Texas

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

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From Texas Standard:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been in Cuba this week talking trade. He arrived in Havana on Monday with a delegation of 25 people to explore business opportunities between the formerly embargoed country and the Lone Star State.

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From Texas Standard:

If you want to hold public office in Texas, you have to believe in God. You cannot serve even as dog catcher – if it’s an elected office, you must believe in God.

Given the long history we have had of con artists, and scofflaws, carpetbaggers, and white-collar criminals holding public office around the state, this may seem hard to believe.

But it is right there in the Texas constitution. Plain as day.

 


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From Texas Standard:

The Texas Constitution says there's no religious test for office holders – provided that "he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme being."

So much for prohibitions on religious tests – not to mention female candidates.

The "supreme being" clause went unchallenged for years, until three decades ago. It was then Texas' Attorney General agreed there's no way to enforce any real or imagined constitutional ban on atheist office-holders.

 


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From Texas Standard:

Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz spent the weekend in Iowa, where questions about his eligibility to hold the nation's highest office still linger.


UNHCR via Texas Tribune

Texas officials are warning refugee groups that they should not allow any Syrian refugees into Texas. Texas Health Commissioner Chris Traylor sent a letter the International Rescue Committee’s Dallas office saying the state could take legal action if Governor Greg Abbott's directive to keep out Syrian refugees is not followed.

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From Texas Standard:

The nation is currently in a judicial crisis – and Texas is right in the middle of it.

For many years now, Carl Tobias has been sounding an alarm over unfilled seats on the federal bench, but the University of Richmond law professor now says the epicenter of the problem is the Lone Star State. Texas has far more vacancies than any other state in the country, he notes.

 


Screenshot via Google Earth Streetview

From Texas Standard:

Undocumented immigrant women detained in the privately run T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Facility went on a hunger strike in October.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which oversees the operation, has denied there ever was a hunger strike, saying that an individual has to miss nine consecutive meals for such a protest to be called a true hunger strike.

 


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From Texas Standard:

State officials have upped the ante against groups that provide services for Syrian Refugees. Over the Thanksgiving holiday Texas Health Commissioner Chris Traylor sent a letter to one such organization, a Dallas branch of the International Rescue Committee – a group that helps refugees resettle in the state.

Brian Rosenthal of the Houston Chronicle reports that the letter says the Health Commission has been “unable to achieve cooperation” with the IRC, and is threatening to sue if the IRC does not comply with Gov. Greg Abbott's order to block all Syrian Refugees.

 


The Man Who Witnessed the Fall of the Alamo

Nov 30, 2015
Image via Flickr/pyle313 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Fransisco Antonio Ruiz was there.

He was an eyewitness, as the alcalde – or mayor – during the siege of the Alamo. While the siege was going on, Ruiz's father, José Fransisco Ruiz, was 150 miles to the east at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he represented San Antonio as a delegate to the convention that formally declared Texas' independence.

 


Image via Wikimedia Commons/LBJ Library (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In Texas, the name Lady Bird Johnson demands a great amount of respect. That’s because Lady Bird was a Texan through and through. Her life began in rural Karnack – thanks to determination and hard work, she eventually became the owner of several mid-size media companies, the First Lady of the United States and a protector of the nation’s wildflowers.

But along the way, the story of Lady Bird has shifted and people have decided focus less on her strengths and more on the mercurial nature of her husband, Lyndon B. Johnson. What people often ignore is the political partnership that the two shared.

 


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From Texas Standard:

If you've ever been to a courthouse, you've likely had to step through a metal detector: no weapons allowed. But in city halls, which often host court proceedings, whether weapons are allowed is still questionable.

Screenshot from Net-a-Porter.com

From Texas Standard: 

Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec is a small indigenous town in the mountains of Oaxaca. The 3,500 people who call it home speak Mixe. Few speak Spanish. But despite its remote location, the town is famous for two things. Everyone there seems to play a musical instrument – they even have a traveling orchestra. But primarily, the town is known for its embroideries.


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From Texas Standard:

Each day in the United States, four to five children die due to child abuse and neglect. That number comes out to about 1,500 children each year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and experts say many more cases go unreported.

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From Texas Standard:

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and many would-be passengers are hoping airlines will be trying to make the holiday flying experience somewhat less unpleasant. According to a new study by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), however, it looks like happy customers don’t really make airlines any more profitable.

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From Texas Standard:

The biggest trade agreement in history has been out of the headlines the past week as the international community has been focused on terrorist events. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership shouldn't be ignored. The deal establishes trade relations between the United States and eight other countries. Several Asian countries are part of the deal, but China isn't.


Image via Flickr/DeGolyer Library at Southern Methodist University (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Big time Hollywood actors like Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Antonio Banderas, have immortalized some of the stories of the Mexican Revolution.

As the story's been told for generations, the Mexican people were impoverished by the extravagant lifestyle of president Porfirio Diaz (no relation to yours truly) whose dream was to pave Mexico City in marble. Out of that circumstance, came a need for a "Robin Hood."

 


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From Texas Standard:

A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. House passing a bill called the “Safe Act” yesterday. Inspired by concerns after the Paris Attacks, this bill would extend background checks on refugees from Syria and put up major obstacles to the President’s plan to admit 10,000 refugees before he leaves office.

Congressman Henry Cuellar was one of 47 Democrats to OK the legislation, five of those Democrats from Texas. That helped lead the House to a majority to override President Obama’s promised veto.

 


A new study of immigration to the United States shows that more Mexicans have returned home than have arrived here since 2009.

The report from the Washington, DC-based Pew Research Center also finds that the overall flow of Mexicans between the two countries is the smallest since the 1990s.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Mstyslav Chernov (CC BY-SA 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

In the aftermath of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, two terrorist suspects were killed – including one woman who activated a suicide belt – and seven more suspects are being held by French officials as a result of a raid this morning in a suburb north of Paris.


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From Texas Standard:

Since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson last August, the reputation and trust afforded to police officers nationwide has been questioned. Smartphone videos and body cameras have changed everything.

Despite the perception of an increase in complaints about the use of police force, the Dallas Police Department claims a dramatic drop in the number of complaints.

 


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