By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Go down Moses
Paul Fielding, the former Dallas City Council member headed to the federal pen on charges of fraud and extortion, persuaded a judge last week to postpone his scheduled prison-entrance date.
His excuse for delaying his trip to the pokey? Fielding wanted to be a free man to celebrate Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for observant Jews, which took place Saturday.
But Buzz, being a bit of a busybody--OK, a stool pigeon, we admit--wants to inform the judge that Fielding has a curious history in his celebration of the Jewish holy days.
In August 1995, before the prosecutors had indicted him or probably even popped in the tape that would record Fielding plotting with fellow council member Al Lipscomb to set up a minority front business, the onetime full-time mayoral needler got into a row with Ron Kirk about the Jewish holidays. Fielding sent Kirk a scathing memo complaining that the mayor had scheduled a meeting on Yom Kippur.
"It saddens me, this insensitive policy," Fielding wrote to Kirk.
Buzz found out a few months later that when the holidays actually rolled around, Fielding worked. An observant Jew would never do that.
Fielding's explanation then: "I'm only half Jewish--so I worked a half-day."
Maybe the judge should have made him put on the striped pants but leave the jacket off until after Yom Kippur.
Beat the devil
Flip Benham apparently hasn't allowed his recent foray into art criticism--he led protests against books by photographer Jock Sturges that include shots of nude children--to slow his anti-abortion crusade as national director of Operation Rescue.
Benham was in Asheville, North Carolina, last month to take part in a protest outside a women's clinic that provides abortions. He made quite an impression on at least one of the volunteer escorts, who assist women as they enter the clinic.
"He reminded me of a mix between a sleazy Jimmy Swaggart and a predatory schoolyard bully," escort Monroe Gilmour wrote to the Dallas Observer. Gilmour was especially incensed that Benham, who mistakenly assumed Gilmour was gay, made a link between homosexuality and pedophilia.
"'Monroe, why are you sodomizing the children?'" Gilmour recalls Benham asking him.
Buzz, ever the epitome of fairness, had a hard time believing that the Rev. Benham would spread such an asinine bit of anti-gay hate-mongering--at least outside Texas.
Buzz was, of course, wrong.
"There's no question that there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia," Benham told Buzz. "It's called lust."
Now, loopy logic aside, you have to admire Benham's ambition. No longer content with harassing women seeking abortions, Benham now seems ready to tackle lust, a favorite cardinal sin among gays and straights alike.
Buzz eagerly anticipates seeing Benham-led protesters outside Valley Ranch and DISD headquarters any day now.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams