First They Came for the Pasties, and I Didn’t Speak Out Because I Wasn’t Hungry…

Then they came for the crisps, and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t have 50p anyway…

That’s right, Britons–get ready to pay an extra 20% on your beef and onion pasty thanks to Oxford twat George Osborne, who while increasing the tax on a beloved food item of the 99%, decreased the taxes for all the Lord Nimblybottoms in the financial sector:

The tax controversy, which the British press has called, inevitably, “Pasty-gate,” has come to symbolize the increasingly vitriolic debate in Britain over who should shoulder the burden of the government’s drive to cut debt and spending.

Of course the tax decrease on the wealthy pasty-avoiders is justified by the standard logic that accompanies any tax decrease for the wealthy: if the wealthy have more money to spend, they’ll improve the economy. Yes, the wealthy; not some plodding sow from Shropshire with pasty crumbs on her rubbery bosom.

Not surprisingly, the Times highlighted the pasty’s populist credentials:

At lunchtime Thursday at the closest shop on the Times list — less than a mile from Mr. Osborne’s residence in the Westminster area of central London — a line of civil servants, construction workers and others waited to pay 90 pence, or $1.43, for a sausage roll or £1.42 for a heartier steak bake.

Yup, for about a quid you’ll get a delicious pastry filled with ground beef, sausage, or whatever the hell they feel like putting in there–and that’s the same for everyone, doctors to ditch-diggers. It truly is the food of the people.

Thus, methinks this tax situation is going to get pasty.

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Totally Awesome Bear Saves Old Guy’s Life: “No Thanks Necessary,” Says the Bear

Robert Biggs, some old guy from Paradise, California (who will probably win the lottery, considering his luck and age) was out for a hike on Monday when he spied a familiar group of black bears. Stopping to take a look, he admired the bears and went on his way.

Historic Mega Millions Jackpot of $640 Million Will Likely Be Won By Some Old Jackass

Isn’t that what usually happens? Some old bastard retiree who owns his own house and has no student loans wins it all and still keeps his job mowing greens at the golf course? Well, even though it’s possible for this record jackpot to be won by someone who deserves it (read: me), it’s not very likely. And that possibility is clearly fueling the record ticket sales, as CNN reports:

The multistate jackpot, which lottery officials are calling “the largest lottery jackpot in world history,” has captivated the nation, has caused long lines at convenience stores and has many dreaming of creative ways to quit their jobs if they get the lucky numbers.

“Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing will truly be a spectacular event in lottery history and provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket,” said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery and lead director for the Mega Millions group.

And perhaps crazier still, if no one wins tonight, the jackpot for next Tuesday will reach $975 million bones. Richard Lustig, a seven-time lottery winner (and asshole!) advises purchasing tickets in groups and avoiding the quick-picks, but cautions against profligate spending:

“Don’t go crazy with this,” he said. “Don’t get what’s called lottery fever. Do not spend grocery money. Do not spend rent money.”

Even a University of Evil (Chicago) economist is getting in on the lottery advice action, cautioning winners to avoid the annuity and take the lump sum:

The choice comes down to interest rates, and with interest rates at zero, the lump sum just makes better financial sense, Goolsbee said.

“If you are fortunate enough to win the lottery, you most certainly want to take the lump sum,” Goolsbee said.

Yesterday, Gawker’s own Hamilton Nolan wrote a piece in which he reminded us of the odds against winning the lottery. While his math is solid, his reasoning will doubtlessly fall on deaf ears as millions of people buy tickets in the hopes of quitting their jobs, paying off their student loans, or perhaps more humbly, sexing up a bunch of Hungarian strippers in the greatest coke party that the world has ever known. Oops–I guess I gave away my plans for the winnings!

Did you buy your tickets yet? What are your plans for the winnings? Do they involve Hungarian strippers? Or robots? Discuss in the comments!

Rick “The Trick” Promises a Newer, Cleaner Santorum for America

Well, it looks like the Lenny Bruce of the GOP presidential pack is going to tone down his act. That’s right, Rick “The Trick” Santorum is going to offer a kinder, gentler discursive environment for his followers. Or, at the very least, an environment where he won’t comment on the relative qualities of a Romneybot presidency:

After several highly publicized remarks that left many in his party questioning whether he had crossed the line in attacking a fellow Republican, Mr. Santorum has struggled to find the balance between being a tenacious underdog and leaving himself open to criticism that he is just an embittered also-ran.

Nevertheless, he still has some harsh criticisms for his opponent; Above the News was able to obtain this unedited draft transcript of a Santorum speech attacking Mitt Romney (I’ve censored it for your protection):

“Mitt Romney can suck a d**k, folks. Yes, that’s right: Romney’s nothing but a f**king c**ks**king a**clown. First he’s over here, then he’s over there; he’s like a f**king retard. He just can’t make up his mind. ‘Duh, I like health care–it nice. I wear magic panties!’ And speaking of magic panties, what about his wife? Have you ever seen such a b****y looking c**t in all your life? I bet her p***y’s as cold as a glacier. And probably as big, too. The magic of her panties is that she can fit her oversize c**t in there.”

It only gets worse, folks, I can promise you that. But as the Times article noted, Santorum is aiming to clean up his act; thus, speeches like the above will become a thing of the past.

Though he may be Wal-Marting his speeches, Santorum still has some vague criticisms of Romneybot, as well as some reiterations of his credentials on battling health care:

“I’ve got a long, strong, consistent record on the issue of health care,” Mr. Santorum told a group of more than 100 supporters at a campaign rally in Janesville on Tuesday night. “No wobbles, no bobbles.”

It is unclear whether Santorum weebles; nevertheless, he does not fall down.

But some Santorum fans are upset that he no longer spits hot fire:

Paul Kurtz, a high school social studies teacher from Janesville who was at the rally, said he thought Mr. Santorum seemed to be repressing his trademark tenacity.

“I think Rick tempered what he could have said,” said Mr. Kurtz, 36, who was sipping the dregs of a beer as the crowd filed out of the Armory in Janesville. “I think he was really close to going there. I was waiting for the personal attack on Romney.” But Mr. Kurtz left disappointed.

Yes, Mr. Kurtz is responsible for educating the youth of America. I’ll give you a moment to cry.

What remains to be seen is whether Santorum can maintain this pretense of civility. Oh, wait–

Breaking News: Europeans Hate Shitty Coffee

Alas, poor Starbucks–I knew it, Horatio.

While many of us are desperately wishing for a melancholy Dane to ponder over the bleached skull of the most irritating corporate force in America, those mad geniuses behind your burned coffee are seeking to conquer that Dane’s homeland–think of them as Fortinbras with a Frappucino.

Starbucks is embarking on a multimillion-dollar campaign to win over more of Europe’s coffee aficionados — with a upscale makeover of hundreds of stores to cater to an ingrained cafe culture, and adjusting beverages and blends to suit fickle regional palates.

Yet despite the full-court press Elsinore is, for the moment, safe:

After eight years spent setting up 63 French Starbucks stores, the company has never turned a profit in France. And even in the parts of Europe where the company does make money, sales and profit growth lag far behind results in the Americas and Asia.

Europe’s debt crisis and sluggish economy are a factor. So are high European rents and labor costs, which impinge on profits more than in any other region in which Starbucks operates. But the biggest challenge may lie in tailoring the Starbucks experience to appeal to a variety of European tastes.

Ah, I see–young Europeans aren’t yet used to the idea of a soul-killing career for a company that does not pay a living wage. But there is hope for the ‘Bucks, and that hope lies within the simulacrum:

“In markets where there is an entrenched coffeehouse culture, like Paris or Vienna, I was expecting to hear more requests to be like them,” Ms. Gass said. “But I heard the opposite — people want the true Starbucks experience.”

Presumably this desire for “the true Starbucks experience” necessitates a surly barista, a urine-soaked homeless person, and some asshole with a clipboard whose resume lacked the civic activities required for admission to Harvard Law.

Ultimately, Starbucks will conquer Europe. McDonald’s, that other beacon of American food corporatism, eventually found traction and so will the ‘Bucks. Whether it’s Eurotrash hipsters desirous of lemon pound cake and a watery latte, or bloated American tourists too afraid to try a local cafe, people will make their way into the black and green empire of aestheticide that is Starbucks.

On the other hand, the British need Starbucks: shitty or not, it’s likely the only passable cup of coffee you’re likely to find on that entire miserable island.

Mississippi Loves Jesus; Jesus to Mississippi: “I Thought We Were Going to Keep it Casual!”

Yes, it would appear that 60% of America, and especially Mississippi, has really fallen head-over-heels for that rebellious black hippie who probably didn’t exist:

The latest Gallup Poll finds Mississippi is the most religious state, with Vermont and New Hampshire ranking as the least.

Overall, Gallup says, “America remains a generally religious nation, with more than two-thirds of the nation’s residents classified as very or moderately religious.”

Poor Jesus; just off a bad break-up with some whore and now a majority of Americans want to jump on his dick. Can’t a guy just talk about plucking out offensive eyeballs and not masturbating without a bunch of crazy bitches wanting a commitment? Apparently not in Mississippi:

Gallup found that 59% of Mississippians described themselves as “very religious,” followed by 57% of Utahns and 56% of Alabamans. Louisiana, Arkansas and South Carolina came in at 54%.

Ha! Suck it, Utah–those bible-thumping hillbillies in Mississippi have got you beat!

Not surprisingly, the Godless northern states in New England were among the least religious. Whether this is because of education, wealth, or possibly immigration patterns is certainly up for debate; nevertheless, we now know where Jesus will hide when Mississippi starts texting him at 2 a.m. looking for some late night “prayer.”

No, Higgs Boson is Not the Firm that Specializes in Diet Pill Lawsuits

Researchers at a U.S. physics lab have made an important step toward isolating the mysterious and all powerful Higgs boson particle, a particle thought to be so powerful that even Chuck Norris fears it:

The world’s best measurement of the mass of the so-called W boson was made by scientists working at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., a Fermilab release reported Friday.

The new measurement is an important step to discovering the mass of the theorized Higgs boson, the last undiscovered component of the Standard Model of physics thought to give all other particles their masses.

Well, powerful in the sense that it provides a powerful explanation of the underlying causes in theoretical physics. But I bet Norris would still be wary.

Apparently, researchers typically try to either produce the boson particles or attempt to measure other particles thought to be influenced by them; this particular attempt was a measurement trial, and it yielded excellent results:

“This measurement illustrates the great contributions that the Tevatron has made and continues to make with further analysis of its accumulated data,” Fermilab Director Pier Oddone said. “The precision of the measurement is unprecedented and allows rigorous tests of our underlying theory of how the universe works.”

Reportedly, the Devil is very happy; after all, he invented science to lead men astray from God’s truth:

“And demons shall be loosed upon the Earth and they shall consume the flesh of waterfowl paired with a savory vintage; then, with a furious surge, the demons shall construct a model of knowledge that allows for significant explanatory power in the face of questions regarding the natural world. And that knowledge will be called ‘Science,’ and it shall be evil. For men were not meant to know of the world around them; nay, they were meant to have other men read some poorly translated ancient texts and hand down platitudes from on high. Question not, men, for down that path lies only philosophers and devils.”

–Asininus, 28:12-16

Ditka Versus an Aerial Sniper?

The government of Alaska seems to pride itself on comically stupid ideas, and this next one is no different:

The Alaska Board of Game has approved a plan for state wildlife biologists to shoot black and grizzly bears from helicopters in the middle Kuskokwim River region starting next spring. The goal is to increase the moose population for local hunters.

Yes, in an effort to increase the moose population, the Board of Game has voted to “remove” all the bears from Game Management Unit 19A, an area southeast of Fairbanks that includes several small villages. Ostensibly, the reason for this removal is to increase the moose population for subsistence hunters; right now, the moose population is estimated to be between 2,800 and 5,800 moose. The bear population is somewhat lower, at 135 to 150 black bears, and 10 to 15 brown bears. That’s roughly 35 moose per bear at maximal estimates; personally, I doubt the bears are that hungry.

Of course the bears do not prey upon the full-grown moose all the time; often they take calves and thus harm the breeding potential of the moose population. That, in turn, does threaten the future of subsistence in Unit 19A. Moreover, the moose must contend with wolf populations; however, those wolf populations have been successfully curbed by aerial wolf patrols. But interestingly, the moose population has not risen.

In case you were wondering, the primary logic behind killing all the bears was based on the non-success of past predator management:

An aerial wolf control program has been in place in Unit 19A since 2004. Private pilots and gunners with state permits have reduced the wolf population by at least 60 percent each year since 2005 but moose numbers have not recovered, according to the department’s proposal to the board.

“Adding bear removal to the predation control program should help address this issue,” the department wrote.

Perhaps killing the residents near Game Management Unit 19A would also work, Board of Game! After all, the logical next step in predator management would be to take out the next predator in line. Sorry, Aniak residents!

The option to move the bears (a plan that has been utilized in the past) was nixed; apparently no one else wants the bears around:

Moving bears was not approved in unit 19A because the program is costly and residents from other parts of the state said they didn’t want bears moved to their areas, the department said.

The Board also adopted a measure that would allow pussies to fly in, hop out of their plane, jog about 300 meters–oh, wait, feet–and shoot at black bears who’ve been tempted by bait stations. Yes, nothing says “primal scream of nature” like shooting an unsuspecting bear while it chows down on some bait. You didn’t even have to muss your Carhartt’s, you total badass!

I would like to point out that I’m absolutely in favor of game management. I see no reason not to control populations in humane ways so that a balance can be attained between the needs of the residents and the natural order of the Alaskan Interior. Yet something about this plan twists my balls.

Why not expand the hunting season and sell more bear permits? People would snap those up like a new toy from Apple; moreover, the state would generate revenue for that particular game management area.

Also, if aerial wolf control failed, why the hell would you expect aerial bear control to succeed? Is it really necessary to kill every single bear? That doesn’t seem like balance; rather, it seems like short-sighted bullshit shenanigans perpetrated by political appointees.

Plus, if you’re such a Goddamn nutless turd that you can’t hike into a hunting area, set up camp, and stalk and kill your prey like nature intended, then you have no business hunting. Bait stations are for bitches, and so is aerial hunting. Go back to your Call of Duty, pussy.

Welcome to Thunderdome!

Yes, today is Super Tuesday, and it will quite likely determine the candidate who will go on to challenge Obama in the presidential election. Let’s hope it’s not Santorum. Or Romneybot. Or Ron Paul Kenobi. Or Newton “Fruit n’ Cake.” Actually, let’s hope that all four of them meet up for a grip-and-grin photo op and a meteor strikes them. Yes, that would be the best possible scenario: the meteor that killed the Republican presidential candidate field versus Obama.

Naturally, I’d vote for the meteor; after all, it did more for American politics than Obama ever could.

But since that’s not going to happen, we’ll discuss some actualities. In what appears to be a race to the bottom for Santorum and Romneybot, both are counting on victories in Ohio to propel them to the depths; Ohio is the necessary morale booster for either candidate. Hence all the campaigning and vague talk about “manufacturing”:

At a metal works in Canton and a welding factory in Youngstown, in mailboxes and on the radio, Mr. Romney’s intense focus on these Republican-leaning voters was in evidence on Monday as he made his closing appeal in Ohio – if not as an everyman, then at least as a chief executive who knows how to generate blue-collar jobs and get factories running again.

“Other people in this race have debated about the economy, they’ve read about the economy, they’ve talked about it in subcommittee meetings, but I’ve actually been in it,” Mr. Romney told workers at a guardrail factory in Canton, where he walked among huge coils of steel. “I understand what it takes to get business successful, and to thrive.”

Yes, a predatory venture capital firm is exactly like a factory; really, the douchebags I see outside of Bain’s headquarters at lunch are virtually indistinguishable from the chumps who make sprockets in Bumfuck, Ohio!

Also, there’s no such thing as “the” economy; there are a multiplicity of interrelated economies. When I sell my bike to some hippie, that’s an economy. We’re all in the Goddamn economy, Mittensus. So shut the fuck up.

Santorum, however, was not to be outdone on the pandering front:

Mr. Santorum, who has mixed his faith-based appeal with a workingman’s sensibility born of his Pennsylvania coal and steel country roots, was not about to cede that ground.

At Dayton Christian School in Miamisburg on Monday, he urged a capacity crowd to vote for “a guy who grew up in a steel town in western Pennsylvania who no one gave any chance to be standing here in Ohio in March, because he went out and believed in free people” and in “building a stronger economy based on manufacturing.”

Yes, Rickspittle–your White Christianness and upbringing near some people who worked really hard definitely qualifies you to be president. I grew up in a small farming town; I didn’t farm, but there were some nearby. Thus, I’m not only qualified to talk about farming, but I could also be president! Isn’t democracy grand?

Whether this nonstop blue-collar asslicking will prove fruitful remains to be seen; if the past is any indicator, it probably will. Desperate people are often swindled with vague promises, and in this Republican field, vague promises are seemingly the only mode of discourse available.

But before you vote, blue-collar Super Tuesdayans, just consider this: are you willing to work for $17 a day, where a day lasts 14 hours? No? Then kiss that manufacturing bullshit goodbye.

Also, vote for Ron Paul Kenobi–I’d love to see Emperor Muslimtine crush him beneath his Imperial loafers.

Give it Up, Jackass: The Ladies Don’t Want to See Your A La Souvarov

Well, it looks like that month you spent growing a beard to impress the ladies (and your Williamsburg bicycle club) was for naught: turns out ladies are completely skeeved by beards. That’s right, hippie, your beard is off-putting. Yet many men still decided to deck their chin with a tuft of hair; explanations abound:

Science gives us various theories as to why men are able to grow beards, from protecting the delicate facial skin from sunlight to buffering blows to the jaw in a fight.

It is even suggested that a beard is a sign of a strong immune system. The theory goes that disease-carrying parasites thrive in body hair and so if a man can sport a beard without getting ill, he must be extra healthy.

Women are supposed to be drawn to strong, healthy men but previous research into whether beards are attractive has produced mixed results, so scientists from New Zealand and Canada decided to conduct their own research.

The study photographed 19 men with full beards (six weeks of solid growth), and photographed them while they made angry faces. The men then shaved and were photographed again; afterwards, scientists showed the before and after photos to a bevy of beauties who then rated the shaved men as more attractive.

Interestingly, the study, when conducted on men, seems to show that men prefer other men with beards; having a beard seems to confer a level of status upon a man. Women, too, rated the bearded men as having more presence, presumably because they were simultaneously afraid and excited by the angry, hairy visages.

While the study has a long way to go in establishing any sort of correlation, it would seem that the early results are in: dudes love other dudes with beards, and ladies prefer a clean shaven man. Or near to clean shaven; as one scientist who commented on the trend that women love a 5 o’clock shadow said, “It was almost as if women preferred a man who could grow a beard but hadn’t.”

The layers of meaning in that single bit of analysis beautifully sum up modern relationships.

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