Thank you for having the courage to expose the drug war as primarily an excuse to imprison young black men. I look forward to subscribing to your magazine as soon as I can scrape the money together. When people celebrate a Connecticut Yankee as a true Texan, it’s good to see the real thing in action.

Jeremy Fisher Euless, TX


Your Afterword about Juneteenth and the killings in Mexia in the June 22 issue is another great piece. Keep it up. Even a libertarian like me enjoys your “rag.” Of course, I see this as another example of the Drug War’s failure, but I’m a one-issue kinda guy.

Mike Smithson Syracuse, NY


Thanks for your coverage of the Texas State Aquarium’s plans to build a dolphin exhibit in Corpus Christi (“Thanks But no Tanks,” June 22). Another aspect of this story is that the Aquarium has a unique opportunity to provide a state-of-the-art open-sea refuge for the so-called “non-releasable” dolphins, should they so desire. All they need do is pen in a large area in their “back yard,” so to speak, to gradually train these dolphins to adjust to the wild. Such a facility could provide a haven for mistreated and misused dolphins, as well as for researchers, and could be a world-class tourist attraction, instead of just another of the Aquarium’s infamous “petting zoos,” which have already lost many dozens of fishes, due to “accidents” (or mismanagement, depending on your point of view). That, of course, is assuming that the government doesn’t decide to add that area to their list of bombing ranges.

Mary Beth Nelson Editor/Publisher, The Observer (Corpus Christi)


Helen Thorpe’s article (“Tony the Tiger,” May 25) failed to report on Tony Sanchez’ shameful conduct while on the Board of Regents of the University of Texas.

In 1999, the art and architecture communities celebrated the announcement that the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron was selected to design UT’s new Blanton Art Museum. However, Sanchez led attacks on the architects’ plans and was instrumental in the forced resignation of the prestigious firm. Not only did the University lose its best opportunity to build a world class museum, the students lost out as well. As a direct result of Sanchez’ actions, Dean Lawrence Speck of the UT School of Architecture resigned in protest. Since then Herzog & de Meuron have gone on to win the Pritzker Prize, awarded for excellence in Architecture.

Sanchez’s actions were widely reported in art and architecture journals and newspapers worldwide, bringing international disgrace to our state. Disgrace may be fairly common for Bush appointees, but certainly Democrats must find a more suitable candidate.

Steven Salzman Austin

As we settle in to the lethargic dog days of another Texas summer, it grows difficult even to toot our own horn. But here we blow: the Observer posted its best performance ever in the Association of Alternative News-weeklies’ annual competition, with a total of six awards going to our contributors. Former editor Michael King was a winner in the Arts Feature Division for his piece on Edward Albee, “Play About the Playwright.” Contributor Greg Harman’s article on Odessa’s Huntsman chemical plant, “Hunts-man’s Odessa Syndrome” won in the News category, and contributing photographer Alan Pogue won a photo award for his photo essay “Where Are the Zapatistas?” Last but not least, editor Nate Blakeslee was honored with three awards, the most given to any one writer in this year’s competition. His story on a murder in the Beeville prison, “The Gray and the White” won a news award, “Writing the Ruckus in Seattle” won in the media criticism category, and “Color of Justice,” concerning drug war abuses in the town of Tulia, won in Investigative Reporting.