Archives for December 2017

Dr. Noliwe Rooks, pt. 2 (Ep. 4, 2018)

In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr concludes a conversation with Dr. Noliwe Rooks, Director of American Studies and Associate Professor of African Studies at Cornell University and author of Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation and the End of Public Education.

KUT Weekend – December 29, 2017

A look back at our favorite stories of 2017, including changes in the neighborhood around 12th and Chicon Streets, a new Muslim sorority at UT Austin, and a local man who successfully pushed an effort to amend the U.S. Constitution. That and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Custom License Plates

Putting a personalized license plate on your car could be about you, or it could be about a team you love, or maybe one you hate. They’re also a win for the state treasury.

Texas Standard: December 29, 2017

An ongoing election recount issue in Virginia has a Texas tie. Why the state thought they had a fool-proof way of counting ballots in the wake of Bush v. Gore. Plus, thinking of changing careers in the New Year? Or taking steps to do so? We’ll lay out which industries across the state are likely to have the biggest needs. And we’ll introduce you to a new group of superheroes and, later, the candidates for Texas Agriculture Commissioner. We’ll also get a call from the future -sort of- thanks to a former Texan whose back “home” in Australia. And Fridays mean the Typewriter Rodeo and a wrap of the biggest stories in Texas politics, today on the Standard:

Texas Standard: December 28, 2017

Alright finish my sentence here: if you’re not guilty you’re..? did you say innocent? Well that’s not exactly true in one Houston case, we’ll explain. Also, a Texas global intelligence team is looking ahead to 2018 to pinpoint possible hotspots. Their list may look familiar. Plus, more predictions… this time in the world of tech. What should we expect from our gadgets and gizmos a-plenty? And a well-known school and home for at-risk kids in the Texas Panhandle is acknowledging a history of abuse. We’ll have that story. All that and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

On The 20th Century, And The 22nd

With 2018 upon upon us, let’s look 100 years back at 1918, and let’s make some guesses about the coming year.

In 1918, there were fewer than 250,000 vehicles on the road in Texas. No driver’s license was required, by the way. Given that there were only about 5 million of us back then, we had one vehicle for every 20 people. That made getting to the family reunion a tight squeeze.

Today there are 22 million vehicles on the road in Texas – sometimes I think all of them are in the I-35 corridor when I’m there. There are 28 million Texans. Subtract the children and you have damnear one vehicle for every Texan of driving age. Since 1918, cars and trucks have proliferated far faster than Texans. We’ve seen a twenty-fold increase in vehicles and only a 6-fold increase in people. We’re adding cars and trucks faster than we’re making Texans.

In 1918, World War I ended. Incidentally, it was called The Great War then. It didn’t become WW I until we had a WW II, which created the unique war labeling. Many people have been talking about WW III for some time but fortunately, nobody has been able to produce it yet.

A million Texans registered for the draft and 200,000 fought in the Great War. Texas volunteerism was high, perhaps because Germany had offered Mexico a deal in the Zimmermann Telegram. They said that if Mexico threw in with Germany, Germany would help them get Texas back.

5200 Texans died during the war. About a third of them died from the other devastating event of that year, the influenza pandemic, better known as the Spanish Flu. It was particularly sad that we had soldiers survive four years of unholy trench warfare and mustard gas only to come home to die of the flu.

The Spanish Flu was unusual in that 20-40 year old adults were most at risk rather than children and old people. A common story of the time was of four healthy women who played bridge late into the night. They went to bed and the next morning, three were dead.

Children who survived the flu that year, some believe, went on to live healthier lives than most because they developed powerful immunities. My mother had the flu when she was eigh years old. She lived to be almost 102. She was in good company: Walt Disney had it, Woodrow Wilson had it, and so did Texas novelist Katherine Ann Porter, who later wrote a novella based on the epidemic called “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.”

A study by Vanderbilt University in 2008 found that people like my mom still had the Spanish Flu antibodies, working hard 90 years after they had the flu.

Texas cities like El Paso were particularly hard-hit, partially because of Fort Bliss, the military base there. 600 people died in El Paso, almost 1 percent of the population, and many more, of course, survived the flu.

Today, we have the flu vaccine, which was invented by Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis in 1933. So though a pandemic of the 1918 variety is not impossible, most experts feel it is highly unlikely. But we cannot say the same for World Wars. It always seems one surprise assassination of an obscure archduke away.

Turning to the future, what will Texas look like in 100 years, in 2118? All one can do is look at trends and guess. As Peter Drucker said, “Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights on while looking out the back window.” So with that warning, let’s try anyway.

If we go by the futurists at Google, we can predict that there will be fewer cars on the road, per capita, than now. We will have many types of public transportation such as self-driving buses and cars. Fewer people will own their own cars and trucks in the future. Experts believe we will simply hail self-driving taxis using some future version of smart phones which probably won’t be called phones anymore. I wonder if we will have taxi pickup trucks, nicely lifted, with an occasional set of longhorns strapped to the front, just for nostalgia.

I asked former official State Demographer of Texas, Steve Murdock (everybody’s go-to guy for the future of Texas) what the Texas population would look like in 2118.

“If Texas continues to grow as it has in the recent past, one would expect it to increase its population to more than 80 million by 2118. This assumes that Texas will obtain technology and other factors to increase the water supply,” he said.

From this number, we can see that this would put us in the neighborhood of present-day Egypt for size and population.

Murdock also said that in the 2050-2060 decade, Texas will be about 55 percent Hispanic and 20 percent white. It’s hard to predict trends beyond that point. He said we need very much to ensure educational opportunity for all or we will not have the success in the century ahead that we enjoyed in the last one.

My personal guess is that Texas will be incredibly urban in 2118, as compared to today, particularly east of I-35. DFW, Houston and San Antonio will be super cities. Austin may well be a kind of giant suburb of San Antonio. It’s quite possible that San Antonio and Houston will fight over city limit signs.

If the big tech giants have the future properly envisioned, our cities like Dallas and Houston will be more people-friendly – pushing vehicles out of our streets and reclaiming many as green spaces for walking and biking and sports. And we will all have artificial intelligence robots.

I just hope the robots say things like “howdy” and “fixin’to” and “while I’m up, can I get y’all a beer?”

Texas Standard: December 27, 2017

Trips to Israel by Texas officials are costing taxpayers. Is it worth it? We’ll explore. Also we’ll take a look at the longstanding economic ties between Texas, and oil! Plus while all eyes have been on the North Pole the last few days we turn our attention to the South Pole. We’ll hear from a couple who spent time there for research on a future journey to Mars. And if you’ve got a poinsettia in the house, check the leaves. We’ll tell you why. And we’ll look to commentator WF Strong for some predictions for Texas not in 2018… but in 2118. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

This Song: Blitzen Trapper — Rerun!

Portland rockers Blitzen Trapper just released a new record called Wild and Reckless. They’re also headlining the first show in KUTX’s 5th Birthday Concert Series at Antones on February 22nd. In this rerun singer, songwriter and guitar player Eric Early describes how the darker realms of R.E.M.’s music inspired him as a teenager. Then drummer Brian Koch explains how his high school peers led him to realize he too could play music.

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Buy tickets to see Blitzen Trapper February 22nd at Antones 

Check out Blitzen Trapper’s tour dates



You Talk White (Ep. 1)

Delve into the history of the “black southern dialect” and hear about the insecurities and expectations when speaking in white or intellectual spaces. DaLyah and Jackie discuss the shaming that comes from friends and family when not speaking “black” enough. Their guest is the author of “Sista, Speak! Black Women Kinfolk Talk About Language and Literacy,” Dr. Sonja L. Lanehart.

Texas Standard: December 26, 2017

It was the biggest weather disaster in Texas history: this hour we’re exploring how it changed the contours of the lone star state. We’re retracing Hurricane Harvey’s path through southeast Texas, and the long and winding road to recovery. From Port Aransas to Houston and the golden triangle, it’s the story of a storm which the weather service warned would have no precedent, but Texans came together in ways large and small, helping strangers in need, and finding new ways forward. On this day after Christmas, we’re reconsidering an event that changed Texas in countless ways:

Texas Standard: December 25, 2017

In 2017, the oil industry didn’t bounce back to those record highs of three years ago, but oil country? That’s another story, we’ll explain. We hope you and yours are have a very merry Christmas day, and we are celebrating the holidays here at the Standard in a manner befitting those of us who love all things radio, with a bit of a listening party. Our reporters have made their lists of favorite stories, our editors have checked em over twice and today we’re listening back. From the ghost towns of Texas Christmases past, to a restringing session with Trigger…you know Trigger right? Grab something warm to sip on because its our special edition of the Texas Standard:

Dr. Noliwe Rooks, pt. 1 (Ep. 3, 2018)

In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr speaks with Dr. Noliwe Rooks, author of Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation and the End of Public Education, and Director of American Studies and Associate Professor of African Studies at Cornell University.


KUT Weekend – December 22, 2017

The cousin of a teenager killed by an Austin police officer tries to keep his memory alive. Plus, how mental health care delivery in Austin is getting a shake-up. And a high school football team in a hurricane battered town plays for the state championship. Those stories in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Ode To The Mall

Even if you’re not a frequent denizen of the local mall, you’ve probably spent some time there this holiday season. And if not, you have some memories of teenaged days spent hanging out there.

Texas Standard: December 22, 2017

Before Harvey, developers were allowed to build homes inside reservoirs. How did they get the green light? And did anyone warn the buyers? The story today on the Standard.

Texas based AT&T giving 200,000 workers $1000 bonuses. The company says it’s thanks to the tax cuts just passed by congress. Now other companies are joining in the bonus giving spree. We’ll hear what may be the corporate calculation behind the bonus boom.

And with fewer than 1% of all Americans on active duty- a growing divide between the military and civilians

Also remember small town Texas? For those who may have forgotten, a writer in Abilene on seven pressing issues.

Texas Standard: December 21, 2017

Texans and the Tax Bill. There are winners- and losers too. Kevin Diaz of the Houston Chronicle has done the numbers. How it all adds up today on the Texas Standard.

Happy new year? With one of the biggest NSA surveillance operations ever authorized against US citizens currently set to expire December 31, a plan to reauthorize and possibly expand the NSA’s power hits a last minute wall. We’ll hear what happens next.

Fort Worth fires a veteran police officer over the tazing of an unarmed woman. How the story’s highlighting deep divisions there. Meanwhile in Houston, a first in the nation effort to plant virtual psychiatrists among first responders.

All those stories and much more on the national news show of Texas.

This Song: Benjamin Wallfisch (Blade Runner 2049, IT)

Composer and Conductor Benjamin Wallfisch has scored music for over 60 feature films including Hidden Figures and the remake of Steven King’s IT. He also collaborated with Hans Zimmer on the soundtrack for Blade Runner 2049.  Listen as he describes how hearing John William’s score for E.T.  as a young boy set him on the path of making music for movies.

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Listen to Songs from Episode 111 of This Song


Texas Standard: December 20, 2017

What’s most important to Texas? Harvey relief? A deal for DACA? What about just keeping the government going through the holidays? Deadlines and decisions on the Standard.

In a moment we’ll talk with editors in three Texas cities to hear what Texans are telling them about what D.C. needs to get done by this weekend. And why.

Remember how schoolteacehrs used to pin a note to your shirt so parents would get the message? The state’s just done that to hundreds of students. The message: you’ve been hacked.

Plus the Texan who taught the Beatles how to blow it. Delbert McClinton on the real story on that intro to Love Me Do. All that and a whole lot more.

Texas Standard: December 19, 2017

Internal dysfunction at the Texas agency that manages state buildings. How it’s affecting what tax dollars pay for? On today’s Texas Standard.

You’ve heard it before, but could 2018 be the year for Texas Democrats? We’ll hear one argument.

Austin wants a soccer team. But the city is still kicking around ideas about where to put a stadium.

Plus, remember anthrax? The mail attacks made it a household name across the country, but it’s long been an issue in some parts of Texas.

And- is so-called clean coal really a viable solution to long-term energy plans? What one reporter found in the Lone Star State.

All that and more on today’s Texas Standard.