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Archive for the ‘Texas Education Crisis’ Category

He’s gone from A-Rod to A-Roid to A-Rat after he ratted out fellow MLBers on PEDs – allegedly – according to “60 Minutes.”

A-Rat’s lawyer was on “Today” this morning taking on MLB and the Yankees and the world.  Meanwhile Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster plunked A-Rat last night and A-Rat responded to the plunk with a dinger at Fenway. It looks like the only folks on A-Rat’s side are those that he pays.

Name the MLBer that said the following in February of 2009:

"A-Rod’s numbers shouldn’t count for anything.  I feel like he cheated me out of the game. It does bother me. Especially for the guys that went out there and did it on talent. We’re always going to have a cloud on us, and that’s not fair at all. The ones that have come out and admitted it, and are proven guilty, [their numbers] should not count. I’ve been cheated out of the game.  This is my ninth year, and I’ve done nothing to enhance my performance, other than work my butt off to get guys out. These guys [who took PEDs] have all the talent in the world. All-Star talent. And they put times two on it.  I’m going out there with the ability God gave me. They have that ability, too, and they’re putting something on top of it."

"The few times we played them, when he (A-Rat) got hits, it could have cost me a game. It could have cost me money in my contract. He cheated me out of the game and I take it personally, because I’ve never done [PEDs], haven’t done it, and they’re cheating me out of the game."

I am really enjoying this A-Rat versus MLB because there is really nothing to enjoy at The Yard other than a St. Arnold and maybe dollar dogs this Friday.

My friend Edgar says a PAC will be rolling out soon on saving the Dome.  I hope they do a better job at rolling it out than Early to Rise.

“Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie and her legs got a shout out last night on “The Newsroom.” 

The Chron E-Board agrees with the HISD Board about doing a review of the Apollo program.  Here is how today’s take starts:

There’s a reason that teachers don’t ask kids to grade their own research papers: It’s hard for anyone to spot his own mistakes.

For the same reason, we’re glad that the Houston Independent School District’s board recently voted to require an independent analysis of the district’s Apollo 20 program.

Here is the entire take.

am sure that Fryer fella from Harvard who helped put together Apollo is not happy with this.  Who cares? 

Former ‘Stro and now Royal Miguel Tejada was suspended for 105 games this past weekend for testing positive for amphetamines.  Back on February 11 of 2009, Tejada copped a guilty plea for fibbing to congressional investigators on PED use.  This what he said on 2/11/09:

"I apologize.  I know it was a mistake. I take responsibility. I am very sorry this happened. I’m sorry to my family, to Congress, to the Houston Astros and to the Major Leagues.  I apologize to the fans of baseball. I apologize to the whole United States, because this country gave me the opportunity to be who I am.  I am sorry for what just happened."

MLB will be going to extended replay next season.  That’s a bad idea.  It looks like the games are going to get longer.  Four hour games will be the new norm. 

Roy O. of course let A-Rat have it back in 2009.

The Yankees are trying to make the playoffs and they have to make up a lot of ground in the coming weeks.  The ‘Stros have to go 22-17 the rest of the way to avoid another 100 loss season.

 

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The chingasos have been thrown by The Mayor in her kick-off ad that began airing yesterday.  Here is the script:

“Ben Hall wants to be mayor of Houston, but he hasn’t bothered to vote in a city election in 11 years. In fact, Hall didn’t even live in Houston. Just last year he bought a house inside the city so he could run for mayor. When Houston was hurting in the recession, Hall offered no vision, no ideas and no leadership. Now that things are good, he’s back. Ben Hall really wants to be mayor. He just didn’t want to live here.”

Ouch!

Please don’t talk down to me when public funds are involved.  Here is from the Chron for subscribers only:

The Harris County School Readiness Corp., a new nonprofit led by business and civic leaders, is calling for a ballot initiative to levy a 1-cent-per-$100 tax through the Harris County Department of Education (HCDE)to generate about $25 million a year for training teachers and buying school supplies for child care centers serving children up to age 5.

Here’s the deal.  The group wants us to vote for a tax increase but they really don’t want us involved on how the funds will be spent.  Here is what their Chair said:

"We’ve been working to find the right balance of public oversight," (James) Calaway said, declining to talk specifically about details until the proposal is presented publicly to the department’s board of trustees Tuesday.

Thank you very much sir!  What the f__k is the right balance of public oversight? Memo to this fella:  It should be 100% public oversight!  It doesn’t pass the smell test and could very much head to cronyism, lack of oversight, lack of transparency – you get the picture, which is a very cloudy picture.  In other words, screw the public.  I hope the HCDE doesn’t roll over on this. 

How many of the current ‘Stros have more than 20 career big league dingers?

Here is more talking down to us.  The HISD Board and the Houston Endowment would like a study done of the Apollo Program.  That brought a big F-You from its consultant.  Here is what he sent HISD:

I think your school Board is a bit confused about the academic process,” (Roland) Frier wrote in an email to (HISD”s Terry) Grier on Tuesday. “I am not a for-profit organization selling you software or someone who needs a particular result to keep their business afloat. I am a tenured, and chaired, professor at Harvard University. One of the only ways I can lose my tenure is by violating my academic integrity.  Therefore, my incentives are very much to tell you the truth about the Apollo results. Physicists, Biologists, Chemists, Economists, and most of the Sciences and Social Sciences evaluate their own experiments. It’s not just common — it’s expected.

HISD needs to tell this fella to go kiss our arse!

The County wants us to vote on redoing the Dome this November but they won’t give us an option of tearing it down.  Come on!  Give the voters a choice.  Here is from the Chron and again for subscribers only:

The Commissioners Court on Tuesday unanimously voted to place a bond election for up to $217 million to convert the iconic stadium into a massive, street-level convention hall and exhibit space, saying residents should take part in deciding the historic structure’s fate.

Here is the part that I don’t get.

If the bond fails in November, Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said it "would make no sense to me at all" to spend millions of dollars demolishing the structure.

"There’s another day to have another election," he said. "Why are you going to spend $8 million and then tear it down?"

So if it is voted down it will just continue to sit there.  Now that is what I call good public policy…smirk….smirk.

CNN Money named Commentary’s ‘hood as one of the best big city ‘hoods in the U.S. of A. How about them apples!  We’re right up there with ‘hoods I’ve never heard of like NY’s Park Slope, LA’s Silver Lake, Lakeview in Chi-Town, Mount Airy in Philly, Windsor Square in Phoenix, and Willow Glen in San Jose.  Those I heard of are SA’s Alamo Heights, Lakewood in Dallas, and Pacific Beach in San Diego.  Ours is a good ‘hood once you get past the congestion on I-10 and Studewood/Heights/Yale. 

Great Lisa Falkenberg tweet yesterday:

What does it mean when @tedcruz says abolish the #IRS? Don’t get it. Would the U.S. government be funded on the honor system?

The current ‘Stros with more than 20 career big league dingers are Chris Carter (40), Brett Wallace (25), and Jason Castro (22) of course.  That’s why we’re 38-80 and we won one last night in Oakland.

 

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If some local leaders have their way Harris County voters may have the opportunity to vote on an initiative this November to add a penny to their property taxes and put it into early childhood education programs.  This kind of sounds like what San Antonio voters approved last year.  The Chron has a front page story in the hard copy and only available to subscribers online.  Check out a piece:

Harris County voters could be asked to approve a tax increase later this year to improve and expand early childhood programs, if a coalition of business and civic leaders can get its initiative on the November ballot.

The recently formed Harris County School Readiness Corp., a group whose membership includes former Houston first lady Andrea White, is circulating a petition calling for the placement of an item on the next election ballot that would increase the county property tax rate by 1 cent, generating about $25 million a year to train teachers and buy school supplies for child-care centers serving children up to age 5.

"All the recent brain science development has indicated that early childhood education is absolutely pivotal," said Jonathan Day, a member of the corporation’s board and a former Houston city attorney. "The business community and academics, everybody’s of the single mind that, if there is a single point of investment for leverage to improve children’s education, it’s at early childhood."

The initiative stems from a recommendation made in an April report commissioned by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Collaborative for Children. It is similar to one launched by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, which ended in voters last year approving a modest sales tax hike to build new pre-kindergarten centers.

Of course the group has to get around 78,000 petition signatures.  That’s a lot of signatures.

County Commissioner Steve Radack has come out in opposition to the effort.  Check this from the Chron:

"I think people already pay too much money in school taxes and the fact of the matter is this is just a back door to try to get the county to get more money shipped over into education," Radack said.

This initiative has a long way to go.  They have to get the signatures.  They have to get the signatures approved.  Then they have to educate the voters.

I tried to follow the San Antonio effort last year.  The SA effort was their mayor’s initiative and baby.  He campaigned extensively for it.  Our mayor is in a battle for reelection so the local effort would have to find a well respected and well known local leader or leaders to sell the measure.  Good luck and stay tuned!

The Brewers are in town for three.  How many MVP Awards do the Brewers hold?

I guess what goes around comes around.  I’m talking about a proposed Astrodome initiative.  Tomorrow the County Sports Corporation will unveil the latest Dome proposals and will lay out one of their own.  It will be interesting if an initiative makes it to the November ballot.

Some folks may want us to support bonds to save the Dome.

Some folks may want us to support a penny property tax increase to save our kids.

Some folks will oppose both.

Rollie Fingers won the AL MVP Award in 1981, Robin Yount won the AL MVP Award in 1982 and 1989, and Ryan Broid won the NL MVP Award in 2011 of course.

Jason Castro is making a strong case to make the AL All Star team.   Let’s see how we do against Brewers.

 

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A number of folks are downright gushing about the new hire over at The Yard that will be announced today.  I’m talking about Reid Ryan of baseball royalty – the son of Hall of Fame great and former ‘Stro Nolan Rayn.   Here is what MLB.com’s Richard Justice gushes:

Reid Ryan’s hiring as team president is a stroke of genius by Astros owner Jim Crane. It makes sense on so many levels that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Woah now!  I don’t know about that!  I would only go as far as to say it is the best move out of The Yard this week.

Here is the entire Justice gush.

Former ‘Stro CEO George Postolos who unceremoniously resigned this past Monday is the ultimate fall guy and he is being made to be a local sports villain and that’s too bad.  He is getting blamed for the ugly signage in left field.   He is being blamed for not getting the TV deal done.  We don’t know if he had any involvement in pulling the plug on the Wives Gala but some folks probably think he had a hand in it.  He took the hit for hiking the ticket prices when the good teams visit.  You get the picture.

The fact is the owner signed off on all of the above.  In fact the owner is the only one that has been quoted on the TV deal mess.  He has taken a hard ball stance on the TV deal which is interesting in where is the demand to watch a team with a 11-30 record.  The owner was the one who communicated to the Wives Gala folks that the team would handle it. 

When you factor in mounting losses on the field, the front office finally started to sense that their fan base was restless and somebody had to go and Postolos was the fall guy, after all, you can’t fire the owner.

In comes Reid Ryan to save the day, errr the franchise.  I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt but the owner is going to have to kind of admit that his actions have contributed to the negative perception fans have today.   It wasn’t all the fault of Postolos just like Reid Ryan by himself isn’t going to turns things around.  The owner has to step up.

The TV deal, left field signage, ticket prices, Wives Gala are issues that need to be addressed.  Telling the fans and season ticket holders to kiss our arses isn’t going to cut it.  Get your heads out of the sand!  Got it!

If they don’t get it, Reid Ryan is the next fall guy in waiting and I don’t care who his daddy is.

The ‘Stros visit PNC Park this weekend.  How many World Serious titles do the Pirates own?

Burkablog decided to slap around the House Dems up in the state legislature on the budget deal.   I really don’t know what is going on but here is Burkablog’s partial take:

As for the Democrats, I hate to say this, but they have lost so many times that they have forgotten how to win. The latest example is the battle over restoring the education cuts. After a hard day of negotiations, Speaker Straus put an offer on the table: $3.5 billion in additional public education spending. The deal, Straus told the Democrats, will be "dead in the morning, " as reported by Mike Hailey, if they haven’t accepted it and promised to support funding for the water plan. Oblivious to their own infirmities as the minority party, Democrats griped that the Republicans were moving the goal posts. This was truly stupid. As I have written earlier on this topic, Straus has bent over backward to give the D’s what they wanted, jeopardizing his standing with conservative Republicans in the process. This is the textbook case of why the Democrats don’t win: they think they’re entitled, because they represent all that is true and good and right in politics. Until that attitude changes, they’ll never win.

Here is the entire Burkablog.

The Pirates own five World Serious titles of course:  1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979.

Only 40% of us have the opportunity to watch the Reid Ryan announcement live this afternoon on CSNH. 

Since our pitchers can’t pitch, I wonder if they can bat as we go interleague this evening minus the DH.

 

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Commentary is hoping that the folks that run the Lone Star State Dem Party read today’s AP story on the Latino vote and what is being planned by the Spanish language TV networks.  Everybody knows that the Lone Star State Dem Party has done a p__s poor job of engaging the Latino vote so maybe they will read today’s AP story and bring in some folks of the Latino persuasion that will place the highest priority on dealing with the Latino vote.  Here are bits from the piece:

Spanish-language television news is meeting a surge in Hispanic voting muscle and viewership with greatly expanded domestic coverage this year, just in time for the 2012 election season.

Industry experts say the growth could affect next year’s election by increasing awareness of political issues among U.S. Spanish speakers and by encouraging more to vote in a population whose participation has lagged others. Members of bilingual households who prefer English are also expected to be influenced by the newscasts when they watch with parents and grandparents. The change comes as the latest Census data shows Hispanics propelled more than half of the country’s population growth over the last decade.

And:
The nation’s three top Spanish-language broadcast and cable networks are beefing up their election coverage and increasing get-out-the vote efforts. Of the nation’s more than 20 million Hispanic citizens over 18, nearly half are bilingual and about a quarter are more comfortable in Spanish. Meanwhile, less than a third said they voted in 2010, according to Census data analyzed by the independent Pew Hispanic Center. Comparatively, nearly half of their white counterparts said they voted.

Still, the Pew study showed a record number of Hispanics voted in a non-presidential year, boosting their share of votes and showing their increasing political power. Latino turnout could be key in 2012 swing states like Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado.   Here is the piece.

Of course, Commentary is betting that the folks that run the Lone Star State Dem Party will stay the course and continue to run the Dem Party into the ditch.   The Spanish language media knows our vote is growing and important but I don’t think our State Dem Party does.

Speaking of, the GOP up at the State Capitol keeps banging away at Latinos with their “sanctuary city” assault. 

Burkablog came out with his Ten Best and Ten Worst Lone Star State legislators and some folks are complaining about the fact that not a single Dem made the Worst List.  I don’t see how one can be “Worst” worthy by getting run over.   You can however get “Best” worthy by making a valiant or memorable effort getting run over – got it!

The Pirates are still in town.  Who was the last Pirate to win the NL dinger title for a season and when?

The Texas Tribune has a piece today on a higher education “Coalition of Excellence that was just formed.  My good friend Port Commissioner Janiece Longoria is part of the coalition.  Here is a bit of the piece:

The list of founding members of the new "Coalition for Excellence" totals more than 200 and — with some exceptions — reads like a veritable who’s who of higher ed boosters in established Texas circles. Among the founding members are former University of Texas System Chancellor Dan Burck, former UT President Peter Flawn, and former UT regents like H. Scott Caven, JANIECE LONGORIA and student regent Kyle Kalkwarf.

Prominent UT professor Adm. Bobby Inman, a former director of the National Security Agency, among other things, is involved. Former Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff and former Democratic Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby are both on the list.   Check out the article.

Hall of Fame great Willie Stargell of course led the NL with 44 dingers as a Pirate in 1973.  Willie Stargell is no longer with us.

I don’t know what to say about our very shaky bullpen.  We let a three to two lead get away.  The only good thing about last night was getting foul ball numero cinco that I didn’t bring home.  It is a nine inning lunch break with the Pirates this afternoon.

 

 

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From today’s SA Express News:

“I think it’s just going to be harder for poor kids to go to college,” (State Sen. Steve) Ogden said, “because there’s just not as much financial aid, and if money’s tight at the universities, it’s going to be hard for them to basically provide big discounts for their students to attend.”

We’re better than this.  We’re now a “No Mas” state.  We’re now a state that throws in the towel.  Way to go!

Things ought to get interesting at the Port Commission meeting today.  The Port Chair and the Port CEO are kind of under the gun.  Leading the charge to get things cleared up are Port Commissioners Janiece Longoria and Elyse Lanier. 
Check out the Chron story.

The Chron E-Board also weighed in on the Port stuff today.  Here is a part of what they said:

(Port Commission Chair Jim) Edmonds has come under fire for taking a tour of Libya with his wife two years ago paid for by AECOM, a port vender that has since hired Edmonds as a consultant. The chairman told the Chronicle’s Jenalia Moreno that his contract with AECOM began last fall and ended this spring. He declined to provide details of the pact, calling it a private business matter. That’s an unacceptable position for the chairman of an agency board that spends taxpayer dollars.

And:

Whatever the findings of the district attorney concerning these allegations, it’s clear the port governors need a stronger code of ethics and increased transparency in their official dealings and on-the-side employment. We urge the commissioners to make instituting those reforms their top priority.
Here is the entire E-Board piece.

You have to give some credit to Commissioners Longoria and Lanier.  The City of H-Town and City Council should be glad that Commissioner Longoria was reappointed last fall if you ask me.

Oh, I almost forgot!  The GOP Tax Assessor-Collector for Harris County also weighed in today on the Port stuff with an Op-Ed in today’s Chron.  He certainly didn’t mince any words like:

While the port generates tremendous economic benefits for this area, its promotion fund generates tremendous benefits for those bold enough to reach into the cookie jar. So much so that(Channel 13’s Wayne) Dolcefino is calling the Port of Houston the "Port-o-Plenty."

Maybe it is. Certainly Harris County no longer is the land of plenty in which mismanagement of the port’s resources can be overlooked or swept under the rug.

The port should immediately increase its accountability by publishing online the promotion fund’s check register and the tour boat’s log of trips and related expenses.     Check out the entire Op-Ed here.

Things ought to get interesting over at the Port so we all better stay tuned!

Four years ago today, this pitcher beat the Mets to become the first pitcher in MLB history to win 200 games and collect 150 saves.  Who am I talking about?

Speaking of “when you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”  Zimmerman is celebrating his 70th BD Today – wow!

Last night in Arlington at the Rangers-White Sox game, a high pop foul landed right in front of 43.    Check out the replay here.  I don’t blame him for kind of just freezing up.  I’ve been there before.  Those are the toughest to snag.  I am not a physics expert but it is probably safe to say that the ball comes down faster than it goes up. 

The ATL’s John Smoltz of course pitched seven innings in a 2-1 win over his ex-teammate Tom Glavine of the Mets.

Speaking of, I snagged Pam-In-Charge’s seats at the last minute yesterday so I took McLovin and his steady with me.  I momentarily lost faith in the team and left in the eighth inning when we were behind 3-1.  I got home and watched us make a bottom of the ninth comeback 4-3 win – wow!  What do I know!   It is OK with me as we take on the Dodgers again this evening.

 

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The H-Town Mayor announced her proposed budget yesterday and a few hundred more layoffs are on the way.  She wants to close some community centers and swimming pools.  It looks like just about every part of town will take a hit.  I’m okay with that.

The Mayor says there is no sentiment on City Council to raise property taxes right now.  We just got hit with our Proposition 1, err Rebuild Houston fees.  I think that is enough of fee raising for now if you ask me.

I have to hand it to my HISD Trustee Anna Eastman (who is for sure the smartest HISD Trustee) for speaking out against creating new “career academies” a week or so after we closed four schools.  They may be a good idea but I don’t think we have the funds.  Here is what Anna said:

"We closed the doors of four schools last week. We have had to rif [reduction in force] hundreds of teachers.  We’re looking at proposing a pretty drastic change in our bell system to save money. … I think the planning and looking toward something like this in the future is a good idea but I have a real problem funding a $1.6 million increase to something right now when we still have a $59 million projected shortfall. I really struggle with my ability to go and possibly ask taxpayers to pay more tax and I think right now we need to be focused on either keeping stuff funded that we value and that we know works and implementing all these other new things that we’re trying to do like the literacy initiative, I really struggle with being able to support something like this right now."

Way to go Anna! 

Who holds the ‘Stros record for most innings pitched in a season?

Trustee Eastman is certainly paying attention to what is going on up in Austin and the expected $4 bil hit to ISDs across the Lone Star State.

Commentary watched Katie Couric’s final broadcast from the “CBS Evening News” desk yesterday.  I wish she hadn’t left but I hope she comes back to the tube soon.

Well it looks like we’re not going to create Texas A&M University at the O.K. Corral this session.  That’s a real good thing.

Milo Hamilton will make his way to Toronto today to make it 59 different ballparks where he has called an MLB game.  Way to go Milo!

Larry Dierker of course holds the ‘Stros record for innings pitched in a season with 305 and 1/3 in 1969.

Of course, most folks know that the only MLB team that we have never lost to is the Blue Jays.  We’re 3-0 against them as we swept them at The Yard back in June of 2005.   Maybe we will get to face former ‘Stros reliever Octavio Dotel and chat with Jays radio announcer Alan Ashby, another former ‘Stro.  Heck, maybe we can sweep them and keep our undefeated record against the Jays intact.  We need something to reverse the misery index!    

 

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