Arts Eclectic
9:34 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Celebrate 75 Years of 'The Grapes of Wrath'

Musician Rob Halverson has long been a fan of John Steinbeck's classic 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath. So when it occurred to him last year that the book's 75th anniversary was quickly approaching, he decided to commemorate the occasion with a little help from Austin's artistic community.

Halverson's Grapes of Wrath 75 Project is a far-reaching and ongoing endeavor. It includes a cd and dvd of performance pieces and interviews about and inspired by the novel, as well as a journey undertaken by Halverson (in partnership with the National Steinbeck Center) in which he retraced the Route 66 journey of the novel's Joad family.

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Energy & Environment
9:29 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Voters Cast Ballots in First Ever Push to Ban Fracking in Texas

Cathy McMullen and Tom Giovanetti debate a proposal to ban fracking at a meeting of the County GOP Womens Club.
Mose Buchele/KUT

From StateImpact Texas:

In the lead-up to election day, both sides have rallied their troops over a proposal to ban fracking in the town of Denton, Texas. Money has poured in from the oil and gas industry to defeat the proposal. Environmental groups have come to support it. People here seem certain that the way the vote goes down in this North Texas community could have consequences for the entire state of Texas.

Denton has found itself at the center of a nationwide debate over the safety of fracking, the money it brings, and the role cities play in regulating it. Depending on how many voters feel the same way, Denton may become the first Texas city to pass a fracking ban. If it does, lawsuits seem sure to follow—and what happens then could have consequences for any other Texas towns that might try it in the future.

Click the player to hear the rest of the story. A full text version of this story will be up later today. 

Austin ISD
8:55 am
Tue October 21, 2014

What's Next in the Search for Austin ISD's New Superintendent?

Interim Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz took over for departing Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who left in April to lead Atlanta's public schools.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The Austin Independent School District is taking steps to pick its next superintendent. Interim Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz took over the job in April, when former Superintendent Meria Carstarphen left to lead the district in Atlanta.

The deadline for candidates to apply was yesterday, and the district looks to begin a vetting process that will culminate in a confirmation of the next superintendent before the legislature meets in January.

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Station Information
7:15 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Today is the First Day of KUT's Membership Drive

KUT News

Twice a year, KUT comes to listeners to ask for contributions to support the station. KUT is different than other radio stations because we rely on the community to support our operations. Individuals and community partners provide 84 percent of our operating budget.

We are asking for 2,000 new members during this Membership Drive. Just fill out this simple online form to make your first-ever pledge.

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The Write Up
3:30 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

How Novelist Louisa Hall Got From the Squash Court to 'The Carriage House'

Credit Louisa Hall

This month’s guest on "The Write Up" is novelist and poet Louisa Hall.

Louisa Hall’s life reads like a novel all its own – after graduating Harvard, she became a professional squash player, ranked second overall in the US. But near the height of her career, Hall abandoned the sport and headed to Texas to study literature at the University of Texas, write poetry, and begin working on her first novel.

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10-1
2:24 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

How Transportation & Investment Could Bring New Opportunities to Austin's District 1

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Today, KUT starts taking a look at each of Austin's ten districts -- and their unique needs.

This is the first time Austinites will elect their council members from the city's newly drawn geographic districts.

District One stretches from Central Austin, north to Howard Lane and into the vast open fields east of State Highway 130.

It's also called the "African American Opportunity District," because it's the district with the largest share of African American voters in the city.

Eric Tang with UT Austin's Institute for Urban Policy, Research and Analysis released a report earlier this year detailing why Austin is the only major US city that over the last decade has seen a decline in its African American population. Tang says African Americans "face persistent inequalities" in three major areas: public education, policing and the job market.

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Del Valle ISD
1:53 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Del Valle ISD's Proposition Looks to Build 2 New Elementary Schools

The Del Valle Independent School District looks to fund two new elementary schools with some of the funds from a proposed $134 million bond proposal.
Credit Courtesy of Del Valle ISD

You might have heard lot about several bond propositions on the ballot, specifically Austin's $1 billion bond to pay for rail and road projects, but voters in the Del Valle School District are also deciding on a $134 million bond proposition.

The proposition looks to fund improvements, including everything from a new concession stand at the district's football stadium to buses to a pair of new elementary schools. The proposed projects may cover a broad swath of operational needs, but the proposition ultimately looks to get ahead of the district's future growth in student population.

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In Black America Podcast
1:18 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

In Black America Podcast: 'Culture Worrier' Clarence Page

Clarence Page, Syndicated Columnist and Author

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Clarence Page, syndicated columnist with the Chicago Tribune and author of "Culture Worrier."

Twice a week, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Page addresses the social, economic and political issues affecting Americans. Writing with passion and style, Page delivers lively commentary on today's pressing issues, such as crime, education, housing, hunger and bigotry.

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Texas Book Festival
11:49 am
Mon October 20, 2014

How 'Thirteen Days in September' Show Middle East Peace is Still Possible

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David in 1978. The Middle Eastern peace agreement that emerged from the meeting is the subject of journalist Lawrence Wright's new book.
U.S. Government

Recent world events seem so complicated – and perhaps intractable – that some citizens may reel from a sense of hopelessness. But maybe our collective memory fails us – it’s easy to forget how much the world can change in just a matter of days.

In less than two weeks in 1978, a world-changing event not only ended one of the most bitter conflict in modern history (or at least a part of it), with effects that endure to this day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright speaks with Texas Standard’s David Brown about his new book, "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David," a detailed account of the Camp David accords between Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the agreement brought peace between Egypt and Israel. 

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Politics
11:01 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Why Texas' Next Governor Will Be Weaker Than the Current One

Gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis (D) and Greg Abbott (R)
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune, Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich

Early voting for the November election starts today. And to arm you with information before you head to the polls, KUT's Nathan Bernier and political reporter Ben Philpott have been highlighting the candidates in a few key state-wide races, and letting you know just what the offices they're running for can and can't do.

Nathan: So, I guess we've saved the best for last: let's talk about the governor's race and have a quick rundown of the governor's powers, as well.

Ben: The Texas governor is traditionally considered to be a weak office. And there's a reason for that. When Texans were writing up their constitution after the civil war, the LBJ school's Sherri Greenberg says they were eager to limit any and all powers of any so-called carpetbaggers from reconstruction.

"So when Texans wrote the Texas constitution, this very populist document, with as much power as possible vested in the people and at the lowest, most local, level of government," Greenberg said.

Of course, it wasn't just Texas. Decentralizing government power was a broader trend across the country in the 1800’s. And that action in Texas left us with what's considered a weak governor.

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Texas
9:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Texans in Contact With Ebola Patient Cleared; Army To Train Medical Teams in Texas

Texas health officials say 43 patients are no longer being monitored for Ebola symptoms, schools should remain open and that medical support teams will be trained in San Antonio.
Credit flickr.com/photos/127444369@N04/

43 patients were cleared from twice-a-day monitoring; Texas State Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey urged schools against closing because of the low risk the virus poses to schoolchildren and administrators; and the Dept. of Defense announced it's sending a medical support team to begin training U.S. officials and responders on how to respond any future cases of the virus.

Below you can read a full recap of all the Ebola developments in Texas over the weekend.

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Texas Book Festival
1:34 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Carrie Fountain and the 'Daring Political Act' of Writing About Motherhood

Carrie Fountain at the 2010 Texas Book Festival. "Writing poetry has always been, quite simply, about trying to make sense of the experience of being in the world," she says.
Larry D. Moore [Creative Commons]

Carrie Fountain is searching for something.

The Austin-based poet recently released "Instant Winner," her second book of poems. In it, she reflects on parenthood and captures vignettes of moments from everyday life.

Fountain will be reading at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26. She spoke with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue about her book in advance of the festival.

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Ebola
8:04 am
Sun October 19, 2014

Texas Hospital: 'We Are Deeply Sorry' For Missing Ebola Diagnosis

The exterior of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun October 19, 2014 2:15 pm

In a full-page letter published in Sunday's Dallas Morning News, Barclay Berdan, the CEO of the company that owns Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, said the hospital was "deeply sorry" for missing the ebola diagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan.

If you remember, Duncan came into the hospital on Sept. 28 with a fever and other symptoms consistent with Ebola. He told a nurse he had traveled to Africa, but the doctor somehow missed that vital piece of information.

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:53 am
Sat October 18, 2014

Why Do We Freak Out About Existential Threats Like Ebola?

Credit flickr.com/cdcglobal

With the arrival of Ebola on U.S. soil came the wall-to-wall media coverage one might expect. 

But does saturated coverage of threats like the Ebola virus and Islamic State militants do more harm than good and inspire less-than-rational thinking? 

In this week's "Two Guys on Your Head," Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke join KUT's Rebecca McInroy to talk about how the 24-hour news cycle causes readers, listeners and viewers to vicariously experience seemingly far-away threats, and how the availability of instant news causes some people to irrationally assess risks and threats. 

Voter ID
7:21 am
Sat October 18, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Texas Voter ID Law to Be Enforced in Upcoming Election

Texas voters will be required to show one of seven forms of approved identification at the polls when early voting begins Monday, after Saturday's U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Credit: KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing Texas' voter ID law to be enforced for the Nov. 4 election. The law requires voters to show one of seven forms of approved identification when voting.

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Ebola
5:29 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Health Workers in U.S. at Risk for Ebola Should Be on No-Fly List, Perry Says

Gov. Rick Perry speaks at a press conference about Ebola at the Capitol on Oct. 17, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling it "indefensible" that one of the nurses who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and died last week, would be cleared to fly from Ohio to Dallas. She had told health officials she had a low fever before being cleared to fly. 

Gov. Perry is also joining fellow Texan Sen. Ted Cruz in pressing for a travel ban to and from the West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus, exempting people like health care workers. 

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Texas Standard
3:56 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Life in Dallas Goes On Despite Ebola Fears

Medical personnel transport an ebola patient in Dallas.
flickr.com/thespeakernews

The eyes of the country are on Texas, as the public continues to follow the progress of a small string of Dallas residents that have contracted the Ebola virus.

While the wide scale global and political implications have been inundating the news, the viewpoint from the ground in Dallas can easily be washed away in a sea of analysis and criticism. Helping us gain a little perspective on the situation is Robert Wilonsky, digital managing editor at the Dallas Morning News who paints a more nuanced picture of the scene there.

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Texas Standard
3:43 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Op-Ed: The Hidden Danger of an Ebola Quarantine

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden, exiting an Ebola treatment unit.
flickr.com/cdcglobal

Officials in Dallas are taking steps to keep health workers at home who were in contact with Ebola patients or their bodily fluids. 

75 employees of the hospital which treated Liberian Thomas Duncan have been asked to sign legally binding papers in which they agree not to go to public places or use mass transit. This move marks the first steps toward the use of official state power to control the outbreak of disease.

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In Perspective
3:08 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

In Perspective: How Grief, Technology & Storytelling Help Us Remember Tragedy

  

This month on "In Perspective," our roundtable participants discuss public memory in relation to grief, war, and memorials such as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Two of our guests represent that museum, which commemorates the September 11 attacks of 2001 and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993. Also joining us are two distinguished faculty from The University of Texas at Austin and by a call-in guest who is an assistant professor and filmmaker from Northwestern University.

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Texas Standard
2:36 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Voter ID, Davis' Closing Gambit and the Texas Politics of Ebola

Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaking in Phoenix, Arizona.
flickr.com/gageskidmore

The month before Election Day is always filled with a wealth of rhetoric as politicians plead their case before the polls open.

This October has been no exception; the sheer influx of information this week alone can be daunting. So Texas Standard's David Brown sat down with Austin American-Statesman chief political correspondent Jonathan Tilove to sort through the run-up to early voting.

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