THE 1992 BUM STEER AWARDS” [TM, January 1992] recognized the Texas Department of Agriculture for fining an aerial pesticide applicator $1,250 for mishandling a chemical. What the piece failed to note were the constraints that bind our enforcement proceedings.

The TDA is bound, by legislative action and by internal guidelines adopted in 1989, to abide by a penalty schedule that dictates a maximum fine level for misapplications. In this case, the TDA sought and obtained the maximum penalty permitted. It is also important to note that a $1,250 fine is not an insignificant amount for a small business such as the one involved in this incident.

The misuse of a pesticide is never taken lightly by our agency. As the lead state entity charged with the regulation and enforcement of pesticide laws, we take our responsibility seriously. We are committed to enforcing these laws to their utmost. In this case, as in all others, we did just that.
Texas Department of Agriculture

THE COLLEGIATE WORLD IS FULL of worthless courses, but as an alumnus of both the rock music course mentioned and the University of Texas, I (and many others) can attest to the validity of the course’s material, as well as its greater-than-average difficulty factor. The instructor was a talented speaker, a knowledgeable historian, and an above-average musician on several instruments, adept at showing the progression of rock from its roots up to five minutes ago.

Anyone who denies the importance of rock and roll missed most of the twentieth century as far as music goes. I am 29 years old, and I believe that my generation, except for its music, has little more than video rot as a major cultural theme. Rock and roll defines the post—World War II culture of North America, if not most of the Second and Third worlds.

HOT DAMN, TEXAS HAS journalists who aren’t cowed by the women’s movement. Barbara Jordan embarrasses the state by sounding off like a dark-skinned David Duke. Now Ms. Jordan has a Bum Steer to go with her bum mouth.
Bay Area National Congress for Men
Palo Alto, California

I NOTICED THE COMMENT “Tex Sounds So Much Better Than Braz.” Maybe so, if you’re talking about Brazilian armadillos. I think, though, that the friendly Brazos River is about as Texan as you can get. From that perspective, the nickname “Braz,” which my son, Brazos Fielder, uses, sounds just fine.

Public Assistance

I READ WITH INTEREST DANA RUBIN’S “The Rise and Fall (and Rise and Fall) of Marcy Rogers” [TM, January 1992]. Although I believe it to be a fair and honest account of the frenetic life of Ms. Rogers, I must take exception to the comment stating that medical treatment for children and adults who have craniofacial deformities is nearly always available through private insurance policies, various crippled children’s programs, and donated services. All of those methods are viable ways of financing treatment, but the actuality is that there is “a great need to raise money for surgical costs.” Those of us who do have insurance still wrangle with limitations, exclusions, charges that exceed “reasonable and customary” fees, and the constant requirement to prove “functional need.” State programs such as the ones mentioned have seen incredible cutbacks, and services are considerably limited. Many patients, for various reasons, fall through the cracks. In addition, can we expect the few craniofacial centers and their surgeons to donate all of their services?

I would hate to believe that such generalizations would cause others to stop opening their hearts and their pocketbooks to patients and families who desperately need assistance.

Second Chances

I WAS DISAPPOINTED TO SEE ROBERT Draper’s “Beware the Grace of God” [TM, January 1992]. Just before I read it, I was with groups from several Texas Baptist churches in the gym of the Texas Baptist Children’s Home in Round Rock. Before a Christmas party in the cottages, we were served lunch and the students presented a marvelous Christmas program. The eight teenage boys in the cottage that our group sponsored were just great—neat, well mannered, and truly appreciative. The children at TBCH come from broken homes. The houseparents of this particular cottage, called Mom and Pop by the boys, had no doubt spent many hours in helping these young men to start a new life. There is no question that they will become productive citizens because of this second chance they have been given. It was an inspirational afternoon. There are 65 other residents in this facility; it and several others in the state receive support from the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as from individuals and Baptist churches. Many good things are going on—this one right in our own back yard—and it would behoove Texas Monthly to look for something positive to print.

Corpus Charisma

AS A FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE Corpus Christi Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, I read Mark Seal’s “Can Berney Seal Save Corpus Christi?” [TM, January 1992] with great interest. Like two of Berney’s sons, I was “one who got away” from Corpus Christi and the “Aginner” mentality. I don’t know if Berney can save Corpus Christi, but I do know, God bless him, he’ll never give up trying. Mark Seal truly captured the essence of his father. Berney is more than just a colorful, larger-than-life character; he really is symbolic of what Corpus Christi could and should be. Thanks for an entertaining and accurate article.
Long Beach Area Convention and Visitors Center
Long Beach, California

I AM A NATIVE CORPUS CHRISTIAN, coming from a long line dating back to when it was Colonel Kinney’s Trading Post, and I find I thank God every day for my husband’s recent transfer to a small, quiet, beautiful Texas-friendly town. Corpus Christi still had some of that aura in the early sixties, until Berney Seal and his ilk started showing up, but, alas, no more. Doesn’t his spending more money on running for public office than anyone in the history of Corpus Christi and being defeated by more votes than anyone in the history of Corpus Christi tell the man anything?

Battles of the Sexes

JOHN MACCHIETTO, DISCUSSED IN Helen Thompson’s “A Man’s Man” [State Wide Reporter, TM, January 1992], is a leading voice in the National Coalition of Free Men, which tries to bring attention to the sometimes fashionable habit of “male-bashing.” Though he is correct in asserting that our culture frequently condones violence against men, he fails to note that this violence is almost exclusively performed by other men. Minimizing the toll of men’s violence against women by suggesting that both genders are equally at risk for physical abuse creates an unfortunate smokescreen. Over the past two decades, feminists have made a strong argument that women’s political and economic disadvantages have made them vulnerable to wife abuse, rape, and sexual harassment. I agree that male-bashing must end. Simultaneously, however, we men must take full responsibility to end the harm that many of our gender commit against women, through dedicated political action and continued empowerment of women. By supporting this cause, we men may take the first step toward liberating ourselves.

THE PHOTOGRAPH OF BERT LONG in “Long Shot” [Art, TM, February 1992] should have been credited to Hillsman Stuart Jackson.