Archive for April, 2021


From the Trib on the latest poll:

Almost half of Texas voters (49%) approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, while 35% disapprove. For Gov. Greg Abbott, 43% approve of his work and 48% disapprove; a year ago, 56% thought the governor was doing a good job with the coronavirus.

Tomorrow we will be heading into the 15th month of the pandemic. Thanks to fools like Donald Trump and Abbott, it didn’t have to be this bad.

Folks got it wrong on the lobbyist who allegedly drugged a Texas state capitol female staffer.  Here is from the Trib:

The Texas Department of Public Safety and Travis County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday “that there is not enough evidence to support” an allegation that a lobbyist used a date rape drug on a Capitol staffer and that “no crime occurred in this instance.”

“DPS has conducted a thorough investigation following allegations of drugging of a Capitol staffer by a lobbyist,” the joint statement said. “Together, we have concluded that … criminal charges are not appropriate.”

The statement did not name the lobbyist, and officials have not offered further details — including the names of anyone allegedly involved — since DPS confirmed it was investigating the allegation, as first reported by the Austin American-Statesman.

Here is the entire Trib piece: Authorities won’t charge Texas lobbyist accused of drugging Capitol staffer | The Texas Tribune.

Here is from Kuffer:

See here and here for the background. You can see the full statement here. Saying there’s not enough evidence to support the allegations is not the same as saying that nothing bad happened – to say “no crime occurred” is a tautology, since that is exactly what it means to not bring charges. We have due process for a reason, and this is the result. Maybe nothing did happen, or at least nothing that was ill-intentioned. Maybe it was too late for a drug test to render a judgment, since rohypnol metabolizes quickly. Maybe this was just another powerful guy getting away with it. We’ll never know for sure. If the lobbyist in question, whose name has been released by one right wing website, is innocent then this really sucks for him, since this incident will always follow him around. It’s going to suck even more for the woman who made the allegation, especially if it was true.

Here is all of today’s Kuffer: No charges files in Capitol date rape drug incident – Off the Kuff.

Here is what Commentary said a few days ago on this:

Is the Capitol media heeding the advice of the lawyers and proceeding “with due caution” by not naming the accused? All the insiders know who he is. Is this normal?  What am I missing?

He wasn’t named by the media, but a lot of folks know who it was.   I hope someone gets to the bottom of this. Talk about one big oops.

Tomorrow is election day for folks in Baytown, Humble, Kingwood, Pasadena, West U. and other political jurisdictions in Harris County.  Commentary tweeted yesterday that there would not be drive thru voting.  It turns out the Texas Election Code doesn’t allow drive thru voting on election day.  It only allow drive thru voting during early voting. Go figure.

On the H-Town Mayor’s police reforms announcement, here is from the Chron:

Brennan Griffin, deputy director of social justice nonprofit Texas Appleseed, said the expansion of the mobile crisis teams was a welcome investment, but it pales in comparison to the police department’s $1 billion budget.

He later called the reform announcement “pretty weak sauce” on Twitter.

We are 13-12, in Tampa for the weekend, and two and a half out.

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Two Powerful Women

Watching two powerful Democratic women sitting behind President Joe Biden last night was the best.

President Biden delivered a great address. 

Cancun Cruz was caught falling asleep last night. He is worthless.

Donald Trump was critical of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her mask.  This arsehole and his anti-mask attitude have helped kill 570,000 Americans.

The H-Town Mayor will announce the long-awaited police department reforms. I am betting the local police reform activists will not be satisfied.

Dave Wilson is in the news today.  The former HCC Trustee will have his censure case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. What an arsehole for sure. What a waste of the Court’s time.

We are a way from Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez getting confirmed to head up ICE.  If he is confirmed, Harris County Commissioners Court will appoint a new sheriff.  I guess we will also have the race on the 2022 primary ballot to fill out the rest of the term that runs through the end of 2024.

My pal Harris County Constable Alan Rosen will seriously look at running for sheriff.

I wonder if the three Democrats on Commissioners Court will appoint a person of color. A female. A caretaker.

Let the rumors begin.

On this day in 2005, Hall of Fame great Jeff Bagwell hit his final career dinger, number 449, off of Hall of Fame great pitcher Greg Maddux. Now you know.

We won last night.  We are 13-11 and a game and a half out of first.  Today’s game starts at 1 pm.

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Leonel, Now Ed

Congratulations to my buddy Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.  He has to get confirmed then the going gets tough.  I texted some of my friends yesterday that we now have to remove our Abolish ICE bumper stickers.

Back in April of 1977, President Jimmy Carter nominated then Houston City Controller Leonel Castillo to serve as INS Commissioner.  Do I hear the theme from “Twilight Zone” playing in the background?  Just saying.

For what it is worth, I advised Leonel back in 1977 not to take the gig.  That was 44 years ago.

You get the picture. Of course, that was over four decades ago and hopefully, our thinking is a lot better.

From Royko on what I put out about Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and drive thru voting:

I am not a fan of “Lt. Dan,” although I find that by you merely you citing Kingwood and Pasadena having increases in drive thru voting doesn’t disprove Patrick’s comments.

Neither Kingwood or Pasadena are known to have statistically high numbers of black residents. Insofar as Latino, the media has used “White” to classify some Hispanics. Second, how many of the Latinos of color in Pasadena are legal voters?

There was a 2018 study that I read where Black households are least likely to have access to a vehicle. People of color overall are least likely to have access to a vehicle in highly urbanized areas.

Further, illegal immigrant households for all racial and ethnic groups are more likely to lack access to a vehicle compared to their US-born counterparts.

How many of those who entered the drive thru had their vote actually processed this time to be properly recorded?

Commentary doesn’t go around Pasadena and asking Latinos of color if they are legal voters.  Those that do vote are legal voters.

The voter suppression bills are racist crap. We all know that. GOP legislators in Austin don’t even bother to defend it because they can’t. Their racism is out in the open these days. Racist BS like eliminating drive thru voting is also going to impact negatively GOP voters. Dumbarses.

The Elections Administrator folks puts out a roster of all who voted the previous day, and it tells you where they voted, if they voted drive thru or if they voted by mail.

You used to have to ask for this info and now it is posted.

Early voting is over for the May 1 elections. 834 voters voted drive thru in Kingwood.  Throw in another 326 in Humble. 353 in Pasadena and 293 in Baytown. That’s not chump change.  Drive thru voting could very well turn into a positive voting culture change in Harris County. Leave it alone.

The Astros won last night and are 12-11.

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Naming the Accused

Those who follow the Texas Legislature learned Saturday morning on social media via the Stateman that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was investigating an incident of a lobbyist drugging a female staff member who worked at the State Capitol.

On Sunday I saw the retweets of a few GOP Texas legislators, declaring that the accused lobbyist and his firm were banned from their offices.  Like most folks, Commentary was curious as to who was the accused lobbyist.  Sunday afternoon I had discussions with a couple of astute politico friends about this. One surmised that the lobbyist had strong GOP ties because GOP legislators were the first to announce their bans.  Kind of distancing themselves.

We also learned Sunday the accused is/was with the high-powered lobbying firm, HillCo Partners.

Yesterday, Monday, the name of the lobbyist was revealed by the right wing MQS folks.  To my knowledge no mainstream media organization has revealed the name of the accused.

The accused turns out used to work for a GOP state legislator.  Not that it matters, but one of my astute friends called it on this.

The accused retained attorneys and here is what they said:

“If, in fact, somebody drugged a Capitol staffer, it was not our client nor any employee of HillCo Partners.  We can state with absolute certainty.  We respectfully request that everyone involved proceed with due caution before an innocent person’s life is ruined.”

The Texas House Speaker addressed the House yesterday and said this:

“These allegations shake our Capitol family to its core, and I am disgusted that this sort of predatory behavior is still taking place in and around our Capitol. We can and we must do better when it comes to changing the culture in this building.”

Again, we learned of the investigation three days ago.

Is the Capitol media heeding the advice of the lawyers and proceeding “with due caution” by not naming the accused? All the insiders know who he is. Is this normal?  What am I missing? Oh, well.

Yesterday was the biggest day of early voting in Harris County.  16% of the early voters used drive thru – mostly in Kingwood and Pasadena.

Today is the last day of early voting.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said this recently:

“If they’re worried about people of color — on the Democrats’ side who came up with this drive-in voting — statistics show that more people of color don’t have cars than not. So how do (drive-thru voting centers) help those folks?”

Patrick is not too smart.  I wish he would have been at BakerRipley in Pasadena yesterday to watch all the Latinos who used the drive thru voting.

Texas will get two more congressional districts.

Jose Altuve is back and we won last night.

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This is not good.  From the Statesman today:

The founders of Hillco Partners confirmed Sunday that an employee of the influential lobby organization is the subject of a criminal investigation into an allegation from at least one Texas Capitol staffer who believes a lobbyist used a date rape drug on her.

Neal T. “Buddy” Jones sent an electronic message to every member of the Legislature saying his firm, Hillco Partners, condemns “any form of violence and unwanted conduct against women.

The message came amid an uproar in the Capitol community, with some lawmakers calling on Hillco to fire the employee, whose name has not been released, and some saying the firm’s employees will not be welcome in their offices.

“While the investigation is pending, the accused lobbyist(s) and their firm(s) are banned from my office; and, if true, will be permanently banned,” state Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Lubbock Republican who chairs the House Calendars Committee, said in a tweet.

State Rep. Shelby Slawson, R-Stephenville, said the woman who raised the allegation should be believed.

“We don’t need to know who she is for her to know who we are, standing with her,” Slawson said in a tweet. “We’ll be wearing pink on Tuesday.

Bill Miller, a longtime Capitol insider and the other founder of Hillco, acknowledged the pressure in an interview but said the statement reflected the firm’s values, irrespective of the outrage.

“We take this stuff super-seriously,” MiIler said. “As soon as we got wind that we had an employee who was a person of interest, we acted immediately.”

Miller declined to name the employee. He said Hillco has hired an investigator with a background in law enforcement to examine the matter independently of the DPS inquiry. 

On Saturday, the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Austin American-Statesman its investigators were looking into the staff member’s allegation. The incident took place during a meeting downtown, according to DPS.

Officials recently received a complaint from the person saying she was a victim, prompting the investigation, DPS spokesman Travis Considine said. He would not identify the lobbyist and was unable to say when and where the incident happened. 

No charges have been filed, and no arrests have been made.

The reaction over the weekend to this was swift and heavy on social media.  That’s the way it should be.  I wonder if Hillco will have any folks at the State Capitol today? More to follow. Stay tuned for sure.

Early voting in Harris County continues today.  Today’s hours are 7 am to 10 pm. 483 out of the 1,088 drive thru voters are in Kingwood.  Drive thru voters make up 13% of the early in person voters.  Some GOP legislators want to eliminate drive thru voting with their racist voter suppression legislation.

From the where is the beef department. Commentary doesn’t have to tell you Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is a moron.  He lets us know all by himself.  Some idiot makes up sh_t about a non-existent President Joe Biden policy on hamburgers and Abbott retweets it. Who in their right mind actually believes that the Biden-Harris administration wants to ration Big Macs and Whoppers? Moron. Childish. Immature. An embarrassment.

Here is the top headline in today’s hard copy Chron front page:

Abbott aide was at ERCOT storm meeting

Here is the first line from the article by kickarse reporter Jay Root and that’s all you need to know:

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott dispatched a top aide to the ERCOT operations center on the night the grid operator made the controversial decision to leave electricity prices at maximum levels — a move blamed for creating a multi-billion dollar mess.

Abbott was in on the Big Freeze fix and then he tried to blame his own ERCOT folks. That Abbott weenie never can take responsibility.  What a punk. He will never grow up.

Commentary really can’t say much about the Oscars.  I did have it on last night.  This I will criticize.  The In Memoriam went too fast. Why bother. It was insulting to those who were mentioned.

I didn’t see any movies so I can’t say who should have won or who was robbed.  I also can’t comment on the format or if it was under the proper COVID protocols because everyone, except me, seems to be ignoring protocols anyway these days.

I also didn’t have a problem with Best Picture not being announced at the end.  I am not going to comment on Halle Berry’s hair because I didn’t see anything wrong with it.  Same thing with Frances McDormand’s dress.

All Rise is celebrating his 29th BD today.

Former Astros pitcher Mike Scott is 66 today.

Blummer is 48 today.

Happy Birthday Geoff, Mike and Aaron!

We took 3 out of 4 from the Angels and the Mariners are in town for 4. It turns out Jose Altuve tested positive for COVID-19. Sigh.

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Killer Cartoon

The voters will not replace us cartoon I will be tweeting with today’s take is a killer. Nice job by the cartoonist from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Check this headline from HoustonChronicle.com today:

Houston Methodist says it will fire hospital workers who refuse to take COVID vaccine

The hard copy headline on the front page says this:

No vaccine no job at Houston Methodist

Here is how the story starts:

Four out of five Houston Methodist employees are vaccinated against COVID-19. The sliver who are not will be suspended or fired if they refuse the shot, according to company policy.

The hospital required managers to be vaccinated by April 15 and all other employees — about 26,000 workers in total — by June 7, said Stefanie Asin, a Houston Methodist spokesperson.

With 84 percent of the staff vaccinated, the hospital is close to herd immunity, CEO Marc Boom wrote in a letter to employees this month.

“As health care workers we’ve taken a sacred oath to do everything possible to keep our patients safe and healthy — this includes getting vaccinated,” Boom wrote.

A little more than 4,100 employees have not received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The hospital does not know yet how many employees potentially will be suspended or terminated because of the mandatory vaccination policy.

Since 2009, a hospital policy has mandated its workers receive the flu vaccine each year, unless they have a medical or religious objection qualifying them for exemption.

Fire them.  The vaccine should be mandated.  COVID-19 has cost us over half a million lives here in America.  The knuckleheads are killing us.

Over 10% of Harris County’s early voters in person this week are voting drive thru.  Some GOP arseholes in the Texas Legislature want to eliminate this option.  I wonder if they know that Kingwood has the most drive thru voters. Yes, Kingwood.

Some local political jurisdictions still run their own elections. Some folks have to go vote at two different locations for city and ISD elections. Go figure.

We won the YouTube game last night. 

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I saw this yesterday:

Yes, it’s Jeopardy! official! LeVar Burton will be among the final slate of guest hosts. He will be joined by Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, David Faber and Joe Buck, who will join previously announced guest hosts Ken Jennings, Katie Couric, Aaron Rodgers, Bill Whitaker, Mayim Bialik, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Savannah Guthrie and Dr. Sanjay Gupta enjoying their moment behind the lectern on Jeopardy!

No Latinos.  Everybody knows Latinos don’t watch Jeopardy.

I would have recommended “Today” and NBC’s Natalie Morales or Lin-Manuel Miranda for starters.

The Chron E-Board’s take on Medicaid expansion in Texas is a good one today.  Here is the best line:

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and most of their GOP cohorts have always known they were on the short end of a losing argument. That’s why they were willing to tolerate a work-around — a face-saving work-around, so to speak — with the federal government to cover low-income Texans worth billions of dollars a year. (Just don’t call it Medicaid expansion!)

Now, they have been unmasked.

That’s funny. Go read it.

I saw some folks say the Columbus, Ohio PD did the right thing for quickly showing us the body-cam video of a justified shooting. It’s the untimely showing of the unjustified shooting body-cam videos that are the problem.

Commentary is sure that at some point a stat will come out that tells us who the health care worker is in America who administered the most vaccines. Someone has to be keeping score.

Today’s game won’t be on AT&TSW.  It is on YouTube.  Don’t ask me why.

7-10 and still in last place.

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San Jacinto Day

Aside from Derek Chauvin’s legal defense team, who in their right mind could defend Chauvin.  He got what he deserved yesterday. Guilty three times.  Now we will wait for his sentencing in a few weeks.

I am guessing the law enforcement leadership across the country was breathing a sigh of relief after the verdict was announced.  They didn’t have to deal with protesters taking to the streets last night.

The City of H-Town is spending a million or so on high powered litigators to protect themselves from the botched Harding Street raid.  They will probably need to hire a couple or so more firms in my book. This is kind of silly.

Commentary thinks it is a safe bet that the serious candidates for H-Town Mayor in 2023 will campaign on not defending the botched raid.  Why do you think it is even called a botched raid?

Here is how Royko responded to the Biden-Harris administration playing hardball with Texas on Medicaid:

Where are the media useful idiots when you need them?

Had Trump suggested withholding any Medicaid funds, all you knuckleheads would have been on the warpath; but, when the Harris-Biden Maoists do it, well Hell, the Republicans must be blamed.

Good! Let the Democrats shut off the funds for Medicaid funds. We are tired of pulling the over-loaded wagon. How can we get the government to stop wasting trillions on other unnecessary federal agency expenditures?

All Texas has to do is expand Medicaid and everyone will live happily ever after, but noooo.  I am betting that Biden-Harris will prevail on this one. Easy call for sure.

Today is San Jacinto Day.  Commentary tries to give it a mention every year on this day.  I have told folks before that being from Baytown, right next to the Battleground, a number of our schools in the Goose Creek CISD were named after the notables or heroes of the Texas Revolution, including Austin, Bowie, Crockett, De Zavala and Travis.  Heck, we even had one named after San Jacinto.

When was the last time you were at the Battleground to visit the Monument or Battleship Texas?  Of course, you can’t visit the ship these days because it is undergoing much needed repairs. When was the last time you rode on the Lynchburg Ferry? Can you name the ferryboats? The William P. Hobby and Ross S. Sterling. When was the last time you had a meal at the Monument Inn? 

Just so you know, the Battleground isn’t part of Baytown, Deer Park, La Porte, H-Town or Pasadena.  It is in unincorporated Harris County.

I really can’t think of a decent flick about the Battle of San Jacinto.  Can you?

Former Astro Ken Caminiti would be 58 today.  He left us way too soon.

7-9 and in last place.

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Expanding Medicaid

22 years-ago today was Columbine.  Things have not changed.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale is no longer with us. He was a great public servant. I had the honor of helping put together two events for him – both in Corpus Christi.  In 1978, when he was Vice President, he campaigned for Cong. Bob Krueger when Krueger was running for the U.S. Senate.  In 1984, I help put together a rally for the former Vice President when he was running for President.

1,445 voted early in person yesterday in Harris County.  7.7% or 111 of the voters voted drive thru.

As of today, the votes aren’t there in the Texas Senate for constitutional carry.  Let’s hope it stays that way.

Commentary will say this about the Biden-Harris Administration. They aren’t fu_king around. Check this from a Chron story today on expanding Medicaid in Texas:

Texas Republicans have been swift to condemn the Biden administration for rescinding early approval of a multibillion-dollar Medicaid program that would help fund emergency care for the state’s booming uninsured population through 2030.

Gov. Greg Abbott said the federal government was “deliberately betraying Texans.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to “use every legal tool available to regain the assistance Texans need.”

But the decision federal health officials announced Friday could end up being one of the biggest steps yet to extend government health coverage to low-income people in Texas since the Affordable Care Act, according to health advocates and political observers. That’s true even if it doesn’t spur immediate change.

“The Biden administration has all the cards here,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, who teaches political science at the University of Houston. “They aren’t playing nice anymore with health care expansion. They’ve got the money, so they have the leverage.”

Here is the entire Chron story: Biden ‘has all the cards’ as he pushes Texas to expand Medicaid. But it may take time. (houstonchronicle.com).

Good, good, good.

It is 4-20.

The team is in Colorado.  Talk about a Rocky Mountain high.

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Voters in a number of Harris County political jurisdictions will vote early today using the new voting gizmos that are a bit different from the ones we have been using. I am curious to know how voters will react.

I sure hope Baytown voters don’t use the Harrisvotes.com pdf map on where to vote.  They have the Lee College early voting location in Clear Lake. It is not.

It looks like the Chauvin trial will go into the jury deliberation phase today.  If we don’t get a guilty verdict, America will deserve whatever happens. 

This is hilarious. From CNN:

(CNN)Former President George W. Bush on Sunday called on Congress to tone down the “harsh rhetoric” on immigration, adding that he hopes that doing so will “set a tone that is more respectful” of immigrants and lead to more reform.

“I do want to say to Congress, please put aside all of the harsh rhetoric about immigration, please put aside trying to score political points on either side. I hope I can help set a tone that is more respectful about the immigrant, which may lead to reform of the system,” Bush told Norah O’Donnell on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

And this:

Bush also said he is currently lobbying the Republican Party to act on creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, if they can pass a background check and pay back taxes but did not seem hopeful that his party will agree.

“I am right now,” he told O’Donnell when she asked if he would lobby his party if President Joe Biden put forward a proposal with those caveats. “Whether my own party listens to me or not is another question.”

This is hilarious.  The guy dropped out of politics 12 years ago.  He has not been engaged with his Party.  He has taken an attitude of disdain toward politics. The GOP in Congress today isn’t the GOP from 2007.  The GOP in 2021 isn’t going to listen to the likes of him.  Maybe if he had stayed engaged, his GOP wouldn’t have fallen into an abyss. Save it.

Here is the entire hilarious story from CNN: Former President George W. Bush calls on Congress to tone down ‘harsh rhetoric’ about immigration – CNNPolitics.

Rookie outfielder Chas McCormick is 26 today. Happy Birthday, Chas!

We have four of our starters on the injured list because of COVID-19 protocols. The four are Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Martín Maldonado. We are 7-8. 

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