For The Birds

A couple weeks ago a friend forwarded along this hilarious video sent him by a wingnut buddy. You can now see it over at

It’s one of those tortured analogies people often devise to justify being assholes. Here’s this guy comparing his bird feeder to unemployment benefits. He put up “da boid feedah” and ach! Da boids, dey made a mess! On da patio! And next to da bahbecue! And da poop! Everywhere! And da boids, some of ’em, dey turned mean! Dive bombin’ and everythin’, dese ungrateful asshole boids! Ach! After all I’d done for ’em, too! Offa my lawn! I took down de boid feedah and problem solved! No more poop! Yay!

And this, my friends, is how we solve the unemployment problem! Just stop giving people unemployment benefits and they magically go away. Amiright?

Hilarious. Funnily enough, I happened to watch this video on the same day that I had gone down to my local retailer and picked up about 50 pounds of bird seed for my own feeders. So as I’m filling my feeders and hearing my avian friends chirp excitedly in the trees I thought to myself: you know what? I’ve been feeding birds in my backyard for years and I’ve just never had these problems. I don’t have bird nests in inappropriate places, nor is my patio covered in bird poop. And none of my birds have ever dive-bombed us when the feeders are low. Funnily enough, I just have never had this man’s experience with the local wildlife. I wonder why. Maybe, just maybe, this tortured analogy was pulled out of somewhere other than reality.

It’s a popular wingnut myth that, during the Second Great Depression when unemployment has been stuck at a stubborn 10% or so (and is most certainly higher than that, because people who have given up looking are no longer counted), somehow people have no jobs because they’re lazy. Somehow, people who have never had to take unemployment are just convinced that the benefits are so generous that people would rather sit back in the La-Z-Boy and just wait for those checks to roll in than get off their asses and work for a living.

Indeed, this week we heard that same idea from Tennessee’s own smug, self-righteous Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, aka the “Shadow Governor,” referring to unemployment benefits as “a lifestyle” because someone told him there are jobs but no applicants out there.

Hey, Ron Ramsey: I’m going to call bullshit on that little anecdote. Mr. Ramsey needs to pony up here. You know of someone with job openings? Give us their name and phone number. Put it in the paper. Betcha anything they will be overwhelmed with applicants, just like the 5,000 people who showed up for 1,600 jobs at Nissan this week.

I dare you. No, I double dare you.

You know what else I’m calling bullshit on? This:

Ramsey’s event also spotlighted his Web site documenting anti-business state government decisions.


“The ironic part about this is we will have some people get on the Web site and call us and then we will ask ‘Can we use this publicly?’” Ramsey said of the information collected by the Web site. “Most people don’t want to be cited publicly. … They are dealing with the Department of Revenue, the Department of Environment and Conservation, and think there will be repercussions.”

Really? Well, I guess if you say so, then! Clearly government is the problem, not the solution, says the man who has devoted months to gun nuts and blocking peoples’ voting rights, but didn’t do one thing to actually help the state’s employment situation. We’ll just take your word for it! Unless, like our friend with “da boid feedah,” you’re just making shit up. Wouldn’t put it past you one bit, either. But we’ll never know!

Hey guess what: I have this super-secret story too, about how all of the knuckle-dragging homophobic Muslim-hating Neanderthals in our state legislature have kept businesses away from the state of Tennessee. Someone whose name rhymes with “Pierrot Brevada.” But when I asked them if I could go public with it, they all said they didn’t want to be cited publicly, either.

What a coinky-dinky.

Here’s a thought: let’s stop blaming people in desperate straights straits for the economic situation. Let’s recognize that we are in the middle of the Second Great Depression right now. Taking away people’s unemployment benefits is not going to solve the unemployment problem. It’s just going to inhibit people’s ability to buy food, medicine and pay their rent. How that’s supposed to solve anything, I have no clue.


Filed under right wing, Ron Ramsey, unemployment

11 responses to “For The Birds

  1. John Weiss

    SB, don’t insult Neanderthals. I understand that they were pretty nice folk.


  2. Min

    I’ve named the new white patch in my bangs Ron Ramsey, because he’s the deceitful, malicious, anti-Tennessee SOB who gave it to me.

  3. Beauzeaux

    it’s desperate “straits”

  4. We’re about a year into our latest, Governor Andrew Cuomo and, so far, he has managed to piss off a lot of folks on both sides of the overton window. I heartily detest his coziness with the gas bidneth hydrofuckers but other than that I think he’s done a reasonably decent job of balancing the need to control spending with the reduction in revenues.

    As an exercise I would suggest telling any moron who is pissing and moaning about those lazy bastards sucking on the gummint’ teat ‘steada lookin’ for work to try living and paying their bills on whatever they get from unemployment. I’ve signed up for unemployment five times and have yet to draw the first check–it ain’t as easy as folks think to get on and stay on. When I still lived in Massachusetts the top “pay” from the Dept. of Transitional Assistance* was $525 or so a month with some adders if you had sprats to feed. That amount of money will barely buy groceries for a family of four, never mind paying the rent and current bills.

    Any legislator that says people want to be on unemployment because it’s such a sweet deal, while he’s getting paid to do fuck all in the state house, should be hooted at and jeered–while he’s in stocks on the Capitol lawn.

  5. ThresherK

    Love how all these dire straiters are now carrying the title “scum of the earth”. I’d love for the righties to defend their hero, Reagan. I recall him describing this same strata of the workforce “hard working folks down on their luck”. (Corrected for dogwhistles, of course.)

    However: Being from away, can you tell us more about the buzz of the Nissan situation?

    It’s been some time since I’ve read a story about any kind of hoi polloi “lottery” (jobs, housing assistance, extra job training for ’99ers’, etc) attracting what seems like a low ratio of applicants, in this case 3.2 : 1.

    PS We are celebrating our 20th hour of electricity!

    I immediately turned the heat way up to get as much warmth in the house if the power went off again. My wife accuses me of lying all these years; seems I once might have told her that our thermostat is a special model which only goes to 66F.

    • Not sure exactly what your Nissan question was? iBut Nissan is now HQ’d here in Middle Tennessee. They are ramping up staffing at their facilities here because they are going to build not only the all-electric Leaf here but also the electric batteries. So it’s a big deal.

      This particular subcontractor who had 5,000 applicants show up for 1,600 jobs was hiring for maintenance/janitorial type stuff, I believe. Hourly job, paying $12.50/hour. Lots of folks around here looking for jobs like that, now that manufacturing has gone kaput.

      • ThresherK

        Thanks; that pretty much answers my question about the Nissan situation.

        Anec-data (my least favorite form of data, of course) on employment suggest that way more than 3 applicants are applying for every available job.

        But the image of 5,000 people, in one place (not just e-mails with resumes attached), applying for 1600 openings, sounds incredible.

        Our town and surrounding ones are still much in the dark; the “99% by 11:59 Sunday night” promise by the utility was for naught. This was 9 weeks after a tropical storm blew up every stream and knocked out all those roads and services.

        It’s gonna be a hell of a winter.

      • Been hearing about that on the news, Nashville went through that during a terrible ice storm a few years back, power out for weeks in some places. For some reason my 1/2 of my block was spared, like four houses didn’t lose power, don’t know how we got so lucky. Hope you have a warm place to go!

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