Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I thought it was joke! I wrote it down in my diary.

Whenever I hear that someone is attempting to make an argument against women's suffrage (yes I have heard this more than once! I know.) I always think surely they are joking... but no.

This guy John Derbyshire thinks "we would be a better country if women didn't vote." (via Think Progress)

He was on Alan Colme's radio show this morning where he danced around saying that we should repeal women's suffrage, but basically said that women shoudn't have the right to vote, and he "wouldn't lose any sleep" if that were the case.

Two reasons for this, apparently: 1. We got along 130 years just fine without women voting! 2. Women tend to "vote left." Translation: Women are not voting the way I (conservative male) want them to. Therefore, they should not vote.

Oh yeah, he also thinks we should repeal the 1964 Civil Rights Act because you “shouldn’t try to force people to be good.”

Alan Colmes countered with "should we bring back slavery too?" to which Derbyshire responded, "No, I’m in favor of freedom personally." I guess he is only in favor of freedom if you have a penis. Sorry ladies!

Unfortunately this guy is not some random whackjob off the streets. I never heard of him before today, but apparently he's written a few books (his latest which he was promoting on the show - apparently an entire chapter of which is dedicated to ending women's suffrage) and also writes for the National Review.

Well, at least Colmes made him look like an idiot. So much better without Hannity...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Save the Cheerleader. Save the World!

The world appears to be in peril... because cheerleading as we know it may become extinct. Newsweek recently broke a story that the University of Connecticut (a NCAA D1 school) is cutting its cheerleading program and replacing it with a "spirit squad."

At first glance the differences may not be obvious. However, the Hartford Courant has reported that the spirit squad will do away with gymnastics and stunts that the cheerleading program had, and instead will focus on "tailgating areas handing out spirit buttons and other kinds of spirit supplies, and will focus on timeout, sideline and in-the-stand cheers that are fan-interactive." The reason for this, according to the school is that "By changing the style, and not requiring gymnastics experience, we will be able to offer the opportunity to participate to a broader pool of students. Students who did not have a chance to 'cheer' previously, or students who are not gymnasts, can represent their college as 'spirit ambassadors.'"

The problem with this is that college sports, especially at the D1 level, are supposed to be hard. Spots on the team should be reserved only for the very best of athletes, and if you can't cut it you either redshirt a season (you don't participate in games/competition but you practice and travel with the team) or you go to a smaller school where you can cut it. But by keeping their cheerleading program competitive and selective, UConn and other schools would have to recognize cheerleaders as actual athletes.

Now, I used to be on the camp that didn't think cheerleading was a "real" sport because they wore skimpy outfits and didn't get mud on their uniforms like I did playing soccer and running through muddy cross country trails. But, that's stupid. Cheerleaders and Poms required just as much athleticism as any other sports in the school, but weren't actually classified as sports even though they go to competitions all the time.

It's still this way in college, even at the top levels. According to Newsweek, "The National Collegiate Athletic Association doesn't consider cheerleading a member sport, nor does the organization have plans to recognize it in the future. In order for a sport to be recognized under Title IX, the 1972 bill that guaranteed equal funding for men's and women's college athletics, an activity must be primarily competitive."

"Cheerleading doesn't fall under that and it shouldn't," says Jim Lord, executive director of the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators. "If we're going to be cheering seven or eight home games for football, and maybe 15 to 20 home games for basketball—and that's just the men's side—then we would have to compete [in cheerleading competitions] at least that many times. That's impossible."

Most clubs and activities don't require practice every day, competitions every weekend plus participation in football and basketball games both home and away, sometimes for both men's and women's teams (yes, women's teams have cheerleaders. Sometimes). So, to replace the cheerleading program with a spirit squad, which according to the school's website, does not require gymnastics, dance, or cheer experience, is pretty insulting to actual cheerleaders who do the backflips and the double back handsprings and condition and lift weights to be able to do the stunts and routines they do.

I don't have anything against spirit squads; I'm all for school spirit, but I don't see why the school can't have both programs. Recognize cheerleading as a sport and let them do their competitions, and maybe have them perform a halftime routine. Then the spirit squad can do their cheers and pass out "spirit buttons" during timeouts and do their thing on the sidelines.

When people participate in sports at the D1 level, they are dedicating their lives to it, at least for while they are in college. Some of the cheerleaders at UConn said they chose the school specifically for its cheerleading program and now it's being dropped. Other schools are also reportedly dropping their programs.

I think part of the reason people don't want to recognize cheerleading as an official sport is the stigma associated with cheerleaders (dumb, bitchy, dumb and bitchy. Oh, and also slutty. Can't forget the slutty.)

When Taylor Swift sings, "She's cheer captain and I'm on the bleachers" she might as well be singing "She a skanky bitch and I'm super sweet." (you can clearly see this in the music video)

Not to mention that cheerleaders have traditionally been seen as "eye candy" for the male audience at the games. It's just a little disappointing that cheerleading is finally getting *some* respect (ESPN coverage, shows highlighting the hard work and skills it takes to become a cheerleader at all levels, etc.) and yet these girls still aren't considered athletes and the ones with the athleticism are being told they can now pass out spirit buttons (but still wear the skimpy cheerleading outfits - of course).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rep. Jenkins Laughs at Uninsured Single Mother

Representative Lynn "Republicans are struggling to find the 'great white hope'" Jenkins recently laughed at a young single mother who can't afford health insurance for herself or her son and also makes too much to qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP. Er.. maybe not laughed at her per say, just at the idea that government should have anything to do with helping her (even though Medicaid and SCHIP are government programs that Rep. Jenkins apparently thinks should stay in place)

Here is the video and the transcript is below:

Elizabeth Smith: I’m a 27 year-old single mother. I work full-time. I do not have health insurance. My employer does not provide health insurance to me and I cannot afford it privately. Why shouldn’t my government guarantee all of its citizens health care?

Jenkins: Thank you. I’m sorry, maybe you missed my opening remarks, but absolutely. That’s why we have Medicaid in the current system and that’s why under the alternative proposal we have an option for low-to-modest-income people to be able to afford health care and then we’ve got the SCHIP program for children. I think we’ve got all of the bases covered. (uh.. I don't think ya do, otherwise we wouldn't have UNINSURED PEOPLE)

Audience member: She’s not covered under SCHIP!

Jenkins: OK, if you’re not then you’re the perfect example for why we need reform and why we need it now but we have to do it right and if we can do an alternative proposal, as I’m suggesting, give you the money to go buy it in a reformed marketplace where it is affordable, that’s my preference rather than to saddle the nation with yet another government program when they can’t afford the government run programs we have.

Elizabeth Smith: I want an option that I can pay for. I work. I pay my bills. I’m not a burden on the state. I pay my taxes. So why can’t I get an affordable option. Why are you against that?

Jenkins: A government run program (laugh) is going to subsidize not only yours (laugh) but everybody in this room. So I’m not sure what we’re talking about here.

Jenkins: I think it comes down to the whole discussion of…

(crowd interjects, everyone is talking over each other)

Lynn: OK folks. Let’s be respectful. UH-OH (talking over crowd). We’re gonna make time for everybody. We’re gonna all listen to each other respectfully, even if we disagree. I think we can agree we need reforms, again it’s just how we gonna do it. I believe people should be given the opportunity to take care of themselves with an advancebale tax credit to go be a grown-up and go buy the insurance.

~ Regardless of how you feel about offering tax credits as the answer to healthcare reform, I think it's pretty safe to say that a 27 year old single mother who works full time, provides for her son, isn't on welfare or Medicaid or any sort of government program for financial aid, and is actively participating in the democratic process and respectfully making her voice heard is pretty grown up.

This is part of the problem... assuming that people who don't have or can't afford health insurance are just lazy bums who need to get a job, who aren't acting like "grownups," when that quite obviously isn't the case.