Thumbs up, down
Houston’s annual marathon, an advocate for Texas’ poor and a high-profile anti-vaxxer.
The weather we ordered up for the Super Bowl has arrived. It’s perfect for snowbound cheeseheads and wavers of the Terrible Towel. Slight problem: The game’s next month. This weekend we wanted highs in the 40s for runners in the Chevron Houston Marathon. It’s going to be brutal on the course, all the more reason to line the route early Sunday with encouraging cheers for the participants, volunteers and race organizers.
Greater Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president Laura Murillo this week gave an earful to the Trump transition team. “We want to be part of this country’s fabric and not just a thread,” Murillo said in Washington. Trump’s attitude about Hispanics was clear during the campaign. He still has not met with Latino groups since the election and has appointed none to Cabinet positions.
For speaking out on behalf of a marginalized group, Murillo might have found a kindred spirit in San Antonio Archbishop-emeritus Patrick Flores. He died this week at 87. Ordained in Houston in 1956, Flores was the nation’s first Mexican-American bishop and a quintessential advocate for Texas’ poor, be they farmworkers or residents of San Antonio’s public housing. Before hostage crises were daily CNN events, Flores in 2000 was detained by a man with a grenade (it later was deemed fake). Instead of panicking, he defused the situation by providing calm counsel and prayer to the deranged person. Flores was a founder of San Antonio-based Communities Organized for Public Service, a grass-roots group that exerts pressure to effect change in local neighborhoods. Its legacy of improving lives is Flores’, too.
With hopes that this is not an ominous portent of the coming administration, one of the looney Kennedys — Robert Jr. — said he was appointed this week by President-elect Donald Trump to lead a commission on vaccine safety. Kennedy has used his name to roll back vaccination laws, espousing the non-scientific theory that vaccines cause autism. Coming to the verbal rescue was Peter Hotez, one of the superstars of our Texas Medical Center and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, a nonprofit that works to control, treat and eliminate vaccine-preventable and neglected tropical diseases. “That’s very frightening; it’s difficult to imagine anyone less qualified to serve on a commission for vaccine science,” said Hotez. “The science is clear: Massive evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism, and as both a scientist who develops vaccines for poverty-related neglected diseases and the father of an adult daughter with autism, there’s not even any plausibility for a link.”
Astros outfielder Carlos Beltran put up legendary postseason numbers in 2004 (he hit .435 with eight home runs and 14 RBIs in 12 games). But instead of returning to the Killer Bees buzz, Beltran heard Bronx Cheers in Houston after failing to renegotiate a contract. He’s back now, a $16 million, one-year (about $100,000 a game) contract in his jersey. “I’m looking forward to getting things rolling at Minute Maid,” he wrote this week for ThePlayersTribune.com. “I often find myself thinking back to that 2004 Astros team … and how we came up just short. I can’t wait for the chance to … get over that final hurdle this time around.”