Sunday, April 10, 2005


I’ve been mean-spirited once or twice (or more). But it’s not a regular part of my makeup. I get upset when I see that trait in others. I especially get upset when people I admire get trashed by mean-spirited people.

In other places in this blog I’ve expressed my distaste for Rush Limbaugh having allowed a caller to allege that John McCain collaborated with his captors while he was a POW. That was and is unforgivable, especially from a spectacularly non-combatant lard ass.

In the same vein, I came to admire Annie Potts as an actress. I didn’t pay much attention to her when she was a regular on Designing Women. Then I took notice when she played the cute secretary with the Brooklyn accent in both Ghost Buster movies. Then she played a sexy love interest with skimpy, skimpy costumes in Who’s Harry Crumb and my eyes were wide open.
When I saw she was going to be guest on The Dave Letterman Show I set my VCR. I was interested to know what she ‘was really like.’

The interview was a complete disaster. Letterman dissed her as I had never seen a guest on a talk show dissed. She came out in a mini-skirt, displaying a cute body, looking sexy as hell, and Letterman totally disrespected and disparaged her. He didn’t even pretend to carry on a normal interview.

I would guess there was some history there, but there was no excuse for that. He has been on my shit list ever since.

Which brings me to Don Imus. This is a man so mean-spirited it is laughable. A heavy drug user in the past and an alcoholic, his radio show seldom breaks into the top 20 in any market. Why do I listen? His two side-kicks are extremely gifted writers and comics. Imus is a good interviewer. And, as I said, when his mean-spiritness comes out, it is laughable.

For me it is a love-hate relationship. I enjoy the show but it would give me pleasure if he got cancelled.

When I first heard about his “charity,” the numbers involved surprised me.

His “ranch” for children afflicted with cancer would house 10 children.

Construction costs were $20 million. Almost all donated by his listeners.

That would mean start-up costs for the facility were $2 million per child.

That seems excessive but it gets worse. The children stay at the ranch only 90 days a year or about a quarter of the year. That means at average, there would be 2.5 children on the ranch. Put that way, the start-up costs amounted to $8 million per child.

On top of that, during the year, it costs about $3,000 per night per child to house the cancer victims.

That is $3,000 per child per night! Amazing.

Oh, and did I mention, Imus also built plush living quarters for his family at the ranch? And also a radio and TV studio so he could broadcast from the ranch?

I am reminded of a Monty Python sketch in which someone is trying to explain “charity” to a wealthy financier. In the end the rich guy cannot even understand the concept of putting out money and not getting anything back, let alone not making a profit on it.

I’m sure what Imus has done is perfectly legal. I’m sure he had lawyers look it over carefully. Give the guy credit, he found a loophole in the law and used it to benefit himself at the expense of more worthwhile charities.

That’s a loophole that should be closed. For 10 children he had start-up costs of $20 million and expenses of $3,000 per night per child. What’s to stop someone from having start-up costs of $100 million and expenses of $50.000 per night per kid, all under the guise of charity?

We need a law here. There has to be a limit. A higher proportion of “charity” money has to go to benefit the target recipients. No benefits should go to the sponsor.

They can call it “The Imus Law.” That would be fitting.


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