Texas Standard

In the 21st century, what happens in Texas drives the American narrative.  Texas Standard is setting a new bar for broadcast news coverage, offering up-to-the-moment coverage of politics, lifestyle and culture, the environment, technology and innovation, and business and the economy – from a Texas perspective – and uncovering stories as they happen and spotting the trends that will shape tomorrow’s headlines. Hosted by award-winning journalist David Brown, Texas Standard features interviews with researchers, innovators, business leaders, political thinkers and experts – across Texas and around the globe – that reflect a diversity of opinions. A one-hour daily news magazine, Texas Standard is produced in the state capital in collaboration with KUT Austin, KERA North Texas, Houston Public Media and Texas Public Radio San Antonio, as well as news organizations across Texas, Mexico and the United States. Visit TexasStandard.org to read our newest stories and hear our latest show.   

Weather Puts 'American Sniper' Trial on Ice

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

These days clean water from the tap is often a privilege that is taken for granted. We're accustomed to running to the sink whenever we're thirsty. But as the brown tap water in Flint and Crystal City show, we cannot always trust that clean water will be available.

But water contamination isn't always something that is easy to sniff out because of its color or smell. For some, especially those living in rural agricultural areas, water may have substances that put pregnant women in danger without their knowledge.


WOCinTech Chat/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas led the country in exonerations last year, with 54 statewide. in the state. New York placed a distant second with only 17, according to the National Registry of Exonerations’ latest report.

ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay (CC0 Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Although the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, it has 25 percent of the world’s total prison population. That's not counting things like county lockups and city jails.

Federal prisons are overcrowded and in Texas, nearly 19,000 people are incarcerated in federal prisons alone. According to a report in USA Today the job of overseeing the prisoners is falling to nurses with little or no experience in security.


Photo via Flickr/carlos-pacheco (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Cowboys, longhorns, barbecue – all part of the state's identity. But before barbecue became part of the legend, there was the original. But where was the original, exactly?

Where there’s smoke there’s Daniel Vaughn, barbecue editor for Texas Monthly. His research revealed what could conceivably be the first barbecue joint in Texas was born not too far from Lockhart, the town largely considered to be a barbecue mecca in the state.


Mark Goebel/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In recent weeks there have been reports of the crumbling infrastructure of the state’s Child Protective Services – an agency responsible for the well-being of 12,000 of the most neglected and abused kids in Texas.

Hady Mawajdeh/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Former news anchor for the CBS Evening News and journalism great Dan Rather stepped into the Texas Standard studio this week, along with his grandson Martin Rather, to announce the inaugural winner of the Rather Prize. We asked them about the prize and spoke to Dan Rather about the future of journalism, presidential campaigns and more.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

A jury in Henderson, Texas has closed another chapter in a Texas murder story that captured the public's attention nearly two decades ago.

Don Davis/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated them from the Stegosaurus. That something that might be hard to wrap your head around, but the age of the dinosaurs was a longer period that we humans often imagine.

AUSTIN, Texas – April 25, 2016 – A “Texas Standard” story on disabled workers earning pennies per hour working for the state won a Barbara Jordan Media Award in recognition of work that accurately and positively reports on individuals with disabilities.

AUSTIN, Texas – April 25, 2016 – “Texas Standard” reporter Joy Diaz has received two first-place First Amendment awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Fort Worth Professional Chapter.

The annual awards recognize exceptional journalism in Texas and Oklahoma that furthers the public’s right to know how governments and businesses affect their lives, and champions the powerless and disadvantaged.

Courtesy Ann: The Ann Richards Play (Photo by Ave Bonar)

From Texas Standard:

A divorced woman who was a recovering alcoholic – a Democrat, no less – who did more than just get elected governor of Texas, she captured the American imagination. As Ann Richards was fond of saying about herself: "I walked through fire and the fire lost."

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In August 1992, Dallas Police received a call from a witness who reported seeing a rape. When officers arrived, they found two men, a woman and two young children sleeping on the sidewalk. They interviewed those people, and the woman claimed that the men sexually assaulted her. That eventually led to both men going to prison.

William Welch and Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story contains language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

In Texas, the law is pretty clear when it comes to who's responsible for reporting abuse or neglect – pretty much anyone who thinks abuse or neglect is happening. Often, that person is a delivery nurse or a doctor.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller's recent visit to Mississippi has him bucking big criticism.

Miller went to compete for prize money – netting over $800 in winnings for calf-roping – and paid for the whole thing using a combination of state and campaign funds.

Thomas Hawk/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas has the largest prison population in the country, with over 172,000 people serving prison sentences. Those prisoners make up a substantial workforce in the state, contributing to the  production of everything from mattresses to bacon. It's an industry that has been valued at nearly $2 billion a year. But inmates make only pennies an hour in return.

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From Texas Standard:

Some of America’s biggest school districts in New York City, Chicago, Miami-Dade County and Houston are hiring more security officers and police than counselors. In Houston, for example, there is only one counselor for every 1,175 students.

Policy and research editor Matt Barnum, from a nonpartisan news website focusing on education issues called The 74,  looked at the data.


Rod Aydelotte/WacoTrib

From Texas Standard:

Last May, nine people were killed, 20 injured and 177 people were arrested in a biker shootout at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. One hundred fifty people were indicted with a $1 million bail set for each of them. As we approach one year later, not a single person has seen trial. In fact, there hasn't been a single trial date set, either.

Merle Haggard Didn't Just Sing It, He Lived it Too

Apr 7, 2016
Jeremy Luke Roberts/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Despite his well-known song saying he’s an Okie from Muskogee, Merle Haggard never claimed it as autobiographical. The country music legend was born in Oildale, California. Although he wasn’t a native Texan, he got here as fast as he could.


Flickr/WOCinTech Chat (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Perhaps it's not surprising that women and minorities employed by the state of Texas make less money than white men who work similar jobs. But does the fact it's gotten worse over the last decade give you pause?

Flickr/S Lowe (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

There's something about toll roads that just isn't very fun. It's probably that part where you have to pay to drive on them. Of course, we help pay for the roads we drive on through taxes and other fees – but it's more in your face when you roll through the toll plaza.

At least one Texas lawmaker is urging the state to pump the breaks.


Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

If you're a regular listener to the Standard, you may remember Courtney Meeks. She's homeless and pregnant. When we met her in January, Meeks was standing at the corner of a busy intersection in Austin asking drivers for money. Back then, she thought she was really close to giving birth.

Aaron Jacobs/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Remember the Alamo? How could we forget. Remember Denton? That's a different sort of battle.

Flickr/AgriLife Today (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

As Texas moves forward with legalizing access to cannabis oil for some epilepsy patients, the state still needs to set up a system for distributing the medicine. Some folks in McKinney are offering up an idea: they want to repurpose a hundred-year-old cotton gin to grow, process and distribute cannabis oil.

Flickr/Visit El Paso (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Fifty years ago, the NCAA men's basketball tournament started with just 22 teams in the first round. When it came down to the championship game: on one side was the all-white Kentucky basketball team, as most college basketball teams were at the time; the challenger was Texas Western, an all-black team from El Paso – the university has since become the University of Texas at El Paso, or UTEP.

Flickr/Jayel Aheram (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The body of a Marine who died last week has finally returned home. Louis Cardin was killed after his unit was hit by an ISIS rocket attack in Iraq. Now the Pentagon says they want to place even more combat troops into Iraq – reiterating Defense Secretary Ash Carter's intention to "put boots on the ground."

Flickr/Jin (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Maybe you’ve heard Texas Rep. Pete Sessions wants magic to be recognized as an official national treasure – the proposal made headlines, many of them a little snarky. But how could magic solve some of the state’s most pressing needs?

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

It's been a turbulent year for the state's Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). First there was the December court order by a federal judge in Corpus Christi – a sweeping and scathing order condemning what she called a "broken" foster care system, declaring it in violation of the Constitution and demanding a complete overhaul with a special master to be appointed to recommend fixes.

Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

If you’re single and living in a big city like Dallas, Austin or Houston, it’s easy enough to login to find a date. Online dating apps like Tinder and Grindr are location-based – they find potential date matches based on who's living near you.

I bet you could, or have, spent what feels like a solid hour just swiping through strangers on your smartphone screen. The possibilities can seem endless. But what happens when you open those same apps in a small town like Van Horn, Alpine, or Marfa?


Glamour Shots Help Shelter Pets Find Homes Faster

Mar 25, 2016
Courtesy Bill Wilson

From Texas Standard:

Mike Ryan is a volunteer at Austin Pets Alive! He’s trying to get a good picture of Summer, a brown lab mix. Two more volunteers are giving Summer treats in an effort to get her to face the camera.

"I treat it like we have only one picture to get through to the person who is going to be looking at the dog," Ryan says. "So, for the picture, two things are eye contact so the dog is looking directly into the camera, and the other thing is the dog looks like it is smiling."


Vincent Brassinne/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Americans awoke to the news of a terrorist attack Tuesday morning. At least 34 people are dead and more than 150 wounded after two attacks on transportation facilities in Belgium’s capital city. Brussels is in lockdown.

Two explosions hit Brussels' international Zaventem airport, and a third bomb was diffused. One suicide bomb hit the Maalbeek metro station. Both are transportation hubs that serve the European Union’s international core. On social media, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.


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