Texas Standard For August 16, 2021

A self inflicted wound? A former ambassador to Afghanistan on the fall of Kabul and the end of what’s been called the longest war. And: A tough year for the Texas governor. But going into an election year, many political writers say he seems unstoppable. We’ll talk with a top writer at Politico. Also: The redistricting battle in Texas and its repercussions way beyond the state border line. Plus: Remembering a singer/songwriter who left a little bit of small town Texas wherever her songs were heard. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardAugust 16, 2021 9:28 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, August 16, 2021.

A Former Ambassador On Afghanistan

Amid the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Taliban has quickly asserted control over much of the country. For more on the situation, we’re joined by former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, currently a nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s Appeal

Despite a near collapse of the state’s electric grid in February and anger on the left and right over his handling of the pandemic, Texas Governor Greg Abbott appears strong heading into re-election next year. Texas Democrats haven’t even fielded a challenger yet. Renuka Rayasam has been writing about Greg Abbott’s electoral fortunes for Politico, where she’s a Texas correspondent. She joins us today.

Nanci Griffith Obituary

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Nancy Griffith died on Friday at the age of 68. Griffith cut her musical teeth in the 1970s Texas folk scene, eventually winning  the hearts of critics and fans from Austin to Ireland. The Standard’s Shelly Brisbin offers this remembrance.

Prison Suicides

In 2020, Texas saw the most prison suicides in at least 20 years – despite a prison population that fell by 20,000 during that same time frame. Even before the pandemic, prison suicides have been rising in both Texas and nationwide, which has criminal justice reform advocates searching for solutions. Keri Blakinger has been reporting on this for The Marshall Project. She joins us today.

The Sounds Of Texas: Sidewalk Singers

A musical couple put themselves to work during the pandemic by starting a singing telegram company. Co-founder Serafia says Sidewalk Singers was born out of desperation but has life long beyond lockdown.

Tumbleweeds As Trendy Décor

Folks are running around West Texas collecting tumbleweeds – and selling them for big bucks on sites like Etsy. For more on this boom in natural decor, we’re joined by Paula Mejía, senior editor at Texas Monthly

GOP And Redistricting In Texas

The redistricting data drawn from the U.S. Census will have a lasting impact on politics for the next decade. Republicans, who have kept their 20 year majority in the state going into the redistricting cycle, will control the process here – and that could help the GOP take back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022. Ari Berman wrote about this gerrymandering scenario for Mother Jones. He’s here to talk with us today.

All this plus the Texas News Roundup, and Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the Talk of Texas.

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