Buzz

Who's watching the store?
We don't know about you, but Buzz counts on the Better Business Bureau for information on sleazeballs who might be ripping us off on brake jobs or roofing work or whatever this week's scam is. So we had to scratch our head when we saw the list of new BBB of Metropolitan Dallas directors.

Among other local business executives were Janet Quisenberry, director of advertising for Mrs. Baird's Bakery, and Denys Slater III, vice president, Fishburn's Cleaning and Laundry.

For those consumers who have been living in a mine shaft for the last few months, dear old Mrs. Baird was convicted of a little federal criminal price-fixing charge that resulted in a conviction and, last week, a $10 million fine.

And Fishburn's, Dallas' most venerable dry cleaner, was the target of allegations a while back (in a Laura Miller column, no less) of discriminating against its older, more vulnerable workers. One Mrs. Grace Shoulders, in particular, got a lawyer and, you might say, took Fishburn's to the cleaners--though she can't share how much her settlement came to.

We're sure all the executives elected as BBB directors are compassionate and honest folks, but--considering the BBB bills itself as a consumer watchdog--could there be, let us say, an image problem with putting these folks in charge of the kennel?

Last temptation of Belo
The Dallas Morning News has finally gotten right with God--or at least His self-appointed representatives on earth. This month's The Dallas/Fort Worth Heritage, a Christian news publication, hailed as a victory a pressure campaign against the DMN that forced the paper to drop classified advertising for nude models, "domination actresses," and other sex-related services. (Once again, Buzz has to wonder: With Dallas' megamultitude of Bible-thumpers, who's left to keep these places in business?)

Of course, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram--which has been regularly pimp-slapped by the Christian Right--could have told the News, it's tough to wash those sins away. The God boys at the Dallas Association for Decency remain upset about two other advertising faux pas.

First, advertisements for nude-dancing establishments--which the DMN's ad staff would prefer you think of as "gentlemen's clubs"--remain a beam in the DAD's collective eye. No surprise there.

But a more interesting bone of contention between Dallas' Only Daily and Christians is that the DMN has recently begun refusing classified ads that would label a business as "Christian-owned." The News claims equal opportunity laws prohibit such ads--as well as "Jewish-owned" or "Muslim-owned." (And, presumably, the ever-popular "pagan-owned" or "atheist-owned.")

Kelly Shackelford, attorney for the religious-rights legal foundation Rutherford Institute, tells Buzz this prohibition is a result of a common misunderstanding of the equal-opportunity laws. "Really, what they are doing is discriminating against these [Christian] businesses." As yet, he says, no one has been willing to pursue the issue legally with the DMN.

No word yet on whether the little fish symbol is kosher.

 
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