Texas

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

Phillip Pessar/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

A year ago Saturday, Amazon announced it was buying Whole Foods, prompting a flurry of questions about what it meant for the country’s biggest online retailer to get involved in the grocery business. Since then, the industry has started exploring ecommerce, but Amazon has been moving cautiously.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Trump administration has selected Tornillo Land Point of Entry, a crossing point along the Texas-Mexico border near El Paso, as the site of its first temporary shelter for immigrant children separated from their parents under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

Steven Depolo/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

For the next month, the eyes of the soccer world will be on Russia, the site of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 32-team tournament, which does not include the United States, will decide which country will reign over the world’s game for the next four years. Every soccer fan has their prediction of who will win the cup, but nobody could tell you for sure, right?

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard.

South Texas is ground zero for a fight to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Trump administration has tried to end it, but twice, courts have ruled that the administration can’t do that. Now DACA opponents are trying a different legal maneuver – Texas and six other states have sued the federal government. The Trump Justice Department’s not putting up a fight, which could mean the end of DACA.

Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

One of the burdens of a serious health condition, like cancer or a chronic immune disease, is the heavy medication necessary for treatment. The cost of one day’s medicine can be surprisingly expensive, and that doesn’t take into account the physical toll and side effects that the drugs can have on one’s body.

Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

Before sunrise on July 16, 1945, a bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert. It was a new weapon so powerful that at the time it almost seemed like science fiction – the atomic bomb. Scientists built it in a secluded laboratory in Los Alamos where physicists from around the world hoped to invent something strong enough to end World War II – maybe even all wars.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The Austin City Council will vote this Thursday on a package of proposals designed to make the capital city Texas’ first “freedom city.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 on Monday that it was OK for Ohio to remove people from voter registration rolls if those voters skip a few elections and then fail to respond to a notice from election officials. Ohio claimed this was necessary for the proper upkeep of voter registration lists and to prevent voter fraud.

Republicans have been pushing for such restrictions without much actual evidence of fraud, while Democrats have often seen such moves as attempts to suppress voting. What does the ruling mean for Texas?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

On Monday, the Department of Justice announced an important policy change – one that will affect the qualifications for claiming asylum in the U.S.

PROLinda Tanner/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Long before David Bowie ever posed the musical question, mankind has been asking, “Is there life on Mars?” After decades of research, including the unmanned Viking missions, rovers and landers, scientists still aren’t sure.

Aidan Wakely-Mulroney/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Headlines of the past few days have heralded the potential consequences of the impending decision by a federal district judge on whether Texas-based AT&T can merge with Time Warner. Business writers say the decision will determine whether old-line media companies will have the tools to compete with tech and entertainment companies in the future, or whether those media companies will lose out, as tech giants and makers of entertainment go around the older firms to sell to viewers. And entertainment consumers will be affected too, if fewer companies consolidate to control both the means of accessing content, and the content itself.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUTX

From Texas Standard.

Actor and musician Kevin Bacon is busy touring the Lone Star State with his brother Michael. The two are promoting their self-titled album “The Bacon Brothers,” their seventh studio record. Many Hollywood stars juggle various side projects with their careers, but Kevin Bacon insists his fraternal musical endeavor is serious business. He says it’s typically a challenge for actors to be taken seriously as musicians.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

Four years later, the disappearance of 43 Mexican college students is still a mystery. A government inquiry was inconclusive – and it turned into an international scandal after it came to light that some people were tortured to make confessions.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

As many reacted with shock this week to the deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, we also learned from the Centers for Disease Control that suicide rates have risen in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016, the latest year for which complete data is available. Though Texas remains below the national rate, suicides have been rising here, too. The state experiences 12.9 suicides per 100,000 Texans. Across the nation, there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides in 2016. The CDC says these trends cannot be linked to any specific medical diagnosis. 

Photo by James Tourtellotte/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

From Texas Standard.

Under federal law, anyone who reaches a U.S. port of entry may make a claim for asylum. But now it appears U.S. Customs and Border Protection has adopted a new tactic to keep out immigrants – telling agents to stop would-be asylum seekers before they reach a border checkpoint.

Pixabay

From Texas Standard.

Reuters recently reported that the U.S. may be engaged in a new kind of arms race against countries like Russia and China, to develop an artificial intelligence program that could defend the U.S. against potential nuclear missile strikes, by anticipating where or when they are likely to occur.

Sculpture © Haroon Mirza; Courtesy the artist and Ballroom Marfa. Photography by Emma Rogers

From Texas Standard.

The next full moon falls on June 27. In the west Texas desert near Marfa – if you are in the high desert grasslands just east of town – you may spot an unlikely arrangement of large black or granite stones like a Texas Stonehenge. As the sun sets on that day, that megalith will begin to come to life.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

In efforts to avoid strict state sanctions, Houston ISD, San Antonio ISD and Waco ISD are all school districts that have recently either considered or adopted plans to consolidate several of their consistently failing public schools into charter school partnerships.

Photo credit: NASA

From Texas Standard.

The first words uttered from the surface of the moon were “Houston, tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” More than 50 years ago, part of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s legacy was making the biggest city in his home state a center of space exploration. Fast forward to today, you’d think that excitement about projects aimed at Mars and beyond would be reason for ‘Space City’ to celebrate a coming renaissance – but there may be problems on the relaunching pad.

Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard.

The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education set a historical precedent for education reform in the country. The ruling that found state laws requiring separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional is widely discussed in classrooms, but a less familiar story is the legal debate that led to the trial’s conclusion in 1954.

Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard.

Last week, the Illinois State Legislature ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, an addition to the U.S. Constitution that would provide protection from discrimination based on sex.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Amid allegations of physical and sexual abuse of minors in the state’s juvenile lockups, the scandal-rocked Texas Juvenile Justice Department has had a massive leadership shakeup in recent months. Gov. Greg Abbott has demanded to see an action plan to address how kids at state lockups are treated – and now the head of the Juvenile Justice Department has submitted one.

Austin Price/KUT

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been fighting to keep a secret for years now – the name of the pharmacy that supplies its execution drugs. But late last week, after a lengthy court battle, the state Supreme Court refused to grant an appeal of a lower court ruling that the state must reveal where it gets these drugs.

USDA NRCS Texas/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Wild boars, feral swine – many call them feral hogs. But as lots of Texans know, they’re the source of much angst and misery. Feral hogs cause property loss of more than $1.5 billion nationwide, about a quarter of which is in Texas. And that may be a conservative estimate. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is stepping in with what it hopes is a solution.

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

Seven months after an undocumented teenager under federal custody in Texas got an abortion over the objections of the state of Texas and the Trump administration, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a lower court order that cleared the way for the procedure. But the high court did not address some legal questions at the heart of the case.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

The Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus are suing the Trump administration in hopes of blocking the addition of a citizenship question to the once-a-decade census of every person living in the United States.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott laid out a plan this morning to increase school safety in Texas after the Santa Fe High School shooting. The plan offered suggestions that focused on “hardening schools” and increasing mental health services through as much as $120 million in federal and state grants for schools.

Nobody in Texas "wants to see another occasion where innocent children are gunned down in their own schools,” he said as he rolled out the 40-page plan at the Dallas Independent School District headquarters.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report based on some 30,000 pages of internal records from the Department of Homeland Security between 2009 to 2014, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. What they’ve found is what they call “the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News.

From Texas Standard.

Tech transformations can have such a dramatic effect on the course of your day that it’s hard to remember your life before the latest gadget. When was the last time you used a paper map when your phone died or lost service? Though he admits his own sense of direction is lacking, Bill Kilday, in his new book, Never Lost Again, tells the story of how a small Texas tech startup named Keyhole eventually became Google Maps as we know it.

Travis Wise/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

Something is happening in far west Texas that could be a harbinger for the rest of the state. El Paso has no place to send recycled trash. China, which is a destination for much of what we recycle in the U.S., doesn’t want it anymore.

Pages