Posts Tagged University of Minnesota

Nation Spends $2.5 Billion on Nothing : The New Yorker

The Borowitz Report


NOVEMBER 7, 2012





NEWS ANALYSIS (The Borowitz Report)—One day after the costliest Presidential election in U.S. history, Americans awoke to the ugly realization that the nation had spent $2.5 billion with absolutely nothing to show for it.

“Four years ago, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, and that is still the case,” says Professor Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota. “The only difference is that we as a nation are out $2.5 billion.”

Mr. Logsdon claims that America’s system of egregious political spending “has made us the laughingstock of the world,” arguing, “Even Greece would know better than to blow through money like that.”

But “not so fast,” says Tracy Klugian, President of the Negative Advertising Association of America, which represents the nation’s leading producers of political attack ads.

“When people complain about how expensive these political campaigns are, they’re forgetting about the millions of Americans who are employed making negative ads,” he says. “Say what you will about lies, vitriol and character assassination, they’re job creators.”

In fact, Mr. Klugian says, America’s costly and interminable campaigns are the nation’s most reliable source of employment: “They gave a completely unskilled person like Mitt Romney a steady job for eight years.”

Acknowledging that the $2.5 billion spent this year was a “tidy sum,” Mr. Klugian says, “If we took all the money we spend on political ads and used it to educate our children and feed the poor, we wouldn’t be America.”

 Nation Spends $2.5 Billion on Nothing : The New Yorker.


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Poll: By Wide Margin, Democrats Want Biden in All Remaining Debates : The New Yorker

The Borowitz Report


OCTOBER 11, 2012






DANVILLE, KY (The Borowitz Report)—In a poll of Democratic voters taken immediately following Thursday night’s Vice-Presidential debate, a wide majority said they wanted Vice-President Joe Biden to appear in all remaining 2012 debates.

According to the constitutional scholar Davis Logsdon, of the University of Minnesota, the scenario of Mr. Biden appearing in all the remaining debates, while surely unorthodox, is within the realm of possibility: “According to the Constitution, the Vice-President steps in when the President is unable to fulfill his duties. Based on the first debate, that seems to be the case.”

Mr. Biden got off to a strong start in the debate, which began with moderator Martha Raddatz asking him and Rep. Paul Ryan, “Gentlemen, first question: To the best of your ability, smirk sarcastically at your opponent.”

The Vice-President rose to that challenge, smiling broadly and snickering throughout all of Mr. Ryan’s answers, and characterizing them with virtually every Irish synonym for shit.

Mr. Biden’s performance clearly wowed the Democratic voters in the post-debate poll, as ninety per cent of them “strongly agreed” with the statement, “Obama should crush a little bit of Joe Biden into a joint and smoke it.”

 Poll: By Wide Margin, Democrats Want Biden in All Remaining Debates : The New Yorker.

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Romney’s Wife to Stand Next to Him at Debates : The New Yorker

The Borowitz Report


September 10, 2012


Posted by Andy Borowitz


NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—In a move that some political observers are calling unprecedented, the Romney campaign today officially requested that Ann Romney be permitted to stand next to her husband during his three scheduled debates with President Obama.

While the request drew immediate howls of protest from the Obama campaign, Mrs. Romney issued an official statement claiming that she was not trying to give her husband an unfair advantage.

“I want to stand next to Mitt for my benefit, not his,” Mrs. Romney’s statement read. “Mitt is so human and so warm, I can’t imagine being away from his warm humanity for as long as two hours. That’s how warm a human he is. Really warm and really human.”

But Mrs. Romney’s statement “doesn’t pass the smell test,” says University of Minnesota political science professor Davis Logsdon, who studied the Romneys’ Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and noticed Mrs. Romney “emitting a series of barely detectable signals and cues.”

“When we slowed down the video, we noticed that Ann was squeezing Mitt’s right knee with what appears to be a vise-like grip,” Dr. Logsdon says. “From what we could decipher, one squeeze signified ‘agree,’ two squeezes were ‘disagree,’ and three were ‘shut up and let me answer that one.’”

Based on Mr. Romney’s performance, in which he at times disagreed with his running mate Paul Ryan and agreed with President Obama, Dr. Logsdon believes that Mrs. Romney’s presence by her husband’s side at the debates “would be of little use.”

“Ann Romney is clearly trying very hard, but she had more success training her dressage horse,” he says.

Romney’s Wife to Stand Next to Him at Debates : The New Yorker.

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Romney Campaign Releases First Picture of V.P. Pick : The New Yorker




Bachmann Claims White House Has Links to Extremist Group Called Democrats »

JULY 18, 2012


Posted by Andy Borowitz


NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—Republican Presidential choice Mitt Romney shocked the political world today by releasing a picture of his choice for Vice-President—a man who, political insiders admit, was on nobody’s short or long list.

The photo shows Mr. Romney’s Veep pick, whose face was immediately recognizable to millions of Americans, wearing his trademark top hat and carrying what appears to be a moneybag, with currency of various denominations trailing behind him.

The Romney campaign issued scant information about the source of his running mate’s wealth, saying only that he had made his money “in real estate” and would not be releasing his tax returns.

Davis Logsdon, a political scientist who studies the history of Vice-Presidential selection at the University of Minnesota, called the choice of running mate who might be even wealthier than Mr. Romney “baffling beyond words.”

“Is Mitt Romney really going to share the stage at the Republican convention in Tampa with a man clutching a bulging sack with a big dollar sign on it?” Mr. Logsdon asked. “Those are terrible optics.”

Moreover, he added, Mr. Romney’s Vice-Presidential choice has political baggage that could prove problematic going forward: “We’re talking about someone who has gotten out of jail multiple times.”

The Romney campaign may have released the picture to distract attention from yesterday’s controversial comment by 2008 G.O.P. nominee John McCain, who said that he passed on Mr. Romney as his V.P. pick because Alaska governor Sarah Palin was a “better candidate.”

Today, Senator McCain attempted to explain his remark: “Romney had all his money hidden in Switzerland. Sarah Palin was better because she had never heard of Switzerland.”

Image courtesy Hasbro.

 Romney Campaign Releases First Picture of V.P. Pick : The New Yorker.


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Borowitz Report – Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy


Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Could Imperil Reelection Hopes, Experts Say


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In the first term in office, President Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the previous eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

New polls indicate that millions of Americans are put off by the President’s unorthodox verbal tic, which has Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opens his mouth.

Mr. Obama’s decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements, as well as his insistence on the correct pronunciation of the word “nuclear,” has harmed his reelection hopes among millions of voters who find his unusual speaking style unfamiliar and bizarre.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, after eight years of George W. Bush many Americans find it “alienating” to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

“Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon.  “If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, on Election Day the public may find itself saying, “Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate – we get it, stop showing off.”

Elsewhere, consumers who believed that Nutella was nutritious have won a $3.05 million lawsuit, the highest award ever paid to morons.

 Borowitz Report.

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Facebook asserts trademark on word “book” in new user agreement

Facebook asserts trademark on word “book” in new user agreement

By Jon Brodkin | Published a day ago

Facebook asserts trademark on word "book" in new user agreement

Facebook has trademarks on its name and many variations of it—including the letter “F”. The company is expanding its claim over the word “book”.


Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word “book” by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook.

You may recall that Facebook has launched multiple lawsuits against websites incorporating the word “book” into their names. Facebook, as far as we can tell, doesn’t have a registered trademark on “book.” But trademark rights can be asserted based on use of a term, even if the trademark isn’t registered, and adding the claim to Facebook’s user agreement could boost the company’s standing in future lawsuits filed against sites that use the word.

“Unregistered marks are quite common in the US,” University of Minnesota Law Professor William McGeveran told Ars. “Rights arise from use, not registration (though registration does give you some other advantages). That’s how Facebook can try to claim ‘book.'” If you see a ™ next to a name, that indicates an unregistered, claimed trademark, whereas an R in a circle signifies a registered one, McGeveran notes.

So, what exactly is Facebook changing? If you view the current Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, you’ll find this sentence:

“You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665), or any confusingly similar marks, without our written permission.”

If you’re wondering, 32665 is the number allowing Facebook users to update their pages through text message. The newly revised user agreement reads as follows (emphasis ours):

“You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book and Wall), or any confusingly similar marks, except as expressly permitted by our Brand Usage Guidelines or with our prior written permission.”

Not accepting the terms isn’t really an option for anyone with a Facebook account. “By using or accessing Facebook, you agree to this Statement,” the document says.

Facebook gobbles up trademarks on variations of its name

A search of the trademark database maintained by the US Patent and Trademark Office shows Facebook with 73 active trademarks, many of them covering different uses of the words “Facebook” and “like.” Other registered trademarks cover the letter “F,” “Face,” “FB,” the number “0” with a period, “F8,” “Facebook Developer Garage,” “Wall,” “Facepile,” “,” “Facebook for good,” “Friendfeed,” Facebook Insights,” “Facebook Pages,” and “Facebook Ads.”

“Book” doesn’t appear on the US list. In November 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that Facebook was successful in trademarking “Face,” but might have a tougher time gaining rights to the word “book.” A company called myEworkBook filed an application to get the “Book” trademark in the US, but abandoned the application in February 2012 after an unfavorable decision by the trademark review board.

Facebook has a pending trademark application on “book” listed in the European Union’s trademark database, but the current status is “application opposed” with “likelihood of confusion” listed as the reason for opposition. There are already numerous European trademark claims over “book,” but in different contexts than the social media one claimed by Facebook.

Status of lawsuits Facebook filed against other “books”

We contacted Facebook yesterday afternoon, and haven’t heard back from the company. Facebook has had mixed results when asserting trademark rights over “book” in court. Facebook’s lawsuit against “Teachbook” isstill pending. Facebook settled a suit it filed against Lamebook, allowing the parody site to continue operating. Facebook gained control of a porn site domain called “” A travel site called Placebook changed its name in 2010, choosing not to fight—no surprise given the large expense of litigation.

“Maybe I was being naïve, but I thought I could convince the lawyers at Facebook that our site was totally impossible to confuse with theirs,” the Placebook site owner wrote in a blog.

How the new user agreement helps Facebook assert the trademark

Clearly, Facebook wasn’t shy about asserting trademark rights on “book” before today. But updating its user agreement gives the company added ammunition in litigation. The updated Statement of Rights and Obligations hasn’t taken effect yet, but a comment period expired yesterday.

“They hope that by putting it in TOS (terms of service) they can improve the enforceability of their asserted trademark rights,” McGeveran said.

The “book” addition to the user agreement isn’t as strong as a registered trademark or copyright, but provides extra protection, says intellectual property attorney Denis Ticak of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP in Cleveland, Ohio. The difference is that instead of extending to anyone who infringes upon the trademark, the user agreement covers only people who actually use Facebook—which, of course, is a substantial percentage of the population of Earth.

“Adding that term merely changes the agreement we all become a party to when we accept the terms of service/use the site/etc.,” Ticak told Ars. “So, it offers some layer of protection against use of ‘book’ in, say, a company or website name. But, it only extends to those who accept the statement of rights and responsibilities.’ Let’s say you go out and create ‘Brodkinbook.’ Whether or not they have a registered trademark on ‘book,’ since you in all likelihood use Facebook and so have accepted that contract, they can arguably prevent you from using that name on the site.”

 Facebook asserts trademark on word “book” in new user agreement.

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Borowitz Report – Gingrich Plummets in Polls as Voters Start Remembering Who He Is


Gingrich Plummets in Polls as Voters Start Remembering Who He Is

Dawning Awareness Threatens Campaign

DES MOINES (The Borowitz Report) – In a development that has imperiled his front-runner status in the Republican presidential race, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has plunged in the polls as voters have begun to remember who he is.

Mr. Gingrich had been surging in recent weeks, but according to pollster Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota’s Opinion Research institute, “That was before people’s memories of who New Gingrich is started gradually kicking in.”

According to a new poll released today, Mr. Gingrich fared especially poorly among voters who agreed with the statement, “Wait a minute, that guy?  He was an enormous dick.”

“Newt Gingrich has got to do something fast to keep people from remembering who he is,” pollster Logsdon said.  “He might try growing a moustache or wearing an eye patch, but that might be too little, too late.”

On the ground in Iowa, Gingrich campaign strategists are working overtime to confront the challenge posed by voters remembering who he is, aides to the former House Speaker said today.

According to one campaign source, the Gingrich campaign has begun seeking the support of people with mental disorders and other memory issues that make it hard for them to retain basic information.

“The problem is, most of those people are currently running for President,” the source said.

 Borowitz Report.

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Borowitz Report – In Positive Economic Sign, Walmart Customers Killing Each Other to Buy Shit


In Positive Economic Sign, Walmart Customers Killing Each Other to Buy Shit

Pepper Spraying, Homicide Bullish Indicators, Economists Say

In Positive Economic Sign, Walmart Customers Killing Each Other to Buy Shit

MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – In what economists are hailing as a clear sign of economic recovery, Walmart customers across the USA jammed into stores on Black Friday, sometimes killing each other to buy useless shit.

“We have been looking for evidence that the economy is on the mend,” said Davis Logsdon, chairman of the economics department at the University of Minnesota.  “When people resort to homicide to buy a Blu-ray player, that is very, very good news indeed.”

Mr. Logsdon said he was “impressed” by the lengths to which some Walmart customers were going to grab coveted sale items: “They’re using tactics we usually associate with the UC-Davis police.”

With many customers using pepper spray and other weapons to get a shopping advantage, however, Mr. Logsdon advised Americans not to enter a Walmart unarmed.

“If you want to get your hands on a doorbuster, you’d better have a firearm,” he said.  “Fortunately, Walmart is offering several great doorbusters on firearms.”

Walmart and other retailers’ decision to commence their Black Friday sales a day early carries with it an added benefit for consumers, he noted: “Now, Americans will be able to declare bankruptcy one day earlier.”

All in all, Dr. Logsdon said that the increased violence and mayhem at retail outlets across the country was “a testament to the greatness of the American consumer.”

“Egyptians risk their lives for new government,” he said.  “Americans bravely do the same for new flat screens.”

via Borowitz Report.

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Borowitz Report – Sex Scandal Might be First Sign Cain is Qualified to Be Politician

Sex Scandal Might be First Sign Cain is Qualified to Be Politician

Makes Him Seem ‘Presidential,’ Expert Says



MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Herman Cain’s burgeoning sex scandal might actually be the first sign that he is qualified to be a politician.

That is the assessment of presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, who believes that news of the sex scandal could convince previously undecided voters that Mr. Cain, a former restaurant executive, is of presidential timbre.

“Voters look at Herman Cain and say, wait a minute, a pizza guy?  Does he have what it takes to run for office?” Mr. Logsdon said.  “The fact that he is involved in a sex scandal gives him instant credibility.”

“It makes him seem presidential,” he added.

Reports that Mr. Cain may have been involved in fundraising irregularities could also add to his presidential luster, Mr. Logsdon said.

“Voters want to know that their elected leaders have experience mishandling money before they take office,” he said.  “When you’re President, there’s no time for on-the-job training.”

Mr. Cain could do other things to reinforce the impression that he has the right stuff to be a politician, “such as lying about his military record,” but ultimately everything hinges on the sex scandal, he said.

“If it turns out there was just one or two women and it all blows over, it may not be a big enough sex scandal to help him,” he said.  “But if it emerges that Herman Cain was an obnoxious horndog who’d chase anything in a skirt, he could be the next President of the United States.”

Borowitz Report.

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