Texas Standard

The Trump administration has agreed to give roughly $350 million over five years to Healthy Texas Women, a state family-planning program that excludes Planned Parenthood.

From Texas Standard:

As the impeachment trial was getting underway in Washington, KXAN-TV in Austin reported that online searches within Texas for "impeachment" were high in some surprising, and not so surprising, places. They included Austin, Lubbock, Midland-Odessa, Corpus Christi and Victoria.

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Over the years, Texas has tried to boost enrollment in college. After all, people with college degrees tend to earn higher wages. But for some first-generation students, many of whom also come from families with low incomes, the transition from high school to college can be daunting. And it's this transition that one education nonprofit says is a blind spot in the Texas education system.

From Texas Standard:

Thanks to video streaming, gone are the days of going to the video store, strolling the aisles in search of the perfect title. Gone, too, are all the trappings of the VHS rental experience – the candy by the register, the posters and branded merchandise to promote the latest releases and, of course, the stickers on VHS tapes reminding you to rewind.

From Texas Standard:

It’s a clear, cool morning in West Texas, and about 50 people are watching a helicopter wind its way around the south side of Elephant Mountain – a brown, flat-topped summit about 30 miles south of Alpine. The sun isn’t all the way up yet, but you can tell that the helicopter is hauling some unusual cargo.

From Texas Standard:

Like few other Texans in recent years, one former El Paso congressman is known to many by his first name alone. But that extraordinary name recognition, and even an unexpectedly close Senate race against Ted Cruz in 2018, wasn't enough to propel Beto O'Rourke to the Democratic presidential nomination. Now, O'Rourke is focused on getting more Democrats elected in Texas.

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Texas has changed a lot during the past decade. State Demographer Lloyd Potter says its population isn't just booming; it leads the country.

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This has been a busy year, politically speaking. And 2020 will likely top it, given that a presidential election is on the horizon. With that in mind, Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with the leaders of the Texas Republican and Democratic Parties to learn about their top takeaways from this year – and what they expect in the year to come.

From Texas Standard:

In recent years, migrating to the United States has become harder. The Trump administration has added restrictions to all visa categories, whether they be F-1 student visas or H-1B visas that allow people to work temporarily in the United States.

From Texas Standard:

On average, 1,000 people move to Texas each day. And traditionally, that means more roads and more lanes to accommodate new drivers. But when it comes to roads, is bigger always better?

From Texas Standard:

In the entomology world, the discovery of a new species means scientists also have the opportunity to name that species. In one recent case, the naming was easy. University of Texas at Austin entomologists discovered two species and named them "rodeo ants" because they ride on the backs of ant queens in other colonies.

From Texas Standard:

Polls show that the country is nearly evenly split about whether President Donald Trump should be impeached. That might put Texas politicians in a precarious position given that Texas isn't the reliably conservative state it once was. Lawmakers who support Trump will please their base of supporters, but they also risk alienating others.

From Texas Standard:

A recent investigation by USA Today finds that student-athletes who have been disciplined for sexual offenses are transferring to other schools and continuing to play college sports. The newspaper is calling it "the predator pipeline," and it's happening at schools in Texas.

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Limited business regulation has led to an influx of large companies and skilled workers in Texas over the past few years. It's contributed to the state's $1.7 trillion economy. But despite massive economic growth, critics say some Texans are left behind.

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More money is about to flow into eight surveillance centers located across across the state. The Texas Department of Public Safety helps oversee these intelligence-gathering hubs, known as "fusion centers," but it doesn't talk much about what they do.

From Texas Standard

For decades, jailhouse informants have been presented as credible witnesses at criminal trials. In the movies, you've seen them called “snitches.” They testify about what they say they heard while being held in the same facility, or even the same cell, as the defendant.

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Texas isn’t really known for its vast evergreen forests. You could count the piney woods in East Texas, but no one’s cutting those trees down for Christmas. But there is an alternative: For a short time over the holidays, tree farmers across the state open up their properties so Texans can choose and cut their own trees and get the feeling of an alpine experience.  

From Texas Standard:

Fifteen years ago, there were three distilleries in Texas. Today there are 158. But craft distillers say they are facing a potential setback that could cripple their ability to grow. They want Congress to extend a temporary tax cut that has significantly cut their cost of doing business.

From Texas Standard:

This week, Texas Health and Human Services reported a record number of people with lung disease linked to vaping. One of those people has died; many of them are young – an average of 22 years old. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recently released a report saying that more than 6 million American teens use tobacco products, the majority of those products being e-cigarettes. But health experts are still trying to determine which vaping products are causing illness. In the meantime,  health officials recommend that Texans stop using e-cigarette products altogether.

From Texas Standard:

The last Texan in the presidential race, Julián Castro, lamented Tuesday about the dwindling number of  candidates of color vying for the Democratic nomination. Kamala Harris had just suspended her bid, and Castro chastised the media for contributing to candidates of color leaving the race.

From Texas Standard:

Not every crop could compel farmers to pay $50 to spend a chilly weekday in a drab conference room in Wichita Falls. But hemp is not every crop.

 

From Texas Standard:

A new investigative report finds that each day, airlines lose or damage 29 wheelchairs or electric scooters used by people with disabilities. And new data released this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that airlines damaged or lost nearly 8,000 mobility aids during the first nine months of this year.

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There’s no shortage of worthy choices if you’re debating the best college football, basketball or volleyball team. But when it comes to supremacy in the meat locker, there is only one school you can call the very best: Texas Tech. Over the weekend, the Texas Tech meat judging team claimed their 14th national championship – a record that’s unmatched in the world of amateur meat evaluation.

From Texas Standard:

Many Texas political watchers would agree that the 2019 legislative session was surprisingly tame. Legislation about divisive social issues – especially about bathroom access for transgender people, which dominated the session in 2017 – seemed to be a thing of the past. But recently, a custody case in Texas involving a 7-year-old child whose mother identifies the child as transgender has divided some along political lines.

From Texas Standard:

Did you know that the monarch butterfly is the Texas state insect? They flutter through the state this time of year when they migrate from Canada to Mexico. But their populations are dwindling. What's more, entomologists are finding masses of dead monarchs, with their unmistakable black and orange wings, on the side of Texas highways.

Texas A&M University professor Robert Coulson led a study about monarch roadkill deaths, and says cars are just one more threat to the insect, in addition to changes in weather, pesticides and more. His team is tracking the number of dead monarchs in order to try to find ways to protect them in the future.

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In 2004, the Texas Education Agency put a limit on the percentage of students it would allow into special education programs, which affected thousands. The Houston Chronicle exposed the illegal policy in 2016, and the investigation led to the Texas Legislature barring the agency from imposing such limits. 

From Texas Standard:

As Bill Jones and his wife Kathy Murray of Austin found out in 2008, getting sick with murine typhus can be scary business. When a high fever persisted for five days, Jones sought help at a local hospital. There, he spent nine more terrifying days, while doctors searched for an explanation for his symptoms and nearly operated on his liver unnecessarily.

From Texas Standard:

A growing number of asylum-seekers are setting up makeshift camps on the Mexican side of the southern border, across from El Paso, while they await hearings with U.S. immigration officials. Some wait weeks or even months for that appointment. But now, the Trump administration is testing a secretive program called Prompt Asylum Claim Review to fast-track those hearings.

Janis Joplin: More Than Just A Great Big Voice

Oct 23, 2019

From Texas Standard:

Janis Joplin left her Texas home in the early 1960s. She didn't fit in in Port Arthur, where she grew up, and she wanted to make a name for herself as a musician. She did that, and more, becoming the biggest female rock star of the era. Joplin's greatest musical success, the album, "Pearl," was released after her death from a heroin overdose in 1970. She was just 27. 

From Texas Standard:

By the beginning of this year, more than 30 states had legalized some form of cannabis use, mostly for medical purposes. But Texas has been slow to embrace the change. And companies looking to obtain a license to lawfully sell medical marijuana in the state find the process particularly challenging.

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