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Archive for April, 2010

Local NASA Johnson Space Center supporters have reason to be worried this morning.  The President made his big NASA speech yesterday and H-Town’s JSC wasn’t mentioned.

Here’s what local GOP Congressman Pete Olson who represents the JSC had to say in today’s Chron:  “The only thing bold about this announcement today is the administration’s blatant focus on Florida.”

Hey Pete!  Joining with the GOP posse and going after The President might get you put on Rush’s and Former Governor Palin’s Christmas card list, but it could also cost a bunch of your hard working constituents their jobs.   Imagine Clear Lake without JSC. 

Here’s what the H-Town Mayor had to say:  “(The President’s) playing to a political audience (in Florida). I’m sure the folks in Florida may have been happy with what they heard, but I didn’t hear the word Texas at all.”

What did we expect?

Seven years ago, Tom DeLay was implementing a redistricting plan here in the Lone Star State that ended up dramatically altering the make-up of our state’s congressional delegation.    The Lone Star State’s GOP congressional delegation have been in lock step against everything The President has proposed.   Hutch and the Junior Senator have gone out of their way to crack on The President.  Guv Dude relishes in attacking The President and Washington. I guess demonizing The President for the past fifteen months does have a price.

It has been said on a few occasions that elections have consequences.  I don’t think the precincts around the JSC voted for The President.

I don’t think Cong. Olson, Hutch, the Junior Senator, Dude, and the rest of the local GOP have it in them to reach out to The President.  I don’t think they want to work with The President.  They’d rather crack on The President and if the JSC goes down the drain in the process, too bad.  You’ve got to change your evil ways, baby!

Since H-Town doesn’t have anyone in The White House that gives a rat’s arse about us, it looks like the H-Town Mayor is going to have to roll up her sleeves and do some heavy lifting on this matter.   The Mayor has a lot on her plate these days.   Now she is going to have to step in and try to fix the problem that was created by the GOP.

Yesterday, MLB players wore the retired Number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson.  Who was the last ‘Stro to wear the Number 42?

Serge gave me a call yesterday to talk about some of the first names that Latino ballplayers have.  Where do they think up these?  Check them out:  Wilton Lopez (HOU), Wandy Rodriguez (HOU),  Dioner Navarro (TB), Merkin Valdez (TOR), Yunel Escobar (ATL), Melky Cabrera (ATL), Renyel Pinto (FLA), Anibal Sanchez (FLA), Hanley Ramirez (FLA), Johan Santana (NYM), Danys Baez (PHI), and Wilson Valdez (PHI).

Jose Lima of course during his Lima Time days wore the Number 42 from 1997 to 2001.

At 3:14 pm yesterday the ‘Stros recorded their first win of the season – whew!  Now it’s on to Wrigley for three afternoon games!

 

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A few days ago, the folks in charge of security at the Lone Star State Capitol said they would be installing metal detectors to keep weapons out.    It turns out you can still carry rifles into the Capitol – yikes!

Here’s from today’s Statesman:  “Under current state law, so-called ’long guns’ — rifles, shotguns and the like — will remain legal in the domed landmark if they are carried openly, in a non-threatening way.”

What the heck is a non-threatening way?

Here’s what The Dean said in the same article:  “Texas is pretty gun-friendly, so even though it may not make sense to be able to legally carry a rifle or shotgun into the Capitol, that’s the way it is.  There’s not a lot of wildlife in the Capitol that needs to be hunted, although occasionally there may be a couple of squirrels running around up there."

I wonder if The Dean’s squirrels have names.

Some folks put out their endorsements before Tuesday’s Harris County Democratic Party run-off.  Here’s how they did:  GLBT 3-2, Coalition of Harris County Democratic Elected Officials 3-1, Chron E-Board 2-2.

Now that the line-ups are set for the big November election showdowns across the state, I sure am glad the election isn’t anytime soon.  With all the coverage the Tea Baggers are getting and with recent polling showing Dems aren’t doing too good we’d get our arses run for sure.   Right now the other side is more fired up if you ask me, of course, they don’t ask me anymore.

From the One of the Most Important Dates of the 20th Century Department:  63 years ago today, Jackie Robinson took the field as a Brooklyn Dodger at Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves breaking the color barrier in MLB.  What position did he play?  Who was the first pitcher he faced?  Who was managing the Dodgers?

I’ll give you a hint on the manager.  Here’s what he had to say to a few of the Dodgers who thought about boycotting Robinson’s debut:  "I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a fu___n’ zebra. I’m the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What’s more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded."

Take that!

Jackie Robinson of course started at first base, he faced Johnny Sain, and Leo Durocher was the skipper.

The oh and eight ‘Stros take the field today and many of them will be wearing Jackie Robinson’s Numero 42 which is now retired.  Maybe wearing the Numero 42 will give them confidence because Hunter Pence looks like he is lost at the plate.  Numero 45 and Matsui don’t appear to be aggressive.  Now, I think it is time to send J.R. Towles and his .056 batting average to Round Rock and bring up our 2008 Number One draft choice Jason Castro.    I sure hope there isn’t any breaking news this afternoon on CNN because the ‘Stros game will be on as I’ll have my fingers crossed hoping to avoid tying the club record of nine straight losses to start the season – ouch!

 

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Commentary was watching Tiger on the tube this past Saturday and he hit a shot not to his liking and dropped a few cuss words on live TV that CBS was airing.  This past Monday, CBS’s Master coverage anchor Jim Nantz was on a New York City radio sports talk show.   On the talk show, Nantz was very critical of Tiger for cussing on the air.  Wait a minute pal!   I sat there watching this past Saturday and after Tiger dropped the choice words I actually waited for the CBS fellas to say something or put out a disclaimer or tell the TV audience to send the kids to another room.  The only thing I heard was something like Tiger didn’t like his shot.  Maybe CBS didn’t say anything about Tiger’s talk this past weekend because that without his arse on the golf course, not very many folks would be interested in watching the golf tournament.  I think it is kind of lame for Nantz to take his shot at Tiger a couple of days after the fact.

When folks say your one vote will make the difference, take it to the bank.  In yesterday’s Harris County Democratic Primary run-off, two races for precinct chair ended in 5-4 vote counts.  In one race there was I under vote, in the other there were 3 under votes.  Of course, the last thing I want to do is be critical of our precinct chairs, but they must have not have done a whole lot of campaigning if only 10 out of 1,532 voted in one precinct and 12 out of 3,694 voted in another.

Fifty-five years ago today, Elston Howard took the field as a Yankee at Fenway Park making the Yankees the thirteenth MLB team to integrate.  This happened just a day shy of the eighth anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB.   In those days there were only 16 teams in the MLB.  Name the last three to integrate?

Pete Rose turns 69 today and is still not in the Hall of Fame.

Marvin Miller who should be in the Hall of Fame is 93 today.  Miller, who has probably never had a baseball card made of him, was the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association.  He’s for sure one of the reasons we fork over close to eight bucks for a beer at The Yard.  He definitely had an impact on the economics of MLB.

The Tigers, Red Sox, and Phillies of course were the last to integrate.

The ‘Stros continue to try for their first win of the season as Commentary anxiously waits for word that Jason Castro will soon join the team!

 

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The Chron’s lead story today is about the Astrodome and how much Harris County taxpayers still owe on some remodeling ($19 to $32 mil) and how much it costs to run ($2 mil per year) – ouch!   Of course, the City of H-Town inspectors say it can’t be occupied these days unless certain repairs are made.  So it just sits there.   Check out the story.

At the end of the piece, there is a mention on bringing in the old wrecker ball.   Of course tearing down the Dome would also cost a lot of money because you would probably have to spend a lot of dough removing all the asbestos and stuff.  So far all the proposals to redevelop have fizzled.  It’s not going to be a hotel, a multiplex, a movie studio, a parking garage, a museum, an amusement park, a water park, an indoor ski run, an aquarium, a mega church, a haunted house, or a bowling alley.  Commentary would like to know how much it would cost to tear it down.  Then maybe we could have a serious debate on what to do.

How many of the ‘Stros regulars are either “on the interstate” or “off the map?”

A bonus – when was the ‘Stros best attendance year at The Dome?

Did you know that in 35 seasons at the Dome, the ‘Stros average fan attendance was 1,498,595.   In the ten years at The Yard, the attendance is averaging 2,816,892 fans. 

“On the interstate” is Pence who is batting .120 (I-20), Numero 45 at .111 (I-11), Blum at .190 (I-90), and Matsui at .154 (I-54).  Towles is “off the map” hitting .063.   No wonder we’re 0-7.

Pam-In-Charge’s “A Season to Remember” final year at the Dome in 1999 brought in 2,706,017 fans.

Hunter Pence is celebrating BD 27 today and the ‘Stros have the day off which means, when I wake up tomorrow morning we won’t be 0-8 but still 0-7 – drats!

 

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This weekend marked the first one hundred days of the Annise Parker Administration and Commentary has to give her an A Plus so far.  The Chron also had a piece this weekend on The Mayor.  Check it out. 

I could talk about how she is dealing with the budget problems she inherited,  how she is handling METRO, her appointments, trying to keep NASA, and the fact that she got the Downtown Soccer Stadium moving, but I am more impressed with her straight talk.  What she says is what you get.  There isn’t a whole lot of reading between the lines or going to the old political code book and trying to decipher her statements.   In a sense it is kind of refreshing.    She’s now running the city, she owns it now, she has tough budget challenges, and she’s not bullshi__ing us. 

On a related note, my pal Bill King had an Op-Ed  about one of the Mayor’s decisions in yesterday’s Chron. Check it out.

This past weekend, George P. Bush, 41’s grandson and 43’s nephew got some run in the Fort Worth paper about a GOP Latino group he is organizing.  That is interesting.  Maybe he can get the GOP to stop picking on paperless folks.  Stay tuned!

The ‘Stros are off to a miserable 0-6 start.  What has been our best start ever?

“As coroner I must aver, I thoroughly examined her, And she’s not only merely dead, she’s really most sincerely dead.”

Meinhardt Raabe, who played the Munckin coroner in “The Wizard of Oz” and proclaimed in the movie that the Wicked Witch of the East was “really most sincerely dead,” has died. He was 94.

It wasn’t too pretty for Commentary at The Yard this weekend either.  Saturday night I was in a heated debate with a Phiilie fan and wasn’t paying attention and got nailed in the rib cage by a Chase Ultley lined foul ball.   I still have the purple bruise – ouch!

The ‘Stros went 6-0 in 1987 of course and ended up 76-86.

‘Stros catcher J.R. Towles is batting .067.  I don’t think he will be around much longer as the ‘Stros take their first road trip today.

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At last night’s HISD School Board Meeting, trustees fired a school principal and several employees for cheating, stealing, and nepotism – allegedly.   The results of an investigation might be turned over to the Harris County DA.

The Chron’s columnist today has a piece on the investigation and a call HISD School Superintendent Terry Grier received from Cong. Sheila Jackson Lee on the matter.  Rep. Jackson Lee wanted the superintendent to halt the investigation.  Rep. Jackson Lee also told the superintendent that she wanted to help him pick some of the folks that were overseeing certain schools – yikes!  Check out the column.

Also check out today’s Chron article on last night’s decision.  The principal had been demoted back in 2005 for issues related to cheating, but political pressure on the school board got her reinstated by one vote.  I’m guessing that the evidence was too overwhelming this time around because only one school board member voted against the dismissal.

Let’s see now.  The superintendent has been in office around seven months and with his school board’s backing he’s reorganized the administration.  He’s fired some folks despite the protestations of a few like Rep. Jackson Lee.  He’s put in some accountability measures.  He’s told the teacher recruiters to be more aggressive and go nationwide.  He’s reviewing the alternative schools program.  He’s made some serious budget and personnel cuts. 

So far the only serious opposition he’s encountered has been the Houston Federation of Teachers.  Nobody else in town seems to have a problem with what is going on at HISD.  If they do have a problem, they haven’t gone public.

Sooner or later the superintendent will step on the wrong toes and the-you-know-what will hit the fan, but for now, Commentary thinks he’s doing OK.  Stay tuned!

Today marks 45 years since we took the field as ‘Stros in the Dome against the Yankees on April 9, 1965.  Who won that inaugural game?

Check out the following by Brian McTaggart / MLB.com

“Nearly 16 months after Major League Baseball, the city of Houston and the Astros announced plans to build the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy, the project is set for its grand opening Saturday.  The ribbon-cutting will take place at 11 a.m. CT at Sylvester Turner Park on Houston’s north side, with local politicians, Major League Baseball officials and players and staff from the Astros on hand to assist with the opening of the facility, which is the second of its kind.”

“The Academy will have a show field; permanent seating for 500 fans, with space for an additional 1,800 fans; dugouts and lights; one auxiliary field; two Little League/softball fields; and 1,500 square feet of office space and other facilities.”

"’It’s truly been a team effort thus far, and the Houston Astros and the Astros In Action Foundation look forward to making a significant impact through the Urban Youth Academy programs and activities for many years to come,’ said Marian Harper, Astros vice president for foundation development. ‘Year-round baseball and softball instruction, youth teams and leagues and educational programs will be offered at the Academy, which will provide a great place for our children to learn about all opportunities available to them on the field and in the front office.’"

State Rep. Sylvester Turner, Astros owner Drayton McLane and president of business operations Pam Gardner, Mayor Annise Parker, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and MLB’s president and chief operating officer Bob Dupuy, executive vice president of baseball operations Jimmie Lee Solomon, Astros manager Brad Mills, and third-base coach Dave Clark will be on hand, along with former Houston players Jimmy Wynn, Larrry Dierker and Enos Cabell and current Astros outfielder Michael Bourn. Astros president of baseball operations Tal Smith and general manager Ed Wade will also attend.

"’Most of the work is done and we’re ready to roll,’ Gardner said. ‘It’s going to be a lot of work, but we’re ready for it.’"

“The Astros and Major League Baseball teamed to donate $600,000 to the project, a number matched by former Mayor Bill White and the city of Houston. The Astros and MLB also agreed to assume the costs and run the facility for the next 10 years.”

Meanwhile, Tiger never ceases to amaze. 

The ‘Stros won 2-1 of course as we went on to have a 65-97 year and 2,151,470 went to watch the team play in  the Dome that year.

The Phillies are in for three this weekend and tomorrow’s game will be played in 1965 uniforms – cool!

 

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One of the Statesman’s political writers has an interesting take on the November election today.  Here’s how it starts out.

“Democrats all over Texas this year will grapple with a familiar question: How tightly, if at all, should they embrace their national party?  The question is particularly important for their gubernatorial nominee, Bill White, because Republican Gov. Rick Perry has so effectively turned his own campaign into a referendum on Washington Democrats. If White can’t change that narrative, he’ll probably lose.”     Here is the article.

Here’s how it ends:

“White’s job is to make such a compelling case against Perry that voters don’t care that he belongs to the president’s party. It sounds simple. But Perry is a master at framing a race, and we don’t yet know the overriding theme of White’s campaign. If he wants to win, he should leave no doubt as to what that theme is.”

If Dems start running from or distancing themselves from The President, then we can pretty much guarantee that a lot of our base won’t be enthused and will stay home.

I know it is important to keep folks like Thomas Jefferson in our textbooks, but Thomas Jefferson isn’t going to get Latinos voters to the polls.

Unless there is significant progress on immigration reform, a lot of Latino voters will stay home on Election Day.

The ‘Stros are a disappointing 0-3 after being swept by the Giants.  What is our worst or slowest start in team history or rather how many losses did we endure before we won our first game?

The City of H-Town announced more cuts in services yesterday.  A number of city libraries will not be open on Saturdays.  Stay tuned!

Speaking of, Fort Bend ISD and Houston ISD are laying off a combined 800 or so folks – ouch!

Commentary will be heading over to Moody Park today with my posse to vote for Bruce Kessler and a few others – be there!

Commentary will switch to ESPN this afternoon to watch Tiger. 

‘Stros catcher J.R. Towles is batting a measly .125.  I hope Jason Castro hasn’t plunked down a deposit for rent out in Round Rock.

The ‘Stros started out 0-9 in 1983 but ended up going 85-77.    This is the 11th time in team history that a team has started out at 0-3.   We have today off – whew!

 

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Once again Commentary has to applaud The H-Town Mayor for taking the bull by the horns and being decisive.  The Chron’s lead story is about hiking the cost of our water and sewer rates.   Check it out.

We have to do it which means I’ll be forking over a few more bucks per month.  Apparently our water system has been operating in the red for years – huh!  In reading the article, we should have raised the rates a couple of years ago.  It probably would have been a lot easier on the pocketbook for some folks back then.

In fact, here’s from the article:  “(New) Councilman Oliver Pennington asked why the city did not raise rates sooner, when deficits were apparent. ‘I just wonder what you guys were thinking,’ he said.”

I think we all know the answer to Oliver’s question.

At least The Mayor is doing what has to be done to make sure the system doesn’t fall apart.

Speaking of, the lead story in Chron’s City & State section is about The H-Town Mayor wanting Houston’s METRO to restore the public’s trust in the agency.  The Mayor’s new board appointees get sworn in today. I guess their first order of business is to unplug the paper shredders.  The second order of business is figuring out a way to say adios to the CEO.   Good luck!

What was the big happening in H-Town ten years ago today?

Thanks to the leadership of The H-Town Mayor and CM James Rodriguez, this morning the City Council will finalize its part of the Downtown Soccer Stadium deal. Way to go!

The Chron’s Columnist devotes his piece today to a plea to Hutch for one more flip flop.   Check it out.   He wants her to head to the center and take a prominent role in the immigration reform effort.  Commentary doesn’t think that is going to happen.  After all, the hits she took in her own primary left her pretty much punch drunk.  If she is not into her current gig, how can we expect her to lead?

41,583 were on hand for the Official Opening Day Game of course as the ‘Stros hosted the Phillies but still lost 4-1 on April 7, 2000.  Randy Wolf (who later played for the ‘Stros and is now a Brewer) was the starting pitcher for the Phiilies and Octavio Dotel (who now pitches for the Pirates) started for the ‘Stros.  Scott Rolen (who now plays with the Reds) had the first official dinger in the top of the seventh.  Richard Hidalgo (who is now out of the game) had the first ‘Stros dinger in the bottom of the seventh.

We’re dingerless through two games as the ‘Stros try to get win Numero Uno this afternoon against the Giants.  Get well soon The Big Puma!

 

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The Commission of the National Museum of the American Latino will determine where to have the American Latino Museum. The Museum will also be affiliated with the Smithsonian.  Cities like LA, SA, Chicago, and now Austin are throwing their hat in the ring.  Of course, most Latinos didn’t even know we had a Commission that was studying this.

It is a 23 member group that includes 2 folks from the Lone Star State, both from SA including Eva Longoria Parker.  The President, Speaker, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader appointed the bunch which explains why there weren’t any Latinos from H-Town.  H-Town Latinos don’t have any stroke in DC but what else is news. 

If they do decide to build it, I say build it in DC.

What deal did Ed Wade turn down in 2006 involving the 2002 Al Cy Young Award winner?

Last night the ‘Stros introduced one of those races kind of like the wiener run in Milwaukee.  Ours involved Taco Bell sauce packets.  I don’t know about that.  They look more like pop tarts to me..

Well I guess the ‘Stros won’t be going 162-0 this year.  Let’s see now, last night last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum had the ‘Stros batters  in handcuffs, tied up, and gave them a good spanking, just like an RNC expense account – ouch!

In 2006, the Oakland A’s offered Barry Zito to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, Ryan Madson, and Chase Utley.  Then Phillies GM Ed Wade said the price was too high and said no thanks and the rest is history. 

Barry Zito goes tonight against Wandy in Game 2 of the season.

 

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This will be our 11th season playing Major League Baseball in Downtown H-Town – wow! Meanwhile, the Astrodome still sits out there gathering dust and cobwebs.  Nobody has the political courage to do the right thing.  Every now and then someone will step forward and propose to turn the Dome into a museum, an indoor snow ski jump, a casino, a movie studio, a hotel, a parking garage, a water park, or an amusement park.  Like someone told me this weekend, if they can tear down old Yankee Stadium, they can tear down the Dome.  That’s the only political comment I’ll make today.

Who was the last team the ‘Stros played in the Dome?

Pam-In-Charge gets a knuckle bump and high five today after the first pitch is thrown by Roy O as she enters her 10th year as the President of Business Operations for the Houston Astros.  Of course, she’s the highest ranking woman in MLB and also one of Commentary’s closest friends.  Way to go Pam Gardner!  Way to go Drayton!

The Chron has the ‘Stros going 77-85 this year.  I don’t know about that.

In the NL West, the Chron has it Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, D-Backs, and Padres.

In our NL Central, the Chron says Cards, Cubbies, Reds, ‘Stros, Brew Crew, and Bucs.  I don’t know about that.

Four of the Chron’s sports writers made their predictions yesterday and none have the ‘Stros in the play-offs.  I don’t know about that.

Dante stole the show this past Saturday at Fan Fest when he beat out the experts at the Fan Fest Trivia contest by naming the NL Pitcher who was the strikeout leader for three seasons in the 80’s – Steve Carlton of course.  Dante also won for naming the only MLBer who started at least 500 games at five different positions during his career – Pete Rose of course. 

It looks like the price of a St. Arnold at The Yard tonight will not be going up – whew!  They will also be selling Prince’s Hamburgers and Blue Bell Ice Cream.

The ATL of course on Saturday, October 9, 1999 when they eliminated us in Game 4 of the NLDS.

Commentary will be making it to Opening Day with Bethany Arnold tonight as Roy O faces last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and the Giants.

 

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