Austin Dispatches
No. 125
June 20, 2009

These people are gluttons for punishment.

After the last election I was through commenting on the “Libertarian” Party for its short, foreseeable future.1  Until the national LP headquarters called and asked me to run against Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin.2 

Stating it as baldly as Phil Spector’s scalp,3  no I’m not running for office – certainly not on the ticket of a hollow, failing organization. Hollow, because since the Portland convention, the LP has been an ideological party sans ideology.  Failing, because the lack of solid, distinctive ideals undercuts the point of doing anything to improve the party’s electoral prospects. Also failing, because even competence at basic political mechanics has deteriorated among the membership, especially at the highest levels of the national party,  and within the two most active factions, the fakes and the flakes.  The national staff is unaccountable to the national committee, which is unaccountable to the rank-and-file activists.  Yet whenever I see people still in the LP that I know, without prompting they start denying any problems. I think they’re sincere. They don’t even think the problems are problems

That’s why national called me, when the state or county affiliates should be handling such recruitment. For one thing, the affiliates can have a better sense of who to field. Even the dopiest county chairman knows that I’m not fronting for them.4

And to think just a few years before, this was a party that could nominate Michael Badnarik for president and Paul Farris for Congress.5  Now it’s reduced to a 2012 presidential face-off between an ignorant, loudmouthed huckster, and some guy who thinks looking like Flavor Flav from 1992 will contribute to political “relevance.”6

In substantive political matters, the Chronicle’s legislative reporters lament the Texas legislative session ended with so little legislation passed.7 But that’s a good thing. The Texas historian T.R. Fehrenbach wrote that Texas has lagged some 60 years behind the United States average for intrusive government, which is why we live free and flourish.8  The real shame is that so much legislation designed to make Texas like everywhere else was even introduced. Fortunately, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed many of the bills the Lege did pass.9

e125fig3 President Obama took flak for taking the first lady out to dinner and a Broadway play on May 30.10 It was justifiable, even at a cost to taxpayers of $24,000 – about what dinner and two tickets for a show in Manhattan costs these days – on the constitutional grounds of insuring domestic tranquility, by keeping his high-maintenance wife content.11 (If Obama’s really a Muslim, he’s doing a lousy job of reminding her who’s in charge.)12 The real scandal is that Obama wasn’t wearing a tie.13  Where does he think he’s eating – Austin?14 He’s old enough to know how to match a color that won’t clash with the food stains. That gauche oversight eclipses the fact that when they’re out on the town, he’s not making policy decisions.

Such as his Supreme Court nominee, who has a lot of baggage, and I don’t just mean what’s under her eyes.15 Her sole worthwhile accomplishment was as conversational opener with “Melanie Ordones Welker” the other night.16 Also unremarked: For all Red Sonia Sotomayor’s blathering about her nuyoricanisma, she hasn’t uttered a peep about whether the Willie Colón album “El Jucio” inspired her career choice.  Ah-ah, oh no, indeed.17 

On the Town

May 3: The great jazz master Sonny Rollins played at the UT Peforming Arts Center. By my reckoning he soloed for about 20 minutes out of 25 minutes – and that was just the first tune. He’s still pushing himself.18

May 5: The PAC was also the venue for a concert of new chamber music. It was free. It was also funny. For starters, the New Music Ensemble premiered “Shot in the Dark,” with the lyrics taken from the personal ads in the Austin Chronicle.19

May 16: At the Go Dance Studio salsa social, I danced with a cheesecake calendar model of my acquaintance, among others. 

Neighborhood News

Organizers of this year’s wine festival during Memorial Day weekend at The Domain moved the tents from MoPac Expressway to face Burnet Road instead.20 It looked to be a better location than last yearNice to see one organization learns from its mistakes.

Spanish retailer Zara, which features cheap-looking yet pricey ‘80s-esque knockoffs of the merchandise in fellow tenant Neiman Marcus, has opened at The Domain.21 Nearby, a man was critically injured by – what else? – a woman careening an SUV through the parking garage.22

I got in some golf practice and rid my balcony ceiling of vespine nests with a 6 iron. In retrospect, I chose the right club. The landlord repainted the complex. Now the sun-faded beige stucco has a champagne hue, with chocolate brown trim. I’m not sure about that color scheme.

After two years, the underpass between Duval and Waters Park roads is accessible once again. Now workers are testing the bells, lights and crossing gates at the railroad crossing on Gracy Farms Lane for the presumed commuter rail.23

A new medical office is planned for the northeast corner of Cedar Bend Drive and MoPac.24 The local supermarket has begun stocking loaves of bread – apple strudel bread. I hadn’t the heart, or the appetite, to splurge.

Austin Death Watch

e125fig4 I’d hoped the recent storms would squelch the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally, but no luck.25 Same goes for the downtown merchants.26  Daredevil Robbie Knievel, who’s learned from his dad’s mistakes, leapt over two beer trucks in front of the Capitol.27 One commenter at the Statesman’s Web site said he would’ve been impressed if Knievel had surmounted the City’s budget deficit.28 

Speaking of the Statesman, the daily, still on the auction block, is running a promotional campaign wherein readers can submit “slam poetry.” The Chronicle snickers.29 OK, Chronicle, but when your Louis Black becomes senile, how will we really tell?30
The government TV affiliate, KLRU, has a $1 million gap in its budget that’s crippling the station’s ability to produce its own shows.31 

The Austin Fire Department is poised to destroy itself through internal wrangling over new race and sex quotas. Because when you’re trapped in a burning building, the most important thing is that you’ve supported a blow against the conservative white patriarchy.32 Can’t the department wait until the Supreme Court rules the wrong way on the Ricci case?33 Meanwhile, half the stoplight sensors in town don’t work for emergency vehicles.34 The other half is used to catch motorists.35 The district attorney is reviewing a May incident in which a constable’s deputy used a Taser on 4’ll” 72-year-old woman who was giving him lip about a speeding ticket.36

Spiros nightclub shut down June 5, following a rap-related shooting the week before that wounded eight people.37 When I first heard of it, I thought the cramped, maze-like club had put someone in a snit.  But it was just some guys “keepin’ it real.”38

Parks enthusiasts are trying to restore Wooldridge Square. Lyndon Johnson once announced his presidential campaign at the park, surrounded by government buildings. Now it’s a place for bums to sleep and everyone else to avoid. Wooldridge advocates think that’s deplorable, but it’s really just the inevitable outcome of letting LBJ and his ilk get their way. Why do you think this section of the Web zine exists?39 

Star Dreck 90210

A sometime reader lamented the new “Star Trek” movie, for among other things, “proving the modern belief that fathers are irrelevant in the scheme of things, and can be disposed of with no ill effects for any required plot device.”40 Inadvertently, he stumbled onto the truth about science fiction as it relates to liberty. First, the best assessment of the Star Trek “universe” comes from the late reactionary, Samuel Francis:

Week after week during those 30 years, the crew of the starship “Enterprise” has bustled back and forth about the universe violating its own laws forbidding interference in other planets’ business and performing deeds of liberated derring-do. Usually the cosmic conundrums its encounters and speedily redresses are transparent allegorical representations of whatever social crisis preoccupies the real cultural elite at the moment…

Indeed, what else does the human race in the “Star Trek” cosmos have to do but stick its nose into the affairs of other species? They can zip about the galaxy at velocities faster than light and “beam” themselves from one place to another instantaneously, and there never seems to be any question of food, clothing, money, disease, aging, or even of career advancement in this placid paradise. Having resolved all conceivable material problems of the human race, the only woes that remain for them in the world of “Star Trek” are those perennially invented by the cultural elite, of which the Enterprise crew is an equally transparent representation, and, of course, armed with energy weapons and beamer-uppers, the elite always solves these problems as quickly and as happily as it discovers them.

“Star Trek represents what the cultural elite thinks America and the world would be like if only the Philistines would get out of the way and let the Federation (i.e., Leviathan), spend their money as it wants, and the enduring popularity of the series suggests that no small number of viewers at least unconsciously share this vision or have absorbed its premises.41

The gestalt of “Star Trek,” however, isn’t unique. As Charlie Stross has pointed out, science fiction is the “fictional agitprop arm” of the Technocrat movement, devoted to “central planning, enlightened rational leadership, and utopianism.”42 In other words, science fiction is just dweebs’ powerlust fantasies of a universe without the constraints of kin or community, ethics or economics.43  Hence the notion in “Star Trek” that fathers are irrelevant.

Only these dweebs lack the skill set to actualize their fantasies. Moreover, human social arrangements aren’t nearly as varied as fantasists would have you believe.44 But they do provide inchoate support for beneficiaries and advocates of the State, which has crippled said constraints. Even their technical skills, which raised their status slightly as they became useful to other people, may not be enough to sustain them much longer. Those technical skills deteriorate with age, rapidly become obsolete, or can be done cheaper by some docile foreign labor overseas. If they ever do find themselves working for a sci-fi-esque company, they’ll be answering to some hardnosed guy in a suit, same as they always have.45

A subset of libertarians, found in both fake and flake factions, ascribes to these Technocratic fantasies, which puts them at odds with their own stated political beliefs and cuts them off from their sociological, historical, cultural and intellectual roots, which, by extension, helps block their ability to connect with authentic libertarians – and not just at election time.46

Paul “Bono” Hewson, international tax dodger,47 global busybody,48 and alleged entertainer,49 called Elvis Presley a “white nigger.”50  Why isn’t this harp prosecuted in Europe for "hate speech"?51 Where’s the lawsuit from the Southern Poverty Law Center?52 And does he really want to bring up a topic that will refocus attention on the pathologies and failings of his disorderly, improvident race? I mean, blacks moved to Harlem to get away from the Irish.53 When he’s not running at the mouth, like a typical mick, Hewson fronts a group that merely proves his people haven’t contributed anything to world culture since Thin Lizzy disbanded.  Even B.B. King couldn’t make them sound good.54 Listen, Hewson. We finally put Spector behind bars and we’ll get you, too.55

In real music, Steve Martin has released “The Crow,” a bluegrass album.56 Obviously, Martin was inspired by Dad’s “Lost Tribe.”

An eatery in South Austin has selections named after local celebrities, including a burger named after the late Molly Ivins. The entrée perfectly captures the essence of her career and opinions: a bland mess that amounts in the end to a lump of Bolshevik that’s flushed into oblivion with the same ease that her views were rebutted in life.  Such would be fitting treatment for Numb Chumpsky,57 L. Neil Smith, and other mental mediocrities, though all any restaurant needs is a thin, red gruel. 

Elsewhere in fashion news, scrunchies are back.58  So are harem pants.59 

The Tasmanian devil is an endangered species. Officially, the cause is a transmissible cancer, but we at Austin Dispatches have the inside scoop that it’s a result of them eating lit firecrackers disguised as woodland creatures. That’s all, folks.60


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7 King, Michael. “The Capitol Circus Decamps.” AC 5 June 2009: 13+; Whittaker, Richard. “Session Ends With Finger-Pointing, Unfinished Business.” Idem., 16; Whittaker. “How Long Is 140 Days?” Idem., 12 June 2009: 24.
8 Fehrenbach, T.R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. 1968. Rpt. New York City: American Legacy Press, 1983: 633.
9 Embry, Jason. ”Perry Vetoes Range From Pre-K to College.” AAS 20 June 2009: A1+.
10 Bosman, Julie, and Karen Zraick. “Politics Can Wait: The President Has a Date.” NYT 31 May 2009: 18.
11 Hurt, Charles, and Stefanie Cohen. “Obama Keeps His Big Apple Pledge.” NYPO 31 May 2009: 4; Sailer, Steve. America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's Story of Race and Inheritance. Washington, Conn.: VDARE Foundation, 2008: Ch. 10.
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13 Hurt and Cohen, op. cit.
14 Zelade, Richard. Austin, rev. 4th ed. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co., 1996: 255.
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16 AD No. 122n30 (Feb. 8, 2009).
17 Colón, Willie. “Ah-Ah/O-No.” El Jucio. Fania 424, 1972; Lewis, Neil A. “A ‘Kid From the Bronx’ With Hopes and Doubts.” NYT 27 May 2009: 1; Red Sonja. Dino De Laurentiis Co./Famous Films, 1985.
18 Hernandez, Raoul. “Bare Necessities.” AC 1 May 2009: 60.
19 “Classical Music.” Idem., 76.
20 “Event Menu May 22-25.” Idem., 22 May 2009: 41.
21 Harper, Marques G. “Zara Adds Its European Style Sense to Domain.” AAS 28 May 2009: D5.
22 “Central Texas Digest.” AAS 21 May 2009: B2.
23 “Progress, but No Date, for Rail Line.” AAS 20 June 2009: B2; Whittaker. “Ready for Rail.” AC 19 June 2009: 21.
24 Harrington, Kate. “N. Austin Medical Offices in the Works.” ABJ 1 May 2009: 1+.
25 AD No. 80n34 (June 21, 2005); George, Patrick, and Tony Plohetski. “Storm Rains Down Lightning, Hail.” AAS 12 June 2009: B1+; Vail, Isadora. “It Rained, and Then ‘We Got Taken for a Ride.’ ” Idem., 13 June 2009: B1+.
26 Smith, Amy. “Not Everyone Profits From ROT Rally.” AC 19 June 2009: 20.
27 Osborn, Claire. “ ‘Biker’s Dream’ Plays Out on Our Streets.” AAS 13 June 2009: A1+.
28 King, Michael. “Out of Balance.” AC 12 June 2009: 14.
29 Brass, Kevin. “ ‘Statesman’ Slam: That All Ya’ Got?” AC 12 June 2009: 22.
30 AD No. 80n9.
31 Brass, Kevin. “KLRU’s Numbers Don’t Add Up.” AC 22 May 2009: 24.
32 Dunbar, Wells. “Fiery Colors.” Idem., 16.
33 Ricci v. DeStefano, 530 F.3d 88. 2d Cir. 2008.
34 Plohetski, Tony. “Stoplight Sensors Need Replacement, Officials Say.”AAS 12 June 2009: B1+.
35 AD No. 119n53.
36 Kelso, John. “Glad to Know the Law Stands Ready to Zap Granny.” AAS 12 June 2009: B1+; Osborn. “DA to Review Tasering Case.” Idem.
37 Plohetski, and Juana Summers. “As Spiros Is Shut Down, One Victim Describes ‘Chaos’ on Night of Shooting.” AAS 6 June 2009: C1+.
38 “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.” Chappelle’s Show. Comedy Central. 10 Mar. 2004.
39 AD No. 100n16 (Sep. 3, 2007); Eisler, Dan. “Re: Omaha dispatch from Frank Rossi -- you (shtoop) my wife?” E-mail, 16 Jan. 2009; Rothbard, Murray N. "The Great Society: A Libertarian Critique." The Great Society Reader: The Failure of American Liberalism. Ed. Marvin E. Gettleman and David Mermelstein. New York City: Random House, 1967: 502-511; Toohey, Marty. “Advocates Strive to Restore Wooldridge Square’s Honor.” AAS 20 June 2009: A1+.
40 Steele, R. Anthony. “Star Trek, 1966-2009, RIP.” 14 May 2009 RAnt(hony)-ings <http://ranthonysteele.blogspot.com/2009/05/star-trek-1966-2009-rip.html>.
41 Francis, Samuel. “Beam Us Out.” Chronicles Apr. 1994: 12.
42 Stross, Charlie. “Let’s Put the Future Behind Us.” 20 Oct. 2006 Charlie’s Diary <http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2006/10/lets_put_the_future_behind_us.html>.
43 “Blowhard, Michael.” “ ‘Neuromancer’ on Audiobook.” 23 June 2004 2 Blowhards <http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2004/06/neuromancer_on_audiobook.html>.
44 Fleming, Thomas. The Politics of Human Nature. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1988: 42.
45 Cringely, Robert X. [Mark Stephens] Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can't Get a Date, rev. ed. New York City: HarperBusiness, 1996: 8-9, 1114-15, 20-23, 313, 355, 360; Locke, Robert. “Valhalla of the Idiots Savant.” 1 Mar. 2000 VDare.com <http://www.vdare.com/locke/locke.htm>.
46 "Blowhard." "Libertarians and Sci-Fi." 9 Nov. 2002 2 Blowhards <http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2002/11/libertarians_and_scifi.html>; Dunn, J.R. “Goodbye, Galactic Empire.” Liberty Nov. 1989: 43-48; Doherty, Brian. Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. New York City: PublicAffairs, 2007: 518-523.
47 Steyn, Mark. “What Bono Says and What He Does.” Maclean’s 27 Apr. 2009: 68-69.
48 Leland, John, Michael Hirsch, and Weston Kosova. “Can Bono Save the World?” Newsweek 24 Jan. 2000: 58.
49 Cocks, Jay. “Rock for the 80s.” Time 27 Apr. 1987: 72.
50 Mendick, Robert. “Now BBC Goes Bonkers With Bono’s Bizarre Ode to Elvis.” Evening Standard 5 May 2009, West End final ed.: 7.
51 Gottfried, Paul Edward. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Gult: Toward a Secular Theocracy. Columbia, Mo. U of Misouri P, 2002: 73.
52 Churchill, Robert H. To Shake Their Guns in the Tyrant’s Face: Libertarian Political Violence and the Origins of the Militia Movement. Ann Arbor, Mich. U of Michigan P, 2009: 181-182; Morse, Dan, and Greg Jaffe. "Critics Question $52 Million Reserve, Tactics of Wealthiest Civil Rights Group." Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser 13 Feb. 1994: 15A; Silverstein, Ken. “The Church of Morris Dees.” Harper’s Magazine Nov. 2000: 54.
53 Sowell, Thomas. Ethnic America: A History. New York City: Basic Books, 1981: 277.
54 King, B.B. [Riley King], and U2. “When Love Comes to Town.” Rattle and Hum. Island 422-842299-1, 1988.
55 Brown, David. “Phil Spector Found Guilty of Murder, Faces Life in Prison.” RS 14 May 2009: 18.
56 Martin, Steve. The Crow. Rounder 610647, 2009.
57 AD No. 116n16 (Sep. 7, 2008).
58 “The Tolerability Index.” The Onion 18 June 2009, Austin ed.: 15.
59 Magsaysay, Melissa. “A Night at the Casbah.” LAT 31 May 2009: P2.
60 Owen, David, and David Pemberton. Tasmanian Devil: A Unique and Threatened Animal. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2005: Ch. 10-11.