Why Are There No Sambas About the Fuller Park Junkie?
For the consideration of the International Olympic Committee, here are 16 reasons to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro instead of Chicago:
(1) President Obama wants them in Chicago. Really badly. More important than his wanting them in Chicago is his decision to drop everything in the middle of a recession, a health care debate, and two wars to head to Copenhagen on separate jumbo jet junkets with his wife to make a special entreaty for his home city. Obama has taken a stronger stand on the Windy City than he has on, say, any particular health care provision or whether to send more troops to Afghanistan. Even more important than Obama’s not having his priorities straight is his obvious, calculated presumption that because the world loves him so much, it would be the diplomatic equivalent of kicking us out of the UN not to award Chicago the Olympics after his in-person plea.
(2) Hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of building contracts and infrastructure development would be required in a city known for construction payback schemes, money laundering, insider dealing, gang activity, an overloaded transit system, and general public corruption, incompetence, inefficiency, and interruption of service.
(3) Numerous Obama cronies own property near Washington Park, the proposed stadium site, and would profit from the games being held there.
(4) No one actually wants to be in Chicago in the summer—or any time of the year, for that matter, except for about three hours in late spring. Dozens of Chicago residents die heat-related deaths every summer, and they’re not even competing in decathlons.
(5) Everyone wants to be in Rio, any time of the year.
(6) In fact, everyone wants to visit South America, yet Rio would be only the first city on the entire continent to have ever hosted the Games.
(7) If the Olympics absolutely have to be in Chi-town, why not the Winter Olympics, a much smaller and less disruptive affair than the Summer Olympics, and one that suits the city’s climate?
(8) Chicagoans have been clamoring since spring to not have the Olympics in their home city. This is the first campaign I know of in which the best case for the games to be held in one city is being made by residents of another city. Following the procedures of standard Chicago thug-style machine politics, the Chicago Olympic Committee recently ordered a local Fox affiliate not to rerun a segment airing interviews with numerous Chicagoans who told reporters to “Take it to Rio!” and to hold the event “Anywhere but here!”
(9) The website “Chicagoans for Rio 2016” posts numerous fun and horrifying facts about the travails suffered by past Olympic host cities, such as the following: (a) Montreal took 30 years to pay off its Olympics-related debts from 1976; (b) 21 out of 22 stadiums and arenas built for the Athens games just five years ago are currently unused; and (c) Barcelona actually became a slightly less cool city for having once hosted the games.
(10) An average of 5-10 or more crimes a day are reported in Washington Park alone, including assault, battery, burglary, motor vehicle and other theft, robbery, and sex offenses. Chicago was the murder capital of the country in 2008 with 510 victims. The Chicago Police Department doesn’t even publicly report the incidence of rape, which should tell you something.
(11) The Chicago 2016 website advertises that it would host a “Blue-Green” event, meaning the following: “low-carbon Games” with energy-efficient technology, reduced water usage, recycling of 85% of tournament materials, and “sustainability.” As an afterthought, “showers for athletes” was also added to the budget for the games.
(12) Chicago’s city deficit stands at almost a quarter of a billion dollars. Beijing had an estimated $26 billion dollar overrun for its 2008 games. Athens’ was $17 billion in 2004. London estimates a $9 billion overrun in 2012. Yet Chicago’s 2016 website boasts that its budget includes a piddly “$450 million contingency to cover unforeseen costs.” Quick—complete this analogy: Chicago : Olympics :: Obama : _____. (And I swore I wasn’t going to write about health care this week!)
(13) Each host city tries to top the previous host city in sheer spectacle, bombast, and expense. Beijing spent $42 billion in 2008. Hmm… are there are any stimulus funds left over for “shovel-ready” projects like building unwanted stadiums in Chicago?
(14) Rio de Janeiro means “River of January.” Chicago sounds like a Native American word for “wild onion.”
(15) Chicagoans for Rio puts the two leading contender cities head-to-head in a number of categories, and the winner is clear every time: nicknames (The Marvelous City vs. The Second City), beaches (Copacabana, Ipanema vs. 63rd St., Calumet), histories (capital of the Portuguese empire vs. rail yard), statues (Christ standing vs. Lincoln sitting), signature events (naked people dancing vs. chubby people eating).
And most damningly:
(16) Michelle Obama said in her Copenhagen speech this week that holding the Olympics in Chicago might inspire another child there to become the next… Barack Obama.