Why Donald Trump's pick for secretary of labor should probably stick to making burgers.

In a characteristically Trumpy move, Donald Trump has nominated Andrew Puzder, CEO of fast-food chains Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, to be secretary of labor.

Andrew Puzder! Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Of the United States of America, that is.  


As someone who has written extensively about the intersection of burgers and public policy, this naturally seemed like an exciting move to me — at first. The genius responsible for bringing us the Southwest Patty Melt helming the government department tasked with regulating interactions between unions and management in the workplace? How could that possibly not work out in everyone's best interest?

Then I started digging into his record, and, like much of the rest of the world, reached an inescapable conclusion: Puzder is really, really good at his primary job — making delicious, ludicrous stacks of grilled meat.

It's a job he should probably stick to instead of trying to run the government agency tasked with sticking up for America's fry cooks, teachers, steelworkers, and cashiers, which he is ridiculously unqualified to do.

Puzder does have more experience than 99.9% of Americans at selling otherworldly beef sandwiches.

Here's a taste of just how good he is at that particular job:

Carl's Jr. is the "Batman Begins" to In-N-Out's "Dark Knight" — not quite as mind-blowing, but also the one your West Coast friends are slightly less annoying about — if only because Hardee's, which is the same, exists back East. But — to give Puzder the credit he's due — that doesn't mean it doesn't serve a damn good burger. Far from it.

The main draw? Carl's Jr.'s burgers are gigantic. Indeed, the chain's signature offering is the Thickburger — for those who prefer their meat sandwiches turgid and rock-hard.

Innuendo aside, the burger really is thick and has lots of cheese and unidentifiable fatty sauce on it, and you should go eat it right now. It's that good.

Oh YES. Photo by Paul Harrison/Flickr.

Carl's Jr.'s less intimidating offerings are almost as worth it, too. The California Classic Double Cheeseburger is a pretty decent imitation of In-N-Out's Double Double, and the Super Star with Cheese is also two burgers on one bun, and hey, two burgers!

Also Carl's Jr. has some salads. Just thought you should know.

Delicious though those burgers may be, here's why Puzder's experience — shockingly — doesn't really translate into his new government position.

This staid gentleman is a women-in-bikinis-eating-burgers stan. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Would that the secretary of labor's sole job was to run the White House grill.

As it turns out, however, the primary function of the position is mediating conflicts between businesses and workers. With the Commerce and Treasury departments already on hand to look out for business, the Labor Department is generally understood to be an advocate for ... well, labor.

From his record, it certainly looks like Puzder doesn't really like workers all that much — at least, not human ones.

The evidence? His desire to replace as many as possible with machines.

Future job applicants. Photo by Kai Schreiber/Flickr.

"[Machines] are always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case," Puzder said in a March interview with Business Insider, referring to the totally irritating problem of employees suffering debilitating injuries, taking time off to see their families, or having to deal with abusive coworkers through official channels. (Being a CEO is rough!)

For the humans Puzder does employ, he's on record as adamantly opposed to raising their wages — a position he hasn't exactly tried to hide, what with the numerous public statements and op-eds he's written to that effect, not to mention his decision to serve on the board of an organization dedicated to never ever doing so.

To Puzder's credit, he frames this (kinda-sorta) as coming from a place of concern for his employees' well-being, albeit bluntly, asking: "Does it really help if Sally makes $3 more an hour if Suzie has no job?"

There's certainly a case to be made against a $15 minimum wage. There's evidence it helps workers in some places like Seattle and evidence it doesn't in others like upstate New York. But for Puzder to claim that he's solely at the mercy of oppressive market forces and, as CEO, has no agency in deciding how many people he employs at what rate is a little ridiculous. Sorry, Sally! Guess we fired you and replaced you with a kiosk. How did that happen? Please see the Invisible Hand — he'll be guiding your exit interview.

Puzder's companies are also notorious for ads that feature women and burgers in which both are granted a roughly equal level of humanity.

Highlights include this Super Bowl ad from 2015, which features model Charlotte McKinney striding through a farmers market boobs-first while the male vegetable hawkers stare slobberingly after her, presumably hoping to get her attention so they can remind her to buy the artichokes that were on her list..

Carl's Jr.'s Super Bowl 2015 ad features this totally common, everyday scene. Photo via Charlotte McKinney/YouTube.

"I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American," Puzder told Entrepreneur in 2015.

And yes, eating a burger in a bikini is a good idea! Burgers are sloppy, and in a bikini, there's less fabric to stain with chipotle mayo. But Puzder seems to be getting at, well, something else here — referring to Carl's Jr. as a brand for "young hungry guys," something normal people totally say that doesn't at all make you wonder what they think about when they masturbate.

As for how Puzder thinks of advertising for women? Well, they can "date" those "hungry guys," who, presumably, fantasize about finally locking down a hot girlfriend to melt cheese on.

This weirdness would all be pretty funny if Puzder hadn't been accused of abusing his ex-wife in filings from his 1989 divorce. But taken together, it all stacks up in a rather alarming way.

Like most people on Earth, Puzder isn't all bad news.

A more appropriate workplace. Photo by Griffin5/Wikimedia Commons.

He does support immigration reform and genuinely seems to care about the well-being of his company and his shareholders. But in general, his distrust of modest regulation and higher wages and his dismissal of workers' right to work make him a pretty absurd fit for a job designed to safeguard those very important things.

He is, however, the perfect guy to continue focusing his full-time energy on delivering massive, carb-laden sodium bricks into our national gut.

So do America a solid. Call your senator and urge them to compel Puzder to stick to his day job.

The country — and your stomach — will be better for it.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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