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Archive for March, 2018

Good Friday

How many Opening Day consecutive wins do we now have?

The Harris County JP from Precinct 7 officially called it quits yesterday.

We are just learning this morning how a H-Town City Council member died.

Commentary still has not heard of a local GOP leader object to the citizenship question on the census.

The Chron E-Board takes on the citizenship question today.

A former GOP congressman is on trial.

A GOP right wing talk show host made a half-arse apology yesterday because she was getting boycotted.

A-Rod has made a turnaround and is in the ESPN booth.

The news last night about a well know pastor being indicted stunned a lot us and he says he is innocent.

Wow!

Oh yeah, it is Good Friday.

We have now won six consecutive games on Opening Day and that includes two against the Yankees and two against the Rangers.

A #SpringerDinger is a nice way to start the season.

Have a nice Easter Sunday!

 

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Opening Day 2018

Did Hall of Fame great Nolan Ryan have more Opening Day starts as a ‘Stro or as a Ranger?

The Chron E-Board has a very interesting take today on how HISD is being run.   The headline wants us to “prepare for a worst-case scenario.” It looks like they don’t have a lot of confidence in the HISD Board of Education. Here is how their take starts:

Say a year from now, a visitor to Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, the headquarters for the state’s largest school district, comes face to face with a wall decorated with nine empty frames labeled “Houston Independent School District Trustees.” What should she think?

It will be a sad day for democracy if our elected school governance system is replaced by an appointed one, but it may be inevitable, especially given former HISD Superintendent Richard Carranza’s abrupt departure this month.

The fact of the matter is that the HISD board is facing a potential state takeover.

A 2015 state law gives the Texas Education Agency the right to decide that it can run a school district better than an elected board of trustees and to appoint a board of managers. The law is triggered if certain non-performing schools don’t improve for five years or if a district administration fails to make other satisfactory arrangements.

Although TEA is not likely to take this drastic step in the next few months, the HISD board’s long-term future remains in doubt, and it’s not too early for Houstonians to start thoughtfully weighing the merits of a state takeover.

All Houstonians should agree that the status quo in HISD is unacceptable. Too many schools for too many years have failed to meet performance thresholds.

While there are some excellent trustees, the public has lost confidence in the ability of the board to govern without micromanaging. The district’s relationship with dedicated school reformers in the business community has plummeted.

Here is the entire take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/State-takeover-of-board-of-trustees-of-HISD-is-12789147.php.

It is certainly not a coincidence that there is also a front page story in today’s Chron on the H-Town Mayor having a say in how things are run over at HISD. Here is how the front page story starts:

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he has been asked to get “very, very, very involved” in Houston ISD as it faces potentially severe state sanctions, but he stopped short Wednesday of suggesting the city could take control of the district’s chronically under-performing campuses.

Asked whether the city could become a “partner” with the district, giving the city significant authority over operations at campuses, Turner said Wednesday: “Let’s just say I’ve been asked to be very, very involved by multiple individuals, and then I am deciding to what degree and to how far I am going to get involved in the day-to-day operation of any of the schools.”

In recent weeks, HISD administrators have proposed surrendering significant control over 10 underachieving campuses to “partners” as part of the district’s plan for avoiding state sanctions.

Here is the entire story: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/Houston-mayor-coy-about-city-potentially-taking-12788214.php.

I don’t think the City of H-Town ought to be in the business of running our schools. I do think that the Mayor can be a big part of getting folks – the Board, business and civic leaders, parents, teachers, other interested parties, and students -on the same page working together, but that is going to require a bunch of folks leaving their personal and professional agendas at the door.

It is a heavy lift for sure, but it sure beats having the State of Texas step in. The State of Texas has no credibility trying to tell anyone how to educate their kids. Stay tuned!

Opening Day is in Arlington this afternoon.

MLB is the only sport with an Opening Day. Opening Day belongs to baseball – period. We baseball fans all look forward to this.

Did you know that the Reds, with the exception of an opening home series rainout and a player lockout season, have opened every season at home?

I still remember the days when the Reds would be the first team to play with the earliest start of the day or on occasion the only game of the day.

Which is the most significant: Hank Aaron tying Babe Ruth for career dingers when he hit his 714th on Opening Day to tie the Babe or Bob Feller tossing a no-no on Opening Day? I go with the Hank Aaron’s 714th.

San Luis was the first MLB club to have a night game on Opening Day or would you call it Opening Night? Nah, it is still Opening Day.

Hall of Fame great Tom Seavers leads all pitchers with 16 starts on Opening Day.

The Reds were supposed to hold their opener today against the Nationals, but bad weather is forcing them to move their Opening Day tomorrow.

Craig Biggio has 19 Opening Day starts to lead the ‘Stros.

From the I didn’t know that department: I didn’t know that Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was the daughter of Jane Mansfield. Just like some folks don’t know that actress Maya Rudolph is the daughter of Minnie Riperton.

If you are a diehard ‘Stros fan, you will enjoy the excellent column in the Chron today by Brian Smith. Here are great takes from the column:

An unbelievable 2017 campaign didn’t end until Nov. 1. And let’s be honest: We’re still soaking it all in as Opening Day (in Arlington) approaches.

And:

They used to have a money and talent problem. Then they finally became good again, only to have a Rangers problem. Now, the Jim Crane-Jeff Luhnow Astros are MLB’s problem.

And:

The Astros are so good that Brad Peacock and Collin McHugh can’t fit in the starting rotation and have to be stored in the bullpen.

And finally, this:

It feels like the parade just ended.

Here is the entire Brian Smith column: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/texas-sports-nation/brian-t-smith/article/Smith-Astros-should-end-up-as-MLB-s-best-again-12788630.php.

Hall of Fame great Nolan Ryan had three Opening Day starts for the ‘Stros and three for the Rangers of course.

Have a Happy Opening Day!

#NeverSettle

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In MLB, only one no-no was tossed last season and one in 2017. In 2015, seven were tossed. When was the last season in MLB when a no-no was not tossed?

Every state and every community in the country wants an accurate and robust census count. It is in their interest. Texas GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton and Sen. Ted Cruz don’t see it that way. They want to exclude a certain segment of the community in the count.

Commentary is waiting to hear what other GOP elected officials from Texas and the H-Town area have to say about this and the citizenship question. Same thing goes for the business leadership. Are they going to kowtow to the likes of Paxton and Cruz or will they speak up for the interests of Texas and their local communities?

Commentary will ask it again? Why does the business community support a fella like Cruz who always puts his own politics above the interests of the state? Wake up!

This is classy. See this tweet:

Brian McTaggart Retweeted

Mark Berman‏@MarkBermanFox26 3m3 minutes ago

Retired #Astros first base coach Rich Dauer, who nearly died after collapsing following the team’s World Series parade, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the home opener Monday night. AJ Hinch will catch. Wonderful move by the Astros.

Good for the ‘Stros!

This was in the Chron yesterday:

Major League Baseball has released official social media hashtags for all 30 teams. We all know that the Houston Astros will #NeverSettle but what about the rest of the league?

These official hashtags will be used on Twitter and Instagram mostly, with some commemorating major milestones for each team.

Both the Colorado Rockies and the Miami Marlins are turning 25 years old this year and the Rockies squad will be celebrating with #Rockies25th. The Marlins are using #JuntosMiami.

The hated (in Houston at least) New York Yankees are using #PinstripePride. The Texas Rangers hashtag is the wildly innovative #TexasRangers. Poor Arlington Rangers.

Houston’s new arch enemies the Los Angeles Dodgers are simply #Dodgers this season. The Atlanta Braves want to get their #ChopOn and the Baltimore Orioles (whom the ‘Stros will see in next week’s home opener) are hailing from #Birdland.

Other folks call them the Arlington Rangers. Commentary won’t. Just like I won’t call Sen. Ted Cruz, Rafael. If they don’t like their real names, I will respect that.

Here is another take on the upcoming season from MLB.com:

MLB.com crazy predictions:

Astros: Houston challenges Seattle’s modern record of 116 victories set in ’01
PQ: Insane

The AL West has four pretty-good-to-good teams, so it won’t be easy for the Astros to stockpile victories. But it might not matter. This roster is utterly loaded — with the addition of Gerrit Cole, a full season of Justin Verlander and a healthy Carlos Correa — and the Astros look markedly better than the team that won 101 games last year. And they insist that they are more motivated than ever.

Folks forget that Seattle didn’t even make it to the World Series that season. They got knocked in five in the ALCS by the Yankees. Winning 100 would be nice again.  Of course, I am just hoping we are playing well at the end of the season with a healthy team. Let’s just take them one game at a time for now.

There was not a no-no tossed in 2005 in MLB of course.

Opening Day is tomorrow afternoon in Arlington.

 

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The Rivalry

What is the ‘Stros’ regular season all-time record versus the Rangers?

It is official. This is the most anti-Latino White House – period. They know exactly what they are doing in including the citizenship question in the 2020 census. Puerto Rico was the preview.

It is finally here, and I hope it sticks around. Commentary is talking about the rivalry between the ‘Stros and the Rangers. Initially, folks were trying to manufacture one when interleague play began and we played in different leagues and that didn’t work. Then we joined the AL West in 2013 and again folks tried to manufacture one. Harvey kind of forced the issue and I guess it finally worked.

Rivalry? See this tweet:

Brian McTaggart Retweeted

Mark Berman‏@MarkBermanFox26 2h2 hours ago

#Astros owner Jim Crane acknowledges it’s a little extra special to open the regular season against the Rangers: “We had a few problems with Texas last year, not wanting to switch games with us. There’s plenty incentive to want to try to beat up on Texas, that’s for sure.”

Here is what Commentary said about that on August 29, 2017 right after Harvey hit:

In all fairness to the Rangers, they would have had to have a 12 game roadie toward the end of the season. Still, it would have been a nice gesture but I understand.

I wonder what the ‘Stros would have done if the shoe were on the other foot. We will never know because Arlington never gets hurricanes.

It is still good for the rivalry.

Here is my entire August 29 take: https://camposcommunications.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/good-for-the-rivalry/.

The rivalry is here.

Commentary said this yesterday:

I sure am glad the Rockets are 60-14 and the ‘Stros are World Series champs and their owners are focused on winning.

Chron Sports Columnist Brian Smith led off his latest column with this:

Out of touch?

Tone deaf?

Clueless?

Bob McNair didn’t do himself or the Texans any favors as the NFL’s annual meeting got underway in Orlando, Fla.

The Rockets, led by expected MVP James Harden, just rolled to their 60th win and are the best team in the NBA.

The Astros were the best team in baseball last season, just handed Jose Altuve a $151 million contract extension, and are only three days away from Opening Day and defending their crown during the 2018 season.

The Texans?

The team that went 4-12 last year still can’t get out of its own darn way.

Here is all of Smith’s column: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/columnists/smith/article/Smith-McNair-only-hurts-himself-Texans-with-12781919.php?utm_campaign=twitter-premium&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social.

What else can you say about this fella?

The ‘Stros are 65-102 against the Rangers. They have had our number for sure!

The price of a Saint Arnold at The Yard increased by 50 cents this season.

 

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Mucho Monday

Hall of Fame great Cy Young leads all MLB pitchers with 815 pitching starts in his career. Who are number 2 and number 3 on the list of all-time career pitching starts? Hint: They both wore ‘Stros uniforms as players and both are in the Hall of Fame.

Memo to married male Democrats thinking you can run for a major political office after having an affair with an adult film star or Playboy playmate and get away with it. You can’t.

Oh, really? Commentary is talking about the owner of the Texans. Here is from the Chron:

Texans owner Bob McNair may have missed the mark again with his comments on Carolina owner Jerry Richardson.

Richardson is under NFL investigation and has put the franchise up for sale after accusations of workplace violations, which include allegations of sexual and racial overtones. Sports Illustrated reported in December that at least four former Panthers employees received “significant” monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments and conduct by Richardson, including sexually suggestive language and behavior, and on at least one occasion directing a racial slur at an African-American Panthers scout.

“Some of the comments could have been made jokingly,” McNair said of Richardson. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend anybody.”

And then this from another Chron article:

Texans owner Bob McNair said NFL playing fields are “not the place for political statements” and that teams must show fans that they “respect our flag and respect our country.”

McNair’s comments to the Washington Post came on the eve of the NFL owners spring meetings. Owners are not scheduled to vote on potential changes to the league’s policy on the national anthem.

“I think we all need to respect our flag and respect our country,” McNair told the Post. “I think we’ll figure out a way to make sure that we do that. We’ll have discussions about it.”

Owners are scheduled to meet again in May in Atlanta and a resolution could come then.

The current policy says that players are required to be on the sideline for the anthem and should stand for the anthem but does not require it.

“We have a policy manual now that says they must be on the sideline and they should stand and hold the helmet in their left hand,” McNair told the Post. “I interpret that to mean that’s what they should be doing.”

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/texans/article/Texans-owner-Bob-McNair-says-NFL-fields-not-place-12780564.php.

Got it?

I sure am glad the Rockets are 60-14 and the ‘Stros are World Series champs and their owners are focused on winning.

What took so long? Commentary is talking about charges being filed nearly 14 months after this alleged incident. Here is from Saturday’s Chron Sports Section:

NFL defensive lineman Michael Bennett, a former Houston high school star who has been one of the league’s most outspoken advocates for social change, was indicted by a Harris County grand jury Friday on charges he assaulted a 66-year-old paraplegic security guard during the Super Bowl at NRG Stadium in 2017 and was decried by Houston’s police chief as “morally corrupt” for his actions that day.

Here is a quote from the article from HPD Chief Art Acevedo:

“You’re morally corrupt when you put your hands on a little old lady in a wheelchair. That is morally corrupt … morally bankrupt. He’s morally bankrupt. There’s no excuse for that. None.”

Well, that didn’t sit well with Bennett’s H-Town attorney Rusty Hardin and here is Rusty’s quote from the article:

“I have supported this chief of police, but what he said today was inexcusable. His job is to investigate, arrest and charge people he believes may have committed a crime and to let the system decide whether they are guilty. To call a person charged with a crime ‘morally bankrupt’ is impermissible. It’s over the top.

“Neither I nor the chief of police have ever met Michael Bennett. Neither one of us should be talking about whether he is guilty or not guilty until we know what the facts are. We have the presumption of innocence, and if the chief of police by fiat decides to do away with that, we’re in a hell of a fix.”

This is also from the article:

Bennett is the author of a book titled “Things That Make White People Uncomfortable,” co-authored by sportswriter Dave Zirin, that will be published April 3.

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/sports/texans/article/NFL-s-Michael-Bennett-indicted-for-third-degree-12777934.php.

Commentary doesn’t handicap criminal cases. The article says that there is no video footage of the incident. It was nearly 14 months ago. Rusty Hardin is his lawyer.

I wonder if Bennett will be delivering a signed copy of his book to Bob McNair?

Commentary was watching Sen. Rick Santorum on CNN yesterday when he made his CPR suggestion. I may be in the minority but, I didn’t think he sounded as stupid as social media made him out to be. He still sounded stupid though.

Bill King let us know a week and a half ago that he is Irish and that he doesn’t like the look of the Fighting Irish mascot out of South Bend. Bill King also has been very critical of some local H-Town management districts. I wonder if he danced an Irish jig of sorts when he heard about the Montrose Management District. Here is what Bill sent out this past weekend:

Montrose Management District Dissolves Itself

Ding dong, the witch is dead.

After suffering numerous legal setbacks, the board of the Montrose Management District voted this week to dissolve the District.  

While it is a great victory for the taxpayers of the MMD who never wanted it in the first place, the vote to dissolve leaves a number of unanswered legal questions and begs the question of whether other special districts should be dissolved as well.  

Most interesting will be whether anyone will be on the hook for the $6 million of illegal assessments collected by the MMD.  Of course, virtually all of that money has been spent, mostly on legal fees and administrative expenses, so the MMD literally does not have the money to give back.  So, will those from whom the illegal assessments were collected go after the directors that authorized them or perhaps they will try to claw back some of the $25,000 per month paid to the management company that ran the district.  One thing you can bet: this legal fight is not over.

But the case also highlights how far out of control, at least some, of these special districts have spun.  We recently learned that one of the management districts is managed by a state legislator under the guise of being an independent contractor.  And to make matters worse the state legislator agreed to lobby a state agency for funds for the district and to receive bonuses if successful, something which violates multiple lobbying laws.

Some of the special purpose districts provide valuable services to their areas.  But most operate with extraordinary opaqueness.   Few post their financial statements online.  They have issued hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds without any voter approval.  The compensation they give to top executives is jaw-dropping.  And the TIRZs currently siphon off about 15% of the City’s property tax revenue, which has been part of Turner’s justification to repeal the property tax cap.  Of course, he fails to mention that the property taxes going to TIRZs are not subject to the cap, making it one of several subterfuges used to defeat the intent of the cap.   

Frequently, special interests control these districts and carry out projects for their own financial interests even though they are adamantly opposed by the neighborhoods they are supposed to be serving.  They are able to ignore the wishes of their residents because of generous campaign contributions to City officials.  (More on that later.)  Of course, the great Uptown bus boondoggle is the poster child for such projects.  

Taxpayers will get some better insight into this secretive world in September.  That is when the Texas State Comptroller is due out with a database of financial information about all the special districts in the State.  The database was required by SB625, which was passed in the last Legislature.  Unfortunately, the information that the special districts must report to the Comptroller is fairly general, but it is still better than what we have now, unless you are prepared to file multiple Open Records requests.

The City should appoint an outside commission, made up of taxpayers, to review all the special districts and report back regarding their activities and finances.  The state law authorizing the creation of special districts vests in the Houston City Council the power to dissolve them.  Once the commission report is finished, Council should carefully consider whether each district should be allowed to continue its operations or be dissolved.  

Certainly, there will be a case to retain many of the districts.  But there will also be those that such a study will likely show should be wound down.  Let’s have a transparent look and let the chips fall where they may.

Commentary said this on Friday:

I hope to see at least one of these articles a day heading into Opening Day next Thursday.

MLB’s Anthony Castrovince put out his Top 10 MLB lineups and showed us the deserved respect by putting us on top.

Castrovince put out his top pitching rotations and we are number 1. Check this:

The proliferation of pitcher injuries and the evolution of the way games are managed has drastically diminished starting pitching workloads. But it hasn’t diminished the faith and fascination a great-on-paper rotation can inspire.

If anything, our appreciation for starting stability, for the constant confidence that comes with pitching persistence, has only been augmented by an environment in which just 15 pitchers accumulated 200 innings last year.

What follows, as we continue our Top 10 series that began with the Top 10 lineups and continued with the Top 10 bullpens, is a list of the best rotations in the game entering 2018. As always, injuries, ineffectiveness or an uprising from elsewhere can alter this list drastically. But the dirty truth for now is that a majority of Major League teams have so many ifs and buts in their projected starting fives (or fours or sixes) that it’s not especially difficult to find the true contenders for this particular post.

Here are the 10 clubs seemingly off to a great — ahem — start.

*Note that the order pitchers are listed here isn’t necessarily the order in which they’ll first appear in 2018.

Astros

SP1: Justin Verlander

SP2: Dallas Keuchel

SP3: Lance McCullers Jr.

SP4: Gerrit Cole

SP5. Charlie Morton

Brad Peacock was, in terms of FanGraphs’ Wins Above Replacement calculation, the Astros’ most valuable pitcher last season, and he doesn’t even crack this starting five for the start of the season. That’s how deep this group is, and the depth is the reason the ‘Stros are No. 1. They’ve got a few No. 1’s, really, as there are various staffs where Verlander (whose arrival to an analytically driven organization is helping him pad his Hall of Fame case), a walk-year Keuchel, McCullers and Cole are all capable of fitting that billing on various other clubs. The big key will be Cole limiting the long ball and making use of the Astros’ more breaking-ball-heavy approach to untap his true potential.

Hall of Fame greats Nolan Ryan with 773 career pitching starts and Don Sutton with 756 are number 2 and 3 on the all-time career pitching starts list of course.

MLB is back at The Yard this evening.

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Keep Driving

I have to lead off with this tweet from last night and a response:

Sam Stein‏ @samstein

25m25 minutes ago“He said i was beautiful like [Ivanka]” – McDougal recounting a conversation with Trump

 

Zeddy‏ @Zeddary 18m18 minutes ago

on second thought launch the nukes

Former ‘Stros pitcher J.R. Richard had 10 career dingers? 2 of the 10 were off of two greats who are now in the Hall of Fame. Name the 2?

For the diehard of the diehard Dems, the Harris County Democratic Party State Senate District Conventions are tomorrow. Who is going?

Aren’t we all so glad Donald Trump keeps surrounding himself with the best and the brightest. His latest pick for National Security Advisor is a doozy for sure. Then I watched on and off the Anderson Cooper interview with Karen McDougal. There were I loves yous, met the kids, turned down money, keep driving it, Donald! Keep driving it, baby! You know it is all true because we have not heard a single peep from a GOP leader. At times I feel like we are living in a very, very bad Mel Brooks political flick.   Still, November is looking good!   “60 Minutes”, you are on the clock!

Commentary is waiting to see the comparisons between Mark Zuckerberg and Victor Frankenstein.

From a Washington Post story:

A high school student was suspended for “disrespect” after he called his congressman’s office and told lawmakers — as he recalls it — to “get off their f‑‑‑— asses” and pass gun-control laws.

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) has defended his staff member for reporting 17-year-old Noah Christiansen’s foul language to his principal last week, which the American Civil Liberties Union said caused Christiansen to miss two days of school and be barred from joining the student government.

“Welcome to the world where words have impact,” Amodei told the Los Angeles Times.

Here is all the article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/03/20/a-student-called-his-congressman-to-ask-for-gun-control-and-was-suspended-for-cursing/?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.c24a37cee666.

Words have impact?   I guess Cong. Amodei doesn’t live in the world where Donald Trump exists.

And to think I was musing about Channel 2 tape delaying yesterday’s car chase. Talk about technology going off course for sure. Here is from the Chron:

An Austin TV station has apologized for a broadcast Tuesday that featured a closed caption calling one of the bombing victims “this monkey.”

ABC-affiliate KVUE admitted in a statement that during breaking news coverage of the Austin bombings “closed captioning text included a typographical error in which the words ‘this monkey’ appeared in a sentence about 17-year-old bombing victim Draylen Mason.”

KVUE stated that the error was not caused by a KVUE employee. The station works with third-party company VITAC to live caption its newscasts.

“We are taking this mistake very seriously and we are heartsick about this terrible error,” KVUE stated. “We apologize to Draylen’s family and to our community. We have demanded an explanation and an apology to Draylen’s family, and VITAC is complying.”

KVUE’s mistake comes less than a day after NBC affiliate KRIS 6 TV in Corpus Christi issued an apology for airing an audio clip containing “f**k it, lick it, smell it.”

The actions taken by KRIS 6 after the incident included a termination, a suspension and reprimands.

In what order?

‘Stros great J.R. Richard who played from 1971-1980 and whose career was cut way too short, hit 2 of his 10 career dingers off of Hall of Fame greats Phil Niekro and Tom Seaver of course.

I hope to see at least one of these articles a day heading into Opening Day next Thursday.

MLB’s Anthony Castrovince put out his Top 10 MLB lineups and showed us the deserved respect by putting us on top. Here is what he said:

Astros

Even with would-be AL MVP Award candidate Carlos Correa limited to 109 games last season, the Astros scored at least 38 more runs than any other team in baseball. Even if Jose Altuve were to suffer slight regression from his electric 2017 (.346 average, .957 OPS), a full season of Correa and the continued maturation of Alex Bregman could allow Houston to reach yet another level.

Two X-factors here are the early Yuli Gurriel left hamate surgery and the uncertainty over what the Astros get out of left field (Marwin Gonzalez would be starting there if he weren’t filling in for Gurriel). But a lineup that really began to take off when George Springer moved into the leadoff spot in May 2016 should again be one of baseball’s best, if not the very best.

Nice.

MLB is back at The Yard on Monday!

 

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Exploiter in Chief

Excuse me, but I am skipping the MLB question this morning.

I have spent the last hour watching some fella trying to evade law enforcement on Houston’s freeways. They never learn. I was watching Channel 2’s coverage. Channel 2 let us know that they were providing us delayed coverage because they didn’t want us to see some stuff. I am guessing a live shootout. I switched it to another station and it didn’t look like it was delayed. Why don’t they leave it up to us to turn our heads if things get gruesome? Oh yeah, they caught the fella off of Hwy. 288.

The fella was driving the exact same kind of car and color that Commentary drives and supposedly the chase started in Baytown. I was in Baytown last night – weird.

It is good that we have journalists like R.G. Ratcliffe of Texas Monthly who in the middle of one of the biggest stories in a while can write a piece on how the Texas Attorney General acted during the manhunt of year. Here is how R.G. piece starts:

An editor asked me on Tuesday whether there was any political angle possible to the Austin bombings. While some broad social issues existed—such as whether the bombings could be called terrorism or were racially motivated because the first victims were black—the purely political angle did not appear to exist in bold letters. Governor Greg Abbott had offered a reward, which was within his discretion, and some mayors had stepped forward at news conferences to reassure their communities that everything possible was being done to stop the bomber. So nothing had yet occurred that justified the spotlight.

Then Texas’s exploiter in chief—Attorney General Ken Paxton—stepped forward to step in it again as a politician willing to turn any tragedy to his personal advantage by grabbing some television time, especially on Fox News. Paxton not only got it wrong on national television, but he used incorrect information to spread fear to people in Austin.

As a refresher, please recall the profile of Paxton that I wrote for the December 2016 issue of Texas Monthly: “The Televangelism of Ken Paxton.” Although Paxton had no official connection to the investigation of the sniper attack on Dallas police that left five officers dead and nine wounded, he rushed to the crime scene in the predawn hours of that July morning to take advantage of the line of local and network television cameras waiting for anyone who looked even vaguely official to step forward with information.

So that morning in Dallas, Paxton had no official role—the city’s police and prosecutors were handling the case, and if they needed help, they could call upon the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Dallas County sheriff’s office, and even the FBI. But Paxton had driven downtown for a specific purpose. He was there for the exposure.

With the crime scene as a backdrop, Paxton gave one television interview after another. What the reporters and anchors wanted in the confusing whirlwind of that early morning was information, but each interview revealed that Paxton was hopelessly out of the loop. On CBS This Morning at 7:09, Paxton had to answer questions with phrases like “I don’t know,” “I’m not sure of that,” and “I have not gotten an update.” Even by late morning, Paxton had to tell one reporter, “Actually, I don’t know a lot of details yet.”

As the serial bombings in Austin became national news, should anyone be surprised that Paxton showed up on various Fox News programs on Tuesday as the pretend authority on the Austin bombings?

A little after 3 p.m., Paxton told Fox viewers that it was “common sense” that a bomb detonated at a Shertz Federal Express facility was connected to the other bombings. Then he subtly revealed that he knew no more than anyone in Austin who was paying attention to the news. When the anchor asked Paxton whether the bomber was trying to increase the level of fear, Paxton responded: “You’re absolutely right. Obviously, as you know, an ongoing investigation, law enforcement can’t share everything they know. So there’s definitely things that law enforcement knows about what’s going on with bombs and potentially who this is that they’re not going to be able to share at this time. But, yes, I do think this guy, whoever it is, is trying to increase fear.” The takeaway? Law enforcement was not sharing information with the attorney general of Texas.

Here is all of the R.G. article: https://www.texasmonthly.com/article/attorney-general-ken-paxton-spread-false-information-austin-bombings/.

Dude, if you want to make a contribution to this investigation, have you and your staff take some water, soft drinks, pizzas and Austin barbecue and breakfast tacos to the hundreds of law enforcement officers chasing down leads and the hundreds of journalists chasing down the story. Make yourself useful. That would be a whole lot better than looking stupid on live TV. You gotta be kidding!

Great job, R.G.

Like a lot of folks, Commentary has family and friends who live in Austin. Chron columnist Erica Grieder has a brother who works at the FedEx facility in Schertz. Here is part of Greider’s column today:

That morning, Texans woke up to the news that a package bomb had exploded in a FedEx facility in Schertz, which is just north of San Antonio in Bexar County. There had already been four such incidents in Austin since the beginning of the month, which left two people dead and several others seriously injured.

I had been paying close attention to the story, for several reasons. One is that a lot of my friends live in Austin, and they were actually being terrorized, along with the rest of the community. And the fifth bombing disturbed me for a different reason. My brother Mark works in Schertz, at that FedEx facility. His shift ended about an hour before the package exploded Monday.

Go read all of Grieder’s column here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/grieder/article/Austin-bomber-reminds-us-that-grievances-come-at-12771870.php.

From Politico this morning:

On paper, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) appears to be a shoo-in for reelection. He‘s served nine terms in what’s been a GOP stronghold for decades, hasn’t had a serious challenger in years and sits on one of the most powerful committees in Congress.

But Culberson‘s suburban-Houston district went for Hillary Clinton by 1 percentage point in 2016. And when GOP leaders found out last year that he was being outraised by Democrats and barely had a campaign staff, they were exasperated.

Get your act together, they warned Culberson in so many words, according to sources familiar with the dressing-down.

Culberson’s slow start to his reelection campaign is what GOP leaders fear most heading into the thick of the midterm elections: incumbents who haven’t seen a real race in years snoozing as a Democratic wave builds.

Here is all of Politico: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/22/midterm-elections-lazy-republicans-477542.

I don’t have anything from The Yard this morning.

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