Apparently, Our Great State Tragedy is that All the People With Work Ethics were Aborted

Y’all, I have an anonymous source!  Well, I already kind of had an anonymous source in Say Uncle in that I don’t know who he is and he keeps me informed about stupid dog legislation.

But this anonymous source is different in that I have no idea who he or she is, nor even what I should call him or her.  I will dub my anonymous source “Señor el Gato.”  Just for fun, because I’m so tickled to have an anonymous source and, if Señor el Gato ever gets me involved in a scandal, we can call it El Gatogate, which has an awesome ring to it.

Anyway, Señor el Gato tipped me off to this juicy exchange at the House Ag Committee meeting on Tuesday.  You can watch the video for yourself, but, because I don’t want you to miss out on the crucial parts, I have transcribed some of it for you.  I should warn you there’s some dubious use of “mine” in a way that might make some of you uncomfortable with the first speaker and I apologize ahead of time that I’m not going to unpack this in the way it deserves in this post.  There’s just too much here and I’m going to need to mull it over a while.  Okay, here goes.

Ag Committee Meeting


Starting at about 19:50

Aaron Swafford addresses the group and it starts to get interesting:

“And the last thing.  I really don’t know how to say this, but I’ll just… As… the U.S. citizen… the workforce is just not there.  I’ll give you a personal example.  In the last four and a half years I’ve had three U.S. citizens apply for work.  One… I hire ’em without even checking their resources, er their background.  I mean just to have somebody.

“One of ’em never showed up.  One of ’em made it to the first break.  I have had one that’s been with me about nine months now, a good employee, but I’ve had three.  And we work about thirty people on a yearly basis.

“The people I deal with, Hispanics, uh, as a general rule, are good quality people, have a good work ethic, a good family ethic.  They take care of one another.”

Swafford goes on about an employee who’s been here 18 years and is being forced to return “home” even though this is his home.

Representative Bell takes the mic.

He goes on at length about how he hears the complaining about small businessmen not wanting to be the police blah blah blah. 

We join the festivities again at 22:50.

Bell speaking:

“I’ve also heard that the workforce is not there.  As you’ve expressed, you’ve had three American citizens over the last couple years… apply with you.  Uhh… and I would… I would be for, at the federal level… upping the quota limits… the immigration quotas from each country to allow more people to come in.

But first and foremost, these people broke the law when they came into our country and even this man who’s been here eighteen years, he broke the law when he came in.  And as many good things, and I know some of… I live in a big dairy farming area, McMinn County, you know, and Monroe (sp?) County… which I also represent as many good people, Hispanics and, um, Guatemalans and Hondurans that are working there, you know also then from southeast Tennessee what’s been in the news recently about the MS 13 gang problems that are happening in the Ocoee… er the Cherokee National Parks down in Ocoee and Polk counties.  It’s happening in Chattanooga.

And so with this good is coming a lot of bad that’s hurting our society.  The drain that it’s putting on our society… on our resources… in education… in healthcare…

And so, while I understand your concerns as a businessman, there is another side to this as well that is hurting society as a whole.”

Then the business dude reminds Bell that he’s talking about people who are too old to go to school and then says “I can’t speak for everybody but I know mine and you have to force them to go to the doctor when they get hurt or when they get sick because most of ’em are scared of ’em.

Now they do use it, but they also pay sales tax [Tennessee has no income tax; the state derives its revenue from sales tax–b.] just like everybody else.  They pay 8.5 million in social security annually that will never be used.

I know what you’re saying.”

Bell then complains about how many Hispanic kids go to school.  They go on to talk about how they have to pay more than minimum wage because they have so little unemployment and it’s hard work and they have to pay to keep labor.  And Aaron Swafford explains again that there aren’t any non-Hispanics even applying for the jobs he has available.  Without the Hispanic workforce, his industry would crumble.

Blah, blah, blah.  Blame the feds.  Blame the kids for hogging up school space.  Blame the “illegals” for hogging healthcare.

Back to Bell.  He wants to conscript high schoolers into the industry.  Now, here we are at 31:57.  Bell’s going to opine:

“I’m going to make one more comment with this.  I’m not going to address Mr. Swafford with this but I’m… but this is, uh, this shortage of workers and, uh, especially in the agricultural field and, uh, in other jobs… that may or may not be a little more temporary in nature… seasonal in nature… Since 1973, we have killed fifty million unborn children and if we hadn’t done that, maybe our labor problems would not be as severe.”

The Letter I Sent to Senator Kilby & The Rest of the Judiciary Committee

Dear Senator Kilby,

I am outraged to learn of your efforts to make it a crime for me to own my dog.  I’ve had her now for seven years and in that time, she’s bitten no one, attacked no one, and hardly ever even managed to annoy the cats.  She’s up-to-date on her shots and, though she often barks at red lights–which I take to mean she’d like me to run them–she’s shown no other propensity for law-breaking.

For you to introduce legislation which would, in effect, be a death sentence for her is just about the cruelest, most heartless thing I’ve heard of and, frankly, puts you in league with such luminaries as Cruella De Vil and Montgomery Burns (from 101 Dalmatians and The Simpsons respectively).  The only thing missing from your legislation is the part where you plot to make yourself a coat from their skins.

In other words, this is an almost cartoonishly evil plot on your part.

If you really wanted to make life better for Tennesseans and our dogs, you would encourage all non-breeders to have their dogs fixed and you would encourage all dog owners to provide ample shelter, food, water, and space to run for their pets.  You’d encourage dog owners to not leave their dogs tied up outside and you’d educate people to never leave their children unsupervised with any dogs, not just the pit bull breeds.  And you’d encourage local law enforcement to enforce the laws already on the books.

These would be positive, proactive steps that would make a real difference and I encourage you to think about taking those steps instead of this drastic measure.

I’m including a picture of my dog.  Her name is Sadie.  I apologize for the quality of it, but I took it with my cell phone.  This is how she spends almost all of her time, looking cute, sleeping on my couch.

Again, these are not inherently bad dogs.  Sadly for them, they are dogs that a lot of bad people like.  But that’s no reason to punish good dogs and good people.  Instead, I ask you to focus on the bad people who mistreat and misuse these fine dogs.  Don’t punish me and my dog for the sins of others.


[Aunt B.]


Mess With Me, Fine. Mess With My Dog, Now We’ve Got Problems

Say Uncle and Rachel both just emailed me about this piece of legislation that’s got me so angry I have half a mind to take Mrs. Wigglebottom down Charlotte and make Senator Tommy Kilby tell me to my face while looking at her, that he’s fine with taking her from me.

I don’t know how we ensure this never gets out of committee, but we’ve got to do it. Tell me, folks what can be done and I’ll be at the capitol doing it.

Can I trade him my right hand for her? My kidney? I’ll give him a kidney if he lets me keep my dog. That’s a more than fair trade as far as I’m concerned.

Say Uncle has the details, which I’m reprinting in part here:

You can contact Tommy and let him know that breed specific legislation is pointless at:

District Address
118 Henry Heidel Lane
Wartburg, TN 37887

Nashville Address
10A Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243-0212
Phone (615) 741-1449
Fax (615) 253-0237
Staff Contact: Nadine Korby, Jeremy Davis, Research Analyst

Or email him here Sen. Tommy Kilby

Edited to Add:  Here’s the legislation in question.

Dog in Need of Home; Problem in Need of Solving


Hey, all, this girl was found under a deck Monday morning and the finder can’t keep her.  No kill shelters won’t take her, for obvious reasons, but she’s sweet and the finder would rather not put her in a shelter where she might be put down.

Anybody need a puppy?

Shoot, Christian, you’re getting ready to relaunch Nashville is Talking.  You need the publicity.  Think of the poetic justice that would result from you ending up with this dog.

I might start being civil to you again.


My other question is this.  Is there a good pitbull rescue in Tennessee?  Does anybody know?  Or do we just accept that good dogs get put down because there’s no other good option?

Bright Afghan Update

My phone still takes pictures, but refuses–as a part of its long disintegration into ruin–to send them.  So, I took this picture with the Butcher’s phone, and holy Sweet Jesus, does his phone take shitty, shitty pictures.

Check this out.  These are six of the ten medium squares (I have seven and a half done).


“Dragging behind you the silent reproach of a million tear stained eyes”

Aside from it being an unrealistic waste of money and time, the main thing that irritates me about building a wall between here and Mexico is that it’s just so damn wimpy.

I mean, seriously, we want to put up a wall to keep out PEOPLE WHO WANT JOBS AND A BETTER LIFE FOR THEIR FAMILIES.

AAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!  No, not people who want jobs and a better life for their families!  Anything but that!  The horror!  The horror!

If I were an official social theorist–and not just playing one on the internet–I’d be better equipped to suss this out.  Why is it that so many people who are so invested in traditional gender roles and the manly protective men swaggering that goes with it are the same folks arguing that “we” (a we that presumably includes them) need a wall to keep Mexicans out.

Are we admitting that the kinds of manly men we’re pretending to be don’t actually exist?

I have to tell you that my working theory is that we’re ignoring part of what a wall is designed to do. 

Hear me out.  I might put up a fence between my neighbor’s lot and mine to delineate the property line, but that’s usually the secondary reason to do it.  People put up fences, primarily, to keep some people and animals out while simultaneously keeping some people in.

I think we all have a good grip on who’s supposed to be kept out by this wall, but I’ve never heard anyone speculate on who’s supposed to be kept in.

Are people going to Mexico really that big of a problem?  Such a wound to us as a country that we’d try to stop them?


But, ah, you see what I’m thinking, don’t you?

This wall isn’t, psychologically, just about keeping Mexicans out.  After all, they’re just the folks who live next door.  They’ve lived next door to us for as long as we’ve lived here.  Our kids have grown up together.  Our kin has married their kin.  They’re not strangers.  Shit, we eat their food.

Talking about how much work it’d be to put up the wall is what got me thinking about it, that and the rhetoric of “they’re stealing our jobs.”

This is about keeping industry in.


That’s why it’s so powerful beyond all reason–this notion of putting up a wall.  Not to keep some “them” and “their way of life” out, but to keep something we think of as “us” and “ours” from leaving.