Jobs
8:19 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Unemployment Ticks Up To 6.2 Percent; 209,000 Jobs Added

Construction workers building a commercial complex Thursday in Springfield, Ill., earlier this month. The sector has been on a gradual rebound following a devastating hit during the housing collapse in 2008.
Seth Perlman AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:44 am

The nation's unemployment rate moved up a bit in the month of July, to 6.2 percent, as more Americans who'd been sitting on the sidelines started looking for work, according to the latest monthly report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 jobs, a bit less than economists had expected.

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Two Guys on Your Head
7:59 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Are We Wired to Need Greed?

Credit www.californiatrustestateandprobatelitigation.com

Is greed good?  Is greed a human instinct?  Why are some people inclined to hoard?

For some individuals, greed and selfishness are much more commonly displayed than generosity. So, it might be fair to say greed feels more natural for some. On the other hand, most might say they favor unselfishness.

In this installment of "Two Guys on Your Head" Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss whether greed is instinctual or not.

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Abortion and Women's Health
4:32 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Another Texas Abortion Clinic Closes, This Time in Austin

Planned Parenthood clinical assistant Nicki Bailey discusses the new abortion laws with a patient in Austin.
Eric Schlegel, Texas Tribune

A women’s health care provider, whose Austin location offered abortions, is closing its doors today. 

The clinic is run by Whole Woman's Health, whose president and CEO, Amy Hagstrom Miller, blames the closure on the state’s new abortion law. The law requires clinics to upgrade to surgical centers by Sept. 1.

"It’s a decision that the state has made," Hagstrom Miller says. "It’s been a real challenge to try and fight back and do everything that we can, but in the end there’s no way that we can afford to build an ambulatory surgical center or do that kind of remodeling."

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Politics
4:04 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

House Cancels Vote On $659 Million Border Security Bill

Texas Parks and Wildlife wardens patrol the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, earlier this month.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:54 pm

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET.

House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.

The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.

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Austin ISD
3:37 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

At Blackshear Elementary, Students' Choices Help Build Their Future Portfolios

Students at Blackshear Elementary will choose which artistic elective they can study in the second half of their school day.
Courtesy of Blackshear Elementary

This fall, Blackshear Elementary will become Austin Independent School District’s first fine arts elementary school. The school offers students a choice in their daily lesson plans, with one half of the day focusing on academics and the other half focusing on arts education.

Tonight, the district will host an open house for parents interested in enrolling their students at the traditionally under-enrolled school.

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Health
2:07 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

#HealthyChica Hopes to Get Austin Talking About Latina Body Image

Actress Sofía Vergara attends the Yahoo News/ABCNews Pre-White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party at Washington Hilton on May 3, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Credit Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Yahoo News

What do Latina women see when they see themselves represented in the media?

Austin-based nonprofit Latinitas and Univision Austin took to Twitter yesterday to sound off on the media’s portrayal of Latinas.

Latinitas co-founder Laura Donnelly-Gonzalez says the image of Latin American women presented in television and film is often that of a beautiful but petulant woman with little education.

“Most of the time [a Latina] is overly sexualized, she has a heavy accent and she’s put in these very dated roles,” Donnelly-Gonzalez says – an archetype not unlike Colombian actress Sofia Vergara’s character in ABC’s “Modern Family.”

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ALEC in Dallas
11:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

As Republican Leaders Meet In Dallas, Protesters Rally Outside

Protesters outside the Dallas Anatole opposing the meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
Bill Zeeble KERA News

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 4:57 pm

Some of the nation’s most powerful Republican politicians are in Dallas this week for the annual convention of the American Legislative Exchange Council – known as ALEC. There was action inside and protests outside.

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Combating College Sexual Assault
10:12 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Enlisting Smartphones In The Campaign For Campus Safety

Circle of 6 was born out of the 2011 "Apps Against Abuse" challenge, a partnership between the Office of the Vice President, Department of Health and Human Services and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Kainaz Amaria/NPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:00 am

Technology – and particularly smartphones – could reshape safety efforts on college campuses. At least that's the hope of some developers.

Several new apps offer quick ways for college students facing unsafe or uncomfortable situations to reach out to their peers, connect with resources on campus and in their communities, or notify law enforcement.

These apps for the most part target sexual assault and rape, amid growing national concern about the prevalence of incidents and criticism of the ways colleges and universities are handling them.

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Israel and Gaza
9:14 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Conflict In Gaza: What You Need To Know Today

The Palestinian sister of Mohammed al-Daeri, 25, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on Thursday.
Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 3:19 pm

Perhaps signaling a widening of its offensive in Gaza, Israel called up 16,000 reservists on Thursday. That means Israel has activated 86,000 reservists since the conflict started.

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Texas
7:37 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Book News: George W. Bush Coming Out With Biography Of His Father

George H.W. Bush (left) congratulates his son George W. Bush as the two former presidents attend last year's dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas.
David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 6:16 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Texas
4:05 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Why a Tanker of Kurdish Oil is Stranded by the Galveston Coast

A stock photo of a ship in the Port of Galveston
flic.kr/p/5p2Sdj

Tensions between the government of Iraq and Kurds in the northern part of the country have once again reached a boiling point. Now, Baghdad is cutting off payments to Kurdistan, because of a controversy involving a tanker off the coast of Texas.

The semiautonomous region of Kurdistan has successfully exported several shipments of oil this year.  Baghdad opposed those exports, claiming that the oil belongs to the Iraqi people, and the use of its natural resources should be decided by the central government. Most recently, Baghdad successfully filed for a court order to keep one million barrels of crude oil from being unloaded in Galveston.

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Transportation
10:23 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Supporters Jam Hearing on SH45 SW Environmental Impact Statement

A conceptual rendering of SH 45 SW, stretching from Bear Creek to MoPac.
sh45sw.com

From The Austin Monitor:

Supporters of the State Highway 45 Southwest toll road project showed up in the hundreds Tuesday night at a Texas Department of Transportation public hearing on the project's draft environmental impact statement.

While vocal opponents of the project – including the City of Austin and Save Our Springs Alliance – denouncing the draft's conclusions and data during the hearing, the majority of comments were in favor of the roadway, receiving cheers and applause from the largely pro-45 crowd inside Bowie High School's cafeteria.

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Border & Immigration
9:46 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Texas Officials Justify Cost of Enhanced Security Operations at the Border

The heads of the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety answered questions from Texas lawmakers about the cost of shoring up security measures at the border at a State Capitol hearing on July 29, 2014.
Lizzie Chen for KUT News

The heads of the Texas National Guard and the Texas Department of Public Safety say they never recommended deploying National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border – as Gov. Rick Perry ordered earlier this month.

It came as some state lawmakers grilled officials on what’s being accomplished with the millions of dollars in extra spending aimed at shoring up security along the Texas-Mexico border. Up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops are being deployed to the border for up to a year. It will cost the state up to $12 million a month, which includes money for training, even learning Spanish.

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Energy & Environment
8:41 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Four Guys and a Boat Tackle a Texas-Sized Water Problem

Workers cut open bags of WaterSavr, an evaporation suppressant, to apply the powder to Lake Arrowhead. WaterSavr's manufacturers claim it will save 30 percent of water that would have otherwise evaporated from the reservoir.
Neena Satija

As the sun rose on Lake Arrowhead late last week, four guys on a motorboat armed with 5,739 pounds of white powder set out to tackle one of Texas' most vexing water problems — evaporation from surface reservoirs. Last year, evaporation cost the state 2 trillion gallons of water, and it has been eliminating as much as 40 million gallons of water a day from drought-stricken Wichita Falls' supply this summer.

The four men, who work for a company called Flexible Solutions, were applying WaterSavr to Lake Arrowhead. The company claims that its product will save the city hundreds of millions of gallons of water by preventing evaporation. At a cost of $400,000 for the product and labor, the city is hoping the experiment, the first of its size in the nation, will work. And the rest of parched Texas is watching. But there are plenty of skeptics.

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Education
7:26 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

McRaven Named Sole Finalist for UT System Chancellor

William H. McRaven
US Navy

On a conference call Tuesday evening, the University of Texas System Board of Regents unanimously named Admiral William H. McRaven the sole finalist to be the next chancellor of the system.

McRaven, a Navy Seal and current commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, is perhaps best known for designing and coordinating the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

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Energy & Environment
3:26 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

4 Ways Texas Could Win Big Under New Climate Change Rules

Under the proposed regulations, coal power plants like this one will become a thing of the past.
Jonathan Warner/Flickr

Earlier this year, the earth hit a frightening milestone: carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached its highest level since humans have inhabited the earth. The last time there was this much carbon on the planet was nearly a million years ago.

As the heat-trapping gas proliferates, the world warms, and the climate effects domino: droughts intensify, floods increase, ice melts and seas rise. The question now isn't whether human activity is changing the global climate; the question is what to do about it.

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Same-Sex Marriage
1:41 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

AG Files Brief Supporting Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott speaks to supporters at Lavazza Espression on Congress Avenue in Austin.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office filed a brief on Monday arguing that Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage is constitutionally sound and a matter for voters, not courts, to decide. 

The brief was filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where the state is appealing a state district court judge’s February ruling that the ban is unconstitutional. The case pits two same-sex couples against Gov. Rick Perry, state Health Commissioner David Lakey and Abbott, who is also the Republican nominee for governor.

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Health
11:59 am
Tue July 29, 2014

The Nearest Detox Facility for Austin's Uninsured & Indigent is Now in Waco

flickr.com/wstryder

One challenge many homeless people face is fighting addiction. And that battle could get tougher for some, as an Austin nonprofit that helps people recover from addiction has closed its detox facility – meaning new hurdles for the homeless and uninsured who need detox services.

This month, nonprofit Austin Recovery closed its detox facility. The detox process isn't pretty – in fact, it can be rather dangerous. Patients needed to be monitored around-the-clock by highly trained medical staff, just as if they were in a hospital setting.

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Arts Eclectic
11:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Summer Stock Austin Celebrates Ten Years

For the past decade, the folks at Summer Stock Austin have brought high school and college age theater students together with working professionals to stage multiple musicals in a short period of time.

Every summer, the kids and adults at Summer Stock rehearse, build sets, do publicity and technical work, and then put on a show in just a matter of weeks. And they do that for three shows at once. It's a bit of whirlwind, but the result is that the students learn a lot about the theater world and audiences get to see a few low-priced live musicals.

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SH-45
10:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Austin Calls on TxDOT to Expand Public Comment, Revise Study on SH-45

A rendering of the State Highway 45 extension. Some say the route of a proposed extension to SH 45 could negatively impact the Edwards Aquifer.
Credit Texas Department of Transportation

Austin City Manager Marc Ott has asked the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to reconsider its environmental impact study on State Highway 45 Southwest.

The proposed extension would connect South MoPac and FM-1626 in northern Hays County.

In a letter to TxDOT, Ott also asked the department to expand the public comment period ahead of tonight's final public input meeting at Bowie High School.

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