Archive for January, 2011

Leave it to H-Town CM Jolanda Jones to have things stirred up – allegedly!

Here is what the Chron is saying this morning:

In her latest run-in with Houston firefighters, Councilwoman Jolanda Jones drew a flurry of criticism over the weekend after she allegedly used obscene language and suggested that firefighters were lazy during a fire station visit on Friday.    Check out the story.

A number of local TV stations also carried the story this past weekend. 

It is going to be interesting to see if there will be an investigation on this matter so stay tuned!

Guv Dude continues to show his arrogance.  Here is what he said in today’s SA Express News/Chron:

"You couldn’t spend enough to make some of those groups happy.  The ‘Center of too many Ps’ is a great example. They don’t think you can spend enough money."

Dude is talking about The Center for Public Policy Priorities of course.  The Center advocates for those in need. 

Of those of the Top Ten MLB All Time Career Dinger List, how many are African American?

Muhammad Ali is 69 today.  Happy Birthday Champ!

The First Lady is 47 today.   Happy Birthday First Lady!

Commentary checked out the Golden Globes last night.  “Barney’s Version”, “In a Better World”, “Sons of Anarchy”, “The Big C”, “Carlos”, and “Temple Grandin” are winners I had never heard of.  I gotta get out more.

Five out of the Top Ten MLB All Time Career Dinger List of course are African American:  #1 Barry Bonds (762), #2 Hank Aaron (755), #4 Willie Mays (660), #5 Ken Griffey (630), and #9 Frank Robinson (586).

I’m not going to say anything about last year’s “Stros’ top draft pick who spent a couple of hours in jail this past weekend. 


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I don’t think anyone was surprised to hear Hutch’s announcement yesterday that she’s not running in 2012.  After last year’s arse whupping by Guv Dude, she was pretty much left as road kill, so much so that the Tea Baggers were already circling whatever was left of her political carcass and picking away.   Now Hutch will spend the next 23 months going around the state and picking up all these meritorious service plaques from local chambers of commerce, Rotary Clubs, Pachyderm Clubs, and trade associations, blah, blah, blah.   I will be real disappointed if any Latino organizations steps up to give her any positive recognition after she screwed over The DREAMERS.

Meanwhile, the race to replace her in the GOP has already begun.  Two things are certain in the GOP race.  There will be a lot of Tea Bagger arse kissing and there will be an abundance of Latino bashing.

Here is a bit from today’s Chron:

"Senators come and go. Leaders never die," said Alberto P. Cardenas Jr., an attorney with Vinson & Elkins and former general counsel to Hutchison. "Since her first day representing Texans in the U.S. Senate, Kay Bailey Hutchison has served, led, delivered, inspired and earned our respect."

I think Beto’s praise is way over the top if you ask me.   I don’t call walking away from The DREAMERS leadership.

Meanwhile, the GOP race for U.S. Senate will certainly have an impact on the current legislative session.  Stay tuned!

Pitcher Jordan Lyles who is a non-roster invitee to the ‘Stros Spring Training Camp next month was a First Round Supplemental Pick in the 2008 MLB Amateur Player Draft taken as the 38th player overall by the ‘Stros.  Name the two players on the current ‘Stros roster that were drafted in Round 1 of the 2008 Draft?

Former State Comptroller John Sharp is the only Dem being mentioned as a candidate for U.S. Senate.  He has between now and March of 2012 to figure out how he will respond to being labeled Obama/Sharp. 

Catcher Jason Castro of course was drafted by the ‘Stros in 2008 as the Number 10 overall pick and First Baseman Brett Wallace of course was drafted by the Cardinals in 2008 as the Number 13 overall pick.  Wallace joined the ‘Stros last summer as part of the Roy O. trade. 

Plenty of ‘Stros players and front office folks will be at tonight’s Houston Baseball Dinner at the Hilton Americasand that’s all I have from The Yard.


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Commentary was watching the H-Town City Council Meeting on the tube yesterday as Council was taking the first steps on moving forward on City Council redistricting.  It looks like the professional team the City has signed off on to assist in this endeavor includes a prominent redistricting law firm out of Austin, a noted local redistricting expert, some folks from UH and Rice, and some folks from TSU.  H-Town CM Wanda Adams proclaimed that “everyone was at the table.”  I’d like to know her definition of “everyone.”

The City’s largest population group wasn’t hired on to sit at the table.  That’s too bad since at the 2009 Houston Area Latino Summit Mayoral Debate, Latinos were promised a seat at the table.  It looks like Latinos are being shut out of the process.  The City could have gone to CMAS over at UH to get them to participate or they could have gone to folks over at UH-Downtown and find qualified Latino experts.  I would hate to think that folks over at City Hall are still mad at Latinos over the Port Commission deal.

Well, it looks like the Latino community is just going to have to work harder and be more forceful during the City’s redistricting process.  Stay tuned!
By the way, here is the Chron story on yesterday’s Council meeting.

Commentary watched The President’s speech last night and when the program started, the orchestra struck up the National Anthem.  The President, The First Lady, Astronaut Mark Kelly, and Intern Daniel Hernandez, were all singing to the tune.  Standing right behind them was GOP Arizona Senator John Kyl with his lips sealed.  Hey, maybe he forgot the words.

The Baseball Writers Association of American trotted out their Inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947.  Back then, one award was presented for both leagues.  Who won the inaugural 1947 Rookie of the Year?

Guv Dude was pressed yesterday by reporters to name the Lone Star State’s sanctuary cities.  Dude pulled the old “no comment.”   It’s a phony issue and he knows it but that’s not going to keep him from throwing red meat every now and then over the next 137 joyous days to his rabid base.   It is called Latino baiting if you ask me.  Show us the sanctuary cities, Dude!

Jackie Robinson of course won the first Rookie of the Year Award back in 1947.

Bits from a ‘Stros press release yesterday:

Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jordan Lyles (RHP) and Minor League Player of the Year J.D. Martinez (OF) are among 10 players added to the list of non-roster invitees to Spring Training, General Manager Ed Wade announced today.

The Astros have now invited 22 non-roster players overall to Spring Training, which is scheduled to begin on February 16 for pitchers and catchers and February 20 for position players. The Astros will once again hold Spring Training camp at the Osceola County Stadium complex in Kissimmee, FL, where they have been since 1985.

In addition to Lyles and Martinez, Wade announced today that the following players have also received invitations to camp: left-handed pitcher Patrick Urckfitz; catcher Rene Garcia; infielders Koby Clemens and Jiovanni Mier; outfielders Jon Gaston, Drew Locke, J.B. Shuck and T.J. Steele.

Since Koby Clemens will be at Spring Training, expect The Rocket to show up and be a distraction.


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Leave it up to Guv Dude to throw the hounds off of the budget scent and declare doing away with sanctuary cities as a legislative emergency on the first day of the legislative session.  If at first you don’t succeed, blame it on the Pedros.

Here is what fell out of Dude’s piehole yesterday:

Next, we must abolish sanctuary city rules and free up our peace officers to do their job keeping our families and neighborhoods safe.

Immigration laws and their enforcement are the responsibility of the federal government we cannot compound their failure by preventing Texas peace officers from doing their jobs.

We must empower officers to apply their training, experience and judgment to enforcing the laws by keeping municipalities from tying their hands.

Screw fixing the budget.  Let’s do away with sanctuary cities proclaimed Guv Dude.  Commentary did a little checking to find out who are the sanctuary cities in the Lone Star State and I ran across the Sanctuary Cities Resource Site and the following are on the list.  A badge of honor if you ask me:

Austin, Baytown, Brownsville, Channelview, Denton, Dallas, El Cenizo, Ft. Worth, H-Town, Katy, Laredo, League City, McAllen, Port Arthur, and San Antonio.

So what does Dude have in store for us?  Is he going to send in the Texas Rangers and haul all of us off and stuff us into JerryWorld and make us go through some sort of indoctrination sessions? Is he going to pick on us and raise our sales taxes to help plug the budget hole?  Is he going to outlaw restaurants in our communities?  Is he going to quarantine us and restrict us from traveling to other parts of the state?   Is he going to cut off our highway, public education, and higher education funds?  Is he going to make us listen to the audio version of his book?  Is he going to impose regional marshal law here and name Riddle-Me-This as our Provisional Leader?  Is he going to jam our airwaves where here in H-Town we will only be able to watch Fox News and listen to KTRH and KSEV radio?

Hey Dude, you just spent the last 12 months whining about the federal government imposing its will on state government.  The same applies here.  Why don’t you just let the cities run themselves and get off their backs on how they handle their own business?  You’ve been watching way too many old westerns.  We’re not some sort of Hole-In-The-Wall hideaway where paperless folks come in and are kept in our basements until the ICEman moves on to the next community.

Who holds the career records for most Gold Glove Awards won?

Stoking up anti-Latino fervor is an old stand-by weapon that is used by Dude and the GOP on a regular basis.  It gets their base to start salivating.  When the details of the 2010 census are released next month and it show tremendous Latino population growth across the board, Dude’s team will get some rabid supporter to spew out crap along the lines that paperless folks make up the population increase and so there is no need to increase health care and education funding.  This will be an attempt to get folks to take their eye off of the ball, err budget debate.  Since we can’t count on the impotent Texas Democratic Party to be effective in this debate, it is going to be up to the Lone Star State’s Latino leaders and organizations to hold Dude’s feet to the fire, or rather fight fire with fire.

NL pitcher Greg Maddux of course has won 18 Gold Glove Awards.

Speaking of, the Chron’s Columnist is now calling Dude “Governor Sunshine.” 

You know Dude’s arrogant when he referred to the legislative session as “140 joyous days” – huh!

On the first day of session, my true Dude gave to me……

This is what Numero 45 has to say on the ‘Stros website today:

"I’ve been working out since December, so I’m in good shape and mentally ready to go.  I’ve got a lot to prove to myself. I know I’m way better than the season I had last year and I know I’m still capable of doing a lot. I’m looking at the 2011 season to come out and prove to everybody I’m still a good player."


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That’s what the Texas House GOP Caucus told the Texas Tea Party yesterday as they decided to stick with the Texas House Speaker.  The Tea Party got a punk and chump job from the GOP House Caucus – love it.  Thanks for helping them get twenty plus new GOP House members and a super majority, but leave the driving to the GOP Caucus.  And Tea Party members thought they were actually going to govern.  How does it feel to be used?

Guv Dude is so arrogant he doesn’t even know it is raining.  According to today’s Chron, he’s not going to touch the state’s Rainy Day Fund to deal with the huge budget deficits.  Here’s what he said:

"We don’t have shortfalls in Texas. … You couldn’t spend enough to make some of those groups happy."

Sorry Dude, but “those groups” are older folks, school children, and college students. 

A lot of folks are waiting to hear from Governor Palin these days.  Her silence is getting a lot of run.  What does she think now of using crosshairs imagery in political campaigns?  I think it is kind of interesting in that Governor Palin now finds herself in the crosshairs of the current political debate on gun violence.  She asked for it if you ask me.

What major rule change was enacted in the MLB 38 years ago today?

I have very little to say about DeLay because he’s yesterday’s news. I do find it interesting though that we didn’t hear much of a response on the sentencing from GOP elected officials or leaders.  Let’s call it a cowardly silence or no comment.

The Designated Hitter (DH) was ushered in of course by the MLB owners on January 11, 1973 and the rest is baseball history.

From the ‘Stros website today:

Astros general manager Ed Wade will be among those in the baseball community who will travel to Tucson on Thursday to attend the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was among the six people killed in a mass shooting on Saturday.

Green is the daughter of Dodgers scout John Green and the granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green, who was the team’s senior advisor while Wade was the GM of the Phillies. Wade also goes back more than two decades with John Green.

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"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous.  And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

The above are the words from the Pima County, Arizona Sheriff this past Saturday afternoon.  I couldn’t agree with him more. A lot of folks across the U.S. of A. fuel this frenzy.  They spew their venom on cable TV, talk radio, the internet and then go home and have dinner with their families.  It is going to be interesting to see how those folks react to the sheriff today.

Yesterday and today there was a lot of talk about “toning down the rhetoric.”  That would be nice.  Tone it down, please.

The Chron had a piece yesterday on Paul Bettencourt and a possible run for H-Town Mayor.  I wonder if the H-Town Mayor was laughing her arse off while she was reading the piece during breakfast yesterday morning.   Here is the piece.

I don’t think the fella will jump into the race because he would finally have to be for something.  No more sitting in the bleachers criticizing other folks.  He would have to say how he would balance the budget, recommend cuts, and identify fees to raise.  The fella has never had to cast a budget vote and now he would have to lay out a plan of action.   I don’t see him doing that.  He’ll just continue to snipe from the sidelines.

The first time a World Series was played entirely on AstroTurf was when?

Starting today you can also get your daily Lone Star State Legislative Session takes from my pal Robert Miller at http://llbl.blogspot.com .  Robert is lobbyist and also a former Chair of the METRO Board.   Robert is one of the brightest fellas in politics these days.  I’m sure his takes will be informative.

Commentary checked out “True Grit” this past weekend.  Check it out to see an outstanding performance from young Hailee Steinfeld, a for sure Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee.

Meanwhile, the Chron has a piece today on how the U.S. of A. will be looking at how the Lone Star State handles their budget woes.  Here is a line in the piece from the noted SMU political scientist:

"Given complete Republican control and given their stated goal of balancing the budget solely by cutting and maybe by limited increases in fees – if they can do that, it would be something that the national Republican party will take note of. And it will certainly increase Rick Perry’s stature, not just his visibility."  Check out the piece.

Hey. Guv Dude asked for the attention so now he’s on the clock.

In 1980, the Philadelphia Phillies squared off against the Kansas City Royals of course for the first World Serious played entirely on AstroTurf.  Dallas Green was the skipper for the Phillies who took the Royals in six. 

This morning Dallas Green is mourning the death of his granddaughter, nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was one of the six Tucson shooting victims.   Little Christina became interested in politics during The President’s 2008 campaign.

On the ‘Stros website there is a piece about the ‘Stros skipper going to Panama to check up on Numero 45.  I’m sure they strategized about getting the Caballitos to start returning to The Yard this season.


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Commentary tries to make it a point to watch H-Town City Council meetings on the tube and The Mayor’s press availability afterwards.  This past Wednesday a reporter asked The Mayor about Paul Bettencourt being mentioned as a possible mayoral candidate, err opponent this November.  The Mayor’s instinctive response was a loud you-gotta-be-kidding-me laugh.  In other words, she didn’t take it seriously – classic. 

Soon to be former State Rep. Ellen Cohen says she might be interested in running for H-Town City Council in District C, maybe.  Of course, we’re going to have to go through city council district redistricting this year to see what the districts will look like.

Jeff Bagwell ranks #27 in all-time career bases-on-balls (walks) with 1,401.  Name the only two active MLBers that rank ahead of Baggy?

The President has him a new Chief-of-Staff and some pundits claim the left isn’t too happy –huh!  The name Daley is as Democrat as you can get.  Bill Daley served under Bill Clinton.  He was Chair of the Gore-Lieberman campaign.  He is A-Okay with me and last I heard, nobody has snatched away my liberal cred.

Katie Couric is 54 today.  Happy Birthday Katie who never needs touching up!

Fundraising for H-Town city races begins in 24 days.  It will be interesting to see those candidates that want to run in the soon-to-be-vacant seats like Districts B and C and the soon-to-be-created districts J and K posture and solicit funds and support since they really won’t know what the districts will look like until maybe March or April. Stay tuned!

Jim Thome (Twins last season, now free agent) of course is #9 all-time with 1,679 bases-on balls and Chipper Jones (Braves) of course is #25 all-time with 1,404 bases-on-balls.

It’s a good thing the ‘Stros signed some infielders a few weeks ago as Jeff Keppinger will undergo surgery and will be out a few months. 



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Commentary has said it before.  You can go through most Campaign and Expenditure Reports and find a few mistakes or more.   The GOP Texas House Speaker is the latest to get nailed as the bunch up in the Conroe area filed a big complaint on how The Speaker reports and discloses his campaign contributions and expenditures.  Check out the Chron story.

This is an admitted attempt by the far right to derail The Speaker.

Here a few lines from the Chron piece:

J.D. Pauerstein, a lawyer representing Texans For Joe Straus, dismissed the complaints.


The expense descriptions are similar to those in previous campaign finance reports, Pauerstein said. The Ethics Commission has never objected, he said.

Either these are bad talking points or The Speaker needs a new lawyer.   For the most part, the only thing the staff of the Ethics Commission does is make sure you turn in your report on time and act on complaints.  They don’t go over and review every report that is submitted.  They don’t have enough staff to perform that function.  That gets done by the so called “watchdogs.”

Word of advice:  The more popular, vocal, or newsworthy the office holder/candidate, the more likely a complaint will be filed against you.  It just goes with the territory.

Commentary was watching the pompous columnist George Will this past Sunday morning and the topic of discussion turned to the 2012 GOP Presidential primary.  Will was touting the candidacy of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.  Yesterday Daniels was interviewed by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.  The questioning turned to the deficit ballooning while Mitchell served as 43’s Budget Director.  Daniels stumbled and stammered to find a response on how the deficit got out of hand after they took office and inherited the Clinton budget surpluses.  If you ask me, Governor Mitchell is definitely not ready for the big stage.

In 1994, Jeff Bagwell was voted the NL MVP.  Who was the runner-up?

Bonus; In 1999, Jeff Bagwell was the NL MVP runner-up.   Who was the 1999 NL MVP?

Commentary got reminded yesterday by my pal Orel Fitzsimmons that his daughter Emma Graves Fitzsimmons is covering the Chicago mayoral race for the New York Times.  That’s cool.

I’m not going to say anything about the top 3 picks of the 2006 NFL Draft.  Mario Williams of the Texans is part of a very bad defense, he is not happy with the system the new defensive coordinator is going to install, and he has never played in a play-off game.   Vince Young is looking for a new team.  At least Reggie Bush has a Super Bowl ring and spent some time keeping up with the Kardashians.

I’m not going to say anything about Jeff Bagwell getting the snub from the baseball writers yesterday. 

In 1994, Matt Williams of the Giants of course was voted NL MVP runner up and in 1999, Chipper Jones of The ATL of course was voted NL MVP.

This season the ‘Stros will spend all three major holidays on the road.  On Memorial Day they will be at Wrigley.  On the Fourth of July and on Labor Day they will be in Pittsburgh – drats!


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Yesterday, there was a back and forth in cyberspace about the leadership over at the Harris County Democratic Party.  Hey, look at it this way, at least we didn’t get the kind of coverage that the Bexar County Democratic Party got in today’s SA Express News.  Check out the first line of today’s story:

An attempt to reorganize the beleaguered Bexar County Democratic Party collapsed in chaos Tuesday night.  Check out the full story here.

At least we can agree to keep our disagreements civil. 

Some of the folks that responded yesterday about things here in Harris County said that there was probably nothing we could have done to overcome the national mood and tide or tsunami that hit us this past November.   I’m probably not going to disagree with this other than to say that we could have done a lot better in engaging the Latino vote and increasing Latino voter participation.

Meanwhile, the anonymous  www.newchairnow.com  still remains anonymous. 

The GOP takes over the U.S. House today.  Now they get to put up or shut up. 

How many left-handed pitchers since 1900 have won 350 or more games?

I was checking out the Chicago mayoral race coverage and found out that former Chron political writer Kristen Mack is covering the mayor’s race for the Chicago Tribune.  How about that?  That’s pretty cool.

In reading local and national coverage leading up to today’s MLB Hall of Fame announcements, I don’t think it looks too good for Jeff Bagwell to get in on the first ballot – drats!  If he does make it, look for an SRO crowd tonight over at Astroline at Buffalo Wild Wings in Midtown.

Hall of Famer and Braves great Warren Spahn of course is the only lefty to ever win more than 350 games with 363.

If Bagwell had been a Dodger, Yankee, or Red Sox, he’d be a shoo-in today. 


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Right after the shellacking, err election, CEWDEM called for the Harris County Democratic Party leadership to turn in their gavels.  They haven’t.

Yesterday, CEDWDEM forwarded an email from an anonymous group asking Dems to sign a petition calling for the Party leadership to step down.  Of course nobody has stepped forward to claim they are behind or part of www.NewChairNow.com.  Folks better be careful about what they wish for. 

Don’t think for a second that if my pal Gerry Birnberg stepped down as Party Chair, there would be an orderly, open, and transparent process to find a replacement.  Instead a couple of the big money folks, a few elected officials, another consultant or two, and other self appointed leaders would pick someone behind closed doors that would do their bidding and shove it down  our throats.  The thought that the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee would pick the replacement in a fully Democratic process down at the Jury Assembly Room is pure fantasy.

It is no secret that I’m not a big fan of the local Dem Party’s get-out-the-vote apparatus.  I’m certainly not a fan of the Party’s effort to engage Latino voters.   If someone wants to challenge the current Party leadership, they have over a year to campaign.  Think about it, we could have a 14 month spirited debate on how to move the Dem Party forward.  We could talk about strategies for turning out our base including Latino voters.  I’d like to hear a debate on the need for competing PAC entities here in Harris County and how they hinder or help the Harris County Democratic Party.   I’d also like to hear candidates for Chair talk about how they would deal with the Coalition of the Willing, errr Coalition of Harris County Democratic Elected Officials.

If someone wants somebody else to lead the Harris County Democratic Party, put up your candidacy or candidates and let’s get the debate going.    Don’t leave it up to the so called insiders to do the picking.   Whoever they pick won’t be interested in what you or I have to say.

In the 1996 MLB Amateur Player Draft, the ‘Stros picked this fella in the 30th Round (the 894th overall pick) out of Leland High School in San Jose, California.  He didn’t sign with the ‘Stros and instead accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Arizona State University.  In 1998, his brother was drafted in the 7th Round of the NFL Draft going as the 226th player out of 241 chosen in the draft.   Name the brothers? 

I’m OK with the Texans’ head coach having his contract written up in today’s Chron:  It is the playoffs in 2011 or you’re out pure and simple. 

From Alysons’s Footnote:

Congratulations to (‘Stros) relief pitcher Wilton Lopez, who was selected by the Nicaraguan Sports Writers Association as the Professional Athlete of 2010. He was chosen ahead of athletes such as world boxing champion Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez and pitcher Vicente Padilla.

Lopez …..will be honored at an awards dinner on Feb. 5 at the Holiday Inn hotel in Managua.

The banquet will be attended by the President of the Republic. Also expected to attend is the most successful Nicaraguan-born player in big league history, former pitcher Dennis Martinez, who played 23 years in the Majors.

Incidentally, Lopez is only one of eight players from Nicaragua to ever have appeared in a Major League game. Padilla and shortstop Everth Cabrera (Padres) are the only other active Nicaraguans in the Majors.

Kevin Tillman of course was drafted by the ‘Stros in 1996 and Pat Tillman of course was a 7th Round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 1998. Kevin and Pat Tillman were both serving in the Second Platoon, Alpha Company, Second Battalion, Seventy-fifth Ranger Regiment on April 22, 2004 in Khost Province, Afghanistan when Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire.

We will find out tomorrow if Baggy make the Hall of Fame.

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