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Archive for November, 2014

Commentary has always said I am always learning. Today I learned a new word: voluble.

I saw it in the Chron E-Board endorsement of State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst in the SD 18 Special. Here is from the E-Board endorsement:

Named one of Texas Monthly’s 10 best legislators in 2007, the voluble, hyper-energetic legislator knows the issues important to the largely rural district that runs between Harris and Bexar counties and has dealt with them in the House.

I am sorry but I have never heard of voluble. I read a lot and have never run across the word. Never heard it on a ‘Stros game. Never heard it on CNN. Never heard it on “SNL,” “The Newsroom,”, “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Good Wife,” or “Today.” I had to look it up and best I can figure, voluble means talkative, verbose, or articulate or something like that – I think.

A couple of nights ago when I was watching on the flat screen the protests and related events coming from Ferguson, CNN anchor Don Lemon was providing a verbal description of the scene. Here is what he said: “Maybe a minute, two minutes ago we heard a gunshot and watched people scattering. And we’re watching people on the roofs of cars, on the tops of cars and, er,… Obviously there’s a smell of marijuana here as well.”

Immediately he started getting hammered by bloggers and on twitter and yesterday by media critics for the mention of dope in the air – huh!

Hey, if there are bullets flying, cars being set on fire, stores being looted, protesters being tear gassed, and folks being put in cuffs, and some fellas are passing around a bong, I want to know about it. I really didn’t think the mention of dope in the air was inappropriate or unprofessional. It would be like mentioning “and some folks are running around with Bud Lights in their koozies.”

Don Lemon is not your typical anchor and I think he has pretty much let us know that over the past couple of years. I sometimes don’t agree with his style but that is the way it goes. He tries not to stay in the same old anchor chair mold if you know what I mean.

The Rocket, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz are on the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame ballot. How many Cy Young Awards have these pitching greats won?

There is something about heading to the family gathering on Thanksgiving Day and driving on the freeway and passing the empty parking lots of malls and major retailers. It makes me think that most folks are at home with their families and friends. Like most other traditions, that is changing.

Commentary thinks it is a bummer for stores to open on Thanksgiving Day evening. That’s sad. Can’t folks wait until Friday to get into their Christmas shopping? Who wants to go shopping at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day night anyway? Or at midnight? Get a life!

I also think it stinks that some grocery stores are open until midday on Thanksgiving Day. I mean, can’t you handle all of your Thanksgiving Day shopping by noon of that day?

We will be having our Thanksgiving Day dinner tomorrow at my sister Sylvia’s. At last count eleven of us will be there including my niece Cristina, her boyfriend Chris, and my nephew Enrique’s girlfriend Christy – got it! The other six are a Tony, Alicia, Dave, Jackson, Louis and Commentary. Two live in Nashville, three in Baytown, five vote in H-Town, and the other is too young to vote – got it!

The Rocket (7), Randy Johnson (5), Pedro Martinez (3), and John Smoltz (1) have a combined 16 Cy Young Awards of course.

I don’t have anything from The Yard and unless there is breaking news over the weekend I will return on Monday.

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving Day and a very nice holiday weekend!

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It has now been three weeks since Dems have gotten their arses run here in the Lone Star State and nobody is really saying anything about what do Dems do now. The 19 point plus whipping of the Dem statewide candidates down the line has pretty much quieted any talk about 2016 and 2018 and beyond. It is time for small ball instead of the big inning.

In baseball, small ball is a strategy where you manufacture runs by utilizing the bunt, stealing bases, the hit and run, walks, hitting behind the runner, and contact hitting. You have to use this strategy if your offense is short of bashers. The big inning is a strategy where you rely heavily on the extra base hit, the walks, dingers, and have the capability of scoring a lot of runs in an inning. You need to have a lineup that includes a few power hitters and fence swingers.

Moving forward, Dems in the Lone Star State should consider utilizing the small ball strategy. We need to look at where we can pick up a run here and there. Let’s look at the map and see here we have a shot at a legislative seat, a county commissioner, county judgeship, district judgeship, county clerk, JP, constable – you get the picture. In a state with 254 counties, don’t tell me there are not any opportunities.

We are not ready for big inning play and I am not talking about a lack of quality statewide candidates. We had a good slate this past go-around. We just didn’t have the weapons to swing for the fences – a solid, organized, and energetic base. We build the base by playing small ball and picking up a run here and there. That’s how you manufacture some Ws.

Of the players listed on the new Hall of Fame ballot, Barry Bonds has the most career dingers with 762. Of the players listed on the ballot, who has the second most?

Speaking of wins and losses, AG Abbott says he will file suit against the President on his immigration actions. Where can you find AG Abbott’s won and loss record against the President on lawsuits?

I watched the Ferguson announcement last night live on CBS and I just have to wonder why the prosecutor had to call out the media. Maybe it has something to do with the well-deserved bad publicity his ‘hood got on a worldwide stage. What a dumbarse! And why make the announcement at night?

I guess the folks in SD 18 all have good paying jobs, great health insurance plans, super roads and highways, all the kids are getting the best education, and they all have their college tuition lined-up, because the only issue that matters is border security. Oh well!

Sammy Sosa of course is on the Hall of Fame ballot with 609 career dingers.

BTW: Baggy is also on the Hall of Fame ballot.

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These tweets came out this morning:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 23m23 minutes ago
Breaking: Henry Martinez, fmr HCC District Commander, will be nominated today to serve out rest of Constable Victor Tervino’s term. #hounews

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 16m16 minutes ago
Henry Martinez, who has worked at HCC for 23 years, will fill out rest of term of Victor Trevino. Morman will make official today. #hounews

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 11m11 minutes ago
.@SheriffGarcia on Martinez in stment: “I know that he shares the same concern for children and seniors as does Constable Trevino.” #hounews

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 7m7 minutes ago
Breaking this AM: Henry Martinez, HCC cop for 23 yrs, to replace Victor Trevino as Precinct 6 Constable. | http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/Henry-Martinez-to-replace-ousted-Trevino-5914007.php

Harris County Commissioners Court is expected to name the third ever Harris County Constable for Precinct 6 this morning – SEE ABOVE. If as if the Chron reported earlier the new Constable will agree not to run for election in 2016 then that is a real good thing if you ask me. Let’s let the voters of Precinct 6 decide in 2016. That is the way it should be – right? I don’t know who would want to argue with this.

The Commissioners Court didn’t create the vacancy. They are just trying to fill it. I think they are going about it the best way they can and that is all folks can expect. Stay tuned!

The MLB Hall of Fame ballot will be released today and pitching great Randy Johnson will be on it. How many games did the Big Unit win in his career and where does that put him on the all-time win list?

The GOP is still griping about how the President put it on them on immigration action. The GOP still doesn’t have a plan so it looks like Iowa GOP Congressman Steve King will continue to drive their response – what joke. I really don’t expect the GOP to come forward with anything meaningful on immigration – do you?

The Christmas tunes are now playing on the radio and both Hallmark channels have wall-to-wall Christmas shows. I’m OK with that.

Here are parts of Jose de Jesus Ortiz’s article in today’s Chron on B-G-O and the Hall of Fame ballot:

The list is quite impressive, appearing even more prestigious as time passes. From Grover Cleveland Alexander in 1938 and Lefty Grove in 1947 all the way to Ryne Sandberg in 2005 and Barry Larkin in 2012, 10 Hall of Famers fell short of election twice before earning their place among baseball’s immortals in Cooperstown, N.Y.

This year, former Astros star Craig Biggio has a chance to join Alexander, Grove, Sandberg, Larkin, Carl Hubbell, Catfish Hunter, Ferguson Jenkins, Juan Marichal, Mel Ott and Gaylord Perry among the Hall of Famers who earned induction in their third year on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot.

“That’s a pretty impressive list,” said Biggio, who missed induction by two votes last year. “Hopefully, it happens. We were extremely close last year, so hopefully this year is a magical year.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame will release its 2015 ballot to the public Monday, and eligible BBWAA members will receive their ballots in the mail before Thanksgiving so they can begin voting on the class that will be announced Jan. 6.

Five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson, who spent part of the 1998 season with Biggio and the Astros, and three-time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez are the two biggest former stars among the players who will be on the Hall ballot for the first time in 2015. Also among those who will make their first appearance are former Cy Young winner John Smoltz and Gary Sheffield, a member of the 500-homer club.

Biggio, who had 3,060 hits over a 20-year career with the Astros, has been one of the top candidates in each of his two years on the ballot. Former Astros slugger Jeff Bagwell will be on the ballot for the fifth time, and seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens will be on the ballot for the third time.

And:

“Biggio will get in this time,” said the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Paul Hoynes, who has had a Hall vote for two decades. “Two votes? You’ve got to get that. I certainly hope he gets it.”

We will see!

The Big Unit of course won 303 games and is 22nd on the all-time career win list.

We will have to wait until January 6 for the Hall of Fame ballot results.

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Moving Forward

Way to go Mr. President!

Congrats also go to those that help make this happen including the DREAMers and immigration activists. One of them was MariGirl who also got some run in today’s Chron!

Was the President’s decision political? Yep! But then again, the GOP allowed their far right wing to make it a wedge issue in 2007.

You know it is a near brilliant move when the GOP is all over the map on their responses. Some are calling it anarchy. Some want to defund the move. Some want a government shutdown. A few are bringing up impeachment. Some are saying it is amnesty. Some like Guv Dude are going to court. None of them are calling for a bill though.

Now that’s what I call a talking point breakdown.

This thing is moving forward and I doubt it will ever be reversed.

Here is what Jorge Ramos tweeted the past few hours:

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 1h1 hour ago
Millions woke up without fear in the U.S. for the first time in their lives.

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 54s54 seconds ago
The executive decision on immigration is a victory for the Latino community. It wasn’t given to us; it’s what we fought for.

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 8m8 minutes ago
Instead of fighting the President, Republicans should, instead, fix the immigration mess. Pass reform in Congress in 2015. Your choice

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 7m7 minutes ago
This morning many immigrant parents can say to their kids: “See you tonight” and know it’s true.

Some are saying that if the President had acted on this three months ago, more Latinos might have turned out to vote in November and saved a couple or three Dems. We will never know.

We do know that if the GOPers try to mess with this over the next couple of years, Latinos will be there to answer at the polls in 2016.

With 630 career dingers, this former MLBer ranks sixth all-time. Who am I talking about?

MariGirl got some much deserved run in today’s Chron. It is in the hard copy and behind the paywall. It is personal for her. She has been tirelessly at the forefront for a few years now. Check this:

Across town in the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Gulfton in southwest Houston, Marisol Valero echoed other immigrants’ sentiments of relief.

Her parents could finally be able to live without fear of being stopped by police while going to the grocery store. Valero, 29, came here from Mexico as a child and has a brother born in the U.S. Her mother cleans homes and her father drove trucks until his driver’s license expired last year, and he couldn’t renew it because he’s here illegally. When his mother became ill recently in Mexico, she told him she didn’t want him to come back to see her die only to risk his own life crossing the border. He bid her goodbye on the phone.

“I applaud the president for trying, but obviously it is not enough,” said Valero, who is an immigration manager for Neighborhood Centers, while she and about 40 other people watched Obama’s speech on a giant television screen. “There are still going to be many people who are going to be left out.”

Be proud of what you have accomplished to date.

Ken Griffey, Jr. of course with 630 career dingers is sixth on the all-time career list. Junior is celebrating his 45th BD today!

The team set their 40-man roster last night. Oh well!

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The President will announce his executive order this evening. Then the PROCESS begins. Lengthy for sure. But it is a PROCESS.

Congress should have acted on this a long time ago but far right wing GOPers decided to make this a wedge issue. Now they are going to have a fight with many in the Latino community.

Here are some Jorge Ramos tweets from the past 24 hours:

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 4m4 minutes ago
Univision’s Jorge Ramos Calls President Obama Executive Action a “Triumph For The Latino Community” http://wp.me/p5HMd-f5wj via @TIMEPolitics

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 1m1 minute ago
Univision will broadcast live President Obama’s speech announcing his executive decision tomorrow (Thursday) at 8pm est. BIG deal for Latinos

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 2h2 hours ago
If Republicans really want immigration reform in Congress, they’ll have many months to do it before executive action kicks in. Your choice

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 2h2 hours ago
Today is a very important day for millions of immigrants in the U.S. It’s been a very long fight and it’s not over yet. I’m ready in D.C.

At 7 pm this evening I will be glued to the flat screen watching the President make the historical announcement.

Apparently there are a number of executive action watch parties springing up throughout the country. There are at least four that I know of in H-Town. Now that is cool.

In 2004, the ‘Stros played a two game spring training exhibition series in Mexico City. Who did they play?

I have always been a Mike Nichols fan. I am just trying to remember which Mike Nichols flick I didn’t see. He was one of the best!

Everybody knows that Commentary wakes up with the “Today” show folks every morning. I have been watching “Today” since the 70s. I have met Jane Pauley and even have an autographed picture of her in my office.

I like the current crew of Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Willie Geist, Tamron Hall, and Carson Daily. I hardly ever watch Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford. Yesterday morning I was somewhat stunned when a story appeared on the internet reporting that Natalie Morales and Willie Geist were being let go. It turns out it was a false report or erroneous story.

I am a big fan of Natalie Morales. She delivers the news. She goes out on news assignments. She tackles hard hitting stories like the ones on the Boston Marathon bombing survivors. She does the thrill seeking ones like the one with Jenna Bush Hager plunging off of a Colorado cliff in some daredevil contraption. She is one of the few Latinas with a major role on nationally broadcast English-speaking TV. She is role model. She is a trooper. She is a fitness freak and has done stories on healthy lifestyles and staying in shape and in the process we have seen her run a marathon, bike, swim, and do more real push-ups than most folks I have ever met. She also speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. She is a top-notch talent.
“Today” is currently behind “GMA” in the morning show ratings. “Today” used to be in first place. Don’t ask me why but I don’t think it has anything to do with Natalie Morales.

I don’t have a problem with Harris County having to spend $63,800 on a bath for the Astrodome.

In 2004, the ‘Stros played two against the Padres in Mexico City of course.

Nothing to report from The Yard.

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Prez Cred, I Guess

So called border security really gets the Tea Party folks all riled up. That’s why Guv Dude on his way out of The Mansion got the Lite Guv and the Texas House Speaker to go along and plunk down $86.1 mil for border security. Now Guv Dude can go around the country as the border security champion and in the process boost his cred for Prez. It is too bad though that they didn’t bother to check with local border community leaders.

Here is from the Chron:

On Tuesday, opponents of the surge operation repeated their concerns.

“The numbers of people crossing the border are no longer there, and we never had a need for the National Guard to help us with these children coming,” Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said. “These people were not terrorists. These people were just coming over looking for a better life.”

State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, agreed, saying the money should go to local law enforcement instead of guardsmen because, “last time I checked, we were not at war with Mexico.”

That is really sad. And then there is this from a recent Pew Study:

The Pew study found that the population of people living illegally in the United States leveled off nationwide during the three-year time frame, dropping in 14 states due to the number of migrants coming across the Mexican border declining from a peak of 6.9 million in 2007.

It is sad again. Hey, but this is what folks voted for a couple of weeks ago. I guess that is why border security is now being used as an issue in the SD 18 special.

1931 was the first year MVP Awards were handed out in MLB. Name the first Yankee to win the AL MVP Award?

It is kind of interesting as we near closer to the President issuing an executive order on immigration a couple of his noted Latino critics on the issue are kind of cutting him some slack. Hey, they understand the potential impact the orders will have on millions of Latino families across the country. This is real. Here is what Ruben Navarrrette, Jr. has to say this morning:

According to reports, Obama is mulling over several options: eliminating Secure Communities, which ropes local cops into enforcing federal immigration law; expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program by eliminating restrictions on how old the applicants can be and when they had to have come to the United States; restating that the enforcement priority should be to remove criminals; expanding visa programs for immigrant spouses of U.S. citizens; and, perhaps the most controversial idea on the table – giving deferred action to parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.

Most of this seems perfectly reasonable and consistent with what previous presidents have done in terms of giving segments of the undocumented community a way to live in the United States without fear of deportation. Besides, Obama has insisted that whatever policy change he makes would become irrelevant if Congress finally got to work on an immigration reform bill that would offer a more permanent solution. It’s clear that, politics aside, the president who removed so many illegal immigrants has no appetite for giving those who are still here the legal right to remain.

By the way, it’s absolutely galling to see some congressional Republicans plead with Obama to stand down and not take any executive action that would interfere with their continuing work on immigration reform.

What “work” are they talking about? There shouldn’t be any confusion about this simple fact: Demagoguing an issue isn’t the same as finding a solution to it.

On both border security and immigration reform, the GOP has some pretty flimsy and thin talking points.

Hall of Fame great Lou Gehrig of course was the first Yankee to win the AL MVP Award back in 1936.

‘Stros catcher Jason Castro rejected a long term contract offer from the team. Show him some more money!

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A new Harris County Constable for Precinct 6 will be selected Friday or Monday. I think it will be the third Constable ever in the history of Precinct 6. The Chron reported last week that the Constable selected would be a placeholder or caretaker meaning he or she would agree not to run in 2016. We will see.

This tweet just came in:

Teddy Schleifer retweeted:
Joe Stinebaker ‏@stinebaker · 14m14 minutes ago
County Commissioner Jack Morman says he hopes to have nominee to replace Constable Victor Trevino in time for vote on Friday or Monday..

The State Senate District 18 Special Election campaign is underway. In 2012, 198,175 SD 18 voters voted for Mitt Romney and 92,809 for the President. I wonder how many of the 92,809 President supporters will vote in the special.

It has been two weeks since the election and Politico now has a story on what went wrong with Battleground Texas. Politico is kind of saying that the folks in charge of Battleground Texas need to be from the Lone Star State and not the out-of-towners. That kind of make sense to me, but then again who from the Lone Star State is worthy? It is not as if anybody around has a whole lot of experience with winning statewide races for Dems lately.

Well anyway, here is a piece of Poltico:

In January 2013, Jeremy Bird, the former field director for the Obama campaign, announced the formation of Battleground Texas to much fanfare and media attention. Backed by a number of major Democratic donors, the new effort was committed to turning Texas blue by rebuilding party infrastructure, recruiting strong candidates, registering new voters and turning out those whose voting history was erratic at best. Bird would be the overall strategist and spokesman for the effort while Jenn Brown, an Obama veteran from Ohio, would move to the state to oversee daily operations. In the end, Battleground Texas would raise a hefty nine million dollars to finance its operations.

Many observers believe Battleground Texas made a strategic mistake right from the start. Rather than recruit a prominent Texas Democrat to serve as nominal chairman or prime spokesman for the effort, Battleground Texas chose two non-Texan Obama organizers, Bird and Brown, to be the faces of the organization. Working apart from the existing state and county Democratic organizations, Battleground was viewed by some as an invading army made up of outside political operatives who might have understood politics better than the local folk, but who couldn’t relate. As Glenn Smith, a longtime Texas Democratic consultant, notes, “You have to speak Texan if you’re going to do well here. They didn’t. There was this belief after 2012 that if ya waved this turnout wand you would wake up some progressive majority. It didn’t exist.”

Here is all of Politico:
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/11/how-the-democrats-lost-texas-112956.html?hp=t4_r#.VGtKZNgtDVg.

Everybody knows that Jose Altuve led the ‘Stros in stolen bases this past season with 56. Who had the second most stolen bases for the ‘Stros?

I am thinking that the President’s executive action on immigration will end up being a great move. He will for sure get the support from Latinos. Throw in some key business leaders. Throw in some key clergy. It will be a plus.

Jonathan Villar of course had 17 stolen bases and was second behind Altuve.

No news to report from The Yard today.

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