Life & Arts
8:39 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Lena Dunham's New Book, and the Finalists for the First Ever Kirkus Prize Announced

Kirkus Editor, Clay Smith
Photo by Michael Thad Carter

Many fans of the HBO series Girls are eagerly awaiting today's doorstep delivery of producer, creator, and lead actress Lena Dunham's first book. In Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned," Dunham pens a series of essays that is part memoir, part advice book. 

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Politics
8:26 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Secret Service Chief Faces Questions Over Breaches At White House

Secret Service director Julia Pierson enters a hearing room in April to answer questions before a closed meeting of the Senate homeland security committee in Washington. Today, Pierson will appear before a House committee to respond to questions about White House security breaches.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 8:07 am

The head of the U.S. Secret Service is in for a likely grilling from lawmakers today when she appears before a House committee to answer questions about the Sept. 19 security breach at the White House in which a man with a knife jumped a fence and made it inside the executive mansion before agents intercepted him.

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2014 Elections
7:08 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 8 Forum

Five candidates joined KXAN's Shannon Wolfson and the Austin Chronicle's Richard Whittaker for the District 8 forum last night.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

KUT continued its Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council forums last night in South Austin. Five candidates joined moderators KXAN's Shannon Wolfson and Richard Whittaker of the Austin Chronicle, as well as a sold-out crowd, at the South Austin Alamo Drafthouse on Slaughter Lane last night.

Our Ballot Boxing forums will continue this Thursday Oct. 2 at the Alamo Drafthouse on Anderson Lane with the forum for District 7.

Below you can listen to the full audio of last night's forum and view a photo gallery above.

NPR Story
10:36 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Patient Is Being Tested For Possible Ebola, Dallas Hospital Says

A microscopic view of the Ebola virus.
Frederick A. Murphy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 9:52 pm

A hospital patient in Dallas is being tested for possibly contracting the Ebola virus.

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2014 Elections
12:55 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

Davis Accuses Abbott of Grant Fund 'Cover-Up'

State Sen. Wendy Davis is calling for an independent investigation of Attorney General Greg Abbott's involvement in keeping records of Texas Enterprise Fund grants secret.
Laura Buckman / Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis accused her Republican opponent Monday of using his power as attorney general to “orchestrate a cover-up” of misspending inside the Texas Enterprise Fund that, according to an audit, handed out taxpayer subsidies to businesses with little oversight.

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Transportation
10:41 am
Mon September 29, 2014

These 11 Austin Roadways Are Among the Most Congested in Texas

Austin Monitor

From The Austin Monitor:

New figures released by the Texas Department of Transportation quantify what anyone who drives in the Austin area instinctively knows – traffic congestion on several local roads and highways is as bad as anywhere in the state and getting worse.

One stretch, Interstate 35 through downtown between the U.S. 290 intersection and Lady Bird Lake, ranks as the second-most congested roadway segment in the entire state, and ranks first in freight-related congestion. Ten other Austin-area roadways are among the worst 100 in the state.

TxDOT recently released the 2014 Most Congested Roadways in Texas, with numbers updated from 2013. The data comes from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, which uses roadway inventory and traffic volume information from TxDOT along with speed data from INRIX, a private-sector source of traffic data. The complete list is available on the TxDOT website.

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In Black America Podcast
8:47 am
Mon September 29, 2014

In Black America Podcast: Austin Business Leader Natalie Madeira Cofield

Natalie Cofield, President and CEO, Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Natalie Madeira Cofield, President & CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, located in Austin, TX; Founding President of the Austin Black Technology Council and Founder of Walker’s Legacy a national women in business collective.

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2014 Elections
7:47 am
Mon September 29, 2014

What to Expect in Tonight's First and Only Debate Between Texas Lt. Gov. Candidates

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte will take the offensive tonight, callling out State Sen. Dan Patrick for previously supporting cuts to public education funding.
Jennifer Whitney / Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Houston State Sen. Dan Patrick and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio will meet tonight in what is likely to be their one and only scheduled debate before Election Day.

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Arts Eclectic
8:22 am
Sat September 27, 2014

See 'Still Now' at City Theatre

Shrewd Productions specializes in new works, particularly those that explore women's voices. That makes 'Still Now' a good fit -- the drama, by playwright Katie Bender, is making its world premiere with this production, and was recently included on the Kilroy List, a survey of excellent new plays by female playwrights.

'Still Now' is centered around Annie, a dancer who left America after the events of 9/11 to study Butoh in japan. Years later, she is diagnosed with stage four cancer and returns to Butoh as a way to cope with the ongoing destruction of her own body.

The play is about Annie coming to terms with the end of her own life, and also about the effect it has on those around her. As actor Joseph Gorlock says, "It's about loss, but it's about triumph and love throughout, as well."

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UT Longhorns
5:07 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Dismissals Continue as Longhorns Play On

UT head football coach Strong
Credit KUT

The University of Texas Longhorns football team will head into their game Saturday against the University of Kansas Jayhawks with one less player.  UT-Austin Football Head Coach Strong announced this week that he has dismissed a ninth player, Kennedy Estelle, from the Longhorns for not following the team's core values. Strong told reporters he was disappointed for having to dismiss another player, but says players have to follow the rules.

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oil boom
3:17 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Will Mexican Drilling Bring Texas Profit?

The oil and gas rich Eagle Ford Shale formation straddles both sides of the Texas / Mexico border.
Credit Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

  Today, members of the state House Energy Resources Committee met in the Rio Grande Valley town of Edinburg to discuss how a partial privatization of Mexico’s oil and gas sector could impact the Texas economy. 

Until this year, drilling in Mexico was run by Pemex, a state-owned company.  A change in Mexican law has now partially opened the county to foreign business. That could be a big opportunity for Texas companies familiar with the oil and gas rich Eagle Ford shale that straddles the border.

Some estimates have already said a shale boom in Mexico could grow the Texas economy by tens of billions of dollars. Others say it's too early to tell. 

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Politics
3:06 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Dewhurst Tells D.C. Crowd Prayer Rugs Found on Border

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst addresses the media in the parking lot of an Austin HEB before voting early in the 2014 runoffs, May 19, 2014.
Credit Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

In a speech in Washington, D.C., on Friday, outgoing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst doubled down on claims that Muslim prayer rugs had been found on the Texas-Mexico border.

"Prayer rugs have recently been found on the Texas side of the border in the brush," Dewhurst said at the Values Voter Summit, according to a report on Friday by Talking Points Memo, a liberal news site.

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KUT Weekend
1:20 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Affordable Care Act
11:15 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Texans Signing Up for Obamacare Will Have More Choices This Year

Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell spoke about the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace on Sept. 23, 2014 at the Brookings Institution.
Brookings Institution

People shopping for health insurance on the federal marketplace in Texas will have more options when the enrollment period begins again later this year.

Sixteen companies will offer health insurance plans in Texas through the federal marketplace this time around, when open enrollment begins Nov. 15 for coverage starting in 2015. At the Brookings Institution on Tuesday, U.S. Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sylvia Burwell spoke about changes in the marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

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2014 Elections
10:39 am
Fri September 26, 2014

What Exactly Can Candidates Do With Their Campaign Cash After Election Day?

There are plenty of things a candidate can't do with campaign cash, but there are also plenty of loopholes.
Tracy Olson/Flickr flickr.com/tracy_olson/

With less than six weeks before the general election, candidates are burning through their campaign cash to make that final push to win. But, when the race ends, some still have money left in the bank.

So what are lawmakers allowed to do with that money? 

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Austin
10:04 am
Fri September 26, 2014

City Council Takes a First Look at a Proposal to Legalize Uber & Lyft

Services like Uber Black are technically legal under the law. Drivers must have a chauffer's license and charge a minimum amount of $55.
Wikimedia Commons user Bull-Doser

Austin City Council debated a proposal that would temporarily legalize app-based ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber until just after midnight, ultimately passing Council Member Chris Riley’s proposal on first reading in a 6-1 vote, with Council Member Laura Morrison voting against the measure.

The ordinance would allow drivers to continue services while a city workgroup finalizes a pilot program to regulate transportation networking companies (TNC’s) that have flourished in Austin despite their illegality. Supporters say the apps expand limited public transit options for Austinites. Opponents argue Uber and Lyft’s drivers aren’t as stringently regulated as traditional drivers.

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Two Guys on Your Head
9:32 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Can Online Brain-Trainers Really Make You Smarter?

Credit http://salubriousu.com

You can go to the gym and work out your quads, or your biceps, or your balance and isolate those muscle groups to focus improvement of those areas of function with work. 

So it's not too far of a stretch to assume if we exercise specific areas of our brains might we see improvement in functions as well, right?  Unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple.

But have so many brain-training systems like Lumosity become so popular?

On this week’s show, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke will demystify the process of brain function improvement and illustrate the effectiveness of brain training programs.

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Technology
4:47 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Google Fiber Apologizes For Construction Inconvenience, But What Can Austin Expect?

Mayor Lee Leffingwell at the Google Fiber announcement on April 9, 2013.
Nathan Bernier/KUT

  Google offered an update earlier this week on its the impending high-speed, gigabit internet services coming to Austin.

But the announcement also came with an apology.  Google plans to buildout of 3,000 miles of fiber, and warned of impending inconveniences as contractors tinker with utility poles dig tunnels to bury the fiber.

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Transportation
4:01 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Poll: Texans Don't See Public Transit as a Congestion Cure

While most Texans agree to use public funds to increase public transportation, only 38 percent said they believe it reduces congestion.

From The Texas Tribune:

Only six out of every 100 Texans rely on public transportation as their primary means of transportation, and less than half of Texans believe it reduces congestion, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The survey of more than 5,000 Texans was conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute in May to study how Texans get around and their views on transportation funding. 

Ninety-one percent of Texans use a personal automobile as their primary means of transportation, followed by 6 percent who rely on public transportation, according to the poll. Ninety percent of respondents said they own or lease a personal vehicle. Minorities and those with an annual household income of less than $25,000 rely most heavily on public transportation, researchers found.

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Texas
1:26 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

State Audit Finds Perry's Enterprise Fund Lacked Accountability

The governor's Texas Enterprise Fund is under scrutiny from a state audit that claims funds were allocated without review.
Photo illustration by Gage Skidmore / Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry made a name for himself luring businesses from other states to Texas with the help of the Texas Enterprise Fund. A new report by the state auditor shows the fund handed out millions in grants to businesses without requiring the companies to create jobs or even apply for the money.

Gov. Perry started the fund in 2003, with a goal of providing additional money to entice businesses considering expansion in or relocation to Texas.

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