Monthly Archives: December 2009

The secret to escaping poverty

The secret to escaping poverty is no secret at all, according to  Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill in their new book Creating an Oportunity Society.   Those who finish high school, work full time and marry before having children are virtually guaranteed a place in the middle class. Only about 2 percent of this group ends up in poverty.

They say that there are three things that the government could do to reduce poverty.

(1)  Improve public education:
Expand pre-school programs, implement national achievement standards and establish more “paternalistic” charter schools.
Provide low-income and minority pupils with better college-prep services.

(2)  Encourage work:
Enlarge the size and scope of the Child Tax Credit, increase child-care funding and bolster job-training programs.
Building on the successful Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and experiment with “EITC-type wage supplements” for workers who either don’t have children or don’t have custody of their children.

(3)  Strengthen families:
Address a longstanding social crisis: the surge in non-marital births; in 2007, nearly 40 percent of all United States births were outside of marriage, up from 34 percent.
Last year, according to the Census Bureau, only 40 percent of African-American children lived with two parents, compared with 78 percent of non-Hispanic white children.

Source: Creating an Opportunity Society (Brookings Institute Press)  as reported in The Mobility Agenda, National Center for Policy Analysis.

One way government can get citizens’ ideas

The lack of citizen participation in government at all levels has been lamented many times.  Often, elected officials will merely announce that they welcome comments and ideas about new inititives – and they usually mean it.  However, citizens who submit ideas never realy know if their ideas were considered or even received.  They certainly do not know what ideas other citizens might have submitted.  Perhaps technology can improve the situation.

An example can be found in Seattle, Washington, where the new mayor is using the Internet to ask for advice from citizens.  It’s called Ideas for Seattle, a Web site where citizens can contribute new ideas for the future of the city and vote on ideas submitted by other citizens.  Check it out at

Tacky Light Tour on TLC, The Learning Channel

Tacky Light Tour on TLC, The Learning Channel

See us on TLC, The Learning Channel!
The Tacky Light Tour season is in full swing with over 35 million Christmas lights from 430 displays in 270 cities featured online.

This year son-in-law Matt Burgess, the founder of;, with several Tacky Light Tour decorators will be featured in the television special called Crazy Christmas Lights on the The Learning Channel (TLC)l.

Tune in to TLC for the following airings of Crazy Christmas Lights:
Sunday, December 6 @ 8:00pm EST
Sunday, December 6 @ 11:00pm EST
Tuesday, December 15 @ 7:00pm EST
Wednesday, December 16 @ 2:00am EST

For a 3-minute sneak peak go to the TLC Channel;

Authors Alan Lange and Tom Dawson to addrees Stennis-Capitol Press Luncheon on December 7

Kings of Tort, by Alan Lange and Tom Dawson, is to be released nationwide on
December 2nd. And on Monday, December 7 at noon at the University Club in
downtown Jackson the authors will address the Stennis-Capitol Press Corps
luncheon. You can register by replying to this e-mail or on the website at Cost to attend is $15.

Here’s more (from the Kings of Tort website):

The amazing story behind tort magnate Dickie Scruggs’s judicial bribery
scandal is presented by Pediment Publishing. Kings of Tort is the
authoritative work on documenting this nationally known story and the
relatively unknown 25 year history behind it. The book will be made
available in retail outlets throughout the country on December 2nd. More
Information including advance ordering of the book is available at

Alan Lange is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and is actively involved in
a variety of business and community interests. He is the founder of
YallPolitics <>, one of the largest political
interest websites in the Southeast. YallPolitics became ground zero for
documenting the Scruggs and Minor scandals. He is also president of Kinetic
Staffing, a southeast regional legal and accounting recruiting firm. Along
with his wife, Holly, and their sons Ford and Jake, they live in Jackson’s
Fondren community – not far from their alma mater, Millsaps College.
Tom Dawson is a 36-year veteran federal prosecutor, having served as a trial
attorney with the Department of Justice in Washington, D. C., Associate
Independent Counsel and Assistant U.S. Attorney. Since his retirement in
January 2009, he has been widely recognized by his peers for his role as
lead counsel in the investigation and prosecution of the Scruggs cases. Tom
and his wife Susan reside in Oxford, Mississippi.