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Archive for August, 2016

Want to know what’s in store for the Donald Trump campaign between now and November 8? Just go to http://www.breitbart.com/. It is a very spooky website. I thought about this most of the day yesterday, so just get ready for the kitchen sink. Trump bringing on this Breitbart fella is unconventional for sure.

I was wondering what mainstream GOP consultants were thinking about Trump and the Breitbart fella, Steve Bannon, and I saw this from GOP consultant Rick Wilson who also happens to be helping an independent presidential candidate:

“If you were looking for a tone or pivot, Bannon will pivot you in a dark, racist and divisive direction. It’ll be a nationalist, hateful campaign. Republicans should run away.”

Come on!  Best I can tell, the fella has never been involved in running political campaigns.  Now he is helping run a presidential race?

Look for the Trump campaign to blow things up and hope that they are the only ones left standing. Like I said, this isn’t conventional. Kind of scary.

You need to check this for more on what to expect: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/gray-matters/article/Breitbart-and-the-Trump-campaign-9155377.php.

This is kind of an interesting question today. This is what Chron sports columnist Brian T. Smith said today about the ‘Stros: “Wednesday’s lineup had AAAA written all over it.” What does Smith mean – I think?

Here is a bonus question. Robert Redford is celebrating his 80th birthday today. What was the name of his baseball team in “The Natural?”

Really? Breaking news? The Ryan Lochte stuff is now trending #LochteGate or #LochMess and even #Watergate. Really?

The HISD Board of Trustees will hire a new superintendent today. Good luck!

Roy Hobbs of course played for the New York Knights.

AAAA means that a player is too good for Triple A ball but not ready for MLB level ball. FYI: AAAA ball does not exist of course – got it?

This is the headline of the hard copy of the Chron’s Sports Section today:

Not quite done, but fork hangs overhead

They are talking about the ‘Stros. That’s where we are at today

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Campaigning

Let’s see. Donald Trump is I guess pulling the older women are not fit to serve card by saying Secretary Hillary Clinton lacks “stamina.” Let’s see. She has been going non-stop since 1991. As Secretary of State she traveled to a kazillion countries while Trump has to go home and sleep in his Trump Tower bed every night. Got It.

Trump says he is raising a lot of money but has not spent any on TV ads as he slides down in the polls. It would not surprise me if Trump hoarded the dough and then paid himself off for money he spent in the primaries.

Commentary was at The Yard last night when Jose Altuve got his 1,000th base hit. Of the 1,000, how many are singles, how many are doubles, how many are triples, and how many are dingers? (The answer is in the Chron today.)

Secretary Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that former U.S. Senator and Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar would chair her Transition Team. He is a well-respected Latino. Compare it to Trump naming blowhard Chris Christie to chair his.

Trump had another campaign shake-up at the top. Sorry, that is not the shake-up that is needed. Trump himself needs to be shaken up, but this is what he said yesterday:

“I don’t wanna change. Everybody talks about, ‘Oh well, you’re gonna pivot, you’re gonna’ — I don’t wanna pivot. I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people.”

Oh yeah. I forgot. Former Governor Rick Perry is also auditioning for a job in a Trump administration. He also took the low road on CNN yesterday. Here is from the Trib:

Former Gov. Rick Perry inserted himself Tuesday into the ongoing controversy over Donald Trump’s handling of criticism from the father of a fallen Muslim soldier, saying the father was to blame for speaking at the Democratic National Convention.

Speaking on CNN, Perry said the father should have expected some reaction to his words. “In a campaign, if you’re going to go out and think that you can take a shot at somebody and not have incoming coming back at you, shame on you,” Perry said.

While politicians from both sides of the aisle took Trump to task for criticizing the family of Khizr Khan, Perry made clear he was backing Trump. Speaking of Khan, Perry said, “Why in the world that he thought he was going to get a free ride with that is beyond me. He shouldn’t get a free ride when he’s going to inject himself into the political arena.”

What a tool!

You have to hand it to Donald Trump. Bringing in the poster boy for workplace sexual harassment to help save your campaign. I am talking about Roger Ailes or Nick Anderson’s Roger the Hutt here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/anderson/article/Roger-the-Hutt-9146550.php.

Outstanding and gross work by Anderson.

Six points over Texas. I am talking about the latest poll in Texas.

From Erica Grieder of Texas Monthly

This morning, a new survey from Public Policy Polling startled national observers with an update on the state of play here in Texas, the most notorious red state in the union. With less than three months to go until the general election, Donald Trump leads Hillary Clinton by just six points, 44-38.

It’s just one poll, of course, and with a 3.2 percent margin of error, the spread may actually be larger. But still the poll confirms some ominous trends for the GOP. Readers may remember that I wrote, back in May, that Clinton had a chance of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes this year. My reasoning was as follows. First, I thought it was a safe bet that Trump would underperform Mitt Romney, who won 57 percent in Texas in 2012. That is obviously the case, here and elsewhere; interestingly, as Nate Cohn wrote last week, the redder the state, the more visibly Trump underperforms. Second, I thought the Libertarian candidate could pick up a significant number of Republican defectors, between 5-8 percent; Gary Johnson is at 6 percent in the new PPP poll.

And third, I thought Clinton could be expected to at least match Barack Obama’s performance in 2012, when he captured 41 percent of the vote in Texas. I still think that’s the case.

Here is the entire Grieder take: http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/donald-trump-turning-texas-purple/.

Jose Altuve has 733 singles, 194 doubles, 18 triples, and 55 dingers of course.

We lost last night. Every time I do a take on our fading hopes we come back and win a few. Our hopes are fading.

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On Oh, Says

Commentary doesn’t put his hand over his heart for the playing of the National Anthem at The Yard. I sing it and one of the few (if not the only one) in my section that sings it.   I had to look up National Anthem etiquette on the internet the other day to find out that the hand on the heart deal is Anthem etiquette. I am going to continue to do it my way and I mean no disrespect because I sing it.

Gabby Douglas, the 2012 All Around Gold Medal gymnast, is African American. Last week, she was roundly and may I say unfairly criticized for not having her hand on her heart when they played the National Anthem at the awards ceremony when Douglas and her fellow teammates were awarded the gold. You gotta be kidding, right?  She instead stood at attention.

A few nights later, I was watching Michael Phelps on the medal stand after being awarded the gold and he started laughing during parts of the Anthem. Phelps is Anglo and didn’t get any criticism. He’s Michael Phelps.

Just saying.

Speaking of, I have noticed that some of the U.S. gold medal winning Olympians sing along with the Anthem and some don’t.

After September 11, on Sundays and on holidays, at MLB cribs in the U.S., MLB started to have someone lead the singing of “God Bless America.” At The Yard, the PA announcer asks folks to stand up and remove their lids. It didn’t used to be that way.

Jose Altuve is sitting on 997 career base hit as a ‘Stro. He ranks 13th all time for base hits as a ‘Stros. Who is number 12 at 1,037 base hits as a ‘Stro? Hint: He is no longer with us.

The Texas Ethics Commission is looking at more transparency when it comes to campaign expenditure reporting. No more giving a big check to the consultant and not detailing the actual expenses. I can handle this. This should be a no brainer. Who would be opposed other than consultants and consultants aren’t supposed to wield the type of power to prevent disclosure. It might be more paperwork, but the process should be more open. Here is from Ross Ramsey of the Trib:

People get away with all kinds of stuff in campaign finance.

You suspected this, probably, but an item on the agenda of Monday’s meeting of the Texas Ethics Commission offers some evidence.

The title is unalarming: Expenditures involving consultants. The proposed rule sets out to require political consultants to report their spending in the same way that candidates are required to do. Consultants wouldn’t have to report everything — just the spending that’s done at the direction of the candidate or officeholder for whom the consultant is working. The rule says the candidates and officeholders filing campaign reports have to reveal what their consultants are spending as if the filers themselves were spending it.

If you buy an ad in the newspaper, you have to report it. If you pay a consultant who then buys an ad in the newspaper, you don’t. The proposed rule would require the consultant’s spending to be detailed in the candidate’s campaign finance report.

The state is trying to regulate what some have called the “campaign in a box,” when a candidate reports writing one big check to a consultant, who then handles all of the campaign spending off the books.

This is one of those times when seeing a rule or regulation opens your eyes to a vast range of tricks open to practitioners of the activity being regulated.

Campaigns can hide almost anything: how much they spent on TV, whether there’s an astrologist on the campaign staff, who stayed in what hotel in what city while they were out trying to get their candidate elected.

“It’s been going on since before I was in politics,” says Harold Cook, a Democratic consultant who’s been either watching or participating in campaigns for several decades.

This is hardly new. Campaigns have been hiding their expenses forever. Still, it’s possible under Texas law to run a campaign that makes its legally required disclosures without really telling you anything.

Here is the entire Trib article:

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/08/15/analysis-hiding-texas-campaign-spending-details-le/.

Campaigns should have to disclose generally how the money is being spent. You know- media ads, mail, print, staff – you get the picture. I wonder who is going to lead the effort to kill this proposal. I hope they are identified just so we can know

Ken Caminiti of course had 1,037 base hits as a ‘Stro and is number 12 on the list.

We have a brief homie.   Just two games with San Luis. Keuchel goes tonight. We have to win.

 

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Commentary is starting to feel a whole lot better about the election than I was a few months ago. I am sure we all heard Donald Trump say this at a rally in Connecticut this past Saturday:

“I’m not running against crooked Hillary Clinton. I’m running against the crooked media.”

I got news for him. He’s running against Latinos. He is running against Muslims. He’s running against African Americans. He is running against women. He is even running against some Republicans.

What the heck is he doing in Connecticut anyway?

Trump’s poisoning of America continues. Check this:

JORGE RAMOS Retweeted

Nicholas Kristof ‏@NickKristof 36m36 minutes ago

Nicholas Kristof Retweeted Edward Rodriguez

It’s funny: When you argue that Trump is making American mean, his infuriated supporters then prove your point!

About this hateful tweet:

Edward Rodriguez‏@erdrgz55

@nytopinion @NickKristof OK, Kristof. You’re Armenian. That only means the Turks didn’t do a good enough job.

Such hate.

And another key endorsement for Secretary Hillary Clinton. Check this from Politico:

Carlos Gutierrez, former secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush, has endorsed Hillary Clinton, adding to a number of Republicans who are siding with the other side of the aisle in this election. 

“I actually think Hillary Clinton has the experience, she’s been around, she knows how the system works. I think she’d make a darn good president,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I would have preferred Jeb Bush, but I think Hillary is a great choice. I am afraid of what Donald Trump would do to this country.”

Nice!

The Cubbies have 30 more wins than losses at 73-43. Name the team with 30 more losses than wins?

A UT CMAS professor was on CNN yesterday saying Donald Trump could get single digits to high teens of the Latino vote. If that happens, the GOP stands to lose a lot more than the race for president.

Here is a darn good story on why Commentary is also feeling good about the election:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is launching a new effort to tap into the political power of young, undocumented immigrants, hoping to capitalize on Donald Trump’s promises to make deporting them a top priority of his presidency.

The 730,000 young people brought to the U.S. as children without legal status are prohibited from voting. Known as Dreamers, they’ve proven themselves to be a powerful organizing force in American politics, mounting a high-profile public campaign that pressured President Barack Obama to grant many of them and their parents reprieves from deportation though two executive orders.

Clinton’s national voter registration program, called “Mi Sueño, Tu Voto/My Dream, Your Vote,” is being launched on the four-year anniversary of the 2012 order that temporarily shielded from deportation some young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and allowed them to work legally.

Organizers will remind voters that a Trump presidency would end that program, according to the campaign, which is already at risk after a June Supreme Court effectively killed Obama’s efforts to give legal status to some of the 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The program is part of an aggressive effort by Clinton’s campaign to woo the record 27.3 million Latinos eligible to vote in 2016. Polling shows Trump doing worse with Latino voters than any GOP presidential candidate since 1996. Much of the new effort will focus on battleground states including Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Florida, where Latinos and other immigrants make up an important part of the voting base.

Though Obama’s campaign had no formal organization program for Dreamers, door-knocking by those young immigrants, who have lived and attended school in the U.S., helped mobilize many Latino voters who could vote.

Clinton believes she can harness their power in a more formal way, particularly given her opponent. Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric has sparked outrage and fear within the Latino community.

He’s promised to revoke Obama’s executive orders within the first 100 days of his presidency, calling them the “most unconstitutional actions ever undertaken by a president.”

Clinton has made revamping the country’s immigration system a key plank of her presidential campaign. She has said she will introduce legislation during her first 100 days in office, vowed to restore and expand Obama’s programs, close private sector detention centers and to “take a very hard look at the deportation policies” now in force.

Last month, she called on Latino voters to help stop what she called GOP rival Donald Trump’s efforts to “fan the flames of racial division.”

“Donald Trump is running the most divisive campaign our lifetime. His message is that you should be afraid,” she told a gathering of Latino activists In Washington. “We’ve got to come back twice as strong and twice as clear. We have got to say with one voice that Latinos are vital part of the American community.”

You can say that again!

The ATL of course is 44-74.

Speaking of, we only have 44 games left to play. We had a 4-3 roadie but are still 7 ½ out of first and 4 behind in the Wild Card. We have today off then play 2 with San Luis at The Yard then head off for another 7 game roadie.

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In an Op-Ed today, the Mayor responds to a Chron E-Board lecture on race by lecturing the E-Board on race – sort of. Check this:

I have no problem with people disagreeing with my decisions – that comes with the job. I do, however, have a big problem with an institution that does not reflect the diversity of this city publishing a lecture on race and class that does not elevate all children, regardless of where they live.

And:

We have a lot more work to do on this long journey to equality, to be sure – but the Houston Chronicle editorial board needs to reset its perspective.

A good first step would be to increase diversity on the editorial board so that it looks more like Houston and has greater access to the diversity of life experiences that the majority of Houston knows.

Check out the entire Op-Ed here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Turner-Chronicle-editorial-board-criticism-about-9137677.php?cmpid=btfpm.

This is the same E-Board who endorsed the Mayor last year. Oh, well, maybe it is time to look at the diversity at all of H-Town’s institutions.   Now that would be an interesting lecture topic.

First it was a few notable GOP women coming out and saying they were supporting Secretary Hillary Clinton.

Then it was the 50 GOP national security honchos announcing they could not vote for Donald Trump.

Then U.S. Senator Susan Collins of Maine said no to Trump.

Before that, 41 and 43 skipped the GOP convention.

Same for Jeb and Carly.

The FU snub from Sen. Ted Cruz.

Now former elected GOP officials, former RNC staffers, and GOP operatives are writing a letter to RNC Chair Reince Preibus and urging him to cut off RNC funding to the Trump campaign.

This is unprecedented in my lifetime. Here is from Politico:

More than 70 Republicans have signed an open letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus urging him to stop spending any money to help Donald Trump win in November and shift those contributions to Senate and House races. 

The letter comes as a number of Republican senators and high-profile GOP national security officials have come forward saying they cannot vote for Trump. 

“We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck,” states a draft of the letter obtained by POLITICO. “This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day.”

Former Sen. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire and former Reps. Chris Shays of Connecticut, Tom Coleman of Missouri and Vin Weber of Minnesota are among the Republicans lending their name to the letter. Close to 20 of the co-signers are former RNC staffers, including Mindy Finn (former RNC chief digital strategist), Christine Iverson Gunderson (former RNC press secretary), Virginia Hume Onufer (former RNC deputy press secretary), Beth Miller (former RNC field communications division director), Heather Layman (former deputy press secretary), B. Jay Cooper (former RNC communications director under four chairmen) and Patrick Ruffini (former RNC ecampaign director). 

Republican Andrew Weinstein, a vocal anti-Trump Republican, is one of the operatives organizing the letter, which began circulating earlier this week and is expected to be sent next week. Weinstein served as director of media relations for the Dole/Kemp presidential campaign and was deputy press secretary to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

The Trump campaign response is pretty predictable. These guys are losers and let’s look at Hillary’s emails.

Can you blame the GOP insiders? Here is latest Trump pathetic backtracking in Politico:

Donald Trump on Friday backpedaled on his assertion that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State, blasting “[r]atings challenged” CNN for seriously reporting what he suggested was a sarcastic comment. 

“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS, & MVP,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?” 

Trump reveled in the uncertainty his tweet created, boasting nearly 90 minutes later of pundits’ inability to figure him out. 

“I love watching these poor, pathetic people (pundits) on television working so hard and so seriously to try and figure me out. They can’t!” Trump declared.

It says something that Dems don’t have to deal with this type of turmoil.

Carlos Correa has 78 RBIs and could very well end up with 100. Who was the last shortstop to hit 100 plus RBIs in a season?

Commentary tries not to get into the business of other folks including news operations. But heck, when they make it into your front yard, I don’t have any choice but to provide a take or three.

There is a Ken Hoffman column today on soon to be former Channel 13 news anchor Dave Ward. I guess he not happy that they are taking him off the anchor desk. All I can say that if Dave was a woman, he would have been yanked off the anchor desk 30 or so years ago. Here is from the Hoffman article:

Dave Ward, the longest-running news anchor in TV history, will be leaving Channel 13 at the end of the year. But he says he is not retiring. 

“My contract with Channel 13 expires at the end of this year, and that’s when I’ll say goodbye,” Ward said. “But, no, I am definitely not retiring.” 

Channel 13 management had invited him to stay with the station through 2017, but he would have been hosting the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Parade and the Freedom Over Texas July 4th fireworks, Ward said. 

It was an offer he couldn’t accept. “That just didn’t interest me at all,” he said 

“They took me off the 10 p.m. newscast two years ago. They were taking me off the 6 p.m. news at the end of this year. So I would not have an anchor role anymore.” 

With no anchor duties, Ward said it was time to leave.

Here is the entire column: http://www.chron.com/life/article/Dave-Ward-says-he-was-ushered-out-at-KTRK-9136464.php.

It is pretty obvious management no longer wants him serving as an anchor. Now he is publicly airing his sour grapes. Maybe he is under the impression that he has a kazillion fans from the H-Town viewing area who will head down to Bissonnet Street and have a huge sit-in and get management to change their tune on him.

It is probably time for him to move on then.

Commentary was talking the other day about remaking great flicks. The 1960 “The Magnificent Seven” is one of those great flicks starring Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, and Eli Wallach. Plus, it has that spectacular soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein. It looks like a remake is coming out soon in the next few weeks with Denzel, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke. I don’t know about that. I wonder if they will keep the same soundtrack?

Of course, the real original was Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai.”

By the way, Robert Vaughn, is the only one of the original seven who is still around.

The ‘Stros came out with the new plans to replace Tal’s Hill. You have 21 opportunities to go by and take a selfie with the hill and pay your respects. Just for the record, in 17 seasons, not a single player has gotten injured because of the hill. Embarrassed maybe, but not injured.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki of course had 105 RBIs in 2011

I don’t know what to say about the team scoring 25 runs yesterday in the sweep of the split doubleheader. We are now 7 ½ back in the AL West and 2 back in the Wild Card. Let’s see how we do in Canada and Alex Rodriguez plays his last game as a Yankee this evening.

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You want to know why Donald Trump is only getting 1% of the African American vote in polling? Here is the latest:

Donald Trump insisted in a CNBC phone interview Thursday that President Barack Obama “absolutely” founded ISIS.

Add this to his claim a few years ago that the President wasn’t a citizen and he gets nearly shutout in the African American community. He’s earned it.

Jose Altuve is leading MLB with a .361 batting average, 15 points ahead of his nearest competitor. Who had the highest batting average last season and what was the average?

For the past quarter century, some in the GOP have been demonizing Secretary Hillary Clinton. It has been like non-stop. I guess it started with the Tammy Wynette and “Stand by Your Man.” Then the baking cookies deal. Health care reform. Vince Foster. Vast right wing conspiracy. Her hair and her wardrobe. Whitewater. The impeachment.

Yeah, some of this she has brought on herself like the emails. But there hasn’t been a let up since 1992.

She is probably the most hated Dem amongst GOP voters in America in the history of U.S. politics.

So I can understand that those GOPers who won’t support Trump, can’t publicly support Hillary. It would kind of be like a kiss of death for them and their politics.

I have to give a shout out to those GOPers like Meg Whitman who have had the courage to do what is right.

Over the last month or so I have tried to envision a scenario where I would abandon the Dem nominee for president for the GOP nominee. I can’t envision such a scenario.

I remember when many leaders in my party would not support Sen. George McGovern in 1972, but that was based on ideology and reforming the Democratic Party, not on outrageous and dangerous  behavior.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a GOPer from Maine, is one of the latest to come out and say she can’t support Trump. She also says she won’t vote for Hillary. I guess that is the best Dems can hope for. I would like to know though where some of the more moderate local GOPers are going to land on this presidential race.

You need to go check out the latest Time Magazine cover story on Trump and his campaign meltdown.

The Chron E-Board came out with a local judicial endorsement today. Go check it out.

Last season, Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers led MLB with a .338 batting average.

The ‘Stros got rid of Carlos Gomez yesterday. Colby Rasmus might not play again this season. I think we have like 9 rookies on the current roster. Yeah, and we play two today.

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General Michael Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was on CNN yesterday and told Jake Tapper that Donald Trump was a “clear and present danger.” That is a harsh description coming from a four star general and the former head of the CIA. Gen. Hayden was one of the 50 GOP national security honchos who released a letter a couple of days ago opposing Trump.

Then Trump said this yesterday:

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment. If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is I don’t know.”

Trump of course said that he was talking about get-out-the-vote efforts for Second Amendment folks – sure.

We all know what Trump meant. He indirectly ordered a hit. He is inciting folks out there. All it takes is one. He is just continuing to poison the political and electoral environment.

Trump is definitely a clear and present danger.

Then this tweet:

Elizabeth Warren Verified account ‏@elizabethforma 23m23 minutes ago

.@realDonaldTrump makes death threats because he’s a pathetic coward who can’t handle the fact that he’s losing to a girl.

Jose Altuve had 4 base hits last night. How many base hits does he need to get to the 1000 career base hit level?

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg has a take today on Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush’s low energy endorsement of Trump. Here are bits:

Shrewd. Calculating. Unconvincing.

These are the words that came to mind when I read of George P. Bush’s decision to split with his family and urge his party to support Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee.

And:

We need brave souls to stand up and call a joker a joker. We need young voices to drown out, or at least moderate, the frustrations and fear of the older generation. We need serious public servants to stop cloaking Trump’s radical agenda in the awkward embrace of mainstream conservatism.

We need someone with a good head on his shoulders, a nice smile, and GOP credibility to stand up and point out this farce. Who better than George P., who watched Trump belittle his father, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and drag his mother into the ring of a contentious Republican presidential primary by suggesting her Mexican heritage swayed Jeb Bush’s policy positions on immigration?

But George P. passed on the opportunity.

Here is all of the Falkenberg column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/George-P-s-embrace-of-Trump-is-a-missed-9132815.php?cmpid=btfpm.

I still don’t think there will be debates, but here is this from Politico today:

DEBATE BUZZ: Media execs, top on-air talent and producers think these people are in the mix to moderate the presidential and vice presidential debates: ABC’s Martha Raddatz, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly or Chris Wallace, PBS’s Gwen Ifill, CBS’ John Dickerson, NBC’s Chuck Todd or Lester Holt and CNN’s Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper. There are four potential slots — three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

–TRUMP is still wavering on whether he’ll debate, telling Zeke Miller and Alex Altman of Time Magazine, “I will absolutely do three debates. I want to debate very badly. But I have to see the conditions … I’ll have to see who the moderators are. Yeah, I would say that certain moderators would be unacceptable, absolutely.”

Jose Altuve has 989 career hits, so he needs 11 to reach 1000 of course.

Speaking of, are we done? We are 58-55. We have 49 games left to play and we are 8 ½ games out of first in the AL West and 4 behind in the Wild Card chase. We only have 21 games at The Yard and 28 on the road. We have 2 more at Target, 3 in Toronto, 4 in B’More, 3 in Pittsburgh, 3 in Arlington, 4 in Cleveland, 3 in Seattle, 3 in Oakland, and 3 in Anaheim.

At The Yard we have 2 with San Luis, 3 with the Rays, 3 with the A’s, 3 with the Cubbies, 3 with the Rangers, 4 with the Angels, and 3 with Seattle.

Our hitting stinks these days. I have told you about our 5 to 9 hitters. It is not looking good.

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Commentary is thinking that nationally syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, Jr. is part of that 60% who don’t like Secretary Hillary Clinton. He doesn’t think much of Hillary’s VP pick. I kind of think in a way his column today in the Chron is patronizing to Latino voters, certainly this one. Here are parts of his latest column:

It’s not just that Clinton skipped over three prominent Latinos – Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez and California Rep. Xavier Becerra – whose names her campaign had, for months, mischievously dangled in front of Latino voters despite the fact that they were all considered longshots.

Perhaps the bigger problem is that the Clinton campaign has packaged and pitched (Sen. Tim) Kaine to Latino voters as a kind of honorary Latino.

And:

This past January, when the Obama administration announced a new set of immigration raids to round up and deport those Central American refugees who had been released to family members in the United States with notices to appear before immigration judges, Kaine joined 21 other Democratic senators in signing a letter to Obama condemning the raids. Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont led the effort; Kaine followed.

I would expect more from Mr. Civil Rights Lawyer. Mr. Honduras. Mr. Yo Hablo Español. And now the Clinton campaign has the chutzpah to present Kaine to Latinos as our best amigo. And we’re supposed to swallow that ridiculous narrative, no questions asked.

And finally:

Clinton doesn’t even have to earn the Latino vote. It’ll be conveniently served up to her because of her major qualification: the fact that her name isn’t “Trump.” So you can imagine how much respect she’ll give Latinos, if she is elected president. Not much.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Navarrette-Latino-voters-don-t-get-much-respect-9129674.php.

Sometimes I agree with this fella and sometimes I don’t. I don’t this time.

If Hillary had named Becerra, Castro, or Perez, I seriously doubt Navarrette would have given it a second thought. I also don’t think much of him using Kaine’s ability to speak Spanish to make his point. I think it is admirable that Kaine speaks Spanish. A lot of Latinos in this country prefer to communicate in Spanish. It is healthy for the process that someone on the ticket can give interviews in Spanish. It certainly doesn’t hurt.   I also take issue with the way Navarrette thinks Hillary will not earn the Latino vote because of Trump.   Sorry pal, we’re not dumb. The Trump campaign is a reminder that this election is critical.   Stop talking down to us.

Fifty GOP national security honchos put out a statement yesterday saying they were not voting for Donald Trump. Here are parts of the statement:

The undersigned individuals have all served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.   We have worked directly on national security issues with these Republican Presidents and/or their principal advisers during wartime and other periods of crisis, through successes and failures. We know the personal qualities required of a President of the United States.   None of us will vote for Donald Trump.   From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.   Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.   Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President.

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President.

He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood.

He lacks self-control and acts impetuously.

He cannot tolerate personal criticism.

Here are some of the GOP national security honchos who signed the statement:

Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary of Homeland Security

Michael Hayden Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Carla A. Hills, Former U.S. Trade Representative

John Negroponte Former Director of National Intelligence

Tom Ridge Former Secretary of Homeland Security

Here is how Trump responded:

“The names on this letter are the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess, and we thank them for coming forward so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place. They are nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power, and it’s time they are held accountable for their actions.”

The 50 GOP just ought to come out and endorse Secretary Hillary Clinton. Do the right thing!

Alex Rodriguez will be retiring this Friday at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. He is sitting on 696 career dingers. How many did he hit as a Mariner, as a Ranger, and as a Yankee?

Like here is how David Brooks ended his latest column on Trump and the GOP:

There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame.

He also says this about Trump:

He is a political rampage charging ever more wildly out of control. And no, he cannot be changed.

He cannot be contained because he is psychologically off the chain. With each passing week he displays the classic symptoms of medium-grade mania in more disturbing forms: inflated self-esteem, sleeplessness, impulsivity, aggression and a compulsion to offer advice on subjects he knows nothing about.

His speech patterns are like something straight out of a psychiatric textbook. Manics display something called “flight of ideas.” It’s a formal thought disorder in which ideas tumble forth through a disordered chain of associations. One word sparks another, which sparks another, and they’re off to the races. As one trained psychiatrist said to me, compare Donald Trump’s speaking patterns to a Robin Williams monologue, but with insults instead of jokes. Trump insults Paul Ryan, undermines NATO and raises the specter of nuclear war. Advisers can’t control Trump’s brain because Trump can’t control it himself

He also cannot be contained because he lacks the inner equipment that makes decent behavior possible. So many of our daily social interactions depend on a basic capacity for empathy. But Trump displays an absence of this quality.

He looks at the grieving mother of a war hero and is unable to recognize her pain. He hears a crying baby and is unable to recognize the infant’s emotion or the mother’s discomfort. He is told of women being sexually harassed at Fox News and is unable to recognize their trauma.

Here is all of the Brooks piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Brooks-Trump-s-enablers-will-have-to-take-a-stand-9125948.php.

Here is Erica Grieder’s take on George P. Bush’s low energy endorsement of Trump: http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/george-p-bush-faces-trump-dilemma/.

In 2012, here in the U.S., 40,650,000 watched the London Opening Ceremony. Last Friday evening, 26,500,000 watched the Rio Opening Ceremony. I think that is a 35% drop. Some folks were blaming Matt Lauer, Meredith Viera, and Hoda Kotb. Not Commentary. Hey, for the past year, Rio has been getting bashed about not being prepared and environmental issues. Folks weren’t exactly looking forward to the games like in games past. Just saying.

Alex Rodriguez hit 189 dingers as a Mariner, 156 as a Ranger, and 351 as a Yankee of course.

I am absolutely flabbergasted why the Skipper plays Carlos Gomez. That’s all I have to say on this today.

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As expected, the Chair of Houston Housing Authority has announced his intention to resign in a couple of weeks. I wonder if he will get the “thanks for your service” farewell remarks at an upcoming council meeting. FYI: According to the H-Town City’s website, the fella gave the Mayor’s campaign over $7,000 last November. Oh, well.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Chron E-Board had a take on Houston’s affordable housing efforts. Here is how it starts:

What happens to a dream deferred?

That’s the question affordable housing advocates need to ask themselves as Mayor Sylvester Turner opposes plans by the Houston Housing Authority to build a controversial mixed-income apartment in the Galleria area – a so-called high-opportunity neighborhood that has well-rated schools and access to transit.

The project was the first in our city to model the groundbreaking Moving to Opportunity study. That multi-generational social science experiment discovered that young kids who move from high-poverty neighborhoods into wealthier ones end up adopting the middle-class lifestyles of their peers. Those kids go on to earn more money and build more stable households, passing the socioeconomic gains down to their own children. If the results bear out, this policy may prove to be the silver bullet that can take down systemic poverty. And the mayor just put it back in the holster.

Turner said the price tag on the project, located on Fountain View Drive, is simply too high. We don’t buy it. As the Houston Housing Authority has pointed out, land in nicer neighborhoods is going to cost more. And the sad truth is that City Hall will need to start building projects in pricier areas if it wants to avoid a discrimination lawsuit. We can’t help but wonder what other pressure the mayor faces behind the political curtain as he confronts the difficult task of uniting everyone on a pension fix.

To his credit, the mayor’s office immediately followed up by announcing that the housing authority would restart the process from scratch. The dream of building apartments for the poor and working-class in one of Houston’s best neighborhoods hasn’t died – it has just been delayed.

Still, we’re surprised to see Turner attack an affordable housing project after running for office on a platform of bridging the gap between wealthy and poor. It is a struggle he knows firsthand as a lifelong resident of Acres Homes.

Then again, he’s done this before.

As a state representative, Turner helped block plans to build an apartment for low-income families on a former Metro Park-and-Ride location in his district.

“If you can’t convince the homeowner associations and the civic clubs and the management district that this is right for the community, then I will not support it, ” Turner told the Leader News in April 2015.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Housing-dreams-9125935.php.

I am thinking the Mayor didn’t like the E-Board take.

Wouldn’t it be easier if H-Town City Hall were to just ask neighborhood and civic groups and management districts to step forward if they want affordable housing in their ‘hoods and then go from there? Is that the criteria these days? You have a better idea?

Ichiro got career base hit number 3,000 yesterday. Who else has 3,000 career base hits?

Remember when the E-Board said this last week:

The contest to replace state Rep. Borris Miles isn’t exactly a fair fight. Erica Lee Carter, daughter of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, just has to win a majority of 27 precinct chairs in Saturday’s contest to become the uncontested Democratic candidate for state House District 146.

We’d be surprised if she didn’t get them.

I was surprised. I admit, I knew absolutely nothing about the race other than to read the Chron piece and see some twitter traffic.

And this from Rebecca Elliott’s article last week:

The daughter of U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, she comes to the race with deep Democratic roots and endorsements from Annie’s List, a Texas political action committee, the Harris County Gulf Coast AFL-CIO, former Mayor Annise Parker and a handful of Democratic state legislators, among others.

(Shawn) Thierry, who did not return a request for comment about her endorsements, has the advantage of already having participated in a similar precinct chair nominating process this summer, for the newly created 507th Family District Court.

So I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise.

From the Who Is Your New Daddy Department, here is from the Tribune:

Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has not endorsed Donald Trump, is now asking Texas Republicans to support the party’s presidential nominee. 

I wonder what his old daddy thinks?

Commentary has a couple of takes on this retweet from Evan Mintz:

Dog Days of Evan Retweeted

John Leavitt ‏@LeavittAlone Aug 5

It’s 2016 if Ben-Hur is being remade it needs to be 800% gayer

First of all, Commentary is not a big fan of doing remakes for flicks that win 11 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. Leave it alone.

Second of all, the movie came out in 1959 and I remember seeing it. Of course I remember the racing chariots and the leper colony. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that Charlton Heston was set off after one of the contributing writers to the script, the late Gore Vidal, brought up the Ben-Hur and Messala relationship.   Here is from a Chron story on the new Ben-Hur flick:

And, can (Actor Jack) Huston match Heston’s charisma? Likewise for Toby Kebbell, the new Messala, relating to Stephen Boyd’s gorgeous, silken malice.

Then there’s the chemistry that came between those two classic actors, which has a story of its own.

In Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s adaptation of Vito Russo’s “The Celluloid Closet,” Gore Vidal, one of the screenwriters on the 1959 “Ben-Hur,” relates how he emphasized the homoerotic relationship between Ben-Hur and Messala. Wyler allowed it, and Boyd was in on it, playing the role accordingly, but not Heston.

The story may or may not be true. Vidal could’ve spun a yarn for his own amusement. He and Heston traded poisoned darts about it. But true or not, it points to another reason why the 1959 “Ben-Hur” still reigns supreme – it is the stuff of legend.

Here is the Chron story on the new Ben-Hur: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/entertainment/movies/article/Ben-Hur-competes-with-Ben-Hur-9125392.php.

The late Hall of Fame great Roberto Clemente of course had 3,000 career base hits.

We had a very disappointing homie. Saturday evening was a real bummer. We left 10 runners on base. We can’t expect to be contenders with our 5 to 9 hitters tanking. Now we have 14 of the next 16 on the road and the 2 we have at home are against San Luis!

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A Mess and a Mess

First this:

@rickklein 55m55 minutes ago

Pence today: “The only poll that really matters is on Election Day.”

We all know that’s what they always say when you are getting clobbered in the polls. In one poll released yesterday, Donald Trump was nearly getting shutout amongst African Americans 91% to 1%. Which prompted me to tweet: “I wonder what the 8% are thinking?” There is even a poll out today showing Secretary Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 4 points in Georgia, yes Georgia.

Then there have been a number of GOP defectors.

Trump keeps taking the bait. He is undisciplined and he is woefully unprepared. There is even a story today on a number of GOP insiders wishing Trump would quit the race. Here is from Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/insiders-to-trump-drop-out-226689.

Now that is not going to happen but it does point to the major problems the campaign is having. The Trump campaign is a mess today.

We know that the race will tighten between now and November 8, but right now, Dems have to be feeling pretty darn good.

The ‘Stros are 56-52. How were we sitting last year at the 108 game mark?

Speaking of messes, I kind of hope HISD gets past this HISD Auditor issue soon or things could get worse. The auditor has on his side former H-Town City Attorney Dave Feldman and Wayne Dolcefino. Those are pretty good hired guns if you ask me. They are holding a press conference today to announce their next move.

Here is Ericka Mellon’s Chron article on the latest: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/HISD-reassigns-ethics-and-compliance-officer-9123923.php.

As we head into the new school year and get ready to welcome a new superintendent, do we need to keep having fights in the media over ethics. Let’s get this thing settled and move on to other issues like making our schools better. Just a thought.

Fifty years ago today “Revolver” was released. “Taxman”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here, There and Everywhere”, “Yellow Submarine”, “Good Day Sunshine”, “And Your Bird Can Sing”, and “Got to Get You into My Life.” Not bad at all. One of the greatest albums of all time.

Last year after 108 games, we were 60-48 of course.

In my opinion, things are looking bad at The Yard. The Rangers are in town this weekend and we can’t let them put more distance between us and them. I expect near sellout crowds this weekend.

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