Archive for February 19th, 2020

Commentary is going all out for our Democratic Party nominee for President. If it is Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, or former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, I am all in. I will say this. Four years ago, Bernie made it a big deal about wanting to know what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told investment bankers when they paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars for speeches behind closed doors. Bernie had a heart attack less than a year ago. Dude is 78-years old. I think we are entitled to his full medical records. Bernie says nope. You know what they say about the goose and the gander.

There is another debate this evening. I plan to watch. I want Mayor Bloomberg to do well. You never know. He might be our nominee.

My Dad voted by mail and he voted for Joe Biden for president. I asked him if he wanted to wait and he said no. Ok.

Some college teams released their upcoming football schedules including UH. Here is what the Chron tweeted:

UH football notes: Eight opponents in 2020 were in bowls last season

Who wasn’t in a bowl last season?

The Chron has an explanation on everything you always wanted to know about their E-Board endorsement process. I hope they don’t get mad at me for laying it all out here:

What is an endorsement?

An endorsement is the editorial board’s informed consensus opinion on the best candidate to represent a district, city, county, the state or the nation. Chronicle endorsements include federal, statewide and local races throughout Harris County, and some surrounding counties.

The Houston Chronicle editorial board is the only organization in the Houston area made up of non-partisan professional journalists that screens candidates up and down the ballot in each election cycle, from primaries to presidential elections. Or goal is to provide voters fair, informed and clearly written endorsements that make it easier to pick the best candidates on the ballot.

Just because a candidate earns our endorsement doesn’t mean we support the person unconditionally or agree with an entire political platform. Vice versa, just because a candidate doesn’t win our endorsement doesn’t mean we think the person would make for a poor-performing elected official. Different positions call for different skills — a quality candidate for state representative might make for an unqualified judge.

The nature of our electoral system pits two major-party candidates in a head-to-head match. An endorsement indicates which one we think would do a better job for that particular constituency, and we write our endorsements to help explain how the editorial board came to this conclusion. Unlike many of the slate endorsements that end up in your mailbox every election season, we show our work.

The Chronicle endorsements run in print editions and online in the weeks before early voting begins. Just before the election, the Chronicle makes endorsements available in a convenient PDF that voters can print out. Cell phones are prohibited from the voting booth, but voters are allowed to take the Chronicle’s endorsement page.

If newspapers are supposed to be objective, why do they endorse candidates?

Newspapers don’t endorse candidates. Editorial boards do. Centuries ago, opinions were scattered throughout every section of newspapers, which unabashedly articulated the views of their publishers. Modern newspapers relegate nearly all opinion to one section, which includes editorials, op-eds and letters. Exceptions include reporting-based metro columns, sports and feature columns, but those writers are not members of the editorial board.

The editorial board is separate from the newsroom and other sections of the paper. It is made up of opinion journalists with wide-ranging expertise whose consensus opinions and endorsements represent the voice of the institution – defined as the board members, their editor and the publisher.

The board considers endorsements of candidates and ballot initiatives a public service to help inform voters and aid them in determining the best local, state and federal candidates for their communities. Democracy cannot function without an informed citizenry. Those we elect from City Hall to the White House will shape our future. We want voters to know which candidates understand the vast challenges ahead, and take seriously the responsibility of governing.

Endorsements are particularly important in Texas, where we elect our judges. Texas ballots tend to be lengthy and even the most astute news consumer may have trouble remembering the name of each judicial candidate and justice of the peace. While the front page of the Chronicle prioritizes the most high-profile and competitive races, the editorial board ensures that even the down-ballot races get some attention.

How does the endorsement process work?

Months before early voting begins, the Chronicle editorial board attempts to extend an invitation to each and every major party candidate on the ballot to participate in the screening process. This includes completing a brief questionnaire, providing a resume and scheduling a meeting with the board.

It is an intense process that, in the current cycle alone, involved 12 weeks of interviewing candidates in side-by-side meetings, researching their backgrounds and collecting data for more than 120 different races.

The board prefers that candidates appear with opponents for screening interviews so that any claims, criticisms and differences in policy positions may be promptly, fairly and thoroughly assessed. We encourage candidates to respond promptly to invitations for candidate screenings. It helps the process run more smoothly and it helps staff accommodate scheduling preferences on dates and times.

Some candidates decline to participate or do not respond at all. This makes it harder, though not impossible for the Chronicle to determine a candidate’s fitness. Participation, meanwhile, tells the board that the candidate is serious, responsible and civic-minded enough to face challenging questions. It also tells us the candidate values accountability and an informed electorate.

Screening meetings themselves typically range from 45-90 minutes, depending on the race. Candidates give openings and closings and answer the board’s questions. Candidates are welcome to bring handouts and other campaign materials. Candidates are not allowed to have staff present in the room during screenings.

In general, incumbency does carry weight in the board’s decision. The editorial board recognizes the learning curve that comes with many elected posts, and also the value of seniority and social capital built during service. When a new person is elected, taxpayers must effectively pay to train that person. For this reason, we encourage challengers to come prepared to explain why the incumbent is failing his or her constituency to the point that a change is justified.

Does the editorial board pick only candidates who agree with the board on issues?

No. We pick the candidate who can best represent the people he or she is running to serve.

At times, that means the editorial board endorses candidates who disagree with our views on important issues, from guns to health care access.

Our philosophy: We can’t ask Republicans not to be Republicans and we can’t ask Democrats not to be Democrats. We can ask only that candidates be informed about policy, government and the issues important to constituents. They should have a firm grasp on priorities, and a clear plan on how leverage power, skills and relationships to achieve goals that improve people’s lives.

Distracting wedge issues and pandering sideshows might make for clever TV ads — especially in primary races where only the most dedicated partisans show up. But the people of Texas deserve true public servants, the sort of candidates who are willing to roll up their sleeves on Day 1 and get to work. The sort of folks committed to doing the most good for the most people, even when its unpopular.

The only thing I don’t like about this is that they won’t let a campaign staffer sit in and listen and watch. Dumb. We need to be able to be in the interview so we can discuss with our candidate how a candidate can become a better candidate. Dumb.

No MLB question today as the team continues to take hits.

Mattress Mack has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron on accepting the apology from the Astros and moving on.

Did I say it was going to be a long season?

Read Full Post »