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

'The Tacos of Texas' is the Ultimate Taco Road Trip

Sep 15, 2016

From Texas Standard:

In a state where the taco reigns supreme, it was inevitable that someone would write the be-all, end-all book on the subject.

That’s exactly what taco journalists Armando Rayo and Jarod Neece have done. The two taco-lovers embarked on a journey across 10 cities in Texas to find the best, the worst and the weirdest tacos for their new book, The Tacos of Texas.


Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Numbers show a much tighter presidential race than anyone might imagine in what's often considered to be the reddest of red states. The Texas Lyceum released its closely watched polling results yesterday, showing that the race to the White House is still neck-and-neck.

Joe Diaz/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The United States Census Bureau dropped new data this week, as part of the American Community Survey, a yearly estimate of a plethora of different topics concerning American households, including numbers on healthcare, income, and poverty.


From the Texas Tribune: The family of Sandra Bland — who died last year in a Waller County Jail cell — has reached a settlement with Texas officials in a wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer for the family said Thursday.

Texas Tribune

A new poll finds broad opposition in Texas to one of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s signature campaign promises.

Pie4all88/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Attorney General’s office and the Harris County Attorney’s Office are going after shops selling the synthetic cannabinoid Kush. Instead of prosecuting users, the offices have jointly filed 10 lawsuits against Houston-area novelty stores, where up to 40 percent of sales come from the drug. One novelty store has agreed to a nearly $1.2 million settlement after an undercover sting operation.

Why I Won’t Fall for Fall Weather in Texas This Year

Sep 13, 2016
Pexels (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

It’s September! It must be fall!

I know this because you can’t raise an eyebrow right now without hearing about football games or school starting or the latest fall fashions. September’s on the calendar, in the newscasts, planted firmly in the zeitgeist.

Thinking about it — this new, exciting season — I get a little shiver. Isn’t that a nip in the air I just felt? No, it’s just the air-conditioning going full throttle.


What Can Austin Do to Support Its Musicians?

Sep 13, 2016
Austin Anderson/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Austin bills itself as the “Live Music Capital” of the world. But a flood of newcomers to the city has produced some dire consequences for the very people who've earned the city that title – the musicians who can no longer afford to live there.

Mayor Steve Adler says the city has reached a tipping point. 


World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Since the 1970s, federal law has stated that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free public education appropriate to their needs. Nationwide, the percentage of kids who receive special ed services is around 13 percent.

But in Texas, that number is substantially lower. Just 8.5 percent of all public school kids in Texas are enrolled in special ed programs – the lowest percentage in the country. That number appears to be no mere accident – instead, it’s a rather specific objective.

Ken Piorkowski/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For years, Texas has led the nation in the number of executions, but the state's death chamber has been idle since April, and there have been several high-profile stays of execution. 

Could this be a sign of something broader going on when it comes to the death penalty in Texas?



Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Many nights – somewhere in a Texas Child Protective Services office – there's a child sleeping, tucked in somewhere among the desks and computers instead of spending the night with a family. That’s because there are not enough families in Texas registered to foster kids who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.

But the situation would be much worse for CPS without the help of these children’s extended families. Thousands of aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends around Texas volunteer to care for kids while they're in the system. CPS calls this type of care a kinship placement.


U.S. Army/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In Rosa Brooks’ new book, “How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon,” she writes about how a post-9/11 U.S. military is embroiled in three, not two wars:

"If I were a member of Congress right now, I would be hopping mad."


Texas Department of Public Safety

From Texas Standard:

For a while, we've known that human trafficking is a big problem in Texas. But a new study from D.C. advocacy group called the Polaris Project looked at nearly a decade's worth of data and found that much of human trafficking in Texas operates in illicit bars and cantinas.

My Lo Cook, director of Polaris' efforts in Mexico, says the cases in Houston center around cantinas, which researchers see as common venues for human trafficking in Southern California as well. Houston has more cases than other cities, Cook says, in part because local officials and organizations make the effort to link cases together and prosecute them.


Pete Szilagyi/Marfa Public Radio

A seemingly average Thursday morning in small-town Alpine, TX turned traumatic after a 14-year-old female freshman student shot and injured another female student before turning the gun on herself.

Brewster County authorities said the shooter was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, and the victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The identities of the shooter and the victim have not been released.

Dave Miles/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

On September 11, 2001, Margaret Mathers was living in New Jersey and her husband Charles was on his way to a meeting at the World Trade Center.

Mathers had scheduled a dentist appointment that morning but stayed home when a neighbor told her to turn on the TV after the first plane hit. They watched the second plane hit and Mathers remembers thinking, "We're at war. Somebody is at war with us and I don't know who it is."


Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Dallas Morning News is making some news of its own: the editorial board announced Tuesday that it recommends Hillary Clinton for president.

Tamir Kalifa / Texas Tribune

The federal government is accusing Texas of circulating “inaccurate or misleading information” to poll workers and would-be voters about relaxed identification requirements for the November elections.

“Limited funds are being spent on inaccurate materials,” the U.S. Department of Justice wrote in a legal filing Tuesday.

Stefano Corso/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Editor's note: This story uses first names only because of an ongoing case with Child Protective Services.

Since at least the 1970s, researchers in Texas have been calling substance use a "family affair." A study by the Texas Research Institute's Drug Abuse Clinic compared two groups of families similar to each other in every aspect – from socio-economic status to ethnic background. The only difference was that one group had at least one family member who was an addict. The study found fathers dealing with drugs were critical and arrogant, mothers were disenfranchised and children were bitter and resentful.

That was in the '70s, but the story is not so different today.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The debate over campus carry across Texas has been a noisy one – and nowhere’s been noisier than the University of Texas at Austin. You've likely heard about the student protests, the counter-protests, and, of course, the sex toys.

But now a YouTube video has upped the ante on the outrage scale.

Matamoros Planning Commission

From Texas Standard:

Texan and Mexican border cities are often interconnected - for example, Brownsville and its sister city of Matamoros are seen as one binational urban area.