This morning on my ride into work, I was listening to New Jersey 101.5. "But Tami," you may ask, "why?". Well, I usually listen to WPLJ, but this morning they were playing a "phone scam", and I hate those. It bothers the hell out of me when a radio show will call someone just to trick them, and I hate that people find that funny. I understand situational humor, and if I was watching that kind of scenario in a sitcom, I'd probably laugh along with everyone else. When I know that the outraged person isn't in on it, though, when I know that they're really *feeling* that anger, and not just pretending for comedic effect, well, it makes me feel all squirmy inside.
So, I switched to the classic rock station, because the iPod wasn't hooked up (and this reminds me that I left it in the car. Now I have to go down to the garage and get it, nuts), but they were playing commercials, and i have a short attention span. So, I flipped over to 101.5. I listen to them fairly often, knowing that almost always I will disagree with whatever host is on the air, but hearing discussions on local issues is never a bad thing, right? I figure I must be getting something out of it.
Today Jim Gearhart was talking about illegal immigrants, and the fact that banks are now working with the IRS to give mortgage loans to illegal immigrants (also here).
I was cool with this, I hadn't heard about the topic before, and I'm not really sure where I stand on the whole illegal immigration thing. Like everything else, I find that I'm a shade of grey. I'm against people coming here illegally and living without ID so that they can fade into the background and never get caught in their drug trafficking business. I'm against the person who lives here without papers because they committed a terrible crime in another country, even if they're harming no one now that they're here. I'm *not* against people who flee a bad situation the only way that they know how, because getting papers is almost impossible for them in their native lands, if those people enter into the immigration process upon arrival. Or even if they don't, out of fear, I'm still not against them if they're just people seeking a better life. And I'm sure there's a million levels of people in between the extremes, and I'd only give my opinion on them case-by-case. You can't lump people into a giant block like that, it's almost never true.
I was surprised how little the host was saying to contribute to the conversation. It was as if the callers were filling him in on stuff he'd never heard before. That was pretty surprising. I learned a lot of the stuff I know about this by watching cop shows and movies. Does no one watch TV any more?
OK, complete and total derailment (if you want to keep your train of thought, skip this): a woman in her 60's told me that her husband had tried to help out by doing the laundry, but had mixed the colors and the whites, and now all of his underwear was a lovely blush pink. He's in his 60's! Did the man never watch a sitcom in his whole life?! Surely Peter Brady should have taught him that lesson 30 years ago! How the &*!#$^ hell did this woman never show her husband how to separate laundry - EVER - in the 40-some years they've been married?!
Back to the show. Callers were calling in, talking about how they know people who had jobs where they paid taxes, but couldn't get refunds because they were illegals, how some illegals become legals, how our economy would crash without illegals, because they do jobs that other people don't want, and finally, I was close to work, so I listened to one last call.
It was a caller talking about how much money the hospitals of New Jersey have to put out yearly to care for illegal immigrants. He claimed it was projected at $200,000,000 for this year. He stated that illegals are paying taxes, but those taxes aren't being used to pay for the services that they use (now that I'm thinking about it, this isn't making a lot of sense). He finished up with the line, "The government is getting fat".
Jim Gearhart ended the call with his response, "Yeah, but who's the government? It used to be us."
What? What the hell does that mean?