September 21, 2022
Happy Wednesday! Bend, don't shatter.
🥵 Today's weather: Seems we're back in July.
🎵 Sounds like: "Band on the Run"
🛒 Situational awareness: H-E-B's Frisco location opens today and will include a pharmacy, a drive-thru and a barbecue restaurant.
Today's newsletter is 938 not-yet-banned words — a 3.5-minute read.
1 big thing: An ode to banned books
Nothing makes us want to read a book more than learning it's banned.
- The PEN America report found that 1,648 book titles were banned nationwide in 2,532 decisions from July 2021 to June 2022.
Why it matters: Most of the listed books are about LGBTQ issues or people of color. PEN America calls the limits "deeply undemocratic."
Zoom in: The report mentions bans in 32 states, including 22 school districts in Texas.
- North East ISD, near San Antonio, had the most bans with 435, followed by Granbury ISD with 133.
- Birdville, Denton, Frisco, Keller, Prosper and Richardson schools were also listed.
Yes, but: The analysis details only bans reported to PEN America or challenges that made the news.
- The report doesn't include notable bans in the Southlake Carroll school district or Keller's most recent controversy over banning the Bible.
Details: Some of the banned books were on our high school English reading lists, including classics "Of Mice and Men" and "The Bluest Eye," the latter ranking eighth among the most-challenged books in 2021.
- Students in Denton petitioned after school officials pulled "All Boys Aren't Blue," an often challenged memoir about growing up as a gay Black male.
Of note: While the publicity surrounding book bans has led to an increase in sales, some authors fear their books still won't be read by students who can access only library books.
💭 Our thought bubble: We hope these bans lead to more people reading more books that lead to more discussions about potentially uncomfortable topics.
2. 🏡 More Texans are working from home
The number of remote workers in Texas has increased by 10.6% since 2019, new U.S. Census Bureau data shows.
Why it matters: The newly released survey results provide one of the most reliable indications yet of the pandemic's impact on Americans' work-from-home habits, writes Axios' Erin Doherty.
By the numbers: More than 16% of Texans worked remotely in 2021, up from nearly 6% in 2019.
Zoom out: Nationwide, 17.9% of Americans worked primarily from home in 2021, compared with 5.7% in 2019, per the survey results.
- Washington, Maryland and Colorado had the highest percentage of residents working from home, around 24%.
What they're saying: "Work and commuting are central to American life, so the widespread adoption of working from home is a defining feature of the COVID-19 pandemic," Michael Burrows, a statistician in the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch, said in a statement.
- "With the number of people who primarily work from home tripling over just a two-year period, the pandemic has very strongly impacted the commuting landscape in the United States."
Go deeper: Remote work might not be working anymore
3. 📉 Mapped: Texas among the worst states for workers
Texas is practically the worst state for workers, according to a new OxFam study.
Driving the news: The report points to wage decline, historic inflation and COVID-19 as adverse factors for employees here.
- Oregon is the best state for workers, and Georgia is the worst.
- Texas ranked 48th.
Details: States were ranked on wages, worker protections and employees' ability to unionize.
- Texas earned a zero on the right-to-organize score. Texas is a right-to-work state, which means workers can be terminated for any reason.
The big picture: This study comes on the heels of a Gallup poll that says 71% of Americans support labor unions, the highest percentage since 1965.
Yes, but: CEOs love Texas for business. The state is again No. 1 for its business-friendly policies and low taxes in this year's annual survey of nearly 700 CEOs nationwide.
4. 🗞 Burnt ends: Bite-size news bits
💰 Greg Abbott and Beto O'Rourke have each raised millions from Californian donors, including a $1.5 million donation from L.A. Lakers part-owner Ed Roski Jr., to Abbott and a $50,000 donation to O'Rourke from Timothy Disney, great-nephew of Walt Disney. (Houston Chronicle)
✈️ Fort Worth-based American Airlines is turning its first class on some long-haul flights into private suites with lay-flat seats for its highest-paying customers. (DMN)
🏀 The Dallas Wings fired coach Vickie Johnson after two seasons of losing in the first round of the WNBA playoffs. (ESPN)
✔︎ Nike's plans to build a distribution center in Wilmer ran into problems after Dallas County commissioners raised questions about a lack of diversity in the company's management. (KERA)
Now hiring: New job openings
5. 🍫 One taste test to go: Nostalgic snacks
Iconic childhood flavors now appear in more grown-up snack offerings, as seen on recent grocery store visits.
Why it matters: Snacking between meals went up from 505 instances per capita in 2015 to 530 instances in 2020, according to the annual Eating Patterns in America report. (We presume those are annual, and not daily, snacking instances.)
What we did: We taste tested to see if iconic flavors such as Reese's Puffs, Flamin' Hot Cheetos and Trix are worthy of our adult palate.
- We rated each snack on a scale of one to five 🔥.
Yes, but: All these snacks are still available in their traditional forms.
Here's how some classic snack flavors ranked on our Axios Dallas taste test.
1. Flamin' Hot Flavor Shots 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Distributed by Plano-based Frito-Lay, these small spheres taste just like Hot Cheetos Puffs but aren't as messy.
2. Cookies 'n' Cream popcorn 🔥🔥🔥
We loved the white chocolate drizzle over salted popcorn, with small "cookie" bits for extra crunch. Tastes a lot like Cookie Crisp cereal.
3. Reese's Puffs cereal bar 🔥🔥
A crispy, nostalgia-inducing blend of peanut butter and chocolate. Don't even think about checking the calories.
4. Trix popcorn and Fruity Pebbles candy bar 🔥
These were a tie, because we couldn't decide which overly sweet treat we liked less.
This newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Rob Reinalda and Yasmeen Altaji.
🗡️ Mike is rereading "Blood Meridian," which somehow doesn't appear on any of the banned books lists, despite being one of the most violent tomes in the American canon.
📖 Tasha is dedicated to reading every book on the list of last year's most banned books.
🪁 Naheed is counting how many times she's read "The Kite Runner" and learning about Anthony Comstock, the Victorian-era crusader behind the eponymous Comstock Act.
Wanna help us ban bad snacks instead of books? Refer your friends to Axios Dallas and get cool merch like stickers, totes, hats, T-shirts and more!