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1 0 N O . 12
contents THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC AGENCY
6 Payout Problems Attorney General Jim Hood is pressing Ken Feinberg regarding payouts for the 2010 BP disaster.
Cover design by Kristin Brenemen
Several Jackson public schools struggle to meet the demands for No Child Left Behind. JOEY MILLER
lannie spann mcbride has written three books of raps that teach math and foreign languages. “The challenge continues: to find songs that will teach (students) who they are, what they are and what they have the potential to be,” McBride says. Her talent landed McBride a part in the 1988 film “Mississippi Burning,” filmed in Canton. Alan Parker, the film’s director, asked her to perform a contemporary arrangement of James Cleveland’s “Walk on by Faith,” which is played over the closing credits. More recently, in 2005, Jerry Smith, founding director of the gospel group Children of Israel, invited McBride to accompany him on two tours of Spain to sing. In 2009, she travelled to Jamaica with the Black Heritage Singular Singers Choir for a Hurricane Ivan relief effort sponsored by Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill. “There was a village where a church had been destroyed, and the only thing left standing was a cross,” she says. “People were so appreciative of so little.” At the center of McBride’s being is her life-long and powerful faith in God. “Everything I do is faith based,” she says. “If I speak, if I sing, it’s God working through me. I try to free myself so that he can flow through me.” For information on McBride’s works, visit lanniespannmcbride.com. —Matthew Cockrell
25 Hiss and Pop Cole Furlow writes basic pop melodies for his band, Dead Gaze, and then he hardens it.
34 Is Losing Better? In this weekend’s match between Southern Miss and Houston, losing may be the better deal.
When Lannie Spann McBride speaks, her voice resonates with tones cultivated by a lifetime of singing the gospel. Her message of faith has touched the hearts of her students, and the hearts of people around the world. McBride, 63, was born in Brandon and moved to Jackson after her father, Silas Lee Spann, began ministering at several Mississippi churches when she was about 6 years old. When she was 12, her father purchased a piano and told his children they were going to help with the music ministry at St. Mark Baptist Church in Brookhaven, planting the seeds of her musical calling. McBride attended Tougaloo College where she received her bachelor’s degree in music in 1970 and a master’s degree in applied vocals in 1972. She also holds a master’s in music education from Jackson State University, earned in 1982. She began her music-teaching career at East Flora High School, and it eventually spanned more than 30 years in public and private schools. “I found a greater love of teaching after graduating,” McBride says. The educational experience should balance enjoyment with academics, McBride says. She writes music for the classroom that stresses self-esteem, racial tolerance and conflict resolution. Among the many musical teaching resources published through her company, F & S Music KC Publishing Works LLC, she
COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI
4 ............. Editor’s Note 4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 25 ............... Diversions 26 ..................... 8 Days 28 .............. JFP Events 30 ........................ Music 31 .......... Music Listing 33 ................. Astrology 34 ...................... Sports 36 ........................ Food 38 ....... Girl About Town 41 ............... Body/Soul 42 .............. Gift Guide
Kristin Brenemen Art Director Kristin Brenemen is an otaku with a penchant for dystopianism. Her Zombie Survival Kit has been upgraded with three new sonic screwdrivers. She designed the cover and many pages in this issue.
Sophie McNeil Sophie McNeil is a Madison native and journalism major at the University of Southern Mississippi. In her spare time, she loves being a barista and watching animal cop shows. She contributed to the Spirituality cover package.
CJ Rhodes Rev. CJ Rhodes, a Hazelhurst native, attended Ole Miss and Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, where he earned his master’s of divinity. Rhodes is the pastor at Mount Helm Baptist Church, the youngest in the church’s history. He contributed to the Spirituality cover package.
Latasha Willis Events Editor Latasha Willis is a native Jacksonian, a graduate of Tougaloo College and the mother of one cat. Her JFP blog is “The Bricks That Others Throw,” and she sells design pieces at zazzle. com/reasontolive. She contributed to the Spirituality cover package.
Briana Robinson Deputy Editor Briana Robinson is a 2010 graduate of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. Her hobbies include photography, ballet and ballroom dancing. She is a sophomore at Millsaps College. She contributed to the Spirituality cover package.
Larry Morrisey Larry Morrisey is the director of grants programs for the Mississippi Arts Commission. He also serves as one of the hosts for “Mississippi Arts Hour,” the agency’s arts interview radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. He wrote an Arts feature.
Kelly Bryan Smith
November 30 - December 6, 2011
Kelly Bryan Smith is a native of Virginia and a Mississippian by marriage. Kelly spends her days chasing her sweet little boy around the back yard, cooking eco-friendly vegetarian meals and pursuing her doctoral studies in English literature. She wrote the Body/Soul feature.
Marissa Lucas Sales Assistant Marissa Lucas is a Gulfport native who studied psychology at Mississippi State University. She loves her cat, Martha My Dear, cooking and traveling.
by Ronni Mott, Managing Editor
Ring a Bell
t the end of September, I took my vacation in Batesville. Unbeknownst to many—including the majority of Mississippians, I imagine—Batesville is the home to the Magnolia Grove Buddhist Monastery and mindfulness meditation practice center. For five days, 850 participants shared living quarters, meals and the teachings—dharma talks—of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh. The subject was cultivating the mind of love. Thay (teacher, pronounced “tie” or “tay”) was nearing his 85th birthday or “continuation day,” which he celebrated Oct. 11. He is marvelously prolific, having authored about 85 books—40 in English—the newest of which is “The Novice: A Story of True Love.” He speaks three languages fluently that I’m aware of—Vietnamese, French and English— along with at least a smattering of Chinese and other eastern languages. He does beautiful calligraphy; he is a poet. He is also a joyously light spirit whose instruction, while seemingly simple, has a way of sticking with you. Every morning after breakfast, participants practiced walking meditation with Thay, where he led us through the manicured green fields and lush woods of the property for about a mile, stopping midway to impart a lesson to the children attending the retreat. Children surrounded him, drawn like moths to the light of his gentleness and compassion. Thay instructed us to breathe deeply and smile slightly, feeling our connection to the earth and enjoying the beauty surrounding us. In the afternoons, we gathered in small groups for discussions, and later under a huge white tent for a two-hour talk by Thay. He was serenely energetic, unlike any 85-year-old in my experience. By the second day, I experienced time slowing down. Teachers reminded us through each of our activities—whether during sitting or walking meditation, eating our meals or simply brushing our teeth—to approach whatever we were doing with mindfulness of the present moment. Doing so, I realized quickly how much energy I expend by anticipating the future or dwelling on the past. As I became more in tune to the present moment, I found I was no longer rushing; everything took exactly the time allotted to it. Despite a packed agenda, I had time for everything I wanted to do. I stopped rushing to eat, instead tasting all the various flavors and enjoying the textures of the food. Doing nothing other than what I was doing at that moment, my impatience with people dropped away as I listened deeply. My questions found answers organically when I allowed them to be instead of striving to answer them. I learned to love the sound of a bell ringing, reminding me to return to the present moment and breathe. All activity stopped at the sound of a bell, whether it was walking or chewing or working. All of us worked during the retreat to help prepare meals or wash pots or plates, or clean communal areas.
As I sat under the huge old oak trees eating my lunch on the third day, I looked around at the people, each of them stopping at the sound of a bell to just breathe. Deep in my bones, I knew that this silent group dwelling mindfully in the present was a path for peace. The experience had nothing to do with religion and was as profound as anything I had ever experienced in a church. Through performing even simple acts mindfully, we moved away from our automatic judgments and evaluations of others and ourselves into a space where love and peace surrounded us. This, I thought, is an antidote for a world out of balance: breathing, being present, seeking understanding and compassion. During the Vietnam War, Thay helped found “engaged Buddhism” by helping his people through the Buddhist principles of non-violence and compassionate action. He also pursued a life of deep contemplation. He knew people could do both. In 1964, Thich Nhat Hanh helped found the volunteer School of Youth Social Service in Saigon, a grassroots relief organization that rebuilt bombed villages, set up schools and medical centers, resettled homeless families and organized agricultural cooperatives. What he never did was side with either the communists or the anti-communist factions, which managed to piss off both groups. Vietnam banned Thay from returning to his country while he was on a U.S. and European peace mission in 1966. Despite his country rejecting him, he continued to work toward bringing it peace. He influenced Martin Luther King Jr.’s decision to publicly oppose the Vietnam War, and King subsequently nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Thay led the Buddhist delegation to the Paris peace talks.
In Vietnam, Thay’s followers continue to experience persecution from political factions, although Thay’s exile from Vietnam ended in 2005. Many of the twodozen or so monks and nuns who reside at Magnolia Grove came to the United States after a vicious campaign against them in 2009. Throughout it all, Thay continue to teach non-violence and compassion. At September’s retreat, our ranks reportedly swelled to about 1,200 by the final Sunday. On Saturday, Thay invited questions and answers, first from the children, then from teens and finally from adults. I couldn’t help but be moved to tears when a Vietnam veteran spoke of his guilt and torment and years of post-traumatic stress, and Thay responded by embracing him with words of love. It really doesn’t matter what your faith tradition is, or even if you have a faith tradition. If we want to create a peaceful world, we simply cannot continue to follow a path of violence toward each other or our planet. As a modern spiritual master, Thich Nhat Hanh doesn’t stand alone in his work for peace. Many such masters exist. Also exiled by his country, Fethullah, whom I profile beginning on page 14, is another such visionary. Unable to exert their control, political factions criticize him and his followers. Thay writes in “The Novice”: “I deeply feel that the Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, and all our spiritual teachers of many generations are behind you, supporting you, and would like you to continue their work into the future for the sake of all the living beings on this planet.” The mind of love is peace, and peace is God’s work, regardless of your name for God. Continue the work.
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Thursday, Nov. 24 Millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day with loved ones. â€Ś Mississippi produces 3.6 million cwt (a unit of measure equal to 100 pounds) of sweet potatoes a year. Friday, Nov. 25 Black Friday shopping begins. Despite the sluggish economy, some 226 million shoppers spend an estimated $52.4 billion during the weekend, with the average consumer spending $398.62, the National Retail Federation reports. Saturday, Nov. 26 Instate rivals prove not to be equally yoked as the Mississippi State bests Ole Miss 31-3 in the annual Egg Bowl game. â€Ś Several isolated incidents of violence are reported in connection to the busy holiday shopping weekend. Sunday, Nov. 27 After a lengthy lockout, players and owners in the National Basketball Association reach a deal to move forward with a 66-game season to begin on Christmas Day.
November 30 - December 6, 2011
Monday, Nov. 28 Gov. Haley Barbour, appearing on MSNBC, warns conservatives that forcing Republican candidates too far right would hurt chances of ousting President Barack Obama. â€Ś Longtime Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank says he will not seek reelection in 2012.
Tuesday, Nov. 29 Conrad Murray is sentenced to four years in prison in connection with the death of pop star Michael Jackson. â€Ś After severe weather rolls through parts of the state, Gov. Haley Barbour announces a federal disaster declaration for seven Mississippi counties. Get news updates at jfpdaily.com
Oil Spill Czar Being Slick?
im Hood doesnâ€™t pull any punches when it comes to criticizing the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, the agency set up to help people who were hurt by the 2010 BP oil disaster, and its administrator, Kenneth Feinberg. Since early this year, Hood has sought access to Mississippi residentsâ€™ claims to make sure GCCF handles payouts from the $20 billion fund fairly and in accordance with the stateâ€™s consumer protection laws. Feinberg, whom President Barack Obama appointed to oversee how the money gets doled out, has been unwilling to give the attorney general all the records he wants, which Hood finds suspicious. â€œIf people are saying youâ€™re not doing right, have some independent agency come in and look at what youâ€™ve done, then you get a clean bill of health (if no evidence of impropriety is found). But he refused to do that, which tells me something: It tells me heâ€™s got something to hide,â€? Hood said in a phone interview with the Jackson Free Press last week. Hood said his office received a number of complaints from victims alleging that GCCF officials distributed payouts unfairly and denied claims without a proper review. When Hood asked for access to claims, Feinberg balked, telling Hood the documents contained personal information. Soon, Feinberg will have to convince a state court why Hood shouldnâ€™t get the records. After Hood sued and Feinberg attempted to
THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC AGENC
Wednesday, Nov. 23 A three-judge panel gives the Legislature until Dec. 4 to tackle redistricting in Mississippi. â€Ś The FBI and local law enforcement official raid the home of Sam Mullet â€œon federal hate crimes charges and related state violations in connection to a series of beard-cutting attacks against other Amish across Ohio,â€? the Pittsburgh PostGazette reported.
Assistant Principal Will Smith says Wingfield High School benefits from No Child Left Behind. p 10
Nearly 62,000 Mississippians filed claims as a result of the BP oil spill. Attorney General Jim Hood wants to ensure that the GCCF treats all of them fairly.
have the suit moved to federal court, a federal judge sided with Hood calling Feinbergâ€™s attempt to have the case moved â€œimproper.â€? In the coming weeks, the two sides, which have been at odds over the issue for the better part of a year, will meet to schedule a hearing. In February, Hood asked a federal judge to oversee the payouts. In a letter to the court at the time, Hood said that negotiations between other Gulf state attorneys general and GCCF had â€œunfortunately met with only limited success.â€? Then, in February, the attorneyâ€™s general
n o i t fec
â€œI expect perfection. I understand thatâ€™s impossible to achieve. Deep down, I know thereâ€™s some things I can do better.â€? â€” Drew Brees after leading the New Orleans Saints to victory over the New York Giants, 49-24.
by R.L. Nave office issued a civil subpoena, which Hood says his office frequently uses to obtain information and ensure businesses are not engaging in deceptive practices. As vocal as Hoodâ€™s criticism has been, he is not alone in expressing frustration and skepticism of the BP claims payment process and Feinberg, who did not return messages for comment left at his Washington, D.C. law firm. Attorneys general from Florida, Texas and Alabama joined Hood in early 2011 to outline their concerns to GCCF. At an Oct. 27 hearing of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Steven Palazzo, a Biloxi Republican, channeled the frustrations of Gulf Coast residents and oilspill victims who feel stonewalled by GCCF. â€œWe have accountants and lawyers that are trying to help people all along the Gulf Coast provide claims and support and documentation,â€? Palazzo said. â€œAnd as they do it, they feel like, you know, theyâ€™re giving the best information; theyâ€™re giving exactly what the claims center wants, and itâ€™s still rejected or there are delays in processing. â€œItâ€™s just to drag it out to, not pay out the 20 billion (dollars) which, again, was supposed to be the floor, not the ceiling, on making those affected by the worst manmade disaster in our nationâ€™s history whole again. But people just donâ€™t, they donâ€™t feel like it. They see inconsistencies.â€? Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Part-time Occupation by Elizabeth Waibel
fter weeks of debate, the Jackson City Council agreed to a compromise to allow Occupy Jackson protesters to stay at Smith Park later in the evening, although they will not get to occupy the park overnight. The City Council voted Tuesday to allow Occupy Jackson to stay in the park from dawn until 11 p.m.—a compromise worked out by the Planning The City Council voted Tuesday to allow Occupy Committee Nov. 22. The mea- Jackson protesters to stay in Smith Park from dawn until 11 p.m. each day. sure passed 4-1. Occupy Jackson has been in and around Smith Park since October. The participants initially had a snowing. The council did not officially special-events permit that allowed them approve allowing the occupiers to stay in to stay in the park during the day, but the pavilion overnight during inclement that permit expired several weeks ago. weather, but Council President Frank Since then, supporters have moved many Bluntson said he doubted anyone would of their signs, books and pamphlets de- bother them if they did. He voted for crying corporate greed to the sidewalk the compromise. outside the park. “That’s free speech,” he said. “Even The protest group incorporated as if you have 24 hours, after 11 o’clock a nonprofit organization and applied for you’re asleep anyway—you’re not speakanother permit to stay in the park day ing anyway.” and night through Dec. 26, but the city Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lutold the protesters they could only be in mumba and Ward 3 Councilman Kenthe park during the hours it is normally neth Stokes favored allowing the protestopen, from dawn until dusk. ers to stay in the park 24 hours a day and The group appealed to the City abstained from the vote this morning. Council, where some argued that allow- Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell, ing the protesters to stay overnight was who has been the most vocal against alcrucial to protecting freedom of speech, lowing Occupy Jackson to stay in the while others said it was unfair to down- park for extended hours, voted against town residents and businesses to allow an the measure. around-the-clock protest in a public park During this morning’s meeting, that others might like to use. as at other hearings regarding Occupy Jackie Warren Tatum, a supporter Jackson’s permit application, Lumumba of Occupy Jackson, said the group still compared Occupy Jackson to civil-rights wants a 24-hour permit. “If not, we ask leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. for accommodation in inclement weath- and made a motion to allow the protester to use the pavilion,” she said. ers to stay in the park overnight. Stokes Tatum asked if the protesters could seconded the motion, but the other move off the sidewalk and into the park’s council members voted against it. pavilion at night if it started raining or Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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ith Mississippi outpacing other The use of methane-powered electric- vironmental Quality is considering another states when it comes to using ity generators has increased in recent years dozen sites around the state, including the electricity, a little creativity is due to the prospect of making a profit from Little Dixie Landfill, located in Ridgeland necessary to keep up with de- something that would otherwise go to waste, and owned by BFI Waste Systems of North mand. Increasingly, that means supple- plus the added benefit of reducing the glob- America, for future projects. menting traditional hydro, coal and al-warming impact of landfill methane. The The U.S. Energy Department pronuclear power with other forms of renew- units belched 40 percent more electricity in vided the Golden Triangle authority with a ables-driven electricity pow$310,000 grant to help purered by the sun, wind and chase the generator. even garbage. The Tennessee Valley Yes, garbage. Most people Authority, a federally owned don’t realize that their neighutility company, agreed to borhood landfill has been purchase the renewable power producing energy for years. for 3 cents per kilowatt over Decomposing organic matter the retail price. releases a medley of gases, inLouie Miller, state direccluding methane, the principal tor of the Mississippi Sierra component of natural gas. TypClub, questioned whether ically, landfill operators burn the Mississippi project would off the methane to prevent the have come to fruition withhighly combustible and potent out federal funds but said that greenhouse gas from escaping converting the methane to into the atmosphere. Landfill electricity is better than flarowners can also capture and Landfill operators don’t want to let valuable methane, which can be ing it off. converted into electricity, go to waste. convert the methane to electric “From the standpoint of power for the landfill to use, or utilizing an unutilized resource, they can sell the power on the open electricity 2008 compared to 2004, the Energy Infor- I think it’s probably a good idea, but I think market. mation Agency reports. the jury is still out on whether this is sustainThe argument that landfill gas-to-elecAs of summer 2011, the U.S. Envi- able,” Miller said. tricity can reduce both greenhouse gas emis- ronmental Protection Agency reports 558 It might also be a good idea from the sions and energy consumption has not kept landfills participating in its landfill methane standpoint of growing energy demand in detractors from dumping on the idea. While outreach program. Together, these units can the state and waste disposal overall. Bethe federal government and most states con- produce up to 1.7 gigawatts (1,700 mega- tween 1980 and 2005, Mississippi’s elecsider landfill gas to be a renewable resource, watts) of electricity. Another 510 landfill tricity consumption grew 2.6 percent each critics argue that such projects are not sus- sites, capable of generating 1.1 gigawatts of year compared to 2.2 percent for the rest tainable because they rely on the existence electric power, are also in the pipeline. of the United States. Meanwhile, AmeriBy comparison, an Entergy-owned cans generate approximately 250 million of waste dumps. Others wonder whether the small amount of electricity that landfills natural gas combined-cycle facility in Hinds tons of rubbish each year. produce justifies the hefty price tag of the County produces up to 520 megawatts; the Even though microorganisms from degenerating units. proposed lignite coal plant in Kemper Coun- caying food could potentially become ben“Landfills are things that we unfortu- ty will generate 582 megawatts of power. eficial electricity someday, Williams stressed nately need. There is going to be landfill gas Mississippi’s first commercial landfill- that composting organic material is still betthat’s generated, and we need to be able to gas methane generator came online in Octo- ter than putting it in the garbage. beneficially use those emissions rather than ber when Starkville-based Golden Triangle “Where disposal has to occur, if there just flaring them off,” said Mark Williams, Regional Solid Waste Management Author- are benefits to using the emissions or disan administrator with the Mississippi De- ity fired up its 1-megawatt unit, which is the charges from the landfills, we want to take partment of Environmental Quality’s solid amount of juice needed to power about 700 advantage of those,” he said. waste management program. homes. The Mississippi Department of EnComment at www.jfp.ms.
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Obit for a Flaming Troll
JOHN BAUER [PUBLIC DOMAIN],VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The Clarion-Ledger site has a link to a “frequently asked questions” page if readers want to know more about connecting to the site with Facebook, but as this issue was going to press, that question and its answer wasn’t on the FAQ page, yet. Gannett has used Demand Mediaowned Pluck since 2007 for its social con-
nection needs. The idea in its positive light was to encourage readers to create community, engage in conversation, “friend” each other and police each other. Last year, Gannett decided it was time to take a serious look at the profane, rude, abusive comments anonymous posters left. Gannett asked Pluck to moderate comments. In July 2010, Pluck used a variety of dirtyword filters and other triggers to block some comments. The American Journalism Review noted that same month that Gannett acknowledged the problems with letting anonymous posters comment, but didn’t want to let go of the
practice that allows a reticent source to quietly point out an unpopular observation or fact that could get the person fired or ridiculed. A good move for the writers happened in the last couple of years, when Gannett moved comments to separate pages at most of its newspapers’ sites. Before that, no matter how good the story, a rude commenter could easily destroy the tone of the whole page. Now, The Clarion-Ledger has added a tagline to the end of its online articles, like this one at the end of a story about Monday night’s hydrochloric acid spill in Pearl: “To comment on this story, call Therese Apel at (601) 961-7236.” The suggestion to call with a comment started appearing recently and has not been consistent as the daily makes this shift. If someone thinks Apel did a good job, I suggest they call her with a kind word. I’m worried too many people won’t do that, but instead will call her with complaints or insults despite her working a late-night story in a potentially dangerous situation. It’s an interesting move. Of course, most readers already know they can contact the reporter, but putting the suggestion online with each story might reassure the whistleblowers hiding among the rude racists. You could call the reporter with your negative observation, but it’s unlikely most people will unload profanities and hate when connecting with a real person with a name. Of course, some people will do that as well. One way to keep ugly phone calls to a dull roar is Caller ID. Comment at www.jfp.ms, or call Valerie Wells at 601-362-6121, ext. 21. Note that she has Caller ID.
Vote Counts Vote at www.bestofjackson.com until Dec. 15 For advertising information call 601-362-6121 (ext.11)
t’s getting harder to comment on news stories with an anonymous post. As many readers click on links to get to stories, they have started to notice that once they get to the comments section, the site already knows who they are. This is true if you are already signed in on Facebook or Google+ and link to a story in certain national publication or even some one-person blogs. This makes things easier and more streamlined for those who are ready to make a public observation. But for the trolls and the haters, it’s a chance to rethink inflammatory words or racist talk. It may not stop uncivil discourse, but this speedbump makes a moderator’s job easier. Gannett Co. Inc. began experimenting earlier this year with Facebook logins at some of its newspapers. GannettBlog reported Oct. 31 that The NewsPress in Fort Myers, Fla., and The Des Moines Register in Iowa were two of four pilot sites testing the system for comments. A week later, the trade publication Newspapers & Technology wrote that Gannett would require all posters to use a Facebook login. The Nov. 7 story also stated that for the short-term, Gannett would continue to use Pluck Media Solutions comment-management system software. At The Clarion-Ledger, Gannett’s daily newspaper based in Jackson, the transition has started. While a Facebook login is not required, yet, it is offered as an option for a new user registering to comment. New commenters can opt to register without a Facebook connection. Old posters already registered are still commenting on stories.
by Elizabeth Waibel
Send education news to firstname.lastname@example.org
Wingfield’s Bounce: A Case Study
oney isn’t the only factor in a good ment for teachers and extending the school education, but $5.2 million doesn’t day by 30 minutes to make time for more hurt, either. reading, among other changes. After spending several years near Smith said the staff is creating a culture of the bottom of the district’s rankings for No learning at Wingfield that expects students to Child Left Behind, Wingfield High School strive for higher grades and the school to one jumped last year to about halfway up the list. day be one of the state’s star schools. Wingfield has a federal School Improvement Grant to allocate more than $5.2 million over the course of three years to improve students’ academic achievement. Will Smith, assistant principal for school improvement at Wingfield, said the money allowed the school to make drastic changes, and he has seen an imWill Smith, assistant principal for school improvement provement in student at Wingfield High School, says the school is doing better achievement. Within academically in part due to a No Child Left Behind grant. one year, the school’s accountability status went up from at risk of failing to academic watch. “It’s possible,” Smith said. “We’re work“After the first year of funding, Wingfield ing very hard to get there.” is no longer on that failing list,” Smith said. If schools do not meet student achieve“We’re currently in year two, and we want to ment goals for two years or more, parents sustain what we’ve done.” can also transfer their children to a higherUnder the law, schools like Wingfield performing school, if they so choose. During that do not meet student achievement goals the last school year, 10 Jackson Public Schools for two years or more enter into a school- were in some phase of the NCLB school-imimprovement plan. Depending on whether provement program. schools are able to make progress in the next Susan Womack, executive director of few years, they might have to make dramatic Parents for Public Schools of Greater Jackson, changes to staff and academic programs. said she thinks people in Mississippi pay more At Wingfield, the school-improvement attention to the state’s ratings of schools—star plan has meant replacing about half of the schools, high performing and other labels— staff, providing weekend and after-school test than to the federal labels NCLB established. preparation, providing professional developAlthough parents of students at schools
UMMC Hosts Children’s Health Study
November 30 - december 6, 2011
JPS Budget Priorities, 2012-2013
Minimum of 5 percent reduction in proposed 2012-2013 expenditures of the District Maintenance Fund from the approved 2011-2012 budget. Maintain required student-teacher ratio within the district. Maximize reduction in staff and administrative personnel where possible through attrition, retirements and separation. Identify and explore additional external revenue sources for the District Maintenance Fund. Stronger oversight and accountability of federal programs and financial management. Explore outsourcing opportunities that will lead to favorable cost savings district-wide. Closely monitor required reduction in expenditures versus unforeseen external demands for special programs, transportation and athletics, and validate any additional requests and obtain board approval to reallocate resources as required. Dedicate 20 percent of new external funds generated to District Maintenance Fund for facility upkeep. Increase District Maintenance Fund balance by $2 million. Identify external funding and partners to assist the district with undertaking a long-range financial plan, a reorganization/right-sizing assessment and a personnel salary study.
2 3 4 5 6 7
’Tis the Season for Budgeting! The school board has approved 10 priorities for setting the district’s budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The priorities call for the district to look for external revenue sources while cutting costs. The board is also looking for outside funding and community partners to help write a long-range financial plan to ensure its financial stability in the future. Board member Otha Burton, who chaired the subcommittee that wrote the budget priorities, suggested that the next step should be establishing a formal budget committee and getting community input. Burton said given the tight budget JPS is likely to have next year, the school board will have some hard decisions. “The real work begins now,” he said. “… These are going to be tough.” Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Elizabeth Waibel
Sharon Wyatt, principal investigator for the Hinds problems such as autism, birth defects, heart disease and obeCounty study location, said the county, like most of Missis- sity, NIH said in a statement. sippi, faces children’s health issues on a level that is not found Dr. Richard Carmona was the U.S. surgeon general in every area of the country. For example, when the study began. Mississippi has the highest teen-pregnan“We’re looking to find the root cy rate in the country. causes of many common diseases and “This study is intended to have a disorders,” he said in a statement. “When nationally representative sample that can, we do, we’ll be in a position to prevent from across the country, inform (research them from ever occurring.” into) what keeps kids healthy and what The Centers for Disease Control contributes to making them ill,” she said. reports that in 2008, more than oneWyatt said because Hinds County third of children and adolescents in the has such unique statistics and many chilnation were either overweight or obese, dren’s health issues, it’s important that the putting them at an increased risk for UMMC researchers are beginning a long-term study area’s children have a voice, rather than health problems such as high blood presof how children’s environments data coming only from a few states very sure, diabetes and certain types of cancer, affect their health. different from Mississippi. either during childhood or as adults. Researchers plan the National ChilThe CDC also noted that families, dren’s Study to be the largest of its kind ever conducted, and schools, faith-based institutions, the media, and the food and hope the results will help doctors and other medical profes- beverage industries influence lifestyle habits. sionals better understand how to prevent and treat health Comment at www.jfp.ms. COURTESY UMMC
he National Children’s Study, a long-term study of children’s health, hosted a ribbon cutting Nov. 10 at the Jackson Medical Mall to highlight research that is taking place in the Jackson area. The study will follow more than 100,000 children around the country from before birth until age 21 and look at how environments affect development and health, according to the study’s website (nationalchildrensstudy.gov). Factors include neighborhoods, schools, food, water and other things that can influence a child’s health. Research centers around the country are participating in the study. The National Institutes of Health, one of the lead agencies, announced the first locations in 2005. In 2010, NIH announced that it would add a location in Hinds County, with the University of Mississippi Medical Center as the county’s study center. Hinds County is one of 105 locations around the nation selected for the study. In addition to UMMC, local partners include the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and the Mississippi Department of Health. The study might add a location in Coahoma County in the future.
that are restructuring can have their child transferred to a different school, many choose to keep their child at his or her old school. During the last school year, only 149 students transferred to different schools through the school-choice program. “What we find is that even when parents are given a choice about changing schools, they often don’t take advantage of it because their child may be doing OK in the school,” Womack said. JPS also received more than $4.8 million for Supplemental Educational Services, such as outside tutors for children in low-performing schools, through NCLB. More than 6,000 students were eligible for the program, but only about a third of them took advantage of the tutoring. During the summer, 537 students participated in the tutoring program.
Public schools do more than educate children. They measure a cityâ€™s pride. They reflect community. They predict the social and economic well-being of a cityâ€™s future. For 20 years, Parents for Public Schools of Jackson has worked to keep our public schools strong, to empower parents as leaders for positive change, and to engage community support of our public schools.
Join us. For our city. For our children. For our future.
Founding Chapter, Parents for Public Schools, 1989 200 N. Congress, Suite 500, Jackson, MS 39201
opining, grousing & pontificating
Council: Revisit Free Speech 101
he Jackson City Council voted Tuesday to extend a compromise to the Occupy Jackson protesters, allowing them a permit to stay in Smith Park until 11 p.m., rather than all night. That may or may not have been the right compromise between their right to assemble and the city’s need to ensure nothing happens to them in the middle of the night. We’ll leave that question open for the moment and encourage debate on it. One thing seemed clear to us from the city council debate, though: Many people are fuzzy on what “free speech” means—and the right for it to extend equally to all, regardless of point of view (as long as its safety risks do not trump the right, which is often a complicated and unclear nexus). But the council discussions centered on whether a particular member thought the cause behind the speech/assembly was worthy. Those who might identify more with the moderately anarchistic approach of 24-hour protest (such as Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba) tended to think they should be there all night, comparing the Occupy participants with civil-rights protesters. On the other hand, Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell showed his corporate-lobbyist colors by opposing the protest based on little more than obvious disdain for the protesters and their cause. The Lumumba contingent waved away concerns that should the Ku Klux Klan want the same permit, the council would have to grant it. They just said they wouldn’t. But if they denied it, they would be in direct violation of the First Amendment: a government preferring the speech of one group over another. Think Nazis’ right to march in largely Jewish Skokie, Ill., as a parallel. We also suspect that Whitwell wouldn’t be as adamant against the permit should the group be a counter-effort more in lockstep with his ward’s dominant corporate-conservative views—but that’s just a guess. The problem here is a blatant misunderstanding of the First Amendment by elected officials charged with upholding it. The very test of a dedication to “free speech,” which the Constitution prohibits government from restricting without legitimate cause (that nexus again), is whether you believe in it for those who are diametrically opposed to your views. Thus, both contingents failed this week: Lumumba in saying that he would just deny a permit to the Klan and Whitwell for not declaring that he believed in protesters’ right to assemble and speak 12 or 24 hours a day as long as the standard was applied without prejudice. We don’t want to see Kluckers camped in Smith Park. But we have witnessed inspiring examples of free speech flowing both directions as it’s supposed to: whether Klansmen marching in Philadelphia, Miss., or New York City, far outnumbered by protesters who showed up in both places to shout them down. Our city would be better served by elected representatives who understand what the First Amendment is—and is not.
Bearable, Not Burdensome
November 30 - December 6, 2011
ig Roscoe: “Black Friday at the Walmart, people choking and in tears, after some woman filled the air with pepper spray. Silver bells, silver bells—that’s Christmas shopping in America. While some folk have the money to buy discounted X-Boxes, flat-screen televisions and other stuff, a lot of folk can’t afford to buy their way out of trouble. Even during the holidays, bill collectors will call the unemployed worker’s soon-to-be-disconnected phone and scare his wife when he’s not home. “Nevertheless, the Clubb Chicken Wing staff, Lil’ Momma Roscoe and I promise to make this holiday season bearable instead of burdensome. So, to all of you dealing with tough times, Clubb Chicken Wing is happy to present ‘Forget Your Unemployed, Foreclosed and Repossessed Troubles Christmas.’ “Every Friday in December, Clubb Chicken Wing will open its doors to serve the people who cannot afford a merry Christmas. Jojo’s Discount Dollar Store has donated toys for the tots and gifts for the adults. Ernest ‘Monday Night Football Head’ Walker of Pork-N-Piggly Supermarket will provide plenty of Christmas groceries. Rudy McBride of the Let Me Hold Five Dollars National Bank will help you pay your rent, cell phone, electricity, water, heat, gas, cable television and Internet bills with extra money from the ‘Ghetto Stimulus Surplus Christmas Fund’. “Let the Clubb Chicken Wing Staff bring a little joy into your unemployed, foreclosed and repossessed world this Christmas holiday season. The 12 ‘new poor’ (aka middle class) are welcome, too. Happy Holidays.”
LETTERS ‘Not Your Church’
rights because we failed to have these conversations beforehand, and we failed to be proactive and to tell our representatives what we all obviously agree (is) very important to us and our state. It is with this in mind that I call for Gov.-elect Phil Bryant to apologize for his remarks that equated concerned Mississippi voters who rejected the Personhood amendment with Satan and evil, dark forces. I also put other government officials on notice: Mississippi is not your church. It is not a theocracy. If you treat it as such, we progressives will make every effort to make sure you do not have that opportunity after the next election.
Somewhere in the fight to stop Amendment 26 (Personhood), I went from just living in Mississippi, home of the entrenched conservative mindset to which I must surrender my hopes of progress and change, to understanding that this is MY Mississippi, home of diverse and often progressive souls longing for progress and change. We, the progressives, have largely remained silent, as our leaders have lied to and about us under the banner of religion. We have, whether from the belief we could not effectively cause change in this state or some other incorrect assumption, allowed them to keep us in the relative dark ages, as we are last in so many crucial areas that affect women, children and families. And when we sit silent, not addressing the grievances we have with our government, we have allowed an atmosphere ripe for conservative extremism and theocratic rule, ripe for amendments like 26 (Personhood) to be introduced. We had to work tirelessly to educate this state about birth control, reproductive health and women’s
—Al Harrist, Biloxi
Hat’s Off, Mississippi My compliments to Mississippi for so thoroughly rejecting the tyrannical and draconian objectives of the Right to Lifers to control human sexuality. You not only got the nation’s attention but, for the most part, their admiration and gratitude. —H.G. Sawyer, Groton, Conn.
Noise from the blogs @jacksonfreepress.com
From ‘Personhood’s Next Move’ “Isn’t it interesting that these “Vaginal Patrolmen and women” haven’t any connection to babies already born into poverty, illness, rape, incest and other cruel and inhumane circumstances? This same group is pushing Congress to cut social and entitlement programs to include Planned Parenthood programs. Their focus is on the undeveloped and unborn; however, they seem quite comfortable watching children die of some of the above stated causes.” —justjess
“The fight for reproductive rights is far from over; it’s just moved to another front, in this case, Alabama. Defining ‘personhood’ as being at implantation removes any threat to birth control, which was a major sticking point for many of those who would otherwise have voted Yes. ... “Please keep this issue in front of the public. Now that other states will be dealing with this on their own ground, we must stay aware and make our voices heard at the national level as well.” —LHB6391
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â€™m listening to a blues song on my iPod while checking all the latest grumbling posts on Facebook. My sick baby girl sits in front of the muted TV, which is airing some tragic news story and crime statistic. It hits me that I am absolutely immersed in invisible negative vibes that fill the air like radio waves. It seems like every form of media is broadcasting dismal nuggets of depressing information. The advanced society in which we live enables us to transmit around the world and beyond in real time, but I wonder how much of the information we exchange is worth communicating. We live in what should be the era of the greatest society ever. We have more advanced technology, better medical techniques, safer modes of transportation, greater access to information and knowledge bases, and the most sophisticated tools of communication than any generation that has ever walked the face of the earth before us. But what has all of this enlightenment afforded us? Are we really happier or just more complacent? Are we more accommodating to those we interact with? Are we really more intelligent, or are we now just more resourceful with our barbaric offensiveness and ignorance? We certainly have a plethora of moodaltering, feel-better medications at our disposal: stimulants, painkillers, antidepressants and boner pills (if you need such as that). But none of these bring true, lasting happiness. No other person can make you happy. Conversely, you canâ€™t make anyone else happy, either. A wise friend and mentor recently said that the best you can do toward trying to make someone else happy is to show him the beauty in his own life. He said that if you can do that, then you are halfway there. My personal insights for happiness rest on the cornerstones of security, peace of mind, hope and, most importantly, love. Iâ€™m sure that happiness has widely differing origins for different people, but still, if you have love in your heart, then you have the potential for inner happiness. When I apply reverse logic to my own theories, I have to ponder the things for which I want to be known and remembered. Are they spreading peace, hope and love, or are they spewing my venom of complaints, negativity and hate? Jesus proclaimed that the greatest commandment is â€œThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.â€? He then
said that the secondgreatest commandment is â€œLove thy neighbor as thyself.â€? Neighborly love is much easier to theorize about than it is to practice in the real world of competitive ideals. We live in a society that has built its protective walls up so high that the only thing that can destroy us is fighting among ourselves. News outlets, like politicians, will cater to their core constituents. It doesnâ€™t matter if youâ€™re a lefty, a righty or just someone who prefers to laugh at it all, you can find a flavor of news custom made to stimulate a specific reaction (which is usually not love or happiness). Which is right for you? (Personally, I prefer and recommend The News, the backup band for Huey Lewis, but your taste may vary.) Sure, this is an election year. So is the next one. News, political issues and social causes are as important as ever. Any time ballots contain polarizing issues, we will hear and take part in spirited conversations, and we will not all agree on the outcomes. Maybe the real test of happiness is whether you can generate a sense of love for the person with whom you are disagreeing. Can you respect the fact that his or her perspective and life experiences differ from yours in such a way that you will naturally have different views? Can you recognize that people with differing view arenâ€™t evil just because they donâ€™t share your ideals? And finally, are you capable of reaching a compromise if it will be beneficial to the greatest number of people? If you canâ€™t do these things, then your discussions will probably not generate any sense of accomplishment or happiness for you or anyone else involved. I believe that I can learn something from anyone and everyone. Most often, it seems that God chooses to teach me the most meaningful lessons through people that I typically disagree with. Itâ€™s amazing the things you think about and learn when you open your mind up to the ideas of others. The Bible says that love is what God is. I think it also could be the source of what happiness is. If love is the radio waves we transmit, then happiness is the music we hear. Scott Dennis is a Morton native who lives in Pearl. Dennis earned a computerscience degree from Mississippi College and works as an IT specialist with the U.S. Geological Survey. He is blessed with a wonderful wife and a small but growing family.
How much of the information we exchange is worth communicating?
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Editor in Chief Donna Ladd Publisher Todd Stauffer
Fethullah Gulen: Imam in the Middle by Ronni Mott
November 30 - Dcember 6, 2011
Eve, Abraham, Noah and others. “All of us have roots in the Turkey stands alone among countries with majority MusAbrahamic traditions,” McDaniels says, but the Institute lim populations in having a secular government, independent warmly welcomes people of other faiths, such as Buddhists from its Islamic roots. In 1922, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk beand Hindus. People of all faiths “walk the path of peace and came the first president of the newly independent Republic of harmony,” he says. Turkey after four years of war against the allies of World War I. Turkish Muslim scholar, writer and educator Fethullah Practically overnight, he dragged his country into 20th century Gulen is the inspiration behind the Houston, Texas-based IID, Europe, banning the use of Arabic writing, for example, in fawhich began in 2002 and now vor of the Roman alphabet. has offices in five states, includBut Turkey’s idea of secularing the Raindrop Turkish House ism isn’t what Americans know, in Jackson. Gulen is also the inLoye Ashton said. Instead of spiration for the many schools religion and government existand businesses we visited in Turing side-by-side, under Atatürk, key, in addition to hundreds of Turkey’s government became schools and a number of univerhostile to religion. It abolished sities around the world. the Ottoman Empire and the The Gulen Movement, Muslim caliphate, a political a loose network of Gulen’s and religious system headed by followers, generates a lot of dynastic clerics who had ruled money—and some say political Turkey for six centuries (similar influence—through businesses to Italy’s Papal States under the that include Istanbul-based Asya rule of the Pope), and banned Bank; Zaman, Turkey’s largest most traditional Islamic pracdaily newspaper; and Ebru-TV, tices from public life, includa New Jersey cable TV network. ing religious classes from public Yet, the man who inspired schools. Atatürk gave Turkish all this academic and entrewomen the vote and expanded preneurial fervor is not exactly their educational and profeswhat you’d call a newsmaker, alsional opportunities, but not if though he has generated a lot of a woman wore hajib, the tradiFethullah Gulen has inspired controversy in controversy. And he doesn’t live tional Muslim head scarf and addition to an international movement in his name. in Turkey. dress. He formed a national Department of Religion to oversee Who is Fethullah Gulen? the activities of imams and dictate their Friday sermons. Born in 1941 in a rural Turkish village, Gulen reportedly After centuries of life where religion and politics were inreceived no more than a rudimentary formal education. His extricably intertwined, Atatürk ripped the two apart. Inevitainformal education as a Muslim cleric earned him his license bly, such forceful change—Turkey only had one political party to preach when he was 21. His followers say he became a hafiz, until 1950 and strong military rule for long thereafter—bred one who has memorized the Quran, at 12, and preached in his discontent among many Turks. village from age 14. A voracious reader with an insatiable curiSince 1960, Turkey has experienced three military coup osity, Gulen devoured classical works of literature, philosophy d’etats and has banned numerous political parties because and science along with the traditional Muslim spiritual works. of their ideologies. The country solidified its secular governCOURTESY INSTITUTE FOR INTERFAITH DIALOG
n June 2007, I took a once-in-a-lifetime 12-day trip to Turkey. During our stay, our group visited multiple historic and religious sites. We visited Greco-Roman amphitheaters and the ruins of the former port city of Ephesus. We marveled at the mosque of 13th-century Islamic Sufi mystic and poet Rumi in Konya, and Byzantine Christian churches carved out of rock chimneys in Cappadocia. There, ancient murals depicting Bible stories covered every inch of the indoor surfaces. On the outside, nothing hinted at the beauty within. What made this trip different from a typical tourist agenda was that we also visited schools, hospitals and businesses, and met with students, teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs. The Institute of Interfaith Dialog, a non-profit educational group led by Turkish Americans, planned, led and heavily subsidized the trip. I was part of a group of about 20 people from Jackson. In each city, Turkish citizens invited us into their homes and lives, warmly greeting and embracing us. They made sure we were amply fed and well lodged, patiently answered our questions and showered us with small gifts. Jackson businessman Jack McDaniels has been to Turkey with the IID numerous times, helping the group choose participants and plan itineraries. He met Sabri Agachan, then the Mississippi representative of IID, at Sunday school class in 2005 at Northminster Baptist Church where Agachan was invited to speak to the members. “I got to know him quite well,” McDaniels says. He has returned to Turkey with the IID every year since he met Agachan, except in 2006. “The Turkish people are the kindest, most generous people I know,” he says, providing hospitality that makes the Hospitality State pale in comparison. McDaniels listed some of the other Mississippians who have visited Turkey with IID: former Gov. William Winter; Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann; state Sen. John Horhn, D-Jackson; Tougaloo College assistant professor of religious studies Loye Ashton, who is writing a book about Gulen; and Andrew Mullins Jr., chief of staff to the chancellor at Ole Miss and associate professor of education. Christians, Jews and Muslims share numerous Old 14 Testament Bible stories and prophets, including Adam and
The Gulen Movement Gulen is nothing if not prolific. Though he formally ended his career as a cleric in 1991, he has written more than 60 books, most of which are available in English. It’s likely that an equal number of books have been written about Gulen or the movement he inspired. The man and the movement are subjects of myriad dissertations and scholarly treatises.
and brightest in the country, financed solely through private donations from Turkish citizens. Admittance is by testing, and more than 40 percent of the Turkish students receive full scholarships, according to Ozcan, with an estimated 90 percent of students going on to receive college degrees. Ozcan and Ashton both made a point to separate Gulen, the man, from the Gulen Movement, which they say he does not lead. “He did not open the schools; he did not open the institutions,” Ozcan says. “He writes and preaches and inspires people.” Gulen-inspired schools have opened in numerous countries, including the United States, Asia and Australia, and are typically supported by Turkish businessmen, who are, in turn, organized into various regional trade associations under the banner of the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists in Turkey, similar to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The group’s entrepreneurial and business-focus makes it a formidable financial powGulen has met with numerous religious leaders to further interfaith dialogue, including erhouse, which makes some the chief rabbi of Turkey’s Jewish community David Aseo, right, in 1996. Turks uneasy. “The power comes from In 2008, readers of Prospect and Foreign Policy named religion, but the institutions are secular,” Ozcan says. Gulen the world’s top public intellectual. He has visited with the Pope, the head of the Orthodox Christian Church, Jewish About Those Charter Schools Rabbis and foreign dignitaries worldwide. Yet, the elderly man Gulen-inspired entrepreneurs have taken advantage with white hair and vaguely sad, puffy eyes remains a simple of America’s shift to charter schools, running about 120 Muslim cleric, he says, with no political ambitions. schools in 25 states, including the 33 Harmony Schools “I have always tried to be a humble servant of God and a in Texas, the subject of an investigation by The New York humble member of humanity,” he told Foreign Policy in 2008. Times last June. “The Quran says that humanity has been created to recThe story, “Charter Schools Tied to Turkey Grow in ognize and worship God and, as a dimension of this worship, Texas,” focused on the schools’ use of public money and to improve the world in strict avoidance of corruption and whether those funds are funneled into the Gulen Movebloodshed. It requires treating all things with deep compassion. ment. Sonar Tarim, superintendent of Harmony Schools, This is my philosophy, which obliges me to remain aloof from denied any affiliation to Gulen. “I’m not a follower of anyall worldly titles and ranks.” body,” he told the Times. Tarim did consult with Virginia The Turkish government suspects Gulen of having a hid- International University in Fairfax, Va., “one of the private den agenda, Ashton said, adding that it just isn’t so. “He’s real universities that lawyers for Mr. Gulen say were originally clear about never making any political statements,” Ashton said. inspired by his teachings,” the Times reported, but uncovTwo main themes stand out in Gulen’s works: First, he ered no other connection. teaches that Muslims have a duty to perform services for the Using public taxpayer funds for schools or taking funds common good, known as hizmet; second, he teaches that inter- away from public schools is not the way of Gulen-inspired faith dialogue is crucial to creating a peaceful and harmonious schools, Ozcan says. The U.S. charter-school operators may world. “The chief characteristic of the Gulen movement is that know of Gulen, and he inspires some teachers, but these are it does not seek to subvert modern secular states, but encour- entrepreneurial endeavors, not Gulen-inspired private schools ages practicing Muslims to use to the full the opportunities they based on the Turkish model, he says. offer,” states a 2008 profile of Gulen in The New York Times. In Turkey, Gulen’s detractors imply that the schools are “Peace is central to his philosophy,” McDaniels says. “It’s part of a nefarious plot to take over the country from the inside. my idea of what Christianity ought to be doing, too.” Graduates have insinuated themselves into the highest ranks of Gulen’s work and words have motivated an organic net- the police force and the judiciary, in addition to being in other work of people who aspire to live up to Muslim ideals, World- prominent positions of power in the government and the media. wide, the Turkish diaspora has enthusiastically embraced his Not so fast, counter his supporters. moderate, modern interpretation of Islam. Because the move“The Police Academy is one of the best and most presment is not hierarchical, it’s impossible to estimate the number tigious education institutions in Turkey,” the Rev. Thomas of Gulen’s followers; however it’s likely to be in the millions. Michel told The New York Times in June 2010. Because GuHizmet, which has become synonymous with the Gulen len-school grads do well on entrance exams, he said, they easMovement, often takes the form of education. Ozcan came ily get accepted into the police force. In other words, it’s not to know Gulen through students who tutored him for free in surprising that smart, well-educated people rise to positions his Turkish community. “I need to be like them,” he remem- of authority, implied the Jesuit priest, a former top adviser on bers thinking at the time, even before he knew Gulen inspired Islamic matters to the Vatican. them. “I admired them because of their service.” In Turkey, followers have opened hundreds of “Gulen-inGULEN, see page 16 15 spired” private schools, whose students include some of the best jacksonfreepress.com
COURTESY INSTITUTE FOR INTERFAITH DIALOG
ment in its constitutions, the latest adopted in 1983. But rifts remain. Turkish courts ruled in 2001 that the Virtue Party, for example, was unconstitutional and banned it due to its religious dogma; however, the party of Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, the reformist Justice and Development Party, grew out of the Virtue Party. Turks voted Erdogan in by a landslide in 2002. It was into Turkey’s political and religious volatility that Gulen began to develop a following through his sermons and writings. Muslims must learn to thrive in a modern technological society, he said. Progress for Turkey depends on education—not at the expense of faith traditions but in addition to them. “Turkey was in chaos,” for decades with numerous factions fighting for control, says Fatih Ozcan, Mississippi representative of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog. “Gulen was in the center of it. … He was basically giving the criteria of being a truthful person, using the right way to express yourself. Just blaming the others or bombing is not the way.” Ozcan also said that Gulen always took the side of the secular government, not speaking against it, and emphasizes to this day that there is no going back. Gulen told his followers that science and Islam are not in conflict, nor is there conflict between Islam and other faith traditions. In fact, he said, the Quran teaches religious tolerance, advocates education, and the right way to live and operate in society. It does not mandate a political system. Turkey already has enough mosques, Gulen said. Instead, build more schools, more hospitals and universities. For some Turks, this was a radical message. Nationalists accused Gulen of attempting to subvert the government. Islamists accused him of being too accepting of a political system that they felt had excluded them. Similar accusations have followed Gulen to the present day, and are just as far apart, depending on who is doing the criticizing and where the criticism appears in the press. Some critics say the American CIA supports him, while others say it’s the Russian KGB. In Turkey, his accusers tell the Turks he is a puppet of the Pope and a secret Cardinal, while in the United States, detractors say he is an Islamist terrorist whose ambitions mirror those of Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. “Both literature review and the statistical analyses show that the defamation of Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen Movement is strategically operated,” writes Dogan Koc in “Strategic Defamation of Fethullah Gulen: English vs. Turkish,” published in the European Journal of Economic and Political Studies earlier this year. “Gulen is simultaneously portrayed as an Islamic danger who is secretly trying to resurrect the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate and as an American and Zionist puppet who is destroying Turkey and Islam with his ‘moderate Islam.’ ... While the depiction of an Islamic danger who is secretly trying to resurrect the Ottoman Empire and Caliphate is more alarming for English-language readers, the depiction of an American and Zionist puppet who is destroying Turkey and Islam with his ‘moderate Islam’ is likely aimed at manipulating Turkish-language readers.” In 1999, Gulen came to the United States for treatment of his many health issues (he is a diabetic and has heart problems). Accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s government in 2000, he was tried in absentia and acquitted in 2006. The Turkish Supreme Court threw out the case in 2008. “There was no crime,” Ozcan says. Ashton maintains that an economic and political power struggle motivates those behind Gulen’s persecution. The rise of an educated middle class poses a threat to nationalists and the military who held power until recently. “It’s completely baseless,” Ashton said of the criticism. Gulen lives quietly in Saylorsburg, Pa., where he writes and teaches as his health allows. The United States granted him permanent residency in 2006.
Imam in the Middle from page 15 â€œIâ€™ve been in their homes and enjoyed their hospitality,â€? McDaniels says. â€œâ€Ś I doubt that any of the people writing these missives have ever done that, been in the Turkish homes of some of the followers of Gulen. I doubt theyâ€™ve been in a single home, and Iâ€™ve been in four-dozen. Never have I seen hate or exuding anything â€Ś other than kindness, hospitality, peace and love toward humanity. Thatâ€™s been my experience.â€? Such counter arguments abound for every theory damning Gulen or the Gulen Movement. In â€œFethullah Gulenâ€™s Grand Ambition: Turkeyâ€™s Islamist Danger,â€? a recent article in the scholarly journal Middle East Quarterly, author Rachel Sharon-Krespin writes that â€œGulen and his backers not only seek to influence government but also become the government.â€? She continues: â€œThat the U.S. government and, specifically, the Central Intelligence Agency support the Gulen movement is conventional wisdom among Turkeyâ€™s secular elite even though no hard evidence exists to support such allegations.â€? Sharon-Krespin cited statistics that donâ€™t appear in her references, according to Koc, author of one of her references. The majority are â€œfrom sources with no academic or scientific control for credibilityâ€? he says, including TV programs and blogs. Koc, who countered Sharon-Krespinâ€™s article in the Fethullah Gulen Forum (fethullahgulenforum.org), responded to each of the accusations â€œto show how biased, selective, misleading, misrepresentative and miscalculatedâ€? her data is.
To say that Gulen heads up the movement that carries his name or is somehow pulling the strings of the organization the way an American CEO leads a multi-national corporation is inaccurate, according to his followers. Even calling it the Gulen Movement is disrespectful to the many people doing its work, Gulen said in the June 2010 interview with The New York Times. Instead, he preferred to call it the Volunteer Movement. Gulen also stood by his long-time ascetic lifestyle. His only belongings, he said, were â€œa quilt, bed sheets and a few prized books,â€? adding that he did not know â€œhow many countries this movement is active in, nor do I know how many teachers and students there are.â€? â€œMy role in this movement is very limited, and there is no leadership, no center, no loyalty to a center and no hierarchy,â€? he said. Ashton, whose forthcoming book delves into the grassroots political and social impact of the Gulen Movement in Turkey, said that if he were to compare Gulen to another public figure, it would be activist nun Sr. Joan Chittister or Buddhist monk Thich Naht Hanh. Ashton has met Gulen, and said itâ€™s easy to see why heâ€™s inspiring. â€œItâ€™s clear when youâ€™re around him that he has a spiritual gift,â€? Ashton said, adding that through example, â€œhe teaches me how to be a better Christian.â€? History will tell whether Gulen is a force for good or
evil. Few writers seem to have a moderate opinion of the man or the movement. Perhaps, as Joshua D. Hendrick, assistant professor of sociology and global studies at Loyola University of Maryland, wrote in the Middle East Report this fall, itâ€™s true that the movementâ€™s â€œloyalists operate as private actors in a competitive global marketplace of goods and ideas.â€? â€œContinuing to refer to the Gulen movement as either a benign social network of â€˜selfless volunteers,â€™ or as a clandestine â€˜radical Islamistâ€™ organization, is simplistic and counterproductive,â€? Hendrick concluded in â€œMedia Wars and the Gulen Factor in the New Turkey.â€? â€œIndeed, considering Turkeyâ€™s emerging role as a political and economic power, a candidate for the European Union, a regional leader and an important ally of both Israel and the United States, the Gulen movementâ€™s transformative impact in Turkey is significant not only for the 79 millionplus Turks, but for the entire world.â€? â€œIn the history of sociological movements, there is no movement that has not received criticism,â€? Ozcan says. â€œBig changes in society come with criticism all the time. â€Ś I always ask (those who criticize): â€˜Have you read any of Gulenâ€™s books? Have you visited any Gulen-inspired schools or institutions? Have you listened to any of his sermons?â€™ If not, read, visit or listen.â€?
â€˜Come and Eatâ€™ SOPHIE MCNEIL
by Sophie McNeil
Sharing traditional Turkish food is one way IID brings people together.
November 30 - Dcember 6, 2011
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CARROT SALAD 8 carrots, grated 1/4 cup corn oil 2 cups plain yogurt 1 cup sour cream 1 garlic clove Salt (as needed) Sumac (can be found at Mediterranean groceries)
Place oil and carrots in pan and
sautĂŠ until carrots are tender. Let carrot mixture cool. In a bowl, mix together yogurt, sour cream and pinch of salt. Mince garlic and add to mixture. In a shallow dish, spread carrot mixture to cover bottom. Place yogurt mixture on top, sprinkling sumac over yogurt as desired.
CEZERYE 1 pound of carrots, grated 2 sleeves of vanilla-flavored tea biscuits 1 stick of butter 1-1/2 cups of sugar Grated coconut
Combine grated carrots and sugar in a pan and sautĂŠ for about 20 min-
utes or until softened. Once soft, let carrots cool. In a bowl, combine carrots and butter. Crush tea biscuits into small pieces and combine with carrots and butter until dough forms. Form quarter-sized balls with the dough and roll in grated coconut.
Now Serving Lunch
Tuesday - Friday • 11:00am - 2:00pm
• Plate Lunches • Daily Lunch Specials • Salads • Home-Made Desserts • Cosmo Burger On Fridays • Take-Home Casseroles
2947 Old Canton Rd Suite G • Fondren Village Jackson, MS 39216 • 601.983.4450
November 30 - December 6, 2011
The Spirituality Issue
Repairing the World by Dana and Jonathan Larkin
Tâ€™shuvah directly translates as â€œreturn,â€? but we commonly interpret it as repentance for past indiscretions and sins including confession of the sin, acknowledgement of the actions and concerns for its consequences, and a commitment to â€œreturnâ€? to more ethical and moral behaviors as outlined in Jewish religious texts. Tâ€™zedakah is considered to be acts of charity, but a more liberal interpretation is FILE PHOTO
hen we were first married and new parents, we made a conscious decision to embrace the Jewish practice of tikkun olam with its focus on action and justice. We believed it was important to model our faith for our children through our actions, and teach them the responsibility of tikkun olam, which, translated literally from Hebrew, means â€œrepairing the world.â€? We were both children of the â€™60s, one raised in Boston, the other in Jackson, where we saw people denied their rights and privileges because of their race or religion. Here in Jackson, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the temple and the Rabbiâ€™s house in 1967. Our elders shared the horrors of the Holocaust with us. These historical events strongly affected us and influenced our faith and how we practice our Judaism. Jewish religious beliefs are based on the existence of a singular God who is omnipresent and all-powerful. Humans, created in Godâ€™s image, have an important power of choice in their actions, practices and beliefs in the observance of Judaism. The three primary tenants of Judaism all come from the Torah, or the first five books of the Old Testament. They are, in Hebrew: Tefilah, Tâ€™shuvah and Tâ€™zedakah. Tefilah translates as prayer or observances of ritual practices and can include weekly Shabbat (Sabbath) services on Friday evening and Saturday morning as well as Jewish holiday celebrations and observances in the synagogue and at home.
The Jewish concept of tikkun olamâ€” repairing the worldâ€”comes from the Torah, which consists of the first five books of the Old Testament.
individual and group actions within the community to enhance justice and equality for all. In our personal commitment to practicing Judaism, the tenant of Tâ€™zedakah is a high priority. This is where we embrace the Jewish concept of tikkun olam. As Re-
form Jews, we believe each of us has a part in bringing about the Messianic Age where all of Godâ€™s creatures are treated fairly and living in peace, where weâ€™ve â€œbeaten our swords into plowshares.â€? Working to repair the world includes making charitable contributions and participating in activities to bring about a just society. Some Jews consider this to be completing the act of creation. â€œYou are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it,â€? we read in an important biblical Jewish text, â€œEthics of the Fathers.â€? Everyone, therefore, has a responsibility to do their part to make the world better. Each generation builds on the good deeds of those who came before them. Together, we chair the Tikkun Olam Committee at Beth Israel Congregation as we have for the past several years. The Temple is an adopter of our neighborhood public school, McLeod Elementary, participating during the year in a number of volunteer opportunities like literacy days and other events. Beth Israel members are actively involved in Stewpot Community Services, serving meals, making donations and generally supporting Stewpot. The congregation has a history of involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, and we continue to rally around events that support equality and fairness, such as the recent prayer vigil in memory of James Craig Anderson. Our congregants and rabbi serve on many local civic and nonprofit boards. Through these and other justice-focused activities, tikkun olam continues to be an important part of the
Jesus the Radical by Ronni Mott
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The Spirituality Issue
The Jesus of Justice by Rev. CJ Rhodes
Truth admonishing American Christians to do what Jesus I suppose my deep convictions regarding Christian addid. Enslaved Africans who converted to Baptist and Method- vocacy emerges from my black church experience. Though ist Christianities experienced liberation through the account not perfect or monolithic, the black churches in which Iâ€™ve of the Hebrew Exodus and in the words of Jesus who came worshipped have been attentive to the transformative power to set the captives free. Fannie Lou of the Gospel, both for individuals Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. and society. Many of my colleagues strove for freedom believing that Jehavenâ€™t been so easily pimped by sus called them to be sick and tired politicos seeking evangelical â€œvalof social sin and to be drum majors ues votersâ€?; wedge issues like aborof justice. Charles Finney, John tion and gay marriage havenâ€™t overWesley and many other evangelists powered our sense that economic during the Great Awakening revivals parity isnâ€™t just a justice issueâ€”itâ€™s believed in salvation and social holia Jesus issue. The Bible speaks ness as part of the Gospel whole. more about our right relationship American Pentecostal pioneers to currency than it does heaven or like William Seymour adamantly hell. Prophetic Christianity echoes contended that the truest witness the piercing voice of the Hebrew that somebody received the Holy prophets and Jesus of Nazareth. Ghost wasnâ€™t their ability to speak in Itâ€™s time that evangelicals and tongues but their grace-given ability Pentecostals recovered our comto love someone of a different race mitment to a Gospel-hued minisor nationality. Early witnesses of try of mercy and justice. In a state Pentecostalismâ€™s embryonic era statthatâ€™s overwhelmingly evangelical Abolitionist Frederick Douglass (shown here ed that the Jim Crow-era color line in its Christian expression, itâ€™s hein 1879) admonished Christians to do what was being washed away in the blood retical that so much racism, sexism Jesus would have done. of Jesus and that the Spirit was turnand classism is still flamboyantly ing enemies into friends. real. Too often the church in MisThough not exclusively a sissippi has ordained suffering, bechurch-led movement, the Civil Rights Movement was largely ing the sanctifier of injustice and social evil. This is sin manishaped by religious convictions, and the rhythm of the black fested both individually and institutionally. It must be called churches set the sound track to many meetings and marches. out and genuinely repented for. Loving Jesus isnâ€™t antithetical to justice. In fact, they are Itâ€™s also time for non-evangelicals and even non-Chrisintimately woven together. Jesus, preaching in the power of the tians to seek to know more about us beyond popular conjecSpirit, announced that his was a ministry of liberation (Luke 4) ture and caricature. Weâ€™re not all women-hating, gay-bashand that his message of the kingdom of God was, in part, an ing, people-condemning hypocrites. Some of us seek the exposition how we are to live here-and-now as we wait patiently Holy Spirit daily to make us more courageous, more loving, for the hereafter. more just. Many of us are intelligent, compassionate, justiceAny gospel that is just about souls being saved from hell oriented cracked pots who love the Lord because he heard with a sure ticket into the pearly gates is too small. Our evan- our cry and pitied every groan. gelical and Pentecostal ancestors understood this. Thatâ€™s why And please know that this Bapti-metho-costal likes his they built hospitals and schools, marched and strategized for a justice with his Jesus, thank you very much! better world. Now let the church say, â€œAmen!â€? PUBLIC DOMAIN
â€™m a Christian. More accurately, Iâ€™m a Christian deeply formed by what many would call evangelical and Pentecostal sensibilities. I grew up in a rural Missionary Baptist Church, joined a large urban United Methodist Church in my teens, and cultivated my call to ministry in a nondenominational charismatic storefront prior to graduating from high school. Exuberant rejoicing, shrieks of ecstasy, reflective communion and singsongy preaching are all memories of how the saints had church. If you need to label me, just call me a Bapti-metho-costal. I am unapologetically one-third Baptist, one-third Methodist and one-third Pentecostal. Though Iâ€™ve also encountered other beautiful traditions (among them Jewish, Buddhist, Eastern Orthodox and Episcopalian), these three religious cultures have dominated my Christian formation. Central to this faith is a blessed assurance that Jesus was and is real, that he came to earth to redeem us, lived a sinless life, was crucified on an old rugged cross, died and was buried. On the third day, he rose again with all power in his hand, conquering Satan, sin and shame. And we bear witness to this Gospel in the power of the precious Holy Ghost, emboldened by spiritual gifts and virtues to live the Gospel-way for our Lord. It is this theological worldview that causes some to wonder why I engage in the good fight for freedom, why Iâ€™m concerned about the least of these, why I want justice to roll down like rivers and righteousness like a mighty stream. Since beginning my pastorate at Mount Helm Baptist Church, Iâ€™ve been a part of two religious coalitions, one seeking payday-lending reform and the other objecting to the unintended consequences of Initiative 26. Some of my evangelical friends ask, â€œIsnâ€™t Jesus enough? Shouldnâ€™t we only be concerned about saving souls from hell?â€? My social-justice sisters and brothers suggest that I canâ€™t be for freedom and the â€œwhite manâ€™s oppressive religion,â€? and that the truest journey toward justice is without Jesus. I say both of these groups are wrong. Looking at the history of evangelicals and Pentecostals in this countryâ€”long before Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertsonâ€” we see a passionate Gospel-centered faith that bends toward justice. Of course, not every evangelical Christian of yesteryear was a freedom fighter, but so many of them were. Abolitionists and advocates for womenâ€™s suffrage had prophetic Christians like Frederick Douglass and Sojourner
Lord, Have Mercy! by Latasha Willis
I November 30 - December 6, 2011
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Time To Get Noggy!
The Spirituality Issue
â€œWe have an appointment with life that takes place in the present moment.â€? â€” Thich Nhat Nanh
Here and Now by Donna Ladd
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Weâ€™ve got dessert. Voted One of the
Best Bakeries Best of Jackson 2011 WWW.BEAGLEBAGELCAFE.NET
Christmas Series November 27 - December 25 Worship Services 8:30am & 11:00am December 4 Rev.Dr. Joey Shelton Listening for Christmas: Pointing to the Way
adly, I didnâ€™t discover the power of being mindful until I was nearly 40. I picked up a book on Buddhism in a quaint bed-and-breakfast in Woodstock, N.Y. (seriously). Until then, I had thought of Buddhism as a rather mysterious, probably weird kind of religion where you sit in the lotus position and worship a statue. I was wrong, of course. When I opened that book, I was decades into an unfocused-if-interesting life filled with stressful grasping and a near-constant sense that I should be doing something I wasnâ€™t doing or living somewhere else. Happiness was always â€œover thereâ€? somewhere. I was too unsettled to be content, and my mind raced constantly about all the things I needed to do, or hadnâ€™t doneâ€”not allowing me to fully focus on what I was doing. I was a multi-tasking fool, beating the hell out of myself. When I read about the concept of mindfulnessâ€”thinking fully about one thing at a
timeâ€”my tired brain seemed to rejoice. It wanted to think about one thing at a time and stop the doomed task of trying to deal with several things at once. I know now that humans cannot multi-task, so no wonder my brain and I were always so exhausted. Since that time, Iâ€™ve become a buddhist with a little b. Iâ€™m not a fan of organized religionâ€”Buddha wasnâ€™t, eitherâ€”and I donâ€™t want to give up what is inspiring about my Christian heritage (even while trashing the hateful parts). Iâ€™ve become a fan of Jewish social-justice practice (tikkun olam), tapped into the beliefs of my Quaker ancestry (read Parker J. Palmer) and discovered rich components of Islam, especially from mystics such as Rumi. What Iâ€™ve learned from Buddhism is more spiritual than religious. I discovered a way to train my mind to calm down and rest, at least sometimes. I figured out that to do meaningful work, and have rich conversations and relationships, I must take the time and be
nowhere else. There is only here and now. Mindfulness has helped my work and enabled me to help start this paper. It helped me to help put a Klansman in prison. It helped me give up meat. It helps me let go of petty drama and ignore fools. It taught me to look at those who want to hurt me and others with compassion, while focusing on ways to make sure that they canâ€™t. Forgiveness is perhaps the hardest, and most important, lesson. (Note that the Bible has something to say about forgiving and loving your enemies, too.) Iâ€™ve been thrilled to discover that mindfulness isnâ€™t only spiritual; it is also science. Neuroscientists have studied the minds of meditative monks to unlock brain mysteries, learning that the brain can and will grow through life if we treat it well. How? By learning to focus and training ourselves to be mindful. No need to give up other faiths; mindfulness can help you learn to focus better on your beliefs. These books will help you learn how and why.
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December 11 Rev. Dr. Connie Shelton
November 30 - December 6, 2011
Listening for Christmas: Joy with Possibility
305 North Congress Street Jackson, MS 601-353-9691 English 601-362-3464 Spanish www.gallowayumc.org
Itâ€™s ALWAYS FRESH in the 6030 I-55 North- EXIT 102B (601) 977-9040
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Artists left to right - top row: Bewey Bowden, Sarah Jane Alston, Janie Davis - bottom row: Kit Fields, Wolfe Studio, Kay Holloway/Elizabeth Robinson, Pryor Craeber, Ginny Futvoye
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at the Coliseum Box Office Northpark Mall Guest Services Desk Charge by Phone 800-745-3000 Online at ticketmaster.com
Reserve Tickets Go On Sale At 10 AM Friday December 2
November 30 - December 6, 2011
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ÂŠ2010 COORS BREWING COMPANY GOLDEN, COLORADO 80401 â€˘ BEER
8 DAYS p 26 | MUSIC p 30 | SPORTS p 34 JOEY MILLER
Basic Pop in a Hissing Bubble by Larry Morrisey
ead Gaze is a pop band hiding under a pile of hiss and distortion. The brainchild of 27-year-old guitarist and singer Cole Furlow, the Oxfordbased group employs fractured-sounding guitars, distorted vocals and countless swirling synthesizer sounds on its recordings. It’s a psychedelic-influenced sound that evokes memories of the Flaming Lips. Despite the band’s dense sound, Furlow sees his music as part of the pop-music continuum. “If you take everything away and play them on piano or guitar, they’re just basic pop songs,” he says. Furlow grew up in Jackson in a home filled with music. His father, a band director at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, never pushed him into playing an instrument, but made sure that he had thorough exposure to rock. “He fed me a lot of records when I was younger,” Furlow says. “I heard The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix by the time I was 5.” He eventually took piano lessons.Music was important in his life, but music was not his life’s passion until he heard Nirvana. “Once
I heard Nirvana, I was never the same,” he says. Furlow recognized Kurt Cobain’s ties to traditional pop songwriting while taking things in a new direction. “(I realized) you can make pop music that’s hard,” he says. Furlow began getting together with friends to play Nirvana and Beatles songs when he was 12. By the time he was 15, he was playing guitar in The Dust Band, a group that included some of Furlow’s classmates at Jackson Prep. They played classic-rock standards from groups like the Allman Brothers and played at Jubilee!JAM and other community events around Jackson. The guitarist went to Ole Miss for college, but later transferred to Delta State for the then-fledgling Delta Music Institute program. DMI focuses on commercial music-related skills like audio engineering, coursework that Furlow put to use. “I learned a lot about the way recordings are made,” he says. “It was a great kickstart.” Furlow was an active performer during his time in the Delta. Following up on an obsession with hill-country blues, he formed Boy
Scout Knife, a two piece blues, garage band with drummer Marlow Durrough, son of legendary Delta guitarist Duff Durrough. While they played at clubs in the region, Furlow especially enjoyed playing house shows at Delta State. “The Delta has such an amazing DIY scene,” he says. “There’s not much there (to do), so they make something.” Following a short stint in California after graduation, Furlow returned to Jackson in 2008 and began making home recordings that morphed into Dead Gaze. It gradually expanded to a five-piece group, including Jimmy Cajoleas on guitar, Jim Henegan on bass, Martin Powell on synthesizer, and Alex Warren on drums or Len Clark to fill in when Warren is not available. Members’ schedules often make it difficult to set up shows. Because of this, Furlow occasionally performs with a smaller line up or by himself with a drum machine. “I would rather it be the big band, but if they can’t make it, I’m still going to go on.” Dead Gaze has slowly gathered attention from music fans around the country
through sharing songs on music blogs. While some musicians rankle when critics and fans compare their music to others, Furlow wears his influences proudly. “I’m a big fan of musicians letting their influences kind of fly out of them,” he said. “If you have some sort of influence, don’t be afraid to let it shine.” This January, Furlow moved to Oxford where he is part of the Cats Purring collective, a group of bands working together to promote themselves and push each other to create new work. Many of the members live in a sprawling house called the Dude Ranch on the outskirts of Oxford where they rehearse, record and occasionally host shows. Those who live there include John Barrett of Bass Drum of Death, Dent May, Tom Cooper of Cray Things and Len Clark, formerly of Colour Revolt. The latest Dead Gaze project is a fulllength album that the band recently recorded in Oxford at Sweet Tea Studios. The process was hectic and involved. Despite the strains of this work, Furlow takes it all on. “At the end of the day, it always comes back to me.” Visit deadgaze.bandcamp.com.
Dead Gaze bandleader Cole Furlow wraps his songs in layers of distorted guitars and synthesizers.
BEST BETS Nov. 30-Dec. 7, 2011 by Latasha Willis firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: 601-510-9019 Daily updates at jfpevents.com
Historian Todd Sanders speaks during History Is Lunch at noon at the Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Bring lunch; call 601-576-6998. … Jesse “Guitar” Smith performs during F. Jones Corner’s blues lunch. … The DOXA Fall Concert is at 7:30 p.m. at Belhaven University, Bitsy Irby Visual Arts and Dance Center (1500 Peachtree St.); encore show Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. $10, $2 seniors and students; call 601-965-1400. … Rayland Baxter and Grayson Capps perform at Duling Hall at 7:30 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 day of show; call 601-353-0603 or 800-745-3000. … Bob Ray is at Fenian’s. … Crooked Creek plays at Underground 119. $15. … Fitzgerald’s has music by Jazz Beautiful with Pam Confer.
Local choirs sing carols during Sounds of the Season today and tomorrow at noon at the Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.) . Free; call 601-576-6920. … Come to the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum (1150 Lakeland Drive) for Old-time Country Christmas (free admission, $1 rides) and the Gingerbread Gift Market ($2 admission). Hours are 5-9 p.m. Dec. 2 and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 3. Call 601-713-3365. … The Commons hosts a furniture showcase at 6 p.m. Free; call 601-352-3399. … The Chimneyville Crafts Festival kicks off at the Mississippi Trade Mart (1200 Mississippi St.) with a preview party at 7 p.m. The festival is Dec. 3 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Dec. 4 from noon-5 p.m. $10, $50 three days, children under 12 free; call 601-856-7546. … “Annie” debuts at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.) at 7:30 p.m.; runs through Dec. 18. $25, $22 seniors and students, $18 children 12 and under; call 601-948-3533. … Dreamz JXN hosts Can’t Feel My Face Friday. … The Iron Feathers play at Martin’s. … Autumn Risin’ is at Pop’s. … Scott Albert Johnson is at Ole Tavern.
The Jingle Bell Jog benefiting Mississippi Children’s Cancer Clinic is at 8 a.m. at Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children (2500 N. State St.). $30, $15 fun run; visit jinglebelljog5k.com. … The Dr. Trey Mangum Memorial Walk of Grace benefiting Grace House is at 8 a.m. at St. James Episcopal Church (3921 Oakridge Drive). $25 in advance, $30 day of walk; call 601-353-1038 or 601-982-4880. … The City of Jackson Holiday Parade is at noon in downtown Jackson. Call 601960-1084. … Ballet Mississippi presents “The Nutcracker” is at 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall; encore show Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. $12-$27; call 800-595-4TIX. … At The Commons, the open house is at 6:30 p.m. (free), and the Front Porch Dance gala is at 8 p.m. (donations appreciated). Call 601-5401267. … The Ultimate Blues and Soul Experience with Jeff Floyd, Ms. Jody, Rue Davis and Walter Waiters is at 8:30 p.m. at the Central City Complex. $20-$25 in advance; $25-$30 at the door; call 601-352-9075 or 601-498-7245. Front Porch Dance hosts a season opening gala at The Commons Dec. 3 at 8 p.m.
November 30 - December 6, 2011
Babalu Tacos and Tapas (622 Duling Ave.) celebrates its first anniversary with $5 guacamole and Babaritas. Call 601366-5757. … Fondren After 5 is from 5-8 p.m. Free; call 601981-9606. … ‘Twas a Night with Gail Pittman is at 5 p.m. at the Jackson Street District in Ridgeland. Proceeds benefit Mississippi Children’s Home Services. $50, $75 couples; call 601-352-7784. … The Merry Martinis Fundraiser for the Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Association is at 6 p.m. at The South (627 E. Silas Brown St.). $40 in advance, $50 at the door; call 601-540-2995. … See the play “Black Nativity” at 7:30 p.m. at Jackson State University, Rose E. McCoy Auditorium (1400 John R. Lynch St.); shows through Dec. 4. $10, $5 seniors and students with ID; call 601-979-5956.
See the ballet film “The Sleeping Beauty” at 2 p.m. at Russell C. Davis Planetarium (201 E. Pascagoula St.). $16; visit msfilm.org. … The Tougaloo College Concert Choir performs at 4 p.m. at Tougaloo College, Woodworth Chapel (500 W. County Line Road, Tougaloo). Free; call 601-9777871. … Mushroomhead performs at Fire at 6 p.m. $15. … The Christmas concert at Wesley Chapel (787 E. Northside Drive) is at 6 p.m. Free; call 601-941-5055. … The musical “The Forgotten Carols is at 7 p.m. at New Horizon Church International (1770 Ellis Ave.); encore show Dec. 5. $15, $10 students; call 601-371-8282 or 601-982-3997.
The Winter Holidays Exhibit opens at noon at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building (200 North St.); on display through Dec. 29. Free; call 601-576-6800. … Tapestry of Light: A Celtic Christmas Celebration featuring James M. Martin is at 6 p.m. at Broadmeadow United Methodist Church (4419 Broadmeadow Drive). Free; call 601-366-1403. The Central Mississippi Blues Society Jam is at 7 p.m. at Hal & Mal’s. $5. … Pub Quiz at Ole Tavern.
The Lighting of the Bethlehem Tree and Music in the City is at 5:15 p.m. at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). Free, donations welcome; call 601-9601515. … Natchez chef Regina Charboneau speaks during the Millsaps Arts and Lecture Series at Millsaps College, Ford Academic Complex (1701 N. State St.). $10; call 601-9741130. … Jackwagon plays at Pelican Cove.
The Wild and Wednesday Comedy Show is at 8:45 p.m. at West Restaurant and Lounge. $2. … Snazz is at Fuego. More events and details at jfpevents.com.
The Tougaloo College Concert Choir performs Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. at Tougaloo College’s Woodworth Chapel. COURTESY DANNY JONES
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