Texas Standard for December 27, 2021

As COVID-19 cases soar in Texas, we look at where the state stands in the pandemic fight and what more we can do in the holiday season. Texas health experts weigh in on what’s happening with the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant. And: What 2021 tells us about 2022 when it comes to Texas’ role as the world’s energy capital. Also: Inflation putting a pinch on many households. How much is this like the crisis of the 1970s?  Perhaps less than one might think.  Economist Ray Perryman weighs in. Plus: The modern-day revival of an underground comics classic – one with a distinctly Texas accent. “The Freak Brothers” backstory and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardDecember 27, 2021 9:28 am,

Roundtable on Omicron

We’ve seen a significant spike in COVID-19 cases over the past several days. Health officials say the risks of catching the highly contagious Omicron variant are high – even among those who’ve been vaccinated. However, how severe one’s symptoms are may depend on vaccination status. For details, Texas Standard turns to Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist with UTHealth School of Public Health, and Dr. Trish Perl, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at UT-Southwestern Medical Center.

Women and the Draft

Congress this month ditched a controversial measure that would have required women to register for the Selective Service. Men must register when they turn 18 and can be forced into the military if the U.S. ever reinstates the draft. But supporters of gender-neutral registration say they’ll keep working to include women. Desiree D’Iorio reports for the American Homefront Project.

2021 Energy Wrap Up/Look Ahead

The energy market has certainly had an interesting ride in 2021. So, what’s on the horizon for 2022? For a look ahead, we’re talking with Matt Smith, lead oil analyst for the Americas for Kpler.

‘The Freak Brothers’ Cartoon

The new animated series “The Freak Brothers,” streaming on Tubi, features an all-star cast. Woody Harrelson, Pete Davidson and John Goodman voice the three freaks who are psychedelically transported from 1969 to the present. It’s based on a counterculture comic drawn by Texan Gilbert Shelton. Shelton started drawing the misadventures of the freaks – Franklin, Phineas, and Freddy – while living in Austin in the late ’60s. The new TV show is a good opportunity to revisit its source material, says Texas Monthly writer Chris Vognar.

Military Hospital Gingerbread House Contest 

It’s the season for gingerbread, and gingerbread houses fill the lobby of the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. Teams of military and civilian staff members put their baking and building skills to use for the hospital’s gingerbread house contest. Dr. Nina Shaw says the goal is to spread holiday cheer. KTEP’s Angela Kocherga reports from the event.

Forest Theater Restoration

The historic Forest Theater has been vacant for over a decade, but its bright green tower and the red ball atop it still watch over South Dallas. Elizabeth Wattley has been working for years to bring the theater back to life. She’s currently with a group called Forest Forward, and she laid out her team’s new restoration plan for KERA’s Miguel Perez during a recent tour.

Questions and Answers About Inflation

The U.S. economy has an inflation problem. The price of everyday necessities like a gallon of milk or gasoline is going up – and fast. A recent report by the Commerce Department showed consumer goods had the highest year-over-year price increase in nearly four decades. What’s going on? And can we expect that trend to continue going into 2022? Texas Standard asked someone who knows a thing or two about inflation: Waco-based economist Ray Perryman of The Perryman Group.

All this plus the Texas News Roundup and Shelly Brisbin with the Talk of Texas.

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