What a year it was. People will be talking about it for eons to come. Fantastic! Proud and bold! That’s the year 1776, not this past freak show. 2019 gave us a parade of forgettable and unforgettable stunts, clowns and eye-rollers. Take former Gov. Rick Perry. Please. After listing the U.S. Department of Energy as a government agency he would abolish if elected President and calling candidate Donald Trump a “cancer on conservatism,” Perry accepted the post of Energy Secretary, and said he told Trump: “Absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it,” and compared Trump to “Old Testament kings.” Apparently the king is a deadbeat. Trump owes at least 10 cities for rally expenses. The biggest invoice, for $470,417, was from El Paso. Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke held a smaller rally on the same day in El Paso. He paid his $21,000-plus police bill on time.
Houston U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, under fire from a former aide’s lawsuit alleging she was fired in connection with a sexual assault complaint, said that she, (Jackson Lee) would step down temporarily as chairwoman of a key House Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice. Jackson Lee also resigned as chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Moving on, at a Congressional hearing, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz endorsed President Trump’s call for a Space Force, including defense against celestial Blackbeards: “Pirates threatened the open seas and the same is possible in space.” On a separate matter, Cruz accepted over $10,000 worth of tickets to the 2018 Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets as gifts. Speaking of the Rockets, after club general manager Daryl Morey tweeted: “Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong,” the Chinese government went ballistic, which could cost the Rockets between $10 million and $25 million in business with Beijing.
The Houston Astros’ season ended with a whimper in the World Series. What’s more, they had to fire assistant general manager Brandon Taubman, who directed an obscenity-filled tirade toward three female reporters. The Astros apologized to a Sports Illustrated reporter whom they falsely accused of fabricating a story about the episode. And a woman sued the Astros for $1 million, claiming her index finger was “shattered” when her hand was struck by a T-shirt fired from an air-powered cannon wielded by Orbit, the team’s mascot.
We now turn to our state legislature, which is always good for a laugh – or a cry. Be pro-life or I’ll kill you. In the past legislative session, Rep. Tony Tinderholt, Arlington Republican, proposed a bill that would make it possible to put women to death for having an abortion. He said the measure was necessary to make women “more personally responsible.” The bill made no exception for rape or incest, and anyone involved in an abortion would be open to homicide charges.
Just four days after being named chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, state Sen. Kel Seliger was stripped of that position by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for comments made by the Amarillo Republican. Seliger, insulted by a remark made by Patrick’s senior adviser, Sherry Sylvester, said in a radio broadcast that he had “a recommendation for Miss Sylvester and her lips and my back end.” David Whitley, nominated to be Texas Secretary of State, discovered that approximately “95,000 individuals identified” as non-citizens are registered to vote in the state, “58,000 of whom have voted.” Alas, many if not most of those 95,000 had become citizens who were perfectly legal to vote. Whitley didn’t get the job.
Democratic state Rep. Poncho Nevárez of Eagle Pass turned himself in after dropping a cocaine-filled envelope with his office letterhead on it at an Austin airport. Republican state Rep. Rick Miller of Sugar Land, when asked to characterize his two challengers in the upcoming GOP primary, said: “He’s a Korean,” describing Jacey Jetton, a former chairman of the Fort Bend GOP. “He has decided because he is an Asian that my district might need an Asian to win.” A second Republican primary candidate, Leonard Chan, “jumped in probably for the same reason.” Hours later, Gov. Greg Abbott rescinded his endorsement of Miller, and by late afternoon Miller announced he wouldn’t be running for reelection.
Michael Center, former men’s tennis coach at the University of Texas, pleaded guilty to accepting $100,000 in bribes to falsely designate a Los Altos Hills, Calif. student, who did not play competitive tennis, as a recruit. The good news is that several other universities besides UT were also charged in the phony admission scandal including Yale, Georgetown, USC and Stanford, all lumped together in news reports as “elite schools.” The other good news is that, after Center’s firing, the UT men’s tennis team won the 2019 NCAA championship — a first for the Longhorns.
In Houston, Daniel Albert, chief of staff to District F Councilman Steve Le and the highest-paid city council staffer, continued to collect his $119,600 annual salary despite being out of the state for months attending U.S. Army military law training programs. Le fired Albert and announced he would not run for re-election. Members of Harris County Commissioners Court were unable to agree on a resolution expressing solidarity for the victims of the August 3 mass shooting in El Paso and calling on policy makers to address gun violence. Three Dems voted for the resolution, the two Republicans voted against it because of its mention of gun violence.
The driver of a white Mercedes was racing a green Dodge Charger one night through Houston on I-10 going about 100 mph. The Mercedes headed southbound on I-45 and then exited on Dallas Street, running a red light. Unfortunately for the driver, a car he zipped passed was driven by none other than Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, going home from work. Hehehe. In January, Acevedo gave a speeder a $304 ticket for driving 140 mph in a 65 mph zone.
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