Category: Viewpoints

TX Faith Groups’ New PSAs Target Bathroom Bills

“Texas Impact Launches PSA Campaign Featuring Faith Leaders Speaking Out Against Bathroom Bills”   Texas Impact, the Lone Star State’s oldest and largest interfaith advocacy network, announced this week the launch of a new campaign featuring four public service announcements (PSAs) opposing discriminatory legislation targeting transgender Texans. The 30-second spots will begin appearing online and on social media this week and feature Christian leaders from across Texas explaining why they oppose the so-called “bathroom bills” being considered by the Texas Legislature. Texas Impact executive director Bee Moorhead says the PSAs are part of the interfaith non-profit’s “Mainstream, Not Extreme: Texas Faith Community Against Discrimination” campaign to correct misperceptions about the faith community’s position on the legislation. “Mainstream faith communities across our state, from the people in the pews all the way up to national denominational leaders, oppose these bills,” Moorhead says. “A few extremist individuals who support this legislation have been working hard to convince legislators that they represent the unified voice of the faithful, but that’s simply not the case.” Moorhead says conservative Christians, such as Baptists and the nondenominational are particularly frustrated at being mischaracterized, and that the PSAs feature authoritative voices that can set the record straight. Two of the PSAs feature the Rev. Dr. Jim Bankston, a well-known United Methodist pastor from Houston. In the spots, Bankston acknowledges that “it can be hard to understand...

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From the Editor: Kindness Makes a Difference

Recently, a reader submitted an anonymous Letter to the Editor that expressed gratitude to the local ER staff. Enclosed was a copy of a short devotional that expressed the way they felt when needing emergency care. “With each smile, the hospital became less cold and scary,” reads the short story. “My fear subsided as I sensed God encouraging me through the quiet, friendly care of the staff.” Although The “Times” is not able to reprint the shared story without permission from the original publication, we thought it appropriate to share a snippet. “What a difference kindness can make!” says our reader. Indeed. Kindness makes all the...

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Designing a Solution to our Nation’s Productivity Crisis

by Dick Resch   America is mired in a productivity crisis. According to the most recent government data, American workers’ productivity over the last decade has grown at less than half the annual rate it did between 2000 and 2007. Last year, our collective level of productivity edged up just 0.2 percent. Compare that to the late 1990s, when productivity jumped an average of 2.8 percent a year. This lack of productivity growth is behind a host of economic ills, including our sluggish economy and stagnant wages. Employers must make work a better place to be. They can start by designing and building more engaging workplaces, ones that empower people to work in ways that suit them best. Treating workers as individuals with unique work styles and needs will boost engagement — and make them more productive in the process. The productivity crisis has real, dollars-and-cents consequences. Gallup reports that 16 percent of workers are actively disengaged. They’re “miserable” and “destroy what the most engaged employees build.” The tab for that behavior is outrageous — between $483 billion and $605 billion a year in lost productivity. Just over half of workers are neither engaged nor disengaged at work — “they’re just there,” as Gallup put it. Only one-third of workers are “engaged” — invested in their organization, and trusted, respected, and heard by leadership. That’s a problem, given that...

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Letter to the Editor – Thanks for 2017 Graduate Coverage

To The Editor of The Freestone County Times! Thank you for your coverage of the 2017 graduates from Freestone County. You gave first-class recognition of all three schools in the county. You announced the Valedictorians and Salutatorians with front page, top of the fold coverage. I watched for the same caliber of coverage from the other two papers from Freestone County and was so disappointed. I contacted both of the others papers questioning why little or no recognition was covered of the graduates from Wortham. The other Fairfield paper didn’t have an answer. The paper from Teague did give 1/4 page coverage of Honor Graduates but not in order of their GPA. I was told by one of the employees that they realized too late the top two were not recognized. They went on to say the Mexia paper usually covers Wortham activities anyways. I responded with the fact that Wortham is in Freestone County and the Mexia paper is in Limestone County. Again, thank you Freestone County Times for your excellent coverage of ALL of Freestone County Graduates. Carolyn Clow Teague,...

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Medicaid Cuts Hurt Rural Seniors & Communities

By Jordan Rasmussen, Center for Rural Affairs Tucked within the text of both the House and Senate’s bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is language which seeks to fundamentally change the Medicaid program. While the enactment of this legislation is unknown, the principle remains, and rural seniors would be hurt. For rural states and regions that already encounter the health care challenges of an older, poorer and less healthy population, Medicaid allows access to care to remain for even those who are not enrolled under the entitlement. In our nation’s rural areas, 15 percent of residents over the age of 65 are on Medicaid. Yet, 36 percent of total Medicaid expenditures pay for costs accrued by Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65. Of this Medicaid spending for seniors, a significant portion covers long-term care costs – three in five nursing home residents. Remove Medicaid from the payer source for rural seniors and entire communities are left to suffer. Nursing homes not only provide care to seniors but are major employers in rural communities. Without Medicaid reimbursements to cover the costs of care, closures and accompanying job losses would become yet another casualty of Medicaid cuts. While the reliance upon Medicaid reimbursements to keep the doors of nursing homes open is not ideal, it is a reality for rural communities. Before Congress makes sweeping changes to...

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