Today in Texas History – January 17

Image result for richard coke images

From the Annals of the Governors –   In 1874, Richard Coke was inaugurated as the 15th Governor of Texas. Coke was a Democrat and his election as Governor is considered to be the end of Reconstruction in Texas.  Coke’s election was the subject of legal controversy.  The Texas Supreme Court invalidated the election, but Coke ignored the ordered and with supporters and militia seized control of the physical Governor’s office at the State Capitol.  The incumbent governor requested that President Grant send in federal troops, but Grant declined to intervene and Coke took office.

Coke was a veteran of the Southern Rebellion.  After the war he was appointed a Texas District Court judge, and in 1866 he was elected as an associate justice to the Texas Supreme Court.  His political career took off when the military governor General Philip Sheridan removed Coke and four other judges as ‘an impediment to reconstruction.’ The removal made Coke famous and he took advantage of his new found celebrity to run for Governor in 1873.  Resentment to Union occupation insured his victory and reestablished the Democratic Party as the power base in Texas for the next 100 years.  Unfortunately, the Democrats power was based on disenfranchisement of Blacks, Mexican-Americans and poor whites through the use of poll taxes, overt discrimination and “White Primaries” in which only white property owners could vote.  Winning the  Democratic Primary was tantamount to victory.  Coke’s legacy as Governor is largely one of discrimination and abuse of power.  However, he did usher in the Constitution of 1876 which remains the basis for Texas government today – however heavily amended.  Coke resigned as Governor after being elected to the U.S. Senate where he served from 1876 to 1895.

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Red’s NFL Picks – Conference Championships

Red was 2-2 in the Semis last week.  He would have been 3-1 if he had the courage of his convictions and stuck with the Eagles.  As we head to the final 3 games of the NFL season, Red reflects back a bit on what looked like a promising season for several teams.

First, the Texans – who had a brief flash of brilliance and the highest single game point total of the year with Deshaun Watson under center and then after he went down – well Red will fall back on one of his favorite quotes from Homer Simpson – “I’ve seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.”  And yet Texans fans are still stuck with the Bill O’ the Clown show.

Next, the Cowboys – Red had a feeling deep down inside that Dak Prescott would suffer from sophmoritis and a steadily declining offensive line.  The Cowboys had a 6 week stretch early on in the season where they actually remembered that you have to score points in reasonable numbers to win an NFL game.  From Weeks 3-9, the Boys actually averaged almost 32 points per game – going 4-2 with losses to the hot hands of the Packers and Rams.  Then they remembered they were the Cowboys and managed score a total of 22 points in a 3 game losing streak that put the shoulder pads up against the wall.  And then they rallied against the lowlifes of the league until the Seahawks put them out of their misery with a 21-12 drubbing in Arlington.  It seems every move that Genius Jerry made this season was rather bone-headed.  Other than Ryan Switzer being established as a credible return man – nothing much seemed to work out for Jerry.

And the Packers – who once again proved that A-Rodg is year in and year out one of the MVPs of the league.

Finally, the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders who might have been the biggest disappointment in the league and also proved that Jack Del Rio is an excellent defensive coordinator and in over his head as head coach.  Also, it seems the Beast is done for barring an amazing revival.  They had Red believing – but turned out to be a novelty act of the worst kind.

Your AFC Championship Pick of the Week –  Jaguars over Patriots.  Red has a little bit of that stuff he was smoking last week left over from picking the Titans to knock off the Superb Owl champs.  It must be powerful because he is riding it uphill again this week in taking the Jags to upset the Pats on the road.  The only possible reason for this pick is that Tom Coughlin seems to somehow have the Pats number having whipped them twice for the NFL Championship – with Eli Manning to boot.  The Jags have a helluva defense – no doubt and a credible offense despite the specter of Blake Bortles hanging about.  To win this one, the Jags must get to Brady early and often.  Anything less than 4 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and multiple pressures just won’t cut it.  Either that or a concussion protocol – not that Red is rooting for that to happen.  Meanwhile, the Pats defense has carried the team.  After a shaky first 4 weeks, the Pats gave up more than 20 points just twice the rest of the way – losing to the Dolphins and eking out a Zebra assisted win against the Stealers.  But it’s not like the Pats offense are a bunch of slouches either.  If Jags can keep it close and low-scoring , they just might win this thing.  Jacksonville 27 New England 20.  

Your NFC Championship Pick of the Week – Vikings over Eagles.  Well sports fans, that was the most incredible finish to an NFL game since either the Music City Miracle or the Immaculate Reception depending on your point of view.  The Vikings probably deserved to win that game anyway, but really?  So can the Vikings come back down to earth in time to beat the Eagles Sunday night?  Well, Timmy (Red’s been waiting all year for this), that there Case Keenum fellow seems to have put the black magic fuckery in a Gatorade bottle and has the ability to break it out when needed.  But Uncle Red, “don’t the Eagles have a chance,” Danny asks.  Of course they do, Billy.  But you see there was this tall guy named Carson Wentz who old Papa Red picked out as the best in class a couple of years ago and well he got slobber-knockered a few weeks back and well, Jimmy, that was probably it for the Eagles.  Still, Willy, they have a slim chance if CK somehow decides he can still keep throwing up balls for grabs and not be punished like a repeat felon.  It’s called “ball control” and if the Vikings can hold on to the rock for say – 35 minutes Sammy, they can win this thing and be the first team ever to play on home turf in the Superb Owl era.  The odds were it had to happen some day Ricky, and Sunday is the day.  Minnesota 28 Philadelphia 24.

Today in Texas History – January 16

From the Annals of the Senate – In 1850,  five years after Texas was admitted to statehood, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri introduced a bill that would have divided Texas into two states and ceded additional land to the U.S. for $15 million.  The measure failed to gain any traction.  This was but one of several efforts to divide Texas into multiple states.  Later proposals included dividing the state into East and West Texas along either the Brazos or the Colorado, or selling off the land west of the Pecos to the federal government.  Various proposals to divvy up the state have continued to erupt.  The latest came in 1991, when Rep. David Swinford submitted a House bill to make the Panhandle into the state of “Old Texas.”  The bill was not considered. Texas remains intact today.

Ice Pellets?

Red is familiar with freezing rain and sleet.  But had never seen “ice pellets” in the forecast until yesterday.  With Winter Storm Inga upon us, Red figured he had better check it out.   Turns out that ice pellets is just another name for sleet.

Ice pellets are a form of precipitation. They are small, translucent or clear balls of ice. Ice pellets are rain drops that have frozen before they hit the ground. When they hit the ground, they bounce. Ice pellets are also called sleet and can be accompanied by freezing rain.

Thanks to the Weather Guys in Wisconsin who know way more about such matters than warm weather Red.

Red’s NFL Picks – Conference Semi-Finals

Red was unable to make it happen last week, but he would have picked the Titans, Vikings, Jaguars and Panthers to win.  So that would have been 3-1, but hey, it goes in the Shithole if you don’t do it in advance.  Things have been hectic in Red World, so it will be short and sweet this week.  And Red never bets on the NFL playoffs – that’s for the amateurs.

Vikings over Saints –  Red is still wondering how the Texans let Case Keenum get away.  He came in practically overnight at the end of 2014 season, won two games for a sad sack team and then was never even given the opportunity to compete for a back up spot.   All so that Tom Savage could prove his worthlessness?   Red completely discounts CK’s 16 games with the Rams over 2015-16 because he was being coached by Jeff Fischer – he of the giant stick up his Shithole – and a complete offensive moron of a head coach.  Fischer has had one successful quarterback in his entire career – Steve McNair – who was talented enough to overcome the crippling effect of Fischer’s offensive ineptitude.   So this will be sweet justice for Keenum – a quarterback that Red did not believe in either – but one he thought at least deserved a chance in Houston after the 2014 season.  On the other side is the aged wonder Drew Brees – another Texas quarterback – who turned back the hands of time this year.  Brees was certainly helped by a nice rushing attack and good defense.  Brees didn’t have to carry his team this season. But what wins this game is the Vikings defense.  There really isn’t a weak link there and they keep it close enough to win.   Minnesota 20 New Orleans 17.

Titans over Patriots –  Red is smoking the good stuff this morning fresh in from his favorite Shithole country. How else could he pick the Titans to knock off the reigning champs on a cold Massachusetts day with GOAT TB 12 at the helm?  This is coming from the gut and like most things coming from that direction should probably end up in the Shithole.  The Titans running attack will be effective enough to keep Brady and Co. off the field.  Titans win this one if they control the ball for 37:30 and punt well.  The Titans showed that they don’t crumble when down.  Yeah, those were the Andy Reid Chiefs and this is a different class, but Red’s team of destiny makes it happen.  Tennessee 24 New England 22.

Jaguars over Stealers –  Another gamble for Red and possibly more money down the Shithole (are you sensing a trend here?) for anyone taking the Jags.   Ben Rotlessburger has at times been very average in the face of excellent defenses and the Jags have just that.  Don’t be surprised if Ben doesn’t make it through this entire game.  The last time these teams met, BR should have been pulled.  This time they may carry him off in a basket. The rest of the league took notice when the Jags kicked ass and took names in dismantling the Stealers 30-9 in Week 5 at Heinz Field.   That win gave them the “Sacksonville” moniker as the Jags pressured BR into five interceptions and two sacks.  Can they do it again, with a trip to the AFC Championship game on the line – a game that could be played in Florida?  Red says Hell yes.   Jacksonville 28 Pittsburgh 13.

Falcons over Eagles –  As much as Red would love to pick the Eagles here, he just doesn’t feel the Foles magic.  The Falcons are still on a Mission from God to make up for the utter humiliation of last season’s Superb Owl loss to the hated Pats.  And the Eagles season started to circle the Shithole immediately after losing Carson Wentz – who still should win MVP because he was the most valuable player to any team this season. With Wentz under center the Eagles dispatch the Falcons with ease, but that will have to wait for another year.  So it is with great reluctance that Red says –  Atlanta 29 Philadelphia 12.

Today in Texas History – January 12

From the Annals of the Vigilantes – In 1874, a vigilante gang hanged a suspected horse thief in Denton.  After the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad reached the Red River, there was an increase in crime and general lawlessness with the introduction of outsiders.   Such actions were not uncommon in post-war Texas, especially where local courts and law enforcement were either in the formative stages, undependable or non-existent. So-called “vigilance committees” formed to mete out their own form of justice in an effort to deter crime and punish desperadoes.  It was rough justice at best and sometimes degenerated into mob rule or the instrument for settling personal vendettas.  The historical record of their activities is typically limited to newspaper accounts which may be of dubious accuracy.

Quote for the Day

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

Donald J. Trump

Give me your well-rested, your nouveau riche. Your good white folks who are already living free.  The well-heeled swells from your really nice beaches.  Give me the hopeful really cool to me.  I lift my lamp beside the golden shore.

Emma Lazarus weeps.