We generally hesitate to point out weaknesses in others' grammar and spelling, because we've received our share of snippy letters from retired seventh-grade English teachers raising doubts about our parentage over some improper use of subjunctive mood, but this course description from Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts was just too much to pass up:
"Do you believe what you see and hear on the News today? Does all this tabloid journalism remind you of the good old 'yellow' days of William Randolph Hurst? Is Primetime Live any different than Hard Copy?...Since the mid 1980s when the three major networks, ABC, NBC and CBS were bought by 'money companies' and individuals the mandate and goal has been to turning News into Profits. This has meant short changing, accuracy, fair and balances programming [sic, sic, sic]..."
The course, "Truth or Trash in Broadcast Journalism," is offered by the Meadows' community education program. English fluency, apparently, is not a prerequisite.
Politics meets America's Most Wanted
Buzz has long had a soft spot in our heart for Jim Mattox. This has little to do with his politics. It stems from a time several centuries ago when Buzz was a cub reporter, fresh out of school from Illinois, interviewing the then-attorney general in Amarillo. During the interview, Mattox politely, without condescension, pointed out to us that San Antonio is, in fact, located in Bexar County--pronounced bear, not becksar.
He then patiently continued the impromptu, one-on-one interview with a young person who was, obviously, a Yankee doofus.
Nice guy, for an attorney general.
So we are pained to describe what is probably one of the weirdest political Web sites on the Internet.
Mattox's campaign site features a number of touchy-feely snaps of the Mattox family, and includes oh-so-cute endorsements from his kids, Jimmer and Sissy. OK, that's a little saccharine, but not too bad. But the needle on the weird-o-meter jumps up several notches when you scroll down and discover that Mattox's Internet site also has four grim photos of a murder victim laid out on a morgue table.
It's sort of like The Brady Bunch meets the Faces of Death, which, come to think of it, is a pretty good description of Buzz's family back in Illinois, but we digress.
The photos on Mattox's Web site are of the woman known only as "Orange Socks," whom alleged serial killer Henry Lee Lucas was convicted of murdering. Mattox investigated and found that Lucas probably wasn't the killer, which helped lead Gov. George W. Bush to commute Lucas' death sentence.
Mattox press secretary Audrey Duff says putting the morgue photos on his campaign Web site is consistent with Mattox's philosophy of involving the community in law enforcement. The campaign has received many calls from people who want to help identify the woman and solve the crime, though the effort has not been made a part of the campaign.
"We've been inundated with calls from people who want to solve the crimes Henry Lee Lucas took credit for...It's like America's Most Wanted," she says. "You put that stuff out there, and those crimes get solved."
So Mattox gets points for having his heart in the right place. As for good taste...well, at least there's nothing on the site involving Monica L. Speaking of which, if you get tired of reading the testimony of the future cover girl for Cigar Aficionado magazine, check out www.jimmatox.com.
While you prurient little monsters were clogging the Internet checking out the president's non-sex life, we were busy researching more important political issues: the Texas Republican Party platform.
All right, maybe calling a party platform "important" is a stretch, but the state GOP's manifesto is about as far from prurient as anything gets. That would explain why so few people read it, including many Republicans.
The platform calls for repealing a section of the Judicial Code of Conduct that keeps judges from expressing opinions on issues they might have to rule on in court.
"We affirm that judges should not express bias or prejudice," the platform states. "However, judges must retain their constitutional right to speak out about issues such as homosexual conduct, pedophilia, and other illegal acts." (In Republican-speak that means abortion.) And what better way to flush out any pro-choice, gay rights judges come election time than to remove the ethical sanction that prohibits them from voicing their views.
So, expressing bias and prejudice is bad, unless you're biased or prejudiced against gays, who are in the same class as pedophiles. (The party's support of free speech only goes so far, apparently. The platform also calls for making flag desecration a crime, and directs the GOP executive campaign committee to consider support of the platform when "granting financial or other support.")
Got it? Free speech good. Free thinking bad.
A parting shot
Not to be cynical--no, really--but was Buzz alone in noting that the announcement that First Assistant City Manager Gavino Sotelo was resigning followed hard on the heels of his comments in a Dallas Morning News story about the disproportionately high number of home demolitions in Dallas' black neighborhoods?
Buzz must admit the story was a fine piece of work by News staffer Craig Flournoy. The article suggested that race plays a factor in deciding which homes city code enforcers bulldoze. Sotelo somewhat supported the suggestion.
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"On the surface it would appear so. But we need to look further into it," Sotelo told Flournoy in the story published Sunday.
A city bureaucrat acknowledging even the possibility of a racial problem? We wondered what was up. The answer came Tuesday, when the News reported that Sotelo was leaving City Hall "to pursue opportunities in the private sector."
The lesson? Honesty is the best policy at City Hall, provided you've got another job lined up.
--Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams