Archive for May, 2017

Twitter Day

Famous last words: Let this go.

I ran across this fact on Twitter yesterday:

This Baseball Hall of Fame great had over 3,000 base hits with exactly half of his base hits at home and the other half on the road. He is no longer with us and he played on just one team – in the National League. Let me help you out here. There only 29 MLB players with over 3,000 base hits. Roberto Clemente had 3,000. 5 of the 29 are not in the Hall of Fame. 15 of the HOFers 3,000 plus career base hits are still around. Of the 6 deceased HOFers with an even numbered total career 3,000 plus base hits, only one played his entire career on the same team in the National League. Name the player.

Can we agree that Donald Trump is sh___ing all over himself?

Yesterday was one of those days for Commentary where I just sat back and watched Twitter explode with me replying to an occasional tweet.

You have to figure that the GOP is certainly worried about 2018. GOP members of Congress certainly were not in the mood to go on camera yesterday evening. Here is a small sample from yesterday.

First from the White House Nazi:

Fox News‏Verified account @FoxNews

.@SebGorka: “It’s no longer fake news. It’s now dishonest news.” #Hannity

Shut the f__k up!

This is my favorite from yesterday:

Keir Murray Retweeted

Rachael Bade‏Verified account@rachaelmbade

I just asked @DarrellIssa abt the Comey news and he flicked me off — literally gave me the middle finger — and kept walking. Said nothing

Issa is more worried about getting reelected next year. Now he is denying it this morning despite witness who saw him shoot the bird.

Just look at this one. He is never shy about putting out outrageous takes:

Texas Tribune Retweeted

Abby Livingston‏Verified account@TexasTribAbby

Rep Randy Weber says he spent most of the last week on vacation with his grandchildren and is still catching up with the news

Then this one:

Sarah Westwood‏Verified account@sarahcwestwood

.@FoxNews reporting on the air now that they can’t get a Republican member on the air right now to defend Trump

And this:

Texas Tribune Retweeted

Abby Livingston‏Verified account@TexasTribAbby

Hard to describe the feeling in the air at the Capitol today. But it ain’t normal.

And from this morning:

Pulitzer Non-Winner Retweeted

Ed O’Keefe‏Verified account@edatpost

Wow: @CBSThisMorning says it asked 20 GOP lawmakers to be a guest this AM to talk about Trump. And asked the WH for someone. ALL declined.

It is tough being a GOPer this morning.

How about them ‘Stros? Check these:

Houston Astros‏ @astros

#AstrosWin 12-2! Series win! Three straight! Win streak!


Jake Kaplan


The Astros beat the Marlins, 12-2. They have won 70 percent of their games so far.


ABC13 Houston Retweeted

Greg Bailey‏Verified account@GregBailey13

#Astros move to 28–12. Chasing history.


Brian McTaggart‏ @brianmctaggart

The Astros are 28-12 at roughly the 1/4th point of season. You do the math.


Aaron Stough Retweeted

Mike Acosta‏@AstrosTalk

It’s been ten years since an AL team won 28 of their first 40 games. The Astros continue their best start in franchise history at 28-12.

Hall of Fame great Stan “The Man” Musial of course had 1,815 base hits at home and 1,815 hit on the road.

The last game of the current roadie starts at 11:10 am our time later on this morning.


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Politics, Baby!

With a .282 batting average, the Nationals lead all other MLB clubs. Name the club with the second-best team batting average?

How about this tweet:

ABC13 Houston Retweeted

Greg Bailey‏Verified account@GregBailey13 13m13 minutes ago

#Astros are 27–12. That’s filthy.

If you are aghast over Donald Trump giving away top secret intel, you must have been on another planet the last couple of years.

It’s politics, baby! It happens. Check this from Mike Morris and the online Chron:

Firefighters, without a raise since their last contract expired three years ago, declared an impasse Monday with the city as the end of an extended negotiating period approaches next month.

Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association negotiators want raises of 6 percent, 6 percent and 8 percent in a new three-year deal. Over the last six years, firefighters have averaged a raise of 0.5 percent per year.

The city, union president Marty Lancton said, has countered with an offer of 2 percent, then 2 percent. That, Lancton added, would only barely offset the additional 1.5 percent of their pay firefighters would have to put toward their pensions rather than take home if Mayor Sylvester Turner’s pension reform package passes the Legislature in the coming weeks.

“What the city has been doing for a period of three years is nothing more than a delay tactic,” Lancton said. “City leaders have neglected the fire department and its people for nearly a generation. Enough is enough. Firefighters have earned the right for fair pay and working conditions.”

Union attorneys said they are open to entering mediation or arbitration, which would extend the negotiating deadline indefinitely. They also said they are willing to ask a state district court to grant firefighters a “prevailing wage” if the city is unwilling to talk.

Mayor Turner, at an afternoon news conference, said the city will remain at the bargaining table. He also said it is disingenuous for firefighter union leaders to demand higher pay when fire pension leaders are hoping to kill pension reforms that the mayor cast as the only way to keep HFD’s overall compensation affordable for taxpayers. 

And here is from a Channel 2 news story from yesterday:

“Firefighters in Houston no longer trust Mayor Sylvester Turner,” Lancton said. “He has erased 26 years of goodwill in only 16 months.”

It’s politics, baby! That is the way it goes in this business.

In their (Houston Fire Fighters PAC) 2015 endorsement mailer, the Mayor is described as “Fiscally Responsible.” Oh, well. It’s politics, baby!

Speaking of, it probably wouldn’t be a wild guess to say Bill King will be front and center leading the opposition to the “cap” election this November. Bill has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron on the issue. Here is how it starts:

Mayor Sylvester Turner, as candidate and now in office, has declared his intent to ask voters to remove the “revenue cap” that he – and most media reports – have incorrectly characterized.

There is no cap on city tax revenues. There is, however, a cap on how much the city can charge in property taxes every year. This distinction is important because property taxes only make up about 25 percent of the city’s total revenues. Under the City Charter, that is the only source of revenue that is capped. There is absolutely no cap on 75 percent of the city’s revenues.

And even to describe the charter limitation as a “cap” on property taxes is somewhat misleading because the charter still allows the property tax collections to increase every year by the sum of inflation and population growth. And increase, they have.

Since the charter amendment was enacted, the city’s property tax receipts have increased by 70 percent, rising from $646 million to $1.1 billion. The average increase since 2005 has been just under 5 percent. Twice since the charter was amended, the city has benefited from double-digit increases. For the last three years, the average increase was almost 7 percent.

And, according to the city’s most recent monthly report, property tax revenues so far this year are up an eye-popping 15 percent. Eventually, that number will come down some due to refunds from appeals of property appraisals, but the city is still projecting an increase of more than 5 percent even with these refunds. I feel certain that the city has overestimated the amount of refunds; it is a little embarrassing to ask voters to repeal the property tax cap in a year when the property taxes are increasing by double digits.

Here is the entire Bill King Op-Ed: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/King-It-s-not-a-revenue-cap-it-s-a-property-tax-11148014.php.

I am sure Bill’s opponents will try to ding him up some on social media soon enough. It’s politics, baby!

Sigh! Sigh! Sigh! Folks know how Commentary feels about this. Remember “Stronger Together.” Now Hillary Clinton is launching “Onward Together.” Even the logo has a similar look. I am not interested in watching a replay of the 2016 election. The GOP is just licking their chops on this move. Sigh!

Remember when Commentary put out this a week or so ago:

SiriusXM is pleased to announce The Beatles Channel, launching May 18 at 9:09 am ET exclusively on SiriusXM channel 18.

Why 9:09 am? Beatles fans know this one. How about “One After 909” from the “Let it Be” album.

“I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice
I said I’m trav’ling on the one after 909″

Now you know. This Thursday.

So columnist Ken Hoffman left the Chron and all we got was this from the Chron:

After 22 years at the Houston Chronicle, Ken Hoffman is giving up print deadlines and his newspaper column. We thank him for the times he made us smile, and we wish him the best.

To read his past columns, see houstonchronicle.com/kenhoffman.

Don’t worry, Hoffman put this out last night:

Here’s why I quit the Houston Chronicle after 22 years at “Houston’s leading information source” and joined CultureMap.

A long time ago, a good friend, whose advice I trust, said to me … “Go where they want you.”

That applies to jobs, people, relationships, schools, where you live … everything. I see so many people knocking their heads against the wall, trying to make things work, when there’s no chance of it ever happening.

“Don’t want nobody who don’t want me, ’cause there’s too many fish in the sea.” – the Marvelettes.

Plus I’m up for a new challenge.

I was not unhappy at the Chronicle. I liked it there. Best job I ever had. Some co-workers thought I was “Teacher’s Pet” even. They let me do what I wanted, I had freedom to write what I wanted. I had a close friendship with the managing editor, Vernon Loeb. We used to go to the tennis matches at River Oaks Country Club and Astros games at Minute Maid Park. We’re still going to do that. More “Ken Hoffman New York Hot Dogs” at the ballpark!

The Houston Chronicle was my dream job.

Until something dreamier came along. At least better for me: the offer to join CultureMap.

Obviously CultureMap is not as big or mighty or influential as the established Houston Chronicle. It will take some time to stop thinking of myself as “… from the Houston Chronicle.”

But I’m thinking of the advantages of working for CultureMap now. I am bringing my column over intact — with some added nonsense. I have some ideas that will fit CultureMap’s personality better than the Chronicle.

I’m still going to do weekly fast food reviews and the homeless pet feature. Still going to review concerts and write silly columns about life in Houston. Maybe bring back my Sunday letters column.

Nothing is going to change … except more.

It’s not like I’m diving into unchartered waters. The editor-in-chief of CultureMap is Clifford Pugh. I know him. For several years, I sat next to Clifford at the Houston Post before it closed. I don’t like to brag, but the Post was the biggest newspaper ever to fold in the U.S. I like to think I was a big part of that.

Clifford and I used to answer each other’s phones. I think both of our ears are still ringing from that. CultureMap? CultureShock!

Clifford and his husband, John, often eat Thanksgiving dinner at my house. When my son was born, they brought two gifts to the baby shower: a copy of Playboy Magazine and a copy of Blue Boy magazine. Clifford said, “It depends which way it turns out for the kid.”

The ladies of West U just loved that. One day their blood pressure will return to normal.

I also know David Gow, the owner of CultureMap and radio stations ESPN 97.5 FM and KGOW SB Nation 1560 AM. Ten years ago, to put money in a college fund, I hosted a show on 1560. I think the FCC is still listening to tapes and figuring out the fines.

So I’ll be around people I know, the CultureMap people, the radio guys, and I’ll still be writing about Houston. It’s funny, when you grow up in New Jersey, Houston and Texas are so exotic, like a whole other planet.

Now I have Houston in my heart. I love visiting schools on Career Day. I loved when Katie Couric came here to do a feature on Houston and asked to interview me, of all people. I loved hosting the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree. I look forward to eating everything on a stick at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. One of these days, I’m going to get cowboy boots.

This appeals to me: people will be able to read my column online at culturemap.com for free. No paywall, no subscription necessary, no minimum stories per month, no jumping through hoops.

I don’t write columns for my health. I would like people to read them. At CultureMap, it will be easier and cheaper for readers. I just have to get the word out. I’ll figure something.

So that’s why I left the Chronicle for CultureMap. There were no hard feelings at the Chronicle. I’m not a disgruntled former employee. In fact, I am probably the most grunted ex-Chron person in Houston. I will miss working there.

I just saw a better opportunity and took it.

Ok. Got it.

How about this:

Houston Astros Retweeted

Steve Grande‏@AstrosGrande 42m42 minutes ago

This is the first time the #Astros have hit grand slams in consecutive games in franchise history. Bregman last night, Gurriel tonight.

The ‘Stros of course are number two in MLB with a .273 team batting average.

15 games above .500 and an 8-game lead. A roadie record of 13-6. Best record in MLB. And it is only May 16. I know, I know, sooner or later we will hit a rough patch – or will we? Please get out to The Yard this weekend when Cleveland visits!


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In MLB, the ‘Stros are tied for dead last in hitting triples with a total of two. Name the other dead last team in the hitting triples department?

Commentary said this back in March:

“End of an error” is the banner headline in today’s hard copy Chron sports section and I love it. Excellent! That’s why I subscribe.

Then this from this past December:

Commentary has been a Chron subscriber like for decades. Is subscribing a civic duty?

Should we be supporting our local newspaper?

Yesterday, at H-Town City Hall, tons of newsies were in attendance to cover the confirmations of the new Police and Fire Chiefs. After the Chiefs were confirmed, most of the newsies hit the road, prompting this tweet that included two photos from the Chron’s Rebecca Elliott, the City Hall beat reporter. The photos were one with a bank of TV cameras and one without the cameras. Her tweet:

Media in chambers as #houcouncil prepares to pass laws. Right: Media to witness police, fire chief confirmations 3 hours prior.

Then the Chron’s Mike Morris, also a City Hall beat reporter, retweeted Rebecca with this:

There is no better case for newspapers. Don’t subscribe because of Trump (OK, that too). Subscribe because we’re the only ones watching.

And from the same take:

You don’t always agree with their editorial takes. We certainly need a newspaper like the Chron. They keep us informed.

What would we do without it? Just saying.

Well if you are not yet a Chron subscriber, yesterday’s front page story should convince you. Chron reporters uncovered a mess over at the City of H-Town housing department that the city didn’t even know existed. Great jobs by City Hall beat reporters Mike Morris and Rebecca Elliott for figuring out what the city hadn’t. Here is the headline from the online story:

Lost Money: City’s affordable housing efforts slowed by sloppy records, loose spending

By Rebecca Elliott and Mike Morris

Here is how the story starts:

Houston has collected $130 million in local taxes over the last decade to help provide affordable housing for low-income families, but has little to show for it.

For many projects, city housing officials cannot say how many families were helped or whether their homes still qualify as affordable for low-income residents.

Records are so chaotic that it took dozens of public information requests over 10 months for the Chronicle to connect spending to outcomes. The results have been underwhelming.

For example, although the city used its affordable housing fund to subsidize the construction, purchase or rental of more than 2,000 homes over the last decade, fewer than a quarter of them remain tied to city rules for housing subsidies.

Houston for years has lacked a coherent housing strategy and, in fact, does not even define affordability.

As a result, almost half of the $96 million spent since fiscal 2007 has gone toward administrative costs, federal fines or keeping projects moving after the city lost state and federal grants. For the last few years, the money even has been used to pay rent for the housing department’s offices.

The city’s efforts to track its finances have been similarly poor.

It was the Houston Chronicle’s repeated questions about financial discrepancies that led the city to discover $46 million was available for new projects, tens of millions more than officials thought.

$46 million? As a respected journalist told me yesterday, it was a “system failure.”

I agree.

My point is, if it wasn’t for the top-notch reporting by Morris and Elliott, it would be business as usual over at the housing department. That’s incredible.

Folks, that’s why we need to support our local newspaper. Who else is going to do this job?

That is why I subscribe. We need them.

Good job, Mike Morris and Rebecca Elliott! Y’all are the only ones watching!

Here is the must read piece: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/LostMoney/.

I saw this tweet yesterday:

Houstorian @Houstorian

Today in 1977, Shelley Duvall is the first Houstonian to host Saturday Night Live. @NBCSNL

So I tweeted this:

Marc Campos‏@MarcCommentary 5m5 minutes ago

Marc Campos Retweeted Houstorian

Who was the second?https://twitter.com/Houstorian/status/863815281663242245 …

My friend Keir replied to me with Patrick Swayze – maybe.

I had to look it up. Swayze did host in October of 1990, followed by Dennis Quaid (also from H-Town) in December of 1990. However, Gary Busey hosted in March of 1979 and he was born in Goose Creek, now Baytown, so does that count? Just saying.

What is up with Ken Hoffman leaving the Chron?

I liked this tweet from last night after the game:

Brian McTaggart‏Verified account@brianmctaggart 11h11 hours ago

Astros by the record:

Overall: 26-12

Series: 10-2

4 or more runs: 21-3

vs. RH starter: 20-7

Night: 19-9

Scoring first: 15-5

Sundays: 5-1

B’More also has two triples of course.

Watching the Derek Jeter ceremony followed by the ‘Stros bats exploding was cool for sure last night. Of course, it got a little dicey at the end. We took three out of four from the Yankees. We are on ROOT and ESPN tonight from Miami.

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In my 45 years of involvement in politics, Anna Eastman is truly one of the best elected officials I have ever worked with. Smart. Articulate. Ethical. Focused. Honest. Thoughtful. Hard working. I could go on and on and on.

It has been an honor to be Anna Eastman’s political consultant. And her friend.

We met in the late summer of 2009 when I signed on to consult on her campaign. She had a small band of friends and supporters who volunteered on her campaign and went door-to-door on her behalf, stood with her at the Early Voting locations, and handed out her push cards at the polls on Election Day. We took on the political establishment at the time and won.

She has been an outstanding school board member. On tough ethics measures, Anna has been the leading force. On anti-discrimination policies, she has been the champion. It has been all about the kids for Anna.

From Kuffer today:

Anna Eastman has served two terms as HISD Trustee in District I, which is where I live. She has been a leading advocate for having strong accountability measures in place for schools, she was a frequent critic of former Superintendent Terry Grier, and she was the most outspoken Trustee for passing the recapture referendum, both the one that failed in November and the one that passed on Saturday. Her term expires this year, and she has decided that she will not run for a third term. As I did with her predecessor Natasha Kamrani, Eastman wanted to do one last interview to talk about what has happened while she was in office, where things are now and where they are headed going forward. I was happy to oblige, so here’s what we talked about.

(Note: we were interrupted twice by the Eastman dogs barking. I paused the recorder till we could restore order, so if there are a couple of places where it sounds a little weird, that would be why.)

Kuffer interviews Anna today here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=80538.

Good luck, Anna!

Check this tweet:

Jake Kaplan‏Verified account@jakemkaplan 11h11 hours ago

The Astros’ 24-11 record is their best through the first 35 games of a season in club history.

We won our 24th game on May 11? When did we win our 24th game last season?

Totally expected from NBC News last night:

The White House has abandoned the idea of President Trump visiting FBI headquarters after being told he would not be greeted warmly, administration officials told NBC News.

Commentary said this last week:

Commentary is not going to say anything about the FBI Director’s testimony yesterday. He cemented his legacy last October as the fella who injected the FBI into a presidential election. Sorry, pal! That’s how you will be remembered for like ever.

The FBI Director’s firing on Tuesday obviously adds to his legacy. So there you have it.

Donald Trump, his son-in-law and others aren’t happy with their press operation. Huh? It is tough to spin lie after lie after lie.

Hector de Leon and Commentary have an issue with this. See this tweet:

Texas Tribune Retweeted

Tim Taliaferro‏Verified account@timtaliaferro 2h2 hours ago

Despite high expectations for 2016, no surge in Texas Hispanic voter turnout https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/11/hispanic-turnout-2016-election/?utm_campaign=trib-social-buttons&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social … via @TexasTribune

Here is from the Trib piece:

There were high hopes that this would be the year.

Amid Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about Hispanics and on-the-ground voter engagement efforts, election watchers prognosticated that 2016 could usher in a surge of Hispanic voters in Texas.

But now that the excitement around the 2016 election has quieted, the surge appears to have been more of a trickle. 

Turnout among Texas Hispanics eligible to vote — citizens 18 and older — in 2016 slightly improved, increasing to 40.5 percent from 38.8 percent during the 2012 presidential election, according to U.S. Census data released Wednesday. The small increase is a discouraging sign for those who expected a spike in Hispanic turnout.

Instead, turnout among Hispanic Texans during presidential elections continued its slow, steady increase since 2008, mostly in line with population growth and possibly more Hispanic Texans turning of age to vote. But last year’s turnout is still lower than turnout in the 2004 presidential election.

Here is the entire article: https://www.texastribune.org/2017/05/11/hispanic-turnout-2016-election/?utm_campaign=trib-social-buttons&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social.

Here is what Hector says:

The Census report use as a basis for the Texas Tribune story about Hispanic voter turnout in the 2016 election is not accurate. It suggests that the Hispanic vote was only up by 48,000. A simple surname query using a Census list of Spanish surnames of over twelve-thousand surnames indicates that an estimated 250,011 Spanish-surnamed voters cast ballots in the 2016 election in Harris County. In the 2012 election, using the same list of surnames shows that an estimated 179,000 voted. That is an increase of 71,000 just in Harris County. Even when conducting the query with a more conservative list,  the Census’ list titled the 639 Most Frequently Occurring Heavily Hispanic Surnames, it totals 210,040 Spanish-surnamed voters in 2016. That is compared to 149,528 using the same list in 2012 election. That is an increase of over 60,000 just in Harris County. 

Regardless of the Spanish-surname list utilized, the queries suggest the Hispanic voter turnout was up about 40 percent in Harris County in 2016. There is no way the vote in this county would not be reflected statewide. 

That Census report merits 4 Pinocchios for not true. 

Regards -hdl.

I have to agree with Hector. There is no way we have that big of a win in Harris County for Dems unless there is a dramatic increase in Latino voter turnout. It happened.

Last season we won our 24th game on May 31 of course.

Instead of watching the debacle over at Toyota, I watched Jake Marisnick gun down Jacoby Ellsbury to end the game. As soon as Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez singled to Marisnick, I had the feeling this would be a game ender if Ellsbury tried to score the tying run. That is how much confidence I have in Marisnick’s arm. Nice!

Oh, yeah, we have a seven game lead!

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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Go Rockets Day!

The ‘Stros are now 23-11. 23-11 is the best record we have ever had after 34 games. We wrapped up a 2 game series win over The ATL yesterday. What is our series record this season?

The H-Town Mayor has declared today “Go Rockets Day” so if you are wearing gear like Commentary, you don’t have to go to work. Just tell your boss you will send over your day off excuse letter from James Harden later.

Various news outlets are saying that Sean Spicer may be on his way out because Donald Trump likes the way Sarah Huckabee Sanders defends his lies. Translation: She is a better and more convincing liar than Spicer.

Probably the best thing I read yesterday on the firing of the FBI Director was that the Director told his staff that Trump was “crazy.” No s__t?

Sorry folks! I kept hearing yesterday from GOPers that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had a stellar reputation. I have to inform folks that anyone who goes to work for Trump automatically loses their reputations. Don’t argue with me.

Jeffrey Toobin was outraged yesterday on CNN because the US press wasn’t allowed access to the Oval Office but the Russia media was granted access. Former Trump toadie Jason Miller wasn’t outraged so that’s all you need to know.

Commentary will say it again. The folks who run the Texans are not smarter than you and me. Here is a bit from Jerome Solomon of the Chron:

Rick Smith and Bill O’Brien remind me of those black-and-white sitcom vacuum cleaner salesmen.

You know, the ones who would pull out a bag of dirt and dump it all over the carpet just after Hazel or Lucy or June opened the door?

The goal of these fast-talking, smooth operators was to convince naive consumers that they were not only doing them a favor by cleaning up the mess, but that they alone had the right tool to cleanup said mess.

That they made the mess is beside the point.

Almost anybody can fall for the dirt-packing vacuum cleaner salesman once. But when he shows up for the seventh or eighth time, shouldn’t you be a little a little skeptical?

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/texas-sports-nation/article/Texans-QB-sales-pitch-falls-flat-11137036.php?cmpid=twitter-mobile.

Ain’t it the truth.

We have a 9-2 series record this season of course.  Not bad.

We are at Yankee Stadium for a 4 game series that starts this evening.

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The ‘Stros are sitting at 22-11 and 6 games up. Where were we sitting after 33 games last season?

Commentary said this yesterday:

I think it is time for the FBI Director to fade away.

And this:

This fella has no credibility. He has had a very bad year. His reputation is shot. Show him the exit door, please.

Of course, I was talking about the Huma emails mix-up. Everybody knows he wasn’t fired because of the emails. He was fired because the Russians wanted him fired – allegedly.

R.G. tweeted this:

Suddenly, Democrats like James Comey.

I get where the Dems are coming from. Commentary certainly wasn’t a fan and I am glad he is gone. Just remember, the Russians wanted him fired.

This tweet:

Yamiche Alcindor‏ Verified account @Yamiche 14h14 hours ago

Kellyanne Conway just now on @CNN: There’s no investigation by the FBI into people surrounding President Trump and Russian. (That’s false.)

Followed by this:

Soledad O’Brien Retweeted Yamiche Alcindor

A good question for CNN would be: is there a point at which you stop allowing people on your air when they lie constantly?

The problem, if CNN were to agree with Soledad, they couldn’t have anyone on from the White House.

From the Trib today:

Matthew Dowd, a political commentator and former strategist for George W. Bush, announced Wednesday that he will not challenge U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2018.

I don’t know who ever took this seriously except for maybe Matthew.

The ‘Stros were 13-20 and 6 ½ games down of course after 33 games last season.

Close to 29,000 showed up at The Yard last night. We are getting there.


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The ‘Stros begin interleague play this evening at The Yard as we host The ATL. In 2016, did we have a winning or losing interleague record?

Congrats to the City of H-Town for moving another step forward on the pension reform bill.

Commentary watched yesterday as former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates handed Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz their arses to them – big time, a kind of a Texas two-step stuff and slam job. The hearing was on Gen. Michael Flynn and the Russians and these two tools wanted to talk about her not wanting to defend the Muslim ban and she owned them pure and simple. She sliced and diced them nicely. It was cold blooded and well deserved. Here is from Esquire on the two getting punked:

It is not often that you see one woman demolish a state’s entire delegation to the United States Senate, but Sally Yates did the Republic a great service on Monday afternoon by demonstrating that Texas has sent to Washington a remarkable pair of deuces. First, she slapped John Cornyn silly as regards her refusal to enforce the president*’s original travel ban, the issue over which she’d been fired. He pronounced himself disappointed, and she handed him his head. Via The Washington Post:

CORNYN: Well, Ms. Yates, you had a distinguished career for 27 years at the Department of Justice and I voted for your confirmation because I believed that you had a distinguished career. But I have to tell you that I find it enormously disappointing that you somehow vetoed the decision of the Office of Legal Counsel with regard to the lawfulness of the president’s order and decided instead that you would counter man (ph) the executive order of the president of the United States because you happen to disagree with it as a policy matter.

YATES: Well, it was…

CORNYN: I just have to say that.

YATES: I appreciate that, Senator, and let me make one thing clear. It is not purely as a policy matter. In fact, I’ll remember my confirmation hearing. In an exchange that I had with you and others of your colleagues where you specifically asked me in that hearing that if the president asked me to do something that was unlawful or unconstitutional and one of your colleagues said or even just that would reflect poorly on the Department of Justice, would I say no? And I looked at this, I made a determination that I believed that it was unlawful. I also thought that it was inconsistent with principles of the Department of Justice and I said no. And that’s what I promised you I would do and that’s what I did.

That was merely the appetizer. Yates, in her calm and judicious way, proceeded to make the entrée Tailgunner Ted Cruz, who started out in his customary cloud of oily arrogance and ended up being sautéed by the nice lady with the backbone of steel.

CRUZ: Well, are you familiar with 8 USC Section 1182?

YATES: Not off the top of my head, no.

CRUZ: Well, it — it — it is the binding statutory authority for the executive order that you refused to implement, and that led to your termination. So it — it certainly is a relevant and not a terribly obscure statute.By the express text of the statute, it says, quote, “whenever the president finds that entry of any alien or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interest of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or non-immigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem appropriate.” Would you agree that is broad statutory authorization?

YATES: I would, and I am familiar with that. And I’m also familiar with an additional provision of the INA that says no person shall receive preference or be discriminated against an issuance of a visa because of race, nationality or place of birth, that I believe was promulgated after the statute that you just quoted. And that’s been part of the discussion with the courts, with respect to the INA, is whether this more specific statute trumps the first one that you just described. But my concern was not an INA concern here. It, rather, was a constitutional concern, whether or not this — the executive order here violated the Constitution, specifically with the establishment clause and equal protection and due process.

If you don’t think that, in addition to unbounded joy among Democrats, there were at least a few indiscreet high-fives in other Republican senatorial offices, you have no idea how utterly friendless a lizard Ted Cruz really is. There are a number of things I learned from Monday’s hearing and first among them is that I want to live out my life without ever being prosecuted by Sally Yates.

Here is the entire read from Esquire: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a54961/sally-yates-testifies-senate/.

These two tried to pull some of their partisan bullying and macho BS and she made them look like Donald Trump’s toads. They were way out of their league and I think they now know it. Commentary had to tweet out that Cruz was a worm for sure.

I think it is time for the FBI Director to fade away. If the following is true, it is inexcusable. Here is from Pro Publica:

FBI director James Comey generated national headlines last week with his dramatic testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, explaining his “incredibly painful” decision to go public about the Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop.

Perhaps Comey’s most surprising revelation was that Huma Abedin — Weiner’s wife and a top Clinton deputy — had made “a regular practice” of forwarding “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton messages to her husband, “some of which contain classified information.” Comey testified that Abedin had done this so that the disgraced former congressman could print them out for her boss. (Weiner’s laptop was seized after he came under criminal investigation for sex crimes, following a media report about his online relationship with a teenager.)

The New York Post plastered its story on the front page with a photo of an underwear-clad Weiner and the headline: “HARD COPY: Huma sent Weiner classified Hillary emails to print out.” The Daily News went with a similar front-page screamer: “HUMA ERROR: Sent classified emails to sext maniac Weiner.”

The problem: Much of what Comey said about this was inaccurate. Now the FBI is trying to figure out what to do about it.

FBI officials have privately acknowledged that Comey misstated what Abedin did and what the FBI investigators found. On Monday, the FBI was said to be preparing to correct the record by sending a letter to Congress later this week. But that plan now appears on hold, with the bureau undecided about what to do.

Here is the entire article: https://www.propublica.org/article/comeys-testimony-on-huma-abedin-forwarding-emails-was-inaccurate.

This fella has no credibility. He has had a very bad year. His reputation is shot. Show him the exit door, please.

Commentary said this yesterday:

The ‘Stros are 21-11, our best record after 32 games. We have been 21-11 on one other occasion – name the year?

With this answer:

In 1973, the ‘Stros started out at 21-11. Heck, they won their next game and started out 22-11.

I was wrong but that is what the 2011 team media guide said. The 2004 ‘Stros were also 21-11 of course , of course. I saw other outlets say this so I checked it out. I am sorry.

In 2016, the ‘Stros were 11-9 in interleague play of course.

The ATL is 11-18, 8 ½ games out, and in last place in the NL East. We have a 6 game lead.

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The ‘Stros are 21-11, our best record after 32 games. We have been 21-11 on one other occasion – name the year?

It goes without saying that the Latinos in Pasadena politics have their work cut out for them. The three Latino candidates for mayor got a combined 22.56% share of the total votes cast. Of course, you can look at the bright side and say if only one Latino had run and he or she had received the 22.56%, he or she would be in the runoff. The Latinos running for Pasadena ISD trustee positions who the local Dems were supporting didn’t do so hot either.

Commentary is guessing the rest of Texas is now catching up to H-Town. Check out this tweet that went out over the past weekend:

Texas Monthly‏Verified account@TexasMonthly 2h2 hours ago

Partisan politics are creeping into non-partisan races.

I retweeted it with this:

Marc Campos‏@MarcCommentary 1h1 hour ago

Marc Campos Retweeted Texas Monthly

@HoustonTX elections have been partisan for nearly two decades. Welcome to the party.

Texas MonthlyVerified account @TexasMonthly

Partisan politics are creeping into non-partisan races.

Here is from the Texas Monthly article by R.G.:

For decades in Texas, cities and school boards were the final bastion of party free elections. Candidates ran without labels, and the issues tended to lean toward where services were provided or whether to set a bond election to build a new school. Sure, everyone knew whether a candidate for mayor had Republican or Democratic leanings, but the party line wasn’t part of the debate.

No more.

At a time when many people want to tone down partisanship, the Texas state Democratic Party and some Republicans are trying to make elections in the Lone Star State even more partisan—especially with the upcoming May 6 elections for city councils and school boards. Even if city charters and school district laws call for non-partisan elections, the parties want to erase that line.

The dead canary in our non-partisan election coal mine may very well have been the November 2015 mayor’s race in Houston between winner Sylvester Turner and Bill King. Although the issues of city pensions and infrastructure remained paramount in the debate, both the Republicans and Democrats organized get-out-the-vote efforts for Turner and King. As the Houston Chronicle reported:

Here is all of R.G.’s piece: http://www.texasmonthly.com/burka-blog/partisans-coming-cities-schools/?utm_content=buffer953f2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer.

Nope! I have to disagree. It started way before 2015. We have to go back to after the election of Lee Brown as Mayor in 1997. The local GOP decided after his election win that they needed to elect more GOPers to the H-Town City Council in a move designed to rein in Mayor Brown. Remember the slugfest between Mayor Brown and City Council Member Orlando Sanchez back in 2001. That was very partisan. Like it or not, partisanship has been part of our City of H-Town elections. Of course, if you look at what happened in City Council District C in 2015 in the mayoral race, you wonder, well I don’t know, you just wonder, some Dems didn’t give a rat’s arse.

It has been the routine for years now. Someone wanting to run for city council, school board or community college meets with Commentary and one of the questions I ask them is what party primary have they voted in because it could be an issue if you catch my drift.

I don’t think anyone expected the 84% Prop 1 rout over at HISD. Nice job. Congrats. Now go write that $77 mil check.

Here is from Billboard on the soon to be Beatles Channel on Sirius:

The Beatles Channel lineup:

Breakfast with The Beatles: A daily morning show featuring all things Beatles and hosted by Chris Carter.

A Day in the Life: A daily feature of notable milestones of the band.

My Fab Four: A daily guest DJ session.

Beatle Bites: Daily “name the song” quiz..

Request Hotline: Fans can call a dedicated number (844-999-BEATLES) to make requests.

The Fab Fourum: A live weekly call-in roundtable show hosted by Dennis Elsas and Bill Flanagan.

Peter Asher: From Me To You: A weekly series featuring Asher, who was half of Peter & Gordon.

Magical Mini Concert: A weekly fantasy concert featuring live music from The Beatles and their solo works.

Northern Songs with Bill Flanagan:  A regular show from Flanagan, focusing on themes that tell the story of The Beatles, their music and the effect it had on generations of fans.

Get Back: The Beatles in Britain: Monthly show hosted by Geoff Lloyd and recorded in and around London and Liverpool that offers the UK perspective of the Beatles phenomenon.

And from ew.com:

The Beatles Channel will not only spin well-known tracks by the band, but also rarities and live cuts, material from their respective solo careers, and “musicians who have inspired, and have drawn inspiration from, the Beatles.”

“My Sweet Lord”, “Imagine”, now you can take your “Photograph” and then “Live and Let Die.” I’m funny!  FYI: George co-wrote “Photograph” with Ringo.

In 1973, the ‘Stros started out at 21-11. Heck, they won their next game and started out 22-11.

10 games above .500. A 5 ½ game lead. We have the day off then host The ATL for 2.

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This tweet is very important:

Anna Eastman‏@AnnaEforHISD 13m13 minutes ago

Vote for HISD Prop 1 tomorrow May 6 7am to 7 pm. #voteforhisdprop1

What happened at The Yard of MLB historical significance on Cinco de Mayo of 2004?

Commentary said this a couple of days ago:

I am sure there are some Dems who want Hillary Clinton to go away and get off of the political stage. Commentary won’t go that far. She is entitled to be out there.

Out there means out there but not leading the charge for Dems. Why, then? Her and her team ran one of the lousiest campaigns in the history of presidential politics and now they want to be the face of the resistance? If you ask Commentary, and of course, nobody ever asks Commentary, she is playing into the hands of the GOP. Here is from a Politico story today:

Six months after losing the presidential election, Hillary Clinton is ready to wade back into politics.

The former secretary of state is building a new political group to fund organizations working on the resistance to President Donald Trump’s agenda, spending recent weeks in Washington, New York City, and Chappaqua, N.Y., meeting with donors and potential groups to invest in, and recruiting individuals for the group’s board of directors, multiple people close to the two-time White House hopeful and people familiar with the group’s planning told POLITICO.

She is looking to launch the group, expected to be called Onward Together — a nod to her campaign slogan, Stronger Together — as soon as next week, they say. Clinton’s spokesman declined to comment for this story.

Clinton has been working with Dennis Cheng, her campaign’s finance director who was previously the Clinton Foundation’s chief development officer, to bring donors into the fold.

Meanwhile, Judith McHale, who served as an undersecretary of state under Clinton, has been working with her to find groups to fund, as has former Democratic National Committee chairman, presidential candidate, and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Clinton has started to fill out the board, which will include longtime ally and leading party strategist Minyon Moore.

Here is the entire Politico story: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/04/hillary-clinton-launch-political-group-237999.

Her high negatives have not gone away. The GOP would rather take her on than other Dems or other Dem ideas. Why would any reasonable Dem activist or donor want to sign on to this effort? Dem Chair Tom Perez and the Dem congressional leadership need to tell her to stand down. You have to wonder if she is just doing this to get even or some other personal reason. Sigh! Sigh!

To the Dem members of Congress who were signing the na, na, na song yesterday on the House Floor: that was stupid.

The Chron E-board gave the H-Town Mayor some good run today so check it out here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/article/State-of-the-city-11123206.php.

Here is from Rebecca Elliott’s story on the H-Town Mayor wanting to remove the revenue cap:

With pension reform on the horizon, Mayor Sylvester Turner plans to make good on his pledge to ask voters to lift Houston’s cap on property tax collections in November.

Removing the voter-imposed revenue cap would loosen one of Houston’s primary fiscal constraints as it confronts still-hefty pension and debt costs that leave little breathing room to maintain city services.

“Shared sacrifice means shared sacrifice by all,” Turner told the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board Wednesday, previewing his Thursday State of the City address.

And this:

Lifting the revenue cap, on the other hand, would increase homeowners’ property taxes. The owner of a $200,000 Houston home saved about $84 in taxes over the last three years, costing the city an estimated $220 million in revenue.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Turner-wants-voters-to-lift-rev-cap-in-November-11121233.php.

They are going to have to make the case to raise property taxes.

Let’s see. The UT System bought up a bunch of land south of the Astrodome and talked about setting up a research center. Some UH alumni went bonkers when they heard about this. The Dean did a takedown of the UT Chancellor in full public view. The UT System pulled the plug on their H-Town proposal. Some UH Alumni including the UH Board Chair then took a vocal victory lap and end of story.

Not yet. Yesterday, the H-Town Mayor called for a collaboration of sorts. Commentary doesn’t see it happening anytime soon. Check out today’s Chron for details.

Along these lines, sort of, here is what State Rep. Carol Alvarado put out yesterday on the PUF Fund:

Dear Friends, 

Yesterday, I appeared before the Texas House committee on Higher Education to lay out my bill HJR 110. The bill will create a second Permanent University Fund, known as “PUF II”, which will benefit the University of Houston System.  Despite significant opposition from The University of Texas System and Texas A&M System, I am resolved more so now than ever, that reform in university funding is necessary. 

This additional funding source will be critical to the development and growth of the UH system as we continue to strive for excellence and eventual admittance into the exclusive Association of American Universities. 

Though the bill is unlikely to pass this session, my goal is to start a discussion to highlight the gross disparity between the level of funding that some universities receive and that of the University of Houston, a Tier 1 Research University. The notion that the great state of Texas can only have two premier AAU universities, while California has six, is shortsighted.  When we invest in and improve the quality of all of our Tier 1 Research Universities, all Texans win.   

I am so grateful for the tremendous support from the UH community. For more information, I encourage you to read the following article HERE

This debate on the fund needs to happen.

This is also from the Chron:

Angela Blanchard grew up like the people she helps.

The president and CEO of BakerRipley, a non-profit that provides resources to those less fortunate in Houston, was raised with very little as the oldest of eight children in Beaumont.

“People looking at us wouldn’t have predicted that it would turn out well,” said Blanchard earlier this week sitting inside her office at BakerRipley headquarters.

Blanchard’s story, though, evolved into her  being chosen in 1995 as  CEO and president of BakerRipley. But after more than 20 years leading the organization, she announced Thursday to staff she would resign at the end of the year.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/article/Angela-Blanchard-resigns-as-CEO-of-BakerRipley-11119188.php.

I wonder if any Latinos will be considered for the CEO position? A whole lot of the folks they serve are Latino.

13 years ago today at The Yard, the Rocket moved past Steve Carlton for second place all-time with his 4,137th career strikeout when he whiffed Raul Mondesi of the Pirates – we won the game 9-2 of course.

We are not going to win games when we strand 16 baserunners like we did yesterday at The Yard. We still have a 4 ½ game lead as we play three in Anaheim this weekend then return for two against The ATL.

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Who is the only MLBer to have a dinger in four straight starts at four different starting positions?

Sad. Eye opening. Salacious. Embarrassing. That is how you could describe a front page story in today’s Chron about Harris County JP Hilary Green of Precinct 7. She admits to some of the accusations.

Here is the headline in the hard copy of the Chron:

Judge faces suspension on sex, drug complaints

The article by Lise Olsen does not get into community reaction or reaction from her fellow elected officials or fellow Dems. In reading the article, I don’t know how you could come out and support her effort to keep her job.

Is there a silence out there from the community on this matter or is it not just being reported? Stay tuned!

Go get you a Chron and read the article. You can also read about the Pasadena election and the election in the 7th Congressional District.

Commentary is not going to say anything about the FBI Director’s testimony yesterday. He cemented his legacy last October as the fella who injected the FBI into a presidential election. Sorry, pal! That’s how you will be remembered for like ever.

Here is your answer of course:

Julia Morales Retweeted

Steve Grande‏@AstrosGrande 2h2 hours ago


Per @EliasSports, Marwin Gonzalez is the 1st player in the modern era (since 1901) to HR in 4 straight starts, each at a different position.

Congrats to Dallas Keuchel for picking up his fourth AL Pitcher of the Month Award.

We still have close to five months of baseball left in the regular season but you can’t complain about being 19-9 with a 4 ½ game lead. We are playing pretty good baseball.


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