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Public Eye



One of the most inspiring news bits of the week was of the $40,000 that local bartenders, waitstaff and other Concept Restaurant employees raised during a night of charity to raise money for New York firefighters. Last Thursday, more than 100 employees at MacKenzie's Chophouse, the Ritz Grill and the three Colorado Springs Old Chicago's restaurants donated all of their night's tips to the cause.

Sometimes it takes the worst of times to bring out the best in people. Sometimes, it's the other way around.


In the "what I really meant to say category," TV evangelist Jerry Falwell is still getting beat up for his ridiculous assertion that the liberals are to blame for the terrorist attacks on America.

This is what Falwell said:

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians... the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.' "

The next day, Falwell, with a straight face, insisted his on-air comments had been taken out of context.

So what did Falwell really mean, in context? The Village Voice has compiled some options. Here's a few:

"You know, I'm really high right now, so this may not make any sense, but ... (see above statement)."

"If an infinite number of monkeys typed on an infinite number of typewriters, one of them would write ... (see above statement)."

"I want to take a break from the grim events of this week and salute the brave people who've spent years making America a better and more tolerant place. Who's done this, who's helped this happen? Well, I'll tell you: ... (see above statement)."

Colorado Springs' own famous conservative commentator, Focus on the Family's James Dobson, had his own take on what Falwell actually meant to say. In a Sept. 20 interview with Tony Snow of Fox News Channel, Dobson, who has been highly critical of the same groups, said, "I think we ought to cut [Falwell] a little slack at this time because we all make mistakes.

"I think what he was trying to say is that the strength of this country is its commitment to ultimate values and beliefs. When a nation moves away from its core beliefs and begins to create a new value system as it goes along, it becomes weaker as a nation -- and all kinds of difficulty can come out of that."

During his Snow interview, the child psychologist urged a spirit of compassion and, yes, a "spirit of tolerance for the views of others."

Perhaps the crisis is bringing us a kinder, gentler Dobson.


KRDO Channel 13 briefly yanked the ABC late-night talk show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher off the air last week after Maher critically posed the question of who is more cowardly, terrorists or the U.S. government?

On Sept. 17, Maher suggested that the United States has acted cowardly by lobbing cruise missiles at targets halfway around the world. The comment resulted in Sears and FedEx pulling their sponsorships and, two nights later, Maher issued an on-air apology.

"In no way was I ever intending ... to say that the men and women who defend our nation in uniform are anything but courageous and valiant." Still, he said, "I am not unpatriotic to question how our government has handled this situation in the past."

"Patriotism does not involve shutting up; it involves speaking out."

Former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, who was one of the guests on that show, responded to Maher's statement. "I think you're dead right. Dissent is necessary." What we really need to do, Romer insisted, is to reduce the global level of hate.

KRDO joined 16 other ABC affiliates around the country in pulling the show, at least for one night. General Manager Neil Klockziem said after an undisclosed number of viewer complaints, management decided to pull the show on Friday, Sept. 21.

But then the station began to hear from people complaining because the show had been yanked. In a widely distributed e-mail, viewer L. M. P. McPherson accused KRDO of being un-American and anti-free speech and threatened an organized boycott against KRDO and its sponsors.

This week the station decided to run the show in the dead-of-night slot at 2 a.m., and will likely resume airing in its regular time slot of 11:35 p.m. beginning next week.

"It was an insensitive statement [Maher] made, and I don't think he was balanced," Klockziem said.

Of course, Maher -- and his guests -- have often made what could be construed as insensitive or unbalanced statements, hence the show's title.


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