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Archive for September, 2014

Scandalous or Scandaless

Team Davis is trying to pin the latest Texas Enterprise Fund mess on AG Abbott. A few years ago Abbott refused to let the public see documents that didn’t exist – got it.

Aside from Guv Dude and the folks that benefitted from the fund nobody has really had anything good to say about the TEF but nobody has done anything about it. The press has written some stories but other than that there hasn’t been any oversight. Why should we expect the voters to give a rat’s arse five weeks before Election Day?

Here is what Burkablog had to say on the matter:

When one looks at the wheeling and dealing that went on with the Texas Enterprise Fund, my question is this: Why is it not an impeachable offense? These folks used the Enterprise Fund for their private playground. They awarded $222 million to entities that, according to the Dallas Morning News, never submitted a formal application or agreed to create a specific number of jobs (all of which is required for those seeking TEF grants). Remember, these are state tax dollars that Perry and Abbott was playing fast and loose with, and he were getting goodies from campaign contributors. Abbott, not incidentally, has received $1.4 million in contributions. Isn’t he in the position of being a fiduciary with respect to the Enterprise Fund?

Readers with long memories will recall that many lawmakers regarded the TEF as a slush fund for Rick Perry at its inception. Here is the truth: Texas politics has become corrupted, and we are no better than Louisiana. The Enterprise Fund Scandal may turn out to be another Sharpstown.

Quite an indictment from Burkablog if you ask me but the voters in the current election cycle aren’t going to react any differently than they have in the past. They’ve given a free pass to those that brought us devastating cuts to public education, skyrocketing tuition, and rapidly deteriorating roads and highways – now that’s scandalous. Why should they care about folks lining up like trick-or-treaters at Guv Dude’s Mansion waiting for their state sponsored handout?

There are ten team in the MLB Playoffs. Name the team with the most World Serious championships?

Commentary watched the Lite Guv debate last night. Sen. Dan Patrick went Sen. Dan Patrick. He didn’t tone it down and in fact went on the attack against Sen. Leticia Van de Putte. There were not any gaffes or gotcha moments. You have to wonder who was watching the debate last night. Do you really think there were any undecided voters watching?

Wild Card action starts this evening with the A’s visiting KC. I don’t like that it is a one game winner takes all. I am not going to worry about it though.

San Luis of course owns 11 World Serious titles.

I watched the ‘Stros introduce the new skipper yesterday. I don’t know much about A.J. Hinch. At least he didn’t talk in sound bites yesterday.

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This does not surprise me and it should not surprise you. A good chunk of the Latino voting community is fed up with The President. I have watched some of the Dem Latino leaders try to defend the recent White House decision to hold off on immigration action and you can tell that they are having a difficult time reciting the talking points. All this does is dampen Latino interest in the upcoming election.

BTW: Here in Harris County mail ballots started hitting this past Friday.

Here is the HuffPo article on a recent poll of Latino voters:

President Barack Obama’s approval rating among Latino voters has taken a dive over the last two years, according to polling data from Gallup reported Friday.

Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics declined to 52 percent as of August from a peak of 74 percent early in 2013, the poll says. Despite the 22 point drop, support for Obama among Latinos remains 10 points above the national average.

The decline in support for the president comes amid wide frustration among the Latino electorate with Obama’s stance on immigration.

Earlier this month Obama declined, for the second time, to move forward with a promised executive action to offer deportation to more undocumented immigrants. The White House cited concerns that reopening the immigration debate ahead of midterms could hurt vulnerable Democrats, endangering the party’s control of the U.S. Senate.

Pollsters at Latino Decisions say their surveys indicate that disappointing them may dampen support for Democrats among Hispanic voters or depress turnout.

One major Latino group, Presente Action, called this week for its members to think twice before voting for a group of four Democratic U.S. senators facing tight reelection campaigns because they supported a procedural measure that would have called for a vote to discontinue executive actions that shield undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Others, including a coalition of 50 Latino organizations, have pressed the Hispanic community to react by showing up in larger numbers to the ballot box, in order to pressure politicians to take note of the growing size of the Hispanic electorate.

This is definitely not good news. It is what it is because this key voting bloc of the Dem Party has been let down.

Early Voting in Person starts three weeks from today.

The A’s, KC, Giants and Pirates are the four Wild Card teams. Name the four Wild Card teams from last season?

Yesterday was a very good day for baseball. I watched the ‘Stros and had the Texans on in another room. The morning started off with the ‘Stros brass deciding that Jose Altuve who was holding a three point lead in the batting title race over the Tigers’ Victor Martinez would not play. That decision didn’t sit well with respected baseball folks across the land. Thirty minutes before the game and after getting clobbered on twitterverse, the ‘Stros flip flopped and announced that Altuve would be starting. The rest is history. He went 2 for 4 and Martinez went 0 for 3. Altuve’s .341 batting average is the highest in MLB this year and it is the first ever batting title won by a ‘Stro. Altuve finished with 225 base hits, also the best in MLB. His 56 stolen bases led the AL. Most of the back page of today’s Chron sports section is devoted to Altuve’s season and what a spectacular season for Jose Altuve!

When I found out Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals was three outs away from tossing a no-no, I switch it over in time to catch the last two outs including the no-no saving grab by left fielder Steven Souza, Jr. – wow!

Then I watched the Tigers clinch the AL Central and the A’s clinch a Wild Card slot.

Cincy, Cleveland, Pirates and Rays were last season’s Wild Card teams of course.

We finished the season at 70-92. The Red Sox, last year’s World Serious Champs, finished at 71-91. Next up is Cleveland at The Yard on April 6, 2015.

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Talking Numbers

The Chron ran a story the other day about Dems in the Lone Star State ramping up their vote-by-mail-ballot program. I hope it works.

Here are some numbers for Harris County.

In 2010, 24,231 voted by mail straight ticket for the GOP versus 11,448 for Dems. 31,101 voted by mail for Guv Dude versus 22,875 for Bill White. Vote-by-mail-ballots made up 6.8% of the total vote.

In 2012, 28,608 voted by mail straight ticket for the GOP versus 19,557 for Dems. 43,270 voted by mail for Romney versus 31,414 for The President. Vote-by-mail-ballots made up 6.2% of the total vote.

In 2010, of the total vote in Harris County, 290,355 voted the straight ticket for the GOP versus 240,479 for Dems. 66.8% of the total 798,995 voters were straight ticket voters.

In 2012, of the total vote in Harris County, 404,165 voted the straight ticket for the GOP versus 406,991 for Dems. 70% of the total 1,204,167 voters were straight ticket voters.

The better the turnout, the better for Dems. Stay tuned!

Derek Jeter now has 3,463 career base hits. Where does he rank all-time?

If you were at home last night and like Commentary have a love for the game, then you watched MLB’s coverage of Derek Jeter’s last game at Yankee Stadium. Storybook ending! Made for TV! It could not have been scripted better. He had a walk-off game winning single in the bottom of the ninth. It was simply magical!

My friend Drayton McLane, Jr. has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron ‘splaining his position on the ‘Stros and the TV deals. Here it is: http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/McLane-End-of-broadcast-network-litigation-will-5781429.php.

Now that Derek Jeter’s numero 2 has been retired, no Yankee will ever wear a single digit on the back of their uniform unless they go with the zero. How about that!

Jeter is sixth on the career base hit list of course.

The ‘Stros visit the Mets this weekend to close out the season and Altuve’s lead in the batting title chase is down to six points.

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I was absolutely surprised to read this in Politico this morning. I don’t know how they got this. I don’t know about this. Here is from Politico:

The 2014 election is being driven by sweeping national forces — an unpopular president, a shaky economy and, increasingly, national security.

Yet for candidates, the fundamentals of running a strong campaign matter as much as ever. And this year, some campaigns are turning out to be doozies — of the worst variety.

From repeated gaffes to destabilizing staff shakeups to unearthed skeletons from the past, all that and more is here in POLITICO’s look at the worst campaigns of 2014:

And:

Wendy Davis: Davis’ June 2013 filibuster against a restrictive anti-abortion measure in the Texas Legislature endeared her to liberals nationwide, with everyone from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to actress Lena Dunham voicing support. All of a sudden, it seemed, Democrats had a high-wattage candidate capable of the seemingly impossible: turning Texas blue.

It’s been all downhill from there for Davis, a candidate for Texas governor.

A Dallas Morning News story in January raised questions about inconsistencies in how she recounted her life story. In March, she had a weaker-than-expected showing against an obscure and underfunded primary opponent. A month later she was dissed by her own party’s governors association. And in June, the state senator shook up her campaign.

Meanwhile, in a conservative state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office since 1994, Davis has struggled to demonstrate that she’s focused on more than abortion rights.

A recent New York Times poll showed Davis trailing Republican state Attorney General Greg Abbott by double digits.

Here are all of Politico’s lousy campaigns: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/2014-worst-campaigns-111311.html?hp=t1.

I wonder what Team Davis is thinking this morning. I hope they just shrug it off. To me this is kind of old news. Oh well!

Name the Hall of Fame great with the highest all-time career batting average?

Folks need to go on-line to catch the #TrulyBrave video that aired on the “Today” show this morning.

The Chron E-Board today endorsed six local judicial candidates – all GOPers.

Today is Derek Jeter Day in NYC. Wow!

Ty Cobb of course has the highest career batting average – .367.

We got swept by the Rangers last night but Jose Altuve now leads the batting title chase by nine points.

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As everybody knows, Commentary predicted this would happen during this election cycle. I am talking about an immigration reform debate within the Latino community. The reform activists are calling out some high profile Latino Dems for defending The President’s decision to hold off until after the November election any executive action on immigration. Latino Dems are being accused of being Dem lackeys, peons, and sellouts – ouch!

The reform activists are also telling their folks to vote for none of the above this November unless the candidates are hard core allies. It is hard to determine at this point if this debate is going to influence Latino voter turnout. The National Coordinating Committee 2014 for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform put this piece out two days ago:

By Carlos Arango (Chicago), Juan José Bocanegra (Seattle), Armando Vazquez-Ramos (Long Beach), and Nativo Vigil Lopez (Los Ángeles) (September 22, 2014.)

The Latino Political House is Divided: Which Side Are You On – Immigrant Families or the Democratic Party?

Due to Obama’s betrayal and the Democratic Party’s desperate gamble to protect control of the Senate, Latino voters are now at a crucial crossroad.

Those concerned with immigration reform, deportations, family separations, and unaccompanied minors surrendering at the southern border, are caught in a transfixed credibility debate about President Obama’s announcement to delay any decision to exercise executive action of administrative relief for the estimated 11 million undocumented migrants currently in the country.

After committing publicly at a White House press conference to make a decision by the end of the summer, Obama announced in early September that he would wait until after the midterm elections to decide what action to take. There is nothing conclusive indicating that any relief granted would be sweeping, bold, and inclusive – in any case. Everything about Obama’s trajectory tells us that it would be cautious, limited, and conflictive.

Immigrant rights activists have harshly criticized the president for one more broken promise. Republicans have denounced him as an opportunist for delaying his decision on electoral grounds and being an imperial executive usurping the legislative role of congress. Vulnerable Democratic Senators in tight competitive races and the Democratic Party leadership, fearful of a white voter backlash, gave off a big sigh of relief. And, administration insider and outsider apologists immediately lined up to defend their patron.

Sadly, Dolores Huerta is only the latest to try and pull Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire with her recent quote from a VOXXI.COM interview, “We have to look at the big picture and don’t get caught up in saying we want it now.” “…we are a community that can wait.” And, “we have to have faith in our president…” How ironic that she expresses no anger at the 70,000 to 100,000 more deportations Obama’s delay will provoke. Multi-millionaire Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of HUD under President Clinton, has repeatedly railed against immigrant advocates for demanding of the president “not one more deportation.” Disgraced and separated vice president of the Service Employees International Union, Eliseo Medina, has probably been the most protective of Obama at every turn. And, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of Domestic Policy Council, and Assistant to President Obama, has been the White House’s pit-bull in silencing critics of the deportation machine.

On the whole, Obama’s Latino defenders all have a financial stake in his regime. They are all recipients of largesse either from the administration directly or through his party or allied private foundations. They belong to the corrupt patronage system and have gladly accepted their proverbial role as house peons who run to save the master’s burning house faster than the master himself. The most immoral observation about their behavior is the lack of transparency about their personal moneyed interests and positions as they implicitly defend massive deportations of historic dimension.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus for its part was incensed at its junior role in the jockeying for the president’s attention and shunted aside in deference to the conservative Democratic Senators. Almost two weeks to the day it finally issued a letter to the president calling on him to comply with his new promise, but refused to hold him to a date certain, and omitted to articulate any possible consequences for not acting before the year’s end. Muñoz met with the members prior to the letter’s release in an effort to placate them and caution against any overreach in their demands on her boss. Caucus members are feeling the heat from the streets by immigrant organizations in their respective districts and are deathly fearful of a lower than normal voter turnout for the elections.

There is a growing movement towards political independence away from both Democrats and Republicans, especially among younger voters and advocates. This is positive outcome of the controversy.

The demand for executive action by the president was not the product of mainstream funded groups, but of independent grassroots base organizations fed up with the legislative impositions emanating out of Washington D.C. Executive action became a necessity due to the impossibility of passing fair and humane immigration reform in the face of two million deportations and family separations, and 700,000 American minors exiled in Mexico with their deported Mexican parents. S.744, the bipartisan “comprehensive immigration reform” passed by the Senate last year, was nothing but a sop to big business and border enforcement xenophobes, and was light on equitable legalization for immigrants.

The National Coordinating Committee for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform 2014, in alignment with a growing independent movement of DREAMer and migrant-led organizations, advocates for immediate administrative relief and not waiting until after the midterms, unless the president suspends deportations for the duration of the delay. Migrant families should not pay the horribly high price for the party’s election anxieties. The relief must be sweeping and bold, and include all migrants contributing to the economic recovery of the country.

Absent such action, we recommend that Latino voters not support any Democratic or Republican candidate in the midterms that does not support an immediate end to deportations and relief, particularly in the five to nine toss-up Senate races of most concern to Democratic Party leaders. It is time to register as independent, and those already registered to re-register accordingly, forge an independent political electorate among Latino communities nationally, and make both parties work for our vote by every day addressing our problematic needs and interests as the largest non-white and fastest growing constituency in America.

We stand on the side of the millions of deportees and their families, and the millions more who still hold out hope for presidential action. Let the apologists be defined on the side of the deportation apparatus, while migrants judge their role in history.

The National Coordinating Committee 2014 for Fair and Humane Immigration Reform is an independent binational network of migrant worker and family grassroots organizations and coalitions that struggle for immigration reform according to the needs of our families in California, Texas, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, New York, Georgia, Florida and Mexico. For further information, contact Nativo Vigil Lopez at nativolopez@gmail.com.

You have to figure the GOP is kind of loving this so stay tuned!

The Chron E-Board today endorsed more local judicial candidates – 4 GOPers and 1 Dem. Here they are: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Civil-Courts-part-1-5776022.php.

Yesterday Derek Jeter became the 15th recipient of the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award. Name the 14th recipient.

Last week Guv Dude’s Special Prosecutor asked the court for more legal help. I hope he included a request for a political consultant. Dude’s legal team asked the judge if Dude could miss his next court date due to pressing political campaign business. That didn’t sit too well with the Special Prosecutor. Here is a bit from the Chron:

The special prosecutor in the criminal case against Rick Perry said Tuesday that the governor is asking for “special favors” and that his activities, including a rally when he was booked, are making a mockery of the justice system.

“I don’t think there’s any reason why Mr. Perry should be treated any differently from any other citizen who’s required to be in court,” special prosecutor Michael McCrum said of a request by Perry’s lawyers that he be allowed to skip a pretrial hearing.

“He’s asking for special favors, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s not entitled to it,” McCrum, a San Antonio lawyer, said in an interview.

Besides looking askance at Perry’s courthouse booking rally, McCrum referred to him “smirking.”

“I’ve never seen a defendant make such a mockery of our system of justice,” he said.

Huh! What did he think Dude was going to do when got booked? Dude came out swinging from Day 1. He is going after Dude for “smirking.” That is a first. It looks like Dude has succeeded in getting under the collar of the Special Prosecutor.

Vin Scully of course was the 14th recipient of the Commissioner’s Historic Achievement Award.

We lost again last night and Altuve holds an eight point lead in the batting title chase.

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Going Negative?

Yesterday Commentary was sent the attack/negative ad AG Abbott is kind of running on Team Davis. There is only one problem? Is it running here in the H-Town area? I have seen the Madrina ad, the working out in the parking garage ad, the across the US map ad, and now the talking by the traffic jam ad. I haven’t seen any of their negative ads. It is one thing for AG Abbott to email out the negative ad to the media and other players or to put it up on the web and it is another thing to bring it into our living rooms. So much for going negative.

You also have to ask the question does AG Abbott need to go negative at some point?

Meanwhile, Commentary is hearing that Team Davis is now on local Telemundo. No word yet on local Univision.

Commentary lives in a ‘hood where we have one of the better voter turnouts in the H-Town area. That being said, with Early Voting in Person starting in 27 days, I am not seeing a whole lot of political campaign signs in yards. Am I missing something? I have seen some Orlando Sanchez signs on North Main. I have seen a sprinkling of Kim Ogg signs. A Team Davis, one Leticia, a judge here and there – that’s it.

Jose Altuve now has 221 base hits. Name the last MLBer to hit 221 plus base hits in a season.

Most folks now know how Commentary feels about the following. All they are doing is giving this fella some sympathy run. They are letting him notch up more Ws if you know what I mean. Here is from the Chron:

Harris County officials are asking an appeals court to reconsider the question of where Dave Wilson lived when he ran for his seat on the Houston Community College board.

The Harris County Attorney’s office is appealing a reluctant ruling by state district Judge Mike Engelhart, who in August upheld a jury verdict that Wilson did in fact live in an apartment in a warehouse on W. 34th Street that he claimed as his residence when running for the HCC seat in November.

The county attorney contends that Wilson actually lives with his wife in a home outside the city limits, and outside the boundaries of HCC District II. County attorney officials argue Wilson claims residency wherever he wants to run for office.

Wilson said in an email that the appeal is a waste of government resources.

“First I won the election. Then I won the recount. Then I won the challenge to the Board of Trustees at HCC,” Wilson said. “I won the TRO and the Permanent Injunction hearing. I won at the Jury Trial. I won the JNOV. Now there is an appeal that I will win. What a waste of County government resources.” (JNOV refers to the county’s effort to persuade the judge to overturn the jury verdict.)

County attorney officials did not immediately reply to a request for comment. They said in July that they expected the case would end up before an appellate court no matter how the judge ruled.

While some have questioned the county’s persistence in the case, officials in the county attorney’s office have said that the jury’s ruling sent an inappropriate message to those looking to run for office — in effect, that “anything goes” when it comes to residency.

“A lot of people are looking at the result of this and concluding that … the concept of residency, as far as qualifying for election goes, is meaningless,” Assistant County Attorney Douglas Ray said at the time. “If Mr. Wilson can claim he lives in a warehouse at the same time he has a homestead exemption at another location, then anybody can claim to live anywhere.”

Oh well!

Ichiro Suzuki of course had 225 base hits in 2009.

Altuve has a nine point lead in the batting title chase with five games left.

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Just Ask

Commentary was at The Yard yesterday and I snagged a foul ball and handed it over to Reggie Bibbs. Reggie was with a group that was sitting right next to me. Who is Reggie Bibbs? Here is from the Chron:

Reggie Bibbs, a member of a member of Second Baptist Church on Woodway, was looking fine in a suit and tie recently when he went on stage to receive a Gold Addy Award for his advertising campaign to raise awareness of a disfiguring disorder called neurofibromatosis.

It was a dressy affair at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, which is why Bibbs, 42, wasn’t wearing the T-shirt that won him the award.

On the front is an abstract outline of Bibbs’ face, and on the back are the words “Just Ask.”

“I can see how people look at me, and they will just stare,” said Bibbs, who was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis as an infant, and has several tumors on his left leg and face.

“Some of them look at me like I’m an apparition. You can see they want to ask — but they don’t — and it puts both of us in an awkward position.

“I want them to know it’s okay to ask me what’s wrong (with me).”

Originally from Houston, and still living in the same house he in which he grew up, Bibbs said his mother first noticed something was amiss when she would try to put his shoes on his little feet.

Here is the entire Chron story on Reggie: http://www.chron.com/default/article/Reggie-Bibbs-receives-Gold-Addy-Award-1572760.php

I think Reggie kind of got excited that I gave him the foul ball. I felt good about it.

This past weekend the Chron E-Board endorsed the incumbent Harris County District Clerk and the incumbent Harris County Clerk – both GOPers.

Five MLB clubs have clinched playoff spots. Name them?

The front page of the Chron has a story on State Senators not giving a whole lot of campaign money help to their nominees for Lite Guv. To me that is old news. Here is from the Chron:

Through the first eight months of (State Sen.) Van de Putte’s campaign, spanning November to July, (State Senate) Democrats contributed a collective total of $9,500, small change in a race where she’ll need to bank big bucks to compete with (State Sen.) Patrick’s proven fundraising prowess and large lead in the polls.

Collectively, the nine sitting Democrats not running for statewide office have a total of nearly $15 million in unspent political cash, with individual totals ranging from about $10,000 to several million-dollar accounts.

The largest belongs to Houston Sen. John Whitmire, who had $7.8 million on hand on his last report. Whitmire, a 32-year incumbent facing a Republican challenger in November with virtually no campaign cash, made clear that the money he raises belongs to him.

“It’s my money, its campaign funds in my campaign account, so I’d have to make that decision. It’s money for me to spend on my campaigns,” he said. “And I have an opponent in November, you know.”

And:

While it’s understandable for most Republicans to refrain from giving to (State Sen.) Patrick because he can raise plenty of money on his own, (Rice Professor Mark) Jones said for Democrats “once your war chest gets north of $1 million, I think you can spend $10,000 for (State Sen.) Leticia Van de Putte and not notice it.”

“Overall, it certainly doesn’t demonstrate a great deal of faith by those senators in Leticia Van de Putte’s electability,” he said.

I really don’t agree with this take. For the most part, the Dem state senators just have not been big donors to the campaigns of other folks. Never have and never will. Why should it change now?

The Angels, Dodgers, Nationals, B’More, and San Luis of course are in the playoffs.

It’s time to put away the gear until next season. 36,000 plus showed up Saturday evening and 31,000 plus yesterday. They had a cool tribute to Jose Altuve before the game Saturday evening and they showed him smack every one of his 211 base hits on El Grande.

I snagged my 7th foul ball Friday evening and my 8th yesterday.

We are through playing spoiler so all that is left is Altuve’s batting title chase and Chris Carter’s shot at the dinger title.

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