Texas Standard

Coming soon: 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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Texas Standard
1:17 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Van de Putte Announces Campaign for San Antonio Mayor

Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Following a punishing loss to Republican State Sen. Dan Patrick in the race for Lieutenant Governor, Leticia Van de Putte appears ready to run again - but not for her seat in the Senate.

The third generation San Antonian is ending speculation about her future by announcing her plans to campaign for the seat recently held by Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro: Mayor of San Antonio. Van de Putte says that the support she received from her hometown was what influenced her to run.

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Texas Standard
3:12 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Could a Student Massacre Launch Mexico's Arab Spring?

A Mexican flag flies in the city of Iguala.
Flickr user Ricardo Maldonado, https://flic.kr/p/5ajTQf

Members of a teacher's union set fire to a local legislative hall. Molotov cocktails splatter against the walls of a ministerial building. A police commander is grabbed off the street by protestors, while students torch state-owned trucks and try to storm the national palace.

This all sounds like scenes from the Arab Spring. But these are snapshots from south of our border right now. It's a popular uprising that's spreading across Mexico triggered by the presumed massacre of 43 students in Iguala.

Some are calling this Mexico's watershed moment, including Alfredo Corchado, Mexico City correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and author of  "Midnight in Mexico". He speaks with Texas Standard's David Brown about what's next for the country. 

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Texas Standard
3:03 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

What's In a Name? For Texas' Newest University Mascot, Plenty of Controversy

Flickr user: Luis Garza S; https://flic.kr/p/eaJgo4

A certain NFL team in Washington, D.C. has come under fire for its name – but a new Texas university appears to have a name controversy of its own.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the eminent consolidation of UT Pan-American and UT Brownsville, is in need of a mascot. But the front-runner –“vaqueros”, the Spanish word for “cowboys” – has proven so divisive that there’s an online petition demanding the resignation of the school’s new president.

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Texas Standard
2:49 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Riot Anxiety: How Ferguson Police Prep May Spark It

A vigil in support of Michael Brown occurs outside of the Ferguson Police Department. Ferguson police have been criticized for what some have called an overly miliarized response.
flickr.com/sierraromeo

The city of Ferguson, Missouri anxiously awaits a Grand Jury verdict for the officer involved in shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager.

The incident has sparked widespread public outrage and conversation, culminating in a string of protests and demonstrations nationwide, some which turned violent. Another source of contention has been police response itself – particularly in Ferguson, where police were criticized for being overly aggressive and overly armed. 

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Texas Standard
3:24 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Listen: He Lost His Texas Twang – But Held On to So Much More

Ain't's, y'all's, and Texas drawls: Houstonian Scott Vogel reflects on accents.
flickr.com/taylor90

Is a Texan truly Texan without a propensity for hunting and fishing – or even speaking with a Texas twang?

Scott Vogel, editor in chief of Houstonia magazine, ponders his decidedly un-Texan upbringing by a New York father with a disdain for Lone Star culture. 

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Texas Standard
3:31 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What Conventional Wisdom Gets Wrong About Texas Politics

The Texas Delegation at the Republican National Convention in 2008
Tom LeGro for PBS NewsHour Flickr; https://flic.kr/p/5ixDyb

For much of this election year there was powerful conventional wisdom about the race for governor in Texas: Democrat Wendy Davis couldn’t win, Republicans couldn’t lose and Texas wouldn’t change.

Now that Election Day has come and gone, it’s clear that that conventional wisdom got a good bit right. But in the eyes of author and commentator Richard Parker, [it] got a good bit wrong as well. 

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Politics
2:33 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

What's In Store For The Texas Legislature?

The Texas House of Represenative chambers
flickr.com/garyjd

Now that the elections are over the big question on everybody’s mind is – what now? What changes will we see coming in the state and what battles will be fought in the halls of the Texas Legislature? If Texas knows anything - it’s how to make legislative waves. In recent memory Texas gained national notoriety for a variety of topics ranging from its voter ID law to its much debated abortion restrictions.

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Texas Standard
12:47 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Did Campaign Ads Work in Texas?

A still from Wendy Davis' controversial "wheelchair" ad.
youtube.com

Now that Election Day's come and gone, you've probably noticed something different on your television screen – the election cycles' wide assortment of political ads have finally relented.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, about $62 million was spent on campaign ads in Texas this election cycle – earning it the No. 2 spot on ad spending nationally.  

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Texas
4:32 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Paying With Your Phone? You've Got Options – But Are They Any Good?

flickr.com/williamhook

Next month marks the one-year anniversary of the notorious Target credit card breach, one of the biggest credit card hacks in history.

And with consumers wary about credit security, companies are rolling out new payment options – like Apple Pay.

Omar Gallaga, tech culture reporter for the Austin-American Statesman, tells Texas Standard the original idea behind mobile pay initiatives was to simplify buying.

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Texas Standard
3:48 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

Texas Learns High Voter Registration Doesn't Always Mean High Turnout

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Today's the last day of early voting in Texas.

Reports had voter turnout trending well above average on that first day of polling, but that narrative has since fizzled. The Texas Tribune reports overall voter turnout is down in most of the state, compared to the last midterm election in 2010 ­– or at least so far. So what happened?

Texas Standard’s David Brown sits down with Regina Lawrence, the director for the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life and a professor at UT-Austin, to discuss Texas’ voter turnout. 

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Texas Standard
12:31 pm
Fri October 31, 2014

How Storytelling Can Ease Your Child's Fears This Halloween

Halloween's a time when parents and children can "walk into … darkness and face a fear," says Sparkle Stories' David Sewell McCann.
flickr.com/stevendepolo

Tonight, kids across Texas head door-to-door in search of Halloween candy. But some parents may fear more than a fleeting sugar rush – Halloween can also fill children's heads with scary and gory imagery that's tough to dislodge.

While Halloween's filled with all manner of things that go bump in the night, it also offers parents the chance to address their kids fears.

David Sewell McCann knows a thing or two about talking to kids. His "Sparkle Stories" podcast offers original children's stories each week – including stories that can put confusing or frightening events into context. 

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Texas Book Festival
10:33 am
Sat October 25, 2014

'Station Eleven' Author Emily St. John Mandel Tackles What Comes After the World's End

Emily St. John Mandel at the KUT studio
Mengwen Cao for Texas Standard

Imagine a world cloaked in silence. Silence that's interrupted by occasional gunfire. A world where you are one of the few people left alive. The other 99 percent have all died - all from a pandemic flu.

That's where Emily St. John Mandel's new novel, "Station Eleven"  begins. Amid all of the current panic surrounding Ebola, this book seems surprisingly topical. But "Station Eleven" is not your usual science fiction, post-apocalyptic story. Mandel likes to call it a story of "a Shakespearean theater company navigating celebrity, disastrous dinner parties, and friendship after the world, as we know it, has ended."

Emily St. John Mandel sits down with Texas Standard’s Emily Donahue to talk about her novel, that's just been short-listed for the National Book Award

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Texas Standard
8:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Outside Donations Aid Davis Campaign – But Will That Mean Votes?

Texas Democrat for Governor Wendy Davis, during a visit to the KUT studios.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

If you believe the latest polls, Wendy Davis faces an uphill battle, to say the least, in her race for Texas Governor. But what if the race turned into a national one? Would the tables be turned?

Jonathan Tilove and J. David McSwane of the Austin-American Statesman sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk about Davis’ popularity, particularly in light of the campaign contributions she’s received from across the nation.

“I think it’s the filibuster,” Tilove said. “That made her a sensation overnight across the country. It was on an issue people cared about, and I think people saw her as the great Democratic hope for Texas.”

 

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Texas Standard
4:36 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Here's Your Insider Guide to Navigating the Texas Book Festival

Vistors stroll through one of the outside tents at the 2012 Texas Book Festival
Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Book Festival will take center stage on the weekend of Oct. 25-26 as it expectedly brings more than 40,000 book lovers to the grounds of the Texas State Capitol and surrounding areas. The festival will host more than 280 authors - the largest lineup in the festival’s history.

Transforming Texas’ political arena into a platform for literary discussions and performance arts, Texas Book Festival will feature author panel discussions, readings, literary performances and interviews. 

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Texas Book Festival
5:07 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Like the Movie, This 'Boyhood' Book was 12 Years in the Making

"Boyhood" actor Ellar Coltrane through the years.
Matt Lankes / University of Texas Press

Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" is unlike any other film. Over the course of 12 years, the cast and crew gathered to create the critically acclaimed coming-of age-story chronicling the journey of a young boy, played by Ellar Coltrane, from childhood to adulthood. And over the course of those 12 years, photographer Matt Lankes worked behind the scenes, shooting moments the making of "Boyhood" and the transformation of its characters. 

Lankes captures those moments from the film’s production in his new book, "Boyhood: Twelve Years on Film." He tells the story of the creation of the movie through stills from the film, behind-the-scenes shots, and intimate black and white portraits of the cast during each year of filming.

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Texas
11:44 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Here Are 12 Interviews With 2014 Texas Book Festival Authors

The Texas Book Festival will take place on October 25 and 26.
Texas Book Festival

Are you going to the Texas Book Festival?

Some 250 authors are descending on Austin for the festival this weekend. And Texas Standard and KUT have sat down with a dozen of them.  Here's a roundup of authors appearing at the festival, both big literary names and under-the-radar authors.

(Editor's note: This post used to contain nine interviews – but we've since recorded a few more and updated accordingly.)

Lawrence Wright:

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Texas Standard
4:13 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Why Ireland's Opening a New Consulate in Austin, Texas

A different type of Hill Country: Ireland is opening a consulate in Austin to focus on trade and development.
flickr.com/georgiesharp

Ireland is getting ready to do something it hasn’t done that often in the past century: open some new consulate offices. Hong Kong, Bangkok and São Paulo are among the cities selected. Oh, and one more – Austin, Texas.

Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Consul General Adrian Farrell about plans for the new office, trade between Ireland and Texas, and efforts to reach out to Irish Texans and Americans.

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Texas Book Festival
11:49 am
Mon October 20, 2014

How 'Thirteen Days in September' Shows Middle East Peace is Still Possible

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David in 1978. The Middle Eastern peace agreement that emerged from the meeting is the subject of journalist Lawrence Wright's new book.
U.S. Government

Recent world events seem so complicated – and perhaps intractable – that some citizens may reel from a sense of hopelessness. But maybe our collective memory fails us – it’s easy to forget how much the world can change in just a matter of days.

In less than two weeks in 1978, a world-changing event not only ended one of the most bitter conflict in modern history (or at least a part of it), with effects that endure to this day.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lawrence Wright speaks with Texas Standard’s David Brown about his new book, "Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David," a detailed account of the Camp David accords between Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter, the agreement brought peace between Egypt and Israel. 

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Texas Book Festival
1:34 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Carrie Fountain and the 'Daring Political Act' of Writing About Motherhood

Carrie Fountain at the 2010 Texas Book Festival. "Writing poetry has always been, quite simply, about trying to make sense of the experience of being in the world," she says.
Larry D. Moore [Creative Commons]

Carrie Fountain is searching for something.

The Austin-based poet recently released "Instant Winner," her second book of poems. In it, she reflects on parenthood and captures vignettes of moments from everyday life.

Fountain will be reading at the Texas Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26. She spoke with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue about her book in advance of the festival.

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Texas Standard
3:56 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Life in Dallas Goes On Despite Ebola Fears

Medical personnel transport an ebola patient in Dallas.
flickr.com/thespeakernews

The eyes of the country are on Texas, as the public continues to follow the progress of a small string of Dallas residents that have contracted the Ebola virus.

While the wide scale global and political implications have been inundating the news, the viewpoint from the ground in Dallas can easily be washed away in a sea of analysis and criticism. Helping us gain a little perspective on the situation is Robert Wilonsky, digital managing editor at the Dallas Morning News who paints a more nuanced picture of the scene there.

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