Newswire

Newswire

  • Iraq: Try, Try Again

    The leaflets fluttered to earth around military bases in southern Iraq. The basic message: "Don't fly or you'll be shot down." Others told the Iraqis they would suffer the consequences if they aimed their antiaircraft radar at allied warplanes patrolling overhead. As the United States, Britain and France established a "no fly" zone below the 32nd parallel last week, Iraqi military men were forced to back down-for now, at least. Nearly all of Iraq's warplanes were withdrawn from the area before the deadline. In the early days of the ban, none came back. The only response from Baghdad was simmering resentment; Iraqi newspapers steadily fulminated against "the cursed Bush" and his "criminal plan." ...
  • The Dollar In Dumpsville

    The American dollar took it on the chin last week, and it wasn't just currency traders who were reeling. The greenback's glory has been fading ever since 1985, when it hit 3.4 7 German marks to the dollar. But last week the dollar sank to record postwar lows, hovering at 1.40 Deutsche marks. Stock markets stuttered, and U.S. economists did a little financial mudslinging, blaming the Germans for keeping their interest rates so high that investors deserted the dollar for the mark. American tourists abroad, drinking espresso at $5 a cup, were ready to choke. ...
  • Andrew's Wrath

    It took Hurricane Andrew only hours to cut its devastating swath through the Southeast, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. But could the worst of the suffering have been avoided?
  • Darman's Diary?

    Is White House budget director Richard Darman following that cardinal Beltway rule: when under fire, write a kiss-and-tell book? Sources say Darman recently penned "Adventures in Wonderland," a secret memoir about his government experience. The book, to be published after the November election, is said to he culled from Darman's daily diary. Sources say the manuscript is with Simon & Schuster editor Alice Mayhew, but Mayhew denies it. Darman didn't return calls.
  • The Booksellers' Art Of Persuasion

    Owners of small, nonchain bookstores are not immune to hype from the big New York publishers, but when it comes to matters of taste, nothing pleases them more than being able to create a hit with no help from Manhattan. When grass-roots dealers love a book, they go right into what they call their "handselling" mode. They clutch the book, they might even clutch the customer, and then they sincerely confide, " You've got to read this." ...
  • Bush: What Bounce?

    George Bush was eerily confident, even jovial. Presiding at a family dinner at The Houstonian on the eve of his acceptance speech, he offered needling toasts, gently teasing his grandson George P., who would have to shill for "Gampy" that night on national television. To hand-wringing Republican leaders who dropped by the president's condo, he offered a soothing mantra: read the new biography of Harry Truman. Just like Give 'Em Hell Harry, the president would come from behind and confound the pundits. He had a game plan, ancient but serviceable: he would savage Bill Clinton as yet another "out of the mainstream" liberal. His old buddy Jim Baker was back to run the show. Clinton wasn't so tough-"a mile wide and an inch deep," said a Bush family member. No need to worry. It would all work out. ...
  • Passing The Bucks

    Would a Bill Clinton victory in November kill off some of the liberal interest groups that have supported his cause? For the past 12 years, these Washington organizations have worked to put a Democrat in the White House. But if that actually happens, activists say, liberal groups won't have nearly as much to rail against. Already, past contributors are bypassing them and sending donations directly to the Clinton-Gore campaign. Shrinking donations led People for the American Way to suspend mail solicitations this summer (they resumed again this week). And the National Abortion Rights Action League has scaled back its media buys as money dries up. Some activists fear their days on the job are numbered. "We fought for change throughout the 1980s," said one. "Now what are we going to do?" Meanwhile, Democratic fund raisers got their own financial bounce from the GOP convention. "Pat Buchanan really helped us rake it in, especially from women," said one.
  • Nbc And Scud Stud Sling Mud

    Desert Storm was a skirmish compared with the war that NBC's "Scud Stud," Arthur Kent, fought with network brass last week. Suspended after refusing assignment in Croatia, Kent passed out an angry statement in front of NBC's New York offices. NBC then banned Kent from an appearance on Jay Leno's show. The final shot was on Friday, when Kent was fired. NBC says he's an insatiable primo don; Kent says NBC made him do stupid stories. In other words, they only wanted him for his body.
  • Did Gorbachev Control The Nuclear Button?

    Who had control of the Soviets' nuclear button? During the days of the coup there was probably no question more worrisome. The answers were contradictory. Just days after the coup, Gen. Mikhail Moiseyev, the Soviet chief of staff, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that "in those hours I was the only man who controlled the strategic nuclear forces. The president was cut out, Yazov too ... I ensured security and did it in a proper manner." But President Gorbachev later told French reporters, "Only I can start a nuclear war." ...
  • Spy Vs. Spy

    Actors Scott Glenn and Lou Diamond Phillips recently finished shooting a cop movie called "S.I.S." It's about the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Investigation Section, which in real life stands accused of police brutality and questionable surveillance techniques. Now the film's coproducer, Frank Sacks, says real SIS officers tapped his phones and were seen prowling around the set. An LAPD spokesman called Sacks's charges "wild."
  • Mickey's Secret Life

    A half-finished mansion on Creekside Drive in Youngstown, Ohio, is the last monument Mickey Monus built to himself The 14,000-square-foot behemoth, with grand curved staircase, indoor pool and basketball court, was to be home base for Michael I. Monus, president of the $3 billion Phar-Mor discount drug chain, partner in the Colorado Rockies expansion baseball team and up-and-coming icon in the American cult of the entrepreneur. ...
  • Hey Dude, Let's Catch Some Rapids

    Attention, water-sports fans: white-water rafting is for wimps. These days, the coolest way to get that adrenaline pumping is to catch a ride on a river bodyboard-a sleek, lightweight craft that sends you flying downstream at up to 25 miles per hour. With its body-hugging grooves and easy-to-grasp handles, the $224 river bodyboard makes it possible to ride big rapids safely without having to sit inside some confining raft or kayak. But make no mistake, daredevils: this is a rugged sport requiring even the best riders to wear wet suits, helmets, body padding and life jackets. All novices should be trained by an experienced rafter, and no one should ever ride alone. "It's like the hang gliding of water sports," says river-bodyboard enthusiast Erik Fair, sounding as if he's also spent some time surfing. "It's total connection with the river-your body is the boat." So far, the boards are available only in California, where you can now sign up for a river-bodyboard expedition with...
  • They Beat The Coup So Why The Gloom?

    OUR VICTORY IS OUR MEMORY, read one placard outside Russia's White House last week. Victory over last year's hard-line coup seemed like a faint memory indeed as only a couple of thousand Russians showed up to celebrate the first anniversary of the failed putsch. Where last year tens of thousands of defenders stood united in support of President Boris Yeltsin, this year the paltry crowd was strangely fragmented. Drunken teenagers belted out boisterous songs, World War II veterans played their accordions, Hare Krishnas beat drums, and Orthodox priests carried signs saying GOD SAVE RUSSIA. Perhaps the most dramatic change from a year ago was the lack of optimism. "There was a great euphoria last year," said Aleksandr Titenkov, a space researcher. "But now I have come here with a heavy heart." ...
  • When Justice Is Entangled With Love

    Rosellen Brown prefaces her new novel, Before and After (354 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux. $21), with the depiction of a home video: here are flickering shots of a little boy squinting in the bright sun, a little girl in her best clothes and two comfortable-looking parents smiling at each other. With this video scrapbook Brown sums up all we really know about our children's lives even as we raise them. The novel proper begins a decade or so later, on the day that Carolyn Reiser, a New Hampshire pediatrician with two teenage kids, gets called to the emergency room. A girl has been bludgeoned to death. The chief suspect is Carolyn's son, and he has disappeared. ...
  • How Badly Is Japan Hurting?

    For one day, at least, it seemed like the old, omnipotent Japan Inc. was back. Confronted with a mounting financial crisis, one that had prompted Japan's competitors worldwide to wonder what all the fuss about the alleged economic juggernaut had ever been about, Tokyo's legendary bureaucrats stepped into the breach. a dramatic 620-point plunge last Tuesday in the Nikkei average, Tokyo's finance minister, Tsutomu Hata, stood before reporters and said, in effect, enough was enough. The powerful Ministry of Finance would take steps to support the market. ...
  • Computer Games

    Enter the Futz Factor. A study to be released this week by a Sausalito, Calif, software company called SBT concludes that 2 percent of America's gross domestic product-$97 billion-is being "futzed away" by workers who spend too much time tinkering with their PCs. The top futzes: Spending too much time prettying up copy with fancy typefaces, etc.Trying to link PCs so they can "talk" to each other. Often leads to crashes in the early going.Writing the same thing over and over because tinkering is so easy.Getting caught up in overly elaborate spreadsheets.Endlessly polishing charts, graphs and other snazzy doodads.
  • Big-League Triple Play

    Music had the Bachs. Now baseball has a family dynasty, too. When Bret Boone, 23, suited up for the Seattle Mariners last week, he became the first third-generation man in major-league history. Grandfather Ray, an infielder, spent 13 seasons in the bigs, and Bret's father, Bob, retired in 1990 after 18 years as a catcher. In his first at-bat, the second baseman hit a run-scoring single. Definitely a Boone for the game.
  • Buzzwords

    When they're not talking into the mike, they're talking to each other. A taste of the semiotics of disc jockeys: Talking over the musical intro right up until the lyrics start.Missing the post and running smack into the first few words.The point at which a song, like that "Life Is a Highway" thing, has been played so much people are truly sick of it.Listeners who use speed dialers to win every giveaway.Playing a song the first day it's released-a good way to kiss up to record companies.
  • Remembering The Witch Hunt's Victims

    Cemeteries are irresistibly spooky places. The one on Charter Street in Salem Mass., is a classic-small and moody, some of its weather-beaten headstones dating back to the 17th century. But don't expect to come upon the ghosts of witches here. The 20 people executed for witchcraft in the summer of 1692 didn't have a Christian burial; most of their bodies were pitched into an unmarked mass grave. So as part of the Tercentenary commemoration, the city of Salem decided to build a memorial to them. The competition to design it was flooded with 246 proposals, from as far away as Czechoslovakia. Earlier this month, the winning project, by architect James Cutler and artist Maggie Smith, of Bainbridge Island, Wash., was dedicated. Cutler-known for Pacific Northwest houses that are sensitive to the environment-has been designing with architect Peter Bohlin a gargantuan, multimillion-dollar residence near Seattle for Microsoft wunderkind Bill Gates. For Cutler, the Salem memorial was a modest...