90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
High Flying Olympic Bids
Standing in front of a backdrop of the Chicago skyline, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks at a dinner in support Chicago hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, in Copenhagen.

Standing in front of a backdrop of the Chicago skyline, U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks at a dinner in support Chicago hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009, in Copenhagen.

President Obama, on his way to Copenhagen tonight, to lobby for his town, Chicago, to get the Summer Olympics in 2016. Michelle Obama, already there. And Oprah. And Chicago Mayor Daley. And on, and on.

Tokyo’s in the running, with a prince and princess in town to lobby. Madrid, with the king of Spain.

But the smart money says the big challenger is Rio de Janeiro, out of booming Brazil. South America’s never had the Olympics. Rio wants it badly. So does Chicago. Mostly.

This hour, On Point: We’ll hear the cases they’re making. Chicago versus Rio, head to head, for the Olympics.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

Joining us from Copenhagen is Brian Cazeneuve, staff writer for Sports Illustrated. He wrote this week about “the pros and cons of each bid for the 2016 Olympics.”

Also from Copenhagen we’re joined by David Wallechinsky, Olympics scholar and Vice President of the International Society of Olympic Historians. He’s author of  “The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics” and “The Complete Book of the Winter Olympics.”

Joining us from Chicago is Laura Washington, columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. See the Sun-Times’ coverage of the 2016 bid.

Joining us from Miami is Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center International Center for Scholars. He spent 17 years as the Washington correspondent for Estado de Sao Paulo, a leading Brazilian newspaper.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Tatiana

    As a brazilian citizen, I would be thrilled to see Rio win the bid for the Olympics. However, I would be really worried that the city may not be prepared to deal with the crime problem before then. How are the authorities planning to control the gang activity, the drug problem, and the lack of police control before opening its streets to the world? Does Paul Sotero believe that Rio is the best choice of Brazilian city for the Olympics or would a place such as Curitiba (or any of the other safer, better planned cities) be a better choice?

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Here’s a fantastic image from the White House flickr account.

    “First Lady Michelle Obama greets gymnast Nadia Comaneci, her husband gymnast Bart Connor, left, Paralympic athlete Linda Mastandrea, center-right , and other former Olympians before the Chicago 2016 Dinner in Copenhagen, Denmark, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009. From left in the background; athletes Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bob Berland, David Robinson, Dr. Edwin Moses and Mike Conley. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)”

  • Mark

    Can you imagine the outcry from the Dems if this was George W. Bush taking time out from the US issues and lobbying for a city in Texas?

  • http://www.richardsnotes.org Richard

    Ugh, the image got filtered out. Sorry, here’s the link:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/3969427553/

  • Todd

    Chicago in 2016? Who knows, maybe “drive-by marksmanship” and “spray paint tagging” will be Olympic events by then?

  • Jeff Joll

    What would the weather be like in Rio in August, 2016? Isn’t it winter that time of year in the southern hemisphere? Just wondering.

  • http://onanov.com Donald Baxter, Iowa City

    A mixed blessing at the most. For the years Atlanta spent preparing for the 1996 Olympics, watching the graft, the ridiculous “improvements” made to the city (for instance, hundreds of millions spent on highway construction while warning At…lanta residents to stay out of traffic resulted in clean new and empty highways for two weeks), the scrubbing of the poor off the streets and out of their homes. Vancouver is doing the same. Chicago will do all of this and more.

  • Naomi

    In August I visited Korea and saw how they are still just recovering from being blasted with the Olympics in 1988(?). The Olympics create just as many problems as they solve. Do we really need more problems in Chicago? Let Rio have it- South America has never even had it before!

  • Barbara

    Regarding Rio…Historically, don’t the leaders “ship” the overwhelming homeless population out of the city to hide the problem any time they’re under a microscope? I’d like the leaders of Brazil to address that!

  • Kate

    Hi Jeff, Yes, it would winter in Brazil. It’s not so cold but it can get very wet (depending which month the Olympics are held). Remember Australia held the summer Olympics, too (southern hemisphere).

    Hi Tatiana, I agree, there may be better cities in Brazil- perhaps Florianopolis? The test will be the 2014 World Cup. Let’s see how Rio (and all the other cities do).

    I wish the US would make a strong bid for the the 2018 FIFA World Cup (soccer) instead. It would be multi-city, and all we need are stadiums (which there are good football stadiums). It is watched by the entire planet (except for the US, but the following is growing), attracts high income spectators and sponsors, and doesn’t have the political baggage (and terrorist threats) that the Olympics would have. Sigh… a much better global event for the US.

  • Isernia

    As much as I have enjoyed visiting Chicago with its great transit system and spectacular architecture, my vote is for Rio…maybe because of two rather personal and perhaps flimsy reasons. My grandnephew lives in Brazil and my music preferences are bassanova over the likes of the musical CHICAGO!

  • Chris B

    If the Obamas are as intelligent and politically savvy as I think they are they’re lobbying for the Olympics in public but off camera are begging the IOC to hold them elsewhere.

  • Luis

    If Brazil gets the Olympics what a sweep – first the World Cup (an event that is arguably bigger) then the Olympics – won’t this help Brazil economically?

  • Kara

    Has there been any discussion of the impact of hosting the Olympics on the fast-disappearing Amazon rain forest? Will the need for resources adversely impact the rainforest, or is this an opportunity to bring a greater spotlight on the need for perservation?

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    I feel that hosting the Olympics in Rio is a very bad choice due to their high crime statistics. I feel that President Obama has the right to solicit Chicago as place for the Olympics – it would boost this economy here in the US. It’s a great idea.

  • Clinton

    Would you speakers perhaps comment on the parallels between the World Cup preparations in South Africa and what the Olympics would mean for Rio other than the sparkling facade we get to see. South Africa has been seeming to struggle with infrastructure preparations, and their domestic problems such as crime.
    Thanks.

  • ThresherK

    Can you imagine the outcry from the Dems if this was George W. Bush taking time out from the US issues and lobbying for a city in Texas?

    Imagine all you want, but, uh, no.

    Given that he left office as about the most unpopular (by the public, and historians) Chief Executive in generations, most Dems I know thought that the less Presidenting he did, the better off the country was.

    And Bush took 4-5 days off to be a spectator at the Beijing Olympics without uproar from the right, no?

    Meanwhile, after all the hijinks involved in winning the 2002 Winter Olympics for SLC, Mitt Romney is toting that on his resume bigtime while running for president.

  • Claudia Silva

    Rio definitely has issues and those will not be solved by either having the games or not having them there.
    However, having the games there is like giving an extra push in the direction of solving them, much more than not having would.
    As a brazilian-born American citizen, I think both cities have their fair chance and I’ve decided that my family and I will go to see the games if either city wins!

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    One more thing,

    I understand that America want to help everyone else, but it’s now that we take care of home. The President is making a wise decision in taking interest in Chicago.

    Thanks

  • Kevin

    I say let Rio have the games. As evidenced by the recent lacklustre attendance in Bejing the games don’t necesarily provide the financial boom people expect. And if it does benifit Rio, then good, they could use the help.

    Kevin from Norfolk VA

  • Kate

    Luis, my point *exactly*! The FIFA World Cup has larger viewership! I don’t know why the US isn’t fighting to host the 2018 World Cup instead!

    Compare how the world is tuned in to a World Cup quarter final vs. any Olympic event…

  • Joanna Drzewieniecki

    Viva Rio! The importance for South America of having the Olympics is immense. I think you will find even the poor will be very proud because it recognizes they (Brazilians, South Americans) are on the world map and matter.
    I have been Rio and didn’t have any problems (by the way, it is NOT in the Amazon Rain Forest!). The Latin American Studies Association recently had their meeting there (thousand of people) and no serious problems.

  • Claudia Silva

    Tom – now I’m curious…what is your vote??? :)

  • http://www.iamdark.com Jeanette Michelle

    I do concur. All countries need to come together and discuss issues on how to solve the economy, poverty and etcetera’s, but are these governments willing to do such?

  • Maria

    Rio hosted the 2007 pan American games, with great reviews. They are also hosting part of the World Cup 2014. Infrastructure improvements will be a boon to the millions of sports crazy youth.

    Imagine a samba school inspired opening ceremony, with the percussion section that gets your blood vibrating – its a DONE DEAL!!

  • Graham Gerdeman

    Just catching the last bit of the show… My concern with Rio – and what I would want reassurances on if I were on the Olympic committee – is how they would deal with the much mentioned poverty and crime issues in advance of the Olympics. One would fear for a heavy hand in the slums, where recent history has shown the Brazilian government capable of rather brutal crackdowns. They walled some of the larger ones off from the jungle recently this year, will they wall them off from sight too? Massive arrest campaigns? I would want some assurances of human rights in the run up to the games. Thanks.

  • jonas

    what unmitigated nonsense. How about allowing oppents of the olympics to present their own case instead of having the person paid by the sun-times to promote the olympics?

    How about the hypicrisy of m. obama claiming that that Chicago is a well run city? Tell that to the slum dewellers, espically afroamericans, who can’t get gthe garbage picked up, the streets cleaned, the housing codes enforced, who live under siege from one of the most racist police forces in the US?

    How about a real conversation about the incredible losses left to be picked up by the host cities without any of the benefits so glibly promised in advance.

    There are actually studies done about these things; how about talking about the conclusions of those studies?

    How about discussing that whole neighborhoods of low income people will b e displaced without any alternative places to live (and for that matter, why should a whole neighborhood be forced to be broken up)

    If, as promised by the sun-times hack, obama can get the money for infrastructure, why doesn’t he get it? Only how about getting it for Detroit and other cities that desprately need it? Obama promised that he would get universal health insurance with a public option, not the olympics for chicago.

    What a joke and your coverage of it is a comedy.

  • gina

    I was over the Olympics a long time ago, when it became clear that many of the athletes had little to no claim on amateur status. Is there a shortage of high-ticket professional sports venues? The Olympics of the last two decades seem mostly a huckster’s dream combining Chamber of Commerce boosterism with jingoistic national fervor.

    Two disgusting things pop into my mind about the recent Beijing Olympics. Although on a completely different scale, taken together they capture my feelings about the entire modern-day Olympic enterprise: 1. Blocks and blocks of city-dwellers were hastily evicted so that their homes could be razed – not just to make room for sporting events, but to make the scenery more palatable for tourists. 2. The little girl shown ostensibly singing the national anthem during the extravagant opening ceremonies was actually lip-synching; the seven-year-old who won the grueling competition to sing was told at the last moment that she had been judged not comely enough to be seen on the big screen.

  • Arnold

    I say this as a resident of Chicago: this is all about Daley’s desperate attempt to save his legacy. His administration is most closely associated with corruption and Federal investigations. Lots of fire, but he never gets touched. If the Mormons could run a crooked games, just you wait till Chicago gets hold of it. Chicago has never, never, undertaken a large project without considerable graft, corruption and waste. We are immune to the stories of unparalleled greed and self-dealing because it happens everyday here. We all know someone; cop, alderman, Cook County official, city official, state legislator, governor, … that feels like their paycheck is not adequate compensation so they cut deals.

    What we know from other Olympics is they don’t make money and they cost the citizens of the city, especially those forced out of newly gentrified areas. It’s all show and little substance.

    My feeling is that Obama never would have gone to Denmark if he didn’t have a pretty good feeling that Chicago was going to win. His reputation is in decline, his legislative agenda a tatters; he would run from any association with a losing bid.

  • luxou812

    Do we really want to mess with the stupid Olympics right now??? Don’t we have better things to do? I can’t stand the Olympics anymore. The World Cup would be far better. Much easier to stage, more profitable, and of more interest to the world. Let some emerging Asian country worry about showing-off with the Olympics.

  • luxou812

    meant to say “emerging industrial country” not specifically an Asian country.

  • Lon C Ponschock

    The sports columnist Dave Zirin is all over this story and to very good effect. He points out that Olympics cities are always economic losers and that the Olympics is not a part of anybody’s notion of a recovery program.

    The NPR stations of Wisconsin Public Radio have an excellent interview with Dave aired Tuesday and now on audio stream. The facts that he gives are important to know:

    http://www.wpr.org/webcasting/audioarchives_display.cfm?Code=jca

    See entry for Tuesday 7 AM.

  • jeff

    I guess we’ve taken care of all the problems in the US so we can start to focus on garbage like this.

  • Cory

    I think the president should be impeached for traveling to a foreign country and trying to bring prestige and economic activity to our own. Anyone remember “Dubya” hanging out at the ranch in Crawford clearing brush? There are numerous valid points of disagreement one could have with Obama, this just isn’t one of them.

  • jeff

    Prestige and economy activity, you’re joking.

    Last week, at the UN, he was dragging our prestige through the mud.

    Economic activity; please, show me one Olympics that’s made money including all direct costs.

    No free passes when somebody does something patently stupid.

  • Michael

    people advocating against having it in the U.S. are majority Parisian that’s all. pretty simple to see.

    If he didn’t go they be complaining that he’s not American enough to want it here.

    here someone agreeing with the President that you might have thought would not.

    Former Massachusetts governor and head of the 2002 Olympic Organizing Committee Mitt Romney says President Obama is doing exactly what needs to be done by flying to Denmark to lobby for the Olympics to come to Chicago in 2016.

    Romney tells ABC News that having a sitting president make a personal pitch can make an enormous difference to the 106 members of the International Olympic Committee.

    “I think the people in the IOC want to understand the level of the commitment of the host country,” Romney said. “Does the host country really care? Is this going to be a high priority? And nothing says that like having the presence of the leader of that country and, particularly, the case of Barack Obama.”

    Mitt Romney
    http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2009/10/01/mitt-romney-speaks-sense-on-obama-olympics/?cxntfid=blogs_jay_bookman_blog

    yet leave it to the repugs to turn it partisan,

    guess who is pushing against it?

    House Minority Leader John Boehner complained about it, criticizing Obama for “going to go off to Copenhagen when we’ve got serious issues here at home that need to be debated.”

    Sean Hannity showed video of a fatal gang beating in Chicago — he showed it three times in all — then claimed that with Obama’s decision to go to Denmark, the beating story had somehow “turned political,” attempting to create a linkage that would give him an excuse to show that violent video over and over again.

    as for the saying liberals would be against bush doing it is laugable. I would hope least Americans to come together to have the Olympics here.

    Leave it to the bigots to find anything to say no to obama no matter how foolish they sound.

    “Chicago in 2016? Who knows, maybe “drive-by marksmanship” and “spray paint tagging” will be Olympic events by then?” as such below.

    haha good one ,you come up with this all by yourself or you hear it on foxs?

    or

    another laughable comment

    “I guess we’ve taken care of all the problems in the US so we can start to focus on garbage like this.”

    I was brought up to believe the Olympics and U.S. winning Olympic gold medals as having pride in your country and hosting it is a honor.

    maybe someone could come up with a right wing talking point organizational chart and see how much it’s drones follow it to a T.

  • jeff

    You’ve been brought up naive, that much is clear.

    The Olympics is about money, for the IOC and the amateur athletes. Our economy in shambles and you want to waste taxpayer money on some 2-week corporate love-fest. Not me.

    You see partisanship whereever you look, that says more about you than anything else.

  • Alex

    Judging by some of the comments here, Republicans are bitter and angry. That means Obama is doing something right. Not nearly enough, though. The current opposition is more like the Theater of the Absurd. Keep it up, Mr President and maybe I will vote for you next time.

  • Brett

    The Olympics is an idea whose time has past. The behind the scenes prep for such an event and the nationalism promotion during seem to perpetuate something of which our world has truly had enough.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Bottom line the Olympics is a loss for any city that hosts them. It’s a huge waste of resources at a time when we can ill afford to be doing so. From what I have read the majority of good people of Chicago are not for this anyway.

    Obama should be here, doing his bidding for the American people. Oh I forgot he already sold us out on health care.

  • Alex

    I love this line from a recent Jon Stuart show: “Democrats are thinking three failures ahead.” That’s beautiful.

  • Natalie

    No wonder he’s there, he’s more popular there than he is here. The Danish know a good socialist when they see one.

  • Alex

    Poor Danish. They must be dropping like flies there. I mean, picture it. A viking drops dead right in the long rationed healthcare line because his Primary Care Physician received orders from a death panel to kill him off. Do you see a possible movie franchise here?

  • Louise

    Unemployment is at nearly 10% (a 26 year high). Home foreclosures are up. Afghanistan is crumbling. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda are reforming and on the move. The dollar is at an all time low in value while the federal deficit is at an all time high. With Obama failing so miserably on so many fronts, it’s no wonder he wants to “change” the subject. Live it up while you can Obama because in about three years, the American people are going to vote you out of office and you will then be able to pursue a career which you are much more qualified for, like door-greeter at Wal-Mart.

  • Alex

    Since January 21:
    The Dow is up almost 20%;
    Nasdaq is up almost 43%;
    S&P 500 is up almost 28%.

    It’s time those Wall Street freeloaders said “thank you, Mr. President for saving our behinds from People’s bayonets.”

  • jeff

    Too bad I had to cash in my 401k because I lost my job and the value of my home tanked. When do I get my Scandinavian vacation?

  • Alex

    In order to get a Scandinavian vacation you would have to have Scandinavian socialism. I was in Thailand two years ago and most of the people there were the Australians, Germans and Scandinavians spending their 6-week vacations there.

    I, personally, have never had a 401K, but I, too, pulled my savings from the stock market two years ago. Lost everything I had previously made, but kept my principal intact.

  • Cory

    I’ll agree with Brett that the whole olympic thing is a bit of an anachronism, and doesn’t hold much interest for me.

    But are we really going to play the “count our problems” game every time a president plays a round of golf or spends a few days at Camp David? Obama is a phone or teleconference away from being anywhere in the world… in seconds! I think he even has his own jet! Jeff and Louise are bordering on hysteria. Don’t worry folks, I promise he’ll come back.

    I think you guys are practicing overkill. He isn’t getting real healthcare reform, he is still pursuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it would seem unlikely considering the previous two that he will win re-election. Conservatives have robustly proven their point: America belongs to the conservatives, even when they are in the minority.

  • Alex

    “Conservatives have robustly proven their point: America belongs to the conservatives, even when they are in the minority.”

    I disagree. There is too much money riding on the outcome of our “debates” for me to believe that it is People’s conservatism that’s driving things right now. If the conservatives have proven anything, it is that they are much better skilled, organized and financed. Good for them. Or rather good for those who finance them.

  • Louise

    “Oh I forgot, he (Obama) already sold us out on health care” -Foghorn Leghorn. The only person Obama has sold out Mr. Foghorn Leghorn, are the bird brains like who were stupid enough to vote for him. It looks like your liberal messiah, has really laid an egg.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Louise how do you know who I voted for. I never said I voted for anyone.

    I can do without the silly insults, your comments are always more diatribes than anything else.
    They are the rantings of someone who seems to harbor a deep hatred for the human race. I feel sorry for you, your kind of pathetic.

  • Louise

    Foghorn Leghorn, Ha! You aren’t fooling anyone with your new moniker P.S. First you name yourself after a really lame 1969 movie and now you name yourself after a bird brain cartoon character. Your whole world is one big cartoon, only problem for you is, you’re not very funny.

  • Kathrine

    I love Brazil and have lived in certain parts as my husband is brazilian. However I know Rio is a very dangerous place for tourists. I visited Rio twice in the past couple years because I needed to go to the consulate and both times I was teriffied walking down the street or even driving from the airport into the city. There is cops with machine guns walking the streets and garding the highway its a very frightening place for a tourist. As a “gringo” you hear the stories of Rio’s cops beating tourists and robbing them. If Brazil has the money to host the olympics then they should have the money to stop the ceruption in the country, build better hospitals, and help the people that are forced to beg for money all along the beach. There are other parts of brazil that are much more beautiful and the people their are not just looking to rob who ever walks beside them speaking a different language, why of all the states in Brazil is Rio up for the bid of olympics.

  • Michael

    Maybe the teabaggers can come and protest the Olympics so the world can see how foolish them and most of the republican party is.

    Hey Louise can you take the day off from McDonald to go and protest? :)

    Jeff, suxs for you, funny how the government is supporting you since you lost your job.

    “Too bad I had to cash in my 401k because I lost my job and the value of my home tanked. When do I get my Scandinavian vacation?”

    Should have been more responsible and followed or switched your 401k to a less risky fund.

    whats that word “personal responsibility” maybe you should try it

    My 401k is actually creeping back up was down 25% now down about 5%. My Sergent whose also is a CFA

    yes the Olympics have become all about the money for many athletes and corporations have high jacked many, but also a beacon for many youth’s to be there, also the ability for many Americans who may never be able to travel outside the country the ability to be there and watch history being made.

    Cutting out many of the Military contractors we over pay would easily pay for such as well as forcing hedge fund managers to pay the standard tax rate instead of cap gains rates(which is less than the middle class pays) would do so as well.

  • Michael

    My 401k is actually creeping back up was down 25% now down about 5%. My Sergent whose also is a CFA who advised to always follow your 401k.

  • Richard Johnston

    It is embarrassing that such an essentially trivial event should take the President’s attention at this critical moment. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

  • Alex

    Somebody above has already noted that Bush went to the Chinese Olympics to just sit and watch. Ironically, Russian forces were crossing the border of our ally, Georgia, right about the time Bush was meeting with Putin in Beijing. Actually, I did not think there was anything wrong with Bush’s presence there, unlike his frequent vacations in Crawford.

  • Louise

    Michael, you can’t spell, you can’t compose complete sentences, you can’t even write coherent sentences, pity you had to drop out of the second grade. But don’t worry michael, as long as you live, you should be proud of the fact that you are the main reason why abortions will remain legal.

  • MIchael

    So Louise I’m guessing McDonald’s wouldn’t give you the day off than?

    I’m guessing your either very young or very dumb, both most likely the case. do you even have a job?

    Do you even read what you say? come on most your responses are weak at best,as well as something i would hear in high school. what next you going to bag on my momma?

    If anything you haven’t had a single coherent sentences since you started posting.

    “But don’t worry michael, as long as you live, you should be proud of the fact that you are the main reason why abortions will remain legal.”

    Do explain? wait that would require thought, sorry should have known better. I assume your the reason why people use condoms.

    The only good thing about your posting is the comic relief you provide with your out there, as well as your misinformed comments.

    But i’m starting to think it’s intentional cause no one can be that dumb. I would give you more respect if you actually explain yourself. But sadly this is not the case.

    anyways we will find out soon if the Olympics are coming to Chicago

  • Louise

    Michael, you really need to stop wearing tight underwear, it’s restricting the flow of blood to your brain.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    I say, I say Louise your comments are just cheap juvenile diatribes, period.

    You think your being clever and seem to lack any sense of humor hand yet I find your posts so hilarious. It’s says a lot when someone uses toilet humor to back up their political philosophy. I can see you in a nice Brown shirt.

  • gina

    People, please don’t feed the troll.

  • Brett

    Now, gina, don’t wrongfully malign trolls!

  • Louise

    Foghorn Leghorn (P.S.) and gina would make a perfect couple, bottom feeders need love to.

  • Louise

    I would say to you Foghorn Leghorn, you would like nice in a straight-jacket, but you’re already wearing one.

  • Brett

    Now, Louise, please remember the proper assignment of pronouns. And, please, keep in mind that when YOU look in the mirror and see YOURSELF in a straight jacket, it is YOU reflected in that image. It must be so difficult to know where YOU end and the external world begins…

  • Louise

    Brett, your the stupid one, Obama just keeps bending you over boy and reaming it up your “rear entrance” and all you can say is, “Thank you sir. May I have another one”?

  • Louise

    It’s amazing that you can still walk upright Brett.

  • Yolanda

    I listened to this program, and I was excited at the prospect of new jobs for hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans, and a tremendous ripple effect through the US economy, which is obviously still suffering under the effects of the Bush-McCain Depression.

    My heart sank when the Committee announced its decision, not only because of what it meant for our country, but because of what it said about the position of our globe today. It is sad that the Committee punished our country because of what can only appear to be racial biases. “An Olympic Games in a predominantly African-American city, being sold to us by an African-American trifecta of the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey?! No thank you!!” Why don’t we just replace the five rings with a giant Confederate flag?!

    I, for one, will refuse to watch these games until there is a full investigation of the Committee’s behavior. Is anyone questioning whether Mitt Romney called in a few favors to embarass our President? What about the health care industry and Fox News? The politics of hate will and must fail.

  • Marc

    I’m ambivalent about having the Olympics in Chicago. I think it’s an economic liability. On the other hand, it is a signal to the world that things here may have changed (hopefully by then). I suppose I err on the side of not wanting it. Given our economy, we can’t afford it.

    I’m not a fan of Obama. His failure to change health care (so far), dragging us further into Afghanistan and the massive amount of debt he’s given us make him worse than Bush and I didn’t think that was possible. However, I don’t see why he can’t continue to deal with the economy, health care and other issues while traveling to sell the IOC on Chicago as an Olympic site. There are so many substantive things he’s messing up, picking on something like this loses the focus.

    BTW, at the beginning of this, I predicted it would be viewed as a racist move by the IOC. I figured the victimization industry wouldn’t let this one pass. However, it was good to see only few comments claiming that we failed because the IOC were a bunch of racists. Who knows, maybe we’re growing up.

  • millard-fillmore

    I’m glad Madrid didn’t get it. Juan Antonio Samaranch can go suck a lollipop. Yay Brazil!!!

    What has stupid Spain given to the world, except colonization and destruction of natives, in their lust for bling-bling? And they still promote the inhumane and cruel custom of bull-fighting.

  • Brett

    Louise,
    Your humor is shifting from a preoccupation with bodily excretions to pornographic allusions! You have quite an economy of thought, in a manner of speaking.

  • Brett

    Yolanda,
    Let’s see, you claim ‘racial biases’ because the committee chose Rio de Janeiro over Chicago? And, on a lesser point: do you really believe that having the Olympics in the US would have meant ‘hundreds of thousands of jobs of Chicagoans’ ? Or even a ‘tremendous ripple effect through the US economy’ ?

  • Putney Swope

    Yolanda are you serious? Seems to me that Brazil has a pretty diverse population. They also know how to throw a party.

    Yolanda you should rent Black Orpheus as a starting point in educating yourself on the people and culture of Brazil. Then rent City of God (Cidade de Deus), two films worth checking out.

    I only hope Rio wont end up like a lot of other cities who host the Olympics, broke.

    Still I think it’s great that they gave it the South American country, which has not hosted these games until Rio was chosen. Yolanda your very selective in your “diversity”.

  • Yolanda

    Hmmm….have any of you ever looked at the skin color of the president of Brazil? Now look at the skin color of our President. Tell me what’s different between the two of them.

    Thank you for the condescending suggestions from you learned men that this little ole’ female actually educate herself about something. I am well aware of the demographics of Brazil, thank you. Can you assure me that the IOC was, as well?

    As US citizens, unless we unite in our calls for a full investigation of the IOC’s decision, this shameful attack on our President and his beautiful wife will continue to stand. I urge all of you to get involved by a) writing to your Congresswoman or man to demand a FULL investigation, and b) boycott those purveyors of anti-US, retrogressive hate in the media that reveled in the announcement that the people of Chicago would be denied their due.

    Chicagoans had the wisdom to turn Mr. Obama’s energies towards politics when they sent him to the Illinois Senate so many years ago. And this is how the international community repays them?!!

  • Brett

    Yolanda,
    SO, now, in addition to being racist for liking Mad Men/being wary of some of Obama’s decisions, I’m sexist for disagreeing with you/ thinking your reasoning is unsound about this blog topic? I wasn’t being condescending, I was asking you to support your opinions. Instead of offering any, you turn it into a case of sexism?!

    Your calls for US citizens to rise up and demand an investigation of the IOC and a boycott of all media outlets that weren’t outraged in their reporting the news of Chicago not getting the Olympics, well, are RIDICULOUS! (And I already don’t listen to conservative talk radio and TV, anyway.) So I’ll continue to “boycott” Fox, Rush and Sean, then, if that helps any, and if anybody feels inclined to contact their representatives in Congress, perhaps a better way to devote energy would be to let their voice be heard about healthcare.

    Are Chicagoans truly due anything beyond what anyone else is due? The IOC doesn’t “owe” them or the US or Obama or Michelle anything.

    Once again: can you substantiate your claim at all that the IOC acted out of a racial bias or an anti-American mindset in making their decision? Your remark about Brazil’s president’s skin tone hardly supports that claim. (And is actually a tad offensive.) President Lula is by no means white; in fact, when Gordon Brown went to Brazil to broker a deal with him to bail out world trade, Lula lashed out by saying, ‘white, blue-eyed bankers have brought the world economy to its knees!’

  • Yolanda

    The IOC’s decision–and it’s rejection of the Obamas, who made a heart-felt and moving presentation to the Committee–speaks for itself.

    As for whether President da Silva–There are myriad examples from pretty much every society of lighter-skinned people receiving favoritism. I don’t see why we would expect the IOC to be different. All I’m asking for is a fair-minded investigation of the IOC. If the Committee can indeed prove that racism did not factor into its decision, then a boycott is certainly not warranted.

    Finally, Chicago is CERTAINLY owed something “beyond what anyone else is due.” Can you honestly tell me that, if Texas had a bid city, it would be deserving?! Or Alaska?! Or Arizona?!! Populations’ political inclinations should certainly be a factor in these decisions, otherwise we are rewarding support for capitalism, sexism, racism, and all other kinds of retrogression.

  • Brett

    Yolanda,
    More likely, if anything negatively influenced the decision, it’s that the IOC is still at odds with the USOC for unresolved financial disputes. (They have had some problems in the past over revenue, broadcasting rights and improprieties.) It is really simply a situation where President Lula gave a more impassioned plea that it is unfair South America has never hosted the games, and this appealed to IOC members’ consciences. He said, ‘…it is time to address this imbalance…it is time to light the Olympic cauldron in a tropical country…’

    I believe Obama’s main purpose to bring the Olympics to the US was sincere in perhaps wanting to help re-establish US relations with the world after the Bush presidency, but I think Brazil’s position was more compelling to the IOC. The mission of the IOC has more to do with ensuring that the representation of countries hosting the Olympics is well distributed than in helping a country repair its reputation. Besides, the US has hosted four times in the history of the Olympics.

    In as much as I would never want to defend the politics of Texas, Alaska or Arizona, I’m sure there are plenty of people in cities of those states as deserving of an economic boon as Chicago. (Although, the Olympics would be more of a bust than boon!)

  • Yolanda

    1) I’m sure there are some in Texas, Alaska, and Arizona who are deserving of an economic boom, but the numbers in Chicago who are deserving make up a larger proportion of the population there.

    2) I’m confused–why would President Obama and the government of Chicago be so in favor of an Olympics in the city if they were going to be an economic “bust?!” That seems to imply irrationality on the leaders’ part.

    This country could have really used those Olympics, not just because our economy is hurting as a result of the Bush-McCain-Palin Recession (although it is getting better everyday now, thankfully), but because I’m sure that those months in 2016 will be a profoundly sad time for this country, as we must endure the prospect of watching two candidates jostling and politicking to succeed our current President. The real fight for reform will be the elimination of the un-democratic 22nd Amendment, but that’s a different topic entirely.

  • Brett

    Yolanda,
    1) I was speaking of a “boon” to their respective economies which, historically, never seem to get realized in cities where the games have been held. Poor, working people don’t ever seem to benefit from the Olympics coming to their areas; in fact, they are generally further marginalized by being pushed out of their communities to make way for the usual gentrification process that is associated with the games. You also seem to only want to consider helping people who are struggling economically as being those who have the same ideology as you.

    2) You either missed or dismissed my point that if there was ever anything positive Obama was trying to do in championing the Olympics coming to Chicago, it was to help repair the world’s perception of the US after Bush. If there was reasoning to bring economic help to Chicago, it could very well be perceived as irrational. The historic stats on economic plusses for hosting the games just don’t add up, which indicates Obama had other motives, not the least of which would indicate he thought being a presence at the games would be a nice cap to his leaving office.

    3) McCain and Palin can be criticized for many things, neither is responsible for this recession, however. The 22nd Amendment is an important one to keep; it would be foolish to devote energy to repealing that!

  • Yolanda

    Even if the 22nd Amendment would prevent President Obama from serving us for a third term and beyond?!! If you want to turn over this country to right-wing reactionaries, be my guest, but I prefer to fight for my rights!! Keep an eye out for this issue; we will soon be organizing for it, and all of us who are thinking and compassionate individuals will need to support it.

    President Obama’s past service as a community organizer suggests to me that your analysis of how Olympic Games impact society’s downtrodden is likely incorrect. If the President, who has an intimate knowledge of urban poverty, was supporting an event that would have harmed the interests of the poor, then your suggestion is that he was either misguided or was only interested in further the interests of the greedy rich. Either suggestion is baseless.

    And defenses of Herr McCain and Fraulein Palin are best left to Glenn Beck’s message board.

  • Yolanda

    Oh, and those voters in the places I mentioned have never shown any interest in helping society’s downtrodden; their only interest is accumulation through capitalist theft and subterfuge. Why I would then want to help them is beyond me.

  • Brett

    You really think what I said about McCain and Palin was defending them? I would ask you to defend the idea that the US economy tanking was their fault, but I’ve heard your justifications. I suppose your statements’ truths are self-evident. Comments that are at odds with yours should not be on here? Should be on Beck’s message boards? That is a very intolerant view…It is your “right” to have a president serve beyond two terms? Amazing!

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

RECENT
SHOWS
Apr 22, 2014
This undated handout photo, taken in 2001, provided by the Museum of the Rockies shows a bronze cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known as the Wankel T.rex, in front of the Museum of the Rockies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Mont. (AP)

As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack in the town of Suwayrah, 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, April 21, 2014. Suicide bombings and other attacks across Iraq killed and wounded dozens on Monday, officials said, the latest in an uptick in violence as the country counts down to crucial parliament elections later this month. (AP)

We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Week In Seven Soundbites: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Holy week with an unholy shooter. South Koreans scramble to save hundreds. Putin plays to the crowd in questioning. Seven days gave us seven sounds.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: April 18, 2014
Friday, Apr 18, 2014

Space moon oceans, Gabriel García Márquez and the problems with depressing weeks in the news. Also: important / unnecessary infographics that help explain everyone’s favorite 1980′s power ballad.

More »
Comment
 
Some Tools And Tricks For College Financial Aid
Thursday, Apr 17, 2014

Some helpful links and tools for navigating FAFSA and other college financial aid tools.

More »
Comment