QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You just kind of go with the flow. I have a pretty deep patriotic bent in me. If people can sing that and be inspired by it, I’m grateful.”
—Gary Moore to the New York Times. Moore is the former minister of music at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, and he composed the “Make America Great Again” theme song that’s been used a lot lately by President Donald Trump.
Wall Ball—House Republicans on Tuesday announced a proposed bill that would devote $1.6 billion to President Donald Trump’s promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the Associated Press. The plan doesn’t include Mexico paying for the wall, something Trump that has repeatedly promised. The House Appropriations Committee added the wall money into a $44 billion homeland security funding bill, and a subcommittee is expected to give the legislation preliminary approval on Wednesday. Republican leaders want to pass the bill before adjourning for the August break, but they’ll get fierce pushback from Democrats as well as other Republicans, plenty of whom have expressed reservations about spending billions of dollars to build a border wall. “Once again, Republicans are trying to put American taxpayers on the hook for the multi-billion dollar boondoggle President Trump swore Mexico would pay for,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, according to the AP. “Trump’s immoral, ineffective and expensive wall is strongly opposed by Democrats and by many Republicans as well. A wall of bipartisan opposition is the only thing House Republicans are trying to build here.” As the AP notes, the fight over the border wall could eventually prompt a government shutdown, with some conservatives threatening to filibuster any spending bill that leaves out money for the wall. The $1.6 billion figure would barely make a dent in the total cost needed to actually build a wall along the entire border, which is estimated to be somewhere between $21 billion and $70 billion. If the spending plan ultimately passes, the money would cover only about 75 miles of new wall, including 60 miles in the Rio Grande Valley, according to CNN.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Escape Artist—The latest major revelations about the Trump campaign’s connections to the Russian government have put Republican lawmakers in an uncomfortable position. U.S. Senator Ted Cruz dodged tough questions on Tuesday after Donald Trump Jr. admitted meeting with a Kremlin-linked attorney who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton as part of a concerted Russian effort to help his father win the election. Cruz did his best to stonewall reporters who asked repeatedly whether he was concerned the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. “You’re being very persistent and I suppose that’s your job,” Cruz responded to a CNN reporter during a gaggle in a hallway, according to Talking Points Memo. “But let me point out the American people want the president to succeed.” When Cruz was pressed further on whether the Trump administration has been too cozy with Russia, Cruz pivoted to blame Barack Obama. “I think that we have had eight years of Barack Obama showing nothing but appeasement toward Russia,” Cruz said. His Senate colleague John Cornyn, meanwhile, called for Trump Jr. to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Midsummer Classic—Seven Astros and Rangers players represented Texas at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Miami on Tuesday night. Houston had a league-leading six players named to the All-Star squad: second baseman Jose Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa, outfielder George Springer, and pitchers Chris Devenski, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers. Altuve, Correa, and Springer all started the game for the American League, but they disappointed a bit at the plate, going a combined 0-for-7 in the AL’s 2-1 victory in 10 innings. Devenski came in to pitch a perfect eight inning. The Astros will return from the All-Star break on Friday with a 60-29 record, the best record in the American League. They’re on pace for a franchise-record 109 wins. The Rangers, meanwhile, have been struggling to stay near .500 all season. Their lone bright spot has been pitcher Yu Darvish, whose 3.49 ERA and 152 strikeouts landed him a spot on the All-Star team, the only Ranger player to get the nod. After starting the Rangers’ final game before the All-Star break on Sunday, though, Darvish didn’t take the mound Tuesday night.
Texas Jaws—A Liberty County man made a shocking discovery while four-wheeling along the riverbank of Twin Lakes in Kenefick, reportedly finding the decomposing remains of a five-foot long bull shark in the water. “I just rode up on it and couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” 25-year old Jared Moser told the Houston Chronicle. “My whole life I’ve heard that sharks can be found in the Trinity River. I am a true believer now.” Moser’s theory for how the shark got so far inland is that it swam up the Trinity River and became stranded in Twin Lakes, Northeast of Houston, when the river levels dropped. But Texas Game Warden Randy Button told the Chronicle that it’s more likely the shark was dumped there by a fisherman. “The only time the river has been high enough to flood that area was last year,” Button told the Chronicle. “That is a long, long time for a shark to survive in freshwater. Bull sharks will go upriver but I personally haven’t seen a shark up that far. It’s really weird.” Moser said he didn’t see any evidence indicating a fisherman deposited the fish carcass, but he and Button planned to take a closer look Wednesday morning.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
A Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Waco was vandalized earlier this week Waco Tribune-Herald
This San Antonio police officer moonlights as an MMA champ San Antonio Express-News
A look at King County in Texas, which gave just five votes to Hillary Clinton The Hill
Dallas-based Backpage lied about not creating sex ads Washington Post
Meet the Texas mom whose butt has 378,000 Instagram followers Dallas Observer