Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Little bicycle people -or- Not every dollar is spent on you, Kasshole.

I'm falling into that blogger trap.  The one where you don't offer any new ideas and instead just insult published authors for a sense of empowerment.  Consider that a warning...

The tribune isn't hosting a racist, just a douchebag.

John Kass, in his op ed for the Trib, has decided that Chicago improving their bike lanes is a big fucking fiasco.  Which, of course, it is- if you make the same assumptions that John Kass does. 

Necessary assumptions:
1. That bicyclists are only rich hipsters
2. That this is Rahm trying to appease a national audience for presidential run
3. That the bike lanes are useless
4. That the money would honestly go to a place where it was really needed

Kass lays out his ideas to make millions of dollars off of bicycle commuters because he presumably gets mad at them while out in traffic.  He doesn't like when they blow through stop signs, which I get and share his sentiment.  He doesn't like that he has to pay to park, to register his vehicle, and to do all the other expensive things that make having a car in the city really unattractive.  You know, all of the things that make biking worth it. 

Sure, let's make bikes pay for parking.  Because we make so much money off of parking revenue-- oh, that's right.  We sold our parking already!

The argument is basically, "We [cars] pay, why don't they [bikes] pay?" Or, better phrased, "it's hard to be well off."

The problem with trying to tax bikes like car, to make people register, to do all of the things that John Kass presents in his tongue-in-cheek, "I like the grunge look" article, is that bikes are not cars.  Did I blow your mind?  No?

Bikers already have to deal with the same shitty roads that drivers have to navigate, but with less suspension and speeding cars to their left and assholes throwing their doors open on the right.  Bikes tend to lose battles when they meet their far larger counterparts in collisions and doorings.  More bikes lanes is a nice way to save lives, not to mention health care dollars. 

Speaking of saving dollars, we tend to, as a nation, offer monetary incentives to those who do things like limit their emissions, take care of their health, etc.  Putting a financial burden onto people who are doing something that benefits the rest of the city is a little ass-backwards (despite being a cherished American value by some of the more well-off).  Less cars in the traffic jam, more places to park-- things that even Kass could appreciate. 

But, still, boiled down to its core, Kass' argument is that the free ride should be over for bikers.  No matter what their reason, no matter what their biking is doing for anyone else; if bikers want more support for the government, more handouts, then it's time for them to pitch in.  Bikes need to stop being "the One Percenters of the commuter class."

It's the same tired bullshit that conservatives say about welfare programs.  Remove the bike lanes part and:
                "But if you have a brain, you must also realize that when politicians start handing out government perks —  like special bike lanes costing millions — it's only a matter of time until people become addicted to them."
becomes the exact same argument.  It's blind complaining that the city is spending money on something that doesn't directly benefit the one complaining.  As if Chicago needs to only spend millions of dollars jerking off privileged, car-driving, tribune writers. 

There are a lot of problems with how the city is spending its money.  There are a lot of things that the city does in the name of saving money that are fairly fucked up (shutting down the red line on the south side to save, incidentally, the same amount of money they are spending on the bike lane project).  But that doesn't mean that we should turn a blind eye to the big picture and start blindly regulating and taxing things that will actually help in the long run (now I sound like a conservative…).  If anything, we should be encouraging people to ride their bikes more frequently.  If not for environmental impact, or to get our fat asses back in shape, to remind people how to do it for when the CTA inevitably crumbles and we have no other options. 

Bikers aren't the One Percenters because they don't have to pay for a city sticker- only a complete tool would think that.   Bikers are people who find the exorbitant CTA fares to be unreasonable and think that spending nearly five dollars a gallon on gasoline is a stupid idea.  Biking is free.  Biking is the tool of the proletariat! Sure, there are assholes cruising around old town on their $3,000 bikes.  But there are tons more oiling the chain on their 70's Schwinn that they've had for ten years, keeping it running so they can get to work. 

Really, in essence, John Kass is probably just jealous that he can't ride a bike more than ten feet without getting winded.  Put down the Venti latte, John, and come out with the rest of us. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Racist old guy uses Twitter, CBS to be racist.

Fuck Scott Paulson. 

I wanted to say that so hard in my Examiner article, but I refrained. 

Scott Paulson recently wrote an article for CBS Chicago about how the media isn't brave enough to say that the "flash mob" attacks that have happened (with alarming lack of frequency for how much they have been covered in the first place) are really "race riots."  Youths who seek out a certain race by going to a certain location.  Aka, black kids from the south side who go downtown to rob people of their cellphones.  Race riot.

Now, I take an issue with his conclusion based on, you know, facts.  These are kids who are going after phones (in one of the "flash mob" cases, a woman dropped her phone and some kids stole it.  Her boyfriend tried to get it back, and got beat up.  This is bad, yes, but not a race riot.) or go into stores in Wicker Park and steal jeans.  They go to places where there are nice things or people have nice things, which happens to be the northern parts of the city which happen to be whiter parts of the city, and that means race riot. 

Instead of looking at the precipitate of why the white folks are the ones with the nice things, the nice phones, the nice stores, Paulson jumps to the "black folk are targeting the whites and I am the only one who is brave enough to talk about it!"  which, by the way, is bullshit.  Not only is his argument ass-backwards and racist, but his need to call it race related crimes because no one else is means that he can't use Google.

etc. etc. etc. I'm just on page 2…

The difference between those articles and Paulson's is that those exist on some pretty low key sites.  Sites that are still gross, but minor.  Paulson's article appears on CBS Chicago, a reputable news source and one that is supposed to have some sort of journalistic integrity.  CBS allows an article to go up on their site that then sparks comments that casually throw around the idea of horse whippings all "coloreds" and the word "nigger."  I'm surprised that they would even allow an op-ed like that.  A misrepresentation of your organization is a terrible thing that most outlets try to avoid.  But CBS harbors a racist who writes under the guise of exposing the truth. 

Now, I'm all for Paulson's right to be a raving racist who yells epithets into the void if he so chooses.  There are places for that.  His blog, for instance.  Like I'm doing.  But stirring the already strained racial tensions in a city like Chicago with a major news source should be criminal.  Openly calling for the media to start a race baiting witch hunt against black youth is ridiculous.  But then again, Scott Paulson enjoys the ridiculous.  

I tweet a lot.  Typically in reactions to news stories, much like when CBS tweeted Paulson's.  I may have said  the article was pathetic or something like that.  Unsatisfied with my 140 characters, I tweeted again.  A few weeks later, I got a response.  

He deleted that, and tried again. 

Deleted a second time.  But not before twitter had sent me a screen grab.

First and foremost, I want to say that I have a job.  A couple of them, actually.  But that's beside the point.  This is about someone who is willfully portraying an entire race of people as thugs, then responding to criticism like a four-year-old.  This is about a columnist for CBS (possibly drunkenly) eschewing the issues I had with his article and attacking with tired conservative insults like "get a job."  It's old, it's uninteresting, and it shows what a lack luster mind the original [racist] article came from. 

So what do I want? I want Scott Paulson to apologize for his article.  I want him to issue a formal apology to the City of Chicago for attempting to demonize a third of the city's population, for egging on violent racists, and for being a sleazy creep.   Oh, I also want CBS to never run one of his articles again.  That's really what I want.

If CBS wants to not paint themselves as a new source that actively runs hate speech, plays on racial tensions, and allows crackpots like Scott Paulson to use their name as a pulpit, they will swiftly fire him.  This isn't about censorship.  It's about appropriate places for (wrong, hateful) opinions.  CBS shouldn't be promoting old white men who are afraid of black people, no matter how old their target audience is. 

Feel free to tell me I'm wrong in the comments section, or tell CBS I'm right here.