Arts and Culture
12:36 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Former Momo’s Owner Opens Austin-Themed Venue in NYC

A look inside Paul Oveisi' s new Austin-themed bar in NYC called Zirzamin
Photo courtesy of Zirzamin's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/zirzaminnyc

In case you were wondering what Momo’s owner Paul Oveisi had been up to since the venue closed in late December, he’s been busy creating an Austin-themed venue in Manhattan.

Zirzamin, which is Farsi for “underground,” is located in a cellar bar in Greenwich Village and has a small menu that includes breakfast tacos (2 for $6), “Austin-style” chile con queso ($5), brisket tacos (2 for $6) and Lone Star beer.

“Ultimately, there will be music every night of the week. We'll certainly bring in some Austin acts but it's gonna be an eclectic mix of world music, funky ensembles, and surprise guests,” Oveisi told the New York City/Austin music blog IndieSounds. “It won't be predictable but it will be good.”

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Health
11:33 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Recalculating The Health Bill In McAllen, Texas

Branded: Hospitals in McAllen, Texas, may not be as costly as first thought.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 10:43 am

Remember McAllen? It's the Texas border town that became synonymous with wasteful medical spending during the nation's big health care debate. Even Barack Obama was talking about it.

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Business
10:56 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Postal Service Presents Plan to Keep Thousands of Rural Post Offices Open

This post office in Cat Spring, Texas is one slated for fewer hours instead of closure under a new proposal.
Photo courtesy Jimmy Wayne, flickr.com/auvet

The United States Postal Service has announced a plan that will keep thousands of small and rural post offices open – cancelling an earlier plan to close up to 3,700 locations. The new plan will keep the current post office locations in place but will modify their hours of operation.

Lobby and post office box services will remain the same, but over 13,000 smaller post offices could reduce their business day to two to six hours, including over a dozen location in Blanco, Martindale, Maxwell and Caldwell counties.

Postmaster General and USPS CEO Patrick R. Donahoe cites demand from customers as the reason for the shift. “We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability,” he says in a press release.

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Education
8:56 am
Thu May 10, 2012

College Grads Struggle To Gain Financial Footing

Graduates of the University of Alabama's class of 2011. The economic downturn has hit recent college grads hard. New data show only half of those who graduated from 2006 to 2011 are working full time.
Butch Dill AP

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 3:48 am

Most of the estimated 1.5 million people graduating from a four-year college this spring will soon be looking for a job.

If the experiences of other recent college grads are any guide, many will be disappointed.

A new Rutgers University survey of those who graduated from college between 2006 and 2011 finds that just half of those grads are working full time.

Settling For Part Time

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AM Update
8:21 am
Thu May 10, 2012

AM Update: UT Law School's New Dean, Sales Tax Revenues Rise, Fat Lady Sings for San Antonio Opera?

Former UT Law Dean Larry Sager tendered his resignation last December. He now works as a faculty professor.
Photo courtesy of Marsha Miller for the University of Texas

UT Announces New Dean of Law School

Ward Farnsworth, an associate dean at Boston University’s Law School, will replace Interim Dean Stefanie Lindquist as leader of the law school on June 1.

Before joining Boston University, Farnsworth clerked for Richard Posner on the 7th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Anthony Kennedy on the U. S. Supreme Court.

Farnsworth say his first order of business is "learning from the faculty, the alumni and the rest of the community down there about their views and abilities, and how we can use them to advance the mission of the school," reports the Alcade.

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Latin America
8:05 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Mexican Crime Reporters Risk Becoming the Story

A woman lights a candle during a tribute to slain Mexican journalists at the Monument of Independence in Mexico City on May 5. The vigil took place to protest violence against the press after the brutal murders of four journalists in Veracruz state.
Sashenka Gutierrez EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 10, 2012 8:37 am

Mexico is reeling from another round of brutal murders of journalists. Four journalists and photographers who covered the police beat have been killed in eastern Mexico's crime-ridden state of Veracruz.

There's a new call for the federal government to take measures to protect journalists in a country where more and more reporters censor themselves out of fear.

The ceremony to remember the most recent killings took place last weekend in Mexico City on the steps of the Monument of Independence between statues depicting peace and law.

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Education
3:29 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Gus Garcia on Education: 'Much More Work Needs to be Done'

Former school board member and Austin Mayor Gus Garcia at an event honoring him today.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Political trailblazer Gus Garcia – the first Hispanic elected to the Austin ISD Board of Directors, and the city's first Hispanic mayor – was honored today.

Garcia has been a major force in Austin politics for decades. In 1972, he became the first Hispanic to be elected to the school board, coming into office with a list of “17 Demands for Quality Education.” Programs at today’s event, sponsored by the U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association, commemorated the 40th anniversary of his historic election.

Garcia’s colleague and keynote speaker, Ernest Perales, remarked on the difficulties the AISD board found itself in during the turmoil of the 1970s. Peralez called Gus Garcia “a hero” and praised his tenure on the board.

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Politics
2:42 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Money Pouring In to U.S. Senate Race

Could what happened to longtime Republican Senator Richard Lugar happen in Texas?

In the aftermath of Lugar’s defeat by Tea Party-backed Richard Mourdock last night, the Associated Press reports that a group that backed Mourdock, the Club for Growth, has announced a $1 million ad buy in Texas.

The target? Long serving Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, currently running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Kay Bailey Hutchison.

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Politics
2:04 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

President Obama: Same-Sex Couples Should Be Able To Wed

President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor in the White House briefing room in Washington, Wednesday. President Barack Obama told an ABC interviewer that he supports gay marriage.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 4:19 pm

In an interview with ABC News, President Obama declared his support for gay marriage. This marks a departure from the president's previous stance, which has repeatedly been described as "evolving."

Here's the money quote from ABC's OTUS blog:

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Health
1:20 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Local Seniors Staying Physically, Socially Active

Some older Austinites stay active and give back through volunteering.
Photo courtesy sheilaz413 via Flickr

May is Older Americans Month — and every year.  more people fit into that category. The Administration on Aging says more than a quarter of Americans will be 60 or older by 2030.

The YMCA of Austin hosted a luncheon today for seniors to encourage them to stay physically and socially active. Research shows older adults are facing more problems with obesity than in decades past and seniors tend to spend less time socializing as they age.

Denise Thomas is the owner of Home Instead — an in-home care agency. She’s working with the YMCA to honor several area seniors who are bettering their lives and the lives of others by staying active and volunteering for groups like Meals on Wheels.

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City Council Elections
12:01 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Video: The Five Weirdest Austin Election Commercials

Lee Leffingwell is as surprised as you are by some of these clips.
Image courtesy youtube.com/TheLeeTeam2012

With early voting in the Austin city elections finished, and a scant four days left until Election Day, campaign ads are increasingly ubiquitous.

But where’s the fun in what's on the airwaves? Most broadcast spots are feel-good, soft-focus spots that have been focus-grouped within an inch of life. No, it’s in the wilds of the Interwebs the Austin politico finds the most entertaining (if not exactly illuminating) clips.

KUT News has combed the digital wastelands to find the strangest campaign ads for this Saturday’s City Council contest. And since sometimes, the WTF? is hiding in plain sight, we’ve including some broadcast spots in this roundup of the five weirdest videos in the Austin city election:

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City Council Elections
10:48 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Early Voting Totals: That’s a Wrap

Early voting totals from Travis County show 2012 turnout between 2009 and 2011 figures.
Image by Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Turnout continued to climb on the final day of early voting for the Austin city elections, although overall turnout never managed to surpass that of Austin’s last mayoral election.

Early voting returns for Tuesday, April 8, showed 6,094 ballots cast in Travis County. (That doesn't include precincts in Williamson County that vote in the Austin elections.) That brought early voting totals to 23,257 ballots – or 4.87 percent of registered voters.

In the image above, you can see how overall early voting in Travis County compares to Austin’s last two general city elections.

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Sports
9:50 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Josh Hamilton's Remarkable Story Continues: Four Home Runs in One Game

There goes No. 2: Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers as he hit the second of his four home runs Tuesday night in a game vs. the Baltimore Orioles.
Mitchell Layton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:14 am

It's incredible enough that Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game Tuesday night — something that's only been done by 15 other major league players.

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2012 Presidential Election
9:01 am
Wed May 9, 2012

In West Virginia Primary, Texas Prisoner Gives Obama Run For His Money

Texas inmate Keith Judd won roughly 40 percent of the votes in West Virginia's Democratic primary.
Barack Obama photo courtesy of the White House; Keith Judd photo courtesy Texas Dept. of Corrections.

Texas prison inmate Keith Judd earned an unofficial 42 percent of votes in yesterday’s West Virginia Democratic Presidential Primary. President Barack Obama earned close to 58 percent.

So who is Keith Judd?

The Associated Press reports Judd is behind bars at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Judd paid a $2,500 fee and filed a notarized form to get on the ballot in West Virginia.

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AM Update
8:04 am
Wed May 9, 2012

AM Update: Border Patrol Overhaul, Radioactive Texas Dump Questioned, Austin Budget Talks Continue

A Texas judge has called for a hearing over a radioactive waste site in West Texas.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kmart

New Border Patrol Strategy Focuses on Intelligence

The U.S. Border Patrol unveiled a new plan for tightening America’s borders yesterday.

The 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan includes tactics and technologies developed over the past few years like unmanned aircraft systems – aka, drones – but also more focus on preventing risk.

The past few years have been a period of unprecedented growth in resources for the Border Patrol. Right now, there are more law enforcement officers on the border – more than 21,000 – than at any time in Border Patrol history.

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City Council Elections
4:42 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Early Voting Ends Tonight

Austin
2:55 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists, Part Two

Austin: The fastest growing, worst driving city for smutty, retired hipsters.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

It being election season in Austin, you’ve likely heard some candidate singing the city’s praises – or blasting Austin’s inclusion on various Top 10 lists as a sign of increasing cost.

KUT News likes to compile the city’s latest Top 10 accolades – but take it one step further, into a Top 10 list of our own. You can see our previous Top 10 list here.  

As we wrote then, to get a gauge of just how many Austin-happy rankings are floating around, we look for “best cities” rankings including Austin over the last few months. And from that, we compiled this meta-master list, a Top 10 of the city’s most recent Top 10 rankings ranging from the apparent, to the arbitrary, to the really, really arbitrary. So without further ado:

1. You grow up so fast!: No surprise here, but Austin’s growing, and growing fast. Forbes ranks Austin Number One in its April 18 study of “America’s Fastest Growing Cities.”

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Women's Health
2:23 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

When Religious Rules And Women's Health Collide

Hospital rules can affect a woman's options for care.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 3:18 pm

When you go to the hospital these days, chances are good that it will be affiliated with a religious organization. And while that may might just mean the chaplain will be of a specific denomination or some foods will be off limits, there may also be rules about the kind of care allowed.

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Education
12:54 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Conflict of Vision: UT Music School Director Resigns

Glenn Chandler and Douglas Dempster have opposing views about the future of UT's Butler School of Music.
Photos courtesy University of Texas at Austin

Glenn Chandler, the director of the burgeoning University of Texas Butler School of Music, has stepped down. The resignation comes at the encouragement of Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts

Chandler had served as the Butler School’s director since 2001.

Dempster says he and Chandler had different visions of the role and the future of the school of music. The core issue was that Chandler wanted the school to become its own entity separate of the College of Fine Arts. Instead, Dempster wants the school to become more integrated into the College of Fine Arts.

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Texas
11:55 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Davy Crockett, King of the Auction House

A letter from David Crockett, drafted some six months before his death at the Alamo, is for sale.
Letter image courtesy rrauction.com

A letter written by famed frontiersman Davy Crockett on the eve of his trip to Texas is being sold at auction.

The letter, dated September 30, 1835, is Crockett’s reply to a dinner invitation. The reply was written while he was still living in Tennessee, before he moved to Texas and about six months before Crockett’s death in the Alamo, according to RR Auction.

Crockett had recently lost his seat in Congress and displayed his distaste for politics in the letter. He states his desire not to attend a political dinner and only accepts due to the social nature of the event.

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