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  • Withholding Judgement
    January 23, 2018

    Name the ‘Stros players who were on the 2017 World Series roster who won’t be in a ‘Stros uniform on Opening Day this season?

    Just so you know, Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s Day this year and Easter Sunday is on April Fools’ Day this year. Got it? Kind of confusing if you ask Commentary.

    Unlike some fellow Dems, Commentary is going to withhold judgement on Sen. Chuck Schumer and his strategy. I don’t know where they are going on this and I don’t think they know either. Like I said yesterday, I don’t see the GOP going against their base on a DACA deal.

    Some were not happy with Sen. Schumer. See this from Politico:

    Murshed Zaheed, political director of the liberal group CREDO Action, said Democrats’ decision shows Schumer’s willingness to betray progressives.

    “Call it the #SchumerSellout,” he said in an interview. “Hashtagged.”

    Here is the entire read: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/22/government-shutdown-deal-liberals-angry-357268.

    Here is what Stace said yesterday:

    Obviously, some of us are upset at Democrats…again. Dems agreed to a weak promise from Mitch McConnell to re-open the government in exchange for more DACA talk in a few weeks. DREAMers are pissed, allies like myself are pissed, and even some Dem loyalists and a few elected officials. But it’s the Demsplaining by many that will probably cost Dems more votes than spineless Congressional Democrats.

    There’s nothing like being pissed off and being told:

    • “We can’t put party before country.”
    • “If DREAMers keep complaining, the polls are going to go against them.”
    • Shutdowns “is how systems end up in disaster.”
    • “You can wait three weeks.”
    • “If McConnell doesn’t come through, it’s bad for Republicans.”
    • Now, I’m waiting for, “These DREAMers whining about Democrats are probably Russian agents.”

    I’m sure there are other excuses out there. All of these excuses point to Democrats wanting a complaint-free campaign toward November. Party before country is all about portraying Dems as loyal to the flag and faux bipartisanship to get elected; bad polls for DREAMers is all about shutting them up; disastrous systems are about people wanting to keep the status quo; making people wait (for 17 years, not just 3 weeks) is about power; and hoping McConnell fails is all about keeping the issue alive toward November. The Russian thing will come after election day, obviously.

    As far as systems are concerned, I was taught by an emeritus professor of political science, after suggesting that some of us more liberal brown folks needed to get inside the system to change it, that the problem is that it’s not our system. And damn, are we constantly reminded of this fact.

    I’m at a point where I’m ready to turn in my secret decoder ring to the Dem Party HQ (after 13 primaries of involvement)–not that it’s ever worked. Again, not my system. But when I hear people whine about Hillary losing and blaming “third parties,” I’m reminded why my parents left the Democrats for La Raza Unida Party. I’m also reminded of those that sell us out just for a title.

    I don’t feel good about where we are today on this.  Show me the strategy, please? What is the end game? Stay tuned for sure.

    It looks like Sen. Schumer will be coming to H-Town to attend an event with one of the CD 29 Dem candidates.   I wonder if Sen. Schumer will endorse or embrace the Dem candidate. Here is from the Chron:

    Just days after playing a key role in shutting down the government, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is heading to Houston this weekend to raise more campaign money to help some of the Senate’s most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election.

    On Saturday morning, the New York Democrat is expected to be joined by U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, and Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, at the Houston Marriott South for a fundraiser. Nelson and Donnelly are two of the most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election to the Senate.

    Also expected at the fundraiser, according to an invite through Schumer’s U.S. Senate campaign and an invite obtained by the Houston Chronicle, are Democrats Beto O’Rourke and Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat. O’Rourke is running for the U.S. Senate in Texas and Rosen is running for the Senate in Nevada.

    The fundraiser is being hosted by Tahir Javed, a Houston Democrat who is running for Congress himself in the 29th Congressional District. Javed has become on of the biggest fundraisers for Democrats in southeast Texas. In 2016 he helped raise about $500,000 at a fundraiser with Hillary Clinton in Beaumont. Javed himself ultimatedly donated $171,000 to Clinton’s campaign or a political committee that supported her campaign called the Hillary Victory Fund.

    Here is the entire read: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/Straight-from-shutdown-Chuck-Schumer-heads-for-12517720.php.

    Money talks for sure.

    I said this a week or so ago:

    In “All the President’s Men”, Jason Robards won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Ben Bradlee. Tom Hanks will for sure get a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Bradlee.

    I was wrong. Hanks didn’t get a nomination today.

    Carlos Beltran (retired), Juan Centeno (Rangers), Luke Gregerson (San Luis), Francisco Liriano (free agent) Cameron Maybin (free agent), and Joe Musgrove (Pirates) won’t be wearing a ‘Stros uniform of course on Opening Day this March.

    The ‘Stros sent me an email yesterday asking me to pick two items for being a very, very loyal fan. I passed on taking ten swings out of the batting cage at The Yard. I think the last time I took a cut at a hardball was in high school. A fast pitch softball, a few years after that. A slow pitch softball, maybe about 30 yeas ago. Yeah, I know, some fans think it is cool to walk out on a major league ballpark and take a few swings and try to knock it into the Landry’s Crawford Boxes, I get that. I settled for redeemable points and a STH polo.

     

  • Don’t See It
    January 22, 2018

    The first World Series was played in 1903. Who were the two teams who played in the first World Series and who won it?

    When the Trump shutdown happened Friday night, Trump and GOP leaders immediately went to their base and played the “illegal” card. It was all about “illegals” they whined. Their base doesn’t want a DACA deal – period. There is just too much hate in that base. I don’t see a deal on DACA happening, but I hope I am dead wrong. There is too much hate in their base.

    The H-Town Mayor’s press secretary got some press run over the weekend. Here is part from the Chron by Rebecca Elliott and Mike Morris:

    (Darian)Ward joined former mayor Annise Parker’s staff as press secretary in 2014, and Turner has kept her on in the same role.

    And this:

    Former mayor Parker said she was unaware Ward was conducting personal business on city time during her tenure.

    “As far as I’m concerned, that’s a fireable offense,” she said. “The work I was aware that she was doing was acceptable, which is why she kept her job, but this is unacceptable.”

    Parker added that she did not authorize Ward to use footage of her in a promotional video for “My First Million.”

    “Women face all of the same challenges that male entrepreneurs face, but they also have to contend with some issues around how women are socialized and access to capital that was actively denied women for many, many years,” Parker says in the video.

    Ward also used footage of Parker skydiving.

    “She certainly didn’t have permission to use my images for commercial purposes,” Parker said Friday. “The skydiving day was with members of my senior staff — on the weekend and at personal expense — and that segment has been edited to imply a connection to Darian’s project that did not exist.”

    Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/houston/article/Records-Top-Houston-city-official-used-public-TV-12511477.php.

    Rebecca Elliott of the Chron tweeted this a couple of days ago:

    A top aide to Houston’s mayor used the city’s TV station to film and promote personal projects, sent hundreds of personal business emails from her city account and lied about doing so in response to a records request. She hasn’t been fired.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk.  Commentary doesn’t think the Mayor will let her go. Folks know where Commentary is on this. Just put her on the campaign payroll as a consultant or something.   Sigh. Oh, well.

    Ken Hoffman of CultureMap put this out a couple or so days ago:

    Got an email from my friend Chip Namias. I met Namias when he was media director for the Houston Oilers. Namias commanded the press box at the Astrodome like Sinatra at the Sands Hotel. He put the “beat” in beat writer. He was ruthless and respected.

    No sportswriter, not even the “General” John McClain, dared take a bite of fried chicken in the media dining room — unless Namias said it was okay. Namias eventually moved to Los Angeles; he’s a big deal in the movie publicity business.

    Namias wrote: “I went to an event at the Grammy Museum last month honoring Clive Davis. With his legendary musical career spanning so many genres, during the Q&A, I asked him, if he could only bring two albums to a desert island, what would they be? His answer: Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits and The Best of The Mamas and the Papas.”

    Davis is indeed a legend in the recording industry. He was instrumental in the careers of dozens of superstars, including Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Janis Joplin, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson, Aerosmith, and many, many more. But with all due respect, what does he know about music? He’s certainly wrong about picking desert island albums.

    The obvious answers (mine): the Beatles’ legendary album, 1, and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 20 Greatest Hits.

    Then again, I could be wrong, too. So I asked some Houston A-Listers: If you were going to a desert island (or in a couple of these cases, prison), which two albums would you take with you?

    Here are some of the responses:

    SportsMap 94.1 FM talk host Charlie Pallilo: “I’m bringing Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volumes I & II — terrific range of style, and a Long Island guy to boot. Then I’d take Beatles 1. It’s all the Beatles’ Number One hits, maximizing content.”

    ABC-13 anchor Gina Gaston: “I’d bring Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, because I can sing along with every song on the album. And, I’d bring Kirk Franklin’s God’s Property to keep my spirits and faith uplifted.”

    Channel 2 anchor Rachel MacNeill: “My two albums would have to be Bob Marley’s Legend, and Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down. Legend because I’m Jamaican, which means I’m never too far from my island nation. Every song helps me visualize home, soothing me on even the most stressful days. I picked Lionel Richie because I think he’s one of the greatest singer-songwriters of all time. The songs on Can’t Slow Down bring back so many happy childhood memories. I’m biased, though. My son’s name is Lionel, so I guess that makes me a super fan.”

    Houston Chronicle football writer John McClain: “I hate to agree with Chip [Namias] on anything, but he’s right about Rubber Soul. The Beatles shaped my youth. As for the White Album, I traded my collection of baseball cards to my younger brother for it. Gave him Mantle and Mays rookie cards, among many others, for “Rocky Raccoon,” and “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” It was worth it at the time. Now? Well, I’d have a valuable baseball card collection worth lots of money.”

    Houston Astros President Reid Ryan: “U2’s Joshua Tree, because that’s the band that reminds me most of my high school and college days, and they’re one of the world’s best. Also George Strait’s 50 Number Ones because it reminds me of Texas. It’s got a lot of songs and they’re all great.”

    Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg: “It’s impossible to choose, but for the purposes of your cruel little hypothetical, I would say Lucinda Williams’ West, and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. What does it say about me, that the only two albums I would ever hear again for the rest of my life are sung by people who can’t sing? Maybe that I’m a writer.”

    Here is the entire read: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/entertainment/01-19-18-ken-hoffman-houston-celebrities-albums-beatles-willie-nelson-billy-joel-U2/#slide=0.

    I would have to go with the Beatles “1”, but I don’t know how long I am going to stay out there so I would want to have tunes from the female persuasion, so I would also pick Carole King’s “The Living Room Tour” album.

    A lot of folks in the USA (including some in my family) don’t like Tom Brady because I guess he wins a lot. He makes for a more interesting Super Bowl. I have to give him that.

    The Boston Americans (now Red Sox) beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in 8 games (5-3) of course in the first ever World Series back in 1903.

    I was at my Dad’s this past Saturday and we watched on the MLB Network the two-hour 2017 World Series highlight program. Watching that will never get old.

    Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. #SpringerDinger.

  • On Time’s Cover
    January 19, 2018

    New ‘Stro pitcher Gerrit Cole will wear the number 45. Who wore the number 45 for the ‘Stros from 2007-2012?

    Commentary is not going to let Amazon define who we are here in the H-Town region. Here is a kind of dumb statement in today’s Chron on not making the Amazon expansion list:

    “We’re not behaving like a large metropolitan city,” said Ed Egan, director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Rice University. “Growth is happening in technology. Oil is crucial, but we need to be able to diversify and be a part of America’s future.”

    Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Houston-misses-Amazon-s-cut-Work-to-do-say-12509056.php.

    What do you mean we are not behaving like a large metropolitan city?

    Somebody tweeted yesterday that it was the Harvey flooding factor that knocked us off of the Amazon shortlist. We learned post-Harvey that our old approaches to planning, developing and building were major contributors to flooding and hopefully we are changing our ways.

    Harvey has our elected leaders asking for relief funds from our state and federal governments because right now Harvey has put a major dent in our local governments’ pocketbooks. So, it would be political suicide for our leaders to give away tax and other incentives to the richest guy in the world. I think the Amazon folks know that. They were not going to be able to extract much in incentives from us right now.

    We also need to start getting serious about traffic congestion and a mass transit system that more folks utilize.

    All major urban areas in the USA have issues and challenges. Heck, Seattle lost their NBA team about 10 years ago and yes, to Oklahoma City. Oklahoma City? Don’t give me this gibberish about us not behaving like a large metropolitan city. That’s kind of silly.

    We are a great metropolitan city, but all metropolitan cities have issues and challenges. One of ours just happened to be one of the biggest stories of the year last year. Bad timing, I guess.

    Our Dem candidate for Harris County Judge, Lina Hidalgo, was among a group of female candidates who landed on the cover of Time Magazine yesterday. Has Hunker Down ever been on Time’s cover. Here is an internet story on the cover:

    The new Time magazine cover features the portraits of first-time female candidates who say they were inspired to run for office by the Women’s March one year ago.

    The cover story, “The Avengers,” by Time correspondent Charlotte Alter, highlights individuals and groups that make up the grass-roots movement of women running for office nationwide.

    “Call it payback, call it a revolution, call it the Pink Wave, inspired by marchers in their magenta hats, and the activism that followed,” Alter writes.

    “There is an unprecedented surge of first-time female candidates, overwhelmingly Democratic, running for offices big and small, from the U.S. Senate and state legislatures to local school boards.”

    According to Time, four times as many Democratic women are running for House seats as Republican women, and twice as many Democrats in Senate races.

    The cover story notes that while some women interviewed have long been involved in politics, many said they felt they underwent a “metamorphosis” due to President Trump’s election that inspired them to take part.

    “In 2016, they were ordinary voters. In 2017, they became activists, spurred by the bitter defeat of the first major female presidential candidate at the hands of a self-described p—y grabber. Now, in 2018, these doctors and mothers and teachers and executives are jumping into the arena and bringing new energy to a Democratic Party sorely in need of fresh faces,” the piece reads.

    This Time cover comes weeks after the magazine named “The Silence Breakers,” the women who started the #MeToo movement, as its “Person of the Year,” highlighting another major shift in gender politics in the U.S.

    The wave of female candidates has already had an impact on smaller races ahead of the 2018 midterms.

    EMILY’s List, a group aimed at supporting Democratic female candidates, said last month that more than 25,000 women have reached out to them expressing interest in running for office in the past year.

    The organizers of the Women’s March are marking the one-year anniversary of the event by kicking off a voter registration tour.

    Nice job!

    Carlos “El Caballo” Lee of course wore the number 45 from 2007-2012.

    I just saw this for sale on the ‘Stros website:

    For $1999.99: Men’s Houston Astros JH Design Navy 2017 World Series Champions Lambskin Leather Full-Snap Jacket with Leather Logos.

    No thanks.

  • People, Not Policy
    January 18, 2018

    Just in! Houston didn’t make the cut to get the Amazon City. We get to keep our dignity.  No telling what we would have had to give up.  We are a great city.  We are Ok without this.

    Last season, after how many games did the ‘Stros move into first place in the AL West and stay at first place for the rest of the season?

    Keeping this issue front and center is important. The work continues.

    Dear Friends,

    Texas State Representative Carol Alvarado will convene the Urban Affairs Committee to hear invited testimony as well as public testimony regarding short-term and long-term housing needs and related issues resulting from Hurricane Harvey and associated flooding.

    You can watch the hearing live HERE

    The Urban Affairs Committee will meet in the Houston City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor, Houston City Hall, 901 Bagby Street, Houston, TX on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 9:00 AM.

    Keep fighting for the folks in need.

    Everyone knows that Rep. Alvarado is my client.

    Chron columnist Erica Grieder has a column today on the DREAMers. I kind of have a mixed reaction.

    Here is a line from the column:

    Still, Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government, not the president’s steno pool. The Democrats who defended Obama’s executive overreach on the basis that they felt strongly about the issue could have anticipated the risk that his successor might also have strong feelings, in addition to a pen and a phone.

    Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/grieder/article/Dreamers-don-t-need-forgiveness-they-need-and-12505979.php.

    Commentary doesn’t consider it an overreach to save the lives of DREAMers. I consider it humane and decisive action.

    I am glad that Grieder addresses the DREAMers, but in reading the column it at times sounds like we are discussing public policy and process rather than people, human beings and folks like you and me who believe and love the same things you and I do. The DREAMers are not they, the DREAMers are us. Got it?

    Commentary doesn’t like to make fun of how much folks weigh. Dealing with how much you weigh can be a struggle. I have a scale by my bathroom that I get on daily.

    Donald Trump says he is 6’3” and weighs 239 pounds. Come on, dude! It deservedly set twitter on fire yesterday and here is an example:

    Dori Longino‏ @dorichats 3h3 hours ago

    ………

    Mike Trout is 6’2” & 235 pounds

    Albert Pujols is 6’3″ and 240 pounds

    Tim Tebow is 6′ 3″ and weighs 245 pounds

    Let me add:

    #SpingerDinger is 6’3”, 232 pounds

    ‘Stros catcher Brian McCann is 6’3”, 235 pounds

    Steve Houston sent me the following on the Houston Firefighters versus Sen. Joan Huffman:

    It’s interesting to see the Chronicle make Kristin Tassin sound almost like a credible challenger due to the massive donation of special interest money from HFD. They donated $25k out of Ms. Tassin’s $90k as payback against State Senator Huffman for her support of pension reform. Missing from the article is Senator Huffman’s campaign warchest of over half a million dollars or the strength of her incumbency. Short of a miracle, I’m filing this one under wishful thinking by the reporter.

    After our 7-2 win over the A’s in Oakland in our 11th game of the season to go to 7 and 4 did the ‘Stros take over the top spot in the AL West and stayed there for the rest of the season of course.

    The team asked me yesterday if I wanted my tickets printed this season at $125 per seat. Nope, I am used to using my phone gizmo. I do hope they send me real tickets for Opening Day like they did last season

     

     

     

     

  • Pants on Fire
    January 17, 2018

    Craig Biggio played in 2,850 regular season games in his career and that’s 16th best all time. How many times did Biggio play in all 162 games of the regular season?

    Local first responders and municipal, county, and state workers deserve props for their efforts the past few days. Let me add the TV and other newsies out there who have been letting us know where and what to avoid. Nice job, folks!

    And on this freezing day, it is nice to see Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Lisa Falkenberg of the Chron call out Gov. Greg Abbott for telling a big fat lie. He is trying so hard to be a Donald Trump wannabee. Here are bits from Falkenberg today:

    If someone is being petty here, it’s Abbott. The governor, who is many things but usually somewhat dignified in his delivery and strategy, appears to have sacrificed honesty for political gain.

    And this:

    In a Republican purity contest, she will sometimes fail because her voters understand that issues are complex, require rational thought and compromise to solve – not mere obedience.

    Here is the entire column: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Abbott-owes-an-apology-to-Houston-Republican-12502846.php.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire.

    Of course, Commentary has been using the purity term for weeks now. In fact, here is from last week:

    I know why Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed State Rep. Sarah Davis’ GOP opponent. What’s up with Abbott endorsing State Rep. Wayne Faircloth’s GOP opponent? Party purity, baby!

    I said it first.

    And here is another from the Chron on GOP races:

    AUSTIN — A Houston Republican is starting to pay a hefty price as she runs for re-election for running afoul with police and firefighter unions in Texas.

    In the last to Legislature sessions, State Sen. Joan Huffman has sponsored legislation to make it harder for many public worker unions to collect membership dues. Now those groups are responding by funneling big money to help Fort Bend County Republican Kristin Tassin challenge Huffman in a primary on March 6 in one of the mostly hotly contested state Senate races in Texas.

    Of the $90,000 Tassin has raised for her campaign, $27,000 has come from firefighter unions, most notably $25,000 from Houston Fire Fighters Political Action Fund – Tassin’s largest donation.

    “Our membership was not too pleased with Sen. Huffman,” said Brian Wilcox, communications director for the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association.

    She’s also collected $1,000 each from the Corpus Christi Firefighters Association and from the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters PAC.

    Here is the entire read: https://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Firefighters-aim-to-make-state-senator-pay-12502632.php.

    Remember when Steve Bannon used to be badass? I don’t.

    Craig Biggio played all 162 regular season games in three different seasons of course – 1992, 1996 and 1997.

    They will be introducing our new starting pitcher at The Yard today.