Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This Just In: Wacky CNN Joins Silly New York Times Promoting PRT!

Ken Avidor has the scoop:

The publicity barage continues. This puff piece in CNN Money.com reads like it's transcribed from the same press release as the others.

Let's think about this for a moment. The Times article was about the Morgantown PRT system in West Virginia. The CNN report was about the ULTra system, currently being built at Heathrow airport - a different PRT design built 30 years later on a different continent by different people!

Yep, practically transcribed from the same press release.

So two of the most well known and reputable news organizations on the planet have written favorable articles on different PRT systems in the last month, but Ken Avidor would have you believe this is all just puff. Why? Because the Twin Cities Daily Planet (Ken Avidor, Transportation Editor) has already debunked PRT as nothing but a tool of the highway lobby!

Obviously, the New York Times and CNN didn't get the message. Neither did the IEEE or the European Union. Maybe they all forgot to read the Daily Planet that week?

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Avidor Debunks Himself!

Here's an interesting comment from Ken Avidor, from a DumpBachmann comment thread:

...anti-rail transit individuals and groups have used PRT to block rail transit, particularly LRT for thirty years in several cities...

...I recently discovered two reports from the U.S. Congress published in 1976 that detail how PRT was used to block real transit in the Twin Cities and Denver in teh early 1970's

Voters in Denver approved a half cent sales tax to pay for a PRT. They never got a PRT. But, that tax was used to fund their first LRT line and they are adding more lines.

Let's analyze this. First, he claims that PRT groups have blocked rail transit in several cities. This has been a recurring theme in recent Avidor rants.

Forget for a moment that this is akin to accusing Pepsi of "blocking" Coke - of course PRT proponents are going to push PRT, just like rail proponents are going to push rail! Isn't that the definition of proponent - someone who advocates their solution over competing ones?

Not in Avidor's narrow world view. For him, trains are sacrosanct and PRT is evil; it follows that PRT proponents must also be evil, therefore any act of advocacy on behalf of PRT is viewed as some crooked scheme to block his beloved trains. See how easy that is: start with a simple, childlike good-vs-evil premise, and you are bound to arrive at a fairy tale conclusion.

But back to the original quote by Avidor. Just after blaming PRT proponents for blocking trains everywhere, he tells us that Denver PRT money was used to build light rail! That's right! Voters in Denver voted to pay for PRT, but that money was diverted to the light rail project!

Think about this: as evidence that PRT blocked rail, Ken presents a case where PRT directly enabled rail! PRT funding (which was approved by voters who expected to get pods, not trains) was actually responsible for getting Denver its first light rail line!

So, if PRT funding enabled rail in Denver, and PRT proponents enabled that PRT funding, doesn't it follow that light rail in Denver would not exist today without the efforts of PRT proponents?

And I bet Avidor didn't even bother to thank them.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This Just In: New York Times Supporting Mark Olson!

Ken Avidor has the scoop! According to Ken, the New York Times is conspiring to help a Minneapolis Republican in his domestic abuse case!

As amazing as that sounds, Mr. Avidor has breathlessly documented the whole thing:

In May, I predicted that Mark Olson's pals at the Advanced Transit Association (ATRA) would crank up the PRT publicity machine as a preemptive whitewash for Olson's role in the PRT scam in time for his upcoming trial. Today, the New York Times published yet another puff piece about the Morgantown PRT...

So, why did the Times run this puff piece for PRT? Does all this recent PRT publicity have something to do with Rep. Mark Olson's trial?

See, this is just another example of right wingers using the New York Times as their own personal propaganda tool. It's so transparently obvious that a Times piece about a West Virginia transit system must be linked to the Minnesota Republican party!

And even if this obvious transgression was unintentional, the Times should know better. Any good reporter will tell you: when writing an article about a successful piece of technology, always be sure to check whether a local politician 1500 miles away supports a kinda-sorta similar technology and is awaiting trial for a completely unrelated domestic abuse charge! How can a jury be expected to render a proper verdict when they've been tainted by this Morgantown article?

Shame on you, New York Times.

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