Texas

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

Flickr/Zach Petersen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The day after the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history, and the biggest terror attack in the U.S. since 9/11, President Obama addressed the nation.

Speaking to an issue he has addressed repeatedly during his two terms in the White House, President Obama struck, if not a note of resignation, something close to it.

The "powerful assault rifle" the president referred to is the AR-15, a long weapon with an instantly recognizable profile that belies its military origins – a model quite popular here in Texas. Its private ownership is protected by the Second Amendment, of which there are two dominant and dissonant visions.

 


Flickr/cliff1066 (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

According to reports, the Orlando gunman Omar Mateen had been questioned by the FBI twice – in 2013 and 2014. But yet, he wasn't on their watch list.

Paul Miller, associate director of the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas at Austin, says the FBI's internal processes are fairly opaque.

"I'm not convinced they are very consistent from case to case either," he says. "The FBI handles a very large caseload, they go through these things all the time. They can't afford to put everyone on the watch list."

 


Daniel Plumer/flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A Midland man was stung over 50 times and his dogs died after being stung over 1,000 times. In Texarkana, a swarm of bees surrounded a woman's car, trapping her inside. A man mowing his lawn in Raymondville was swarmed, suffered more than 200 stings, and died. A farmer in Lozano died after being stung more than 3,000 times.

These are no ordinary bees. Entomologists call them killer bees, or Africanized bees – a hybrid of two species, the African honey bee and various European cousins. They look like European honey bees, stripes and all, but are smaller. And their impulse to sting is 10 times greater – bees will pursue victims as far as half of a mile away from hives.


Jamelah E./Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Within the past 24 hours, there's been an event which the McAllen Monitor is framing as an Edward R. Murrow moment – akin to when the CBS anchorman called out Joseph McCarthy as a bully and a demagogue.

Flickr/WOCinTech (CC BY 2.0)

Something appalling is in happening in Texas schools, and no one seems to know how to stop it.

From the Texas Tribune: Texas' top Senate Republicans on Monday upped the urgency on federal policymakers to do something about the Zika virus.

Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A political analyst outlines three aspects of LBJ's campaign in 1964 against Republican nominee Barry Goldwater that could easily apply to Clinton's coming campaign against Trump.

 


Supreme Court to Take Up Two Texas Death Penalty Cases

Jun 6, 2016
Texas Department of Criminal Justice, via Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear two Texas death penalty cases next term, both related to crimes that occurred in Houston, the high court revealed Monday.

Flickr/Michael Vadon (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

When Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was the state's attorney general, he worked on a lawsuit against GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump – then a Republican businessman entering the political sphere on another bid for the highest office in America.

It was 2012 and the top law enforcement official in the state was overseeing a consumer protection team building a suit against Trump University, which had bilked Texas taxpayers out of $2.6 million.

The consumer protection team built a $5.4 million dollar case against Trump, but Lauren McGaughy of the Dallas Morning News says the lawsuit was never filed.

 


Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said this week, "Eight, as you know, is not a good number for a multi-member court."

To wit: Texans are waiting for a Supreme Court decision over state abortion restrictions this session, but the court isn’t at full-strength after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia last year. This raises the possibility of a potential stalemate. And a tie among the highest court in the country doesn't get a do-over – it just means the lower court ruling stands.


Bob Daemmerich/Texas Tribune

Long before Trump University fell in the crosshairs of Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, one of Donald Trump's fellow Republicans drew a bead on the now-defunct school: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Over the past week, the Brazos River has risen to its highest level in more than 100 years. The rains that caused the overflow have led to at least six deaths in Texas.

Meteorologists are predicting that some 10 inches of rain will fall in the Houston area over the next several days. If so, we may be looking at another round of devastation in the fourth largest city in the nation. Houston has activated its emergency operations center.


Flickr/Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton intends to rise to the challenge of that old Texas motto: Come and Take It.


Flickr/Julio César Mesa (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The store shelves are bare. Food riots are growing. Patients are dying at hospitals because supplies are exhausted. Major airlines are discontinuing service to this country, and yet it is home to the largest reserve of underground oil in the world.

Venezuela, just to the south, may not be top of the news but what happens there next is important to us here in Texas.

 


Alex Steffler/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today marks the beginning of hurricane season – and with it, stories about hurricane preparedness. There's no shortage of them, seeing as how we've recently capped off National Hurricane Preparedness Week. 

Michael Bilodeau

From Texas Standard:

1. “You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” Davy Crockett said this angrily after losing his Tennessee bid for the U.S. Congress.

I think he really said, “Y’all can go to hell,” but grammatical purity likely corrupted the original transcription.

 


Roy Luck/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old Texan arrested and charged with assaulting a public servant at a traffic stop on July 10, 2015, ended up in jail in part because she didn’t have $500 to make bail. Robert Durst, on the other hand, was arrested in New Orleans on charges of murder for slaying a friend, then released on a $2.5 million bond.

Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) says those two disparate cases come to mind as examples of two separate systems of justice in the country: “One for the rich and one for the poor.”


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Grey humid weather brings some anxiety to the residents of Martindale in Central Texas. Many of them are still recovering from last year’s Memorial Day floods.


U.S. Customs and Border Patrol/Flickr (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardData from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show apprehensions of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the Texas-Mexico border has hit levels not seen since the 2014 border surge. There were more than 7,100 such cases in the Rio Grande sector last month alone.

Summer is the time we usually see spikes in illegal border crossings, so what does this mean for the coming season?


Momentum Instruction

From Texas Standard:

In Texas education, there always plenty of fodder still out there to spark outrage. Take a proposed social studies textbook titled “Mexican-American Heritage”submitted to the Texas Education Agency as required for review before appearing on bookshelves in the classroom.

Tony Diaz, an activist based in Houston and host of Nuestra Palabra on KPFT, says this book is the opposite of what activists and scholars, who have campaigned for more visibility of Latino stories in history, wanted to include in the Texas curriculum – in part because of its racist undertones.


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