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Archive for January, 2010

It is now official!  H-Town now has a dumbarse for a Fire Chief.  Check out today’s Chron.  How does he expect to head a department when he participates in a meeting that a female firefighter described as “demeaning?”  Didn’t the city fork over a couple of hundred thousand to some law firms to check out HFD to see if there were any systems that needed fixing in the way they treat women and didn’t the law firms report that things were A-OK?  I guess they didn’t bother to interview the Fire Chief.   I wonder if the city can get their money back?

My good friend Serge weighed in on the new Mayor’s transition folks.  This is what he is sending out:  “I was an Annise Parker supporter, but to have only one Latino on the transition team is shameful.  Historically, Latinos have been discriminated in terms of personnel and services by departments like Housing & Community Development and other City departments.  It is imperative to have not only skilled transition team members, but also have skilled members that reflect the diversity of Houston.  The skilled Latinos that could have been on this transition team are available.  This announcement surely does (not) accomplish that goal.”

Stay tuned!

Who said:  “Jackie Robinson made it possible for me in the first place. Without him, I would never have been able to do what I did.”

Yesterday’s HISD meeting was pretty cool as CM James Rodriguez swore in Trustee Anna Eastman.  CM Ed Gonzalez was there.  So was HCC Trustee Yolanda Navarro Flores.  So was my pal Mary Almendarez.  So were my pals Bill King and Ben Hall, who by the way swore in Larry Marshall.

Martin Luther King, Jr., of course, in David Faulkner’s “Great Time Coming:  The Life of Jackie Robinson from Baseball to Birmingham.”  FYI:  Dr. King was born 81 years ago today.

Dieudone Paul, a 22-year old lefty in the ‘Stros system is from Haiti.   He is OK though because he and his family were in the Dominican Republic when the earthquake hit.  Paul was signed last June and turned in a 1.65 ERA in 16 appearances during the Dominican Summer League.

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Guv Dude knows best, I guess.  He’s decided that the ISDs from the Lone Star State won’t try to get up to $700 mil in federal education bucks because of the strings attached.  Lone Star State Dems are pretty riled about his decision.  The teachers union has sided with Dude.  I don’t have a problem with that but do they have to stand by Dude when he makes the announcement.  Check out the video with the Houston teacher union honcho standing next to Dude yesterday.

If Dude wins his primary, this clip is going to be used and send a real nice message to teachers – great.  The sad thing about Dude’s decision is that it is motivated by his desire to win over hard right wing voters in his primary.  Opposing The President scores you brownie points with the right wingers.  It has very little to do with education policy.  The Houston teacher union honcho just should have mailed in her support rather than stand next to Dude and helping to legitimize his position.

Of course, I think her hair is better than his if you ask me.

Who holds the record for most extra-base hits in a season?

Now to putting some sanity into public education, Anna Eastman will be sworn in today as a new HISD Trustee.  Houston CM James Rodriguez will do the swearing in.

Babe Ruth, of course, in 1921 with 119 including 59 dingers, 16 triples, and 44 two-baggers.

The Big Puma holds the ‘Stros record with 94 extra-base hits in 2001 which ties him for 35th all time – cool.

 

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The Chron’s Columnist has a piece today on Dem Guv candidate Farouk Shami’s religion.  He’s not a Muslim and he’s not a Quaker.  Does it matter?  Of course it does.  It is what it is.  Why do you think it has write ups today in some of the state’s dailies.   Of course, the media is kind of dancing around what really is the issue, like Commentary is dancing around the issue.

Meanwhile, Guv Dude has decided not to go after millions of federal education dollars as ISDs across the state struggle with declining revenue. 

Speaking of, my pal Mary sent this out yesterday:

“As many of you know, I have spent years (more than 30) advocating for better education for our city’s children, particularly Latino children who still fall victim to a disastrous dropout rate and are still not going to and through colleges at the levels in which they must for our community to really pull itself up and take full advantage of the many opportunities we have in this nation.

“For decades, I have observed a public education system that has year after year put the interests of adults before the interests of children.  The public education bureaucracy has become a way to secure jobs for many and secure dollars for others.  When so many adults get satisfied, it’s hard to find people who are ready to focus on whether or not this bureaucracy is actually serving those it was built to serve: our students.

“With great pleasure, I read the articles from the Chronicle regarding how the HISD Board and Superintendent are proposing tying student achievement to teacher evaluations.  There are many, many wonderful teachers in HISD and I am proud to call many of them my friends who are proving every day that our children can learn at high levels.  However, there are other teachers who are not giving our kids the education they deserve.  And for decades, their lack of effectiveness has been protected.  Our system has protected these teachers and done so at the risk of not protecting our kids.  As you will see, there are efforts in Houston to oppose this new HISD policy.  What is particularly interesting to me is that the national head of the American Federation of Teachers, to which our local Houston Federation of Teachers is affiliated, spoke out today in support of efforts to incorporate student test scores into teacher evaluations. 

“With the majority of HISD made up of low-income Latinos the detriment to our children of having one or more years with ineffective teachers helps drive the lack of results.  I praise the School Board and Superintendent for putting the interests of children before adults.  I thank them for their leadership, their courage and I thank them for their service!  You are invited, encouraged and requested to do so as well.  Your servant, in the name of high quality education for our city’s children.”….Mary Almendarez,

Community Volunteer.

Who said the following: “That was my greatest thrill since I was converted to Christ.”

Anna Eastman gets sworn in tomorrow – cool.

Speaking of, in 1977, Rawlings became the official provider of baseballs for MLB and they were stitched up in Haiti.   Due to political instability, they shut down the plant and now they are stitched up in Costa Rica though some of their decorative baseballs are made in China – yikes.

Evangelist Billy Graham of course after he met Babe Ruth.

I wish February 1 was here so we could be done with all the speculation on who’s interested in buying the ‘Stros and instead concentrate on what has to happen for us to get World Serious.

 

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Commentary got some calls yesterday about my pal Drayton selling the ‘Stros.  I’m not going to get all worked up about this because not that many folks have the $650 mil plus to plunk down on a MLB team these days and during these times.  In most cases, folks don’t invest in an MLB team to make money.   Well actually, if anyone out there is seriously considering buying the ‘Stros, they are probably going to be parking their dough at The Yard for a while and make money at the back end when they sell the team.   They buy a team for the prestige of being called an “owner” and all the stuff and perks that goes with being an owner.  They buy them so they can be the ones to hold up the World Serious trophy in front of millions of fans on national TV and get showered by champagne.  Nobody in these parts knew who Drayton was before he bought the team.  Now he is a beloved figure to many fans.  Heck, what do I know!

Mark McGwire admitted yesterday to what everyone already knew.  The Big Puma called out the Baseball Hall of Fame voters and said that if you’re going to keep McGwire out of the Hall because of juicing, then you have to also say no to A-Roid and Man-Roid.  I agree.  Now the pressure is on The Rocket and Barry-Barry-Barry to come clean. 

CM James Rodriguez sent me a NYT piece that detailed how McGwire laid out his media strategy yesterday that included the coordination by Ari Fleisher, 43s former press secretary who now does crisis communications.  Heck, that’s all he did under 43.

Who holds the record for most RBIs in a World Serious?

Here’s what former Governor Palin had to say yesterday: "I am thrilled to be joining the great talent and management team at Fox News.  It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news." Yeah, sure!

Second Baseman Bobby Richardson of course with the 1960 Yankees with 12 RBIs.  The Yankees lost the Serious in seven against the Pirates.

McGwire, LaRussa, and Pujols don’t make their first Yard visit until Friday, July 9.

 

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The Chron has a front page story today on the race for the Eighteenth Congressional District of Texas.  You gotta like the headline:  “Analysis: Echoes of 1994 haunting Jackson Lee. She dismisses challengers, but some analysts say climate could be ripe for an upset.” Check it out.  Here’s a quote from the incumbent:  “I will stand on my record in such a way that I will be immovable.  We’re the Red Cross. When you call, I will answer.”  Huh!

Stay tuned!

HIISD’s new superintendent isn’t wasting anytime taking on tough issues.  He’s ordered a review of the controversial alternative school program – CEP.  Now he’s looking into dealing with teachers that are not up to par.  It’s the lead story in today’s Chron.  Check it out.  Here is what the superintendent says in the piece:  “I cannot imagine a parent in Houston or anywhere else that would want their child in a teacher’s classroom who had a long history of not being able to help a student learn at a significant level.”

Here is what HISD Trustee Paula Harris had to say:  “I’ve talked to principals and teachers about this and the feedback I get is, everybody knows there are some teachers that need to be professionally developed or out of the profession.”

You have to hand it to the superintendent for taking on the tough issues. 

New HISD Trustee Anna Eastman will certainly have a say on this when she gets sworn in this Thursday so stay tuned!

As a Dem, I hate it when Dem leaders on Capitol Hill have to waste their time defending dumbarse remarks like those made by Harry Reid. 

Since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941, which player has gone the longest maintaining a .400 batting average – John Olerud, George Brett. Tony Gwynn, Rod Carew, or Tony Oliva? 

We have us a new “interest group” that is now in the business of endorsing candidates.  Joining the ranks of labor, teachers, realtors, police officers, firefighters, Dem organizations, GLBTers, the Chron, Annie’s List, and others is the newest of interest groups – the Coalition of Harris County Democratic Elected Officials.   That is pretty cool – elected officials are now an interest group.  You never know in politics.

Brett, of course, in 1980 when he lasted until September 4.  He ended the season batting .390.

It looks like the ‘Stros are signing right-hander Brett Myers who is just 29 years old.  He’s played for the Phillies since 2002 and is 73-63 with a 4.40 career ERA.  Commentary likes this move because it will give us a good arm in our starting rotation.

 

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Apparently there are some folks that live close to Downtown just east of 59 that are organizing against the proposed soccer stadium.  Maybe they are interpreting the new Mayor’s campaign ads to mean that she might be receptive to their concerns.  The stadium proponents better get their arses in gear or they might get overrun.  Stay tuned!

From my pal Edward Ybarra:  “Just a friendly reminder that Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP) will be registering new voters Saturday (tomorrow) at the Houston Hispanic Forum Career Day at the downtown George Brown Convention Center, 3rd Floor, Hall A-3, 1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, TX 77010, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Please email ( edybarra@yahoo.com )  or call me at 832-724-9580 to let me know what hours you can help register new Latino voters Saturday.  SU VOTO ES SU VOZ. We will have a booth at the exhibit area.”

Way to go!

Commentary goofed yesterday.  Last night’s game was on ABC – not Fox.

The loud groan we heard last night after the freshman Longhorn QB was blindsided and fumbled with two minutes left in the game were the folks that took the Longhorns and five points – ouch!

Did you know that the Boston Red Sox before Red Sox used to be called the Puritans?  I don’t know about Puritan Nation.

Meanwhile, no news from the Colt 4….errr…’Stros today!

 

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From my pal Edward Ybarra: “Another Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP project), the Tony Marron Voter Registration Project (named after long-time Houston union organizer and voter registration activist), is registering voters for Southeast Houston and Pasadena.  I am the Coordinator and John Marron is the co-coordinator.  We have scheduled with the Houston Hispanic Forum Career Day to do voter registration this Saturday, January 9th at the George Brown Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Over 18,000 students, parents, presenters and volunteers are expected to attend.   We also have the approval of Pasadena ISD to do a voter registration presentation to their government (civics) classes and to register eligible young people. Tuesday night, the Tony Marron SVREP project met a Dot’s Coffee Shop on I-45 South to organize its steering committee.  Nine members of the community, including representatives of several electeds and a JP were present.  Two other voter outreach groups had representatives present seeking to partner with this project. The project is a 30 day project that will be working to register new voters through February 1 (deadline for those wanting to vote in the March 2nd party primaries).”

For more information contact Edward Ybarra at edybarra@yahoo.com .   

Way to go!

The eyes of Texas will be glued to the tube tonight as folks will get out of the freezing weather to watch the BCS game on Fox.

We get to see the new Mayor in action this evening as the hard freeze arrives.  Hope she stays warm.

From Tag’s Lines:  “When he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame, (Randy) Johnson will be one of a few Astros players to reach Cooperstown.  By the time Johnson gets in, Craig Biggio and perhaps Jeff Bagwell will have already taken their place, making them the first players to join the Hall who played their career entirely with the Astros.

“Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan played nine of his 27 seasons in Houston. Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Nellie Fox, Robin Roberts, Eddie Matthews and Don Sutton also played for the Astros.”

 

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HISD’s Yates High School basketball team put a hurt on Lee High 170 to 35 and now the Lee coach is crying foul.  According to the Chron, the Lee coach said “I feel very disrespected.”  Yates is one of the premier high school basketball teams in the U.S. of A.  Commentary’s advice to the Lee coach:  practice, practice, practice.

The Lone Star project folks put out a take yesterday propping certain statewide Dem candidates.  Not so fast replied the BurkaBlog.  Check it out.   Burkablog called the Lone Star claim “nonsense.”  I wonder what the Lone Star fella will say if The Kinkhole ends up on the statewide ticket.  I wonder if the former Travis County DA feels dissed, after all he did have a small hand in taking down DeLay.

That Dave Wilson fella that is running as a Dem for Harris County Commissioner is going to make it tough for Dem folks in that commissioner’s precinct to vote the (pardon the pun) straight ticket.

Applause goes to Rick Rodriguez, Hugo Mojica, and Ruby Ramirez for leading a local Latino voter registration project sponsored by the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project.  Last night a kick-off meeting was held at a local eatery that was attended by close to 20 folks.  For more info or if you want to volunteer contact buzzruby2day@yahooo.com, rickrodriguez09@yahoo.com, or hugomojica@aol.com

Former ‘Stro Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson is hanging up his cleats.  Those two months he was with us in 1998 were pretty exciting.  He went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA and struck out 116 in 84 1/3 innings.  I thought we were World Serious bound but got derailed by San Diego in the NLDS – drats!

 

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What a difference 18 years make.  At yesterday’s inaugural, former Mayor Kathy Whitmire way out did Mayor Bob on the applause meter.

Commentary had to check out the Inaugural Invitation to see if it read Garden Party Attire then I thought I heard Jolanda singing – “you see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself!”

The Mayor gave a pretty good speech though I thought the Inaugural Orchestra should have lightly chimed in with John Lennon’s tune when The Mayor started “imagining.” 

Who was the 2004 World Serious MVP?

Dave Wilson is now a Dem running in our Primary against GOP Commissioner Eversole!  Yikes!  There oughta be a law!  I don’t think I can call him a fellow Dem though.

By the way, Commentary will be helping out CM Jarvis Johnson in the CD 18 Dem Primary.  Check out the story in today’s Chron.  Stay tuned!

ManRoid of course!

Opening Day at The Yard versus the Giants and the NL Cy Young Award Winner is three months from today!

 

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Commentary will be at the City of H-Town Inaugural Ceremony this morning then wait to see who decides to run for something this afternoon – the last day to file.

It looks like labor leader Linda Chavez-Thompson will be getting in the race of Lite Guv in the Dem Primary.

On the Star Telegram’s website, there is a bit about this Alvarado fella that is running for the Dem nomination for Guv complaining that Dem Party folks want him to drop out of the race presumably because he would be pulling Latino votes away from Bill White in the March Dem Primary. Alvarado says he’s “disgusted” at the effort made to persuade him to exit the ballot.  Check it out.  The last things Dems need to be doing are getting this fella out of the race.  We’re going to need a good statewide Latino turnout in November of 2010 if we hope to win.  In the long run, we’re better served if the former H-Town Mayor starts having to directly engage the Latino voter during the Dem Primary.  If we get this Alvarado fella out of the primary, then it will be business as usual, where nothing is spent directly engaging the Latino voter in March.  Then we get to the general election where the Latino vote is the last item budgeted.  Then we get a low Latino turnout and then we get the same old results and our arses handed to us.

HISD’s controversial alternative school program got some more run in the Chron this past weekend.  Check it out.  The teachers’ union honcho and supporter of the current program says this:  “When a kid threatens a teacher’s life or physically assaults them, they’re not coming back to the classroom.  I don’t care if I have to sit their happy butts in (Superintendent) Grier’s office.”  Stay tuned!

Austin now has a ban on text messaging while driving.  I want to know why H-Town doesn’t have a ban.

Commentary also got a Baseball Trivia Desk Calendar that I’ll throw at folks this year.  For starters, “Who posted a .356 lifetime batting average but never won a batting title – Roger Hornsby, Bill Terry, Pie Traynor, Joe Jackson, or Stan Musial?  Which Hall of Famer was the first to hit two grand slams in a game – Babe Ruth, Roger Hornsby, Joe Jackson, Lou Gehrig, or Tony Lazzeri? 

Noble Ginther, Jr. left us a few days ago.  Noble ran for H-Town Mayor in 1977.  Commentary helped him out. In fact during that race, Muhammad Ali endorsed Noble and cut a cool radio ad with the “Rocky Theme” music in the background.  The campaign would only let the Ali ad run on African American radio even though I argued why not go on ahead and put it on other radio stations.  It was an interesting campaign because Noble was a new and fresh face.  I still have a pic of the Champ and Noble together.

The Texans stayed alive until around 9 pm last night then the Bengals tanked.  Well at least they are keeping the head coach which is a good thing.

Commentary saw a cool flick this weekend – “Avatar.”  Check it out!

“Shoeless Joe” Jackson and Tony Lazzeri – everybody knows that!

The ‘Stros first spring training game is two months from today against the Nationals.

 

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