- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

June 2

The Greenwood (Mississippi) Commonwealth on Medicaid idea:

Medicaid legislation passed Monday by the Louisiana Legislature should be of interest in Mississippi.

Louisiana lawmakers, led by Republican House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, emphasize they aren’t expanding Medicaid to cover more of the working poor. But, in effect, they are proposing to give the next governor an incentive to do it.

The Louisiana Hospital Association crafted the proposal, which calls for hospitals to assess a fee on themselves to pay for state costs of the expansion. The hospitals, in turn, would receive more compensation for treating the poor since more of their patients would have insurance.

In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant, along with the Republican leadership in the Legislature, have so far stubbornly opposed expanding Medicaid. They claim that even though the federal government would pick up most of the tab, it’s still too costly for the state - thus turning their backs on the hundreds of thousands of uninsured workers Medicaid expansion would help and the thousands of health-care jobs it would create.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has taken the same position in Louisiana, but he won’t be in office next year. Three Republicans and a Democrat running to succeed Jindal have said they would consider a Medicaid expansion.

Louisiana has maybe hit on a funding idea that will fly. Mississippi should look at it, too.




May 30

Sun Herald, Biloxi, Mississippi, on hurricane season:

Hurricane season begins Monday and though it won’t peak until late August or early September, it’s not too early to get ready.

And don’t be deceived by forecasts of a milder-than-usual hurricane season. As the old saying goes, it only takes one hurricane.

Should a hurricane threaten the Coast, there will be innumerable decisions and details you’ll have to handle. The more of them you handle now, the less likely you’ll lose your wits then.

Now is the time to learn if you live in an area that would be wiped out in a storm surge. Water will kill more people than wind in a hurricane, unless everyone in the flood zones gets out. Floodsmart.gov will tell you if you are in danger.

Now is the time to gather the important papers you’ll need to have with you if you evacuate. Think of every document you’ll need should you return to a home that has been destroyed by the storm.

Ready.gov has a lot of information about preparing for and dealing with disasters.

For instance, you’ll need supplies to take care of your family and yourself for several days. The rule of thumb is 72 hours. And remember, you’ll likely to be preparing meals without a stove, electricity or running water.

If you have pets, you’ll need to know where you can and can’t take them if you evacuate.

If you have a yard full of furniture and other stuff that will become airborne in high winds, you’ll have to stow it rather quickly. Now is the time to figure where all that stuff will go.

Do you need shutters? Now is the time to decide and have them installed. If you plan to use plywood to cover windows, now is the time to get it and cut it to size. And to learn how to install it. Hundreds of people will wait until a storm is on the horizon, then rush to the DIY center. You don’t want to be there when they do.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Such lists already are online at the websites mentioned. This is meant to impress on the uninitiated the importance of planning. And it’s a reminder to the veterans to update their plans and start carrying them out.

Finally, take care of one another. There are the elderly and others who could use some help to get ready. Give it freely.




June 2

Northeast Mississippi Journal, Tupelo, Mississippi, on state’s musical heritage:

The weekend funeral and interment of blues legend B.B. King appropriately was held in Indianola, which he always considered his hometown. His final resting place, the museum in Indianola that bears his name and that has drawn high praise, will now be that much more of a tourist attraction.

Mississippi’s musical heritage is deeper, richer and more diverse than any other state. In fact, official state marketing makes the credible boast that Mississippi is “the birthplace of American music.”

And why not?

King is perhaps the most commercially successful of a long succession of blues artists from Mississippi and the musical genre itself was born on and near the plantations of the Mississippi Delta.

The man most consider to be “the father of country music,” Jimmie Rodgers, was a railway brakeman who hailed from Meridian. That city honors him with an annual festival.

And then, of course, there’s Elvis, the man who blended white gospel and black rhythm and blues into what became rock ‘n’ roll. His international popularity was and is unparalleled for an individual musical artist.

So Mississippi literally is where three of the great, uniquely American contributions to the world of music have their roots.

Each of these Mississippians - King, Rodgers and Presley - had enormous influence over musicians who followed. Tributes to King from blues musicians the world over have flowed freely in the days since his death. Rodgers, who came earlier than the others with his career launched in the 1920s and his short life ended in 1933, was revered by those who blazed country’s trail toward wider popularity in later decades. And Beatle John Lennon famously said of Presley, “Before Elvis, there was nothing.”

The 17th annual Elvis Presley Festival, where B.B. King himself was once a featured performer, is this weekend, and it provides an opportunity both to reflect upon and take advantage of this unique musical heritage our state enjoys.

It also offers the chance to experience yet again the drawing power for Tupelo of the Elvis name and legacy.

Mississippi is at the heart of a new marketing effort called the Americana Music Triangle encompassing five states and connecting Nashville, Memphis and New Orleans. A regional connection is one more way to lure music lovers and cultural tourists to Mississippi’s musical heritage attractions.

But there’s no need to sell our state short by itself. It’s in a musical league of its own.





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