Your afternoon reading:
"I, along with many Members of the House, have strong concerns that the initial map released by the court last week goes much further than is necessary to correct any perceived legal defects in the recently-adopted redistricting plan." — Speaker criticizes court redistrict map, Austin American-Statesman
"After one last bout of fitful but futile talks, Congressional negotiators conceded the obvious: that the joint Congressional committee charged with drafting a deficit reduction package would miss its deadline this week. But they did not quite give up the ghost of a chance that a solution might be found later." — Panel Fails to Reach Deal on Plan for Deficit Reduction, The New York Times
"With the Iowa caucuses just over six weeks away, an unexpected question about the early presidential states is beginning to make the rounds: Does retail politicking even matter much anymore?" — Absentee candidates lead GOP field, Politico
"The Texas drought — already the Lone Star State’s worst one-year drought on record — is now expected to last through at least next summer, and perhaps far longer than that, according to the latest climate projections released by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and recent testimony by the Texas state climatologist." — Latest Texas drought outlook: grim with a few drops of hope, Washington Post
New in The Texas Tribune:
"For Dewhurst, appearing with Cruz offers a dubious opportunity to elevate the stature of someone who is trailing in the polls and to go toe to toe with a trained and dangerous legal advocate. For Cruz, who has argued several cases before the United States Supreme Court, a political debate is an easy layup." — Dewhurst Keeps the Spotlight to Himself
Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.