Mississippi

Ding-a-Ling Welfare Cheat


If you have ever griped about how much we spend on welfare or people cheating the system, then you have to be royally pissed at this action.

Retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre wanted to build a new volleyball court for Southern Mississippi University while his daughter was a student and a member of the school’s volleyball team. He got around $6 million for this although about a million ended up in his pocket. Where did the money come from? It came from welfare funds intended to assist the poorest people in the poorest state.

This bombshell was exposed by Mississippi Today after a two-year investigation.

Mississippi State Auditor Shad White revealed dozens of text messages showing how Favre, former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, and nonprofit leader Nancy New coordinated on procuring welfare funds to finance an $8-million volleyball stadium. The auditor’s office is claiming the full amount of money stolen from the welfare fund is over $77 million.

The Mississippi Free Press reports, “New ran the nonprofit Mississippi Community Education Center when it directed $5 million in Temporary Assistance For Needy Families to The University of Southern Mississippi Athletic Foundation, whose board she sat on, to fund the stadium on the Hattiesburg campus. Her nonprofit also directed $1.1 million to Favre for motivational speeches he never delivered. 

The Free Press reported that New and her son, Zach New, have pled guilty to multiple state charges,  including bribery and wire fraud as part of a plea agreement. The newly revealed text messages, revealed publicly in a court filing in a separate civil suit this week, shed light on how $6.1 million meant for the poorest families in the poorest state wound up going to Favre and a pet project at his alma mater instead.

The state is suing to recoup the welfare funds and states New’s organization “paid Favre $1,100,000 simply for the ‘purpose of enriching’ him.” That’s over a million bucks for a guy who made at least $140 million during his NFL career, not including endorsements.

Favre claims he never knew the money was being stolen from a welfare fund intended for the poorest in the nation, but a text message from him suggests he knew something wasn’t right.

In 2017, he texted New, “If you were to pay me is there anyway [sic] the media can find out where it came from and how much?”

New replied, “No, we never have had that information publicized. I understand you being uneasy about that though.”

Favre replied, “Awesome I needed to hear that for sure.”

Yeah, there was no way the media would ever find out, said New, unless of course they caught her and she rolls on you in a plea-bargain agreement.

I hope New didn’t get any other suspicious text messages from Favre, because he has a sordid history with such things. I mean, after what he did while a member of the New York Jets should have him banned from owning a cell phone with a camera ever again.

In 2013, Favre settled out of court with two massage therapists after they accused him of sending inappropriate and unsolicited sexual text messages to them while he played for the Jets in 2008. Favre’s lawyers said he was innocent, but he still paid them. I hope he got off cheaper than Deshaun Watson.

Favre was also investigated by the NFL after Jenn Sterger, an in-house TV host for the Jets claimed he sent her pictures of his penis, but ruled he had not violated the NFL’s conduct policies, but still fined him $50,000 for failing to cooperate with the investigation.

Sterger claimed to a Deadspin writer that despite her rejecting his advances, Favre sent her multiple penis pictures with one of him masturbating while wearing a pair of Crocs.

Apparently, there’s a Ten Commandments to sending unsolicited wiener pics to women. Charles Barkley, who saw the photos sent from Brett To Jenn (unless Favre sent them to him too) said, “My biggest problem with the whole Brett Favre thing is if you’re going to send a woman a picture of your junk, it should be huge. You can’t send small junk to a woman and expect anything. Seriously you have to be like Ron Jeremy or some of those other porn stars. If you send a woman a picture of your junk, it should be humongous, it shouldn’t be small. That’s one of the Ten Commandments.”

I don’t think the tiny size of a penis is the “biggest” problem with sending an unsolicited penis picture to a woman. The act of sending the picture is the problem. The sexual harassment of the act is a larger problem. But yeah, dudes…if it’s small, keep it in your Wranglers (a brand of jeans Brett endorsed).

This is a lot of shit for Favre to deny from sending penis pics to infidelity to cheating welfare recipients to wearing Crocs…sheesh. Is there not a low this man won’t stoop to?

This type of corruption involving white conservatives (Brett Favre endorsed Donald Trump) funneling funds from poor Mississippians, who are disproportionately Black, is a centuries-long problem that was exposed recently in the failure of the crumbling water system in Jackson, Mississippi. 

Conservatives love the idea of drug testing recipients of social welfare while never advocating the same policy for executives of corporations that receive welfare. In locales where these tests have been conducted, they’ve found very few drug users on welfare. It’s not a rampant problem among welfare recipients, but when you do find one, why punish his or her children? No cheese for you because daddy smoked a reefer?

But, if you really love the idea of drug testing to find welfare cheats, then maybe we should test Brett Favre. It shouldn’t be a problem because he does like to whip his penis out.

Music note: I jammed to The Killers while drawing today’s cartoon.

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Racist Mississippi


cjones07042020

It’s time for another racism test, kids. If you’re upset about the Confederate flag being removed from the state flag of Mississippi…and you don’t live in Mississippi, then you’re probably a racist. In fact, if you’re upset and you actually live in Mississippi, yup. You’re still a racist. Also, if you’re still supporting Donald Trump, you’re a racist.

After 126 years of being on the state flag, Mississippi is finally removing the Confederate emblem. Yesterday, the governor signed a bill making it official.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, or in the wave of it, Confederate emblems are coming down. Lady Antebellum is now “Lady A.” The Dixie Chicks are now just “The Chicks.” Aunt Jemima is saying good-bye with Uncle Ben and Mrs. Butterworth soon to follow. Confederate statues are being removed officially or by the brute force of protesters. NASCAR has removed the hate flag from its venues, but not all the nooses apparently. Soon, the only thing left will be a hate president and a few of his Senators.

There is a lot that’s great about Mississippi. It’s where I started my career and sharpened my teeth in this business. I had the best teachers in Mississippi and I can’t think of a better place for a journalist to start their career. I worked for a weekly newspaper for five years, a daily for eight months (they fired me), and I freelanced several years for the Mississippi Business Journal while self-syndicating to over 40 papers in the state. I worked and lived in the state for seven years. I still have great friends there. My son was born there. In fact, I’ll be back there for a few days next month…even after publishing this cartoon.

If you don’t live in Mississippi, then let me explain this to you: It’s kinda like the biggest small town in the world. And in journalism circles, everyone knows everyone. If you’re in the journalism business, you will not impress another journalist by telling him or her that you had the governor in your office last week because he’s been in their office too. One governor was almost my personal lawyer before he ran for the top job. I once sat on the benches of a little league game with a different governor who, like me, had a newborn at home and we showed each other pics of our babies. Back in the 90s, it was not uncommon for me to run into the state’s attorney general (who was once in my office going through a stack of cartoons looking for himself) and for him to call me by my first name. How small of a town is it? People in the state know who their agriculture commissioner is. Here in Virginia, most people don’t even know we have a black lieutenant governor (he’s the one who actually has a black face).

It’s not that people in Mississippi are smarter than people in Virginia. God no. It’s just that it’s more close-knit. Plus, when the agriculture commissioner is in office for two decades, at some point you learn his name. And there are fish fries. You meet every politician in the state at fish fries. I can’t tell you how many times I met former Senator Trent Lott, mostly at fish fries. It got to the point that when I was told to cover something featuring Lott, my response was usually, “again?”. Oddly enough, in my seven years in the state, I never did meet Thad Cochran.

I mentioned the training I received in Mississippi. Two lessons that have stuck with me over the years are: There is almost never too close with a camera and you rarely need “that.” Also, my publisher once told me he wanted to see more irony in my work and I scoffed because I was sure there was plenty of irony in my work. Then I went to my office, had to step around a governor, and looked up the definition of “irony” just to be sure.

But, there is amazing talent in the state. It gave us William Faulkner, Willie Morris, Eudora Welty, and Marshall Ramsey (though he’s actually from Georgia…another state that had the hate emblem on their flag). Mississippi gave us Elvis. It gave us Oprah.

But I bet when you think of Mississippi, the first thing isn’t Faulkner, plantations, antebellum crap, cotton, Oprah, or even “O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?”. I bet the first thing you think of is racism.

Mississippi arguably has the most hateful past when it comes to racism. Even as recent as 2018, while appointed Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith was running for her seat, she joked about public lynchings. On the day Trump visited to help her campaign against a black guy, nooses were hung on the grounds of the state capitol. As Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said of racist Strom Thurmond at his 100th racist birthday party, “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over the years, either.” I don’t think he meant we wouldn’t have had “all these problems” because Thurmond was a great race uniter.

And about those lynchings in the south, between 1882 and 1968, there were 539 documented lynchings in Mississippi which were even more than Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida, all states with over 200 lynchings each. And who were they lynching? It wasn’t white people. So when it’s 2018 and a candidate for the United States Senate is still making lynching jokes, your state is racist.

Before you argue the state isn’t racist, it’s 2020 and the Confederate emblem is just now being removed from the official flag of a state where 38 percent of the population is black.

Also, another little test for you: If you don’t believe the Confederate flag is racist, you’re a racist.

It’s great the hate emblem is being removed. Georgia removed it. South Carolina removed it off the grounds of their state capitol after a brutal murder in a black church in 2015. But, the Confederacy is still represented in state flags. Georgia’s flag still has 13 stars and is modeled after the actual Confederate flag (it’s like when David Duke stopped wearing Klan robes and started wearing suits). Alabama’s and Florida’s flags were influenced by the hate flag. The Arkansas flag has four stars that represent the nations the state belonged to, Spain, France, the U.S., and the Confederacy…with the Confederacy’s star being on top.

There’s still a lot of hate, not just in the south but in this nation. Removing these symbols and emblems are only the first steps. The biggest thing we have to change are minds. When can we do that? After we stop teaching our kids to hate. Just yesterday, here in my little liberal city in Virginia, I heard a guy drop multiple N-bombs while talking about Black Lives Matter and his support for Donald Trump. Obviously, he was from Stafford County.

Like Donald Trump, Mississippi is synonymous with hate. Donald Trump’s not going to change his name because he’d still be racist. Mississippi won’t change its name either, but it can eventually cease to be synonymous with racism. But it has a LOT of work to do. That will be proven in November when they return Cindy Hyde-Smith to the Senate and go red for Donald Trump.

Maybe someday when you think of Mississippi, the first thing that comes to your mind won’t be hate.

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Eat Your Own


cjones12022018

I lived in Mississippi for seven years and in Virginia for the past twenty. Yet, I feel I know and understand Mississippi better than I do Virginia.

I felt I was in touch with more people across the state than I am in Virginia. Mississippi is a small state and that means the newspaper community is also small. I was self-syndicating my cartoons to Mississippi newspapers during that time and I got to know editors, publishers, and reporters from Tupelo to Biloxi and everywhere in between. The community was so small, that meeting statewide elected officials and knowing them on a first-name basis wasn’t a big deal. If you bragged that you talked to Trent Lott, other people in the profession would be like, “when don’t I talk to Trent Lott?” He was everywhere.

Virginia is a much larger state and there are suburbs and cities. Mississippi has small cities and basically no suburbs. The counties that are home to the larger cities of Tupelo, Biloxi, Gulfport, and the suburbs of Memphis all went to Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. The largest county in the state, Hinds, went to Democrat Mike Espy. At the end of the night, there were still about 60 precincts in Hinds that hadn’t reported, but the 70,000 votes Espy needed to overcome Hyde-Smith weren’t there. In Virginia, those larger areas would have gone blue and if 70,000 votes from a large city were still out and needed for a Democrat to win, that Democrat would get it.

It didn’t surprise me that white voters heard Hyde-Smith joke about lynching and voter suppression and learned that she attended and also sent her daughter to “segregation” academies, and still voted for her. What is a little puzzling is why any black person would vote for her.

Charles Evers is one such person. Mr. Evers brother was a civil rights leader who was gunned down in his driveway by Byron De La Beckwith in 1963, and it took three trials to finally convict him. Yet, Mr. Evers is a Republican who voted for Cindy Hyde-Smith. His biggest issue with Mike Espy was that he believed he wouldn’t work with Donald Trump. It’s mind-boggling that Mr. Evers would want to send someone to Washington to work with racist Donald Trump.

John Mosely, an African-American Republican who ran for mayor of Moss Point in 2017 said about Hyde-Smith’s comments, “I just choose to look at it as a possible mistake and chalk it up to that, and I haven’t given it much thought afterward.” That right there is a great example that whether you’re black or white, Republicans don’t give much thought to things they should think about.

Rev. Charles McKinney of Moss Point is a black Republican who, along with his two sons, was among the few African-Americans at Trump’s Biloxi rally Monday. He said, “It’s an insult to Mississippi for people to say we’ve had a racist public figure that has served so long and we didn’t know she was a racist.” I agree. It is insulting he didn’t know she was a racist before this election. It’s also a tad ambiguous that he still doesn’t know it.

People are not monoliths and no one should be scorched for which party they belong to or vote for. But, I do think it’s fair to criticize people for voting against their best interests. Donald Trump is a racist. It’s not a secret and you have to be willfully ignorant to ignore his racism. Voting for a racist who will help a racist create racist policies isn’t a smart thing to do for a white person, let alone if you’re a minority. But then again, I’m still trying to figure out why a majority of white women voted for Trump.

It’s not a surprise that Mississippi really hasn’t changed that much since 1963. What are surprising are the cows who want you to eat more cows.

Creative note: I have to give a shout-out to my friend R. Bruce. Mr. Bruce is a friend of mine who plays music professionally, used to live in my town, and is a friend of mine. Now, he lives in Australia taking lots of bird pictures and trying not to get eaten by a crocodile. He made a comment yesterday on a post of mine comparing black Republicans with Jews for Jesus, and Vegans for McDonald’s. I replied with the cow analogy. Right after I made the post, I thought the cow thing would make for a funny cartoon. A minute later, Bruce made a comment that I should draw it before some lurker colleague on my Facebook page stole it from me. Thanks, Bruce for triggering this idea, which is probably going to get me in trouble.

I already heard from a colleague, who often gets in trouble, that I’m going to get in trouble.

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
Whether you can help support, can’t, or just choose not to, please continue to enjoy and keep reading my work. Thank you!!! 

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

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Mississippi White Vote


cjones11262018

Once upon a time in Mississippi, general elections were mere formalities. If you won your party’s primary, you won the election. That is if your party was the Democratic Party.

My career started in Mississippi and I lived there from 1990 to 1997. Once, I was present when some Democrats were on trial for something related to voting in a county supervisor primary. Two of the witnesses were Republican poll workers. When the defense attorney challenged their credibility by asking, how could they witness anything while keeping track of their own primary voters? One of the witnesses explained, “We only had two voters all day. We’re Republicans.” It wasn’t like they had a lot to do but sit at their table and watch all the people, who were their neighbors, working and voting at the Democratic table. The entire courtroom knew this.

Because Democrats had a lock on the state, that doesn’t mean it was a liberal state. If anything, it was more conservative then than it is now. Republicans started to move the state in the early 90s with the election of Kirk Fordice to the Governorship. Today, it’s a solid red state. My point is, Democrat Mike Espy is not going to win in Mississippi for the U.S. Senate Seat.

Espy’s opponent, Cindy Hyde-Smith, is the incumbent Senator, appointed to the post when Thad Cochran retired. She is a terrible candidate. She was caught on a microphone joking about attending a lynching, made another joke about voter suppression, and was photographed wearing Confederate battle garb at the home of Jefferson Davis. But, Mississippi still has the Confederate battle flag as part of the state flag.

The battle flag flag became the state flag in 1894 and was repealed in 1906, but the state ignored that and kept the flag flying for nearly a hundred years before there was a referendum to remove it in 2001. The referendum failed and the state legislature acted swiftly to make the battle flag flag the official state flag. Mississippi voters, by 64%, voted to keep a hate symbol flying.

You would think that Mississippi, which has more African-Americans per capita and more black elected officials than any other state in the nation and had 581 lynchings between 1882 and 1968, would be able to reject a horrible candidate like Hyde-Smith.

The Republican was unable to debate Espy without an advantage. The debate was sponsored by her campaign contributors, and Hyde-Smith demanded that there be no live audience or outside press in attendance. She also demanded that the candidates have access notepads during the debate. And she demanded that a planned segment in which the candidates would ask each other questions be changed, with the questions submitted beforehand and asked by the moderator. It was worse than the new rules Sarah Huckabee Sanders has for White House press briefings.

And yet, even with it scripted, she had difficulty with her apology for the lynching joke. After stumbling over the words (because reading is hard), she blamed others for “twisting” her words and “using them for nothing but political gain.” Previously, she blamed others for making something “negative” out of a lynching joke. Seriously.

Major donors, including Walmart and Leidos, are asking the Hyde-Smith campaign for their money back. The white supremacist who gave her $2,700 has not.

This looks pretty bad for Republicans. It’s shaping up to be another Alabama, where voters rejected the accused pedophile and sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate. Even then, the pedophile still got 49% of the vote. But, this is Mississippi, where a joke about something as horrible as lynching will not sway the majority of white voters to vote for a Democrat, and a black guy at that. Mississippi hasn’t elected a black candidate to a statewide office in the more than 140 years since Reconstruction.

There are good people in Mississippi. Some of America’s greatest writers have come from the state. There are liberals and enlightened people. Some of the most talented people I ever worked with are from Mississippi. But, they’re outnumbered.

This is the state where it took three trials to convict Byron De La Beckwith for the murder of Medgar Evers, killed Emmett Till for flirting with a white woman, and killed three Civil Rights workers for helping blacks register to vote. Their former Senator, Trent Lott, said Strom Thurmond was right with his racism. Mississippi has changed a lot since those days, but a lot hasn’t.

Mississippi is still burning and it’s going to send a racist laughing about lynchings and voter suppression to the United States Senate.

Be Complicit

What kind of person would want to be part of something that disparages, slanders, and disrespects Dear Leader and his sycophantic followers? Hopefully, you. 
Making a contribution supports my work and keeps the cartoons, columns, and videos coming. My income is from newspapers that subscribe to my work and small contributors. George Soros hasn’t sent me a million dollar check in weeks. Making a contribution of any amount, or buying a print for $40.00, makes you part of this specific resistance, and a member of Team Claytoonz (we’re still working on the name). You are complicit, an accomplice, and in cahoots (and whatever gangster terms we can think of) with this political satire pointing out that the stupid emperor has no clothes. Contributions can be made through PayPal, checks, and wads of cash exchanged in back alleys.
Whether you can help support, can’t, or just choose not to, please continue to enjoy and keep reading my work. Thank you!!! 

You can purchase a signed print of this cartoon.

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Mississippi Burning


cjones04052016

Mississippi is about to take a test. The test will determine if they’re more ignorant and ass backwards than Georgia, and just as much as North Carolina.

Republican lawmakers in Mississippi really hate gay people. Let’s be fair. Maybe they don’t hate gay people. They just realize they can capitalize on their voters’ hatred.

The Mississippi law doesn’t just describe “religious freedom.” It very intentionally points out you can use religion as an excuse to discriminate against anyone who is gay, in a gay marriage, or a “gay lifestyle.”

The bill is called “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” which means, you can’t be discriminated for discriminating against gay folks. The legislation would allow businesses and religious groups to deny the LGBT community certain services such as counseling, wedding planning and adoption support. It would also protect those groups from punishment if they act “consistent with a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction.” Man, you really gotta hate someone not to take their money. The Soup Nazi could move to Mississippi and literally be a Soup Nazi.

North Carolina just passed a bill targeting transgenders and their use of public bathrooms. Georgia and South Dakota passed similar bills but their governors said no. I suspect Georgia governor Nathan Deal vetoed it because of business pressure. He really doesn’t want The Walking Dead to start filming in another state.

I love Mississippi. My son was born in Mississippi and he currently lives there. My career started in that state. The Panolian is my journalism education and I had great teachers who I still consider family. I love them very much. I made friends in the journalism community all over the state and my ran in newspapers from Biloxi on the Gulf Coast to DeSoto County on the Tennessee border. I met a lot of readers in Mississippi. Some of the smartest and most talented people in the world come from Mississippi. Those people are not in the state legislature which is continuing the stereotype of Mississippi being populated by backward, racists, inbred, toothless hicks who marry their sisters. Thanks, legislature. You would think that with the state’s long sordid history of racism that the government wouldn’t create new laws to hate.

I really hope this cartoon doesn’t lose me any clients in Mississippi, or anywhere else. I should send it to every editor in the state who doesn’t subscribe to my work just to give them an early stir to start their Wednesday morning.

Story time: When I worked at The Free Lance-Star here in Fredericksburg, VA, our editor had a policy that we couldn’t publish any images of a noose. I discovered this by drawing a cartoon, and it being published, with a noose. It’s funny how you learn things. The cool thing was I didn’t get in trouble. My editor got in trouble. He got a demerit or something like that on an employee evaluation for approving my cartoon. Apparently I was just a monkey boy who wasn’t responsible for my own actions. FLS had a LOT of no-nos I discovered over the years. You’ll be glad to know that after that I got in trouble plenty of times.

This cartoon was drawn while listening to the first four Van Halen albums. There isn’t a better song to listen to while cross hatching than Atomic Punk.

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