Fact-Checking the "PRT Boondoggle" Blog
A project of the PRT NewsCenter

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Spy killed by PRT!

(London Daily Crumpet) The death by radiation poisoning of former KGB colonel Alexander Litvenenko has been irrefutably linked to an anti-transit conspiracy, according to a Minnesota transportation expert.

The expert said the conspiracy is called Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), a system of small 3-4 seat cabins providing on-demand, express transit service on a network of elevated rails. The automated system would operate 24/7 and use less energy per passenger than existing transit. A prototype PRT system has been operating in West Virginia since 1975, and demonstrations have operated in Germany, Massachusetts and Wales.

The expert, who gave reporters his name, said he became suspicious upon hearing of Litvenenko's death. "Everything has radiation," he explained. "PRT represents an immense concentration of transit in a small vehicle, and therefore concentrated radiation as well."

He likened the radioactive substance suspected in the poisoning, polonium-210, to the cheese on pizza. "One shred of mozzarella is inconsequential," he said, chowing down on a slice of triple salami with sausage. "However, PRT piles on the cheese until the radiation reaches fatal levels."

The expert said his suspicions of a PRT connection were confirmed when British authorities reported finding radiation on two British Airways planes at Heathrow airport.

"Heathrow is where an "ULTra" PRT system is being planned," the expert exclaimed in an agitated state. "This dangerous project, which does not exist, is clearly much further along than believed."

BAA agreed last year to host the project, the first implementation of the ULTra, which is made by Advanced Transport Systems Ltd. of Bristol. Competing PRTs are being planned in Sweden and Finland.

"The Heathrow PRT must be stopped now," the expert said, "before there are more deaths of former Soviet intelligence agents."

Ken Milhous Avidor

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Make of it what you will

The Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist (real name rhymes with Kiln Ovendoor) is no longer listed as a Contributor to Lloydletta's Nooz.

Update (12/6): He's baaaaaack.

Ken Avidor is a small billed mammal that also lays eggs

Sunny California cool to the Propagandist

This just in from the recent Advanced Transit Association conference in Santa Cruz, courtesy of Yahoo Groups poster Richard Gronning:

Before the first session began a city council member asked me if I knew anything about [the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist]. Apparently he had several correspondences with our [Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist]. From the initial brief he had considered that [he had] made a mistake in bringing ATRA to Santa Cruz. He had asked for proof of the adversarial statements that [the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist] had made about PRT. He got back cartoons. I won’t repeat his comments about what he thought about [the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist]. I’ve concluded that the situation is considerably better to have [the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist] as an adversary than to have him as an advocate. Source
How soon until Labridor adds the Santa Cruz council to the Pod Squad? Will he start smearing Santa Cruz as a strange place where weird stuff happens?

Ken Avidor is a mass of cold air moving down from Canada

Friday, November 17, 2006

Let the sun shine in

One of the things the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist says he hates most about Personal Rapid Transit is that it is up in the air. He thinks 3-4 ft. wide PRT guideway will blot out the sun, that guideway spaced at half-mile intervals will be a "forest of concrete and steel support piers," the stations will "form a 'lid', with the street below virtually placed in a tunnel." And he regularly fear-mongers about PRT cutting down trees, and giving riders "a clear view into our bedroom windows." He's still at it.

With that background, I promise a complete absence of sarcasm* as I present the realities of K@n Labridor's preferred light rail alternative:

The Urban Suncatcher
Because light rail streetcars are so divine they need to be high up near god (or goddess, or flying spaghetti monster as the case may be), and bathed in golden sunlight so that all below may worship.

The Suncatcher goes up in Tukwila (Seattle Times)

The Suncatcher is so tiny, sometimes it's easy to miss; oh, there it is. Note porta-pottie; that counts as an amenity. (Seattle Times)

Light (rail) will shine on Rainier Valley (Seattle Times)

The $45 million McClellan Suncatcher Station is but a little brown church in the urban dell (Sound Transit)

McClellan Station is just down the hill from $220 million Beacon Hill Station (above), which will extend deep, deep into the ground--yea, even bringing the Suncatcher's light unto Hades already (Sound Transit)

Growing an attractive grove of concrete and steel on MLK Jr. Way (Seattle Times)

Remember, here at "
PRT is a Joke is a Joke" we're for transit--and we're against hypocritical anti-PRT propaganda!

* Made you look!

Ken Avidor, a drop of golden sun

Monday, November 13, 2006

I've heard tell

Every year the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist writes something to this effect. In 2003 and 2004, it was the failure to pass state funding bills. In 2005 it was the conviction and defeat of Dean Zimmermann. Every year brings the PRT Is No More pronouncement. There will always be something--it's become his annual anti-passion play where he acts out the non-rising of PRT.

What is it this year? Is it the defeat of Rep. Mark Olson and Sen. Michelle Bachmann, ultra-right wing targets of the Propagandist's highly effective, cerebral, and subtle issues-based grassroots mobilization campaign?

Ha! No, seriously, this time it's,
"it is unlikely that [Mark Olson] will mention PRT again at the legislature. The House leader, Margaret Keliher [sic] spoke against PRT in 2004 and she won't allow a PRT bill to go anywhere as long as she's in charge."
Let's examine this bit of reportage.

1. "it is unlikely that [Mark Olson] will mention PRT again at the legislature." Why? Because Olson's transportation positions hurt him? That's what DMO claimed pre-election day. But when the dust settled Olson was reëlected. Unless his district voted for him because they didn't like his policies, Olson really has no incentive to drop PRT (it's the least of his worries). However, he needs to take the more responsible position of promoting PRT as one part of a balanced, multi-mode transit system.

2. "The House leader, Margaret Keliher [sic] spoke against PRT in 2004 and she won't allow a PRT bill to go anywhere as long as she's in charge."
This claim, as written, verges on hearsay on a journalistic level. By writing this I'm only trying to help. Kendoll is, after all, supposed to be the Transportation Editor of the TC Daily Planet, as well as a muckraking investigative reporter. One would expect that he aspires to some level of competent objective journalism.

And I'm not suggesting Kelliher is pro-PRT, or that she is not anti-PRT, or that she would allow PRT legislation to come forward. I'm not even suggesting PRT legislation will go "anywhere." I just want some background about how Kenwood is in a position to know what is in Kelliher's mind ("she won't allow... as long as she's in charge").

Why it's fishy: first, Kenwood is characterizing what Kelliher said rather than directly quoting her.
Second, he does not source Kelliher's statements, or the context in which they were given.

Finally, and this is the most puzzling: subtlety is not Kenmore's strong suit, so why is he so subtle about what Kelliher may or may not have said? If Kelliher is so adamantly against PRT ("she won't allow... as long as she's in charge"), why can nothing be found online quoting her? Why did the Propagandist make only one tiny mention of it in 2004 (and calling her "Anderson Kelliher," not Margaret Anderson Kelliher)-- instead of blaring it to high heaven and repeating it over and over and over, ad nauseous?

Also today: Kelliher smacked by Lloydletta.

Propagandist pesters liberal blogger who doesn't care about PRT: Norwegianity nails it--
"...there's no way we gain from photoshopped rudeness and every likelihood these pix will surface in two years at an inopportune time. Put another way, how would you react to seeing Keith Ellison with horns? I know I for one would be a little pissed if I saw that."
Related: His bad phone manners (7/12)

Regarding the Propagandist's record: Mock Journalist (7/10)
I can do this all day (9/26)

The United States has dropped Ken Avidor from a list of countries said to severely violate religious freedoms.

Why does he hate Click and Clack?

Of all the un-American things!

Hating cars is fine, but the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist goes so far as to attack Tom & Ray Magliozzi, possibly National Public Radio's biggest stars.

Why? They sinned against the Propagandist by joking about cars.

Here they are, two guys from Beantown who went to MIT and opened a garage--but then decided to help people save money on car repairs. Kenworth Opendoor decided that deserved a cheap attack.

The irony is that the Magliozzis frequently make anti-SUV and pro-hybrid statements on their "Car Talk" program. They also deride ridiculously overpowered sports cars, such as the BMW M3. One of the Magliozzis doesn't even own a car--he rides a bike instead!

It occurs to me that Kenwood has lately been calling himself a "graphic artist" instead of "cartoonist." Is it because the latter has car in it?

Revealed: PRT is Anti-Education

(PRTJJ) Students at West Virginia University were disappointed at the Nov. 19 annual Mountaineer Week PRT Cram, when the winning team was only able to stuff 95 undergraduates into one of the little automated transit cars.

"This again shows how inadequate Personal Rapid Transit is," said a Minnesota transportation expert, who gave reporters his name.

"PRT is low capacity," the expert said, as he munched on a slice of Meat Lovers Pizza™ from Pizza Hut. "If the university had invested in a proven streetcar or light rail system they would have been able to cram in a lot more students."

The expert said the PRT, which has carried millions of riders without injury since beginning operation in the mid-1970s, is part of an insidious right-wing anti-transit conspiracy.

"The proof of the plot is under every PRT car at WVU, said the expert. "It's the wheels. Automobiles use rubber tires, not real transit systems. In addition, the wheels are very dorky." The expert holds a doctorate of dorkiness from Dartmouth.

"WVU students aren't having as full of a college experience as they could be, if they were able to cram 500, 600 or more people onto high-capacity light rail," the expert said. "PRT cheapens the collegiate experience. I weep for the immeasurable harm PRT has done to our system of higher education."

It was a quiet week in Lake Wobegone, my home town, out on the edge of Ken Avidor.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

With 51 you get egg roll


Democrats have retaken the House of Representatives, and--this just in--
Jon Tester in Montana became our 51st vote in the Senate (I count Lieberman, for now, and Sanders in the D column).

Here in the other Washington we've sent Mike McGavick packing, and Darcy Burner is down to the wire with Dave Reichert. Jim McDermott is poised to chair a Ways & Means subcommittee--finally in a position to make a serious push for single payer health insurance.

Initiatives were soundly rejected that would have hamstrung environmental protections and cut the estate taxes for the 250 richest families. A measure directing public utilities to invest and purchase power from alternative sources is narrowly leading. Locally, we said Yes to improved express bus service.

Back east in Minnesota there is cause for celebration too. There the legislature is going DFL, and Amy Klobuchar is going to the US Senate.

I know the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist (rhymes with open sore) or someone at Lloydletta is going to slap themselves on the back for beating Fine and Kennedy. But if they are going to take credit for the wins, they have to admit defeats too. For coming out on top are the two people for whom Rhymes With Labrador reserved his special sauce of hatred: Mark Olson and Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann. "God" told her to run and probably suggested the slogan Global Warming What's That? Instead of harping on PRT, Rhymes With Matador should have been demanding a doctor evaluate the connectivity of the Loony B's corpus callosum. And yet, this Medieval throwback is going to sit on the floor of the US House of Representatives. That she will be in the minority is the only consolation. Maybe she and Keith Ellison (first Muslim in Congress!) can sit across the aisle from each other and work out a Tastes Great-Less Filling routine.

Olson. DMO said he was in trouble over transportation; they said it was because he opposed Northstar and, more than just by inference, supported PRT. And yet, he's going back to represent 16B in the Minnesota House.

Maybe Rhymes With Oven Door should have spent more time trying to Dump those two, instead of trying to tie PRT to an ideology. Or campaigning for Wetterling, Wilde, Rowley and Huhtala instead of wasting a huge chunk of time on childish cartoons (my apologies to children, who probably use Photoshop more expertly than does Rhymes With Undies Drawer; but you know what I mean).

The stakes in this election were huge, and the Dumps/LL wasted time and effort on PRT, something that wasn't even on the table as a policy option! Rhymes With Matador must face up to just how ineffective he is because of his anti-PRT vendetta. A scribbler. A shooter of cheap, grainy ambush/voyeur videos--the 11th-hour church video notwithstanding.

But looked at another way, if there were no more Bachmann and Olson, Rhymes With Sockdrawer's life would be that much more diminished. Where would Quixote be without the windmills? Rhymes With Polydor must love PRT.

Also today: "Spanking III: Wrath of K@n"--only 14 messages to get to "Whatever"!

What it's all about (11/7)

Update (11/9): (1) Fabian email hits Labridor's ineffectiveness; Kenmore changes subject.
(2) Propagandist accuses this blog of "gloating;"* again blames media instead of own ineffectiveness. (Thanks for the plug, Kenwood!)

(3) The Propagandist's FIRST comment is "Whatever"!
Update (11/10): Dump Bachmann contributor writes--
PRT was non-issue

* I am--but only about Democratic victories!

You can fool all of the Ken Avidor some of the time

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What it's all about

Across the United States today you're going to go vote. Maybe you've already voted by mail.

Judging by what they choose to write about most of the time, some want you to believe this election is mostly about stopping personal rapid transit (and, by inference, perpetuating light rail transit). This posting serves as a reminder of what today is really about.

How you vote in this election will determine whether we will protect the Constitution and the future of our republic. It's a question not of whether we will commute to work in big train or a small pod (if it were, why wasn't PRT in the Resmuglican National Committee 2004 platform?), but rather of putting an end to one-party government and the Imperial Presidency. So, vote for candidates like Patty Wetterling, Amy Klobuchar, Colleen Rowley and Wendy Wilde because they are going to take back Congress for We The People and demand accountability from the White House. Not because a cartoonist says their opponents don't like trains.

Few state the choice as clearly as the venerable liberal policy wonk
Walt Williams, professor emeritus at The Evans School in Seattle:

Time to protect Constitution

Walter Williams
Guest Columnist

My main message today is to fear for our country. America faces the gravest of threats in the postwar era to both the federal government's long-run fiscal solvency and the living standards of the broad American middle class.

At the heart of the nation's fiscal and financial woes are George W. Bush's tax and budget policies. In the four decades that I have watched domestic policymaking, no other president's major policies have produced such a high level of harmful results.

Making matters worse is that the nation's main institutions of government are broken. The nation is facing a crisis of governance in the most profound terms. These broken institutions of government must be repaired before these crushing fiscal and financial problems can be attacked, and time is running out.

Bush's major fiscal policies and his efforts to increase presidential power at any cost have been instrumental in turning a dangerous environment into a catastrophic one that can overwhelm the nation's economic and political systems. Be clear, this crisis of governance threatens the Constitution itself.

Both the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts featured reductions in the top tax rates that disproportionately benefited those with the highest incomes.

The Bush administration argued that the tax cuts over time would greatly increase federal tax receipts so as to reduce the actual revenue loss from the tax cut. That proved to be false.

Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton all used tight caps to hold down budget outlays. George W. Bush abandoned them, and costs rose faster than at any time since the 1960s.

Bush's new Medicare prescription drug program seems certain to be a super budget-buster over time. It adds an estimated $8.1 trillion (note: a trillion is a thousand billion) over 75 years to the federal government's unfunded liabilities. That's a mind-bogglingly huge amount.

What was the result of Bush's policies? There was good economic growth over five years, but the growth rate in tax receipts fell well below it while the growth rate in budget spending outran that of the economy. Massive budget deficits were the order of the day. And it came to pass that the federal debt of $5.6 trillion at the start of the Bush presidency skyrocketed to $8.3 trillion, greatly increasing interest payments by the federal government.

These huge increases in the national debt and the government's unfunded liabilities could not have come at a worse time as the oldest of the huge baby-boomer generation near retirement age. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former Congressional Budget Office director and Bush White House economist, observed that "the long-term outlook is such a deep well of sorrow."

The U.S. has moved from the pink of fiscal good health in the early postwar years to intensive care in the Bush presidency. His tax and budget policies are central factors in the decline of the federal government's fiscal health to the worst level since the Great Depression.

A second deleterious result of Bush's tax and budget policies is that it is much harder for the broad American middle class to maintain its living standard over time. This group and those below it (roughly the lowest 20 percent of the income distribution) now include 80 to 90 percent of the population.

At the base of the problem is that productivity growth is no longer increasing real income growth per capita to the extent it did in the past. In the early post-World War II years, the linkage between high productivity and real wage growth was in lock step, but no more.

Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson wrote: "From 1947 through 1973, American productivity rose by a whopping 104 percent, and median family income rose by the very same 104 percent." Since 1973 productivity gains have outpaced median family income by 3 to 1. For the bottom 90 percent of the American work force, work just doesn't pay or provide security, as it used to do.

Despite strong economic growth and high productivity, the Bush years have produced little income growth except at the top. Between 2001 and 2005, real median household income fell 0.5 percent while productivity increased 14 percent. In 2004, the average real income of the top 1 percent of the income distribution rose eight times faster than that of the rest of the population -- over 12 percent as compared with 1.5 percent.

Bush said in mid-August that "things are good for American workers." The New York Times editorial writers observed: "This comment is preposterous." It is. Never have the fruits of strong economic and productivity growth bypassed so many workers on its way to the highest earners. Is it any wonder that Americans strongly believe the economy is doing badly?

Bush's failed tax and budget policies have imperiled the living standard over time of the bulk of the nation's population. The broad American middle class that grew and prospered in the first quarter century after World War II is under siege as the American Dream becomes a memory.

In their 2006 book "The Broken Branch," the highly respected congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein spell out why Congress no longer works. Although they stress that the problems started before Bush's Republican-controlled government came to power, there has been massive institutional damage to the two branches during the Bush presidency.

Nothing marks the difference between the Bush presidency and those of his postwar predecessors as much as the Republican leaders in Congress serving as officers and the remaining Republicans becoming grunts in the president's army.

Republican congressional leaders meekly accepted this subservient role. But they were ruthless in putting down opposition by Democrats or suspect backbench Republicans.

The Republican-controlled Congress no longer checked the president when he encroached on its legislative function that had been set out by the framers of the Constitution as its primary task. In the Bush presidency, Congress ceased to be an independent branch willing and able to restrain the executive branch when necessary.

Mann and Ornstein are deeply pessimistic: "President Bush and his congressional leaders found ways (for) bending the rules, precedents, and norms of legislative behavior in ways that left the institution in tatters. The country and its enduring constitutional pact should not and cannot, endure a broken branch for long."

The executive branch is broken, too. Readers may question this claim when Bush has dominated Congress and had great success in pushing through his policies. But the presidency is broken in a different way from Congress in being too powerful.

Vice President Dick Cheney believed that executive power had been lost in the Nixon administration and never restored. His efforts to expand that power led to the type of leader the framers most feared -- an all-powerful president like King George III.

In the American constitutional structure that derives its strength from the continuing power balance among the branches in a well-integrated system, a president with too much power is the most dangerous of breakdowns.

These are extraordinary times. The system-threatening problems are too dangerous for politicians and the public to see them as politics as usual. Only with the restoration of viable institutions can the White House and Congress determine the nation's most serious threats and hammer out the bipartisan compromises needed to confront them. To begin by setting out policy solutions, however realistic, gets the horse before the cart.

The nation's most threatening fiscal and financial problems will continue to fester in the polarized political environment until America's two broken institutions are restored to working order. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution.

But the overriding problem can be pinpointed: America's political leaders by undermining the institutions of government have broken the legislative and executive branches, resulting in a level of incompetent governance not seen in the postwar era.

The path back starts with American voters. They must recognize the depth of the institutional breakdown and ensuing incompetent governance as well as direct threats these pose to them.

Recall Mann and Ornstein's statement that "the country and its enduring constitutional pact should not and cannot, endure a broken branch for long."

Second, the voters must accept their responsibility in the political system because the framers of the Constitution cast the people as the central actors. The long first sentence in the Constitution -- its entire Preamble made clear that it is the people's Constitution (the five capitalized words were in the original document): "WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

This Constitution and the government it established belong to all of us. The elected officials in Washington from the president on down are our representatives and expected to act in our best interests.

Thus, America's citizens bear the first responsibility to protect and uphold our Constitution. Go for it.
The Evans School happens to be this reporter's alma mater. And in fact, Williams is the one who first advised that I ought to research something called PRT, and supervised my subsequent Masters project. But don't let that influence your vote in any way!

Now get out there and vote!

Related: Election season (11/2)

Also today: Talking point gets twained: Reports of EDICT demise greatly exaggerated

Ken Avidor is a quadruped that lives in big rivers like the Amazon

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Election season

One of the big issues that has popped up as we near the November 7 midterm election is the controversy over embryonic stem cell research. On one side there are pro-science Americans who see hope for finding cures for serious diseases in the utilization of unwanted frozen blastocysts that would otherwise be destroyed. On the other side are fundamentalist theocrats, the current base of the Resmuglican Party--and the right-wing media blowhards trying to suck up to them.

Have you noticed that an argument the fundies use to oppose stem cell research is exactly parallel to the anti-innovation arguments of the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist?

Anti-stem cell research: It is costing a lot of money, hasn't produced any big cures--and maybe never will.

The Propagandist: PRT has wasted a lot of money, has never worked, and in all likelihood never will.
Ironic that the Propagandist is allowed to post at Lloydletta's Nooz, which has correctly taken Michele Bachmann to task for her positions on stem cell research, as well as creationism and science in general.

S'funny that Lloydletta believes CREATIONISM "isn't a left-right issue" or "liberal-conservative issue," but continues to support Kenwood's insistence that Personal Rapid Transit is only supported by right wingers or the gullible. Consistency, anyone?

Also today--
Spanked again (another lame debate by
Captain Whateverdor and his sockpuppets)

Archive: My point exactly (10/24)