Saturday, October 17, 2009

the shape of things to come, maldives version

The Maldives' government has held a cabinet meeting. Underwater. The way their low-lying island country will be if we don't come to grips with climate change, pronto.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

it was usoc, not obama

Predictably the right-wing is ecstatic, reveling in the defeat of an American city by a bunch of foreigners. They're spinning Chicago's failure to win the 2016 Olympics as a repudiation of President Obama.

Wrong. Washington Post sports columnist Tracee Hamilton nails it: this was a repudiation of the US Olympic Committee. The International Olympic Committee and USOC have been fighting over TV money, and surprise that ended up being reflected in the vote.

Plus there were other factors. Brazil's president was there too, as were the Japanese and Spanish prime ministers. There has never been an Olympics in South America, and Rio is certainly a world-class city - it's not like Chicago lost to Podunkopolis, Nowhereistan. And the US has already hosted more Olympics than any country, most recently Atlanta 1996. We don't have any natural right to host every fourth or fifth Olympics.

But the right-wingers won't let reality get in the way of a good story. No reason to expect this to be different.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

olympic hype

President Obama is in Denmark, pushing Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics. He's received some criticism for this, especially from the right-wing who probably think this is one more step in imposing islamo-fascist-nazi socialism in the good old US of A.

I don't have a problem with it, personally. Obama's counterparts from Chicago's competitors (Tokyo, Madrid, Rio) also made the trip to Copenhagen to pay obeisance to the Olympic committee, a corrupt group of old men who no longer satisfied with booze, bribes, boondoggles and young girls, also want to be toadied to by political leaders before granting some city the privilege of hosting an orgy of over-hyped steroid-fueled athletic competition.

It's a coincidence that Chicago, Obama's adopted home town, is the US candidate, and that raises suspicions by people who are already suspicious about everything Obama does.

But if de facto President George W. Bush had made a similar trip in 2001 to support Dallas or Houston for the 2009 Olympics, OR McCain were in Denmark this week talking up Chicago, USA, I would have been fine with that. It's how the game is played, unfortunately.

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