Newswire

Newswire

  • New Nea Head Is In The Hot Seat

    Anne-Imelda Radice, acting chairwoman of the National Endowment for the Arts since May 1, jumped right into her first big controversy last week. Radice vetoed two grants, both approved by the advisory National Council on the Arts. Protests from the arts community sprang up quickly-but so did a surprising amount of support. ...
  • Making The Buck Stop There

    There's a surreal quality in the idea of Congress considering a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget. "Think about it," says Rudy Penner, former director of the Congressional Budget Office. "This is a 'Stop me before I spend again!' sort of thing." ...
  • Signs Of Summer

    There was a time when detective heroes thrilled us by thinking! Yo Sherlock, Maigret, Nick Charles, you guys were wimps! Who did you ever blow away.? Hey, welcome back Detectives Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon 3. These Los Angeles cops would never beat up a helpless civilian. Sure, Riggs (Mel Gibson) does rough up and terrorize a dweeby film director, but how else can he persuade the four-eyed nerd to hire Rianne, Murtaugh's nifty daughter? As for Murtaugh (Danny Glover), he shies away from violence as he gets closer to retirement. Only under extreme provocation does he unlimber his arsenal and make kerflooey on the various scumbags that litter his path to peace. ...
  • Half Bakered

    George Bush's campaign chairman, Robert Mosbacher, apparently worried that the president's re-election effort is floundering, last week turned to Bush confidant and top political strategist Secretary of State James Baker. On Sunday, Mosbacher invited Baker to play a round of golf, administration sources say. After the outing, the sources say, a shaken Mosbacher told aides he intended to put in longer hours, seven days a week, to get the campaign on track. "Baker read him the riot act," says a top Bush aide. "He said the White House has failed to communicate the simplest idea, the simplest proposal." Mosbacher told NEWSWEEK the "two old friends" had talked, but he denied Baker was critical of the campaign "in any way."
  • An Olympian Free Fall

    In measuring the empires of real-estate moguls at the end of the 1980s, Donald Trump was chopped liver when compared with the Reichmann brothers. Sure, Trump's flamboyant style transformed him into a worldwide media star. You could trip over the Reichmanns and not know who they were. But their Toronto-based company, Olympia and York Developments Ltd., was actually far larger and more expansive, controlling office towers in New York, London and Canada. At its peak, Olympiaand York's empire was put at $30 billion, making it the world's largest developer and commercial landlord. But last week showed that the Reichmanns were as susceptible as Trump to the errant 1980s notion that things can only go up. After weeks of heading off cash crunches and negotiating with bankers, Olympia & York late last week filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in the United States and Canada. (its U.S. properties were not part of the filing.) The company was at least $17 billion in debt, thanks...
  • Cover Girl Correspondent

    For a while there, after Diane Sawyer's vampish 1987 photo spread in Vanity Fair, it seemed as if the media had finally stopped buying the "Prime Time Live" star's I'm-just-a-poor-working-stiff riff. But no. In this month's VF, while crediting Diane with rescuing the ABC program, writer Ed Klein quotes the $1.6 million-a-year (estimated) newswoman as saying, "I don't care about clothes" and "I love to dance with the camera guys." Klein also writes that Sawyer has ditched her glam-queen image for good. Odd, then, that the June issue of fashion mag Mirabella features sultry pics of Sawyer, who tells writer Nicholas von Hoffman that she's just "a working girl" who, like other hacks, lives "in roach-infested motels in Third World countries to get the story." Funny, just last week Diane reminisced to The New York Times about a visit to Ethel Kennedy's estate, saying, "Somehow Lenny Bernstein and I ended up doing a duet."
  • Peri Picks

    Gone are the days when your corner bar served only Blatz and Miller. Variety is now a must at any good drinking establishment-and so are the increasingly artsy neon beer signs you see everywhere. Peri surveys the field: Neotraditionalist. A very Soho kind of look.Never tried it? This won't persuade you.An eye-catcher for obscure S.F. brew.The latest from the master of Beach Chic. Will be a dorm staple for years.More traditional than icky Corona. It doesn't need to look trendy.Cool, rugged, earthy. For those partial to dingoes and dirt bikes.Blue-collar style for blue-collar suds.You gotta love the Bullwinkle motif.Classy. For the pinstripe-and-Beamer crowd.
  • Invasion Of The B Books

    There used to be giants in the film business-the Amazing Colossal Man and the 50-Foot Woman leap immediately to mind. They don't make characters like that anymore-or like the Teenage Caveman or the Ghost in the Invisible Bikini-and with good reason. Thanks to the demise of the double feature, there aren't any B movies to put them in. Back when men were men, and women wore tight sweaters and then wondered why creatures dragged them into black lagoons, B movies gave Hollywood a chance to go to extremes. Some of those cheap-and-fast films were extremely provocative ("Orgy of the Dead" was filmed in Sexicolor); others were extremely timely ("Runaway Daughters" showed "teenage girls in revolt against today's delinquent parents"). But what they were most was extremely awful. Consider that " The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes!" was played by a tea kettle poked full of holes and brought to a boil. Or that "Glen or Glenda" ("the strange case of a 'man' who changed his sex") used every foot of...
  • Fueling The Fire Over Halcion

    That Nila Wacaser stabbed her two young sons to death in a motel room was never in dispute. The Kansas City woman confessed to the crime in 1987 and received a death sentence in 1988. Before she could be executed, however, the Missouri Supreme Court threw out the conviction on a technicality and ordered a new trial. Two weeks ago Wacaser was back in court to mount a new defense. Citing her history of psychiatric troubles, her lawyers argued that Halcion, the sleep remedy she was receiving at the time of the crime, had unleashed a rage she might otherwise have checked. The argument failed--Wacaser was found guilty on May 8 and committed suicide the next morning--but the case may fuel the controversy surrounding the world's most widely prescribed sleeping pill. For the trial produced evidence that Upjohn, the maker of Halcion, has brushed aside its own scientists' safety concerns. ...
  • On Being Competitive

    If nothing else, the Los Angeles riot ought to concentrate our minds on what matters-and what doesn't. What doesn't matter is "competitiveness," as it's normally understood. We're told that we're in a race (or worse, a "war") with the Japanese and the Europeans to control new technologies and industries. If we lose, our living standards will drop and we're finished as a superpower. ...
  • Doctor Deconstructo

    "When speculation has done its worst," Samuel Johnson once said, "two and two still make four." Not necessarily at Cambridge University, where, after weeks of acrimony, the faculty awarded an honorary doctorate of letters to Jacques Derrida, the founder of deconstructionism, the school of literary criticism holding that every text is "unstable" and has meanings the writer never intended. Derrida, Cambridge philosopher Hugh Mellor complained, "has to write more and more obscurely to disguise the fact that he has nothing to say." At the dons' last donnybrook, in 1985, Oxford did deny an honorary degree to Margaret Thatcher-but then, Derrida didn't cut funding for universities.
  • The Million-Dollar Woman

    It must have been one compelling two-and-a-half-page proposal. Susan Faludi, new feminism guru and author of the best-selling "Backlash," just fetched $1.5 million from William Morrow for her next book, "The Man Question." The subject: "It will look at men over the last two decades and find out who they are and why, and how they participated in creating the backlash," says Faludi's agent Sandra Dijkstra.
  • Germany's Master Builder

    Hans-Dietrich Genscher is to resign today as German foreign minister after 18 years in office. The news last month gave me a sense of almost personal loss--an odd reaction because, as much as I value Genscher as a friend, I have not always agreed with the foreign policies he conducted. But he was a master builder of diplomacy in the cold-war era, and a chief architect of his country's reunification. Genscher's resignation is an occasion for reflections not only on the past but also on Germany's future-and on the role he might yet play in it. ...
  • Just Friends

    Kari Swendsboe just didn't feel like asking some guy to this spring's junior prom at Dedham (Mass.) High School. Instead, she asked a female friend to come along. But when Swendsboe asked principal Anthony Zonfrelli for permission to buy tickets, she received a uniquely '90s response: because this is a "couples' dance," you can go together only if you state that you're gay. (Under state law, schools can't discriminate against homosexuals.) Swendsboe balked-primarily because she's heterosexual. The ACLU rallied behind her, and, eventually, the principal agreed to suspend the couples-only policy and let anyone go.
  • 'The Big-Time Killers Are Still Free'

    She is the children's avenger. Over the last two years Tania Maria Salles Moreira, a 40-year-old public prosecutor, has stalked dozens of alleged killers of Brazilian kids-winning convictions and prison sentences of up to 26 years for five notorious "exterminators." It's Herculean work. Tania Maria, as she is known in this first-name-only society, faces an uphill struggle in a judicial system devastated by years of neglect and widespread corruption. Her targets-hit men hired by drug dealers and merchant associations-are often untouchable in the courts as well as on the streets: they routinely terrorize witnesses, bribe judges and thwart investigations. Many of the killers are cops themselves. But Tania Maria persists in her simple quest. " The Brazilian people need to be reminded that there is a basic right that comes before any other: the right to live," she says. "If we don't secure this right, nothing else matters." ...
  • Salvation Army

    One step forward, two steps back: the Haitian Parliament is scheduled to vote this week on a plan for a "national salvation government" that looks like a ruse to perpetuate military rule. By calling for a new prime minister, the army-backed proposal slyly addresses one demand of an OAS-mediated parliamentary agreement, but pointedly ignores its most important requirement-the return to office of ousted President Jean-Baptiste Aristide. The plan also calls for new presidential elections, as a way of closing the book on Aristide.
  • Cheers To The Hard Stuff

    These are busy days for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. It denied reports that Colt 45 Premium malt liquor was really the notorious PowerMaster. (The agency had forced G. Heileman to stop using the name because it glorified its alcoholic punch.) The bureau, says The Wall Street Journal, also signed off on a name change for another firm-Black Death Vodka is now Black Hat Vodka.
  • The Lapd's Crisis Of Faith

    The ominous graffiti scrawled on the walls of burned-out South-Central says it all: "It's not over yet." Angelenos are still feeling the aftershocks of the Rodney King verdict, and the Los Angeles Police Department remains where it's been for the last 14 months: at the epicenter of the disturbances. Last week began with the announcement that ex-FBI head William Webster would head an independent inquiry into police conduct during the riots and ended with a superior court judge's decision to retry Laurence Powell, the only officer not fully acquitted late last month. In between came a dramatic, predawn raid led by embattled Police Chief Daryl Gates. The result: the arrests of three men accused of brutally beating truckdriver Reginald Denny in the first hours of the riot (a fourth turned himself in). ...
  • A Riptide Of Refugees

    For three weeks the frightened family hid in a forest, dodging skirmishes between Bosnian militiamen and former federal soldiers just across the border with Serbia. They held their ground even when Serbs began to mortar their tiny village of Sapna. But when the tanks rolled into Sapna last week, Mehmed Salkic, his wife and five daughters fled. Now they sleep among 1,200 other refugees on a gymnasium floor in the mostly Muslim city of Tuzla; there is no shower and only bread and marmalade to eat. Another 1,000 Muslim refugees reach Tuzla every day. "What is happening in Bosnia passes all imagination," says Jose-Maria Mendiluce, special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sarajevo. " We are seeing something like World War II, with population centers being destroyed and towns and villages attacked not as military objects, but with the sole purpose of driving the people away." ...