By johnny (Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 04:54:43 AM EST) (all tags)
The United States used to pay tobacco farmers to not grow tobacco. This was a kind of redneck welfare commonly called the "tobacco alotment" or in redneck-speak, "backalotment". It had to be administered by somebody. For a while in the early 1980's it was administered by a friend of mine. We had been grad students in Agricultural Economics together. He went to work for the USDA & I became a computer geek.

Then we lost touch for several years. Until I read his name in the New York Times, when all hell was breaking loose because congress had voted to phase out tobacco allotments and farmers who had been used to getting a large check in the mail for doing nothing every year were seeing the size of their checks shrink and shrink, and they were going batshit crazy about it.

Inside: Hands off my innernet!

My friend, whose name is Stan C, was a mild-mannered Jewish guy from a suburb of Washington DC with very little experience with farmers. Like me, he had become interested in agricultural economics while a Peace Corps Volunteer in west Africa.

So anyway, we hadn't spoken with each other for a few years when I read the NY Times story. So I got his office number and called him up one morning, putting on my best "enraged hillbilly voice".

Him: Hello?


Him: Excuse me?


Him: Um, are you talking about tobacco allotments?

Me: God damit, what you think I'm talking about! Why you taking away my 'lotment?

Him: Well sir, tobacco allotments are established by Congress. We at the USDA merely administer the program.

Me: I don't want no fancy talk! Give me my money!

Him: OK sir, please calm down. Can I get your name so I can look into this?

Me: Is your name C?

Him: Yes, but--

Me: Sounds like a Jew name! I gotta listen to some Jew up in Washington DC tell me I can't have my money now? I'm gonna come up there and get it myself!

Him: Excuse me, sir . . .

At that point I couldn't keep it up anymore and told him who I was. It took him about ten minutes to calm down.  I had really scared him. I guess that was pretty cruel of me, but once I got going I could hardly stop.

Of course if the shoe had been on the other foot I had been in charge of the program and he had called me pretending to be a redneck, he wouldn't have stopped until I had called the FBI.

MEANWHILE out in California today, my friend Harold Feld, who blogs with me on wetmachine, is going to be an expert witness on the FCC net neutrality hearing at Stanford.  Man, I think we can expect that to be a circus.

All morning I've had in my mind an image of me taking his place at the hearing, like Ben Afleck took Matt Damon's place at the job interview in Good Will Hunting.

I jump up on the table and start screaming at the FCC commissioners: "What's this I hear you gonna take away my innernet! Keep yer goddamn politician hands off my innernet!" etc, etc.

Oh well, in order to have pulled that off, I would have had to have flown out to California, kidnapped Harold & stuck him in a closet, etc, etc, by now. But I didn't have enough room on my credit card to buy a ticket, so I guess I'm going to just have to watch from afar.

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HANDS OFF MY 'BACCA 'LOTMENT! | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
You are very bad by iGrrrl (4.00 / 2) #1 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:05:30 AM EST
It's very funny. I'm just glad it wasn't me.

"Beautiful wine, talking of scattered everythings"
(and thanks to Scrymarch)

You could have scammed a fligth to California by georgeha (4.00 / 3) #2 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:08:50 AM EST
buy a calve's heart at the butcher, stick it in a little cooler full of ice, paint a red cross on the side and look for a corporate jet at the airport. Tell them you have to get this heart to San Francisco for an emergency heart transplant.

Have you heard... by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #3 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:15:04 AM EST
CNN is completely out of news.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

As reported on HuSi by johnny (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:21:22 AM EST
my dog Rosa died recently.  Which was very sad, of course, even if she was very very old (for a dog).

The funny part came when we lowered her down, in the nice casket I had made, and it was too big for the grave and got stuck sideways. So I had to jump down into the grave--which was in clay soil & it was raining out, by the way-- and wrestle the damn box out so I could enlarge the hole. This happened twice.  I got very muddy and also was very sore the next day from all the exertion.

I think that would have made a better CNN story.
Buy my books, dammit!

[ Parent ]
next time you need shovel work done, ring me up by lm (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 08:45:20 AM EST
I helped a friend bury his dog not that long ago.

After observing how quickly and efficiently I dug the grave, he chuckled nervously.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I would not have laughed. by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:37:08 AM EST

The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
Well, you and I by johnny (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:44:41 AM EST
have a different relationship than Stan and I had. He had done plenty of that kind of stuff to me in prior years.
Buy my books, dammit!
[ Parent ]
Thank you for unshittifying my day by ReallyEvilCanine (4.00 / 1) #6 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:41:32 AM EST
I'm still chuckling.

the internet: amplifier of stupidity -- discordia

Me, too. by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:44:39 AM EST
Thanks, Johnny.
To Rollins lesbians are like cuddly pandas: cute, exotic, forest-dwelling, dangerous when riled and unable to produce offspring without assistance.-CRwM
[ Parent ]
Simple answer by anonimouse (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 07:37:22 AM EST
Stop receiving checks, go back into the baccy business....

OTOH, I hear marijuana, cocaine and poppies are good cash crops and will probably flourish in the same environment. Stop those imports now!

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
HANDS OFF MY 'BACCA 'LOTMENT! | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback