Paul Burka

The dean of the Capitol press corps, senior executive editor Paul Burka joined the staff of Texas Monthly one year after the magazine’s founding, in 1973. For nearly forty years he has led the magazine’s political coverage and spearheaded its storied roundup of the Best and Worst Legislators each biennium. A lifelong Texan, he was born in Galveston, graduated from Rice University with a B.A. in history, and received a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law.

Burka is a member of the State Bar of Texas and spent five years as an attorney with the Texas Legislature, where he served as counsel to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Burka won a National Magazine Award for reporting excellence in 1985 and the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and teaches at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a frequent guest discussing politics on national news programs on MSNBC, Fox, NBC, and CNN.

Stories

The Best and Worst Legislators of 2005

A few lawmakers in both parties distinguished themselves during one of the worst sessions anyone can remember. As for the rest? Well, in the words of Jon Stewart, that famous observer of Texas politics: not so much.

Carole Keeton Strayhorn Has Guts. Carole Keeton Strayhorn Is Nuts. Discuss.

An attempt, however futile, to figure out what the comptroller is up to.

Power

What it is and isn’t. Who has it and who doesn’t. Our 2005 list.

3.—25.

Twenty-three other people with more clout than they know what to do with. (Well, they know exactly what to do with it.)

An F for Effort

Or maybe the grade should be “incomplete.” The special legislative session on school finance proved that Rick Perry and Republican lawmakers care a lot more about reducing property taxes than about improving public schools. Anybody
surprised?

Corps Values

What place does tradition have at Texas A&M these days? One by one, the old ways are disappearing from the venerable campus, and many Aggies are up in arms. But embracing change may be the only way to save the school they love.

The Man Who Isn't There

In word and deed, the George W. Bush now residing in the White House bears little resemblance to the Texas governor I gladly sent to Washington. That's why I'm so ambivalent about reelecting him.

And Then There Were None

Call it Perrymandering. Call it Tomfoolery. But whatever you call redistricting, call it successful (for now). And call the white Democrats dead.

Greatness Visible

The dream of a first-rate university rising out of the prairie north of the Colorado River is almost as old as Texas itself. Which prompts the question, When will UT finally live up to its potential?

Pit Stops

Where are the best places to eat barbecue in Texas? Six years ago we published a highly subjective—and hotly debated— list of our fifty favorite joints, and now we’ve gone back for seconds. Ten intrepid souls drove more than 21,000 miles in search of 2003’s worthiest ‘cue. Here’s what they came back with: the top 5 and the next 45, plus honorable mentions, great chains, and meat by mail.

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