QUOTE OF THE DAY


“I have binde good this day. This Christmas I would like a ball and a food. I need a blancet.”

—Seven-year-old Crystal Pacheco, a first-grader at Monte Cristo Elementary School in Edinburg, in a letter to Santa. Pacheco’s letter went viral and prompted donations of blankets from strangers, according to the Washington Post


BIG NEWS


University of Texas System chancellor Bill McRaven speaks with Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith during an interview in Austin, Texas on February 5, 2015.

AP Photo

Stepping Down
University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven announced that he will retire in May, the Texas Tribune reported on Friday. McRaven has faced pressure to step down from lawmakers and members of the board of regents for most of 2017, but he said that didn’t have anything to do with his decision. “There is going to be a lot of speculation as to why I am stepping down, but the fact is that this is a very personal decision for me,” McRaven said over the phone during a meeting with the UT System’s Board of Regents regents, according to the Tribune. “As many of you know, over the past several months, I have been dealing with some health issues. They are not serious—let me say that again, they are not serious—but they have caused me to rethink my future.” The 62-year-old oversaw fourteen universities and health campuses across the state. Before that he was a decorated admiral in the Navy, where he last served as the commander of the United States Special Operations Command and oversaw the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. McRaven’s time as chancellor was not particularly smooth. His failed bid to build a campus in Houston was probably his biggest and most publicly known misstep, but he also clashed with University of Texas at Austin leaders over smaller projects.


MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS


Star Wars
Senator Ted Cruz (or whoever runs his Twitter account) feuded with Star Wars actor Mark Hamill on Sunday. Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, tweeted that Federal Communications Committee Commissioner Ajit Pai—who allowed the repeal of net neutrality last week—was “unworthy 2 wield a lightsaber.” “Luke, I know Hollywood can be confusing, but it was Vader who supported govt power over everything said & done on the Internet,” Cruz wrote on Twitter. “That’s why giant corps (Google, Facebook, Netflix) supported the FCC power grab of net neutrality. Reject the dark side: Free the net!” But Cruz’s snarky tweet failed to land the way he’d hoped, after he misspelled Hamill’s name in an attempt to direct the tweet. “Thanks for smarm-splaining it to me @tedcruz I know politics can be confusing, but you’d have more credibility if you spelled my name correctly. I mean IT’S RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU! Maybe you’re just distracted from watching porn at the office again,” Hamill tweeted, referencing when Cruz’s Twitter account “liked” a porn video.

Get Out
The Texas GOP sued the secretary of state on Friday in an attempt to keep disgraced U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold from running for office in 2018, according to the Houston Chronicle. After facing a series of sexual harassment allegations, the Corpus Christi Republican said he’d retire when his current term expires—but he announced his decision two days after the deadline to withdraw from the general election primary. “By disallowing Mr. Farenthold’s withdrawal from the primary election, the state is forcing the Republican Party of Texas to be associated with Mr. Farenthold via his appearance on the primary ballot. Neither Rep. Farenthold nor the Republican Party of Texas desires this outcome,” Chris Gober, an attorney for the Texas GOP, wrote in a federal lawsuit asking Texas to be barred from enforcing its withdrawal deadline against the congressman, calling the deadline rule “unconstitutionally overbroad.”

DII Champs
Texas A&M at Commerce won the Division II football championship on Saturday, according to the Associated Press. The Lions beat West Florida 37-27, winning the program’s first-ever Division II championship and second national title. Star quarterback Luis Perez, also known as the most interesting man in the world, led the Lions to victory by throwing for 323 yards and two touchdowns, just one day after he was named the winner of the Harlon Hill Trophy, the DII equivalent of the Heisman. “No words can describe it,” Perez said after the game. “Winning the title, getting the Harlon Hill and graduating in the same week, you can’t script it any better . . . We were a team of destiny. We just believed it.”


WHAT WE’RE READING


Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.

Many Texas women go to jail in need of drug treatment, and some die before getting the help they need Dallas Morning News

“Cluck Norris,” a stray rooster, terrorized a Fort Worth neighborhood last week WFAA

An Austin man was jailed for eight months after being convicted of using pot while owning a gun Austin American-Statesman

A Texas House candidate is in trouble for creating a Facebook page to mock a North Texas sheriff Texas Tribune

A lot of Texas’s Harvey aid money is being spent untracked Associated Press