Business
4:49 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Study: Texas' Income Inequality Could Affect State Revenues

Standard & Poor's says income inequality will tie Texas' hands in future budgeting issues, calling it a "systematic" problem.
Gabriel Cristover Perez/KUT

A new study from Standard & Poor’s suggests that income inequality is leading to lower state tax revenues in Texas. The study also finds inequality weakens overall economic growth, with a stronger effect in states like Texas that depend on sales tax revenues.

Still, the state has seen expanded growth in average tax revenue, the study said – 5.48 percent revenue growth from 2000 to 2009 compared to the 4.07 percent in sales tax-dependent states and 5.25 percent growth in income tax-dependent states.

The credit-rating agency says the growing gap slows potential growth and lowers the growth of the state's overall tax base, which is “stronger and only statistically significant” in sales tax-reliant states. The inequality could prove problematic in future budgeting, as S&P says Texas can’t correct the problem by simply raising taxes.

Texas currently has the sixth highest level of income inequality, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the state’s lowest earners have seen their incomes drop 10 percent in the last decade. 

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Affordable Care Act
4:23 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Affordable Care Act Returns to Texas Lawmakers' Agenda

The Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act on Sept. 15, 2014.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Today, the Texas Senate Affairs Committee heard testimony on the Affordable Care Act – from enrollment numbers to costs to identity theft concerns. The public hearing comes after Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst asked lawmakers to study what he called “emerging negative impacts” of the law.

About 734,000 people in Texas signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the first enrollment period, and with another one about to begin, the Texas Department of Insurance says Texas has roughly 200 state-certified navigators who help people use healthcare.gov after taking federal and Texas-specific training courses.

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Texas
4:13 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Texas Schools Get Military Gear Through Federal Program

Austin Police Officer Cory Ehrler monitors the entrance to Ridgetop Elementary School after classes start on the Monday following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Tamir Kalifa via Texas Tribune

Texas school districts dominate the list of those receiving military equipment — including firearms and armored vehicles — through a federal initiative, according to a letter sent by a coalition of civil rights and education advocacy groups to the U.S. Department of Defense on Monday.

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Austin ISD
12:01 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Austin ISD Celebrates Inaugural Pride Week

The Austin Independent School District began its first celebration of PRIDE Week today.
Credit http://www.flickr.com/asaustin

For the first time, the Austin Independent School District is celebrating Pride Week, which will feature conversations and celebrations to show support for their lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender staff and students.

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Border & Immigration
8:59 am
Mon September 15, 2014

After Crossing Four Borders, Migrant Family Faces Two More Critical Battles

Sara Beltran-Rodriguez's daughter Neyely has a brain tumor. She's spent the last three years in and out of hospitals. Karnes County Residential Center granted the family temporary medical asylum.

Last month, hundreds of children who were attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border – many of them unaccompanied on their journey – were moved to a family detention center south of San Antonio.

The Karnes County Residential Center houses hundreds of immigrants that, as of now, stand little chance of being released from the facility.

In many cases, immigrants have been priced out of their release bonds, with some bonds as high as $25,000. In effect, the detainees have been denied the release, except for one family.

Sara Beltran Rodriguez and her daughter were the first to be released from the facility. And while they’ve traveled thousands of miles and crossed several borders on their journey to Texas, the family has another life-threatening battle to fight.

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in Black America Podcast
8:42 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

In Black America Podcast: Smart Music Entertainment with Larry ‘LAK’ Henderson

Larry 'LAK' Henderson, Founder and CEO Smart Music Entertainment

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Larry "LAK" Henderson, founder and CEO of Smart Music Entertainment, and the creator of a new sound of hip-hop music that is used as a tool to inspire learning, and awaken the consciousness of youth and people in our communities.

Henderson's educational hip-hop music has received airplay on major radio stations around the world, and he is a noted speaker on hip-hop and its impact on our communities.

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HB2
5:17 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Federal Court Hears Abortion Law Arguments in Lengthy Appeals Process

A panel of federal judges are considering arguments related to provisions in Texas’ newest abortion law that were struck down late last month.
photo courtesy Bobak Ha'Eri

A panel of federal judges are considering arguments related to provisions in Texas’ newest abortion law that were struck down late last month. It's one step in a long process of appeals.

The State of Texas is asking the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant an emergency motion to enforce the state’s abortion law.

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Texas
2:55 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Three Earthquakes Rattle Texas So Far This Week

Regulators are trying to craft rules to respond to the dramatic uptick in quakes
Credit OLIVER BERG / DPA/LANDOV

It’s been a shaky week in Texas with two small earthquakes rattling the Dallas-Fort Worth area and another slightly more powerful quake detected in South Texas.

On Sunday, the first quake measuring magnitude 2.4 struck near Arlington. It prompted some residents to call 9-1-1 after feeling their houses shake and hearing “explosions,” according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Earthquakes are often accompanied by loud “booms,” something that has become a source of anxiety in newly quake-prone parts of the state.

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Texas Standard
2:28 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Emily Ramshaw Discusses Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis, and Medical Marijuana in Texas Politics

Senator Ted Cruz
Flickr User Gage Skidmore https://flic.kr/p/av6uvr

In Texas politics this week, Emily Ramshaw, editor of The Texas Tribune, speaks with Texas Standard’s David Brown about The 2014 Texas Tribune Festival, Ted Cruz, Wendy Davis, and medical marijuana.

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Texas Standard
2:04 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

What Allies Could Offer the US in the Fight Against ISIS

Around seventy five Iraqi activists staged an anti-terrorist rally with flags, costumes and theatrical performances in front of the White House, June 20th 2014.
flickr.com/photos/stephenmelkisethian/

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is touring the Middle East to press for cooperation in battling the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, following President Obama's announcement that the U.S would increase its efforts to "degrade and destroy" the group.

In the months leading up to Wednesday's announcement, Bloomberg News reports the United States has flown approximately 2,700 air missions over Iraq against ISIS. The AP reports France has already stated that it will dedicate efforts alongside the United States, but who else might?

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KUT Weekend
1:41 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Life & Arts
12:37 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Draws Top Contenders To Austin

A side of smoked brisket is cut at La Barbecue in Austin, one of attendendees of the 2014 Texas Monthly BBQ Fest.
flickr.com/photos/joshbousel/

For Texans, barbeque is nestled somewhere between football and firearms as things closest to a state-mandated religion. We take our barbecue seriously, so it’s no surprise that Texas Monthly magazine would hold an invitation-only barbecue festival every year.

This year's fifth, and largest, annual festival brings 25 of the best pit bosses in the state. The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn to see which of the competitors have the chops to make the cut.

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Texas
12:01 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Wendy Davis on the Governor's Race, Her First Filibuster, and 'Forgetting to Be Afraid'

Wendy Davis visited Austin recently for a book signing.

Days after asking the Texas Ethics Commission to look into the Wendy Davis book tour, the Greg Abbott campaign has filed a complaint with the commission, alleging that it's a violation of Texas law.

The Abbott campaign accuses Davis of using political contributions to fund the promotion of the book from which she is profiting. The Davis campaign calls the charge frivolous.  Charges of campaign ethics violations are not rare during election season, relied upon by partisans of all stripes to accuse rivals of wrongdoing. At a recent book signing in Austin, Davis did not speak to reporters. But Davis did stop by the Texas Standard studio to talk with host David Brown about her memoirs--and her decision to step into the political spotlight.

Here are the interview highlights:

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Education
9:58 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Texas Seeks Federal Grant for Pre-K Expansion

The TEA is seeking a four-year $30 million annual grant from the federal government to make pre-k classes readily available for moderate and low-income families.
Robert W. Hart

The Texas Education Agency has asked the federal government for grants to­ fund an expansion of pre-k programs statewide for moderate and low-income families.

Texas will compete with 35 other states, and Washington, D.C., and is eligible to receive up to $30 million annually over a four-year grant window. The grant expansion is offering a total of $160 million nationwide. The new federal grant would help states that currently serve more than 10 percent of four years olds to build and expand on those programs, which have faced drastic cuts over the years.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:45 am
Fri September 12, 2014

How Embarassment Limits Our Ability to Learn New Languages

Credit blog.cultureamp.com

Can you remember what it was like for you to learn your native language?  Probably not, but why is that?

As humans, we begin learning to speak our native language during the earliest stages of our lives, in infancy.  Most people don’t have many accessible memories from this period of development. How do we do that?

If we can learn a language in our infant stages of life, why is it so difficult to learn a second language later in life?

On this week’s episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Art Markman and Bob Duke explore how we learn language.

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Texas Standard
2:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

When LBJ's Infamous 'Daisy' Ad Changed Politics Forever

Broadcast only once, LBJ "Daisy" still packs a punch.
Lyndon B Johnson's 1964 Presidential campaign

Half a century ago, Pres. Lyndon Johnson teamed up with the ad men of New York to produce one of the most famous – and controversial – political ads of all time.

A young girl lackadaisically plucks the petals off a flower, counting as she goes. But soon, her count is interrupted by a mission-control style countdown: when it ends, a mushroom cloud envelops the screen. "These are the stakes," Johnson intones. "To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." 

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Energy & Environment
12:35 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

El Nino Flies Under the Radar in Summer, But Could It Still Bring a Wetter Texas Winter?

El Nino hasn't brought the wet summer promised by some meteorologists, but it could bring Texas rains this fall and winter.
Huma Munir/KUT News

Earlier this year Lower Colorado River Authority meteorologist Bob Rose, liked what he was seeing in the forecast.  

“I’m optimistic that we will get into a pattern of above normal rainfall this fall continuing into next winter and possibly into next spring as well,” he said in April.

Bur since this April things changed.

After much ado, the El Nino predicted by many meteorologists hasn’t quite showed itself in the form rainfall yet. While there’s still a chance it could strengthen before the summer’s end, it’s not likely it will meet its initial forecasted fury. 

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10-1
8:58 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 2 Forum

Three of the four candidates showed up to last night's debate. Mike Owen was not in attendance.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Last night KUT continued the Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums at the Dove Springs Recreation Center last night in Southeast Austin.

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2014 Elections
7:47 am
Thu September 11, 2014

One Group of Texas Voters Contradicts State's Low Turnout Rates

In 2012, among voters 70 plus in Texas, turnout was more than 60 percent, according to Census Bureau data.
Callie Richmond/The Texas Tribune

Texas has historically low rates of voter turnout. In the last gubernatorial election in 2010, less than a third of eligible voters cast a ballot.

That was the second lowest turnout in the nation that November, but one group of voters has proven pretty reliable – even in Texas.

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