AS REPORTED IN “The 1998 Bum Steer Awards” [January 1998], six math teachers in Lancaster were suspended in 1997 without pay for handing out worksheets containing problems involving guns, sex, and drugs, including the following problem:

“Rufus is pimping for 3 girls. If the price is $65 for each trick, how many tricks will each girl have to turn so that Rufus can pay for his $800-per-day crack habit?”

TM’s staff reported “The answer is 4 20⁄185. The next question is, What is 20⁄185 of a trick?” They may have been sneaking a sample of Rufus’ stash, which might explain why they failed to report the correct answer of 4 20⁄195.
Douglas M. Stum

Academy Support

WHILE “A FEW BAD BOYS” [January 1998] captured the essence of the disciplined atmosphere and rigorous expectations at the Marine Military Academy, the questions raised about the appropriateness of such rigor for younger cadets and the large number of cadets who are true thugs and parental rejects were overstated.

Our son was �oundering academically, had dropped out of sports, and was hanging around malcontents before we sent him to the MMA for his last two years of high school. After his first year there, he thanked us for putting him in an atmosphere where he could excel. At the MMA his grades improved, he was a defensive standout on the Leatherneck football team, and he became the executive officer of his company.

There is no question that the violent event that ocurred in Bravo Company was horrific and inexcusable, but the academy dealt with it swiftly and appropriately. Nonetheless, it was a relatively isolated incident that was blown out of proportion by the lawsuit filed by what appears to be a group of opportunistic parents of cadets who couldn’t cut it at the MMA. Inevitably, there are incidents of fights and inappropriate behavior directed toward some cadets, as there are when any group of adolescent boys are housed together. After our son read the article, we asked his opinion. He replied, “There may be some problems at MMA, but it’s still much safer there than it is at most high schools.”
Stephen and Claudia Aechternacht

East of Eden

AFTER READING “MIDNIGHT IN the Garden of East Texas” [January 1998], I have to point out a few things that all of the media that have flocked to our town seem to have disregarded.

Bernie Tiede is not a “sweet” man. A “sweet” man does not shoot a defenseless older woman in the back four times and then stuff her body into a freezer for nine months. The media have focused on a few misguided old souls who feel sorry for “sweet” Bernie, but most of the people I’ve discussed this tragedy with are horrified and disgusted.

Mrs. Nugent may have been everything your article implied, but she did not deserve to be robbed and murdered. The media have given “sweet” Bernie a standing ovation. No one in Carthage is applauding.
Kathy Drush

Alive and Kicking

GREGORY CURTIS’ BURIAL of the Democratic party in Texas is premature [Behind the Lines: “The Last Whimper,” January 1998]. Speaker of the House Pete Laney, whose commitment to fairness has brought about the operation of the legislative process in the Texas House at its best, is not mentioned, while harsh comment is leveled at two predecessors whose system of “go along to get along” stopped the ambitious and talented. It is noted that John Sharp is leaving the office of comptroller to run for lieutenant governor, contradicting the premise that Texas Democrats do not produce promising candidates.

The votes for all statewide offices and a majority in the House cannot be counted before they are cast. The Democratic party of Texas is not down yet.
Steve L. Hurt

Cactus Power

I HAVE SEEN PACKAGES OF NOPALITO in the grocery store on many occasions, but I’ve never found a recipe for how to cook them [Texas Monthly Reporter: “Prickly,” January 1998]. Often, other ethnic fruits and vegetables have recipe cards available with the produce, but not nopalito. If the Professional Association for Cactus Development would only give us gringos a hint about how to cook nopalito, it wouldn’t need grants from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop an agricultural program.
John H. Chapman

Ruling on Hopwood

I REGRET THAT PAUL BURKA DID NOT SIT in on more of Lino Graglia’s lectures at the University of Texas School of Law in preparation for “What’s Black and White and Red-faced All Over?” [December 1997]. In suggesting that the Hopwood decision, California’s Proposition 209, and other actions to eliminate separate racial standards for allocating educational opportunities will lead America’s top colleges to “face resegregation,” Mr. Burka displays ignorance of a basic lesson of Mr. Graglia’s course.

Racial segregation involves the separating of people based on their racial differences. Racial integration involves the congregating of people based on their racial differences. The UT law school was exercising racial integration through an admission procedure designed to congregate two groups—first, African Americans and Mexican Americans, and second, everyone else—based on their racial differences. The Hopwood decision forbids the exercise of this type of integration. What the Hopwood decision does not do, however, is require the racial resegregation of any schools. Segregation is the policy that the law school followed decades ago in refusing to admit Heman Sweatt, irrespective of Mr. Sweatt’s qualifications, based on his race. Segregation such as that exercised against Mr. Sweatt and leading to a United States Supreme Court decision advancing racial desegregation is not encouraged by the Hopwood decision. Instead, Hopwood makes it illegal.
Adam Dick
New York City

The Big Stink

HERE’S AN UPDATE ON “HOG-TIED” [Texas Monthly Reporter: December 1997], concerning the flood of corporate hog operations in the Panhandle. District judge Margaret Cooper has ruled that the Texas Confined Animal Feeding Operations rules passed in 1995 to bring this “economic development” to the state deny the rights of private property owners living in the area. The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission’s rules are now invalid. Let us hope the commission has learned that our natural resources are for Texans, not the bottom line of foreign corporations.
Jeanne Gramstorff