On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Title IX turns 50
Sports columnist Christine Brennan reflects on the law that has opened doors for women in sports. Plus, Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo has been placed on leave, White House correspondent Joey Garrison looks at President Joe Biden’s push to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax, House leaders unveil a portrait of late Rep. Patsy Mink and the NBA Draft is here.
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Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Thursday, the 23rd of June, 2022. Today, Title IX turns 50. Plus the latest from Uvalde and more.
Here are some of the top headlines.
- The death toll continues to rise after a devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan. At least a thousand people are now dead in the country’s deadliest quake in two decades.
- A man who drove his car through crowds of people in New York City’s Times Square in 2017 has been cleared of responsibility because of mental illness. The attack killed one and injured more than 20.
- And Trumpet the bloodhound won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show last night. He’s the first bloodhound to win the prize in Westminster’s 146 year history.
Title IX turns 50 today. The civil rights law prohibits sex based discrimination in any school that receives funding from the federal government. President Richard Nixon signed into law the Education Amendments of 1972 including Title IX which required schools that receive federal funds to guarantee gender equality on campus. It was initially introduced to help get more women into graduate schools. But as USA TODAY’S Christine Brennan tells producer James Brown, the rule also opened a world of opportunities for women in sports.
In your piece you say that Title IX is more than just a law, that we can see its effects everywhere.
Exactly, exactly James. It is I think the most important, or one of the most important laws over the last 50 years. And I know there’s a lot of competition for that. But in terms of opening the floodgates for girls and women, for the other 50% of our population to be able to play sports, to learn how to win and even more important, learn how to lose, teamwork, sportsmanship, all of the things that we were teaching boys and men for generations and not teaching, as I said the other 50% of our population. What in the world were we thinking?
You were in school when Title IX took effect? What was that experience like?
I am very lucky to have gotten just a bit of Title IX in high school. Mostly women who are in their 20s or 30s, 40s, they got the full blast of Title IX, and today’s 10 year old girls getting an extraordinary experience with sports. And what will she look like when she’s 50 or 60 running the country? But for me it was a mindset too. It was that all of a sudden it’s okay to be a woman in sports. It’s okay to be someone who loves sports. And as I was launching my career as a sports journalist, the country also was starting to realize that women could have untraditional roles and be doing things like sports journalism, which had been unthinkable just a decade or two earlier.
There’s been some talk over the last few years about revisiting Title IX and possibly amending it. What are your thoughts on that and where we’re going from here?
I think what everyone should do is enforce Title IX and protect Title IX. If people want to amend it and make it stronger, that’s great. But in terms of this law, as our colleagues at USA Today have pointed out, most universities are still not in compliance with Title IX and schools are trying to figure out ways to cut corners and not give opportunities to women. What a mistake that is.
I think, I hope that the nation rallies around this law and its 50th anniversary as we go to the next 50 years, and whatever legislation there is only strengthens Title IX, that little girl, that college woman athlete, that Olympian, that great star that moves on into professional ranks. Think about them when you think about Title IX because that is a personification of Title IX. That’s why it needs to be stronger, needs to be enforced and it needs to be protected.
You can find more on Title IX with a link in today’s show description.
Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo has been placed on leave. The Texas City superintendent Hal Harrell said in an announcement yesterday that district officials intended to, “wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions.” The move comes after the Uvalde City Council on Tuesday unanimously denied a leave of absence for Arredondo who is also a council member. If he misses the next two meetings the council can remove him for abandoning his office.
Arredondo was the incident commander at Robb Elementary School. Officers waited more than an hour as a gunman massacred 19 children and two teachers last month. The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety testified this week calling the police response a failure. We’ve learned from his testimony and other records that officers did not even attempt to open an unlocked door where a gunman was killing children.
Meanwhile, Robb Elementary School will be demolished and the 550 students who attended will be relocated this fall to two other elementary schools in Uvalde according to superintendent Harrell. For more on the aftermath of the Uvalde massacre, including the police response and the national conversation around guns, stay with usatoday.com.
President Joe Biden called on Congress yesterday to suspend the federal gas tax for the next three months.
President Joe Biden:
Today I’m calling on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days through the busy summer season, busy travel season. Here’s what that means. Every time you go to the gas station to fill your tank, the federal government charges an 18 cents tax per gallon of gas that you purchase, and a 24 cent tax per gallon of diesel you purchase. It’s a tax that’s been around for 90 years. It’s important because we use it for the Highway Trust Fund to keep our highways going. But what I’m proposing is suspending the federal gas tax without affecting the Highway Trust Fund.
It would be one of his administration’s most controversial efforts to give Americans relief as gas prices soar above $5 a gallon in many states. But the plan has been met with skepticism on Capitol Hill and beyond. White House correspondent Joey Garrison explains.
President Biden is proposing a three month gas tax holiday for federal gas taxes that would essentially suspend an 18.4 cent tax, that’s per gallon the driver’s pay each time they fill up their tank. It’s 24.4 cents on diesel. It comes at a time as gas prices have soared past $5 in many states. It’s really one of the quickest ways the president can try to relieve some of the pressure at the pump. He needs congressional approval to do this. He’s asking Congress to sign off on this and there’s no guarantee he will have the votes to do that.
The president’s also calling on states and local governments to suspend their gas taxes for a temporary basis matching what he hopes the federal government will do. State gas taxes tend to be higher than the federal gas taxes, around 30 cents nationally. And so that would even provide a bigger relief for drivers. But there’s a lot of criticism for many different reasons on this proposal.
There’s not been a moment in the history in the United States since we started paying gas taxes in 1932 when there’s been an outright suspension of the gas tax. Now in 2008 during what we now call the Great Recession, gas prices soared during that period. And during that election, you had a Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican and eventual nominee, John McCain push… They were both senators at the time they pushed gas tax suspension. Barack Obama who would of course… He was a senator then as well. He would become the president after winning the Democratic nomination. He opposed a gas tax holiday. He called it a gimmick that was really meant more to get McCain and Clinton elected as opposed to getting Americans through the tough summer months with gas prices soaring. That’s of course an ironic statement now given that Biden was the VP, of course, for Obama and then so many former Obama officials opposed the move back then.
Biden is not talking about a tax increase to offset the revenue. Instead, he says there’s existing general tax revenue from the federal government that could be used to offset what essentially will be a $10 billion cost to the federal government. That money collected through the gas tax funds, what’s known as the Highway Trust Fund that pays for federal road highway, mass transit projects across the country. That’s one of the reasons there has historically been criticism about this idea is that, “Hey, you’re going to deplete the much needed money we need for infrastructure roadways and highways.” So Biden is trying to get ahead of that argument saying, “Hey, we can offset that here.” You also recall the president also won approval last year for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure law that gave historic funding to the Highway Trust Fund. So another argument could be made that the Highway Trust Fund is at a level right now where it can afford to have some be relieved and offset by other revenue.
Some of the other criticisms of this is environmentalists have argued, “Hey, you’re disincentivizing the move away from fossil fuel used in clean energy vehicles if you get rid of this gas tax.” The United States among developed countries has one of the lowest gas taxes in the world in that regard. And then some economists have warned, “Hey, it could eventually be a driver of inflation once the holiday is over, once the suspension ends and all of a sudden there’s a new essentially tax put on Americans.” There’s a number of reasons why people have been skeptical of this idea.
And then foremost perhaps, there’s an argument that this really isn’t a big savings to drivers. You’re talking about 18.4 cents, but not all of that will get passed on to what people pay at the pump. And so it won’t all flow down to the consumers. There’s been lots of worries that really the fossil fuel companies, the oil companies, filling stations will pocket the benefit. There has been some studies that suggest that maybe 3/4ths of it go down to consumers. But when you’re talking about gas that is over $5 in many states, how much is a 15 cent drop potentially really going to matter to people? That’s why there’s a lot of questions about this.
House leaders will unveil a portrait today at the U.S. Capitol of late Congresswoman Patsy Mink. She was the first woman of color in Congress and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. The Democratic representative from Hawaii served for decades in the House and was a champion of Title IX. She’s also credited with advocating for women’s rights and social justice issues on the whole. The unveiling of her portrait comes amid a spike in anti-Asian hate and crime around the country. Congresswoman Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said the portrait made a proposal to build a museum of Asian Pacific American history and culture, might help people better appreciate the contributions of Asian Americans.
The NBA draft is tonight when the league’s future stars will find out their new teams. The Orlando Magic have their number one pick after finishing last season with a 22 and 60 record and winning the draft lottery last month. But as recently as Monday, the Magic were still evaluating their options. Team president Jeff Weltman said it was still early in the process. So who will actually go first overall? USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt considers.
Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets were the big winners in Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery. They have the top three picks in the June draft in that order. And all three teams will be able to pick a player that some project as the best overall player in this year’s draft and three players fit that bill. Now, all three players offer something a little differently. It just all depends on what teams are looking for, but Orlando will certainly have to narrow their choice.
Auburn’s Jabari Smith at his size, 6′10″, almost 6′11″, is a premier outside shooter. He’s got a great three point shot and he can also go inside and play a little bit. Duke’s Paolo Banchero might be the most NBA ready player of those three. At his size 6′8″ he has all the physical tools to step into the NBA and play immediately. Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren at 7′ offers a skillset that’s rarely seen in the NBA, a player that tall who can handle the basketball, be a playmaker as a passer, shoot the three, and also score inside. And with his size, he can block shots and get rebounds on the defensive end. And so those are the three players that those teams will look at. They have the next five weeks to do interviews, watch more video, get medical records and then make a determination on who they think are the top three players. And it starts with the Orlando Magic and who they want to take number one in the 2022 NBA draft.
You can tune in tonight at 8:00 PM, Eastern 5:00 Pacific on ESPN and follow along with USA TODAY Sports.
And you can find new episodes of 5 Things every morning of the year right here, wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks to James Brown and PJ Elliott for their great work on the show. And I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism