This Week in National Insecurity: Big Gay Edition

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ablight/5144257731/sizes/l/in/photostream/">A. Blight/Flickr</a>

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Need a recharge, America? Take a break from Nancy Grace and Casey Anthony to consider the week that was in military madness. In this installment: Obama makes a big pro-gay military appointment, a soldier makes bad decisions with an inflatable girl, Al Qaeda is in stitches—literally—and Republicans want more money for Sousaphones.

The sitrep:

  • President Obama has appointed an openly gay West Point alumna to the military academy’s board of visitors. Brenda Sue Fulton graduated with the first class to admit women and served honorably as an Army signal officer. She also cofounded Knights Out, an LGBT alumni group, and she’s lent her support to gay and lesbian cadets. “West Point could implement repeal just fine without me,” she told the New York Times. “But if my appointment helps West Point send the message to young men and women that—whether you are male or female, straight or gay—if you are qualified to serve, you are welcome; if it does that, then I’ll be happy.” (Army Times/NYT)
  • An Army officer named Justin Dale Little Jim is facing burglary and destruction of property charges after he was found in the closet of a Manassas, Virginia, adult video store at 2:45 a.m., “attempting to have sexual relations with” a blowup doll. Authorities say they sent a police dog into the store, who led his handlers to Little Jim. Good…dog? (Army Times)
  • The Pentagon is asking Congress if it would mind shifting $5 billion in the defense budget so the military can buy more bombs. To replace all the bombs it’s used. In Libya. (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments)
  • If true, the terrorists’ plans for human bombs probably trump a new $48.2 million Pentagon contract with the maker of the “SET CounterBomber® system,” which “integrates radar and video to yield the first-ever system capable of automatically detecting suicide bombers at safe distances.” It does not, however, X-ray the target. (Battleland)
  • Remember when House Republicans said it was time to really cut government waste, and a Democrat actually cut waste by reducing the military’s half-billion-dollar budget for marching bands? Now, in an about-face, the House has restored funding. Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) says that military bands are a key factor in the patriotism “that keeps our soldiers’ hearts beating fast.” Geez, can’t they get the same effect with blowup dolls? (Military Times)

Front page image: M.V. Jantzen/Flickr

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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