Soul man?

From the latest Governor Heedless:

The once-promising presidential prospect said he is committed to reconciling with his wife, but professed to The Associated Press his continued love for the Argentine woman at the center of the firestorm that gutted his political future.

In emotional interviews with the AP over two days, he said he would die “knowing that I had met my soul mate.”

What a pathetic specimen.  What a pile of protoplasm.

A stack of unmanly goo.

It is really something to watch a man unravel in public like this.  He’s making the brilliant Eliot Spitzer look, well, brilliant, actually.

Now, that takes some doing.  So to speak.

Never mind.

The AP reports that it was much ado about nothing:

Iran’s election oversight body on Monday declared the hotly disputed presidential vote to be valid after a partial recount, rejecting opposition allegations of fraud that have set off an extraordinary wave of protests.

Wow.  Imagine our chagrine.  If only we’d known!  Okay, everyone.  You can go home!  No biggie.

Wand me through

Happy Birthday to the Barcode!

Sky box

View out window of Woolworth Building

At the junction

My first reaction when I saw this post on a blog called Infrastructurist (looks very cool) (via Boing Boing) was just to link to it on my Facebook page.   I also lament the loss of these great — well, in some cases very large and grandiose, if not necessarily actually great — civic works of sculpture. I come to work, in fact, through the new Penn Station every day, and work in One Penn Plaza (yeah, me and those buildings!), overlooking (actually, straddling) the non-entity of a transport hub that now bears the Pennsylvania Station name as well as the depressing Madison Square Garden.

Pennsylvania Station


Then I went ahead and wrote this comment, and decided to recycle and touch it up a little here, for the benefit of my larger other audience.

To a large extent the manner in which the loss of these temples of transit compels so many of us is a testament to what we really think about a world ruled solely by utilitarian concerns.  That latter, callous attitude toward the spiritual importance of environment on human existence, in the cities as much as anywhere else, is displayed by Alon Levy in the comments at the original post.

God help us in the soulless, bottom-line libertarian future that so many think they want!

Ironically, the utilitarian worldview is incapable of accounting for the long-term utility and welfare (in the microeconomics sense of the word) that derive from civic pride — the decline of which, from the 1950’s on, along with the decline in the quality of inner city life, surely must be linked to the decline of the humane in urban architecture.

And yet:  As the (not so godless?) Alon says in a subsequent comment, “Ron Coleman, you’re the first person I see use the word spirituality to mean ‘preserving train station facades.’”  Indeed:  Many of these buildings were and are obsolete, and the cost of their respective upkeep, utility expense, restoration or retrofit, relevance to modern transportation need or all of the above would constitute a preposterous budget item for almost any public entity saddled with such costs.  Only religious dogma, and perhaps theocracy, could justify such devotion.

Rail transport, despite its highly romantic appeal, is great for everyday commuting but is seldom of the choice of travelers from afar, for whom flying  — even in its own diminished state as a culture and a humane experience — is a clearly superior choice. Most other travel remains, in America, highway-based, because Americans want to go where they want, when they want and with whom they want, and they want to get back home that way, too.

In addition, the cheap labor and lax or nonexistent building, fire, safety and access standards of the nineteenth century, which made it possible to erect and use these behemoths, are truly relics of a different age. So who is going to foot the bills to maintain these buildings as obsolete white elephants? Or is someone here volunteering for a special tax assessment so Detroiters can stare at their irrelevant grand terminal?

There’s the facts, Jacks.

I sure wish we had the old Penn Station here, though.

UPDATE:  There is hope, kind of — the new Penn Station.

Great minds think alike. But at different speeds.



Glenn Reynolds quotes Shannon Love as follows:

If we’re going to regulate speech based on inducements to bias why stop with mere financial relationships? I think we should require all media sources to reveal all possible sources of bias starting with the political affiliations of the publishers and reporters. After all, the media sells stories they advertise as accurate and objective. Shouldn’t consumers have ready access to the information they need to decide if those claims are true?

Politics is more important than money.  If you buy a toaster based on a biased recommendation, you’re only out the cost of a toaster.  If you vote based on a biased political recommendation, you could lose your freedom.   If the government has both the duty and the ability to protect you against bias in product recommendations on blogs, why doesn’t it have the same duty and ability to protect you against biased reporting on political matters?

Good thinking.  But then, hey, full disclosure, right? — I’m a little biased.  That’s because in January of 2005 I wrote this on LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®:

Last week Instapundit took the unusual step of opening comments on the ethics of Blog-payola.  I wrote this:

I am pretty agnostic on this.  I think it is hopeless to anticipate a standard of behavior in Blogovia.  It won’t happen, and I am not sure it should.  No one is free from bias of some sort or another.  Being paid to express an opinion is not so different from being affected by your likelihood of getting tenure, or a promotion, or maintaining your anonymity, or getting a choice committee assignment, or for that matter stroking or offending the right or wrong people in the world of blogs, politics, one’s profession or with N.Z. Bear.

The only real difference I can see is that one form of blogola is liquidated, but the other sources of bias can be and of course are in some cases far stronger.

Consumers of blogs have to simply be skeptics. Those who disclose more, and more accurately, will be more trusted on that account. At the end of the day, all you have is your persuasiveness, your intellectual honesty, and — in my case — a good looking picture at the top of your columns.

Okay, I know — not everyone can have such a picture. But you work with what you have. You get my point?

This line of argument led to the publication of this op-ed by me, now far less agnostic, in the New Jersey Law Journal two years later.  Amazingly, you still can’t see the article for free on the site, which it explains the time delay:  That’s how long it took Shannon to get the routed copy of the Law Journal out in Chicago!

Attorney Ronald D. Coleman