Thursday Morning Open Thread

randy g lulu2r

randy g little-and-baby-1bw2

Many thanks to commentor Randy G. If we’re gonna look at preening and face-smooching at this hour, better cats than politicians!

Happy nice story, not just for sportsball fans…


Apart from the distant rumble of dumpster fire detonations in Cleveland, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Euro 2016 Championship France v Portugal Open Thread

So who do you like? Home cooking or an Iberian import?

Euro 2016 Semi-Final France v Germany Open Thread

Who will face Portugal in Sunday’s championship game?

Euro 2016 Semi-Final Portugal v Wales Open Thread

Is anyone here pulling for Portugal?

The Rio Olympics: Not Our Circus, Only Some of Our Monkeys*

So sweet, so hopeful, so… not looking great, right now. Sean Newell, at Vice Sports, with a quick roundup. “The Olympics are One Month Away, Here’s What’s Still a Mess“:

The Olympics begin in Rio on August 5 and let’s just say, it’s going to be an interesting month. Zika, pollution, financial instability, construction delays and more have all conspired to create a sense of unease and uncertainty as the city gets down to the final push to the games. There’s still a lot to address before they start, and some of the issues, like polluted water, don’t have a particular “fix,” so they will just be a part of the Olympics.

Zika is the big wild card, with many athletes opting to skip these Olympics because of it. Whether they have legitimate concerns, or have just found a convenient excuse, the fear of infection is hanging over the Games and there’s nothing to really do except roll the dice, or skip out.

Similarly, water pollution at the venues for rowing, sailing, and other water sports is a huge concern for many athletes. In Rio’s 2009 bid for the Olympics, organizers included a seven-year plan to clean up the polluted and contaminated waters in places like Guanabara Bay, where raw sewage, trash, and dead fish flow. That plan has failed spectacularly—authorities are investigating whether federal funding was illegally diverted from the project—and a recent report found that Rio’s waters contained “viruses up to 1.7 million more times hazardous than a beach in the U.S.”…

The Olympic Velodrome, used for cycling events, has had a tumultuous path to existence, but it appears to finally be (mostly) completed. Construction was delayed on May 30th, when the initial contractor went bankrupt. The job was given to another company and while the arena is almost ready to go, it is also still only almost ready to go…

A wide-ranging investigation into corruption surrounding the construction of many Olympic venues revealed much of these issues are related to corruption and graft. Coupled with Brazil’s worst recession since the 1930s, and it’s a recipe for disaster. The governor of Rio de Janeiro recently declared a “state of calamity,” announcing that Rio was bankrupt and unable to meet financial obligations ahead of the games. It is expected that the federal government will find a way to keep Rio afloat for the Olympics, but it’s less clear what happens after that…

Yeah, probably not too different from most of the recent Olympic venues. Then also, this, from Matt Miller at Esquire:

With the Olympic games less than a month away, Rio police are speaking out in protest of the government. Claiming they haven’t been paid in months, a group of officers stood outside of the Rio airport holding a sign that read: “Welcome to Hell. Police and firefighters don’t get paid, whoever comes to Rio de Janeiro will not be safe.”

Last week, Rio de Janeiro state, which controls the military police force, took an $850 million bailout to pay officers their bonuses and overtime. The funds are expected to be distributed this week, but police say that’s not enough…

Brazil has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and in May, 40 people were killed by on-duty officers—more than twice than during the same time last year…

Nearly 85,000 police and soldiers will be deployed during the games August 5-21, which are expected to draw 350,000 to 500,000 tourists to the city of 12 million people. Meanwhile, as Rio attempts to pull through its worst recession in decades, police helicopters and patrol cars have been grounded, as forces struggle to pay for basic supplies like toilet paper and pens….

But there’s good stories, too!…

*(from the Polish idiom)

Euro 2016 Quarter-Finals France v Iceland Open Thread

Come on Cinderella! Go Ísland!

Euro 2016 Quarter-Finals Germany v Italy Open Thread

Without a doubt, the heavyweight matchup of the quarter-finals. Will Antonio Conte’s tactical wizardry be up to the task against Germany’s solid technical abilities?

Schnitzel or braciola. The choice is yours.