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Archive for March, 2012

The HISD Board of Trustees and ethics made it to the Chron today as an auditor is making recommendations.  Check out this Chron piece today:

Auditors hired to investigate Houston ISD’s contract process said Thursday that trustees should stop intervening on behalf of businesses, abstain from votes on contracts involving big campaign donors and disclose all gifts they take from vendors.

The auditors also noted that documents went missing from one file that involved a suspect deal, and they reported that in some cases it was unclear why vendors were selected.

Trustees should abstain from votes involving vendors who contribute more than $250 a year to their political campaigns, the audit report said. In addition, trustees who hold leadership positions with vendors, including nonprofits, should disclose the relationships and abstain from votes involving those entities.

Here is the entire piece.

If the Board chooses not to go with the recommendations, then how about posting on HISD’s website every time they intervene on behalf of a vendor that gave to their campaign and then how about posting on HISD’s website every time they intervene on behalf of a vendor that they have a financial relationship? 

Commentary mentioned Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners having 200 plus base hits in 10 of his 11 seasons in MLB.  How many times has he won the AL batting title?

KHOU-TV did a nice story on how the Astrodome is doing these days – not so good. 

It costs $2 to $3 million a year to keep it on life support.

It will cost $120 million to tear it down.

It will cost $350 million to renovate it into something worthwhile.

Hunker Down says the voters will have to decide the Astrodome’s future.

Check out the KHOU TV story here.

“It is a decision we have to make. I, for one, think it’s insulting to the facility and the community to leave it there rusting like some old ship that’s washed up on a beach somewhere,” said Hunker Down.

Folks know by now Commentary’s position on the Astrodome.

Check out today’s Politico piece on the GOP kind of not putting a priority on bashing same-sex marriage these days.

Let’s see, if Stop the Magnet, err Madness, gets enough signatures on their petitions, they’ll get on the ballot.  Some at HISD want to be on the ballot for a bond vote.  Ditto HCC.  The City also might want ballot space for a bond campaign.  GLBT said earlier this year they might want on. Then we have the general election candidates.  Hunker Down might as well get the Astrodome on the ballot.  Am I leaving anybody off?  Kuffer is going to be real busy.

Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners has won the AL batting title twice of course when he batted .350 in 2001 and .372 in 2004.

Twelve years ago tonight The Yard officially opened when the Yankees came to town for the Inaugural Game.

My pal Jay Lucas is no longer Senior VP of Communications for the ‘Stros.  That’s too bad!

 

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Stop the Magnet is another group of H-Town folks that refuse to celebrate our diversity.  They want to have a couple of measures on the ballot this November that harass Latino looking folks.  Check out from their website:

We Need 20,000 City of Houston Registered Voters. Are you one?

Two proposed ballot measures need signatures that will challenge the status quo on illegal immigration in Houston:

A) Public Safety policy designed to allow Houston Police Officers more discretion in identifying and reporting those who fail a valid ID check on a probable cause encounter.

B) Contractors and subcontractors benefitting from taxpayer funds on a City of Houston contract would be required to use E-Verify to authorize the legal working status of their employees.

Folks like Commentary and H-Town CM James Rodriguez have been worried about local Latino voter turnout this November.  We know the far right wingers and Tea Baggers are coming out to vote in droves.  Putting this madness on the ballot just might light a fire, err fuego, in the local Latino community and then Latino voters will come out in record numbers and help Dem candidates win county wide.  This may just backfire on the GOP as they (the Jeb and George P. Bushies) try to dust off their welcome mat for Latino voters. This effort has all the ingredients necessary to create a magnet at the polls that will attract Latinos.

Local Univision will certainly be all over this and we may finally have a vehicle to get out the Latino voters.  Where can I sign a petition?

Go here to check out Stop the Magnet.

Stay tuned for Stop the Madness!

Commentary mentioned yesterday that Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners has played 11 full seasons in the MLB.  How many times has he had 200 plus base hits in a season?  Bonus:  How many times has he led the AL in base hits in a season?

It is good to see the MLS do this.  The Dynamo is fixing to open their new crib in a few weeks and they need to be responsible community citizens.

Major League Soccer suspended Dynamo midfielder Colin Clark three games and fined him an undisclosed amount Wednesday for uttering a gay slur at a ball boy Friday night early in the Dynamo’s loss at the Seattle Sounders.

Here is the entire piece.

Let’s see, Poltico broke the story yesterday that Mitt Romney was fixing to build a car elevator for his West Coast pad and the Dem talking heads said there goes Mr. Out-of-Touch again, and the GOP talking heads responded that building the elevator was a job creator and it shouldn’t be turned into a political issue.  Then the Romney campaign announced that the elevator job was put on hold so it is no longer a political issue – got it!

Last season, Ichiro only had the 184 base hits, the first time he has had less than 200 in a season, so that makes 10 seasons that he’s had 200 plus base hits of course.   Ichiro has also led the AL in base hits in seven different seasons of course.

An experiment in tailgating will occur at The Yard the first weekend in June, according to the ‘Stros.  

 

 

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First of all Happy Birthday today to my good friend HISD Trustee Anna Eastman!

A couple of years ago or so I think it was GOP State Rep. Leo Berman  that said something like if we create a path to citizenship for those that were undocumented then those same folks would just turn out to be Democratic Party voters.  Check out today’s NY Times editorial titled “A Dream Act without the Dream.”  Here is how it starts:

Republican politicians have overwhelmingly embraced an approach to immigration reform that offers only misery, arrest and punishment to the undocumented. That is popular with party’s hard-right base, but toxic with Hispanic voters — which has led some Republicans to come up with proposals that seem to shimmer with promise but lead to the same no-future dead end.

Here is the entire editorial.

The DREAMERS are pretty politically sophisticated folks.  Heck, why do you think this issue rings loudly in the Latino community and elsewhere.   Heck, why do you think this issue is in today’s editorial page of arguably the world’s most prestigious newspaper.  Heck, why do you think the GOP has to counter the pushback from Latino voters by floating a bogus proposal that says DREAMERS can stay but they’ll never have a shot at CITIZENSHIP.  Heck, why do you think Jeb Bush said in Arlington, Texas the other day that the GOP is missing out on the Latino vote.

This GOP proposal is going nowhere and you know why?  It’s because The DREAMERS are doing a great job!

Speaking of dreamers, Newt Gingrich was forced to lay-off a third of his campaign staff yesterday and fired his campaign manager but Newt is still in the race. 

Coming into the 2012 MLB season, Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners had 2,428 career base hits in 11 seasons – wow!  Where does that put him on the career base hits list among active players?

H-Town CM Jerry Davis wore a hoodie to the City Council meeting yesterday to show support for Trayvon Martin. 
Check out the Chron story here.

Talk about manufacturing hate!  Check out this from an AP story yesterday:

The leading national organization opposing same-sex marriage has sought to split the Democratic Party base by pitting African-Americans and Hispanics against gay-rights groups, according to confidential strategy memos made public by court officials in Maine.

“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks — two key Democratic constituencies,” says one of the memos. It also suggests “interrupting” the process of cultural assimilation for Hispanics in hopes of curtailing support for same-sex marriage.

The documents, dating from 2009, were written by the National Organization for Marriage and had been kept from the public until Monday, when they were unsealed by court officials in Maine.

Here is the entire AP story.

Commentary is never going to buy into the BS that my community doesn’t support equality.  Why do you think the Pope didn’t drop into DF last week?

Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners with 2,428 career base hits ranks 9th of course on the list of active players and 106th all time.  In case you haven’t heard, the MLB season opened last night in Tokyo with the Mariners beating the A’s 3-1 with Ichiro going 4 for 5 so that puts him at 2,432 career base hits.

The Yard reports that Wandy will be the Opening Day starting pitcher. 

 

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Commentary wants to revisit a recommendation made a couple or so years ago.  I’m talking about the dreaded candidate questionnaire.  If organizations, groups, or clubs are going to screen candidates and ask that they fill out questionnaires, I think the filled out questionnaires ought to be posted online.  You have to keep the candidates honest to make sure they are not talking out of both sides of their pieholes.   I think Planned Parenthood post their questionnaires online as does the League of Women Voters even though they don’t endorse.  What’s the hold-up?

I have to fess up.  Some of my bad habits include “Smash”, “Two Broke Girls”, “Whitney”, “Are You There Chelsea”, “Two and a Half Men”, “The Good Wife”, “Unforgettable”, and “Big Bang Theory” – whew.  Thanks to the DVR of course.  Last night I was watching “Smash” when a new character dropped in and she had this look that I had seen before.   It turns out it was Grace Gummer, the daughter of Meryl Streep .   They kind of have the same nose.

Yesterday I mentioned that Chris Johnson was the starting third baseman for the ‘Stros on Opening Day last year.  Name the rest of last season’s Opening Day starting infield?

The Chron’s Nick Anderson has a great cartoon today on the Voter I.D. law.  It is not online yet but you can check it out in the hard copy.  I don’t think the Lone Star State’s GOP vote suppressors are happy with the cartoon.

You kind of know where the race is headed when yesterday on CNN Senator Santorum was in DC discussing the health care law and the Supreme Court and Mitt Romney was on the West Coast talking about seeing the movie “Hunger Games” this past weekend.   There will be no GOP Prez Primary results to watch this evening and yes, Newt Gingrich is still in the race.

Speaking of the Chron, I’m not going to say anything about their hiring or firing policies.  I’m not even going to get on a moral high horse.  I’m not even going to say if this mention is even newsworthy but don’t tell that to msn.com or the Houston Press.  I’m talking about the Chron’s society columnist and her moonlighting gig – yikes!

Brett Wallace at first base, Bill Hall at second base, and Angel Sanchez at shortstop, of course, rounded out the infield starters for the ‘Stros on Opening Day, 2011.

That’s about it from The Yard this morning.

 

 

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The Trayvon Martin killing has put a lot of focus on the “hoodie”.  Last week, Fox TV personality Geraldo Rivera suggested that young Latinos and African Americans were putting themselves at risk by wearing hoodies.  Today is National Hoodie Day of sorts in that supporters of Trayvon Martin are asked to wear their hoodies while driving.  They also want you to turn on your car headlights. I don’t know about wearing a hoodie around here today with the temperature in the 80s.  

The first time I ever heard of the term hoodie was a few years back when Jim Rome was referring to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick because he sometimes wears a hoodie on the sidelines.  At last count I have three hoodies: a black one that I wear a few times a year, one with Wiley Coyote on it that I rarely wear these days, and an orange ‘Stros one that gets worn the most.   

A few years ago, my bank before it was bought out by a bigger bank, initiated a policy that you couldn’t go into the bank lobby if you were wearing a hoodie or sunglasses.  The bigger bank that bought out my bank doesn’t have that policy. It got me to thinking though that these days if I’m out and it is cold outside and I’m wearing my hoodie, if I go into a retail establishment or my bank, I instinctively slip off the hood.  You never know.

Speaking of, a lot of folks across the U.S. of A. are quoting John Lennon these days – “I don’t believe in Zimmerman!”

The PGA is a whole lot more interesting when Tiger is on his game.  

The Chron beat writer for the ‘Stros projected the Opening Day lineup this past Saturday.  Name the two that are projected as 2012 Opening Day starters that were in the Opening Day lineup last year?

The SA Express News yesterday had a story pointing out that there aren’t that many cases of voter impersonation fraud in the Lone Star State.  The story made the front page of today’s Chron.  Here is a taste:

Fewer than five “illegal voting” complaints involving voter impersonations were filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office from the 2008 and 2010 general elections in which more than 13 million voters participated.

And:

Texas has suffered from “multiple cases of voter fraud,” Gov. Rick Perry said in a recent FOX News interview, though the attorney general handled just 20 allegations of election law violations in the 2008 and 2010 elections. Most involved mail-in ballot or campaign finance violations, electioneering too close to a polling place or a voter blocked by an election worker.

And:

No one disputes some level of voting abuse, said Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston.

“However, what every investigation has proven is that the kind of fraud voter ID laws would address — voter impersonation — doesn’t really exist,” Ellis said. “In fact, there are more UFO and Bigfoot sightings than documented cases of voter impersonation.”

Here is the entire piece that is worth reading.

Commentary doesn’t follow Dynamo soccer except when something incredibly ignorant falls out of a player’s piehole.

Check this from the Houston Press:

The Dynamo’s Colin Clark has become the latest Houston athlete to get in trouble for using a homophobic slur, joining the Aeros’ Justin Fontaine and the Texans’ Rashad Butler. (Rockets and Astros, you’re onthe clock.)
Here is from Hairballs.

What an idiot and dumbarse.

I have to hand it to Guv Dude for his one liners the other night at the Gridiron Dinner.  Here is from the Texas Tribune:

To uproarious applause, Perry called his brief lead in the GOP presidential primary "the three most exhilarating hours of my life," and said he could sum up his run for the White House this way: “It was the weakest Republican field in history, and they kicked my butt.”

And:

On Mitt:

“I keep waiting for Mitt to say, ‘Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”

On Ron Paul:

“He’s the crazy uncle you expect to pull a nickel out of your ear.”

“Of those 7,000 babies he delivered, he had to go in after two of them.”

On Gingrich:

“I endorsed him because he said he would name me commander of Moon Base Alpha.”

Check out the Tribune story here.

Newt scored 16% of the Louisiana vote Saturday night and he’s still in the race – huh!

‘Stros Numero 45 (LF) and Chris Johnson (3B) of course were in last year’s Opening Day lineup.  Numero 45 is projected to be the starting first baseman this year though.

That’s all I have from The Yard.

 

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Hutch may be coming home after all of sorts.  She may be leaving the ranks of insanity when it comes to the health of all the women in the Lone Star State.   This is where she should be and not on the side of the nut jobs.  Check out from the Star Telegram today:

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas broke ranks with her party Thursday to urge Gov. Rick Perry — her opponent in the 2010 governor’s race — to renegotiate with the Obama administration to keep federal funding for the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, Hutchison said Texas "can’t keep turning back federal funds that every state gets and then try to find money in our budget which is already being cut in key areas like education."

"I do think that the governor needs to sit down with the federal government and work it out so that we can have our share, our fair share," she said.

And:

On air, Todd also asked the retiring senator whether Planned Parenthood should be excluded from the Women’s Health Program.

Hutchison appeared to hesitate before responding, "Well, you know, I can’t say. … I think Planned Parenthood does mammograms. They do so much, so much of the healthcare — the preventive healthcare, and if they’re doing that, then we need to provide those services. Absolutely."

I’m sure there are a lot of GOP operatives gnashing their teeth right now.   Maybe she will bring other prominent GOPers with her on this issue.  Way to go Hutch!    Check out the Star Telegram piece here.

Yesterday, Commentary mentioned the “Flashback Fridays” at The Yard this season where a former ‘Stro will throw out the first pitch.  Here is more from Alyson’s Footnotes:

This group of players combined for 49 All-Star Game appearances, 15 Silver Slugger Awards, 12 Gold Glove Awards, four MVP Awards, two Hall of Fame inductions, one Rookie of the Year Award and one Cy Young Award. The 13 combined for over 18,000 hits and nearly 2,000 home runs. The five pitchers – Dierker, Reynolds, Richard, Ryan and Scott – have over 800 wins and more than 11,000 strikeouts.

Of the list of players I provided yesterday, name the players that won the four MVP Awards?

The Air Wars at H-Town City Council continue as United got a couple of members of Congress to weigh in on their behalf.  Congs. Kevin Brady (R)  and Al Green (D) want to keep Southwest domestic.  Here are a couple of Chron pieces on the Air Wars:
http://www.chron.com/business/article/2-Houston-area-congressmen-oppose-global-flights-3428456.php
And:
http://blog.chron.com/houstonpolitics/2012/03/united-southwest-take-air-war-to-luncheon/

Cong. Michelle Bachman was on “The Today Show” this morning calling for unity in the GOP race for Prez.  She didn’t endorse Romney but it was pretty obvious that she was doing the Romney campaign bidding – anything to be considered for the ticket or in the administration. 

Speaking of, former KHOU-TV reporter Gabe Gutierrez was reporting for “The Today Show” this morning.   I didn’t know he had left H-Town. 

I guess I’ll watch Santorum score one in Louisiana tomorrow night. 

Jeff Bagwell of course was the NL MVP in 1994.  Former ‘Stro Joe Morgan won two NL MVP Awards of course as a member of the Big Red Machine in 1975 and 1976, and former ‘Stro Jeff Kent won an NL MVP award as a Giant in 2000.

That’s all I have from The Yard.

 

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Yesterday, Commentary served as a panelist at a Greater Houston Partnership event on the 2012 elections.  Also on the panel were Mark Jones, Chair of the Department of Political Science at Rice, KPRC-TV’s Mary Benton, and GOP consultant Allen Blakemore.  My good pal Robert Miller was the moderator.  One of the last questions asked was who would win Harris County in November – Dems or the GOP?  Blakemore said they would.  Jones gave the edge to the GOP.  Benton didn’t pick and I said that I didn’t know.

Think about it.  Back in March of 2010 who would have predicted the “tsunami” of November, 2010?    It wasn’t until Robert Miller started sending out the notices once early voting began that folks figured Dems might be hurting.  A lot can happen between March of 2012 and November of 2012.   

We were also asked yesterday who was going to win this November – The President or Romney.  Again, I didn’t pick but I did say that The President had a sharp campaign team.   They’re going to leave it up to the “Toy Story” flicks and the Mitt Romney campaign to promote sales of Etch A Sketch.  What do I know?

In Harris County in November of 2004 and 2010, the GOP won the straight ticket vote.  Dems won the straight ticket vote in 2006 and 2008.  What do I know?

After taking off a year, Andy Pettitte is going to try to make a comeback with the Yankees.  His career won-loss record is 240-138.  What was his won-loss record as a ‘Stro?  Bonus:  How many times has he won 20 or more in a season?

Here is a kind of scary piece from the Huffington Post.  Here is a bit:

The reclusive, super-wealthy Republican donor Harold Simmons sat down for an interview with the Wall Street Journal in which he explained why he decided to donate $18 million to conservative super PACs. To put it bluntly: he despises and fears President Barack Obama.

"Any of these Republicans would make a better president than that socialist, Obama," Simmons told the Journal (subscription required), in what is the piece’s most provocative quote. "Obama is the most dangerous American alive … because he would eliminate free enterprise in this country."

And:

While Simmons bemoans the suffocating effect Obama has had on the free enterprise, the Journal notes that his own net worth is skyrocketing under this presidency, from $4.1 billion in 2006 to an estimated $10 billion today. That 0.18 percent of that $10 billion figure has been sent to super PACs this cycle underscores just how much more money is likely to be spent as the campaign progresses.

The Obama re-election arm is certainly aware of this. It’s why the president — having previously shunned super PACs — has now authorized top aides to speak to prospective donors. More proactively, progressive groups have begun to assemble a campaign-like apparatus to turn the heat on those donors who write big checks to conservative causes, whether it be digging up dirt on their business practices or pressuring consumers to boycott their companies.  

Here is the entire HuffPo piece.  Scary stuff if you ask me.

Check out this poster from an HISD student in the Houston Press here.
I don’t think it is hanging in the kids’ room over at the Santorum household.

Yesterday the H-Town City Council gave the Dynamo the A-Okay to allow tailgating on match days.  The ‘Stros are now considering allowing tailgating.  I don’t know about that.  That’s not a ‘Stros tradition and baseball is kind of a tradition event.  We don’t do tailgating.

Andy Pettitte was 37-26 of course in three seasons as a ‘Stro.  While wearing the Yankee pin stripes, Pettitte went 21-8 in 1996 and 21-8 in 2003 of course.

From Alyson’s Footnotes:

On Tuesday, the Astros released complete list of first-pitch pitchers who will appear on “Flashback Fridays.” The team will wear throwback uniforms and celebrate Houston’s fabulous 50-year history every Friday home game in 2012, and the return of former players will only add to the nostalgia that is sure to take over Minute Maid Park throughout the season.

The first ceremonial pitch is on April 10, the actual anniversary of the first Major League game played in Houston. Bob Aspromonte, arguably the most well-known of the original Colt .45s, will have the first pitch honors that day. The rest of the best:

April 10 vs. ATL Bob Aspromonte; 1960s- Colt .45s
April 20 vs. STL Larry Dierker; 1960s-Astros
May 4 vs. LAD Rusty Staub; 1960s-Colt .45s
May 18 vs. TEX Nolan Ryan; 1980s
June 1 vs. CIN J.R. Richard; 1970s
June 22 vs. CLE Joe Morgan; 1960s-Astros
July 6 vs. MIL Jose Cruz; 1970s
July 27 vs. PIT Mike Scott; 1980s
Aug. 10 vs. MIL Jeff Bagwell; 1990s
Aug. 17 vs. ARI Brad Ausmus; 1990s
Aug. 31 vs. CIN Shane Reynolds; 1990s
Sept. 14 vs. PHI Jeff Kent; 2000s
Sept. 21 vs. PIT Craig Biggio; 2000s.

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