Longhorns Land in Preseason Coaches Top 25 Poll: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: Texas moves a thousand prisoners out of the heat, Kay Bailey Hutchison gets confirmed as NATO ambassador, and more big businesses come out against the bathroom bill.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“He’s the best two-way player in the game right now.”
—Michael Jordan on Kawhi Leonard, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The San Antonio Spurs star earned the high praise as Air Jordan spoke at one of his recent basketball camps.
College football is (finally) around the corner, and Texas Longhorn fans have reason to celebrate before this season even starts. Following a disappointing 2017, UT enters the 2018 season with much higher expectations, thanks largely to new head coach Tom Herman and his recruiting success. Apparently Herman’s coaching colleagues have faith in his ability to turn things around in year one. In the preseason Coaches Poll, released on Thursday via USA Today and Amway, the Longhorns are ranked number 23. According to the Austin American-Statesman, UT is the only school in the preseason top 25 that finished last season with a losing record. Still, Longhorns should brace for the prestigious Associated Press pre-season top 25, which won’t come out until closer to the beginning of the season. Or, even more importantly, fans should be looking to the end of the season—it’s been a while since Texas actually finished in the AP’s top 25. The last time UT made it into the final list was in 2012, and they’ve been 16-21 in the last three seasons with ex-coach Charlie Strong at the helm. But the Longhorns are clearly the class to watch in Texas heading into this season. No other team in the Lone Star State was ranked in the poll, but TCU, Texas A&M, and Houston all received votes.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
About two weeks after a federal judge issued a ruling burning Texas’s prison system for keeping inmates in unsafe heat, the state submitted a plan to move about 1,000 inmates to cooler locations, according to the Texas Tribune. The plan follows the court order, which requires the state to provide cooler accommodations for inmates predisposed to heat-related illness. With a few options on the table, Texas, which argued in court that providing air conditioning was simply too expensive, decided to move the inmates. The plan calls for about 500 inmates to transfer to the Diboll Unit in East Texas, with about 425 more heading to the Travis State Jail in Austin. Some of the prisoners that need more medical attention will be transported to a medical unit in Beaumont. All of these units, of course, are already air-conditioned in the housing areas. This isn’t a long term solution, though, and the state is still fighting it—the lawsuit that forced the judge’s order is currently making its way through appellate court.
Texas to NATO
Kay Bailey Hutchison is officially the U.S. Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The former longtime Texas senator was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Unlike some of President Donald Trump’s other appointees, Hutchison’s confirmation was never really in doubt. Her nomination was received warmly by both sides of the aisle, and in her Senate confirmation hearing last month, she promised to stay tough on Russia, according to the Texas Tribune. The 73-year-old served twenty years in the Senate, where she sat on both the Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, before she retired in 2012. “Kay has always been known for tireless advocacy on behalf of Texans and her ability to work across the aisle to get things done,” Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn said, according to the Chronicle. “She has the experience, determination, and poise to strengthen our relationships on the world stage, and I’m confident she’ll make Texas—and our country—proud.”
Flush With Power
The anti-bathroom bill contingent keeps growing. On Thursday, a slew of big businesses came out against the pending legislation, which would restrict bathroom use for transgender people in public schools and government buildings. According to the Dallas Morning News, CEOs from ten corporations—including Uber, Lyft, Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, JPMorgan Chase, PayPal, Plano-based Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, and Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes—penned a letter to Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday, urging him to stop supporting the controversial bill. “No industry will remain untouched by the unnecessary harm that discriminatory laws will do to our competitiveness, to our ability to attract talent, and to our employees and their families,” the CEOs wrote. As the Morning News notes, this latest group brings the number of Fortune 500 companies who explicitly oppose the bill to 34. As it stands, the bill is unlikely to make it out of the House, so these corporate giants really have little to lose by taking a stand against legislation that is generally unpopular in the business community.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Read about this Dallas family’s powerful journey to support their transgender daughter Dallas Morning News
Texas U.S. Rep. Roger Williams was cleared by a congressional ethics committee, but his actions still sound shady Daily Beast
Here’s how global warming might drastically change the temperature in your county Houston Chronicle
The endangered Texas golden-cheeked warbler is in the legal fight of its life Texas Observer
A fourteen-year-old girl led police on a 107-mph car chase in Montgomery County KHOU