Archive for February, 2018

Too Liberal?

My niece Rachel is celebrating a birthday today! She was actually born on February 29, but we don’t have a February 29 this year. Happy Birthday Rachel!

Yuli Gurriel had surgery on his left hand this morning. What was his batting average, and how many dingers and RBIs did he have last season?

From Keir again:

Total 2018 Vote – in person + VBM – in Harris County after eight days: 49,699 Ds, 48,652 Rs. In 2014? 17,811 Ds, 43,614 Rs. #TexasPrimariesMore

After 8 days in Harris County – GOP in person vote up 15% over 2014, total vote with VBM up 11%. #TexasPrimaries

After 8 days in Harris County – Dem in person vote up 297% over 2014, total vote with VBM up 279%. #TexasPrimaries

With 3 days remaining in Early Voting in the 2018 primaries here in Harris County, 36,785 Dems have showed up in person. 33,140 GOPer have voted in person. 12,914 Dems have voted by mail, GOPers 15,512. The Dem campaigns and the Dem Party better start calling those 20,000 folks or so that have mail ballots and tell them to send them in. With 3 days left, in the 2016 Dem Primary here in Harris County, 34,419 had voted in person and 10,970 had mailed in their ballot. In the GOP Primary in 2016, with 3 days left, 49,703 had voted in person and 16,433 by mail.

Dem voter intensity?

Texas Monthly now has a piece on the bonehead move by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to put a hit on Laura Moser. Here are parts:

The DCCC’s 11th-hour intervention in the Texas race generated a furious backlash on social media, and many progressive activists accused the group of violating its pledge to remain neutral in local party primaries. (The group has not responded to request for comment.)


Moser’s campaign believes the national party has written off Moser as too liberal to win a general election campaign against Republican John Culberson, who has held the seat since 2000. The district has been solidly Republican since 1966, when George H.W. Bush won the seat, but in the 2016 election Hillary Clinton edged out Donald Trump here by just over a point, painting a giant blue target on the Texas 7th.

Here is the entire read: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/laura-moser-dccc/.

I really don’t think there is such a thing as “too liberal.” Commentary is liberal – period. What do you have to do or be to be “too liberal?” Commentary thinks you can be liberal and still kick Culberson’s arse. In the eyes of the GOP, all Dems are too liberal.  You have to figure all this hoopla helps Moser.

From Politico:

Dick’s Sporting Goods, among the nation’s largest retailers of sports equipment, will no longer sell assault-style rifles at its stores, The New York Times reported Wednesday morning.

The sporting goods chain will also no longer sell firearms to anyone under the age of 21 and will no longer sell high-capacity magazines.

Dick’s decision to alter its policies surrounding the sale of firearms follows a mass shooting earlier this month at a high school in Parkland, Florida, where a former student allegedly opened fire with an assault-type rifle, killing 17 people. The attack has prompted renewed discussion of stricter gun control laws across the U.S.

“When we saw what happened in Parkland, we were so disturbed and upset,” Dick’s CEO Edward Stack told the Times in an interview. “We love these kids and their rallying cry, ‘enough is enough.’ It got to us.”

Here is the entire story: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/28/dicks-sporting-good-assault-style-rifles-430617.

Last season, Yuli Gurriel batted .299, hit 18 dingers, and had 75 RBIs of course and we don’t know yet how long he will be side-lined.

Injuries are part of the game.

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No EV Today

Last season, 2,403,671 fans showed up at The Yard during the regular season.   How many seasons have we’ve gone over 3 million at The Yard?

As of this posting, the County hasn’t posted the Early Voting numbers from yesterday. What is up with that?   No EV take today.

Anyway, the GOP is worried about the Dem turnout to date. Here is from the Chron today:

AUSTIN — Strong early voting numbers by Democrats are beginning to worry some of Texas’ biggest Republican names.

Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign sent out an email blast to supporters Monday warning that Democrats are surging and becoming a real concern headed into the midterm election cycle.

“If these trends continue, we could be in real trouble come Election Day,” the email says.

Through the first six days of early voting, about 10,000 more people voted in the Democratic primary elections than in the Republican primaries in the state’s 15 largest counties. Four years ago — the most recent year with a gubernatorial election — Republicans were 54,000 voters ahead of Democrats.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/local/politics/article/Surging-Democratic-early-voting-prompts-12710932.php.

Dem voter intensity?

The Trib has a story on Cong. Beto O’Rourke and his Tarrant County effort here: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/26/beto-orourke-draws-crowds-conservative-enclaves-bid-against-ted-cruz/.

Here are a few lines that got me:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who oversees the Senate GOP campaign arm, brushed off any concerns about Texas in jeopardy.

“I think Ted Cruz is an exceptional candidate and has been an exceptional leader for Texas,” he told the Tribune in late January. “He’s done all the right things, he’ll continue to be a strong voice.”

Huh? Right things? Strong voice? Leader?

Regular season attendance at The Yard has gone over 3 million 4 times of course: 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Opening Day at The Yard ain’t going to be cheap, folks! Dugout seats, $400. Club, $360. Field seats by Commentary, $250. Upper Deck, $210. Outfield Deck, $99. SRO, $83. Things are going to be pricier at The Yard this season.

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This Hall of Fame great holds the record for most all time career being caught stealing base with 335. Who am I talking about?

I don’t live in CD 7. The closest CD 7 neighborhood to my house is Precinct 227 – River Oaks. There are plenty of good Dem folks in CD 7 and plenty of endorsing organizations with members who live in CD 7 who have a better knowledge of CD 7 than Commentary and who can best argue who should be the CD 7 Dem nominee in the General Election.   That is why it is kind of stupid and somewhat perplexing that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) weighed-in and put a hit on Laura Moser. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Here is from the Chron story on the DCCC hit:

“Democratic voters need to hear that Laura Moser is not going to change Washington,” the DCCC states on its website in an extraordinary attack against one of its own candidates. “She is a Washington insider who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress.”

It is an unusually aggressive move by the DCCC in the middle of a primary in which the voting is already almost half over. Early voting for the March 6 election began Tuesday and runs through March 2.

Moser and her allies are lashing back at the national effort to swing a Houston election.

“We’re used to tough talk here in Texas, but it’s disappointing to hear it from Washington operatives trying to tell Texans what to do,” Moser said in a statement to the media.

“These kind of tactics are why people hate politics,” she continued. “The days when party bosses picked the candidates in their smoke filled rooms are over. DC needs to let Houston vote.”

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/National-Democrats-target-Houston-Democrat-for-12703796.php.

Chron columnist Erica Grieder also had a take on this yesterday. Here is from her column:

And so I would like to express my outright disgust with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which recently expressed its opinion about Laura Moser, who is one of the Democratic contenders in Texas’s 7th Congressional District.

The DCCC has the right to do things like that, of course. And my advice to Democratic voters in that district would be to exercise their right to ignore it, unless they want to help Republicans hang on to that district, which is currently represented by John Culberson.

National Democrats, in my experience, have no idea what Texas is like. They give terrible advice.

So perhaps Moser is “a Washington insider, who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress,” as the DCCC put it.

Moser is, for context, the only one of the Democrats running in the 7th district who I had heard of prior to joining the Houston Chronicle. I understand it’s the case that she grew up in Houston, and moved to Washington for work at some point, and moved back recently, after deciding to run for Congress.

I’m not inclined to fault Moser for any of that. Nor did my colleagues on the editorial board, when they decided not to recommend her in the Democratic primary. They actually opted to recommend two of the other candidates, because there are apparently so many candidates in the 7th District that Democratic voters can afford to be super-picky.

As for me, I personally have no horse in this race. I’m registered to vote in the 35th Congressional District, and I don’t try to impose my opinions on others, even if they’re well-informed, which they would not be, in this case.

Here is the entire Grieder column: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/grieder/article/National-Democrats-Don-t-meddle-with-Texas-12704960.php.

And a Thumbs Down from the Chron E-Board:

(Thumbs down) “I am not a member of any organized party,” cowboy columnist Will Rogers once wrote. “I am a Democrat.” We’re thinking of that line after watching the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee attack one of its own – Laura Moser – in the primary for the 7th Congressional District. Apparently Moser once wrote that she would rather “have my teeth pulled out without anesthesia” than move to Paris, Texas, and they’re throwing that back in her face.

Commentary has full confidence in the CD 7 Dem Primary voters. They have good choices out there. That dumbarse move by the DCCC is just plain stupid and unnecessary.

From Keir:

After 6 days in Harris County – Dem in person vote up 297% over 2014, total vote with VBM up 288% – increase continues. #TexasPrimaries

After 6 days in Harris County – GOP in person vote up 16% over 2014, total vote with VBM up 11%. #TexasPrimaries

Total 2018 Vote – in person + VBM – in Harris County after six days: 34,555 Ds, 35,036 Rs. In 2014? 11,991 Ds, 31,537 Rs. #TexasPrimaries

Through Saturday in Harris County, a quarter of D primary voters had no recent primary voting history, and 36% had voted in just one recent primary. 60% of electorate infrequent voters so far. #TexasPrimaries

After Week 1 of Early Voting in the 2018 primaries here in Harris County, 24,935 Dems have showed up in person. 22,394 GOPer have voted in person. 9,620 Dems have voted by mail, GOPers 12,642. The Dem campaigns and the Dem Party better start calling those 21,000 folks or so that have mail ballots and tell them to send them in. Through Week 1, in the 2016 Dem Primary here, 23,384 had voted in person and 8,850 had mailed in their ballot. In the GOP Primary in 2016, after Week 1, 32,641 had voted in person and 12,203 by mail.

Dem voter intensity?

The Chrob E-Board put out a take on the City of H-Town financial situation that still exists. Here are parts:

If you thought Mayor Sylvester Turner’s $1 billion pension bond issue solved all of Houston’s budget problems, think again.

A newly released consultant’s report offers a grim assessment of the city government’s financial future: Houston is on track to spend $1 billion more than it will take into its coffers in the coming decade. The city will have to dramatically cut spending and raise revenue to balance its budget. Otherwise it will eventually face insolvency, triggering layoffs in the city workforce, a shrinking police department and a general decline in services.

And this:

The dire picture painted by this report is also further evidence that Houston needs to repeal its revenue cap. If you’re new to Houston or you haven’t followed this complicated mess, you should know that the nation’s fourth-largest city has its hands tied when it comes to raising money for municipal government. An arbitrary algorithm dictates that if the city takes in more than a certain amount of property tax revenue, it has to cut its rate. Homeowners get a few extra bucks, but the city government loses a fortune.

Here is the entire E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Budget-crisis-redux-12705344.php.

I am betting some folks thought voting for the pension bonds got us out of the hole. And what is a few extra bucks anyway.

He was one of the real good guys. From yesterday’s Chron obit page:

Neil Caldwell


Well known for his wit, honesty, artistry, and integrity, Neil Caldwell passed from this life on February 6, 2018. He was born on November 13, 1929 to parents Allen and Mattye Caldwell in Gulf, Texas. He is preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Ray. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Mary Lou, and children Bruce (Cecelia), Matt (Glenda), Ann (Joe Kozak) and Declan, along with granddaughters Taylor Kozak (Nathan Dell-Vandenberg), Mattye Caldwell, Angela Caldwell, and great granddaughter, Scarlett.

Neil proudly graduated from the University of Texas and the University of Texas Law School, and served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict. He practiced law in Alvin and Angleton, and served his district in the Texas House of Representatives from 1960 to 1977. He returned to Brazoria County and spent the remainder of his career serving as judge in the 23rd District Court for 17 years, and continuing as a visiting judge until recently.

He was proud of his accomplishments in the Legislature, especially as an original member of the “Dirty Thirty”, a group of legislators who exposed corruption in state government, and by serving as a distinguished Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as Chairman of the Finance Committee of the 1974 Constitutional Convention. He served his district as a champion of the working people, natural resources, and civil rights.

In 1987-1988, Neil was recognized as the State Artist of Texas. As a judge, Neil Caldwell was known for conducting his courtroom in his own unique style, but remembered as being one of the most fair and impartial judges to preside in Brazoria County. A family member describes Neil as a great citizen of the human species. He had a compassionate sense of inter-being that extended to all sentient life, and indeed the life force itself. He once said “if only nature could get a lobbyist”. His sense of obligation and connectiveness to others was his best quality and informed his very being. He achieved a well developed human life that enabled him to serve his family and Texas with heartfelt moral duty. Neil Caldwell loved life and lived it to the fullest, traveling, painting, sculpting, serving others and enjoying his family. He will be remembered for his sharp mind, quick wit, multiple talents, and friendly and loving demeanor. He will be greatly missed by all who loved and admired him.

A memorial service is planned for April 7 at 12 noon in the Reception Gallery of the Texas State Cemetery.

My nephew Dave let me know that if you go to Vegas right now, you can plunk down $100 on a 3 team parlay of the ‘Stros, Rockets and Texans to win it all and win $72,700. It is the Texans I worry about.

Hall of Fame great Rickey Henderson holds the record for being caught base stealing 335 times of course but he also leads in the career stolen bases category with 1,406 and nobody else has reached the one thousand stolen base plateau.

This season’s giveaways at The Yard were listed in yesterday’s hard copy of the Chron. Four bobbles – Altuve, #SpringerDinger, Bregman and our own Justin Verlander. Other giveaways include replica World Series trophy and rings, scarfs, socks, gym bags, and a World Series tote bags. You are going to have to get there early.

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Dem Intensity Factor

If Norway wins the most medals, I wonder if Donald Trump will invite them over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

The ‘Stros play their first Spring Training game today against the Nationals. Who was the last ‘Stro to bat in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series?

These tweets came out last night:

Keir Murray‏@houtopia 4h4 hours ago

After 3 days in Harris County – Dem in person vote up 258% over 2014, total vote with VBM up 255%. #TexasPrimaries

Keir Murray‏@houtopia 4h4 hours ago


After 3 days in Harris County – GOP in person vote up 14% over 2014, total vote with VBM up 8%. #TexasPrimaries

Keir Murray‏@houtopia 3h3 hours ago

Total 2018 Vote – in person + VBM – in Harris County after three days: 18,537 Ds, 22,339 Rs. In 2014? 7,236 Ds, 20,742 Rs. #TexasPrimaries

After Day 3 of Early Voting in the 2018 primaries here in Harris County, 10,786 Dems have showed up in person. 10,781 GOPer have voted in person. 7,641 Dems have voted by mail, GOPers 11,558. The Dem campaigns and the Dem Party better start calling those 24,000 folks or so that have mail ballots and tell them to send them in. Through Day 3, in the 2016 Dem Primary here, 10,231 had voted in person and 8,167 had mailed in their ballot. On the GOP Primary in 2016, after Day 3, 14,849 had voted in person and 11,085 by mail.

It is only 3 days so I am not ready to take it to the bank, but it is looking like the Dems are sitting on a significant voter intensity factor here in Harris County.

Commentary has only met CD 7 Dem candidate Laura Moser once, I think. The Chron E-Board thinks she is too liberal for CD 7. Now the DCCC has put a hit out on her and you can read about it in the Trib here: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/22/rare-move-national-democrats-come-out-against-laura-moser-primary-cand/.

I don’t know about that. I don’t know why the DCCC would get involved. Oh, well.

Here from Stace’s latest 2 Center:

Then, there’s the story of Chuck Schumer injecting himself in the CD29 race to replace retiring Gene Green. Schumer endorsed the guy trying to buy the seat with his own money–Javed. Javed has written himself enough checks to buy a few campaigns, while buying off Schumer through big money donations and hosting fundraisers for Schumer and the DSCC. Schumer can be bought by the private prison industry and just about everyone else, apparently. With money that won’t ever make it to Beto’s campaign, or Texas. So, Javed really isn’t helping anyone but himself–and the chisme-driven lackeys he employs.

I’ll never forget how the DCCC and the DSCC gained so much popularity among Latinos when they ran anti-immigrant ads with Texas money back in 2006. And who was running the DSCC during that time? Chuck Schumer. And Javed’s campaign treasurer (former Congressman) Nick Lampson did his own anti-immigrant ads, too, in a feeble attempt to sell himself to white, right-wing voters. Now, you know how one becomes “former.”

Here is all of Stace: https://doscentavos.net/2018/02/23/washington-dc-creeps-into-houston-politics/.

Then these tweets:

Texas Tribune‏Verified account@TexasTribune

3h3 hours agoUPDATE: Texas Senate Democrats are calling for their Democratic colleague Carlos Uresti to resign after he was convicted today of 11 felonies.

Olivia Messer  💀‏Verified account@OliviaMesser

3h3 hours agoOlivia Messer  💀 Retweeted Texas Tribune

“The Texas Senate Democratic Caucus is calling upon Sen. Uresti to resign his position,” said Sen. José Rodriguez, a Democrat from San Antonio who chairs the caucus.

He will not resign. What would he have left if he did resign? I suspect he will fight to the bitter end and it will be a bitter end. Sad.

#SpringerDinger of course lined out to centerfield for the third out in the top of the ninth of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.

The game will be on TV today.



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Schumer Endorses

How many MLB clubs are in the Cactus League and how many are in the Florida Grapefruit league?

The only thing I have to say about Sen. Marco Rubio last night is that he was hearing it from the folks he is supposed to represent. It was well deserved.

I got a candidate slate type mailer yesterday from the Texans for Fairness and Justice PAC. I never heard of the PAC and they endorsed 28 Dems for local and statewide judgeships. The reason I never heard of the PAC is because it just got filed like three weeks ago. Their treasurer is Amir Mireskandari and the address is 331 Pinehaven, 77024.

The mailer said “DEMOCRATIC JUDGES DEFEND US AGAINST REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS. Combating hate in Texas means electing qualified, smart, experienced Democrats to the bench.”

Commentary is not too fond of PACs being formed to send out slate mailers. What kind of process did they go through to select the slate? Did they screen or fill out a questionnaire? You get the picture.

After Day 2 of Early Voting in the 2018 primaries here in Harris County, 6,976 Dems have showed up in person. 6,676 GOPer have voted in person. 5,651 Dems have voted by mail, GOPers 7,817. The Dem campaigns and the Dem Party better start calling those 25,000 folks or so that have mail ballots and tell them to send them in. Through Day 2, in the 2016 Dem Primary here, 6,810 had voted and 7,191 had mailed in their ballot. On the GOP Primary in 2016, on Day 2, 9,601 had voted in person and 9,755 by mail.

I tweeted this yesterday:

Been involved with #TXCD29 since its creation. One of the more prominent Dems to ever endorse in an election.

This is from the Chron:

One of the biggest names in national Democratic politics is throwing his support behind Tahir Javed for Congress.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has officially picked Javed in the crowded 7-candidate field looking to replace U.S. Rep. Gene Green, a Democrat who is retiring from Congress. Javed announced the endorsement in a press release early Wednesday.

“Washington needs qualified leaders like Tahir Javed who think outside the box. His record as a job creator, healthcare executive, and teacher give him the perfect mix of skills and experience to serve the district and Texas,” Schumer said in the statement. “He’s been very helpful in electing Democrats across the country, and I am now proud to support him as part of a new generation of leaders we need in Washington.”

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Chuck-Schumer-picks-Tahir-Javed-in-Houston-race-12630251.php.

This only works if you do something with it like sending out a bunch of mail saying Sen. Schumer is leading the fight at our nation’s Capitol on DACA and he’s taken the time to endorse Javed or our country’s leading Democrat has endorsed Javed. Get creative or what is the point of getting the endorsement. Of course, it may already be too late.

This is from the Chron:

Needville ISD Superintendent Curtis Rhodes on Tuesday threatened to suspend any student who disrupts schools or walks out to protest current gun laws.

In a letter sent to families and published on schools’ social media sites, Rhodes said students would face a three-day, out-of-school suspension if they joined in growing protests nationwide over the shooting at a Florida high school last week.

“Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved,” Rhodes wrote. “All will be suspended for 3 days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline.”

It would not surprise me if the ACLU recruited a student to walkout and then sue the Needville ISD.

Dem CD 22 Candidate Steve Brown sent this out yesterday:

Dinesh D’Souza is Not Welcomed in Congressional District 22 Brown Calls on Fulshear Area Chamber to Cancel Event with Controversial Speaker

SUGAR LAND, TX – Steve Brown, Democratic Candidate for US Congressional District 22, calls on the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce to cancel their event for controversial conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza. D’Souza, is the featured speaker at a luncheon hosted by the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce this Friday, February 23, 2018. 

D’Souza  has come under fire for remarks mocking and taunting survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.   “In the wake of the deadliest mass school shooting since Sandy Hook, D’Souza’s comments trolling the young survivors on Twitter is reprehensible and reflects poorly on any organization or sponsor that supports him.  The Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce should do the right thing and cancel Friday’s luncheon for D’Souza. Instead, let’s use that time to build support for comprehensive gun violence legislation so that all of our children remain safe at school.  Our children, and their parents, deserve to have peace of mind while learning in school everyday,” Brown stated.

D’Souza repeatedly mocked survivors on Twitter yesterday by alleging that they were participating in “politically-orchestrated grief” as they mourned the deaths of their classmates and teachers. He also shared a photo of shocked survivors watching Florida lawmakers vote down a ban on assault weapons with the caption: “Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs.”

In the wake of that vote he also tweeted: “Adults 1, Kids 0.” “Who are we as a nation to celebrate someone who would openly taunt young survivors of a mass shooting? I ask Pete Olson to join me in calling for the cancellation of this event and to work with students and parents to curb gun violence immediately.   Further, I ask Olson to refund every dollar that he’s received from the NRA and to stand in solidarity with gun violence victims and those of us pushing for change,” Brown concluded. 

Brown supports universal background checks, banning automatic assault rifles, closing gun show loopholes, empowering the Centers for Disease Control to study gun violence and other policies critical for gun reform.

Was every other person on the planet who can put together two sentences busy tomorrow? What value is there to the Fulshear Area Chamber for inviting this arsehole?

Then this came out:

The Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce in Texas has canceled its event with conservative author and pundit Dinesh D’Souza after he mocked the student survivors of the Parkland, FL, school shooting.

An organizer for the event confirmed to Media Matters in an email today that the event has been canceled. 

The event, titled “Dinesh D’Souza – The Case for Capitalism,” was scheduled for February 23 and was sponsored by local groups and financial institutions like NewFirst National Bank and First Financial Bank (a cache of the event page, which has been taken down, is available here).

Student survivors of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been speaking out against gun violence, calling for new gun laws, and organizing rallies. Right-wing media personalities, however, have smeared the students with attacks and conspiracy theories.  

D’Souza has recently mocked the student survivors and said their grief “strikes me as phony & inauthentic”.

Nice job, Steve!

There are 15 MLB clubs in the Cactus League and 15 in the Florida Grapefruit League of course.

I don’t have anything to say about our top draft choice from a couple of years ago who was suspended.

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EV Day 1

Among active MLB pitchers, Bartolo Colon has the most career pitching starts with 528. Fourth among active pitchers is our own Justin Verlander. How many career pitching starts does Verlander have?

There is really not much you can make after Day 1 of Early Voting in the 2018 primaries here in Harris County. 3,833 Dems showed up. 3,509 GOPer went to vote. 4,174 Dems have voted by mail, GOPers 6,138. The Dem campaigns and the Dem Party better start calling those 25,000 folks that have mail ballots and tell them to send them in. On Day 1, in the 2016 Dem Primary here, 3,292 voted and 6,344 had mailed in their ballot. In the GOP Primary in 2016, on Day 1, 4,528 voted in person and 8,172 by mail.

On a related note, see this tweet from last night:

Jay Kumar Aiyer‏ @profJKAiyer 13h13 hours ago

In Harris County—First day of early vote–Republican EV is up 25% from 2014–2807 to 3509. Dem EV up 300% 1276 to 3833. cc: @bjrottinghaus @MarkPJonesTX @ProfJonTaylor

Some folks like Jay are comparing the numbers to the 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial primary years. I prefer to compare to 2016 just to see if there is a noticeable intensity factor out there.

Really? See this tweet:

Patrick Svitek‏Verified account @PatrickSvitek 12h12 hours ago

@LupeValdez is heading to California this weekend. She’s a keynote speaker at the state party’s convention in San Diego (https://www.cadem.org/convention/convention-previews/announcing-keynote-speakers …) and will also fundraise while visiting. She’ll be there part of Friday and part of Saturday, per her campaign. #txgov

Have a nice trip!

Really? This tweet:

Patrick Svitek‏Verified account @PatrickSvitek Feb 19



@LupeValdez contrasts her endorsements with @randrewwhite‘s, saying he’s being backed by @dallasnews and @HoustonChron — “two established, somewhat Republican papers” https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/politics/One-on-One-Gubernatorial-Candidate-Lupe-Valdez-474496793.html … #txgov

Now that’s sad. I don’t think so. So informed.

This is good. It is in the Chron:

Major League Baseball players will honor victims of last week’s shooting in Florida by wearing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hats during the pregame warmups of their opening games at spring training this week.

Players, managers, coaches and umpires will have the option of wearing the caps during those games. The hats might later be signed and auctioned to support those affected by the tragedy at the high school.

Exhibition games between big league teams begin Friday, including the Astros hosting the Nationals in West Palm Beach and the Cardinals versus the Marlins in Jupiter.

Considering the close proximity of grapefruit league teams to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where 17 students and faculty were killed last week, there were few public acts of compassion from the major league community.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is a Parkland alumnus. His voice quivered while delivering a speech at a Thursday night vigil for the victims at nearby Pine Trails Park.

This is dumb. All it is going to do is keep folks away from the movie houses. Also, in the Chron:

Cinemark is implementing a new bag policy beginning Thursday, Feb. 22.

Bags or packages larger than 12 inches x 12 inches x 6 inches will not be allowed in the theater. The policy was adopted “in an effort to enhance the safety and security of our guests and employees,” according to the company’s website.

Diaper bags and medical equipment bags are exempt from the policy.

What is wrong with a couple of folks sneaking in a bottle of wine?  They are still going to buy the $8 tub of popcorn. They are just going to stay home and watch something else on the flat screen.

Justin Verlander has 385 career starts of course.

Any bets on who will be our Opening Day starting pitcher?

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Early Voting in Person

Happy 35th Birthday today to our own Justin Verlander. Justin was the second overall pick in the 2004 MLB Amateur Player Draft selected of course by the Tigers. The ‘Stros didn’t have a first round pick that year, care to tell me why?

I can vouch for the subject matter in this tweet:

Andrew White‏ @randrewwhite

My dad made the hard decisions that would cost him his reelection. He made them anyway, because it was the right thing to do for Texas. His mantra was “Do right, & risk the consequences.” I’m running because we no longer have leaders like that, in a time when we need them most.

Governor White did the right thing in 1984 with House Bill 72 and again in 1986 and it cost us. I know. I was there in the middle of it all.

Commentary doesn’t have much else to say today other than I heard Dem gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez just hired a campaign manager yesterday. Yep, just in time for Early Voting in Person that starts today. Really?

Rebecca Elliott has an article today on Early Voting and here is how it starts:

Hurricane Harvey may loom large in many Houston-area residents’ minds, but the storm is expected to have a limited impact on participation in the Texas primary, which kicks off Tuesday with the start of early voting.

Nearly two weeks of early balloting precedes the Lone Star State’s March 6 primary, the first in the nation.

“On one hand, we’re going to see a decline in turnout among some individuals who are displaced. On the other hand, I think there are some people who will counterbalance that decline because they’ve become more politically active and aware as a result of Harvey,” Rice University political scientist Mark Jones said. “The net effect is likely to be pretty neutral.”

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart, whose office administers local elections, agreed.

“If it does, it’s going to be so small you won’t be able to measure it,” Stanart said. “Your primary voters are your core voters, your most loyal of voters, so those people tend to vote no matter what’s happening. So, I don’t anticipate much disruption in their voting patterns.”

And this:

Nearly 54,000 Harris County residents voted in the Democratic primary four years ago, with nearly 140,000 cast ballots in the Republican primary. Those figures jumped to roughly 227,000 on the Democratic side in 2016 – a presidential election year – and 330,000 on the Republican side.

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Harvey-looms-over-Texas-primary-but-effect-may-12625581.php.

Maybe on the Dem side here in Harris County we will be closer to the 2016 number. Maybe? We will see.

Just in case you missed it, the Texas House GOP Caucus endorsed Rep. Sarah Davis and the Chron endorsed State Rep. Jarvis Johnson.

The ‘Stros didn’t have a first round draft pick in 2004 because we scooped up free agent Andy Pettitte in the off season of course.

Commentary doesn’t get riled up these days on changes to the MLB game because there is not a darn thing I can do about it. I don’t have anything to say about mound visits.



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The Political Chief

Today we are celebrating Presidents’ Day because George Washington our first President was born on February 22 and Abraham Lincoln our sixteenth on February 12. Name the two other Presidents who were born in February?

On the MLB side of things, name the current ‘Stro who is turning 31 today and was originally drafted by the Red Sox in 2006?

You have to hand it to Rep. Sarah Davis. She knows how to stick it in and then twist it. Check out her tweet from this weekend here:

Sarah Davis‏@SarahforHD134

Honest question, what group, individual, or entity thinks @RepStickland is the best person to carry their important bill next #txlege any1?

Ouch! You have to say that Houston’s Police Chief isn’t like most police chiefs H-Town has had. He is a tad more political. One of his tweets Saturday got a bit of attention. The Chief was responding to the upcoming March 14 Student National Walkout #Enough. Here it is:

Chief Art Acevedo‏ @ArtAcevedo

20h20 hours You don’t need to walk out. The second you turn 18 register to vote! Next, get everyone you know to vote NOW and vote in every election. Lastly, get your voter guide from the NRA and vote for anyone they rate a D or F and against anyone rated C or better.

As you can probably guess, the tweet got a few hundred responses best I can tell.

Sticking the NRA mention in the tweet made it political. I am sure NRA lovers were not happy with his tweet, but he is probably like me in not giving a rat’s arse what the NRA thinks. So, why does the NRA put together a rating anyway?

No doubt it was a political tweet for sure. I have met the Chief, like just shaken his hand, a couple of times. I don’t know him, and I have never had a conversation with him. I have no idea if he has a future political campaign on his mind.

In observing this Chief, unlike the Chiefs before him, he sometimes comes across as being a huge vocal supporter of the H-Town Mayor on some issues.

He did fight the good fight on SB 4, the bathroom bill, pension reform, and the DREAMers.

If there ever comes a debate on removing the revenue cap to get more police officers, I would not be surprised if he is out front helping lead the charge.

Back to his Saturday tweet, he probably should be a bit more careful in the future. Cong. Gene Green who is a big supporter of the H-Town Mayor has received a few As and A minuses from the NRA over some past election cycles. Cong. Green did get a C in one cycle back in the 90s for supporting the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that included some gun measures the NRA opposed. Of course, Cong. Green is hanging the gloves up, so there.

Commentary supports the Walkout and urges the student to register to vote when they get to be of voting age.

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg had a setting matters straight take yesterday on fixing up the Astrodome and here it is: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Why-it-makes-sense-and-cents-to-invest-in-the-12620875.php?utm_source=chron&utm_medium=linkmodule&utm_campaign=btfpm.

Here is from the column:

*CLAIM: The county is just keeping the Astrodome open for nostalgic reasons.

Emmett has been clear he has no emotional connection to the building, as many Houstonians do. His main goal, he says, is to get the Astrodome generating revenue again that can be used to pay for contractually obligated upgrades to the NRG Complex.

I don’t know about this. I think it is more that Hunker Down didn’t want the Dome demolished on his watch.

And this from the column:

*CLAIM: The Astrodome is a money pit.

Not so much. The Astrodome is bought and paid for. The county spends about $170,000 a year to maintain the Dome in NRG Park, largely for electric bills and flood insurance.

I guess the bond debt for the refurbishing for the Oilers was finally paid. I must have missed that.

The Chron E-Board didn’t endorse George P. Here is from their take:

Have you seen George P. Bush lately?

We hear he’s running for re-election as Texas land commissioner, but he’s not acting like it. He’s been skipping public forums, he’s dodging editorial board meetings and he hasn’t released a schedule of campaign appearances.

If a man doesn’t show up for the job interviews, does he deserve to get hired?

Four years ago, this editorial page enthusiastically supported Bush in his first bid for elected office. We were mightily impressed with his command of the complex issues facing the General Land Office. Anybody who thought this guy was just coasting on his family name was wrong. “George P. Bush is the real deal,” we wrote.

Now the real deal has become a real disappointment.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-land-commissioner-Jerry-Patterson-12623587.php.

I hear Tahir Javed is fixing to air some Spanish language ads on Telemundo and Univision.

Go check out the Chron front page piece on FIEL’s Cesar Espinosa. Talk about being on the front lines. Here it is: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/FIEL-Houston-grows-as-beacon-of-information-for-12622325.php.

Our ninth President William Henry Harrison who served only 31 days was born on February 9 and Ronald Reagan our fortieth President was born on February 6 of course.

‘Stros outfielder Josh Reddick of course is turning 31 so Happy Birthday @RealJoshReddick!

Here is from a Chron story on our closer:

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. – Ken Giles knows that being removed from the Astros’ closer role during their World Series run inspired concerns about his reliability to finish games this season. And he does not care.

“I really don’t give a rat’s (expletive) what everybody thinks, or what happened,” Giles said at The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches.

Records of the team’s epic run will show Giles with an 11.40 ERA in seven outings. Only when gifted a 7-1 lead in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series did he exit an October game without allowing a run.

The franchise won its first championship despite Giles rather than because of him.

“We played to win, and that’s all that matters,” he said. “Are there things I could’ve improved on? Yeah. But you know what? First time through everything can’t be perfect, and I wouldn’t change it for the world, what happened to me.”

A nasty attitude propelled the first 100-mph fastball to zip from Giles’ fingertips. A seventh-round pick out of Yavapai College (Ariz.) in 2011, who the Astros acquired in a 2014 trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, he has not stopped feeling like he can “raise the middle fingers to all the doubters.”

Astros manager A.J. Hinch repeatedly has backed Giles as the closer, even dating to the World Series.

Only 3 1/2 months later are they conceding “a weakness,” as Giles called it, that they could not admit when the closer had clung to whatever confidence he had left.

“I’m not invincible,” Giles said earlier this week. “I always have this mentality that I am and feel like I am the majority of the time. I just basically ran out of gas toward the end. I was relied on a lot during the second half of the season, and it took its toll.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/astros/article/Astros-closer-Ken-Giles-finds-new-gas-for-his-12622536.php.

Don’t kid yourselves. Giles does give a rat’s arse what we think. I have been telling folks that he just ran out of gas toward the end. No big deal. We won the World Series, right?

Early Voting in Person starts tomorrow.



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No MLB question today.

According to info provided to Commentary, as of a couple of days ago, here in Harris County, 29,477 mail ballots had been sent to Dems, 26,580 to GOPers.

Two years ago, for the 2016 primaries here in Harris County, 14,828 Dems voted by mail and 24,459 GOPers voted by mail. Care to guess which local political party is more energized this time around?

On a related note, it looks like some GOPers are finally waking up. Here is from MSN.com:

MSNBC host Nicole Wallace on Thursday questioned when the Republican Party will “wake up and realize it has blood on its hands” for its inaction on gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school.

“Democrats who are for gun control are fine doing more for the mentally ill, but Republicans who are for doing more for the mentally ill never want to have a conversation about gun control,” the “Deadline White House” host said. “When is the Republican Party going to wake up and realize it has blood on its hands?”

The MSNBC host accused the GOP of being “held hostage” by the National Rifle Association (NRA), referring to its massive contributions to lawmakers who are now insisting that Democrats should not use the latest mass shooting as an opportunity to push for new gun laws.

Wallace, who served as communications chief for former President George W. Bush’s White House, has previously argued that the Second Amendment is solely a protection for citizens to bear arms against foreign militias.

Good for her. I am thinking this will help get the GOP clobbered in November. I don’t know what it is, but in the aftermath of this mass shooting, it feels like the needle is finally moving.

Ronan Farrow has a piece out this morning in the “New Yorker” on another Donald Trump affair and of course the needle isn’t moving.

Make no mistake, Sen. Ted Cruz is the enemy of DREAMers. This fella does not represent Texas. Here is from Texas Monthly:

The old Ted Cruz reemerged Thursday as he castigated his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate for even considering renewing and expanding anti-deportation protections for Dreamers—children of undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country in violation of immigration laws.

During his first years representing Texas in the Senate, Cruz often attacked the Republican leadership as the “Washington cartel.” Since losing his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz has been portraying himself as Ted Cruz 2.0, a kinder gentler politician who often voted with his party’s leadership. But as the Senate started to debate proposals to provide deportation protections to young immigrants who have been raised in this country, the beta version of Cruz returned. “I find myself flabbergasted with my own party in this debate,” Cruz said in a speech from the Senate floor.

Cruz said giving deportation protections and a path to citizenship to some immigrants was nothing more than a repeat of the amnesty program given to three million immigrants in the late 1980s. Because the federal government did not secure the border, he said, the number of people living in the country without having immigrated legally now exceeds twelve million. “I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, waking up reliving the same day over and over and over again.”

Cruz has been a hardliner against President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA. During his 2016 run for president, Cruz told one Dreamer that he would deport her because she is living in the country illegally. “If you’re a DACA recipient it means that you were brought here illegally, and violating the laws has consequences.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/ted-cruz-lashes-fellow-republicans-immigration/.

It looks like he wants to make sure he wins big in the GOP primary. No wonder the majority of Texans don’t like this fella.

Commentary went to the State of Pasadena event yesterday and I must say it was for sure the most enjoyable state-of-the-whatever luncheon I have ever attended. Reid Ryan of the ‘Stros introduced via video tape Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner. The Mayor’s speech had a “whole new ballgame” theme. The Mayor also introduced a video featuring his “team” and I have to say Latinos were well represented. Chief of Staff James Rodriguez of course was featured at the end and he even got a batboy mention. The Mayor ended his speech by tossing a hardball into the audience. Nice job!

The first Spring Training game is a week from today.

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GOP Owns It

No MLB question today.

17 are no longer with us. We are the only country where this happens. We don’t do anything because the GOP is owned by the NRA. It is a fact. The GOP is good with thoughts and prayers and today isn’t the day we should be talking about changing guns laws. Those are NRA talking points folks.

Who are the next victims? The GOP owns the next mass shooting and let’s keep reminding the voters. The sad thing is that everybody on the planet knows the NRA owns the GOP.

Gov. Greg Abbott obviously lets State Rep. Sarah Davis keep him up at night. Now he is running ads comparing Rep. Davis to former State Sen. Wendy Davis. Oh, brother! Rep. Davis said this morning that she doesn’t know if she will vote for Gov. Abbott in November. If Rep. Davis wins on March 6, I wonder what Gov. Abbott will have to say?

This is interesting from the Chron:

The actress who helped take the #MeToo movement international is coming to Houston to help flip one Texas’s most competitive U.S. House seats.

Alyssa Milano, who starred in TV programs like Who’s the Boss and Charmed, will campaign with Democrat Laura Moser who is one of seven candidates battling in a March 6 Democratic Primary in the 7th Congressional District in West Houston.

Milano will join Moser on February 24 – four days after early voting starts – to meet campaign volunteers, to block walk in west Houston neighborhoods and to speak at a “Vote Your Values” rally, according to Moser’s campaign. It’s not the first time for the politically active Milano to get into a big political fight. In December she participated in get-out-the-vote efforts in the Alabama U.S. Senate race won by Democrat Doug Jones.

Milano and activist Tarana Burke are largely credited with invigorating the #MeToo movement on social media following the revelations about Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/MeToo-movement-leader-Alyssa-Milano-heading-to-12614333.php?utm_campaign=twitter-premium&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social.

Some talking head on the MLB Network said the Yankees were the team to beat in the AL this season. (Isn’t it cool that we can already say “this season”?) Anyway, our own Justin Verlander tweeted not so fast on the Yankees being the team to beat. (Isn’t it also cool that we can now say “our own Justin Verlander”?) Verlander also told reporters yesterday that the road to the AL Pennant this season goes through H-Town.

Check this tweet:

Mark Berman‏@MarkBermanFox26 4h4 hours ago

@JustinVerlander: “I obviously think we’re the team to beat..I think the American League goes through us..To be the best you got to beat the best.”

It is all a little silly talk if you ask me. We are the reigning champs for sure and we get to raise the championship banner on April 2 at The Yard. Right now, all teams are sitting at 0-0 but we loaded up on our pitching, so I like our chances.

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