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Archive for February, 2018

Now that the Astrodome is getting new life or major reconstructive surgery or whatever, it is time to ask a Dome question. Everyone knows that the last MLB game played there was Game 4 of the 1999 NLDS that we lost 7-5 to The ATL on a Saturday afternoon on October 9. Who were the starting pitchers for both teams that afternoon? Hint: One is now in the Hall of Fame.

Message to Harris County Democratic Party Primary voters:

Vote Early in Person folks. If you wait for Election Day on Tuesday, March 6, you first better do some checking because a number of voting locations have been combined. Examples: Precincts 3 and 4 who usually vote at Travis Elementary and Hogg Middle in the Woodland Heights will be voting at First Baptist on 9th Street where Precinct 53 votes.   Precinct 5 voters who normally vote at the Proctor Plaza Community Center have to hike on over to Heights High – Precinct 57. Precinct 207 and 637 voters who live and vote in Lindale Park and Northside locations have to drive across I-45 over to Monte Beach Park – Precinct 206. Precinct 66 Manchester voters have to drive over to the DeZavala Park Community Center – Precinct 65. Precinct 72 Mason Park voters now have to go down the road to HCC Southeast – Precinct 154. And this is just a sample. You get the picture?

Now this is interesting, and I am sure there is a good explanation. GOP Primary voters from Precincts 3 and 4 will vote at Hogg. Precinct 5 GOP voters at their Proctor Plaza Community Center and Precinct 72 GOP voters at their Mason Park Community Center.

Go check out the Dem Party Primary polling list at harrisvotes.org.

Now the explanation on primary election polling location selection preference by political parties is related to which party had the higher turnout in the previous (2016) primary election. The GOP outvoted us here in Harris County by 100,000 votes and change in the 2016 primaries. Fair enough.

I hope the local Dem campaigns are educating their voters. You better vote early.

My Dad voted by mail. His mail ballot was two huge sheets that he had to mark on both sides. I had to go fetch him a 68 cent postage stamp for that sucker.

Here is what the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce put out on Sen. Ted Cruz:

Statement from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Senator Ted Cruz’s ‘No’ Vote on Motion to Start Debate on Immigration Proposal and Providing Permanent Legislative Solution for DACA Recipients

February 13, 2018 – (HOUSTON, TX) – “The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is disappointed in Senator Ted Cruz’s vote against advancing a GOP motion to start debate on a new immigration proposal that could resolve the impasse over the status of the more than 800,000 DACA recipients currently living in the United States. Senator Cruz’s unwillingness to support a motion to start debate on this pivotal issue is not just a renunciation of his responsibilities as a U.S. Senator – it’s also an abandonment of his duties to the Texans who have entrusted him to represent their interests in Washington, D.C. 

DACA recipients contribute more than $460 billion annually to US GDP, have attained higher levels of education and employment than their US-born counterparts, and are in this country by no fault of their own. DREAMers are an integral part of the American fabric, yet our leaders in Congress have resolved to use them as political pawns while their status remains in a state of limbo.

The time to act on providing a permanent legislative solution for the more than 124,000 DACA recipients living Texas is long past due. We ask that Senator Cruz – and all of the Texas delegation in Congress – lead on this pivotal issue. The abdication of leadership is the abdication of the responsibility voters have entrusted to you – the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce urges positive, permanent action on DACA now.” 

You know how I feel about this fella. It is pretty obvious that the hurt put on him by Donald Trump a couple of years ago has caused some permanent damage.

There is a very good reason why Lisa Falkenberg is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist. In case you have not noticed, four out of her last five columns have been on how HISD is being run. I got news for you. She is not going to let this go. Let’s hope the folks who are running HISD know this. Stay tuned!

GOP Cong. Trey Gowdy says Congress is going to investigate the Rob Porter scandal. In other words, the FBI will get blamed.

In the last MLB game ever played at the Astrodome on October 9, 1999, Hall of Fame great John Smoltz was the starting pitcher for The ATL and Shane Reynolds for the ‘Stros of course.

I was at that game sitting in specially constructed seats for the playoffs that were set up in front of the field box seats just past the dugout on the first base side. Pretty cool seats. I was a guest of Drayton and I took Carol and we sat next to Joe Sambito. Remember him?

We should have won that series. We won the first game at The ATL. Lost Game 2 then came to the Dome for Game 3.   It was tied up at 3 going into the bottom of the 10th inning and we loaded the bases with nobody out. The ATL brought their infield in and just like that there were 2 grounders by Carl Everett and Tony Eusebio that resulted in force outs at home plate. Ricky Gutierrez then struck out and you could feel all of the energy get sucked out of the Dome. We ended up losing the game in 12 innings 5-3 and the rest is history.

Jake Kaplan is no longer has the ‘Stros beat for the Chron. It now belongs to Hunter Atkins. Kaplan now has the ‘Stros beat for The Athletic. Got it?

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The White Ad

Name the Olympian who was wearing a ‘Stros lid in Pyeonchang yesterday?

Commentary likes the Andrew White for Governor ad. The ad utilizes White’s personal involvement with Harvey without exploiting Harvey. Nice job and here is the ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftHnRbGqcw8.

Commentary also likes the President and Michelle Obama portraits that were unveiled yesterday. They are very cool.

This guy isn’t good for our state pure and simple. He has absolutely zilch respect for a ton of good folks who are making significant contributions to Texas. Here is from the Chron today:

WASHINGTON – Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz stood alone Monday in voting against a GOP motion to start debate on a new immigration proposal that could resolve the standoff over “Dreamers.”

The 97-1 vote dramatized the Texas Republican’s hardline stance against President Donald Trump’s proposal to grant a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

Cruz has frequently derided as “amnesty” any plan that confers legal status or citizenship on people living in the country illegally.

And this:

“The only no vote to begin debate on immigration was the Cuban that was born in Canada,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, making a reference to Cruz’s birth in Canada to a Cuban immigrant father.

“Sinvergüenza,” Hinojosa added, using a Spanish phrase that translates as “shameless.”

“This isn’t the first time Ted Cruz has betrayed Texans. It won’t be the last,” Hinojosa said. “Senator, lives are literally at stake. It’s time to fix a broken immigration system, not grandstand for the next election.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/article/Ted-Cruz-cast-lone-vote-against-advancing-12608732.php.

And shame on any Greater Houston Partnership leader who is supporting this fella. You can’t be for supporting DREAMers and DACA and at the same time be supporting Cruz. You just can’t. What a shame.

Yesterday, Commentary said this about the Tarrant County GOP County Judge and other local GOP elected officials who are calling out the extremist GOPers who are running our state government:

Talk is cheap though. If they really want their words to have meaning, say you are going to vote against Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and some your local extremist state legislators. Have real political courage, grow a real backbone, otherwise, talk is cheap.

Well here is a follow-up of sorts from the Star Telegram:

By Anna M. Tinsley

atinsley@star-telegram.com

February 12, 2018 04:23 PM

Updated 11 hours 50 minutes ago

Fort Worth

Tarrant County is now front and center in the fight to lower property taxes.

County Judge Glen Whitley has drawn statewide attention for preaching what he believes — that Texans pay high property taxes because the state has long cut back on what it spends to educate public school students — and now a group of local state senators is firing back.

“Let’s set the record straight. Local property tax rates are set by locally elected officials. Period,” according to a letter sent to the Star-Telegram by the Tarrant County Texas Senate delegation. “They are not determined by an informational rider in the state budget as Judge Whitley dishonestly suggests.

And this:

Denton County Judge Mary Horn said she’s been in Austin many times with Whitley testifying against a variety of proposed property tax bills.

She noted at the end of Gov. Mark White’s term in 1987, the state was paying 67 percent of all education costs in Texas. That number is now down to 38 percent, she said.

“One could reasonably argue that local property taxes are rising in part due to the state not addressing school finance,” she said. “I think Judge Whitley is absolutely correct. If they really want to address property taxes in Texas, they need to go back to square one and address school finance.”

And finally, this:

Whitley said he’s not surprised that the senators sent out a letter addressing his recent comments.

“They are going to throw it out there and think everyone is going to believe what they have to say,” Whitley said. “It’s dishonest. But they can say what they want to say. I’ll stand by the record.”

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article199651179.html#storylink=cpy.

Commentary would prefer that they vote against their local GOP state senators and get some real courage.

American speed skater Jonathan Garcia of course who grew up in Katy was wearing a ‘Stros lid yesterday and tweeted this:

Channeling my inner @JoseAltuve27 today before training today. #PyeongChang2018 #teamusa @astros #houston #texas #winter #olympics #Astros

This is from KTRK-TV:

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) —

It might cost you a little more to see the Houston Astros raise their championship banner at Minute Maid Park. According to the website Ticket IQ, the cheapest tickets for the team’s home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on April 2 are $125.

Only the Boston Red Sox had higher prices for their home opener after they won the World Series in 2013.

Money, money, money!

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Duelie in CD 7

Former MLBer Wally Moon left us this past weekend. He played from 1954-1965, a 12-year career.   He played with San Luis and the Dodgers. He made the NL All Star team twice, won a Gold Glove, and oh, yeah, picked up three World Series rings with LA. He also won the 1954 NL Rookie of the Year Award.   Name the two Hall of Fame greats who Moon beat out for his 1954 honor?

Talk is cheap. Some folks are going gaga over another local GOP elected official calling out the GOP extremists who are running our state government. The latest is the County Judge from Tarrant County – that is Fort Worth.

Here is from the Star Telegram:

ARLINGTON

A mild-mannered county official told the truth about the Texas Legislature Friday, and the resulting tremor was felt from Arlington to Austin.

During what is usually a snoreworthy annual speech to business leaders, County Judge Glen Whitley of Hurst said property taxes are high because the state pays less every year of its share for public education — and then state lawmakers blame local officials for higher taxes.

Whitley, an accountant, is in his 22nd year as a county judge or commissioner. His speeches usually involve business development or transportation, not political truth-telling.

“I warned them I was gonna go ‘unplugged’ and I did,” Whitley said later Friday.

At one point, according to attendees, (GOP) state Sen. Konni Burton walked out.

Here is the entire read: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article199523554.html.

Hunker Down has kind of said the same thing. Talk is cheap though. If they really want their words to have meaning, say you are going to vote against Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and some your local extremist state legislators. Have real political courage, grow a real backbone, otherwise, talk is cheap.

It has happened before. Commentary is talking about the duel endorsement by the Chron E-Board in the CD 7 Dem Primary. They did a duelie in a H-Town mayoral race and in a state senate special election a few elections ago. Here is the back end of their CD 7 endorsement:

If Democrats are going to win this race, they’ll need a strong candidate whose views will appeal to voters disillusioned with their tea party Republican congressman. It’s a tough call, but we believe the best two candidates for the inevitable runoff in this seven-way race are Jason Westin and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.

Westin’s professional credentials alone are impressive enough; he says his peers elected him to lead the largest clinical trial team in the nation seeking new treatments for aggressive cancers. But don’t think for a second this doctor is a one-trick-pony running on a health care platform. He’s impressed crowds at community forums with his conspicuously thoughtful command of a wide variety of issues. Westin launched his candidacy with the help of a nationwide group that’s trying to get more scientists to run for office. When he says he’s bothered by “disrespect of facts and science,” he speaks with a quiet passion that seems to be winning over a growing number of supporters.

Fletcher’s background is also impressive. After starting her law career at Vinson & Elkins, she joined AZA, a 50 person firm specializing in high-stakes business litigation and she became its first woman partner. She has served on the board of Planned Parenthood and she was on the front lines defending abortion providers from protesters during the 1992 Republican Convention in Houston. Like Westin, she has a firm grasp of the issues in the race. Just as important, she understands the importance of appealing to independent voters in this swing district.

Both Westin and Fletcher are extremely accomplished professionals with a deep understanding of complex public policy matters. Both of them exude an intelligent and level-headed pragmatism that will appeal to the moderate voters of this district, whose support Democrats will need if they’re serious about defeating Culberson.

Most important of all, both Westin and Fletcher would make fine members of Congress. Early voting runs from Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, March 2. Election Day is March 6.

Here is the entire endorsement: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-Congress-Jason-Westin-or-Lizzie-Fletcher-12563345.php.

I don’t know who is going to end up in a runoff in this race. I have been told that Alex T is dropping the most mail – I have been told.

Here is from the Trib:

NEW BRAUNFELS — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is preparing Texas Republicans for a turbulent election year amid super-charged Democratic enthusiasm — including in his own re-election campaign.

Traveling the state for GOP events this weekend, Cruz portrayed an uncertain midterm environment that could go down as disastrous for Republicans if they don’t work to counteract Democratic energy throughout the country. Cruz has spent previous election cycles airing similar warnings against GOP complacency in ruby-red Texas, but this time it hits much closer to home for him — he is facing a well-funded re-election challenge from U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso. 

Addressing the Fort Bend County GOP on Friday night, Cruz warned of an “incredible volatility in politics right now,” calling Democrats “stark-raving nuts” in their opposition to Trump. He pointed to Trump’s recent State of the Union address and Democrats’ reluctance to applaud, saying the scene “underscores the political risk in November.”

“Let me tell you right now: The left is going to show up,” Cruz said, delivering the keynote address at the party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner. “They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/10/cruz-braces-texas-gop-volatile-election-season-amid-democratic-enthusi/.

That is a good line by Sen. Cruz.

Wally Moon picked up the 1954 NL Rookie of the Year Award over then future Hall of Fame greats Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron of course.

Moon played his last MLB game in 1965 against the ‘Stros.

Spring Training gets underway this week.

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Houston Sports Awards

How many times in his career did Nolan Ryan strike out 300 or more batters in a season?

54 years ago today, The Beatles made their debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Thanks to my good friend Edgar, Commentary attended the inaugural Houston Sports Awards last night at the Hilton Americas. The greats were there including Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Hakeem Olajuwon, George Foreman and Jose Altuve. Commentary got to briefly visit with a number of folks there including Scrap Iron, The Rocket, and Dan Pastorini. I also got up close to the World Series trophy – finally. That was cool. It was a very nice event. I am glad I went.

The Trib has a story today on the GOP purger-in-chief and here is how it starts:

With little to lose in his own primary this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is finding his risks lower on the ballot by taking sides in three races against state representatives who have directly or indirectly challenged him on ethics issues.

That headline is a quote from Omar Little, a dangerous character in The Wire. Legislators and governors aren’t royalty, and most of them aren’t gangsters, either. But the logic still applies: Winning is sweet, but losing a fight against someone with power breeds trouble in the future.

If Abbott’s candidates win, he’ll have a strongman’s claim on the state Legislature; cross Abbott and risk your seat. That could be an effective threat for the 181 Senate and House members who take their legislative seats 11 months from now.

If he loses his bet, he risks adding to his reputation as a chief executive the Texas Legislature won’t follow. And the 181 will discount his threats.

Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/09/analysis-you-come-king-you-best-not-miss/.

I wonder if Abbott will go zero for three on these races?

And this from the Chron:

Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick is not too pleased that Oscar winning actress Sandra Bullock has agreed to star in a movie about former state Sen. Wendy Davis, whose 13-hour filibuster helped stall an anti-abortion bill in 2013.

“It saddens me that Sandra Bullock agreed to play Wendy Davis in a movie called ‘Let Her Speak,'” Patrick said in downtown Austin, just miles from where Bullock once owned a home.

When a member of the audience doubted it, Patrick assured the crowd it was true.

“Sandra Bullock,” he repeated. “I used to like her.”

But Patrick said he’s already taking steps to keep Bullock and film crews out of the Senate chamber to recreate the filibuster that raised Davis’s statewide profile. Davis ran for governor in 2014 and lost to Gov. Greg Abbott.

“And by the way, if I have anything to do with it, I’m not going to let them use the Senate chamber to shoot, because they’ve already disgraced it once,” Patrick said. “They’re not going to do it a second time.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/dan-patrick-texas-sandra-bullock-wendy-davis-movie-12562808.php.

Nolan Ryan struck out 300 or more in a season 6 times of course.

Dollar Dogs will be moving to Tuesday Nights this season.

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#NeverSettle

The first ever Houston Sports Awards is this evening at the Hilton Americas. All three #34s will be honored this evening. When was the last year Nolan Ryan wore the #34 as a ‘Stro?

From the I Was Just thinking the Sam Thing Department. This is in today’s Chron and here is how it starts:

Andrew White clearly remembers last August when he stood up to deliver a eulogy at his father’s funeral.

As he described the hard decisions made by his father, former Texas Gov. Mark White, he realized a change is needed among the state’s current crop of politicians.

“It hit me at that funeral that we don’t have leaders like that anymore,” said White during a campaign event held Wednesday evening for him at Kirby Ice House.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/His-father-s-death-and-Harvey-inspired-Democrat-12560351.php?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=HoustonChronicle_TexasTake&utm_campaign=twitter-premium&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social.

I was at the funeral and I thought the same thing. Just so you know, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and former Gov. Rick Perry were in attendance.

Leave him alone! Let him compete! It is not about you! It is about the athletes! Go home!

From USA Today:

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Vice President Pence on Thursday took to social media to criticize a USA TODAY Sports report as “#FAKENEWS” that U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon rebuffed a request that his office set up a conversation between the two men.

At about the same time as Pence took to Twitter, a White House official was explaining to reporters traveling with the vice president to South Korea that Pence’s team did contact the U.S. Olympic Committee. But the vice president’s office was offering— not requesting — a meeting with Rippon and wanted to give the skater as much space as possible. The official declined to be identified.

Columnist Christine Brennan reported on Wednesday that Pence had become so concerned about criticism he faced from Rippon, an openly gay athlete, that his staff reached out to the USOC to set up a conversation between the two.

Rippon turned the offer down, two people with knowledge of the proposed conversation told USA TODAY Sports. After the column was published Wednesday, Pence’s deputy chief of staff Jarrod Agen insisted no effort was made by the Vice President’s office to set up a conversation.

“Headed to the Olympics to cheer on #TeamUSA. One reporter trying to distort 18 yr old nonstory to sow seeds of division. We won’t let that happen! #FAKENEWS. Our athletes are the best in the world and we are for ALL of them! #TEAMUSA,” Pence posted on Twitter.

In a second tweet directed at Rippon, Pence writes “I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you.”

The kerfuffle started in January when Brennan reported that the figure skater slammed Pence when she asked him what he thought about the vice president being selected to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympic opening ceremony.

“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it,” Rippon responded.

Here is the entire read: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/2018-winter-olympics-mike-pence-tweets-supernumberfakenews-on-report-about-skater-adam-rippon/ar-BBIQsUM?ocid=UE01DHP.

Dude, you have promoted an anti-GLBT agenda your entire political career. Mr. Rippon doesn’t want to have anything to do with you. Why can’t you get the message? These games are not about you.

A tale of two GOPers for sure.

Chron columnist Erica Grieder has a column today on George P accepting Donald Jr.’s endorsement here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Texas-Land-Commissioner-George-P-Bush-s-makes-12559724.php.

The Trib has the latest on Gov. Greg Abbott trying to knock off State Rep. Sarah Davis here:   https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/07/texas-gov-greg-abbott-builds-six-figure-push-unseat-texas-rep-sarah-da/.

It would be way too easy to say Davis had courage and P didn’t, but they are operating in different environments so to speak.   She gets to run her own way. He doesn’t – sad.

New grub at The Yard this year: Pork Cheese Steak, Texas Brisket Cheese Steak, Foot Long BBQ Pork Dog, Foot Long Caribbean Dog, BBQ Beef Burger, Loaded Taco Salad Tot, and Jane Dough Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

I will settle for hot dogs and Saint Arnold.

Nolan Ryan last wore the #34 in 1988 of course.

#NeverSettle is the slogan this year. I like it.

I am going to get me the new team lid with the gold star – cool.

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The ‘Stros will unveil the 2018 slogan today. Last season’s was #EarnIt. What was it in 2016?

RG has an article on former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and Andrew White and here is how it starts:

Texas Democrats suddenly face a crisis of conscience–the purity of principles versus the practical question of whether to support a centrist candidate in the primary who might, maybe, actually be able to defeat Republican Governor Greg Abbott in the fall.

Up until now, Democrats could dismiss centrist businessman Andrew White as a Republican lite, the son of a former governor who had been a teenager in the privileged world of the governor’s mansion. They could, in good faith, cast a ballot for former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a daughter of a migrant farmworker family. As a gay Latina, Valdez could bring diversity to the Democratic ticket and perhaps prompt Hispanics to vote. Besides, the race against Abbott is believed to be unwinnable, so vote your conscience.

That shattered this weekend when the Houston GLBT Political Caucus endorsed White over Valdez, and the Dallas Morning News also gave White the nod in an editorial that eviscerated Valdez’s knowledge of state government. The Houston Chronicle endorsed White as the candidate most likely to defeat Abbott, and named little-known Dallas investment banker Adrian Ocegueda as the newspaper’s second choice in the crowded Democratic field.

And this:

Several weeks ago, I watched White and Valdez pitch themselves to the Texas AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education. White showed up prepared, while Valdez was vague in her speech and sounded more like a candidate for election as Dallas sheriff than as a potential governor. She dismissed her shortcomings by saying she was not a jack of all trades but could find experts to give her solutions to the state’s problems. White, on the other hand, went after Abbott for pandering to right-wingers in 2015 who thought a military exercise called Jade Helm was really a secret plot to establish martial law in Texas. “Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and the new Republican party—that’s what they are, a new Republican party,” White said. “They are all members of the Trump school of government, which means they are focused on the extreme fringe members of their primary while they forget about the rest of us.” The labor group backed Valdez, but it was clear to me that she was not ready as a candidate.

And this:

(Former State Sen. Wendy) Davis has unleashed on White through her Facebook account. “This thread from my friend Aimee Boone Cunningham says all we need to know about this anti-choice man asking for our support as the Democratic choice for governor. Uhh – no. Just no.” Cunningham, the former finance chair of the Texas Democratic Party on one occasion commented: “He is anti-choice. And trying to have it both ways, apparently. Don’t be fooled by the B.S., friends.” On another occasion, she chastised White for refusing to promise to veto any or all abortion legislation that reached his desk: “When you tell us that you would sign anti-choice bills that come to your desk, and THEN you’re all, you guys, why so mad? Who could have known ‘this one little issue’ would be important to anyone? And then you’re all, ‘no, you guys I’m going to be awesome on this!’ We don’t hear, ‘Hey! I was wrong, and thought my man brain should control women’s bodies, and now I realize that is trash!’ We hear: ‘You think women are not paying attention + don’t care + are easily deceived and have a limited ability to think about these things.’ NO, SATAN. NOT TODAY.”

Here is RG’s article: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/texas-democrats-principles-practicality-governors/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Web%20Social&utm_content=Democrats%20Governor.

Being prepared matters.  According to RG, White is better prepared.

We see over in the GOP primary, Gov. Greg Abbott going the party purity route and trying to purge folks like State Rep. Sarah Davis. Commentary doesn’t think Dems need to play party purity with someone like Andrew White.  Dems should not purify.

Commentary has said it before. I think one of the key endorsements here locally is the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. I am sure they have been fooled before – heck, who hasn’t – but they weren’t on this one.

A number of Dem folks I respect are supporting Andrew White. Commentary doesn’t have a problem if he is our nominee.

Kuffer said this yesterday about Dem CD 29 candidate Tahir Javed:

I’ve seen Javed’s TV ad, and let’s just say he’s not the most compelling speaker I’ve ever heard.

Heck, in the ads I’ve seen, all he says is that he approves the ads. Let the fella speak. He gets to speak on his ads on You Tube.   I don’t get this. I hope they are not thinking that CD 29 Dem voters are not tolerant. Come on! We are Dems.  Don’t play games.

Our 2016 slogan was “More Than Just A Game” and “More Hustle” of course.

The team will also announce this season’s giveaways. I hope they bring back the umbrellas.

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Really?

Mickey Mantle holds the record for most all time World Series dingers with 18. Who is number two on the list?

Early Voting in Person starts two weeks from today and Election Day is four weeks from today.

If you are going to run for Governor of Texas as a Dem, you ought to know the key issues. Like here in the H-Town area where we just got clobbered by Harvey, you better know something about flooding. And if you have a law enforcement background, you better be in the ballpark on what the state is spending on their border security efforts.

Here is from D Magazine:

It’s not quite time to print the “Lupe Fiasco” headline somebody out there must be itching to use, but over the weekend the state’s two biggest newspapers endorsed Andrew White over former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez in the Democratic primary for governor.

It’s more good news for White, the Houston businessman and son of the late Gov. Mark White, who announced this morning that he raised more than $1.1 million for his campaign in the first three weeks of January—counting, it should be said, a $1 million loan from himself. Valdez’s campaign hasn’t yet reported its January fundraising, but was outpaced by White by more than $150,000 in December.

That looks bad enough for Valdez. The Dallas Morning News, the former sheriff’s hometown newspaper, bringing out the knives in its endorsement of White looks worse:

We had high hopes for former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the only candidate who’s held elective office, having been elected in 2004 and re-elected four times since, and someone we’ve supported locally at various times.  We were disappointed by her gross unfamiliarity with state issues, however, particularly an almost incoherent attempt to discuss state financing.

At one point, Valdez, 70, volunteered that she didn’t know whether the state was spending $8 million or $8 billion on border control. (It’s closer $800 million.) On college tuition, she first suggested the Legislature “and stakeholders” should set tuition rates, but then contradicted herself, and she later said the state should move to reduce local property tax rates, apparently unaware of those set by local jurisdictions.

The Houston Chronicle was more measured, citing only how Valdez “stumbled over flooding questions” in an interview with its editorial board. It’s clear why the Houston paper would place a premium on the candidates’ stances on flooding, and it’s telling that the Chronicle wasted so little ink on Valdez. The Chronicle also describes White as the Democrat who will attract the most voters in a general election. It compares him to George W. Bush (meant here as a good thing), a political scion in a “common sense” package.

Perhaps more striking, the Houston GLBT Political Caucus endorsed White over Valdez, the country’s first openly gay Latina sheriff. Apparently, and you’ll notice this has become something of a running theme of Valdez’s campaign, she bombed the interview.

Valdez has picked up endorsements from the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and the AFL-CIO, and may still have the support of many state Democrats, but the story of her campaign has so far been illustrated by anemic fundraising, a shaky grasp on some of the issues, shoddy organization, and poor messaging.

She can’t pick up her hometown newspaper. Really? That’s all I can say about this.

Here is a letter-to-the-(Chron)editor from my pal Marty Stein:

Public servants

Regarding “Show’s over: Scandal is a lesson for City Hall,” (Page A11, Jan. 29), as a former staff member to four Houston mayors, I was extremely disheartened by the reported actions of Darian Ward. Undoubtedly this episode will erode people’s trust in local government. I know for a fact that the vast majority of city employees, both in the mayor’s office and elsewhere, are hard-working, under-appreciated public servants who deserve our thanks and praise.

But your editorial took an unfair turn when it painted two fine public servants with the same brush. It was a cheap shot to allude to Steve Costello’s and Mark Kilkenny’s alleged conflicts of interest as if these are equivalent to Ward’s actions. As former council agenda director and the current chair of the Houston Planning Commission, I have had the honor and good fortune to work with both individuals and believe your characterization is simply incorrect.

Costello is particularly well suited to oversee city policy on flooding and drainage because he offers years of professional experience combined with the sensibilities of a former at-large city council member. Houston is lucky he is willing to defer a well-earned retirement to serve us.

As for Kilkenny, I am not sure I could name a more dedicated seeker of civic good. Throughout his many years of volunteer service on the planning commission, including six years as chair, Kilkenny has been an unfailing advocate for adherence to both the letter and spirit of the law. The commission’s work can be very technical and is frequently misunderstood, but Kilkenny is consistently a voice of reason, experience and integrity that the other commissioners rely on.

I am not prone to complain about the editorials, but I feel compelled to defend these two decent men from unfair criticism.

Marty Stein, Houston

Fair enough. I guess. I really don’t think the E-Board was making a comparison.

I saw this on the MSN website on the game the other night:

Al Michaels doesn’t appear to have watched much baseball in the last 20 years.

During the second quarter of Super Bowl LII, NBC showed some of the celebrities who were in attendance in Minneapolis for the big game. One person they showed was two-time AL MVP Mike Trout, who is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan.

When NBC showed Trout, Michaels said that the outfielder played for the “California Angels.”

If that sounds a little off, it’s because the Angels haven’t had that team name since 1996.

I remember Al Michaels saying this and I didn’t even think twice about it because they have been the California Angels, the Anaheim Angels, the Anaheim at Los Angeles Angels or was it the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, and now the Los Angeles Angels. Make up your minds!

Babe Ruth of course comes in at number two with 15 World Series dingers and the Bambino was born 123 years ago today.

You just know the SpringerDinger contract for $24 mil is going to drive up prices at The Yard this season.

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Who has the most career RBIs all time in MLB? Hint: he is still with us.

BREAKING NEWS! From MLB.com:

The Astros will not go to an arbitration hearing with George Springer after all. The World Series champions have agreed to a two-year, $24 million contract with their All-Star right fielder, according to multiple reports Monday morning.

The club has not confirmed the reports.

According to USA Today, which first reported the agreement, Springer’s deal will be spread evenly between 2018 and ’19, paying him $12 million in both seasons.

In preparation for the hearing that would have determined his 2018 salary if he and the team didn’t agree to a contract, Springer had filed for $10.5 million. The Astros had countered at $8.5 million. The 28-year-old earned $3.9 million last season.

Springer had a career year in 2017 as he helped lead Houston to the franchise’s first World Series title. He hit .283 with a career-high 34 home runs and 85 RBIs in the regular season, and he was named World Series MVP after slugging five homers in the Astros’ thrilling seven-game win over the Dodgers.

Springer would still have one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining in 2020 after playing out his two-year contract. He would become a free agent in ’21.

Pulitzer prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg is certainly taking aim at the proposed changes being considered over at HISD. This is Falkenberg’s third straight column on the issue.   Here is how she started her column yesterday:

Alarming efforts by Houston ISD Superintendent Richard Carranza to perform a lobotomy on the state’s largest school district seem all the more radical when you consider a policy the school board adopted only three months ago.

Carranza has said he wants to centralize the district long celebrated for its decentralized approach. Instead of principals making decisions for each unique campus, more decisions would be made by somebody sitting in central office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That flies in the face of what the board voted to support in November.

“The District is fully committed to a de-centralized system of schools, giving principals the authority over the educational and operational systems,” reads the board’s educational philosophy.

It clearly states the board’s belief that decision-making on campuses should “be placed as close as possible to the teacher and the student,” and that the board and the superintendent should pretty much play supporting rules until poor performance triggers intervention.

“The central office shall turn the traditional management pyramid upside down and become an enabler rather than an enforcer,” the policy states. “Its role shall be to train, consult, provide resources and evaluate.”

Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Carranza-s-top-down-management-plan-violates-12547759.php?utm_source=chron&utm_medium=linkmodule&utm_campaign=btfpm.

I wonder if Falkenberg and the Superintendent have had a face to face on this issue? Just curious.

Yesterday the Chron E-board endorsed Andrew White for Governor in the Dem Primary. Here is a line from the endorsement:

Democrats need to choose the candidate who, quite simply, will appeal to the most voters in a contest against Abbott. We believe that candidate is Andrew White.

Here is the entire endorsement: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/recommendations/article/Andrew-White-is-the-Democratic-Party-s-George-W-12549184.php.

Andrew White also received the Houston LGBT Political Caucus endorsement this past Saturday.

White also picked up the endorsement of the Dallas Morning News.

The E-Board also endorsed Rep. Sarah Davis in the GOP HD 134 primary here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-state-District-134-representative-12549192.php.

That was expected.

Sen. Sylvia Garcia was endorsed today for CD 29 by the Chron E-Board.  (I can’t find the link.)

So far, I have seen TV ads for Alex T, Lizzie Fletcher, and Tahir Javed – Dem speaking, of course.

I saw this comment:

If (Tahir) Javed calls it ‘Stinkadena’, then he’s definitely not knowledgeable of the local slang – it’s been called ‘Pasadirty’ for many decades by those who lived there and had to put up with not only the odiferous aroma of the many chemical processing and production facilities, but the volume of particulates they emitted in the pre-NEPA days. Perhaps the particulate emissions have since been reduced while the aroma remains, but I suspect the local electorate (older ones, anyway) still use the traditional slur.

I never heard of Pasadirty and I am from Baytown.

Paul Ryan definitely showed us his arse this past weekend on his callous buck-fifty tweet. What an arse.

The Harris County Tax Assessor Collector put this out yesterday after Miya Shay’s story about flood victims getting their voter registrations suspended. This is what you call after the fact:

I’m contacting you to clear up misinformation floating around the Harris County regarding residents displaced by Hurricane Harvey being taken off the voter rolls. 

Voters on the Harris County Voter Registrar’s “Suspense List” are ELIGIBLE TO VOTE.  If your voting status is in suspense, you will need to update your address information by filling out a “Statement of Residence” form at the polling location when you go to vote.  

I want every eligible voter in Harris County to be able to exercise their right to vote. I’m here to help take the suspense and myths out of the voter registration process.  I am proud to say that Voter Registrar Division have registered more voters, and trained more Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrars than any other in the history of this office.

Please help get this message out to others by sharing this email with your family, friends, and neighbors.  Contact us at voters@hctx.net or 713-274-8387 so we can help! 

Scrambling for sure and trying to get ahead of something they should have been ahead of – got it?

I really wasn’t impressed with most of the ads last night. Dodge Ram messed up big time by using MLK, Jr.’s voice.

I liked the Sprint robots, Para-Olympics, Wendy’s shot at McDonald’s, Avocados from Mexico, Jack-in-the-Box with Martha Stewart, Alexa, Manning and Beckham “Dirty Dancing”, Lindsey Vonn, and “The Voice” country ads.

The game was pretty good too.

Hank Aaron of course is the all-time career leader in RBIs with 2,297. Hank Aaron is 84 today!

Spring Training opens next week!

 

 

 

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On CD 29, Maybe

This ‘Stros pitcher went 13-2 in the regular season and pitched in 4 2017 World Series games – who am I talking about?

The Trib has a story today on the CD 29 Dem Primary. This is how it starts:

Twenty-six years ago, a Houston political fixture named Sylvia Garcia ran for Congress. She came up short, placing third in the Democratic primary and missed her shot at the runoff. 

Now a state senator, Garcia is running for Congress again and, until recently, some in Houston were predicting she would effectively swamp the other six Democrats in the race, winning the party’s nomination in a clear shot on the March 6 primary and avoiding a runoff. 

The wildcard appears to be Tahir Javed, an outspoken healthcare executive who told the Tribune that he will “spend whatever it takes” to win the seat U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, is giving up after 25 years.

“I have invested in people all my life, and I want to do it one more time,” said Javed, CEO of Riceland Healthcare.   

Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/02/wealthy-self-funder-could-upend-open-race-replace-houston-us-rep-gene-/.

Of course, in reading the entire story I didn’t learn anything on how this Javed fella is going to force a runoff. Did he buy TV or radio ads? In Spanish? Is he mailing and is he attacking?   Does he have a field program?   Does he have a VBM program? Like I said, I didn’t learn anything.

Javed does a first.  He calls Pasadena “Stinkadena” in referring to pollution and air quality.  That ought to make Pasadena folks happy.

This kind of disappoints me. This is lazy and sloppy. I would hope that those in charge would be a bit more proactive to protect the right to vote. Check Miya Shay’s story here from yesterday:

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) —

Displaced Hurricane Harvey victims still struggling to recover are now having to worry about one more thing: whether they can vote in next month’s primary. The problem of suspended voter registrations began bubbling up this week.

Nikki Thomason, one of hundreds of people displaced when her Thornwood neighborhood filled with water, never thought her right to vote could be swept away too. “Angry, angry, you know it’s kind of funny the people who are angriest with the government right now, are the people whose votes have been suspended,” she said. Thomason and other displaced flood victims checking their voter registration online were shocked to see messages their registrations were in suspense. Many were not sure if they would be able to vote in the highly anticipated March primaries. “What went through my mind is, why am I am suspended and why has nobody told me, surely thousands of people are in the same position,” said Kimberly Truitt-Turner, another flood victim from the west side.

Turns out, state law requires each county’s tax assessor-collector to send a voter registration cards to each voter every two years. If the post office can’t deliver the card for whatever reason and they are returned, the registration is automatically suspended.

“I said I don’t have a mailbox,” Thomason recounted a conversation with an elections clerk. “They’re all hit by boats and knocked out during Harvey.” The Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office says suspended voters can still vote, they just have to fill out a form at their polling location. “You are still eligible to vote in the March primary, you just have to fill out the statement of residency form when you go and vote,” said Mike Lykes with the Assessor-Collector’s office. Per state law, suspended voters can not update their addresses online. They either have to mail in a change of address or fill out a form when they go vote. Therefore, elections experts are urging worried flood victims to vote early so any confusion can be sorted out. But for those struggling to recover, this is one more hurdle they didn’t expect. “It’s one big mess after another it just doesn’t end.”

You can check your voter registration status below, also remember if you want to register to vote, Monday is the deadline.

That’s sad. You would think that those in charge would be a little bit more helpful. Talk about dropping the ball.  Sad, sad, sad.

I really don’t care who wins this Sunday and I won’t mind if Tom Brady gets another ring. I will be grading the Super Bowl ads for sure.

Brad Peacock of course went 13-2 this past season and played in 4 World Series games and he is celebrating his 30th birthday today.

Back when the team was lousy and had the top MLB draft pick they would throw draft parties at The Yard, so the fans could watch the picks on El Grande. My best friend and I went to the 2013 draft party and they gave out ‘Stros t-shirts with “Draft ‘13” on the back.   That evening with the first overall pick, we went with pitcher Mark Appel who just announced yesterday that he is stepping away from the game. He has yet to toss a pitch in the majors. If he never comes back, he will be the third overall first pick in history never to reach the majors. Needless to say, I will never wear the “Draft ‘13” t-shirt again. Oh, well.

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Rev Cap Strategy

Fifteen years ago today we lost the space shuttle Columbia. It was a Saturday and I was at the gym on a treadmill when the news broke on the TV. I will never forget.

I am skipping the MLB question today.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado had a very good crowd last night at her “What the Heck” town hall meeting on the I-45 repairs.

It looks like the campaign to remove the H-Town revenue cap kicked off yesterday and it looks like the campaign will use H-Town police officers to convince us to pay more in property taxes for more police officers on the streets. Here is from today’s Chron:

The head of the Houston police union announced Wednesday that city leaders had pledged to grow the Houston Police Department ranks by 500 officers over the next five years, far fewer than the city’s police chief said he needs.

The head of the Houston police union announced Wednesday that city leaders had pledged to grow the Houston Police Department ranks by 500 officers over the next five years, far fewer than the city’s police chief said he needs.

The influx of officers would still be a fraction of the 2,000 new officers Chief Art Acevedo has said he believes the department needs to deal with the city’s growth, but comes as Houston has struggled for years to meaningfully increase the staffing in the department.

Gamaldi’s initiative, which the union is calling the “Drive for 500,” came after union officials visited all of the city’s council members, as well as Mayor Sylvester Turner, and asked them to pledge their support to increase the department that has nearly 5,200 officers on the job.

“This provides a reasonable, sustainable path forward, to grow this department in a responsible way,” Gamaldi said.

At the press event, Gamaldi, Acevedo, and Turner along with a number of City Council members agreed Houston needs more officers but provided few specifics on how they would raise city funds to actually fulfill their promise.

Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Houston-pledges-to-add-500-police-officers-over-12541741.php.

The article does mention removing the revenue cap as the source of funding. The article also says a GOP H-Town city council member will oppose removing the cap and another is skeptical. I guess the campaign wants to use police officers in part to convince GOP and conservative voters.

The raising of property taxes has become a contentious issue these days. I think all of H-Town’s property owners are going to have to be convinced, not just conservative and GOP property owners.

Stay tuned!

This was a Thumbs Up in this past Saturday’s editorial page:

UP: We start off our thumbs column with a 21-thumbs salute to our outgoing editorial board editor, Jeff Cohen, who created this column when he took the job. Jeff is retiring after a 40-plus-year career in the newspaper business that started at the Daily Texan and San Antonio Light before taking him to Albany, NY. Jeff joined the Houston Chronicle in 2002 as editor in chief, where he ran the paper until taking over the single most important job in the building – deciding what news deserves the enviable thumbs up and what merits the shameful thumbs down. Now his thumbs will spend their days wrapped around a sand wedge or gripping the handles of a mountain bike. Thumbs up to you, Jeff!

I noticed in today’s editorial page that Evan Mintz is now the Opinion Editor. Congratulations! I don’t think I have ever met Evan, but I do follow him on twitter and he can be very entertaining.  Congrats, again!

Great news from The Daily Beast here:

President Trump has declined to do a Super Bowl Sunday interview this weekend, breaking with a decade-old tradition. A White House official confirmed the news to CNN late Wednesday, saying only that Trump is “not doing” the interview with NBC News ahead of the Super Bowl, which is usually the highest-rated event of the year. NBC had sought the interview because the network is broadcasting the game. Trump gave an interview ahead of the Super Bowl last year when the event was broadcast by Fox, but it appears he’s decided to steer clear of NBC. The president has repeatedly derided the network and its journalists as “fake news.” The network said the president has an open invitation for the interview in case he changes his mind.

I am A-Okay with this for sure.

What happened at Super Bowl Radio Row at the Mall of the Americas yesterday is another reason why I stopped listening to local sports talk radio.   What a bunch of clowns. That’s probably what the other national and local sports talk radio personalities now think of H-Town sports talk radio. Well deserved, I might add.

I got better choices on my radio like The Beatles channel, 99.1 during the Christmas season, 88.7, and CNN if there is a real hot news story breaking.

Local sports talk radio just isn’t what it used to be.

Here is the Chron’s story on what happened: http://www.chron.com/sports/texas-sports-nation/article/Seth-Payne-Josh-Innes-Super-Bowl-Radio-Row-fight-12539638.php?ipid=happening.

Bunch of clowns if you ask me.

I don’t have anything from The Yard today.

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