Texas Standard For November 12, 2020

Texas crosses a critical 1 million mark in COVID-19 cases, and the governor sends help to Lubbock, as hospitals reach capacity, we’ll have the latest. And: A post-election push to update voting machines in Texas’ biggest county. What’s wrong with the old ones? We’ll follow the paper trail, or lack thereof. Also: The top vote-getter in Texas history and what it says about the intersection of politics and how top judges get picked in Texas. Plus: He was a Texas sharecropper’s son in a Jim Crow Navy. Now a super carrier will bear his name. Eight decades after his heroics at Pearl Harbor, Dorie Miller gets his due. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardNovember 12, 2020 9:35 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Thursday, November 12, 2020. Listen on your Texas public radio station, or ask your smart speaker to play Texas Standard. We’ll have full posts for each story, including audio, a little later today.

COVID-19 Surge in Lubbock

Lubbock continues to experience such a large surge in COVID-19 cases that officials there say mobile hospital tents are now needed because hospital bed space is maxed out. Katherine Wells, Lubbock’s public health director, talks to the Standard. 

Texas is the First State with 1 Million COVID Cases

Texas has hit a sobering stage in the novel coronavirus pandemic this week, becoming the first state to surpass a million COVID-19 cases. In fact, if Texas were a country, the state would rank 10th worldwide in total COVID-19 cases according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Houston Chronicle data journalist Jordan Rubio has been going over the data and he talks to the Standard. 

Voting Machines

When Harris County voters went to the polls last week, they used machines that hadn’t been upgraded in 20 years. The county is currently the largest in the country to use electronic machines that don’t create a paper record for ballots. That’s a problem, and the county has spent more than a year looking for a replacement. Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider follows the paper trail.

Texas Supreme Court Appointees

The U.S. Supreme Court considers both civil and criminal cases. But in Texas, there are two high courts: the Supreme Court which hears civil cases and the Court of Criminal Appeals, which hears criminal cases. Texans elect members of both courts. Randall Erben, a University of Texas law professor and a member of the Texas Ethics Commission, talks to the Standard about how, recently, most of the justices on Texas Supreme Court were originally appointed, rather than elected by voters. 


In the days since the election, the app for the social media network Parler has risen to the top of the charts on the app stores for both Apple and Google. Some call Parler “Twitter for conservatives,” and many who’ve signed up say they’re tired of content restrictions on Twitter and Facebook. Prominent voices on the right, including Texas senator Ted Cruz and Fox personality Laura Ingraham have also found a home on Parler. Tech expert Omar Gallaga talks to the Standard about this new platform. 

Dorie Miller and Civil Rights

A new Navy supercarrier will be called the U.S.S. Doris Miller. Miller was the son of sharecroppers from Waco. He joined the Navy in 1939, and served as a cook. But on December 7, 1941, he found himself in the thick of combat aboard the U.S.S. West Virginia, stationed at Pearl Harbor. When Japanese forces ambushed the base, Miller rushed to an anti-aircraft gun he’d never been trained to use, and fired back at the attacking Japanese Zeros. When the attack subsided, Miller carried his injured crewmates to safety. Michael Parrish, history professor at Baylor University and coauthor of “Doris Miller: Pearl Harbor and the Birth of the Civil Rights Movement” talks to the Standard. 

College Online COVID Dashboards

When university and college classrooms reopened to students and faculty in the fall, school administrators across Texas set up online dashboards for reporting COVID-19 cases. While the caliber of information varies, one college in the state stands out because it refuses to publicly divulge anything. KERA’s Bill Zeeble discovered that the lack of transparency at one North Texas college is causing concern for faculty and students.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Michael Marks with the talk of Texas.

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