CHARITY: Lance Armstrong showed up. That’s how strongly people feel about the Nobelity Project and its Feed the Peace Awards. Bearded and baseball-hatted Armstrong, who has kept a low profile in Austin for the past year or so, warmly congratulated Nobelity founders Christi and Turk Pipkin off-dais. Among the other celebrities who lent their support to the project that fills essential needs from Bastrop to Katmandu were actor Kyle Chandler, musician Ben Harper and comedian Ron White, who toasted his friends, Peace honorees John Paul and Eloise DeJoria. Other Pipkin buds who delighted in the excellent dinner chat and donated tens of thousands of dollars during the city’s most efficient live auction were arts advocate Suzanne Booth, mayoral hopeful Steve Adler, pereinnial candidate Kinky Friedman, top socials such as Jack and Carla McDonald, Rusty and Mary Tally, Rick and Karen Hawkins and Eric and Maria Groten, as well musicians such as Gary P. Nunn, Carolyn Wonderland, Joe Ely, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Kathy Valentine, Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Lavelle White, Amy Cook and Amy Nelson. (Super to greet actor Brad Leland and writer Larry Wright, too, and to meet former VJ and current biz sharpie Adam Curry.)

SCHOOL: University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa made it official Monday: He’s stepping down after five years. From Ralph K.M. Haurwitz’s story in the Statesman: "Speaking at a news conference at the system’s offices in Downtown Austin, Cigarroa said he plans to return full-time to his longtime passion, performing transplant surgeries. The 56-year-old surgeon will become head of the pediatric transplant team at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. He said he was offered the position at the end of December. He has agreed to stay on until a successor is in place to serve as chief executive of the 15-campus UT System. "The timing made a lot of sense because over the holidays I had an opportunity to reflect on the many successes we have accomplished in the past five years. I’ve realized I’ve completed all the goals I set out as president," Cigarroa said Monday. "I am embarking on a new and exciting adventure." http://shar.es/QkzkG(Sorry to see the Chancellor go. Good man.) http://shar.es/qko9e

LAW: Marriage equality battle could linger for next Texas AG. From Paul Weber’s AP story: "When two same-sex Texas couples challenge the state’s gay marriage ban in a San Antonio federal court this week, they’ll carry the momentum of recent legal victories in conservative Utah and Oklahoma. Whatever the outcome, the three Republicans running to become the next Texas attorney general will take notice. Gay rights groups winning same-sex marriage cases nationwide almost guarantee that the issue will confront whoever replaces Attorney General Greg Abbott. His would-be GOP successors on Sunday blasted attempts to strike down the Texas law and vowed to defend a state ban going forward. Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman said he "indeed" thinks the issue will loom large for the attorney general’s office, adding that he believed the U.S. Supreme Court overreached last year by ruling that married same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits." http://shar.es/QkisR(It’s only a matter of time.)

TEXAS: We’ve learned to conserve water, only to pay higher rates. From Neena Satija’s story in the Texas Tribune: "The drought-stricken city of Wichita Falls could soon give its residents more bad news. Even though the 100,000 residents of this northwest Texas city have substantially cut their water use, their dry lawns may no longer continue to save them money on their water bills. Instead, they will be asked to pay more; the city lost $4.5 million in water sales last year because of the conservation efforts. "It’s tough to tell the consumer that ‘Yeah, well, you guys did a great job out there conserving water, but lo and behold, we got hurt financially, so we’ve got to raise your rates,’" the assistant city manager, Jim Dockery, said." http://trib.it/1dAOHSm(Can’t win, can we?)

USA: Gay NFL prospect Michael Sam faces social frontier. From Ta-Nehisi Coates’ story in the Atlantic Monthly: "The question which we so often have been offered—is the NFL ready for a gay player?—is backwards. Powerful interests are rarely "ready" for change, so much as they are assaulted by it. We refer to barriers being "broken" for a reason. The reason is not because great powers generally like to unbar the gates and hold a picnic in the honor of the previously excluded. The NFL has no moral right to be "ready" for a gay player, which is to say it has no right to discriminate against gay men at its leisure which anyone is bound to respect. And discrimination is already in the air." http://bit.ly/1iR17KC(Warning: This post contains some strong arguments and language.)