Newsweek Staff

Stories by Newsweek Staff

  • S&Ls: Blaming The Media

    Who's to blame for the savings and loan scandal? The owners and regulators of the industry have had their turn, in a new Hotline poll, the public faults both George Bush (by 59 percent) and Congress (64 percent). Now, inevitably, anger is building at the media for failing to sound clear warnings about the worst financial mess in the nation's history. That failure is "a scandal in itself," concludes Ellen Hume, executive director of Harvard's Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, and there should be "embarrassment and soul-searching at the highest levels of journalism." ...
  • Do You Speak Deals?

    He is an optimist by nature. And why not? Michael Sumichrast fled Czechoslovakia in 1948, after the communists took power, then made millions in Ohio real estate. Now, 42 years later, he's back--the first of a new breed of American pioneers hoping to cash in on the revolutions in Eastern Europe. He brings money, know-how and an unshakable capitalist faith. And, partly because he is first, he has had a hero's welcome. He sits in on government cabinet meetings. He's featured on the nightly news. Taxi drivers refuse to take his money. The reason, as one cabby put it: "I think it's great that you're trying to bring America to Czechoslovakia." ...
  • Gorbachev Takes Out His Federalist Papers

    One nation or 15? Confronting his nationalities crisis last week, Mikhail Gorbachev tried to have it both ways. In order to preserve the Soviet Union, he proposed to dismantle it, replacing the present arrangement with a new, looser federation in which the current Soviet republics would have the rights of "sovereign states." The danger in Gorbachev's gambit was that his central government might end up presiding over an empty house. ...
  • Sub Deal

    Colorado Sen. Tim Wirth learned on a recent trip to South Korea that the Soviet Union has made a deal in which three Soviet Whiskeyclass subs will be scrapped in South Korea. The payment for the scrap? Several products, including running shoes and toothbrushes. . . . House members are scrambling for a way to get around paying staffers overtime. Congressional aides were exempt from overtime until the new minimum-wage act last year. This fall they will be entitled to it. Worried that overtime pay will balloon payroll costs, Pennsylvania Rep. Austin Murphy is proposing "comp time"-or extra days off-in lieu of cash.
  • Buzzwords

    Executive headhunters have their own vocabulary--and it's not always flattering to the job candidates: On the beach Unemployed, so harder to place. Class A, Class B Class A, the best candidate, a.k.a. a "walking fee." Class B is as it sounds. Stalking horse Class B candidate: sent to a prospective employer to make the Class A candidate look even better. Positioning Getting the client firm focused on the right candidate. Usage: "Let's send in a couple of stalking horses and then we'll have them positioned for the walking fee." Knockout A mistake that instantly knocks a candidate out of contention. Examples: Being too enthusiastic about a job or demeaning one's current employer.
  • 'When You're Serious, Call Us'

    It was meant to shock, and it did. Needled by a congressman who blamed President Bush for the collapse of the Middle East "peace process," Secretary of State James Baker last week delivered a U.S. administration's sharpest public rebuke to an Israeli government since the 1966 Suez crisis. First he detailed how Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir scuttled his own peace plan and brought down the misnamed "national unity" government in March by balking at a compromise formula for talks with Palestinians. Baker complained that Israel's new right-wing government was posing more obstacles to talks. Then he offered the White House phone number: 1-202-456-1414. "When you're serious about peace, call us," he said. ...
  • The Junk Kings Auction Off Their Junk

    It was a bargain hunter's dream. "Over 2,000 offices!" exclaimed the auction ad. "Private offices including high-quality desks with matching credenzas, leather sofas ... exquisite corporate board & conference rooms . . . hundreds of tastefully appointed managerial & secretarial offices!" Even the kitchen sink--or, to be exact, "five complete corporate cafeterias." ...
  • Matchup

    She is not a nightmare yet," said Steffi Graf of 16-year-old Monica Seles, but Seles is certainly waking up women's tennis. With her double-fisted, double-grunting style, the young Yugoslavian beat Graf in straight sets at the French Open, becoming the youngest to win the title. She's even challenging Graf in the glamour department. But when Wimbledon begins next week, the sweatbands go back on.
  • The Trump Debt Crisis

    Remember this bit of history? Flush with petrodollars, the big U.S. banks loaned lavishly to Latin American and other Third World countries in the 1970s. As oil and commodity prices dropped, countries like Mexico and Brazil couldn't pay back the loans. So the banks threw more money at them, hoping the problem would somehow work itself out. Instead the countries just got mired in a deeper hole, and so did the banks. ...
  • No More Cash

    Soviet citizens are finding it easier to travel abroad, but an upcoming government ruling may cramp their style once they reach their destinations. This summer, Moscow will stop providing up to $200 to travelers at the tourist exchange rate (6.2 rubles for $1). The service is indispensable since it's illegal to take rubles outside the country, but Moscow can't afford the cash outflow any more. Future travelers will have to rely on the generosity of foreign friends and relatives because they'll be penniless when they arrive.
  • Euro-Manners

    Here's a fresh angle on the New Europe. French extreme rightist Jean-Marie Le Pen and an associate swapped insults, spittle and blows to the groin last week with a Belgian socialist in the cafeteria of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The brawl erupted after Robert Krieps, a socialist from Luxembourg, asked a group of lunching right-wingers if a speech that morning by Nelson Mandela had ruined their appetites. "Who's this dog?" asked Le Pen, according to press reports. Jose Happart, a Belgian socialist accompanying Krieps, told Le Pen to "go to hell." Le Pen spat at Happart and the brawl ensued.
  • Value Judgments

    With the exception of veterans and schoolchildren, few Americans normally pause to I observe Flag Day. But this year the nation's attention was riveted on Old Glory. Last week the Supreme Court struck down a federal flag protection law, ruling 6 to 4 that although the desecration is offensive, it is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. "Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering," Justice William Brennan wrote for the majority. George Bush, who rode into office wrapped in the Stars and Stripes, immediately issued a call for a constitutional amendment banning desecration of the flag. As the GOP leadership jumped on the bandwagon--and Democrats played for time--amendment legislation began advancing through Congress. A House floor vote could come this week--the initial step in the campaign to alter the Bill of Rights for the first time in its 199-year history (page 18). ...
  • Pam's Bash

    It's LIVE FROM THE KENNEDY CENTER with Pamela Harriman! Plus Crosby, Stills and Nash, Gladys Knight, Rodney Crowell, the Gypsy Kings and "Saturday Night Live's" Dana Carvey doing his impersonation of George Bush. Harriman hopes to raise $1.2 million for the Democratic Party with a gala at the center this week. Harriman sought advice from singer Paul Simon. who suggested SNL producer Lorne Michaels. "I have a background in the theater and lots of friends," says Harriman. The center had been off-limits to political fund raising until last year, when President Bush and the GOP changed the rules. Now Democrats have the stage.
  • Barry: The Mayor's Last-Ditch Strategy?

    My ego is gone now," said Washington Mayor Marion Barry last week. "There was a time ... I would have said, "I don't care if I get five votes, I'm going to run'." While jury selection for his trial on 14 perjury and cocaine-related charges continued, Barry, 54, went into a television studio to record a 12-minute speech. The mayor's message: he would not seek a fourth term this fall. When the speech was broadcast, it settled one burning question. But Barry's withdrawal raised new speculation about his upcoming trial, the mayoral campaign--and the volatile race relations in the nation's capital. ...
  • Here Come The Mob And Van Gogh

    What's hot in Hollywood now that "Dick Tracy" has been released? The mob is making a big comeback. The making of"The Godfather, Part III" has been well reported, but there are at least four other gangster films in production: "Miller's Crossing," with Albert Finney; "GoodFellas," a Martin Scorsese film, starring Robert De Niro, based on "Wiseguy" by Nick Pileggi "The Krays," about twin hoods who terrorized Britain in the 1960s, and "State of Grace" (its working title), with Sean Penn and Ed Harris. U.S. fans can also look forward to a rush of foreign films about Vincent van Gogh, honoring this year's 100th anniversary of his death. Among them: "Vincent & Theo," a Robert Altman movie already shown on European TV; "Vincent and Me," a Canadian film about a 12-year-old girl's sketches sold to the Japanese as van Gogh's newly discovered childhood drawings, and Akira Kurosawa's "Dreams," featuring director Scorsese as van Gogh.
  • Thoughts On Mayor Barry

    What do Genghis Khan, Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover and D.C. Mayor Marion Barry have in common? We don't have all day, so I will tell you: they all were / are historic figures who did some good along with their much more famous bad and thus are a pain in the neck to analyze. ...
  • Silver-Haired Athletes Reaching For The Gold

    A male midlife crisis used to be a condition characterized by the pursuit of leggy showgirls and the wearing of toupees. No one would think of buying a ticket to see a man in such a pathetic state. But last week a 43-year-old Texan faced a truly compelling crisis--how to pitch to the best team in baseball, the Oakland Athletics. And he survived it in exemplary style: by hurling a no-hitter. The Rangers' Nolan Ryan is the oldest person ever to pull off that feat--but he is hardly the only middle-aged man to muscle his way into the sports pages of late. From California (where Mark Spitz, 40, is trying to swim his way into the 1992 Olympics) to New York (where jockey Angel Cordero, 47, boots home winners at Belmont Park), silver-haired athletes are going for the gold. Some, such as golfer Jack Nicklaus and bowler Earl Anthony, have dabbled in the senior circuit, a kind of parallel universe where everyone wears Sansabelt slacks. But despite what science says about the body converting...
  • No Bailout For Gorb?

    It now seems very unlikely that a "Second Marshall Plan" for the Soviet Union will be approved at next month's economic summit in Houston. At a final strategy session last week, West German foreign-policy adviser Horst Teltschik urged his fellow "sherpas"--the advisers from the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and the European Community, who are carrying the load for summit planning--to back a $20 billion bailout for Mikhail Gorbachev. Bonn, Teltschik said, was willing to bear more than its share of the burden for payments to maintain Soviet troops in East Germany and credit guarantees for the crumbling Soviet economy. In Bonn's view, the plan would ensure Soviet support for keeping Germany in NATO--and help keep Gorbachev in control. Washington argued it couldn't afford the plan and the others argued that a heavy investment at this time would be risky because of uncertainty about Gorbachev's future.
  • A Wall Of Water Washes Through Ohio

    Nine-year-old Amber Colvin was playing cards with her friend Kerrie Trigg when the house began to fill up with water. It was late evening, and a series of rogue thunderstorms had just dumped five and a half inches of rain on the Ohio-West Virginia border region below Wheeling, W.Va. Wegee Creek, normally a placid stream, was rising to almost unbelievable heights, and Amber and Kerrie climbed into a bathtub for protection from the swirling water. Then the house collapsed. Before long, Amber found herself swept downstream into the Ohio River. Somehow she survived by clinging to two logs. "I had them for a long time," she said afterward. "I just drifted." ...
  • Trump: The Fall

    Once a symbol of cocky '80s wealth, Donald Trump is now tarnished by marital scandal, mired in debt and negotiating with banks to retain control of his empire. Even if he succeeds, the Trump "mystique' may never recover. ...
  • High Style And Low Comedy

    The misadvantage of Mr. Wilt is incredible. What's incredible is that this brand of repressed, dotty, English humor is still around. You would have thought the anarchic Monty Python gang would have blown away the kind of comedy once exemplified by Terry-Thomas, Ian Carmichael and the "Carry On" movies. Even more incredible is that I like this sort of humor. The sort where the thickheaded cop, Inspector Flint, grilling an innocent man, shoves a bunch of papers at him and says: "Did you write this, Mr. Wilt?" Wilt: "Yes, I did." Cop: "Don't try to deny it, Mr. Wilt." As David Letterman would say, that's comedy. ...
  • The Champion Of Passion

    D. H. Lawrence.By Jeffrey Meyers.446 pages. Knopf. $24.95.As the tide favoring censorship of the arts rises once more in this country, a new life of D. H. Lawrence takes on a certain poignancy. Lawrence was only 44 when tuberculosis felled him in 1930, but like James Joyce he's one of the great survivors of our century's frequent government-versus-art conflicts. In 1915 the British government, unprepared for candor about lesbianism and women's sexual desires, suppressed "The Rainbow." In 1929, the police closed down an exhibition of Lawrence's paintings, and from 1928 to 1960, customs officials on both sides of the Atlantic protected decent folk from "Lady Chatterley's Lover."It's hard to think of another modern novelist who preached loving life as incessantly as did this coal miner's son, yet he was constantly battered by it. Weak as a boy and often ill as a man, Lawrence was so dominated by his mother that during her life he could never love another woman. Later, feeling that...
  • Ivana: Success Is The Best Revenge

    It is dinner time in the atrium of The Plaza hotel. Darla Welsh, chaperon for a high-school prom group from Tenafly, N.J., is busy surveying the splendor: vaulted ceilings, crystal chandeliers, palm trees all around. "Beautiful," exclaims Welsh, who is decked out in a black taffeta gown with a huge white bow. But what are she and her students really dying to see? "We're hoping to catch a glimpse of Ivana," she says. ...
  • The Rusk Family War--And Peace

    The diplomat sits behind a professor's desk, an old man in a gray suit and maroon tie, working quietly under photographs of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. The trucker sits behind the wheel of an International tractor-trailer, a young man in a sweat-stained cap, T shirt and work pants, hauling cigarettes, candy and soda pop across the South. Both men are Rusks. Dean, the father, helped design and defend a conflict in Southeast Asia that killed 57,000 Americans and more than 1 million Vietnamese. Richard, the son, has spent the past 20 years brooding over how such a decent man could have ensnared himself in such a lousy war. Now they have collaborated on a fine exercise in reminiscence and self-redemption: As I Saw It (672pages. Norton. $29. 95), an honorable, no-apologies defense of Dean Rusk's career--and America's lost crusade in Vietnam. ...
  • How To Succeed In Show Business--Again

    During his complicated makeup for "Tru," Robert Morse's wavy hair disappears under a plastic skull cap. "That's my head condom," he lisps, already into the voice of Truman Capote. It's a joke the late author and social butterfly would have cackled at. The lisp, the cackle, the whine, the snorts, coughs and guffaws of Capote are part of a brilliant and poignant performance in Jay Presson Allen's one-man play. It won Morse, 69, what was clearly the most popular of the Tony Awards as best leading actor. ...
  • Poetry Redux

    It's been 41 years since the Library of Congress awarded a national poetry prize (the 1948 prize to pro-Fascist Ezra Pound caused Congress to put the award on ice). But the ban has been lifted, and in October the library will present the first Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt Prize. It's in memory of LBJ's sister, a poetry lover.
  • Hey, Dad, Want To Play Slime World?

    The ultimate video-game battlefield may be the back seat of the family car. Handheld video games are already available from Nintendo and Atari. By Christmas NEC will introduce an even more sophisticated version that can double as a handheld television set. ...
  • The Doctor's Suicide Van

    Sometimes, when ethical debates have run on interminably, it takes a shocking incident to sear the old questions back into the public consciousness. So it was with the case of the Oregon grandmother, the Detroit pathologist and his homemade suicide machine. She was diagnosed as having Alzheimer's disease--and preferred taking her life to slowly losing the mind she cherished. He was a zealot who had searched for an appropriate patient to try his controversial device. Janet Adkins read a short item about Jack Kevorkian in NEWSWEEK last fall and saw him on the "Donahue" show. She and her husband flew 2,000 miles to meet him and discuss his device over dinner. Last Monday, while her husband waited at a nearby hotel, they drove to a suburban campsite in Kevorkian's rusty Volkswagen van. He inserted a needle in her arm and started saline flowing. She pressed a button on his death machine that first sent a sedative, then deadly potassium chloride racing to her heart. ...
  • An Opening To The East?

    Germany: in or out? That is the question. Will the Soviets accept a united Germany inside NATO? After the Washington summit between George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, U.S. officials were discouraged. The Soviets were stonewalling. "The only ideas they offered were nonstarters like a Germany in both pacts, or airy-fairy visions of a PanEuropean security order . . . To our suggestions, they simply said nyet," said a U.S. official. But now the Soviets are signaling readiness to deal--without holding unification hostage to their security fears. "For the first time, rather than questioning the fact of Germany in NATO. the Soviets seem to be exploring ways to dress it up and sell it," said a U.S. official. ...