Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Monday, Aug. 8, 2022:
Congress takes major steps toward passing climate policy
After decades of inaction, Congress is taking action on climate. On Sunday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill with the goal of slowing the rate at which our planet is heating up. The bill passed through the Senate 51 to 50, with all Republicans against and all Democrats – plus Vice President Kamala Harris – in favor. The House of Representatives is expected to take up the measure this week. If it passes, it will be the first major climate law approved by this country’s legislative body. Matthew Choi, Washington correspondent for the Texas Tribune, joins us with more.
Crushing debt for North Texans
It’s been over two years since the start of the pandemic, and it will probably take years for us to grasp the total magnitude of its impact. But when it comes to household debt, we know that Americans tacked on a ton of debt during COVID-19. Beyond that, though – it gets confusing. KERA’s Christopher Connelly has been reporting on what we do and don’t know about pandemic debt.
European energy crisis prompts governmental reduction strategies
There’s no doubt that gas and electricity costs are putting the squeeze on consumers – but America’s energy woes pale in comparison to what’s going on in Europe. Across the Atlantic, soaring power costs have some governments scrambling for alternatives and calling on their populations to reduce energy usage. And the worst may be yet to come, if things don’t improve before winter’s colder temperatures hit. Matt Smith lead oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, joins us with more.
New research partnership at UT focuses on big questions surrounding artificial intelligence
It seems like every day there are new headlines about what artificial intelligence can do. A new research partnership at the University of Texas at Austin is less interested in what AI can do, and more about whether or how it does something. The initiative is in partnership with the MITRE corporation, a nonprofit focused on solving big social problems. Joining us to tell us more is Kenneth R. Fleischmann, a professor in the school of information at UT-Austin and the founding chair of Good Systems, a team of researchers dedicated to developing AI that benefits society.
Why Houston’s food scene is better than New York City’s
As the fourth most populous city in the nation – and the largest in Texas – Houston is known for a lot of things: pro sports, world class art museums, NASA. But it’s the city’s food scene that’s really worth getting excited about. It’s certainly caught the attention of Bao Ong, who recently left New York City to become the newest restaurant columnist for the Houston Chronicle. He tells us why Houston’s restaurant scene is so exciting.
The impact of qualified immunity on mentally ill suspects and inmates
Qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that can keep law enforcement officers from being held liable for violating the constitutional rights of a suspect. The practice has long been a target of criminal justice and civil rights advocates who believe it allows police abuse to continue. But a pair of Texas cases the Supreme Court chose not to hear this term also point to how immunity for cops has affected the risk of suicide for mentally ill suspects and inmates. Nick Sibilla, a writer and legislative analyst for the Institute for Justice, wrote about the two recent cases for Slate.
All this, plus the Texas Newsroom’s state roundup and Shelly Brisbin with the Talk of Texas.