Sunday, December 12, 2010

In The Land Of The Ridiculous

There are mornings when the best comedy on television is on the news. This week's milk through the nose moment came compliments of our head of homeland security, Janet Napolitano. Janet wants all of the country's best and brightest Wal-Mart shoppers on the lookout for terrorists in the aisles of their local discount superstore. And when one is spotted, one is to alert the specially trained, double secret ninja assassin Wal-Mart management team. Wait, WHAT? First of all, Ms. Napolitano, have you ever been to a Wal-Mart after dark? On second thought, have you ever been to a Wal-Mart at all? This is a place populated by the weird, the suspicious acting and the just plain crazy. This is where all aspects of society collide, where the normal and the abnormal rub elbows over low low discount prices and ultra cheap merchandise. We'd be better off looking for the meth makers buying large quantities of Sudafed or high school kids buying fifty bucks worth of stuff in an attempt to camouflage the box of condoms at the bottom of the pile. We're supposed to be putting our nation's safety and security in the hands of the Wal-Mart managers? That seems a bit like giving the nuclear missile codes to Barney Fife and any of the guys from "Jackass". "If you see something, say something." is the tag line for this undertaking...not quite as sexy as "just say no", but we'll take it. I'm having a hard time figuring out which of the suspicious people I'm supposed to be singling out here. I think the guy buying ammunition, bulk toilet paper and four cases of cheap beer might be a terrorist...oh wait, he's just going hunting. How about the woman with nine boxes of jello, an industrial size box of cereal and fourteen cans of hairspray? Wait, she's one of the "Jersey Shore" people. I can't decide who to turn in to the ninja assassin manager...let's report them ALL! That will make me more secure!

Speaking of security, the move to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" died this week, despite the Pentagon itself releasing a report saying, in effect, that the soldiers in the trenches only really care if the guy or gal next to them can shoot straight, not if they ARE straight. But the gays aren't going to be protecting us anytime soon (at least as far as we know), don't you sleep better at night knowing that? We're fast being left behind by other countries, some of which may surprise you:

(CNN) --Fact-Check: Would the U.S. be alone in allowing gays to openly serve in the military?

According to the Palm Center, a University of California, Santa Barbara-based think tank that studies controversial public policy issues:

-- Twenty-five countries allowed military service by openly gay people as of June 2009.

-- They are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

Bottom line: The United States would not be alone in allowing gays to openly serve in the military. As of 2009, there are no fewer than 25 other countries that follow an open policy.

CNN's Diana Holden and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux contributed to this fact check.

It seems to me these countries haven't imploded and it looks like they are doing okay. Let's follow Slovenia's example (wow, that's not something you hear every day!), shall we?

I watch the news daily, several times a day, and usually come away rather annoyed. The major news networks spent almost two full days on the fact that Prince William finally gave his girlfriend a ring. Are you seriously going to try and tell me that NOTHING else of relevance happened during that time? This is one of the pitfalls of the 24-hour news cycle, we must have something to talk about every minute of every day. No, we musn't. Our brains will not cease to function without a constant stream of information coming into them. I think the news channels should show a fish tank or waves rolling onto a beach unless there is really something of importance going on. I'm talking life changing, affecting us on a large scale kind of important, not what color of lipstick is hot this season. If I need to hoard water and canned goods, break into my aquarium video, otherwise, don't bother me, I'm watching the fish.

We've become addicted to information, it's like crack for us. Big news or small nuggets of information, we NEED it. CNN, MSNBC, Twitter, Facebook, and Reuters are our dealers. We've become like the serial daters we so loathed in highschool, flitting from one boy/girlfriend to the next without a breath in between, only we jump from information source to information source. Oh my gawd! We're media sluts! News tramps. Next thing you know, you're living in a cardboard box, selling pints of blood for a few minutes of wireless access from the coffee shop on the corner. You're breaking into your kids' computers for a quick hit of Twitter. You're hanging around wifi hot spots for a fix. But you tell yourself you can quit any time you want to, you don't have a problem, they don't understand! Wolf Blitzer has all the answers, he KNOWS.

Information overload? Maybe. But at least we KNOW. Time to go, I've been too long without CNN.