Defend democracy in the South.

thad cochran

Texas company behind California oil spill a repeat offender

Sue Sturgis
The disaster near Santa Barbara, the site of a 1969 oil spill that sparked the modern environmental movement, comes amid a push to open the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf to oil and gas drilling. It underscores the risk presented by coastal energy development coupled with weak regulation.

What would Jesus the Migrant say to Mississippi politicians this year?

Joe Atkins

The Bible instructs us to "love the stranger," but migrants probably won't be feeling much love this year in Mississippi. Gov. Phil Bryant is up for re-election, and he has built his political career in part on demonizing undocumented migrant workers.

Populists and Bourbons are fighting again, 21st century style, in Mississippi

Joe Atkins
State Senator Chris McDaniel's still-contested narrow loss to incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi's Republican runoff last month exposed a divide with the Republican Party possibly as wide as the divide that ultimately split the one-party Democratic South in the 1890s between the "Bourbon" establishment and the rebellious "Populists."

INSTITUTE INDEX: The Mississippi freedom struggle at 50

Sue Sturgis
In June 1964, volunteers from across the U.S. descended on Mississippi to help tear down barriers keeping African Americans from the ballot box. Their work led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act, but today that law is under attack -- and the effort to restore it is getting little support so far from Mississippi's elected leaders.

INSTITUTE INDEX: The South's long resistance to marriage equality (updated)

Sue Sturgis
Should the Supreme Court strike down bans on same-sex marriage, it would bring big changes across the South, where all states limit marriage rights to heterosexual couples -- and it wouldn't be the first time it took a high court ruling to change the region's marriage laws.

Lawmakers demand answers from BP over ongoing Gulf oil sheen

Sue Sturgis
A large oil sheen in the Gulf of Mexico reported by watchdogs as far back as August 2011 has been tied to BP's failed Macondo well. Congressional leaders are demanding answers from the company about the ongoing oil release, and they also want to ensure BP pays fully for the damages caused by its 2010 disaster.

Hide the Silverware

Gary Ashwill
I love this headline from the Clarion-Ledger: "Police brace for visit by Bush." He's talking about traffic snarls, but when Rankin County Sheriff Ronnie Pennington says "It will be a mess," he could mean the President's

Mississippi Sinking?

Gary Ashwill
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has slipped a provision into a military spending bill that would grant his state authority to sell or lease mineral rights in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, an offshore national park.