Wandering Eye: Obama goes to bat for workers, 'Concussion' trailer debuts, and more

Late Thursday an outfit called the Manufacturers' Center for Legal Action dispatched a press release decrying the latest decision by the National Labor Relations Board. "Today's decision is a loss for manufacturers, employers and employees who have become targets of the NLRB's aggressive agenda," the release warned, adding that the decision (which basically no one had even heard about) was "disarming manufacturers and job creators." Anyone on hourly or salary seeing this kind of language ought to cheer, and now The New York Times lays out why: Turns out Barack Obama has had a secret plan to help workers all along! And he's doing it. "After spending several months in 2011 on a failed effort to negotiate a deficit-cutting 'grand bargain' with the new House Republican majority, however, Mr. Obama did an apparent about-face, deciding that he would use every tool available to enact what he considered to be a bold pro-worker agenda on his own," Noam Scheiber writes. "In the last two months alone, the administration has introduced a series of regulatory changes. Among them: a rule that would make millions more Americans eligible for extra overtime pay, and a guidance suggesting that many employers are misclassifying workers as contractors and therefore depriving them of basic workplace protections." There is minimum wage and overtime protection for home-care workers and the ruling that allows contractors and franchise workers to collectively bargain—which is what the Manufacturers' Center was so exorcised about. Of course, there are a lot of laws and regs. Enforcement—that's the thing. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

Just in time for the start of the NFL season, a trailer for the movie "Concussion," the Will Smith-starring drama about the Nigerian-born neuropathologist who discovered chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brain of a former Pittsburgh Steeler, debuted this morning. Interestingly enough, the trailer premiered in Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated. As King, who has seen the film in its entirety, writes: "The film follows Omalu (played by Smith, with a quite good accent) as he tries to convince the football establishment that the game is hazardous to the brain. The football establishment, as we learned in 'League of Denial,' has little interest in listening to Omalu." The NFL juggernaut continues to roll on, in spite of the many published incidents on the effects the sport has on the brains of players, but a major motion picture that casts the league as the villain certainly won't help football's image. (Brandon Weigel)

 

President Obama announced that he will be renaming Mount McKinley "Denali," the mountain's traditional native Alaskan name meaning "the high one." The tallest mountain in North America has been unofficially referred to as Denali by Alaskans before and since it was named Mount McKinley in 1917, and Alaskan politicians have been pushing for the name change since 1975 against opposition from politicians from Ohio, the home state of the mountain's current presidential namesake. The mountain was named Mount McKinley after an overexcited gold prospector exploring the Alaska Range heard that William McKinley—who never actually set foot in Alaska—had won the Republican presidential nomination. Obama's decision comes in a line of recent efforts to improve the federal government's relationship with Native Americans. Now, about that $20 bill . . . (Maura Callahan)

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