A Crony Island of the Mime

Austin Dispatches No. 184 Aug. 25, 2015

In August 1999, as I browsed the soda aisle of a Scottsdale, Ariz., grocery, the store’s sound system emitted a prerecorded advertisement for a new book chronicling the turbulent marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton.[1] Me and the other customer in the aisle looked at each other and united in laughter at the couple’s continuing foibles.


Despite decades of repeated humiliations in the national spotlight, La Clinton persists in grasping for power as if it’s owed her.[2] Since she declared her new presidential candidacy, she’s contended with repeated, damaging leaks, containing information hitherto unavailable to her usual detractors.[3]


Who specifically did she antagonize badly enough to leak this information, and what specifically antagonized the leaker(s)?


Meanwhile, Clinton faces a notable challenge from U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.[4] Though Sanders caucuses with the Democrats, he was elected to Congress as an independent, had never sought office on the Democratic ticket, and hasn’t even bothered to change his voter affiliation to Democratic.[5]


Why do party officials and activists put up with this impudence? Even the Greens lost patience with their two-time nominee Ralph Nader for doing the same.[6]


By and by, at lunch my Israeli friend and I got around to discussing “short-fingered vulgarian” Donald Trump’s campaign. In this, he’s become the real-life version of a movie script idea my best friend and I had in eighth grade: Rodney Dangerfield as president, playing yet another crass arriviste causing the snooty doyennes of the Beltway status quo to clutch their pearls in shock and revulsion.[7]


Despite Trump on the stump taking lumps from humps and thumping clumps of chumps who belong in a sump and grump he’ll make the GOP a rump, nobody really knows if he’s serious (ba-da-bump).[8] My speculation, which I haven’t seen elsewhere: He’s learned he has a terminal illness. Deciding to give back to America, he’s running to wreck and humiliate the Boston-New York-D.C. political-media axis that’s parasitically destroying the country and which he’s always hated.[9]


Dismayingly, even libertarians have mimicked that axis Trump so agitates. His candidacy entered its second month before I read any libertarian’s opinion that even assessed the opportunity it created.[10] Everyone else has expressed disapproval in the same tone as the prissy ninnies of the statist quo libertarians are supposed to overthrow. The contrast to the open calculations for advantage during Ross Perot’s 1992 campaign reflects poorly on the present libertarian movement (but that’s another issue).[11]


Further Political Follies


Statesman management decided to run an insubstantial piece about the 50th anniversaries of Medicare and Medicaid prominently in its July 31 edition.[12] The Statesman’s cheerleading contrasts markedly with 25th anniversary articles that pointed out what the experts in 1965 confidently predicted would be the program costs in 1990 – and what those 1990 costs really were.[13] If your golf swing were that off, you’d quit playing.[14]


Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe took the lead among African leaders, and Africans generally, in resisting Obama’s pro-homosexual pontificating in his home continent.[15]


On the Town


July 31: On the night of a blue moon, I attended the first of Go Dance’s 20th anniversary parties.[16] Despite the South Austin event being free, with ample parking, sufficient air conditioning, and an excellent wood floor, it was relatively underattended.


Aug. 9: Wes Benedict returned to Austin for a political conference. We caught up at Poke-e-Jo’s in South Austin.[17]


Cultural Canapés


At Spec’s, I discovered Bob Marley brand coffee and tea – the drinkable kind – the labels of which work in as many song references as possible, thereby preempting my quips.[18]


A Texas blog has devised a new rating system for Tex-Mex restaurants.[19] Miss KT’s method was to order the chile relleno from the menu as gauge of an eatery’s quality.[20]


Austin Death Watch


Speaking of food, the Z’Tejas restaurant chain has filed for bankruptcy.[21] At this rate, the newest entire issue of restaurant recommendations will be obsolete.[22] Meanwhile, residents are suing a barbecue joint over smoke that wafts onto their properties.[23] However, a City Council committee rejected the idea of creating regulations for barbecue smoke – a rare display of good sense in this thumb-sucking Hooverville.[24]


Since April, city police have issued thousands of citations against drivers edging into the intersection to make unprotected left turns, something I’ve noted about local drivers for a long time. Austin’s message: “Don’t Block the Box,” which I learned of as a New York expression years ago.[25] The parties involved in the MoPac Expressway improvements are blaming each other for the delays that’ll push completion back to late 2016.[26] The Chronicle finally brings itself to defend private property when it can denounce Texas Transportation Department plans for the U.S. Highway 290-Highway 71 intersection at Oak Hill.[27]


Indonesian police captured an ex-Austin cop suspected in the murder of a pregnant Kyle woman.[28] The Aug. 6 Statesman reports Austin’s auto and pedestrian death counts are rising rapidly.[29]


Rising rents closed three Red River District clubs, two of which I’d patronized.[30]


Neighborhood News


A Japanese government agency is giving the University of Texas $13 million to install a solar-powered supercomputer at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus.[31] In the real world, on Aug. 3, the power ceased at my apartment building for about an hour.


The Statesman’s Traffic Web page reported traffic incidents at Highway 183 and Burnet Road on Aug. 3, Braker Lane between Metric Boulevard and Kramer Lane on Aug. 7, Burnet between McHale Court and Braker on Aug. 13, Burnet at Rutland Drive on Aug. 19, and at Metric and Braker on Aug. 19. On July 30, city workers restriped Gracy Farms Lane between Metric and the Burnet-Duval Road-Farm-to-Market Road 1325 intersection.


A realty trust bought out IBM’s ownership of its Broadmoor Campus, a.k.a. “the Pink Palace,” off Burnet, with plans to convert it to a mixed-use development.[32] On campus, Charles Schwab Corp. plans to move into the former Tivoli headquarters.[33] Across Burnet, ownership changed hands again for part of The Domain.[34]


Paging Alvy Singer


Astronomers now claim the stars are dying across an ancient, entropic universe, thereby halfway confirming the concern expressed in the greatest science fiction movie ever, “Annie Hall.”[35]


Meanwhile, in medical matters, Texas’ Board of Pharmacy is cracking down on pharmacies that compound, or specially mix, drugs for customers – something pharmacists are trained to do.[36]


Media Indigest


Confirming the customer demographic, The Villager, one of Austin’s two black newspapers, is now available at the Tech Ridge Center shopping plaza’s H-E-B.


Notes in the Margins


The music industry succeeded in shutting down Grooveshark, which was a terrific source for audio clips.[37]

Home Archives


[1] Andersen, Christopher. Bill and Hillary: The Marriage. New York City: William Morrow and Co., 1999.

[2] Allen, Jonathan, and Amie Parnes. HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton. New York City: Crown Publishers, 2014; Barr, Bob. The Meaning of Is: The Squandered Impeachment and Wasted Legacy of William Jefferson Clinton. Atlanta: Stroud & Hall Publishers, 2004: Ch. 4-7; Bovard, James. "Feeling Your Pain": The Explosion and Abuse of Government Power in the Clinton-Gore Years, rev. ed. New York City: Palgrave, 2001; Campos, Paul. The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. New York City: Gotham Books, 2004: Ch. 15; Eszterhas, Joe. American Rhapsody. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000; Evans-Pritchard, Ambrose. The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 1997; Flowers, Gennifer, and Jacquelyn Dapper. Passion and Betrayal. Del Mar, Calif.: Emery Dalton Books, 1995; Hitchens, Christopher. No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton, rev. ed. London: Atlantic, 2012; It Came From Arkansas: The Bill Clinton Story. Ed. R.W. Bradford. Port Townsend, Wash.: Liberty Publishing, 1993; Klein, Edward. Blood Feud: The Clintons vs. the Obamas. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2014; Klein. The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President. New York City: Sentinel, 2005; Heilemann, John, and Mark Halperin. Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, rev. ed. New York City: Harper Perennial, 2010: Ch. 3, 5-23; Olson, Barbara. The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2001; Schippers, David P., and Alan P. Henry. Sellout: The Inside Story of Clinton's Impeachment. Washington, D.C.: Henry Regnery, 2000; Smith, Sally Bedell. For Love of Politics – Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years. New York City: Random House, 2004; Sobran, Joseph. Hustler: The Clinton Legacy. Ed. Tom McPherren. Vienna, Va.: Griffin Communications, 2000; Stewart, James B. Blood Sport: The President and His Adversaries, rev. ed. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1997; Tyrrell, R. Emmett Jr. The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President’s Life After the White House. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2007; Tyrrell, and Mark W. Davis. Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2004; Woodward, Bob. The Agenda: Inside the Clinton White House. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1994; Woodward. The Choice: How Clinton Won, rev. ed. New York City: Touchstone, 1997; Woodward. Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1999: Pt. 5.

[3] Schweizer, Peter. Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich. New York City: Harper, 2015; Von Drehle, David. “Clinton’s Stalled Bandwagon Exposes a Deeper Problem for Democrats.” Time 31 Aug. 2015: 9-11.

[4] Chozick, Amy, and Patrick Healey. “Sanders Momentum in Iowa Leaves Clinton Camp on Edge.” NYT 7 Jul. 2015: A1+.

[5] Costa, Robert, and Dan Balz. “Sanders to Toss Hat Into Presidential Ring.” WP 29 Apr. 2015, final ed.: A2; Merica, Dan. “The Democratic Presidential Nominee That Doesn’t Have to Be a Registered Democrat.” CNN 10 Feb. 2015 < http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/10/politics/bernie-sanders-democrat-or-independent/index.html>.

[6] Rewiring Politics: Presidential Nominating Conventions in the Media Age. Ed. Costas Panagopoulos. Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State UP, 2007: 100-112; Sifry, Micah L. Spoiling for a Fight: Third-Party Politics in America. New York City: Routledge, 2002: 304.

[7] “Datebook.” Spy Feb. 1988: 20; Dangerfield, Rodney [Jacob Cohen]. It’s Not Easy Bein’ Me: A Lifetime of No Respect but Plenty of Sex and Drugs. New York City: HarperEntertainment, 2004: 193-201; Gilmore, Scott. “Prepare to Get Trumped.” Maclean’s 29 Jun. 2015: 41.

[8] Foster, Daniel. “Trump the Temp.” NR 10 Aug. 2015: 52; Kroll, Andy. “An Endeavor to Take Trump Seriously.” NJ 1 Aug. 2015: 1; Partridge, Eric, Tom Dalzell, and Terry Victor. The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, rev. ed. London: Routledge, 2014: I, 1,204; Powell, Bill. “The Greatest Candidate.” Newsweek Global 14 Aug. 2015: 28-35; Roller, Emma. “Rand Paul Calls Donald Trump an ‘Empty Suit.’ ” Government Executive 11 Aug. 2015: 1.

[9] Leibovich, Mark. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America's Gilded Capital, rev. ed. New York City: Blue Rider Press, 2014.

[10] Stephenson, Jay, and Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. “Conservative Infighting.” LewRockwell.com 21 Aug. 2015 <https://www.lewrockwell.com/political-theatre/conservative-infighting/>.

[11] “Arthur, Chester Alan” [R.W. Bradford]. “Odd Man In.” Liberty Sep. 1992: 16.

[12] Roser, Mary Ann. “Medicare Milestone.” AAS 31 Jul. 2015: B1.

[13] Browne, Harry. Why Government Doesn’t Work. New York City: St. Martin’s Press, 1995: 98; Henderson, David R. The Joy of Freedom: An Economist’s Odyssey. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Financial Times Prentice-Hall, 2002: 261.

[14] Penick, Harvey, and Edwin “Bud” Shrake. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From a Lifetime in Golf. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1992: 43-45.

[15] Hall, John. “Mugabe Taunts US With ‘Marry Me, Obama’ Jibe.” The Daily Mail 1 Jul. 2015: 32; Page, Clarence. “Obama Frees His Inner Kenyan.” Chicago Tribune 29 Jul. 2015: 21; Parsons, Christi, and Robyn Dixon. “Obama’s Push for Gay Rights Meets Cold Wall.” LAT 26 Jul. 2015: A1+; Smith, David. “Obama Blasts African Leaders for Life Who Put Progress at Risk.” The Guardian 29 Jul. 2015: 35; Zwane, Ackel. “Obama’s Girls May As Well Be Gay.” Swazi Observer 31 Jul. 2015: 18.

[16] “Skywatch.” AAS 31 Jul. 2015: B12.

[17] “Wes Benedict Added As Christians for Liberty 2015 Conference Speaker.” AL 26 Jul. 2015: 1; “Wes Benedict Meet-and-Great Today (Aug. 9) – You’re Invited!” AL 9 Aug. 2015: 1.

[18] AD No. 179n13 (Nov. 26, 2014); Benes, Ross. “Marley & We.” Crain’s Detroit Business 2 Sep. 2013: M009; Partridge et al., op. cit., II, 2,229; Jacobsen, Jessica. “ ‘Stirring It Up.’ ” Beverage Industry Jan. 2014: 38-39.

[19] Taylor, Rachel. “The Ideal Tex-Mex Restaurant.” From Texas to Beyond 18 Mar. 2015 < http://www.fromtexastobeyond.com/the-ideal-tex-mex-restaurant/>.

[20] Sedlar, John Rivera. The Great Chile Relleno Book. Berkeley, Calif.: Ten Speed Press, 1999.

[21] “Reader’s Picks.” ABJ 31 Jul. 2015: 2.

[22] Whitehorse, Adrienne. “Out of the Ashes.” AC 31 Jul. 2015: 38.

[23] Barragan, James. “Eatery’s Smoke Sparks Lawsuit.” AAS 31 Jul. 2015: B1+.

[24] AD No. 42n1 (Oct. 30, 2002); Lim, Andra. “Panel Douses Smoke Rules.” AAS 5 Aug. 2015: B1+; Selby, W. Gardner. “Austin Isn’t Banning Barbecue Restaurants.” AAS 5 Aug. 2015: B1+.

[25] AD No. 55n6 (Sep. 3, 2003); Wear, Ben. “Will ‘Box Blocking’ Lessons Endure?” AAS 10 Aug. 2015: B1+.

[26] Wear. “MoPac Delays Generate Dispute.” AAS 30 Jul. 2015: A1+.

[27] Wolf, Vicki. “Paving Over Paraidse to Put Up a Parkway.” AC 31 Jul. 2015: 22-23.

[28] Plohetski, Tony. “Ex-Cop Tied to Killing Detained in Indonesia.” AAS 5 Aug. 2015: A1+.

[29] Chavez, Nicole. “Traffic Fatalities Surge Beyond Total for 2014.” AAS 6 Aug. 2015: A1+.

[30] AD No. 76n10 (Jan. 17, 2005); AD No. 89n26 (March 29, 2006); Swiatecki, Chad. “New Partnership to Revamp and Rebrand the Storied Red Eye Fly Club.” ABJ 14 Aug. 2015: A8.

[31] Chang, Julie. “Japan to Give UT $13M ‘Super’ Gift.” AAS 11 Aug. 2015: B1+.

[32] Novak, Shonda. “IBM Broadmoor Will Be Mixed-Use Development.” AAS 5 Aug. 2015: B7-8.

[33] “Schwab Set for Big North Austin Move.” ABJ 14 Aug. 2015: A4.

[34] “Tier REIT Takes Domain Assets.” ABJ 8 Aug. 2015: 7.

[35] Annie Hall. Rollins-Joffe Productions, 1977; Sample, Ian. “Starlight Is Dimming As Universe Shows Its Age.” The Guardian Weekly 21 Aug. 2015: 34.

[36] Roser, Mary Ann. “Firm That Combines Drugs Is Penalized.” AAS 23 Aug. 2015: B1+.

[37] Peoples, Glenn. “Grooveshark’s Big Cash Burn.” Billboard 16 May 2015: 10.