Archive for February, 2015

Dems and Them

Texas Monthly put out a lengthy piece on the future of Battleground Texas. It is different from the Texas Observer take of a couple of months ago. Here it is: http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/future-battleground-texas.

I don’t know those fellas. I know they want Dems to win here in Texas. I mentioned the other day that Dems really don’t have state leaders. Nobody is really in charge of the Dem effort in Texas and there is no Dem strategy so the Battleground folks for now are filling a void, but they are not accountable to Dem elected officials or grass roots Dems. They are accountable to the folks that give them money to operate.

In the foreseeable future, nothing is really going to happen on a statewide level. Change has to come locally. So local Dem folks still have a say. Check out the Texas Monthly read.

Governor Abbott came to town yesterday to speak to the Greater Houston Partnership and he was met by immigration reform protesters – a lot of young kids – who are not too happy with the Governor and his position on the President’s immigration moves. Here is from a Channel 11 story:

“When he ran for office, he said he was all for families and he brought out his mother-in-law, who’s Latina,” said Mary Moreno, one of the protesters. “And then he turns around and he does this, right? He’s hurting Latino families.”

And this:

“That is not within the constitutional power of the president,” Abbott said. “That is why I filed the lawsuit. The lawsuit really doesn’t have anything to do with immigration. It has everything to do with an abuse of executive power.”

Doesn’t have anything to do with immigration? Are you kidding me? Sounds like a bunch of young Latino kids got to you! Keep the heat on!

And this is from the GOP bunch that worship at the altar of border security. From an internet story yesterday:

Numerous House Republicans say it’s preferable to let the Homeland Security Department go unfunded for a few days, at least, if that’s the cost of undoing a White House immigration policy they consider unlawful. These lawmakers say the impact on national security would be minimal, as would the political risks.

“Shutting down” the agency known as DHS “is a set of words that don’t really have the meaning that people attribute to it,” said Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama. “There was hardly any effect whatsoever on the Department of Homeland Security from the last shutdown, and I would anticipate a similar effect this time.”

Brooks was referring to the 2013 partial federal government shutdown that Americans blamed mostly on Republicans, and which many GOP leaders have vowed not to repeat.

I am so sorry! You can’t be screaming for border security and then let Homeland Security close. You just can’t!

Name the MLBer who is currently still pitching with the most all-time career saves for a pitcher born in Texas?

Commentary mentioned the other day that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would not be president. Yesterday he compared ISIS to labor unions. Looks like he is not ready for prime time.

Next time I run into Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Mike Sullivan, I am going to ask him why he didn’t place his mug on the educational billboards promoting the switchover to the new single-sticker system for vehicle registrations and inspections. I saw one of his billboards off of I-45 and North Main.

I have seen Hunker Down on billboards in the past. I have seen the Harris County Sheriff on promotions. On the I-45/North Main billboard only Tax Assessor Collector Sullivan’s name is displayed. Maybe the ad funders stipulated that photos of elected officials were not allowed. Oh, well!

Joe Nathan of course was born in H-Town and has 376 saves to lead all closers born in Texas.

The AL Champs Royals will visit The Yard five weeks from today to wrap up Spring Training.

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Last night Channel 13 ran a story about the lack of city permits for State Rep. Borris Miles’ bar and the response from the H-Town Mayor’s Office. It is pretty clear that Rep. Miles really doesn’t give a rat’s arse that the story is running. The Mayor’s Office calls it a “no story” and “picayune” (picayune means petty or trivial) and appear more bothered about the whole no story. They just should have mailed in their response if you ask me.

Hey, it is a bar owned by an elected official and it looks like the elected official is getting a pass of sorts from the city so one can see how Ted Oberg and the Channel 13 news folks think the story is worthy of being aired.

The Ted Oberg tweets are what got me interested last night:

Ted Oberg @tedoberg • 12h 12 hours ago
How does a bar stay open & avoid many penalties for 4 years w/o all permits? We ask if elected owner & connected patron help @10 @abc13

Ted Oberg ‏@tedoberg 1h1 hour ago
.@AnniseParker staff called my report “picayune”. I had to look it up too. https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1059863657364184&set=vb.220874244596467&type=2&theater …. See it at 10 @abc13houston

Here is the entire Channel 13 story:

A Houston cigar bar owned by State Rep. Borris Miles has been open and serving cocktails since 2010 without an occupancy permit and is out of compliance with key city codes, city emails and inspection records show.

The bar, Our Legends on Almeda Road, owed the city $2,075 in unpaid fines as of February 10, according to city records. They also show the private club’s second exit isn’t up to code, exit signs are incorrect, and corrections are needed in both plumbing and restrooms.

Over the last four years, it has repeatedly failed the city inspection process. That process is still ongoing.

The bar has at least one powerful patron: Keith Wade, special assistant to Mayor Annise Parker and Miles’ former campaign director. He denies using his influence to keep the bar open.

Wade was at the bar during one October 2012 city inspection and introduced himself to the inspector as the “Mayor’s rep,” according to inspection records. Wade helped arrange a City Hall meeting soon after about the bar’s certificate of occupancy issues.

Ultimately, in February 2013, the bar’s manager signed an agreement that required the bar to submit proper plans within two months or face tickets. Nearly two years later, bar management has yet to submit plans to the city that comply with city codes.

The bar has been ticketed just twice in four years, and one of those tickets came after ABC-13 began asking questions in early February.

Public works officials, who are in charge of building inspections and issuing occupancy issues, declined repeated requests seeking comment.

Officials with the mayor’s office, as well as Miles, told ABC-13 that Our Legends is not getting special treatment.

Miles, a Democrat representing House District 146 in southwest Houston, which includes the bar, blamed the delay in getting the bar up to code on the city’s regulatory process, calling it “almost a nightmare.”

“My staff has worked diligently with the permitting department,” Miles said. “They’re working on it. The process is in the process.”

Miles said he has gotten no special treatment.

“What kind of special treatment?” he said. “If I had special treatment, I’d have a permit by now.”

Wade declined to go on-camera but said in a brief phone interview that he has “no pull” with the city in keeping the bar open or inspectors who would issue tickets at bay.

Wade defended his involvement in assisting the bar through the permitting process.

“Why can’t I be involved?” he said. “It’s a bar I know and have a relationship with. I happen to know the owner. The operation is working to come into compliance. There is no story here.”

Parker spokeswoman Janice Evans described Wade as a “troubleshooter.”

“You do need to have a certificate of occupancy, but we tend to work with businesses to get them to the point where they can meet the requirements,” Evans said. “Often that can take a great deal of time.”

The lack of permitting at Miles’ bar raised questions at the highest levels of the public works department. Emails from April 2014 obtained by ABC-13 show the department’s powerful chief of staff asking questions about the bar’s 2013 compliance agreement.

And a department senior inspector alerted his boss — Mark Loethen, deputy director of planning & development services — about the bar’s non-compliance.

“The cigar bar at 5312 Almeda did not complete the permitting process which was started last year nor do they have a valid certificate of occupancy,” senior inspector Jodie Foster wrote to Loethen on April 7, 2014. “The investigation will be renewed and I will keep you posted on its status.”

As recently as this month, top city staff looped Wade into questions about the status of Our Legends, emails show. In addition, Parker, Wade and Evans met concerning the bar and ABC-13’s questions about it on February 9, according to emails.

Evans said that Miles’ bar was treated like many other establishments. ABC-13’s investigation raised questions suggesting that may not be true.

“We’re not in the business of putting people out of business,” she said. “When you put somebody out of business you not only hurt the business owner, but you hurt the taxpayers of the city of Houston. The inspectors have handled this like they’ve handled many others.”

Evans provided six examples of establishments that she said the city helped shepherd with patience through the permitting process.
But a review of Evan’s list raises questions about how helpful City Hall was in aiding those establishments.

• The former Penthouse Club. Evans suggested key dates to examine this adult business were between January 2006 and April 2010. On June 13, 2007 the City of Houston sued the business in civil district court asking it to be shut down for a myriad of issues. It was closed a year later after numerous visits from vice officers and other city inspectors. Mayor Bill White held a news conference in front of the closed club to speak about the court victory. It reopened in 2013 and now has a new owner.

• A restaurant on Gray Street. The owner told ABC-13 this about the city’s permitting process: “I’ve been in business a long time, and this was the worst thing I ever went through.” His establishment was not closed down, but it was threatened to be shut many times, he said. He doesn’t recall how many times he was ticketed but said it was more than once.

• A second restaurant on Gray Street. Inspectors told the owner the certificate of occupancy the building had when he purchased it from another restaurant owner was not valid, according to the current owner. He had to lease and develop parking at his own cost, develop the sidewalk at his cost and re-permit the patio, he told ABC-13. He estimates he was red-tagged 10 times and ticketed another 10 times. His last recollection was that he was fined at least $4,000 in those years and spent $100,000 to comply with the codes.

• A Washington Avenue bar. Court records show the owner was forced to build a firewall and hire marshals for “fire watch” protection as the wall was built.

• A restaurant on Main Street. This is a vacant retail space. There is no activity here. City records show only an old Dumpster permit for that location.

• A Kleckley Street banquet hall. The owner told ABC-13 the process was “not stable.” He did not open the space until he got his certificate of occupancy. He spent more than $30,000 to comply with plans and permit rules, he said. He told ABC-13 he was down to his last dollars and could not afford to stay closed any longer, so to avoid lengthy inspection delays he paid rush inspection and review fees. Without the rush fees, his plan reviews took 30 days — much longer than Miles’ bar.

Evans said this issue did not deserve attention from ABC-13, calling the story “picayune.”

“It’s not like there are issues where the building is crumbling and we’re allowing people to go inside in an unsafe building,” she said, noting that the mayor’s staff often help business owners. When I’ve been out to dinner, I’ll have business owners come up to me and say, ‘I’ve got a permitting issue can you help me?’ That’s our job in the mayor’s office.”

Then this tweet came out:

Ted Oberg retweeted
Joe Stinebaker @stinebaker • 2h 2 hours ago
@tedoberg @10 @abc13 Operating with no certificate of occupancy, eh? Does that mean we can reopen the #Astrodome then?

You kind of have to wonder if the Mayor’s folks are just counting down the days. Oh, well!

Name the former MLB batter born in Texas who has the most career strike outs?

Then there is this pothole story from Channel 11 last night. I don’t want to say this, but it certainly invites the “lame duck status” label. Here is how it ends:

Mayor Parker leaves office at the end of the year, which is the deadline she has given herself to erase the pothole backlog.

When asked how the city will pay for it, she paused before answering.

“It’s a matter of prioritizing projects,” Parker said.

The Mayor conceded that will likely mean more short-term, sometimes-called “band-aid” pothole fixes, and fewer, full street-repaving jobs.

“There’s not going to be—there’s not any magic pothole fairy, there’s no new money out there,” Parker said.

“It’s reallocating resources,” she said.

How exactly that will be done may be revealed at a March 10 meeting of the city’s Technology, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Some questioned whether Parker can fulfill her promise.

“I am not confident that it will be done in her timeline,” said Council Member Brenda Stardig.

“We need to see what can and can’t be done and shoot straight with the public,” said Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Ed Gonzales.

“The citizens are tired. They don’t want to hear about what we’re trying to do, they want it fixed, so let’s get it done,” said City Council Member Michael Kubosh.

Here is the entire story:

Counting down the days? Kicking the can down the road? Leaving it up to the next Mayor? What else can you do?

Julianna Marguiles told Letterman last night that she wears wigs on “The Good Wife” and they cost ten grand apiece.

Adam Dunn of course, who just hung up his cleats, was born in H-Town and leads all Texas born MLBers with 2,379 career whiffs.

The owner said yesterday that he expects the team to go to the playoffs and would be disappointed if we end up below .500. We will see!

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The Trib scooped the fact that lobbyist Robert Miller is earning his money and doing his job.

I like and respect Robert. It looks like he was doing what he is supposed to be doing and that is representing his client. Check out these tweets from yesterday and then a part of Jay Root’s Trib piece:

Texas Tribune @TexasTribune • 4h 4 hours ago
.@byjayroot scoop: Lobby firm helped draft GOP caucus letter on racetrack gambling http://trib.it/1AHKsmp #txlege

Mike Snyder @chronsnyder • 3h 3 hours ago
Same lobbyist reps UH, whose board Fertitta chairs MT @TexasTribune: Lobby firm helped draft GOP letter on gambling http://trib.it/1AHKsmp

From the Trib and Jay Root:

When the Senate Republican Caucus fired off a letter to the Texas Racing Commission last summer blasting a proposal to allow a new form of electronic gambling, it was interpreted as standard conservative opposition to expanded gaming in Texas.

But a proponent of the horse racing industry suspects something else was at play: opposition from out-of-state casino interests that didn’t want the homegrown competition.

The reason?

Locke Lord, a law firm that lobbies the Legislature on behalf of Landry’s Inc. — owner of the Golden Nugget casino chain — helped draft some of the wording in the letter sent out by the caucus. The owner and CEO of Landry’s is mega political contributor Tilman Fertitta, who recently celebrated the opening of a new Golden Nugget in Louisiana, a state that depends heavily on Texas gamblers.

State Sen. Joan Huffman, then the chairwoman of the caucus, told The Texas Tribune this week that she asked Locke Lord to help with “legal questions” and “historical information” in the letter. The caucus expressed its opposition to the state racing commission’s proposal — later adopted — to allow “historical racing” devices, which some opponents compare to slot machines.

“They had some input, but they were not involved with the policymaking,” Huffman said. “There was some basic information provided, and I took it from there.”

Asked specifically if the firm helped with the wording of the letter, the senator said, “Yeah, somewhat. I think that’s fair to say.”

Chief Locke Lord lobbyist Robert Miller would not say whether he was involved in helping to draft the letter.

“I’ll just defer to Sen. Huffman on that,” Miller said.

Here is the entire Trib scoop: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/24/lobby-firm-assisted-drafting-gop-caucus-letter/.

It looks like just another day at the office for Robert and his crew. That’s why I think he is one of the best in the business.

What would rather have him doing? Springing for a bottle of Opus One and a nice dinner for a legislator or two?

Robert is good but I am not ready to give him a superhero lobbyist designation, unless of course he is able to get UH into the Big 12.

FYI: I can’t remember the last time I was at a Landry’s property – maybe La Griglia for The Roundtable last October or so. Also, don’t get too worked up over this scoop. After all, it is a fight between two gambling interests.

Everyone knows that Nolan Ryan leads the ‘Stros with striking out 1,866 batters. Who is second on the list of ‘Stros pitchers in striking out batters?

Of course you never want to launch your bid for H-Town Mayor with an elected official banging on you. That’s not the way to get into the race.

Check out these Teddy Schleifer tweets:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 40m40 minutes ago
Just got off phone w/Steve Radack, who has harsh words for @SheriffGarcia’s flirtation w/mayoral bid — “slap in the face” to employees.

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 39m39 minutes ago
More Radack: “It’s ridiculous that a person who is sheriff of the 3rd largest county in the U.S. will encourage this type of conversation.”

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 37m37 minutes ago
Radack on @SheriffGarcia: “He better stand up and say ‘I’m leaving’ or stand up & say ‘I’m staying.’ I think this has gone on long enough.”

I am thinking that a lot of folks over there at the Sheriff’s Office are just going about their professional business and are not worried too much. Maybe the command staff is wondering about their future. Still, you never want to get banged around as you get ready to run for Mayor. I am also thinking that Commissioner Radack has a replacement ready to go.

I am thinking we are going to find out how much the University of Houston is going to pay their commencement speaker. Heck, it would not surprise me if some media folks put in more requests to find out how much other state colleges and universities are paying their speakers. Why not? Check this from the Chron:

It is not all right, all right, all right for the University of Houston to tell the public how much it plans to pay Matthew McConaughey for his speaking gig later this year, according to the celebrity booking agency representing the actor.

UH has booked McConaughey to speak at commencement in May, but the school won’t disclose how much it intends to pay the actor because its contract with Celebrity Talent International includes a rare confidentiality clause. Under the clause, UH must provide notice to the company that the information has been requested and give the the agency an opportunity to object to the release of their information with the state attorney general’s office.

UH said Tuesday that Celebrity Talent International has indicated that it plans to file a brief requesting the information be withheld.

“It should be noted that the University does not believe the information is confidential, but must allow the third party the chance to make their argument against disclosure,” the school said in a statement.

Such a confidentiality agreement in a contract like this is unusual, said Thomas Gregor, a Houston attorney who serves on the board of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

“It’s not unheard of, but it’s certainly rare,” Gregor said. “Most public institutions understand they cannot contract around the Public Information Act by virtue of a confidentiality agreement with a private party.”

The only real exception, Gregor said, is if the contract includes information qualified as a trade secret, such as the formula to Coca-Cola, “or would otherwise cause the person substantial competitive harm if publicly disclosed.”

“I can think of no circumstance under which a commencement fee paid by a public university could be properly withheld,” Gregor said.

McConaughey reportedly gets $150,000 minimum per speech or $50,000 for each alright.

My numero 3 movie of all time is showing at the River Oaks Theatre this weekend. I have seen it on the big screen a couple of times and once on 3D IMAX. Check it out and maybe take the youngsters. If you enjoy “The Wizard of Oz” and have never seen it on the big screen, then you have to watch it. I guarantee you will see some stuff you don’t catch on the flat screen. Here is from the Chron:

When the River Oaks Theatre opened Nov. 28, 1939, it did not show “The Wizard of Oz.”

But the beloved musical fantasy, which opened Aug. 25, 1939, seems a perfect fit for a 75th anniversary celebration for both the movie and the movie house, said David Kimball, Denver-based regional publicist for Landmark Theatres.

“The Wizard of Oz” in its original version is showing at midnight Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Landmark’s River Oaks Theatre, 2009 W. Gray, in the main auditorium.

“It’s pretty rare to see it on the big screen with beautiful digital presentation and sound,” Kimball said. “A lot of folks have only seen it on their TV.”

Roy O. of course struck out 1,593 batters as a ‘Stro to follow Nolan Ryan.

The ‘Stros have their first full-squad workout today.

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Today’s Line-Up

Let’s see. Chris Bell announced for H-Town Mayor a couple of Sundays ago. State Rep. Sylvester Turner released a video last Friday officially saying he was in and he has a website and he is now inviting folks to his official campaign kick-off next month at The Yard – got it!

Then Teddy Schleifer tweeted this yesterday:

Teddy Schleifer @teddyschleifer • 16h 16 hours ago
Mayoral update: @DrJackChristie, whose been flirting w/mayoral run, is currently running for reelection & NOT mayor. pic.twitter.com/ibjwF9HIs8

And he also tweeted this:

Teddy Schleifer @teddyschleifer • 18h 18 hours ago
Coming soon, to a Twitter feed near you: The Horseshoe, a new @HoustonChron vertical & tipsheet dedicated to Houston’s mayoral race #hounews

I have to say I am looking forward to The Horseshoe.

Three of the other candidates for Mayor have fundraisers in the works but no official campaign announcements yet so stay tuned!

As for the Harris County Sheriff, well, your guess is as good as mine.

FYI: Council Member Christie is having a fundraiser for his reelection and the host list is loaded with a bunch of heavy hitters. CM Christie has apparently drawn an opponent.

Remember this line from Sal Tessio in “The Godfather”: “Can you get me off the hook, Tom? For old times’ sake?

Abe Vigoda is celebrating his 94th birthday today!

Name the MLB Hall of Fame great who was born in Texas and has the most career stolen bases? Hint – he is still with us.

Brian Williams fudged a time or two on his life experiences and NBC sent him home for six months without pay.

The VA Secretary fudged about his military service and apologized yesterday.

Bill O’Reilly fudged about his life experiences and is going after his accusers and Fox News is sticking with him. What else is news?

Like a lot of folks, I was watching when Sean Penn announced the Best Picture winner and threw out the “green card” line and I kind of slightly cringed because it took away from the moment. I also knew that Penn and “Birdman” director Alejandro Iñárritu are friends and worked together on “21 Grams.” So I knew Penn was just kidding and I tweeted that they had worked together.

A ton of folks, particularly those of the Latino persuasion, went off on Penn on the twitterverse, including a creative hashtag with the Penn word. I get it. But he’s certainly not a bad guy, he just dropped a dumb line.

Hall of Fame great Joe Morgan of course leads all players born in Texas with 689 career stolen bases. Joe was born in Bonham, TX.

The first Spring Training game is next Thursday, March 5 against the Phillies.

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Benched Dems

There was a Chron piece by Brian Rosenthal from this past weekend about Texas Dems not being on the attack on the current state contracting scandal. The piece kind of speaks to where Dems aren’t right now. Here is how the Chron piece starts out:

Four high-ranking state officials have resigned, a criminal investigation has begun and ethics reform has become an “emergency” item for the Legislature after reports found that hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money may not have been spent wisely.

But two months into the scandal, Texas Democrats have done little to take advantage of state contracting irregularities that took place on the watch of former Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who is widely seen as pursuing a 2016 presidential candidacy.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, called attention to that fact this week, casting it as a missed opportunity for a party scrambling to recover from yet another electoral smackdown.

In interviews since then, Democratic leaders have said their lack of emphasis of the scandal has been due to its unique timing, their poor organization and an intentional decision based on the complicated nature of the subject matter and an effort to try to make some progress in a Legislature that allows them to chair some committees.


The strategic questions started with Castro’s comment Thursday, which came in response to a question about how Democrats could become competitive in Texas.

The prominent congressman brought up the scandal, which centers on a $110 million Medicaid fraud detection contract awarded without competition to an Austin technology firm that had no Medicaid experience.


“Listen,” Castro said, “if you can’t point out to the people of Texas when the other side is doing bad things, then how would you ever expect the people of Texas to think that they’re doing bad things?”

Political experts agreed with the congressman’s assessment.

“The Democrats desperately need to press this issue if they have any hope of toppling Republican incumbents,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a University of Houston professor.

Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak said he did not know why Democrats had not made a bigger deal of the no-bid scandal.

“They’re not very well organized and appear to have no coherent strategy,” Mackowiak said, “so nothing they do or don’t do surprises me.”

Here is the entire Chron piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/In-state-contracting-scandal-relative-silence-6092886.php?t=71ab79ec4829895b84&cmpid=twitter-premium.

I have to agree that Dems are not very well organized these days. Honestly, who are kind of the statewide Dem leaders these days? Who are Dems supposed to look to anyway? Who is in charge?

We came away from the 2014 elections thinking that nothing works including attacking the GOP here in Texas so why continue the attacks? We have to have a strategy if you ask me and we don’t have one. Do we even have anyone to put together a strategy?

I guess for now it is a story of the benched Dems!

By now we know that former ‘Stro Jason Lane smacks a dinger in “Boyhood.” Who were the ‘Stros playing when Lane got his dinger?

Commentary is a fan of the “Sound of Music” classic movie and I have to say that Lady Gaga nailed it last night. I also want to say that “Birdman” director Alejandro Iñárritu and Sean Penn are friends and worked together on “21 Grams.”

You can pretty much scratch Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker off of the list of folks that could become president. You don’t get to be elected president after saying something like the following. Here is from Politico:

Walker was also asked by The Washington Post whether the president is a Christian and answered “I don’t know” to that as well. “I’ve never asked him that,” the governor said. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

Really? You gotta be kidding!

A GOP State Senator has filed a bill that would have the Texas Secretary of State Office issue marriage licenses. What is next? How about having folks pick up their marriage license at the local GOP headquarters instead of having to drive to Austin?

I was browsing through a 1969 ‘Stros game program the other day. You know what was the most expensive concession at the Dome in 1969? How about a combination sandwich for a buck. The cheapest concession? Peanuts, popcorn, potato chips, a seven ounce soft drink, and coffee for fifteen cents each.

Jason Lane smacked his “Boyhood” dinger off of Matt Wise of the Brewers of course back in April of 2006.

The rest of the team reports to Spring Training tomorrow.

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Informally In

State Rep. Sylvester Turner put out a video today saying he is running for H-Town Mayor. Of course we all knew that. Next month he will officially kick-off his campaign so today’s video isn’t official – got it?

In today’s Chron, here is what Teddy Schleifer has to say:

Turner likely will be the early front-runner, as much as there can be a leader at all in a field featuring a dozen potential candidates, nearly all of whom have elected experience.

Here is all of Teddy’s Chron article: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Rep-Turner-to-jump-into-mayor-s-race-6091355.php.

Mimi Swartz of Texas Monthly also has a take on the H-Town Mayoral contest and here is what she says:

No one has emerged as anything close to a front-runner.

Here is the entire Texas Monthly take: http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/what-chaotic-mayors-race-tells-us-about-houstons-future/page/0/1.

There are only two MLB Hall of Fame great pitchers with 300 plus wins who were born in Texas. Name the two? Hint – they are both still around.

I do doesn’t mean I didn’t! Yesterday every TV station and media outlet around here showed me a picture of the lovely couple from Austin holding their historic marriage certificate. If the Texas AG has made it null and void, can he show me a picture of his mug holding the null and void marriage certificate?

In 2008, Rudy Giuliani got 591,384 total love votes when he ran for President and Barack Obama received over 78 mil (primary and general) LOVE votes. Size does matter says the love machine! So put on your Yankee lid and handwrite an apology letter to the American people!

I have to admit it is sad to see a guy like Giuliani turn in a shrill fella. I am kind of thinking he is losing it.

Once again a TV series finale didn’t satisfy a bunch of the loyal viewers. I am talking about “Two and a Half Men.” The series ended last night with Walden, Alan, and Berta sitting on their balcony deck talking about Charlie and watching a helicopter haul Charlie’s piano toward them, then a fella supposed to be Charlie (we only see his back) shows up to his Malibu pad and the piano falls on him and kills him – I guess. Then the camera shot pulls back and we see Charlie’s nemesis, show creator Chuck Lorrie sitting in a director’s chair and turning to the camera and say “winning!” Then a piano falls on Lorre and that’s it.

The hour long program was about Charlie still might being alive and had cameos from some of the exes and also featured Rose and the return of Jake. The Governator also had a part. There was also the old nod and a wink on occasion to the audience from some cast members during the course of the show. Some fans apparently wanted Charlie to make an appearance but things couldn’t be worked out.

Commentary has been a fan of the show because I thought it was hilarious and outrageous. But honestly, just about every major or minor character that was portrayed over the years had very few redeeming qualities. I don’t think you would want any of them in your immediate family – well maybe Walden’s one billion dollars. So how do you end a series like this one? A happily ever after finale would have been so phony. So something hilarious and outrageous was in order and last night’s finale was OK by me – Winning!

Greg Maddux won 355 games and was born in San Angelo and Nolan Ryan won 325 games and was born in Refugio of course.

The ‘Stros open Spring Training today.

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I would like to know how many of Rudy Giuliani’s fellow GOPers agree with his take on The President. I wonder if they will call out Giuliani. Here is what Giuliani said yesterday:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

This to me is an insult to a country that not once, but twice elected The President to the highest office on the planet.

Name the three MLB Hall of Fame greats who were born in Texas and have 500 plus career dingers? Hint – only one is still with us.

I have to hand it to the Chron’s Teddy Schleifer for doing the interesting and topical pieces. I was just having a conversation with a major Dem player yesterday about the issue of the Harris County Democratic Party Chair serving as Chair and at the same time running for the H-Town City Council. Well, Teddy writes about it today. If you ask me, now that it is being written up in the Chron and folks are talking about it, it will just be a distraction to the Chair and to the Party and do we really want that heading into the 2016 countywide elections. If folks are going to make it an issue, take it off of the table now if you know what I mean. Here is a part Teddy’s Chron piece:

When Lane Lewis tried to send his first campaign fundraising email to the entire contact list on his iPhone earlier this month, he had a bit of trouble.

“Mr. Lewis, Apple contacts is not designed to hold 15,000 on the Cloud,” an Apple employee told the chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party. “That’s probably the reason you’re having so much difficulty.”

That contact list is the harvest of the political relationships grown by Lewis during his time leading local Democrats. It also is emblematic of the criticism from some Democratic activists and campaign opponents who say Lewis’ party leadership position gives him an unfair advantage in his city council campaign. Others, meanwhile, question whether Lewis can give his full attention to the party’s campaign while focused on his own.

“What I want is someone who is going to be, at least in the political world, dedicated 100 percent to the mission of advancing the ideals of the Democratic Party,” said John Gorczynski, a local Democratic staffer and head of the Young Democrats of Texas. “If someone’s going to be running a campaign, I can’t imagine what that would look like.”

John is one of the Dem Party leaders and he makes a good point.

Some of us know a little bit about city council races and candidates. If you are going to be a good candidate and run a good campaign, then guess what? You are going to have to put in a lot of time and effort. It is certainly going to be a challenge to run for office and run the Party at the same time. Expect this to be an issue and a distraction.

Here is all of Teddy’s piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Critics-say-Lewis-party-leadership-gives-council-6088685.php.

The Trib’s Ross Ramsey has a piece on the State Senate District 26 Special. It is sort of a payback piece. It is a good read. Here it is: http://www.texastribune.org/2015/02/18/analysis-gop-strikes-back/.

Kuffer though has the best take on the State Senate District 26 Special here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=65618.

Alan Bernstein said of his “1/2 of 265 Tx sheriffs prepping to lobby for proper $ for public mental health services” was a typo because there are only 254 sheriffs – got it!

Commentary will be checking out tonight’s finale of “Two and a Half Men.” Will Charlie make an appearance?

Frank Robinson who was born in Beaumont had 586 career dingers, Eddie Mathews who was born in Texarkana and Ernie Banks who was born in Dallas each had 512 career dingers of course.

More stuff from The Yard:

This year marks two important Astros anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the Astrodome, the world’s first domed sports stadium and “Eighth Wonder of the World,” and the 10th anniversary of the 2005 Astros World Series run, which marked the first appearance by any Texas team in the Fall Classic. The Astros are hosting a 50th Anniversary Weekend presented by Coca-Cola, on April 17-18, with special giveaways including a Jimmy Wynn bobblehead and a 1965 replica model Astrodome. On August 14-15, the Astros are celebrating the Astros Legends Weekend, presented by Houston Methodist, featuring a 2005 NLCS T-shirt giveaway, a special Legends Luncheon and an on-field pregame ceremony with players from the 2005 team.

I already have two sort of replica Domes. I wonder if Hunker Down will show up and pick up his Dome replica.

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On Monday evening a federal judge temporarily halted the President’s action on immigration thus pi__ing off a few million folks that were fixing to start filling out their paperwork today. That’s the bad news.

So as the 2016 Presidential campaigns gear up, this issue is going to continue to be on the minds of Latino voters in battleground states thus making it harder for the GOP to win the White House. That’s the good news.

Before the State Senate District 26 Special started, Rep. José Menéndez and fellow Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer were both good elected officials and good Democrats. This morning they are still good elected officials and good Democrats. Somebody had to win.

I have to admit I was kind of surprised with last night’s results. I guess Sen.-Elect Menéndez ran a better and smarter campaign.

Then this was tweeted last night:

Harold Cook retweeted
Michael Hurta @MichaelHurta • 9m 9 minutes ago
I really don’t like the media painting the Menendez win as a loss for Democrats. Maybe for hardcore liberals, but he’s still a Democrat, yo.

I don’t know if the media is saying it was a Dem loss. I think some Dem activists might be saying it was a Dem loss. You can’t deny that the Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR) folks are feeling pretty good this morning. TLR racked up a decisive victory in Dem territory.

And then this tweet from Harold Cook:

Harold Cook @HCookAustin • 2h 2 hours ago
The @Menendez4Texas #sd26 win is stunning. TLR and GOP allies played in the Democratic sandbox better than trials and labor on this race.

How about played better and smarter?

A-Roid issued a five paragraph handwritten letter yesterday apologizing for being suspended for a year. I believe him. If he was still on PEDs or HGH, it would have been a twelve paragraph letter.

Of the 28 MLBers with 3,000 career base hits or more, how many were born in Texas?

Next time I run into Alan Bernstein, I am going to ask him about his tweet from yesterday:

AlanBernstein ‏@AlanBernstein 5m5 minutes ago
1/2 of 265 Tx sheriffs prepping to lobby for proper $ for public mental health services. #txlege #smart

Let’s see. Texas has 254 counties with each county getting a sheriff. Maybe we annexed some new counties and they didn’t tell me about it.

I said the following last month about the giveaways at The Yard this season:

Giveaways include three bobbles, a gnome, and a Craig Biggio replica Hall of Fame plaque. They won’t be giving away umbrellas this season – darn!

This was announced yesterday:

$1 hot dogs are back by popular demand in 2015! Fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs every Wednesday night game at Minute Maid Park. Be sure to come hungry!

I tweeted this yesterday:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 6h 6 hours ago
@BleacherReport says @astro 2015 “most shocking playoff contender” http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2366541-who-will-be-mlbs-most-shocking-playoff-contender-in-2015


Hall of Fame great Tris Speaker of course with 3,514 career base hits is the only player with 3,000 career base hits or more born in Texas. Speaker is a native of Hubbard, TX.

And finally this tweet:

Houston Astros ‏@astros 9m9 minutes ago
Yes we will! #Astros RT @BallhawkShawn: Will you be using baseballs during the season with that special 50th anniversary logo?

We will be celebrating 50 years of being called ‘Stros so I am certainly ready to snag one.

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Governor Abbott hailed the federal judge’s ruling that temporarily halted the President’s action on immigration. Here is what our Governor had to say:

“Judge Hanen’s decision rightly stops the president’s overreach in its tracks. We live in a nation governed by a system of checks and balances, and the president’s attempt to by-pass the will of the American people was successfully checked today.”

Where does the Governor get this “will” stuff from? Last I heard from different sources was that a strong majority of Americans back the President’s actions on immigration. It looks like the Governor is making up his own facts on this.

Then this came out:

JORGE RAMOS retweeted
Luis V. Gutierrez ‏@RepGutierrez 1h1 hour ago
“We may be delayed, but we will not be deterred.” @RepGutierrez stmt on prelim injunction of #ImmigrationAction http://1.usa.gov/1L6tnFI

Last week there was a rumor that the Harris County Sheriff was going to get into the Mayoral race this past Friday. Well, it obviously didn’t happen. I don’t know how those rumors get started. I will say this, nobody has called or contacted Commentary to say he is running. We will just have to wait and see as some folks are now speculating that he is having second thoughts.

Yesterday I mentioned that pitcher Tim Hudson has 13 career shutouts to lead all active MLB pitchers. Name the pitcher with all-time career record for shutouts?

Here is what you aren’t seeing in today’s Chron sports section – this online story:

Former New York Yankees second baseman Chuck Knoblauch took a shot at the legendary franchise for honoring admitted cheater Andy Pettitte.

Pettitte’s son Josh posted the news on Twitter and said Yankees will retire his father’s No. 46 and honor him with a plaque in Monument Park on Aug. 23.

Heard it here first. @Yankees are making August 23rd Andy Pettitte day. Retiring #46 and honoring him with a plaque in Monument Park!!
— Josh Pettitte (@JPettitte21) February 15, 2015

Knoblauch, who played with the Yankees from 1998-2001 and won three World Series during that span as Pettitte’s teammate, wasn’t too thrilled with the news.

He sent the following tweet:

Chuck Knoblauch @chuckknoblauch Feb 15
Congrats to 46. Yankees retiring his number. Hopefully they don’t retire it like his HGH testimony.

Knoblauch has a fair point in noting Pettitte’s past. Though Pettitte ranks third in wins and first in strikeouts in franchise history, he had a disgraced moment when he admitted to HGH use. However, Pettitte’s honest and heartfelt apology as well as his overall demeanor contributed to him being beloved. Contrarily, Knoblauch had a testy relationship with the media and fans, which led to him being more disliked.

Knoblauch is probably just bitter that his honor from the Twins was stripped because of his domestic violence arrest while Pettitte is still being honored despite his past.

Who cares if Pettitte was given a pass?

Hall of Fame great Walter Johnson of course had 110 career shutouts.

There is supposed to be an announcement coming from The Yard later on today.

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Commentary tweeted this last night after the “Saturday Night Live 40”:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 10h 10 hours ago
A @nbcsnl of outstanding performers. #SNL40

It was definitely a great show. Let me say this. I would hope that they do a way better job of recruiting Latina and Latino talent for their cast. That was missing last night.

Here is from Teresa Puente, Chicanísima Chicago:

But where have been the Latino actors on SNL?

Ok Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen have Latino roots.

But in 40 years that’s the best Lorne Michaels can do?

Where are the Latina women? Latino men?

You can’t say Latinos aren’t funny. We have comedic legends George Lopez, Freddie Prinze, and Mexico’s funniest star ever Cantinflas.

After SNL faced criticism for not having African American women cast members, they hired two.

Latinos make up 17 percent of the U.S. population and buy 25 percent of all U.S. movie tickets. Latinos have buying power.

But they have less than 5 percent of speaking roles in films, according to a USC study.

They are small but growing numbers of Latinos on television, and some new shows such as Jane the Virgin and Cristela have Latinas in the leads. And there are Latino characters in shows such as Brooklyn Nine Nine, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

So as SNL moves into its 41st year it would be great if they could cast some Latino and Latina comedians and start to really reflect America.

I have friends of Mexican, Puerto Rican and Cuban heritage who grew up watching this show.

We would welcome a chance to laugh at characters that look like us.

Name the pitcher currently on a MLB roster with the most career shutouts?

Yesterday the Chron E-Board put out the issues they want Mayoral candidates to address this cycle. I have to give the E-Board credit for getting involved in the Mayoral contest early on. A couple of weeks ago they put what characteristics they wanted to see in the candidates. I guess you could say they are laying out a blueprint if you want their endorsement. There is nothing wrong with that.

Here are the issues: Diversity, Public safety, Pensions, Infrastructure and transit, Bicycles and pedestrians, Tax holes, Parks and culture, and A broad-based coalition.

Here is how they start out yesterday’s take:

Two weeks ago, we wrote about the personal characteristics that voters should look for in mayoral candidates. Today, we’re writing about the issues that mayoral candidates need to focus on as they begin their campaigns.

The Houston of 2016 will likely be one that has to grapple with sluggish revenue, less philanthropic support and all the consequences that come from layoffs at oil and gas companies.

Candidates won’t have the luxury of wasting their time on attack ads. Our city is at a turning point, and our destiny will be set by the next mayor’s ability to handle budget deficits and changing demographics.

And this is how they end:

A strong base can win elections, but it won’t manage a city. Candidates who run on divisive rhetoric will become mayors who face angry opponents ready to block his agenda. Candidates should set the table now to show that the whole city has a seat. Disagreements can become constructive when everyone is given a fair moment to be heard.

Check out the entire take here and see if anything was left off the list:

Speaking of divisiveness, here is what the current Mayor said after the HERO verdict: “I believe that the majority of Houston wants this divisive fight to be over so that we are able to provide equal rights protections for all of our residents. The city is confident it will prevail.”

From the Si, Señor Department, the Chron E-Board on Saturday gave a thumbs down to the incoming Texas Secretary of State for surrendering his description of paperless folks. Take my dignity, please! Check this:

(Thumbs down) State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, is our unenlightened legislator of the week. He demanded secretary of state nominee Carlos Cascos of Brownsville use the term “illegal” to describe individuals in the U.S. without papers. The problems are (a) we don’t know if people are here illegally until a case has been made and (b) these are often civil – not criminal – violations. Cascos, an early Greg Abbott appointment, disappointed by backing down. Oh, yeah, his nomination was approved.

The Trib tweeted this yesterday:

Texas Tribune ‏@TexasTribune 5m5 minutes ago
.@RonSimmonsTexas in @TribTalkTX: It’s time to end straight-ticket voting in Texas http://tribtalk.org/2015/02/15/its-time-to-end-straight-ticket-voting-in-texas/ … #txlege

Straight ticket voting is an option. Leave it alone! Let folks decide how they want to vote! We need to be more worried about increasing voter participation!

Tim Hudson of course has 13 career shutouts to lead all active MLB pitchers.

The Chron had a story this weekend about the ‘Stros owner finalizing his divorce. If you are interested, here it is: http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2015/02/13/jim-cranes-divorce-finalized-financial-settlement-said-to-have-no-effect-on-astros/#30544101=0.

Oh, well! That’s all I have from The Yard.

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