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Labor Secretary Has Her Hours Cut

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Monocle-Wearing Oil Baron’s Cigarette Holder Splinters In Clenched Teeth After Hearing Bernie Sanders’ Environmental Platform

GREENWICH, CT—Leaving him visibly seething as he sat in his tufted leather wingback chair in his study, monocle-wearing oil baron Frederick Porter Harriman’s ivory-inlaid cigarette holder reportedly splintered between his clenched teeth upon him hearing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders outline his environmental platform during Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

Biggest Campaign Gaffes So Far

The road to the 2016 election has seen its fair share of blunders, miscalculations, and poorly worded statements, all captured by an eager news media that’s always on the lookout for political missteps. Here are some of the biggest campaign gaffes of this election cycle so far:

How The Iowa Caucuses Work

The votes cast in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night mark the official beginning of the 2016 election season, but the specifics of the state’s selection process can be confusing to voters who don’t live there. Here, The Onion answers the most common questions about how the Iowa caucuses work:

Iowan Comforts Sobbing Jeb Bush At Town Hall

DES MOINES, IA—Slowly approaching the distraught, trembling presidential candidate before embracing him in a gentle hug, 42-year-old single mother Holly Sullivan comforted a sobbing Jeb Bush during a town hall forum, sources confirmed Friday.

Dazed Marco Rubio Wakes Up In Koch Compound To Find Cold Metal Device Installed Behind Ear

‘Hello Marco, We Will Now Begin The Program,’ Says Soothing Voice

UNKNOWN LOCATION—The brightly lit, stark-white room gradually coming into focus as he regained consciousness, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio reportedly awoke in the Koch brothers’ secret compound Thursday and reached suddenly to his throbbing head to discover a cold metal device implanted behind his left ear.

Hillary Clinton Relaxing Before Debate With Few Hours Of Debate Practice

GOFFSTOWN, NH—Describing it as a much-needed escape from the hype and pressure surrounding the event, aides from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign confirmed that the candidate has been taking it easy and kicking back ahead of Saturday’s Democratic debate with a few hours of intensive debate practice.

Terrified Jeb Bush Beginning To Fade From Visible Spectrum

LAS VEGAS—His voice slowing during his response to a question about immigration as he struggled to comprehend what was happening to him, a visibly terrified Jeb Bush reportedly began to vanish from the visible spectrum while on stage at Tuesday night’s Republican debate.

Koch Brothers Get Each Other Same Election For Christmas

WICHITA, KS—Chuckling and shaking their heads as they described their annual family gift exchange to reporters, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch confirmed Wednesday they had unwittingly gotten each other the same election for Christmas this year.

The Pros And Cons Of Political Correctness

A key issue currently driving a wedge between political parties in the U.S. is the question of so-called political correctness, or the avoidance of language and actions that could be construed as exclusive, oppressive, or marginalizing of minority groups. Here are the pros and cons of political correctness in our national discourse:

Rand Paul Escorted Off Stage After Falling Below 2.5% In Middle Of Debate

MILWAUKEE—Interrupted midway through answering a question about how he would reform the nation’s tax code, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul was reportedly escorted off stage roughly an hour into Tuesday’s GOP primary debate after falling below the minimum 2.5 percent polling threshold necessary for participating in the forum.

Fact-Checking Ben Carson’s Claims

GOP presidential frontrunner Ben Carson is currently under fire for claims he’s made about his past in books and interviews, many of which journalists have alleged are fabricated or skewed in the candidate’s favor. The Onion breaks down what’s truth and what’s fiction.

Republicans’ Demands For Upcoming Debates

Following last week’s contentious debate in Colorado, Republican presidential candidates are formulating demands for future debates in the effort to reduce perceived media bias and foster a more productive, policy-focused discussion. Here are the GOP’s demands for upcoming debates

Top Issues For Voters In The 2016 Election

With the presidential race well underway and the pool of candidates narrowing, Americans will soon have to choose their next leader based on how well they speak to the issues. Here are the top issues that matter for voters in the 2016 election

Winners And Losers Of Last Night’s Debate

The top 10 leading GOP presidential candidates met in Boulder, CO for their third debate last night, hosted by CNBC and featuring a number of contentious moments concerning alleged liberal media bias, frontrunners’ contradictory statements, and more. The Onion breaks down who won and who lost the debate

Ben Carson Tormented By Periodic Rational Thoughts

SAN ANTONIO—Calling the disturbing incidents a persistent source of anguish, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters at a Monday campaign stop that he has been tormented by periodic rational thoughts for the past several years.

How Democrats Are Preparing For Their First Debate

The first Democratic presidential debate will be held Tuesday, and the candidates are expected to battle it out over issues as wide-ranging as gun control, climate change, and wealth inequality in America. Here’s how the candidates are preparing for the debate

Group Of Christie Campaign Deserters Found In Forest

SHAMONG, NJ—Huddling together around fires of burning yard signs while sipping small rations of soup from mugs adorned with the phrase “Telling It Like It Is,” a ragged encampment of advisers, pollsters, and volunteers who deserted Chris Christie’s presidential campaign was reportedly found living deep in a New Jersey forest Friday, authorities confirmed.

Sight Of 400 War Elephants On Horizon Marks Hillary Clinton’s Arrival In Swing State

WHEELING, OH—Feeling the earth shake beneath them as they watched the procession climb over the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains toward their village, sources along the Ohio border confirmed Thursday that the sight of 400 war elephants marching on the horizon marked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s arrival to the critical swing state.

Unemployed Single Mother In Rubio Speech Told Candidate About Her Problems In Confidence

CEDAR FALLS, IA—Describing her shock and embarrassment upon learning that her personal struggles were shared with an entire campaign rally audience, 37-year-old Allison Kilpatrick, an unemployed single mother that Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio mentioned in a recent stump speech, informed reporters Thursday that she told the candidate about her problems in confidence.

Obama Scrambling Around White House Kitchen Before State Dinner

WASHINGTON—Darting back and forth from refrigerator to sink to prep table while hurriedly preparing 350 hand-carved radish rosettes, a visibly agitated President Obama reported Friday that everything must be absolutely perfect for tonight’s state dinner in honor of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Voters Look On In Horror As 3 New Republican Candidates Appear In Place Of Scott Walker

MADISON, WI—Overcome by a profound feeling of dread and helplessness as the GOP field multiplied before their eyes, voters at Scott Walker’s press conference yesterday, in which the Wisconsin governor announced he was exiting the presidential race, reportedly looked on in horror as three new Republican contenders appeared on stage in place of the former candidate.

Top Snake Handler Leaves Sinking Huckabee Campaign

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Dealing yet another blow to the former Arkansas governor’s presidential hopes, Dalton Hobbs, one of Mike Huckabee’s top snake handlers, has decided to leave the sinking campaign, sources reported Thursday.

Aides Rush On Stage To Rotate Scott Walker Back To Direction Of Audience

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Upon noticing that the Wisconsin governor had become disoriented during one of the moderator’s questions and begun delivering his response while facing the set’s backdrop, several of his aides rushed on stage during Wednesday’s GOP primary debate to rotate Scott Walker back in the direction of the audience.

GOP Debate Stage Manager Pulls Ladies’ Podium Out Of Storage For Carly Fiorina

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Having rummaged through a cluttered backstage closet for nearly half an hour in an effort to locate its elegantly curved lavender form, stage manager Paul Guzman is said to have finally pulled the GOP’s official ladies’ podium out of storage for Carly Fiorina ahead of Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate.

Who Is Kim Davis?

Rowan County, KY clerk Kim Davis returned to work Monday after being jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on religious grounds. Here’s what you need to know about the defiant public servant:

Obamas Decide To Stay In White House Until Daughters Finish High School

‘We Don’t Want To Uproot Them Just For Our Jobs,’ Say Parents

WASHINGTON—Saying it wouldn’t be fair to disrupt their lives after seven years in the same school district, Barack and Michelle Obama this week announced their plans to stay in the White House until their daughters graduate high school.

Frenzied Trump Supporters Admit They’d Be Just As Happy Tearing Him To Pieces

‘We’re Just Mad And Want To Destroy Something,’ Say Candidate’s Backers

WASHINGTON—Saying they simply needed something to direct their anger toward, the nation’s frenzied Donald Trump supporters admitted Thursday that, if circumstances were different, they would be just as happy tearing the Republican frontrunner to pieces.
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    The number of Americans who went to the movies hit a 20-year low in 2014, leaving theaters scrambling to find ways to incentivize the public to see new releases on the big screen rather than watch films at home or on the internet. Here are some methods theaters are using to win back audiences and increase box office sales:

Labor Secretary Has Her Hours Cut

WASHINGTON, DC—Deeming the move "regrettable but necessary," White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card announced Monday that Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao's work hours will be scaled back to 30 per week starting Jan. 26.

Chao displays her reduced paycheck.

"It's merely a cost-cutting measure and says absolutely nothing about Elaine, who's done wonderful work for the Bush Administration since she came on board in 2001," Card said. "Once the economy turns around, the first thing we'll do is return Elaine to her original hours. That's a promise."

Chao's hours will be limited to six per day during a regular Monday-to-Friday workweek, her salary will be cut by 25 percent, and she'll lose the privileges of working flextime hours and earning time-and-a-half pay on weekends and holidays. In addition, Chao's relegation to part-time status means she'll no longer be eligible for health-insurance coverage, matching 401K contributions, or parking validation.

Chao expressed dismay over the decision during a cigarette break in the parking lot of the Labor Department's Frances Perkins Building.

"I sorta knew what was up when President Bush called me into the Oval Office, and Chief Brownnose was standing there beside him with this bogus sad look on his face," said Chao, referring to Card by the derogatory nickname reportedly used by the members of the White House staff. "The president said he was real sorry, but he either had to cut my hours or let me go. What could I do? I need the job."

Chao inhaled on her cigarette and added: "God, and I'm still making payments on that stupid rear-projection television."

On CNN's Crossfire Tuesday, Washington Post columnist David Broder predicted that Chao's workload will not be lightened to reflect her new, truncated work day.

"This is a woman who's used to working long hours and traveling extensively," Broder said. "While there may be some initial efforts to limit her duties, I doubt they'll last long."

Broder added: "Chao is the victim of her own administration's policies, which place economic issues like employment and job security second to foreign-policy matters and big-business interests."

As Labor Secretary, Chao is well aware of labor trends like corporate downsizing and the decline in personal income.

"Tables and graphs mapping the worsening situation of the average American worker crossed my desk all the time, but I never thought any of that stuff would affect me," Chao said. "I don't see [Treasury Secretary John] Snow fearing for his job. Then again, he's in charge of the money. The bigwigs see 'labor' in my job title, and they think, 'Hey, we can push her around.'"

Continued Chao: "If I were [Health and Human Services Secretary] Tommy Thompson, I'd start looking through the classifieds."

Several Cabinet secretaries have expressed dissatisfaction with the ways in which Chao's reduced schedule affects them. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton reported that Card has already begun to foist extra Labor Department work on her.

"My assistant dropped a report titled 'Workplace Safety And Its Effect On Profitability' in my inbox the other day," Norton said. "It had a Post-it note on it from Card that said, 'Can you give this speech for Elaine Chao next Monday?' That's total crap. I told Brownnose 'No way.' How can he expect me to do work I wasn't even appointed for, for no additional pay?"

Card said he did not play a deciding role in the reduction of Chao's hours.

"Look, my role is to manage the staff, not make final decisions about salaries," Card said. "My job could be on the line here, too, incidentally. The president keeps saying, 'We gotta tighten our belts. We gotta cut where we can.' It's getting so bad that if George sees somebody standing near the water cooler in the West Wing, he asks me, 'What's that guy's name? Are you giving him enough to do, Andy?' I swear, he and [Bush political advisor Karl] Rove are walking the halls looking for an excuse to can someone."

Chao said she remains uncertain about her future. Mindful of the stagnant job market, she said she has no choice but to remain with the Bush Administration for the foreseeable future.

"A friend offered me a full-time position on the board of directors of her bank, but the pay was even less than what I make here," Chao said. "I thought I could do some freelance data analysis for extra scratch, but they've got my hours set up so that I have to come into the office every day. With the commute, it feels like a 40-hour work week, anyway."

"Whoa, look at the time," said Chao, glancing at her cell phone. "It's already 3 p.m.? Sorry, gotta go punch out now. New rules."

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