Louisiana deserves an insanely right-wing adult baby as its governor. It’ll be an improvement over the exorcist guy, but not quite as good as whatever member of the entirely consistent corporate whore family runs against him.
Louisiana deserves an insanely right-wing adult baby as its governor. It’ll be an improvement over the exorcist guy, but not quite as good as whatever member of the entirely consistent corporate whore family runs against him.
Two interesting articles came out over the long weekend that at least tangentially touched on the never-ending question about the political future and present ideology of us- the beleaguered millennial generation. Kudos to both in avoiding merely slapping a still from “Girls” on the post and then listing a few cliched tropes about iPhones (looking at you David Brooks). However I think that even taking both posts together presents an incomplete picture about where folks like myself will be devoting our energy in the coming years.
First of all Salon needs to hire a better headline writer as this lengthy article has none of the juicy calls for generational warfare that I desire before my 2nd cup of coffee hits in the morning. Rather it’s a long, boring piece that eventually crescendos in a thesis of “man we should get organized or something”, instead of a perhaps more useful examination of what will be necessary to diminish and isolate the generational alliances that have lead to the unnecessary suffering of contemporary young adults (for example; STEP 1: SET FIRE TO WHEREVER THE BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS HANG OUT).
But why should we forsake the rule of our elders? Well Conor Kilpatrick has beaten this issue to death (in a good way). However it’s the New Republic essay on the Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald/Julian Assange triumvirate of derp that explicitly lays out what folks on the left like me have been saying for years about trusting the intentions of our white-boy techie saviors. These are folks with the self-righteous anger that attract leftists to their cause, which can be a good thing in the abstract. However they also either lack even the well-documented myopia of the hippies towards the impact of their actions (which is especially true with Snowden who was famously “not ready” to be the public figure he now is) OR they are entirely cognizant of what they are doing and have consciously chosen to guide leftists into embracing Gilded Age/Lochner Era ideas of privacy and “economic freedom” (COUGH COUGH GREENWALD AND CATO).
Call me cynical, but all I’m realizing in reading the tea leaves of either Gen-X or the Boomers is a continuation of the well-honed American tradition of pulling up the ladder as the proceed in life. I don’t really see much of a reason to placate to either of these groups more than is necessary to get them to show up on election day and vote with the Democrats we chose to represent the party.
We are now a year removed from Newtown, an act of mass murder that should have provoked enough disgust and terror to change this country for the better. However today it is obvious that brutal deaths of those children and teachers will instead be just another chapter into the expanding wikipedia page on gun violence in America. We should be ashamed.
I am an agnostic but someone who desperately wants to believe in an afterlife. Why? Well one reason is that I want some justice to be visited upon the purely evil sons-of-bitches in the NRA leadership. These folks disguise their role in designing a public policy platform to subsidize the weapons industry under the kevlar reinforced flag of white resentment and fear (then have the gall to call their celebration of wrath “patriotism”).
If we accept “the way things are” and are not revolted that a business group can profit off the deaths of first graders by defaming legitimate attempts to maintain a peaceful society, there is simply no hope for us. If we accept this batshit insane interpretation of the 2nd Amendment where the right to life is secondary to the right for insecure white men to carry larger and more powerful steel penis extenders, we are on a clear path towards societal disintegration. If we accept the idea that the only solution to complex problems of policy is individual deterrence through universal possession of these sadistic instruments of death, we have learned nothing from the last century of war.
God help us, and fuck the NRA in perpetuity.
Almost ten years ago I received a thick blue envelope from Brandeis University signifying that my underachieving high school ass had by some miracle (cough cough LEGACY) been admitted to the Class of 2008. Brandeis was my first choice, and I would be the third member of my family to go to the school. To say that I throughly enjoy my four years there would be an understatement. Between meeting my best friends, having my entire social consciousness overhauled, and trolling Alan Dershowitz, it is fair to say that I received my money’s worth.
My pride for the school persisted beyond Waltham as well. During my term abroad in Dakar, Senegal, people stopped me when I wore my Brandeis t-shirt to tell me about the great programs that they had for international students. After I graduated four more members of my family enrolled in the school, including two current juniors. My wedding in 2010 was almost entirely made up of Brandeis grads (which made for an awkward scene at communion in the Episcopal church).
But while I love my alma mater, there was something amiss in the institution, or more precisely someone. Then President Jehuda Reinharz was a persistently awful manager and human being during my tenure at Brandeis, so much so that I vowed never to give any money to the school until he was fired. His sins included (to name a few)
When he stepped down in 2010 I conceivably could have resumed donating, if not for my rather glaring lack of money. Today I’m glad I didn’t. As it turns out ye olde Jehuda is still collecting checks so big that would make Jimmy Swaggart feel guilty;
When Brandeis University president Jehuda Reinharz stepped down three years ago, he moved back into his old faculty office.
But unlike most history professors, Reinharz does not teach any classes, supervise graduate students, or attend departmental meetings. He did not bother posing for the department photo. The chairwoman for Near Eastern and Judaic Studies said she did not even know whether he was officially a member of her department.
Yet Reinharz remains one of the highest paid people on campus.
He received more than $600,000 in salary and benefits in 2011, second only to the new Brandeis president, according to the school’s most recent public tax returns. And that’s on top of the $800,000 Reinharz earned in his new job as president of the Mandel Foundation, a longtime Brandeis benefactor.
“There is puzzlement from faculty about why he gets paid at all” by Brandeis, said Gordon Fellman, a sociology professor at Brandeis. “His term as president ended.”
Good fucking question Gordy.
For some context Reinharz first got into some trouble NOT for his persistent disregard for student life and blatant hatred for the faculty. Rather Jehuda’s fall from grace began in 2009 when his “prolific fundraising” career of “asking the same two Bernie Maddoff victims for money” turned out to be terribly misguided. That then led to Reinharz’s brilliant idea of raising money by disposing the contents of the University’s Art Museum at the pawn shop, something that a) exposed Brandeis to massive civil liability from the art donors who gave the pieces in good faith, and b) made us a fucking laughingstock across the country. So needless to say that it was less then surprising when Reinharz decided it was time to end his career as President the next year.
But if anything about the lives of the rich, powerful, and stupid have taught us in the new millennium, it is that the 1% can only fail upwards:
Some Brandeis officials defend the deal with Reinharz, saying it was crucial to retain his expertise to help with the transition to a new president who had not previously worked at Brandeis. They also wanted his help to maintain relations with major donors.
“He knows how to raise money,” said Jack Connors, who was vice chairman of the board when it signed an agreement to keep paying Reinharz after he stepped down….
“I am compensated according to my accomplishments,” said Reinharz in an interview at his Brandeis office. “It’s the way America usually works.”
Goddamn right it is Jeuhda, man of the people. So what is it that you do exactly?
“I don’t punch a clock,” said Reinharz, adding that his main job is to help the 92-year-old chairman, Morton Mandel. “I work when my work is needed.”
Reinharz was equally noncommittal about how much time he devotes to Brandeis, where he mainly works as an adviser to president Frederick Lawrence and other staffers. “I’ve never worked at Brandeis by the hour,” he said. Lawrence “asks for advice. I give it. And I don’t look at my watch.”
However, Reinharz confirmed that he spent the entire first year of Lawrence’s presidency on sabbatical, when presumably his advice would have been needed the most.
Must be nice. How much are you making exactly through this “unprecedented” deal where you are “half time professor” and head of this Mandel Center thing where to talk with an old ass man all day?
He received more than $600,000 in salary and benefits in 2011, second only to the new Brandeis president, according to the school’s most recent public tax returns. And that’s on top of the $800,000 Reinharz earned in his new job as president of the Mandel Foundation, a longtime Brandeis benefactor….
The foundation, which pays for half of Reinharz’s office expenses, did not make it easy for the public to discover Reinharz’s pay, listing him as an unpaid board member on forms filed with the IRS, while staff said his compensation was confidential.But reports filed by three related Mandel family foundations suggest he earned a total of $800,000 in consulting fees in 2011, more than double what chief executives of similar-sized grantmaking organizations normally earn.
HOLY FUCK MAN. Well I guess living in Taxachusettes is pretty expensive all with the Romneycare and all. Your mortgage alone must be unbelievable right Jehuda?
The university also let him remain in the Brandeis president’s spacious home in Newton for six months after he stepped down.
And Reinharz could have earned even more if Brandeis had not clarified the agreement in 2012 to limit him to half time as president emeritus after 2011. Otherwise, Reinharz could have reported working full time in the position and collected $575,000 a year.
Well going to law school to balance my unpaid internships with $15 per hour jobs was obviously a big mistake on my part. I guess I should have followed the path of Reinharz and just followed my passion of grifting money from suckers and writing books about donkeys:
The one area where Reinharz was specific about how he spends his time was his own research, including a book he is co-writing on the history of the donkey in literature, arguing that the animal is often used as a substitute for people.
“There are smart donkeys, stupid donkeys, evil donkeys, etc., and no one has ever contemplated this on a large scale,” said Reinharz, who commissioned an artist to make a wood carving of a donkey that stands proudly on his desk. “It’s probably the most ambitious topic I have ever contemplated.”
That last sentence is entirely accurate.
In all seriousness this is downright disgusting. The official explanation that the school has issued since the release of this article is incomplete at best, if not deliberately obtuse. To say that Reinharz’s compensation package was justified due to the insanity of other institutions in granting these golden parachutes makes no sense. A tenured faculty member does have some leverage when they are asked to leave by the board- in that they can’t be entirely forced out of the institution. However nothing prevents the board from fulfilling their main fiduciary duty of care to the school when negotiating the salary and role of an ex-adminstrator who is returning to the faculty. To literally write a a blank check to the man who torpedoed the endowment of the school so he can satisfy his late in life donkey fetish demonstrates an amazing disregard for the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the university I love.
The alumni I know are beyond pissed off right now. If Jehuda was a lawyer who was provided this amount of money with only “services rendered” on the invoice he would be disbarred, and the board that hired him would be dismissed. Unless a full and detailed accounting of Reinharz’s duties, schedule, and expenses is released, this controversy should serve as sign to all future applicants to Brandeis that the institution is not to be trusted with their tuition.
Love it or hate it but running a campaign for a state or national office is an expensive affair now. Part of the immense (and exponentially growing) cost to candidates is devoted to covering opposition research. It is now a requirement for a functional political party that every significant (and even minor) opponent is throughly investigated. Voting records, personal problems, business deals, and embarrassing yearbook photos are all gathered en masse for use in the public relations war defines the modern election process. If you ever ran for elected office, somewhere in a basement your entire fucked up life in a detailed and well- organized binder.
Creating these binders is expensive and arduous as hell, especially when you consider that most of the information that is gathered remains secret forever. Despite the bullshit you might have heard about the “nastiness” of modern politics the truth is that very few campaigns have the gall to release the goriest details of their opponent’s life. The reasons for doing so are obvious. You never want to turn your opponents shameful secrets into an asset by making that malignant motherfucker look sympathetic. You also want to save that information if that piece of shit you are running against goes for a higher office later in his awful life. But frankly the chief reason that the “binder of doom” is never fully disclosed to the press is out of deterrence. The sooner you leak that your opponent is into scat porn the faster the media will find out about your candidate’s predilection for vacations with underage thai prostitutes.
I bring all this up because we as a nation are now in day four of the GOP’s latest idiotic attempt to destabilize the country because they lost a presidential election. Since the Republican fucked up the 2008 election, the ACA SCOTUS case, Issa’s various investigations, and the 2012 campaign they are going back to appendix of the Newt Gingrich playbook in order to score more points with their dwindling base. Fuck whatever noise you are hearing from television or newspapers, this shutdown is the desperate wet fart of a political party that long ago decided that the purpose of an elected official is to gain as much screen time as possible in order to secure a Wingnut Welfare® pension. Working on legislation is an annoyance for these folks.
So how do “we”- meaning folks who would like a functioning democracy instead of a country ruled by hayseed hate group rejects- combat the “suicide caucus?” These are folks who were re-elected by double-didgts margins of voters who have been spoon fed Fox News styled insanity for 30 years, and who have no real legislative accomplishments or priorities to speak of that can be leveraged against them. How do you reason with self-important psychopaths with nothing to lose?
You open those binders.
Most of the media is focused on comparing this current shut down to the 1995 Gingrich mess, but the parallels between this current miasma and the Clinton Impeachment are more helpful. Obama, like Clinton in 1998, does not have to worry about re-election, and thus is more concerned with securing his own accomplishments (i.e. the ACA) than demonstrating that he can play nice with the opposition party. The Republicans on the other hand are in a very similar position to Gingrich in ’98- almost universally despised having spent all their capital on idiotic and fruitless attempts to extort their way into relevance. Impeachment over a blowjob was literally the last thing the House Republicans had left in there arsenal of ratfuckerry.
As we know today the Lewinsky idiocy ended up being a massive embarrassment for the GOP, but what is lost in that narrative are the counter attacks leveled at the Republican House and Senate Leadership during that time. Larry Flynt for example devoted his plethora of cum-stained resources into publicly shaming the various sexual misdeeds of Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, and Bob Livingston. Henry Hyde’s nasty little affair was also exposed during this time along with the antics of Dan Burton’s crazy ass. This release of information not only exposed the hypocrisy of the Republican’s crusading against Clinton, but it also effectively neutralized desire of these very flawed men from pursuing this line of attack again.
The stakes of this current shutdown are potentially catastrophic for our economy and for the very future of our democracy, as giving into the jackals in any manner will only empower them further. As such the DCCC needs to hand over their opposition research files on these motherfuckers in full to scandal rags like Gawker, TMZ, and the New York Times. We are in this mess because one political party decided to use their positions of power to mug for the cameras rather than pass a budget. There is no shame or downside into ruining the lives of these amateurish brats who have caused so much needless pain since 2010.
My old college buddy Josh is mainly apolitical and focuses on marketing, and even this was too much for him.
Originally posted on Commercial Society:
I generally try to stay away from politics on this blog. I have my beliefs, but they don’t usually play a role in how I view advertising. Of course, sometimes political-type ads come up that are just too outrageous to ignore. I saw this today on Gawker. They’re from Generation Opportunity, a conservative group with a deep anti-Obamacare agenda. They show a young man and woman going on doctor’s appointments funded by Obamacare (officially the Affordable Care Act). When they get to “delicate” parts of the exam, Creepy Uncle Sam rears his head and the ads end with a simple printed message: “Don’t let government play doctor.” In the words of Gawker: “The gendered ads, as you can see below, don’t offer much more than scare tactics in the way of substance, but such is the tone of the contemporary political sphere: “DO YOU WANT THE GOVERNMENT IN YOUR VAGINA, LADY? AND YOU, BRO, DO YOU WANT UNCLE SAM IN YOUR ASS? WELL, DO YOU?”
I’ll preface this by saying that I hate writing or reading anything on the internet regarding 9/11. Between those choosing to remember by sharing “Never Forget” memes featuring somber kittens staring at lower Manhattan, or the 16 year olds tweeting about how they knew shit had gotten real because their parents were sending them to pre-school with Cipro for six months, or the crazy uncle with the REMEMBER BENGHAZI! Avatar, I usually figure that it’s best to just avoid saying much of anything today. However the good folks at UNITE HERE! posted this video that they made after the attacks, and it is worth the 20 minutes it takes to watch it (minus time you might need to pause and sob):
I moved to upstate New York in the summer of 2001. I was 15 years old and didn’t know a single kid in the quiet suburb of Schenectady where I lived, so obviously television became my best friend. I quickly discovered a quiet, no thrills cooking show that I believe was on A&E (for the life of me I can’t find its name on the web) where the chefs from the “Windows on the World” restaurant in the World Trade Center put forth a few of their best dishes everyday for viewers to try out. With my parents at work all day and my sister being a social butterfly I found myself alone in our kitchen trying my best to replicate their recipes. More often than not I succeeded only in making a giant mess and barely edible food, but my parents never complained.
A few years later in college I started my job at Brandeis campus dining. None of the staff there had the time or patience to babysit a spoiled 18 year old as we were expected to serve upwards of a thousand of equally annoying students everyday. So I was forced to quickly adapt to the frenetic pace of an industrial kitchen. What I learned from the staff in that kitchen regarding teamwork, individual responsibility, and craftsmanship were arguably the most important lessons that I took from college.
Windows on the World lost over 70 employees on 9/11, 43 of whom were with the same union that represented my co-workers at Brandeis. They were serving breakfast to over 100 customers on the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower when Flight 11 crashed below them, blocking all exits. None of those folks taking orders, prepping vegetables, cleaning counters, or doing dry goods inventory survived. The executive chef escaped death solely because he stepped out the restaurant earlier that day to get his glasses fixed.
Working in a kitchen for a large restaurant leaves you with an indelible impression about the complexities of the human experience. There is the obvious irony behind wealthiest and most privileged members of society having their food prepared by the most vulnerable people in our community. Those who died in Windows on the World were largely immigrants, many of whom were undocumented and left families whose legal status and finances after 9/11 were incredibly precarious (and would have been even worse if not for the protections their union provided). While the restaurant was in operation, the employees celebrated the diversity of their experiences and channeled their differences into their labor. Employees representing over 60 different countries assisted non-english speaking customers with the menu, helped recent immigrant workers adjust to life in a new place, and generally created an environment that one employee called “the best place in the world to work”.
The process of creating food for others to enjoy can be difficult and trying at times, but it also breeds a level of camaraderie that cannot be adequately described unless you’ve worked in that environment (I’ll never top the joy I had after one surly line cook at Brandeis reserved the best cuts of steak for his preppers to take home after a 12 hour banquet shift). It was that spirit of humanity that lead the surviving employees of Windows to found the “Restaurant Opportunities Center“- a now multi-city organization devoted to improving the working conditions for their fellow service workers in the sometimes brutal world of kitchen labor.
When we think about the heroes of 9/11 we understandably reflect on the labor and sacrifices made by the first responders and public servants who tried their best to preserve a shred of humanity on that terrible day. Since 9/11 we as a society have obviously departed at times from that brief desire to assist one another in times of great need. However it is genuinely heartwarming to know that people like those in ROC have memorialized the loss of their co-workers- ordinary folks who did the simple act of making a dining experience enjoyable for people whose faces they would never see- in a way that will preserve the dignity of similarly situated people for generations to come.
That is something worth talking about on the internet today.
P.S. for further worthwhile reading check out “Falling Man” by Tom Junod, the story of a “Windows” employee Jonathan Briley, whose suicide that day was captured in one of 9/11′s most poignant and legendary photos.