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