And Now, The News

Once in awhile, I like to prove to the world that I pay a lot of attention to what I hear on Morning Edition and to what I see on my Yahoo homepage.

In general, the news troubles me greatly.
I find that there aren't many people who hear something and then think about it, without parroting what they've heard before or without acknowledging the source from whence they heard their analysis.
It's cool to agree, but show up that you're agreeing, not that you thought of your commentary all by yourself, yo.

So today, I want to address some of what I think about what I've heard in the news.

1. Fannie Mae. The largest private lender in the world was cooking the books so that it looked like they were making more money, which would then allow them to borrow more money that they could turn around and lend to mortgage vendors, or use to purchase home loans.
I heard on Marketplace that Fannie Mae is second in size, only to the US Government and that there really wasn't any reason for them to be applying fraudulent accounting because they were making huge amounts of money and doing quite well.
I think I know why they did it, though, and I am waiting with baited breath for the Department of Justice to make the connection.
Sallie Mae. This is the evil, devil company that purchases every student loan it can find and then uses nothing short of extortion to make its borrowers pay back loans on a non-negotiable schedule. If you have a loan with Sallie Mae and you can't meet what the company says you have to pay, you are forced into forbearance. They will not look at your true-life ratio.
They also raise your payment without notification.
So Sallie Mae traps people in a credit catch-22. When those people are ready to buy a house and they have credit stumbles related to their student loans, guess who doesn't care?
Fannie Mae.
So you're conceivably stuck paying one of these two companies for the REST of your LIFE, if you are educated and a home-owner.
That's monopoly, DOJ, come and get it.
And sign me up for the civil suit that is someday going to bring that bitch Sallie Mae to her bloody and bruised knees.

2. Saudi Arabia. After 911, the US thought that the Saudis needed to change their school curriculum to remove the parts that tell the kids to hate Jews and Christians and all other non-believers.
The US
Saudi Arabia.
USA (Standing with hands on her athletic hips and smelling slightly of Secret deodorant and the new Extra watermelon gum) "Saudi Arabia, you have to change your entire classroom curriculum NOW."
Saudi Arabia (Sitting on the couch with his feet on the coffee table, his Gucci loafers dripping oil onto the sisal rug that the US got at Target): "Ok babe." He lights a Parliament with a hundred dollar bill, careful not to ash in the oil.
Two Years Later.
US (She's cut her hair off and dyed it honey blond with lots of lowlights, and she's gotten a part-time job, so she doesn't get to work out as much. But she's still cute.): "I KNOW you didn't change the curriculum of your classrooms to take out the hate language. You HAVE to do it because I said you have to and when I say you have to do something, you have to and if I SAY that because is a reason, then BECAUSE is totally a good reason because I said so. Quit smoking in here, GOD."
Saudi Arabia (Who hasn't moved and hasn't changed, except to get new Gucci loafers): "Baby, I changed. I said 'HATE the Jews and Christians but you don't HAVE to HURT the Jews and Christians to be a good Saudi.' I made my changes for you." He thinks of Hummers - both kinds, and looks at her as she stands wide-eyed and waiting, ignoring the oil he tracked all over the floor and ignoring the oil she has in her own Alaska. "Baby..... these things take time. I have to rewrite all the textbooks for all the grades of all the schools and that takes so much money, so much time. I'm trying. I'm trying for you."
She looks at him, searchingly, and understands that something doesn't sound right. She knows she needs him, wants him even. But why? Why Saudi Arabia? And why does she almost believe him.... but not quite.
Annnnnnnnnnd scene.
Bitch, please.
What the hell is going on? I used to be all, "global economy, save the environment, blah blah blah."
Fuck it.
I trust that technology will preserve the Alaskan wilderness. I trust that if we move toward a lessened reliance on fossil fuels, that by the time we really are out of oil in this country, we won't need them.
Time marches on, mother-fuckers. We're here, in a bad place as far as energy is concerned. It's been coming on for years and had we been one tenth as vigilant about it as we are about 6 Indonesians dying of seemingly human-to-human bird flu, then maybe we wouldn't need to make some of the compromises of our own reserves that I think it's time we commit to making.
But what's commitment in a country where the divorce rate is 50%, and that's not a fact I checked.
What's commitment in a place where people spend two or three years at a job and never learn how to deal with hard things, never learn to trust that it's all going to be okay and it's not personal against you?
What's commitment in this country? It's a beautiful thing to not be committed, and I obviously embrace my indecisive and skittish nature but I HATE how far the rhetoric is from the reality. If someone is going to spew to me about policy and nature and hybrid and commitment, then that person better be ready when I point out where what they are preaching doesn't match what they're doing.

Commit to dealing with dependency on foreign oil or deal with the fact that you are working with another entity and you have to make some compromises and suck some oily dick to get what you think you need in life. There's no free lunch - it's an economic principal and it applies over all areas of life.
You can not expect that you can tell another country how to fucking teach their kids.

3. The oil companies. These companies are making record profit, quarter after quarter. How is this possible? Americans aren't buying more fuel. I hear that the price of crude oil is up to a new record and then I go to gas up the Bitchin' Honda and the total on my debit card is mind-blowing. If the price at the pump is up and the price of crude is up, then the ratio doesn't change for the company producing the product.
Where an oil company used to but at X and sell at X, now they buy at Y and sell at Y.
But somehow, Y is so much bigger than X that massive gains in profit have been created when really, the profit should be steady, at least in terms of percentage. For there to be huge profit, there would have to be a change to the step between "buy barrel of oil" and "sell gas at Circle K".
They buy crude, distribute the gas, and we buy the gas at Circle K.
How are they making record profits? Did it suddenly become cheaper to make and send gas and they are saving money in the distribution part of the equation?
They are passing the increased cost of crude on to the consumer, I get that. Who wouldn't pass that on? If it costs a supplier more to get the bulk product, then the consumer will pay more to get the individual serving.
This is not a riddle.
This is real. What the hell else is being passed onto me in my Bitchin' Honda, who, FYI, is also posting some records - record debits from my checking account that can be traced back to Circle K.
X and Y should mean nothing more than the prifts going up by the percentage of the difference between X and Y. This seems pretty simple to me and so when I hear about record profits from oil companies, I feel CHEATED.

4. Cheated like immigrant workers who come to this country because they can make 2 or 4 dollars an hour in a clean house, or in a safe orchard. People cross the Sonoran desert so they can work for the very people who want to deny them citizenship and in the most extreme point of view, force deportation.
Let them do it, I say.
Let them make the border more of a military zone than it already is, and before you scoff me for that, remember that I live forty minutes from the border and that in my town, people are on trial for giving water to would-be immigrants who had probably paid a whole lot of money to some mobster-like criminal, followed said-criminal's directions to get across a pretty unforgiving desert, and who came here to get a below-minimum wage job.
The kind of job that this country has become dependent upon immigrants to do because Americans won't work for so little money.
So we give the immigrants the heave-ho?
I believe that the economic repercussions have not been fully considered of doing that. Who's going to plant and care for lawns? Who's going to build houses? Sand floors? Care for babies?
People don't understand that a lot of employers try to get American workers but that they are unwilling to scrape by on minimal profit and so they decide, or Americans who won't work for them decide, that hiring a ready and willing illegal crew is better than nothing.
And it is.
Namoli pointed out that "wouldn't this country be better served by a population of people who PAY to come here and who sometimes risk their LIVES to get here and who clearly WANT to be here and WANT to be working here?"
And I agree. The old, "This country is made of immigrants - you were an an immigrant" is a wasted argument to me and those people need to shut it. This isn't the eighties.
Anyone with half a brain can see the economy of immigration and how it has become crucial to some of the booming industries in America, including organic farming and new housing. I don't care who immigrated and when they did so, I truly don't. How is that important in the current debate? It's not - it's not even remotely a part of the discourse.
So do I want to hear even more helicopters and even more stories on my local news about gunfire in the desert and about Marines accidentally shooting farmers in Three Points?
Do I want housing and landscaping and nannies to become out of my financial reach?
Hell no.
But do I believe that sometimes you have to hit bottom before you start to climb back to the top?

I believe it with all my heart and I do believe that the next couple of years will be bottom but that sometime in the years after the Bad Years, this country will rise up to be the Target-shopping, french-fry guzzling, Olestra-inventing, budget-balancing, hip-hop-loving, Just Do It country that I loved so very much during the ninties,
or, as I like to say,
The Greatest Decade, EVER.

Also, when I get arrested for this, Chelsea, I totally trust that you and Namoli will figure out what to do to find good homes for my menagerie. I think my mom would love to have Rosie, even though she doesn't know that yet. Just force it, it's cool. Rosie has the kind of responsive nature and intelligence that my mom lives for in her pets.
Her cat is getting old, so the timing might be just right.
As for G-Love and Maggie Sauce, I'd prefer that they stay together and I have a huge cat-loving family, so just scroll through my cell phone and call the numbers that the NSA doesn't delete until you find someone who will take the girls to a home where they can kill things all day and still sleep inside at night.
They like that.

And now, a moment of silence for Agnes. May she be running around and chewing whatever she wants to chew, waiting for her reunion with Wendy in whatever form it comes.
She knows how much she was loved.

arizonasarah at 7:54 a.m.

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