Americans at War

Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly.  Thanks for watching us tonight.  Sorry about the bandage here on my head.  No, Arthel Neville did not slug me after last night's dust-up, and I wouldn't let that George Clooney anywhere near me.

This was Irish skin meeting the sun.  The sun always wins, which is why it always rains in Ireland.  Stay out of the sun.

Well, hundreds of you e-mailed us about Nino Vendome, the owner of a small New York City restaurant who is feeding the workers at ground zero around the clock.  Mr. Vendome has spent $250,000 of his own money doing that, and we have posted his address on our Web site.  We'll give you the Web site address at the end of the program.

And Americans at war is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.

It has now been 80 days since terrorists attacked us, and life in most of America has returned pretty much to normal.  Overseas, our military is kicking the stuffing out of the Taliban in Afghanistan, there's no question.  The terrorists are on the run all over the world.

But we still have not done nearly enough to help those Americans back here who are burying their loved ones, and that's because there's no central authority in this country that can pull together a complicated operation like that.

If you've been watching The Factor, you know all the heat we've been taking trying to get the 160 charities to aggressively seek out those who are suffering because of 9/11.  Last night we profiled Nino Vendome, as I just said, a hero who took it upon himself to set up an operation that constantly feeds ground zero workers.  Nino didn't need a telethon.  He didn't need a concert.  He didn't need millions in the bank.  He just did it.

Nino's spirit is what I'm trying to infuse into America's big gun charities.  Excuses at this point walk.  Every day I see the faces of people who lost a mom or a dad or a spouse.  Every day I see workers down at ground zero putting their own health on the line.  These people need immediate comfort.  The charities simply have to do a better job.

Linda Amato, who lives in Bremen, Maine, wrote to me.  She said, "Bill, It was inappropriate for Jim Carrey to say to Oprah that your actions were finding something bad in millions of Americans coming together.  As an American, I'm insulted.  Are you?"

Am I insulted?  No, I'm sad.  This whole controversy with the Hollywood community really comes down to ego.  In the beginning they did good work getting Americans to donate, but then most of them just walked away, and now they're all making excuses.

Believe me when I tell you there's tremendous suffering going on inside the homes of the 9/11 families.  It's enormous.  They need the support of all the powerful in this country who have the juice to make the charities perform, to get the money where it's needed.

Now, I also received a note from the Red Cross about Nino Vendome.  That missive says, in part, "The American Cross and Nino's Restaurant have an excellent relationship.  In addition to providing volunteers, the Red Cross has supported Nino's with in-kind donations such as water, paper products, and snack food.  As you know, donations given to the Red Cross are going exclusively to the people affected by the terrorist attacks.  While we did not provide Nino's with a check, we know our assistance to him has been invaluable."

Well, Talking Points would also like to point out that the Red Cross has served ground zero volunteers about 12 million meals, and we applaud that.  But that being said, if I were running the Red Cross, I'd cut Nino a check, and I think all Americans would support that.

In this war against terror, compassion and common sense must prevail.  Rules can be bent for the greater good.

My staff is working long hours fighting hard for people like Nino Vendome.  It certainly would be great if other powerful people would stop all the nonsense and help us.

And that's the memo.

The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day

Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." 

Speaking in Nigeria, according to Reuters, for what we assume were big dollars, vice president -- former Vice President Al Gore told the audience he's now running a small restaurant in Tennessee.  What?  No details were available.

But it's hard for us to picture our pal, Al, standing there in a white apron serving up eggs and grits.  And, you know, the story's not true.  That's the ridiculous story of the day.

Reuters puts this out on the wire, it goes all over the world that our pal, Al, is running a restaurant, and he's not.  I knew it.  I knew it when I saw it.  I said, "No way he's doing that."

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