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 or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett


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Shallow and Profound


BY: Oswald Chambers

Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. —1 Corinthians 10:31

Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound. We sometimes refuse to be shallow, not out of our deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress other people with the fact that we are not shallow. This is a sure sign of spiritual pride. We must be careful, for this is how contempt for others is produced in our lives. And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than we are. Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby.

To be shallow is not a sign of being sinful, nor is shallowness an indication that there is no depth to your life at all— the ocean has a shore. Even the shallow things of life, such as eating and drinking, walking and talking, are ordained by God. These are all things our Lord did. He did them as the Son of God, and He said, “A disciple is not above his teacher…” (Matthew 10:24).

We are safeguarded by the shallow things of life. We have to live the surface, commonsense life in a commonsense way. Then when God gives us the deeper things, they are obviously separated from the shallow concerns. Never show the depth of your life to anyone but God. We are so nauseatingly serious, so desperately interested in our own character and reputation, we refuse to behave like Christians in the shallow concerns of life.

Make a determination to take no one seriously except God. You may find that the first person you must be the most critical with, as being the greatest fraud you have ever known, is yourself.

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Democrat wins tie-breaker for House seat, Republican files appeal. 


To break a tie from a Nov. 3 state House election, 20-year Democratic incumbent Bo Eaton and Republican challenger Mark Tullos met in the governor’s crowded conference room on the 19th floor of a state office building to carry out the archaic procedure prescribed in state law – they drew straws.

Eaton, listed first on the ballot, reached into a red canvas bag and pulled out one of two silver-plated business card boxes engraved with the word “Mississippi.” Tullos pulled out the other padded box, and the two men opened them.

Eaton’s box held the winner – a 3-inch green plastic straw. Tullos’ had a 2-inch red straw.

With his victory, Eaton blocks the GOP from having a supermajority in the House, a three-fifths margin that would have allowed Republicans, in theory, to make multimillion-dollar decisions about taxes without seeking help from Democrats.

“There’s always happiness in a good crop year,” Eaton, a farmer from Taylorsville, said after winning.

Tullos showed no emotion. He shook hands with Eaton and left the room without speaking to reporters.

The fight isn’t over. Tullos, an attorney from Raleigh, said before the drawing that if he lost, he intended to ask the House to seat him in January as the winner because he questions whether votes were counted fairly. He had already filed an appeal by Friday.

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DECOITO: Mississippi lawmakers should set sights on asset forfeiture reform


BY: Katherine DeCoito

I live in the greatest nation on the planet. America is traditionally known for freedom and prosperity. Land of the free and home of the brave and all that, right?

So, naturally, when I began to read story after story of civil asset forfeiture, my initial reaction was disbelief. Surely, this doesn’t happen here in my country and if my country, then surely not my state. The police can’t just take your property and keep it, right?


Civil asset forfeiture gives our police the ability to confiscate personal property without ever charging or convicting you of a crime. The real kicker and potential for corruption comes from the fact that police departments stand to profit from these confiscations. Human nature, being flawed as it is, predictably fails at some point in situations where financial profit is involved. The inclination towards the lure of financial gain causes some police forces to make decisions based on that gain rather than the safety of the community.

For example, since drug money can be seized, a police force may set up busts for drug money coming out instead of drugs coming in. Many police forces proudly boast about their seized funds and goods. My issue with this subject has nothing to do with sympathy for actual criminals, but rather, the loss of freedom that is felt by all. 

The notion that our property is guilty until proven innocent and can be taken without a warrant or any type of due process is egregious, at best. The police take your belongings, and whether you are guilty or not, it is now up to you to spend large sums of money to prove your innocence and go through the lengthy, and many times unsuccessful, process of getting back your personal property.

Mississippi is not immune to the potential for abuse as it received a D-plus rating on this topic from the Libertarian group, The Institute for Justice.  

While these laws, like many others, started with good intentions, the flaws have been exposed and it is time for reform. We cannot allow such potential for corruption. Our freedoms should be protected and valued by all, and civil asset forfeiture is a gross violation of those freedoms.

While some states like New Mexico are now revisiting civil asset forfeiture and making changes, Mississippi seems to be waiting around to come in last, yet again. Let’s protect the freedom of Mississippians and alter our laws to do so, sooner rather than later.

Katherine DeCoito is a wife and mother of four, and was a candidate for State Senate in the 2015 GOP primary. She is an active member of the community and lifelong Gulf Coast resident. She and husband David are small business owners in Gulfport. 



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