Free at last
Someone may have sent the managers of Regis Square Apartments a copy of the Constitution, with its pesky allowances for free speech and assembly.

Anyway, something motivated them last week to drop trespassing charges against Texas Tenants Union housing activist Dina Levy.

As the Dallas Observer reported last month ["Union busting," March 19], Levy was arrested in October when she ventured onto Regis Square property to try to organize tenants at the troubled federally subsidized complex. For her efforts she ended up in jail on criminal trespassing charges and gained Roy Hughes, president of Squire Management Co., as an enemy.

Despite his opinion that Levy is a "professional, paid agitator," Hughes walked into the District Attorney's Office on April 6 and dropped the charges against her.

Welcome to America, Mr. Levy.

With Barney the purple dinosaur making his leap to the big screen, it was only natural for The Dallas Morning News to jump on the publicity machine and write an ode to the Jurassic character. In its piece, the News noted that the children's show has been a huge success for its creator, Sheryl Leach. What it neglected to point out was the name of its other creator, Kathy Parker. The omission has opened up old festering sores and led to Parker's lawyers firing off a fax to Buzz and others--just to set the record straight.

The law firm of Baker and McKenzie stated that Parker was "one of the principal original developers" of the show. It also noted that in early 1994, Parker had asserted legal claims against Barney's parent company, Lyrick Corp., and subsequently entered into a confidential settlement.

At Lyrick studios, the spokeswoman blamed the oversight on the News.
But Leach, who is the daughter-in-law of the chairman of Lyrick studios, has not always been so generous about crediting Parker, claiming as late as 1994 that Barney was her idea.

In other words, Leach and Parker have neither shame nor, apparently, any fear of violence from parents driven mad by Barney's saccharine, mind-numbing mewling. You almost have to admire that sort of brazen courage. Now, where did we put that baseball bat?

Only one can cure a headache
It's not as if we needed another reason to hate Generation X--other than that they are younger than Buzz, seem to have way more fun than we ever did, and are responsible for reviving the '70s. But now there's this--the most asinine marketing scheme to come down the pike since Amway: To encourage Gen-Xers to drink more wine, Dallas' Art Bar is sponsoring a series of wine tastings for twentysomethings and creating an advertising program with the catchy, tasteful slogan, "Wine is Better than Masturbating."

Damn punks.
The first tasting, April 23, will feature "cheese that comes in aerosol cans and a DJ spinning contemporary music," according to a press release. Ah, those krazy, kitschy kids. That's just the sort of cute, stylish faux-cynicism that makes middle-aged curmudgeons like Buzz want to hurry up and get to retirement so we can bankrupt the Social Security system before the Gen-Xers get their hands on it.

Listen up, children. You've already driven up the price of cigars, polluted martini recipes with bizarre liquors, and stolen Tony Bennett from your elders. Lay off wine, please. And by the way, wine and masturbation aren't mutually exclusive. Just don't overfill the glass.

The pits
It's only April, but state Rep. Jim Pitts, an SMU law grad, already has taken a strong lead in Texas Demagogue of the Year honors. Pitts, as was widely reported last week, is the Waxahachie Republican pea-brain who proposes changing the penal code to allow children as young as 11 to be sentenced to death. Of course, they'd have to turn 17 before being executed--you know, make young killers suffer through puberty first to let them know we mean business. Nice plan, Jim. You sure got your name in the papers with that one. Take care, though. In your rabid rush to toe the hard-line, you better make sure you don't needle 'em too young, or you might run afoul of the anti-abortion crowd.

--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

Put down your wine flute and send Buzz an e-mail at [email protected].

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams