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State Democratic chairman in Taiwan

By By Buddy Bynum / editor
May 26, 2002
When the faxed press release arrived from the Democratic Party of Mississippi on Friday, I had to take a second look at the headline, which blared, "State Democratic Chairman Traveling to Taiwan."
I read on with interest:
What a noble gesture of international goodwill. I've been sitting over here in east Mississippi not even knowing Taiwan had Democrats.
It is curious that whenever political figures travel abroad they always seem to find "high-level" people to meet with. I guess that makes sense. I mean, who'd want to make the 22-hour flight to Taiwan, and about the same back, just to meet with homeless street bums.
But on the issue of cozying up to foreign governments, Cole may have inadvertently opened up some degree of political vulnerability. Isn't this the same sort of thing for which Democrats are criticizing potential Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour?
Maybe Cole will meet up with some of the same people Barbour got to know when he was chairman of the National Republican Party.
At least Cole is carrying a number of Mississippi-specific gifts to share with his hosts, including copies of the novel "Good Ole Boy," by the late Mississippi author and "committed Democrat Willie Morris," according to the press release.
NAS Meridian
With its $92.7 million annual payroll and benefits to the Lauderdale County economy it is the county's largest employer the value of NAS Meridian should not be understated.
A list of more than $72.6 million in construction projects at the base is impressive, as the Navy evidently continues to recognize its crucial contributions to national defense.
Lamar McDonald, chairman of the Navy Meridian Team, said two projects have been completed this year a new control tower and flight operations building  and three others should be completed this month NTTC barracks update, BEQ renovation, and renovation and expansion of the Navy exchange building.
By August, a new administration building should be completed, along with repairs to the JP8 fueling system.
The first phase of renovation work on 120 units of Capehart housing is in progress and phases two and three are planned. All three phases of the work totals about $24.5 million.
Phase II of a T-45 support facility project is under contract. Airfield/runway lights and power upgrades, repairs are budgeted for 2002, and an addition to the medical/dental building and a new control tower in the outlying Joe Williams Field are in the fiscal 2003 budgets.