Greg Harper holds teleconference meeting on stimulus bill

I joined a conference call this evening with Rep Greg Harper, MS 3rd. It was unsolicited, and unexpected, and I joined the call in progress about 5 minutes after the start.

The topic of the call was the Stimulus Bill. According to Greg, the Dem leadership still hasn’t provided a copy of the bill for members to read, even though the vote is scheduled for tomorrow at 9 AM.

The largest single spending bill in the history of the Republic, and members are supposed to vote on it without examining it. This in spite of the fact that one of the hopey-changey promises was that all bills would be posted to the internet for 48 hours prior to any vote.

So much for transparency.

After hitting all of the hot-button pork issues like Pelosi’s $30 million mouse program, the golf cart program, Harry Reid’s Las Vegas junket train, multi-million dollar STD prevention plans, and striking just the right populist stance by railing against Wall Street excesses, Harper announced that he intended to vote against the bill.

A quick telephone poll of the almost 7500 listeners was solidly against, 76-24.

Greg fielded several questions from the listeners, one from an owner of a trucking company, another from a women in Natchez, another from a doctor in McComb. The doctor brought up the topic of the Health Czar, and wondered about the increase in regulations. Harper said that the health provisions in the bill was a large step toward socialized medicine. Tammy from Foxworth mentioned that “many people down here are losing their homes,” and then started going on about her own personal situation. I thought for a minute she was going to do a henrietta hughes” and ask for a new kitchen and car, but Harper cut her off nicely, and invited her to call his Pearl, MS office and discuss the issue in more detail later.

Harper said that the tax cut provisions in the bill were “laughable”, and described the bill itself as “a disaster.”

Much of the conversation was preaching to the choir. Jim from Brookhaven asked a great question about unfunded mandates hidden in the bill, especially with regards to the bill’s provisions for an extension of unemployment benefits and the required-but-unfunded increase in benefits. Although Harper didn’t know the answer to his question, he pivoted nicely, and proved to be quick on his feet, falling back on an old story about Ronald Reagan.

I don’t know how often Harper plans to do this or if this was a one-time thing. But, I’ve got to give Greg Harper props for the reach-out effort.

Nice job.

cross-posted at Nuke’s

more: Harper expresses reservations about the Census

DeLaughter indicted, pleads not guilty

Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bobby DeLaughter has pleaded not guilty to a five-count indictment in federal court in Oxford today.

Still awaiting news on former Hinds DA Ed Peters, and former Senator Trent Lott.

The Scruggs II saga continues …

more at folo

You might remember the movie “Ghosts of Mississippi” with Whoopi Goldberg as Myrlie Evers, and one of the Baldwin brothers as Bobby DeLaughter, in the story of the the murderer of Medgar Evers finally being brought to justice. Reporter Jerry Mitchell had a big role in the investigation, and in the movie. His report in the CL is here,

I’ve known of Bobby DeLaughter since my high school days at Wingfield. Gotta say, I’m shocked.

cross posted at Nuke’s

h/t Y’all Politics

Update: NYT has a nice writeup

Mississippi on my mind

I haven’t been down to Buddy’s on Delaware Avenue in a while, but after reading Paul Greenberg’s piece, I might just have to make a tamale run.

Enough of the New South; a longing for the old one had surfaced. As it regularly does. Come to think, is there anything older than the succession of New Souths that mark our ever recurring past in these fecund latitudes? Shiny New Souths just keep coming ’round and ’round-like the same garish motel you keep passing when, lost on some freeway in Atlanta or Dallas, you realize you’ve been going in circles.

The illusion arises in every generation: At last we’re going to be a nation like all other nations! The next big thing will finally free us from the dead hand of the past-from our choking Southernness. Industrialization, that was going to be the ticket! Or maybe truck farming. Then education-or at least technical training. Racial Integration! Air-conditioning! High-tech corridors! Name your shiny cure-all that will change everything.

But the more we changed, the more Southern we longed to be. There may not always be an England, but I’m beginning to suspect there’ll always be a South. Why else this sudden, inexplicable, atavistic yen to head for the Delta, cross The River, and rest under the shade of the trees?

NOW, AS the latest Ponzi schemes peel away, the Southerner experiences a familiar, dizzying sensation of deja vu. Haven’t we been here before? Isn’t this where we came in? There is a sweet familiarity to the slow dissolution of all that empty optimism. We won’t miss it. For when the blues begin to set in, the Southerner’s immediate reaction is to savor them, drown in them, exult in them. Oh, the troubles we seen! And are seeing. And we confess there is no health in us.

We rush to embrace disillusion like an old friend, like a witches’ brew we’ve developed a thirst for. After all that bubbly champagne that we never trusted anyway, we go looking for cheap bourbon, for the good old kick in the gut of Early Times. And head out for the Delta. For the mother warmth of home.

Like the Calvinists we’ve always been in the depths of our souls, we wallow in the evidence of our natural depravity. Our world hasn’t changed after all. There is something assuring about the realization. We can stop faking modernity, confess our sins, and return to our roots. What a relief.

At times like these, we want a taste of Mississippi and ruin. Just to restore perspective, to get back in touch with the patience and long view that only defeat can give a people. Of course Yankees don’t remember The War. Why should they? They won.

An excerpt really doesn’t do justice to this fine piece. Please, read it all.

(h/t n2l)

TARP money

Fox has published a list of banks receiving TARP money. It includes Regions Bank.

None of the other retail banks in the McComb area are on the list as of 1/31/09.

Bank of America Corporation
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation
Citigroup Inc.
The Goldman Sachs Group
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Morgan Stanley
State Street Corporation
Wells Fargo & Company
Bank of Commerce Holdings
1st FS Corporation
UCBH Holdings, Inc.
Northern Trust Corporation
SunTrust Banks, Inc.
Broadway Financial Corporation
Washington Federal Inc.
BB&T Corp.
Provident Bancshares Corp.
Umpqua Holdings Corp.
Comerica Inc.
Regions Financial Corp.

Continue reading

Daschle channels Steve Martin

Writing at NRO, Byron York poses the key unanswered question regarding the Daschle HHS nomination,

“… why it suddenly occurred to Daschle, in June 2008, that the car and driver he had been provided by a wealthy Democratic donor in 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 might count as income and thus be subject to taxes — taxes which Daschle had not paid.”

Daschle’s answer? “I forgot!” [cue Steve Martin tape].

You can be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes!!
You say.. “Steve.. how can I be a millionaire.. and never pay taxes?” First.. get a million dollars. Now.. you say, “Steve.. what do I say to the tax man when he comes to my door and says, ‘You.. have never paid taxes’?” Two simple words. Two simple words in the English language: “I forgot!” How many times do we let ourselves get into terrible situations because we don’t say “I forgot”?

Update: NYT editorial board calls for Daschle to withdraw