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.