• That Was No First Lady ...

    You wonder, reading Blanche Wiesen Cook's hefty new biography of Eleanor Roosevelt - this first volume barely gets her and Franklin into the White House - what ER would have thought. Surely she'd be grateful not to appear as a well-meaning but insufferably righteous dilettante, though she might be embarrassed to be called "the foremost political woman of the twentieth century. " (Well, who else?) But even after the shock subsided, would she have recognized herself in Cook's free-spirited feminist, with wide-open marriage and lovers of both sexes? "In conventional terms, " writes Cook, "ER lived an outrageous life. " ...
  • This Suit's For Vu

    The new American Dream isn't just to buy a house. It's to steal it from a Yuppie who can't pay his bills. Some investors try tax sales or foreclosure auctions. Others rain offers on banks holding foreclosed homes. Yet others pester real-estate agents to rat on clients desperate enough to sell for a song. ...
  • Bad Blood 'In The Badlands

    A thriller set on an Indian reservation in the 1970s, Thunderheart has both passion and power, enough to compensate for its sometimes murky plotting and a fair dose of melodramatic hokum. John Fusco's script, inspired by the real, bloody clashes between pro-government Indians and the radical traditionalist American Indian Movement, sends a hotshot young FBI agent from Washington, Raymond Levoi (Val Kilmer), to investigate the murder of an Oglala Sioux at the Bear Creek "Res " in the Badlands of South Dakota. He's chosen because he's one-quarter Indian. It's a purely cynical PR ploy, because Levoi thinks of himself as a white man. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess that Levoi, in the course of solving the murder, will undergo a spiritual transformation (he even starts having visions), or to suspect who the heavies really are. ...
  • We'll Be Dining In

    Mike Tyson balked at eating solid food after he entered the pen in Plainfield, Ind. His first meal was meat loaf (he didn't finish it). Here's what some other famous jailbirds had for dinner last Friday: (Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center, pending sentencing): baked fish.(Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn.): choice of grilled cheese sandwich or beans over rice.(Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wis.): baked cod.(California State Prison in Corcoran): Salisbury steak.Berkowitz (various New York state prisons): macaroni and cheese.(Federal Prison Camp, Pleasanton, Calif.): egg foo yong.
  • Running Against The Past

    Aides groaned as Bill Clinton detoured from his waiting motorcade to make a beeline for the Dunkin' Donuts shop tucked among the storefronts on Manhattan's fashionable Upper East Side. "Can he eat just one? " a reporter challenged, having covered Clinton's expanding waistline since New Hampshire. "It's a character issue, " laughed press secretary Dee Dee Myers. ...
  • Who Says Aids Is Hard To Get

    Kramer, a writer who is HIV-positive, is cofounder of Gay Men's Health Crisis, and the founder of ACT UP, a worldwide network pledged to ending the AIDS plague. ...
  • The Hogs On The Hill

    Speaking from Philadelphia's Independence Hall, seat of the Second Continental Congress, George Bush last week vowed to lead "the forces of change " against the status quo. But despite the revolutionary rhetoric, it was polities as usual. After more than a quarter century as the consummate insider, Bush was trying to capitalize on the public's deepening disgust over perks by announcing a six-point plan to clean up Congress, starting with term limitations for members. On the Hill, meanwhile, legislators donned hair shirts in a fit of self-abnegation: no more free lunch, not to mention free prescription drugs, discounted gym privileges and fixed parking tickets. Speaker Thomas Foley and others pointed out that the president, his cabinet officers, White House staffers and even Supreme Court justices also enjoy perks (chart). By the weekend, Secretary of State James Baker was aboard a commercial airliner to San Antonio; he professed shock over the estimated $371,599 the public had paid...
  • Is This Too Much Austerity?

    George Bush was feeling ambivalent about his own plan for financial aid to Russia. "It's not a tremendous amount of money, " he said, hoping to appease the legions of voters who oppose foreign aid. In the next breath, he acknowledged the critics from Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton who have accused him of shortchanging the former Soviet Union. "Our commitment is very, very substantial, " he insisted. It was and it wasn't. The aid plans announced last week by Bush and his partners in the G-7 nations (Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Canada and Italy) are far too small to solve all the economic problems caused by seven decades of communism. They offer significant political support to Russian President Boris Yeltsin as his economic reforms stir up bitter resistance at home. But Yeltsin will have to pay a price for the political bailout: with aid comes austerity. ...
  • High Tech, Deep Pockets

    Two PC pioneers have gone exploring again. David Liddle (right) and Paul Allen formed Interval Research Corp., a Palo Alto, Calif., firm for developing new computer technology. Financing will be in the high eight figures, said Allen whose stake in Microsoft (which he cofounded) is worth nearly $3 billion. Liddle hopes the team will reproduce the 1970s' creative ferment of Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, where he helped develop such breakthroughs as the laser printer and Ethernet computer links.
  • A Major Polluter?

    Is the space shuttle-whose recent mission included a study of the ozone layer-a high-altitude polluter itself? That's the charge of a petition likely to be filed with the Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps as early as next week, calling for a ban on ammonium perchlorate. The ozone-depleting chemical is a key component of the fuel for the solid rockets that boost NASA's shuttle and the Pentagon's Titan 4 expendable launchers into space. The petitioner, the American Agriculture Movement, a group representing small family farmers, argues that if industry has to get rid of its ozone depleters, the government ought to clean up its act, too. Another concern is alumina, a byproduct of shuttle exhaust, which forms particles that facilitate chemical reactions leading to ozone depletion. Experts say that ammonium perchlorate has an ozone-depleting potential as high as other chemicals scheduled for phaseout by the year 2000.
  • Diving Deep Into The Melting Pot

    Herb Gardner ( "The Goodbye People, " "I'm Not Rappaport ") has been a kind of Broadway pop cousin of major Jewish novelists like Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth. In Conversations With My Father he cuts deeper and darker than he's done before, facing up to themes like the agonies of assimilation, the gnawing problems of cultural identity, the bloodstained phoenix of anti-Semitism that rises up in every age. The play, covering 40 years, from 1936 to 1976, centers on a memorable character, Itzik Goldberg (Judd Hirsch), who's Americanized his name to Eddie Ross. His whole life has been a furious attempt to Americanize, reflected in the changing names he gives his saloon on New York's Canal Street, a series of Yankee doodles from The Golden Door Tavern to The Flamingo Lounge to Big Ed's Club Canal. He even insists on calling his wife, Gusta (Gordana Rashovich), Gloria. Eddie gives his two sons just enough Jewish education to mollify God, reasoning: "Treat God like a dangerous loony-keep...
  • The End Of The Bus Line?

    Could the era of Brown v. Board of Education becoming to a symbolic end? In a unanimous vote last week, the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for once segregated school districts to rid themselves of supervising federal judges. The districts must show they've tried, but need not have actually achieved, full racial equality. School officials are not responsible for correcting a racially divided system that results from housing patterns.
  • Rethinking Homeless Myths

    Westchester County, a high-rent New York City suburb awash in the homeless, saw its emergency-shelter population drop for the first time this year. James Williams, 43, a homeless food-service worker, is beginning to learn why. In a freshly painted red, white and blue trailer, Williams chats with a social worker during a three-day medical, psychological and occupational checkup that Westchester now requires of all people seeking shelter. The homeless caseload has decreased by 10 percent in the last year. Many people who spent their days on street corners are now in job-training programs and more permanent housing. ...
  • Have Your Spy Call My Spy

    You know the world has changed when spies offer you their secrets--Go long as you talk to their agent first. Last week the Foreign Intelligence Veterans Association, a group of retired KGB officers, said it had hired Hollywood agent Brian Litman to help sell the stories of their dastardly deeds to Western studios and publishers. Litman's star property is Col. Oleg Nechiporenko, who met with Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City two months before JFK's death. He says he can explain "why Oswald could not have been a KGB agent"-but you'll have to wait for the book. Another retired colonel, Anatoly Yatskov, set up the heist of U.S. atom-bomb secrets in the'40s. The group's vice president Anatoly Privalov says its 500 members can barely subsist on pensions averaging $7 a month: "We need the money."
  • Press Affection, And Vivisection

    Hillary Clinton's law firm smells fishy, no? Arkansas is a small state where the elites all scratch each other's backs, and it certainly helped the Rose Law Firm to have the governor's wife on board. All true. But the law-firm story is actually less sleazy than it looks from afar, and that makes for a good example of how distorted some of the recent coverage of Bill Clinton has become. The press both likes and dislikes him too much, which isn't healthy for anyone. ...
  • She Sings, Too

    Tia Carrere did more than model a white halter, shorts, garters and stockings as a Cantonese Cassandra in "Wayne's World." She also sang four songs in the unexpectedly popular movie spinoff of Wayne and Garth's "Saturday Night Live" routine. This week the movie's soundtrack--featuring the 25-year-old Hawaii native's vocals-became the nation's No. 1 album.
  • Another Capitol Perk Panic

    How rattled is Congress by the check-bouncing and other Capitol Hill scandals? So rattled that staffers made a run on the popular Senate stationery store last week, thinking that luxury gift items would soon be removed to placate a public tired of Beltway perks. Only lawmakers, their staffers and some journalists are allowed to use the store, which provides a range of nifty items at just above cost. For instance, a Boyt garment bag that retails for $490 can be had for $257.25 at the Senate store. And a $34 gold pencil goes ere $23. 10. Need a $40 Cram's Imperial World Globe? Yours for just $17.85. So far, there's been no official word on the fate of the store.
  • Strip Tease

    So did she or didn't she? The May issue of Playboy features a nude pictorial of 1982 Miss America Elizabeth Ward. But in an accompanying interview the former Miss Arkansas is less revealing when asked about a rumored affair with Bill Clinton. "Have I slept with this person?" Ward, 31, says to Playboy. "I don't believe that's anyone's business." After seeing the article three weeks ago, Ward released a statement through the Clinton campaign denying a romance. Clinton also denies any affair. His campaign chairman says his office won't discuss the matter further.
  • Hung On A Technicality

    Wanda Faye McCoy died with a secret. Roger Keith Coleman wished she could have told it. Now, he may die, too. ...