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MERIDIAN — Is Mississippi only pro-life when it’s easy? Or are we pro-life when it’s hard, too?

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STARKVILLE — The social media hysteria, threats of political retribution, and withering criticism of Mississippi senior U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s vote in favor of a resolution of disapproval for President Donald Trump’s Feb. 15 national emergency declaration aside, Wicker’s vote was the right one.

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JACKSON — Mississippi House members upped the ante last week on their Senate colleagues when they overwhelmingly voted to provide public school teachers a sizable $4,000 pay raise over two years.

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The college admissions cheating scandal has obviously hit a nerve. Every editorial cartoonist to which the Commonwealth subscribes has weighed in since the story broke, some more than once.

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MERIDIAN — “Half of Mississippi’s rural hospitals at risk of closing, report says,” read the startling headline in Mississippi Today.

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President Trump says his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen asked him for a pardon. But Cohen testified before Congress, “I have never asked for, nor would I accept, a pardon from Mr. Trump.”

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OXFORD — Five of us were relaxing around a table in the clubhouse after a recent round of golf when the conversation turned to a certain individual who obviously has some character flaws.

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NORTH CARROLLTON — My earliest memories growing up here in Carroll County was as a child playing in Big Sand Creek. As the creek makes its way through the countryside of Carroll County, there are many beautiful scenes. This I found at an early age. There is a lot of potential with the future…

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STARKVILLE — The 2019 Mississippi Republican primary for attorney general will pit three veteran GOP politicians against each other for the right to become Mississippi’s first GOP attorney general since George Emrick Harris in 1878.

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JACKSON — For 24 years, the speaker of the Mississippi House hailed from a district that included a portion of rural Prentiss County in northeast Mississippi — first Tim Ford for 16 years and then Billy McCoy for eight years.

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If you have access to more than the first two paragraphs of this column, I’m preaching to the choir.

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JACKSON — Earlier this year, President Trump signed into law The First Step Act, a first step toward criminal justice reform. The goal is to reduce the sky-high U.S. incarceration rate, which is five times higher than other developed countries in the world.

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JACKSON — In many ways, the 2003 gubernatorial campaign was the birth of the modern powerhouse Mississippi Republican Party.

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STARKVILLE – One of the more interesting political 11th-hour developments as the March 1 qualifying deadline approached came in the Mississippi secretary of state’s race with the surprising entry of incumbent Republican Southern District Public Service Commissioner Sam Britton into that GOP …

JACKSON — The Trump organization withdrew from a project to build a luxury hotel complex in Cleveland, but the local partner, Chawla Hotels, is full steam ahead on the 18-acre $20 million venture.

RIDGELAND — The Feb. 11 edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education carries two accounts of a white professor who was suspended by Augsburg University in Minnesota for using a racial epithet during an honors seminar.

MERIDIAN — “Governor’s race just got interesting,” read a text message the day after columnist Geoff Pender announced Bill Waller Jr. will enter the race.

OXFORD — Mississippi and New York City don’t have much in common, although there are enough Mississippi natives in the Big Apple to hold their own picnic in Central Park once a year.

Mississippi’s state employees are griping because they again may not get an across-the-board raise. Schoolteachers are griping because the raise they may get is less than they believe is deserved.

JACKSON — Interpersonal communication etiquette was a lot simpler back in the day. You had letters and face-to-face conversations. The biggest risk was somebody intercepting a private letter and malicious gossip.

MERIDIAN — Established in 1885 on Feb. 22. to venerate George Washington’s birthday, Presidents Day in 1971 was moved to the third Monday in February to accommodate three-day weekends for federal employees. It then morphed into a celebration of all presidents. Today it has morphed again into…

STARKVILLE — The expected highly partisan 2019 Mississippi gubernatorial battle between incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and incumbent Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood has been joined by Bill Waller Jr., who after running in nonpartisan judicial elections says he will run for go…

OXFORD — Now that there are three serious candidates in the Mississippi governor’s race, I wonder what the main campaign issues will be.

JACKSON — The prospect of a movie star eating at a local restaurant or a movie being filmed in your hometown is appealing to most people. Yet it shouldn’t be funded by taxpayers.

JACKSON — C Spire is spearheading a public-private partnership to build a beautiful 200-room resort and 1,000-seat conference center on a beautiful spring-fed lake in southwest Mississippi.

NORTH CARROLLTON — I found a photo the other day of a standing-room-only crowd at the Carroll County Courthouse in Carrollton. It was from the 1970s. There were many familiar faces from long ago, from all over Carroll County.

What would Adam Smith, the father of modern capitalism, think of capitalism in America today?

STARKVILLE – Change. In terms of Mississippi government, change isn’t merely coming — and we’re talking major changes — it’s in great measure already here and identifiable.

OXFORD — A great thing about the Christian faith is you’re not held accountable — at least in God’s eyes — for mistakes of 30 years ago if you have repented.

Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter, a lifelong advocate of advancing educational and job-training opportunities, has often repeated this simple but cogent observation: “The only road out of poverty and economic dependency runs past the schoolhouse door.”

OXFORD — I once wrote a column about a couple of things Harry Truman, the classic Democrat, and Donald Trump, the maverick Republican, have in common.

STARKVILLE — Almost 40 years of covering Mississippi government and politics suggest to me that an election year isn’t the best time to enact something as controversial as legalizing medical marijuana.

JACKSON — Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood could win the most votes on Nov. 5 for the office of governor and never get to spend one night in the Governor’s Mansion, thanks to a Republican-controlled Mississippi House of Representatives.

Moderation, although appreciated in some aspects of life such as imbibing in alcohol, gets short shrift in politics.

STARKVILLE — Mississippi 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson has been an unapologetic liberal on social issues for the whole of his long congressional career, and that stance has certainly applied to issues surrounding immigration.

JACKSON — The latest Millsaps College/Chism Strategies State of the State Survey has some interesting insights into the opinions of Mississippi voters.

COLUMBIA — The Mississippi Department of Education just published a 79-page document breaking down nearly every aspect of the state’s graduation rate. Rates by district, by students with disabilities, by race and gender, it’s all in there — with one notable exception.

JACKSON — Count me as one of the few people who believe the United States, and many other developed countries, have a good, balanced way of governing.

OXFORD — My boyhood friend Thurmond would do all right in today’s environment, probably graduate from high school and maybe even go to college.

STARKVILLE — State Rep. Felix Edwin “Stump” Perry was one of the most effective legislators in the long history of the Mississippi House, but it was the style with which Ed carried out his legislative duties that made Ed’s passing last week at age 76 statewide news.

JACKSON — In 1969, the state’s politicians, led by then Gov. John Bell Williams, reversed course and opted to become part of the federal Medicaid program.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was known for his fireside chats, a series of radio broadcasts he gave to inform the American public of his policies.

MERIDIAN — State revenue collections are running ahead of target. The state rainy day fund and other reserves are full of cash. Agency budget cuts appear to be behind us. Pointing to all this, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said, “Mississippi is in our best financial and fiscal shape in our history.” …

Gross domestic product is the most basic and important measurement of an economy, and a new statistic allows it to be tracked at the local level for the first time.

STARKVILLE — School desegregation in Mississippi was a tough, messy and often a very dangerous business.

OXFORD — Julian Prince’s autobiographical book “Balancing the Scales” is cause for reflection on what was and what should have been.

If you’ve been stumped doing a menial task — laundry, cooking, mailing a check, to name a few — you might not be lazy and you’re probably not alone, according to Anne Helen Petersen, a culture writer for BuzzFeed News.

JACKSON — I read with much interest the article by Bryan Davis of The Enterprise-Tocsin in Indianola titled, “Coming home — Aspiring surgeon Simpson to teach science at Ruleville.” And, yes, I receive our hometown’s newspaper weekly. For me this story was about a young man’s career aspiratio…

OXFORD — I never have been a big Dick Cheney fan, especially after the George W. Bush administration, leading an allied coalition, invaded Iraq under the mistaken premise that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

STARKVILLE — Longevity runs in my family on both sides. My father lived to be a few weeks shy of 76 years. My mom made it 82 years. My grandmothers lived to be 93 and 101, respectively. One grandfather died at 76 and the other at 81.

JACKSON — Criminal justice is probably the most fundamental responsibility of government. It’s no easy task.