The Texas Observer2 min cititePolitics
Editorial
WHEN I WAS 20, I WAS arrested by the Houston Police Department. I had taken broken pieces of Sheetrock from a trash pile at a construction site to patch holes in the walls of the house where I lived; it was winter and the dilapidated house my friends
The Texas Observer5 min citite
Science vs. Politics
DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE CLAY JENKINS WAS THE FIRST Texas official to declare a stay-at-home order for COVID-19 in March—more than a week before Governor Greg Abbott issued a similar statewide measure. This isn’t the first time Jenkins has navigated a maj
The Texas Observer12 min citite
Neglected in Care
IN JANUARY 2017, ROSALIE DOWNING WAS ADMITTED TO MOUNTAIN View Health & Rehabilitation, a low-slung nursing home with four wings in El Paso’s Golden Hill neighborhood. Rosalie had kidney disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. She used a wheelcha
The Texas Observer5 min citite
Texas Nursing Home Residents Were Already at Risk. Then COVID-19 Hit.
WHEN GARY BLAKE LAUNCHED Creative Solutions in Healthcare in 2000, he started small, opening a single modest nursing home in Granbury. Now Blake runs a nursing home empire. He owns or operates 64 nursing facilities across Texas, from big cities to ru
The Texas Observer11 min citite
Back To The Wall
It starts at sunrise. Two lines of teenagers in military garb form on either side of the international bridge between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo. A February chill permeates the air high above the placid Rio Grande. From the United States, customs offici
The Texas Observer15 min citite
From Boom to Bloodbath
FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, Josh Thomas labored away on a sweltering shop floor as a valve technician. He would build, inspect, and test frac stacks—lookingfor the smallest imperfections, flagging parts in need of repair or replacement, testing compone
The Texas Observer7 min citite
How Texas Women Delivered the Nineteenth Amendment
IN THE DECADE LEADING UP TO 1920, SUFFRAGists in Texas won a series of dramatic victories for women’s voting rights. They organized to impeach a governor, convinced his replacement to partially enfranchise women by promising to support his reelection
The Texas Observer4 min citite
A New Short-Story Collection Imagines a Texas Town’s Secession
“THERE WASN’T ANYTHING SPECIAL ABOUT US,” SAYS THE COLLECTIVE narrator of the title story in Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America. “We were just an average town. Porch swings, wading pools, split-rail fences, pumpjacks bobbing for oil on the horizon.” ¶
The Texas Observer4 min citite
Texas Drag Queen Shangela Inspires Infectious Confidence
TEXAS-BORN DRAG QUEEN SHANGELA LAQUIFA WADLEY, also known as DJ Pierce, makes a splash in HBO’s docuseries We’re Here. Along with Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka O’Hara, the fierce Shangela travels to small towns to recruit local residents for one-nigh
The Texas Observer1 min citite
The Texas Observer
VOLUME 112, NO. 4 FOUNDING EDITOR Ronnie Dugger EDITOR Tristan Ahtone EXECUTIVE EDITOR Megan Kimble ASSOCIATE EDITORS Christopher Collins, Sophie Novack ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Sunny Sone SENIOR REPORTER AND EDITOR Lise Olsen STAFF WRITERS Michael Barajas,
The Texas Observer6 min citite
Open and Shut
FIRST, SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST WAS CANceled, the canary in the quarantine coal mine. In 2019, the conference had an estimated $356 million impact on Austin’s economy, but with more than 400,000 attendees poised to gather in Central Austin, and with COVID-
The Texas Observer2 min citite
Dialogue
I agree that maligning the suburbs (“Rocking the Suburbs” March|April issue) is wrong, but as a development model, I don’t think they’re sustainable. Higher density is the future. City life may be expensive, but cities generate the bulk of the tax re
The Texas Observer1 min citite
Shadow And Tail
Wildflowers bleed yellow and scarlet along the interstate,the sky opens its staring eyes. All is gooduntil the squirrel jumps across the road,and we feel that body’s soft fistunder one wheel. Then the next. A decidedlycompact and visceral death. Next
The Texas Observer11 min citite
Political Intelligence
APPRECIATION PAY. PROUD PAY. SERVICE PAY. THE kaleidoscope of PR names all amount to one thing: a small raise for the poorly paid food retail workers who risk their lives so the rest of us can eat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now—as infections persi
The Texas Observer1 min cititeSociety
Eye On Texas
STARTING IN LATE MAY, A WAVE OF PROTESTS SWEPT across Texas cities to oppose police brutality and systemic racism, a response in part to the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man and Houston native, was killed wh
The Texas Observer1 min citite
Trivia Texas
On May 26, the New York Times published a story about how COVID-19 has exacerbated food insecurity in San Antonio, where thousands of people form long lines each day at the San Antonio Food Bank. But the newspaper erroneously described San Antonio as
The Texas Observer1 min cititeSociety
Texas Tally
An estimated 1.6 million Texans have lost their employer-sponsored health coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. About 30,000 of those newly uninsured would be eligible for Medicaid if Texas—which already has the highest uninsured rate in the country
The Texas Observer3 min cititePolitics
Texas Observed
MAYBE YOU HEARD IT WHEN GOVERNOR GREG abbott critiqued local officials who enforced his pandemic executive orders. Or maybe it was when U.S. Senator John Cornyn said he would support a hypothetical vote on a Supreme Court nominee after spending 2016
The Texas Observer3 min citite
Strangest State
LUBBOCK // Retired flight attendant Leslie Fylling wanted to move to Lubbock. But when she found her dream house, COVID-19 had made traveling to the city to see it in person untenable. Instead, she arranged to view the house via FaceTime, purchasing
The Texas Observer16 min citite
The Disappeared
For nearly 30 years, Dianne Gonsoulin Hastings tried to discover what befell her big sister. Donna was petite, rail-thin, and had a distinctive dark-eyed charm. As a girl and young woman, she loved to go crabbing on Pleasure Island, standing for hour
The Texas Observer15 min citite
The Traveling Midwife
It was the middle of the night when the call came, and she sprung out of bed and threw on the scrubs she’d hung up the day before. She piled boxes with oxygen tanks, medications, and other supplies into the trunk of her gray Hyundai and set off from
The Texas Observer10 min citite
Locked Out
Rachel Rodriguez remembers her son Ruben being a very attached child. Even as Ruben got older and started getting into trouble, the mother and son remained close. “He was always just right there, right next to me,” she says. In 2013, when he was 20,
The Texas Observer11 min citite
The Texotics
WHEN THE RAIN BEGAN, THE antelope and deer of the Y.O. Ranch Headquarters gathered to chew idly beneath the sparse trees. For 10 days in October 2018, a line of storms pounded the Texas Hill Country. Brown currents rose over a bridge on the ranch, sp
The Texas Observer4 min citite
She’s Got the Beat
THE GO-GO’S WERE USED TO HAVING THEIR STORY WRITTEN FOR them. It’s happened to any band that has weathered a press junket: the same handful of anecdotes, origin myths, and quotes trotted out in every interview, profile, and concert preview. Let’s get
The Texas Observer4 min cititePolitics
Pushing Forward
DURING MY FOUR YEARS AT THE TEXAS Observer, I’ve scrambled after stories about the progressive movement all over the sprawling Lone Star State. So while watching The Pushback—a new documentary that chronicles the Texas left—I sometimes felt the disti
The Texas Observer11 min citite
¡Viva el Mariachi!
FOR A MOMENT AFTER THE EDCOUCH-ELSA High School mariachi ensemble plays the final notes of “La Petenera,” no one moves. The music seems to linger in the air of the brightly painted cinder block practice room. Then the seven violin players, who’ve all
The Texas Observer1 min citite
The Texas Observer
SINCE 1954 VOLUME 112, NO. 3 FOUNDING EDITOR Ronnie Dugger EXECUTIVE EDITOR Abby Johnston MANAGING EDITOR Rose Cahalan SENIOR EDITOR Megan Kimble ENGAGEMENT EDITOR Sunny Sone SENIOR REPORTER AND EDITOR Lise Olsen STAFF WRITERS Michael Barajas, Gus Bo
The Texas Observer1 min citite
Dark Truce
Black widows in my writingshack. They spin their jaggedsilk in the corner by the doorand hang their eggs, bulging,by the score. I see their shadowed legs onthreads poking out behindbare studs like a needle on arecord’s tread. I know they feelmy footf
The Texas Observer11 min citite
Political Intelligence
CARMEN ZUNIGA LEAVES HER HOUSE IN MCALLEN EVERY Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before dawn to go to a dialysis center about 4 miles away. Zuniga has had diabetes for nearly three decades; the disease has left her mostly blind and reliant on dialysis t
The Texas Observer1 min citite
Eye On Texas
ON SATURDAY, MARCH 21, THE UNITED STATES AND Mexico partially closed their border in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, where life is defined by transnational movement, the decision completely altered the soc
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