In Ireland they are counting with results expected around 5.30. At the moment the word that the voting was heavy on the yes side. This may be true but if so, I am a little surprised. Just what did the Irish hope to achieve? Maybe they just thought that if they vote yes, they will be left alone and not have to go through another referendum. I can sympathize with that. If, on the other hand, they believed those legally non-binding promises then they will be disappointed. If, in their disappointment they start complaining, I shall laugh.
In the meantime, let us look at the other big story: Chicago being kicked out of the first round of deliberations for the 2016 Olympics and Rio de Janeiro getting it. Getting the Olympics is a disaster for any city, as we in London know all too well. This is not hindsight - I was against it from the beginning and wrote a great deal at the time about that.
Brazil will not be able to organize or even finance it and somebody, maybe the UN, will have to weigh in to help, as the EU had to prop up the Games in Athens. That means American money and ours. So, one way or another the Americans will be funding it but, at least, there will be no trouble about it in Chicago and those empty structures will make Rio look like a large slum.
The really unnerving part of the whole procedure was the appearance of President Obama and the First Lady to plead Chicago's cause, only to be rejected almost immediately. This is seriously humiliating and one cannot understand what the POTUS and his advisers were thinking of when they put the prestige of the presidency on line without making sure that there was the slightest chance of Chicago winning.
One can only surmise that Obama still believes he has the magic touch and his appearance alone will guarantee success, despite extensive evidence to the contrary.
While I rejoice for the people of Chicago (except those who were going to cream off the contracts and make large amounts of money) I cannot help agreeing with various American friends that this is not a good sign. We have reached the stage when even the IOC a pathetic, corrupt tranzi snaps its fingers in the face of the President of the United States.
One can be fairly certain that President Bush, whatever one may think of some of his policies, would not have risked presidency's and America's prestige in this stupid fashion.
There is an interesting discussion on Chicagoboyz.
PS There was one positive aspect to the Obamas go to Copenhagen movie: General McChrystal went over from London and actually had a chance to discuss Afghanistan with the Commander in Chief. Perhaps there will now be some kind of a decision on what will be done next.
The elephant in the room.
2 hours ago