Austin Dispatches
No. 133
May 4, 2010
My friend Chris threw a housewarming party at his new townhouse. It was my first visit there, my first visit to the Gulf Coast, and my first visit to Harris County since 2007, unfortunately. 

I had a good time while there. The Clear Lake Area, where NASA maintains the Mission Control Center, reminded me of Southern California coastal towns, right down to the palm trees. The communities have matured gracefully from the time of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, when Norman Mailer described them as “all new, their roads laid out in winding turns so absent of surprise that you could recognize they came off the French curve of the draftsman” on “that flat anonymous and near to tree-impoverished plain which runs in one undistinguished and not very green stretch from Houston to Galveston.”1 

e133fig2 However, I had to slug through clotted, slow traffic from my neighborhood to Clear Lake and back. Any map shows the lack of a clear straightaway route to Houston a la Interstate 35 to Dallas or San Antonio. Gov. Rick Perry, who's been castigated for his toll road boondoggles, at least could've created one slicing past the quaint little towns in between – "quaint," meaning you have to slowly pass weather-beaten buildings that sell wobbly old furniture and rusting farm implements at jacked-up prices that wouldn't be tolerated at a big-city auction house. Then I'd've cut Perry some slack.2 
The others on the road drove about as well as Polacks fly planes.  If you dumb shitkickers learned how to drive the right way, people like me wouldn’t have to use our horns.3

Moreover, everyone on the two-lane highways insisted on driving slowly, be it retirees in recreational vehicles, farmers hauling livestock, or just people stopping alongside the road ... to frolic ... in the wildflowers?4  I have neckties more colorful than that.5 Get the hell out of my way!

And I drove leisurely for me. Next time it might be quicker to fly to Houston.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch…

On the customer side of the deli meat counter at Central Market, some East Coast type berated the staff for botching an order of gefilte fish. “I’m sick of the incompetence in this town” he spat at some swarthy type who looked like his ancestors held ritual sacrifices atop pyramids while the customer’s were inventing the bagel.6 

The customer was probably just a Larry Davidesque asshole who was deliberately exploiting the situation as an excuse to overreact.7 And the employee he berated was probably just another goatee-sporting douche bag hipster wannabe too incompetent for the job he thinks is beneath him.

e133fig3 However, I thought the incident I witnessed was yet another anecdotal argument against immigration, open, illegal, or otherwise. Now you can’t go anywhere without some moron with shallow roots fucking up the business of America. We have natives who can do that.8 For that matter, descendents of immigrants via Ellis Island haven't exactly been the pure net benefit they claim to be. Does a plate of greasy food from some Old World recipe outweigh a bunch of people still clinging to the stunted, pathological behavior of their ancestors and embedded chips on their shoulders toward the WASPs, who let them in?

(Even a lot of libertarians stow their usual rigor when addressing the National Question – when they address it. This is a growing trend on other issues post-9/11, and particularly post-Portland, but that's a rant for another time.) 

Meanwhile, the City Council is mulling whether to snub Arizona for enforcing existing federal law against foreigners coming into the country illegally.9 This falls under the usual category of our local power elite using nonwhites as a prop to proclaim their superiority over their perceived white rivals. 

Speaking of racial one-upsmanship, land-use lawyer Richard Suttle attributes the delays to the establishment of the Dell Jewish Community Campus 10 years ago to “anti-Semitism.”10

Put unsubtly, Suttle is full of crap. He should know better than anyone. He's been the point man on Wal-Mart’s effort to build a store in the Northcross Mall.11 Furthermore, two years ago, the JCC again went through months of agonized zoning disputes so it could expand on its own property.12 However, I never once read anything from the association’s advocates where they considered zoning the problem.

In all cases, the opponents used zoning and other land-use laws as they were intended – to infringe upon the rights of the property owners. This cudgel of government meddling was invented by the krauts and imported into the United States after World War I by elite busybodies as another means of screwing over nonwhites and working and poor people without the political connections to be left alone – i.e., nearly everybody.13 

In recent examples, City bureaucrats shut down the music patio at Güero’s off South Congress Avenue for lack of a permit.14 City bureaucrats also refuse to let a Northwest Austin townhouse owner cut down an oak wrecking her patio, because their rules say so.15 

If Suttle wants to get into racial aspects, he might wonder aloud why Jews as a group haven’t learned that government per se is the problem.16

Unfortunately, the Austin power elite’s pontificating on such matters don't delay the Council from pursuing the rest of its disastrous agenda, such as voting April 9 to name the Mexican free-tailed bat Austin's official animal. So Austin’s official animal is a blood-sucking rodent that functions best in the dark – that's perfect. The Council also designated the first Sunday in June to be "Night of the Bat," with a city-sponsored event downtown.17 A better version would have people armed with sawed-off sluggers to drive Austin newcomer Tucker Max from his downtown condo and out of the City limits.18

The Council also voted April 29 to spend $2.8 million for 105 cars for City workers – they can’t take the train? – and another $2.1 million for lighting and landscaping for the parking lots under Interstate 35 between East Sixth and Eighth streets19 – and spent $1 million to take old toilets out of apartments and dump 280 tons of porcelain in landfills.20

In recent weeks, other prominent actors among Travis County’s establishment have acted in similar fashion. You’d think they were clamoring for a mention here.

Travis County commissioned a study that concludes the County must double its office space downtown or locate elsewhere to keep up with the population in the next 25 years. Predictably, the study and the County apparatchiks operate on the wrong premise. Namely, that their services are desired or even needed. The rest of us in Travis County would be better off with fewer government services and less of what remained, instead of having to seek lighter burdens in surrounding counties.21

The Business Journal reports tech companies and their employees want to be located downtown because they think it’s cool. But the office spaces have unsuitable layouts and higher rents, so they have to stay in the uncool suburbs.22 In other news, the Easter Bunny doesn't really leave a basket of sweets at Easter and you can't return home by clicking your heels three times.23

Austin police are planning to plant security cameras around town.24 Big Krupke is watching.25 In good news, the Statesman reports the police union’s hiring an unsuccessful ex-bail bondsman as a consultant has split the police union ranks, and the more they wrangle amongst themselves, the less they insinuate themselves in civic matters like some Praetorian Guard.26 Meanwhile, a Travis County corrections officer, wacked out on booze and coke, killed his friend on April 18.27

Yet these are the same pigs who announced they wouldn’t arrest anybody for smoking marijuana at the annual Austin Reggae Festival at Auditorium Shores.28 I can't believe the police passed up a big revenue-raiser that weekend. Based on my one experience at a reggae show, you can't swing a nightstick without cracking open some pothead's skull.  If any of ‘em so much as tried to stand up for their rights, the cops could pound their own one-drop riddim on their craniums.29 After all, it’s the word of a government authority with license to kill against that of some dirt bag too ganja-befogged to credibly know what was happening.

The Statesman reports the passage count is down on the commuter rail since Capital Metro began charging after the first free week.30 Then Cap Metro had to fire its security chief after maintenance workers found a liquor flask in his agency car.31 You’d drink on the job, too: Simultaneously, the Texas 45 toll road’s exit feeding into the southbound lanes of MoPac Expressway seemed even more of a parking lot when the rail service started – that is, when the rail service works.32 When it does, the train horns disrupt the sleep of Leander residents.33 Statesman reporter Ben Wear has been on top of the Cap Metro story for years. Only now have the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission, and even the Chronicle, caught on to Cap Metro’s intrinsic incompetence and mismanagement.34

Austin Energy, the city energy utility monopoly is seeking to jack up its rates on us to make up for a projected $83 million funding gap.35 This gap results partly because Austin Energy’s been encouraging people and businesses to conserve energy with environmentally conscious systems, which use less energy the utility can charge for.36 In other words, green = red, and not just because environmentalists are a particular scungy form of Marxoid. Environmentalism can actually cost you a lot of money.

The owner of Snappy Snacks, a Pflugerville-based company that leases food trucks, is pushing the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department for more regulation on the rival food trailers that are the latest culinary and cultural trend in Austin. The owner says he wants a "level playing field," thereby giving away the game. Most business regulation exists on behalf of established companies to quash upstart competition. When the choice is between crippling governmental rules and Austin's distinctive culture, the Austin power elite will choose the former every time. Austin itself loses.37 

March 28, the Wells Branch Community Library hosted a Louisa May Alcott Tea Party. But instead of celebrating the 19th century writer, the girls brandished placards and protested mandatory pediatrician visits buried in the ObamaCare legislation.38

Adam Dell, investor and brother of a certain well-known local Fortune 500 company’s honcho, has sired a bastard from the womb of the smoking hot Padma Lakshmi. This has been underreported in general, and all accounts omit the really important information. Such as how a guy who resembles a dull Shemp Howard accomplished this deed with a looker like her. Maybe there’s hope for the rest of us.39 

In the neighborhood, my landlord installed compact fluorescent bulbs in the complex. I came home one day to lighting simultaneously too dark and too harsh, besides CFL bulbs' other flaws.40  The large, old incandescent bulb in the dining room ceiling fixture that had served me well for 10 years sat on the kitchen counter, next to a note from the installer, acknowledging that the old bulb was brighter than the new replacement.  Less than a week later, the CFL bulb burned out. So much for longer lasting. A week after that, the microwave died after 10 years' use.

The Business Journal reports Bantam Electronics is shutting down after more than 40 years in business.41 April 5, I witnessed the aftermath of an auto pileup on the southbound frontage road of MoPac near the Scofield Ridge Parkway intersection. The same day, KLBJ-FM reported a collision at the northbound frontage road of MoPac and West Parmer Lane.

Notes in the Margin

This issue is dedicated to the letter writers in the Chronicle’s April 30 print edtion, who wittily dissect what’s wrong with Austin.42 


Mailer, Norman. Of a Fire on the Moon. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1970: 17-19.
2  AD No. 29 (Sep. 4, 2001); AD No. 43 (Nov. 23, 2002); AD No. 76n47 (Jan. 17, 2005); Allen, Cole. “Ending an Era.” The Battalion 9 Apr. 2010: 7.
3 White, Gregory L., and Daniel Michaels. “Poland Crash Probe Focuses on Human Error.” WSJ 13 Apr. 2010, Eastern ed.: A12.
4 Wildflowers: The New York Loft Jazz Sessions, Vol. 1-5 Casablanca NBLP 7045/7049, 1977.
5 Dyer, Rod, and Ron Sparks. Fit to Be Tied: Vintage Ties of the '40s and Early '50s. New York City: Abbeville Press, 1987.
6 Eisler, Dan. “Touch of New York Finds Way to Coast Via Bagel Company at Lincoln Beach.” TNG 22 Sep. 1993: 7A
7 AD No. 61n4 (Jan. 28, 2004).
8 Dunne, Dominick. Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments. New York City: Crown Publishers, 2001: 216-217; MacDonald, Kevin. The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Century Intellectual and Political Movements, rev. ed. Bloomington, Ind.: 1st Books Library, 2002: Ch. 7.
9 Coppola, Sarah. “Austin May Limit Arizona Ties Over Immigration Law.” AAS 30 Apr. 2010: A1+.
10 Cone, Tonyia. “A Place to Call Home.” Jewish Outlook May 2010: A4-5.
11 AD No. 100n37 (Sep. 3, 2007); Gaar, Brian. "Northcross Walmart Store Finally Under Construction." AAS 2 Feb. 2010: B5; Novak, Shonda. "Lawyer Champions Austin's Developers." AAS 1 Jun. 2008: A1.
12 Morton, Kate Miller. “Partial Deal Reached on Jewish Campus’ Expansion Proposal.” AAS 25 Sep. 2008: B5.
13 Corace, Don. Government Pirates: The Assault on Private Property Rights and How We Can Fight It. New York City: Harper, 2008; Wolf, Michael Allan. The Zoning of America: Euclid v. Ambler. Lawrence, Kan.: UP of Kansas, 2008.
14 Dunbar, Wells. “Güero’s Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Permits!” AC 23 Apr. 2010: 18.
15 Coppola. “City’s New Tree Rules Put to Test.” AAS 27 Apr. 2010: A1.
16 Ginsberg, Benjamin. The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1993.
17 "Austin City Council Action." AAS 9 Apr. 2010: B2; “City Notes: Recent News.” CIN 23 Apr. 2010: 14.
18 Max, Tucker. “ ‘Assholes Finish First’ Release Information.” TuckerMax.com 28 Jan. 2010 < http://www.tuckermax.com/archives/entries/date/assholes_finish_first_release_information.phtml>.
19 “Other Austin City Council Business.” AAS 30 Apr. 2010: B6.
20 Toohey, Marty. “Trashing Toilets Is a Waste, Critics Say.” AAS 26 Mar. 2010: A1+.
21 Gonzales, Suzannah. "By 2035, Twice the Government to Be Downtown?" AAS 25 Apr. 2010: B1.
22 Calnan, Christopher. “Technically Speaking.”ABJ 26 Mar. 2010: 12+.
23 The Wizard of Oz. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)/Loew's Inc., 1939.
24 Plohetski, Tony. AAS "Police Eye Camera Use." AAS 30 Mar. 2010: A1.
25 West Side Story. Mirisch Pictures/Seven Arts Productions/Beta Productions, 1961.
26 Plohetski. "Police Union Consultant Once Owed $1 Million." AAS 14 Apr. 2010: A1+; Wilkinson, Kelsey. “Controversial Fusion Center Moves Forward.” CIN 23 Apr. 2010: 1+.
27 Vail, Isadore. "Former Corrections Officer Charged With Murder." AAS 20 Apr. 2010: B1-B2.
28 Longoria, Bobby. “Police Won’t ‘Weed’ Out Festival Attendees.” DT 16 Apr. 2010: 1+.
29 Strong, Jeff. Drums for Dummies, rev. ed. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley Publishing, 2006: 162.
30 Nichols, Lee. “MetroRail: So Two Weeks Ago.” AC 16 Apr. 2010: 32; Wear, Ben. “Fewer People Ride Rails Once Fares Kick In.” AAS 3 Apr. 2010: A1.
31 Wear. “Capitol Metro Safety Official Fired After Flask of Liquor Found in Car.” AAS 25 Mar. 2010: B8.
32 AD No. 96n2 (Feb. 6, 2007); Vail, Isadore. "Glitches Delay Cap Metro Trains." AAS 13 Apr. 2010: B3.
33 Wear. “Rail a Rude Awakening for Some.” AAS 30 Apr. 2010: A1+.
34 King, Michael. “Tell Us Something We Don’t Know.” AC 30 Apr. 2010: 17+; “State Report Slams Cap Metro.” Idem., 24.
35 Coppola. "City: Utility Bills Likely to Rise." AAS 29 Apr. 2010: B1+.
36 Toohey. “Austin Energy Review Sought.” AAS 30 Apr. 2010: A1+.
37 Castillo, Juan. "Vendors Fear New Red Tape Would Tie Up Food Trailers." AAS 3 May 2010: A1+.
38 Geiser, Alex. “Angry Citizens Rally at Tea Party Protest.” DT 16 Apr. 2010: 1-2; Hallman, Tristan. “Insurance Rate Hike Expected.” Hilltop Views 21 Apr. 2010: 1+; King, Michael. “Yes, They Did.” AC 26 Mar. 2010: 13+; Renovitch, James. “Calendar.” AC 26 Mar. 2010: 58.
39 "Adam Dell Is a New Dad." AAS 19 Mar. 2010: A2; "Baby Warrior." NYPO 22 Mar. 2010: 12.
40 AD No. 105n8 (Feb. 27, 2008).
41 AD No. 100n44; Calnan. “Bantam Embattled.” ABJ 2 Apr. 2010: 1+.
42 “Postmarks.” AC 30 Apr. 2010: 10+.