- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

May 26

The Greenwood (Mississippi) Commonwealth on Ole Miss getting capable interim:

Mississippi’s College Board may have begun to repair some of its credibility problems with Dan Jones supporters by appointing Morris Stocks interim chancellor at the University of Mississippi.

Stocks, who has been at Ole Miss since 1991, is currently the provost, a post generally considered to be the second-highest-ranking position on campus. Before that he was an accounting professor, dean of the highly regarded accounting school and senior vice chancellor for planning and operations.

Stocks obviously has the confidence of Jones who - while expressing sadness at leaving the university - applauded the appointment of Stocks in a statement last week.

Stocks knows the territory. He had assumed many of Jones’ responsibilities when the chancellor was undergoing treatment for lymphoma last year.

The system of a single board of trustees of Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning has come under intense scrutiny since the College Board voted not to renew Jones’ contract, reportedly over issues at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

The decision ignited a firestorm of protests from Jones supporters, and there are some who advocate changing the system to include governing boards for each institution.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss appears in good hands for the next several months. Naming an effective interim leader gives the board time to find an able replacement for Jones. According to board policy, the interim chancellor is not eligible to be considered.

The board and those named to make recommendations on the new chancellor obviously need to get it right. And they need to keep the proceedings more open to the public than has been the case in the hiring of university presidents over the past decade.




May 24

The Enterprise-Journal, McComb, Mississippi, on the lesson of Josh Duggar:

Last week’s news that Josh Duggar, the oldest child of cable television’s “19 Kids and Counting” family, was investigated for fondling at least five young girls when he was 14 years of age probably has caused some soul searching among the tough-on-crime crowd.

Some of them may say that people, especially a teenager, deserve a second chance.

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, for one, has said he still supports the large Duggar family. Huckabee, who like the Duggar family is from Arkansas, said Josh’s actions were inexcusable but not unforgivable, and that good people make mistakes.

Huckabee cannot be serious. If police reports from 2002-03 are accurate, Duggar was suspected of inappropriately touching girls, including four of his sisters, while they slept.

Even one such instance is inexcusable. But five indicates a serious problem.

Of course every teenager makes mistakes, gets corrected and learns from the experience. Most adults did something they regret when they were young.

But the typical teenage mistake would be something like drug or alcohol use, vandalism, petty theft or skipping school. Whatever the list of forgivable mistakes is, should it really include groping young girls?

Let’s put it this way: What parent among us, if their daughter came home from a sleepover and reported that she woke up to find her friend’s teenage brother had his hands all over her, would not go straight to the police? Not to mention going to the offender’s house to demand answers.

The son’s actions put his family-values parents in a spot. Ultimately they sent him to counseling and, after a period of time, reported the events to law enforcement. Josh Duggar was never charged with a crime, although it appears the case did get heard in Arkansas’ version of youth court, whose records are closed.

However, last week’s disclosure prompted Duggar to resign from his job at the Family Research Council, and it’s easy to see why. The FRC is a staunch advocate for traditional families and never would have hired Duggar had it known about this blot on his past.

A lot of the commentary fueled by last week’s news is coming from people who disagree with the Duggar family’s beliefs. The Internet is full of website and message boards that criticize the family for its home-schooling, society-rejecting, staunchly biblical ways. But any couple is entitled to raise its children in the manner it sees fit, so the online criticism is meaningless.

The Duggars surely have just as many fans as they do critics, otherwise The Learning Channel would not have been broadcasting shows about them for the past several years.

As it happens, TLC said Friday it would stop broadcasting the show for the time being.

The lesson is this:?If someone who mistreated young girls as a teenager deserves forgiveness and a second chance, then there are plenty of other sinners who do, too. We must all find the goodness in more people who make serious mistakes instead of condemning them.




May 24

Northeast Mississippi Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi, on an increase of women-owned firms:

Mississippi’s economic growth reports don’t often highlight the increasingly successful role of women-owned businesses, but positive facts from national statistics suggest our state has vast potential in two women-related growth sectors with reason to expect better results.

First, in late 2014, the Mississippi Business Journal reported that Mississippi is ranked in the Top 5 nationwide in growth of women-owned businesses.

Second, the growth in businesses owned by minority women, especially black women, suggests Mississippi, which has the largest proportion of the black population nationwide, is in a position to grow that potential in ways impossible in the era of segregation.

Women-owned businesses have been an ongoing American success story since 1997, according to five consecutive annual reports produced by American Express, which has high corporate stakes in the sector’s growth.

The study not only showed women starting their own businesses at an all-time high, but that those businesses tend to be more successful than businesses owned by men. That trend has continued since 1997.

Mississippi’s population is more than 51 percent female, and the African-American population is 38 percent of the total, according to yearly Census data.

The study examines data on startups, employment and profitability. It analyzes the information by state and metropolitan area, by industry and by race. It compares women-owned businesses to other privately held companies and to publicly held companies.

Women own about 30 percent of today’s businesses nationwide, employing almost 8 million people and representing $1.4 trillion in annual revenue. The most attention-grabbing trend was that the number of women-owned businesses grew at 1.5 times the rate of all other businesses with employment and revenue growth rising faster.

Geographically, the South is the focus for the percentage of all businesses started by women. The number of women-owned firms nationally has increased by 68 percent since 1997. The leading states are:

- Georgia, up 118 percent;

- Texas, up 98 percent;

- North Carolina, up 91 percent;

- Nevada, up 91 percent; and

- Mississippi, up 81 percent.

Another statistic shows that women-owned firms have added an estimated 274,000 jobs since 2007. Among men-owned and equally-owned firms, employment has declined over the past seven years.

The American Express report also shows that increasingly women of every ethnic background are owners. In 1997, just under 1 million firms were owned by non-Caucasian women, representing one in six (17 percent) of women-owned firms. Now, there are an estimated 3.1 million minority women-owned firms, representing one in three (33 percent)of women-owned firms.

Mississippi’s demographics present an opportunity to successfully build on national trends for women-owned firms and for minority-women-owned firms.



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