Monthly Archives: March 2009

Vancouver Lessons

Why are some Chicago community groups skeptical of the City’s claims that minority inner-city neighborhoods will benefit from the 2016 Olympics? Perhaps they’ve looked to Vancouver 2010 as a cautionary tale:

As part of Vancouver’s winning Olympic bid, the city, the province, the federal government and the bid corporation signed an Inner-city Inclusive Commitment Statement.

The ICI was instituted to maximize benefits and minimize negative impacts of the Games on inner-city residents.

But a report by the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Population Health Promotion Research says that many of the ICI’s promises have been broken.

“The overall rating of how well the ICI promises have been met is that they have been mostly unfulfilled,” the report, led by principal investigator Jim Frankish, reads.

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Morning Money Quotes

The Times‘ Richard Sandomir on Randy Levine, the man mostly responsible for pushing through the heaping helping of Yankee Stadium corporate welfare:

Months earlier, before the start of a Congressional subcommittee hearing investigating the Yankees’ stadium financing, he was eager to undermine the credibility of the panel’s chairman, Representative Dennis J. Kucinich. Levine’s prepared remarks were meant to remind Kucinich that he was the mayor of Cleveland when it became the first major city to default on its bonds since the Depression.

Kucinich had read the six-page text and knew Levine would be baiting him while praising the financial impact of government incentives like the tax-exempt bonds. Minutes before his turn to speak, Levine was asked if he needed to take the swipe at Kucinich.

“Just watch me,” he said.

Former heavyweight champ Vitali Klitschko after having his watch confiscated in a German airport:

“It is well-known Ukrainians must stand in long lines … and even be insulted, before they are allowed to travel in the EU, and once they are there they don’t get the same treatment as EU citizens. For some of my countrymen, in Europe some human rights don’t apply.”

The Guardian‘s Mark Woods on why British hoops fans should boycott a Bulls-Jazz preseason game in London next year:

I may be hypocritical here since, if only for journalistic purposes, you may find me in the capital’s Docklands on 6 October. Yet there’s method to this madness. It’s a regular season fixture we want. Or two, or three. Not this, not now, not ever.

Football supporters, you see, worked out this simple truth a while ago. Friendlies have all the fervour of an inflatable pillow fight. And, to my knowledge, even PT Barnum never tried to sell tickets to that one. Sure, both Chicago and Utah would rather emerge triumphant from their long-haul diversion to Blighty. But real blood? Real sweat? They’ll be saving that for when the outcome of 48 minutes of toil will actually impact on the standings.

In advance of Wednesday’s North Korea-South Korea World Cup qualifier, Reuters reminds us what happened the last time these two enemy nations met on the pitch:

North Korea also crossed the line between sport and diplomacy early last year when it refused to play the South’s anthem or raise its flag in an earlier round of qualifying in Pyongyang.

That decision forced world soccer’s governing body FIFA to change the venue to Shanghai, where the two teams played out a drab draw.

Jon Pessah on Roger Clemens’ legal ordeals:

Think about Clemens what you will, but denying him the presumption of innocence is wrong. So is making prosecutors both judge and jury, and using the media to convict the accused. It didn’t work out so well in the Duke lacrosse case. And it’s not working out so well here, either.

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More Blago and the Cubs

As a Chicago resident, I of course condemn our the actions of our defrocked governor, but at the same time I’ll miss his almost comedic levels of corruption. It made for good reading. For example

“This could measurably complicate Project Elwood,” wrote William Brandt, chairman of the Illinois Finance Authority.

Project Elwood—an apparent reference to a “Blues Brothers” character—was code for secret negotiations between former Gov. Rod Blagojevich‘s administration and Tribune Co. for the state to buy Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

Two days later, the plan grew far more complicated when Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges. Among the charges were allegations that he was trying to extort Tribune Co.—the owner of Wrigley, the Cubs and the Chicago Tribune—over the state purchase.

“Project Elwood”?! The guy can’t even execute a simple shakedown without throwing code names all over the place? At this point, I won’t be surprised if further investigations to turn up evidence of a tree fort and decoder ring.

(HT: Spolitical reader Eric Nusbaum)

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Soccer Diplomacy – Brazil

As Brazil angles for a seat on the UN Security Council, the nation’s footballers are being drawn into the fray. Brazil recently played a friendly in downtrodden Haiti, a gesture to curry favor with UN decision-makers. However, a number of notable Brazilian soccer stars weren’t able to attend because AC Milan and Bayern Munich refused to release them for the match. President Lula Da Silva was livid, and the five players in question wound up being suspended for matches against Germany and Bolivia. Did the orders to suspend trace back to President Da Silva, or were they made independently of him?

That’s the question–and the controversy–facing Brazilian soccer as they begin World Cup qualifying play. And now it appears President Da Silva is moving against the Brazilian Football Association by introducing strict term limits to the higher offices.

As for Brazil’s bid for the Security Council, they won’t be joining the ranks anytime soon.

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The Meaning of Lahore

Recently, the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team by Pakistani militants was followed up by an attack on a police academy, again by Pakistani militants. All of it happened in the city of Lahore. A Pakistani security official points out the significance:

“Lahore is the only city in Pakistan which has remained relatively peaceful since the 9/11 attacks. For the last few years, it has hosted cultural festivals, concerts and cricket matches with aplomb, while the rest of Pakistan has been up in flames. It has been Pakistan’s saving grace, and whoever wants to destabilise the country or the government, would go after Lahore.”

It’s the Pakistani outpost of the Taliban that’s doing just that. Given the rogue elements in place and the prevailing instability, even Russia’s worried about the ability to secure Pakistan’s nukes.

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The Ellie Schafer Story has the interesting backstory of Obama’s Director of the White House visitors office.

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The Sporting Economy, Part II

Some examples of how the global downturn is affecting the sports world …


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