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Posts under ‘The great state of Texas’

Winning the battles but losing the war

That’s the story of reproductive rights, and access to reproductive health care in general, in Texas. “We have made tremendous gains,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life. He hopes that someday, perhaps under Trump, the Supreme Court will overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling upholding abortion rights. In the meantime, […]

Texas asks for Ike Dike money from the feds

Good luck with that. Almost a decade after Hurricane Ike killed dozens of people and caused $30 billion in damage, a group of Texas politicians and business leaders say they finally have “all the support necessary” to break ground on a massive coastal barrier that would protect the Houston area from another devastating hurricane. Now […]

No more feral hog poison

It was not to be. The manufacturer of a controversial bait used to kill feral hogs withdrew its state registration for the poison, putting Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s plans for a Texas “Hog Apocalypse” on hold. “We have received tremendous support from farmers and ranchers in the State of Texas, and have empathy for the […]

Texas Lyceum poll on immigration

Our state has more nuanced views than you might think. The pollsters found that 62 percent of Texans said immigration helps the United States more than it hurts the country. That’s an increase from 2016, when 54 percent of the respondents said they viewed immigration was more beneficial than harmful. The pollsters defined “sanctuary” entities […]

Hate groups are getting busy on college campuses

From the Anti-Defamation League, another reason to be worried, if you needed one. White supremacists, emboldened by the 2016 elections and the current political climate, are currently engaged in an unprecedented outreach effort to attract and recruit students on American college campuses. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has cataloged 104 incidents of white supremacist fliering on […]

A happy ending

This was a long time coming. When I first reported on this family a year ago, the boys – who had behavioral issues and delays likely stemming from abuse, neglect and being shuttled through foster placements – had just been removed from the loving women they called Mama and Mommy, and the stable home where […]

The kindergarten face of SB6

Meet the Shappley family of Pearland. Kimberly Shappley’s former self is about as by-the-book right-wing as you can get: a Southern Baptist-identified evangelical, a Republican stalwart, an “ultraconservative” Tea Partier. When she heard of other parents with transgender kids, she remembers derisively thinking, “If my kid wants to be a dinosaur, am I just supposed […]

The travel ban and the rural doctor shortage

Just another unintended consequence. In Texas and across the country, foreign-trained doctors like the Iranian-born [Dr. Hossein] Yazdani fill a critical need in rural communities, which often struggle to attract physicians born and trained in the U.S. That reality has been highlighted in the weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning […]

Of course Obamacare repeal would have a big negative effect on Texas

I mean, duh. As many as a half-million Texans could become uninsured under the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, wiping out at least half the gains the state has made in reducing the number of uninsured residents in recent years, according to health care analysts. Texas still has the nation’s highest percentage […]

Border walls are bad for the environment

Not that anyone pushing for a border wall cares, but just so you know. There’s been a lot of debate about how effective the Bush-era barrier has been at keeping out illegal crossers and drug smugglers. Some data indicates the barriers have encouraged people to cross in places where there isn’t one. But the handprints […]

If you can’t porkchop ’em, poison ’em

The war on feral hogs enters a new phase. At a Feb. 21 news conference in Austin, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced the agency had issued a rule that would allow Kaput Feral Hog Bait, a pesticide containing the anticoagulant warfarin as its active ingredient, to be used in the control of feral hogs. […]

The border tax effect on your food

You’re gonna pay more. Any questions? The idea of a tariff on Mexican imports or a radical change to the North American Free Trade Agreement — another Trump promise — worries many Texas agriculture industry leaders, who say it is in the state’s best interest to continue fostering a positive trade relationship with Mexico rather […]

Alternate funding sources

That’s one way to do it. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, announced plans Friday to raise public funds for Travis County, days after Gov. Greg Abbott canceled about $1.5 million in criminal justice grants over the county’s new “sanctuary” policy. Rodriguez’s initiative is called Travis County #StrongerTogether and it will allow the community to donate […]

“The Short, Tumultuous Tenure Of Corpus Christi Mayor Dan McQueen”

This is just amazing. After just 37 days in office, Dan McQueen announced his resignation as the mayor of Corpus Christi via Facebook last Wednesday. “Consider this my resignation. I resign immediately,” he wrote in the Facebook post, according to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. “The city can no longer deal with such differing views and divisiveness. […]

Texas’ first transgender Mayor

Meet Jess Herbst, Mayor of New Hope, Texas. The mayor of a small Collin County town has become the first known openly transgender elected official in Texas history. Jess Herbst, who was elected mayor of New Hope last May, came out as trans in an open letter to residents on the town’s website. “As your […]

Fire ant-killing robots

Let’s just luxuriate in the glory of that headline for a moment, shall we? Harley Myler is working on a “war of the worlds.” That’s what the Lamar Electrical Engineering Department chair calls his latest project: a walking robot that incinerates red fire ants. The idea is to use a camera to identify the species […]

The history of the Chicken Ranch

Chron columnist and Texas historian Joe Holley writes about an attempt to put a marker by the site of the infamous Chicken Ranch. It’s been 43 years since KTRK-TV’s crusading consumer affairs reporter (“Slime in the ice machine!!”) rolled into town with a cameraman to bust the unassuming, little country brothel that had flourished just […]

Galveston wants a bag ban

Good luck. Reacting to a groundswell of concern about the effect of plastic bags on the environment, Galveston is on the forefront of a statewide controversy over cities’ ability to ban plastic bags that are killing turtles, birds and fouling beaches. A proposed ordinance with unanimous City Council support and strong community backing faces fierce […]

It’s Santa season

Ho, ho, ho, y’all. For two months of the year, Houston aircraft mechanic Lance McLean trades in his coveralls at the end of the day for a red Santa suit. This year, McLean will don the suit 49 times, beginning Saturday. Twenty-nine of those events will be held at Houston public libraries. “My ex-wife thought […]

The coming measles outbreak

I hope we’re wrong about this. Peter Hotez used to worry mostly about vaccines for children in far-away places. An infectious diseases researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, Hotez is developing shots against diseases in poorer countries such as hookworm and schistosomiasis. But now, Hotez is anxious about children much closer to […]

An awful lot of Texans could lose health insurance

It sure will suck to be them. New public-health studies warn that hasty congressional action toward repealing the Affordable Care Act could have dire consequences for the poor and uninsured both in Texas and nationwide. The dismantlement of portions of the law, known as Obamacare, without a comparable substitute could mean 2.6 million more Texans […]

MUDs and debt

Another story about the least-understood form of debt and taxation in Texas. In Houston’s conservative suburbs, where local governments are loath to raise taxes, the thankless task of hiking revenues has fallen to hundreds of so-called municipal utility districts created for developers to finance water and sewage systems, roads and other amenities. These MUDs, as […]

Ostriching

Hey, remember when ostrich farms were the next big thing? Over the last few years, there’s been renewed interest in ostrich farming in the United States, particularly in Texas. The industry peaked in the 1990s, before inflated prices for birds and eggs exposed it to corruption and market instability. By the end of the decade, […]

Stuck in the MUD

Tricky things, these municipal utility districts. MUD 187 came to be when a Houston developer arranged for two people to move their trailer onto a 519-acre site on the edge of Richmond in Fort Bend County, which at the time was an empty field. As the only “residents” within the municipal utility district’s boundaries, the […]

Black women face much higher risk of pregnancy-related death in Texas

Any time you’re being compared to a third world country, it’s not a good thing. Black women bear the greatest risk for pregnancy-related death in Texas by far, according to a much-awaited new report, commissioned because the state rate resembles that of many Third World countries. The report, which follows the publication of a national […]

Getting the (wind and solar) power to the people

It’s all about the transmission lines. The Lone Star state is by far the largest state for wind power, with nearly 18,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity already built and another 5,500 megawatts—nearly equal to California’s total installed capacity—planned. The biggest driver of that wind boom was an $8 billion transmission system that was built […]

Why are so many pregnant women dying in Texas?

Better yet, what are we going to do about it? The rate of Texas women dying of pregnancy-related causes nearly doubled from 2010 to 2014, with the state seeing more than 600 such deaths in the four-year span. In a new study, set to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers […]

“Just Like Every Other Kid”

From the Observer: Texas’ child welfare apparatus is in a shambles. Zika virus threatens to put some of our most vulnerable in danger. Low oil prices have fiscal leaders worried about the future of the state’s budget. State lawmakers are facing accusations of rampant abuse of taxpayer funds in the form of unsanctioned “emergency leave” […]

Behind The Tower

Fifty years have passed since Charles Whitman went on an infamous killing spree at the University of Texas. Now a group of historians at UT have taken an in depth look at Whitman and his actions, and tried to answer questions we still don’t fully understand today. What happens to events that historians ignore, events […]

The Latino health insurance enrollment gap in Texas

We have made great strides in reducing the uninsured rate in Texas thanks to the Affordable Care Act, but there’s still a lot of work to do. The percentage of Hispanics in Texas without health insurance has dropped by 30 percent since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect, but almost one-third of Hispanic […]

Will we ever learn what caused Greg Abbott’s burns?

Not sure what to make of this. Gov. Greg Abbott was released Friday from a San Antonio military hospital, but he has yet to give details of the accident that put him there with second- and third-degree burns. Abbott’s office has said his lower legs and feet were severely burned when he came into contact […]

Guardianship

An eye-opening story in the Observer on a subject many of us probably never think about. Guardianship is the state’s last-ditch tool to protect people from neglect or abuse, and although it saves lives, it can be a blunt instrument. More than 53,000 Texans, most of them elderly or intellectually disabled, are under a guardianship […]

Hexit?

The Chron’s Ken Hoffman asks a burning question. Just for fun, how would the vote go if Houstonians had a crack at “Hexit” – leaving Texas? I don’t mean another “Brexit” – in which British voters elected to leave the European Union, but apparently many didn’t know what they were voting for or against or […]

Abbott hospitalized after suffering burns

Ouch. [Gov. Greg] Abbott is recuperating from burns on both legs below the knees. On Tuesday, the governor [underwent] skin grafts to repair damage on both feet. He is expected to be discharged and will return to Austin. His office revealed on Sunday that he had suffered “second- and third-degree burns” when he was accidentally […]