Austin Dispatches No. 223 March 9, 2020

For once, a government agency did something I agree with, by intervening to halt a plague that's inconvenienced Austinites far too long. I refer, of course, to Austin Public Health canceling the annual South by Southwest gridlock, originally scheduled for this week.1

The March 7 Statesman reports the cancellation "could be a big financial blow for SXSW," whose owners dragged their feet in the face of mounting pressure.2 The same people, declared socialists, also own the Austin Chronicle, so if they'd further resisted canceling, and jeopardized public health, they'd be worse than the industrial corporations they love to castigate.3

Ha ha ha ha ha ha, you stupid bastards. Most of the commentary accompanying the online articles favors cancellation, and not just for health reasons.4 Too bad Travis County lacks dissenting organizations with the brains and the balls to take advantage of the situation.

There's also a downside. Coronavirus has shut down business activity in China and Italy, so how and where will I get silk shirts?5

Dese, Dems and Doze

So far on this year's presidential campaign trail, a semitic socialist schmuck sandbagged a squawking pseudo-squaw schoolmarm to make Joe Biden, a mick hustler too dumb to steal without getting his fingers caught in the till, the current Democratic front-runner.6 On the Republican side, voters have consistently snubbed statist WASP William Weld, thereby doing the job Libertarians couldn't or wouldn't.7

As for the future? A Feb. 27 Statesman poll of Central Texas civic, business and community leaders reveals they favor Trump before any Democrat for president.8

Austin Death Watch

The Chronicle's publisher now frets Austin's Land Development Code rewrite could help make Austin even more crowded and expensive than it already is.9 Where have I read that before? Oh, right -- in Austin Dispatches the past 20 years. Unfortunately, the publisher probably arrived at the same conclusion 20 years late after listening to his fellow pinkos in fashionable neighborhoods who suddenly turned into right-wingers when they perceived a threat to their property. I suggested that presents a political opportunity at the last Texans for Accountable Goverment meeting I attended, but others' lack of comprehension rivaled the Chronicle staff's.

Meanwhile, the Feb. 7 Chronicle reports urbanists have turned against single-family housing.10

Local Red Guards assaulted a Democratic Socialist congressional candidate on the hustings Jan. 12.11 Police arrested a no-account scruffy Boomer who torched a grackle statue outside City Hall on March 2.12

The City's own red tape stopped City Hall from buying a hotel in South Austin and stashing street bums there.13 The Austin Fire Department chief was caught using his cellphone in traffic, in violation of municipal law and good sense.14 An audit uncovered waste at a City department.15 Capital Metro now wants a subway system downtown, though it doesn't know how much that would cost.16

The City hosted a Small Business Contracting Forum, to encourage small local businesses to develop the same corporatist mentality as big business and cadge taxpayer money, rather than regarding government as its biggest threat.17

Cultural Canapés

For the first time in about five years, I'd seen the Academy Awards' Best Picture. However, I found "Parasite" dull and stopped watching after 10 minutes.18 For that matter, it's been more than 20 years since I sat through the awards.

Cryptocurrency has attained true cultural currency, i.e., being satirized on "The Simpsons."20 However, despite the considerable buzz about cryptocurrency lo these 11 years, its advocates still haven't provided a satisfactory answer to what it lets me do that bank notes, checks and credit cards don't.21 Grizzled libertarian economists have concluded cryptocurrency's chief benefit is providing a new reason to discuss old topics about money.

Media Indigest

The Jan. 31 Austin Chronicle heralds its redesign. Unfortunately, the content is still afflicted with the same mush-headed statism that hinders correct understanding of Austin.22 For that, of course, you need Austin Dispatches.

On the Town

Feb. 8: A car parked at Rudy's Country Store and Bar-BQ between Research Boulevard and Jollyville Road sported a rare Trump for President bumper sticker. The vehicle owner has some nerve to do that in Travis County. More remarkably, the car hadn't been vandalized.

Feb. 15: I witnessed a vehicle-pedestrian near-collision at East Cesar Chavez and Medina streets.

Feb. 17: Returning from a business meeting, I witnessed a near-collision near Duval Road and the northbound frontage road of Highway 183.

Neighborhood News

A fatal traffic crash closed southbound lanes along the 12700 block of MoPac Expressway on Jan. 11.23 Two more fatalities resulted from a Feb. 11 crash near MoPac's northbound frontage road and West Braker Lane.24 KXAN-TV’s traffic Web page recorded collisions at MoPac and Palm Way on Jan. 3, at MoPac and Duval on Jan. 10, at Cedar Bend Drive and Renfert Way on Jan. 14, at Burnet Road and Kramer Lane on Feb. 5, at Parmer Lane and Silver Spur on Feb. 17, at MoPac and Cedar Bend on Feb. 19, and at MoPac and Braker on Feb. 20.

At The Domain, three businesses have opened and five have closed.25 Community Impact Newspaper reports the city approved Kerbey Lane Cafe's site plan for its Braker location.26 The Austin Parks Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Alderbrook Pocket Park.27 On March 7, I picked up 35 cents at the neighborhood Walgreen's.


Home Archives


1 Sechler, Bob, Mark Wilson, and Kara Carlson. "SXSW Canceled." 7 Mar. 2020: A1+.

2 "Headlines." AC 17 Jan. 2020: 8.

3 (May 11, 2016); Jones, Kimberley. "Wash Your Damn Hands." AC 6 Mar. 2020: 4; Sechler, Bob, and Lori Hawkins. "SXSW Has Few Good Options Amid Coronavirus Threat." AAS 6 Mar. 2020: A1+.

4 AD No. 187 (March 16, 2016); AD No. 196 (July 13, 2017); AD No. 204 (March 25, 2018).

5 Bremmer, Ian. "The Economic Impact of the Outbreak." Time 17 Feb. 2020: 33; Horowitz, Jason. "Faint Echo of History on Quiet Streets of Milan." NYT 29 Feb. 2020: A8.

6 AD No. 116n13 (Sep. 7, 2008); Dunn, Leona. "The Democratic Debate Turned Debacle." The Tennessee Tribune 27 Feb. 2020: 4A; McCann, Daryl. "Biden or Sanders: Corrupt or Crazy." Quadrant Jul./Aug. 2019: 50-54; Page, Clarence. "View From the Left -- Black, Hispanic Voters Saved Biden, Sanders." The (Norwich, Conn.) Bulletin 8 Mar. 2020: A9; Knott, Matthew. "Warren, Sanders Clash at Iowa Democratic Debate." SMH 16 Jan. 2020: 17.

7 Spillane, Geoff. "Hyannis -- In Tuesday's Presidential Primary." Cape Cod Times 5 Mar. 2020: A10.

8 Molina, Maribel. "Trump Tops Any Democrat in Inaugural Survey." AAS 27 Feb. 2020: B1+.

9 Barbaro, Nick. "Department of Unintended Consequences." AC 24 Jan. 2020: 8-9.

10 Slusher, Daryl. "How We Got Here." AC 7 Feb. 2020: 20-22+.

11 King, Michael. "Congressional Candidate Attacked by 'Revolutionary' Bullies." AC 17 Jan. 2019: 14; Price, Asher. "US House Candidate Describes Assault." AAS 14 Jan. 2020: A1+.

12 Bradshaw, Kelsey, and Katie Hall. "Grackle Statue Destroyed, Arson Suspected." AAS 3 Mar. 2020: B2; Bradshaw and Hall. "Grackle Statue Fire Leads to Arrests." AAS 4 Mar. 2020: B1+.

13 Salazar, Daniel. "Austin Scraps Deal to Buy Hotel for Homeless." ABJ 24 Jan. 2020: 12.

14 Plohetski, Tony. "Caught Driving With Cell Phone, Fire Chief Reminds Us to Drive Safely." AAS 26 Jan. 2020: B1+.

15 Jankowski, Philip. "Audit: Austin Wastes $95K on Rent." AAS 31 Jan. 2020: B1+.

16 Jankowski. "Capital Metro Proposes Light Rail." AAS 6 Mar. 2020: A1+.

17 "A Chance for Mom-and-Pop Shops to Compete for City Money." ABJ 28 Feb. 2020: 9.

18 Goldberg, Lesley, and Mia Galuppo. "Director Bong's Post-Oscar Moves Take Shape." Hollywood Reporter 12 Feb. 2020: 26.

20 The Simpsons. "Frinkcoin." Fox-TV, 23 Feb. 2020.

21 Antonopoulos, Andreas M. Mastering Bitcoin: Unlocking Digital Cryptocurrencies. Sebastopol, Calif.: O’Reilly, 2014; Popper, Nathaniel. Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money, rev. ed. New York City: Harper, 2015.

22 Jones. "Yep. Something's Different." AC 31 Jan. 2020: 4.

23 "North MoPac Briefly Closed After Deadly Crash." AAS 12 Jan. 2020: B6.

24 Bradshaw. "2 Killed in Tuesday Crash Identified, Police Say." AAS 14 Feb. 2020: B2.

25 "Impacts." CIN Jan. 2020, Northwest Austin ed.: 6-7; "Impacts." CIN Feb. 2020: 9.

26 AD No. 219n16 (Aug. 19, 2019); "Coming Soon." CIN Feb. 2020: 9.

27 AD No. 212n16 (Dec. 17, 2018); "In the News." CIN Feb. 2020: 9.