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Y’all-itics is the unofficial political podcast of Texas.

Episode Date
Covid 19: Unemployment questions and answers


In the weekly jobless report on April 2nd, Texas unemployment claims jumped by more than 275,000. Last week, the number of Texans who filed for unemployment benefits was 150,000. As extraordinary as those numbers are, they only reflect part of the staggering number of jobs in the state that have been lost in recent weeks as the economy grinds to a halt during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not included in the numbers are all those who have been without jobs for weeks, but who have been unable to file for unemployment compensation because the Texas Workforce Commission website, inundated with requests, has been freezing and crashing. Worse yet, many Texans have complained the website directs them to call the TWC, and phone lines there have been jammed for weeks. We talk to one woman who has been trying to get benefits for herself and her son, since bother of them have lost work. She explains her frustrations navigating the system…and she poses a few questions for the TWC. We ask those questions and many more when we get a spokesman for the agency on the line. He explains how they are trying to ramp up to an overwhelming demand that isn’t expected to abate any time soon.




Apr 02, 2020
Covid-19: Beer trucks, egg deliveries, and RVs for MDs

Two moms in rural Collin County have come up with an ingenious way to protect doctors and their families from getting sick after long shifts at the hospital. Medical staff don’t just need PPEs right now. They also need RVs. Emily Phillips is married to an ER doctor and got worried that her husband could bring home COVID19 since both she and their 8-year-old son suffer from asthma. So, Emily got on Facebook last week and asked if she could borrow an RV to allow her husband to come home – but still stay outside to prevent any possible exposure. Within six days, Emily’s one Facebook request has turned into an entire Facebook Group with a couple thousand members and RV owners across the country lending their motorhomes to doctors they’ve never even met. Emily Phillips and her new friend, Holly Haggard, joined the Jasons in a lively conversation. Also, in the episode, COVID19 blindsided a lot of businesses in our state. But not the grocer, HEB. In January, the popular Texas supermarket chain started making calls to suppliers and retailers in China to see what kind of impact they were experiencing from the coronavirus. Those phone calls paid off. By March, when cases began surfacing in Texas, HEB was ready. It enacted an emergency plan, raised hourly pay for workers and changed store hours to address the conflict. Dan Solomon, a writer for Texas Monthly, called the Jasons from Austin to share some fascinating details from his magazine story of how HEB planned for the pandemic.

More Infos:

Rvs 4 MDs

Inside the Story of How H-E-B Planned for the Pandemic, Texas Monthly



Mar 30, 2020
"We can't buy our way out of a crisis"

Republican Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch speaks to us after tens of thousands of people watched a Facebook video in which he admonished Texans to take Covid-19 more seriously. He also lamented that the governor (from his own party) was ‘leading from behind’. Commissioner Koch also breaks down the number of ventilators available, and how Dallas County will likely be the first in Texas to have a ‘crash’ of cases coming into the healthcare system.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who has been helping to head up the national Coronavirus Response Task Force, offers what could be some positive news about the expected peak of Covid-19 cases in the U.S.

Texas nurse practitioner Sara Phillips, who has responded to outbreaks around the world, including Ebola and H1N1, says she is disappointed with the federal response to Covid-19. She talks about big missed opportunities to contain the virus, and about how the outbreak is a test of the American psyche, “As Americans…we have a bit of an invincibility complex”.

And Glenn Martin, a Tarrant County resident who tested positive for Covid-19, talks about what he has been through, and what treatment has helped him turn the corner in his recovery. His advice, “Stay positive you can do it…you can overcome it if you do get it”.

Mar 26, 2020
Covid-19: The layoffs are coming, but there's still some hope

The economic toll of the Coronavirus is tremendous, and this is just the beginning. Layoffs have already jumped, but Andrew Challenger, Senior VP at outplacement firm Challenger, Christmas, and Gray, says  the official numbers are even reflective of what is really happening---that a lot of smaller businesses are cutting jobs, and those losses are big and have yet to be truly tallied. Additionally, Challenger predicts the job losses that will be announced soon will be in much larger numbers. One interesting note, though…this expert says his firm is surprised they didn’t see far more layoffs already from larger employers---they believe large companies have been trying to hold on to workers as long as possible to keep our collective situation from getting far worse. There are some glimmers of hope, though. Challenger says some industries are desperate for workers right now, and that there are some things you can do to try to insulate your job from being cut.

Even as we hear about the job losses from this global pandemic, there is one industry that’s surging with demand right now.

Ike Brown is president of NFI Industries. It’s a global logistics firm that operates thousands of tractor trailers and millions of square feet of warehouse space and has a large presence in Texas.

Brown said not only are warehouses full of things like toilet paper and paper towels that his drivers are delivering to stores right now, but he is also preparing for ships from China to start arriving again at the end of next month.

Mar 23, 2020
Early Release: This became an economic pandemic long before it became a health pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak is starting to change our daily lives in dramatic ways. The crisis is, of course, a health and humanitarian one first. But the economics of the outbreak could have a tremendous impact on governments, businesses, and many people. We get the perspective on Main Street from a Texas business owner who is missing out on his most profitable day of the year because of coronavirus preparations. We also talk to one of the most plugged-in economists in the country (who herself was a patient in the Swine Flu Pandemic) to get a comprehensive overview of what the Coronavirus pandemic is doing to the economy, what kind of job losses we can expect, what this will mean to Texas, and how involved the government is going to have to be to prop up individual Americans as this situation unfolds. Finally, we hear from a Texas state senator right after he finishes a call with the governor. He explains what’s being done to get protective supplies to health workers, what’s happening with testing, how Texas students will be able to learn (and in many cases eat) if school is cancelled, and what’s being talked about at the state level to offset the costs of the coronavirus response (hint: it could involve even higher property taxes).


More Info:

Greenville Ave Pizza Company
Lowest Greenville Collective
Grant Thornton’s Covid-19 section
State Senator Nathan Johnson
More coronavirus info

Mar 13, 2020
Where do old voting machines go to die? (+ a Texas coronavirus update)

Where do old voting machines go to die? Turns out, many are being resurrected in Texas. Harris County, for example, is now planning to purchase 2,000 used eSlate machines that Travis County just retired. Harris County told the Jasons that it’s worth the money for extra voting booths before potentially long lines in November like many voters experienced on Super Tuesday. The 2,000 used machines would be in addition to the 8,000 Harris County already has. But there’s another novel election-related idea under discussion in Texas. It’s something called Ranked Choice Voting. Other states already use it. At the polls, voters select their top two or three candidates and rank them in order of preference. The concept saves money and prevents voter fatigue by eliminating runoff elections. Perhaps no one welcomes it more than state Rep. Anna Eastman in Houston. She has gone through three elections in five months – and has two more to go by November. Eastman answered her phone when the Jasons surprised her with a phone call. But they begin this episode by calling health reporter and world traveler Sonia Azad for an update on the coronavirus in Texas and by laying out the economic and political implications already unfolding.

Mar 10, 2020
BONUS EPISODE: Y'all really turned out Super Tuesday

Huge turnout, long lines, not enough voting machines; Super Tuesday in Texas didn’t quite turnout as planned. Why? The turnout! It’s a good problem to have in a state that is often called a non-voting one. Joining the Jasons for political context on this bonus episode is Deborah Peoples, the chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, Vinny Minchillo, a principal at Glass House Strategy advertising firm, Alana Rocha of the Texas Tribune and Berna Dean Steptoe, political producer at WFAA in Dallas. Does the large turnout suggest Texas really is in play? We cracked a beer and started around the room for some completely different perspectives.

Mar 04, 2020
Coronavirus: What Texas learned from Ebola

The Jasons discuss the FACTS surrounding COVID-19 and preparations in Texas. They start their conversation with former WFAA-TV reporter Jonathan Betz, who now lives in Beijing, China and is currently under quarantine. To say Jonathan is feeling isolated is understatement. But he’s still getting his deliveries, which is an interesting part of life in Beijing. The Jasons then visit with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins who talks about the lessons learned during the Ebola scare in 2014. The Judge says there was no outbreak blueprint prior to Ebola. But now we are ahead of the game because we have plans in place to deal with outbreaks, thanks to the 2014 scare. Transparency is key, the Judge says, in keeping the public calm. He says so far, the state is doing everything it needs to do to protect its citizens.

And throughout the podcast, you’ll hear from Dr. Clinton Haley, an infectious disease expert in Dallas, including what he is telling his own family about COVID-19.




Texas Health & Human Services COVID-19

North Texas Infectious Diseases Consultants


Mar 03, 2020
Is health care a right… or a commodity?

It costs too much. And it’s too complicated. According to a great many voters in 2020, that is the only way to describe our modern health care system. And this is driving their decision-making at the polls. The Jasons jump straight into the deep end in this episode of Y’all-itics, pouring a pint with the CEO of The Texas Academy of Family Physicians in the Medical District. Tom Banning says we have an amazing “sick care” system in America, but “health care” is broken. And he says a fundamental question that must be answered in is whether we think health care is a right or a commodity. If you’re like a growing number of Texans, you are underinsured. That is, you have insurance, but can’t afford to use it. So, the Jasons also wanted to know if there’s a way for Texas consumers to cut their health care costs without having to wait for the politicians (there is). And a random surprise guest helped to prove this point.


More Info:

Texas Academy of Family Physicians

Trends in Texas Health Care Costs

The Commonwealth Fund


Feb 25, 2020
The President called while I was in the shower

The Jasons take a road trip to Austin to pour a pint with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.  They chose Shiner, of course.  And you have likely never heard the Attorney General like this.  Mr. Paxton says he now has less confidence in the criminal justice system.  He thinks 3 syllable names win elections.  He’s not afraid of the color Purple.  And he shares his thoughts whether he thinks the President has broken any laws.  Oh yeah… and he’s suing the state of California.  Buckle up for the ride.

Have a question about Super Tuesday?  The candidates?  How about an issue? 

Call (214) 509-8156

Leave us a message and you and your question may appear on a future episode of Y’allitics



Link to SCOTUS filing against California…


Feb 18, 2020
Registering to vote by photo booth

The Latino community in Texas has long been described as a sleeping giant, an electorate with the potential to swing our politics and policies. But based on U.S. Census data, that giant is in a deep sleep.
A Texas group is trying to forge a new tradition with Latino Voters where coming of age automatically means voting. And they’re targeting 15-year-old girls to make it happen. In this episode of Y’all-itics, the Jasons learn more about the Jolt Initiative and why folks like Carmen Ayala think Quinceañeras are the key to unleashing the power (Poder in Spanish) of the Latino vote. WFAA reporter Teresa Woodard also joins the Jasons to add a female perspective and discuss what she learned while exploring the issue. No beer. But plenty of great eats and great discussion.

See the original story here

The Jolt Initiative

Follow Teresa Woodard on twitter

Feb 11, 2020
I still don’t know who won Iowa. Does it matter now?


Election 2020 is already off to a wild start. The Iowa Democratic Party couldn’t report an accurate count of vote totals on caucus night. So, disappointed Democrats boarded planes and flew to New Hampshire without knowing who won this famed first contest. The screwup raises the question of whether the caucuses matter anymore. The Jasons were in Iowa to witness all the confusion firsthand and stayed up late to publish this episode on time. They poured a pint with Rick Klein, ABC News’ Political Director, to talk about what happens next for the candidates, who survives until Super Tuesday and what about the billionaire who is poised to jump in just as Texans have their say. The Jasons finished up the road trip with a quick drive up I-35 North to Dallas County. Dallas County, Iowa…that is where one Democratic party official says he might have to vote for the candidate he calls the ‘Democrat Trump.’”


Rick Klein / ABC News Political Director & co-host of the Powerhouse Politics podcast

Mike Kern / Dallas County, Iowa


Rick Klein biography:

Powerhouse Politics podcast:

Iowa Democratic Party:

Feb 04, 2020
The Expensive Silence

Under-counting the census by 1% could cost Texas $300 million a year. In Rio Grande City, former Mayor Reuben Villareal estimates the 2010 census was under-counted by 15-20% in his city, alone. Despite this year’s census not having a citizenship question, Villareal expects the expensive silence to be deafening in border communities where rhetoric about immigration, the wall, and deportations has created a chilling effect for the legally-required survey that not only determines how many representatives Texas gets in Congress, but also the state’s share of federal funding and the drawing of legislative districts.


Reuben Villareal, former mayor of Rio Grande City / Reuben’s Twitter account 

Luis Figueroa, Center for Public Policy Priorities / Luis’s Twitter account



Jan 28, 2020
The U-Haul full of hemp

What happened outside Amarillo made national news, turned out to be a little embarrassing for the state and highlighted a problem facing law enforcement in Texas today. Hemp is legal. Marijuana is not. But the plants look and smell exactly alike. In Amarillo this month, prosecutors had to drop charges after lab tests showed 3,300 pounds of ‘marijuana’ that a man was stopped with was actually ‘hemp.’ But this case isn’t isolated. The Amarillo attorney who represented that driver laid out the wider problem that many of his clients are faced with. In addition, Allen, Texas Police Chief Brian Harvey revealed that the state is just a couple months away from being able to differentiate between the legal and illegal versions of the cannabis plant. What’s best, the Jasons found a draft beer that actually matches this topic.



Texas dismisses charges against man for trucking hemp

Adam Tisdell

Chief Brian Harvey:

Texas Police Chief Association:

Jan 21, 2020
Frenemy of the state: Saudi Arabia’s role in US-Iran clash

He calls himself the Desert Diplomat. Few Texans have as clear of an understanding of what’s happening in the Middle East as Robert Jordan. The SMU professor is a former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and sat down to have a pint with the Jasons. Turns out, it’s not just Iran we should be wary of these days. Keep your eye on Saudi Arabia. It’s really a frenemy of ours, Jordan said. This Texan succinctly explains why we can’t quit the kingdom as we face down Iran and Iraq.


Jan 14, 2020
Living in fear: The people who don’t report crimes in Texas.

A small-town Texas police chief said something recently that caught the attention of the Jasons. Immigration rhetoric is making our communities less safe, he wrote in an op-ed. Make no mistake, this lawman isn’t taking sides. He’s advocating for keeping all criminals off the streets – regardless of their immigration status. You might know some of it. That fiery rhetoric drives undocumented immigrants into the shadows. Criminals then prey on those immigrants because these folks are less likely to call police. But here’s where the chief connected the dots for the Jasons. What if an undocumented immigrant witnesses a crime against you but is too afraid to come forward? These aren’t just scenarios. This is happening in Texas today, the chief says.


Jan 07, 2020
Emergency Podcast: Yes, the U.S./Iran conflict affects your money. Here’s how

Dallas is more than 7,200 miles away from the Baghdad airport where a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Those miles disappear when you consider how Middle East tension has a real impact on your money. In this special episode, a personal finance advisor tells the Jasons why now is the time to invest in some stocks, even as the market takes a hit on fears of a worsening conflict. Plus, Texas is the third-largest oil producer in the world. But, an energy industry expert explains why we’ll still pay higher gas prices because of what’s happening overseas.

Jan 03, 2020
How the new trade deal will benefit Texas big time

The president promised to replace NAFTA. Democrats finally got what they wanted and this new deal is now called the USMCA – or United States Mexico Canada Agreement. As we move into the new year, both sides say Texas will benefit big time from it. How so? That’s what this episode of Y'all-itics is about. We also tracked down a phone number for the original U.S. negotiator on NAFTA in the early 1990s. Turns out that trade deal – which is the skeleton for this one – might never have passed if it weren’t for a baseball game. That veteran negotiator shared some interesting stories on how it all happened.

Dec 31, 2019
Bridging the political divide, part 2

Can’t we all just get along? On last week’s episode, we heard about Better Angels. The group is trying to close the political polarization gap, bridge the divide and get people on the left and right to start talking again. We think the group is on to something. So, in this episode, we’re pouring a pint with two people who have gone through the program – a conservative and a moderate. They’re far apart on some things but they shared a few ideas with the Jasons that have helped them understand and respect the other side.

More Info:



Dec 24, 2019
Bridging the political divide, part 1

Before you go home for the holidays you need to listen to this episode. Politics often creeps into the conversation around the family dinner table this time of year. The rhetoric and divisiveness has gotten so bad that some folks have stopped talking to family members and close friends because of their political beliefs. A non-profit is quietly helping to close the political polarization gap, bridge the divide and get people talking again. They explained how they’re doing it in this episode of Y'all-itics. And turns out, Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler's colleague is dealing with this problem right now. She answered a call while waiting for a piña colada on a beach vacation to explain what’s going on with her family. Just make sure her mom doesn’t hear this story!

More info:


Dec 17, 2019
Battleground counties will decide 2020. One in Texas could be pivotal

Forget battleground states; 2020 will be decided by battleground counties. Collin County Democrats don’t mind being the underdog. But Republicans there admit 2020 is no joke. Collin County used to be reliably red but the GOP has seen cracks in support there over the last few election cycles. Now, after recent Democratic victories in Kentucky, Louisiana and Virginia, Collin County Democrats say they think their county could turn blue as soon as 2020. And if Collin County turns blue, Texas likely turns blue. If Texas turns blue, then Republicans lose the White House for a generation. That’s what’s at stake in the suburbs next year. Both parties sat down with the Jasons to talk about Collin County’s role in 2020.

Dec 10, 2019
Why do politicians ignore black women?

This isn’t something politicos wants to talk about. Black women are taken for granted by candidates and campaigns. That’s not just a bold statement – black women in Texas say this has been a political reality for too long. That's the topic we're talking about with Tracy Scott, the founder & CEO of The Black Women’s PAC, on this episode of Y’allitics. Black women, like all voters, want politicians to finally address issues that affect them. And these women wield power at the ballot box, reminding us of one thing they could easily do to impact the outcome of the next election.


Dec 03, 2019
How the tit-for-tat trade war is hurting Texans

On this episode of Y’all-itics, we go out to the farm. The Texas economy has done well over the past decade. Farmers have not. They know all about economic downturns, but their income today is half of what it was six years ago. Crops just aren’t selling for what they were. Then came the trade war with China and the tit-for-tat tariffs. Now, a difficult situation is a little more desperate. But when you ask who’s to blame, there's not an easy answer. One Texas farmer shares his own struggles and how they are shaping his vote for 2020, in a candid conversation with hosts Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler.

Nov 26, 2019
2020 will be the year of political text messages
Get ready for the "Year of the Text Message." In 2020, political campaigns are coming to your mobile phone. In elections past, campaigns have spent millions of dollars on television and radio ads, campaign signs and billboards to reach voters. The 2020 cycle will be different. In this episode, we discover how much a campaign will pay for your cell phone number and what they’re going to do with it over the next year. Texting is changing the way candidates run for office. Vinny Minchillo, principal at GlassHouse Strategy and a veteran of political ads, pulls the campaign curtain back with hosts Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler.
Nov 19, 2019
Y'all-itics: Coming November 19

Y’all-itics is the unofficial political podcast of Texas. Each week Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler will crack open an ice-cold Texas brew and explore a single hot topic affecting Texans as we gear up for the 2020 election. But this isn’t politics as usual. Y’all-itics doesn’t come from a fancy studio. We’re taking our podcast on the road to get past the soundbites and dive deeper into the issues that matter to y’all. Leave your labels at the door, this is a political podcast for all Texans… even the recent transplants!

Nov 07, 2019