News Junkies

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Even for diehard news junkies, it's getting hard, and sometimes depressing, these days to keep all the storylines straight.

There are people who say it's gotten so bad their outlook only brightens when they shove aside the morning paper and turn from TV news to, say, an old movie.

Tonight, in Tom's Corner, Tom Van Howe concedes that news has gotten a bit hard to take, and has a way to cope.


Here we are only three weeks into the new year and I feel like I'm on overload.

I think I started going catatonic a few days ago when some talking heads started talking about who the Presidential candidates would be four years from now.

Really? Does anybody care in these days after his inauguration who might try to replace President Barack Obama four years from now?

And then a friend of mine said to me: "I'll tell you...I've been a news freak all my life. A total freak; and what do I have to show for it? I hate to say it, but...nothing. All that effort, all that interest, and worry, and time invested, and I haven't helped change one darn thing. I know a lot, but what do I do with it?"

I don't know.

I know what he's talking about. I get it. It's tough.

And then last night, I got an e-mail from a spiritual leader, a woman, a long-time friend, who always seemed to have an even-handed handle on just about everything.

"My desire to be well-informed," she wrote, "is at odds with my desire to be sane."


Maybe its 24-hour news machine overload. Maybe it's that try as we might, these days, the issues are so complex we really don't understand them except vaguely.

Like the whys and wherefores of universal health care. How it'll work, or if it'll work at all. Either way it'll be without me quite understanding why.

How can the NRA fight universal background checks on people who want to buy guns. What can be so sinister about learning a little more about this guy who wants to buy that revolver or that guy who wants to buy this assault rifle?

No one I've heard so farno onehas said anything about wanting to circumvent the second amendment.

No one wants to take your rifle, your shotgun, or your handgun. No one, believe me, no one is going to force your son to marry a gay Muslim.

It's true the people who live in the beltway of Washington, D.C. don't really get it.

If they did would they spend tens of millions on the President's inauguration celebration? Some reports have it at more than a hundred million dollars.

The first lady's gowns for the event and the ball are said to have cost $20,000.

The median income in this country right now is $26,000 dollars. One suspects even the Romneys wouldn't be so clueless. The Obamas just out-Romneyed the Romneys.

What's wrong with more and more states, including Michigan, spending morea lot moreon locking people up than on education?

How did Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell become millionaires as public servants?

When did politics become a dirty competition between parties instead of leadership and consensus for the people?

Why can't somebody fix our tax code to get rid of loopholes for the rich and make it simple enough that I don't have to get professional help to file a tax form?

I don't care that Michelle Obama had bangs. I don't care that Beyonce lip-synched, although Carrie Underwood and James Taylor didn't.

I do care that corporations were allowed to give unlimited donations to help pay for the inaugural parties. Not that they're trying to buy future favors or anything.

News junkies keep up on everything. And they're starting to wonder why. All it does is get in the way of their sanity.

But...know what? Somebody has got to do it. And as with anything, ya gotta learn which stuff you can pitch and which stuff you ought to hang on to. The important stuff has a way of rising to the top. Let the rest go.

We have elections every two years, and each and every time an educated citizenry is what makes us who we are. We, who can't help but read and watch all we can have just got to hang on, know that, some way...something will happen to make us all profoundly glad that we did.

In this corner...Oh...and you know what else...conversations are better.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.