Athletes from all over the world are preparing for next month's Beijing Olympic Games. But, as always, it isn't just about sports. Friday, on To the Point, has China made good on its promises of clean air and open media access? Will production spectacles have to compete with protests over suppression of human rights? Also, a tour extension for Marines in Afghanistan, and John McCain, Barack Obama and two strains of American patriotism.
FROM THIS EPISODE
"Beijing Welcomes the World" is the slogan everywhere in China's capital with the Summer Olympics scheduled to start just over a month from today. In order to get the Games, China promised it would be clean, green and accessible, but not all its commitments are being kept. Some $40 billion in US dollars have been spent on space-age venues and infrastructure, including the world's largest airport. But competitors are worried about air pollution; tight new visa requirements are keeping travelers away and media coverage may be severely restricted. We hear about those issues and ask which athletes are the ones to watch. How's the US expected to do? Are the Olympics always as much about politics as athletics?
Rebecca Blumenstein, Beijing Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal
Jeffrey Ruffalo, American Advisor, Beijing Olympic Committee
Brian Cazeneuve, Staff Writer, Sports Illustrated
David Wallechinsky, International Society of Olympics Historians (@westwood1sports)
John Hoberman, University of Texas at Austin
There is no better time to talk about patriotism than the Fourth of July in the middle of a presidential campaign. John McCain and Barack Obama represent two different but very important patriotic traditions. That's according to Peter Beinart, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who wrote the cover story on this week's Time magazine.
Twenty-two hundred Marines who were scheduled home in October, will have to stay in Afghanistan for as much as thirty days longer. That announcement came a day after Admiral Mike Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he needs more troops in Afghanistan but doesn’t have them—because of Iraq. David Wood, national security correspondent for the Baltimore Sun, was imbedded with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit and broke the story that their tour would be extended.
David Wood, National Security Correspondent, PoliticsDaily.com