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Archive for April 6th, 2018

It’s About Time

Three MLB clubs are tied for 10th place for the number of no-nos tossed with 11 apiece. Name the three clubs?

It’s about time. It comes on the day that Donald Trump doubled down on calling Mexicans rapists. He still believes that racist crap. The Mexican President should have unloaded on Trump two and a half years ago, but it is better late than never. Here is from the Washington Post:

VERACRUZ, Mexico — Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto delivered his most direct public rebuke of President Trump on Thursday afternoon, in a national address that characterized Mexico as willing to cooperate with the United States but not at the expense of its sovereignty or dignity.

Peña Nieto spoke after Trump signed an order to deploy National Guard troops to halt “a drastic surge of illegal activity on the southern border.” In the past week, Trump has accused Mexico of doing little to stop illegal migration and expressed alarm about a caravan of hundreds of Central Americans who were crossing this country to highlight the plight of migrants — threatening to retaliate against Mexico if it didn’t stop the march.

Peña Nieto, speaking Thursday from the presidential palace in Mexico City, noted that the Mexican Senate and all four leading candidates in the July 1 presidential race had condemned Trump’s comments, adding: “As president of Mexico, I agree with those remarks.”

“President Trump: If you wish to reach agreements with Mexico, we stand ready, as we have proved until now, always willing to engage in a dialogue, acting in earnestness, in good faith and in a constructive spirit,” Peña Nieto said. “If your recent statements are the result of frustration due to domestic policy issues, [due] to your laws or to your Congress, it is to them that you should turn to, not to Mexicans.”

The address to the nation was remarkable because Peña Nieto has endured, with diplomatic courtesy and sometimes stony silence, about two years of insults and threats from Trump over Mexican immigrants, the trade relationship, border security and the fight against drug traffickers.

Here is the entire read: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/mexican-president-rebukes-trump-over-border-threats/2018/04/05/99b8a49a-3914-11e8-af3c-2123715f78df_story.html?utm_term=.0f2f40152a06.

Good! Don’t take that sh_t from Trump.

From Royko:

I hope the November election is about citizens voting Democrat for more illegal aliens, or voting Republican, to slow the number of illegals invading Texas.

Got it? Whatever!

The owner of the Texans is at it again. I am thinking he is pi__ed off because he doesn’t have a ring like the ones they are giving away at The Yard or that he has never been a number 1 seed like the Rockets have going into the playoffs. Commentary is also thinking that the Texans PR folks wish the owner would just chill. This is from yesterday’s NY Daily News:

Sorry, not sorry.

Texans owner Bob McNair wants his apology back. The one he issued after uttering his controversial “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” comment, because he’s not sorry he said it and he never was.

“The main thing I regret is apologizing,” McNair told the Wall Street Journal.

He said he was referring to team executives overstepping their bounds in dealing with owners last year, rather than kneeling players, when he said the word “inmates.”

“I really didn’t have anything to apologize for,” McNair said.

Since the comment, which McNair made amid the Colin Kaepernick-inspired anthem demonstration debate that tore through the NFL, he has emerged as the face of hardline team owners. McNair was recently deposed by Kaepernick’s lawyers as part of the quarterback’s collusion case against the league. Last month, the Texans denied a report that they would not sign any free agents who kneeled during the national anthem.

McNair is annoyed his explosive comment was leaked out of an owners’ meeting.

“We were talking about a number of things, but we were also washing some of our dirty linen, which you do internally. You don’t do that publicly. That’s what I was addressing: The relationship of owners and the league office,” McNair said. “In business, it’s a common expression. But the general public doesn’t understand it, perhaps.”

McNair told the Journal he thinks he’s unfairly portrayed in the media. Most of the attention he gets is for his tough views against anthem demonstrations and political statements in football, but he wants people to know he paid for the funerals of the Charleston church shooting victims in 2015, too. The article points out that there’s more to the guy than just the anthem comments, and it points out some of the charitable work he’s done in the community.

“I do what I think is right,” he said. “Sometimes, people disagree with you.”

Some continue to disagree with McNair’s feeling that players should essentially shut up and play. He’s not backing off his belief that the NFL needs “to stay out of politics.”

“As employers, we set conditions for all of our employees,” he said. “We don’t allow political meetings or statements or that sort of thing during working hours. You wouldn’t let somebody working at McDonald’s, when somebody pulls through, give them a hamburger and say, ‘I don’t know why you’re eating that beef, why aren’t you a vegetarian?’ You don’t allow that. Well, that’s freedom of expression.”

Hey, ‘Stros! Sell this Trump wannabe a ring. He is not winning any friends at this point.   Commentary doesn’t feel sorry for the fella.

Oh yeah, he’s not getting a statue. I wonder if that is a contributing factor to his latest comments. He’s pouting of sorts.

By the way. The ‘Stros owner gave Tilman a ring last night. Hey, Landry’s has a big presence at The Yard.

Just in! A Harris County Democratic Party Precinct Chair got a ring. Congrats, Hugo Mojica!

Bill King just put out a take on Wednesday’s vote on the new development regulations so here it is:

City Council’s New-Found Religion on Flooding 

On Wednesday, City Council narrowly approved a sweeping revision of the flood rules specifying how high new buildings must be constructed.   The amendment to the ordinance is lengthy and complicated, but fundamentally it requires that buildings located in the 500-year floodplain must be built two feet above that level.  

The change will undoubtedly reduce the flooding risk for new construction.  But if your house has previously flooded, the new rules do nothing to make it less likely it will flood in the future.  The changes will also significantly increase the construction costs in the affected areas.  By exactly how much and whether the increased costs are justified by future potential flood savings are the subjects of considerable debate.  

There were good arguments on both sides of this proposed change.  Personally, I thought Council overreached by going to two feet over the 500-year flood plain, especially considering that FEMA is expected to release new flood maps in the next couple of years that could drastically increase the size of the 500-year flood plain.  Some think the map might encompass most of the City, which could make it very difficult to build anywhere in the City and affect property values.  

But what I found insufferably hypocritical about the debate was one council member after another piously lamenting the flooding woes endured by their constituents when of those same council members have, year after year, approved budgets diverting the drainage fees paid by Houstonians to almost everything but flooding.   

Most of you recall that in 2010, City voters approved the imposition of a drainage fee.  The proponents of the fee reassured voters that the fee would be held in a lockbox and that “politicians can’t divert a single cent.”  Ads like this one filled the airwaves.  

Since voters approved the drainage fee, the City has collected about $700 million.  To put that amount in perspective, that is three times the money that was needed to complete Project Brays.  But instead funding projects like Project Brays, the City began paying for 500 Public Works Department employees from the fund in the very first year the drainage fee was assessed and has continued to do so ever since.  Few of these employees have anything to do with flood control.  Since then the money has also been used for bike trails, traffic control and miles and miles of asphalt overlays, which in many cases make flooding worse.

Before Turner became mayor, the City budget included a list of the employee categories that were being paid from the drainage fund.  About two-thirds appeared to be bureaucrats working at City Hall.  After Turner became mayor, the City stopped including that information and other details about how the drainage fees are being spent.  You can compare the level of detail provided by the Parker administration to what the Turner administration now publishes [here – 2015 Budget] and [here-2018 Budget].  

The ReBuild Houston website, which is supposed to keep taxpayers apprised of how their drainage fees are being spent, has not been updated since last June. Rebuild Houston Website

Perhaps the best indication of the City’s real commitment to flood control is that only 6% of the City’s current five-year capital improvement  plan is devoted to flood control.  [CIP Budget]

The debate on the new flood rules got testy when Dave Martin, the district council member representing Kingwood, emotionally narrated a slide presentation he and Turner had obviously coordinated, which showed the extensive flooding that occurred in Kingwood. Greg Travis, who was seeking to amend the proposed rules, challenged Martin, correctly pointing out that the new rules would do absolutely nothing to mitigate the flooding Martin was showing in his slides.   By the end of the exchange Martin was cursing at Travis, a clear sign that Travis’s retort had struck a nerve.

I would take Martin’s and other council members’ emotionally call for action on flooding more seriously if they had not consistently voted for budgets which have allowed the drainage fees to be looted. If these members had really been serious about protecting their constituents from being flooded, they would have insisted that the drainage fees be spent on flood control. To their credit, council members Knox, Stardig, Travis and Kubosh all raised this issue of the diversion of the drainage fees during the debate on the new ordinance.  

The City’s new budget will be adopted over the next several months. We will soon find out if the Council’s new-found religion on flooding is real or whether they were just crying crocodile tears this week. We’ll know that based on whether they insist that the drainage fees actually be spent on flood projects or whether they continue to allow the administration to use the drainage fees to fund its pet projects and as a slush fund to balance the budget. Of course, we will only know that if Council also insists that the administration once again provides the details in the budget on how the drainage fees are spent. 

I hope that Council has really seen the light. But as the Scripture says, “by their fruits you will know them.”

The ‘Stros, A’s, and Yankees are tied for 10th place with 11 no-nos apiece of course.

The Padres are the only MLB club without a no-no and they are in town for three this weekend.

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