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

Screenshot from spaceexpeditions.XCOR.com

From Texas Standard:

Drive down a windy, muddy road, hidden on the backside of Midland airport’s southernmost tarmac, and you’ll find a shiny new hangar and office building: XCOR Aerospace’s Texas headquarters.

NASA/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In 2016, the world lost iconic celebrities and change-makers like Prince, David Bowie, Sharon Jones and now Carrie Fisher. Tragedies like the Orlando shooting, the death of black men at the hands of police, the shooting of five Dallas police officers, the attack in Nice and the war in Syria and destruction of Aleppo and its people have made headlines.

Are Inmate Phone Privileges Too Costly?

Dec 27, 2016
Martin Cathrae/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Bill Pope knows a thing or two about prison phones. He’s the president of NCIC, a service provider for phones in Texas detention centers. He also knows about how the phones affect lives.

Inmates in Texas prisons and jails use pay phones every day. It’s hard to understate the importance of pay phones when they’re inmates’ only line to the outside world.

He is known only as Case 0408. The remains of a middle-aged male immigrant were discovered in Jim Hogg County, Texas, on Nov. 3, 2009. Six belongings are the only things in the universe that may help identify him: a beat-up sneaker, a size L pullover shirt and hoodie, a ring found sewn into the waistband of his pants, a red and black lucha libre wrestler's mask, and a stuffed smiley lion.

Manuel Fernando Gutiérrez/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

CrowdStrike – a cybersecurity firm – has linked malware used in the hacking of the Democratic National Convention’s emails to similar malware used by the Ukrainian army against pro-Russia separatists, the Washington Post reports.

Myriams-fotos/Pixabay (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month state officials granted Child Protective Services (CPS) an emergency request to give the agency an additional $150 million to raise pay for current employees and hire 800 more.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Texas Tribune: After more than a year of delays, Texas is officially kicking Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program.

In a move that could affect thousands of low-income women, state health officials on Tuesday delivered a final legal notice to defund the organization from the Medicaid program through which it provides family planning and women’s health services to the poor. 

Max Goldberg/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A new Texas nonprofit is hosting an “Opening Day 2017” event the day after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

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From Texas Standard:

Officials lifted the three-and-a-half day ban on the use of tap water in Corpus Christi on Sunday. Residents can now use the water for drinking, showering and washing clothes and dishes.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard

Federal law doesn't allow states to drug test food stamp recipients, but there is no such law for another program that gives federal grant funds to states to provide families with financial assistance and other support services. Nine states currently require either screening or drug testing for adults seeking to receive the federally funded Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Now Texas wants to join them.

Hannah McBride/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Miguel Navarro is 5’ 3’’ and small-framed. When reporters Alain Stephens and Hannah McBride speak to him, he’s in handcuffs and ankle restraints. He’s nervous and sweaty. His brown eyes well up with tears when they ask him about that night.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Capitol Hill is quiet this time of year. Congress is out of session. All the senators and representatives have scattered to their respective districts, except the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee. The committee’s leader, U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady from Texas (R-Woodlands), called lawmakers back to Washington to map out the imminent repeal of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

ErikaWittlieb/Pixabay (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

Leah Aguilera is a 24-year-old transgender woman. She’s been in the U.S. for about half her life. She came from Honduras in 2004 and now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I came to the United States for a better life,” she says. “And to become someone.”

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From Texas Standard:

President-elect Donald Trump knocked the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) during his first U.S. presidential debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton back in September.

“NAFTA is the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere,” he said.

dallashabitatphotos/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

After the July shooting which killed five Dallas Police officers and wounded nine others, applications to join the force poured in. But that’s not happening anymore. The Dallas Police Department is losing offers faster than they can replace them, and the shortages are so severe task forces are being closed and officers are scrambling just to make sure 911 calls get answered.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr (U.S Government Work)

From Texas Standard:

It's been 10 years since the start of Mexico's drug war when former Mexican President Felipe Calderon ordered 6,500 Mexican troops to the state of Michoacan to curb a surge in drug violence there.

Drug gang violence has gotten worse; 150,000 people have died since the war's beginning and 30,000 remain missing.

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From Texas Standard:

The strip mall parking lot’s yellow lights are the first greeting on the way to Imagine Books and Records. Tucked between a San Antonio city councilman’s office and an intimate goods store, the small shop can be difficult to spot.

Jeff Kubina/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died while on vacation in Safter, out in west Texas, it shook the court as few events have since his rise to the bench in 1986. His vacancy has left the nation’s highest court ideologically divided, and politicians at odds over a replacement.

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From Texas Standard:

Open enrollment in Obamacare continues through the end of the year. The number of insured Texans has increased since the Affordable Care Act was put in place – but the percentage of uninsured people in Texas remains the highest in the country.