Auction of extremism

Once again, Big Steve outdoes me on my own post.  In comments he points to his own post on this mosque silliness, but actually ties into a cool theory, the “auction of extremism.”  His post would’ve been even better were he using Chrome instead of Firefox (Chrome virtually never crashes):

Of course, this is mostly about position-taking, and it is easier for Bloomberg to take this position in multi-cultural/liberal New York, and it is easy for the Gingriches of the world to take the opposing position since they can write off NY as well as voters who think in terms of religious freedom in general.  Instead, they can pander as they wish since they seek the white evangelical votes that are so important in Republican primaries.  Indeed, as I have written before, there is a logic of outbidding here, where each Republican must participate in this auction of extremism, becoming ever more enthusiastic a defender of the Christian faith.  This should not be surprising to scholars of ethnic politics, but then again, wishful thinking tends to push us into believing that it would not happen here.  Well, it does…

And realize that the folks who are grandstanding against this are either insincere or delusional.  And they are certainly anti-American, just as un-American as book-burning.

News Gingrich– insincere.  Sarah Palin– definitely delusional.

Quote of the day

This, from Michael Bloomberg about the Mosque near ground-zero nuttiness, is awesome:

Whatever you may think of the proposed mosque and community center, lost in the heat of the debate has been a basic question: Should government attempt to deny private citizens the right to build a house of worship on private property based on their particular religion? That may happen in other countries, but we should never allow it to happen here.

The tyranny of pink

So annoying that little girl clothes are so overwhelmingly pink.  Pink is really not a good color.  Plenty of other colors are suitably feminine, but when you are shopping for baby girl clothes it is just absurdly pink.  And that’s certainly not a good color on what will almost surely be a redhead with fair skin.  There are some other good options out there, but you have to look really hard.  Gender role socialization run amok.

Obama’s dream

If the economy is still bad in 2012, Obama will be in for a tough fight.  What might he hope for more than anything?  How about Sarah Palin for an opponent.  Greg Sargent sums up the latest polling on Palin.  Short version, Republican base loves her, everybody else, ummm, not so much.  Longer version:

Okay, here’s still more evidence, as if you needed it, that Sarah Palin is increasingly toxic to voters who reside outside the Palin Nation bubble.

Pew Research just released a new poll finding that more than twice as many Americans see a Palin endorsement as a negative for a Congressional candidate than view it as a positive.

The numbers: Thirty eight percent say they are less likely to back a Congressional candidate if Palin “campaigns on their behalf.” Less than half that amount, 18 percent, say they are more likely to do so. Forty two percent say it would make no difference, only slightly more than see it as a downer.

No one is contesting the fact that Palin is a major draw among GOP primary voters. But the larger story here — one that goes directly to the heart of her presidential aspirations — is that she’s successfully tightening her emotional grip on her devoted legions of supporters at the expense of just about everyone else. Far more see her as a turn-offthan as a turn-on.

I cannot wait to watch the Republican primaries.  Should be great stuff.

Is cheerleading a sport?

So, I wasn’t actually going to blog about the “cheerleading is not a sport” decision recently handed down by a federal court, but I like the good old-fashioned social connection aspect of the story.  The writer of the story, Leah Friedman, is a regular attendee of a lunch of media types sponsored by Damon Circosta and including your’s truly (studying the media counts).  Leah (who’s really cool, by the way) mentioned she was working on this story and we had an intersting discussion about it.  I also realized that my friend at NCSU, Amanda Ross-Edwards, is as much a Title IX expert as there is.  End result, the good story is even better with some great insight from Amanda.  My thoughts on the cheerleading as sport thing?  I was somewhat persuaded by what the judge had to say:

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill acknowledged that “competitive cheer” may qualify as a sport under Title IX in the future. “Today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students,” Underhill wrote.

Sounds reasonable enough to me.  The NCAA is also not pushing it, which seems somewhat telling:

Jennifer Royer, a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis-based NCAA, which oversees college sports, said cheerleading is not on the NCAA’s list of emerging women’s sports, which includes rugby, sand volleyball and squash.

That list, Royer said, is intended to help schools provide more opportunities for women. For a sport to make the list, 10 schools must sign a petition, and then a certain number of schools must offer it. Recently women’s equestrian and bowling graduated from the list to become recognized as NCAA sports.

That said, I enjoyed Amanda’s take, especially since she has lived in Connecticut and here:

Amanda Ross-Edwards, a professor at NCSU who teaches a public policy and sports class, said that if you look at the definition of sport – being competitive, physical and organized – then cheerleading is one.

The court case’s location may have affected the outcome, Ross-Edwards said

“Had this been in Texas or North Carolina, I think the decision would have been different,” she said.

Anyway, at least for now, cheerleading is, legally speaking, not a sport.

UPDATE: In comments, Big Steve makes a nice point, “Since cheerleading has a rate of casualties far higher than any other female athletic type activity, I consider it a sport. Chess tends not to produce concussions” and also links to a rather nice post of his on the nature of girls and sports (it’s good stuff, you should read it).

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