Last Week, In Case You Missed It: December 9, 2013

tagxedo-120913We published a number of news stories, features, and opinion pieces last week in Oak Ridge Now. None may have been more important than the news that child poverty has increased in Texas 47% since 2000. More than one in four children were living in poverty in Texas in 2011. How did we get here? And how do we reduce those numbers? I don’t know. Elected leaders in our state seem to be more interested in determining who is the most conservative rather than who can come of with a plan to ensure that the least of these have a warm place to sleep, food in their belly, and a good college education. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Elsewhere in Texas, there is a three-way race to replace outgoing Attorney General Greg Abbott, who has his sights sets on the Governor’s Mansion. Republicans in the Texas Senate may be looking to follow Harry Reid’s lead and get rid of the two-thirds rule in the Texas Senate, which would allow the GOP to pass legislation without the support of the remaining handful of Democratic State Senators. And President Obama’s waning popularity numbers may have an effect on Democratic candidates in Texas in 2014. Unless, you know, unemployment keeps falling, peace deals keep getting brokered, and people find they actually have a better selection of health insurance options. Nah, that could never happen.

Speaking of health care, Medicare wants to cut back on post-hospital-stay rehabilitative care. It seems that a number of rehab facilities and nursing homes abuse federal guidelines and keep patients for a maximum stay, rather than only as long as needed. (No, really? Here’s looking at you, Regent Care Center of The Woodlands). And everyone’s favorite website,, may be operating much better than before, but there are still some unanswered questions about how much of the info gathered from applicants is passed on properly to insurance companies.

In our weekly features, Robyn O’Bryant could still think of nothing other than Auburn’s amazing last-second missed-field-goal-runback-for-a-touchdown play that propelled them into the National Championship game. Will E Sanders questions whether dolphins should really be considered mammals. If it looks like a fish, smells like a fish and swims like a fish, then isn’t it a fish?

In Unknown Soldiers we ran the story of Jason Van Loo’s yellow lab, Blu, who stayed alive long enough to greet Jason when he arrived back home from his latest tour of duty in Afghanistan. Dave Ramsey advised a young couple to buy a house after the baby arrives, rather than before. And Kurt Loder reviewed ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, a movie currently in limited release that should be in a theater near us (think Market Street) soon.

Jason Stanford wonders why important people really care if Texas is better than California. He says,

“Instead, how about we ask ourselves a more interesting question: How can Texas be better? Doesn’t that open up a whole new range of blue skies? The alternative to the status quo in Texas has never been California. The choice Texas really faces is different: Do you want more of the same, or do you think Texas can do better?”

John Stossel wonders if we shouldn’t think twice about giving money to charity. There are smart giving choices to be made, and folks don’t always make them. Bill O’Reilly laments that reality TV has ruined television for most people. Welcome to 2008, Bill. Mark Shields advocates requiring each citizen to serve two years for their country as a way of increasing citizen responsibility. It is an idea worth considering.

Finally, in our funniest story of the week, Will Durst recounts the Top 10 Comedic News Stories of 2013, including these gems:

6. Ted Cruz rallies fellow Tea Partiers by reading “Green Eggs and Ham” on the floor of the Senate, then misinterprets the moral of a book aimed at kindergarteners.

1. Affordable Care Act website debacle. Most people decide it would be easier to let the NSA handle the whole thing. After all, they have all our information and probably know which plan best fits.

All that and our terrific editorial cartoons, last week on Oak Ridge Now.

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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