CTA ban on 'mature' video game ads unconstitutional

CTA LaSalle 'L' Station

Image via Wikipedia

Back in 2008, the CTA banned GTA4 ads following a local Fox News report that predictably cast  video games as the scapegoat for the increase in violent school shootings. It took two years for the ban to be deemed unconstitutional.

Citing the First Amendment, the Entertainment Software Association, which represents software and video game publishers, sued the CTA in July 2009 challenging the agency’s prohibition of certain video game ads.

In her mid-May decision, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said the CTA cannot enforce its gaming ordinance. The CTA also agreed not to appeal the ruling.

via ChicagoNOW, Judge: CTA can’t ban ads for games rated ‘mature

You’d think with the CTA’s budget deficit of more than $200 million, they wouldn’t complain about advertising that doesn’t feature blood or naked ladies.  Ars Technica makes a most excellent point (the point I planned on making) regarding this attempted ban and other forms of entertainment not meant for children:

Given that advertisements for R-rated movies frequently make their way onto the side of CTA vehicles and facilities, it seems that the somewhat controversial proposal that games make people more prone to violence is becoming accepted within the political sphere.

via Ars Technica, CTA bans violent game ads following GTA IV debacle

Parents shouldn’t take their children to R-rated movies, and they shouldn’t buy their children “mature” games.  A developer for Rockstar Games, Lazlow Jones (Lazlow is a Hungarian name that should be spelled Laszlo?) was recently asked to comment on the notion that violent video games cause violence in youth. Mr. Jones’ response?

Our games are not designed for young people. If you’re a parent and buy one of our games for your child you’re a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we’re adults.

via BBC’s Red Dead Redemption hoping for ’emotional response’


Chicago needs a hero

Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face in The Dark Knight

Harvey Dent via Wikipedia

There is something wrong with the people in Chicago. I’ve come to the conclusion that Chicagoans are masochists. Or they are insanely depressed and they revel in their misery. Why?  Before I go into the political scandal running through the media tubes right now, let me first consider the weather.

Read the rest of this entry »


Apple to clean up Chicago el station

An 1890s advertisement showing model Hilda Cla...

Image via Wikipedia

It is official. Apple will renovate the North/Clybourn Red Line Stop.

Under the CTA-Apple agreement, Apple is paying to renovate the station exterior, interior and platforms for no more than $3.9 million. The work on this station likely would be completed by Sept. 30, 2010, under the deal, which is “now in the signature process,” according to the CTA.

via Adopt my stop! Apple teams up with CTA to revamp North/Clybourn. What’s next? – RedEye.

What I want to know is: Is it possible to ban large companies from advertising in public spaces? If this is not possible, maybe a ban on “visual pollution”- the ads have to have artistic merit, reviewed by the populace.  What kind of world would we live in if the only way large corporations could keep themselves in the public eye was to do public works? Future headlines (if I were The Benevolent Dictator): “Target provides employment and housing for homeless family”, “T- Mobile buys 100 computers for inner city school” or “Coca-Cola cleans up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch“.  Would there be a downside to this?


Yuppie says what?

A more modern Parking Meter with a digital display

Image via Wikipedia

I found Mary Schmich’s recent column on the parking meters hilarious and upsetting at the same time. In her column, Schmich explains her preference for the new parking boxes because now she can always find parking.

And parking is easier with the new boxes.

It’s easier to find a spot to park. It’s easier to pay.

It’s also true that parking costs more now.   That hurts. But cheap parking isn’t all good.   It encourages people to drive and so discourages them from taking public transportation.

via Paying a compliment to the new parking boxes — chicagotribune.com.

It’s all well and good to get people to use public transit, even if that public transportation system is in need of major overhauls.   It’s widely known that CTA ridership exceeds capacity during rush hour, that the train bridges are crumbling, and there is no way to transfer between lines except at the loop.   Schmich also mentions riding your bike, which would have been a better point in June.  In October, during the rain and snow, it’s not quite as practical.  Why doesn’t Schmich ride her bike? (Oh, yeah,  because she can afford parking.)

Schmich mistakenly assumes the anger is over a 10-second walk, and has clearly not read this piece on how the new parking meter boxes are devastating business on Clark.

It’s true — this is a common complaint — that now you have to walk up the block to get to the box and then walk back.

Fellow citizens, please.   Chicago prides itself on being tough.  We can’t handle a 10-second walk?

The “10-second walk” is a fairly  obvious straw-man argument.  When people have complained about the walk, it’s usually been in reference to the possibility of getting a ticket in the time it takes to pay the box.

Schmich’s article unfortunately views the parking problem through her financially secure, well-to-do lifestyle.   At a time when most people are struggling with debt, jobless, or at the least trying to pinch pennies wherever possible, Schmich’s column seems staggeringly out of touch.   Her article is the mental hoop jumping of a yuppie ignoring the fact that she can park because others can no longer afford to.

Take the train she says!  Let them eat cake!