Five Best Thursday Columns

Amanda Hess on the 2014 cheerleader rebellion, Nicholas Kristof considers whether Moldova could be the next Ukraine, Clara Long on Obama's inhumane 'good deportations', Joe Feinglass on the deadly cost of being uninsured, Tom Rogan on the latest atrocity in Syria the U.S. will ignore.

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Amanda Hess at Slate on the 2014 cheerleader rebellion. “In 2014, the cheerleaders revolted. This January, rookie NFL cheerleader Lacy T. kicked things off when she filed a class action lawsuit against the Oakland Raiders. Tuesday, five former Buffalo Bills cheerleaders filed suit against their own team, alleging that the Buffalo Jills were required to perform unpaid work for the team for about 20 hours a week,” Hess writes. “Unpaid activities included: submitting to a weekly ‘jiggle test’. The Buffalo Jills cheerleaders take home just $105 to $1,800 for an entire season on the job. Why are NFL cheerleaders putting down their pom-poms all of a sudden? Cheating cheerleaders out of a living wage is an American tradition almost as old as football itself. It’s worth examining why NFL teams ever thought it was OK to treat cheerleaders this way.” Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero tweets, "Get em, ladies!" Civil rights lawyer Jean Hyams tweets, “@amandahess: NFL cheerleading culture of silence broken by courage of Lacy T!”

Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times considers whether Moldova could be the next Ukraine. “If there were an Olympic competition for bravest country in the world, the gold medal might well go to Moldova. Wobbly politicians from Europe and America should come here to get spinal transplants. Think of Moldova as 'the next Ukraine,' for Russia may be about to take a bite out of this little country, nestled beside Ukraine and Romania and often said to be the poorest country in Europe,” Kristof writes. “Transnistria is a Russian-speaking enclave within Moldova, armed by Moscow and protected by Russian troops. Transnistria claims to have seceded and established an independent country, and, in a troubling omen, its government (which Moscow controls) appealed this month for Russia to annex it."

Clara Long at the Guardian on Obama’s inhumane ‘good’ deportations. “When it comes to immigration, President Obama wants to be seen two ways by two different audiences. In an attempt to keep everyone happy, the Obama administration offers ‘tough on the outside, soft on the inside’ rhetoric: secure the border to "finally stem the tide of illegal immigrants" while targeting serious criminals, not ‘folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out how to feed their families’,” Long writes. “ICE describes ‘border removals’ as people deported after being ‘apprehended along our borders while attempting to unlawfully enter the US.’ But there are good reasons for thinking that many of those removed are settled residents who have been torn from their families and communities – and their deportation is inhumane and unnecessary.”

Joe Feinglass at Al Jazeera America on the deadly cost of being uninsured. “On average, Americans spend more than twice as much on health care costs per person each year than do people in 34 other countries. The U.S. nonetheless remains the only wealthy country that fails to provide universal health insurance. And only in the U.S. is there a serious debate about the value of insurance coverage for protecting health,” Feinglass writes. “For more than 40 years, studies have documented that continuously or intermittently uninsured adults have fewer doctor visits and receive less preventive care, such as blood pressure screening, Pap tests, cholesterol testing or influenza vaccinations.  But what if doctors’ visits, tests and drugs are unaffordable? The uninsured not only suffer from health declines — they also die earlier”. Al Jazeera’s Paul Harris tweets, “To everyone else in the world US healthcare system remains a baffling disaster for a civilised country.”

Tom Rogan at National Review on the latest atrocity in Syria the U.S. will ignore. “There’s a special savagery to chlorine gas. It burns the eyes, lungs, and skin — anything with water, turning the source of life into an agent of death. While Syrian opposition groups allege that Assad has used chemical weapons many times since the Russian brokered a WMD deal last September, the most compelling evidence comes from recent attacks in the town of Kfar Zeita,” Rogan writes. “You may not have heard about any of this. Coverage of Assad’s ongoing atrocities has been buried. Yes, I’d be the first to admit that the Syrian civil war is exceptionally complex. Nevertheless, with Assad’s record, his ongoing efforts to hide his WMD programs, and the compelling evidence of another chemical attack, America must act.”

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.