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South Carolina Democrats elect first black woman to lead state party



South Carolina Democrats elected Christale Spain, a former state Democratic Party executive, as party chairman at their convention on Saturday. She ran with the support of the party’s senior leadership, including Representative James E. Clyburn, and would become the first black woman to lead a state party.

A longtime organizer of Palmetto State politics, Ms. Spain was widely considered the frontrunner in the race, a usually sleepy contest that featured more candidates than in more than 25 years. Her archrival, Brandon Upson, chairman of the state’s black caucus, pitched her as an establishment candidate whose ties to the old guard would stall the party’s progress in a crucial election year.

Democrats who backed Mr. Upson have sought to reconsider the state party they see as long dominated by Mr. Clyburn, who helped President Biden win the 2020 state primary ahead of South Carolina’s debut as first the party’s primary presidential state in 2024 and after a downturn in the 2022 midterm elections.

However, it was Ms. Spain’s connections, combined with her campaign strategy, characterized by social media explosions and regular visits to district party meetings and cattle calls, that ultimately won her the win. She won with the support of nearly 700 of the approximately 1,000 state delegates in a standing vote. Before Mr. Upson’s delegates could get up to vote for him, he yielded to Ms. Spain in a short speech calling for party unity.

As the next Chair, Ms. Spain will be responsible for preparing the State Party for the prime time moment: to vote first in the 2024 Democratic presidential primary. She will also have to restore the party in turmoil. Democrats lost several safe seats in the State House and Senate and had a low turnout in the 2022 midterm elections, a year that was otherwise considered positive for the party at the national level. Ms. Spain’s leadership will give Palmetto State Democrats a chance to make up for those losses and prepare for the national stage.

At a press conference following her victory, Ms. Spain addressed South Carolina voters with a message pending more meaningful change from the Democratic Party.

“Wait no more,” she said, promising to focus on year-round voter engagement efforts. “We know who our voters are. We’ll come back for them, and we’re going to kick them out, and more.”


“Are you there, God?” Reminds us why books are still banned even in the digital age



When the book came out, some critics seemed surprised at how deeply it penetrated the disturbing egocentrism of the growing child. “The world may be in serious trouble, but for Margaret Simon and her friends, the real crises are breast growth and competition over who gets their first period,” snorted the otherwise positive The newspaper “New York Times reviewer of children’s books in November 1970. Well, yes, for a standard 12-year-old, it sounds something like this.

No matter what once thought, anyway; the kids handled the publicity themselves, making the book a viral hit before viral hits were a concept. Leonard Marcus, children’s book historian, told me that Blume had good timing: Margaret came out just as publishers were starting to release children’s books in inexpensive paperback form and malls like B. Dalton were beginning to sell books without the watchful eye of librarians and traditional bookstore clerks.

A forbidden book will always be a success. Almost as soon as Margaret was published, was banned in some corners; flower said that her own children’s elementary school principal would not put it on the shelf in the school library because it mentioned menstruation. In the 1980s, conservative warriors Phyllis Schlafly and Jerry Falwell made Margaret and Bloom’s other books draw their ire. The Eagle Forum Schlafly has released a pamphlet titled How to Rid Your Schools and Libraries of Judy Blume’s Books.

The bullseye on Bloom’s work remains today. This spring forever which one of 80 books banned from the Martin County school system in Florida, and from the Margaret Atwood School. The Handmaid’s Tale and Toni Morrison The bluest eye. Last year saw a record number of book bans in the United States, with 60 percent of the bans affecting school libraries and classrooms. Some objections to books have been raised since 1970 — many of the banned books of 2022 were aimed at LGBTQ topics, including genderqueer, Maya Kobabe’s graphic memoir about explaining non-binary and asexual identities to friends and family. But a common feature of book bans then and now is discomfort with explicit discussion of sexuality.

In this context, the film version Margaret doesn’t look like anything that would piss off Phyllis Schlafly’s set. It’s a tender, charming period piece, an exercise in nostalgia so reverent for Bloom, who worked as a producer, that it opens with footage of her reading the entire first chapter aloud. Florida legislators may also be pleased to know that despite Margaret and her friends talking about menstruation, the film treats the actual event with 1970s restraint: not a drop of blood appears on screen.

In other words, the movie is safe – more so than the book when it left the monthly flow to your teenage imagination. And though he’s sweetly faithful Margaret text, the fact that he is depicted on a huge screen in a public place, I think undermines his spirit. Sitting in the theater, I imagined a version that could really make people squeamish—like the old jokes now appearing on Michelle Wolf comedy programs and poignant TV shows like Broad City. Bloom was so fearless in her day, says Anita Diamant, author of the book Period. End of sentence, a book about the destigmatization of menstruation. That’s why “she became a real legend.”

But if the kids in my theater seemed unflappable, watching permitted meals in the company of adults, they clearly still had their own secrets. One group of girls slipped down the aisle just as the lights went out and ran in and out together, whispering, during the show. They looked to be 11 or 12 years old, Margaret’s age, wore matching cat-ear headbands, and engaged in a private scheme that adults wouldn’t understand. Who knows what book they pass among themselves.

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Mistake, Confusion Plague Review Throwing Millions Out of Medicaid



Alicia Celaya, David Cardenas and their 3-year-old son Adrian at their home on Thursday, April 27, 2023 in Phoenix. Zelaya and her family will lose their Medicaid coverage later this year as a result of a nationwide review of 84 million Medicaid members that will require states to exclude people whose incomes are currently too high for the program. Advocacy groups say beneficiaries are finding the process confusing and at times full of errors, leaving some of the country’s poorest people suddenly without health insurance and unable to pay for the health care they need. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Days after surgery and with his young son going through chemo, Kyle McHenry struggled to figure out if his family in Florida would still covered by Medicaid come on monday

One form on the state’s website stated that insurance for their ailing 5-year-old son, Ryder, had been denied. But another said the family would remain on Medicaid until next year. However, a letter from the state says McHenry is now making too much money for him, his wife and their oldest son to qualify after the end of the month.

After three phone calls and a total of six frustrating hours at the Florida Department of Children and Families, McHenry finally got the answer they feared on Thursday: Most of the family is losing Medicaid, even though Ryder is still eligible due to his illness. .

“I’m trying not to panic,” McHenry’s wife Ellie McHenry told The Associated Press earlier in the week. The state agency did not respond to an AP request for comment.

McHenry is one of the first victims in unprecedented nationwide review of 84 million Medicaid members over the next year, this will require states to evict people whose incomes are currently too high for a federal program offered to the poorest Americans.

Millions of people are expected to go uninsured after receiving deferrals over the past three years during the coronavirus pandemic when the federal government banned states from removing anyone deemed unsuitable.

Advocacy groups have been warning for months that this venture will be rife with confusion and errors, leaving some of the country’s poorest people suddenly without a livelihood. medical insurance and unable to pay for the necessary medical care.

Medicaid participants are already reporting that they have been erroneously excluded from several states that have started deporting people, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, New Hampshire and South Dakota, according to data compiled by AP.

Trevor Hawkins is personally overseeing the trouble in Arkansas, where officials told the AP the state is moving “as fast as possible” to complete the review before the end of the year.

Hawkins spends his days cruising the state’s winding roads, providing free legal services to people who have lost insurance or need help filling out pages of forms the state has mailed to them. Between trips, he receives about half a dozen phone calls every day from people who need help applying for Medicaid.

“The notices are so confusing,” said Hawkins, who works at Legal Aid of Arkansas. “No two people have the same experience of losing insurance. It’s hard to pinpoint what the real problem is.”

Some people have been mailed pre-filled application forms that include inaccurate income or family information but leave no room for Medicaid members to correct state errors. Others have received documents saying Medicaid recipients will lose their coverage before they even have a chance to reapply, Hawkins said. A spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Human Services said the forms require applicants to fill out their information.

Tonya Moore, 49, was out of Medicaid for weeks because the state used her 21-year-old daughter’s wages, including income from two part-time jobs she no longer worked, to determine she was ineligible for the program . County officials told Moore she needed to get applications from businesses — about an hour from Moore’s farmhouse in Highland, Arkansas — to prove her daughter no longer works there. Moore says she wasn’t able to get her paperwork before she was taken out of Medicaid on April 1st.

By last week, Moore had run out of blood pressure medication and insulin used to control her diabetes and was looking down at a nearly empty box of blood sugar test strips.

“I panicked a bit,” she said at the time. “I don’t know how long it will take to get insurance.”

Moore has been reinstated in Medicaid since Monday with the help of Legal Aid.

The McHenry family of Winter Park, Florida are also concerned that the state mixed up their income when checking their Medicaid eligibility.

After their son Ryder was diagnosed with cancer in September 2021, Ellie McHenry quit her job to take care of him, leaving the family with Kyle McHenry’s only income from working as a diesel engine mechanic. She then signed the family up for Medicaid, but says they were initially denied because the state mistakenly counted Ryder’s cancer disability payments as income. She is concerned that the state included these payments in its latest estimate but was unable to get a clear answer after calling the state three times and hung up twice after being on standby for hours.

“Trying to get through to them is always a nightmare,” Ellie McHenry said of her attempts to contact the state helpline. “I didn’t have the guts or the strength to try calling again.”

Notices sent by McHenry and reviewed by the AP show they were given less than two weeks’ notice that they would lose coverage at the end of April. The federal government requires states to tell people just 10 days in advance that they will be excluded from Medicaid.

The family’s experience is not surprising. Last year, Congress, so concerned that some states could not adequately handle the number of calls that filled queues during the Medicaid process, required states to provide data on their call volume, waiting times, and rejection rates. An agency spokesman said the federal Medicare and Medicaid service centers will try to work with states where call waiting times are particularly long.

Some physicians and their staff take it upon themselves to inform patients about the difficult process they will have to go through over the next year.

Most of the young patients that pediatrician Lisa Costello sees in Morgantown, West Virginia are covered by Medicaid, and she always talked to parents about how the process would go. She encourages her colleagues to do the same. West Virginia officials sent letters to nearly 20,000 people telling them they would lose coverage on Monday.

Some people may not realize they no longer have Medicaid until they write a prescription or see a doctor in the coming weeks, Costello said.

“A lot of it is teaching people, ‘You’ll get this information; don’t throw it away,” she said. “How many of us get emails and throw them in the trash because they don’t think it matters?”

Every weekday, about a dozen employees at Adelante Healthcare, a small chain of community clinics in Phoenix, call families they think are at risk of losing Medicaid. Colorful posters on the walls remind families in English and Spanish that their Medicaid coverage cannot expire.

Here’s how Alicia Celaya, a 37-year-old Phoenix waitress, learned that she and her children, aged 4, 10 and 16, would lose their insurance at the end of this year.

When she and her husband were fired from their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, they signed up for Medicaid. Both returned to work in the restaurant industry, but Celaya and her children remained in Medicaid due to free health insurance because she cannot raise hundreds of dollars to pay monthly premiums for her employer-sponsored health insurance.

The clinic is helping her navigate private health insurance plans available in the Affordable Care Act marketplace and is trying to determine if her children qualify for the federal children’s health insurance program, known in Arizona as KidsCare. Celaya said she could never understand a market where dozens of plans covering different doctors are offered at different prices.

“I am not a health insurance expert,” she said.

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