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Archive for May, 2019

Justin Verlander lost a no-no in the seventh inning last night. Mike Fiers of the A’s tossed a no-no earlier this season against the Reds. When was the last season where a no-no was not tossed?

To follow-up on last week’s Chron E-Board take on Prop B that Commentary called hilarious. The E-Board is getting played by the H-Town Mayor. Remember when the E-Board said this last week:

But no one can deny that the people have spoken. And despite firefighters’ loss in court this week, the popular will of Houston voters provides powerful incentive for Turner, who is up for re-election, to negotiate generously with firefighters this time around.

Yeah, sure. The H-Town Mayor has no acknowledgement or respect for the 60% of H-Town voters who supported Prop B. Here is from the Chron today:

The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association on Tuesday asked Mayor Sylvester Turner to enter arbitration to settle its ongoing labor dispute with the city, a request the mayor shot down as he called instead for a return to collective bargaining.

The union’s request came less than a week after a state district judge ruled Proposition B unconstitutional and void. The charter amendment approved by voters last November granted firefighters the same pay as police of corresponding rank and seniority.

Turner made clear Tuesday that he does not intend to accept the union’s request.

“The city of Houston is willing to return to the table for collective bargaining which would be the regular course of business,” the mayor said in a written statement.

Immediately after last week’s ruling, Turner said he would like to negotiate a pay raise for firefighters “that the city can afford,” a call he repeated at his State of the City address Monday.

It is very safe to say that the Chron E-Board is being played by the Mayor. Can someone please step forward and make them aware that they are being played? Chumps, to put it kindly, chumps.

GOP Rep. Jonathan Strickland killed a major bill yesterday on a point of order. The billed killed was a priority of the GOP Governor, GOP Lt. Governor, the GOP Senate Finance Chair and the GOP House Appropriations Chair. Rep. Strickland is being targeted by Dems. Don’t worry, the State GOP will pour money into Strickland’s campaign in 2020 because the GOP is a racket.

BTW: Late last night, the bill that was killed was added to another bill in the form of an amendment.

The Oreo cookie incident in Congress is not surprising. It starts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There is a difference between baseball and fast pitch softball. Read this from the Chron:

When Texas pitcher Miranda Elish threw 429 pitches over four games on consecutive days to help the Longhorns win their NCAA softball regional last weekend, the question arose: How much is too much?

Pitch count isn’t as significant in the sport as it is in baseball, two former Olympic softball pitchers said.

In baseball, pitch counts are monitored more closely, from Little League to high school to the majors.

Little League pitchers across the U.S. and high school pitchers in Texas are limited in the number of pitches they can throw per game based on their age. Those numbers range from as few as 50 pitches per day for 7-year-olds under Little League rules to as many as 110 in a game for 17-year-olds under University Interscholastic League rules covering the state’s high schools. Based on the number of pitches thrown, pitchers are required to rest for a certain amount of time before they can take the mound again.

Here is the deal. Throwing underhanded is a lot easier on the arm than throwing overhand or sidewinder style. Throwing underhanded is more normal like. Throwing overhanded or sidewinder style is a bit abnormal.

Got it?

In 2005 of course, a no-no was not tossed.

Our record in May is 15-4 and our homie record for the season is 18-4.

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A Week Left

Today is my Mom’s BD. She left us nearly two years ago.

We now have an eight game winning streak against the White Socks. When was the last time they beat us?

The H-Town Mayor went Sean Spicer on us and tweeted this yesterday:

Looking forward to my 4th State of the City speech before the largest audience @GHPartnership has ever had for this event…

I was tempted to retweet and post a photo of the National Mall, yuk, yuk.

There is only one week left. Commentary is talking about the Texas Legislative Session. I am saying that is probably a good thing.

Just an observation. I watched part pf the SB 22 (the anti-Planned Parenthood bill) debate Friday. I thought GOP Rep. Sarah Davis with the blond hair gave the best speech against. Just saying.

I kind of listened some to the Texas House debate on SB 29 yesterday, the bill that would have prohibited cities and counties from hiring lobbyists to lobby the state legislature. The bill’s sponsor and supporters were making a dumbarse argument that taxpayers didn’t have a say on cities hiring lobbyists to protect their arses when the legislature is in session. They have local elections, don’t they? The bill was rejected, and the lobbyists lived happily ever after.

From the Chron today:

Get your dancing shoes, or baseball cleats, ready because “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is coming to Minute Maid Park.

On May 22, fans will have a chance to be part of a segment of “Ellen” but only if they have a ticket to the game and can commit two hours to the show. The entrance for the segment taping will open at 3 p.m. and remain open until 3:45 p.m., unless capacity is reached earlier.

Those chosen for the segment won’t be able to leave the plaza on Crawford (between Left Field Gate and Center Field Gate) until taping is finished. Look for “Ellen” entrance signage.

All participants will receive the Yuli Gurriel “Swing” Bobblehead once taping is complete. Snacks and water will be available for purchase, and the segment will be shot outside.

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/entertainment/article/Want-to-be-on-The-Ellen-DeGeneres-Show-13865027.php?src=hp_totn.

I have tickets.

We last lost to the White Socks 3-1 September 21, 2017, 16 months ago of course.

We still have the biggest lead in MLB – 8 1/2 games.

 

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The Astros are on pace for a third straight 100 win season. How many other times has an MLB club won 100 or more games in three consecutive seasons? BTW: No team has ever had four 100 or more win seasons in a row.

Even though the voter suppression SB 9 might be dead in the #TXLege, I have to hand it to the GOP consultant who has been assigned to delay the blue wave in the Lone Star State. Here is what was added at the last minute to an election filing fee bill last week on the Texas House Floor:

SECTIONA2.AASection 181.005, Election Code, is amended by adding Subsection (c) to read as follows: (c)AAA political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees placed on the general election ballot, without qualifying under Subsection (a) or (b), if the party had a nominee for a statewide office who received a number of votes equal to at least two percent of the total number of votes received by all candidates for that office at least once in the five previous general elections.

It is pretty obvious. The bill is expected to get final Senate approval today. The Green Party will now get ballot access in the Lone Star State. The GOP Senate sponsor admitted yesterday that Green Party candidates hurt Dems. So, here is what will happen. To avoid Dem takeover of the Texas House next year, GOP operatives will likely recruit Green Party candidates to file in swing districts hoping to syphon off Dem votes. They will devise backdoor mechanisms to get them their filing fees and funds for other basic campaign needs. Dems are just going to have to work harder.

On my take Friday on the press not being invited to the Firefighter cadets swearing in, Steve Houston sent me this:

The fire cadets specifically requested that press not be notified and they did not want politicians present. Their friends and family were invited, many in attendance according to a few of them on social media.

With all due respect, they are being paid by taxpayers, so press and others like politicos and the public should have been made aware and allowed to attend.

BlogHouston put this out yesterday on the Chron E-Board’s hilarious take on Prop B and their editorial Op-Ed take on GoT:

[WB10] Consider this nonsense just another exhibit in the case that the Houston Chronicle should shutter its editorial board and redeploy the resources to the newsroom (and investigative). Think how much more good work the newspaper’s news and investigative teams could do with the salaries represented by two staffers who are apparently employed to watch and argue with each other about a TV show.

Just saying.

Let’s see. Tiger wins the Masters last month. He then goes to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue a couple of weeks ago. He misses the cut this past weekend at the PGA Championship. You know what they say about karma.

The Philadelphia Athletics (1929-31), San Luis (1942-1944), B’More (1969-71), The ATL (1997-99), and the Yankees (2002-04) are the only teams in MLB history to put together 100 or more win seasons in three consecutive years of course.

We won 10 in a row, but I still felt bad about losing yesterday at Fenway.

We begin a 10 game homie this evening with four with the White Socks, then the Red Socks visit for a three game weekend series, the Cubbies are in town for three that includes a 1 pm start on Memorial Day. It is a key homie for sure.

#SpringerDinger is a bit dinged up. Jose Altuve might be coming off the DL this week. Aledmys Diaz is also a bit dinged up.

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Unless the Governor vetoes a bill, the City of H-Town is fixing to have to sell off some water rights. Since the Astros didn’t play last night, I am going to do a water rights question instead of the MLB. Here goes. Name the movie that came out in the 1970s that got nominated for 11 Oscars including Best Pic, Actor, Actress and Director, but only won 1, that had a plot of sorts involving water rights?

Channel 13’s Ted Oberg tweeted this along with a photo of the Firefighter cadets being sworn in yesterday:

Houston Fire Department swears 66 cadets in this afternoon one day after Prop B declared unconstitutional. Congratulations to them. Stay safe! However, it was done in secret. No notice to reporters. Photo sent at 6:15. Cadets were focus of a lot of bad news. They deserved better.

They never should have been pawns in the first place in the Prop B fight.

What is up with the press not being notified? Were family invited?

For some on the bright side, that’s 66 new members for Local 341. Just saying.

On my take on the Chron E-Board’s hilarious editorial yesterday, it is a shame that an editorial board is quick to dismiss the will of the voters. Think about that. Fake election results? What a shame? Chron readers deserve better.

“Chinatown” of course, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway had a water rights plot of sorts. BTW: Robert Towne won their only Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. “Godfather Part II” won Best Pic that year.

While I am on the subject, Art Carney took home the Best Actor Oscar for “Harry and Tonto” over roles like Nicholson’s, Al Pacino in “Godfather Part II” and Dustin Hoffman in “Lenny”. I wasn’t sold on that. I was OK with Ellyn Burstyn winning Best Actress for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” and Francis Ford Coppola for picking up the Best Director Oscar for “Godfather II.”

We now have an eight game lead and are in Fenway for three against the Red Socks, err Sox.

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Some things never change. The GOP in #TXLege continues to hate and suppress minority voter turnout.

Name the MLB division leader with the biggest lead?

Honestly. That was my first reaction. I burst out in laughter when I read the Chron’s E-Board take on the latest on Prop B.

Here is this:

Firefighters should accept the ruling and return to the bargaining table, this time with newfound leverage: Prop B was proof that the voters of Houston want their firefighters to be better paid.

And this:

But no one can deny that the people have spoken. And despite firefighters’ loss in court this week, the popular will of Houston voters provides powerful incentive for Turner, who is up for re-election, to negotiate generously with firefighters this time around.

Wow! Let me say this again. The H-Town Mayor doesn’t become Mayor without the help of the Houston Firefighters. They obviously couldn’t work things out and that’s why the Firefighters went the Prop B route. 60% of the H-Town voters or 288,000 or so voted for Prop B despite the Mayor vigorously campaigning against. It didn’t look like he was that interested in implementing the will of the voters over the past six months. Yes, six months.

The Chron E-Board is funny. The current situation is toxic. They have tried sitting down.

It’s toxic. Get it?

Here is the entire hilarious E-Board take:
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Let-Prop-B-die-Here-s-how-Houston-firefighters-13848401.php?utm_campaign=CMS%20Sharing%20Tools%20(Premium)&utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral.

From Steve Houston:

What some failed to realize about the pay raises, the mayor decided to impose the same requirements on firefighters as police in terms of implementing Prop B (before it was declared unconstitutional in court). So positions that require a college degree with police, required one with HFD in order to get a rank-based raise. In a last minute move to save a great deal of money, it was also required that an engineer/operator have the same minimum 12 years and a fire equivalent of a master certificate to obtain that part of the raise, of course invoking more howling from the fire union and it’s supporters. As a result of imposing these type of requirements, the ultimate cost of the raise was reduced a great deal and the bulk of it went to the most senior firefighters-most of whom are wise enough to stay away from social media while drunk posting unlike their junior peers.

Now that the district judge has ruled Prop B unconstitutional, both parties should go back to negotiating as the appellate process can last years, the mayor has already thrown HFD a bone with a 9.5% offer, almost certainly tied to agreeing to drop the appeal. The mayor needs to formalize the offer and the union negotiators need to make a counter offer in line with the economic realities the city faces. If this happens fast enough, the city budget can absorb a sizable portion of the raise in the upcoming fiscal year without layoffs or demotions. If the 2020 budget starting July 1 doesn’t provide for a raise, the options will quickly shrink until the following year. Isn’t getting 13 or 14% with no layoffs, no demotions, and promoting the fire cadets worth such a substantial sum?

Those willing to bet on a new mayor next year are the same kind that have kept HFD from obtaining raises for years, doubling down on the courts seems foolish as well. But if either side shows the continued animosity toward a compromise, it will definitely hurt their cause. Bury the hatchets gentlemen or watch the legal bills soar with no end in sight.

I was watching #TXLege yesterday and there was debate on a bill on restoring the Battleship Texas. They are proposing to take it to dry dock and reskin it. State Rep. Briscoe Cain had to tack on an amendment to make sure they return it to the San Jacinto Battleground which happens to sit in HD 144, State Rep. Mary Ann Perez’s district and Sen. Carol Alvarado’s SD 6. It says something that they had to have an amendment to make sure it isn’t put somewhere else when it is repaired.

I wonder how many House members have even been to the San Jacinto Battleground. It ought to be mandatory, that if you are a member of #TXLege, you have to go visit the San Jacinto Battleground.

The Astros of course have a 7 ½ game lead in the AL West over the second place Mariners, the biggest division lead in MLB this morning.

Eight in a row. We have the day off. We are at Fenway this weekend.

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The Astros lead MLB with a .283 team batting average followed by San Luis. What is San Luis’ team batting average?

Commentary doesn’t know if there is an end in sight. I am talking about the mess and madness at H-Town City Hall. Houston Firefighters say that a bunch of Firefighters didn’t get pay raises. The following lines from the Chron article today pretty much sums up where we are today and here it is:

Mark Jones, a political scientist at Rice University, said the lack of raises for some “reinforce the image that Turner is looking for every way possible to stick it to the firefighters.” The latest news builds on other examples, Jones said, such as Turner’s refusal to hire fire cadets while hiring police cadets.

Here is the entire article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Hundreds-of-Houston-firefighters-did-not-receive-13845041.php.

I was watching the H-Town City Council Meeting Public Session on the flat screen yesterday. Some residents from Austin Street in Midtown showed up to complain about a proposed bike lane. Here is their deal. They live in townhomes that only have street parking. If you stick a bike lane on their street, you are eliminating half of their parking. Does the City take that into consideration when they are putting in bike lanes?

My good friend Anna Eastman has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron and here is how it starts:

Thursday night I routinely checked my email only to discover that the Houston ISD Board of Trustees had voted to end the Teach For America contract. Wait, what? Yes, HISD had effectively ended a relationship that started in 1991.

Over those 28 years, 2,000 Teach For America corps members and alumni have worked in and around Houston ISD. According to the latest alumni data, 70 percent of Teach For America-Houston alums work in education or in jobs directly affecting low-income communities. Nearly 300 of these former corps members are currently building their careers in HISD. Those alumni include 11 principals, 10 assistant principals and, ironically, two trustees.

I’ve posted my dismay over the vote on Facebook and received long trails of comments voicing everything from confusion to outrage about the HISD board’s vote. During the years that I served on HISD’s board, the district was viewed as a bold leader in evidence-based education reforms. But this vote is only the latest blow in what appears to be an effort to dismantle every education reform the district has ever put in place.

Here is the entire Op-Ed: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/HISD-s-board-is-taking-apart-every-effort-at-13845474.php.

I have to hand it to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for saying why she wouldn’t participate in a campaign town hall with Fox News. She says Fox is a vehicle for racists and liars. She is right.

If Sens. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, or Elizabeth Warren looked a lot younger than they did ten years ago like former VP Joe Biden, they would have gotten the business and run out of the business. Just saying. The treat women differently thing.

I saw this tweet yesterday:

Evan liked

Max Berger
@maxberger

Joe Biden is a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton was in 2016. He has all of her weaknesses and none of her strengths. He has a worse record than she did. We shouldn’t make the same mistake in 2020 we made in 2016.

Just saying.

Tim Conway of “The Carol Burnet Show” fame is no longer with us. Conway first came to my attention as Ensign Parker of “McHale’s Navy” on ABC, in black and white.

Commentary usually doesn’t comment on the lists the Chron puts online like the go to Mexican restaurants. Here is their latest:

Cuchara, Superica, Last Concert Café, El Patio, El Real, El Tiempo, Goode Co. Taqueria, Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina, Irma’s Original, Irma’s Southwest, Molina’s Cantina, Pappasito’s Cantina, Picos, and Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen.

I have never been to the Goode Co. pair or Sylvia’s.

I would add Dona Maria (breakfast and lunch hangout for Latino politicos), El Jardin (Latino politico event venue), Gringo’s, La Mexicana (best fideo), Merida, Spanish Flower (best menudo), and Teotihuacan.

San Luis of course is batting .263, number two to our .283.

We’ll take it. Commentary is talking about the ridiculous inside the park #SpringerDinger. Justin Verlander takes the mound tonight at Comerica.

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The Raid

At 27-15, we have the best record in MLB. What was our record after 42 games last season?

There is a Chron front page story today on the botched raid or the Harding Street Massacre here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Evidence-left-behind-after-botched-Pecan-Park-13842488.php.

It would be laughable, but it isn’t because two people died. You get the feeling that those in charge are trying to figure out how to ‘splain this one off and not take responsibility. I don’t see how you can put a good face on this one. They will try though, if we let them.

Commentary is not going to say much about Dems and so-called frontrunners in the race for president. Let’s wait until the debates.

Commentary’s pal Chris Bell is thinking about running for U.S. Senator. Kuffer and another story on Chris think that Chris’ support for Bill King in the 2015 H-Town mayoral runoff will hurt Chris among Democratic Party primary voters.

Here is Kuffer’s take on Chris: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=90707&cpage=1.

I don’t think so. We have the potential to have a robust presidential primary in 2020 so turnout could be healthy for other races.  Whoever can raise money in a U.S. Senate race and put together a statewide campaign will prevail. Maybe a few insiders will hold it against Chris for endorsing Bill. I am thinking Houston Firefighters won’t.

Right now, the Dem Primary for Texas U.S. Senator is wide open. That is probably a good thing.

Steve Houston sent me this on the Census 2020 Contract over at H-Town City Hall:

The amount of funding and representation tied to an accurate count cannot be over emphasized but some want to politicize the process over perceived personal gains or the false belief that it will only help their opposing political party. The same jokers opposing the modest expense are the kind that fall all over themselves to hand over money to private interests in the form of corporate welfare that provides limited returns at best.

Houston also sent this over on Prop B:

“I find it interesting that they now appear to be trying to play the victim here,” Lancton said. “Never one time did we ask a council member to return fire PAC political money.”

Engaging in political battles with the fire union may indeed cost a few votes from their knee jerk supporters, few firefighters themselves live inside the city limits, but the exchange demonstrates the fire union’s willingness to get what they want by any means necessary and their expectations tied to their support. Insiders call the union leader “Media Marty” after the way he spins everything in his favor no matter what the reality is, he clearly lied which only CM Robinson sharing the texts would show.

The ongoing narrative in this blog is that Prop B can’t be altered, over ridden, or otherwise absent a public vote changed flies in the face of the fire union’s successful argument in court that their (also voter approved) collective bargaining agreement could indeed change the initiative. That is the very basis for the recent mediation and ongoing negotiations between the city and the union, if Prop B could not be changed outside another vote there’d be no need to bargain.

The exchange also provides substantial proof that the fire union tried to engage in a “pay for play” situation expecting specific votes in return for their financial support, not the usual understanding that a donation would give greater access to a politician as they take campaign contributions from a variety of competing interests. Had the contribution been directly tied to the vote, the union leader could easily be indicted instead of just shown for what he is.

Commentary said before that I was asked a year or so ago who my favorite Astro was, and I responded that my most entertaining Astro was Alex Bregman. You also have to love that he has taken the time to learn to speak Spanish- cool.

Last season, after 42 games, we were 26-16 of course.

They are playing like we expect them to play, considering what we pay for tickets and a Saint Arnold at The Yard this season.

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