B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘2016’ tag

Terrorism Theater Cost Chicago 2016 Bid

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Nobody will exactly say this was the one thing, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit that the out-of-control US airline security theater was a large factor in the decision to award Rio with the 2016 Games.

Poor Boy Long Way from Home

Did Chicago lose the chance to host the 2016 Olympics because of airport security issues?

Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”

[Click to continue reading Chicago’s Loss: Is Passport Control to Blame? - In Transit Blog - NYTimes.com]

and some noticed:

Once the news came out that Chicago lost its Olympic bid, the U.S. Travel Association didn’t miss an opportunity to point that out, sending out a critical press release within hours.

“It’s clear the United States still has a lot of work to do to restore its place as a premier travel destination,” Roger Dow, U.S. Travel’s president, said in the statement released today. “When IOC members are commenting to our President that foreign visitors find traveling to the United States a ‘pretty harrowing experience,’ we need to take seriously the challenge of reforming our entry process to ensure there is a welcome mat to our friends around the world, even as we ensure a secure system.”

That might help, but a bigger problem is the Bush Administration’s ridiculous terrorism theater policies, still in place.

Written by Seth Anderson

October 3rd, 2009 at 10:00 am

Mayor Daley Places Olympian Bet on Chicago 2016

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Mayor Daley has famously only lost four votes in the City Hall rubber-stamp room called the City Council, but the residents of Chicago are less sanguine about the economic benefits of hosting the Olympics.

Heart versus Head

The Second City is weary after months of recession and Illinois corruption scandals, and angry about everything from rising taxes to deepening potholes. The city is especially skeptical of Mr. Daley’s Olympic push: After pledging Chicago wouldn’t pay a cent should the Games lose money, the mayor later said Chicago would cover any potential shortfall.

Mr. Daley, re-elected in 2007 with more than 71% of the vote, now has a career-low approval rating of 35%, according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll. In public meetings, citizens rail that he has become isolated, thin-skinned and autocratic. Only 47% of Chicagoans support hosting the Games.

Mr. Daley, asked about his falling approval ratings and concerns over cost overruns and corruption, shakes his head.

“You have to have vision,” the 67-year-old mayor said in an interview this month as he shuttled between appearances in the back seat of his black sedan. “You can’t start second-guessing yourself.”

Mr. Daley says the Games will transform Chicago and update its international image from a meat-and-manufacturing hub to the Paris on the Prairie its planners envisioned. Chicago’s Olympic committee has said the Games will generate tens of thousands of jobs and a $13.7 billion economic boost for Chicago. Last week, Anderson Economic Group LLC estimated that spending in Chicago would be more modest, around $4.4 billion.

University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson is more skeptical still. “When you say the word ‘billions,’ special-interest groups start salivating,” he said. “This is Chicago, so yeah, I expect some cost overruns.”

[Click to continue reading Mayor Places Olympian Bet on Chicago's Bid for Games - WSJ.com]

The Olympics last for what, two weeks? But preparation has to start seven years in advance? Yikes.

Apparently, Chicago has integrated without much notice:

As other Midwestern cities emptied, Chicago grew. In the past 10 years, it added parks and trees, luxury residential skyscrapers and 36 million square feet of commercial development — nearly twice as much as Los Angeles. Between 1989 and 2008, Chicago’s median household income rose 2.7%, in 2008 dollars. Over the same period, incomes in Rust Belt cities Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis shrunk 11% or more.

By 2008, Chicago had become the eighth-most integrated global city in the world, according to Foreign Policy magazine, behind Singapore and ahead of Seoul.

Mind Detergent

And Obama is going to personally persuade IOC officials in Copenhagen after all, for some reason.

Less than two weeks ago, President Obama lamented that he was too busy to go to Denmark to lobby for Chicago’s bid to host the Olympics. “I would make the case in Copenhagen personally,” he said, “if I weren’t so firmly committed to making real the promise of quality, affordable health care for every American.”

Evidently, his commitment to health care is no longer quite so time consuming. Mr. Obama announced Monday that he would fly to Copenhagen this week after all to lobby the International Olympic Committee for the 2016 Summer Games.

Mr. Obama changed his mind and decided to take a gamble no other American president has taken at the urging of his close friend and senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, who has been deeply involved in promoting Chicago’s bid. He hopes to trump the presence in Copenhagen of his counterparts from rival countries seeking the games — Brazil, Japan and Spain — and duplicate the success that Tony Blair of Britain and Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have had in recent years by personally lobbying for their nations’ bids.

Moreover, aides noted that it would be a relatively small time investment. Mr. Obama will leave Thursday evening and fly overnight, arriving in Copenhagen just in time to join Chicago’s final presentation Friday morning, when he and the first lady will address the committee. He returns to Washington on Friday afternoon.

[Click to continue reading White House Memo - In Pitch for Games, a Gamble for Obama - NYTimes.com]

I don’t buy the argument that the President can only perform one task in a day. Maybe GWB was limited that way, but most modern politicians are adept enough to chew gum and walk at the same time. Still, I question whether the Olympic Games are worth wasting a President’s limited agenda upon.

Click here for some other posts discussing the 2016 games

Written by Seth Anderson

September 30th, 2009 at 8:17 am

Reading Around on September 18th through September 21st

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A few interesting links collected September 18th through September 21st:

  • Back Issues : The New Yorker

    “Today we launch Back Issues, formerly a department in our News Desk blog, as its own blog on newyorker.com. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll use this space to delve through more than eighty years of New Yorker history, with an eye to relating that history to the happenings of the day. Our chief goal will be to make this vast resource approachable and useful to our readers.”

    maybe its just my inner historian, but I love looking at news coverage from years before I was born

    Melrose Park Speakeasy.jpg

  • Chicagoans for Rio 2016 – It would be exciting to host the Olympics here in Chicago. But you know what would be even better? Rio De Janeiro. Just let Rio host the 2016 Olympics. We don’t mind. Honest.
  • In defense of ACORN | Salon

    To claim that the stupid behavior of a half-dozen employees should discredit a national group with offices in more than 75 cities staffed by many thousands of employees and volunteers is like saying that Mark Sanford or John Ensign have discredited every Republican governor or senator. Indeed, the indignation of the congressional Republicans screaming about ACORN and the phony streetwalker is diluted by the presence of at least two confirmed prostitution clients — Rep. Ken Calvert and Sen. David Vitter — in their midst. Neither of those right-wing johns has been even mildly chastised by their moralistic peers. Nobody is cutting off their federal funding.

    Indeed.

  • suburban romps.jpg
  • freedarko.com: A Significant Bullet – From the press kit for Herzog’s new film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans: “I call upon the theoreticians of cinema to go after this one. Go for it, losers.”

Written by swanksalot

September 21st, 2009 at 3:04 pm