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Were Texans Sightseeing In Boats As Harvey Blew In?

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Aerial scene of devastation in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.

Plus: presidential pardons, LGBTQ politics and a basketball shoot-off

Editor's note: Mike Ward, who appeared on this podcast, was a reporter for the Houston Chronicle whose reporting was called into question in August, 2018. Although the podcasts were primarily analysis of current events, in the interest of disclosure, we thought it wise to include this information.
The Houston Chronicle retracted eight reports and issued corrections in multiple others, saying they were based on fabricated information, after an outside investigation revealed 44 percent of people quoted in Ward’s stories did not appear to exist. 
Ward resigned earlier this year while the investigation was underway.

Residents along the Texas coast are asking themselves that question after President Donald Trump, during a briefing with state and local officials on hurricane preparedness, suggested that many Texans who had to be rescuedby the U.S. Coast Guard during Harvey were out sightseeing in small boats.

Pretty much no one was happy with that crack. The Houston sheriff said that as the next hurricane approaches,he'll be happy to help Trump go out in Galveston Bay in a jon boat to watch the storm come ashore.

If that wasn't enough to roil the waters, LGBTQ politics and Republican party feuding on the eve of their state convention did the job -- with a mini-flap between U.S. Sen Ted Cruz and the press over why it took him 18 seconds to answer whether Trump has the constitutional authority to pardon himself.

Cruz begged off an answer, insisting he hadn't studied the issue. He blasted "dishonest journalists" for making a big deal about the delay and his dodging answer.

A question he did answer, though, is whether he will participate in a basketball shootout with late night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel, with the loser contributing $5,000 to a non-political charity: Yes, over Father's Day weekend.

Some of our listeners believe Cruz, a varsity B-baller in high school, will win over Kimmel, who played the clarinet. They also think Kimmel should play in a kilt (he earlier suggested that or short shorts or a crop top), and that there should be cheerleaders present for the game that's expected to be televised on Kimmel's show (Listen in for the specifics).

Go behind the headlines for a look at what's really going on in Texas politics. Join the conversation featuring the Chronicle's Austin Bureau Chief Mike Ward and Scott Braddock, editor of The Quorum Report, an acclaimed Texas political newsletter, with special guest Ryan PoppeTexas Public Radio's Capitol reporter.

Our sponsors this week: Texas Association of Counties and Lone Star Targeting.