Newswire

Newswire

  • The Cycle Of Sensationalism

    Across the front page of our minds: TABLOIDS SEIZE CONTROL, RUIN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. That's the headline that haunts journalism and the political process, and the rest of the media have no one to blame but themselves. ...
  • Do You Hear What I Hear?

    Crossroads, in Western tradition, are points of cultural exchange. Trivia was gossip passed by Romans at the meeting of three roads; Delta bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads to learn how to play guitar. Today's crossroads offer a different exchange. Stopped at a city traffic light, you feel the music from the next car before you hear it-rumbling up from your south forty, gradually reverberating your whole car. At the change of the light, the car pulls off, the musical earthquake passes. But its message lingers: the ways we listen to music, even the organs we use to do so, have changed. Older listeners might feel invaded, younger ones electrified. Younger musicians are getting hip to it, rethinking a broad spectrum of pop: dance music, rap, rock, even New Age. Simple new gadgets, accessible to almost anyone, are reshaping popular music, just like the advent of the electric guitar did in the 1930s. Only this time, the listeners are leading the way. ...
  • The Little Engines That Can't

    Head to the station and settle into the cushioned seat. Order a gourmet lunch. Write on a table as steady as your office desk. In just two hours you'll be there, calm, collected, ready to do business-400 miles from home. With the high-speed train, you missed that old-fashioned airport hassle. And none of this costs taxpayers a cent: the ticket price will provide every penny needed to build and run it. ...
  • A Bad Report Card

    The Bush administration claims "remarkable progress" battling the cocaine cartels. But as Bush's men prepare for a summit with Latin American leaders next month, a secret Pentagon memo obtained by Newsweek paints a grim picture of a drug war stalemated by neglect, bureaucratic bungling and corruption. The 48-page report was prepared last fall by a Pentagon Latin expert. Among its findings: Bush's much-touted 1989 Andean Initiative so far has "only marginally impacted on the narcotraffickers."Peru, a major coca producer, is such a "quagmire of deceit and corruption, attainment of U.S. objectives is impossible."Though the Medellin cartel's crippled, the flow of cocaine from Colombian processing centers hasn't been slowed."Micro-managing by Congress" and "bureaucratic inertia" have held up anti-drug aid to Latin America.In sum, the report advises against deeper Pentagon involvement in the war: "[avoid] short term, relatively ephemeral, military solutions."
  • It's Twyla Time Again

    Small and sweaty, with a touch of manic defiance in her eyes, Twyla Tharp is standing center stage in a leotard, paying no attention to the sweat pants falling down around her knees. Ten minutes into the first rehearsal of the day she has just finished a belligerent sputter of ballroom dancing with company member Kevin O'Day, and now she's addressing the empty seats at New York's City Center Theater. "Who wanted to be a girl anyway?" she demands. "I was going to be a doctor, not a nurse. And so I began to walk the line between work and play." When this dance is performed, there will be two big signs hanging at the back of the stage: WORK on one side and PLAY on the other. Tharp darts back and forth between the two, under WORK browbeating a phalanx of gorgeous and highly resilient male dancers, and under PLAY romancing and grappling with the incomparable O'Day. It's a revealing, often hilarious dance, and it introduces a Twyla Tharp audiences have not seen before: the addled...
  • The Lord That Roared

    Meet little Daniel Moynihan, or Lord Moynihan, as his Filipino mother, Jinna, insists. She lives for the day he takes a seat in Britain's House of Lords as heir to his late father, Antony Patrick Andrew Cairnes Berkeley, Lord Moynihan the Third Lord of Leeds. It's quite a name to live up to: Moynihan, who died of a massive stroke last November in Manila, left a legacy of scandal. Jinna, a 26-year-old former office worker and Moynihan's fifth mate, just wants to raise her son in the English countryside, where he can ride horses, study at Oxford and learn to do whatever peers of the realm do these days. "My husband's final wish was for my son to sit in the House of Lords," she claims. ...
  • Killing Rules

    As part of next week's State of the Union address, President Bush will announce a deregulatory initiative. The proposal won't involve new legislation but simply kill rules that are already percolating up through federal agencies. A high-level task force, headed by Vice President Dan Quayle, and including budget director Richard Darman and White House counsel C. Boyden Gray, has met twice to review rules they'd like to eliminate. Among the target areas are environment, communications, energy and exports. Bush will cast the initiative as a way to stimulate the economy by easing the regulatory burden on industry.
  • The Battle Against The Bottlenecks

    The line of rickety trucks heading for Moscow last week chose a strange route through the gathering dusk. Loaded up with 140 Holstein bulls from a collective farm three hours outside the capital, they set off across fields rather than on the asphalt road. Sausage makers in the capital were paying 80 rubles for a kilo of beef. That was more than double their offer just two weeks earlier, before price liberalization, and the collective-farm chairman was finally parting with some of his precious livestock. But the provincial governor recently decreed that no meat could leave his jurisdiction. So the trucks crept over snow-swept meadows and through deep woods. "I'll sell my livestock only when the price is right," the defiant farm chairman said. "No sooner." Now the time had come. ...
  • Can Blacks Beat The Old-Boy Network?

    There's been a lot of lip service given to increasing job opportunities for minorities in sports, especially in the sports that blacks dominate on the playing field. But unfortunately it's mostly business as usual. And while there has been some progress, African-Americans like myself can't help but conclude that there's a conspiracy of sorts that limits our access to management-level positions. And we're also concluding that there will be few real changes unless we take drastic actions such as boycotting teams and their broadcasts. ...
  • A Little Rain And Frogs With Wings

    When George Bush talks, people listen. But they're not always sure what he wants to say. Here, from the New Hampshire hustings, are some of the first examples of BushSpeak in the '92 campaign: ...
  • Cher And Cher Alike

    It's late. One of those endless infomercials flickers on the TV. But wait-that's not some guy selling car wax; it's Cher, the abominably rich mega-star, and she's flacking mail-order hair-care products. It's true: the Academy Award winner's latest role is pitchwoman throughout a 30-minute spot for hairdresser-to-the-stars Lori Davis, who is making her line of shampoo and conditioners available to the Little People. Cher gushes on about her dear friend Lori, stopping occasionally to mention other stars who dig Davis, including Ted Danson-who does a cameo (avec toupee). So the question arises: Cher, selfless pal or shameless huckster? "I think she's going to be participating on a royalty basis," says her spokeswoman. "Lori wouldn't have it any other way."
  • Celebrate The Unexpected

    People are always ragging on Hollywood for not being serious, for not tackling the difficult issues of our times. But look at the holiday movies, from "JFK" and "Grand Canyon" to "For the Boys" and "The Prince of Tides": like 'em or not, they've all got earnestness to spare. No, the real scandal of the so-called "entertainment industry" is how seldom it simply entertains anymore. When was the last time a movie left you sated with delight? OK--"Beauty and the Beast." Now try to name four other 1991 movies that qualify as captivating light entertainment. ...
  • What Is It With Women And Breasts?

    She's a squat little thing, with huge breasts, bulbous hips and belly, and fat thighs. No arms, though, and not much of a face. Apparently the Venus of Willendorf (circa 15,000 B.C.) was revered for the unambiguous symbols of fertility that make up her small person; for sure nobody ever loved her for her mind. It would be nice to believe that in terms of evaluating women we have all progressed beyond the Stone Age, but a quick glance at present-day California is not reassuring. Here is Regina, a Los Angeles homemaker, who had her breasts surgically enlarged for cosmetic reasons, going from an A cup to a C cup. She found that men began talking to her chest instead of her face. "That's all they look at if you're big," she says. "It really did help my self-esteem." ...
  • The Day We Stopped The War

    A year after Desert Storm, Saddam is still in power. Did the fighting end too soon? A behind-the-scenes look at the decision to halt the war.Few war leaders have ever faced as pleasant a dilemma as the one that awaited George Bush on Feb. 26,1991 for on that day, Bush learned that his high-stakes gamble in the Persian Gulf was finally paying off. Over the previous six months, Bush had essentially bet his presidency on the showdown with Saddam Hussein. He had struggled to build a multinational coalition against Iraq and deployed 443,000 U.S. and allied troops, together with their high-tech weaponry, in the Persian Gulf. And everything worked-the smart bombs, the Stealth fighters, even the daring armored assault that was even now grinding 41 divisions of Iraqi troops into the bloody sand. Operation Desert Storm, launched in controversy and culminating in what its commander rightfully called a "Hail Mary pass," was turning into a spectacularly easy victory.The dilemma that faced the...
  • A Case Of Sex And Death In Florida

    Florida has had its share of serial killers. Now it may have another, but with a twist: the accused is a woman. This week, ex-prostitute Aileen Wuornos will stand trial in Volusia County for the first of five murder charges. Wuornos, 35, has reportedly confessed to robbing and killing five men after posing as a hitchhiker; she says it was in self-defense. In a videotaped confession after her arrest, Wuornos reportedly said she propositioned the men for sex and, if they paid up peacefully, she let them go. But if she found them threatening, "I decided to whip out my gun and give it to 'em." The confession detailed Wuornos's unusual life. Despite hoping to become a nun, she said she had sex with 250,000 men. Wuornos reportedly confessed to clear the name of Tyria Moore, whom she claimed was her lesbian lover. Moore, reportedly a onetime suspect, is now the state's star witness. Meantime, a Florida couple adopted Wuornos-denying they'll benefit from a movie about her.
  • 'Pretty Good At What He Did'

    On the mound, in the clubhouse, before the microphones, his is a rare grace. Tom Seaver lacked the flash and splash of other athletes, but he managed always to keep the game in perspective. It wasn't that he lacked feeling; when the New York Mets foolishly traded him in 1977, he wept. This was the pitcher who, on the occasion of his greatest achievement-winning his 300th game in 1985-told with relish his 9-year-old's reaction. "Three more outs to go," he said to her in the box seats. "Good, then we can go home and go swimming," she responded. Last week Seaver was elected to the Hall of Fame with a record 98.8 percent of the vote. What was most important about that? "My children will be able to take their children to the Hall of Fame and say, 'There's your grandfather. In his day, he was pretty good at what he did'." And with that, Tom Seaver was off to spend the day with his kids.
  • Calling A Halt To The Big Business Of Silicone Im

    For three decades, America's breast obsession has enabled surgeons and chemical companies to turn bags of silicone putty into gold. Some 150,000 women receive silicone breast implants every year-80 percent of them simply to exaggerate their natural contours-and each operation generates a quick $1,000 to $5,000. Because the implants were already in wide use when the federal government started regulating medical devices in 1976, they escaped official scrutiny. But last fall the Food and Drug Administration launched a review of the industry's safety claims. And last week the process produced fireworks: to the dismay of suppliers and surgeons, FDA Commissioner David Kessler called an immediate halt to silicone breast enlargement. The moratorium is voluntary and temporary, and it doesn't apply to the 10 percent of breast implants that are filled with salt water. But it paralyzes the silicone-implant industry-and may yet kill it. ...
  • Gidget Goes High Fashion

    Outsiders-the ones known in Los Angeles as suits, from the bizarre woolen things they wear on business trips--have always been intrigued by the laid-back lifestyle of southern California. Who could fail to love a place where people go to work in jeans, surf on their lunch hours and endlessly search for the fountain of youth? But while the rest of the country couldn't get enough of California's music, movies and morals, the fascination usually stopped short of designer fashion. For sophisticated career clothes and glamorous party dresses, even Californians turned to Seventh Avenue. ...
  • The Recovery Is Coming

    When he became chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan was chided about being too candid. He quickly reformed. "I have learned to mumble with great incoherence," he quipped to one group. "If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said." Well, times have changed. Greenspan isn't mumbling anymore. His message is loud and clear: the Fed is urgently trying to revive the economy with lower interest rates. ...
  • Rediscovering 'Real People'

    I cannot remember how many times "the middle class"-a.k.a. "Middle America," "real people," etc.-has been rediscovered by our politicians in recent years. Five, maybe? Ten? I think 10 is high. But the clockwork recurrence of this amazing discovery has become a permanent feature of our election campaigns. Where does the middle class go in between times? Or, perhaps more to the point, where do these politicians go between rediscoveries? How many times in, say, 20 years can you plausibly holler "Eureka!" and discover the same thing.? ...