What the Hullabaloo?

I read your “interview” with Ol’ Sarge in the “Bum Steers of the Year” [January 2024], and I wasn’t amused. I graduated from Texas A&M in the middle of the last century. I’m familiar with the Ol’ Sarge character, and he never would have said the words attributed to him in your article.

Ol’ Sarge was tough, he was gruff, and he was demanding. When we failed to meet his expectations, he held us accountable for our mistakes. Ol’ Sarge would take cadets who were not suited for the spartan life or the rigid discipline of the Corps of Cadets and counsel them to seek an education at a less demanding institution, like TU.

Aggies enjoy a good laugh, and we encourage everyone to laugh with us. Laughing at us is an entirely different matter.
Jerry Ellington, College Station

Two Articles, One Message

I often gain insight by comparing articles in Texas Monthly. The combination of the Dan Patrick Bum Steer of the Year award and the article about Bishop Michael Olson [“The Bishop Who Messed With the Wrong Nuns,” January 2024] provided such a lesson. 

Power-hungry people do everything they can to transform their power into an absolute state. Olson and Patrick took slightly different paths but made similar moves. In government, the best path to complete power is to weaken the checks and balances that our founders wisely put into place. Patrick has done exactly that. In a private organization, such as the Catholic Church, the path is a bit easier. Olson simply worked to eliminate anyone who disagreed with him, and he kept his actions private. 

I’m not a member of the Catholic Church, and I have little to gain or lose from Olson’s behavior other than to feel sorry for those he has trampled on. With Patrick it is very different. The man is trying to institute not just single-party rule but single-person rule in the state of Texas.
Niel Powers, Kerrville

In Response to the Responders

I was pleased to read “Mental Health’s New First Responders” [January 2024], as Texas is in a crisis. According to the Department of State Health Services, nearly all Texas counties had a shortage of mental health professionals in 2023. The training that was highlighted in your article should be a requirement for all first responders. 
Lesley Casarez, San Angelo

Editors’ note: A January 2024 story, “The Greatest Sideshow on Earth,” reported on rumors that potential chairmanships were used as part of an effort by Republican senators, including Paul Bettencourt, to lobby colleagues to acquit Attorney General Ken Paxton of impeachment charges. Bettencourt says he never discussed chairmanships with his colleagues during the time of the trial.

The February 2024 edition of “Meanwhile, in Texas” incorrectly stated a couple of details regarding a 38-year-old message in a bottle. The bottle and message were, in fact, found by a man near the San Jacinto River, in northeast Houston.