Too Heavy to Bear

At 24, Ray Wauson was thrilled to land a job as an armored-car guard. But he was entering an unregulated world in which the people guarding the cargo are often defenseless against the cargo itself.

Kochworld

Until her son got sick, Latricia Jones never thought much about the air she breathes or who was polluting it. At 31, she’d spent nearly her entire life in Corpus Christi’s Hillcrest neighborhood, living next to two oil refineries, one owned by Citgo and the other by Flint Hills Resources, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc.

Dirty Dozen: Texas’ Most Memorable Quotes of 2012

Blessed with the gift of gab, Texans say the darndest things… especially our politicians who’ve been known to offer up an embarrassment of riches.

The Cautionary Tale of Austin ISD’s Partnership with IDEA Charters

East Austin’s battle over IDEA Allan marked the end of a particularly nasty charter school controversy, a cautionary tale about how not to open a charter school. It could also be something we see a lot more of next year.

Beyond Suburbia: The Fifth Lash & Other Stories By Anis Shivani

Shivani’s new collection, The Fifth Lash & Other Stories, situates its characters within sociopolitical landscapes that figure far more prominently than their homes, offices, and neighborhoods.

Heavy Metal

Gulf Chemical may be the most brazen polluter in Texas. An Observer review of thousands of pages of court records and internal agency documents, and interviews with a former company executive reveals a company that operated outside the law for almost four decades, even as citizens, activists and TCEQ’s own investigators pleaded for action.

Don’t Tell Gregg Abbott, But He Put Out a Report Laying Waste to ‘State Sovereignty’ Cause

In November, even as Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was threatening to string up international election observers if they got too close to the polls in Texas, Abbott’s staff was preparing a report that throws a bucket of water (fluoridated, I’m sure) on the whole 10th Amendment/Agenda 21/state sovereignty business that now consumes Texas Republicans.

A Boy King’s Literary Coronation

The book is a hilarious yet hellish account of wasted days and wasted nights in Brownsville, which Martinez depicts as a dirt-poor land of extreme machismo, where growing up means having to contend with a drug-smuggling father and the hijinks of two sisters who bleach their brown hair blond and call themselves “Mimi” in a fruitless effort to pass as Caucasian.

Washington Post Reporter Allows College Officials to Alter Story on Controversial Test

Reporter breaks journalistic convention by sharing entire drafts with ‘customers’ in University of Texas press office.

Eye On Texas: Friday Night At House Park

In my downtown Austin neighborhood, fall Friday nights are filled with memories of growing up and the rite of passage that is high school football.