Newswire

Newswire

  • The 'Truman Paradigm'

    Publishing poetry has been likened to tossing rose petals into the Grand Canyon and waiting for echoes. You might think that would also describe publishing (when the public thinks politicians are valuable only as a source of protein) a biography of an unglamorous president who was deeply unpopular most of his time in office, who left office not merely disliked but disdained-and before most of today's readers were politically awake. What, then, explains the astonishing, even though merited, success of David McCullough's "Truman"? ...
  • Was Andrew A Freak--Or A Preview Of Things To Com

    They're called hundred-year storms because they strike with a fury so enormous that meteorologists figure they can't come around more than once a century. Why have the past three years seen both Hurricane Andrew and Hurricane Hugo, which smacked into South Carolina in 1989 and was rated a 4 on the 5-point scale measuring storm intensity? And what about Gilbert, which ravaged Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in 1988 and was rated a 5? It might be a horrible coincidence. Or it might be a harbinger. One predicted consequence of the greenhouse effect-a global warming caused by the release into the atmosphere of such heat-trapping gases as carbon dioxide and methane-is that we will have more severe storms. If the climatologists' computer models are right, a hurricane that would otherwise have rated a 3 would be whipped up to an Andrew-size 5. "[We could see] a 50 percent increase in the destructive potential" of the most powerful tropical storms, says meteorologist Kerry Emanuel of...
  • Clear Choices: What's In The Candidates' Programs

    George Bush and Bill Clinton offer the voters a clear choice on the best ways to revive the U.S. economy. A brief and selective look at the candidates' election-year economic programs: ...
  • Aids Or Chronic Fatigue?

    Rosemary Stevens recalls vividly how her life changed 11 years ago. She was 37, recently separated, raising two kids and working as a store clerk in Stevensville, Mich., when she came down with the most bone-crushing flu she'd ever had. Her doctor called it acute mononucleosis, but it never went away. She kept working, but year after year, she suffered fevers and infections that sometimes lasted months despite treatment with antibiotics. She thought she'd figured out what was wrong in 1986, when a gynecological exam revealed extensive endometriosis. But a hysterectomy brought no relief. "I thought, 'This is it, I'm finally going to be better'," she says. "I just got worse." Since then, doctors have given her everything from antidepressants to antihistamines-even performed two root canals on the theory that her ear and sinus infections might originate in her teeth. Yet her illness persists. At 48, she gets by on disability checks and wonders whether she'll ever work again. ...
  • On The Record

    A sampling of top new dancehall recordings, all widely distributed: ...
  • '92 Campaign Edition

    The CW feels like it's in the sixth grade. You're a liar! No, you are! Why lie about 128 tax increases when 59 will do? ...
  • We Have Lost Our Humanity

    Today is Saturday, and we are almost finished with office hours. I usually feel virtuous after working on Saturday. I am a doctor. Although I prefer to think of myself as a soldier fighting sickness, willing to sacrifice a precious weekend day for a noble cause, I admit that marketplace reality is largely responsible. Most working folks prefer to see their doctor on the weekend. ...
  • Careful, He Might Hear You

    She says: ". . . I can't stand the confines of this marriage." He says: "Oh, Squidgy, I love you, love you, love you." More than 100,000 eavesdroppers paid a premium last week to listen to a taped phone conversation that Britain's tabloids insist is between Princess Di and a suitor named "James." According to the tabs, the recorded conversation took place New Year's Eve, 1989, from a mobile phone.If Squidgy is Di, who is James? Speculation turned first to Maj. James Hewitt, 34, her former riding instructor, then, more compellingly, to James Gilbey, 35, an executive for Lotus racing cars and a member of the wealthy gin family. While Buckingham Palace bit the royal lip, Gilbey denied reaching out and touching the princess. Whoever it was, a call-in survey showed Brits, 7-1, still want Di as their next queen-with or without Charles as king.
  • Buzzwords

    They've come a long way, baby. In fact, women tennis players have come so far they've created their own language. A key to decoding the banter at this week's U.S. Open: An agent who refuses all media opportunities.To volley with high-ranking corporate types.Katerina and Manuela Maleeva--internationally feared for their on-court whining.First day of an unsanctioned exhibition-where players "win" up to $50,000 before even stepping onto the court.Virginia Slims, the original women's tour sponsor.Chris Evert, the first lady of women's tennis; a.k.a. Chris America.
  • What Went Wrong

    The Big Blow started as a little pout of hot air in the summer sky over West Africa. It was only a tropical depression when the National Hurricane Center in Dade County, Fla., began watching it closely. Three days later, as it gathered strength 1,000 miles off the Leeward Islands, the NHC meteorologists named it Andrew. Seated at a blue desk surrounded by computers and weather monitors, Lixion Avila spent one midnight shift plotting the storm's path. At 3 a.m. he picked up a beige telephone and called his boss, Robert Sheets. ...
  • Between A Rock And A Hard Face

    Forget ice sculptures. With labor at recession-era prices, elite San Francisco partythrowers can now afford living statuary-nude men and women spray-painted in tasteful bronze or marble tones. Jumping on the Demi Moore bandwagon, private clubs, fashion shows and corporate parties are hiring makeup artist Jim Ponder to create breathing Davids and Daphnes. The "statues," often exotic dancers and models, undergo a two-hour painting process that sometimes includes theatrical adhesive for that hard-to-attach fig leaf They then head to a party, where they strike classic Greek poses. Often they're so convincing that patrons are stunned when the statues move.
  • Short Takes

    You'd think folks with money to burn would find better deals on the Home Shopping Network. But last week, Air Canada and a Texas investment group offered $400 million for the troubled Continental Airlines. That follows bids of $350 million and $385 million from Maxxam and Houston Air, respectively. Did we hear the words "breakup value"?... Mutual Madness: investors sank $18.63 billion into mutual funds in July-the second highest monthly total ever.
  • The Spy Who Got Away--Again

    The voice calling from a Stockholm jail sounded familiar as I picked up the phone in Washington last week. It was Edward Lee Howard, the only CIA man ever to defect to the Soviet Union. I knew the 40-year-old spy from interviews in Budapest for a book I wrote about him in 1988, and I'd seen him again at his KGB dacha outside Moscow last year. Now, it seemed, the FBI was about to catch up with Howard. The Swedish counterintelligence service, SAPO, had nabbed him. Back in Washington, the U.S. authorities were eager to bring the fugitive to justice. Yet Howard sounded perfectly cheerful. "A couple of hours ago," he explained, "the prosecutor dropped all charges." In a few hours more, Howard would be freed and back on a plane for Moscow. Once again, it seemed, of all the secrets Howard learned from American intelligence, the one he learned best was the art of escape. For Edward Lee Howard, Stockholm was only the latest stop in an odyssey that began nine years ago. Back in May 1983, he...
  • Columbus As A Hollywood Hustler

    Alexander and Ilya Salkind's Christopher Columbus: the Discovery has beaten Ridley Scott's "1492" to the screen by a couple of months, but it's not an occasion for trumpets. A perfunctory historical epic with no clear point of view, it makes one long for the hokey old Hollywood swashbucklers that at least generated some star power. George Corraface plays the determined Genoan explorer (here called by his Spanish moniker, Cristobal Colon) as a Hollywood hustler with a cocky, lounge-lizard grin and a way with women. He pitches his highconcept voyage (The world is round! We'll sail west to China!) to Queen Isabella of Spain, portrayed by Rachel Ward as a bright-eyed Jesus freak with hormones raging under her breastplate. She green-lights the trip, over the objections of Marlon Brando's heretic-sniffing Torquemada and Tom Selleck's petulant, sleepy King Ferdinand, but by the time the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria set sail, half the movie is over and the audience is ready to jump...
  • Defending Your Home

    It wasn't just couches, roofs and cars that Hurricane Andrew blew away. It wiped out the futures of thousands of families who were not well enough insured. The same thing happens on a smaller scale when any single home burns down. Feeling invulnerable, we skimp-especially on higher-cost policies that can cover a major loss. But without such coverage, you are hostage to fortune. You effectively own nothing, if one act of God can bring everything down. ...
  • Bad Vibes

    Finance police in Milan, Italy, for making the locals wonder just who's running their town. When callers to their station are placed on hold, they hear the theme from "The Godfather"-not exactly the best selection in these Mafia-marred times. A police spokesman blamed headquarters in Rome for the inappropriate mood music.
  • Fighting The Squish Factor

    Jim Baker began to strut his stuff last week. He shipped George Bush off to Miami within hours after Hurricane Andrew struck. Trouble was, Bush arrived in Florida bearing sound bites when real food was needed-and the public reaction was predictable: who does this guy think he's kidding? The president, clearly, is in desperate trouble. His "campaign mode" cynicism and promises are transparent. The public has lost faith in his ability-indeed, in his desire-to get anything done. According to last week's CBS-New York Times poll, only 15 percent thought Bush could accomplish "real change" in a second term (by contrast, 61 thought Clinton might and 95 said "real change" was needed). ...
  • Anatomy Of A Hype

    Who is Donna Tartt and why is everyone talking about her new book? OK, maybe not everyone ("One thing I can tell you is, everybody's not talking about it in Iowa City."--Paul Ingram, bookseller, Iowa City), but Tartt, 28, is featured in the latest issues of Vanity Fair, M, Esquire, Vogue, Elle and Mirabella. In September she embarks on a 20-city publicity tour (including Iowa City). Her book is called The Secret History (Knopf. 524 pages. $23) and Knopf paid $450,000 for it-an astonishing amount for a first novel, especially one that isn't just glitzy trash or about eave dwellers. Foreign rights have been sold to 11 countries for more than $500,000, paperback rights went for another half million, it's a Book of the Month Club selection, and Alan J. Pakula ("All the President's Men") has bought the movie rights. Most first novels get a first printing of about 10,000 copies; Tartt's is getting 75,000. "I can't remember a first literary/ commercial novel with this much push from the...
  • The Money Of Collor

    A little more than two years ago, Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello came to power on a vow to clean up corruption in Brazil. Today, the dashing 43-year-old free marketer has not only failed to live up to that promise-he also faces well-documented accusations that he ripped off the government on a grand scale himself A Brazilian congressional commission has found that Collor personally benefited from an influence-peddling ring operated within the government by his former campaign treasurer. Of "hundreds of millions of dollars" raked off through kickbacks on government contracts, bank fraud and tax evasion, more than $20 million allegedly made it into the pockets of Collor, his family and cronies. The loot reportedly included hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses for the president, a $1.8 million overhaul of the presidential-residence gardens and swimming pool, a $10,000 Fiat and a $5,000 monthly salary for Collor's butler. First Lady Rosane Collor...
  • The Cost Of Quality

    Well, maybe copying the Japanese isn't such a good idea after all. Consider Douglas Aircraft, the troubled subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corp. Plagued by poor earnings and richer competitors, the aircraft maker three years ago embraced "Total Quality Management," a Japanese import that had become the American business cult of the 1980s. TQM, as it is known, depends on small teams of workers-all the way down to the factory floor-to clean up poor procedures and work habits. That appealed to Douglas, which dispatched 8,000 employees in Long Beach, Calif., to two-week training seminars. They also spent weeks preparing for TQM on the job. But in less than two years, Douglas's version of quality management was a shambles, largely because the program's advocates hadn't anticipated the massive layoffs that poisoned labor-management relations. At Douglas, TQM appeared to be just one more hothouse Japanese flower never meant to grow on rocky American ground. ...