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From Texas Standard:

When Willie Nelson's landmark album Phases and Stages was recorded in 1973, it was unlike anything being done in Nashville – a concept album, about a relationship coming apart. Metaphorically speaking, Nelson was separating from Nashville, too, a place where he'd long written songs for others. But where the Nashville machine kept him from doing what he loved to do, his return to Texas was a symbolic break with the conservative conventions of the country music industry.

Pockets of the veteran population are experiencing food insecurity at unusually high rates, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is taking steps to understand and combat the problem. It now screens veterans for hunger, and many of its facilities offer food banks onsite.

From Texas Standard.

Construction is a booming business in Texas. The latest numbers from 2016 show it’s a $75 billion industry in the state. There’s more demand for construction workers than there are people willing to do the jobs, and that means it’s gotten hard for contractors like Denis Phocas to hold onto qualified workers.

From Texas Standard.

Sunday will mark the second presidential debate for candidates vying to be the next political leader of Mexico. The debate will be televised and take place in the border city of Tijuana.

From Texas Standard.

Some people are convinced that hypnosis is real: they’ve seen it done, they’ve experienced being hypnotized. But is it science? Is it so reliable that we should be able to use it to help make life or death decisions? Two death row inmates have had their sentences delayed as they make the case that they were convicted on the basis of evidence obtained through hypnosis. They say – and other states would agree – that amounts to junk science.

From Texas Standard.

On May 31, President Donald Trump will be back in Texas for lunch – $5,000 per plate – with well heeled Houstonians, then that evening he’ll preside at a dinner in Dallas.

From Texas Standard.

Out in the sand dunes of west Texas, a tiny lizard has been wrapped up in a big controversy for years. The four-inch long dunes sagebrush lizard calls the middle of the Permian Basin home, but conservationists have long feared the oil boom there would be detrimental to the lizard’s rare habitat. But in the past year, a new threat has emerged.

From Texas Standard.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor Map shows most of Texas is in some stage of drought. The worst of it is up in the Panhandle, but almost everything southwest of the Brazos is affected.

From Texas Standard.

Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the Democrats vying for a chance to face Gov. Greg Abbott in November, are preparing for their only debate of the primary campaign, to be held Friday in Austin. It won’t be broadcast, but will be livestreamed by KXAN-TV in Austin. And the Republican incumbent isn’t waiting around to see who will win the May 22 runoff. Abbott has released a campaign ad calling Valdez “too liberal for Texas.”

Warning: This story contains allusions to language that some people may find offensive.

Starting at $150 a year, the State of Texas will let you personalize the license plate on your vehicle, but the combination of letters and numbers cannot invoke anything the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles considers to be indecent.

From Texas Standard:

Over the span of 14 years, 22 prisoners died from extreme heat in state prisons across Texas. That number reflects only what state prison officials have acknowledged, though. According to human rights advocates and health experts who have visited those prisons, the number of heat deaths is much higher.

This week, a federal judge signed off on a deal that could be historic – and yet, other prisoners say it doesn't go far enough or fast enough.

From Texas Standard.

Over the weekend, an estimated 80,000 people descended on the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas for the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting – over 900 firearms and gun-related vendors, along with politicians from President Trump to Governor Greg Abbott. The event was a window into an organization that, in the wake of shootings such as Parkland and Sutherland Springs, has been under increased scrutiny.

The First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs broke ground at the site of a new church on Saturday, six months after a gunman killed more than two dozen people during Sunday services.

From Texas Standard:

Texas is back in federal court making the case before a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals over the state's foster care system.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack ordered sweeping changes to Texas foster care, which at one time she declared to be unconstitutionally endangering young Texans.  Since then, the judge has called state lawmakers' efforts to improve foster care "admirable" but insufficient.

From Texas Standard:

Sunday, the third and fourth largest mobile carriers in the U.S. announced a $26.5 billion plan to merge. A marriage of Sprint and T-Mobile, if approved, would yield a company with more than 90 million customers. But the merger isn’t a done deal yet, and another pending communications merger could shape the outcome – the proposed acquisition of Time-Warner by AT&T. That merger is in court, facing opposition from the U.S. Justice Department.

Incarcerated women in Texas have access to fewer educational and vocational programs compared to incarcerated men, a new study finds.

The study, released Tuesday by the local nonprofit Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, is the second of a two-part study that looks into the increasing numbers of incarcerated women.

YETI called "inaccurate" a statement from the National Rifle Association that it would no longer sell its products to The NRA Foundation, adding that it is "unwavering" in its support for the Second Amendment.

From Texas Standard.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a long-running Texas redistricting case. The dispute goes back to 2011, when Republicans in the state legislature drew Congressional and state legislative districts in a way designed to favor GOP candidates, and to move as many Democrats as possible into a few other districts.

From Texas Standard.

This week’s deadly Southwest Airlines incident marked the first passenger death in U.S. commercial aviation since 2009. A mother of two was killed when she was partially pulled from the plane by decompression forces after a window was shattered by shrapnel from an exploding engine.

From Texas Standard.

Young immigrants protected by the DACA program have been in limbo since the Obama-era program was canceled by President Trump last year.  Now we’re hearing rumblings of Republicans, including at least one from Texas, trying a new strategy to get a DACA vote in Congress.

From Texas Standard:

The just-released Quinnipiac University survey of some 1,029 registered Texas voters says incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz can count on 47 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke has 44 percent. That 3-point lead for Cruz makes this race too close to call, with an election looming in November.

From Texas Standard.

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, you could be fired if your employer discovered you’d done something like volunteering to work with AIDS patients. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome was, at the time, considered a death sentence, saddled with the stigma as a disease spread by drug users and gay men.

From Texas Standard:

On April 17, 2013, Tommy Muska, a volunteer firefighter and the mayor of West, Texas, explained what had happened in his town.

“At approximately 7:30, the West fertilizer plant was on fire. Fully consumed,” he said. “At approximately 7:55 the plant exploded. Fifty to 60 houses in a five-block area radius were damaged. Heavily damaged.”

From Texas Standard.

Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are all on Democrats’ short list to pick up House seats in the November midterms, but that’s expected when it comes to so-called battleground states. As Frank Bruni of The New York Times notes, Democrats definitely smell blood in the water this year.

From Texas Standard.

Many of us have a cabinet or a closet at home with a stack of homemade VHS tapes – or those little tapes that went into newer-model camcorders – or maybe even Super 8s on little plastic reels. What’s on them may be personally worth keeping. But in the age of Blu-ray and digital files, will you ever watch them again?

From Texas Standard.

A lot of interesting people pass through the Texas Standard studios – high-profile politicians, authors, and musicians among them. But the guest who came through this week caused a bit of a stir. Native Texan, Academy Award winner, and proud Austinite Matthew McConaughey sat down with host David Brown – not to plug a movie, but to talk about why he calls Austin home.

The State Board of Education approved a Mexican-American studies elective based on a Houston course that looks at history, culture and current events, and the Austin Independent School District will now decide whether to adopt the course.  

From Texas Standard.

About 250 Texas National Guard troops have deployed to the Texas-Mexico border. Texas’ Gov. Greg Abbott says he’ll eventually send more than 1,000. But even with the state’s leadership so supportive of any appearance of cracking down on illegal immigration, are the Guard troops really doing immigration enforcement? And how do folks who already work on border law enforcement perceive the influx of military personnel?

An oxygen-deprived “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico would take decades to reverse, according to a study from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

If you’re a renter in Texas and you fail to pay your rent, your landlord may have the legal right to enter your home and take your belongings. The clause, called a landlord’s lien, is standard language in many residential leases, but it can also apply to stores and restaurants that fall behind on rent.

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