Newswire

Newswire

  • So Much For Family Ties

    Jackie Collins, call your agent. Have we got a script for you! The sharp-tongued wife of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur gets awarded control of her husband's company in a divorce settlement. He lives in a tony Chicago condo, married to a younger woman, while his ex-wife and CEO son run the company. But, apparently, egged on by her glamorous and ambitious daughter, Mom engineers the sudden resignation of her well-respected son. ...
  • Jerry Lewis: Points Of Spite

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman Evan Kemp Jr.'s feud with comedian Jerry Lewis may cost Kemp his job. Kemp angered Lewis with an October press release alleging that Lewis's annual muscular dystrophy telethon demeans the disabled by presenting them as "objects to be pitied." In a letter to President Bush, Lewis accused Kemp of "misusing the power of his governmental office" by making statements that could hurt the telethon. " If ever there was a 'Point of Light'. . I'm it!" wrote Lewis. Administration sources say Kemp, a wheelchair user with a neuromuscular disease, will likely stay on the commission but lose the chairmanship. The White House declined to comment.
  • Russ: A Creature Of The System

    Until last week, Jack Russ was one of the invisible potentates in the byzantine world of Capitol Hill--a tough guy and a go-getter who had the knack of making friends in high places. Then the House banking scandal broke wide open and Russ was gone, leaving only a courtly letter of resignation behind. A victim of the system, some in Congress said: too bad the buck had to stop with him. But Russ, who as House sergeant at arms commanded a salary of $119,120 a year and oversaw a $1.3 million budget, was more than a bystander to the latest congressional train wreck. For as last week's report by the House ethics committee made perfectly clear, Russ was one of those who benefited personally from the casual accounting rules at the House bank. Between July 1988 and August 1989, the committee reported, Russ cashed 19 rubber cheeks with an aggregate value of $56,100. ...
  • Peri Picks

    Hollywood is finally coming to its senses. It has stopped routinely forking out $1 million-plus for every mediocre Bruce-Mel-Kevin vehicle that comes in over the transom. In 1990 "The Ticking Man," about a nuclear-bomb-armed robot terrorizing Moscow, sold for $1 million with Willis in mind for starring role. Bruce passed--and now it's the town's priciest doorstop. An update on other bonus scripts: Tom Schulman got $2.5 million for this tedious rain-forest romp. It's earned an unspectacular $34.6 million.Big-budget Willis romp has performed only so-so, considering Shane Black's script sold for $1.75 million.Columbia sank about $40 million into this bomb about child abuse, including $1.1 million to writer David Mickey Evans. Joe Eszterhas's $3 million script outraged gays and feminists. With a $49 million budget, it'll be hard to break even.
  • Playing Hardball

    George Bush and his advisers discussed the 1992 campaign, one kind of prospective opponent made them nervous. Mr. Wrong would be a young, aggressive Southerner with solid experience and a centrist message that could lure conservative Reagan Democrats back home. They concluded that only Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, a 1988 also-ran, embodied those virtues. When Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's name surfaced, Bush's team dismissed him with a single word: " Women. " ...
  • Uninvited Dinner Guests

    After more than 30 years as a newsman and four years in my own business, I have a Pavlovian reaction to a ringing phone. I have to answer it. I cannot ignore that noisy piece of machinery. I'm used to calls at all hours. But over the past couple of years, at least 10 times a week, the person on the other end of that ringing annoyance isn't a friend or relative or business colleague. He or she wants me to buy something or give to some organization. ...
  • Domesticated Bliss

    Lee Ryan and Robin Leonard have lived together for eight years. Last July they went to city hall in San Francisco and made it legal. While a friend took photographs, Ryan hummed wedding marches in Leonard's ear. It was, says Leonard, 31, a lawyer and editor at Nolo Press, "a wonderful emotional experience." At work, colleagues hung up streamers and put a JUST DOMESTICATED Sign over the door. Leonard and Ryan, a 33-year-old law librarian, are lesbians, and the license they picked up at city hall certifies them as "domestic partners." Christine Farren, 37, and David Ferland, 33, live in Waterbury, Vt. The town doesn't recognize domestic partnerships, but Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Inc., where Farren is an administrative assistant, does. Since 1989, the ice-cream company has offered unmarried couples the same benefits, including health insurance, that married employees receive. Ferland, manager of a small hotel with no group-health plan, is now covered through Farren. Without the policy...
  • Falls Guys

    Is Niagara Falls ready for a New Age theme park? The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation, and Canadian magician Doug Henning have been secretly buying up land in Ontario, near the falls. This week the guru and the magician will announce plans for a 1,400-acre, $1.5 billion park featuring magical rides, a Vedic (higher consciousness and all that) health center, a TM university and a residential development. The name: Maharishi Veda Land Canada.
  • Major: They're Just 'Pale Pink Tories'

    A few hours after announcing an April 9 date for the next British election, Conservative Prime Minister John Major spoke with NEWSWEEK'S London Bureau Chief Daniel Pedersen at 10 Downing Street. Excerpts: ...
  • 'Bitchier Than Usual'

    At last: 16 months after succeeding Margaret Thatcher with the promise of a kinder, gentler Toryism, and nearly a year after his public approval soared in the wake of Britain's contribution to the Persian Gulf War, John Major called an election. It is an inauspicious moment. A nagging recession has eroded the Conservative prime minister's popularity. On one flank of his party, there are mutters that he has forsaken Thatcher's rightist principles and red-meat style. Others wonder about his possession of what his friend and political stablemate George Bush calls "the vision thing." Polls show Neil Kinnock's Labor Party holding a slight lead heading toward the April 9 vote. Major thus becomes the first prime minister in the postwar era to go to the country with his party behind. Papers from The Daily Telegraph on the right to The Guardian on the left said his move was "the most conspicuous election gamble in recent history." "I don't feel like a gambler," he told NEWSWEEK (box). "I am...
  • Kiss Kiss Slash Slash

    In a more sensible era, Joe Eszterhas's script for Basic instinct at best might have been grist for a tawdry little B movie about murder and sexual obsession, the kind of cheapo noir thriller cranked out in the '40s and '50s. Instead (for this is a deeply silly era in Hollywood) Carolco paid Eszterhas a record-breaking $3 million for his highly improbable scenario, signed on Michael Douglas to star for a cool $15 mil, brought in the supercharged Dutchman Paul Verhoeven ("RoboCop," "Total Recall") to direct and ended up with a $49 million movie about a woman who likes to tie her lovers to a bedpost and hack them to death with an ice pick. And you wonder why Carolco is in deep financial trouble . . . ...
  • '92 Campaign Edition

    Per "Casablanca " the CW is shocked, shocked and dismayed about the negative tone of the campaign. It hopes, at the very least, to repossess Buchanan's Mercedes. CANDIDATES Conventional Wisdom Bush + Bouncing checks help GOP. But using sex against Clinton? Wouldn't be prudent. Buchanan - Listen, little fella, you're confused. And stop complaining about your Cadillac. Clinton + Campaign moves toward nomination; waistline moves toward nomination; waistline moves toward Marlon Brando. Brown + Turtleneck's hep under that UAW jacket, Gov. Panderbeam. Next: Zen bowling. Tsongas - Not many Volvos in Flint. And your message got lost when you hit the low road. Dark Horse - Perfect moment for Richard Gephardt or other Capitol Hill insider to enter. Not!
  • Buzzwords

    As more and more Americans get laid off, headhunters get busier. Here's what they're saying after you walk out the door: A job hunter who wants a job for which he isn't qualified.Laid-off defense workers.Someone who lives off his severance pay. A person who waits until the last minute before severance runs out before looking for a job. Usage: "How does that midnighter expect me to find him a job tomorrow?"
  • Digging For Dirt

    Look for the Democratic presidential campaign to turn nastier. Someone from the Tsongas campaign last week phoned the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette looking for dirt about Bill Clinton. The caller asked that articles on two Clinton-era mini-scandals be shipped to Tsongas's Boston headquarters. One case involved a nursing-home financing scheme. The other request was for stories about the use of a local airport for shipping guns to the Nicaraguan contras. The paper's managing editor, who reported the incident in his column, said he threw out the request. A Tsongas spokesman said the call wasn't authorized by the campaign.
  • A Guillotine For Lawyers?

    Lawyers, watch thy necks. The French Revolution, say the alarmists, has come to American legal practice. ...
  • Moose Beams

    Alaskan motorists occasionally have a problem: they crash into moose, destroying car and beast. Now there may be a solution. Swedish carmakers Volvo and Saab are developing ultraviolet headlights that make moose and other animals glow in the dark up to 200 yards away. Still, it may be years before the headlights are marketed in America because of concerns that the beams will cause sunburns or cancer. Others worry they just won't work. " When that moose decides to sit on your windshield," says an Alaskan Saab dealer, "there's not a lot that will help."
  • A Church That Needs Healing

    For the Christian Science Church, money has become the root of all evil. Since last spring, dissidents have been complaining that church officials were squandering money on a new cable TV channel. To make matters worse, critics charged that the church had even published a heretical book in order to win a $97 million bequest. Last week the dissidents appeared to have won a battle-- although the war was far from over. Harvey Wood, board chairman of the Mother Church in Boston, resigned and several of his allies were reassigned. The cable operation, the Monitor Channel, was put up for sale. Some members were mollified, but others thought it was too little too late. "As the dust settles," says church historian Stephen Gottschalk, an outspoken critic, "we see that the real story is that people in power are holding on while giving the illusion of significant change." ...
  • Between Limbo And Hell

    Nguyen Thi Thuy doesn't want to go home. " We came looking for the freedom to talk and think the way we want--and for a better, happier life," says the 30-year-old native of Hanoi as she pounds pig intestines into a gruel for her baby. Dinh An, 31, doesn't want to go back, either. " I left Vietnam because I had no job, no education and no prospects," says An, who lost an eye in a U.S. bombing raid in 1972. " I don't know what I'll do when I get back." Neither do the other 743 residents of Hong Kong's Lo Wu Detention Center for Vietnamese boat people. They've all volunteered to return to the land they risked their lives to escape. Better to face certain poverty and possible persecution in Vietnam than to rot indefinitely in Lo Wu, surrounded by a double fence topped with concertina wire and patrolled by armed guards. Once the stop-off point for Vietnamese refugees on their way to new lives in the West, Lo Wu--along with the other nine squalid detention camps in Hong Kong that house...
  • The World

    It's a typical weekend morning at the local Toys "R" Us. Legions of seasoned extortionists, masquerading as adorable children, are dragging their parents through the cavernous store, registering their demands: Nintendo games, Ninja Turtles, Monopoly sets, Barbie dolls, Barbie everything. Under threat of tears and tantrums, the beleaguered parents cave in--and cash registers begin to jingle. General manager Thomas Shek finds the scenario pleasantly familiar. " Every Sunday is just like Christmas," he says. ...
  • The Method In His Madness

    If you hadn't accessed Jerry Brown until recently, you'd think the photograph on the right was weird. Wasn't Brown supposed to be the mad monk of presidential politics, the scourge of Democratic power brokers? Wasn't he the anti-candidate of late-night cable and the 800 number? So what was he doing with a United Auto Workers' jacket over his famous turtleneck sweater, applying the old-fashioned Big Schmooze to the labor skates? ...