News from this site: texasobserver.org

Bald Eagles Numbers at Lake Buchanan Are Declining. No One’s Exactly Sure Why.

From 2015 to 2019, an average of four birds per year came to Lake Buchanan—less than half of the 10.4 average for the five years before that. Could the noise from hunters be to blame? Read full article: Bald Eagles Numbers at Lake Buchanan Are...→

The Fight to Make Austin Affordable

On July 1, Mario Queroz came home to find a notice on the door of the one-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife in north Dallas. They’d lived at Three Fountains Apartments since 2017, enjoying the amenities offered by the … Read More... After Giorgio Angelini graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, he toured the country with his two bands, playing in the same bars and clubs year after year. During his five years on the road, he watched … Read More Read full article: The Fight to Make Austin Affordable...→

You are unable to access this email address texasobserver.org

The website from which you got to this page is protected by Cloudflare. Email addresses on that page have been hidden in order to keep them from being accessed by malicious bots. You must enable Javascript in your browser in order to decode Read full article: You are unable to access this email addr...→

The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas

Carole Ward, a former nurse practitioner, ran the only health clinic in a small town in the Panhandle until she retired in 2017. Read full article: The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas...→

Two New Books Explore the Limits of the #MeToo Movement in Texas and Beyond

Two years after women started speaking out and revealing powerful predators, are too many Texas secrets still locked away in a “whisper network”? Read full article: Two New Books Explore the Limits of the ...→

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer on the Importance of Telling Complex, Nuanced Border Stories

A massive public art project lit up the sky over El Paso and Juárez this month, prompting conversations both funny and serious, political and personal. Read full article: Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer on the Impor...→

‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houston Teachers Fight Back Against State Takeover of HISD - The Texas Observer

In a last-ditch effort to stop a state takeover of HISD, the Houston teachers union is suing the state for disenfranchising voters of color. Read full article: ‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houst...→

The Rural Health Care Crisis, Mapped

Texas is facing a rural health care crisis. How many doctors are in your county? Read full article: The Rural Health Care Crisis, Mapped...→

Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hutcheson Defended Corporations Against the Vulnerable. EMILY’s List Endorsed Her Anyway - The Texas Observer

After working at the prestigious corporate law firm Baker Botts for more than a decade, Shannon Hutcheson decided to hang out a shingle of her own. Along with a colleague, in 2011 she started the women-owned boutique law firm Hutcheson … Read full article: Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hu...→

‘You Can Only Take So Much’: Low-Income Hurricane Harvey Survivors Sue Over ‘Discriminatory’ Recovery Process

The lawsuit accuses state and federal officials of favoring wealthier, white homeowners over poorer black and Hispanic renters. Read full article: ‘You Can Only Take So Much’: Low-Income ...→

American Cities Weren’t Revitalized by the White ‘Creative Class.’ Immigrants Made Them Great.

“Barrio America” weaves together several strands of urban studies to tell a story that transcends what might seem like irrevocable barriers of race and class. Read full article: American Cities Weren’t Revitalized by t...→

The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustrates the Growing Unease Over Texas’ Use of the Death Penalty - The Texas Observer

Calls to spare Rodney Reed point to a larger distrust in Texas’ use of the death penalty and the justice system that convicted him. Read full article: The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustr...→

Governor Launches Camp, Backs 'Mega-Tent' for Austin's Homeless, Surprising Advocates

The governor and Austin’s business community announced plans for a temporary campsite and a future “mega-tent” shelter for the city's homeless community. They’re working separately from local homeless service providers. Read full article: Governor Launches Camp, Backs 'Mega-Tent...→

When ICE Emptied Out an All-Women Detention Center in Texas, Chaos Ensued

Women formerly detained in Karnes County Residential Center have been lost in the shuffle, facing moved or cancelled court dates, high bonds, and legal confusion. Read full article: When ICE Emptied Out an All-Women Detent...→

November/December 2019 - The Texas Observer

Subscribers to the bi-monthly print and digital editions of the Texas Observer get the first look at our in-depth, investigative reporting before it’s published online. Subscribe today so you don’t miss out! Visit our archives for more past Read full article: November/December 2019 - The Texas Obser...→

Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston State House Race Give Texas Dems 2020 Vision?

A sole suburban legislative seat in Texas is up for grabs in November, providing a glimpse at Democrats’ 2020 effort to expand control of the suburbs and take control of the state House. Read full article: Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston Stat...→

Author William Lopez on How Immigration Raids Inflict Long-Lasting Trauma

“There are 364 other days in the year when people’s lives are shaped by the possibility of deportation or a raid.” Read full article: Author William Lopez on How Immigration ...→

Watch: ‘Life and Death in a Carceral State’

At the Observer’s inaugural live storytelling event, formerly incarcerated advocates were among those sharing their experiences with Texas’ criminal justice system. Read full article: Watch: ‘Life and Death in a Carceral Sta...→

Will Dan Patrick's Bare-Minimum Effort for Gun Control Go Anywhere?

By supporting expanded background checks for private sales between strangers, Patrick has quickly become a conservative non grata. Read full article: Will Dan Patrick's Bare-Minimum Effort f...→

Janis Joplin’s Inimitable Voice

An authoritative new biography explores what drove the iconic Texan singer. Read full article: Janis Joplin’s Inimitable Voice...→

Sergio Troncoso’s New Book Is a Beautiful Meditation on the Borderlands

“A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant’s Son” reminds readers that the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, so frequently flattened and stereotyped, are as personal as they are political. Read full article: Sergio Troncoso’s New Book Is a Beautifu...→

Hunting for Fossils and Coming of Age in El Paso

Exploring the Chihuahuan Desert as a child shaped the way I think about my fronteriza identity today. Read full article: Hunting for Fossils and Coming of Age in...→

Dallas Is What Happens When People Can’t Trust Police

Botham Jean’s death led to greater community oversight of the Dallas Police Department. Amber Guyger’s murder trial last month shows why that’s necessary. Read full article: Dallas Is What Happens When People Can’t...→

‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ Tells the Complex Story of Mexico’s Favorite Spirit

Amid corporate buyouts, environmental threats, and cultural appropriation, can tequila keep its ties to the land? Read full article: ‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ Tells th...→

As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Political Career, He May Get Sucked into Ukraine

The once-powerful Republican congressman is trying to claw his way back to Washington at a time when his allies in Trumpworld are under fire. Read full article: As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Pol...→

The Private Prison Industry (Finally) Faces an Uncertain Future - The Texas Observer

Traditionally, private prisons have drawn bipartisan support. But Trump, the sector’s ostensible savior, has made the industry a lightning rod. Read full article: The Private Prison Industry (Finally) Fa...→

‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Valianty Fits Much of Texas History Into a Single Book

Stephen Harrigan forgoes a sweeping narrative and instead opts for finely etched anecdotes to explain the state’s epic history. Read full article: ‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Valianty Fits Much...→

Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘Liquid Gold’

Breast milk is sometimes prized so highly that it’s called “liquid gold.” In Shannon Perri’s harrowing story, it takes on a literal meaning. Read full article: Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘Liquid Go...→

Immigration Judge Slams ‘Remain in Mexico’ Tent Courts

“It's more like what you might see, perhaps, in China or Russia,” says Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. Read full article: Immigration Judge Slams ‘Remain in Mexic...→

How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful

The Texas Tech professor and lead author on the last three National Climate Assessments wants you to talk about how to live in a warming world. Read full article: How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful...→

A World Without Immigrant Prisons

Law professor and author César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández wants you to believe it’s possible. Read full article: A World Without Immigrant Prisons...→

Why I Started a Book Club in the Harris County Jail - The Texas Observer

Education programs make jails safer and reduce rates of recidivism when people reenter society. Read full article: Why I Started a Book Club in the Harris ...→

Lise Olsen

Lise Olsen is a Houston-based senior writer and editor, working mom, and yogini. Reach her at olsen@texasobserver.org or by phone or Signal at 281-454-1933. Read full article: Lise Olsen...→

East Texas Rivers Could Become a Boiling Pot for Mussels

The humble bivalves may not look like much, but they act as crucial natural filters across the state's waterways—and they're severely threatened by climate change. Read full article: East Texas Rivers Could Become a Boiling...→

‘We Build the Wall’ Lands in South Texas, Vilifies Priest and Butterfly Refuge

Accusing a priest of supporting human trafficking and a nature center of butterfly-smuggling is one way to make friends when you’re the new kid in town. Read full article: ‘We Build the Wall’ Lands in South Texas...→

On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a Political Reprieve

A last-minute court intervention relieved political pressure on the Texas governor, who was ultimately able to keep his capital punishment bona fides intact. Read full article: On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a ...→

Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto Detention Center as Private Contract Rumors Swirl

Former detainees were among those criticizing ICE's attempt to secure a 10-year private contract for the facility and two others in Texas. Read full article: Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto...→

In 'Yellow Rose,' the American Coming-of-Age Story Finally Includes Undocumented Youth

Set in Austin, the film tracks a Filipina teen dreaming of a country music career—and fighting to keep her family together. Read full article: In 'Yellow Rose,' the American Coming-of...→

Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In Texas, that May Finally Change.

When I was locked up, I often had to go without tampons or pads. A new law ensures that the 12,500 women still behind bars won’t have to. Read full article: Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In...→

‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures John Cornyn

Our state’s senior senator continues to hitch himself to Trump’s wagon, even as things get rocky. Read full article: ‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures Jo...→

Potter County Criminal Defense System Is Lambasted in a New Report

A 200-page report produced by the Sixth Amendment Center exhaustively shows how the long arm of the law gives poor people in Amarillo the short end of the stick. Read full article: Potter County Criminal Defense System Is...→

Governor Clears Out Camps. Homeless Remain Homeless.

Greg Abbott began clearing out the camps under Austin’s highways Monday, over the objections of the homeless and their advocates. Read full article: Governor Clears Out Camps. Homeless Rema...→

A Dying Town

When a rural hospital dies, the community around it starts to follow suit. Read full article: A Dying Town...→

A Small County Bets Big on Locking Up Undocumented Immigrants

Jones County has an empty prison and a load of debt. Their solution? Dust off the old prison and fill it with undocumented migrants. Read full article: A Small County Bets Big on Locking Up Un...→

The Ghosts of Jefferson

This East Texas tourist town calls itself “the most haunted town in Texas,” but its whitewashed ghost stories elide a complex racial history. Read full article: The Ghosts of Jefferson...→

Texas Observer Staff

We’re updating readers all Election Day with analysis, results and on-the-ground coverage from reporters throughout Texas. – 12:20 a.m., Texas Berniecrats Lose En Masse —Gus Bova So here’s a list of Bernie Sanders-style Democrats who ran in Read full article: Texas Observer Staff...→

Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don’t Mind Dirty Laundry—So Long as It’s Never Aired

The Texas House Speaker announced his resignation, becoming another example of the trite adage: it’s the cover-up, not the crime. Read full article: Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don...→

A Bold New Memoir Struggles to Reconcile Faith and Feminism

Cameron Dezen Hammon’s memoir asks how many ways there are to be a Christian woman—and explores the sexism deeply embedded in evangelical churches. Read full article: A Bold New Memoir Struggles to Reconcile...→

‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ Tracks a Texan’s Path to ISIS

In this contemplative, vulnerable new documentary, a group of friends try to understand why their former classmate embraced radical Islam. Read full article: ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ Tracks a Texan’s ...→

Karl Richter

Karl Richter is a writer and journalist in Texarkana. Read full article: Karl Richter...→

Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public Charge Rule, but Public Health Worries Persist

In Texas, where 5.6 million people live in mixed-status families with at least one non-U.S. citizen, the chilling effect from the proposed rule is likely to exacerbate alarming trends. Read full article: Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public ...→

How Pete Sessions Became “Congressman-1”

The powerful former Dallas congressman and GOP leader was trying to swim back to the swamp. Instead, he got sucked into it. Read full article: How Pete Sessions Became “Congressman-1”...→

Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘The Prize’

In this dreamlike tale, a struggling poet sabotages the contest he’s judging. Read full article: Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘The Prize...→

The Supreme Court Taking Up Louisiana’s Abortion Case ‘Flies in the Face of Precedent’

Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, won a major victory against a Texas anti-abortion law at the U.S. Supreme Court three years ago. In an interview, she talks about the recent case coming out of Louisiana and what it means for abortion rights in the U.S. Read full article: The Supreme Court Taking Up Louisiana’s ...→

Loon Star: The Elephant in the Room - The Texas Observer

Ben Sargent on the GOP’s racism. Trump will be in Dallas for a rally on October 17. Read full article: Loon Star: The Elephant in the Room - Th...→

Who is John Cornyn Serving?

The senior senator from Texas has mastered the art of political subservience, making him very powerful—and perhaps vulnerable. Read full article: Who is John Cornyn Serving?...→

Video: ‘Traumatic, Unnecessary’ Arrest of Austin Woman Shows How Cops Can Worsen Mental Health Crises

Bodycam footage of police arresting a young woman diagnosed with schizophrenia shows how Texas cops turn mental health emergencies into traumatic confrontations—and even deportations. Read full article: Video: ‘Traumatic, Unnecessary’ Arrest o...→

A Joyful El Paso Art Exhibit Imagines a World Ruled by Latinx People

From a cosmic piñata to “Aztechnonauts,” sculptor Angel Cabrales envisions an alternate history defined by Latinx creativity. Read full article: A Joyful El Paso Art Exhibit Imagines a ...→

The Texas Observer

Texas Observer members get the first look at our in-depth investigative reporting before it’s published online. Join today to get the magazine so you don’t miss out! Read full article: The Texas Observer...→

How to Leak to the Texas Observer

If you know something that you think needs to be investigated and made public, contact us. Here are three ways you can reach us while protecting your identity. Read full article: How to Leak to the Texas Observer...→

As Port Neches Plant Smolders, Trump Rolls Back Safety Rules for Chemical Plants

After a deadly explosion in the town of West in 2013, Obama implemented stricter safety rules for chemical plants. Trump’s EPA has just undone them. Read full article: As Port Neches Plant Smolders, Trump Rol...→

Amalia Beckner

Amalia Beckner is a lawyer in the felony trial division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. Read full article: Amalia Beckner...→

Why I Still Love Luby's

Luby’s is closing restaurants and generally struggling. What do we lose if we lose one of the nation’s first cafeteria chains? Read full article: Why I Still Love Luby's...→

I’ve Lived in East Austin for 60 Years, and I Don’t Recognize it Anymore

As gentrification reshapes my neighborhood, I fear we’re losing something of real value to our city. Read full article: I’ve Lived in East Austin for 60 Years, ...→

Driving My Life Away

Two decades ago, 14 of the state’s 254 counties had no doctor. Today, that number has jumped to 33. More than 20 other counties have just one. Read full article: Driving My Life Away...→

Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Politics to Ukraine

Perry has talked about his aspirations for Ukraine to become “the Texas of Europe.” On the corporate cronyism front, he may just have succeeded. Read full article: Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Polit...→

Scenes from a Rural Hospital’s Final Day

Chillicothe Hospital closed its door on July 22. Its closure reverberated through the community in both expected and surprising ways. Read full article: Scenes from a Rural Hospital’s Final Day...→

State Investigators Identify ‘Serious Contractual Violations’ by the Heidi Group

A new report from the health inspector general says the Heidi Group, an anti-abortion group tapped to replace Planned Parenthood in state family planning programs, misused taxpayer funds, and calls for an expanded investigation of the group’s contracts. Read full article: State Investigators Identify ‘Serious Co...→

Iraqi Oud Virtuoso Rahim AlHaj on How Music Crosses Cultures

AlHaj, who performs in Austin on Friday, is a former political prisoner whose music fuses Eastern and Western influences. Read full article: Iraqi Oud Virtuoso Rahim AlHaj on How Mu...→

The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary

After fleeing domestic violence in Guatemala, I’ve been living inside a Texas church for the last four years. I’m exhausted, but I won’t stop fighting. Read full article: The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary...→

Special Series: Critical Condition

This series highlights the stories of rural Texans without access to care—and explores what can be done to reverse this troubling trend. Read full article: Special Series: Critical Condition...→

Liz Moskowitz

Ahern creates fantastical mammals such as a nine-tailed red fox and a "black stag" built from parts of deer, elk and sheep. Read More... In our May photo feature, Liz Moskowitz photographs the pastors and congregants at the small chapels scattered throughout swiftly gentrifying East Austin. Read More Read full article: Liz Moskowitz...→

‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months Later, the Border Town Still Reels

El Pasoans share the deep and expansive trauma that the Walmart massacre has inflicted, and they’re urging lawmakers to take action. Read full article: ‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months ...→

Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipeline Moved. But Can They Do It Again?

Rule No. 1 of averting pipeline routes: Always bring a high-powered, politically connected oil and gas executive to the negotiating table. Read full article: Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipe...→

Robyn Ross

A solitary orange chair in the middle of a courtyard. Doors set into colorful walls, dappled with sunlight and shadow. A mural of a fortune-teller, marred by a crack. More than 100 five-by-seven-inch photographs stretch in rows across a whi Read full article: Robyn Ross...→

The World’s Briscoe Cain Problem

The far-right Texas lawmaker and other political trolls are holding us hostage to the idea that the world is more chaotic, unfixable, and stupid than it is. Read full article: The World’s Briscoe Cain Problem...→

Daniel Peña

Daniel Peña is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer and assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. He is the author of Bang: A Novel. Read full article: Daniel Peña...→

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conversation with Speaker Bonnen Exposes the Texas GOP for What It’s Always Been  - The Texas Observer

In June, Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan revealed that he had secretly recorded a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen during which, the right-wing hardliner alleged, the speaker presented  him with a quid pro quo proposition: the Speaker would … Read full article: Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conver...→

The Best Texas Musician You've Never Heard Of

Graham Reynolds’ quirky, multidisciplinary career offers a compelling example of what it means to be a nationally recognized professional composer in 2019. Read full article: The Best Texas Musician You've Never Hea...→

Death in Solitary

Russell Johnson’s sister warned officials that nearly three years in solitary confinement had broken him. His suicide in isolation two months later points to compounded crises inside Texas prisons. Read full article: Death in Solitary...→

What Does Our Fascination with True Crime Say About Us?

Rachel Monroe’s "Savage Appetites" asks why true-crime stories are so popular, even while they risk exploitation. Read full article: What Does Our Fascination with True Crim...→

Attacked in Mexico, Returned to Mexico: Trump Policy Ignores Danger to Asylum-Seekers

The Migrant Protection Protocols are failing to protect migrants from imminent kidnapping and violence. Read full article: Attacked in Mexico, Returned to Mexico: ...→

Anti-LGBTQ Activist Tracy Shannon Shuts Down Drag Queen Story Times Across Texas

“They made it look like we were planning a peep show for kids. It would have just been a grandma dressing up and reading to kids on her time off.” Read full article: Anti-LGBTQ Activist Tracy Shannon Shuts ...→

Bald Eagles Numbers at Lake Buchanan Are Declining. No One’s Exactly Sure Why.

From 2015 to 2019, an average of four birds per year came to Lake Buchanan—less than half of the 10.4 average for the five years before that. Could the noise from hunters be to blame? Read full article: Bald Eagles Numbers at Lake Buchanan Are...→

The Texas Observer

Texas Observer members get the first look at our in-depth investigative reporting before it’s published online. Join today to get the magazine so you don’t miss out! Read full article: The Texas Observer...→

You are unable to access this email address texasobserver.org

The website from which you got to this page is protected by Cloudflare. Email addresses on that page have been hidden in order to keep them from being accessed by malicious bots. You must enable Javascript in your browser in order to decode Read full article: You are unable to access this email addr...→

As Port Neches Plant Smolders, Trump Rolls Back Safety Rules for Chemical Plants

After a deadly explosion in the town of West in 2013, Obama implemented stricter safety rules for chemical plants. Trump’s EPA has just undone them. Read full article: As Port Neches Plant Smolders, Trump Rol...→

Why I Started a Book Club in the Harris County Jail - The Texas Observer

Education programs make jails safer and reduce rates of recidivism when people reenter society. Read full article: Why I Started a Book Club in the Harris ...→

Two New Books Explore the Limits of the #MeToo Movement in Texas and Beyond

Two years after women started speaking out and revealing powerful predators, are too many Texas secrets still locked away in a “whisper network”? Read full article: Two New Books Explore the Limits of the ...→

East Texas Rivers Could Become a Boiling Pot for Mussels

The humble bivalves may not look like much, but they act as crucial natural filters across the state's waterways—and they're severely threatened by climate change. Read full article: East Texas Rivers Could Become a Boiling...→

‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houston Teachers Fight Back Against State Takeover of HISD - The Texas Observer

In a last-ditch effort to stop a state takeover of HISD, the Houston teachers union is suing the state for disenfranchising voters of color. Read full article: ‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houst...→

I’ve Lived in East Austin for 60 Years, and I Don’t Recognize it Anymore

As gentrification reshapes my neighborhood, I fear we’re losing something of real value to our city. Read full article: I’ve Lived in East Austin for 60 Years, ...→

On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a Political Reprieve

A last-minute court intervention relieved political pressure on the Texas governor, who was ultimately able to keep his capital punishment bona fides intact. Read full article: On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a ...→

Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hutcheson Defended Corporations Against the Vulnerable. EMILY’s List Endorsed Her Anyway - The Texas Observer

After working at the prestigious corporate law firm Baker Botts for more than a decade, Shannon Hutcheson decided to hang out a shingle of her own. Along with a colleague, in 2011 she started the women-owned boutique law firm Hutcheson … Read full article: Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hu...→

Driving My Life Away

Two decades ago, 14 of the state’s 254 counties had no doctor. Today, that number has jumped to 33. More than 20 other counties have just one. Read full article: Driving My Life Away...→

In 'Yellow Rose,' the American Coming-of-Age Story Finally Includes Undocumented Youth

Set in Austin, the film tracks a Filipina teen dreaming of a country music career—and fighting to keep her family together. Read full article: In 'Yellow Rose,' the American Coming-of...→

American Cities Weren’t Revitalized by the White ‘Creative Class.’ Immigrants Made Them Great.

“Barrio America” weaves together several strands of urban studies to tell a story that transcends what might seem like irrevocable barriers of race and class. Read full article: American Cities Weren’t Revitalized by t...→

Scenes from a Rural Hospital’s Final Day

Chillicothe Hospital closed its door on July 22. Its closure reverberated through the community in both expected and surprising ways. Read full article: Scenes from a Rural Hospital’s Final Day...→

‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures John Cornyn

Our state’s senior senator continues to hitch himself to Trump’s wagon, even as things get rocky. Read full article: ‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures Jo...→

Governor Launches Camp, Backs 'Mega-Tent' for Austin's Homeless, Surprising Advocates

The governor and Austin’s business community announced plans for a temporary campsite and a future “mega-tent” shelter for the city's homeless community. They’re working separately from local homeless service providers. Read full article: Governor Launches Camp, Backs 'Mega-Tent...→

Iraqi Oud Virtuoso Rahim AlHaj on How Music Crosses Cultures

AlHaj, who performs in Austin on Friday, is a former political prisoner whose music fuses Eastern and Western influences. Read full article: Iraqi Oud Virtuoso Rahim AlHaj on How Mu...→

Governor Clears Out Camps. Homeless Remain Homeless.

Greg Abbott began clearing out the camps under Austin’s highways Monday, over the objections of the homeless and their advocates. Read full article: Governor Clears Out Camps. Homeless Rema...→

November/December 2019 - The Texas Observer

Subscribers to the bi-monthly print and digital editions of the Texas Observer get the first look at our in-depth, investigative reporting before it’s published online. Subscribe today so you don’t miss out! Visit our archives for more past Read full article: November/December 2019 - The Texas Obser...→

Special Series: Critical Condition

This series highlights the stories of rural Texans without access to care—and explores what can be done to reverse this troubling trend. Read full article: Special Series: Critical Condition...→

A Small County Bets Big on Locking Up Undocumented Immigrants

Jones County has an empty prison and a load of debt. Their solution? Dust off the old prison and fill it with undocumented migrants. Read full article: A Small County Bets Big on Locking Up Un...→

‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months Later, the Border Town Still Reels

El Pasoans share the deep and expansive trauma that the Walmart massacre has inflicted, and they’re urging lawmakers to take action. Read full article: ‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months ...→

Texas Observer Staff

We’re updating readers all Election Day with analysis, results and on-the-ground coverage from reporters throughout Texas. – 12:20 a.m., Texas Berniecrats Lose En Masse —Gus Bova So here’s a list of Bernie Sanders-style Democrats who ran in Read full article: Texas Observer Staff...→

Watch: ‘Life and Death in a Carceral State’

At the Observer’s inaugural live storytelling event, formerly incarcerated advocates were among those sharing their experiences with Texas’ criminal justice system. Read full article: Watch: ‘Life and Death in a Carceral Sta...→

Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipeline Moved. But Can They Do It Again?

Rule No. 1 of averting pipeline routes: Always bring a high-powered, politically connected oil and gas executive to the negotiating table. Read full article: Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipe...→

A Bold New Memoir Struggles to Reconcile Faith and Feminism

Cameron Dezen Hammon’s memoir asks how many ways there are to be a Christian woman—and explores the sexism deeply embedded in evangelical churches. Read full article: A Bold New Memoir Struggles to Reconcile...→

Will Dan Patrick's Bare-Minimum Effort for Gun Control Go Anywhere?

By supporting expanded background checks for private sales between strangers, Patrick has quickly become a conservative non grata. Read full article: Will Dan Patrick's Bare-Minimum Effort f...→

The World’s Briscoe Cain Problem

The far-right Texas lawmaker and other political trolls are holding us hostage to the idea that the world is more chaotic, unfixable, and stupid than it is. Read full article: The World’s Briscoe Cain Problem...→

Karl Richter

Karl Richter is a writer and journalist in Texarkana. Read full article: Karl Richter...→

Sergio Troncoso’s New Book Is a Beautiful Meditation on the Borderlands

“A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant’s Son” reminds readers that the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, so frequently flattened and stereotyped, are as personal as they are political. Read full article: Sergio Troncoso’s New Book Is a Beautifu...→

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conversation with Speaker Bonnen Exposes the Texas GOP for What It’s Always Been  - The Texas Observer

In June, Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan revealed that he had secretly recorded a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen during which, the right-wing hardliner alleged, the speaker presented  him with a quid pro quo proposition: the Speaker would … Read full article: Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conver...→

How Pete Sessions Became “Congressman-1”

The powerful former Dallas congressman and GOP leader was trying to swim back to the swamp. Instead, he got sucked into it. Read full article: How Pete Sessions Became “Congressman-1”...→

Dallas Is What Happens When People Can’t Trust Police

Botham Jean’s death led to greater community oversight of the Dallas Police Department. Amber Guyger’s murder trial last month shows why that’s necessary. Read full article: Dallas Is What Happens When People Can’t...→

Death in Solitary

Russell Johnson’s sister warned officials that nearly three years in solitary confinement had broken him. His suicide in isolation two months later points to compounded crises inside Texas prisons. Read full article: Death in Solitary...→

The Supreme Court Taking Up Louisiana’s Abortion Case ‘Flies in the Face of Precedent’

Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, won a major victory against a Texas anti-abortion law at the U.S. Supreme Court three years ago. In an interview, she talks about the recent case coming out of Louisiana and what it means for abortion rights in the U.S. Read full article: The Supreme Court Taking Up Louisiana’s ...→

As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Political Career, He May Get Sucked into Ukraine

The once-powerful Republican congressman is trying to claw his way back to Washington at a time when his allies in Trumpworld are under fire. Read full article: As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Pol...→

Loon Star: The Elephant in the Room - The Texas Observer

Ben Sargent on the GOP’s racism. Trump will be in Dallas for a rally on October 17. Read full article: Loon Star: The Elephant in the Room - Th...→

‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Valianty Fits Much of Texas History Into a Single Book

Stephen Harrigan forgoes a sweeping narrative and instead opts for finely etched anecdotes to explain the state’s epic history. Read full article: ‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Valianty Fits Much...→

Anti-LGBTQ Activist Tracy Shannon Shuts Down Drag Queen Story Times Across Texas

“They made it look like we were planning a peep show for kids. It would have just been a grandma dressing up and reading to kids on her time off.” Read full article: Anti-LGBTQ Activist Tracy Shannon Shuts ...→

Video: ‘Traumatic, Unnecessary’ Arrest of Austin Woman Shows How Cops Can Worsen Mental Health Crises

Bodycam footage of police arresting a young woman diagnosed with schizophrenia shows how Texas cops turn mental health emergencies into traumatic confrontations—and even deportations. Read full article: Video: ‘Traumatic, Unnecessary’ Arrest o...→

Immigration Judge Slams ‘Remain in Mexico’ Tent Courts

“It's more like what you might see, perhaps, in China or Russia,” says Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. Read full article: Immigration Judge Slams ‘Remain in Mexic...→

How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful

The Texas Tech professor and lead author on the last three National Climate Assessments wants you to talk about how to live in a warming world. Read full article: How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful...→

The Fight to Make Austin Affordable

On July 1, Mario Queroz came home to find a notice on the door of the one-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife in north Dallas. They’d lived at Three Fountains Apartments since 2017, enjoying the amenities offered by the … Read More... After Giorgio Angelini graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, he toured the country with his two bands, playing in the same bars and clubs year after year. During his five years on the road, he watched … Read More Read full article: The Fight to Make Austin Affordable...→

How to Leak to the Texas Observer

If you know something that you think needs to be investigated and made public, contact us. Here are three ways you can reach us while protecting your identity. Read full article: How to Leak to the Texas Observer...→

A World Without Immigrant Prisons

Law professor and author César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández wants you to believe it’s possible. Read full article: A World Without Immigrant Prisons...→

The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas

Carole Ward, a former nurse practitioner, ran the only health clinic in a small town in the Panhandle until she retired in 2017. Read full article: The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas...→

Amalia Beckner

Amalia Beckner is a lawyer in the felony trial division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. Read full article: Amalia Beckner...→

Lise Olsen

Lise Olsen is a Houston-based senior writer and editor, working mom, and yogini. Reach her at olsen@texasobserver.org or by phone or Signal at 281-454-1933. Read full article: Lise Olsen...→

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer on the Importance of Telling Complex, Nuanced Border Stories

A massive public art project lit up the sky over El Paso and Juárez this month, prompting conversations both funny and serious, political and personal. Read full article: Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer on the Impor...→

Why I Still Love Luby's

Luby’s is closing restaurants and generally struggling. What do we lose if we lose one of the nation’s first cafeteria chains? Read full article: Why I Still Love Luby's...→

‘We Build the Wall’ Lands in South Texas, Vilifies Priest and Butterfly Refuge

Accusing a priest of supporting human trafficking and a nature center of butterfly-smuggling is one way to make friends when you’re the new kid in town. Read full article: ‘We Build the Wall’ Lands in South Texas...→

The Rural Health Care Crisis, Mapped

Texas is facing a rural health care crisis. How many doctors are in your county? Read full article: The Rural Health Care Crisis, Mapped...→

Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto Detention Center as Private Contract Rumors Swirl

Former detainees were among those criticizing ICE's attempt to secure a 10-year private contract for the facility and two others in Texas. Read full article: Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto...→

‘You Can Only Take So Much’: Low-Income Hurricane Harvey Survivors Sue Over ‘Discriminatory’ Recovery Process

The lawsuit accuses state and federal officials of favoring wealthier, white homeowners over poorer black and Hispanic renters. Read full article: ‘You Can Only Take So Much’: Low-Income ...→

Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Politics to Ukraine

Perry has talked about his aspirations for Ukraine to become “the Texas of Europe.” On the corporate cronyism front, he may just have succeeded. Read full article: Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Polit...→

Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In Texas, that May Finally Change.

When I was locked up, I often had to go without tampons or pads. A new law ensures that the 12,500 women still behind bars won’t have to. Read full article: Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In...→

The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustrates the Growing Unease Over Texas’ Use of the Death Penalty - The Texas Observer

Calls to spare Rodney Reed point to a larger distrust in Texas’ use of the death penalty and the justice system that convicted him. Read full article: The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustr...→

State Investigators Identify ‘Serious Contractual Violations’ by the Heidi Group

A new report from the health inspector general says the Heidi Group, an anti-abortion group tapped to replace Planned Parenthood in state family planning programs, misused taxpayer funds, and calls for an expanded investigation of the group’s contracts. Read full article: State Investigators Identify ‘Serious Co...→

Potter County Criminal Defense System Is Lambasted in a New Report

A 200-page report produced by the Sixth Amendment Center exhaustively shows how the long arm of the law gives poor people in Amarillo the short end of the stick. Read full article: Potter County Criminal Defense System Is...→

When ICE Emptied Out an All-Women Detention Center in Texas, Chaos Ensued

Women formerly detained in Karnes County Residential Center have been lost in the shuffle, facing moved or cancelled court dates, high bonds, and legal confusion. Read full article: When ICE Emptied Out an All-Women Detent...→

The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary

After fleeing domestic violence in Guatemala, I’ve been living inside a Texas church for the last four years. I’m exhausted, but I won’t stop fighting. Read full article: The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary...→

A Dying Town

When a rural hospital dies, the community around it starts to follow suit. Read full article: A Dying Town...→

Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston State House Race Give Texas Dems 2020 Vision?

A sole suburban legislative seat in Texas is up for grabs in November, providing a glimpse at Democrats’ 2020 effort to expand control of the suburbs and take control of the state House. Read full article: Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston Stat...→

Liz Moskowitz

Ahern creates fantastical mammals such as a nine-tailed red fox and a "black stag" built from parts of deer, elk and sheep. Read More... In our May photo feature, Liz Moskowitz photographs the pastors and congregants at the small chapels scattered throughout swiftly gentrifying East Austin. Read More Read full article: Liz Moskowitz...→

The Ghosts of Jefferson

This East Texas tourist town calls itself “the most haunted town in Texas,” but its whitewashed ghost stories elide a complex racial history. Read full article: The Ghosts of Jefferson...→

Author William Lopez on How Immigration Raids Inflict Long-Lasting Trauma

“There are 364 other days in the year when people’s lives are shaped by the possibility of deportation or a raid.” Read full article: Author William Lopez on How Immigration ...→

Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don’t Mind Dirty Laundry—So Long as It’s Never Aired

The Texas House Speaker announced his resignation, becoming another example of the trite adage: it’s the cover-up, not the crime. Read full article: Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don...→

Robyn Ross

A solitary orange chair in the middle of a courtyard. Doors set into colorful walls, dappled with sunlight and shadow. A mural of a fortune-teller, marred by a crack. More than 100 five-by-seven-inch photographs stretch in rows across a whi Read full article: Robyn Ross...→

‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ Tracks a Texan’s Path to ISIS

In this contemplative, vulnerable new documentary, a group of friends try to understand why their former classmate embraced radical Islam. Read full article: ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ Tracks a Texan’s ...→

Janis Joplin’s Inimitable Voice

An authoritative new biography explores what drove the iconic Texan singer. Read full article: Janis Joplin’s Inimitable Voice...→

Daniel Peña

Daniel Peña is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer and assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. He is the author of Bang: A Novel. Read full article: Daniel Peña...→

Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public Charge Rule, but Public Health Worries Persist

In Texas, where 5.6 million people live in mixed-status families with at least one non-U.S. citizen, the chilling effect from the proposed rule is likely to exacerbate alarming trends. Read full article: Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public ...→

Hunting for Fossils and Coming of Age in El Paso

Exploring the Chihuahuan Desert as a child shaped the way I think about my fronteriza identity today. Read full article: Hunting for Fossils and Coming of Age in...→

The Best Texas Musician You've Never Heard Of

Graham Reynolds’ quirky, multidisciplinary career offers a compelling example of what it means to be a nationally recognized professional composer in 2019. Read full article: The Best Texas Musician You've Never Hea...→

Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘The Prize’

In this dreamlike tale, a struggling poet sabotages the contest he’s judging. Read full article: Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘The Prize...→

‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ Tells the Complex Story of Mexico’s Favorite Spirit

Amid corporate buyouts, environmental threats, and cultural appropriation, can tequila keep its ties to the land? Read full article: ‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ Tells th...→

What Does Our Fascination with True Crime Say About Us?

Rachel Monroe’s "Savage Appetites" asks why true-crime stories are so popular, even while they risk exploitation. Read full article: What Does Our Fascination with True Crim...→

The Private Prison Industry (Finally) Faces an Uncertain Future - The Texas Observer

Traditionally, private prisons have drawn bipartisan support. But Trump, the sector’s ostensible savior, has made the industry a lightning rod. Read full article: The Private Prison Industry (Finally) Fa...→

Attacked in Mexico, Returned to Mexico: Trump Policy Ignores Danger to Asylum-Seekers

The Migrant Protection Protocols are failing to protect migrants from imminent kidnapping and violence. Read full article: Attacked in Mexico, Returned to Mexico: ...→

Who is John Cornyn Serving?

The senior senator from Texas has mastered the art of political subservience, making him very powerful—and perhaps vulnerable. Read full article: Who is John Cornyn Serving?...→

Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘Liquid Gold’

Breast milk is sometimes prized so highly that it’s called “liquid gold.” In Shannon Perri’s harrowing story, it takes on a literal meaning. Read full article: Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘Liquid Go...→

A Joyful El Paso Art Exhibit Imagines a World Ruled by Latinx People

From a cosmic piñata to “Aztechnonauts,” sculptor Angel Cabrales envisions an alternate history defined by Latinx creativity. Read full article: A Joyful El Paso Art Exhibit Imagines a ...→

Bald Eagles Numbers at Lake Buchanan Are Declining. No One’s Exactly Sure Why.

From 2015 to 2019, an average of four birds per year came to Lake Buchanan—less than half of the 10.4 average for the five years before that. Could the noise from hunters be to blame? Read full article: Bald Eagles Numbers at Lake Buchanan Are...→

How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful

The Texas Tech professor and lead author on the last three National Climate Assessments wants you to talk about how to live in a warming world. Read full article: How Katharine Hayhoe Stays Hopeful...→

The Texas Observer

Texas Observer members get the first look at our in-depth investigative reporting before it’s published online. Join today to get the magazine so you don’t miss out! Read full article: The Texas Observer...→

The Fight to Make Austin Affordable

On July 1, Mario Queroz came home to find a notice on the door of the one-bedroom apartment he shares with his wife in north Dallas. They’d lived at Three Fountains Apartments since 2017, enjoying the amenities offered by the … Read More... After Giorgio Angelini graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2005, he toured the country with his two bands, playing in the same bars and clubs year after year. During his five years on the road, he watched … Read More Read full article: The Fight to Make Austin Affordable...→

How to Leak to the Texas Observer

If you know something that you think needs to be investigated and made public, contact us. Here are three ways you can reach us while protecting your identity. Read full article: How to Leak to the Texas Observer...→

You are unable to access this email address texasobserver.org

The website from which you got to this page is protected by Cloudflare. Email addresses on that page have been hidden in order to keep them from being accessed by malicious bots. You must enable Javascript in your browser in order to decode Read full article: You are unable to access this email addr...→

A World Without Immigrant Prisons

Law professor and author César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández wants you to believe it’s possible. Read full article: A World Without Immigrant Prisons...→

As Port Neches Plant Smolders, Trump Rolls Back Safety Rules for Chemical Plants

After a deadly explosion in the town of West in 2013, Obama implemented stricter safety rules for chemical plants. Trump’s EPA has just undone them. Read full article: As Port Neches Plant Smolders, Trump Rol...→

The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas

Carole Ward, a former nurse practitioner, ran the only health clinic in a small town in the Panhandle until she retired in 2017. Read full article: The Last Nurse in Memphis, Texas...→

Why I Started a Book Club in the Harris County Jail - The Texas Observer

Education programs make jails safer and reduce rates of recidivism when people reenter society. Read full article: Why I Started a Book Club in the Harris ...→

Amalia Beckner

Amalia Beckner is a lawyer in the felony trial division of the Harris County Public Defender’s Office. Read full article: Amalia Beckner...→

Two New Books Explore the Limits of the #MeToo Movement in Texas and Beyond

Two years after women started speaking out and revealing powerful predators, are too many Texas secrets still locked away in a “whisper network”? Read full article: Two New Books Explore the Limits of the ...→

Lise Olsen

Lise Olsen is a Houston-based senior writer and editor, working mom, and yogini. Reach her at olsen@texasobserver.org or by phone or Signal at 281-454-1933. Read full article: Lise Olsen...→

Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer on the Importance of Telling Complex, Nuanced Border Stories

A massive public art project lit up the sky over El Paso and Juárez this month, prompting conversations both funny and serious, political and personal. Read full article: Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer on the Impor...→

East Texas Rivers Could Become a Boiling Pot for Mussels

The humble bivalves may not look like much, but they act as crucial natural filters across the state's waterways—and they're severely threatened by climate change. Read full article: East Texas Rivers Could Become a Boiling...→

Why I Still Love Luby's

Luby’s is closing restaurants and generally struggling. What do we lose if we lose one of the nation’s first cafeteria chains? Read full article: Why I Still Love Luby's...→

‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houston Teachers Fight Back Against State Takeover of HISD - The Texas Observer

In a last-ditch effort to stop a state takeover of HISD, the Houston teachers union is suing the state for disenfranchising voters of color. Read full article: ‘Almost Akin to a Political Coup’: Houst...→

‘We Build the Wall’ Lands in South Texas, Vilifies Priest and Butterfly Refuge

Accusing a priest of supporting human trafficking and a nature center of butterfly-smuggling is one way to make friends when you’re the new kid in town. Read full article: ‘We Build the Wall’ Lands in South Texas...→

I’ve Lived in East Austin for 60 Years, and I Don’t Recognize it Anymore

As gentrification reshapes my neighborhood, I fear we’re losing something of real value to our city. Read full article: I’ve Lived in East Austin for 60 Years, ...→

The Rural Health Care Crisis, Mapped

Texas is facing a rural health care crisis. How many doctors are in your county? Read full article: The Rural Health Care Crisis, Mapped...→

On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a Political Reprieve

A last-minute court intervention relieved political pressure on the Texas governor, who was ultimately able to keep his capital punishment bona fides intact. Read full article: On Rodney Reed Case, Greg Abbott Gets a ...→

Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hutcheson Defended Corporations Against the Vulnerable. EMILY’s List Endorsed Her Anyway - The Texas Observer

After working at the prestigious corporate law firm Baker Botts for more than a decade, Shannon Hutcheson decided to hang out a shingle of her own. Along with a colleague, in 2011 she started the women-owned boutique law firm Hutcheson … Read full article: Texas Congressional Candidate Shannon Hu...→

Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto Detention Center as Private Contract Rumors Swirl

Former detainees were among those criticizing ICE's attempt to secure a 10-year private contract for the facility and two others in Texas. Read full article: Activists Rally for the Closure of Hutto...→

Driving My Life Away

Two decades ago, 14 of the state’s 254 counties had no doctor. Today, that number has jumped to 33. More than 20 other counties have just one. Read full article: Driving My Life Away...→

‘You Can Only Take So Much’: Low-Income Hurricane Harvey Survivors Sue Over ‘Discriminatory’ Recovery Process

The lawsuit accuses state and federal officials of favoring wealthier, white homeowners over poorer black and Hispanic renters. Read full article: ‘You Can Only Take So Much’: Low-Income ...→

In 'Yellow Rose,' the American Coming-of-Age Story Finally Includes Undocumented Youth

Set in Austin, the film tracks a Filipina teen dreaming of a country music career—and fighting to keep her family together. Read full article: In 'Yellow Rose,' the American Coming-of...→

Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Politics to Ukraine

Perry has talked about his aspirations for Ukraine to become “the Texas of Europe.” On the corporate cronyism front, he may just have succeeded. Read full article: Rick Perry Exports His Pay-to-Play Polit...→

American Cities Weren’t Revitalized by the White ‘Creative Class.’ Immigrants Made Them Great.

“Barrio America” weaves together several strands of urban studies to tell a story that transcends what might seem like irrevocable barriers of race and class. Read full article: American Cities Weren’t Revitalized by t...→

Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In Texas, that May Finally Change.

When I was locked up, I often had to go without tampons or pads. A new law ensures that the 12,500 women still behind bars won’t have to. Read full article: Having My Period in Prison Was Awful. In...→

Scenes from a Rural Hospital’s Final Day

Chillicothe Hospital closed its door on July 22. Its closure reverberated through the community in both expected and surprising ways. Read full article: Scenes from a Rural Hospital’s Final Day...→

The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustrates the Growing Unease Over Texas’ Use of the Death Penalty - The Texas Observer

Calls to spare Rodney Reed point to a larger distrust in Texas’ use of the death penalty and the justice system that convicted him. Read full article: The Movement to Free Rodney Reed Illustr...→

‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures John Cornyn

Our state’s senior senator continues to hitch himself to Trump’s wagon, even as things get rocky. Read full article: ‘Nobody’s Beating You,’ Trump Assures Jo...→

State Investigators Identify ‘Serious Contractual Violations’ by the Heidi Group

A new report from the health inspector general says the Heidi Group, an anti-abortion group tapped to replace Planned Parenthood in state family planning programs, misused taxpayer funds, and calls for an expanded investigation of the group’s contracts. Read full article: State Investigators Identify ‘Serious Co...→

Governor Launches Camp, Backs 'Mega-Tent' for Austin's Homeless, Surprising Advocates

The governor and Austin’s business community announced plans for a temporary campsite and a future “mega-tent” shelter for the city's homeless community. They’re working separately from local homeless service providers. Read full article: Governor Launches Camp, Backs 'Mega-Tent...→

Potter County Criminal Defense System Is Lambasted in a New Report

A 200-page report produced by the Sixth Amendment Center exhaustively shows how the long arm of the law gives poor people in Amarillo the short end of the stick. Read full article: Potter County Criminal Defense System Is...→

Iraqi Oud Virtuoso Rahim AlHaj on How Music Crosses Cultures

AlHaj, who performs in Austin on Friday, is a former political prisoner whose music fuses Eastern and Western influences. Read full article: Iraqi Oud Virtuoso Rahim AlHaj on How Mu...→

When ICE Emptied Out an All-Women Detention Center in Texas, Chaos Ensued

Women formerly detained in Karnes County Residential Center have been lost in the shuffle, facing moved or cancelled court dates, high bonds, and legal confusion. Read full article: When ICE Emptied Out an All-Women Detent...→

Governor Clears Out Camps. Homeless Remain Homeless.

Greg Abbott began clearing out the camps under Austin’s highways Monday, over the objections of the homeless and their advocates. Read full article: Governor Clears Out Camps. Homeless Rema...→

The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary

After fleeing domestic violence in Guatemala, I’ve been living inside a Texas church for the last four years. I’m exhausted, but I won’t stop fighting. Read full article: The Fear—and Hope—of Living in Sanctuary...→

November/December 2019 - The Texas Observer

Subscribers to the bi-monthly print and digital editions of the Texas Observer get the first look at our in-depth, investigative reporting before it’s published online. Subscribe today so you don’t miss out! Visit our archives for more past Read full article: November/December 2019 - The Texas Obser...→

A Dying Town

When a rural hospital dies, the community around it starts to follow suit. Read full article: A Dying Town...→

Special Series: Critical Condition

This series highlights the stories of rural Texans without access to care—and explores what can be done to reverse this troubling trend. Read full article: Special Series: Critical Condition...→

Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston State House Race Give Texas Dems 2020 Vision?

A sole suburban legislative seat in Texas is up for grabs in November, providing a glimpse at Democrats’ 2020 effort to expand control of the suburbs and take control of the state House. Read full article: Will a High-Stakes Suburban Houston Stat...→

A Small County Bets Big on Locking Up Undocumented Immigrants

Jones County has an empty prison and a load of debt. Their solution? Dust off the old prison and fill it with undocumented migrants. Read full article: A Small County Bets Big on Locking Up Un...→

Liz Moskowitz

Ahern creates fantastical mammals such as a nine-tailed red fox and a "black stag" built from parts of deer, elk and sheep. Read More... In our May photo feature, Liz Moskowitz photographs the pastors and congregants at the small chapels scattered throughout swiftly gentrifying East Austin. Read More Read full article: Liz Moskowitz...→

The Ghosts of Jefferson

This East Texas tourist town calls itself “the most haunted town in Texas,” but its whitewashed ghost stories elide a complex racial history. Read full article: The Ghosts of Jefferson...→

‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months Later, the Border Town Still Reels

El Pasoans share the deep and expansive trauma that the Walmart massacre has inflicted, and they’re urging lawmakers to take action. Read full article: ‘El Paso Will Never Heal’: Three Months ...→

Author William Lopez on How Immigration Raids Inflict Long-Lasting Trauma

“There are 364 other days in the year when people’s lives are shaped by the possibility of deportation or a raid.” Read full article: Author William Lopez on How Immigration ...→

Texas Observer Staff

We’re updating readers all Election Day with analysis, results and on-the-ground coverage from reporters throughout Texas. – 12:20 a.m., Texas Berniecrats Lose En Masse —Gus Bova So here’s a list of Bernie Sanders-style Democrats who ran in Read full article: Texas Observer Staff...→

Watch: ‘Life and Death in a Carceral State’

At the Observer’s inaugural live storytelling event, formerly incarcerated advocates were among those sharing their experiences with Texas’ criminal justice system. Read full article: Watch: ‘Life and Death in a Carceral Sta...→

Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don’t Mind Dirty Laundry—So Long as It’s Never Aired

The Texas House Speaker announced his resignation, becoming another example of the trite adage: it’s the cover-up, not the crime. Read full article: Bonnen’s Downfall Proves Politicians Don...→

Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipeline Moved. But Can They Do It Again?

Rule No. 1 of averting pipeline routes: Always bring a high-powered, politically connected oil and gas executive to the negotiating table. Read full article: Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipe...→

A Bold New Memoir Struggles to Reconcile Faith and Feminism

Cameron Dezen Hammon’s memoir asks how many ways there are to be a Christian woman—and explores the sexism deeply embedded in evangelical churches. Read full article: A Bold New Memoir Struggles to Reconcile...→

Robyn Ross

A solitary orange chair in the middle of a courtyard. Doors set into colorful walls, dappled with sunlight and shadow. A mural of a fortune-teller, marred by a crack. More than 100 five-by-seven-inch photographs stretch in rows across a whi Read full article: Robyn Ross...→

Will Dan Patrick's Bare-Minimum Effort for Gun Control Go Anywhere?

By supporting expanded background checks for private sales between strangers, Patrick has quickly become a conservative non grata. Read full article: Will Dan Patrick's Bare-Minimum Effort f...→

‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ Tracks a Texan’s Path to ISIS

In this contemplative, vulnerable new documentary, a group of friends try to understand why their former classmate embraced radical Islam. Read full article: ‘Ghosts of Sugar Land’ Tracks a Texan’s ...→

The World’s Briscoe Cain Problem

The far-right Texas lawmaker and other political trolls are holding us hostage to the idea that the world is more chaotic, unfixable, and stupid than it is. Read full article: The World’s Briscoe Cain Problem...→

Janis Joplin’s Inimitable Voice

An authoritative new biography explores what drove the iconic Texan singer. Read full article: Janis Joplin’s Inimitable Voice...→

Karl Richter

Karl Richter is a writer and journalist in Texarkana. Read full article: Karl Richter...→

Daniel Peña

Daniel Peña is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer and assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Houston-Downtown. He is the author of Bang: A Novel. Read full article: Daniel Peña...→

Sergio Troncoso’s New Book Is a Beautiful Meditation on the Borderlands

“A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant’s Son” reminds readers that the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, so frequently flattened and stereotyped, are as personal as they are political. Read full article: Sergio Troncoso’s New Book Is a Beautifu...→

Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public Charge Rule, but Public Health Worries Persist

In Texas, where 5.6 million people live in mixed-status families with at least one non-U.S. citizen, the chilling effect from the proposed rule is likely to exacerbate alarming trends. Read full article: Federal Judges Temporarily Block Public ...→

Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conversation with Speaker Bonnen Exposes the Texas GOP for What It’s Always Been  - The Texas Observer

In June, Empower Texans leader Michael Quinn Sullivan revealed that he had secretly recorded a meeting with House Speaker Dennis Bonnen during which, the right-wing hardliner alleged, the speaker presented  him with a quid pro quo proposition: the Speaker would … Read full article: Michael Quinn Sullivan’s Recorded Conver...→

Hunting for Fossils and Coming of Age in El Paso

Exploring the Chihuahuan Desert as a child shaped the way I think about my fronteriza identity today. Read full article: Hunting for Fossils and Coming of Age in...→

How Pete Sessions Became “Congressman-1”

The powerful former Dallas congressman and GOP leader was trying to swim back to the swamp. Instead, he got sucked into it. Read full article: How Pete Sessions Became “Congressman-1”...→

The Best Texas Musician You've Never Heard Of

Graham Reynolds’ quirky, multidisciplinary career offers a compelling example of what it means to be a nationally recognized professional composer in 2019. Read full article: The Best Texas Musician You've Never Hea...→

Dallas Is What Happens When People Can’t Trust Police

Botham Jean’s death led to greater community oversight of the Dallas Police Department. Amber Guyger’s murder trial last month shows why that’s necessary. Read full article: Dallas Is What Happens When People Can’t...→

Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘The Prize’

In this dreamlike tale, a struggling poet sabotages the contest he’s judging. Read full article: Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘The Prize...→

Death in Solitary

Russell Johnson’s sister warned officials that nearly three years in solitary confinement had broken him. His suicide in isolation two months later points to compounded crises inside Texas prisons. Read full article: Death in Solitary...→

‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ Tells the Complex Story of Mexico’s Favorite Spirit

Amid corporate buyouts, environmental threats, and cultural appropriation, can tequila keep its ties to the land? Read full article: ‘How the Gringos Stole Tequila’ Tells th...→

The Supreme Court Taking Up Louisiana’s Abortion Case ‘Flies in the Face of Precedent’

Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, won a major victory against a Texas anti-abortion law at the U.S. Supreme Court three years ago. In an interview, she talks about the recent case coming out of Louisiana and what it means for abortion rights in the U.S. Read full article: The Supreme Court Taking Up Louisiana’s ...→

What Does Our Fascination with True Crime Say About Us?

Rachel Monroe’s "Savage Appetites" asks why true-crime stories are so popular, even while they risk exploitation. Read full article: What Does Our Fascination with True Crim...→

As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Political Career, He May Get Sucked into Ukraine

The once-powerful Republican congressman is trying to claw his way back to Washington at a time when his allies in Trumpworld are under fire. Read full article: As Pete Sessions Tries to Revive his Pol...→

The Private Prison Industry (Finally) Faces an Uncertain Future - The Texas Observer

Traditionally, private prisons have drawn bipartisan support. But Trump, the sector’s ostensible savior, has made the industry a lightning rod. Read full article: The Private Prison Industry (Finally) Fa...→

Loon Star: The Elephant in the Room - The Texas Observer

Ben Sargent on the GOP’s racism. Trump will be in Dallas for a rally on October 17. Read full article: Loon Star: The Elephant in the Room - Th...→

Attacked in Mexico, Returned to Mexico: Trump Policy Ignores Danger to Asylum-Seekers

The Migrant Protection Protocols are failing to protect migrants from imminent kidnapping and violence. Read full article: Attacked in Mexico, Returned to Mexico: ...→

‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Valianty Fits Much of Texas History Into a Single Book

Stephen Harrigan forgoes a sweeping narrative and instead opts for finely etched anecdotes to explain the state’s epic history. Read full article: ‘Big Wonderful Thing’ Valianty Fits Much...→

Who is John Cornyn Serving?

The senior senator from Texas has mastered the art of political subservience, making him very powerful—and perhaps vulnerable. Read full article: Who is John Cornyn Serving?...→

Anti-LGBTQ Activist Tracy Shannon Shuts Down Drag Queen Story Times Across Texas

“They made it look like we were planning a peep show for kids. It would have just been a grandma dressing up and reading to kids on her time off.” Read full article: Anti-LGBTQ Activist Tracy Shannon Shuts ...→

Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘Liquid Gold’

Breast milk is sometimes prized so highly that it’s called “liquid gold.” In Shannon Perri’s harrowing story, it takes on a literal meaning. Read full article: Short Story Contest Finalist: ‘Liquid Go...→

Video: ‘Traumatic, Unnecessary’ Arrest of Austin Woman Shows How Cops Can Worsen Mental Health Crises

Bodycam footage of police arresting a young woman diagnosed with schizophrenia shows how Texas cops turn mental health emergencies into traumatic confrontations—and even deportations. Read full article: Video: ‘Traumatic, Unnecessary’ Arrest o...→

Immigration Judge Slams ‘Remain in Mexico’ Tent Courts

“It's more like what you might see, perhaps, in China or Russia,” says Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. Read full article: Immigration Judge Slams ‘Remain in Mexic...→

A Joyful El Paso Art Exhibit Imagines a World Ruled by Latinx People

From a cosmic piñata to “Aztechnonauts,” sculptor Angel Cabrales envisions an alternate history defined by Latinx creativity. Read full article: A Joyful El Paso Art Exhibit Imagines a ...→