Texas Matters

By Texas Public Radio

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Texas is a big state with a growing, diverse population and as the population grows, the issues and challenges facing its residents multiply. Texas Matters is a statewide news program that spends half an hour each week looking at the issues and culture of Texas.

Episode Date
Texas Matters: Post-COVID Playbook For Recovery
Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to restart the Texas economy with the relaxation of social distancing guidelines and allowing many businesses to reopen to the public.
May 18, 2020
Texas Matters: Political Campaigning In The Time of Coronavirus
For weeks Texas has been locked down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The efforts to implement social distancing and slow the spread of the deadly virus forced schools and many businesses to close. This also drove political campaigns to freeze just as Texas was gearing up for one of the toughest general elections in decades. But now that Governor Greg Abbott is allowing more businesses to open their doors, what is happening with political campaigns and their efforts to persuade potential voters. Are the candidates ready to get back on the stump, shake hands and kiss babies?
May 08, 2020
Texas Matters: Joe Ely — A Songwriter In The Pandemic
Like everyone else, singer-songwriter Joe Ely has struggled to find a new normal in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Playing live is not possible, of course, much to the disappointment of his many fans who appreciate Joe Ely on the stage — his energy, his musical talent and the joy he exudes when he performs.
May 01, 2020
Texas Matters: Oil Price Drop, First Responders And 1918 Flu Poems
This week the price of oil went below zero. Today the price is up into the positive range but still not high enough for most Texas oil producers to make a profit.
Apr 24, 2020
Texas Matters: Voting By Mail, How To Save The Post Office And Nonprofits Max Out
This week a Texas judge said he will confirm that voters fearful of contracting COVID-19 should be allowed to use mail-in ballots during elections in July and November.
Apr 22, 2020
Texas Matters: Elections In A Pandemic, Coronavirus Special Session And Chickens
Citing the state’s stay-at-home order, the Texas secretary of state is instructing municipalities to delay their May 2 elections.
Apr 14, 2020
Texas Matters: Disabilities In The Pandemic, Fighting For Mail-In Ballots And Facing Our Masks
The COVID-19 pandemic is particularly alarming for those people with disabilities. Many are in environments like treatment centers and group homes were the virus can easily spread. Also a number of them have underlying medication conditions that can complicate treatment. But more alarming is that some states have issued medical guidance that unlawfully discriminates against people with intellectual disabilities and brain injuries.
Apr 14, 2020
Texas Matters: Addicted In A Pandemic, Pregnant and COVID-19
The United States is now the new global epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and now leads the world in confirmed cases. As of Thursday more than 82,000 people have been identified as infected and nearly 1,200 people have died in the United States.
Mar 27, 2020
Texas Matters: The Great Coronavirus Shutdown Of 2020
With a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Texas and a dire prediction of overwhelmed hospitals – on Thursday March 19 Gov. Greg Abbott explained how quickly the situation was developing.
Mar 23, 2020
Texas Matters: Pass The Biscuits, Pappy - Part Two
It took just 62 days for Wilbert Lee O'Daniel to go from being a hillbilly flour salesman on the radio to the most powerful politician in Texas. While O'Daniel never achieved any major historic accomplishments while in office, he was fantastically talented at generating controversies and winning elections.
Mar 13, 2020
Texas Matters: Pass The Politics, Pappy
Wilbert Lee O‘Daniel was a two term Governor of Texas and a U.S. Senator. But before, during and after that, he was a flour salesman on the radio with a hillbilly band. O‘Daniel ran for Governor as a successful businessman who was sick and tired of professional politicians and fed up with corporate media. The political establishment thought O ‘Daniel was a joke until he beat them – and changed politics in Texas. Many people are familiar with a portrayal of Pappy O'Daniel played by actor Charles Durning in the 2000 Coen Brothers film, “O Brother, Where Art Thou? ” While the Hollywood treatment of O‘Daniel is entertaining, it pales in comparison to the historic figure. The real O‘Daniel won the Texas governor’s mansion twice and a seat in the United States senate due to hillbilly music and the power of the radio. In Depression-era Texas, the only entertainment that many people could enjoy was the radio. Many lived in rural areas; too far from a movie house and even that required money to
Mar 06, 2020
Texas Matters: Texas Socalism And Climate Change Literature
There’s a lot of talk about socialism these days. If you are like me, you are getting email after email warning about the dangers of socialism ideas and how this political/economic school of thought clashes with traditional Texas values. But Texas does have some history of socialism.
Feb 28, 2020
Texas Matters: Prairie View A&M Still Fighting For Voting Rights
As early voting is underway in Texas for the Super Tuesday primary – there is no early voting happening on the campus of Prairie View A&M in Waller County in South East Texas.
Feb 21, 2020
Texas Matters: The Great Texas Textbook War
In 2018, the 15-member Texas State Board of Education voted to streamline the social studies curriculum. They kept in that Moses informed the American founding documents, the defenders of the Alamo were “heroic” and they cut out Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller.
Feb 14, 2020
Texas Matters: Alzheimer's Disease And Latinos
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that by 2060 the number of Latinos age 65 and older is expected to nearly quadruple, and Latinos will face the largest increase in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias cases of any racial/ethnic group in the United States.
Feb 11, 2020
Texas Matters: When Texas Impeached; The Real Chicken Ranch Remembered
Do you remember learning about Texas history in grade school, and reading one sentence in the text books stating Texas impeached Governor James Ferguson? Then we learned his wife MA Ferguson was elected governor years later — and that’s all we got about this very curious event.
Jan 24, 2020
Texas Matters: Voter Registration Woes, Refugees Banned And Bloomberg
Texas residents have until Feb. 3 to register to to vote in the “Super Tuesday” March primaries. But they have to do it in person. However, the League of Women Voters of Texas is looking to eventually change that. The non-partisan, pro-democracy organization filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday claiming that Texas violated the National Voter Registration Act by not providing voter registration with online driver’s license applications. Grace Chimene is the president of the League of Women Voters of Texas.
Jan 17, 2020
Texas Matters: Julián Castro's 2020 Exit Interview
Last year when Julián Castro declared that he was running for president, few were surprised. But it was clear with the crowded field of candidates it would be an uphill battle for the former San Antonio mayor and secretary of Housing and Urban Development to win the nomination. But sometimes campaigns catch the zeitgeist.
Jan 10, 2020
When Tasers Fail: New Devices Lead To Fatal Police Shootings In Texas
Police officers nationwide use Tasers as a less lethal alternative to guns. The idea is to be able to stop someone – usually an unarmed but violent person – without having to kill them. Taser use is sometimes controversial. Lawsuits alleged that the electroshock weapons killed rather than subdued people. But what happens when Tasers don’t effectively subdue the person? Police officers in both San Antonio and Houston experienced the consequences of the Taser's failure. Texas Public Radio and Houston Public Media partnered with Reveal and APM Reports to analyze data showing that officers rated newer-model Tasers as less effective than older ones. Consequences Of Failure On April 20, 2017, San Antonio Park Police Officer Cristobal Martinez was patrolling on the city’s West Side when he spotted what looked like a man assaulting a woman. According to police reports and the officer's body camera, Martinez approached the pair. The man was Ray Valdez. He walked alongside his common-law wife.
Jan 03, 2020
Texas Matters: The Dead In The Desert
Brooks County is just under 1,000 square miles. It’s almost entirely dry, barren and rugged. Some call it the Texas Death Valley, but it’s not a valley. However, there certainly is death in this South Texas county.
Dec 31, 2019
Texas Matters: How Did A Small Texas County Become Prisonville USA?
Raymondville, Texas, is sometimes known by another name: Prisonville USA.
Dec 20, 2019
Texas Matters: Sex Trafficking Hotels, Dark Money In Texas Supreme Court Elections And Solar Energy
A woman who says she was first sex-trafficked at the age of 4 has filed a lawsuit against three north Texas hotel chains. Her suit claims the businesses were complicit by "enjoying the profit from rooms rented for explicit purposes." Sex trafficking is a 100 billion dollar enterprise and it’s is growing. Over a five-year period, cases of sex trafficking reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Texas have more than doubled. Watch dogs say legal businesses are profiting from sex trafficking. Experts say more than 60 percent of sex trafficking occurs in hotels and eight out of ten arrests for sex trafficking happens in or around hotels. Monica Cooper is an attorney at the Lanier Law Firm which has filed a law on behalf of an unnamed woman who said she was the victim of sex trafficking starting at the age of 4. The lawsuit is against well known hotel chains and alleges the hotel employees knew about on going sex trafficking activities that happened on site. They did nothing to
Dec 13, 2019
Texas Matters: Election 2020, Party Chairs And Beto O'Rourke
The 2020 Election Season began on Nov. 9 in Texas with the opening of the candidate filing window. The incumbents and hopeful giant slayers have until Dec. 9 to claim their spot on a primary ballot. It’s also the last day for independent candidates to file their declaration of intent to run.
Nov 22, 2019
Texas Matters: Rodney Reed On Death Row, Rural Hospitals In Crisis And Student Loans
On Nov. 20, Rodney Reed is scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas. Reed was convicted of raping and killing 19-year-old Stacey Stites in 1996 in Bastrop County. Reed said they were in a consensual relationship and maintains his innocence.
Nov 11, 2019
Texas Matters: Border Wars And Trump
In the new book Border Wars: Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration the authors New York Times journalists Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Michael D. Shear give us an understanding of recent U.S. immigration policy. We learn what is driving these policies and how well they are working.
Nov 01, 2019
Commentary: Day Of The Dead And Dead Migrants
In the United States, the majority of migrant deaths occur in Texas. In 2017, of all the 294 deaths recorded by the U.S. Border Patrol, 104 happened in the Rio Grande Valley. In recent years, many of those who died were unceremoniously and summarily buried in unmarked graves in places like the Sacred Heart Burial Park in Falfurrias, Texas. If Dia de Los Muertos celebrates the lives of the dead, who will remember these migrants?
Nov 01, 2019
Texas Matters: 1,000 Episodes And Looking Back
Texas Matters first hit the airwaves on Texas Public Radio on Sept. 1, 2000. And each week since Yvette Benavides (my creative partner and wife) and I have produced stories, interviews and commentaries for public radio listeners across Texas.
Oct 28, 2019
Texas Matters: Speaker Dennis Bonnen Caught On Tape
The 64 minute recording begins with cordial greetings, family talk and other pleasantries. It's June 12 and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen and Dustin Burrows, then the head of the Texas House Republican caucus, met with Michael Quinn Sullivan at the capitol. Bonnen and Burrows didn’t know that Sullivan — CEO of the conservative political advocacy group Empower Texans — was recording the meeting.
Oct 18, 2019
Texas Matters: Paul Theroux And A Journey Into Mexico
Paul Theroux is a novelist and also internationally renowned for his many books about travel. He has spent more than 50 years traveling the globe to chronicle the lives of people in distant lands. This time, he turns his eye on Mexico.
Oct 04, 2019
Texas Matters: Ann Patchett's Dutch House
Ann Patchett is back. The acclaimed and beloved author of seven other novels has penned “The Dutch House,” a story about a broken family in a beautiful house — one that becomes the center of a family saga spanning 50 years, and shows the ways in which three generations are influenced by the structure and its exquisite and idiosyncratic contents. The novel is about the ways in which we sometimes have to give up our obsessions, even abandon them, and find a way to forgiveness just the same. Texas Public Radio contributor Yvette Benavides spoke to Ann Patchett about the novel, The Dutch House . It’s published by Harper Collins.
Sep 30, 2019
Texas Matters: CHIP On the Decline, Childhood Trauma And Author Ann Patchett
Texas has the highest uninsured rate for children in the nation. And for the second year in a row the rate got even worse. That’s according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Children advocates are calling attention to these numbers and asking for state leaders to address this problem immediately. They say steps could be taken now – without the legislature to improve access to CHIP and Children’s Medicaid. Patrick Bresette is the Executive Director Children’s Defense Fund-Texas.
Sep 27, 2019
Texas Matters: Green Party Blues, Segregation In Longview And 'Dominicana'
Texas politics has never been very accommodating to third parties and their efforts to win votes. The Libertarian party has been perceived as siphoning votes away from the Republican party, and the Green Party from the Democrats.
Sep 20, 2019
Texas Matters: Fewer Voting Sites, Foster Care And Daniel Johnston Remembered
One of the most effective ways to keep people from voting for the political opposition is to not give those voters a place to go vote. The recipe is easy; make is easy for your side to vote – make it difficult or impossible to the other side to vote.
Sep 13, 2019
Texas Matters: New Laws For Women's Health And Guns
On Sept. 1, more than 800 new laws that passed in the last legislative session go into effect. Other laws signed by Gov. Greg Abbott went into effect immediately and some laws were written to start with the new year. But most are kicking off at the start of September.
Aug 30, 2019
Texas Matters: Time Of Death And The Execution Of Larry Swearingen
On Wednesday, August 21, the State of Texas prepared to execute Larry Swearingen. He was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of Melissa Trotter, a 19-year-old college student in Montgomery County.
Aug 23, 2019
Texas Matters: Red River Bridge War
In July 1931, Texans were wondering if their state was going to war with Oklahoma. The two neighboring states were in a showdown over a bridge over the Red River. While many saw this Red River Bridge War as a farcical episode it was also a watershed moment in history.
Aug 15, 2019
Texas Matters: History & Myth Behind 'Maverick'
How did the family name of a founding father of Texas become synonymous with an independent-minded person? Find out on this episode of "Texas Matters."
Aug 08, 2019
Texas Matters: 2020 Voter Trends And Voting Rights Act
It was in 2003 when Republicans took the majority of the Texas House of Representatives. The GOP had already won the Governor's seat and control of the Senate. The House was the last piece of the state government to secure the trifecta that’s been in place ever since. Controlling all three vital centers of state power makes it much easier for the dominate party to pursue its agenda and essentially operate without aggressive oversight. This was not unlike how the Democrats ran Texas when they had a power trifecta during their era of single party rule which ended in 1994.
Aug 02, 2019
Texas Matters: Combat In Climate Change, Water For Forgotten Texans & Can Port A Stay Wild?
The world’s rising heat is creating a serious problem for the United States Military. Despite the fact that the commander in chief, President Donald Trump, calls climate change a hoax – the Pentagon sees it differently. The U.S. top military brass calls climate change as serious threat to national security. The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community, an annual report on security threats to U.S. interests, concludes that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.” Responding to a Congressional order, the Defense Department issued a report in January that details how climate change will impact the Defense Department missions, operational plans, and installations. But there is another problem for the military with climate change, U.S troops will be forced to contend with the hotter – harsher conditions on the battlefield.
Jul 27, 2019
Texas Matters: Killer Heat Waves, Sea Level Rise And Climate Food Choices
July 2019 isn't over yet and it's on track to deliver the hottest temperatures ever recorded since the dawn of weather tracking. It's beating the previous record month which was June 2019.
Jul 19, 2019
Texas Matters: Charting Charter Schools And ISDs
Texas passed its initial charter school legislation in 1995 and the state's first charter schools opened in the fall of 1996.
Jul 12, 2019
Commentary: Spanish For President
Last month, millions tuned in to watch the Democratic presidential debates in Miami. Three of the candidates broke into Spanish during the debates at different times. The country reacted. When the smoke cleared, it was former HUD Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro who had the most to answer for — for a perceived lack of fluency in his attempt. Texas Public Radio commentator Yvette Benavides sees his code-switching, not as deficient, but as part of a far more complex and authentic story.
Jul 12, 2019
Commentary: The Human Cost Of A Broken Border
This week, we’ve continued to see the disturbing images coming from the detention centers on the southern border. The families keep making the journey from their home countries to the US/Mexico border, risking family separation—and more. They are driven by a desperation to flee violence and poverty. But for some, the story brings a bleaker fate. This week, the photographs of the a father and his little daughter who drowned trying to make the journey has created a tipping point for those who believe that the system imposed by the government to process asylum seekers while trying to deter them has finally broken down - A total failure. Texas Public Radio contributor Yvette Benavides shares her thoughts on that in this commentary. Benavides is a professor of creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University.
Jun 29, 2019
Texas Matters: Border Emergency Funding, Concentration Camps and Desperation
On Thursday night Congress passed a $4.6 billion emergency border aid bill, but it wasn’t the spending bill that many Democrats in the House said they wanted – including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Jun 28, 2019
Texas Matters: Asylum-Seeking Children In Inhumane Conditions And The Perfect Novel: 'Stoner'
The situation on the border isn’t getting any better. The flow of asylum seekers from a destabilized Central America is running into a politically charged federal government response that is not focused humanitarian aid.
Jun 21, 2019
Where We Come From; Oscar Casares - A Novel
Oscar Casares is known for his short story collection, "Brownsville," a publication that has become a new classic about life in this border city.
May 31, 2019
Remembering A Visit With Music Icon Lydia Mendoza
The Texas Historical Commission has recognized musician Lydia Mendoza as a significant contributor to Texas history by awarding her an official Texas History Marker.
May 31, 2019
Texas Matters: Banning Birds From Parks, Oscar Casares & Lydia Mendoza
May 31, 2019
Texas Matters: A Surreal View Of The Border's Dark Future
Some politicians paint such a dire picture of the Texas/Mexico border it’s natural to wonder where all this is leading.
May 24, 2019
Texas Matters: A Monumental Debate And Songs Of SA's Westside
On Monday, State Senator Brandon Creighton rose on the Senate floor to present his bill SB 1663. He is proposing a stringent process for the removal or alteration of historic monuments in Texas. Sen. Creighton: Our historical monuments tell the story of Texas. Our history is part of who we are, part of the story of Texas, but history is never just one person's account. What followed was a four-hour debate on the Senate floor that was passionate and sometimes personal. Creighton's bill did not arise out of a vacuum. It was a reaction to a number of confederate monuments ,plaques and symbols that had been removed in recent years from public areas, including the Texas Capitol. Those removals came after a public outcry and open debate. However, the Republican state senator from Conroe framed the events differently. Sen. Creighton: We've seen a trend across the nation and the world where controversial monuments are removed or destroyed often without any input, study or process, and I fear
May 10, 2019
Texas Matters: Zen And Death Row With Patrick Murphy
Patrick Murphy was ready to die on March 28 , and the State of Texas was ready to kill him. It was the U.S. Supreme Court that stepped in and granted the surprise execution stay. That’s why Murphy is alive today.
Apr 26, 2019
Texas Matters: The Texas Tax Switcheroo
In early April, Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced that they will support a proposal to raise the sales tax in Texas and use those proceeds to cut property taxes.
Apr 19, 2019
Texas Matters: Gerrymandering In Texas
Texas begins redistricting in two years. The process will slice up the state into political districts. When the districts are redrawn to benefit a particular party, it's called gerrymandering. For some Texans, it's time to finally end that particular political game.
Apr 14, 2019
Texas Matters: SB9, Election Integrity And Voter Rights
The next time Texans vote in a stateside election will be Super Tuesday, on March 3, 2020. Ten states are expected to hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, including three big ones: Texas, California and Virginia. There will be a lot on the line for the national and local primary races in Texas, and voting could look very different on that day ... if Senate Bill 9 is passed.
Mar 22, 2019
Texas Matters: How Austin Turned Cool Into Currency
Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Tech giants like Google and Amazon continue to expand there. It’s hard to say what’s rising faster the rents or the commute times. However one could say Austin is a victim of its own success. But other cities would love to have some of that Austin success come their way. But Austin wasn't designed or planned to be the center of tech innovation and the trend setter of new media, new music, new foods and new newness. So how did Austin become a destination city for the young, talented and ambitious? Before Austin got successfully weird it was small and overlooked. And can Austin continue to be the center of American cool? Texas writer Joe Nick Patoski writes about the strange trip that Austin took. His book is "Austin to ATX – The Hippies, Pickers, Slackers and Geeks who Transformed the Capital of Texas."
Mar 22, 2019
Texas Matters: The Fight Against Alzheimer’s
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.7 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's. This number includes an estimated 5.5 million people age 65 and older and approximately 200,000 individuals under age 65 who have early-onset Alzheimer's. One in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer's dementia. As the number of older Americans grows rapidly, so too will the number of new and existing cases of Alzheimer’s. Today someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every minute. But in about 30 years, someone in the U.S. will develop the disease every 30 seconds. Currently, Alzheimer’s is not preventable and not treatable, and it is fatal. In 2018, the direct costs for caring for those with Alzheimer’s was an estimated $227 billion. By 2050, it’s projected to cost more than a trillion dollars. And Alzheimer’s takes a devastating toll on caregivers. However, there is incredible research now underway to find ways to early identify, treat and prevent Alzheimer’s. This
Mar 08, 2019
Texas Matters: A Border Surge And Winslow On 'The Border'
There appears to be another surge at the southern border, and the most recent reports of number of families looking to gain unauthorized entry into the United States are raising eyebrows. They've certainly inspired a novelist in his latest work. More than 76,000 migrants crossed the border without authorization in February. That's an 11-year high. Kevin K. McAlleenan is the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. "It should be very clear from these numbers that we are facing alarming trends in the rising volumes of people illegally crossing our southwest border or arriving at our ports of entry without documents. This increased flow presents currently at our highest levels and over a decade. Both a border security and humanitarian crisis challenges our resources and personnel and is negatively impacting border security. We're also seeing stark increases in asylum seekers as we work to provide lawful and safe access at our southwest border ports of entry. In fiscal year 2018, we
Mar 08, 2019
We Were Not Orphans: Stories From The Waco State Home
The Texas Legislature established the Waco State Home as the State Home for Dependent and Neglected Children in 1919. It closed in 1979. Anglo children adjudged by district courts to be neglected were declared wards of the state of Texas, and they were admitted to the home for care, education and training. For many years, what happened inside the walls of the Waco State Home was only whispered about. Frequently, there was harsh treatment of the children — brutal beatings and sexual abuse. The stories of the former residents of the Waco State Home would have all been forgotten except for the efforts of Sherry Matthews. She’s written a book based on state records and the oral histories of the alumni called We Were Not Orphans: Stories from the Waco State Home , published by the University of Texas Press.
Mar 01, 2019
Texas Matters: Valeria Luiselli Writes About Lost Children In The Time Of Trump
Valeria Luiselli’s 2017 book “Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions” is an accounting of the author’s time working as an immigration courtroom interpreter in New York City. Like many of us, she was preoccupied with the border surge that occurred in 2014 and perplexed at the plight of the unaccompanied children, some 80,000, who made the perilous journey from the violence and despair of their home countries in Central America. Luiselli follows up with her latest book, a novel , Lost Children Archive. This is a story of a blended family making their life in America with the immigration crisis as a looming and vexing part of life. The protagonist in this work of fiction confronts the realities of an unimaginable problem that colors her work, her home life, her marriage, and even her own children. Author Valeria Luiselli spoke to Texas Public Radio contributor Yvette Benavides about her most recent books, borders, and her writing life.
Feb 24, 2019
Texas Matters: Rethinking Crime and Punishment
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, two hundred survivors of violent crimes from across Texas will come together on the steps of the Texas State Capitol.
Feb 15, 2019
Texas Matters: Trump's War Of Words On The Border
During President Donald Trump’s recent State of the Union Address, he paid special attention to the state of the Southern border. "As we speak, large, organized caravans are on the march to the United States. We have just heard that Mexican cities, in order to remove the illegal immigrants from their communities, are getting trucks and buses to bring them up to our country in areas where there is little border protection. I have ordered another 3,750 troops to our southern border to prepare for the tremendous onslaught," Trump said.
Feb 08, 2019
Texas Matters: SOS Voter List Advisory & The 'Calaboose'
The Texas secretary of state issued an advisory to county voter registrars saying there was a problem with non-citizens registering to vote and casting ballots in Texas elections. Now, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus is demanding answers. We talk to the caucus' chair Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin. Then, in the days of the Wild West, rowdy cowboys were locked up in what's called a "calaboose." These tiny one-room cells caught the eye of Willam E. Moore, who joins us to discuss (17:24).
Feb 01, 2019
Texas Matters: Songs, Stories And The Voice Of Rita Vidaurri
Texas music legend Rita Vidaurri, also known as La Calandria, died Jan. 16. She was 94. On this episode, we listen to a 2004 interview between TPR contributor Yvette Benavides and Vidaurri, who, at 80, was enjoying a second career on stage.
Jan 25, 2019
Is It Time To Close The 'Dead Suspect Loophole'?
The 86th Texas Legislature is underway and many are wondering if this is the session when overdue repairs are made to the Public Information Act, including closing one loophole that helps police departments hide what happens when a suspect dies while in custody.
Jan 19, 2019
Texas Matters: Will Texas Close The 'Dead Suspect Loophole'?
As the 86th Texas Legislature begins, many are wondering if this is the session when overdue repairs are made to the state's damaged public information act. This includes a law dubbed the "Dead Suspect Loophole." We talk to the family of an 18-year-old who died while in custody of the Mesquite Police Department. They were told they could not gain access to details relating to Graham's death because of this controversial law.
Jan 19, 2019
Texas Matters: 'The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters' Of The Lone Star State
Texas troubadours are part of American music lore. These Lone Star bards have been groundbreakers and hitmakers since the dawn of the commercial music industry and are featured in the book, “ Pickers and Poets: The Ruthlessly Poetic Singer-Songwriters of Texas ." Craig Clifford, a professor of philosophy at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, who co-edited the book with Craig D. Hillis join us on this program.
Jan 14, 2019
Texas Matters: Behind The Myths Of The Old West
The cattle drive of the Old West was all about connecting the $4 cow in San Antonio with the $40 market in Kansas — and making that connection depended on cowboys. For these saddle tramps, the cattle drive was just a job, but somehow it became an American myth. Tim Lehman's " Up the Trail " reveals that reality was vastly different than the American myth told in dime novels, TV shows and in song.
Jan 04, 2019
Texas Matters: A Grim Look At Sex Trafficking
There are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in Texas including, almost 80,000 minors and youth victims, according to a study by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault at the University of Texas. Human sex trafficking is a multibillion dollar business that has made use of the open internet for marketing and recruiting of victims. This is a look at how sex is sold online, efforts to shut down those online sites, and how the traffickers adapt. Listener warning: This program is going to be rough to listen to but this is an important glimpse into the horrific world of sex trafficking. Some of the most disturbing and graphic descriptions of events have been edited out – but this is real, and what remains is still grim. There are accounts of sexual violence that are not suitable for all listeners.
Dec 28, 2018
Commentary: A Toxic 2018
The end of the year means a look at the word of the year from a variety of dictionaries. The top word, presumably, is a metonym for our collective experience of the year’s events.
Dec 08, 2018
Texas Matters: Nursing Home Crisis, A Texas Bucket List and the Word of the Year
The largest nursing home provider in Texas filed for bankruptcy. Senior Care Centers filed for Chapter 11 protection. The Dallas based company operates about 100 facilities in Texas reported more than $100 million in debt. The company pledged that patient care will not suffer due to its financial woes. However, the Texas Health Care Association, an advocacy group for the long-term care industry, said this bankruptcy sends a signal that the industry that many elderly Texans depend on is in serious trouble. And because of the rapidly aging population of Texas and the reluctance of the State lawmakers to raise the Medicaid reimbursement rate, the situation is getting much worse. Kevin Warren is the President and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association. A Texas Sized Bucket List (12:26) Many of us take pride in Texas – but how many of the state’s wonders have we enjoyed first hand? Author and historian E.R. Bills can say he has. He’s written the book 100 Things to do in Texas before you
Dec 08, 2018
Texas Matters: 'Texas 7' Escapee Set For Execution
Joseph Garcia sits on Texas' death row after he was convicted of the murder of Irving Police Officer Aubrey Hawkins. On this episode of "Texas Matters," we talk to Garcia at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Livingston, just outside of Huntsville, where he is scheduled to be executed on Dec. 4. We also talk to Jeff Spivey, chief of the Irving Police Department, in remembrance of Hawkins.
Nov 30, 2018
Commentary: Sympathy For The Non-Voter
The mid-term election turnout numbers in Texas have left many breathless. It’s being described as a new high water mark for the state which has a record of lack-luster voter participation. But this week Texas could be looking at a turnout of over 50 percent of registered voters. But that also means about half of the people who could vote didn’t. TPR’s David Martin Davies takes a look at maybe why that is. In the 1990’s MTV worked really hard to make voting cool. They drafted their trend setting video stars like Ozzy Osbourne. “Remember your vote is your voice.” ...And Madonna “Get out and Vote” To deliver that Rock the Vote message. “Vote or you’re going to get a spanking!” It does seem strange that any ad campaign would be needed to persuade people to vote. It’s in each individual’s best interest to help elect someone who will work on your behalf. But San Antonio College student Michael Walker doesn’t see it that way. “I really don’t like the government. I don’t really believe in it
Nov 11, 2018