Texas Observer

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Rate of Exchange

What might $1.5 million get you in the Texas legislature

Article Published on March 12, 2004

Southwest Flight 620 leaves Austin at 6:30 a.m. and arrives at Houston Hobby Airport 45 minutes later. On Monday, September 9, 2002, one of the passengers on board Flight 620 was Susan Lilly, according to an extraordinary document that could well have a seismic impact on the future of state government in Texas. Read More

Meet the Attack Dogs

Americans for Job Security loves to get involved with Texas poltics

Article Published on March 12, 2004

For some it might be considered a badge of honor, but for state Rep. Tommy Merritt (R-Longview), it probably feels more like tire tracks. The affable East Texas Republican was run over this year by one of the nation’s most vicious campaign hit teams, a secret outfit whose reach spreads all over the American political system. It specializes in attempted assassination of political careers under the guise of issue education. Apparently, one sure way to escape the torrent of negative attacks it can bankroll is to avoid crossing George W. Bush and a select group of Texas Republicans. Read more…

The Rise of the Machine

How a small group of politicians and corporations bought themselves a legistlature

Article Published on August 29, 2003

The facts are widely known. An unprecedented coordination between the Republican administration and big corporate interests held the country tightly in its grip. In most instances, the machine simply enjoyed the exercise of raw power with little effort to justify its actions. Come election time though, the party of privilege and its moneyed patrons drowned out opponents with the sheer volume of their propaganda. Never before had so many dollars been spent to mass-market a political image. Above all, the machine pushed the message that it was the true guardian of patriotism, indistinguishable from the Stars and Stripes. Then, once in power, it opened the public treasury to a rapacious corporate elite. Read more…

Trouble at Porvenir Crossing

What happens when Soldiers become Witnesses for the Prosecution

Article Published on July 19, 2002

Last month a bipartisan group of 62 congressmen calling themselves the Immigration Reform Caucus demanded President Bush militarize the U.S. border. The representatives want the president to deploy as many as 20,000 federal troops. As a pretext, they offered the “war on terror” and a spate of border shootings by the Mexican military. Fortunately, the Bush administration has shown little interest. Security czar Tom Ridge is said to have told legislators the White House opposes stationing troops for “cultural and historic” reasons. Read more…

Listen to the Prophet

State Demographer Steve Murdock says we have a choice about our future, if we act now

Article Published on March 18, 2005

In the 1990s, Texas grew at a rate that was approximately equal to adding another Houston, plus another Dallas, plus another San Antonio, plus another Corpus Christi. The growth spurt continues today, booming most along the Texas-Mexico border, the central corridor from Dallas-Fort Worth to San Antonio, and in the Houston-Galveston area. In the 1990s, Dallas-Fort Worth alone added 1.2 million people—more growth than was experienced by 45 of the 50 states. The population increase is greatest among non-Anglos. In family households, it is the single-parent families that are growing the fastest. By 2030, Texas will have a younger and more diverse population than most of the United States. Elderly Texans will tend to be Anglos. Younger Texans—those in their most productive work years—will be overwhelmingly non-Anglo. Read more…