The Queque 

The weather’s been so beautiful this week that the Queque has had trouble concentrating on the news. And so, while the boss was away on vacation, we found ourselves lost in unimportant mid-summer ponderings, such as trying to convince the Current’s media editor that Lars Von Trier’s Dogville was a rip-off of Dog Day starring Lee Marvin.

Then civil-rights attorney James Myart dropped by with the latest issue of black community tabloid the San Antonio Observer. Holy Al Jolson! the Queque shrieked. The cover features SAPD Chief Bill McManus portrayed as a blackfaced minstrel banjo-strumming for San Antonio’s whitey fat-cats.

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Holy Al Jolson!

Remembering the furor caused last year when the Observer’s cover featured an SAPD officer in a KKK hood, the Queque queued Tribe Called Quest’s “Keeping it Moving” on iTunes (“Ain’t no time for shuckin’ ’n’ jivin’”) and got SAPD spokesman Sergeant Gabe “Supertrooper Mustache” Trevino on the horn. McManus, he said, isn’t really bothered.

Although you wouldn’t necessarily gather it from the editorial’s prose, the Observer’s article is a reference to the dissatisfaction many community members felt after McManus’s performance at the Communities Organized Against Police Abuse meeting on January 29. After allowing victims of police abuse to speak — including Joseph Fennell, who was shot in the crown in broad daylight for absolutely no good reason last fall — COPA presented McManus with a list of demands. He dodged several during his response — such as mandatory drug testing for all officers involved in an incident where someone is hurt or killed — citing the limitations of the police force’s collective bargaining agreement.

Observer president T.C. Calvert served as the diplomatic compére for the evening, and while Calvert claims he has very little input into the Observer’s cover design, sticking mostly to ad sales, the Queque can’t help but recall that it was Calvert’s son (and failed District 21 U.S. Representative candidate) Tommy Calvert who, as soon as McManus left the building, said the Chief pretty much told them all “to go to hell.”

The Observer’s cover may further increase tensions as COPA attempts a second round of negotiations with the SAPD. According to COPA chair Ursula Hernandez, this week they’ll send McManus a letter demanding a meeting every 45 days instead of the quarterlies he proposed. They think there might’ve been some sort of miscommunication. The Queque can’t imagine why.

The Queque thought it had outgrown Class B trespassing (punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine, if memory serves). Then the San Antonio library announced all its biblio-buildings now offer free wireless internet service. The Queque was ready to recommit to a life of property crimes, sitting in parking lots after hours, tricking out its profile on My.barackobama.com, when SAPD spokesman Officer Joe Rios reminded the Queque that the library is a public area. Sunning in and around library hot spots isn’t illegal unless there are “no trespassing” signs posted (and other than the Central Library parking garage, which closes at 10 p.m. most nights, there ain’t any). “Or unless they ask you to leave in the presence of a police officer.” The even better news about the SA library’s Wi-Fi, provided by Time Warner, is there’s no internet login required, ’cause the library’s not interested in keeping a record of the Queque’s  “uranium production” and “Jesus’s bones” web searches, according to library spokeswoman Beth Graham.

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Wires are so 2006.

Unwiring libraries are the first step toward offering citywide Wi-Fi, meaning netizens can have computer access wherever they go, says Michael Calabrese at the New America Foundation. As of the end of 2006, almost 300 cities have gone wireless or offer neighborhood hot spots, including our lil’ South Texas sis Corpus Christi. Striking up the public broadband will be the focus of the Muniwireless: Texas07 conference in Dallas this Sunday through Tuesday. As of press time, no SA official had signed up to attend.

“I find that very strange,” said Esme Vos, founder of Muniwireless.com. “They should attend and see what other cities are doing to make their municipal
workers more efficient. Especially on the public-safety side,” ’cause cops in wireless cities can access state and federal databases and file reports right there in the field.

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Speaking of “the best communities are those that share (unless it involves dirty needles)” … a Spanish startup named Fon says if you live near a Starbucks, they’ll give you a free wireless router (plus shipping and sales tax). And together, you can steal Starbucks’ wireless business, and it’s legal. If you’re in Wi-Fi range, you can offer Starbuckers a $2 alternative to that $9.99 T-Mobile DayPass. Contact Fon at Fon.com/en/promos/fonbucks by March 31 and they’ll split the profits with you 50/50. The boys over at Starbucks’ corporate must have iced mochachino in their veins, ’cause spokesman Brandon Borrman wouldn’t even acknowledge Fon’s antics directly, instead sending the Queque an email about the supremacy of their T-1 lines and their invincible 5,100 Starbuck-store fleet offering Wi-Fi across the nation. So the Queque got to thinking. And came up with another way to ruin Starbucks — get your Wi-Fi and drinks from the local pachucos based here in San Quilmas (Ruta Maya, the Web House, Candlelight, the Guadalupe Street Coffee … ).

Apart from cheekily calling it the “Transsexual Corridor,” one of the Queque’s friends gave a good review to the first smooth leg of what’s likely to grow into the Trans-Texas Corridor — a segment of the State Highway 130 tollway stretching northeast of Austin. The friend paid $3 for an uninterrupted 70mph go-go dance with SH 130, built by Lone Star Infrastructure, a private consortium. The Queque was wondering if anyone headed to the TTC public hearing at the Capitol this Thursday, or the “Don’t Tag Texas” protest march against the TTC and the National Animal Indentification System down Austin’s Congress Avenue on Friday, might put aside their fears about the scourge of toll roads about to pave over rural Texas long enough to take a SH 130 consumer test drive? The Queque never trusts that friend’s opinion. Visit Satollparty.com or Tinyurl.com/2y8rv3 to submit your true feelings about tolling to the state Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee or show up at the Capitol Extension Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. Thursday ready to raise hell.

And now for your monthly Texas war-profit update. In February, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Texas-based companies more than $881 million in contracts. This included a juicy $748 million paid to Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth for modifications to F-16 Aircraft (aka “The Fighting Falcon” or “Lawn Dart”) apparatus to be sold to our allies in Turkey. That wasn’t the only foreign sale that might come in handy if we ram antlers with Iran: Missiles and missile containers made by McDonnell Douglas workers in McKinney will be sold to Pakistan. Texas oil will also be used to fuel our jets and lubricate engines, but the true profit-patriot this month is Sidran Inc. of Farmers Branch, who won a $7.7 million contract for combat coats and trousers. The wardrobe should reach our underdressed troops by February 2008.

Meanwhile, according to the National Priorities Project (Costofwar.com), the Iraq War has cost the U.S. $369.5 billion, Texas $30.2 billion, and San Antonio $1.5 billion. As of last Friday, the U.S. suffered 67 casualties in Iraq in February, including six from Texas, bringing the total to 3,154.

 

Send news tips to kdailey@sacurrent.com.


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