Texas Standard at Tribune Fest
3:13 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

State Sen. José Rodríguez: "Education is the Highest Priority"

Texas Standard Host David Brown, left, with Senator José Rodriguez (D-El Paso)
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Even after a weekend full of panels and discussion of Texas politics and policy at The Texas Tribune Festival, many political wonks are looking to the main event: January's new legilative session. 

State Senator José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, sat down with Texas Standard host David Brown during the festival to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda, the state's budget surplus, the upcoming election for governor and more.

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In Black America Podcast
10:21 am
Mon September 22, 2014

In Black America Podcast: 'The Hippest Trip In America' with Nelson George

The late Don Cornelius was the creator of "Soul Train" and hosted the show for 35 years, from 1971 to 2006.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Nelson George, acclaimed filmmaker, TV producer, journalist, and author of ‘The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture and Style.’

When it debuted on October 2, 1971, seven years after the Civil Rights Act, Soul Train boldly went where no variety show had gone before, showcasing the cultural preferences of young African-Americans and the sounds that defined their lives: R&B, funk, jazz, disco, and gospel music.

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Austin
10:15 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Photos: Austin Demonstrators Gather in Support of National Climate March

Lola Villamizar, 4, rests before marching for climate change action.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Hundreds of activists marched down Congress Avenue yesterday for the Shield the People Climate Change March.

The event was one of hundreds of rallies held across the country in support of climate change ahead of a United Nations summit this week that will discuss the impact of rising global temperatures.

You can view a photo gallery of the march above.

KUT Weekend
1:16 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

KUT Weekend brings you our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays!

Texas Standard
12:43 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

The Company Insuring the Uninsurable in the Sharing Economy

flickr.com/dhilowitz

When someone shares their car, their home or anything else, they’re entering into what’s called "the sharing economy." Doing so involves a certain amount of risk. What if someone wrecks your car or trashes your guesthouse? Most insurance companies won’t cover instances like that.

That’s where actuary Ashley Hunter saw her opportunity. The president of HM Risk Group sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk all the things her company insures. "We are a boutique insurance and reinsurance brokerage located here in Austin," she says, "and we provide insurance to high-risk businesses – the sharing economy being one of them."

That can include anything from drivers looking for a few extra bucks  – to women carrying surrogate pregnancies. 

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Life & Arts
12:12 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Slideshow: The Posters, Vinyl and Toys at The First-Ever MondoCon

Mondo's vinyl for “Music for 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Artwork and package design by Jay Shaw. Featured on the “2001: A Lost Score” panel at MondoCon.
Mondo

If you’ve heard of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse offshoot Mondo – you probably know them for their film posters. They’re artistic alternatives to the stuff pushed out by the film industry.

But Mondo has become much more than that as of late – also producing throwbacks with a focus on design including VHS tapes and vinyl records. Now, they’ve starting making toy collectibles.

They’re showing off all of this and inviting people to learn more about what they do in the first ever MondoCon. It’s this weekend in Austin.

Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about it.

On What's Special About Mondo's Posters:

"I think, first, the place where they're coming from is completely different from what's coming out of Hollywood. A lot of times, ours are not promoting a film that's actively trying to make money so I think there's a lot of liberties that we can take with them that studios can't... Some of our posters rely on having seen the movie to evoke an emotion."

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Energy & Environment
11:53 am
Fri September 19, 2014

It Will Take an Insane Amount of Rain Before the Highland Lakes Recover

Lake Travis is heading towards its lowest levels in history if we have a dry fall
Courtesy of the Lower Colorado River Authority

From StateImpact Texas:

Central Texas is having a pretty decent year, rain-wise. We’re sitting just below normal. And it’s been a good week, too: early Thursday, one part of Austin got over seven inches of rain.

So much rain fell over downtown Austin that the statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan along Lady Bird Lake looked like he was walking on water. It brought back memories of the Halloween floods last fall — back then Stevie was standing in water waist-deep. But these big rain events all have something in common: They really haven’t fallen where we need them most.

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Affordable Housing
11:07 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Can Housing Advocates Help Give Austin a New Lease on Affordability?

Neighbors in Clarksville lease 19 properties to low-income residents in order to expand affordability, and diversity, in the neighborhood.
KUT News

In 2006, the last time Section 8 housing opened up, 7,000 low-income Austinites signed up. Since then, Austin’s growth has been exponential and many expect the waitlist for housing to follow suit with Austin’s growth.

Housing advocates expect the signup to draw at least 20,000 applicants, but a long-time Austin housing advocate and recent MacArthur Genius Grant winner is working to increase Austin’s affordable housing stock without Section 8 by expanding low-income housing in existing neighborhoods.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:35 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How Your Brain Can Help You Put Off Procastination

Credit www.domtesta.com

Procrastination is the all-too-familiar foe of productivity, but why do some wait until the last minute to even get a project started?

In this episode of "Two Guys on Your Head" Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explore the psychology behind procrastination, and how we can overcome factors that might be keeping us from getting started.

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Fantastic Fest
8:29 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Interview: Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League on Horror, South Lamar and Leonard Maltin

Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League presents the "Fantastic Awards" at last year's fest.
Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest is underway in Austin. The festival celebrates genre filmmaking – including horror, fantasy and sci-fi. This year is the festival’s 10th – so organizers are literally going hog wild with the lineup and events.

Fantastic Fest Founder and Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about it.

Tim on Fantastic Fest:

“It started out that we just wanted to have a showcase for international genre films in Austin, TX for the community here, and it’s evolved into a decent-size industry event. Right now, we try to make a lot of opportunities happen for young filmmakers.”

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2014 Elections
7:39 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Groups Push to Mobilize Texas' Latino Voters Before Election Day

A number of national groups have announced efforts to get eligible Latinos to the polls on Election Day 2014.
flickr.com/whiteafrican

Just about every politician and political group views Latino voters as the key to future success at the ballot box. Local, state and even several national groups are trying to mobilize Latinos across Texas this year, but will it work?

Texas is home to roughly 10 million Latinos, but their turnout in Texas ranks among the lowest in the U.S. In 2012, about 60 percent of eligible Latinos did not vote.

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Weather
6:39 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Central Texas Downpours: Flash Flood Watch Canceled in Central Texas

A screenshot of last night's rain.

Update: The National Weather Service has extended flood advisories for rivers and creeks in central Travis County and south central Williamson County until 9:30 a.m.

Flooding at Bull Creek at Loop 360 is minor, but has reached 7 and a half feet. Officials advise drivers to be cautious when approaching the F.M. 2222 bridge.

Waters may run high at Gilleland Creek, Shoal Creek, Walnut Creek and Wilbarger Creek for the next few hours.

Update (5:35 a.m.): The National Weather Service has issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for Central Travis County and South Central Williamson County until 7:30 a.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service canceled a flash flood watch that been in effect for Central Texas through the early morning hours of Friday. However, there is still a 40% chance of rain in the forecast for today.

The combination of heavy rains again and an already-saturated ground could potentially produce some problems with flooding. Thursday's downpours brought several inches of rain to parts of the region and caused low-water crossing closures across the area. Thirty-one low water crossings are still closed Friday morning

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Arts Eclectic
1:54 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

'Face Value' at the Davis Gallery

Lesley Nowlin, 'Water'

'Face Value' is a new group show at Austin's Davis Gallery. Curated by Susannah Morgan, it's an exploration of portraiture as an artistic theme, and of how that theme is addressed by different and artists employing different techniques.

There's work from photographers Leon Alesi, Scott David Gordon, and Lesley Nowlin; they're joined by Jamie Panzer, whose makes use of photographs in his collage work. They're all creating portraits of a kind, but their approaches (in terms of concept and execution) are all different.

Nowlin imagines an image and then works to create it, staging her subjects to achieve the look she envisions. A twin herself, she's been photographing pairs of twins for years now, and her recent work in that series will be on display at Davis Gallery.

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Texas Standard
1:44 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Bill Powers: His Last Year as President, Unprecedented Fundraising and UT's Future

UT President Bill Powers visits Texas Standard.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Bill Powers says he's entering his final year as president of the UT-Austin without bitterness, despite the tumultuous lead up to the announcement of his exit.

Instead, he says he relishes his return to faculty – Powers will return to teach at the UT Law School when he steps down next June – and believes the university is making the right moves at the right time amid transition.

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Texas Standard
12:47 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Girl in a Coma’s Nina Diaz Talks Sobriety and Flying Solo

Nina Diaz performs with David Garza at Pachanga Fest, 2012.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

San Antonio native Nina Diaz first began performing at the age of 13. By the time she was 18, her all-girl, indie rock trio, Girl In a Coma, was signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records.

Now, at age 26, Diaz embarks on a new path as a solo artist in addition to her Girl in a Coma duties – a project which will be released later this year. But, for the first time in her musical career, she is sober.

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with Diaz about her musical and personal journey, opening up on the moment she realized she needed to get clean, why she has chosen to let the public in on her struggles and how sobriety has affected her songwriting.

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Health Care
11:51 am
Thu September 18, 2014

'Balance Bills' Can Hit Texas Consumers Hard After Hospital Visits

A new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities shows that in Texas, and many states in the U.S., people are getting what’s called a balance bill after visiting the ER.
Spencer Selvidge/KUT

Texans may find surprise charges after visiting an emergency room, according to a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities. How they find out about them is when an unexpected piece of mail arrives. 

Most people who have insurance think they know what they’re responsible for when it comes to paying for medical care at a hospital, if they visit one in their insurance provider's network, but in Texas, and many states in the U.S., people are getting what’s called a balance bill.

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2014 Elections
11:19 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 4 Forum

Candidates gathered at Marchesa Hall on Sept. 17 for KUT's District 4 Ballot Boxing City Council candidate forum.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The Ballot Boxing series continued last night with the Austin City Council candidate forum for District 4 in North Austin. Seven of the eight candidates gathered at the Marchesa Hall with moderators Michael Kanin of the Austin Monitor and Regina Rodriguez of Univision 62.

You can view a photo gallery above and listen to the full audio of the forum below.

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Texas Standard
4:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How Marshall, Texas Became Ground Zero for 'Patent Trolls'

A Texas company has claimed the patent for podcasting – and it's gone after some of entertainment's biggest names.
Flickr user Patrick Breitenbach, https://flic.kr/ps/rNSVJ

A courtroom in Marshall, Texas – population 25,000 – is deciding patent cases with implications for some of entertainment's biggest names.

Marshall was the setting for a court case against CBS this week. A small company, Personal Audio, has sued media giants including Apple, Sirius XM, and CBS for damages related to alleged infringement of their podcast patent. (Podcasts are digital files on the Internet that can be downloaded to a computer or media player.)

A jury found CBS did infringe the patent – awarding Personal Audio $1.3 million.

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Austin Energy
1:32 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How a Cooler Summer Cost Austin Energy $16.5 Million

Austin Energy earns 40 percent of its revenue in the summer months.
flickr.com/pyxopotamus

Aside from the month of August, this summer has been relatively cool as far as Texas summers go.

With that reprieve from stifling heat came an unanticipated gap in revenue for utility providers, and it's forced Austin Energy – which earns nearly half of its revenue in the hottest months of the year – to reexamine its budget.

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In Perspective
10:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

In Perspective: Is the Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire a Calm Before Another Storm?

This summer’s escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has come to a relative stand-still with both sides currently holding to the cease-fire signed late last month. But many say the conflict is far from resolution.

In its inaugural episode, “In Perspective” invites subject matter experts from UT-Austin, New York University, and Rice University to discuss the conflict, its future and its impact on Israeli and Palestinian cultures with KUT’s Rebecca McInroy.

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