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February 14 2014

08:11

Week In The News: Snowy South, Debt Ceiling, Michael Sam

Sochi medals. A debt-ceiling deal. Monsieur Hollande in Washington. Snowmageddon  in the South. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Cars are left abandoned along Franklin Street after a winter storm left poor conditions in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP)

Cars are left abandoned along Franklin Street after a winter storm left poor conditions in Chapel Hill, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state’s 100 counties. (AP)

Guests

Major Garrett, chief White House correspondent for CBS News. Correspondent-at-Large for National Journal. (@MajorCBS)

Laure Mandeville, U.S. bureau chief and chief White House correspondent for Le Figaro. (@lauremandeville)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Washington Post: The Four Most Notable Nuggets From ‘The Hillary Papers’ – “Republicans are seizing Monday on a report published Sunday titled “The Hillary Papers.” The lengthy piece from the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative news Web site, details personal documents from one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest friends, Diane Blair, a political science professor who died in 2000.”

CNN: The Southern snow was round one; here comes ice, the heavyweight –” The snow was here, two weeks ago. With just a smattering of white, it wreaked havoc on the South. But it may have been just an opening round. Now, an ice storm is hitting. And matched with snow, it’s the heavyweight of the two. Weather mavens expect up to an inch of ice will give broad swaths of the South a good shellacking. An inch doesn’t sound impressive? A foot of snow may look big and bad, but it’s a bunch of fluff compared to a solid inch of ice.”

Politico: Obamacare finally clears the tower – ”The new report is good enough that it might reset Washington’s expectations: maybe Obamacare isn’t going to be a train wreck after all. Maybe it’ll be more like one of those Metro trains that runs kind of slowly, and sometimes stops in the middle of the tracks for no apparent reason, but eventually gets you where you need to go.”

February 10 2014

22:00

Updates From The Sochi Winter Olympics

Our Feb. 10 hour focusing on the real story of Vladimir Putin’s Russia featured an athlete-focused update from the city of Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympics are currently underway.

John Cherwa, deputy sports editor at The Los Angeles Times, gave us a broad rundown of the facilities, the opening ceremony and the opening rounds of competition in Sochi.

Tom Ashbrook: John, welcome back to On Point. Thanks for being with us.

John Cherwa: Well, I’m glad to be back.

TA: So we’re seeing all kinds of reporting here about doorknobs falling off and rings that won’t light up, but also seeing terrific vistas and some terrific winter sport. What’s your sense of how the games are going so far, John?

JC: You know, it was a difficult lead up. I mean they had a lot of problems. There’s still stuff that’s not finished. But as far as the actual competition is going, it’s great. The venues are all completed. In fact, the venues were completed before the roads around them were completed. But I think we’ve pretty much settled into the usual Olympic routine. This doesn’t seem too terribly different from any of the others.

TA: There’s still coming out of Washington the sound of warnings about terrorism. Any whisper about that inside the Olympic bubble?

JC: That is something that I completely misjudged on — at least. I hope I did. I had some trepidation going over. But I feel totally, completely safe here in the bubble. A matter of fact I was talking to my colleague from the Chicago Tribune who basically came over with the same feeling, and says he doesn’t even think about it anymore. The thing is, it’s not oppressive, I was thinking you’d be seeing non-stop military and police: nope. It’s really just like the other games.

TA: what are the athletes there telling you, saying to you about the opening ceremonies on Friday night? Millions and millions watched them around the world, many in the United States. What about the athletes: what are they thinking of the spectacle?

JC: Well, they liked it. You know, the thing is you don’t have your full contingent at an opening ceremony. For example, like the hockey team: the men’s hockey team wasn’t here, the women’s hockey team was playing the next day. But the people in the stadium really enjoyed it. Except for the fact that they were doing some things that they had to pump cold air into an already cold stadium, so it was one of the more frigid opening ceremonies. Something else they did differently was move up the athletes’ march earlier and rather than have them stand, they put ‘em in the seats. So that was a better experience for them.

TA: You’ve seen, this is, I guess ,your eighth Olympics now. Compare and contrast: opening ceremonies, mood, facilities. How does Sochi look?

JC: You know, the opening ceremony is always ‘Can you top this?’ and you know they just get more and more crazy. I could have gone without the 12-minute reenactment of ‘War and Peace.” Actually they should have done ‘Anna Karenina,’  it would have been a better story. These games are pretty much as they should be. I think that my overriding feeling is we’re at the same place that we normally are, but it’s getting there that has been the struggle. Things do not come easily in Russia getting things done do not come easily, and I think we’re all feeling a sense of that. But you know again I think it’s all business as usual.

TA: The gay rights issue and Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law, as they put it: is that in the air, is it being talked about, or shunted aside at this point?

JC: I think it’s totally in the background. No one’s talked about, or very few people are talking about it. There hasn’t been any demonstration that I’m aware, of but of course we’re only on the third day of competition and there are many more chances for that. But even like tomorrow, there’s a gay ski jumper who basically was asked one question about her partner and she said, ‘Yeah, no big deal, well, you know.’ So even that hasn’t really been much of an issue.

TA: And what about the hoary issue of the medal count: how’s that looking, how the U.S. doing, Russia for that matter, what’s striking on the performance side?

JC: Well, Norway.  Norway is just killing it, but they are involved in the sports that well, we don’t really care about. Which is like cross country, the biathlon. The Dutch are doing really well in the speed skating. The U.S., you know, swept the snowboard slope style — that was Sage Kotsenburg and Jamie Anderson. And that was kind of a surprise, I don’t think we expected that to happen. We picked up a bronze in the women’s combined alpine this morning, so you know the U.S. is doing okay. They picked up a  team medal in figure skating, but probably won’t do anything in the men’s and women’s, but will probably win gold in the ice dancing in a couple days.

TA: And what’s the anticipation — I know it’s a while yet, but still — on hockey, well there’s women’s and then there’s men’s. What’s the anticipation there?

JC: Well there’s no question that it’s a two team race in women’s hockey: U.S. and Canada. U.S. won, I believe, nine-nothing against Switzerland today and that was a team that Canada beat five-nothing the other day,  so it’s gonna come down to that game. They’ll play once in pool play, and then undoubtedly will play for the gold .The men: eh, it’s a little tough. I personally think that Russia – who’s not the favorite, Canada’s the favorite — I personally think the gold medal game will be Canada and Russia, because the crowd is just going to be unbelievable for the Russians,  and that would be good game, just sort of a mishmash of NHL players.

 

05:51

Putin’s Games And Putin’s Russia

As the world watches Sochi, Russia and Vladimir Putin, we’ll look at the Olympic Games and their host.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, declares the 2014 Winter Olympics open as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, looks on during the opening ceremony, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, declares the 2014 Winter Olympics open as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, right, looks on during the opening ceremony, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP)

Guests

John Cherwa, deputy sports editor at the Los Angeles Times. (@jcherwa)

Gregory Feifer, Europe editor at the Global Post. Author of “Russians: The People Behind The Power.” Also author of “The Great Gamble.” (@gfeifer)

Julia Ioffe, senior editor at The New Republic. Former Moscow correspondent for Foreign Policy and The New Yorker. (@juliaioffe)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Sochi Olympic organizers prepare for a rainy — and sunny — day –”The 2014 Sochi Games will take place 1,000 miles south of Moscow, at a Black Sea resort that qualifies as one of only a few Russian cities with a subtropical climate. If that seems less than hibernal, the organizers insist they can stage a successful competition no matter what kind of weather there is over the next month.”

New York Times: A Triumph for Putin, if Not for the Rest of a Sagging Russia –”Now, as the first events begin, the Games have for Mr. Putin and his allies become a self-evident triumph of Russia’s will. The avalanche of criticism that has already fallen, from minor complaints about ill-prepared hotels and stray dogs to grave concerns about the costs, security and human rights, is being brushed away like snowflakes from a winter coat.”

The New Republic: Russians Think We’re Engaging in Olympic Schadenfreude. They’re Right. — “There’s a fine line between fair criticism and schadenfreude, and the Western press has been largely well on the side of the latter. I’d also argue that there’s something chauvinistic, even Russophobic in it. The Europeans may not be ready for their Olympics, but, okay, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best. The Chinese prepare for theirs ruthlessly, but we don’t understand them so whatever. ”

Read An Excerpt Of “Russians” By Gregory Feifer

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January 31 2014

18:08

Classic Football Matchups From Way, Way Back

Our Jan. 31 on the long history of American football included some great clips of early football games and some  admittedly less-than-sexy early Super Bowl halftime concerts.

While planning the hour this week, one of our producers found some fantastic archival footage of old college football games, including a 1903 clip from Thomas Edison himself. As you gear up for Super Bowl XLVIII this Sunday, take a look back at the game’s past.

Princeton v. Yale, 1903

[Watch on YouTube]

Princeton v. Harvard, 1919

[Watch on YouTube]

Northwester v. Minnesota, 1930

08:41

Week In The News: Southern Freeze, State Of The Union, So Long Bernanke

A southern deep freeze. State of the Union. Bye, bye, Ben Bernanke. Our weekly news roundtable goes beyond the headlines.

In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mt. Paran Rd., abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday that the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta's snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people. Georgia State Patrol troopers headed to schools where children were hunkered down early Wednesday after spending the night there, and transportation crews continued to treat roads and bring gas to motorists, Deal said. (AP)

In this aerial view looking at I-75 north at Mt. Paran Rd., abandoned cars are piled up on the median of the ice-covered interstate after a winter snow storm Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Atlanta. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said early Wednesday that the National Guard was sending military Humvees onto Atlanta’s snarled freeway system in an attempt to move stranded school buses and get food and water to people.  (AP)

Guests

David Wessel, director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. Contributing correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.  (@davidmwessel)

Kelly O’Donnell, Congressional correspondent for NBC News. (@KellyO)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Interstate-clearing focus turns over 2,000 abandoned cars — “More than 2,000 cars still left abandoned on metro Atlanta interstates as of Wednesday evening, and with road conditions now passable city-wide, state officials were turning their focus Thursday to getting those cars safely off the roads.”

Reuters: Households, trade keep U.S. economy humming in fourth quarter – “Gross domestic product grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year, the Commerce Department said on Thursday, in line with economists’ expectations. While that was a slowdown from the third-quarter’s brisk 4.1 percent pace, it was a far stronger performance than had been anticipated earlier in the quarter and welcome news in light of some drag from October’s partial government shutdown.”

The Economist: Praying for peace — “Only  a few weeks ago the dismissal of the Ukrainian government by President Viktor Yanukovych and his offer to appoint an opposition leader as the country’s new prime minister would have had an electric effect. It would have been cheered by protesters on Kiev’s Independence Square (the Maidan) as an important victory. It might even have persuaded them to unblock the roads in the capital. Not any more. On January 28th Mr Yanukovych at last surrendered Nikolai Azarov, a long-serving but ineffectual prime minister. But that was met with a shrug of the shoulders by those manning the barricades in Kiev. “

08:41

Four Hundred Years Of American Football

The deep history of American Football. Ahead of Superbowl XLVIII, 400 years of pain and glory.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) catches a pass during practice Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Florham Park, N.J. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)

Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) catches a pass during practice Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, in Florham Park, N.J. The Broncos are scheduled to play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game Sunday, Feb. 2, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)

Guests

Susan Reyburn, writer and editor for the Library of Congress. Author of “Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game.” Also co-author of “Baseball Americana,” “The Library of Congress World War II Companion” and author of “Women Who Dare: Amelia Earthart.”

Greg Easterbrook, contributing editor at The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Monthly, author of the Tuesday Morning Quarterback column for ESPN.com. Author of “The King Of Sports: Football’s Impact on America” and “Tuesday Morning Quarterback.” (@easterbrookg)

Armen Keteyian, CBS News correspondent and lead correspondent for Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports.” Co-author of ”The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football.” (@armenketeyian)

From Tom’s Reading List

ESPN: Unionization may fail but not a failure — “To succeed in the formation of a union, the players must convince the National Labor Relations Board that they are employees. It will not be easy. In addition to the numerous courts that have ruled that injured athletes are not eligible for medical benefits automatically available to employees, the players will face assertions from Northwestern and the NCAA that they are ‘student-athletes,’ a category invented to avoid any suggestion of employment.”

Wall Street Journal: 11 Minutes Of Action — “In other words, if you tally up everything that happens between the time the ball is snapped and the play is whistled dead by the officials, there’s barely enough time to prepare a hard-boiled egg. In fact, the average telecast devotes 56% more time to showing replays. ”

International Business Times: Bonuses, Trademark Rights And Brand Value: What’s Really At Stake For The Players And The NFL?  – “The Super Bowl is nothing if not a game of superlatives. It’s often the most-watched television broadcast in any given year. It generates more tweets and it commands higher ad revenue than any other sporting event in the world. Calculating the average revenue from sponsorships, tickets and licensed merchandise, Forbes magazine in 2012 estimated the Super Bowl brand to be worth $470 million; no other game comes close.”

Read An Excerpt From “Football Nation: Four Hundred Years of America’s Game” by Susan Reyburn

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January 17 2014

23:11

Olympians Jason Brown And Mikaela Shiffrin Get Ready For Sochi

We were so thrilled our Friday Jan. 17 show featured two U.S. Olympians on their way to the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia.

Figure skater Jason Brown, the first male singles skater to make the U.S. Olympic team since 1976, and Mikaela Shiffrin, an Alpine skier and the current Slalom World Cup Champion, called in to our broadcast to give us a taste of their journey to Olympic glory.

Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin joined us first. She talked about her exciting recent victory in the World Championships, and explained how her training regimen is going in Reiter Alm, Austria.

“I’m really excited. The race went well, it was a pretty big margin of a win and I was just excited to get some of my good skiing on the course so it was really fun. We’re training quite a bit, cause we have a little bit of break in races right now. But really part of the biggest training for Sochi is the racing, and being able to to you know, let your skis go and really compete well in the races versus just training well. Some athletes find it really difficult to train well and then race well at the same time. Right now, the biggest training and the biggest benefit that I’m getting is just racing and trying to get my good skiing out there.”

Shiffrin is a loose, easy skier with a gentle touch. She explained where that attention came from.

“I’ve been working really the past few years on trying to be really loose, because ever since I was little I’ve always put a lot of emphasis on my technique so I;m solid on my skis but the past few years i’ve been working on  having the good technique but also letting my skis go and really not holding back at all. i tend to think of myself as a pretty relaxed skier but also disciplined with my motions.”

The politics and protests surrounding the games haven’t phased Shriffin, she told us.

“We have a pretty small team here, so we’re pretty kind of isolated from everything. Obviously I’ve seen everything that’s going on and of course I’d rather compete in a place that’s familiar to me, I’d love to race in the United States, because it’s home and I feel safe there. I also know that everybody who goes into organizing the Olympics are trained to deal with these kind of difficult situations, and I’m just really excited to go race. I feel, right now going into the Olympics, that they have a handle on things and my job is to just go in and ski as fast as I can.”

Shiffrin’s races are toward the end of the Alpine events in the Sochi Games’ calendar. She explained how she’ll stay fresh for her event as the games open early next month.

“Well you know what actually what we’re doing — I’m racing the giant slalom and slalom, and you’re right they’re the last two Alpine racing competitions and they’re only I think  two days apart. So what we’re gonna do is fly into Sochi a little bit later, so we’ll spend about I think a total of nine or ten days there, but we’re not gonna be there the entire time so we can utilize the  training in Austria before the games.”

Our guest, Los Angeles Times deputy sports editor John Cherwa, called Shiffrin the winter equivalent of American swimming phenom Missy Franklin, a star of the 2012 London Games. The two young American athletes have been in touch as the Sochi games approach.

“She has been really supportive, and we were tweeting a little bit this summer and going into the season. I’m very flattered by that comparison because I love the way she handles herself with media and with her sponsors, and whatever she’s doing. Whenever you hear about Missy, it’s always positive and she’s always smiling. And she’s 17, 18 years old and working so hard and having success, and I think it’s a really good lesson to be learned that she’s obviously having a blast, and whatever pressure is on her isn’t affecting her because she’s winning and loving it and that’s kind of the mentality I like to take.”

While some athletes might be concerned about protests or safety in Russia, Shiffrin said her main focus is her sport.

“Most of this for me, I’m really trying to just stay focused on my sport. Most of it is, ‘Just don’t worry about, they’re trained to handle this kind of thing. And  your  job is go in and try your best  to win a couple of medals, and that’s that.’ And that’s the really the whole point of the Olympics, is friendly competition with pretty much every country in the world. We all go in and we’re a ll competing for those medals and it’s a story that we hopefully can try and tell our grand kids someday. And so that’s really my vision of the Olympics is making it as amazing an experience as possible.  For most of the athletes, there’s of course there’s some athletes who want to take a stand one way or the other, but I don’t feel that it’s my job to do that.”

Shiffrin also talked about the admittedly strange choice for a sub-tropical resort city like Sochi to host the Winter Games, and how that would affect her skiing.

“It’s a little bit funky there, but I’m really excited to go see what the conditions are. We were trained there a little bit last February — it was kind of your average spring conditions, a little bit sugary snow, we had to put salt on the snow to harden it up, but I had some of my best training conditions out of the entire season last year. I’m really excited. I think it’s gonna be fair, it’s gonna be an awesome competition.”

Figure Skater Jason Brown

Figure skater Jason Brown took the country by storm when an incredible video of his routine at the US Skating Championships last Sunday hit the web. He went “viral,” so to speak, and he joined us from Colorado Springs to tell us about how it feels to have his childhood Olympic dreams finally coming true.

“You know the first Olympics that I saw was 2006, that I saw live, in my living room with my parents. I think that’s when it first became a dream of mine. But it still wasn’t something that I thought was gonna be a reality. And looking back at it now, I would have never guessed that this would be what is going on. I always try to stay in the moment and so the moment came and I can’t even believe where I am right now.”

Brown talked about what went through his mind as he skated in his championship routine this month.

“I’ve been working so, so hard this year, training harder than I have ever have because it is such a taxing program. I’ve done so much endurance training, and I  moved to Colorado, so I’m in altitude now. I think that that training so hard and doing section after section every day, I went out there and that’s how I trained it, the program and I couldn’t ask for anything more than just to out and do my program as I’ve trained. And that’s how I’ve been training and so I couldn’t ask for anything more, and after that, everything else is out of my hands — what the judges do, how everyone else skates, and then I ended up in second. I honestly can’t even wrap my head around it yet.”

Brown talked about his preparations for Sochi, and a time two years ago when he skated in a program in the future Olympic Arena.

“Earlier this year, we have watched videos, we have a team camp in the summer that they showed us videos and we talked to a bunch of people that are gonna be there. I was fortunate enough to go to Sochi about two years for the Junior Grand Prix final. it was a junior test event that they had, kind of a like a test event. So I’ve actually gotten to go and skate in that rink. I cant even believe that I’m going back. I loved it, that was my first time I’ve ever been to Russia. The fans were amazing, the culture is so incredible, just from the architecture to the people to…they had one of the competitors’ parties a Russian dance group come in. The way they brought the culture into the event was truly spectacular and just to be in a Olympic rink with my coach was something that I can’t even put into words. And I can’t even believe that I’m going to be going back there in at an Olympic games.”

Brown also talked about his love of dance, and his decision to remain out of the political debate swirling around the games.

“I was always a skater, but I love to dance. I guess if you count putting on shows that my sister choreographed when I was three or four, that counts as dance so dance came first, but I started off as a skater…I definteily dont completely agree with [the Russian political situation], but I’m really trying to focus on my training everyday and doing what I do everyday and trying to represent my country the best that I can.”

The Sochi games will be the first to feature a new “team figure skating’” event, the participants in which have not yet been determined, Brown said.

“I have no idea, they are talking about it and it is something that is up for discussion about who’s gonna compete where, but the skaters haven’t been given any information about who’s gonna compete, who’s not gonna compete, but I don’t know when I’ll find out. But  it’s definitely an event that it would be such an honor and a privilege to be a part of, the first team event in the Winter Olympics Games for figure skating.”

Brown told us that his main goal when skating is to just stay on his feet and deliver for the audience.

“All I was thinking a bout was, ‘Just go out there and do what you trained.’ There’s nothing else I could do, I couldn’t ask to be better than I trained, I just wanted to go out there and skate the way I’ve been training and just skate the program that me and my coach have seen every day, that me and my coach have worked on all year.  That was my main focus and that was all I could think about, and that’s just what I went out and did . I’ve never been more prepared for an event and I just went out and tried to stay on my feet, fight for everything and just perform for the audience, because there’s nothing that I  love to do than to skate for them and to skate for them.”

We’re so proud of both of these young American Olympians, and we wish them the best in the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games! The games begin on February 6, and continue through February 23. Watch out for Jason and Mikaela on the ice and slopes of Sochi soon!

09:01

Sochi 2014: Putin’s Costly, Controversial Winter Olympics

Sports and politics at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. We’ll talk with top Olympians — Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin and figure skater Jason Brown — on the games in Russia.

This Oct. 24, 2013 file photo shows the illuminated Olympic Bolshoy stadium, in the background, and Iceberg stadium, the location for figure skating and short track speed skating events during the 2014 Olympic Games, in the Olympic park in the coastal cluster in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. (AP)

This Oct. 24, 2013 file photo shows the illuminated Olympic Bolshoy stadium, in the background, and Iceberg stadium, the location for figure skating and short track speed skating events during the 2014 Olympic Games, in the Olympic park in the coastal cluster in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia. (AP)

Guests

Angela Stent, professor and director of the Center for Eurasian, Russia and East European Studies program at Georgetown University. Senior fellow at the Brookings Insitution. Author of “The Limits of Partnership: US – Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century” and “Repairing US-Russian Relations: A Long Road Ahead.” (@AngelaStent)

Mikaela Shiffrin, Olympic Alpine skier, member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team. (@MikaelaShiffrin)

Jason Brown, figure skater, member of the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team. (@jasonbskates)

John Cherwa, Tribune Newspapers Olympic bureau chief, deputy sports editor at The Los Angeles Times. (@jcherwa)

From Tom’s Reading List

Globe and Mail: In Sochi, anger and controversy of Olympic proportions – “When this southern Russian city was awarded the 2014 Winter Olympics seven years ago, most of the country celebrated, feeling a burst of national pride. But Yulia Saltikova quietly cursed the television set. Life in her native city, she felt, was about to go from difficult to worse. That premonition has proved sadly correct. Winning the Olympics has brought a carnival of construction to this palm-tree-lined resort on the Black Sea, to prepare for the most expensive Games ever, slated to cost at least $50-billion (U.S.).”

Bloomberg Businessweek: Putin ski run fails to ease Sochi fears – “Security experts are pretty confident that Putin’s police will manage to seal off the mountain-fringed Black Sea resort town of 343,000, shielding the bobsled runs, ski-jump courses, the athletes’ village and the high-end hotels. Putin will have a more difficult time to make his Jan. 3 hit-the-slopes message carry far beyond Sochi. It didn’t get through to whoever was responsible for the six bullet-riddled bodies found in abandoned cars last week. The incident less than an hour’s flight from next month’s Olympic venue continued a wave of violence.”

USA Today: Olympic charter places athletes in tough spot for Sochi — “As controversy has overshadowed the Sochi Games and gay rights groups have called on the IOC to take action, IOC president Jacques Rogge has pointed out that the IOC is a sports organization, not a government or a political body. ‘One should not forget that the International Olympic Committee cannot be expected to have influence over the sovereign affairs of a country,’ Rogge said. Tuesday a new president will be elected, one who will inherit an issue not expected to fade. So how to reconcile this? One of the IOC’s roles is: ‘To act against any form of discrimination affecting the Olympic movement.’”

Watch U.S. Figure Skater Jason Brown’s Routine At the 2014 U.S. Figure Skate Championship

January 16 2014

21:11

On Point Staff Picks Our Favorite Olympic Sports

Admit it:  when the Olympics roll around,  you imagine yourself up on the podium, a shiny medal around your neck, bouquet of flowers in your hand, and  the national anthem playing to a cheering crowd.

The On Point Team shares a list of the Olympic sports, if only in our dreams, will land us on the podium. *Talent is not a factor in our selections.

Tom Ashbrook: Slalom and Super G

Karen Shiffman:  Ice Dancing

Dean Russell:  Biathlon

Eileen Imada:   Speed Skating

Kat Brewer-Richardson:  Snowboard Half Pipe

Jim Keisling:  Hockey

Nick Andersen: Curling

Sam Gale Rosen: Ski Jumping

Julie Diop: Pairs Skating

January 15 2014

06:07

RTC Podcast: The Ken Pom Edition

January 08 2014

16:27

January 01 2014

05:21

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Life, On and Off the Court

This Program Is Rebroadcast From October 16, 2013

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is with us on turning his own childhood struggles into stories of inspiration.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA legend, author, actor and global cultural ambassador. His new novel for young adults,

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an NBA legend, author, actor and global cultural ambassador. His new novel for young adults, “Sasquatch in the Paint,” is the first in a planned series of novels. (Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Towering basketball master of the “sky hook,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was an NBA superstar of the very highest order.  Top career scorer in the history of the NBA.  More MVP awards than Jordan.  “The most beautiful athlete in sports,” Magic Johnson called him.  But he was always more than his 7-foot-2-inch height and stats.  Born Lew Alcindor, he adopted Islam and the famous name that means “generous servant of the mighty one.”  Always read.  Always studied.  Including studying humankind.  Now he’s got advice to give.  Up next On Point:  superstar, thinker, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, retired NBA superstar for the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, leading scorer in history of the league, author of “Sasquatch in the Paint,” “Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement” and a U.S. global cultural ambassador. (@kaj33)

From Tom’s Reading List

Chicago Tribune: NBA’s Best All Time? You Be The Judge — “The NBA’s all-time leading scorer is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also led the league in blocked shots four times. And he matched Jordan’s total of six NBA championships with the Lakers and Bucks.Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time league MVP and 19-time All-Star. Jordan was a five-time MVP and 14-time All-Star. And we haven’t even introduced to the conversation Wilt Chamberlain, who once scored a record 100 points in a single game, won seven league scoring titles, 11 rebounding titles and even led the league in assists. ‘There are several layers of talent you have to deal with when you’re talking about the game,” Abdul-Jabbar told me last week. “Most young people today are only aware of the NBA, like, since 2005. So it’s difficult to get through to them about all of the things that happened before they were born.’”

New York Times: U.S. Drafts Abdul-Jabbar As Cultural Ambassador – ”Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s life has been a case study in the art of the possible, from his humble Harlem roots to N.B.A. fame and through his life after basketball as a historian and scholar. His next endeavor will draw on all of it. Abdul-Jabbar was named a United States cultural ambassador Wednesday, with a mission of promoting education, racial tolerance and cultural understanding among young people around the world. He leaves Sunday for a six-day assignment in Brazil and will visit at least four more countries this year.”

Los Angeles Times: Talking With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — “38,387 points? 3 NCAA titles? 6 NBA titles, matching the league MVP tallies? 50 Greatest Players status and HOF membership? Or just the classic ‘Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.’ Any way you slice it, summarizing the career of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into a neat little paragraph is no walk in the park.”

Read An Excerpt of “Sasquatch In the Paint” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ramond Obstfeld

December 20 2013

07:12

Week In The News: Fed Tapers, NSA Pushback, Billie Jean King To Sochi

A Fed step back, NSA pushback, Billie Jean King will go to the Olympics. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke listens to a question during a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. The Fed will begin to reduce bond purchases by $10 billion in January because of a stronger U.S. job market. (AP)

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke listens to a question during a news conference at the Federal Reserve in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. The Fed will begin to reduce bond purchases by $10 billion in January because of a stronger U.S. job market. (AP)

Guests

Diane Brady, senior editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. (@DianeBrady)

Bryan Monroe, Washington editor of opinion and commentary for CNN. (@BryanMonroeCNN)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Guardian: NSA goes on 60 Minutes: the definitive facts behind CBS’s flawed report — “Even if NSA doesn’t mean to break the law, the way its data dragnets work in practice incline toward overcollection. During a damage-control conference call in August, an anonymous US intelligence official told reporters that the technical problem bothering Bates in 2011 persists today. The NSA even conceded to Walton in 2009 that ‘from a technical standpoint, there was no single person who had a complete understanding’ of the technical ‘architecture’ of NSA’s phone data collection.”

Bloomberg: Billie Jean King’s Message To Vladimir Putin — “These gestures are first of all important for the countries making them, which like to think they are being consistent about standing up for universal values (even if their own societies only rather recently saw the light on gay rights). They are also important in letting gay men and lesbians inside Russia know they have international support.”

USA Today: Stocks mixed after Fed’s mini-’taper’ – “The Fed said that starting in January, it will reduce its bond-buying program to $75 billion a month from $85 billion. The reductions, or tapering, will be the first step toward winding down a program that has been in place since the 2008 financial crisis.Asian markets were mixed Thursday, although Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index soared 1.7% to 15,859.22.”

December 10 2013

22:48

The RTC Podcast: Quarter-Season Review Edition | Rush The Court

17:50

Below the Rim with Brian Windhorst: Bob Voulgaris

Renown NBA gambler Bob Voulgaris tells stories of million-dollar bets and how to buy courtside seats in LA. http://espn.go.com/espnradio/newyork/play?id=10111605

December 06 2013

18:47

The RTC Podblast: UNC Say What Edition | Rush The Court

November 08 2013

03:28

What Does ‘Bullying’ Mean, Anyway?

Our Nov. 7 hour on the Miami Dolphins’ bullying case and the culture of bullying in sports and professional life raised a lot of questions among our commenters and listeners  — what is bullying, really? And what does that term even really mean? We asked our guest, Amanda Nickerson of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention at the University at Buffalo, for deeper insight into the term. She offered us this thoughtful read below.

Bullying – now a buzzword in our society – has been brought to the forefront again in a different context with the spotlight on the Miami Dolphins. Bullying is a repeated pattern of intentionally aggressive behavior intended to cause physical and/or psychological harm toward a target where there is an imbalance of power (due to age, physical size, race, social status). Most of what we know about bullying comes from research with children and adolescents, although the problem is not confined to K-12 schools. Bullying can occur as young as preschool and can continue into adulthood. Workplace bullying is systematic aggression targeted toward one or more individuals by an individual or group that can have a negative impact on the target and the organizational climate.

What does bullying look like? It can take several forms: verbal (threats, derogatory comment, racial slurs), social (exclusion, spreading rumors, public embarrassment), physical (hitting, tripping, pushing), and cyberbullying (bullying through electronic means like text messaging, e-mail, social media). Being targeted by bullying can result in depression, anxiety, isolation and rejection, physical complaints, and avoidance of school, work, or social situations where the bullying occurs. There are many factors that contribute to the likelihood that someone will bully others, including individual characteristics such as aggressive or hostile attitude, need for power or control, lack of empathy, and contextual influences (family, school, peer group, work, societal) that model and/or tolerate this type of abuse.

This form of abuse, in addition to related issues of harassment, hazing, racial bias, and the climates that condone these behaviors, are being discussed across the nation. Issues being debated include whether it is even possible for a strong, grown adult to be a “victim” of bullying and how the average person is unable to understand the culture of professional football, where aggression, competition, and being tough are part of the job. The role of leadership and bystanders also come into play, as they are powerful contributors in shaping these behaviors.

The attention to this issue provides an opportunity for each of us to commit to treating others with dignity and respect. We must embrace our collective responsibility for recognizing that brotherly jibing, horseplay, and ribbing are certainly part of sports and our culture. However, using aggression repeatedly to harm someone in a position of vulnerability (even if it is not a person who fits a stereotypical view of a victim) is not acceptable. Professional athletes are extremely powerful and influential in many respects, perhaps most notably as role models for our youth. This could be a pivotal time to change language, attitudes, and behaviors to create the kind of culture and society where each individual can live and work without being subject to any behavior that creates a hostile environment.

What do you make of the bullying allegations in Miami? Are you concerned about the way this case has played out? How does it resonante in your own life and experiences? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below, or let us know on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

November 07 2013

07:46

The NFL And Adult Bullies

A bullying case rocks the NFL. We look at adult bullying in sports and more.

Guests

Andrew Abramson, NFL reporter at the Palm Beach Post. Writes the Daily Dolphin Blog. (@AbramsonPBP)

Kevin Blackistone, sports journalist and college professor. Frequent panelist for ESPN’s Around The Horn. (@ProfBlackistone)

Amanda Nickerson, associate professor in the department of counseling, school, and educational psychology at The University at Buffalo and the director of the Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention.

From The Reading List

New York Times: In Bullying Case, Questions On N.F.L. Culture — “Martin, a classics major who attended Stanford and is the son of two Harvard graduates, left the Dolphins last week after an episode in the cafeteria in which teammates stood as Martin sat, the last in a string of perceived slights. Incognito, a 30-year-old veteran with a reputation for dirty play and a history of rough behavior, was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins late Sunday while the team and the league investigated the matter.”

Palm Beach Post: Source: Coaches told Incognito to ‘toughen up’ teammate Martin – “Dolphins guard Richie Incognito, now suspended by the club for tormenting teammate Jonathan Martin, had been told by at least one coach to help “toughen him up,” a source close to the organization told The Palm Beach Post this morning. The source said there was a general understanding among coaches, including head coach Joe Philbin, that Martin, a second-year player from Stanford, was ‘too soft.’”

Grantland: The Tumultuous Timeline of Richie Incognito — “Since arriving in Miami, Incognito has been involved in several incidents with opposing players, but he has a history of off-field issues that date back to his time at the University of Nebraska. As new details about the case with Martin and the Dolphins emerge, here is a collection of Incognito’s past transgressions that probably warrant mentioning, considering the news from this past week.”

October 16 2013

23:06

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Says NCAA ‘Exploits Players’

On our Oct. 16 conversation with NBA superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball legend (and author) said he’s disturbed by the state of college athletics in the modern era. A towering player for the 1965 – 1969 U.C.L.A. Bruins, Abdul-Jabbar — then Lew Alcindor — used his basketball talents as a way to help him become the first member of his family with a college degree. The system today doesn’t provide for that, he said.

“I think that people see having a sports career as an end in itself and it really isn’t. So many young people that get the opportunity to go straight from high school, get to go from high school to professional athletics, and when their professional career is over, they have a hard time because they don’t have the educational foundation to enable them to do other things. So I think that the athletes themselves are not getting the full benefit of what they should.

“The NCAA athletes are exploited, and they should get paid. So many of them, you have a situation where, let’s say a young man goes to a college to play football and he gets hurt while he playing football. He can’t continue to have a scholarship. his scholarship can be rescinded and there is no insurance program that will protect them, enable them to finish their college career. They went and held up their part of the deal and went to the school to do what they were asked to do and as soon as they get hurt, the school, you know reneges on its commitment. And so, there are a number of abuses like that that they don’t sit well with me. I think that so many of the college athletes that make so much money — it’s a $6 billion dollar a year industry. So many people  see college athletics as a very benevolent extension of high school athletics. Where a quarterback and a cheerleader have a romance and celebrate their victory at the malt shop. That’s not happening anymore. Those days are over. This is a business here. And making all that money and producing all that money and not getting a chance to participate in all the financial rewards is really exploitation.

“…The whole ideal of college representing a place where athletically and intellectually human beings can reach their highest peak, I think that should be the ideal and its gotten  long way from there.”

Is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar right? Should college athletes be paid for their work? Or is the system a pure place for amateur student athletes that would be tainted by more money? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

09:21

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Talks Life On And Off the Court

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is with us on turning his own childhood struggles into stories of inspiration.

Guest

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, retired NBA superstar for the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, leading scorer in history of the league, author of “Sasquatch in the Paint,” “Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement” and a U.S. global cultural ambassador. (@kaj33)

From Tom’s Reading List

Chicago Tribune: NBA’s Best All Time? You Be The Judge — “The NBA’s all-time leading scorer is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He also led the league in blocked shots four times. And he matched Jordan’s total of six NBA championships with the Lakers and Bucks.Abdul-Jabbar was a six-time league MVP and 19-time All-Star. Jordan was a five-time MVP and 14-time All-Star. And we haven’t even introduced to the conversation Wilt Chamberlain, who once scored a record 100 points in a single game, won seven league scoring titles, 11 rebounding titles and even led the league in assists. ‘There are several layers of talent you have to deal with when you’re talking about the game,” Abdul-Jabbar told me last week. “Most young people today are only aware of the NBA, like, since 2005. So it’s difficult to get through to them about all of the things that happened before they were born.’”

New York Times: U.S. Drafts Abdul-Jabbar As Cultural Ambassador – ”Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s life has been a case study in the art of the possible, from his humble Harlem roots to N.B.A. fame and through his life after basketball as a historian and scholar. His next endeavor will draw on all of it. Abdul-Jabbar was named a United States cultural ambassador Wednesday, with a mission of promoting education, racial tolerance and cultural understanding among young people around the world. He leaves Sunday for a six-day assignment in Brazil and will visit at least four more countries this year.”

Los Angeles Times: Talking With Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — “38,387 points? 3 NCAA titles? 6 NBA titles, matching the league MVP tallies? 50 Greatest Players status and HOF membership? Or just the classic ‘Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.’ Any way you slice it, summarizing the career of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into a neat little paragraph is no walk in the park.”

Read An Excerpt of “Sasquatch In the Paint” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ramond Obstfeld

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