Karen Olsson

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Articles by Karen Olsson

Before and After

Jan 20, 2013 By Karen Olsson

For some residents of Mount Pleasant, the April 16 immigration raid on the local chicken plant was no more than a segment on the evening news. For others, including many legal residents of the tiny East Texas town, it was the moment everything changed.

Why Are Tortilla Chips So Damn Good?

Aug 31, 2009 By Karen Olsson

Is it the crispiness? The crunchiness? The saltiness? Thankfully, a small cadre of researchers in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M has spent much of the past thirty years munching on this question.

Jim Adler, Personal-Injury Lawyer

Jul 31, 2009 By Karen Olsson

Adler, who grew up in Dallas, has been a personal-injury lawyer for 36 years. He is the founder of the Houston law firm Jim S. Adler & Associates and appears in television ads in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. I started out doing law enforcement work for the Texas State…

Presidential Detail

May 31, 2009 By Karen Olsson

Location: College Station and Austin What You’ll Need: Pork rinds, Fresca First, a caveat: The exhibits at presidential libraries are to history what the White House press office is to daily news. They burnish rather than analyze their subjects. But what the museum portion of a presidential…

Scenes From a Mall

Mar 1, 2009 By Karen Olsson

It was a gorgeous day at the outlet mall. The sun shone brightly on the Tuscanish facades, on parking lots that an optimist would have called half full, on the strip of patio and water feature called Gondola Park (though its narrow pool was devoid of gondolas), and the pretzel…

No Place Like Home

Apr 30, 2008 By Karen Olsson

Bienvenidos a Farmers Branch, the headline-worthy Dallas suburb where the biggest hard-liner on illegal immigration could soon be known as Mr. Mayor.

The Final Frontier

Mar 31, 2008 By Karen Olsson

Karl Gebhardt and Gary Hill, two astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin, are racing to solve one of the greatest mysteries in science: What is dark energy? How does it work? Can it explain the origins of the universe? There’s only one problem. Dark energy may not actually exist.

Keep Out!

Oct 31, 2007 By Karen Olsson

Which is worse: looking the other way as millions of illegals stream across the border or building an unconscionably expensive and impractical fence that few in the Valley (a) want or (b) believe will make a difference?

Eating A Dead Horse

Dec 1, 2006 By Karen Olsson

Even if you’ve never dined on the delicious remains of a noble steed, you probably have an opinion on whether the state’s two slaughterhouses should remain open. Boone Pickens does. And Charlie Stenholm. And Bo Derek. Not to mention the many traders and “killer buyers” for whom business is business.

The Old College Try

Jul 31, 2006 By Karen Olsson

The mayor of El Cenizo is 23, is still in school, and lives with his mother. But he’s serious about making life better in his impoverished border hometown.

Keep Waterloo Weird

Sep 30, 2005 By Karen Olsson

In this excerpt from Karen Olsson’s forthcoming novel set in a fictional state capital (wink, wink), a reporter for a weekly newspaper watches a rural conservative who “shares your values” announce his candidacy for governor.

The Gay Non-Issue

Jan 1, 2005 By Karen Olsson

The election of a lesbian sheriff in Dallas County is a reminder of how far we’ve come, in a very short period, on the question of sexual orientation.

About a Girl

Jul 31, 2003 By Karen Olsson

Audra Thomas can't read these words and, in a few months, wouldn't remember them anyway. Nevertheless, she has an extraodinary sense of the world around her—and of herself.

Mr. Right

Nov 1, 2002 By Karen Olsson

The line on James Leininger is fairly simple: He's a doctrinaire conservative who spends millions supporting candidates and causes he likes—and opposing those he doesn't. That makes him one of the most influential players in Texas politics in the post-Bush era.

The Evolutionary

May 31, 2000 By Karen Olsson

What do you do when you win a $295,000 MacArthur “genius” grant? If you’re biologist David Hillis, you keep teaching at the University of Texas as if nothing happened, and you keep chasing frogs.