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36 minutes | May 17, 2022
Don’t let the Hatch Hit you on the Way Out!
Some of the fallout from Russian’s invasion of Ukraine is now only 250-miles away. But it’s not in Texas. It’s above our heads, up in space. The Russian Federation is threatening to abandon the International Space Station. And it’s a threat NASA must take seriously. Russia is one of five international partners on the ISS, along with NASA, the European Space Agency, Japan and Canada. And all four partners outside of Russia are having lengthy and serious discussions about a Plan B. But if Russia does bail on the ISS, would it just drop out of the sky? And how could NASA even begin to make up the loss? In this episode of Y’all-itics, the Jasons call up former Astronaut Chris Cassidy, who’s trained extensively in Russia, with Russians and on Russian equipment. He says one of the first steps following a collapse in cooperation would be to simply close the hatch between the two modules. It would then quickly get complicated. But Cassidy tells the Jasons he thinks the Russians need us more than we need them. And he explains how it might change business at Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center near Houston, TX.
44 minutes | May 10, 2022
Where are all the Texas Judges?
Tens of thousands of criminal cases are backing up in courtrooms all across Texas. Dallas County Commissioners say their county is at the point of crisis due to the backlog… and they’re blaming judges. In fact, John Wiley Price says if you average all 17 felony criminal judges, they’re only holding around 12 trials a year. That’s half a normal year. And Commissioners are so frustrated, they are about to start naming names in an effort to “motivate” the judges to clear more cases. In this episode of Y’all-itics, the Jasons meet up with veteran and award winning WFAA reporter Rebecca Lopez. Rebecca’s been following this issue for years and she recently discovered the backlog is about to cost Dallas County tens of millions of dollars. And she has stories about this backlog happening all across the state. Rebecca also tells the Jasons about the growing problem with judges allowing violent offenders to be released on minimal bond. Watch Rebecca’s reporting: www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/dallas-county-commissioners-say-some-dallas-county-judges-are-not-clearing-dockets-fast-enough-creating-huge-backlog/287-d3b87245-5500-448f-8547-bf1195bc99c3 https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/dallas-police-chief-upset-over-some-violent-offenders-being-released-after-bonds-lowered-by-judges/287-72be5665-6c2d-4b71-bc2d-97e29f8806a2
46 minutes | May 2, 2022
From Parking Lots to Parks: Downtown Dallas’ Urban Renewal
If you visited downtown Dallas 20-years ago after 5pm, you would have found yourself in the middle of a dead zone. But over the next two decades, downtown Dallas added 20+ acres of parks, a feat no other downtown can match. Four priority parks are the centerpiece of this effort: West End Square, Pacific Plaza, Harwood Park and Carpenter Park, which celebrates its grand opening this week. In this episode of Y’all-itics, Jason Whitely and fellow Dallas resident and WFAA anchor Chris Lawrence have a conversation with Amy Meadows, the CEO of Parks for Downtown Dallas, the driving force behind the greening of Dallas. Amy says the effort has made downtown Dallas the envy of the nation and she shares a cold one with Jason and Chris in the middle of the all of the action and growth. And we learned Carpenter Park added a feature that’s never been downtown before. We think you’ll be as stunned as we were when you hear what it is. Guest Amy Meadows, CEO/Parks for Downtown Dallas
79 minutes | Apr 25, 2022
This Might be Your Best Year to Fight Property Tax Appraisals.
Doesn’t it just seem worse this year? Many of us are still in sticker shock over our property appraisals, so this episode is all about how to reduce the amount of property taxes you pay. Turns out, your odds of winning that protest might be greater this year than ever before with half of the houses in Texas potentially overvalued. Wheeler is back for this one as the Jasons call up Chandler Crouch, a realtor and an expert on protesting your property tax value. Chandler explains how to not only play defense in this process with the Central Appraisal District, but also go on the offensive. But the Jasons also zoom out and talk about how to reform this system politically. Texas’ property taxes are among the highest in the nation and home values have easily jumped double digits in Texas’ major cities. So, what exactly are lawmakers going to do to help us? We recently extended an invitation to Gov. Abbott to join us and have not yet heard back from his campaign staff. But his Democratic challenger this November, Beto O’Rourke, took our call even after testing positive for COVID-19 and explained his plan to lower the state’s skyrocketing property taxes. After all these years, can that even be done? Guests Chandler Crouch, Chandler Crouch Realty FreeTaxProtest.com Beto O’Rourke, (D) Candidate for Texas Governor
46 minutes | Apr 19, 2022
The Political Rise of Greg Abbott
Will Texas Governor Greg Abbott run for president in 2024? Will he win re-election this November? What drives the 64-year-old politician and expert fundraiser? Does he get along with Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick? In the May edition of Texas Monthly, executive editor Mimi Swartz carefully and comprehensively lays out the political rise of Greg Abbott and asks the question; how much do Texans really know about Greg Abbott? He is running for his third term as the state’s leader after serving three terms as attorney general. Mimi joins Jason and guest host Teresa Woodard to talk about how Abbott’s past is shaping his future. GUEST: Mimi Swartz, Executive Editor at Texas Monthly READ: https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/who-is-greg-abbott/
68 minutes | Apr 12, 2022
Y’all-itics Takeover: Cynthia Izaguirre Came To Get Answers
Texas simply fails when it comes to taking care of foster children. Sure there are success stories that should make us all proud. But the state, admittedly, has too many major problems with it and no one has indeitified a workable solution. WFAA’s Cynthia Izaguirre has covered this issue for years. On this episode, Cynthia joins host Jason Whitely for a frank conversation. They called Heidi Brugel Cox, a family law attorney with firsthand knowledge of the state’s system. And Cynthia and Jason got state Representative James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, on the line, as well. Not only does he chair the Texas House Human Services Committee which oversees the state’s child welfare system in Texas, but Chairman Frank has also fostered and adopted two children. So, how does Texas finally fix this? Heidi said the most obvious starting place is something no one is doing. Guests State Rep. James Frank, (R) Wichita Falls Heidi Cox, Family Law Attorney
42 minutes | Apr 4, 2022
It Sounds Crazy to a lot of People. But it Sounds Less Crazy Everyday
Looking for that next, great technology breakthrough? Maybe the next Uber or Airbnb? Supporters of Blockchain technology say look no further than the real estate industry. They claim Blockchain is democratizing real estate by opening it up to average, everyday citizens who can buy and sell real estate like rich folks. And they say they can do this because Blockchain makes transactions more secure and, most importantly, cheaper. In this episode of Y’all-itics, you’ll hear some of the major players in Texas in this burgeoning industry explain how it works and what they see the technology changing in the future. Even Governor Abbott has said he wants the Lone Star state to be a leader in this type of technology. And you’ll hear from one of Texas’ preeminent real estate experts who likes the potential of blockchain, but doesn’t think this new disruption is just around the corner. But when it comes to buying property, all agree there is one area within real estate where Blockchain could have an immediate and noticeable effect. Guests Peter Rex, CEO/OWN Prop Sohail Hassan, Managing Partner/MarketSpace Capital Todd Tramonte, Real Estate Marketer & Broker
44 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
Dwaine Caraway is Planning His Comeback
In his first interview of record since getting released from federal prison, Dwaine Caraway gets into everything on this special episode of Y’all-itics. Caraway, at one time, was among the most powerful politicians at Dallas City Hall. He spent more than a decade on city council and served briefly as the 60th mayor of Dallas. But he resigned and pleaded guilty to taking $450,000 in bribes. Now after serving a four-year prison sentence, Caraway is working on his comeback. He talks to host Jason Whitely about his past, lays out his future and explains what made him so upset when he got back to Dallas. GUEST: Dwaine Caraway
44 minutes | Mar 29, 2022
How Latinos Might Save Our Democracy
Get ready for an raw, insightful, and in the weeds conversation about how Latinos might save the U.S. democracy. Mike Madrid, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, and Chuck Rocha, senior strategist for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns, get into the nitty gritty of The Latino Vote – which is also the title of their new podcast series. In this episode of Y’all-itics, the two veterans of national political campaigns explain why candidates have finally started to communicate directly with Latino voters, which political party has the advantage in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and whether Latino support for Donald Trump was a one-off or an indicative of changing trends. https://thelatinovote.buzzsprout.com/ GUESTS: Mike Madrid, Founder, The Lincoln Project – host of The Latino Vote podcast Chuck Rocha, Senior strategist, Bernie Sanders campaigns – host of The Latino Vote podcast
33 minutes | Mar 24, 2022
The Border Crisis 6,000 Miles Away and Why it’s Coming to Texas
It may seem like a world away. But experts say the crisis unfolding all along Ukraine’s border will eventually find its way to Texas. And in this special release of Y’all-itics, we take you to Moldova, a small country to the southwest of Ukraine, that’s also Europe’s poorest. If the same number of Ukrainian refugees that have flooded Moldova, percentage-wise, suddenly crossed into Texas, it would be the equivalent of around three million people, with just under a million or so deciding to stay. In Moldova, we’re joined by Sara Phillips with Medical Teams International, who’s been on the ground for nearly two weeks assessing how her organization, which provides basic medical care, should respond to the growing crisis that has no end in sight. And Sara says it’s not just war and bombs they’re worried about now. It’s also illness, from COVID to colds. There was even a recent polio outbreak in Ukraine and since the war completely halted the vaccination campaign underway to end it, there are fears that disease is coming across the border too. And Sara also tells us why many of these refugees could ultimately end up in Dallas, Texas. Guest Sara Phillips, Medical Teams International https://www.medicalteams.org/country/ukraine/
36 minutes | Mar 22, 2022
She’s a 24-year-old American photojournalist awaiting the Russians in Kyiv
SYNOPSIS: This week marks one month since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Most of what we see and read about it is focused on military movements. But Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, is still bustling with more than two million people who have not evacuated. In this episode of Y’all-itics, we called a 24-year-old photojournalist who decided she wanted to document what is underway. While air raid sirens are a regular occurrence, life in Kyiv is not what you’d imagine. Madeliene Kelly describes coffee stands reopening on Kyiv’s streets, artists from an underground scene turning their creativity into creating body armor and devices to stop Russian tanks and raw determination keeping fear at bay – for now. GUEST: Madeleine Kelly, photojournalist Kellyindependent.com/ @kellyindependent
33 minutes | Mar 15, 2022
What if Blondes and Redheads were Outlawed? Why Natural Hair Should be a Basic Right
What if your natural blonde or red hair suddenly meant you couldn’t get that job you always wanted? Or what if that same hair color got you suspended from school if you refused to change it? African-Americans say they’ve been fighting this type of discrimination for hundreds of years. And an attempt to ban race-based hair discrimination recently failed in the U.S. House of Representatives with 188 Republicans voting against it. Known as the CROWN Act, similar legislation here in the state of Texas also stalled during the last legislative session. But supporters vow to continue the fight in D.C. and Austin calling it a civil rights issue because folks are being discriminated against based on something they can’t change. In this episode of Y’all-itics, Jason Whitely is joined by WFAA anchor Tashara Parker, who’s been shining a bright light on the issue for years after her own experience, in particular through her “Rooted” series. And state Representative Rhetta Bowers also promised to reintroduce the Texas CROWN Act next year with even broader protections. Guests Tashara Parker, WFAA Anchor (www.wfaa.com/rooted) State Rep. Rhetta Bowers, (D) Garland
39 minutes | Mar 8, 2022
The Wastes of War, the Wounds of War
Le Roy Torres remembers the last words his Sergeant Major told him; Don’t give up the fight. There are at least 31,000 Texans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and came home with rare cancers, debilitating headaches and severe breathing problems after inhaling toxic smoke from piles of trash that the U.S. military burned at most every large base. Torres’ symptoms got so bad that he had to leave his position as a Texas state trooper. After years of persistence, the U.S. House of Representatives just passed a substantial law to help vets like him. The Senate is considering another one. And Le Roy and his attorney are taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of the month. It’s monumental movement in a battle he never expected to fight
44 minutes | Mar 2, 2022
Who Won, Who Didn’t and What’s Next
Tuesday night brought some surprises in the Texas primary elections. The top of your November ballot is already decided. Greg Abbott will face Beto O’Rourke for governor. But runoffs will settle a number of other big contests including the Republican race for Texas Attorney General. Joining the Jasons for this podcast is a team of Texas political experts who have context and analysis on the results. What did the results say about the state of the Texas GOP? Can Texas Democrats finally win a statewide seat? How important will South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley be in November. This is one to listen to for all die-hard Texas politicos. GUESTS: Chrysta Castaneda, Democratic Strategist Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Berna Dean Steptoe, WFAA Political Producer Jason Villalba, Republican, former Texas State Representative
59 minutes | Mar 1, 2022
Step Aside Russian Oil. Texas Oil is Ready to Take Over
When it comes to war, everyone seems to lose. But Texas could come out a big winner if our oil and gas industry have to step in and help supply energy to Europe that has regularly relied on Russia. The oil patch in West Texas is already seeing increased demand as we come out of the pandemic. But war could now accelerate it. In this episode, Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, predicted that state taxes generated by oil and gas revenues are likely to lead to a windfall of new money for the Texas budget. But how will it be spent? State Senator Paul Bettencourt already has some ideas. Plus, he said, if Texas has any money invested in the Russian Federation, Senator Bettencourt wants it out.
26 minutes | Feb 25, 2022
EMERGENCY EPISODE: WiFi could be cut, please call me in Ukraine quickly
In this special episode of Y’all-itics, a former colleague puts us in touch with a Ukrainian mother who wants to speak to an American journalist. Maryna, 41, decided not to evacuate and is now stuck at home outside Kyiv with her 8-year-old daughter. In this compelling interview, Maryna gives a ground level description of what life is like as Russia invades. She and her daughter have about a week’s worth of food and supplies. They do not have a firearm, only a knife. And as a trained pharmacist, Maryna even said she could concoct homemade bombs if she had to, to defend her town.
63 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
Republicans Smoke Weed Too
$150 Million in tax revenue in 2021. $53 Million into education. More than 8,100 growers. More than 2,200 dispensaries. And it’s estimated that 10% of the population now has a medical marijuana card. In just a few short years, medical marijuana has become big business in Oklahoma, a state that is far more conservative than Texas. And now, our neighbors to the north are poised to become major players in the global marijuana industry. But here in Texas? Crickets. Could, or should, Texas follow Oklahoma? In this episode of Y’all-itics, the Jasons learn about the good, the bad and the ugly. They’re joined by a Republican lawmaker from Oklahoma who now wants his state to legalize recreational marijuana use. This conservative legislator admits that Oklahoma needs more guardrails on its industry because, he says, truckloads of it get driven across the Red River into Texas and, he estimates that Oklahoma’s marijuana likely makes up a third of all illicit marijuana sold in the eastern part of the United States. But he’s adamant that we can’t put the genie back in the bottle. The Jasons also get knowledge from a Tulsa woman who has run dispensaries and now helps hundreds of Oklahomans get their medical marijuana card. Guests Rep. Scott Fetgatter, (R) Okmulgee Kimberly Moore, Medical Marijuana Patient Consultant
60 minutes | Feb 15, 2022
The Playbook to Take Down Texas Public Schools
The right-wing is trying to takeover public schools. Texas superintendents are quitting. Boards have banned books. The once obscure term Critical Race Theory is now part of our lexicon. Why is public education under attack? Who’s behind it? And how did we get here? In this episode of Y’all-itics some pastors are now pushing back. The Jasons put down their pint glasses after seeing an evangelical group tangle on Twitter with a sitting Republican Congressman over this issue. Scrolling further through their feed, an op-ed from a Baptist news organization began trending after arguing that the right-wing has had this playbook in the works for 60-years. What’s the end game for the right? What’s really at risk? The Jasons walked away with some better context on this mashup of church, state and Texas politics. Guests: Rev. Charles Johnson / Executive Director, Pastors for Texas Children Mark Wingfield / Executive Director and publisher of Baptist News Global
53 minutes | Feb 8, 2022
Texas is Hiring a Lawyer
Can Ken Paxton survive without a runoff? The Republican race for Texas Attorney General appears to be tightening. For the first time in recent memory, the GOP primary for the state’s top cop is crowded with high profile candidates. And three weeks before the March 1 primary, the gloves are off. George P. Bush, Louis Gohmert and Eva Guzman all recently joined our weekly political program Inside Texas Politics and didn’t hold back (Ken Paxton declined our invitation to join). They went after each other in general, and the incumbent specifically. In this episode of Y’all-itics, GOP political insider and former state Senator Konni Burton joins the Jasons to analyze their pitches to Texas voters and handicap the race she fully expects to end with a runoff. And that could change everything. As Konni says, iron sharpens iron and that’s why a heated primary is good for the Texas voters.
59 minutes | Jan 31, 2022
Confessions of a Texas Transplant
It is the siren song of Texas: lower taxes, more land and more jobs. And it’s luring folks from all over. But is our promise too good to be true? And can policy keep up with this explosive growth? In this episode of Y’all-itics, hear the confessions of a Texas transplant. The Jasons are joined by a recent transplant whose family moved here from a NYC suburb thinking they were about to experience Texas-sized savings. But reality on the ground is proving to be much more expensive for many Texas newbies, from property taxes, to home prices, to the gas in those vehicles they’re now using much more than they expected.
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