Archive for January, 2017

Michelle at 53

Happy Birthday to the First Lady!   You are the best for sure!  Nothing but class!

Commentary is not going to say Donald Trump is an illegitimate president even though the Russians helped him across the finish line. So did the FBI. Very illegitimate help if you ask me, but don’t ask me, please.

The President received a Cubbie jersey yesterday with the number 44. This is an easy one. Who wears the number 44 for the Cubbies? Hint: he handed the President the jersey yesterday.

You know Trump is irked knowing that he will become the least popular fella ever sworn into office. He also doesn’t like the number of members of congress who are boycotting the inaugural. Here is this from CNN:

Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president.

Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. Obama took the oath in 2009 with an 84% approval rating, 67% approved of Clinton’s transition as of late December 1992 and 61% approved of George W. Bush’s transition just before he took office in January 2001.

Trump’s wobbly handling of the presidential transition has left most Americans with growing doubts that the President-elect will be able to handle the job. About 53% say Trump’s statements and actions since Election Day have made them less confident in his ability to handle the presidency, and the public is split evenly on whether Trump will be a good or poor president (48% on each side).

And this from McClatchy.com:

President-elect Donald Trump accused approval rating polls of underestimating his support as he nears inauguration, tweeting early Tuesday morning that they were “rigged” against him.

“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls,” he wrote. “They are rigged just like before.”

A new CNN/ORC poll released earlier Tuesday showed Trump with an approval rating of 40 percent for how he has handled his transition, lower than those of Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton before they took office.

Slightly more than half of those polled said they were “less confident” in Trump’s ability to hold office, according to the poll, and repondents were split evenly on whether or not the president-elect would be a good chief executive.

What a joke that we are in for this Friday.

Green no, Green go. Cong. Al Green is boycotting. Cong. Gene Green is going.

Commentary will be watching just to see how much Trump lies in his address, because we all know he is going to lie.

I just noticed this yesterday. I think I am the only person of color living on my block.

From Sunday’s Chron:

Mike Sullivan, former Harris County tax assessor collector, has been appointed director of governmental affairs at Group 1 Automotive.

From the Chron today:

The price of tickets of Super Bowl LI plunged more than 25 percent Monday after the elimination of the Dallas Cowboys from the NFC championship.

Average ticket price fell from $5,877 on Jan. 14 to $4,603 on Jan. 16, according to data kept by ticket retailer SeatGeek.

“The cheapest ticket is $1,000 cheaper today than it was Friday,” said Chris Leyden, content analysis for SeatGeek. 

The possibility that the Cowboys might play, he said, was keeping price high, because sellers knew it would create “incredible demand” among North Texas fans who live a short four hours north of NRG Stadium. 

The Texans got rid of their offensive coordinator yesterday because they can’t get rid of their quarterback. Got it?

First baseman Anthony Rizzo of course handed the 44 to The President yesterday also wears the 44 for the Cubbies.

I got nothing from The Yard today.



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Commentary is talking about what The Mayor tweeted about yesterday before the Packers/Cowboys game. Here:

Sylvester Turner ‏@SylvesterTurner 17h17 hours ago

Come on #Cowboys. There must be one Texas team in the Super Bowl. #Texas Proud! St

Commentary is thinking the majority of H-Town sports fans were glad to see Aaron Rodgers stick it to the Cowboys yesterday.

I’d rather seed Packer fans, Falcon fans, Patriot fans, or Steeler fans hanging in our burg in a couple of weeks rather than Cowboy fans. Just saying!

You can say that again, Evan:

Evan 2017 ‏@evan7257 14h14 hours ago

Good news for traffic on I-45 #DallasCowboys

Who was the first African-American to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

From the Alt-Right/White Supremacists were upset department, here is from MSN.com:

President-elect Donald Trump has canceled his holiday visit to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture — losing a chance for much-needed goodwill after his feud with a civil rights leader.

The incoming president, who spent this weekend waging a war of words with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), had planned to visit the national museum in Washington, D.C. on Martin Luther King Day.

But senior level transition sources told ABC News on Sunday the visit is off due to unspecified “scheduling issues.”

Trump is now planning to visit the museum sometime after assuming office, his officials said. The museum did not immediately comment.

Trump’s cancellation comes after he spent the holiday weekend publicly combating Lewis, a 16-term congressman and a leader from the civil rights movement who marched with Martin Luther King.

I don’t blame him. Why pi__ off your base, the folks that made him and are helping run his administration? They don’t want Trump to recognize MLK.

In typical Donald Trump fashion, I am betting he doesn’t have a clue on Cong. John Lewis’s role in the civil rights movement. He also didn’t have a clue on what is going on in Georgia CD 5.

I am glad to see another ‘Stro step up. Check these:

Collin McHugh ‏@Collin_McHugh Jan 14

Collin McHugh Retweeted Donald J. Trump

As someone who lives in the @repjohnlewis 5th district, I don’t think #DJT has any idea what he’s talking about. #AtlantaOnTheRise #FILA


Collin McHugh ‏@Collin_McHugh Jan 14

Collin McHugh Retweeted Donald J. Trump

…and then doubling down by insulting the civil rights hero on #MLK wknd…wow. #classy


Collin McHugh ‏@Collin_McHugh 23h23 hours ago

Collin McHugh Retweeted J

I’m not “anti-trump”, I’m just anti-bullying and pro-respect


This is what we are getting on Friday. Get ready:

Donald Trump on Sunday night questioned whether outgoing CIA Director John Brennan was behind the leak of an unverified report that accused the president-elect of salacious conduct.

“.@FoxNews ‘Outgoing CIA Chief, John Brennan, blasts Pres-Elect Trump on Russia threat. Does not fully understand.’ Oh really, couldn’t do much worse – just look at Syria (red line), Crimea, Ukraine and the build-up of Russian nukes. Not good! Was this the leaker of Fake News?” Trump tweeted.

This will be the first inaugural address where every major news organization will have their fact checkers working.

Oh, my! Really? See this from this weedend:

Fox News ‏@FoxNews 54m54 minutes ago

.@continetti: “Until the Dems realize that PC and multiculturalism aren’t the way to go, they’re going to be shackled as a political party


Multiculturalism? What a dumbarse thing to say for sure.

Jackie Robinson of course was the first African-American elected to the Hall of Fame of course in 1962.

Commentary is glad the Chron ran with this story on the ‘Stros charging to print tickets. I told the ‘Stros I would not pay the print fee because it was not on the original invoice that I started paying last September. They added the fee on a subsequent invoice. Bad form on the part of the ‘Stros. Here is the Chron story:

So you’ve scored Houston Astros season tickets and you are stoked for the 2017 season. All you need now is to get your tickets and plan out your season.

According to KHOU some Astros fans are a bit miffed that they have pay an extra $125 per seat to get their season tickets printed out and mailed to them.

Most fans like to keep these as keepsakes if they are really dedicated to the team. They look great and they always have the players on them.

Saving and printing out a screenshot from your Astros ticketing app doesn’t have the same feel as a professionally-printed game ticket.

It’s not an uncommon thing as KHOU pointed out, noting that other teams have similar fees. The Kansas City Royals charge their season ticket holders $100 for printing physical tickets. Some teams will print out tickets at no charge for longtime season ticket holders.

KHOU’s viewer poll showed that most Astros fans would rather just save the $125 and print them out themselves.

Hey, for $125 you can buy a new Dallas Keuchel jersey at the team store at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros regular season starts here at home on April 3 with the team taking on the Seattle Mariners. 

Rip-off for sure.

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The 13th

This tweet:

Teddy Schleifer ‏@teddyschleifer 1h1 hour ago

@rfelliott A very happy birthday to my very good friend.

Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

Happy Birthday to my longtime good friend Amy in Austin!

35 years ago today, these two greats were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame – hint, they had a combined 1,341 career dingers and 3,808 career RBIs?

You need to check out the Chron E-Board take today on Pasadena. Here is how it ends:

Texans can’t be so naive as to imagine that bigotry only resides in the history books when we see it alive and well in Pasadena.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Justice-for-Pasadena-10854518.php.


Commentary is glad somebody finally said this. Check the following tweet:

Dan PfeifferVerified account ‏@danpfeiffer 5h5 hours ago

Kellyanne Conway is a dilemma for the media, she is Sr. Advisor to Trump, but is also an unrepentant liar, totally ignorant of his policies

Just like her boss.

Brought to you by Putin. The more he talks, the more he confirms Putin has the goods on him. Here is from a Politico story today:

“It now turns out that the phony allegations against me were put together by my political opponents and a failed spy afraid of being sued. Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans – FAKE NEWS!” Trump said in a flurry of posts to Twitter Friday morning. “Russia says nothing exists. Probably released by ‘Intelligence’ even knowing there is no proof, and never will be. My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!”

Wow! Owned, sealed, and delivered.

Please do this. Commentary is talking about holding congressional hearings where Trump’s ethics or lack of are discussed. Also from Politico:

House Republicans have found a subject for their opening review of conflicts of interest under Donald Trump: the federal official in charge of investigating conflicts of interest.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, criticized the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics on Thursday over his criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to address conflicts of interest. And he threatened to subpoena the official, Walter Shaub, if he refuses to participate in an official interview.

House Republicans have found a subject for their opening review of conflicts of interest under Donald Trump: the federal official in charge of investigating conflicts of interest.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the head of the House Oversight Committee, criticized the director of the federal Office of Government Ethics on Thursday over his criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to address conflicts of interest. And he threatened to subpoena the official, Walter Shaub, if he refuses to participate in an official interview.

Of course, we can always use a good laugh. Check this tweet:

Fox NewsVerified account ‏@FoxNews 13h13 hours ago

Giuliani: “It is refreshing and it is very good for our democracy that we have a president that is trying to get us back to a free press.”

I am sure that is news to the press.

I am kind of wondering what the over/under is on having City of H-Town elections this November. Here is from a Rebecca Elliott story in the Chron today:

A state appeals court on Thursday rejected the city’s procedural challenge to a lawsuit that could force Houston’s mayor and city council members to revert to three two-year terms, from the two four-year terms voters approved in November 2015.

The Texas First Court of Appeals ruling did not address the merits of the underlying case, which centers on whether the city’s ballot language was misleading.

Rather, the court’s decision marks an incremental step in what is likely to be a lengthy appeals process that plaintiffs hope could trigger municipal elections as early as this fall.

Austin election lawyer Buck Wood, however, said he considers November mayoral and city council elections improbable, given the speed with which courts typically move.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Andy Taylor welcomed Thursday’s ruling and criticized the city for challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction over the case, calling the move “frivolous and arrogant.”

“The city should apologize to the voters for trying to avoid a trial on whether their chosen ballot language was deceptive,” he said.

The appellate court’s ruling affirms state District Judge Randy Clapp’s decision last year to reject Houston’s procedural challenge, which sought to get the case thrown out.

Clapp was not considering the substance of the case at the time, though he tipped his hand by calling the city’s ballot language “inartful” but not “invalid.”

Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/City-loses-appeal-on-term-limits-lawsuit-ruling-10853597.php?t=07846e1f79438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium.

35 years ago today, Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame of course.

I don’t have anything from The Yard today.

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Head Start

Only three ‘Stros have over 1,000 walks all time as ‘Stros. Name the three?

Commentary will be brief today.

This came out last night. It is about what Bill “’Reilly said. Check this:

MediaiteVerified account ‏@Mediaite 13h13 hours ago

O’Reilly: Not Since Nixon Has the Press Been ‘So Determined to Bring Someone Down’ http://bit.ly/2jFVIAd  (VIDEO)

Well the incoming Trump administration is certainly giving themselves a head start on their way to being the most corrupt and least ethical. Check this from a Politico piece:

It was clear Trump won’t be turning over his tax returns, at least not soon (“The only ones who care about my tax returns are the reporters”). He won’t be putting his assets or company into a blind trust (“I have a no-conflict-of-interest provision as president”). He won’t condemn Vladimir Putin (“If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability”). He will begin building a wall with Mexico as fast as he can, even if Mexico isn’t paying for it at first (“What’s the difference? I want to get the wall started”).

Plus, foreign governments will stay at his hotels and pay big bucks in violation of the Constitution.

What else do we expect the press to do? Trump is giving the media a gold-plated invitation to investigate his activities.

Give it some time. Sooner or later even the GOP is going to get fed up with his act and won’t come to his defense. Give it some time.  He is asking for it.

Jeff Bagwell walked 1,401 times as a ‘Stro, Craig Biggio 1,160 and Lance Berkman 1,040 of course.

This from the Chron:

One of the Houston Astros’ key players in 2017 is getting hitched before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Evan Gattis, who pulled designated hitter and catching duty in 2016, is due to be married to his fiancée Kimberly Waters  on Saturday, Jan. 14 in Frisco.  Astros pitchers and catchers report to the team’s new facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Feb. 14 with the first official workout scheduled for the following day.



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CNN put out a story late yesterday afternoon that Putin might own Donald Trump’s arse. Now that is not good. Here is from the CNN story:

(CNN)Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.

The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible. The FBI is investigating the credibility and accuracy of these allegations, which are based primarily on information from Russian sources, but has not confirmed many essential details in the memos about Mr. Trump.

Here is the entire story: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/10/politics/donald-trump-intelligence-report-russia/index.html.

I was kind of wondering what was on Sen. Ron Wyden’s mind yesterday when he was pressing FBI Director James Coney on certain political campaigns having contact with the Russians.

This is kind of an issue that a lot of GOPers will be reluctant to dismiss like zipping through the Cabinet confirmation process. Even they are going to want to know if the Russians have the goods on Trump and what are those goods.

The “golden showers” stuff was interesting. Trump will deny and so will the Russians, as long as Trump continues to be Putin’s you know what.

Like I said, Putin owns his arse. Trump is Putin’s boy for sure.

After six seasons, Jose Altuve has a .311 career batting average. Where does that put him among all time ‘Stros on the career batting average list?

My good pal Laura Murillo was part of a Latino group who met with the Trump transition folks yesterday. Here is from the Chron:

When national Latino leaders met privately with the presidential transition team on Tuesday, the head of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was there to make sure local concerns were addressed.

President and CEO Laura Murillo, who has led the Houston chamber group for a decade, said those topics included trade and the future of NAFTA in addition to the broader concerns over tax and health care reform, immigration and small-business development.

“The campaign is over. We need to work together,” Murillo said in a phone interview afterward.

She was invited to Washington to join the meeting with President-elect Donald Trump’s representatives and officials from such national groups as the National Council of La Raza, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Murillo characterized the meeting as a step in the right direction toward mending some of the rifts from Trump’s campaign stances that included mass deportations and forcing Mexico to pay for a border wall with the U.S.

Murillo also confirmed that she will attend Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. Yet she and others expressed disappointment that no Latino has been nominated for a Cabinet position or senior adviser role in Trump’s administration. If none is appointed, it would the first time since Ronald Reagan’s second term.

Murillo, who has been critical of the president-elect in the past and has called for him to add Latinos to his inner circle, said the community must be “part of this country’s fabric and not just a thread.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/economy/article/Houston-Hispanic-Chamber-head-meets-with-Trump-10848809.php.

I have always thought this guy was a joke. Now he is more than a joke. Check this from MSN.com:

Executives at 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, settled a sexual harassment charge brought by an employee against its primetime star, Bill O’Reilly, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The charge was brought by Juliet Huddy, a Fox broadcaster who’s been with the company since the late 1990s, the person confirmed, speaking anonymously due to the confidential nature of the agreement. 

The settlement, first reported by Lawnewz.com and confirmed by The New York Times, was finalized several weeks after former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes was ousted last July following a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by another Fox broadcaster, Gretchen Carlson.

Huddy agreed to refrain from suing the network and was paid a sum in “the high six figures,” according to Lawnewz and the Times

O’Reilly pursued a sexual relationship with her in 2011, but when Huddy rebuffed his unwanted sexual advances, he tried to derail her career, the Times reported, citing a letter Huddy’s lawyers sent to Fox News. The Times said a copy of the letter was anonymously mailed to its offices in December. 

What a slime ball and that is putting it gently.

With a .311 career batting average, Altuve tops all time ‘Stros in this category of course.

Again, nothing from The Yard today.


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A ‘Stro Take

Our Opening Day starting third baseman got in his two cents on the Meryl Streep thing. Check out his tweet from yesterday on Donald Trump tweeting on Streep:

Brian McTaggart Retweeted

Alex Bregman ‏@ABREG_1 2h2 hours ago

Alex Bregman Retweeted Donald J. Trump

Delete your Twitterhttps://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/818419002548568064 …

Bregman took a little heat afterwards from Trump supporters. Hey, he’s entitled to his opinion.

Bregman was taken in the 2015 MLB draft as the second overall pick. Who was the first overall pick?

More from the Chron on Pasadena:

As Pasadena prepared for a divisive referendum over a change to its City Council structure in 2013, Mayor Johnny Isbell and his allies moved aggressively to drum up grass-roots support.

During an Oct. 3 event at a Pasadena restaurant, Isbell and three City Council members asked neighborhood association leaders to distribute yard signs and urge neighbors to vote for a charter amendment that would create two at-large council positions. Council members who regularly opposed Isbell were not invited.

For the neighborhood leaders, the merits of the proposal that voters would consider on Nov. 5, 2013, were not the only consideration, according to an opinion issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal. Their city funding was at stake.

“The court finds that the city and mayor used Pasadena’s Neighborhood Network Program to promote voting for the candidates and issues they favor,” Rosenthal wrote. “The city and mayor gain support from predominately Anglo south Pasadena in part by sending significant grant money and lending substantial city organizational and resource support to that part of town.”

Rosenthal’s ruling, unless it is successfully appealed, will force the city to revert to its previous system of eight single-member districts for the coming May election, abandoning the structure of six district seats and two at-large ones that voters narrowly approved in 2013. Rosenthal found that the 6-2 system intentionally diluted Latino voting strength, and she instructed the city to submit any future election changes for federal review.


Isbell, 78, cannot run for re-election this year because of term limits. After decades of serving his city, the mayor cannot be pleased at the prospect that Rosenthal’s ruling will stand as a record of his legacy.

Here is the entire Pasadena read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/greater-houston/article/Judge-s-ruling-in-voting-rights-case-not-kind-to-10845980.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Among Latinos that will be his legacy. Among a lot of white folks, it won’t. That is Pasadena for you.

The East End Light Rail Line or Green Line will officially open tomorrow. Here is a line from a story on the opening of the line from the Chron:

What the future now holds for Houston’s rail dreams, however, is hard to predict – and that may me the only opinion pro-rail advocates and longtime train critics share.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/After-rocky-ride-Metro-s-East-End-rail-line-set-10846049.php.

I really don’t think there is much of a future for more light rail these days. I don’t think it is a priority today for H-Town leaders and H-Town voters. I am thinking it is going to be a while – like long, long, time – before we start having a serious discussion on expanding light rail. We have a bunch of other stuff that needs addressing.   That’s the way it goes.

I can’t decide if this is sad or stupid – probably both. I am talking about a Hillary Clinton run for mayor of the Big Apple. Why? Sigh………..!

Some grown-up around her just needs to step forward and officially say “enough of this!”

Here is from Politico:

Hillary Clinton is not saying no.

She is also not saying yes to pleas to consider running for mayor of New York.

There’s no shortage of disgust with current Mayor Bill de Blasio among top New York Democrats, accentuated by bitterness among Clintonites toward the man who was her 2000 Senate campaign manager and then made a false start against her in his own quest for the national progressive spotlight.

But people who have talked with her — both former staffers and notable members of the Clinton orbit — say there’s mostly been a lot of coping with her presidential defeat, rather than planning for another run. She is almost certain not to run for mayor, they say, but there’s a legitimate interest in finding some way to stay involved, aware that there’s no place for her in national politics anymore and that many Democrats don’t want to hear from her after losing to Donald Trump.

Among her allies, there’s a despondency about how aimless she seems, the photo of her sitting by herself at a restaurant alone checking her email, the thought of her sitting up on the riser for Donald Trump’s inauguration next week, with cameras cutting to her constantly for grim reaction shots.

There’s also a growing sense of the absurdity of the discussion — and frustration even among some confidants that she and her team are letting the rumor sit out there, noticeably not shooting it down, letting it linger.

“Everybody in politics knows why they are doing it. It’s very high school,” said Karen Hinton, a former Bill Clinton administration aide who was de Blasio’s press secretary at City Hall until last summer and believes this is just score-settling from Clinton’s orbit. “It’s obvious she is not going to run, so why aren’t people just saying that?”

Here is the entire read: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/01/hillary-clinton-new-york-mayor-233384.

And now for the bad news. The Texas Legislative Session kicks-off today.

Dansby Swanson of course was taken first overall in the 2015 MLB draft.

Nothing from The Yard again.

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This is huge folks. This is a big deal. Commentary is talking about a federal judge coming down hard on the City of Pasadena. Folks, this is going on right next door. This in the year 2017. This should not be happening anywhere in these parts. Discrimination!  Violating voting rights!  This is unacceptable!

The folks in Pasadena are more than just our neighbors. They are our fellow Harris County residents who deserve justice and voting rights protection. We just can’t sit idly by as this unfolds.

H-Town and Harris County Latino leaders need to step up and reach out to the folks in Pasadena.

So too does the local Dem Party.  Here is from Saturday’s Chron:

A federal judge in Houston dealt a major blow Friday to the city of Pasadena in a closely watched voting rights case, ruling that officials deliberately diluted the clout of Hispanic voters by revising the system for electing City Council members.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal ordered Pasadena to revert to its previous use of single-member districts for the upcoming May elections and ruled the city would need preclearance from the Department of Justice for any future changes.

“In Pasadena, Texas, Latino voters … do not have the same right to vote as their Anglo neighbors,” Rosenthal concluded in the 113-page decision released late Friday.


“It is a great win,” said Michael Li, senior redistricting counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. “This case shows that there is something you can do, at least if you have the facts, lawyers and resources.”

The lawsuit was filed by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund on behalf of a group of Latino voters, who said city leaders deliberately tried to quell the growing Hispanic vote by changing from eight to six single-member districts and adding two at-large positions elected citywide.

During a seven-day trial presented directly to Rosenthal without a jury, witnesses testified there are vast disparities in incomes and living conditions in the blue-collar city on the Houston Ship Channel.

The northern portion of the city, where the majority of Hispanics live, has poor drainage, broken sidewalks and streets in disrepair. The southern part of Pasadena, which is majority white, has better infrastructure and more improvement projects, witnesses said.

Rosenthal cited witness testimony in her opinion, noting that both Texas and Pasadena had histories of exclusionary practices and that discriminatory attitudes toward Latinos still endured among Pasadena residents.

In recent years, the political balance in Pasadena had begun to shift, the judge wrote. But just as Latino voters were poised to elect a majority of single-district representatives to the City Council, longtime Mayor Johnny Isbell and his backers proposed changes to the election system, the judge said.

“In short, Pasadena’s elections are racially polarized,” Rosenthal wrote. “The City’s 2013 racially polarized vote in favor of the 6–2 redistricting map and plan and the Council’s 2014 vote to approve the change were narrowly decided. The effect was to dilute Latino voting strength. That effect was foreseeable and foreseen.”

Here is the story on the ruling: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Pasadena-deliberately-diluted-Hispanic-vote-10841460.php.

More from Pasadena in yesterday’s Chron:

As a young man in Pasadena, Richard Kennedy recalls white-hooded members of the Ku Klux Klan handing out fliers on street corners.

“You would stop at the red light, and they would come out wearing sheets and pass out literature,” said Kennedy, a retired maintenance supervisor, who lived down the street from a Klan campaigning spot in the 1970s.

He got in the habit of rolling up his driver’s side window and hunching down in his seat when the white supremacists were out. Near the center of town on Red Bluff Road, a Klan bookstore sat in plain sight.

Today, Pasadena, a blue-collar town in the shadow of refineries and chemical plants along the Houston Ship Channel, is a different place. Almost two-thirds of Pasadena residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, up from less than one-third in 1990 when whites dominates both population and politics.

But the city is still roiled by racial politics, becoming the epicenter of a bitter, years long fight over voting rights that pitted establishment whites against the now majority Hispanic population who argued in court that their lack of political power at the ballot box effectively prevented them from getting basic services such as good streets and sidewalks.

In a landmark ruling Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal agreed that a redistricting scheme led by longtime Mayor Johnny Isbell intentionally discriminated against Hispanic and Latino residents by stunting their ability to elect their preferred candidates to City Council. Rosenthal’s decision places Pasadena back under supervision by the U.S. Justice Department, meaning the city can no longer make changes to its electoral rules without approval from the federal government.

Here is the entire Chron story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Pasadena-still-roiled-by-racial-politics-10842851.php.

I wonder what the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce is thinking this morning.

Fifteen years ago today, the ‘Stros signed this player for $8 mil a year for three years, plus a club option of $9 mil for the fourth year with a $3 mil buyout clause, in other words, a $27 mil deal.   We ended up trading him away after the second year of this contract. Who am I talking about?

Hollywood is fighting back and they trotted out their best last night. Meryl Streep killed it for sure in front of millions on live TV.

Donald Trump responded with a lie of course. Who in the heck believes that one of the greatest actors of all time is “overrated”? Another lie that even his closest advisers know is a lie.

Then Trump continued to lie by once again saying he did not mock a disabled reporter that even his closest supporters know is a lie.

Check out this tweet from yesterday:

Raw StoryVerified account ‏@RawStory 3h3 hours ago

‘There’s no reason’: Reince Priebus claims background checks on Trump’s cabinet are a waste of time http://ow.ly/n6TO307NfQ8

These guys don’t want thorough background checks on the Cabinet nominees. They just want to rush them through. Let them. Then when we find out stuff, we can use it against GOP senators.

From the Chron E-Board this past Saturday:

(Thumbs down) And speaking of ethics, along comes newly elected state District Judge Herb Ritchie. A couple of days before donning his robe in the 337th criminal district court, he sends out a letter soliciting funds. “… if you are willing and able to help me with a contribution at this time, it would be much appreciated.” Local lawyer and blogger Mark Bennett reports that eight days before the election Ritchie filed a report showing he “had no campaign debt.”

R.G. was having some fun with Jenna Bush Hager covering the red carpet for NBC last night. Here are tweets from R.G.:

rgratcliffe ‏@rgratcliffe 13m13 minutes ago

Jena Bush doing Golden Globe red carpet interviews.

rgratcliffe ‏@rgratcliffe 13m13 minutes ago

She’s waiting for the after parties.

Jenna caught some social media heat last night.   While interviewing Pharrell, she referred to “Hidden Figures” as “Hidden Fences”. You know, the combining of two flicks about African Americans is insensitive to some.

This morning Jenna apologized and said it was a mistake.

Natalie Morales said “Transgender” instead of “Transparency” during the Jeffrey Tambor interview.

Al Roker couldn’t think of “Braveheart” while interviewing Mel Gibson.

Commentary is a fan of Jenna Bush Hager’s work on “Today.”  Last night was her first red carpet assignment so mistakes will be made.

Billy Wagner of course received the $27 mil contract back on January 9, 2002.

The Texans are 16 point dogs versus the Patriots. So we have a week worth of praying.

I don’t have anything from The Yard today.

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This is what the Vice President said yesterday about Donald Trump:

“Grow up, Donald. Time to be an adult. You’re president, you got to do something. Show us what you have. You’re going to propose legislation; we’re going to get to debate it. Let the public decide; let them vote in Congress.”

Ain’t it the truth.  Asking a 70 year old to grow up.  Not going to happen.

Name the two players on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot who are not pitchers with the same number of career dingers?

And from the most pressing issue of our time department, here is from the Chron:

Setting up what looks to be one of the most heated fights for Texas lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst unveiled a long-awaited bill to regulate which bathrooms Texans may use in public buildings.

Senate Bill 6, called the Texas Privacy Act, would prohibit city or county officials from adopting an ordinance that prevents a business from making policies for their bathrooms and dressing rooms. It also would bar local officials from considering these measures when awarding government contracts.

Another part of the proposed legislation would require each locker room or restroom in government buildings, public schools and universities to be designated for use based on biological sex. The bill, which allows schools to make special accommodations, would authorize the attorney general to levy a civil penalty if they do not follow the regulations.

“This is a significant step for the majority of Texans who are alarmed by misguided efforts to shatter our expectations of security and privacy, especially for our children,” the Republican from Brenham said. “Senate Bill 6 may have my name on it, but the responsibility falls on all of us to protect citizens and ensure that their personal and private rights are secured.”

She said her bill is a response to the Obama administration’s letter sent to school districts last year that offered guidance on protecting the rights of transgender students. The letter said districts that do not comply with longstanding federal anti-discrimination laws, which the U.S. Justice and Education departments said extend to transgender students, could risk a revocation of federal funds or a lawsuit.

On Thursday, Kolkhorst said she filed the legislation “not to start a controversy but to end one.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.chron.com/about/article/Patrick-Kolkhorst-unveil-controversial-bathroom-10837923.php.

Hmm! Brenham! Blue Bell ice cream anyone?

Now the Trib has a piece on The Dean and pensions. Here is a part:

After some Dallas City Council members voiced concerns this week over Whitmire’s work at a law firm whose client list includes city pension fund boards, the Houston Democrat said he would likely abstain from voting on Dallas-specific bills.

HOUSTON — Whether — and how — one of the Texas Legislature’s chief champions of police officers and firefighters gets involved with legislation addressing mounting financial crises with first responders’ pension funds could depend on which cities are impacted by potential bills.

State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, works for Locke Lord, a law firm whose clients include pension fund boards in Dallas and Houston — cities currently beset by multibillion-dollar pension shortfalls. Because municipal workers’ retirement funds are largely governed by the state, both cities are expected to seek legislative approval of their respective plans to shore up the beleaguered funds.

Whitmire said that while his firm represents pension funds in the cities, he does not work on those accounts and he never talks to professional colleagues about government clients. But after some Dallas City Council members voiced concerns this week over Whitmire’s political role in Austin and his professional position inside the pension funds’ federal lobbying firm, the Democrat said he would likely abstain from voting on Dallas-specific bills “out of an abundance of caution.”

“I go out of my way to avoid the conflicts,” he told The Texas Tribune on Thursday. 

Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/06/amid-concerns-whitmire-says-he-may-abstain-some-pe/.

It is going to be interesting to see if The Dean and so called conflicts of interests are an issue during the session. Stay tuned.

Also from theTrib:

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said Thursday he is all but certain to make a run for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz‘s seat in 2018.

“I’ve had the chance to talk to a lot of people around the state of Texas over the last six weeks, and I will tell you, I’m very encouraged,” he told The Texas Tribune on Thursday in an interview. “And I am continuing to listen to and talk to folks, and I’m just becoming more and more encouraged.”  

My only advice on this. Don’t do it unless the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee is all in on this.

Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/01/06/orourke-very-likely-challenge-cruz-2018/.

Commentary is not going to say much about Matthew Dowd running for U.S. Senate. What is his base?

Hall of Fame candidates Jeff Bagwell and Vladimir Guerrero both have 449 career dingers of course.

Meanwhile, this tweet:

Ryan Thibodaux‏@NotMrTibbs 2h2 hours ago

@ 172 ballots/~39.5%:

Bags 92%

Raines 92%

Pudge 83%

Vlad 75%

Hoff 72%

Edgar 69%

BB 69%

RC 68%

Moose 62%

Schill 54%


Nothing from The Yard today.

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Commentary tweeted this yesterday:

Marc Campos ‏@MarcCommentary 18h18 hours ago

I don’t know if #MakeAmericaSickAgain is gong to work for Latinos in acronym form. #MASA #tamales

For sure, when they thought this up, there were not any Latinos in the room. When I first saw the acronym, I thought tamales and tortillas. Of course, if they wanted to go the Make America blah, blah, blah, route, nothing else works. Oh, well.

How many ‘Stros pitchers had an extra base hit last season?

Let’s see, for years the GOP leadership has been talking s__t about the Affordable Care Act and that it needed to be replaced. Yesterday, they said they didn’t have a plan. And they are in charge?

Commentary is not going to get into the latest Donald Trump lie on his admiration of the wikileaks fella.

R.G. has a take in Burkablog today on The Dean and I am betting The Dean isn’t too happy about it. Here is how the take starts:

In the heyday of free-wheeling investment banking, there was a saying: without conflicts there is no interest. For Houston state Senator John Whitmire, you might say that without conflicts he wouldn’t be nearly so interesting.

He is the Senate’s longest-serving member, a remarkable feat for a Democrat in a Republican state. He has been a champion of criminal justice reform, prison reform and is one of the few true experts in state government on public pensions. But he also is one of those politicians about whom conflict of interest stories seem to spring up like mushrooms after a spring rain.

The latest is a Dallas TV station allegation that Whitmire advised the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System on how to deal with its $1 billion shortfall and battle with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlins before the Legislature, and then the pension plan hired Whitmire as its lobbyist: “A state senator who will be voting on a bill to overhaul the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System is now advising the pension board—and under Texas law, it’s all legal. John Whitmire (D-Houston) spoke to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension board in November, one month before the board hired him as a lobbyist.”

Whitmire is livid, saying the story is a misrepresentation of his appearance before the board and his law firm’s contract with the pension fund. “I go out of my way to have a Chinese wall between my firm’s government relations people and me,” Whitmire told me.

Here is the entire take: http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/senator-whitmires-pension-provocations/.

What else is news?

This is in Downtown H-Town. What is up with this? I am talking about a store in Downtown H-Town selling Johnny Reb gear. Come on!   Check this tweet:

Evan 2017 Retweeted

Stephanie Pennell ‏@swpennell 20h20 hours ago

@ShopsHoustonCtr in a city this culturally & racially diverse, THIS is on display? Boycotting & urging friends to follow suit till gone.

‘Stros pitchers of course went zilch in the extra base hit department last season.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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From the Yuk, yuk, yuk dept. This headline from yesterday’s Politco:

Conway: GOP has ‘mandate’ to gut congressional ethics office

This is from the Politico story:

The move by Republicans in Congress to gut the independent Office of Congressional Ethics will cut down on “overzealousness,” incoming counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday morning, while leaving in place a “mechanism” with which to address ethical complaints.

Although Conway stopped short of saying the GOP move came with the blessing of the president-elect, she told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Republican majorities in the House and Senate mean “there’s a mandate there for them to make significant change.” She said she had not spoken to President-elect Donald Trump about the move.

“Let’s make clear that you’re still going to have an Office of Complaint Review. In other words, it’s not like we’re taking away everything,” Conway told “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “Look, there’s a very ambitious agenda to push forward. The Republicans have been given the majority in the House and the Senate, most of the governorships, they’ve won over 1,000 state legislative seats under President Obama’s watch. So there’s a mandate there for them to make significant change.”

House Republicans voted Monday night during a closed-door meeting to dramatically cut back the powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics, which would put the currently-independent watchdog under the control of the very lawmakers it is supposed to police. The plan, proposed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), would give the office a new name, the Office of Complaint Review, and would “provide protection against disclosures to the public or other government entities,” essentially keeping secret any accusations against members of Congress. The proposal would also bar the restructured office from considering anonymous tips.

Well, we all know the outcome to this story. Conway got it very, very wrong. The American people showed outrage yesterday and the GOP got their arses handed to them and backed off big time.

American People 1, GOP zip on this one.

Jeff Bagwell hit his 449th and final career dinger off of which Hall of Fame pitcher?

Yeah, who is very strange? This tweet from yesterday:

Teddy Schleifer Retweeted

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump 2h2 hours ago

The “Intelligence” briefing on so-called “Russian hacking” was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!

Related to the above, this tweet came out:

Brett RedactedVerified account ‏@BrettRedacted 2h2 hours ago

Brett Redacted Retweeted Donald J. Trump

Trump’s “press conference” on so-called “business conflicts” delayed until January, perhaps more time to build a case. Very strange!

This is from the internet yesterday:

Bill and Hillary Clinton have decided to attend the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, according to two sources with knowledge of their plans. The Clintons will join former Presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, who have also announced that they will attend. George and Laura Bush said today that they would be present “to witness the peaceful transfer of power.”

Two well-placed sources tell New York that over the past few weeks Hillary Clinton discussed with trusted advisers and friends whether or not she should attend the inaugural. She and President Clinton, the sources said, decided to do so out of a sense of duty and respect for the American democratic process.

Commentary would have defended the Clintons if they had decided to skip the event.

R.G. has a take on Burkablog on this here http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/george-laura-bush-plus-clintons-attend-trumps-inauguration/.

There is from an Op-Ed on Sen. Jeff Sessions in the Washington Post from the following:

Gerald Hebert is director of the Voting Rights and Redistricting Program at the Campaign Legal Center. Joseph D. Rich is co-director of the Fair Housing and Community Development Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. William Yeomans is a fellow in law and government at American University’s Washington College of Law; on Election Day, he worked as a voter protection legal volunteer for the Democratic Party of Virginia.

Here are parts:

Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is trying to mislead his Senate colleagues, and the country, into believing he is a champion for civil rights. We are former Justice Department civil rights lawyers who worked on the civil rights cases that Sessions cites as evidence for this claim, so we know: The record isn’t Sessions’s to burnish. We won’t let the nominee misstate his civil rights history to get the job of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

In the questionnaire he filed recently with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions (R-Ala.) listed four civil rights cases among the 10 most significant that he litigated “personally” as the U.S. attorney for Alabama during the 1980s. Three involved voting rights, while the fourth was a school desegregation case. Following criticism for exaggerating his role, he then claimed that he provided “assistance and guidance” on these cases.

We worked in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which brought those lawsuits; we handled three of the four ourselves. We can state categorically that Sessions had no substantive involvement in any of them. He did what any U.S. attorney would have had to do: He signed his name on the complaint, and we added his name on any motions or briefs. That’s it.


Attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions is trying to mislead his Senate colleagues, and the country, into believing he is a champion for civil rights. We are former Justice Department civil rights lawyers who worked on the civil rights cases that Sessions cites as evidence for this claim, so we know: The record isn’t Sessions’s to burnish. We won’t let the nominee misstate his civil rights history to get the job of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

In the questionnaire he filed recently with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sessions (R-Ala.) listed four civil rights cases among the 10 most significant that he litigated “personally” as the U.S. attorney for Alabama during the 1980s. Three involved voting rights, while the fourth was a school desegregation case. Following criticism for exaggerating his role, he then claimed that he provided “assistance and guidance” on these cases.

We worked in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which brought those lawsuits; we handled three of the four ourselves. We can state categorically that Sessions had no substantive involvement in any of them. He did what any U.S. attorney would have had to do: He signed his name on the complaint, and we added his name on any motions or briefs. That’s it.

Here is the entire Op-Ed : https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jeff-sessions-says-he-handled-these-civil-rights-cases-he-barely-touched-them/2017/01/03/4ddfffa6-d0fa-11e6-a783-cd3fa950f2fd_story.html?utm_term=.30a747cdb3ba.

Sessions will get the votes even though he fudges on his application. What a tool. And he is going to be our chief law enforcement officer.

Then this tweet came out yesterday and made some news:

CNNVerified account ‏@CNN 14m14 minutes ago

Megyn Kelly to leave Fox News later this year and join NBC News http://cnn.it/2i7Fgo3

I guess NBC News is going to do what NBC News is going to do. It is their money. Just like CNN does what it wants to do. If NBC News wants to give big money so Megyn Kelly can make a career change and try journalism, it is their money.

Jeff Bagwell of course hit his final career dinger off of Greg Maddux.

SpringerDinger has decided not to play in the World Baseball Classic and don’t ask me what the heck is the World Baseball Classic.

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