Title IX and the Rio Olympics

Tom Witosky covered sports, politics and business for many years as an investigative reporter at the Des Moines Register. -promoted by desmoinesdem

-30-

Back when newspaper reporters typed their stories onto paper, the notation -30- at the bottom of the final page indicated the end of a story.

When the U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball team on Sunday defeated Serbia, 96-66, the 30-point drubbing fittingly symbolized the end of one of the best Olympic efforts ever by U.S. male and female athletes. Medal totals told the story: U.S. teams earned 121 medals (45 gold, 37 silver and 38 bronze) outpacing China’s second place finish with 70 medals.

But what’s more interesting is how the dominance of U.S. female athletes, likely the most superior women’s team ever fielded by the United States Olympic Committee, played such a huge role in that success.

In many ways, the U.S. success provides another metaphor for the progress that has been made in this country’s striving for a better union. Like the breaking of the racial barrier in Major League Baseball by Jackie Robinson, and the breaking of the sexual-orientation barrier by a variety of athletes, the success of the U.S. women illustrates vividly that commitment to equality and diversity does pay despite long-term, deep-seated resistance from those who disagree.

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Bakken pipeline received final federal permit; land use lawsuit pending

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted the Texas-based Dakota Access company a federal permit to build the Bakken pipeline across Iowa.

Although opponents plan various forms of direct action, the best remaining chance for stopping the pipeline is a lawsuit challenging the Iowa Utilities Board’s authority to use eminent domain for a project with no legitimate public purpose.

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Data Centers Do Not Make Iowa a High Tech State

Dave Swenson

The news out of West Des Moines last week was that Microsoft will add a third data center. At first glance, a data center cluster looks to be popping-up in Iowa. We have the three Microsoft projects in West Des Moines, Facebook’s two complexes on the other side of the metro in Altoona, Google’s two projects in Council Bluffs, and a smattering of smaller centers scattered about the state.

“Microsoft could build these centers anywhere in the world,” said West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer, as quoted in the Des Moines Register, but they’re building them right here in Iowa. A map of data centers across the U.S. tells us, though, that data centers of all sorts and sizes are just about everywhere there are people. In short, Iowa isn’t that special. Don’t tell West Des Moines.


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Iowa DNR allows Bakken pipeline to run under Indian burial site

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources amended a permit to allow Dakota Access to run the Bakken pipeline under a sensitive area in the Big Sioux River Wildlife Management Area, William Petroski reported for the Des Moines Register on June 20. The amendment means Dakota Access is no longer subject to the stop-work order the DNR imposed last month. DNR spokesperson Kevin Baskins told Petroski the company will run the pipeline "about 85 feet underground" to avoid disrupting sacred ground, which may include American Indian burial sites.

State Archaeologist John Doershuk said in an email last week to DNR Director Chuck Gipp that the proposed directional boring construction method is a satisfactory avoidance procedure from an archaeological standpoint that he supports in this case. However, Doershuk emphasized he could not speak for American Indian tribes that have expressed concerns about the pipeline project.

Energy Transfer Partners, the parent company of Dakota Access, maintains that a 2004 archeological review of the site in question did not turn up any areas of cultural significance. Gavin Aronsen posted that document and comments from a company spokeswoman at Iowa Informer.

Now that the DNR has lifted the stop-work order and the Iowa Utilities Board has changed its stance to allow pipeline construction before Dakota Access has all federal permits in hand, only two legal obstacles stand in the way of completing the project across eighteen Iowa counties. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has yet to issue permits covering a small portion of the Iowa route—though I would be shocked to see the federal government stand in the way once construction has begun. A series of landowner lawsuits are challenging the use of eminent domain for the Bakken pipeline, saying a 2006 Iowa law does not allow farmland to be condemned for a private project by a company that is not a utility.

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