Thursday, July 29, 2010

Delbert declines to announce, touts need to "reorganize" state government

Delbert Hosemann chose not to make an announcement to run for Governor next year.  He focuses on the need to reorganize state government (whatever that means) and speaks a little about immigration. Now here's the kicker, and what will likely drive speculation for up to another 6 months: Delbert didn't say he was running for Governor, but he didn't say he wasn't, either.

h/t to Patsy Brumfield and her Twitter page, which is the best place for Neshoba updates

Sunday, July 25, 2010

WikiLeaks may have just changed the course of American history *UPDATED WITH LINKS* has just published the "Afghan War Diary," which is described as: extraordinary compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010.
The reports, while written by soldiers and intelligence officers mainly describing lethal military actions involving the United States military, also include intelligence information, reports of meetings with political figures, and related detail.
The question is this: if the American public hears the DoD's own accounts of civilian deaths, will the accepted become unacceptable?  How will this affect public opinion on the Afghan war, and on war in general?

*UPDATE* WikiLeaks' Twitter feed is a great source for links to media coverage of the War Diary.  The Guardian has a story up on civilian casualties listed in the War Diary that links the type of stories I was referring to in the body of this post above.  The New York Times has a section of its website dedicated to the War Diary, and its first story focuses on the link between Pakistan and the insurgents. Also, Der Spiegel has a section up as well, and they've subdivided what they've determined to be the most important information from the War Diary.  Topics include the problems with Predator drones, a secret group of warriors known as "Task Force 373", and problems with U.S. intelligence agencies.

Sunday mornin' quick hits

Jerry Mitchell and Molly Parker over at the Clarion-Ledger have several items today on our state's approach to mental health issues.  There's a heart-rending story about the suicide of a patient recently released from Whitfield, a detailed piece on the deep cuts to mental health funding, and an article on the lack of adequate housing for mental health patients.  I've had quite a bit of experience with people suffering from mental health problems, and I can't stress enough how strong the link is between crime and poor mental health.  If you doubt me, ask your local sheriff.

The New York Times has a study on the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roberts.  To no one's surprise, the study concludes that the Roberts Court is the "the most conservative one in living memory."  For those that don't follow the USSC that closely, there's an interactive feature that matches you to a justice based on your responses to several questions.

Dana Priest and William Arkin of the Washington Post have been working on a project for the past two years on our nation's intelligence infrastructure, and the fruits of their labor can now be found at "Top Secret America." The project has been widely praised.  I'd say that I look forward to reading what they've uncovered, but I'm not exactly sure I want to know...

Finally, if you haven't seen Inception yet, you're missing out.  I haven't had that much fun watching a movie in a long, long time.  The hotel hallway scenes alone are worth the price of admission, especially once you find out how it was done.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Here's what you need to watch re: Hosemann

Earlier this week, I posted word that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann would announce for Governor this Thursday.  It's next Thursday.  Here's a link to the Neshoba County Fair's schedule.  Notice that Delbert speaks just before Phil. That should be very, very interesting, as people close to the situation would be shocked if Delbert failed to announce a gubernatorial bid.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

2011 Rumor Mill

Here's what I'm hearing is happening out there:

  • Sen. Billy Hewes has ordered signs that read "Lt. Gov. Hewes."  Folks think that's a bit presumptuous.
  • Stacy Pickering and Tate Reeves will round out the Lt. Gov. field on the GOP side
  • Most elected Democrats are staying put and running for reelection, in contrast to the fratricide about to occur on the GOP side
  • Tate Reeves should raise a ton of money at an upcoming Jackson fundraiser, to be held at Bravo! tomorrow night
  • The turnout at Phil Bryant's Thursday night fundraiser at the Jackson Country Club was sparse, and there could be a surprising reason for that...
  • That surprising reason is Delbert Hosemann's announcing he'll run for Governor this coming Thursday.

An uncomfortable morning for Commissioner Steve Simpson

Jerry Mitchell's got an article on a kerfuffle over the early release of a Gulf Coast businessman after he was charged with punching his wife several times in the face.  Long story short, John Ruble, head of the Gulfport Home Builders Association, was arrested for domestic violence, and Municipal Judge ordered him held without bond until noon the following morning, at which time Ruble could be released on a $1,000 bond.  The Harrison County Sheriff, Melvin Brisolara, released Ruble on his own recognizance into the custody of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson at 8:41 a.m.  The Public Integrity Division of the Attorney General's office found there was no criminal wrongdoing, but did advise the municipal judge that he is free to pursue the civil contempt avenue as he sees fit. 

This matters because Simpson has frequently confirmed that he is looking at a race against Attorney General Jim Hood.  Simpson would certainly like to be able to attack Hood for not pursuing state charges against those involved in the Scruggs scandals due to his relationship with some of them.  Simpson's ability to do that just took a major blow, as Hood could now easily and effectively respond: "I declined to waste state resources on a useless state prosecution; you violated a judge's order to get an alleged wife-beater out of jail early."  It also could contribute to a very uncomfortable meme about Republicans in light of Gov. Barbour's, um, misguided use of his pardon power.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


According to, BP is saying the well has been capped, and that no oil is flowing into the Gulf.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the live feed of the wellhead and a story on the cap.

An option I'm sure Chip Pickering is relieved Leisha Pickering did not pursue

As far as I know, the alienation of affection matter between Leisha Pickering and Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd is still ongoing, and Chip Pickering's diary is still providing presumably colorful in camera reading.  But, there's some good news for Chip and his alleged paramour: at least they didn't get arrested.  The Columbus Dispatch is reporting on a Noxubee County case where cheating husband and his supposed mistress were arrested for adultery and fornication:

Lashawn Williams, 33, of 294 Pilgrim Rest Road in Noxubee County and Roshanda Jackson, 30, of 183 Oliver Road, were arrested July 1 when Williams' wife, Cortiga, pressed charges on her allegedly unfaithful husband and Jackson.
Lashawn Williams and Jackson were charged with adultery and fornication, respectively; both crimes carry the same penalty, up to $500 and jail time up to six months. Both were released July 1 on $1,000 bond, according to the Noxubee County Jail.
"We do have to follow the legal process," (Columbus Assistant Police Chief Joe) Johnson said. "If A and B are married, and if B signs an affidavit on A and C because they are involved, they all have to come to court."
 The story goes on to detail some of the odd laws that are still on the books, most of which have to do with some sort of frowned-upon act of intimacy, and the chances of any of them being repealed.  From my point of view, I see the chances of Leisha Pickering causing arrest warrants to be issued for Chip and Elizabeth Creekmore Byrd as being only slightly higher than the chances of the Legislature repealing a single criminal statute.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What's taking so long on the Richard Birkhead case?

The hand down lists from the Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are often noted in the blogosphere for what they contain, not what they lack.  But quite a bit of intrigue is currently swirling around what the MSSC's recent hand downs have been lacking.

First, here's what a hand down contained back in February, 2009: Birkhead's conviction for capital murder was affirmed.  The main issue (as far as the dissenting justices and I see it, at least) was whether or not the admission of the death certificate at trial was proper.  Justice Randolph wrote the 6-vote majority opinion, which held that the death certificate (with its attendant declarations concerning the timing of the injury and death) was admissible under MRE 902(4).  The majority opinion relies on what I believe to be problematic logic.  On one hand, the majority says the defense had (and capably exercised) ample opportunity to discredit the veracity of the death certificate's allegations concerning the times of injury and death.  On the other, the majority relies on 902(4), which is founded upon the belief that certain official documents, such as the death certificate in this case, have a reasonable degree of trustworthiness.  (Which in this case is an exhibition of the ipse dixit fallacy, from which this blog gets its name.  Funny how that worked out.)

Justice Dickinson hit the nail on the head when he called the times in the death certificate "pure, rank, unadulterated hearsay provided by a police officer who was neither identified nor produced for cross-examination" which "emasculated Birkhead’s theory of the case."  Justice Kitchens drives it home with authority when he reminds the majority that Rule 902(4) deals with authentication, not admissibility, and that the two are very distinct things. 

Now, here's what's not on the hand down lists: A decision on Birkhead's Motion for Rehearing, which was filed on March 5, 2009.  That's 1 year and 4 months ago.  (Here's a copy of the docket in Birkhead.)

Why the 16 month delay? Well, my guess is that Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts and Briscoe v. Virginia being decided in the interregnum had at least some effect on the MSSC. Melendez-Diaz was decided on June 25, 2009, and may well have given some majority justices doubt about their vote in Birkhead.  As those justices pondered their vote on the rehearing, Briscoe loomed.  Briscoe was to be the opportunity for the Court to limit its holding in Melendez-Diaz, and I'd bet that the MSSC justices were waiting on that decision.  Briscoe dropped on January 25, 2010, and in it the USSC reaffirmed its reliance on the reasoning in Melendez-Diaz.

Well, now that Briscoe's answered any questions about whether Justice Sotomayor would look to disturb the Melendez-Diaz reasoning, one has to wonder how much longer it will be until we see Birkhead back on the hand down.

(For more blogging on Birkhead, see Will Bardwell's posts here and here.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just who is J. Christian Adams?

WorldNetDaily and other Right-wing media outlets are all aflame over the testimony of J. Christian Adams, a former employee of the Department of Justice. In essence, Mr. Adams accuses the DoJ under Attorney General Eric Holder of refusing to investigate claims of civil rights abuses against whites.

I just want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of who J. Christian Adams is. According to
Adams was hired in 2005 by then-Civil Rights Division political appointee Bradley Schlozman, according to a person familiar with the situation. Schlozman was found in this joint investigation of the Justice Department’s Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility to have violated civil service rules by improperly taking political and ideological affiliations into account when making career attorney hires.

Before coming to the Justice Department, Adams volunteered with the National Republican Lawyers Association, an offshoot of the Republican National Committee that trains lawyers to fight on the front lines of often racially tinged battles over voting rights.
The report referenced by Main Justice was one of the more staggering indictments of the Bush-era Department of "Just Us."  (New York Times article on the report may be found here.)  It details (with emails and voicemail transcripts) Schlozman's iron grip on hiring in the Special Litigation, Employment Litigation, Voting, Criminal, and Appellate sections of the DoJ's Civil Rights Division:  It also documents Schlozman's forwarding of emails containing racist jokes.  We also find out that Schlozman only wanted "real americans (sic)," not "politburo (sic) members" who'd actually demonstrated some concern over civil rights, and that he actively recruited Federalist Society members.  (Not only did Schlozman innovate the use of one of Sarah Palin's favorite terms, he also apparently tried to start an anti-capitalization fad as well.)

So, guess who hired Adams?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Nearing completion on the new office

I apologize for the light posting lately. I've been quite busy with the new practice, which is a great problem to have. Add in the task of renovating the new office, and posting has been difficult. We're getting close to the finish line on the new office, which will free-up some posting time. So, over the next few weeks, expect a return to normal.

Thanks for bearing with me,



There is a TOTAL blockage of I-55 Southbound traffic just after the Lakeland Drive exit. Although the lighted sign says that the left two lanes are closed, in fact the ENTIRE freeway is closed. Those benighted drivers who believed MDOT are now completely stuck.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Caught on tape: the GOP attempts to block the investigation into the oil spill

You know, I never thought I'd say this, but I think the GOP might actually lose their grip on the South. Why? Because they're doing things like apologizing to BP. And this:

Seriously? Republicans don't want the Oil Spill Commission to have subpoena power? What are they afraid the Commission will find?