“It’s patriotic, it’s something we like to do, and we’ve made it a family tradition. Sometimes you see the same old people . . . not old people, but same people.”

—Stan Dimmick, of Arlington, to the Dallas Morning News. Dimmick has not missed an Arlington Fourth of July parade in 52 years.


   Alex Wong/Getty

Boos For Cruz
Senator Ted Cruz spent his Fourth of July getting blasted by protesters during a visit to McAllen, according to the Texas Tribune. Cruz gave a speech at the blue border city’s Independence Day ceremony, but had to raise his voice over the chants of protesters, many who were holding signs decrying the Senate’s efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. According to the McAllen Monitor, people yelled “Ted Cruz, escucha (listen);” “Estamos en la lucha (We are in this fight);” “Health care is a human right;” and “Vote him out.” Cruz supporters at the speech tried to overpower the protesters by chanting “USA.” “Isn’t freedom wonderful?” Cruz asked during the speech. “Think about it: In much of the world, if protesters showed up, they would face violent government oppression. In America, we’ve got something different.” However, according to the Monitor, Cruz avoided the topics the protesters were most concerned about, instead talking about his father’s journey from Cuba to the United States. As the speech came to an end, Cruz again gave a shoutout to the protesters, calling them “our friends who are so energized today that they believe that yelling is a wonderful thing to do,” before adding, “I will say you have the right to speak, and I will always defend your right to speak and participate in the democratic process. That’s what makes us free, that’s what makes us America.”


Come Together
Houston-based energy giant Baker Hughes has combined with General Electric after the two industry behemoths closed their long-awaited merger deal on Monday. According to the Houston Chronicle, the $23 billion deal creates the second largest oil field services firm in the world, which will have dual headquarters in London and Houston. The companies went through a rocky road to get here. Baker Hughes originally engaged with Houston-based Halliburton, but the marriage was practically called off at the altar last year when the Justice Department sued to block the merger. But GE and Baker Hughes managed to pass the DOJ’s tough anti-trust tests, and the feds approved the deal in June. The European Union okayed the merger a month earlier, and Baker Hughes shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favor of the deal on Friday, giving the final green light for the two companies to join forces.

Lone Star Spotlight
The New Yorker has turned its monocle to the Lone Star State, publishing “America’s Future is Texas,” a massive, 20,000-word story by Austin-based writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright. The piece documents the “outsized” politics of Texas, adding some much-needed context to the national trends we’ve been seeing. Ultimately, Wright argues, Texas can be used as a political bellwether for the rest of the nation. The general reception on social media has been good, with many declaring this piece a must-read. But not everyone in Texas is happy. The Tyler Morning Telegraph was pretty peeved, penning an editorial slamming Wright for supposedly not digging below Texas stereotypes. Meanwhile, Alex Webb, one of the most celebrated photographers in the world, turned his lens on Houston to explore the Bayou City’s cultural diversity. His incredible photos are in this month’s issue of Pacific Standard magazine.

Aerial Assault
Residents in one Arlington neighborhood are currently besieged in an annual assault from a bunch of nesting egrets. The birds apparently flock to the Wilshire Boulevard-Gaye Drive area each year. Writes the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: “As many as 200 of the lanky white birds are flopping awkwardly in the tops of the towering trees, roosting, squawking, falling out of nests. And, oh, the bird droppings.” Apparently it gets pretty grim. “Rarely venturing from their covered porches, they are figurines in a nasty snow globe of falling white poop and plumage,”  the Star-Telegram poetically described the poo situation of two elderly neighbors. Since the birds are federally protected while nesting, there’s not much residents can do but dodge and pinch their noses to block the smell, which is akin to “a musty, rarely maintained livestock barn,” according to the Star-Telegram.


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Former State Department employee: Rex Tillerson is ruining the department Politico

A former Baylor regent called female students suspected of underage drinking “perverted little tarts” Waco Tribune-Herald

An argument between two groups on Snapchat sparked the shooting of a Lubbock teen Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

This guy’s grandfather was a death row doc who experimented on Texas inmates Texas Tribune

A Navy vet goes from living on the streets to owning a home in El Paso El Paso Times