WILSON: Mississippi Brewers want to relax regulation of on-site sales 

BY: Steve Wilson | Watchdog.org


Mirroring a trend nationwide, the industry has grown from one microbrewery in 2003 — Lazy Magnolia in Kiln — to seven statewide, but that’s still the lowest per-capita of the 50 states. According to the Brewers Association — a Boulder, Colorado-based trade organization for craft brewers, home brewers and distributors — a microbrewery is defined as a brewery that produces fewer than 15,000 barrels per year, with 75 percent of production for sale off-site.
While overall beer sales increased only 0.5 percent in 2014, microbreweries account for 17.6 percent of the increase — despite accounting for only 11 percent of all beer production in the U.S.

Mississippi is one of two states that have a clear ban on on-site sales for microbrewers; Georgia is the other. According to Brewers Association economist Bart Watson, these laws — an outgrowth of the post-Prohibition regulatory climate — are unnecessary today.

“A lot of the blame pre-Prohibition was placed on what were known as pint houses,” Watson said. “These were locations that were either owned by or commonly controlled by large out-of-state breweries. There was a perception that these breweries didn’t care about their local communities and were just pushing beer into them without worrying about the ills they’d cause in the local communities.”

This led to what Watson called the three-tier system, which consists of producers, who can only sell to independent distributors, who then sell to retailers. Mississippi has some of the most restrictive regulations on distribution, as local brewers have few options for breaking their contract with a distributor, even for cause. No entity can have a financial interest in the success of an entity in the other two tiers. According to the Brewers Association, North Carolina and Texas have eased their regulations on distribution contracts and have thus seen their number of microbreweries increase 23 percent.

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MS Elected officials look for ways to cut taxes in 2016.  


In an email to supporters, Parents Campaign Executive Director Nancy Loome, who lobbies for full funding of public education, said, “Each year, the Mississippi Legislature exempts corporations from paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes they should owe our state. Now all state services, including schools, could find their budgets on the chopping block as revenue comes up short.”

More than $300 million in tax breaks and tax credits were approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Bryant during the last four-year term.

These included changing the method of calculating taxes for businesses, which is estimated to save them about $100 million, providing sales tax breaks for developers to build malls and providing a sales tax holiday for the purchase of hunting equipment.

The largest of the tax breaks is a reduction in the tax on business’s inventory, which is estimated to have a $126 million impact on the state general fund for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

But the impact of most of the legislation passed during the last four years is unknown – meaning Department of Revenue officials were unable to estimate the impact it would have on state revenue collections. The impact of most of those tax cuts, such as exempting the sales tax on certain fuels for airplane use, is expected to be minimal. But many have said passing multiple bills that have a minimal impact on revenue eventually adds up to a significant impact.

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The Supremacy of Jesus Christ

BY: Oswald Chambers


He will glorify Me… —John 16:14

The holiness movements of today have none of the rugged reality of the New Testament about them. There is nothing about them that needs the death of Jesus Christ. All that is required is a pious atmosphere, prayer, and devotion. This type of experience is not supernatural nor miraculous. It did not cost the sufferings of God, nor is it stained with “the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:11). It is not marked or sealed by the Holy Spirit as being genuine, and it has no visual sign that causes people to exclaim with awe and wonder, “That is the work of God Almighty!” Yet the New Testament is about the work of God and nothing else.

The New Testament example of the Christian experience is that of a personal, passionate devotion to the Person of Jesus Christ. Every other kind of so-called Christian experience is detached from the Person of Jesus. There is no regeneration— no being born again into the kingdom in which Christ lives and reigns supreme. There is only the idea that He is our pattern. In the New Testament Jesus Christ is the Savior long before He is the pattern. Today He is being portrayed as the figurehead of a religion— a mere example. He is that, but He is infinitely more. He is salvation itself; He is the gospel of God!

Jesus said, “…when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,…He will glorify Me…” (John 16:13-14). When I commit myself to the revealed truth of the New Testament, I receive from God the gift of the Holy Spirit, who then begins interpreting to me what Jesus did. The Spirit of God does in me internally all that Jesus Christ did for me externally.

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Sen. Sojourner commends observers for coming forward in Franklin County; Dearing confident poll workers did nothing wrong. 


(Senator Melanie) Sojourner said she is proud the poll watchers have come forward to ensure integrity in the election process.

“If voters can’t trust an election, how can they trust anything we do as a government or as elected officials,” she said.  

Sojourner said she has not decided if she will officially challenge the results of the election.

“Look, I don’t have any desire whatsoever to drag myself or my family or Sen. Dearing and his family through some long-drawn out (process),” Sojourner said. “But my first obligation is to the integrity of the system.”

Dearing said he is confident in the competency of Franklin County election officials.

“Honestly, I have all the confidence that the election officials have done nothing wrong,” he said.

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DOMENECH: Give Thanks


BY: Benjamin Domenech

It is difficult to give thanks in a time that seems so dark. War, terror, and genocide stalk nearly every corner of the globe. The insecurity we felt after 9/11 is amplified by the fears, for the first time in a generation, of great-power war — or even world war. China is run by authoritarian kleptocrats. Latin America is run by criminal gangs. Russia is run by a revanchist tyrant. Europe is run by a discredited and feeble gerontocracy in deep denial over reality. And the Middle East is run by fanatical killers who will gladly provide the sparks that light the whole thing ablaze.

Then there are these United States. America too is governed by fools, and the people know it – the political phenomena of the past few months bears this out. Americans do not trust their government to get anything right – to pay the bills, to respond to hurricanes, to analyze intelligence, to hold to red lines, to build websites – and certainly not to tell the good refugee from the bad. The personality to come along and give voice to these concerns of total fecklessness and incompetence at the highest levels is thriving. At least he recognizes BS for what it is, and calls it like it is, even if he himself is the highest ranking BSer in the land.

Yet we Americans should be thankful, very thankful, for our place within the world. Thanksgiving serves as a reminder that for us today, compared to the history of our country and the planet, all the problems of modern America are rich people problems. A lot of our problems are problems of choice. We have human and social capital and natural resources in great abundance that we simply choose not to use.

Tomorrow blue collar working stiffs across the country are going to eat feasts that would put all but a handful of emperors in history to shame. The United States in 2015 is still the envy not only of every country in the world but every country in history. Our controversies are the controversies of a nation that has prospered to an unbelievable degree. Our policy questions are more about how to make almost universal educations and benefits that were once reserved for royalty.

Yes, the status quo is broken. Yes, we are ruled by idiots. Yes, there is corruption and mismanagement and very real despair. But anyone wondering what to be thankful for just ought to look around. Go to an American grocery store on Wednesday, a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and then a mall on Friday, and then think on the fact that most of the country thinks we’re in a recession and headed on the wrong track. Be thankful that our biggest problem is an isolated authoritarian who is nonetheless term limited and checked by constitutional counterweights. Compared to surviving a winter barely living indoors, and eating only what you can kill, we are doing rather well.

The rest of the world still has many millions of people who live in such poverty. Homeless and hopeless, life for them is little changed from the dark old days of warlords and scimitars. Things are very dark in far too many corners of the earth.

But there, too, we can have hope. Our current leadership may not grasp the indispensability of America to the world — but Americans do. We did not seek the charge to stand against the foes of civilization and freedom. We never do. But we will do the job when the job comes to us. America is not without her faults. But it has within its people a stoic spirit that for all the weaknesses of an era of soft heads and hearts is still firm as iron. When the world is at its worst, we are at our best. 

So let us be thankful for this: that we are incredibly fortunate to be Americans. We have good fortune to live in these times, dumb as they are. We have the luck to be born at a time in history when anyone can prosper and thrive. We have the blessing and the privilege, whether born to deep roots or newly arrived from strange lands, of being the greatest people in the history of the man.

The world is dark. But there is a light in the darkness, and it is us. 

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Franklin County poll workers arrested for election fraud. 

The McComb Enterprise Journal reports: 

Five Franklin County pollworkers face charges accusing them of election fraud during the Nov. 3 general election at the Bude precinct.

Sheriff James Newman said Circuit Judge Forrest “Al” Johnson issued warrants for their arrests on Friday, and all five posted $100 bond that same day to be released from the county jail.

Charged were Ann Reed, 59, of Meadville, Margie McNair, 61, of Bude, Dona Jones, 66, of Meadville. They are all accused of violating a state elections law forbidding “dishonest decisions by managers” of polling places “concerning qualifications of voters.”

The women allegedly did not check voter qualifications, according to Anita Leonard, a Republican Party poll watcher who is one of two people who filed the charges.

State law says if an election manager knowingly permits an unqualified person to vote or prohibits a qualified person from voting, the manager may face jail time of up to three months, a fine of up to $200 or both.

Also facing charges are Prentiss Harris, 65, and Gloria Smith, 67, both of Bude, for allegedly breaking a state law that says an election officer who aids or influences a voter in preparing a ballot may be fined no less than $10 and no more than $200.

All of the women were working the Bude precinct on Election Day.

Leonard and Carl Cupit, both Republican Party observers at the precinct, filed the charges on Nov. 13.

Leonard said earlier this month that she saw pollworkers going beyond what is allowed in helping voters.

Leonard also alleged that the pollworkers weren’t properly checking voters’ identification.
The alleged discrepancies in the Bude precinct come as Sen. Melanie Sojourner, R-Natchez, gets ready to examine ballot boxes in Franklin and Adams County in her close loss to Bob Dearing in the Senate District 37 race.

Dearing, a Democrat who held the seat for 32 years before Sojourner defeated him four years ago, won his seat back from Sojourner by a 62-vote margin.

Dearing carried Adams and Franklin counties in the general election earlier this month.

And it’s unclear whether the allegations of wrongdoing at the Bude precinct are the reason why Franklin County elections officials said they intend to hand count paper ballots that will be cast in Tuesday’s runoff for the 4th District Chancery Court judge seat.


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PLUNKETT: James Hull’s commentary is a descent into cultural bigotry.

BY: B. Keith Plunkett | UCF Staff   @Keithplunkett

In a commentary published in the Daily Journal on Sunday, Tupelo area media consultant, pastor and community organizer James Hull resorts to blind cultural bigotry as a means to attack what he calls intolerance. He concludes by giving himself a giant pat-on-the-back for exercising such “courage”.

Hull’s polemic settles on his chosen culprit by finding that the “voices and spirits” of diversity and “racial sensitivity” in Mississippi from 30 years ago have been, in his estimation, “drowned out by the extreme roar of conservatism.”

He opines without reference to proof that “the issues of racial marginalization, discrimination and animus continue to be real in Mississippi, perpetrated by a strong and powerful Conservative movement, while Moderates and Progressives – black and white, Republican and Democrat – remain silent.”

Hull, apparently unaware of the irony and again without providing a single example, finds that “Mississippi’s growing black middle class remains silent in the face of racial hostilities and slights they experience everyday in their own organizations”; that they do so because they fear they will “jeopardize” their “individual gains”; and that middle class whites “remain silent” to the practice because they are “afraid to risk their social standing and class privilege”.

Perhaps Mr. Hull would like to provide evidence as to how Mississippi’s black middle class is growing while also simultaneously experiencing such intense “racial hostility”.

Perhaps, not.

In passing judgement on “conservatism” as the cause of racial indifference, Hull projects his own bigotry by reaching conclusions he doesn’t support with evidence, nor does he honestly portray any understanding of the principles behind that which he attacks. His finding that conservatism is merely about “dismantling government” and “pushing a narrow ‘up-by-your-bootstraps’ agenda” is at best an over-simplification by someone who hasn’t done much, if any, research; at worst it’s an attempt to demonize absent demonstration.

Conservatism isn’t a political ideology. It is a social contract. It is individuals working together to positively affect their community with the knowledge of what has and hasn’t worked in the past and an eye towards creating a better place for future generations. It is knowing history and working to keep what is best about our culture and society intact, while recognizing and fostering generational innovation.

Mr. Hull is partially correct in his simplified explanation of conservatives desire for less government. However, he misses completely the other side of the equation which requires that as government power is decentralized and reduced people must necessarily step forward and work together towards our own community solutions.

In fact, if Mr. Hull studied in order to understand conservatism, he would find he himself holds a degree of conservative thought. At least, he did.

He alluded to it only a year ago when he wrote “most of our societal differences are no longer racial but cultural” and “cultural ignorance creates fear.” Conservatives would absolutely agree with this assessment.

Maybe Mr. Hull should rather welcome doing what he said was sorely needed in 2014.  His call to action then was for more citizens to “share in the responsibility of keeping their communities safer.”

Demonizing a person or a group of people as he does today without first attempting to understand their motivations flies in the face of his previously stated position. The words and actions of Mr. Hull today are those that Mr. Hull of 2014 claimed to despise.

No, Mr. Hull. Conservatism is not racist. It is not intolerant. It is empowering at the level of community where we are most likely to successfully work together across racial and class divides.

Rather than sit back and throw bombs from the cheap seats of political favoritism and ignorance, Mr. Hull should embrace understanding, local participation and involvement of everyone as a positive step in the right direction. One might think from the resume he shares with readers that would be his goal, and certainly that is what he promoted a year ago.

Might there be a few disagreements along the way as to the best solution to any given problem by encouraging more localized control and action? Probably so. But at the bare minimum Mr. Hull should have enough character and honor to get to know the people he claims to disagree with instead of resorting to blind cultural and political bigotry at the outset.

Hull writes: “We cannot expect the purveyors and perpetrators of racism, prejudice and exclusion to stand against the very things in which they so fervently believe.”

Indeed. Where’s your mirror, sir? You appear to have something in your eye.

Keith Plunkett is the Policy and Communications Director for the United Conservatives Fund. He has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, government agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by email at keith@unitedconservativesfund.com or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett


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