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3/29/2005

Bush Tears Down Title IX

As a person who played little league and high school sports and has worked in pro sports, I used to have some very strong opinions about Title IX. Now, as the father of two amazing little girls I have some even stronger opinions on Title IX and they are not the same opinions I held before. Title IX is the 1972 law that requires gender equity in collegiate sports.

In my younger, athlete days I felt, and not entirely incorrectly, that the whole point of Title IX was being missed in the the way it was implemented. It seemed to me that women where not getting more opportunities, but that men where simply getter fewer. On most college campuses the football team is the only program that turns a profit. The football team essentially pays for all other sports both male and female. Oh sure, some of the elite basketball programs will make money and at Tennessee and Connecticut the women's hoops teams even make a profit, but football is 10 ton guerilla in the room.

The problem is that football eats up 60 or so scholarships (depending on what level the school competes at). Of course all of the scholarships are allotted to male student-athletes. It takes a lot of women's soccer and volleyball and equestrian and whatever teams to equal the playing field. So, instead of offering more women's sports many, if not most schools simply started cutting men's sports to even it up.

The programs most frequently cut where baseball, wrestling, track, tennis and swimming. It seemed to me then, and seems to me even now that that was not the intent of the law. I don't think women want few opportunities for men, I think they probably want more opportunities for women.

In recent years however this has changed a little. Many schools have added women's soccer (USF SDSU, USD). Many more have added softball. Some (SDSU) have even added women's equestrian. Men's sports are still getting cut (baseball at USD) but now women's sports are being added as well (golf at BHSU). According to this OP/ED piece written in opposition to Title IX women's athletic opportunities have increased nine fold since 1972. This writer makes that sound like a bad thing.

While it is a shame that some men lose the teams they compete on, the fact is that schools have limited resources and why should a men's team that is funded by football be kept at the expense of a women's team that is also funded by football? Let's be honest. If not for football nobody would be playing any college sports.

So men have to pay a little bit of a price if their chosen sport isn't football. Women start ouy 60 scholarships down. Women don't have a chance to get one of those 60 football scholarships. This law has at least insured that women have an equal chance at the scholarships that remain after those first 60.

Is it perfect? No. Is better than the alternative? Yes. Would it be more fair if football was simply taken out of the equation? Yes. In fact that is my fix for this. Football funds all other sports, so keep them out it. Without football nothing else is possible. Just make sure the opportunities are equal for men and women after football is removed.

The Bush administrations fix is a travesty (just like everything else they try to fix) that lets schools essentially opt out of Title IX if students don't fill out an email survey and say "oh please please please don't cut women's lacrosse!"

The rise in women's sports popularity is important. My almost five-year-old daughter loves sports. We collect trading cards together. We go to sporting events together. I am going to be her T-ball coach. Sports has always been a part of her life, but until I took her to an Augustana women's basketball game this winter, she apparently had no idea women could play basketball. I always assumed she knew girls could play. We play in the back yard on her little hoop all time. She's even been to a day camp in which she was given basketball instruction. I assumed she knew girls could play.

Then I took her to the game and when we walked in her face lit up. She said, "Daddy! Those are girls playing basketball!" I said yes they are and she said "I thought only boys could play basketball." It broke my heart that she had been feeling for however long she was aware, that only boys could play. I certainly never told her that. I always encouraged her to play. I always play games with her. She had never been exposed to women's sports though.

Today, in part because of Title IX, little girls like my daughters have Mia Hamm, and Lisa Leslie and Dot Richardson and countless others to look up to. In addition, if more girls and young women are involved in competitive sports, it gives them another good reason to stay off drugs, to study hard and to say "NO" to boyfriends, all of which President Bush and his GOP cronies claim they are in favor of.

Title IX is worth saving and the Bush administration is making changes that will undo what has taken more than 30 years to accomplish and will take another 30 years to fix once he leaves office which can't come soon enough for my little girls...or yours.

3/28/2005

New GOP Challenger in 2008

After previously taking a call from Karl Rove telling him to never darken the White House doorstep again after he had the gall to call Bush on his open door policy with Mexico, Rep Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has his sites set on the Presidency.

According to
World Net Daily,

"Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., fresh from victory in three online presidential straw polls over formidable candidates, told
Joseph Farah's radio audience today he would run for president in 2008 if no other Republican candidate takes the border issue seriously.

'I'll tell you what,' he said, 'if no one else does it, I will do it.'"

I sort of like Tancredo just because he had the guts to stand up to Bush, I also like the idea of him running since nobody has ever heard of him.

If you haven't looked at this "
Presidential March Madness" thing you should, it is pretty interesting.

What I find really interesting is that the the two potential candidates that most "experts" say are the odds-on favorites to win the nomination, Rudy Guliani and John McCain, where eliminated early on in this tournament. Guliani managed to win one matchup with Gary Bauer, but then was sent packing in the second round by Newt "I'm not running but my book is coming out in Iowa and New Hampshire first" Gingrich. Even more amazingly, John McCain was soundly beaten in the first round by Tancredo.

Two African-Americans even made the Final 8 with JC Watts and Condi Rice still alive in the tournament. Two talk radio hosts (Hannity and Limbaugh) each won a first round match lending insight into where most Republicans get their "news". Apparently Republicans are still lining up to drink the Bush Family Kool-Aid as Jeb is still alive and in the Final 8. In an interesting Sweet 16 matchup of two crazy doctors who are now playing crazy Senators, Bill Frist beat Crazy Tom Coburn. And finally, Mike Rounds was soundly beaten in the first round by Dennis Hastert and John Thune won two matchups before falling the Tancredo in the round of 16.

I really do think it is interesting to see rank-and-file Republicans chewing up pro-choice and socially moderate Guliani and McCain a full three and a half years before the GOP primaries in the south. This is going to be great theatre.

Bush v Bush

President Bush is apparently now at odds with Governor Bush (I'm talking about Gov. Bush of Texas here and not the one in FL) on the issue of executing citizens of other countries without notifying their consulate that they have been arrested which is in violation of the 1969 Vienna Conventions which was ratified into law the the Senate back then.

This is from and ABC News report:

"Justices were scheduled to hear arguments Monday in the case of Jose Medellin, who says he is entitled to a federal court hearing on whether his rights were violated when a Texas court tried and sentenced him to death in 1994 without giving him consular access. "

Let me just say at this point that I'm not a lawyer, but I don't really understand this next part of the article.

"In 1969, the Senate ratified the Vienna Convention, which requires consular access for Americans detained abroad and foreigners arrested in the United States. The Constitution states that U.S. treaties "shall be the supreme law of the land," but does not make clear who interprets them."

If the treaty requires consular access and the Constitution states that US treaties "shall be the supreme law of the land," I'm not sure what kind of interpretation needs to take place. I mean either you provided consular access or not, I can interpreate that.

Here is the Bush about face.

"The case also pits the authority of state courts against the Bush administration, which in a surprise move last month ordered states to comply with the ICJ ruling and hold new hearings. At the same time, the administration said it was withdrawing from a section of the treaty so that the ICJ could no longer hear U.S. disputes."

Of course not only has Bush changed his mind, but so has Alberto Gonzalez which is amazing considering Bush and Gonzalez spent a lot time in Texas trying to find ways to kill foreign prisoners.

Here is part of a previous post I made on this site regarding this issue.

"While he was the legal counsel for then Gov. Bush in Texas, Gonzales presided over the execution of a Mexican national in direct violation of the Vienna Convention which requires that the consulate of an arrested foreign national be contacted at the time of arrest. Texas, of course didn't do this. Gonzales offered this incredible defense, "Since the State of Texas is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, we believe it is inappropriate to ask Texas to determine whether a breach occurred in connection with the arrest and conviction." Sure the United States signed the agreement and the last I checked Texas was a part of the United States, but I guess now whenever an international treaty is signed, the President and the Gov. of Texas both have to sign."

The entire previous post is here.

I wonder how all those people who love the "Stay the course" George W Bush feel about this.

3/23/2005

Bush's Idle Threats

President Bush is threatening Democrats that if they don't support his plan to end Social Security people won't vote for them.

"President Bush (
news - web sites) concluded a three-state swing to sell his plan to restructure Social Security (news - web sites), warning Democratic opponents Tuesday that they will suffer political consequences if they continue to oppose his proposal without providing one of their own.

Flanked by Republican Sens. Pete V. Domenici (N.M.) and John McCain (Ariz.), Bush invited Democrats "to come to the table" to help devise a solution to shore up Social Security's finances. 'I believe there will be bad political consequences for people who are unwilling to sit down and talk about the issue,' he said."

Am the only one still waiting for a plan? I hear all this talk, I still haven't heard a plan. I've heard how bad the current system is bad and I've heard that Bush won't rule anything out, but I haven't heard that he has ruled anything in. How can we support something that doesn't exist? The thing Republicans better worry about is that if they don't start to accomplish some of the things that rank-and-file Republicans sent them to Washington to do, that they won't get the votes next time.

Republican office holders have no intention of doing anything about Social Security. Or abortion. I mean what would they campaign on next election cycle if they couldn't scare people with abortion as birth control and Social Security will never be around for you? They couldn't get elected. Bush kinda slipped up here and let the cat out of the proverbial bag. He simply confirmed what we already knew, Republicans are more interested in winning elections than in governing once those elections are won. The end is near for this group.

3/10/2005

Saddam's Capture a Fake

If this is true it is still unbelievable. "A former U.S. Marine who participated in capturing ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said the public version of his capture was fabricated."

Wait. This administration would fabricate something? Make something seem like news when in fact they just made it up? I am shocked!

"Ex-Sgt. Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, was quoted in the Saudi daily al-Medina Wednesday as saying Saddam was actually captured Friday, Dec. 12, 2003, and not the day after, as announced by the U.S. Army."

This next part is amazing.

"I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a small village and not in a hole as announced," Abou Rabeh said.

"We captured him after fierce resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was killed," he said.

He said Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the window of a room on the second floor. Then they shouted at him in Arabic: 'You have to surrender. ... There is no point in resisting.'
'Later on, a military production team fabricated the film of Saddam's capture in a hole, which was in fact a deserted well,' Abou Rabeh said."

Capturing Saddam wasn't enough? They had to make it seem like he was cowering in a hole someplace instead fighting his capture. It doesn't make Saddam a hero because he fought his capture so why not just tell us the truth? Do they think we can't handle the truth? Do you believe a word that comes out of any of their mouths?

3/09/2005

Some Interesting Polls

We haven't talked much about polls here since November, but there are couple of interesting ones out there now.

First is news on Hillary Clinton in 2008.

"Marist College's Institute for Public Opinion poll found that 46 percent of voters want the former first lady to run for the White House while 49 percent said she should not. In a December poll, 38 percent favored a run, while 50 percent were opposed."

The story goes on.

"Clinton was the choice of 39 percent of Democrats for their party's nomination for president in 2008, while Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who lost to President Bush last year, was preferred by 21 percent."

On the Republican side,

"A quarter of Republicans said they preferred New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for the Republican nomination, with Sen. John McCain second at 21 percent."

I really can't wait for the primary race in Georgia, South Carolina et. al. when the two leading Republican candidates are BOTH pro-choice. That should be good TV.

I'm still not convinced Clinton is the best nominee for the party, but she does have the Republicans in a full hissy fit all ready. She may have to get a restraining order for Dick Morris at this point. Have you noticed that every event worldwide is somehow related to Hillary Clinton according to this guy? I have a feeling if the police ever raid his home they will find one of those creepy walls of pictures of Hillary that you see on all those serial killer movies on TV.

On to the poll that Republican pollsters conducted on Social Security.

"The heart of President Bush (
news - web sites)'s plan for Social Security (news - web sites), allowing younger workers to create personal accounts in exchange for a lower guaranteed government benefit, is among the least popular elements with the public, Republican pollsters told House GOP leaders Tuesday."

I bet Bush is shocked that the public could read between the lines and see that his plan (or lack of a plan) is not a fix of Social Security but in fact an end to Social Security.

"Asked what they liked least, 31 percent of the participants in the sessions mentioned that the government would be responsible for keeping track of the accounts. Another 24 percent "least liked the fact that workers would be required to accept a lower traditional benefit in return for participation," a key element of Bush's plan."

Good news in this poll and I'm sure Limbaugh, Hannity and Belfrage will get to tomorrow...don't hold your breath though.

A New Clean Cut Kid

Chad at Clean Cut Kid has accepted a new job in the political arena and has turned the keys over to a new Clean Cut Kid named Seth Hahn. Welcome to the good fight Seth.

"Readers,

After a surprisingly fast two day search, I have found an individual to continue the blogging here at Clean Cut Kid. His name is Seth Hahn, from Rapid City, South Dakota. I suspect the readers of this site will enjoy Seth’s writing. For now this is an experiment, but we expect it to continue for the forseeable future.


With Seth’s help, the pressure to make daily posts has been removed and because of that you may actually find me posting here occasionally. I appreciate the dozens of people who responded to my call for help here. We may add more contributors in the future, so stay tuned to developments in this area.

Best Regards,
Chad. "

At Least There Are No More Mass Graves In Iraq...Right?

Sean Hannity and others continue to proclaim what a great success Iraq is because we have put an end to Saddam's mass graves. That is true, but now they have been replaced by the insurgents mass graves.

"Iraqi officials said Wednesday that 41 bodies — some bullet-riddled, others beheaded — have been found at two separate sites, and they believe some of the corpses are Iraqi soldiers kidnapped and killed by insurgents."

It may not be Saddam anymore, but the killing continues and these people are just as dead.

3/07/2005

This Picture is Worth at Least 1000 Words


Katherine Hockenbarger of Westboro Baptist Church carries signs Sunday morning in front of Cleveland United Methodist Church. The Topeka, Kan., church sent members to White County to spend the weekend protesting the formation of a gay club at the county's only high school.
Posted by Hello

The right-wing media and bloggers have been all over Ward Churchill in the past weeks (and rightly so, what he said was completely over the top and ridiculous). I only hope their outrage isn't reserved for him. This is hard to beleive.

"They preach the big lie that God loves everybody," said Shirley Phelps-Roper, waving a sign at passers-by minutes before services began at Cleveland United Methodist Church, just off the town square.

Roped off on a side street next to the Methodist church, Phelps-Roper and seven other members of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., aimed their harshest criticism at the Rev. Phil Hoyt, whom the Kansas woman labeled 'lying, false prophet.'"

I guess Hoyt brought this on himself when he said gay people are, "persons of sacred worth"

The entire story is here.

Christian School Says "Hit Your Child or Find a New School"

This is the most incredibly ridiculous story I've ever heard. From the Chicago Tribune.

"Chandler Scott Fallaw, a rambunctious boy, had been piling up disciplinary notes for talking, chewing gum, bringing toys to class and not finishing classwork, said his mother, Michelle Fallaw-Gabrielson. 'By no means is my child perfect,' she acknowledged.

But she never anticipated the ultimatum delivered at school Wednesday.

When she arrived to pick up Chandler, she said, assistant administrator Linda Moreau told her the school needed assurances that the boy would be disciplined. "She said, `Either he gets a spanking before he leaves today, or I'm suspending him,'" Fallaw-Gabrielson recalled."

Wow! Talking. Chewing gum. Bringing toys to class. He's got a rap sheet a mile long!

This next part would be funny if it wasn't so sad. "She said she refused to spank her son and left with the assistant administrator calling after her: 'You know he's suspended, and that's a very serious matter on his record.'"

On his record? Do these guys report directly to the Dept of Homeland Security? Oh shit they probably do. This poor kid is probably branded for life now. Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity will probably be calling him a terrorist by tomorrow.

Actually, it seems the school in question, Schamburg Christian School, has this rule right in their handbook. "Parent-administered corporal punishment" is part of the disciplinary system for pre-kindergarten through 6th-grade children. The parent/student handbook states that "When this becomes necessary, parents will be asked to administer this form of punishment."

So I guess, that in order to send your child to this oh-so-Christian school, parents have to agree to hit their own children on orders of some tyrant school administrator. That's comforting.

This next part is the really illustrative passage. School administrator Randy Thaxton commented on the situation, "When it gets to the point where the teacher can't solve the problem in the classroom, and the administration can't solve the problem, we ask parents to fix the problem," he said. "We'd say, `look, our policy is you have an option. You can spank your child, or we will suspend him for the day.'"

Incredible. When it gets to the point that the teacher and the administrator can't do their jobs then make the parents hit the kid or they can't come back to school.

Now lest you think this young person is not intelligent consider this, "One of the problems, his mother said, was that the school did not deal creatively with a rowdy but polite 6-year-old who tests at the 3rd-grade level and may have been restless and bored."

So here we have a 1st grader capable to doing 3rd grade work and when his teacher fails to challenge him and he gets bored in class and starts to talk, their solution is to make his mother hit him in front of them.

Can't wait to get those vouchers to send my kids to a private Christian school.

Sam Brownback Just Won't Go Away

The poster child for What's the Matter with Kansas, Sam Brownback is back to his craziness. Sam is sponsoring legislation in the Senate that would allow what he calls free speech in churches. Here is a misleading headline if ever there was one. "GOP Congressman Seeks to 'Restore Free Speech' in Churches"

When did churches ever not have the right to free speech? Is there any question where they stand on gay marriage? How about abortion? All they have to do if they don't want to pay taxes is not endorse a given candidate. Just don't tell the flock whom they can and can't vote for and you don't have to pay taxes. Seems like a hell of a deal to me, but I guess ol' Sam and his Good Ol' Boy Republicans won't be happy until the pastor can stand in front of the congregation on the last Sunday before the election and say "now go vote for John Thune and George W Bush or you will go to hell," and then not pay taxes.

Rep Walter Jones (R-NC) is sponsoring the bill on the House side and has this to say, "Whatever God puts in the minister's heart to say, he is protected by the First Amendment if this becomes law," I wonder what Jones would say if God told the minister to tell the flock to vote for John Kerry?

Rob Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State astutely points out, "rules against campaigning apply to all tax-exempt groups, not just churches."

And then Jones exposes himself and his true motivation with this little gem, "Jones said he's 'not concerned' about other 501(c)3 groups. 'I'm concerned about protecting Judeo-Christian principles,'

Now you right wingers can try if you wish to tell me that isn't a member of the United States House of Representatives and a member of United States Senate trying to make a law regarding the establishment of religion if you want, but I'm not buying it.

I Charged What?

Being the parnoid person I am I call my credit card companies from time to time just to check on the recent transactions and make sure they are all mine. Today I called in and the automated system nearly killed me. The automated voice told me that, "your last transaction was on March 3 for 5 BILLION dollars and zero cents".

WHAT?!

I initially thought that this must be part of some Bush plan to help fund his tax cuts for those more wealthy than I, but the customer service rep that came on the line soon after told me it was just a glitch in the automated system and that actually my last transaction was only 21.19. Wow! Who needs coffee in the morning when your credit card company tells you owe them $5 billion?

3/05/2005

The Rightwing Blogs Have Lost Their Minds

First Democrats criticized President Bush for lying us into a war, running up a record deficit while cutting taxes on the rich and finding new and better ways to screw the poor. We where called anti-American.

Next we criticized Alberto Gonzalez for sanctioning torture and being more interested in killing as many Texas death row inmates as possible instead of complying with international treaties. For that we where called racist.

Then we criticized Condi Rice for lying her way to the top. We where not only called racist but sexist.

Now as we criticize Jeff Gannon for lying about his name, pretending to be a journalist, planting stories for the Thune campaign and the White House and working in concert with Thune's own paid bloggers all while selling himself for sex on the internet. We are now being called gay bashers.

I have two questions.

1. When are Republicans ever going to stop name calling and deal with the real issues?

2. When are the rank-and-file Republicans who elected these guys ever going to hold them accountable for what they promised during the elections that put them in power?

3/03/2005

How To Talk to Conservative About Social Security (If You Must)

This is a great piece from ThinkProgress.org. Here are some of the highlights.

CLAIM: “In the year 2018, for the first time ever, Social Security will pay out more in benefits than the government collects in payroll taxes.” [President Bush, 12/11/04]

FACT: “In 14 of the past 47 years, including 1975 to 1983, Social Security paid out more in benefits than the government collected in payroll.” [MSNBC, 1/14/05]

CLAIM: “You’ll be able to pass along the money that accumulates in your personal account, if you wish, to your children or grandchildren.” [President Bush, 2/2/05]

FACT: Most lower-income workers will be required to purchase government lifetime annuities, financial instruments that provide a guaranteed monthly payment for life but that expire at death. Money in these annuities cannot be passed on to heirs. [NYT, 2/3/05]

CLAIM: “A personal account would be your account, you would own it, and the government could never take it away.” [President Bush, 2/8/05]

FACT: Bush’s Social Security plan is a far cry from the private ownership he’s touting, however. For example, instead of private plans that let Americans control their own investments, there are tight restrictions on which conservative stocks and bonds the public will be allowed to buy. And, as the New York Times reports, “the more restrictions there are, the harder it would be for people to achieve the outsized returns the administration has generally promoted to sell the public on private accounts.” [NYT, 2/6/05]

Read the entire post here. It is well worth it.

Hold on to Your Wallets...Greenspan Speaks

To paraphrase Jeff Gannon (or whatever his name is), I think Alan Greenspan has divorced himself from reality. Now he is out pushing a consumption tax, which is Republican speak for a national sales tax. Oh he will never actually call it a sales tax because even he can't morally advocate such a regressive form of taxation. No, instead he will just call it a consumption tax.

As the
New York Times puts it,

"he supported what many of President Bush's advisers see as a backdoor version of a consumption tax: expanding the role of tax-free savings accounts so that people could shield their income from taxes until they actually spend it."

So, a person making minimum wage pays all his taxes now since he lives paycheck to paycheck, and thus can't accumulate any tax free savings, while the CEO's squirrel away millions tax free in savings accounts. Oh sure, they will pay taxes on it when they spend it. Unless John Thune and is GOP cronies get their way and eliminate what they cleverly call the "Death Tax". Of course that is Republican speak for an estate tax.

What better way to build said estate than with tax free savings to be passed on to your heirs tax free?

3/02/2005

I Love This Guy

First, new Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer ran a great campaign in that Republican stronghold, and now he is letting Bush have it. After listening to Bush peddle his non-plan to privitize Social Security on Monday, Schweitezer shot back.

"A no-nonsense rancher and wheat farmer who took office six weeks ago in a Republican state, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer likened the president's pitch to a magic show trick featuring a rabbit in a hat.He also compared it to a bull auction hawking lousy studs. 'I was watching the governors around the room,' said Schweitzer, comparing the group to potential livestock buyers who assess the wares and express their intentions with head-nods or nose-crinkles. 'I was seeing more of this,' he said, crinkling his nose as if detecting a foul odor, 'than I was of this,' he said, nodding his head. 'I didn't see a lot of buyers in the room.'"

A Democrat from an agricultural state that talks like a good ol' boy. This guy is a star, keep an eye on him.

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