The Audacity of GOPe

Austin Dispatches

No. 187

March 16, 2016

E187fig1Jeb Bush finally quit the 2016 presidential race, having burned through $130 million just to be elbowed aside by a mouthy New York real estate developer and some mystery meat manqué.[1] Just think, if the Republican establishment (GOPe) had taken those millions it squandered on that bumbling blue-blooded bozo and given it to me (hint, hint),[2] my most extravagant personal purchases wouldn’t come close to exhausting the amount:

Sure, you’d gasp at the receipts, but at least you’d know what I had to show for them. What’s ¡Jeb! got to show for for all that money? Besides a string of electoral defeats and constant mockery directed toward him and his family?[3]

Speaking of presidents, Austin becomes impassable mid-March with the simultaneous South by Southwest festival and annual rodeo.[4] Even the Chronicle, propaganda toady for a SXSW co-owner, acknowledges that its event permit aspect has created a municipal “quagmire” for everyone.[5] Any other event like this would cause the Chronicle to demand its abolition. This year, that condition is aggravated by thunderstorms and construction at MoPac Expressway and West 10th Street creating a bottleneck.[6]

Naturally, Obama decided to worsen traffic by appearing at a SXSW event March 12, to pompously pontificate from a trite text about technology.[7] His main experience with technology is botching the roll-out of his corporate welfare program’s Internet enrollment (ObamaCare’s personal cost so far: $7,752.02 and counting) because his flunkies outsourced the technical details to subcontinental Indians, something anybody in the computer industry who cares about doing good work the first time out knows to avoid.[8]

Anyway, even local officials expressed concern about traffic and recommended those of us who work for a living to avoid the city’s “core” between noon and 8 p.m. that day.[9] I opted to wait out Obama’s interloping in my town over a leisurely dinner at a Chinese buffet at the Southpark Meadows shopping center after work. The restaurant has everything it needs to succeed except good food. At about quarter of 8, I drove from Slaughter Lane to northbound MoPac, figuring someone on a tight schedule would be a fool to traverse the MoPac bottleneck en route to the airport.

Instead, as I approached Barton Skyway, a convoy of squad cars, ambulances and fire trucks sped past me on the opposite southbound MoPac lanes. Soon, I saw the presidential limousine, resembling an apparition under the halogen streetlights. Anything to avoid driving through East Austin, I suppose, where an illegal Mexican could drunkenly plow his F-150 into the motorcade and disrupt the zebra’s sang-froid.[10] Too bad for the other drivers police stalled at southbound MoPac near 35th Street. But they’re just little people, whose schedules aren’t important.

I snarled some choice words in the direction of the limo’s passenger, and continued home.

Robert Morrow’s victory over the incumbent GOP Travis County chairman in the March 1 primary election is giving the GOPe conniptions. Now the squishes want to overturn the results. That’s called losing to someone who outhustled them. Anyway, it’s refreshing to read about a Republican who doesn’t mince words for fear of not being invited to the right parties and offers a real choice from the narrow range of statist quo options.[11] Travis County could use a political party like that.

Coincidentally, I was just thinking about the late Nancy Reagan a few weeks ago as I handed a lab technician a vial of my warm urine as a prerequisite for a contract job – what appears to remain of her husband’s presidential legacy.[12]

Cultural Canapés

Returning briefly to extravagance: Among last year’s 268-and-counting worthy audio releases, Igor Stravinsky’s “Complete Columbia Album Collection” may be the ultimate CD box set. The 56-disc collection contains all the sessions the modernist concert music composer either conducted or supervised.[13] The closest rival for such status might be the Sun Ra Arkestra’s “Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency,” 28 CDs of every performance of the intergalactic free-form big band’s stay in the Motor City from Boxing Day 1980 to New Year’s Day 1981.[14] Even if you’ve never heard Stravinsky’s compositions, you’ve heard his work, because he inspired soundtrack composers into the ‘70s. Several times while listening to samples, I expected Mel Blanc to chime in with one of his Looney Tunes characters.[15]

Austin Death Watch

An office building will replace Shoal Crossing Event Center, a renamed version of which will replace a mediocre Chinese restaurant near Interstate 35 and U.S. 290 that surprisingly went out of business.[16] The Tree House Italian Grill off South Congress Avenue, another one of those mediocre places that inexplicably stay open forever, finally closed.[17] Speaking of no food, the Feb. 5 Chronicle contains a laudatory feature on foraging outdoors for organic roots, shrubs and berries – a preview of how Austinites’ll live when the economy crashes.[18]

The Hong Kong police superintendent was in town to learn about community policing from the APD.[19] In turn, Austin cops learned how to somersault over a moving car while simultaneously firing two pistols against heavily armed criminals.[20] Meanwhile, the Austin police chief fired still another cop.[21] The few cops remaining on the force arrested the Travis County prosecutor Feb. 7 for drunk driving after she crashed her car into a parked vehicle in East Austin.[22]

Union Pacific Corp. kyboshed a proposed Austin-San Antonio commuter rail without other parties paying for extra tracks.[23]

A new study found Austin has lost more than 1,200 music industry jobs in the last four years.[24]

Business Roundup

Dell is selling its acquisition, Perot Systems. Years ago, I interviewed for a tech writing job that involved conforming Perot Systems’ documentation to Dell’s format and style, but I turned down the contract after the first-round interview, where I figured out I’d have all the responsibility and none of the authority. Of course, this was when I could afford to avoid aggravation.[25] Two other businesses that didn’t see fit to hire me continue to experience financial misfortune.[26]

Neighborhood News

I witnessed the aftermath of a smash-up at Scofield Ridge Parkway and the northbound frontage lane of MoPac on March 6. The Statesman’s Traffic Web page reported incidents at Burnet Road and Kramer Lane, and at Braker Lane and MoPac on Feb. 2, at Parmer Lane and Tomanet Trail on Feb. 6, at Stonehollow Drive and Gracy Farms Lane on Feb. 8, at Park Bend Drive and the southbound frontage lane of MoPac on Feb. 24, at MoPac and Duval Road and at Braker between Metric Boulevard and Ptarmigan Drive on Feb. 29, at Parmer and MoPac on March 1, near Running Bird Lane and Metric on March 2, at Palm Way near Burnet and at Parmer and Lamplight Village Avenue on March 4, the southbound frontage lane of MoPac and Duval on March 9, at Research Boulevard southbound between Loop 360 and MoPac on March 14, and at Rutland Drive and Burnet, and on Research on the Burnet overpass on March 15.

On Feb. 25, a malfunctioning streetlight at the Rutland Drive intersection backed up northbound Burnet traffic to Highway 183

A Feb. 26 Business Journal feature proclaims North Austin “hot,” especially for technology companies.[27] A bank branch has opened at The Domain.[28] A gym has opened at Kramer Center strip mall. A sushi restaurant has opened at the Parmer Crossing shopping plaza.[29]

Home Archives


[1] Confessore, Nicholas, and Sarah Cohen. “How Bush Spent $130 Million With Nothing to Show for It.” NYT 23 Feb. 2016: A18; Feschuk, Scott. “I’m With Stupid.” Maclean’s 29 Feb. 2016: 65; Horowitz, Jason. “Rubio Pushed for an Overhaul of Immigration Policy With Conservative Media.” NYT 28 Feb. 2016: 22; Morris, Dick. “Why Rubio Can’t Win.” The Hill 24 Feb. 2016: 21; Parker, Ashley, and Michael Barbaro. “Bush Suspends His Campaign for President, Humbled and Outgunned.” NYT 21 Feb. 2016, New York ed.: A20.

[2] Karp, Walter. Indispensable Enemies: The Poltics of Misrule in America. New York City: Saturday Review Press, 1973.

[3] Kelley, Kitty. The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty, rev. ed. New York City: Anchor Books, 2005.

[4] “Calling All Cowpokes.” Austin Way Spring 2016: 6.

[5] Curtin, Kevin. “Permitting Nightmare Precedes SXSW.” AC 12 Feb. 2016: 68.

[6] Toohey, Marty. “Windy, Wet Weather Sweeps In; No Floods.” AAS 10 Mar. 2016: B1+; Urbaszewski, Katie. “MoPac Project Yields Commuter Nightmare.” AAS 23 Feb. 2016: A1+.

[7] Gallega, Omar L. “Obama: Tech Community Can Aid Civic Participation.” AAS 12 Mar. 2016: A1+; Wear, Ben. “Obama’s Visit to SXSW Expected to Snarl Traffic.” AAS 10 Mar. 2016: A1+.

[8] AD No. 169n6 (Nov. 22, 2013); Begley, Sharon. “Analysis: IT Experts Question Architecture of Obamacare Website.” Marcovici, Michael. The Obamacare Case: Where the New Health System Will Lead Us. Norderstedt, F.R.G.: Books on Demand, 2013: 109-112; Caesar, Julian. It’s Always About the Money. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.:, 2015: 136.

[9] Wear, op. cit.

[10] Ackerson, Robert. Ford F-150 Pickup 1997-2005: “America’s Best-Selling Truck”. Dorchester, U.K.: Veloce Publishing, 2005; Berrettini, Mark L. “Private Knowledge, Public Space: Investigation and Navigation in ‘Devil in a Blue Dress.’ ” Authorship in Film Adaptation. Ed. Jack Boozer. Austin, Texas: U of Texas P, 2008: 128-129n11.

[11] Tuma, Mary. “Getting to Know Robert Morrow.” AC 11 Mar. 2016: 22-23; Walsh, Sean Collins. “Travis GOP Officials Move to Marginalize Morrow.” AAS 9 Mar. 2016: A1+; Walsh. “Who Is Robert Morrow?” AAS 5 Mar. 2016: A1+.

[12] Gibbs, Nancy. “Nancy Reagan 1921-2016.” Time 21 Mar. 2016: 46-53.

[13] Stravinsky, Igor. The Complete Columbia Album Collection. Sony Classical 88875026162, 2015.

[14] Sun Ra and the Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra. The Complete Detroit Jazz Center Residency. Transparency 0307, 2008.

[15] Blanc, Mel [Melvin Jerome Blank], and Philip Bashe. That's not all Folks! New York City: Warner Books, 1988.

[16] AD No. 186n4 (Jan. 31, 2016); Dinges, Gary. “Shoal Crossing Center Relocating.” AAS 2 Feb. 2016: B5-6.

[17] Buchholz, Jan. “Branching Out With a Comfort-Food Vibe.” ABJ 19 Feb. 2016: 6.

[18] Malin, Sean L. “Finding Our Way.” AC 5 Feb. 2016: 44-45.

[19] Urbaszewski. “Hong Kong Police Studying Austin’s Outreach Efforts.” AAS 2 Mar. 2016, final ed.: B1+.

[20] Bordwell, David. Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment, rev. ed. Madison, Wis.: Irvington Way Institute Press, 2011.

[21] Hoffberger, Chase. “Indefinite Suspension.” AC 4 Mar. 2016: 20.

[22] Jankowski, Philip. “Assistant DA Faces DWI Charge.” AAS 9 Feb. 2016: B1+.

[23] “Regional Plan Derailed?” ABJ 19 Feb. 2016: 11.

[24] Dinges, Gary. “Music Industry Jobs Drop Sharply.” AAS 23 Feb. 2016: A1+.

[25] “Editors’ Picks.” ABJ 19 Feb. 2016: 2.

[26] Calnan, Christopher. “A Year of Technology Turmoil.” ABJ 19 Feb. 2016: 8; “Companies to Watch.” ABJ 11 Mar. 2016: 14.

[27] Buchholz. “North Austin Is the Place to Be.” ABJ 26 Feb. 2016: 4-6.

[28] “Birds Barbershop Opens in the Domain.” AAS 12 Mar. 2016: E3; “Now Open.” CIN Feb. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

[29] “Now Open.” CIN Feb. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.