Showing posts with label Olympics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olympics. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More Rationale for why Chicago Cannot Afford the Olympics

By: T.R. Slyder,, AndyDisco on Twitter

I got a tweet from the Chicago Reader today linking to this article. It basically says that the city of Chicago is broke, Mayor Daley's approval rating is 35%. That article also links to this article, which has an attention-grabbing first paragraph to illustrate how broke the city is:

Earlier this month, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley released the latest round of alarming budget numbers, this time projecting a $300 million shortfall over the coming year. The deficit led City Hall to send out 1,500 pink slips to Chicago city workers, cuts which the Chicago Federation of Labor is still working to avert. In response to the news, Crain’s columnist Greg Hinz noted that the layoffs — if finalized — would only fill “about 10% of [the] hole in the city budget.” He went on to ask: “So, where’s the city going to get that kind of cash?”

That article is very informative, but the required reading for that article, which is also linked in that Chicago Reader article by Ben Joravsky, can be found here. It explains how the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) works. It's a rather shadowy and relatively unknown tax policy of Mayor Daley's, but is arguably his most insidious. I copied the most basic, short answer of what they are and pasted it below.

OK, one more time—let's review how this sucker works. When the City Council approves a TIF—always with Mayor Daley's blessing—it freezes the amount of property tax dollars the schools, the parks, the county, and other taxing bodies get from that district for 23 years. If the schools were getting $100 from a TIF district when it was created, that's roughly all they'll get until the TIF expires. Any extra tax money, generated by rising assessments or new development, goes into the TIF fund, which Mayor Daley is free to use largely as he wants.

Think about this. If the schools, parks, and county can only get $100 from a TIF district, what do they do when their expenses go up to $200? They have to raise their levies—the amounts they each get from the property tax pie—to compensate for the money diverted to the TIFs. When they do that, property taxes go up. No matter what the city tells you, TIFs are tax hikes, plain and simple—the more you create, the higher taxes go.

It might not be so bad if we only had three or four TIFs. But there are 156—and the city is proposing new ones every month. The existing TIFs divert at least $400 million a year in property taxes. At their current rate of growth, in a few years they'll be diverting more than $500 million a year.

You may be reading all of this and thinking, "Ok, is it really evil that your mayor has your tax dollars at his disposal?" The surprising answer is "yes". As mentioned above, Mayor Daley gets to do whatever he wants with this revenue. These are what finances a lot of his grandiose, heavily-reported-on expenditures. So while government employees are furloughed, and teachers are laid off, TIF funds paid for the new park on the South Side where Mayor Daley is seen cutting the ribbon, proclaiming his championdom of the impoverished, and kissing the babies.

So when he is the guy saying, "Look, just give Chicago the Olympics, and I'll find a responsible way to pay for it, that places minimal burden on the taxpayers. Would I lie to you?", it's difficult to believe.

That's how I roll.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Michael Phelps and "Greatest Olympic Athlete" Semantics

By T.R. Slyder,

I can assure you that I am as excited as anyone else to see Michael Phelps win every race he is in. I hope he sets the record for most gold medals by any Olympian ever, and I hope he adds to that total in London. But let's not get caught up in saying that he is the "Best Olympian" ever as a result of his medals tally. Upon winning his 10th gold medal he will be the most decorated Olympian in history, but not necessarily the best.

His sport offers more medals than any other sport. There are four different strokes, varied distances, relays at varied distances, and medleys- both individual and relay at varied distances. While Phelps could finish this Olympics perfectly, that does not prove that he is the best athlete in the history of the games.

If a US Softball player hits a home run in every at-bat for 3 straight Olympics she could finish with, at most, three gold medals over a 12 year span, a total that Phelps can achieve in two days. Athletic talent and medal quantity are not synonymous. Phelps will be the most decorated Olympic athlete, but that does not make him the best.

To say what Phelps did is more important than what Jesse Owens did in Berlin is offensive to all Americans.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Open Letter to American Pornographers, RE: Underage Chinese Olympic Gymnasts

By: T.R. Slyder,

Dear American Pornographers,

In two calendar years from now PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE offer every single member of the Chinese Womens Gymnastics Team an exorbitant offer to pose nude in your magazines or act in your films. Like, an offer so big that it cannot be refused. The U.S. would probably have to offer them political asylum as well, but I'm sure we could work that out without a problem.
Since China is alleging all of their gymnasts are 16 years or older, they will therefore be of legal posing age for adult magazines in two years. Afterall, the girls have passports stating that they are currently 16 years old, so China couldn't be lying. Being that China is so eager to prove how free and modern of a society they are this would be the perfect opportunity for them to showcase that.

Letting the "women" pose in two years when they are "18" would show the world that China not only wasn't lying about their ages during the Olympics, but that they are willing to let their citizens maximize their financial profitability from their athletic achievements. What could be more democratic and free-enterprise than that?

This is also a call to pedophile community to band together on this issue and pressure the porn industry to hold China's feet to the fire. The pedophile community could serve as a watchdog of sorts here. But not just any watch dog- a watch dog that protects the American spirit, and the integrity of the Olympic games. A watchdog that safeguards international justice, and the majesty of sport. Maybe they could even put up some of their own money to make these photoshoots happen, since you know they have the most to gain.

What could be more patriotic than saying, "You may have won gold in 2008 China, but our perverts are legally looking at your entire team naked even though we both know they're underage. Now who won?" China would have the Olympic glory, and we have our pedophiles leering at their gineys. Their Chinese gineys (That should totally be a punk band name). Anyway, the point is, I hope the porn industry and pedophile communities do what's right for America for once.

Know Your Australian Olympians

By: TRSlyder,

Australia has two Olympians that share the name of a famous American. Which of the following is NOT an Olympian on team Australia. (Warning clicking the link to find the answer to this is NOT worksafe. It's about as un-safe for work as it gets. You've been warned.)

A. Tanya Harding, softball

B. Molly Ringwald, volleyball

C. Brad Pitt, boxing

*****You can find the answer here*****