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Archive for February, 2015

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

Contenders?

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:
http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Campaign-season-6080379.php.

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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Here is one for Teddy Schleifer. Where are the Latina and Latino candidates!

Commentary was having lunch with a well versed politico earlier this week and he asked me why more Latinas and Latinos are not running for City offices this cycle. The question kind of caught me unprepared. We had been discussing the number of African American candidates running – two Mayoral candidates, two or three for City Controller, two strong African American women in one At-Large race, and an African American HCC Trustee in another At-Large race. Where are the Latino and Latina candidates he asked?

I don’t know. It is kind of a troubling question. I kind of stumbled through a response.

I certainly don’t want to compare the local politics of the Latino community with the local politics of the African American but I guess I have to.

Does the African American leadership do a better job of candidate recruitment and training? Do African American elected officials do a better job of grooming potential candidates? What about the roles played by professional and civic organizations?

I am kind of going to go out on a limb and say it is a matter of priorities. We put our efforts into electing folks to the positions we currently hold rather than taking the next step up. It also could be a question of focus, setting goals, and being on the same page. Of course this may change if the Harris County Sheriff runs for Mayor. Or will it?

There are certainly other opportunities out there for Latino political gains. It will just take a little planning, meeting, and talking to each other.

Everyone knows that Jose Altuve led MLB with a .341 batting average this past season. What was the team batting average for the ‘Stros this past season?

I have to admit this was a funny tweet yesterday:

Bill King retweeted
Chris Berhost ‏@CNote713 9h9 hours ago
@BillKingForHou You need rock climbing skills to get out of the potholes on Eldridge between Memorial and Westheimer.

And how about this tweet yesterday from Miya Shay:

Miya Shays @miyashay t • e r1h 11 hours ago
Will former Mayor @BillWhiteTX endorse a #HouMayor candidate? Maybe he told @GeneforTexas tonight? #KnowAutism

I guess folks can speculate on who Mayor White will endorse or not endorse. Any guesses? How much does it matter?

The Chron E-Board kind of slapped the current Mayor today when they wrote about the proposed contract with the police officers. Here is the slap:

Meanwhile, all Houstonians should be wondering whether we’re getting the best bang for our buck. The FBI’s recently released Uniform Crime Report, which relies on data from 2013, lists the Houston region as the only large city in Texas with a high crime rate. Our murder rate was 5.9 per 100,000, above the 4.5 national average. Overall violent crime was more than 50 percent above the national average. Property crime was more than 20 percent above the national average.

These statistics are from the same year that 20,000 crimes with solid leads went univestigated by HPD. Officers deserve fair pay, but Houstonians deserve a balanced budget and a police department that does its job.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Police-contract-6078444.php.

Ouch!

Speaking of, Commentary watched NBC’s “The Slap” last night. Well they set it up by portraying the kid that gets slapped by an adult the most annoying and spoiled kid around. They portray the adult that slaps the kid as a complete arsehole. So when the kid gets slapped, predictably, many on the twitterverse tweeted it was well deserved. Folks fell into NBC’s trap if you know what I mean – if you are going to slap someone else’s kid in the name of discipline, this one is OK. “The Slap” is a mini-series with only seven episodes remaining so I guess I will continue to watch.

Speaking of NBC, Commentary will spend this Sunday evening checking out the “SNL 40” special. Will you?

The ‘Stros as a team batted .242 last season or 99 points behind Altuve’s .341 and that’s all I have from The Yard today!

Happy Valentine’s Day and let me know how many of the fifty shades you get through this weekend!

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Commentary starts off every Sunday evening with “60 Minutes.” I take them for granted. That’s why I was stunned last night to hear that correspondent Bob Simon had died. Then I was reminded on twitter throughout the evening of the stories that he brought us over the years including last Sunday’s on “Selma.” He was one of the best.

‘Stros pitcher Don Wilson who left us way too soon would be 70 years old today. His jersey was retired in 1975. What number did he wear?

Commentary watched Uma Thurman on “Today” this morning and she looked like Uma Thurman who will be on NBC’s “The Slap” this evening and the Uma Thurman from “Pulp Fiction” of 21 years ago and the Uma Thurman of the “Kill Bill Volume 2” from 10 years ago and not the Uma Thurman from the internet of a couple of days ago. “Uma Thurman” is up to #8 on Billboard’s Hot Rock Songs.

These tweets were put out yesterday on Harris County DA Devon Anderson:

Lisa FalkenbergVerified account ‏@ChronFalkenberg 24h24 hours ago
Column: Applause for DA, police union support of #grandjury reform. Now let’s get it right. #txlege http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Let-s-get-grand-jury-reform-right-6073841.php?t=996f59b7e9ad6264fa&cmpid=twitter-premium

And:

Teddy SchleiferVerified account ‏@teddyschleifer 10h10 hours ago
The more @DADevonAnderson does of this, the harder she’ll be for Dems to beat in 2016. Follows call for GJ reform. | http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/DA-county-officials-meet-on-drug-policy-6076022.php

Teddy’s tweet got some responses on the politics. Politics or policy?

I would prefer to look at it from the folks that end up in the criminal justice system. I really don’t think they are thinking about how many Early Voters are showing up at West Gray or how the DA candidates scored in the Bar Poll. They just want a fair shake.

Commentary has to give the DA credit for moving forward on some reforms to the system. It is way better than her doing nothing. The politics will be the politics when it counts. For now, I’ll let the policy do the talking if it is progress or a step in the right direction.

You also have to love that GOP Texas House Speaker Joe Straus called the open carry leader a “wild man.”

Don Wilson who left us in 1975 wore the number 40 of course.

And of course Abraham Lincoln was born 206 years ago today.

Nothing to report from The Yard.

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Way to go Falkenberg! Check her tweet and read her column today:

Lisa Falkenberg ‏@ChronFalkenberg 3m3 minutes ago
Column: Applause for DA, police union support of #grandjury reform. Now let’s get it right. #txlege http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Let-s-get-grand-jury-reform-right-6073841.php?t=996f59b7e9ad6264fa&cmpid=twitter-premium

The H-Town City Council Ad Hoc Charter Review Committee met last night at City Hall and decided to move forward with a City Charter amendment proposal that would allow six members of City Council to place items on the Council Agenda.

At their last meeting they moved forward on a Charter amendment to go to two four-year term limits for City Council members.

At their first meeting the Committee decided not to pursue City Council Executive Sessions.

The Committee hasn’t acted on the feeding the homeless ordinance.

At their next meeting they will take up the revenue cap.

Less than a handful of players and a lot of folks that want to do away with the feeding the homeless ordinance have been attending the Committee meetings.

After the Committee completes its work, City Council will then decide which City Charter Amendment proposals to put on the November ballot.

I know it is still February but you have to wonder who will be out in the community later on this year trying to sell the City Charter changes. I wonder if members of City Council who supported the charter changes will be out there campaigning for the proposals and in the process expending their political resources.

The proposal to allow six members of City Council to place an item on the Council agenda kind of goes against our strong Mayor form of government.

Does the current Mayor really give a rat’s arse if six Council members can place items on the agenda if she is not going to be around next year? Why should she use her political capital to help out the next Mayor?

With the exception of the feeding the homeless ordinance opponents, right now there doesn’t appear to be any community interest in the proposed City Charter changes discussion going on over at City Hall. If there is no community interest, where then is the community support. I hope City Council takes this into consideration before they move forward on ballot initiatives so stay tuned!

Jose Altuve had 56 stolen bases last season. How many stolen bases did the rest of the team have last season?

The following tweet came out yesterday:

Evantines Day ‏@evan7257 1h1 hour ago
“Sylvester Turner is the Hillary Clinton of the mayoral race”

I will say once again that I am not ready to call any Mayoral candidate a frontrunner.

At this point in February of 1997, 2003, and 2009 when we had an open race for H-Town Mayor, did we have a frontrunner? I don’t think so! What makes this year different?

Speaking of so-called frontrunners, Hillary Clinton is having some infighting among her top players over fundraising and Jeb Bush had to fire a top staffer the day after the staffer was hired, so don’t show me the frontrunners!

Commentary said this yesterday:

Commentary is trying to figure out where women can make political gains, err win, in electoral politics this season – 2015. Teddy Schleifer wrote this past weekend about no women running for Mayor. Well what about the other city races and the HISD and HCC trustee positions?

Then this was tweeted:

Amanda Edwards ‏@amanda4houston 14m14 minutes ago
Excited to announce my candidacy for Houston City Council AL-4! #HouCouncil #HouNews http://www.edwardsforhouston.com/news.html

That makes two African American women running in At-Large 4.

NBC News gave Brian Williams a six month unpaid leave of absence just because the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Williams told us that his daughter Allison was really flying during the Peter Pan show. I don’t know about that.

Jose Altuve had 56 stolen bases last season and the rest of the team had 66 of course.

There is a kind of sad story in the Chron Sports Section today about those big banners that celebrate titles our pro sports teams rack up. The banners are missing! Here is a bit of the sad news:

There are other missing or misplaced banners in Houston sports lore, from all accounts.

The Astros, for example, relinquished their collection of Astrodome banners to Harris County when the team left for Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park) after the 1999 season, said Mike Acosta, the team’s authentication manager.

“The (Minute Maid) roof opens and closes, so if we were to suspend banners, they would be blowing all over the place when the roof was open,” Acosta said. “So we decided to replicate the banners.”

The team also changed logos and color schemes when it moved downtown, so the blue-and-gold “shooting star” logo that was incorporated into the 1990s banners was out of sync with the team’s rebranding.

Acosta said the Astros still have one of the large American flags displayed in center field at the Astrodome from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. The team also has an orange Astros flag that formerly flew outside the Dome, and Acosta said it might be flown as the team celebrates the 50th anniversary of its renaming from Colt .45s to Astros.

The other flags, along with the banners, Acosta said, “were folded up and stored on the floor of the Astrodome with some of the other things that were taken down.”

But where are they?

NRG Park spokeswoman Nina Jackson, asked this week about the location of the Astros memorabilia, said, “Nobody knows anything about any banners.”

There was no indication whether the banners were sold during the Astrodome “garage sale” in 2013 and, if not, whether they still are stored somewhere within the building.

Photos taken in 2005, when Hurricane Katrina evacuees were housed at the Dome, show Astros and Oilers banners still on display. The banners had been removed by 2010, when county officials staged a media tour of the stadium.

Similar questions surround the Oilers’ championship banners and retired number banners. The Oilers left Houston after the 1996 season for Nashville, Tenn., and a spokesman for the Tennessee Titans said the Oilers banners have not been seen in storage in Nashville.

Come on Hunker Down, could you please ask someone to go find the banners, PLEASE!

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Commentary is trying to figure out where women can make political gains, err win, in electoral politics this season – 2015. Teddy Schleifer wrote this past weekend about no women running for Mayor. Well what about the other city races and the HISD and HCC trustee positions?

I don’t see or hear of any women running for the open City Controller position, just a bunch of fellas.

In the City Council District races, G looks like a possibility if current HCC trustee Sandie Mullins makes the race. Then that opens up Mullins’ HCC trustee position. In the open District H seat, I don’t know if former HISD Trustee Diana Davila is still in the race.

There may be opportunities for women in the open City Council At-Large 1 and 4 positions.

There is nothing really open over at HCC.

At HISD, it doesn’t look like District 3 Trustee Manuel Rodriguez is running but I haven’t heard of any women stepping up. The HISD District 4 Trustee positon currently held by a female may open up and I understand a very strong female candidate is ready to run.

So that’s it for 2015. And I mean that’s it!

This past season, ‘Stros rookie George Springer had 20 dingers. Name the rookie with the most dingers this past season in MLB?

Yesterday, Teddy Schleifer was on FM 88.7’s Houston Matters and said that Potholes/Roads and Pensions would be important issues in the Mayoral race this year. Stay tuned!

In case I forget, Happy Valentine’s Day Alabama!

Jose Abreu of the White Sox had 36 dinger this past season to lead all MLB rookies of course.

I don’t have anything from The Yard.

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