Monthly Archives: October 2009

Phil’s Person of the Week – LaVerne Edney

Phil’s Person of the Week is a salute to someone making a positive contribution to the community.  This week I salute LaVerne Edney and the law firm of Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC for their efforts in helping low-income Mississippians with legal representation.

LaVerne Edney La’Verne Edney is going from A to Z in the state bar roll looking for attorneys willing to represent poor people in need of civil legal services.

Since she joined the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project as general counsel on Sept. 1, Edney has signed up 60 additional lawyers who have agreed to take a case for free. She’s gotten through the B’s in her alphabetical recruitment. There are more than 6,700 practicing lawyers in Mississippi. Read more…

Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC, has accepted La’Verne Edney’s withdrawal from the firm to enable her to accept the position of General Counsel of the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project. Although Ms. Edney’s employment by MVLP is expected to last for two years, after which she is expected to return to the Brunini law firm. Brunini has agreed to make a significant financial contribution to MVLP during Ms. Edney’s tenure as General Counsel to support her work. Ms. Edney’s focus during her employment by MVLP will be on significantly expanding the pro bono delivery system in Mississippi.  Read more…

Most mission statements are dumb

At least that’s what Nancy Lublin, CEO of Do Something, says in an article in Fast Company magazine. She also says that good mission statements have a goal.

Good advice, but what I liked about the article was that it had four mission statements, two of which were created by the Dilbert mission statement generator (no longer online) and two were from real organizations. Below are the mission statements. I’ll go ahead and tell you that the two organizations are Enron and the United Way. Can you guess which two are not real and which two belong to the organizations?

1. It is our job to continually foster world-class infrastructures as well as to quickly create principle-centered sources to meet our customer’s needs.

2. Our challenge is to assertively network economically sound methods of empowerment so that we may continually negotiate performance-based infrastructures.

3. To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.

4. Respect, integrity, communication, and excellence.

And the answer is: (scroll down)


1 and 2 were created by Dilbert. Number 3 is United Way, and number 4 is Enron.

What do Renaissance Men Wear???

This following is a guest blog from Kesha Perry, on of my colleagues at the Stennis Institute of Government (reprinted with permission) –

Morehouse College. History. Tradition. Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Maynard Jackson, and countless others have roamed the halls and grounds of this private, all-male, historically black institution. Recently, Morehouse has instituted a dress code policy in efforts to “get back to the legacy,” according to Dr. William Bynum the school’s Vice President of the Office of Student Services. He continued, “We expect our young men to be Renaissance men.” This policy was not only driven by the powers-that-be at Morehouse, but also by student leaders. Cameron Thomas-Shah, student government’s co-chief of staff, believes “the image of a strong black man needs to be upheld. And if anyone sees this policy as something that is restrictive then maybe Morehouse is not the place for you.”

Morehouse is not the only historically black college or university (HBCU) to institute a dress code. Hampton University has instituted one, which also encourages its graduate business students with locs or braids to cut their hair. Bennett College in North Carolina has adopted a comparable policy as Morehouse’s.

Included in the new dress code policy:

–no caps, do-rags and/or hoods in classrooms, the cafeteria, or other indoor venues

–no sun glasses worn in class or at formal programs

–no jeans at major programs, as well as no sagging pants on campus

–no clothing with derogatory or lewd messages either in words or pictures

–no wearing of clothing usually worn by women (dresses, tops, tunics, purses, pumps, etc.) on the Morehouse campus or at college-sponsored events.

Those found in violation will not be allowed to attend class until they abide by the new policy. However, repeat offenders could be subject to suspension.

The one restriction that has many students upset is the no wearing of women clothing. Co-president of Safe Space, a gay-straight student alliance, Daniel Edwards believes the policy unfairly targets gays. “Some believe that this restriction is what the entire policy is correlated around. It is all an issue of perception and what manner of image you want to prescribe to.”
Click here to read a CNN article regarding this restriction of the policy.

Dr. Bynum believes this policy “is necessary, this is needed according to the students. We know the challenges that young African-American men face. We know that how a student dresses has nothing to do with what is in their head, but first impressions mean everything.”

(Interviews courtesy of Mashaun D. Simon of the Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Published in: The Black Man on October 20, 2009 at 8:00 pm Comments (1)
Tags: Atlanta Journal Constitiution, Bennett College, CNN, Dr. William Bynum, Hampton University, HBCU, Jr., Martin Luther King, Mashaun D. Simon, Maynard Jackson, Morehouse College, North Carolina, Samuel L. Jackson, Spike Lee

Ole Miss Chancellor to address Stennis-Capitol Press Luncheon

Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones will address the Stennis-Capitol Press Luncheon on Monday, November 2.   The event is open to the public, however seating is limited and pre-registration is required.  To register or get more information go to

Daniel W. Jones, M.D. is the 16th Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. As Chief Executive Officer he is responsible for the operation and management of a four-campus comprehensive university. The University includes nine schools at Oxford, five at the Medical Center in Jackson, an Advanced Education Center in Tupelo and the Desoto County Center in Southaven. Through these four campuses, the University provides extraordinary educational opportunities for more than 17,000 students. Prior to his appointment July 1, 2009, Dr. Jones was Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, Dean of the School of Medicine and Herbert G. Langford Professor of Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. He served as the institution’s chief executive officer for six years overseeing the five schools and the health system.

The most important comment made by the TARP Special Inspector General

Last week TARP Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky issued a report that “blasted” the Tresury Department’s handling of the $700 billion bailout program.  An article in USA TODAY provides a good summary.  There is a lot to read in the report, but a comment made by the IG relates to something that this writer believes is at the root of where the United States is today.  He said (emphasis added) that, Treasury’s failure to provide more details about the use of TARP funds has helped damage “the credibility of the program and of the government itself, and the anger, cynicism, and distrust created must be chalked up as one of the substantial, albeit unnecessary, costs of TARP.”

By the way, did you know that the Special IG has a Web site where you can sign up for reports, press releases, etc. from his office?

It’s Friday – Time for Hero of the Week

The biggest business and political event of the week was Hobnob Mississippi, a signature project of the Mississippi Economic Council (MEC).  The gathering of the state’s business and political leaders drew over 1,000 attendees.  Hobnob is just one of MEC’s many projects.  In the past few years MEC has become a leading force in causing change in Mississippi.  From Momentum Mississippi to Mississippi Building blocks MEC has taken a leadership role.  Although he will probably disagree because he likes to give others credit and point out that we do it all together, MEC’s CEO is a person who has played a huge role in changing MEC and Mississippi.  And that’s why my Hero of the Week is Blake Wilson.

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson came to MEC in 1998 from the Florida Chamber of Commerce where he served as Executive Vice President — and where he developed the most sophisticated grassroots member legislative action program in the nation.

Previously, Blake was Executive Director of Associated Builders & Contractors’ in Delaware and prior to that, spent nearly 10 years with the Delaware Chamber of Commerce. Before entering the association business, he spent nine years as a newspaper editor and reporter.

Connecting the Apple, Google and Gannett Earnings Dots

This morning I connected the dots as I read the 3rd quarter earnings reports and reflected on my own travel habits.  One little change in habit tells me a lot about why Apple and Google are up this quarter, while Gannett is down.  Specifically, Apple’s profit is up 47%, Google’s is up 27% and Gannet’s profit is down 53%.

I spend a fair amount of nights in a motel.  I’m also a news junkie.  These days I check in, go straight to my room, turn on my laptop computer, check the latest news and handle pending e-mail.  That is in contrast to several years ago when I would check in, pick up the USA Today, go straight to my room, turn on the television and read the USA Today. Consequently, advertisers who want me to see their ads must connect (pun intended) with me via the Internet instead of a newspaper.  And to connect to the Internet I need a laptop computer that has a wireless Internet connection.  Motels have figured it out.  They provide me with free wireless Internet.  Advertisers figured it out as well.  National advertising revenue fell 37% for USA Today; paid search accounted for nearly all of Google’s revenue.