Buzz

DMN security compromised by computer whizzer

Forgive Buzz for bringing this news to you a week late, but when we first heard about it, we became so giddy at the prospect of firing off juvenile Dallas Morning News jokes, we felt like Anna Nicole Smith at a Highland Park AARP meeting--overwhelmed by the rich possibilities. Here's the deal: A week ago Sunday, an unidentified man sneaked into the Morning News--and by "sneaked" we mean "walked right past the security guards on the back loading docks"--and proceeded to have himself a party. You know, the sort of party where you undress, parade around the Texas Living offices nude, and urinate on someone's keyboard. (The first joke that comes to mind is the one our prof told us in j-school, about the thirsty editor and writer stranded in the desert who come to an oasis. Just before the writer can take a drink, the editor unzips his britches and pees in the water. "What are you doing?!" screamed the writer. The editor replied, "Just making it better.")

But the incident raises all sorts of serious issues, not the least of which is the lax backdoor security the Morning News has had for more than a decade. (One former employee says that as far back as 1990, he used to flash his J.C. Penney card to gain entrance, just to amuse himself.) "If you show so much as a pizza box, you get in," says one former DMNer.

Apparently, the only people who can't get in the DMN are opponents of the Trinity River project.

More important to Buzz, however, are the infinite number of questions this raises. Whose keyboard got Mountain Dew'd? If it was Steve Blow's, was the "!" key damaged, thus rendering him unable to type his column? Was this just a creative way to apply for a job as a copy editor? If so, allow us to let him in on a trade secret practiced here. Hey, buddy, whiz on a printout of the story, not on the computer itself. That hardware is valuable.


Starving wage: Supporters of a "living wage" ordinance in Dallas aren't throwing in the towel just yet, despite crushing news that they need 12 votes on the 15-member city council rather than eight to pass the measure.

Backers of the proposal want companies that receive city tax abatements to pay wages at least $3 above the $5.15 federal minimum, but they were stunned last month to learn state law--as interpreted by city attorneys--requires a "super majority" to amend such agreements.

So what's their strategy to resurrect their cause? Ask a different lawyer. The coalition of community, labor, and civil-rights advocates are urging city leaders to think differently. "In a nutshell, our lawyers believe that the state law could be interpreted either way," said ACORN's Kimberly Olsen in an e-mail to fellow supporters. "This is about power; if the city wanted to do this, they could."

At press time, proponents were set to demand an unscheduled meeting with City Attorney Madeleine Johnson this week to urge a more favorable interpretation of state law.

If persuasion fails, a lawsuit is possible, ensuring that at least one needy downtrodden group will benefit financially from the cause. We, of course, mean lawyers.

 
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