Archive for January, 2018

Pants on Fire

Craig Biggio played in 2,850 regular season games in his career and that’s 16th best all time. How many times did Biggio play in all 162 games of the regular season?

Local first responders and municipal, county, and state workers deserve props for their efforts the past few days. Let me add the TV and other newsies out there who have been letting us know where and what to avoid. Nice job, folks!

And on this freezing day, it is nice to see Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg of the Chron call out Gov. Greg Abbott for telling a big fat lie. He is trying so hard to be a Donald Trump wannabee. Here are bits from Falkenberg today:

If someone is being petty here, it’s Abbott. The governor, who is many things but usually somewhat dignified in his delivery and strategy, appears to have sacrificed honesty for political gain.

And this:

In a Republican purity contest, she will sometimes fail because her voters understand that issues are complex, require rational thought and compromise to solve – not mere obedience.

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Abbott-owes-an-apology-to-Houston-Republican-12502846.php.

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

Of course, Commentary has been using the purity term for weeks now. In fact, here is from last week:

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!

I said it first.

And here is another from the Chron on GOP races:

AUSTIN — A Houston Republican is starting to pay a hefty price as she runs for re-election for running afoul with police and firefighter unions in Texas.

In the last to Legislature sessions, State Sen. Joan Huffman has sponsored legislation to make it harder for many public worker unions to collect membership dues. Now those groups are responding by funneling big money to help Fort Bend County Republican Kristin Tassin challenge Huffman in a primary on March 6 in one of the mostly hotly contested state Senate races in Texas.

Of the $90,000 Tassin has raised for her campaign, $27,000 has come from firefighter unions, most notably $25,000 from Houston Fire Fighters Political Action Fund – Tassin’s largest donation.

“Our membership was not too pleased with Sen. Huffman,” said Brian Wilcox, communications director for the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.

She’s also collected $1,000 each from the Corpus Christi Firefighters Association and from the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters PAC.

Here is the entire read: https://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Firefighters-aim-to-make-state-senator-pay-12502632.php.

Remember when Steve Bannon used to be badass? I don’t.

Craig Biggio played all 162 regular season games in three different seasons of course – 1992, 1996 and 1997.

They will be introducing our new starting pitcher at The Yard today.

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It’s too cold to have an MLB question – just saying.

Folks know that Commentary worked to get NAFTA adopted way back in the early 1990s. I think it has worked well for Texas and the H-Town region. I find it puzzling why Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are not more outspoken in defending NAFTA these days. Donald Trump isn’t looking out for the interests of Texas when he threatens to scrap NAFTA so why are Abbott and Patrick silent. Are they Trump’s lapdogs? Lousy leadership in my book.

Here is from a Chron story today:

WASHINGTON – Negotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico aimed at revising the North American Free Trade Agreement are scheduled to resume next week, but recent developments are adding to worries — perhaps nowhere more than in Texas — that the talks and the treaty will unravel, disrupting economic connections built over a quarter-century.

Even as trade specialists note that such negotiations are complex, difficult and subject to stops, starts and posturing, recent statements and actions are stoking concerns among some political and business leaders that prospects for a deal are deteriorating.

Last week, Canadian officials speaking on conditions of anonymity told wire services that the odds of President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from NAFTA were rising, while Trump himself, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, reiterated his threat to pull out if he can’t win more favorable terms.

Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Fears-of-U-S-withdrawal-rise-as-NAFTA-talks-drag-12493196.php.

I will give Hunker Down credit when credit is due, and he gets credit for slapping Gov. Greg Abbott on opposing Rep. Sarah Davis. This is from the Chron:

AUSTIN — Saying Gov. Greg Abbott “picked the wrong issue,” Republican Harris County Judge Ed Emmett on Monday told Quorum Report the governor “has lost all focus when it comes to Sarah Davis’ race.”

Abbott reportedly said during a fundraiser for Chair Davis’ GOP challenger, Susanna Dokupil, the incumbent tried to pass a bill last year that would have made it much harder for the state to respond to Hurricane Harvey.

“Just a month before Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas, she engineered an effort to convince the Texas House of Representatives to cut [$70 million] of the Texas Disaster Relief Fund,” He added: “Now, fortunately, the Senate was wise enough not to go along with her. But, imagine where we would have been had … Sarah Davis’ wisdom had prevailed.” Abbott’s campaign has not commented.

“It’s almost laughable,” Emmett said, reacting on Monday morning. “His statement is just factually wrong.”

Judge Emmett, a popular Republican in Houston, questioned why the governor has taken this line of attack.”Is this similar to when he called out the state guard on Jade Helm?” Emmett asked. “Is it similar to when he called for all of us to evacuate Harris County and caused all kinds of trouble?” Emmett said.He was referring to Abbott’s public comments calling on people to leave Houston ahead of last year’s monster storm, directly contradicting local emergency management.

Judge Emmett noted Davis is his representative in Austin and said the governor’s use of a natural disaster as a political football like this is unthinkable.

Nice job, Hunker Down.

Here we go again. From the Chron:

Houston Community College trustees will consider censuring their most outspoken colleague at Thursday’s board meeting, alleging he violated the board’s code of conduct.

In the last six months, board member David Wilson has paid an outside investigator to probe the college, accused a colleague of violating board rules by casting a vote remotely, and accused another colleague of not living in her district.

Board chair Eva Loredo is scheduled to present the agenda item accusing Wilson of violating the code on Thursday.

She has criticized Wilson’s investigation and his residency allegations in the past, but she declined to comment on what specifically prompted the censure vote — besides saying that there are “several things” — when reached by phone Monday.

Trustees will discuss the item in closed session before a public vote, Loredo said. “We have some due diligence we need to do,” she said.

Here is the entire read:  http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/education/campus-chronicles/article/HCC-s-Dave-Wilson-faces-censure-reprimand-Thursday-12498083.php.

Sigh, sigh, sigh.

Former ‘Stro pitcher Joe Musgrove is all class.   The World Series Champions traded away our Game 5 winner and here is what he has to say:

“The initial impact was kind of tough for me, and I think the emotion and the excitement of coming right out of FanFest and getting hit with the news right after was what ultimately made it the toughest thing to swallow.

“But I’m really excited to go to Pittsburgh. It’s a good opportunity for me to continue to develop as a pitcher and to get back into the starting rotation.

“I’ll never forget the time that I spent (with the Astros), and I was treated really well. I learned a lot. I was able to win a World Series, which is more than most people can say. I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play. It’s not very often you get to play on a team of that caliber and have that many studs on one team.

“… In 10 years you’re going to look around the league and be surprised that all these guys were on the same team at the same time. I was really fortunate and happy to be able to be part of that.

“From top to bottom, this organization treated my family and I with the highest level of respect. The Houston Strong will always have a special place in my heart.”


That’s all I have from The Yard.

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Who would have ever thought that we would be celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day while a racist was living at the White House.

Local labor sent me a note yesterday about a Texas CD 7 Dem Primary candidate and I guess they want me to give it a mention, so I will give it a mention. Here is what they sent me:

January 14, 2018

Subject: Labor request to not back Milasincic for HD 138 / Pannill Fletcher for CD 7

Dear Precinct Chair:

Lizzie Pannill Fletcher is currently running in the Democratic Primary for Congressional District 7. She is a partner in the AZA law firm in Houston, Texas. Adam Milasincic is currently running in the Democratic Primary for Texas House District 138. He is an Associate in that firm.

We believe that progressive voters and organizations should be aware of the work of this firm and these lawyers in undermining the rights and efforts of predominantly immigrant janitorial workers in the city of Houston to unionize, and how their work has contributed substantially to the right wing legislative effort to undermine the ability of workers to come together statewide.

The Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, and the Texas AFL-CIO are asking organizations and voters that care about the rights of workers, immigrants, or women to not endorse or support these two individuals.

The attached letter explains why, after researching the record of these two candidates and screening both of them, we are taking this position and asking progressive voters and organizations to do the same.


Ginny Stogner McDavid

President, Harris County AFL-CIO Labor Assembly

(Former Democratic Party National Delegate in 1996 and 2004; former SDEC Committeewoman from SD 17 2002-2004)

I don’t think I have met Lizzie Fletcher, but she does have the endorsement of EMILY’s List and Houston Mayor Pro Tem and City Coucilmember Ellen Cohen both of whom I respect. She has some other great Dems supporting her, some that I know.  Well this one will get more interesting for sure.

Joe Musgrove is no longer a ‘Stro pitcher. How many games did he get into during the 2017 World Series?

It was widely reported on this past Thursday afternoon that Donald Trump dropped the “shithole” bomb.   His folks didn’t deny it late that afternoon. The talking heads on cable news that evening feasted on the bomb. Trump called his buddies that night to get their take on his racial slur.

The next day, two GOP U.S. Senators who were in the room when Trump dropped the slur said they didn’t recall hearing the slur. Trump then denied using it. Now some of Trump’s backers are saying the slur wasn’t dropped.

Sorry, pals. He used it. I wish the credible news organizations would just have on their programs the talking heads that acknowledge the “shithole” slur was used.

The Chron’s front page yesterday had a story on the Latino vote in Texas and here is how it starts:

DALLAS — Josie Zamora, 44, born in Mexico and a legal resident of Texas for nearly 15 years, says she can feel the building pressure.

“You can feel it in the community,” she says in describing her Oak Cliff neighborhood, where many of the families are from the same small towns in Mexico.

First was Donald Trump’s border wall, and the push from politicians to deport all illegal immigrants. Then came the passage in Austin of a Texas ban on sanctuary cities and the calls to deport Dreamers, the young immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally by their undocumented parents.

Last week, when President Trump announced he was ending a protective amnesty program for about 200,000 Salvadorans nationwide, Zamora said she just shook her head.

“We’re Trump’s punching bag,” said the office manager at a Dallas bookkeeping firm. “I try to ignore what he and a lot of his Republicans say. It makes me angry.”

As Democrats look to make gains in Congress and mount a challenge to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this year, they shouldn’t count on a big Latino vote, despite the backlash to hardline policies and rhetoric of Trump and the GOP on immigrants. It’s more complicated than that.

To succeed, they would have to translate that anger into a surge in Latino voter turnout — something Democrats have predicted for years, but has not materialized. Democrats would also need their predictions to come true that more Latino voters means more votes for them.

How likely is that?

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Backlash-builds-over-immigration-but-it-s-12495046.php.

Let me remind you what Commentary said 10 days ago after the Chron E-Board had a take on the Latino vote:

Everyone knows what Commentary has been saying over the last couple of decades about the biggest failure of the Texas Democratic Party – its lack of commitment on engaging the Latino voting community. I have been talking about this ad nauseum.   Nothing has happened. Nada. Zilch.   Folks don’t like Commentary because of this.  I have hurt some feelings – I think.

In 2016, we had an increase in Latino voting here in Harris County, but it wasn’t because of anything the local Dem Party was doing. Heck, Dem Judge Kyle Carter was the only candidate to run ads on Telemundo.   DREAMers, news coverage on Telemundo and Univision, and Donald Trump spurred Latino turnout.

And this:

Commentary stopped being frustrated about the lack of a Dem Party effort in the Latino community a while back.   I just lost confidence in the folks who have been running the Texas Democratic Party.  Nothing personal.

Imagine the potential if the Texas Democratic Party were to fully engage the Latino voter with a serious GOTV effort.

Commentary believes that the Latino vote will be a major factor here in Harris County and Texas this November despite the lack of effort and commitment of the Democratic Party. The Latino voter is very concerned with what is happening in regards to the DREAMers, immigration reform and the hate we feel. That may be enough for key Dem victories in some quarters.

Commentary is not going to spend a whole lot of time on this for this simple reason. This time we have a racist in the White House directing much of his racial hatred toward Latinos – pure and simple. That’s a motivator folks.   We have never seen this in my lifetime. That’s a motivator folks.

When yesterday’s Chron E-Board take was first posted Friday evening, I retweeted that I still prefer #HoustonStrong. Oh, well, here is how the take starts:

With apologies in advance to our readers offended by crude language – our president’s language – we hereby raise a Sunday morning toast to “shithole city.” To our city. To Houston, the most diverse city in America.

This thriving, energetic, successful metropolis is comprised of all those black, brown, beige and copper-toned people from those “shithole countries” that so mightily offend Donald Trump’s delicate sensibilities.

Those Haitians, Mexicans, Salvadorans, Hondurans, Middle Easterners, Nigerians – whoever happens to be on Trump’s most recent sh–list – are Houston. They are us.

More than a quarter of the 4 million people who proudly call this sprawling coastal metropolis home were born in some foreign nation. Many originally hailed from places that Trump disdains.

Here is the entire take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Trump-s-sh-list-12494996.php.

Just don’t do a “shithole” logo, please.

Commentary asked this last week:

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!

Kuffer found out why here from Ross Ramsey at the Trib:

Abbott started the week by endorsing Mayes Middleton, a conservative who until last year served on the board of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, over state Rep. Wayne Faircloth, R-Galveston, who irked the governor’s circle by supporting a ban on “pay for play” gubernatorial appointments of big political donors.

On Briles again and this time from the Chron E-Board:

(Thumbs down) There are literally hundreds of football coaches qualified to draw Xs and Os at the University of Houston. Who did the Cougs choose? A man from Baylor University’s disgraced athletic program who is alleged in a Title IX lawsuit to have told his recruits, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at BAYLOR and they LOVE football players.” UH signed off on a $400,000 annual salary for Kendal Briles, exactly the wrong message to female student here and in Waco.

They asked for it.

Steve Houston sent this in:

Marc, given those 550 billionaires pay a large percentage of income taxes while about half the 325 million population pay none, any cut in percentages is going to favor those who actually managed to pay into the system. But Oprah as a president is just as crazy as electing a certain real estate developer, neither familiar with the byzantine political structure of running a government body where they can’t just do what they want without regard for checks and balances.

And this:

WRT Darian Ward and her actions, a two week suspension amounts to a $4k financial hit and she still has to deal with the potential criminal aspects of the case that are not controlled by the Mayor. Given the highly partisan nature of politics these days, her credibility as a press secretary really doesn’t matter since supporters of the mayor won’t care and his detractors will consider any of his subordinates the modern equivalent of Baghdad Bob unless they are told what they want to hear.

As the bulk of her double dipping took place during the Parker administration, that administration setting the tone for what was allowed (this matter was from 2016 and the emails from as far back as 10+ years ago), and is outside the statute of limitations for the misdemeanor criminal charge, I find it entirely plausible that Ward had permission to work on her production projects as some insiders have suggested, those projects considered “pro-Houston” and in the city’s interests, the same with her charity work. Applying a strict look at the law, an employee could be found guilty of promoting a charity when asking for co-workers to buy girl scout cookies or “stealing time” when taking calls from home, their bail bond business staff, or any of a myriad of other outside interests. So some of those raising the alarm like this was the smoking gun to ending Turner’s reign in office might want to reconsider the door they are opening.

More troublesome to me is the way the public information request was handled but frankly, anyone that makes such requests on a regular basis from a government agency is VERY likely to have a slew of horror stories how their request was semantically dissected to stymie the true intent of the request or how the “reasonable” cost of the request was greatly exaggerated to stave off inquiries or even how the agency would respond by unleashing a mountain of data to hide what they didn’t want made public. Ask any reporter worth his salt, even the Chronicle staff has been sharing many anecdotes of late on these practices. and you will understand the context of Ward’s transgressions. Yet how many public officials have EVER been held accountable, and this includes GOP appointed folks as well as their counterparts, so this sudden rush to make an example of Ward flies in the face of historical example. Moving forward, I’d love to see the law revisited and improved but neither political party is interested since they enjoy the benefits of all this.

Got it?

Commentary is not going to say much about what is going on with the Texans other than to say if the ‘Stros operated that way, A.J. Hinch would be signed for infinity and beyond.

Joe Musgrove pitched in 4 games during the 2017 World Series and was credited with the win in the epic Game 5 of course.

With the addition this weekend of Gerrit Cole to our starting pitching staff, the baseball experts are now saying we have the best starting rotation in MLB. I am glad the team wants to get better even though I know it is going to cost me more at The Yard for a Saint Arnold.



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The Post

Giancarlo Stanton, who played with the Fish last season and is now with the Yankees, hit 59 dingers this past season. Name the other player in MLB history who ended a season with 59 dingers?

This is a fair question to ask GOP candidates this election year. How long are you going to continue to stand with the racist Donald Trump and where is your dignity?

I don’t see how any self-respecting human being can work for Trump.

Racism as we head into the MLK weekend – absolutely disgusting.

Well, at least they cancelled the Arlington parade with Gov. Greg Abbott.

I really don’t like to write about college athletics. Thanks to UH, now the Trib has a take and here is how it starts:

A bid to better their football team’s offense put University of Houston officials on the defensive this past week.

It’s a posture several schools have had to adopt in recent years after announcing they’d hired coaching staff – like UH’s new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles and offensive line coach Randy Clements – who had worked at Baylor University and departed under the cloud of a sexual assault scandal.

Those universities, like UH, have been quick to offer assurances that their hires were carefully vetted, including through conversations with Baylor officials. But their attempts to set minds at ease have been hampered by one major issue: While Baylor has blamed “athletics and football personnel” for much of the scandal, it has never revealed publicly who specifically did what wrong. 

That stance has frustrated lawmakers, activists and other people at the coaches’ old and new schools, and has prompted calls for more transparency from the private Waco university. 

Baylor should “have come forward a long time ago and been very transparent about everything,” said Brenda Tracy, a rape survivor and activist who has spoken about sexual violence with several college football teams. “It feels like people are … trying to move on from what happened at Baylor, and we don’t even know everything that happened there.”  

Here is the entire Trib read: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/01/12/uh-hires-former-baylor-coaches/.


I saw “The Post” last night and all I can say is that I am glad I am a subscriber to the local newspaper.

Ok, I will say more. Meryl Streep gets top billing over Tom Hanks. The movie ending kind of feels like we had just seen the prequel to “All the President’s Men.” 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 thought Streep’s performance was flawless.

It is a great flick so, go check it out. If you are fake news believer, don’t waste your time.

Babe Ruth of course ended the 1921 season with 59 dingers.

The caravan is in Katy, Missouri City, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands today, and FanFest is tomorrow.


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On Briles Again

The Harris County Houston Sports Authority will be holding an event next month to announce H-Town sports stuff like best player and best event. That’s easy. Jose Altuve and Game 5 of the World Series at The Yard.

How long in hours and minutes did Game 5 last?

Commentary has said it before. DACA and immigration reform are core values of the Dem Party – period. Here is a story in Politico today about a debate within the Dem Party on DACA and immigration reform: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/11/democrats-daca-dreamers-immigration-mutiny-334454.

The hardliners in the GOP aren’t going to give one inch.   I don’t see the GOP stepping forward with a proposal that we can consider.

The Chron published a Dallas Morning News column today in their hard copy. It is about the hiring of the offensive coordinator for the football program over at UH. I guess the Chron wants to keep the issue alive so here is how the column starts:

By Kevin Sherrington , Staff Columnist Contact Kevin Sherrington on Twitter: @KSherringtonDMN

The morning after one of the most astounding presidential campaigns in our nation’s history, Nick Saban famously claimed he didn’t even realize it had been Election Day. They were “focused on other things” at Alabama, which explains a lot. And not just a football program that flies more flags than the United Nations, either.

Because if the greatest college football coach of this generation and maybe any other actually pays such little attention to the world outside the white lines, how can we expect the wannabes to keep up?

Between you and me, it’s the only way I can explain how Houston’s Major Applewhite hired not just one but two former members of Baylor’s disgraced football staff, and Art Briles remains in the news.

In case you’ve been locked in a film room, too, Applewhite bypassed dozens of less toxic candidates to hire Art’s son, Kendal. Proving it was no clerical error, Applewhite also signed up Randy Clements, another former Baylor assistant.

Meanwhile, the American Football Coaches Association’s executive director reluctantly canceled an appearance this week by Kendal’s dad, who’d volunteered to speak on Title IX policies regarding sexual assaults.

For the record: Scheduling Art Briles to talk about athletes and sexual assault is a little like hiring the builder of the Titanic to discuss ship designs.

Here is the entire column: http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/college-sports/collegesports/2018/01/09/public-will-hold-art-briles-former-baylor-assistants-accountable-coaches-wont?utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter.

Commentary and some very great close friends will be heading to the AMC Downtown this evening to check out “The Post.”

Royko sent this yesterday:

Will Oprah promise to give everyone a new car paid for with new taxes on corporations?

Great idea! Hopefully, by then it will be an electric car. I will certainly deservedly take one. After all, they just gave billionaires millions.

Game 5 lasted 5 hours and 17 minutes of course.

They had a packed house in Pasadena yesterday to see a couple of ‘Stros minor leaguers. Ah, the days of the three consecutive 100 loss seasons are but memories.

The caravans continue today as we deal for another quality starter.

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Fake Grass

Name the last MLB club to win back-to-back World Series championships?

Commentary said yesterday I wasn’t ready to talk about 2020 and Oprah. Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg is though and here is how she starts her column today:

Oprah Winfrey running for president isn’t as crazy as it may have seemed a few years ago.

As Rice University political science professor Mark Jones told me Tuesday, “three years ago, I would have immediately put ‘Oprah for President’ on my ‘When Pigs Fly’ shelf, right next to ‘Eva Longoria for Governor’ and ‘Tommy Lee Jones for U.S. Senate.'”

The question is why it doesn’t seem so crazy now.

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Would-running-Oprah-for-president-be-a-stroke-of-12486091.php.

Have at it.

Now this is interesting from the Chron:

It took just three weeks for Democrat Tahir Javed to show he is serious about running for Congress to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Gene Green.

Javed, CEO of a health care company, raised almost $253,000 in just three weeks according to a statement put out by his campaign.

The former Beaumont resident who has just moved to Houston, said it took just a few events to raise the money, giving him even more confidence in his bid for the 29th Congressional District, which includes parts of Houston, South Houston and Pasadena.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Houston-Democrat-raises-almost-253K-in-just-3-12484612.php.

I wonder when he will start spending the dough?

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!

Let me just say that we have NRG Stadium that has a retractable roof that never gets retracted. How often do they have events over there under an open sky? NRG also has fake grass.

The Yard however, in my humble opinion, is one of the best cribs in MLB and has real grass.

It turns out the new crib for the Rangers in Arlington is going to have fake grass – bummer. They are going to pay $1.1 billion for a new crib and it is going to have a retractable roof and have fake grass – disappointing for sure. How does that happen?

Here is the Star Telegram story on the fake grass: http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/mac-engel/article193852009.html.

Let’s see. Sunday night was time’s up and then we find out yesterday that Mark Wahlberg got a million and a half bucks to reshoot some scenes for a flick and Michelle Williams got a thousand bucks to reshoot scenes for the same flick. I guess they didn’t have all the money in the world.

The Yankees of course won World Series championships in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The ‘Stros start their caravan today.


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Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies led all MLBers with 14 triples this past season. How many triples were hit in the 2017 postseason combined?

Oprah made a great speech the other night and she would probably be a very good president, but I don’t want to talk about 2020 right now, let’s focus on this November.

Here is from the Chron on the $225,000 question:

A former Houston Community College trustee was sentenced to 70 months in prison on Monday after a judge said he accepted more than a quarter million dollars in bribes in exchange for his influence over contract work with the college.

In the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore asked Chris Oliver if his conduct was “standard procedure” for HCC trustees and asked if the college was a “cesspool.”

“The line is definitely blurred,” he said. “You don’t come from wealth. You’re in an elected position. (People) throw things at you.”

Oliver, who represented swaths of southwest Houston for the college system for more than 20 years, pleaded guilty in 2017 to taking envelopes stuffed with cash and Visa gift cards – totaling about $12,000 – from former HCC contractor Karun Sreerama, who was later appointed Mayor Sylvester Turner’s public works director.

But Judge Gilmore described deeper corruption.

Between 2009 and 2016, she said, Oliver received 69 bribe payments totaling $225,259 from at least four people seeking contracts with HCC. The $12,000 he accepted from Sreerama in 2015 and 2016 was provided to Sreerama by the FBI, she said.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/education/campus-chronicles/article/HCC-trustee-Chris-Oliver-sentenced-to-70-months-12481741.php.

I guess the feds will let us know where the $225,000 came from – right?  Stay tuned!

There were 12 triples hit during this past 2017 postseason of course.

The word is we are looking for a top of the line starting pitcher, so you know that the price of a Saint Arnold is going up for sure.

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Wrong Messages

Name the MLB pitcher with the most wins during this past 2017 postseason?

On last night, Oprah knocked it out of the park.

Check this tweet:

Carol Alvarado‏Verified account @RepAlvarado145

Wow @Oprah stole the #GoldenGlobes2018 show. Powerful remarks. Women, are you listening? Talk about inspiration! @harrisdemocrats @texasdemocrats

Oprah set the marker for the top speech of 2018. It is going to tough to top.

Kirk Douglas brought a tear to my eye.

Natalie Portman got in a well-deserved shot.

Seth Meyers handled business.

The Chron E-Board in their lead editorial yesterday said the H-Town Mayor needs to reconsider the punishment handed out to his press secretary. Here is the start of yesterday’s take:

How a boss reacts to bad behavior in the workplace sends a powerful message.

If an employee deliberately breaks some of the most important rules governing her job duties, the offense merits more than a slap on the wrist. If that employee literally speaks for the boss, the disciplinary action carries special resonance. That’s why Mayor Sylvester Turner needs to seriously reexamine the brief suspension recently meted out to one of his highest profile aides.

Darian Ward serves as the mayor’s press secretary, but she also has a business on the side. Her biography on the city’s website says she’s the president of a multi-media production company. What the website doesn’t mention is that she has apparently been doing a lot of private work while on city time.

Trent Seibert, a reporter for the Texas Monitor, decided it might be a story, so he filed a Texas Public Information Act request asking for relevant emails on her city account. State law requires government employees to turn over those documents because they’re public records. Ward gave the reporter 30 emails, only one of which had anything to do with her moonlight business. That apparently raised her supervisor’s suspicion. A subsequent investigation discovered about 5,000 relevant messages, indicating Ward tried to conceal that she’s been using her city email account while working to launch a reality TV show. She’s also accused of using her time in the mayor’s office to carry out an “intense and sustained” fundraising campaign for an unidentified non-profit, implying she may have used her position in the mayor’s office to help solicit money or in-kind donations.

So the mayor’s press secretary allegedly fell afoul of not only a state law requiring her to release her emails to a reporter, but also city administrative procedures and the local code of ordinances. These are not minor transgressions. Violating the Texas Public Information Act is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg should investigate whether any of this behavior merits prosecution.

Ward’s immediate supervisor wrote a disciplinary document last month that reads like a termination letter – all the way until the end. The mayor decided to suspend her without pay for ten days.

The mayor might as well have said, “Go to the beach for Christmas and learn your lesson.” The suspension stunned people at City Hall and left many of them shaking their heads in dismay, worrying that it reflected a lax attitude from the mayor toward wrongdoing by his staff. Just as troublesome was the mayor’s angry reaction to questions about Ward, striking a defensive posture about a management decision he needs to dispassionately revisit.

Here is the entire E-Board take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Mayor-s-light-punishment-for-top-aide-sends-wrong-12478925.php.

Here are letters-to-the-editor on this subject: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/letters/article/Sunday-letters-Reactions-to-a-staffer-scandal-12478921.php.

It looks like the Mayor and a few others don’t want her gone. Of course, how can you be an effective press secretary when your credibility is being questioned by a whole lot of folks in town? Just asking.

Everyone knows Commentary doesn’t say much about college sports because the players don’t get paid. Every now and then I may mention the coaches because in some cases they get paid way too much. So, it was definitely an eye opener when I read this past weekend who the Coogs hired as their football team offensive coordinator. Offensive it was, and it also showed a complete disrespect of women. I totally agree with what Chron sports columnist Jenny Dial Creech had to say yesterday and here is how it starts:

When UH pulled the trigger and hired Kendal Briles as its new offensive coordinator, the football program sent out a clear message.

It’s willing to take a massive risk if it means winning.

Briles – a former assistant under and son of Art Briles – steps into his new role with a lot of baggage and an extremely questionable reputation.

And while he brings a top offensive mind and system to the Cougars, he also brings a lot of questions about the morals and ethics of the coaching staff.

And it isn’t because his last name is Briles.

This isn’t about his bloodline. It’s about a coach who is named in a pending lawsuit, has broken NCAA recruiting rules and has been questionable through his actions and social media practices in the past.

Kendal Briles is a controversial choice for the UH coaching staff and one they could have done without.

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/columnists/dialcreech/article/UH-sends-wrong-message-in-hiring-Kendal-Briles-12478485.php.

I used to think that the Coog head coach was a pretty good guy. Disappointing. Sigh.   That’s about all you can say about this.

If I was putting together a Martin Luther King, Jr. parade, Gov. Greg Abbott would be nowhere near my list of folks I would want to be Grand Marshal. He is a divider.  The following leads off the year as a contender for dumbest move of 2018. From the Star Telegram:

By Anna M. Tinsley


January 05, 2018 04:21 PM

The announcement that Gov. Greg Abbott will serve as the honorary grand marshal of a Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Arlington on Jan. 15 quickly sparked criticism from some locals.

A number of Democrats took to Facebook to register their protest to Abbott’s inclusion in the upcoming Toyota North Texas Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade & Celebration.

“Do we boycott or do we show up to protest? The choice of Greg Abbott mocks the heritage of Martin Luther King Jr and of the struggle for human rights,” posted Nancy Bean, a Democrat running for Texas House District 93.

Tarrant County Democratic Party Chair Deborah Peoples also weighed in. “What was the thought behind inviting these people who don’t care about us!” she posted on Facebook. “The organizers of the parade should uninvite Greg Abbott! The parade taints the whole weekend.”

The Arlington National Association for the Advancement of Colored People put out a statement noting that they do not support the parade.

“It is the firm opinion of the Arlington NAACP that the selection of Governor Greg Abbott as Honorary Grand Marshal of any event honoring Dr. King stings with hypocrisy. As we review his career and public service, it is fair to say that Greg Abbott has done more to damage and undermine African-American and Latino civil and voter rights, educational opportunities and economic empowerment than any other modern-day Texas Governor,” the statement read.

Arlington officials plan to hold a town hall meeting at the Greater Missionary Baptist Church in Arlington at 7 p.m. Thursday to “discuss the question of what shall be done in response to Gov. Abbott riding in the Tarrant County MLK parade as Honorary Grand Marshal.” The church is at 126 E. Park Row Drive in Arlington.

Winsor Barbee, the media contact for the Toyota parade, said he’s aware of the criticism about the governor’s participation.

“We have heard,” he said. “It’s from a lot of the minority community activists.”

But he empahsized that this parade, which represents six counties — Tarrant, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Kaufman and Collin — is a regional celebration and geared to be inclusive. It kicks off at 10 a.m. and will start at AT&T Way and Cowboys Way.

But it isn’t meant to overshadow other MLK Jr. celebrations.

Barbee noted that other local parades will continue, such as the Fort Worth parade scheduled downtown at 11 a.m. Jan. 15.

“We wouldn’t expect otherwise,” Barbee said. “We want as much exposure in North Texas for MLK Jr. as we can get. This is to engage, give something for all the people.”

Dumb, dumber, and dumbest.

Justin Verlander of course won 4 games during this past postseason to lead all pitchers.

For Christmas, Carol gave me a Hall of Fame orange t-shirt with the list of all former ‘Stros who are in the Hall of Fame. The list includes former ‘Stros skipper Leo Durocher. Yogi Berra isn’t on the list though. I guess they didn’t include coaches. Oh, well.

She also gave me a HOF lid and a Jeff Bagwell HOF plaque – cool.


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Lack of Commitment

Name the pitcher who had the highest ERA in the 2017 World Series?

Everyone knows what Commentary has been saying over the last couple of decades about the biggest failure of the Texas Democratic Party – its lack of commitment on engaging the Latino voting community. I have been talking about this ad nauseum.   Nothing has happened. Nada. Zilch.   Folks don’t like Commentary because of this.  I have hurt some feelings – I think.

In 2016, we had an increase in Latino voting here in Harris County, but it wasn’t because of anything the local Dem Party was doing. Heck, Dem Judge Kyle Carter was the only candidate to run ads on Telemundo.   DREAMers, news coverage on Telemundo and Univision, and Donald Trump spurred Latino turnout.

I have said it before, the most watched local news stations in the H-Town region are the Spanish language stations. That ought to tell folks something. Too bad folks are not listening.

The Chron E-board today addresses Latino voter turnout in Texas and here is how it starts:

Texas loves to brag about our bigness, but then why are we content with our minuscule election turnout?

The Lone Star State must change our dismal history as a low voter turnout state, starting with the March primary elections. The best way that can happen is by boosting turnout among Texas Hispanics.

The Lone Star State had the third-lowest turnout in the 2016 presidential election, which is a typical performance. Exit polls that year showed that Hispanics made up only about 24 percent of Texas voters, even though they constituted 34 percent of the eligible voting age population that year.

In the 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections, only 17 percent of Texas voters were Hispanic, according to exit polls.

The low Hispanic turnout is no accident, with much of the fault lying with the Republican-controlled Legislature in Texas. Overly restrictive voter identification laws and gerrymandering of congressional and legislative districts suppress voter turnout.

Over the long term, the one sure way to get Texas off the bottom of the voter turnout list will be to undo those legislative efforts. But that doesn’t mean Texans can’t take steps in the coming weeks and months to boost turnout this year, particularly among Hispanics.

Although Hispanics have tended to support Democrats in recent years, this doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. Gov. Greg Abbott and former governor George W. Bush, both Republicans, campaigned aggressively for Hispanic votes, and the GOP will have to find a way to increase its appeal among that group if it is to maintain its dominance in Texas.

Here is the entire E-Board read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Big-as-Texas-Lone-Star-election-turnout-is-12474905.php.

Commentary stopped being frustrated about the lack of a Dem Party effort in the Latino community a while back.   I just lost confidence in the folks who have been running the Texas Democratic Party.  Nothing personal.

Imagine the potential if the Texas Democratic Party were to fully engage the Latino voter with a serious GOTV effort.

Commentary believes that the Latino vote will be a major factor here in Harris County and Texas this November despite the lack of effort and commitment of the Democratic Party. The Latino voter is very concerned with what is happening in regards to the DREAMers, immigration reform and the hate we feel. That may be enough for key Dem victories in some quarters.

Oh, well.  What else is news?

Commentary is going to watch the Golden Globes Awards this Sunday. I sure hope women make a statement on everything, everything, and everything. Take no prisoners!

On old movies, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “Cool Hand Luke”, and “The Wild Bunch” will be on cable later this month.

Ken Giles of course led all pitchers with a 27.00 ERA in the World Series. Giles is our closer. Ouch!

That’s all I have.

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Still On the Job

How many players on the ‘Stros’ World Series roster were born in Puerto Rico?

On the latest on the H-Town Mayor’s press secretary, here is how Rebecca Elliott’s Chron story ends today:

“It’s pretty flagrant,” said Daniel Bevarly, executive director of the National Freedom of Information Coalition, based in Missouri. “I’m surprised the mayor retained this individual.”

Turner said “no employee ought to be utilizing personal emails on city time,” but said he was not concerned about Ward’s performance.

“She’s done her job extremely well since I’ve been here, over and above,” he said. “I have no question with regard to her work performance.”

The mayor, who bristled at reporters’ questions about Ward, added that he imposed a stiffer punishment than the city’s legal and human resources departments had recommended.

“People are not concerned about some of these other matters that don’t touch them,” Turner said. “What they are concerned about: Who’s going to help me get back and fix my house? And they’re concerned about who’s going to meet the needs of the vulnerable population like the homeless.”

Joy in Motion is registered with the Texas Secretary of State in Ward’s name, and Bernstein’s memo says Ward acknowledged it is her “own private company.”

However, Joy in Motion is not listed on Ward’s city financial disclosures for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 calendar years. Ward’s position in the mayor’s office, for which she earns $93,712 annually, is the only income source listed on any of the three forms.

Houston requires disclosure of any “occupational income” over $250 per source, among other financial interests. Violations are subject to review by the city’s ethics commission and are punishable by fines of $100 to $500 per offense.

Former city attorney David Feldman described that requirement as covering “any compensation for work, whether it be as an employee, independent contractor, employee-owner – it doesn’t matter.”

Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Turner-stands-by-employee-suspended-for-12472003.php.

Drip, drip, drip!

Commentary has yet to run into anyone over the last 24 hours who thinks she should stay on the job. Some even want to see tougher action if you know what I mean.

Here is what Steve Houston sent me:

On the Darian Ward matter, I hope this spells a new attitude toward public information requests because historically, and for a very long time, it has been common for those in government to bend over backwards to withhold anything someone doesn’t want to release. This holds true for all levels of government, not just the city of Houston, it wasn’t that long ago the county sheriff played fast & loose with the rules, the same for a sitting district attorney.

Reporter Mike Morris documented his problems with requests on his twitter feed for awhile too, those in charge of producing records have come up with a near endless list of tricks to dissuade reporters or the public at large from getting what they want. And while some bemoan the 10 day suspension as far too little, it is exceedingly rare that a government employee is ever punished for such actions, some just use it as an excuse to move to a different position elsewhere or to remove a predecessor’s employee on reasonable grounds. On the other hand, those trying to try Ward in the court of public opinion such as a few Council-members, might not care for a look into their own forms of double dipping, it being very common for such folks to conduct personal and other business on the city clock without so much as a thought about it. If you’re going to call a woman a thief over a common practice, be prepared to look in the mirror and cast judgement your own way as well.

Drip, drip, drip!

It is a question of credibility.

The ‘Atros have been invited to the White House. I wonder what the Puerto Ricans on the team will do since Donald Trump has treated Puerto Rico like s__t on hurricane relief. Commentary doesn’t really give a rat’s arse if the team goes. Most of the ‘Stros probably know Trump is an arsehole anyway.

Here is what Tags tweeted on the team and Spring Training:

Astros pitchers and catchers report Feb. 14. First workout Feb. 15. Full squad reports Feb. 19. First full squad workout Feb. 20.

Carlos Beltran, Juan Centeno, and Carlos Correa of course were born in Puerto Rico.

Oh yeah, I also have a Foul Ball King Christmas tree ornament and you don’t – nice.

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