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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.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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