Newswire

Newswire

  • Tailhook: Throwing Down the Gantlet

    It's been a year since drunken naval aviators at the Tailhook convention assaulted 26 women in a "gantlet" at the Las Vegas Hilton, and no officer has been charged. No wonder. Last week a Pentagon inspector-general report revealed that the navy's handling of the Tailhook investigation was as scandalous as the assaults. Its findings: The admiral leading the probe, Naval Investigative Service chief Duvall Williams, believed "men simply do not want women in the military." He got into a "screaming match" with Assistant Navy Secretary Barbara Pope after calling female navy pilots "go-go dancers, topless dancers or hookers." Gantlet victim navy Lt. Paula Coughlin, he said, was the kind of woman who "would welcome this type of activity" because she used profanity in her NIS statement.The navy investigators shielded the brass. Few of the 2,100 witnesses questioned were asked if they had seen admirals near the gantlet.Navy Under Secretary J. Daniel Howard, overseer of the Tailhook inquiry,...
  • Who Could Hang A Name On Him?

    Keith Richards: The Biography. By Victor Bockris. 409 pages. Poseidon. $24. The hair raising yarns in Victor Bockris's "Keith Richards: The Biography" confirm again what we've been hearing for years: that the quintessential rock-and-roll guitarist is also popular music's all-time icon of excess. Forget Hank Williams, Charlie Parker, even Elvis Presley. Williams, dead at 29, just wasn't around long enough, and lost more glamour points for being primarily a boozehound. Parker, dead at 34, didn't have the money for true epic decadence: no drug shipments by private plane, and precious little chance to shoot first-rate pharmaceuticals. Elvis, who made it to 42, had money but no style: his drugs were strictly prescription, and he dispatched his jetliner not for cocaine but for cheeseburgers The King collected police badges; Richards collects switchblades. Incongruously, Richards is the one who's still alive: 48 and apparently going strong. ...
  • Rocket Scientist

    Not for nothing is Mississippi Rep. Jamie Whitten known as a prince of pork. In 1987, Whitten snared the Advanced Solid Rocket Motor project for an abandoned TVA plant in his district. Designed after the 1986 Challenger explosion, the ASRM was viewed as a major advance in shuttle technology. Since then, a simpler redesign has performed flawlessly and the ASRM has fallen from favor. Earlier this year the House killed the project and the Senate voted a paltry $50 million for it. Undeterred, Whitten strong-armed $360 million for the project into a conference bill that was approved last week.
  • The Newsweek 100

    Radio consultant. He created the standard rock format that makes stations sound exactly alike from Maine to Miami. If you like it, tell Lee. If not, tough luck. ...
  • Heels, Heroes and Hustlers

    Though _B_Hero_b_ is graced with a fine, bigname cast-Dustin Hoffman, Geena Davis, Andy Garcia-the real our of this and lively satire is the story itself. In this and many other ways, "Hero" is a conscious throwback to the social comedies of the '30s and '40s. It calls to mind Capra, the Ben Hecht/William Wellman "Nothing Sacred" and, especially, the Preson Sturges of "Hail the Conquering Hero," which also dealt with the fabrication of a hero. Written by David Webb Peoples ("Unforgiven") from a story by Peoples, Laura Zisk in and Alvin Sargent, it has the intricate, steel-trap plotting that has largely vanished from screen comedy. Stylishly directed by the versatile Stephen Frears ("Dangerous Liaiwns"), it has a refreshing draft of moral complexity. ...
  • Santa: Please Send Maalox

    Forget Alan Greenspan, consumer-confidence polls and the Council of Economic Advisers. If you want a firm handle on where the economy is headed these days you might want to talk to Earl Sherlock about Christmas. Sherlock, the president of Syracuse's Chappell's Department Stores, hopes his plan to stock up on affordable merchandise like vests, denim skirts and jogging suits will put him a little ahead of last year's season. He's also banking on promotions like an appearance by members of the local opera company to help draw crowds. But if anyone is expecting him and his customers to launch a bullish economic recovery-- well,'Virginia, that may be a lot to ask. "People are starting to open their pocketbooks," he says. "But the public is still very conservative." ...
  • When Marriage Is Sleeping With The Enemy

    When they married in Sarajevo six years ago, Misha and Hika seemed to represent the multiethnic Yugoslav ideal. He was a prosperous Serbian businessman, she a Muslim accountant who worked at the same electronics factory. Friends and family celebrated their union; the couple had two daughters and ran a successful restaurant and stores in a Sarajevo suburb. Today, Misha, 38, and Hika, 35, are social outcasts. They are refugees now in the Serbian capital of Belgrade, nearly penniless-and hopeless about the future of their half-Serb, half-Muslim daughters in a society that has become obsessed with ethnic purity. Asks Misha, "What problems will they have because of us?" ...
  • THIS IS YOUR A-LIFE

    It isn't every day you get to play God. That is, unless you've just bought SimLife. Fire up this brand-new computer game and make a few friends -literally You start by selecting, say, camels from the games palette of animals, placing a bunch of them on an arid, computer-generated plain. They begin to move around on the screen, and to mate (You know because the machine emits a sultry "ooh-la-la!') Then you introduce a predator-maybe a species of vicious-looking desert snake. Oops! Turns out they really like camels. You how a new sound--"Ooooh!"--a dispirited signals that your digital children are dying You could right the balance by choosing the "smite" command and going after a few serpents, or maybe change the genetic characteristics of the snakes to make them prefer &Wt. Or wait. "Ooooh." Camel skeletons dot the screen; the snakes starve. "Ooooh." Within a few minutes, the landscape is empty. That round was like Hobbes's description of life itself: nasty, brutish and short. ...
  • Jiffy Pop

    Once again, Detroit has proved it has the nation's most innovative crooks. The city that brought us carjackers now offers a new breed of criminal: air bag thieves. Police say the crooks are skillfully removing bags from parked cars and selling them to repair shops, where they're put in autos whose original bags have been deployed or damaged. A new air bag can ow up to $800, but a stolen one can be had for $100. A good thief can remove one in five minutes-- and not have it explode in his face. Because the crime is so new, police don't know exactly how many cars have been de-bagged, but they say the tally is sure to rise.
  • In Europe, Three's A Crowd

    From behind his massive desk at the chancellery in Bonn, Helmut Kohl looks at two portraits. One is of Konrad Adenauer, West Germany's first chancellor and the man Kohl regards as his "political grandfather." The other is an autographed charcoal drawing of French President Francois Mitterrand, Kohl's closest ally for 10 years now. The pictures represent the bedrock of German foreign policy: starting with Adenauer, Bonn has tied itself tightly to the West, and in particular to France. Recently a third party has tried to horn in on the close relationship between Kohl and Mitterrand. Prime Minister John Major wants to make Britain one of the three pillars of the European Community. But last week, during an acute crisis of confidence in the future of European unification, it became clear that three's a crowd. Kohl and Mitterrand pressed ahead with unification on their own terms, which could lead to the creation of not one new Europe but two-with Britain the most conspicuous occupant of...
  • Blood And Bones Of Tragedy

    No more electrifying theater will be seen in the United States this season than _B_Les Atrides_b_, the 10-hour, fourplay cycle of Greek theater by the brilliant French director Ariane Mnouchkine and her celebrated Theatre du Soleil (Theater of the Sun). This production is so huge that the Brooklyn Academy of Music, which is presenting the company this week (Oct. 111) in its first New York appearance, has had to appropriate the Park Slope Armory, an arena the size of two football fields. The troupe's only previous U.S. appearance was at the Los Angeles Olympic Festival in 1984, where its Kabuki-style versions of Shakespeare's "Richard II" and "Twelfth Night" demonstrated the originality that has earned it international fame. Before its Brooklyn run, "Les Atrides" traveled to Montreal, where it played a sold-out engagement at a sports stadium. Such vast spaces are perfect for these plays, which were first seen by Athenians in the fifth century B.C. at the theater of Dionysus, which...
  • HITTING THE GLASS CEILING

    If there's a glass ceiling in politics, George Bush has hit it. Whatever he does, he can't seem to push his poll numbers above 42 percent. With barely five weeks left, the president's inability to connect is mystifying to the people around him. Voters seem indifferent to Bush's reasonably well-crafted speeches. A NEWSWEEK Poll shows voters are more troubled by Bush's role in Iran-contra than they are by Clinton's draft status. An ABC News survey shows that of the 50 states, Bush can definitely count on ... Utah. It maybe a measure of the Bush campaign's desperation that some aides now spend hours each day debating whether replacing prickly budget director Richard Darman with respected conservative Congressman Vin Weber would capture the country's attention. Weber might win votes around water coolers inside the Beltway, but he won't make Bush the comeback kid. "It's a better chance that Clinton will win a landslide than Bush will stage a comeback at this point," says a Bush campaign...
  • A 'Message' For Hollywood

    Movie critic Michael Medved is not on Hollywood's A List. His latest book, "Hollywood vs. America" (HarperCollins, $20), is a blunt attack on the film industry's values. Hollywood is losing money, he says, because studios are making films nobody wants to see. "A disproportionate amount of the product of this industry is extremely ill-considered and seems to go out of its way to offend the values of the American mainstream," Medved says. "I think that's both bad citizenship and bad business." ...
  • Kissinger: Betrayal Of The Apostles?

    The buzz quickly went out on the nationwide network of Henry Kissinger's former acolytes: "Stay tuned." Winston Lord, one of Kissinger's longtime former aides, had just testified before a Senate panel on the fate of Vietnam-era POWs, and he left the impression that some Americans probably were abandoned in the withdrawal from Vietnam in 1973. Lord made it clear that he wasn't criticizing Kissinger for continuing the withdrawal anyway. Still, the Kissinger hands watched in morbid fascination, waiting for their mentor to go ballistic. He did. Testifying before Sen. John Kerry's committee the next day, he denounced the implication (not made by Lord) that he knowingly left POWs behind as a "flat-out lie." ...
  • Can't You Hear Him Knocking?

    Denis Leary's coming in, and he's got an attitude Denis Leary can't stop talking. He can't stop pacing, can't stop smoking or shoving his face into the camera. On the small screen, he's a knot of energy, a pulsating twitch of black leather jacket and straw hair pushed back like a shock wave radiating from his forehead. But mostly, he's speed-ranting. About cocaine, for example: "I'd like a drug that makes my penis small, makes my heart explode, makes my nose bleed and sucks all my money out of the bank. Is that possible, please?" Or racism: "I think Rodney King said it best when he said, 'Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow.' Racism isn't born, folks. It's taught. I have a 2-year-old son. You know what he hates? Naps! End of list." Or pious pop stars: "Sting. He wants to save the seals, he wants to save the rain forests. How 'bout saving your hair, OK pal?" Or politics: "I've got two words for Ross Perot: Frank Perdue." Or, more recently, in his defiantly obnoxious ads for Nike sneakers, about Bo...
  • When Good Trusts Go Bad

    Here's a tough problem for anyone reporting on personal finance. What do you say about a good product that has fallen into some bad hands? I'm speaking of the living trust, beloved of those who would avoid probate. ...
  • HELP FROM THE HOLY WARRIORS

    Until the mujahedin arrived last June, Alma Halep rarely stepped inside a mosque. Like most Bosnian Muslims, the 16-year-old girl had a lot more in common with her ethnic Serb and Croat neighbors than her Islamic "brethren" from the Middle East. War has changed her habits. Now she prays the traditional five times a day at a mosque in Travnik, the central Bosnian town where she, her mother and her younger brother fled after Serbs destroyed their home in nearby Turbe. Besides religious instruction, the visitors from the east are offering military assistance. "They are very good men," says Alma, tucking a few strands of blond hair under the blue scarf that covers her head. "In our country, some of the men don't want to be killed and are afraid to fight." As for the mujahedin, "They are the only ones who have come here to help us." ...
  • A CITY BEHIND WALLS

    In the whole, it's not too surprising that the Shatto Recreation Center near downtown Los Angeles survived last April's riots unscathed while buildings all around were looted and torched. There's not a lot to steal inside, except for some tennis racquets, and even an enraged mob would have to be exceptionally perverse to destroy its own basketball court. But it also is a building that defies you to burn it down, or even scratch your initials in it. Its roof rises from the ground in a graceful roll of galvanized steel, and the front and back facades are almost windowless expanses of textured brick--a surface designed to be as inhospitable to graffiti as a wall covered in English ivy. For many property owners, the lesson of the Shatto center in the wake of the riots is clear: if I had a steel roof on my house, it would take an atom bomb to burn it down. ...