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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It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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