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Veteran Affairs
12:10 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

U.S. House Approves VA Bill, Which Now Awaits Senate Vote

It took weeks of debate between the House and Senate, but the House Wednesday passed the negotiated version of a bill to reform the Veterans Administration.

The final version of the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability and Transparency Act passed on a 420-5 vote in House late Wednesday.

The bill is Congress’ response to a bureaucracy so bogged down that staffers were found to be falsifying records to conceal delays in delivering services to veterans.

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The Source - July 31, 2014
11:35 am
Thu July 31, 2014

The Source: The Arab World's Generation Y

Protesters in Tunisia 2011, the first of the Arab Spring nations protests
Credit Amine GHRABI / http://bit.ly/1oebok9 / cc

They are more cosmopolitan, less religious, and more educated than their parents and grandparents. The millennials of the Arab world are going to change the way we think of the Middle East and North Africa, argues Juan Cole in his new book, "The New Arabs."

Cole, who has been writing about the interaction between the Muslim World and the West for years, points to the fact that the internet-savvy citizens of Libya,  Egypt and Tunisia used their skills to topple their repressive governments.

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Movie Reviews
10:51 am
Thu July 31, 2014

The Godfather Of Soul, In Charge And All Alone

Chadwick Boseman brings the funk as James Brown in "Get On Up."
Credit Imagine Entertainment

Pity the poor biopic. Whether about an artist, sports hero, musician or president, it has to please fans of the subject while struggling against the constraints of the form. Tate Taylor’s new film “Get On Up,” about the life of Soul Brother #1, James Brown, uses a variety of techniques, including a non-linear narrative and extensive breaking of the fourth wall, to try and break the mold, but it just can’t seem to get up offa that thang (“thang” in this case being a pretty standard VH1-style story).

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Same-Sex Marriage
4:47 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Abbott Restores Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage With Federal Appellate Brief

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has revived his fight against same-sex marriage when told a panel of judges at the US 5th Circuit court that marriage should only exist between those who can produce life.  

In his brief submitted to the federal appeals court, Abbott reasons that the law was intended to protect children by promoting traditional marriage between men and women who procreate.

San Antonio attorney Neel Lane, who represents two same-sex couples fighting to have that ban on same-sex marriage removed.

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Higher Education
4:35 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Three San Antonio Universities Made Forbes List Of Top Schools In America

Forbes is out with its America's Top Colleges list featuring rankings for the top 700 universities in the country. Three San Antonio schools made the list.

San Antonio’s Trinity University, with its smaller enrollment of less than 2,500 students, was ranked 132, and St. Mary’s University was 390. UTSA just made the list at 641 nationwide.

Williams College in Massachusetts leads the Forbes 700 list, followed by Stanford University and Swarthmore College.

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Arts & Culture
3:38 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Aerial Arts Company Set For Public Performance At First Friday

A riddle to ponder: They do a kind of dance, but not usually on the ground. They’re exceptionally athletic, but their moves tend to be subtle rather than demonstrative. They are athletes who play without a ball, a bat or a net. So what is it?

“It’s San Antonio’s only professional aerial arts company and school," said Julia Langenberg, who runs Aerial Horizon. I asked her to describe what they do:

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The Source - July 30, 2014
2:44 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

The Source: Big Money In Politics

Credit Flickr user 401(K) 2012 / cc

Recent Supreme Court rulings have helped the influx of mega money and their donors into political campaigns.

Kenneth Vogel has been tracking it for Politico and describes the post-Citizen's United universe in his new book, "Big Money, 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp--on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics."

Guest

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Parks
2:32 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

San Antonians Help Plan Hemisfair's Second, And Largest, Future Park

People attended a meeting at Sunset Station to help shape the future Civic Park at Hemisfair.
Credit Ryan Loyd / TPR News

Residents and workers in San Antonio got to be park planners Tuesday at Sunset Station to help shape the future of Hemisfair Park.

With the help of table facilitators, people answered questions from a form designed to give planners an idea of what should be included in the Civic Park, Hemisfair's second and largest future green space.

Mike McGlone walked his table full of people through the brainstorming and idea session. He asked for his table to participate in the process instead of being shy.

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Border & Immigration
2:08 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

State Health Official Says No Cause For Alarm Regarding Immunization For Migrant Children

A border detention facility in the Rio Grande Valley.
Credit David Martin Davies / TPR News

The head of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission told a select committee of state lawmakers he is not as concerned about the spread of disease related to unaccompanied minors coming into the state from Central America.  

One of the state’s roles in these children’s lives has to do with screening the children who are headed to group homes or foster care.

Texas HHS Executive Director Dr. Kyle Janek said they screen these children because of the possibility of them being integrated in the Texas school system.

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Arts & Culture
1:44 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

How They Killed Dublin Dr Pepper

Credit Spittin Image Films

The San Antonio Film Festival continues in the Alamo City.  I went to see one of their offerings Tuesday night, "Bottled Up: The Battle Over Dublin Dr Pepper."

“The story is the death of a Texas icon," said Drew Rist, who edited and directed the indie film. We spoke at the Pearl Stables, where the film was screened.

“Since 1891, Dublin Bottling Works has been making Dublin Dr Pepper," Rist said. "Three years ago they got into a battle with corporate over if they could still make Dublin Dr Pepper. Corporate ended up shutting them down.”

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