Archive for April, 2018

Fake Disgust

And on April 30, name the MLB division in which all five teams have a negative team run differential?

Really! Oh, brother!

What do folks think is going to happen at the White House Correspondents Dinner these days?

Commentary didn’t watch the dinner Saturday. I saw some tweets and read about it later.

Commentary didn’t know much about comedian Michelle Wolf. I do now and apparently, she did A-Okay at the dinner.

Those Donald Trump wannabees who walked out during the dinner were just faking disgust. They knew exactly what they were attending.

A journalist Commentary respects gave a nod to the White House Press Secretary for sitting through Wolf’s takes. Nope! Others said Wolf was out of line! Nope! The Press Secretary lies for lying vulgar Trump and she ridicules and attacks the media and calls their reporting fake. The Press Secretary promotes a racist and bigot and the Press Secretary knows this. Nope! She is fair game in Commentary’s book.

See this tweet:

Amanda Rykoff liked

Rob Reiner‏Verified account @robreiner 11h11 hours ago

I attended the WHCD last night. Donald Trump has so poisoned the atmosphere by attacking the disabled, gold star parents, Muslims, Mexicans, Blacks, women, the press, the rule of law that a comedian who simply tells the truth is offensive? She’s joking. He’s not.

And this one:

Aaron Stough liked

David Axelrod‏Verified account @davidaxelrod

Americans were treated to a profane, insult-laden, often inappropriate monologue last night. But enough about the @POTUS. How about the White House Correspondents Dinner?

And this one:

Amanda Rykoff liked

Gene Glass‏ @Gene_G1960

You know what Michelle Wolf didn’t do?? Lie

Here is from the Daily Beast’s Erin Gloria Ryan:

The pearl-clutching over Michelle Wolf’s set at the WHCD this year, once again, exposed the gap between what the political press thinks they represent to America and what they really represent to America. Wolf’s set gave voice to the anger of people from outside of the beltway—people who pay attention to politics, but who aren’t in a symbiotic relationship with Trumpian chaos. All of the things she said last night, those people outside of the ballroom knew. The people in the ballroom think they are fooling people outside, the people like Wolf. They aren’t. They know exactly how those in the ballroom fucked up, and they’re pissed off.

Michelle Wolf is the sort of acid honesty that America needs right now. And if the group that fancies itself the guardians of the republic is so weak that they can’t handle a roast from a stand-up comedian, then we’re in even more trouble than I thought.

Here is the entire Ryan take: https://www.thedailybeast.com/michelle-wolfs-whcd-honesty-is-what-america-needs-right-now?ref=home.

Now some folks want the White House Correspondents Association to do a better job of vetting the future hosts because they can’t handle the skewering of DC folks handed out by comedians of late. Now that is the American way for sure. Get over it!

Nice job, Wolf. You did your job.

Come to H-Town, please! See this tweet:

NYT Politics‏Verified account @nytpolitics

Republican leaders and White House aides are trying to prepare President Trump for trouble in House and Senate races. But he is rejecting their grim prognoses and wants to start campaigning. https://nyti.ms/2JEWPsX

Please, please, please!

Throw me out, please.

Commentary wants a ‘Stros fan to make sure an opposing outfielder doesn’t snag a dinger from a ‘Stro. Kathryn and I saw this first first-hand at The Yard yesterday and discussed while they reviewed the replay. Check out from the Chron what happened at The Yard yesterday:

This all felt somewhat familiar to Joe Foster.

During his last Astros game, he sat in the left field bleachers, caught a home run and “got in trouble” for interfering with it.

Sunday, he sat in the front row of the right field seats, a lifelong Astros fan in a navy blue shirt with the team’s logo on its breast, catching the series finale against the A’s.

Suddenly, a ball came toward him.

With his team ahead 2-1, Astros catcher Max Stassi struck a tailing cutter to the opposite field in the fifth inning. Stephen Piscotty retreated to the warning track and camped under it, his back almost touching the right field wall. Piscotty raised his glove and, at the same time, Foster placed his bare hands above it.

The baseball landed in the fan’s grasp. He pumped his fist and Stassi continued to round the bases. Second-base umpire Dan Bellino emphatically ruled Stassi out on fan interference, a call upheld upon an Astros challenge.

“I kind of feel real bad about interfering with the game, that wasn’t my intentions,” Foster said. “You just kind of get caught up in the moment. It was right in front of me, I tried to catch it. Honestly, watching the replays, maybe the guy caught it, maybe he didn’t, but he had a glove and I didn’t so maybe he should have.”

Security guards quickly ushered Foster away. He gave high fives as he walked up the aisle. Fans booed the umpires’ decision.

“One of the last (games) I went to, I was in left field and got a homer that I got in trouble for apparently interfering,” Foster said. “I should probably either stop going to games or keep going to games, one of the two.”

“I tried to get away from left field because I got in trouble there. So I’m going to go sit in foul territory and stay out of trouble next time, definitely.”

If you ask Commentary, ‘Stros security had their heads up their own arses yesterday. Wrong move, ‘Stros! The fan should have been ushered up to the Insperity Seats and given free grub and drinks for the rest of the game. If the ball had been like six inches further, you want him to make sure the opposing outfielder doesn’t rob us of a dinger. Wrong move, ‘Stros! What are you guys thinking?

Late news: They let the fan back to his seat. Hope he got some Insperity grub.

The AL Central has Cleveland at 14- 12 with a -3 run differential, the Tigers 11-15 and -3, the Twins 9-14 and -35, White Sox 8-18 and -42, and the Royals 7-20 and -61 of course.

The ‘Stros at 19-10 lead MLB with a +66 RD.

By the way, the Yankees are in town for four.


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Don’t Do It

This is from today’s Chron. If Jose Altuve plays tonight, it will mark his 500th game played at Minute Maid Park. Name the three ‘Stros who have played more than 500 games at Minute Maid Park?

Don’t do it! Commentary is talking about any self-respecting city in America thinking about hosting the 2020 GOP National Convention. It isn’t worth it. San Antonio is getting a taste of this and here is this story from KSAT in San Antonio:

SAN ANTONIO – The idea of San Antonio playing host to the 2020 Republican National Convention is getting mixed reviews.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg has expressed fiscal concerns and has said that he has reservations about spending millions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize a political convention.

A tweet from the story:

Brad Parscale

✔ @parscale

Coming soon to #SanAntonio: another mayor makes an epic political mistake that takes a possible 200MM from the community. Why??? I want to rip the last hair I have out of my head. Maybe he is just waiting on Mayor Sculley to decide for him. @Ron_Nirenberg @ExpressNews @News4SA

2:55 PM – Apr 25, 2018

Continuation of the story:

The manager of President Trump’s re-election campaign, Brad Parscale, claimed in a tweet that hosting the convention would give the city hundreds of millions of dollars worth of national and international exposure.

The talk of hosting the convention is also getting the attention of the local hotel industry.

“Regardless of whose name is on it, a convention of this size is huge business for the hotel industry,” said Liza Barratachea, president and CEO of the San Antonio Hotel and Lodging Association.

She said she is confident that the local industry can handle the huge influx of politicians and press that a convention would bring to the city.

“There are approximately 350 hotels in San Antonio,” she said. “There are about 90 in the downtown core, probably 45 near the airport and another 30 out (on) Interstate 10,” Barratachea said.

She said that as the city learned from hosting NCAA basketball’s Final Four tournament, an event of this magnitude generates money beyond the hotel industry through taxes and business in other areas.

“We know that it would be another great opportunity for us to bid on as a business industry,” she said.

Nirenberg has said that he hopes to meet with his council colleagues sometime next week to discuss the possibility of submitting a bid.

If the hotel folks think this is an NCAA Final Four, they are kind of clueless and obviously don’t know what they are inviting.

Don’t do it. You would be inviting chaos to downtown San Antonio streets. The hotels and restaurants might make some money, but local law enforcement and local government would be taxed and stretched to the max and beyond. Not to mention, SA’s image would most likely suffer, perhaps even permanent damage. It is not worth it.

Why would any city want to host Donald Trump and his hateful and racist act? What does a city gain form this?  Plus, look at the way the Trump campaign manager is dissing the SA Mayor.

Commentary is certainly glad H-Town hasn’t been approached.

The Chron E-Board has a take on Tuesday’s night’s HISD school board meeting here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Parents-and-citizens-deserve-HISD-s-respect-12867776.php.

Folks are still talking about the challenges ahead for HISD. I am surprised some locals I respect even welcome a state takeover.

Commentary was honored to be part of a luncheon yesterday hosted by the Latino Leaders Network. About 45 or so folks attended. The event was enlightening. State Rep. Carol Alvarado has been involved with the organization for years and she helped organize the luncheon. Go here to check out the organization: http://www.latinoleadersnetwork.org/.

The Big Puma has played 779 games at Minute Maid Park, Craig Biggio, 590, and Brad Ausmus, 501 of course.

The A’s are in for three, Jose Altuve bobbleheads will be handed out tomorrow and World Series Championship tote bags will be handed out on Sunday.

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Two HISD Headlines

We are into the fourth week of the MLB season and folks are talking about the ‘Stros starting pitching rotation. How many of our starters have an ERA under 2.00?

Commentary hates to say this, but it looks like folks are nowhere in figuring out a plan to help the failing schools. Absolutely nothing is on the table and I don’t see anything on the horizon either. Remember when I said this yesterday:

How about the teachers? In case folks have forgotten, the Houston Federation of Teacher were pretty big players in last year’s school board election, like they dropped a ton of dough into many of the winning campaigns. Have they been at the table? If not, they should be. Like it or not, it just makes sense.

Now here is from today’s front page story in the Chron:

Now, the district must hope all 10 schools meet state accountability targets this year — a highly unlikely proposition — or Morath decides to give the largest school district in Texas extra time to turn around those campuses.

“We’re going to be rolling the dice with all 280-some campuses in HISD,” said Zeph Capo, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers. “Maybe we’ll win the game of chicken, but I don’t think that’s the best way to plan for the success of our schools.”

In a statement Wednesday, HISD officials did not explain why they no longer will seek a partner to operate the 10 schools. The district had until April 30 to submit plans to the TEA.

Here is the entire Chron: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/Houston-ISD-nixes-partnership-plans-raising-risk-12864425.php.

It looks to me upon reading this that Zeph and the Houston Federation of Teachers are not at the table. Like it or not, they should be.

The Chron E-board continues to have a take on HISD and here is how they start out today:

The Washington Post called it a “wild night.”

“Embarrassment” would be more accurate.

Frustrated parents and community members tried to make their case against a recent charter takeover plan at the Houston Independent School District board meeting on Tuesday. So HISD Board of Trustees President Rhonda Skillern-Jones responded by shutting down the whole meeting. Two people were dragged out by police officers. Videos of Jenny Espeseth, who said she has children in first and fifth grades in HISD, being pulled across the floor by her arms were broadcast over social media. She said police told her they intended to file a report, then released her, as reported by Chronicle reporters Jacob Carpenter and Shelby Webb.


The meeting eventually reconvened and then ended without a vote, and HISD now says it plans to miss the April 30 deadline for approving partnerships for 10 failing schools. A state takeover by the Texas Education Agency suddenly looks like a real option.

Good. Better to deal with the Texas Education Agency than lock 6,000 students into a poorly conceived charter plan.

Here is the entire E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/HISD-melee-marks-total-failure-in-governance-12865086.php.

The E-Board has a lot more faith in getting the state involved than Commentary does. I have zero faith in state government when it comes to public education.

Remember when the H-Town Mayor took office over a couple of years ago and talked about “shared sacrifices”? It looks like that is where we may be at. Folks who make it to the HISD table have to leave their agendas at the door and figure this mess out.

Commentary has absolutely no idea what to do at this point. Guess what? It looks like nobody else does either. Which is probably a good thing, if you know what I mean. All you have to do is look at the two different headlines for the same E-Board take today on HISD.

Here is from the online take:

HISD melee marks total failure in governance [Editorial]

And here is from the hard copy take:

Work together

HISD and TEA must be honest partners if they want to help students

Did I say folks are nowhere in figuring this out ?

Gerrit Cole has an ERA of 1.29, Justin Verlander is at 1.36, and Charlie Morton is at 1.86 of course which isn’t bad at all for our starting pitching rotation.

You know what is cool? Verlander pitching 7 innings yesterday afternoon and picking up the win, then showing up last night at Toyota with his lovely wife Kate Upton and sitting courtside to watch the Rockets advance. Now that is cool!

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At the HISD Table

How many times have the Angels been to the World Series?

Here is what the Chron E-Board said about HISD and the failing schools:

In a rushed and desperate last minute move to avoid state sanctions, Houston Independent School District trustees are considering a deal to turn over the operation of 10 improvement-required schools to a charter school network.

Trustees should vote no.

Help from charters is an idea worthy of consideration, but this specific arrangement smacks of an insider deal. Elected representatives must demand more sunshine and scrutiny before going forward.

Here is the entire E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/HISD-should-vote-no-on-charter-takeover-12860916.php.

Here is what the Chron said happened last night at the School Board meeting:

Houston ISD board members adjourned late Tuesday without voting on a controversial measure to give up control over 10 low-performing schools after the meeting turned physical and police escorted members of the public — nearly all of whom opposed the plan — out of the room.

Chanting “no more sellouts” and shouting at trustees, most of the roughly 100 community members in attendance watched angrily as officers began physically pulling disruptive residents out of the room. The skirmish came after HISD Board of Trustees President Rhonda Skillern-Jones declared a recess in the middle of the meeting and ordered the room cleared due to repeated public outbursts.

If trustees choose to meet again, they likely will not return until Saturday at the earliest. Trustees typically  provide at least 72 hours advance notice of any public board meeting. The vote had been expected to be narrow, with several trustees already voicing support or opposition for the proposal.

The uproar reflects the heated nature of HISD’s proposal to allow Energized For STEM Academy Inc., which already runs four in-district charter schools, to take over operations of the 10 campuses for five years. Without the agreement, HISD would likely face forced campus closures or a state takeover of the district’s locally elected school board due to its failure to improve academics at the schools.

HISD Interim Police Chief Paul Cordova said one person was arrested on a misdemeanor criminal trespass charge, one person was arrested on a charge of interfering with duties of a public servant and one person was detained but not arrested.

Jenny Espeseth, who said she has children in first and fifth grades in HISD, was dragged out of the board room by her arms and pulled into a hallway side room. She said police told her they intended to file a report, then released her.

Here is the entire Chron article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Skirmish-at-shool-board-meeting-leads-to-ejections-12862150.php.

Sorry. We can’t have school board meeting that look like this.

Commentary is thinking the H-Town Mayor got a report on last night’s meeting and will step in.

How about the teachers? In case folks have forgotten, the Houston Federation of Teacher were pretty big players in last year’s school board election, like they dropped a ton of dough into many of the winning campaigns. Have they been at the table? If not, they should be. Like it or not, it just makes sense.

Normally, Commentary would want the H-Town business community leadership or Greater Houston Partnership at the table, but I haven’t been impressed with their leadership on public education issues the past few years. After all, they sit on their hands and don’t say squat when the state’s GOP leadership continues to slash public education funding. They don’t have much credibility in my book.  They should just sit this one out.

Let’s get the right folks at the HISD table soon and try to get this thing headed in a better direction.  We don’t need anymore meetings like the one last night.  It doesn’t look good and it might lead to a state takeover of HISD.

The Angels have gone to the World Series once of course in 2002 and won it all in seven against the Giants.

There were a lot of folks at Dollar Dog Night last night but the team came up short against the Angels.  Ouch!

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On Public Policy

Who was the first Japanese baseball player to play in MLB?

Gov. Greg Abbott wants to call a special election to fill the #TXCD27 vacancy. Here is from a Chron piece today:

“Because so many of the hurricane relief efforts depend on action at the federal level, it is all the more important that the voters of District 27 have an effective voice in Washington, D.C.,” Abbott wrote to (AG Ken) Paxton.

Commentary wants to know who is in charge of telling the governor that #TXCD27 hasn’t had an effective voice in DC in like seven years. Oh, well!

This is a kind of day when you are glad you are not an HISD Trustee or a member of the H-Town City Council. Commentary is certainly not being critical. On the HISD issue, it didn’t happen overnight, so an overnight fix should not be expected. On the H-Town City Council agenda item, it is what it is. If you can do it, do it is kind of an H-Town mantra for some developers.

Governing and public policy can be a rough business. I posted this from the Chron yesterday. A vote is coming soon. Here, again:

A long-awaited proposal from Houston ISD to temporarily surrender control over 10 of its lowest-performing schools is facing mixed reviews ahead of a crucial vote Tuesday.

Now check out this response from the same article:

Meanwhile, Board of Trustees President Rhonda Skillern-Jones defended the arrangement as “the best choice of all the bad choices” available to HISD.

That is tough one for sure at HISD.

And this from today’s Chron on H-Town City Hall:

Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City Council balked at a developer’s plan to build hundreds of homes in a west Houston flood plain last fall in the weeks after Hurricane Harvey, but will take up the same proposal this week with no apparent revisions.

The homebuilder, Meritage Homes, said its plans for the Spring Brook Village development did not change because the drainage system it is building is robust enough to remove the 150-acre former Pine Crest Golf Course, at Clay and Gessner, from the 100-year flood plain, as well as protect the site’s future homes and those downstream.

And this:

Councilwoman Brenda Stardig, who represents the area around the golf course site, said she supports the plan because the builder has committed to build only single-family homes, not apartments, and to build fewer homes per acre than city ordinances allow.

Stardig also pointed to an April 11 letter of support signed by David Durham, chairman of the Spring Branch North Super Neighborhood, which cited “extensive meetings” between the developers and community groups about the project.

Stardig noted that voting down the developer’s preferred financing method — the utility district — would not prevent the site from being developed.

“My concern is that we have responsible development, and killing the MUD is not going to kill the project,” Stardig said. “I would have loved to have had a park and green space and the golf course or other recreational activities there. However, this is private property. They worked within the parameters of the ordinances.”

Aside from the optics of approving development in a flood plain so soon after Harvey, said Councilman David Robinson, who chairs the council’s infrastructure committee, city regulations are based on historical data and professional judgments.

“We can’t say no just because it might look bad if it adheres to existing policy,” he said.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Plan-to-build-hundreds-of-homes-in-west-Houston-12858540.php.

Like I said, governing and public policy can be a rough business. It is not my job.

Here is what the Chron E-Board says today about the issue:

Remember those bad horror movies in which a villain everybody thought was dead comes back to life?

Zombie alert: Houston City Council this week faces the revival of a truly awful idea that people who followed the story probably thought had already been killed. Call it “A Nightmare on Bagby Street.”

Maybe that sounds like a joke, but this arcane agenda item is deadly serious. Mayor Sylvester Turner and the City Council will once again consider authorizing the creation of a municipal utility district for a new subdivision on what’s now a golf course in the middle of a floodplain. It’s the dreadful sequel to a bad, original production that never should have appeared on the agenda.

Here is the entire E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Has-City-Hall-learned-nothing-from-Harvey-12858201.php.

Cheap shot? Depends on your position on public policy. It is tough.

Masanori “Mashi” Murakami is the first Japanese baseball player to play in MLB when he made his debut with the Giants in 1964 of course.

Pitcher Shohei Ohtani of will start tonight for the Angels and I am told his fastball nears 100 MPH.

It is Dollar Dog Night.

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One of the greats visits The Yard this evening. Commentary is talking about Albert Pujols of the Angels who once played for San Luis. Where does Pujols rank all-time in the career dinger and RBI categories?

A few hundred folks got to have their photo taken with the World Series Championship Trophy at Mason Park yesterday.   It was a very cool event. Folks started lining up about a couple of hours before the trophy arrived. Everyone got to take their photo with the trophy. Great weather too!

Families, Milby High ballplayers, little leaguers, couples, local celebs, community leaders, toddlers, and seniors were among those that attended. Some folks even brought their dogs to get their pics taken. Everybody was excited to get to check out the trophy up close. You could see it in their faces and the way they were reacting. Cool.

I have to give thanks to the ‘Stros for bringing the trophy out to the community for a few hours. A first, maybe?

I also have to thank Blanca and Freddy Blanco for helping to organize the event. Blanca put the entertainment piece together.

State Rep. Carol Alvarado deserves tons of credit and praise for hosting the event and getting it done. It would not have been done without her. The Yard is in her district and she enjoys a great working relationship with the ‘Stros front office. Nice job to Carol and her staff and volunteers.

Commentary finally got my photo taken with the trophy. It has only been like close to six months since we won the World Series. Better late than never.

Thanks, Carol.

This is from the Trib this past weekend:

(State Sen. Sylvia) Garcia won the Democratic nomination for a congressional seat in a district unlikely to elect a Republican to Congress. But she said Thursday, in an interview with The Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith, that she won’t resign until after the Nov. 6 election. She said she’s doing that out of consideration for the voters and doesn’t want to presume what they’ll do. If she wins and then resigns, it’ll take a special election to replace her — one that would likely leave her seat in the Senate empty for the early days of the legislative session.

Got it?

I am sure folks saw the epic photo of the four past Presidents, the First Lady, and three past First Ladies. I wonder who got to tell Donald Trump that he wasn’t invited to the funeral

From the Chron E-Board this past Saturday:

(Thumbs down) So how is Cruz gunning for the hearts and minds of his Texas constituents? By serving up a big ’ol sloppy kiss for the man who called his wife ugly and claimed that his dad was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Cruz penned Donald Trump’s entry for Time’s list of the 100 most influential people — a glowing review that calls the president’s antics “great fun to watch.”

(Thumbs twiddled) Want to woo voters? Stick to fighting flooding. That’s why Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was in Southside Place on Friday to talk about post-Harvey federal funds alongside Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Rep. John Culberson.

But you know something is going wrong when even anti-flooding press conferences are met by protestors. Maybe it’s because entire swaths of the city were devastated by Harvey and these politicians decided to hold a press conference in a wealthy inner-loop enclave that didn’t flood.

So why meet in Southside? Our thumbs are pointing to Carson wanting to go somewhere so rich that people don’t bat an eye at spending $31,000 on a dining set.

Any bets on how this turns out. Here is from the lead front page story in today’s Chron:

A long-awaited proposal from Houston ISD to temporarily surrender control over 10 of its lowest-performing schools is facing mixed reviews ahead of a crucial vote Tuesday.

Case in point: the president of Houston’s largest teachers union, Zeph Capo, blasted the proposal to allow Energized For STEM Academy to run all 10 schools as ill-conceived and hastily arranged, saying he has “no confidence that this is in the best interest of children.” Meanwhile, Board of Trustees President Rhonda Skillern-Jones defended the arrangement as “the best choice of all the bad choices” available to HISD, which faces forced campus closures or a state takeover of its locally elected school board without a partnership.

Trustees are scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to negotiate and execute the controversial contract with Energized For STEM Academy, which already operates four in-district charter schools, ahead of an April 30 deadline to submit any contracts to the state.

Here is the entire story: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/HISD-partnership-proposal-met-with-skepticism-12855675.php?utm_source=chron&utm_medium=linkmodule&utm_campaign=btfpm.

I think I know where this is headed.

If you have been paying attention to the folks around Donald Trump, you should know that Kellyanne Conway’s hubby sometimes tweets negative stuff about Trump and his policies or staff. Finally, someone got around to asking Conway about her hubby’s tweets. I am talking about CNN’s Dana Bash when she interviewed Conway yesterday. You could tell Conway had been waiting for some media type to get around to asking about the hubby tweets and she came off with a phony how dare you response. Oh brother, err sister!

Albert Pujols of course is 7th on the all-time career dinger list with 618 and 8th in RBIs with 1,930.

You know Pujols will get booed tonight when he comes to bat and we are 16-7 with a game and a half lead on the Angels.

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The Trophy

Just in case you need to be reminded, tomorrow is San Jacinto Day.

State Representative Carol Alvarado will be hosting the World Series Championship Trophy this Sunday afternoon at Mason Park. How cool is that? Folks from the East End neighborhoods can go over and check it out. I am sure there will be a number of the area’s little leaguers in attendance. Rep. Alvarado led a major fundraising effort to upgrade Mason Park a few years ago. Very nice.

When is The Trophy coming to the Heights?

I am sure you heard about the not-so-smart triple play the ‘Stros hit into yesterday. If you pulled that bonehead play in little league, you got at least four laps around the ballfield after the game.  Name the former ‘Stros shortstop who help turn four triple plays during his career as a ‘Stro?

Someone on the flat screen said today that Columbine happened 19 years ago today. Someone else said that nothing has changed. True.

Kuffer has a take today on how some political folks are reacting to the Cong. Beto O’Rourke and Sen. Ted Cruz poll. Here is Kuffer’s headline and first line of his take:

Some people sound very threatened by that Quinnipiac Texas Senate poll

Apr 20th, 2018

by Charles Kuffner.

This is almost funny.

Here is the must-read take: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=85840.

Commentary’s thoughts? You don’t have to be a rocket, err political scientist to figure this out. When Sen. Cruz first got elected in 2012, he decided he was going to be about Ted Cruz. The guy wasn’t interested in what the folks in Baytown or Brownwood were thinking. In his run for president, he and his family were insulted on the national stage by Donald Trump. He called Trump a pathological liar. Cruz acted like a fool at the Republican National Convention and yesterday he penned a glowing piece on Trump for Time Magazine. What kind of person does this?

This is more than swallowing pride. It’s gulping it down.

It is very easy not to like this guy. And guess what? There are a lot of Texas voters who don’t like this guy. So quit poo pooing polls that show this race is close.

I am sure you heard about this:

For Immediate Release April 19, 2018

Alvarado Leads in Senate District 6 Race

Statement of Carol Alvarado:

A poll conducted on our behalf shows our campaign with a lead in the race for State Senator, District 6. I’d like to share the poll results I received in a memo dated yesterday from Jim Williams of Public Policy Polling. 

Subject: Alvarado Leads Hernandez in Texas SD-06 Matchup

A new Public Policy Polling survey of 589 voters in Texas’s 6th Senate District shows Carol Alvarado leading Ana Hernandez by a 2-1 margin, 38% to 22%. 41% of voters are undecided.

Alvarado’s margin is driven by leads among several demographic subsets – she leads 38-22 among women and 38-21 among men. She leads among Democrats 48-24 and among independents 26-17. Alvarado leads among Hispanics 41-28, among whites 27-12, and she leads among African-Americans by a 46-11 margin.  

Public Policy Polling surveyed 589 voters in Texas’s 6th Senate District from April 9th to 11th, 2018. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.7%. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish using automated telephone interviews. This survey was conducted on behalf of the Carol Alvarado Campaign.

Let’s continue to engage the voters of Senate District 6 and build a winning campaign.

The Chron has a cute piece on ‘Stros players on famous album covers. They include Thriller, Nirvana and Abbey Road. What, no Sgt. Pepper’s or Herb Alpert? Check it out here: https://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/15-album-covers-reimagined-with-Astros-players-12846448.php?ipid=hpctp#photo-15420425.

Former ‘Stros shortstop Roger Metzger of course was part of turning four triple plays during his stay with the team in the 1970s.

The Texans open their season in Foxborough the same day the ‘Stros are at Fenway.

We are 13-7. Better.

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51 to 33

The ‘Stros are the reigning World Series Champions and the Rockets have the number one seed in the NBA playoffs. When the Rockets won their first NBA title in 1994, how did the ‘Stros fare later that year?

A poll release yesterday created a bit of a buzz yesterday in Texas politics. Here is from R.G.:

The good news for U.S. Senator Ted Cruz in a just released Quinnipiac University poll is that Texans like him and believe he would be best able to handle issues such as the economy, taxes, and gun policy—plus more than half the state voters surveyed lack enough information to have an opinion about Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke. The bad news for Cruz: O’Rourke is in a statistical tie with Cruz in the election.

Much of the survey results are a reflection of the nation’s polarized politics at the moment. The survey found Cruz leading O’Rourke by 47 percent to 44 percent, a tie in a survey with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Although O’Rourke is not well known among the state’s voters, he begins the general election campaign sitting at the level of a generic Democrat.

As might be expected, the lion’s share of the Republican and Democratic voters surveyed support the candidate of their party. What should be troubling for Cruz is that more than half of the independent voters surveyed support O’Rourke—and more than half of the independents have an unfavorable view of Cruz. And most independents do not believe Cruz is honest.

Cruz holds a substantial lead among white voters and those over the age of 50. O’Rourke has a substantial lead among blacks and Hispanics and voters in the 18-to-34-year-old group. The two candidates are in another statistical tie among voters between the ages of 35 and 49.

Here is all of R.G.’s article: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/beto-orourke-nipping-ted-cruz/.

Here is from the poll statement:

White voters back Cruz 59 – 34 percent, as O’Rourke leads 78 – 18 percent among black voters and 51 – 33 percent among Hispanic voters.

Then the Chron Editorial Page Editor tweeted this:

Evan 20XX‏ @evan7257 18h18 hours ago 

Evan 20XX Retweeted Kyle Griffin

The cross tabs on this do a good job of explaining why Texas Democrats can’t win an election

I guess maybe he is talking about the 51-33 lead among Latino voters. One would think that with the GOP’s war against Mexico and Latino immigrants that the spread would be bigger, right? And now the “breeding concept” racist sh_t. What do you do?

I’ve seen numbers like these before. They don’t play out on Election Day though. I am thinking a 3-1 Dem edge on Election Day. Still, the Democratic Party and the O’Rourke Campaign would be wise to get together with Latino political consultants with experience dealing with turning Latino voters out with success in other states.

We will see.

My MLB question wasn’t a trick question but the ‘Stros ended 1994 with a 66-49 record and a half game out in the NL Central in the strike shortened season of course.

We are now 12-7 and it looks like the bats may be waking up.


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There is no MLB question today.

I was at my Dad’s a few days ago when news broke on CNN about Barbara Bush’s medical condition. I told my 94-year old Dad about her condition and his reaction was to say the least, interesting.

What is also interesting is what Texas Monthly’s Mimi Swartz has to say on Barbara Bush. It is a very good take by Mimi that you should read. Here is the headline and here is how it starts:

Barbara Bush Had a Good Life But a Hard One

As I have aged and faced my own challenges as a woman on this planet, I have come to a different understanding of Barbara Bush.

By Mimi Swartz

I admit that it took me a long time to come around to Barbara Bush. In my younger days, when she was just the wife of one president and not yet the mother of another, I kept a running tally of her sins.

Go read it here: https://www.texasmonthly.com/opinion/barbara-bush-good-life-hard-one/.

I was amused last night when I found out Barbara Bush was pretty good at keeping score. Commentary is talking about keeping score at ‘Stros games. Commentary learned how to keep score like during my little league years. During high school, I had a part time job keeping score at little league games. Everyone has their own way of keeping score. One thing is for sure, when you keep score you have to be paying attention to what is going on in the ballgame. Here is part of the Chron story on Barbara Bush’s scorecard:

Former First Lady Barbara Bush wasn’t just a regular behind home plate at Astros games, she was so into the games, she often kept score.

Barbara Bush attended lots of Astros game alongside her husband George Herbert Walker Bush, and although many people talked about her diligent keeping of a scorebook during games, she rarely let anyone photograph the book. She did however leave one of her autographed scoresheets from a 2006 game with the Astros. Team historian Mike Acosta tweeted out the scorecard Tuesday.

And this:

“Not many people know how to score a baseball game,” George H.W. Bush bragged in the book Barbara Bush: Matriarch of a Dynasty.

Commentary looked at the scorecard Acosta posted. She is pretty good in my scorebook.

Don’t worry. Commentary is not going to talk about her keeping score in politics, but I would bet that she was probably pretty good, don’t you think?

A couple of weeks ago Commentary said this about sending troops to the border:

It is a pretty expensive photo-op if you ask Commentary.

I love it when the Chron E-Board agrees. Here the start of their take today:

It’s no surprise that the Trump administration’s directive to send the National Guard to the border appears to have been done with little planning, despite the costs and risks associated with the mission.

In recent days, administration officials and supporters have explained little about what the Guard hopes to accomplish during its mission. A mobilization order signed by Defense Secretary James Mattis approved the deployment of 4,000 Guard members, but didn’t define any explicit goals.

Gov. Greg Abbott, the commander-in-chief of the Texas National Guard, went to Weslaco on Thursday for a glorified photo op with the Guard. The governor’s press release ahead of the visit even noted that his briefing with Guard leaders would be good for TV b-roll.

Abbott, of course, has experience with ill-defined border security missions, having pushed through $800 million expenditures in each of the last two bienniums without ever telling Texans what they were getting for the money.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/A-continuing-border-blunder-could-waste-billions-12842708.php.

“Glorified photo op” is the same as “expensive photo op.”   You are welcome.

It is good to see Andrew White do this. Here is from the Chron:

AUSTIN — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White on Wednesday will announce he would declare “a state of emergency” for education if elected, as part of plans to increase teacher pay and improve student achievement without raising taxes, campaign sources confirmed Tuesday evening.

“Education is top of mind for Texas voters. It will be Andrew White’s signature issue as governor,” said a briefing document outlining the Wednesday announcement in Austin.

“He will declare a state of emergency for Texas education, which ranks 40th in the nation. He will lay the blame with Governor Abbott.”

Here is the Chron article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Andrew-White-to-declare-education-emergency-12842561.php?src=hp_totn.

Let’s not forget what his Dad did on education. Gov. White certainly paid the price.

The ‘Stros won last night and Evan Gattis went 2 for 3 and is now above the Mendoza Line.

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The ‘Stros are 10-7. How many position players are hitting below the Mendoza Line?

Commentary was watching  a former law enforcement type on CNN yesterday talking about the former FBI Director and his book.  The law enforcement type said the former Director should have taken the “high road” and not taken shots at Donald Trump.  Nope!  When Trump goes after you in a personal way, you have to hit back and hit back hard.

This is from the Pulitzer Prize website:

In the Breaking News Reporting category.

Finalist: Staff of Houston Chronicle

For comprehensive and dynamic coverage of Hurricane Harvey that captured real-time developments of the unprecedented scale of the disaster and provided crucial information to its community during the storm and its aftermath.

Commentary doesn’t know what it takes to win a Pulitzer. If not Harvey, what then?

I am sure folks saw this yesterday:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed State Representative Carol Alvarado for Texas State Senate, District 6.

“State Representative Carol Alvarado is a proven leader for Houstonians. As a State Senator, she will help lead the fight for women’s reproductive rights, public education funding, LGBTQ equality, and health care for everyone,” said Geri Prado, senior director of state and local campaigns at EMILY’s List. “We are proud to stand with Carol in her campaign for Texas State Senate.”

“I am honored to receive the EMILY’s List endorsement. I am also proud of the effective leadership I have provided in the Texas legislative arena. Over the next few month, I will continue to engage the voters of Senate District 6 and build a winning campaign” said Alvarado.

Carol is an advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights. She has passed legislation to assist victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment. She has also authored numerous bills aimed at improving the health care of our children including legislation that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors. In 2015, Rep. Alvarado authored and passed landmark historic Grand Jury Reform legislation. She serves as Chair of the Urban Affairs Committee and is a member of the Higher Education Committee and the Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse.

Well deserved. Carol’s credentials speak for themselves.

It is pretty obvious who Gov. Greg Abbott wants to face this November. Check this from the Tribune:

In an interview after a Tea Party meeting here, Abbott offered his most extensive comments on Valdez’s candidacy yet, saying he and she “have been locked in a battle for an aspect of Texas ideology” that goes back to their clash three years ago over her department’s policy on compliance with federal immigration authorities. Like he did in a tweet earlier this month — when he broke his silence on Valdez’s campaign — Abbott treated her as the Democratic nominee Monday, despite the fact she is in a May 22 runoff against Andrew White, the son of late Gov. Mark White.

“It’s clear that she’s not only obviously the frontrunner and had the most votes in the initial go-around, but it’s our analysis that she’ll be the nominee,” Abbott said. “And so every time she comes out and starts talking about ways that are antagonistic to the Texas perspective on making sure that we ban sanctuary cities, secure our border, I’m going to challenge her on it.”

Valdez opposes the state’s ban on “sanctuary cities” that Abbott signed into law last year, looking to punish local officials who do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities. She has also been critical of his decision to heed the call of President Donald Trump and send hundreds of National Guard troops to the border earlier this month — criticism that prompted Abbott’s April 4 tweet declaring her his November opponent. 

Here is the entire article: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/04/17/texas-gov-greg-abbott-vows-challenge-lupe-valdez-border-issues/.

I guess Abbott thinks he would do better against Valdez. I don’t know. Commentary has never met Valdez or seen her in person or heard her speak.

The ‘Stros sent this out yesterday:

All fans attending the Astros game on Wednesday, June 20th will receive a Replica World Champions Ring, presented by Coca-Cola, upon entering the gates. So, come out to Minute Maid Park, cheer on the Astros as they take on the Rays and go home with some shiny new bling!

The game could very well be a sellout.

Four ‘Stros hitters are batting below the Mendoza Line: Evan Gattis at .184, Marwin at .164, Marisnick at .146, and Derek Fisher at .143 of course.

And that my friend is why we are 10-7. It ain’t our pitching.

I would not be surprised if Fisher was sent down.

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