David Brown http://kut.org en Before the West Explosion, There Was Texas City http://kut.org/post/west-explosion-there-was-texas-city <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">April&nbsp;17&nbsp;marks exactly a year since one of the biggest industrial disasters in American history: the </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/officials-15-dead-200-injured-west-texas-explosion" style="line-height: 1.5;">explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that left 15 people dead, more than 150 injured, and large parts of the town flattened and destroyed.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Shocking as it was, the West explosion is not the worst industrial disaster in American history. That&nbsp;anniversary is&nbsp;today, April&nbsp;16 – marking 67 years since the Gulf Coast town of Texas City was razed.</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/145022210&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:35:42 +0000 David Brown 10234 at http://kut.org Before the West Explosion, There Was Texas City Bill Powers on Regents Drama, Civil Rights Summit & Those Mysterious Maroon Bluebonnets http://kut.org/post/bill-powers-regents-drama-civil-rights-summit-those-mysterious-maroon-bluebonnets <p>Reports over the past week suggest that the screws are tightening on one of the biggest critics of William Powers,&nbsp;Jr., President of the University of Texas at Austin.</p><p>University Regent Wallace Hall <a href="http://kut.org/post/report-cites-possible-grounds-halls-impeachment">likely committed impeachable offenses</a>, according to a 176-page report prepared for legislators looking into Hall's campaign to oust Powers. Among the charges: that Hall leaked confidential student information in apparent violation of state and federal law, that he attempted to coerce UT administrators to alter testimony to investigators, and that he abused his position as regent.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/144700374&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:08:56 +0000 David Brown 10212 at http://kut.org Bill Powers on Regents Drama, Civil Rights Summit & Those Mysterious Maroon Bluebonnets You Can Buy Your Way Into Texas' Oil Boom. But Is It Worth It? http://kut.org/post/you-can-buy-your-way-texas-oil-boom-it-worth-it <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In the history of Texas, few figures are as colorful as the wildcatters: oil prospectors who gambled big on the lure of black gold and striking it rich, or went broke trying. But what if you could be a wildcatter with a click of the mouse?</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">According to </span><a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1100092-nakoma-12-13-1.html" style="line-height: 1.5;">a company selling stakes in rigs</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> right now,&nbsp;you&nbsp;too&nbsp;can own an oil well – or at least part of it – right here in the states.&nbsp;</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/142355984&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 20:21:02 +0000 Emily Donahue & David Brown 10065 at http://kut.org You Can Buy Your Way Into Texas' Oil Boom. But Is It Worth It? Interview: Dr. Clay Johnston on Innovations at Dell Medical School http://kut.org/post/interview-dr-clay-johnston-innovations-dell-medical-school <p>The Dell Medical School at UT Austin is scheduled to open for classes in 2016. The man leading the school to that opening is newly appointed dean,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.utexas.edu/dell-medical-school">Dr. Clay Johnston</a>.</p><p>Johnston spoke with&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/topic/coming-soon-texas-standard">Texas Standard</a>&nbsp;host&nbsp;David Brown about what needs to happen before classes begin –&nbsp;and more importantly, how the new medical school will break the mold for student education and patient care.</p><p>"We can't treat this as our one opportunity to change things," Johnston says. "The reality is that academia – at least in medicine – moves very, very slowly. So we want to create the structures, the culture, that allow us to continually move, to be nimble and move forward."</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/140725960&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 21 Mar 2014 18:27:25 +0000 David Brown & Emily Donahue 10015 at http://kut.org Interview: Dr. Clay Johnston on Innovations at Dell Medical School What You Don't Know About Mavis Staples and Her Music http://kut.org/post/what-you-dont-know-about-mavis-staples-and-her-music <p>For a slightly younger generation, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFBHOtN5ssc#t=25">Staples Singers</a>&nbsp;evoke memories of avocado colored refrigerators and polyester pants. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but certainly not the reason you should know the name&nbsp;<a href="http://mavisstaples.com/">Mavis Staples</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>In the new book, "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Take-You-There-Freedoms/dp/1451647859">I’ll Take You There</a>," music journalist Greg&nbsp;Kot connects the dots between modern American culture and the great migration as African-Americans moved from the deep south to Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>Mavis Staples is part of the fabric of Chicago, Kot tells <a href="http://kut.org/topic/coming-soon-texas-standard">Texas Standard's&nbsp;</a>David Brown.</p><p>"[She's] a cultural institution. Her family is a cultural institution," he says.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139578017&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:05:00 +0000 David Brown & Emily Donahue 9969 at http://kut.org What You Don't Know About Mavis Staples and Her Music Texas' First Gay Sports League Provides a Safe Place to Play http://kut.org/post/texas-first-gay-sports-league-provides-safe-place-play <p>Last May, Jason Collins – a 12-year veteran of the NBA – made history when he penned an editorial in Sport Illustrated revealing he was gay. "I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport," he wrote. "But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation."</p><p>The issue of homosexuality in sports has certainly become a topic of discussion, from the politics of the&nbsp;Sochi&nbsp;Olympics to NFL hopeful Michael Sam <a href="http://kut.org/post/openly-gay-nfl-prospect-michael-sam-texas-native">coming out as gay</a>. But many athletes feel there is still a long way to go before gay players are fully welcomed into sports.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136561190&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 03 Mar 2014 17:59:59 +0000 David Brown 9839 at http://kut.org Texas' First Gay Sports League Provides a Safe Place to Play Meet the Candidates: Barry Smitherman http://kut.org/post/meet-candidates-barry-smitherman <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Raised in Highlands, Texas, Barry&nbsp;</span>Smitherman<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;initially set his sights on the world of finance. But a funny thing happened on the way to the top: an&nbsp;</span>op-ed<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;he </span>cowrote<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> on reforming Houston's finances led to him getting fired from his high-profile post at Bank One.</span></p><p>At age 42,&nbsp;Smitherman&nbsp;had to start over, accepting a post as a "baby" prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney's office. Out the blue came an appointment from the Governor to serve on the Texas Public Finance Authority and then the Public Utility Commission, where he became chairman. In 2012, He was elected to the Railroad Commission, which he chairs.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/137056857&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 13:52:13 +0000 David Brown 9863 at http://kut.org Meet the Candidates: Barry Smitherman The Smartphone App Connecting Austin to Protests in Venezuela http://kut.org/post/smartphone-app-connecting-austin-protests-venezuela <div><p>According to published reports, for the first time in four years Venezuela is set to <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/venezuela-nominate-new-ambassador-u-s-n38146">send an ambassador to the US</a>. This comes despite the fact that Venezuela's president is accusing Washington of fomenting <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/21/280685585/protests-in-venezuela-intensify-as-government-deploys-military">violent anti-government protests</a> – protests that have left more than a dozen people dead.&nbsp;</p><p>Just last week, Venezuela expelled three US diplomats accused of conspiring with student protesters, a charge rejected by the Obama Administration. But that's not to say there's been no Texas role – albeit an unofficial one. &nbsp;</p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/137056736&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 18:16:50 +0000 David Brown & Emily Donahue 9862 at http://kut.org The Smartphone App Connecting Austin to Protests in Venezuela Meet the Candidates: Dan Branch http://kut.org/post/meet-candidates-dan-branch <p>If you follow Texas politics, you've heard the news: Republican&nbsp;Greg Abbott's running for Governor. &nbsp;That leaves his former seat open, clearing the way for the first competitive primary race for&nbsp;Attorney&nbsp;General since … well, you have to go all the way back to 1998.</p><p>Three prominent Republicans have stepped up to the plate: State Sen. Ken Paxton of McKinney, Railroad Commission Chairman Barry&nbsp;Smitherman, and, in our studios today, State Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas. &nbsp;</p><p>First elected to the Texas House in 2002, Branch has been practicing law for nearly three decades, launching his own highly successful firm.&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136913863&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 12:00:00 +0000 David Brown 9855 at http://kut.org Meet the Candidates: Dan Branch Meet the Candidates: Leticia Van De Putte http://kut.org/post/meet-candidates-leticia-van-de-putte <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last spring, as Republican lawmakers tried to defuse Democratic State Sen. Wendy Davis’ 10 hour filibuster on abortion restrictions in Texas, a fellow Senator named Leticia Van de&nbsp;</span>Putte<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;attempted to get the attention of the presiding officer. &nbsp;</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"Mr. President," Van De&nbsp;</span>Putte<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;shouted, "at what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over the male colleagues in the room?"</span></p><p>The remark won Van De&nbsp;Putte&nbsp;some attention, all right. &nbsp;</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136765371&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></span></p><p> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 12:00:00 +0000 David Brown 9848 at http://kut.org Meet the Candidates: Leticia Van De Putte Meet The Candidates: Todd Staples http://kut.org/post/meet-candidates-todd-staples <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Growing up in rural East Texas, Todd Staples says he didn’t think much about politics until a fateful telephone call from a former high school teacher. There was ‘a mess’ in the local city council: would Staples consider making a bid for local office? At first he declined. Then there was silence on the line. “I’ll never forget the words he spoke to me,” Staples says. “He said, ‘we gave to you, and it’s time for you to give back’.”</span></p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 12:05:00 +0000 David Brown 9836 at http://kut.org Meet The Candidates: Todd Staples Meet the Candidate: Jerry Patterson http://kut.org/post/meet-candidate-jerry-patterson <p>Who wants to be "number two"?&nbsp; LBJ was famously warned that the job of vice president’s not worth a warm bucket of spit. (Or something like that.)</p><p>But it’s a different thing being "number two" in Texas. Indeed the Lieutenant Governor in Texas wields enormous power in steering legislative policymaking. Right now four prominent Republicans are duking it out for the party’s nomination, including incumbent David Dewhurst, State Sen. Dan Patrick, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, and – in the first of our conversations with the candidates in the major statewide races – Jerry Patterson, who’s hoping to trade his current job as Land Commissioner for a new role as Lt. Governor.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136063124&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:03:00 +0000 David Brown 9828 at http://kut.org Meet the Candidate: Jerry Patterson Interview: UT President Bill Powers on Job Reductions, Sexual Assault & Campus Climate http://kut.org/post/interview-ut-president-bill-powers-job-reductions-sexual-assault-campus-climate <p>In late January, President Barack Obama assembled a task force to come up with ideas to reduce sexual assault on college campuses. According to the administration, one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. President Obama urged members of college communities nationwide to ask their leaders what they're doing about this issue.&nbsp;</p><p>University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers recently sat down with&nbsp;KUT's&nbsp;David Brown to talk about campus climate and the current&nbsp;job reductions at the University of Texas.</p><p>Listen to the interview in the audio player.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/136041525&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 20:20:12 +0000 David Brown 9818 at http://kut.org Interview: UT President Bill Powers on Job Reductions, Sexual Assault & Campus Climate What You Might Have Missed During 'The Big Game' http://kut.org/post/what-you-might-have-missed-during-big-game-0 <p>Unless you're a Seahawks fan, this year's Super Bowl was&nbsp;not so super. Seattle's blowout victory over Denver almost certainly inspired more than a few million viewers to tune out shortly after halftime.&nbsp;</p><p>The real contest this year, as in years past, was among TV sponsors who paid approximately $4 million per half-minute to push their messages to viewers. &nbsp;Much of the post-game commentary was devoted to who won bragging rights for 'best commenrcial'. &nbsp;But Michael Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin saw much more than the usual ads for beer, soda, insurance and autos. &nbsp;</p><p>Sure,&nbsp;the Super Bowl may be an American ritual. &nbsp;But if you look a little closer, Webber says, the big game reveals a national obsession bigger than football: an insatiable appetite for energy.</p><p></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/134248678&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="664px"></iframe></p><p> Tue, 11 Feb 2014 17:42:49 +0000 Michael Webber & David Brown 9762 at http://kut.org What You Might Have Missed During 'The Big Game' Are Russia's Anti-Gay Laws All That Different From Texas? http://kut.org/post/are-russias-anti-gay-laws-all-different-texas <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As the Winter Olympics in&nbsp;</span>Sochi<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;get underway, </span><a href="http://blogs.att.net/consumerblog/story/a7793998" style="line-height: 1.5;">Texas-based AT&amp;T</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> became the first major sponsor to join a chorus of opposition to Russia's ban on so-called&nbsp;"homosexual propaganda." In another sign of protest, the Obama administration has sent three openly gay athletes as representatives to&nbsp;</span>Sochi<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But American critics of the policy may want to look at what's on the books closer to home, notes </span><a href="http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/ianayres.htm" style="line-height: 1.5;">Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. In a commentary for&nbsp;KUT's&nbsp;upcoming daily news magazine Texas Standard, Ayres highlights so-called "no promo homo" rules codified across the U.S. – including Texas.&nbsp;</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/133436082&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 11:30:00 +0000 David Brown 9733 at http://kut.org Are Russia's Anti-Gay Laws All That Different From Texas?