It happens every July of an odd-numbered year: Texas Monthly releases its Best and Worst Legislators story after having its politics team hunkered down in the Capitol the entire session. And upon its release, the letters, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts start flying. This time around was no different, with an avalanche of comments parsing every aspect of the list. Actually, one thing was different. For the first time in history (at least as far as we can tell), an elected official issued a formal press release condemning the list. And it wasn’t just any official: it was the lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, who dismissed the article as “nothing but hyperbole and cheap shots.” Says Paul Burka, the longtime dean of the Capitol press corps, who retired earlier this year: “It was an unprecedented move. Rick Perry, for example, would never have thought twice about the list—much less have released a statement about it.” For Patrick’s letter as well as other colorful responses, see below.

Duly Noted

I enjoyed reading the secrets behind Texas songs [“The Secret History of Texas Music”]. A suggested addition to the list: Lefty Frizzell, “I Love You a Thousand Ways.” 

Lefty was born in Corsicana in 1928. He was busted for statutory rape in 1947 and served six months in the Chaves County Jail, in Roswell, New Mexico. While he was serving time, Lefty wrote “I Love You a Thousand Ways” to win back the love of his wife, Alice. The song did the trick (at least for a while).
Bill Crawford, Austin

Nice article, but was surprised and disappointed that no work by Steve Fromholz was included in your list. Named poet laureate of Texas in 2007, he entertained me during the years I was away from the state with his mellow baritone and lyrics. His “Texas Trilogy” is an iconic piece about life in rural Texas filled with nostalgia and humor. Many of his other works, including “I’d Have to Be Crazy,” “Fool’s Gold,” and “Hobo Bob,” are pure poetry. How could you have omitted such a wonderful and brilliant talent?
Alan Neuren, via email 

We are blessed in Texas to have lived in a time where music and true creativity come together. Robert and Lyle lived up to that and more.
Kay Ross, via facebook

Off Base

Did someone in Greg Abbott’s office write the interview questions [“The Abbott Interview”]? Because that wasn’t softball pitching, that was T-ball.
R. T. Castleberry, Houston

Stranger Than Fiction

Only read this terrifying @texasmonthly story if you don’t wish to sleep tonight, or ever again [“The Talented Mr. Khater”].
Sonia Faleiro, via twitter

A brilliant #longread—akin to Mr. Ripley, but real life is more interesting.
Josh Hammond, via twitter

Asking for a [piece of] breathtaking journalism? Read the @francescamari investigation.
Ricardo d Ávila, via twitter

Kudos to Ms. Mari on a superb piece of writing. For me, it was as much an exposé of naive, overly trusting, overly subsidized, unfocused millennials as it was about psychopathy. Europe was full of them for more than a hundred years. Now the new vanguard of bourgeoisie naïveté is Central and South America. A very sad story for all involved.
Snarkyeyecanb, via

Thank you for that beautiful piece! Anyone who has tangled with a psychopath is changed forever. You captured that experience so vividly here.
askyermom, via

Easy, Writer

I guess I should be awed by Skip Hollands-worth’s lack of objectivity in regard to the recent Waco incident [Behind the Lines]. Did the number of weapons in the possession of the bikers have any bearing on his opinion, or the lack thereof? Or does Mr. Hollandsworth not believe that bikers armed with guns, knives, chains, etc., are people to be wary of? Oh, that’s right, some influential members of a particularly “famous” motorcycle club had Mr. Hollandsworth’s undivided attention. In his opinion, these members’ denunciations of potential violence warrant serious consideration. They’re just good ol’ Texas boys who, according to Mr. Hollandsworth, just want to be left alone.
James Wasilchen, Round Rock

Catcher in the Sty

Your discussion of hindcatcher reminded me of my baseball career in the neighborhood in Nederland [The Texanist]. As the youngest, and least athletically inclined, I was relegated to “pigtail,” which is the person who stands way behind the catcher and picks up the pitches that elude him or her.
Jim Barlow, Houston

Best & Worst

feedback from our lieutenant governor . . . and other interested parties.

The advance release of the Ten Best and Ten Worst names had us followers of the Lege eagerly waiting to know what heretofore unknown misstep Jane Nelson had made or what secret impropriety or ethical lapse had occurred. Instead we find she stood next to the lieutenant governor at a press conference and didn’t challenge what he said? If I recall, Senator Nelson was the honest member when she insisted “tax relief” was a better term than “tax cut.” Somebody had an aneurysm when they wrote this one.
Jerry Patterson, former State Senator and Land Commissioner

Anyone who puts Charles Schwertner and Jane Nelson on the Worst list is drunk.
Tucker, via

Hard to pick a bone with any of these, but Byron Cook belongs as a Best just for outlasting most of those on the Worst. And Senfronia Thompson should have made the Worst list as well, for carrying the anti–fracking ban bill, swaying almost all the other Houston Democrats to vote for it, blowing up the craft breweries, and calling Elon Musk “Mr. Tesla.”
pdiddie, via

I don’t understand why Joe Pickett is on the Worst list. He was chair of Transportation in the House, and that was a rare area where something productive happened.
vik verma, via

As usual, the Best and Worst list is nothing but liberal propaganda.
don76550, via