Monthly Archives: February 2012

How a federal judge determined who was my friend.

February 29, 2012

Several years ago I was summoned to the local federal court for jury duty. On the appointed day I sat in the jury box for the “voir dire,” a legal term that refers to preliminary examination of prospective jurors to determine their qualifications and suitability to serve on a jury. I knew that I would not be selected because I had been in law enforcement in the past and because I knew one of the attorneys in the case. When the judge asked if any prospective jurors knew either of the attorneys I raised my hand. The judge, a man who had served in that capacity for many years, asked which attorney I knew. I replied accordingly, and then he asked if the attorney and I were good friends or merely acquaintances. I said that we were “a little bit of both” at which point he asked a very interesting question.

“Have you ever been to his home for dinner, or has he ever been to your home for dinner?”

I replied that neither he had been to my home nor had I been to his. The judge nodded, and then moved on to question the next prospective juror. As I thought about the judge’s question I realized what he meant. From his perspective, friends visited with each other in their homes while acquaintances did not necessarily do so. He was of an age and background where people socialized in their homes.

Times have changed. Although friends may visit each others’ homes for meals the custom now is to go out to a restaurant for dinner. There are many reasons for this. In today’s world there are more working couples, more restaurants, less social time, etc. Most people simply do not have dinner parties anymore.

MS Assn. of Partners in Education Announces 2012 Governor’s Award Winners

Mississippi’s school-community partnerships take center stage every year during the Governor’s Awards, presented by Mississippi Association of Partners in Education. The Governor’s Award recognizes creative, results-oriented partnerships that emphasize student achievement in reading, science and math, the arts, fitness and health, community involvement, and many other areas that are vital to academic enrichment.

The Governor’s Awards ceremony will be held March 21, 2011, during the MAPE-PREPS Conference at the Jackson Hilton. Please check back for updates on educational seminars, guest speakers, special presentations, and other events planned for the 2012 Conference. Congratulations to 2012 Partnership Winners!

2012 Governor’s Awards

Governor’s Award of Distinction: Watkins Elementary (Jackson) and Southern Farm Bureau, Blue Cross Blue Shield / Project Fit America, Jackson State University, Community Foundation of Greater Jackson, Junior League of Jackson, Laura Bush Foundation, Mississippi Recycling Coalition, Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, Home Depot, Entergy, Executive Women International and others

University Partnership Award: Sale Elementary International Studies Magnet (Columbus) and
Mississippi University for Women College of Education & Human Sciences
Claiborne County School District and Entergy
Cleveland School District and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation –
Centering on Recreation, Education, and Nutrition (C.O.R.E.) Nutrition Afterschool Program

Highland Elementary and Salvation Army, Mississippi National Guard Contractor
Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, City of Ridgeland
Louisville Municipal School District and Winston County Journal, East Central Community College,
Boys & Girls Club, Mississippi Scholars, City Officials, Winston County Librarian

McComb School District and the City of McComb, Black History Gallery,
Young People’s Project of McComb, McComb Youth Council NAACP, McComb Public Library

Pontotoc Middle School and Three Rivers Planning and Development District

Spann Elementary and Wisdom Foundation and Raising Canes Restaurant

2012 Partnership Excellence Awards

Brookhaven School District and Mississippi Scholars Program

George Elementary and Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Fondren Presbyterian Church
and Hinds County Sheriff‘s Department

Power APAC and Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre LLP

Newton Elementary and Crossroads Head Start Center

Newton Municipal School District and Central Mississippi Residential Center

N.R. Burger Middle School and N.R. Burger Middle School PTSA

Perkinston Elementary and Multiple Community Partners

Rowan Elementary and Crosspoint Church

Yazoo County High School and Mississippi Writing/Thinking Institute

10 Easy Things You Can Do To Improve Your Life Today

I ran across this blogpost by BA Expat and found it worthy of sharing.  I’ll list the headings of the 10 Easy Things, but check out his comments about each one.  Useful and inspiring.

1. Get rid of anything you haven’t worn in the past 2 months.

2. If something takes less than 2 minutes to do, do it immediately.

3. Schedule a dinner with a group of 5 or more friends.

4. Make a donation.

5. Practice saying “no.”

6. Stop sending open ended emails.

7. Use self-scheduling software.

8. Start one day per week off right.

9. Know your instrument.

10. Do your work in order of descending difficulty.


Thoughts on South Mississippi’s seeking “fairness and parity” in economic development.

February 13, 2012

According to a February 2, 2012  article in the SunHerald there is an effort to make sure that, “it is imperative that any economic development strategy for the state of Mississippi, including but not limited to, the choice for (MDA) executive director, prioritize the continued economic growth of the South Mississippi region.”  Governor Phil Bryant responded as follows:

“What I would love to see more of in South Mississippi is manufacturing,” Bryant said. “Tourism is doing great, but we could use more manufacturing. And we are reviewing the port to see if there are things we can do to help jump-start things there … I agree, we need to concentrate more on South Mississippi and the Gulf Coast, and if that’s not being done, then I want to know why.”

An article published on February 7, 2012 in the Natchez Democrat reports that, “A coalition of southern counties has formed to lobby for industry to come south, and (Representative Melanie) Sojourner said the group wants a representative from every county present at a press conference Feb. 13 to show unified support for the cause.”  The article went on to say:

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Development Authority is soon to hire a new director, and Sojourner said the northern portion of the state has a candidate they want. The southern part of the state would be at a disadvantage if they had no say in the selection, she said.  The supervisors adopted a resolution stating they would work together with other southern counties for economic development, and pledged their support for the cause.

What is ironic about the Natchez Democrat article is that it also reports that the Board of Supervisors were asked to adopt a resolution “… saying they would work with neighboring counties for the greater economic good.”

I confess that this issue left me wondering about really “working for the greater economic good.”  I understand the motives of the parties involved, and from their perspective their actions are admirable.  They look at north Mississippi and see big projects going there and wonder why their region does not see similar projects.  They now merely want to see that the Governor and the legislature are aware of that. It’s hard to question that.

Yet they may have unwittingly fallen into the trap of turfism while saying that they want to avoid turfism.   By the way, in a blog post by the Oral Health Coalitions of America (pardon the pun) “Turf-ism” is defined by Peck and Hague as the non-cooperation or conflict between organizations with seemingly common goals or interests. Issues of turf are typically best understood through a ‘battle’ metaphor where two sides are vying for control and ownership but only one can be victorious.

Turfism is quite common, and the above issue illustrates that it can become quite hypocritical.  Local loaders want to work with an adjoining county, region, state or even nation when they know that it can benefit them.  But if there is a perception that there is no – or less – benefit to them then attention must be drawn to that fact to higher leaders.  Individual states seem to be always telling Washington that they” just want their fair share.”  Unfortunately, major economic development projects do not work that way.  It is the prospect/client who determines where a project will be located based on the needs of that prospect/client, not the needs of local communities.  The Mississippi Development Authority does not have the option to spread projects around so that communities get their “fair share.”

Finally, it does not matter where the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority(MDA) is from. He or she is to work for the good of the entire state.  And just for the record, the head of the MDA under former Governor Haley Barbour’s administration was previously the head of the economic development agency in Hattiesburg, which is located in south Mississippi.

It should be an interesting press conference today.

We hear words, but we think in images – a Boeing aircraft example.

When I’m facilitating a retreat for a community I often conduct a little exercise that begins with the question, “If your city was a person, what would it be like?”  It’s a way of demonstrating that inanimate things have human characteristics in the eye of the beholder.   Here’s a good example of how someone describes various Boeing aircraft as if they were people:

Meet the Boeing family of wide body jetliners

She is drop-dead gorgeous, she has all the “right” friends, and all the boys want to date her. She loves spending time at the spa, and she is addicted to social media. Predictably, she is a drama queen. Every little problem gets blown out of proportion, resulting in tears and tantrums. She has an attitude of entitlement, believing that everyone exists to serve her needs and desires.

767: He isn’t terribly smart, or good-looking, or popular, or talented. He is a little clumsy and socially awkward. Though he is a diligent and reliable worker, his only real option for the future is to go into the military, because frankly he has little prospect of finding employment in the private sector. But bless his heart, we love and adore him.

777: He’s the family overachiever. Eagle Scout, 4.0 average, captain of the football team, scholarship offers flowing in, a gorgeous and smart girl friend. He wonders to himself how he could possibly be related to this cast of characters, and secretly wishes he weren’t.

747: Quiet and studious, she tends to keep to herself. She’s a bit heavy and has a touch of asthma. She seems wise beyond her years, and is burdened by an unspoken sadness. Yet she is unfailingly loyal and will go to the wall for you. Others would do the same for her in an instant.

Taken from