Y'all-itics is the unofficial political podcast of Texas. Each week, Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler will crack open an ice-cold Texas brew and explore a single hot topic affecting Texans as we gear up for the 2020 election. But this isn't politics as usual. Y'all-itics doesn't come from a fancy studio. We're taking our podcast on the road to get past the soundbites and dive deeper into the issues that matter to y'all. Leave your labels at the door, this is a political podcast for all Texans... even the recent transplants!
Criminal justice reform. What does that really mean?
Hard to imagine that both political parties can find common ground these days, but reforming the criminal justice system is shared by Republicans and Democrats. Thirty years ago, with rising crime across this state and the country, there was a general sense that offenders should be locked up and the key thrown away. Three strikes, you’re out. Remember that? Today, 30 years later, both parties are working to reform what is seen as a broken criminal justice system – from bail reform to offenders returning to society. Next week, Unlocking Doors, a Texas-based reentry program for ex-offenders, hosts its annual symposium with lawmakers, offenders, and criminal justice experts. On this episode, Christina Melton Crain from Unlocking Doors discusses her legislative wish list and filmmaker Cynthia Salzman Mondell speaks about a documentary she produced with 64-women inmates incarcerated at the Dallas County Jail. The film will be previewed in the virtual symposium. MORE: https://www.unlockingdoors.org/
We are not to be ruled. We're supposed to be governed
The chairman of the Texas Republican Party joined the Jasons on this week's Y'all-itics and he didn't hold back. The conservative firebrand wants the party to win suburban women and Black voters in November and he has a plan to do it. But he also made clear he isn't happy with how the Republican governor of Texas has handled the state's coronavirus response, calling Gov. Greg Abbott's response "heavy-handed."
Beto 2020: No meat, no guns, no regrets
The Jasons have a candid conversation with Beto O’Rourke as he looks back on his career and ahead at his own political future. Democrats have three main goals in Texas in November and O’Rourke talks about which one is most realistic. Plus, he shares the one thing he stopped doing in the last six months and the one thing he still hasn’t given up.
We’ve politically charged a human issue
The educator. The author. The politician. The reporter. They're all back three months after joining the Jasons for the podcast "My Skin is not a Weapon." It's not lost on anyone that the shooting of another black man in police custody frames the conversation… again. While there is a great deal of discouragement and frustration, this panel of African Americans does think some change, no matter how small, has taken root. But, in another powerful conversation, they make clear we still have a long way to go.
RNC 2020: Principles, personality but no platform? Texas lawmakers says it's a mistake
Republicans formally nominated Pres. Donald Trump for a second term this week. Traditionally, every four years national political conventions are tasked with two fundamental priorities: nominate a president and vice president and establish a platform – a set of ideas that the party members believe in. But the RNC is skipping the process of creating a platform this year. That's a mistake, Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) said. "Parties should revolve around principles, not personalities," Krause said. "It's always a good exercise to flesh out those principles every four years."
DNC 2020: Excitement, worry among prominent Texas Democrats
The race is on! The 2020 Democratic National Convention is underway, and will be immediately followed next week by the Republican National Convention (both virtual in this pandemic).
The Jasons are virtual, too – talking to Dr. Carla Brailey, vice chair of the Texas Democratic Party. She’s a convention delegate this year and will join the nominating event by Zoom. Brailey is excited to see Democratic enthusiasm in Texas, and believes Joe Biden and Kamala Harris can do what no Democratic presidential ticket has done in more than 40 years: win Texas and its 38 electoral votes. Brailey explains how Democrats are working to increase their turnout from 2016 levels, which will be needed to flip this traditionally safe state for Republicans.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, our second guest, doesn't think it will be hard to get the electorate excited without the traditional convention pomp and circumstance. He thinks going remote might be a good thing. But he is nervous about recent polls, that show Trump and Biden in a tight race in recent days. Adler would've liked to see more Texans in big speaking roles at the convention. He also disagrees with those who have suggested the Democratic ticket should focus on traditional strongholds and battleground states. In Texas, normally overlooked by Democrats, Biden has made this a race and Adler thinks the campaign needs to double down on what could be the largest 2020 battleground.
Don't yo-yo us around
That's the message one North Texas superintendent would deliver to state leaders. His district returned to class Aug. 4 and they've already learned a lot. He says one development shocked him and many teachers had a common concern. Now, this superintendent says he's fielding several calls a day from superintendents across Texas looking for advice before they return to class. In this episode of Y'all-itics, the two Jasons discover what's working in the Keene ISD… and what needs to change. They also find out why Texas' largest teachers' union fears some teachers may go to work, even if they feel sick.
Make the Lines Go Away
That’s exactly what the founder of Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano would tell politicians right now. Cheryl Jackson says if leaders came out and saw the problem first hand, it would be the only motivation they’d need to get a deal done to help. As it stands, a federal $600/week unemployment benefit has expired. So Jackson says a terrible situation is about to get worse. Still, “Action” Jackson, as she’s known, delivers her message with energy… and hope. And if you want to take action yourself, find out how you can in this episode of Y’all-itics.
Will green turn Texas blue?
It may not feel like it, but the election will be here in the blink of an eye. And if you’re a Texan, you should brace yourself for an onslaught of political advertising. The most recent campaign finance reports are out, and they tell quite a story in the Lone Star state, where some political observers wonder if a political realignment is underway. In this week’s episode of Y’all-itics, the two Jasons sit down with Texas Tribune D.C. Bureau Chief Abby Livingston for a quick 20-minute dissection of the fundraising haul for Democrats and whether the green could be helping to turn Texas blue.
Finding the Will to Teach
Pencils, Pens and chalk? Check
Binders, school books and backpacks? Check
Wills in case you die while teaching in class? Check
This is the reality of preparing for school this year in Texas, where students are just weeks away from returning to class – whether that be physical or virtual. And many teachers are terrified they’ll be exposed to Covid-19. As the two Jasons discovered in this week’s episode of Y’all-itics, that’s leading many of them to think about end-of-life preparation… in addition to school supplies.
Plexiglass, puzzles and pedals: Where Texas business is booming in the pandemic economy
COVID-19 cut a major hole in the Texas economy, as businesses operate at a fraction of capacity or close permanently. But the virus has also sparked a huge demand for some products and there are companies struggling to keep up. In this episode of Y'all-itics, the Jasons talk to small businesses across the state – from a bike shop in Richardson that had to hire on extra help to a plexiglass distributor in Houston that is now supplying businesses across the country with material to make spaces safe to a puzzle maker in Wimberley that is now shipping worldwide as so many people stay inside these days.
Pizza and Plexiglass: How a Texas restaurant is surviving
A lot has changed since coronavirus first hit Texas in March. The Jasons follow up with a popular Dallas pizzeria that is still open but has been outfitted with a maze of plexi-glass dividers. The owner talks about adjusting to the challenges posed by the pandemic, including one issue he had to confront: What do you do when one of your restaurant employees tests positive for COVID-19?
The Texas Restaurant Association is asking the governor to implement a survival plan for the industry. The TRA has some staggering projection for how many eateries will likely shutter permanently. They offer some suggestions for how Texans can save their favorite restaurants, including buying gift cards and waiting to use them. The association warns that the restaurants' pain will be borne out in the state’s budget. The huge sums of money that once flowed into state coffers from food and drink sales has been tremendously diminished by the shutdown followed by the slowdown.
What the COVID-19 crystal ball predicts for Texas in July
A doctor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania heads up a renowned research team that has been modeling how the pandemic will affect different metro areas across the country. When they ran the numbers for Harris County recently, they were ‘alarmed’. The potential case-count nearly went off the chart as they projected four weeks into the future. The trajectory is definitely going in the wrong direction, but the research team there says recent reopening rollbacks and some simple, but critical changes in our individual behaviors may prevent their worst-case scenario graph from becoming reality.
And an expert at Texas Medical Center, often referred to as the largest complex of medical facilities in the world, explains why medical professionals are calmer than they were when they first encountered the virus this spring. The headlines from the medical center have been dire lately, but this well-positioned expert says there is still plenty of capacity to take care of new patients. But he warns against complacency, noting how easily this virus can exploit our failure to stay vigilant…saying that we will only be able to keep the economy open by getting better at maintaining safety precautions.
This Is Sports for the Unathletic
Are Republicans nervous about winning Texas in November? Vice President Mike Pence is coming to Dallas Sunday. Pres. Donald Trump just visited 10 days ago. Why is the Trump campaign spending time, money and resources in a state that has been a GOP lock for decades? Joining the Jasons this week are two of the smartest minds in Texas politics: Abby Livingston, D.C. Bureau Chief for the Texas Tribune, and Vinny Minchillo, Principal at Glass House Strategies. The podcast discusses how big of a flop Trump’s Tulsa rally was, who Biden might pick as a running mate, and why history cannot predict what will happen in November.
We Just Want a Job
In a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the justices ruled 6 to 3 that employers cannot discriminate against LGBTQ employees because of sex. And one of the court’s most conservative justices wrote the ruling. In fact, Justice Neil Gorsuch said, “the answer is clear.” The ruling is important to a great many Texans, who have long been denied this protection. In this edition of “Y’all-itics,” the two Jasons sit down with Stacy Bailey, a Mansfield ISD teacher who was suspended after showing a picture of her partner, the woman who would become her wife, in her elementary classroom. And they’re also joined by Katie Hayes, the lead evangelist at Galileo Church in Fort Worth – a church with a large LGBTQ community.
So What Now?
It’s been two weeks since the death of George Floyd in police custody. And America has witnessed days and days of protests in cities all across the country. So what now? In this week’s episode of Y’all-itics, the two Jasons take an in-depth look at police reform and some of the concrete ideas on the table. Here in Texas, for instance, there is already discussion about “See Something, Say Something” legislation. And law enforcement experts tell the Jasons the incident – and the days that followed – are unlike anything the country has ever seen… and could lead to meaningful reform.
My Skin is not a Weapon
An educator. An Author. A Politician. A reporter. In this week’s episode of Y’all-itics, the two Jasons are joined by a panel of African-Americans who share their voices and thoughts on what’s happening in their communities following the death of George Floyd while in police custody. From protest to policy, this powerful conversation examines past, present and future as it relates to the African-American experience and what the country needs to do to move past one of the most challenging times in American history.
American Astronauts. American Spacecraft. American Soil.
On Wednesday, May 27, two America astronauts are scheduled to launch into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time in nearly a decade. Astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft for an extended stay at the International Space Station. And as usual, the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston will play a leading role. As you might guess, it’s not easy to get into space. And it is never 100% safe. In this episode of Y’all-itics, the two Jasons have an in-depth conversation with JSC Director Mark Geyer about the mission, acceptable risk and the hard work that got us ready to launch America.
First the pandemic. Now property appraisals. A big tax battle is about to begin.
No matter if you own a house or rent an apartment, when property taxes increase, so does your monthly payment. And if you’ve lived in Texas for a few minutes, property taxes almost ALWAYS increase in this state. But during a pandemic? Texans are getting valuations right now from Central Appraisal Districts that show their properties have gone way up in value over the last 12 months. Dallas County said significantly more properties increased in value than decreased. Harris County said it’s already seeing a 47% spike in protests – the highest percentage in three decades. Cities and counties are hurting for cash during the coronavirus. Federal aid for them is mired in party politics in D.C. So, who’s going to end up paying? There are ways to reduce what you owe. That’s what the Jasons dive into on this episode of Y'all-itics.
Disinfection theater, robots, and bright lights
Texas is reopening. While that very decision is mired in politics, there’s another “P” word that will also play a big role in how the economy spins back up. That second “P” word is “PSYCHOLOGY.” Texans have to feel it’s safe to go out before they actually do so. A psychotherapist in Dallas tells the Jasons how she arrived at a comfortable point to start re-engaging in society. And at a Westin hotel in Houston to learn how robots are opening a new front in the virus battle. And these aren’t imports either. We’re talking good old-fashioned Texas robots that are blasting the invisible enemy. Once they were fixtures just in hospitals. Now they’re roaming hotel rooms and the halls of the Texas state capitol building. The San Antonio company that makes them says this isn’t the ‘disinfection theater’ you might find in some places, where unproven procedures are being carried out just to make people feel safer in the COVID-19 world. That company is now ramping up to try to keep up with all the different businesses who want their own virus-zapping robot.
The cubicle’s comeback, standup meetings and social distancing at the office
Laura Dickey, the CEO of Dickey's Barbecue Pit, says that the initial stages of reopening are not at all profitable for businesses. They are simply taking the steps, trying to figure out this new way forward and to demonstrate to potentially leery customers how businesses are going to try to keep them safe. This is sort of a trust-building exercise. It is also an exercise in planning and managing a supply chain, without knowing what demand will look like.
Carol Roehrig explains how COVID-19 will totally change how we work. She expects many more people to start working hybrid shifts---some at home, some at the workplace. She says workplaces will be configured differently to minimize face-to-face arrangements. Planning for the office of the future could mean more cubicles, screens between them, anti-microbial laminate desk tops, fewer conference rooms, better use of space, more distance between employees, and standing meetings in the conference rooms so attendees can maintain distance from each other.
Finally, Angela Farley, COO at the Dallas Regional Chamber, says a survey from member companies shows they are planning less travel, more work from home flexibility, less attendance at large gatherings, even single-person elevator rides. She also predicts that economically...there is a thought that we might not be back to 'neutral' (basically---where we were before all this) for another two years.
'The struggle is real:' Times are hard when the unemployment agency has to borrow money
Another 280,000 Texans have filed for unemployment. That makes 1.3 million Texans who have lost work in a little more than one month.
Many are receiving benefits, but problems persist for people trying to get through to the Texas Workforce Commission.
We are talking with the head of TWC about some of the problems…and possible solutions. TWC is also sharing how the agency will keep handing out payments as funding dwindles, and what they plan to do if another COVID-19 outbreak happens after Texas gets back to normal.
Without paychecks, many Texans have been counting on those IRS emergency relief checks commonly called stimulus checks. But the wait continues for many people. And some say their money is going to the wrong accounts.
There is also relief this week, after the federal government approved another $321 billion for small businesses to keep their staffers on the payroll. More businesses in Texas received those forgivable loans than any other state in the country. But one business owner says problems behind the scenes have prevented many small employers from having access to that much-needed money.
Voting for president... in your pajamas
If you could vote from your sofa with a cold pint and a laptop to research the candidates and issues, would you? That's the reality in five states right now. And with COVID-19 creating concerns about being out in public, a lot of Texans think it might be safer if they vote from afar. In fact, Texas Democrats had a big legal win last week after a judge ruled that any Texan can request a mail-in ballot – not just senior citizens and those with a disability. Conservatives are concerned about ballot security and people influencing your vote. But in places like Washington state, vote by mail has worked well for years. In this episode, we get a Texan's take on it, after she moved from Seattle to Dallas. The Jasons also heard from the former elections administrator from Denver, Colorado, who now runs a national non-profit advocating for voting at home across the country and Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, who is one of the few Republicans elected to statewide office on the West Coast. She tells the Jasons why it works in Washington.
Caller please hold, a Texas Workforce Commission update
The weekly jobless report revealed that an additional 314,000 Texans filed for unemployment last week. In the past three weeks, more than 800,000 Texas residents have applied for unemployment. That's more than in all of 2019. Many have been able to file online for benefits. But some people have to call in to claim unemployment.
And desperate Texans are frustrated by phone lines that have been jammed for weeks. Some have tried hundreds of times each day to get through, to no avail. The Texas Workforce Commission says they are increasing the number of call centers…and next week they will increase the call-in hours to 12 hours, 7 days a week.
The TWC also says some people who were recently denied unemployment benefits should apply again. And the agency shares when out-of-work Texans might finally start seeing the additional $600 per week in federal unemployment benefits.
What's it really like a COVID unit? A Texas nurse tells us.
Joanna Hernandez first poured out her thoughts and emotions to her Instagram followers after a long day at the hospital. She is a traveling nurse and currently working at a south Texas hospital assigned to the COVID unit. Hernandez speaks candidly about the struggles her patients experience, trying to reassure their worried relatives, and what she did with one elderly woman suffering from severe symptoms. This assignment has changed her career trajectory, as well. She's now considering taking a job in New York or New Jersey, where the number of infections are the country's highest.
Beer trucks, egg deliveries, and RVs for MDs
Two moms in rural Collin County have come up with an ingenious way to protect doctors and their families from getting sick after long shifts at the hospital: RVs. Emily Phillips is married to an ER doctor and was worried her husband could bring home COVID-19, since both she and their 8-year-old son suffer from asthma. So, Emily got on Facebook last week and asked if she could borrow an RV to allow her husband to come home but stay outside to prevent any exposure. Within six days, Emily's request has turned into an entire Facebook Group with thousands of members and RV owners lending their motorhomes to doctors they've never even met. Emily Phillips and her new friend, Holly Haggard, joined the Jasons in a lively conversation. Also, in the episode, COVID-19 blindsided a lot of businesses in our state. But not the grocer, HEB. In January, the popular Texas supermarket chain started making calls to suppliers and retailers in China to see what kind of impact they were experiencing from the coronavirus. Those phone calls paid off. By March, when cases began surfacing in Texas, HEB was ready. It enacted an emergency plan, raised hourly pay for workers and changed store hours to address the conflict. Dan Solomon, a writer for Texas Monthly, called from Austin to share some fascinating details from his magazine story of how HEB planned for the pandemic.
'We can't buy our way out of a crisis'
Republican Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch speaks to us after tens of thousands of people watched a Facebook video in which he admonished Texans to take COVID-19 more seriously. Koch breaks down the number of ventilators available, and how Dallas County will likely be the first in Texas to have a 'crash' of cases coming into its healthcare system.
Dr. Deborah Birx, who has been helping to head up the national Coronavirus Response Task Force, offers what could be some positive news about the expected peak of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
Texas nurse practitioner Sara Phillips, who has responded to outbreaks around the world, including Ebola and H1N1, says she is disappointed with the federal response to COVID-19. She talks about big missed opportunities to contain the virus, and about how the outbreak is a test of the American psyche, "As Americans…we have a bit of an invincibility complex".
And Glenn Martin, a Tarrant County resident who tested positive for COVID-19, talks about his experience and the treatment that helped him turn the corner in his recovery. His advice, "Stay positive. You can do it…you can overcome it, if you do get it."
HR managers are making lists of employees too essential to lay off
The economic toll of COVID-19 is tremendous, and this is just the beginning. Layoffs have already jumped, but Andrew Challenger, Senior VP at outplacement firm Challenger, Christmas, and Gray, predicts the job losses announced soon will be much larger numbers. His firm believes large companies are trying to hold on to workers to keep the collective situation from getting far worse. There are some glimmers of hope, though. Challenger says some industries are desperate for workers, and there are some things you can do to try to insulate your job from being cut.
Even as we hear about the job losses from this global pandemic, there is one industry that's surging with demand right now: logistics. Ike Brown is president of NFI Industries, a global logistics firm that operates thousands of tractor trailers and millions of square feet of warehouse space with a large presence in Texas. Brown said not only are warehouses full of things like toilet paper and paper towels that his drivers are delivering now, he is also preparing for ships from China to start arriving again at the end of next month.
Early release: "This became an economic pandemic long before it became a health pandemic"
The coronavirus outbreak is starting to change our daily lives in dramatic ways. The crisis is, of course, a health and humanitarian one first. But the economics of the outbreak could have a tremendous impact on governments, businesses, and many people. We get the perspective on Main Street from a Texas business owner who is missing out on his most profitable day of the year because of coronavirus preparations. We also talk to one of the most plugged-in economists in the country (who herself was a patient in the Swine Flu Pandemic) to get a comprehensive overview of what the coronavirus pandemic is doing to the economy, what kind of job losses we can expect, what this will mean to Texas, and how involved the government is going to have to be to prop up individual Americans as this situation unfolds. Finally, we hear from a Texas state senator right after he finishes a call with the governor. He explains what's being done to get protective supplies to health workers, what's happening with testing, how Texas students will be able to learn (and in many cases eat) if school is cancelled, and what's being talked about at the state level to offset the costs of the coronavirus response (hint: it could involve even higher property taxes).
Summoning old voting machines back to service (+ a Texas coronavirus update)
Where do old voting machines go to die? Turns out, many are being resurrected in Texas. Harris County, for example, just bought 2,000 used eSlate machines from Travis County that it just retired. At $50 each, Harris County said it was worth the money to for extra voting booths before potentially long lines in November like many voting centers saw on Super Tuesday. The 2,000 used machines are in addition to the 8,000 Harris County already has. But there's another novel election-related idea under discussion in Texas. It's something called Ranked Choice Voting. Other states already use it. At the polls, voters select their top two or three candidates and rank them in order of preference. The concept eliminates runoff elections. Perhaps no one welcomes it more than state Rep. Anna Eastman in Houston. She has gone through three elections in five months – and has two more to go by November. Eastman answered her phone when we called. But before the Jasons begin this episode, they first called health reporter and world traveler Sonia Azad for an update on the coronavirus in Texas and to discuss the economic and political implications already unfolding.
BONUS EPISODE: Y'all really turned out Super Tuesday
Huge turnout, long lines, not enough voting machines; Super Tuesday in Texas didn't quite turnout as planned. Why? The turnout! It's a good problem to have in Texas which is often called a non-voting state. Joining the Jasons for political context on this bonus episode was Deborah Peoples, the chairwoman of the Tarrant County Democratic Party, Vinny Minchillo, a principal at Glass House Strategy advertising firm, Alana Rocha of the Texas Tribune and Berna Dean Steptoe, political producer at WFAA in Dallas. Does the large turnout suggest Texas really is in play? We cracked a beer and started around the room for some completely different perspectives.
Coronavirus: What Texas learned from Ebola
The Jasons discuss the facts surrounding COVID-19 and preparations in Texas. They start their conversation with former WFAA reporter Jonathan Betz, who now lives in Beijing, China, and is under quarantine. Next, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins talks about the lessons learned during the Ebola scare in 2014. The judge says there was no outbreak blueprint prior to Ebola. But says now Texas is ahead of the game because we have plans in place to deal without breaks, thanks to the 2014 scare. Transparency is key, the judge says, in keeping the public calm. And throughout the podcast, you'll hear from Dr. Clinton Haley, an infectious disease expert in Dallas, including what he is telling his own family about COVID-19.
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Is Health Care a Right... or a Commodity?
It costs too much. And it's too complicated. According to a many voters in 2020, that's the only way to describe our modern health care system. And this is driving their decision-making at the polls. The Jasons jump straight into the deep end in this episode of Y'all-itics, pouring a pint with the CEO of The Texas Academy of Family Physicians in the Medical District. Tom Banning says we have an amazing "sick care" system in America, but "health care" is broken. And he says a fundamental question that must be answered in is whether we think health care is a right or a commodity. If you're like a growing number of Texans, you are underinsured. That is, you have insurance, but can't afford to use it. So, the Jasons also wanted to know if there's a way for Texas consumers to cut their health care costs without having to wait for the politicians (there is). And a random surprise guest helped to prove this point.
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The President Called While I was in the Shower
The Jasons take a road trip to Austin to pour a pint with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. They chose Shiner, of course. And you have likely never heard the Attorney General like this. Mr. Paxton says he now has less confidence in the criminal
justice system. He thinks three-syllable names win elections. He's not afraid of the color purple. And he shares his thoughts whether he thinks the President has broken any laws. Oh yeah... and he's suing the state of California. Buckle up for
Have a question about Super Tuesday? The candidates? How about an issue? Call (214) 509-8156 and leave us a message and you may be part of a future episode.
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PODER VOTAR (POWER IN SPANISH)
The Latino community in Texas has long been described as a sleeping giant, an electorate with potential to swing politics and policies. But based on U.S. Census data, that giant is in a deep sleep. A Texas group is trying to forge a new tradition with Latino voters, so coming of age automatically means voting. And they're targeting 15-year-old girls to make it happen. In this episode of Y'all-itics, the Jasons learn more about the Jolt Initiative and why folks like Carmen Ayala think quinceañeras are the key to unleashing the power (poder in Spanish) of the Latino vote. WFAA reporter Teresa Woodard also joins the Jasons to add a female perspective and discuss what she learned while exploring the issue. No beer. But plenty of great eats and discussion.
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I still don't know who won Iowa. Does it matter now?
Election 2020 is already off to a wild start. The Iowa Democratic Party couldn't report an accurate count of vote totals on caucus night. So, disappointed Democratic candidates boarded planes and flew to New Hampshire without knowing who won this famed first contest. The screwup raises the question of whether the caucuses matter anymore. The Jasons were in Iowa to witness all the confusion firsthand and stayed up late to publish this episode. They poured a pint with Rick Klein, ABC News' Political Director, to talk about what happens next for the candidates, who survives until Super Tuesday and the billionaire who is poised to jump in just as Texans have their say. The Jasons finished up the road trip with a quick drive up I-35 North to Dallas County. Dallas County, Iowa...that is where one Democratic party official says he might have to vote for the candidate he calls the ‘Democrat Trump.'"
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THE EXPENSIVE SILENCE
Undercounting the census by 1% could cost Texas $300 million a year. In Rio Grande City, former Mayor Reuben Villareal estimates the 2010 census was undercounted by 15-20% in his city, alone. Despite this year's census not having a citizenship question, Villareal expects the expensive silence to be deafening in border communities where rhetoric about immigration, the wall, and deportations has created a chilling effect for the legally-required survey that not only determines how many representatives Texas gets in Congress, but also the state's share of federal funding and the drawing of legislative districts.
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THE U-HAUL FULL OF HEMP
What happened outside Amarillo made national news, turned out to be a little embarrassing for the state and highlighted a problem Texas law enforcement is facing. Hemp is legal. Marijuana is not. But the plants look and smell exactly alike. https://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article239055483.html Prosecutors in Amarillo had to drop charges after lab tests showed 3,300 pounds of "marijuana" a man was stopped with was actually "hemp." This case isn't isolated. The Amarillo attorney who represented the driver laid out the wider problem. In addition, Allen Police Chief Brian Harvey revealed the state is just months from being able to differentiate between legal and illegal versions of the cannabis plant. What's best, the Jasons found a draft beer that matches the topic.
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Frenemy of the state: Saudi Arabia's role in US-Iran clash
He calls himself the Desert Diplomat. Few Texans have as clear of an understanding of what's happening in the Middle East as Robert Jordan. The SMU professor is a former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and sat down to have a pint with the Jasons. Turns out, it's not just Iran we should be wary of these days. Keep your eye on Saudi Arabia. It's really a frenemy of ours, Jordan said. This Texan succinctly explains why we can't quit the kingdom as we face down Iran and Iraq.
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Living in fear: The people who don't report crimes in Texas
A small-town Texas police chief said something recently that caught the attention of the Jasons. Immigration rhetoric is making our communities less safe, he wrote in an op-ed. Make no mistake, this lawman isn't taking sides. He's advocating for keeping all criminals off the streets – regardless of their immigration status. He says fiery rhetoric drives undocumented immigrants into the shadows. Criminals then prey on those immigrants because these folks are less likely to call police. What if an undocumented immigrant witnesses a crime against you but is too afraid to come forward? This is happening in Texas today, the chief says.
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YES, THE US/IRAN CONFLICT AFFECTS YOUR MONEY. HERE'S HOW.
Dallas is more than 7,200 miles away from the Baghdad airport, where a US airstrike killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Those miles disappear when you consider how Middle East tensions impact your money. In this bonus episode, a personal finance advisor tells the Jasons why this is the time to invest in some stocks, even as the market takes a hit on fears of a worsening conflict. Plus, Texas is the third-largest oil producer in the world. But an energy industry expert explains we'll still pay higher gas prices because of what's happening overseas.
how the new trade deal will benefit texas big time
The president promised to replace NAFTA. Democrats finally got what they wanted and this new deal is now called the USMCA – or United States Mexico Canada Agreement. As we move into the new year, both sides say Texas will benefit big time from it. How so? That's what this episode of Yallitics is about. We also tracked down a phone number for the original U.S. negotiator on NAFTA in the early 1990s. Turns out that trade deal – which is the skeleton for this one – might never have passed if it weren't for a baseball game. That veteran negotiator shared some interesting back stories on how it all happened.
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BRIDGING THE POLITICAL DIVIDE, PART 2
Can't we all just get along? On last week's episode, we heard about a group called Better Angels that's trying to close the political polarization gap, bridge the divide and get people on the left and right to start talking again. We think the group is on to something. So, in this episode, we're pouring a pint with a couple people who've gone through the program – a conservative and a moderate. They're far apart on some things but they shared a few ideas with the Jasons that have helped them understand and respect the other side.
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BRIDGING THE POLITICAL DIVIDE, PART 1
Before you go home for the holidays you need to listen to this episode. Politics often creeps into the conversation around the dinner table this time of year. The rhetoric and divisiveness has gotten so bad that some folks have stopped talking to family members and close friends because of their political beliefs. On this episode of Y'all-itics, a non-profit explains how they're quietly helping to close the political polarization gap, bridge the divide and get people talking again. And turns out, Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler's colleague is dealing with this problem right now. She answered a call while waiting for a piña colada on the beach to explain what's going on with her family. Just make sure her mom doesn't hear this story!
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Battleground counties will decide 2020
Forget battleground states; 2020 will be decided by battleground counties. Collin County Democrats don't mind being the underdog. But Republicans there admit 2020 is no joke. Collin County used to be reliably red but the GOP has seen cracks in support over the last few election cycles. After recent Democratic victories in Kentucky, Louisiana and Virginia, Collin County Democrats say they think their county could turn blue in 2020. And if Collin County turns blue, Texas likely turns blue. If Texas turns blue, then Republicans lose the White House for a generation. That's what's at stake in the suburbs next year.
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WHY DO POLITICIANS IGNORE BLACK WOMEN?
This isn't something politicos wants to talk about. Black women are taken for granted by candidates and campaigns. That's not just a bold statement – black women in Texas say this has been a political reality for too long. That's the topic we're talking about with Tracy Scott, the founder & CEO of The Black Women's PAC, on this episode of Y'allitics. Black women, like all voters, want politicians to finally address issues that affect them. And these women wield power at the ballot box, reminding us of one thing they could easily do to impact the outcome of the next election.
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How the tit-for-tat trade war is hurting Texans
On this episode, we go out to the farm. The Texas economy has done well over the past decade. Farmers have not. They know all about economic downturns, but their income today is half of what it was six years ago. Crops just aren't selling for what they were. Then came the trade war with China and tit-for-tat tariffs. Now, a difficult situation is a little more desperate. But when you ask who's to blame, there's not an easy answer. One Texas farmer shares his own struggles and how they are shaping his vote for 2020, in a candid conversation with hosts Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler.
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HOW MUCH WILL POLITICIANS PAY FOR YOUR PHONE NUMBER?
Get ready for the 'Year of the Text Message.' In 2020, political campaigns are coming to your mobile phone. In elections past, campaigns have spent millions of dollars on television and radio ads, campaign signs and billboards. In this episode, we learn how much a campaign will pay for your cell number and what they'll do with it over the next year. https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/brand-man/ Vinny Minchillo, principal at https://www.glasshousestrategy.com/ GlassHouse Strategy and a veteran of political ads, pulls the campaign curtain back with hosts Jason Whitely and Jason Wheeler.
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Y'all was an early vocabulary word for Jason Whitely. He's from Tennessee and reminds us that's where the original Texans came from, as well. Jason doesn't always swirl pints when he talks politics. He also hosts Inside Texas Politics which airs Sunday mornings at 9:00 on WFAA.
Jason Wheeler was born in Texas City, grew up in the Houston-Galveston area, and has lived in every major Texas metro area. He also pronounces Houston as YOU-stun. As part of the WFAA political team, Jason specializes in multi-media election presentations. He has previously been a presidential campaign reporter and a D.C.-based correspondent during the Iraq War.