The Ballad of the Furloughed

Wednesday - 3/27/2013, 2:00am EDT

Sick of reading, hearing and talking about sequestration? Tired of thinking about what furloughs will do to your paycheck. Maybe it's time to turn to song.

Might as well — can't dance!

Music is supposed to soothe the savage beast. Or, in some versions, the savage breast. The origin of the saying is in dispute. Some believe it was written by William Shakespeare. Others think it was William Shatner. Whatever...

It has been around a long, long time and most of us have heard the expression at one time or another. So does music really soothe the savage beast. Could it save federal workers from being furloughed? Or at least ease their coming pain. Consider the power of music in a much tougher situation...

In 1989, U.S. troops invaded Panama to, among other things, depose its military ruler Manuel Noriega. During the fighting, the one-time U.S. ally fled to the safety of the Vatican embassy. Our troops waited outside and bombarded the papal building not with cannons and mortars, but with a stronger more frightening weapon — loud country-western music, one of America's contributions to civilization. One song dedicated to the dictator was "I Fought The Law And the Law Won." Great music, to be sure, but hearing it, interlaced with John Denver's Rocky Mountain High, 24/7, would be tough to take.

And so it was. After about 10 days, Noriega had enough. He surrendered — or was tossed out — and was taken into custody. He was flown to the U.S., and tried (and convicted) on big-time drug charges, money-laundering, etc. He served time here, then was extradited to France to serve time, then to Panama where he faced a longer stretch in jail. Bottom line: It did not end well for him.

(This is not to make light of Operation Just Cause. People on both sides were killed. My son-in-law, then a brand-new Army Ranger, parachuted in at very low level. It was a war.)

But the part about how we managed to get the fugitive out of his sanctuary seemed like a good way to introduce this lyrics-by-feds song aimed at helping feds endure the furloughs they are facing. The new words were written by members of the Library of Congress Professional Guild. Here, with apologies to Harry Belafonte, it is:

Furlough Day
To the tune of: "The Banana Boat Song."
Original parody by Frank DeLima
New words by Saul Schniderman

Fur - Furlough Day - O
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
Fur - Furlough Day, Furlough Day, Furlough Day is Low-Low
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME

We go to work to help the USA
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
But the Congress put us in disarray
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
Now we workers get un-paid vacation
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
And our families have plenty of frustration
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
It's one day, five days, ten days off
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
Too many days and the brain gets soft!
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME.

We're federal employees and we have a mission
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
To be a good worker and be a good citizen
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME

Day, miss-a-day, Oh
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
Day, miss-a-day, miss-a-week, miss-a-month, miss-a-paycheck … Oh-Oh!
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME

The union is making a great big fuss
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
Hey somebody's gotta take care of us
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME

Come Mr. Manager start negotiations
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME
We're fighting for the future, we're fighting for the nation
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME

Fur - Furlough Day, Furlough Day, Furlough Day is Low-Low
FURLOUGH COME AND WE GOTTA STAY HOME!

Feel better?

Furloughs, Sequestration, 5-Day Delivery

Today at 10 a.m. on our Your Turn show we'll be talking with J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. It's the largest federal union and much of its membership is in the Defense Department. We'll get AFGE's take on sequestration, the likelihood of furloughs and what, if anything, can be done to minimize their impact.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., Federal Times senior writer Sean Reilly explains what impact the new appropriations bill could have on Pentagon furloughs, how agencies are handling sequestration, the status of Saturday mail delivery and how competing House and Senate budgets show drastically different attitudes toward feds.

Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at mcausey@federalnewsradio.com or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The state of Montana is set to legalize the consumption of roadkill. "It really is a sin to waste good meat," says Democratic State Senator Larry Jent. The practice is already legal in West Virginia and Illinois and has spawned the culinary subculture of "freeganism."

(Source: Christian Science Monitor)


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