QUOTE OF THE DAY
“She is wanted—by me.”
—Grapevine police dispatcher Stephen Smith, according to the Dallas Morning News. Smith arranged a memorable marriage proposal by having a fellow officer pull over his girlfriend, Amanda Radican. The officer told Radican to get out of the car because there was a warrant out for her vehicle. Radican became upset, and she actually started to cry. Then Smith came out from the patrol car and got on one knee to explain the “warrant” and propose. The whole thing was caught on the officer’s body camera. And she said, “Yes,” by the way.
Day One—The special session of the Texas Legislature is officially underway, and it kicked off on Tuesday just as one might expect, with more fighting between Republicans and Democrats amid protests at the Capitol. According to the Houston Chronicle, inside the dome Democrats were “grasping at procedural straws” while Republicans continued to be “mired in deep divide.” The House essentially did nothing—its session lasted less than an hour, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Most of the action went down in the Senate, where Republicans pushed through measures to rapidly speed up action on the special session’s top priorities laid out by Governor Greg Abbott. The Senate voted along party lines to to waive a rule requiring 24-hour notice of meetings and, for the first time in thirty years, the Senate also voted (along party lines, of course) to suspend a rule requiring a 48-hour wait period before legislation “tagged” by a senator can be heard in committee. Democrats were pretty peeved, arguing that the moves were a blow to transparency and public participation. But their opposition was for naught, as the Republicans owned the day. Meanwhile, hundreds of progressive protesters gathered at the Capitol, opposing the so-called “bathroom bill” and other special session items on the agenda, including funding cuts to abortion providers and the enacting of a limited school voucher program, according to the Chronicle.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Foggy Future—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has some controversial moves in his plan to reorganize the State Department. Among the offices on Tillerson’s chopping block are the one charged with fighting war crimes and the one that handles coordinating cyber issues with other countries. The former Exxon CEO and Wichita Falls native hasn’t made any final decisions yet, but critics are pouncing on the potential shake-up. Human rights advocates are particularly concerned about the potential closing of the Office of Global Criminal Justice. “This is a very harsh signal to the rest of the world that the United States is essentially downgrading the importance of accountability for the commission of atrocity crimes,” David Scheffer, a professor at Northwestern University who served as the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, told Foreign Policy. “This sends a strong signal to perpetrators of mass atrocities that the United States is not watching you anymore.” Meanwhile, Tillerson’s plan to fold the Office of the Coordinator for Cyber Issues into the much broader Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs has worried cyber security advocates that the State Department isn’t taking seriously international hacking threats, according to Bloomberg.
Summer Spotlight—The Big 12 conference held its football media days on Monday and Tuesday in Frisco, and fresh blood leading two Texas teams took the main spotlight. The belle of the ball was probably University of Texas-Austin coach Tom Herman, the new guy charged with turning around the struggling Longhorns program. “Losing has to be awful, and you can never get used to losing,” Herman told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “That is one of the biggest downfalls of a lot of teams, is you get used to losing.” Herman also called to revive UT’s gridiron rivalry with Texas A&M. “I don’t know why we can’t play A&M as our marquee non-conference opponent,” Herman said, according to the Houston Chronicle. New Baylor head coach Matt Rhule, meanwhile, emphasized that his regime is working hard to fix the broken culture at Baylor that led to a massive sexual assault scandal. “That which we don’t acknowledge we’re doomed to repeat,” Rhule said, according to the Waco Tribune. “At the end of the day, I don’t know everything that happened, but I just know something that happened that was wrong. If we don’t talk about it, if we don’t learn from it, then what was the point of it? I want to move forward, but I want to move forward always acknowledging the past.”
Dog Days—The Houston Astros were dealt a big blow to their World Series hopes on Tuesday, when star shortstop Carlos Correa was placed on the disabled list to undergo surgery after tearing a ligament in his left thumb. He’ll miss six-to-eight weeks, so he won’t return until mid-September at the earliest, though baseball players are notoriously slow to recover from serious hand injuries. Correa, an All-Star this season who’s batting .320 to go along with twenty home runs, injured the thumb on July 4, and while he’d been able to play through the pain since then, he tweaked his thumb again during Monday’s game. “Yesterday it snapped on that swing,” Correa told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. “On that swing I felt a shock in my finger. It was hurting a lot.” An MRI later revealed a torn ligament. It’s a tough loss for the Astros, who are in the midst of their best season in franchise history, despite suffering myriad injuries, mostly to their starting pitching rotation. The Astros have a commanding 16.5-game lead in the AL West, but they’ll be pretty thin moving forward without Correa. Hopefully he’ll return just in time for the playoffs.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Border Patrol is battling reeds growing along the Rio Grande The New Yorker
South Padre Island passed new rules to crack down on Spring Break partying McAllen Monitor
Texas now has a taco beer Houston Press
98-year-old Manu Ginobili is returning for a 73rd season with the Spurs San Antonio Express-News
A Baylor football player has been arrested for assault in connection to domestic violence allegations Waco Tribune