September 26 - October 2, 2012
JACKSONIAN KELLI STOUT
elli Stout likes to say that southerners think about food a lot. “It’s just all about the food,” she says. “At breakfast, you’re talking about what you want for lunch. At lunch you’re talking about what’s for dinner, and at dinner it’s like, ‘OK, what are we eating tomorrow?’” Although Stout, 53, was born in Oklahoma and moved around as a child, she was raised mainly in Baton Rouge. The southern, and specifically Louisianan, focus on food never left her even as she began her career as an interior decorator. Two decades ago, she moved to Jackson for a job, but after 20-plus years as a commercial interior designer, she was completely burned out. “So I thought, what do I want to do with the second half of my life?” she says. “What I really love to do is cook, so I decided I’ll just go to culinary school.” She enrolled in an abbreviated program at the Atlanta Culinary Business Academy and began business as a personal chef upon graduation. She caters small parties or stocks families with home-cooked meals to last several months. “I come to your house, and when I leave, your freezer is full,” she says. Then, in fall 2010, Viking opened a branch of its cooking school in Ridgeland and hired Stout as one of its chef instructors. Now the Viking School offers classes every day, and Stout teaches four or five
classes a week in addition to working with her personal clients. The school has classes for every age group, from 6-year-olds to adults, and focuses more on teaching basic skills that people can incorporate at home, rather than what Stout calls the “technical minutia” of culinary school. Her favorite foods to cook for herself and her husband, Carey, as well as teach, are the Cajun and Creole classics she grew up with. ”That’s what I know and love, and that’s what I like to eat,” she says. “Which is really, honestly, based on French cooking. Creole cuisine is a combination of French and Spanish and African and all that stuff, it’s such a melting pot, but a lot of the principles are based on classic French cooking, which I like to do.” Although not her goal originally, Stout finds teaching satisfying. “I like to see people’s eyes light up when they go, ‘Oh! That’s why you do that!’” she says, “It’s like you can see the light bulb go off in their head, and that’s very rewarding.” Stout has no plans to leave teaching for a restaurant any time soon. “You couldn’t get me to open a restaurant for all the money on the planet,” she says with a laugh. “The restaurant business is 24/7, and that’s not what I want to do. I want to have a life. I like where I am today, so I’m just going to enjoy the ride.” —Kathleen M. Mitchell
Cover photo by Trip Burns More covers: jfp.ms/covers
8 Give it the Finger A Mississippi Department of Human Services pilot program for childcare is problematic for parents.
38 Singing the Blues The Bridging the Blues Festival, which stretches from Vicksburg to Memphis, offers more than 50 events over a week and a half.
40 Football Faltering Nearly all the college teams in Mississippi are struggling so far this season. Mississippi State University holds the best record of the bunch, helped largely by the Bulldogs’ stout defense.
4 ..............................EDITOR’S NOTE 6 ................................................ YOU 8 ............................................ TALKS 12 .................................. BUSINESS 14 .................................. EDITORIAL 14 ................. EDITORIAL CARTOON 15 .................................... OPINION 16 ................................ FALL FOOD 32 .............................. DIVERSIONS 33 .......................... BOOKS & FILM 34 ....................................... 8 DAYS 35 ............................... JFP EVENTS 38 ....................................... MUSIC 39 ......................... MUSIC LISTING 40 ..................................... SPORTS 41 ................................. ORGANICS 43 .................................... HITCHED 45 .............................. ASTROLOGY 50 .................................. FLY HOME
COURTESY MSU; LARRY MORRISEY; TRIP BURNS
SEPTEMBER 26 - OCTOBER 2, 2012 | VOL. 11 NO. 3
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
Walking with Mr. Meredith
*ck you, n*gger!” It was Oct. 1, 1962, and James Meredith was finally a student at the University of Mississippi. “On the night of September 30, 1962, I entered the most sacred temple of white supremacy in America, the campus of the University of Mississippi at Oxford, Mississippi, and triggered the climax of the most momentous clash between federal and state authority since the Civil War,” he writes in his new and very compelling book, “A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America” (Atria Books, 2012, $25), written with William Doyle. “I started the whole thing. I am a moment in history.” That he is. But this book is much more than a powerful narrative of the “Ole Miss Riots” of 1962; it takes the reader inside white supremacy in a way I haven’t experienced since reading “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Like with Malcolm X, you get to know a very complicated man. He is an iconoclast, and he can ramble and puzzle in real life, but don’t dare overlook what he can get each of us to think about. In his book, we walk through the battleground with the friend I always call “Mr. Meredith”—even though his wife, Judy, teases me about it—and feel the deep-seated hate that spews out of people who had supposedly been taught to be proper and sophisticated. Here, you really see and hear the ugly from young people raised to hate “those people” in order to protect a backward way of life that ultimately hurt us all. We wake with Mr. Meredith as he gets up at 5:30 a.m. to the sounds of the soldier pacing outside his dorm room in Baxter Hall. We sniff his “sweet-smelling aftershave” as he applies it, and before we reach the bot-
tom step of the stairs out of his dorm, we hear, “Hey, n*gger! There’s that n*gger!” We walk with a dignified, fearless black man and a team of U.S deputy marshals as he goes to class amid a chorus of “n*gger, n*gger, n*gger,” sometimes “accompanied by cherry bombs, epithets and broad-daylight shouted threats to kill me.” We dodge bricks, sticks, stones, not to mention kicks and attempts to trip him, and us. As we see the haters watching his dorm steps 24 hours a day, we learn that race hatred isn’t episodic; it is constant. Victims live with it each day even as purveyors believe they’re trying to save … something. Prettily coifed girls yelled vicious words at him alongside the boys. But they could turn sweet again on a dime: “Classes were a different thing. The same little white coed who might be yelling, ‘Why doesn’t someone kill him?’ would act as humane as any other person in America if she was sitting in a classroom,” he writes. But don’t call James Meredith a civil rights hero. That’s holding him to a lower standard than he desires or deserves, he argues provocatively. And he, like Malcolm X, was and is adamantly opposed to the non-violence that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights protesters adopted. “[T]he rhetoric and vocabulary of the American civil rights movement has always seemed upside-down and backward to me,” Mr. Meredith writes. “In fact, I always found it grossly insulting to me, to you, and to every American citizen, because it always begins with the assumption or concession that some or any of our civil rights are up for negotiation.” Again like Malcolm, Mr. Meredith writes that he believed the Movement could not be won in Mississippi without the use of force to meet force—lots of
guns, preferably on the hips of federal officers (which he got). Ultimately, although our history books don’t reveal this, he was right. This state, which had gotten the richest from slavery, was using violence to keep at least segregation in place: the last vestige of the Lost Cause. And as much we must applaud the courage of civil rights veterans (I do more than he does), many battles wouldn’t have been won here without the fear of black men’s threats to arm themselves against the Klan—whether the Deacons for Defense or everyday daddies. (See my related story at jfp.ms/briggs.) Mr. Meredith is an enigma—“a real odd bird,” he calls himself—but that’s why he’s so great. In my many conversations with him—at his house, at our office, at Kroger—this hero challenges me to think. Like him, I don’t blindly bow to partisanship, but I need to be prodded to think beyond the most obvious answers. Take the idea of “black studies,” which he loathes. I learned much about Malcolm X at Columbia University (also Mr. Meredith’s other alma mater). I attended Manning Marable’s “Black Intellectuals” class and did research for his Malcolm X project (now a book)—precisely because I wanted to learn vital history nobody taught me at Neshoba Central or Mississippi State. It was one of the more valuable experiences I’ve ever had. But I was the only white woman and one of two whites in the class. And that’s where Mr. Meredith’s challenges come in: Why do Americans study on two tracks? Shouldn’t important “black” studies be everyone’s history? Isn’t “black history” in Mississippi actually all of our intertwined past? How can we become post-racial when we don’t study, or read, or interact, in a diverse way? I see it all the time in interns here: black students who’ve read
Richard Wright; white interns who love Willie Morris—and they’re lucky if they’ve heard of the other Mississippi author. I’m still not ready to kill off “black studies,” but Mr. Meredith’s point is well-taken. That brings me to Mr. Meredith’s “mission from God.” Yes, it was to challenge white supremacy, and he changed the state. (I thought of him last weekend in Oxford when I read quotes by Ole Miss’s black, and female, student-body president about its first black homecoming queen.) But now it is to challenge us all to really look at systemic racism in our churches, businesses and political life. (See his quote on page 8.) Most of all, he implores us to support and strengthen public schools, and not allow bigotry to reduce the education kids get—a vital lesson in a state and city where so many people are content to allow their kids to get a lesser education, public and private, because they’re only surrounded by others who look and believe and think like them. “I challenge every American citizen to commit right now to help children in the public schools in their community, especially those schools with disadvantaged students,” he writes in his call-to-action chapter. He and other educational experts list multiple ways we can all help our kids and our public schools. He’s so right. We live in a climate where many politicians are trying to weaken, or close, our public schools—and purposefully or not, are content to have an uneducated, crime-infected underclass. We have to work together to break these cycles, and I will make you this wager: If you read Mr. Meredith’s book, you will be more motivated to help our schools and use our shared history to make this state a better place. Please give it a try. James Meredith’s work is not done. Nor is ours.
September 26 - October 2, 2012
Kathleen M. Mitchell
Jim Pathfinder Ewing
Kathleen Mitchell spends much of her time eating, cooking, experimenting in culinary photography, thinking about the next meal and watching television shows about food. She coordinated and wrote for the cover package.
Josh Marks appeared on FOX’s “MasterChef.” Originally from Chicago, Ill., Josh came to the dirty south to get an education and play basketball at Tougaloo College. Follow his blog at iShootOnions.com. He wrote for the cover package.
Editorial intern Whitney Menogan holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Tougaloo College. She enjoys mind-blowing conversations with friends. She hopes to travel around the world one country at a time. She wrote an event blurb.
Larry Morrisey is the director of grants programs for the Mississippi Arts Commission. He is a host for “Mississippi Arts Hour,” the agency’s arts interview radio show on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. He wrote a music feature.
Matt Bolian is a full-time redhead, Christian, husband, Army officer and property developer (blackwhitedevelopment.com) who loves ultimate Frisbee, tacos, fruit smoothies and dreaming big. He wrote a film feature.
Jim Pathfinder Ewing is an organic farmer, author and journalist. He has written give books on energy medicine and eco-spirituality. He lives in Lena with his wife, Annette, at their ShooFly Farm. He wrote organics features.
Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin is a Jackson native who likes yoga, supporting locally owned businesses and traveling. In her spare time, she plots how she can become Michelle Obama’s water holder.
Ross Cabell is a Mississippi native, and was a feral child until the age of 16. He is teaching himself the English language by writing for the Free Press. He wrote a music review.
COURTESY JUDY MEREDITH
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You like us! You really like us!
Janice Hogan: Chef Danny Eslava (Eslava Grill) ... his fried oysters are simply divine.
We got overwhelming response to our redesign and 10th birthday issue last week. Here is a sampling: TRIP BURNS
WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE JACKSON CHEF AND WHY?
James Anderson: Great crew...great publication...continue to continue...we need you in our midst. â€Ś You continue to be light in the wilderness. Rock on, yâ€™all. Rope Burns: Now, shoot for a Pulitzer!
Melissa Fowler: Darling Chef RoachĂŠ (Rochez). The only chef in town for true foodies. Dylan Ray: Tom Ramseyâ€™s food is so good! He fed me and some friends on our prom night, and it was the best food Iâ€™ve ever had probably inside or outside of Mississippi! Underground 119 is a really cool place too, which doesnâ€™t hurt! But itâ€™s all about the food! Jessica Myrick Singleton: Personally Iâ€™m a huge fan of Dan Blumenthal (BRAVO!, Sal & Mookieâ€™s). Not only is he a great chef, but he puts amazing people in charge at his restaurants who incorporate new and fun dishes. All of his (and Jeffâ€™s) restaurants have such a friendly and fun atmosphere and are simply AMAZING people to work for. Nick Thompson: Lee Hurley at Parlor Market. Makes the finest gourmet pb & j for his close friends. His 4th of july cookout was a feast. Sherri Hughes: Chef Nicholas Wallace of The King Edward. A toss up between the great meal which was prepared at the Clash in The Kitchen, a WONDERFUL fish and the Mediterranean Shrimp Taco and Black Eyed Pea Gumbo, which are both on the menu at the King Edward, you canâ€™t go wrong with whatever you may choose. Troy Berch: Derek Emerson....Walkerâ€™s (Drive-In) Mac and Cheese is close to heaven on Earth, and his scallops are served at the Pearly Gates.
September 26 - October 2, 2012
Write us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tweet us: @JxnFreePress.
Katherine Wright Pitts: 10 Yearsâ€Śthatâ€™s a long time to continually be the Best! #Congratulations! #articles #news #local @noeldidla: Hearty congrats on ten ! Wish you many, many more Donna, Todd and staff, past and present ! #JFP turns 10 @biatweets: Nice article from Jackson Free Press about the strides made in Jacksonâ€™s art community. Islander Oyster House: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JFP!! Laura Lillard: Happy 10th anniversary, JFP! Yâ€™all are the best!
Cat Leatherwood: Iâ€™m a film student at USM and Iâ€™m always really happy to be able to read your film articles online. I wish we had something similar down here on the coast. Maybe someday soon! Keep up the good work! Melishia Grayson: Happy Birthday to Donna Ladd and the Jackson Free Press!! I am so proud of the work that they do, and the journalists they produce. #igetitonceaweek
ED PAYNE: DONâ€™T LOOK A DAY OVER 8.
Amy Haimerl: Happy birthday beautiful friends. Jayne Jackson: I get it once a week!
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6FDEV Wednesday, Sept. 19 The Hinds County Republican Party and District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher file a federal lawsuit claiming that the majority-black Hinds County Board of Supervisors impermissibly considered race when redrawing district lines.
Friday, Sept. 21 Grady Brown, a former Ocean Springs Middle School teacher and wrestling coach, is sentenced to spend 30 years in prison for sexual battery of a student. â€Ś Coloradoâ€™s 4,700-acre Chimney Rock Archaelogical Area is designated a national monument. Saturday, Sept. 22 Southern University beats Southwestern Athletic Conference rival Jackson State 28-21. â€Ś Animal lovers worldwide celebrate World Rhino Day to raise awareness of the endangered species. Sunday, Sept. 23 The New Orleans Saints fall to the Kansas City Chiefs 24-27. â€Ś A giant panda cub at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., is found dead.
September 26 - October 2, 2012
Monday, Sept. 24 The Mississippi Democratic Party formally endorses Democratic state Rep. Earle Banks of Jackson, who is vying to unseat Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. on the Mississippi State Supreme Court. â€Ś After a court battle, controversial new ads equating radical Muslims with â€œsavagesâ€? are posted in 10 NYC subway stations.
Tuesday, Sept. 25 Michael Dowda, a convicted murderer who escaped from the Mississippi State Penitentiary over the weekend, is captured in Macon, Georgia. â€Ś President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Gov. Mitt Romney speak at former President Bill Clintonâ€™s Global Initiative. Get breaking daily news at jfp.ms and jfpdaily.com. Subscribe free.
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Finger Scanners Spark Concerns by R.L. Nave
etra Kay is stuck behind the front though DHS trained workers on how to use the reception area and presses her colorful counter at the Northtown Child De- the machines, training parents is left up to finger to a scanner sitting atop the counter velopment Center, sitting in front of the individual centers, meaning that a mem- because sheâ€™d forgotten to check in earlier. two computer screens. BeRosie Mack has grandchilcause part of the centerâ€™s mission is dren at Northtown but has not yet to help children from low-income signed up for the finger-scanning families, Kayâ€™s more than 30 years program. Itâ€™s inconvenient to drive of experience as an early childhood across town to the DHS office on educator would probably better be Medgar Evers Boulevard, which spent writing grants to improve the is outside her daily travel radius, centerâ€™s service or working with the she said. 110 children enrolled there. â€œI drive on one tank of gas a Instead, sheâ€™s filling in as the week. Every mile counts,â€? she said. centerâ€™s receptionist. Northtown The concerns of Kay and is one of 20 child-care centers in Mack echo those of a number of central Mississippi taking part in providers across Mississippi who are a Mississippi Department of Hunot only frustrated about the buggy man Services pilot program. DHS computer systems, but cite privacy administers the stateâ€™s child-care asconcerns and say that piling on sistance, or certificate, program for extra restrictions could force some poor families and pays providers parents to stop working to care like Kay who accept the certificates. for their kids at home. Providers Parents and child-care providers have concerns about Starting Sept. 4, parents and guardand parents have lodged so many ians of children receiving a subsidy a new state program that requires a finger scan when complaints about the system that picking up or dropping off kids at day care. must scan their finger when dropSen. Albert Butler, D-Port Gibson, ping off or picking a child up from chairman of the Senate Investigate day care. ber of Kayâ€™s staff must remain on standby at State Officers Committee, scheduled a hearIn a letter dated July 31, 2012, Xerox all times to help people work the machine. ing to take place Oct. 10. assured child-care providers that the com- Also, because the system relies on unique Carol Burnett, executive director of the pany would install the equipment at no cost. finger scans, staff members cannot override Biloxi-based Low-Income Childcare InitiaIncluded in the packet of information from the system or check the kids in and out when tive, says sheâ€™s talked to parents and providers Xerox was a provider agreement that said parents forget. When that happens, provid- who are worried about how DHS will use while the machines came at no cost, provid- ers might not get paid. their personal information. ers would be responsible for paying for any â€œItâ€™s a mess,â€? Kay declares, with a hint of â€œThey need (day care), and this service damage to the machines. desperation in her voice as she demonstrates has been proven to have a huge difference for Kay and other child-care center opera- the equipment and online payment system. families. We need to make it easier for chiltors say implementing the new system has Almost on cue, a woman in her early dren to get into the program,â€? Burnett said. been nothing short of nightmarish and that 20s wearing a white sweater and red T-shirt Burnett added the number of kids the problems are eating into revenues. Al- with bright green fingernails, bounces into participating in the stateâ€™s certificate TRIP BURNS
Thursday, Sept. 20 During legislative budget hearings, Mississippiâ€™s 15 community and junior colleges ask for $101.7 million more for the 2014 budget year. â€Ś More than 500 people presumed to be university students overwhelmed police barricades in protests against an anti-Islam video that sparked deadly demonstrations in Muslim countries.
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program has already been cut in half in the past two years, and she worries that the new cumbersome scanning requirement will force some day-care centers to stop accepting certificates. Others could close their doors, she said. Currently, 8,050 children are on DHSâ€™ waiting list to get into the certificate program.
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A recent Mississippi Economic Policy Center analysis of U.S. Census data found that Mississippi has the highest child poverty rate in the nation at 31.5 percent. Nationally, around 22 percent of children live in poverty. â€œPrograms like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
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and supports like child-care certificates play a critical role in keeping families afloat in a poor economy,â€? wrote MEPC fellow Amarillys Rodriguez in the report. Shirley Hampton, who co-owns Jamboree Child Development Center on Northside Drive, said the state should be investing more in early childhood education
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instead of â€œridiculous programsâ€? such as the biometric scanners. â€œWe want to be education centers not just baby sitters, but if you donâ€™t get rid of all these burdens, weâ€™re never going to get there,â€? Hampton said. Comment at jfp.ms. Write R.L. Nave at email@example.com
Sewage Woes Hit Home by Jacob D. Fuller
This bypass pump on Sheffield Drive runs 24 hours a day to help divert sewage past a break in the cityâ€™s line that runs under the street.
city will not release any further details until the decree is finalized. The issue on Sheffield Drive is only one of several prominent issues with the cityâ€™s sewage and wastewater system, and the city has to find room in the budget for all of them. Once the consent decree is final, the city will no longer have the choice to ignore the wastewater and sewage issuesâ€”not that Johnsonâ€™s administration ever has. When Johnson first took office in 1997, he put a water and sewer master plan into action. Since then, under his administration, the city has spent close to $200 million on water and sewer repairs. Previous mayoral administrations didnâ€™t cause the current situation through lack of action, either, Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon told the JFP at City Hall Monday. â€œThis is not a problem that started even 25 years ago,â€? said Barrett-Simon, who has been on the City Council since
1985. â€œThis has become a problem for older cities all over the country. The infrastructure that is underground right now in some of the areas of the city has been down almost 100 years.â€? The city will get no grants from the federal government to pay for the repairs. That burden rests solely with the city and ratepayers. Mims said Johnson and the council are going to explore every avenue for funding available to minimize the effect on taxpayers. Those avenues include the stateâ€™s revolving-loan program for water-pollution control, which is funded, in part, by the state and federal governments and administered through the DEQ. The city must pay the loans back at an agreed-to interest rate at or below market rates. To fund the improvements, the city will also look into bond issues and a sales-tax increase, which the city has sought from the state Legislature for at least two years. The bill failed to pass both years.
break. He said the problem is a primary example of why the city will soon have to sign a consent decree from the U.S. Environment Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality that will likely require the city to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next couple of decades on wastewater and sewage systems. The city has been in negotiations with the EPA over the consent decree for about two years. The negotiations have ended, and Jackson City Council will likely vote in the coming weeks to approve the terms of the decree, which council members cannot discuss until they approve it. Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson said he has not had time to read the whole decree. â€œDid you see how long it is?â€? Bluntson asked the JFP, while holding his hands to indicate the stack of documents is 2-to-3 inches thick. Johnson said the negotiations are very beneficial for the city. The EPA originally asked the city to complete the work, which will equal almost an entire overhaul of the sewage and waste water systems, in 10 years. During negotiations, the EPA extended the timeline first to 15 years, and then to a period longer than 15 years, which Johnson would not specify. Many cities across the country have faced similar decrees over the past decade due to violations of the Clean Water Act. City Communications Director Chris Mims said the EPA has estimated U.S. cities need $300 billion in water and sewage repairs, combined. â€œThe U.S. Conference of Mayors really put a lot of pressure on EPA. EPA issued, back in October of last year, in fact, a memorandum to (the southeast) region basically saying, â€˜OK, lighten up, be more flexible in your dealings and negotiations with municipalities.â€™ And they did,â€? Johnson said. That allowed the city to negotiate more time for the repairs, at least. The
JACOB D. FULLER
manda Adams, her husband, Kelly, and their two sons moved into their home on Sheffield Drive in late May. A few weeks later, a noisy, smelly and unwelcome guest appeared in the street directly in front of their house. Since June, the Adams and their neighbors have had to listen to the round-theclock work of a bypass pump that diverts sewage around a break in the line under Sheffield Drive to where the line is in working condition. The pump is so loud that Sharon Jackson, who lives two doors down from Adams, said she can hear it inside her house. Adams said it was difficult for her family to sleep through the noise in the beginning. â€œAt first, we had to adjust,â€? Adams told the Jackson Free Press over the noise outside her house. â€œNow weâ€™re used to it. I only notice it when (the city) comes and shuts it off, because we wonder where (the sound) went.â€? Adams said the street always floods during rains. After a particularly hard downpour in June, a sinkhole appeared down the street from her house, and sewage began flowing into the street and her neighborsâ€™ yards. The cityâ€™s Department of Public Works came in soon afterward and covered the sinkhole with a piece of plywood and bags of cement to hold the board down, all of which are still there. That is also when they installed the pump in front of her house to keep the sewage out of the streets. A few weeks ago, after months of dealing with the pump, Adams noticed the city put a fence around it and completely blocked the stretch of Sheffield Drive between Ridgewood and Old Canton roads to all through traffic. â€œI guess that means itâ€™s not going anywhere anytime soon,â€? Adams said. Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said the city is working to find the funds to fix the sewage
TALK | politics
REGISTER TO VOTE BY OCT. 5
by R.L. Nave and Dylan Watson
September 26 - October 2, 2012
chairman of the Oktibbeha County Democratic Executive Committee. A Vietnam War veteran, Gore says he has completed 91 jumps as an Army parachutist and received numerous military honors, including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal. He has degrees from Millsaps College and Duke Divinity School. Marty Wiseman, executive director of the John C. Stennis Institute on Government at Mississippi State University, said incumbentsâ€™ raising money despite lacking a ADAM LYNCH
he way Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker is raising campaign cash, you would think his opponent was former Vice President Al Gore, not retired preacher Albert N. Gore Jr. For most of the summer, Wicker has averaged about one fundraiser per week, according to information compiled by Political Party Time, a project of the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based campaign-finance watchdog group. The events included a June 19 fundraiser for Wickerâ€™s birthday, benefitting his Responsibility and Freedom Work Political Action Committee, RFWPAC. Billed as a rooftop celebration at 601 13th St. N.W., the birthday party cost $250 to $1,000 for individuals and $1,000 to $5,000 for PACs. In all, Wicker, a first-term senator from Tupelo, has raised $2.6 million in the past year alone, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Records show in the three months between April 1 and June 30, 2012, Wicker spent about $103,000 from the fund, including $18,000 on â€œmedia, advertising and direct mail,â€? $15,000 in consulting fees to Seitchik HQ, a California-based fundraising firm, and $10,330.67 on fundraising, campaign dinners and other events. The remaining sum went to seemingly routine campaign operations. Wickerâ€™s campaign spent $10,172.35 on phone and Internet service, $7,473.24 on travel-related items, including airfare, hotel stays and gasoline. Also, $1,971.59 went toward a monthly car note of $565.87 as well as payments for OnStar navigation and Sirius XM radio services. Calls to Wickerâ€™s Jackson campaign office about this story were not returned. So far, Gore, Wickerâ€™s Democratic opponent, hasnâ€™t raised any money nor filed any quarterly campaign reports with the Federal Elections Commission. Gore is the
Despite lacking a serious threat, Republican Sen. Roger Wickerâ€™s campaign continues to raise millions.
serious adversary has long been the practice among politicians. â€œWhatever excuse you can come up with to hold a fundraiser, those with the means to give will give it,â€? Wiseman said. When donors give to comfortable incumbents, itâ€™s usually not to ensure a victory but to show loyalty and signal youâ€™re worth listening to, Wiseman said. Since replacing retiring Majority Leader Trent Lott in 2007, Wicker has raised $9.7 million for his re-election campaign. Although Wicker has led all Mississippi federal candidates in fundraising, other incumbents with large war chests and slight
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opposition also continue to raise funds. As of June 30, Bennie Thompson, the stateâ€™s lone Democrat in Congress, has a war chest large enough that after raising $842,599 and spending $1.3 million in the two-year cycle, he still has $1.2 million in cash on hand. Thompsonâ€™s challengers include independent Cobby Mondale Williams, a teacher and economic-development consultant from Canton, and Republican Bill Marcy. Williams and Marcy have raised $14,400 and $181 during the cycle and have $2,114 and $5,853 on hand, respectively. A fourth candidate, Lajena Williams of the Reform Party, has not reported any contribution information. In the 1st District, incumbent Republican Rep. Alan Nunnelee has raised a little over $1.1 million and spent $965,903, leaving him with $267,659 in the bank. His Democratic opponent, Brad Morris, has raised $100,600 and spent $89,886, leaving him with only $10,749 to spend. Of course, the candidates will be fundraising and spending up until the day of the election; these numbers only reflect the most recent filing, June 30. Nunneleeâ€™s most generous donor is Telapex Inc., a telecommunications conglomerate based in Ridgeland, while the Communication Workers of America gave Morris his largest donation. This is Nunneleeâ€™s first re-election battle after defeating incumbent Travis Childers in 2010. Morris served as Childersâ€™ chief of staff during his only term in office. During Childersâ€™ re-election battle, he
managed to raise and spend almost $1.8 million and still lost. In District 3, Republican Gregg Harper has raised $647,340 and spent $452,683, leaving him with $235,788 cash on hand. Democrats are not fielding a candidate against Harper. After the Mississippi Democratic Party announced that Madison Attorney Vicki Slater would square off against Harper, she decided not to run. Meanwhile, District 4â€™s Steven Palazzo has raised $763,358, spent $562,322 and has $254,013 on hand. Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and defense technology company, has been the most generous donor to Palazzoâ€™s campaign. The Democratic Party also announced on Sept. 5 that Matthew Moore of Biloxi is entering this race. Moore hasnâ€™t filed any fundraising information with the FEC yet. Moore has never held public office. Write R.L. Nave at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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Raising and Spending
TALK | politics
Who Are the 47 Percent? by Ronni Mott
WHO DOES AND DOESNâ€™T PAY INCOME TAX?
old ($26,400 for a family of four in 2011). The elderly get an additional standard deduction that lowers their tax liability. Some may receive non-taxable income from Social Security. Many working poor are eligible to claim an Earned Income Tax Credit (a program put in place in 1975 under Republican President Gerald Ford) to reduce their tax liability. A family of four with two kids could make up to $45,775 last year and end up with zero liability using the EITC. In the other benefits category are people who have taken advantage of a hodgepodge of other programs and deductions that reduced their federal tax liability to zero. Those include disability payments, interest on bonds, tax credits for education, charitable contributions, mortgage interest and other itemized deductions. Included in this last category are soldiers serving in war zones and, as The Atlantic magazine reported, roughly 7,000 millionaires. Is It All About Income Taxes? As the graph below shows, the majority of those who paid no federal income taxes did pay payroll taxes, which includes state taxes and contributions to Social Security and Medicare, programs designed to provide income and medical care for the elderly. Not specified are other taxes people may pay, such as property, sales and state income taxes, which vary from state-tostate and city-to-city.
WHO PAID FEDERAL TAX IN 2011?
3D\IHGHUDOLQFRPHWD[ /THERS DONÂ´T PAY FEDERAL INCOME TAX BECAUSE /RZLQFRPH %HQHÂżWVIRUWKHHOGHUO\ %HQHÂżWVIRUWKHZRUNLQJSRRU DQGFKLOGUHQ 2WKHUEHQHÂżWV CREDIT: TAX POLICY CENTER
Of those who didnâ€™t pay, Low income includes people not required to file (earning less than $9,500 per year), and those whose income falls below a certain thresh-
4OTAL (OUSEHOLDV 0LOOLRQ 0LOOLRQ 0AY FEDERAL INCOME TAX /F THE REST 0LOOLRQ 3DLGSD\UROOWD[HV (OGHUO\SDLGQRWD[HV 1RQHOGHUO\LQFRPHXQGHU SDLGQRWD[HV 2WKHUVSDLGQRWD[HV CREDIT: MCT
Where Are the 47 Percent? The Tax Foundationâ€”another nonpartisan tax research groupâ€”compiled data showing where the majority of those not paying income taxes lives. Nine of the 10 states with the highest rate of non-payers are in South. Not coincidentally, they are also among the poorest states in the union. Mississippi ranks at the top of the list of non-payers, which excludes those not required to file a returnâ€”one in four Mississippians live below the federal poverty threshold. Of all the Mississippi returns filed in 2010, 44.5 percent had no tax liability. Roughly 1.3 million Mississippi individuals and households filed federal tax returns in 2010. Beyond that, determining exactly who paid federal taxes is difficult. Of those returns, 68 percent had taxable income; 55.5 percent, or 712,035, paid federal taxes. The difference between the two is likely attributable to a myriad of tax credits. With three-quarters of all Mississippians reporting adjusted gross incomes of $50,000 or less, many of those who donâ€™t pay taxes fall into this middle- and low-income group, especially if they have children. Fifty-one percent of filers came in at less than $25,000, and of those, about a third reported they paid federal income taxes (meaning their taxes werenâ€™t zero). About 72 percent of those making $25,000 to $50,000 paid federal taxes. For filers with incomes greater than $50,000, the overwhelming majority paid taxes. As in other areas of the country, Mississippiâ€™s disabled and the elderly are among those who probably have no federal tax liability. Disabled people account for slightly more than 16 percent of all Mississippians; however, the rate of disabled increases as income decreases. In 2008, for example, about 37 percent of low-income adults in the state were also disabled, reported Marianne Hill, senior economist for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning in â€œSolving Mississippiâ€™s Poverty Problem.â€? Are the 47 Percent all Democrats? Romney suggested that the 47 percent who pay no income tax are the same 47 percent who support Obama â€œno matter what.â€? That analysis is inaccurate; todayâ€™s Democratic voters are not necessarily the same group that does not pay federal taxes. So, who are the Democrats? The Associated Press quantified them as follows: â€˘ Sixty-two percent work; including 10 percent part time. A fourth are retired. Five percent are temporarily unemployed. â€˘ Most earn higher-than-average
wages: 56 percent have household incomes above the U.S. median of $50,000; 20 percent have incomes of $100,000 or more; 16 percent have incomes below $30,000. â€˘ They skew younger than Romneyâ€™s voters: 20 percent are senior citizens, and 12 percent are under age 30. â€˘ Theyâ€™re more educated than the overall population: 43 percent have fouryear college degrees or above; 21 percent topped out with a high-school diploma. Looking strictly at the 46.4 percent of people who donâ€™t pay federal income taxes, their voting habits arenâ€™t as simple as Romneyâ€™s statement. The poor generally vote Democratic, but they arenâ€™t a monolithic block, and they are less likely to vote. Seniors are more likely to cast a ballot than the poor. More than any other factor, income determines the party of the voter. As a general rule, the more money you have, the more likely it is that you will vote Republican. REPUBLICAN VOTE SHARE IN 2010 ELECTION BY ANNUAL INCOME 70% -
50% 40% -
30% 20% 10% 0% -
Under $30$50$100- More than $30,000 50,000 100,000 200,000 $200,000 CREDIT: CNN ELECTION CENTER
Why Is This Important? Since the days before Ronald Reaganâ€™s rhetorical â€œwelfare queenâ€? days, the modern Republican Party has a history of demonizing the poor. In that context, Romneyâ€™s statement is just more of the same. However, the 47 percent is neither a monolithic voting block nor is it static; someone who owed no taxes last year may well owe this year. Both the Republican and the Democratic parties have enacted tax policies that keep the poor and elderly from paying federal taxes that would be burdensome. Those who understand these dynamics know that non-payers are not irresponsible moochers and freeloaders, as Rom11 neyâ€™s statement would have us believe. jacksonfreepress.com
ast week, a videographer caught Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in an unguarded moment during a political fundraiser. â€œThere are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,â€? he said. â€œAll right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it, that thatâ€™s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. â€Ś These are people who pay no income tax.â€? He then added: â€œ[M]y job is not to worry about those people. Iâ€™ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.â€? Regardless of where you stand politically on Romneyâ€™s â€œinelegantâ€? statement, as he called it later, a big question looms: Do 47 percent of Americans not pay federal income tax? The short answer is yes. Well, sort ofâ€”the people who paid no federal income taxes in 2010 is 46.4 percent. The longer answer is more complicated. Hereâ€™s the breakdown on who pays and doesnâ€™t pay income taxes, specifically federal income taxes:
TALK | business
ADP Tight-Lipped on Office Closing by Jacob D. Fuller
September 26 - October 2, 2012
ary 2013. The office is closing with an employment between 80 and 86 employees. In a press release, ADP stated it is providing “outplacement support services” to employees, who “have been encouraged to apply for open positions at other ADP facilities.” The office is one of three ADP “solution centers” where employees take client calls and do accounting functions for the Fortune 500 company. Next year, ADP will consolidate the services it offers from the Clinton office with the other solution centers, located in El Paso, Texas, and Augusta, Ga. ADP released a statement about the closing, in which the company incorrectly wrote that the office is located in Jackson. Twice. “ADP regularly conducts careful assessments of its operations to ensure we are operating in the most efficient manner. After thoughtful consideration, we will be consolidating some of our back-office administrative functions and closing our facility located
in Jackson, Mississippi, effective February 22, 2013,” the statement reads. When this reporter brought the mistake to the attention of Michael Schneider, spokesman for ADP, he did not know the information was incorrect. “The zip code of the municipality that that’s located in is not Jackson?” Schneider asked. ADP employs 57,000 nationwide and offers a range of payroll, human resources and employee benefit outsourcing services. Schneider, who referred most of the JFP’s questions to ADP’s less-than-100-word statement on the closing, would not say if the closing had anything to do with financial troubles at the company. “It’s an office consolidation. It’s not necessarily driven by anything else,” Schneider said. “We’ve issued our statement; outside of that, there isn’t really that much to say. It’s an office closing. It’s a small office. Other than our statement, we don’t really have anything else to add to it.” The company first opened in Clinton in 2008, with claims it would one day employ more than 1,000 people in the office, located in the South Pointe Business Park,
COURTESY ROOFING MS
fter promising to employ more than 1,000 workers, Automatic Data Processing announced it will close its office in Clinton in Febru-
ADP announced it is closing its office at the South Pointe Business Park in Clinton in February 2013.
the former home of WorldCom. With the 1,000-employee claim, ADP could have taken advantage of incentives from the Mississippi Development Authority. The company’s peak employment never got much higher than its current level, though, and therefore never qualified for any of the MDA assistance. The lack of growth at the office was largely a result of the economic recession that peaked soon after ADP opened its doors in Clinton in 2008, Hinds County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Blake Wallace told the JFP. A large portion
of ADP’s business comes from providing technology and software resources to 25,500 auto dealers, a sector that suffered especially hard declines in business starting in 2008. The Clinton office was the last of the three solution centers ADP opened. The other two had time to get up and running at a higher capacity before the recession hit, but the one in Clinton did not. “They were never, ever really able to gain the momentum to increase employment here,” Wallace said. The office is not closing due to a lack of income for ADP, though. The company reported an 8 percent increase in revenues in fiscal year 2012, up to $10.7 billion. In 2011, Fortune magazine ranked ADP No. 269 its 500 largest corporations in the U.S. list. That year, the company saw a 10.4-percent increase in revenues to $9.879 billion. Clinton Mayor Rosemary Aultman said she doesn’t think the closing will have a big impact on the city’s job market. “ADP came in with quite a flash, and it never lived up to the hype that they had,” Aultman said. “Losing 80 jobs is losing 80 jobs, and you never want anybody to lose their job.”
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Deacon Mechanics for Defense
mokey â€œRobinsonâ€? McBride: â€œI am very pleased to see so many involved, aware and concerned citizens of the â€˜Ghetto Science Communityâ€™ participating in the Ghetto Science Team Political Action Committee Voter Registration Drive. I am very glad that you are determined to motivate disenfranchised citizens to run like Forrest Gump to the polls and vote. â€œBecause of negative sentiments and inflammatory statements toward the middle class, poor, elderly, unemployed, etc., the Ghetto Science Team Political Action Committee will apply some of the political organizing methods used during the Civil Rights era. â€œSome of you will be assigned to counteract â€˜voter vigilanteâ€™ groups attempting to intimidate minorities who have every right to vote. Additional security assistance and transportation to the polls will be provided by the Church Deacon Mechanics for Defense,â€™ courtesy of Rev. Cletus Car Sales Church. â€œNurse Tootie McBride and her â€˜CNAs (Certified Nurse Assistants) for a Brighter Dayâ€™ will also be present at the polls to help transport disabled voters and administer emergency medical treatment. â€œRudy McBride of the Let Me Hold Five Dollars National Bank will fund get-out-the-vote drives, phone banks and door-to-door canvassing to identify favorable voters. â€œVendors such as Bubba Robinski, Earnest â€˜Monday Night Football Headâ€™ Walker, Mr. Habib, Brother Hustle and the Cream-O-Wheat Man will provide snacks, hot food and drinks. â€œAlso, our technology specialist, Aunt Tee Tee Hustle, will help prevent subtle acts of voter suppression with her newly patented â€˜Anti-Voter Suppression Surveillance and Detection System.â€™ â€œItâ€™s vote time! Remember to register by Oct. 5.â€?
n o i t a c fi i Chick
September 26 - October 2, 2012
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Scanners More Useless Regulation?
ith little notice, the Mississippi Department of Human Services rolled out a program that requires poor parents and guardians to scan an appendage before they can drop off or leave with their little one. At first blush, itâ€™s difficult to see the downside of implementing the new beefed-up childprotection measure, especially in todayâ€™s world where finding registered sex offenders is easy as a clicking a mouse. As far as we can tell, so far, child security didnâ€™t figure too prominently in DHSâ€™ decision to require the biometric scans. The main purpose of the scanners seems to be to regulate how the state pays child-care centers that accept subsidies designed to enable parents who might otherwise have to stay home to take care of young children to get an education or go to work. To say that the change has operators ticked off would be an understatement. Theyâ€™re already annoyed that state budget cutbacks have greatly reduced the number of certificates issued and that they now have to devote precious resources to fiddle with the glitchy scanner system. Whatâ€™s even more infuriating is that center operators have had to fork over their bank account info to Xerox, which sold the scanners to the state, and are on the hook if the machines get damaged. Above all, child-care centers are scratching their heads most about the fact that they havenâ€™t gotten a clear answer from DHS on
why the change was made in the first place. In many ways, the introduction of the scanners is reminiscent of efforts in Mississippi and elsewhere to introduce voter-ID requirements, the argument being that extra regulations are necessary to protect against misdeeds that may be taking place (but likely are not). For anyone who doesnâ€™t already have a state-issued photo identification card, voter ID laws force citizens to go out of their way to get a government ID card in order to exercise oneâ€™s constitutional rights. The rule could result in citizens in giving up their rightsâ€”to cast a ballot in the case of voter ID to apply for public benefits with the finger scanners. And we sure hope DHS wouldnâ€™t do this on purpose to reduce the number of people claiming child-care help. As with voter ID, the finger-scan policy represents a particular hardship for women, poor people and people of color who are likely to employ an intergenerational approach to child care whereby family members and neighbors all pitch in to make sure kids get to and from school safely and on time. The DHS threatens to disrupt these systems by requiring every single person who may be responsible for picking up a child from day care to get scanned. For the time being, only 20 centers have the scanners, but the state plans to introduce them statewide by February 2013. A Senate hearing takes place on Oct. 10. If you want to speak up for your rights, plan to attend.
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is cold, blue eyes—that’s all I remember. It was the late 1990s, and during a routine day at school, one of my friends called another student a “f*cking weird faggot.” We didn’t really know the boy’s sexual preferences, but we thought he was gay. He shrugged off the remarks and moved on with his schoolwork. Not straying far from the norm, the moment didn’t register with me until I looked into his eyes. I can’t recall the subsequent reactions or anything else from that day; all I can remember about that moment was seeing the boy’s eyes. They were filled with pain and fear, anger and resentment. His blue eyes, the same color as my own, were eerily cold and distant. Like usual, I chose to do nothing at that moment. As one of many who often stood by and watched others endure this type of daily pain, I was part of the problem. For years, I continued to stand by and allow anyone to taunt, bully, and ridicule others based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Often, with contempt or in jest, I engaged in this bullying behavior when I told others they were “faggots” or “homos” or said, “That’s so gay,” when I witnessed something I thought was beneath me. Even as I aged, got educated and learned other perspectives, I remained silent when others spewed words of hate and bigotry toward people for being who they are. Although I believed in equality and supported LGBT rights, I rarely mustered the courage to voice my concerns in person. I was fearful of others calling me gay or questioning my masculinity. But that veil of insecurity perpetuated the problem. Many heterosexuals support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. Many also support anti-bullying measures, LGBT adoption, same-sex marriage and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act; however, they continue to remain silent. Coming out as an LGBT ally can be difficult to do, but it pales in comparison to the difficulties LGBT folks experience who come out every day. We don’t generally face discrimination in the workforce, in public places or schools because of our sexual orientation. We don’t have politicians and religious figures vehemently speaking against us and our personal lives. I grew up in a socially conservative neighborhood, attended socially conservative schools and churches, and associated with numerous socially conservative individuals. Coming out as an ally is a continuous and often challenging process. I’ve remained silent, cowered or retracted from confrontations concerning my view that all people are equal and, subsequently, that we should treat them equally.
It would be far from reality to say my journey of coming out as an ally is complete. I’m merely in the beginning. Last year, I decided to confront my insecurities. I created a group called Straight Against Hate in the early months of 2011. I want the group to partner with local LGBT groups and emphasize the involvement of heterosexuals in a joint effort to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Straight Against Hate is a small step, but it is progress. Too many heterosexuals consider the LGBT-rights movement as something they can’t be a part of, but they’re wrong. It isn’t just a “gay rights” issue, it’s a human rights issue. The more we advance LGBT rights, the more we advance human rights and help move America toward the dreams it promises. Think about it: In Mississippi, where no statewide protections exist, people can be fired from their jobs, denied housing or public accommodations for simply being perceived as LGBT. In American schools, LGBT students are more likely to be bullied and more likely to attempt suicide. Only a handful of states legally permit same-sex marriage, which would grant same-sex couples the same 1,138 rights, benefits and protections as married heterosexual couples. Something isn’t right. Human beings, not just LGBT individuals, should never face such unfathomable discrimination. It’s time for straight people to wake up. There are millions of silent ally voices that need to be heard. Coming out as an ally, whether it is in the workplace, in school, church or at the dinner table, can be difficult and straining; however, voicing your concerns with others, signing petitions or getting involved in advocacy will not only help you, it will help your fellow citizens, too. Imagine your former school as a place that ensures a safe, positive learning environment for all students. Imagine your place of worship as a holy sanctuary that is open, affirming and welcoming of all people. Imagine local, state and federal governments as appreciative, compassionate and protective of all people. Imagining these wonderful things might give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, but without action, it simply isn’t possible. I was part of the problem and now, I’m hoping to be part of the solution. If you haven’t done so already, I hope you’ll consider doing the same. For more information about Straight Against Hate, send an email to nohateky@ gmail.com or visit the organization’s Facebook page.
New Blue Plate Special
1 Meat, 3 Veggies, Bread and Drink
september 26 - october 2 wed | september 26 Jesse “Guitar” Smith 5:30-9:30p thu | september 27 Starving Artist 5:30-9:30p fri | september 28 John Clark Band 6:30-10:30p sat | september 29 Lizz Strowd 6:30-10:30p sun | september 30 Shawn & Kenny 4:00 - 8:00p mon | october 2 Karaoke tue | october 3 Jesse “Guitar” Smith 5:30-9:30p 1060 E County Line Rd. in Ridgeland Open Sun‐Thurs 11am‐10pm Fri‐Sat 11am‐Midnight | 601‐899‐0038
Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd Publisher Todd Stauffer
Sharpening My Skills
by Kathleen M. Mitchell
September 26 - October 2, 2012
hen it comes to cooking, I am enormously interested, but easily intimidated. I want to be able to whip up a delicious homecooked meal for my family and friends like so many of the great chefs in our city, but I need a little guidance on where to begin. There are lots of ways to become a great chef: culinary school, mentorships, selfteaching, following a great cookbook or even learning from a celebrity chef on TV. While Iâ€™ll have to save full-blown culinary school for my next career, the Viking Cooking School invited me to experience one of the classes they offer in Ridgeland. I figured Basic Knife Skills was as good a place as any to get some fundamentals. I walked into a kitchen full of gleaming stainless steel and blonde wood and every pot and pan you could possibly imagine. Our instructor, Kelli Stout, offered wine to start out with. (My kind of class!) Eventually, all seven of the students arrived. With six women and one man, it was a small classâ€”they can accommodate over double that numberâ€”which meant we got a lot of hands-on time. Trays of colorful vegetables were awaiting our blades, but before getting our hands dirty, we sat down to talk about knives. There are lots of different knives, the instructor told
us. The most vital knife in a cookâ€™s arsenal is a chefâ€™s knife. (Itâ€™s the one you see on all the cooking shows), and if you only own one good knife, make it a chefâ€™s knife. The standard chefâ€™s knife is 8 inches long, Stout told us, but they also come in
a 60-inch length for petite hands and â€œif youâ€™re a big oleâ€™ honkinâ€™ man, it comes in a Freddy Krueger size, the 10-inch,â€? Stout said. â€œThatâ€™s the Halloween knife. Itâ€™s all the same knife, just different sizes. The best knife for you is the one that fits your handâ€”so donâ€™t
ANATOMY OF A KNIFE TIP or POINT
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BOLSTER or SHOULDER RIVETS TANG (not shown) Runs from the bolster to the butt inside the handle
let anybody tell you youâ€™ve got to have one over the other, because itâ€™s the same knife.â€? Chefâ€™s knives have long, straight spines and slightly curve up at the tip on the blade side, which aids in creating the proper rocking motion while cutting. Knives come in many shapes, with many purposes: Santoku knives, cleavers, boning knives aka filets, bread knives, meat forks, cheese knives, slicing knives and even tomato knives (and more). Easily the most useful thing we learned was also the first: how to hold a knife, and the motion to use while cutting. All seven of us students were doing both of these things wrong when we arrived for class. To hold the knife, Stout instructed us to pinch the back of the blade just past the bolster (avoid the sharp part, obviously, but really hold the blade) with the thumb and forefinger and then wrap the rest of the hand around the handle. â€œHold it by the blade, not way down by the handle. You have to work much more,â€? she said. â€œIf you hold it by the blade, you have lots more leverage. Now the knife is doing the work, and not your arm.â€? The next step is the motion. We learned that the tip of the knife should almost never leave the cutting board. You draw back, dragging the tip on the board, and then push down and through, which is the part of the motion that does that actual slicing and dicing. â€œPick up and pull back, push down
Coast-to-Coast Collaboration by Kathleen M. Mitchell, graphic by Kristin Brenemen
he culinary field is one of the oldest on earthâ€”after all, since mankind has existed, we have been eatingâ€”yet it is still ever-evolving. One of the major ways chefs keep their skills knife-sharp is by working with other culinary minds, teaching and learning from them. Chef Derek Emerson of Walkerâ€™s Drive-In (3016 N. State St. 601982-2633) and Local 463 (121A Colony Crossing, Madison, 601-707-7684) is a prime example. He travels all over the country cooking with other chefs at events and fundraisers, picking up a trick or two in every city.
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COURTESY 99 SERIES
CHEF EMERSON RECOMMENDS: â€œ99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Going to Culinary School,â€? by Regina Varolli (99 Series, 2012, $12.97).
and through,â€? Stout instructed. â€œThink of an old-fashioned locomotive.â€? Cutting with the back of the knife is all about using letting the knife do the work for you. â€œThis is the powerhouse of the knife, not at the tip,â€? Stout said. As we all practiced slicing invisible tenderloins and carrots (and drank more wineâ€”but donâ€™t worry, no one lost a finger),
Stout gave us the basics of cutting terminology. Thereâ€™s julienne (which means cut into strips); dice; small dice and brunoise (cutting into small squares or cubesâ€”regular, small and tiny); rondelle (into round slices, like carrots); batonnet (long strips with square sides); and mince (a very fine chop). She helped us adjust our grip and our method, laughing that she wishes she could
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get her own mother to follow her advice. Stout shared one type of student that tends to get off the hook when it comes to knife skills, though. â€œWe had a guy one night, and he was doing this (mimes little tiny cuts), and I said, â€˜Sir can I show you an easier way?â€™â€? Stout recalled. â€œHe said, â€˜Well Iâ€™m a surgeon.â€™ Never mind! You can do it however you want to. He was doing it so meticulously, I was thinking heâ€™d be doing it all night, but once I heard he was a surgeon, I was like, whatever youâ€™re doing with a scalpel is fine.â€? At last we got to put our new skills to good use. We chopped a variety of vegetables for salsa, learning tricks for cutting onion and bell pepper without pieces going all over the cutting board. We marinated and then cut chicken, sliced strips of mushrooms and more vegetables, and finally cranked up the
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COURTESY BLD; COURTESY VIVA LA FOODIES; COURTESY SALTY SOW; COURTESY JON CURRENCE; COURTESY ARTSMEMPHIS; COURTESY RESTAURANT IRIS; COURTESY THE GENUINE KITCHEN; COURTESY KEVIN RATHBUN; COURTESY SOUTH BEACH WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL; COURTESY HEARTâ€™S DELIGHT; COURTESY ICC
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fire to turn everything into fajitas. As I bit into what we had madeâ€”maybe not quite gourmet, but certainly excitingâ€”I was proud of my small moment in a chefâ€™s shoes. Iâ€™ve got a lot more to learn, but I canâ€™t 17 wait for the next culinary adventure.
September 26 - October 2, 2012
Josh Marksâ€™ culinary school experience on the reality show â€œMasterChefâ€? was uniquely public.
Class Under Fire
walked into the â€œMasterChefâ€? kitchen with the confidence of an actual chef. In fact, I thought I knew all there was to know about cooking and food. From day one, I realized that certainly wasnâ€™t the case. Walking into my hotel room for the first time, I met my roommate Joe Maeillano. We got to know each other while on lockdown (aka being sequestered). His cooking style is upscale, and he uses unusual and inexpensive ingredients such as bone marrow, calfâ€™s brains, kidneys, hearts and all that â€œcrazy stuff.â€? Getting to know Maeillano and learning how he uses cheap â€œunwantedâ€? ingredients and makes them gourmet was one of my first lessons in the â€œMasterChefâ€? kitchen. Unfortunately, he did not advance to the next round, and his stay in the â€œMasterChefâ€? kitchen was short-lived. But I will never forget my first offal (aka nasty-looking animal innards) lesson. The knowledge Maeillano passed on to me prepared me for a later challenge in the Top 15 round. His advice inspired me to put together a sexy chicken-liver dish with salsa verde and plantain chips.
TALK LIKE A CHEF
I knew I had the skills and potential to be greater than a â€œhome cook,â€? but I just had to go through the tangible lessons of life to release my potential. We took cooking classes that taught the essential components of baking, butchering small animals and fish, and as time progressed, we learned advanced lessons as well. Of course, the mentoring and lessons we learned from the â€œMasterChefâ€? judges were huge as well. If a contestant can retain that knowledge to propel them along the way, they just might win, or get pretty damn close. Some of the best lessons came from losing, because I became filled with humilityâ€”and everybody needs that. When I didnâ€™t perform as well in the challenges, I was rewarded with knowledge on how I can come back in the fight with another advantage over my opponent. The actual challenges were the best learning experiences for me, because I gained so much cooking experience and was introduced to so many opportunities that I would have never received. For example, cooking for Guy Savoy, Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud was one of the most honorable experi-
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