Buzz

Go ahead, make grandpa's day
Someone once said that the only things invariably fatal to a political career are being found in bed with a dead woman or a with live boy. We'd like to add a third to that list: getting crosswise with old people.

You would think that as he begins his second decade in the Texas House, state Rep. Tony Goolsby would know this. Apparently he doesn't, or the North Dallas Republican wouldn't have done what he did--offer up a bill that would have required drivers age 75 and older to take a driving test in order to get their licenses renewed.

Goolsby would have been better off with a live boy.
His proposal drew the fiery wrath of the American Association of Retired Persons, a political organization slightly scarier and a lot more powerful than the Mafia. The AARP put the squeeze on him faster than you can say "orange-flavored Metamucil."

Officials with AARP, which is the closest thing we have to genuine anarchists, said the organization "referred" calls about the bill to Goolsby's office, as in: "Hello, my name is Mrs. Horace V. Whipplethorpe, and I need to drive to my Tom Thumb and my beauty shop and my mah-jongg game, so you tell your boss, that Mr. Gooby fellow, that he can go straight to hell along with my two dead ex-husbands."

Goolsby, no spring chicken himself at age 65, said all he was trying to do was make the roads safer for the rest of us. We've had many hair-raising experiences on Central Expressway with the Lincoln Town Cars of Death, so we sympathize. Goolsby must have figured that if drivers have shrunk to the point to where they can no longer see over the dashboard, or if it takes them three minutes to go from 0 to 40, then they ought not to be behind the wheel. But after he and his staff heard more insults than Efferdent makes bubbles, Goolsby decided the only proper thing to do was to withdraw his bill and let the madness continue on Texas streets. Sure, it was cowardly, but he who fights and runs away, etc...

Which is advice we plan to take ourselves, to wit: Buzz apologizes in advance to AARP for any and all offensive remarks we just made. Really, Buzz loves old people. Our parents are old. We have friends whose parents are old. Someday, if the beef and tobacco industries are not lying about the health effects of their products, we may be old (unless our body is found floating in White Rock Lake, bludgeoned to death by walking canes). So, if you must call, we "refer" you to Tony Goolsby.

He started it.

No Snuff films please
We've received a number of letters (two) from readers suggesting that we buzz the Belo Corp. for its decision not to allow its CBS affiliates, including stations in Houston and San Antonio, to air a segment of 60 Minutes two weeks ago in which Dr. Jack Kevorkian killed a terminally ill man by injecting him with drugs.

We're sorry to disappoint our few readers, but we're going to side with Belo and the Texas Right to Life Committee, which commended the company for the decision.

We really hate to join with either, but frankly, Kevorkian gives us the creeps. Maybe it's his wild-eyed, squirrel-on-amphetamines demeanor, maybe it's the three-ring-circus quality of his campaign for legalized euthanasia, but we can't think of a man less qualified to argue for dignified death. There are difficult moral and medical questions at stake in his cause, but Kevorkian seems unwilling to acknowledge the need for debate--he's right, the world be damned. (He's a lot like anti-abortion protesters that way.)

And then there's his cause itself--doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. You see, Buzz has belonged to various HMOs. We've actually had minor surgery from doctors whose names we didn't know and who spent less than 10 minutes with us. At least, we're presuming they were doctors. They may have been fine physicians--or janitors--but they're not the people we want passing out cyanide Kool-Aid.

A time and place
Slightly less offensive than a snuff film, but nevertheless off-putting, was the appearance of some of those very same anti-abortion protesters at the annual Turkey Trot downtown Thanksgiving Day.

Picture it: Twenty-thousand people, many of them children, out jogging and walking to raise money for runaway teenagers, and there along the route for an entire city block was a group of true believers praising Jesus and waving placards featuring photos of bloodied, decapitated babies.

Let's see. Broadcasting an assisted suicide is bad. Flashing aborted fetuses at children on Thanksgiving is OK. Exactly how many converts to the cause do you suppose the anti-abortionists won that day? More importantly, how many decent, charitable people won't be showing up next year?

We're afraid that latter number is much larger than the other, to the detriment of the runaway teens the Turkey Trot was intended to help. Of course, the irony of that fact is likely lost on the protesters.

Listen, you placard wavers and Kevorkians of the world. There is a proper place for zealots and self-righteous blowhards to express yourselves without regard to decorum.

You should work for a newspaper.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Think you can be more zealous or blow harder than Buzz? Send a resume to patrick_williams@dallasobserver.com.

 
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