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Archive for May, 2020

We are not going to get a federal response to COVID-19 until we get former Vice President Joe Biden sworn in on January 20, 2021.  The response from most of the GOP elected officials is to get reelected.  That is why they are ditching most of the advice that is being handed out by medical and public health experts.

Vote by mail to avoid COVID-19 spread. Nope.

Social distancing.  Nope.

Ease up on reopening.  Nope.

Masks. Nope.

Aggressive testing. Nope.

Stay at home.  Nope.

They are playing to some in their base who are disgruntled.

Getting reelected is paramount to them. Public health be damned.

Not until it hits them close to home.

Sad.

All you need to know is that one of the few makers of N95 masks in the USA couldn’t get the federal government to utilize his company back in January and February.

Is it uncomfortable wearing a mask as it starts to warm up? Yep.  You have to be respectful.

At that HD 148 debate last night, they asked Penny Shaw what small business owner in HD 148 would vouch for her.  She replied Juan Hernandez, owner of Dona Maria’s.  Dona Maria’s is in HD 145.  Sigh.

You get what you get.

The MLB Commissioner said yesterday that MLB owners stand to lose $4 billion if MLB shuts down for the season.  That’s all you need to know.

We lost former Astros player and General Manager Bob Watson last night.  He was an Astro for 14 seasons, and he was twice selected to the NL All Star Team as an Astro. He also played with the Red Sox, Yankees and The ATL.  My favorite Bob Watson story was personal.  In 2004, when he was an MLB executive, at the MLB All Star Game that was played at The Yard, right before the start of the Dinger Derby, he came down to our seats and told me and my nephew Dave that we were in his seats.  I showed him our tickets and he was ok with that.  He sat next to me for the duration of the Derby.  Cool.

Former Astros player and Skipper Art Howe is in the hospital with COVID-19.  I am rooting for him for sure.

Trini Lopez is 83 today.  Happy Birthday Trini.  He had hits with “Lemon Tree” and “If I Had A Hammer.”  He was also prisoner number 10, Pedro Jimenez, in “The Dirty Dozen.”  They also called him “mayonnaise” in that war flick.

Have a safe weekend.

 

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State Rep. Anna Eastman will be on a Facebook debate tonight at 7 pm.  Go to the 2020 Democratic Candidates Debates page.

Commentary would have been more impressed if the GOP Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices had met in their open courtroom to overturn the Governor’s stay-at-home orders rather than meeting in quarantine.  Did I mention the history, the GOP and the Pandemic 2020 thing?

Sherrie Matula put out a good tweet yesterday: #MaskItOrCasket. 

Commentary was talking to a person in the know regarding the Harris County Clerk position.  We are in the middle of a runoff election during the pandemic.  This is a critical election year and the pandemic is probably going to be around for a while.  The best thing the County Commissioners Court should do is pick a trusted and capable person from within the Clerk’s Office to serve as the Interim Clerk, for elections continuity sake.

Let the Executive Committees from both Harris County political parties go through their process in selecting their nominees for the position on the November ballot.

Kuffer has more on the County Clerk vacancy: http://www.offthekuff.com/wp/?p=95441.

From Kuffer, here is what Stace thinks:

I’m of the opinion that the Democratic majority on the Commissioner’s Court should make a strong appointment of someone who will be the incumbent, making it clear that there is no need for a possible free-for-all at the precinct chair level.

We elected our County Judge and our Commissioners, while most of us cannot even find a link on the Party website to find our own precinct chair so that we can lobby for whom we want them to vote. Either process is hardly democratic as the voters are left out of the process. I’d rather go with whom our top leaders choose and have the precinct chairs basically ratify it so we can move forward. Wishful thinking? Maybe.

Some may opine that appointing as interim one of the professionals already in the County Clerk’s office to run the 2020 election and be a placeholder while allowing a candidate chosen by the precinct chairs to run full-time is the solution. And that’s a good argument. But I think we should have a candidate who can show that they can do the professional and the political work, simultaneously. I think it’s more of a confidence builder for us voters when we see that our candidates can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Either way, we’ll see what happens. I already see suggestions on my Facebook feeds about who should run and about diversity on the ballot. There’s nothing wrong with healthy debate, but these things can take a turn for the ugly real quick. And that’s another reason why I’d like to see the Judge and Commissioners lead on this one.

Here is what Kuffer is thinking:

See here for the background. As a precinct chair who will be among those lucky duckies that gets to put a nominee on the ballot for 2020, let me say that I agree with Stace’s position that we should want a candidate who “can do the professional and the political work, simultaneously”. I hope to have a better feel for this once people start throwing their hats into the ring, but I agree that a Clerk who can plan for and run an election well and who is also able to tell Ken Paxton to get stuffed while giving clear direction on these matters to the Court, the County Attorney, and the government relations crew at the county, is someone I want to see in that job.

How we get there is of less importance. If Commissioners Court – specifically, Judge Hidalgo, Commissioner Ellis, and Commissioner Garcia; I don’t expect either of the other two to provide any productive input but will hear it out if they do – says that they just want someone who can carry out the necessary electoral duties for 2020 and leave the politics up to the political people, that’s fine by me. If instead they make a strong statement about wanting the same kind of qualities as discussed here in the next Clerk and appoint someone they believe embodies those qualities, I will be more than happy to endorse that selection for the November ballot, if I agree that they got it right. I’m happy to be led by them on this matter, as long as they do lead us in the right direction. I reserve the right as part of the body that makes this selection to maintain my own counsel.

To be sure, this kind of process can get ugly in a hurry. This may be the best chance any Democrat has to win one of these offices now that there are no more Republicans to oust and we have to fight among ourselves to win. Having the Democratic members of Commissioners Court come out in unison behind a well-qualified candidate that they would like to continue working with after this November would make this a lot easier. We’ll see what they decide to do.

Meanwhile, Campos has one piece of advice (from my previous take):

The Commissioners Court will pick an interim County Clerk and sometime this summer the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee will select a nominee to place on the November ballot. The Commissioners aren’t going to listen to Commentary, but I hope they pick a female. If they pick a male and the male ends up getting the Executive Committee’s nod, he will win this November but get knocked off in the 2022 Democratic Party Primary by a female sure enough. Dudes need not apply.

Back to Kuffer:

For sure, that can happen. I will just say, 2022 will be its own election, with a different context and likely smaller turnout due to the lack of a Presidential race. It’s certainly possible that the robust candidate we hope to pick this year will get knocked off in 2022 by someone no one has heard of today. I will just say that we are not completely powerless to prevent such an outcome – I’ve been talking about the need to do a better job of promoting quality candidates at the statewide level for a couple of cycles now, following recent debacles in various downballot low-profile primaries. The same prescription holds true here, with a combination of financial support to allow a visible campaign and visible support from the elected leaders who have as much of a vested interest in having the best person possible to run elections as the rest of us do. Pick the best possible person, then support that person going forward. It’s not that complicated.

Those are my thoughts at this time. Feel free to tell me whose name you are hearing for the job and how you think I should approach this when the precinct chairs get together (virtually, I assume) to formalize it.

Kuffer and Stace have good takes that I certainly respect. I wonder who will step forward and put their hats into the ring.  We will see.

The Trib has an extensive piece on Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo here: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/05/14/harris-county-judge-lina-hidalgo-texas-coronavirus/.

It was just reported on “Today” that we have permanently lost 100,000 small businesses across the country during the pandemic

Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP would rather folks go after China, President Obama, a so-called exaggerated number of folks that COVID-19 has killed and the unmaskers.  It is not going to work.  Sorry.

The primary runoff election is two months from today.

Stay safe and #MaskItOrCasket.

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Penny Lane

My Beatles t-shirt gear was getting a bit raggedy lately, so I ordered four new t-shirts.  Problem is, nobody that I know can see them because of the social distancing thing.   So, I am tweeting them as I wear them.  Yesterday’s was “Penny Lane.”

These days the talking heads on the news shows are coming to us from their cribs.  Some flat screen watchers have taken to commenting on their backgrounds like bookshelves, photos and stuff.  Yesterday, national security expert Carrie Cordero was on CNN and she had a big photo of an MLB ballpark right behind her on her wall.  Well you know that got my immediate attention.  I pulled up ballpark photos and sure enough it was Nationals Park.  I tweeted it out with Cordero’s handle and she tweeted back at me that it was from Game 3 of last year’s World Series.  How about that?  Of course, she didn’t get to see her Nationals win because home teams never won a game in the 2019 World Series.

Let me just say this about GOP Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.  Wouldn’t it be productive if he were trying to stop the spread of COVID-19 instead of being a pain in the arse to the real leaders in Texas? This fella is very sad joke.

I don’t think most GOP leaders take COVID-19 seriously.  None of the GOP U.S. Senators in the hearing room yesterday had a face covering.  Invincible?

Commentary doesn’t get it.  People are dying.  People are out of work.  The food chain supply lines have been interrupted and GOP leaders across the country are failing.  The least they could do is get out of our way.

Ross Ramsey from the Trib is not kind to Gov. Greg Abbott today.  Here is from his article:

Even as Gov. Greg Abbott is loosening his pandemic restrictions on people and businesses, he is buckling to opponents who protest that he’s moving too slowly. He’s undermining his own authority — and enforcement of the rest of his rules.

Now that he has yielded his power to jail people for civil disobedience, Gov. Greg Abbott is speaking softly and carrying a small stick. Violate an executive order and if anyone dares to punish you, it’ll just be a fine. Maybe.

If state District Judge Eric Moyé’s recent experience is the precedent, judges in Texas face the governor’s wrath if they play by the governor’s rules. And the rest of us got a clear signal: The government pronouncements about the coronavirus might be more in the realm of suggestion than mandate.

Wear a mask, please, or don’t. Limit contact and commerce, if you please.

These are Colosseum rules, where the fate of the gladiators is determined not by law but by the roar of the crowd. Sometimes the partisans yell for the lions, sometimes for the hairstylists. You don’t know what’s going to happen until you’re in the ring.

None of this will matter if the governor turns out to be right about easing his restrictions on what businesses can open and to how many of their customers at a time. Maybe weaker restrictions won’t fuel the spread of coronavirus after all. Perhaps none of us is going to need a mask anymore — or at least most of the time — unless we’re bank robbers or it’s Halloween.

He has already allowed some places to open and promised further openings within the week. But Abbott has disarmed himself. A second wave of the coronavirus, if there is one, might require new restrictions or a return to the old ones. After the Dallas hair episode, Texans have reason to take pandemic orders with a grain of salt.

Here is all of Ross’ article: https://www.texastribune.org/2020/05/13/abbott-texas-coronavirus-orders-suggestions/.

Here is from today’s Chron:

A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll shows that Gov. Greg Abbott ranks 11 out of 12 in approval ratings for large-state governors based on their COVID-19 response, with 57 percent approval.

The only governor with a worse rating in the survey of more than 8,000 adults was Republican governor of Georgia Brian Kemp, who has taken heat recently from President Donald Trump for reopening the state’s economy too quickly. The average approval rating for governors was 71 percent.

About 59 percent of Texans who responded said they thought Abbott was lifting restrictions too quickly and just 8 percent said he was not lifting them quick enough. The majority of Texans, or 75 percent, said they agreed that “the U.S. should keep trying to slow spread of the coronavirus, even if that means keeping many businesses closed.”

Here is the entire Chron article: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/texas/article/Abbott-ranks-11-out-of-12-large-state-governors-15264483.php.

I am surprised he is at 57%.

MLB players want to make sure they are paid well if baseball happens this summer.  Let me say this.  We can’t have baseball unless we have players.

Last night was Dollar Dog Night.

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Dems across Texas owe GOP congressional candidate Kathaleen Wall a big thank you this morning.  She sent out vote by mail applications to those under 65 and prechecked the Disability Box excuse.  I don’t think Texas AG Ken Paxton is going to prosecute her.  Wall just told Paxton a big fu_k you.

State Rep. Anna Eastman’s campaign sent out applications a week or so ago to those under 65 but we didn’t precheck the Disability Box excuse.

Vote by mail is being expanded folks.  I really think the GOP leaders have no choice but to expand.  That’s what folks want during the pandemic.  Here is most of the Trib story on the Wall applications:

Kathaleen Wall, a Republican activist and donor in a runoff for a battleground U.S. House seat, has said the secretary of state expanded who is eligible to vote by mail. The secretary of state’s office says that’s not true.

As Republicans fight a push to expand voting by mail during the coronavirus pandemic, one GOP congressional candidate in Texas has already told voters the option has been expanded for them and mailed them ballot applications to take advantage of it.

That is at odds with the state’s position, and it is causing a stir — not to mention some confusion — in the primary runoff for a battleground district.

The candidate, Kathaleen Wall, has sent out mailers in recent weeks telling voters they have the “green light” to vote by mail and that the secretary of state has cleared them to do so if they are worried about contracting or spreading the virus by voting in person. While lawsuits on that issue are ongoing, the secretary of state’s office has not said that. And Attorney General Ken Paxton, a fellow Republican, has specifically been going out of his way to fight the perception that more Texans can qualify to vote by mail than usual due to the pandemic — and has even hinted at criminal charges against those who suggest otherwise to voters.

The ironic episode is unfolding in the 22nd District, where U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, is retiring and national Democrats are working to flip the seat. The runoff pits Wall, a prominent GOP activist-donor, against Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls, who says Wall is resorting to “liberal Democrat tactics” to mislead voters during the pandemic.

Democrats and voting rights advocates have been leading the charge to expand voting by mail, arguing it is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus at polling places. Republicans from President Donald Trump on down have been resisting the efforts, claiming more mail-in ballots increase the possibility of voter fraud.

The controversy in the 22nd District has caught the attention of state officials. The secretary of state’s office says it “has been made aware of the mailings that have been sent out and have been in touch with representatives of the Wall campaign.”

“We have informed them that certain statements attributed to the Secretary of State’s office are categorically false, instructed them to update voters who have already been contacted, and to immediately cease further distribution,” a spokesman for the office, Stephen Chang, said in a statement.

Wall’s campaign says she is doing her best to keep voters up to date on the fast-changing developments around voting by mail, pointing to posts on her website and social media that have come in addition to the mailers. In a statement, the candidate defended sending out the vote-by-mail applications.

“I’ve distributed over 60,000 face masks to first responders and businesses in CD22 to make sure they have the tools they need to stay safe,” Wall said. “Sending out ballot by mail applications is the same thing. I’m making sure voters know they have options if they want to exercise it and meet the qualifications.”

However, Wall’s questionable vote-by-mail efforts go back to mid-April, when she sent out a mailer with the state seal telling the voters that they had received the “green light” to vote by mail and that their applications would be arriving soon. (Federal candidates are exempted from state law that prohibits the use of the state seal in political advertising.) The mailer also said, “Recently, the Texas Secretary of State ruled that voters’ concerns over contracting or spreading the COVID-19 virus and endangering their health by visiting a public polling place meet the election law requirements to be deemed eligible to vote absentee.”

Wall’s campaign used the same language in the subsequent mailer with the application, which featured the “Disability” box pre-checked.

Governor Greg Abbott put out a proclamation order yesterday extending the early voting in person period for the July 14 primary runoffs, the #TXSD14SPECIAL and other elections on that day. Instead of July 6-10, it will be June 29 – July 10.  Except no early voting on Saturday, July 4.  The extension was made because of COVID-19.

From the Ask China Department:  Commentary watched Donald Trump’s latest meltdown yesterday.  Let’s see.  Over 80,000 dead.  We lead the world in infections, and he holds a press conference with two big posters saying we are the greatest at testing when we’re not.  Whose idea was it to go #MissionAccomplished?

I was glad to see the reporter ask the question about the necessity of making comparisons with other countries when folks are dying here.  Trump went racist on her.  The reporter was Asian American and Trump told her to “ask China.”  He just looked like a doofus racist pure and simple.

It is obvious that Trump treats this pandemic like an annoyance.  It is preventing him from holding rallies with the MAGA crowd.  The pandemic has interrupted his campaign and rather than work his arse off towards a solution, he’s hoping for some sort of super elixir to suddenly show up.  He has no feeling for the over 30 million who have lost their jobs.

He also said yesterday that “we had met the moment and we prevailed.”  Maybe his base is going to buy that BS lie, nobody else is.

MLB wants to start playing by the Fourth of July.  Go on ahead and play ball.

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Expected

Bravado.  This is a word a doctor on CNN used on Saturday about COVID-19 infections that dropped in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  The doctor used the word bravado to describe the attitude they have over there, but not in a good way.  Bravado like in a stupid way.  They are supposedly – but they are not – running the fight against the pandemic and they flagrantly violate the social distancing guidelines that they put out.  They don’t wear face coverings. They don’t stand six feet apart.  Remember a few weeks ago when we got in our mailboxes Donald Trump’s coronavirus guidelines.  That’s why folks throughout the USA have given a big f_ck you to the rest of us on face coverings and social distancing.   Those guys at 1600 Pennsylvania are setting a bad and wrong example.

I am not really surprised.  It was expected.

That bravado attitude has three of the top doctors self-quarantining from their cribs today.

In case you haven’t figured it out.  The 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue strategy for fighting COVID-19:  let’s get reelected.

Commentary is not predicting a good outcome.  H-Town has 4,531 infections.  Baytown has 90.  I went to Baytown yesterday.  It seemed like proportionately there were a lot less folks wearing face coverings.

I was sad and stunned to hear the news Saturday that Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman was resigning for health reasons.  I hope the best for her.

The Commissioners Court will pick an interim County Clerk and sometime this summer the Harris County Democratic Party Executive Committee will select a nominee to place on the November ballot.  The Commissioners aren’t going to listen to Commentary, but I hope they pick a female.  If they pick a male and the male ends up getting the Executive Committee’s nod, he will win this November but get knocked off in the 2022 Democratic Party Primary by a female sure enough.  Dudes need not apply.

Julia Morales is going to be a mom. Congratulations.

The MLB Commissioner is supposed to lay out a plan of sorts to the owners today.

We have missed 41 regular season games. 20 of them at The Yard.

I got my Astros face masks this past weekend.

 

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Gallows Humor

Today is VE Day.  My Dad was there in the European Theater when it ended 75 years ago today.  Way to go, Dad!

I saw this on the internet:

Gallows humor is humor in the face of or about very unpleasant, serious, or painful circumstances.

We have a 14.7% unemployment rate and the NFL thinks we are going to have a football season.

In these trying and turbulent days, you can always count on gallows humor from the Keystone Cops, err, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.  Don’t forget the fella who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Abbott goes on TV Wednesday night and lies when he calls out H-Town for threatening potential jail time with local orders when his orders are the only ones with jail time penalties.   That’s hilarious.

Abbott, Patrick and Paxton have made a joke out of the rule of law.  They have taken the low road for sure.

Donald Trump and those around him do the macho thing and refuse to wear face masks and now someone close to them tests positive.  Aghast!

Trump’s Justice Department dropped the charges against a fella who pled guilty to the charges.

And these guys are in charge.  This would be one of the biggest jokes of our time if weren’t for the bodies that keep piling up.

Are we at a point where if you see someone out and about wearing a face mask you can surmise they are a Democrat, and those without are GOPers?  Is that where we are at?

Are face masks going to be part of each party’s platforms?

This is what you call gallows humor.

The Chron E-Board has a take today on voting-by-mail and here is how it starts:

No one should have to choose between protecting their health and exercising their right to vote.

Yet state officials want Texans to do just that. In what can only be understood as another example of voter suppression, they’re senselessly opposing expansion of absentee voting during the coronavirus outbreak.

Last month, a state district judge agreed with the Texas Democratic Party and civil rights groups that fear of exposure to the novel coronavirus is valid reason for Texans to vote by mail during the pandemic. That didn’t stop Attorney General Ken Paxton sending a letter May 1 threatening criminal charges against election officials who followed the judge’s ruling.

And this is how it ends:

So far, state officials have sent mixed messages. Paxton has vowed to crack down, Secretary of State Ruth Hughs has remained noncommittal and Gov. Greg Abbott has stayed on the sidelines.

Voting is a fundamental right. To set up a system that hinders that right is inherently flawed.

Commentary can’t agree with part of how their take ends.  Then again, the E-Board hasn’t talked to Commentary.

Spike Lee was interviewed by Anderson Cooper last night.  Spike talked about what he thought should happen AC -after coronavirus, not AC 360.  Funny.

The NFL got good run on their draft.  I guess that is why they made a big deal announcing their 2020 schedule last night.  Someone tweeted out asking fans to predict their team’s record this upcoming season.  The best response I saw was 0-0.  Gallows humor for sure.

On Thanksgiving Day, I wonder if I will be eating by myself and watching the Texans play the Lions with an 11:30 am start.

Have a safe and nice Mother’s Day Weekend.

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We lost B.A. Bentsen a couple of days ago.  She was married to the late U.S. Senator and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen.  B.A. stood for Beryl Ann.  I liked her a lot.  She was 98.

It looks like #Masks4Christmas gifts might be the thing this Christmas season.  The mask makers are poised to make a killing over sweaters, ties, socks and other clothes.  I asked the family through the family group text last night what kind of masks they wanted for Christmas.  It is never too early to start Christmas shopping.

When the pandemic started, you could find masks at Walmart, CVS or Walgreen’s.  Not anymore. Now our elected leaders are teaming up with businesses and non-profits to distribute masks and hand sanitizers to folks.

I ordered some of the light blue masks online and I had to wait a month before they got here.  Initially I was supposed to wait 10 days.

My Hey Jude mask was given to me by my nephew’s ex.  She made it herself. That was nice of her.

You can now go online and order cloth masks.  I ordered some and the first batch should arrive this weekend.  We will see.

You can find your fav MLB, NBA, NFL, Longhorn, Sooner, Cougar, Aggie, Disney, patriotic, MAGA, Star Wars, flowers, you get the picture.  The batch I bought were made in New Braunfels.

I have not seen the Biden 2020 masks yet.

It is only a matter of weeks until cloth masks start showing up on shelves at Target and Walmart.

Less than 1% of folks in the USA have been infected.  That means there is 99% to go.

The virus is going to be around for a while.  Don’t be one of the stupid ones.  Go get a mask.

Commentary has said before that I have been paying attention close attention to what is going on.  I like living.  Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick doesn’t appear to have very special powers during a pandemic, unlike the Governor, the Harris County Judge and the H-Town Mayor.

This is in today’s Chron:

Local governments could find their emergency powers hemmed in during future emergencies under recommendations proposed by a task force that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick set up.

State government needs an off-switch to end local disaster declarations if necessary and clarify what steps mayors, counties and school boards can take during an emergency, says the Texans Back to Work Task Force in its 114-page report.

“The recent shutdown showed how the principles of representative government can be thwarted when mayors and county judges have too much power in making unilateral decisions without the agreement of the rest of the executive body,” the report says.

This is Lt. Gov. Patrick resenting the fact that a 29-year old Latina is calling the emergency shots here in Harris County.  The fella needs to grow up in my book.  Judge Hidalgo is doing a fine job.  Unlike our state elected officials like the Governor, Lt. Governor, and AG.

Last week, the Governor held his big press conference and said hair salons would remain closed.  A white female salon owner defied his orders and she got fined and jailed.  The Governor, Lt. Governor and AG then squealed.

Commentary will say it again.  History will not be kind to many GOP leaders when historians document Pandemic 2020.

The Governor will head to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today.  Which means the Lt. Governor will be in charge when the Governor leaves the state.  As much as I hate to say this, but hurry back Governor.

Oh yeah, I forgot.  The Coronavirus Task Force is not being discarded.

Did I mention historians and Pandemic 2020?

I forgot to wish Jose Altuve a Happy Birthday yesterday.  A belated Happy Birthday to ‘Tuves!  He is 30.

Don’t forget to wear your mask today if you have to venture out.

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#Masks4Ever

The Board of Our Revolution voted overwhelmingly to endorse Sen. Elizabeth Warren for former Vice President Joe Biden’s VP pick.  I like Sen. Warren, but what we need is some color on the ticket.  Our Revolution isn’t my revolution when we talk about diversity.

If you want to try to avoid the COVID-19, you best be wearing a mask for more than the foreseeable future.  At least until they find a kickarse treatment or a vaccine, whichever comes first.

Choked.  Cracked under pressure.  Unconditional surrender.  Quit.  Threw in the towel. Commentary is talking about a whole lot of GOP leaders.

The folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue are going to disband the Coronavirus Taskforce and leave it up to the individual agencies to deal with the states and local governments.  Of course, it is not as if they were saving lives.  Still. It sends the wrong message.

Governor Abbott is reopening a lot more.  He couldn’t take the heat so he left the kitchen so to speak.

They’ve given up folks.   They are washing their hands and walking away.

They cratered to a few from their base.

Like I said, they’ve sent the wrong message to Texas and the rest of America.

The thing is, they are misreading the vast majority of the people of this country.  As long as the infections and body counts keep rising, do they think we are going to the malls, restaurants, gyms and other places where we could be infected?

They are kidding themselves if they think these decisions are going to markedly improve the economy.

The two GOP state legislative morons who ignored the orders and got haircuts yesterday pretty much represent the majority of GOP leadership thinking these days when it comes to working to keep folks from getting sick and dying.

I’ve got my Hey Jude mask.  I’ve got a couple of N95s that I use when I go out on a hot date.  I’ve got the light blue masks.  I have my original mask that just showed up here one day.  I just ordered a few other masks including Astros masks.  I have a good stash of hand sanitizer.  One has to be prepared.  It is looking like #Masks4Ever.

Here is from a CNN story yesterday:

The city of Houston, Texas could furlough all of its employees except for police and firefighters, Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The furloughs are likely to take place to make up for a $200 million budget shortfall and would likely start on July 1, Turner said.

No garbage pickup?

Hall of Fame great Willie Mays is 89 today.  Happy Birthday Say Hey Kid!

Sabrina Midkiff is also celebrating her birthday.  Happy Birthday Sab!

Have a nice mask day!

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My nephew Dave sent out this morning to the family group text a Cinco de Mayo GIF.  I followed up with a Taco Tuesday GIF.  My niece Rachel trumped us with a Cinco De Mayo finally falls on Taco Tuesday only to be cancelled by a virus named after a Mexican beer GIF.  Ouch.

I need a haircut.

Yesterday, reporters from KTRK-TV Channel 13 tweeted out the story about Judge Lina Hidalgo asking folks to report violators of the Governor’s reopening orders.  The Channel 13 reporters tweeted out with the story “what do you think of this?”  This is not reporting in Commentary’s book.  That’s looking for clicks. Bush league act by Channel 13 reporters.

The COVID-19 predicted death numbers are being significantly moved upwards because of the reduction in social distancing and reopening up the economy.  We are finally getting around to pricing out a life.  I guess we are pretty much on our own.

COVID-13 has put a hurt on the planet and the USA. Here in the USA, it has been documented that folks of color are taking the disproportionate share of the hits.  They are on the front lines as health care workers, grocery stores clerks, public transit workers, sanitation crews, first responders, meat packing plant employees, farm laborers and so on. They didn’t get to stay at home.  They are doing their jobs, essential services.  While some of us zoom.

I am really proud of them.

Can’t say that about the MAGA crowd.  They are showing their true colors and they are not red, white and blue.  They weren’t the ones in Alicia Keys’ “Good Job” video or W’s video.  Their behavior in Michigan, Ohio and California tells me that the MAGA crowd is cracking under the pressure.  They can’t handle what a strong majority of folks in the USA can.  The are whiny crybabies who don’t have what it takes to tough it out.  They think tough is taking your guns, nooses, swastikas, Johnny Reb flags, and mob mentality to state capitols to intimidate. They too will be judged harshly when historians put together how folks handled Pandemic 2020.  Certainly not profiles in courage. MAGA punkarses if you ask Commentary.

The Texas House Speaker launched a twitter tirade of sorts yesterday.  Apparently, he went into a Lowe’s or Home Depot and the employees weren’t wearing masks or practicing social distancing.  He blistered the store in tweets for corporate greed and so on.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Last week, when folks savaged Judge Lina Hidalgo over her face covering order and when the GOP Governor wouldn’t back her, and said his order trumped hers, guess what happened?  The Texas House Speaker ought to be barking at the Governor.

From Royko on yesterday’s Commentary:

“Cheat-by-mail” ballot only voting should not be allowed. Ballot harvesting has been mastered by a group, and with the all the registered voters who are still on the rolls long after they died, and along with the massive identification theft problem, one can never verify the level of cheating.

Link to Colleen Vera’s detailed research that lead to her complaint to the Secretary of State and Attorney General. She discusses convicted forgers’ harvesting of ballots in Harris County.

Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan put out a statement yesterday saying anyone who uses the disability excuse will be mailed a ballot.

In a just released Washington Post poll, 82% of us want to keep movie theaters closed, 78% for gyms closing, 74% for dine-in restaurants, 70% on gun stores, and 69% on barber shops and hair salons.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I will have a Santa Arnold this evening.

Be safe out there.

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Vote-by-Mail

The Texas GOP AG sent out a notice to election officials Friday telling them not to process vote-by-mail applications that use the disability excuse for the COVID-19.  Voters that use the disability excuse don’t want to be exposed to COVID-19.  He also said third parties should not get voters to utilize the disability excuse, or else.

Up until Friday, the Harris County Clerk had the following in red type face on their Mail Ballot Application page:

COVID-19 Voting by mail update: Texas District Judge Tim Sulak issued a temporary injunction on April 17, 2020 allowing registered voters to use coronavirus as a reason to request a mail-in ballot.   In light of this temporary judgement, the Harris County Clerk’s Office will not reject any voter’s request for a mail-in ballot based on the eligibility category of disability.  Our office has no legal authority to administratively require voters to substantiate their disability at the time the application is submitted.

Just a little over a month ago, on April 2, the Texas Secretary of State sent out an Election Advisory with this on the subject line:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Voting and Election Procedures

This is what the Advisory said on voting-by-mail and the disability excuse:

One of the grounds for voting by mail is disability. The Election Code defines “disability” to include “a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health.” (Sec. 82.002). Voters who meet this definition and wish to vote a ballot by mail must submit an application for ballot by mail.

State Rep. Anna Eastman’s mail ballot applications landed in mailboxes throughout HD 148 this past weekend.

Rep. Eastman is looking out for the health concerns of HD 148 voters.  The GOP AG is not.

Just saying.

That was a nice video that was put out by W over the weekend.  That is how it is done.

Donald Trump thanked him by attacking him.

This past Friday, Royko sent me more on the City of H-Town recycling stuff:

I am not aware of the current status of the COH recycling, but anyone who has been trained to think can surmise that we have 4.9 million people still eating and consuming packaged products, we likely have a hell of a pile of plastic, glass, and aluminum, or it is at the landfills.

In light of the shutdown, and the shocking budget short-fall, who’s bothered to even check for compliance? We know there has been a problem with the recycling program for a while. Where is it all going? If the nation’s manufacturing has been shut down for two months, who in the hell is buying the recycled materials?

Harris County has 4.7 million folks.  Houston sits at around 2.3 million.

I saw a story this weekend where funeral homes were called last responders.

The poker club folks who were busted a while back and then had their charges dropped sued our Harris County DA and the H-Town City Council Member from District G.

Here is from the Chron reporter’s tweet on the Council Member’s quote:

“This is a bullshit lawsuit,” – #Houston Councilman @TravisDistrictG, who was also sued.

Here is from the online and hard copy story:

“This is a bull—- lawsuit,” he said.

You can use the real doodoo word in your tweet but not in your story.  Got it.

My Beatles wall calendars for the month of May features the Fab Four at a press gig promoting “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album in 1967 and my Beatles lyrics calendar has “You say you want a revolution, Well, you know We all want to change the world.  You tell me that it’s evolution, Well, you know We all want to change the world.”

We have missed 34 regular season games. 16 of them at The Yard.

Ok, I will say it.  May the Fourth be with you.

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