Coming Soon: Texas Standard

Get a behind-the-scenes peek into the planning and production of KUT's upcoming daily news program.

We're working to bring Central Texans crisp, up-to-the-moment coverage of politics, lifestyle, the environment, technology, innovation and money from a uniquely Texas perspective.  

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Life & Arts
4:54 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Teen Playwright Reimagines Zimmerman Trial in 'Black Boy Fly'

After graduating high school, many students work a part-time job, or simply relax over the summer before college. But Jordan Cooper is busy writing and producing plays.

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with the 18-year-old playwright about his passion for drama. Coopers' play "Black Boy Fly" is being performed at the Jubilee Theatre in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area this upcoming weekend.

The inspiration to write has been with Cooper ever since he was five-years-old. "I would always used to scribble things on a piece of paper and call everyone into the living room – and at 7 p.m. it was showtime," he says.

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ROT Biker Rally Weekend
4:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Biker Rally Appeals To A New Demographic: Women

Bike enthusiast and rally patron Teffany Lowell
Matt Largey/KUT

Bikers are flocking to the Lone Star State this weekend for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally. The event, now in its eighteenth year, brings thousands of bikers and spectators to Austin from across the country.

Among the estimated 40,000 bikers in attendance, you may take notice a growing number of women riders – reflecting a national trend that one in four riders are women. .

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Austin bike aficionado and ROT rally patron Teffany Lovell about the increased presence of female riders and what has caused the shift.

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Life & Arts
5:47 am
Mon June 9, 2014

'All The Way' Playwright Robert Schenkkan Wins Tony for Play on LBJ's Legacy

Robert Schenkkan visited KUT to talk about his play, "All the Way."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Update: Austinite, Texas Ex and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan won a Tony Award last night for his play "All the Way."

The play stars Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame as President Lyndon B. Johnson. Cranston also won a Tony for his performance. KUT spoke with Cranston about the role last November.

Original Story (Nov. 21, 2013): Amid all the talk of JFK as we approach the 50th anniversary of his death, one could make the case that as tragic as the Kennedy assassination was, the accidental presidency of Kennedy's successor – Lyndon Baines Johnson – was far more consequential in reshaping the landscape of the United States.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan takes it even further in his new drama "All The Way." Actor Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame plays LBJ – from the moment of his swearing in aboard Air Force One in 1963, to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Robert Schenkkan came to KUT's Newsmaker studio and spoke with David Brown.

Health
10:02 am
Fri June 6, 2014

What Pill Was I Supposed to Take? A New App Remembers For You

Filament Labs CEO Jason Bornhorst and Colin Anawaty, Chief Production Officer
patientio.com

Eat this, not that. Exercise daily – but don’t overdo it. Go easy on the salt. Limit your caffeine. Take the white pills in the morning with food and the yellow ones in the evening with water.

Wait – what?

Following the doctor’s orders isn’t always so easy – especially for people with chronic conditions, who often have multiple medical providers. Sometimes it's just plain confusing. Bur now a new app's come along to help with all that – and it could be a lifesaver.

Patient IO is being developed by Texas-based Filament Labs, a healthcare technology company headquartered in Austin. The new app promises to bridge the gap between patients and doctors. 

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Transportation
3:44 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Use a Self-Driving Car With No Wheel? Google Bets You Will

A "very early version" Google's prototype vehicle. The self-driving car doesn't include a steering wheel.
Google

Google is taking the wheel – taking it literally out of the car.

The company is set to launch a test fleet of driverless cars in the near future. It's completely reimagining the automobile, removing fundamental features like the gas pedal and the steering wheel. The work raises a fundamental question: is there a market for such automated vehicles?

The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with University of Texas engineering professor Kara Kockelman, who has analyzed how driverless cars may impact our society. “We’re all incredibly busy, we’d love to have that time to be getting things done … legally … in our vehicle,” she says.

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Politics
2:43 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Amazing Grace: A Love Letter to Texas Women in Politics

Annie's List Executive Director Grace Garcia was a second-generation Mexican American and San Antonio native.
Credit Texas Tribune

Earlier this year, our partners at Texas Monthly opined that 2014 might just be the year for Latina women in Texas politics. But this week, Texas lost it's most politically powerful Latina – and chances are you may not have heard her name until now. 

Grace Garcia died this week in North Texas, en route to a political event featuring Leticia Van de Putte and Wendy Davis. Garcia was Executive Director of Annie's List, a group committed to electing Democratic women.

Though Garcia was unelected, her impact on national and regional politics will likely span generations. So says political strategist Harold Cook in a moving tribute.

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Life & Arts
10:10 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Austin Favorite Sarah Bird's New Novel Travels New - and Old - Ground

Austin novelist Sarah Bird's new book is entitled, "Above the East China Sea."
Filipa Rodrigues

Austin novelist Sarah Bird has been writing for a while. Long enough to become beloved in Austin and build a loyal following for her fun, easy stories with an Austin flair. But this month, Sarah Bird's about to ruin her reputation. Her new novel, Above the East China Sea looks at life from a completely different perspective. 

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Life & Arts
2:46 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

New Reality Series Follows Two Austin-Based Classic Car Dealers

Antonio Brunet and Yusuf Johnson with their 1963 split-window Corvette.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT

The latest in reality television isn’t coming to you from a Louisiana bayou. Duck Dynasty doesn’t have quite the same global reach as the Discovery Channel’s new series premiering tonight.

“Chrome Underground” hails from a classic car shop in Austin, but it will take you across the earth.

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Immigration
12:34 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Unaccompanied Migrant Children Are Being Held at Texas' Lackland Air Base

Credit flickr.com/plmccordj

In recent years, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors have tried to make their way into the U.S. from the southern border only to be apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol and immigrations officials.

Now, Lackland Air Force Base in south Texas is being pressed into action as a makeshift holding center for as many as 1,000 unaccompanied undocumented children.

Jennifer Podkul works with the Women's Refugee Commission on issues associated with unaccompanied minors in detention. In a conversation with Texas Standard host David Brown, Podkul compared detention conditions to a refugee camp. 

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Texas
4:43 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

How Drug Smugglers Are Taking Advantage of the Texas Oil Boom

Border agents seized a total of 580 bundles of marijuana – totaling 11,973 pounds – from a truck in Del Rio, Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

While fracking for oil along the Texas border has become a big business for petrol companies, a new entity seeks to tap into the lucrative market – drug smugglers.  

As infrastructure and activity increases to meet the demand of the booming industry, drug smugglers are starting to take advantage of the new roads and increased traffic, much of which is located on private ranch lands.  

“Because there are so many different companies, and so many different trucks going through that area, it provides a sort of way to blend in if you will,” National Journal writer Ben Geman tells The Texas Standard's David Brown. “Essentially what’s happening is you’ve got smugglers who are stashing marijuana, or other drugs, in trucks that are either 'cloned' to look like one of the industry trucks, or some type of truck that seems to fit right in driving around on these ranch lands.”

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Life & Arts
4:20 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

The International NBA: How Hiring Outside the Box Builds Better Teams

Flickr user Doug L., flic.kr/ps/2bA2fE

The San Antonio Spurs face the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight in Game Two of the NBA's Western Conference playoff.

While the game's on the Spurs' home court in the AT&T Center in San Antonio, several Spurs players don't hail from San Antonio – or Texas – or even the United States for that matter. In fact, the Spurs are the most international team in the NBA.

Other teams are on their way. In the 2013 NBA draft, the number one pick was a Canadian. This year, the number one pick may well be another Canadian.

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Texas
4:40 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Nolan Ryan's Recipe for Success - and His Big Tex Rib-Eye

At the ripe old age of 10, Nolan Ryan announced to his parents he was ready to get into the cattle business. And he did just that – buying his first calf from a local dairy farmer outside of his hometown of Alvin, Texas.

Fast forward a few decades, and most folks seem to associate Ryan's name with baseball. Pitching in the majors for 27 seasons, Ryan played for the Mets and California Angels before coming home to Texas, pitching for the Rangers and Astros and being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Life & Arts
4:00 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

The Moyers on Addiction: A Public Family Talks About A Private Problem

Texas Standard's David Brown (left) recently sat down with Bill, William and Judith Moyers for a discussion of addiction.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Addiction affects nearly 23 million Americans, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Yet only about 10 percent of those affected are receiving treatment.

Addiction comes at a high price to society. It's estimated that drug and alcohol abuse costs the United States around $500 billion a year in health care spending, lost productivity and crime. But perhaps the friends and families of those struggling with addiction can best attest to the emotional, psychological and social toll of the illness.

One American family knows the struggle addiction brings all too well. 

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Austin
2:44 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Austin's the Only Fast-Growing City in the Country Losing African-Americans

Charles E. Urdy Plaza on E. 11th Street – gateway to the former "negro district" in Austin's 1928 city plan. Austin is the only city with double-digit growth from 2000-2010 to have a net loss in its African-American population.
flickr.com/wallyg

The overall Austin population exploded between 2000 and 2010, growing by more than 20 percent. But a University of Texas study [PDF] finds that Austin was the only U.S. city experiencing double-digit population growth that saw its African-American population not only not keep pace, but actually decline.

"Among the ten fastest-growing major cities in the United States, Austin stood out in one crucial respect: it was the only such city that suffered a net loss in its African- American population," says study author Dr. Eric Tang. "Indeed, between 2000 and 2010, Austin was a statistical outlier; it was the only major city in the United States to experience a double-digit rate of general population growth coincident with African-American population decline." 

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Business
9:01 am
Thu May 15, 2014

How to Manage Your Team Like the San Antonio Spurs

flickr.com/rmtip21

The San Antonio Spurs may not have rock star players like LeBron James – they don't have the resources. They might not have the youngest lineup, either (to say the least). And no, they're not flashy.

But the Spurs succeed so often – both on and off the court – they're now considered the top ranked team in the NBA, picked by many to win a fifth championship this year. They must be doing something right.

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Texas
4:39 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Austin Doctor Says Veteran Died Waiting for VA Treatment

The Olin E. Teague Veterans' Medical Center in Temple, Texas.
centraltexas.va.gov

Wednesday morning the San Antonio Express-News reported that a cancer patient died after waiting two months to start cancer treatment at a Veteran Affairs hospital in Temple, Texas.

The news comes after a series of revelations about secret waiting lists at VA hospitals nationwide, following an initial whistleblower complaint from a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. 

The reporter who broke the story, Sig Christenson, said he's been in touch with the patient's physician, who was a subcontractor for the VA at the time, and wishes to remain anonymous. The Texas Standard's David Brown had a chance to speak with Christenson about the case. 

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Politics of Pakistan
5:21 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Author T.V. Paul Talks About 'The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World'

Credit Samantha Ortega for KUT News

In the 1960s, Pres. Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a major change in immigration rules into law. Eliminating per country quotas, the move made it easier for immigrants with professional experience and education to come to the Unites States.

From that moment forward, Pakistanis began coming to the U.S. in waves.

Dallas and Houston are now top destinations for Pakistani immigrants. In both cities, Pakistanis have high rates of working in elite positions – a contrast to opportunities available to those remaining in Pakistan today.

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Texas
12:01 am
Thu May 8, 2014

Willie Nelson Donates Stash of Personal Artifacts To Briscoe Center

Jeff Newman Southern Lights/Northern Cross Collection, Briscoe Center for American History

Even as he celebrated his 81st birthday – how else, but by getting his fifth-degree black belt in a martial art called GongKwon Yusul - legendary musician Willie Nelson does not show signs of slowing down.

It was, however, announced today that he has decided to donate a large portion of his personal collection to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Drought and Livestock
10:40 am
Fri May 2, 2014

What Texas Ranchers Can Teach California About the Drought

Ranchers gather inside the Hills Prairie Auction House in Bastrop, Texas. Drought-hardened Texas ranchers have advice to offer their California counterparts.
Karen Zamora for KUT News

How bad is the California drought? Bad enough Texas cattle ranchers can offer some  advice.

California has never seen so little rain over a 12-month period. But in Texas – the nation’s top cattle producing state – drought conditions are nothing new. Due to Texas' ongoing drought, ranchers in Texas lost 15 percent of their cattle from 2011 to 2013 – approximately two million animals.

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Life & Arts
3:47 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

'Orange Aardvark' is a Colorful Book For Kids

"It's an Orange Aardvark!" is the new book from Michael Hall. It's a short book, so we don't want to give anything away. But we can tell you it involves carpenter ants, a lot of holes and a hilarious payoff. Kirkus Reviews calls the book “suspenseful and entertaining; all-around great fun.”

The Texas Standard spoke to Hall on the phone, on a lunch break between school visits. "I enjoy the school appearances," Hall said. "The kids are so attentive and curious. They're just great audiences and it's a lot of fun."

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