Our July issue featured our highly anticipated, hotly contested biennial roundup of the Best and Worst Legislators. As we rolled out the names on Twitter, a wave of reactions rolled right back to us. Predictably, there were kudos for the Bests, counterarguments on behalf of the Worsts, and skepticism of our criteria (said Michael Quinn Sullivan, the president of Empower Texans: “What a surprise: not a single pro-taxpayer #txlege conservative on the Texas Monthly ‘ten best’ list”). But at least one of the Worst legislators accepted his designation as a badge of honor. Tweeted Houston senator Dan Patrick, “If conservative leadership gets me a ‘WORST’ rating by @TexasMonthly, I’ll take it as the BEST compliment.”
And now, a sampling of feedback from our readers:
Excellent article by Matt Cook [“The Call of Battle”]. After 9/11, I served multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Even before the end of my first deployment to Afghanistan, in 2002, I learned the basic truth that all combat veterans come to know: you never want to remember the experience, but you never want to forget it either.
Patrick Black, Tyler
After letting my Texas Monthly subscription expire a while back, I saw your July cover in a grocery store and had to buy it. As a native Texan whose son has been through three deployments and is about to leave for a fourth next week, I want to thank you for your excellent articles about Texans who risk their lives for us daily and for their families, who sacrifice with them. The article about troops returning to their families [“At War’s End”] was beautifully photographed and sensitively written. Matt Cook’s article reflected very common feelings that troops on the ground have when they are deployed and when they try to return to civilian life.
The government has recently announced that more than 2,900 troops will not have their enlistments renewed at Fort Hood and other bases to cut costs in the defense budget. I hope that your articles inspire Texans to integrate them into our workforce, not just to show thanks but to utilize the precious skills and experiences they have acquired through their service.
Larry Baitch, Dallas
Just finished reading the article by Matt Cook. As soon as I looked at the cover, I was drawn to his article. Anyone who has never served cannot, in my opinion, truly understand the emotions generated by the camaraderie of a military unit (take your pick: section, platoon, company, battery, troop, battalion, squadron). The shared sacrifices, the emotional highs and lows, are so difficult to explain that it defies my writing skills (or lack thereof). Mr. Cook eloquently captured those emotions in a riveting manner that evoked strong memories. Thank you for publishing his article, and I encourage you to do more of the same if the opportunity arises.
Clay Harrington, Lampasas
This was a well-written article that resounded in a very personal way for me. I was a combat engineer, attached with C Company 2-187 during Operation Enduring Freedom 1 and C Company 3-187 during Operation Iraqi Freedom 1, and my company functioned as a line company with 3rd Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom 4 in Bayji and Samarra. I could smell the smells of Bayji and Tal Afar as I read this and see the faces of my old friends in the freezing mountains of the Shah-i-Kot Valley in 2002. This was written in a way that only someone who had been there could remember, and I personally enjoyed every detail. Rakkasan, friend, and thanks for the memories.
Jay Purcell, via texasmonthly.com
Thank you for your story on Texas German [“Auf Wiedersehen to a Dialect”]. Within the story, the author stated that there was “a million-dollar endowment to archive Texas Czech.” In fact, the million-dollar endowment, the Texas Chair in Czech Studies, is dedicated more broadly to support the teaching of Czech and Czech-related subjects at the University of Texas at Austin. We are about to begin fund-raising for the Texas Czech Legacy Project, the goal of which is the creation of an online, open-access archive for the Texas Czech dialect and other cultural artifacts. The project, organized with the help of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies at UT, was inspired by Hans Boas’s Texas German Dialect Project, and its first website should be available by the end of August.
Lida Cope, Associate Professor, East Carolina University; Greenville, North Carolina
Editors’ note: Thank you for bringing this to our attention. we regret the error.
Das war erfreulich!
Gary Marbach, via texasmonthly.com
Can I just say how much I love the Critter feature? I’m a Texas expat with a Ph.D. (emphasis in marine zoology). Seeing the amazing critters (interviewed so cleverly, to boot) that are part of my home’s ecosystem makes me smile big. Please continue covering the super-cool animals that inhabit my beloved home state. If y’all were to make them into posters, I’d hang them proudly in my office for all of my non-Texan students to admire.
Heather Bennett, Jacksonville, Illinois
I was surprised to see you list Senator José Rodríguez in the “furniture” portion of your list in “The Best and Worst Legislators 2013.” The real estate, probate, and trust law section of the State Bar worked closely with Senator Rodríguez and his staff—both this session and last—to pass significant estate, guardianship, and trust-related legislation. In 2011 Senator Rodríguez successfully guided three of our bills through the Senate, and this year five of our bills passed. We do not take this for granted, given that several of our bills failed to emerge from the Senate in 2009. While Senator Rodríguez may not have had to make headline-grabbing speeches in passing his legislative package, he has clearly mastered the “play well with others” approach that you appear to value so highly.
William D. Pargaman, Chair, Estate and Trust Legislative Affairs Committee, Real Estate, Probate and Trust Law Section, State Bar of Texas, Austin
After receiving your latest publication in which you named Dan Patrick as one of the Worst legislators, I will no longer be a subscriber to your magazine. You are too liberal and do not represent what I believe in: liberty and freedom.
Carolyn Hinch, via email
You are hereby ordered to cancel my subscription and send whatever remains of the amount I paid you to Senator Dan Patrick as a campaign contribution.
Peter Harris, Lubbock