Archive for July, 2019

Solid Mess

There are 24 MLB players with 100 or more base hits this season. How many are Astros?

I think Commentary is paying around $63 every four weeks to have my Chron delivered. I wish more folks would subscribe. They have a photo on page A3 today accompanying a story on the Harris County Clerk’s pitch to buy new voting machines. There are two folks in the photo, and one is identified. The other person in the photo is not identified and happens to be State Rep. Christina Morales. I remember the days when the Chron wouldn’t make this oversight.

Commentary will be shocked if the head of the City of H-Town’s Solid Waste Department still has a job by the end of the day today. This is absolutely indefensible! How can this happen? Here is from Jeremy Rogalski and Channel 11 news:

2.6M pounds of Houston recyclables tossed in landfill

Records reveal city broke its own recycling rules hundreds of times.

By Jeremy Rogalski

HOUSTON — The City of Houston broke its own recycling rules more than 300 times this year and sent at least 2.6 million pounds of curbside recyclables to the landfill, according to a KHOU 11 analysis of city records.

The findings have one Houston city council member calling for the ouster of longtime Solid Waste Management Department Director Harry Hayes.

“You either terminate the leadership or you make changes,” said Brenda Stardig, District A council member who represents Spring Branch. “In my world, coming from the private sector, this would be a failed business at this point.”

KHOU 11 Investigates obtained daily collection data forms from the Solid Waste Department from January 1 through the end of May. The daily logs are filled out by each truck driver and show the type of material collected, the times it was collected, and the disposal site for each load.

Those forms, cross-referenced with a database of corresponding landfill logs, reveal a city-wide, system-wide pattern of recycling violations.

At least 123 city trucks dumped 333 loads or partial loads of recyclables at a landfill or garbage transfer facility, which ultimately sends materials to a landfill.

Here is the entire story: https://www.khou.com/article/news/investigations/26m-pounds-of-houston-recyclables-tossed-in-landfill/285-7f5d73a4-96b4-4e48-9c38-0f53a0c1b014.

Let me add this. A few more heads at Solid Waste ought to roll. This doesn’t sound like one disgruntled employee or someone pulling a fast one. This appears to be systematic.


Thanks, Channel 11.


Commentary thinks Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner is doing a good job running the City of Pasadena. The Mayor invited me to view the implosion this Sunday morning of the First Pasadena State Bank Building. Cool.

The best the GOP can do to help out a racist Donald Trump is to demonize four congresswomen of color. Pathetic. Not going to work.

Michael Brantley with 115 base hits and Yuli Gurriel with 102 are the Astros with 100 or more base this this season of course.

Did I mention we need another or two quality starting pitchers?

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Today in History

Twenty years ago today, John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn, and his sister-in-law Lauren left us. It was a late Friday night and most of us learned about it the following morning on the news programs. Tragic.

Fifty years ago this morning, I watched the launch of Apollo 11. It was the summer of 1969. I had a summer job, so I went in a little late to work. I remember feeling anxious and nervous. Were we really going to make it to the moon? Wow!

Richard Nixon was our president. It was four and five years after the signing of historic civil rights and voting rights legislation. If someone would have asked me then will we have a racist and bigot living at 1600 Pennsylvania in fitty years, I would have told them they were crazy.

So, this is the headline of today’s Chron E-Board take:

The president is a bigot. Patriots can’t stay silent on racist remarks.

Here is from the E-Board take:

U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes was one of the few Republicans to offer a strong rebuke of Trump, telling CNN the tweets were “racist and xenophobic.”

Here is the entire E-Board read:

We are not going to avoid history on this. Donald Trump has always been and will forever be a racist and bigot. Fess up to it folks. CNN anchors have said it while anchors on other networks just kind of walk up to the line. Sad.

The paid GOP talking heads on CNN have been pathetic the last couple of days.

The U.S. House will vote on a resolution condemning Trump. I am betting GOP House members will take a walk on the vote. Pathetic. They have lost any moral ground on this.

From the concentration camps blankets department, this month we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing. NASA put out a piece on what the Apollo program brought us.

From NASA:

Space Blankets

One of the most prevalent spinoffs from the entire space program was invented for Apollo-era spacesuits. It might be best known as the “space blankets” found in emergency kits and handed out at the end of marathons, but multilayer reflective insulation is more often used in less visible applications.

NASA found that by layering multiple metalized sheets of lightweight mylar, it could create a reflective insulation far more effective both pound-for-pound and inch-for-inch than anything else available. NASA went on to master the technology, improving its strength, fabrication techniques and testing procedures, fine-tuning it for maximum performance.

The insulation has been used in just about every NASA spacecraft and spacesuit since its creation, and it has become a ubiquitous spinoff found in clothing, firefighting and camping gear, building insulation, cryogenic storage, magnetic resonance imaging machines and particle colliders, to name a few applications.

Those are the blankets that are being handed out at Trump’s border concentration camps. You can’t make this sh_t up!

I think I said yesterday that we need a quality starting pitcher.

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Only in Baseball

We have played 94 games and we need another quality starting pitcher. How many position players have pitched in games this season for the Astros?

This only happens in baseball. Commentary is talking about the Angels’ Ty Skaggs leaving us two weeks ago today, on the first day of their roadie in up Arlington. The Angels returned to play at home this past Friday against the Mariners and all the Angels were wearing his jersey with the number 45. His mom threw out the first pitch. The team pitched a combined no-no to top it off and won 13 zip, the day before he would have turned 28. At the end of the game, all the Angels took off the 45 and placed them on the pitchers’ mound. You can’t make this stuff up.

Then Sports Center tweeted this:

The Angel’s combined no-hitter last night was the first in the state of California since July 13, 1991 – the same day Tyler Skaggs was born. #SCFacts (vis @StatsBySTATS)

Only in baseball.

Commentary is enjoying the robust discussion we are having amongst Democrats on issues that we need to advance. I laugh when I hear GOPers talk about the direction left we are headed as a party. Like they have room to talk. Their leader, Donald Trump is a racist. He displayed his ugly racism again yesterday and the whole world saw it and the GOP was silent, as usual. Shut up.

Commentary has said it before. I oppose making judges non-partisan. It just gives more power to the big law firms. See this from today’s Trib:

After a punishing election for Republican judges, state leaders are set to take a long look at Texas’ often-criticized judicial selection system — a partisan election structure that Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht has described as “among the very worst methods of judicial selection.”

This summer, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law creating a commission to study the issue — signaling that the GOP-led Legislature could overhaul the system as soon as 2021. That move comes after Democrats killed a sweeping reform proposal that Abbott had quietly backed.

In Texas, one of just a few states that maintains a system of partisan judicial selection all the way up through its high courts, judges are at the mercy of the political winds. They are required to run as partisans but expected to rule impartially. They are forced to raise money from the same lawyers who will appear before them in court. And in their down-ballot, low-information races, their fates tend to track with the candidates at the top of the ticket.

That means political waves that sweep out of office good and bad, experienced and inexperienced judges alike. And while sweeps are perennial problems for the judiciary, 2018’s elections “set records,” said Tom Phillips, a former Texas Supreme Court chief justice.

And this:

The bipartisan commission, whose enabling legislation Abbott signed into law last month, is to include 15 members: four individuals each chosen by the governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker; one chosen by Hecht; one by Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Sharon Keller; and one chosen by the state bar’s board of directors.

The commission is charged with weighing every conceivable option for judicial selection reform, and producing a report by Dec. 31, 2020.

Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2019/07/15/texas-partisan-judicial-elections-reform-abbott-support/.

Don’t be surprised if the commission is heavy on the GOP side. If it is, don’t participate, play or pay attention.

First baseman and DH Tyler White has pitched in 4 games this season and catcher Max Stassi in one of course.

We lead MLB with nine grand salamis and Jake Marisnick will probably get booed tonight in LA.

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MLB Again

Name the team with the best record at home in the MLB AL this morning?

Commentary said this yesterday:

MLB doesn’t respect us for sure.

Sure enough, MLB suspended Jake Marisnick for two games for the collision this past Sunday. I tweeted that this was bulls_it. Jake is appealing the suspension.

There is a new book out where former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan takes some shots at Donald Trump. Shut up! Ryan would have my respect if he would have called out Trump when he was Speaker. Typical GOPer in office.

On the pay-to-play measure petitions that don’t have enough signatures to get on the 2019 City of H-Town ballot, say what you want, but we actually had a version of sorts in play at HISD for a few years a few years ago. Just saying.

Four years ago, Commentary voted against the current two four-year terms for City of H-Town’s elected officials. I just like the idea of city officeholders having to run every two years. It keeps folks on their toes.

Commentary has been doing city political campaigns as long as anyone in town. I never heard a campaign say, “are we better off than we were two years ago?” when they had to run every two years. Now it is fair to say, “are we better off than we were four years ago?”

It is a lot easier to measure stuff like police response, trash pick-up, street repair and overall city services over a four-year span than a two-year span. That’s what happens with four-year terms.

They can run on their four-year records, but they also have to answer the question. I guess we will find out if this question impacts the current elections.

The following isn’t news to Commentary. Here is from the Chron:

According to the new report from the Greater Houston Partnership, the domestic population growth for the Houston region has slowed down over the last eight years. The report, which is based on population estimates data from the U.S. Census Bureau released this spring, cited factors such as the downturn of the oil and gas industry and Hurricane Harvey as reasons for the slump.

“At the current pace, Houston won’t overtake Chicago for another 25 years,” the GHP stated in a July 2019 Economy at a Glance report.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/neighborhood/article/New-report-shows-how-more-residents-are-moving-14085646.php?src=hp_totn.

Oh, well.

At 33-14, the Astros have the best homie record in the MLB AL of course.

We need another starting pitcher.

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MLB and Astros

This Yankee pitcher started Game 3 of the 1963 World Series and lost 1-0 to the Dodgers. The Dodgers swept the Yankees in 4 in that Series. In the 1964 World Series between San Luis and the Yankees, he started Games 3 and 6 and won both in a Series San Luis won in 7. Name the Yankee pitcher?

This is not another MLB question. Why don’t we get an extra day off like the other 28 MLB clubs? Why are we and the Rangers playing today while the other clubs get the day off after the MLB All Star Game? This is a cheap arse money grab move having us play this evening on ESPN. So stupid if you ask Commentary. Guess what? They never ask Commentary.

MLB doesn’t respect us for sure. Remember the roof issue during the 2005 World Series.

I am going to be disappointed if the Astros happily agreed to play tonight.

I got one of those save the dates cards a couple of days ago. Go check out margaretandmatt2020.com. Matt Luna is My Best Friend’s son and Margaret Cates is his future bride. Cool.

I have met Margaret a couple of times and she is a great kid. Of course, I have known Matt all his life and he is also a great kid.

They are getting married next January in Austin.

The card game in an envelope with a John Lennon forever stamp. Now they definitely have their s_it together.

This was on Next Door yesterday:

Since when do we have mosquito trucks that spray the neighborhood? Tonight is the second time this week I have heard them come. Tonight our whole house filled with the smell of chemicals and we all have headaches now. I have never seen or heard mosquito trucks in the area before until this week. Is there some way to request they don’t spray our street? I will take my chances with the mosquitos over this.

Nope. Commentary doesn’t want to take chances with mosquitos.

State Sen. Royce West is making an announcement soon. He is supposed to be running for U.S. Senator. My old pal Chris Bell is in the race. MJ Hegar is also running. Sema Hernandez is also running.

Sen. West would be strong in North Texas. Chris would be strong in the H-Town area. MJ Hegar would be strong among women. Sema Hernandez could make inroads with Latino voters. It is a wide open race in the Democratic Party Primary – right now.

Jim Bouton of course was the Yankee starting pitcher who lost a game in the 1963 World Series and won 2 in the 1965 Series.

He was an Astro in 1969 and 1970 and wore the numbers 44 and 56.

He was the author of the critically acclaimed “Ball Four” which was a kind of a behind the scenes look at MLB. Commentary bought the book at the time and it was a great read.

MLB tried their best to discredit the book.

Jim Bouton left us yesterday.

We are in Arlington this evening.

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Debate City

Where will next year’s MLB All Star Games be played?

When I heard Ross Perot left us, I tweeted this:

The major force on why Texas public schools have #NoPassNoPlay

Here is from the Chron E-Board today:

In 1983, Democratic Gov. Mark White, who unseated Clements, appointed Perot to head the Select Committee on Public Education, whose charge was to define state education policy into the next century.

With characteristic verve and confidence, Perot plunged into the thicket of public-school finance: poorly paid and sometimes poorly prepared teachers, apathetic students and a Texas public gone bonkers over ball games. He wasn’t reluctant to gore sacred cows.

“You go to small towns in West Texas and there just ain’t a whole lot of interest in learning,” he said during a statewide tour, “but there’s a whole lot of interest in what goes on Friday nights.”

His work led to the state’s “no pass-no play” rule, which kept starting quarterbacks on the sidelines if they didn’t make their grades. It also spurred Texas lawmakers in 1984 to raise education standards, increase teacher salaries and cut class sizes.

Here is the entire E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Eagles-don-t-flock-Neither-did-Ross-Perot-14083579.php.

H-Town will host a Democratic presidential candidate debate in a couple of months. I wonder who gets invited to the event. Democratic elected officials? Democratic Party donors? Democratic Party officers? Democratic Party clubs and organizations leaders? Labor? Commentary? Non-profits? Planned Parenthood? Commentary? It will be a hot ticket for sure. I hope the candidates don’t hog all the tickets. I hope Dems from H-Town get invited. Stay tuned.

One of My Best Friends was surprised that Fox put microphones on some of the players last night during the game. I had to break the news to her that they have been doing this for a few years now.

Next year’s MLB All Star Game is at Dodger Stadium of course.

Last night’s game was entertaining and the Astros represented us well.

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All Star Game

Commentary read yesterday that Alex Bregman would be the first starter in the All Star game born in New Mexico since 1950. Care to guess who the native from New Mexico was who started in the MLB All Star game in 1950?

This is on the Harris County Commissioners Court Agenda for this morning:

Request for discussion and possible action regarding the Metro fund, related to reallocation of distribution percentages until completion of a County Engineering mobility assessment that takes into account all modes of transportation and future mobility needs.

To satisfy those who thought Commissioner Rodney Ellis pulled a fast one last month, there will be a revote. Of course, GOP Commissioner Jack Cagle is still not happy.

Fella, it’s July 9. When are you going to earn how to count? There are three Dems on the Court and two GOPers. The four GOPers to one Dem days are long gone.

Politico has a story today on the Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaign not using media consultants and pollsters and doing stuff in-house. Check the story here: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/07/09/elizabeth-warren-campaign-2020-1402253.

My problem with this is when was the last time Dems won the White House without using media consultants and pollsters? I don’t know if this is the right time to be experimenting.

It is downright cool that we have four starters in tonight’s MLB All Star Game.

For those interested in the game, here are some tidbits from MLB:

Are there any rule changes for 2019?

Yes. If the game goes to extra innings, the 10th inning — and any subsequent inning — will begin with a runner on second base each time, in order to expedite scoring.

Does the All-Star Game still decide home-field advantage in the World Series?

Nope. As part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated before the 2017 season, that wrinkle was removed. The game is back to being a true exhibition, and home-field advantage in the Fall Classic is now given to the team with the superior regular-season record.

How many times has Cleveland hosted the All-Star Game?

A record six times. In addition to the 1997 game — back when Progressive Field was in its fourth year of existence and was still known as Jacobs Field — the Indians were All-Star hosts in 1935, 1954, 1963 and 1981 — all at Municipal Stadium. Progressive Field now becomes the first of the ballparks introduced in the 1990s to house the game twice.

• At 36 years, 130 days, (Justin) Verlander is the oldest All-Star on these rosters. At 21 years, 194 days, (Ronald) Acuna is the youngest.

• (Mike) Trout has the longest active All-Star Game streak, having been selected to eight straight (though he did not participate in 2017, due to injury). He’s the first All-Star to be voted in by the fans in seven straight seasons since Derek Jeter (2006-12) and is looking to become the first three-time winner of the game’s MVP Award.

• Trout, Verlander and (Clayton) Kershaw are in a three-way tie for most All-Star selections, with eight apiece.

• The Astros have the most All-Stars of any team in 2019, with six. Houston has had at least six All-Stars each of the last three years.

Hall of Fame great Ralph Kiner of course from the Pittsburg Pirates started in left field for the NL All Stars in the 1950 classic that went 14 innings after a Kiner dinger tied it in the top of the 9th. The NL won 4-3 and the game was played at Comiskey Park that year.

I watched last night’s Dinger Derby and I will watch the All Star Game this evening.

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I was watching when Jake Marisnick collided with Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy yesterday. The first thing I noticed after the collision was Jake being the first to immediately see how Lucroy was doing. This was not Pete Rose going full bore on Ray Fosse in the 1970 MLB All Star game.

What was our record at the All Star break last season and where were we sitting in the standings?

All hail the U.S. Women’s National Team! World Cup Champions!

They were dominating, pure and simple.

Way to go to the fans at the French sports bar who knew when to go F-Trump live on Fox News yesterday. In their own house. Nice.

Way to go to fans at the finals venue yesterday for chanting equal pay, equal pay during the trophy presentations.

On the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and @AOC and all the dust-up that started this past weekend, we don’t win unless we get younger and new folks out to vote. We aren’t going to win over any of the Donald Trump voters. @AOC and others aren’t going away. They are here to stay and that’s fine with Commentary.

A Newsmax publication and insert was in my yesterday’s Chron.

The I-45 expansion is in the Chron today and here are parts:

A crucial part of paying for Houston’s biggest ever freeway project along Interstate 45 — still years from starting construction — could happen in the next 20 days.

To demonstrate local support for the mega-project, the Texas Department of Transportation is asking the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council, the committee that doles out state and federal money controlled by local officials, to commit $100 million to the central 3-mile portion of the freeway rebuild, from Interstate 10 to Loop 610. State officials would cover the remainder of the $1.22 billion cost, or around 91 percent of the total.

And this:

“My concern is we are forced to stick our neck out and put a down payment on a house we have not seen,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said.

And this:

“Just the things in here now would be enormously beneficial,” Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairwoman Carrin Patman said, saying she was comfortable with committing the $100 million.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Houston-leaders-asked-to-commit-100M-to-massive-14073908.php.

I have yet to be convinced that this is beneficial to H-Town.

The Urban Reformer fella tweeted this this past weekend:

Charles Blain @cjblain10

Houston’s flood policy is turnaround don’t drown


Some folks are never going to get it. Here is from today’s Chron:

Houston-area developers, engineers and real estate professionals were among the most vocal supporters of last summer’s $2.5 billion Harris County flood bond, the largest storm infrastructure investment in county history.

They contributed to a political action committee established by bond backers and helped shepherd the initiative to passage on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, the devastating 2017 storm that flooded more than 204,000 homes and apartments in Harris County.

For the past several months, however, many of those players quietly have lobbied Houston and Harris County officials to delay implementation of new building rules developers say will increase housing costs but county engineers insist are needed to protect neighborhoods from future storms.

Here are the bad actors, from the Chron:

A group of developers, builders and engineers urged the county to delay the new rules in a May 24 letter to County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Of the nine signers, seven of the organizations — the American Council of Engineering Companies, Greater Houston Builders Association, Greater Houston Partnership, Houston Association of Realtors, Houston Real Estate Council, Katy Area Economic Development Council and West Houston Association — backed the flood bond.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/After-supporting-flood-bond-Houston-area-14074362.php?t=1c554c78a9.

Get on the program! Quit being selfish!

Last season, we were 64-35 at the All Star break and 5 games up in the AL West?

This morning we are 57-33 and 7 ½ games up.

That was a heckuva game yesterday. A nice way to head into the break.

Dinger Derby this evening.

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Friday Brief

This is an easy one. MLB has already announced the location for the 2026 MLB All Star Game. Care to guess the location?

Commentary attended the Lindale Park Parade yesterday. There sure were tons of residents lining Irvington Boulevard.

Former Vice President Joe Biden says he is still way ahead. He’s not.

Former Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron tearing apart so-called property tax reform. He says we have been sold snake oil.

A CNN talking head said Donald Trump’s speech yesterday sounded like an 8th grade history lesson. I agree.

The 2026 MLB All Star Game will be played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia of course. In 2026, we will the celebrating the USA’s 250th birthday.

The Angels are at The Yard for three this weekend. Then it is on to the All Star break.

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Bulk Memberships

Alex Bregman will compete in the Dinger Derby Monday evening. Where does he rank in dingers in MLB this season?

Commentary attended the Houston GLBT Political Caucus Meeting last night. It was a pretty packed house. That’s what happens when the H-Town Mayor’s Campaign purchases 170 memberships.

Let me start out by saying this. I think I heard that there were around 600 members prior to the recent membership drive. If you add 170, the 170 represents 22% of the membership. I would consider that significant.

There was considerable angst in the meeting room last night. There was also a touch of sensitivity. Some of the leadership there didn’t like that the organization’s “integrity” was being questioned. Well, get used to it. When you allow a campaign to purchase 170 memberships, integrity becomes an issue.

Observations from last night.

A move to not accept the memberships was rejected.

Some leadership didn’t like that an email was released that revealed the membership purchase. I don’t know about that. Commentary wants to know about shenanigans like this. I don’t want this hidden from me.

Some folks didn’t like that their business was all over social media. Huh? Get used to it. Everything is on social media these days.

The leadership said that campaigns purchasing membership have been going on since the 1980s.

Someone said something along the lines that four years ago, the H-Town Mayor’s campaign purchased 50 or so membership and he won by 75 votes or so, so it didn’t really matter. Think about this if the H-Town Mayor wins the endorsement by less than 170 votes.

Someone asked if the organization would reject purchases from an anti-GLBT candidate in the future.  Nope!

Some were concerned that the 170 would now impact the endorsements in other races because of the consultants involved. That is probably true.

Some said that the Caucus endorsement was probably one of the most sought after. Commentary agrees.

Unfortunately, this go around, it will be the most tainted – hands down.

The H-Town Mayor’s campaign should have just put in the effort to get each one of the 170 to fill out an application. How hard is that?

Laziness was a factor for sure.

Stuff happens.

Alex Bregman with 23 dingers is tied for 10th this morning in MLB.

We have a five game winning streak and an eight game lead.

Have a Safe and Happy Fourth of July!

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