Texas Standard

In the 21st century, what happens in Texas drives the American narrative.  Texas Standard is setting a new bar for broadcast news coverage, offering up-to-the-moment coverage of politics, lifestyle and culture, the environment, technology and innovation, and business and the economy – from a Texas perspective – and uncovering stories as they happen and spotting the trends that will shape tomorrow’s headlines. Hosted by award-winning journalist David Brown, Texas Standard features interviews with researchers, innovators, business leaders, political thinkers and experts – across Texas and around the globe – that reflect a diversity of opinions. A one-hour daily news magazine, Texas Standard is produced in the state capital in collaboration with KUT Austin, KERA North Texas, Houston Public Media and Texas Public Radio San Antonio, as well as news organizations across Texas, Mexico and the United States. Visit TexasStandard.org to read our newest stories and hear our latest show.   

Weather Puts 'American Sniper' Trial on Ice

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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:

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.


Phil Gingrey/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

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.


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From Texas Standard:

Dark money. Sounds evil, doesn't it?

For the past several years, the Texas Ethics Commission has been mired in an investigation of a group called Empower Texans, a right-leaning organization that pushes a limited government agenda and supports candidates who share its values but does not disclose its donors.

As the clock has ticked on a high-profile complaint against the group, concerns have grown over whether the Ethics Commission has what it takes to do its job of policing campaign money. 


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From Texas Standard:

In Texas, tacos take priority. But what do you do when you can’t find a taco place? Here are a few taco joints to put in your taco emergency box.

Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece are two taco journalists traveling across Texas tasting every taco in sight for their new book, "The Tacos of Texas". They describe what is acceptable to do when you’re really desperate for a taco – turning to fast food tacos.


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From Texas Standard:

How are undecided Texans gearing up for their presidential pick? This is part two of a series following four voters through the last month before Election Day.

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From Texas Standard:

Today's the last day to register to vote in Texas in time for the November election. Some county registrar offices are staying open until midnight to give people as long as possible to complete the process, but most will close at the end of the business day.

In Texas you can check online to see if you're registered, but you can't actually register online and some 3 million Texans are eligible to vote but not registered. Complicating matters, according to a new report in the magazine "The Nation," is a labyrinth of laws putting up barriers so difficult to surmount that nobody wants to invest in helping more voters register.


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From Texas Standard:

He was a businessman who liked to brag about his financial success, cracked rape jokes around reporters and kissed "just about every woman within arms' reach."

She was a Democrat who shattered many ceilings, with real-world political experience and demanded that her opponent disclose his taxes.

These two also wouldn't shake hands.



From Texas Standard:

The use of lethal force by police, against people of color in particular, is deeply troubling the nation. Complicating the search for solutions is a lack of actual data. Nationwide, police haven't been keeping count of these incidents, leaving us with far more questions than answers. In fact, only two states require police to report officer-involved shooting deaths: California and Texas.

But police departments in both states have been violating the law. A new report from Texas State University has discovered hundreds of unreported lethal shootings in both states.


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From Texas Standard:

In a time before reality TV competitions like American Ninja Warrior, more than 30,000 Texans would show up on Sundays in October to watch prisoners put on a death-defying rodeo show that would make professional cowboys think twice.

Underlying the spectacle of the Texas Prison Rodeo, which during its 50 years evolved into an entertainment event complete with superstar guests like John Wayne and Johnny Cash, were many of the civil, political and criminal justice issues that propel our conversations today – explored in depth in the new book, "Convict Cowboys: The Untold Story of the Texas Prison Rodeo."


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From Texas Standard:

During the fact-checking and doubting candidates' claims this election season, political writers and Twitterers alike began referring to politicians' denial of facts as gaslighting – a term coined from a 1938 play in which a victim is manipulated into doubting what she otherwise knows to be factual, making her question her sanity.

But when this technique is used for political objectives, there may be a better description: "the big lie." Garth Jowett, professor at the University of Houston, says "the big lie" comes from Adolf Hitler.


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From Texas Standard:

Sheriff Arvin West is the law in Texas’ Hudspeth County. It certainly seems that way to unsuspecting travelers along his county’s stretch of I-10. He’s known for accusing the Mexican army of invading the border, ragging on the federal government on border security policies and busting more than a few entertainers for carrying pot (Willie Nelson, Nelly, Fiona Apple and Snoop Dogg are on the list).

West, now tied to a three-year-long federal investigation, isn’t talking. But a Washington Post report reveals he may be involved in setting up a rogue Navy training based in West Texas.


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From Texas Standard:

Undecided voters are no myth. So who are they?

Blanca Morales, like 84 million others, tuned in last week to watch the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But it didn’t help her decide who she’ll pick on Election Day. If anything, it complicated matters.


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From Texas Standard:

Lewisville, Lubbock, Sherman – just a handful of Texas cities where there will be gun shows this weekend. At any given time, nearly a half dozen cities across the state host weekend gun shows where sellers, buyers, and collectors congregate in what amounts to a firearms bazaar of sorts.

Criticism over these events focuses on a lack of universal background checks for purchasers. But law enforcement agents have been tracking some gun show patrons’ license plates.

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From Texas Standard:

Clowns: They're not just for circuses anymore.

Across cities throughout Texas and around the country, police and schools have been on lockdown and high alert over reports of people with a Bozo-like appearance making threats – usually on social media.

But these recent clown sightings aren't the first we’ve seen. In fact, they go back to at least 1981 in Boston and spread across the country. One theory claims that these clown sightings come in waves, mirroring the fears and uncertainties of American society at the time.


Left: Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)/Right: Third Way Think (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It used to be that people concerned about the state of political coverage in America worried about the constant obsession with who's ahead.

This year, both sides are fixated with landing the nastiest punch, one blow that will decisively take out the other. It almost happened in 1988, during the Vice Presidential debate when Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, a Democrat, quipped to his Republican rival, Sen. Dan Quayle of Virginia: "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."


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From Texas Standard:

It all started with a battle over information: In one corner was the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. In the other were Texas lawmakers.

The commission holds the details of the state’s Medicaid contracts with large pharmaceutical companies, which show how much the state is spending on medicine. The commission assured lawmakers the state is getting a good deal, but the legislators wanted to see for themselves. In particular, they wanted to know the amount the state was getting back in rebates for name-brand medicine.