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JACKSON — Think about your greatest strength. It is also your greatest weakness. Like two sides of a coin, your greatest asset is simultaneously your greatest liability.

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JACKSON — Back in the day you could tell the bad guys by the masks they wore. How ironic that these days it seems to be the other way around. Those not wearing masks are becoming the bad guys.

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STARKVILLE — Mississippi’s tense and emotional public debate of removing the Confederate battle flag from the canton corner of the state flag evoked some of the more startling lessons of history regarding the evolution of racial views by individuals and by institutions.

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COLUMBIA — Where does most of the ill feeling, rumor mongering and blowing out of proportion using half-baked facts in our local communities occur? We all know the answer — Facebook.

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RIDGELAND — Tate Reeves is the 15th governor of Mississippi in my lifetime. I was born during the second year of the second single term of Gov. Hugh White. During the nearly 67 years since my birth, Mississippi has been served in its highest office by progressives, populists, conservatives, …

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STARKVILLE­ — It has been my experience over some 40 years of writing about public policy in Mississippi that we, as a people, are slow to change, even when embracing change would be to our certain benefit and obstinance against doing so is to our undeniable detriment.

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Percy Dale (P.D.) East may not be an iconic name in the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and 1960s, but he made his mark as a satirist who would be more popular now than he was then.

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I have been mulling for a couple of weeks how I feel about the revived drive to remove or relocate the Confederate monument that has been a towering but troublesome icon for the past century in Greenwood.

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JACKSON — In 1963, a time of civil unrest and protest, Bob Dylan penned the lyrics to his immortal “The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

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JACKSON — As our state, and many others, begins to open back up for business, it’s scary as COVID-19 cases begin to rise.

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STARKVILLE­ — Longtime readers of this column know of my deep and abiding affection for the Neshoba County Fair and the old-time political speaking under shade of the old oaks and the tin roof of the Founder’s Square Pavilion.

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OXFORD — My wife and I received our stimulus money the week of Memorial Day and then a letter from the Internal Revenue Service two weeks later telling us “your economic impact payment has arrived.”

JACKSON — About the time in 2001 the Mississippi Legislature was scheduling a referendum to let voters decide on whether to replace the state flag, the Georgia General Assembly was passing a bill to change its flag.

JACKSON — Fragile ... the word itself seems frail, matching its etymology from the Latin “fragilis,” with “frag” meaning “to break” and “ilis” meaning “subject to.”

JACKSON — Did we really just go from a global lockdown to global mass demonstrations in the streets? That’s quite a turnaround. So much for social distancing. You can’t keep young people cooped up for long.

STARKVILLE — At Saturday’s Starkville Unity March and subsequent rally on the campus of Mississippi State University, I watched and listened. I saw local white merchants bringing cases of bottled water and local white-owned restaurants dropping off food for organizers and the police. I saw m…

OXFORD — I was a reporter at four different cities in two states during the decade of the 1960s, and I saw plenty of examples of bad cops.

COLUMBIA — I’ve never had a negative interaction with police officers (other than reactions to articles I wrote they didn’t like, but that’s another story altogether). Between a couple of wrecks and a few speeding tickets, all my official dealings with law enforcement have been handled profe…

RIDGELAND — The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our nation and the world. Our citizens have responded by social distancing, wearing masks, sheltering at home and sanitizing our hands. Through these measures, we are attempting to reduce harm in order to save lives. Although the strateg…

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The ugly underbelly of sin was fully exposed last week. Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy, and he’s having a field day in the USA. Everyone with a conscience was appalled at the video showing a Minneapolis police officer using excessive force against an African America…

OXFORD — With the national media’s focus on first the coronavirus pandemic and now the protests and anarchy in the wake of that incident in Minnesota, little national attention is being given to a U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

JACKSON — Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann recently warned members of the Mississippi Senate to wear their masks or risk being photographed or videotaped by media outlets without one.

JACKSON — On March 12, the Senate overwhelmingly killed a bill to permit direct shipment of wine in Mississippi. This vote didn’t age well.

JACKSON — Mississippians trust the care of precious loved ones to many wonderful nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. But the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns.

MADISON — During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi hospitals have stepped up to build and staff temporary treatment facilities, overcome personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilator shortages, and care for the sick and dying — often at great personal sacrifice. Mississippi’s nearly 60…

STARKVILLE — There has been more than a little media tut-tutting over the decision by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves to hire controversial former Louisiana corrections official Burl Cain, 77, to lead the Mississippi Department of Corrections.

JACKSON — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in early April questioned the effectiveness of a shelter-in-place order. He said, “The question is, ‘Are you accomplishing anything by doing that order?’”

JACKSON — I suspect, when this is all over, one lasting effect of COVID-19 will be loss of trust. Loss of trust in experts and other nannies, in governors, in mayors, in local police, in the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration — and in…

JACKSON — As our worlds collide over the coronavirus, the 1933 novel of that name by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer comes to mind. “When Worlds Collide” portrayed the surreal phenomenon of another world crashing into earth. Old earth did not survive, but a new earth did.

STARKVILLE — Mississippi’s current leadership is taking a page from the state’s not-so-distant past by making the state’s gaming industry one of the first enterprises to be allowed to reopen as the state tries to come out from under the COVID-19 quarantine.

OXFORD — If Donald Trump puts the U.S. Postal Service out of business, I wonder how I’ll get all those letters asking me to send money to help reelect him.

Dr. Carey Wright, the state superintendent of education, calls her plan to gear up for continued distance learning in the fall a “life-changing opportunity for the children of Mississippi.”

MERIDIAN — Following a weeklong hormonal brawl and a legal shootout over who would control $1.25 billion in federal coronavirus funding, Mississippi’s top leaders got together last Thursday, saying, “Aw shucks, we didn’t mean it, we’re best buds.”

JACKSON — COVID-19 has killed tens of thousands, but the economic hardship caused by a prolonged panic will kill hundreds of thousands.

STARKVILLE — So a Mississippi governor and the state’s Legislature disagree over constitutional powers and responsibilities when it comes to how the state utilizes and expends the $1.25 billion in funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. For those fa…

RIDGELAND — My favorite streaming video program during the COVID-19 virus stay-at-home lockdown has not been about tigers and their crazy trainer, Joe Exotic, from the wildly popular Netflix docuseries. Nor has it been about Scottie Pippin and the other guy who played professional basketball…

OXFORD — Reports of meat shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic bring to mind the Mississippi beef plant scandal of nearly two decades ago.

The question that has been bothering me about the welfare embezzlement scandal in Mississippi is what motivated the alleged perpetrators.

COLUMBIA — The new phenomenon of drive-by birthday parties, where friends and family honk and wave from their cars while maintaining social distancing, always brings a smile to my face.

JACKSON — OK. We gave it the old college try. Now it’s time to get back to work and move on. Restaurants need to open. Functions need to resume. We need our normal social lives to return.

STARKVILLE — In 2019, Corona was a popular beach beer rather than a deadly respiratory virus, and no Mississippian had really ever seriously contemplated a development in which public schools, community colleges and universities would be closed, and academic content would be delivered throug…

JACKSON — Mississippi is a land of mild winters and long hot summers. Then there is October and April.

JACKSON — As the COVID-19 virus ravages our economy and health systems, it also exacts a heavy emotional toll through fear, despair, anxiety, depression and frustration.

STARKVILLE­ — Less than a year ago, Democratic New Jersey congressman vented his contempt for so-called “moocher states” such as Mississippi that receive more money from the federal government than they send back to Washington in the form of taxes.

On this restless night, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get the fact that so many African Americans are dying from the coronavirus, COVID-19, out of my head.

OXFORD — Among a lot of things missing in these coronavirus pandemic days is the usual plethora of political campaign news.

The Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District has two problems when it comes to its buildings. It has too many of them, and too many of them are in bad shape.

JACKSON — It is too early to see actual data, but it is highly likely that among the many negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the tragic loss of life, will be to Mississippi’s highways and bridges.

JACKSON — Call with doctor’s office last week: “The doctor is not taking new patients at this time. Call back in two weeks when this pandemic is over.”

STARKVILLE — The COVID-19 pandemic has focused a new bright light on a set of old and familiar realities for Mississippi.

RIDGELAND — Churches in southern California have sued Gov. Gavin Newsom contesting the effects of stay-at-home orders on religious services. In various states people are swearing not to allow dictatorial state and local governments to infringe upon their religious freedoms. Some clergy have …