The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 19, 1990 · 2
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The Gazette from Cedar Rapids, Iowa · 2

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Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Issue Date:
Monday, March 19, 1990
Page:
2
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mSMM nST nmmmmmSSB Controversy comes toWMT with a Rush f sk Rick Sellers about Rush Limbaugh, and Sellers chooses his words ' carefully. Sellers is vice president for operations and programming at WMT, a pillar of traditional AM radio in East Iowa. Limbaugh is a talk-show host whose lambasting of liberal icons, peppered with innuendo and double entendre, has made him one of radio's most controversial figures. Yet there on WMT, from two - to four every weekday afternoon nestled amid the recipe exchanges and weather commentary, is this guy who accompanied news about AIDS with a recording of Gene Autry's "Back in the Saddle - Again," and refuses to refer to Michael Dukakis as anything except "The Loser." It isn't what the WMT faithful are accustomed to hearing. The initial reaction to the station's decision to carry the Limbaugh show on a trial basis was 90 ' 1 percent negative. That was predictable, and Sellers had a response ready. The idea, he says, is that WMT is a broadcast "cafeteria" offering different programs for different tastes. "I think in a lot of people's minds we're a friend," he said. "And that's what we want to be. But sometimes you challenge your friends, you disagree with your friends. So, yes, we're challenging our friends with Rush. "I want WMT to be a comfortable shoe," he added, "but I don't want it to be a comfortable old shoe." ' The mail since Limbaugh's show actually went on the air here has been predominantly favorable and that, too, was predictable. At virtually all of the more than 200 stations that carry his show, initial negative reaction to Limbaugh gradually turned to support. The reason for that becomes clearer the more one listens. CONTINUED EXPOSURE makes it obvious Limbaugh's style is aimed more at having fun with his political views than converting others to them. It's a difficult style to describe because it depends so heavily on the host's delivery. It is easier to say what it is not: It is not mean-spirited, argumentative, or anything remotely resembling Morton Downey Jr. What you get is exaggerated pomposity when Limbaugh cites yet another reason why he is "the best radio talk show host in America;" incredulous outrage when a caller tells of fifth graders forced by their teachers to boycott a school cafeteria that uses styrofoam plates; heavy sarcasm about the effort to ban furs in Aspen. The show is' built on political satire and parody including a healthy dose of self-parody that . can bring a grudging chuckle from listeners who disagree with the words but enjoy the presentation. Limbaugh is best known for . his numerous "updates," snippets of real news items he picks to illustrate extreme or ridiculous aspects of his pet targets. Each update has its own theme song. For the Barney Frank Update it's "My Boy Lollipop." The Feminist Update anthem is Sandy Posey's "Born a Woman." Other updates address the homeless, lesbians, animal , rights and AIDS. In addition to "Back in the Saddle," Limbaugh has introduced AIDS news by playing "Kiss Him Goodbye," "I Know I'll Never Love This Way Again" and "Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places." - Which gets to the heart of the question about Rush Limbaugh: Are these really suitable subjects for needling? DEFENDERS and fans who aren't necessarily the same people say what Limbaugh is doing isn't unusual in show business. Wfea's unusual is that instead of ridiculing gun nuts or hypocritical TV preachers, he's heaping scorn on individuals and institutions usually exempt from such treatment. He is controversial, they say, only in a society where someone who pokes fun at unorthodox religious beliefs is a sophisticate while someone who pokes fun at unorthodox sexual preferences is a bigot. There is also, of course, the question of taste. AIDS isn't funny. But Limbaugh doesn't claim it is. . "The AIDS update is, as is everything I do, politically oriented and based upon my reaction to what I consider to be extremism in the political mainstream by a group of people," Limbaugh said in a recent telephone interview. He said his target is not AIDS victims but militant homosexuals who blame church and government officials for the epidemic, a practice he finds "outrageous." "It's a behaviorially spread disease and they attempt to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the actions they've taken (then) suggest people who disagree with them get banned from television, like Andy Rooney," he said. "So The AIDS update is meant to offend them. Damn right. " He's walking a thin line there and on other subjects, a line he occasionally crosses. The question is whether people find that acceptable in the context of the show, and apparently a good many do. "I got a letter yesterday," said WMT's Sellers, "from a person ' who said 'please tear up the -letter I wrote saying I would never listen again to WMT.' "She said she still didn't agree with anything he said, but she liked to listen and let her thought processes be stirred." Mike Deupree's column appears Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays in The Gazette. SiippoiHteirs won't cjji nip cmd Ellis Thieves dressed as police heist art BOSTON (AP) Thieves dressed in police uniforms stole 11 paintings including works by Rembrandt, Degas, Manet and Vermeer as well as other priceless objects from a leading museum, FBI and museum officials said Sunday. The valu& of the objects wasn't known, said Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum spokesman Co rey Cronin. The thieves apparently entered the museum late Saturday night or early Sunday. The thieves convinced the museum's two security guards they were police, and entered the building unhindered, he said. Cronin said the works were part of the museum's permanent collection dating from the last century. The Cedar Rapids Gazette (USPS 095680) Established in 1883 by The Gazette Company and published daily and Sunday at 500 Third Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401. Second Class postage paid at Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Subscription rates by Carrier $2.85 per week. Motor Route delivery $3.35 per week. By mail: Morning Editions and Sunday, 7 issues, $12.80 for 4 weeks; $141.40 for 52 weeks. Other States and U.S. Territories, $ 197.60 for 52 weeks. No mail subscriptions accepted in areas having Gazette carrier service. The Associated Press is entitled exclusively to the use for republication of all the local news printed in this newspaper as well as all AP news dispatches. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CEDAR RAPIDS GAZETTE, INC., P.O. Box 511, Cedar Rapids, la 52406. 100 people confront officials over closing By Jeff Burnham Gazette staff writer Charging "we feel left out," a loose-knit group on Sunday vowed to fight to keep the Ellis YMCA from closing. About 100 supporters of the facility confronted YMCA officials during a meeting Sunday at the Ellis Y, 1501 Ellis Blvd. NW. It was unclear what the supporters will do next, though they promised to circulate a petition in favor of the site and present it to YMCA officials. Those officials scheduled the meeting to field questions on last week's vote by Metropolitan YMCA board members to close the Ellis site. Aging facilities and tight budgets were cited. Sunday's informal meeting often became a free-for-all as YMCA officials were blasted from a variety of fronts including an apparent mistake about the Ellis site's age. In a letter to members last week, Metro YMCA Executive Director Tim Pendergrast wrote that "the Ellis building is more than 80 ; years old and requires major mechanical and structural renovation." Several people pointed out that the building was constructed in the 1950s. "There is not one damn board here that is 80 years old," said Larry Larson, whose mother worked at the site for more than 30 years. YMCA officials also were accused of failing to include members in the decision-making process. "Where does a board of directors have the right to decide what the community wants?" asked Lila Thompson, whose father led the drive to build the Ellis facility in the 1950s. One man asked, "If there were monetary problems, why weren't they brought up before so we could try to work something out?" - - Thompson was among many who suggested that Ellis site members could stage a fund ' drive if money is tight, "Let us help you raise the money to keep the facility going, and everyone will be happy," she said. .. .1.... But Pendergrast indicated that saving the facility is easier said than done. The site is in immediate need of about $300,000 in repairs, he said. "That one-time amount would be good for a while, but you'd have to raise more money than has been raised in the past 15 years to keep it going," Pendergrast added. In explaining the decision to close, Pendergrast said the YMCA "simply cannot afford five sites in the community." Asked why the board chose to close the Ellis site instead of others, Pendergrast said the facility is nearly 40 years old, an age which national YMCA officials believe is about the maximum life span for a site. "How much sense would it make to put $300,000 into this building," he asked. One person responded, "A lot of sense if you really love it!" Several people asked whether the board would reverse its decision. Pendergrast responded that "the board is always willing to reconsider a vote." He acknowledged that building a new facility is in the YMCA's long-range plan because a new facility would be cheaper than maintaining and upgrading all current facilities. Should the Ellis site be closed, Pendergrast said, members could go to any of the Y's other sites including the Central YMCA, about two miles from the Ellis site. But several people said that would be a problem for many, especially teen-agers and elderly members. ........... U.S. children more at risk, study finds WASHINGTON American children frequently are more at risk on a wide variety of social, economic and health problems than their counterparts in other major industrialized countries, according to a congressional report made public Sunday. The study, conducted by the Census Bureau for the House Committee on Children, Youth and Families, said America "lags behind" its major competitors in the health and well-being of its children, even though it has the knowledge and ability to ensure them better lives. The detailed document was designed to set the stage for a hearing on children's health issues worldwide that the panel has slated for Tuesday. It compared the well-being of U.S. children with those in Europe, Japan, Canada, the Soviet Union, Australia and New Zealand. The report did not attempt to explain the causes for the disparity between the United States and the other countries. "It raises more questions than it answers," Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the panel's chairman, conceded. Nevertheless, Miller said that the document "provides for the first time a common frame of reference for discussing policies and practices that might lead to better outcomes for children." "The time has come to thoughtfully consider the practices of our neighbors, who in many important areas show better health and economic outcomes for their children and families, despite their-smaller gross national product," he said. The study estimated there now are 2.8 billion children and youths around the world about 52 percent of the global population. Asian youths account for 61 percent of the total; Africa and Latin America, 25 percent; and Europe, North America and the Soviet Union, 14 percent. 4 , ' ' L 4 I J ' " 7 AP photo It rained cats and . . Johnny Spiliano retrieves his sister's dogs, Tippy and Sue, from a flooded yard last week in Carrollton, Texas. Thunderstorms caused flash flooding in several areas of north Texas. 1 Millionaire's proteges move on to college NEW YORK (AP) - Thanks to Eugene Lang's impulsive promise at a grade-school graduation, 90 percent of the Class of 1981 at East Harlem's P.S. 121 now has graduated from high school. , Half have gone on to Bard, Swarthmore, Barnard and other universities, spurred by the millionaire's vow to pay the college tuition of each of the 61 students if they got high school diplomas. And around the country, others have copied Lang's largesse. Lang doesn't take credit for the inroads made by his young proteges. Their own hard work and dedication brought them this far, he. says. But like a proud grandfather, he brags about what they've accomplished. "I fully expect two:thirds of the class to complete at least two years of college," he says. In 1981', he said, "I asked the principal of the school how many of these kids would go to college, and he told me maybe one." The avuncular Lane wasn't always so upbeat. At a 1985 lunch with Harlem social worker Dorothy Stoneman, Lang recalls bemoaning what he saw as a lack of progress: smart-aleck truants, apathetic parents, uninterested students. "You don't know how to look," Stoneman interrupted. "Dammit, Gene, wake up don't you realize that every one of your kids is still in school?" It was true. The track record of Lang's kids was phenomenal in a neighborhood where one in every two students drops out. Stoneman's dressing-down left the millionaire entrepreneur feeling terrific. He decided to parlay his impulsive personal adventure into a national program, the I Have a Dreart. Foundation. At latest count,130 sponsors in 32 cities are backing more than 8,000 dreamers. Meteor likely produced 'flash' By Jeff Burnham Gazette staff writer Saturday's spectacular Midwestern sky show of lights probably was the result of a meteor no larger than a couple of pounds, a University of Iowa astronomer says. "You don't need something miles in diameter to make a spectacular show," astronomy Professor Steve Spangler said. "If it were miles in diameter, the effects would be catastrophic." Between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday, hundreds of Midwesterners reported seeing an unknown object flash across the sky. The lights were described variously as white streaks, flashing lights or a fireball. The spectacle was seen as far south as Arkansas, as far east as Peoria, 111., as far north as Waterloo and as far west as Des Moines. No reports of anything striking the ground were made and no additional sightings were reported Sunday. Law agencies across Eastern Iowa fielded dozens of calls about the flash, including Cedar Rapids police and sheriffs departments in Buchanan, Linn, Johnson, Muscatine and Louisa counties. Included was a rurjal Marion woman who feared that an airplane had crashed near her home and called firefighters. Spangler said it's common for meteors to give the illusion that they're nearby even though they enter the atmosphere at heights of 40 miles and up. ; The illusion of closeness is aided by the bright flash created when meteors actually pieces of rock from outer space enter the Earth's atmosphere, he said. "People see that flash and figure it's so bright it can't be very far away," Spangler added. ' Meteor sightings are periodic, he noted, with more coming when the Earth passes through sections of its orbit where debris from comets is more common. One of the more spectacular meteors in Eastern Iowa fell in and around Marion about 1850, . Spangler said. ti v ' ,yi ' "You could have a profitable career in real estate." Call today for a free ofie hour discussion. We will discuss license procedure, costs, training, and income. The object will be to help you determine if a career in real estate is right for you. No commitment asked for. 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