MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS…

Opinionated Perry

Rick Perry offered his two cents on President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops in the military on Friday. “I totally support the president in his decision,” Energy Secretary Perry told reporters after speaking to workers at an air conditioning manufacturer in Waller, Texas. “The idea that the American people need to be paying for these types of operations to change your sex is not very wise from a standpoint of economics.” Perry was an Air Force cargo pilot for five years. “I think the president makes some good decisions about making sure that we have a force that is capable,” Perry said, pointing out the potential medical costs of sex reassignment surgeries as reason for the ban. As the Washington Post notes, that cost is actually minuscule: between $2.4 and $8.4 million a year, according to a study commissioned by the Department of Defense last year, representing a tiny “0.04 to 0.13-percent increase” in military healthcare expenditures. For comparison, the military has spent more than $294 million on Viagra or similar medication since 2011, according to the Military Times. When asked Friday what he thought about the high cost of those pills, Perry said, “You know what, I don’t check on the price of Viagra.”

Hot, Hot, Hot

President Donald Trump’s border wall may be coming sooner than expected in Texas. Well, at least a three-mile section of it. According to the Texas Tribune and ProPublica, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will get started on the construction of the first segment of Trump’s wall in November, building it through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge near McAllen, using newly available money that was shifted around in the agency’s budget. Although border wall preparations have been ongoing in Santa Ana for months, it was thought the construction wouldn’t start until wall funding was approved by Congress (the House recently sent a spending bill to the Senate). But last week, Border Protection officials passed word along to refuge workers that they had enough money to get started sooner. “I was alarmed,” Jim Chapman of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor told the Tribune and ProPublica. “It was not good news.” A wall through Santa Ana could cause serious environmental damage. The 2,088-acre refuge is home to more than 400 species of birds, endangered ocelots and jaguarundi, and some of the last surviving stands of sabal palm trees in South Texas.

Hot, Hot, Hot

It’s really hot, y’all, which, as you well know, is nothing new for summer in the Lone Star State. But this time, instead of simply complaining about the heat, you can now complain about the record-breaking heat. Austin hit 105 on Sunday, breaking the previous record of 104, which had stood for 60 years, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Heat indices across Central Texas were between 103 and 109, and the sweltering Sunday marked the thirteenth straight day of triple-digit temps in Austin. San Antonians, meanwhile, were just as sweaty as their neighbors in Austin over the weekend. The Alamo City broke heat records on Saturday and Sunday, according to the San Antonio Express-News, recording temperatures of 105 and 104, respectively. Saturday’s hot day broke a 67-year record, while Sunday scorched a record set in 1946.