Archive for February, 2016

Leap Year BD

I have mentioned before that Rachel is a leap year baby. So Happy Birthday to Rachel today!

This 1953 AL MVP was also a leap year baby and he also served as GM of the ‘Stros from 1980-1985. Who am I talking about?

How can the Academy Awards not memorialize one of the key actors in the best movie of all time? I am talking about Abe Vigoda as Sal Tessio in “The Godfather.” What an oversight!

I am thinking the Harris County Democratic Party combined way too many precincts tomorrow. For instance, all four Magnolia Park precincts are voting at De Zavala Park. I guess it is a money thing but this certainly will not help turnout and Tuesday’s primary is very important.   We are after all electing the next president.

If you picked up a hard copy of today’s Chron, you probably got confused. City/State is in the front section. So are the editorials. Obits and weather are in the business section so get used to it.

Now I know why I have received five Morris Overstreet mailers. He is getting help from billionaire George Soros. Well my thinking on this race has certainly changed.

If you watched “Houston Newsmakers” on Channel 2 yesterday morning, it was clear that Adrian Garcia was in command. No question about it.

Al Rosen of course who left us last year was born on February 29, 1924 and was our GM from 1980-1985 and won the AL MVP with Cleveland back in 1953.

The first Spring Training game is later on this week.

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The Debate

Check out “Houston Newsmakers” with Khambrel Marshall this Sunday morning at 10 am on Channel 2..  Adrian Garcia did A-OK, I was told.

About last night.  It was very entertaining. Lots of laughs for sure.

Of course, why did they even invite the doctor and the governor.

Sens. Cruz and Rubio landed some punches on Trump but I don’t think they did any damage.

For the first 40 minutes or so it was all about going after folks without papers and the DREAMers.   I am OK with this since all it does is solidify the Latino vote for Dems in November. Keep on bashing.

It looks like the pundits are saying Trump will win everything on Super Tuesday except for Texas. If this happens, I don’t see how he is denied the nomination.

How can Rubio supporters continue to say their guy is viable if they don’t win anything next Tuesday?

Who was the last ‘Stros pitcher to take the mound in 2015?

In Harris County through yesterday 98,152 GOPers have cast ballots versus 65,454 Dems. That is not three to one and it is not going to be three to one.

On the local front, my mailbox has received four Morris Overstreet mailers and only two from Kim Ogg.

I got another mailer from Dave Wilson yesterday.

IE mailers are dropping in CD29.

Dallas Keuchel of course pitched the bottom of the eighth in Game 5 of the ALDS in KC.

Nothing from Spring Training today.

Vote Early Today, Please.



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In the 2008 Democratic Primary in Harris County, 170,032 voted Early in Person. Through yesterday, 42,169 have voted early.

A little over 1 in 4 Dem voters here in Harris County have not voted in any of the last three (2010, 2012, 2014) Dem Primaries. Interesting.

Maybe the following story from the Chron will help out:

The Service Employees International Union’s political action committee is set to begin a Spanish-language ad campaign urging Houston-area voters to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton, according to the union, with television and radio ads scheduled to start airing by tomorrow.

The 30-second spots advocate for a “fair minimum wage and access to care for our children and our parents,” lauding the former secretary of state as a champion for Latinos.  

Clinton, who courted minority voters during a Houston rally on Saturday, won 66 percent of the Latino vote in Texas’ Democratic primary eight years ago, according to the Pew Research Center

This year, Hispanics again are expected to be crucial for Clinton as she seeks to earn the Democratic presidential nomination over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

“Latino voters play a critical role in deciding who the Democratic nominee for president will be and it is important they know that Hillary Clinton will be our champion,” Rocio Saenz, SEIU executive vice president, said in a statement. “Voting for Hillary Clinton will help us build a better future for Latinos, and all working families here in Texas and across this country. Hillary Clinton will not only fight for us, but get the job done, so we can have access to affordable, quality child care and home care and pass commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship.” 

An SEIU representative declined to comment on the size of the ad buys but said they are slated to run on Univision and Telemundo, as well as five Houston-area radio stations. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, Federal Communications Commission files did not yet show a record of the television ad purchases.

Who is officially listed as the tallest player at Spring Training in Kissimmee?

I have to admit it is cool that H-Town and UH get to host the GOP presidential primary for a day or so. I don’t expect any surprises this evening. Maybe they’ll be asked if they think H-Town is a sanctuary city.   Maybe they will talk about the Planned Parenthood facility they will drive by on the way to the debate. Maybe they will talk about the DREAMERs who attend UH.

President Bush 41 and the former First Lady will attend the debate tonight. I wonder if they will say hello to Donald Trump.

I wonder if Rick Perry will attend. Perry says the indictments hurt his chances at becoming the GOP nominee this time around. I am not going to argue with Perry on this but do you really think he would be in the debate tonight if he had not been indicted?

To me it is kind of odd that Mitt Romney mentioned Trump’s income taxes yesterday and saying there could be a bombshell in them.  Why get involved? Maybe Mitt wants to be the pick at a brokered convention.

This is why I am rooting for Trump:

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 3h3 hours ago

Mitt Romney, who was one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics, is now pushing me on tax returns. Dope! 

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 21h21 hours ago

In all of television- the only one who said anything bad about last nights landslide victory– was dopey @KarlRove. He should be fired!

New pitcher Doug Fister is the tallest in camp at 6’8” of course.

Nothing to report from Spring Training.

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On CNN this morning, a congressional backer of Sen. Marco Rubio said the Rubio campaign had momentum. Ok, sure.

And it looks like the new strategy for the Sen. Ted Cruz campaign for the coming week is to defend Texas. Ok, so if Cruz wins his home state of Texas next week he is viable – right?

Last night’s Nevada results were a severe arse kicking. It is Donald Trump’s race to lose folks.

In Early Voting in Person in Harris County in the Dem Primary, with three days left including today, Palm Center is at 20.5% of its 2008 Dem Primary turnout. Sunnyside is at 19.7%, and Acres Home 14.3%. West Gray is 30%, Moody Park 25.6%. Ripley 40.5%, and HCC Southeast 20.3% In all fairness though, in 2008, African American precincts voted at a 30% or better turnout and Latino precincts at 20% plus. I am thinking that Ripley is at 40.5% because of the new housing development in that area over the past eight years.

Hillary versus Obama was obviously a lot more exciting than Hillary versus Bernie.

When Jason Castro and Jose Altuve take the field at catcher and second base on Opening Day it will make for how many consecutive Opening Day starts for each?

The Hillary Clinton campaign is running ads in Texas targeting Latino voters but H-Town Latinos won’t get to watch them. Oh, well, what a diss – again. Check this from the Chron:

Who does Hillary Clinton want and need to show up for the March 1 primary in Texas? Look no further than the group of TV ads that the campaign said Tuesday would run in heavily Latino media markets across the state.

The first ad, titled “Brave,” shows Clinton consoling the daughter of undocumented immigrant parents who fear they’ll be deported. Clinton relied on this ad to keep her ahead during the Nevada caucuses, where she needed Latino voters, particularly older Latino voters, to hold back Sen. Bernie Sanders’ momentum.

“I’m going to do everything I can so you don’t have to be scared and you don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to your mom or your dad or somebody else in your family,” Clinton tells the girl during a Las Vegas event earlier this month.

With that ad, in part, Clinton got her first solid win in the Democratic race so far, and they’re hoping the commercial will have the same effect in Texas. “Brave” will run in El Paso and the Harlingen-McAllen media markets, according to the campaign.

The Clinton campaign also is running a new ad called “Believer,” which features Latino families – mostly Latina mothers, to be exact – and stresses her support for immigration reform and passing the Children’s Health Insurance Program. This one, not surprisingly, will run in the same Latino-dominated media markets along the border.

The final two ads, called “Breaking Barriers” and “The Same,” focus on the broader themes her campaign has tried to hammer for months. They feature her support for raising wages and equal pay for women. The two 30-second ads are running in Waco and Beaumont, the campaign said.

A University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Tuesday showed that Clinton’s play for Latino and African-American voters here is paying off for her. While Sanders has the most support from white Democrats, the former secretary of state trounces Sanders with black voters, 70 percent to 27 percent, and Latino voters, 60 percent to 37 percent.

“It’s her state to lose,” the poll’s co-director Daron Shaw, a government professor at UT-Austin, told the Tribune. “Whether this race is 10 points or 18 points rests almost entirely on your opinion of whether Hispanics are going to turn up to vote.”

From the it is good to be king department, supposedly “caretaker” Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke now says he may want the Dem nomination after all. He must have had a conversation with the other “caretaker” county elected official – the Precinct 6 Constable. Oh, well.

Jason Castro and Jose Altuve will be making their fifth consecutive Opening Day starts of course.

Nothing to report from Spring Training today.

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Polls and Votes

Four days of Early Voting remain including today and in Harris County, the GOP has a 59% share and the Dems a 41% share. I repeat, this is not three to one.

ELIZABETH KOH of the Dallas Morning news has a take on the CD 29 race here:

WASHINGTON — For years, Houston has been the most heavily Hispanic city without a Latino U.S. House member. That could soon change.

Gene Green, who has represented the 29th Congressional District since he was first elected in 1992, is being challenged by former Harris County sheriff and erstwhile ally Adrian Garcia, who filed a last-minute bid after failing to make the Houston mayoral runoff last year. Also running is Dominique Garcia (no relation), a real estate agent who is a first-time candidate.

The battle between Green and the former sheriff is a far cry from the political partnership that once lifted both men’s careers. Garcia’s father supported Green, 68, in his first campaigns, and Green readily reminds others that he supported Garcia in his bids for the Houston City Council and Harris County sheriff.

Adrian Garcia, 55, has emphasized his Latino background in the district, which is 77 percent Hispanic, saying he wants to give Latino voters the chance to be represented by one of their own. But Garcia has also attacked Green vigorously for not voting on a 2014 bill that would have limited the deferred action program for unauthorized youths, voting with corporate interests on the environment and opposing gun control measures such as the Brady Bill. The former sheriff has also pointed to the district’s poverty rates and lack of educational attainment as proof Green has failed to achieve progress in Washington.

“We have nothing to be proud about in this district, and the community wants change,” Garcia said.

Green, who has pushed back against Garcia’s attacks, has touted job fairs, immunization efforts and citizenship advice for immigrants as ways he has worked to improve the district.

“I’ve been here and I’ve done a lot of service in the district,” he said. “We do a lot of things that would bring services home to the community.”

Green has also hit back at the assertion that being white detracts from his service. “You don’t have to be Hispanic to understand Hispanic issues and vote with Hispanics,” Green added. “If you provide services that help them where they live, they remember it.”

Green has also suggested it is not Hispanic representation that prompted Garcia’s bid.

“I don’t think he had any place else to run — he didn’t make it into the runoff for mayor, he gave up the Harris County sheriff’s job, so the next thing up was a congressional seat.”

But Garcia says his campaign is strictly about the community and its needs.

“It is the democratic process to talk about issues and concerns,” Garcia said. “If you can’t have a tough conversation with your friend, then you’re in the wrong business.”

The presidential contest playing out nationally has also raised the stakes for this year’s election in the solidly blue district, said Jason Casellas, a political science professor at the University of Houston. Garcia’s progressive positions are likely to appeal to more of the district’s voters, and he stands to benefit from the higher turnout common in presidential primaries.

“The people [who] are going to be more active are going to be the ones who are more liberal, if he can try to position himself to the left of Green,” Casellas said.

Still, Green has a slight edge given his endorsements from congressional and local Hispanic leaders and his incumbent status, Casellas said. Garcia has struggled to win over local leaders and notably lost the endorsement of the Harris County Deputies’ Organization — which he once supervised as sheriff — to Green.

Despite the emphasis on ethnicity, winning is likely to come down more to each candidate’s history, Casellas warned.

Voters “want to make sure that someone is qualified,” he said. “Not just any Latino candidate will do.”

I will say this. More and more folks are letting me know that they are rooting and voting for Adrian. We will see.

How many MLB teams have Spring Training in Florida and how many have Spring Training in Arizona?

A new Trib poll says Secretary Hillary Clinton is leading Bernie Sander in Texas 54% to 44%. Here is from the Trib:

Clinton has a formidable base of black and Hispanic voters, while Sanders is doing better with Anglos. She leads 70 percent to 27 percent among black voters and 60 percent to 37 percent among Hispanic voters. Sanders, meanwhile, has the support of 55 percent of white voters to Clinton’s 44 percent. Clinton’s advantage, the pollsters said, could swell if her campaign can boost the numbers of Hispanics voting in the state.

Meanwhile, WCVI weighed in who won Nevada’s Latino vote. See this:

(Los Angeles, Feb 22) After hearing about disputes between the Sanders and Clinton over the Edison Entry Poll Survey results on the Latino vote in the Feb 20 Primary Caucuses WCVIundertook a review of the publicly disclosed data.  

WCVI concludes that the survey results are statistically consistent with the margin of victory of Hillary Clinton on Feb 20. The main dispute among pundits and between campaigns has been the assertion that it is statistically impossible for Hillary Clinton to narrowly lose the Latino vote (45% to 53% with Latinos representing 19% of the voters) and narrowly lose Whites (47% to 49% with Whites representing 59% of the voters) and still win the election by 5.3%. 

However WCVI concludes the Clinton margin of victory is adequately explained by the large margin of victory Secretary Clinton won among African American voters (77% to 23% with AA’s representing 13% of the voters). 

Simply put there is no relevant statistical inconsistency between Edison’s Entry Poll results for Latinos, Whites, and Blacks and the overall election results. Based on this fact WCVI concludes that there is no statistical basis to question the Latino vote breakdown between Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders. 

We note that some analysts have said that Secretary Clinton’s victories in heavily Latino precinct proved that she won the Latino vote. However, the methodology of using heavily Latino or “barrio” precincts to represent Latino voting behavior has considered ineffective and discarded for more than 30 years due to non-barrio residential patterns common among Latino voters since the 1980’s. 

Lost in this controversy is the fact that the data shows a record high Latino vote share in the Democratic Caucuses with Latinos representing 19% of the vote compared to 13% in 2008. 

WCVI is a non-profit, non-partisan Latino public policy and research organization founded in 1985 with offices in Los Angeles and San Antonio.

15 MLB clubs have Spring Training in Florida and 15 in Arizona of course.

The Rocket is in camp today.

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CD 29 Forum

Through yesterday, 58% of Harris County early voters are GOPers and 42% are Dems. This isn’t three to one.

Commentary dropped by the CD 29 Candidate Forum this past Saturday morning at Talento Bilingue. It was pretty obvious that Adrian Garcia was in command of the issues that should concern CD 29 voters. He easily won over any undecideds in attendance. If anything, this race is long overdue.   Folks get to have a discussion on key issues and we are learning a whole lot about CD 29.   Check out yesterday’s Mike Morris piece on the forum here:

With early voting already underway in Texas’ primaries, the top Democrats battling for a chance to represent much of industrial eastern Harris County in Congress engaged in a spirited, Spanish-sprinkled Saturday morning debate.

U.S. Rep. Gene Green and former county sheriff Adrian Garcia sparred over a host of issues central to the largely Latino and disadvantaged District 29 at an event hosted at Talento Bilingue de Houston by Texas Organizing Project, SEIU Texas and Mi Familia Vota.

Garcia continued a far more aggressive approach than was typical during his unsuccessful bid for Houston mayor last fall, calling Green insufficiently progressive on gun safety, the environment and economic opportunity, and seeking to link the 23-year incumbent to the district’s poverty and poor educational attainment rates.

Garcia sought to use a recent Green comment that the district is “blue collar” and “never going to be River Oaks” to suggest that the incumbent’s goals for the area aren’t ambitious enough.

“This is an opportunity for leadership, for … someone who believes there can be a greater promise for you, today and tomorrow, never saying, ‘You’ll never be River Oaks; you can cut the lawns, you can wash the dishes, you can serve the food, but you yourself can never be a part of the American dream,’ ” Garcia said. “We need to fight for more opportunities for the families of this district.”

‘We need trade skills’

Green pushed back, touting his role as a co-sponsor on every bill to increase the minimum wage during his time in Congress, among other efforts, and pointing to the numerous events he has held in the district helping people become citizens, get immunizations or learn how to pay for college.

“I grew up in north side, just like Adrian did. Believe me, I worked for a buck and a quarter an hour in the ’60s,” Green said. “We’re not River Oaks, because River Oaks doesn’t need trade skills – we need trade skills in Northside and East End Houston. That’s what Houston Community College and San Jac(into College) do, and I’ve helped them get funding for those.”

From 2000 to 2014, Census data show that, though the share of district residents with a high school degree rose slightly to 59 percent, the share of district residents living in poverty also ticked up to 26 percent, and median household incomes increased but failed to keep up with inflation. Green pointed to rising graduation rates in HISD, particularly among Hispanics, 78 percent of whom graduated in 2014, up from 56 percent seven years before.

Garcia also targeted Green’s environmental record, pointing to his 64 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters. The House average was 43 percent; the Democratic leadership topped 90 percent.

Undocumented aliens

Green said he long has worked to get air monitors installed near plants and refineries. He dismissed the suggestion that he would put company profits before his constituents and touted his endorsements from the union workers employed at plants in the district.

“We have a blue collar district. We have refineries and chemical plants,” he said. “I want to make sure they are produced safely and clean, and I’ll hold their feet to the fire, but I also want to make sure those jobs are available in our community.”

Green sought to distinguish himself from Garcia on immigration, noting his long support for comprehensive immigration reform and his endorsement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ fundraising arm.

“I heard from constituents whose children and families were deported because they were picked up because they didn’t have a driver’s license,” Green said. “That was wrong. That’s why immigration reform is so important, because I see it every day in the job I do.”

One way such infractions could lead to deportation was a jail screening program Garcia vocally supported as Harris County sheriff. Garcia said he pushed federal officials to change the program, which President Barack Obama ultimately did in 2014 to target only serious offenders.

“I was doing my best to keep the community safe,” Garcia said. “There have been many families in this community who have been preyed upon, the victims of violent undocumented individuals.”

Immigration and deportation were part of what drew Maria Villenas to Saturday’s forum. The District 29 resident said she arrived undecided but left leaning toward Garcia.

“He used to be someone who would talk to our kids at the schools, so when he started to support this deportation of families, it made no sense and I needed an explanation, and I think he gave it to me,” she said. “As the sheriff, he really had to look after the public safety, and we do have drug dealers in the area. I understand his point.”

‘New energy’

Sergio Lira also arrived undecided but left leaning toward Garcia.

“He seems to present new energy,” Lira said. “Not to say Gene Green is doing a bad job, that’s not anti-Gene Green, it’s just that we need someone … to represent the community and be a voice for the community with a lot of energy and passion, and I think Gene Green lacks the passion.”

Lira noted that the district was drawn in 1991 to create an opportunity for the area’s Hispanic population to elect a Latino representative. That has never happened, despite the influx of Hispanic residents that has made the district the fifth-most Hispanic congressional district in the country. Political newcomer Dominique Garcia also is seeking the District 29 Democratic nomination; she did not attend the forum.

I kind of even wonder if the incumbent’s supporters agree with him on some of the key issues that were brought up at the forum.

I really don’t want to spend a lot of time on Beyonce and police groups other than to say why don’t the police groups target the NFL? After all, they approve of every single halftime word and punctuation mark uttered at Super Bowl halftime shows?

Among active MLBers, who has the most career doubles?

Commentary has said before that running for president is an ordeal so I don’t like to pounce on folks when they drop out. I will say that Jeb has no one to blame but himself. He had a front row seat watching his party move to the far right and he did nothing about it. The current GOP is certainly not his dad’s GOP, heck not even his brother’s!

Latinos for Bernie? Commentary thinks Hillary is the clear favorite to win the nomination even though she has some flaws. One of the story lines from the Nevada caucuses was the Latino vote. Hillary or Bernie? The fact that we are even discussing this should be a concern to the Clinton campaign. Here is an LA Times story:

Hillary Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders in Nevada’s caucuses Saturday, but the two campaigns are still battling for bragging rights on one important point: Who won the Latino vote?

The answer involves conflicting data, which partisans on both sides have cherry-picked to support their case.

The issue matters to both sides because the Clinton campaign has consistently argued that her supporters better represent the ethnic and racial diversity of the Democratic Party. The Sanders campaign says that although the Vermont senator started out with a core of white liberal supporters, he has gained ground among minority voters as more get to know him.

There’s no question that Sanders gained significant ground among Latinos, both in the state and nationwide, in recent weeks. But did he actually win a majority of Latinos in Nevada?

Here’s what we know:

Some 80,000 Democrats turned out to vote Saturday at roughly 1,700 precinct-level caucuses around the state.

Since no one actually counts all those voters by ethnicity or race, there are two ways to estimate voting by Latinos — or any other group. Both ways involve significant uncertainty.

One set of numbers comes from the poll of voters entering caucus sites, which Edison Research conducted for the Associated Press and the major television networks. Another approach involves looking at results from precincts that have a high percentage of Latino residents to see who won.

The entrance poll showed Sanders winning Latinos, 53%-45%. The Sanders campaign trumpeted that Saturday night in a news release headlined “Sanders wins Latino vote in Nevada.”

Clinton disputes that. “We don’t believe that the so-called entry polls were particularly accurate,” she said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Look at the precincts,” she said. “Look at where we dominated.”

Indeed, Clinton did win handily in the areas with the largest share of Latino residents, said Nevada political consultant Andres Ramirez. She won Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, by about 10 points.

“When it comes to the core area of diversity in the state, Sanders got trounced,” said Ramirez, who supports Clinton but does not work for her.

Neither approach — entrance polls or examining precincts — yields a definite answer.

The entrance poll has at least two sources of uncertainty. Like any poll, the numbers come with a margin of error. For the full sample, the margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points. But because Latinos made up only about one-fifth of the turnout, the margin of error for them is larger — 7 points.

In other words, if every Latino voter were counted, the margin of error on the poll indicates Clinton’s share would be between 38% and 52% and Sanders between 46% and 60%.

But there’s another, potentially larger, source of uncertainty: Entrance and exit polls aren’t ideally designed to tell us how different demographic groups voted, particularly those who aren’t spread out evenly across the landscape.

The news organizations that pay for the entrance poll conduct them first and foremost to help quickly project which candidate will win. To do that, they need a sample that reflects the overall vote. In Nevada, that meant sending pollsters to 25 caucus sites around the state to ask a random sample of voters to fill out sample ballots.

That approach works reasonably well for what it’s designed to do — help project who won. It also works well after the fact for analyzing how large groups voted — men versus women, for example, or older voters versus younger.

But an entrance or exit poll has much less accuracy for a group like Latinos, who make up a

smaller share of the vote and are concentrated in only certain parts of the state. To accurately measure the Latino vote, a pollster would pick precincts that mirror where Latinos live in order to get a truly representative sample of them. That’s been done in some elections, and the results often differ from the entrance or exit polls designed to sample the overall vote in order to project the winner.

What about analyzing heavily Latino precincts?

A close look at the election returns, such as this analysis by Nate Cohn of the New York Times, shows that Clinton won heavily in neighborhoods with the most Latino residents.

But that doesn’t fully resolve the issue, either, as Cohn noted. Latinos who live in heavily Latino areas might vote differently than Latinos who live elsewhere in the state. Even in heavily Latino precincts, not all voters are Latino. All those issues take on greater weight in a low-turnout election such as a caucus where the voters who actually showed up — about 7% of the state’s total registered voters — may differ significantly from the majority of their neighbors.

Given the uncertainties of the entrance poll, there’s a lot of reason to believe the precinct analysis is more reliable and that Clinton probably got more Latino votes than Sanders, but the best answer came from the Vermont senator, himself.

“Who knows?” he said, when asked about the issue on CNN. “Nationally, it is clear that we are doing better and better with Latino voters.”

Let’s see what happens here in Texas.

Big Papi of course leads all active MLBers with 584 career doubles.

I really don’t think I have seen a ‘Stro so confident. I am talking about Carlos Correa. Here is what he said last week:

“I never doubt myself because I prepare every offseason to have a lot of confidence when I step on the field. My mind is bulletproof, man. Nobody can tell me I’m not going to get better, nobody can tell me I’m not going to do this or that. I’m going to go out there and try to perform and do the best for the team.” 

Wow! I am ready for Opening Day!

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Chron Moves

The Chronicle has left Downtown, 801 Texas, and is now on the Southwest Freeway where the Post used to be. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time at the Chron on 801 Texas. Less than a handful accompanying candidates to E-Board interviews and maybe a few times to drop something off to a reporter before the email days.

I fully understand if you worked there or still work there how the move can tug at emotions. The memories. I get that.

I will say this. I kind of will miss that Downtown won’t house our newspaper. We got The Yard there. Toyota and BBVA (sort of). The Convention Center, Discovery Green, and new hotels. City Hall, the County Courthouses, and our jails. Now Downtown is losing the newspaper. That kind of blows. The newspaper should be Downtown – period!

Oh, well. At least they are still inside the loop.

And we heard about this yesterday:

Ed Gonzalez ‏@EdForSheriff 2h2 hours ago

I commend Myr @SylvesterTurner for naming Martha Montalvo acting @houstonpolice Chief. First latina to serve the position.

Through Day 3 in Early Voting in Harris County, 25,954 for GOPers and 18,398 for Dems. Here is from Kuffer on the turnout:

Not a whole lot to say today, as I’m a bit pressed for time. Democrats have 41.5% of the total share of the early Harris County vote so far. They’re down 35% from 2008 but up 86% from 2012, while Republicans are up 114% from 2008 and up 20% from 2012. Up 20% from 2012 final totals would be 196,776, not too shabby but not exactly doors-blown-off. For Dems, up 86% from 2012 is 142,264, which I’d consider kind of meh. It’s early days, and I do think we’ll see heavier action next week. But so far, I’d say the structural integrity of Harris County’s doors remains sound.

We will see what happens this weekend.  Let’s see if Secretary Hillary Clinton’s visit to H-Town will boost voter turnout.

In December of 1975, MLB players won the right to free agency. Name the two players who filed the case?

If you want to know who was the real hero in the fight for free agency, check this from the Houston Press:

With spring training starting up this week, what better time is there is to look back at the one man that did more to transform the sport, and all professional sports for that matter, than a native Houstonian by the name of Curt Flood. Odds are that most people, most Houstonians, most baseball fans, don’t remember this man named Curt Flood. It’ll actually be surprising if most professional athletes now playing even know Curt Flood, and their riches are the largely the result of his efforts.

It is a good read. Check it out here: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/the-saga-of-curt-flood-a-well-paid-slave-8169790

I am rooting for Trump tomorrow and I hope he keeps getting into more fights with leaders who are admired.

Pitchers Andy Messersmith and Dave McNally of course were the two MLBers who led way for free agency.

From Tags on the ‘Stros:

Here are three questions that must be answered this spring:

  1. Who will start at first base? There’s a chance that Houston’s Opening Day starter at first base isn’t yet in camp. The Astros could still sign one of the remaining free agents, a group that includes Pedro Alvarez and Justin Morneau, if they don’t like what they see from their internal candidates. Reed, the left-handed slugger who led the Minors in homers and RBIs last year, is likely the first baseman of the future, but he’ll need to prove he can hit left-handed pitching and has yet to take an at-bat in Triple-A.

Singleton has crushed Triple-A pitching but has yet to hit consistently in the Majors, so this could be his final shot to prove his worth with Houston. White has done nothing but put up amazing numbers. However, like the others, he is unproven at the Major League level. Duffy is the dark horse and might be a better fit in a utility role rather than as a starter.

  1. What will the final two spots in the rotation look like? The late-January signing of veteran Doug Fister gave the Astros a sixth solid option for the rotation — assuming everyone stays healthy. Fister is coming off elbow issues last year, and Feldman missed September following a shoulder sprain. Then there’s Fiers, who has electric stuff.

Both Feldman and Fiers have pitched in the bullpen before, and both could be used in long relief. Whatever the case, Houston is in much better shape than the club was a year ago, when it opened the season with Roberto Hernandez as the fifth starter.

  1. Can the Astros handle expectations? Most experts believe the Astros are one of the top teams in the AL, and one that should make a push toward the playoffs. Last year, they come out of nowhere with no pressure on their backs for much of the season and were one of baseball’s feel-good stories. This year, things are different. People expect them to win and compete, and that’s going to be a first for many of the players. The pressure is real. The good news for Houston is manager A.J. Hinch always knows how to have his team in the right state of mind for any situation. How will the Astros respond in 2016?

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Not a Lot

Through Day 2 of Early Voting in Harris County, 19,376 GOPers have voted or 58% of the county share and 14,001 Dems have voted or 42% share. That is hardly three to one.

Dems need to be doing better though.

How about this tweet:

Anna Eastman ‏@AnnaEforHISD Feb 17 Houston, TX

Humbled to learn I’ve been chosen as Houston NASW Public Elected Official of the Year! Thanks, @januarileo for the nomination! #socialwork

Well deserved!

How many active MLBers have 500 plus career dingers?

The city is rolling out some new parking meter gizmos. Commentary uses them when I visit The Yard. Too often they don’t power up, they don’t spit out paper, they don’t take cash, or they are way too slow. I hope the new ones work better.

The South Carolina GOP governor didn’t endorse Jeb yesterday. I wonder if Jeb will make it to the March 1 primaries. I doubt it.

I will say this. It would be OK by me if we got to face Trump or Cruz in November.

Dave Wilson hit my State Rep. Jessica Farrar in a mail piece yesterday. I wonder if more hits are coming?

I hate to talk about City of H-Town employee layoffs. This shared sacrifice stuff is not going to be pretty.

A-Rod with 687 career dingers, Albert Pujols with 560, and Big Papi with 503 are the only ones with 500 plus of course.

Spring Training opens today.

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Voting Early

The Chron’s Rebecca Elliott tweeted this after the first day of Early Voting in Person:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott 14h14 hours ago

In Harris County early voting news…GOP early votes up 208% over 2008 on day 1. Dem early votes down 4% over 2008. #houvote

Remember when I put this Trib piece out yesterday:

All told, (Harris County Clerk Stan) Stanart said he expected close to 400,000 people will cast primary ballots in the state’s largest county. Whereas Democrats dominated interest in 2008, Stanart predicted three-quarters of the turnout in Harris County will be on the Republican side, where native son Ted Cruz and New York billionaire Donald Trump are duking it out at the top of a shrinking list of GOP candidates. 

Well, after Day 1 in Harris County, the GOP has a 56.9% share and the Dems a 43.1% share. That is not 3 to 1 in my book. We still have a bit to go though.

Let’s see what happens on Day 2.

Name the three ‘Stros pitchers who struck out 100 or more hitters last season?

Well that didn’t last long. I am talking about the H-Town City Council District Service Fund. It looks like the mayor wants to slash it pretty good from $1,000,000 to $250,000. Here is from a Mike Morris article in today’s Chron:

Mayor Sylvester Turner’s refrain that Houston will meet its financial challenges through “shared sacrifice” is beginning to trigger the showdowns those sacrifices entail, starting with a potentially thorny bunch – the City Council.

Turner’s target is a cherished program for the 11 district council members that, now in its second year, gives members $1 million to spend on projects in their districts.

In the budget now being compiled for the fiscal year that starts July 1, Turner proposes slashing the so-called Council District Service Funds by $8.25 million, leaving each district council member with $250,000, a quarter of the current allotment, to spend. The five at-large members do not receive these funds.

Oh, well. Go pick up your hard copy of the Chron to read the rest of the Morris article.

Check this out:

Baseball Prospectus’ preseason PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test) rankings have the Astros projected to finish first in the AL West with an 87-75 record.

That would be good for the fifth-best record in the AL, according to PECOTA.

Tampa Bay and Cleveland are projected to take the AL East and Central, respectively, with Boston and Toronto the two wild cards.

Meanwhile, PECOTA defending World Series champion Kansas City going 76-86 and finishing last in the Central.

How does last year’s World Serious champ finish last in the AL Central?

Dallas Keuchel struck out 216 batters last season, Collin McHugh 171, and Lance McCullers 129 of course.

Tags predicts this line-up and order for this season:

2B Jose Altuve

RF George Springer

SS Carlos Correa

DH Evan Gattis

CF Carlos Gomez

LF Colby Rasmus

3B Luis Valbuena

1B Jon Singleton

C Jason Castro

I don’t know about this. It is kind of hard to win the AL West if you have your first baseman batting eighth.

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How Many?

Here is from the Tribune today:

All told, (Harris County Clerk Stan) Stanart said he expected close to 400,000 people will cast primary ballots in the state’s largest county. Whereas Democrats dominated interest in 2008, Stanart predicted three-quarters of the turnout in Harris County will be on the Republican side, where native son Ted Cruz and New York billionaire Donald Trump are duking it out at the top of a shrinking list of GOP candidates.

We will find out starting today how many will show up.

How about this.

In Bexar County, early polling sites will operate today through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. and Feb. 22 to 26 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Here in Harris County, early polling sites will operate today through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Feb. 22 to 26 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Looks like Bexar County has 7 more hours to Early Vote in Person. Why is that?

These two MLBers had 99 RBIs each last season. Both were also winners of major awards last season. Who am I talking about?

I got this comment yesterday on the Supreme Court vacancy:

One might disagree on who will win the argument on the denial of any confirmation vote this year. Inasmuch as there is video of Chuck Schumer in 2007 and in 1960, the Democrats in the Senate passed a Resolution that they would deny President Eisenhower any confirmation vote, any fair-minded citizen will side with the Republican Senate on “Fairness.”

Missed the point. 1960 was a different era so that misses the point. In 2007 and 2008, there was not a vacancy so that misses the point. We are now living through a vacancy, so get the point.

Kuffer has another take on CD 29 today here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=72653.

Last season’s NL MVP Bryce Harper and last season’s NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant each had 99 RBIs of course.

USA Today predicts that the ‘Stros will win the AL West and go 90-72. I can handle that.

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