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  • GOPer to GOP: Blood on its hands
    February 16, 2018

    No MLB question today.

    According to info provided to Commentary, as of a couple of days ago, here in Harris County, 29,477 mail ballots had been sent to Dems, 26,580 to GOPers.

    Two years ago, for the 2016 primaries here in Harris County, 14,828 Dems voted by mail and 24,459 GOPers voted by mail. Care to guess which local political party is more energized this time around?

    On a related note, it looks like some GOPers are finally waking up. Here is from MSN.com:

    MSNBC host Nicole Wallace on Thursday questioned when the Republican Party will “wake up and realize it has blood on its hands” for its inaction on gun violence in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school.

    “Democrats who are for gun control are fine doing more for the mentally ill, but Republicans who are for doing more for the mentally ill never want to have a conversation about gun control,” the “Deadline White House” host said. “When is the Republican Party going to wake up and realize it has blood on its hands?”

    The MSNBC host accused the GOP of being “held hostage” by the National Rifle Association (NRA), referring to its massive contributions to lawmakers who are now insisting that Democrats should not use the latest mass shooting as an opportunity to push for new gun laws.

    Wallace, who served as communications chief for former President George W. Bush’s White House, has previously argued that the Second Amendment is solely a protection for citizens to bear arms against foreign militias.

    Good for her. I am thinking this will help get the GOP clobbered in November. I don’t know what it is, but in the aftermath of this mass shooting, it feels like the needle is finally moving.

    Ronan Farrow has a piece out this morning in the “New Yorker” on another Donald Trump affair and of course the needle isn’t moving.

    Make no mistake, Sen. Ted Cruz is the enemy of DREAMers. This fella does not represent Texas. Here is from Texas Monthly:

    The old Ted Cruz reemerged Thursday as he castigated his fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate for even considering renewing and expanding anti-deportation protections for Dreamers—children of undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country in violation of immigration laws.

    During his first years representing Texas in the Senate, Cruz often attacked the Republican leadership as the “Washington cartel.” Since losing his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Cruz has been portraying himself as Ted Cruz 2.0, a kinder gentler politician who often voted with his party’s leadership. But as the Senate started to debate proposals to provide deportation protections to young immigrants who have been raised in this country, the beta version of Cruz returned. “I find myself flabbergasted with my own party in this debate,” Cruz said in a speech from the Senate floor.

    Cruz said giving deportation protections and a path to citizenship to some immigrants was nothing more than a repeat of the amnesty program given to three million immigrants in the late 1980s. Because the federal government did not secure the border, he said, the number of people living in the country without having immigrated legally now exceeds twelve million. “I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, waking up reliving the same day over and over and over again.”

    Cruz has been a hardliner against President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more commonly known as DACA. During his 2016 run for president, Cruz told one Dreamer that he would deport her because she is living in the country illegally. “If you’re a DACA recipient it means that you were brought here illegally, and violating the laws has consequences.”

    Here is the entire read: https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/ted-cruz-lashes-fellow-republicans-immigration/.

    It looks like he wants to make sure he wins big in the GOP primary. No wonder the majority of Texans don’t like this fella.

    Commentary went to the State of Pasadena event yesterday and I must say it was for sure the most enjoyable state-of-the-whatever luncheon I have ever attended. Reid Ryan of the ‘Stros introduced via video tape Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner. The Mayor’s speech had a “whole new ballgame” theme. The Mayor also introduced a video featuring his “team” and I have to say Latinos were well represented. Chief of Staff James Rodriguez of course was featured at the end and he even got a batboy mention. The Mayor ended his speech by tossing a hardball into the audience. Nice job!

    The first Spring Training game is a week from today.

  • GOP Owns It
    February 15, 2018

    No MLB question today.

    17 are no longer with us. We are the only country where this happens. We don’t do anything because the GOP is owned by the NRA. It is a fact. The GOP is good with thoughts and prayers and today isn’t the day we should be talking about changing guns laws. Those are NRA talking points folks.

    Who are the next victims? The GOP owns the next mass shooting and let’s keep reminding the voters. The sad thing is that everybody on the planet knows the NRA owns the GOP.

    Gov. Greg Abbott obviously lets State Rep. Sarah Davis keep him up at night. Now he is running ads comparing Rep. Davis to former State Sen. Wendy Davis. Oh, brother! Rep. Davis said this morning that she doesn’t know if she will vote for Gov. Abbott in November. If Rep. Davis wins on March 6, I wonder what Gov. Abbott will have to say?

    This is interesting from the Chron:

    The actress who helped take the #MeToo movement international is coming to Houston to help flip one Texas’s most competitive U.S. House seats.

    Alyssa Milano, who starred in TV programs like Who’s the Boss and Charmed, will campaign with Democrat Laura Moser who is one of seven candidates battling in a March 6 Democratic Primary in the 7th Congressional District in West Houston.

    Milano will join Moser on February 24 – four days after early voting starts – to meet campaign volunteers, to block walk in west Houston neighborhoods and to speak at a “Vote Your Values” rally, according to Moser’s campaign. It’s not the first time for the politically active Milano to get into a big political fight. In December she participated in get-out-the-vote efforts in the Alabama U.S. Senate race won by Democrat Doug Jones.

    Milano and activist Tarana Burke are largely credited with invigorating the #MeToo movement on social media following the revelations about Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

    Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/texas/article/MeToo-movement-leader-Alyssa-Milano-heading-to-12614333.php?utm_campaign=twitter-premium&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social.

    Some talking head on the MLB Network said the Yankees were the team to beat in the AL this season. (Isn’t it cool that we can already say “this season”?) Anyway, our own Justin Verlander tweeted not so fast on the Yankees being the team to beat. (Isn’t it also cool that we can now say “our own Justin Verlander”?) Verlander also told reporters yesterday that the road to the AL Pennant this season goes through H-Town.

    Check this tweet:

    Mark Berman‏@MarkBermanFox26 4h4 hours ago

    @JustinVerlander: “I obviously think we’re the team to beat..I think the American League goes through us..To be the best you got to beat the best.”

    It is all a little silly talk if you ask me. We are the reigning champs for sure and we get to raise the championship banner on April 2 at The Yard. Right now, all teams are sitting at 0-0 but we loaded up on our pitching, so I like our chances.

  • Combining Local Voting Precincts
    February 14, 2018

    Now that the Astrodome is getting new life or major reconstructive surgery or whatever, it is time to ask a Dome question. Everyone knows that the last MLB game played there was Game 4 of the 1999 NLDS that we lost 7-5 to The ATL on a Saturday afternoon on October 9. Who were the starting pitchers for both teams that afternoon? Hint: One is now in the Hall of Fame.

    Message to Harris County Democratic Party Primary voters:

    Vote Early in Person folks. If you wait for Election Day on Tuesday, March 6, you first better do some checking because a number of voting locations have been combined. Examples: Precincts 3 and 4 who usually vote at Travis Elementary and Hogg Middle in the Woodland Heights will be voting at First Baptist on 9th Street where Precinct 53 votes.   Precinct 5 voters who normally vote at the Proctor Plaza Community Center have to hike on over to Heights High – Precinct 57. Precinct 207 and 637 voters who live and vote in Lindale Park and Northside locations have to drive across I-45 over to Monte Beach Park – Precinct 206. Precinct 66 Manchester voters have to drive over to the DeZavala Park Community Center – Precinct 65. Precinct 72 Mason Park voters now have to go down the road to HCC Southeast – Precinct 154. And this is just a sample. You get the picture?

    Now this is interesting, and I am sure there is a good explanation. GOP Primary voters from Precincts 3 and 4 will vote at Hogg. Precinct 5 GOP voters at their Proctor Plaza Community Center and Precinct 72 GOP voters at their Mason Park Community Center.

    Go check out the Dem Party Primary polling list at harrisvotes.org.

    Now the explanation on primary election polling location selection preference by political parties is related to which party had the higher turnout in the previous (2016) primary election. The GOP outvoted us here in Harris County by 100,000 votes and change in the 2016 primaries. Fair enough.

    I hope the local Dem campaigns are educating their voters. You better vote early.

    My Dad voted by mail. His mail ballot was two huge sheets that he had to mark on both sides. I had to go fetch him a 68 cent postage stamp for that sucker.

    Here is what the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce put out on Sen. Ted Cruz:

    Statement from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Senator Ted Cruz’s ‘No’ Vote on Motion to Start Debate on Immigration Proposal and Providing Permanent Legislative Solution for DACA Recipients

    February 13, 2018 – (HOUSTON, TX) – “The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is disappointed in Senator Ted Cruz’s vote against advancing a GOP motion to start debate on a new immigration proposal that could resolve the impasse over the status of the more than 800,000 DACA recipients currently living in the United States. Senator Cruz’s unwillingness to support a motion to start debate on this pivotal issue is not just a renunciation of his responsibilities as a U.S. Senator – it’s also an abandonment of his duties to the Texans who have entrusted him to represent their interests in Washington, D.C. 

    DACA recipients contribute more than $460 billion annually to US GDP, have attained higher levels of education and employment than their US-born counterparts, and are in this country by no fault of their own. DREAMers are an integral part of the American fabric, yet our leaders in Congress have resolved to use them as political pawns while their status remains in a state of limbo.

    The time to act on providing a permanent legislative solution for the more than 124,000 DACA recipients living Texas is long past due. We ask that Senator Cruz – and all of the Texas delegation in Congress – lead on this pivotal issue. The abdication of leadership is the abdication of the responsibility voters have entrusted to you – the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce urges positive, permanent action on DACA now.” 

    You know how I feel about this fella. It is pretty obvious that the hurt put on him by Donald Trump a couple of years ago has caused some permanent damage.

    There is a very good reason why Lisa Falkenberg is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist. In case you have not noticed, four out of her last five columns have been on how HISD is being run. I got news for you. She is not going to let this go. Let’s hope the folks who are running HISD know this. Stay tuned!

    GOP Cong. Trey Gowdy says Congress is going to investigate the Rob Porter scandal. In other words, the FBI will get blamed.

    In the last MLB game ever played at the Astrodome on October 9, 1999, Hall of Fame great John Smoltz was the starting pitcher for The ATL and Shane Reynolds for the ‘Stros of course.

    I was at that game sitting in specially constructed seats for the playoffs that were set up in front of the field box seats just past the dugout on the first base side. Pretty cool seats. I was a guest of Drayton and I took Carol and we sat next to Joe Sambito. Remember him?

    We should have won that series. We won the first game at The ATL. Lost Game 2 then came to the Dome for Game 3.   It was tied up at 3 going into the bottom of the 10th inning and we loaded the bases with nobody out. The ATL brought their infield in and just like that there were 2 grounders by Carl Everett and Tony Eusebio that resulted in force outs at home plate. Ricky Gutierrez then struck out and you could feel all of the energy get sucked out of the Dome. We ended up losing the game in 12 innings 5-3 and the rest is history.

    Jake Kaplan is no longer has the ‘Stros beat for the Chron. It now belongs to Hunter Atkins. Kaplan now has the ‘Stros beat for The Athletic. Got it?

  • The White Ad
    February 13, 2018

    Name the Olympian who was wearing a ‘Stros lid in Pyeonchang yesterday?

    Commentary likes the Andrew White for Governor ad. The ad utilizes White’s personal involvement with Harvey without exploiting Harvey. Nice job and here is the ad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftHnRbGqcw8.

    Commentary also likes the President and Michelle Obama portraits that were unveiled yesterday. They are very cool.

    This guy isn’t good for our state pure and simple. He has absolutely zilch respect for a ton of good folks who are making significant contributions to Texas. Here is from the Chron today:

    WASHINGTON – Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz stood alone Monday in voting against a GOP motion to start debate on a new immigration proposal that could resolve the standoff over “Dreamers.”

    The 97-1 vote dramatized the Texas Republican’s hardline stance against President Donald Trump’s proposal to grant a path to citizenship for as many as 1.8 million young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

    Cruz has frequently derided as “amnesty” any plan that confers legal status or citizenship on people living in the country illegally.

    And this:

    “The only no vote to begin debate on immigration was the Cuban that was born in Canada,” said Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa, making a reference to Cruz’s birth in Canada to a Cuban immigrant father.

    “Sinvergüenza,” Hinojosa added, using a Spanish phrase that translates as “shameless.”

    “This isn’t the first time Ted Cruz has betrayed Texans. It won’t be the last,” Hinojosa said. “Senator, lives are literally at stake. It’s time to fix a broken immigration system, not grandstand for the next election.”

    Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/politics/article/Ted-Cruz-cast-lone-vote-against-advancing-12608732.php.

    And shame on any Greater Houston Partnership leader who is supporting this fella. You can’t be for supporting DREAMers and DACA and at the same time be supporting Cruz. You just can’t. What a shame.

    Yesterday, Commentary said this about the Tarrant County GOP County Judge and other local GOP elected officials who are calling out the extremist GOPers who are running our state government:

    Talk is cheap though. If they really want their words to have meaning, say you are going to vote against Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and some your local extremist state legislators. Have real political courage, grow a real backbone, otherwise, talk is cheap.

    Well here is a follow-up of sorts from the Star Telegram:

    By Anna M. Tinsley

    atinsley@star-telegram.com

    February 12, 2018 04:23 PM

    Updated 11 hours 50 minutes ago

    Fort Worth

    Tarrant County is now front and center in the fight to lower property taxes.

    County Judge Glen Whitley has drawn statewide attention for preaching what he believes — that Texans pay high property taxes because the state has long cut back on what it spends to educate public school students — and now a group of local state senators is firing back.

    “Let’s set the record straight. Local property tax rates are set by locally elected officials. Period,” according to a letter sent to the Star-Telegram by the Tarrant County Texas Senate delegation. “They are not determined by an informational rider in the state budget as Judge Whitley dishonestly suggests.

    And this:

    Denton County Judge Mary Horn said she’s been in Austin many times with Whitley testifying against a variety of proposed property tax bills.

    She noted at the end of Gov. Mark White’s term in 1987, the state was paying 67 percent of all education costs in Texas. That number is now down to 38 percent, she said.

    “One could reasonably argue that local property taxes are rising in part due to the state not addressing school finance,” she said. “I think Judge Whitley is absolutely correct. If they really want to address property taxes in Texas, they need to go back to square one and address school finance.”

    And finally, this:

    Whitley said he’s not surprised that the senators sent out a letter addressing his recent comments.

    “They are going to throw it out there and think everyone is going to believe what they have to say,” Whitley said. “It’s dishonest. But they can say what they want to say. I’ll stand by the record.”

    Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/article199651179.html#storylink=cpy.

    Commentary would prefer that they vote against their local GOP state senators and get some real courage.

    American speed skater Jonathan Garcia of course who grew up in Katy was wearing a ‘Stros lid yesterday and tweeted this:

    Channeling my inner @JoseAltuve27 today before training today. #PyeongChang2018 #teamusa @astros #houston #texas #winter #olympics #Astros

    This is from KTRK-TV:

    HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) —

    It might cost you a little more to see the Houston Astros raise their championship banner at Minute Maid Park. According to the website Ticket IQ, the cheapest tickets for the team’s home opener against the Baltimore Orioles on April 2 are $125.

    Only the Boston Red Sox had higher prices for their home opener after they won the World Series in 2013.

    Money, money, money!

  • Duelie in CD 7
    February 12, 2018

    Former MLBer Wally Moon left us this past weekend. He played from 1954-1965, a 12-year career.   He played with San Luis and the Dodgers. He made the NL All Star team twice, won a Gold Glove, and oh, yeah, picked up three World Series rings with LA. He also won the 1954 NL Rookie of the Year Award.   Name the two Hall of Fame greats who Moon beat out for his 1954 honor?

    Talk is cheap. Some folks are going gaga over another local GOP elected official calling out the GOP extremists who are running our state government. The latest is the County Judge from Tarrant County – that is Fort Worth.

    Here is from the Star Telegram:

    ARLINGTON

    A mild-mannered county official told the truth about the Texas Legislature Friday, and the resulting tremor was felt from Arlington to Austin.

    During what is usually a snoreworthy annual speech to business leaders, County Judge Glen Whitley of Hurst said property taxes are high because the state pays less every year of its share for public education — and then state lawmakers blame local officials for higher taxes.

    Whitley, an accountant, is in his 22nd year as a county judge or commissioner. His speeches usually involve business development or transportation, not political truth-telling.

    “I warned them I was gonna go ‘unplugged’ and I did,” Whitley said later Friday.

    At one point, according to attendees, (GOP) state Sen. Konni Burton walked out.

    Here is the entire read: http://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article199523554.html.

    Hunker Down has kind of said the same thing. Talk is cheap though. If they really want their words to have meaning, say you are going to vote against Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and some your local extremist state legislators. Have real political courage, grow a real backbone, otherwise, talk is cheap.

    It has happened before. Commentary is talking about the duel endorsement by the Chron E-Board in the CD 7 Dem Primary. They did a duelie in a H-Town mayoral race and in a state senate special election a few elections ago. Here is the back end of their CD 7 endorsement:

    If Democrats are going to win this race, they’ll need a strong candidate whose views will appeal to voters disillusioned with their tea party Republican congressman. It’s a tough call, but we believe the best two candidates for the inevitable runoff in this seven-way race are Jason Westin and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.

    Westin’s professional credentials alone are impressive enough; he says his peers elected him to lead the largest clinical trial team in the nation seeking new treatments for aggressive cancers. But don’t think for a second this doctor is a one-trick-pony running on a health care platform. He’s impressed crowds at community forums with his conspicuously thoughtful command of a wide variety of issues. Westin launched his candidacy with the help of a nationwide group that’s trying to get more scientists to run for office. When he says he’s bothered by “disrespect of facts and science,” he speaks with a quiet passion that seems to be winning over a growing number of supporters.

    Fletcher’s background is also impressive. After starting her law career at Vinson & Elkins, she joined AZA, a 50 person firm specializing in high-stakes business litigation and she became its first woman partner. She has served on the board of Planned Parenthood and she was on the front lines defending abortion providers from protesters during the 1992 Republican Convention in Houston. Like Westin, she has a firm grasp of the issues in the race. Just as important, she understands the importance of appealing to independent voters in this swing district.

    Both Westin and Fletcher are extremely accomplished professionals with a deep understanding of complex public policy matters. Both of them exude an intelligent and level-headed pragmatism that will appeal to the moderate voters of this district, whose support Democrats will need if they’re serious about defeating Culberson.

    Most important of all, both Westin and Fletcher would make fine members of Congress. Early voting runs from Tuesday, Feb. 20 through Friday, March 2. Election Day is March 6.

    Here is the entire endorsement: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/recommendations/article/For-Congress-Jason-Westin-or-Lizzie-Fletcher-12563345.php.

    I don’t know who is going to end up in a runoff in this race. I have been told that Alex T is dropping the most mail – I have been told.

    Here is from the Trib:

    NEW BRAUNFELS — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz is preparing Texas Republicans for a turbulent election year amid super-charged Democratic enthusiasm — including in his own re-election campaign.

    Traveling the state for GOP events this weekend, Cruz portrayed an uncertain midterm environment that could go down as disastrous for Republicans if they don’t work to counteract Democratic energy throughout the country. Cruz has spent previous election cycles airing similar warnings against GOP complacency in ruby-red Texas, but this time it hits much closer to home for him — he is facing a well-funded re-election challenge from U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso. 

    Addressing the Fort Bend County GOP on Friday night, Cruz warned of an “incredible volatility in politics right now,” calling Democrats “stark-raving nuts” in their opposition to Trump. He pointed to Trump’s recent State of the Union address and Democrats’ reluctance to applaud, saying the scene “underscores the political risk in November.”

    “Let me tell you right now: The left is going to show up,” Cruz said, delivering the keynote address at the party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner. “They will crawl over broken glass in November to vote.”

    Here is the entire read: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/02/10/cruz-braces-texas-gop-volatile-election-season-amid-democratic-enthusi/.

    That is a good line by Sen. Cruz.

    Wally Moon picked up the 1954 NL Rookie of the Year Award over then future Hall of Fame greats Ernie Banks and Hank Aaron of course.

    Moon played his last MLB game in 1965 against the ‘Stros.

    Spring Training gets underway this week.