Why I’m Against the Mississippi Personhood Amendment

Yes, you read that title correctly. Now, before you go on a tirade and start calling me a Godless, baby killing son of a biscuit eater, allow me to tell you why I’m against Amendment 26.

The amendment as it is written is extremely vague. Granted a lot of it is open to interpretation and that is unfortunate. The way it’s written, birth control could be banned. In-vitro fertilization could be banned. Have a miscarriage? Some overzealous DA could cite the law as a means to charge the mother with some sort of crime.

Probably the most striking thing to me is that the group who’s pushing this idiocy outright says that a mother who is raped or conceives a child as the result of incest should be forced to carry the baby to term.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Personhood will prevent a baby conceived through rape or incest from being executed for the crime. Women who have borne a child conceived in rape testify that the baby is a blessing rather than a continuation of the assault, and placing the child for adoption remains an option. (source)

I was appalled when I read that. I don’t agree with abortion as a means of birth control. I hate abortion for such purposes. However, to tell a woman that she must carry a rapist’s baby is just as cruel as the hideous crime of rape itself.

I also resent this group does not identify itself. Who is Personhood Mississippi? No one really knows. If you look at their website (which you can see here), there is no information about their leadership, their office or anything else that may identify them. My guess is because it doesn’t exist. Personhood Mississippi appears to be an offshoot of Personhood USA. To me it sounds like outside people are coming into Mississippi and trying to influence our state constitution. I don’t know about you but that disturbs me.

In short this law is flawed and should not be allowed to pass as-is. But being a Mississippian, I know that the vast majority of my fellow Mississippians are going to vote yes. Most of them have no idea what the amendment actually says or what it covers, they only know it will “ban abortion.” It might be that their pastor told them to vote yes on amendment 26 or they’ll go to Hell (my take on politics from the pulpit  is a whole other rant). Most people will not even bother to look at what this amendment says and just take the word of whomever told them to vote for it. Blindly voting is one of the most idiotic things someone can do.

It should also be realized that this campaign is a waste of time. Anyone with half a brain knows that this will be challenged in the Supreme Court and that it will not stand.


9/11: Ten Years Later

It’s time I revived this blog. And what more appropriate way to revive it than to talk about one of the days I’ll never forget.


I’ll never forget any event of this day. From the moment I awoke to hear the news on the radio that something happened at the Twin Towers, to turning on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit, to seeing the panic around town of people who were fearing the worst at the gas pump, to crying while I was on the air that night and to going home and crying as I went to sleep. To say that 9/11 was a rotten for day – let alone anyone else – would be like saying a Mississippi Summer is just a tad warm.

9/11/01 sucked.

And now ten years have passed and as I look at where we’ve come from since that fateful day, I see progress. We came together as a nation that day in a way that had not been seen since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. A lot of that has gone away since, though, and we need to put aside out differences and concentrate on what’s really important. Our politicians need to stop playing the “mine’s bigger” game and do what’s right our country (who am I kidding? This will never happen). We also need to take care of the survivors of the attack – first responders and civilians – who suffer ill effects to this day. Bottom line: We have got to learn from the past and move forward.

I’ll be working a paramedic shift this 9/11 but I will remember my brothers and sisters in EMS, fire, law enforcement and the many others who perished that day. I will remember those who ran in to try and rescue them. I will remember how I and those around me felt that way and what we all experienced.

I will remember.


Letter To the Editor: Barbour’s Crusade against the Choctaws

(I emailed this to the editors of various newspapers in Mississippi in response to Governor Haley Barbour’s fight against the Choctaws’ plans to build a gaming facility on tribal land located in Jones County, Mississippi)

To the Editor:

Governor Haley Barbour’s crusade against the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians’ proposed Jones County “slot parlor” as he likes to call it has been well documented in the media.  One angle that the media has not taken that I would like to know about is what the Governor’s true intentions are.  I don’t think he has the interests of the environment or local and state infrastructure in mind.

What the Governor seems to forget is that the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is a sovereign, federally recognized Native American tribe.  As such, the way they conduct their affairs is none of the State of Mississippi’s business.  Governor Barbour asked Attorney General Jim Hood to find some legal means to stop the plans of the M.B.C.I., however Mr. Hood and his staff concluded that there is none.  Even with all of these matters factored in, Governor Barbour is continuing his plan to file suit against the tribe in an attempt to stop their gaming development.  Something smells rotten and I don’t mean the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

While I, as a mere citizen who is not part of the political machine, am in no position to make any outright accusation, I believe there are some dirty deeds being dealt by the casinos on the coast, the Mississippi River casinos and the Governor.  A recent blurb in the New York Post (“Bet on Gov. Barbour,” July 12, 2010) indicates that gaming mogul Steve Wynn (whose gaming company has operations on the Mississippi River) is encouraging Governor Barbour to campaign for the Republican nomination for President.  All of this seems mighty coincidental to me.

Mississippi is last in almost every quality of life statistic that is surveyed.  We have high unemployment, an education system that needs major improvement and we are dealing with the aftermath of the gulf oil spill, yet the Governor has the audacity to mount a fight against the Choctaws when he has no right to?  I implore the Mississippi Ethics Commission to launch an investigation of the Governor and his dealings with the gaming industry and also possible abuse of his gubernatorial power.

Jonathan Tullos

Stonewall, Mississippi

The End of an Era

Wow. I had no idea that Casey Kasem was about to sign off for the last time. I can remember hearing him on WJDQ (Q101)/Meridian, MS when I was a kid and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. What memories do you have of the real American Top 40? (thank to Rob McKenzie – I stole this from his blog).


“We began the weekend of July 4, 1970, and after 39 years this will be our final countdown,” Kasem said matter-of-factly on his “American Top 20” radio show over the weekend.

And so, with no hoopla and hardly any advance notice, the 77-year-old broadcasting legend counted down the hits one last time, quietly pulling the plug on a weekly ritual for his legion of loyal listeners.

It is, in many ways, the end of an era

Kasem was the last of the big-time DJs, a legacy that includes Alan Freed and Wolfman Jack, personalities who brought music to Americans when radio was king.

“Casey Kasem … Dick Clark … I really felt like these guys were a part of my family. You get this connection when you’re listening to them or when you’re watching them,” said Ryan Seacrest, who took the mic as host of Kasem’s signature “American Top 40” show five years ago. Kasem continued to host two spinoffs, “American Top 20” and “American Top 10.”

Kasem pioneered the countdown format on radio. He always included biographical details, little tidbits mainly, about the musicians. And there were those long-distance dedications, thousands of them, through the years.

Kasem also has voiced over countless commercials and given life to so many cartoon characters, most famously as the voice of Scooby-Doo’s faithful sidekick, Shaggy.

But it was his work as the king of countdowns that brought him a star, in 1981, on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and entry, in 1992, into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Jeannie Kasem said her husband ended “American Top 20” and “American Top 10,” both of which counted down adult contemporary music hits, because he wanted time to pursue other projects, including possibly writing a memoir.

Radical changes in the radio business also were a factor, associates said. Adult contemporary music charts no longer change much from week to week, in part because stations that play such music have adopted smaller and smaller playlists. That brought a degree of monotony to Kasem’s countdowns in recent years.

“I think it was probably a gradual process. Charts are changing, stations are changing, the networks are changing, radio itself is changing, and I think, you know, the pendulum swings back and forth,” Jeannie Kasem said.” You just have to be willing to jump ship and try something new.”

Kasem’s voice will not disappear from the airwaves entirely. Weekly rebroadcasts of his Top 40 programs from the 1970s and 1980s will air on more than 200 stations.

Kasem let the world know he was getting out of the countdown business through a brief, mostly overlooked, news release a few days ago.

“Hosting various versions of my countdown program has kept me extremely busy, and I loved every minute of it. However, this decision will free up time I need to focus on myriad other projects,” he said in the release. “The 70’s and 80’s versions of “American Top 40″ have experienced phenomenal station and audience growth over the last year and I’m sure they will continue to be successful.”

He has declined requests for interviews about his decision.

“He’s never been big on goodbyes or hellos,” his wife explained in an interview in their home in Holmby Hills, Calif. “He lets his work speak for himself.”

Kasem’s first No. 1 was “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by Three Dog Night. His last: “Second Chance,” by Shinedown.

The music changed, but Kasem never did.

“I’m Casey Kasem,” he said in his final sign-off. “Now, one more time, the words I’ve ended my show with since 1970: Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”