Newswire

Newswire

  • 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.? ...
  • The Good News In Bush's Trip

    The snap verdict had rolled in even before an ailing George Bush and his entourage had left Tokyo: the trip was an embarrassing bust. The president had flown 13,000 miles around the world to get "jobs, jobs, jobs" for Americans only to come away with token concessions. Even before he vomited on the prime minister of Japan, according to the critics, Bush had compromised his dignity by going cap in hand to the Japanese. To top it off, the conventional wisdom had it, he got stiffed by a Japan contemptuous of American special pleading. "A fiasco," thundered the editorial page of The New York Times. ...
  • The Candidate Wore Chanel

    Imelda Marcos still knows how to make a splash. When she announced her candidacy for the Philippine presidency last week, her backdrop was the courthouse where she had just pleaded not guilty to a fresh batch of corruption charges. "I have heard the cry of desperation from the poor and I am ready to help," she said. Then she left in her stretch Mercedes with a clatter of gold jewelry and a wave of her two-tone fingernails. Politicians from the far corners of the island nation smelled campaign swag and flocked to her $2,000-a-night suite overlooking Manila Bay. "You are more beautiful than ever," cried out one man. As the candidate paced her suite later, tears smeared her mascara. "After all that I have been through," she said, "I cannot turn my back on a love affair with the people." ...
  • Caught In The Cross-Fire

    In early 1987 Paul Simon kicked off a world tour to promote his exuberant platinum-selling album, "Graceland." Blending Western pop with the infectious mbaqanga rhythms of South Africa's black ghettos, the award-winning record brought worldwide exposure to township music. But in observance of a cultural boycott then in force against the white-minority regime's apartheid policies, Simon left South Africa off the itinerary and got only as far south as Zimbabwe. In a Rolling Stone magazine article that year Simon fondly recalled the energy of the two concerts in Harare and mused aloud, "Can you imagine what it would be like if we were able to play in South Africa?" Well, now he knows. ...
  • A Case Of Political Flu

    He had traveled through 16 time zones in 10 days and had just been creamed by the Emperor of Japan at tennis. As he stood in the receiving line before a state dinner in Tokyo last week, President Bush had to excuse himself to go into the bathroom and throw up. Most ordinary men would have called it a night and headed for bed. But Bush, ignoring the advice of his doctor, doggedly returned to his duties. Still, the Secret Service was quietly warned that he might not make it through the meal. ...
  • What Causes Impotence?

    Sexual impotence was long thought to be a psychological problem, a theory that helped line the pockets of countless therapists. Now scientists know that in most cases the cause is in the body, not the brain. Last week researchers from the Clark Urology Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported in The New England Journal of Medicine that they had for the first time identified the chemical that plays a key role in producing erections. It's a substance called nitricoxide-and lack of it, says urologist Dr. Jacob Rajfer, chief author of the new study, could conceivably be responsible for the type of impotence that plagues over 7 million American men. ...
  • Green, And Lots Of It

    Sure, the local supermarket now stocks phosphate-free detergent, and shops like New York's Terra Verde have sprouted nationwide to cater to the blooming green market. But what about green consumers with lots of green? Do the eco-rich really want to be seen shopping shoulder to shoulder with hippies who never threw out their Earth shoes? Enter posh Naturalis, tucked between Gucci and Brooks Brothers on Worth Avenue-Palm Beach, Fla.'s, Rodeo Drive. The 4,200-square-foot store offers everything from home-delivered recycled-paper toilet tissue to a $132,000 Mercedes-Benz, replete with a chlorofluorocarbon-free air conditioner. "Anyone involved with the environmental movement has always been thought of as underground," says co-founder Hattie Whitehead. "I am trying to make it chic." ...
  • The Stalking Of Saddam

    Remember how President Bush, at the height of the gulf war, called upon the Iraqi people to overthrow Saddam Hussein? And remember how he repeated that appeal as allied ground troops gathered up flocks of surrendering Iraqis in Kuwait? A year after the war, the administration's policy for ousting Saddam still boils down to asking the Iraqis to do what it was unable or unwilling to do itself. As the president's poll ratings on the economy plummet, the spectacle of an unrepentant Saddam, still in power and bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, presents the Democrats with a rare chance to bruise Bush on a foreign-policy issue. To the administration, the failure to oust Saddam has become an embarrassment both abroad and at home. ...