By Barry Burleson
Barbour got roasted Saturday night, and then
Mississippis Governor did a bit of roasting
Mississippi Press Association held its annual roast at
the Jackson Hilton. Barbour was the honoree. Proceeds go
to MPAs Education Foundation, which funds
scholarships, internships and grants to benefit
journalism students in Mississippi.
It was an
honor for me to be on the program and get to welcome the
approximately 250 guests who attended.
always includes lots of good fun for a good cause. There
has been a time or two when it has almost gotten out of
hand, due to some of the roasters.
plenty of laughs this time around most
focused on the defunct, state-backed Mississippi Beef
Processors plant. The plant, in Oakland, closed three
months after opening and cost state taxpayers $54
auctioned off to the high bidder Friday morning of last
week. Community Bank won it for $8.6 million.
plenty of beef jokes during the Roast.
was Sid Salter, perspective editor of The Clarion-Ledger.
Sid always does a masterful job. He should have been a
were Phil Bryant, state auditor; Marshall Ramsey,
editorial cartoonist with The Clarion-Ledger; and Steve
Holland, state representative from Plantersville. All
three kept us laughing. A surprise roaster was the First
Lady, Marsha Barbour.
Attorney General Mike Moores name surfaced many
times during the roasting. It stems from the Partnership
for a Healthy Mississippi, which is under fire by state
leaders, including Governor Barbour, looking for ways to
stem an out-of-control Medicaid budget. The Division of
Medicaid has announced its intent to file suit to recover
an annual $20 million in annual state tobacco funds from
the Partnership. Moore formed the Partnership in 1998
with tobacco settlement money.
several packs of cigarettes being passed around Saturday
night all in fun, of course.
Barbour got the opportunity at the end to roast the
roastees in return. He was taking notes throughout the
night. And he fired back well. He had the audience
laughing perhaps more than the roastees.
It was a
very successful evening. Most importantly, about $16,500
was raised for MPAs Education Foundation, which
will be of great assistance to future journalists.
It was also
good to see some Marshall Countians enjoying the Roast
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson, J.M. Flick
Ash, County Administrator Larry Hall and Ken Stice.
highlight of the Mid-Winter Conference for me personally
was getting the opportunity on Friday morning to
introduce guest speaker Tommy Hamill, former hostage in
Iraq. The Macon resident talked about his capture, the
treatment he received while being held hostage and his
raised on a farm in Noxubee County. At a young age, he
learned to drive a truck, and in common with many
American family farmers, worked at multiple jobs to
augment his familys income. Hamill made
long-distance runs hauling freight while continuing to
manage his herd of dairy cattle. In 2003 he went abroad
to support his countrys fight for freedom in Iraq,
and to earn enough money to save his farm. His life
revolves around his reverence for God and family.
He also had
copies of his book, Escape In Iraq - The Thomas
Hamill Story, available for sale and signed copies
for purchasers. His inspiring story is one of danger,
courage, faith and family.
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