What? The sky isn't falling! It's just an acorn!
July 27, 2001 9:53 AM   Subscribe

What? The sky isn't falling! It's just an acorn! John Kelso, Austin's foremost professional Texan, writes today about the Austin-California grudge match. (In Austin, it's de rigeur to blame the Cal-dot-commers-cum-Texans for the city's growing pains. It's also a tad accurate.) He also gripes about a silly SF gate Flash site where you can turn the lights out on Austin. The guy's a crank -- and he can't write a column without mentioning Bubbas, chili, or vegetarians -- but this is a perfect example of Texas' head-in-the-sand attitude towards a possible energy crisis. And the rest of the country's, maybe.
posted by mudbug (23 comments total)
> So let's send them all back. Virtually, of course.

I say let the anglos, mexicans and indians give the place back to the gila monsters. A lovely place it would be without 'em.
posted by jfuller at 10:08 AM on July 27, 2001

While i'm not a big John Kelso fan, I'm not sure where Texas gets the blame for California's energy problems. I live in Austin, btw. I'd like to know why you think its Texas fault, before I give you my opinion on this.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:10 AM on July 27, 2001

Why who thinks it's Texas' fault, jbelshaw?
posted by mudbug at 10:12 AM on July 27, 2001

mudbug, sorry, should've been more clear. One of the things that I constantly hear when listening to discussion, news, etc. on Californias energy problems is a bashing of Texas. Now i'm no native Texan, only been here a couple of years, so there is no strange bias in me.

I just was wondering exactly why Texas gets blamed or bashed for Californias energy problems. The only thing I can figure out is that now that CAs power plants are closed, or regulated, or whatever is causing them to not be able to supply themselves with their own power, CA has to buy energy from other companies. And they are upset because they have to pay more than they would if they were getting it from their own power companies, or that the out of state power companies are charging more for shipping it out of state than they would locally.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:19 AM on July 27, 2001

posted by thebigpoop at 10:19 AM on July 27, 2001

Jbelshaw: don't know the answer, because I've stopped listening to all the CA power-woe stories and don't have a grip on the details anymore. (I just sit here, in CA, and wait for the lights to go out. Then I lament the fact that I'm not in Austin anymore.)

Methinks it's a combination of things. Dubya definitely has a part in it. Also, Houston-based Reliant Energy is turning into one of the bigger villains in the story. And, Texas just deregulated, but doesn't seem to realize that the same thing could very well happen there. (But probably won't, since Georgie is likely to listen to his Texas Friends' cries for help.)

Maybe there just needs to be a scapegoat. Texas is good for that sort of thing these days. Mostly, I think CA is trying really hard to make it look like someone else's fault. It's easier than admitting that consumption (EVERYWHERE, and especially in TX) is way too high.
posted by mudbug at 10:27 AM on July 27, 2001

While i'm not a big John Kelso fan, I'm not sure where Texas gets the blame for California's energy problems. I live in Austin, btw. I'd like to know why you think its Texas fault, before I give you my opinion on this.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that President Bush has not stepped in to help with said energy situation and he was previously the governor of Texas. Some have suggested that if it were Texas having the power problems, he would more readily help out...

That's my guess.
posted by valerie at 10:27 AM on July 27, 2001

valerie: I'm not sure if he would help or not. There isn't really a whole lot he can do. California needs to build power plants.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:29 AM on July 27, 2001

> California needs to build power plants.

California needs to give up air conditioning and night baseball. (And server farms.)
posted by jfuller at 10:36 AM on July 27, 2001

At the state's urging, federal officials are looking into why gas prices at the California border leaped last winter to levels as much as 10 times the national average. State regulators have accused El Paso Corp., a Texas energy firm, of restricting gas shipments through its pipeline into the state to raise prices -- something El Paso denies.

El Paso Corp. monopolizes one of the major pipelines that bring natural gas into CA. They've been accused of not using the complete capacity of that pipeline; other companies that wish to move gas from Texas to California cannot do so. CA's power comes mostly from natural gas and hydroelectric; last winter was dry, so hydro resources are tight.

Still, the main problem CA has is that its elected leaders created a situation that hands control of its power supplies to monopolies and cartels. This is because our elected officials are idiots.
posted by swell at 11:25 AM on July 27, 2001

Why is there animosity? Because California made a dumb mistake in deregulation which was compounded by some outside forces, and energy companies (most of which are in Texas) are taking advantage of the problem.

Californians (and even some of us liberal-minded Texans) think the actions of the Texas energy companies have been disgusting and greedy, while many others (read: those profiting and those who support the profiteers) think it's just the nature of the business.
posted by conquistador at 11:30 AM on July 27, 2001

> Californians (and even some of us liberal-minded
> Texans) think the actions of the Texas energy companies
> have been disgusting and greedy, while many others
> (read: those profiting and those who support the
> profiteers) think it's just the nature of the business.

Energy corrupts. Unlimited energy corrupts without limit.
posted by jfuller at 11:33 AM on July 27, 2001

As an Austin resident (who's not from California) I have to say that I have no problem with all the west coast transplants.

As long as they stay north of the river, of course, and don't clog up the aisles of the Central Market South or the Barton Creek Chuy's.

Hey, we built North Austin their own Chuy's, no reason for all those Dell-ionaires to come down and mess up ours.

In fact, once the Krispy Kreme south is done, I'll have no reason to go up past 183 again. Except, of course, to play video games at the Lakeline Mall.
posted by ColdChef at 11:41 AM on July 27, 2001

Seems to me we (Californians) made a mistake in deregulating power. Firms like El Paso and Enron made a killing off the stupidity of California lawmakers and voters. We blame them for being opportunists rather than ourselves for bad planning.

Either way this Kelso guy both sucks and blows.
posted by perplexed at 12:22 PM on July 27, 2001

Oy! Not all of us north of the river are from California. I'm from the opposite coast, m'self. And I don't like Central Market as a store, but the deli has some tasty stuff. Yay for the Jamaican Jerk Chicken sammich.

At least you didn't man us north-siders from the Dobie theatre. They show some darn good films there, man.

But I think my favorite thing about the north side is driving down Spicewood Springs, west of Mopac, at way too high a speed in the middle of the night. It's so hard to find a good winding country road around here!

This message has no real content; just wanted to join the Austin roll-call.
posted by jammer at 12:26 PM on July 27, 2001

Off topic: Any suggestions for restaurants and other essential spots to hit in Austin? I'm making my first trip next week (Tuesday afternoon through Friday morning, unfortunately), and I'm wondering how hard it'll be to feed myself well since I don't go for meat.
posted by NortonDC at 1:02 PM on July 27, 2001

There are a few decent veggie places in Austin. You may tryThe Clay Pit near campus--great Indian food. Also, the West Lynn Cafe in Central Austin is nice. Most restaurants offer vegetarian alternatives, but watch out, they may have beef or chicken stock added in most of the vegetables. Just ask. Austin still has a large hippie population, so they won't necessarily stare at you as if you're a non-meat eating freak. You may also try Mother's Cafe and Garden and the Eastside Cafe.
posted by ColdChef at 1:13 PM on July 27, 2001

For the vegetarian Austin tourist: Curra's, Curra's, Curra's, Sarovar, Mr. Natural, Curra's, Veggie Heaven, Hut's, Central Market, Sarovar, Curra's, and Curra's.
posted by mudbug at 1:33 PM on July 27, 2001

I'm a native Texan and no, I am not proud of Dubya, Enron, Pacific Lumber, the cities of Jasper and Vidor, Tom Brown Inc., feedlots, etc. But these entities should not be treated as representative of everything Texas, any more than Disney, dot.coms and anorexia represent all that is California, or the automakers represent everything about Michigan. Yes, I am aware that our state government has created policies favorable to these corporations--but so did California's state government in deregulating itself and ushering in private enterprise. Texas makes a convenient scapegoat for California's follies, doesn't it.
posted by Vacaloca at 1:34 PM on July 27, 2001

[hijacking thread to talk about Austin]

Coldchef: Damn you! No one is to know about the south location of Krispy Kreme! Next, you'll be telling everyone about the breakfast tacos at Taco Express and the secret places to park around Barton Springs and the affordable housing around South Lamar and Ben White and...

NortonDC: Another good veggie place is Veggie Heaven (near campus, on Guadalupe; order the "October Special"). As for other "must-sees," just pick up a copy of the Austin Chronicle (free newspaper, available in most doorways) to find club listings, restaurant reviews, community events, etc. Also, you'll be here during prime bat-watching season (ie. the summer). Just head to the Congress Avenue Bridge around 8:30 any evening and watch a million Mexican free-tail bats fly out into the countryside.

[/hijacking thread to talk about austin]
posted by conquistador at 1:36 PM on July 27, 2001

Mudbug: Gotta agree with you on Curra's. Fantastic food. And the best Margarita I've ever had: the avacado margarita. Excellent.

Conquistador: Ummmm. Right. What the hell am I thinking? There's no Krispy Kreme down south, nor are they building one right now. I musta dreamed that. You heard it right, North Austin. No reason whatsoever to come down this way. Bad tacos, bad beer, and we're all a bunch of Bubbas. Have another $10 beverage at the Iron Cactus...these are not the droids you're looking for.
posted by ColdChef at 1:50 PM on July 27, 2001

Shhhh. The best breakfast tacos are at Porfirio's on Holly St. They blow Taco Express out of the proverbial water. Don't tell anyone.
posted by mudbug at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2001

Satay at Anderson and Mopac is good for veggie cuisine, as is the little Indian place in the shopping center at Research and Burnet (the same one that Black Eyed Pea and Bangkok Cuisine are in). Weird, most of the veggie places I can think of are Asian. Of course, Asian in many varieties is a staple of my diet. Oh, also try Kerby Lane, in any of their locations. How could I forget them?

Other good things to do whilst visiting: Go to Sixth Street on Friday or Saturday night. Whatever kind of music you like, you'll find it there. The rougher stuff tends to be closer to I35. Go up Mt. Bonnell for a nice view of the city on one side, and Town Lake on the other. Head down to Zilker park for a swim at the springs. But whatever you do, pick up a copy of the Chronicle, or just visit http://www.auschron.com, to find out everything that's going on.
posted by jammer at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2001

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