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In what is kind of sort of a victory, the Oakland Raiders and former members of its cheer squad, the Raiderettes, settled a lawsuit in which the super demanding cheerleaders asked if the team would mind complying with existing labor laws, thanks.

Instead of earning only $125 per game in a single paycheck delivered at the end of the season, Raiderettes will earn $9 an hour from now on, plus overtime, for the estimated 350 hours each cheerleader puts in each year, including rehearsals, practices and mandatory community and charity appearances. Their annual compensation will rise from about $1,250 to about $3,200.

In case you failed to pay attention the first time we told you why NFL cheerleaders need a union, allow us to refresh your memories: Raiderettes were being paid the equivalent of $5 per hour, which is less than minimum wage, AHEM, and they were forced to pay for their own travel and other business-related expenses, like having their hair and make-up done according to the team's strict rules of How To Be A Sexxxxy Cheerleader. That, for those of you without an "Esquire" after your names, is ILLEGAL.

And the Oakland team is not the one bad apple in the whole NFL barrel. (Yeah, we know you're shocked, SHOCKED! to find that gambling is going on in here!) The Dallas Cowboys pay cheerleaders a whopping $150 per game, and a whopping zero dollars for rehearsal time because it's not like that's real work anyway. In fact, as the L.A. Times reminds us, "Similar cases are pending against the Cincinnati Bengals, the Buffalo Bills, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets."

At least the Buffalo Bills really care about cheerleaders and created a handy-dandy manual to teach them how to properly wash their ladyparts and use a tampon, and no, we are not kidding you, and yes, this is just one more reason in a long list of reasons why we really hate the crap out of sportsball, even though OOOOH SPORTSBALL!

Perhaps the bittersweetest part of this semi-nice time-ish story is the cheerleaders have been treated so damned badly by the team that they really are grateful for this settlement.

“I’m so excited, honestly,” said Lacy, 28, who spent only one season as an NFL cheerleader and who was shunned by many of her squadmates after filing the lawsuit. “I feel a sense of satisfaction knowing this long journey is over and will end happily for 90 women. I feel very proud about that. I know we’re just cheerleaders to people, but we’re low-wage workers working for a billion-dollar industry. It shows everyone that one little girl who stood up and said, ‘This is not right,’ changed the way the Raiders do business.”

We hear you, Lacy, and we are happy for you, but on the other hand, it's hard to Got Spirit, Yes We Do that you had to sue the team just to get it FOLLOW THE DAMNED LAW and pay the minimum wage, which, in these parts, is not exactly a living wage. But still, it's better than nothing. Which is something. So HOORAY!!! we guess.

[L.A. Times via ThinkProgress]

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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