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Archive for the ‘Redistricting in Texas’ Category

State Comptroller Susan Combs announced yesterday that she is retiring and it set off a scramble to replace her within the GOP.   Among those that are running is Tea Party activist Debra Medina who ran in 2010 against Guv Dude and Hutch.  The Medina candidacy guarantees that everyone in this race will run hard right. 

In the Chron article today on the vacancy I found this interesting:

On Wednesday, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, confirmed he was mulling a run for lieutenant governor.

"I’m thinking about it," he said. "I will make a decision about my future in the near future."

This kind of has me scratching my head.  The Lite Guv appointed this fella to Chair the Education Committee so he could have a bigger platform for his act.  I would say this kind of falls in the disloyalty category for even just harboring the thought.  You have to figure the Lite Guv is not too pleased to read this.  Of course this wouldn’t be the first time that the far right punked the Lite Guv.  I guess they don’t think his right wing cred is legit.

Here is the entire Chron piece.

A lot of folks know that the Rockies got swept by the Red Sox in the 2007 World Serious.  Name the teams the Rockies beat in the 2007 playoffs to reach the World Serious?

Since the ban on texting didn’t get passed by the legislature, I guess The Mayor will put it on the agenda and get is passed as an ordinance.  That is what she said she would do.

I know, I know!  Nobody gives a rat’s arse about the MLB draft with the exception of the hard core fans of the team that is picking numero uno and once again that honor belongs to the ‘Stros.  I’ll be going to the team draft viewing party next Thursday evening at The Yard to watch the first pick.  We’re probably the only team in all of the MLB that is holding a draft viewing party.  It kind of says something about celebrating last year’s last place finish and lousiest record in all of the MLB.

On MLB.com there is a feature on Stanford ace Mark Appel who many believe is worthy of being selected first in next week’s draft.  Some thought Appel was first pick worthy in last year’s draft but seven teams passed on him because they didn’t want to pay his asking price.  The Pirates picked him with the eighth pick and he ended up not signing and staying at Stanford for another year.  I say let’s get the guy.  Here is why (from the MLB.com feature):

Two college pitchers from last year’s first round have already been called up to the big leagues. Kevin Gausman, the No. 4 pick, has made two starts for the Orioles. Michael Wacha, the No. 19 pick, is slated to make his Major League debut for the Cardinals on Thursday. There are many who believe Appel could have joined them had he signed, but he said he doesn’t have any regrets.

If Appel is good as they say, he could be in our rotation next season.

Here is the entire piece.

In 2007 the Rockies swept the Phillies in the NLDS and the D’Backs in the NLCS of course.

Now let’s look at it this way.  The team is 6-7 in the last 13 games. I think they are worth watching these days.  We won last night.  If we continue to lay better ball today at Coors and the next four in Anaheim more folks will show up for the B’More series that starts next Tuesday.

 

 

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It is back to redistricting again.  I knew all the recent articles and columns about the legislative feel good session would come to an end.  I’m betting it will be a red meat special session. 

It is a slow news day I have to say.  Politico didn’t add much today.  Their lead story this morning on May 28, 2013 is who is Hillary going to hire in 2016.  She is not even interviewing folks these days.

Walt Weiss is the skipper of the Rockies.  As an A’s, Weiss got him a World Serious ring.  He also was a member of The ATL when they beat us in 12 in Game 3 of the NLDS back in 1999.  In the bottom of the 10th with the game tied at 3, the ‘Stros loaded the bases with nobody out but failed to score.  Name the three batters that came up in the bottom of the 10th that failed to bring in the winning run?

I don’t know how long they will be in special session but if someone runs into The Dean, tell him he’s not missing much at The Yard.

With the infield playing in, Carl Everett grounded one to the first baseman who forced out Baggy at home for the first out.  With the infield still playing in, Tony Eusebio grounded one to shortstop Walt Weiss who threw home to force out Caminiti for the second out.  Ricky Gutierrez struck out to end the inning and the rest is history.

I don’t feel so bad with only 15 wins.  There are three other teams with wins in the teens.

 

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Here is a head scratching story on the Latino vote. It is on the front page of the hard copy of the Chron.   Check it out here.
Let’s see now, the Lone Star State has lost around 100,000 registered Latino voters in the last couple of years.   Where did they go?  It doesn’t surprise Commentary.  We’re letting them get away because we haven’t engaged them…..tsk, tsk, tsk!

Katie Couric is subbing this week on “Good Morning America” so “The Today Show” has been put on hold for now.  Tomorrow, Governor Sarah Palin will co-host “The Today Show”.  I have to decide who gets the DVR treatment.

Opening Day at The Yard is this Friday and Wandy will be our starting pitcher against the Rockies.  Name the former ‘Stro that holds the record for most Opening Day starts at catcher?

My pal Robert Miller headlines his take today as “Texas House – The Action is in the Primaries!”

Here is the intro:

We are now into April without a ruling from the D.C. court on pre-clearance.  I believe that the San Antonio court and the D.C. court have been communicating and coordinating all along, and the San Antonio court did not issue its interim maps without some comfort level that the D.C. court would not blow up the interim maps with an adverse pre-clearance ruling.

And:

The Democratic and Republican primaries are where the majority of the action will be in the Texas House elections.  There are likely to be at most 10 competitive elections in November.  When all is said and done, there will be 90 to 95 Republicans in the House, down from 102 currently, and Democrats will number 55 to 60, up from 48.

Here is the entire piece.

The national political talking heads are saying that if Senator Santorum doesn’t pull off an upset tomorrow in Wisconsin that he’s done and the race is over.  If so, then the GOP Prez Primary in the Lone Star State on May 29 will be meaningless.  If it is meaningless then the turnout will be low so who does that help in the U.S. Senate race and in other local races over on the GOP side?  Stay tuned!

Brad Ausmus of course was the starting catcher for ‘Stros on nine Opening Days.

The ‘Stros announced yesterday that shortstop Marwin Gonzalez will be on the Opening Day roster.  Gonzalez is from Venezuela and has yet to have a regular season big league at-bat.  I wonder if Alyson Footnote will ask him where he got the name Marwin. 

Last year’s Opening Day starting first baseman for the ‘Stros, Brett Wallace, has been sent to Oklahoma City our Triple A affiliate.

 

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Counting today there are five days left to file for office and so far there are no surprises like Robert Miller said might happen.

Commentary sort of goofed Friday when I was talking about a possible HISD bond election this year and the HISD Superintendent and I said this:

Heck, a few weeks ago four Trustees voted not to extend his (HISD Superintendent) contract.

Actually only one Trustee voted against his contract extension and the other three abstained – got it!

The best lines of the day go to Texas Tribune’s Ross Ramsey on his redistricting piece when he mentions Austin/Travis County getting slice up into five pieces:

It’s safe to say lawmakers weren’t trying to empower the locals. It makes you wonder why the city of Austin rewards them (the Legislature) with free airport parking.    Here is the piece.

When the White Sox visit The Yard to wrap up Spring Training next month, it will be their first visit to The Yard since they swept us in the 2005 World Serious.  Wandy is the only ‘Stro remaining from the 2005 ‘Stros NL Champs.  Only two current White Sox players remain from the 2005 World Serious Champs.  Name the two?

I don’t think the Chron’s Nick Anderson read Kuffer the other day.  The Chron’s Pulitizer Prize winning editorial cartoonist put new H-Town CM Helena Brown on Sunday’s editorial page.  Check it out here. 
You have to hand it to CM Brown, she’s been in office just over two months and she’s getting a lot of media run. 

The Tribune has a piece today on George P. Bush (Jeb’s son) and his Hispanic Republicans of Texas PAC.  Here is a bite:

His future political success could hinge on how Republicans move forward on specific issues. He supports portions of the DREAM Act, and said he thinks most Republicans would also favor at least certain aspects of it, including a pathway toward legalization for illegal immigrants if they serve in the military.

I wonder what part of The DREAM he has a problem with.  In checking out the PAC’s steering committee website page, I wonder how many of the steering committee members support The DREAM Act.  There are some GOP elected officials on the steering committee, I wonder what they think about The DREAM Act.  Check out the Tribune piece here.

And the group’s website here.

I watched Lindsay Lohan on SNL this past weekend.  She did as well as can be expected. 

In saving the worst for last, the H-Town Mayor took some shots yesterday from a pulpit.  I’ll take the high road and say that folks have a First Amendment right to spew what they want.  Here is from the Chron:

Emboldened by (Mayor Annise) Parker’s poor showing in November in which she barely avoided a runoff and by the victories by two opponents of gay marriage who became the first challengers to unseat City Council incumbents in 12 years, social conservatives have gone on the attack. They accuse Parker of reneging on a campaign promise to put the city first and social issues advocacy second, and they charge her with violating the Texas Constitution by advocating for a change to it.

And:

Even some Parker supporters privately have said that her recent public statements, given her November showing, are not good politics. Voters in the city of Houston supported the state constitutional amendment barring gay marriage by a nearly two-to-one margin in 2005.

I wish “some Parker” supporters would have the guts to go on record instead of offering their takes “privately”.

It is also my understanding that some H-Town Council Members were invited to the church to watch the hit job on The Mayor yesterday.  I wonder if any CMs attended.
Here is the Chron story.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski and First Baseman Paul Konerko of course are all that remain from the 2005 World Serious Champs White Sox.

The ‘Stros won their first two Spring Training games this past weekend.

 

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Commentary said this about three and a half months ago (November 18):

Folks need to start paying attention to the City Council, District A run-off.  I’m hearing some scary things about CM Brenda Stardig’s opponent.   There will be more on her later.

The Chron’s Chris Moran certainly doesn’t pay attention to Kuffer as he penned another piece today on new H-Town CM Helena Brown’s latest City Hall moves.  The story is about City Council overriding two of her tags yesterday.
Check it out here.
Commentary is not one bit surprised at CM Brown’s tactics.  She didn’t get elected to go with the flow.  She got elected to stop and f__k with the flow.  She is going to keep doing her thing and not give a rat’s arse what the Mayor, her colleagues, the Chron E-Board, Kuffer, or Commentary think.  I saw this coming during the run-off last year.

I watched the Council meeting yesterday and it was definitely interesting reality TV. 

After just two seasons, ‘Stros Skipper Brad Mills has a 132-192 record?  Name the ‘Stros skipper with the most losses as a ‘Stros skipper. 

Candidate filing has not reopened so we can’t find out if there are any surprises Robert Miller said might happen.

HCC Trustee Carroll Robinson put out an email today called HCC Concerns.  He wants ethics reforms, termination of the Qatar contract, and other neat stuff. 
Check it out here.
He is definitely going to get pushback but Carroll is a good communicator and he’ll make those that pushback look bad.  This one is worth watching so stay tuned!

From the What Else is New Dept., here is today’s Burkablog headline: R’s steamroll D’s in House redistricting.  Here is a piece:

The bottom line is that the interim House map largely resembles the version passed by the Legislature. This was a foregone conclusion when the Supreme Court told the San Antonio Court it had overreached. The Democrats performed poorly in the negotiations. It was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. There were multiple groups of plaintiffs and each of them had their own sets of concerns. Abbott won the day when he cut a deal with  national LULAC and MALDEF early in the negotiations. He split the Democrats and they never recovered.

Check Burkablog here.

Some folks aren’t going down without a fight on redistricting. 
Check this here.

Former ‘Sros Skipper Bill Virdon of course lost 522 games and won 544 from 1975-1982.

Word is Wandy will be the Opening Day starter so what else is new since we don’t have a whole lot of Opening Day arms in Kissimmee these days. 

 

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One of Commentary’s most favorite and special persons is a Leap Year Baby and is turning 10, err 40 today!  She is a great Mom and makes sure Dante, Lucas, and ACE eat the right grub, do their chores (ACE is too young), and do their homework (ACE is too young) before they get to play their video games, watch the tube, ride their bikes, or go to little league practice.  She is sharp, smart, opinionated, and just like many in her family votes in every election.   It is hard to believe that it has already been 40 years! 

If you happen to be by Shade today and see Commentary having lunch with a very attractive woman, stop by the table and wish my niece and goddaughter a very Happy Birthday.

Happy Birthday Rachel Campos Estes!  Have a great and wonderful day!

Alex Rocco better known as Moe Greene of “The Godfather” is also a Leap Year Baby (76 today).

Dennis Farina of “Get Shorty”, “Crime Story”, and now HBO’s “Luck” is also a Leap Year Baby (68 today).

The day Rachel was born on February 29, 1972, what significant event occurred in MLB?

Leap Year Bonus:  Name the former ‘Stros GM who is also a Leap Year Baby.

We got maps but they could be way better maps.  HD 134 looks very, very difficult if you ask me.

My pal Robert Miller put out his take of sorts on the maps.  Then he dropped this line at the end.

Lastly, expect some filing surprises in the next 6 days.  I am hearing that a few incumbents who expected an easy race may find themselves having to burn rubber in the next 89 days!

Let the phones start ringing and rumors start swirling!   Like I said, Robert has been on the money lately!
If you don’t believe me, you can check out Robert for yourself here.

New H-Town CM Helena Brown must read the Chron.  At yesterday’s and today’s Council meeting, she’s wore a white cowboy hat.  I guess she is letting us know that she is one of the good guys.

Speaking of, the H-Town City Council just voted 13-1 to override CM Brown’s tag of an agenda item dealing with increasing taxi cab rates.  Take that!

OOPS!  They just voted to override another of her tags.  I wonder if two tag overrides at one council meeting is a record?

There was a study that was released a few years ago that ranked the Top 100 public addresses/speeches of the 20th century.  “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr. ranked numero uno.  John F. Kennedy’s speech before the Houston Ministerial Association in 1960 ranked ninth.  That is the speech that Rick Santorum said made him barf.   There is really not much to day about last night’s results from Arizona and Michigan other than to say that Rick Santorum needs to can the remarks about barfing and The President’s theology.

Henry Aaron of course was the first MLBer in history to sign a contract for $200,000 on February 29, 1972.   That’s not even half of today’s minimum salary – yikes!

Former Cleveland Indian great Al Rosen of course (he’s 88 today) served as the ‘Stros GM from 1980-1985.

The ‘Stros announced yesterday that Brett Myers is now the team’s closer.

 

 

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Talk show host Michael Berry sent over $2,000 to cover the cost of the car he bumped a while back.   Here is how the car owner responded in the Chron today:

"If that’s (letter and check from Berry) an admission of guilt, that’s fine," (Tuderia) Bennett said. "I just want the apology that comes with it."

Here is the Chron story.

If somebody runs into my ride, I’m Ok if their insurance company pays to get it fixed.  I’m not looking for an apology.  This Bennett fella just needs to take the check and put it in the bank.  Your fifteen minutes are up, pal!

Commentary mentioned this week that the Colt 45s held spring training in Arizona (1962 and 1963) and Kissimmee, Florida from 1985 through the present.  Where did they hold spring training from 1964 through 1984?

My pal Robert Miller has pretty much been on target on redistricting.  He doesn’t try to spin it like the partisans and to the best of my knowledge he’s not pushing an agenda.  While a lot of folks are patiently and impatiently waiting on Godot, err an election date, Robert lays out the possibilities and why so check it out here:

All of the hearings and briefings have concluded, and we are simply waiting on the  courts to rule.  A three judge D.C. court is considering whether the legislature’s maps comply with Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA).  A three judge San Antonio court is determining whether the legislature’s maps comply with Section 2 of the VRA and are otherwise constitutional.

D.C. Court
The D.C. court has previously indicated that it would not issue a ruling before March at the earliest.  It is clear that the D.C. court will find that the maps do not comply with Section 5.  It is unknown how many VRA violations the court will find and whether the court will specify how the affected districts are to be redrawn.  The plaintiffs, comprised of minority and Democratic groups, are anxious for the D.C. court to rule before the San Antonio court issues maps, because they believe the D.C. court will be more favorable to their position than the San Antonio court.

San Antonio Court
The San Antonio court has strongly encouraged and prodded the parties to settle their differences so that the court could issue agreed maps.  The parties did agree on the State Senate map, but it is clear they are unable to reach a settlement regarding the Texas House or Congressional seats.

Accordingly, the San Antonio court is drawing interim maps.  The court previously indicated that the primary election would be May 29 at the earliest.  Testimony from election officials indicated they need maps by March 3 in order to have a May 29 election.  The Supreme Court has instructed the court to give deference to the legislature’s district lines except where 1) legal challenges under the Constitution or VRA Section 2 are shown to have a “likelihood of success”; or 2) there is a “not insubstantial” chance that aspects of the legislature’s map will fail under VRA Section 5 review.

Two Possible Scenarios
(1)  The San Antonio court does not wait on the D.C. court to rule, but rather issues interim maps by March 3 (Saturday week) and schedules the primary election for May 29 with the runoff July 31.  The court has indicated that it will also reopen candidate filing for some period of time.  This appears to me to be the most likely scenario based on what I am seeing and hearing.  The problem with this scenario is that we will subsequently get a ruling from the D.C. court regarding Section 5 pre-clearance, and that ruling may not comport with how the San Antonio court drew the lines.

(2)  The San Antonio court waits on the D.C. court to rule, and then incorporates that ruling when it issues an interim map.  However, given the D.C. court has previously indicated it would not issuing a ruling until March at the earliest, it means we would not have a May 29 primary.  The next likely date would June 26, with the runoff late August or early September.

Scenario (1) appears to me to be the most likely based on what I am seeing and hearing.  I am hopeful that we will see interim maps either this week or next, resulting in a May 29 election.  If that doesn’t happen, no telling when the Texas primary will be.

Nice job Robert!

Hunker Down’s chief legal counsel was arrested the other day at a towing lot and some folks are wondering why Hunker Down didn’t can him.

Channel 13’s Miya Shay has the story here.

I think we need more facts and details before we start calling out Hunker Down.  Stay tuned!

Rodeomania started last night with the Barbecue Cook Off over at Reliant and the trail riders will occupy Memorial Park today.  Commentary doesn’t have any rodeo plans but I do like the atmosphere that is created for the next couple of weeks or so and I do like to hear about the over the top grub they serve over at the Midway.

From 1964-1984, the ‘Stros had their spring training in Cocoa Beach, Florida of course.

Roy O. still hasn’t signed with a team and here is what his agent put out yesterday:

"He is in great health and will continue to stay in shape, while throwing regularly off the mound. Roy has every intention of pitching for a contending club at some point this season."

That means he’s not coming here and there is nothing to report from The Yard.

 

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