QUOTE OF THE DAY
“There’s always a little bit of fear, but you always put it in the back of your mind. In bull riding, it’s not if you get hurt, it’s when and how bad.”
—Odessa College bull rider Bradie Gray to KWES. Gray recently suffered life-threatening injuries when he was thrown off of a bull at the National College Rodeo Finals in Wyoming in July, with broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and a bruised heart. But Gray, 20, miraculously made a full recovery, and he plans to rejoin the rodeo team at Odessa College in September.
Moving On Up?
Rick Perry is reportedly on President Donald Trump’s shortlist to replace John Kelly as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. The job opened up on Monday, after Trump ousted chief of staff Reince Preibus and replaced him with Kelly, who was leading DHS. Ex-Texas Governor Perry currently serves as the energy secretary, a leadership role that he has reportedly struggled with so far, according to a recent story in Vanity Fair. Now, according to Bloomberg, Perry is a candidate for the DHS gig. He’d presumably be a better fit as head of Homeland Security than as Energy Secretary, given his experience with border security and immigration policy from his time as governor of Texas. But, as the Dallas Morning News notes, Trump has previously trashed Perry for his security policies in Texas, often tweeting harsh criticism. “Rick Perry did an absolutely horrible job of securing the border,” Trump tweeted in July 2015. “He should be ashamed of himself.” Of course, the two of them clearly made amends after Trump earned the GOP nomination last year, so maybe all this stuff is behind them. “Secretary Perry is focused on the important mission of the Department of Energy,” Robert Haus, director of public affairs at the department, told Bloomberg. “He’s honored to be mentioned, but he loves what he’s doing.” Also among possible candidates is U.S. Representative Michael McCaul. McCaul was on Trump’s shortlist for the same job before Kelly was nominated.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
A bunch of school-age children gathered at the Capitol on Wednesday to protest proposed legislation that would overturn local ordinances that preserve trees, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The youngins were joined by two members of the House—Republican Representative Wayne Faircloth, of Galveston, and Democratic Representative Carol Alvarado, of Houston, who read Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax on the Capitol lawn. Governor Greg Abbott has long been pushing a bill that overturns local tree preservation ordinances, and similar legislation has passed the House and is currently in the Senate. It would prevent cities from enforcing rules that bar homeowners and small developers from cutting down trees on their private property. Abbott made the legislation a priority when he set the special session agenda, calling these ordinances “socialistic.” Environmentalists disagree, including ten-year-old Selis Tufekci, who attended the protest and carried a blue-and-pink sign that read, “We speak for the Texas trees.” The Houston resident came to the protest with her teacher and some classmates. “Trees hold the ecosystem, birds, so much life,” she told the Express-News. “If you cut them all down, like in The Lorax, all those animals have to leave.”
Former Baylor basketball coach Dave Bliss has found another coaching gig. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Bliss is the new athletic director and head boy’s basketball coach at Calvary Chapel Christian School, a high school in Nevada. Bliss resigned from Baylor in 2003 after an NCAA investigation into circumstances surrounding the murder of Baylor player Patrick Dennehy by teammate Carlton Dotson. “There’s a great documentary he’s put out there on his testimony, and that is the one thing everybody needs to see right now. That he’s a man of Christ,” September Wilson, a coach and teacher at Calvary Chapel, told the Review-Journal after confirming Bliss’s hiring. In the documentary, Disgraced, which premiered on Showtime in March, Bliss admitted to paying Dennehy, despite having claimed for years that the player had been earning his money by dealing drugs. Bliss resigned from his coaching gig at an NAIA school in Oklahoma almost immediately after the documentary premiered.
Governor Greg Abbott weighed in Wednesday on a 9/11 memorial controversy that has Southern Methodist University in an uproar. SMU recently adopted a new policy prohibiting all displays on the Dallas Hall lawn, where an annual display of American flags honoring the victims of 9/11 had stood since 2010. All displays on the lawn are to be moved to a nearby park, centrally located on campus. Part of the new policy said the university “respects the right of all members of the community to avoid messages that are triggering, harmful, or harassing.” Although SMU said the 9/11 display was moved because of its location and not because it was “triggering,” the buzzword among conservatives landed SMU in hot water in the national media, and the university eventually changed the language of the policy to remove the part about “triggering” messages, according to the Dallas Morning News. In a letter sent to SMU President R. Gerald Turner on Wednesday, Abbott urged the university to keep the memorial on the lawn. “This display is not political,” Abbott wrote, according to the Morning News. “It is not partisan. It is not controversial. This is about our nation united.”
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
Trump’s tough immigration policies are causing labor shortages in Texas’s home construction industry Fox News
Some art critics are hating on Houston’s cool street art Houston Chronicle
Former Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu was investigated for sending threatening messages to the Dallas Morning News Waco Tribune-Herald
U.S. Representative Will Hurd has a Democratic challenger Texas Tribune
An academic philosophy conference is leaving Texas over the bathroom bill and sanctuary city ban Inside Higher Ed