Friday, November 02, 2007

Capital Metro: Dumber than Advertised

Yes, I know Capital Metro's new flyer concerns rail safety, but somehow I don't think it's a great idea for them to say, "Use your brains! Stay away from trains!"

Because Austinites will. In droves.

How NOT to conduct a political interview

Anyone who thinks there are no stupid questions most likely hasn't seen Hannah Storm's asking Elizabeth Kucinich if she would show her tongue ring (at 3:05 in video, after compulsory 30-second ad). By the way, Mrs. Kucinch had the good sense to politely decline.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Schumer: End of an era?

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) thinks that the Reagan era is almost over.

Now that we know that, we can watch the Democrats continue to try to recreate the Carter era while the Republicans attempt to recreate the Nixon era.

Any chance we can get rid of both parties and start from scratch?

Unintended DST Consequences

I wasn't a fan of extending Daylight Saving Time into November. I became even less of one when I discovered that, because my kids have to get to bed at a reasonable time, we would be starting our trick-or-treating in daylight. Daylight makes it very difficult to determine if anyone is home and giving out treats.

Thankfully, after about 20 minutes, we started to see porch lights, and it finally started to get dark, and then the real fun began. (After that, the 4-year-old was off and running to every house with a porch light on, until she finally got tired and announced that she wanted to be carried back home.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

How to tick off advertisers

I know KFMK (Jammin' 105.9) is pretty much being run on auto (no jocks, syndicated morning show instead of, you know, music), but I hope it isn't the norm for a commercial break to have a McDonald's ad immediately followed by an ad saying something to the effect of "we need to stand up against FAST FOOD!", which is what I heard this morning. I would imagine McDonald's might have something to say about ad placement.

Given the level of attention ClearChannel is apparently not giving this station, is it any wonder it's the lowest-rated full-power FM station in town presently?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Capital Metro: All Systems Reverse!

Capital Metro, our not-so-venerable public transit system, seems determined to make everything it does into a public relations nightmare. This may be because almost every decision made in recent years by Cap Metro has worked out worse for riders.

For example:

1. The Commuter Rail boondoggle - I don't even want to start with how bad an idea this was. And I don't have to...Mike Dahmus has explained it so much better than I could anyway. (Though I will take exception to his thoughts that light rail would work better...if memory serves, it did nothing for south Austin except what Cap Metro is doing now anyway: rapid bus service. That way commuters can get nowhere faster.)

2. Losing riders? Let's raise fares! - Per the American-Statesman, 44% of people polled think raising fares is a good idea. I'd be willing to bet that 100% of those 44% are not regular riders. (There is no confirmation that they are the same people as responded to this poll, however.) Anyone who rides knows that now is not the time to raise fares, especially since they are not worried about not meeting their budget until 2011.

Here are some ideas of how to expand services first and maybe even make it worthwhile for people to ride before raising fares:

a. Try actually covering all of Austin - hey, we're paying for this thing, why not expand some routes to cover the whole city! As it presently stands, Capital Metro seems to think the city magically ends at Slaughter Lane going south, unless you're west of Mopac...then it ends further north, at Convict Hill.

b. More routes, more often - Anyone wishing to take the 338 (West Gate) south and transfer to the 333 (Wm Cannon) westbound during the 5:00 hour should probably bring a book, since you will be waiting over 30 minutes for your bus. When it's 100 degrees outside, that's not fun. And that's just one example. Perhaps Cap Metro might consider running more buses along those routes to reduce waiting times, so that 15-minute commutes don't become 90-minute ones, courtesy Capital Metro.

3. Pure indifference to riders' concerns/needs - The Manchaca and South 1st "flyer" routes have now been changed such that afternoon riders are not allowed to board south of Lady Bird Lake, presumably to reduce stops. It was related anecdotally to me (but corroborated by several others) that kids wishing to board the 103 (Manchaca Flyer) at Crockett HS were yelled at by the driver, who then shut the door in their faces. The bus was already stopped to let someone off at this location. One student told the driver that this was the only route to use to get home (as the 103 does not exactly parallel the 3, which also travels on Manchaca Rd), but the driver showed no concern whatsoever.

(It should be noted that Capital Metro's website trip planner still shows that it is permissible to board the flyers south of the river. Just be prepared for a cranky driver.)

I could go on about the tendency of some of Cap Metro's drivers to mash whichever pedal they are using to the floor, resulting in bumpy, jerky rides and uncomfortable riders, but I won't.

If you listen to Capital Metro, you won't hear any of these concerns addressed anywhere. Per their "All Systems Go!" webpage, they say the following:
Could it be a dream? You go to work, but you’re not stuck in traffic. You don’t check your watch, wondering if you’ll be late. Instead, you read the sports section or choose a song on your iPod. You arrive early for a change and are remarkably stress free.
Could it be a dream? Absolutely, unless you like getting to your bus stop a good hour before you would have left your home normally. If you think you can leave your home at the same time you did when you drove, expect a nightmare.

Soon, sleek new trains and buses will make this dream a reality.
Unless, of course, you live anywhere in south Austin. If you do, get used to the same old traffic, 'cos Cap Metro won't help you.
Thanks to the All Systems Go plan that you helped create, you might make Capital Metro your second car.

It would have to be my second car, as Capital Metro certainly hasn't proven itself a worthy replacement for my daily commute.

Austin Traffic Enforcement, Part II

I'm sure it's a coincidence that right after I posted this, the Austin Police Department stopped supplying the media with locations where the police will be actively monitoring for speeders.

So, with that vital piece of information gone, I supply this as a public service. The following is true on almost any weekday morning from now until the end of time.

The Austin Police Department will be watching for speeders in one of the following locations:
1. 7400 block, Manchaca Rd (Strickland Christian School zone)
2. 5600-6000 block, Manchaca Rd. (Crockett HS zone)
3. 3800-4000 block, Manchaca Rd. (Ann Richards School zone)

Basically, don't speed on Manchaca in school zones. Ever.

Got smog? Sue someone!

Per Reuters (through Drudge), California tried to sue six automakers for damaging the state with greenhouse gases. Thankfully, the suit was thrown out, with the statement that this should be decided by the legislature rather than the courts. Of course, the Ninth Circuit will reinstate the suit, so this is obviously not over. With that assumption, I have some questions:

1. Why sue the automakers? Why not sue the drivers? This isn't like the cigarette lawsuits of the 90s, in which the manufacturers were shown to recognize the addictive effects of their own product. Unless there's been a new study, I've not seen anything proving that driving is addictive, thereby making drivers complicit in this damage as well.

1½. And how about the people who fly private jets? They're definitely doing more damage than the average driver. Then, perhaps, we might see some of these environmental activists having to explain why they can't be bothered with flying commercial like the rest of us.

2. Really, if California is so concerned about the environmental damage, why hasn't the legislature done anything about it? Suing the vehicle manufacturers seems like either a cop-out or a show. Neither option is terribly helpful.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Austin Traffic Enforcement

Dear American-Statesman and every TV station that indicates where Austin police will be watching for speeders every day,

Why don't you just make things easier (and more accurate) for everyone by placing Manchaca Road as a permanent entry?

Just a friendly suggestion!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Deconstructing Jennifer Kim

Jennifer Kim wrote a letter which appeared in yesterday's Statesman (available here) expressing her disappointment with the circumstances leading up to RG4N's lawsuit against the city. As I supposed should be expected, virtually the entirety of the letter is absurd on its face. Let's take a look:

I am deeply troubled by the outcome of the site plan approval for Northcross Mall. It's wrong and embarrassing when residents believe they must protect the community by suing the city.
It's more embarrassing when loud vocal groups don't respect the city's existing site plan approval process. Having dealt with it myself, I know it's not a simple process. Several, several people had a look at this. To say that they screwed up is to insult a fair number of city workers.

I have worked with Responsible Growth 4 Northcross to prevent this. Ideas ranged from a public-private partnership to build a community center or other public facility, to limiting the operating hours of a Wal-Mart Supercenter. However, we failed to gain the support of the City Council.
Translation: "We tried to tell a private property owner who met every aspect of the city codes as they were at the time that they couldn't do what they were legally allowed to do. And apparently four people on the City Council still respect the process." (Gasp!)

The area is full of pedestrian-oriented businesses and family-friendly neighborhoods.
I call foul on this statement. By this definition, pretty much any area anywhere could be described thus, since the Anderson/Burnet area is anything but pedestrian-oriented. (Or maybe I just imagined all the acres of parking on the north side of Anderson.) As for the neighborhoods, yes, they are there, but they are buffered from the Northcross site on all sides.

As for what a truly pedestrian-oriented area is, check this mixed-use project out. (Now, if Lincoln Property wanted to go that way, Northcross could be a really nice hangout. But, they own it, so until that changes, RG4N's arguments are useless.)

It's clear that a Wal-Mart would generate an unreasonable amount of traffic,
As opposed to, say, an actual filled-to-occupancy 300,000-sf mall? You gotta be kidding me. (No, you do not get to compare traffic with a run-down half-empty Northcross Mall, which has been the standard since the 90s.)

And anyway, wouldn't that mean that the Wal-Mart at Slaughter & I-35, which replaced an empty field, generated an unreasonable amount of traffic as well? Because it hasn't.

so I sought evidence that the city could use to reject the site plan. I asked city staff to rerun the traffic impact analysis submitted by Lincoln Properties using the higher traffic numbers listed in a 2006 ITE Journal article on "big-box" stores,
Translation: "I asked city staff to cook the numbers to get the results I wanted." Funny--when developers and engineers do that, they end up with problems. The traffic numbers used were the correct ones. Now, if Ms. Kim wants to get that changed for future stores, she's welcome to try.

but I was told the staff lacked the software. The city asked Lincoln Properties to run the numbers, but it did not respond.
Hello: it didn't have to respond! This was a blatant attempt by the city (and who exactly asked Lincoln this, anyway? Was it you, Ms. Kim?) to improve their bargaining position (currently: nonexistent). I can imagine that conversation: "Excuse me, would you mind terribly much using these new numbers to make your currently compliant project not comply?"
I applaud the efforts of Responsible Growth and local neighborhood associations, and I support their vision. I hope this wonderful community involvement we have seen will triumph in the end.

Jennifer Kim

Community involvement: generally a good thing. Attempting to manipulate existing property owners and code-compliant projects: generally not helpful for anyone.

UPDATE: If you've come to this entry since May 2008, you may be looking for information about this issue.

Friday, June 15, 2007

News 8 Austin: the new local leader for lousy weather coverage

Finally, Jim "The Sky Is Falling!" Spencer has some competition in the area of bad local weather coverage. Last night, as a torrential downpour with what had to be 50-mph winds was falling on far south Austin (and during which the winds changed direction 180 degrees), Maureen McCann over at News 8 Austin blithely showed downtown Austin, in which no rain was falling at the time, and spoke about how all the rains had now passed through, and everything was fine. She never showed a local radar at all during any of at least three "Weather on the 8's" segments I watched, so I had no way of knowing if the rain I had previously seen on KVUE's radar approaching the city was going to come anywhere near us. (It didn't, but we had no way of knowing that.)

Congrats, News 8, on losing my trust.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Way to listen to your viewers, KVUE

KVUE's 10 pm newscast tonight (which we watched with the sound off) featured, as did every other newscast in the country, Paris Hilton's return to jail. Right after that, some poll results appeared on-screen stating that 83% of the respondents did not want to see any Paris Hilton stories on any KVUE newscasts.

So, KVUE producers:

1. Why had you just shown that story?

2. If you were going to show the story regardless, why give people a poll to make them think their opinions counted for anything?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Internet Radio Update

Not much of an update on the internet radio mess here, but I do have a couple of observations:

1. The honorable Mr. Doggett (TX-25) did finally get back to me in April (a month after I wrote him), stating that he would "keep [my] concerns in mind as this matter continues to develop." This, from what I can tell, is code for "ignore until enough other people bug me about it," as Mr. Doggett does not appear on the list of co-sponsors of the House bill to vacate the CRB's decision, shown on this site. (He can be bugged here.)

2. (Hat tip: Instapundit, as if he needs it) My former (until the latest gerrymandering) representative, Lamar Smith (TX-21), certainly cannot be counted on in this fight. His name does not appear as a co-sponsor, and I wouldn't expect it to do so, since according to this site, Mr. Smith took the second-highest amount of campaign donations from the RIAA ($7,500) in the last election cycle. Given Mr. Smith's previous responses to constituent concerns (such as mine regarding the FairTax), I'm not surprised.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Northcross Non-Story

RG4N staged yet another protest yesterday, this time at City Hall. The American-Statesman has a picture on the front of today's Metro & State section, but I can't seem to find it on their website. I noticed three things about the picture:

1. There was no story to go with the picture. Apparently apart from possibly slowing down traffic on Cesar Chavez, this protest had no point. It's not as if everyone doesn't already know that some people in town just don't like Wal-Mart.

2. I counted less than 50 people in the picture. Obviously, there were more people there than that, but given the number of supporters RG4N has claimed to have in the past, this is a pretty paltry turnout.

3. The conspiracy-minded part of me (which luckily is fairly small and quiet) noticed that RG4N's main color, as seen on their signs and on many protesters' shirts, is red. Red also happens to be the main color of both Target and HEB, which both happen to have stores in the area around Northcross, and which both would be affected by a rivaling store.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Uninformed Environmentalism

I'm not sure why this is just hitting the presses, but Jane Harman (D-CA) introduced a bill in March that is designed to ban incandescent light bulbs for sale almost anywhere in this country. (bill text)

Now, I am all for the use of CFL lamps, so long as all color temperatures are offered. (On a recent trip to Home Depot looking for a T8 "tube", I found a dazzling selection of exactly one color, 3000K, a more reddish light than I prefer. Color selection for CFLs is slightly better, but not great.) But this technology needs to continue to evolve on its own. It certainly does not need government to force it upon us if it is the godsend it is described to be.

But my main concern with Ms. Harman's bill is the sheer ignorance that she and her staff have about replacement technology for incandescent lamps. Her initial restriction that all light bulbs must have an efficacy of more than 60 lumens per watt pretty much shuts the door on most LED lamps currently available as well. Since LEDs have a much smaller wattage than even CFL lamps, they would be even better for the environment, but since they don't have the lumens per watt that Ms. Harman desires, they're out. (The restriction rises to 90 lumens per watt in 2016 and 120 lumens per watt in 2020.) Simply google "LED light bulb" and see for yourself just how small the wattages could become, if this lamps are allowed to continue to be sold.

Ms. Harman's bill is simply not good legislation...especially for true environmentalists.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Overenvironmentalism and Hypocrisy

Drudge's evening headlines tonight give a soapbox to several environmentalists and their current crusades. Let's take a closer look at a couple of them:

Children are bad for the planet. This hypothesis is put forward by Professor John Guillebaud, co-chairman of Optimum Population Trust; Professor Guillebaud says, among other things, couples should have no more than two children. That's fine, until one spends about 90 seconds googling the professor and finding this bio page, which says about him and his wife, "they have two sons and one daughter." So, I guess having three children was okay for you, then...right, Professor?

And here's Paul Watson, regarded by many as a co-founder of Greenpeace. He considers mankind a virus on the earth, and he wants the population of mankind to drop below one billion people. A quick check yields nothing to indicate that Mr. Watson isn't alive at this point; apparently the process of getting rid of 5.5 billion meant people other than him, or maybe he really isn't embracing this idea as much as he would like you to think.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fact-Checking KEYE

This morning on the KEYE Morning News, Elizabeth Dannheim spoke about one of the Columbine victims, and at the end of the story, she said that Columbine was the deadliest school shooting in history until Virginia Tech. Apparently she, or someone at KEYE, completely forgot about a little incident at UT in 1966.

I suppose I should just be happy that Ms. Dannheim is reading the news, rather than having one of the 3-minute chat sessions with Fred Cantu and Susan Vessell that has for some reason become a mainstay on the KEYE Morning News recently.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Short attention span opinion page, with comments

For those who don't have the time or the interest in reading the American-Statesman's Opinion page (current page available here), here are the highlights and lowlights from today's interesting array of informed (and not-so-well-informed, probably including mine) opinions:

Oh, look! Ben Sargent attacks Republicans. To be fair, the voter ID bill seems unnecessary (most of the time, I can't even find my voter registration card), but Mr. Sargent seems to think the evils of the world are all the fault of the GOP.

George McGovern weighs in on Dick Cheney and absurdly claims that he would have balanced the budget. Yeah, that's what the Democratic Party was known for doing in those days. Whatever. Mr. McGovern also believes the president and vice-president will be forced from office before the end of 2008 for "repeated violations of the Constitution and federal statutes, as well as their repudiation of international law." First of all, let's see some concrete examples of what he has in mind. Second, maybe I missed this, but since when was the U.S. governed by international law?

Maureen Dowd berates Michelle Obama for "emasculating" her (Ms. Obama's) husband. Doesn't she realize that 1) only Republicans are to be emasculated; and 2) only Ms. Dowd is licensed to perform such emasculation? The nerve! (No link available at, probably because Ms. Dowd is employed by the New York Times.)

Jonah Goldberg marvels at the over-reliance on polls in politics. Apparently the compass of public opinion has turned once again toward getting rid of the Electoral College. Great idea, if you want presidential candidates never to visit any place with less than a million people again. (For some, with this incredibly long election season, that might not be so bad...)

And, of course, from the Letters section, there has to be someone discounting the tragedy of Virginia Tech because Iraq is "worse". Way to politicize someone's death.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dallas Stars thoughts

I give Dave Tippett, oh, about another 36 hours in his present position.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This makes my whole month

Carvel has come to Austin. I haven't eaten Carvel ice cream in 13 years. I'm happy.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The RIAA oversteps its bounds...again

I guess I'm at least three days late with this, but that doesn't mean the RIAA's strong-arming of the Copyright Royalty Board into setting up most/all webcasters for certain doom doesn't still require a lot of attention from the webcast-listening public. Visit to stay informed on this matter. This site has links for an online petition (for all the good those do...hopefully this one will be different) or to write your congressperson.

So, I sent a note to the Honorable Mr. Doggett this morning. Previously, Mr. Doggett (or his staff) has been good about responding to constituent concerns, so we'll see what comes of this.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Northcross nonsense

First, I'll thank Hope Morrison for being a good sport and responding to my previous Northcross entry. Second, I don't live in the part of town most likely to be affected by a Northcross Wal-Mart...I just think Wal-Mart has, for some reason, been singled out by Responsible Growth for Northcross for persecution. Third, I still have issues with some of Ms. Morrison's comments.

For example, Ms. Morrison commented in this blog that "'Four times the traffic' is based on actual traffic counts at Wal-Marts in Austin taken by city staff once everyone acknowledged that the traffic impact analysis submitted by Lincoln was quite likely underestimating traffic." Several questions spring to mind, such as the following:
  • Were these traffic counts taken at Wal-Mart locations that replaced non-retail uses, such as the Slaughter/I-35 or Ben White/I-35 locations? If so, I'd tend to believe that traffic patterns would be disrupted by the use. That said, it seems as if RG4N is trying to ascribe all the blame for increased traffic to the Wal-Mart. The Slaughter location is surrounded by the Southpark Meadows center, so the blame ought to be shared. The Ben White location is pretty much responsible for a couple of restaurants' having located there, so it could have been responsible for the change in traffic patterns, except that TxDOT completely botched the Ben White/I-35 interchange, causing other traffic issues on the westbound access road in that area. But that's for another post.
  • If the answer to the first question is "no", were these traffic counts taken at Wal-Mart locations that replaced heavy traffic retail uses, such as, say, a mall? I doubt it.
  • And really, how much additional traffic would there be at Anderson/Burnet if Northcross were a fully functional mall? I can't imagine Wal-Mart generating four times the traffic of, for example, Barton Creek Square.
So I remain unconvinced regarding the "four times" argument.

Next quote from Ms. Morrison: "The statement about the city approval process having flaws alludes to our allegations that the city didn't follow the law in reviewing and approving the site plan." That doesn't mean the site plan submitted by Lincoln is illegal, as has been stated onRG4N's site; that just means the City of Austin did not give this site plan the attention it may have deserved, should Ms. Morrison's assertion of the site plan requiring a conditional use process be accurate. Given the amount of politicking in the City's development review processes, this, to me, is a non-issue.

Those were Ms. Morrison's main points. In the meantime, RG4N has made a few other statements. For example, "Responsible Growth for Northcross calls upon the City of Austin to explain why it is paying $224,000 in taxpayers' dollars to an outside law firm to fight its citizens." I happen to agree with this. In essence, what the city council appears to be saying by doing this is that they don't have the spines to take a stand on this themselves, and they want something to which they can point...probably when Wal-Mart builds.

RG4N's most recent statement (posted 23 Feb) sheds light on what the real issue is, in stating a fundamental flaw about Lincoln Property/Wal-Mart's new proposed plan: "it still includes a Supercenter..." The issue for RG4N has apparently been not whether there will be more traffic, or whether people will be there at odd hours of the night; the issue seems to be Wal-Mart itself.
Would RG4N be so up in arms if the proposed big box were a Super Target? How about an HEB Plus? I wonder.

Prince Charles: Expert on Everything

Apparently when you're the Prince of Wales, you have to think up new and exciting ways to be relevant. Per this article:

"Prince Charles today said banning McDonald's fast food was the key to a healthy lifestyle."

No word yet on whether he also pointed out that not fooling around with your friend's wife was one of the keys to a healthy marriage.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Irresponsible Propaganda for Northcross

Hope Morrison: the sky is falling at Northcross! It doesn't take long in reading this diatribe to find inaccuracies (and that's a nice way of putting it) in Ms. Morrison's assertions regarding the proposed Wal-Mart at Northcross Mall.

First up: regarding the Anderson/Burnet intersection, "Now imagine four times as much traffic there." Not even close, Ms. Morrison. You might want to read this Traffic Impact Analysis, which points out that Anderson/Burnet currently rates a "D", which, just like in schools, is still considered passing, though it probably shouldn't be. With the new Wal-Mart, it still rates a "D". Big deal, you say? Well, per these Questions and Answers, it can be seen (question #29) that Anderson/Burnet averages a 49.1-second delay during AM rush. What would this Wal-Mart do to that time? I mean, with four times the traffic, it should be horrible, right? Wrong. Try 54 seconds. Would you even notice an extra 4.9 seconds? Be honest, just as Ms. Morrison is not. (Be sure to click those links, as Responsible Growth for Northcross apparently hopes you don't.)

How about this one: "When Wal-Mart enters an area, small and local businesses are forced to close..." I guess when our latest Supercenter went in, I missed the news reports of the Wal-Mart goons going around forcibly closing other businesses. Obviously, Ms. Morrison simply misspelled "compete" as "close". That's the only logical reasoning behind such a ridiculous statement...

...but wait, what's this? "Responsible Growth for Northcross...supported by many residents and businesses [emphasis obviously mine] in the Northcross area, opposes the plan..." Well, duh! Many businesses are apparently opposing Wal-Mart's entry into the area because it would directly compete against them. And apparently these businesses lack the wherewithal or the knowledge to stay afloat, and begrudge a company that has both.

I like this one: "Lincoln Property's site plan has been approved, but we think the review process has significant flaws." I suppose there's some truth in there: anyone who has ever had to get a site plan approved by the City of Austin knows the process is, well, annoying. But just because RG4N thinks something is wrong with the site plan (their website calls the approved site plan illegal; it's not), that doesn't make it reality.

Face it: Wal-Mart and Lincoln Property have their ducks in a row. They have spoken with neighborhood groups in good faith. RG4N's time to mobilize for Northcross was six years ago, when the ice rink closed and the future of the whole mall looked bleak.

Valinda Bolton: Apparently, we can't do better

HD-47 Representative Valinda Bolton's first campaign ad (still, for some reason, available on YouTube) spoke about the real issue of education, as mentioned here. So, one would think the first mention of her in the 80th Legislative session would be regarding that, right?

Of course not. After all, she placed the blame for the condition of education in Texas solely on one party, which, coincidentally, isn't hers. No, the first mention of her is because she cast a vote seemingly only meant to embarrass Speaker Tom Craddick. And it worked: now, House committees can't even consider bills for another week, and the full House can't take up bills turned out by the committees until March 9. Given that the Legislature adjourns on May 28, that doesn't give the House much time to get anything done.

If one happens to see Ms. Bolton, please ask her how this vote reflects the desire of HD-47 for some meaningful action to be taken, since its main result is to prolong inaction.

I'm with the Statesman on this one: someone ought to be embarrassed by this vote, but it ought not be Mr. Craddick.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This is why they pay Chris Matthews the big bucks...

Matt Lauer and Chris Matthews discussed Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign on Today this morning when Mr. Matthews made what has to be one of the dumbest statements I've heard in a while. His pearl of wisdom? "If Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, she has a good chance of winning the general election." Really! Good grief, at this point, if Toonces, the driving cat, were to win the Democratic nomination, he would have a good chance of winning the general election. Thanks for justifying that salary, Mr. Matthews.

By the way, I'd be more likely to vote for Toonces than for Ms. Clinton. I'm just saying.

Now I Feel Old (Part 2 in an apparently ongoing series)

Our local oldies station, KITY (an affiliate of Dial Global's The Oldies Channel) continues to redefine what an "oldie" is. Today, I found out that "oldies" includes songs from 1988 that aren't "Kokomo" (which has been playing on oldies stations for years already), when I heard Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" during morning drive.

Obviously, "Roll With It" fits a certain musical style, and I don't expect a whole lot of 1988 songs to show up as oldies (really, can you picture Bruce Chandler transitioning from Frankie Valli into Guns N' Roses?), but still, wow.

NOTE: The KITY page no longer has streaming audio embedded, but still offers a link for it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Overkill Ice Coverage

Yes, it's icy. We all know that. But it certainly isn't necessary to stay on the air forever telling us about it. (This mostly applies to KXAN, which stayed with the same weather coverage for upwards of twelve hours yesterday while I was watching, but the other stations seem to be just as bad.)

Maybe it's just me, but the coverage of "Ice Storm '07", the "Big Chill", or whatever other names they now have for this, reminds me too much of MadTV's "Windstorm '97" spoof. That's probably not where news directors should be getting their inspiration...

Icy Austin Morning Radio

One of the consequences of the ongoing icy weather in Austin seems to be that KLBJ-FM is currently off the air. This is a bit of an improvement over their current morning show, but let's wait to see how things play out.

No, I really don't care too much for Dudley and Bob, sorry. I like to hear music while I drive, not hours of talking. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a classic rock station playing music during morning drive since 107.7 was still the Hawk. Bob-FM isn't bad, and KITY is pretty good when the signal isn't overpowered (that's the problem with using translators), and I suppose that even Majic 95.5 plays okay music every so often, but on pretty much any other station to which I listen, you have to wait for a long time before someone, be it Kidd Kraddick, Bobby Bones, or even JB and Sandy, stops talking. Remind me why that's a good thing.

By the way, if you want to annoy Kidd Kraddick, ask him about the time in 1997-98 that he facilitated the wedding of two complete strangers. Odds are, he and everyone else on the show will deny that it happened.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Congrats to the true college football champion...

The true champion of this season should, of course, be Boise State. They played a great season, culminating in a spectacular come-from-behind victory in the Fiesta Bowl, and finished the season undefeated, the only Division I-A team to do so. So, of course, they should be the champs, right?

Well, not in the BCS world. Boise State is not from one of the money-rich BCS conferences, so the powers that be can shut them out if they want...which they did. And, for some reason, the AP blindly went along with them. Not since the 1975 season has a one-loss team been universally recognized as the national champion, while an undefeated team was not. That would be Arizona State (then playing in the WAC), as explained very nicely by the texasyank here, here, and here.

As the texasyank said, Florida has now become the BCS champion. The real champion of this year's season has to be Boise State.