9:01 AM, Aug 12, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Besides centrifuges, uranium enrichment, and sanctions, this month the State Department turned to sets, digs, and spikes in diplomatic efforts with Iran. Samuel Werberg, a press and public diplomacy officer in the U.S. State Department, invoked the spirit of Jesse Owens to tout the Obama administration's latest installment of sports diplomacy:
Jesse Owens, the renowned American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist, once said, “Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.” In that spirit of friendship, Team USA Volleyball with support from the U.S. Department of State, is hosting the Iranian National Men’s Volleyball Team for a series of four friendly matches in southern California betweenAugust 9 and 16.
With continued antagonism between the United States and Iran, Werberg seems eager to emphasize the good feelings aspect of this avenue of diplomacy, three times referring to "friendly matches" in his article. The Iranian team's visit got off to a rocky though not atypical start with some lost luggage at the Los Angeles airport, but then the world's 11th-ranked team joined the 4th-ranked U.S. team for a simultaneous practice. At the first match on August 9th, the U.S. came out on top three games to one.
This round of volleyball diplomacy comes on the heels of a four-month extension in nuclear talks between the United States and Iran. Even as those negotiations have been ongoing, Werberg notes that during the last year and a half, the two countries' wrestling teams have competed several times.
Three volleyball matches remain between the two teams this week, all in California, before the visit comes to an end. The games are being live-streamed on the web as well as broadcast in the Middle East by Voice of America (VOA) Persia. Twitter users can keep up with events using the hashtag #usavcup.
11:45 AM, Jul 15, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
There was a time when stock car racing was an outlaw sport. Some of the greatest of the early drivers learned their skills hauling moonshine. Most conspicuously, Junior Johnson who did a stretch in the federal crossbar hotel. But the days of Junior, Richard, Dale, and the rest of them are long past. NASCAR went corporate and like all “mature industries,” it learned how to play cozy with Washington.
2:01 PM, Jun 7, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
It has been a while since there has been a winner of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown. Thirty-six years, in fact. Twelve horses have had a chance before today, when California Chrome gets a shot in the Belmont. Eleven of those horses came up short and one did not run. When Affirmed won the Belmont in 1978, the horse became the third Triple Crown winner of the 70’s, back in a time when thoroughbred racing, handicapping, and turf writing were still in their glory.
10:04 AM, May 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
First Lady Michelle Obama plays a sideline reporter in a video with NFL star-turned White House chef Richard Sherman in a video promoting healthy eating:
"Well, let me tell you," Sherman shouts at Obama. "We the best chefs in the game. So when you try us with an easy meal like salmon cakes and succotash, that's the result you going to get."
"Wow, Richard, where'd you learn to do all this?" Obama asks. "I mean, corn, succotash, salmon cakes."
8:08 AM, May 28, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The NFL commissioner is headed to the White House to dicuss concussions in sports, the Washington Post reports.
11:10 AM, May 10, 2014 • By DAVID WOLFFORD
I experienced some rough emotions rooting for my alma mater, the University of Kentucky, during the NCAA tournament. Partly because of the close games and come-from-behind wins, and partly because of their one-and-done reputation under Coach John Calipari. The media contrasted UK’s likely NBA-bound freshmen and UConn senior Shabazz Napier, who remained a Huskie to earn his degree as a promise to his mother. It’s what made March maddening for me.
8:09 AM, Apr 17, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will spend the four days leading up to the Boston Marathon conducting a helicopter-based survey to measure naturally occurring background radiation in a ten square mile area west of downtown Boston.
12:28 PM, Apr 9, 2014 • By ADAM J. WHITE
As the Boston Red Sox collected their World Series rings last Friday, Boston faithful had much to be thankful for. And among those to whom they owed more than a little thanks was Bill James, the team's official analytical guru, who enjoyed an increased role in team decision-making after the team fell to pieces in 2012.
8:35 AM, Jan 25, 2014 • By IKE BRANNON
Unlike you, I will be watching the Pro Bowl this weekend, albeit grudgingly.
6:46 PM, Jan 19, 2014 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On the one hand, Barack Obama, speaking as a dad, says he "would not let my son play pro football." It's a reasonable judgment, one other parents have made and one they're entitled to make (though enforcing it on recalcitrant sons is another matter!).
6:34 AM, Dec 22, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Temperatures in the high 40s, with some rain. That’s the forecast for Buffalo on Sunday when the Bills and the Dolphins kick it off. Balmy, then. So much so that the team from Miami can’t, should they lose, use the weather for an alibi. Likewise, the fans who choose not to pay sit in the stadium and watch. The Bills have been disappointing but not surprising. They seem always to be disappointing. And it’s almost Christmas. So, even if you follow the team and have since the Jim Kelly days, it might seem more appealing to stay at home and wrap presents. With the game on the television. In the background, of course.
8:31 AM, Dec 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Last night, this 30-second advertisement ran to encourage folks to sign up in the "Health Insurance Marketplace," otherwise known as Obamacare:
"Now, for the first time, you can be covered -- with a quality health plan from the new health insurance marketplace, part of the health care law," says the male announcer.
3:31 PM, Nov 4, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Stepping into the controversy over the team name for the Washington Redskins in early October, President Obama said in an interview with the AP: