Quote of the Day
“I wish we didn’t have to pass an ordinance for this.”
—College Station city councilman James Benham to KBTX. The city council could vote on an ordinance strengthening the legal punishment for peeing and pooping in public, which is apparently a frequent problem on certain College Station streets. Benham says he has seen a “much higher incidence rate of this type of activity.” Hopefully the new ordinance will help College Stationers relieve themselves of this deplorable stream of indecency.
Toilet Wars—The Bathroom Battle has officially begun. Attorney General Ken Paxton announced on Wednesday that Texas is leading ten other states to war (i.e., court) against the federal government over President Barack Obama’s directive that all public schools allow transgender people to use the bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. Paxton told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that Texas filed suit to protect tiny Harrold ISD, a school district with an enrollment of about 100 students that sits along the Oklahoma border. Harrold ISD said it just happened to have passed a bathroom policy a few days earlier which mandates students use the gender restroom that aligns with the sex listed on their birth certificate, which defies the federal directive and puts the district at risk of losing federal funding. Paxton and Harrold ISD superintendent David Thweatt both framed the lawsuit as a constitutional issue, claiming the president overstepped his authority. But it was also clear that they both felt the legal challenge was primarily to protect the “safety” of students. Of course, as the Texas Tribune noted, when asked repeatedly, “neither Paxton nor Thweatt could point to instances where allowing transgender students access to the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities had threatened anyone’s safety.” That’s probably because there are zero such instances. Literally none.
Heads Up—It’s unclear what would possess someone to chuck a rock at a moving car, but apparently it’s a thing in Austin. There have been so many instances of rock-throwing along a stretch of Interstate 35 in Austin that the city’s police department is exploring creating a task force combining local, state, and regional resources to deal with the problem. According to the Austin American-Statesman, authorities are currently investigating 83 rock-throwing cases since 2014, including 13 which occurred last weekend alone, and perpetrators could face charges as serious as attempted murder. According to a data analysis by the Statesman, there’s a clear method to the rock-throwing madness. All of the incidents have been on the same 21-mile stretch of I-35. Most happen on a Saturday or Sunday between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., and most of the vehicles hit by rocks were traveling northbound. Disturbingly, the data also showed that some of the incidents were a just a few minutes apart but were miles away from each other. Is there a second rocker? Perhaps. One thing we know for sure: you should always be aware of your surroundings while driving, and, according to the Austin Police Department, you should also probably just use the outside lanes of the highway during peak-rock-throwing times.
P-r-o-d-i-g-y—A six-year old Texan stole the show at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Akash Vukoti, who is a home-schooled first-grader from San Angelo, was the youngest of the nearly 300 competitors, and he quickly became a media darling. According to the Houston Chronicle, Vukoti needed help lowering the microphone in the competition’s preliminary round. He is exceedingly polite and upbeat, and is seemingly unfazed by the pressure of the extremely competitive event. That confidence likely comes from the fact that Vukoti has been competing in spelling contests since he was just two-years old. If you want to get a sense what made Vukoti such a fan favorite, and if you also want to hear him spell his favorite word, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, then just watch his video interview with Vox. Unfortunately, Vuroti was eliminated in the third round on Wednesday after misspelling “bacteriolytic.” No matter—according to NPR, Vuroti may have lost the spelling competition, but he certainly “won our hearts.”