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Help the JFP Chick Ball celebrate its 10th anniversary of helping keep metro families safer from abuse.

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JFP Chick Ball | Saturday, July 19, 2014 6 to 11 p.m. | Mississippi Arts Center

Confer and Jazz Beautiful, Performances Pam Apache Rose Peacock, Victoria Cross and the Formula Include: Spoken Word by Pam Junior Proceeds go to The Center for Violence Prevention

Katie Robert Clothing • Tiffany and James Graves • Jan Mattiace • John and Tammy Cook




iqi Zhao sees intrinsic beauty and potential in not only the streets of Jackson, but in its citizens as well. As land use manager for the City of Jackson, she plays an important role in the city’s revitalization efforts. Instead of relying on negative stereotypes, she wants people to reserve their judgment of Jackson based on their own experiences and realize that the desire for better communities is a universal one. “People all want good things to happen,” she says. “They want to achieve something.” While growing up in Jinzhou, China, Zhao, the elder of two daughters, realized early on that she did not want to follow in the footsteps of her parents, who are both physicians. Instead, her childhood fascination with aesthetics, street layouts and building design led her to pursue a career in architecture. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in architecture from Tianjin University in Tianjin, China, in 1996, she worked as an architect at a firm in Beijing for five years before a desire to recharge and seek education and advancement opportunities in this country led her to move to the United States. She initially settled in Louisville, Ky., where she received her master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Louisville in 2004. Her desire to expand her professional experience brought her to the Jackson area in 2006. Zhao, 41, now a U.S. citizen, previously served as senior planner for the City of Jackson


before becoming land use manager in 2012. In her current role, she manages services and programs that are focused on the city’s land usage and works with developers and other departments to carry out special project development for the City. She also conducts research to determine the best use of the city’s land. She then presents recommendations to city officials, committees and the public. The feedback from the residents of the areas affected by the developments—proposed and actual—matters most to Zhao. “They are the persons living in the area,” she says. “Actually, we are working for them. I like working with people—their issues, their concerns. I just try my best to help them. If I see them happy, that’s good. It encourages me. It inspires me in moving forward.” In addition to being an American Institute Certified Planner and holding residential inspector certifications from the International Code Council, she is also the central representative for the Mississippi Chapter of the American Planning Association. The Jackson Citywide Design Guidelines she created won the 2013 APA Mississippi Chapter Best Project award. Zhao, who has been a course facilitator at Jackson State, hopes to attain a doctorate one day and use her professional background to teach and complete academic research. Zhao is excited for the future of the city. “Jackson is booming!” she says with pride. —Demetrice Sherman

Cover photo of Bryan Fischer courtesy Troy Maben/AP

10 Start Snitching

Jackson wants to make it safer and easier to report crimes to police.

23 ‘The (Dead Mothers) Club’

“There is a battle to sort out that feeling of betrayal and trying to embrace the fact that my mother was ill.” —Ginger Cook, “Welcome to the Club”

28 SilaS: Golden Child of Rap

Jackson-native rapper SilaS uses his trumpet, his voice and beat from songs new and young to show his personality and lifestyle in his new independent release “Rap Revolt.”

4 ....................... PUBLISHER’S NOTE 6 ............................................ TALKS 12 ................................ EDITORIAL 13 .................................... OPINION 14 ............................ COVER STORY 21 ......................................... FOOD 22 .............................. DIVERSIONS 23 .......................................... ARTS 24 ....................................... 8 DAYS 25 ....................................... BOOKS 26 ...................................... EVENTS 28 ....................................... MUSIC 29 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 30 ..................................... SPORTS 31 .................................... PUZZLES 33 ....................................... ASTRO


JULY 9 - 15, 2014 | VOL. 12 NO. 44



by Todd Stauffer, Publisher

Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Spell Corporate Trouble


believe two forces seem likely to rend the Republican Party in two over the coming years. Those forces are (a) those who believe “freedom of religion” means imposing their religion on others, and (b) those who believe that the welfare of the modern-day corporation—and the policies that favor them—should be at the center of the country’s political concerns. The triumph of the Republican Party since the 1970s has been in aligning those two basic interests—corporate-crony conservatives and religious conservatives—in ways that caused them to work together and allowed them to build their power base. Generally, it’s the GOP over the past few decades that has succeeded by running on religious hot-button issues (and, often, “fear of the other” memes) in order to gain seats and statehouses, but then, once in office, they frequently find ways to please their corporate financiers with ports, subsidies, tax abatements, bailouts and the like. But some of the most recent short-term “corporate personhood” successes for this alliance may ultimately be their undoing. One of the basic problems that we have in this country is the structure of the modern corporation—particularly large, multi-national corporations. Indeed, a number of ills could be addressed by tweaking the way corporations chartered in this country work—from income inequality and labor disputes to taxes, health insurance and the funding of political campaigns. Now, add to that list both health insurance and religious freedom—including your right to be free from your boss’ religion. Just like human “personhood”—the notion that “a person becomes a person at conception”—is essentially an unprovable philosophical belief, corporate “personhood” is also a philosophical construct, and one that’s even more of a metaphor,

since a corporation is never a human, and never will be. And yet, the U.S. Supreme Court has recently granted this legal construct what amounts to First Amendment rights of both speech and freedom of religion, although, in the second case, it only has that freedom if it meets certain tests that make it a “closely held” corporation. Ridiculous.

Beware the marriage of corporate cronyism and religious conservatism. First, with the Citizens United decision and now with the Hobby Lobby case, the John Roberts court has been too willing to cede power that should clearly be reserved for individuals—freedom of speech and freedom of religion—by granting them to corporations. The government charters corporations, and they’re designed, in part, to shield a group of individuals from some personal liability while enabling them to pool their resources (or reach out for more, such as through public offerings of stock) in order to grow the organization larger than it could be as a sole proprietorship or partnership. If every investor in a

corporation were 100 percent liable for every action taken by the corporation as a whole, you’d have many fewer people willing to invest in small corporations or buy stock in larger ones. The Hobby Lobby case is particularly interesting because it seems to be the first time that the Supreme Court has ever said that a subset of a corporation’s shareholders could assert their religious rights in such a way that the corporation should be said to have those same religious views. Let’s say it again. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., a government-chartered legal entity, now has religious beliefs, which somehow pass through from its controlling shareholders. It has those religious beliefs regardless of the amount of time that Hobby Lobby spends in church, or how often Hobby Lobby pops up from its foundation and heads downtown to a soup kitchen or off on a mission trip. Not only is Hobby Lobby now a fundamentalist because enough of its shareholders are, but it’s also able to assert “its” religion beliefs in a way that affects the compensation its workers receive. (At least, the female workers. So far.) This leads one to wonder what other non-scientific but religious or political constructs will be allowed to govern employee health-insurance choices—some Jehovah’s Witnesses won’t accept blood transfusions, for instance, and Christian Scientists will sometimes reject any medical care. So why should those business owners cover those things under their employee benefits program? If the Supreme Court gives you an opt-out clause because their religion trumps their employees, who’s to stop them? The religious conservative just shrugs his shoulders and says “well, don’t work there.” Maybe it’s not that easy. Maybe Hobby Lobby is conveniently located

near your home—after all, many of them seem to be located in old Walmart buildings after the Waltons decided to move all those jobs to the other side of the county. Or maybe you like arts and crafts— and you’re good at it. Maybe the job fits your skill-set and passion. But the corporate conservative might have more to worry about—this decision could allow a “piercing of the corporate veil,” as Alex Park put it in a recent story for Mother Jones. By allowing a corporate shareholder’s beliefs to somehow flow through the corporate “person,” one could argue that they’re not really two different “persons” after all. In other words, why not simply do away with the liability protections afforded by the corporation since now, at least from a religious perspective, the corporation and its owners are one? That’s what a “friend of the court” brief filed by 44 corporate and criminal law professors argued in the Hobby Lobby case—and the presumption is there could now be a slew of lawsuits against corporate shareholders that, if successful, would require changes in corporate law. Something about the current law seems to confuse able jurists such as Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito—and that’s our sign that it’s time to legislatively reign in the definition of a corporation such that it is something less than a “person”—and something more like a group of human beings working toward a common goal. That’s the point, after all, and since the government charters corporations, it’s something we can fix through government—and should. In fact, maybe this is something that corporate Republicans— and the Democrats they’re running to in order to stave off their Tea Party insurgencies—could agree on? Todd Stauffer is the publisher of the Jackson Free Press.

July 9 - 15, 2014



Anna Wolfe

R.L. Nave

Haley Ferretti

Tommy Burton

Demetrice Sherman

Jane Flood

Jared Boyd

Christina McField

Investigative Reporter Anna Wolfe, a Tacoma, Wash., native, studied at Mississippi State. In her spare time, she complains about not having enough spare time. Email her at She wrote the cover story.

R.L. Nave, native Missourian and news editor, roots for St. Louis (and the Mizzou Tigers)—and for Jackson. Send him news tips at rlnave@ or call him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12. He wrote a news story.

City Reporter Haley Ferretti is a 2013 graduate of Delta State University. She enjoys traveling, listening to The Strokes and raiding refrigerators. Email her at haley@ She wrote news stories.

Music Listings Editor Tommy Burton is keeping the dream alive, one record at a time. He can usually be seen with a pair of headphones on. He wrote an arts story and compiles the music listings. Send gig info to

Editorial Intern and Mississippi Delta native Demetrice Sherman loves animals, books, and chocolate, all in abundance. Name a movie and chances are, she still hasn’t seen it. She wrote the Jacksonian feature.

Jane Flood has led a full life. She has tasted cuisines from the world over, taught Pilates to Saints, written a romance novel and fed Thai royalty. She currently lives in Fondren. She wrote a food story.

Editorial Intern Jared Boyd is an Ole Miss senior studying Broadcast Journalism. The Memphis native writes for the school paper and hosts his own urban-musicmix show on Rebel Radio. He wrote a music review.

Design Intern Christina McField is an Mississippi State senior studying graphic design. She enjoys traveling, painting, listening to music and exploring woodwork. Her plan is to own her own business in the future. She helped design the issue.

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Wednesday, July 2 Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican Attorney General John Suthers ask a federal court to issue an injunction declaring Colorado’s samesex marriage ban unconstitutional.

Friday, July 4 Japan agrees to lift some of its sanctions on North Korea after North Korea announces the details of a new probe into the fate of at least a dozen Japanese believed to have been abducted by North Korean agents decades ago. Saturday, July 5 The Washington Post releases the results of a probe showing that, when the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period, it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and nonAmericans.

July 9 - 15, 2014

Sunday, July 6 Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine regroup and rally in the city of Donetsk a day after Ukrainian troops forced them from their key stronghold in Slovyansk.


Monday, July 7 More than 60 Nigerian girls and women abducted by Islamic extremists two weeks ago manage to escape, though more than 200 girls who were kidnapped in April remain missing. ‌ Pope Francis begs forgiveness in his first meeting with Catholics sexually abused by members of the clergy and goes further than any of his predecessors by vowing to hold bishops accountable for their handling of pedophile priests. Tuesday, July 8 Washington begins sale of legalized recreational marijuana, becoming the second state after Colorado to do so. Breaking news at

by Anna Wolfe, Donna Ladd


he clock is ticking for Sen. Chris McDaniel’s senatorial campaign to file a challenge to the U.S. Senate race run-off election results after the Mississippi Republican Party certified Thad Cochran’s win Monday night. McDaniel’s challenge comes after numerous allegations of fraudulent activity. On July 7, at the Hinds County Courthouse, an attorney for the Chris McDaniel U.S. senatorial campaign said he is confident that enough ineligible votes were cast to swing the outcome of the June 24 Republican primary run-off. “We don’t have to have 6,700 (ineligible votes to challenge the election); however, I would be surprised if we don’t find 6,700,â€? attorney Mitch Tyner said. He did not offer a specific number, but said the campaign has found “thousandsâ€? so far, although no specific number is required to file a challenge. Tyner sent the campaign’s gratitude to “over 50 counties that bent over backwards ‌ to help us gather information on eligible voters,â€? indicating that not all counties were so helpful to the effort to ensure Cochran won fairly and squarely. He said the campaign has examined contents of ballot boxes in upwards of 70 of the state’s 82 counties so far. Last week, McDaniel offered a $1,000 reward for information about fraudulent voting. Tyner said in an interview after the press conference that other allegations of


Thursday, July 3 The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant march across eastern Syria and seize the country’s largest oil field after rival rebel factions give up the fight. ‌ Subaru recalls more than 660,000 cars and SUVs because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid, and that can mean it will take longer to stop the vehicles.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad GOP Race for U.S. Senate

M itch Tyner, an attorney for the campaign of state Sen. Chris McDaniel and a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, believes more than enough questions exist to contest the outcome of the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

fraudulent voting practices, like the exchange of money for votes, have been reported to authorities. Old Faces, Tensions Emerge Tyner isn’t a stranger to tough Mississippi politics. The attorney ran against Haley Barbour in the 2003 Republican gubernatorial primary—a move many believed was a political trick by the Democrats so that Tyner could wage a tougher campaign against Barbour

than incumbent Democratic Gov. Ronnie Musgrove could. During the campaign, the Barbour camp sent out a missive calling his opponent the “Liberal Trial Lawyer and Democrat-Lover Mitch Tyner.� Tyner, who donated $300 to the Republican Party in 2012, said the McDaniel campaign is viewing the contents of all ballot boxes at every courthouse to determine how many ineligible voters voted in the runoff to help tip the scales toward incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. The only registered voters

The Parable of Bryan Fischer by Carmen Cristo


esus was a capitalist to his core,� American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said in an interview with Investigative Reporter Anna Wolfe. He referenced the “Parable of the Talents,� Mark 25:14-30, a story Jesus told about

Mark 10:17-27

A true story, not a parable, where Jesus addresses money and the rich.

Acts 2:32-37

The actions of the early church as they lived in community after Jesus’ ascension.

using your talents in the service of God, to back up this claim. “The hero of Jesus’ story there is a businessman who operates his business on a meritocracy.� However, Fischer could benefit from a closer look at his reading material.

Ecclesiastes 5:10-15

The pointlessness of hoarding possessions.

Jeremiah 5:27-29

God contemplates punishment for those that don’t use their money to help the poor and orphaned.

Proverbs 28:20

A proverb about the consequences of choosing to pursue wealth over faithfulness.

Luke 16:19-31

Another warning about the consequences of gathering wealth.





voters. The Cochran campaign used racial messaging heavily during the last leg of the Senate race, and now Rick Shaftan of Mountaintop Media is accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of illicitly funding racially charged radio ads released by SuperPAC All Citizens for Mississippi, which shares an address with New Horizon Church International in Jackson. The pastor of that church, Bishop Ronnie Crudup, helped place pro-Cochran ads in several publications with large African American audiences, including the Jackson Free Press. “A victory for Chris McDaniel is a loss for the reputation of this state for race, for race relationships between blacks and whites and other ethnic groups,� the ad states. NRSC reported spending $175,000 for National Media Research Planning and Placement with the Federal Election Commission, although no ads have been attributed to NRSC. On American Family Radio’s Focal Point with Bryan Fischer, Shaftan charges that All Citizens for Mississippi has not filed

FEC financial reports, so it appears NRSC might have funded the controversial ads. Tyner did not miss an opportunity to knock the intense campaign that the state Republican establishment, including Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, waged to bring voter ID to Mississippi—especially compared to the higher risk of fraud involved with absentee voting. The Cochran campaign machine is also under separate federal scrutiny. Last week, the Federal Election Commission indicated that a Barbour-promoted PAC to help Cochran, Mississippi Conservatives, might have failed to file required 24-hour reports detailing “last minute� independent expenditures. The PAC has until Aug. 1 to provide documentation to the FEC. Even though some state Democratic voters turned out for Cochran in the run-off after a last-minute push to woo them to the polls, many in the party are behind McDaniel’s push to review the election. “This election has already provided more than its share of tragic and bizarre stories. Now, the specter of election fraud has

been raised,� former state Rep. Brandon Jones wrote in a statement last week. Jones, now the director of the Mississippi Democratic Trust, continued: “The citizens of this state were sold a package of voting laws by leaders who told us that their main concern was election integrity. These leaders, like Secretary of State Hosemann, now have an opportunity to show that all the talk about protecting the vote wasn’t politics as usual. Because election integrity laws should never be enforced selectively based on party, we call on ... Hosemann and local law enforcement officials to treat these allegations with the seriousness they deserve.� Dems Stoke Flames Additionally, the head of the Mississippi Democratic Party is charging that the state Republican Executive Committee failed to have Democratic poll books on hand during the June 24 Republican Party runoff to ensure that voters didn’t illegally cross party lines to vote. PRUH6(1$7(VHHSDJH

in the state who were ineligible under Mississippi state law are those who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary, then showed up for the June 24 Republican run-off. The review includes all absentee applications and envelopes that the absentee ballots arrived in. Once the ballot review is complete, Tyner said, the campaign would likely file a challenge with the state GOP party, then 10 days later, an appeal for judicial review of the election. To date, McDaniel has refused to concede the election, based on accusations of inappropriate crossover voting, as well as alleged vote-buying by mainstream Republican operatives, working with at least one Democratic operative. Accusations of vote-buying initially surfaced after the Rev. Stevie Fielder, associate pastor at historic First Union Missionary Baptist Church, told freelance reporter Charles Johnson that he was told to pay members of black communities for Cochran votes. GotNews posted text messages indicating that Cochran staffers participated in buying votes for $15 each and targeted black




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“It was our understanding from some of our folks who worked in the Hinds County elections that the Republican poll workers on the 24th didn’t have the Democratic books from the 3rd, so they didn’t have any way of knowing,â€? Cole told the Jackson Free Press Tuesday. If the books weren’t in the precincts, poll workers had no way of determining whether voters had originally voted in the Democratic Primary—the only registered Mississippi voters who are ineligible to vote in the runoff. Sen. Chris McDaniel’s senatorial campaign is currently reviewing ballot boxes in counties around the state to ensure the validity of election results in the June 24 run-off against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Reached the evening of July 7, Hinds County Republican Executive Committee Chairman Pete Perry denied Cole’s charge about the poll books, calling it “a damn lie.â€? He charged that Claude McInnis “made upâ€? the charge that the GOP did not provide the poll books. McInnis, the election coordinator of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee, could not be reached for comment Monday. However, he told Breitbart News earlier that Perry asked him and other Hinds Democrats to skip “switching the booksâ€?— meaning to give the Democratic poll books to the Republicans for checking purposes. McInnis also said he personally checked to make sure the books were being used. “I went out to a precinct to make sure the laws were being followed, and I got there at about 4 o’clock p.m.,â€? McInnis told Breitbart. “They had not switched the books, under the influence of the young Republican and Democratic workers there. I demanded that they switch these books immediately. The Democratic poll manager there switched the books at 4 o’clock that evening.â€? McInnis did not respond to messages from the JFP on the evening of July 7 and the morning of July 8. Perry, the Hinds County GOP chairman, denied all of McInnis’ allegations. “I know that everything that Claude McInnis said in his interview with Breitbart was not just a lie, everything he said was a damn lie. He made that up. ... He (McInnis) wouldn’t know an honest election if he saw one,â€? Perry said. “ ‌ The election in Hinds County was running proper. It was fine. We had 500 poll workers around the county working in 118 precincts, and they were doing their job.â€? “The numbers they have are bogus, and they just use them to try to raise money to help pay off campaign debts,â€? Perry added about the Democrats. McDaniel campaign attorney Mitch Tyner said Tuesday that he will not be sur-

prised to find 6,700 ineligible votes, due to party crossover in the run-off, roughly the number Cochran claimed victory by in the runoff. Cole said he thinks McDaniel’s challenge is warranted due to these irregularities, especially if there were enough ineligible votes cast to compromise the election result. The Democratic chairman also said that, while he doesn’t have proof, he is aware of allegations that Republican operatives paid for votes for Cochran. He added that the operatives allegedly “were from the old

Rickey Cole leads the Mississippi Democratic Party and has his own doubts about the way Republicans handled their primary election.

school of people who traditionally had done some vote buying, but I don’t have any direct evidence.� Perry flat-out denied the allegation of vote-buying. “We weren’t paying people to buy votes. Absolutely not. That’s illegal,� he told the Jackson Free Press. The Democratic Party head agreed with McDaniel attorney Tyner about the inconsistencies and opportunities of fraud that come with absentee ballots. “Absentee ballots are the biggest headache in the conduct of any election,� Cole said. “If the steps aren’t followed exactly right, then the ballot has to be rejected, and again that’s handled by the Republican Executive Committee in these counties, and if they’re handling it poorly or sloppily or not in keeping with the law, then there’s the potential for 19,000 to 20,000 votes that weren’t properly handled,� Cole said. Ultimately, cross-party votes can be attributed to the fear that Cochran’s campaign instilled in Democratic voters, he said. “The vast majority of Democrats who voted in the Republican run-off will tell you they weren’t voting for Thad Cochran; they were voting to stop Chris McDaniel, because he frightened them,� Cole said. Comment at Watch for updates on this story. Call investigative reporter Anna Wolfe at 601-362-6121 x. 20 or email

Mental Health in Limbo? by Anna Wolfe


PEER Director Max Arinder said the Guided Steps Healthcare executive director did not have the proper combination of degrees and experience MSH requires. “When we pursued it, and then did additional verification, it ultimately came out, and the person admitted, that they simply did not have that credential, and that’s certainly an unethical act,” Arinder said. PEER also questioned the incentives included in the contract with Guided Steps Healthcare. MSH planned to allow the company to use the Community Service Division’s vehicles, building, equipment, computers and printers. Although MSH had a $45,000 contract with Guided Steps Healthcare, additional incentives amounted to more than the contract value. “Essentially, the contract would have allowed Guided Steps to expand its business in the state to deliver adult mental health The Mississippi State Hospital’s closure of its Community services in preparation for Services Division may violate the Americans with fulfilling the terms of the Disabilities Act. contract by using state resources, as opposed to its transfer of patients to other providers. own resources,” the PEER report stated. Mississippi Department of Mental Ending the contract with Guided Steps Health officials deemed the Community Healthcare does not, according to the DeServices Division “outside the hospital’s partment of Mental Health, change how primary mission” and, due to a decrease MSH will deal with existing Community of funds over recent years, the hospital Services patients, and the staff will ensure will redirect resources to facilitate inpa- former patients be transferred to other mentient care at MSH. tal health care providers. In an emailed stateBut, under the Americans with Dis- ment, MSH spokesman Adam Moore said abilities Act of 1990, the state has an obli- that other community-based care providers gation deliver community-based mental are serving all community-based patients health care. In 2011, the U.S. Department and that “MSH transition coordinators will of Justice criticized the condition of mental track each individual for one year to ensure health care in Mississippi after finding the continuity of services and transition to new state in violation of ADA for institutional- service providers.” izing patients who could have participated in Jackson-based mental-health profesthe community. sionals and community members have As of December 2013, Mississippi had concerns that MSH’s Community Services spent 51 percent of the state’s mental-health Division patients have not been transferred funds on community-based care, and 71 and are not getting the care they need. percent of DMH mental-health patients Department of Mental Health represerve in the community. sentatives declined to provide further comDuring the course of the PEER ment beyond their response included in the evaluation, MSH terminated its contract PEER report packet. In the response, DMH with Key Behavior Essentials, which was Executive Director Edwin LeGrand restated working under the name Guided Steps that, based on recent decreases in funds since Healthcare and was responsible for taking 2008, MSH needed to reallocate funds from over outpatient care and transfer of MSH’s community-based care to in-patient care. community-based patients. PEER found Arinder said that he has no reason to Guided Steps Healthcare’s “failure to com- suspect deception from MSH or the DMH, ply with DMH Operational Standards” and while PEER was not able to confirm and “inappropriate and unethical con- transfer of patients to other providers, they duct,” legitimate reasons for terminating will conduct a further investigation. the contract on April 12, 2014. Read the PEER report at


he Mississippi State Hospital may be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act after closing its Community Services Division, which provided outpatient care for those suffering mental disabilities. A June 10, 2014, state Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review (PEER) report criticized the decisions made regarding the closure. PEER conducted the investigation after complaints about MSH’s contract with Key Behavior Essentials, the company designated to facilitate the


Nissan North America, Inc. Canton, Mississippi Seeking leadership & coaching for safety staff acting as interim lead during safety manager’s absence. OSHA record keeping & maintenance of key safety regulatory programs. Support manufacturing on safety & health related topics. Develop training tools; ensure compliance to State & Federal regulations such as OSHA. Position requires a Master’s degree in Engineering, (IE, ME, Safety or Ergon.) 5+ years exp. as Safety Engineer, Ergonomics Consultant, or related occupation. Prior employment must include extensive practical experience applying safety & ergonomic standards & use of evaluation tools in automotive manufacturing environment, & leadership experience coordinating work of other employees, contractors or crossfunctional teams, implementing & managing safety/ergonomic/ industrial hygiene programs & processes. Experience in a leadership role would require performing work similar to peers & providing coordinating support. Must have experience utilizing MS Office (Word, Excel, Access & PowerPoint) & at least one of the following certifications required: CPE, CSP, or CIH. Send your resume to Melinda Heath, Nissan North America Inc., Care Of: Carren Faulkenberry, Nissan North America, Inc., 1 Nissan Way, Franklin, Tennessee, 37067, United States.

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TALK | state


TALK | city

Yarber Pushes for New Crime Tip System by Haley Ferretti



acksonians may soon be able to send measured by the “number of solves� that the the so-called “snitches get stitches� mentality crime tips via text messages and pic- system leads to. that affect many young people. tures directly to officers at the Jackson After the new system was announced at Yarber has said that he’s seen kids reachPolice Department—but will they? city council, Assistant Chief Lee Vance said ing out for help before, such as the purported The Jackson City Council agreed Tues- that he was unaware that the police depart- “fight schedule� for Murrah High School day, July 1, to purchase a new web-based ment was considering using a new anony- that students posted on Instagram last year. community alert system that will allow for mous tip tool. After media sensationalized the situation, two-way, direct communication between Yarber also said that he anticipates roll- JPS warned that it was blown out of proporcitizens and the Jackson Police Department. ing out a campaign for the new system to tion. Still, Yarber used it as an example of Citizen Observer, based in St. Paul, make the public aware of the new, anony- situations Citizen Observer might prevent. Minn., will permit JPD to receive and respond mous way they can begin connecting with “That was a clear indication where a to anonymous text messages, pictures and web the police. He hopes that the campaign will student was crying out, trying to alert adults tips as well as expand awareness to the public encourage more people to speak out against that this was about to happen,� Yarber said. via crime and emergency notifica“... Tips will give us the opportutions. The system also has features nity to not only solve crimes but that include automatic publishing also prevent crimes as well.�. to social networking and websites In December of last year, Desas well as integrated crime mapping tinee Ford, a freshman at Wingand web tips, which allow citizens to field High School, was shot and view crime data. killed during an after-school fight The two-year subscription off campus, where there were supwill cost the city $500 per month. posedly more than 100 onlookers. “It gives community memThe Jackson Public Schools bers a safer opportunity to report district prohibits the use of cellular a crime,� Mayor Tony Yarber said. phones at school; however, Yarber “The other thing is that it gives us said the school system is currently a two-way communication model working to revise its cell-phone with citizens. I think it is going to policy to give students the opporbe great to have our detectives get a tunity to use phones in schools text. ... Our detectives will be able when deemed necessary. to communicate directly with tipAlthough most council memsters live and that tipster is anonybers were pleased with the new sysJackson Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance and JPD will mous. It never shows their phone tem, Ward 2 Councilman Melvin soon have a new tool for solving crime, a community number or who they are.� Priester Jr. worries that if the city alerting system that will allow tipsters to text and send The city previously used a is not careful in using the tool, it photos to police. system, Code Red, which also alcould open the city up to civil-liblowed for anonymous tips. Howerty abuses. ever, the text and picture messaging aspect crime, violence and bullying, knowing that The National Institute of Justice of Citizen Observer gives the system an edge they will remain safe in doing so. funded a study back in 2005 that found over the older program. Back in February, before his election police departments do not often have proThe police department’s public-safety as mayor, Yarber was advocating for a con- cedures in place that ensure tips are acted division would monitor the system, says JPD ceptual app he called “Stop the Silence,� as a upon in a timely manner. “Many processes Chief Lindsey Horton, who plans to assign way for Jacksonians, and especially students, that could be replaced by quicker, more efadministrators to oversee the system. Horton to report criminal activity while remaining ficient automated systems were not used, also said that the program’s success would be anonymous. The idea was in response to despite their commonality and availability

in some of the systems,� the report stated. New and innovative technology uses were at the forefront of Priester’s campaign for Jackson mayor in recent months. He stressed during last week’s city council meeting that the police department must strive for transparency in using the new tool. “I think Citizen Observer could be a great benefit to the people of Jackson,� Priester said in an interview. “I think it could be—if we make sure the police are using it properly and not as a substitute for good police work.� “So if we don’t do this in a transparent manner, I think it could be something that causes great problems for us as it helps us.� Pam Greer, director of the Stop the Violence program at the Pam Greer Foundation, a local nonprofit, agrees with Priester about the potential problems the new system could present. Greer also said that she questions the idea that the new system will be totally anonymous when most companies uphold record-keeping policies. “I think now with this new app that they are trying to implement—it may work, but we have to make sure that people don’t go to the extent to risk their lives to film or take a picture,� Greer said. Both Priester and Greer said they need more information before it can be taken to the people. Greer also says that in order for this new system to ever be successful, the police department must work to educate the public about the system and reassure them of their protection. “I think what the city of Jackson may need to do is get to a point where they can rebuild the trust in our neighborhoods,� Greer said. “You have to regain trust because every time we look around we have a roadblock here harassing innocent people.� “With this app, people will have to understand how they are protected from being retaliated against, and that’s my main concern.� Comment at

July 9 - 15, 2014






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Meeting of Great Minds


ig Roscoe: “Boneqweesha Jones, Little Momma Roscoe and I had a meeting of great minds during Hot Wing Happy Hour at Clubb Chicken Wing last week. We contemplated starting an annual summer education program for citizens of the Ghetto Science Community. Little Momma Roscoe suggested that we do something similar to what Booker T. Washington did in Tuskegee, Ala. To motivate us even more, she broke out into a very passionate soliloquy that sounded like the theme to the ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ television show.” Little Momma Roscoe: “Big Roscoe and Boneqweesha, we can strengthen our community through education and self-determination. We have the resources, experience and technology to rebuild and refine our neighborhood. We have the capability to make our community greater than it was before—better, stronger, faster.” Big Roscoe: “After Little Momma Roscoe calmed down, Boneqweesha and I agreed to follow in the footsteps of Booker T. Washington and start the Clubb Chicken Wing and Hair Did University School of Cosmetology and Vocational Education Summertime Career Development Institute. “All of the training, education and counseling will take place at the Clubb Chicken Wing Multi-Purpose Complex next to Clubb Chicken Wing. Our qualified instructors will teach various trade skills and academics such as computer technology, software application, writing, math, science, reading comprehension, critical thinking, etc. Also, guidance counselors will provide students with helpful career advice and job-search assistance. “At the Summertime Career Development Institute, learning to survive in uncertain and troubled times never stops. Classes begin right now.”

On Educational Funding

July 9 - 15, 2014



he Mississippi Economic Council recently completed its 19-city Pathway to Progress listening tour. In each of these meetings, the council polled business and civic leaders about the most important issues facing Mississippi, including education. Statewide, 83 percent of those polled said the lack of funding for public schools concerns them, and 97 percent said that career and technical education is important. Clearly, individuals who achieve higher levels of education receive economic benefits. Study after study has shown that those who achieve higher levels of education earn more and have lower unemployment rates than those who do not. But a better-educated populace has societal benefits, too. A Brookings Institute research paper found that the lack of decentpaying jobs only worsens the challenges of less-educated Americans, which contributes to higher crime rates and more adults receiving government aid such as disability payments and welfare.

The Mississippi Adequate Education Program is the amount of money that the Legislature itself determined necessary to provide every child with the opportunity to receive an “adequate” education. Currently, on a statewide basis, we are shorting public schools some $257 million annually. Over 10 years, the cumulative shortfall is $1.8 billion. As a result, many school districts don’t have enough teachers, computers, books and classrooms to do the job. Though adequate funding will solve the problems in our schools, it is necessary to provide every child the opportunity for a quality education. The unfortunate truth is that many of our political leaders have chosen to ignore our business community and have failed to invest in our public schools. It’s time for our political leaders to listen to the experts and our business and civic leaders across the state. It is time to begin to move toward fully funding MAEP. Cecil Brown, Mississippi House of Representatives, D-Jackson

Mississippi Needs Election Investigation, Real Reform


o doubt, Haley Barbour and his political machine do not want to lose their foothold in the state of Mississippi. And, no doubt, state Sen. Chris McDaniel and many of his Tea Party supporters can do, say and believe distasteful, disturbing things. Not to mention, if Sen. Thad Cochran were to lose his seat, Mississippi could lose a lot of federal money. None of that makes the disturbing ways elections are often run in Mississippi above scrutiny. It’s almost as if tradition—that’s the way it’s always been done—is an excuse for turning our heads away from shadowy PACs and the common practice of one party showing up en masse in the other party’s primary in order to skew the result (making one ask why the dang parties are needed in the first place). Meanwhile, our laws leave enough wiggle room for politicians—from the attorney general to the secretary of state—who really don’t have the stomach to deal with the messes to turn their heads, at least until election chicanery hits close to home. In the case of Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, there’s no telling how many hours he’s burned on the public clock pushing for, justifying and implementing frivolous voter ID legislation, hoping either that it keeps more Democrats home or, at the least, makes the most conservative voters believe the state GOP is keeping black voters home. The more local the race, the more outrageous the voter shenanigans and the less likely

anyone is going to do a thing about it. The Jackson Free Press has scratched and clawed to get information on shadowy political action committees (Better Jackson PAC, Citizens for Decency, ENI, Jackson 2020, to name a few) that collected money for Jackson candidates but then provide too little information (if any) that reveal who is actually supporting them. Sure, there are laws on the books, but no one local seems to care about them—whether public servant or journalist—outside our building and our readership. This, of course, means that the voters have no idea who is funding their candidates and what promises it took to get the money from them. This sets up a political patronage system that is unhealthy for the city, as well as the taxpayers. And the practice is poison to the idea of transparent government and accountability. The McDaniel campaign’s determination to stay the course on possible election violations is oddly refreshing to us because it opens up a dialogue on how elections should actually be run. McDaniel clearly doesn’t fear the state’s GOP establishment, and this might mean that we can force real election reform and enforcement in Mississippi. Remember, supporting this kind of needed reform does not translate into support of Chris McDaniel or the Tea Party. It means that you want to see corruption stamped out of elections in Mississippi and the U.S. We certainly do.

Email letters and opinion to, fax to 601-510-9019 or mail to 125 South Congress St., Suite 1324, Jackson, Mississippi 39201. Include daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, as well as factchecked.


Editor-in-Chief Donna Ladd Publisher Todd Stauffer EDITORIAL News Editor R.L. Nave Assistant Editor Amber Helsel City Reporter Haley Ferretti Investigative Reporter Anna Wolfe Features Writer Carmen Cristo JFP Daily Editor Dustin Cardon Music Editor Micah Smith Events Editor Latasha Willis Music Listings Editor Tommy Burton Fashion Stylist Nicole Wyatt Writers Bryan Flynn, Genevieve Legacy, Larry Morrisey, Ronni Mott, Zack Orsborn, Eddie Outlaw, Greg Pigott, Brittany Sanford, Julie Skipper, Kelly Bryan Smith, Jordan Sudduth Editorial Interns Jared Boyd, Deja Harris, Savannah Hunter, Mary Kate McGowan, Maya Miller, Achaia Moore, Demetrice Sherman, Mary Spooner, Adria Walker Consulting Editor JoAnne Prichard Morris ART AND PHOTOGRAPHY Art Director Kristin Brenemen Advertising Designer Zilpha Young Graphic Design Intern Christina McField Staff Photographer/Videographer Trip Burns Photographer Tate K. Nations ADVERTISING SALES Advertising Director Kimberly Griffin Account Managers Gina Haug, David Rahaim BUSINESS AND OPERATIONS Distribution Manager Richard Laswell Distribution Raymond Carmeans, John Cooper, Jordan Cooper, Clint Dear, Ruby Parks Bookkeeper Melanie Collins Operations Consultant David Joseph, Marketing Consultant Leslie La Cour ONLINE Web Editor Dustin Cardon Web Designer Montroe Headd Multimedia Editor Trip Burns CONTACT US: Letters Editorial Queries Listings Advertising Publisher News tips Fashion Jackson Free Press 125 South Congress Street, Suite 1324 Jackson, Mississippi 39201 Editorial (601) 362-6121 Sales (601) 362-6121 Fax (601) 510-9019 Daily updates at

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Cochran, McDaniel: Bourbon vs. Populist, Again


XFORD—More than a century ago, the “forgotten man” of Mississippi and across the South—the farmer, the common worker—decided he’d had enough of “Wall Street speculators who gambled on his crop futures; the railroad owners who evaded his taxes, bought legislatures, and over-charged him with discriminate rates; the manufacturers, who taxed him with a high tariff; the trusts that fleeced him with high prices; the middleman, who stole his profit.” The forgotten man was so angry, historian C. Vann Woodward goes on to say, that he created a movement. It came as close to toppling our two-party system as any effort in the country’s history. The parallels between the Populist movement of the 1890s and today’s Tea Party are striking, even though crucial differences also exist. State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s narrow loss to incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi’s recent Republican runoff exposed a divide within the Republican Party possibly as wide as the divide that ultimately split the one-party Democratic South in the 1890s between the “Bourbon” establishment and the rebellious “Populists.” Voting in the June 24 runoff even paralleled the Bourbon-Populist split at the turn of the last century. McDaniel won the old Populist stronghold in the Piney Woods while Cochran secured the Bourbon stronghold in the Delta. The ruling Bourbon Democrats who emerged after the Civil War were pro-big business and made sure government stayed friendly to the railroads and other Northern corporations. They fought any regulation or taxes on big business but ignored the needs of the little guy whose hard work made business leaders rich. The very embodiment of Bourbon politics today is Haley Barbour, the prominent Washington, D.C., lobbyist and former Republican Mississippi governor who helped lead the charge for fellow Bourbon—“Country Club” is the preferred term today—Republican Thad Cochran’s re-election. Barbour’s nephews Henry and Austin worked in Cochran’s campaign, and an FBI investigator isn’t needed to see Haley’s fingerprints on millions that flowed into friend Thad’s campaign. After all, Barbour’s much-ballyhooed influence in Washington owes much to Cochran, a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. A prime example: the $570 million in federal housing assistance for Hurricane Katrina victims that Cochran helped detour into Barbour’s “Port of the Future” project in Gulfport. McDaniel and the Tea Party despise Barbour and his Country Club friends, who

they feel are part of the Big Government-Big Business alliance that is responsible for the corporate bailouts of the 2008 recession, the $17 trillion-dollar federal debt, and softpeddling of the immigration issue. They believe both parties ignore the daily struggles of average Americans. Tea Partiers’ hands aren’t exactly clean of corporate stain. Billionaire oilmen Charles and David Koch are big backers. So is the anti-union Club for Growth organization, which spent millions on McDaniel’s campaign. Still, they have a point regarding politics in Washington. The mainstream Republican Party is essentially a tool of Wall Street and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. What the split Congress can’t deliver, the U.S. Supreme Court’s pro-corporate majority provides. Tea Partiers see Democrats as practically socialists, but the sad truth is that many national Democrats are as cozy with Wall Street as Republicans. Former President Clinton gave us NAFTA and helped repeal the Glass-Steagall Act that regulated financial services. The presence of Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers and Robert Rubin in Obama’s first-term inner circle proved Wall Street still had a friend in the White House. The dilemma in American politics is that Wall Street is amoral, self-interested, and in today’s global economy, incapable of allegiance to any nation. “Deep down, all of them know that they do not really care—that their own enrichment matters much more than any collective purpose or common vision,” Phillips-Fein writes. Tea Partiers know this, but much of their anger is misdirected. Unlike the Populists of the 1890s, they despise organized labor. Their benefactors—the Koch brothers and the Club for Growth—would have it no other way. The old Populists wanted government to serve the people. The Tea Partiers want government to go away. Led by Georgia politician Tom Watson, the old Populists initially welcomed blacks into their ranks but then became bitterly racist when black support turned to the mainstream parties. Jim Crow ultimately made black support irrelevant in the South. Today’s Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly white, and their downfall may be their inability to accept the nation’s changing demographics. Their obsession with immigration and migrant workers, for example, betrays their failure to see a bigger picture, that brown-skinned and black-skinned folks are not the problem. Tea Partiers are too blind to see it. Joe Atkins is a veteran journalist, columnist, and professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi. He can be reached at


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How One ‘Hate Group’

Inside the AFA Is Fighting the ‘Gay Agenda’ by Anna Wolfe


July 9 - 15, 2014


ryan Fischer is talking to toward anyone the group feels is standing in Christian-themed feature films and a masme as if I’m a child. its way of promoting biblical ideals through sive group of devoted disciples, the AFA has We are on the phone condemnation of the LGBT community. wielded its might on social issues from abordiscussing a press release This isn’t just how AFA officers speak with tion to LGBT rights to anything they deem sent out from the orga- reporters, but through its press releases and “indecent” in the media. nization he represents, all communication with the public. the Tupelo-based AmeriWhile Fischer’s claims seem compara- A ‘Christian’ Policy Organization can Family Association, ble with other right-wing talk personalities, Sitting in the living room of his Tupelo which mocks a campaign that promotes and his blog includes a disclaimer saying his home in 1976, Rev. Don Wildmon, his non-discrimination policies, especially for opinions do not necessarily reflect that of the wife and four children gathered one evening the gay community. The AFA release, dis- AFA, he is the most prominent spokesperson just before Christmas to watch TV. Withtributed in April, states that the “If You’re for the multi-million-dollar political group out warning, an actor screamed “Son of a Buying, We’re Selling” initiative is a way to with influence all over the nation. bitch!”— prompting Wildmon, family man “bully, intimidate and demean Christians.” But the AFA is more than a nonprofit and pastor, to change the channel. What the Fischer offers that my understanding that promotes conservative values. It is also a family found next was a passionate (and and awareness of the LGBT comadulterous) love scene and, after anmunity’s motives “may be limited.” other dial change, a view of a man “What you’re apparently kind being tortured. Angry, Wildmon of blind to here, Anna,” he says, is turned off the TV. that “everywhere that you have the The next Sunday, Wildmon active, aggressive, assertive homourged members of the First United sexual lobby, they punish Christian Methodist Church in Southaven to business owners. Everywhere they join him by turning off their TVs as go, that’s what they do.” well. That simple request, as AFA Questions about the acuteattorney Patrick Vaughn puts it, ness of my vision aside, AFA’s press must have occurred during a slow releases—saying Jackson’s local antitime in news for the U.S.—because discrimination sticker campaign is the small Mississippi town’s media “designed to vilify Christian-owned boycott, “Turn the TV Off Week,” businesses”—aren’t really confusing. made national headlines. And so They are just inaccurate. began Wildmon’s quest to end indeFischer, AFA’s director of issue cency in the media. analysis for government and pubWildmon, born in Dumas, lic policy, stands by the accusation At the American Family Association headquarters in Miss., in 1938 to a Mississippi that local businesses who display Tupelo, Miss., a staff of about 130 produces radio programs Health Department worker and a the anti-discrimination stickers are and other media to promote its Christian ideology. schoolteacher, graduated from Millbullying Christians. “Apparently, saps College in 1960 and Emory you have a little bit of difficulty University in 1965. grasping the concept that this is what the $20 million-per-year business. And while it’s The Tippah County native married gay lobby is really all about,” Fischer says easy to write off Fischer and the AFA, which his wife, Lynda, in 1961, and they had four in a matter-of-fact tone. has implemented policies like using the word children—two sons and two daughters— Fischer speaks with a deep, kind of “homosexual” instead of “gay” in all official between 1963 and 1971. His claim to fame gargled voice and, sitting at the Jackson Free communications and refusing mail with came in 1977 when he set up the National Press with the receiver to my ear, I can pic- the Harvey Milk stamp, the truth is that Federation for Decency, the nonprofit that ture his sagged, slightly artificially tanned- AFA has become one of the most influential became the AFA in 1987. looking face. (Maybe it’s just the contrast to right-wing organizations in the nation from Part of AFA’s goal became to create his bright white hair). His condescension in its northeast Mississippi headquarters. In its own “decent” media content. In 1991, speaking to a young female reporter is em- 37 years, with a network of more than 200 Wildmon founded American Family Radio, blematic of AFA’s overall tone and image radio stations, a movie studio that produces the broadcasting leg of the AFA. Today, AFR


has 200 radio stations in 27 states. AFA built its radio empire “the hard way,” as Vaughn tells me during a tour of AFA headquarters in late June. They applied to the FCC for permission to start each station. Its own engineers, with the help of donations from existing subscribers, built the stations. Wildmon’s son, Tim, took over as president of AFA in 2010 after his father retired. The Wildmon family has a lengthy record as officers of businesses in Mississippi. Don Wildmon, for example, is listed as an officer for organizations ranging from Christian Music Institute to the Center for Behavioral Pediatrics. Wildmon’s son Mark, a child psychologist, is also an officer for CBP, which dissolved in 2002. But while one might assume the massive Christian policy-pusher with an annual budget of around $20 million could have something to hide, the nonprofit’s IRS form and financial reports are available on its website. While they don’t disclose the names of their donors, Vaughn tells me around 80 percent of donations to the AFA come from small gifts averaging $20 per person. He also informs me that $20 million to run 200 radio stations is actually quite a small budget. A ‘Good Time’ on Campus Shortly after I arrive at the AFA campus in Tupelo, which is a large, one-story building with a neatly trimmed lawn, attorney Vaughn, my tour guide, is most excited to show me their main operation: American Family Radio. He beams when he tells me at the start of our tour about Urban Family Communications, AFA’s black talk station. He assures me its hosts are “like-minded” in conservative values, but that they “have a good time” on the air. He and a white woman working in the office next to the recording area agree that black talk is the AFA’s most entertaining segment. Vaughn opens one of the studio doors under a red, lit “on air” sign, and I quietly smile and wave to a 30-something black woman behind a mic. I hear several laughing voices through the speakers.

The engineering department, a workshoplooking room, is undoubtedly the “motherboard� of the AFA. Here, workers make sure all the radio stations are up and running properly. Some of the engineers, Vaughn tells me, have helped build stations across the country. All of the on-air entertainment and production by the AFA carry Christian undertones, but one goal is especially evident: protecting religious liberty. ‘Headed Off a Cliff’ In our phone interview, Fischer says the AFA works to correct issues that force him

Most frequently used terms on AFA’s website

and “most Americansâ€? to believe that “this While the AFA’s main concern is pro- tain situations. The state should not, Fischer country is headed off a cliff into a moral tecting religious liberty, a close second is shut- insists, mandate that a business treat its cusabyss and that we are running out of time ting down the “homosexual agenda,â€? which, tomers equally if that equal treatment (bakto save the greatest nation in the world, the according to Fischer, is one of the biggest ing a cake for a same-sex couple as one would greatest nation in world history.â€? threats to religious liberty that America for an opposite-sex wedding, for example) The AFA relies on Bible conflicts with that person’s reverses such as Genesis 2:24 ligious conscience. and Matthew 19:5-6 to claim “That is something that is that marriage is between a absolutely unconscionable in man and a woman and is funthe United States of America, damental to a family unit. The and it must be stopped, and group also believes in the list the point of that bill is to keep of sins that will “keep people that from happening in Missisout of heavenâ€? mentioned in sippi,â€? Fischer said. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. The The government passed the list includes sexual immoralfederal Religious Freedom Resity, homosexual sex, idolatry, toration Act of 1993 to enforce adultery, theft, greed, drunkthe free-exercise clause of the enness, lying and swindling. First Amendment, which proThe list is, however, fol- AFA President Tim Wildmon took over his father’s non-profit in 2010. hibited laws infringing upon lowed by: “And that is what Since then, he has upheld the need for decency in the media and religious exercise. This was hosts his own radio-talk show, “Today’s Issues with Tim Wildmon.â€? some of you were. But you were because courts had begun to washed, you were sanctified, rule that only laws specifically you were justified in the name of the Lord has ever seen. The agenda Fischer refers to designed to ban religious exercise violated Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.â€? is one that he says normalizes and forces the First Amendment. Laws of “general apFischer believes one solution to the people to condone homosexual behavior, plicability,â€? then, could not be prohibited moral dilemma America faces today is the which can go against a person’s religious even if they unintentionally infringed upon protection of “religious consciencesâ€? in the conscience. “If America is to be preserved, religious freedom. law. Religious consciences that, he admits to that agenda must be successfully resisted,â€? The RFRA changed this, urging courts me, are subjective and entirely dependent on Fischer said. to scrutinize all laws that could place a suban individual’s moral standard. stantial burden on a person’s religious freeThese consciences, Fischer says, de- An ‘Identical’ Act dom, even unintentionally. Four years later, termine how a business person interacts In 2012, a baker in Colorado named courts ruled that the federal RFRA could not in the marketplace. That is why the AFA, Jack Phillips declined to bake a wedding be applied on the state level, which promptaccording to its website, “worked closely cake after being asked to do so by a gay ed states to pass RFRAs of their own. with friends and supporters in Mississippi, couple. He said that, because of his ChrisRFRAs introduced in states in the including the Christian Action Commis- tian faith, he is unable to create a cake cel- last year, including Kansas and Arizona, sion, to pass the bill (Senate Bill 2681 or the ebrating a same-sex marriage. The couple, received national attention for showing Religious Freedom Restoration Act).â€? Charlie Craig and David Mullins, filed a preference to Christianity or providing a The purpose of SB 2681, which was discrimination complaint with the Colo- possible legal defense for discrimination rado Civil Rights Commission against members of the LGBT community. and won—Phillips was ordered Many news outlets reported—too simplisto not only treat his customers tically—that RFRA was a Jim Crow-like equally no matter their sexual bill, while outlets that reported the bill was orientation but also to undergo not discriminatory failed to recognize the comprehensive training on complexity of the issue and the potential Colorado’s anti-discrimination for using it to justify discrimination. laws. Fischer, nonetheless, said in an AFA Since then, Phillips has de- blog post that when it comes to discriminacided to stop baking wedding tion, “[I]t’s time for conservatives to unhesicakes altogether. “My God is tatingly reclaim the “Dâ€? word, dust it off, bigger than any bullies they’ve and use it without apology. A rational culture got,â€? Phillips told Fox News. that cares about its people will in fact disThe AFA loves to tell this story, criminate against adultery, pedophilia, rape, suggesting that the “gay lobbyâ€? is bestiality, and, yes, homosexual behavior.â€? on a mission to punish ChrisMississippi RFRA’s initial language was tian business owners and that based directly on Arizona’s doomed version, somewhere in Mississippi there which opponents said supported discriminasigned into law April 3, 2014, is to allow is a baker who needs protection. tion of the LGBT community. Mississippi residents to “sue over laws they “No business owner should be forced to Initially, 2681 raised little fuss because it say place a substantial burden on their promote or endorse a homosexual marriage was quietly tucked into legislation to add “In religious practices,â€? an AFA press release if he does not want to,â€? Fischer demands. God We Trustâ€? to the state seal. states. Another states the Mississippi ReVaughn admits, though, that the state After LGBT activists and others sniffed ligious Freedom Restoration Act “protects does not have laws that protect the LGBT out the bill, its principal author, Sen. Phillip Christian business owners against lawsuits community from discrimination like the Gandy, R-Waynesboro, and 18 other co-aufrom gay activists.â€? ones used to file a lawsuit against Phillips in thors, eventually rewrote it to directly model Tim Wildmon applauded the law in a Colorado, so RFRA in Mississippi doesn’t language in the federal one. Part of the bill press release: â€œâ€Ś Mississippi residents will actually change anything. reads that it is “(an act) to provide that state have the means to defend their religious Fischer says that business people, like action shall not substantially burden a perfreedoms in the marketplace without fear of bakers, should be able to operate according son’s right to the exercise of religion.â€? repercussions from decisions that are in line to their deeply held religious beliefs, even if PRUH$)$VHHSDJH with their religious and moral convictions.â€? that means refusing to serve someone in cerROGELIO V SOLIS/AP

Later, he takes me across the street to the second AFA building, where the team broadcasts the late-morning spot called “Today’s Issues with Tim Wildmon,� AFA’s president. It is a much larger room with a desk and a giant American flag backdrop. After the segment is done, Wildmon rushes out of the room, only greeting me in passing. He tries to have a conversation with me while simultaneously walking away. “Where did you go to school?� he asks from across the hall, moving further and further from me. I tell him Mississippi State. “I’m a Bulldog, too!� he yells from basically around the corner. I turn back to my guide, almost expecting an explanation, but I don’t get one. The AFA offices keep busy, and—with 200 radio stations across the nation and, as they claim, 2 million online supporters—I can see why. The one-floor building is a maze—I peer around corners where, with 130 staff members, the offices seem neverending. The furniture and artwork in each space are almost lavish, and each room we enter is nicer than the last. “Here’s where the ladies open the mail,� Vaughn says, leading me into a large open room with desks that, though big and polished, are arranged in rows the way I imagine a sweat shop. An older, white-haired woman looks up from her mail opener and envelope, smiles and mouths “hello� to me. Boxes of mail are piled high on one desk. Laughing, I ask Vaughn how much mail the AFA has received with Harvey Milk stamps since announcing a boycott on postage with the face of the first openly gay politician. He gives a courtesy laugh, saying that they received some but, of course, returned it to senders.



The Christian legal powerhouse that Wildmon Sr. helped found, Alliance Defending Freedom, uses this fact to discredit public concern regarding the bill. “If you read the text of both the federal RFRA and the Mississippi RFRA, it’s pretty eerily similar. If you look at them next to each other that’s not even a fact that can be disputed. They’re pretty much the same,â€? said Greg Scott, ADF vice president of communication, in an interview from ADF’s headquarters in Arizona. But the religious freedom cases of today—even federally, such as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., which the Supreme Court decided June 30—provide relatively new issues the courts have not yet discussed, which is why Mississippi’s law raises even more questions. Legal experts say that RFRAs can conflict with anti-discrimination and commerce laws already in place or anticipated to come. “I think it was smart of the Mississippi Legislature to draft it as closely to the federal statute as possible, so that they have a model and say, ‘Well, we’re not doing anything different,’â€? said Michèle Alexandre, assistant professor of law at University of Mississippi School of Law. “So it was smart, but it doesn’t solve the issue. And it doesn’t mean that these additional issues are not there, which only can be worked out through, I

think, test cases and litigation.� What Fischer seems to want through Mississippi’s RFRA is an exception for permissible discrimination under religious freedom, which an AFA press release implies: “[T]here is no record of homosexuals being refused service, except when they try to force a Christian business to help celebrate a homosexual wedding.� Fischer admits that religious conscience is personal and depends entirely on individual experience, saying, “His conscience and his standards may be different than the baker down the street.� ‘If You’re Buying, We’re Selling’ That is certainly true for Mitchell Moore, the owner of Jackson’s Campbell’s Bakery. He is a heterosexual, a Christian and a Republican who does not consider samesex marriage offensive to his religious beliefs. In May, AFA publicly attacked a campaign Moore helped start in Jackson in opposition to SB 2681. The campaign urged business owners to post stickers reading “If You’re Buying, We’re Selling� in their windows to ensure customers know they will not discriminate, drawing national attention and requests for stickers from around the country. PRUH$)$VHHSDJH


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Excerpt from initially proposed Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act (2014): State action or an action by any person based on state action shall not burden a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to that personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exercise of religion in that particular instance is both of the following: (i) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest; (ii) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. Excerpt from reworked bill, as signed: Government shall not substantially burden a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection. (b) Government may substantially burden a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person: (i) Is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (ii) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. Excerpt from Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (1993), as signed: (a) IN GENERAL.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Government shall not substantially burden a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) (b) EXCEPTION.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Government may substantially burden a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the personâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; a. in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and b. is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

In response to the effort, Fischer tells me that gay activists, whom he assumes are responsible for the stickers, are the â&#x20AC;&#x153;most intolerant bullies and bigots on the block.â&#x20AC;? Since the religious-freedom bill received flack just as the failed Arizona RFRA did, Mississippi business owners including Moore and Eddie Outlaw of William Wallace Salonâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;both occasional Jackson

to suggest the LGBT community is manipulating local businesses. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you see this sticker when you go to a business, ask the owner or manager if they are aware that the sticker is the symbol of a campaign to label Christians as bigots,â&#x20AC;? the alert urges AFA followers. The sticker, which labels participating businesses as non-discriminatory, is

crimination,â&#x20AC;? Moore says of the campaign. The AFA would know this if they asked anyone from â&#x20AC;&#x153;If Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Buyingâ&#x20AC;? why they started the campaign, but even though many articles had been written about the campaign and its founders before the AFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s alert, the AFA never sought comment from them. Instead, AFA released a statement that said the stickers are â&#x20AC;&#x153;part of a plan to bully,



Free Press columnistsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;started the sticker campaign to demonstrate their and other businessesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; aim to serve everybody. (Outlaw is gay and married his husband, Justin, in California last year.) The AFA is unhappy about that, saying the campaign illustrates the â&#x20AC;&#x153;homosexual agendaâ&#x20AC;? the AFA is hell-bent on destroying. It sent out alerts to supporters, claiming that the campaign displays hatred toward Christians, despite the fact that Moore is a straight, Christian conservative. An original May 9 AFA press release, which included a list of businesses that display the â&#x20AC;&#x153;If Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Buyingâ&#x20AC;? sticker, was titled, â&#x20AC;&#x153;A List of Businesses Displaying Hatred Toward Religious Freedom.â&#x20AC;? About a week later, and after a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney representing some of the businesses, the AFA quietly changed the headline on the same press release to â&#x20AC;&#x153;Businesses Suckered By Homosexual Reaction to MS Religious Freedom Restoration Act,â&#x20AC;? altering their message

meant to target and demean Christians, the AFA maintains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the intention of it. Why else would you have this program unless you were going to use it to single out conscience-driven business and accuse them of being homophobic bigots? I mean thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the whole point of the campaign,â&#x20AC;? Fischer explains. But if this were true, Moore likely would have complied when someone asked â&#x20AC;&#x153;If Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Buyingâ&#x20AC;? to post a list of businesses who refused to display the sticker on their website so followers could boycott those businesses. Instead, Moore said no. Unlike the AFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s primary activism, which includes boycotts of companies that support marriage equality or uses same-sex couples in advertising, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not what the founders of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;If Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Buyingâ&#x20AC;? campaign say it is about. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not about who doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a sticker. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about who does have a sticker. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s about people taking a positive stance against dis-


intimidate and demean Christians.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Basically, you put one of these stickers in your window, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like paying protection money to the mafia. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got one of these stickers in your window, the gay lobby will leave you alone. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t, you better watch out, because they could be coming after you,â&#x20AC;? Fischer tells me. Whose Religious Conscience? The subjective nature of oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s religious conscience, on which religious liberty depends, makes it a difficult trait to protect in the law. The First Amendment, law professor Alexandre points out, does not question the legitimacy of religious claims. Even the Alliance Defending Freedom agrees. How, in fact, would the courts determine what religious practices were valid and protected by RFRA? â&#x20AC;&#x153;That is kind of a hard question, and based on everything Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve said I would say yeah, of course the government shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be

in the business of deciding if your beliefs are legitimate or not,â&#x20AC;? Scott of ADF says. The ADF, whose website states, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We must continue the fight for religious liberty, so that the life-changing message of Jesus Christ can be proclaimed and transform our culture,â&#x20AC;? is a Christian organization. So is the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, whose president, Tony Perkins, attended Gov. Phil Bryantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signing of SB 2681. All three groups defend RFRAs across the country with Christian religious conviction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not ashamed of that,â&#x20AC;? Scott adds. So, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear that the most obvious and loudest backers of todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s RFRA movement say they are Christians. Its backers claim religious freedom, or the protection of religious conscience, is for everyone, of every faith, but they reject the idea that ministers in North Carolina, who think they should be able to perform same-sex weddings for marriages that will be recognized by the state, can use RFRA to push for gay marriage for those whose religious consciences accept it. That suggests, then, that their religious convictions against same-sex marriage are, in an Orwellian sense, â&#x20AC;&#x153;more equalâ&#x20AC;? than othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. All the while, Christian policy and legal leaders like Fischer and Scott continue to discredit real concerns about the outcome of RFRAsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;on the state or federal levelâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;continuously stating that the U.S. has been operating successfully under a federal RFRA since the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;90s. (FRCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Perkins told me that Gov. Jan Brewerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s veto of Arizonaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s RFRA was â&#x20AC;&#x153;melting in the face of oppositionâ&#x20AC;?). They ignore the importance of the lawâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intent, which obviously gave preference to Christianity in the case of the Kansas RFRA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re getting into this personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s or that personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s intent as to why they passed the law, well, you know, it really doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter when itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s on the books, and then it has to be adjudicated,â&#x20AC;? Scott says. Scottâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s right: Each religious-freedom claim, as Alexandre reminds me, will be ruled on by judges who will determine how the law will be applied. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Time, vigorous public debate and courts will give a better idea of the scope and

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Loving All Over Hobby Lobby by Anna Wolfe


July 9 - 15, 2014


of a particular law. This minimizes accountability and dialogue,â&#x20AC;? Alexandre said. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;God Will Not Give Upâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Halfway through my tour of AFA, I am surprised to come across a familiar face: Anne Reed, whom Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d interviewed by phone for a piece about Mississippiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s failed Personhood initiative. AFA promoted that controversial TROY MABEN/AP

limitations of these statutes,â&#x20AC;? Alexandre says. But intent does matter, whether apparent in the language of the law or not. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Intent matters because, if hidden, it might chill social engagement, grass roots organizing and public discourse,â&#x20AC;? Alexandre says. While AFA attorney Vaughn says he and the AFA believe religious freedom belongs to people of all faiths, â&#x20AC;&#x153;thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not what Bryan would say,â&#x20AC;? Vaughn tells me, adding that Fischerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;an official AFA spokesmanâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;believes religious liberty only applies to Christians. In an AFA blog post, Fischer wrote that the First Amendment â&#x20AC;&#x153;was not about religion in general but specifically about the religion of Christianity.â&#x20AC;? That the courts would agree with this viewpoint in the United States in the 21st century is certainly not a foregone conclusion. Those backing â&#x20AC;&#x153;religious freedomâ&#x20AC;? fail to recognize todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s social landscape, Alexandre says, adding that the growing equality for the LGBT community despite their lack of protection in the law, as well as traditional Christian forces and trends, prompts new questions and presents new legal conflicts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is hard to discuss the full impact of a potential enactment when all of the factors at play are not fully acknowledged. As a result of hidden factors or objectives, the public might be less informed about the full impact

so much time and displayed so much passion defending religious liberty. Finally, we thank the Green family who so heroically fought for their constitutionally protected rights and the rights of others.â&#x20AC;?


n September 2012, the American Family Association sent an action alert to its followers, urging them to support Hobby Lobby in its quest to deny insurance coverage of some contraception and to send letters of encouragement. In 2013, the AFA proclaimed Jan. 5 as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day,â&#x20AC;? and asked readers to shop at the craft store. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 prohibits any law that infringes on a personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s religious expression. Hobby Lobby, in its U.S. Supreme Court case challenging the Affordable Care Act, used RFRA to refuse to provide its employees birth-control pills it deemed abortifacients. When SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, allowing the for-profit company to remove from its health insurance coverage certain kinds of contraception plans it says goes against its religious conscience, the court confirmed that RFRA protects not only people, but businesses, too. While this ruling only applies to â&#x20AC;&#x153;closely heldâ&#x20AC;? corporations, they are 90 percent of corporations in the U.S. AFA calls this decision a victory for the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s main cause: religious liberty. In a July 1, 2014, press release, AFA president Tim Wildmon stated, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We applaud the Supreme Court justices who thoughtfully considered this case and ruled on the side of freedom, as well as the attorneys who spent

Bryan Fischer, AFA director of issue analysis for government and public policy, has stirred up the public with his controversial comments and blog posts.

initiative back in 2011, but Mississippi voters turned it back 58 percent to 42 percent. I walk up to her desk awkwardly, stick

AFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s news organization, OneNewsNow, allowed readers to weigh in on the issue through a poll that asked: Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s your initial reaction to Supreme Courtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case? They didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give voters much of a choice, though, allowing them to be proud of the decision; to declare it a â&#x20AC;&#x153;huge victoryâ&#x20AC;? or â&#x20AC;&#x153;praise the Lordâ&#x20AC;? for it. They later revealed that the â&#x20AC;&#x153;praise the Lordâ&#x20AC;? choice won out. Four years ago, the American Family Association filled its followers with a similar sense of urgency about the personhood initiative with this alert: â&#x20AC;&#x153;URGENT: Your help is needed today! We must complete the signature gathering by mid-February 2010, if we want to get this on the ballot!â&#x20AC;? Comparing abortion to the holocaust and slavery, AFA supported the personhood amendment, which would have given a fertilized egg full rights under the state Constitution, and directed readers on how to help gather signatures for the initiative. The group also gave $100,000 to Personhood Mississippi. Voters rejected personhood in 2011 with a 58-to42 vote after grassroots womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health-care advocates informed Mississippians about the unintended consequences of the amendment. This didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop AFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Anne Reed from sponsoring a nearly identical initiative in 2013; however, that effort failed to garner the required signatures.

out my hand and say something like, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve talked.â&#x20AC;? Reed sponsored and campaigned for the most recent Mississippi Personhood amendment, under Initiative 41, which failed in May 2014 to receive enough signatures to go on the ballot again in 2015. The Personhood movement, or the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Right to Lifeâ&#x20AC;? measure, seeks to codify the notion that human life unambiguously begins at conception. The idea of legally defining human life in this way has raised concerns over its application for birth control, in vitro fertilization and in cases of life-threatening pregnancy. We had a heavy, slightly stiff conversation in April 2013 about whether or not a person should be defined at the moment of conception, and if that embryo has the right to life under the U.S. Constitution. I asked Reed then if the amendment would outlaw abortion to which she responded, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll answer your question with a question: When is it ever alright to kill another human being?â&#x20AC;? Reed has been working as a freelance writer for AFA for several years, and tells me she is no longer pursuing Personhood. Fischer, however, wrote in his blog after personhoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2011 failure: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Giving up is not and will never be an option. God will not give up on babies in the womb, and neither should we.â&#x20AC;?

While as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, AFA does not typically write or sponsor legislation and is required by law to limit its lobbying efforts and avoid contributions to politicians; it is active in promoting political ideology that aligns with its values through AFA Action, their 501(c)(4) political group, that sends action alerts to its followers. One look at the â&#x20AC;&#x153;Action Alertâ&#x20AC;? page of AFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website demonstrates the never-ending requests the group makes of it followers. These messages prompt readers and listeners to act by asking them to vote certain ways, contact their legislators or boycott companies who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t share AFAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s views. It is no mistake that Reed, AFA Journalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newly hired staff writer, sponsored the controversial bill. Vaughn says the AFA is primarily issuebased, and denies that it has strong relationships with legislators in Jackson. Still, the message AFA sends to its disciples is enough to have a powerful influence on policy decisionsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from anti-abortion legislation to vague â&#x20AC;&#x153;religious freedomâ&#x20AC;? bills. The group sent a news release to its followers June 30, the day of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. case ruling, calling the U.S. Supreme Court decision a victory. That same day, Fischer tweeted his PRUH$)$VHHSDJH


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interpretation of the religious freedom decision, â&#x20AC;&#x153;What freedom means: If you want to hire homosexuals, you can. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to hire homosexuals, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to.â&#x20AC;? In the SCOTUS case, Hobby Lobby challenged the birth-control mandate of the Affordable Care Act, saying that providing some kinds of birth control to its employees infringed on its religious liberty, protected under the federal RFRA. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision confirms whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been true all along: business owners do not need to check their faith at their company doors,â&#x20AC;? Wildmon said in the release. AFA also claims a recent success in McCullen v. Coakley, a constitutional case it initially funded on the state level, which is something AFA doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t normally do. In it,

the U.S. Supreme Court decided June 26, the morning of my visit to the AFA, that a Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer-zone law was unconstitutional. The law required protesters and those attempting to counsel patients to stay 35 feet away from the clinic, but the court found the law excessive. Vaughn, after inviting me to sit at his desk when I first arrive, slaps the large stack of papersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the Supreme Court decisionâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; in front of me, victoriously. No Smoking Gun The AFA plans to celebrate other victories with its growing movie-producing projects. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One Generation Away,â&#x20AC;? an AFA-promoted propaganda film about the erosion of freedom, specifically freedom of religious

expression, will be released Sept. 1 2014. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,â&#x20AC;? the movie trailer repeats, illustrating the apparent theme, played over footage of marching Nazi soldiers. This is another way AFA taps into followersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fears and sends a message that benefits their cause. This sense of urgency in implying that freedom could be gone in one generation is what prompts viewers to act, and it is exactly why Fischer, who is known for saying â&#x20AC;&#x153;homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler,â&#x20AC;? is the high-profile spokesman for the nonprofit. His no-hold-barred personality and intimidating alerts, such as against the â&#x20AC;&#x153;If Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Buyingâ&#x20AC;? sticker businesses, makes


A collection of quotes from AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer: On LGBT activists: â&#x20AC;&#x153;[T]heyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to present themselves as these innocent little victims, helpless and hapless, being picked on across the fruited plain. And theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not. They are bullies. They are intolerant, they are vicious, they are mean, and they are after people of faith. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;live and let liveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; with the bullies at Big Gay.â&#x20AC;? On Chick fil-A: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am pointing out specifically that the bullies at Big Gay are coming after Chick-fil-A. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to take them out, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to obliterate them, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to go Ahmadinejad on Chick-fil-A, they want them wiped off the face of the map.â&#x20AC;? On Welfare: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Welfare has destroyed the African American family by telling young black women that husbands and fathers are unnecessary and obsolete. â&#x20AC;Ś We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits.â&#x20AC;? On Families: â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that ordinary Americans are getting fed up with having the homosexual agenda shoved down their throats when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re watching TV with their families. â&#x20AC;Ś This is about propaganda for a sexually deviant lifestyle.â&#x20AC;?

On Love: â&#x20AC;&#x153;We should discriminate against this kind of behavior not because we hate people but because we love them. We do not want to see them destroyed by their sexual choices, and we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to see others destroyed through the diseases that are transmitted to them in unnatural sexual acts.â&#x20AC;? On Hitler: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews.â&#x20AC;? On Christians: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The United States was founded by Christians, for Christians, and on the foundation of Christianity. Of this there can be no historical doubt. This truth is reflected in our First Amendment, which, according to historian and long-serving associate Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, was not about religion in general but specifically about the religion of Christianity.â&#x20AC;? On Islam: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If curtailing Islamic immigration is necessary to secure the United States, somebody has to be the first to call for it. Consider the call made. This is not Islamophobia, it is Islamo-realism. This is not about hatred for Muslims but love for America and a desire to protect her. And even if the accusation were true, which it is not, most of us would rather be called live Islamophobes than dead Americans.â&#x20AC;?

him perfect for the job. Near the end of my AFA visit, Vaughn mentions the Westboro Baptist Church. He says the church, known for picketing funerals of service members with signs like â&#x20AC;&#x153;God Hates Fags,â&#x20AC;? gives a bad name to all Christians and to the AFA. I am standing near the entrance door of the main building, getting ready to leave. Then I bring up Fischer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;He told me Jesus was a capitalist to his core,â&#x20AC;? I say, hinting for a response. Vaughn, as he leads me into a small dimly lit office to sit down again, says that he could chat with me all day long about all the things Fischer has said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would really like to cut and paste on what he says some of the time,â&#x20AC;? Vaughn says, adding that controversial figures can be good for organizations by grabbing the attention of the public. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m squinting and sitting on an antique-looking couch and am the most intrigued Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been all day. Vaughn, in an attempt to relate, equates the AFA to the Jackson Free Press, saying that both are companies who believe in a message they make it their goal to spread. And that is where the power of the American Family Association liesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in its members and followersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; sincere belief in its message and their willingness to act on it. A light on the ceiling flickers, triggering Vaughn and me to stand and, after saying â&#x20AC;&#x153;nice to meet you,â&#x20AC;? part ways. Exiting the headquarters of the largest Mississippi nonprofit, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls a â&#x20AC;&#x153;hate group,â&#x20AC;? Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m filled with hope knowing that my tour guide and Bryan Fischer may not share the same ideology. Still, on July 1, five days after my trip to the AFA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act took effect in Mississippiâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a law enacted out of the fear propagated by groups like the American Family Association. Comment at Email Anna Wolfe at or call her at 601-362-6121 ext. 20.


Happy Hour

Tuesday - Saturday â&#x20AC;˘ 5:00 - 6:30 pm

July 9 - 15, 2014

Ladies Night


on Thursday


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Tuesday-Friday 11am-2pm

A 5-Star Twist on Takeout!


&6EGETABLES 2 % 3 (



Now Open For Lunch 601-919-2829

5417 Lakeland Drive ~ Flowood, MS 39232



A â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Niceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Take on Salade Niçoise by Jane Flood


he French Salade Niçoise (pronounced nee-swaz) traditionally consists of tuna, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, Niçoise olives and anchovies. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sprinkled with vinaigrette dressing and often JANE FLOOD

This untraditional version of the French dish Salade Niçoise is light and refreshing.

is served on a bed of lettuce. While Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m usually not one to mess with perfection, I make an elegant variation that is served warm, with seared sea bass, grouper or other firm white fish atop a bed of colorful vegetables. It

is light enough for a summertime meal and impressive enough to serve to company. The presentation is dramatic yet simple, and the best part is that you can prep the meal in advance. Gently warming the vegetables, cooking the fish and clever plating strategies are all you need to serve the dish. One of the keys of this Salade Niçoiseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; besides the gorgeous fish on a bed of bright vegetablesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;is basil oil. The oil looks like it would be complicated, but it is super easy to make. Once you try this recipe, you will use the basil oil to beautify many dishes. The Parmesan crisps are also simple to prepare. If you want to finish the meal with a healthy, light dessert, you might enjoy Couscous Timbales with fruit. It may seem odd to have pasta for dessert, but for this recipe, you toss it with dried fruit and nuts, and steep them in heated fruit juices. Then you mold them in small, paper cups sprayed with canola oil and sugarcoat the inside of the molds. Again, you can prepare this ahead of time, and you can simply throw the cups away after unmolding.

Couscous Timbale with Fruit 1 cup couscous 1 cup guava nectar (found in the international section of most grocery stores) 1 cup orange juice 1 tablespoon sugar About 1/4 cup dried fruit and nuts (black currants, sun-dried cranberries and toasted pistachios or almonds are a nice choice)

Heat the juices and sugar, combine the dried fruit and nuts to the couscous, and then pour the hot liquid over it. Cover and allow the dish to â&#x20AC;&#x153;bloomâ&#x20AC;? on counter for an half hour. Oil and sugar the molds. (Dixie cups work well). Serves 2 This pairs well with a French Sauterne, which has a perfect balance of sweetness and zesty acidity.

Seared Sea Bass Salade Niçoise With Basil Oil and Parmesan Crisps

For Crisps: About 1/3 cup good Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated into large strips

For the basil oil, put a handful of fresh basil leaves into boiling water for three seconds only. Shock them immediately in ice water, dry on paper towels then combine in a food processor with 1/2 cup of olive oil. Put the oil in a squeeze bottle. For the crisps, place Parmesan strips on a lightly oiled pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool completely. Blanch the green beans, fennel and potatoes in boiling water, then immediately shock in ice water so that they remain al dente and bright. Combine the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and toss in

1/2 cup of olive oil. Gently heat the vegetables in the oven before plating. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Coat the fish lightly and sear them for three minutes on each side. Finish in a 350-degree oven for an additional five minutes. To serve, place equal portions of vegetables on each plate and place cooked fish on top of vegetables. Garnish with basil oil â&#x20AC;&#x153;dropsâ&#x20AC;? and freshly ground black pepper. Serves 2. For wine accompaniment, try a chilled, crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Now you can access local restaurantsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; menus any time, day or night, on your computer, tablet or smartphone!

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398 Hwy 51 N, Ridgeland 601-605-0504 1001 Hampstead Blvd, Clinton 601-924-2423

925 N State St, Jackson 601-969-6400 1430 Ellis Ave, Jackson 601-969-0606




Thursday 7 till 11 Only at State St. Location. Fresh Wings and Cold Beer. Always.

Two 5-ounce portions sea bass or grouper filets 1 cup olive oil 1/2 cup seasoned all-purpose flour 1/2 cup green beans, blanched 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped 4 Red Bliss potatoes sliced into 1/4-inch circles, blanched 1/4 cup shredded fennel Salt and pepper to taste Fresh basil oil for garnish


ARTS p 23 | 8 DAYS p 24 | BOOKS p 25 | MUSIC pp 28-29 | SPORTS p 30


Lessons in Abstraction by Ronni Mott

What viewers bring to Jonathan Berry’s images is an integral part of his abstract paintings.


elements of the concrete and fantasy, along with a healthy disregard for what a painting “should” be or the marketability of a palette. The work integrates his mood and his faith, as well as his job rehabbing houses. Berry used long metal nails to form symbolic crosses in one series, with cabinet doors organically framing the images. His art invites viewers to see, not simply to look, and to ask questions, beginning with, “What is this?” COURTESY JONATHAN BERRY

July 9 - 15, 2014


bstract art leaves few of us ambiguous. Portraitist Daniel E. Greene isn’t a fan. “There isn’t any method of improvement inherent in abstract painting,” he says. “There is no challenge.” Russian abstractionist Wassily Kandinsky—whose “Studie fur Improvisation 8” sold for $23 million in 2012— saw it differently. “Of all the arts, abstract painting is the most difficult. It demands that you know how to draw well, that you have a heightened sensitivity for composition and for color, and that you be a true poet,” he said. “This last is essential.” For every abstraction that leaves you cold, another may set your imagination afire. The viewer’s experience is essential to abstract art, says Jackson artist Jonathan Berry, even though it was the antithesis of creativity for one of his teachers. “You cannot give the responsibility to the viewer,” the instructor told him, to which Berry responded: “Why not? Why can’t you?” He rejected the idea that a work of art must have a theme and a defined palette before making one stroke. “I was totally against it. I would never make it in his school, and that’s OK. … We’ll agree to disagree,” he says. “It’s (about) what you bring away.” Like many artistic spirits, Berry is multi-talented. He’s a painter, a poet and a musician. He once played guitar in various local bands, but about a year ago, a miter-saw injury to his left arm cost him dexterity in his hand. The accident turned Berry’s attention to painting, and though he is still relatively unknown in Jackson, he has already displayed and sold pieces at various local galleries and events. Berry’s colors range from moody autumnal darkness to exuberant, sun-lit brights. His works combine textures, and

Berry’s piece “Nude” displays his talent for varying texture and color within a single work.

“A lot of times, I don’t have any idea what I’m going to paint,” he says. “I’d say 99 percent of the time, I don’t know when I start what I’m going to finish with.” “The creation process, that’s what gets me,” he adds. What viewers see in his works excites him. He speaks about “Lady of the City’s Wind,” pointing out a city skyline and the lady’s face. Various spectral faces can appear

depending on how you see the piece—or perhaps you’ll see a masculine figure. At 33, Berry is stretching, experimenting, defining his distinctive artistic voice. He’s at work now on a series he calls “White Art,” trying to achieve a certain sleekness. He is willing not to succeed. “We’ll see how it turns out,” Berry says, adding, “I don’t know how sleek I can be.” To pay the bills, Berry works as a residential painter and renovator, and he has developed a talent for faux finishes, which he often uses in his art. He attended Mississippi College, Northwest Community College and the University of Memphis, where he studied computer technology. “I have a lot of student loans with no degree,” he says with an apologetic grin. While he enjoys the residential work, he looks toward a day that he can spend more time with his acrylics and polymers instead of latex. “I would rather be painting canvasses than houses,” he says. “Man, that’s hard,” Berry says of knowing when a painting is finished. He keeps on “messing with it,” until he’s satisfied, but it can be a fine, easily crossed line. He has destroyed paintings by overworking them, and “resurrected” ruined pieces upon seeing something new. “You’ve got to stand back as you go, and say: ‘OK. That’s it,” he says. Berry, a Flowood native, lives in Jackson. He has been married a little over one year to his wife, Lisa, and he has two sons, Ethan, 6, and Dylan, 2, from a previous marriage. See Berry’s work at the Fondren Art Gallery (3030 N. State St., 601-981-9222) and in Southern Artist’s Alliance shows. Visit his website ( and find “Jam Band Arts by Jonathan Berry” on Facebook.


Welcome to the Club by Tommy Burton


ome clubs are difficult to join. They are exclusive and usually come at a high price. The Dead Mothers Club is easy to join, but admittance still comes at a steep price: You must lose your mother. “You’re initiated. You get a tattoo. It’s not going away,” says Rosie O’Donnell in the documentary film “The (Dead Mothers) Club.”

Local artist Ginger Williams-Cook, who lost her mother at a young age, is part of Smoke and Apple Films’ documentary “The (Dead Mothers) Club.” Her artwork graces its poster.

O’Donnell served as executive producer on the film, which Carlye Rubin and Katie Green of Smoke and Apple Films direct. HBO premiered the documentary in May. The film, which stated that one in nine Americans will lose a parent before age 20, focuses on three young women: a highschool senior named Jordyn, a Brazilian living in New York City named Leticia and Jackson artist Ginger Williams-Cook, whose work is the art for the film’s poster. The film follows these three women as they deal with the loss of their mothers. Commentary from three celebrities who also lost their mothers—O’Donnell, Jane Fonda and Molly Shannon—interchange with the other stories. “There is a real stigma to being the kid with the dead mother,” O’Donnell says in the film. “The (Dead Mothers) Club” never allows itself to become a sad tale of loss, though. Instead, it focuses on the triumphs of the women as they cope with losing a parent and how that translates into becom-


ing parents themselves. It is a celebration of motherhood. Williams-Cook tells the story of her parents’ divorce when she was 2. She always knew she wanted to be an artist, she says, but felt she had a privileged childhood. She thought that, to be a great artist, some sort of tragedy had to occur. She struggled with her mother, trying to convince her that a career in art was viable. After having an argument with her mom, Williams-Cook learned that she had committed suicide. Her mother suffered from hormonal imbalances. “There is a battle to sort out that feeling of betrayal and trying to embrace the fact that my mother was ill,” she says. Williams-Cook found that she painted “lonely, isolated female figures” in her work. After many rejections, she finally was able to show her work at the Mississippi Museum of Art. The fact that the museum was Williams-Cook’s first museum showing as an artist made the event even more special. The film’s impact echoes throughout our community. Tara Blumenthal, owner and instructor at Tara Yoga, lost her mother to an illness when Blumenthal was in second grade. She is also friends with Williams-Cook. “I knew that I resonated with Ginger,” she says. “When I heard this movie was being made, I watched the trailer and instantly connected with these women.” After years of struggling with the loss of her mother, Blumenthal found peace in knowing that others shared her grief and pain. “Now when I cry, they are tears of celebration,” she says. To bring people with similar situations together, she hosts special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day classes at Tara Yoga. “It helps to know there are others that have experienced the same thing,” she says. Now a mother herself, Williams-Cook is always reminded of her own mother’s absence. “So many life events have happened without my mother present in them,” she says. “When you lose a parent, it’s like losing a limb. You’re impaired. You get to learn things all over again. It’s shaky at first. You’re going to fall down a lot. But eventually, you have to make your own way.” Watch the film on HBOGo or OnDemand. For more information, visit





Author Philip Shirley signs his book “The White Lie” at Lemuria.

The Jackson Zoo hosts the Ice Cream Safari. Come vote for the JFP team!

BRAVO! Italian Restaurant holds a special Vegan Dinner event.

BEST BETS JULY 9 - 16, 2014

History Is Lunch is at noon at the Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Historian Dennis Mitchell will discuss and signing copies of his new book, “A New History of Mississippi,” a comprehensive narrative that incorporates peoples previously excluded from the state’s histories. Free; call 601-576-6998;



The Mississippi Museum of Art screens the classic sci-fi film “Blade Runner” for its Outdoor Movie Night at 8:30 p.m. July 10.


The Outdoor Movie Night is at 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). AIA Mississippi is hosts a screening of Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner.” For ages 18 and up. Free; call 601-360-0082; … “RiffTrax Live: Sharknado” is at 7 p.m. at Malco Grandview Cinema (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison). Former “Mystery Science Theater 3000” comedians Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett offer their commentary on the sci-fi movie. $12.50, $10 children; call 601-898-7819;


Bluegrass & Beer is at 8 p.m. at Duling Hall (622; … Fun Fridays is from 10 a.m. to noon, at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). Interactive, hands-on programs each children about insects, reptiles and more. Admission $4-$6; call 601-576-6000;


Producer J. Lee and the cast of his film “Karma” host the Wines Around the World Tasting at the Metropolitan Bar Sports Grill from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 15.

Anthropologie Locally Yours Pop-up Market is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Renaissance at Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Shop for locally made products from Beanfruit Coffee Company, Mississippi Bees, Locally Preserved, Atlas Snacks and more. Free; call 601-898-1201.

July 9 - 15, 2014


Duling Ave.). The Howlin’ Brothers headline the event with bluegrass music and beer specials. Doors open at 8 p.m. $5 in advance, $10 at the door, $3 surcharge for pa24 trons under 21; call 601-292-7999; email arden@arden-




Tougaloo Art Colony is at 4 p.m. at Tougaloo College (500 W. County Line Road, Tougaloo). The theme is “Broken But Mended: The Healing Powers of Art.” The art retreat for adults includes workshops and forums. Registration is required. $25 registration fee, $400 tuition, $175 independent studio, lodging: $375 single, $275 double per person; call 601-977-7743 or 601-977-7839;


The Baguette Run is at 6 p.m. at Anjou Restaurant (361 Township Ave., Ridgeland). Fleet Feet Sports hosts this three-mile run through The Township is in celebration of Bastille Day. Participants also receive a free beer from Southern Beverage. Free; call 601-899-9696;


The Women for Progress Lunch and Learn is at noon at The Penguin Restaurant & Bar (1100 John R. Lynch St.). Jackson Free Press editor-in-chief Donna Ladd and Sandy Middleton, executive director of the Center for Violence Prevention, are speakers. RSVP. $15; call 601-405-4478; email; … The Wines Around the World Wine Tasting is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Metropolitan Bar Sports Grill (M-Bar) (6340 Ridgewood Court Drive). J. Lee of J. Lee Productions and the cast of “Karma” host the event. There will also be a giveaway of tickets to an Aug. 31 screening of “Karma.” Free; call 398-0999; email;


Summer Cocktail Tasting is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Sombra Mexican Kitchen (Township at Colony Park, 140 Township Ave, Suite 100, Ridgeland). Enjoy four cocktails paired with three appetizers. $30 plus tax and tip; call 601707-7950;



utter my butt and call me a biscuit,” Rex “Nick” Wilgus says. “I love southern expressions.” He’s talking about his new book “Shaking the Sugar Tree,” a romantic comedy set in Tupelo, and the difficulties in capturing the peculiarities of southern life. Nick, his nom de guerre, is short for Dominic, the name he used while a brother of the Franciscans religious order. Wilgus was born in Indiana and grew up in Michigan. He arrived in Mississippi three years ago, after spending nearly 20

In Rex “Nick” Wilgus’ newest novel, “Shaking the Sugar Tree,” the plot centers around life in the South for a gay couple.

years in Thailand working in the newspaper industry, as a chief sub-editor for the Bangkok Post. While in Thailand, he wrote several mysteries, including a series about a Buddhist monk named Father Ananda, a former police officer who solves murders. De Warenne Pictures and Tiger Entertainment turned the first book of that series, “Mindfulness and Murder,” into a movie, which the Thai Film Association nominated for best screenplay. I read his most recent book, “Shaking the Sugar Tree,” on a flight to and from New Jersey. At times it had me laughing so hard I woke up the drooling drunk who had fallen asleep on my shoulder. Later, the flight attendant brought me some tissues to wipe my eyes and asked me if I was all right. The book is terribly painful at times—the kind of pain that comes from the helplessness of seeing a parent rejecting a child. It was also hard to read in some places, as it is a gay romantic comedy.

The scenes between the two men, while not particularly graphic, put me into a state of cognitive dissonance. I felt this way a few other times in my life when confronting the humanity of people who are unlike me. The book is about a gay father raising a child on his own, which Wilgus based on a surprising fact. Mississippi has the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children, reports the Williams Institute, a part of the University of California, Los Angeles Law School. Wilgus says that this shouldn’t be a surprise. “It stands to reason because Mississippi is family-oriented and traditional, and gay people want to get married and raise children like everyone else,” he says. “It also might be that gay people are more boring than people realize.” He uses the book to expound on many of the issues that are important to him— not just gay rights but drug abuse, bigotry, and the importance of family and children. He has a particular issue with the American Family Association located in Tupelo, a self-proclaimed a “pro-family” organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as a hate group because of its anti-LGBT actions (see cover story, page 14). Interestingly, if you search for Wilgus on YouTube, you will find performance videos of his original music, as well as videos that outline many of the issues discussed within the narrative context of “Shaking the Sugar Tree.” The book is also a bit of a spiritual journey for the protagonist as he struggles rearing with a disabled child who was born with a meth addiction, complete hearing loss and emotional difficulties, his past drug use, failures and poor decisions, and rejection from his family, his church and community. He also searches for God and a meaning to life. Wilgus jokingly says that he does worry about the tracks he’s left online as he did research for this book. His past web searches have included inquiries about how to make meth and, for other books, about the best way to murder people. “I worry that anyone looking at my searches might get the wrong idea,” Wilgus says, “and I pray that no one is paying attention.” Nick Wilgus’ “Shaking the Sugar Tree” (Dreamspinner Press, 2014, $17.99) is now available in paperback and digital format through Dreamspinner Press and Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

- Pool Is Cool-


Best Place to Play Pool Industry Happy Hour Daily 11pm

Daily Beer Specials 12pm


Mon - Fri Night Drink Specials Burgers-Wings-Full Bar Gated Parking Big Screen TV’s League and Team Play Beginners to Advanced Instructors Available

MS 601-718-7665

$5 Martini Monday 2 for Tuesday 2 for 1 Well Drinks

Whiskey Wednesday $4 Crown, Makers, Jack and Jim

Thursday: LADIES’ NIGHT Ladies Drink FREE Wells, Draft and House Wine 7-10pm

Patio Brunch Sat/Sun. 25 Patio Tables and Flat Screens outside!

Best Bloody Mary in town!

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*&0 30/.3/2%$%6%.43 10th Annual JFP Chick Ball July 19, 6 p.m.11 p.m., at Arts Center of Mississippi (201 E. Pascagoula St.). Includes food, door prizes, a silent auction, the Diva of Bling outfit contest, poetry and live music. Benefits the Center for Violence Prevention. For ages 18 and up. Seeking sponsors, auction donations and volunteers now. $5 cover; call 601-362-6121, ext. 23; Magnolia Roller Vixens Roller Derby July 19, 7 p.m., at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.). Team members compete in an inter-league game. Doors open 6 p.m. $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $5 children;

#/--5.)49 History Is Lunch July 9, noon, at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Historian Dennis Mitchell discusses and signs copies of his new book, “A New History of Mississippi.” Free; call 601-576-6998; John Edward July 9, 7 p.m., at Jackson Marriott (200 E. Amite St.). The event with the psychic medium includes a Q&A session and readings with some of the attendees. $150 general admission, $225 admission plus Evolve membership (includes welcome gifts); call 800-514-3849; Events at Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula St.): • Central Mississippi Ole Miss Club Rebel Reunion July 15, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. In the Trustmark Ballroom. Meet Ole Miss officials including head baseball coach Mike Bianco, and enjoy a silent auction, heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and children’s activities. $15 in advance, $20 at the door, free for students and children, $30 VIP; call 960-2321; • Mississippi Corvette Classic July 12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Includes a Corvette car show, live music, food, a silent auction, games and Star Wars characters. Proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Mississippi. $5, children under 12 free; call 601-668-8733 or 601-668-0533; ACT Workshop July 10, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., July 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., at Get2College Center (2600 Lakeland Terrace). This workshop offers help for students who have never taken the ACT, or students who scored between 15 and 25 and want to increase their scores. Registration required. Free; call 601-321-5533; email; Introduction to Photoshop July 11, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Tulane University, Madison Campus (2115 Main St., Madison). Class registration is required prior to attendance. $10; call 601-605-0007; email

July 9 - 15, 2014

Style Magnolia Fashion Show July 12, 7 p.m., at M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge (1072 John R. Lynch St.). In the ballroom. Enjoy a showcase of fashions from Mississippi designers and boutiques. Includes vendors, a cash bar and live music. $12 in advance, $15 at the door; call 601-255-7436.


Wells School of Arts and Crafts (Trolio Hotel, 141 N. Union St., Canton). Participants write, shoot and edit a 3-5 minute film. Held daily through July 18. July 19, the workshop ends with a reception and a premiere showing of the film. Registration required. $175; call 601-859-0347 or 800-844-3369. 2D Studio Art Camp July 14, 9 a.m.-noon, at ArtWorks Studios (158 W. Government St., Brandon). The one-week camp includes drawing, painting, oil pastel, printing and mixed media projects. Held Monday-Thursday. Registration required. $150; call 601-499-5278 or 601-9883115; email; Teen Talent Summer Camp Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. through Aug. 3, at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). Topics include modeling, acting, singing, styling, etiquette, interviews and more. Register by June 24. $240; call 769-218-8862; email or Events at Millsaps College (1701 N. State St.): • Discovering the Young Artist Camp July 14, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Children in grades 1-4 participate in drawing exercises that encourage them to take risks and refine their skills. Runs daily through July 18. Registration required. $105; call 601-974-1130; • Summer Guitar Workshop July 14, 11 a.m.noon Youth ages 14-17 learn basic note reading, how to strum chords, and other acoustic guitar fundamentals. For beginners only. Guitar not included. Camp held daily through July 18. Registration required. $85; call 601-974-1130; Events at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.): • Young Artists July 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The fiveday art camp is for children ages 8-10. Includes creating art and exploration. Space limited. Registration required. $240; call 601-960-1515; • Studio II July 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The five-day art camp is for teens ages 14-17 who want to explore art at a higher level. Space limited. Registration required. $250; call 601-960-1515; Fun Fridays July 11, 10 a.m.-noon, at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive). Children participate in interactive, hands-on programs to learn more about insects, reptiles and more. Adults must accompany children. Included with admission ($4-$6); call 601-576-6000; Mississippi Inspectors: Architectural Detectives July 14, 8:30 a.m.-noon, at Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St.). Youth entering grades 4-6 learn about the architecture of Jackson as they visit and explore the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, Old Capitol Museum, Eudora Welty House and Mississippi State Capitol. Registration required. Held daily through July 18. $50; call 601-576-6800.


Women for Progress Lunch and Learn July 15, noon, at The Penguin Restaurant & Bar (1100 John R. Lynch St.). Jackson Free Press editorin-chief Donna Ladd and Sandy Middleton, executive director of the Center for Violence Prevention, are the speakers. RSVP. $15; call 601405-4478; email

Ice Cream Safari July 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St.). Sample more than a dozen ice cream flavors scooped by local television, radio and print media celebrities (go, JFP!), and vote for your favorite flavor and favorite celebrity scooper. $12.25, $9.25 ages 2-12, $3 members; call 601-352-2580;


Anthropologie Locally Yours Pop-up Market July 12, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at Renaissance at Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland). Shop for locally-made products from

Canton Young Filmmaker’s Workshop, Ages 13-18 July 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Allison’s

Vegan Dinner July 14, 6 p.m., at BRAVO! Italian Restaurant & Bar (Highland Village, 4500 Interstate 55 N.). RSVP for the sevencourse dinner featuring vegan dishes. Vegan beers and wine selections available for an additional cost. $68 per person; call 601-9828111; email

30/2437%,,.%33 Mississippi Black Rodeo July 12, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., at Mississippi Coliseum (1207 Mississippi St.). The Real Cowboy Association hosts “The Baddest Show on Dirt.” Includes live music. $16; call 353-0603; Ultimate Frisbee Tournament July 12, 8 a.m., at YMCA Flowood (690 Liberty Road, Flowood). All skill levels welcome. Register in advance or on site. Rules at The event is a fundraiser for Vineyard Jackson’s youth ministry for missions. $20; call 601-664-1955; email keri.; Baguette Run July 14, 6 p.m., at Anjou Restaurant (361 Township Ave., Ridgeland). Fleet Feet Sports is the host. The three-mile run through The Township is in celebration of Bastille Day. Participants receive a free beer from Southern Beverage. Free; call 601-899-9696; Free ADHD Screening for Children Fridays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 31, at Office of Suzanne B. Russell, LPC (751 Avignon Drive, Ridgeland). Have your child evaluated for the disorder that has symptoms such as problems with focusing, defiance and hyperactivity. Free; call 601-707-7355;

34!'%3#2%%. “Born and Bred: A Memory” July 9-12, 7:30 p.m., at Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center (528 Bloom St.). The Mississippi Black Theatre Festival presents this play by Dr. Darius Omar Williams, a 1960s coming-of-age story set in Clarksdale. Free; call 601-960-1457. “RiffTrax Live: Sharknado” July 10, 7 p.m., July 15, 7:30 p.m., at Malco Grandview Cinema (221 Grandview Blvd., Madison). Comedians offer there take on the surprise sci-fi hit. $12.50, $10 children; call 601-898-7819; Outdoor Movie Night: “Blade Runner” July 10, 8:30 p.m.-10 p.m., at Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St.). AIA Mississippi is the host of the screening. For ages 18 and up. Lawn chairs

and blankets welcome. Refreshments for sale. Free; call 601-360-0082; Events at Tinseltown (411 Riverwind Drive, Pearl): • "Otello" Summer Encore July 9, 7 p.m. The screening is part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series. $12.50; call 601-936-5856; • "The Enchanted Island" Summer Encore July 16, 7 p.m. The screening is part of the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD Series. $12.50; call 601-936-5856; Events at New Stage Theatre (1100 Carlisle St.): • "Seussical Jr." July 10, 7 p.m., July 11, 7 p.m., July 12, 7 p.m., July 13, 2 p.m. Day camp participants present the musical. $15, $10 ages 12 and under; call 601-948-3531; • Acting Auditions, Ages 7-17 July 12. Make an appointment by July 10. A one to twominute memorized monologue and a recent photo are required. Actors may also prepare 60 seconds of any song. Arrive early to complete paperwork. Free; call 601-948-3533, ext. 222;

#/.#%243&%34)6!,3 Bluegrass & Beer July 11, 8 p.m., at Duling Hall (622 Duling Ave.). The Howlin’ Brothers headline the event with bluegrass music and beer specials. Doors open at 8 p.m. $5 in advance, $10 at the door, $3 surcharge for patrons under 21; call 601-292-7999; email; An Evening with the Gaither Vocal Band July 12, 6 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Jackson (431 N. State St.). Doors open at 6 p.m. $35, $30 seniors, children ages 2-12 and per person in groups of 15 or more; call 855-484-1991; Mississippi Opry Summer Show July 12, 6 p.m.9 p.m., at Pearl Community Room (2420 Old Brandon Road, Pearl). Performers include Harmony and Grits, the D’Lo Trio and more. Concessions sold. $10, children free; call 601-331-6672.

,)4%2!293)'.).'3 Events at Lemuria Books (Banner Hall, 4465 Interstate 55 N., Suite 202): • "The White Lie" July 10, 5 p.m. Philip Shirley signs books. Reading at 5:30 p.m. $15.95 book; call 601-366-7619; email info@lemuriabooks. com; • "The Stories We Tell" July 16, noon Patti

Callahan Henry signs books. $25.99 book; call 601-366-7619; email • "Fourth of July Creek" July 16, 5 p.m. Smith Henderson signs books. Reading at 5:30 p.m. $26.99 book; call 601-366-7619; email info@; Meredith Etc. Book Reading and Signing July 12, noon-2 p.m., at Marshall’s Music & Bookstore (618 N. Farish St.). Authors include William Trest Jr. (Reverse Guilty Plea), Meredith Coleman McGee (Odyssey, James Meredith: Warrior and the America That Created Him) and Starkishia (Starkishia: Estrella). Free admission, books for sale ($7.34-$44); call 355-5335;

#2%!4)6%#,!33%3 Tougaloo Art Colony July 13, 4 p.m., at Tougaloo College (500 W. County Line Road, Tougaloo). The theme is “Broken But Mended: The Healing Powers of Art.” The art retreat for adults includes workshops and forums. Runs through July 19. Registration required. $25 registration fee, $400 tuition, $175 independent studio, $60 for four CEU credits, lodging: $375 single, $275 double per person; call 601-977-7743 or 601-977-7839;

,'"4 Family and Friends of LGBTQI Persons Support Group July 14, at call or email for location and time. The group offers a safe place for people to share their feelings and experiences. Professional counselors lead the sessions. Free; call 601-842-7599; email

"%4(%#(!.'% Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance Advocacy Meeting July 16, at Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance (612 N. State St., Suite B). MIRA discusses current issues and upcoming campaigns at the meeting held on second Mondays. Open to the public. Light dinner included. Free; call 601-968-5182 for more details; Check for updates and more listings, or to add your own events online. You can also email event details to to be added to the calendar. The deadline is noon the Wednesday prior to the week of publication.

It’s an early morning in the office and you are Best Fried Chicken in Town & Best Fried Chicken in the Country -Best of Jackson 2003-2013-

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10 - close $1 PBR & Highlife $2 Margaritas 10pm - 12am

UPCOMING SHOWS 7/18: JGBCB (Jerry Garcia Band Cover Band) 7/19: Skymatic 7/25: Rooster Blues 7/26: Natural Child w/ Pujol 8/9: Futurebirds 10/4: Abandon Jalopy featuring Brad Smith of Blind Melon

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Trumpeter Turned Rapper Amazes by Jared Boyd



mcee SilaS explains his journey to penning “Rap Revolt,” his first independent release, on the interlude track “To the Fans.” Here, the Jackson native outlines the terms of an agreement he offers to all his fans. “I want y’all to grow with me. So I’ma start off by being completely, 100 percent honest with you now in all of my music,” he says. Wasting no time, SilaS tackles the theme of honesty head-on after “To the Fans.” The next song is a two-part saga that chronicles the narrator’s activities just before dusk and transitions into preparation for a long workday. From searching through YouTube to hunting for a shirt to wear to the office, “3AM/Late4Work” is a humble tale that fashions the mundane details of everyday life into heavy plot points. The rapper and trumpeter uses the remainder of the album to make good on his verbal contract. With a skillful use of his voice, beats borrowed from popular artists new and old, and his trumpet, SilaS concocts a rap-music experience that delves into his personality and lifestyle and tastefully tiptoes on the border of “too much information.”

SilaS’ “Rap Revolt” melds the Jacksonbased rapper’s lyrical and instrumental aptitude with stunning results.

The first half of the album reintroduces SilaS’ urgent flow to fans who may remember him as Trey Parker, a YouTube comedian who garnered thousands of views with his popular series, “That’s My Baby.” Songs such as “SomewhereinJumerica” and “All God” are far from fun and games, however, as SilaS chains together figurative language in a compact, rapid manner. While adding a hint of personality to every metaphor, the emcee takes his battle-

The New Thang

July 9 - 15, 2014



of Jackson radio personality DJ Jonasty for a fun-filled medley of sounds for SilaS to rap old-school rhymes over. The five-minute “Warm-Up Mix” begs to be the soundtrack of Mississippi summer barbecues. It also serves as the best backdrop for the most prominent guest star on the 15song mixtape: SilaS’ trumpet. SilaS, who dubs himself early on the album as “Louis Armstrong on a rap song,” plays his horn over T-Pain’s “Up Down (Do This All Day).” The DJ Mustard production transforms into a jazzy, jambalaya-flavored jam with a hint of New Orleans bounce. High-register brass instruments aside, “Rap Revolt” offers a sonic anomaly sure to turn a few heads among rap fans. With brisk soundscapes and piercing lyricism, the most important feature of the record is how fun it is. All the threats and braggadocio is balanced out by SilaS’ enthusiasm for life, making hard-hitting lines land covertly in the listener’s consciousness, so that it is hard to notice the magnitude of what was just said until the next line has already passed. It’s those “Aha” moments that are most rewarding.

by Mary Kate McGowan


he Red Thangs have noticed a few more people singing along at shows lately. The Oxford, Miss.-based indie-rock/pop band released its self-titled debut album on June 16, which is available on Google Play, Pandora and Spotify, as well as the band’s Bandcamp account. Trumpeter, guitarist, bassist and vocalist Adam Ray, 23, says the album has helped The Red Thangs gain new listeners. “We have people singing along at the shows for the first time because they can listen to the songs repeatedly and have the chance to actually learn the lyrics,” Ray says. “That part is great because when you’re playing live, you’re drawing on the energy the audience is giving you, and it’s gratifying to see that they’re as engaged and interested as you are in the songs.” Having played together since late 2012, The Red Thangs recorded the album when the members felt they finally had enough material. “It’s kind of the logical next step to go to,” Ray says. “We booked some studio slots with Andrew Ratcliffe at Tweed Recording here in Oxford, which is a great little studio, kind of beneath the radar.” Charles Adcock, who also sings and plays bass and guitar, says the fans have been

rhyme style to another level. “OG David Ruffin” takes on Que’s “OG Bobby Johnson” instrumental, while referencing Leon Robinson’s show-stealing portrayal of everyone’s favorite Motown frontman in NBC’s 1998 miniseries, “The Temptations.” Where Ruffin’s proposed to Otis Williams in the film that he should be billed ahead of the band on marquees nationwide, SilaS concludes that his rhymes should position him as the golden child of Jackson rap. He makes a good case in lines like, “Kill a rapper then tap his mom on the back and tell her that her baby whack and Junior will never come back because of a murder attack in back of a pizza shack; the story’s too long to tell, so let’s get back to the track; bring it back,” all before taking another breath. The strongest song of the beginning section of “Rap Revolt” is its intro, which makes the most masterful use of Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones, Part II” beat since BRabbit dismantled Papa Doc in the final battle of “8 Mile.” The tape keeps things personal with the silky smooth “All That Matters” and a reinterpretation of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Everyday Struggle,” before enlisting the help

After only playing live since 2012,The Red Thangs released their self-titled debut album June 20.

waiting for something to listen to for a while. “Hopefully, they’ll come to shows now with a preview,” the 22-year-old says. The Red Thangs recorded the album in three weeks. Because most of the band’s career has been focused on live performances, Ray says the band worked to give the album a similar feel. “Really, the same direction we tried to go with the album is the same direction we try to go live—just to give people the best music possible to listen to and enjoy,” Ray

says. “We’re making it with the goal of making music that people will like.” During recording, Blair Bingham, one of The Red Thangs’ vocalists and the band’s ukulele and keyboard player, says the band members, including drummer Drew “Sunshine” Shetley, 24, spent plenty of time together, which has helped their connection and their music. She says the process of breaking their songs down and playing them over and over has improved the band musically.

“It’s nice to have something physical to give to people rather than just word of mouth,” Bingham, 22, says. “Hopefully, we’ve proved ourselves.” Not only has The Red Thangs’ studio time improved the band’s musicality, but the band was able to experiment while recording its album. “Being in the studio, there’s a lot of fun musical toys that you get to play around with that might otherwise would not be usable, useful or accessible,” Ray says. “We got to try a lot of new things that previously we would have never been able to do.” After releasing the album, The Red Thangs had a week-long regional tour with shows throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. The band is setting up a similar tour for the near future. “Right now, we’re just trying to play shows in as many new places as possible and get the word out to everyone we can about the band and about the album,” Ray says. Overall, the band says it has received positive feedback as a result of the recordings. “It’s good to know that people actually enjoy this, that we spent all this time working on it and that people can actually get pleasure from it,” Ray says. “We honestly feel like the album speaks for itself.”


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Friday, July 11 W /

Pub Quiz

with Andrew McLarty T /


Jed Marum F /

Chad Perry S /

Brian Jones M /

Karaoke with Matt

T /

Open Mic with Joe Carrol

Enjoy Our New

Happy Hour!

$1 off all Cocktails, Wine, and Beer Monday - Saturday 4pm - 7 pm

 /   #!!*'('*(,#!*+ Thursday, July 17

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MUSIC | live



DIVERSIONS | jfp sports the best in sports over the next seven days

SLATE by Bryan Flynn


Wednesday, July 9th


6.30 No Cover

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Friday, July 11th


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Saturday, July 12th



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Tuesday, July 15th

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Happy Hour!



Visit for a full menu and concert schedule

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119 S. President Street 601.352.2322

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July 9 - 15, 2014



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THURSDAY, JULY 10 MLB (6:10-9 p.m., Sports South): The National League East-leading Atlanta Braves look to build their division lead against the fourth-place team in the East the New York Mets. FRIDAY, JULY 11 Football (9 p.m.-12 a.m., ESPNNEWS): Get a bit of a football fix with some CFL football as the Ottawa RedBlacks take on the Edmonton Eskimos. SATURDAY, JULY 12 Soccer (3-5 p.m., ESPN): The thirdplace game in the World Cup features the loser of the Germany/Brazil game against the loser of the Argentina/Netherlands game. SUNDAY, JULY 13 Soccer (2-4 p.m., ABC): One team will walk away as the winner of the 2014 World Cup as the winner of Germany/ Brazil faces the winner of the Argentina/ Netherlands.

You might not believe it, but football is nearly upon us. College football media days are about to begin, and NFL training camps open up July 20 starting with the Buffalo Bills. MONDAY, JULY 14 MLB (7-11 p.m., ESPN): The 2014 Gillette Home Run Derby is always fun to watch before the MLB All-Star game. TUESDAY, JULY 15 MLB (7-11 p.m., Fox): The All-Stars of the American League take on the AllStars of the National League in the 2014 All-Star Game the 85th meeting with home field advantage in the world Series on the line. WEDNESDAY, JULY 16 MLS (6-8 p.m., ESPN2): Get over your soccer withdrawals with some MLS soccer as the New York Red Bulls face the Philadelphia Union. Waiting for football to return is always hard after the Fourth of July as the sports world slows down. The upside is that it means the start to football is closer. Follow Bryan Flynn at, @jfpsports and at

bryanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rant

Basketball Is Our Soccer


he United States Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s National Soccer Team gave it their all in a 2-1 loss to Belgium in the World Cup. While the USMNT didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t win, the team did improve. This was the first time in back-to-back World Cups that the U.S. advanced out of the group stage. The U.S. also advanced out of what was a very tough draw for its group. Sure, the U.S. earned a draw against Portugal after a win against Ghana, but the team outplayed Portugal most of the game. That doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t happen often, and the U.S. didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give up a ton of goals to Germany in a 1-0 loss. Soccer for the U.S. is like basketball for the rest of the world. When we send our best players, we own every basketball tournament in the world, but other countries put us in our place with soccer. It has taken some time, but the talent gap in both sports is starting to shrink. That doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean the rest of the world should eye our Olympic basketball gold medal any more than we should be thinking of holding the World Cup trophy anytime soon. What it does mean is that one day, the talent gap will close. One

day, the sports world will be shocked as we lose an Olympic gold medal against a better team. The same will happen when the U.S. shocks one of the big boys of the soccer world in the World Cup. When the U.S. starts beating Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina and other good soccer nations on a regular basis, it will signal that we have finally arrived in the sport. The rest of the world takes that view of basketball. We are the yardstick that other countries use to measure their progress in the sport, and we use the top teams in the rest of the world to measure how far we have come in soccer. American soccer will finally come into its own when we find the LeBron James of goal-scorers in the sport. We must find someone that talented on the pitch, who can produce goals for the U.S., to finally start challenging the rest of the world. We need that player that the rest of the world fears on the pitch like everyone fears James on the court. U.S. soccer is getting better, and one day we will be contenders for the World Cup. We just have to find our homegrown superstars.

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v12n44 - Searching for Bryan Fischer  
v12n44 - Searching for Bryan Fischer  

Jonathan Berry in Abstract p 22 The Red Thangs Find a New Thang p 28 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad GOP Race pp 6-8