As a fifth-generation Californian—a state that long ago lost its self-worth to historical revisionism—I applaud your insightful observations on Larry McMurtry and Lonesome Dove [“True West,” July 2010]. Luckily the rich history and traditions of Texas have withstood the politically correct demythologizing process that has destructively rewritten much of our history nationwide. If McMurtry looked deep, he might acknowledge that he has a lot more of Captain Woodrow F. Call in his psyche than he’d like to admit. Hurray for that!
Sherman Oaks, California
Larry McMurtry says that Lonesome Dove “is still not a classic… not a great book.” Either he is very modest and humble or… or what? Come on, Mr. McMurtry, you know this book and miniseries are classics. I am sure you had a vision for these great works—a hell of a vision.
I appreciate TEXAS MONTHLY and writer Mimi Swartz trying to present a fairer narrative of my public service in the Bush administration. On balance, the article “The Outsider” does present a more accurate discussion of my work [July 2010]. However, the article contained a number of errors and inaccurate conclusions. To name just a few, the article says a 2003 John Yoo memo suggests that certain conduct, like dousing prisoners with scalding water and maiming, are not criminal. President Bush and I would soundly condemn this conduct if it occurred and support the prosecution of those who engage in such activities.
Second, the article also suggests I removed seven U.S. attorneys based solely on the recommendation of Kyle Sampson and Monica Goodling. Sworn testimony confirms that the recommendation represented the consensus view of the leadership of the Justice Department, including the deputy attorney general, Paul McNulty, who, as a former U.S. attorney, had extensive knowledge and experience working with the seven U.S. attorneys asked to leave. The article suggests the firing of these appointees was before the completion of their statutory four-year terms, when in fact all seven U.S. attorneys completed their four-year terms and more. It also fails to mention that the attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president. Contrary to the reporting, U.S. attorneys do not receive formal job evaluations.
Third, President Bush did not do an “about-face” with respect to certain classified intelligence activities. The president and his staff knew he would need to suspend some of the classified intelligence activities because of practical and national security reasons. He also knew that when there is a breach of confidentiality in a national security program, it is impossible to maintain the efficacy and success of that program.
Fourth, General John Ashcroft and I agreed far more often than not, and I salute his service to America. Regarding the more personal aspects of the article, we did not join the Falls Church (Anglican) because it was politically correct; we joined because we believe in Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Reverend Dr. John Yates, our rector.
Finally, I am not “in exile on the High Plains.” On the contrary, the Lubbock community has welcomed my family and me with open arms, and I am grateful and proud to be associated with an outstanding faculty at Texas Tech University and to be part of the Tech family. Ms. Swartz has written about a number of complicated issues, and I applaud her effort to set the record straight. The intent of this letter is to provide further clarification.
Alberto R. Gonzales
Former U.S. attorney general
Editors’ note: On most of these points, we will have to agree to disagree with Mr. Gonzales, though we are grateful for his clarifications. However, he is correct that the U.S. attorneys were allowed to complete their terms. That inaccuracy crept in during the editing of the article, and we apologize for it.
Talk about getting hung out to dry. All the fat cats are living that luxurious retirement with their million-dollar book deals and Fredo is relegated to the High Plains of Texas, where no one even recognizes him. Hat’s off to you, Fredo. You may have made a mistake or two, but you were paid back in spades.
John M. Massey
Good Cop, Bad Cop
Christopher Kelly joyfully rips The Good Guys apart, accusing it of perpetuating racist stereotypes and cop clichés [Hollywood, TX; July 2010]. Did he not notice that it’s a comedy? Granted, I understand his desire for quality art that speaks to the Texas experience. That, my friends, means you need more Texan filmmakers. We in the industry don’t know your stories or how to tell them (heck, you give us a really hard time when we try). Besides, if you give The Good Guys enough time to get to know Dallas, it might begin to reflect the town’s unique character.
Los Angeles, California
Pros and Cons
Your recent story regarding Mauricio Celis, a con man who made millions impersonating a lawyer, demonstrates both the offensiveness of unethical, predatory conduct and its prevalence in our state [“The Great Pretender,” May 2010]. Your readers should know that the vast majority of attorneys in Texas, including myself, are equally if not more offended than the general public by this conduct. It is an attack on our profession, and the State Bar should indeed act.
As a state representative, I authored a bill last session that would have addressed part of this situation by requiring all lawyers to report these illegal and unethical acts to both local prosecutors and the State Bar. If the State Bar will not act, maybe prosecutors will if they are directly notified. My bill passed overwhelmingly in both chambers, with strong bipartisan support. Unfortunately, the bill was then vetoed by Governor Rick Perry after the close of session.
I was surprised your article missed referencing the governor’s veto, because the Legislature is trying to address this important issue but has been blocked by Governor Perry.
State Representative Jim Dunnam