Greetings one and all! Yes, I'm still alive.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will visit Mississippi in late February and take part in the opening of the "The Glory of Baroque Dresden" art exhibit in Jackson. There's a joke to be made here, but for the life of me, I can't think of one.
Emily Pettus in the Clarion-Ledger asks "Will GOP pick a challenger to Rep. Taylor?" Democrat Gene Taylor, US Representative from the 4th District, has been in office since a special election in 1989. The GOP has tried throwing challengers at him for years, but Taylor is conservative enough (American Conservative Union Lifetime Rating of 70) for the Republican leaning Gulf Coast district (this area has once represented by Trent Lott while he was Congressman). As long as Taylor doesn't moving to far to the Left, he'll own that seat until he retires. However, there's some signs that he's migrating to the Left side of the political spectrum. Pettus's article quotes him from his appearance at a Wes Clark rally in MS where the Congressman made some harsh remarks about the Bush Administration, including this potshot, "When George Bush was chasing girls at Yale, Wesley Clark was chasing Viet Cong in Vietnam." The National Republican Congressional Committee has released a rather sarcastic press statement in response to Taylor's endorsement of Clark. Considering how heavily the counties in his district went for Bush in 2000, including the heavily populated GOP strongholds of Jackson and Harrison counties, Taylor's making of disparaging remarks of a President that's popular with his constituents in a Presidental election year may not be the smartest thing to do.
Citizens of Mississippi beware: The State Legislature is back in session.
Driving on Highway 82 from Leland to Greenville, I noticed a billboard for one of the riverboat casinos that bragged "Voted the #1 Casino in Greenville!" Considering that there are only two casinos in Greenville, that's not a hard feat to achieve. Just give out slightly more free drinks than the other one, and badda-bing, you're #1.
Speaking of Greenville, the first black mayor of Greenville, Heather McTeer Hudson was sworn in on Tuesday. She's also the first woman and at the age of 27, she's the youngest. She defeated 2-term incumbent Democrat Paul Artman in the October primary, and crushed two independent candidates, one of whom withdrew from the race.
Jess Dickinson was sworn in as the new associate justice on the state supreme court. He defeated incumbent Chuck McRae in the November 2002 general election. Yes, I said November 2002; for some reason that makes sense to no-one, there's a 14 month wait between the election and the swearing-in of Supreme Court judges.