Archive for June, 2021

Firefighter Mess

Commentary has said it over and over again.  The City of H-Town should not be dealing with this.  See this from the Chron:  

City Council on Wednesday is expected to consider an ordinance that would enact 18 percent in raises for firefighters by July 2023, though the fire union said the measure still would not offer assurance of the pay increases they long have sought because Council could amend or repeal the ordinance at any point. 

The proposed raise includes a 6 percent pay bump already approved as part of the city’s fiscal 2022 budget, which takes effect Thursday 

Under the ordinance up for consideration Wednesday, firefighters also would see their base salaries rise by 6 percent in fiscal 2023 and 2024, meaning first-year firefighters, who currently make $43,528, would earn a $51,842 annual salary by July 2023, according to the city. 

Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the raises in May but has yet to ask city council to approve any pay increases beyond 2022. Since Turner’s announcement, the fire union has continued to call on the mayor to implement the raises through a contract, arguing that is the only way to make them binding for future years. 

Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association President Marty Lancton reiterated that Tuesday, and again criticized Turner for funding the pay raises through federal stimulus money. The mayor has said it will be up to his successor to find a funding source for the firefighters’ raises once the stimulus money runs out. 

“As we have been saying all along, it is nice to have the temporary pay bump, but this money will go away,” Lancton said in a statement. “In the meantime, firefighters are still working without a contract. The law is the law. It does not change simply because someone does not want to follow it.” 

Here is the entire read: Houston city council may raise firefighter pay via ordinance, as union pushes for contract (houstonchronicle.com). 

Sigh.  Maybe we do need to have a vote on binding arbitration and get this over with once and for all. 

It is good to know that Galveston County government wants to give away their federal dollars to build a wall. What a bunch of dumbarses. See this from the Chron: 

Galveston County Judge Mark Henry announced Tuesday he had signed a local disaster declaration as a result of what he called a crisis at the border and issued an executive order that will approve funding to send local authorities to the border. 

The order also dedicated up to $6.6 million, or 10 percent, of the funds allocated to the county through the American Rescue Plan to help with the construction of a permanent border wall once a plan is finalized, Henry said. 

Again, here is the Chron article: Galveston County Judge Mark Henry issues disaster declaration in response to border situation (houstonchronicle.com). 

I don’t know what to say. 

The New York City elections folks have botched the counting of the ranked voting ballots.  I don’t think I am a fan of ranked voting. 

We went from a hot winning streak to getting clobbered last night.  That’s what  you call 2021 baseball. 

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Most Hated

The most hated team in MLB, us, has the most players on the ballot in the final voting for the MLB All Star Teams.  Our seven players are Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, and Martin Maldonado.  The Blue Jays, Cubbies and Dodgers have five players on the ballot.  I don’t think I am going out on a limb predicting that not a single Astro will be elected to be a starter.  Not with all the hate out there. 

My pal Harris County Constable Alan Rosen and his Precinct 1 scandal got the Chron’s kickarse journalist St. John Barned-Smith to write the most definitely the best article on the Harris County Constable system.  Here is the headline from the online story: 

Does Harris County need constables? In fallout from ‘bachelor party’ scandal, critics want to know 

It is a must read article and best ever on this issue.  It is very informative.  

Here are parts: 

Many constables’ offices elsewhere in Texas have just a few employees. But not in Harris County. For a half century, Houston-area constables have steadily accrued more power and more responsibility. Now, they occupy a position unlike any other in Texas. 


Critics say the offices are bloated and out of control, duplicating other law enforcement agencies and creating a two-tier system where wealthy neighborhoods pay for what amounts to a private security force. Defenders say constables provide badly needed backup to the region’s larger departments, while constables themselves say that because they are elected, they are more responsive to their constituents. 

And this: 

By 2002, Harris County’s constables workforce grew to more than 1,200 people, with a combined budget of $75.7 million, according to a Chronicle investigation at the time. This year, they employ more than 2,000 people, including more than 1,600 peace officers, with budgets totaling more than $213 million — just shy of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office’s entire patrol budget, of $246 million. 

Here is the entire read if you can access: Does Harris County need constables? In fallout from ‘bachelor party’ scandal, critics want to know (houstonchronicle.com). 

Excellent journalism.  That is why I subscribe. You should too. 

Remember yesterday when Royko said Democrats were the fractured party.  This is what Donald Trump said yesterday: 

“Now it was revealed that (Former Attorney General William) Barr was being pushed to tell lies about the election by Mitch McConnell, another beauty, who was worried about damaging the Republicans chances in the Georgia runoff.  What really damaged the Senate Republicans was allowing their races to be rigged and stolen, and worse, the American people to no longer believe their vote matters because spineless RINOs like Bill Barr and Mitch McConnell did nothing.” 

Us, fractured?  

From Tags: 

HOUSTON — First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will visit Minute Maid Park on Tuesday to tour the club’s vaccination event. The pair will also stay for the Astros-Orioles game and make an appearance on the club’s television and radio broadcasts. 

The Astros, in partnership with Houston Methodist, are giving free COVID-19 vaccinations at Minute Maid Park from 5-8 p.m. CT Tuesday in the Union Station lobby. No appointment is required and participants can get vaccinated with or without a ticket to that night’s game. The event is open to people 12 years or older (minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). 

Those who get vaccinated — the first or second dose of Pfizer will be available ­– will receive two free tickets to either the June 29 game vs. the Orioles or to one of the upcoming games vs. the Athletics (July 6-8). Additionally, participants will also receive a 2017 World Series replica ring. 

We are still giving out rings?  Hope we get a win this evening. 

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Bleeping Morons

From the Fu_king Morons Department.  The North Carolina State baseball team was forced to exit the College World Series this past weekend because of COVID-19 issues. Here is from this past weekend’s Chron: 

After the game on Friday, North Carolina State coach Elliott Avent grew frustrated and wouldn’t answer directly when asked if he or the baseball program encouraged players to be vaccinated. 

“My job is to teach them baseball, make sure they get an education and keep them on the right track forward,” he said. “But I don’t try to indoctrinate my kids with my values or my opinions. Obviously, we talk about a lot of things. But these are young men that can make their own decisions and that’s what they did.” 

Avent rolled his eyes when asked if he’s been vaccinated. 

“If you want to talk baseball, we can talk baseball,” he said. “If you want to talk politics or stuff like that, you can go talk to my head of sports medicine, Rob Murphy.” 

Here is the entire Chron read: NC State out of College World Series due to COVID-19 issues; Vanderbilt advances (houstonchronicle.com). 

It would only make sense that a team would have all its players vaccinated as quick as possible.  They were asking for it in my book.  They have no one to blame but themselves.  Dumbarses. No sympathy from Commentary.   

@elena_cabral is a journalist and she tweeted this yesterday: 

Hey @CNN ,stop cutting away from pressers in Miami when officials speak Spanish. They aren’t doing this for “local media” as you keep saying. They do it for a much broader audience, including bilinguals like me. This is why we need #MoreLatinosinNews.

I have noticed that the past few days.  Here’s the deal.  Are Spanish language only viewers watching CNN’s news coverage of the building collpase?  I don’t think so. 

From the Chron and I guess congrats are in order: 

The Harris County Democratic Party on Sunday elected Odus Evbagharu as its new chair, according to a news release.  

Evbagharu (Eh-va-GHA-ro), 28, who currently serves as a Texas House of Representatives chief of staff, is the youngest person and the first African American to hold the position, the party said in the release. He will fulfill the unexpired term of Lillie Schechter, who stepped down June 16 after four years of service.   

“I am humbled and overwhelmed. Precinct Chairs are an integral part of the political process and I look forward to working with those who supported me and earning the trust of those who didn’t,” Evbagharu said in the release. “Our party is continuing a trend of electing young progressives to lead in Houston and Harris County. Changes are coming, but the goal is the same —  we’ll be working hard to elect Democrats to impact communities and fight for Texans.” 

I don’t know the fella.  Good luck. 

Royko sent me this on Bill King and the SAM Party: 

Sadly BK is chasing windmills. 

Republicans went for Perot in 1992, and we ended up with “Slick Willy,” the Commander-in-Heat, and the evil Hillary for 8 years where the first thing they did was to get the FBI files on the elected officials to leverage them. He allowed the N.Koreans to establish their nuclear weapons program, and for the CHICOM’s to get MIRV and submarine technology. And, that big sucking sound from NAFTA. 

That likely will not happen again. The DemonRats are the fractured Party, controlled by the Maoists. 

Fractured? GOP Congressional leaders think January 6 doesn’t exist.  

MLB.com has a piece on the surprise players for each team this season.  Here is our surprise:  

Astros: Luis Garcia 
The Astros knew he had great stuff, but who in the world could have counted on him to be a rotation mainstay? 

I can’t disagree. 

Here is the deal on June 28.  We have played 78 games.  39 at The Yard and 39 on the road.  We have a two game lead in the AL West.  We have the best record in the AL and second best in MLB.  Starting this evening we host B’More for three.  The team informed me Friday that my opt out option is over starting July 6.  Play ball, I guess. 

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Border Politics

I saw this in today’s Chron: 

Nearly half of Texas Republican voters say they do not plan to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, according to new polling released Thursday by Quinnipiac University. 

That is why I still wear a mask when I am out. 

Vice President Kamala Harris will be going to the border today. For the past two or three months, some have been calling her out for not going to the border.  Now she is going.  Now some of those that have been calling her out are saying she is going to the wrong part of the border. Shut up! 

Here is from a Chron Op-Ed from today authored by Texas Democratic State Senators  César J. Blanco, Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa and Judith Zaffirini: 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently held a press conference to announce his plans to build a physical border wall with state taxpayer dollars. He also indicated a new approach to charge immigrants and asylum seekers with state crimes to create a criminal record and jail them. At the press conference, Abbott was surrounded by lawmakers from various parts of the state, but not a single lawmaker who joined him represents a border community. 

Because border lawmakers live and work on the border every day, we understand the concerns of our constituents and the challenges our communities face. In our representative government, we should be at the table discussing issues that impact our districts. For whatever reason, we were omitted from major policy discussions related to the border. We support legal immigration, not open borders, and have supported transparent, accountable and smart border security for years. 

Lawmakers from both political parties agree border security is a federal responsibility. For years, however, Texas has supplemented federal efforts by spending billions of state taxpayer money on this federal responsibility, instead of on other pressing state needs. Last session, for example, Texas appropriated another $1.1 billion for border security. None of that money was earmarked for a border wall. 

Here is the entire Op-Ed: Opinion: A border security plan should get input from border lawmakers (houstonchronicle.com). 

Not once did Gov. Abbott call for a border wall during the just completed legislative session.  Not one penny of the state budget that was adopted last month is earmarked for a wall.   

What has happened?  Abbott’s insecure.  His handling of the pandemic and the Big Freeze have hurt his polling numbers.  His base is made up of Donald Trump crazies.  He is being challenged within his own party.  Permitless carry, racist voter suppression and now the border wall will help him with the loonies.  This is a new low coming from a Texas governor. 

I won’t even mention a press aide to GOP AG Ken Paxton quitting because she didn’t want to go to the border without security of something like that.  I guess the state budget didn’t include vests for the AG’s office. 

Remember earlier this week when my pal Kris Banks tweeted this about Bill King and his SAM party:  

Does anyone still care what this person says or does 

The front page of the hard copy of the Houston Chronicle does.  See this: 

During the 2006 race for Texas governor, Republican incumbent Rick Perry cruised to a nine-point win over Democrat Chris Bell. 

Despite the comfortable margin, Perry received hundreds of thousands fewer votes than other GOP statewide incumbents, many of whom defeated their opponents by more than twice Perry’s margin that year. 

Siphoning votes from Perry and Bell were two independents: then-comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn and musicial humorist Kinky Friedman, who combined for more than 30 percent. 

Earlier this week, former Houston mayoral candidate Bill King — an independent whose published works include a book titled “Unapologetically Moderate” — filed paperwork to launch a new political party called the Serve America Movement Party, which aims to capture the types of voters who opted against the major-party candidates in 2006. 

The new party, abbreviated as SAM, is generally targeting moderates who believe the Democratic and Republican parties have moved too far in either direction, but have little choice but to pick a side every election cycle under the nation’s firmly entrenched two-party system. 

“Even way back in 2006, when given the alternative, Texans said, you know, I would kind of like something different than what we’ve been doing,” King said. “I mean, you think about how much worse it is now than it was back then.” 

King, who is serving as party chairman, formed the organization as a branch of the national SAM Party, which formed in 2017 and has also set up shop in Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. 

Here is the entire read: Bill King’s SAM Party aims to break through two-party system as moderate alternative in Texas (houstonchronicle.com). 

I am ok with this as long as it takes more votes away from the GOP. 

The Astros’ radio announcer will start traveling with the team after the All Star Game break. The TV announcers will not travel with the team this season. 

The Cubbies tossed a no-no against the Dodgers last night.  That’s seven no-nos this season and we haven’t even reached the halfway point. 

We have now won eleven in a row. Yordan had a grand salami last night.  The team batting average is .281 which is the best in MLB.  The Blue Jays have the second best team batting average with .261.  Winning is fun. 

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The H-Town I-45 aggression project got put on hold yesterday by the federal government.  Check this from the Chron: 

In a statement, TxDOT spokesman Bob Kaufman said the decision to slow development by FHWA “indefinitely suspends key steps” on a project state and local officials have sought for more than 15 years. 

“It’s unfortunate there is an expanded delay on this project, but TxDOT remains fully committed to working with FHWA and local officials on an appropriate path forward ,” Kaufman said. “We know that many in the community are anxious to see this project advance.” 

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and Menefee said Wednesday the county remains committed to redesigning the proposal. 

“We do need and our community deserves an I-45 project, Hidalgo said. “We also need a project that respects the wishes of the community.” 

Here is the entire Chron article: Federal officials halt development on TxDOT’s $7 billion rebuild of I-45 (houstonchronicle.com). 

The TxDOT spokesperson wasn’t talking about H-Town and Harris County “local officials” on the “working with” thing.  Nope. 

From the Trib today on ERCOT: 

Last Monday, Texas’ main power grid operator asked Texans, mid-heat wave, to turn their thermostats to 78 degrees during the afternoon and evening for the week to reduce electricity demand on the grid after 12,000 megawatts of power generation unexpectedly went offline — enough to power 2.4 million homes on a hot summer day. 

By the end of the week, that appeal from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas expired without a public announcement, and ERCOT officials still have not said why they asked Texans to cut back on electricity use. 

Were there damages to the power grid infrastructure stemming from February’s deadly winter storm? Were there nefarious actors looking to manipulate the electricity market? What does this mean for power generation during the rest of the hot Texas summer? 

ERCOT hasn’t said — or released data to answer any of these questions raised by industry experts. And that is exactly how the Texas power grid is supposed to work, energy experts said. 

“ERCOT knows what plants fail, but not why,” said Bob King, an energy consultant in Austin who has worked in the Texas energy industry for more than 30 years. 

ERCOT is a quasi-governmental body that manages the state’s power supply; it’s overseen by the Public Utility Commission, a state agency with leaders appointed by the governor. While ERCOT oversees the grid’s daily operations, the grid itself is a network of independent companies, cooperatives and some cities that aren’t required to quickly give ERCOT detailed explanations when power generation goes offline. 

Here is the entire Trib article: ERCOT still doesn’t know why Texas power plants went offline last week | The Texas Tribune. 

What a Greg Abbott mess.

This is a headline on the HoustonChronicle.com:

Two new retail developments are doubling down on Houston’s hippest neighborhood 

Care to guess where is H-Town’s hippest neighborhood? See more from the Chron:

With millennial-approved color palettes and branding, experiential pop-ups and a model that entices locals to hang out in an Instagrammable setting, lifestyle retailers are doubling down on the hipness that is the Heights. 

Boasting indie-cool boutiques and restaurants mixed with forthcoming national retailers, including Ray-Ban, M-K-T (pronounced as three letters) is a new development comprising five repurposed, single-story buildings and green spaces conceived by Austin-based Michael Hsu’s Office of Architecture. 

Situated on the Heights Hike and Bike Trail, the 12-acre site has office, retail and dining space. The first retailers opened in late 2020, with ongoing tenant announcements and grand-opening events. 

I’m hip for sure.

That’s ten in a row. Our last loss was back on Saturday, June 12 when we lost to the Twins in Minneapolis.  Our current win streak includes wins like 14-3, 10-2, 8-2, 10-2 and 13-0. That’s downright ugly. 

We are in Detroit for four. 

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Some Care

My friend Bill King tweeted this a couple of days ago: 

Later today I will be driving to Austin to file the paperwork to form the SAM Party of Texas.  I will serve as its founding state party chair. 

Jasper Scherer of the Chron tweeted this afterwards: 

Ex-Houston mayor candidate @BillKingHouston says he’s filing paperwork today to form the Serve America Party of Texas, which describes itself as “current & former Democrats, Republicans, & independents who have come together w/ a common goal – to fix our broken politics in Texas” 

My pal Kris Banks then tweeted this about Bill: 

Does anyone still care what this person says or does 

Well, Jasper did. 

Erica Grieder of the Chron also cares.  Check out how she starts her column today: 

Organizers of a new political party in Texas want to take advantage of voters’ disgust with partisan politics and turn their anger into a force in upcoming elections. 

“I think you can have dramatic investment in public schools and have robust school choice; you can see Roe v Wade as protecting a woman’s right to choose, but also establishing the state’s interest in viability,” said David Jolly, the former Florida congressman and executive director of the nationwide Serve America Movement, when we met on Sunday evening at Maggiano’s. 

“Neither party will allow these conversations,” he said pointedly. 

“There’s no nuance,” agreed Bill King, the former Kemah mayor and businessman who’s now the chair of the SAM Party of Texas, the Serve America Movement’s iteration in this state. 

Both are convinced that the problems in our politics have less to do with the Democratic or Republican parties than with the duopoly itself, or the “two-party doom loop,” as King put it in a recent op-ed. He argued that both parties benefit from the polarization and ideological stridency that left many Texans as exasperated as he was, watching this year’s edition of the Texas Legislature. 

Here is all of Grieder’s column: New “big tent” party in Texas might have a real role in statewide political landscape (houstonchronicle.com). 

That’s funny.  Jasper and Erica really don’t care what Kris says. That’s funny. 

Like it or not, Bill is one of the smartest guys in these parts. He has made it pretty clear that he has had it with the two-party system.  I may not agree with him, but he makes good points. 

Here in Texas, statewide, we only have a one-party system and that is getting pretty old. 

Nine in a row. Nine in a row. 

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Ranked Voting

 New York City Democrats are voting today in their primary for Mayor of the city.  They are using the ranked voting system. Don’t ask me how ranked voting works.  I have been watching how it kind of works on CNN.  You vote for your top five candidates and assign each a rank like one through five.  You don’t have to rank five.  You can just rank one if you want. 

It is going to take a while to count all the ranked votes. Like a few weeks.  I don’t know about that.  It seems like the poll watchers would get tired. You would have to do a lot of convincing and educating to get Commentary to support this voting system.  I will try to be watching closely. 

I really don’t have a favorite candidate in the New York City mayoral contest. 

City of H-Town water users are fixing to get a major price hike.  See this from today’s Chron: 

The biggest hike to Houston water bills in decades could begin next month, as City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on a plan to overhaul how much the city charges its utility customers. 

The plan would see most water bill rates go up by 47 percent over the next six years, with wastewater rates going up 63 percent. That includes jumps of 9 and 20 percent, respectively, this year if council approves the plan. 

Bills vary by customer type, meter size and water usage, but the most common bill for a single-family customer would see overall charges go from $27.39 now to $31.46 for 3,000 gallons of water in a month. By 2026, the bill would be $48.68, a total increase of 78 percent. 

A customer who uses 4,000 gallons in a month would see the bill go from $57.15 toI  $60.96 this year, and $88.78 by 2026. 

The median monthly usage for single-family customers is 3,400 gallons. Houston Public Works officials say nearly 60 percent of single-family customers will see an increase of $5 or less this year under the plan. More than a quarter of single-family customers will see increases of $5 to $20, according to Public Works

Mayor Sylvester Turner’s administration has said the hikes are necessary to comply with a $2 billion consent agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency the city signed earlier this year, a long-running legal issue stemming from sewage leaks that mostly occurred in poor neighborhoods and communities of color. The mayor called those spills “horrendous.” 

Here is the entire Chron read: Houston to consider biggest hike to water bills in at least 17 years this week (houstonchronicle.com). 

This will hit poor folks the hardest.  Same thing for folks with a modest fixed income.  

It seems like our water rates have been rising for a while.  I don’t know about raising the rates this much. I think the timing is very poor for a rate hike. It is kind of cold-hearted.

Just so you know, the days are now going to get shorter starting today. 

One of Commentary’s favorites is celebrating her BD today.  Happy Birthday to Marisol Valero! 

Back in the old days, Marisol and I would go to Astros games a few times each season. 

We have now won eight in a row. We lead the AL West by a game.  We had a no-no going into the eighth inning last night.  Wow! 

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Long Hot Summer

Today is the first full day of summer.  It is going to be a long hot summer.  It will be a summer of grid watching.  It turns out last week, we lost a major manufacturing company locating to Texas because of our grid issues. 

We will also get a front row seat to watching the GOP candidates for Texas governor scapegoat migrants and folks of color.  It has already begun.  Gov. Greg Abbott wants to defund Texas prisons and move $250 million to build a wall. Sheer nonsense. Abbott and Donald Trump will be going to the border next week. One of his opponents wants to close the border all together.  The GOP will be further moving to the extreme. 

Last week, Abbott vetoed the state legislative budget and GOP state representatives are silent.  A national embarrassment. 

From the Chron this morning on yesterday’s rally at the State Capitol: 

Several thousand were in attendance, chanting “let us vote” between speakers and holding up signs: “Protect voting rights,” “Texas voters matter,” “Don’t mess with Texas voters.” 

CNN’s Jake Tapper has made it pretty clear he’s not going to have deniers, err GOP lying arseholes on his program. Good for Jake. NBC’s Chuck Todd is ok with having them on “Meet the Press.”  I will be ok not watching “Meet the Press” from here on out.  There are already enough Sunday news talk shows I can watch. 

Before our series with the White Sox started on Thursday, the White Sox owned the best record in MLB.  Not anymore. We swept the four-game series.  Now we have the best record in the AL and the third best record in MLB and have a seven-game winning streak.  I have no idea how we are going to be playing in September, but we are playing good baseball these days. 

We now are on a roadie to B’More and Detroit. 

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Hey, today’s a federal holiday. Everyone knows that I grew up Baytown, which is down the road from Galveston. I have tried my darndest to be a student of history throughout my life.  I didn’t learn about Juneteenth growing up.  I am pretty sure I learned it from the late and former State Rep. Al Edwards and his dogged pursuit in making it a state holiday. 

I remember some saying way back then that what is up with Rep. Al Edwards always promoting Juneteenth.  The answer is today.  Have a nice Juneteenth Weekend! 

It’s official. Pasadena City Council District B Member-Elect Bianca Valerio will be the first Latina to ever serve on the Pasadena City Council.  Just think about that.  Congrats are in order.  So cool.  I am glad to have had a part in her win. 

A couple of days ago I said this:  

The H-Town Mayor has tweeted this more than once: 

I would be very reluctant to sign any petition that would force something on the ballot unless you fully understand the cost. There is nothing wrong saying “no thank you”. St 

The Dean signed the petition yesterday. Here’s from The Dean’s FB: 

Proud to sign and support Houston fire fighters petition to hold a referendum on their right to binding arbitration. Arbitration works. 

That’s funny. 

This thing with the Houston Firefighters should have been handled in 2016 – period.  This is ridiculous that it hasn’t been worked out.  It is going to be difficult to demonize the Firefighters.  Remember, folks.  They were on the front lines during the pandemic. 

Gov. Greg Abbott has lost it.  Off the deep end. Bonkers. He has taken cruelty to a stratospheric level.  He’s ordered the prison folks to get a prison ready for migrants.  Yep.  He’s a POS for sure. Don’t even argue with me. POS. 

Happy Birthday today to Sir Paul.  It is now 15 years since he was 64.   The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM will be playing his tunes all day today.

The Astros had another impressive win last night.  They are definitely playing good baseball. 

Ok. So, you are dying to know. The only MLB Hall of Fame great with a Juneteenth BD is Lou Gehrig. 

Original Astro/Colt 45 player with a Juneteenth BD is Bob Aspromonte. 

Former Astros and now Rays pitcher Collin McHugh has a Juneteenth BD as well as Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom. Now you know. 

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Folks are doing some checking to see if Pasadena City Council District B Member-Elect Bianca Valerio will be the first Latina to ever serve on the Pasadena City Council.  I try to pay attention to stuff like this and I can’t say if any other Latina has served on the Pasadena City Council.  If you know of any, please let me know.

A joke. Embarrassment. Insanity. Ridiculous. Sad. Maddening. Out of touch. Plain old stupid. These words don’t even come close to describing Texas GOP statewide elected officials and Texas GOP state legislators.

They now want to defund our state prisons.  They want to take $250 million from the prison system and build a wall. Who gave them the authority to do this? I am putting it mildly by saying they are all walking around with their heads up their arses. 

Whatever happened to fix the grid to keep folks alive.

A wall?

It is very difficult to comprehend and digest that they are all following Donald Trump blindly.

The press asked Gov. Greg Abbott about the grid, and he responded that the grid was fine and dandy.  My friend Bill King has a take today on the grid here:

On June 8, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted, “Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.” Barely a week later, his agency which controls the power grid was recommending that Texans set thermostats at 78° or higher, turn off lights and unplug appliances. I don’t know but I am just guessing that not many appliances have been unplugged at the Governors’ mansion or, for that matter, at the homes of any of our other state leaders.

It has been clear from the start that the state leadership’s principal aim has been to sweep the February grid collapse under the rug as quickly as possible and move on to red meat issues to deflect the public’s attention away from one of the greatest governance failures in the State’s history. At every turn, the State has sought to cover-up and dissemble any information about what really happened in February and scuttle any real effort to investigate the systemic problems with the ERCOT-controlled grid.

Since the grid failure, numerous media outlets and public advocacy groups have been filing Open Record requests with ERCOT, seeking answers about what happened. ERCOT has been fighting most of those requests, claiming that it is not subject to the Open Records law. In one of the most outrageous moves to facilitate the cover-up, our ethically challenged Attorney General has ruled that ERCOT is not subject to the Texas Open Records law. 

Instead, according to the Attorney General, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) which oversees ERCOT gets to decide what information is public. 

Remember that this is an agency that is totally controlled by state law, has claimed in litigation that it is entitled to sovereign immunity as a state agency, and was just bailed out by the Texas Legislature to the tune of about $2.5 billion. And yet, according to the Attorney General, those who will ultimately pick up the tab for this fiasco have no right to see ERCOT’s records.

Of course, Governor Abbott could, with one telephone call, instruct his appointees to the PUC to stop fighting the Open Records requests. I would not hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Not surprisingly, ERCOT’s fight to keep its records secret have been slammed by open record advocates. Some early discussion by some legislators to include a provision in the recently passed legislation that would have specifically subjected ERCOT to the Open Records Act was quickly quashed.

That is hardly surprising. This analysis by WFAA (Channel 8 in Dallas) found the energy-related interested hired 338 lobbyists at a cost of over $24 million to lobby in just this last session. Lord only knows how many millions have been doled out in campaign contributions. With the billions in profits that some made, there is plenty of money to go around.

Nice take from Bill.

Alyson Footer tweeted this last night:

It’s official: Jose Altuve is the first player in Major League history to hit a walkoff grand slam and then hit a leadoff homer in the next game.

We won last night.  We will host the White Sox for four games beginning this evening.  The White Sox own the best record in MLB.

Alex Bregman dinged up his leg and will be out for a while.

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