Martha Brant

Stories by Martha Brant

  • Hopeful In Tijuana

    When doctors in Los Angeles told Pat Paulsen they couldn't cure his colon cancer, he did what any comedian might do, he laughed them off. Fed up with conventional medicine, the TV comic followed a well-worn path to one of about 35 alternative clinics just across the border in Tijuana. The doctor he found - who asked the Paulsens not to name him - said he could beat the disease. Paulsen began the latest in live-cell therapy: an injection made from the embryo of a blue shark. He started to feel better and even talked about writing a new book: "Pat Paulsen's Book of Malignant Humor." But his immune system was wrecked, and last month he died of pneumonia after surgery. ...
  • Most Wanted Kingpin?

    When soldiers combed Mexican drug czar Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo's plush apartment on Feb. 22, they found cellular phones with scramblers, $10,000 in U.S. currency and a particularly revealing tequila barrel. Attached to its top was a picture of a napping peasant wearing a sombrero. Above the quaint scene was a name: AMADO CARRILLO. That Mexico's top drug cop had tequila from the private stock of the country's most powerful drug lord shouldn't have come as a surprise to the cops. The two, after all, had apartments just four floors apart. ...
  • A Defector In The Drug War

    GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY WAS ALL smiles as he received his Mexican counterpart--drug czar Gen. JesUs GutiErrez Rebollo--in Washington in late January. The U.S. drug czar had met the 42-year army veteran on a visit to Mexico and hailed him as ""a guy of absolute, unquestioned integrity.'' McCaffrey liked the idea of linking arms with another military man across the Rio Grande to fight drug traffic from Mexico--the country that is a conduit for nearly three fourths of America's cocaine. On GutiErrez's trip to Washington, he was treated to briefings everywhere from the White House to the DEA; back in Mexico City, it was even better. According to State Department officials, U.S. drug agents there gave GutiErrez information on America's paid informants and classified intelligence about Mexico's drug cartels. ...
  • Hillary's Second Term

    FINALLY, THE LAST CAMPAIGN HER HUSBAND WILL EVER RUN IS OVER. AND NOW Hillary Clinton is on the cusp of deciding whether she's going to launch a final crusade of her own, one aimed at redeeming her reputation. The First Lady isn't content with taking foreign good-will missions, harvesting money from loyal Democrats and getting rapturous welcomes from carefully chosen crowds. She wants affection from the American public, or, failing that, at least a sympathetic understanding that she's not the monster who sprang full born from Rush Limbaugh's forehead. ...
  • Getting Ready To Leave The Nest

    THE FIRST LADY SAYS IT WAS HER most trying moment of this volatile election year -- and it didn't have anything to do with Whitewater. Mrs. Clinton says that the ""toughest'' test she's faced was college night at Chelsea's high school. As her daughter becomes a senior at Washington's Sidwell Friends this week, Mrs. Clinton says she has severe ""pre-empty-nest syndrome.'' She's even talked about adopting another child to fill the void. ""You feel so old,'' she told party members in Chicago about the mixed emotions of looking at colleges. ""Your child looks so independent.'' ...
  • Cashing In On Letting Hillary Be Hillary

    IT WAS A DEFT MANEUVER. When Hillary Clinton presided over a luncheon for Senate wives at the White House in June, Elizabeth Dole was among the guests. As the hundred or so spouses turned to their chilled carrot-and-ginger soup, Mrs. Clinton stood to wish Elizabeth a fond welcome. She was sure, she said, smiling, that the two would conduct themselves with ""good grace and civility.'' ...
  • Pool Sharks

    SWIMMING: The Irish woman was a surprise, the American a record breaker. Both smelled gold in the water.THEY ARE AN UNLIKELY PAIR OF POOL SHARKS. ONE, an asthmatic who never swims with more than two thirds of her lung capacity. The other, an international sensation at 26, an age when most world-class swimmers have left the pool. Amy Van Dyken of the United States swims for health, for glory and to help exorcise the demons of an adolescence when she was too tall, too awkward, too nerdy. Michelle Smith of Ireland went abroad for college, for training and for love, and now finds herself a national hero. Together the two women won seven gold medals last week in the fast waters at Georgia Tech, the most exciting Olympic combo since Mark Spitz and his ego in Munich.Smith's performance was the stunning surprise. And in today's swimming world, there is no such thing as a pleasant one. Going into the Games, Smith was ranked 41st in the world in the 400-meter individual medley. Last week she...
  • Doped To Perfection

    FROM THE bleachers it may look like pure glory. But from the athlete's perspective, qualifying for the Olympic Games resembles nothing so much as a prison drug raid. ""It's tremendously embarrassing,'' says U.S. national-team oarsman Ty Bennion. ""You've just given the performance of your life. Your family and friends think you're going off to sign some sort of official documents. But you're headed off to the bathroom so that two International Sampling Officers can watch you pee into a cup.''Drug use is nothing new in Olympic sports; Soviet weight lifters discovered the benefits of steroid hormones back in the 1950s, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been trying since the late '60s to enforce bans on various chemical aids. In recent years, most sports federations have instituted year-round spot-testing programs in an effort to keep competitors clean. Yet with every advance in pharmacology, the opportunities for cheating grow richer. The chemical arsenal now includes...
  • Saint Teresa's Trials

    HEIRESS TO A $700 MILLION KETCHUP fortune, Teresa Heinz has been called "Saint Teresa" for contributing to various causes, particularly the environment. Not surprisingly, she is also used to getting her way. She wanted the offices of her foundation in Pittsburgh to be environmentally correct. So all the wood in the building was "sustainably harvested" in places like Papua New Guinea "to support local tribes where forests are preserved with full biodiversity." The paint was custom-mixed "to eliminate fungicides and biocides." No expense was spared, and "nothing was final until she was happy," said her architect, William McDonough. ...
  • A Chelsea Morning

    GRAMMY-WINNER SHERYL CROW WAS there. So was stand-up comic Sinbad. But on a muddy day in Bosnia last week, it was a quiet girl with corkscrew red hair who ran away with the show. "Your name is Chelsea?" Sgt. Maj. Jack Tilley, the master of ceremonies, asked coyly as he called her onstage before 1,000 listless soldiers. "Something like that," the girl said smartly. Tilley had already tried--and failed--to rally the troops by leading them in a war chant. So he turned to Chelsea and asked her to help with a yelp. The 16-year-old took the microphone and wailed, "Hoo-ah!"--the lusty military cheer--with the gusto of a fire-breathing recruit. Then to get the crowd really going, she did it again. ...
  • Hillary Clinton: First Fighter

    Long infused with missionary zeal, Hillary Clinton is determined to do good as she sees it--at virtually any cost. But will her campaign for children be overshadowed by scandal?
  • Towns To Unions: Drop Dead!

    The taxpayers in the split-level town of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., were fed up. Money had been hard to come by since IBM pulled 12,000 jobs out of the Hudson Valley. And a looming $100 million budget that included $10 million in union teacher raises meant citizens would be saddled with a 20 percent tax increase. Voters revolted, rejecting the budget three times in a row on the ground that teachers, who average about $48,000 a year, were getting too much. The state finally forced the town to pay up. So homeowners pay their taxes--and resent mightily having to run car washes to pay for sports programs and clubs. "Raises were fine when everybody was working," said Charlene Hover, whose husband was forced into early retirement by IBM. "But now? Too bad." ...
  • The Alaskan Assault

    For environmentalists, preserving Alaska's Tongass National Forest has long been a sacred cause. R is the nation's last rain forest and home of the continent's largest population of grizzlies and bald eagles. The greens have also worked for years to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the country's biggest wildlife refuge and calving ground for 150,000 migrating caribou. But last week, the Senate passed a bill that will allow loggers to clear-cut swaths of the Tongass, while committees in both houses have voted to let oil companies drill in the pristine ANWR. Alaska Rep. Don Young, a hot-tempered former trapper, has a new name for the preserve: the "Arctic Oil Reserve." ...
  • Coming Of Age

    Imagine, if you possibly can, what it's like to be John F. Kennedy Jr. You're 34 years old, not married, still looking for a career. Your mother, who protected you perhaps a little too well, has been dead for about a year. You tried being a lawyer, but it was pretty dull. So you've decided to start a political magazine called George. Never mind that 90 percent of all start-up magazines fold, and that there hasn't been a commercially successful political magazine in this century. You've always cared about politics and public service even if you're not absolutely sure you could name all the members of the president's cabinet. The executives of Hachette Filipacchi, a media conglomerate, believe in you. Or did they offer to invest $20 million for your mythic name and overexposed pectorals?Resisting such doubts, you're sitting in the Adcraft Club of Detroit on an April morning getting ready to pitch your new magazine, watching the good crowd- 1,900 people, a few hundred less than the...
  • A Hip Mag For The C-Span Set

    JFK Jr's New Magazine, George, will try to make celebrities out of ordinary politicos and backroom operatives. But it won't poke into their private lives. It won't have a partisan edge, or tackle tough issues, or try to break news. It will be a kind of high-road fan magazine--Rolling Stone for the C-Span crowd.Trying to interest the public in politics is a worthy goal. But does it make for a hot magazine? Advertisers rushed to fill the roughly 300-page first issue, 500,000 copies of which arrive at newsstands in late September. The reason, of course, is John F. Kennedy Jr. When Kennedy and his partner Michael Berman made a pitch to 150,000 potential customers, a healthy 5.7 percent responded when they stressed Kennedy's connection. That's twice the normal response.Still, there is no shortage of skeptics. With Clinton's election in 1992, there was a brief spurt of interest in politics, says Eric Alter-man, author of "Sound and Fury," a book on pundits and politics. But "the bubble...
  • Still In The Line Of Fire

    President Clinton was discussing the budget with aides in the White House residence late one night when a gun went off outside, about 20 yards from the East Wing. Breaking into the meeting, a Secret Service agent rushed to the window and dosed the drapes. There's been a security breach, the agent reported, and "someone's down." Staffers in the room were alarmed. Congressional lobbyist Pat Griffin looked as if he wanted "to lunge under the couch," said one aide. But Clinton was oddly blase. He asked if everyone was OK, then returned to the budget. "Let's keep moving," he said.Has Clinton gotten that accustomed to bullets whizzing around the White House? Given recent history, perhaps he has. Last week's gunfire came when the Secret Service wounded Leland Modjeski, who scaled the fence with what turned out to be an unloaded revolver--the latest in a series of attacks (chart). Just days earlier, at Clinton's direction, police had closed the two blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of...
  • Politics: Gen X's Dynamic Duo Flames Out

    When Jon Cowan and Rob Nelson arrived on the Washington scene three years ago, the capital fell in love. The two twentysomethings were idealistic, savvy and cute--a cross between Robert Kennedy and Kato Kaelin. They formed a group called Lead . . . Or Leave, challenging members of Congress to cut the deficit-or get out of town. One hundred and one lawmakers took the pledge. Ross Perot praised the pair's spunk. U.S. News & World Report put them on its cover, hailing them as "the vanguard of the twentysomething backlash." ...
  • What About Women?

    It wasn't much of a march on the White House last Wednesday -- two dozen leaders of women's groups and their staffs. The chants carried the ring of a bygone era. ""Hey hey, ho ho, discrimination has got to go!'' But their protest went to the heart of a debate that threatens to divide the country. Affirmative action, they argued, is being defined -- and demonized -- by its opponents as a racial issue. For black civil-rights leaders, the women were a welcome sight. Faced with a hostile Republican Congress, and a president desperate to win back the so-called angry white males who abandoned the Democratic Party last November, affirmative-action proponents are struggling to shift the terms of the turbulent national debate from race to gender. Their most important ally could turn out to be the Angry White Female. ...
  • Storming The Color Barrier

    You might raise a black child with the best intentions in the world-colorblind. But in the end theworld is still out there. He needs to know who he is. ...
  • Back In The Saddle Again

    PERCHED ATOP A DARK BROWN GELDING named Baypark, jockey Julie Krone shot up from behind along the outside of the track, driving her horse hard down the stretch and into third place. It was an unspectacular finish for the world's most successful female jockey. But for Krone the mediocre race Wednesday at New York's Belmont Park was a milestone. The last time she raced she ended up crumpled like a paper doll on the Saratoga racetrack. ...
  • Far Beyond White Gloves And Teas

    JUDY AKS HAD NEVER THOUGHT MUCH about sisterhood. Feminism was a bad word in her hometown of Massapequa, N.Y.-even before Amy Fisher put it on the map. When Aks applied to New York's Barnard College in 1987, she asked the admissions director, "Aren't women's colleges unnatural?" She chose Barnard "despite" its being a women's college and had hoped to transfer to Columbia University, until she "bonded" with her alma mater. ...
  • The Handwriting On The Wall?

    MIKE DOONESBURY IS TRYING TO GET his new palm-size computer to read his handwriting. "Hello J.J., how are you?" he writes on the newfangled device. It translates: "Hell jars, howard yoyo?" Not only has Apple Computer's much-ballyhooed Newton MessagePad been the unnamed butt of "Doonesbury" comic strips since its debut last summer; some industry watchdogs think the so-called personal digital assistant (PDA) isn't ready for prime time. Apple, which defends its latest technology as a gutsy if rough pioneer, says sales have been superb. But despite fancy marketing, and its many seductive features, Apple can't shake the bad rap over Newton's reading problems. Some computer experts fear Newton's handwriting hang-ups will taint the nascent PDA industry and discourage consumers. In a recent issue of P.C. Letter. editor David Coursey even lobbied for a Newton recall, warning: "The longer this turkey sits on the market the worse the catcalls are going to become." ...