Republican firebrand Ted Cruz, who spoke to the Tribune this week, ended his year in the U.S. Senate just as he began it. We kick off our latest news-based playlist accordingly, with "No Apologies" by Bon Jovi.

The easiest way to enjoy the playlist is to download Spotify, which is a free program. But even without it, you can still follow along. Here are this week's other selections:

If the Texas A&M University System wasn't going to make its former top lobbyist, Guy Diedrich, the interim president of Texas A&M University, Gov. Rick Perry said regents should appoint Diedrich to be an adviser to the board, with a status "on par with [the] chancellor." This inspired the selection of "My Guy" by Mary Wells.

Speaking of university boards, embattled University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall declined an invitation to appear before a legislative committee that is investigating him, but apparently is unwilling to subpoena him. In light of the standoff, we added Mark Sandman's "Let's Not Talk."

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University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa did appear before the legislative committee. Powers said that the ongoing controversy at UT has done "significant harm" to the university, and Cigarroa said it has caused a drop in morale at the system. So, we added Jakob Dylan's "Everybody's Hurting."

That is followed by "Navigator" by The Pogues, because federal health care navigators are still sorting out how to do their jobs. Texas will shut down campuses at six charter schools, so we also added "School Days Over" by The Chieftans and The Low Anthem. And because supporters of comprehensive immigration reform indicated an openness to a piecemeal approach, Johnny Winter's "One Step at a Time" also made its way onto the playlist.

The Trib's Ross Ramsey wrote columns about politicians running today for a second chance in a later election and how many of the candidates who are well known in political circles are strangers to voters. Gregory Alan Isakov's "Second Chances" and Alicia Keys' "You Don't Know My Name" were subsequently added.

And finally, because Perry announced a new round of political pardons, we close with "Pardon Me Sir" by Joe Cocker.


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