Archive for March, 2013

I guess Guv Dude still has his eye on 2016.  He went to CPAC 13 yesterday and continued with his right wing rant outrageries.  The Chron gave it front page coverage in the hard copy.  Here is a taste:

Sounding very much like a presidential candidate, Gov. Rick Perry told the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting outside Washington that the Obama administration was engaging in “bribery” by offering states substantial sums to expand Medicaid to low-income adults.


Perry criticized fellow Republican governors who have agreed to Medicaid expansion, decrying “allies in the conservative movement who folded in the face of federal bribery.”

While some in the GOP are trying to figure out how to expand their base, Dude is set on a course of pandering.  Stay tuned.

Here is the entire piece on Dude’s rant.

How many MLB Hall of Fame greats have been in a ‘Stros Opening Day starting line-up?

Here is what Burkablog said about Dude and Medicaid politics:

Rick Perry has now maneuvered himself into a position where CEOs from every major employer in the state, and their lobbyists, will be on his doorstep. The state’s hospitals, nursing homes, and health care providers are next in line. This is just another case of how Perry’s ideological blinders have damaged this state for the past thirteen years.

Mitt Romney will finally come out of hiding and address CPAC 13 today.

The sad thing about Texas GOP leaders and Medicaid politics is that they don’t want to be part of Obamacare but they want the money.

Hall of Fame greats Nellie Fox, Joe Morgan, Robin Roberts, and Nolan Ryan of course have been ‘Stros Opening Day starters.

I have no idea what the Opening Day line-up will look like. 


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Now that the SD6 Special is history, Commentary has been looking at the home schedule.  Of the 81 home games at The Yard, nine have 1 pm starts on non-holiday weekdays.  The Rangers and Mariners in April, the Rockies in May, B’More and the Brewers in June, Rays and A’s in July, Rangers again n August, and the Twins in September.  I don’t know if I can miss that much work Instead of 1:05, 6:05, or 7:05 starts, the first pitch is at 1:10, 6:10, or 7:10.  What’s up with that?

Everyone knows that the 2005 ‘Stros went to the World Serious that season.  Name the 2005 Opening Day starting line-up.  You will only get this if you go online. 

From I didn’t know that department:  yesterday Commentary mentioned not having the Green bin for recycling everything.  Thanks to Kuffer, I find out that the Green bin has critics.  Here is from Kuffer:

Texas Campaign for the Environment vowed today to mobilize Houstonians against Mayor Annise Parker’s so-called “One Bin for All” proposal, saying that the scheme will take recycling away from the minority of residents who already have it, delay expanding it to new neighborhoods and lay the groundwork for future environmental damage.

“This has been tried before, it’s called a dirty materials recovery facility, or dirty MRF,” says Tyson Sowell, Program Director for Texas Campaign for the Environment in Houston. “Similar facilities have been built elsewhere with promises of huge recycling rates, but none have delivered on their promise and were abandoned.”

I guess I’m going to have to pay attention to this.  I’m thinking the Ben Hall campaign is also looking into this and considering adding “dirty MRF” to food carts and propane tanks.

Check out all of Kuffer here.

The Chron E-Board today endorsed “One bin of all.”

Check it out here.

I wonder if the Chron E-Board has read up on “dirty MRFs.”

Here is from today’s Chron:

Harris County added more residents than any other county in the United States for the second year in a row, the Census Bureau reported Thursday, as thousands of people drawn by job opportunities flocked to the Houston area.

This got me to thinking about what Ben Hall said last week.  He kind of mentioned that the H-Town area was growing but that growth within H-Town city limits was not growing as fast as the rest of the area.  The 2010 census showed that H-town had grown 7.5% over the past decade compared to Harris County’s 20.3% growth.  Is this a valid issue worth talking about?  We will see.

Here is the Chron article on local population growth.

The 2005 Opening Day starting line-up for the ‘Stros was Adam Everett at shortstop, B-G-O at second, Baggy at first, Morgan Ensberg at third, Luke Scott in left, Jason Lane in right, Brad Ausmus behind the plate, Willie Taveras in center, and Roy O. on the mound of course.  Luke Scott was the one that stumped me – you too.

Renowned saber metrics guru Bill James says the ‘Stros will be winning 95 games a year in five years.  That’s a long time to wait.


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Today I’ll talk about bins and not Ben.  This is in today’s Chron.com:

The city of Houston has been selected as one of five winners of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition designed to spur innovation in America’s cities.

Houston won a runner-up prize of $1 million with its proposal "One Bin for All" to allow residents to mix trash, recyclables and lawn waste in a single bin ready for automatic sorting.

Oh yeah!  Don’t brag about that in my hood because we don’t have the green bins.  I still have to go over behind Star Pizza to drop off recyclables if you know what I mean.

Here is the rest of the Chron story.

Name the only two former ‘Stros that have been in the Opening Day lineup in all three outfield positions?

George P. Bush says he’s running for Land Commissioner.  Now let’s see if he can attract more Latinos into the GOP.  Let’s see what he has to say on the issues.

Does anybody really care about the World Baseball Classic?  The USA played Puerto Rico yesterday in Miami.  The other day Mexico and Canada had a bench clearing brawl.  Maybe if they played a game or two at The Yard I might take an interest.

Jimmy Wynn and Richard Hidalgo of course are the only ‘Stros that have been Opening Day starter at all three outfield positions.

As of today the club has yet to announce our Opening Day starting pitcher. 


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Kuffer said this on Friday about Ben Hall:

Finally, and maybe this is just my own personal axe to grind, Ben Hall himself is not a resident and taxpayer in the city of Houston. Yes, he is now registered to vote here, but everyone knows the “residence” one lists for voter registration purposes is just a polite fiction. The house Ben Hall has lived in for the past 20 or so years is in Piney Point. He doesn’t pay city of Houston property taxes. Maybe no one else cares about this, but it bugs me. You want to have a say in the governance of our city, you need to be an actual resident of our city. Sorry, but I’m not going to let this go any time soon.

I ran into Ben yesterday and we chatted a bit.  I asked him about the residency issue and he told me that he lives on Little John in H-Town.   He even invited me over to check out his digs.  According to HCAD it is a nice pad and worth a ton of dough so he pays a lot more city taxes than Commentary and probably Kuffer.   I’m taking him up on his invite to visit his crib.

My good friends Darcy and Pat are on the Ben Hall campaign staff.  Darcy is running the office and Pat is raising money.  The Hall campaign headquarters is near the old Houston Post office on the SW Freeway.

I’m thinking that Ben will have the dough to run a credible campaign.  If he can’t garner what he needs, he probably will put in some of his own.  Nice if you got it!

Everybody knows that Mickey Mantle hit the first Dome dinger in an exhibition game against the ‘Stros on Opening Day back on April 9, 1965.  Who served up the dinger to Mantle?

Brownie and ‘Stro employee Miike Acosta have a new book out titled:

"Deep in the Heart: Blazing a Trail from Expansion to the World Series," a 192-page blue-and-orange trip down memory lane that’s a must-have for anyone who grew up cheering for the Astros.

From the expansion Colt .45s in 1962 to the present-day Astros under the ownership of Jim Crane, "Deep in the Heart" takes fans back in time to relive some of the franchise’s greatest moments and players with the help of hundreds of photos of players, memories and memorabilia.

Published by Bright Sky Press, the coffee table-style book will be available for the first time at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day on March 31 for $39.95.

Check out the book story here.

I guess they don’t have a paragraph on Commentary snagging the most foul balls at The Yard since I wasn’t interviewed.

If you subscribe to the Chron or pick it up at the Corner Store you can check out another story about what to do with the Dome.  This time there is a slightly different angle in that we’re trying to get Super Bowl fifty something and we got this eyesore to deal with. 

Turk Farrell of course served up the Mickey Mantle dinger in the top of the sixth back on April 9, 1965.

I wonder if Nolan is still going to be with the Rangers when they come to town on March 31.


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Ben Hall was interviewed by Khambrel Marshall yesterday on Channel 2 and he mentioned food carts and propane tanks again.   When he was asked about transportation he mentioned building tunnels to get around H-Town instead of more surface lanes and roads.

The Big Jolly fella has a piece about a Bill Frazer deciding to run for City Controller against incumbent Ron Green – a good pal of Commentary’s.  Here is where Frazer has it wrong:

I think, at this point, that Mr. Frazer is running for the right reasons.  He told me that he is a lifelong Republican but in a non-partisan race, his primary voting record probably won’t matter much.

I got news for him.  There is no such thing as non- partisan in politics these days.

Check all of Big Jolly here.

How many times was Nolan Ryan the Opening Day pitcher for the ‘Stros?

Well at least the Chron E-Board still reads Commentary.  Remember when I said if HISD feels they have to raise taxes, then the Superintendent needs to get out and sell it.   In yesterday’s Chron, the E-Board says the Superintendent needs to sell the proposed tax increase. 

Check it out here.

Meanwhile, also in yesterday’s Chron, my friend Bill King says it may be a tough road ahead for Ben Hall due to the declining African American vote in the City.  I’m kind of thinking that Ben and his handlers have taken that into consideration.  Bill says that Ben needs to find a second constituency.  I think they know that.

Check out Bill’s piece here.

Remember when folks were writing off Tiger?  The only competition Tiger faced this weekend was Tiger.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Nolan Ryan of course was our Opening Day pitcher in 1982, 1985 and 1986.

Opening Day is twenty days away.


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Kuffer has a take on Ben Hall running for Mayor and reminds us that Ben is a Piney Point resident and Kuffer says he is going to keep reminding us about this.  I wonder if this will be a major issue in the race.  I’m sure Ben’s advisors thought this through before deciding to run.  

Here is the Kuffer take.

I wonder if Kuffer will ever do takes about other electeds that don’t live in the districts they represent.

I was checking out the Ben Hall for Mayor web site and found this from Ben that made me chuckle:

Our collective future is brighter than our past, but we cannot get there by just doing more of the same – we have a choice in November. Success is not achieved by a mayor merely maintaining the status quo.  I recognize that Rome was not built in a day, but it wasn’t built by tinkering with food carts and propane tanks. The job of mayor is bigger than this.

Remember back in 2009 when we heard nothing but “lawyer, lobbyist Gene Locke.”  I wonder if we’ll hear “but it wasn’t built by tinkering with food carts and propane tanks.”

I wonder what the final tab will be when The Mayor’s folks are given the op-research package on Ben.

I’m also thinking that the city’s ordinance on feeding the homeless will surface during the campaign.

New ‘Stros bullpen coach Dennis Martinez is the subject of a feature today in the Chron Sports Section.  Martinez played in the MLB from 1976 to 1998.  How many different uniforms did Martinez wear over his 23 year career?

Did you know that in the November election this past November, 6.13% of the votes cast in SD6 were by mail ballots?  This past January 26, 20.11% voted by mail ballots.  In the runoff, 22.32% voted by mail ballots.

In today’s Chron, the owner of the ‘Stros talks about moving their Triple A club from Oklahoma City to a location north of The Woodlands.  That doesn’t bother me since I don’t ever watch minor league games.

Dennis Martinez wore B’More, Expos, Tribe, Mariners, and The ATL gear of course.

J.J. Watt will throw out the first pitch on Opening Day at The Yard.  I wonder if MariGirl is going to game and I wonder if she will wear her numero 99 jersey.


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On my way to check out the author of “The Searchers:  The Making of an American Legend,” Commentary drove by Tony Mandola’s and witnessed a traffic jam as folks were trying to get in to the Ben Hall for Mayor announcement. It looked pretty crowded.  I asked an attendee to send me a report and here is what I got:

This is no sh_t – over 400 showed up. All types – Rs, Ds, every ethnicity, engineers, etc. He is going to kick ass! Its 8:20 and there are still 100+ here. Crazy!


Matthew Knowles, Ruben Davis, Steve Flores, Peter Brown, Robert Talton, and more. Lots of west side ministers. They had to shut down parking we had a traffic jam on Waugh Drive.

Name the former ‘Stro with the most Opening Day starts in right field?

I kind of find it odd that as of now (I could be wrong), the Ben Hall announcement story is only available to Chron subscribers.  So I went ahead and slapped it down here:

March 7, 2013

Former Houston City Attorney Ben Hall formally launched his mayoral campaign against incumbent Annise Parker Wednesday night, decrying the burden of taxes and fees he said are driving city residents to the suburbs, and saying Houston’s mayor must have a grander vision.

Parker, also on Wednesday, accepted the endorsement of the Houston Police Officers Union and a $10,000 check from its political action committee, as Hall welcomed the endorsement of the African American Police Officers League.

Hall, who served as city attorney from 1992 to 1994, emphasized the need to incentivize business growth, particularly from international markets. He derided Parker’s focus on issues such as red light cameras and a proposal to allow food trucks downtown, saying, "This city is grander and bigger than those kind of trivial items."

‘Choose a different way’

"A mayor must do more than simply balance a budget," he said. "A mayor must do more than simply dream of ways to tax and penalize residents. We need more than just a manager, we need a leader. And we need more than just a leader, we need a leader with vision, someone who sees a way out of this morass. You can continue the strangulation hold on the taxpayers and residents, or we can choose a different way forward … by opening up the city to the international marketplace."

Parker said Hall seemed to be describing "an alternative universe." Parker said she has led the city through a deep recession without raising taxes, and said the major fee imposed under her watch was a voter-approved drainage fee. As for international efforts, Parker said, the city recently has added direct flights to Turkey and China.

"I don’t think I’ve ever heard any political candidate, but most especially a candidate for mayor, imply that it wasn’t important to have a balanced budget," Parker said. "He clearly sees a different city than I see. The city of Houston is one of the best cities in America to live and work and raise a family. It is a magnet for the best and brightest from all over the world, and it continues to get better as we pull out of the recession. I see a city of growth and optimism."

Hall, who holds a law degree from Harvard University and master of divinity and doctoral degrees from Duke University, entered the 2009 mayor’s race, but withdrew and supported Gene Locke, who lost to Parker in a runoff. Hall also considered running in 2011, when Parker narrowly missed a runoff against a group of unknowns, leading some to speculate she would be likely to draw a challenger this year.

Hall was flanked at his event not only by the Rev. William Lawson, pastor emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, and national NAACP board member Howard Jefferson, but also by GOP consultant Jeff Yates and conservative City Council candidate Michael Kubosh.

Hall’s substantial wealth from his law practice makes him credible, said Houston political consultant Mustafa Tameez, but there is no precedent for an incumbent mayor losing since the advent of term limits in Houston. Parker is seeking her third and final two-year term.

Hard to beat incumbent

"If you’re a self-funded candidate, can you get the mayor in a runoff? Yes. Do you have a path that gets you into City Hall? Very, very tough," Tameez said. "There’s not a case to be made that she’s an awful mayor and that if she was around for two more years it would be detrimental to Houston’s future. The Houston economy has done well, there have been no major scandals and, for the most part, Houstonians like Annise Parker."

No candidate has formally filed for mayor; filing begins July 29 and ends Aug. 26.

One other candidate has filed a campaign treasurer form indicating he may run: Green Party candidate Don Cook, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2009 and 2011.

I like the Mayor but I have to point out that she just got over 50% in her last race against a bunch of nobodies so Ben’s challenge is serious business.  Stay tuned!

Last night’s presentation by Glenn Frankel, author of “The Searchers:  The Making of an American Legend” drew a packed house.  Most folks there were my age or older. 

Frankel was introduced by a local journalism professor who said he first saw “The Searchers” at the old Santa Rosa Theater that used to be on Telephone Road.

Frankel compared the Ethan Edwards character to Maya of “Zero Dark Thirty.”

He said the film honors John Wayne but also defeats him.

He pointed out that there has been no other book on “The Searchers.”

It was a great evening so go check out the flick if you have not seen it.

As great as the film is, it didn’t get a single Oscar nomination when it was released back in 1956.

Macy’s Downtown is closing its door manana.  That’s the way it goes.

I don’t have anything to say about Vince Young saying he’s better than most NFL QBs because every NFL GM doesn’t think so.

Terry Puhl of course has started in right field eight times on Opening Day.

The ‘Stros just put out their list of this season’s giveaways and I’m not impressed.


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This is on Ben Hall’s website this morning:

Good morning friends! Today is a big day for us. I look forward to seeing you all this evening at Tony Mandola’s at 6pm for our official campaign announcement.

Well I guess it is going to happen.  Since the announcement is down the street on Waugh Drive, I may just drop by and see who is lining up to support Ben.  I have always gotten along with Ben since I first met him when Bob Lanier selected him to be City Attorney. 

Here is his website.

Stay tuned!

Most folks know that Commentary grew up in Baytown a few block from the Humble, err Exxon Refinery.  It is the biggest refinery in the country.  Exxon announced yesterday that it was expanding its Baytown facility and will create 10,000 new jobs over the next few years.  I wonder how that will impact my parents’ house.

Check out the announcement here.

Name the former ‘Stro with the most Opening Day starts at shortstop?

Guv Dude for life says Burkablog.  Check this

Well, Perry has convinced me: He really could be governor for life. He appears unbeatable in Texas. That he is at 49% today in the University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll versus a serious Republican challenger after "oops!" is phenomenal. This has to mean that he has repaired his standing with the tea party as well as Republicans in general. Jeremy Bird of Battleground Texas might as well go home.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it.

Some folks know that John Ford’s “The Searchers” with John Wayne, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood, and Jeffrey Hunter is Commentary’s favorite western and one of the best flicks ever.  A few weeks ago on NPR I heard an interview with author Glenn Frankel about his new book “The Searchers:  The Making of an American Legend.”  Frankel is in town this evening to sign books, talk about his book, and then the movie will be screened. 

Did you know that 177 years ago today Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Barrett Travis, Andres Nava, and other defenders of The Alamo fell to the forces led by …. well you should know the rest of what is in the history book.

Now that the campaign is over, I need to catch up on movies.  This Friday it will be “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

Roger Metzger of course started at short 8 times on Opening Day.

The Cubbies will be in town for two the Friday and Saturday before Opening Day!


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This is certainly not going to cut it.  Here is from an AP piece today:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush writes in a new book that the nation needs to completely overhaul its immigration policies but cautions against providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a position that puts him at odds with some Senate reformers within his own party.

There has to be a pathway to citizenship.  The Latino community will not settle for less.  Not this time.  Not ever.  Those days are over.

Here is the entire piece on Bush’s take.

wonder what George P. thinks now that he is in charge of Latino outreach for the Texas GOP?

Wayne Dolcefino is running for a seat on the Katy ISD School Board.   Now that is interesting.  I wonder if he hired a consultant.  Here is what the Chron said about what Wayne has been doing:

Dolcefino, who operates a consulting firm called Dolcefino Communications, said his most recent projects include assisting a group of citizens opposed to a landfill in Waller County and assisting a group that has filed a lawsuit against Houston ISD trustee Larry Marshall.

Here is the Chron piece on Wayne running.

And here is the Houston Press piece.

How many years was B-G-O our Opening Day catcher?

In Round 1 of the SD6 Special, 16,511 (5.65%) voted.  In Round 2, so far 18,187 (6.22) voted – that’s an extra 1,676. 

It looks like we were outspent.  We won’t know for sure until we see the final reports. 

That allowed the other side to have more TV, mail, and a bigger field operation.  It also probably allowed them to out message us.

It looks like their message was more effective as partisanship trumped pay raise and cutting law enforcement.

We probably waited too long to respond to the initial negative attacks but that is our fault.

I guess the only thing I can say is that they ran a more effective campaign, after all they do have scoreboard.    I need to see the precinct by precinct returns before I can say more.

I found it interesting that they replaced a lot of the local talent.  Oh, well!

B-G-O was starting catcher on Opening Day three times from 1989 through 1991 of course.

I wonder what kind of changes are in store for The Yard.


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We Lost

Let me congratulate the other side for their victory and let me take the day off on commenting about the race.  Let me process some of it and come back with a more thorough take tomorrow.

According to the Star Telegram, Nolan Ryan may be on his way out as the CEO of the Rangers.  That is kind of a knucklehead move if you ask me.  Nolan Ryan is the one that turned that franchise around.

Everyone knows that Nolan Ryan wore the numero 34 as a ‘Stro and it hasn’t been worn since.  Name the player that first wore the numero 34 back in 1962?

I guess now that the SD6 Special is history we can start talking about the city elections.  Mayoral contender Ben Hall is supposed to be announcing his candidacy this week.  He is also putting together his team and so far they are consultants with Republican ties.  I wonder if he is trying to put together an African American and Republican coalition.  We will see so you better stay tuned.

There’s the owner crying about his team losing money. There’s the fact that the team’s TV network still can’t be viewed by a majority of Houstonians, and that due to MLB TV rules, people in Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico who purchase the Extra Innings cable package or who buy MLB.TV can’t watch the Astros.

There’s the Astros vetoing a deal that CSN Houston and the Rockets had reached to put Rockets games on Direct TV. There’s the departure of the popular Jim Deshaies. The Astros being moved down the dial to 790, a station with a much weaker radio signal than 740. There’s the unceremonious axing of Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan. There’s that stupid-ass erector-set-quality sign in left field that blocks the view of downtown Houston. Oh yeah, and the team is bad.

Here is the entire piece.

The Press also says that the folks at The Yard didn’t let folks keep foul balls from the College Classic this past weekend. What is up with that?

Dave Giusti of course was the first to wear the numero 34 way back in 1962. 

I wonder if Nolan Ryan is interested in running the ‘Stros?



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