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Craig Biggio visited Spring Training yesterday. Since he has retired, the ‘Stros have had four different Opening Day starting second basemen – name them, please?

Yesterday Open Carry moved forward in the Texas Senate. Here is what the GOP author of the bill said during the debate: “It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to band together and right this ancient wrong.”

It passed along party lines 20-11.

Commentary is not a fan of concealed handgun carry licenses and certainly not Open Carry. I don’t think they make us any safer. Show me the proof and/or the data!

Of course it is tough to argue with the author on his statement inviting Dems to help out. 20 years ago the Texas Legislature adopted concealed handgun carry licenses while Dems controlled the Texas State Senate 17-14 and the Texas House 87-63 and we also had a Dem Lite Guv and Dem House Speaker. Hey, but that was a different time.

It is a good thing local politics can keep me busy. I don’t have time to fret over Open Carry, sanctuary cities, Public Integrity Units, and all the other stuff the GOP is getting to do in Austin.

Let’s see, GOP U.S. Senators can’t stand AG Eric Holder so they are going to delay a vote on his successor so he can get to stick around. That makes perfect sense.

If you stayed up to see U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz with Seth Meyers last night you got to see Sen. Cruz brag about his filibuster to stop Obamacare and then Meyers asked him “how’s it go?” Ha, ha!

Since Biggio retired in 2007, Mark Loretta (2008), Kaz Matsui (2009-2010), Bill Hall (2011), and Jose Altuve (2012 to now) have been our Opening Day starting second basemen.

The ‘Stros will make their ROOT debut today.

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Today is the last full day of Guv Dude’s fourteen plus years at the Mansion. I am not going to say anything negative about his last full day.

Speaking of Dude’s first full year in office – 2001, who was the lead-off hitter for the ‘Stros on Opening Day in 2001 and it wasn’t Craig Biggio.

Kuffer has a take on the H-Town Mayoral campaign fundraising here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=64961.

Commentary is kind of disappointed the City Attorney didn’t put up a more vigorous defense of the City’s fundraising ordinances. Have mercy on us all if they do away with individual and PAC limits. Then only a couple of folks would control City Council.

It is official! From the “No Se Puede Department” it looks like the GOP is already writing off the Latino vote in the 2016 Presidential election. On Friday they released their Presidential Debate partners. Left off the list was Univision. It is pretty simple to Commentary and other observers. The GOP is scared of having to deal with the immigration issue and further alienate Latino voters. Well this move isn’t going to certainly help. Here is what Univision had to say:

“There is a very simple political reality – Hispanics will decide the 2016 presidential election. No one can match Univision’s reach and ability to inform, provide access and empower Hispanic America. Anyone who wants to reach and engage Hispanics will have to do it through Univision. The Hispanic community deserves to hear the policies and views of all political parties and Univision is committed to providing access to all points of view. We have an open invitation to all political parties to address our community on issues of importance and relevance. Candidates should not miss the opportunity to inform and engage with the fastest growing segment of the electorate.”

Here is who made the cut and a general schedule and locale:

1.Fox News, August 2015, Ohio

2. CNN, September 2015, California, at the Ronald Reagan presidential library

3. CNBC, October 2015, Colorado

4. Fox Business, November 2015, Wisconsin

5. CNN, December 2015, Nevada

6. Fox News, January 2016, Iowa

7. ABC News, February 2016, New Hampshire

8. CBS News, February 2016, South Carolina

9. NBC/Telemundo, February 2016, Florida

Three more are pending:

10. Fox News, March 2016, location TBD

11. CNN, March 2016, location TBD

12. Conservative Media Debate, date TBD, locations TBD

Here is a story on the big time snub: http://www.businessinsider.com/gop-criticized-for-snubbing-univision-in-2016-debates-2015-1.

Shortstop Julio Lugo of course was the lead-off batter for the ‘Stros on Opening Day 2001.

Nothing to report from The Yard today.

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Moving Forward

Way to go Mr. President!

Congrats also go to those that help make this happen including the DREAMers and immigration activists. One of them was MariGirl who also got some run in today’s Chron!

Was the President’s decision political? Yep! But then again, the GOP allowed their far right wing to make it a wedge issue in 2007.

You know it is a near brilliant move when the GOP is all over the map on their responses. Some are calling it anarchy. Some want to defund the move. Some want a government shutdown. A few are bringing up impeachment. Some are saying it is amnesty. Some like Guv Dude are going to court. None of them are calling for a bill though.

Now that’s what I call a talking point breakdown.

This thing is moving forward and I doubt it will ever be reversed.

Here is what Jorge Ramos tweeted the past few hours:

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 1h1 hour ago
Millions woke up without fear in the U.S. for the first time in their lives.

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 54s54 seconds ago
The executive decision on immigration is a victory for the Latino community. It wasn’t given to us; it’s what we fought for.

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 8m8 minutes ago
Instead of fighting the President, Republicans should, instead, fix the immigration mess. Pass reform in Congress in 2015. Your choice

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 7m7 minutes ago
This morning many immigrant parents can say to their kids: “See you tonight” and know it’s true.

Some are saying that if the President had acted on this three months ago, more Latinos might have turned out to vote in November and saved a couple or three Dems. We will never know.

We do know that if the GOPers try to mess with this over the next couple of years, Latinos will be there to answer at the polls in 2016.

With 630 career dingers, this former MLBer ranks sixth all-time. Who am I talking about?

MariGirl got some much deserved run in today’s Chron. It is in the hard copy and behind the paywall. It is personal for her. She has been tirelessly at the forefront for a few years now. Check this:

Across town in the Baker-Ripley Neighborhood Center in the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood of Gulfton in southwest Houston, Marisol Valero echoed other immigrants’ sentiments of relief.

Her parents could finally be able to live without fear of being stopped by police while going to the grocery store. Valero, 29, came here from Mexico as a child and has a brother born in the U.S. Her mother cleans homes and her father drove trucks until his driver’s license expired last year, and he couldn’t renew it because he’s here illegally. When his mother became ill recently in Mexico, she told him she didn’t want him to come back to see her die only to risk his own life crossing the border. He bid her goodbye on the phone.

“I applaud the president for trying, but obviously it is not enough,” said Valero, who is an immigration manager for Neighborhood Centers, while she and about 40 other people watched Obama’s speech on a giant television screen. “There are still going to be many people who are going to be left out.”

Be proud of what you have accomplished to date.

Ken Griffey, Jr. of course with 630 career dingers is sixth on the all-time career list. Junior is celebrating his 45th BD today!

The team set their 40-man roster last night. Oh well!

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The Lone Star State GOP just wrapped up their state convention this weekend with a platform whack job on Latino voters.  Check out Gary Scharrer’s (from the SA Express News) story:  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7050170.html.

Here is the headline: Texas GOP gets tougher on immigration/Some say platform adopted at convention could deter Latino voters.

Here is some of the piece:  Texas Republicans adopted another get-tough policy on immigration and bilingual education Saturday that some say will make it hard for the party to attract Hispanic voters at a time when the Texas population is turning increasingly Latino.

The platform encourages state lawmakers to create a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense “for an illegal alien to intentionally or knowingly be within the State of Texas,” and to “oppose amnesty in any form leading to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

Texas Republicans also want to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a U.S. citizen “with no exceptions.” The platform calls for the end of day-labor work centers and emphasizes border security, encouraging “all means … (to) immediately prevent illegal aliens.”

Of course, this was fully expected and it makes it tougher for Governor Rick Perry to garner Latino votes this November but more on that later.  Democrats can’t just sit on this and think the Latino votes are in their pockets just because they have been dissed in the GOP Platform.  It looks like both Perry and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will be aggressively going after the Latino vote.

On chron.com this weekend was a take on Harris County Judge Ed Emmett’s appearance before the Lone Star State GOP Platform Committee meeting.  Here’s the piece.

County Judge Ed Emmett told a Republican Party of Texas platform committee this week that rounding up illegal immigrants and sending them back to their home countries is not a realistic or politically astute immigration policy.

"One of the things we have to do as a party is make sure that we don’t drive off Latino voters," Emmett said in a YouTube video recorded by Texas GOP Vote after his testimony and posted on its Web site.

Emmett campaign manager Ryan Walsh said Emmett favors a path to legalization for the millions of people living in the United States illegally, but that path begins with them returning to their home countries and going through legal U.S. immigration procedures.

"We need to have a long-term strategy for solving the immigration issue, and that long-term strategy includes those millions of people who are here and working and some of them have been here for generations, even though they were brought here illegally," Emmett said.

It looks like Judge Emmett wants to put some distance between his reelection campaign and his state party’s position on this issue that could potentially be a passionate factor within the Latino community in Harris County this November.   At some point in the near future, expect Judge Emmett to trot out an impressive list of local Latinos that are endorsing his candidacy.  His immigration reform position will make it easier for Latinos to stand with him.

Gilbert Garcia from the SA Express news penned this piece called “Perry’s Latino Strategy.”  Check it out: http://blogs.chron.com/texaspolitics/archives/2010/06/perrys_latino_s.html.

Here it is:

It’s always been hard to resist the obvious parallels between Gov. Rick Perry and the man he succeeded: George W. Bush.

Both of them have cultivated folksy images, stressed simple messages, and found themselves repeatedly underestimated by political pundits.

Another key connection between the two came to the fore Friday morning at the GOP state convention. Perry, like Bush, has committed himself to breaking the Democratic Party’s grip on the state’s Latino voters.

At Friday’s Hispanic Leadership breakfast, Perry campaign manager Rob Johnson trumpeted a Baselice & Associates poll of 411 Texas Hispanics, commissioned by the Perry campaign and conducted May 15-28. Johnson said the poll found that the number-one issue for Texas Hispanics is "strengthening our state’s economy and creating more jobs," two cornerstones of every Perry stump speech.

Johnson noted that Perry drew 35 percent of the Latino vote in 2002 against a Latino opponent, Tony Sanchez. He said 30 percent of the Latino vote signals a likely win for Republicans; 35 percent should yield a comfortable victory; 40 percent, he said, "changes the dynamics of Texas politics for a generation."

Alejandro Garcia, press secretary for the Perry campaign, said Perry’s organization would ramp up its Hispanic outreach efforts this year, using bilingual social media, Hispanic Perry supporters serving as "surrogate speakers" in their communities, and the marketing efforts of Austin-based advertising agency, Latin Works.

Manny Flores, the firm’s CEO, is essentially a new-generation Lionel Sosa, helping corporate giants – and Republican politicians – build a cultural bridge to the Latino community.
Garcia said Perry was not "tailoring his message" to Latinos, but simply trying to make sure they heard his message.

For his part, Perry told the breakfast audience that his party and the Latino community have "shared military backgrounds," and described Latinos as "people who understand the meaning of the church."

In a twist on a famous Ronald Reagan line that Hispanics are Republicans, but they don’t know it yet, Perry concluded: "This is the home of the Hispanic in America: The Republican Party."

Commentary is impressed with the Perry campaign move to bring in Latin Works.  I really don’t know much about their experience working in political campaigns but they certainly have a successful history of marketing and advertising in the state’s Latino community.   This signals that the Perry campaign is going to invest some serious dollars trying to get a significant share of the Latino vote.  This is substantiated by a Perry Latino staffer saying they were going to make sure that their message was heard by the Latino community.  In campaign speak – they have them a Latino budget.

It also means that in all likelihood Latin Works will have a creative and production budget to develop TV and radio ads as well as slick mailers.  It won’t be the same old deal of just translating the English speaking ads and doing a Spanish language voice over.  Perry’s campaign is deadly serious about getting a chunk of the state’s Latino vote.  They are going to take a sophisticated approach and it is going to be interesting to see how the Democrats counter.

You have to figure that when it comes to the Latino vote, Judge Emmett is certainly not going to hunker down.   Knowing Judge Emmett, he’s never been known as an immigrant basher and he’s smart enough to know that he has to have Latino votes if he wants to stick around.

You have to hand it to both Perry and Judge Emmett to being aggressive when it comes to the Latino vote.   Of course, they have to be aggressive to counter their own party’s anti-immigrant incendiary platform language.    

The Lone Star State Democrats better have more in store other than holding press conferences and handing out talking points  on the GOP immigrant bashing….to be continued!

‘Stros players Kevin Cash, Hunter Pence, and Numero 45 had dingers in New Yankee Stadium this past weekend joining three ‘Stros that had dingers in Old Yankee Stadium in 2003.  Who were the three in 2003?

If you tuned in to the World Cup this past weekend you learned about the existence of “vuvuzelas.”  Commentary watched a little of El Tri Friday and the U.S. of A. on Saturday and was wondering what that constant buzzing background noise was.  It turns out the buzz is generated by nonstop blowing by folks into some plastic horn gizmos called “vuvuzelas.”

The Texas House of Representatives’ Higher Education Committee is going to hold a hearing Wednesday to find out what is going on with UT, A&M, and Texas Tech football plans.  I don’t know why they have to have hearings if you ask me.  They just ought to go read the sports page.

B-G-O, Morgan Ensberg, and The Big Puma of course had dingers in Old Yankee Stadium in 2003.

The ‘Stros got overwhelmed at New Yankee Stadium this past weekend as most of our pitching collapsed.  They kicked our arse pretty good.   We looked intimidated.   We didn’t look like we belonged on the same field if you ask me.

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