Archive for June, 2014

Props go to the Spurs for putting it on the Heat in five. So much for “The Decision” getting seven someday.

The Chron has a story today on the financial costs of Guv Dude’s security detail. Some folks want Dude’s campaign to reimburse the state for security detail expenses for his political trips. I have to disagree. We have to accept the fact that the Governor of the State of Texas is a high profile position. Paying for security goes with the territory.

There was a story in yesterday’s Chron Sports Section about the recent success of the ‘Stros and sharing the credit of sorts. The story mentions the 2009 MLB Amateur Player Draft and the ‘Stros passing on Mike Trout – one of the best players in the game today. How many teams passed on Trout that year?

There is also a story today about campaign funds Sen. Wendy Davis is raising outside of the Lone Star State and she really doesn’t want to talk about it. I don’t know why. I don’t think it is that big of a deal.

It is too bad Speaker Boehner and Sens. McCain and Graham are whining about how The President is handling Iraq. These whiners voted for us to go to war with Iraq and The President was opposed. We’ve come a long way from searching for weapons of mass destruction and from Colin Powell’s “you break it, you own it.” I don’t know if Americans give a rat’s arse about Iraq these days. Heck, we may even have to cut a deal with Iran.

Believe it or not, 24 MLB clubs passed on picking Mike Trout, the 25th player taken in the 2009 draft of course.

Those of us watching the ‘Stros yesterday learned about the double switch DH rule. Don’t ask me to ‘splain it to you.

As of this morning we have a better record than seven MLB clubs. We have the day off then go to D.C. for two.

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On the 13th

Commentary got some feedback yesterday on my two cents on the 2014 campaigns here in the Lone Star State. Nobody said we were in good shape. Somebody said Latinos were being taken for granted. Here is more from the Tribune on their poll:

The biggest contrast found in the poll is between the candidates for governor: Republican Greg Abbott is viewed favorably by 45 percent and unfavorably by 25 percent; Democrat Wendy Davis is favorably viewed by 34 percent and unfavorably viewed by 40 percent. Put another way, Abbott’s ratings are 20 percentage points more favorable than not, while Davis’ are 6 percentage points more negative than positive.

“She remains relatively unable to move one of the core constituencies that people thought she would move, and that is women,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at UT-Austin. “She is not really making any progress with Hispanics. The campaign is either not succeeding or they have not yet begun to fight.”

Henson said Abbott’s numbers weakened slightly with women and with Hispanics from the February UT/TT Poll to this one, but said the attorney general is maintaining overall positive grades with both of those groups.

“Abbott is in a very good position with his base,” Henson said. “His coalition is in place, and he’s doing well enough with the groups that are supposed to be the prime components of the Davis coalition — Hispanics and women.”

Kuffer really doesn’t agree with the above. Check out Kuffer here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=61115.

Maybe, maybe not! Show me otherwise. More and more folks are starting to grumble openly. That is healthy.

Commentary was asked to be on a noted local radio show to discuss the campaigns. I declined because as Mom would say……well you get the picture. I don’t need any grief in my life right now.

The Rays are in town for three. When did the Rays join the MLB?

Commentary was opposed to going to war against Iraq back in 2003 and my position hasn’t changed. We never should have gone there. We lost a lots of lives and spent a ton of money. Now the President is being criticized for the f__ked up situation over there. The President didn’t create the mess and I don’t know if he has any good options at this point.

I say give a truckload of RPGs to Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham and send their arses over to Baghdad to help out. Those two are the biggest complainers, critics, and whiners – plus they voted to go there in the first place.

The Rays of course started MLB play in 1998

Commentary and Dante got to exchange low fives with Drake last night at The Yard. It was pretty cool. He was wearing a ‘Stros jersey – the numero 24. Dante said that was because he was born on 10/24.

Oh yeah, we won last night on a Chris Carter walk-off dinger in the bottom of the ninth. Jon Singleton also had an upper deck dinger to right. 33,000 plus showed up last night so I guess that means we have more believers. It has been fun for sure lately.

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Commentary has said it before. I don’t have a dog in the hunt involving the proposed vehicle-for-hire ordinance. I have just been watching the folks speak about it at City Hall.

Yesterday’s debate took an unusual turn. The measure was delayed until July 30 and in the meantime Council Members Larry Green and Brenda Stardig are going to get the parties – Yellow Cab, Uber, Lyft, and Limos – together for a mediation of sorts. The mediation initiative was hatched by Council Members Dwight Boykins and Dave Martin. From what I could hear the Mayor and Council member Steve Costello opposed the move.

I find it kind of odd that a measure that was put on the agenda by the Mayor, developed by the regulatory folks in her administration, has now been snatched away by City Council. They will take it from here.

There obviously isn’t a sense of urgency. Yellow Cab and the Limos are already doing business and so is Uber – illegally.

Happy 90th Birthday to President Bush 41 and be careful jumping out at 10,000 feet!

The World Cup starts today. The U.S. of A. hosted it in 1994. Who won the NL MVP Award in 1994?

Here is what my friend former Land Commissioner Garry Mauro said about the Wendy Davis campaign shake up:

“The conventional wisdom was the campaign wasn’t going anywhere and Wendy couldn’t win. She had to shake up the campaign and change the narrative.”

Before anyone gets mad at Garry for being honest, let me remind you that Garry has run and won statewide and the folks in charge of Team Davis haven’t.

Here is from the latest UT/Tribune poll:

“Abbott remains strong and this, in a lot of ways, confirms the strategy that we’ve seen from his camp: Leave well enough alone,” said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the UT/TT Poll. “The Davis campaign seems to be not able to reverse the trend.”

Abbott has the support of 44 percent of the voters surveyed. Davis had 32 percent, Libertarian Kathie Glass had 3 percent, the Green Party’s Brandon Parmer had 1 percent. Another 3 percent chose “someone else,” and 17 percent said they had not formed an opinion.

And here is Burkablog on the shake up:

All I can say is, “It’s about time.” The Davis campaign has been a disaster. Precious days have been lost. Even so, money keeps coming in. Davis will be well funded for the fall, but she needs a staff that is better prepared on state issues.

Democrats have already started describing the Republican slate as the “Abbott, Patrick, Paxton ticket.” There is always a “be careful what you wish for” component to these races. Patrick in particular is a very shrewd operator who has widespread support from the conservative base. He is a dangerous opponent. Democrats who underestimate him do so at their peril.

The internal shakeup of the Davis campaign is in part a result of tension between the longterm objectives of Battleground Texas and the ability of Davis herself to identify a path to victory. Battleground is focusing on the future: turning Texas blue in 2016, 2018, and beyond. Davis must focus on the here and now. It’s silly to worry about 2016 in this election cycle. It can’t become an either/or proposition. Davis HAS to win now.

I have written earlier that this is probably the weakest Republican ticket in the post-2000 era. Abbott is a strong candidate, but Patrick’s ability to run the Senate has yet to be demonstrated, and Paxton, who has suffered from high-profile legal problems, could prove to be an embarrassment. Sid Miller is a disaster waiting to happen as agriculture commissioner. It’s hard to imagine him in a statewide office. The Democrats can only wait and hope for a meltdown by Republicans, but this is clearly their best opportunity in a long time.

Burkablog and Garry are as experienced as most in Texas politics. They know what they are talking about. The folks in charge need to step up their game. We are up against a weak field so there should be no excuses.

Here is from the ‘Stros website after last night’s win:

Astros manager Bo Porter began his postgame press conference Wednesday by stumping for left-hander Dallas Keuchel to make his first career All-Star team.

“If he’s not an All-Star, what is?” he said.

Keuchel, to his credit, isn’t worrying about any such accolades despite another terrific performance in which he held the D-backs to one run and four hits in eight innings and rode a pair of Chris Carter homers to his eighth win of the season, 5-1, at Minute Maid Park.

Jeff Bagwell of course won the 1994 NL MVP Award in the strike shortened season.

Commentary and Dante will make it to The Yard this evening and Drake will be there. In fact, our section is called the Drake Section – cool. Oh, I snagged a Jon Singleton foul ball last night – my fifth of the season.

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This is way overdue. I am talking about naming a school in honor of my former boss Governor Mark White. He had guts and courage. Here is what the Chron E-Board says today:

Not long after he signed the Texas Education Reform Bill in 1984, then-Texas Gov. Mark White came home to attend a meeting of the Houston Federation of Teachers.

“When he walked into the building, the stewards treated him like a rock star,” said then-elementary school teacher Gayle Fallon who today is the union’s president. “He got a standing ovation walking in the door and was mobbed walking out.”

Because he has long been considered one of Texas’ most innovative governors in education policy, a broad-based coalition is petitioning the Houston Independent School District to name a new west Houston elementary school, “Mark White Elementary School.”

HISD trustees on Thursday are expected to vote on the issue. We urge them to suspend the policy that says district schools can only be named after the deceased. The board did this recently in honoring its longtime superintendent Billy Reagan.

Texas public schools were considered abysmal in the early 1980s, when then-attorney general Mark White, a Democrat, was elected governor on a platform that promised to raise teacher salaries and improve schools. He soon appointed a Select Committee on Public Education headed by Dallas billionaire H. Ross Perot.

Working with Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby and House Speaker Gib Lewis, White transformed the committee’s recommendations into law. For the first time ever, Texas had statewide testing standards, and students who didn’t make the grades could not participate in sports. There were class-size limits, early versions of pre-K, teacher competency exams and a pay raise for teachers.

Funding the reforms and that pay raise required a tax increase. That hike, coupled with the beginning of our state’s transformation from blue to red, ultimately led to White’s failure to win reelection in 1986.

White, 74, today remains a vociferous advocate for criminal justice and immigration reform and often lobbies on behalf of his top passion, education.

One person who has seen his own name etched on schools, federal buildings and airports, George H.W. Bush, supports the cause on behalf of his old political rival. We give the last word to President Bush:

“White … worked tirelessly to improve our educational system, with great success; and having a Houston school bear his name would be fitting recognition of his contributions.”

Yeah, we paid the price in November of 1986, but we did what we had to do.

In 1986, the ‘Stros won the NL West. Who came in second in the NL West that season?

I was at The Yard last night and was absolutely stunned when I checked twitter and saw that Majority Leader Eric Cantor was getting his arse kicked. #EatingTheirOwn then started trending. All I can say is they will be heading far right in the 2016 GOP Prez Primary.

Ride sharing, Yellow Cab, Uber, and Lyft will supposedly get it settled today over at the City Hall Annex. All bets are on.

Here is what Ken Hoffman of the Chron said yesterday:

“It’s crazy talk, but I’m saying the Astros make the playoffs THIS YEAR.”

I am not going there – yet – but they are playing better than all but three AL clubs if you ask me.

The Reds came in second of course in the NL West in 1986 – 10 games behind the ‘Stros.

The ‘Stros are at home for five. Dallas Keuchel is on the mound tonight. Come on out to The Yard!

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HPD Again

HPD is getting some more front page run in today’s Chron. Oh brother!

This time it is about the cases that were handled by the detective that was fired. What a pain! Here is part of what my pal Bill King put out this past Sunday on the HPD mess:

But even with the huge budget increases and a declining caseload, HPD has a pretty miserable record of solving cases. Last year it only solved 37 percent of all violent crimes. That percentage has declined each of the past four years.

My particular pet peeve: HPD solved only 1,800 of 20,000 burglaries reported ast year, a clearance rate of 7.5 percent. For as far back as I have records, HPD has never solved more than 8 percent of burglaries.

In all categories of major crimes, HPD cleared just over 20,000 cases last year, the lowest total in six years. That means that HPD solved fewer than four major crimes for each police officer on its staff last year.

The Chronicle’s editorial board has called for an independent management review of HPD, a call I heartily endorse. Not surprisingly, HPD opposes the idea.

Here are a few questions that an independent review might consider.

Do we need 269 people on the police chief’s command staff and another 153 in the “Chief of Staff” division? The chief’s command staff is up from 185 in 2009; there was no Chief of Staff division in the 2009 budget.

How is that we have gone from 1,150 people in the Investigative Division in 2009 to nearly 1,500 this year, but are solving fewer crimes?

Do we need six full-time staff psychologists? In 2008, we only had three.

Do we need a lieutenant, five sergeants and 26 police officers assigned to a mounted patrol? Vet bills and feed cost $170,000 last year. I would rather see those 32 officers working on the burglary backlog.

Should members of the civilian staff be allowed to skip their coffee breaks to get paid through lunch, when that practice is prohibited in other city departments for obvious reasons?

Why out of our 5,200 officers do we only have about 4,100 working in the patrol and investigative divisions? Could the jobs the other 1,100 are doing be done by civilians at a lower compensation level and get some of these officers back on the street? HPD’s report identified a number of opportunities in this area.

A comprehensive management review would pose these and many other questions. Reviews like this are commonplace in business and a good management practice generally.

Before the taxpayers pony up one more dime for HPD, we are entitled to know that money we have been doling out is being well-spent.

I am thinking that HPD would win the worst run department award over at City Hall if a vote was taken among Chron readers.

The Chron has a piece about the case for ‘Stro pitcher Dallas Keuchel making the AL All Star Team. Name the last ‘Stro pitcher to be an All Star?

Move over 713, 281, and 832. 346 is our newest area code for the H-Town area. My landline is a 713 and my cell is a 281. I don’t know if I could handle a 346.

Speaking of City Hall, I am thinking that the Yellow Cab, Uber, and Lyft folks will all line-up to speak today before the vote tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Roy O. of course made the NL All Star team way back in 2007.

I have never been to Round Rock to see the Express. Same goes for Whataburger to see the Hooks. Heck, the last time I went to see two minor league teams play was back in the days of the Houston Buffs. Tonight at The Yard the Hooks take on the Missions. I may just drop by.

The ‘Stros won last night and we are now 29-36. Not bad at all if you ask me.

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Some folks say that City of H-Town term limits prevent our elected officials from tackling the long term problem issues like pensions and City finances. Of course, nobody really wants to roll up their sleeves and put together a grass roots campaign to undo term limits altogether. I really don’t think that two four-year terms or three three-year terms get you there. It just gives folks another few years to prepare for their next race. You really have to do away with them so folks can sort of invest in their full duties if you know what I mean.

That being said, if you run for a City office and you win, you know you only have six years so you own and take responsibility for what happens under your watch. You can take credit for all sorts of initiatives but you also have to take the heat for the stuff that doesn’t get done. That’s how the game should be played.

The Houston Police Department not being able to check in on 20,000 cases last year and problems with the City budget next year have gotten some recent run in the press prompting two letters to the Chron yesterday including one from former Mayor Bill White. Here they are:

The first one from resident Judson Bryant:

Regarding the editorial “HPD needs help” (Page B8, Thursday), Houston has a strong-mayor form of government. The mayor is the captain of the municipal ship with commensurate responsibility and authority. Where was the mayor as the investigative backlog accrued? Who selected and directly managed the chief of police?

This Houston Police Department issue, along with others, raises questions about our form of municipal government. Does our system bring forth and offer to voters candidates with both political savvy and managerial skills? Good managers are hard to find in many organizations. Does the city offer good career opportunities, competitive compensation and long-term employment security in a social environment that is supportive of good government? Maybe we are getting exactly the quality of government we have collectively requested.

Asking these questions causes me to reflect on those citizens who cannot insulate themselves from city government lapses and omissions. I live in a subdivision that has an active homeowners association. We supplement HPD police services with constable patrols. These additional police services make a measurable difference in the level of criminal activity.

Unfortunately, many areas of the city are not organized in a form that allows them to efficiently and effectively augment essential city services. I fear that these citizens bear the disproportionate brunt of the civic consequences as 20,000 crimes are placed in a queue. We need to do better, much better.

Here is from Mayor White:

Regarding “City budget gap could exceed recession levels” (Page A1, May 28), apparently city of Houston Finance Director Kelly Dowe claims that he cannot manage the city’s future budgets without cutting essential services.

Despite growing revenues and the fact that Dowe has crafted budgets for five years, he faults “prior mayors” and a cap on the growth in city revenues approved overwhelmingly by city voters in 2004.

My administration raised the city’s cash balance and bond ratings and negotiated an agreement that reduced the level of employee pension benefits. Many people deserve credit for these achievements, including an able City Council and then City Controller Annise Parker, who worked closely with my finance department, provided monthly financial reports and had direct input into the structure of city debt.

Dowe has found funds for the Parker administration’s priorities, including subsidies for upscale downtown apartments and a new $410 billion bond issue.

As a citizen who loves our great city, I appreciate Dowe’s public service. I would admire it even more if he accepted responsibility for hard budget choices rather than pretending that any problem arises from budgets long ago but not in the last five years.

Fair is fair. Mayor White has a point.

The current Mayor can take credit for a bunch of stuff under her watch like the Rebuild Houston infrastructure fund, the expansion of Hobby airport, the Buffalo Bayou project, the new Convention Center Hotel, and the anti-discrimination ordinance – just to name of few. But there will also be some stuff that didn’t get handled. I will say she has made the effort to work on the pensions but hasn’t gotten a lot of help.

That’s kind of the way it goes under our current governance structure. That’s what happens when you are only on the clock for six years.

The folks that decide to run for Mayor next year know what issues they have to tackle. Blaming the current the elected officials for not handling business won’t get you elected. Pointing out that the current governance structure is a hindrance and holding us back and laying out a plan to reform might.

The ‘Stros have lost 100 plus games the past three seasons – 2011-2013. What was their record in 2010?

I don’t know much about horse racing. I only pay attention during the Triple Crown races. I was watching when California Chrome came up short and one of his owners went off on the system that has been in place since forever. The dude certainly lost a ton of goodwill and that’s too bad since everyone was rooting for his horse.

The ‘Stros of course were 76-86 in 2010.

Jose Altuve is running fifth in All Star voting in the second baseman category. Go online and give him some love or head out to The Yard later on this week and help punch his ticket.

We are now 28-36. Yesterday in Minnesota we had two grand salamis. Yes, two grand salamis. One from Chris Carter and one from Jon Singleton. That is only the second time in club history where we have had two grand salamis in a game. Denis Menke and Jimmy Wynn did it on July 30, 1969 against the Mets at Shea. The team also had a SpringerDinger and a Dexter Fowler dinger. We took another series. I certainly can’t complain with the team’s play these days. Tonight and tomorrow we play the D-Backs in their crib and then turn around and host the D-Backs at The Yard Wednesday and Thursday. Got it!

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The HPD Police Chief played defense or sorts yesterday. He also gave us a dose of reality. Here is from the Chron today:

Defending his department’s failure to investigate thousands of crimes last year, Police Chief Charles McClelland on Thursday said the understaffed Houston Police Department does not and should not have a goal of aggressively probing every crime reported to it.

“We work violent crimes first. If someone steals your trash can or your lawn mower out of your garage, there are no witnesses, there’s no evidence, there’s nothing for a detective to follow up on, it’s not assigned,” McClelland, a 37-year veteran of HPD, told City Council members during a budget hearing. “There has never been a time that I have been employed there that the Houston Police Department has had the capacity to investigate every crime that’s been reported to the agency.”

It was the chief’s first public comment since a city-commissioned study showed the department did not investigate 20,000 crimes with workable leads in 2013. The vast majority of the cases were burglaries and thefts, but also included 3,000 assaults and nearly 3,000 hit-and-runs.

Well I don’t know about that. In an earlier article some victims of burglaries said they had given info over to the HPD and they never heard back.

Here is more:

McClelland said he has read the 207-page document and has asked his executive team members to do the same. The chiefs will meet to discuss the report soon, he said, then will present staffing recommendations to Mayor Annise Parker.

“It’s something we know cannot be resolved in one budget year or two budget years,” he said, “but we do have to put a plan in place to address it.”

I really don’t think he has a plan in place. I think he is kind of struggling to figure out what is going on.

I don’t know if this is dysfunctional, mismanagement, being overwhelmed, comical, or the new normal. Maybe the City ought to put in our water bills a flyer telling us what crimes HPD will investigate so we don’t get our hopes up. I really don’t sense a whole lot of confidence in the Chief from City Hall. I will say this, finding a solution and not handing out excuses will be front and center in the next City elections in 2015. I am talking about hard choices and not tough slogans.

This morning the ‘Stros have better records than four teams – name the four?

Today is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day or “the longest day.”

The Lone Star State GOP is up in Fort Worth trash talking The President, sticking it to immigrants and trying to find a solution for the LGBT folks. Oh brother.

The ‘Stros have better records today than the Cubbies, D-Backs, Phillies, and Rays of course.

It was happening at The Yard last night. With the first pick we drafted a lefty from California and we won 8-3 to take the series from the Angels. We also won the homie, 4 games to three.

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Today the Chron E-Board pretty much rips the way HPD is being managed. They throw out phrases like “something is wrong at the top” and “different set of skills is needed to manage.” It is a pretty scathing take on the Police Chief. They are saying that the Chief needs to be shown the door so why don’t they just come out and ask for the Mayor to fire the chief? Nobody is really going to get upset if they do. Maybe they are just laying the ground work so to speak. Here is today’s E-board take:

Three weeks ago, this editorial board called for an outside inspector to take a look at the Houston Police Department. In the wake of reports about HPD’s homicide department ignoring cases, it was clear that Houston’s police suffered from a management problem and needed third-party help.

That call was met by an angry police chief, an offended police union president and a silent mayor.

Those homicide problems were just the tip of the iceberg, followed by news of a long-broken case management system that allowed supervisor breakdowns to slip through the cracks.

But you could practically hear the blood pressure shoot up across the city as Chronicle readers learned that HPD last year did not investigate approximately 20,000 burglary, theft, assault and hit-and-run cases, despite workable leads (“20,000 HPD cases went unworked,” Page A1, Tuesday).

Scandals like these do not occur overnight. How is it possible that Police Chief Charles McClelland has not been ringing the alarm all this time? Instead, we’ve had to wait for a report initiated by City Hall.

Something is wrong at the top, and this management failure does a disservice to the uniformed officers who keep Houston safe. Those officers may do an excellent job policing our streets, but a different set of skills is needed to manage an organization with a nine-figure budget.

We reiterate: HPD needs a third-party management review. The most recent report was not enough, recommending staffing changes and Segways for airport officers.

The big piece of advice at the end was more funds for more police officers to investigate those 20,000 ignored crimes. That isn’t what we are talking about. HPD’s internal management needs a hard analysis, but it feels like the only third-party advice that HPD wants to hear is “give them more money.”

Experience has demonstrated that money will not solve the problem. Over the last decade, HPD has seen its budget grow from $468 million to $722 million – not including the cost of the crime lab and neighborhood protection departments. In that time, HPD actually lost more than 100 officers. So where did the funds go? That is the question that City Hall needs to answer before it cuts another check to HPD’s questionable management.

There is also the issue of whether Houston’s budget could handle any additional officers. Without changes to HPD’s internal finances, adding 800 new officers – not even the requested 1,500 – would cost at least $80 million. With the city’s meet and confer contract with the Houston Police Officers’ Union expiring in June 2015, expect the cost of HPD to grow even higher. That’s just more money to burden Houstonians, who already are feeling the weight of skyrocketing property tax payments.

Meanwhile, growing pension obligations and debt upkeep act as a pipeline that sucks funds for new recruits and sends them to officers long retired.

So before City Hall helps HPD’s budget inch closer to the $1 billion mark, Houstonians need to be assured that their public dollars are being spent wisely. That means a budget managed by leaders who use every bit of expertise available to run a large business today.

Yesterday, Lisa Falkenberg also had a take on the management of the police department. I don’t know what the Mayor is thinking on this but don’t look for her to show the Chief the door. The police department is one of the biggest chunks of the budget and the public safety issue is always the cornerstone of why folks run for H-Town mayor. Firing the police chief is an admission that you kind of got it wrong on your choice of public safety leadership and would put a huge hit on her legacy. I am figuring she is going to ride it out for now. After all, if she did dump the Chief, she would have to bring in someone from the outside and who wants to be chief for 18 months or so. She really doesn’t have a choice.

Your move Chron E-Board.

I was wrong the other day. Jon Singleton won’t be wearing the numero 13. He’s wearing the numero 28. Name the starter for the ‘Stros that wore the 28 from 2002 – 2007?

Yesterday the Taliban put out a video of the Bergdahl swap and CNN gave it the Zapruder treatment. Oh brother!

Close to 24,000 showed up last night. Today is a 6 pm start with dollar dogs.

Shortstop Adam Everett of course wore the numero 28 from 2002 – 2007.

Hopefully tonight is the last time we get the first pick of the MLB Amateur Player Draft.

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Oh brother! It looks like H-Town has another slogan according to the Chron. Meet “Houston, The City With No Limits!” Huh! Why do we need another slogan when none of the past slogans have stuck around? Remember “Houston Proud”, “Houston, Expect the Unexpected”, “Houston is Hot”, and “Houston, It’s Worth It.” We are also Space City, Bayou City, and used to be Clutch City. It is like we are always searching for who we are. I wish some of our leaders would quit trying to define our identity. We are just H-Town so just let it be.

George Springer won the AL Rookie of the Month for May. Name the last ‘Stro to win Rookie of the Month?

Here is what Lisa Falkenberg said about the HPD police chief today on all the cases that were not investigated last year:

While the buck does stop with the mayor, the direct responsibility lies with HPD Chief Charles McClelland.

Those 20,000 burglaries, thefts, assaults and hit-and-run cases that didn’t get investigated shouldn’t have been a surprise to the chief. The data from the report that revealed them publicly was based on monthly HPD management reports of cases with workable leads.

Why did we find out about the problem from a study and not from the chief himself?

He could have sounded the alarm and made sure our precious few sworn officers were utilized in the most effective way.


Hunter Pence of course won the NL Rookie of the Month in May of 2007.

The slogan of the NCAA is “Show Me the Money!” That’s why the Longhorns are hosting the Coogs in the Super Regional this weekend.

There was a special energy at The Yard last night. 23,000 plus were excited to witness Jon Singleton’s MLB debut and he didn’t fail us. Singleton slammed an eighth inning dinger into the ‘Stros bullpen and help carry the team to a 7-2 victory. The Jon Singleton era has begun! Or as GM Luhnow tweeted yesterday – #Springledon!

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I hope 20,000 crimes not being worked by HPD this past year is not the new normal in H-Town. You kind of have to wonder where public safety ranks these days. I wonder how we compare to other cities.

It kind of has a hollow ring to it if we go around saying that we held the line on taxes and came in under budget but we didn’t bother to investigate 20,000 burglaries, thefts, and hit and runs. By the way, that’s 1,818 crimes per council district that didn’t get looked into. Tell that to your constituents.

The police union says we need 1,500 new officers. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I think it is only going to get worse.

Here is a Burkablog sort of obit on the Lite Guv:

The answer is that he never had a constituency. There is no statewide constituency in Texas for a moderate Republican. Dewhurst is a decent, well-meaning fellow, but he was overwhelmed by the far-right wave. Over the course of two election cycles, he ran into two political phenoms, Ted Cruz and Dan Patrick, and he was no match for them.

Dewhurst never understood the tea party: They were driven by an anger and a zealotry that was beyond his understanding, and he was helpless to challenge it. But it must also be said that Dewhurst’s political instincts range from awful to nonexistent. He was putty in the hands of activists like Michael Quinn Sullivan. He thought he could win over Dan Patrick by making him chairman of education, but all he did was hand Patrick the knife with which to stab Dewhurst in the back. Whatever personal problems Patrick may have, he is one of the shrewdest politicians Texas has produced. All these years later, Dewhurst still doesn’t understand that the Texas Republican party isn’t the party that existed when he became lieutenant governor and his genteel conservatism worked against him when it came to the tea party.

I am glad the ‘Stros still read Commentary. Here is what I said yesterday:

We need to bring up Jonathan Singleton from Triple A like now.

Well, he’s here! Meet our new first baseman. Plus he was signed to a multi-year deal so that means he will be sticking around. We got Jon Singleton from the Phillies as part of the 2011 trade that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies.

Here is what MLB’s Richard Justice said:

Let’s not make this thing more complicated than it should be. First baseman Jon Singleton makes the Astros better. That’s the bottom line.

He will be wearing the numero 13. OK you diehards, name the ‘Stro that wore the numero 13 from 1995-2003?

CNN is starting to wear on me on some of their coverage. They know they are not righties like Fox or lefties like MSNBC so they want to play it up the middle. I get that but it appears like they want to create controversies or at least add fuel to them. They did this with the missing airliner, the Clippers, and now with the POW swap. I don’t mind healthy debate but sometimes I feel Wolf and some of his crew egg folks on. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t get that from AC360 and certainly not from Anthony Bourdain.

Billy Wagner of course wore the numero 13 for the ‘Stros.

Singleton will make his debut against the Angels this evening as Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton visit The Yard for three.

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