Monday, June 23, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Field Day Highlighted Current Row Crop Concerns
Mississippi State University personnel gathered Tuesday to address weed, insect, disease and plant development concerns related to the challenge of another growing season pushed off schedule by a late, wet spring. The MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville stationed 13 Extension and research personnel at eight field stops to discuss soybean, corn, rice, cotton and peanut production at the half-day event. They summarized current crop conditions, discussed the challenges producers face and answered specific questions.
Q&A with author Dennis Mitchell
Dennis Mitchell's "A New History of Mississippi" offers more than 500 pages of narrative and photos as he presents the first comprehensive history of the state in nearly four decades. It's published by University Press of Mississippi. A professor of history at Mississippi State University's Meridian campus, Mitchell heads the school's Division of Arts and Sciences. His documentation of the state's history is a chronological account that relies heavily on biographies, stories and more personal accounts of Mississippi's past, revealing previously untold tales of Native Americans, women and minorities. Signed copies of "A New History of Mississippi" are available at Lemuria Books in Jackson.
Book by MSU-Meridian professor explores state history
The first comprehensive narrative of Mississippi since a Bicentennial history was published in 1976 is the latest work of an administrator and historian at Mississippi State University-Meridian. "A New History of Mississippi" was written by professor Dennis J. Mitchell, head of the campus' Division of Arts and Sciences. The 587-page book is published by University Press of Mississippi. Mitchell will sign copies of his book on Friday from 5-7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bookstore at MSU-Meridian.
Interim MSU Dean Named Prestigious ASEE Fellow
A Mississippi State engineering administrator is being honored as a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education. Interim dean Jason Keith becomes the fifth faculty member in the university's James Worth Bagley College of Engineering to receive the prestigious honor. ASEE was founded in 1893 and today has a worldwide membership of more than 13,000. Each year, only one-tenth of 1 percent of members may be chosen for the Fellows recognition, with selection based on professional accomplishments, experience and contributions to engineering education and the organization. For more, see
On the Move: Mississippi State University
Juan L. Silva, a professor in the Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion at Mississippi State University, was honored by the Institute of Food Technologists. He a food scientist with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering and his doctoral degree in food science and technology, all from MSU.
Auditors give Starkville a clean report, find no significant defects
Starkville received a clean Fiscal Year 2013-2014 audit from the Mississippi-based accounting firm Watkins, Ward and Stafford on Tuesday. The audit included no findings of serious financial issues or weaknesses. The report stated the city is financially sound and has a stable economic base evident in continued retail, commercial and residential expansion, strong sales tax returns that rank among the highest in the state. Paired with administrators' financial policies, the city's strategic reserves are expected to reach eight-year highs, the report stated.
Freedom Summer: 50 years later
Fifty years ago, "Freedom Summer" organizers set out to change Mississippi. They wound up changing the nation, too. In 1963, Bob Moses and others conceived of the idea of recruiting hundreds of students to join the civil rights movement in Mississippi in hopes of breaking down barriers that kept African Americans from voting and getting the education they needed. The first day of that Freedom Summer began with the disappearances of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Michael Schwerner, casting a pall over students still training in Oxford, Ohio. Despite the threat, Freedom Summer went forward, and students helped fellow activists set up "Freedom Schools" to teach the young and to train adults interested in voting. Many civil rights veterans are returning to discuss that fateful summer and the lessons that can still be applied to today's problems.
Ed chief: Bryant made 'gross mischaracterization' on Common Core
State superintendent of education Carey Wright and board of education chairman Wayne Gann have fired back at Gov. Phil Bryant for signaling that he would be in favor of repealing Common Core. Bryant said Thursday that he expects repealing the new English and math standards to be an issue in next year's legislative session, and hinted that he'd support their removal. Wright took particular issue with Bryant labeling Common Core a failure. "It is a gross mischaracterization to call the standards a 'failed program' when Mississippi and other states have yet to give the first test aligned to the standards," she said.
Education leaders defend Common Core
Mississippi Board of Education Chairman Wayne Gann of Corinth and state Superintendent of Education Carey Wright issued statements Friday defending the enactment of Common Core after Gov. Phil Bryant called it "a failed program." Common Core, which supporters say is a set of academic standards designed to require more critical-thinking skills of students, was formed by the National Governors Association and the states' top education officials late last decade. The state Board of Education voted to adopt Common Core in Mississippi. Since then, various conservative groups have said the standards are an attempt by the federal government to take over the local school systems.
Analysis: Another attempt to end oversight of schools
Forty-four Mississippi school districts -- the largest number in the Southeast -- remain embroiled in lawsuits seeking to end decades of federal oversight. Legal battles over school desegregation have persisted since the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. In the 1960s, school districts across the South were sued and given desegregation orders, which put them under Justice Department scrutiny. Among cases in Mississippi is a request by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson to explain how the latest possible solution -- a freedom-of-choice plan he ordered -- would desegregate the school system in Cleveland.
Minimum wage boost unlikely unless federally mandated
When it comes to the lowest wage an hourly worker can make, 22 states already have moved the bar above the federal standard. Others are considering doing the same, including the District of Columbia as well as cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Fe. But there's been no such initiative in Mississippi, and if history holds, there won't be. "I've not heard any serious talk about doing any type of legislation in the state that would affect the minimum wage," said state Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee. "We tend to wait on the federal government to set an overall minimum-wage adjustment, and then we comply with that."
Absentee voting brisk in several Mississippi counties
Mississippi election officials reported heavy absentee voting leading into Tuesday's Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate, an indication of high interest in the intensely fought race between six-term Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party-backed challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Several Republican counties reported an increase in absentee voting for the runoff compared to the June 3 primary -- a reverse of the typical drop-off between a primary and a runoff. Among those reporting an increase are DeSoto and Lee counties in the north, Madison and Rankin in central Mississippi and Jackson County on the Coast. Absentee voting is also heavy near the candidates' homes. Cochran lives in Lafayette County and McDaniel in Jones County.
Voters set to end historically bizarre race
The 2014 U.S. Senate GOP primary in Mississippi will go down as one of the most bitter, mudslinging-est, bizarre political hootenannies in state history. Voters -- many weary of negative ads, robo-calls and dirty politics -- will put end to the ordeal on Tuesday. The only registered voters prohibited from voting Tuesday are those who voted in the Democratic primary on June 3, according to the secretary of state's office. There is a state statute that says people should not vote in party primaries unless they plan to later support the party's nominee. But this is unenforceable. Mississippi technically has open primaries and does not require party registration.
Hotly contested runoff near end
The twists and turns that have defined the Republican primary for U.S. Senate are expected to come to an end when voters go the polls Tuesday to decide between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite. As the runoff election nears its conclusion, both candidates were busy criss-crossing the state. McDaniel spent much of the weekend at events in Northeast Mississippi. Various polls indicate the election is close with most observers admitting it is difficult to gauge the runoff -- especially since the state has never had such a hotly contested runoff on the Republican side. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Analysis: Once again, turnout will be key to Senate election in Mississippi
The candidates in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate and their campaign staffs agree on one thing: They're glad this phase of the campaign is almost over. It hasn't gotten any prettier, either. will come down to turnout. McDaniel has the edge if it is as low or lower than it was June 3. Cochran's camp insists it won't be. His people say Republicans are just now realizing how much is at stake. Before, the theory goes, they assumed Cochran had it in the bag. And with good reason. In 2008, 766,111 Republicans voted for Cochran. That's more than twice the number who voted for Cochran, McDaniel and Thomas Carey combined on June 3.
Black voter turnout important in Cochran, McDaniel races
Black voters in the South could be key to victories for incumbent senators trying to hold onto their seats in Mississippi and Louisiana, political experts say. Much of that impact will depend on whether enough blacks show up at the polls in Mississippi Tuesday or in Louisiana in the fall. Both races are among the most competitive in the country. Political experts say it is a balancing act for the incumbents, particularly in the conservative South, to court black voters who could help shore up a win, but be careful not to alienate white voters. Cochran is not likely to make overt overtures to black voters, said Rickey Hill, a political scientist at Jackson State University. "It's a very slippery kind of problem," Hill said.
McDaniel answer about education funding evolves
U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel has changed his statements about federal school funding in the past two weeks, after coming under sharp criticism from former Gov. Haley Barbour and state education leaders. Barbour and other critics say McDaniel has dangerous ideas that could rob billions of dollars from one of the poorest states in the nation. McDaniel told The Associated Press in April that Mississippi could afford to forego federal funding for elementary and secondary schools. He now says Mississippi should take federal money. In the past two weeks, McDaniel has been saying that he's not against federal funding of education. He says that, if anything, Mississippi might not be getting enough federal money. Barbour responded: "He's trying to wiggle his way off the hook by changing the subject."
Conservatives Plan to Use Poll Watchers in Mississippi
As Senator Thad Cochran, the veteran Republican, fights for his political life in Mississippi by taking the unexpected step of courting black Democrats, conservative organizations working to defeat him are planning to deploy poll watchers to monitor his campaign's turnout operation in Tuesday's runoff election. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing Mr. Cochran's Tea Party opponent, State Senator Chris McDaniel, said in an interview on Sunday that his group was joining with Freedom Works and the Tea Party Patriots in a "voter integrity project" in Mississippi.
Mississippi Senate race, reflecting split within GOP, nears its finale
Sen. Thad Cochran's big campaign bus pulled up for its first stop of the day at the most impressive building in town -- the local bank. Once beyond the building's grand white columns, the 76-year-old, six-term Republican politely shook hands with customers lined up for the tellers -- as he did on the next stop, at another bank the town over, and at a lunchtime visit to the Rotary Club. "It's so hypocritical for Mississippians to not like the pork --- and we need it," said Matt Alford, an alderman in Forest, known as the state's poultry capital, who stopped by the bank but said he has "mixed feelings" on the race and remains undecided. "We're all frustrated in what's going on in Washington," he said. But "I don't know if we'd be wise in losing Sen. Cochran."
GOP clash in Mississippi comes down to undecided voters -- who may not vote
The closing days of the Mississippi Republican Senate campaign are a town-by-town search for elusive votes, and places such as little Simpson County matter. This cluster of small cities and wide open green spaces just south of Jackson was closely divided between Sen. Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel in the June 3 primary. That's why their legions are furiously searching for the handful of votes that can make a difference. For all the high-tech data mining and big-time spending, no one really knows how to convince the wafflers or motivate the stay-at-homes. So much is unpredictable here, and for that matter much of the state. How many will turn out? Who will turn out? Will Democrats show up and side with Cochran? Does the push by the tea party and stars like Sarah Palin and Ron Paul help or hurt?
How Mississippi's Runoff Defies Conventional Wisdom
The political class will keenly watch Tuesday's runoff in Mississippi to see how the Tea Party will follow its ouster of Eric Cantor this month. The conventional wisdom is that turnout will decline compared with the initial primary, and that lower turnout will benefit Chris McDaniel, the state senator who is challenging Senator Thad Cochran for the Republican Senate nomination. But those forecasts are far from a sure thing. This contest differs from most runoffs, and it's possible that turnout will remain high, or that Mr. Cochran will benefit if the turnout is low. But many of the factors that increase the likelihood of a big drop in turnout aren't present for this Tuesday's contest.
Thad Cochran vs. Chris McDaniel: A closer look at the ad wars
The Mississippi GOP primary runoff between U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel has seen both outside groups and the campaigns themselves get locked into an advertising war centered on two big issues: federal spending and the conservative credentials of both candidates. Cochran's advertising strategy now is almost all about what he can do for the state and his sway over federal dollars. One ad that the campaign has run in heavy circulation in the past week, called "More For Mississippi," shows Cochran sitting in the living room of his Oxford, Miss., cabin and talks up his past work to support "our aerospace industry, shipbuilding, military bases, research and development and agricultural breakthroughs." The screen lists twenty institutions or companies that have benefited from federal largess, including "Catfish and Cotton Research" in Stoneville, Miss.
Chris McDaniel courts supporters during Sunday rally in Biloxi
About 150 Chris McDaniel supporters gathered for a rally outside Hobby Lobby on Sunday as the state senator clocked a few more hours on the coast before Tuesday's Republican primary runoff against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Supporters -- sometimes huddled beneath umbrellas as a light rain fell -- waved signs and "Don't tread on me" flags at passersby, who often honked in support. A variety of speakers, entertainers and celebrity endorsers were on stage throughout the almost two-hour event before McDaniel emerged from the Tea Party Express bus. Among McDaniel's speakers Sunday were former television game show host Chuck Woolery, political personality Wayne Allyn Root, popular Sean Hannity guest commentator Wayne Dupree and former U.S. Representative candidate Katrina Pierson.
John McCain absence doesn't deter Thad Cochran rally at Gulfport airport
U.S. Sen. John McCain's anticipated appearance didn't materialize, but neither that nor the thunderstorms outside did anything to dampen the enthusiasm of some 250 people who turned out to show their support for Thad Cochran Sunday evening. The rally was held at the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport in anticipation of McCain's flight arriving there around 6 p.m. Flying commercially, McCain's plane was grounded in Texas due to mechanical failure. He is still expected to make an appearance with Cochran in Jackson Monday morning. Cochran walked through the main entrance of the airport about 6:05 p.m. and after acknowledging thunderous applause, addressed those in attendance. "We're going to win this thing," he said. "We hope to have a big turnout with no questions about a recount."
McDaniel, Cochran rally in Biloxi, Gulfport before Tuesday's vote
The Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, two days out from Tuesday's runoff, held spirited rallies in what is likely their final Gulf Coast appearances of the campaign. Chris McDaniel urged his backers to "storm those walls" by voting for him and turning longtime Sen. Thad Cochran out of office. Cochran asked his supporters at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport to insure the election is held fairly and freely and return a "resounding victory for our party, our country and our hopes and dreams for our future."
Cochran needs Gulf Coast comeback
Hundreds of workers arrive at sunrise at the Ingalls shipyard on the Gulf Coast, and there to greet them are a dozen campaign volunteers with fliers and signs that say, "Save our Jobs." In the middle is a small, white-haired man shaking the hand of anyone willing to take his own. "I'm Thad Cochran," the 76-year-old U.S. senator said again and again. "I hope you have a nice day." If Cochran is to prevail Tuesday in a runoff election against Chris McDaniel, a tea party-backed challenger who came close to outright victory in the June 3 primary, he probably will need some of those shipyard workers to change their minds this time -- or actually turn out and vote for him. The Gulf Coast ought to be Cochran's ace.
Budget realities confront Chris McDaniel's rhetoric
Republican primary challenger Chris McDaniel puts the nation's $17 trillion debt at the center of his bid to represent Mississippi in the Senate, bashing six-term Sen. Thad Cochran as a profligate spender who has contributed to a problem that McDaniel considers "immoral." At the same time, the potential tea party hero pledges support for Mississippi's military installations, defense contractors and public education system -- all of which depend on hundreds of millions of federal dollars. McDaniel does mention some spending he'd eliminate, but his examples make for a tiny fraction of the budget: $1.5 billion to maintain empty government buildings, various research studies (usually with individual price tags of less than $1 million) and $146 million for first-class airline upgrades for federal workers.
McDaniel supporters confident going into final days of campaign
Chris McDaniel supporters were excited and optimistic Saturday, three days away from Mississippi's Republican primary runoff. McDaniel, along with representatives from the national Tea Party advocacy group Tea Party Express and other grassroots campaigners rallied Tupelo's conservative voters at Fairpark on Saturday. McDaniel said he felt confident about Tuesday's Senate seat runoff after seeing information that put him ahead by six points in the Chism Strategies poll and 12 points in The Polling Company poll. The NSON Opinion Strategy poll has Cochran as a favorite for Tuesday's runoff by one point.
MUW to Expand Out-of-State Tuition Waivers
The Mississippi University for Women will expand its waivers of out-of-state tuition charges. The university won College Board approval Thursday to waive the higher charges for residents of surrounding states; active military members, their spouses and children; students near completion of a degree and children and grandchildren of alumni. The move expands an earlier, more limited waiver that the board had approved. In-state undergraduate tuition and fees cost $5,640 for two full semesters at MUW, while out-of-state tuition runs $15,360. As at most schools, many students from both groups pay less because of financial aid.
UMMC opens clinic for sickle cell patients
A new sickle cell disease clinic at the University of Mississippi Medical Center will help patients get swift, specialized care to relieve their chronic and often excruciating pain. The clinic, which opened Tuesday and operates 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, is the only one of its kind in the state. Previously, sickle cell patients have relied on hospital emergency rooms where wait times for treatment can vary widely from minutes to hours. The new clinic brings subspecialty-level treatment to the forefront.
MVSU to rent modular housing during dorm overhaul
Mississippi Valley State University plans to lease modular housing units beginning next fall to offset a housing shortage during dormitory renovations. The College Board approved the plan Thursday, giving Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds approval over any final contract. In supporting documents, the university doesn't list a price for the rentals, but says it will rent 50 to 150 beds for anywhere from six months to two years, putting the modular units on its campus.
Professors in Alabama see huge increases in salaries
Tuition isn't the only thing that has increased by double-digit percentages at Alabama universities in recent years. Some universities saw significant average salary increases between the 2005-06 and 2011-12 academic years, according to information from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. Others were smaller and more in line with Legislature-allocated cost-of-living increases given early in that time frame. Higher education officials said despite annual rising tuition, higher salaries for professors are necessary to recruit and retain quality personnel. The largest increase was at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
U. of Alabama company in next round of Launchpad Start-up Competition
A Tuscaloosa startup company, 2B-Electronic, is among 10 companies from across the state that were selected last week to compete for money to get their businesses off the ground. The teams will now vie to win a share of up to $300,000 in the latest round of the Alabama Launchpad Start-Up Competition. University of Alabama-affiliated 2B-Electronic proposes to have an inexpensive, real-time measurement of muscle activity to aid in reaching health goals, according to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, a nonprofit organization that promotes economic development in the state and sponsors the Alabama Launchpad competition. The UA team is headed by Brandt Hendricks, who recently earned a degree in kinesiology at UA, and includes Patrick LeClair, an associate professor of physics, and others.
Auburn fashion program earns top rankings
Auburn University is ranked among the best fashion design, merchandising and management schools in the region and country in 2014, according to, a website devoted to researching fashion schools for students seeking information about programs and careers. Carol Warfield, head of the Department of Consumer and Design Sciences, attributed the progress to a dedicated commitment to highly qualified faculty, talented and motivated students, and partnerships with firms throughout the fashion industry.
U. of Florida among world leaders in approved patents
The University of Florida had 93 U.S. utility patents approved in 2013 --- the second-highest number among Florida research universities and 14th-highest producer worldwide, according to a report by the National Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property Owners Association. While 93 patents is a good number, it isn't the focus of UF research, Jane Muir, associate director for the UF Office of Technology and Licensing, said. "We're not about how many patents get issued," she said. "We're about how many new discoveries are making their way into the marketplace and making a difference in the world."
UF economics department makes the switch to liberal arts on July 1
The economics department at the Warrington College of Business Administration will be no more as of July 1. Instead, it will be a department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences -- even though it won't physically move out of its current space at Matherly Hall. Provost Joe Glover said the move "opens a host of opportunities" for both the college and the department. Talks began in 2011 to move the department to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences but hit a snag when faculty voted against the move, afraid they were not going to receive the same level of support they enjoyed at the business college.
U. of Tennessee system president: Don't make students fund higher ed
The University of Tennessee system president is calling for a statewide coalition to take a stand on education funding after his board of trustees approved a 6 percent tuition increase on Thursday. The state's other higher education system, the Tennessee Board of Regents, is expected to follow suit Friday with increases in the same range. Such annual increases fly in the face of Gov. Bill Haslam's "Drive to 55" initiative to increase the number of college graduates in Tennessee to 55 percent of the population by 2025, UT system President Joe DiPietro contends. It's time for state leaders to step up with adequate funding, he said before the vote.
Georgia is prepared to be a player when the drone industry takes off
Georgia universities and companies are revving their engines and prepared to soar the moment the Federal Aviation Administration approves the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles although other practical hurdles could be as significant. That was the message from experts meeting last week in an international conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics meeting in Atlanta. Even though commercial drone operation isn't legal, there are already firms here flying the planes legally for research purposes.
Seitel Data to conduct seismic testing on Texas A&M campus
Seismic testing to explore what oil and gas is on the grounds of Texas A&M's main campus is set to begin this weekend. According to an internal memo sent out to A&M, sensors are in place around the College Station campus and vibrosis testing will begin Saturday and is expected to end on Monday. The testing will involve trucks driving around campus and sending vibrations into the ground that will reflect back to the receivers, which store information and can be used to determine what kinds of minerals are in the grounds under Aggieland. Gina Joseph, assistant general counsel for the Texas A&M University System, said the system has permitted Seitel to survey all its lands in Brazos and Burleson counties.
New center would help U. of Missouri faculty improve methods
Planning is in progress for a new center at the University of Missouri for faculty to develop their teaching methods and practices. The teaching and learning center would be a place for faculty, many of whom are coming from an array of industries instead of academia, to brush up on their teaching pedagogies, learn how to incorporate technology in their classrooms and even learn from one another. Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies, said the center is in the infancy stage, but is a priority for him.
U. of Missouri to offer new health option, cap benefits
Employees at the University of Missouri will have a new medical plan option in 2015, and a new cap on the amount of their benefits. A Total Rewards task force charged with reviewing the UM System medical plan options, retirement plans and other benefits announced changes to employee benefits at the Board of Curators meeting this week. Total Rewards is a name for the university system's comprehensive benefits package for employees and retirees. Betsy Rodriguez, UM System vice president for human resources, spoke on behalf of the task force Thursday. Rodriguez outlined the progress the group has made on several issues, including medical plans.
U. of Missouri plans to expand housing to accommodate growing enrollment
The University of Missouri received a stamp of approval from the Board of Curators this week on the campus' Master Plan for 2014, which outlines, in detail, the projects that have recently wrapped up, those that are in progress and those on the campus wish list. Gary Ward, MU's interim chief operating officer, presented the plan to the board Thursday. Ward discussed the new softball stadium, construction efforts for a new football indoor practice facility, the need for construction on educational and general buildings and ongoing work on residential halls. MU has a goal with the residential hall construction, Ward said, to house all of the freshman class and have 1,000 additional beds for upper classmen or graduate and professional students at the university-owned apartment complexes. That totals about 7,500 on-campus beds.
State Lawmakers Assert Influence Over Standards
Resentful that a massive wave of common-standards adoptions four years ago bypassed their chambers and subjected them to intense political heat, state lawmakers are taking steps to claim some of the authority that state boards of education have traditionally held over academic standards. In just the past year and a half, 10 states have enacted laws that place new restrictions or specifications on how state boards may adopt academic expectations. Altogether, 50 bills have been introduced in 22 states during that time period that seek to change the procedures by which standards are developed, reviewed, or adopted, according to a special analysis conducted for Education Week by the National Conference of State Legislatures, which tracks state legislative activity.
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Voters have clear choice on Tuesday
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "So, on Tuesday we get a clear choice. ...The thing that sticks with me the most from this campaign is something McDaniel said early on to explain his anti-government, anti-spending philosophy: 'I'm not going to do anything for you. I'm going to get the government off your back, then I'm gonna let you do it for yourself.' He says potent things like this, then gets wishy-washy. ...After McDaniel refused to answer questions about Farm Bill subsidies following a meeting with Delta farmers, the Greenwood Commonwealth wrote: 'McDaniel talks a good game about reining in an out-of-control Washington, but when confronted about what that might mean for Mississippi, where more than three federal dollars are returned for every tax dollar sent there, he either backtracks or dodges the question.'"
DENNIS SEID (OPINION): National debt isn't completely reckless
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Dennis Seid writes: "The national debt was an issue long before Tuesday's U.S. Senate runoff race. But it wasn't until the financial crisis and the ensuing recession that we saw the national debt number leap into double digits. ...We've heard the arguments repeated like a broken record: Our debt has grown to $17 trillion. Forty-one cents of every dollar goes toward our national debt. China is buying up America. We have to get control of reckless spending. We must stop raising the debt ceiling. ...Calling our national debt 'reckless spending' isn't accurate. Ask someone getting a Social Security check or whose retirement funding depends on that debt buying. What's reckless is empty rhetoric that stokes impassioned, if misinformed, pleas that we don't want Washington's, i.e, our money."
PAUL HAMPTON (OPINION): Looks like Cochran should have debated McDaniel after all
The Sun Herald's Paul Hampton writes: "Now more than ever, I see what a mistake it was for Sen. Thad Cochran to refuse to debate state Sen. Chris McDaniel. For months, reporters and editors have been trying to get specifics from McDaniel on how he would eliminate the $17 trillion-plus federal debt. His favorite response is that he has pages and pages of spending he'd cut. Trouble is, that money has already been spent. ...We saw a preview of McDaniel in debate mode Thursday at a Jackson-area Kroger store. When pressed on the question of exactly how he would accomplish his goals, he got a little testy. 'Get your finger out of my face,' he told the man who was shouting questions at him."
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): McDaniel, Cochran primary law fight disingenuous
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "Mississippi has a law that says a person cannot vote in a party primary unless they intend to support that party's nominee in the general election. The law is all but unenforceable and is contradicted by other state statutes, but nevertheless it has gotten a lot of attention over the past week. ...The real problem with the law, however, is that Mississippi does not have party registration, so therefore it is undeniably impossible to prove what party nominee any person is going to support short of a public declaration."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Why is Mississippi's senate primary running up a $16.4 million tab?
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "As of June 19, Mississippi's 2014 U.S. Senate race had run up a tab of $16,352,087 and growing, according to the Sunlight Foundation's "Influence Explorer" website. For perspective, consider that in the 2012 federal election cycle, only four Senate races around the nation cost more than the tab on Mississippi's 2014 race -- and those races were run in much larger media markets. ...Why do these outside groups have a $10.7 million interest in the outcome of Mississippi's GOP Senate primary?"

2014 in review: Stuedeman, Bulldogs eager to reach next level
Mississippi State just completed its third softball season under head coach Vann Stuedeman. A longtime assistant coach in the Southeastern Conference, Stuedeman guided the Bulldogs to her best mark in 2014 with a 39-21 overall record. MSU finished 10-14 in Southeastern Conference play, while qualifying for the SEC tournament for the second time in three seasons. MSU also played in a third straight NCAA regional tournament, where it finished 1-2 at the Louisiana-Lafayette Regional. With a talented nucleus back in 2015, the Bulldogs are striving for the next level and a first-ever appearance in super regional competition.
U. of Kentucky signs 15-year, $210 million deal for athletics multi-media rights
The University of Kentucky has announced a 15-year, $210 million athletics multi-media rights deal with JMI Sports, calling it one of the most valuable partnership in college athletics history. "This partnership reflects the fact that the University of Kentucky is a national brand with the largest and most loyal fan base in all of intercollegiate athletics," UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a release Monday. The move is a switch from UK's former partner, IMG sports. As part of the agreement, UK Athletics will continue to provide premium advertising inventory in support of the school's academic mission.
Texas A&M hires Hedrick as athletic trainer
Texas A&M has hired North Carolina State's Phil Hedrick to replace athletic trainer Karl Kapchinski, who was fired in early November. Hedrick was N.C. State's head athletic trainer for football while also managing the school's athletic training room since 2009. Hedrick's duties also included supervision of the training staff, assisting with implementation of NCAA and department drug testing procedures and assisting with insurance coordination and verifications. Hedrick was head athletic trainer at Furman University from 2002-09 and was an assistant athletic trainer at South Carolina from July 2000 until July 2002.
Missouri on cutting edge with DARI equipment
The University of Missouri uses a motion lab to improve athletes' form and minimize injury risk. Kansas City's Dynamic Athletics Research Institute through about a decade of trials and adjustments honed its process down to a fraction of the time it used to take. Seeing the potential of the company's technology, the university bought one of its $100,000 motion labs for the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute last May and has run nearly all of its 540 athletes through the system over the past 13 months. The process, which uses 14 infrared cameras scanning reference points such as limbs and joints on the body rather than surveying the ball-shaped diodes of other motion-capture systems, takes eight to 10 minutes to complete.
Gymnastics' D-D Breaux leads list of pay raises for LSU coaches
Fresh off of what was arguably the best season in her nearly four decades at LSU, gymnastics head coach D-D Breaux got a raise this week. LSU Board of Supervisors approved contract extensions for five coaches, including Breaux, during a meeting in New Orleans on Friday. Breaux's new salary will be $175,000 a year --- about 8 percent more than she was making, and her contract has been extended through 2017. Other coaches who got pay raises and extensions include women's golf head coach Karen Bahnsen, men's golf head coach Chuck Winstead and men's and women's swimming co-head coaches Douglas Shaffer and David Geyer. In discussing the raises, board members noted the longevity of the coaches whose contracts were renewed.

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