Archive for March, 2017


That says a lot. Donald Trump still hasn’t reached the 90-day mark and already immunity is being offered up by his former national security advisor. If I am a GOP member of congress, I would be thinking twice about going before the cameras and defending Trump and #Russiagate these days. This is only going to get worse.

Nancy Pelosi put a good one on Cong. Devin Nunez this morning on “Today.” Check this tweet:

TODAY‏Verified account @TODAYshow 3h3 hours ago

“He was duped. That’s the most innocent, most benign characterization… but he should have known better.” –@NancyPelosi on Nunes

She is talking about the dupe sneaking over to The White House last week to get some intel that turns out wasn’t worth much.

To my fellow Dems, just keep putting the pressure on the Trump folks and don’t let up.

Just to remind you, on this day 22-years ago, Selena was murdered.

Hello, Beto. Cong. O’Rourke has a website for his race for U.S. Senate. There isn’t much on it right now. Here is a bit:

Beto O’Rourke is a fourth generation Texan. He and his wife Amy are raising their family in El Paso the community he has always called home. Now, Beto is running for U.S. Senate to bring a new generation of leadership to Washington and ensure all Texas families have a chance to succeed.

With a friend, Beto started a technology start-up that for nearly two decades has created good-paying jobs in downtown El Paso. Following success in the private sector, Beto was inspired to serve his community on the City Council, where he focused on creating jobs, improving transportation, and retaining and attracting talent in El Paso.

After successfully taking on a 16-year incumbent, Beto brought his fight for the people of Texas to the halls of Congress where he distinguished himself as a bipartisan problem solver. Now, he’s taking that fight to the U.S. Senate. As our next Senator, Beto will always put Texas families and our values ahead of partisan politics.

Here is his website: http://www.betofortexas.com/.

Politico has a story today on the race here: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/texas-dems-orourke-236722.

Like I said, doable. Beto is making it official today.

Here is another Bill King take on pension reform:

Bettencourt Bill to Require Vote on Pension Bonds Passes Senate

SB 151 passed the Texas Senate yesterday.  This is the bill Sen. Paul Bettencourt filed which requires voter approval on future pension bonds.  The bill passed 21-10.  The bill passed on party lines with the sole exception of Sen. John Whitmire, who also voted for the bill.  This is huge win for Texas taxpayers.

Pension bonds were first authorized by the Legislature in 2003 in what is now Local Government Code §1.07.  There was very little discussion or debate on the bill and it does not specifically state that voter approval is not required, but that is the way the law has been interpreted. 

Since then, three cities, Houston, Dallas and El Paso have issued about $1.3 billion in bonds without voters having any say in the matter.  By the way, Houston and El Paso are now insolvent and Dallas almost certainly will be when they issue their annual audit later this year.  And notwithstanding dumping $1.3 billion in borrowed money into their pension plans, all three still face massive pension debt.

There is nothing inherently wrong with using bonds to help solve the pension crisis.  But only if they are a bridge to a permanent solution, i.e., phasing out the defined benefit pension plans.  If this were the proposition placed before voters, I would support the issuing bonds.  However, to use them a crutch to double down on the defined benefit model is a terrible idea.  Voter approval provides a check to make sure bonds are used in a responsible manner

It is not clear whether Bettencourt’s bill actually become law.  The bill would almost certainly pass on the House floor, but it will first have to get out of the Pension Committee.  The chairman of that Committee, Dan Flynn, has, so far, been unenthusiastic about voter approval of pension bonds or phasing out defined benefit plans. 

There are two Houstonians on the Pension Committee, Dennis Paul from Clear Lake and Dan Huberty from Kingwood.  I would encourage everyone to contact their State Representative and encourage them to support SB151 in the House.

The clock is running on this.

My Best Friend and I went to The Yard last night to check out the Cubbies. We also checked out the changes in center field.   There are a lot more concession choices. It is a lot roomier. There are great views of the playing field.  There were not many St. Arnold options in this area.  That’s OK.  The St. Arnold hangout by Union Station was expanded, so all you have to do is just take a short walk for your beverage.

There is no more FiveSeven Grille. It is more of a FiveSeven min-mart. We never got up to the Torcy’s area. All and all, it is a good place to hang before a game. I have to hand it to the folks at The Yard for doing a nice job on the renovations. It is definitely an improvement and will add to a positive experience and atmosphere.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

Opening Day is Monday

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Beto and Cruz

Normally, Commentary would say “whatever” at the news that a Dem was running for a major statewide office in Texas. Not this time. Why? Who in the heck likes Sen. Ted Cruz? Nobody I know and I know a lot of GOPers.

Cruz’s negatives are significantly higher than his positives. He is more interested in his political future than in doing his job.  He has been in office for over four years and can anyone tell me what has he accomplished for the people of the state of Texas in those four years?

He promotes himself but doesn’t promote the state of Texas.

He made a fool out of himself at the national GOP convention last year. He has succumbed to the wishes of Donald Trump.

This is from a Chron story today on Cong. Beto O’Rourke thinking about running against Cruz:

“I like Beto O’Rourke,” said Texas U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate and the former chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “He’s somebody I’ve worked with and continue to work with. But if he thinks that he can beat Ted Cruz, I think he’s sadly mistaken.”

And this:

“This is a political suicide mission,” said Austin GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak. “He may think Cruz is vulnerable. But I don’t see any sign of that.”

Not so fast. I don’t know about this. Like I said, a lot of folks don’t like Cruz and his act. And Cruz would be running to defend Trump and his policies. It will be real easy to hang a very unpopular Trump around Cruz’s neck big time.

If O’Rourke can get him some serious dough and get a good team behind him (hopefully not the regular bunch that has been running the Dem State Party into the ground the last decade or so), he might be able to make it very competitive and interesting.   O’Rourke looks like he could be a good canaidate.

I am staying tuned!

Here is the entire Chron read on Beto’s run: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/us/article/Beto-O-Rourke-to-take-on-Ted-Cruz-in-2018-11037450.php.

With the removal of Tal’s Hill, the deepest part of the field is now 409 feet. What was it when the hill was still there?

Has it been this long? Check this tweet:

Texas Sports History‏ @TXSportsHistory 2h2 hours ago

Today in 2000, The Ballpark at Union Station (Minute Maid Park) opened up with a Astros 6-5 exhibition win over the Yankees.

You can say that again. I agree with 43’s assessment of the Trump swearing-in. Here is from the internet:

Even while dealing with an unruly poncho during the Trump inauguration, George W. Bush still managed to listen to the dark, foreboding speech the new president gave that day. And, according to three sources, it seems as though the former president spoke for us all when he gave his decisive critique.

After the swearing-in ceremony was finished, several people heard the former president say, “That was some weird sh_t.”

No sh_t!

I guess Sunday’s punk job on Sean Hannity by Ted Koppel is still hurting. Hannity was whining again last night.

Get over it dude. Koppel owns your arse.

The deepest part of center field during the Tal’s Hill era was 436 feet of course.

The media got to see the new look at The Yard yesterday.  Here is a bit from MLB.com’s Alyson Footer:

HOUSTON — When Jim Crane took over more than five years ago as the owner of the Astros, he had his sights set on two long-term goals: Make the Astros a contender, and improve the gameday experience for the fans in the ballpark as the on-field transformation was unfolding.

Crane is pleased with the progress of both. The Astros will begin the 2017 season as legitimate contenders to win the American League West, and Minute Maid Park has undergone another dramatic transformation, with a rebuilt center-field section offering a more comfortable, spacious area and improved food and drink options for fans.

After surveying several premier ballparks throughout the Major Leagues, Crane, team president Reid Ryan and senior vice president of business operations Marcel Braithwaite determined too much space surrounding center field was being wasted. On Wednesday, the Astros unveiled an $18 million renovation that includes new bars, patios and concessions, along with a restructured batter’s eye, a redesigned Champions Pavilion and an additional elevator, escalator and stairwell for better fan access.

The project included lots of addition, and a bit of subtraction. The most glaring difference at first glance is the absence of Tal’s Hill in straightaway center, a unique feature of Minute Maid Park that was named after former club president Tal Smith when the ballpark opened in 2000.The deepest part of center field will now measure 409 feet.

In terms of additions, no new feature received more attention than the two new culinary tenants at Minute Maid Park — Shake Shack and Torchy’s Tacos.

Torchy’s Tacos, an award-winning Texas favorite for decades, will be located on the center-field Mezzanine Level location. They’re also sticking to the old favorites — the Trailer Park, the Beef Fajita, the Fried Avocado and the famous Green Chili Queso and Chips.

The FiveSeven Grille, which occupied so much space behind center field, is now a modestly sized FiveSeven Market, and will offer a wide variety of fresh and packaged foods and beverage items, including an assortment of salads, fruit cups and vegetable cups.

Shake Shack, located in center field on the main concourse, will feature a menu of the classics — the ShackBurger, SmokeShack, ‘Shroom Burger, Shack Stack, Chick’n Shack and hot dog, along with their signatures shakes ….

I will be there this evening and check out the new look.

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From Russia with Love

Cy Young was born 150 years-ago today. March 29 is a pretty good day, don’t you think?

Go check out another killer Russian dressing flavor Nick Anderson cartoon in today’s Chron. Here if you can get behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/anderson/article/Sanctuary-City-11034559.php.

More Russian dressing from Politico:

“Today’s hearing would also have provided the opportunity for former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to testify about the events leading up to former National Security Advisor (Michael) Flynn’s firing, including his attempts to cover up his secret conversations with the Russian Ambassador,” (Cong. Adam) Schiff said in a statement.

More Russian dressing from USA Today:

To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.

Here is all of the USA Today read: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/03/28/trump-business-past-ties-russian-mobsters-organized-crime/98321252/.

And now NBC did a killer story on Paul Manafort yesterday on money laundering.

The Russia lovefest with Trump is going to get bigger and bigger.  The Russians own a big chunk of his arse for sure.

On Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell calling Council Member Cody Wheeler “boy”, Commentary called for Mayor Isbell to apologize. He did.

Here is from the Chron:

Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell on Tuesday issued an apology for telling a Hispanic councilman to “Speak up, boy” during a meeting, noting the “term could be construed as inappropriate” and that members of the council should be addressed more respectfully.

Still, in a statement to the media, the 78-year-old mayor took issue with critics who called the way he addressed Councilman Cody Ray Wheeler “racist.”

“There was no racial component in my mind whatsoever,” Isbell stated. “Having spent years involved in sports and coaching and in the military, saying ‘hurry up, boy’ is simply something that you might say to expedite an action. It’s a term I have used with friends and with family. I was not trying to disparage anyone in any way.”

“Again, I apologize to Councilman Wheeler and anyone else who my comment may have offended,” he added.

Now go say twelve “Hail Marys” and six “Our Fathers.”

Among MLBers still playing and on an MLB roster, the ‘Stros have two who are in the top 20 in career dingers, name the two?

Commentary didn’t expect these folks to break bread with the enemy so this announcement comes as no surprise. Here is from Politico:

No White House staff will attend next month’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner in “solidarity” with their boss, President Donald Trump, who is the first president to skip the dinner in decades.

“The White House informed the White House Correspondents’ Association this evening that White House staff will not be attending this year’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner out of “solidarity” with President Trump, who has previously announced that he would skip the event,” WHCA president Jeff Mason said in a letter sent to the organization.

“The WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic. We made clear in our meeting tonight that President Trump, Vice President Pence, and White House staff continue to be welcome to join us at this dinner.”

It looks like the evening will be fun anyway and you bet Trump and his staff will be watching.

This from Politico:

Trump will not throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Washington Nationals opening day Monday, the team told reporters Tuesday.

This is pretty obvious. He didn’t want to get booed bigly in a big league venue.

Carlos Beltran of course has 421 career dingers and Brian McCann has 245.

It is MLB at The Yard tomorrow.

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Condemnation is the only proper word for Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell for his “boy” comment yesterday. An apology is definitely in order. One can only shake their heads in puzzlement. How does this happen in 2017? How can he not celebrate and accept our rich diversity? Good thing his days are numbered as mayor. Here is from the Chron:

PASADENA – Pasadena Mayor Johnny Isbell, who is white, addressed Councilman Cody Ray Wheeler, who is Hispanic, as “boy” at a public council meeting Monday morning.

The exchange, during debate over a tax collection contract, crystallized an election season in which representatives of the predominantly Hispanic north side, who feel long neglected by city government, are pushing for change. Isbell’s comment was especially jaw-dropping in the context of a federal voting rights lawsuit in which one judge has found that the mayor-backed change to voting districts in 2015 discriminated against Hispanics.

Isbell was rushing to take a vote on the contract when Wheeler interjected: “I haven’t had an opportunity to speak yet.”

“Well, you better speak up, boy,” Isbell replied.


Absolutely shameful and incredible!

Name the last MLB team to relocate from one city to another?

I guess the punking Sean Hannity got from Ted Koppel Sunday is still hurting. Hannity spent last night whining about the punk job.

The truth is the truth. Check this tweet:

Houston smells good Retweeted

andrew kaczynski  🤔‏Verified account @KFILE 16h16 hours ago

Was attempting to count the number times Trump promised to repeal Obamacare. Speeches/TV alone is 300-500 times.

Does Cong. Devin Nunes realize he has become a national punch line. Go check out the number Nick Anderson put on him in today’s Chron.  See this tweet:

Hallie Jackson‏Verified account @HallieJackson 1h1 hour ago

Nunes, responding to recusal calls, on @oreillyfactor: “I’m sure the Democrats do want me to quit because they know I’m quite effective”

Sure. Yeah. He can’t even do a half arse decent job of sneaking around.

Commentary said this a couple or so weeks ago:

While I am on the subject, Commentary has said before that just because you run a professional major sports franchise, that doesn’t make you smarter than the rest of us.

Here is from a John McClain Chron article today on the Texans and the QB situation:

On the day free agency began in 2016, the Texans outbid Denver for (Brock) Osweiler. They signed him to a four-year, $72 million contract that included $37 million guaranteed.

“We didn’t now Brock well enough,” (Texans owner) McNair said. “Coach (Bill O’Brien) didn’t have a chance to get to know him.

“That’s one of the problems with free agency. In the draft, we’re able to bring them to Houston, sit down with them, watch them interviewed by a bunch of coaches, and you have time to check them out.

“You can’t talk to them before they become a free agent. You can’t work them out. We didn’t know him that well.”

Well that was smart.

The Expos of course moved from Montreal to D.C. in 2005 and became the Nationals.

In two days the Cubbies visit The Yard.

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Right after the #ObamacareRepeal vote was pulled this past Friday afternoon, a number of the CNN talking heads were laughing and giggling on the air at Donald Trump about his “winning” and “deal” making.

Donald Trump’s daughter and his son-in-law were in Aspen skiing most of last week while #ObamacareRepeal was imploding. Both are senior advisors to Trump and have offices in the West Wing. They are dead serious about their new gigs, don’t you think! They’re fired!

This is from The Atlantic this past Friday after #ObamascareRepeal was pulled:

“I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening,” Representative Tom Rooney of Florida said in an interview. “We need to start having victories as a party. And if we can’t, then it’s hard to justify why we should be back here.”

And then there was the epic takedown of Sean Hannity by Ted Koppel yesterday. Hannity looked very much like the punkarse he is. He could not handle himself on the air and had to go to twitters afterwards to whine like the punk he is.

Next Monday evening we will begin our 56th season of Major League Baseball. How many season have we’ve played better than .500 baseball?

The GOP has given up talking to Latino voters. They won’t do Univision interviews. Here is this from Politico:

After a year of feuding with Donald Trump, Univision is finding that Republicans are unwilling to appear on the network, according to Enrique Acevedo, the anchor spearheading Univision’s coverage of the Trump administration.

Acevedo said GOP members of Congress — save for those who represent the Miami area, where Univision is headquartered and is particularly strong — have been avoiding the network, the nation’s largest Spanish language platform, since inauguration day.

“It’s happened more since the inauguration. It’s harder to get access to Republicans than it is to get access to Democrats and I understand why that is. Republicans think they have more to lose going on Univision,” Acevedo said, citing his attempts to get Republican senators like Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on the air. “If we get an answer, which is an exception, the answer is: ‘It’s a busy week, they’re not doing media,’ and then we see them on Fox or CNN.”


“The Republicans have already built the wall around Univision and our audience,” said Acevedo, who moved to Washington to cover the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s administration. “They can ignore us at their own peril but it’s a disservice to the 55 million Latinos who want to hear form their members of Congress regardless of affiliation and they deserve to hear from them.”

Some GOP staffers on Capitol Hill said they only received a few requests from Univision for interviews since January, and were not consciously avoiding them. But two Senate Republican aides, working in separate offices, acknowledged that they have avoided or would avoid Univision because they don’t feel as though they’ll get fair treatment from the network.

Here is the entire read: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/univision-republicans-congress-236523.

Hey, the GOP has declared war on Latinos plain and simple.

CNN was interviewing the editor of Tine yesterday. The editor said that they were considering not calling Trumps lies lies because if Trump actually believed what he was saying maybe then in Trump’s mind they weren’t lies. Huh? Kidding me, right?

This past Friday, Commentary put out the H-Town Mayor’s and Bill King’s takes on H-Town pension reform. Then I said this:

Commentary has said before that this isn’t my fight.  I wonder though if a third party will step in and try to get both sides to come together and work something out? Just saying.

Then this tweet came out late Friday afternoon:

Jeff Syptak‏ @JeffSyptak 25m25 minutes ago

Let us recognize we are stronger together when we work together.-@SylvesterTurner

Just saying, err, tweeting.

It won’t happen and Bill sent this out this weekend:

New Poll Shows Widespread Support for Real Pension Reform

Texans for Local Control, a business group advocating for pension reform, recently completed a poll of registered Houston voters regarding their views on pension reform.  The results were stunning.

First, voters favored moving new employees to defined contribution plans by a 64%-20% margin.  Almost as remarkable as the lopsided margin is how few voters are undecided on this issue.  When we polled this same question during the 2015 mayoral campaign, the results were about 50% to 20%, with 30% undecided. This indicates that as people become aware of the issue, they are breaking for the DC conversion almost unanimously.

Voters were even more adamant about having the right to approve any new pension bonds.  70% of voters thought that any new bonds should be put to a vote, with only 20% opposing.  Again, the relatively few number of undecideds is remarkable.

The Texas House will hold a hearing on the H-Town pension bill today.

So, I guess Dem voters in CD 7 will have a contested primary next year. Debra Kerner is running.

Some folks who live near the White Oak music venue are not happy with the venue because of noise and traffic.   They have taken their fight to the courthouse and to H-Town City Hall. They also hired a spokesperson of sorts – Wayne Dolcefino. I don’t know if I would want Dolcefino to be my spokesperson at City Hall if you catch my drift.

The ‘Stros have had 26 seasons playing above .500 of course.

Opening Day is one week from today and MLB returns to The Yard this Thursday evening as the ‘Stros host the World Serious champions.

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Yes, He Said This.

Go on ahead and laugh your arse off. Here is from the Chron front page today:

COLLEGE STATION – Robert McIntosh, the Texas A&M University student whose election as student body president was disqualified, is calling for an investigation into whether the balloting was stacked against him because he is a heterosexual, white, Christian man.

So, the ballot is stacked against you because you are heterosexual, white, Christian and male at A&M. I repeat, at A&M.  Such a burden to bear. Ok. I got it. Ah, the good old days!

Get a life.

Here is the entire read if you are up to it: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Student-urges-probe-into-A-M-election-11024380.php.

‘Stros fans know that Jake Kaplan covers the ‘Stros for the Chron. Care to guess his starting Opening Day ‘Stros line-up that he put out last night?

There will be a hearing in the Texas House on H-Town pension reform. The Mayor has an Op-Ed in the Chron today and here is how it starts:

With our pension challenges, Houston has reached a fork in the road, and each day we delay in choosing direction costs us another $1 million.

One path allows us to solve our pension problems once and for all; the other path has us repeating the mistakes of the past. It’s a choice between eliminating $8.1 billion in unfunded pension obligations and capping future costs or laying off hundreds of city employees and cutting services.

The choice is clear, and that is why we are moving forward to obtain legislative approval of the Houston Pension Solution – a plan that is fair, financially sound, budget-neutral and sustainable for the long term. On Monday, this plan won committee approval and was sent to the full Texas Senate for consideration. Next Monday, we go before the Texas House Pensions Committee, and I expect a similar outcome.

The progress we are seeing is historic. Never before have so many different entities been united in the direction forward. Since February of last year, the city has worked with all three employee pension groups to draft a plan that would be fair to our employees and financially sustainable for them and all Houstonians.

In October 2016, all employee pension groups signed off on an agreed set of terms that would reduce the unfunded liability by $2.5 billion through changes in future retirement benefits and cap the city’s future financial exposure. The pension reforms were subject to all three employee groups providing to the city the necessary actuarial data needed to verify the costs – data only the employee groups possess and only they control.

Here is the entire Op-Ed: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Turner-Pension-plan-is-gaining-forward-momentum-11024148.php.

Bill King also got into the act and sent out an email this morning. Here is the meat of the email:

Polling has consistently shown that Houstonians want real pension reform and to quit kicking this can down the road.  The only pathway to accomplish that goal is to begin phasing out the broken defined benefit model in favor of defined contribution plans.  96% of the private sector has already made this transition.

Ironically, even City employees and retirees are beginning to see the light on this issue as they face significant benefit cuts and increased contributions under Turner’s plan.  And if the investment results do not go well, the impact on employees and retirees could be much worse.

But incredibly, our elected officials, both at City Hall and in Austin, seem determined to bankrupt the City of Houston by forcing its taxpayers to continue to support defined benefit plans whose debt has exploded in recent years to over $8 billion and last year cost the City nearly $900 million.

Commentary has said before that this isn’t my fight.  I wonder though if a third party will step in and try to get both sides to come together and work something out? Just saying.

Good news for U.S. currency counterfeiters? See this from Fiscal Times:

U.S. Secret Service spending to provide security for the lavish and far-flung travel of President Trump and his family – including Trump’s now almost weekly trips to his Florida resort for presidential consultations and golf – has gotten so out of hand that the agency recently requested a $60 million increase in its budget for the coming year.

But The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the request was turned down by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), headed by director Mick Mulvaney. The Secret Service was told to try to find the money through savings in other areas of its budget.


In God We Trust?

Commentary will make no predictions on how the big vote will go today.

Jake Kaplan’s ‘Stros Opening Day starting line-up of course:

SpringerDinger, CF

Alex Bregman, 3B

Altuve, 2B

Correa, SS

Carlos Beltran, DH

Josh Reddick, RF

Yuli Gurriel, 1B

Brian McCann, C

Nori Aoki, LF

Keuchel, P

Where’s Evan Gattis?

MLB returns to The Yard in 6 days.

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Let’s see. We had a terror attack in London. The House Intel Committee chair works for Donald Trump. There is a huge vote on Obamacare today. It looks like the Trump folks are working in cahoots with the Russians. And Team USA won the World Baseball Classic (WBC) last night. So, what is the lead story in the hard copy of today’s Chron? You guessed it. Rick Perry saying the student government election was “stolen” over at Texas A&M.

Really? Kidding, right? You decide!

Here is how the Chron story starts out:

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, a former Texas governor and Texas A&M University Aggies Yell Leader, said Wednesday the election of the first openly gay president of the institution’s student body was “stolen” and that the student who had the most votes was disqualified through a process that “made a mockery of due process and transparency.”

In an extraordinary submission to the Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board, the energy secretary also suggested that Bobby Brooks’ victory was engineered by the Student Government Association in a quest for diversity on the traditionally conservative campus.

Brooks was declared the winner in the campus election by the SGA even though he came in second in the vote count to Robert McIntosh , who is white and was disqualified by student election officials.

Here is the entire read: http://www.chron.com/news/education/article/Rick-Perry-the-U-S-Energy-Secretary-weighs-in-11021161.php.

Here is Rick Perry’s Op-Ed on this from today’s Chron: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Perry-Did-A-M-shun-due-process-in-the-name-of-11021097.php?cmpid=btfpm.

In the hard copy of today’s Chron:

McIntosh’s mother is Alison McIntosh, a longtime Republican fundraiser, according to Empower Texans, a conservative political organization. Her company, The McIntosh Company Inc., raised money for the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Perry’s letter was submitted to the Chronicle the same day the paper ran a front page story about Brooks’ election and the conservative Empower Texans, which acknowledged that a “student body election doesn’t usually rise to the level of deserving adult attention,” weighed in online.

“McIntosh’s disqualification appears to have nothing to do with campus election rules and everything to do with campus bureaucrats attempting to promote a left-wing multiculturalism agenda at A&M,” said Empower Texans president and CEO Michael Quinn Sullivan.


I guess this deserves coverage but the top story? Oh, well!

I have yet to figure out why the Cong. Devin Nunez, Chair of House Intel, had to go over and brief Donald Trump. I guess they have him by the you know what.   I am going to have to go with the DNC saying he is running a “protection racket” for the Trump folks.

The Chron’s Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg has an outstanding takedown on Greg Abbott wanting to dismantle local control. I wish I could reprint all of Lisa’s column but it is behind the paywall. This one line from her column says it all:

If you’re skin isn’t crawling, you’re not Texan.

Ok, and these lines:

Abbott’s new verbiage is eerily similar to the way Polish Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz described Moscow, from which all oppressive edicts flowed after World War II, as “the center,” in his 1953 book The Captive Mind.

Don’t look now, folks. That pink dome is taking on a more reddish hue.

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/In-Abbott-s-version-of-autonomy-plastic-bags-11021496.php?cmpid=btfpm.

This Abbott fella is a tool for sure.

Here is this tweet on H-Town pension reform:

Rebecca Elliott‏ Verified account @rfelliott 3h3 hours ago

Turner criticizes plan to vote on pension obligation bonds as benefiting “one particular person.” The shadow campaign with King continues

Got it.

So, last night I was watching the WBC final on the MLB Network. ESPN 2 aired it with Spanish-speaking announcers and the haters on twitter went hating, you know, the Mexican thing. Dumbarses! You really don’t need announcers to know how the game is going. Just watch the flat screen.  They just needed a reason to express their hate I suppose.

I tweeted to a handful of haters this message – #learnspanish.

FYI:  ESPN 2 had an agreement to carry the Spanish language version if they decided to air the WBC.

Former MLB skipper Dallas Green was the skipper for the Phillies when they beat the ‘Stros in five in the 1980 NLCS.  The Phillies went on to win the World Serious.

Dallas Green left us yesterday. He now gets to meet up with his granddaughter, Christina Taylor-Green, who was murdered in the 2011 Tucson shooting – the same one that seriously injured Cong. Gabby Giffords. Little Christina was 9 years at the time.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

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Don’t be surprised if the next James Bond villain is based on a Paul Manafort type character. From the internet:

The White House distanced itself from a new report Wednesday that alleges Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, worked for a Russian billionaire more than a decade ago in order to advance the agenda of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The explosive report by The Associated Press appears to undermine assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort that he had never worked to promote Russia’s global influence.


Manafort, working as a consultant, signed a $10 million annual contract with Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska in 2006 after pitching plans to help Russian interests around the world, the AP reported. Deripaska was a known ally of Putin.

“We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success,” Manafort purportedly wrote in a confidential 2005 memo to Deripaska obtained by the AP.

When the Donald Trump folks don’t even want to acknowledge his existence, you know it stinks big time. Let’s just hope Manafort sings and brings down the rest of the colluders.

I heard yesterday that some daddies get their little girls doll houses, while Trump got his daughter a White House. I don’t know about that. Sen. Ted Cruz’s former campaign communications consultant certain had a take in Cosmo yesterday. I am thinking she is now on Trump’s enemies list. Check this from Amanda Carpenter:

Ivanka Trump sits with foreign dignitaries during important meetings, is setting up an office in the White House, is being issued government communications devices, and is seeking national security clearance. What’s she doing exactly? Nobody knows. What qualifies her? Apparently, being the president’s daughter.

There’s a word for this: nepotism. And it makes everything Ivanka has done up to this point to position herself as an example for working women into a farce. By taking this role, Ivanka is taking away a life-changing opportunity from another woman, who undoubtedly would have more expertise than the first daughter.

Trump’s spinners will argue the arrangement is not a violation of federal nepotism laws because Ivanka is not being given a salary or title — a stunning symbol of privilege in itself. Ivanka’s too wealthy to need the salary and too well-known to need a title, a slap in the face to women who have toiled for years, for little pay, hoping to work up the ladder and obtain a White House job one day.

If Ivanka Trump were not the president’s daughter, would she be given a White House office to perform a job that has no description? Of course not. Don’t believe me? Just try calling the White House and asking if you can have some gratis work space at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., one of the most coveted real estate properties on the planet.


Ivanka will continue to pretend she’s a model for working women, applauding herself for having a “seat at the table” with foreign dignitaries, as she did in this Instagram photo. Just remember she’s only sitting in that seat because her daddy let her. That’s not the case for the overwhelming majority of working women in America and we shouldn’t celebrate anyone for whom that is.

Here is the entire take: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a9161907/ivanka-trump-white-house-office-insult/.

Nice job, Amanda and watch out.

Now to center field. Over the last six Opening Days, the ‘Stros have had 6 different starting center fielders. Name them?

Sigh! Groan! Why can’t this guy let cities be cities and towns be towns. What is the point in having mayors and city council members and ordinances and city charters?   His disdain for our local form of government is sickening. Here is from the Tribune:

CORPUS CHRISTI — As local control battles rage at the Texas Capitol, Gov. Greg Abbott is voicing support for a much more sweeping approach to the issues that have captured headlines.

“As opposed to the state having to take multiple rifle-shot approaches at overriding local regulations, I think a broad-based law by the state of Texas that says across the board, the state is going to pre-empt local regulations, is a superior approach,” Abbott said Tuesday during a Q&A session hosted by the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, an Austin-based think tank. 

Such an approach, Abbott added, “makes it more simple, more elegant, but more importantly, provides greater advance notice to businesses and to individuals that you’re going to have the certainty to run your lives.” 

Abbott made the remarks in response to a moderator’s question about legislation this session that would “prohibit any local ordinance from exceeding the standard set by the state.”

Here is the entire article: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/03/21/abbott-supports-broad-based-law-pre-empting-local-regulations/.

Don’t be fooled. This fella is anti-local freedom.   This fella needs a hobby?   Where does he think up this stuff? Wacko job for sure!

The bully-in-chief. From the internet yesterday:

President Donald Trump arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning with a stern message for Republicans who’ve been wobbly about dismantling Obamacare: Give me your vote or you may lose your seat in 2018.

During a closed-door meeting with the House GOP conference, the president gave a full-throated endorsement to the House repeal bill that will come to the floor for a vote on Thursday. He warned that if Republicans don’t pass the bill, “I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018.”

Just for your info:

(CNN) Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch criticized Tuesday President Donald Trump’s attacks on the federal judge who blocked his administration’s travel ban, saying for the first time publicly that he found them “disheartening” and “demoralizing.”

Gorsuch previously made those comments in private conversations with senators, but Tuesday marked the first time he went on the record with his disapproval of the president’s rhetoric when he called US District Judge James L. Robart a “so-called judge.”

“When anyone criticizes the honesty, integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening, I find that demoralizing, because I know the truth,” he said during his Senate confirmation hearing, in response to a question about the tweets from Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Asked by the Connecticut Democrat if that “anyone” included the President.

“Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch said.

This guy doesn’t like his new job. He needs to just walk away before his legacy is flushed down the toilet.   He is out of his league for sure. From The Hill:

Rex Tillerson said the job of secretary of State wasn’t a role he sought out.

“I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job,” Tillerson told the Independent Journal Review in an interview during his recent Asia trip. 

When asked why he agreed to take on the position of secretary of State, Tillerson said his wife “told me I’m supposed to do this.”

During the interview, Tillerson said he had never met President Trump before the election. After his victory, the president wanted to talk with Tillerson “about the world.”

“When he asked me at the end of that conversation to be secretary of State, I was stunned,” Tillerson said.

Tillerson later told his wife about the offer. 

“I told you God’s not through with you,” he said his wife told him.

The former ExxonMobil CEO added: “I was supposed to retire in March, this month. I was going to go to the ranch to be with my grandkids.”

Tillerson said he serves at the “pleasure of the president.”

“My wife convinced me,” he said. “She was right. I’m supposed to do this.”

My goodness! No you are not supposed to do this!

The last 6 Opening Day starting center fielders for the ‘Stros have been in this order Carlos Gomez, Jake Marisnick, Dexter Fowler, Justin Maxwell, Jordan Schafer and Michael Bourn of course.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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This is fu___d up if you ask me.   This is so wrong. Law enforcement gone off the deep end for sure.  Shame on ICE and shame on Greg Abbott. It looks like the federal government might be declaring war on Travis County. Here is from the Statesman:

Federal agents privately alerted two magistrate judges in late January that they would be targeting the Austin area for a major operation and that the sting was retribution for a new policy by Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez that dramatically limited her cooperation with them, according to one of the judges.

The revelation — made Monday in open court by U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin — conflicts with what Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told local leaders after the sweep, when ICE characterized the operation as routine and said the Austin area was not being targeted. It also provides evidence after weeks of speculation that Hernandez’s policy triggered ICE’s ire.

“We had a briefing … that we could expect a big operation, agents coming in from out of town, that it was going to be a specific operation, and at least it was related to us in that meeting that it was the result of the sheriff’s new policy that this was going to happen,” Austin said.

“My understanding, what was told to us, is that one of the reasons that happened was because the meetings that had occurred between the (ICE) field office director and the sheriff didn’t go very well,” he said.

Agent Laron Bryant, who has worked in the Austin ICE office since last summer, said he did not know about the meeting between Hernandez and ICE, and said the judge’s concerns were new information for him.

ICE officials issued a statement about the matter on Monday evening: “For operational security reasons, ICE does not discuss future operations. However, ICE conducts daily operations nationwide targeting and arresting criminal aliens and other individuals who are in violation of our nation’s immigration laws for the safety and security of our communities.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.mystatesman.com/news/judge-ice-said-austin-raid-was-because-sanctuary-policy/dHWeSUd7nyp0XPJ6HcW8NP/.


First of all, go check out the cold-blooded comb-over cartoon Nick Anderson has in the Chron today. Cold-blooded here for sure: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/anderson/article/The-Comb-Over-11015088.php.

It was a very bad day for Donald Trump yesterday. He was called a liar by a congressional committee and he and his folks are being investigated for colluding with the Russians. This morning, one of 43’s former press spokespersons called Trump “delusional” and everyone now thinks Sean Spicer is a big arse joke.

These tweets are a tiny sample from yesterday:

Benjy Sarlin‏Verified account @BenjySarlin 22m22 minutes ago

. @KatyTurNBC, who was there the whole campaign, describing Paul Manafort’s extensive role. Spicer comments “disingenuous to say the least”


Katy Tur‏Verified account @KatyTurNBC 11h11 hours ago

So far this hearing is making a good argument for why there needs to be an independent investigation.


I loved it when Trump was trying to get cute yesterday and tweeted out a take during the hearing that was then smacked down in real time by our intel honchos. Trump was probably watching.

Tags tweeted this yesterday:

Brian McTaggart‏Verified account @brianmctaggart 24m24 minutes ago

Last year, Correa was the 8th SS in 8 years to start at the position on Opening Day for the Astros. There’s some stability there now.

Ok, name our 7 previous starting shortstops on Opening Day before Carlos Correa?

You know it is not good when Fox News takes you off the air for putting out fake news. When your false take on British wiretapping gets smacked down big time by our intel honchos, this happens. Here is from the LA Times:

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano is being kept off the air indefinitely amid the controversy over his unverified claims that British intelligence wiretapped Trump Tower at the behest of former President Obama.

Fox News did not respond to inquiries about Napolitano’s status Monday. Napolitano was conspicuously missing from the network’s coverage of the confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch — an event in which he typically would have played a significant role. He has not been on the air since Thursday.

People familiar with the situation who could speak only on the condition of anonymity said Napolitano is not expected to be on Fox News Channel any time in the near future. Napolitano was not available for comment.

On March 4, President Trump first tweeted the accusation that Obama ordered his “‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory.”

The ‘Stros have 10 home games with the Rangers this season and none are on the weekend?

We have two weekend series up in Arlington.

The 7 previous Opening Day shortstops before Correa were in this order: Miguel Tejada, Tommy Manzella, Angel Sanchez, Marwin Gonzalez, Ronny Cedeno, Jonathan Villar and Jed Lowrie.

Gonzalez, Villar and Lowrie are still playing in MLB.

The team sent out the price levels for the Field Level Suites. The most expensive are for the green games which includes Opening Day and most of the Ranger games. Price tag: $30,000 for 100 folks (half that for 50) and includes free grub and free non-alcoholic drinks.

The second highest level is for the $27,500 red games which includes a couple of Ranger Monday games and the Friday Red Sox and Yankee games. Then there are the $23,500 yellow games, $19,500 oranges games and the $18,000 blue games. Got it!


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On this Day

Today is the first day of spring even though we didn’t have much of a winter.

The FBI Director will speak to a congressional committee today.  UPDATE:  He basically just said Donald Trump is full of s__t.

There is a hearing on pension reform up in Austin today.

The Supreme Court nominee hearings get underway today.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump tweeted this earlier today:

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Trump looked way out of his league against the German chancellor this past Friday. I saw where someone said it best that Trump doesn’t have a command of an adult vocabulary. Very true.

And this tweet came out last night:

Oliver Farry‏ @ofarry 23h23 hours ago

RIP Jimmy Breslin. His description of Rudy Giuliani – “a short man in search of a balcony” – is one of the all-time great put-downs.

Great put-down!

Hillary Clinton said this to a group this past Friday evening:

“I’m like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news. I do not believe that we can let political divides harden into personal divides. And we can’t just ignore, or turn a cold shoulder to someone because they disagree with us politically. I am ready to come out of the woods and to help shine a light on what is already happening around kitchen tables, at dinners like this, to help draw strength that will enable everybody to keep going.”

I like her, but I don’t know what she thinks she can accomplish. She is still a very polarizing figure. Her through-the-roof negatives are a big reason Donald Trump won.   I think it was last week that some tweets came out that said her daughter was thinking about running for office and the other side freaked out. Same reaction when it was announced that Chelsea would be sitting on the Expedia board and get a $45,000 a year fee and stock deals. I mean like not everyone Chelsea’s age gets this kind of opportunity and that’s the problem.

Like I said, I like the Clintons and they have done a great service to our country and to the Democratic Party, but right now I think our movement would be best served if they kind of just sat on the sidelines for a while. It is time for others to step up. Just saying.

Among active MLB players, name the pitcher with the most career wins?

This is from today’s Chron:

WASHINGTON – Eyeing a takedown of Ted Cruz, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke may be on the verge of declaring his candidacy for a 2018 Senate race, the next best gauge whether Texas Democrats are enjoying the resurgence they claim.

O’Rourke, D-El Paso, made national news last week along with U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, when they drove together to Washington in a rental car after an East Coast storm canceled many flights.


O’Rourke, 44, is a three-term congressman who devotes himself heavily to veterans’ issues. He is a fierce opponent of the Trump administration’s immigration policies and a fluent Spanish speaker who fights deportations and trumpets his border city as one of America’s safest.

He comes from a prominent political family but often seems the un-politician. He has played in three punk rock bands and counts great authors as influences in his life. He says both he and his wife, Amy, recently plowed through Tolstoy’s 1,440-page “War and Peace,” likely the only member of Congress who can make that claim.

But as 2018 candidacies take shape, O’Rourke is on a short list of top Texas Democrats considering a leap into the Senate race. He says he will reveal his plans shortly.

“I’m very moved to do it,” he said in an interview. “After the election my wife (Amy) was with me in seeing a political direction that this country is taking that in no way reflects the real opportunities that I see in my community and in Texas.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/article/El-Paso-Congressman-Beto-O-Rourke-may-enter-2018-11013230.php.

He only has a distant shot if the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee is all in. Don’t do it if they are not.

This is not good news. From CNN:

(CNN)San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark has announced he is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The neurodegenerative disease — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — disrupts the connection between the brain and the muscles and can eventually leave sufferers paralyzed but with brain function, or “locked-in.


Clark played as a wide receiver for the 49ers from 1979 to 1987. As a player he is best remembered for “The Catch,” in the 1982 NFC Playoffs which took the 49ers to victory against the Dallas Cowboys in the final minute of play.

This past weekend, the Houston chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America put out their new logo.  It looks like the ‘Stros’ gold star logo from the 1990s. I don’t think this is a coincidence. The star is the same, the A is the same, the S is the same, and the colors are the same.

Bartolo Colon of course leads all active MLB pitchers with 233 career wins. The 43 – year old Colon is now with The ATL.

Opening Day is two weeks from today!


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