American Culture

Real News terminated by Arnold coverage

by Jane Briggs-Bunting

Who cares about Arnold?? I feel very sorry for Maria Shriver and most sorry for all the children involved in the mess, but it shouldn’t be dominating the national news. Adultery, sadly, occurs frequently. Shriver is not the first nor will she be the last cuckolded spouse.

But there is real news going on all over the planet that is getting less coverage as the media hounds the other woman, Arnold himself (who cares about him anyway? He’s a former and future actor who used to be governor of financially broke California).

I did care about the arrest of International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, just until he stepped down overnight. Now he is no longer running the IMF he is unimportant except for what it says about what he’s seemingly gotten away with as an alleged sexual predator for years.

I do care about real news–like what is going on in Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, India and Syria. What about the Israelis and the Palestinians? Japan is still teetering in its post-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown crisis.

Then on the domestic front there is the drought-starved southwestern states, including Texas, where the parched earth has cracks in it. I was in Houston last week and saw it firsthand. The flooding spillways along the Mississippi that are costing millions of dollars to farmers and residents there, and the soggy Great Lakes and northeast states. Local cows and livestock may just be growing webs on their hooves. Denver had hail and the Rockies more snow. Mother Nature must be really ticked.

Then there’s that little matter of the debt ceiling that we’ve reached that is a lot more dangerous to our very survival than Osama bin Laden ever was. Congress dithers and plays politics. The Bi-Partisan Report was DOA, and it looks like the so-called Congressional Gang of Six is losing members, and the tough choices and sacrifices to address the deficit will be DOA, as well. Cha-chang as the deficit grows ever larger.

On the local front an area district is contemplating  year-long school and an end to the extended, 19th Century throwback of summer vacation.  Good for that superintendent, though the teacher’s union is not thrilled and neither are some parents or kids. Test scores (which admittedly are not without flaws) show many U.S. students lagging (especially in math and science)  behind their foreign counterparts, who have longer schools days, more school days and lots of (gasp!) homework. I won’t get into reading, history or geography and other subjects. Back in December, the AP reported that of 34 countries, the United States ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math according to 2009 test results. Those scores were higher than in 2003 and 2006, but they were still far behind the highest scoring countries that included South Korea, Finland, parts of China and our neighbors to the north.

There’s LinkedIn’s IPO, Apple going to the cloud, the near-collision at busy Chicago O’Hare, the drop in mortgage foreclosures while unemployment remains dreadfully high…still.

But what’s trending? The domestic turmoil of Arnold. Terminate it!

Arnold ‘toon by Paul Szep.