Our July issue on drought and water in Texas was greeted with enthusiasm, though it was qualified by despair. “The package of articles is very informative,” wrote the San Angelo Standard-Times, “but for those of us who watched Texas dry up in the 1950s . . . those memories are the kind you have buried very deep and perhaps wish to forget.” Nonetheless the report offered hope for some. Said the Dallas Morning News: “Whether it’s farmers modernizing how they manage their lands or Dallasites watering their lawns less frequently, we all can help Texas survive.” The comment that stuck with us the most, however, came from a child at the water symposium we hosted on July 12 at the LBJ Presidential Library, in Austin. “Why,” the young attendee asked, “am I not being taught about this in school?”

High Water Marks

If it were in my power as a county judge, I would issue a court order making “Life by the Drop” required reading for all Texans. Jerry Bearden mason county judge Once in a while, amid the perfectly enjoyable barbecue reviews and the hilarious plastic surgery ads, texas monthly delivers a gem. Thank you so much for this terrific blend of history, politics, photography, and current events. I made my daughter read it as an advanced case study in civics. She thought it was pretty good too.
Tim Berney

John Burnett’s oral history of the fifties drought resonated with me [“When the Sky Ran Dry”]. Even though I was living in the Philippine Islands during those years, the drought nipped my career as a cattleman in the bud. In 1949, when I was nine years old, my great-aunt, who raised pure-bred Brahmas in Wharton County, gave me a Brahma heifer and registered a brand for me. The understanding was that I would pay her $1 per year pasturage and could keep the offspring. I dutifully sent her my money each year, and by 1955 I had a herd of seven registered Brahmas. That year I received a letter from her with a check enclosed. The letter said the drought was so bad that she had to sell her entire herd, including my cows. The check was for my share of the sale: $540. Of course, it was a fortune to a fifteen-year-old kid, especially when translated into Philippine pesos, but it was a pitiful amount for seven registered Brahmas.
Lonn Taylor
Fort Davis

Care about Texas? Must buy July issue of @TexasMonthly. History, science, and politics of state’s water woes.#txwater
via Twitter

He Said, She Said

I read “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives” [August 2012], and like a bad toothache, it has been festering and aching overnight. The right’s glaring ignorance, willful misquoting of research, and blatant venom displayed toward women in the interest of the unborn is an embarrassment to this Texan. I for one will be talking with friends about this article.
Kaye Garza
League City

I was disappointed and deeply offended by your one-sided cover story on the controversy surrounding the issue of abortion in Texas. The author, who comes across as an angry seventies feminist, made not the slightest attempt at balance. As usual, the pro-abortion advocates portray anyone with an honest difference of opinion from theirs as narrow-minded simpletons who wish to strip women of important health care services. At the same time, they wax rhapsodic about those who share their opinion that women’s rights trump those of unborn children. This is a slap in the face to many of us who sincerely value life and who feel that defenseless unborn children should be protected from those who rationalize the killing of babies as being their “right.”
Susie Miller

Yes, I am a Texas woman, born, raised, and educated. And I am appalled at your article.
S. Will
via email

I wonder what Houston representative Carol Alvarado thinks is more intrusive: a transvaginal probe to look at a living human being or a coat hanger to kill one?
Barry Arnn

I cannot for the life of me understand the shortsighted dogmatism that seems to prevade our Legislature. This is in fact a case of might claiming right, and I wish I had more than my single vote to counter it. I am truly sorry for all the women of Texas and what this means for our personal freedoms, as well as the health care providers whose objections held no sway with the legislators.
Dale Truitt

Women need access to legal medical procedures. Also we cut funding to facilities that have never performed abortions.
Representative Donna Howard
via Twitter

This notion that being against Planned Parenthood is somehow synonymous with being against women is offensive to me and other women who believe every life has value.
Jennifer Maddox

Absolutely incredible cover article. As a young Texas woman, thank you so much.
Erin Doran
via Facebook

This isn’t a war on women for me. It’s a war for women’s health, and we want them to have the information they deserve.
Senator Dan Patrick
via Twitter

Since when is giving women all the medical information not in the best interest of women? It’s time abortion proponents stop presenting like they really do have the best interests of our mothers, sisters, daughters, or wives in mind when they debate this issue.
Serena Coulter
San Antonio

Editors’ note: We mistakenly identified a flyer distributed to clients in the Women’s Health Program from the Health and Human Services Commission as coming from Attorney General Greg Abbott. We regret the error.

Principal Interests

During the year I spent reporting my book, Saving the School, I did witness one element indispensable to any successful education program: in her work as principal at Reagan High, in East Austin, Anabel Garza has treated raising scores as a first step toward the broader goal of rebuilding an institution. Contrary to your reviewer’s assertion, I never saw her do anything “pernicious” [“Why Johnny Can’t Learn,” August 2012]. She opens her door and heart to just about anyone but holds those who enter to high expectations. When she drops students who repeatedly refuse to show up for class from the rolls and files criminal negligence charges against their parents, she’s not just trying to make the numbers. She’s trying to strong-arm those kids and, perhaps more importantly, their parents. Imperfect? Certainly. Tough? Yes. Pernicious? I don’t think so.
Michael Brick