Ripping Trump, Cruz Ups the Ante in Debate Challenge

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks Wednesday in Iowa about his debate challenge to Republican presidential rival Donald Trump. During a rally in West Des Moines, Cruz said Trump is trying to avoid scrutiny of a record that does not match his rhetoric.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz speaks Wednesday in Iowa about his debate challenge to Republican presidential rival Donald Trump. During a rally in West Des Moines, Cruz said Trump is trying to avoid scrutiny of a record that does not match his rhetoric.

Ted Cruz is upping the ante in his challenge to Donald Trump for a one-on-one debate, naming a time and place for the showdown at a rally in Iowa on Wednesday evening.

Cruz Sees a Heightened Urgency to Iowa Win

Ted Cruz speaks with Iowans on Saturday in New Hartford, a small town near Waterloo. The stop was part of the first day of the Republican presidential candidate's last swing through the state before the Feb. 1 caucuses.
Ted Cruz speaks with Iowans on Saturday in New Hartford, a small town near Waterloo. The stop was part of the first day of the Republican presidential candidate's last swing through the state before the Feb. 1 caucuses.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and some of his allies are increasingly signaling that they see more urgency than usual in prevailing in the Hawkeye State, where a win by Republican rival Donald Trump could snowball.

State Rep. Ruth McClendon Submits Letter of Resignation

Sen. Rodney Ellis and State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, celebrate Gov. Abbott's signing of HB48 that establishes the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission. In background is Cole's brother, Cory Session.
Sen. Rodney Ellis and State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio, celebrate Gov. Abbott's signing of HB48 that establishes the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission. In background is Cole's brother, Cory Session.

State Rep. Ruth McClendon, D-San Antonio, has submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Greg Abbotteffective Jan 31, the governor's office confirmed Tuesday.

Nobel Laureate Becomes Reluctant Anti-Gun Leader

Nobel Prize-Winning physicist Steven Weinberg told the Faculty Council at the University of Texas at Austin that he will attempt to ban guns from his classroom this fall, regardless of UT's policy.
Nobel Prize-Winning physicist Steven Weinberg told the Faculty Council at the University of Texas at Austin that he will attempt to ban guns from his classroom this fall, regardless of UT's policy.

UT-Austin Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg has emerged as a leader, albeit a reluctant one, for faculty who oppose allowing guns in their classrooms after saying he will try to prevent students who want to carry handguns from taking his courses. 

Rick Perry: Iowa Trip Aims to "Add to the Edge" Ted Cruz Has in State

Former Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to reporters on Jan. 26, 2016, in Albia, Iowa. Perry, a former 2016 candidate for president, endorsed Cruz's presidential bid on Jan. 25, 2016.
Former Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz spoke to reporters on Jan. 26, 2016, in Albia, Iowa. Perry, a former 2016 candidate for president, endorsed Cruz's presidential bid on Jan. 25, 2016.

Long accustomed to traversing Iowa with a cast of local Republicans, presidential candidate Ted Cruz received some new company Tuesday in the form of a fellow Texan: former Gov. Rick Perry.

Police Group Upset Over DPS Director's "Spit" Comment

Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Jan. 19, 2016.
Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, is interviewed by Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith on Jan. 19, 2016.

When asked about escalations with law enforcement, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said last week that officers need to respond professionally and added, "Anybody that’s been spit at ... you just take it."

Facing Felony Charges, Anti-Abortion Group Cites Free Speech Protections

The waiting room at Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast's ambulatory surgical center in Houston Friday, August 2, 2013.
The waiting room at Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast's ambulatory surgical center in Houston Friday, August 2, 2013.

As more details about the charges against anti-abortion activists who secretly-recorded Planned Parenthood staff come to light, the videographers are vowing to fight back — setting up a possible legal battle over First Amendment protections.

Lujan Edges Uresti in HD 118 Runoff

John Lujan, left, and Tomas Uresti, right, face off Tuesday in a special election runoff in state House District 118. The winner will replace former state Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, who resigned in August.
John Lujan, left, and Tomas Uresti, right, face off Tuesday in a special election runoff in state House District 118. The winner will replace former state Rep. Joe Farias, D-San Antonio, who resigned in August.

Lujan becomes the 99th Republican in the Texas House, one short of a supermajority, but will need to win again in the March primary and November general election to serve in the 2017 legislature.

 

Border Catholics Wonder What Message Pope Francis Will Bring

A cardboard cutout of His Holiness Pope Francis  greets residents of Ciudad Juárez on January 16, 2016. Pope Francis will visit the border city in February as part of a six-day tour of Mexico.
A cardboard cutout of His Holiness Pope Francis greets residents of Ciudad Juárez on January 16, 2016. Pope Francis will visit the border city in February as part of a six-day tour of Mexico.

With Pope Francis scheduled to visit Ciudad Juárez next month, the area's Catholics are speculating whether the famously outspoken pontiff will bring up hot-button social issues such as immigration, poverty and corruption.

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