Monthly Archives: November 2009

Representing Louisiana or selling her vote?

Representing Louisiana or selling her vote? Senator Mary Landrieu’s vote to send the Senate’s health care bill to the floor for debate illustrates that perspective is a subjective thing.  Some bloggers have already called her a “whxxx,” while others are praising her for getting more aid for her home state.  From her Senate Web site is this:

But Landrieu has already succeeded in adding a provision to the 2,074-page Senate version of the health care bill unveiled this week that would provide Louisiana between $100 million and $300 million in Medicaid funding in fiscal 2011.”Look,” said [Louisiana secretary of health and hospitals] Alan Levine, who has been lobbying the administration and Congress on the FMAP issue for eight months, “it’s good to have a senator in a position to be able to make demands like that.”


A Washington Post article by Dana Milbank entitled Sweeteners for the South offers additional perspective.

Five Reasons Why I Like Thanksgiving

First,  Thanksgiving always occurs on a Thursday.  That means that most businesses, except for those involved in that Black Friday madness, shut down for Thursday and Friday.  Ah, a four-day weekend.

Second, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday.  It has an American history.  Even though most of us think about Pilgrims and Native Americans and the Mayflower, there is much more to the story of the holiday.  Check out some Thanksgiving history and debunk some myths on the History Channel’s Web site.

Third,  Thanksgiving is about gathering with family.  Perhaps that is becoming less so, but for many people this is a time for getting most of the family together in the same place at the same time.  Consequently, the busiest travel day of the year for airlines in the United States is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Fourth, Thanksgiving is in autumn, the time of year when leaves are colorful and the season is changing.  The air is cooler and there is a crispness about.  Activities abound in autumn.  Football, elections, school plays, theater, and much more.  It is a busy time of the year.  There is a lot to talk about at those family gatherings.  Autumn is also harvest time, which is one of the main reasons for Thanksgiving in the first place.  The food is changing to cold weather food.

Fifth, Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the Christmas season.

The U.S. Grant Presidential Collection is where?!

When I talk to people from other states I always learn something about their states.  Likewise I try to share something about Mississippi that is surprising or myth-dispelling.  Last week I had the opportunity to be with a group that found it incredible that the U.S. Grant Presidental Collection is now located in Mississippi.  That’s right.  It’s at the Mitchell Library at Mississippi State UniversityClick here to see what I refer them to.  Warning:  you will be impressed.

Follow me to Appalachia

From Sunday, Novemeber 8, though Wednesday the 11th I’ll be in the West Virginia and Ohio area of rural Appalachia.  The purpose of my trip is to learn how several high schools in such a region have achieved very high college-going rates.  I’ll be on a bus tour with others who are part of an Appalachian Regional Commission project to reduce dropouts and increase the percentage of students who go to college.  If you would like to follow my journey and what I learn you can do so on my Stennis Institute of Government blog.  Scroll down the page and you’ll find the link to my journey blog.  For more information about this project check out the project’s Web site.

I’ll be back here on this blog early Thursday.

Thinking in North Carolina this weekend

NOV. 4, 2009 — More than three dozen thinkers from across the South will gather this weekend for a two-day conference to develop an “Agenda for a Better South” that seeks to inspire Southern leaders to move the region forward. (Read the news release)

“In our increasingly partisan and media-saturated world of small soundbites for big problems, it’s often hard for elected and appointed officials, and other leaders to make serious inquiries and give thoughtful consideration to big problems facing the South,” said Andy Brack, president of the Center for a Better South. “Instead, they often have to put out the fires of immediate problems rather than finding solutions for decades-old challenges.

“By crafting this new Agenda for a Better South, we will highlight for our leaders that public policy matters … and that they can make significant progress for the future by focusing on the big picture for each state.”

Person of the Week – Knox Ross

Knox RossKnox Ross of Pelahatachie exemplifies the new breed of mayor in Mississippi. Ross is a CPA by profession, and is a part-time mayor. He is progressive, up-to-date, educated and has a strong bias for action. He understands the value of the Internet. For example, he’s brought free wireless Internet access to his downtown, he’s made sure that his town’s Web site is top notch and he blogs. And talk about downtown revitalization. The town is remodeling its Town Hall and renovating an old hardware store into the town’s first community center. Additionally, the town is redoing its sidewalks along U.S. 80, making them more pedestrian-friendly and brushing them up with some landscaping.

Click on these Web sites for more:
The City of Pelahatchie
The Mayor’s blog
City Works on First Community Center

Best (and worst) states to lose your wallet

Do you trust your neighbor?  Are there different levels of trust by state?

These are questions the Gallup polling organization delved into through a survey of over 170,000 Americans in the first six months of 2009.  What they found was that most people do indeed trust their neighbor, but that the level of trust varied by state.  One question used to measure trust was about whether the respondents felt that a neighbor would return a lost wallet.  The lost wallet question has been validated as a measure of trust.

According to the survey, the level of trust was highest in the Midwest and Northwest, while the lowest levels were found in the South.  The top five states for trust were Utah, South Dakota, Vermont, Idaho and Montana, while the bottom five were Nevada, Mississippi, California, South Carolina and Louisiana.  Click here for the complete results and the Gallup article.

What mayor said, “I brought in 1,100 companies from around the world – $70 billion in private investment – and generated more than a million new jobs.”

From an article in the Washington Times

In a race testing racial harmony in Georgia’s largest city, some veteran black power brokers say their hold on power is being undercut by their past successes running the city.

“We haven’t always gotten the credit for that, no,” said former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who oversaw the early days of the city’s rebirth during the 1980s. “I brought in 1,100 companies from around the world – $70 billion in private investment – and generated more than a million new jobs.

“But most people think that’s automatic, that that would have happened anyway,” he said with a laugh.

Black mayors have occupied City Hall since 1973, but this year, a white City Council member is leading in the polls, even though two black civic leaders urged black voters to unite against her.