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

Monday, February 01, 2010

"Short attention sp- look, pork!"

(Mock Journalist, Part VII)

You really have to wonder about Ken Avidor. Look at his post from last Saturday, "
Hilarious Opinion Piece By Personal Rapid Transit Promoter Hugh Miller." The excerpted "hilarity" includes:

Our country is in very serious financial trouble, mortal financial danger, and unless and until we turn it around, quickly, the American Dream will die.
The national debt we are accumulating is both debilitating and unsustainable, and by most standards we are already bankrupt. What this means, in practical terms, is shortly we will not be able to control our own destiny...
We are a nation of about 300 million people, and we now have a total debt and unfunded liabilities of about $62 trillion. That''s $200,000 a piece!
Simply put we must cut spending, drastically, tough and unpopular as that may be.
Sacrifice will be required by all of us, and it must be done fairly...

Somebody help me, I just busted a gut laughing. And notice: the op-ed does not mention PRT.

I don't know Hugh Miller (of the same family as Mayor Jerry and state senate candidate Jeremy -- didya know that,
Ken? You're welcome) or his politics. And I don't know that he, personally, is a PRT supporter. All I know of him are his philanthropic activities (1, 2) and leadership of the RTP Company. And I'm neither endorsing nor condemning his views, I am only reporting the above excerpts from an extremely windy op-ed. That was the extent of Mr. Short Attention Span's superficial reportage: it's funny cuz it's long!

But at this point there is also enough information above that Ken Avidor could have had himself a Big Scoop. See, one of the things cited as an advantage of the Mayor Jerry-backed "Winona PRT lab" plan is that the city has a thermoplastics company that could build some of the PRT components (see p. 6 here). That company? RTP.

If he was even a fourth of the half of the genius investigative blogger he thinks he is, Ken Avidor could have raised a question like "Is the 'PRT lab' just a way to help out the Miller Family empire?" I'm not saying the situation is too cozy; and I'm not saying it isn't. I'm just saying that Ken Avidor is so focused on namecalling, mocking, and guilt-by-associating to the exclusion of all else, that he misses the obvious line of investigation.

Instead, the Big Scoop -- objective skepticism about this specific proposal -- goes to "PRT is a Joke IS A JOKE"! We out-skepticized the PRT Skeptic! All hail Mr_Grant, perhaps the new leading skeptic of PRT! Policy analysis beats art college again!

Read: the "Mock Journalist" Series
(is "mock" an adjective or a verb? You decide!)

Also today:
See the end of his post -- Avidor still thinks a grant is pork, an earmark (see earlier #4 here).

Where is Porkidor's outrage over $35 billion in major earmark
abuse, holding hostage more than 200 of President Obama's
nominations? That's 1,400 times the size of the proposed
$25 million "PRT lab" grant.

1981-2005: Federal spending in Minnesota
LESS THAN federal taxes paid


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