Every Friday, KBIA's Health & Wealth Desk talks about the week's most interesting articles and reports on rural health, wealth and society issues.
'Redneck reality' and rural portrayal in cable television
Entertainment newspaper The A.V. Club muses on A&E's popular reality show Duck Dynasty, saying the show is the 21st century incarnation of old rural-themed sitcoms that once dominated network television. Think Petticoat Junction, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hee-Haw. It's an interesting read, but we were especially interested with the author's take on ways the television shows have to negotiate the rural-urban political disparities.
While the rural-themed programming of days gone by tended to depict the small Southern town as a bucolic haven for good-hearted folk, redneck reality is more apt to acknowledge the social and economic ills of the subcultures it depicts. These shows are sanitized for the protection of viewers with blue-state sensibilities; when they occur at all, political discussions tend to center on generalized platitudes about freedom and family, rather than specifics that might turn off half the potential audience.
Did headlines about death rates at rural hospitals tell the wrong story? The Daily Yonder is killing it with their opinion pieces this week.
Case in point: A new report made headlines last week, saying death rates are rising at rural, geographically isolated hospitals. But an opinion writer for the Yonder says news reports are not telling the real story of these so-called critical access hospitals:
The patients in the small rural hospital with heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia have become a select population. A large proportion has decided that they are through paying all the human costs of the miracles of modern medicine. They have made the decision to stay in familiar surroundings near home and family.
The researchers found that 13.3% of the patients at critical access hospitals with one of the three conditions died, compared to 11.4 % of the medical center patients. Given all the terrible tools that modern medical centers have to work with, I’m amazed they only manage a small difference in patient survival over the most basic, little country hospitals in America.
Republican Representative Dwight Scharnhorst is proposing a bill that would give tax incentives to individuals who donate to a scholarship program for special needs students.
But opponent Jim Ward says that it would be better not to specify individuals with particular disabilities, as it does not affect everyone.
"So this by nature, isn't something that is going to be accessible to everyone. And that just flies in the face of the constitutional requirement of what free and adequate public education is for everyone."
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 6:19 am
So who exactly comprises Progress Kentucky, the superPAC linked to the surreptitious recording of a meeting at Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign headquarters? In the recording, an aide is heard disparaging actress Ashley Judd, who was then considering a Senate run to challenge the Senate's top Republican.
On Sunday, voters in Venezuela will head to the polls, and in Caracas, the noise level is as high as voters' emotions. There is a background noise that accompanies everyday life in Latin America, a constant soundtrack: music blaring from food stands and cars, loud automobiles that are so run-down they defy the laws of physics, street vendors yelling product names. I've spoken to many immigrants to the U.S. who, like me, first arrived to live in the suburbs and found the absence of bochinche, or ruckus, maddening.
This week marked a new step in Michelle Obama's evolution as first lady. In her hometown of Chicago, she delivered one of the most emotional speeches of her career — about kids dying from gun violence.
"I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world," she said. "I am talking about what's happening in the city that we call home."