This is one of the best pieces of investigative journalism that I’ve read in a long time (“Systemic Neglect,” May 2). The care of our most vulnerable citizens is an issue that deserves more and better attention than it has received. Unfortunately, the tendency has been to simplify the problems, either by sensationalizing or minimizing them. Your article avoids these mistakes by explaining the complexities of delivering these services. Unfortunately, state leaders at the highest level have failed to understand these complexities. In some cases, the failure has been benign, in others willful, but the result has been the same: a woeful lack of resources. Policymakers considering ways to improve services at state schools would do well to begin by reading this article.
Will H. RogersTexas State Employees Union Austin
When I saw the cover saying “Inside Texas’ troubled institutions for the mentally retarded,” I thought you were doing another story on the Texas Legislature!
THE END OF OIL
This was an excellent example of letting the facts lead to the conclusion (“The Oil Conundrum,” May 2). We must make changes in our society like Europe and Japan and reduce oil consumption by 30 percent over 10 years.
William Paul via e-mail
Robert Bryce describes U.S. peak oil in 1972 very well, but then omits the elephant in the room: world peak oil. If oil cannot be produced any faster than now, energy consumption cannot grow. As oil production declines, so will energy consumption. That is a geological reality, never mind what neoclassical economists may think.
If the impact of peak oil were limited to “pain at the pump,” that would be OK. Unfortunately it isn’t. Oil is soaked throughout our economy. If you think we will smoothly switch from crude oil to any combination of coal, renewables, nuclear, wave, or used french fry oil, I’m afraid that you’re deluded.
Rod Campbell-Rossvia e-mail
Thanks for the great story on the Pig Stand (“Last Pig Standing,” May 2). The insight into a simple way of life and a simple kind of pleasure was moving. Best hopes for at least the one Pig Stand surviving.
As the Observer may or may not know, I’ve been trying to establish a Texas Food Museum. New Orleans is opening SoFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum) in June, and it’s an embarrassment that Texas does not celebrate its food history in any way. The Pig Stand is a part of that glorious food history that is Texas.
Barry Popik Austin
TOO MUCH CREDIT
This is a well-considered review of a provocative book by an intriguing and estimable American author (“A Novelist in Full,” April 18). However, there is little basis for characterizing Wendy Yoshimura as “the Symbionese Liberation Army bomber.” Multiple historical accounts, as well as FBI, police, and court records (and even Susan Choi’s novel American Woman) make clear that “SLA babysitter” would be more apt.
When the SLA finally managed to make devices that would actually explode, Patty Hearst says, they were dubbed “Kilgore bombs,” because fellow fugitive Jim Kilgore showed them how it was done.