Close your eyes and imagine you are living in a tent city in Iraq or on the Gulf Coast. You haven't seen a television news broadcast in a long time. You think people might be worried about you and concerned that you are still living in a tent, but you can't be sure. All of a sudden, a television appears. You anxiously await the news about the war being over or someone finally making your insurance company pay you for the home you lost in Hurricane Katrina. Surely, since this is the good old U. S. of A., someone is on your side and watching out for you. You wait and you wait and you wait, until you finally realize ... Donald Trump let Miss USA Tara Conner keep her crown! Yessir! For several hours you get to watch the news about this. The tearful beauty queen who got caught running around New York City allegedly drinking the night away illegally, snorting coke, making out with a Miss Teen USA, and humping it up with some of the Big Apple's finest men. There's the press conference where "The Donald" tells her she's not fired. There are cameras and news people everywhere. All stations are fixated on it. The debate rages. Some think she should be de-crowned. Some think she should be given a second chance. Race even comes into play because the runner-up is African-American and would have assumed the role as the reigning beauty queen if the Donald had said to Conner, "You're fired!" in that cute way he does on his reality television show. Some think if the races had been reversed, so would have the Donald's decision. The debate escalates as the news is announced that the party-girl beauty queen, who is supposed to be an example to all young women in America her age because she won a beauty pageant, is going to enter drug and alcohol rehab. Whoa! The media are now in a full-fledged frenzy, wondering if this is just another celebrity going in to dry out because her behavior wasn't up to par. Is this another Mel Gibson trying to sell his movies by repenting in rehab for saying nasty things about Jews? Is this another Representative Mark Foley crying in his nonalcoholic beer about sending inappropriate e-mails to young male pages? Is this another Lindsay Lohan joining AA and trying to keep her career (at whatever it is she does) from going down the toilet? Should the beauty queen be given a second chance because she is from a little town in Kentucky and she bit off more of the Big Apple than she could chew? Is she still "finding herself" at 20? Heavens! What will become of her? Will she get the right kind of help that young women from small towns in Kentucky need when they snort too much cocaine and kiss other women 'cause the big city done made 'em get the big head? That's what the women in the beauty shop in Conner's home town were talking about when the network swiftly dispatched a reporter down there to get the town's sentiment on tape so you, yes you in your tent on the Gulf Coast with no home, can keep up to date on this! Now aren't you glad you finally got that television? And we wonder why the rest of the world thinks America is nuts. This being the last Rant of 2006, I just wanted to make sure that everyone is staying in the know about the important things in life. You know, beauty queens and all. I just hope she doesn't try to marry that Miss Teen USA she was making out with, because then we would have to have more raging debate about Gay Beauty Queen Marriage! Although, come to think of it, that might not be bad. It certainly couldn't be any worse than the debate has already been. Unless, of course, Mary Cheney wants to marry the woman with whom she is having a baby and her dad "The Dick" gets involved. I see big things for 2007. Keep your eyes and ears open!