Five stories that have North Texas taking: The gut-busting news quiz show from Dallas, Republicans and social research, 'Psychology Today' on Texas mental health and more.
Peter Sagal owed Texas a lot. The host of Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me told a capacity crowd of 2,200 at the Winspear Thursday how much our state has given the show: "bizarre crimes, crazy politicians, lunacy as a lifestyle."
"You guys are like the Florida of the United States," he said.
So Sagal, legendary host Carl Kasell and panelists Paula Poundstone, Kyrie O'Connor, and Tom Bodett brought their A-game (and more backhanded compliments) to Big D. When the show aired Saturday, listeners heard a very vocal Dallas crowd -- rowdy for public radio listeners, Sagal noted. Listen to the full podcast here. (That's Dallas native and Booker T. Washington alum Erykah Badu in the "Not My Job" chair.)
- There's talk about the Republican party leaders rebranding for 2013. But some political analysts aren't buying a repackage. House majority leader Eric Cantor pushed to pull all federal funding for social research in a speech last week, saying medical research should take precedence. Paul Krugman calls that a mark of "the ignorance caucus" in a Sunday op-ed for the NY Times. To Krugman, Texas Republicans' expressed distaste for "critical thinking skills" taught in schools marks an ideological difference that will define the parties going forward. Commentator Stephen Whitley gave his two cents on critical thinking last fall on KERA. Majority leader Cantor is engaging folks on Twitter with the hashtag #MakingLifeWork.
- Funding that would address Texas' massive mental health needs is in limbo right now with state budget writers. How would the $130 million commissioner David Lakey wants for 2014-2015 translate into action? Now would be the time to assess the issues and figure that out. The more than 500 people who showed up at City Performance Hall last week for the public forum Erasing the Stigma: Mental Illness and the Search For Solutions forum affirmed that the people of Texas are ready to talk. Psychology Today has its own recap and study guide for the KERA-Channel 13 broadcast Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
- "Single use" plastic bags will vanish from most checkout aisles in Austin as of March 1. Aiden Cohen of Austin Resource Recovery explains this baby step toward the city's goal of zero waste by the year 2040. [KUT in Austin]
- A church in the Panhandle has decided to offer a concealed handgun license class on its campus. Calvary Baptist in Dumas had enough demand from members and churchgoers to validate the move. "I think, more than ever before, I personally am drawn more to our Constitution, and we’re not overtly political, but at places where politics and the Bible intersect, we’re not afraid to go there,” Rev. Brad Foster says. [Amarillo Globe-News]