Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Wall Street Journal has published a story about right-wing radio racist Don Imus and his purported charity ranch:

Mr. Imus and his wife, Deirdre, opened the 4,000-acre ranch, nestled in the mesa country of northern New Mexico, in 1999 to help sick children. Dubbed the "Cowboy Taj Mahal" by locals, the complex has a 14,000-square-foot adobe mansion, swimming pool, billiard hall, herds of longhorn cattle, buffalo and sheep, and a replica of an 1880s mining town. Its stated mission is to give "children with severe illnesses an opportunity to experience the life of an American cowboy."


The inquiry follows a ruling in 2000 by the San Miguel County, N.M., assessor's office that the ranch shouldn't be granted a full tax exemption from local property taxes. In its decision, the county said that since the ranch hosts kids for only part of the year, and portions of the ranch are used for personal housing, only 55 percent of the ranch is exempt from property taxes. Imus complied with the ruling. The ranch retains its federal tax-exempt status.


It has five bedrooms for the children, a library, dining hall and great room complete with a Steinway grand piano. The Imuses' master-bedroom suite, positioned according to Chinese feng shui principles, features a screened-in sleeping porch overlooking a mesa and an outdoor shower designed to look like Aztec ruins.


The sessions can be tough: Staff say that during the summer, children sometimes work in 100-degree heat pulling weeds and shoveling horse muck. There are no televisions, videogames or CD players for the kids, and their day starts with chores at 6 a.m.

Deadwood meets Neverland, minus the f-word. Actually, it sounds more like a plantation than the historical West. I can't imagine anything a dying kid would enjoy less than cleaning up an elderly Republican's shit.

I'm sure NBC will be all over this.

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