Sunday, April 29, 2007

Got $30 Million?

In a meeting with AP Sports Editors, Major League Soccer Commish Don Garber said he is hopeful that a deal to bring an MLS team to Philadelphia will be finalized within the next few months. Garber stated that Philly is one of the top cities being considered for an expansion franchise. The word on the internets is that the $30 million required up front for a team is proving to be a bit steep. The One Man Invasion will soon be starting a fund to raise the cash, get the franchise and run the organization. We are currently looking for team names and resumes for all positions. Perhaps we can even find a job for an OMI friend.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

True Cultural Exchange pt. 2

Bastion of infallible truth Wikipedia states, "The Ottoman Empire (ed - read Turkey) indeed created a vast array of technical specialities. It can be observed that various regions of the Ottoman Empire contain bits and pieces of the vast Ottoman dishes."
With that in mind, the One Man Invasion and friends went to Istanbul for some serious edible delights. On the train ride home, the tally of famous eateries hit reads as such: McDonalds - 2, Burger King - 1.
The most maddening part of when it came to the culinary part of our journey was the fact that Istanbul itself was taunting us. The city was littered with ads for KFC's Mighty Zinger, a chicken sandwich that looked so tasty we could not help but search the city for a KFC. Alas, the Mighty Zinger was not found and our hopes and dreams were shattered. Regardless, it was nice to see American finest food available in another land. Cheers to America.

True Cultural Exchange (more of Istabul)

Considered one of the world's finest religious buildings, The Hagia Sofia (Aya Sofia) lies in the heart of historic Istanbul. Built by Roman Emporer Justinian I in 532, the church struck/strikes awe in its visitors due to its magnificent and massive dome. Even more impressive is the fact that the dome is supported by buttresses and not by any internal columns which results in a gigantic open space inside. In 1453 after the Ottoman Turks conquered Istanbul, the Hagia Sofia was made into a mosque and in 1935 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (more on him in a future post) turned it into a museum.

The One Man Invasion and friends visited the Hagia Sofia and were pretty disappointed as restoration was underway and a massive column of scaffolding was smack in the middle of the building. While let down, our fortunes quickly changed as mirth soon turned to humor. The area around the Hagia Sofia is filled with tourists and as we were exiting, we heard the familiar twang of the English spoken in the lovely accent of the Southern United States. A woman who had just got off her tour bus was chasing after her Turkish tour guide and, fortuitously, the Invasion caught what the woman was asking: "Bowling?! Do y'all have bowling here?!" Our laughs could probably be heard across the Bosphorus. Nothing says Ugly American like a thick southern accent at one of the world's most important religious sites asking if there bowling in the vicinity.
Later that evening, the OMI and friends went out to have a few drinks and celebrate a good day of site seeing. As if dictated by fate, we stumbled across a small watering hole that not only served relatively cheap beer, but also offered fun while you drank. You guessed it:

future American president Russell Shankland gets ready to roll

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Not Constantinople

This past spring break the One Man Invasion rounded up three rubes foolish enough to trust us with leading an expedition and we headed south through Bulgaria to Istanbul, Turkey. Throughout the next week or two, we'll post tidbits about our time there: Hagia Sophia, the Bosphorus, the booze, the 18 hour train ride, being in Asia, baklava, the booze, Topkapi get the point. Below is the first installment, an ancient tablet that we stumbled across while in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum. We are sure that it will be of use to many of our male readers.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Taking it to the People

Romanian politics has been in a crisis all spring as open war has broken out between the governing parties of the ruling coalition resulting in an upcoming national referendum on the impeachment of President Traian Basescu. The fighting between Basescu, the unofficial leader of the Democratic Party (PD), and Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, head of the National Liberal Party (PNL), over the investigations of Justice Minister, and Basescu fave, Monica Macovei resulted in the breaking down of the PNL-PD coalition. PM Tariceanu replaced Macovei against the wishes of European Union bureaucrats who desire less corruption and more transparency in Romania's judicial system. The dismissal of Macovei resulted in a rare public statement of pessimism from US Ambassador Nicholas Taubman who said, "What I know for certain is that it is very important for Romania to continue to make progress on key areas like justice reform and in fighting corruption." Many believe that Tariceanu's actions are simply to protect a friend/political partner from coming under Macovei's scrutiny and Parliament members were glad to see her go for fear that they would be caught in the investigative net. Regardless, with the coalition in pieces, a power struggle has been underway with Basescu accused of violating the constitution. The main theme of the violations is that Basescu overreached his authority and became involved in partisan politics which the president is forbade from doing by the constitution (Basescu had to resign from the PD when he was elected).
Last week the Romanian Parliament voted to suspend Basescu and set a date for a national referendum on whether or not Basescu should be impeached. The constitution states that a complete majority must voted to oust Basescu meaning that a massive turnout will be needed for the referendum to pass as there are close to 20 million people in Romania, about 10 million 'no Basescu' voted will be needed.
In the past few days, Basescu has made several public appearances drumming up public support. He has claimed that the politicians in Parliament are against them because he fights corruption and they fear that they will be investigated if Basescu is allowed to stay in office.
The One Man Invasion firmly believes that the referendum won't succeed. Basescu is rather popular with the Romanian public as many believe that he is one of the few trustworthy politicians in the country. His approval rating is about 50% which should be more than enough to see him through the referendum. On the other hand, many within the PD believe that this is just a ruse by the rest of Parliament so that if/when they introduce legislation that bars anyone running for political office who has been previously suspended from office, Basescu will not be able to seek reelection.
All in all this is just another political episode in a long drama that has its roots in the lack of quality leadership following the fall of communism that will only contribute to the disillusionment of the public. And on that high note, we wish you a good day.