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Archive for March, 2014

He Asked For It

This is from a Chron story that ran this past Saturday:

State Sen. Dan Patrick’s tendency to “showboat” sabotaged the Legislature’s efforts to rein in a rogue public school curriculum last year and spotlighted why he is not ready to serve as lieutenant governor, incumbent David Dewhurst said Friday.

That is the message Dewhurst said he intends to use to win back Republican voters who gave him a second-place finish to Patrick in the March 4 primary.

And:

“Dan Patrick is no Ted Cruz,” said Dewhurst. “Ted Cruz is an authentic conservative, and Dan Patrick is not. I don’t see any similarities in the two races.”

The Lite Guv isn’t getting any sympathy from me. Sen. Patrick didn’t become a “showboat” yesterday. He has been “showboating” for a number of years. The Lite Guv new he was a “showboat” when he appointed him to Chair the Senate Education Committee. Sorry pal!

How many Subway Series have been played? (This doesn’t include the regular season match-ups between the Yankees and Mets.)

Now is the time of year where I start giving a rat’s arse about NCAA basketball.

My friend Bill King had an interesting column yesterday. It was about the federal government deciding to give up NASA’s shuttle program and relying on the Russians to give us a ride to the space station. It is a nice read so you ought to go check it out if you want something else to worry about.

If you only watch CNN for your news info, the only thing you’ve learned in the last ten days is that an airliner is missing and Crimea is a hot spot of sorts.

Fourteen Subway Series have been held of course. One with the Yankees and Mets, seven with the Yankees and Dodgers, and six with the Yankees and Giants. Got it?

The ‘Stros announced that Scott Feldman will be the Opening Day starting pitcher.

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Commentary is not going to spend a lot of time talking about next year’s campaign for H-Town Mayor. I am not going to mention candidates that are rumored to be running. I will say this. Anyone can say they are running or considering running but ask them to show you the money. How and where are they going to get the two mil or so they will need to make it into a run-off.

I will also say that I don’t think voters are looking for anyone special to be the next Mayor. They just want to make sure they have someone that can just run the city. That’s it.

Speaking of pi, this former MLBer is no longer with us. He has a career ERA of 3.14. He spent four years with the ‘Stros and 11 seasons with other MLB clubs. He made the All Star team four times and has a Cy Young Award. Name the player?

Commentary watched the HISD Board Meeting on the flat screen yesterday evening. Speaker after speaker made a plea to keep Jones High School alive. Some came after the superintendent. Some made political threats. Most didn’t like the amendment or compromise or whatever you call it to keep the doors open. In the end they didn’t get what they wanted. They didn’t have the pull or the muscle. Oh well.

Speaking of purple haze, check this from an online media outlet:

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has released a new Forever stamp which honors Jimi Hendrix. The Jimi Hendrix stamp is a part of the USPS’ Music Icons series, according to a Time report on Thursday.

That’s cool.

The late Mike Cuellar of course had a pi career ERA of 3.14.

Back in the eighties at the Dome if you sat Scrap Iron next to Ash you would have a 3 and a 14 – pi.

That’s all I have.

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A Plan?

Maybe the Lite Guv does have a plan to beat Sen. Dan Patrick in the run-off. He is still in the race. Here is from today’s Chron:

Despite mounting pressure to throw in the towel, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst skipped a Wednesday deadline to take his name off the May 27 primary runoff ballot, instead committing himself to an expensive come-from-behind battle against challenger Dan Patrick for the next 12 weeks.

The 11-year-incumbent trailed Patrick, a Houston senator and radio talk show host, by 13 points in last week’s GOP election in a four-way race that included Agriculture Commission Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson.

“He is in it to win it,” Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine said. “He is going to do what he does best – crisscrossing the state, talking to voters. A lot of money will be spent on TV.”

Austin political consultant and lobbyist Bill Miller voiced popular skepticism that Dewhurst can map a path to victory after his poor showing in the March 4 primary. “He is in a deep, deep hole,” Miller said. “The race is virtually impossible for him to win.” Political experts say it will be hard for Dewhurst, as an incumbent, to win back followers who threw their support behind other candidates on March 4.

And:

Patrick’s political consultant, Allen Blakemore, tweeted Wednesday that an “independent poll” conducted in the race showed Patrick with a strong lead.

Conducted by Austin-based pollster Mike Baselice for Conservative Republicans of Texas – another Blakemore client – the survey taken on March 4 and 5 concluded that “among the two-thirds of the voters who indicate they are certain to vote in the May runoff, Patrick leads 59 percent to 32 percent,” according to memo written by Baselice.

The pollster also found that “among the four out of five respondents who participated in the recent primary election, Patrick leads Dewhurst 60 percent to 31 percent.”

If these polls number are anywhere near for real then the Lite Guv better get on TV soon – like now. For Dems this is probably a good thing. Both candidates will be going negative and will be bashing paperless folks. So it will be fun to watch.

When Roger Maris hit dinger numero 61 on October 1, 1961, name the team the Yankees were playing?

This season the MLB is going to implement instant replay challenges where a skipper can ask the umps to check out instant replay on certain types of call. I am not really a fan of this but that is how it goes. To make this fan friendly they ought to let us see what the ump is checking out. I hear though the team is going to be running some sort of ad entertainment during the replay challenges. I’d rather watch what the ump is watching so we can be engaged in the process. What do I know?

Reliant Stadium is now going to be called NRG Stadium. So I guess folks will be saying “let’s head out to the Nerge.”

Roger Maris got dinger numero 61 off of the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium of course.

Three weeks from this evening will be the last time we get to see Derek Jeter at The Yard.

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On Boycotts and Stuff

Some Dems including Cong. Joaquin Castro are going to boycott Buc-ees over his endorsement of Sen. Dan Patrick. Good luck.

Except for a few activist Dems, I don’t think most folks will pay attention to the boycott and join in. That’s not how folks run these days. They will take a clean bathroom over a boycott any day.

How many folks does Buc-ees employ throughout the state? I am thinking they are of the persuasion of folks that we need in the Dem column.

What happens when big GOP donor Robert McNair (owner of the Texans) forks over dough to Patrick later on this year? Are we going to root against J.J. Watt, Andre Johnson, and everyone else wearing the battle red? Oh well!

For what it is worth, Sen. Wendy Davis carried House District 145 (Rep. Carol Alvarado) with 78% of the vote. Her opponent Madrigal ran best in the more hard core Latino boxes.

Brett Wallace is no longer with the ‘Stros. How many of last year’s Opening Day starters are still wearing a ‘Stros uniform this morning?

Well what do I know? The Lite Guv is still in the race.

AG candidate Rep. Dan Branch is also hanging in there. I guess they both ignored last week’s Robert Miller memo. I don’t know about that. Before Robert took a break from handing out his takes his last post was pretty much on the mark. Check it out here: http://llbl.blogspot.com/.

It looks like we will just watch a whole lot of immigrant bashing over the next few weeks and it will make it more difficult for the GOP to attract Latino voters in the general. They asked for it!

Agent 99 turns 81 today. Happy Birthday Barbara Feldon!

Jose Altuve, second base, Chris Carter, left field, Jason Castro, catcher, and Matt Dominquez, third base, were 2013 Opening Day starters and are still ‘Stros this morning of course.

Nolan Ryan made it to Spring Training yesterday and more cuts are being made as we’re now 20 days from Opening Day.

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Two Takes

It is a week after the primary and the Lite Guv is still in the race.

Meanwhile, Sen. Patrick scored a big one. He has been endorsed by Buc-ees.

Burkablog weighed in yesterday and said the Lite Guv should go home.

Texas Monthly’s Erica Greider put out a different point of view here:

I have to disagree with those Republicans who are calling for David Dewhurst and Dan Branch to cede victory to Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton in their bids to be the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor and attorney general respectively. I also have to disagree with my colleague Burka, below, who thinks that both Dewhurst and Branch should give up because the writing’s on the wall.

As a practical matter, it’s not the case that the runner-up is bound to lose the runoff. If that were the case Dewhurst, rather than Ted Cruz, would be in the United States Senate right now. Dewhurst, that is, won the Senate primary; he actually won more votes, in May 2012, than either Patrick or Paxton did last week. He nonetheless went on to lose the runoff, obviously.

It’s true that there were several unusual factors in the 2012 Republican Senate runoff that are not necessarily relevant this time around. The main one is that polling had found Cruz on a steady and discernable upward trajectory throughout the course of the campaign; he hadn’t overtaken Dewhurst by primary night, but it was plausible, at that point, that he would do so by July. The opposite is true here: both Dewhurst and Branch underperformed, suggesting declining popularity.

A lot can change in a couple of months, though. We saw that happen in 2012. As I argued in my profile of Cruz, he clearly had a lucky break in June 2012, when the Supreme Court upheld the bulk of the Affordable Care Act, which was (and remains) almost universally unpopular among Republicans. Cruz also benefited from the fact that as voters started to focus on the runoff, they found him to be an unusually impressive candidate.

That is unlikely to happen this time around; it’s no insult to Patrick or Paxton (or Dewhurst or Branch) to say that none of them has as much political talent as Cruz, who is a genuine outlier in that regard. Still, it’s hardly inconceivable that Patrick or Paxton could stumble, or that Dewhurst or Branch could post a stronger showing. Regardless, I hardly see the harm in either of them trying. A group of 14 legislators who are calling on Branch to drop out are warning that with Democratic outfits like Battleground Texas trying to turn the state blue, Republicans can’t afford the in-fighting and need to unite behind the gubernatorial nominee, Greg Abbott. By that logic, Republicans shouldn’t have primaries at all. And I’m really not sure why any Republican in Texas would be worried about Battleground Texas right now. Despite all the fanfare about the pending Democratic resurgence in Texas, there were fewer votes cast in the Democratic primary this year than there were in 2010.

Republicans may be vulnerable, but Democrats are hardly poised to capitalize on it. And incidentally, Republicans are united behind Abbott. He won his primary with more than 90% of the vote.

More generally, there’s something off-putting about the argument that Dewhurst or Branch “should” drop out for the sake of party unity. That’s not how this game is played. There are about 13 million registered voters in Texas, and only about 10% of them voted in the Republican primary last week, despite several high profile open seats, and despite the fact that the winner of the Republican primary is likely to win the office outright. Both Patrick and Paxton came up measurably short of the 50% threshold. The two of them put together got fewer votes than Greg Abbott did in the gubernatorial primary. Republicans who support Patrick and Paxton might be right that both will go on to win their runoffs. It’s hardly unreasonable to ask them to prove it.


Among active pitchers currently on a MLB roster, who has the most career losses?

Here is Burkablog’s take:

David Dewhurst should withdraw from the lieutenant governor’s race. He earned a spot in the primary runoff with a second-place finish last week, but he has no chance to defeat Dan Patrick. None. Patrick is a strong figure with a large following that Dewhurst could never match; he beat Dewhurst in the primary by roughly 100,000 votes. Why Dewhurst continues to throw good money after bad is a mystery, but he should have learned something from his race against Ted Cruz in 2012, if only that it makes no sense for him to continue. Patrick is a lock to be the next lieutenant governor.

If Dan Branch is getting pressure to drop out in favor of Ken Paxton in the race to be the Republican nominee for attorney general, he should do the same, as Harvey Hilderbran did before him in the race for comptroller. The legislators who are calling for Branch to drop out are exaggerating the strength of Battleground Texas. I don’t think they have accomplished very much, and I don’t envision a threat materializing. If there is a threat to Republicans from Democrats, it will come from Wendy Davis, not Battleground Texas, and it will come in the fall. But as with Dewhurst, I can’t see any path to victory for Branch.

I agree with Burkablog. I still can’t find a winning game plan for the Lite Guv.

Mark Buehrle of course has 142 career losses to lead all active MLB pitchers – he does have 186 wins.

Opening Day is three weeks from today.

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Day 6

HISD Trustee Anna Eastman had an outstanding Op-Ed on closing schools in yesterday’s Chron. Hope you checked it out. It was a straightforward assessment for sure. We need more elected officials like Anna.

It is the 6th day after the primaries and the Lite Guv is still in the race.

My friend Bill King’s Chron column yesterday was about the state of the state GOP. Here is a part:

A friend of mine runs a division of a large company here in Houston. He is a lifelong Republican and regularly contributes to Republican candidates. He told me a few weeks ago that he has decided to start directing more campaign contributions to Democrats because he thinks he has a greater chance of influencing the Democratic Party to moderate its more extreme positions than he does the Republican Party.


The next time I run into Bill maybe he can tell me which Dem positions he finds extreme.

Kevin Diaz of the Chron had a front page story yesterday about the Lone Star State GOP moving farther right. Here is a line that got my attention:

Some argue that the primaries have given undue influence to highly motivated extremists in both parties.


I take issue with those that argue that “extremists” have undue influence in the Dem Primary.

In MLB, 25 players are in the 500 club – that’s 500 or more career dingers. Barring injury, name the player most likely to join the club?

My friend Robert Miller got some run this past Friday for a memo he sent out to clients about doings in the GOP. Here is from the Tribune:

An email from a lobbyist at one of the state’s largest law firms suggests there may be efforts underway to persuade three second-place Republican primary finishers, including incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, to withdraw from the May runoffs.

In a message sent to clients on Friday, Robert Miller, the chairman of Locke Lord’s public law division, wrote that only the “hardcore of the hardcore will vote” in the May Republican primary runoffs and that he believed the races for comptroller, attorney general and lieutenant governor “are over before they start.”

“Efforts are underway and will intensify to have Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, Rep. [Dan] Branch, and Rep. [Harvey] Hilderbran drop out of the races,” wrote Miller. “I don’t know whether these efforts will succeed, but I am certain that money will rapidly begin moving to [Dan] Patrick, [Ken] Paxton and [Glenn] Hegar. I am in the process of organizing major Houston fundraisers for each of them.”


A few hours later Hegar’s opponent threw in the towel. What else does Robert know?

I just saw a retweet where 14 GOP state reps are asking Rep. Branch to drop out of AG runoff.

I don’t think you will see any GOP state senators ask the Lite Guv to quit.

Albert Pujols of course sits at 492 career dingers and looks to be the next member of the 500 club.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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Good For Her

One of the things that bugs Commentary is when Lone Star State Dem candidates run away from a sitting Dem President. Sen. Wendy Davis said yesterday she wouldn’t duck The President when he visits the state next month. Good for her!

If you run away from The President where do you go? It just looks like you are running away.

Good call by Sen. Davis. Here is the Chron article on her great call:

Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis said Thursday she is not running away from President Obama despite Republicans use of the president and the policies they disdain to slam her bid for governor.

“I’m definitely planning on being at the celebration” that President Obama is scheduled to attend in Austin in April marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Davis said at a forum sponsored by the Texas Tribune. “I’m excited about greeting our president there and our former presidents, who I think are also planning to be there.”

Besides Obama, who is giving the keynote speech and will be accompanied by his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, the Civil Rights Summit will feature former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Davis made the remarks when Tribune Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith asked whether she would campaign with the president if Obama offered to do so, or avoid appearing with him.
Democratic Bill White, the former Houston mayor, made news in his 2010 race against Republican Gov. Rick Perry when he opted against appearing with Obama during stops in Austin and Dallas. White instead stuck to a campaign schedule that included Midland, Abilene and Alvarado.

Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican nominee for governor, has tied Davis to Obama in a negative way – including when questions were raised about Abbott appearing with Ted Nugent last month despite the rocker’s incendiary comments about the president, women and immigrants.

“If you want to talk about people who associate with people, Wendy Davis is more associated with Barack Obama than anybody in the state. I don’t think there’s anybody in the state who’s disliked more than Barack Obama,” Abbott said then.

Smith asked Davis if she would duck if someone wanted to take her photo with Obama.

“No, I’m definitely not going to do that,” she said.

She has the right stuff for sure.

Name the MLB pitcher who has served up the most career dingers among players currently on an MLB roster?

It is the Friday after the primary and the Lite Guv is still in the race.

Did you know that Brad Ausmus is the new Skipper for the Tigers? The Tigers visit The Yard in June.

Mark Buehrle of course leads all active MLB pitchers in giving up dingers with 324.

Big league ball returns to The Yard three weeks from tomorrow.

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Following Commentary

178 years ago today The Alamo fell.

In the 1982 Texas Democratic Primary election race for Governor, Attorney General Mark White received 45% of the vote, Railroad Commissioner Buddy Temple got 30.5%, and Land Commissioner Bob Armstrong 20%. A few days after the primary election, Buddy Temple withdrew from the runoff. FYI: Commentary was working on the White campaign.

Commentary mentioned yesterday that Team Dewhurst might have to throw in the towel and call it quits – no mas. They don’t have a good road map to victory. It is nice to see that folks still drop in to check out what Commentary is saying. Here are a few articles that are out today.

From The Texas Tribune:

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is at the bottom of a deep political hole, and he has 12 weeks to find a way out.

And:

Several Republican political consultants said Wednesday that the odds against Dewhurst are enormous. Some disillusioned supporters in the hours after the results came in said that Dewhurst ought to concede, telling voters that a continued race would only do violence to the party since he had no real chance to win. That is not without precedent in Texas politics — Democrat Buddy Temple did it after finishing second in a gubernatorial primary in 1982. But it seems unlikely in a race where neither candidate was close to gathering 50 percent of the vote.

From the Chron:

Political experts have a bit of advice for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s re-election campaign: go negative or go home.

And:

Political experts say the multimillionaire Dewhurst will need to unleash a barrage of attacks aimed at loosening Patrick’s stranglehold on the base of Texas’ most conservative voters, the same group that will decide the May runoff.

“Dewhurst has got to do that by trying to disrupt the image that Patrick’s established among them. That means going negative,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Policy Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “The argument has to be to try to convince Patrick’s voters they’ve been sold a bill of goods. At this stage of the game it’s a pretty tough sell.”

And:

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, said that moving forward “the only plausible route for Dewhurst is to go completely negative.” Such a strategy has its drawbacks, he added.

“Right now, if you’re a cold and calculating Republican donor and if you give money to Dewhurst and he goes negative on Patrick, you’re creating an enemy in Patrick and further antagonizing movement conservatives,” Jones said.

From the Statesman

For David Dewhurst to win, he would have to reinvent himself, he will have to spend $15-20 million to get his message out and he will have to attack Dan Patrick,” said Mark Jones, a Rice University political science professor who has been following the race.

“Dewhurst needs a game-changing event or a very creative strategy, which he has not had so far,” Jones said.

And:

“Dewhurst’s high-water mark was when he announced for the U.S. Senate two years ago, and in several respects it’s been downhill since then,” said James Riddlesperger, a Texas Christian University political science professor. “He’s definitely a long shot at this point to win the runoff.”

I can’t see how the Lite Guv pulls it out. He has been twice rejected by his own GOP. So why go through a very expensive exercise. I will be very surprised if this continues. Stay tuned.

Here is an easy one. Of the active MLB players, name the player with the most career official at-bats?

The second political story of the day is about Sen. Wendy Davis losing some South Texas counties to Madrigal. Among the counties lost were Hidalgo and Webb. I would be interested to see how she did in Latino precincts outside of Dallas-Fort Worth and South Texas – Latino precincts in Bexar, El Paso, Harris, and Travis counties.

I will say this again. Regarding the Latino vote, if all the talk centers on South Texas and the Greater Houston area Latinos are neglected, Dems will pay the price on Election Day.

In the Harris County Dem Primary the lowest percentage of under-votes in a race involving candidates for office was the House District 145 race with Rep. Carol Alvarado – 4.37%. In the Precinct 72 race for Precinct Judge the under-vote was 2.63% – Freddy Blanco won. The Medicaid Expansion resolution item had a 4.03% under-vote.

Derek Jeter of course leads all MLB players with 10,614 career official at-bats.

I am starting to look forward to the two exhibition games we will play at the end of the month at The Yard against Veracruz.

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Tea Time

After the Lite Guv got his arse run by Ted Cruz in 2012, Commentary predicted the Lite Guv wouldn’t survive the 2014 GOP primary. Of course I also predicted a few days ago that Dan Patrick was done. What do I know?

Commentary is definitely not an expert on GOP politics but you have think that the Lite Guv’s camp is having serious discussions this morning on pulling out of the runoff. He is an eleven year incumbent of arguably the state’s most powerful elected office, sitting at only 28% and facing an enthused Tea Party electorate. What does his roadmap to victory look like? He got clobbered in 2012 and he’s looking to get clobbered this May.

He would have to dig into his own pocket again and ask a reluctant Capitol lobby to pony up and then he would have to wage a two month negative campaign. I don’t even think a negative campaign would work at this point. I don’t think Tea Party voters would be interested in hearing the facts about Patrick. They would probably forgive Patrick for hiring paperless folks 30 years or so ago. Plus Patrick would probably have the resources to fight back. Those Tea Party folks are something else.

If the Lite Guv does throw in the towel, I hope he doesn’t do it tomorrow on the anniversary of the fall of the Alamo, the symbolism would be unbearable.

Stay tuned on this one for sure!

Name the active MLB player with the second highest career batting average?

Well here in Harris County Dems can kind of sigh in relief as Kim Ogg and Steve Kirkland won their races.

The Dean, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, and State Rep. Alma Allen all won big.

Hunker Down took control of the local GOP Party.

It looks like Tarrant County will send a Latino Dem State Rep. to Austin.

It looks like Eric Opiela is heading to the back of the line – no amnesty for him – under no conditions.

Albert Pujols of course is second in career batting average among active players – he is hitting .321.

Just for what it is worth and it isn’t worth much, only 53,736 Dems voted in Harris County or 2.7%. It would be silly to blame this on the weather.

I got my tickets yesterday and this season’s slogan is “More Than Just A Game”.

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Commentary was making the rounds this morning and it was ugly and miserable out there. It is going to make it tougher to get folks to the polls.

Name the active MLB player with the highest career batting average?

Here is this from the Houston Press on the Uber supporters that tied up the switchboard at the City of H-Town:

Some 10,000 Houstonians signed an online petition in support of the service, the most vocal of whom are young, urbanites who are strong supporters of the technological aspects of the service.

How do they know the folks are from H-Town?

Let’s see what happens in the Harris County GOP Chair race. Do the Hunker Down forces prevail?

Let’s see what happens in the GOP race for Lite Guv? How close does Sen. Patrick get to Dewhurst?

Let’s see what happens in the Dem race for Harris County DA. Can Kim Ogg put away the fella that watched TV?

Let’s see if Steve Kirkland can prevail over the fella that’s funding his opponent.

Joe Mauer of course of the Twins has the highest career batting average (.323) to lead all active MLB players.

Nothing really from The Yard.

Let’s see if Dems can get more folks to vote today!

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