Epic Fail, Dude

Austin Dispatches No. 240 Jan. 22, 2023

Remarkably, amid the copious commentary about the extended vote for U.S. House speaker, none addresses California Republican Kevin McCarthy's seeming deficiencies in political savvy. By that, I mean he knows his colleagues -- who they are, what they stand for, and what they want -- and can count votes. Certainly, previous congressional leaders, going back at least to the late 19th century, regardless of their party, views, or degrees of moral turpitude, all had mastered the aforementioned skills.

Granted, nothing I've read indicates McCarthy doesn't have those skills.1 Equally, nothing I witnessed on C-SPAN this month indicates he does.2 If he did, he could've met privately with GOP holdouts and reached the same deals before the House convened, instead of being thwarted 14 consecutive times on national television.3 Doing the same thing immediately afterward and expecting a different result only works when flushing a toilet, and even that's not certain. At the least, Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Majority Whip Tom Emmer should have known all this and told McCarthy beforehand, so they could negotiate.4

Not that I give a damn about McCarthy, described by news aggregator Liberty Daily as a "corporate whore," but I find a professional politician making amateur mistakes noteworthy. Meanwhile, the GOP grandees' display of effeminate necktie colors -- pink?! salmon?! lavender?! -- sartorially suggests a limp-wristed approach to the demands of their oath of office.5

e240fig1Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch ...

The City Council raised electric rates for the second time in three months.6 The new rates already appear in my bills. Accompanying the latest bill, the January Austin Energy newsletter invited me to "Join the City of Austin Quality of Life commissions to share your interests and concerns about your quality of life in Austin."7 Of course, by the time I received the envelope, then later opened the envelope to pay the bill, and read the newsletter, the dates to meet with the commissions -- the City insists on more than one? -- already happened. Moreover, the meeting locations have bad traffic flows and limited parking. It's as if City officials don't really want an earful of my critique.

For example, I was under the impression that I'd once written about the Austin mayoral also-ran after she'd disgraced herself, but finally checking my archives confirmed it was another Tejana Democrat arrested for drunk driving in 2013.8 Instead, this also-ran accused the victor of "racism" for proposing neighborhood residents have some say in the type of new housing built there.9

As is, returning Mayor Kirk Watson narrowly won in the mid-December runoff. To do so, he had to adopt some Republican talking points to carry precincts west of MoPac Expressway and in Williamson and Hays counties.10 Consequently, the price of victory for Watson includes the mistrust and ire of others in the Austin power elite forever, or until its members die from the clot shots, whichever comes first.11

We can hope, because according to the Statesman, "Most of the current and new City Council members have expressed to some degree that the city needs to update and modernize its land development code to allow for" more and "affordable" housing.12 In translation, former County Judge Bill Aleshire described the new Council as one " ...'with little respect for residential neighborhoods and deprioritizes home ownership.'"13 Also, what's left will be even more expensive, not to mention esthetically crappy, if they get their way.

Among the councilmen is a Muslim.14 Should be interesting seeing the secular socialists confront a Muslim mindset. This councilman can work to impose sharia at odds with the Austin ethos, such as reducing traffic congestion and collisions by banning women drivers, quashing crime with beheadings and behandings, and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like monkeypox by throwing homosexuals off rooftops.15 And if he fails to get his way, he can pull the detonation cord of his explosive vest and take out the Austin power elite at a Council meeting.16 Allah wills it.

No wonder former Mayor Steve Adler looks to scurry back East from the city he ruined, with a criminal ethics violation complaint, co-filed by Aleshire and a councilwoman, over his head.17

In addition, a guest contribution to the Dec. 23 Chronicle points out the planned changes to Zilker Park would worsen east-west traffic through the park.18 The Dec. 30 Chronicle reports the Project Connect boondoggle cost estimates have now risen to $10 billion.19 The Police Department reports pedestrian traffic deaths are at a near record.20 The Dec. 14 Statesman reports Capital Metro plans its own jail.21

In its Jan. 20 issue, the Chronicle expresses offense at democracy and government unions, at least when police contradict the status quo: "... [T]he City Charter’s initiative process can now be deployed at will by stakeholders who have legitimate public policy issues to raise, but also by those who hold non-mainstream views or are exercised about niche matters, since all that’s required is having enough money to pay for 25,000 signatures."22

Bevo and Butt-Heads

The University of Texas fired its men's basketball coach after Austin police arrested him for choking someone at his house on Dec. 12.23 If he choked on the court, he'd get a sudden death penalty.

UT graduate students protested on campus Dec. 13 that they're underpaid "amid the rising cost of living in Austin."24 As a taxpayer, and thus their ultimate boss, let me suggest they're in the wrong line of work, should drop out of grad school, leave Austin, and find good-paying jobs in fields without surplus laborers. The world doesn't need more degree holders in critical transgender studies. Of course, if they persist in their protests, UT can save money and aggravation by replacing these grad students with the cheap Mexican labor swarming across the border.

Business Roundup

Earlier this week a recruiter e-mailed me about a job as a disaster recovery specialist. I replied I have much experience recovering from disaster, usually inflicted by the Austin power elite or higher-level statists, and included hyperlinks to back issues of Austin Dispatches for proof. For some reason, the recruiter didn't follow up.

A company whose Web site interface prevented me from applying, and whose phone tree system prevented me from telling anyone at the company, or even leaving a message, about that problem, plans to buy another company that misplaced my resume when I applied years ago.25 In short, the two companies deserve each other, although it'll be a major accomplishment if they complete the deal, given my past experience with them.

Canadian coffee-and-doughnuts chain Tim Hortons plans franchise locations in Austin.26

Cultural Canapés

The January AAA Explorer proclaims the return of cruise vacations, although with the perky description of post-coronavirus health protocols and "green energy" compliance, booking a voyage on one of these sounds as appealing as a corporate diversity session.27

"White Noise" may be the best film adaptation of a literary novel in decades. The second section provocatively reminded credentialed people of their gullibility and panic during the pandemic. No wonder the Chronicle panned it.28

Neighborhood News

The Dec. 16 Business Journal reports the property next to the Braker Lane post office will become another restaurant by spring, instead of a long-anticipated Kerbey Lane Cafe location.29 The December Northwest Austin edition of Community Impact carries a feature on P. Terry's Burger Stand, which has a location at MoPac and Cedar Bend Drive.30 Two other businesses have opened.31

KXAN-TV's traffic Web page reported collisions at Research Boulevard and Burnet Road on Dec. 23 and Jan. 6. KVET-FM reported a collision at MoPac and Parmer Lane on Jan. 9.

On Jan. 14, I saw a midget shopping at the neighborhood H-E-B. On Jan. 7, I found two pennies in the parking lot of the shopping plaza at Metric Boulevard and Parmer.

The Jan. 13 Chronicle reports on some scandal involving the sporting director of the soccer team that plays at that damned soccer stadium.32

On the Town

New Year's Day, an out-of-town friend and I lunched at a Chuy's in South Austin.


Home Archives


1 Blitzer, Jonathan. "No Limits." NYR 26 Dec. 2022: 32-41; Hubbard, Kaia. "Kevin McCarthy Hits the Campaign Trail in Bid for House Speaker." USN 25 Nov. 2022: C1-4; Segers, Grace, and Daniel Strauss. "Bland Ambition." TNR Sep. 2022: 12-21.

2 Grynbaum, Michael M. "C-SPAN Gets Ratings Spike From Drama in House." NYT 7 Jan. 2023: A12.

3 Continetti, Matthew. "Kevin McCarthy's Balancing Act." NR 6 Feb. 2023: 15-16.

4 Brooks, Emily, and Mychael Schnell. "House Republicans Pick Leaders for New Congress." The Hill 16 Nov. 2022: 10; Karni, Annie. "Scalise Is a Possible Alternative for Speaker." NYT 6 Jan. 2023: A14.

5 5 U.S.C. §3331.

6 Moreno-Lozano, Luz. "Higher Electric Bills Are on the Way." AAS 10 Dec. 2022: 1A+; Thompson, Ben. "Austin Energy Rate Hike Approved." CIN Dec. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 17.

7 "Share Your Thoughts on Austin's Quality of Life." Austin Utilities Now Jan. 2023: 2.

8 AD No. 162n36 (March 30, 2013).

9 "Representative Celia Israel Critizes Kirk Watson for Return to Redlining." The Villager 5 Aug. 2022: 4.

10 Autullo, Ryan. "He Weathers Challenge, Reclaims Mayor's Seat." AAS 15 Dec. 2022: 1A+; Moreno-Lozano. "Watson Officially Wins All 3 Counties." AAS 23 Dec. 2022: 1A+.

11 AD No. 239n4 (Dec. 6, 2022).

12 Moreno-Lozano. "Leaders Are New; Problems Are Not." AAS 18 Dec. 2022: 20A; Idem., "Velásquez, Alter, Quadri Capture Seats on Council." 15 Dec. 2022: 1A+.

13 Moreno-Lozano. "Leaders Are New; Problems Are Not." AAS 18 Dec. 2022: 20A.

14 Moreno-Lozano. " 'The Work Must Begin.' " AAS 8 Jan. 2023: 1B+.

15 Engineer, Asghar Ali. Islam in Contemporary World. Elgin, Ill.: New Dawn Press, 2007: 113; Laboratory Diagnosis of Infectious Diseases: Principles and Practice, Vol. II: Viral, Rickettsial, and Chlamydial Diseases. Ed. E.H. Lennette, P. Halonen, and F.A. Murphy. New York City: Springer-Verlag, 1988: 207; Misra, Amalendu. On Beheading. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022; Teaching Against Islamophobia. Ed. Joe L. Kinchloe, Shirley R. Steinberg, and Christopher D. Stonebanks. New York City: Peter Lang, 2010: 190; What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, rev. ed. Ed. John L. Esposito. New York City: Oxford UP, 2011: 99.

16 Pape, Robert A. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, rev. ed. New York City: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2006.

17 Clark-Madison, Mike. "Steve Adler, Scandal Machine." AC 13 Jan. 2022: 4+; Moreno-Lozano. "Adler Accused of Ethics Violation." AAS 7 Jan. 2023: 1B+; Moreno-Lozano. "Adler Reflects on Eight Years As Austin's 52nd Mayor." AAS 1 Jan. 2023: 12A.

18 Weinberg, David. "How to Ruin a Park." AC 23 Dec. 2022: 6.

19 "With Project Connect in Flux, Here's How to Get Involved." AC 30 Dec. 2022: 8.

20 Osbourne, Heather. "Traffic Deaths Near Record." AAS 10 Dec. 2022: 1A+.

21 Grumet, Bridget. "CapMetro Doesn't Need Own Lockup." AAS 14 Dec. 2022: 1B+.

22 Clark-Madison. "Yo Cops! Defund Our Election." AC 20 Jan. 2023: 4+.

23 Bohls, Kirk, and Autullo. "UT Fires Basketball Coach Beard." AAS 6 Jan. 2022: 1A+; Plohetski, Tony, and Danny Davis. "UT Coach Beard Faces Domestic Assault Charge." AAS 13 Dec. 2022: 1A+.

24 Menchaca, Megan. "UT Grad Student Workers Hold Rally." AAS 14 Dec. 2022: 1B+.

25 Barr, Diana. "Emerson Reveals $7.6B Bid for National Instruments." ABJ 20 Jan. 2023: 2.

26 Chmais, Sahar. "Tim Hortons Seeking Franchisees in the Austin Metro Area." ABJ 13 Jan. 2023: 2.

27 Swanson, David. "The Year of the Cruise." AAA Explorer Jan. 2023: 20-21.

28 Kupecki, Josh. "White Noise." AC 9 Dec. 2022: 43.

29 AD No. 223n26 (March 9, 2020); Thompson, Paul. "Hangout Expanding to North Side." ABJ 16 Dec. 2022: 4.

30 Malik, Sumaiya. "P. Terry's Burger Stand." CIN Dec. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 23.

31 "Featured Impact." CIN Dec. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 7; "Now Open." CIN Dec. 2022, Northwest Austin ed.: 6.

32 Goodman, Eric. "Claudio Reyna's Future With Austin FC Uncertain After Ugly USMNT Scandal." AC 13 Jan. 2023: 23.