Five Best Tuesday Columns
Felix Salmon questions Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair calls for intervention in Syria, Shani O. Hilton debates Facebook's Great Baby Photo Divide, Jason Horowitz profiles Cory Booker's controversial rise, and Dahlia Lithwick compares and contrasts the Supreme Court's intellectual leaders.
Felix Salmon at Reuters doubts Yahoo's choice for CEO Yesterday, Business Insider wrote a lengthy piece on Yahoo's choice for CEO last year, documenting the surprise selection of the then-37-year-old Marissa Mayer over the company's interim CEO, Ross Levinsohn. Here, Salmon opines that Yahoo may have made the wrong decision. "Levinsohn had a strategy — one which was clearly thought-out, and which would produce a focused, profitable company. Mayer, on the other hand, had, well, an excellent grasp of detail." Although Salmon acknowledges that Yahoo's stock prices have gone up and the company has attracted talented engineers since Mayer came on board, "...It’s still far from clear what Mayer’s long-term strategy might be, or whether there even is one." "No Question, @RossLevinsohn Was the Right Person for the @Yahoo Job," writes Dave Morgan, the founder and leader of advertising companies Real Media, Inc. and Simulmedia. "If you enjoyed @NichCarlson's monster profile of Marissa Mayer you'll want to see @FelixSalmon's interpretation of it," tweets NYU journalism professor and PressThink author Jay Rosen.
Tony Blair in The Times supports intervention in Syria Blair, the former U.K. Prime Minister and supporter of American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is in favor of taking action against the Syrian government. "After the long and painful campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand every impulse to stay clear of the turmoil, to watch but not to intervene, to ratchet up language but not to engage in the hard, even harsh business of changing reality on the ground," Blair writes. "But we have collectively to understand the consequences of wringing our hands instead of putting them to work." Blair's audience is not so supportive. "I am pretty sure Britons are not waiting to hear from Tony Blair on what to do in Syria," tweets Blake Hounshell, Politico deputy editor and former managing editor of Foreign Policy. "Tony Blair calls for West to 'defeat' Assad AND Al-Qaeda 'however long it takes' but doesn't give a clue how to do it," notes Hugo Dixon, the editor-at-large for Reuters and founder of Breakingviews.
Shani O. Hilton at BuzzFeed on the Great Baby Photo Divide Some people love seeing pictures of their friends' babies plastered on Facebook news feeds; others bristle at the display but, Hilton writes, it's a losing battle for the anti-baby crowd. "It’s okay not to like babies. It’s okay not to like baby pictures. But complaining about them being on Facebook is like complaining about a dog park being overrun with dogs," she writes. Valleywag writer Sam Biddle tweets "babies are the best thing in LIFE," and Jacob Harris, a senior software architect at The New York Times emphatically agrees: "Seriously, TEAM BABIES." Those not on Facebook, like The Daily Beast blogger Emily L. Hauser, don't understand the objection. "I'm not even on FB, but c'mon, hating on your friends' babies?" she tweets.
Jason Horowitz in The Washington Post on Cory Booker's meteoric rise Booker, the Newark mayor and soon-to-be New Jersey Democratic senator with a massive Twitter fan base, "seems to have been engineered in a political lab to walk the halls of Congress," Horowitz writes. His very public profile has made members of both political parties question whether the 44-year-old is the real deal or just an opportunistic, self-interested politician. But Horowitz rejects the latter characterization, writing, "If this was a stunt, it was an especially enduring one, lasting 15 years." The lengthy profile includes several juicy factoids on Booker, such as this tweet from Huffington Post media reporter Michael Calderone: "Cory Booker prepping for DC with This Town audio book: 'I fell asleep to it last night,' he tells @JasondHorowitz." Rebecca Berg, the Washington Examiner political correspondent, writes, "This @JasondHorowitz piece on Cory Booker is phenomenal."
Dahlia Lithwick at Slate compares the Supreme Court's intellectual heavyweights Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia have opposing views on activist judges: "Scalia wants judges to stop trying to fix things. Ginsburg wants judges to stop stopping the rest of us from fixing things. In a way, they mirror each other perfectly," Lithwick writes. But the difference between the two, as Lithwick tells it, is that Scalia's fears of a moralist Court have been disproved, while Ginsburg's fears of a crackdown on voting rights have come to fruition in North Carolina and Texas. "Great piece on Justice Scalia and Ginsburg as famous frenemies + their declining relevance," writes Jeff John Roberts, a legal reporter for GigaOM and paidContent. Tom Taylor, an assisting managing editor for Bloomberg BNA's United States Law Week, asks whether Ginsburg and Scalia are "Both justices of bygone eras? #SCOTUS Who is the justice for today?"