. INDeX Business ............................... B9 Puzzles.................................. B8 Dear Abby ........................... B7 Editorial................................A4 People/TV............................ B7 China mine blast kills 21, traps 16; news coverage limited By The Associated Press BEIJING -- China joined the world in breathless coverage of the Chilean mine rescue, but when a gas blast killed 21 Chinese miners and trapped 16 Saturday, the national TV evening news didn't say a word. Rescuers said they were fighting tons of coal dust to reach the miners, who had been located but whose conditions were unknown. The rescuers also faced dangerous gas levels and the risk of falling rocks as they worked their way into the cONtAct US Advertising ...601-636-4545 Classifieds...... 601-636-SELL Circulation.....601-636-4545 News................601-636-4545 See A2 for e-mail addresses On A9 2 of 4 missing Ecuador miners found dead more than two months. Chinese media had detailed coverage as the Chilean men emerged to cheers. Some in China asked whether their own officials would make as much of an effort in a similar disaster, and be just as open about the progress of rescue efforts. The test came quickly for China, whose mining industry is the most dangerous in Call us E-mail us www.vicksburgpost.com VoluMe 128 nuMber 290 4 sections ONLINe The associaTed Press associa Rescuers get ready to go underground Saturday after an explosion at a mine in central China. mine pit. The early-morning explosion in central China happened as the world still was celebrating Chile's successful rescue of 33 miners trapped the world. Saturday's blast at a staterun mine in Henan province occurred as workers were drilling a hole to release pressure from a gas buildup to decrease the risk of explosions, the state work safety administration said. Another gas blast at the same mine two years ago killed 23 people, state media said. Saturday's blast at the Pingyu Coal & Electric Co. Ltd. mine unleashed more than 2,500 tons of coal dust, See China, Page A9. CARE YOU'VE GROWN TO TRUST 2080 S. Frontage Rd. / Vicksburg, MS 39180 M EDICAL Associates O F V I C K S B U R G Affiliated with 601.262.1000 A2 Sunday, October 17, 2010 The Vicksburg Post being able to provide more options to over-age kids. Graduation rates will start to improve." She has found the elementary schools to be in good shape in curriculum pacing, periodic skills testing and using class- and research-derived data to drive teaching. "Every time I step into a classroom, I'm very impressed with what I find," she said. She carries a standard rubric or chart as she observes teachers and reviews her findings and comments with principals, leaving a copy with them so the teachers also can see them. Much of Swinford's longer-term efforts are beginning to localize in the junior high schools, she said, where the results will take a little longer to gauge. But in five years, she believes, other school districts will be coming here for advice and guidance. "I see us being a model school district," Swinford said. "We didn't get to where we are overnight. No one should expect us to get out overnight, either." Even while moving inexorably toward her goals, Swinford's feet are firmly in the present. She sometimes tell visitors to her office to ignore noises from her two cell phones -- one business, one personal -- because they're scores or sports news updates from ESPN. She's a "big-time Mets fan" who is rooting for the Giants in the playoffs. In football she loves the Saints, the New York Giants and LSU, and is a fan of "the other" football, as well, especially with Spain, "the mother country," reigning World Cup soccer champion. In an instant she can also find the nearest Starbucks and pull up her latest family photos on her phone, including one of her son and her daughter-in-law. She is hoping their first child will be born on Nov. 24 -- her birthday. It will be the third grandchild for Swinford and her husband, Darren, 52. The couple is completing the move to Vicksburg this weekend, and Darren Swinford, former wide-area network manager for the EBR school district, will start job hunting -- another leap of faith. The two are known by friends to sit side-by-side at night, in a loveseat recliner in front of a television -- each working on a laptop. Swinford's 91-year-old mother also lives with the couple, though she has been hospitalized recently after falling and breaking her hip. "I am in love with this city," Swinford said of Vicksburg. "Certainly I've had my drama moments -- my mother broke her hip, my dog died -- but I've had a big segment of this community come and help me. They've sent plants, flowers, cards. There's been an outpouring of support. I've read every one of those cards to my mother." She hopes one day to take her dream cruise to Alaska, one of those trips where passengers can get off the boat and, safari-style, check out the polar bears, which have held a fascination for her since she was a teenager. At home, Swinford has a collection of the bears in figurines, key chains, framed artwork and stuffed animals, but still her vision is to see them in the wild. After all, Swinford takes on only the living. ISSN 1086-9360 PUBLISHED EACH DAY In The Vicksburg Post Building 1601-F North Frontage Road Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180 News, Sports, Advertising, Business: 601-636-4545 Circulation: 601-636-4545 Fax: 601-634-0897 SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION By Carrier Seven Days Per Week $14 per month Six Days Per Week (Monday-Saturday) $11.25 per month Fri., Sat., Sun. & Mon. $10.75 per month Advance payments of two months or more should be paid to The Vicksburg Post for proper credit. All carriers are independent contractors, not employees. By Mail (Paid In Advance) Seven Days Per Week $77.25/3 months Sunday Only $47.25/3 months DELIVERY INFORMATION To report delivery problems, call 601-636-4545: Monday-Friday: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday: 7 a.m.-11 a.m. Holidays: 7 a.m.-9 a.m. Member Of The Associated Press Swinford Continued from Page A1. teacher, I thought it would be nice to be dean of students or maybe assistant principal, but not principal. I just never thought I'd want to do that." But she climbed the ladder, at each rung thinking along the same lines -- contented, but maybe, at some point, the next higher job might be interesting to tackle. "I always thought about what would be the next position in order to continue growing professionally," she said. "Unless you have goals and keep moving forward, you stop learning." Others were looking at her potential for professional growth, too. After moving to California for several years, Swinford, by then divorced, took "a leap of faith" and returned to the South, without a job, but with two high-school-aged children. They lived temporarily with her sister on the Gulf Coast, and she applied for the principalship at C.E. Byrd High School, a science and mathematics magnet school in Caddo Parish, La. Instead of hiring her as principal, though, the superintendent chose Swinford to be director of certified personnel for the 42,000-student district. She remained for two years, moving in 2003 to the East Baton Rouge Parish School System to become associate superintendent for human resources for seven years and to be closer to her mother and sister. "Dr. Swinford has been the consummate professional," EBR school board member Noel Hammatt said shortly after Swinford was chosen as VWSD's new superintendent. KATIE CARTER�The Vicksburg PosT Dr. Elizabeth Duran Swinford in her office at the school district's headquarters on Mission 66 "She was unwavering in her support of policies, procedures and practices that supported the best interests of the students." VWSD's board members were split 3-2 on hiring Swinford as the district's fifth superintendent, but offered her a two-year contract at $125,000 annually. Small steps, from a private school classroom to head of a 9,000-student district. "I've had great mentors along the way," Swinford said. "They all polished me and they knew I was superintendent material before I did." Now, she said, she's not looking for the next rung on the ladder. "I'm looking for a place to call home," she said. In 2009, the VWSD was rated At Risk of Failure by the Mississippi Department of Education, a rating that was repeated in 2010, shortly after Swinford's arrival. Most of the schools had shown improvement, however, and five had moved up. The two top goals trustees set for Swinford as she took office were bring up test scores and improving the district's image -- goals she also had set for herself. "I did my homework," she told a Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce luncheon in September, a meeting more heavily attended than usual by business and community leaders. "But little did I know, what I thought I was getting into, I wasn't. It's a whole lot better." Since taking office, Swinford has visited schools and classrooms, studied organizational charts and met with staff. At September's board meeting, she won approval from trustees to create a curriculum and instruction department and hire a firm to plan and coordinate professional development, steps she says are necessary to achieve her vision. "Two years is a very short timeline, but I see us moving out of At Risk of Failure," she said. "I see children who are behind catching up. I see us The Associated Press is entitled exclusively to the use for republication of all the local news and photographs printed in this newspaper. All other rights are reserved by Vicksburg Printing and Publishing Company Inc. Postmaster Send address changes to: The Vicksburg Post Post Office Box 821668 Vicksburg, Mississippi 39182 National Advertising Representatives: Landon Media Group 805 Third Ave. New York, NY 10022 � Mississippi Press Services 371 Edgewood Terrace Jackson, MS 39206 Political advertising payable in advance Periodicals Postage Paid At Vicksburg, Mississippi community calendar Ridgeway Baptist -- Revival, 11 today and 6 tonight; 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; evangelist Danny Long; 4684 Redwood Road. Morning Star Seventh Day Adventist -- Revelation of Hope, 7 tonight-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday; Darron George, pastor; 1954 Sky Farm Ave. Triumphant Baptist -- Coat, clothes and blanket drive; noon-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 224 R.L. Chase Circle; 601-6344788; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays; multipurpose building, 74 Scenic Drive; 601-638-8072. Christ Episcopal -- Spiritual education for ages 6-10 and junior youth programs for ages 11-14; 4-5 p.m. Tuesdays; co-sponsored by Baha'is of Vicksburg. Jeanine Hensley, 601-415-3253; Alma Smith, 601-636-8628; Sunday school building two doors down from church at 1115 Main St.; youth. email@example.com. Shady Grove Baptist -- Harvest Drive through Oct. 31; nonperishable items; 61 Shady Grove Circle. correction Mount Carmel Ministries activities listed in Saturday's Religion section were incorrect. Services at the 2015 Grove St. church begin at 9:30 a.m. with Sunday school. Worship is at 11, with Communion each first Sunday. Musicians rehearse at 5 p.m. Mondays, and praise and worship choir at 5 p.m. Wednesdays. Bible study is at 7 p.m. Wednesdays; men's fellowship is at 7 p.m. Thursdays; and exercise class is at 8 a.m. Saturdays. Monya Williams will preach an initial sermon at 3 p.m. today. Hallelujah Night is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 30, and the Harvest Ball for 6 p.m. Nov. 13 at City Auditorium. � cHurcHeS Senior Center -- Monday: 9 a.m., Curtis bridge; 10, chair exercises; 1 p.m., card games. Free Hunter Safety Course -- 6-9 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; Social Security number and all three nights mandatory; minimum age 10 in calendar year; Lonnie Friar, 601636-8883; Hinds Community College, Mississippi 27. Public Library -- 10:30 a.m. Tuesday-Wednesday; story time for preschool and toddlers; 10:30 Thursday; day-care groups; 700 Veto St. Tuesday Vicksburg AlAnon -- Noon Tuesday; second floor, First Presbyterian Church, 1501 Cherry St.; 601634-0152. Serenity Overeaters Anonymous -- 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Bowmar Baptist Church, Room 102C; 601-638-0011. Vicksburg Al-anon -- 8 p.m. Wednesday; family, friends of alcoholics, addicts; 502 Dabney Avenue; 601-636-1134. The Vicksburg Post attempts to report information accurately. To report an error, call 601-636-4545, ext. 123 or 137. NEW HEALTH CHIROPRACTIC CENTER For Sandra Thomas Call: 1825 N. Frontage Rd. Suite D. Vicksburg, MS 39180 MEMBER Verified Audit Circulation Visit us online at: www.vicksburgpost.com E-MAIL DIRECTORY firstname.lastname@example.org Retail advertising inquiries: General comments: Thomas W. Houseal, D.C. DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC 601-634-1600 For Dr. Houseal Call: 601-218-2185 cherry sleigh bedroom open stock buy only the pieces you need! Sandra Thomas Massage Therapist * LMT #1556 Refreshed email@example.com Whole New YOU! & Energized AGet YOUR Body Ready for Fall! queen bed firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Home delivery complaints or inquiries about circulation billing: Legal advertisements: Inquiries about display advertising billing and accountspayable, payroll, employment and human resources issues: firstname.lastname@example.org Classified ads or to report classified billing problems: email@example.com Post photographers: Church news and church briefs: Sports news: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org News about youth and releases from colleges and schools: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Letters to the editor: News releases for the news and features departments other than those for church, sports or school news: Rosa A. Temple Class of 1966 Reunion -- 3 today; reunion planning; Calvary Baptist Church, 1350 East Ave.; 601415-0512 or 601-218-1355. Letitia Street Reunion -- 4 today; planning meeting; Ameristar's Heritage Buffet; 601-218-3869. Exchange Club -- 12:30 p.m. Monday; Hibachi Grill. Vicksburg Kiwanis -- Noon Tuesday, Jacques' Cafe. Openwood Garden -- 7 p.m. Tuesday; 5 Beauguard Drive. Lions Club --Noon Wednesday; Larry Pharr, Batesville Casket Co., speaker; Jacques' Cafe. Port City Kiwanis -- 7 a.m. Thursday; Georgia Lynn, speaker, animal cruelty laws. Vicksburg Toastmasters Club 2052 -- Noon Thursday; Toney's, 1903 Mission 66; Jeff Hensley, 601-634-4596. cluBS FREE 3 day Trial Shape Up Sisters is for women of all ages and fitness levels. Our staff provides an environment that is fun, friendly and non-intimidating, so you can feel comfortable and focus on your individual goals. Facebook: Shape Up Sisters YOGA CIRCUIT ZUMBA STRENGTH CARDIO 3215 Plaza Drive � 601-619-7277 � www.shapeupsisters.com Dr. Thomas' Dental Update The increasing incidence of obesity in this country has many people concerned, and none more so than parents of overweight children. As it turns out, the dentist may help parents educate themselves and their children about the role that nutrition plays in attaining normal weight. Researchers have found that among young children between ages two and five years, poor nutrition may be the common denominator that links obesity and tooth decay. In fact, 28 percent of young children in this age group, who have decay serious enough to require anesthesia for treatment in an operating room, had a "body mass index" (BMI) that indicated they were overweight or obese. Better nutrition may help avert both obesity and severe tooth decay. Our dental team is in the forefront in promoting good nutri- $ 29995 399 95 499 95 299 95 279 95 159 95 Lay Aways Welcomed open stock pricing �King Bed ........................................................$ �dresser & Mirror ........................................................$ �5-drAWer chest ........................................................$ �Lingerie chest ........................................................$ �night stAnd ........................................................$ We Finance Our Own Accounts - Just Say "ChArge It" NUTRITION AND OBESITY Haunted Vicksburg Tours -- Thursday-Sundays in October; for times and fees, visit www. hauntedvicksburg.com; Bazsinsky House, 1022 Monroe St. PuBlic ProGramS tion for general and oral health by informing parents about the importance of integrating healthful snack and meal patterns into oral hygiene practices. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating periodontal (gum) disease and scheduling regular professional cleanings are essential to excellent dental health. Please call the office of BRENT THOMAS, DMD, PA, to schedule an appointment. You will receive a professional oral dental exam to detect and address any existing or imminent oral health problems. P.S. Processed snacking foods not only tend to be highly caloric, but they are often made of sticky sugars and carbohydrates that adhere to teeth and contribute to tooth decay. DR. BRENT THOMAS DMD, PA Cosmetic & General Dentistry 1805 Mission 66 � 601-638-2361 DISCOUNTS FOR SENIORS $ 1 Initial exam, consultation necessary x-rays NEW PATIENT EXAM 1210 Washington St. 601-636-7531 In Downtown Vicksburg Since 1899 The Vicksburg Post Sunday, October 17, 2010 A3 Obama steps in to step up for Massachusetts governor BOSTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama stepped into the Massachusetts gubernatorial race Saturday to rally for friend and political ally Deval Patrick, who is struggling to overcome the anti-incumbent mood that has swept across the country during this election season. Speaking before a crowd of several thousand at a rally at Boston's Hynes Convention Center, Obama said Patrick's opponent is banking on the same strategy as national Republicans. "They figured they could ride people's anger and frustration all the way to the ballot box," said Obama, dressed more casually for the weekthe GOP, who he says want to return to the policies of the past. "The worst thing we could do is go back to a philosophy that nearly destroyed our economy," Obama said. Although Massachusetts is among the nation's most liberal states, the last four governors before Patrick were Republicans. Massachusetts voters have opted for GOP governors as a hedge against perceived excesses by the Democratic-run state Legislature. A poll from Suffolk University and WHDH-TV shows Patrick with a 7-point lead over Republican challenger Charles Baker. Patrick is also being challenged by independent Timothy Cahill, whose candidacy threatens to split the anti-Patrick vote. Obama's remarks were interrupted twice by protesters demanding more funding for HIV/AIDS. Supporters in the crowd tried to drowned out the protesters by chanting, "Yes We Can," Obama's slogan during the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama responded directly to the protesters, saying his administration had increased AIDS funding and telling them to, "take a look at what the Republican leadership has to say about AIDS funding." With the Nov. 2 election quickly approaching, Obama has been campaigning coast to coast, raising money for candidates and looking to energize Democratic voters whose enthusiasm has waned since the 2008 election. While the White House says it still believes Democrats will retain control of the House and Senate, a sputtering economy leaves the political climate perilous for the president's party. Recent polls suggest Republicans may well retake the House and make major gains in the Senate. "There is no doubt that this a difficult election. That's because we've been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation," Obama told the crowd of Democrats. The associaTed press President Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick wave to the crowd during Saturday's rally. end rally, in a sport coat but no tie. As he has throughout this campaign season, Obama sought to frame the election as a choice between his policies, which he says are moving the country forward, and those of U.S. studying Internet safety method set for December launch in Australia WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government is reviewing an Australian program that will allow Internet service providers to alert customers if their computers are taken over by hackers and could limit online access if people don't fix the problem. Obama administration officials have met with industry leaders and experts to find ways to increase online safety while trying to balance securing the Internet and guarding people's privacy. Experts and U.S. officials are interested in portions of the plan, set to go into effect in Australia in December. But any move toward Internet regulation or monitoring by the U.S. government or industry could trigger opposition. The discussions come as private, corporate and government computers across the U.S. are increasingly being taken over and exploited by hackers and other computer criminals. White House cybercoordinator Howard Schmidt told The Associated Press that the U.S. is looking at a number of voluntary ways to help the public and small businesses better protect themselves online. Possibilities include provisions in the Australia plan that enable customers to get warnings from their Internet providers if their computer White House cybercoordinator Howard Schmidt told The Associated Press that the U.S. is looking at a number of voluntary ways to help the public and small businesses better protect themselves online. Possibilities include provisions in the Australia plan that enable customers to get warnings from their Internet providers if their computer gets taken over by hackers through a botnet. gets taken over by hackers through a botnet. A botnet is a network of infected computers that can number in the thousands and that network is usually controlled by hackers through a small number of scattered PCs. Computer owners are often unaware that their machine is linked to a botnet and is being used to shut down targeted websites, distribute malicious code or spread spam. If a company is willing to give its customers better online security, the American public will go along with that, Schmidt said. "Without security you have no privacy. And many of us that care deeply about our privacy look to make sure our systems are secure," Schmidt said in an interview. Internet service providers, he added, can help "make sure our systems are cleaned up if they're infected and keep them clean." But officials are stopping short of advocating an option in the Australian plan that allows Internet providers to wall off or limit online usage by customers who fail to clean their infected computers, saying this would be technically difficult and likely run into opposition. "In my view, the United States is probably going to be well behind other nations in stepping into a lot of these new areas," said Prescott Winter, former chief technology officer for the National Security Agency, who is now at the California-based cybersecurity firm, ArcSight. In the U.S., he said, the Internet is viewed as a technological wild west that should remain unfenced and unfettered. But he said this open range isn't secure, so "we need to take steps to make it safe, reliable and resilient." PLEASE JOIN THE UNITED WAY OF WEST CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI AS WE CELEBRATE MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER ART BY 23RD. 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Nash, DDS 601-634-1812 1201 Mission Park Drive Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180 $ 1 New Patient Exam Initial exam, consultation necessary x-rays A4 Sunday, October 17, 2010 The Vicksburg Post Founded by John G. Cashman in 1883 Louis P. Cashman III, Editor & Publisher � Issued by Vicksburg Printing & Publishing Inc., Louis P. Cashman III, President Karen Gamble, managing editor | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 601.636.4545 ext 123 | Letters to the editor: email@example.com or The Vicksburg Post, P.O. Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182 EDITORIAL THE VICKSBURG POST Successful congressmen are those best able to work effectively not just with those with whom they agree in their own party, but with those with whom they disagree across the aisle. Campaign narratives lost on voters OUR OPINION Stupid Dog fighting is no sport Enough, already. Really, wouldn't you think the Michael Vick story would have been enough to put an end to the raging stupidity that is the "sport" of dog fighting? The man went to prison, fell from a $13 million football-playing contract to a $10 an hour construction job and lived under house arrest for more than a year after he pleaded guilty to fighting dogs and killing those that did not perform. Now, less than two years later, Warren County firefighters -- volunteers at that -- were out doing their work when they found 12 pit bull dogs tethered by logging chains to spikes of iron, left in the woods without adequate food and water and ready to fight, only because that is all they had been taught. For what? For the "sport" of watching, betting, smelling the blood that oozes from the gashes as the dogs scrap for their lives. Stupid enough? Forms of gambling are legal in Warren County, across the river in Louisiana and in most states in the Southeast. Dogs do not have to die or be maimed. How stupid is it? So what happens to the Michael Vick of Warren County? When he or she or they are caught -- and Sheriff Martin Pace is confident arrests will be made -- felony charges likely will be filed and court action will come. Vick was allowed to return to the football field eventually; the outcome for Warren County's Vick is yet to be determined. And the dogs? Because of Vick's notoriety and the nationwide outrage, many of his victims were saved, nursed to health and re-acclimated to a kinder and gentler life. The 12 dogs in Warren County, on the other hand, could look only to a peaceful death with a knockout serum instead of knockout rips in the ring. How stupid is it? The evolving campaign narratives in Mississippi's 2010 mid-term congressional campaigns have become so formulaic and contrived that the candidates are being rendered unrecognizable and many voters are losing interest in droves. Effective congressmen serve their constituents by stacking seniority and gaining committee assignments on committees that position them to benefit their specific districts. Think about Jamie Whitten, John Stennis, Jim Eastland, Sonny Montgomery, Pat Harrison, Trent Lott, Thad Cochran and other congressional lions from Mississippi's relatively recent history. Old school? Beyond that, successful congressmen are those best able to work effectively not just with those with whom they agree in their own party, but with those with whom they disagree across the aisle. Seniority is achieved by keeping one's fences mended with the voters back home and by providing reliable and responsive constituent services -- helping people with Social Security, Veterans Administration and rural water assoSID ciation problems. Committee assignments are won by making nice with the leaders of one's own party. Finally, bipartisan success is achieved by being as good as one's word and not voting in total lockstep with either party on Capitol Hill. It also helps to have some vision, courage and to be willing to say "no" on occasion. The evolving campaign narratives in 2010 in Mississippi tend to ignore all those facts. Of course, Democrats Travis Childers, Gene Taylor and Bennie Thompson voted for Nancy Pelosi for House speaker. They are Democrats. What did their constituents expect? Of course, Republican Alan Nunnelee and Stephen Palazzo voted to cut spending on state programs in the Legislature and generally supported Republican Gov. Haley Barbour on issues such as state Medicaid finance and eminent domain. Nunnelee and Palazzo are Republicans and -- unlike Congress -- the state Legislature is required to submit a balanced budget. SALTER Developer thinking out of the (candy) box Steven L. Craig is a successful developer with national name recognition and presumably the wherewithal to spend as he wants. For part of it, he's chosen Vicksburg. The choice came as the company of which he is CEO, Craig Realty Group of Newport Beach, Calif., put money where the proverbial mouth is -- in a business where new college graduates, already schooled about business operations, accounting and marketing, became, as Craig put it, "immersed in entrepreneurism at the earliest age possible." Executives at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and professors at the Steven L. Craig School of Business at Missouri Western State University picked the best of three business plans for a store in Vicksburg. The idea was to teach the writers of the winning plan through hands-on application how to run a business. Immerse them, Craig said. And so they are immersed. Brady Ellis and TyAnn Williamson, both 20-something Midwesterners, are here, managing a store at the Outlets at Vicksburg. Their hands definitely are on the goods, from early mornings to late evenings as they put their schoollearned knowledge to use by cooking, cleaning, keeping books and serving customers with intentions of one day owning a big chunk of the sweet deal. Like so many of the German, Chinese, Lebanese and Italian immigrants generations before, these two transplants are learning how to operate a business in Vicksburg. They're immersed. Ellis and Williamson are learning; Vicksburg has another store; residents and tourists have another place to stop. Sounds like a good plan all the way around. Maybe others can learn from it, even try it. After all, it sure looks and smells like a sweet deal. States look for revenue transfusions Local and state governments across the country scrambled to adopt balanced budgets. Many of them could have even less money for next year's spending plans. That's not good news, and it's made even worse with the prospect of having to pay a large part of the nationalized health care that is beginning to take effect. Even as 20 states try to convince a federal court that the mandated federal health care program is unconstitutional, a recent poll shows that many people want Obamacare to do even more than the legislation mandates. Of course, taxpayers will have to pay for the coverage, regardless of how far the benefits go. And despite their desire for more services, people generally don't like tax increases, as those dealing with their government budgets have been reminded. With this in mind, officials will have to deal with the fact that states will have to pay a fair part of Obamacare costs.