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

Bob Tilden/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

One of the original outlaws of country music died this week: Paul English was not only Willie Nelson's drummer, but also a friend and a protector for over half a century.

Americans evacuated from China are staying in lodging facilities at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
Todd Holly / U.S. Air Force

U.S. officials on Thursday announced the country's 15th confirmed case of the new coronavirus — an evacuee from China who had been under quarantine in Texas.

Courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art

From Texas Standard:

Alfredo Ramos Martínez might not be a household name, but he made a significant impact on the modern art world in Mexico.

Now, one of his paintings is the inspiration for an exhibit opening Sunday at the Dallas Museum of Art called "Flores Mexicanas: Women in Modern Mexican Art."

www.amtec.us.com/creative-commons/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Impressing a potential employer is becoming harder than usual thanks to software that evaluates candidates' facial expression, tone of voice and other physical characteristics during video interviews.

Spencer Selvidge/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Getting adequate health care in rural Texas can be a challenge. It might become even harder after the Trump administration's proposed changes to Medicaid rules. If implemented, some hospitals will likely have to cut services or even shut down.

Attorney General Ken Paxton
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to strike down a 2016 California law that bans state-funded travel to states with discriminatory laws — a list Texas landed on nearly three years ago after the Legislature approved a religious-refusal law for adoptions in the state.

Jonathan Pesina

From Texas Standard:

Santiago Jiménez Jr. has conjunto music in his blood.

The son of legendary accordion player Don Santiago Jiménez, he has carried the torch for traditional conjunto for six decades. He has recorded over 700 songs on over 100 albums, and he's played his accordion for crowds in every corner of San Antonio — and even most parts of Texas. Beyond that, he won a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a National Medal of Arts.

The XFL Is Back. Will The Reboot Work?

Feb 7, 2020

From Texas Standard:

There’s a long tradition of startup football leagues trying to snatch a piece of the football pie from the NFL.

So far, they’ve all failed. The World Football League, the American Football Association, the United Football League, the USFL – all of them fell flat in an effort to carve out an enduring niche in pro football.

John Bauld and Georges Biard/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

Across traditional and social media, there's been a mixture of celebration and criticism following Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show. Some have called Jennifer Lopez's – also known as J-Lo – and Shakira's performance a dazzling spectacle, while others deemed it inappropriate for its skin-bearing costumes, seductive dance moves and political overtones.

Courtesy of Atlantic Lionshare

From Texas Standard:

The lionfish is a scourge in the Gulf of Mexico. It's a beautiful creature, but not native to that body of water, and that causes problems.

Lynda Gonzalez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Navigating school isn't easy for many kids. Juggling classes, friends and extracurricular activities can be a challenge even in the best of circumstances. But it's especially hard for kids who are experiencing homelessness.

duncan c/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could mean an opening for new business opportunities between Britain and Texas. For his first overseas trip since Brexit, UK Minister of International Trade, Conor Burns, visited the Lone Star State.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A new study from the University of Texas at Austin finds that a higher number of Texas women are choosing self-managed abortions compared to the national average. That includes using herbs, or drugs obtained without a prescription, in an effort to end a pregnancy.

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Nearly 10 years ago, destructive wildfires forced mass evacuations and destroyed thousands of homes near Austin. Today, the city’s soaring growth is raising concern that Austin remains ill-prepared for a wildfire outbreak. California firefighters recently visited the capital city to educate community and city leaders on what they need to do to prepare for and prevent destructive wildfires.

The man arrested in Monday's shooting that killed two sisters on the Texas A&M University-Commerce campus has also been charged with the New Year's Eve murder of a man in Denton. 

Police said 21-year old Jacques Smith is one of three suspects now charged in the murder of Steven Daniels. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

The nonprofit news organization ProPublica released a database this week of Catholic clergy members "credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct." The database is a collection of lists provided by Catholic dioceses across the United States.

Texas Wool Mills Hang On To A Tradition

Jan 31, 2020
Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

In the 1950s and '60s, the idea that Texas would one day relinquish its position as the epicenter of the wool and mohair world must have felt unfathomable.

Lucio Vasquez/Houston Public Media

From Texas Standard:

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and famed environmental activist Erin Brockovich came to Houston's Fifth Ward last week to raise awareness and demand solutions to the cancer cluster killing people in that neighborhood.

Martin do Nascimento/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is among the leading Democratic candidates for president nationwide. In Texas, a recent poll found Biden has strong support among likely Democratic voters, though that poll also showed that a mix of registered and unregistered voters believe Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the candidate who could actually defeat President Donald Trump in November.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will not defend a state agency being sued for its decision to sanction a Waco judge who refuses to perform same-sex marriages.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

A new poll from the Texas Lyceum indicates that while Joe Biden leads in Texas, he’s likely not the one to beat President Donald Trump in November.

The McAllen Public Library
Barbara Brannon/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Jeanine Cummins' novel American Dirt has caught the attention of many, but not for the right reasons. Her story about a Mexican bookseller fleeing to the United States with her son has caused a lot of controversy. Critics say the book uses stereotypes, and it has been rejected by Mexican and Mexican-American readers – the audience for whom the story was intended.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Up until now, the story of family separation has been the story of immigrant parents who are apprehended at the U.S. border and detained in facilities separate from where their children are kept.

But there is another ongoing story of family separation that affects American children, like the story of the Angel family of Central Texas.

Government of Alberta/Flickr (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

The Trump administration took steps Friday to restrict visas for pregnant women trying to visit the United States. It's part of an effort to curb what the administration calls "birth tourism."

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUTX

From Texas Standard:

In the 1970s, Lubbock-born singer-songwriter and conceptual artist Terry Allen turned conventional country music on its head. Albums like Juarez and Lubbock (on Everything) featured wry, dry, satirical lyrics. Critics called the albums contemporary classics.

Crazyblocks/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas Instruments, or TI, says it will close two facilities in the Dallas area.

Most people know Texas Instruments for its calculators. But the North Texas-based company also makes semiconductors – otherwise known as computer chips – and has done so for 50 years.

Courtesy Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción

From Texas Standard:

The Rio Grande, or the Rio Bravo as it's known south of the border, is a natural divider between the United States and Mexico. It's also an important shared natural resource. But a recent investigation by the nonprofit journalism organization Mexicanos Contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad found that some in Mexico might not be using that and other water resources the way they were intended.

Reproduction from the Charles A. Fuhs Historical Photograph Collection at the Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University

From Texas Standard:

It's easy to find historical information about the Wichita Falls Spudders baseball club. All sorts of trivia can be found online about the minor league team that formed in 1920 and disbanded in 1957. But the Spudders had a black counterpart, the Black Spudders, and information about them is scarce.

For Hemp To Work, Farmers Want Rules That Fit Reality

Jan 23, 2020
Kay Ledbetter for Texas A&M AgriLife/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Although there’s no shortage of people in Texas planning to get into the hemp industry, many of them have serious concerns about how it will be regulated. There is no regulation right now because it’s been illegal to grow hemp in Texas for almost 100 years.

Andrea Garcia/KUT

From Texas Standard:

As the impeachment trial was getting underway in Washington, KXAN-TV in Austin reported that online searches within Texas for "impeachment" were high in some surprising, and not so surprising, places. They included Austin, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Corpus Christi and Victoria.