“Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? ‘Cause you could beat the shit out of him.”

—U.S. Senator Jack Reed, of Rhode Island, to Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. The pair of lawmakers were caught on a hot mic talking trash about Texas Representative Blake Farenthold, who made headlines recently for saying he’d challenge female senators to a duel if only they were men from South Texas. Reed and Collins also said some mean things about Farenthold’s weight and appearance. All parties eventually apologized to each other.


Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images

Round Number Two
The so-called “bathroom bill” officially passed through the Texas Senate on Tuesday, according to the Dallas Morning News. With a 21-10 vote, lawmakers gave initial approval to legislation that restricts bathroom use for transgender people. Every Republican senator voted in favor of the bill, joined by one Democrat, Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. of Brownsville. The bill now heads to the House, where it’ll probably face a much more difficult fight. The legislation, Senate Bill 3, would require people in public schools and government buildings to use the restrooms that align with the sex listed on their birth certificates or IDs issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The Texas ID option was added to the legislation during the floor debate, and it should make it a little easier for transgender adults to use their preferred bathroom if they were unable to change the sex on their birth certificate. But, as the Texas Tribune notes, the addition doesn’t do anything to help transgender kids. SB 3 would also strike down parts of municipal non-discrimination ordinances aimed at protecting the bathroom rights of transgender people. During the floor debate, Republicans framed the bill as a “privacy” protection, as Democrats called the legislation discriminatory. “I offer SB 3… as a solution for Texas,” Senator Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican from Brenham who authored SB 3, said when presenting her bill to the chamber, according to the Tribune. “It will hit the reset button and provide the privacy and safety that Texans expect.”


Trafficking Tragedy
More details continue to emerge about the dozens of people who were trapped in a hot trailer in a San Antonio Walmart parking lot. Ten people have died, including Frank Guisseppe Fuentes, a 19-year-old Guatemalan. Fuentes had been living in the country legally under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until his DACA holder status was revoked in March, after he was convicted of assault and battery by a mob in Virginia, according to the Washington Post. Fuentes first entered the U.S. illegally in 2000 and grew up in Virginia. He was reportedly attempting to return to his family when he was found in the trailer, where he died of heat exposure and asphyxiation. Of the 39 people taken off the trailer, thirteen remain hospitalized, including sixteen-year-old Brandon Martinez Deloera. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Deloera left his home in Mexico on July 10, hoping to reach the U.S. so he could better provide for his three-month-old son. “He wanted to buy a house for his kid and his future wife, start a business,” Deloera’s father, Jose De Jesus Martinez Delgado, told the Express-News. Deloera remains in intensive care and has damage to his brain, lungs, and kidneys.

Another Oops
Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently fell victim to a prank call from a pair of Russian jokesters who had him believe he was talking to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. According to the Washington Post, Perry spoke for a long time to Russian prank callers Vladimir “Vovan” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Stolyarov, discussing a wide range of topics, including a potential pipeline across the Baltic Sea for Russian gas, cyber attacks on the U.S. power grid, natural gas exploration in Ukraine, and the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. The prankers also told Perry about a new biofuel invented by Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko, made out of home-brewed alcohol and pig shit. Perry said he’d like to get more information about the “scientific development.” The biofuel, of course, doesn’t exist. “Secretary Perry is the latest target of two Russian pranksters,” DOE Spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in an email to the Post. “These individuals are known for pranking high level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security of Ukraine.” Oops.

Monkey Business
A monkey allegedly bit a kid at a Buc-ee’s last week. No, seriously. Apparently a man brought a monkey into one of the beaver-themed stores in Terrell, near Dallas, and when a child tried to pet him, the monkey bit the kid, according to the Houston Chronicle. According to Terrell police, the bite wasn’t that bad, but now police are hunting for the monkey’s owner. A surveillance photo shows the man walking through Buc-ee’s cradling a monkey, and police are hoping to locate the man to make sure the primate’s shot records are up to date. Police haven’t released a description of the monkey, but he looks to be maybe, like, a foot tall, with brown fur. If you see something, say something, and remember, do not approach the monkey, because it bites. Buc-ee’s didn’t have much to say about the incident. “We are not making any comments at this time as this is an active criminal investigation,” Buc-ee’s spokesman and general counsel Jeff Nadalo told the Chronicle on Tuesday, adding that animals are not allowed in stores unless they are service animals.


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Last week’s oil spill in Bastrop is nearly 40,000 gallons worse than it was originally thought Austin American-Statesman

El Paso singer Khalid was nominated for Best New Artist in MTV’s Video Music Awards El Paso Times

Every Texan in the U.S. House voted the same way for Russian sanctions Texas Tribune

At least three people—including a seventeen-year-old boy—drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande near El Paso KTSM

Is Rick Perry qualified to lead the Energy Department? Vanity Fair