WILSON: Rep. Moak’s bill would fund $1.5 million bond issue for 66 mile tourist rail line.

BY: Steve Wilson | Watchdog.org

It sounds like a movie advertisement straight from the Legislature, a surefire blockbuster guaranteed to waste tax dollars.

State Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, wants state taxpayers to fund a $1.5 million bond issue to start a tourist rail line from Natchez to Brookhaven, using existing tracks.

This is, of course, the same Legislature that brought you $155 million in sales tax incentives for “cultural retail” attractions, that gave several million dollars to a museum to honor legendary country singer Tammy Wynette.

It’s the same group that brought you the Grammy Museum Mississippi — along with federal money.

Moak’s bill, House Bill 50, was submitted on the first day of the session and would fund the purchase of passenger rail cars to carry tourists 66 miles through Adams, Franklin and Lincoln counties. Moak’s district is in the eastern terminus, in Lincoln County.

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Bryant signs bill to repeal later school year start date

Mississippi schools won’t be forced to start the academic year in late August, as they had been expecting to do.

Gov. Phil Bryant on Wednesday signed Senate Bill 2571 (http://bit.ly/1eVemd6 ). It negates a previous law that would’ve delayed the start of the school year until at least the third Monday in August.

Gulf Coast tourism officials had pushed for the later start date, saying it would boost the economy by giving families more time for vacation. Legislators passed and Bryant signed such a law in 2012, with the provision that the later start date would take effect during the 2014-15 school year.

Under the new law, local school districts can choose their own start date. Many Mississippi districts start their academic year in early to mid-August.

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How to deal with a predator

Case alumnus Herbert Henry Dow, founder of Dow...

Great story about taking the negative, and repackaging it as a positive.

Herbert Dow founded Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan when he invented a way to produce bromine cheaply. He sold the chemical for industrial purposes all over the US for 36 cents per pound at the turn of the 20th century. He couldn’t go overseas, however, because the international market was controlled by a giant German chemical cartel that sold it at a fixed price of 49 cents per pound. It was understood that the Germans would stay out of the US market so long as Dow and the other American suppliers stayed within its borders.

Eventually Dow’s business was in trouble and he had to expand. He took his bromine to England and easily beat the cartel’s fixed price of 49 cents per pound. Things were okay for a while until a German visitor came to Michigan and threatened Dow that he had to cease and desist. Dow didn’t like being told what to do and told the cartel to get lost.

Shortly thereafter German bromine started appearing for sale in the US for 15 cents per pound, way below Dow’s price. The cartel flooded the US market, offering the chemical way below their own costs, intending to drive Dow out of business. But Dow outsmarted them. He stopped selling in the US market entirely and instead arranged for someone to secretly start buying up all the German bromine he could get his hands on. Dow repackaged it as his own product, shipped it to Europe, and made it widely available (even in Germany) at 27 cents per pound. The Germans were wondering 1) why wasn’t Dow out of business and 2) why was there suddenly such demand for bromine in the US??

The cartel lowered its price to 12 cents and then 10 cents. Dow just kept buying more and more, gaining huge market share in Europe. Finally the Germans caught on and had to lower their prices at home. Dow had broken the German chemical monopoly and expanded his business greatly. And customers got a wider range of places to buy bromine at lower prices.

Dow went on to do the same trick to the German dye and magnesium monopolies. This is now the textbook way to deal with predatory price cutting.

A good CEO is . . .

From Robert Scoble
  1. Good at hiring AND firing. Whenever you find a really great CEO you find someone who has a knack for hiring. That means selling other people on your dream or your business. Especially when it doesn’t seem all that important or seems very risky. I used to work for a CEO who was awesome at hiring, but couldn’t fire anyone. Doomed the business. Many of the best CEOs get others to follow no matter what.
  2. Builds a culture, not just a company. The best CEOs, like Tony Hsieh at Zappos, build a culture that gives everyone a mission. They stand out in a sea of boring companies.
  3. Listens and acts. Many CEOs want to tell you what they are doing, but the best ones listen to feedback, and, even, do something with that feedback. My favorites even give credit back. Mike McCue, CEO of Flipboard, tells audiences that I was responsible for a couple of key features.
  4. Is resilient. AirBnB took 1,000 days for its business to start working. Imagine if they gave up on day 999? The best CEOs find a way to dig in and keep going even when it seems everything is going against them.
  5. Has vision. Let’s be honest. There are a lot of nice CEOs but if you don’t have the ability to build a product that matters to people, then no one will remember your name. Can you see a way to make billions with wearable computers? I guarantee some can and they are the CEOs who will bring me interesting new products.
  6. Stays focused. A friend who worked for Steve Jobs told me that what really made him different is that Jobs wouldn’t let teams move off their tasks until they really finished them.
  7. Speaks clearly. A great CEO is clear, crisp, concise. Quotable. So many people just aren’t good at telling a story in a way that’s easy to remember. The best are awesome at this. Since it’s the CEO’s job to tell the company’s story, it’s extremely important that this person be able to clearly tell a story about the company and the product.
  8. Is a customer advocate. The best CEOs understand deeply what customers want and when they are making anti-customer choices.
  9. Good at convincing other people. CEOs have to deal with conflicting interest groups. Customers often want something investors don’t. So, a good CEO is really great at convincing other people to get on board, even at changing people’s opinions.

Mississippi PEP

BY: B. Keith Plunkett @Keithplunkett

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann had the choice to bypass the normal Justice Department pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and go straight to a 3-judge federal panel in order to argue for approval of the state’s Voter ID bill. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that he should have chosen that route. Because, no matter what attempts are made by conservative southern states to improve the integrity and security of the voting process, the Obama Justice Department is going to fight.

While a few Voter ID laws have passed constitutional muster and have been enacted in states that aren’t forced to jump through the archaic and outdated Section 5 hoops, conservative southern states are seeing a backlash from Obama’s Justice Department. Never mind statistics that show minority participation actually increased following the implementation of Voter ID in some states in 2004 and…

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