Chancellor Dean

I wonder how much The Dean gets paid for running the UH System?

A few days ago, the Chron reported UH was going to require incoming freshmen – with exceptions of course – to live on campus.

The Dean’s assistant, Vice Chancellor Renu Khator, apparently forgot to tell The Dean and that set him off. The Dean was definitely stern and his assistant was – well you check it out and decide for yourself. As they say, it’s good to be king!

Here is a series of texts between the two that the Chron published today (How did they get the texts anyway?):

Excerpts of text messages exchanged Saturday between University of Houston Chancellor and President Renu Khator and state Sen. John Whitmire of Houston:

8:45 a.m.

Khator: You will read about UH requiring freshmen living outside 20-mile radius and not married to live on campus. Easy waivers to others. It is to change the culture and create new expectation. Applies only to full time freshmen. Darrin (Darrin Hall, UH director of governmental relations) sent our statement to your office yesterday.

Whitmire: Sounds like we need to talk. I think you have overstepped on this one. Expect lots of push back.

Khator: Waiver is for anyone who gives any reason at all – any reason including financial, religious, family. Eleven other universities in Texas (not UT and A&M) are successfully using them. Students are fully supportive.
Whitmire: You and somebody did not think this through.

Khator: It is on board agenda. Has not been done yet. Will think more so we do the right thing.

9:15 a.m.

Whitmire: I would like to know who came up with this. I will stop dead and pass leg if I need to.

Khator: I am sorry to have disappointed you.

(Whitmire and Khator have a phone conversation, then the texts resume.)

10:05 a.m.

Khator: Are you still upset? The issue was going only as information/option to board and I have already killed any further consideration on it. Can you please not forgive? Is there anything I can do to ensure you it is killed from consideration? You are the best critic/friend I have so I killed it on Saturday itself.

Whitmire: Well the (Chronicle) article really set me back. It is so unfounded with lack of realism of the people I represent and UH serves that I am not going to stop until your administration understands their mission. Furthermore you totally mishandled presenting this to me and legislators.

10:49 a.m.

Khator: We will learn. Media has misled everyone by portraying it as if it done deal. They love to create sensation and we were idiots to allow it.

Anyway, it is now killed even from consideration and we will listen and learn. Thank you.

Blame it on the media! You gotta be kidding!

The one I feel for in this is Ty Wiggintonner’s Brother.

What is the lesson in this? The last thing you ever want to say to The Dean is: I am sorry to have disappointed you.

Chris Carter had dinger number 30 last night and it was a sweet one. A three run dinger on a 3-0 pitch in the top of the ninth that broke a 4-4 tie with the Yankees. We won it 7-4. When was the last time a ‘Stro had 30 dingers in a season?

Next up for The Dean is approving the new band uniforms. Then he has to decide VIP seating charts for the new football stadium before the opening kickoff next week. Then he has to review law school applicants for the 2015 class. Whew! It is good to be king!

Guv Dude went off and had ice cream yesterday after checking in. Just part of the PR strategy I guess.

In 2007, The Big Puma had 34 dingers and El Caballo had 32 of course.

Hey, we’ve taken 3 out of 4 from the Yankees this season!

Dude and Dave

Yesterday afternoon I watched Guv Dude’s high powered legal defense team introduce themselves and they didn’t waste any time going after the Travis County DA. They also threw out the names of five nationally known Dems that think the indictments are weak. The five included President Obama advisor David Axelrod and President Bill Clinton defender Lanny Davis. The Chron hard copy lead headline reads: Perry defense comes out blazing. Good description. Add the NY Times E-Board to the list of those that think the indictments are a stretch. Here is from the Times:

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is one of the least thoughtful and most damaging state leaders in America, having done great harm to immigrants, abortion clinics and people without health insurance during his 14 years in office. But bad political judgment is not necessarily a felony, and the indictment handed up against him on Friday — given the facts so far — appears to be the product of an overzealous prosecution.

For more than a year, Mr. Perry has been seeking the resignation of the Travis County district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg. He had good reason to do so: Ms. Lehmberg was arrested in April 2013 for driving with a blood alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit, and she verbally abused the officers who found her with an open bottle of vodka. She ranted and raved at the local jail, threatening sheriff’s deputies, and she had to be restrained in a chair with a hood over her head. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. In addition to endangering people’s lives, she instantly lost her credibility as a prosecutor of drunken-driving cases.

But Ms. Lehmberg is also an elected Democrat, and as the prosecutor in Austin, the state capital, she ran the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates corruption charges against state lawmakers, often including prominent Republicans. The office, in fact, has been investigating whether several medical research grants were improperly given to people with connections to Mr. Perry. Had she stepped down, the governor might have named a Republican to replace her, so she refused.

After the arrest, Mr. Perry told Ms. Lehmberg that if she didn’t resign, he would cut the financing for the Public Integrity Unit. In June, he did just that, using his line-item veto to zero out the $7.5 million for the unit. That was a bad idea. Had county officials not stepped in with some money, the veto could have shut down an important investigative body and its cases. Mr. Perry should have left the matter to the courts, where both a criminal and a civil attempt to have her removed failed, or to the voters.

But his ill-advised veto still doesn’t seem to rise to the level of a criminal act. After a complaint was filed by a liberal group, a judge appointed a special prosecutor, Michael McCrum, a San Antonio lawyer and former federal prosecutor, to take the case. A Travis County grand jury indicted Mr. Perry on two felony counts: abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant. The indictment says he exceeded his veto power by combining it with a threat to Ms. Lehmberg if she didn’t quit.

Governors and presidents threaten vetoes and engage in horse-trading all the time to get what they want, but for that kind of political activity to become criminal requires far more evidence than has been revealed in the Perry case so far. Perhaps Mr. McCrum will have some solid proof to show once the case heads to trial. But, for now, Texas voters should be more furious at Mr. Perry for refusing to expand Medicaid, and for all the favors he has done for big donors, than for a budget veto.

Chris Carter won last week’s AL Player of the Week. Where does Carter rank on the season dinger list?

I watched CNN for a while last night and I was pretty sad about what I was watching. It is difficult to be a judge of stuff from just watching from your recliner. You have to be there. So I am going to defer to CNN’s Jake Tapper when he said last night that he thought the law enforcement presence was a bit over the top.

HCC Trustee Dave Wilson won another round over Vince Ryan and crew but apparently that is not going to stop Vince from appealing. Wilson also got an arse chewing of sorts from the judge. Folks know my feelings about this and quite a few number of Dems agree with me. Here is from the Chron:

A judge on Monday reluctantly upheld a jury ruling that Dave Wilson lived where he claimed when he ran for the Houston Community College seat he now holds.

It was the latest development in an ongoing saga over Wilson’s residence that may continue in appellate court.

The Harris County Attorney’s office, which has challenged Wilson’s residency for months, had asked state District Judge Mike Engelhart to throw out last month’s jury ruling, arguing that Wilson was breaking the law by claiming two residences.

‘Create a legacy’

The county claims Wilson does not live in an apartment in a warehouse on W. 34th Street, as he claimed when running for office, and rather lives in a home on Lake Lane, outside of the district and the city limits, which is deeded in his wife’s name.

Engelhart said Monday that he “unfortunately” had to deny the motion, but he admonished Wilson in his ruling.

“In presiding over this trial and listening to you testify, observing evidence and photographs, I found you not to be credible at all,” Engelhart said. “I will always believe you were an opportunist looking to take advantage of a situation and somehow create a legacy for yourself.”

Engelhart said he was “especially dismayed” by evidence in last month’s trial showing Wilson registered to vote in south Houston with the intention of running for an open state senate seat, but never moved there or made “any effort to even look for an apartment or other residence.” Wilson then switched his registration back to the warehouse in which he has an apartment in HCC District II.

“That speaks loudly about your integrity,” Engelhart said.

‘A better answer’

Wilson responded after the hearing by pointing out that Engelhart is a Democrat who disagrees with his politics. He called the case a political vendetta and said Engelhart took the “opportunity to take a cheap shot at me.”

Wilson’s attorney, Keith Gross, said Engelhart had to rule in his client’s favor, as much as it pained him.

“If you saw the judge’s demeanor on the bench, he hated to do what he had to do, which was follow the law,” Gross said.

Assistant County Attorney Douglas Ray said the county will review the case to decide what to do. Last Month, Ray indicated the county would appeal if Engelhart ruled for Wilson.

“No matter which way he rules, it’s going to go to the appellate court for a better answer,” Ray said at the time.

Oh, well!

Chris Carter of course is fourth in the MLB with 29 dingers and Nelson Cruz of B’More is numero 1 with 32.

I was kind of hard on Chris Carter earlier in the season, but he has turned it on since July 1. Let’s see how they do at Yankee Stadium the next three games.

Prediction on Dude

Jose Altuve hit the ‘Stros’ fourth grand salami of the season. Name the players with the other three?

I first met Guv Dude when he got elected in 1984. I reported to our staff in the Guv’s Office that he was already looking at running for something higher. I was right. He stopped being a Dem then beat a sitting Dem Ag Commissioner. He beat John Sharp for Lite Guv 1998. He became Guv when W went to DC and won again in 2002, 2006, and 2010. The only time he got his arse handed to him politically was when he left the state and ran for Prez. Dude has pretty much had his way here at home. Remember when he wore down the Texas Eleven back in 2003?

Yeah, I know! Now he’s facing a felony indictment. This isn’t a political race or legislative battle. But you know what? Some Dems helped make it political Friday evening by going on twitter and calling Dude corrupt, unethical, and asking for his resignation. FYI: Commentary sent out a couple of tweets poking fun of Dude’s situation.

Dude came back Saturday afternoon and hit back and played offense. He called the indictments “partisan political theatrics.” He even surprised me a bit and took a couple of questions from the media. Dude then tweeted this:

Moments ago, I delivered these remarks to the media in Austin.

Wrong. He didn’t deliver the remarks to the media. He delivered the remarks to folks throughout the state and country. He even got in a mention of the issue that he is currently riding – the border. CNN carried his remarks live.

What got completely lost is the role GOP judges played in appointing the Special Prosecutor who in fact has close ties to the GOP.

Most high profile folks that get indicted might make a brief statement then go hide until their trial. Not Dude! Dude was on TV yesterday and even mentioned that David Axelrod said the indictment was “sketchy.” Axelrod is arguably the best Dem strategist in the country. Dude also said that Alan Dershowitz said the indictment was a “criminalization of party differences.” Dershowitz has said that he would never vote for Dude.

We have seen Dude in action the last couple of months. He has turned the crisis of children from Central America fleeing from the dangers and violence in their countries into narco-terrorists overrunning our border communities. He has called out the National Guard in a play to improve his standing among potential 2016 Tea Party voters.

Dude is going to completely ignore that Dems were not involved in getting his arse indicted. He is going to continue to call it a partisan political witch hunt. He is going to make a lot of noise on this and when Dems try to deny their involvement, his folks are going to ask then why the ED of the Lone Star State Dem Party was parked outside of Dude’s presser on Saturday and holding court with the media right after that got some run on Trib Live. The ED was calling for Dude’s resignation.

If the charges are not dismissed, he will make noise about not being able to get a fair trial in Travis County because of its color.

Dems don’t have a unified message. Some like the State Dem Party, the Lone Star Project, and Cong. Castro are calling for his resignation or are calling him corrupt. Axelrod says “sketchy.” Some like Team Davis are just saying the charges are “serious.” Others are silent.

A number of respected criminal defense attorneys from throughout the state in various publications have said that the charges won’t stick.

Dude has a platform to up the decibel level on his indictment. The Special Prosecutor really doesn’t. So Dude can go and try to taint a potential jury pool unless of course the judge throws a gag order into the mix but that should not prevent Dude’s folks from making noise.

I have said it before. It hasn’t been a good move to bet against Guv Dude over the past 30 years. Yep, that’s 30 years since he first got elected.

Here is what Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder put out yesterday:

Perry, unsurprisingly, responded Saturday by doubling down, dismissing the indictment as “outrageous.” More surprising, perhaps, is how quickly public opinion has moved in his favor, or at least in favor of proceeding with caution. Republicans were quick to rally round, but even independents and Democrats, after the initial fizzle faded, seemed skeptical of the indictment.

If I have to lay down a bet, I am betting Dude walks.

Along with Altuve, Chris Carter has two grand salamis and Jon Singleton has the fourth of course.

I tweeted this yesterday

#AlrightAlrightAlright cool @JuliaMoralesCSN interview with Matthew McConaughey at #FenwayPark during @astros game and talk fanny packs.

And this:

Matthew McConaughey said “hot box” when talking about a rundown during the game. Have not heard “hot box” since…….. #Astros #CSN

Nobody says “hot box” these days. I guess it is OK if you are an Oscar winner.

He’s also a fan of the ‘Stros. I am thinking this interview made Julia Morales’ season.

Hey folks! In the 50 plus seasons here H-Town we have never had a player win the batting title. Jose Altuve now leads the MLB in hits and batting average. We only have sixteen home games remaining including match-ups with contenders like the A’s, Angels, Cleveland, and Mariners. You might want to go check out The Yard for some meaningful baseball – contending teams and Altuve’s quest to win our first ever batting title!

We won our 52nd game yesterday. We only won 51 last year.

Meet the Press

It was announced yesterday that Chuck Todd would replace David Gregory as host of “Meet the Press.” Now you can all YAWN. Here is what I said last month:

I have said it before that the Sunday morning news talk shows have become stale with the same old tired talking heads from the DC media and political class. They are so predictable and come armed with the same old talking points. I have them on but I am usually occupied with other matters on Sunday mornings. I am really not surprised by the fact that NBC will be making changes to “Meet the Press.”

The best Sunday talk show is “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN. However, he mostly focuses on international issues. His guests don’t come armed with snarky lines to shoot at the other side.

“Meet the Press” thinks the host is their problem and I disagree. The Sunday morning talk show hosts all have the same old folks on that come in with same old agendas, talking points, and spin strategies. The hosts never call them out and folks are now getting tired of watching. The coziness just oozes off of the flat screen. Folks are fed up with Washington and they really don’t want to see a bunch of cozy insiders telling us what is going wrong when for the most part they are the enablers to what is going wrong.

“Meet the Press” could have used this opportunity to change up their format and focus but instead they brought in frick to replace frack.

I would have looked at bringing on Fareed Zakaria. Maybe Ann Curry? Of course she is probably still in no mood to help out her employer. Maybe Bryant Gumbel?

The other problem with the Sunday morning talk shows (GPS not included) is that folks are not being informed. We don’t learn anything?

They need to take a page out of the NPR playbook. Give a brief update on the latest news items then spend the rest of the hour interviewing the fella that wrote “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.”

Ditch your roundtable. Folks don’t want to hear Dem and GOP politicos blaming each other for DC’s ills. Oh, well!

We blew it last night at Fenway. What is our all-time record at Fenway?

Seventy-five years ago today they had the Hollywood premiere of “The Wizard of Oz!” I rate it the third best movie of all time.

Forty-five years ago today Woodstock kicked off.

We are 0-8 at Fenway of course.

It all fell apart for the team in the sixth inning last night. It was brutal.

The Leader’s Slam

Congrats go to Ferguson, Missouri for getting known throughout the universe for all the wrong reasons! They even arrested a couple of reporters last night.

The 1998 ‘Stros were probably the best team we ever had. Heck, we went 102-60. We had six players with 200 plus at-bats that batted over .300 – name them?

According to the Twitter folks, there were over eight million mentions of Robin Williams after he left us. Some writer on Politico wrote it ain’t cool to post stuff after someone dies. Huh! Yeah, good luck!

I still don’t know what set off the publisher of The Leader. Here is his entire slam of the Mayor and City Hall:

We don’t spend much time at The Leader covering city government. I’m beginning to wonder if we should. Especially if no one else is going to do it.

In the Houston hierarchy of media, here’s how things typically work: You’ve got your big boys like The Chronicle, the local network news and, if we can stretch it, the Houston Press. Next you’ve got your talk radio folks and some wonderful niche news websites like CultureMap and SwampLot. Only after those can you begin to list newspapers like The Leader. In fact, there are more than 40 newspapers like ours around this city, and all of them (ideally) are geared toward covering specifically local news.

The Leader, for instance, cares a lot more about what’s happening on 19th or 43rd Streets than we care about what’s happening on Bagby Street. We care about the businesses on White Oak and Ella more than we do about the conglomerates down on Louisiana Street.

As a general rule, the only time we worry about what’s happening at City Hall is when their actions impact the lives of the people who live in the Heights, Garden Oaks, Oak Forest and all the wonderful pockets of neighborhoods in between.

It’s not completely foreign to read about city news in this newspaper. Some would accuse me of being on a crusade against the implementation of a certain historic preservation ordinance the city passed back in 2010. Of course, those accusers would only be half-right. I am not against historic preservation or even the ordinance; I am against the callous and capricious way the ordinance is enforced. But let’s not swerve too far off subject.

Maybe it’s the journalist in me, or maybe it’s from past experience, but over the past couple of months, I’ve paid a little closer attention to our city’s government. I’ve been incredibly disappointed in some of our city council members who have personally told me they would do one thing only to blatantly ignore that promise just two weeks later. I’ve been even more disappointed (if there’s something more than “incredibly”) in Mayor Annise Parker.

The city of Houston has myriad problems. While you don’t read much about it in The Leader, I sure hope most of our readers understand that our city is on a perilous financial slope. Whether it’s pensions we cannot fund, revenue caps that voters likely won’t remove, or suggestions that police begin limiting calls to our homes, our city is not in very good shape.

I don’t know that I would wholly blame Parker for those problems, but as one source told me this week, if there’s anyone we should blame, it is her. Parker has been in city government for almost two decades as a city council member, controller or mayor. She has been elected to serve us, and if her financial background didn’t give her reason for concern, then she has failed us tremendously.

My bigger concern with Parker, and members of our city council – including those who represent us directly – is that most of their energy has gone into fighting battles that don’t address our most important concerns.

Parker has been on a self-proclaimed (and self-serving) mission to pass what many call the Equal Rights Ordinance in Houston. I’ll steer clear of offering a personal opinion on the legislation, but I won’t steer clear of adamantly addressing the renegade approach Parker and City Attorney David Feldman have taken in making City Hall their personal playhouse.

We don’t have the time or space to give all the details of the ordinance, but earlier this week, a group of opponents – namely church organizations – presented 50,000 signatures to the city requesting a repeal of the ordinance. In order for a repeal like that to be placed on a ballot, opponents needed signatures from 10 percent of the total number of people who voted in the last mayoral election. In this case (and tragically, I might add), that meant the opponents needed a little more than 17,000 signatures to be placed on the next ballot.

Rather than allowing voters a chance to approve or defeat this Equal Rights Ordinance, Parker and Feldman began bending rules to fit their agenda. A very good source in City Hall told me they were able to kill off 35,000 of the signatures by finding one questionable name on a sheet of signatures and eliminating the entire sheet. City officials pulled out every red-tape trick they could find to get their desired result, and I have no doubt that was a concerted effort by our mayor.

Now, contrast that to what we experienced in the Heights in 2010, when Parker wanted to shove this Historic Preservation Ordinance past the voters. In this case, the city literally ignored the very same red tape they used to avoid putting the Equal Rights Ordinance before the people. In the historic instance, they used a shoddy ballot, allegedly broke the City Charter, and despite the screams of constituents, went ahead and ram-rodded some legislation that may not have passed if done properly.

When I talked to my source in City Hall earlier this week, some of the other examples of this sort of behavior made me cringe more. Remember the red light camera fiasco? In that case, Parker didn’t care if the votes were legitimate. She allowed that measure to go to voters because it suited her politically.

Remember the ordinance banning feeding the homeless? There was a petition to repeal that. According to my source, the names on that petition are still being counted – two years later.

Want to know the worst part about all of this? I don’t think there’s a single entity in this city that has the courage or stones to hold City Hall accountable. I don’t think Mayor Parker or her administration cares one bit what we, the constituents think.

It’s a sad commentary on a couple of things. First, our government runs like we work for them, not the other way around. Second, and most devastating to me, the media – the “big boys” of the media – are too busy trying to cut expenses and shoulder up with government that they’re scared to stand up when our elected skirt their jobs.

Moises Alou (.312), Baggy (.304), Derek Bell (.314), Sean Berry (.314), B-G-O (.325), and Richard Hidalgo (.303) all batted above .300 of course in 1998.

We start a four game series this evening at Fenway.

Very Brief

A while back, something went wrong when I synced my mobile gizmo with my computer. A bunch of my phone numbers got all confused and were assigned different names. Very few listings survived. So much for technology.

Jose Altuve leads the AL in batting average at .339. Who is second in batting average in the AL?

I tweeted this last night:

“We had it all, Just like Bogie and Bacall. Starring in our old late, late show. Sailing away to Key Largo” #TogetherAgain #LaurenBacall

It got multiple retweets.

In the past couple of days we lost two of the greatest actors of all time.

The City of H-Town is looking at proposals on how we recycle our trash. I don’t know about that. I think we need to be educating and encouraging folks to recycle the right way.

Robinson Cano of the Mariners is batting .330 and is number two in the AL.

The news from last night’s win at The Yard went national as some fan from out of town went home with both of Chris Carter’s dingers – cool.

That Ad Nextdoor

Commentary belongs to one of those “nextdoor” chat or email groups. Personally, I prefer that folks stick to the basics. Who was the victim of a crime? Who saw a suspicious vehicle? Who saw folks casing a neighborhood? When is the next meeting on something that is going to happen in the ‘hood? Who is getting their ditches dug? Who found some kitties or puppies?

If someone is looking for a painter or mechanic or plumber I stay away from recommending. I don’t want to recommend someone and they end up not being satisfied with the work. I don’t want a neighbor mad at me or thinking I am in cahoots with the folks I recommended.

Lately, folks have gotten into the restaurant critic business. They have eviscerated the new eatery that opened on Studewood and White Oak. A new eatery has just opened on North Main. I wonder how they will be welcomed by the online ‘hood.

The KC Royals are in first in the AL Central. Name their skipper?

Here is a good piece from Texas Monthly’s Erica Grieder on the Team Davis ad:

On Friday, Wendy Davis released a 60 second TV ad–her first TV ad in this year’s gubernatorial campaign, and the first campaign ad I can think of that’s caused me to ask myself if this is the kind of situation where an outbound link should be accompanied by a “trigger warning.” Trigger warning, just in case: the ad, which you can watch on YouTube, relates to a 1993 rape case, and includes a few moments of dramatic re-enactment.

At issue is how Greg Abbott responded to the case in 1998, as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court. The rapist was a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman working for an independent contractor that distributed Kirby vacuum cleaners. The victim had sued Kirby for damages, arguing that Kirby had a responsibility to screen its salesman, but Kirby disavowed any liability, because the rapist was employed by the distributor, not by Kirby. Six of the justices agreed that the victim should have the right to sue Kirby itself. Abbott was among the three who dissented. (See Christy Hoppe at the Dallas Morning News and Gardner Selby at PolitiFact Texas for more details on the case itself.)

I had a mixed reaction to this. As a moral question, of course Kirby had some responsibility in this situation. The fact that the company had shunted the business of actually selling the vacuum cleaners to independent contractors, and sought to wash its hands of any problems that might result from that model, makes them more culpable in that sense, not less. Legally, too, the Court’s decision strikes me as the correct one. Abbott notes in his dissent that Kirby’s contract with the distributor explicitly stated that Kirby wouldn’t control the hiring. The majority opinion sticks closer to common sense: insofar as Kirby’s business model was based on in-home sales of Kirby vacuum cleaners, Kirby had a “duty of reasonable care” to take some precautions against dispatching violent sexual predators into sedate suburban homes.

All of that being the case, I can see why Davis would cite Abbott’s dissent as evidence supporting an argument that her opponent has, throughout his career, been systematically cavalier about consumer protections and public safety and overly lenient to monied interests. She’s touched on that argument at previous points in the campaign, as in July, when the campaign cheerfully made hay over Abbott’s inexplicable suggestion that Texans worried about where explosive chemicals are stored can “just drive around” their town and ask people.

But that’s not exactly what Davis is doing here, is it? The ad–its title, bizarrely, is “A Texas Story”–refers to that line of argument in its final frames, with a few words float up: “Another insider. Not working for you.” But nothing in the ad establishes, or even suggests, that Abbott had any cronies or donors at Kirby. The implication of the ad, with its somber gray palette and stalker-cam angles, is that the attorney-general is some kind of rape apologist. “Thank God this time Greg Abbott lost,” the narrator intones at the end, as the camera pans over a yard littered with symbols of shattered innocence (capsized tricycles). Yikes. I’m glad the woman was allowed to sue Kirby in the end, but “Thank God” makes it sound like Abbott wanted to give the rapist a pardon and a reference letter for a job as a high school volleyball coach.

I can’t shake the feeling, then, that this ad is sort of a seance intended to summon the ghost of Claytie Williams. It’s not a foolproof strategy, for several reasons. Abbott is not Williams; the election is less than three months away; most polls show Abbott leading by double digits; Williams, come to think of it, is not dead. Still, at least it’s a strategy, and whether Davis’s ad is in good taste is a different question from whether the ad will be effective. On the latter front it may be more successful. Certainly it’s received more attention than Abbott’s first TV ad, which features a testimonial from his mother-in-law.

Ned Yost of course is the skipper of the Royals.

We should have won last night.


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