Archive for March 24th, 2017

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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