Representing Your Country After Olympic Gold: A Comparison

August 24, 2012

Swimming champs Yannick Agnel (France), and Ryan Lochte (USA) both won two Olympic gold medals in London this summer. But what are they doing now?

Yannick Agnel is back to his studies, even after graduating with honors in Oceanography, memorizing sonnets, and “learning Russian for fun.” Agnel is known to be a fan of 19th century poet, Baudelaire, and will quote him during post-race sports interviews.

“And I do not stop studying. I am part of a business school in Sophia-Antipolis and I will keep this essential balance between sports and studies,” he said.

Because at 20-years-old, Agnel isn’t finished with competitive swimming.

photo: Julia Vynokurova/Getty Images Europe

Ryan Lochte, 28, left his training home in Florida to hit the Hollywood circuit. He’s telling everyone who will listen that he’s hoping to star in reality tv shows such as “The Bachelor” and “Dancing With The Stars.”  

As for Lochte’s hopes as an actor, after shooting his cameo in tv show “90210”

 photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Lochte said: “Memorizing lines, and trying to like, say them and still like, do movement and all that. That was hard.”  

Dude, I would say don’t give up your day job, but what is your day job? Wearing a pink Speedo in Vegas seems to be it right now. They love him in Vegas! As Las Vegas Weekly said, when he showed up on the Strip just 4 days after the Olympics: “Vegas has a long, proud tradition of embracing lovable (and not so lovable) douchebags.” Jeah!

Lochte designed the suit himself…      (photo: TMZ)


Our Day Will Come: Julian Assange Speaks To Public From the Balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London

August 19, 2012

Sunday 19 August 2012

photo: Reuters

Julian Assange calls for end to ‘US war on whistleblowers’
(Full Speech)

“Can you hear me?

“I am here today because I cannot be there with you today. But thank you for coming. Thank you for your resolve and your generosity of spirit.

“On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and the police descended on this building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it and you brought the world’s eyes with you.

“Inside this embassy, after dark, I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through its internal fire escape. But I knew there would be witnesses. And that is because of you.

“If the UK did not throw away the Vienna conventions the other night, it is because the world was watching. And the world was watching because you were watching.

“So, the next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend those rights that we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the Embassy of Ecuador.

“Remind them how, in the morning, the sun came up on a different world and a courageous Latin America nation took a stand for justice.

“And so, to those brave people. I thank President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and in granting me political asylum.

“And I also thank the government, and in particular Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino, who upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal rights in their consideration of my asylum. And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending this constitution.

“And I also have a debt of gratitude to the staff of this embassy, whose families live in London and who have shown me the hospitality and kindness despite the threats we all received.

“This Friday, there will be an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington DC to address this very situation.

“And so, I am grateful to those people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, and to all other Latin American countries who have come out to defend the right to asylum.

“And to the people of the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength, even when their governments have not. And to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice. Your day will come.

“To the staff, supporters and sources of Wikileaks, whose courage and commitment and loyalty has seen no equal.

“To my family and to my children who have been denied their father. Forgive me, we will be reunited soon.

“As Wikileaks stands under threat, so does the freedom of expression and the health of all our societies. We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.

“Will it return to and reaffirm the values, the revolutionary values it was founded on, or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?

“I say it must turn back. I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch-hunts against Wikileaks. The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation.

“The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters. The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.

“There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organization; be it Wikileaks, or be it the New York Times.

“The US administration’s war on whistleblowers must end.

“Thomas Drake, William Binney and John Kirakou and the other heroic whistleblowers must – they must – be pardoned or compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants of the public record.

“And to the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, who was found by the United Nations to have endured months of torturous detention in Quantico, Virginia and who has yet – after two years in prison – to see a trial: he must be released.

“Bradley Manning must be released.

“And if Bradley Manning did as he is accused, he is a hero and an example to us all and one of the world’s foremost political prisoners.

“Bradley Manning must be released.

“On Wednesday, Bradley Manning spent his 815th day of detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days.

“On Thursday, my friend Nabeel Rajab, President of the Bahrain Human Rights Centre, was sentenced to three years in prison for a tweet. On Friday, a Russian band were sentenced to two years in jail for a political performance.

“There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.

“Thank you.”

No Means No (or Condi And The Male Elite)

August 13, 2012

Condi – aka Dr. Rice – really meant it when she said she didn’t want to be Mitt Romney’s VP.

There is no way I would do this,” she told CBS News. Despite this, the press kept floating her as a top choice for Romney, reportedly because Romney’s aides kept “leaking” her name to the press.

She still said no.

Is it just me, or is Romney’s staff flailing and inept?

In Poland, when journalists asked Romney questions after his visit to Warsaw’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Romney’s Press Secretary told the reporters to “Kiss my ass,” and to “shove it.”

How’s that for international relations?

When the Presidential wannabe went to England for the Olympics, Team Romney pissed off the British the entire time – including conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron. 

What a clod.

You can’t blame Mitt for wanting Condi – or for his people to want him to want her. For all the obvious racial and gender issues. Which is so conniving and cynical and gross. Which, I will speculate, is why she said no.

Yet, she has given speeches for him, at private fundraisers, that apparently roused the audience to wild applause.

Condi has many fans foreign and domestic. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi kept a photo album of her pictures. An entire photo album. Just her.

“I support my darling black African woman,” Gaddafi told al-Jazeera television in 2007, according to The Guardian. “I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders…Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. I love her very much. I admire her and I’m proud of her because she’s a black woman of African origin.” (Huffington Post)

But, Condoleezza Rice will not allow herself to be the trophy wife of Gaddafi, say, any more than she will allow herself to be the symbol of Romney’s tolerance of minorities and women.

Yes, she has been wooed. But will not be had.

The History Of The Olympics

August 7, 2012

This fantastic 7 minute animated video of the history of the Olympic games was put together by the International Olympic Committee.

Some highlights include: during the Olympics, all war would cease (!); the first game can be traced to 776 B.C.E.; all men, regardless of class, could participate (women were allowed later); the competitions — originally one day, later extended to five days — included foot races, long jump, discus throw, boxing, and chariot races.