Below is a photo of CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric and CNN's Wolf Blitzer hanging out with President Bill Clinton at the World Cup last Saturday. Couric posted a link to the photo from her Twitter account, where she noted that "Clinton's people invited [her] to [the U.S. vs. Ghana] game last minute."
Couric's original caption reads, "One more photo from Saturday at the World Cup..."
You would think that if there were one thing people could agree on, despite their politics, it would be cheering for the United States in a sporting event. But no, not for Jeremy Scahill.
Scahill, a regular contributor for left-wing The Nation magazine, has dedicated the past several years of his life to an obsession over the defense contractor Xe Services LLC, formerly known as Blackwater. But apparently Scahill can't overcome his politics and take pride in his country's World Cup soccer team. In a series of posts on his Twitter account, Scahill vented his frustrations over cheering for the United States in the World Cup:
For the second day in a row, French President Nicolas Sarkozy shared the blame for France's surprising loss in the opening round of soccer's World Cup -- in a story in the New York Times's news section.
Jere Longman's Wednesday front-page story transmitted rants from Socialist Party opponents of the right-leaning, Bush-supporting Sarkozy, accusing him of being "President Bling Bling" and promoting a national "selfishness" that seeped into the players' psyches.
While most politicians have talked carefully of values and patriotism, rather than immigration and race, some legislators blasted the players as "scum," "little troublemakers" and "guys with chickpeas in their heads instead of a brain," according to news reports.
Fadela Amara, the junior minister for the racially charged suburbs who was born to Algerian parents, warned on Tuesday that the reaction to the team's loss had become racially charged.
"There is a tendency to ethnicize what has happened," she told a gathering of President Nicolas Sarkozy's governing party, according to news reports. "Everyone condemns the lower-class neighborhoods. People doubt that those of immigrant backgrounds are capable of respecting the nation."
She criticized Mr. Sarkozy's handling of a debate on "national identity," warning that "all democrats and all republicans will be lost" in this ethnically tinged criticism about Les Bleus, the French team. "We're building a highway for the National Front," she said, in a reference to the far-right, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim party founded by Jean-Marie Le Pen.
There's always something special about golf's U.S. Open as it always coincides with Father's Day. But when it's also at arguably the most beautiful setting in the sport, the glorious Pebble Beach -- yes, as a Californian I'm biased!!! -- there's something extra special about it.
Of course, we also have World Cup. Anyone want to talk about the horrid officiating in yesterday's USA-Slovenia match (video right)? Or today's games?
Are you NASCAR fans excited about tomorrow's race in Sonoma?
Something about the soccer World Cup brings out the missionary in the mainstream media, and every four years they strive to bring the good news of "the beautiful game" to the ignorant American masses.
This year is no different. The 2010 World Cup is set to begin in South Africa on June 11. More than just covering the month-long event, the media are already doing their best to hype it, overstating its popularity in the United States and its potential appeal to U.S. sports fans. From Time magazine dedicating an entire issue to "The Global Game," to CBS's helpful "The World Cup Guide for Americans," the public is being brow-beaten to catch "World Cup Fever."
And while soccer partisans may try (mostly unsuccessfully) to score on point-by-point comparisons to baseball or football, the most compelling argument many media outlets can muster is, "The rest of the world loves it. We should too."
The liberal media have always been uncomfortable with "American exceptionalism" - the belief that the United States is unique among nations, a leader and a force for good. And they are no happier with America's rejection of soccer than with its rejection of socialism.
Hence Americans are "xenophobic," "isolated" and lacking in understanding for other nations and their passion for "the planetary pastime," as Time magazine put it. But, they are confident, as America becomes more Hispanic, the nation will have to give in and adopt the immigrants' game. On the other hand, the media assure the public that soccer is already "America's Game," and Americans are enthusiastically anticipating the World Cup, even though the numbers don't bear that contention out.
So, every four years they return with renewed determination to force soccer's square peg in the round hole of American culture.
It's just my speculation: Time isn't about to share its inner workings with me, but FWIW . . .
He is, after all, the man who informed the world that his ascendancy would be seen as the moment that "the planet began to heal." So I suppose it's fitting that his logo appear on the World Cup soccer ball, the event that will be watched by more people than any other event in human history.
Could that be what Time magazine was thinking?
Check out the image of the ball on the cover of this week's Time, and compare it to the Obama logo, seen after the jump. Compare the Time ball, too, with an image of the actual ball, to which it bears absolutely no relation.
Time editor Rick Stengel revealed the cover during his regular Morning Joe appearance today.
New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey applauded the NBA's Phoenix Suns uniform protest of Arizona's strict new anti-immigration law in Saturday's "Walking Tentatively in Protester's Shoes," suggesting only that it didn't go far enough and even calling for Major League Baseball to boycott games in Arizona. The column also put in perspective the paper's long-time hypocrisy on athletes making political statements.
When the Phoenix Suns wore the name Los Suns on their jerseys Wednesday night, it was construed by many of their fans as a political statement against the new Arizona law regarding illegal immigrants.
As a political gesture, it fell far below the black gloves worn by two American sprinters in the 1968 Olympics. However, there definitely was a measure of criticism of the law from high up on the team -- including from the Suns' owner, Robert Sarver; the general manager, Steve Kerr; and players like Grant Hill, Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash.
It was refreshing to hear reaction to current events from sports figures. It is easy to take pot shots at athletes and team officials for living in a bubble, isolated by money and fame. When athletes care about something, conservative or liberal, it is a sign they are alive.
Vecsey's stand is no surprise, coming from a newspaper that can't just let athletes play but tries to enlist them into pushing liberal social agendas. The Times ran an editorial on November 18, 2002, suggesting that Tiger Woods boycott The Masters golf tournament out of solidarity with women who aren't allowed to become members of Augusta National Golf Club, host of the tournament.
The 2010 NFL draft showed that it's not enough to be a star football player anymore. Character counts now too.
Tim Tebow, and the Denver Bronco's drafting him as first-round pick, was the big story out of the NFL draft. Despite a phenomenal college career in which he won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, led the Florida Gators to two national championships, and lived out his Christian beliefs, many expressed doubts over Tebow's ability to compete on the professional level.
For publicly stating his Christian beliefs, Tebow has been called a "religious fundamentalist, lightning-rod misfit," told he "has a long way to mature from a business perspective," and his family and friends were compared to "Nazis."
ESPN's Wright Thompson prepared a taped package on NFL draft prospect Myron Rolle, who accepted a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford and dropped his final year of college football at Florida State. Black pundits have made Rolle a cause celebre, that brains are somehow a detriment to success in pro sports. Rolle touted how Cornel West and Jesse Jackson think he's the future of black America:
Dr. Cornel West thinks of me as the future of black America, and that's lofty praise. That's a wonderful title to have, but it's a lot of pressure. Rev. Jesse Jackson told me Martin Luther King would be proud of me if he was alive today. So these statements really took my breath away for a second.
An amazing Saturday in Augusta yesterday has likely made for an epic Sunday at the Masters.
What about Mickelson's astonishing 5 under in three holes? Or Couples' 68 to get himself within shooting distance? Or Choi matching Tiger round for round?
And then there's Westwood. 67-69-68 in the first three rounds! Amazing.
So, what do you expect today? Will this end up being one of the greatest Masters of all time, or will they're either be someone just run away with it early or a lot of bad golf leading to a disappointing conclusion?
On the eve of The Masters, tournament host and Augusta National chairman Billy Payne delivered a surprise public lecture to golfer Tiger Woods, giving New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey a chance to again make liberal political hay from Augusta's immaculate green fairway in Thursday's "Thanks for the Tasteless Sermon."
They are worse than we knew.
The people who run the Masters are not just stubborn rich guys who don't want female members cluttering up their precious fairways, although that is bad enough.
Rob Dibble asks Obama who one of his favorite White Sox players was while growing up in Chicago. Obama stumbles and avoids the question. Maybe he misheard the question or maybe he was acting like a typical politician and avoiding the question because he didn't have an answer.
Mark Levin picked up on the incident at the start of his April 5 program. You can hear audio of that here, courtesy of Levin's producer, Richard Semanta.
"Sponsors of those [sic] Stars on Ice figure skating tour apparently think that Olympian Johnny Weir is too flamboyant for their show. Weir reportedly prohibited from participating because he is not, quote, 'family friendly,'" MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan complained shortly before 5 p.m. on his MSNBC program today, citing a report by a blog published by GLAAD [the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation].
Ratigan griped that despite Weir's athletic credentials and well-known support of his family -- he's financing his brother's college education and supporting his father, who is unable to work due to a disability -- that the sponsors of the show, including Smucker's, "apparently... don't view supporting your family as family-friendly."
Ratigan then noted an online petition circulating to include Weir in the tour, but failed to include any reply from Stars on Ice, although just a few minutes before Ratigan went on the air, at least one news source had noted that Stars on Ice denied GLAAD's allegation.
Gay/lesbian publication MetroWeekly.com's Chris Geidner published the following to the Web at 4:38 p.m. EST, about 13 minutes before Ratigan went on air to further GLAAD's complaint on air (emphases mine):
Well, they conclude today with what could be an epic gold medal hockey game between Canada and the U.S. Can we do it again and shock the world? Are you excited about this game, or couldn't care less?
America has had a fabulous Olympics. Did you enjoy the past two weeks, or are you glad to see the games come to an end so that the sports world will start thinking about the upcoming college basketball championships and baseball?
Have you been enjoying the Olympics so far? What's been your favorite event? Least favorite? What do you think about the coverage? Too much curling? Did Apolo foul last night? What are you expecting in the closing days? Can USA beat Canada in hockey again to win gold?