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Archive for September 26th, 2017

My Anthem

We all remember or rather try to forget the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons when the ‘Stros lost over 100 games in each. How many total games did we lose in those three seasons?

When it comes to the “The Star-Spangled Banner”, Commentary takes a back seat to no one. When my brother and I were little kids, when it was played, we stopped what we were doing and faced the TV and stood up.   My entire adult life, I have sung it proudly at events, mostly of the sporting variety. The don’t play it at church, at movies, at concerts, at plays, somehow it has landed at sporting events.

I sing it while most don’t – period. I sing it because it is played and to honor my country. I don’t sing it to honor any particular group of folks, or to honor any special events in our history, or to honor a particular way of living.

When Colin Kaepernick first took the knee last year, the last thing on my mind was that he was dissing the military or first responders. He said he was protesting police brutality, racial oppression, and the criminal justice system. In my book, being against police brutality is not being anti-police.

If he wants to take a knee and protest during the national anthem, that is his right.   Commentary didn’t know there were designated times when and when not to protest. I can’t find that in the Constitution.

With that in mind, it is kind of hard to argue with Bob Costas. Here is from yesterday from a sports magazine website:

NBC Sports broadcaster Bob Costas was a guest on CNN’s “New Day” Monday, to share his thoughts on Donald Trump’s controversial remarks about NFL players.

Costas was asked if NFL players were disrespecting the military and first responders by kneeling during the national anthem.

He delivered a powerful response, saying sports, patriotism and the flag have become so conflated that other gestures are excluded or criticized as unpatriotic.

“This is no disrespect to the military,” said Costas. “Martin Luther King was a patriot. Susan B. Anthony was a patriot. Dissidents are patriots. School teachers and social workers are patriots.”

Costas says he believes patriotism has been associated with the military only, but argues that patriotism is about more than just our brave soldiers.

“Patriotism comes in many forms and what has happened is that it’s been conflated with a bumper sticker-style kind of flag-waving and with the military only, so that people cannot see that in his own way Colin Kaepernick, however imperfectly, is doing a patriotic thing. And so too are some of these other players.”

Hard to argue and add the Cowboys and their owner to the list of knee takers.

It is my anthem too, you know.

Commentary is thinking that Trump and a lot of his supporters probably have never heard of Francis Scott Key.

Commentary watched the H-Town City Council public hearing last night on the proposed property tax increase.   Some folks opposed, some supported, some said use TIRZ money, and some said get the state to spend some bucks from the Rainy Day Fund. I still have not heard why we can’t spend money from the Rainy Day Fund. What else would you expect from Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick?

How about spending some of that TIRZ money?

From Bill King today:

Two Flood Bills Died in Committee in Legislature this Session 

Two bills were introduced in the last Legislative session to study flooding in the Houston region.  Both died in committee.  

SB1269 was authored by State Senator Boris Miles and co-sponsored by Senators John Whitmire and Sylvia Garcia.  The bill would have authorized $1.5 million to establish and fund a task force to complete a “comprehensive flood control infrastructure study.”  Not exactly bold leadership, but to the Senate’s credit SB1269 was approved unanimously.  

But it never saw the light of day in the House.  When it was received by the House from the Senate it was referred to the Natural Resources Committee.  There is no one from the Houston region on that committee.  No member of the Houston delegation picked up the bill.  The committee held about a five-minute perfunctory hearing.  Representative Armando Walle appears to have been the only Houston area representative to speak in favor of the bill.  The bill was “left pending” in the committee at the end of the session.

Senator Larry Taylor introduced SB2265, which would have restructured an existing entity to give it the power to begin constructing a coastal spine system to protect the region from storm surges.  But the bill did not authorize any funds and was contingent on the federal government funding the entire project.  It, too, was approved by the Senate unanimously.  

In the House, SB2265 was referred to the Special Purpose Districts Committee, which is chaired by Representative Jim Murphy.  Representative Wayne Faircloth, from Galveston, filed a companion bill, HB4308.  There are notations that these bills were heard briefly in committee, but both were also left pending at the end of the session.  

These bills were utterly inadequate compared to the challenges that our region faces from flooding.  They really called for nothing more than additional studies.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, there has been so much research on this subject “it is probable that if they continue we shall soon know nothing at all about it.”   

But the fact that our Legislature could not even pass these watered-down (excuse the pun) measures is pathetic.  Of course, the Legislature had time to argue about all manner of nonsense in this session, but when it came to actually doing something about one of the most persistent threats to our region, they took a powder.

The threat of large scale flooding from either a storm surge or massive rain events, such as what we just experienced, cannot be effectively addressed solely at the local level.  The scope of these events exceeds the jurisdictional limits of any single municipality or county.  While there is certainly a role for local entities, we also need a regional approach.  

Ideally, Governor Abbott should call a special session to deal with this problem.  At a minimum, we need a robust interim study so the Legislature is prepared to immediately take action on flooding in our region when the Legislature meets again in 2019.   

The time for shuffling our feet and thinking about maybe studying this problem is over.  Now is the time for action.

Mike Snyder has a column on the Pasadena mayor today and here is how it starts:

Unity is a worthy goal for any leader, but it can’t be achieved by pretending divisions don’t exist.

Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner seems to understand this.

“Some of our neighborhoods really felt that they had been ignored for years,” Wagner said during an interview in his office Monday, describing feedback he got from voters during his campaign last spring. “I stressed that if I became mayor, Pasadena was Pasadena to me. … What I meant was, we’re all in it together.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/greater-houston/article/New-Pasadena-mayor-seeks-to-unify-divided-city-12227627.php?utm_campaign=btfpm.

I have not met this mayor but I like him. I am rooting for him.

Welcome to H-Town Erica Grieder!

This from twitter yesterday:

Andrea Zelinski‏ @andreazelinski

It’s official: @EricaGrieder is joining the @HoustonChron staff as a political columnist. She starts next month and I. Can’t. Wait. #txlege

It is good to have the Chron name a political columnist. Way to go Chron!

Don’t forget about this tonight:

District I Candidate Forum – Tuesday, September 26 at 6:00pm at Hogg M.S.

District I Candidate Forum Tuesday, September 26 from 6:00pm- 8:00pm Hogg M.S. Auditorium, 1100 Merrill Street, Houston, TX 77009 Neighbors, please make plans to attend this public event, sponsored by the Hogg Middle School PTA, Travis Elementary PTA, Arabic Immersion Magnet School PTO, and Heights High School PTO. All District I Trustee candidates have been invited to participate and will discuss important issues. It will also give candidates an opportunity to hear the concerns of constituents; and ultimately, it will help all voters make an informed decision when casting their ballots on November 7th.

Those three seasons the ‘Stros lost a total of 324 games. 106 in 2011, 107 in 2012 and 111 in 2013.

In 2014, we were 70-92.

In 2015, we were 86-76 and went to the ALDS.

Last season, we were 84-78.

Today, we are 96-60 with 6 left and closing in on securing a home field advantage in the ALDS.

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