David Brown

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Life & Arts
8:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Austin's Ray Benson Goes it Alone, Gets Raves

'Brother Ray' Benson, minus the cowboy hat
Credit Kerrville Folk Festival

Though Ray Benson's been the de facto musical ambassador of Austin now for decades, he admits that by stepping out as a solo artist for the first time in more than a decade, he's just now getting to do what he always dreamed of doing when he started out in music as a teenager.  

"I didn't think I was good enough," he confesses.  

Benson's new album, "A Little Piece" seems to offer ample evidence he's good enough, at least if the critics are to be believed. In fact, Tom Semioli of the Huffington Post places Benson's new recording up there with the likes of breakthroughs like Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" and Willie Nelson's "Phases and Stages."

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Life & Arts
2:05 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

"Shoe Burnin'" Collects Stories of Southern Soles

'Shoe Burnin'' collects stories from over a dozen authors.
facebook.com/theshoeburnin

It started one night with a box of shoes. 

Some Alabama artists ran out of firewood and, they surmised, a box of shoes seemed an appropriate enough substitute for traditional kindling. So began the first shoe burning — a well-kept Southern literary tradition of telling stories for each sole burned.  

In Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul over a dozen authors and songwriters collected their tales in a combination of musical and literary sojourns.

Education
8:45 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Should American Universities Boycott their Israeli Counterparts?

Hunter Rawlings says U.S. universities should not boycott Israeli universities in response to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because it would lead to a political "Pandora's Box."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The passing of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has raised talk of his legacy, especially with respect to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Several groups of American scholars, including the American Studies Association, are calling for US universities to boycott their Israeli counterparts. The president of the University of Texas at Austin, William Powers, is hosting a conference of several key figures in higher education this week. One such figure, Hunter Rawlings, President of the Association of American Universities, spoke with KUT's David Brown.

Texas
1:04 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

After a Red Scare, Texas Could be Sriracha's Solution

Rep. Jason Villalba wrote Huy Fong Foods' CEO David Tran to convince the embattled hot sauce-maker to move to Texas.
flickr.com/photos/57043777@N03/

A nationwide shortage of Sriracha sauce has fans of the hot stuff in something just short of a panic, but one state representative has a plan for Texas to come to the rescue.

State Representative Jason Villalba (R-Richardson) has propositioned California-based Huy Fong Foods Inc. to move its operations to Texas after production of the peppery product was halted due to complaints from citizens living near its factory in Irwindale, CA.

KUT's David Brown spoke to Villalba about state and city pitches to recruit Huy Fong, California's "over-regulated" business climate and his go-t0 Sriracha dishes.  

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Business
3:26 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Do Women CEOs Have a Tougher Time Pitching Start-Ups?

Dr. Hill working with a lab assistant at Spot On Sciences.
Credit Spot On Sciences

In baseball, the crowd holds its breath, waiting for the pitch.

In the business world, pitching is similar: suspense can be a killer, and ideas often get knocked down. Scrappy start-ups and venture capital abound in the modern economy, but success isn’t always guaranteed.

Dr. Jeanette Hill, CEO of Spot On Sciences and home blood test HemaSpot knows pitching – and it's nothing like what you’ve seen on "Shark Tank."

“You’ve got about 60 seconds, sometimes up to two minutes,” she tells KUT’s David Brown. “You have to get your idea across, you have to sell the audience … get it out there without stumbling.”

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UT Board of Regents
8:19 am
Thu December 12, 2013

UT Regents Put President Powers' Job On the Agenda: How We Got Here

UT Austin President Bill Powers' job is up for discussion during the UT Board of Regents executive session Thursday. It's the latest development in what's become a standoff between state leadership.
flickr.com/thetexastribune

The UT Board of Regents is expected to discuss the employment of University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers during its executive session today. It’s the first time his employment has been placed on the agenda for discussion – and the latest development in what’s become a power struggle among state leadership.

The scene: boardrooms, committee chambers or behind closed doors. The characters: men who hold power in the Texas capitol, or the UT Tower. But how did the situation get to this point?

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
4:46 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Opposites in UT's Anti-Apartheid Movement Reflect, Remember Mandela

Former South African President Nelson Mandela greets photographers in Johannesburg in this 2005 photo.
Credit Reuters /Mike Hutchings /Landov

Thursday's passing of Nelson Mandela brought back many memories for Austinites: Mandela was an icon of a student-led anti-apartheid struggle at the University of Texas.

In the mid 80's, students held sit-ins, rallied on the mall, and broke into the president's office demanding divestment in South Africa. KUT’s David Brown recently sat down with two people who were, at that time, on opposite sides: William Cunningham, the former president of the University of Texas at Austin, and Derrick Eugene, a student leader in the anti-apartheid movement.

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Politics
7:38 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Texas, Video Games and the Military-Entertainment Complex

Credit Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Dwight Eisenhower famously warned about the military-industrial complex and it’s influence. Here, some 52 years later, the nation has a new, powerful influencer: what author Corey Mead calls the “military-entertainment complex”.

The phrase draws from WWII propaganda films, but presently “refers to the link between the military and video game industry,” Mead says. He's the author of "War Play: Video Games and the Future of Armed Conflict." Listen to his interview with KUT's David Brown below:

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Author Interviews
8:57 am
Fri November 29, 2013

'Dallas Noir' Explores the City's Alluring Shimmer and Seedy Underbelly

The cover of Dallas Noir, a new collection of fictional stories.
Akashic Books

While Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurty described Dallas in Texas Monthly as “a second-rate city that wishes it were first-rate,” literary agent and editor David Hale Smith prefers a different description. This one’s found in the lines of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s song “Dallas:"

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes

A steel and concrete soul in a warm-hearted love disguise.

“It’s one of the great lyrics of all time. The song is a poem, but it really nails Dallas, and of course nails the essence of this book we put together,” Smith says. He sat down with KUT's David Brown to discuss that new book, “Dallas Noir." 

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2014 Governor Race
5:30 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Where's Wendy? Texas Monthly's Paul Burka Weighs In on Davis Campaign

Wendy Davis made headlines earlier this year with her abortion rights filibuster heard around the nation. In September and October, she teased the Texas body politic with her gubernatorial guessing game.

After bursting into the race in early October with a big announcement in Fort Worth, the Davis campaign has hit the ground running, from Brownsville, to … Pharr, Texas?

So where’s Wendy Davis? That's what Paul Burka is asking.

The current dean of Texas political writers and senior executive editor at Texas Monthly, Burka sat down with KUT’s David Brown to discuss the Davis campaign. 

 

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Business
8:38 am
Tue November 26, 2013

With Shinola, Dallas Entrepreneur Brings Manufacturing Back to Detroit

facebook.com/shinola

Think of Detroit, and you likely think of a city past its prime.

But while Detroit faces an uphill climb since filing for bankruptcy in July, Heath Carr, CEO of Dallas-based Bedrock Manufacturing, has taken a decidedly bullish perspective on the city: His group is the parent company of Shinola, a company manufacturing American-made watches, bicycles, leather goods and more in the Motor City.

“If you come to Detroit, you spend time there, you get to know the people," Carr says. "The people that care about moving it forward, it's an energy you want to be part of.”

Listen to Carr speak with KUT's David Brown:

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One Day in Dallas
6:00 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Inside Parkland Hospital & Aboard Air Force One the Day JFK Was Killed

The front page of The Dallas Times Herald after President Kennedy's assassination, on display by the Texas State Archives and Library Commission.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Before that afternoon fifty years ago, neither Sid Davis nor Julian Read could have expected what they’d be called upon to do – much less that they’d both be eyewitnesses to history. 

Davis was a young radio reporter based in Washington D.C.

Read was on the other side of the journalistic fence, serving as press aide for Texas Gov. John Connally.

But they were both on a press bus in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 – the day President John F. Kennedy was shot.

After 50 years of virtual silence, Austinite Julian Read recently opened up to KUT about his experience that day. 

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Bill Powers Interview
7:59 am
Thu November 14, 2013

UT Pres. Powers on Fisher v. Texas, Nick Saban & That Farrah Fawcett Portrait

Bill Powers Jr.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

University of Texas at Austin President William Powers Jr. is steering the university through two court cases and a football coach that’s making news both on and off the field.

Powers recently sat down with KUT’s David Brown to talk about what’s happening at the 40 Acres. Listen to the extended interview in the Soundcloud player below. Here are some highlights:

On the UT System suing actor Ryan O'Neal over a portrait of actress Farrah Fawcett:

“This was her wish, that her alma matter have it. It is a very valuable painting. … To have this pair of very iconic Warhol portraits would be very valuable as a cultural archive for our museum – and of course she’s one of our Texas Exes, so it’s important for us to have this painting.”

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Bush White House
8:25 am
Tue November 12, 2013

Interview: White House Correspondent Explores Evolution of Bush-Cheney Relationship

New York Times' White House correspondent and author Peter Baker. In his book "Days of Fire," Baker explores the relationship between George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

In a piece in The New York Times, chief White House correspondent Peter Baker sent a dispatch from Dallas – where the 43rd president of the United States leads a life of self-imposed exile.

While his vice president, Dick Cheney, continues to wage war on Democrats, George W. Bush stays out of the public debate.  

That might line up with what you’d expect, if your idea of the Bush-Cheney years was one of the vice president as Darth Vader – the power behind the throne controlling Bush’s hand. 

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Internet Privacy
10:38 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Can Texas' Supreme Court Force Google to Unmask Anonymous Bloggers?

"We haven't had a high court decision in our state to determine how hard, or how easy, it should be for a company to unmask an anonymous blogger,” says professor Nicole Casarez.
flickr.com/grahamsblog

Let's say you're angry with your boss.  You go online and vent in an anonymous post. It's therapeutic, sure. But now your boss wants to sue for defamation.  

In Texas, courts haven't settled on guidelines for online defamation. But a little-discussed case before the Texas Supreme Court could help determine if the state can force companies like Google to identify anonymous bloggers.

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