Tuesday, July 24, 2007

An Open Challenge to Ken Avidor: Debate Me Online

In the comments section of this post, Ken Avidor made the following declaration:
"I have offered to debate PRT with local PRT proponents for years and they have declined every time"

And at least the first part of this statement is true: Ken has repeatedly made this same declaration indicating his desire to debate a PRT proponent.

So, naturally, I replied that I'd be more than willing to take him up on his offer, which I was sure he'd accept - if he's so sure about his stand on PRT that he's willing to debate a local Minneapolis PRT expert, why would he back away from debating an anonymous nobody from Buffalo, NY?

His response, from the same comment thread:

"My terms are a debate with a person who is a member of ATRA, CPRT, Taxi 2000 or an elected official who has authored legislation for and/or promoted PRT. I would prefer to debate that person in front of a live audience, but I will also debate that person live on radio or television. It's important that people get to ask questions."

Wow, you can tell this guy's a bicyclist by the way he backpedals! It took only a few hours to go from grandiose declaration to meek legalistic cop-out!

So, to summarize: he'll only debate certain PRT experts. And only in certain forums. And there has to be an audience. Well so much for PRT people "declining for years". I guess he doesn't consider me a PRT person, even though he's frequently awarded me the "gadgetbahner" and "PRTista" labels.

Are you afraid to debate me, Ken?

I am hereby challenging you, Ken, to an online debate on PRT. Here are my only terms: (a) it has to be an online forum, (b) and I'm not going to reveal my true identity.

That's it. You make up the rest. It can be on any online forum of your choosing. It can be live chat or email, whatever you choose.

I'll declare now that I have no financial or personal interest in PRT - my interest is purely academic. So there really is no reason for me to reveal myself. My entire history with PRT is documented using my current moniker, so that's all you need to know. If you doubt this, I will reveal myself to a trusted third party who can verify these claims.

What have you got to lose?

So that's my open challenge, Ken. Whenever you're ready for an online debate, leave me a comment here and I'll be sure to respond. And we can finally get this long-awaited debate started.

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

DumpBachmann = Journalistic Abomination

What are we to make of the DumpBachmann blog? On the surface, they seem to have a noble purpose: to hold Michele Bachmann accountable for everything she says and does.

But, who holds DumpBachmann accountable? Answer: nobody. And that's the problem. DumpBachmann would have you believe they are fools for the truth, but in reality, they are as fast and loose with the facts as any politician.

My evidence? Take a look at this inflammatory post by Ken Avidor. He writes:

Michele Bachmann conspired to defraud taxpayers with this Nixon-era, anti-transit scam. Michele Bachmann has yet to explain why she wrote legislation to fund a bogus PRT "Safety Certification & Training Facility". (emphasis mine)

Anti-transit scam? Bogus PRT Safety Certification & Training Facility? Where is the proof for these allegations? Answer: there is no proof.

Nope, DumpBachmann doesn't need to provide proof. But hey, forget about proof - I'd settle for a single piece of evidence - a single nugget of real verifiable information supporting these loaded charges!

Nope, nothing.

And don't think I didn't try. I engaged in an excruciatingly long comment thread in which I repeatedly asked for anything substantitive to support these claims. Nothing. All I got was criticism for "picking on poor Ken".

Ken's contribution to this debate? Well, practically nothing, except for this: "I just want to point out that I have offered to debate PRT with local PRT proponents for years and they have declined every time." So, naturally, I accepted his apparent offer! I would love to see exactly what "evidence" he has that PRT is a "scam", and what better forum than an online debate?

But, alas, Ken has no intention in debating me, probably because he can't launch ad hominem attacks on an anonymous online contributor. So when Ken didn't respond to my acceptance of the debate challenge, his co-contributor Bill Prendergast came up with an excuse: "Ken may not want to debate you here or elsewhere. I don't know if he does or not; he may not want to talk to you."

Well, thank goodness he didn't cop out of that, huh?

So, when it became perfectly clear that DumpBachmann had no intention of providing a shred of evidence to support their inflammatory and unsupportable claims, I asked for a retraction. Alas, no, DumpBachmann doesn't retract "opinions" like "PRT is an anti-transit scam".

OK, here's an "opinion" from me: DumpBachmann is a journalistic abomination, little more than an attack site that is willing to post inflammatory accusations without a shred of evidence to support them.

Prove me wrong.

Disclaimer: I couldn't care less about Michele Bachmann, her politics, her religious beliefs, or her voting record. This has nothing to do with Michele Bachmann, and everything to do with the DumpBachmann blog posting unfounded accusations about PRT and its supporters.