Archive for January, 2018

Looking at HISD

Who had a longer MLB career, ‘Stros TV announcer Geoff Blum or ‘Stros radio announcer Steve Sparks?

The Chron’s Pulitzer prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg wants HISD residents to start paying attention to coming proposed changes on how our schools are run. She had a column this past Sunday and another today. Here are a few lines from today’s column:

Superintendent Richard Carranza has not released details of his plan to remake Houston schools, but just the suggestion that we should revert to an old system that failed Houston before is troubling.

And this:

I’m not ready to oppose Carranza’s plan. I haven’t seen the specifics. He and his staff still have time to craft a system, or tweak the current one, in a way that addresses Houston’s unique challenges – of which there are many.

But it’s hard to improve on something if you don’t really understand it. Before the superintendent presents his new model, I’d encourage him and his staff to study the current one.

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Houston-ISD-administrators-should-do-their-12538289.php.

I hope folks are paying attention. I don’t know the superintendent, but I do know some of the HISD trustees. Let’s hope we have a healthy debate on the direction we want to go.

I am thinking Lisa is going to have a whole lot to say on this before it is all done. I am good with that.

Remember when I said this a couple of weeks ago or so?

I know why Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed State Rep. Sarah Davis’ GOP opponent. What’s up with Abbott endorsing State Rep. Wayne Faircloth’s GOP opponent? Party purity, baby!

This is from today’s Chron:

AUSTIN — Two TV ads paid for by the governor. A $50,000 check from the House speaker. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions from across the state and block walkers sent from a Dallas-area lawmaker.

That’s just a sampling of the money, attention and political influence trying to steer an election in a slice of southwest Harris County that has morphed into a battleground for the direction of the Republican party.

“It feels something like a purity purge,” said Rep. Sarah Davis, a Republican from West University Place trying to win reelection to her district which also includes Bellaire, Southside Place, the Texas Medical Center and stretches north past Memorial Park.

She is defending her seat against Susanna Dokupil, CEO of Paladin Strategies who worked under Gov. Greg Abbott when he was attorney general.

And this:

Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, has also sent his paid campaign staff down into the district to push in favor of Dokupil. He called Davis a “chief captain to defeat Gov. Abbott’s agenda.”

“Republican voters need to know this. Ousting Sarah Davis will be a big win for Republicans and a big loss for Democrats.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Abbott-goes-negative-in-second-ad-against-Sarah-12536425.php.

Purity, baby!

That Strickland fella doesn’t know what he is talking about.

Commentary lives 20 blocks or so from HD 134. I wonder how the race is going? I can’t tell from here.

A few days ago, the MLB Network put out the 25 greatest teams since the expansion era – since 1961, and the 2017 ‘Stros are not one of the 25. They put in at #20 the 2001 Mariners who won 116 regular season games but lost in 5 to the Yankees in the ALCS. Read the story here if you want: https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-networks-top-25-teams-of-expansion-era/c-265467868.

Blummer of course played 14 years in the bigs, Sparky 9.

MLB.com has a piece today on the best double play combos and Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are at the top. Check it out here: https://www.mlb.com/news/manny-machado-jonathan-schoop-a-top-5-dp-duo/c-265592760.

That is all I have.

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Paying Lip Service

Cleveland is making MLB news today. How many Cleveland players have won the AL MVP Award?

Best quote of the day goes Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Laura Murillo to Sen. John Cornyn on DACA. Here it is:

“Be a leader, not a dream devastator.”

Here is the Chron story on DACA: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Hispanic-chamber-urges-permanent-DACA-solution-12535170.php.

I just don’t see Sen. John Cornyn showing any backbone on DACA. Sorry.

As far as the state’s business community goes on DACA and issues like the bathroom bill. They need to back their words with their money. Stop being the piggybank of the GOP. Otherwise, they are just paying lip service to these issues. They too need to grow a backbone.

The talking head industry just took another hit. ABC News is hiring former New jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Another talking head who lacks credibility and dignity and also lies. Nice job, ABC.

This is a start, but just a start. Here is from AP:

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians are dropping the Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms next year after decades of protests and complaints that the grinning, red-faced caricature used in one version or another since 1947 is racist.

The move, announced Monday, came after protracted discussions between team owner Paul Dolan and baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.

The cartoonish image of a big-toothed American Indian with a scarlet face and a single feather in his headdress will come off the team’s sleeves and caps starting with the 2019 season, when Cleveland will host the All-Star Game.

“Major League Baseball is committed to building a culture of diversity and inclusion throughout the game,” Manfred said in a statement. He said the logo “is no longer appropriate for on-field use.”

The decision is unlikely to quell complaints from Native American organizations and others who see the symbol — and the team’s very name — as insensitive. The Indians will continue to wear the Wahoo logo in 2018, and even after it is gone from the uniform, the club will sell merchandise featuring the mascot in the Cleveland area.

“I’m elated,” Philip Yenyo, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, said of the decision to remove Wahoo from uniforms. “But at the same time, I think it should be this year. I don’t understand why they’re drawing this out. It doesn’t make any sense to me, unless they want to continue to make what’s basically blood money.”

He added: “Just make the leap already.”

Yenyo and others have demanded that the team go further and drop “Indians” as its name: “If they don’t get rid of the name, then you’re still going to have fans going down there wearing headdresses and painted in redface.”

Amid the intensifying debate, the club has slowly moved away from the logo in recent years. The Indians replaced it with a “C” as their primary logo and removed signs depicting Chief Wahoo from Progressive Field, the team’s ballpark.

Here is the entire story: https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/indians-removing-chief-wahoo-logo-from-game-uniforms-in-2019/ar-BBIpx61?OCID=ansmsnnews11.

The team needs to completely disassociate themselves from Wahoo – period. There is no compromise on this.

Lou Boudreau in 1948 and Al Rosen in 1953 are the only Cleveland players to win the AL MVP Award of course.

Cleveland visits The Yard the weekend of May 18-20. Is it too much to ask them not to wear the hideous and racist Wahoo gear that weekend.  Don’t bring that garbage into our crib.

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Drips Done

The ‘Stros go back to Dodger Stadium in August to play three against the Dodgers. When was the last time the two World Series teams played each other the following season?

The drip, drip, drips are done. Commentary doesn’t have much to say about the H-Town Mayor’s former press secretary other than to say what took so long. Of course, others have something to say. Here are a couple of tweets:

Rebecca Elliott Retweeted

Marc Duvoisin‏Verified account@MarcDuvoisin Jan 26


Houston mayor’s press secretary resigns after superb reporting by @rfelliott @mmorris011 showing how she used public office to pursue private business interests.


ABC13 Houston Retweeted

Ted Oberg‏@TedABC13 Jan 26


BREAKING: After ABC13 uncovered the questions about her 5,000 emails, Houston’s embattled press secretary Darian Ward resigns http://abc13.co/2EdYzHV

Nice job Rebecca Elliott, Mike Morris and of course Ted Oberg. They all did their jobs.

Then there was this tweet from Saturday:

Miya Shay‏Verified account@miyashay Jan 26


Mayor @SylvesterTurner has a reputation for not liking the media much, dating back decades. But former journos @AlanBernstein & @IAmMaryBenton are generally respected by local media. So maybe things will change?

Does it matter if things change? I don’t think so. Who cares? Journalists have to do their job. The goods ones are going to be aggressive regardless if they are liked or not. Anyway, change is not going to happen.

The E-Board has a take today and here is their online funny headline:

The Darian Ward Show has been cancelled

Scandal is a lesson for City Hall.

Here is how they end their take:

It’s worth noting that Ward’s transgressions started under Turner’s predecessor. Former Mayor Annise Parker hired Ward as press secretary in 2014. But sometimes people who’ve worked around city government for many years have conflicts of interest that any mayor ignores at his peril.

Witness, for example, how Mark Kilkenny and L.S. “Pat” Brown Jr. both sat on the city planning commission even though both of them had firms involved in building subdivisions inside the flood pools of Barker Reservoir. And Steve Costello, who’s paid $160,000 a year as Houston’s flood czar, also owned an engineering firm involved in construction projects within flood pools.

The mayor would be well advised to remember the hard lessons of these last couple of weeks and review the cast of characters he’s keeping around City Hall. The Darian Ward show may be over, but nobody wants to see a sequel.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/The-Darian-Ward-Show-has-been-cancelled-12532190.php.

Moving on.

Some H-Town folks are still trying to figure out why we were left out of the Amazon Top 20. Flooding and lack of mass transportation come to mind for some. Here is from the Chron’s business columnist Chris Tomlinson:

“We want to invest in a community where our employees will enjoy living, recreational opportunities, educational opportunities and an overall high quality of life,” Amazon said.

Mmmm. Well … Errrrr.

Did we mention that Texas’ political leaders will gladly slash education, health and social spending to encourage corporate relocations?

And this:

In fact, don’t think any city in Texas has a chance at Amazon’s HQ2. Mostly because our regressive, anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT state leadership has given the state a horrendous reputation on the coasts that only a political revolution will overcome.

Here is his entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/columnists/tomlinson/article/Why-Houston-failed-to-make-the-grade-12526091.php.

Hard to argue this. I mean, who wants to come here and listen to bathroom bill debates?

My Dad and I caught “The Wild Bunch” on cable late Saturday night. If the movie were made today, the final six or so minute shootout would probably be shot differently. In the shootout, The Wild Bunch (Pike, Dutch, Tector and Lyle) whacked about a kazillion Federales before being done in themselves by the remaining Federales. I don’t know if anyone would want to make a movie these days with such a high Mexican body count in one scene. I will say that the 1969 made flick comes in at #79 on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 flicks of all time (above flicks like “Titanic”, “Platoon”, “Easy Rider”, “Sophie’s Choice”, and “Toy Story”) and it does get a 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating.

And don’t ask me if Donald Trump would enjoy the final shootout.

In 2015, the Royals won the World Series in 5 over the Mets then hosted the Mets of course in their season opener in April of 2016.

The season opener is two months from today.

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More Drips

Of the four players who were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame a couple of days ago, which won has the most All Star team selections?

A couple of days ago, my headline was “Drip, Drip, Drip” on the H-Town Mayor’s press secretary. Ted Oberg of Channel 13 first broke the story. Check out Oberg’s tweet from yesterday:

Ted Oberg‏ @TedABC13

Drip, drip, drip – the City of Houston minutes ago released 100s more emails from @SylvesterTurner Press Secretary Darian Ward. The mayor says it’s over. Our investigation continues tonight @abc13houston

Glad to be of service. Oberg used drip, drip, drip in his story last night. He also said there are still 1,200 emails that he is waiting for.  Drip, drip, drip.

Well this is interesting. Check this from the Chron:

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott waded deeper into a testy Houston state House race Thursday by running a TV ad in support for the challenger who hopes to oust Republican Rep. Sarah Davis in the March election.

The 30-second TV spot features Republican primary candidate Susanna Dokupil, who accuses Davis of making “empty promises” and blames her in part for the Legislature failing to pass a property tax reform bill in 2017.

“Our representative was a part of the problem,” said Dokupil in the ad that Abbott’s campaign said would go on air beginning Thursday, featuring her shaking hands with the governor and walking neighborhoods. “I refuse to believe that empty promises are the best we can do.”

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas-take/article/Abbott-places-TV-ad-for-Dokupil-12524847.php.

Like I said, interesting.

I wonder if the Dems running in HD 134 are doing anything?

I got this a couple of days ago to commemorate what happened 70 years ago this past Wednesday. Baytown folks might find it interesting. Here it is:

On this day in 1948, the former “Tri-Cities” of Baytown, Goose Creek, and Pelly united to form the city of Baytown. The area had been largely undeveloped until the opening of the Goose Creek oilfield in 1916. All three communities grew up around the oilfield, thanks in large part to the promotional efforts of Ross Sterling, president of Humble Oil and Refining Company. Sterling and his associates established a refinery near the oilfield and bought 2,200 acres there, calling their site Baytown. Construction began in the fall of 1919, though Baytown remained a collection of tents and shanties until 1923, when Humble laid out streets, provided utilities, sold lots, and even furnished financing for employees’ homes. The residents of nearby Goose Creek voted to incorporate in January 1919, and the residents of neighboring Pelly, fearing that Goose Creek might absorb their town, followed suit a year later. Due to the pervasive paternalism of Humble, the community of Baytown never incorporated, and this enabled Pelly to annex the “contiguous and unincorporated” territory of Baytown in December 1945. But when Pelly and Goose Creek voted to consolidate in February 1947, the citizens selected the name Baytown for their new combined city. The voters approved a new city charter on January 24, 1948. Baytown today is a highly industrialized city of oil refineries and rubber, chemical, and carbon black plants.

Welcome to Baytown!

Vlad Guerrero of course was an All Star 9 times, Chipper Jones made it 8 times, Trevor Hoffman, 7, and Jim Thome, 5. Got it?

Two months from today, the World Series Champs return to The Yard to play their last two spring training games against the Brewers.



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This Is Funny

How many World Series rings were produced by the four players who were voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday?

Now I have to say this is funny. I am talking about Channel 13’s Ted Oberg knocking on the office door of the H-Town Mayor’s press secretary and she answers and then closes the door. This is funny.

Check it out here: http://abc13.com/politics/city-press-secretary-has-little-to-say-when-confronted/2985281/.

Drip, drip, drip.

This sounds like a very good proposal. Let’s see how this goes. From today’s Chron:

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Wednesday proposed tightening development rules to strengthen Houston’s defenses against flooding, the city’s first concrete step to change building practices since Hurricane Harvey inundated hundreds of thousands of homes last August.

Turner’s proposed changes would require all new buildings outside the floodplain to be elevated two feet above the ground, and all new construction within the 500-year floodplain to be lifted two feet above the projected flood level during a 500-year storm. Current rules stipulate that buildings be constructed one foot above the flood level in a 100-year storm.

The mayor also intends to make builders redeveloping large parcels of land provide more stormwater detention than city rules currently require.

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/mayor-turner-flooding-development-rules-harvey-12521357.php.

This is from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce CEO:

Dear Chamber Partner, 

The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce continues to do impactful work across the region, state, and country. We serve as the leading regional advocate for the economic and civic interests of the Hispanic business community. Clearly, 2017 was a year our region will never forget. Together, we have remained resilient despite Hurricane Harvey and we have continued to celebrate our World Champion Houston Astros.

We kicked off 2017 by meeting with President Trump’s transition team in Washington D.C. to provide insight into the numerous needs of our community. During our time in D.C., the Chamber advocated for the appointment of qualified Latinos to top government positions, expanded business opportunities for all small business owners and the critical need to provide a legislative solution that will protect the 800,000 DREAMers across the United States. The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is committed to maintaining a working relationship with the Trump Administration and will continue to hold them accountable on the issues that matter most to our members. 

The preservation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was – and continues to be – a main focus for the Chamber. DACA recipients were brought to the United States and are contributing members to society deserving of legislative protection. In fact, these young men and women are attaining higher levels of education, home ownership, and purchasing power than almost any other demographic group.The economic impact of terminating DACA would result in a $460 billion loss in annual US GDP, more than $6 billion loss in annual GDP for the State of Texas, and a loss of more than $2 billion in annual economic activity in the Greater Houston region (see DACA white paper here).

The Chamber has been an outspoken advocate for DACA recipients and comprehensive immigration for years. In 2017, we authored several editorials, met with countless stakeholders and legislators, and published our first data-focused white paper on the economic impact of the DACA program. We held the first local DACA press conference in Houston upon hearing President Trump’s announcement. The press conference included a wide range of political, business and community leaders. Our advocacy on this issue will continue until a legislative solution is reached in Washington. 

The 85th Session of the Texas Legislature convened in 2017 and the Chamber was at the forefront of the discussion across a broad spectrum of issues. Our advocacy work during the most recent session included testifying before legislative committees on several issues, penning an editorial in opposition of Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) in the Houston Chronicle, meeting with legislators about creating a more business-friendly tax structure, submitting letters of support on behalf of the “Houston Pension Solution” and participating in numerous press conferences, to name a few. 

Most of us will remember 2017 as the year that Hurricane Harvey hit the region and left thousands of Houstonians displaced and countless more left to pick up the pieces. Every Houstonian was impacted by the unprecedented storm and the Chamber was there to help in whatever way it could during our city’s time of need. Immediately following the storm, the Chamber helped disseminate important information and helped displaced members find shelter. The Chamber also worked closely with its partners to coordinate donations and other relief resources for those affected by Harvey. 

In the weeks following Hurricane Harvey, the Chamber played a pivotal role in advocating for increased state and federal funding in response to the hurricane. We were the first entity in the region to publicly call for “Rainy Day Funds”. At our Annual Hispanic Impact Summit, while interviewing Mayor Turner, we asked Governor Abbott to release the funds. Immediately following Harvey’s landfall, and for four consecutive days, the Chamber helped disseminate information to the community through a partnership with CBS Radio (audience reach of 3.3 million). We raised awareness on topics such as FEMA, SBA, flood insurance and other related matters. The Chamber also participated in a Facebook Live Town Hall regarding Harvey resources for small businesses. The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will continue to provide support for the ongoing recovery efforts as long as deemed necessary.

The Chamber’s Foundation also remained very active in 2017. Our sixth cohort of Emerging Leaders graduated and we launched the second cohort of our Business Institute.

For the second consecutive time, the American Marketing Association named the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as the AMA Marketer of the Year in the Economic Development Category. This is the third time the Chamber earned this recognition during the last 10 years.

We will continue to execute our 2018 Initiatives and we will utilize our media platform on CBS and Univision television and radio to promote Houston and Hispanics. Now more than ever, we look forward to your continued support and engagement on the following legislative priorities: generating engagement around the upcoming 2020 Census, preserving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and fighting for a permanent legislative solution to protect the DREAMers, amongst others.  

See the 2018 Legislative Priorities

We are committed to serving as The Leader of Houston’s New Majority.


Dr. Laura G. Murillo

President and CEO

Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Well said.

From Steve Houston:

Marc, Darian Ward has worked for the city of Houston since 2008 but under a variety of positions. Rather than split hairs over which position she was in at any given time, why don’t you ask who recruited her (Parker?) and why she was allowed to work on outside projects while on city time. Go ask Becky Elliot over at the Chronicle about her story yesterday where other employees of the city worked with Ward on projects and professed to notify Alan Bernstein or the Deputy Director. I contend that Ward openly worked on these projects for years and it was common knowledge among staffers, so much so that they contributed and assisted Ward frequently, though now many seem to be shying away from any involvement (guess why…). Regardless, at some point we’re all just beating a dead horse, Turner has indicated he’s not going to revisit her discipline and that she was put on notice to stop.

Well at least she answers the door.

Curt Schilling didn’t get into the Hall of Fame and he will probably say that his support for Donald Trump probably cost him some votes and he is right. Many of the Baseball Writers who vote are associated with media organizations Trump calls the fake news.

Chipper Jones’ 1995 World Series ring with The ATL of course is the only ring produced out of the four players who were voted into the Hall of Fame yesterday.

El Caballo only received 1 Hall of Fame vote yesterday. Brad Lidge didn’t receive a vote.

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Drip, Drip, Drip

Of the 10 ‘Stros Opening Day starters against the Mariners last season, name the two who won’t be in a ‘Stros uniform this March in our season opener in Arlington?

I saw these tweets yesterday:

Rebecca Elliott‏Verified account@rfelliott 48m48 minutes ago

The Houston mayoral press aide who conducted personal business on city time listed city staff in pitches for her TV shows. The staffers said they thought she was working on city projects.


Rebecca Elliott‏Verified account@rfelliott 41m41 minutes ago 

Rebecca Elliott Retweeted Rebecca Elliott

Among the titles in question: “Tunnel of Love.”

No, I’m not kidding.

Here is the latest Chron story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/darian-ward-houston-press-secretary-reality-TV-12519219.php.

Drip, drip, drip. How long is this going to last?

From Steve Houston to Commentary:

I don’t believe for one minute that Parker was unaware of Darian Ward’s actions over the 8 years Ms. Ward worked for her. If she was unaware, that alone serves as notice that she should not be considered for any high ranking position in government or the private sector. Ward’s projects were high profile and insiders suggest she had a blank check under the Parker administration to pursue them on city time, you just don’t send over 5000 pages of emails (it was changed from 5000 emails just recently) yet receive outstanding employee ratings year after year without anyone knowing about it. So pick your poison, Parker was either 1) lying to minimize how most of Ward’s transgressions took place under her watch, or was 2) incompetent for not knowing or having appointed staffers that didn’t notice.

(From a Chron article a few days ago: Ward joined former mayor Annise Parker’s staff as press secretary in 2014, and Turner has kept her on in the same role.) So that is not 8 years.

And this:

I don’t believe Houston was ever on Amazon’s short list for their second headquarters and neither does anyone I’ve spoken with. It is far more likely that Amazon is just using their RFP process as leverage for one of their very few hand picked choices, the whole idea of demanding what looks like billions in tax concessions and incentives (read their proposal) is the definition of corporate welfare. Those now using Amazon’s decision to convince others how we need greatly improved flood control or mass transportation lest we lose similar projects in the future are just blowing smoke. Frankly, we need more flood control projects regardless and given Houston was more highly rated in transportation by Amazon than a number of communities that are still on their BS short list, that excuse just doesn’t hold water.

Then we got this news late yesterday afternoon.

Six members of Pasadena’s economic development board were indicted Tuesday by a grand jury for holding two private meetings in November 2016 with a contractor.

Here is the entire Chron article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/pasadena-news/article/Grand-jury-indicts-Pasadena-officials-for-meeting-12519500.php.

Well at least it didn’t happen under the watch of the new Mayor of Pasadena.

Nori Aoki, our 2017 Opening Day starting left fielder, and Carlos Beltran our DH, won’t be in a ‘Stros uniform this March of course.

We will find out today who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.


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Withholding Judgement

Name the ‘Stros players who were on the 2017 World Series roster who won’t be in a ‘Stros uniform on Opening Day this season?

Just so you know, Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s Day this year and Easter Sunday is on April Fools’ Day this year. Got it? Kind of confusing if you ask Commentary.

Unlike some fellow Dems, Commentary is going to withhold judgement on Sen. Chuck Schumer and his strategy. I don’t know where they are going on this and I don’t think they know either. Like I said yesterday, I don’t see the GOP going against their base on a DACA deal.

Some were not happy with Sen. Schumer. See this from Politico:

Murshed Zaheed, political director of the liberal group CREDO Action, said Democrats’ decision shows Schumer’s willingness to betray progressives.

“Call it the #SchumerSellout,” he said in an interview. “Hashtagged.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/22/government-shutdown-deal-liberals-angry-357268.

Here is what Stace said yesterday:

Obviously, some of us are upset at Democrats…again. Dems agreed to a weak promise from Mitch McConnell to re-open the government in exchange for more DACA talk in a few weeks. DREAMers are pissed, allies like myself are pissed, and even some Dem loyalists and a few elected officials. But it’s the Demsplaining by many that will probably cost Dems more votes than spineless Congressional Democrats.

There’s nothing like being pissed off and being told:

  • “We can’t put party before country.”
  • “If DREAMers keep complaining, the polls are going to go against them.”
  • Shutdowns “is how systems end up in disaster.”
  • “You can wait three weeks.”
  • “If McConnell doesn’t come through, it’s bad for Republicans.”
  • Now, I’m waiting for, “These DREAMers whining about Democrats are probably Russian agents.”

I’m sure there are other excuses out there. All of these excuses point to Democrats wanting a complaint-free campaign toward November. Party before country is all about portraying Dems as loyal to the flag and faux bipartisanship to get elected; bad polls for DREAMers is all about shutting them up; disastrous systems are about people wanting to keep the status quo; making people wait (for 17 years, not just 3 weeks) is about power; and hoping McConnell fails is all about keeping the issue alive toward November. The Russian thing will come after election day, obviously.

As far as systems are concerned, I was taught by an emeritus professor of political science, after suggesting that some of us more liberal brown folks needed to get inside the system to change it, that the problem is that it’s not our system. And damn, are we constantly reminded of this fact.

I’m at a point where I’m ready to turn in my secret decoder ring to the Dem Party HQ (after 13 primaries of involvement)–not that it’s ever worked. Again, not my system. But when I hear people whine about Hillary losing and blaming “third parties,” I’m reminded why my parents left the Democrats for La Raza Unida Party. I’m also reminded of those that sell us out just for a title.

I don’t feel good about where we are today on this.  Show me the strategy, please? What is the end game? Stay tuned for sure.

It looks like Sen. Schumer will be coming to H-Town to attend an event with one of the CD 29 Dem candidates.   I wonder if Sen. Schumer will endorse or embrace the Dem candidate. Here is from the Chron:

Just days after playing a key role in shutting down the government, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is heading to Houston this weekend to raise more campaign money to help some of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election.

On Saturday morning, the New York Democrat is expected to be joined by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, at the Houston Marriott South for a fundraiser. Nelson and Donnelly are two of the most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election to the Senate.

Also expected at the fundraiser, according to an invite through Schumer’s U.S. Senate campaign and an invite obtained by the Houston Chronicle, are Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat. O’Rourke is running for the U.S. Senate in Texas and Rosen is running for the Senate in Nevada.

The fundraiser is being hosted by Tahir Javed, a Houston Democrat who is running for Congress himself in the 29th Congressional District. Javed has become on of the biggest fundraisers for Democrats in southeast Texas. In 2016 he helped raise about $500,000 at a fundraiser with Hillary Clinton in Beaumont. Javed himself ultimatedly donated $171,000 to Clinton’s campaign or a political committee that supported her campaign called the Hillary Victory Fund.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Straight-from-shutdown-Chuck-Schumer-heads-for-12517720.php.

Money talks for sure.

I said this a week or so ago:

In “All the President’s Men”, Jason Robards won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Ben Bradlee. Tom Hanks will for sure get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Bradlee.

I was wrong. Hanks didn’t get a nomination today.

Carlos Beltran (retired), Juan Centeno (Rangers), Luke Gregerson (San Luis), Francisco Liriano (free agent) Cameron Maybin (free agent), and Joe Musgrove (Pirates) won’t be wearing a ‘Stros uniform of course on Opening Day this March.

The ‘Stros sent me an email yesterday asking me to pick two items for being a very, very loyal fan. I passed on taking ten swings out of the batting cage at The Yard. I think the last time I took a cut at a hardball was in high school. A fast pitch softball, a few years after that. A slow pitch softball, maybe about 30 yeas ago. Yeah, I know, some fans think it is cool to walk out on a major league ballpark and take a few swings and try to knock it into the Landry’s Crawford Boxes, I get that. I settled for redeemable points and a STH polo.


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Don’t See It

The first World Series was played in 1903. Who were the two teams who played in the first World Series and who won it?

When the Trump shutdown happened Friday night, Trump and GOP leaders immediately went to their base and played the “illegal” card. It was all about “illegals” they whined. Their base doesn’t want a DACA deal – period. There is just too much hate in that base. I don’t see a deal on DACA happening, but I hope I am dead wrong. There is too much hate in their base.

The H-Town Mayor’s press secretary got some press run over the weekend. Here is part from the Chron by Rebecca Elliott and Mike Morris:

(Darian)Ward joined former mayor Annise Parker’s staff as press secretary in 2014, and Turner has kept her on in the same role.

And this:

Former mayor Parker said she was unaware Ward was conducting personal business on city time during her tenure.

“As far as I’m concerned, that’s a fireable offense,” she said. “The work I was aware that she was doing was acceptable, which is why she kept her job, but this is unacceptable.”

Parker added that she did not authorize Ward to use footage of her in a promotional video for “My First Million.”

“Women face all of the same challenges that male entrepreneurs face, but they also have to contend with some issues around how women are socialized and access to capital that was actively denied women for many, many years,” Parker says in the video.

Ward also used footage of Parker skydiving.

“She certainly didn’t have permission to use my images for commercial purposes,” Parker said Friday. “The skydiving day was with members of my senior staff — on the weekend and at personal expense — and that segment has been edited to imply a connection to Darian’s project that did not exist.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Records-Top-Houston-city-official-used-public-TV-12511477.php.

Rebecca Elliott of the Chron tweeted this a couple of days ago:

A top aide to Houston’s mayor used the city’s TV station to film and promote personal projects, sent hundreds of personal business emails from her city account and lied about doing so in response to a records request. She hasn’t been fired.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Commentary doesn’t think the Mayor will let her go. Folks know where Commentary is on this. Just put her on the campaign payroll as a consultant or something.   Sigh. Oh, well.

Ken Hoffman of CultureMap put this out a couple or so days ago:

Got an email from my friend Chip Namias. I met Namias when he was media director for the Houston Oilers. Namias commanded the press box at the Astrodome like Sinatra at the Sands Hotel. He put the “beat” in beat writer. He was ruthless and respected.

No sportswriter, not even the “General” John McClain, dared take a bite of fried chicken in the media dining room — unless Namias said it was okay. Namias eventually moved to Los Angeles; he’s a big deal in the movie publicity business.

Namias wrote: “I went to an event at the Grammy Museum last month honoring Clive Davis. With his legendary musical career spanning so many genres, during the Q&A, I asked him, if he could only bring two albums to a desert island, what would they be? His answer: Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits and The Best of The Mamas and the Papas.”

Davis is indeed a legend in the recording industry. He was instrumental in the careers of dozens of superstars, including Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Janis Joplin, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson, Aerosmith, and many, many more. But with all due respect, what does he know about music? He’s certainly wrong about picking desert island albums.

The obvious answers (mine): the Beatles’ legendary album, 1, and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 20 Greatest Hits.

Then again, I could be wrong, too. So I asked some Houston A-Listers: If you were going to a desert island (or in a couple of these cases, prison), which two albums would you take with you?

Here are some of the responses:

SportsMap 94.1 FM talk host Charlie Pallilo: “I’m bringing Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volumes I & II — terrific range of style, and a Long Island guy to boot. Then I’d take Beatles 1. It’s all the Beatles’ Number One hits, maximizing content.”

ABC-13 anchor Gina Gaston: “I’d bring Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, because I can sing along with every song on the album. And, I’d bring Kirk Franklin’s God’s Property to keep my spirits and faith uplifted.”

Channel 2 anchor Rachel MacNeill: “My two albums would have to be Bob Marley’s Legend, and Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down. Legend because I’m Jamaican, which means I’m never too far from my island nation. Every song helps me visualize home, soothing me on even the most stressful days. I picked Lionel Richie because I think he’s one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time. The songs on Can’t Slow Down bring back so many happy childhood memories. I’m biased, though. My son’s name is Lionel, so I guess that makes me a super fan.”

Houston Chronicle football writer John McClain: “I hate to agree with Chip [Namias] on anything, but he’s right about Rubber Soul. The Beatles shaped my youth. As for the White Album, I traded my collection of baseball cards to my younger brother for it. Gave him Mantle and Mays rookie cards, among many others, for “Rocky Raccoon,” and “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” It was worth it at the time. Now? Well, I’d have a valuable baseball card collection worth lots of money.”

Houston Astros President Reid Ryan: “U2’s Joshua Tree, because that’s the band that reminds me most of my high school and college days, and they’re one of the world’s best. Also George Strait’s 50 Number Ones because it reminds me of Texas. It’s got a lot of songs and they’re all great.”

Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg: “It’s impossible to choose, but for the purposes of your cruel little hypothetical, I would say Lucinda Williams’ West, and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. What does it say about me, that the only two albums I would ever hear again for the rest of my life are sung by people who can’t sing? Maybe that I’m a writer.”

Here is the entire read: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/entertainment/01-19-18-ken-hoffman-houston-celebrities-albums-beatles-willie-nelson-billy-joel-U2/#slide=0.

I would have to go with the Beatles “1”, but I don’t know how long I am going to stay out there so I would want to have tunes from the female persuasion, so I would also pick Carole King’s “The Living Room Tour” album.

A lot of folks in the USA (including some in my family) don’t like Tom Brady because I guess he wins a lot. He makes for a more interesting Super Bowl. I have to give him that.

The Boston Americans (now Red Sox) beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in 8 games (5-3) of course in the first ever World Series back in 1903.

I was at my Dad’s this past Saturday and we watched on the MLB Network the two-hour 2017 World Series highlight program. Watching that will never get old.

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. #SpringerDinger.

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On Time’s Cover

New ‘Stro pitcher Gerrit Cole will wear the number 45. Who wore the number 45 for the ‘Stros from 2007-2012?

Commentary is not going to let Amazon define who we are here in the H-Town region. Here is a kind of dumb statement in today’s Chron on not making the Amazon expansion list:

“We’re not behaving like a large metropolitan city,” said Ed Egan, director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rice University. “Growth is happening in technology. Oil is crucial, but we need to be able to diversify and be a part of America’s future.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Houston-misses-Amazon-s-cut-Work-to-do-say-12509056.php.

What do you mean we are not behaving like a large metropolitan city?

Somebody tweeted yesterday that it was the Harvey flooding factor that knocked us off of the Amazon shortlist. We learned post-Harvey that our old approaches to planning, developing and building were major contributors to flooding and hopefully we are changing our ways.

Harvey has our elected leaders asking for relief funds from our state and federal governments because right now Harvey has put a major dent in our local governments’ pocketbooks. So, it would be political suicide for our leaders to give away tax and other incentives to the richest guy in the world. I think the Amazon folks know that. They were not going to be able to extract much in incentives from us right now.

We also need to start getting serious about traffic congestion and a mass transit system that more folks utilize.

All major urban areas in the USA have issues and challenges. Heck, Seattle lost their NBA team about 10 years ago and yes, to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City? Don’t give me this gibberish about us not behaving like a large metropolitan city. That’s kind of silly.

We are a great metropolitan city, but all metropolitan cities have issues and challenges. One of ours just happened to be one of the biggest stories of the year last year. Bad timing, I guess.

Our Dem candidate for Harris County Judge, Lina Hidalgo, was among a group of female candidates who landed on the cover of Time Magazine yesterday. Has Hunker Down ever been on Time’s cover. Here is an internet story on the cover:

The new Time magazine cover features the portraits of first-time female candidates who say they were inspired to run for office by the Women’s March one year ago.

The cover story, “The Avengers,” by Time correspondent Charlotte Alter, highlights individuals and groups that make up the grass-roots movement of women running for office nationwide.

“Call it payback, call it a revolution, call it the Pink Wave, inspired by marchers in their magenta hats, and the activism that followed,” Alter writes.

“There is an unprecedented surge of first-time female candidates, overwhelmingly Democratic, running for offices big and small, from the U.S. Senate and state legislatures to local school boards.”

According to Time, four times as many Democratic women are running for House seats as Republican women, and twice as many Democrats in Senate races.

The cover story notes that while some women interviewed have long been involved in politics, many said they felt they underwent a “metamorphosis” due to President Trump’s election that inspired them to take part.

“In 2016, they were ordinary voters. In 2017, they became activists, spurred by the bitter defeat of the first major female presidential candidate at the hands of a self-described p—y grabber. Now, in 2018, these doctors and mothers and teachers and executives are jumping into the arena and bringing new energy to a Democratic Party sorely in need of fresh faces,” the piece reads.

This Time cover comes weeks after the magazine named “The Silence Breakers,” the women who started the #MeToo movement, as its “Person of the Year,” highlighting another major shift in gender politics in the U.S.

The wave of female candidates has already had an impact on smaller races ahead of the 2018 midterms.

EMILY’s List, a group aimed at supporting Democratic female candidates, said last month that more than 25,000 women have reached out to them expressing interest in running for office in the past year.

The organizers of the Women’s March are marking the one-year anniversary of the event by kicking off a voter registration tour.

Nice job!

Carlos “El Caballo” Lee of course wore the number 45 from 2007-2012.

I just saw this for sale on the ‘Stros website:

For $1999.99: Men’s Houston Astros JH Design Navy 2017 World Series Champions Lambskin Leather Full-Snap Jacket with Leather Logos.

No thanks.

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People, Not Policy

Just in! Houston didn’t make the cut to get the Amazon City. We get to keep our dignity.  No telling what we would have had to give up.  We are a great city.  We are Ok without this.

Last season, after how many games did the ‘Stros move into first place in the AL West and stay at first place for the rest of the season?

Keeping this issue front and center is important. The work continues.

Dear Friends,

Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado will convene the Urban Affairs Committee to hear invited testimony as well as public testimony regarding short-term and long-term housing needs and related issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey and associated flooding.

You can watch the hearing live HERE

The Urban Affairs Committee will meet in the Houston City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby Street, Houston, TX on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM.

Keep fighting for the folks in need.

Everyone knows that Rep. Alvarado is my client.

Chron columnist Erica Grieder has a column today on the DREAMers. I kind of have a mixed reaction.

Here is a line from the column:

Still, Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government, not the president’s steno pool. The Democrats who defended Obama’s executive overreach on the basis that they felt strongly about the issue could have anticipated the risk that his successor might also have strong feelings, in addition to a pen and a phone.

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/grieder/article/Dreamers-don-t-need-forgiveness-they-need-and-12505979.php.

Commentary doesn’t consider it an overreach to save the lives of DREAMers. I consider it humane and decisive action.

I am glad that Grieder addresses the DREAMers, but in reading the column it at times sounds like we are discussing public policy and process rather than people, human beings and folks like you and me who believe and love the same things you and I do. The DREAMers are not they, the DREAMers are us. Got it?

Commentary doesn’t like to make fun of how much folks weigh. Dealing with how much you weigh can be a struggle. I have a scale by my bathroom that I get on daily.

Donald Trump says he is 6’3” and weighs 239 pounds. Come on, dude! It deservedly set twitter on fire yesterday and here is an example:

Dori Longino‏ @dorichats 3h3 hours ago


Mike Trout is 6’2” & 235 pounds

Albert Pujols is 6’3″ and 240 pounds

Tim Tebow is 6′ 3″ and weighs 245 pounds

Let me add:

#SpingerDinger is 6’3”, 232 pounds

‘Stros catcher Brian McCann is 6’3”, 235 pounds

Steve Houston sent me the following on the Houston Firefighters versus Sen. Joan Huffman:

It’s interesting to see the Chronicle make Kristin Tassin sound almost like a credible challenger due to the massive donation of special interest money from HFD. They donated $25k out of Ms. Tassin’s $90k as payback against State Senator Huffman for her support of pension reform. Missing from the article is Senator Huffman’s campaign warchest of over half a million dollars or the strength of her incumbency. Short of a miracle, I’m filing this one under wishful thinking by the reporter.

After our 7-2 win over the A’s in Oakland in our 11th game of the season to go to 7 and 4 did the ‘Stros take over the top spot in the AL West and stayed there for the rest of the season of course.

The team asked me yesterday if I wanted my tickets printed this season at $125 per seat. Nope, I am used to using my phone gizmo. I do hope they send me real tickets for Opening Day like they did last season





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