News, policy discussions, and major events happening in or related to Texas, told from an Austin perspective

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From Texas Standard:

The current political temperature is that the ongoing election is unprecedented and never before seen. But this talk is a bit strained for anyone who’s followed Texas politics in the past decade. What about the Kinky Friedman’s campaign? He’s the cigar smoking, mustachioed Texas cowboy who ran for Texas governor in 2006.

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From Texas Standard

After reports that Child Protective Services caseworkers have let thousands of children at risk for abuse and neglect slip through the system’s cracks, a select team of police will begin to search the state for them.

The more than 2,800 children aren’t missing – they've instead been put on waiting lists for state intervention after tips about their safety were called in on the Texas child abuse hotline.


It’s no secret Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most disliked major party nominees to ever run for President.

That has some Texans searching for other options – any options – when it comes to our next commander and chief. Austinite Kaia Tingley asked: “Can we vote for either Libertarian or Green Party candidates in Texas?”

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From Texas Standard:

Yesterday, 200 small businesses signed an open letter to state lawmakers urging them to oppose legislation limiting transgender bathroom access. They’re part of a growing chorus of Texas businesses denouncing laws like the so-called Women’s Privacy Act, fearing the state will go down the path of North Carolina. A similar law ended up costing the state some jobs and some big-ticket events, like concerts and the NCAA Final Four.

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From Texas Standard

Something strange happened behind the curtain when Randall County resident Lisa Houlette was casting her ballot in Amarillo. As she described it on Facebook, she voted a straight Republican ticket. But as she scrolled to submit her ballot, she noticed that even though the Republican straight ticket box was highlighted, so was the box for the Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine ticket.

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From Texas Standard:

In the hours since Texas-based AT&T announced plans to buy Time Warner, everyone's been focused on the consumer implications: could this hurt consumer choice and raise prices?

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From Texas StandardWhen Justice Louis Brandeis described the states as laboratories of democracy, he couldn't have foreseen election day 2016. As the New York Times noted Monday, the most popular illicit drug in the nation – marijuana – could be legalized for recreational use in five more states this November. That would bring the total number to 10, including Washington, D.C.

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From Texas Standard:

Texas has the second-largest Latino population of any state, after California – 40 percent. The state also has more Latino elected officials than any other states.

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From Texas StandardThe national average of kids enrolled in special education services in public schools is 13 percent, but the Texas average is well below that marker at 8.5 percent. An investigative report by the Houston Chronicle detailed why: the Texas Education Agency set a benchmark in 2004 that only 8.5 percent of a school’s students should receive such services.

Courtesy Kino Lorber

From Texas Standard:

For more than 50 years, journalists, authors and everyday people have been struggling with how to tell the story of the 1966 University of Texas at Austin tower shooting. It was the first public mass shooting on a college campus, resulting in the deaths of 16 people.

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From Texas Standard:

A few weeks ago, the coordinator of Baylor University's Title IX resigned, alleging that the school had prevented her from adequately investigating cases. Baylor denied the charges. But after her resignation, she appeared in a TV interview saying that a group of Baylor administrators “made sure they were protecting the brand, instead of our students.”

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From Texas Standard:

After last night's debate, dictionary maker Merriam-Webster reported that searches for "hombre" spiked 120,000 percent, as did look-ups for its homonyms ombre and ombré.

Jennifer Mercieca, a professor at Texas A&M and rhetoric analyst, says Trump's use of hombre was a "cartoonish portrayal of immigrants."


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From Texas Standard:

My favorite snack as a teenager was a Dr Pepper with salty peanuts. You remember: you pour the peanuts into the Dr Pepper and let them float around and season the drink. Didn’t get much better than that.

Dr Pepper is the oldest soft drink in America. Older than Coca-Cola, in fact, by a full year. It was created in 1885 by a pharmacist, Charles Alderton, in Waco, Texas. And its original name was Waco – it was served there at the soda fountain in the drugstore. The drink was an instant hit; customers would sit down on one of those old spinning stools and say, “Shoot me a Waco.”


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From Texas Standard:

So Texas – had enough yet? Landing blows, calling names, flinging zingers.  If Frank Capra were to make a movie of this, he might call it “Jerry Springer goes to Washington.” Presidential debates are important to be sure, but when debates descend into parodies of debates, what are we getting? Is it a reasonable idea to just say no to a third debate?

For a debate on whether a third debate is necessary, the Standard spoke to two professors of politics.


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From Texas Standard

Since political ads are typically the single biggest expense of a presidential campaign's bottom line, you choose your battles – or battlegrounds – carefully. There's not much room for waste, which is why this got our attention: Hillary Clinton has purchased ad time in four of the five biggest cities in Texas.

Courtesy Cinco Puntos Press

From Texas Standard:

When a major publisher taps you on the shoulder, that's a big step for an author. When a school district adopts your books as recommended reading, that's big too. But when kids start asking for your books by name, you're onto something.

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From Texas Standard:

Late last week, NBC News and others reported that the Obama Administration is preparing a cyber action against Russia to retaliate for spreading hacked confidential information to the American public.

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From Texas Standard:

President Obama has commuted the sentences of more federal inmates than the last ten presidents combined. Many of those who saw their sentence shortened are from Texas, mostly doing time on drug-related charges. They've all accepted the Obama administration's offer – until now.

At at a low-security prison in Beaumont, one inmate said no.


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From Texas Standard:

With compounding reports of Donald Trump’s alleged sexual abuse of women, it’s easy to forget his earlier outrageous claims. Case in point – the border wall.

The San Antonio Express-News spent the last month exploring just how real a border wall could be and reporter Jason Buch, who worked on the project, says wall rhetoric doesn’t often match reality.