Jake Bernstein


Houston, We Have Hope for Dems

The Observer catches up on Houston area political races with Richard Murray

This election cycle the Texas race for governor will dominate the lion’s share of media attention, both within the state and outside our borders?the rest of the nation being more than eager to chortle along at our political shenanigans. Yet … Read More


Don’t Drink the Water

In the urban colonias of the Greater Houston area, the water stinks

When most Texans think about colonias, if they do at all, they probably envision squalid sun-bleached border communities marked by dirt roads and sewage-filled ditches. The Office of the Secretary of State defines a colonia as “a residential area along … Read More


Winds of Change

The Texas Observer talks with environmentalist Bill McKibben about global warming

As I write these words, Hurricane Wilma has just walloped South Florida. Jaded Floridians who anticipated a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson scale with maximum wind speeds of 95 miles per hour or a Category 2 (96-110 mph) stayed at … Read More


Bench Play

Harriet Miers and the troubled Texas Lottery

Early in the morning of October 3, President George W. Bush nominated his White House counsel, Harriet Miers, to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the U.S. Supreme Court. The Oval Office ceremony lasted less than 15 minutes. Miers has never … Read More


Tommy and the $190,000

The tale of the money transfer that toppled the House majority leader

What could turn out to be the most important meeting in Tom DeLay’s career started at 10:15 a.m. on October 2, 2002. The Sugar Land Republican who was then U.S. House majority leader met that morning for 30 minutes in … Read More



The Public Square

The other day, a press spokesman at a state agency quoted Vladimir Lenin to me. It has been strange like that recently. I haven’t been able to verify the quotation, but it certainly is apropos of the moment. He said, … Read More


Roadmap to a Scandal

The First TRMPAC-related trial set the stage for the criminal process to come

Joe Crews is relating how he convinced his partners at the law firm of Ivy, Crews & Elliott to jump into litigation involving the 2002 election. “I told them ‘it’s going to be a pain in the ass, cost a … Read More



What Goes Around, Comes Around

What Goes Around, Comes Around t was easy to appreciate the cyclical nature of Texas politics—and even find some hope—sharing a window ledge seat in the House chamber with Rep. Jim McReynolds (D-Lufkin) on the night of June 28th, a … Read More


Spokesmodel Makes Good

The Observer talks with ACLU Executive Director Will Harrell

When I first met Will Harrell in 1993 he had just moved to Guatemala City and taken up residence in a place we affectionately called, “the Human Rights Ghetto,” so named for the concentration of foreign lawyers, activists, and aid … Read More