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Archive for March, 2021

What a Joke

From RG last night:

I’ve covered Texas government for 39 years. Ive never seen it as messed up as now, from ERCOT to the PUC to Abbott to Dan Patrick. This is what happens when politics steps ahead of governing.

Gov. Greg Abbott is a joke and don’t even try to argue with me.

Abbott continues to fold under pressure.  We have seen it time and time again during the pandemic.

Now with the overcharges incurred during the Big Freeze, instead of being a leader and figuring a way out of this mess, he punts its over to the Texas Legislature.  What a coward.

The only surviving member of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) said on a call that was recorded that his job was safe.  Last night, the PUC Commissioner resigned after a phone call he was on was recorded and released by Texas Monthly.  He was caught saying the overcharges would stick.  I guess that was Abbott’s plan all along.

What a joke.

A month ago, we were in the middle of the Big Freeze and some Texans froze to death.  Why? Because Abbott’s ERCOT failed us.

Abbott, GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the GOP Texas House Speaker are all over the place and going after each other on the Big Freeze Electric Grid multi-billion dollars charges.

These three couldn’t lead a clown show.

Abbott knows he has problems going into 2022.  Now he wants to make it harder for folks of color to vote.  That’s racism folks. 

I will be wearing my Beatles T-shirt with the green Apple logo today.

The Astros will be wearing green lids and green socks this evening.

The knuckleheads will be violating social distancing rules this evening on St. Patrick’s Day.

Stay safe.

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Step and Repeat

Commentary doesn’t have much to say today.

Here is what I said a year ago today:

It’s official.  Former Vice President Joe Biden announced last night that a woman would be on the ticket. Sen. Kamala Harris would be Commentary’s pick.

I got the VP pick right.

I also said this a year ago today as we went into pandemic mode:

More closings are coming.  In these uncertain times, all we can do is our part, be responsible, be respectful, and hope for the best.

We all know what happened.  A lot of folks, led by Donald Trump, were not responsible or respectful.

A year-ago today, I also told folks about the “preppers” that I had never heard about.

Now I have another term I just learned yesterday. “Step and Repeat.”

We were looking to ordering one of those backdrop banners that are at the end of the red carpet where folks stand while the paparazzi takes photos or where folks have press conferences with the backdrop behind them.  I was told they were called “Step and Repeat.”  I did not know that.  A noted political consultant I closely work with also did not know that. 

Here is what I found on the internet:

The definition of a step and repeat banner is a procedure for placing the same image on plates in multiple places.

Simply, it is a backdrop/wall display that has sponsor, company and sport team logos on its purpose of advertising and capturing photos of celebrities or famous individuals during red carpet events, media press conferences and many more special events. However, these are NOT only limited to celebrities.

I did not know that until yesterday. Did you?

I don’t have much to say about the Texas electric grid billions in expenses that are being debated at the Texas Legislature. I will say this. My post Big Freeze electric bill was normal. Same for my gas bill. My water bill went up 50% because of leaks and running it during the freeze.

The Astros paused my account for the month of April. Too many unknowns.  I will miss another Opening Day. Kind of makes me sad.

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For those whiners who think President Joe Biden should give some credit to Donald Trump on the vaccines, shut up.  Trump had every opportunity to provide leadership on handling the pandemic and he failed.  He mocked masks and the science. Over half a million people in this country died. He took the vaccine in secret. We voted him out. STFU!

Republican U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and some of his Republican House members are visiting the border today.  Yeah, I remember when this same bunch visited the border when ICE was snatching babies from their mothers. Sure.

The City of H-Town police chief is leaving.  I was never a fan of the fella and I will just leave it at that.

Gov. Greg Abbott, State Sen. Paul Bettencourt and State Rep. Briscoe Cain will hold a press conference today here in H-Town on election integrity.  Make no mistake.  Bettencourt and Cain are leading the effort to do away with mail ballots and early voting.  Bettencourt and Cain want to go back to the day where you can only vote on election day.  They are starting with Senate Bill 7.

Abbott, Bettencourt, Cain and those who support their efforts are voter suppressors.

Harris County is ground zero.  100,000 Harris County voters used the drive thru voter option in last fall’s selection and Bettencourt/Cain want to eliminate this option.  Can anyone tell me what went wrong with this option?  If it is because Republican poll watchers were at a disadvantage, then fix the law too make sure poll watchers aren’t at a disadvantage.

10,000 Harris County voters took advantage of the 24-hour voting locations.  Bettencourt/Cain also want to eliminate this option. Can anyone tell me what went wrong with this option?  

Bettencourt/Cain wants you to submit your medical records to a nameless bureaucrat if you want to vote by mail.  Bettencourt/Cain want you to submit proof if you have a disability and want to use the disability excuse to vote by mail.  Think about submitting your illness to an election official.

Bettencourt/Cain also don’t want Harris County to send out mail ballot applications if voters don’t ask for them.  Here locally, this is going to backfire on them big time this November.  The City of Houston doesn’t have elections this November.  We do have HISD school board and HCC trustee election.  If we had city elections, 65 and older voters would be getting mail applications from mayoral and some city council candidates, as well as the political parties. HISD and HCC candidates really don’t have the resources for vote by mail programs.

If the legislature puts constitutional amendments on the November ballot to go along with the HISD and HCC races, 65 and older voters who normally vote by mail are going to be looking for their ballots.  When they don’t receive them, we can tell them that Bettencourt/Cain made sure they didn’t their mail ballot.

This election integrity BS is predicated on the Big Lie.  Don’t forget that Cain was a part of the Stop the Steal.  Secretaries of State from both political parties have said the 2020 election was conducted properly and there was no widespread fraud.

Bettencourt/Cain are all about keeping their political party in power and that starts with the goal of eliminating mail ballots and early voting and it begins with Senate Bill 7.

I wonder if Bettencourt/Cain believe President Biden was elected legitimately last November?

The Chron E-Board had a great take yesterday on this and here is one of their better lines:

This legislation isn’t about steeling elections against voter fraud. It’s about just plain old stealing them.

Here is the entire Chron E-Board take: Editorial: Stop the steal of Texans’ election rights (houstonchronicle.com).

Yesterday, I kind of had to catch up to the time change.  I am good today.

Last night I watched Stanley Tucci’s “Searching for Italy” and I feel like I gained some weight.

Did you know that in 1969, Larry Dierker pitched 20 complete games for an Astros record?  To put it in perspective, in 2019, MLB’s last full season, the White Sox and Cleveland led MLB with pitchers throwing 6 complete games.  My, how times have changed. Now you know.

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I-45 Madness

It was certainly refreshing to hear a President sound like a President last night.  No chaos.  No lies.  It wasn’t about him.  It was about all of us.  Man, it felt good. 

Judge Lina Hidalgo tweeted this yesterday and may I say it is a very good tweet:

Today we sued TxDOT over the misguided I-45 expansion project. There’s a way to address our transit challenges, but more and wider highways is not it. We can’t build a competitive county with transportation policy that hasn’t changed since the 50s.

Here is from the Chron story:

The lawsuit was the second setback this week that could delay or derail the project. In a March 8 letter, the Federal Highway Administration told TxDOT to “pause before initiating further contract solicitation,” essentially putting the project’s engineering design on hold as it investigates whether the project properly followed civil rights-era rules for displacing residents.

The highway administration initiated the pause after receiving letters from U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and the advocacy groups Air Alliance Houston and Texas Housers.

Here is the Chron story:  Harris County sues to stop I-45 rebuild plans by TxDOT (houstonchronicle.com).

TxDOT has always been an agency that has never listened to communities.  Maybe, just maybe, the Feds will be able to step in and stop this madness.

I wonder who advises Matthew McConaughey on politics.  Does he know what it takes to run for Governor?

Here is what I emailed to the Astros yesterday on going to The Yard next Month.

I am responding to the email that I received from the Astros yesterday.

I have decided to go with Option 2 and pause my account for the month of April.

Although I am fully vaccinated for COVID-19, I am not fully protected.  There are too many unknowns with what I received yesterday.  I don’t feel comfortable going to a ballgame at this point.

Stay tuned.

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Ranger Danger

This is dangerously crazy if allowed by MLB.

From AP:

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers could have a full house for their home opener next month after opening their new 40,518-seat stadium without fans in the stands for their games last season.

If that happens, the Rangers could be the first team in Major League Baseball or any major U.S.-based sports league to have a full-capacity crowd since the coronavirus pandemic started rapidly shutting down sports a year ago this week.

Here is the entire story:  MLB’s Rangers in line to be first team back to full capacity (apnews.com).

The Astros aren’t far behind. Here is what the Astros sent me yesterday:

We will be addressing the Regular Season in a phased approach, and Phase 1 will consist of all April home games. Prior to May, we will notify you of any changes to our seating plan and your options for future phases.

Your season tickets for the month of April are in your account and will be accessible during the week of March 22nd following presales. If you intend to utilize your tickets and current location, no further action is needed. Please note, there will be no social distancing in your normal season ticket location or “Legacy Seat Location.”

And:

Option 1 – Relocate to a socially distanced location for the month of April.
You may choose to temporarily relocate to one of our socially distanced locations where we will maintain a minimum of 6 feet between seating groups. 

And this:

Option 2 – Pause your account for the month of April.
You may temporarily defer your season ticket location and priority for the month of April. You must contact your account manager in order to do so.

I think I will go with Option 2 and pause.  Too many unknowns. Plus, I don’t want to knowingly participate in a super spreader event.

Today I am fully vaccinated.  That doesn’t mean I am fully protected. Too many unknowns.

President Joe Biden’s name won’t be on the next stimulus checks.  Donald Trump’s name was on the 2020 stimulus checks and he lost the election.  Nice move, President Biden.

Tags tweeted this yesterday:

Dusty Baker said the leading candidates to be his leadoff hitter are Straw and Correa.

Let’s go with Correa.

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COVID and Texas

Texas is open for business but should not.

2.7 million infections.

Over 45,000 dead.

3,744 new infections in Texas yesterday.

167 died of COVID-19 yesterday.

2,244 infections in my zip code.  24 dead.

3,128 infections in my Dad’s zip code.  44 dead.

It didn’t have to get to this.

Commentary will stick by my same old, year old routine today. 

Mask up, social distance and wash my hands, even though tomorrow, I will be among those they call fully vaccinated since it will make it two weeks since my second dose.

The PUC, whose member is appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott, won’t fix the $16 billion in charges for ERCOT related billing errors during the Big Freeze, so now Abbott is making it an emergency item during this legislative session.  Very weak leadership on display folks.  Punt.  Run away. Shirk duty. Cowardice. All of the above.

Commentary is not going to say much about the Duchess of Sussex other than to say she is taking on the Royals and took down Piers Morgan, a classless buffoon, for sure.

Stay extra safe and careful today and watch out for the other guy.

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Sit Down

The thing about H-Town that Commentary thinks highly of, is the Looney Tunes aren’t that dominant a force.  Concrete Cowboy is backing down and not hosting their “Masks Off Party.”  They would have been the pariah of Washington Avenue.  Now they kind of bought them some goodwill time. 

Don’t get me wrong.  We got us more than our share of knuckleheads, but they are way outnumbered.

The HISD Interim Superintendent is leaving after the current school year. It didn’t look like she would ever get the support to be the permanent Superintendent.  Here is this from the Chron:

(HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita) Lathan only received support from the board’s three Black trustees when they voted in November on whether to retain her long-term. Many school administrators voiced support for Lathan’s candidacy, while the Houston Federation of Teachers backed giving her a one-year contract.

“I almost don’t blame her (for leaving), because to be here so long as an interim, it was really just a slap in the face,” said HFT President Jackie Anderson, who leads the district’s largest employees union. “Some of the things that happened to her publicly, I would have picked up my purse and walked out.”

The HFT President needs to sit down.  The HFT and AFT put in a ton of money into trustee races the past couple of elections.  Their trustee candidates won because of HFT and AFT campaign funds.  Trustees they supported said nope to Lathan.  Did I say sit down?

When it is all said and done, the soon to be former interim needed five Trustee votes to get the interim removed and couldn’t get them.  That is what it is all about. Ballgame. Sit down.

Here is the entire Chron article: Grenita Lathan to leave Houston ISD, ending three-year run as interim superintendent (houstonchronicle.com).

Dallas Keuchel was 15-0 at The Yard in 2015, the year he won the AL Cy Young Award.  He was the first pitcher in MLB history to win at least 15 at their home field and also be undefeated at home.  Now you know.

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Idiots

I was at my Dad’s yesterday and he was watching movies, so I kind of watched with him.  “Patriot Games” came on with Harrison Ford playing Jack Ryan.  That is the one where Irish terrorists try to knock off some Royals.  Just saying.

I can’t figure out if the following is greed, selfishness, ignorance, idiocy, a combination thereof, or all of the above.  From today’s Chron:

With just a few days to go until the lifting of state-mandated occupancy and mask requirements, Houston officials urged area businesses on Sunday not to follow in the footsteps of a Washington Avenue club planning a maskless party to celebrate the end of restrictions.

State Rep. Ann Johnson slammed the owners of Concrete Cowboy for planning an event Wednesday to mark the end of COVID-19 protective measures, including restrictions on the number of customers and required masks when not dining.

She fears such a gathering, dubbed the “Mask Off Party” in social media posts, could contribute to a COVID-19 surge in Houston. The pandemic has killed more than 42,000 Texans in the last year.

Here is the entire Chron story on the idiots gathering: Mayor Turner, lawmakers slam troubled Concrete Cowboy for planning ‘mask off’ gathering (houstonchronicle.com).

Don’t be surprised if Gov. Greg Abbott makes a surprise appearance.

Commentary is certainly not going to rag on the Harris County Elections Administrator’s Office. I am sure they are working out the kinks and stuff since they are new to being their own operation.  When elections were run by the Harris County Clerk, you could fill out a mail ballot application online, print it out, sign it, stick it in an envelope and mail it. The Elections Administrator’s mail ballot application does not allow the mail application to be filled out online.  You have to print it out and fill in by hand. Bummer.

You can go to the Texas Secretary of State and fill out their mail ballot application online.  Maybe the Elections Administrator will get around and add that important feature.

I ran across this because my Dad lives in the Goose Creek Consolidated ISD and Lee College service area and they are both having trustee and regent elections on May 1 and he needs to get a mail ballot. 

Since my Dad is voting by mail, he doesn’t have to get acquainted with the new voting machine gizmos.

As long as the vast majority of Republicans in Congress buy into the notion that the Republican Party is Donald Trump’s Party, there won’t be much working across party lines.  Trump won’t allow for it.

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Remembering March 6

Tomorrow is March 6.  It will mark 185 years since the Alamo fell in 1836.  Maybe I will pull out one of my favorite CDs for the occasion – “Asleep at the Wheel Remembers the Alamo” from 2003.  It includes “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” from the series starring Fess Parker by Walt Disney. “Green Leaves of Summer” from the movie “The Alamo” with John Wayne.  This tune was nominated for Best Song and won a Golden Globe for Best Song. “Ballad of the Alamo”, also from “The Alamo.” We sang this tune in our high school choir – “in the southern part of Texas, in the town of San Antone.” It’s a cool CD.

My tweet photo is from the movie “The Alamo.”  I know. I know.  The flick is factually incorrect.  What did I know then when it first came out?  I was just a kid. I still liked the movie.  I still do.

Remember the Alamo.

Former Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen tweeted this a couple of days ago:

Though long overdue, it is welcome news that the ERCOT Board of Directors has terminated its CEO. Governor Abbott, who does not have authority over ERCOT, has been calling for its leaders to resign since February 16.

This is from Wikipedia on ERCOT:

ERCOT is governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) and the Texas Legislature. The PUC has primary jurisdiction over activities conducted by ERCOT. Three PUC commissioners, including the chair, are appointed by the governor of Texas.

Don’t you hate it when some folks think the rest of us are stupid.

I wonder what former Speaker Bonnen thinks about the Chron E-Board’s take today that sticks it to Gov. Abbott.  Here are parts:

Even in a state that celebrates limited government, most Texans can agree to this much: Gov. Greg Abbott’s top duty is to protect Texans’ lives, and at the very least, do nothing to put them in harm’s way. He has woefully failed.

The governor blindsided the medical community, business leaders and millions of Texans in his decision to drop all state restrictions on Wednesday that had been aimed at slowing the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus. While the desire to allow struggling businesses to open fully is understandable on some level, there can be only one motivation for dropping the simple, commonsense requirement that we all wear face masks: the governor is putting politics over people’s lives.

Such recklessness in the service of political expediency has become a pattern for Abbott. His cynical calculations, and the deaths they cause, will define his legacy.

And this:

Abbott wasn’t at the ERCOT controls during the storm, but as Texas’ top executive he is accountable in important ways. Witnesses testified to lawmakers that the governor lacked urgency in alerting Texans of the storm’s magnitude, which first-term Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo aptly described as Category 5 hurricane conditions.

Abbott alone appoints members of the Public Utility Commission, who oversee ERCOT and were apparently adhering to his lax oversight philosophy in November when they fired the independent nonprofit firm that had for years monitored energy providers’ compliance with state guidelines, including weatherization efforts designed to protect energy infrastructure from failures during extreme cold. As though that weren’t enough, they also oversaw the gutting of the PUC’s enforcement division.

Here is the entire E-Board take: Editorial: Gov. Abbott’s deadly pattern of failed leadership (houstonchronicle.com).

The events of the past year have pretty much cemented Gov. Abbott’s legacy.  Weak, failed, cowardly and unable to accept responsibility. At this point, there is nothing he will do to change how history will treat him.  I don’t care how many pearls of wisdom folks like former Speaker Bonnen dispense.  When adversity confronted Texans, Abbott wimped out big time.

The Astros asked season ticketholders to participate in a brief survey yesterday about our thinking on being at Opening Day with social distancing, partial social distancing, or no social distancing.  I replied that I am not planning on returning to The Yard anytime soon.  I don’t think it is safe.

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Neanderthal Greg

HarrisVotes put out their new tagline or slogan yesterday.  Here it is:

Where Democracy Meets Innovation.

I get it.  They also just got new voting machine gizmos that they will roll out for the May 1 local elections with early voting beginning on April 19 – less than two months from today.  The City of Pasadena and Pasadena ISD are among those that will be voting on May 1.

HarrisVotes tweeted out the new voting gizmos a few days ago that included a video on how to use them.  The new gizmos include the use of paper.  It is an innovation for sure.

They are different from the current method we have been using for nearly a couple of decades.  It would be nice if HarrisVotes conducted an awareness campaign on their new innovation, directed at the political jurisdictions whose voters will be voting next month.  You don’t want them to show up at their polling location and getting surprised.  You know, all that jibber jabber about the election integrity thing. Just saying.

All these years, Texas Democrats have never been able to rattle Gov. Greg Abbott. President Joe Biden called out Abbott on “Neanderthal thinking” and Abbott went ballistic and lost it on Channel 2 news yesterday.  President Biden using the Neanderthal word was the polite way of calling Abbott a dumbarse.

Abbott got so riled up he went to the stale hater playbook and blamed new COVID-19 infections on President Biden releasing COVID-19 positive immigrants into our living rooms. That is not happening and is a lie. Abbott looked so silly and overmatched. Tragic.

President Biden has Neanderthal Greg’s number. Nice.

Way to go, Mr. President! Keep kicking his sorry worthless arse.

Here is the Channel 2 story: EXCLUSIVE: Abbott responds to criticism about order to rescind statewide mask mandate (click2houston.com).

From Luis Salinas on Gov. Greg Abbott’s Open for Business 100%:

The best comment I heard was: “Here in Texas, we going to remove all the red lights but ask people to act responsibly.”

Astros pitcher Framber Valdez dinged up his left ring finger – a fracture.

My Astros account executive sent me this yesterday:

Abbott’s announcement yesterday is good news for baseball! I know you are anxious for updates, but as of today (March 3rd), I have not been briefed on the new plan for this season since the governor lifted restrictions. Upper management is finalizing the remaining details, and we are waiting on MLB and the City of Houston to approve new capacity standards in the ballpark. We want to ensure that we can accommodate fans safely and efficiently, and we will inform you as soon as everything is approved. Thank you for your patience with this!

I won’t be going to The Yard anytime soon.

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