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STARKVILLE — As noted more often than this writer cares to remember, the fact is that public health care for Mississippi’s poor, working poor, uninsured or underinsured is an expense that will ultimately be borne by the taxpayers.

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OXFORD — Back in the days when daily newspapers published free obituaries, reporters assigned to write them sometimes jokingly complained about retired farmers.

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When a mother-in-law’s death brings tears to your eyes, that’s pretty compelling evidence that she was a mighty fine mother-in-law.

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JACKSON — Drive through parts of Jackson where Bill Waller Jr. grew up and still lives or even through parts of south Madison County, and it is not unusual to see signs touting his campaign for governor.

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LAWRENCE, Kan. — In August of 1955, Emmett Till was lynched in the Mississippi Delta. The 14-year-old African American reportedly whistled at a white woman, violating the racial norms of the Jim Crow South. For this supposed infraction, he was abducted, tortured, shot and dropped in a river …

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MERIDIAN — So, my conservative friends, what is the ideological difference between a tax subsidy for the wealthy and a financial subsidy for the poor?

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STARKVILLE — How big an impact does forestry make on Mississippi’s economy? For the last six years, the Mississippi State University Extension Service says that forestry contributed more than a billion dollars annually, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion in 2018 alone. Behind poultry, f…

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OXFORD — An Associated Press article and picture in the newspaper the other day got me to reflecting on my experiences with the Speed Graphic camera.

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A couple of years ago, the Mississippi Legislature enacted by the hardest some changes to how government entities in this state purchase goods and services.

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JACKSON — One of the greatest blessings to us all is the love of our mothers.

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JACKSON — The call came in the fall of 2013. It was an inmate on his cellphone. He was inside a Mississippi prison, and he had something to tell me.

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MERIDIAN — Reckon conservatives will listen when two conservative, pro-capitalism columnists say health care is a big issue in Mississippi?

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STARKVILLE — Only Walmart/Sam’s employs more people in Mississippi than does Ingalls Shipbuilding at about 12,500 employees. But Ingalls and other shipbuilders pay significantly better than Walmart.

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JACKSON — Tiger Woods’ miraculous comeback last month at the Masters seemed like destiny. That’s because it was.

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Last Saturday, when Beth Stevens was biking atop the levee from Humphrey Highway to the Greenwood-Leflore Airport, she was bowled over by the undisturbed natural beauty around her.

JACKSON — Did you know that Mississippi has a law on the books that allows licensing boards to suspend or revoke your professional license if you default on your student loans?

MERIDIAN — Mississippi politicians running for re-election or higher office are out, about and on social media touting how good things are and how they helped make things that way.

STARKVILLE — There were some justifiable fears in the late 1950s and early 1960s — threats such as polio, global thermonuclear war or the president appearing on TV to talk about anything. If he did, you could forget about TV for the night on either of the channels that were available to us (…

Within the span of two weeks I received a Facebook friend request from a dead person and solicitations for advice and money from both major political parties.

Whether you deplore the way the Mississippi Legislature currently operates or you rejoice in its works, change is needed. The status quo makes no sense.

STARKVILLE — I often wrote over the course of 35 years about public health care finance with a level of personal engagement that reminds me today much of a walk through a really fine zoo. The exhibits were intriguing, yes, but I could certainly lose interest quickly and move on to another topic.

JACKSON — In their recent session, Mississippi lawmakers passed legislation designed to tackle the state’s sky-high incarceration rate.

OXFORD — Current gambling news, including closing of another casino in Tunica, legal sports betting and plans for a Mississippi lottery, remind me of a lesson I was taught when I was a kid.

COLUMBIA — The era of Facebook profiting madly off the trashiest, most libelous gossip it can show to its users could be coming to an end thanks to a government — not ours here in America — finally showing some backbone against the tech giants rapidly destroying our culture.

STARKVILLE — My active observations of Mississippi statewide elections stretch back to the 1970s. What remains fascinating to me is how little the issues have changed since those days.

This latest journalistic fad of digging into old high school and college yearbooks on politicians and others in the public eye will eventually pass.

JACKSON — Minutes before the 2019 legislative session recently ended, Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, went to the presiding officer’s podium in the Senate chamber to whisper to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves that he wanted to take a point of personal privilege.

RIDGELAND — Michele Tackett of Hattiesburg spent 11 years in active addiction to opioids. She found sobriety and a new life three years ago through the medication Suboxone, one form of opioid substitution therapy known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

MERIDIAN — First a correction. Last week I wrote there are 13 candidates for governor; instead there are 14. I left out Constitution Party candidate Bob Hickingbottom. My apologies.

STARKVILLE — During a briefing on immigration and border security in Calexico, California, last week, President Donald Trump held fast to his steady contention that the U.S. immigration system was overburdened as he continued to push for a southern border wall and tighter security to combat …

OXFORD — As centrist politics diminishes across the nation, could Mississippi find itself with a moderate in the governor’s office next year?

The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, a relatively new creation led by veteran journalist Jerry Mitchell, missed the bigger story.

JACKSON — It’s not often I am completely blown away by something I didn’t know about, but that’s exactly what happened when I spent an afternoon with leaders of Canopy Children’s Solutions.

STARKVILLE — I have distinct memories of two memorable, inimitable figures from the civil rights era in Mississippi whose lives and experiences are featured in two books published by the University Press of Mississippi.

JACKSON — Far too many candidates for office, Republicans and Democrats, believe long-term prosperity can be achieved from increased government spending and centralized programs and plans. But the evidence doesn’t support such claims, no matter how passionately or eloquently the campaigner insists.

JACKSON — At one point Thursday, on the next-to-last day of the 2019 session, House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, sat in his state Capitol office surrounded by reporters — educating them on the fact that the Legislature does not have any money of its own.

JACKSON — Like lobsters in the slowly heating pot, Americans are getting cooked without even knowing it. In exchange for free apps on our phones, we are giving up every smidgen of our privacy.

STARKVILLE – The rather nondescript email from activist Marissa Barrow of the “Progressive Change Campaign Committee” arrived in my email inbox on March 18 with the subject line: “Elizabeth Warren parallels RFK’s 1967 tour of Mississippi Delta.”

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.

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.

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.

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

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.”

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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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

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.