Texas

News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

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From Texas Standard:

College is expensive. These days, average in-state tuition and fees at a public university will run just under $10,000 per academic year; it goes up to $35,000 for private universities, according to data from the College Board.

Jeffrey Pratt Gordon

From Texas Standard:

There’s Ronnie, Charlie, Bill, Mick, Keith and – Bobby?

The man who many consider the sixth member of the Rolling Stones is a Texan named Bobby Keys. He grew up in Slaton, just outside Lubbock, and played saxophone with just about everyone, it seems –from Chuck Berry and Carly Simon, to John Lennon and Sheryl Crow. Plus the Stones, of course.

A documentary about Bobby Keys is screening Wednesday in Austin.

Doris Kearns Goodwin Says Even In Turbulent Times, We Can Learn From Past Crises

Sep 18, 2018
LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto

From Texas Standard:

In this age of Twitter-driven, toxic politics, it's an interesting intellectual exercise to try and imagine how historians might someday look back on the current era in American history. To call it turbulent seems almost to be an understatement. But history itself may help us understand the times we're living in.

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From Texas Standard:

It’s inevitable that some of the institutions we rely on today won't be used in the future. Consider the manual typewriter or the milkman ... or the town crier.

Texas Standard's Micheal Marks spoke with Maria Pfeiffer, a local historian in San Antonio, who told him the last town crier in the U.S. was Julius Myers, and he held his position until 1928.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Watchdog groups say changes to the 2020 census could make it harder to accurately count people living in rural areas, which could ultimately lead to future funding shortfalls.

Spencer Selvidge

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been accused of going on a nearly two-week-long “serial killing spree” that came to an end on Saturday after he was arrested in connection with the deaths of four women and the kidnapping of a fifth woman.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera: O'Rourke/Robin Jerstad: Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, have agreed to three debates before Election Day.

Announced Friday by both campaigns, the schedule calls for debates Sept. 21 in Dallas, Sept. 30 in Houston and Oct. 16 in San Antonio. Each event will be an hour long and vary in topic and format:

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From Texas Standard:

After a dry summer in west Texas, locals would love nothing more than to be able to summon a rainstorm on command. This isn't a new desire; humans have a long history of trying to harness the clouds to do their bidding. Katie Nodjimbadem recently wrote about a wave of efforts to do that in Texas in the late 1800s, for Smithsonian Magazine.

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From Texas Standard:

You’ve heard of minimally invasive surgery – it’s often called laparoscopic surgery. Instead of making a large cut in a patient, and moving tissues and organs that are in the way, doctors make smaller cuts and focus on just the area they need to with the help of a tiny camera.

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From Texas Standard:

The start of the new school year is one of the busiest seasons for the The Boy Scouts of America, which happens to be among of the country's biggest youth organizations. Right now, the group's representatives are focused on recruiting new scouts, but this year, they're taking a different tack with their usual membership drive.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Two years ago, the Houston Chronicle investigated how Texas had been creating the false impression that there was declining demand for special education. The investigation was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and it showed that Texas had found ways to cap the number of special-education students, and block others from even qualifying. It was essentially a money-saving strategy, but now the federal government says it's time to pay up, and fix the system.

Bob Daemmrich / BDP Inc.

The campaign of Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, says an "impostor" was behind a text message that surfaced Wednesday asking voters to help people who are in the country illegally cast ballots.

Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Two people can be in the same situation, but their perceptions of that situation can be very different. And that can affect their experience. Such is the case in a new novel where a woman born into slavery on a tobacco farm is taught to see herself not as a slave who is there because she is less-than human, but as a captive who deserves better, because there is royal blood in her background.

The book is “Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen,” by Austinite Sarah Bird. The novel is based on the true story of Cathy Williams, a slave who was freed after the Civil War and served as a buffalo soldier.

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From Texas Standard:

One question Amazon's Alexa won't be able to answer – at least not yet – is where Amazon will build its next headquarters.

It's been a year since the tech company announced it has outgrown its Seattle home base and needs to expand elsewhere. But the $1 trillion company has been tight-lipped about where that might be.

Since that announcement, 238 U.S. cities ingratiated themselves to the company, trying to win its favor. Amazon whittled that list of bids to 20 finalists, and among them are Austin and Dallas.

From Texas Standard:

Labor Day once marked the traditional start of election season. That's hard to believe now with 24-hour news cycles, and more and more people tuned in to social media. These days, Labor Day signals the final sprint for those running for office to reach voters before they head to the polls in November. So, with campaigns already well underway, how are the midterms shaping up in Texas?

Photo: Grace Chadwick

From Texas Standard:

In May, President Donald Trump’s so-called "zero tolerance" policy led to the separation of hundreds of migrant kids from their parents. The issue dominated headlines. Now, the news seems to have largely moved on, though many families remain separated despite the reversal of that practice.

While many Texans have spent at least some time near the U.S.-Mexico border, most don’t know what it’s like to cross the border as an immigrant. But a Texas video game designer is trying to bridge that gap.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

There's some surprising news about the state of labor in Texas: the Lone Star State has been a right-to-work state since 1947, but it appears that unions in Texas are having a moment. Membership numbers are up, and it could be a turning point for organized labor, even in pro-business Texas.

Julian Aguilar / Texas Tribune

A federal district judge on Friday denied the state of Texas’ request that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program be put on hold after Texas and nine other states sued to halt the Obama-era program.

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From Texas Standard:

Back in February, former Austin Westlake High quarterback Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots. It was a high point in what’s been a fairly bumpy pro career for Foles, and after the game in an interview with the NFL Network, he was asked how he kept his enthusiasm for football.

“I grew up in Texas. Played some Texas high school football. ‘Talk to ‘em baby.’ Hey – that stuff’s real! I touched a football the first day I was born,” Foles said.

Foles is part of a grand tradition of big-time Texas quarterbacks. But there was a time when QBs weren’t such an abundant Lone Star State export.

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From Texas Standard:

If you were to walk south on Congress Avenue in Austin, you'd notice at least six construction cranes. You can see a similar scene in cities all across the Lone Star State. Day and night, construction crews are busy at work, and business is good –  or it would be if there were enough workers to get the jobs done.  

This week, the Associated General Contractors of America released a report with data from 2,500 contractors. It confirms what we've been hearing: There is a labor shortage.

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From Texas Standard

Oil companies have long been blamed for playing a role in climate change. But now, those companies are asking the government to protect their interests from the harsher storms and higher tides connected with global warming.

Companies on the Texas Gulf Coast, which is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey, are pushing for a 60-mile stretch of sea walls and levees that would help protect homes, beaches and, yes, oil infrastructure, from the next big storm.

Julia Reihs/KUT and Mengwen Cao/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The showdown between Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke for Cruz's U.S. Senate seat has started to gain some hefty national attention. It's also the topic of a soon-to-be-released documentary by award-winning Texas documentarian and University of Texas film lecturer, Steve Mims.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

From Texas Standard:

You've almost certainly heard about the dog days of summer, but do you know about canicula? You probably do if you're from the Rio Grande Valley. Otherwise, perhaps not.

From Texas Standard:

Last week, a priest went missing from his Texas parish, and a U.S. cardinal missed his trip to Ireland with Pope Francis. Both have something to do with the latest revelations of pedophilia that continue to plague the Catholic Church. Over the years, some cases have gone to court but none has been as pivotal as the case that was tried in Dallas two decades ago.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Port Aransas was built on a carefree lifestyle – the idea that you could leave the daily grind behind for the island life. Hurricane Harvey washed away that image for those who live and work there. Carefree days turned into a grind of insurance entanglements, contractor delays, ferry lines and worry after worry.

But with every storm there's opportunity.

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From Texas Standard:

Mexico just experienced its most violent month ever. In July, Mexican prosecutors launched 2,599 new homicide investigations – 84 per day on average, a new record. The Los Angeles Times reports that during the first seven months of 2018, a total of 16,399 homicide cases were opened, marking a 14 percent increase from the same period last year.

Rural Texans With HIV Or AIDS Face Stigma, And Limited Care Options

Aug 23, 2018
US Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

Texas has the fourth highest rate of HIV and AIDS in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A majority of the 86,000 Texans with these conditions live in urban areas, where there’s better access to medical care and a greater chance of avoiding the stigma that can come with a positive diagnosis. But for Texans with HIV or AIDS who live in smaller towns, finding medical care – and human compassion – can be much more difficult.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Development in Bastrop has been temporarily put on hold.

The Bastrop City Council voted unanimously last week to put a 90-day moratorium on development permits. The city wants to use this time to update its land-development rules to try to prevent flooding, an effort it’s calling Building Bastrop. The council also approved an emergency ordinance related to drainage.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Hurricane Harvey took a big whack to the shrimp industry's bottom line in Texas, but the storm's legacy may be what it did to the smallest shrimpers on the Coastal Bend.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke is putting up a noteworthy fight against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in the upcoming midterm elections, trailing Cruz by single digits in the polls. But O’Rourke winning the seat would be a long shot in Texas, which hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1988.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with O’Rourke (@BetoORourke) from the campaign trail.

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