- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2003

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 (UPI) — The UPI think tank wrap-up is a daily digest covering opinion pieces, reactions to recent news events and position statements released by various think tanks. This is the first of two wrap-ups for Feb. 7.


The Pacific Research Institute

(PRI promotes individual freedom and personal responsibility as the cornerstones of a civil society, best achieved through a free-market economy, limited government, and private initiative. PRI researches and analyzes critical issues facing California and the nation, and crafts strategies for policy reform.)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Contrarian: Maintaining the IX-rated status quota

by Sally C. Pipes

On Jan. 30, a commission convened by the Bush administration rejected dramatic changes to Title IX. This means that a program that is broken will not get fixed and that men's sports will continue to suffer discrimination.

Title IX of the Education Amendments passed Congress in 1972. "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex," says its crucial language, "be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

The measure enjoyed bipartisan support, but a cadre of militant feminists hijacked it quickly. With the help of compliant courts, activist lawyers, echo-chamber journalists, weak-kneed administrators, and politically correct politicians, they got virtually everything they wanted.

There are three ways that schools can prove compliance with Title IX, but the main means is proportionality, the notion that men and women should be equally represented in all endeavors, especially sports, in proportion to their number on campus.

As Jessica Gavora pointed out in "Tilting the Playing Field," this involves "the belief that men and women are undifferentiated in their abilities and inclinations; and that any disparity in behavior or performance necessarily results from discrimination or the legacy of centuries of past discrimination; and because so many activities do in fact yield such disparities, the federal government must step in to erase them."

As anyone without a grudge against reality knows, men and women are not undifferentiated in their abilities and inclinations. Proportionality, and its promoters, ignores personal differences, effort, and choices among women and men. It also ignores the reality that statistical disparities between people and groups are the rule, not the exception, and are not necessarily the product of discrimination. Funding decisions should be based on the level of interest in particular sports, not proportionality.

Contrary to its original intent, Title IX has become a quota system, pure and simple, enforced with a politically correct McCarthyism. Schools are assumed to be guilty and must prove their innocence. Norma Cantu, (Former President) Bill Clinton's choice to head the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Education, deployed a 700-member staff and $60 million budget. She reviewed 240 schools from which no civil-rights complaint had been filed, and she demanded that her enforcement squads double the number of complaints.

The easiest way for schools to achieve proportionality, of course, is to cut men's sports. The victims include longstanding baseball programs at Providence College and Colgate, and the UCLA swim team that had sent so many to the Olympics, among many others. From 1982 to 2002, 138 colleges dropped their wrestling programs.

Far from being seen as a tragic consequence of Title IX, this is the outcome that quota forces wanted all along. In the minds of feminists such as Maria Burton Nelson, author of "The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football," wrestling, like football, is macho nonsense that deserves to be banished.

The way it is being applied and enforced, Title IX is not only discriminatory and damaging to men's sports, but it is patronizing to women. When women do succeed, it is attributed not to their training, determination, or skill, but to Title IX. As Jessica Gavora notes, this makes women athletes the "welfare queens of sports."

It is tragic that the Bush panel could not rectify something as obviously unfair as the proportionality dogma. The proceedings and surrounding protests revealed that many within mainstream feminism remain dogmatic and narrow minded. Despite claims of independence, they also remain wedded to big government.

As Jessica Gavora shows, women's sports were on the rise before Title IX and would surely have prospered without it, and without punishing men. With apologies to Nelson, the stronger women get, the less they need Big Brother to look out for them.

(Sally C. Pipes is the president and chief executive officer of the Pacific Research Institute.)


The Cato Institute

WASHINGTON — Compassion challenged

by Clay Conrad

Criminal law enforcement is different from anything else government does. Criminal law is the only area of law in which government deliberately and purposefully sets out to inflict pain on its citizens.

While violent criminals ought to be punished, our government has a seemingly boundless appetite for inflicting pain on harmless Americans in the guise of the war on drugs. This zeal for punishment comes at the cost of degrading Federalism and the needs and values of the American people. A recent case demonstrates that arrogance handily.

Edward Rosenthal was a medical marijuana supplier who, in compliance with the California Compassionate Use Act, had been growing marijuana for seriously ill people under a doctor's advice and care. Rosenthal was arrested in February 2002 and accused of supplying marijuana to the Harm Reduction Center in San Francisco.

State and local officials knew all about Rosenthal's business. In fact, Rosenthal had been "deputized" by the City of Oakland, Calif., and made the official supplier of a city-sponsored medical marijuana dispensary.

The Compassionate Use Act passed with 78 percent of the vote in San Francisco. But the federal government moved in to enforce its law. It took a total of 80 jurors to find 12 willing to convict Rosenthal. Most of those summoned for jury duty said they would not be willing to brand someone a felon for growing or distributing medical marijuana.

Even after eliminating those who would not convict in a medical marijuana case, Federal Judge Charles Breyer did his best to keep any mention of medical use from entering the case. The jury was given no information as to why Rosenthal was growing marijuana. Rosenthal was disingenuously portrayed not as a conscientious caregiver, but as a large-scale drug dealer.

The evidence that Rosenthal was growing marijuana was indisputable, although there were questions concerning quantities. The government charged him with growing over 1,000 plants — an offense potentially carrying a life sentence. In the end, the jury found Rosenthal guilty of growing between 100 and 1,000 plants.

He now faces a maximum sentence of "only" 40 years without parole. To Rosenthal, aged 58 and with a 12-year-old daughter, the reduced sentencing range is a distinction without a difference.

In response to the verdict, the Drug Enforcement Administration was ecstatic. "We feel the people of California have spoken," said DEA spokesmen Richard Meyer. "We're pleased with the verdict."

Unfortunately, the only people that spoke were those allowed to speak — and 85 percent of the people had been eliminated from the jury. Even these handpicked jurors were unhappy with the outcome. Several, including jury foreman Charles Sackett, apologized to Rosenthal and expressed shock and outrage after learning Breyer blocked them from hearing Rosenthal's side of the story.

At least half the jury expressed remorse and denounced their verdict. Several jurors held a news conference Feb. 4, and complained of being misled, manipulated, and bullied into convicting in a case that none of them would have voted "guilty" in, had they known the full story.

Sackett has said it was probable that the jury would have nullified the law and acquitted, had they known this was a medical marijuana case and had they understood the American tradition of independent juries. "I think jury nullification is going to be part of the answer regarding states' rights in future cases," said Sackett.

Several of Rosenthal's jurors felt intimidated into going along with the verdict because they erroneously believed that had they engaged in jury nullification they could have been punished or removed from the jury. Matt Gonzalez, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, has commented that juries should know of their ability to refuse to enforce federal laws, when application of those laws would be unjust: "The judge is not giving the jury any space, whatsoever, to engage in what has been an extremely long tradition in common law as it relates to jury nullification."

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi noted that "jury nullification is a constitutional right that every individual person who is called for jury duty possesses, and unless we appreciate that right, we will lose it because the courts will take it from us."

It appears that the Rosenthal jury failed to appreciate their nullification prerogative, and, as a result, have inflicted enormous and undeserved pain on Edward Rosenthal and his family.

Meyer is partially right: The people of California have spoken. They spoke in passing Proposition 215, allowing for the compassionate use of marijuana by medical patients, under a doctor's supervision. Under our Federalist system of government, it would appear that the voice of the people of California should be heeded.

Edward Rosenthal is simply a pawn, having been caught in the crossfire between the DEA's insatiable desire to inflict pain on those who use or grow marijuana, regardless of the reasons, and the compassionate tolerance of Californians.

(Clay Conrad is an attorney and the author of "Jury Nullification," published by the Cato Institute.)


The Institute for Public Accuracy

(The IPA is a nationwide consortium of policy researchers that seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for experts whose perspectives are often overshadowed by major think tanks and other influential institutions.)

WASHINGTON — Powell cited sham "Fine Paper"

"My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence … "I would call my colleagues' attention to the fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed yesterday which describes in exquisite detail Iraqi deception activities."

Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations Security Council, Feb. 5

— Glen Rangwala, lecturer in politics at Cambridge University in Britain. He

has written a report: "A First Response to Secretary Colin Powell's Presentation Concerning Iraq," available at traprockpeace.org/firstresponse.html which takes issue with many of Powell's assertions. In his analysis of Powell's claims, Rangwala found that substantial portions of "the fine paper that the United Kingdom distributed yesterday" referred to by Powell on Wednesday before the Council (entitled "Iraq: Its Infrastructure of Concealment, Deception And Intimidation") were plagiarized from pre-existing sources including a paper by a postgraduate student, Ibrahim Al-Marashi, in California.

"It's quite striking that even Al-Marashi's typographical errors and anomalous uses of grammar are incorporated into the Blair government document. Al-Marashi has confirmed to me that his permission was not sought; in fact, he didn't even know about the British document until I mentioned it to him…. None of the sources (in the Blair government document) are acknowledged, leading the reader to believe it is a result of direct investigative work, rather than simply copied from pre-existing Internet sources."

— William Rivers Pitt, author of the book "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know."

"An analysis of the footnotes for the Al-Marashi essay clearly demonstrates that his work was meant to describe Iraq's intelligence apparatus and military situation in the 1990s. The British dossier was presented as an up-to-date report on the status of Iraq's weapons and terrorist ties … Between other questionable sources and the unreliable data from the British, it seems all too clear that Powell's presentation was based upon information that is questionable to say the least."

— John Quigley, professor of international law at Ohio State University.

"The U.S. has presented information to the Security Council on war and peace issues that later turned out to be false …"

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