Archive for December, 2021

Solid Wasted 

The City of H-Town’s Solid Waste Department is the worst. My green recycling bin has now been sitting at the curb for a week now.  Studewood is a block from me. Studewood is also the dividing line. East of Studewood gets their green bins picked up on alternate Thursdays. Yesterday, as I was returning from Baytown, I saw my east of Studewood neighbors putting out their green bins for today. What a mess.  It is a shame.   

I wonder if my green bin will be picked up by the end of the year.

Hall of Fame great Sandy Koufax is 86 today. Number 32 was 14-2 against the Astros/Colt 45s with a 1.90 ERA. 

Let’s see. Four no-nos including a perfecto, an NL MVP, three NL Cy Youngs and four World Series rings. In just twelve seasons. 

I saw him pitch back at the Astrodome. 

I was asked the other day about the MLB player lockout. My take is the players will prevail.  There isn’t that arsehole owner out there who has surfaced and who will goad the other owners into risking the cancellation of games. They would be too dumb to do that to the fans. 

Opening Day is three months from tomorrow night when we host the Phillies at The Yard.

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It’s That Easy

Someone texted me to ask how I was doing a few days ago. Dodging the omicron variant was my reply. It has hit close to home. 

It was a little over a year ago, December 22, 2020, to be exact, when Gov. Greg Abbott was one of the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. He said right after getting the jab, “it’s that easy.” That was exactly a year and one week ago. It is that easy, but Abbott never really encouraged Texans to do so.   Instead, he fought the aggressive effort to get folks vaccinated.

Here we are. We are back to long testing lines and places like CVS and Walgreens are limiting how many COVID-19 testing kits you can buy. All because folks won’t get vaccinated. 

We ended 2020 with the vaccine getting rolled out.  Thanks to GOP governors like Abbott, we are still swamped with the COVID-19 as we end 2021. 

Since the start of the pandemic in March of 2020, I don’t think I have ever tried to predict when things would return to normal. We have way too many arseholes in key positions who just won’t follow the science. Who knows if we will ever get through this. 

I can always look at the bright side and yes, there is a bright side. We have President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  

We lost two great Americans yesterday. Football Hall of Fame great John Madden and former U.S. Senator Harry Reid. They were both favorites of mine. 

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California and Texas 

California has had 76,368 folks die from COVID-19. 

Texas has had 75,796 folks die from COVID-19. 

The difference is 572 more deaths in California. 

California has 10 million more people than Texas. 

The Governor of California is trying. 

The arsehole Governor of Texas gave up around April of 2020.  His fix was the personal responsibility thing. You can’t argue the fact that the biggest COVID-19 response failure in the USA is here in Texas under this sorry arsehole. Period. 

The number are the facts and speak for themselves.  

Sometime in January of 2022 Texas will take the lead in COVID-19 deaths.   

The following is hilarious. All these folks have registered to vote via the online route in Texas and absolutely no hint of fraud. The silence from the Texas GOP is funny. Online voter registration works. Here is from the Chron: 

Since a federal judge forced Texas nearly a year and a half ago to offer limited online voter registration, 1.5 million Texans have used the option, according to new state data. 

The August 2020 ruling, which found Texas in violation of the National Voter Registration Act, required state officials to give residents the opportunity to register when they renew their driver’s license online. The system was in place a month later. 

Advocates say the new data speaks to the success of online registration — and is evidence that Texas, one of just a few states that does not offer an online option for every registrant, should implement the program statewide. Republican leaders in state government have resisted such change, instead pursuing new voting restrictions in the name of election security. 

“The very best thing you can do is have systems where the government is seamlessly integrating voter registration into other processes,” said Mimi Marziani, the president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which represented the plaintiffs in the case that spurred the creation of the online system. 

It’s unclear how many of the 1.5 million people are registering to vote for the first time, but it’s likely that the majority of them are updating addresses on existing registrations. Hearst Newspapers requested the information a week ago, but the secretary of state’s office declined to provide that breakdown by publication time. Roughly 1.9 million people use the Department of Public Safety website to renew their license each year, Marziani said. 

About 40 percent of the online registration applications came from Texas’ five most populous counties. Roughly 200,000 people have used the option in Harris County, and 100,000 in Bexar, according to state data. 

Here is the entire Chron article: 1.5 million Texans have now used online voter registration, after state was forced to offer it (houstonchronicle.com). 

My green recycling bin has been sitting on the curb since Thursday. Today is Tuesday and not a rumbling recycling truck on the horizon. Tsk, tsk, tsk. 

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Sarah Weddington 

We lost a great Texan yesterday.  Former State Representative Sarah Weddington was best known for arguing Roe v Wade before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

She also worked in the President Jimmy Carter administration. 

This is from her Texas State Cemetery biography: 

From 1983 to 1985, she was the first female director of the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations. 

I had the pleasure of working with Sarah during her time at the Texas Office of State-Federal Relations.  Governor Mark White named her to that position.  She was fun to work with. 

When I worked with Sarah, I didn’t think much about her work on Roe v Wade. 

Years later, when the GOP was assaulting women’s reproductive health rights, did I appreciate that I had worked with a legend, a true Texas legend.   

I am so honored to have worked with Sarah Weddington. 

Saturday night, My Best Friend texted me that he could not attend the Texans game yesterday at NRG and asked if I could use his tickets. Yep. I took my nephew David.  There weren’t very many folks there so it was as safe as can be.  I had a couple of Saint Arnold Art Cars, and we won the game. It was probably the best game the Texans have played all season. 

Best Beatles Christmas Day ever – three calendars – two wall size and one pocket size, 15 pair of socks, coasters, books, and a coffee mug. I also got a cool “Godfather” movie pint glass, Astros socks and other cool stuff including fine wine. 

I also got a record player.  I still have a lot of vinyl records from the 60s, 70s and 80s that I am looking forward to spinning. The Beatles, Willie Nelson, movie soundtracks and others. 

The omicron variant is starting to wreck the college bowl season. Sigh. 

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Former HISD District I Trustee candidate Janette Garza Lindner is celebrating a birthday today. Yep, Janette is a Christmas Eve birthday girl. How about that! Happy Birthday, Janette! 

The omicron variant is forcing the alteration of Christmas gatherings this weekend.  I am sure most folks who usually go out and visit folks during Christmas are having stuff changed at the last minute. Commentary has been impacted. It is kind of sad but not unexpected.

I am sure most folks have also been inconvenienced by the supply chain deal. For one particular product, I had to go to six separate locations before I found it. I found it in Baytown yesterday while I was visiting my Dad.  

The banks are closed today. No mail delivery either. 

Commentary has let it be known that the City of H-Town lags when it comes to picking up the green bins. Thursday’s bins are usually picked up on Saturday in my part of town. Since the City is off tomorrow, I wonder if they will be picked up today, or will they sit out there until Monday. Pity to those who live on some of the narrower streets in my neighborhood. 

I have two more Christmas Day related errands to run this morning. 

Stay safe everyone and mask up if you are out and about. 

Merry Christmas to all! 

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Tossed Tree

This is how the lead Trib story today starts: 

As other states are mobilizing to respond to the rapidly spreading omicron variant, Gov. Greg Abbott is not budging on his hands-off approach to the coronavirus pandemic that was cemented months ago. 

Here is the entire read: Gov. Greg Abbott stays hands-off as omicron spreads in Texas | The Texas Tribune. 

The problem is this POS governor got in the way of local leaders doing their jobs. That’s why over 74,000 Texans won’t get to deck the halls this week. 

Heck, because of this POS’s ineptness, the Aggies don’t get to play in next week’s Gator Bowl. What a POS. 

The Chron has a story on Cancun Cruz still wanting to be president.  In the story, Cancun says that Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon didn’t win on their first try running for president either.  Sure, Cancun. Reagan and Nixon also didn’t display cowardice by heading to sunny Mexico when disaster struck their states. 

There was an explosion and fire early this morning at the ExxonMobil plant in Baytown. Four workers were injured.  The explosion made the “Today” show this morning.  The ExxonMobil plant in Baytown is the second largest refinery complex in the country and seventh in the world. 

The blast shook nearby homes. 

The refinery is located a few blocks from my Dad’s house. We actually own property directly across the street from the refinery.  The refinery is in State Senate District 6.

More bad news from Baytown. My Dad’s Christmas tree started shedding needles big time a couple of days after we set it up.  Yesterday, we had to toss it to the curb.  That’s a first for the Campos household. 

O tannenbaum, o tannenbaum 
How lovely are thy branches! 

2020, 2021 with 2022 a little over a week away. 

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I kind of find it interesting that Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo has five opponents in the Democratic Primary. I would not have been surprised if nobody had run against her in the primary. Five?  

She should be able to pull this off without going into a runoff, right? What am I missing? 

Commentary is not going to spend much time talking about Sen. Joe Manchin and Build Back Better. Sen. Manchin has decided to be a major player on this deal. He ought to know that he is getting big time blowback because of the positions he is taking. He can handle it. He knew what to expect. 

The omicron variant is sidelining folks that I know. Sigh. 

I have been taking my Dad for long walks at the Kroger on Garth Road in Baytown. I have him mask up. I am now having to take a break on this because too many people are not masking up and they could be potential omicron carriers.  

Commentary is still ever vigilant and masking up. In a way, I am also trusting folks close to me. I have gotten this far – so far. 

There are three days until Christmas Day. I am still working. I have one candidate questionnaire that I must wrap up this morning and submit. I have another that I will do preliminary work on.  

I will make a quick grocery store run. I still need to get a couple or so food items for Christmas Day, but I will wait until Christmas Eve. I still have one Christmas gift to buy. I know what and where I have to get. I will try to do it this afternoon. 

I am meeting a good friend for lunch today at an outdoor setting. 

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Laura Atlas Kravitz

Commentary is a fan of Laura Atlas Kravitz. She is a player at the Texas State Capitol. She is also an artist who puts out sketches, many focused on what is happening at the State Capitol.  She tweeted this last night: 

I don’t publicize my health & wasn’t going to, but maybe it will help 1 person. At 2 am on Friday I tested positive w/ a COVID breakthrough case. I am 31 & healthy. At 2 am on Sat. I felt like I was going to die. Not hyperbole. Luckily, I got medical help. This is serious. 

I actually talked to her yesterday. Let me explain. 

I first started seeing Laura’s artwork on twitter a while back.  During State Sen. Carol Alvarado’s filibuster last August, Laura tweeted out a cool drawing of the Senator during the filibuster. 

Weeks later, I noticed that Laura had an Etsy account where she sold some of her sketches.  Her business is called Lollies Follies Studio. I looked to see if the Sen. Alvarado sketch had been put up for sale. It hadn’t.  I figured maybe someone at the Capitol had purchased it. 

A few weeks ago, Laura produced a Christmas ornament with the recent legislative session(s) as the theme.  I ordered one as a gift. When it arrived this past weekend, Laura included her business card with her phone number. I decided to call Laura to ask about the Sen. Alvarado artwork and if she still had it. 

Laura called me back yesterday and sounded a bit under the weather. She told me she had tested positive for COVID-19 and was on the mend. I asked her about the Sen. Alvarado sketch, and she told me that someone had already requested the artwork. She told me she didn’t put it up for sale because she didn’t want to make money off Sen. Alvarado’s filibuster.  That’s noble. 

I don’t want to mention who ended up with the artwork at this time. I can say it is in good hands for now. 

Get well, Laura. I am a big fan. 

Today is the first day of winter. It is also the shortest day of the year in terms of sunlight. 

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Rick Grifter 

COVID-19 infections are on the rise again. Blame it on the dumbarse unvaccinated. Blame it on a lot of the GOP leadership who are ok if folks aren’t vaccinated.

As expected from the Chron: 

Rhonda Skillern-Jones resigned her Houston Community College trustee seat Friday, a day after federal authorities revealed she had entered a plea agreement in connection with an alleged Houston ISD bribery scheme that occurred while she served on the district’s board, according to the college system. 

As of this morning, she is still listed as a trustee on the HCC website. Surely someone should have given the order to remove her from the website by now. Maybe everyone over there is at home for the holidays. 

Commentary is ready to see more heads roll on this HISD mess. 

Chron columnist Erica Grieder tweeted this response to a CNN Politics tweet: 

Genuinely surprised and deeply disappointed by this- 

Here is the CNN Politics tweet: 

A text to Mark Meadows on November 4, 2020, suggesting some states ignore voters and pick different electors came from Rick Perry, investigators believe https://cnn.it/3J2Ga1J 

When folks went to work for Donald Trump, they signed up for the grift.  That includes former Texas Governor Rick Perry.  Let’s not forget what Perry once said about Trump: 

“Let no one be mistaken Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised, and discarded.” 

Perry is just another grifter. Period. 

Grieder should not be surprised or disappointed.

All of them are grifters. 

That is your GOP these days. Only count the votes that vote for GOP candidates. So unamerican.  

Commentary thought about coasting a bit this week. Nope. I must do a few candidate questionnaires for the 2022 election. I just turned one in this morning. One is due in a couple of days. Then I have to do another that is due next week. Sigh. 

“The Wizard of Oz” is on TNT this evening at 6 pm. 

On the Hallmark Channel a few nights ago, “Sugar Plum Twist” aired which featured a mostly Latino cast with some Spanish sprinkled in.  It is about a local ballet company preparing for a “Nutcracker” production that includes a salsa infusion of sorts.  It was very entertaining. 

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HISD Mess 

A former HISD board trustee admitted to taking thousands of dollars from a vendor in a kickback scheme and pleaded guilty to a federal crime. Rhonda Skillern-Jones also serves as an HCC board trustee.   

The former HISD COO Brian Busby was also hit with multiple indictments. 

These folks don’t get any sympathy from Commentary.   

They are stealing from us taxpayers. 

The Chron E-Board today blistered Skillern-Jones and the HISD mess.  Here are parts of the blistering: 

How could she? 

That was our first thought when news broke Thursday that former Houston ISD board president Rhonda Skillern-Jones had admitted to accepting bribes in an alleged kickback scheme that also led to the indictments of the district’s former chief operating officer and a vendor. 

This is a trustee who constantly talked about standing up for kids and struggling against periodic budget crises to address the inequities among HISD’s campuses. 

“If you have schools that we have to budget, because they are in the red, toilet paper for — because their small school subsidy didn’t cover it — then you have schools that have enough money for two or three years to put a marble floor in, there’s a problem,” she told a Chronicle columnist in 2018. “Anybody who doesn’t see that’s an issue is obviously very, very biased or very, very dumb.” 

And anybody who thinks it’s OK to steal from those children? What’s the word for that? 

And this: 

While the failures of HISD trustees did inspire a crop of new candidates for board positions, the strongest among them did not prevail. We can only hope that the winning challengers whose campaigns hinged on denunciation of critical race theory and masks will wake up once they take office to the gravely serious responsibility they’ve been given. 

Will they use this latest development as easy ammo against the current administration that had no part in it? Will they play politics or get serious about reforms to bring accountability and transparency into a district that desperately needs it? 

This is a time to look long and hard at what happens when greed and hubris are left unchecked. This is a time for HISD’s board to truly focus on children whose many challenges in learning need not be exacerbated by the dishonesty of adults elected to help them. 

The “the strongest among them did not prevail” line is a clear reference to Janette Garza Lindner.   

Who knows if this is all of the HISD mess.     

It is disgusting. Thievery. Greed.  

For those interested, the college bowl season begins this morning with  the Bahamas Bowl. 

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