Category Archives: olympics

>OBSERVATION: Chicago Olympics? Not likely.

>According to the latest reports, of the four finalist cities, Chicago is in third place in public support for the Olympics with a luke warm 74 percent. Madrid takes the gold with 90 percent public support. Rio de Janeiro is second with 77 percent, and Tokyo is out of medal range with an embarrassing 59 percent support. The people of Tokyo hosted a summer Olympics in the past. Should their lack of enthusiasm tell us something?

So far, the Chicago Olympic bid is generating nothing but positive civic booster publicity. So much so, that it is ominous that one-fourth of the public is not enthused. I suspect Rio will boost its ranking and Chicago will slip a bit as some of the downsides and objectors begin to surface.

The two big factors are money and infrastructure. While the Chicago Olympic committee talks about the enormous inflow of case from the quadrennial event, most Chicagoans know that optimistic economic b—s— is the standard in Chicago.

There is the case of the enormous cost overruns for Millennium Park and the short fall in the Grant Park parking garage as a source of funding. One of the major reasons Mayor Daley wants the Chicago Children’s Museum in Grant Park is to shore up the garage revenues – and that probably will be the next disappointment. The foredoomed bottle tax is generating only 25 percent of the revenue the smarty-guy economic forecasters predicted.

It is almost beyond debate that Olympic costs will soar and revenues will fall very short of projections, IF Chicago is selected by the International Olympic Committee. It is the Chicago way.
While much has been said about private sector funding of the Olympic bid, a lot more taxpayer money will be spent than anyone in City Hall will admit. And even the so-called private funding will be provided by CEOs from the corporate treasury – indiscriminately using stockholder money instead of their own. Again, it is the Chicago way.

The lust for the Olympics does not come from grass-level civic pride, but rather from elitist insiders who see the international games as the next cash cow/ego trip. For the Mayor, it is a jewel in the career crown, with tons of dinero to spread around to friends. There are those who will enjoy enormous financial windfalls, and those who will get all the front row seats and headtable assignments — and those who will get both. The only people who will be left out of the goodies are those paying the tab. Taxpayers and corporate shareholders will be footing the bill, but left fighting for a few tickets in the upper decks. The Chicago way.

If I am correct, however, the only money that will be wasted is the taxpayer and shareholder contributions to the Olympic bid effort. There is an overriding reason Chicago will not get the Olympics, in my opinion. It is C-O-R-R-U-P-T-I-O-N. The political/business environment of Chicago is just too greedy and crooked to be trusted to handle the Olympics.

Perhaps we locals are used to operating within this culture of corruption, but we cannot expect the OIC to embrace our low standards of public service and political performance. The international folks are not fitted with the same civic blinders that prevent us locals from seeing the corruption and criminality that characterizes our political culture.

As Olympic plans move forward, it is likely that controversy will ensue. Who is getting appointed to what? And why? Wired in contracts. Dislocation of neighborhoods. Disruption and environmental denigration of green space.

There is also the emboldenment of the civic community in response to the increasingly autocratic style of the Mayor. The night time destruction of Meigs and the forced imposition of the Children’s Museum in Grant Park were victories for the Mayor. In their wake, however, there appears to be an anti-Daley coalition forming. Behind closed doors, many civic activists see the sinking of the Mayor’s pet Olympic project as the perfect retribution. Given the natural problems the Chicago bid already faces, it will not take a lot of civic turmoil to scare off the OIC.

There is also the question of “the great uncertainty.” The IOC will make the final decision in 2009, but they must envision the Chicago of 2016. Given the growing financial crises at the city and county levels, and the uncertainty of the power of the historic Democrat machine, there is ever reason to question whether Chicago can provide the longer term stability the IOC would be seeking.

If you have any desire to be in the stands for the 2016 Olympics, I would book a flight to Rio.

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>SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT!! Skullduggery in Chicago Olympic bid.

>Rumors abound that not only is Chicago Mayor Richard Daley attempting to bamboozle the International Olympic Committee to award the 2016 games to Chicago to save his political posterior in the wake of the unending string of scandals, but he is secretly attempting to introduce new events to the IOC which are designed to ensure that Chicagoans and Illinoisans win a disproportionate share of gold, silver and bronze medals. Other Illinois officials have joined in the effort to lobby the IOC

They have secretly proposed the introduction of a series of Olympic “civic” events. Due to my dogged sleuthing (even out doing The Drudge Report), I am now able to reveal the details of this plot. Here are the events they have proposed.

Job Placement I (cronyism): This event is simply judged on the number of political pals placed on the public payroll. Contestants are judged on not only the number, but also the rank and pay scale of the placed employees. Yet to be settled is the inclusion or exclusion of lucrative contract holders. Some argue that this is already incorporated in the Public Trough Feeding event (see below). With its long and colorful history of raw politics, Chicago has obvious advantages over other contenders. Several of the strongest players were previous winners of the World Shakman Cup.

Job Placement II (nepotism): This event is similar to Job Placement I except it deals only with the number of family members placed on the public payroll. With major politicians claiming so many “cousins,” qualification verification is expected to be difficult. Cook County President Todd Stroger is already in training and could be a strong contender. However, he will be hard pressed to challenge the long established Irish politicos, who literally invented the sport. The Mayor is pushing to have his brothers judge this event.

Under the Table Kick-Back: Government employees, in performing their civil duties are judged on how much money they can secure from citizens in need of services, permits, etc. Volunteered bribery, while quite lucrative, is excluded from the competition. The stack-o-cash qualifying event requires participants to secure the greatest amount of cash in the shortest amount of time – and no bill more than $100.

Official Corruption Marathon: This is the big kahuna of the proposed new events, with all-star competitors. Winners will be judged on the number of scandals that occur directly under their administrative rule. Indictments and convictions will be especially useful. Mayor Daley, himself, would have been a run-away favorite for the gold in this category, but Governor Rod Blagojevich is making a serious effort for the top medal. Many thought this event would be a Democrat sweep. However, Republican jail-bound Governor George Ryan looks like a potential medal winner. The Nobel Prize nomination is not expected to hurt his chances for a corruption award. He is also the only contender actually convicted of corruption. This could put him in contention for a gold medal. However, it is no small irony that the gold medal in this event will not be won according to the rules, but will most likely be stolen by the person most adroit at breaking the rules.

The Featherbed Beer Run: Government workers are judged on the most unproductive hours on payroll. Extra points can be gained by being totally away from the work environment while being paid. Back room card games, sports events and motel trysts are among the more popular work day escapes. The event gets its name for the propensity of government to employ needless workers, and the ubiquitous beer guzzling that takes on shift. There is a major loss of points for being the subject of the semi annual newspaper expose on malingering public workers. Instead of the traditional Olympic medal, the winner of this event will receive a gold brick.

Education Dodge Ball: The winner of this event will be determined by the number of public school children who will go uneducated. While drop-out rates are significant, the big point gainer is actually graduating an uneducated student in the “social promotion.” Overall winners will have to do well in the “phony truant report” event. The medals in this event are almost certain to fall to the major American cities. Look for Chicago, once declared to be the worst school system in America, to be a top contender for the gold.

Public Trough Feeding Frenzy: This is one of the few proposed events where well-connected private citizens will compete. Contestants will be judged on both the number of contracts and the total cumulative value. Extra points will be given as part of the ‘Inferior Work Rip-Off” event. Inferior work resulting in permanent injury or death of innocent people can boost the point score significantly. Look for Tony Rezko and Bill Cellini to duke it out for the gold in this one, with Bill Kjellander picking up the bronze.

Airport Demolition Smack Down: This is likely to be a relatively exclusive event. Spectacular as it can be, there are very few contenders – especially if military bombings are eliminated from the event, as Mayor Daley demands. He is arguably the world’s leading civilian airport destroyer, and would mostly likely pick up the gold.

Taxpayer Raping: Always popular with the political contestants. Here public officials are judged not only on the sheer level of taxation, but on creativity as well. Hidden taxes, in the form of mandates, will garner extra points. Misuse of taxpayer money also can produce additional points. More points for tax increases which do not improve services, and even more if services are reduced in the face of the tax increase. Many consider higher taxes for fewer services to be the Holy Grail in this event. For those anticipating a salacious contest please be aware that the name is only symbolic.

Jailhouse Torture Tournament: In this event, contestants will be judged both on the number of people they can torture in the shortest time and the effective use of torture devices. Special emphasis is on creativity and effectiveness. Yet to be decided is whether contestants will be allowed to use any device, as an indication of creativity (the City Hall preference), or be limited to such devices as electric generators, billy clubs (a long Chicago sports tradition), rubber hoses, brass knuckles. Maximum pain with minimum physical evidence is important. There is some controversy over anal penetration events. It is more a matter of esthetics than effectiveness. John Burge is a local favorite for the gold, but some say there are many more currently unknown contenders.

Minority Profiling Relay: Another of the so-called “law enforcement events,” it will require contestants to carry innocent minority individuals through the judicial system – from driving tickets to false imprisonment. Special points are given for false arrests and advancing cases that have no merit whatsoever. Sub-events, such as “evidence planting” and “prosecutorial abuse,” will be key to victory. Contestants with racial profiling experience are expected to dominate this event.

Cops as Robbers on the Run: This law enforcement event is strictly for police officers. Winners are determined by the amount of cash and the cash value of merchandise stolen from the public. Additional points are given for pocketing evidence form the scene of a crime, and even more for stealing evidence out of the police lock up. While accepting bribes for not issuing tickets is included, such low level corruption will not take a medal.

Mafia Marksmanship: Though the Mob has been out of practice in recent years, it was felt that, with Chicago’s Capone reputation, there should be a least one event honoring so many great Chicago personalities. Only “made” mobsters, with funny nicknames, are eligible. There are two major events. The first requires the accumulation of “intimidation money.” Extra points for money extracted as a result of severe beatings, with permanent injury good for bonus points. However, killing the victim is a disqualifier. Rules forbid accidental killing, and planned killing falls into the second major Majia event – and will be much more exciting for the audience. It measures the number of hits. Wounding does not qualify. The Whack Job event is judged on the importance of the decedent, the method of extermination and creative body disposal. Team Hoffa could be real contenders. Flawless from hit to disposal. On the other hand, Team Spilotro lacks Olympic stature. Nice hit, but botched burial. Didn’t they know that every two-bit amateur killer buries the bodies in Indiana? The names of the judges in this event are being withheld since the first three named are now missing – perhaps to Olympic training.

Rejected Events: A number of City Hall’s recommended events did not make it past first review by the IOC. The proposed Friend Shedding event was to judge contestants by the number of friends cut off in the face of scandal. The rapidity of such excommunications was to be a major consideration. However, this event was vetoed by the Committee because it appeared to have been proposed solely to insure Mayor Daley a gold medal. The same fate befell the proposed Official Public Temper Tantrum event — for the same reason.

In a similar vein, the Nutty Official event, proposed by Governor Blagojevich, will not be considered due to his pre-emption of the field. The Governor tried to convince the Committee that being recognized as a gold medal nut would be good for his career. To draw a comparison, the Governor explained how having almost every member of the legislature vote against his tax package was his greatest legislative victory. However, the IOC determined that the very idea to be a bit nutty.

The IOC also rejected Todd Stoger’s suggestion of a medal for Not So Bright Offspring of Powerful Politicians. They did not feel it was a very bright idea. In fact, they were not ever sure what the event would be. On the same basis, the OIC summarily rejected former Governor Ryan’s proposal for an event designed for Nobel Prize Nominees Currently in Jail.

State and city officials are lobbying hard against the proposed Convicted Public Official event. In this event, contestants would be judged on the number of public officials they have indicted and convicted. More points for higher-ranking officials. Though his would undoubtedly bring the gold to Illinois, city and state official believe the competition would generate too much enthusiasm among prosecutors, and could deplete the state and local governments of most of the current public officials. Mayor Daley argues that this event would be a set up for U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who, according to the Mayor, is not even his cousin.

Finally, the IOC rejected City Hall’s suggestion for a Snow Removal Race noting that this was the summer Olympics. The Mayor countered that he has several cousins with snow making equipment who would cover the course in several feet of snow. “Nobody knows how to do a snow job better then we do,” the Mayor argued.