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

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No pleasing some people

Recently Monsieur l'Avitory the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist was wringing his hands over his belief that PRT supporters had abandoned Rep. Slappy Olson.

"Rep. Mark Olson... carried the banner for the PRT cause," wrote the Propagandist. "He authored legislation and gave countless interviews and speeches. He even appeared at Minneapolis City Hall with the dope-addled [Dean] Zimmermann. Olson sweat [sic] buckets for the PRT cause and now, when the going got rough... [sic] when he needs a little moral support, his old pals... the PRTistas throw Olson under the bus (pod)." [ellipses in original]

We'll forgive him the mangled grammar. Again. As well as his continuing to perpetuate the idiocy that you have to support a candidate just because they support PRT.

Today some of the very "moral support" Labridor called for is finally forthcoming for Rep. Olson--but despite his earlier pleas The Ovendoor is dismissive:

Green Party candidate Dave Bicking has posted a statement in support of Zimmermann around the internet.

Topping the list of signatories is J. Edward Anderson, the PRT guru... Does the wacky professor and the CPRT also believe Rep. Mark Olson is innocent? Is Rep. Mark Olson a "political prisoner" too?
Well d'ya feel sorry for Olson or not!?

Reality check, Mr. Avismores. Olson is not charged with anything that could be construed to be a
political crime. So my guess is, if you asked Anderson, the answer would be No on the political prisoner question. As for the matter of Olson's innocence--well, he is, until proved guilty. Most of us Constitution-istas prefer to wait for the trial.

But why don't you just ask Anderson? Oh, that's right--you don't have to interview someone if all you're doing is spreading propaganda.

Advice: why not spend more time practicing the 5 Ws and the H, instead of going on cattle calls trying for the role of Sonny in the road company of "Miami Vice"?

"‘Tubbs, if you ever keep a secret from me again, I'll--’"
"Thank you. NEXT!"
Judith Miller's source was Ken Avidor

Monday, January 22, 2007

Hilariously out of context

Why have a Talking Point if you don't repeat it? So it goes with the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist's current disinformation about the Santa Cruz PRT study. Already posted at Dump Mark Olson, the propaganda item is now being repeated at Green Party Gone Bad. Here is the part we will be mocking today:

[Personal Rapid Transit is] an incredible opportunity to waste citizens and public officials' time. As usual, the professionals respectfully point out a few of PRT's many shortfalls.

The report raised concerns with reliability, cost overruns, susceptibility to earthquake damage and spacing [headway] between trains to prevent accidents. Source
Labridor doesn't know a lot about PRT, engineering, planning, or basic journalism methods, this is another example of that lack of knowledge.

In this case, it appears that Ovendoor (1) read a news story. Then (2) instead of investigating a number of background questions like a real Transportation Editor of the Twin Cities Daily Planet would, he (3) layers-on his own conspiratorial beliefs and (4) blogs about it.

Avismores claims the report identifies "shortfalls," and that these are "reliability, cost overruns, susceptibility to earthquake damage and spacing [headway] between trains."

But he's oh so misinformed. The key thing to consider is the nature of the context of the report itself.

But first an aside: as noted previously, I had the chance to read an advanced draft of the report. Now, Aviboor may consider this an unfair advantage. If awareness of facts is unfair, please allow me to apologize in advance. And now, on with the denouement.

If Avignore had done additional but basic investigative journalism, he might have acquired an actual copy of the Santa Cruz report. He would have been able to understand the context and write about it accurately, rather than making it up.

The fact is that the report was written by a consultant friendly to PRT; it's a person Avilore would recognize (the relevancy of this detail appears below). The report does not cite seismic engineering, cost and headway as drawbacks, but merely as factors that must be considered in decisionmaking, as they would be for any major public works project--

Seismics is mentioned as something that must be considered because of Santa Cruz's location in California;

Other cost issues are raised in terms of the already built environment, cost plus versus fixed contracting, etc.

The discussion of headway describes how this factor is different for PRT than it is for trains; the section is therefore explanatory, and not a "shortfall."

Kenwood the Propagandist wants you to think that shortfalls means fatal flaws, or something that will necessarily make PRT less attractive than streetcars. But the fact is that the above factors (or any of the other factors the report mentions) were stated in the course of performing a full report, and nothing was found to rule out PRT. He is trying to twist the meaning of the report so it appears to support his position--a report he would undoubtedly have attacked had he known the identity of the author.

That the Propagandist is stripping the context from this news in order to try to score points for his POV is HI-larious!


Consumer Reports today gave its lowest crash rating to Ken Avidor

Friday, January 19, 2007

Another fabrication by the Propagandist

The Santa Cruz Sentinel today published a story about a Personal Rapid Transit study done for that community--and Kurb Labridor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist is right there with a hastily-manufactured fabrication:

PRT confuses the real transportation issues facing citizens and public officials.
While Ed Porter is wasting Santa Cruzans' time and money with his PRT pod fantasy...

Santa Cruz Indymedia:
Despite a large public outcry against the move, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission voted to pursue funding for three local Highway 1 expansion projects. The three projects were brought to the new SCCRTC on their first meeting, January 11th, 2007.
What a coincidence! Whenever highway expansion faces opposition, you'll find the PRTistas. Source

Mr. Ovendoor is taking two totally separate events and linking them with his nonexistent "PRT scam"! Because if you follow the Indymedia link it turns out the PRT study is in no way connected to the SCCRTC action:

According to a spokesperson for the SCCRTC who was in favor of the project, the reason why they were bringing about these projects, virtually unannounced to the public, was to take advantage of possible funding from the passage of the statewide bond measure 1B. The spokesperson claimed that they needed to go forward with an approval of the projects in order to meet an end of the month deadline for applications for projects to CalTrans. However, this assertion was later refuted by at least two other officials who had worked with the Transportation Task Force and had knowledge of previous CalTrans funding procedures. Source
Not only is the Commission's justification refuted, PRT is not mentioned anywhere in the story!

What's more, this reporter had the chance to review a draft of the PRT study, and it cites the European Union finding that PRT would increase travel while decreasing road traffic. That would mean less need to build more roads or expand existing ones.

Once again, Kenmore just makes things up to suit his hatred of PRT.

The Miss USA pageant has taken away Ken Avidor's crown of Miss New Jersey.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Today the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist quotes Weiner Watch's Atren, and wants to know:

if Rep. Mark Olson was aware that he was held in such low regard by the PRTistas?
now, when the going got rough... [sic, ellipses in original] when he needs a little moral support, his old pals... [ellipses in original] the PRTistas throw Olson under the bus (pod).
Of course, he's just talking to himself now, since yesterday he turned off comments.

But the answer to his question is this: Atren has no record of ever supporting "Slappy" Olson, so there's no abandonment. Unless, that is, one thinks you have to support someone solely based on a single issue such as transit mode preference.

That, of course, is exactly what the Propagandist thinks. This from the archives:
Take a look at the picture of Jim Huhtala standing in front of the Hiawatha Light Rail... It's a clear choice for liberals. Nuff [sic] said. Source
That's Kiln Ovendoor's single-minded, simple-minded litmus test. All a politician has to do to get his vote is stand next to a train--and if you don't agree, you're not a liberal.

But one still has to wonder which side Kenwood himself is on. Remember, the "-ista" appellation is a right-wing way of deriding progressives (e.g., "Clintonista").

News: Apple's Steve Jobs announces iVidor, a thin, lightweight version of Ken Avidor

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

He gets out of the kitchen - again

The Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist has again decided to shut down blog comments, rather than engage in an open exchange:

When Gow gets silly and wastes my time, it's time to shut down the comments. Source
Oh--as if I was forcing him to post comments. Luckily, I like to archive really good threads as I go. So here it is!

Mr_Grant said...

You didn't look for the easter egg, did you?
I didn't make the remark because LRN did anything wrong, I did it because I knew you couldn't resist reposting that particular Talking Point.
Thanks for playing our game, we have some lovely parting gifts for you.

P.S. - the last time someone rhymed Gow with Cow, the rhymer was 9 years old and I was in grade school. You're a veritable Dick Cavett to schoolyard bullies everywhere.
10:21 AM

Avidor said...

So the CPRT decided to post that IRS statement on it's hompage [sic] all on its own... right.
1:36 PM

Avidor said...

"CPRT is absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to all campaigns or fund raising activities including campaigns at the federal, state and local level. The prohibition also applies to CPRT resources and properties. All CPRT members are prohibited from these activities while representing CPRT, at CPRT functions, or on CPRT properties. All CPRT activities or statements that might be exceptions to these prohibitions must be pre-approved by the CPRT board."
For a more detailed explanation of this policy please refer to the governmental web bulletin for this: http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=154712,00.html
1:39 PM

Mr_Grant said...

You mean the boilerplate text that contains no admission of wrongdoing, or IRS finding of wrongdoing or sanction? The one that could mean Please post this so the strange man will leave us alone? That one?
1:51 PM

Avidor said...

Are you saying that the IRS told the CPRT that I complained to them?...any proof of that?... who told you that?
Gow, are you paid to work on your PRT websites and blogs... how much?
2:34 PM

Mr_Grant said...

Still can't recognize the Funny when you read it, eh?
As for whether I get paid-- hey, that's off-topic! Shame on you!
2:44 PM

Avidor said...

Microsoftie $$$$ ....right?
Why don't those guys just buy a yacht and sail somewhere?
2:55 PM

Mr_Grant said...

Arrrrr, matey!!!
3:27 PM

Here's the guy who earlier shut down comments because, he claimed, commenters were going off topic--and now he is the one straying off topic (by getting nosy about me). He changes the subject again, and in the process creates obvious opportunities for jokes and satire. Then he has a snit attack and shuts off comments--even though I'm giving him Comedy Gold! GOLD! How long will it take him to figure it out-- if he stops blogging, I'd have no material!
Don't you love how he thinks you must work at Microsoft if you're in Seattle? Well what about Starbucks? Amazon? REI? Boeing? Nordy's??? Don't those hometown businesses deserve some recognition too?

Today the CW cancelled Ken Avidor after a brief 4 episode run

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Ah; opinion. Sweet opinion. Everybody's got one, lots of them, about anything and everything. But while everyone is entitled to opinions, however, they are not facts. Otherwise they wouldn't be called opinions.

Kiln Ovendoor the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist has a lot of opinions--talking points, which he keeps using again and again. He's back, using some of his ripest talking points in an opinion piece in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

The Propagandist's reasonable-sounding piece is clearly labeled "Opinion." So it must be true, right? Um, wrong. If Labridor's opinions were true, one would find them in balanced news stories published by legitimate media outlets. Where does he find a welcoming venue for his propaganda pieces? Op-Ed pages, where there is no requirement for balance or even truth. George W. Bush recently "wrote" an editorial in the Wall Street Urinal--but does that mean what he wrote was true? One thinks not.

No mainstream newspapers or peer-reviewed journals will touch Avibore's lengthier screeds, self-importantly called "reports" or "exposes." Those are only picked up by biased pressure organizations. One such is Light Rail Now--an allegedly nonprofit organization that nonetheless takes credit for influencing politics in Minnesota for the benefit of the Minneapolis light rail system. Wanna bet he reposts his IRS-CPRT talking point (H&R Blockhead, sidebar)?
One need not even analyze Kenwood's Santa Cruz Sentinel "opinions" in detail. A quick reading is enough to identify the propaganda and tactics, and recognize that they have all been used before:

Guilt by association: "a platform for anti-transit, pro-highway politicians"; the Olsen domestic assault case
Distraction: lets reader assume failure of PRT legislation was due to PRT, not politics; only mentions the legal (not technology) problems and news blackout of one small company
And don't forget the blog post in which he promotes his opinion piece:
Name-calling: "gadgetbahning Green councilman"; "PRTistas"
Guilt by association: "like Dean Zimmermann"
None of the above points address anything to do with PRT's technical viability: his attacks are based on politics, as well as gossipy, tabloid-like fascination with personalities and personal failings. They are his favorite distractive tactics.

But his biggest deception is that he tries to set up a false choice: you have to pick PRT or LRT, you can't have both. This conveniently ignores the very real situation in Europe. The Propagandist must really hate Europe, because not only does it have extensive and successful urban rail systems, but it is also endorsing deployment of PRT. Not to take the place of trains and streetcars, but as a supplement.

That's probably Avisnore's greatest conceit: if he's right, that means he is smarter than the Euro
pean Union, the BAA company, the Swedish Rail Agency, the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology, and POSCO, one of the world's biggest steel companies.

Ken Avidor is a winged mammal that navigates by echolocation

Thursday, January 11, 2007

He has the right to remain silent

Unable to provide any evidence for his "PRT is a scam" allegation, Mr. Avignore the Minnesota anti-PRT propagandist has now fallen back on the NYPD Blue Strategy--he is attempting to play good cop/bad cop with Rep. Mark "Slappy" Olson:

But, Mark Olson could take another path... the path of honesty and integrity. [ellipses in original] Olson could seek professional treatment for his anger problem. With over a decade in office, Olson could write a spellbinding account of all the nasty, dishonest things he did with the very people who are throwing him under the bus right now.

For instance, Olson could come clean about the PRT scam. He could give us the inside story on how so-called "fiscal conservatives" like Michele Bachmann could promote Zimmermann's billion dollar boondoggle. Source
Of course, as we never tire of explaining, the "PRT scam" exists only insofar as Avignore keeps posting the term on the Interweb.

Not only has he failed to prove it despite years of lyin' and tryin', the idea of a scam is also impossible from a logical standpoint. Such a conspiracy would require numerous engineers, governments, companies, policy experts, and officials--from around the world, speaking different languages, and coming from different political philosophies--to all be in on it, and keep it secret.

In other words, Avignore is asking Olson to admit something that he already knows doesn't exist. He is posting empty rhetoric in order to sound high-minded. He is wasting his readers' time.

Combine ingredients and top with cheese; bake in a Ken Avidor preheated to 350 deg until golden brown