Monthly Archives: December 2009

Coming January 5, 2010: My week of software, hardware and assorted technology

I did it.  Two weeks ago this longtime Windows(PC) user bought a MacBook.  One of the most difficult things so far is discovering that some of my favorite software is not available in a Mac application, or that it is not easy to make it work properly on a Mac.  Nevertheless, I am forging ahead and at this point I believe the pros are going to outweigh the cons.  The experience has me looking at new software and evaluating the software that I currently use.  Then yesterday someone asked me, “What technology do you use?”  My immediate reaction was to say, “What technology do I NOT use?” If I had the time and money, I’d be attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.  I love innovation and technology.

Anyway, as a result of the above, I will be posting five days of blogs beginning Monday, January 4, on the subject of which technologies I use, more specifically which software and hardware that I use regularly.  You’ll learn such things as my favorite word processor, why I bought a MacBook, my communication devices, favorite Internet sites, my all-time favorite software program, email I use and much more.  I’ll go ahead and tell you now that I will not have any recommendations for you.  That’s because so much of technology, in general, and software, in particular, is about personal preference.

So check back first thing Monday, January 4, 2010.  And I wish you a 2010 filled with success, happiness and peace.

America’s Most Literate Cities

Using an index made up of a variety of factors related to a literate population, Dr. John W. Miller, President of Central Connecticut State University, presents a study entitled America’s Most Literate Cities, 2009.  Here are the top ten cities listed in his study:

Seattle, WA
Washington, DC
Minneapolis, MN|
Pittsburgh, PA
Atlanta, GA
Portland, OR
St. Paul, MN
Boston, MA
Cincinnati, OH
Denver, CO

Click here for the overall ranking.

More info at the university’s study Web site.

Why has Natchez changed mayors so often this decade?

That is the question the Natchez Democrat is asking its readers in an online poll.  The reason of course is that Natchez has had four mayors in this decade.  To see the latest poll results CLICK HERE.  Here are the results as of 11:30 a.m. on Monday, December 28, 2009:

Loss of industry 9 5% 9 votes
Mayor’s job performance 54 35% 54 votes
Lack of trust in leaders 60 39% 60 votes
Popularity/race 28 18% 28 votes
Other 2 1% 2 votes
153 total votes

Pew Survey Reveals Most Religious State

According to an analysis of polling data from the Pew Research Center‘s Forum on Religion & Public Life, Mississippi is considered the “most religious state.”  Eighty-two persent of Mississippians say religion is very important in their lives.  The Magnolia State also has the highest percentage of people who say they attend religious services at least once a week (60 percent), who say they pray at least once a day (77 percent), and who say they believe in God with absolutely certainty (91 percent), the Pew Forum reported Monday, December 21, 2009.

Only 36 percent of those living in New Hampshire and Vermont say that religion is important in their lives.

More at Pew Forum’s State-By-State Religious Commitment Analysis at

Education Trumps Workforce Development in MEC Survey

The Mississippi Economic Council conducts a caravan-type tour of the state each year at which time it asks attendees to list issues of importance and concern.

According to a press release after the tour, those in attendance had quite a bit of agreement on the most important issue.

When asked what is the single most important issue in putting Mississippi in the position of greatest opportunity, 50 percent of the 1,031 leaders who completed the survey listed education. Another 22 percent said workforce development was vital for future success. The survey was part of MEC’s Transformation Tour — a series of meetings around the state that drew over 1,850 leaders. The 12-city tour began Nov. 9 in Greenwood and concluded Dec. 10 in Gulfport.


Early Christmas Presents for Jackson and New Orleans

I started to entitle this blog post as “Two Miracles in Two Cities.”  That’s because few people would dare dream that the King Edward Hotel in Jackson or the Saints of New Orleans would be brought back to life, especially in the same year.  Yesterday, a packed house christened the Kind Edward while Saints fans reveled in what one headline called a state of grace.  Let us enjoy it while we can as we hope the winning ways of both will continue.

Who said, “Sometimes the country is more important than either party?”

Howard Dean, M.D., the former Democratic National Committee chairman and former Governor of Vermont, made that statement this morning (12-17-2009) on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.  Dean is taking flak for his “kill the bill” comments about the current version of the Senate’s health care bill.  After listening to Dean for the past few days, I am beginning to believe that he is one of the few people who really care about health care reform instead of the politics of health care reform.  Here’s are a few links that provide further enlightenment and elucidation:

Huffington Post  – Howard Dean Debates Health Care With Mary Landrieu, Chris Matthews;

NY Daily News – Howard Dean Flashback;

AP – Dean Urges Defeat of Health Care Bill.

Does shopping locally really matter?

That question should be easily answered after reading the column that I wrote for the Mississippi Business Journal a few years ago.



(c) Mississippi Business Journal

This is a tale of two dollars. One stayed at home. One went to another town.

Once upon a time there were two dollars. They each lived with their owners in the small town of Make Believe in rural Mississippi. Make Believe was a nice little town. There was a Main Street that had lots of little shops that sold special items and arts and crafts and catered to people who drove through town. There was also a grocery store. There was even a doctor in Make Believe. It was a nice little town that was enjoyed by all its residents, none of whom wanted it to change.

This story of the first dollar is easy to tell. Its owner placed it snugly in her purse and drove 45 minutes to a nearby, larger town with a shopping mall. The owner stayed all day at the mall and spent the entire dollar on things bought in stores owned by big corporations in faraway states.

Part of the first little dollar stayed in that town and part of it went to the state government, but most of it went by electronic magic to another state. At the end of the day, the owner went back to Make Believe with all her treasures. Not one penny of the first dollar ever saw Make Believe, Miss., again.

The story of the second dollar is much different. The owner of the second dollar went to a little shop in downtown Make Believe. There the owner talked a long time to the shop owner about the beautiful merchandise in the store.

The shopkeeper told all about the things that were made right there in Make Believe. There were birdhouses built by Bob, beveled glass made by Beverly, blouses of silk designed by Betty, mocha chocolates by Missy, and even silverware crafted by Sam.

This owner of the dollar spent the entire dollar right there in the shop. The journey of the second dollar was much different from that of the first dollar. Yes, the first 7 cents arrived at the government in Jackson. One penny was sent back to the local town. So one penny of the sales tax came back to the Make Believe City Hall.

The owner of the shop took the next 50 cents and sent it to the manufacturers of the items that were bought. Because all of them lived right there in Make Believe, the 50 cents stayed there.

The next 16 cents went to the employee of the shop owner. Yes, you guessed it; the employee lived in Make Believe.

There was rent to pay on the shopkeeper’s retail space. It was paid to the owner of the building, who had lived in Make Believe all his life. The rent was 10 cents of the dollar.

There were operating expenses that the shopkeeper had to pay. Things such as utilities and maintenance and insurance. Sixteen cents of the dollar went to pay those expenses and some of the people that got paid lived in another town far away. Still, eight of those 16 cents was paid to people in Make Believe.

That left 8 cents. What would happen to it?

That’s right. Eight cents was the shopkeeper’s profit she got to keep. Of course, the shopkeeper lived in an apartment upstairs above the shop.

If we total where the second dollar went, we learn about 86 cents stayed in Make Believe.

I wonder what will happen to the 86 cents. Will the manufacturer, the employee, the real estate owner, the shopkeeper and the others spend the 86 cents in Make Believe? Or will they go somewhere else?

I wonder how much of the 86 cents will be spent in Make Believe. Because every time another penny is spent in Make Believe, the little town is better off because someone in Make Believe received it instead of another town.

Each person has a right to spend his or her money wherever and whenever he or she wishes. But when people spend their dollars in other towns, it does not help the economy of their hometowns.

The Tale of Two Dollars is told at this time every year because many people don’t know when they spend their money in their own hometown it helps their hometown.

Editor’s Note: Phil Hardwick is a contributing writer for the Mississippi Business Journal.

Seeking Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown

Do you live in a healthy hometown?  If so, it could win a $50,000 grant.  The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation has announced a competitive application process for towns that make their citizens healthier.  The deadline for applying is April 16, 2010, and the winners will be announced at the Mississippi Municipal League Annual Conference.  It would be a quite a marketing tool for a community to be able to say that it is Mississippi’s Healthiest Hometown.

Check out the complete information at

Did the War on Poverty Fail?

The short answer is “yes” if one looks at the percentage of people in poverty.  Much has been written about the failure of the War on Poverty, and it’s no wonder.  In 1966, the poverty rate in the U.S. was 14.7 percent.  Since then it has varied between 11.1 percent and 15.2 percent.  According to the Census Bureau, the 2007 rate was 12.5 percent.