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Archive for January 11th, 2019

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Everybody knows that Astro pitcher Gerrit Cole was the first player drafted (by the Pirates) in the 2011 MLB Amateur Player Draft. Who did the Astros draft in 2011 with the 11th overall pick?

Within the past day or so, Christina Morales, candidate for the #TXHD145SpecialElection, has been endorsed by the Harris County Labor Assembly COPE, AFL-CIO, CWA, and the Harris County Tejano Democrats.

Not bad at all.

I ran across an SI.com tweet yesterday promoting an ad selling posters of sports figures of yesteryear. You know, Johnny Bench, Earl Campbell, Keith Hernandez, Billie Jean King, Nancy Lopez, Jim Rice, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, you get the picture. It got me to thinking. Right now, in my crib, I have framed posters of Emiliano Zapata, Mayor Bob Lanier, Free Trade, George McGovern, Rolling Stones Baseball (that Sen. Alvarado gave me years ago that I figured out a couple of years or so after I got it), The Rocket Returns, the 2004 MLB All Star Game at The Yard, MFA’s “Baseball as America” exhibit, Ted Kennedy’s 1980 “Sail Against the Wind”, and a composite of MLB All Star Game Program covers from 1933-1993.

In my younger days, I had an LBJ on a Harley poster, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, The Beatles “White Album”, Rams QB Roman Gabriel (bet you never heard of him), Joe Namath, and of course, one of the all time best, Raquel Welch’s “One Million Years BC”, the black and white version.

Now this article from the Dallas Morning News deserves a full read:

AUSTIN — Five women lawmakers have decided to form the Texas Legislature’s first LGBTQ caucus.

State Rep. Mary González will serve as the group’s chairwoman. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News on Thursday, the El Paso Democrat said she hopes the caucus will advance bills that are “transformative” for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Texans across the state.

“We want to honor the moment,” González said, just minutes before her staff planned to file the paperwork making the caucus official. “We want to have an intentional and strategic agenda.”

When González was first elected in 2012, she was just the second openly LGBTQ member elected to the 181-member Texas Legislature in its history, and the only one serving at the time. Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, was elected in 2014.

Last year, the number of openly LGBTQ legislators more than doubled with the election of Reps. Jessica González of Dallas, Julie Johnson of Carrollton and Erin Zwiener of Driftwood. These five women represent nearly 20 percent of the Democratic women serving in the Texas House. 

The spike in openly LGBTQ members has already prompted other history-making changes. For example, Johnson became the first lawmaker whose same-sex spouse was invited to join the Legislative Ladies Club, a social group made up of the husbands and wives of Texas House members.

“If you would have told me that we would have five LGBTQ members in the Texas Legislature, I would have never believed you,” Mary González said Thursday. “And all women, and all in the HoJessica González, a lesbian elected to represent a swath of Dallas County from Arlington to West Dallas, said forming the caucus “sends the message that we’re here and we want our voices heard.”

“We will be able to advance issues that are important to the LGBT community,” she added.

Lawmakers have already filed several bills pertaining to LGBTQ rights this year. 

Israel, for example, wants to outlaw conversion therapy, the practice of trying to change an individual’s sexual orientation through psychological or religious interventions. Several legislators hope to remove an unconstitutional and unenforceable law outlawing gay sex from state statute. 

And Mary González plans to file her so-called Romeo and Romeo bill again this year. Under Texas law, teens who engaged in consensual sex are protected from prosecution if they’re over 14 and within three years of age of each other. But the law only applies to opposite-sex couples, leaving same-sex teens open to punishment for statutory rape. 

The caucus will face an uphill battle in the GOP-dominated Legislature, where Republicans passed a law in 2017 giving extra legal cover to adoption agencies that cite their religious views when they turn away prospective parents because of their faith, sexual orientation or gender identity. That year, the Legislature also debated a bathroom bill, which would have restricted which restrooms transgender Texans could use. That legislation ultimately failed and is unlikely to be made a priority again this year.

Mary González said she remains “optimistic” this kind of legislation won’t come up again and hopes the caucus “humanizes” the LGBTQ community and their concerns. González identifies as pansexual, meaning someone who is attracted to all gender identities, but uses the word queer to refer to herself among friends. 

She’s used to being asked to explain her sexuality. But questions still comes up in unexpected ways, like when a state senator-elect joked about her sexuality last year and then apologized for it.

“When I came on, people were just really scared. I mean, there was fear,” González said. “I don’t think [the new members] are getting some of the negative energy I got when I first came on. I don’t think there are the whispers, as much.

The caucus will allow anyone to be a member, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, but the chair and co-chair positions will be held only by LGBTQ members. 

Zwiener, who identifies as bisexual, said she was happy to be a member of the fledgling caucus. 

“It’s important that those of us who are members of the LGBTQ community stand together to make sure that all Texans are treated fairly,” she said. “I’m glad Mary and Celia have some more company.”

Nice. Congrats!

The Harris County Tejano Democrats met last night at the offices of the Harris County Democratic Party. In the parking lot next door, seven or so cars were broken into during the meeting. In the future, I would suggest hiring security for meetings in the evening..

With the 11th overall draft pick in 2011, the Astros chose #SpringerDinger of course.

It looks like the Astros have four 1 pm weekday non-holiday starts this season at The Yard.

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