- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

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July 27

The Greenwood Commonwealth on federal funds that Mississippi uses:

Louisiana has barely edged Mississippi out as the state most dependent on the federal government to keep its state government in operation.

Probably the only thing that kept Mississippi out of the top spot was the nonsensical decision of its Republican leadership to reject billions of dollars in federal help that would have extended Medicaid coverage to the working poor.

According to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, 42.1 percent of all of Mississippi’s state revenue came from allocations from Washington in fiscal year 2015, the latest year tabulated. Louisiana was slightly higher at 42.2 percent.

Mississippi’s dependence on the federal government is nothing new. For decades, this state has received much more back in federal funding than it has paid in federal taxes, even while its conservative politicians rail against Washington and its intervention in state affairs.

This is one of the great philosophical contradictions in Mississippi. While many residents complain about the federal government spending too much (which it does, as evidenced by annual deficits of hundreds of billions of dollars), they also elect representatives to Congress based heavily on how much money they can steer from Washington back to their home state. It’s like we put out one hand asking for Washington to fill it, while slapping the nation’s capital with the other.

The Pew study also included one other revealing statistic about Mississippi’s finances. Federal appropriations account for about the same percentage of state revenue as do state taxes. That would suggest, as have other statistical comparisons, that those in state government who claim that

Mississippians are too heavily taxed are peddling a falsehood. And when they use that misperception to cut taxes, as the GOP leadership has, what they are doing is making this state even more dependent on Washington to keep Mississippi afloat.

Online: https://www.gwcommonwealth.com/

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July 28

The Picayune Item on different aspects of the justice system:

Most law-abiding citizens will never know what it’s like to spend time in jail, unless the unthinkable happens.

Such a scenario could occur if you are wrongly convicted of a crime or are later determined to not be fit to stand trial.

We like to think our justice system is good enough that things like that rarely occur, if at all.

But, they do.

Just ask a Kansas man recently released from jail after losing 17 years of his life serving time for a crime he didn’t commit.

Apparently, even though he had a solid alibi, of which several people confirmed during the trial, the jury sent him away for 19 years.

The worst part?

He won’t be compensated for that lost time because Kansas does not have compensation laws for the wrongfully convicted.

Here in Mississippi, a man who shot his father, and went on a crime spree in 2005 that involved carjacking and stabbing a man and taking law enforcement officials on a chase that led to three deputies being injured will now be released.

This comes after he spent 11 of his years in jail.

This case is different.

His release is based on a schizophrenia diagnosis, leading to the justice system dropping all of the 11 counts against him because the diagnosis makes him incompetent to stand trial.

He will now be released, according to coverage by the Associated Press

These are just two aspects of the justice system that need to be reworked to ensure they don’t happen again.

Online: https://www.picayuneitem.com/

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July 29

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze:

If you’ve been living under a rock on the moon, you might not have heard that University of Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze is out of the job for what university officials call “a pattern of personal misconduct.”

This comes after the discovery of a one-minute phone call made from Freeze’s university-issued cell to a number linked to a female escort service.

The world of football, both collegiate and professional, is rife with its heroes, villains and hypocrites. Yearly, it seems, the misconduct of coaches and players of high school, college and professional teams top the year before. Each year, the victims of this misconduct are swept under the rug, if not dragged through the mud of public scrutiny. In general, as more data comes to light about concussion damage among football players of all levels and ages, even the notion of “for love of the game” is losing its luster.

The fall of Freeze is particularly wounding, as Freeze is a self-asserted paragon of the Southern, Christian family man. By portraying himself as such a figure, a rock of faith in the tumult and scandal of America’s college sports industry, he insinuated he was above reproach and temptation.

That may be going too far, but not much too far. To hear former linebackers coach Tom Allen tell it, Freeze said in his interview for the Ole Miss coaching job, “Jesus Christ will be at the center of it all. if that’s not what you want, I’m not your guy.”

To some, that’s a less-than humble-statement; for others, perhaps it shows a man emboldened by faith and determined to do good. Whether Freeze was fraudulent from the beginning, or set out with good intentions and stumbled massively - we may never know.

More and more, people are scrutinizing the factors of nostalgia and the human cost of this beautiful brutal American game. But as Christians, what’s our part in this? Why are football and church so intertwined?

Are folks like Freeze are simply too good to be true? Perhaps in search of solid role models for our children, we have made idols out of mere men. We expect for these men to champion Christian values, and do the work that has been set before our own individual feet. Maybe we subconsciously know these figures will fall, and we’ll feel better about ourselves and our own shortcomings.

Maybe it’s time to re-tool what makes a good role model. Maybe, instead of looking up to perfect-seeming people, we should look up to people who struggle nobly, who try with integrity to better their human nature, the human nature we all share. Maybe we should encourage our children to be honest, even when it’s ugly, instead of training them to keep up appearances.

No one is immune to temptation, and we should quit expecting as such. Only one holds claim to that crown - Jesus Christ.

Online: https://www.djournal.com/


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