I rejoice at not having the Olympics in the City of Big Shoulders, the Windy City. This is a great moment, in a sense; the moment where a great mistake has been diverted so we can concentrate on the real issues affecting the people of the city of Chicago. A crushing loss, as some say? A loss for President Barack Obama? Not really.
It’s a sad moment for people with “skin in the game” or “stakes in the pig” (to coin my own term) – the developers, hoteliers, US athletes, construction workers. Those are people who would have been at the center of the projects, tearing down old housing, building new venues, sprucing up lands, designing and creating transportation projects, and fixing a physical, electrical, and environmental infrastructure that could use some updating.
The Some politicians would have burnished their reputations with the Olympics; others would do the public-private employment shuffle and make some bank from both sides of the deals, a practice that is most certainly not a province of any one party (see: defense and security contractors like Rudy Giuliani and Dick Cheney, or anyone in Daley’s machine).
The Olympics – and any large project – fosters a climate of handshake deals outside of the public eye, and cost overruns that become apparent halfway through the project. You’re going to go for the contractor who gives the most logical presentation with the lowest price and the best expertise at that price level. But those are hopeful estimates. They almost always are.
Win or lose, of course, the internet comment trolls come out in force to blame Obama. There are companies that do hire people to simply “make money from their couches” and post with different IDs on the web – it’s spamming comments.
But this is not a loss for Obama. He did his best, like any other president would do. No politician comes out against the Olympics; and he put his time where his mouth was. Kudos to President Obama for going to Copenhagen. The decision to knock Chicago out of the contention early speaks more to a dislike of the United States and a turmoil within the country.
Which speaks to why that turmoil is to the nation’s benefit, and Chicago’s benefit.
I confess; I don’t know what they’re doing to prepare for London’s games in 3 years. But we know that Athens ran hard against deadlines to create venues. We know China was trying to change their atmosphere (to remove rainy/ cloudy days) and likely displacing people.
To prepare Chicago, Mayor Daley would have needed to remove a number of poor communities from the south side, relocating them outside of the county, or far west within the city. There would have been cost overruns, as previously stated, cutbacks on services for current residents, the creation of structures at a high cost (in a time of fluctuating value) that will NOT be used after the Olympic event. It’s the kind of production that loves a blowhard that promises big things and scrambles to deliver. It’s the kind of production that would be better served by a more lax news media, easily-manipulated fiscal policy, and disenfranchised/ easy to move residents.
Pity the Cariocas (Rio residents) in the favelas. Many of them – I am betting near Copacabana and Ipanema – will find themselves relocated to new homes, violently dispatched, or simply bulldozed. Rio will want to crack down on crime and the visual blight. And the costs of building in Rio will require the destruction of inhabited areas. It could be a great coming out party for the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city), but will likely come at a social cost.
In Chicago, the news and other media would be licking their lips at the sound of “overrun” or “delays”; I would rather pass that hassle on to another city. Chicago is already fantastic, a great draw for US tourists and worldwide. Chicago is already a hub for business, the arts, and more. We don’t need a coming out party.
Levi Johnston dishes on life with Sarah Palin and speaks ill of her marriage to Todd in a Vanity fair article – wow, kid, milk that gossip… The US Senate, with less nepotism… Brazil’s racial problems are deep… will the lobbyists for the health care status quo – like the “Million Med March” (aka “protect the doctors’ salaries above all else”) – even listen to a possible bipartisan health care plan that triggers a public option if the insurance companies can’t meet quality/ cost benchmarks? And why is that called a “compromise” as opposed to “bipartisan” in the article? Should tort reform be in the health care bill?… On lighter notes: The end of “Reading Rainbow“… the Fast Food as the Mafia (graphic, funny, non-political)… and 12 most annoying types of Facebookers.
In honor of the beginning of college football, two fun images. First, a billboard bought by former Notre Dame player Tom Reynolds:
And if you haven’t seen this year’s Oregon Ducks uniforms, check them out when they play Boise State tonight… or look at the winged shoulders here:
In what will be a hotly-followed story, Rich Rodriguez is named in a lawsuit about a Virginia condo development… he’s been connected to a banned booster… he’s accused of violating NCAA rules on how much time coaches required players to spend working out… so of course there’s a Fire Rich Rodriguez site.
The Quad blog from the New York Times has Florida as… #2! So Texas is their #1…
Nebraska gets an extra basketball scholarship (14 total), based on an NCAA mix-up on eligibility standards.
Jim Larranaga’s leaving Twitter after poking fun at a silly NCAA rule about being able to give student-athletes bagels but no condiments/ spreads.
Mets third base coach Razor Shines, perhaps, doesn’t scout the throwing arms of the opposing outfielders.
Scout.com has their Top 75 basketball players in the nation (and Canada) for 2011.
Supposedly Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner is looking to make bank by selling the Nets at a premium price and THEN wants to get the new owners to pay him a hefty fee for the right to play in the Brooklyn Barclay’s Arena… whenever it happens. He’d then get the profits of the stadium without the financial drain of owning the team.
And now, the first of many St. John’s coach Norm Roberts job “may be” on the line if he doesn’t win this year. Of course, someone has to speak to why this year is so different than any other year, and what “get it done” actually means. NCAAs? NIT?
Who would believe you can get 56 stars tattooed on your head while you were asleep? No one is that fast, nor that gentle with a needle… In New York, is Bloomberg just delaying the budget deficit hit until after the elections, where he is running for an unprecedented third term… Meanwhile, California’s budget deficit will have them dealing out “IOUs”, because liabilities at interest is just what the Golden State needs… there may be water on the moon (a moon of Saturn).
And for fun, the top 10 recent male politician infidelity confessions to accompany you while you read Gov. Sanford’s emails to his lady friend in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Transformers 2 gets bad reviews, but apparently has a lot of Megan Fox bouncing in slow motion. That, I suppose, will sell, but I can’t stand to listen to her act. So instead of the gratuitous Megan Fox picture I should put up, here’s a gratuitous Cat Deeley photo, just because I can… and instead of arrows or bullets, I’ll use Toni Basil’s crazy eyes.
Too short for a Toni Basil: From a while ago on the NCAA’s blog: Do You Have What It Takes to be an Athletic Director?
Hopefully the squad will do well in the Caribbean Basketball Championship this coming week… and maybe make moves to be included in the 2012 Olympics. And with all the Jamaicans in London, they might find it a little like a homecoming. As long as there are no more Jamaican Me Crazy headlines. Please.
Good to hear about former Marlins, Red Sox and Cubs pitcher Matt Clement. Apparently he’s hung it up in baseball and is coaching his high school’s basketball team in Butler, Pennsylvania; he played baseball and basketball before graduating in 1993.
He was never quite the same after that horrific injury, taking a baseball off his head faster than he could react. Good luck to him, and his future career.
Chances of ever seeing that Moneyball movie are pretty much dead now, after Sony stopped production, and no one wants to pick up the Steven Soderbergh/ Brad Pitt version of the Billy Beane-based book. Art Howe would have gotten to be himself! One-liners!
The “high budget and limited commercial appeal” sunk the project; apparently, “adult audiences”have not brought in the desired revenue. Summer blockbusters for kids all year! And no more baseball movies, unless they are financed by Kevin Costner.
Ryne Sandberg thinks Sammy Sosa doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Well, does Sandberg belong? Just asking!
For me, I am not very surprised that Sammy was on some steroid junk… the whole throwing his back out sneezing seemed to me like something that happens in conjunction with overworking the body’s muscles. I don’t know, but I would have suspected then. But, so what? Players are always trying to get over. If he is determined to be the best of the players who took steroids, he still has to have been great player to be the superstar that he was.
Another too short for a Toni Basil: Was there match-fixing at Wimbledon? Certainly, anyone looking to throw a game knows to do it in the less-publicized, less watched contests… so that’s not out of the realm of reason.
Barack Obama will throw out the first pitch at the All-Star game in St. Louis this year. I hope they don’t boo him… the city, like the Cardinal uniforms, tends towards red. Speaking at Notre Dame and showing up at the midsummer classic? He really is trying to win everybody over with smiles and availability.
And he’ll probably wear a White Sox jersey.
New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority is selling the naming rights to my old train station at Atlantic and Flatbush in Brooklyn to Barclay’s Bank, since that is where the new Nets stadium – if it is ever built – will stand.
The new design for the Barclay’s Arena for the Nets (from the New York Press) really does look like an airplane hangar.
If you haven’t already.
Terry Tate speaks to Sarah Palin about the magazines she reads:
In the news: Post hurricane lessons. Hey, even Chicago got 6.6 inches of rain in a day, as the fallout from the Hurricanes was widespred, but obviously worse in Houston and the like. David Foster Wallace committed suicide and that is a serious literary loss. The financial sector is seeing the structures that it believes in (and low regulation) to be a risky borrowed-money tightrope.
On the political side, an Atlantic Monthly freelance photog made McCain look like an evil overlord (photo on left); we got Tina Fey nailing a spoof of Sarah Palin; and Palin has dressed up as Tina fey for Halloween. Man, that Palin/ McCain ticket really is popular! What’s that? McCain is running for president, not Caribou Barbie?… Oh… and so you’re not left with McCain looking down on you like Zod, below is a photo of Jaime Murray, who stars in the upcoming show Valentine (link with audio) along with Autumn Reeser (from the OC) and some no-name hacks..
+ The best and worst of Brett Favre was on display yesterday, no matter what the Daily News says in Jets Don’t Make the Grade; I agree more than the coaching was horrible, and the play calls in the red zone – especially 3 straight runs?! none to the outside?! – were piss poor.
+ If you ever wanted to see Redskins’ tight end Chris Cooley’s junk, NOW’S YOUR CHANCE! (don’t everyone jump at once. No, really, ew.)
+ The Tavaris Jackson Experiment (now on tour!) is not bringing Brad Childress wins. That game against the Colts was winnable, and Lombardi forgive me, Gus “Headbutt” Frerotte needs to play.
“Ah, that’s not my decision,” said Kiffin, sticking to the defiant “Al Davis does whatever he wants, don’t blame me” mantra that got him into this purgatory. “So um … I’m excited the way our staff and our players prepared this week.
“If I’m here, we’ll do the same next week.”
What NFL franchise would dump the head coach with a 1-1 record two weeks into a 17-week season?
Kiffin is finished in Oakland; it’s now a matter of when.
His fate was sealed Wednesday, when Kiffin told the media that the 41-14 Monday night meltdown against the Broncos happened in large part because defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and the team’s owner conspire to exclude him from defensive decisions.
Al Davis is one of the most powerful owners, and I suppose the comedy that is the Raiders isn’t hurting anyone’s bottom line… or else the other owners and the commish might consider some statements on this craziness. On the other hand:
Ryan’s 18-minute, profanity laced clarification of his job responsibilities Thursday was not spontaneous. Multiple team sources confirmed Sunday that Ryan spoke publicly at the request of Davis…
Publicly, Ryan made himself the fall guy. Inside the Raiders’ organization, he assumed the mantle of hero.
“Hell, somebody had to stand up and be a leader on this team,” one Raiders source said proudly in the postgame locker room Sunday, praising Ryan’s stance against Kiffin. “Rob acted like a leader. He stood up for this team and these players. He took responsibility. Unlike the head coach.”…
The Raiders’ defensive staff has circled its wagons. That group has no loyalty, nor is there any respect, for a head coach who publicly second-guessed a defensive game plan against the Broncos that did not call for blitzes or press coverage.
+ Check our Footbawful, an offshoot of Basketbawful, about the worst in football.
+ And check out this interesting piece from Advanced NFL Stats on predictability in NFL play calls; most interesting to me is the idea that NFL coaches focus on percentages in isolation, not in relation to the previous play. I would wonder if this is true… but I ain’t doing the research on that.
+ Associated: Denver’s Mike Shanahan played to win the game like Herm Edwards used to and went for 2 points when 1 would have tied.
Here is an awfully mellow analysis of the Chiefs. Struggle? The SKY IS FALLING, relatively, for the Kansas City football team. They’re uncompetitive. They have wide receivers taking snaps at QB. Thanks to Joe Posnanski, who knows how to write about losers:
But we didn’t need this. We didn’t need the Chiefs to become a national joke. We Kansas City folk have had enough Far Side humor with the Royals for a dozen years now, with their outfield burlesque, their base running antics, their managerial merry-go-round, their attempts to sign a professional softball pitcher. We didn’t need the Chiefs to step over that line. Hey, it was OK if they lost. We figured they would lose. We just didn’t need them to take the Nestea plunge into comedy.
Then, there they were on Sunday, playing three different quarterbacks, inventing a Scooby-Doo mystery about dizzy spells, allowing 300 yards rushing to a Raiders team that could not throw and, it goes without saying, losing for the 11th consecutive time. Oakland crushed the Chiefs 23-8. The only thing working Sunday was the concession stand.
The Giants make the Rams look horrible. Who gets the first pick in next year’s draft, St. Louis or Kansas City? Keep #1 in Missouri!
New Yorkers – my old classmate and friend Dave Kerpen is running for City Council (District 23 in Queens) next year. He is really as tireless as they say. It’s pretty disturbing, really. How is this in any way sports related? He got married on the Brooklyn Cyclones’ field. And he’s too tough for me on Facebook word games. So while you’re at it, become his supporter on Facebook.
Now complete with unnecessary photo of Emma Stone and Kat Dennings!
+ You may have heard that Oklahoma State booster T. Boone Pickens, famed oilman, is investing in wind power. Well, it’s not all about energy; the wind power project allows him to get eminent domain over a conveniently adjacent aquifer with water that he can then pipe to Dallas at a profit.
+ Team USA put a real whipping on Spain’s ass, 119-82, with a second half that was all garbage time. An aside: during the game, Craig Sager reported that the gatekeeper for sports news in China (hey, it’s national control) didn’t think the Spanish slit-eyed picture was worth mentioning; apparently he felt the people of China are less sensitive to politically incorrect actions.
+ South Florida loses another recruit, Gene Teague, who would have factored in to the forward rotation (6’8″, 295). He didn’t meet eligibility, like Dwan McMillan. The article states that he will attempt to attend Miami-Dade College and has a scholarship waiting for him in 09-10.
+ Bill Self’s Kansas squad is taking a preseason trip to Canada for exhibition games. Marcus and Markieff Morris have not been cleared by the NCAA to play, yet, but they should be eligible.
+ An article on how new Oregon State coach Craig Robinson’s adjacent fame (being the brother in law to the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama) helps get his name out there with the recruits. The better part of this article starts with the first comment response, where some troll starts with some crap about how terrorist organizations want Obama to be our next president… with the underlying premise that Obama will be “more forgiving” in hunting down the countries’ enemies. The it devolves into supposed liberal slant, the zionist media, and how the Republicans hunt down enemies (damn, those guys are slow hunters), conspiracy theories… it’s head-smackingly funny.
+ Man, someone’s sensitive about the portrayal of Clemson w/r/t Ray Ray McElrathbey, who graduated from the school. But has a couple more years of football eligibility left (Clemson gave away his scholarship, though they offered him a graduate assistant’s position); he is moving on to Howard University.
+ Like other Met fans, I wonder why people listen to Mike and the Mad Dog, and why people have such strong feelings about those Yankee-loving, Met-hating, frontrunning, name-dropping moronic blowhards. Here’s a perspective from the Metsblog.
+ Someone tried to extort money from Tom Coughlin… focusing on non-existent extramarital affairs. As long as there’s no Tom Coughlin sex tape…
+ The Oakland Raiders completed a pass, and it’s worthy of a news article.
+ Three notes on the new Friday Night Lights season – a new QB behind Matt Seracen, that new QB’s family, played by DW Moffett and Janine Turner (of Northern Exposure fame), and Kim Dickens (Joanie Stubbs) from Deadwood as Seracen’s mom.
The hip hop kids would say McCain was creepin’ behind the back of his first wife; your packaged foods may be shrinking by both volume and weight; I have no idea what’s on Kat Denning’s (pictured right) face, and the US’ two largest mortgage lenders might need a government bail out to keep the economy afloat… so let’s talk sports.
- The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy talks on how the new 3-point line (1 foot farther from the basket) should open up offenses. He hedges a lot, which at first I rolled my eyes at, but is miles better than the ESPN “Strong Statement Style”.
- Lute Olson’s bitter old man phase now includes no longer pursuing “one-and-done” players. Jim Boeheim actually says “are you crazy?” in the article when asked if he would do the same… Carmelo Anthony was obviously a good experience.
- Division III and youth sports are feeling the costs of a weaker economy; youth sports suffer as a side effect of lower tax income and transport/ gas prices; some seek private funding. Meanwhile, travel costs to far-flung Division III schools puts a strain on administration. The SI article suggests that other D-III schools follow the path of the University Athletic Association (home of the D-III men’s basketball champion Washington University (St. Louis) Bears):
Men’s and women’s teams travel together, and each school has a travel partner. For example, Brandeis will travel to Chicago to play a Friday game, while NYU will travel to Washington University in St. Louis to play a game the same night. Instead of flying to the next stop, Brandeis will then bus from Chicago to St. Louis for a Sunday game, while NYU will head the opposite direction on Interstate 55 and face Chicago on Sunday.
In 2006 only 19 Division I FBS schools had greater revenues than expenses in their athletics departments. Additionally, only 16 of these schools had net positive cash flows over the three-year aggregate from 2005-07.
Financial matters in large part prompted the formation of an NCAA presidential task force two years ago to discuss a disturbing trend in which the rate of growth in Division I athletics spending was tripling the rate for university spending overall. While athletics budgets on average represent only about 5 percent of a university’s budget, presidents agreed that current trends could not be sustained over time. Big-time athletics is not in a fiscal crisis, they said, but the growth in spending is adding pressure on institutions already strapped for cash.
- New Jersey Institute of Technology has a sports conference… the Great West conference, playing close rivals in the Dakotas. Those travel costs are high for basketball… what about for volleyball? Will NJIT get a hockey program to compete?
- Darren Rovell’s blog has a short bit about the money that T Boone Pickens has poured into the Oklahoma State athletics program, including the question of whether the Cowboys (or Oregon, with Phil Knight’s money) will win a championship in men’s basketball or football in the next 15 years. That question kinda misses the point, for me; a sports team will bring in loot with a championship, but just being in the running for a championship, being top-level competitive, and having well-apportioned facilities will bring in revenue AND top players. It helps to hire, of course, the right coaches who can leverage that money into some sustainable level of success.
- Only 9,000 TVs are tuned in to the Nationals game in the DC area? DAMN. They’ll be moving to Vegas in no time. Unless Beasley’s curly W tattoo has some say about it (h/t to BallHype).
- The Nets locked up those hot free agents, Jarvis Hayes and Eduardo Najera. Whoo.
- David Wright, finally in the All-Star Game, even after losing the last minute fan poll.
- These guys bike to work like I do… except in much fancier bikes. Dang.
- Aww, the state of Illinois won’t be buying Wrigley Field. Boo-hoo.
But pretty funny.
It’s supposed to be the dead period for college basketball. A few odds and ends players for the class of 2008 are still out there, as are junior college players; the coaches soldier on. There ain’t no news yet, so here’s a link dump – the lazy refuge of the dedicated daily(-ish) blogger.
* Rivals gives grades for (the more high-profile) recent men’s basketball head coaching hires. The short version: Montgomery (CAL) A+, Crean (IND) A-, Johnson (LSU) B-, Buzz Williams (MARQ) D, Ford (OKST) B, Craig Robinson (ORST) C+ , Davis (PROV) C+, Horn (SoCAR) C+, Dawkins (STAN) C.
- Mike Montgomery (CAL) B+ (some underachiveing teams in his record, and how often did he get to the final 4? Let’s not blow him up too high),
- Tom Crean (IND) A (he built a pretty good program though he couldn’t get good bigs to the smaller school; he’ll be killing it at Indiana),
- Trent Johnson (LSU) B+ (kept a solid Stanford tradition going in a tough conference),
- Buzz Williams (MARQ) C- (no good track record here…),
- Travis Ford (OKST) B+ (I think he has a very good basketball mind, but he needs to actually get to the tournament),
- Craig Robinson (ORST) C+ (tough job out there. But he is Barack Obama’s brother in law. So benefit of the doubt.),
- Keno Davis (PROV) C+ (good year, but no east coast recruiting ties to a tough school to recruit to),
- Darrin Horn (SoCAR) B+ (he’s a pretty dang good coach),
- Johnny Dawkins (STAN) D (another Duke assistant? A rookie coach? In the PAC 10? Montgomery is going to have him for lunch.)
* Feet in the Paint calls out the NBA’s Good Ol’ Boy network. Doug Collins over Avery Johnson or… a bunch of other people who didn’t show themselves to be a mediocre coach while with the Wizards? Really?
* Fans shouldn’t boo Tatis for wearing #17, they should cheer him. If the Mets retire his number it’s one thing, but come on!
“Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal.
“There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”