Wade Goodwyn

On Dec. 3, Texas is scheduled to execute Scott Panetti for murdering his in-laws in 1992. There is no doubt he committed the crime, and there is also no doubt that Panetti is mentally ill. But he was deemed fit to stand trial, and he was allowed to defend himself, dressing in a cowboy costume in court, insisting he was a character from a John Wayne movie.

Over the course of the last two decades — and many appeals — his case has gained national attention, and it has shone a spotlight on capital punishment and mental illness.

A Diagnosis

Texas politics is about to take another big step to the right. While nobody outside Texas would describe Gov. Rick Perry or Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst as moderate Republicans, their likely replacements are considerably more conservative — especially in the powerful lieutenant governor's office.

The eyes watching Texas have mostly focused on the governor's race between Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott. But the contest between former conservative radio talk show host Dan Patrick and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte from San Antonio will very likely be of more political consequence.

Dallas nurse Nina Pham was discharged from a National Institutes of Health hospital in Maryland Friday, where doctors confirmed she was free of the Ebola virus.

Pham's colleague Amber Vinson is also said to be free of Ebola, though she remains in a hospital in Atlanta.

While their progress is being cheered, many nurses around the country still feel their profession unfairly received blame for the errors in treating Ebola in Dallas.

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We have some news and an advisory. The news is this, the Texas Department of Health says a second health care worker tested positive for Ebola. The advisory is what we don't know. Dr. Daniel Varga is with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

The Ebola virus, which killed a patient at a Dallas hospital Wednesday, has become part of the conversation among politicians and pundits — in particular, conservative politicians and pundits. The virus has added heat to conversations about immigration and border control, as well as ongoing criticisms of the Obama administration and the government in general.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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And I'm Melissa Block.

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At the White House today, President Obama said his administration is taking aggressive action, in West Africa and in the U.S., to stop Ebola. And he said the federal government is working on additional steps to enhance passenger screening.

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In a Brownsville family clinic, a powerfully built, bald doctor treats a never-ending line of sick and injured patients. He has been practicing for nearly four decades, but family medicine is not his calling.

"For 35 years I had a clinic where I saw women and took care of their reproductive needs, but mostly terminating pregnancies," Dr. Lester Minto says.

The day he was booked, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a big smile for his mug shot — which was then printed up on t-shirts to demonstrate just what a farce he thought the indictment was. In a press conference, the scorn dripped from Perry's voice as he took up the sword — defender, not of himself, but of the state's constitution.

"We don't settle political differences with indictments in this country," he said. "It is outrageous that some would use partisan political theatrics to rip away at the very fabric of our state's constitution."

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We're taking up the classic theme of the lone cowboy or rancher out West. American men have been embracing that ideal for generations. NPR's Wade Goodwyn introduces us to one Texas rancher who still lives a life of unencumbered freedom on the open range.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry got some good news last week. In a FOX News poll, Perry moved from an also-ran in the contest for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination to a tie for first place with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

This is undoubtedly a reaction to Perry's decision 10 days ago to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the border in response to the deluge of Central American children that have been showing up there.

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You may count flights into Israel as a casualty of the war in Ukraine. The downing of a jetliner over Ukraine has focused extra attention on air safety.

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There are about 100,000 people born in Kenya who are now living in America. Over the last 50 years, there's been a growing number of Kenyans immigrating to America. In fact, the number is doubling.

They live in clusters in Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Dallas and in parts of the West Coast. They stay connected through a mix of old and new technology.

"We have truckers, we have taxi drivers, we have delivery van drivers and we spend our time learning by listening to what is currently happening," Davis Maina says.

Like any ugly, long-running confrontation between a husband and wife or next-door neighbors — or between anybody, really — it's hard to know exactly when the dispute between University of Texas President Bill Powers and Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry truly began.

But in the end, when the dust settled, one thing was clear: When powerful university presidents and powerful governors tangle, the politician usually ends up on top.

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Texas Republican Greg Abbott, who's been cruising toward easy victory in the governor's race against Democrat Wendy Davis, is making some campaign news this week — and not the good kind.

His actions and comments have brought his relationship to the state's chemical industry under scrutiny.

Texas Democrats are holding their convention this weekend in Dallas. Supporters are hoping it will give Wendy Davis a chance to reboot her campaign for governor and come out with some much-needed momentum.

A question posed in the San Antonio Express-News is typical of the kind of media she's been getting: "What's Wrong With Wendy?" With the Democratic candidate for governor running far behind her Republican challenger, Greg Abbott, it's not necessarily an unfair question.

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At the Republican State Convention in Fort Worth on Thursday, Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry and his wife gave strong signals that while the state's longest-serving Texas governor is finally stepping down, he might well be back for an encore — as a presidential contender.

While introducing her husband at what was billed as a farewell address after 14 years of running the state, Anita Perry hinted at their political future by saying there's still "tread left in our tires."

Last week, not long after a lone gunman's rampage in California, Texas witnessed an unnerving series of demonstrations.

Groups of young men, armed with tactical long rifles slung across their backs, began showing up at restaurants like Chili's and Chipotle, Sonic and Jack in the Box, to mention a few, as part of their response to another anguished gun control conversation.

The headline in the Dallas Morning News summed it up nicely: "Tea For Texas."

While the political news around the country has generally been how the Republican establishment has triumphantly held off Tea Party challengers, in Texas Tuesday it was the opposite.

David Dewhurst is a prime example of what happened. For more than a decade, all Lt. Gov. Dewhurst has done is faithfully serve the legislative agenda of one of the most conservative Republican governors in the country, Rick Perry.

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