Unfortunately for me, I was on assignment last night and therefore missed all the excitement and freaking-out that went on when the USA dropped their World Cup qualifying game to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1, which combined with other results eliminates them from next year’s Russia 2018.
Make no mistake about it, sitting at home for the 2018 World Cup is a total disaster for soccer in the United States. This sport is still trying to go mainstream in the USA up against football, baseball and basketball. And the biggest platform it has in the USA is the national team’s appearances in the World Cup.
Without a USA squad playing at all in the Cup finals, which they have qualified for every year from 1990 on, who down there is going to tune in? This is a total disaster for FOX Sports, who are stuck with the rights to next year’s tourney. The business for US sports bars hoping to show 2018 World Cup matches to packed establishments, as usual, is up in smoke. This is a total meltdown on many levels, and anyone who says it doesn’t matter whether the USA is in or out needs to get their heads out of the sand.
For the national team to not make it is a total humiliation, especially given that they play in CONCACAF which is chock full of unimpressive soccer nations. So for them to fail to get out of CONCACAF is akin to an NHL team failing to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, it really is that bad. Now, everyone is calling for everyone to be fired, from Bruce Arena on down. Soccer analyst Taylor Twellman went on an epic rant about it last night on ESPN. This rant is surely the most entertaining thing to be shown on ESPN in a long, long time — way better than all this latest Jemele Hill nonsense.
But you know, a lot of favorites are not going to the Cup in Russia: the Netherlands is one of the nations sitting home, too. I notice my ancestral homeland Scotland didn’t make it either. The fact is it’s tough to make it past qualifying and into the World Cup.
Heck, ask soccer fans here in Canada. We’re used to this.
I don’t have a lot to say tonight, just tuning in all the news on the Internet for entertainment. Most of the real politics action is south of the border tonight. Not only are the last four GOP contenders debating on CNN down in Florida, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is having his big state dinner with President Barack Obama at the White House. I wonder what they are doing after their big meal this evening — maybe they’re watching CNN.
After several days off we are back with Bad News Roundup for this first day of October. Yes, Blue Jays fans, it is still baseball season, but also it is unfortunately still hurricane season.
Hurricane Joaquin is now Category Four and has hit the Bahamas and is threatening the east coast of the USA! The latest storm track from MyFoxHurricane. Live storm coverage is on now from ZNS in the Bahamas.
And there was yet another mass shooting today in the USA, at a college in Oregon, and I am truly sick of reporting on another one of these senseless tragedies.
That is it for now.
The news cycle has moved on from the horrible hostage crisis in Australia, and the horrible killings in Pakistan, to the apparent thawing of relations today between the USA and Cuba — a development some Republicans probably think is horrible, too.
Today, President Barack Obama announced steps towards normalizing relations, which include loosening of trade and travel restrictions and the opening up an embassy in Havana. Well, this news should make for a very entertaining evening listening to American right-wing talk radio.
As well, the Cubans have freed Alan Gross, an American, while the Americans have freed three of the five jailed Cuban intelligence agents known as the Cuban Five — individuals well known to anyone who has ever seen or heard Cuban propaganda anywhere as the Cuban government have been vocal in demanding their release for years.
Obama basically has said the old way, the embargo, isn’t working. And you know what? He’s right! It hasn’t worked at all in getting rid of the Castro brothers. They’re both still alive and kicking, but the Republicans don’t seem convinced this latest stunt will work, either. They say this move will simply prop up the Castros and do nothing to change things there to a democracy.
Maybe Obama or his pals think opening things up will allow Cubans to see that their undemocratic, Marxist Leninist system of government is an outdated throwback to the Soviet era, and that Cuba might see its own version of the “Arab Spring”. Good luck with that. This is not north Africa.
This strikes me as Obama trying to get his own “Nixon to China” moment, or something, out of this. But while we are on the subject of China, here is something to think about. China has a Communist, authoritarian government with a lot of human rights restrictions, just as Cuba has a Communist, authoritarian government with a lot of human rights restrictions.
There’s basically no difference between the two governments. And yet, these Americans have had no qualms whatsoever about doing trade with China. In fact, they trade with them all the time and there’s even McDonalds and Starbucks there!
I guess my point is if you are going to trade with China, you might as well trade with Cuba, too, because it’s, as they say, the “same difference”! Conversely, if you’re going to embargo Cuba why not embargo China, too. Anyway, this whole trade embargo situation over the years is yet another example of the world making no sense.
In any event, it sure looks more and more like folks in Havana can look forward to Starbucks coffee and Big Macs and shakes sooner rather than later.
News of the day is that a doctor in NYC has tested positive for Ebola.
Once again, all of America goes “Aaargh!!”
My word of advice to people who don’t want to be depressed out of their minds right now by all that is going on in the world is simply this: don’t watch the news. Don’t watch ANY news, from anywhere.
Well, Americans are doing their usual freaking out again after news from Dallas today that the Ebola patient there has died.
Now, word comes of a possible second case in Frisco, from someone claiming contact with the first case. He is being monitored now as a precaution.
All together now: Aaargh!!
Update: now we hear the patient from Frisco does not have Ebola after all. Whew! Everyone can get off the ledge now.
The USA was finally kicked out of the World Cup the other day, losing 2-1 in extra time to Belgium in the round of 16.
We’re seeing lots of stories in the US press about how great the USA team played and how heroic the goalkeeper Tim Howard was.
If this team was representing any other country, though, the USA team would have been lambasted. Had this been England playing, you can bet the British press would have gone wild declaring it to be a terrible performance, with the goalkeeper getting shelled throughout the game and with the rest of the team only showing up for the final fifteen minutes of play in extra time. There would have been calls for the manager’s resignation, the works.
Anyway, this was not England playing, it was the USA, and the expectations were never high anyway. Having said that, I guess there is something to also be said about lasting 120 minutes longer than England at the World Cup — or, more accurately, 210 minutes because England’s final match against Costa Rica was an complete nothing game. They’re the ones who really ought to be embarrassed.
I notice there is a big debate in the USA as to whether Americans actually like soccer now. Certainly ratings for ESPN suggest this World Cup 2014 has been a hit. My opinion, though, is that soccer still has a long way to go before Americans truly embrace it. Right now I see comparisons to the sport of tennis. Americans will play tennis, and they know the big names, and they’ll get really interested in the really big tournaments, but the rest of the time it’s something that isn’t that Important to their daily lives. Same thing with soccer and the World Cup. They tune in every four years, and they know who the big names are, but the rest of the time? Meh.
I notice there is quite a lot of divided opinion on the American sports talk shows on the subject of whether “soccer is mainstream” now in the USA. A lot of people are watching the World Cup, to be sure. But I notice the ones who don’t like soccer have been holding nothing back in their denunciation.
These detractors complain about everything from the diving by the players to the accents of the people calling the games. It’s unbelievable, actually.
For whatever reason, this sport seems polarizing down there. Heck, even hockey doesn’t get the same negative reaction. The non-hockey fans in the USA simply seem uninterested, but the reaction of the non-soccer fans borders on hatred for a number of them.
How bad is it? So bad that there are those who consider soccer to be anti-American!!
Howard Kurtz did a big article about those sentiments from the likes of all the usual isolationist political folks. You know, the usual people such as Ann Coulter, who describe it as “a sign of the nation’s moral decay.”
Huh?! Folks, this is a sport. It’s only a sport. Leave your politics out of it. Actually, I didn’t even know Ann Coulter was a sports fan to begin with, so that is news to me.
As for her ridiculous assertions about “moral decay”, all I can say is that there are other sports in which American athletes have bitten their opponents, too, so there is nothing new about that.
Moray decay? Come to think of it, “tooth decay” is more like it at this World Cup.
It continues to be a wacky time for democracy around the world. This time the wackiness is in the USA where House Majority Leader Eric Cantor surprisingly lost his primary to David Brat. Story here. And here.
Nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, saw this coming. Cantor had badly outspent his primary opponent, yet still lost the election. People are describing this as possibly the biggest political upset of all time in the United States. No House Majority Leader has lost since 1899.
The thinking is that Cantor’s pro-immigration-reform stance did him in with his constituents. This seems a trend right around the world these days. People around the world seem to want to seal their borders all of a sudden. It’s quite a worrisome trend, frankly.
This result is seen as a big win for the Tea Party. I notice, though, that quite a few people are saying the winner actually received no financial help from any of the national Tea Party organizations. I read somewhere that it seems like the word “Tea Party” is being used to describe pretty much anyone running against an establishment Republican, whether they are actually in the Tea Party or not — although I notice the official “Tea Partiers” are claiming victory and now claiming Brat as one of them, now that he has won.
Anyway, the whole GOP House leadership is now in chaos. Cantor had been in line to become Speaker, but after Tuesday’s humiliation he is not even going to be House Majority Leader much longer, because he resigned today. Moreover, this is a big defeat for the moderates in the party who want immigration reform. This is just going to drive the Republicans further in an anti-immigration, anti-amnesty direction and just drive away minorities, especially Hispanics, from supporting the party.
And who caused this mess? Their own supporters, that’s who. The GOP just cannot keep up with these radical hardliners who increasingly make up the party’s base. And these hardliners are driving the party away from the mainstream. It’s the GOP supporters who are running that party into the ground right now. The GOP are a mess!
That is all for now. Tomorrow is the Ontario provincial election which ought to be a barrel of laughs in its own right.
Welcome back once again to all of you US government workers, all with nothing to do, who are tuning into this post today. Well, the US government has been shut down for a few days now and there seems to be no end in sight to this utter nonsense.
In general nothing seems to be happening and people in high places are venting frustration.
As an aside, the question I have is “why is this man (President Barack Obama) smiling?” Oh, that’s right == this is an old picture.
Unfortunately, though, this was another day of panic in D.C. as a suspect was killed by police after a wild car chase. This follows close on the heels of the Navy Yard shooting tragedy. All in all, Washington D.C. has had far more than its fair share of bad news lately. Then again, there’s been plenty of bad news going on in a lot of places, even around where I live.