Wacky winter continues

Winter Storm Warning for SW Mississippi. Second significant snowfall this winter season, plus a pipe-busting cold spell that went to 20 degrees below freezing …

“Dang,”

/he said, resisting the urge to make another global warming joke.

Tonight: Snow, possibly mixed with rain and sleet, becoming all snow after midnight. The snow could be heavy at times. Low around 31. Northeast wind between 5 and 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow and sleet accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

Friday: Snow, mainly before noon. High near 36. North wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. North wind between 5 and 10 mph. link

Greg Harper holds conference call 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.

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)

Gustav makes landfall

Hurricane Gustav has made landfall southwest of New Orleans as a Cat 2 storm with winds at 110 mph.

WDSU in NOLA is reporting that water is topping the Industrial Canal on the Gentilly Side.

Here is a Live video feed.

The concern is that the water level could go higher.

In Pike County, Civil Defense Director Richard Coghlan urged residents to excercise caution.

“We can still expect 50 mph winds and rainfall between 6 to 8 inches,” Coghlan says. “We’re going to continue to deal with this through tomorrow — either wind or rain.”

read more at McComb Enterprise-Journal

McComb armory renamed for fallen soldier

from Enterprise-Journal

The McComb Army National Guard Readiness Center will be renamed this weekend in honor of a fallen soldier. Sgt. Timothy R. Osbey died Feb. 16, 2005, when his vehicle rolled into a canal in Iraq.

The 29-year-old soldier from Magnolia was a member of the 155th Brigade Combat Team.

At his funeral, Osbey was posthumously awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious service and a Mississippi Medal of Valor.

The dedication ceremony begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Osbey married Willie Marie Dickerson Osbey before leaving for the Middle East. Osbey also left behind a daughter who was 9 years old at the time of his death.

“It wasn’t a bank robbery. It was a domestic situation”

Update 2:  Matt Williamson has more…“Family in shock” 

Update 1: EJ’s John Surratt connects the dots in Thursday’s edition…..

A recent divorce became public and violent Wednesday morning inside Regions Bank in downtown McComb, leaving four people dead, including the bank’s manager and a customer who tried to intervene.
Police said Robert Lanham Jr., 35, entered the Main Street office of Regions Bank late Wednesday morning and shot two people before kidnapping his ex-wife and driving away.

Lanham allegedly shot bank manager Ronnie Larrimore, 38, and customer James Frederick “Jimmy” Fayard, 53, inside the bank with a 9mm handgun before chasing down his ex-wife, Rachel J. Lanham, 36, catching her in the bank’s back parking lot, forcing her into his pickup and driving away.

Rachel Lanham was killed when she was thrown from the truck after it struck a tree on Highway 51 in Fernwood, south of McComb.

Lanham then drove to Magnolia, where authorities said he shot himself in the head while driving, lost control of his Chevrolet pickup and crashed, with his truck coming to a rest in a ditch off South Prewett Street in Magnolia.

Larrimore and Fayard were pronounced dead inside the bank.
Rachel Lanham was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident in Fernwood.

Robert Lanham Jr. was pronounced dead on arrival at Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center.

Autopsies have been ordered.

[…]The tragedy began just after 11 a.m. Wednesday, when Robert Lanham Jr. entered the bank, where his ex-wife works as an investment officer for the investment firm Morgan Keegan, which has an office in the bank.Hughes said Lanham entered through the back of the building, asked a secretary if Larrimore was in, went into Larrimore’s office and shot and killed him in his office chair.Lanham then went through the bank to his ex-wife’s office, where she was with Fayard, Hughes said.

Hughes said Fayard attempted to stop the gunman, enabling the ex-wife to momentarily escape.

The resulting struggle damaged the blinds and broke a window pane in the office.

“He (Lanham) tried to pull her out of her office,” Hughes said. “That’s when the customer tried to intervene and protect her, and that’s when he got shot.”

Lanham caught up with his ex-wife in the back parking lot and drove off with her.

“It was a contentious divorce,” McComb Police Chief Billie Hughes said concerning a possible motive for the shootings.

“You have a contentious divorce, people arguing over property … emotions build up and take over and someone does something that they wouldn’t normally do.”

Shirley Guy, who was with a bank officer inside the building during the shooting, said she heard the shots.

“At first, I didn’t think it was gunshots,” she said. “It sounded like fireworks or someone hitting something with a hammer.”

She said she made a comment about the noise to the bank officer, who suddenly ducked under a desk.

“I ducked down, too,” she said. “Then I heard a lot of confusion and screaming and begging, then I saw a woman running toward the back of the building.”

After catching his ex-wife, in the parking lot, Lanham drove out of town, heading south on Highway 51, veering off the highway south of Fernwood Grocery and striking two cedar trees.

Rachel Lanham was thrown from the truck during the accident, dying from her injuries there.

Initial reports said she had been shot, but officials have not verified that.

“The accident happened in the front yard of a house,” Pike County Sheriff Mark Shepherd said, adding that Lanham then drove off toward Magnolia.

He said that sometime before shooting himself, Lanham called and left a message on his stepfather’s telephone in Ohio.

The stepfather, he said, contacted authorities about the call. Shepherd declined to describe the contents of the message.

I was in the bank this morning. This hits way too close to home. From the Enterprise Journal ….

01.jpgThree people were killed late this morning after an apparent domestic dispute that began at Regions Bank in downtown McComb, and the suspected shooter died at the hospital, police said.
“It wasn’t a bank robbery. It was a domestic situation,” Police Chief Billie Hughes said.

Hughes said an armed man he identified as Robert Lanham Jr. walked inside the bank on Main Street, fatally shot bank customer James Frederick Fayard, 53, of McComb, bank manager Ronnie Larrimore, 38, of Tylertown.

The gunman then left with his ex-wife, Rachel J. Lanham, who worked at the bank, as a hostage.

“The guy’s ex-wife worked at the bank. They were divorced,” Hughes said. “He came in the bank, and so far there is a bank customer that has been shot and killed. There has been a bank employee that has been shot and killed.”

Authorities found Rachel Lanham’s body along Highway 51 near Fernwood a short time later, though Hughes said it remained unclear how she died.
Robert Lanham Jr. apparently shot himself while driving in Magnolia, and lawmen found him in a vehicle on Prewett Street.

He was taken to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, where Pike County Coroner Percy Pittman said Lanham died.

My neighbor was telling me the skinny about all this, just a little while ago. He’s the pastor of the church the Lanham’s attended before their divorce. “You know, these days you don’t just have to look out for the criminals that came up here after Katrina, you’ve got to be aware of crazy people too. The customer in that bank could have been me or you,” he said.

Dang. Ain’t it the truth.

TIME NEVER DIES

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