Archive for May, 2016

Not Happening

Commentary has said before that it won’t be a cakewalk for Sec. Hillary Clinton this fall against Donald Trump. Remember, she is a public figure who has endured 25 years of attacks from the GOP. She has also taken hits the past year from Sen. Bernie Sanders. That’s why Commentary is glad to see the following from CNN this morning:

California Governor Jerry Brown lent his support to Hillary Clinton Tuesday, saying it was the only way to “stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump.”

She needs to win California next week – period. You have to figure that after next Tuesday, Sanders will not be speaking in front of huge crowds. He won’t be getting as much media coverage. He won’t be running TV ads. If Clinton does not win in California, Sanders will have an excuse to keep on doing his thing. Of course, what that looks like without any primaries left is a big question.   She needs to take care of business in California.

‘Stros pitcher Collin McHugh tossed his first complete game ever yesterday. How many complete games does Dallas Keuchel have in his career?

These tweets created some political buzz this past weekend:

Bill Kristol ‏@BillKristol May 29

Just a heads up over this holiday weekend: There will be an independent candidate–an impressive one, with a strong team and a real chance.


Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 23h23 hours ago

If dummy Bill Kristol actually does get a spoiler to run as an Independent, say good bye to the Supreme Court!

Bill Kristol is a smart fella but I don’t see this happening. I don’t see how they think they could pull this off and win unless they had a candidate with moderate views who could pull votes from both Clinton and Trump. It is also very hard to keep a secret in politics these days. We would already know by now who the candidate is. I also read where last year Kristol predicted the Vice President Joe Biden would be running in 2016.  Like I said, not happening.

Then there is this:

Rebecca Elliott Retweeted

lomikriel ‏@lomikriel 10h10 hours ago Houston, TX

That’s a wrap on the least relaxing Memorial Day weekend in a while! Sure @rfelliott and @jenradcliffe feel the same way 🙂 #TiredChicks

I have to hand it to the local media on their coverage of this year’s flooding. Talk about soggy work conditions.

Dallas Keuchel of course has nine career complete games.

Let’s see. The team was 7-17 in April and are 16-12 in May. We have won 6 out of our last 7. Nice.

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Dry Heights

It is too bad for many it is just another day off. To AutoNationFordKaty.com’s ad in the Chron today it is the “Memorial Day Sale.” Same for HoustonJewelry.com on the front page of the Chron. I’ll give it to HEB for their full page ad on page A5 titled “Honoring Our Nations Heroes on Memorial Day” that includes a moving photo. Check out from Gray Matters today on page A2 from today’s Chron with the headline and the first part on Memorial Day here:

Is Memorial Day about grief, glory or hot dogs?

Memorial Day is one of America’s most confusing holidays. Depending on the celebrant, it can be a day of grief, glory—or backyard barbecues.

It’s not a bad thing to have such disparate takes on a day of remembrance. And don’t worry: You’re not a bad person if you choose to sit back and enjoy your day off. But sometimes it pays to think about why we get the day off in the first place and ponder the mysterious forces that bind hot dogs, tears, and flags all together.

Decoration Day, as the holiday was once known, arose in the years after the Civil War as a way to grieve for the 750,000 soldiers who had perished over four bloody years. Families who stifled their mourning during wartime sought public ways to pay tribute to the fallen in peacetime. Understandably, graves become a focus for the bereaved, and mourners took flowers to cemeteries to decorate them.

This practice first received semi-official sanction in 1868 when General John Alexander Logan, the head of a large fraternal organization of Union veterans, designated a day each year “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.” Southerners didn’t take too kindly to this initial effort, but by 1890 all the Northern states had recognized the holiday.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Is-Memorial-Day-about-grief-glory-or-hot-dogs-7948030.php.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

It is the Memorial Day weekend and the Chron E-Board decided to address the Heights’ wet/dry issue. Cheers to this huge public policy issue. Here is a part:

Still, we hope this proposal for a limited rollback of Prohibition in the Heights succeeds, because this area’s booze ban has pointlessly shackled retailers and inconvenienced consumers who don’t even drink.

These antiquated restrictions on alcoholic beverage sales are a major reason why some people who live in the Heights have to drive out of their way to buy groceries. Beer and wine sales are a crucial source of income for grocers, an industry scraping by – according to data from the New York University Stern School of Business – on net profit margins of less than 2 percent. Although a comparatively small Kroger store survives in the Heights without beer and wine sales, expanding supermarket chains have conspicuously opened new stores outside the boundaries of the Heights.

The people lobbying to change these restrictions have 60 days to gather 1,500 signatures from Heights residents. If they succeed, the referendum would appear on the same ballot as the upcoming presidential election, which would pretty much guarantee a high voter turnout and raise the likelihood the proposition would pass.


I wonder if the Chron is going to assign a reporter to cover this issue between now and November?

I didn’t know they could do this. Check this from the Chron:

Kirby Ice House has been open for only a few months but has recently decided to restrict service to those 23 years of age and up. 

“We have received feedback from clientele over the past month and a half and over much deliberation, decided that this was the best decision for Kirby Ice House and our patrons moving forward,” the bar wrote on its official Facebook page


“We fully understand that this may cause some backlash and that everyone will not be on board, but we ask that you take into consideration how much we value our customers and aim to be a neighborhood bar for many years to come,” the business added in its post.  

It’s not unheard of for drinking establishments to restrict younger, inexperienced drinkers from bellying up to the bar. Some bars are of the mind that those who have just turned legal drinking age can be disruptive to other patrons. 

Oh, well.

The good news is that it was worth watching nearly five hours of ‘Stros baseball yesterday as we pulled one out in 13 innings. The bad news is that Carlos Gomez is likely to rejoin the team tomorrow. I sure hope he has his game back. Stay tuned!

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Commentary tries not to talk about college football players because they don’t get paid. The coaches and college presidents get paid and in some cases way too much.   The Baylor coach could get banned for life coaching in the college ranks. The Baylor college president will quietly go away and retire. But the victims will have had a huge part of their lives stolen from them just so the team could stay in contention for the BCS or college football playoff. All the money in the world can’t replace what they lost.

Colleges and universities will continue making sure the football coach is the highest paid individual on campus and yesterday’s story will be repeated on a college campus out there before you know it. Outrageous, isn’t it?

Here is a line from the Chron’s Jerome Solomon today:

This is about a school that hid, supported and darn near encouraged a rape culture within its football program.

Baylor’s football program deserves the death penalty but they won’t get it because millions of dollars trumps sexual assault victims.  Always has, always will.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

If GOP Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack wants to help fellow Commissioner Gene Locke keep his county job, he would be advised not to take shots at Sen. Rodney Ellis. Check this from today’s Chron:

The way state Sen. Rodney Ellis sees it, a public accusation deserves a public response.

So when a conservative Harris County commissioner suggested at a meeting this week that Ellis should “shut up or state the right facts” about incarceration rates in Harris County, the Democratic legislator fired back.

“In an outburst more in the style of Donald Trump rather than the more staid Commissioner’s Court, Commissioner Radack called me out by name and told me to ‘shut up’ about criminal justice reforms in our community,” Ellis retorted in a statement Thursday, challenging Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack to a public debate. “As long as I have the privilege of public service, I’m not going to shut up.”


Many see the race as one between Ellis and Gene Locke, who was appointed to the Precinct 1 seat following Lee’s death. On Thursday, Locke came to Ellis’ defense.

“Commissioner Radack should back down and treat Sen. Ellis with the respect his office deserves,” Locke said in a statement.

Somebody needs to tell Radack that we live in a very partisan environment.

Rodney let Dems know yesterday that he’s the true blue partisan who will stand up to the mean ‘ol GOPers over at the county.   That is what Dems want these days and that’s why Gene came to Rodney’s defense. I wonder if Rodney sent Radack a thank you note?

Here is the entire Chron story on the spat: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/Flareup-could-be-sign-of-things-to-come-on-7948392.php.

Commentary was surfing through the flat screen the other evening and ran across “Godfather Epic.” “Epic” is the first two “Godfather” classics put together in chronological order – no flashbacks like from “Godfather, II.” It also includes deleted scenes that we not in the theatrical versions. It is an interesting way to see the flicks.

How about this from last night at The Yard:

Julia Morales ‏@JuliaMorales 14h14 hours ago

Valbooma for the THIRD straight night. 2-run HR

Check this from Tags:

Despite all the great strikeout pitchers the Astros have had through the years — J.R. Richard, Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott, Roger Clemens, Billy Wagner and Roy Oswalt, to name a few — they’ve never had a staff achieve what it did in sweeping the Orioles.

The Astros set an MLB record by striking out 52 batters in a three-game series, capped by Thursday’s 15-strikeout performance in a 4-2 win over the Orioles at Minute Maid Park that gave Houston its first three-game winning streak of the season.

The Astros are the first Major League team on record, going back to 1913, to strike out at least 15 batters in three consecutive games.

We swept B’More yesterday and we are still 9 games out of first. It is going to be a very long summer.

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Commentary is an American. So I always think my state is suing ME when they go after the President’s policies and actions. Here is this from the Trib today:

Since President Obama took office in 2008, Texas has sued his administration 40 times, the Tribune’s Neena Satija, Ryan McCrimmon and Becca Aaronson wrote. (AG Ken) Paxton has filed nine of those lawsuits while his predecessor, former Texas Attorney General and current Gov. Greg Abbott, filed 31 of them.

Of the 40 cases that have been filed against the feds by Texas, court documents show the Lone Star State winning six and withdrawing eight. In 10 cases, the courts ruled against the state. The remaining 16 cases are still pending.

So far it looks like scoreboard America.   I hate to say this but I’m rooting for America.

Remember when I mentioned yesterday that the ‘Stros have 4 triple this season. The D-Backs lead MLB with 19. Who is dead last in the triples department?

A group of Memorial City area residents is suing the City of H-Town on flooding. The group is called Residents Against Flooding. I don’t blame them. In my opinion local and federal government has fallen behind in dealing with this issue and some folks that get flooded are getting fed up. Hey, more power to them.

They didn’t take too kindly to the Chron’s coverage of their lawsuit and to the responses of Flood Czar Steve Costello and some other fella. Here are their tweets:

HoustonRAF ‏@HoustonRAF 9h9 hours ago

Sloppy reporting by Chron! Officials responding to suit have not even read it but was presented as a counterpoint


HoustonRAF ‏@HoustonRAF 11h11 hours ago

HoustonRAF Retweeted Rebecca Elliott

Mike Talbot, county flood chief, sees no worsening of flooding. Really? Maybe time to reassign Mike to the basement


HoustonRAF Retweeted

Cynthia Neely ‏@starringtexas 38m38 minutes ago

Flood Czar @s_costello We hired the best hydrologist. Know what we’re talking about before u criticize @HoustonRAF


HoustonRAF ‏@HoustonRAF 15h15 hours ago

HoustonRAF Retweeted Rebecca Elliott

Flood czar responds with condescending tirade, illustrates necessity of “special master” to be appointed by court.

Commentary thinks Rebecca Elliott is a very good reporter and is doing her job. I certainly don’t want to get in the middle of this but I understand how frustrated these RAF folks are.

The Chron E-Board has a post runoff election take today. Here are parts:

After a Tuesday election night of otherwise happy incumbents, challenger Briscoe Cain went to bed with a new lucky number: 23. As in the 23 votes that gave the Deer Park attorney a victory over seven-term state Rep. Wayne Smith in the primary runoff.

It was a down-and-dirty battle to be the Republican nominee for District 128 in east Harris County. That race offered voters little insight about the future of their state, but they did learn that Cain once attended a costume party dressed as “gay Hitler.” Thanks to those attack ads, national media outlets had the pleasure of telling their readers that Texans voted yes on gay Hitler, but no on gay Obama.


It wasn’t all bad news for local Democrats, who wisely chose former City Councilman Ed Gonzalez to face Sheriff Ron Hickman in November’s general election. And in the race for Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace, primary voters elected Eric William Carter, who has a law degree, over Tanya Makany-Rivera, who doesn’t. There’s more to the position than an ability to practice law, but someone who sits on the bench should at least have that minimum qualification.

If only Democrats also held their candidates to a minimal ethical standard.

Judge Elaine Palmer was victorious in her primary for the 215th District Court despite being sanctioned by the Texas Ethics Commission and receiving a low rating in the Houston Bar Association’s qualification poll. Questions about Hillary Green’s conflicts of interest didn’t impede her easy victory in the primary for Precinct 7 Justice of the Peace. Jarvis Johnson was charged with evading arrest when he served on City Council, and now he’s the candidate for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s old seat in House District 139. And state Rep. Ron Reynolds, who faces a year in prison for barratry charges, narrowly defeated his challenger to hold onto his candidacy in the Missouri City-area House District 27.

Tuesday posed an opportunity for Democrats to clean out their rogues’ gallery of questionable candidates and seize the virtuous high ground at a time when statewide Republicans face their own moral and legal challenges. That cause will have to wait another election cycle, but at least none of their candidates have been caught dressing up as gay Hitler.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Election-reflection-7946004.php.

Oh, well, I guess we will hold on to our Dem rogues. I am sure some folks will hit back at the E-Board for picking on the winning Dems “rogues” who all happen to be African American so stay tuned.

I don’t know about this tweet. Sen. Bernie Sanders does not come across to me as a unifier. Check this:

Fox News ‏@FoxNews 3h3 hours ago

Jeff Weaver, Sanders campaign manager on DNC chair: “We’ve got to have a person there who can bring the party together, who’s a unifier…”

The Brewers of course are at the bottom of MLB with only 1 measly triple.

Last night before the game I was sitting in the Saint Arnold area and guess who sat by me and started up a conversation? The fella who founded and owns the Saint Arnold Brewery. We had a nice lengthy chat about the ‘Stros and Saint Arnold. He is a cool dude.

I guess the highlight from last night’s win was this tweet from Julia Morales:

Julia Morales ‏@JuliaMorales 13h13 hours ago

Luis Valbuena goes Valbooma for the second consecutive night. Goes the other way, too. 4-3 Astros

#Valbooma! Move over #SpingerDinger and #ColbyJack!


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Commentary thinks Kim Ogg for Harris County DA and Ed Gonzalez for Harris County Sheriff is a strong lineup heading the local Dem ticket in this year’s election.   Against the backdrop of the national election and presidential race, I think the pieces are there for a victory and a sweep here in Harris County.

I hope both the Ogg and Gonzalez campaigns take the lead and take control of the Dem effort from here on out. I hope they don’t allow a third party or outside party to come in and take over the apparatus. Ogg and Gonzalez need to be the ones calling the shots.

Combined, both of these campaigns are very capable of helping turn out the base and both will have strong messages to independent and swing voters. They just need to step up and lead the effort. I really can’t picture any other folks or entities assuming this role.

Here is an interesting MLB question for today. Apparently the ‘Stros as a team have hit 1,999 triples in our history.   The ‘Stros as a team only have 4 triples this season. Hitters don’t hit as many triples as they did in the so-called dead ball era. The hitter with the most career triples is Hall of Fame great Sam Crawford who played with Cincy and the Tigers from 1899 – 1917. Crawford had 309 career triples. Name the MLBer currently with the most career triples among active MLBers? Like I said – interesting.

One of The Dean’s fav eateries is closing. Check this from CultureMap:

One of Houston’s most beloved old-school diners has mysteriously shuttered. 

Triple A Restaurant, the Heights-area restaurant that has served up heaping portions of comfort food since 1942, is closed today. A sign in the window on Airline Drive advises that the restaurant has been unable to negotiate a renewal of its lease, according to a CultureMap reader who saw it.

A phone call to the restaurant confirms that it has closed. The person who answered affirmed that the closure would likely be permanent and couldn’t say whether the restaurant would relocate in the future. 

Located next to the Canino Produce Market, Triple A has served as a reliable source of classic American fare for generations. In particular, the restaurant’s chicken fried steak earned raves from a number of local food writers

Unlike 59 Diner, which had slipped in quality before its closure in March, Triple A remained a neighborhood staple. Diners will certainly miss its wood-paneled walls and retro charm.

I will miss those chicken and dumplings for sure.

Carl Crawford of course, yes Crawford, leads all active MLBers with 123 career triples.

My Best Friend and I attended the ‘Stros game last night. We lasted until the top of the 13th inning. I heard the winning run score as I turned into my driveway last night. We won but we were only 2 for 10 in the hitting with runners in scoring position department.   We have to do better in the RISP category.

Tonight is Dollar Dog Night.

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Surrender, Ted!

Jeb Bush has not endorsed Donald Trump for president. Carly Fiorina has not endorsed Trump. Sen. Ted Cruz also has not endorsed.

There is a front page story in today’s Chron about Cruz’s role at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Well if he intends to speak, he has to endorse. No ifs, ands, or buts on this one, pal. That is the way the game is played.

Here is from the Chron story:

Former Texas GOP chairman Steve Munisteri, a veteran of the 1976 convention battle between Reagan and President Gerald Ford, said much could depend on the final position Cruz takes on Trump.

“In order to have a speaking spot you have to have endorsed the nominee,” said Munisteri, one of Texas’ 155 convention delegates. “That’s the question that comes first.”

Although decisions about speakers and other facets of the televised convention program technically are up to the party, Munisteri said the most critical decisions are heavily influenced by the nominee’s campaign.

“My experience is that the presumptive nominee decides who speaks at the convention, and I would be surprised if the person deciding who speaks would agree to let somebody speak who’s not behind him,” Munisteri said.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/us/article/Cruz-s-role-at-Republican-National-Convention-7879933.php.

Trump isn’t going to allow Cruz to speak unless he gets a ringing endorsement. That is how Trump is playing the game these days. That is how I would play it so stay tuned to the Ted Cruz surrender watch.

B’More is at The Yard for three starting this evening. Name the six who have worn the B’More uniform who have had their jerseys retired by the club and you don’t have to provide the jersey numbers. Hint: All are in the Hall of Fame and five are still with us.

The word is the Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign may be going to the convention in Philadelphia with an agenda that includes doing away with the super delegate system. I can support that. The super delegate rule is dumb, elitist, and really should not be what Dems stand for. It really isn’t fair representation. It gives credence to the term party bosses. It is a dumb rule that should be thrown in the trash can.

Here is a headline from the Chron today:

13 ways the Astros have angered the baseball gods

There are a couple I agree with. Before the warmups start. George Springer and Jake Marisnick throw around a football and run pass routes wearing football helmets. To me that is dumb.   Then on Sunday, they did it with Springer in a dinosaur costume.   Stick to baseball, please!

Here is the 13 ways article: http://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/13-ways-the-Astros-have-angered-the-baseball-gods-7940644.php.

Go pick up a hard copy of the Chron and read about the HISD auditor mess. The end of the article is the most important. Here:

HISD trustee Anna Eastman, the longest-serving member of the board’s audit committee, said last week that she hopes her colleagues appoint an interim chief auditor soon and that the (HISD Auditor Richard) Patton investigation is wrapped up quickly.

“We have a massive annual budget. We’re also in the middle of implementing a $2 billion bond program,” Eastman said. “It’s critical to the trust of the public and the taxpayers that we have a fully transparent internal audit function that reports independently to the board.”


B’More has retired Earl Weaver’s number 4, Brooks Robinson’s number 5, Cal Ripken, Jr.’s number 8, Frank Robinson’s number 20, Jim Palmer’s number 22, and Eddie Murray’s number 33 of course.

There is a story in today’s Chron sports section about the ‘Stros’ disappointing season. Remember the March Sports Illustrated cover? Here are a few lines from the story:

The 17-28 Astros are baseball’s most underachieving team, and there is plenty of blame to go around for the reasons, a flawed roster chief among them.


The final week of May is too early to deem the Astros trade-deadline sellers, but if the losing persists into mid-June, general manager Jeff Luhnow will likely need to begin to look toward 2017.


Those occupying the top four spots in the Astros’ lineup have combined for a .268 batting average. Those in the bottom five spots are batting a dismal .196.

Quit tossing footballs around. Take off those football helmets and play some pepper, please. We’re 17-28!

Remember to vote today!

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At an event last week, a question was asked about Latino voter turnout this November. Would Donald Trump’s incendiary language toward immigrants bring more Latinos to the polls? Commentary responded that it would be foolhardy to rely solely on Trump’s mouth to drive Latino voter turnout. It has to be worked. There has to be an organized campaign on the grassroots and paid media levels.

That being said, check this from yesterday’s Chron E-Board take on Trump:

Americans have to take him seriously. If, for example, the words of this demagogue don’t rile up Hispanic Americans and send them streaming to the polls in November, we don’t know what will. It would be foolish not to take him at his word when he promises to deport 11-plus million men, women and children or when he promises to build a multi-billion-dollar border wall. All the “others” that he’s identified must assume that he means what he says.

In light of the Trump threat, it’s hard to imagine what Bernie Sanders supporters are thinking when they insist that their candidate continue his futile effort against the presumptive Democratic nominee. They may not like Hillary Clinton, but it’s hard to see what they gain from a Naderesque rear-guard action that weakens her candidacy.

We salute principled Republicans like Kagan, and like the columnists George Will, David Brooks and Michael Gerson and perhaps House Speaker Paul Ryan, as well as die-hard Cruz supporters. Their disdain for Clinton is even deeper than that of the true-blue Bernie supporters, but they are unwilling to surrender their party to a man who is a potential threat to our democracy. It will be painful, but they’ll stay home or vote third-party, choosing for the good of the nation and for the party of Lincoln to “wait ’til next year” (2020).

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Political-threat-7879455.php.

I sure hope Dems are already putting together the game plan for dramatically increasing Latino voter turnout this November. This is a challenge that can  definitely be met. Just think of the possibilities!

Jose Altuve has the team’s highest batting average this season at .328. Who has the second highest batting average?

I kind of have to agree with some of this. Dems really can’t go after the Texas AG or Ag Commish if we can’t take care of our own business. Sorry, we just can’t. Check this from the Chron today:

It’s been a rough few months for state Rep. Ron Reynolds.

A jury convicted the Missouri City Democrat of illegally soliciting clients for his law practice, and a state board suspended his license. A judge also ordered him to pay $504,000 in damages for failing to give a grieving mother her share of settlement money from a 2010 lawsuit.

Yet Reynolds is heading into Tuesday’s primary runoff in House District 27 with the backing of several local Democratic officials, including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Al Green.

Reynolds’ stubborn popularity illustrates the power of incumbency. But political observers say it also opens Democrats to charges of hypocrisy as they rail against a couple of Republicans with legal and ethical problems of their own – Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“It’s a important symbolic race for Texas Democrats,” said Mark Jones, professor of political science at Rice University. “The outcome won’t change the balance of power in Austin, but it could be a public relations embarrassment for the party.”


Reynolds had not filed a finance report as of 5 p.m. Friday, four days after the deadline set by the Texas Ethics Commission. It’s the 10th time he has failed to file on time, a pattern that has led to $30,000 in fines.

Reynolds had raised $38,615 through Feb. 20, the last finance report he filed. He said campaign treasurer missed the most recent deadline because he was out of town but would file the report before the runoff.


Like I said, Dems can’t claim the high ground and that is too bad.

Brian Smith put it on the ‘Stros owner today. Check this:

Welcome back to the bottom, Jim Crane.

You own the fourth-worst team in Major League Baseball. You’re dead last in the still-weak American League West. Your 17-28 ballclub is a staggering 10 games out of first place just past the season’s quarter mark, 11 below .500, and unable to hit a thing.

We’d give you a tombstone on May 23. But you get what you pay for. And the 2016 Astros have barely been worth a thing.


Six of Sunday’s position players were hitting below .244 after a 9-2 shellacking by the Rangers, who are a perfect 6-0 against a supposed World Series contender and keep coming and taking it from Houston’s local crew.

Considering the most disappointing team in the sport has scored five runs in its last 36 innings, it’s no wonder the Astros’ frazzled fans are wondering such crazy things as why Crane still hasn’t spent any real money on his club or when general manager Jeff Luhnow is going to construct an everyday lineup that backs the year-plus hype.


Combined batting average at third base entering Sunday: a lifeless .176. Center field: .184. Catcher: .193. First base: a whopping .232.

I know BA is a little outdated in the new millennium. But if you can’t hit, you can’t hit. And a team that still refuses to spend cash like it plays in the fourth-largest city in the country – the Astros are about $145 million off the Dodgers’ MLB-leading pace – still hasn’t learned how to earn a living chopping wood.


At its heart, this is still a cheap roster with little up-front investment.

Here is the entire Brian Smith take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/article/At-the-plate-Astros-giving-Crane-what-he-paid-for-7939102.php?cmpid=btfpm.

It is hard to argue with Brian Smith. They jacked up the prices of Saint Arnold and other goodies at The Yard this season. What are they doing with the extra dough?

This isn’t a very good team today. Yesterday was kind of embarrassing.

They had great crowds this weekend thanks to Rangers fans. I don’t expect many to show up this week for B’More or for the D-backs and A’s in a couple of weeks. Not the way the team is playing. You get what you pay for I guess.

George Springer is batting .254 for the second highest batting average on the team of course.

Commentary snagged a foul ball Friday evening and gave it to my Mom for her BD.  It was hard hit and that’s my second of the year.

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The Big Nine-O

It is good to see our H-Town At-Large City Council Member Mike Knox not put up with intolerance. Check this from a Mike Morris and Rebecca Elliott article in today’s Chron:

A local Republican precinct chair, who is also a Houston City Council staff member, is under fire this week for trying to block the appointment of a fellow precinct chair because he is Muslim.

Trebor Gordon, who makes $55,000 a year as community outreach director to first-term Councilman Mike Knox, said Syed Ali should not be named to fill a vacant precinct chair post in the Alief area because “Islam and Christianity do not mix.”

Gordon, who serves as a part-time pastor at a Near North Side church and as chaplain for the Harris County Republican Party, contended Ali did not bow his head Monday night during his prayer at the party’s quarterly meeting.

“If you believe that a person can practice Islam and agree to the foundational principles of the Republican Party, it’s not right, it’s not true, it can’t happen,” Gordon said.


Knox said he was upset when he learned of Gordon’s comments, which he called “unfortunate” and “incendiary,” but said he does not plan to fire him.

“As a conservative person, I believe in the First Amendment and I think people can say whatever they want on their own time, have their own beliefs and so forth. We shouldn’t be throwing people away when they make mistakes in judgment the first time,” Knox said. “I’ve had a discussion with him about it. He understands that’s not the policy of this office and we’re not going to tolerate that kind of behavior up here.”

Gordon’s social media pages are dominated by political commentary, including repeated references to Islam.

He recently has shared links from sites such as “Bare Naked Islam,” whose tagline is “It isn’t Islamophobia when they really ARE trying to kill you,” and “Islam Exposed.”

Alongside one link about a man being charged with a hate crime for tearing off a Muslim woman’s headscarf on an airplane, Gordon wrote, “Here, we find Islam defining morality,” along with the hashtag “#IslamicSupremacist.”

Page removed

Knox said he doesn’t monitor Gordon’s social media posts. Late Thursday, following a reporter’s inquiry, Gordon’s Facebook page no longer appeared in search results and links to it from his Twitter account stopped working.

“As long as he’s been working here, I’ve not noticed any of that attitude here in the office during our business hours,” Knox said. “The people of Houston need to know I don’t think that way. All the citizens of Houston can expect fair representation from me.”

Muslims comprise an estimated 1.2 percent of Houston’s population, meaning Knox can count about 27,000 Muslims among his constituents, as he holds an at-large seat and serves citywide rather than in a specific district.

Here is entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Republican-tries-to-block-Muslim-from-office-7765553.php.

CM Knox gave his staffer a second chance. I guess I don’t have a problem with that.   He got the staffer to shut up for now. Let’s see if the staffer continues his intolerant ways.

I am sure some folks want the fella fired. I am sure some folks think the guy should be allowed to have free speech. I’ll go with the way CM Knox handled it and I am sure some will disagree with Commentary.

This is an easy one. Rookie Colin Moran was given the numero 8 to wear. Name the two Hall of Fame greats who also wore the numero 8 with the ‘Stros?

My Mom will be the Big Nine-O tomorrow. Wow!

She doesn’t get out much these days. She now votes by mail ballot. She voted in the runoff. She’s had it with Bernie.  We still have spirited debates on politics.

She is also a big ‘Stro fan and thinks we made a mistake in not keeping Chris Carter. I don’t argue with her on this. Heck he has 12 dingers and 29 RBIs this season with the Brewers.

We talk every day. I go over to visit her two or three times a week.

I will be looking forward to saying “Happy Birthday, Mom” tomorrow.

As most folks know, a part of the Heights is dry. Like you can’t pick up a Saint Arnold six-pack at the Kroger on 20th and Yale. You can get a beer, glass of wine, or a shot of tequila at those eateries with a private club license.

Well look what is on Swamplot.com here:

The semi-shrouded Houston Heights Beverage Coalition released a statement today filling in some details on the group’s plan to legalize take-home beer and wine sales in the Heights’ dry zone. 

The initiative was floated quietly on Cinco de Mayo by way of 109-word newspaper legal notice; the group’s longer press release clarifies that it will try to collect around 1,500 signatures in 60 days to call a special election for residents of the no-longer-a-city of Houston Heights. That election wouldn’t change the zone’s ban on liquor sales (or the need for a private-club-workaround for folks intent on selling it anyway), but would allow grocery stores to get in on the alcoholic action. 

Coalition chair Steve Reilley tells the Houston Press‘s Phaedra Cook that H-E-B supports the measure — adding that the chain is probably going to move into the area if the change passes. Reilley also says that other grocery chains are involved with the coalition, but doesn’t tell Cook which ones.

As to where would-be wet grocery stores might land in the dry zone, should the law be overturned: The Leader‘s Betsy Denson pointed out earlier this year that the party’s-over former site of the Fiesta Market on N. Shepherd at 24th St. falls well short of the 6 acres that H-E-B has previously said it requires when scouting potential new locations. But the double-decker H-E-B now officially planned for the site of the chain’s existing Bellaire store at 5130 Cedar St. (shown above) will squeeze onto a space just a smidgen larger than 3 acres. 

The coalition has hired Austin-based election PR company Texas Petition Strategies to help collect signatures from dry zone residents and, if that goes as planned, to enthuse voters. If enough signatures are collected and then verified by the city secretary, an election would be called for this November.  

Commentary lives in the wet part of the Heights so I won’t get to vote. Good luck!

I have to agree with Savannah Guthrie this morning. That was one of the most epic openings of a summer concert on the “Today” Plaza. I am talking about Puff Daddy and Family.

Joe Morgan wore the numero 8 back in 1980 and Yogi Berra of course wore it as a coach in the ‘80s.

I am certainly looking forward to heading out to The Yard tonight. It is always fun to see a bunch of Rangers fans. Good crowds are expected throughout the weekend. Hopefully, we can gain some ground.

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The fella does not deserve a free ride. Commentary is talking about Sen. Ted Cruz running for re-election in 2018. He has absolutely done nothing for the Lone Star State since taking office in 2013. Nada, zilch!

The only thing he has done in the last three years and five months is run for president. I mean, that is what Sen. John Cornyn said. The only thing he is going to do between now and 2020 is run for president. That’s it!

Is this what Texans want? Is this what Texans deserve?

Check this from the Chron today:

There may be no Ted Cruz 2.0. Instead, all signs point to Cruz 2020.

The first clue came in a final pep talk to dispirited campaign staffers last week in Houston, where Cruz recalled Ronald Reagan’s first failed White House bid in 1976, a prelude to his victory in 1980.

“Reagan in 1976 came up short,” Cruz told them. “I suspect at that convention more than a few tears were shed. It’s going to be our task to go forward and continue fighting.”

The moment was captured in Cruz’s last campaign video, titled “To Be Continued,” a production Gawker called “the first campaign ad of 2020.”


Outside political analysts say the Senate provides the perfect foil for a national political figure bent on highlighting Washington dysfunction.

“The Senate allows you to stay in the spotlight, even if your day-to-day life is very frustrating,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

At the same time, Jillson is bearish on Cruz’s prospects of enacting meaningful tax reforms, a project that has eluded far more experienced lawmakers with good relationships in Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Texas Republican Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Moving legislation in the famously chummy Senate often depends on playing nice with colleagues – not something for which Cruz is known. “Judging from his first day back, he’s not going to make many changes in his personal style or demeanor, which almost guarantees he’ll get next to almost nothing done,” Jillson said.

Here is the entire Chron article on Cruz behind the paywall of course: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/us/article/Back-in-the-Senate-Cruz-could-lay-the-foundation-7644257.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Commentary thinks Dems should start having a discussion on taking this guy on in 2018. Cruz really can’t say he has helped Texas move forward. Other than running for president, he hasn’t done much of anything else. Again, is this what Texans want and deserve? I really don’t think so.

This morning in MLB the ‘Stros are on top in two key team offensive categories – one good and one not so good. Care to guess?

The Sen. Bernie Sanders campaign is starting to annoy me.  You annoyed yet?

I don’t know about this fella. A lot of folks are not too impressed with how he plays with his teammates on the Rockets these days and now this – allegedly. Here is this in the Chron:

James Harden allegedly roughed up a photographer in Los Angeles on Tuesday night, according to a report by TMZ Sports

The TMZ Sports report says the Los Angeles Police Department is looking into allegations that Harden pushed a photographer’s camera and broke the photographer’s finger in the process. 

The report says that a photographer approached Harden, who grew up in Los Angeles, outside of a Hollywood lounge Tuesday night and tried to ask for his opinion on Donald Trump. That’s when Harden pushed the camera and the photographer’s finger got caught in the camera, resulting in an injury. 

The photographer filed a police report, but Harden hasn’t been charged with anything. 

The ‘Stros lead MLB in hitters striking out with 405 and with runners stealing bases with 38 of course.

Well, the ‘Stros won again last night and they seem to be playing better. We had a #ColbyJack last night to go with two Altuve RBIs. Nice! They wrap up their roadie this evening.

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Our Dem Nominee

This is from the end of Lisa Falkenberg’s column or obit today on Guy Clark.

Clark’s death reminds me how we should cherish these artists who sing about stuff that works. Stuff that’s real, that holds you up when you’re about to fall. That’s Guy Clark.

To me, he ain’t going nowhere. He’s just leaving.

This last line is the best. Go read her column and go listen to “Magnolia Wind,” please!

I am waiting for Dems to tell Kim Ogg “way to go!”

Here is from the Houston Press today:

Eight years after 24 Houston police officers first sued HPD and the city for discrimination and retaliation, the case has finally come to a close—ending at the foot of the U.S. Supreme Court door with one of the original plaintiff’s sons.

At a press conference Tuesday, Sgt. Chris Zamora’s attorneys said that the verdict in Chris’s case sheds light on the “code of silence” that exists within the HPD. It’s a culture that punishes officers for speaking up about officers’ wrongdoing, said Chris’s attorney, Kim Ogg, who is also running for Harris County district attorney. And it’s exactly what happened to Chris Zamora eight years ago, she says.

Months after Chris’s father, Manuel Zamora, and 23 others filed their retaliation class-action suit in 2007, alleging that they were denied promotions based on their race, Manuel says that Chris immediately felt the backlash.  Manuel said Chris began facing daily harassment from his supervisors—one of whom was named in the lawsuit—and he was even removed from the department’s Crime Reduction Unit and placed on night-shift patrol. It prompted Chris (who could not comment because he is still working the night shift for HPD) to join his father’s lawsuit in September 2008—which soon amounted to a ten-day suspension, according to court documents.


Ogg and her co-counsel, attorney Randall Kallinen, said that the city’s decision to appeal this case all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court proves just how far it will go to shield itself from liability, in turn perpetuating the “code of silence” that led to retaliation against Chris.

Here is Kim’s quote:

“A government willing to violate its officers’ own civil rights is likely to violate the rights of its own citizens, and we have to stand against that.”

That is a pretty strong statement for sure.

Here is the Houston Press article: http://www.houstonpress.com/news/attorneys-say-hpds-code-of-silence-led-to-retaliation-against-harassed-officer-8409881.

On the same story, here is from the Chron:

“There is no such thing (as a Code of Silence), and the fact Kim Ogg is claiming that just shows … her complete ignorance,” said Houston Police Officers’ Union President Ray Hunt.

Ok, but you know what? Kim Ogg got scoreboard.

She is also our nominee for DA.

Hall of Fame great Reggie Jackson is celebrating his 70th BD today. He only won one AL MVP Award and that was in 1973 with the A’s. He was runner-up in 1980 when he was with the Yankees. Who won the AL MVP Award that year?

There was a good turnout last night for the Hispanic PAC reception. Here is one of the facts that Commentary dropped last night”

Since 2003, there have been 11 different Dems elected to At-Large City Council positions: 6 African Americans, 3 Anglos, 1 from the LGBT community, and 1 from the Asian American community. Zilch from the Latino Dem community.

Now you know.

Let me say this. Everybody knows that Sen. Bernie Sanders is not going to get the nomination. Has anyone bothered to tell Sen. Sanders?

Check this from an AP story:

Jeb Bush shamed Donald Trump on Tuesday over his controversial taco-bowl tweet from early May. 

“What Trump did was so insensitive,” Bush told NRC Handelsblad, a Dutch news agency, in one of his first interviews since leaving the presidential race in February. 

“First, not all Hispanics are Mexican,” he added, according to a translation provided to The Huffington Post. “Secondly, not all Hispanics eat tacos. 

Thirdly, showing your sensitivity by eating an American dish is the most insensitive thing you can do. Fourthly, to say this, next to all things he already said, is a further insult.” 

“It’s like eating a watermelon and saying, ‘I love African-Americans,'” Bush added.

I don’t know about that. I am Latino and I wasn’t insulted or offended. I just thought it was stupid. It just made him look like a dumbarse. Tacos are not watermelons.

In 1980, George Brett won the AL MVP Award of course.

I will certainly take last night’s win. Heck, I will take any win.

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