2016

So Close…

The countdown to the Olympic announcement inches forward.  The current tally: 9 hours, 8 minutes, 2 seconds.

I have been scanning new stories on a continual basis to get the buzz.  The cliff noted findings: Very very close, but if forced to pick just one, odds makers say Chicago wins.  However, experts also note that front-runner status at the very end is often a negative characteristic.  Oy.

Obama to Denmark

Countdown to the Announcement: 3 days, 23 hours, 4 minutes. And all the Chicago supporters get a little more excited

Obama would be the first U.S. president to take on such a direct role in lobbying for an Olympics event. […]

Obama is also mobilizing his administration on behalf of Chicago’s bid. Senior adviser Jarrett, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, will also be joining the president and first lady in Copenhagen. All are from Illinois.

They join a Chicago contingent already packed with more star power than a Hollywood red carpet.

The first lady is one of the few people who rivals her husband in visibility, and she’ll be joined by talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who trails only Angelina Jolie on Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 list, a ranking of the rich and famous’ most powerful.

Also, in case you haven’t gotten a chance to see the Chicago plans in detail, here’s the best 5 minute video explaining where everything would be with cool renderings…

Chicago 2016…The Countdown…

The Chicago 2016 decision will final reach its apex in a mere 7 days and 15 hours.  Or so the Countdown To The Decision tells me.

On that note, here is humourous, well-written email I recieved second-hand…good stuff…

From: A Creative Mind <Redacted@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 8:15 AM
Subject:
To: A Less Creative Mind <Redacted@gmail.com>

Dear International Olympic Committee

When you meet in Copenhagen on October 2nd to determine to location of the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, I’ll ask that you keep the following in mind re: Chicago’s bid.

First and foremost, we. kick. ass. We are ballers. We are juggernauts of sport, commerce and leisure. We suck the marrow out of life and piss excellence. Our hospitality and generosity will leave you in awe.

We have over 200 annual parades and our 77 distinct and thoroughly amazing neighborhoods include 27 miles of breathtaking beaches. We have the world’s largest outdoor food festival with cuisine from every imaginable culture on the face of Planet Earth. We have the world’s longest avenue and Chicago is the second largest Polish city in the world after Warsaw. Our city library is the largest in the world. We invented roller skates, the skyscraper, Playboy, Twinkies, Crackerjacks, the sustained nuclear chain reaction, and McDonalds. We have hosted two World’s Fairs and reversed an entire river. We are American as apple pie. Hell, we probably invented that too.

We are proud that the first Chicagoan was half French, half Haitian – Jean Bapstiste Point DuSable – lending credit to our incredible history as being part of France, Great Britain, and yes, Connecticut. Enjoy our jazz and blues. Let Lollapalooza BLOW YOUR MIND. Watch an entire river be dyed green, and then praise Gospel Fest until your soul aches. Go ahead and soothe that soul with God’s gift to humanity – deep dish pizza.

We are proud of the fact that in no other city, and in no other country, could the story of the current leader of our Great Republic be told. Or Oprah’s. Or Jordan’s. Ditka, Sweetness and the Fridge are GODS and constitute, in our minds, the fourth great Western religion. Come to Soldier Field and fall down on your knees in worship. Let your tears of joy and wonder trickle down Lake Shore Drive and soak into our farms and fields that feed half of humanity.

We have the 4th largest GDP of all world cities (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=454910) and are consistently ranked as an Alpha world city (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city). The breadth and sure awesomeness of our ethnic and religious diversity is matched only by our fucking phenomenal architecture, world renowned museums and vaunted halls of higher education. Illinois doesn’t have mountains. So we built some. We are the crossroads of an entire continent. New Englanders, New Yorkers, Germans, Poles, Finns, Swedes and the Irish laid the groundwork for what would become one of the most diverse cities in the history of mankind.

Daniel Burnham summed up the spirit of Chicago best: “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” In short, go big or go home. We are, as Carl Sandberg said:

Hog butcher for the world,
Tool maker, stacker of wheat,
Player with railroads and the Nation’s freight handler,
STORMY, HUSKY, BRAWLING,
City of big shoulders.

Give us a shot, IOC, and you won’t be disappointed. Illinois is Algonquin for “tribe of superior men,” and we tend not to disappoint. We’ll even overlook the fact you awarded us the Olympics in 1904, only to change your minds and give it to St. Louis.

To all my FIBs and Flatlanders, embrace your unabashed, unparalleled BIRTHRIGHT to be the most bombastic, bellicose, unwavering supporters of your city. Copy, paste and tag this. Spread the word like a PRAIRIE FIRE that would make Mrs. O’Leary’s cow jealous.

Ditka,

James C. O’Connell

Obama & Chicago 2016

The stars need to keep aligning

Any president would have an interest in helping an American city win an Olympic bid. But none has been as closely associated with an Olympic proposal as Obama, and the emerging effort by the White House is unusually pointed in its attempt to wrap the campaign around the president and his appealing image abroad — a strategy veteran Olympics watchers say is paying dividends and could result in an enormous hometown farewell party if Obama wins a second term. 

“Without Obama in the White House, I would say there would be no chance whatsoever for the U.S. winning,” said Canadian IOC member Dick Pound. […]

According to some veteran observers and international participants in the Olympic site selection process, Obama is viewed internationally as the engine driving the Chicago bid. 

“Everybody who follows the bids is talking about the Obama factor,” said Robert Livingstone, an expert in the closely watched but opaque Olympic bid business who runs the influential website GamesBids.com. “It’s the biggest issue of the whole campaign.” […]

In their appeals to the International Olympic Committee, Chicago boosters have leaned heavily on the symbolism of an Obama-led shift away from the globally unpopular policies of the Bush administration — the Chicago 2016 committee originally featured the slogan “Reaching for a Better World,” followed by “let friendship shine.” 

Chicago 2016

 

Celeb began a discussion this morning on the ever-popular topic among us living in the city–the 2016 Olympic games.

As PC pointed out, the IOC committee who will ultimately make the selection arrived in the city today to be wined and dined.  Messages from famous Chicagoans like the President, Michael Jordan, and dinner with Oprah are all part of the waltzing.

PC discusses the key competing interests at stake in the games: essentially boiling down to whether or not the games will lose money and if that money would be better spent elsewhere.

I won’t repeat the information he already provided, just a supplement:

1. From what I understand, there are absolutely no plans to raise either state or county or city taxes.  The funding for such a mammoth project comes from a variety of sources, but ‘in theory’ it isn’t something that comes directly from the pockets of Jane and Tom citizen.  However, the caveat is that in the end both the city and the state will need to contribute large sums of money.  And while taxes themselves are unlikely to be officially increased for the effort, the money spent on the games must be raised/borrowed/diverted in some way.  Considering the absymal financial outlook of the current state and county budget in particular, this is the ultimate concern for everyone involved.

2. The construction involved would clearly affect the day-to-day life of many Chicagoans.  However, the key issue is less the hassle and more whether that construction will be viable following the games for one thing or another.  The more useful the projects remain, obviously the better.  The goal is to both garner the prestige and energy of the games while concurrently developing the city in needed ways.

3. I will be working in the Mayor’s Office full-time this summer, potentially on issues related to the Olympic bid.  Hopefully as things develop I’ll learn more details about the plan and its prospects.

At this point I am very much a supporter of the bid.  However, I always reserve the right to be become a flip-flopper.