Let’s take a look inside some numbers in the news

— 10: Number of months until smoking is prohibited in
Maryland “indoor” bars and restaurants.

— Three: Years businesses are allowed by law to seek
financial hardship compensation from the state as a direct result of the
smoking ban.

— Four: Number of witnesses reporting to police they
heard the man who jumped a median, struck a downtown home and caused a fire
say, “Aww &@)#,” once he noticed the damage he caused. He then fled the

— One: Photos of Delegate Jim Mathias in (ITALICS)The Sun
on Tuesday. The former Ocean City mayor was pictured seemingly taking advantage
of an offer for a snack in the House chamber on the last day of this year’s
General Assembly session.

— 43: Percentage of voters at mdcoastdispatch.com
reporting a monthly mortgage payment between $1,000 and $2,000.

— 15: Percentage who pay between $2,000 and $3,000 in the
same poll as mentioned above.

— 50: Distance in feet Ocean City police officers use to
typically determine if a disturbance constitutes a noise infraction. In other
words, if a stereo system is heard 50 feet away from a vehicle or home, that’s
generally considered a violation of the town’s noise ordinance.

— 2.87: Anticipated average cost for a gallon of gasoline
in the country for May, according to the Energy Information Administration.

— 45: Wind gusts in mph forecast for Saturday night and
Sunday from a potential Nor’easter.

— 350,000: Listing price of Governor Martin O’Malley’s
northeast Baltimore home. The house was purchased by the O’Malley family in
1995 for $119,000.

— 52.4: Investor Warren Buffet’s worth in billions,
according to Fortune magazine’s latest wealth rankings. Buffet ranks second
behind the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, who is valued at $56 billion.

I have listened to Don Imus for years, but it’s obvious
the long-time host went too far with his reference last week to the Rutgers’
women’s basketball team players. However, to hear Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse
Jackson, black men who have each uttered equally offensive statements in their
time, criticize Imus epitomizes hypocrisy. During a show last week, Imus
referred to the female players on the national runner-up Scarlet Night team as
“nappy-head hos.” He apologized later on in the week. It was not the apology
that was important. It was when it came – only after a national uproar
surfaced. Throughout all the news coverage of Imus’ comments and his subsequent
punishment, a song by the great Stevie Wonder has been playing in my mind. The
song was “I Wish” and the first verse goes like this. “Looking back on when I
was a little nappy headed boy then my only worry was for Christmas what would
be my toy. Even though we sometimes would not get a thing, we were happy with
the joy the day would bring.” That song was released back in 1976, a different
time nonetheless, and of course Wonder is a black man. I grew up listening to
this song and thinking nothing of the “nappy headed” phrase because one of my
favorite musicians used it. To be completely honest, I had no idea until this
week it was a racist or even derogatory statement. Call me naïve or ignorant on
this matter, but I thought it was just like saying someone was curly haired.
Apparently, that’s not the case, not even close. It’s obviously offensive when
it’s teamed with a derogatory reference to women. It seems to me it was the
phrase altogether that ruffled so many feathers. Clearly, “hos” is an
acceptable term in the entertainment world, but team it with a sensitive,
objectionable term like Imus did and there’s the problem. Everyone knows there
are certain words white people should never use, and Imus, who raised thousands
of dollars at a fundraiser yesterday morning, has given us another example and
subsequently jeopardized his legacy.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.