"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Olympic-sized hypocracy

I was not a fan of the Olympics coming to Chicago.

Firstly, I believed it was a waste of time to try and beat the odds of a foregone conclusion that the IOC would remedy the fact that the Games had never been hosted in South America. The Olympics have been hosted in North America - including the Winter Games - seven times in the last 40 years. And they're back again for Vancouver in 2010.

Secondly, they have devolved into nothing more than a two week party for the rich at the expense of the poor and working class, those who can't afford even a $15 "Chicago-style" hot dog sold at Olympic Stadium, much less a ticket to the venue itself, those who would be most adversely affected by construction - either by outright displacement or the disruption of the city services and infrastructure they use every day.

I'm not against the spectacle of the universal drama in human endeavor the Games bring, of course, please don't confuse the vessel for the content. I have friends who competed in Beijing, and will do so again in London in 3 years. I just don't think it is right for Chicago now, and in fact, many things need to be fixed to bring the Games' mission back on track with the projected athletic ideal.

Do you think Rio de Janeiro is any less crime-ridden than Chicago? Any less corrupt? Does that city have its infrastructural, educational, and social priorities in order to be able to justify the $4 billion it plans to spend on the 2016 Olympic Games?

Matt Drudge apparently thinks so.

By reading his spin-zone page in the past two weeks, you'd have thought Chicago was the murder capital of the world, that Barak Obama and Mayor Daley made Third World dictators look like Eisenhower in comparison, and that Rio had solved universal healthcare and hunger, while Chicago's children ran thought the streets naked with swine flu, killing each with two by fours and automatic weapons.

For those of you not familiar with Drudge, he is merely a very biased right wing spin-artist who posts cherry picked articles to twist the street's view of the political and social landscape. His links in the weeks prior tried to get you to believe that Obama was misusing his power to selfishly influence the IOC on behalf of his corrupt hometown for his corrupt friends and cronies, such as Mayor Daley and Rod Blagojevitch.

He posted links highlighting Chicago's crime wave and the Mayor's declining approval ratings.

Conversely, pathetically - and hypocritcally - on Friday morning last week he posted a link that spoke of Rio making impassioned pleas as Madrid tugged on the heartstrings of the IOC.

Pardon me while wipe the vomit off my keyboard.

Even this weekend as I related my relief to my family members about the Games not landing here, some of the more conservative ones spoke hautily of Obama's "comeupance." I saw the Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol try to make this point in a TV round table as well.

My ass.

Spain sent not only its king and queen but their prime minister as well. And Brazil and Japan sent their heads-of-state, too. If Obama had stayed home, they would've skewered him for not going to Copenhagan to promote Chicago's bid - and the United States. They'd have tried to claim he was appeasing the world with a multilateralist agenda by lessening America's stature in the world.

And now Obama and Daley are trying to shirk the "blame" by laying it on the USOC...

...which is exactly where it belongs. A relationship gone awry, and Daley's own tunnel vision, were what doomed this bid from the start. Start by blaming those two. Don't blame Obama for promoting his own country when he didn't really have a choice not to.

As well, don't blame Chicagoans for not supporting the bid. The city council voted unanimously to place the burden of any cost overruns directly on the tax payers despite the fact they were overwhelmingly against it. 45% may have supported the bid, but 84% didn't want to pay for them with public funds. This is because the city couldn't build a park for less than 4 times the budget, and sold its parking infrastructure for about a quarter of its worth. They know a raw deal when they see one.

Chicago may have it's problems, but it's no Rio, and it's heartening to see priorities still in the right place.

May God bless Brazil.

1 comment:

allenpg said...

Someone order an Rx of Prozac for Daley. I think he's gone catatonic. I don't think our corrupt government knows how corrupt the rest of the world is.

The Olympics can be cheap thanks to the stupid rich. We ended up scoring $200 seats for about $5 for several nights of T&F in Atlanta. The "rich" got bored after a few races and left early, so we bought ticket stubs and talked our way back in. Some guys in our group got closing ceremony tickets through an error, scalped them for $2000 and paid for their Winnebago rental. I think the most expensive thing was food and beer, but 10x cheaper than a Cubs game.

Oh, yeah, don't get me started on TIFs and fish farms...