Texas

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

Courtesy Fred Grandinetti

From Texas Standard:

Popeye – the spinach-swillin’, pipe-smokin’ cartoon sailor man who popped up in the 1920s – is surrounded by controversy in many a comic and cartoon. But to this day, one Popeye controversy is taking place off-screen: where Popeye’s hometown is located.

Some say he’s from Victoria, Texas. Others are not so sure.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Before President Barack Obama leaves office, for the final time, the Chicago Tribune reports Obama plans to issue more executive pardons and clemency orders.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Ahead of Texas Muslim Capitol Day scheduled for later this month, freshman state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, R-Fredericksburg, sent a letter to mosque leaders and Muslim student associations across the state, asking them to fill out a poll about their beliefs.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Right about now, as the spring school semester is starting, parents are starting to worry about how their kids will spend their time this summer. Parents are enrolling kids in camps, sports and a multitude of other activities. But many summer camps and classes are costly, and not everyone can pay.

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

From Texas Standard:

The Texas House and Senate released their separate budget proposals for the next two years on Tuesday. There’s a nearly $5.3 billion difference between the two.

KUTX

From Texas StandardTerry Allen is a mixed-media southwestern storyteller. David Byrne is a fan of his and a former collaborator. Ryan Bingham and Lucinda Williams are among the dozens of famous musicians who've covered his songs. His artwork is in the collections of the Met, MoMA, the Hirschorn, and various art museums around Texas. He’s written award-winning plays and cemented a reputation as a creative renaissance man.

Sarah Montgomery/KUT

From Texas StandardTuesday Planned Parenthood heads to court for the first of three days of hearings to defend their right to stay in the Texas Medicaid program.

Courtesy Renee Lockett

From Texas StandardJason Fry is a filmmaker from Brownsville. We met at a diner there. He told me what happened to him the afternoon of Dec. 8 as he drove down Highway 48, from Brownsville to Port Isabel.

“It was low visibility, and all of a sudden a pelican dropped out of the sky right in front of my truck,” he said.

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardA federal judge is ordering Pasadena, Texas to submit its voting system for federal approval – marking the first such order since the Supreme Court decision in 2013 striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act.

Norma Monette/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In the past year, Texas has seen a surge of Cuban immigrants crossing the border, hoping to take part in what’s known as the U.S. “wet foot/dry foot” policy – worried the policy would soon disappear with the government’s normalization of ties with Cuba.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas StandardIn 2012, the mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro, won a spot at the Democratic National Convention. He gave a keynote address that would propel him into the national spotlight – in a similar way that Sen. Barack Obama's speech had some eight years before. Castro's rising profile was reaffirmed when President Obama tapped him to head the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2014.

Pixabay (Public Domain)

From Texas StandardOfficials say about 10,000 Texans paid up to $50 million in debts they didn’t owe.

The Federal Trade Commission says one Kansas man, Joel Tucker, got his hands on some very valuable data like social security numbers and banking information. But FTC attorney Michael Tankersley says they don’t know how Tucker allegedly got this info. Tucker himself has not commented on the charges.

Screenshot U.S. Senate

From Texas StandardTexan Rex Tillerson, former Exxon Mobil Chairman and CEO, sat in a grueling and contentious senate confirmation hearing Wednesday. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee grilled Tillerson on foreign policy to help determine whether or not he’s suitable to take up the mantle of secretary of state under President-elect Donald Trump.

Tim Dobson/Flickr

From Texas StandardThe 85th Texas legislative session started up Tuesday, and lobbyists pushing all types of agendas are flocking to the Capitol. Among them is Charles Vallhonrat, head of the Texas Craft Brewers Guild. Vallhonrat is hoping to sell lawmakers on the need to update rules on beer marketing to better compete with big-name brands like Bud Light and Miller Brewing Co.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

After Donald Trump is sworn in as president, the center of his operation is expected to move from Trump Tower in Manhattan to the White House. But not all of Trump’s team will be making the transition.

@whitehouse/Instagram

From Texas Standard:

As President Barack Obama leaves office, one of the legacies he’ll leave behind is his social media presence. He was one of the first presidents to use social media in such an extensive way, across multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Today marks the start of the 85th Texas legislative session. Lawmakers will have 140 days to pass bills and set the budget for the next two years. But the projected amount they’ll have to work with is 2.7 percent less than what they've been expecting.

The Wall: A Special Report from Texas Standard

Jan 9, 2017
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Click here to experience "The Wall: A Special Report from Texas Standard"

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Photo from Lydia Ann Channel Moorings via an open records request submitted to the Texas General Land Office.

From Texas Standard:

In 2014, a man calling himself Mike Edwards proposed a project to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office. He wanted to build a barge mooring facility in an ecologically sensitive part of the Texas coast near Port Aransas. The Army Corps gave it a quick green light.

Cooper Neill for The Texas Tribune

ARLINGTON — North Texas was freezing during a three-day stretch last month, but Mary Garcia refused to turn on the heat in her cramped apartment. She feared that doing so would too quickly drain her pay-as-you-go account with Penstar Power, a Dallas-based electricity provider.

 

On Dec. 19, with just $15.31 in her account and the outside thermometer showing 27 degrees, Garcia composed a plea to Lite-Up Texas, a state program that had long helped low-income folks pay their electricity bills.

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