Wassail Assail

Austin Dispatches No. 212 Dec. 17, 2018

Normally, I’m not keen on Christmas surprises, but last week, I received a welcome one from a federal judge, of all people, who ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional.[1] If only the judge had ruled sooner, I might’ve had more leverage negotiating with insurers about next year’s medical premiums.


Professional commentators who share my delight nevertheless predict the ruling will be overturned on appeal. Still, the additional damage to a program that’s been so costly to me makes for a nice stocking stuffer this time of year.


What of the people dismayed by the decision, or even adversely affected? What of them? I don’t recall any of them expressing concern about how ObamaCare’s implementation adversely affected my circumstances.[2] At that time, my Israeli friend looked forward to fobbing the cost of his business’ medical insurance benefits to his employees onto the taxpayers. Now I have more than 21,000 reasons why he was wrong to think that way, and his business is troubled. Several fellow tech writers openly championed ObamaCare in the program’s early days, before its internal problems became obvious even to them.[3] In my darker moods, I wondered whether they hadn’t calculated the costs and championed ObamaCare partly as a way to hobble me as competition for local jobs. Now their professional association chapter appears to have collapsed.


Nevertheless, in the spirit of the season, they should not be killed.[4]


On the Town


The lunchtime service at Taverna at The Domain was superb. The food was average. Overall, though, my birthday lunch was vastly better than last year’s at Paul Martin's: I ordered regular iced tea; the first waitron brought me sweet. I ordered a salad; the second waitron brought me soup. A third waitron tried to deliver my entrée to another table. Finally, a fourth waitron brought me the wrong bill. The food was fine, but the service prompted me to skip dessert, undertip, and leave immediately.[5]


Austin Death Watch


A new national survey finds Austin has the third-most annoying neighbors in America, behind Dallas and Miami, according to the Nov. 25 Statesman.[6] Perhaps for this reason, Chronicalista Mike Clark-Madison admits the Austin power elite’s politics have been “pleasing cultural signifiers for a largely bourgeois, white, liberal [sic.] electorate….”[7]


Clark-Madison may have admitted more than he intended. In the same column, he actually attacks a government employee union.[8]


The federal government shares my cynicism about scooter riders. Epidemiologists from the Center for Disease Control are conducting a study of crashes.[9] Already, I’m seeing the scooters scuffed and prone while unused, and groundskeepers are confiscating scooters left on Capitol grounds.[10]


The Nov. 22 Statesman reports the airport has vexed travelers by moving the pickup spot 600 feet away from the terminal. To hell with their convenience.[11]


Residents of apartment towers in the trendy new Seaholm District are griping about the noise from the passing trains along the Union Pacific Railroad.[12] Rising rents drove a technology company out of Austin to New Braunfels.[13]


Investigation determined fraud was the reason for September 2017’s spike in water bills.[14] Vandals’ damage shut down a high school in South Austin for two days.[15]


Neighborhood News


I witnessed the aftermath of a collision at Stonehollow Drive and Gracy Farms Lane on Nov. 24 and Dec. 16. KXAN-TV’s traffic Web page reported collisions at Domain Drive and Braker Lane on Nov. 27, at MoPac Expressway and Highway 183 on Dec. 10, and at Domain and Palm Way and at Parmer Lane and Tomanet Trail on Dec. 17.


Nov. 19, while traversing the neighborhood to complete chores before the Thanksgiving Eve/Black Friday rush, I found two pennies. A pet owner on my floor moved out, so my doormat is no longer perpetually coated in a pelt of dog hairs. Residents started a community garden at Alderbrook Pocket Park on Nov. 10.[16]


A dozen businesses have opened and one has closed.[17] A medical practice has relocated to a new office.[18] The Nov. 30 Chronicle includes a feature on a seafood eatery within The Domain Whole Foods.[19]
Home Archives


[1] Deam, Jenny. “Judge in Texas Rules ACA Invalid.” HC 15 Dec. 2018: A1+.

[2] AD No. 201n4 (Dec. 27, 2017).

[3] AD No. 185n16 (Nov. 17, 2015).

[4] Johnson, Paul. A History of the Jews. New York City: Harper & Row, 1987: 309.

[5] Eisler, Dan. “Re: Austin Dispatches No. 202.” E-mail to Bob Ruliffson, 2 Jan. 2018.

[6] Herman, Ken. “Are Austinites Really Nation’s Third-Worst Neighbors?” AAS 25 Nov. 2018: B1+.

[7] Clark-Madison, Mike. “Cracking the Code.” AC 7 Dec. 2018: 12.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Cobler, Paul. “Federal Health Experts to Study Austin Scooter Crashes.” AAS 8 Dec. 2018: B1+.

[10] Cobler. “Capitol Off-Limits to Scooters.” AAS 16 Dec. 2018: B1+.

[11] Bradshaw, Kelsey. “New Airport Pickup Spot ‘Confusing’ Some Travelers.” AAS 22 Nov. 2018: B1+.

[12] Clark-Madison. “Seahold Residents Got Dem Ol’ Noisy Freight Train Blues.” AC 23 Nov. 2018: 12.

[13] Mosbrucker, Kristen. “Rising Rents Pushed AV Company out of Austin.” ABJ 16 Nov. 2018: 17.

[14] AD No. 201n21 (Dec. 27, 2017); Findell, Elizabeth. “City Nears Settlement on Meter Readings.” AAS 24 Nov. 2018: B1+.

[15] Bradshaw. “Bowie High Closed Friday Amid ‘Considerable Damage.’ ” AAS 14 Dec. 2018: B3.

[16] “Community.” CIN Nov. 2018, Northwest Austin ed.: 7.

[17] “Chocolaterie Tessa Settles Into New Retail Outpost at Domain Northside.” Idem., 22; “Impacts.” Idem., 6-7.

[18] “Relocations.” Idem., 7.

[19] Cape, Jessi. “Lobster Rolls and Business Rules.” AC 30 Nov. 2018: 42.