Texas Standard

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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
8:39 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Lena Dunham's New Book, and the Finalists for the First Ever Kirkus Prize Announced

Kirkus Editor, Clay Smith
Photo by Michael Thad Carter

Many fans of the HBO series Girls are eagerly awaiting today's doorstep delivery of producer, creator, and lead actress Lena Dunham's first book. In Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned," Dunham pens a series of essays that is part memoir, part advice book. 

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Texas Standard
9:05 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Author of Flagged Book Speaks Out Against Texas High School's Censorship

Flickr user: Catherine Tam, https://flic.kr/p/5MuD6o

‘The Art of Racing in the Rain" is one of the seven books flagged for review after Highland Park ISD parents objected to the book's content, which some viewed as explicit. Author Garth Stein argues the book contains life messages for young teenagers, adding that the book came under fire because of a scene involving  molestation. 

The Texas Standard's David Brown recently spoke with Stein about the temporary ban.

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Texas Standard
3:48 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

What Texas Voters Need to Know Before Heading to the Polls

Texas Governor Rick Perry after a cerimonial signing of Senate Bill 14, which requires voters to present photo IDs upon registration and at the polls.
Flickr user: Covernor Rick Perry, https://flic.kr/p/9Mx7Xy

With the November elections just over two months away, Texans around the state are registering or renewing their voter status. That is, if they first have a government-issued identification card.

Texas' voter ID law is currently being challenged in court by the U.S. Department of Justice, but until a decision is reached, Texans will be required to show an ID to register as voters. But what does this mean for voters in rural areas? Or for Texans who mail in their ballots? 

Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry is in charge of informing Texans of the voter ID law and how to register. Berry sits down with Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss the requirements for voter registration, and how to attain a government-issued ID before the November elections. 

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Texas Standard at Tribune Fest
3:47 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Leticia Van de Putte on Her Top Texas Priorities

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor, sat down with Texas Standard this weekend.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

CNN has called her "the woman who could turn Texas purple."

That's a bold claim in a state that hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in two decades. But supporters are hoping that Senator Leticia Van de Putte – the Democrat running for Lieutenant Governor –can bring some blue back to red Texas.

Van de Putte sat down with Texas Standard's Emily Donahue to discuss her top priorities for the state.

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Texas Standard at Tribune Fest
3:13 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

State Sen. José Rodríguez: 'Education is the Highest Priority'

Texas Standard Host David Brown, left, with Senator José Rodriguez (D-El Paso)
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Even after a weekend full of panels and discussion of Texas politics and policy at The Texas Tribune Festival, many political wonks are looking to the main event: January's new legilative session. 

State Senator José Rodríguez, D-El Paso, sat down with Texas Standard host David Brown during the festival to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda, the state's budget surplus, the upcoming election for governor and more.

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Texas Standard
12:43 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

The Company Insuring the Uninsurable in the Sharing Economy

flickr.com/dhilowitz

When someone shares their car, their home or anything else, they’re entering into what’s called "the sharing economy." Doing so involves a certain amount of risk. What if someone wrecks your car or trashes your guesthouse? Most insurance companies won’t cover instances like that.

That’s where actuary Ashley Hunter saw her opportunity. The president of HM Risk Group sat down with Texas Standard’s David Brown to talk all the things her company insures. "We are a boutique insurance and reinsurance brokerage located here in Austin," she says, "and we provide insurance to high-risk businesses – the sharing economy being one of them."

That can include anything from drivers looking for a few extra bucks  – to women carrying surrogate pregnancies. 

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Texas Standard
1:44 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Bill Powers: His Last Year as President, Unprecedented Fundraising and UT's Future

UT President Bill Powers visits Texas Standard.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

Bill Powers says he's entering his final year as president of the UT-Austin without bitterness, despite the tumultuous lead up to the announcement of his exit.

Instead, he says he relishes his return to faculty – Powers will return to teach at the UT Law School when he steps down next June – and believes the university is making the right moves at the right time amid transition.

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Texas Standard
12:47 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Girl in a Coma’s Nina Diaz Talks Sobriety and Flying Solo

Nina Diaz performs with David Garza at Pachanga Fest, 2012.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

San Antonio native Nina Diaz first began performing at the age of 13. By the time she was 18, her all-girl, indie rock trio, Girl In a Coma, was signed to Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records.

Now, at age 26, Diaz embarks on a new path as a solo artist in addition to her Girl in a Coma duties – a project which will be released later this year. But, for the first time in her musical career, she is sober.

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with Diaz about her musical and personal journey, opening up on the moment she realized she needed to get clean, why she has chosen to let the public in on her struggles and how sobriety has affected her songwriting.

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Texas Standard
4:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How Marshall, Texas Became Ground Zero for 'Patent Trolls'

A Texas company has claimed the patent for podcasting – and it's gone after some of entertainment's biggest names.
Flickr user Patrick Breitenbach, https://flic.kr/ps/rNSVJ

A courtroom in Marshall, Texas – population 25,000 – is deciding patent cases with implications for some of entertainment's biggest names.

Marshall was the setting for a court case against CBS this week. A small company, Personal Audio, has sued media giants including Apple, Sirius XM, and CBS for damages related to alleged infringement of their podcast patent. (Podcasts are digital files on the Internet that can be downloaded to a computer or media player.)

A jury found CBS did infringe the patent – awarding Personal Audio $1.3 million.

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Texas Standard
2:04 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

What Allies Could Offer the US in the Fight Against ISIS

Around seventy five Iraqi activists staged an anti-terrorist rally with flags, costumes and theatrical performances in front of the White House, June 20th 2014.
flickr.com/photos/stephenmelkisethian/

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is touring the Middle East to press for cooperation in battling the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, following President Obama's announcement that the U.S would increase its efforts to "degrade and destroy" the group.

In the months leading up to Wednesday's announcement, Bloomberg News reports the United States has flown approximately 2,700 air missions over Iraq against ISIS. The AP reports France has already stated that it will dedicate efforts alongside the United States, but who else might?

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Life & Arts
12:37 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Draws Top Contenders To Austin

A side of smoked brisket is cut at La Barbecue in Austin, one of attendendees of the 2014 Texas Monthly BBQ Fest.
flickr.com/photos/joshbousel/

For Texans, barbeque is nestled somewhere between football and firearms as things closest to a state-mandated religion. We take our barbecue seriously, so it’s no surprise that Texas Monthly magazine would hold an invitation-only barbecue festival every year.

This year's fifth, and largest, annual festival brings 25 of the best pit bosses in the state. The Texas Standard’s David Brown spoke with Texas Monthly BBQ Editor Daniel Vaughn to see which of the competitors have the chops to make the cut.

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Texas Standard
12:01 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Wendy Davis on the Governor's Race, Her First Filibuster, and 'Forgetting to Be Afraid'

Wendy Davis visited Austin recently for a book signing.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Days after asking the Texas Ethics Commission to look into the Wendy Davis book tour, the Greg Abbott campaign has filed a complaint with the commission, alleging that it's a violation of Texas law.

The Abbott campaign accuses Davis of using political contributions to fund the promotion of the book from which she is profiting. The Davis campaign calls the charge frivolous.  Charges of campaign ethics violations are not rare during election season, relied upon by partisans of all stripes to accuse rivals of wrongdoing. At a recent book signing in Austin, Davis did not speak to reporters. But Davis did stop by the Texas Standard studio to talk with host David Brown about her memoirs--and her decision to step into the political spotlight.

Here are the interview highlights:

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Texas Standard
2:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

When LBJ's Infamous 'Daisy' Ad Changed Politics Forever

Broadcast only once, LBJ "Daisy" still packs a punch.
Lyndon B Johnson's 1964 Presidential campaign

Half a century ago, Pres. Lyndon Johnson teamed up with the ad men of New York to produce one of the most famous – and controversial – political ads of all time.

A young girl lackadaisically plucks the petals off a flower, counting as she goes. But soon, her count is interrupted by a mission-control style countdown: when it ends, a mushroom cloud envelops the screen. "These are the stakes," Johnson intones. "To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die." 

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Texas
8:01 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Here Are 9 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?

The 250-person list of authors attending the 2014 Texas Book Festival is out this evening. Texas Standard has you covered right now. Check out the interviews we did with several authors who will appear at the 2014 Book Festival.

Here's a roundup: 

Cristina Henriquez:

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Texas Standard
12:29 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Uber, Lyft and the Wild West of Texas Ridesharing

A Lyft driver in San Francisco. Lyft vehicles are emblazoned with a bright pink mustache across the car's front.
flickr.com/raidokaldma

Last month, the Houston City Council voted to open the heavily regulated vehicle-for-hire market to Uber and Lyft.

These start-ups develop and utilize smartphone apps to connect drivers with interested riders, using the driver’s personal car. Dallas, Austin and San Antonio are considering similar overhauls, but taxi and limousine drivers across the state are upset that their competitors could be playing by a different rulebook.

Aaron Sankin covers Uber and Lyft for The Daily Dot. He recently sat down with The Texas Standard's David Brown to talk about the future of ridesharing,

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Texas Standard
2:23 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Overflowing Inbox? Declare Email Bankruptcy

Does your email inbox look like this?
Chad Swaney Flickr

Here’s the scenario: You’re drowning in thousands of unread messages, you're missing meetings and appointments and dreading checking your overloaded inbox. What should you do?

You could declare email bankruptcy by sending a mass-email to all your contacts to inform them of your email insolvency and providing a new email address at which they can reach you.

Or you could take inspiration from Brigid Schulte, the Washington Post reporter who decided to tackle her bloated inbox, which contained 23,736 unread messages, one email at a time.

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Texas Standard
1:36 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

What Scotland Can Learn From Texas Independence

The European Union, Scottish and Union Jack flags fly in this 2009 photo. On September 18, Scottish voters will decide their fate: whether to remain part of the United Kingdom, or to move toward independence.
Flickr user Barney Moss, https://flic.kr/p/gnBD1o

On September 18, Scottish voters will decide on the future of their country – whether Scotland should be an independent country, or remain part of the United Kingdom.  If a simple majority of votes is cast in favor of independence, then a process of negotiations would begin to grant full independence to Scotland.

Here in Texas, we’ve got some experience with declarations of independence from major nations – so we should have some advice to offer to our Caledonian friends.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Dr. Stephen Hardin, a professor of Texas history at McMurray University in Abilene.

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Texas
4:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Why ISIS is Using a Texas Prisoner in a Bargaining Ploy

Protesters march in support of the release of Aafia Siddiqui.
flickr.com/forpeace

She’s been called “Lady al-Qaeda” for her obvious connection to the terrorist organization, but why is the self-proclaimed Islamic State now demanding the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in exchange for U.S. prisoners? 

Siddiqui is serving an 86-year sentence in a federal prison in Fort Worth for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Now ISIS is using her as a bargaining chip – but how did Siddiqui’s release become a negotiation tactic? 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to religious scholar Dr. Reza Aslan, who says the group is wagering Siddiqui's release to gain influence and ideological inroads in Pakistan. 

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Texas Standard
3:12 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

No More Books: This San Antonio Library Went Digital

Bexar BiblioTech

Bibliotech, the first-ever entirely digital library in the United States, will celebrate its first anniversary this month. The Bexar County space, which contains no physical books, still offers readers and researchers the traditional library experience of a quiet environment, or speaking with a librarian in person.

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with head librarian Ashley Eklof about Bibliotech and how it is changing the landscape of public libraries in America.

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Business
3:10 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

How Much of an Impact will an $18 Billion Judgment Have for BP?

Health, safety and environment (HSE) workers contracted by BP clean up oil on a beach in Port Fourchon, La. after the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill..
US Department of Defense

A federal court in New Orleans found BP the primary culprit in the 2010 gulf oil disaster, ruling the company acted with "gross negligence" – a charge four times that of a simple negligence charge. So, how much will $18 billion ruling on the company?

Maybe not much, says Brad Olsen of Bloomberg news. He's been following the Deepwater Horizon spill and its fallout since 2010. He tells Texas Standard's David Brown that the company's already spent $30 billion on cleanup-related costs and "the tab is very clearly going to go higher.” Currently, the energy giant has about $26 billion dollars on their balance sheet. Olsen says, as the fines currently stand, BP can afford it. 

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