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Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar (a.k.a. Romneybot) has always had difficulties connecting with the common man. There’s his unfortunate “Nascar” gaffe, his claim that his wife drives more than one Cadillac, his apathy toward the poor, or perhaps best of all, his assertion that $374,000 is not a lot of cash. Oh, there’s also the whole dressage thing.

But thankfully for Mittensus, his recent “Tour de Poor” has helped his stilted, awkward, and assholish speaking style:

The Mr. Romney who emerged over this recent tour still came across as goofily old-fashioned, but he was also more polished on the stump, able to improvise and riff and better handle the surprises that naturally accompany a rambling motorcade through the heartland.

Yes, all you need to do is practice being around poor people and you’ll eventually learn how to charm them. His performance during this tour, however, is a damn sight better than his performance during the primaries, where “he delighted his traveling press corps by guessing voters’ ages and ethnicities (often incorrectly) and [proved] himself a gaffe-prone jokester.”

“You there, the fellow in brown–oh, wait, that’s your skin! Ha ha ha ha ha! Is your wife a Hottentot?”*

Alas, with his newly acquired skill of mimicking the conversations of the sweaty unwashed, he’ll surely gain ground among idiots who, despite common sense, will vote for a man that gives not a single zany fuck about them.

According to Mitt Romney’s website, this is what you can expect from a Romney presidency:

  • A bloated defense budget that relies on an outmoded idea about how modern warfare is conducted (unless we’re fighting a time-traveling British Navy, I doubt we need a bunch of new warships), coupled with the ridiculous idea that more privatization will lead to greater efficiency. I encourage you to read this if you’re at all concerned.
  • An educational system that disenfranchises the poor, and lines the pockets of people already capable of paying for private school; moreover, vouchers use taxpayer dollars to directly subsidize religious education. I’m sure American students brought up to believe that Jesus rode a dinosaur and that cell biology is the Devil’s work will be super-competitive against Chinese students who are building quantum transistors by the 8th grade.**
  • A ridiculous tax code that favors rich assholes by reducing the corporate rate (which many corporations don’t pay anyway), switching to a territorial tax system (a lovely plan which allows billionaires to hide money offshore–just like Romney!), and maintaining the insanely low tax rate for capital gains and dividends.
  • Also, an anti-state’s rights gun policy! A borderline (pun!) racist immigration policy! Anti-state’s rights marriage policies! An idiotic stance on stem cell research! And, you guessed it, an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade!

*This exchange may not have taken place.
**You can’t prove it didn’t happen!

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Fatty, Fatty, Two-By-Four, Got a Job and Gained Some More

Bad news, everyone–it turns out that employment will make you fat. In what must surely be the most causally determinative and well-respected study of all time, researchers found that your job is responsible for that button-strain you now feel. According to the Boston Business Journal, “Around 44 percent of workers say they’ve put on pounds at their current job, with 26 percent saying they’ve gained more than 10 pounds, per the report.”

Naturally, some jobs are worse for you than others:

The jobs where people are most likely to gain weight include: travel agent; attorney; social worker; teacher; doctor and public relations professional. The job descriptions weren’t ranked, but were grouped by their potential for causing weight gain.

Seemingly, it’s the combination of sedentary work conditions and a high-stress environment that provide the conditions for eating Italian subs every day for lunch. Notably, the study does not comment on the deliciousness of Italian subs or your weak will; hopefully, further research is forthcoming.

In other news, I now want an Italian sub.

So You’re Going to Go to Law School

Um, what the hell is wrong with you? You’re seriously going to go to law school? Seriously?! Even after reading this? Or this? What about this, or perhaps this? Jesus, you can’t be reasoned with. At the very least, consider the following:

1. You will pay an exorbitant amount of tuition.

Tuition has been rising by about 5%-10% per year for the last four years, and is up 71% from a decade ago. But this won’t deter you, because you’re an idiot, and you believe you’ll land one of those coveted BigLaw positions. Except for the simple fact that you won’t.

2. You will not get a job as a lawyer.

That’s right, genius–there are 45,000 graduates competing for 28,000 legal jobs. And you know what counts as a job? Doc review that pays $10 bucks an hour. Or better yet, a full-time associate position that pays less than minimum wage! Not to mention that schools count jobs at Starbucks in their employment statistics, and that this is the reason they’re being sued by former students.

3. If you do get a job as a lawyer, you will not be paid well.

Were you under the impression that lawyers made decent money? How is it possible that you even graduated? Oh, that’s right–you went to Cooley. Even if you do get a legal job, the salaries are shrinking; top salaries are down 10%, and fewer students are getting BigLaw positions–only 18% of graduates are employed by the largest firms. And they probably didn’t go to the shitty school that you’re about to attend. Best of all, your lousy salary will likely make it impossible for you to pay off your student loan debt, which now averages at about $91,000 dollars.

4. Your law school might not be accredited by the ABA.

So, after getting 500 emails a day from California Online School of Lawtalking and Legal Styling, you finally made the plunge. On the bright side, your tuition might be a little lower than Stanford’s (as if you were going to Stanford!). But on the less bright side (the shady side, if you will), your school is not accredited by the ABA, and so you can’t sit for the bar exams anywhere but California. And since California’s bar is notoriously difficult, you probably won’t pass it (because you went to a shitty online school), thus making it really hard to pay back the money you owe. Not that you would have gotten a job anyway.

DON’T GO TO LAW SCHOOL!!!

“The Banning of Foie McGras”

I will begin by saying that I am heavily biased on the matter of foie gras; I love the stuff, and I find attempts to ban it to be offensive and idiotic. If you don’t want to eat it, don’t fucking eat it; if you try to stop me from eating it, I will slap your grandmother.

Sadly, California just doesn’t seem to value their grandmothers enough to avoid my wrath, and soon enough a full ban will take effect:

July 1 is the start date of the hotly debated and divisive ban, which prohibits the sale of any product derived from the force-feeding of birds to enlarge their livers — the most common way to mass-produce foie gras. (The law was passed in 2004, but included a seven-and-a-half-year grace period.)

Naturally, both chefs and lovers of delicious food are outraged; culinary hero Thomas Keller and other luminaries are currently attempting to repeal the ban while their customers enjoy Romanesque orgies of fattened goose and duck liver (duck liver being the more common form) for what could possibly be the last time in California.

Perhaps the saddest thing about the ban is the rather nutless logic that underlies it, artfully crafted by a man who I strongly suspect of fiercely masturbating to movies like Hostel:

John Burton, the former California legislator who drafted the law, has shot back at the chefs, likening the tradition of foie gras (which dates back centuries) to waterboarding and female genital mutilation.

“Why don’t you tell those chefs to have a duck cram a lot of food down their gullets and see how they like it?” he asked.

Yes, fattening a goose’s liver is exactly like having several adults hold down a screaming pre-teen girl while her aunt takes glass from a broken bottle and carves off a piece of her anatomy. And it’s definitely like simulated drowning to extract information:

“Tell me what you know, you goose bastard!”

“Quuuuaaaaaccccckkkkkkkgargleegarglescream!”

Thankfully, there are those that see the inherent flaw in this argument: geese are not people, Goddamnit!

David Kinch, the acclaimed chef at Manresa in Los Gatos, Calif., who opposes the ban, said part of the problem with the ban’s logic was that its supporters had mistakenly anthropomorphized the ducks’ experience of being force fed. “They imagine a tube being shoved down their human throat,” he said. Rather, he said, ducks have no gag reflex, nor are geese as cuddly as they appear.

Indeed, it’s rather unlikely that a goose or duck will break into song and dance its way around the barnyard while a candlestick plays the fiddle.

However, allowing for a moment the ethical objection to the production of foie gras, it’s worth pointing out what many other critics point out–that factory farming, which is far more ubiquitous in America than foie gras production, is much more harmful to the environment and moreover to food. But, as Michael Pollan rather sensibly noted, “I think it’s really a way for people to feel like they’ve done something without doing anything…there’s so many more serious problems we’re not dealing with.” Thus it becomes a matter of missing the ethical forest for the twee moral tree; that is to say, your stupid ideology is showing.

But really, why bother fixing your fucked university system when you can shit on people for eating delicious food?

Education News A-Go-Go!

Boy, I knew that subscription to the New York Times would pay off! Just today there were forty seven billion articles about education, ranging from disturbing to so nihilistically stupid that the abyss will, instead of looking into you, cover its eyes because it’s so embarrassed. First up:

Public Higher Education in California is Fucked:

Despite rising student attendance and years of budget attrition the university system will likely be forced to cut services even further if a proposed tax increase fails to gain approval. Even soaking out-of-state students with further tuition hikes and lowering academic standards (not enough TA’s to grad papers!) won’t solve the problems created by too many philosophy and women’s studies departments; according to John Coupal, the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Californians “had the luxury in prior years of heavily subsidizing colleges…but like anything in California, the delivery of higher education is not performance based. They’ve created new campuses and programs based on politics and not need.”

When will those damn women’s studies majors learn to stop reading Judith Butler and start creating tech ventures?!!

College Administrators Have Agreed to Stop Being so Goddamn Shady About Financial Aid:

Yes, it’s true–college and university presidents have agreed to meet at the White House to discuss reforms in the ways student loan information is parsed to students; now, students will be provided a “shopping sheet” that provides the necessary information to make an informed decision, rather than the usual documents which obfuscate and cause terrible debt. I know what you’re thinking: how is capitalism supposed to work if the consumer has access to accurate information? This is America, dammit! Go back to China with your “shopping sheets”! And while you’re there, make sure to hand out some applications to American universities (and loan paperwork).

Ignore Anyone Who Tells You that Rankings Don’t Matter:

If you attended the New York Times “College Life Fair” in Chicago, it’s possible that you received some idiotic advice about choosing a college based on rankings; if you did, I can say (with furious conviction) that the morons who told you to ignore rankings ought to be flogged:

The No. 1 rule in the college admissions process: “Ignore the rankings.” This is according to Dave Marcus, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right College — and Find Themselves.”

Jed Hoyer would likely agree. He began his professional life as an admissions officer at Wesleyan University. He said he decided to attend Wesleyan on instinct, and advises students to trust their gut. He said he tries to do the same in his current position: as the executive vice president and general manager of the Chicago Cubs.

This advice is patently absurd; and moreover, anyone who went to a highly ranked school like Wesleyan (as well as an elite prep school) and is now singing the praises of “ignoring the rankings” is attempting to screw you. Rankings matter; do you honestly believe that your Pine Manor B.A. is going to get you in the door over a Harvard grad? What’s that? You’ve never heard of Pine Manor? Neither has anyone else. So go to the ranked school, fuckwit.

Also, if you had to attend a college fair to learn that you should have good grades to go to a good college, and that your personal essay should be free of typos, then you are a complete dipshit who should not be attending college anyway.

So You’re Going to Go to a For-Profit College

Well, right off the bat I should let you know that you’re a fucking idiot, and that because you’re a fucking idiot, you’re unlikely to understand the gist of what’s to follow. Therefore, I suggest that you find someone who did not waste their time, energy, and money on a degree from a for-profit college or university to explain this to you. You might try looking at places where people are employed. You know, a “job,” that thing you don’t have because you went to ITT. I’m just kidding, no one has a job! But there’s probably a smart homeless guy in the library where you’re reading this; maybe he’ll help you out. Just let him finish wanking to vintage copies of National Geographic first.

1. It’s unlikely that you’ll graduate.

Yes, the degree in “Information Systems and Cybersecurity” that you covet so much will probably never be conferred, though you will be forced to repay the $150,000 it cost to find out you couldn’t even make your way through a lackluster for-profit curriculum. What little information exists on graduation rates points to the likelihood that you’re on the hook for a ton of cash, and you possess nothing but non-transferable credits.

2. Even if you manage to graduate, you’ll never earn enough to repay your loans.

Hooray, you finished! Your diploma says B.B.A. and now you’re ready to tackle the job market in Milwaukee. But wait, you’re going to love this–even if you manage to find a job, it’s unlikely you’ll earn enough to pay back the monstrous amount you borrowed to finance your degree. Meanwhile, the guys who went to UW Milwaukee (and paid about $30K less than you) are going on their fifth weekend trip to Chicago this year! With Russian strippers! Too bad you had to take that second job; Bob from sales said Svetlana really liked you!

3. You’re supporting organizations that rip off veterans.

That’s right, your unfinished degree in “Video Game Design” says that you hate the troops. And do you know what people do to guys who hate the troops? That shit ain’t pretty. For-profit colleges have recently come under scrutiny for abusing the benefits that veterans earn for their service. Private services called “lead generators” flood veterans with calls and collect information which they then sell to for-profit colleges. Then, the for-profit colleges entice the veterans with a flashy sales pitch and reap the reward of a fat, government-funded payday. I hope you feel good about yourself, asshole.

4. You’re ruining education in America.

As if your casual disregard for the welfare of veterans wasn’t enough, your blindly stupid channeling of federal dollars into organizations that give little to nothing back to the American public is ruining education for the rest of us. Why? Because while community colleges (and their portable credits) are cutting services and raising tuition, these bloated diploma-mills are siphoning off the sweet loan milk from the government’s bloated teat.

5. In addition to ruining education in America, you’re adding evidence to the argument that every consumer in this country is a hapless turd, unable to find useful information or conduct reasoned analysis.

You see, if you were able to conduct research, you would have realized that you probably live in a state, and the state where you live probably has a university system, and that university system confers degrees in every area that a for-profit college does, and does so at a FUCKING FRACTION OF THE PRICE YOU GODDAMNED WITLESS PIECE OF GARBAGE. Let’s go back to the Milwaukee example. It took me roughly 5 minutes to find out that if you attend one of the ITTs in Milwaukee and earn a B.B.A. it will cost you over $30K more than if you attended the University of Milwaukee. And do you know what? If you actually manage to finish, the person hiring you will probably be an alum of UW Milwaukee! And they’ll think to themselves “what the fuck is wrong with this asshole? How could I possibly trust someone so fucking stupid with any aspect of my business” And they’ll be dead fucking right.

Robert: “Hi, Ned–I Sure Could Use Your Help Rebelling Against the Mad King. How About it?” Accept?

That’s right, folks–Game of Thrones is coming to Facebook. Game design firm Disruptor Beam recently announced it had a license to develop a game for Facebook based on A Game of Thrones:

In Game of Thrones Ascent players will lead the life of a noble during the time of upheaval as portrayed in the books and the series thus experiencing a new type of game that unites both story and strategy. Players will claim their birthright by choosing which of the great houses they’ll swear allegiance to, securing their holdings, developing their lands and personal reputation, and assigning sworn swords to quests–while forging alliances with new friends and much more!

Better still, Disruptor Beam is accepting registrations for the beta version! So get out there and bolster your stores, because winter is coming, and you can’t always rely on your stingy Facebook friends to gift you wheat.

According to David Brooks, Romneybot is More Like Edward and Less Like Dracula

Once again, that bloated sack of Burkean bon mots has come out swinging against those who would seek to defile the good name of private equity:

Forty years ago, corporate America was bloated, sluggish and losing ground to competitors in Japan and beyond. But then something astonishing happened. Financiers, private equity firms and bare-knuckled corporate executives initiated a series of reforms and transformations.

The process was brutal and involved streamlining and layoffs. But, at the end of it, American businesses emerged leaner, quicker and more efficient.

Apparently the last forty years of American capitalism was like a season of The Biggest Loser; muscular capitalists yelled at weak and flabby businesses and eventually turned the American economy into something you wouldn’t be ashamed to bang.

But those damned Democrats just released an ad besmirching the reputation of Bain Capital (they weren’t founded by the Batman villain, in case you’re curious) by calling into question their handling of GST, a failing metalworks:

The company was in terminal decline before Bain entered the picture, seeing its work force fall from 4,500 to less than 1,000. It faced closure when Romney and Bain, for some reason, saw hope for it in 1993. Bain acquired it, induced banks to loan it money and poured $100 million into modernization, according to Strassel. Bain held onto the company for eight years, hardly the pattern of a looter. Finally, after all the effort, the company, like many other old-line steel companies, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, two years after Romney had left Bain.

This is the story of a failed rescue, not vampire capitalism.

You see, Democrats? Bain is more charity than anything else; besides, Romneybot left the Bain heezy before GST crashed and burned! And he probably had no effect on policy, so as soon as he left, Bain was like, “who the fuck was that guy”? This is some solid-ass logic, Brooks.

Of course, Brooks can’t write a column without shifting from the concrete to the abstract, or without mentioning a fancy study conducted by someone in the Ivy League; therefore, we have this half-assed justification for private equity:

This process involves a great deal of churn and creative destruction. It does not, on net, lead to fewer jobs. A giant study by economists from the University of Chicago, Harvard, the University of Maryland and the Census Bureau found that when private equity firms acquire a company, jobs are lost in old operations. Jobs are created in new, promising operations. The overall effect on employment is modest.

Hey, if a guy from the University of Chicago said that the throbbing knob of venture capitalism and private equity is a good thing for America’s middle-class, unlubricated anus, then it must be! Because that school has no history of capitalist stoogery.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this essay is the way that it elides several key points. For instance, what does the study classify as a “modest” effect on employment? Is 25% modest? Or perhaps 30%? I do not consider the absence of 30% of a company’s labor force to be modest, especially when you consider that 30% as a contributor to the local economy. Here’s another gem:

Most of the time they succeed. Research from around the world clearly confirms that companies that have been acquired by private equity firms are more productive than comparable firms.

What is the precise number for “most of the time”? Did Brooks say “most” because 51% isn’t the hotness? You know, now that I think about it, that quote is an excellent summation of Brooks’s writing for the Times:

Most of the time he succeeds. Readers from around the world clearly confirm that conservative essayists for the New York Times that are named David Brooks are more productive than comparable essayists.

Also, Team Bain for the win!

So You’re Going to Be Arrested at a Protest

First of all, shame on you: protesting is un-American. Unless it’s the kind of protesting that involves yelling about runaway government spending while you’re seated comfortably in a Rascal scooter purchased with some of that sweet Medicare cash. But since you’re determined to be a hippie about it, here’s some advice for staying out of trouble once the heroes in blue decide to arrest your stinky, anarchist ass:

1. Be polite.

This would be obvious to any protestor who was at a legitimate protest (you know, one where you compare the president to a monkey or a terrorist or something), but since you’re some kind of Goddamn socialist, I’m forced to remind you that saying “Please” before “don’t taze me, bro,” is the best way to approach your situation. As is saying “Thank You” after you’re boot-stomped for trying to push your girlfriend out of the way of a swinging truncheon.

2. Shut your damn mouth.

Our heroes in blue don’t want to hear about the metal plate in your skull that you got while you were serving your fourth tour in Afghanistan. The only talk from you should be the aforementioned niceties, or perhaps an offer to narc on your hippie buddies.

3. Remember that you’re not the only one in trouble.

That’s right, asshole: your dipshit politics have gotten your nice little friends police records. Was making some sort of point about a banker’s well-deserved salary really worth the price of seeing your little brother get curb-stomped by a hero in blue? Maybe you should give up some info before anyone else gets hurt–didn’t you get a falafel from an Arab guy earlier? What’s his story?

4. Don’t throw shit at the police.

And don’t stand next to the people throwing shit. In fact, why don’t you just stand across the street at the Dunkin’ Donuts? Just get a cherry blossom donut and forget all about the oligarchy that America has become.

5. Make friends quickly.

If you end up in jail, make friends quickly. Then offer to rat them out. You’re doing the right thing, son.

David Brooks Would Like Obama to Top Paul Ryan With Something Big

David Brooks, keeper of Burke’s reanimated corpse and devotee of madcap monarchism, is disappointed in Obama:

President Obama is an intelligent, judicious man who can see all sides of an issue. But every once in a while he tries to get politically cute, and he puts on his Keith Olbermann mask.

I suppose it’s to his credit that he’s most inept when he tries to take the low road. He resorts to hoary, brain-dead clichés. He wanders so far from his true nature that he makes Mitt Romney look like Mr. Authenticity.

That’s pretty much what happened this week in Obama’s speech before a group of newspaper editors. Obama’s target in this speech was Representative Paul Ryan’s budget.

Yes, the one time that Obama indulges in the rhetorical flourishes that commonly seep from the hemorrhoidic buttocks of the Republitards he is decidedly worse than Gaius Julius Mittensus Caesar, Emperor of Romneyland and Bearer of the Gold Standard of American Meritocratic Failure. Worse still, his target was Paul Ryan, the handsome little man with the big fat plan!

But before Brooks delves too deep into the pit of right-wing ideological adulation, he wants to remind us of his philosophical centrism:

It should be said at the outset that the Ryan budget has some disturbing weaknesses, which Democrats are right to identify. The Ryan budget would cut too deeply into discretionary spending. This could lead to self-destructive cuts in scientific research, health care for poor kids and programs that boost social mobility. Moreover, the Ryan tax ideas are too regressive. They make tax cuts for the rich explicit while they hide any painful loophole closings that might hurt Republican donors.

You see, don’t you?! Brooks acknowledges the difficulties with Ryan’s plan! He’s a true philosopher! Sadly, though the difficulties that he outlines are actually quite convincing, he betrays his argument and goes on to prop up Obama’s reasonable whinging as a dancing straw man (if he only had a brain!):

But these legitimate criticisms and Obama’s modest but real deficit-reducing accomplishments got buried under an avalanche of distortion. The Republicans have been embarrassing themselves all primary season. It’s as if Obama wanted to sink to their level in a single hour.

Again, Brooks equates Obama’s rightly spoken criticisms with the entire Republitard campaign’s rhetorical fracas. So not only does Brooks cast a straw man in his Théâtre de l’Absurde, but he proceeds to light it on fire! Zut alors! Brooks also found Obama’s “tone” to be unacceptable, as well as his use of 80s liberal clichés (paging Ronald Reagan, would Ronald Reagan please report to EVERY FUCKING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE’S STUMP). He then reminds us, in true Brooksian fashion, of his familiarity with the Great Books curriculum:

Social Darwinism, by the way, was a 19th-century philosophy that held, in part, that Aryans and Northern Europeans are racially superior to brown and Mediterranean peoples.

And for those of you following along on your “How to Write an Essay By David Brooks” rubric, now comes the moment when Brooks cites studies to demonstrate his wonkishness and objectivity:

There are, indeed, real differences, but in the short term they are not a chasm. In 2013, according to Veronique de Rugy of George Mason University, the Ryan budget would be about 5 percent smaller than the Obama budget, and it would grow a percent or two more slowly each year. After 10 years, government would be smaller under Ryan, but, as Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute complains, it would still take up a larger share of national output than when Bill Clinton left office.

If only Obama had cited the Cato Institute he wouldn’t have lost all his credibility.

But Brooks isn’t done with Obama yet, because Obama had the temerity to assault Ryan’s asinine Medicare revamp (you know, the one that’s a giant giveaway to the insurance industry, and will likely lead to poor old bastards dying on the street or in their shabby trailers—but fuck them, right? Hahahaha!).

Obama claimed that Ryan’s plan “will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.” Which seems accurate, as that is the ostensible goal of the reform: ending the bloated entitlements and denying the fat coverage that’s bankrupting the nation. But alas, Brooks doesn’t care for that phrasing, most likely because it accurately reflects the plan’s intentions, and so he reminds us that such claims were voted on by the Internetz and were deemed false.

For Brooks, Obama’s rhetoric is a symptom of the pervasive disease: Democrats refuse to do the things that Republicans want them to do without complaining about it. However, it seems as though Brooks’ outrage is the outrage of an assclown; that is to say, he takes Obama to task for something that every Republican has been doing since the beginning of the primaries. According to Brooks, “Obama shouldn’t be sniping at Ryan. He should be topping him with something bigger and better.”

“He should be topping him with something bigger and better…” I see now that I’ve completely misunderstood this piece! Clearly we’ve merely wandered into one of Brooks’ sexual fantasies. Sorry, Dave! But maybe next time leave a fucking tie on the door or something!

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