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‘Civility’ vs. ‘political correctness’ not best yardstick
by Charlie Mitchell
May 04, 2016 | 123 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — They are not the same. Never have been. One is truth-centered. The other is not. Early on in his run for the presidency, Donald Trump sought to explain or excuse his earthy characterizations of others (fat, ugly, stupid) by saying, “Ya know, there’s just too much political correctness.” Well, maybe there has been too much political correctness in America, too much fretting about how words might make someone else feel. But pushing back against political correctness doesn’t require incivility. Never has. Never will. In its purest form, political correctness refers to speaking circuitously, often behaving in a false or “pretend” manner. Dictionaries say someone practicing politically correctness believes that language and actions that could be offensive to others should be avoided no matter what. In other words, don’t say what you really think. Political correctness, in that context, is about being deceptive. On the other hand, dictionaries say someone who is uncivil, whether being truthful or not, is rude, ill-mannered, churlish (great word), disrespectful, discourteous. It’s perfectly possible to be politically correct and civil, but failure to be civil can’t be laid at the feet of political correctness. Jessica Blankenship is someone who has thought about this a lot, just not in the context of Donald Trump. She is a writer who has explored what it means to be Southern. It’s a really good question these days. Blankenship wrote (paraphrasing just a bit) that being Southern — specifically being white and Southern — means loving the South without ignoring or apologizing for the shameful parts of its past. “Like, slavery happened, racism is still a big problem, but the South is still amazing, so let’s be honest about our past so we can move toward something better.” That describes the South as a place where people are open, genteel, accommodating, understanding. They live with truths, don’t gloss over them or explain them away. They smile and mean it. They know there are lots of sins, but think greed is probably the worst one. What about this other South? You know, the one in the 1960s and the one today that manifests itself in defense of a flag knowing many citizens can never embrace it. The one that sends lawmakers to state capitals to pass laws that single people out to have rights different from others. Many recent conversations have begun with, “I have a lot of gay friends, but …” which is very similar to those that begin with, “I have a lot of black friends, but …” Who are these people? Are they Southern? Are they fighting political correctness by engaging in incivility? To what end? Other conversations have couched this as resisting the liberal agenda. “You know how these liberals are. If you give them one thing, they’ll just want something else.” That statement represents a belief that it is time to take a stand. Too much is changing too fast. Just 20 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law decreed as a matter of federal law and policy that “marriage” was between one man and one woman. Campaigning for election, Barack Obama said amen to that. (So did Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, although Clinton now supports the Obergefell decision and Trump said he was “evolving,” adding that North Carolina erred with its new law on who may use which bathroom.) Things are changing fast. No denying that. But how about this? Instead of worrying about political correctness (meaning how things will sound or appear) and instead of resorting to name-calling, defensiveness or other incivility, can’t we just resort to the better angels of our Southern roots? Can’t we just think about whether something is right? Is it right to continue to fly a flag that contains an image commonly used in the last century to terrorize one-third of Mississippi’s citizens? Is it right to deny any two people who wish to enter a lifetime contract of mutual obligation the right to do so? Maybe if “they” are given “that” other issues will crop up. That’s certainly been the history of humanity. It’s just that as Southerners, it’s against our heritage — yes, our heritage — to be self-centered, self-righteous and such. It’s against our heritage to be ill-mannered and uncivil. When conversations center on political correctness or who is getting what at the expense of whom, rancor and division will dominate, which is what we’ve seen. When conversations center on right and wrong, they can be pretty animated, too. The difference is they usually lead to solutions. (Charlie Mitchell is a Mississippi journalist. Write to him at cmitchell43@yahoo.com.)
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Republicans should have adopted Democrats' rules
by Michael Barone
May 04, 2016 | 79 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The unexpected successes, forecast by almost no one 12 months ago, of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in winning 40 percent and 42 percent in Republican and Democratic primaries and caucuses is widely taken as evidence of raging discontent among American voters. There's something to that. But Trump's better-than-even chance of winning the Republican nomination and Sanders' success in pushing Hillary Clinton to the left owe something to another factor: Each party's nominating process has proven better suited this year to the other party. Over the 44 years since primaries started dominating the nominating process, both parties have adopted rules that suited their separate and different historical characters. They have often served their intended purposes. But not this year. The Republican Party, since its foundation in 1854, has been dominated by a core of people who are considered typical Americans -- white Northern Protestants in the 19th century, white married people today -- but who are never by themselves a majority of the nation. Republicans have to build on that minority to win and often have. The Democratic Party, since its first national convention in 1832, has been a coalition of disparate groups -- white Southerners and Catholic immigrants in the 19th century, gentry liberals and black churchgoers today -- with often conflicting goals. But when the Democratic coalition holds together it produces impressive majorities. The parties' nominating rules reflect these differences. Republicans have tended to favor winner-take-all delegate allocation, in the belief that candidates who win a plurality will be acceptable to, if not the first choice of, the party's core. Thus after the Super Tuesday primaries in 2008, John McCain led Mitt Romney in popular votes by only 39 to 32 percent. But winner-take-all rules, especially in California, where McCain carried 48 of 53 congressional districts, gave McCain such a big delegate lead that Romney withdrew two days later. Democrats, needing to unite disparate constituencies, actually required a two-thirds supermajority for the nomination from 1836 to 1932. Since 1972 they have tended to allocate delegates by proportional representation, to give each large constituency something like a veto on the nomination. This has blocked the nomination of disruptive candidates who had large blocs of support but were unacceptable to the majority, such as George Wallace and Jesse Jackson. Democrats' granting votes to superdelegates operates similarly. But proportional representation hasn't served Democrats well in 2016. As Daniel Nichanian at FiveThirtyEight points out, under Republican Party rules Hillary Clinton would now have nearly a 1,000-delegate lead over Bernie Sanders. Exit polls indicate that Clinton is widely acceptable to Democratic voters. But Sanders' persistent challenge has led her to take leftist stands that may be difficult to defend in the fall or to sustain in governing. As for Republicans, Donald Trump is the kind of disruptive candidate more common among Democrats -- deeply unacceptable to many party voters and officeholders. But Republican rules have enabled him to amass a big delegate lead by winning pluralities of the vote in multi-candidate fields. Under Democratic proportional representation rules, according to the estimate of FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver, under Democratic proportional representation rules, Trump would have won nearly 100 fewer delegates in contests up to March 6. And that was before the first winner-take-all primaries March 15. By my back-of-the-envelope estimate, proportional representation rules (allocating delegates only to candidates meeting a 20 percent threshold) would have cost Trump a little more than 100 delegates net in post-March 6 contests. So under Democratic rules, instead of being about 240 delegates short of the 1,237 needed for the nomination as he is now, Trump would be about 440 delegates short. In that scenario he would have to win more than 60 percent of remaining delegates, almost surely impossible for a candidate who has won just 40 percent so far. It's the same position Bernie Sanders finds himself in. Now the Republican Party faces the possibility of defections from Trump supporters if he isn't nominated and from Trump opponents and general election voters if he is. Either way the losing side will claim the rules are unfair. Rational arguments can be made for the fairness of both parties' rules, or for changing them. The parties' past tinkering has been aimed at repairing damage in previous contests. The unintended result is that both parties are saddled with rules ill-suited to their contests this year, with the potential to damage their nominees in November. (Daily Corinthian columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)
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A little more leg
by Rheta Johnson
May 04, 2016 | 98 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It's not enough that this has been one of the strangest years in presidential politics ever when you consider the candidates – a former first lady, a reality television star, a native Canadian and a 75-year-old curmudgeon who appeals most to young voters. We have an equally interesting mix of would-be, front-runner first mates – a former president, an R-rated model who designs jewelry, a Heidi and a former college president. It's coming down to Bill Clinton versus Melania Trump in the First Mate race, which sounds more America's Cup than political. Perhaps now would be the time to use the one bit of nautical language I memorized to impress sailing friends: heaving to puts great strain on the rudder. All this excitement makes one yearn for plain Bess Truman. She looks good in contrast, considering the possibility of a rounder or a nude GQ cover girl. Either way, the use of "lady" in a title might be inappropriate. Not that we haven't had playboys and lookers on the premises before. But the most famous glamour puss first lady, Jackie Kennedy, was fluent in several languages, knew art history and had a bumper crop of class. Melania hasn't yet grasped subject-verb agreement in English. And Bill, well, imagine him knocking about the White House with time on his hands. He got into enough trouble while there busy leading the free world. If nothing else, in the past eight years we have grown used to dignity in the White House. We have had a president who speaks the King's English and in complete sentences. We have boasted a first lady who is a lawyer and equally articulate, not to mention stylish without being scandalous about it. Their marriage seems solid, the children are seen but not heard. You might not have agreed with Obama's politics and policies, but the decorum was flawless. In the future, whatever the election outcome, social media no doubt will devote a lot of time to debating whether Melania has had recent Botox injections or Bill extramarital sex. In either case it will be a distraction from major issues like the economy and war. But, hey, that's the way the world works now. It's a sexy, plastic age. The Age of Lift. My preference for First Mate among the top four contenders would be Jane Sanders, the former college president, but unless a Tarzan swings by on a vine and transports her to the White House, I don't see it happening. If Bill wins, he'll become Mister Grandmom and perhaps host photo opportunities baking the cookies that Hillary once eschewed. If it's Melania, the Lincoln Bedroom may never be the same. (To find out more about Daily Corinthian columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson and her books, visit www.rhetagrimsleyjohnsonbooks.com.)
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KHS, CHS baseball clubs advance
by H. Lee Smith II
May 03, 2016 | 106 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alcorn County is guaranteed a spot in the state semifinals. Kossuth and Corinth each came away with wins on Tuesday to advance in to the third round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association’s State Baseball playoffs. n Kossuth got a three-hitter from Zack Stacy to knock off South Pontotoc 3-0 in Class 3A play. The Aggies (25-7) won the series — which saw the teams split a Saturday twinbill — 2-1. Kossuth, seeking its fifth consecutive berth in the North State title round, will face off with Alcorn Central in the third round. That Thursday-Friday-Monday series begins at 6 p.m. at Kossuth. Central (19-9) will host Game 2 on Friday. If a third game is needed, it will be played Monday at Kossuth High School. The Central-Kossuth winner will face the Mooreville-Nettleton survivor in next week’s semfinal round. On Tuesday, Kossuth made the most of four singles and got all the runs it would need early with two in the bottom of the first. Cole Tomlin paced the offensive attack going 2-for-3. Nik Wilcher and Reed Mitchell also singled, with Wilcher credited with the game’s lone RBI. The Aggies did swipe six bases, led by Jacob Wilcher’s hat trick. Stacy (4-0) allowed just four singles. The rightly didn’t walk a batter and recorded four strikeouts, including one with two runners on in the fourth. South Pontotoc ended its season at 8-22. n At Cleveland, Corinth finished up a rain-delayed, second-round sweep with a 7-3 decision over the Wildcats. Cleveland saw its season come to a close at 22-8 Corinth (19-6) will face Division 4 champion Houston (25-3) in the Thursday-Friday-Monday quarterfinal round. Game 1 is set for 7 p.m. in Houston, with Corinth hosting Game 2 on Friday with first pitch also slatted for 7. After the opener was washed out on Friday, the Warriors hosted Game 1 on Saturday and claimed a 6-2 win. The Warriors scored two in the first and never trailed. A three-run fourth extended the lead to 5-1 at the halfway mark. Kyle Crigger (5-3) got the win behind six solid innings.
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CHS girls tied for 5th in first forray
by H. Lee Smith II
May 03, 2016 | 79 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Corinth High School girls’ golf team made the most of its first appearance in state competition. Fielding a full team for the first time, the Division 2 Class II runners-up finished tied for fifth Tuesday at the rain-shorted state championship at Cleveland Country Club. “Fifth out of 14 teams is not bad for the first time. … not bad at all,” said second-year CHS coach Justin Parsons. “I’m very proud of them.” Rain washed out Monday’s opening round, leaving just 18 holes for the annual season-ending event. Fourteen teams — comprised of two or three golfers — participated in the event. The lowest two scores — if a team consists of three golfers, the highest is thrown out — determine the team score New Albany claimed the title with a 161 — four strokes better than Germantown. Lewisburg was third at 188, followed by Itawamba AHS at 191. Corinth and Caledonia tied for fifth with identical 194s. “It was wet and windy, not ideal conditions,” said Parsons. Courtney Craven finished third among individuals with a 77. The senior also finished third last season with a 174 — 89 and 85 — at Kirkwood National Golf Club in Holly Springs. “She won division and backed that up with a 77, not too shabby,” said Parsons. “She just couldn’t putt today. She three-putted on the next to last hole.” New Albany’s Lucy Martin and Germantown’s Presley Baggett each finished at 76. Martin, who recorded a hole-in-one during her round, won a one-hole playoff to claim the individual championship. Craven tied division rival Carlee Nanney for third. The IAHS standout won the 2014 individual crown and finished second last season. Craven claimed the Division 2 crown this year after finishing second following a playoff with Nanney in 2015. “I’m really proud of her,” said Parsons. “She played a lot better this year. If we had gotten to play both days I think she would’ve had two rounds in the 70s.” Parsons was headed to the coast following Tuesday’s play. The Corinth boys are set to play Wednesday and Thursday at the Class 4A event in Diamondhead. New Albany 161, Germantown 165, Lewisburg 188, Itawamba AHS 191, Corinth 194, Caledonia 194, Sumrall 196, Vancleave 197, South Jones 200, Pass Christian 216, East Central 217, West Point 247, West Jones 253, Florence 265 NEW ALBANY (161) — Lucy Martin 76, Lauren Dunlap 85, Olivia Thompson 132. GERMANTOWN (165) — Presley Baggett 76, Breana Pigott 89, Emily Howard 109. LEWISBURG (188) — Catlin Luke 87, Joyann Alderson 101, Emily Pulse 117. ITAWAMBA AHS (191) — Carlee Nanney 77, Hayleigh Peirce 114, Cailee Yielding 131. CORINTH (194) — Courtney Craven 77, Amanda Dorsett 117, Virginia Bumpas 138. CALEDONIA (194) — Avery Poll 90, Jensen Reed 104, Claudia Garcia 108. Top 5 Individuals 76# — Lucy Martin, New Albany 76 — Presley Baggett, Germantown 77 — Courtney Craven, Corinth 77 — Carlee Nanney, Itawamba AHS 79 — Bretlyn Phelps, Cleveland # Won one-hole playoff
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