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Austin Dispatches No. 165 July 12, 2013

BOSTON – As of this issue, testimony continues in the racketeering trial of former Boston kingpin James “Whitey” Bulger.[1] Bulger, who eluded capture for almost 20 years, continues to embarrass the FBI, which once tried to recruit him as a snitch. However, Bulger, who studied how to be a better criminal during his prior stretch in the slams, manipulated his Hibernian kinsmen in the bureau to work for him, including shutting down rival crime syndicates in Boston like the Mafia.[2] Here we have the FBI in microcosm: A police agency established by a member of the Bonaparte Dynasty to quash dissent against America’s burgeoning corporatist power elite a century ago, only to be captured by an immigrant tribe and bent to serve the latter’s interests.[3] In this light, shorn of civics class’ rosy view, the Kennedy administration’s anti-Mafia crusade can be seen as just another interethnic struggle by one tribe to seize the powers of central government and punish others – in this version, the Irish versus the Italians.[4]

That conflict is just a subset of the tribal approach to politics that dominates the Northeast since people of Irish, Southern and East European descent have replaced those states’ founding stock.[5] Or will someone dare claim places like Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Maryland are run on laissez-faire principles? America as a propositional nation turns out to be a shaky one.[6] That’s something to consider while the U.S. House actually deliberates on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S.B. 744), which encourages foreign trespassers while also smuggling requirements for a biometric national identification card for everyone.[7] Call to pressure your congressman against it. Before it’s too late.

Tentacles of Empire

In the recent revelations of the U.S. government’s massive program of collecting everyone’s electronic communications, I was additionally dismayed to learn the National Security Agency apparently doesn’t save the content.[8] An Internet service provider’s glitch wiped out a lot of unarchived personal e-mails from June through November 2000. It would’ve been nice to reclaim them. Similarly, many entertaining, intellectually stimulating phone conversations with friends and family over the years were of such quicksilver brilliance, yet I’ve forgotten their substance.[9] You’d think for the billions spent on this data-gathering the feds could at least provide transcripts.

The Obama administration will nominate West Lake Hills “socialite” Alexa Wesner to be U.S. ambassador to Austria.[10]

Political Follies

In its June 28 issue, the Stateman’s editorial board deplored the lack of any major accomplishments in the Legislature’s just-ended special session, held at a cost of $35,000 a day so the Lege could pass the major bills it didn’t get to in the regular session. Of course, those editors presume the Lege should pass legislation. Usually doing nothing is the better result.[11]

For example, downplayed in the celebrations surrounding U.S. vs. Windsor is that it started as dispute over the federal estate tax, something not even dykes should pay.[12] In other words, if the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 had permanently abolished the estate tax, instead of briefly for 2010 – better yet, if the federal estate tax had never existed – there’d be no case and the assault on civilization by homophilic judicial fiat might have been avoided.[13] Note the U.S. Supreme Court didn’t invalidate the estate tax.

In turn, we also might have been spared the July 8 New Yorker cover that depicted Ernie and Bert as a homosexual couple celebrating the court ruling. No wonder Sis’ kids have never watched “Sesame Street.”[14] Even Sesame Workshop has formally debunked this vile notion.[15] Ernie and Bert aren’t faggots. They’re vaudevillians.[16] Also, they sleep in separate beds and Ernie behaves like a slob.[17]

Austin Death Watch

Wesner’s Austin counterparts’ bag ban, with its concomitant encouragement of bringing in recyclable bags, has caused an increase in shoplifting.[18]

A bulldozer deployed for a golf course community trespassed onto the grounds of the Dobie Paisano Ranch, a retreat for writers. This resulted in much venting in the June 21 Chronicle. Someone quoted in the story asked “If somebody tore down the fence at the football field and sawed off their goalpost, if 30 yards of the football stadium were devastated, what would UT have done about it six months later?”[19] That’s a dumb question, boy. Everybody knows football’s more important than writers. The next week, a letter to the editor listed more instances of “trespass. I don’t use the word lightly. In Texas, people have been shot for less.”[20] Nice to see Austin’s pinkos developing an appreciation for property rights and self-defense, however fleeting it’s likely to be.

Local law enforcement’s “cite and release” programs for misdemeanors to ease clogging in the criminal justice system has meant 40 percent of those cited don’t show up for court.[21] Of course, these misdemeanors include drug use and driving without a license, so it’s hard to muster outrage for the perpetrators of these bogus crimes. (We only object to Mexicans doing the latter because they do it so poorly.)

e165fig3One motorcycle passenger died in a crash, and Emergency Medical Services responded to another 20 crashes, during the annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally.[22] Those tallies are surprising, given the haphazard road conditions caused by government. The city has been tearing up downtown to widen the sidewalks and eliminate parking as part of its “great streets” program, yet officials haven’t tracked the costs in lost business from construction or lost parking or lanes. Neither do they know what the effect on downtown traffic will be, according to a June 2 Statesman feature.[23] The Texas Transportation Commission voted to ban bicycling from state tollways.[24] Also, a sinkhole opened on East Cesar Chavez Street on June 14.[25]

Pflugerville’s pro-business stance enticed a manufacturer and its 200 jobs to move from Austin, according to the June 21 Business Journal.[26]

Some 15 years after the Statesman, under Editor Rich Oppel, declared support for east side redevelopment, the newspaper has finally acknowledged a downside for the people who already live there.[27] In a similar vein, the Chronicle finally acknowledged, years after Austin Dispatches, that Austin doesn’t have the have the layout or infrastructure to hold these big events without creating gridlock.[28]

The July 5 Business Journal cites Matthew Yglesias, naïve pinko and rising East Coast media bloviator, as predicting Austin’s population growth will dilute demand for the local indie music scene.[29] That’s if government-backed redevelopment projects don’t kill it first.[30]

Leave It to Bieber

Justin Bieber returned to the news after release of a video showing the teenybopper idol pissing in a restaurant mop bucket and uttering mild criticism of impeached ex-President Bill Clinton.[31] Better late than never, kid. I suspect Bieber and his management are orchestrating these outrages to shift his image from “squeaky clean” to “bad boy” as a means of extending his career. If their calculations are correct, he could become another Barbra Streisand.

That pushy entertainer, having run out of goys to annoy, stuck her prominent proboscis into domestic relations in Israel. The Israelis treated the matter for what it was: just another Jewess with an opinion.[32]

The great blues crooner Bobby “Blue” Bland died June 23, age 83.[33] I saw him three times in Austin between 2000 and 2004.[34] He also frequently appeared on this Web site’s sound clips. For example, the three-volume set of his complete Duke recordings, issued during the ‘90s box set boom and now inexplicably out of print, show Bland and his collaborators putting a lot of thought into crafting R&B arrangements that sound different from one another.[35]

Ironically, I watched “Atlas Shrugged: Strike Two” for free, as it’s hosted on a European Web site in flagrant disregard of intellectual property laws that Objectivists think too lax.[36] In other words, I paid about what the movie was worth. It avoided being bad enough to be entertaining (i.e., laughably bad, a la “Hard Target”), but not good enough to be watchable.[37] I stopped after 20 minutes – the novel really is better – and watched a Brian De Palma movie instead.[39] “Death Wish” remains the most libertarian movie that’s any good, with “Other People’s Money” a close contender.[40]

Similarly, I discovered a second Web site that lets me watch unanimated TV shows for free, hours after the new episode’s aired. After six seasons, many of “Mad Men”’s characters are accelerating into a downward spiral that Bob Crane achieved in two hours in “Auto Focus.”[41] And there’s still one season left to go. Keep in mind that often the show’s a sitcom masquerading as a period drama, where the world depicted becomes shittier the further it moves into the '60s, man. Much as "The Sopranos," at its best, was social satire masquerading as a crime drama.[42]

Meanwhile, “The Americans,” about KGB deep cover agents in Washington, D.C., in 1981, downplays the period-accurate detail (probably for budget reasons) in favor of some political prejudices I never expected to see again on network television: Washington is crawling with card-carrying foreign Reds who blend in among the area’s statist swarms simply by mouthing the fashionable anti-Reagan opinions one heard then from pinko assholes. Even the neoconservative pundit is really a traitorous Soviet puppet – who’d’ve thought a Fox program would be so audacious?[43] I half-expected the KGB agents to recruit a certain Kenyan college student, but maybe the show's creators thought that too obvious.[44]

The way I’ve watched both shows is related to a question critic Matt Zoller Seitz posed: whether we need a new word to replace “television.”[45]

On the Town

June 16: Bluesman Smokin’ Joe Kubek, possessor of one of the coolest sounding names in show business, played at Central Market North.[46]

e165fig4June 27: The night was sultry.[47] Some Latino I’d never seen around before interrupted my Dallas prowl and, totally misreading the situation, my dancing ability and my social status, pitched his services as a salsa instructor who could thereby provide connections to the same scene I’ve slowly cultivated for 13 years. I didn’t think much of it – or him – until I saw him delivering the same pitch to one of those women I think “Melanie Ordones Welker” alluded to the night she needlessly antagonized me.

I couldn’t hear everything this woman was saying, but judging from her animated discourse this guy’s clueless persistence disrupted her savoir-faire for the evening – not helped when she noticed me observing their interpersonal dynamic play out to a salsa beat.

I smirked. How’s that frosty attitude working for you now? She changed shoes and left. Not that I’d’ve asked her to dance, anyway. For one thing, one of her ankles was taped up.

July 4: To my surprise, the foreigners at Dallas praised my American flag necktie, something I bought at a Waco department store about 17 years ago.

“So you’re being patriotic?” asked one of my frequent dance partners.

“I’m also wearing black,” I pointed out. Not that one precludes the other, but she wouldn’t understand because it’s not her country.[48]

Business Roundup

Via LinkedIn, Forbes contributor George Anders writes of the hot jobs for 2020: “[T]here's no substitute for the magic of a face-to-face interaction with someone else who cares. Even the most ingenious machine-based attempts to mimic human conversation ... can't match the emotional richness of a real conversation with a real person.” However, any number of real conversations with real people that I’ve had in the past also failed to attain this emotion richness. I might as well be talking to a robot.[49]

Stubb’s BBQ is opening a new location, in Shanghai, China.[50] The Business Journal reports Texas – specifically the Houston metro area – is poised to dominate commercial spaceflight, abetted by favorable state legislation in the last regular session.[51]

The Men’s Wearhouse board of directors fired George Zimmer, founder, executive chairman and advertising pitchman.[52] At least he’ll look presentable when he’s on a job interview.[53]

Media Indigest

On June 11, the Statesman’s Web site began charging again for content, for the first time in years.[54] Not only will this shave time off browsing that site, I also know a couple of ways to read the paper online for free. You still lose, Statesman.

Neighborhood News

Ahead of the promised expiration, the last of the mercury-hazardous compact fluorescent bulbs above my bathroom mirror burned out. What used to be as easy as, well, changing a light bulb, was nearly as involved as installing an wafer edge processor in a semiconductor fab clean room, because of the mercury, until I could discard it at Home Depot and replace the CFL with a superior technology; namely, a frosted incandescent bulb.

On June 11, the power to my apartment complex ceased for about an hour.

OneWest Bank, cobbled together by the feds from three infamous mortgage lenders that went bankrupt during the 2008 meltdown, laid off hundreds at its Domain mortgage-processing center.[55]

A burger stand opened at MoPac Expressway and Cedar Bend Drive, conveniently next to North Austin Medical Center.[56] A credit union branch, an auto showroom, an insurance office, a convenience store, and two clothing shops also have opened.[57] A developer plans two new office buildings at The Domain.[58] The Loop Restaurant and Bar closed.[59]

Notes in the Margins

Fourteen months after I began, I finally read the last pertinent book related to my new computer and added the information to my survival guide, which I then edited and e-mailed to the people who advised me on this matter.[60] Other people kept checking out the book before I could get to it, which is why this project took longer than the last time.[61] However, I think this time was both more thorough and efficient.[62]

Home Archives


[1] Sweet, Laurel J. “Bulger Henchmen Weeks Slated to Face Former Boss.” Boston Herald 8 Jul. 2013: 8.

[2] Lehr, Dick, and Gerard O’Neill. Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil's Deal, rev. ed. New York City: Public Affairs, 2012; The Slams. Penelope Productions, 1973.

[3] AD No. 47 (Feb. 15, 2003); The FBI: A Comprehensive Reference Guide. Ed. Athan G Theoharis. Phoenix: The Oryx Press, 1999: 196; Kessler, Ronald. The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, rev. ed. New York City: St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2003: Ch. 1.

[4] Erie, Steven P. Rainbow's End: Irish-Americans and the Dilemmas of Urban Machine Politics, 1840-1985. Berkeley, Calif.: U of California P, 1988: 105, 123, 171-172; Johnson, Paul. Modern Times: The World From the Twenties to the Nineties, rev. ed. New York City: HarperPerennial, 1992: 209-210.

[5] Beatty, Jack. The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley, 1874-1958. Reading, Mass.: William Patrick/Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1992; Erie, op. cit.; Garreau, Joel. The Nine Nations of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981: 14-97; "Robertson, Wilmot" [Humphrey Ireland]. The Dispossessed Majority, 3rd rev. ed. Cape Canaveral, Fla.: Howard Allen Enterprises, 1996: 42-44, 55, 69, 80-84, 126-150; Sowell, Thomas. Ethnic America: A History. New York City: Basic Books, 1981; Stanton, Mike. The Prince of Providence: The True Story of Buddy Cianci, America's Most Notorious Mayor, Some Wiseguys, and the Feds. New York City: Random House, 2003; Von Hoffman, Nicholas. Radical: A Portrait of Saul Alinsky. New York City: Nation Books, 2010: 116.

[6] Steyn, Mark. After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2011: 240.

[7] United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (Senate Report 113-40). Washington, D.C.: GPO, 2013: 7-8, 28-31.

[8] Jones, Alex, and Paul Joseph Watson. “NSA: Spying, Intimidation, Censorship.” Infowars Jul. 2013: 10-12.

[9] Cavett, Dick, and Christopher Porterfield. Cavett. New York City: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974: 206, 211.

[10] Eaton, Tim. “Wesner Named Austrian Envoy.” AAS 28 Jun. 2013: B1+.

[11] “Session’s Wild Finish Nets Zero Results.” AAS 28 Jun. 2013: A12.

[12] Liptak, Adam. “Justices Extend Benefits to Gay Couples; Allow Same-Sex Marriages in California.” NYT 27 Jun. 2013, New York ed.: A1.

[13] Pub.L. 107–16, 115 U.S.C. 38, 2001.

[14] AD No. 94n12 (Nov. 25, 2006); AD No. 151 (May 22, 2012).

[15] Brioux, Bill.  Truth and Rumors: The Reality Behind TV’s Most Famous Myths. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers, 2008: 132.

[16] “Bert Explains the Number 4.” Sesame Street. National Educational Televison (NET) 17 Nov. 1969.

[17] “Ernie Cleans Up.” Sesame Street. NET 21 Nov. 1969; “Ernie Counts Sheep.” Sesame Street. PBS. 8 Nov. 1971.

[18] Chang, Julie. “Police Take Note as Shoplifters Begin to Capitalize on Bag Ban.” AAS 31 May 2013: A1+.

[19] Gentry, Amy. “Range War at the Dobie Ranch.” AC 21 Jun. 2013: 22-25.

[20] Moore, Allison. Letter AC 28 Jun. 2013: 6.

[21] Plohetski, Tony. “For Many, No Penalty for Crimes.” AAS 16 Jun. 2013: A1+.

[22] Chang, and Sam Womack. “EMS: Rally One of Safest Recently.” AAS 17 Jun. 2013: B1+; Grisales, Claudia. “2 Killed, 2 Critically Injured in Overnight Vehicle Crashes.” AAS 14 Jun. 2013: B2.

[23] Wear, Ben. “ ‘Great Streets’ Will Come at What Price?” AAS 2 June 2013: A1+.

[24] Idem. “TxDOT Ban Bicycling Along Its Tollways.” 28 Jun. 2013: B3.

[25] O’Rourke, Ciara. “Sinkhole Disrupts Traffic on East Cesar Chavez.” AAS 15 Jun. 2013: B2.

[26] Grattan, Robert. “Pflugerville Pflying High After Corp. Wins.” ABJ 21 Jun. 2013: 3+.

[27] Dinges, Gary. “Retail on the Rise.” AAS 7 Jul. 2013: A1+; Oppel, Rich. “A Solution in Search of a Problem.” AAS 29 Nov. 1998: G3; Oppel. “East Austin Renewal: A Key ‘Gateway.’ ” AAS 7 Jun. 1998: H3.

[28] AD No. 151 (May 22, 2012); AD No. 158 (Dec. 2, 2012); Kanin, Mike. “Event Horizon.” AC 12 Jul. 2013: 18-23.

[29] “Quote of the Week.” ABJ 5 Jul. 2013: 12.

[30] Swiatecki, Chad. “Destined to Drown in Change?” ABJ 12 Jul. 2013: 4-6.

[31] “Latest Woes a Drop in the Bucket.” 24 Hours Calgary 11 Jul. 2013: 10.

[32] “Streisand Wades In.” The Nelson (New Zealand) Mail 20 Jun. 2013: 10.

[33] Friskics-Warren, Bill, and Daniel E. Slotnik. “Bobby (Blue) Bland, Crooner and Bluesman, Dies at 83.” NYT 25 Jun. 2013: B10.

[34] AD No. 17n12 (June 10, 2000); AD No. 34n20 (Jan. 14, 2002); AD No. 71n15 (Sep. 15, 2004).

[35] AD No. 157n25 (Nov. 3, 2012); Bland, Bobby. I Pity the Fool: The Duke Recordings, Vol. 1. Duke/MCA MCAD2 10665, 1992; Ibid. Turn on Your Love Light: The Duke Recordings, Vol. 2. MCA/Duke MCAD2-10957, 1994; Ibid. That Did It!: The Duke Recordings, Vol. 3. MCA 11444, 1996.

[36] AD No. 151n49; Kinsella, Stephen. Against Intellectual Property. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008: 27-28.

[37] Hard Target. Universal Pictures/Alphaville Films/Renaissance Pictures/S & R Productions, 1993; In the Peanut Gallery With Mystery Science Theater 3000: Essays on Film, Fandom, Technology, and the Culture of Riffing. Ed. Robert G. Weiner and Shelley E. Barba. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 2011.

[39] Passion. SBS Productions/Integral Film/France 2 Cinéma/Canal+/France Télévision/Ciné+/Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg/Deutsche Filmförderfonds (DFFF)/Wild Bunch, 2012.

[40] “Arts and Movies.” LF Aug. 1974: 8; Death Wish. Dino De Laurentiis Co./Paramount Pictures, 1974; Other People's Money. Warner Bros. Pictures/Yorktown Productions, 1991;

[42] AD No. 160 (Jan. 8, 2013).

[41] AD No. 56n36 (Oct. 1, 2003).

[42] Eisler, Dan. “Re: Your Mistaken Impression.” E-mail to Frank Rossi, 25 May 2013; Fox, Jesse David. “ ‘Mad Men,’ TV’s Most Critically Acclaimed Comedy.” Splitsider 8 Jun. 2012 < http://splitsider.com/2012/06/man-men-tvs-most-critically-acclaim-comedy/>.

[45] AD No. 143 (June 28, 2011).

[43] “In Control.” The Americans. FX 20 Feb. 2013.

[44] Maraniss, David. Barack Obama: The Story. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2012: Ch. 16-17; Sailer, Steve. America's Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama's Story of Race and Inheritance. Washington, Conn.: VDARE Foundation, 2008: 120-127.

[45] Seitz, Matt Zoller. “Seitz Asks: Should Netflix Shows Be Considered ‘Television’?” Vulture 5 Jun. 2013 <http://www.vulture.com/2013/06/should-netflix-shows-be-considered-television.html>.

[46] Hernandez, Raoul. “Soundcheck.” AC 14 Jun. 2013: 96.

[47] Throw Mamma From the Train. Orion Pictures Corp., 1987.

[48] Gun Owners 4 Liberty. “Wear Black on Independence Day.” 4 Jul. 2013 < https://www.facebook.com/events/351363251656735/>.

[49] Anders, George. “The Number One Job Skill for 2020.” LinkedIn <http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130611180041-59549-the-no-1-job-skill-in-2020> 17 Jun. 2013.

[50] Grattan. “Stubb’s Heads East – Far East.” ABJ 7 Jun. 2013: A2; Idem. “26 Million People but Just One BBQ Joint?” 14 Jun. 2013: 3+.

[51] Jeffrey, James. “Legislature Strives to Launch Texas in Commercial Space Race.” ABJ 14 Jun. 2013: 12.

[52] Lublin, Joann S., Suzanne Kapner, and Suzanne Vranica. “A Boot at Men’s Wearhouse.” WSJ 20 Jun. 2013: Eastern ed.: B2.

[53] John T. Malloy’s New Dress for Success. New York City: Warner Books, 1988.

[54] Swiatecki, Chad. “Statesman Hunts for New Revenue.” ABJ 7 Jun. 2013: A3+.

[55] Buchholz, Jan. “Doing The Domain Shuffle.” ABJ 28 Jun. 2013: 6.

[56] Idem. “Popular Burger Stand Continues Growth Plans.” 2.

[57] “Now Open.” CIN Jun. 2013, Northwest Austin ed.: 4.

[58] Novak, Shonda. “HomeAway to Anchor New Domain Building.” AAS 9 Jul. 2013: B5-6.

[59] AD No. 156 (Sep. 22, 2012); “Closings” CIN Jun. 2013, Northwest Austin ed.: 5.

[60] Eisler. “Please Accept This Token of Gratitude.” E-mail to KT Hernandez Woods et al., 24 Jun. 2013.

[61] AD No. 154n6 (Aug. 11, 2012); Jelen, Bill. Microsoft Excel 2010 in Depth. Indianapolis: Que, 2010.

[62] AD No. 154n5.