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.
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.
Hat tip to Eben, who clued me in to this Slate Explainer article:
…fans are wondering whether Phelps’ abnormally large lung capacity means he can take monster bong rips. Can he?
He can. Total lung capacity refers to the volume of air contained in the lungs at the point of “maximal” inspiration—i.e., the biggest breath you can take. It’s measured in liters. The greater a smoker’s total lung capacity, the more he can inhale from a given joint, bowl, or bong. According to some estimates, Phelps’ lung capacity is twice that of the average human, or 12 liters rather than six. So if he puts his mind to it, he can take a hit that’s twice as big as that of the next partygoer.
Hugo Chavez is ramping up his anti-American rhetoric. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin has a tough time answering questions; here’s a post on how her answer should imply a lack of preparation for the job. Agree? Disagree? Oh hell, did you know Susan Sarandon’s daughter is attractive? Yeah, it’s time for an unrelated picture of an attractive woman, Eva Amurri.
Here are some things that have passed by my eyes that I haven’t had a chance to delve into yet:
+ The Southern Illinois Salukis weren’t very good last year; but the freshmen (Kevin Dillard and Ryan Hare) are so promising, returning guard Josh Bone opted to transfer after their Labor Day preseason trip.
+ Basketball Prospectus has an analysis of what a player needs to do when making the jump from college to the pros. The same jump is probably necessary when going into the college game:
Part of the development for a player making the leap into a new level of play must be adjusting the player to the speed of the game…. In coaching, it means taking a four-step process and working to condense it to only two steps. A player must read a situation, recognize the circumstances, judge between various courses of action and react properly. Once a player has fully adjusted to the speed of the game, they are able to condense the process into reading and reacting.
+ The Giants and Jets’ fans are pissed because the team wants to sell naming rights to a German company that was a Nazi collaborator. Some folks will use the “well, no one from the company then is part of the company now,” or refer to how Henry Ford was said to be a big Nazi supporter (and an anti-Semite himself), so money’s money. Personally, I think it’s in poor taste and bad PR, especially in an area with a number of Jewish fans. Even if there was not a large Jewish population, I’d say “poor taste.”
+ Less serious: what to expect of Yi Jianlian? No one knows; but one of his coaches in Milwaukee delves into the conundrum of Yi.
+ Duke University defends kicking Rudy9/11AnyQuestions Giuliani’s son Andrew off the golf team. Apparently, he’s a jackass:
But Duke said in a court filing Wednesday that the 22-year-old Giuliani was properly suspended after throwing an apple in the face of another player, breaking a golf club during a tournament, injuring a teammate and becoming verbally abusive with a coach.
+ Have these football rivalries fallen off?
+ One Jamaican blogger thinks Jamaicans have too much free time, as evidenced by how many people came out to congratulate sprinter Usain Bolt.
This will be under a cut because it loops, but so far it’s the only video or photo I have of the throwdown in Beijing, proof positive that despite Howard’s denials, he sure does get dunked on (the image/ video is from True Hoop and RotoEvil, click on “Read the Rest of This Entry“):
You know, we never hear about Romney delegates pissing and moaning about their candidate the way we do about Clinton’s delegates, clinging to the one who lost. Can’t we put this garbage in the wastebin already? Meanwhile, there are new additions to Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. And Pakistan’s ruling coalition is in turmoil.
Now, on to sports:
+ Notes on the closing of the Beijing Olympics range from "it was China’s coming out party", "it was a winning, on-topic display of athletic achievement","Gosh! Great show!", "China showed deep insecurities", to "it was a showcase for hypocrisy". And Jacques Rogge was wrong for calling out Usain Bolt.
+ Folks are trying to explain the Jamaican success in sprint competitions. From Global Voices:
…the phenomenal performance of the Jamaican athletes is also due to the cultural self-confidence they feel…this is not a confidence manufactured by the abjectly self-conscious, respectability-seeking, hymn-singing English-speaking middle classes but one bred out of the flamboyant, boisterous, in-your-face Patwa-speaking population.
Hey, I resent that. Those self-conscious folks are my people! I’m going to go in the corner and contemplate my breeding. meanwhile, a Yahoo sports article has a couple of theories. The team doctor:
“They say that our aggression, our toughness, came out of our slave situation,” said Elliott, who is black. The team doctor said he subscribes to the view “considering that Jamaica had more slavery rebellion than any country in the world.”
“It’s not a question of genetic pool, but we have that,” he added. “It’s a cultural thing, too, that we want to achieve.”
Asafa Powell credits morning training, Usain Bolt’s father credits the yam in Trelawny (which is supposed to have medicinal properties), and the US Face of Doping Victor Conte calls the Jamaicans drug cheats.
+ Wait, ping-pong aka table tennis aka the most intense silly sport I watched the finals of this weekend was invented by the British?
+ Jason Kidd is giving his gold medal to the Elaine Wynn, wife of casino owner Steve Wynn. A woman he’s known for a year. Huh.
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.