Sorry Kids, Voters Reject Initiative 42 in Mississippi

Historic Wechsler School in Meridian, MS
Historic Wechsler School in Meridian, MS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am surprised that Mississippi's Initiative 42 to fully fund public education failed to pass. The pro 42 side was relatively well-funded and did a decent job of getting the word out. The coalition of people supporting 42 was not limited to the handful of poorly organized liberals scattered throughout our state. Most major newspapers, educators, some religious groups, and at least a few atheists (e.g., Neil Carter) supported Initiative 42.

At work, nearly all of my co-workers were convinced it would easily pass. As one woman with a young family put it, "With all the attention this has been getting, it is difficult to imagine how anybody could vote against improving education in our state." I wasn't quite so optimistic. I have learned that our local conservatives have a way of going against what most of us would regard as common sense. Still, I did think Initiative 42 would likely pass.


Initiative 42

English: Greenwood High School in Greenwood, M...
Greenwood High School in Greenwood, Mississippi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Tuesday, Mississippians will go to the polls (I hope) to vote for or against Initiative 42, the measure requiring our legislature to fully fund public K-12 education. The whole thing is fairly confusing because of of how the ballot is set up, but it is also confusing because it deals with a complicated question with few easy answers: how should we fund public education, and how much of a priority should it be? As a result, I know plenty of smart people in our state who still have not decided how (or if) they will vote.

At the public university where I work, we have been bombarded with anti-42 messages from the administration. My guess is that such political messaging is not entirely legal, but that certainly doesn't prevent it from happening. Essentially, we have been told that if Initiative 42 passes, state universities will have their budgets cut to make up for the added money going to K-12 education. The not so subtle implication is that passing Initiative 42 could place our jobs in jeopardy or at the very least could deprive us of resources we already don't have necessary to do our jobs.


Time to Get Your Flu Shot

English: Entrance to the headquarters of the C...
Entrance to the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
According to the Centers for Disease Control, less than half of Americans get a flu immunization each year (reported in the Jackson Free Press). Are that many people afraid this vaccine could give them Autism? Or maybe they have an alternative means of escaping the flu.

But seriously, I admit that there have been a couple of years when I forgot to get my flu shot. This is unwise since I work in a busy university setting where I can count on being exposed to nearly every contagious illness that seems to sweep through the students. I need to get my shot not just because I don't want to get sick (which I don't) but also because I don't want to spread it to others. Perhaps I do have a bit of humanism in me after all.


Seeking Posts From Atheists in Mississippi

we need a resolution by aramismarron
I write four blogs, including this one. Two of them are work-related. They are fairly easy to maintain because they are used to distribute news, only have to be updated periodically, and require only short update-type posts. On the other hand, they aren't even mildly enjoyable and are more of an obligation than anything else. The primary drain on my blogging time is my main blog, Atheist Revolution. I do enjoy it most of the time, but there is no denying that it takes a considerable amount of my focus. That leaves me with relatively little time for Mississippi Atheists.

It has been obvious for some time that I do not have the time to maintain the Mississippi Atheists blog on any sort of regular posting schedule. I've reached the point where I'm okay with that. I can post occasionally here, on the Facebook page, and on the Twitter account and not worry about it the rest of the time. And yes, occasional posting is all I am likely to do. Of course, I think it would be great to have some co-authors or even occasional contributors too. And that is where you come in.


Jackson Mayor Promotes Prayer

Take a look at this tweet from Tony Yarber, the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.

Forget for a moment that this is an elected official who should know better than to promote his religious beliefs from office. Set aside the notion that the Christian community of Jackson would be up in arms if a Muslim mayor were to do this. And forget for a moment that Mayor Yarber is tasked with working on behalf of all the residents of Jackson, including the atheists who live there.