Five Best Monday Columns
Nichi Hodgson on why NFL cheerleaders deserve the minimum wage, Brain Beutler on how the GOP's Obamacare mania is working for the Democrats, Jackson Diehl on why John Kerry's Middle East plan is delusional, Adam Minter on what a future with inflight cell phone use would look like, Kevin Roose on the potential Internet price war between Google and Amazon,
Nichi Hodgson at the Guardian on why NFL cheerleaders deserve the minimum wage. “Back in January, Oakland Raiderette Lacy T brought a suit on behalf of the entire squad. Factoring in practice hours, charitable appearances and the annual swimsuit calendar photo shoot on top of a 10-game commitment, she and her attorneys argued that the Raiderettes’ $1,250 annual wage worked out to less than $5 an hour. Yet last week, the U.S. Department of Labor declared the Raiders exempt from having to offer its cheerleaders the minimum wage because they constitute “seasonal amusement”,” Hodgson writes. “Make no mistake: cheerleaders are instrumental in generating revenue for the NFL. Time to share with the women on the sidelines.” Dan Gillmor tweets, “The NFL is a sickening organization. See how it treats the cheerleaders.”
Brian Beutler at Salon on how the GOP’s Obamacare mania is working for the Democrats. “Here’s a riddle for anyone who thinks the politics of Obamacare are straightforward, and toxic for Democrats. How is it possible, in defiance of public rebuke, widespread misinformation and other headwinds, that insurance enrollment is surging in just about every state in the country?” Beutler writes. “I doubt that this kind of intentional blindness to the law’s successes can withstand another seven months on the campaign trail. Which means Republicans will either have to confront reality eventually, or shake up their strategy pretty dramatically, so that single-minded hatred of the ACA isn’t the beginning and end of it.”
Jackson Diehl at The Washington Post on why John Kerry’s Middle East plan is delusional. “During a tour of the Middle East in November, Secretary of State John F. Kerry portrayed the region as on its way to a stunning series of breakthroughs, thanks to U.S. diplomacy. Some people heaped praise on Kerry for his bold ambitions, saying he was injecting vision and energy into the Obama administration’s inert foreign policy. Four months have passed, and, sadly for Kerry and U.S. interests, the verdict is in: delusional,” Diehl writes. “Kerry offered an answer to my first critique of him in an interview with Susan Glasser of Politico: “I would ask” anyone “who was critical of our engagement: What is the alternative?” Well, the alternative is to address the Middle East as it really is.” Julia Lindau at Al Jazeera America tweets, “John Kerry’s departure from reality.”
Adam Minter at Bloomberg View on what a future with inflight cell phones use would look like. "What would the friendly skies look like if you could use your cell phone on flights in U.S. airspace? On Wednesday, comments closed on a proposed Department of Transportation rule that would continue the long-standing U.S. ban on in-flight use of cell phones, and the response was overwhelming and predictable. “Increased conflict and misery,” predicted one of the 1,760 respondents. “Violence on the aircraft,” surmised another," Minter writes. "The sentiment is understandable, emotional, and entirely irrational. Nonetheless, due to the U.S. ban, the more than 20 airlines that allow in-flight voice calls must currently shut down those services when they enter U.S. airspace."
Kevin Roose at New York on the potential Internet price war between Google and Amazon. “Since Amazon Web Services was started in 2006, it's had a near-monopoly on large-scale cloud computing. But Google is intent on catching up,” Roose writes. “Price wars are a staple of the tech industry. These days, you can see them everywhere you look – Uber and Lyft competing for the low-cost car-service business, Postmates and Google Shopping Express competing for same-day delivery, T-Mobile stealing market share from Verizon and AT&T with low-price promotions. But the battle between Amazon and Google over cloud computing has much bigger stakes than, say, the competition between Amazon and Barnes & Noble over book sales. Whoever wins the cloud war will, in effect, control the internet.”