Archive for March, 2021


As you can tell, Commentary doesn’t have much to say on the Wednesday before Easter Sunday.

HISD is looking at changing the name of Woodrow Wilson Elementary located in Montrose. Wilson was a known racist.  I don’t have a problem with this, but please be consistent.  Down the street from Wilson is Lamar High and Lamar was an arsehole.  How about changing that name?  If you don’t believe me, check this out: The Problem With Mirabeau Lamar – Texas Monthly.  Oh, well.

Sounds like the First Pet, Major, is a badass dog.  Don’t fu_k with Major.

C. Gordon Liddy left us yesterday.  I didn’t even know he was still around.

Just for what it is worth, I have the Coogs and Baylor making the Final Four on my bracket.  I was way off on the other side of the bracket.

Opening Day is tomorrow and here are MLB’s Alyson Footer’s Power Rankings:

  1. Dodgers
  2. Padres
  3. Yankees
  4. The ATL
  5. White Sox
  6. Twins
  7. 7. Mets
    8. Rays
    9. Blue Jays
    10. San Luis
    11. Astros
    12. A’s
    13. Brewers
    14. Cubs
    15. Nationals
    16. Cleveland
    17. Angels
    18. Phillies
    19. Reds
    20. Red Sox
    21. Marlins
    22. Giants
    23. Mariners
    24. Royals
    25. Tigers
    26. D-backs
    27. Rangers
    28. Rockies
    29. Orioles
    30. Pirates

Get ready to play ball.

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Gov. Greg Abbott has been a most inept governor.  Don’t even try to argue with me on this.  He has bungled the response to the pandemic. He showed anemic leadership during the Big Freeze.  The ERCOT mess.  His Public Utility Commissioners are an embarrassment.  Why in the heck would we want him, or any future Texas governor involved in how the proposed Ike Dike is run and governed?

GOP State Sen. Larry Taylor has a bill that does that.  Here is from today’s Chron:

A bill has been introduced in the Texas Legislature to create a regional district that could levy taxes and issue bonds to build and maintain a proposed $26 billion storm surge barrier on the southeast Texas coast.

The measure, SB1160, is sponsored by state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, with a companion bill in the state House filed by Rep. Dennis Paul, R-Houston. The legislation would establish the Gulf Coast Protection District, an entity composed of members from Harris, Galveston, Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties.

The proposal marks the first time that lawmakers have outlined a clear local funding and management mechanism for the long-discussed coastal barrier, once known as the “Ike Dike,” the majority of which would be funded by the federal government. In addition to taxing authority, the local protection district could use eminent domain to seize property or land “for the exercise of the district’s functions,” according to the bill’s text.

And this:

The Gulf Coast Protection District would be governed by a board of 11 directors appointed by the governor in consultation with the respective commissioners courts from each county. Each of the five counties would have one representative except for Harris County, which, because of its larger population, would have two. The district would also include one representative each for the regional ports, the environmental sector. the regional industrial complex, and for all of the cities within the five counties.

Here is the entire Chron read:  How do you build and maintain $26 billion ‘Ike Dike’? Bonds, taxes, eminent domain, says senate bill (houstonchronicle.com).

The last thing folks in the H-Town area need is Abbott’s or any future Texas governor’s involvement.  The Ike Dike is too important to our area to have the governor’s office involved. I hope Sen. Taylor’s bill is scuttled.  Running the Ike Dike needs to stay local. 

Look what TxDOT is doing to H-Town on I-45. Keep the Ike Dike local.

The Harris County District Clerk is proposing to pay jurors more.  Here is from the Chron:

The rate of $6 for the first day and $40 for subsequent days, Harris County District Clerk Marilyn Burgess said, is a major reason why more than 70 percent of residents ignore jury summonses.

Burgess has asked Commissioners Court to boost juror pay to $50 for the first day and $80 for any after, plus free parking at the county garage at 1401 Congress.

And this:

Burgess said appearance rates for jurors have varied greatly by race and ethnicity. Currently, 55 percent of whites come when requested, compared to 29 percent for Latinos.

A survey the District Clerk’s Office conducted found that 82 percent of Latino respondents and 74 percent of African Americans said they would be more inclined to show up for service if first-day juror pay were increased.

Here is the entire Chron read on juror pay:  District Clerk Marilyn Burgess recommends tenfold increase in Harris County juror pay (houstonchronicle.com).

Who would be opposed to better juror pay?

Former Astro Jake Marisnick is 30 today.

Alex Bregman is 27 today.

Happy Birthday Bregman and Marisnick!

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A few folks found out yesterday that Maya Rudolph’s mom is the late and great singer Minnie Riperton.  I remember I was floored years ago when I learned this.  I still have Minnie’s “Perfect Angel” album on vinyl.  She left us way too early at age 31 in 1979. Sad.

We lost longtime Chron columnist Leon Hale this past weekend.  I loved his columns.  I loved to read about his days growing up. The mule that would only talk to him.  His drives around the 610 Loop. His visits to small towns across Texas. He wrote in a way that you could actually picture what he was writing. I never met him.  I did see him one time at The Yard at the Saint Arnold area and he was drinking a cold one.  He was a treasure for sure.

I asked Charles Kuffner a couple or so weeks ago about Texas Senate District 6 and how it compared in presidential races the last couple of cycles.  This morning he certainly provided more than I asked for.  Cool.  Here are parts:

If we look at SD06, which is a heavily Latino district, you can see the increase in support for Trump from 2016 to 2020, which has been the story everyone has been talking about. I think it’s instructive to include the 2012 numbers, because the net change over the eight year period is basically zero from a percentage perspective – Obama carried SD06 by a 66-32 margin, while Biden carried it 66-33 – the vote gap increased by over 16K in the Dems’ favor. It’s true that Biden won SD06 by fewer votes than Hillary Clinton did, and that Trump closed the gap from 2016 by eight thousand votes, but the overall trend for this period is one that I find as a Democrat to be satisfactory. The overall direction is what I want, even if it’s not as fast as I’d like it to be. What happens next is the argument we’re all having, and there’s data to support either position. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

The flip side of that is what happened in SD07, Dan Patrick’s former district and one of the redder places in the state in 2012. Here, the trend is unmistakably in one direction. Mitt Romney’s SD07 was as Republican as SD06 was Democratic. Hillary Clinton shaved 41K off of the Dem deficit in 2016, and Joe Biden shrunk it by another 18K. In 2020, SD07 was only a ten-point GOP district. It would not be crazy to view it as a swing district, at least at the Presidential level, in 2024. I don’t know what the Republican redistricting plan is, but they’re not going to have a lot of spare capacity to borrow from in SD07. Just take a look at SD17 – which includes a lot of turf outside Harris County – to see why this make them a little nervous.

Finally, a few words about a couple of districts I don’t usually think about in these analyses, SD13 and SD15. The total number of votes in SD13 didn’t increase very much from 2012 to 2020 – indeed, it’s the one place I see where both Trump and Clinton got fewer votes than their counterparts in 2012 – and that is something I’d like to understand better. (For what it’s worth, Borris Miles got about 40K votes in Fort Bend in 2020, while Rodney Ellis got 32K in 2012. That’s a slightly higher growth rate than in Harris, but still kind of slow compared to other districts.) Trump 2020 snipped a couple of percentage points off Romney’s deficit, from down 68 to down 62, but that’s still a net 10K votes for Dems. As for SD15, it’s an example of a strong Democratic district that really stepped it up over the past eight years, performing in that way much like a lot of formerly dark red areas. Biden gained 55K net votes over Obama, as SD15 went from a 19 point Dem district to a 30 point Dem district. We’re going to need more like this around the state as we go forward.

Here is all of Off The Kuff: Precinct analysis: State Senate comparisons – Off the Kuff.


From the I did not know that department. I always thought that HEB was the national grocery store of Texas.  How can that be if they have never had stores in the Dallas – Fort Worth area?

Royko sent me this on my calling out racists in Georgia.

The Georgia election was stolen, and the victims have not finished the court challenges in a number of states.

One thing is certain, the Dominion voting machines are being scrutinized and removed in more of the states, where sanity still exists.

The other change will be to end the “cheat-by mail.”

The Dems are enabling this by trying to ram the federalization of state elections legislation through. There is a possibility the Quisling Justice Roberts will not vote with the Maoist faction of the Supreme Court, and end this lunacy.

That’s hilarious.  Three recounts in Georgia.  The election in Georgia was presided over by a GOP Secretary of State.  Racists can only win when they create obstacles to voting and don’t let folks vote. Oh yeah, Commentary is looking forward to the day when Dominion becomes a part owner of Fox News.

Probably the most ridiculed person on Twitter these days, and deservedly so, is Cancun Cruz.  The latest is his safari to the border with his dumbarse GOP senate colleagues.  Cancun Cruz never went down to check on the border when they were separating families and snatching babies from moms a couple of years ago. Cancun’s yapping these days is a joke.  He deserves all the ridicule that is piled on him. What a piece of you know what.

Opening Day is in three days and some of the players are dealing with COVID-19 protocols.  That’s why I won’t be at The Yard anytime soon.

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Sign Correa

President Joe Biden won Georgia.  Two months later, two Democrats knocked off a couple of GOP Georgia U.S. Senators.  The GOP Georgia Governor and state legislature responded, went racism on full display and enacted voter suppression laws. They are trying to make it more difficult for folks of color to vote.  They want to hold on to power so bad that they don’t mind all of us knowing that they are blatant racists.  Welcome to politics in 2021.

GOP State Rep. Briscoe Cain is a lightweight.  You already knew that.  Why he was tasked with carrying the voter suppression bill is a darn good question.  There is nothing in his resume to indicate he’s a legislative player. He would not defend his own bill yesterday and he adjourned his own committee meeting.  In the process he tripped all over parliamentary processes.  The Texas State House GOP leadership team has to be embarrassed.  That is kind of what happens when you move forward with racist BS public policy proposals in 2021.

Donald Trump said the following about the January 6 insurrectionists on Fox News last night:

“It was zero threat. Right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in — they shouldn’t have done it — some of them went in, and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know? They had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in, and they walked out.”

People died and were injured. The sad thing is folks still believe these lies and BS.

The Astros signed Lance McCullers, Jr. to a pretty good contract a couple of days ago.  They certainly believe in McCullers.  They don’t believe in Carlos Correa.  That’s stupid. Commentary has said it before.  Correa has been a monster in the post season.  17 post season dingers and 50 post season RBIs.  That is when you want him. He was the first player taken in the 2012 MLB draft and he hasn’t disappointed us. Don’t be dumbarses.  Sign him.

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Drive-Thru Voting

We are a long way from the 2023 H-Town mayoral contest.  The Dean got some mention here and elsewhere a few days ago.  Commentary said this about him last week:

“… he has $9.8 million sitting in his campaign account.  That is serious dough.  He is also popular among Democratic Party leaders here in H-Town.  He would be very tough to beat.”

We don’t know what 2023 is going to look like.  Will we be done with the pandemic? Will folks have forgotten about the pandemic?  Where will we be on BLM?  What will the national and state political climate feel like?  Where will H-Town be on issues? I do know this.  The major candidates for H-Town mayor have to have a vision for H-Town.  You have to be able to articulate a vision. Why do you want to be mayor?

Commentary doesn’t play golf.  I found this interesting in the Chron hard copy today:

When Tim Toy volunteered for the Houston Open last November, he had no idea Memorial Park would raise the rate for him to play by over 500 percent this year.

Toy, a West University Place senior who has been playing golf at Memorial since his mid-20s, feels betrayed by the park’s price increase for non-Houston residents.

On Oct. 20, the Houston city council approved raising the non-resident greens fee for the Memorial Park Golf Course to cover costs needed to operate and maintain the course to PGA Tour standards. Although it’s standard for PGA Tour courses to have increased non-residential fees, residents from nearby municipalities like Bellaire, West University Place, Southside Place, and the Memorial Villages also must pay the increased fees.

The city was not available to comment on whether they considered neighboring cities within Harris County when increasing the non-resident green fees.

“We’re a 15 minute drive from the park. We’ve always enjoyed not only the golf course, but also the park,” said Toy. “And now, suddenly, we’re kind of treated like outcasts.”

The non-resident rates, which went into effect in March, increased junior weekday rates from $10 to $60, senior/disabled weekday rates from $15 to $80, adult weekday rates from $30 to $120 and weekend rates from $38 to $140. According to the item approved by city council and confirmed by Memorial Park Golf Course staff, Houston residents will also have preferential access to the tournament course by limiting the number of rounds available to non-residents.

Here is the entire read: Golfers in area small cities feel betrayed by Memorial Park rate hikes for non-Houston residents (houstonchronicle.com).

I don’t know about that. We are not being too neighborly.  I don’t like going down this road. It does not seem right.  What is next?  How about tit for tat?

For the May 1 elections, it looks like there will be six drive-thru voting locations in Harris County.  Two in Baytown, and one in Pasadena, Webster, Kingwood and Prairie View A&M in 77070. There will be a total of 23 early voting locations.

GOP State Rep. Briscoe Cain, who also Chairs the Texas House Elections Committee, represents parts of Pasadena and Baytown. I wonder if he will take the time to visit the drive-thru voting locations in Pasadena and Baytown during the early voting period next month to see if shady stuff is happening.  Rep. Cain supports doing away with drive-thru voting.  One of the locations is actually in his district in Baytown.  If he is really concerned, he’ll take the time to visit and observe in April.  If he just wants to make it harder for folks to vote, he will find an excuse to stay away.  That’s gutless. Let’s see where he is really coming from.

Commentary can’t find political jurisdiction and precinct maps on the Harris County Tax assessor Collector’s website.  It disappeared.  I can’t find them on HarrisVotes.com either.  What’s up with that?

Here is from today’s Chron on the new voting gizmos:

Harris County’s new voting machine, which county leaders showed off on Wednesday, incorporates old and new technology the county election administrator says will make voting easier and boost public confidence in elections.

The Hart InterCivic Verity Duo, the county’s new model, has a touch screen interface that allows users to quickly make selections. It also produces a paper ballot which voters can ensure accurately marked their choices before submitting it into a scanner.

“I am ecstatic about the new machines,” Harris County Election Administrator Isabel Longoria said. “The touch screen process, the accessibility features, the paper ballot so that people can make sure the selections they made are the ones that are counted — this is all phenomenal for Houston.”

Here is the entire Chron article on the new voting gizmos: Ditching the wheel, Harris County unveils new voting machines with touch screens, paper backups (houstonchronicle.com).

They need more outreach.

The Astros open the regular season one week from tonight in Oakland.

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Voting Hours

Commentary doesn’t get to vote in the upcoming May 1 elections. Voters in Baytown, Humble, Missouri City, Pasadena, South Houston, West U., and other parts of Harris County will get to vote.  The early voting dates and hours were posted recently.  On the second to the last day of early voting, voters get to vote from 7 am to 10 pm.  There will also be a few drive-thru voting locations.  SB 7 up in the Texas legislature would outlaw voting past 7 pm and drive-thru voting. One of the drive-thru locations will be in Pasadena. GOPers in the Texas legislature don’t want folks to vote. Go figure.

In the hard copy of the Chron today, there are four stories on Deshaun Watson.  One is on the front page. One is on page A-3.  The other two are on the front page of the Sports Section.  One of the stories is about Tony Buzbee’s media strategy.  The strategy appears to be working – four stories in the Chron.

Cancun Cruz is a dumbarse fool.  Cruz is our Texas national embarrassment. His committee performance yesterday was par for the clown.  Cancun Cruz is A-Okay with a law enforcement officer and nine others losing their lives.  Nothing is stopping mass shootings because nothing is being enacted into law to stop this madness.  Blame it on the likes of Cancun Cruz.

We lost another great actor.  George Segal is no longer with us.  “The Owl and the Pussycat” with Barbra Streisand is my favorite George Segal flick.

I did the bracket thing and I only have a shot at getting two teams to the Final Four. I still have a shot at picking the champion.

This is from today’s Chron:

When the Astros host the Athletics in their April 8 home opener, fans can enter through any standard entrance, where they will be subject to a verbal health screening upon arrival. Fans will be asked to physically distance while waiting in the queue line, and security will use different screening equipment to aid in distancing.

Physical distancing will also be required when moving throughout the building.

Most bags will not be allowed in the venue. The exceptions include manufacturer designed diaper bags (when accompanied by an infant or small child), medical bags and gallon bags for bringing in food or water. Masks are required at all times unless actively eating or drinking, which is only allowed at a fan’s ticketed seat.

Doesn’t sound safe to me.  I will watch on the flat screen.

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New Voting Gizmos

The Harris County Elections Administrator’s office sent me this today:

(Houston, TX) –– On Wednesday, March 24, Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria will host members of the media at the Harris County Elections Technology Center to view and try out the new touch-screen Hart InterCivic Verity Voting Systems. To maintain health and safety, outlets interested in the tour must sign up for a designated 30 minute time slot. Outlets will have the opportunity to use the machines and there will be interview availability with Elections Administrator Isabel Longoria.  

I can’t attend.  I will be in Baytown with my Dad.  In 27 days, voters in Baytown, Humble, Missouri City, Pasadena, South Houston, West U., and other parts of Harris County will be going to vote early for the May 1 uniform elections, and they are going to use the new voting machine gizmos.  I am thinking a lot of voters are going to be surprised.  The Harris County Elections Administrator’s folks need to up their game and do better outreach.  Voters don’t want to be surprised these days. Just saying.

This is from today’s Chron:

The Astros are expanding their previously planned attendance numbers at Minute Maid Park to start the regular season but will not exceed 50 percent capacity during April, senior vice president for communication and marketing Anita Sehgal said on Monday.

The 50% thing doesn’t sound safe to me.  How many folks are going to show up who have not been vaccinated? I am not going to take a risk.  I will watch them on the flat screen instead.

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Human Nature

CNN is running one of their “This is CNN” promos with all Asian American journalists.  Good.

Donald Trump dismantled the immigration processes.  He built more wall.  He shut down the border.  He snatched babies away from their mothers. He separated families.  He got his arse kicked by Joe Biden.

Once he took office, President Biden immediately started to undo the cruel, hateful and hurtful Trump immigration policies.  Migrants headed to the border thinking they got a shot at coming to America.  That’s human nature folks.  If you are going to blame anyone, blame Trump.

Gov. Greg Abbott and the GOP members of Congress are jumping all over President Biden on the border situation.  They didn’t say squat about babies being snatched from their mothers and families being separated a couple or so years ago.  #STFU cowards.

Kuffer has a good take today on the Texas Monthly article from last week that mentions The Dean as a possible City of H-Town mayoral candidate.  Here are parts:

I had neither Chief (Art) Acevedo nor Sen. Whitmire on my speculative list of 2023 Mayoral candidates. I’m actually a little more surprised to see Whitmire’s name in that story than I am to see Acevedo’s, if only because it’s hard to imagine the Texas Senate without Whitmire. On the other hand, it can’t be any fun to serve as a Democrat with Dan Patrick holding the gavel – there’s a reason why Rodney Ellis took the first chance to bail out for the seat on Commissioners Court – and the prospect of being the big fish who can actually get stuff done has to have a lot of appeal. As Campos notes, Whitmire already has a crap-ton of money, and the list of establishment politicians and civic leaders who would put their name on a list of his supporters is already multiple pages long. Whitmire would (largely) clear the field in a way that no one else could. If he wants to do this, he’d start out as the favorite.

Whether he would, and whether he should, are different questions. If Dems can finally break through at the statewide level in 2022, especially if they can beat Patrick, that might make staying in the Senate a lot more appealing, even as a member of the minority. Houston has a number of tough long-term challenges, and if the Senate continues to be an inhospitable place those challenges will be greater since the Legislature is much more interested in sticking it to the big cities than in helping them in any way. Whitmire may prevent some other potential candidates from entering the race against him, but he hasn’t had a real electoral challenge in a long time, and city politics are a lot different than state politics. Mayor of Houston is a powerful and prestigious job, but I guarantee it’s a lot harder and a much bigger time commitment than any state political gig. This is not a decision to be made lightly, that’s all I’m saying.

For what it’s worth, from my privileged position of armchair quarterback, I would like to see someone who sees themselves as a future statewide candidate be the next Mayor of Houston (*). Mayor of Houston would be a pretty good springboard to a statewide candidacy, and we’re going to need as deep a bench as we can get as statewide races become truly competitive. I specifically mentioned Sen. Carol Alvarado in this context when I came up with my theoretical candidates list last year, and I stand by that. Other people on my list – Amanda Edwards, Abbie Kamin, Chris Brown – also fit that bill, and one name suggested to me afterward who also would fit it is Michael Skelly. Nobody who is thinking about running for Mayor now has any reason to care about that, but I’m a blogger so it falls to me.

Here is all of Kuffer that I recommend you read: Mayor Whitmire 2.0? – Off the Kuff.

Opening Day is next week.

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Stupid Texas Talk

Commentary has been in Texas my whole life.  Three times plus longer than Cong. Chip Roy, who was born in Maryland and got to Texas less than 20 years ago.  He said this at a U.S. House Congressional Committee hearing yesterday:

“We believe in justice. There are old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That’s what we believe.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Dumbarse, dumbarse, dumbarse.

I know tons more about Texas politics and folklore than the Chipper.  That quote doesn’t exist as part of our history.  He made it up.  You just can’t come to Texas, put on a pair of boots and make sh_t up. The GOP U.S. House playbook is the Book of Lies. This guy is a fuc_ing idiot.

Speaking of. Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted this:

A bill filed in the Texas House by Representative @JustinHolland would make Texas a Second Amendment Sanctuary State.  It would forbid Texas state agencies & local governments from enforcing new federal gun laws or rules.

Great.  How does that work? Make Texas an outlaw state.

Man, these guys are stupid.

It would be nice and quite productive if the Governor and Republican members of Congress would join us in condemning violence against Asian Americans, support DREAMERs and work with us on comprehensive immigration reform.

Now that they have the pandemic behind us and solved the ERCOT mess.

Tony Buzbee is having a press availability today. Maybe the media will ask him how he ended up representing all the massage therapists.

Nothing from The Yard today.

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Mayor Dean

This being the pandemic, other than being on a group text on the Astros, Commentary hasn’t talked to The Dean in a year.  He is thinking about running for H-Town Mayor in 2023.  Here is from Texas Monthly:

Houston insiders knew that the 56-year-old (Houston Police Chief Art) Acevedo had been considering a mayoral run once Sylvester Turner reached his term limit in 2024. But as Acevedo started prospecting for supporters, the response wasn’t good. Despite public grandstanding after George Floyd’s death—posing for photo ops with local protesters, changing his Twitter profile image to one of Floyd, granting countless TV interviews—his support in the Black community was thin, owing at least partly to ongoing animosity toward the HPD’s record on policing minority communities. Houston politicos also told me that the Mexican American community was lukewarm at best on the Cuban American police chief.

Even stranger, Acevedo’s support among non-Hispanic white Houstonians risked fracture. The police chief had made a gentleman’s agreement with John Whitmire, dean of the Texas Senate, not to run against him, should the Houston lawmaker seek the mayor’s office, as has been speculated. “Art and I are the best of friends, and he and I agreed months ago that we both wouldn’t be in the race,” said Whitmire, who conceded that, while he will run for reelection to the state Senate in 2022, he has been exploring a mayoral run.

Here is the entire Texas Monthly article: Why Is Art Acevedo Leaving Houston? – Texas Monthly.

Every time someone mentioned to me about Acevedo running for Mayor, I chuckled. He would have been eaten alive. The fella has no clue about running for office.

The Dean on the other hand does.  Plus, he has $9.8 million sitting in his campaign account.  That is serious dough.  He is also popular among Democratic Party leaders here in H-Town.  He would be very tough to beat.

In the Chron hard copy, the Deshaun Watson story on being sued by two female massage therapists is on the front page of the Sports Section.  I thought it would be frontpage material of Section A. 

These serious allegations got me to thinking.  There are supposed to be four total therapists to come forward.  How did they all end up getting represented by Tony Buzbee?

Alex Bregman is finally playing. Good.

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