Austin Dispatches No. 188 May 11, 2016


Austin’s power elite won a victory at the polls May 7 at the cost of wrecking their self-regard and their public relations of about 20-odd years.[1] Sure, the power elite defeated a ballot measure pushed by the pushy ridesharing services Uber and Lyft, but backing established interests (taxi companies and city bureaucrats) over the sort of progressive technology businesses that Austin is supposed to represent, at least since I started angling to work here, fully reveals the elite’s rhetoric as false.[2]  


After Saturday’s election, they can never credibly use it with the public again, now that we all know they’re blinkered, big-government stewards – indistinguishable from their Rust Belt counterparts – and in the most sclerotic and conservative manner possible.[3] Henceforth, every business or local dissenter who wants to do more than shake a tiny fist at the status quo can make them pay for that strategic decision.[4]


Not that Uber and Lyft – the service with the pretentious, effeminate pink handlebar mustache – didn’t have their defeat coming.[5] Their pollsters called so insistently I was tempted to side with the power elite this once and vote against their ballot measure reducing city oversight. Either that, or throw my support to whichever side wanted to make it worth my while, in the form of a new car, which would still be cheaper than their campaigns. [6] “That was a joke,” I said after a long pause in a long questionnaire I mistakenly agreed to answer one evening.[7]


Speaking of losers, The Washington Post reports the GOP establishment, having failed to stump Trump, is finally resigned to The Donald as its presidential nominee.[8]

Trump trumps so far in the face of an unprecedented unified opposition from nearly every political apparatchik and media member, regardless of partisan or ideological identification. They’ve all taken a dump on Trump. For many, their loathing transcends what should’ve been their delight at the predicted demise of the Republican Party and the conservative movement because of him. 


Before the caucuses and primaries, various pundits had already compared Trump to Hitler – the ultimate insult, but normally ineffective with repetition. Then, having exhausted their heavy rhetorical ammunition so early, they compared him to Don Rickles, to Rodney Dangerfield’s characters in “Caddyshack” and “Back to School,”[9] and to Andrew “Dice” Clay.[10] These pundits are supposed to be pop-culture savvy, even if their political insight is shallow. Yet with their comparisons, they cast themselves as the snooty foils you’re supposed to root against. To them I say: hickory dickory dock, snapperheads.


Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders’ continuing victories prove Democrats are the socialists their detractors have claimed since the New Deal.[11] Hilary Rodham Clinton remains the putative frontrunner, if only she can remember her husband’s formula: election first, then indictment.[12]


The Austin Chronicle leadership has openly extolled socialism in recent issues, something I’ve never seen from them in all my years of readership going back to 1994.[13] This represents a new low in the already dismal thinking of Louis Black and Nick Barbaro. It also means they’ve learned nothing from their last 50 years, even though they don’t run the Chronicle or South by Southwest that way.[14]


Unfortunately, all that means a long respite from having to contend with advocates of explicit socialism, dating from the fall of the Berlin Wall,[15] is over, and the sensible among us have to dust off the voluminous counterarguments, valid now as then, to shut up a new generation of thieving idiots and their still-living predecessors who never learned the last time.[16] Knowing what we do, we should be able to mount a massive new White Terror against the likes of the Sanders supporter who nearly backed her SUV into my car in the parking lot of a Central Market, then fled in response to my slit-eyed glare and ability to manipulate my car horn to produce atonal rage equal to ‘60s free-form saxophonists.[17] Without even trying, these statists ruin others’ lives.


Cultural Canapés


For Record Store Day, a local merchant made some historically inaccurate claims in a Chronicle print ad.[18] “…[A]n act of rebellion against billion dollar music corporations”? The industry behemoths got that way through selling millions of units of pressed and grooved polyvinylchloride platters decades ago.[19] “It’s impossible to download vinyl for free”? Technically speaking, yes, although that didn’t stop the industry and even musicians from fretting about people copying records with blank audiotape cassettes in the early ‘80s.[20]


Speaking of which, HBO’s new series, “Vinyl,” is bombastic, clichéd, sleazy, and not as talented or impressive as it thinks it is. In other words, it’s a credible representation of the rock music industry at its commercial zenith.[21]


A museum exhibition covering art of the 1990s induced a Chronicle contributor into “blathering nostalgic” because he “just saw an art show that romanticizes a period I am old enough to remember.”[22] Welcome to creeping age … kid.[23]


Austin Death Watch


A downtown street bum murdered a coed and tossed her body into Waller Creek, but the press prefers to promote the message that it’s wrong to be judgmental about street bums – excuse me, “the homeless.”[24] That kind of thinking lead to criminals getting out of control years ago.[25]

After years of firing or suspending Austin cops, Police Chief Art Acevedo was himself reprimanded and docked of pay by City Manager Marc Ott for violating policy by speaking publicly about a recent police shooting investigation.[26]


The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority closed a lane of MoPac Expressway between 35th and 45th streets to build a toll lane. In other words, it impacts a stretch of MoPac that already experiences slower traffic even under the best of circumstances, i.e., no construction, rush-hour traffic or nearby collisions.[27] To complete the trifecta, beginning work on a toll road alongside Highway 183 between Manor Road and Loyola Lane apparently necessitates closing an existing lane on 183 for the next three years, according to the TxDOT office. Design flaws require the City Council to consider another $7.5 million for the Waller Creek Tunnel project, for a total cost of $163 million.[28]


The April 8 Chronicle wrap-up of SXSW contains every criticism uttered against the event in Austin Dispatches and then some. Black and Barbaro must’ve stiffed the reporter on some tickets or something.[29]


After all my years in Austin, forecasts of inclement weather prompted organizers to cancel outdoor events, rather than struggle through thunderstorms.[30]


Neighborhood News


On March 18, I witnessed the aftermath of a two-car collision at Stonehollow Drive and Gracy Farms Lane that took out the corner bus stop. The drivers must not be fans of mass transit. On April 7, I witnessed the aftermath of a collision near MoPac and Braker Lane. On April 14, I witnessed the aftermath of a multi-car smash-up along the flyover linking northbound MoPac with southbound 183. On April 28, I witnessed the aftermath of a collision near Metric and Boyer boulevards. On April 21, I witnessed the remains of a collision at Metric Boulevard and Gracy Farms.


On April 22, KTAE-AM reported a collision at MoPac and Duval Road. The Statesman’s Traffic Web page reported incidents March 21 at Stonehollow and Metric, at Braker and Kramer lanes, and at Burnet Road and Esperanza Crossing; on March 22 and April 14 along southbound 183 near Burnet, on March 22 at Parmer Lane and Lamplight Village Avenue; on March 23 at Burnet and Brockton Drive, and at Metric and Bittern Hollow; on March 25 at Loop 360 and MoPac; on March 28 and April 25 at Burnet and Braker, on March 28 and May 2 at 183 and MoPac; on March 30, April 26 and May 4 at MoPac and Parmer, on April 5 at Palm Way and Burnet, on April 7 at Parmer and Scofield Farms Drive, on April 8 at Kramer and Burnet, on April 12 and May 5 at 183 and Burnet, on April 22 at Burnet and Longhorn Boulevard, on April 25 near Burnet and Duval, on May 2 at Parmer and Tomanet Trail, on May 3 at Burnet and Rutland Drive, and on May 9 at Braker and MoPac.


From March 18-20, crews closed the entrance and exit ramps to MoPac between Braker and Parmer to repave the bridges over the Union Pacific Railroad and MetroRail lines. From May 6-8, crews closed the entrance and exit ramps to MoPac between Parmer and Duval as the mobility authority repaved MoPac.[31]


An April 26 thunderstorm knocked out power to Austin Community College’s Northridge campus.


Two eateries, a bar, and an event space have opened in the neighborhood.[32] A game shop and a prenatal imaging service have relocated here.[33]


Home Archives


[1] “Voters Give Proposition 1 Thumbs-Down.” AAS 8 May 2016: A1.

[2] High Tech Austin: Millennium Edition. Ed. Robert Lawrence. Austin, Texas: High Tech Austin Annual, 2000.

[3] Garreau, Joel. The Nine Nations of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981: 49-97.

[4] AD No. 82n14 (Aug. 18, 2005); Hawkins, Lori, and Lilly Rockwell. “Austin Tech Industry Debates Next Move.” AAS 10 May 2016: A1+; Hicks, Nolan, and Ben Wear. “The Apps Go Dark As Uber, Lyft Leave.” AAS 10 May 2016: A1+.

[5] AD No. 178n17 (Nov. 6, 2014).

[6] MacKenzie, Angus. “BMW 7 Series.” Motor Trend Jan. 2016: 123.

[7] AD No. 186n46 (Jan. 31, 2016); Barbaro, Nick. “Learning to Share.” AC 29 Apr. 2016: 14-15; Barbaro. “Think Globally, Vote Locally.” 6 May 2016: 12; Black, Louis. “The Problem With Prop. 1.” AC 29 Apr. 2016: 6; Kamp, Amy. “The Illusion of Safety.” AC 6 May 2016: 11; Shaughnessy, Emile. “Austin Voters to Decide Ride-Hailing Rules in Citywide Election May 7.” CIN Apr. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 21; Theis, Michael. “A Lesson to Be Learned: Lobbying Gone Wild.” ABJ 22 Apr. 2016: 4-6; Theis. “Ride-Sharing Rhetoric Heats Up Over Prop 1.” ABJ 29 Apr. 2016: 16; Wear. “Prop 1 Undone by Ride-Hailing Companies Threatening Tone.” AAS 9 May 2016: B1+.

[8] Diaz, Kevin. “Cruz Drops Presidential Bid After Rout by Trump in Indiana.” HC 4 May 2016: A1+; Kaplan, Thomas. “Kasich Ends Long-Shot Bid for President, Clearing G.O.P. Stage for Trump.” NYT 5 May 2016: A16; Rucker, Philip. “GOP Elites Resigned to Trump.” WP 29 Apr. 2016: A1+.

[9] AD No. 72n41 (Oct. 24, 2004); Martin, Scott. The Book of Caddyshack: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Greatest Movie Ever Made. Lanham, Md.: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2007.

[10] AD No. 48n32 (Mar. 10, 2003); Clay, Andrew “Dice” [Andrew Silverstein], and David Ritz. The Filthy Truth. New York City: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2014.

[11] Desrochers, Daniel. “Trump, Sanders Win Big.” Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail 11 May 2016: 1A+; Woods, Thomas E. Jr. Bernie Sanders Is Wrong. Topeka, Kan.: Tom, 2015.

[12] Edelman, Adam. “Bernie Beats Hil in W.Va., but She Still Nears Clinch.” NYDN 11 May 2016: 6; Micek, John L. “Hilary’s Lingering Email Problem.” The Citizens’ Voice 11 May 2016: 15.

[13] Barbaro, Nick. “In Defense of Socialism.” AC 25 Mar. 2016: 10; Black, Louis. “Snatching Defeat From the Jaws of Victory.” AC 8 Apr. 2016: 6.

[14] AD No. 140n42 (May 4, 2011).

[15] Buckley, William F. Jr. The Fall of the Berlin Wall. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2004.

[16] Stéphane Courtois et al. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1999; Hayek, Friedrich A. The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. Ed. W.W. Bartley III. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1988; Kolakowski, Leszek. Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise, Growth and Dissolution, rev. ed. Trans. P.S. Falla. New York City: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005; Lipow, Arthur. Authoritarian Socialism in America: Edward Bellamy & the Nationalist Movement. Berkeley, Calif.: U of California P, 1982; Mises, Ludwig von. Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, 5th rev. ed. Trans. J. Kahane. Indianapolis: LibertyClassics, 1981; North, Gary. Marx’s Religion of Revolution: Regeneration Through Chaos, rev. ed. Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989; Requiem for Marx. Ed. Yuri N. Maltsev. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1993; Roberts, Paul Craig. Alienation and the Soviet Economy: The Collapse of the Socialist Era, rev. ed. Oakland, Calif.: The Independent Institute, 1990; Shafarevich, Igor Rostislavovich. Sotsializm Kak Iavlenie Mirovoi Istorii. Paris: YMCA-Press, 1975. Trans. William Tjalsma. The Socialist Phenomenon. New York City: Harper & Row Publishers, 1980; Sowell, Thomas. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. New York City: William Morrow & Co., 1985; Watson, George A. The Lost Literature of Socialism. Cambridge, U.K.: The Lutterworth Press, 1998.

[17] AD No. 184n4 (Aug. 25, 2015); Anderson, Iain. This Is Our Music: Free Jazz, the Sixties, and American Culture. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2007; Litweiler, John. The Freedom Principle: Jazz After 1958. New York City: William Morrow & Co., 1984.

[18] The Sound Gallery. “Why Buy Vinyl?” Advertisement. 15 Apr. 2016: 57.

[19] Campbell, Michael. Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On, 3rd rev. ed. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2012: 390.

[20] Daschuk, Mitch, and James Popham. “Music Identities, Individualization, and Ownership Shifts: Empowering a Litigious Paradigm of Copyright Protection.” Music and Law. Ed. Mathieu Deflem. Bingley, U.K.: Emerald Group Publishing, 2013:70.

[21] Pond, Steve. “70s.” RS 20 Sep. 1990: 51; Schrodt, Paul. “How Vinyl Happened.” Esquire Feb. 2016: 26-27.

[22] Anderson-Ramos, Sam. “ ‘Come As You Are: Art of the 1990s.’ ” AC 29 Apr. 2016: 37.

[23] Eisler, Dan. “A Pioneer in Retrospection.” E-mail to Frank Rossi et al. 15 Apr. 2016.

[24] Barragan, James. “Church Fears Backlash Against Homeless Folks.” AAS 10 Apr. 2016: A15; Easter, Makeda. “Campus-Area Homeless Face Backlash in Wake of Haruka Weiser Murder.” AC 22 Apr. 2016: 22; Hoffberger, Chase. “UT Murder Coverage Misses the Point.” AC 22 Apr. 2016: 22; Wong, Caleb, and Mikaela Cannizzo. “APD Seeks Suspect in Continuing Investigation.” DT 8 Apr. 2016: 1-2.

[25] Cook, Kevin. Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime That Changed America. New York City: W.W. Norton & Co., 2014.

[26] Hoffberger, Chase. “Ott and Acevedo at Odds.” AC 6 May 2016: 18; Hoffberger. “Ott Takes on Acevedo.” AC 29 Apr. 2016: 19; Plohetski, Tony. “Acevedo Punished in Joseph Case.” AAS 27 Apr. 2016: A1+.

[27] Wear. “MoPac Lane Closure Starts Sunday.” AAS 9 Apr. 2016: B1+.

[28] Lim, Andra. “Waller Tunnel Costs May Rise to $163M.” AAS 11 May 2016: A1+.

[29] Curtin, Kevin. “Welcome to the Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW.” AC 8 Apr. 2016: 50.

[30] Odam, Matthew. “Weather Blamed for Canceled Fest.” AAS 21 Apr. 2016: B1; Villalpando, Roberto. “Friday’s Forecast for Storms Leads Levitation Fest to Cancel.” AAS 29 Apr. 2016: B1.

[31] Wear. “Toll Project to Bring More MoPac Closures.” AAS 6 May 2016: B1+.

[32] “North Austin.” CIN Apr. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 7; “Now Open.” CIN Apr. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 4.

[33] “Relocations.” CIN Apr. 2016, Northwest Austin ed.: 5.