I’m feeling a bit loopy this morning. Ever since I heard that Boston is going to be competing to host the 2024 Olympics, I’ve been in a state of shock. What an insane idea. The Globe reported on Thursday,
The city was selected Thursday by the United States Olympic Committee to bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, beating out competing proposals from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
There will be best athletes all over the world who compete together and I also did some research on bodybuilding pills that they take every day. That’s insane how hard they are working.
“We’re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” USOC Chairman Larry Probst said in a statement.
Nooooooooooooo! This can’t happen. Hasn’t anyone on the Olympic Committee ever been to Boston? How on earth did we beat out Los Angeles? Now that would be a good place for the Olympic Games. It’s huge, and spread out. Boston is a tightly packed place–with lots of narrow, winding streets–many of which were built before cars. Lots of people around here live in houses with no driveways. Parking is always at a premium–even in many suburban areas.
Boston’s bid was submitted to the USOC in December after previously being selected to a shortlist of U.S. candidate cities in June. The group pushing the idea, Boston2024, is backed by leaders from the region’s business, sports, and education sectors, among others.
“Boston is a global hub for education, health care, research and technology,” said Boston2024 chairman and Suffolk Construction CEO John Fish in a statement. “We are passionate about sports because we believe in the power of sport to transform our city and inspire the world’s youth. A Boston Games can be one of the most innovative, sustainable and exciting in history and will inspire the next generation of leaders here and around the world.”
Ugh. What total B.S! They are going to have a fight on their hands from plenty of cynical Bostonians who are quite aware that every place that hosts the Olympics ends up going deep into debt and being stuck with obsolete, eyesore structures that no one wants. Wealthy businessmen will profit and the taxpayers will pay the bills.
The USOC decided on Dec. 16 that it would bid for the 2024 Games, but held off on making a decision on which city to go with until Thursday’s meeting at Denver International Airport. “The decision followed a spirited discussion and more than one round of voting. Ultimately, the Boston bid received the unanimous endorsement of the USOC’s board of directors,” the USOC said.
The committee will now work with Boston2024 on the bid ahead of submitting it this fall to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC will decide on a 2024 host city in 2017. Other potential host cities for 2024 include Rome, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, and Istanbul. Melbourne, Australia, and other cities have also been said to be interested.
Good. Hold the thing in one of those great cities and leave us in peace with our cold winters and our iced coffees. From the Globe, From Our Ice Cold Hands: Bostonians Still Drink Iced Coffee in Sub-Zero Temps.
Here in Boston, we pride ourselves on handling the cold. We’re ice warriors, hardened by endless winters during which we bundle up, hunker down, and thank our lucky stars that we thought to put long johns under our jeans as we charge head on into the frigid wind that sweeps across the T platform.
If we don’t bend to freezing temperatures, we certainly don’t break our habits just because it feels more like we’re the animated charcters in “Frozen” rather than humans. In other words, if your Dunkin’ order is an iced coffee, your Dunkin’ order is an iced coffee. It’s that simple.
And we salute you, soldiers of the cold. Getting an iced coffee when there’s a windchill of -10 is the coffee-order equivalent of raising your middle finger to the sky and yelling, “Come at me, winter!”
Bostonians are tough. We are cynical and sarcastic. We don’t suffer fools gladly. We take pride in our obnoxiousness. We’ll just see about this Olympics thing. Can you believe they want to turn the Boston Common into a beach volleyball field? Here’s what the abandoned Olympic beach volleyball venue looks like in Athens.
Here are some views of the Boston Common.
Need I say more? A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Some reactions to the utterly ridiculous proposal for a Boston Olympics:
Christian Science Monitor, Boston reacts with suspicion, snark to winning 2024 Olympic bid.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh tweeted Thursday night that it was an “exceptional honor” for the city to be chosen as the US candidate to host the Games. But many local residents aren’t exactly excited about their sun-dappled streets potentially being filled with Olympic tourists – which is how the Boston 2024 bid group depicted the city in its renderings of the Games.
Instead, many reactions around Boston have centered on the potential cost and overall chaos that the event could bring to the city, and whether all the preparations would really be worth it.
Those wary of the potential long-term cost of hosting the Olympics – including the group No Boston Olympics, which has loudly opposed the bid – have lots of data to back up their concerns.
The average cost of hosting a Summer Olympics is $15 billion, according to No Boston Olympics – roughly the cost of Boston’s infamous Big Dig highway project, which took some 16 years to complete.
No modern Olympic Games has come in under budget, and claims that the increased costs are offset by increased tourism revenue are shaky at best. Bostonians are also worried about spending millions of dollars to construct large stadiums that then go unused once the Games leave.
“If Boston hosts the 2024 Olympics, there’s no doubt that [the city] is going to be overrun with sports tourists,” said Victor Matheson, an economist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., in an interview with The New York Times. “But Boston is already overrun with tourists in the summer.”
Christopher L. Gasper at The Globe, All that glitters about Boston’s Olympic bid isn’t gold.
Boston is a world-class city and sports mecca that doesn’t need a parade of nations showing up on its doorstep to validate its place on the world stage. We don’t need the five-ring circus coming to town to establish an international identity. Plus, Boston already hosts a world-renowned sporting event every year: the Boston Marathon.
The question is not whether Boston is capable of hosting the Olympics. It is. The question is whether it’s worth it. Does the benefit outweigh the potential logistical and financial pratfalls of hosting gym class for the world? Based on recent Olympic Games, the answer is probably not.
The Olympics rarely have a lasting, transformative impact on a city, unless you’re talking about the financial ramifications of the event and the planned obsolescence of venues with a 17-day lifespan. Barcelona, host of the 1992 Summer Games, was the exception, not the rule.
The Games are too big to succeed for most host cities. Just Google “abandoned Olympic venues” and see what comes up.
I tried it. Check these out:
12 Forgotten Olympic Venues Fallen Into Disrepair (Popular Mechanics).
30 Haunting Photos Of Abandoned Olympic Stadiums (Distractify).
Abandoned Olympic venues: in pictures (The Telegraph)
That is so sad. I don’t want a bunch of giant hulking wrecks strewn around Boston and environs, thank you very much.
For crying out loud, they don’t even have baseball in the Olympics. Boston is a baseball town.
Parallel Parking. You can’t survive in Boston without it.
Red Sox Clicker Toss. The anger and frustration felt across Red Sox Nation each season translated on the world stage. Medals go to the furthest and fastest TV clicker thrown during a Red Sox loss televised on NESN. [The smart players wait for the Sullivan Tire commercials for extra incentive.] By 2024,Xander Bogaerts should be about on the verge of starting to break through and approaching the cusp of realizing his potential. We hope. If by some chance Henry Owens turns out to be half as good as we’ve been led to believe, he would have left via free agency by then.
Synchronized Road Rage. Anyone can flip off the guy in the Avalon who doesn’t know how to use his f–kin’ blinker. Can you do it in tandem, while heading over the Zakim Bridge, at night, in the rain?
Baseball. No bull, just baseball. The same baseball that’s been booted out of the Olympic Games. If there isn’t baseball during a Summer Olympics in Boston, that will be the real joke.
Cry me a river. Tossing Don Zimmer was just payback for 1978.
I’ve been completely, utterly provincial today. Probably no one will even read this post, but at least I got it off my chest. So what’s happening that’s newsworthy today?
Another snowstorm is coming, but it’s not yet clear how bad it will be or how much snow will fall in which areas. From the Weather Channel: Ice Storm Possible for Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley; Snowstorm for West, Midwest, Northeast.
After a brief reprieve from blockbuster winter storms in the Midwest and East – and a much-too-lengthy reprieve in California – Winter Storm Titan is will lay down a swath of heavy snow from California to the East Coast, and also a swath of sleet and freezing rain from the Plains to the Mid-Atlantic States.
- Saturday: The main event east of the Rockies will begin to unfold as snow spreads east across portions of the Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. For parts of the Northern Rockies, this will just be a continuation of snow from the previous, weaker disturbance. Widespread snow is likely across Wyoming, but will gradually wind down over western and southern Montana. Farther south the snow will be more tied to higher elevations. (See inset map for details.)
- Sunday: The more significant part of Winter Storm Titan begins with snow, sleet and freezing rain becoming heavier. A stripe of significant ice accumulation is likely Sunday and Sunday night from the Ozarks through into the Mid-South region, Ohio Valley and West Virginia with snow farther north from the central Plains into the mid-Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley. These threats spread into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Sunday afternoon and night.
- Monday: Snow/sleet tapers off in the Ohio Valley Appalachians, but should linger in the Appalachians and along parts of the I-95 Northeast corridor much of the day, before ending off in the evening. Ice/sleet areas early in the day in the Mid-Atlantic states should changeover to snow Monday morning.
Whatever. Winter is almost over. It’s March 1, and there are signs of spring–at least down at Fenway South in Ft. Myers, Florida (and many other spring training locations). Yesterday the Red Sox played their first Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins, losing 8-2. But who cares? A hot new pitching prospect shut down the Twins for two innings, striking out four–a good sign for the upcoming season. Baseball is back, opening day is a little over a month away, and that means spring is coming!
OK, I know I’m being really provincial, but I’ll bet you’re seeing signs of Spring too. What is giving you hope for the end of this long, cold winter? Even the folks down south have suffered greatly this year.
One more Boston story. The FBI is claiming that accused Boston bomber Dzhohar Tsarnaev “made a damaging statement” in a visit with one of his sisters recently. Of course they won’t even give a hint as to what he said, so I don’t know what to make of it. The Boston Globe:
The filing said that Tsarnaev, despite the presence of the agent, who was legally allowed in the room, “was unable to temper his remarks and made a statement to his detriment which was overheard by the agent.”
The filing did not say what the statement was.
The filing was made as part of an ongoing battle between the prosecution and defense over special administrative measures, special prison restrictions, that have been imposed on Tsarnaev.
The defense says the prosecution is refusing to turn over information they need and that the FBI is monitoring their meetings with Tsarnaev and preventing them from developing their defense strategy. I think the feds need to keep in mind that they will have a Massachusetts jury–very few people here support the death penalty, and most potential jurors will be troubled by FBI efforts that might prevent a fair trial. After all, we just recently went through the Whitey Bulger trial, in which we heard endless tales of FBI abuses and we’re still waiting for an explanation as to why an agent from the Boston office shot Ibragim Todashev down in Orlando last May.
We’re coming up on the 2014 Boston Marathon, and we still have almost no explanations of what really happened during the Marathon bombing and the shootout in Watertown a few days later. And then there’s the Waltham triple murder, which the FBI is trying to pin on two dead guys–Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Ibrigim Todashev. Susan Zalkind summed up many of the questions in this month’s Boston Magazine coverstory: The Murders Before the Marathon. There wasn’t a whole lot of breaking news in the article, but it’s a very good summary of events so far.
There’s a lot happening in Ukraine. I’ll just give you a couple of links to check out, because I’m not qualified to comment on the situation–other than I’m sick of everyone expecting the U.S. to get involved in every crisis.
The latest from ABC News: Putin Asks Parliament to Use Military in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin asked parliament Saturday for permission to use the country’s military in Ukraine, moving to formalize what Ukrainian officials described as an ongoing deployment of Russian troops in the strategic region of Crimea.
Putin’s motion loosely refers to the “territory of Ukraine” rather than specifically to Crimea, raising the possibility that Moscow could use military force in other Russian-speaking provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine where many oppose the new authorities in Kiev….
He said the move is needed to protect ethnic Russians and the personnel of a Russian military base in Ukraine’s strategic region of Crimea. Putin sent the request to the Russian legislature’s upper house, which has to approve the motion, according to the constitution. The rubber-stamp parliament is certain to approve it in a vote expected Saturday.
In Crimea, the pro-Russian regional prime minister had earlier claimed control of the military and police there and asked Putin for help in keeping peace, sharpening the discord between the two neighboring Slavic countries.
President Obama warned yesterday that there would consequences for military intervention in Ukraine, but he didn’t specify any actions he would take. At this point, I think these warnings are just being ignored, because there is seldom any follow-up. As I said earlier, I don’t want to get involved in any more foreign conflicts. Let Europe deal with it if they want to. We have plenty of problems here at home that require government action.
A week after violent protests forced Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich to abandon power in Kiev, Ukraine’s new leaders say Russia is trying to take control of the southern Crimea region, which has a majority ethnic Russian population.
France, Britain and Germany issued calls for de-escalation in Crimea hours after U.S. President Barack Obama warned that military intervention in the region would be deeply destabilizing and “carry costs”.
“France is extremely concerned by the reports from Crimea, which describe significant troop movements,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement. “We call on the parties to abstain from acts that could raise tensions and affect Ukraine’s territorial unity.”
It does appear that Putin is intent on reviving the Cold War. I hope he’s not successful.
Tomorrow night we’ll get an other episode of True Detective–there are only two to go. I gathered a bunch more links in the past couple of days. Some of them have spoilers, so be careful.
This is an older post, but it provides some very good background on the weird aspects of the story. From Grantland’s Molly Lambert, Carcosa or Bust: The Satisfyingly Weird Mysteries of ‘True Detective’. Just a taste:
Hallucinatory spirals, talk of “black stars” rising in the sky, dead women trussed up like ancient horned gods and tattooed with mysterious symbols, all supposedly in reference to Robert W. Chambers’s fairly obscure weird fiction classic The King in Yellow? Damn, True Detective, you’ve given me a lot to absorb.
Where is the show going with its recently clarified Lovecraftian ties? Does it even really matter, when the ride is this great? The most satisfying part of a mystery is rarely its resolution. Sustained anticipation is much of the thrill. Like earlier TV mysteries Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Lost, True Detective is a show with its own internal mythology, which taunts both the protagonists and viewers with signs just beyond our comprehension. When some bits of information are guaranteed to be important later, every single bit of information feels like a potential clue. Attempting to read a show scene by scene and pluck out exactly what will prove crucial from a galaxy of visual and verbal details can feel absolutely maddening….
You can spend endless amounts of time pondering True Detective’s more concrete questions, let alone the existential ones. Are the wooden triangles strewn around the sites of the ritualistic murders pagan symbols, bird traps, or neither? Given creator Nic Pizzolatto’s professed affection for weird fiction, were Reggie Ledoux’s gas mask and the reference to a “green-eared spaghetti monster” meant to invoke Cthulhu, the giant octopus monster that signals cosmic doom in the work of seminal horror writer H.P. Lovecraft? Is the mystery even going to get solved?True Detective’s flashback structure accentuates the gaps in our knowledge. Everything we know is gleaned from flashbacks and interrogations, but there’s no guarantee that future information won’t flip our perspective. Hell, there’s no guarantee that Rust and Marty’s flashbacks are accurate. After all, if we can see Rust’s subjective hallucination of birds assembling into a spiral in the sky, who’s to say we’re not seeing other events from his subjective perspective too? This kind of theorizing, not baseless but impossible to prove conclusively, will make you feel like True Detective’s detectives. Maybe the show’s obsessions with madness, reality, and truth really are contagious.
Then read Lamberts latest post: Five Things to Consider for This Week’s Episode of ‘True Detective’. She has some good questions.
A guy at Reddit did some sleuthing and came up with some photos posted by True Detective crew members. Here’s a link to a lot of photos, some from the upcoming episodes. I looked at them, and got some sense of what’s coming, but not much more than I got from the teaser trailer. They didn’t ruin the suspense for me. Just be warned if you want to stay completely in the dark.
A few more links to explore as we wait for tomorrow night to roll around:
Rolling Stone: The Dark Thrills of ‘True Detective’
Slate: The True DetectiveGlossary
Complex Pop Culture: Pictures of You: “True Detective” and the Dilemma of the Dead Woman’s Photograph
Now what’s on your mind today? Please post your links on any topic in the comment thread, and have a great weekend!!
Good Morning! So President Obama has set off another big battle in Washington by asking to give his highly touted jobs speech before a joint session of Congress next Wednesday–at the same time as the next Republican debate. For a guy who keeps harping on “bipartisanship,” you have to wonder why he did that. Maybe he’s trying to distract everyone from the fact that he has no new ideas about jobs? From Politico:
A presidential address to a joint session of Congress is usually one of Washington’s more dignified and predictable events — but President Barack Obama’s request to deliver a Sept. 7 speech quickly devolved into just another partisan pie fight.
Oval Office requests for a prime-time slot in the well of the House — whatever the motivation, topic or tenor of the times — are traditionally approved on a more or less pro forma basis. In fact, the official historian for the House of Representatives told reporters Wednesday that no such request has ever been publicly rejected.
But this is 2012 Washington, where the comforting little courtesies and old-shoe rituals that once kept bickering Democrats and Republicans from immobilizing the republic have been chucked in the constant quest for news-cycle leverage.
So Speaker Boehner told the President to move his speech to Thursday, and even on this, Obama caved. The speech will now be on Thursday. But why does the speech need to be given before a joint session of Congress anyway? Why does there even need to be a speech? Just DO something for Pete’s sake! All I can say is the White House gang had better come up with some startling ideas, or Obama is going to look incredibly lame. More talk about free trade agreements, patent reform, and extending the payroll tax holiday simply won’t cut it.
Chris Cilizza at the WaPo, discusses the likelihood that the WH scheduling was just a coincidence, as press secretary Jay Carney initially claimed.
when the White House announced today that President Obama would deliver his much-anticipated jobs speech on Sept. 7 at 8 pm— the exact same day and time that the 2012 Republican candidates are scheduled to debate in California — the idea that the timing was purely coincidental was, well, far-fetched.
Opinions varied on whether this was a good idea or not.
Some applauded the move as a sign of much-needed aggression from the White House “Whether intentional or not it sends a signal that the president and White House are coming out of their corner between rounds fists up, on their toes and ready to fight,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane.
But there were others within the party who worried that the White House’s scheduling gambit might backfire.
“It’s a bad idea [and] seems a little small,” said one Democratic consultant granted anonymity to speak candidly. “And it suggests perhaps his jobs plan wont be that appealing because now the coverage will be about the strategy and not the substance.”
Another senior Democratic operative suggested that scheduling the speech simultaneously with the GOP debate actually would muddy rather than clarify the contrast the White House is hoping for heading into 2012.
But none of this really matters now that Obama has caved to the Republicans, as usual; and now he has to compete with the opening of the NFL season.
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has released his economic plan, and it’s a doozy. He want to reduce the marginal tax rate to 23 percent, giving the richest Americans the lowest tax rate since the Hoover administration. And how does he propose to pay for this? Here’s how.
Huntsman says he will pay for this supply-side bonanza by eliminating all so-called “tax expenditures.”…. Huntsman either hasn’t thought through — or doesn’t want people to know — what eliminating all tax expenditures would actually mean. So let’s take a look at the official tax expenditure list and see what would happen if we got rid of all of them:
– All Social Security benefits would become taxable. Senior citizens that currently receive the average Social Security benefit as their primary income source (as is the case for most seniors) currently pay no income taxes on those benefits, but would under Huntsman’s plan.
– Many middle-class parents would lose child tax credits and tax benefits for education and child care that are more valuable to them than a tax rate cut.
– Huntsman’s tax plan would also eliminate the employer health insurance exclusion, which helps enable some 160 million Americans get coverage through their jobs.
– One of the most successful pro-work, anti-poverty initiatives, the Earned Income Tax Credit, would be abolished.
– Veterans pensions and disability benefits would become subject to tax, as would all military combat pay, military housing allowances and meals, workers compensation payments, public assistance benefits, and state foster care payments.
This is just a partial list of the harsh and/or bizarre consequences that would occur if all tax expenditures were eliminated to fund a huge giveaway to the very rich.
In line with this latest Republican proposal to screw the poor and the elderly, on Tuesday, the New York Times editorial page took note of “the new resentment of the poor.”
In a decade of frenzied tax-cutting for the rich, the Republican Party just happened to lower tax rates for the poor, as well. Now several of the party’s most prominent presidential candidates and lawmakers want to correct that oversight and raise taxes on the poor and the working class, while protecting the rich, of course.
These Republican leaders, who think nothing of widening tax loopholes for corporations and multimillion-dollar estates, are offended by the idea that people making less than $40,000 might benefit from the progressive tax code. They are infuriated by the earned income tax credit (the pride of Ronald Reagan), which has become the biggest and most effective antipoverty program by giving working families thousands of dollars a year in tax refunds. They scoff at continuing President Obama’s payroll tax cut, which is tilted toward low- and middle-income workers and expires in December.
Until fairly recently, Republicans, at least, have been fairly consistent in their position that tax cuts should benefit everyone. Though the Bush tax cuts were primarily for the rich, they did lower rates for almost all taxpayers, providing a veneer of egalitarianism. Then the recession pushed down incomes severely, many below the minimum income tax level, and the stimulus act lowered that level further with new tax cuts. The number of families not paying income tax has risen from about 30 percent before the recession to about half, and, suddenly, Republicans have a new tool to stoke class resentment.
Speaking of cold-hearted Republicans, you’ve probably heard about Eric Cantor’s demand that any Federal help given to those hit by Hurricane Irene must be offset by cuts in other areas. Unfortunately for Cantor, he was singing another tune in 2004 when his state, Virginia, needed help.
Not only that but suddenly one of the new Republican stars is in need of help and doesn’t want to worry about debt and deficits and cutting government. He wants help for his state right now.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reacted angrily to a fight brewing in Washington over whether Hurricane Irene disaster aid may need to be offset by federal spending cuts.
“Our people are suffering now, and they need support now. And they [Congress] can all go down there and get back to work and figure out budget cuts later,” the Republican governor told a crowd in the flood-ravaged North Jersey town of Lincoln Park.
Christie said no such discussion was held when help went to Joplin, Mo., where a deadly May tornado damaged 7,500 homes.
“We need the support now here in New Jersey, and that’s not a Republican or a Democratic issue,” Christie said, according to NorthJersey.com
Another hurricane could be on the way. Tropical Storm Katia may be a Hurricane soon. It looks like this one may hit the Gulf coast, and quite a few oil workers are already being evacuated.
The Miami-based center said Katia was forecast to become a “major” hurricane with winds over 111 mph (178 kph) on Sunday, but it was still too early to tell whether it would threaten land.
At 5 p.m. (2100 GMT), Katia was about 1,285 miles (2.070 km) east of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands. It was moving rapidly west-northwest and was forecast to turn northwest in a couple of days on a course that would keep it away from the Caribbean islands.
Of course it’s too soon to know for sure what will happen, but maybe Mayor Bloomberg should get busy preparing another evacuation plan.
Meanwhile, things are still really bad in Vermont.
Federal and state environmental teams on Wednesday investigated the extent of health risks related to damaged sewage and water treatment plants in more than a dozen Vermont towns where flash flooding has left thousands of people without electricity or potable water since Sunday.
Engineers from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation visited several areas that had been cut off to assess the hazards, officials said. The teams were trying to determine the extent of damage to sewage and water plants in at least 13 towns, including chemical and other hazardous material spills and leaks, said Justin Johnson, deputy commissioner of the environmental department….
The Vermont National Guard continued to airlift supplies to residents in 13 towns stranded by washed out roadways, damaged bridges, fallen trees and mud. A helicopter from the Illinois National Guard joined the relief effort on Wednesday, helping distribute supplies, said Mark Bosma, a spokesman for Vermont Emergency Management.
By Wednesday night, crews had completed makeshift roads into all of the isolated towns, state officials said. They reached the last, Wardsboro, population 850, in south central Vermont, just before 6 p.m.
In a bit of good news, the Red Sox beat the Yankees last night, 9-5, and the Sox are now in first place by 1-1/2 games.
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?