AltWeeklies Wire

'The Big Rich' Covers Almost a Century of Texas Oilnew

For those with an interest in contemporary Texas history this is a must-read; indeed, its reach stretches well beyond Texas. The oil rich of Texas loomed large on the national horizon, and there was a time that if they pawed the earth, politicians trembled.
The Texas Observer  |  Dave Richards  |  12-03-2008  |  Nonfiction

'Guilty' Examines Arab Bashing on the Big Screennew

Six years into a costly war fought on Arab soil, one might expect American media to demonize the enemy, rationalizing the necessity of killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. But perhaps because of popular revulsion at the war, Shaheen finds cause for hope.
The Texas Observer  |  Steven G. Kellman  |  12-03-2008  |  Nonfiction

The Texas Criminal Justice System is Embracing 'The Life Penalty'new

In the execution capital of the free world, death sentences have declined dramatically, thanks in part to the institution of life-without-parole sentences in 2005.
The Texas Observer  |  John Moritz  |  12-03-2008  |  Crime & Justice

Remembering Jim Crumley, the Last Good Detective Writernew

When the Texas-born novelist James Crumley died at age 68 on September 17, newspaper obituaries in Los Angeles, Washington, New York, and London all mentioned one of his sentences. The sentence was not the only notable string of words this fine writer composed, but devotees of his work often point to it as a landmark in modern detective fiction.
The Texas Observer  |  Dick Holland  |  11-19-2008  |  Books

The DeLay Scandal Turns Sixnew

We catch up with the players from the infamous scandals surrounding the former House majority leader. Although some resulting lawsuits -- and DeLay's shady redistricting -- have not been resolved, they have pulled back the curtains on Texas' 2002 elections.
The Texas Observer  |  Andrew Wheat  |  11-19-2008  |  Politics

Diane Wilson's Memoir of Her Fundamentalist Upbringing is a Delightnew

Holy Roller: Growing Up in the Church of the Knock Down, Drag Out; Or, How I Quit Loving a Blue-Eyed Jesus describes Wilson's Pentecostal upbringing in a tiny fishing town in Texas, where residents were ruled by poverty, labor, elaborate religious mores, and corrupt authorities.
The Texas Observer  |  Emily DePrang  |  11-06-2008  |  Nonfiction

Asarco's Dirty Moneynew

For more than a century, American Smelting and Refining Co. raked in profits while poisoning poor communities in nearly two dozen states. In 2005, the company filed for bankruptcy, initiating a sprawling case that left many Texas residents wondering who will pay to clean up toxic waste at Asarco's dirtiest plant.
The Texas Observer  |  Melissa del Bosque  |  11-05-2008  |  Business & Labor

The Shelf Life of the Presidential Mindnew

Come January, whoever occupies the West Wing needs to read, and widely so, for there is no better way to come to grips with the forces transforming the Western landscape, natural and human.
The Texas Observer  |  Char Miller  |  10-22-2008  |  Books

Turning Houston Bluenew

If Democrats hope to once again win statewide elections in Texas, they first must takeover the state's biggest city. Toward that end, Dems are pouring lots of money into a coordinated campaign to sweep Harris County this year. And everything was seemingly going their way -- until Hurricane Ike hit.
The Texas Observer  |  Dave Mann  |  10-22-2008  |  Politics

The Winnebago Vote: How 12,000 RVers Tilt East Texas Electionsnew

A mail-forwarding business near Livingston allows these RVers to claim legal residency in Texas, while many have never been to Livingston, or even Texas, and own property in other states. Together these 12,000 overwhelmingly Republican voters have helped erode what was once a stronghold of yellow dog Democrats.
The Texas Observer  |  Forrest Wilder  |  10-08-2008  |  Politics

'The Gulf Stream' Helps Us Understand Human-Centered Ecologynew

Stan Ulanski has written a multilayered and eminently insightful book about the way the natural world works. His topic is what the founder of modern oceanography, Matthew Fontaine Maury, has called "a river in the ocean" -- the Gulf Stream.
The Texas Observer  |  James E. McWilliams  |  10-08-2008  |  Nonfiction

Ink-Stained Kvetches: Where Are All the Editorial Cartoonists Going?new

As newspapers cut back on staff, editorial cartoonists are losing their positions at newspapers across the nation. In Texas, only the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, and the Austin American-Statesman still employ staff cartoonists.
The Texas Observer  |  Brad Tyer  |  10-08-2008  |  Media

After the Flood: Letter From Galvestonnew

As the cleanup continues, Galveston, like Tennessee Williams' Blanche DuBois, must rely on the kindness of strangers. As for those who do come back intending to stay, medical experts say a plague of pestilences, from tetanus to toxic mold, may await them. So does a state of emergency and a dawn-to-dusk curfew with a $2,000 fine for violators.
The Texas Observer  |  Tom Curtis  |  10-08-2008  |  Disasters

A Tale of Two Cities: The RNC You Saw and the One You Didn'tnew

There was carefully crafted show inside the Excel Energy Center, and a street-level populist protest in which hundreds were tear-gassed and arrested, including prominent journalists. In the arena, the nomination of Sarah Palin palpably energized the Republican delegates, but events away from the arena were more revealing.
The Texas Observer  |  Elizabeth DiNovella  |  09-24-2008  |  Politics

The Bushies Return to Texasnew

Perhaps it's not surprising that more than a few members of Bush's Texas contingent have been making their ways back home. After all, it is still Republican country. However, like the rest of the nation, Texans aren't particularly high on Bush right now -- and that includes even those in the state's Republican Party.
The Texas Observer  |  Anthony Zurcher  |  09-24-2008  |  Politics

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