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Thanks for Cheating: Working around Bend Broadband, travels to Cuba, more 

Opening ceremonies from beijing.The Olympics will wrap up this weekend in Beijing and the world can stop caring about things like trampoline, badminton, and air

click to enlarge Opening ceremonies from beijing.
  • Opening ceremonies from beijing.
Opening ceremonies from beijing.The Olympics will wrap up this weekend in Beijing and the world can stop caring about things like trampoline, badminton, and air pistol shooting for another four years. Speaking of the Olympics, was anyone as indignant as Upfront over the blatant cheating by the Chinese gymnastics team who essentially rolled out a bunch of prepubescent girls for its team competition, where IOC rules require that all competitors be at least 16 years of age or turn 16 during the calendar year of the Games? While the Chinese insisted that the flat-chested babes it put forward were indeed 16 years old, the New York Times found evidence that several of China's gymnasts were as young as 13 and 14, a huge advantage in a sport where physics wreak havoc on larger and heavier bodies.

The proof appears to be in the pudding. The average height of the Chinese team members is 4 feet 9 inches and they weigh in at an average of 77 pounds - less than some dogs in this town. By contrast, the US team averages over five feet and weighs about 30 pounds more than the Chinese.

The contrasts were no more apparent than when the two teams stood next to each other, the muscular, curved bodies of the Americans contrasting sharply with the underdeveloped bodies of their sticklike counterparts.
The IOC has apparently decided not to pursue the well-documented cheating, saying that the Chinese have provided state issued birth certificates for the competitors.

But what did we expect from a country that cheated on the damn anthem in the opening ceremony.

Stealing the Games

Speaking of being cheated, many Bend Broadband subscribers have had to learn the hard way that their local cable provider wouldn't pony up for NBC's wall to wall online coverage. According to a BB employee who weighed in a local blog, the cable company is currently in the middle of negotiating a larger deal with NBC and the Olympics got pulled into those prolonged negotiations. Bend Broadband could have paid a surcharge to carry the games online for its subscribers, but opted against it while the company, through its industry lobby, continued to negotiate with NBC. In the meantime, savvy web users have figured out that they can still access the web exclusive content by entering a phony zip code and corresponding provider, usually from bigger markets where the games are being carried.

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Have A Cigar, Mike

Dogged by a housing crisis, a national recession, a war on terror that is stuck in neutral, and a nearly unprecedentedly unpopular president, things aren't looking too good for Republicans as we approach November. Oregon is one of the few places where the party has hoped it might gain some ground, at least in terms of Congressional seats. But it now looks like the candidate of choice in House District 5, Mike Erickson, may be too damaged to do any damage. A businessman, Erickson has made two failed bids for the Oregon House and one unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2006.

It looks like his current run, which has been dogged by allegations of ethical lapses - at least by his own standards - may be headed down the same path.

Earlier this year, Erickson's Republican primary opponent, Kevin Mannix, circulated an allegation that Erickson, a strong pro-life candidate, had impregnated his girlfriend in 2000 and then dropped her off in front of a doctor's office with cash for an abortion. This past week more bad news arrived for Erickson in the form of a Sunday Oregonian story which laid out details of a vacation that Erickson had taken to Cuba in 2004, something that is illegal in the United States under the current trade embargo. The exception is for humanitarian missions, which Erickson's tour was billed as, but only for the purposes of obtaining a Visa, according to the tour organizer. Erickson has said the story isn't accurate and insisted that he spent about 1/3 of his time visiting medical clinics to deliver 20 boxes of supplies. However, as of Tuesday, Erickson was still unable to produce a receipt for the supplies - something that he insists that he has. Somewhere.

The newspaper also checked on a clinic he claims to have visited and found that it doesn't exist.

When Erickson wasn't delivering what appear to be ficitional supplies, he was reportedly talking to Cubans about their lives, attending a cigar gala organized by Fidel Castro and visiting famous night clubs.

The itinerary also included marlin fishing and dove hunting. But Erickson says he didn't participate in those activities.

And you believe him, right?


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