Reliant Stadium May Be Changing Names, But Texans Still Lining Pockets With Naming Rights Fees

Photo by Groovehouse
The names may change, but the cash stays the same.
For over a decade, Bob McNair has been given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his ownership of the Houston Texans. "He brought football back to Houston and he spent a billion dollars to do it," is the familiar refrain. Part of that sentence is true. After the Oilers left, he most certainly brought a team back to Houston, albeit at large part because of LA's unbelievable ineptitude (they were given every opportunity to get the next NFL franchise and fell flat on their faces each time). But, the idea that McNair shelled out $1 billion for the Texans is inaccurate, and he's made more than his share back...and then some.

First, a history lesson. In 1994 there was a real possibility the city could end up with zero pro teams and no new stadia. The Oilers were on their way out the door. The Astros were threatening a move to northern Virginia and the Rockets would soon be playing footsie with Louisville. Yet, within 10 years, the Astros moved into Minute Maid Park, the Rockets into Toyota Center and the Texans were born at Reliant Stadium.

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Greg Abbott's Past Court Fight Against Equal Pay

Equal pay, what?
Abbott World just can't seem to catch a break lately. It began Sunday with his dancing around the question of his support for the Texas Equal Pay Act and some very damaging evidence emerged earlier this week.

State Senator Wendy Davis held a teleconference with Senator Sylvia Garcia and former TXU senior executive Alex Jimenez on new evidence that Greg Abbott has fought against equal pay for Texas families in the courtroom.

Per her press release: "A full day's hard work is worth a full day's pay no matter your gender," said Senator Wendy Davis. "As Attorney General, Greg Abbott actively fought against equal pay for equal work in the courtroom. Greg Abbott has shown that he would be a governor who just doesn't care that there are more families than ever before relying on two incomes, who can't afford to have one of their paychecks unfairly reduced because one of them is a woman. Texas needs a governor who is singularly focused on making sure our state moves into the future with a 21st Century economy. That begins with the principle of equal pay for equal work."

In 2012, Greg Abbott's office actually fought against equal pay in a court case in which he defended Prairie View A&M University in a lawsuit by a professor who faced pay discrimination.

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Rand Paul Calls Ted Cruz on Bashing Their Party

Lots of people in the Republican party are fed up with Sen. Ted Cruz, but Sen. Rand Paul is the guy who is doing something about it.

On Monday, the conservative news website, Breitbart News, published an op-ed by Paul, where the senator from Kentucky took Cruz to task -- without ever actually naming the guy who may be beloved by the Tea Party conservatives, but has earned some pretty impressive dislike from the elected members of his own party -- for his hijinks that Paul said have encouraged divisions within the party:

"I don't claim to be the next Ronald Reagan nor do I attempt to disparage fellow Republicans as not being sufficiently Reaganesque. But I will remind anyone who thinks we will win elections by trashing previous Republican nominees or holding oneself out as some paragon in the mold of Reagan, that splintering the party is not the route to victory."
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Texas Democratic Establishment, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News All Endorse Biggest Loser

photo by TexasRedd
The state Democratic establishment studiously ignoring Kinky Friedman
Ignored by the state Democratic establishment like he was an Al-Qaeda terrorist wearing a bomb coat, Richard "Kinky" Friedman still managed to garner about 185,000 votes in the Democratic primary March 4. Friedman's vote total put him in second place with 37.7 percent of the vote and forced a late May runoff with Joe Hogan (190,200/38.8%).

The elephant-in-the-room question behind the final totals in the down-ballot race for Agriculture Commissioner is how far out of step with Democratic voters the state's top Democrats as well as metropolitan newspapers including Houston Chronicle and Dallas Morning News are. Hugh Asa Fitzsimons, a buffalo producer near San Antonio, got virtually all the public endorsements from both the Democratic hierarchy and other statewide candidates like Lieutenant Governor hopeful Leticia van de Putte, and from the major print newspapers and Democratic-oriented political blogs like Burnt Orange Report. Even Democratic maverick and former Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower endorsed Fitzsimons.

Yet with all the votes counted, the heavily endorsed Fitzsimons could only muster 23 percent of the Democratic vote statewide in the three-man race, illustrating beyond all doubt how out of touch with rank-and-file Democrats the state's major media outlets and top Democratic honchos and strategists are.

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Wendy Davis Isn't Running from Obama

Photo by Allison Hess

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis has been walking a fine line since she became a political star last summer. Davis is trying to become the first Democrat to be elected to statewide office since 1994, and that's no easy task. But if you think Davis plans on steering clear of the president when he comes to town next month, you've got another think coming.

Democrats are gaining some ground in Texas, and people are actually predicting the reliably red Lone Star State will actually be in play in the coming years. But that's in the future. To be a Texas Democrat with a snowball's chance in hell of being elected today, you've got to play to the center, the people who want their guns and their abortion clinics and who might vote Democrat in the booth but hate the guy who is the head of the party, President Barack Obama. In some states, the president's support would be seen as nothing but a good thing, but here it's tricky.

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Ted Cruz in a Psychedelic Video Reading Dr. Seuss

Still image from "ham" on
The funkiest image of Ted Cruz you ever did see.
If you liked -- or at least couldn't stop watching -- Sen. Ted Cruz read Dr. Seuss in the U.S. Senate, have we got a video treat for you. Before he was influencing the Texas primary without even being on the ballot, he was already irritating his fellow Republicans with a fake filibuster that allowed him to talk a lot and read a classic children's book.

Last fall, Cruz decided to take a stand -- as he is often prone to doing -- and stage a non-filibuster filibuster against the Affordable Care Act. Technically, his hours of holding the Senate captive with talking did not constitute a real Capra-esque filibuster, but that all mattered a little less -- or much more, depending on your view -- when Cruz pulled out a Dr. Seuss classic and commenced to read it aloud.

What Dr. Seuss book would the freshman senator who has made himself remarkably unpopular among the elected leaders of his own party, while simultaneously making himself super popular with the Republicans who want to see the party driven further to the right choose? That classic tale of a character who does not wish to go with the flow and try something new, Green Eggs and Ham, of course.

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Wendy Davis and Texas Primary Results: What We Know Now

Photo by Philip Steffan
Time to start writing that concession speech.
Wendy Davis v. Greg Abbott.

Let me take the suspense out of this race: Abbott will win in convincing fashion. As I've noted before, there are simply not enough women and minority voters in Texas who will support Davis such that she can win. Indeed, setting aside gender, there aren't enough white Democrats in Texas. What is more, Abbott has three times as much cash on hand as Davis.

Both won their parties' respective primaries in convincing fashion with Davis garnering nearly 80 percent of the Democratic vote and Abbott prevailing with over 90 percent of Republicans backing him.

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Ted Cruz, Most Powerful Texas Republican in the Primaries, Even Though He Wasn't Running

Photo by Daniel Kramer
Ted Cruz, the biggest influence in the election, even though he's not running.

When Texas kicked off primary season on Tuesday, the most powerful guy involved wasn't on the ballot. Yep, we're talking about Sen. Ted Cruz.

Since taking office two years ago, the freshman Tea Party senator has made a name for himself with Dr. Seuss-ian pseudo-filibusters and a habit of bucking against the orders of Republican leadership when it came to voting or doing anything he didn't want to do. This has made made him impressively unpopular among members of his own party (a reporter advised Cruz to get a food taster before going to Republican meals), but it has made him beloved by Republicans who have felt that the party wasn't far right enough, as Reuters reported.

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Houston Threatens Uber With Some Legalese Over Email Campaign

They are shutting down the city!
There's been a lot of discussion about Uber, the car service that recently launched service in Houston despite the fact that ordinances prevent it from operating legally. The Mayor and City Council have been in discussions on what to do about services like Uber and Lyft that provide an alternative to taxis and limo services. Both allow users to request a car via an app, which also handles payment. The driver is paid electronically.

Some 10,000 Houstonians signed an online petition in support of the service, the most vocal of whom are young, urbanites who are strong supporters of the technological aspects of the service.

What was the city's response?

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Texas Isn't All Rednecks and Bible Thumpers as Gay Marriage Ban May Suggest

Not everyone in Texas looks like this.
In the 2000 Bush/Gore presidential election, George W. Bush carried the state of Texas, which came of little surprise to anyone. Texas is, after all, as red as red states can be on most socio-political issues and the former governor was a poster boy for socially conservative politics. But, here in Houston, Vice President Al Gore actually beat Bush 52 percent to 48 percent. The same held true of Harris County. Yes, the same city that is the home to Urban Cowboy, one of the largest rodeos in North America and a big chunk of the energy industry is not the backwards, racist honkey tonk many of our northern neighbors might think. We have a lesbian mayor and everything!

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