Sochi venues turning into Olympic-style nightmares

posted at 9:21 am on February 5, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The early concerns over the Sochi Olympics focused on security threats, and for good reason. The IOC, in its wisdom, awarded the 2014 Winter Games to an area of Russia that (a) doesn’t get reliable amounts of snow, and (b) happens to be in close proximity to a civil war/rebellion in the Caucasus. So far, things are working out on both fronts, but not without a lot of effort on point (a):

The people in charge of making snow for the Winter Olympics in Russia caught a break over the past two months, when for two periods of about a week each temperatures dropped enough to make good snow, and lots of it.

Over all, their snowmaking machines made enough to cover about 500 football fields to a depth of two feet. Together with some natural snow, that should ensure that the skiing and snowboarding events at the Sochi Games, which open Friday, take place on glistening white pistes, even if rain and warmer temperatures arrive.

“Our goal was to lay down 150 to 175 percent of what was needed,” said Jon Wax, a snowmaker from Wenatchee, Wash., who spent December and January working at Rosa Khutor, the Alpine venue for the Games.

The bigger problem now isn’t snow or security (at least at the moment), but the infrastructure — especially living quarters. With the games about to start and an avalanche of visitors descending on Sochi, the accommodations seem to hearken back to the Soviet era:

Sportswriters from around the world have begun cataloguing a litany of accommodation-related woes in Sochi, Russia as organizers scramble to finish the construction of some hotels three days before the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics, and two days before some competitions get underway.

Journalists have been trickling into the Black Sea resort town all week ahead of the most expensive Winter Olympics in history. Russia has spent $51 billion making all ready for the 17 days of competition, but organizers admitted earlier last week that three of the nine media hotels were not completed.

The Guardian’s Moscow bureau chief Shaun Walker reportedthat when he tried to check into his room at midday Tuesday, he was told by a receptionist, “Your room is still under construction. They are literally finishing, the keys are literally coming now.” Three hours later, Walker reported the same receptionist offered him a different room “with no heating, a single bed, and permeated with the odour of industrial glue.”

Twitter heard from Chicago Tribune reporter Stacy St. Clair, who may have explained why vodka is very, very popular in Russia:

“Dangerous face water” should be the meme of the year, if you ask me. In fact, as Fox News also links, one sports writer says it’s actually worse in Sochi than during the Soviet era:

At least security appears to be better handled than the rest of the infrastructure. McClatchy reports that athletes are breathing a sigh of relief at what looks to be a competent “ring of steel” at the Olympics sites:

Armed soldiers in hooded drab-green parkas stood guard Tuesday at the end of one runway at the Sochi Airport, where Olympic athletes, spectators and foreign dignitaries are beginning to arrive.

A camouflaged anti-aircraft station rests atop a hill nearby the cluster of ice events stadiums at the Winter Games’ Black Sea coastal venue.

Sochi is beginning to resemble a police state, and that’s just fine with the Olympic athletes, fans and locals.

“I feel pretty good about it, I mean they are trying as hard as they can,” said U.S. bobsled pusher Chris Fogt, an Army captain who worked in intelligence and security in Iraq after the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. “Something happened in Atlanta in ’96, it can happen here. You just hope. I think that they are trying their hardest and they are doing everything they can.”

British short track speed skater Jon Eley said: “The security is good, not over the top, and we feel safe.”

Now if they could just drink the water ….

Update: Speaking of security, don’t connect to the wi-fi networks, either:

“As tourists and families of athletes arrive in Sochi, if they haven’t been warned, and if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it’s probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. Visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked. And as Richard Engel found out upon his arrival there, it’s not a matter of if, but when,” reports NBC’s Brian Williams.

Engel says, “The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy. Even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything.”

“One of the first thing visitors to Russia will do is log on,” says Engel. “Hackers here are counting on it.”

What a wonderful venue the IOC chose! What’s next, Summer Games in Kim Jong-un’s gulag?


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Fortunately, Vodka cures a lot of problems.

Mr. Joe on February 5, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Just ask Vodkapundit!

Mr. Joe on February 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

What a wonderful venue the IOC chose! What’s next, Summer Games in Kim Jong-un’s gulag?

Would probably work out better than chicago would have.

Lost in Jersey on February 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Pretty much all water in the old soviet bloc tastes like heavy metals.

Blake on February 5, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Looing forward to the Summer Olymbics in Chernobyl!

Deafdog on February 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Who doesn’t like “Lemon Drops”?

ToddPA on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

#caring level “DANGEROUSLY LOW”.

Jeddite on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Will Obama blame Fox News?

Deafdog on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

51 billion dollars for 17 days of fun and games in the snow? This so people can see who is best at lying flat on their back and getting to the bottom of the luge run quickest? This just seems insane to me. It’s probably fair to say that I’m not really a Winter Olympics person.

SacredFire on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

The difference between their hacking and the NSA?

With them, at least you know you’re being hacked.

Bigbullets on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

I love the Olympics and was less than thrilled learning that Russia got them. I’ll watch, but as I do, I’ll know how much Putin stole from his own people in order to fund a vanity project. If you have a half-hour, here’s BBC’s Panorama 30-minute doc, “Putin’s Games.” Will give anyone interested some context about how corrupt this Olympiad really is – sad stuff for these people:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPqcHX5aX5c

King B on February 5, 2014 at 9:33 AM

I hear the Front Desk Workers are all named “Peggy”.

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Three hours later, Walker reported the same receptionist offered him a different room “with no heating, a single bed, and permeated with the odor of industrial glue.”

This would be a bad week to quit sniffing glue then.

Flange on February 5, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Russia is a third world country… Just like China, they both have big military but they are and will always be third world countries…

mnjg on February 5, 2014 at 9:38 AM

It could have been worse. They could have picked Cleveland.

myiq2xu on February 5, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Each and every Obama-voting dumbass in Sochi should be cheering for the opportunity to experience the reality of the future they voted for in AmeriKKKaland.

Jeddite on February 5, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Fortunately, Vodka cures a lot of problems.

Mr. Joe on February 5, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Yes by making Russia a drunk nation with a life expectancy rate of the lower tier of the third world countries…
Russia is the biggest mafia nation in history of the world…

mnjg on February 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

I’m sort of chucking the profession that examines the healthcare system in Cuba with “Isn’t this great?” have to put up with no functioning toilets or hot water for a while.

Marcus on February 5, 2014 at 9:40 AM

51 billion dollars for 17 days of fun and games in the snow?

SacredFire on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

For that kind of money you’d think the Obamas were going on another one of their ski vacations.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Will Obama blame Fox News?

Deafdog on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

1. Obama doesn’t run the IOC was not even President when Russia was awarded the Sochi games.

2. Obama doesn’t run Russia. As conservatives love to point out, Putin is a stronger and more effective leader than Obama on world affairs and at home.

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

The colour is Sh*t-Brindle Brown!!!!
(sarc)

canopfor on February 5, 2014 at 9:42 AM

US media will spend a fortnight moaning about central planning and government control of all facets of life, then return to the States and resume their cheerleading for central planning and government control of all facets of life.

jangle12 on February 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Oh well.

Nothingburger. The constant whining about these Olympic Games / Sochi / Russia / Putin is really ridiculous and boring. The risks traveling to Russia and attending these games are well known.

Pork-Chop on February 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

But all my lefty friends tell me that big government is good.

bsinc1962 on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Now, I finally understand the Pussy Riots.

TXUS on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

That doesn’t look like water. It resembles something else.

Curtiss on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

An explosion should be the tipping point for cancellation

jake49 on February 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Somebody doesnt like his utopian ideology being criticized.

Jeddite on February 5, 2014 at 9:47 AM

In America, you take shower, in Soviet Russia, shower takes you!

22044 on February 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

A profound example of what the state can do when millions of oppressed people are thrown at an issue.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM

SOCIALISM Success Story!!!!

canopfor on February 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM

Lol KJ ftw

cmsinaz on February 5, 2014 at 9:49 AM

I guess this explains the Pvssy Riots.

TXUS on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 AM

I knew these games should have been held in Detroit!

Oldnuke on February 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The good news is that if you do get sick in Russia that they have “free” healthcare for all.

bsinc1962 on February 5, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Well, perfessor, you prove again that you actually are of the extreme density that everyone ascribes to you.

Please, enlighten us as to one thing that Obama hasn’t blamed on Fox News.

Yoop on February 5, 2014 at 9:52 AM

A profound example of what the state can do when millions of oppressed people are thrown at an issue.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:48 AM

And the forced displacement and hundreds of thousands of people in the London and Atlanta games that was conveniently ignored by most MSM outlets is evidence of how games in capitalist countries are destructive too.

But beyond that, to even describe present day Russia as Communist (and this is a world where China exists as a clear model of actual Communism) is to make the word meaningless.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

No idiocy is making the claim that you have a scandal-free administration and it is only because of a single cable news network that people think Obama lied his ass off about Benghazi, the IRS is targeting conservative groups, and the NSA is snooping on Americans. But sadly too many Americans are as partisan and stupid as you.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Really?

What SHOULD we call them, instead…Democrats?

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

And the forced displacement and hundreds of thousands of people in the London and Atlanta games that was conveniently ignored by most MSM outlets is evidence of how games in capitalist countries are destructive too.

But beyond that, to even describe present day Russia as Communist (and this is a world where China exists as a clear model of actual Communism) is to make the word meaningless.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Forced displacement of hundreds of thousands? That’s absurd. But it isn’t like you and truth are good friends in the first place.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:56 AM

From a Drudge link:

Four days before the Winter Games begin, Sochi staffers are looking for a few goose men

The Olympics officially kick off Friday. We imagine many a staffer and volunteer are scurrying around the Black Sea resort of Sochi, trying to prepare for the glamorous opening ceremony and making sure all security protocols are in place. But it turns out that Russia, despite spending a reported $51 million on the most expensive Olympics ever, neglected a few key details.

It appears there aren’t enough pillows for the athletes in the Olympic Village. This news comes via the Instagram posts of Luiza Baybakova, a member of the catering staff for the games.

Baybakova posted a picture of a notice to volunteers, which translates as follows:

“ATTENTION, DEAR COLLEAGUES!

Due to an extreme shortage of pillows for athletes who unexpectedly arrived to Olympic Village in the mountains, there will be a transfer of pillows from all apartments to the storehouse on 2 February 2014. Please be understanding. We have to help the athletes out of this bind.”

Lie down with a used Russian pillow, get up with…?

Wethal on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Russia is capitalist.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

It gets worse. Tourists who spent thousands of dollars are showing up in Sochi only to find out that the hotel booked months ago was never built (Swisshotel) or their reservation was cancelled and their room given to a Soviet kommisar. This happened to friends of mine. Now unable to find.alternative lodging, they are heading home, and good luck getting a refund from the Russian tour operator.

simkeith on February 5, 2014 at 9:58 AM

What SHOULD we call them, instead…Democrats?

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Maybe they’re Jeffersonian Democrats much like the “rebels” in Syria.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Great analysis of Russian economics. By no means is this a “Communist” country: http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/03/23/what_kind_of_capitalism_has_russia_built_15160.html

Forced displacement of hundreds of thousands? That’s absurd. But it isn’t like you and truth are good friends in the first place.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 9:56 AM

Apparently you and “research” aren’t too tight these days either. The Olympics = “social cleansing” and its often violent.

http://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/olympics-opportunity-cleanse-city/

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM

Russia is capitalist.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

oligarchy.

Wethal on February 5, 2014 at 9:59 AM

I just hope our athletes all come back in one piece

ConservativePartyNow on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

You do not feel ashamed of your stupidity? In China the communists forces millions of people to work on the Olympics and forced millions of people to suffer from the Olympics by reducing their basic electricity and water supply… Why do you leftists love oppressive evil regimes like communist China? Do you really think that you will part of the 0.000000001% of the ruling class? LOL…

mnjg on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Lie down with a used Russian pillow, get up with…?

Wethal on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

The feeling that maybe you should take a risk with that toxic face water.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Fairly certain Sochi resident’s would trade places with the pampered newsies and visiting capitalists.

socalcon on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Russia is capitalist.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Absolutely not… Russia is ruled by the Putin mafia… It is communism with new face…

mnjg on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

I hear the Front Desk Workers are all named “Peggy”.

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 9:34 AM

LOL KJ!

JusDreamin on February 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM

That doesn’t look like water. It resembles something else.

Curtiss on February 5, 2014 at 9:46 AM

It looks like motor oil. I kid you not.

Ward Cleaver on February 5, 2014 at 10:02 AM

This happened to friends of mine. Now unable to find.alternative lodging, they are heading home, and good luck getting a refund from the Russian tour operator.

simkeith on February 5, 2014 at 9:58 AM

The tour operator ought to repackage the trip as educational tourism. Live the Soviet Experience first hand!

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

And the forced displacement and hundreds of thousands of people in the London and Atlanta games that was conveniently ignored by most MSM outlets is evidence of how games in capitalist countries are destructive too.

If memories serves, that “forced displacement” made my in-laws about $20,000 which is what someone paid them to rent their home for that period of time.

Rotten capitalism!/

2L8 on February 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

1. Obama doesn’t run the IOC was not even President when Russia was awarded the Sochi games.

2. Obama doesn’t run Russia. As conservatives love to point out, Putin is a stronger and more effective leader than Obama on world affairs and at home.

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

It was a joke, sh!t for brains.

Ward Cleaver on February 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

From signs posted in many of the Sochi bathrooms:

Please do not flush your toilet paper. Place it in the bin provided.

What a disaster.

TXUS on February 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM

If memories serves, that “forced displacement” made my in-laws about $20,000 which is what someone paid them to rent their home for that period of time.

Rotten capitalism!/

2L8 on February 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

My prediction- Sochi will come off as the worst organized games since Atlanta.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Russia is capitalist.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

The New Politboro is anyway. And, their District Office at 2600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington,DC is too.

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 10:08 AM

1600

kingsjester on February 5, 2014 at 10:08 AM

Russia is capitalist.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:57 AM

Absolutely not… Russia is ruled by the Putin mafia… It is communism with new face…

mnjg on February 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The locals drive the pathetic russian- made car (can’t remember the name) and every so often you see a top of the line Mercedes with tinted windows. Not hard to figure out what’s up there. They also operate 3 cash drawers at once in the local businesses. Something fishy with that too.

In St. Petersburg, where I was, the main streets were beautiful and the buildings freshly painted. Well, the fronts of the buildings at least. If you went off the main drag it was grey peeling paint and rotting trim…oh, and for some reason, the huge downspouts empty on to the sidewalks at knee height.

And the traffic through the city is run by a man controlling the stoplights with an on, off switch!

2L8 on February 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

That hacking sounds similar to the NSA…

d1carter on February 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

It was a joke, sh!t for brains.

Ward Cleaver on February 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

To libby and barry Fox News is no joking matter. Their hen house has no front door, and the back door is… well, a-a-a-a…

Yoop on February 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

I am in north central Indiana and I will gladly send my snow to Sochi, if that will help.

esr1951 on February 5, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Water restored, sorta. On the bright side, I now know what very dangerous face water looks like. #Sochi #unfiltered

It’s from outer space–the planet Urine-us.

Steve Z on February 5, 2014 at 10:20 AM

In St. Petersburg, where I was, the main streets were beautiful and the buildings freshly painted. Well, the fronts of the buildings at least. If you went off the main drag it was grey peeling paint and rotting trim…oh, and for some reason, the huge downspouts empty on to the sidewalks at knee height.

And the traffic through the city is run by a man controlling the stoplights with an on, off switch!

2L8 on February 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

All Russia is a Potemkin village both literally and figuratively.

Happy Nomad on February 5, 2014 at 10:24 AM

take place on glistening white pistes, even if rain and warmer temperatures arrive.

“Pistes”? Oh right. Of course. This is the NY Times, after all. I’m sure the rest of the Davos regulars knows what that word means, anyway.

The media has already made the games all about themselves. Their hardships. Their struggles. Their hopes and dreams. Might as well send the athletes home and out of danger, the media has the whole thing covered.

—————

Added bonus post: I looked it up for you, so you don’t have to (and I don’t want to hear any “I already knew that”s:

piste [peest] noun
1. a track or trail, as a downhill ski run or a spoor made by a wild animal.

2.(in fencing) a regulation-size strip, usually 2 meters wide and 14 meters long, on which fencers compete.

You’re welcome.

bofh on February 5, 2014 at 10:25 AM

In St. Petersburg, where I was, the main streets were beautiful and the buildings freshly painted. Well, the fronts of the buildings at least. If you went off the main drag it was grey peeling paint and rotting trim…oh, and for some reason, the huge downspouts empty on to the sidewalks at knee height.

As for the front of buildings being freshly painted, the ChiComs did something similar for the Peking Olympics. They built walls along main avenues painted with beautiful facades in trompe-l’oeil to hide the dilapidated huts and shanties behind them.

The downspouts end at knee height to prevent the bottom end from being clogged with snow. They do the same thing at ski resorts in the Alps.

Steve Z on February 5, 2014 at 10:27 AM

“… And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and to communicate with anything.”

Youngsters and their public schools; it’s actually clearly obvious when you think about it.

Dusty on February 5, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Added bonus post: I looked it up for you, so you don’t have to (and I don’t want to hear any “I already knew that”s:

piste [peest] noun
1. a track or trail, as a downhill ski run or a spoor made by a wild animal.

2.(in fencing) a regulation-size strip, usually 2 meters wide and 14 meters long, on which fencers compete.

You’re welcome.

bofh on February 5, 2014 at 10:25 AM

You didn’t have to do that. We HotAirians aren’t stupid, and “piste” is the French word for “trail”, including a downhill ski trail. The French use the same word for airport runways. But if the snobbish NY Slimes wanted to demonstrate its cultural awareness, why didn’t they use the Russian word for ski trail?

Steve Z on February 5, 2014 at 10:34 AM

I knew these games should have been held in Detroit!

Oldnuke on February 5, 2014 at 9:51 AM

That would be awesome.

Put all the contestants downtown and let them use their various skills to escape the city alive.

justltl on February 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Why camouflage an AA position, if the reporters can readily see it then any terrorists will know of it too.

Bishop on February 5, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

It was a joke, sh!t for brains.

Ward Cleaver on February 5, 2014 at 10:04 AM

libfreeorgan is upset…that even when we joke…there is more validity to what you say…than the ‘facts’ he shits out!

KOOLAID2 on February 5, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Obama trying to spin by blaming Fox News IS utter idiocy.

Applying it to the Olympic games in Sochi is more of a joke.

Are you getting it yet? It’s funny because of the absurdity of Obama trying to blame everything on Fox News.

I guess the first casualty of political correctness is a sense of humor.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Yet you have somehow managed to make Putin’s abject failure something Obama would be trying to spin by blaming Fox News? What utter idiocy.

[libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM]

He did tell Putin he’d be more flexible after the election. Who knows how inclusive Obama meant to be?

Dusty on February 5, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

A tribute to communism’s effect on the environment. Just ignore the choking clouds of smog. Nothing to see here (because you literally couldn’t see).

Somehow choking clouds of smog are a liberals view of communism perfection, while little individual cigarettes are a tool of the demon capitalist society!

No double-standard here…

dominigan on February 5, 2014 at 10:47 AM

I guess the first casualty of political correctness is a sense of humor.

[There Goes the Neighborhood on February 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM]

Obviously a case of prickly heat from sweating the small stuff.

Dusty on February 5, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Engel says, “The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy. Even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything.”

“One of the first thing visitors to Russia will do is log on,” says Engel. “Hackers here are counting on it.”

This doesn’t sound so different than we’ve been hearing regarding vulnerabilities in the US at the hands of the NSA.

Midas on February 5, 2014 at 10:52 AM

I guess the first casualty of political correctness is a sense of humor.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM

I’d say it’s the third casualty, or so – behind common sense and critical thinking skills.

Midas on February 5, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

I just have to ask, does it hurt to be so painfully ignorant? I mean, it must, really – you’re constantly at complete odds with reality.

Midas on February 5, 2014 at 11:02 AM

Murphy9 posted this in a thread yesterday, but it’s directly related. From a (former) Aetna doctor in Texas:

Dear Mr. Bertolini,

With a deep sense of sadness, I must inform you that I will no longer serve as a physician for Aetna patients under the terms of our contractual agreement, which you most recently unilaterally changed.

I have been privileged and honored to care for thousands of patients covered by Aetna policies since the 1990’s. I have devoted my life to providing the very best, state-of-the-art care to these individuals. We have formed a patient-doctor relationship, which I hope many will chose to continue in spite of my severing ties with Aetna. You see, health insurance has evolved such that insurers and government have inserted themselves smack-dab in the middle of the once sacred patient-doctor relationship. I am called a provider- not a doctor. My patient is now yours- not mine. What I can do as a physician now has strangulating strings and nonsensical numbers attached- to you and government and money-not the best interests of the patients.

Obamacare, the “law of the land”, contains ever-changing-at-the-whim-of-HHS, politically-expedient mandates, rewards, penalties, rules and regulations with which I cannot rationally or morally treat my patients and run a practice, much-less interpret, implement, or comply.

Millions of Americans have lost coverage because of the healthcare law and must now shop on a defective, insecure government website and sign up for more expensive policies through Federal and State exchanges. Only by logging in as a prospective patient did my office manager and I discover that Aetna was selling plans for which I am a provider-effectively selling my services without even asking, much less informing me that my services would be sold on such a site, under the auspices of new terms with which I will not comply.

Then, after the fact, I received a form letter informing me of Aetna’s “new allowables”. I will not sell my services under such terms. While treated as such, patients and doctors are not commodities worthy of such impersonal, inconsiderate, and cavalier treatment. We choose dignity and personal service over disrespect and form letters.

So here we are, you are getting new business offering health insurance plans featuring my services without my consent under terms which are unacceptable to me. Accept this as my official written notice that the changes that you have unilaterally made to our contract are unacceptable to me and make our contract null and void. You must explain this to your patients. You must tell them that they have purchased a product that was misrepresented to them and that you cannot deliver. It saddens me to think of the decreased access to care from actual physicians and the shockingly increased costs Aetna patients will now experience because of your choice to collude with big government rather than collaborate with patients and physicians.

Kristin S. Held, MD”

Socratease on February 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Will Obama blame Fox News?

Deafdog on February 5, 2014 at 9:32 AM

BLASPHEMY!

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Fixed.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Ummm, the Beijing games were Summer Olympics, if memory serves…

..we’re discussing Winter Olympics here…Games that have been
held in places such as Nagano Japan, Vancouver Canada,
Lilhammer Norway, Turin Italy, Sarajevo Serbia..and many
other Sh*tHoles…the latest being Sochi….you want to
slam Russia, Putin, have at it…I could care less who’s in charge
of it. They are Sporting events. Hold them in a F*king Pasture
for Christ’s sake. Let’s see who’s the best, and give them a
medal shall we??

ToddPA on February 5, 2014 at 11:22 AM

And the forced displacement and hundreds of thousands of people in the London and Atlanta games that was conveniently ignored by most MSM outlets is evidence of how games in capitalist countries are destructive too.

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Atlanta:

For the 1996 Atlanta Games, some 30,000 poor residents were displaced due to gentrification. About 2,000 public housing units were demolished. Legislation was introduced to criminalize homelessness, the report said.

Gentrification

Gentrification is typically the result of investment in a community by local government, community activists, or business groups, and can often spur economic development, attract business, lower crime rates, and have other benefits to a community.

Blame Atlanta’s (Democrat) government, not capitalism.

By the way, the Sydney Olympics were held on surplus government land, so no one was displaced. But gentrification caused housing prices to more than double between 1996 and 2003. Rents soared 40 percent, forcing many to move to the city’s fringe.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2014 at 11:29 AM

If memories serves, that “forced displacement” made my in-laws about $20,000 which is what someone paid them to rent their home for that period of time.

Rotten capitalism!/

2L8 on February 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

libfree must be thinking of Beijing where there really was forced displacement and no reimbursement. Yay communism!

Catoclysmos on February 5, 2014 at 11:33 AM

bofh on February 5, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Sometimes they’re too clever by half. There is a third meaning to “piste” which I learned traveling through Ireland a few years back – it’s an auditory pun often used in tabloid headlines there, as in “Nikki Piste Neighbor Says” ie Nikki is a footballer who got in a fight in a pub and his neighbor rightly pointed out that he was piste aka sauced aka drizzunk. Using it in that context makes what you referenced quite funny.

King B on February 5, 2014 at 11:35 AM

I thought this was just a 2nd world country? Watch the Travel Channel sometime when Bizarre Foods goes to a 3rd world country for a preview of what’s coming down the pike at us.

Kissmygrits on February 5, 2014 at 11:53 AM

I guess we can look forward to coverage commentary sprinkled with snarks about the conditions. Remember that the last Olympics coverage started with two reporters discussing past terrorist events. That was thoughtful.

So, I plan to watch with a one-day delay on my DVR – skipping visits to Sven’s hometown where he (or she) milked mountain goats every morning – with the volume turned down and Pink Floyd’s Animals playing in a continuous loop.

Tsar of Earth on February 5, 2014 at 11:56 AM

I am the last person to defend the Russians. But on my list they are well above whiny-ass sportswriters.

#getoveryourselves

Marcus Traianus on February 5, 2014 at 12:00 PM

I live in Lake Tahoe and annually buy a ski pass to Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. I regularly ride a lift that passes over the remains of the ski jumping facility. There’s some talk in Reno-Tahoe of bidding for another one.

What boggles my mind is the way these days billions can be spent on a three-week sport festival where half the competitions involve strapping boards on one’s feet and sliding down a hill at ski resorts THAT ALREADY EXIST.

kd6rxl on February 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Stop pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

I take it you didn’t actually go there, but maybe read some BS report n the NYT?

I have been a on-site spectator to 5 Olympic games, including Beijing. It was the worst I have attended. I remember trying to find a restroom outside one venue, and entered a public area where the toilet was literally a hole in the ground.

Awarding Russia the Winter Olympics was a huge mistake. The country is a corrupt mess, and the Caucasus region where Sochi is located is one of the worst places on earth. Would not set my foot in that hell hole.

Norwegian on February 5, 2014 at 1:13 PM

And the forced displacement and hundreds of thousands of people in the London and Atlanta games that was conveniently ignored by most MSM outlets…

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Whaaa? I lived in Atlanta, attended a few events and had friends that worked the games…you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Regardless of what else you write here, the fact that you spouted out that mindless bit of drivel invalidates any thing else you have to say. Seriously…100s of thousands displaced? Do you even know where the venues were and what was there previously?

Never mind, you have nothing worth hearing.

Geministorm on February 5, 2014 at 1:19 PM

As a side bar, the pictures of the facades hiding the buildings on the main thoroughfares in Beijing are telling.

Meanwhile, the Atlanta games were a little scary because of the bombing that occurred, but the venues were *very* clean, the bathrooms in the Track & Field stadium were cleaner than most pro or college stadiums I’ve been to, and the staff at every event were friendly. You could go to two or three events a day at different locations (I went to the Velodrome over at Stone Mtn, the aquatic facilities and then finished at the T&F stadium to watch M.Johnson all in the same day) because transportation was easy (downtown was pretty much all official Olympic traffic) since shuttles were coming and going all the time, and the city looked great, they didn’t need to hide anything (maybe some homeless were forced off the streets because of safety concerns for visitors, but they were taking that whole “no soliciting” policy very seriously at that point). The only complaint I could have is that all of the restaurants and hotels within about 100 miles had all jacked up their prices (“Olympic rates” is what one of my family told me, at a Motel 6 no less).

Geministorm on February 5, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Oh we’re pretending that this is evidence of Communism’s failures? Right OK, so the perfection of the Beijing games was what?

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Hey idiot! From someone who lived in USSR at one time, you and every other liberal idiot should move there and actually experience your wet dream before EVER commenting on the subject you haven’t a faintest idea about. Only an out and out idiot could ever call Beijing games “perfection”. Ask locals before you stick your oversized foot in your undersized mouth.

riddick on February 5, 2014 at 2:06 PM

New romantic hit song about the Winter Olympics. As a fond reminder of the terrorism, high crime, anarchy, incompetence and poisoned water.’I LEFT MY HEART IN SOCHI (literally).’

MaiDee on February 5, 2014 at 2:10 PM

What a wonderful venue the IOC chose! What’s next, Summer Games in Kim Jong-un’s gulag?

Would probably work out better than chicago would have.

Lost in Jersey on February 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Oh God yes! A Chicago Olympics would have been a once-in-a-century strike opportunity for the greedy unions. They would make the Russians look good.

slickwillie2001 on February 5, 2014 at 2:17 PM

happens to be in close proximity to a civil war/rebellion in the Caucasus

Those Caucasians ruining everything!

LoganSix on February 5, 2014 at 2:33 PM

And the forced displacement and hundreds of thousands of people in the London and Atlanta games that was conveniently ignored by most MSM outlets…

libfreeordie on February 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Whaaa? I lived in Atlanta, attended a few events and had friends that worked the games…you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Regardless of what else you write here, the fact that you spouted out that mindless bit of drivel invalidates any thing else you have to say. Seriously…100s of thousands displaced? Do you even know where the venues were and what was there previously?

Never mind, you have nothing worth hearing.

Geministorm on February 5, 2014 at 1:19 PM

A single source, based in Geneva, is the origin of libfree’s claim. That group is the Center on Housing Rights and Evictions, which claimed that 1.5 million people were displaced in the Beijing area prior to that Olympics.

Beijing rejected that claim, putting the number at just over 6,000. But the 1.5 million number has become internet legend, apparently, even though no such claim was ever substantiated. You can’t even find mention of it in the wiki page dedicated to Beijing Olympics Controversies.

Del Dolemonte on February 5, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Analogous to the bilge the GOPe status quo’ers want everyone to swallow.

Murphy9 on February 5, 2014 at 4:56 PM

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