Texas Standard For January 11, 2021

From pandemic to political upheaval, a budget shortfall and beyond, what promises to be a Texas legislative session like few in recent memory. We’ll have more on tomorrow’s start of the Lone Star legislative session. And: After the storming of the U.S. Capitol, the role of Texas’ junior senator under growing scrutiny amid calls for his resignation. Also: A new strain of the COVID virus found in Texas, what it means for doctors and for Texans at large. Plus: Did air pollution make Hurricane Harvey worse than it would have been otherwise? New findings from Texas based researchers. All of those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardJanuary 11, 2021 9:32 am

Here’s what’s coming up on Texas Standard for Monday, January 11, 2021. Listen on your Texas public radio station, or ask your smart speaker to play Texas Standard. We’ll have full posts for each story, including audio, a little later today.

Legislature Preview

Against unprecedented political unrest in D.C. and an out-of-control health crisis, the Texas Legislature is set to begin a new session this week. Helping us sort through this unusual set of challenges is Brandon Rottinghaus, political science professor at the University of Houston.

New COVID Strain in Harris County

Last week, health officials in Harris County reported Texas’ first instance of a new strain of the COVID-19 virus initially discovered in the United Kingdom. It’s not the first mutation of the virus, but it is one of the most infectious. For more on what we know about the new variant, we bring in Pei-Yong Shi, a virus expert and professor of molecular biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Ted Cruz’ Role at the Capitol

“Resign, Senator Cruz. Your lies cost lives,” read the headline from the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board this weekend. The piece argued that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz played a key role in amplifying the false voter fraud claims that resulted in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. As calls mount from his resignation, Cruz continues to deny any responsibility and aims the blame solely at President Trump. From KERA in Dallas, Bret Jaspers has more.

Energy in 2021

2020 may be in the rearview mirror, but the economy is still reeling. That’s especially true for the energy industry, which took a beating last year as the pandemic tanked demand. But looking forward, what can we expect in 2021 as the energy sector regains its footing? Matt Smith, director of commodity research for ClipperData, shares his thoughts with us.

Aerosols’ Effect on Hurricane Harvey

A number of meteorological conditions helped Hurricane Harvey become one of the costliest disasters in U.S. history: late summer heat, higher sea levels in the Gulf, and an untimely high pressure system. But new research shows that there was another factor in the storm’s intensity: air pollution. Joining us with more is Renyi Zhang, a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M and co-author of a new study delving into the issue.

“The Book Of Dares”

What does it mean to be a man in a time where there are calls for dismantling patriarchy? How do you raise a boy in a world filled with examples of violence and intimidation against women? A new book hopes to be a tool. It’s called “The Book of Dares” and it’s aimed at building emotional awareness and growing kids to a healthy manhood. It’s written by two of the people behind the organization A Call to Men. Ted Bunch lives in New York and Anna Marie lives here in Texas, and they joins us both on today’s Standard.

State versus Local Battles at the Lege

When the Texas Legislature gavels in tomorrow, the pandemic is expected to make matters more subdued than past sessions – except in at least one regard: the bitter fight over “local control” that’s accelerated under Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Jasper Scherer has been covering it for the Houston Chronicle, and joins us on the show.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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