Archive for June, 2015

Ben and Sylvester

The seventh Mayoral Forum of the season was held in City Council District D last night. If you weed out the handlers, politicos, and so on, the crowd was mostly older African American – all likely voters.

The set up. At forums, State Rep. Sylvester Turner always touts his 26 years of service and his continued residence in Acres Homes. The subject of food deserts came up and Ben Hall dissed Turner’s years of service and pointed out that the best Acres Homes could do in attracting grocery stores was a Food-o-rama – suggesting that Turner’s years of service hasn’t helped much in getting better food choices in his community – ouch. I am wondering if Ben’s line of attack will continue in African American settings. Food fight anyone?

Rebuild H-Town also got smacked around last night. Council Member Steve Costello was the only defender which comes as no surprise.

Among active MLB pitchers, who has the most career shutouts?

The headline of today’s front page of the Chron: Many clerks ignore Paxton’s advice.

That doesn’t surprise me. AG Paxton is sabre rattling from the confines of his office. County Clerks are a part of the community. They didn’t run for their office to be some sort of moral authority or ideologue. They didn’t run for office so they could judge their neighbors. Good for them!

Paxton is playing to his base, but his base doesn’t represent who we are – got it?

Today is another fundraising deadline.

There is not much else you can say about NBC other than to say they did the right thing in regards to Donald Trump. No mas!

Jose Altuve made up some ground in the latest AL All Star Game balloting. I don’t know if he has enough time to catch up though.

Tim Hudson of course leads all active MLB pitchers with 13 career shutouts.

The ‘Stros now lead the AL in wins with 45. Dallas Keuchel has three career shutouts and he starts tonight against the Royals.

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Commentary traveled all over the country back in 2000 working for the Dem ticket. When we lost Bush v. Gore that December, I think I may have dropped a couple or so MF bombs on five of the Supremes and moved on the next day and prepared for W. Same for Citizens United.

Our state GOP leadership are acting like first class sore losers on marriage equality. The Supremes have ruled so get with it. Marriage equality exists in Texas. Same sex couples can now be legally married in Texas. It is OK to drop a few MF bombs on the Supremes. But it is now time to move on. Millions of Texans support and embrace the decision made by the Supremes. What is the point of trying to build barriers when you have already been run over?

The Texas AG put out his take yesterday saying county clerks could ignore the Supremes. I wonder how many lawyers in the AG’s office actually believe their boss and that take. That is not what they were taught in law school. That is why they call it the SUPREME Court.

You kind of get the feeling that the state’s GOP leadership are in Jade Helm mode and want the President to send in the National Guard to enforce marriage equality. That’s not going to happen as GOP county clerks throughout the state are already following the law.

I get that the state’s GOP leadership is playing to their base, but I believe the majority of Texans think it is time to look forward. And the leadership will pay a price at the polls in the future for ignoring the rule of law.

Like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick likes to say: “It’s a new day in Texas!”

Name the two teams with the best record in the AL?

Commentary doesn’t have a problem with burying the Texas Dem’s Two Step. One Step is OK with me. I wonder if they will ever do away with the precinct convention.

Commentary invested the past thirteen Sunday nights on “American Odyssey” and I feel like they left me holding a bag of sorts last night. Is that it? What happened to the kid?

Close to 140,000 fans went out to The Yard to see the ‘Stros and Yankees split four. That is pretty good.

The two best teams in the AL are the Royals at 44-28 and the ‘Stros at 44-34 of course.

The Royals and ‘Stros begin a three game series tonight at The Yard. Try to get a game in this week because after Wednesday they won’t be home until after the All Star break when they host the Rangers on Friday, July 17.

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Thank you, SCOTUS!

Get with it Texas!

HISD Board President Rhonda Skillern-Jones and State Sen. Rodney Ellis are taking the lead in renaming some HISD schools. Have at it. Here is from the Chron:

Rhonda Skillern-Jones said she plans to discuss the issue with her fellow trustees at an upcoming meeting. Superintendent Terry Grier added that he is “strongly considering” recommending that the board change the names.


State Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, sent a letter to the Houston Independent School District Wednesday urging the renaming of six campuses named after Confederate army officers or others tied to the Confederacy: Dowling, Jackson and Johnston middle schools and Davis, Lee and Reagan high schools.

“Remembering our past is important, especially if you want to avoid making the same mistakes,” Ellis wrote. “But we can teach our students about the evils of the past without endorsing the actions of those who fought to uphold them. When we honor hate at our schools, we teach hate to our children.”

Here is the entire piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HISD-board-president-backs-changing-6350468.php.

I wonder if they are going to include slave owners from the past. How about those that supported segregation or opposed civil rights and voting rights. How about some of the folks that help found the state of Texas and nearly succeeded in making Native-Americans an extinct people. These same folks also made Texas a slave-owning state. How does one define hate? I wonder where they will draw the line. I am glad Board President Skillern-Jones and Sen. Ellis are the deciders and not me. Go for it!

Name the Yankee great who has scored the most runs as a Yankee?

Hey, if the GOP wants to have its presidential primary focus on Obamacare and same-sex marriage, go for it! Because the rest of America is leaving you behind!

Some notes from last night’s Yankee game at The Yard.

A-Roid was booed. I didn’t though.

Nobody boos Carlos Beltran these days. Folks have forgotten, maybe even forgiven, after all, it has been eleven years.

It felt like 35,000 plus were there. Actually, there were 28,000 plus change.

There was excitement in the air.

After the game the streets were packed with folks.

My Best Friend and I shared the snagging of a foul ball.

A-Roid whiffed three times.

We won four zip.

Dallas Keuchel won his ninth.

Babe Ruth of course leads all Yankees with 1,959 runs scored.

It is going to be hopping at The Yard tonight for sure as our lead is now five.

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Good ‘Ol Boys

Don’t waste your time complaining to the new sheriff about his throwing a no-no against women regarding his command staff. Instead, complain to Hunker Down, after all, he wanted this fella because he possessed “gravitas.” Hey, if the new sheriff wants to hand us an issue on a gold platter in next year’s election, let him. That is not a very smart move on his part. I wonder if Hunker Down agrees.

Here is from the Chron:

The lack of women in leadership roles is worth noting because representation in the top ranks promotes a message about equity, provides role models and boosts morale, said Danielle Flanagan, an instructor of criminal justice at West Texas A&M University who studied women in policing in the Texas panhandle.

While it is common for a new sheriff to assemble a fresh lineup, Hickman’s first several assignments prompted fears among deputies and civil rights advocates that he was retreating to a leadership style of a bygone era.

Here is the Chron front page article on the female snub:

Now that’s what I call gravitas – baby!

The Yankees are in town for four. Name the former MLBer who has played in the most games all time as a Yankee?

If the Supremes rule for same sex marriage, the Harris County Clerk is going to take his sweet time in issuing marriage licenses. What is the point? Playing to your base? Not a smart move. Here is the Chron article on the delay of game, err playing games:

State Sen. Rodney Ellis in a Chron Op-Ed today is calling for HISD to look at changing the names of some of the schools that are named after Johnny Reb players. I don’t have a problem. Of course, one of the biggest alumni groups is the Jeff Davis Alumni. They have some pretty prominent players. I wonder what they think about this. Here is from the Sen. Ellis piece:

As an extremely diverse school district in the most diverse city in the nation, the names of our community schools should not lionize men who dedicated themselves to maintaining the ability of one human to own another. I hope that the board will use this unique opportunity to move the district in a new direction and away from a discriminatory past by creating a process to review and consider renaming schools named after Confederate stalwarts.

Here is the entire piece:

There is another mayoral forum today. This one is at the River Oaks Country Club.

Derek Jeter of course was on the field for 2,747 games wearing the pin stripes.

We are still four games up and start a seven game homie against two of the better teams in the AL. The Yankees and the Royals.

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Last night Bill King interviewed with the Harris County Tejano Democrats. He was asked a diversity question. Bill responded by letting Tejano Dems know that his campaign was the only H-Town mayoral campaign with senior Latino staff/consultants – two. Both also happen to be members of Tejano Dems. The other six campaigns have nada! Blah, blah, blah. What is the hold-up?

Then I got this:

James Cardona ‏@txdem74 2m2 minutes ago
@MarcCommentary @BillKingForHou @TejanoDemocrats Maybe he doesn’t know what Latino means. -Finance Director, Steve Costello for Mayor

Well that is one. Show me the others.

The drainage fee got some run in today’s Chron. This part stood out:

City Attorney Donna Edmundson disputed the notion that the city could not collect the drainage fee if the trial court finds the ballot language was misleading, pointing out that the lawsuit targets the charter amendment, not the ordinance City Council later passed to begin collecting the fee.

“The ruling by the Texas Supreme Court regarding the language for the Proposition 1 charter amendment has no bearing on whether the drainage ordinance continues,” Edmundson said. “The enabling ordinance adopted by City Council created the drainage utility and accompanying monthly fee that finances the streets and drainage program. For this reason, the ongoing legal dispute has no impact on the city budget for the coming fiscal year or the five-year Capital Improvement Program City Council will consider on Wednesday.”

South Texas College of Law professor Matthew Festa said that if the charter amendment is struck down and the city continues to collect the fee, it begs the question why they sent it to voters in the first place.

“It might be a technically correct legal argument,” Festa said. “But it might not be prudent to continue implementing a law where the basis on which the law is enacted is in grave doubt.”

That is not too smart if you ask me. Legally she might be right but politically it would be a huge blunder.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/ReBuild-lawsuit-could-halt-road-projects-6345148.php.

Name the team with the lousiest record in MLB this morning?

Johnny Reb continues to take a hit. The Chron E-Board wants to rename Dowling Street and four HISD Schools.

UT is reviewing its statues.

Retailers are pulling the Johnny Reb stuff off of their shelves.

And Lisa Falkenberg puts out a take.

Do the right thing!

Philly of course is at 26-47 and has the lousiest record in MLB.

Last night was fun. How can you not enjoy a 13 runfest! We now have a four game lead and end the roadie this afternoon.

And how about this tweet:

Alyson Footer retweeted
Dan Clasgens ‏@DanClasgens 2h2 hours ago
Carlos Correa is the 10th 20-year-old to hit at least 4 HR in first 15 career games, joining Ted Williams, Frank Robinson & Orlando Cepeda.

He is in good company.

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Johnny Reb

The Johnny Reb flag is taking a well deserve beating these days.

Yesterday I watched a very moving and powerful announcement.

I am talking about watching South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley on the flat screen as she announced the Confederate flag will no longer fly on the grounds of the state capitol as she was surrounded by Republicans and Democrats. She looked strong and decisive as she delivered a powerful message.

She made a lot of the GOP prez candidates look goofy.

Then Walmart said Johnny Reb paraphernalia would no longer be on their shelves.

Now folks are setting their sights on anything related to Johnny Reb while singing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

The Jeff Davis statue at UT? The Mississippi flag.

Here in H-Town we have schools named after Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis, and Stonewall Jackson. Should they be goners? I would not have a problem if they got the boot.

What is next? Five flags over Texas?

There really wasn’t any news yesterday in the race for H-Town Mayor. The next forum is this Thursday.

How many Royals were in the AL All Star team starting lineup last year?

Pete Rose will never get in to the Hall of Fame. I wonder if the Reds will let him have role in this year’s All Star game festivities. Hope not. I am really tired of his act.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez was the only Royals starter in last year’s All Star Game of course and he was actually a replacement.

In the latest All Star game voting, the Royals are leading in seven positions.

We lost last night and now lead by three.

Ready for the Yankees?

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Summer Politics

The summer kicked off yesterday with this front page story in the Chron on the race for H-Town mayor. Here it is: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Rebuild-Houston-could-prove-a-drain-on-mayor-s-6338698.php?t=e6fed25edeb2e7d3f0&cmpid=twitter-premium.

Hey, you get on the front page. What else can you ask for? I am thinking the Bill King campaign got a good bump. After all, so far “back to basics” is the only line that is getting some run.

It was certainly hot out there this past weekend talking to voters. I don’t really encounter very many that are happy with how things are going. Some feel slighted and ignored. A bunch want new blood. We will see.

Meanwhile, the Rep. Sylvester Turner campaign trotted out a list of 20 or so of his Latino colleagues who endorsed him. Hey maybe they have familia in H-Town.

The ‘Stros now have 103 dingers to lead all MLB clubs. Name the team with the least amount of dingers?

It turns out someone real close to Commentary has a significant and major interest in the newest and hottest club in H-Town. That’s cool. Of course, I am not much of a club person so I’ll just have to rely on others to tell me how it is going.

Who would have thought that seventy-one games into the season we would have the third best record in MLB? Of course, we still have not made it to ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The next ten games will certainly be a test. We have three in Anaheim. Then the Yankees are in for four, followed by the Royals for three.

The ATL only have 41 team dingers of course.

It looks like Jose Altuve will be back in the starting lineup this evening and we are three and a half up.

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Remember former State Rep. and now Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and his vaginal probing sonogram bill back in 2011?

And State Rep. Carol Alvarado (Commentary’s client), in a classic and memorable response said this:

“This is not the jelly on the belly that most of you think. This is government intrusion at its best. We have reached an all high, a climax, in government intrusion.”

Here is the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBrbGrvDPvE.

Looks like Sid and Carol have gone from the vaginal probe into the deep fryer. From the Trib:

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on Thursday restored the option for public schools to serve certain fried foods and soda by lifting a decade-old statewide ban on deep fryers and soda machines.

The policy, which supporters say gives control over nutrition back to school districts, instead of the state, goes into effect July 1.

“We are working to put an end to a one-size-fits-all approach mandated from Austin,” Miller said in a press release. “We want families, teachers and school districts to know the Texas Department of Agriculture supports their decisions and efforts to teach Texas students about making healthy choices.”

School groups that sell fatty foods or sugary sodas on campus for fundraising purposes are now allowed to do so six times per year, up from once, and to sell during school hours.

Critics have argued that Miller’s push is a step backward for childhood nutrition. In 2013, 16 percent of high school students in Texas were obese, up from 14 percent in 2005. Only Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama reported higher rates. Nationwide, child obesity rates have jumped from 7 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 2012. Among minorities, the rates for children and adolescents were significantly higher, with Hispanics at 22 percent and non-Hispanic black youth at 20 percent.

Ironically, the reversal was announced as part of a new plan by the Texas Department of Agriculture to reduce childhood obesity. The primary objective of the plan is to connect farmers with schools to provide more local food. It’s designed to promote community engagement and student involvement, as well as training to help schools serve meals that are “attractive and taste great.”

Rep. Alvarado’s Statement:

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced that the Texas Department of Agriculture is repealing certain prohibitions under the state’s decade old school nutrition policy that restricted the use of deep fryers and soda machines in Texas schools. State Representative Carol Alvarado issued the following statement:

“First, he granted amnesty to cupcakes and now it is deep fryers in the lunchroom. Will his next step be recommending that schools replace physical education classes with doughnut eating contests?

I think it is mind-boggling that our Agriculture Commissioner would think that placing deep fryers and soda machines back in our schools would help reduce childhood obesity.

Healthy eating should not stop once a child enters the school house doors. Most children consume about one half of their daily calories at school, so our schools play a vital role in helping cultivate a healthier lifestyle. Commissioner Miller’s plan is a mistake and a huge step backwards in ensuring that our children are eating healthy and living healthier lifestyles. This Commissioner should be finding more ways to provide healthier food options instead of finding more ways for the state to subsidize obesity.”

Only in Texas. This fella is a caricature for sure.

A-Roid is sitting on 2,999 career base hits. How many MLBers are in the 3,000 career base hit club?

Nobody can say Bill King doesn’t take a position. Here is from Rebecca Elliott of the Chron:

Houston mayoral candidate Bill King wants to put ReBuild Houston, the city’s controversial streetnand drainage program, back up for a vote.

Narrowly approved by voters in 2010, the pay-as-you-go maintenance and repair initiative has come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks, with the mayor’s race underway and a series of storms testing the limits of Houston’s drainage infrastructure.

Criticism of the program has only intensified in the last week, after the state Supreme Court ruled that the language of the ReBuild charter amendment did not adequately describe the program’s character and purpose. In a unanimous decision, the court sent the case back to trial court, where legal experts expect the city to face an uphill battle.

Then, on Wednesday, a Houston resident filed a separate class-action lawsuit seeking to have the city to refund property owners some $500 million in drainage fees.

King, the most vocal opponent of ReBuild Houston in the race, has seized the moment to attack ReBuild.

“I only see one way out of this quagmire,” the former mayor of Kemah said in a statement Thursday. “We need to have another election on the ReBuild Houston program in November. But this time with clear and transparent ballot language.”

Should ReBuild make it back on the ballot this year, King said he would continue to oppose the program, proposing instead to finance city infrastructure projects with bonds.

King’s statement does not name any other mayoral candidates by name, but City Councilman Stephen Costello — an engineer and strong advocate of ReBuild — is the implied target.

In the crowded race to replace term-limited Mayor Annise Parker, King and Costello are seen as direct competitors for the votes of Houston’s fiscal conservatives.

I am not going to say anything about the Governor’s appointment to chair the State Board of Education.

28 former MLBers have reached the 3,000 career base hit milestone of course.

Our lead is now up to three and a half games. We are the first NL team to win 40 games this season. Not bad at all!

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Those were the words from Rocco in the “Godfather, Part II” in talking about knocking off Hyman Roth who happened to be in custody of federal agents.

When it comes to increasing Latino voter turnout here in Texas, Commentary says “Difficult. Not impossible.”

The Chron E-Board takes on Latino voting in Texas today in response to this past Saturday’s election in San Antonio. Their headline in the hard copy is “What will it take? Low voter turnout is a problem in Texas, particularly with Hispanics.”

Here is a part of what they said:

That pattern of Hispanic non-participation is a statewide problem. In fact, Hispanic turnout in Texas tends to be lower than elsewhere in the country. It’s likely to continue in Houston too, unless some candidate or some issue galvanizes the electorate. It’s hard to see who or what that might be, even though they probably could elect a candidate of their choosing, in Houston and elsewhere, if they voted in percentages comparable to African-Americans and Anglos.

Here is the entire take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/What-will-it-take-6333872.php.

All I can say is the Latino vote has been neglected for decades and all of a sudden folks are wondering why they are not showing up at the polls? In due time. In due time. Be patient.

The ‘Stros had four dingers last night at Coors Canaveral and now have 95 for the season. How many ‘Stros have dingers in double digits?

Here is from Kuffer on the Rebuild Houston responses:

On a related note, I went and checked the Facebook pages and Twitter feeds of each of the five candidates for Mayor who had not made a statement about the Supreme Court ruling as of my previous post. Here’s Sylvester Turner’s statement, posted on June 15 at 11:44 AM. The other four – Chris Bell, Adrian Garcia, Marty McVey, and most puzzling to me Steve Costello still had nothing to say on the subject as of last night. I will ask again: What are you waiting for?

Here is all of Kuffer: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=67865.

I think this is probably a good idea if you like transparency. If you are a political consultant, should you have a problem with what the Ethics Commission put out recently? Here it is:

The Texas Ethics Commission seeks comments on how a political expenditure made to a political consultant must be disclosed when the consultant makes payments to other parties.

For example:

A political committee pays a consultant to send direct mail. The consultant buys a mailing list, pays a graphic designer, pays a printer, and pays a mail house to send the piece of direct mail.

A candidate pays a consultant to organize get out the vote activities. The consultant pays poll workers and drivers. The consultant pays a printer to print sample ballots. The consultant pays for transportation and gas expenses.

The Commission will consider comments at its August 7, 2015, public meeting.

It is just a little more housekeeping.

If you want to check out the Yankees at The Yard next week, expect to pay a lot more. The ‘Stros and dynamic pricing are sticking it to fans. You can sit in the upper deck for $15 on up – depending on which day you go. The Thursday game is the least expensive. If you want to sit in the field box level, $110 is the best deal you can get. Close to $200 for a seat behind the plate.

I lot of folks are going to try to hawk them on Stub Hub. I would just wait until the last minute and snatch them there once demand goes down.

Valbuena (16), Carter (12), Gattis (12), and SpringerDinger (10) lead the team of course in dingers.

We still have a two and a half game lead and have now won four in a row.

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On the day city council will adopt the budget, the Chron E-Board put a smackdown this morning on the handling of Rebuild Houston. Deserved or not, the folks running Rebuild Houston have not done a good job of letting us know how things are going. Here is from the E-Board:

The question of whether Houstonians legally approved the drainage fee will now be sent back to the trial court. With this ruling, the Supreme Court has landed a powerful blow against a program that’s already suffered years of slings and arrows. Yet the legal error identified by the state justices merely echoes an already well-known problem with ReBuild Houston: a failure to communicate.

It isn’t just an issue of ballot language. From day one, ReBuild Houston supporters have lacked an articulable plan or list of projects that would be funded by the program. Estimated drainage fee cost to landowners fluctuated throughout the campaign.


City Councilmembers redirected dollars into their own slush funds. Houston-ians grew impatient.


ReBuild Houston still lacks a key advocate who can explain to people why it is a smart policy. Yet Mayor Annise Parker seems content being a follower rather than a leader – much as she did during the original campaign. Council member and mayoral candidate Stephen Costello, a key ReBuild Houston proponent, has remained essentially silent.

Politics isn’t about numbers or spreadsheets – it is about people. If Parker and Costello don’t start communicating to the people about ReBuild Houston, someone else will. And they may not like what those folks have to say.

Here is the entire piece: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Let-s-talk-6331167.php.

It is pretty obvious to most that Bill King has a take on this. He has put out a statement or two and articulated his position in public. Before anybody criticizes him, how about asking your candidate to put out their take first. You can’t have it both ways.

The ‘Stros continue to lead MLB in the team dinger category. How many do they have and name the team that is second?

All I can say is that the ‘Stros were one of the lead stories on “Today” this morning. The GM got some praise from Bob Costas. We are getting national run today. That’s good for the brand if you ask me.

The Hackbirds’ reputation took a huge hit. They deserve it only because what they did was incredibly stupid. What were they trying to find out? If we had figured out how to hit a Mariano Rivera cutter? Dumbarses! Hope they get the book thrown at them.

The ‘Stros have 91 team dingers of course to lead MLB and followed by the Dodgers with 83.

We had three dingers yesterday including two by Luis Valbuena. We are now on an eight game roadie and still have a two and a half game lead.

Oh yeah, our next homie starts next Thursday with the Yankees in town. Hope you have your tickets!

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