Newswire

Newswire

  • Pay Me, Or Get Off My Land

    Think you've got real-estate headaches? Don't complain to developer David Lucas. In 1986, he shelled out $975,000 for two beach lots on the Isle of Palms along the South Carolina coast. He planned to build two homes-one for himself, one for a buyer with deep pockets. But 19 months later, the state passed a law barring construction so close to the shore. The goal: preventing erosion, flying debris and other environmental damage from Atlantic storms. Now Lucas couldn't build a bungalow; his million-dollar investment became no more than a sand trap with a view. ...
  • Nasty As They Wanna Be

    It wasn't pretty to watch, unless you liked the food-fight scene in "Animal House." Last week Sen. Bob Kerrey sneered that Gov. Bill Clinton would crack "like a soft peanut" if the Democrats made him their standard-bearer. Clinton derided Kerrey as a confused tool of his handlers and Paul Tsongas as a "cold-hearted" soak-the-poor toady to CEOs. Tsongas pleaded for a cease-fire but traded insults with rivals in a debate in Denver last Saturday night. ...
  • Total Free Fall

    Under the azure skies of the Mediterranean, on a gleaming white yacht that rocked gently off the French Riviera, Mario F. Kassar, then 39, was proudly holding court. It was early May 1991, and Kassar--the charismatic, Lebanese-born chairman of Carolco Pictures Inc., the world's most successful independent filmmaker--strolled the deck of his 203-foot cruiser, the Maria Alexandra, greeting Hollywood heavies and international financiers. All week, speedboats shuttled luminaries to the yacht from the Hotel du Cap near Cannes, where the film festival was in full swing. Guests included Rene Bonnell, chief of the French TV giant Canal+; Luca di Montezemolo, a Rizzoli executive; even Arnold Schwarzenegger. They nibbled hors d'oeuvres and buzzed about Kassar's soon-to-be-released "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," a $90 million sci-fi thriller. ...
  • A Grand Night For Singing

    Cole needed a porter at the Grammy Awards last week in New York City. Natalie Cole hauled away an armful of gramophones, including one for album of the year for "Unforgettable," whose songs were standards of her father, the late, great Nat. "I thank my dad for leaving me such a wonderful, wonderful heritage," the legatee said. Oscar snubee Barbra Streisand picked up a lifetime achievement award from the Grammy group: "I feel more like a work in progress." ...
  • Kissing Dentures Goodbye

    Toni Granat's smile is brought to you by way of 11 false teeth-but she doesn't wear dentures. "I had never worn them before, and I didn't want to start," says the 44-year-old Louisiana farmer. Instead, for more than a year, she drove the 180-mile round trip from her home in rural Amite to the dental school at Louisiana State University in New Orleans. There she was fitted with individual implants-artificial tooth roots placed surgically in her jawbone. In 1990, 65,000 Americans underwent the same procedure; each plunked down from $1,500 (for a single tooth) to $20,000 (for the rare full-mouth restoration). Most say the results are well worth the time and money. "We grow vegetables on our farm and now I can eat corn on the cob with no problem," says Granat. ...
  • Splashing In The Gene Pool

    Radishes as big as yams! Skim milk right from the cow! Carrots that taste like apples, cucumbers that taste like something, cotton plants that taste like rayon (to boll weevils). In the early 1970s, when scientists discovered the principles of recombinant DNA, the only miracle that seemed beyond the reach of genetic engineering was the kosher pig. At the same time, environmentalists warned that science might accidentally produce a better kudzu instead. Last week, as the White House announced that regulations would be eased on genetically engineered products in the hopes of spurring their development, it was apparent that both the fears and hopes of the early years had been exaggerated. As far as is known, none of the plagues that have descended on the head of beleaguered humanity in the last decade was the product of inadvertent (or malicious) genetic tinkering. And as for revolutionary new vegetables ... well, at least one variety has gone on sale at some supermarkets. They are ...
  • Bush Bashes Israel

    Ordinarily, George Bush is a most pliable politician. The last thing he would do is pick a fight with a powerful interest group in the thick of a hard-fought re-election campaign. Wouldn't be prudent. But that is just what the president has done on an issue of concern to American Jews. He has taken a principled stand against new Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territory. There have been angry words between the two countries; an irresistible force seems to be hurtling toward an immovable object. Bush hasn't backed down. His advisers are betting that, on this issue, the once feared Israeli lobby will turn out to be a paper tiger. Whatever happens, the umbilical relationship between the United States and Israel may never be the same. ...
  • Fan Mail

    When Queen Elizabeth II sits for a portrait she asks, "With teeth or without?" Elvis I, late king of rock and roll, can't ask, "With chins or without?" but his fans can choose for him. Next month the U.S. Postal Service will distribute 5 million postcard ballots showing two proposed stamps of Elvis--smooth and chunky. Anthony Frank, outgoing postmaster general, suggests, "Vote early, vote often."
  • Spell-Casting 101

    Poor Salem, Mass. Three hundred years have passed since the last witch trial and now Richard Leno comes along. Leno is on trial for attempting to steal money from his girlfriend's family by impersonating a Magus--a magician or sorcerer--and casting a spell on her. He denies the charge. Susan Panagakos says Leno would light candles, make symbols in air and then tell her to write questions on scraps of paper. If the answer to a question was no, she claimed, "the papers would burst into flames." Meantime, the local Witches League for Public Awareness is crying foul. "Witches who follow the old religion," said witch Laurie Cabot, "do not tread on other people."
  • Reagan And Bush: Call It A Snub

    Ronald Reagan is not called the Great Communicator for nothing. In one brief sentence last week, the ex-president neatly summed up his view of George Bush: "He doesn't seem to stand for anything," Reagan reportedly told friends. The former president later denied ever making the remark, first published in The Washington Post, but in case anyone doubted his true feelings Reagan then refused to be seen with the president in public. He skipped a Bush fund-raiser in Los Angeles and barred the press from his house when Bush came calling. ...
  • Thomas: Hypocritic Oath?

    Clarence Thomas vowed to bring something different" to the Supreme Court, but in four months on the bench he has asked few questions in oral argument and voted in all but one case with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. The alliance is understandable. Not only is Scalia an aggressive and articulate proselytizer but one of his former law clerks now works for Thomas. The clerk, NEWSWEEK has learned, exerts considerable influence over the rookie justice. Last week, for example, in a dissent that drew an unusual rebuke from the seven-member court majority in a prison case, Scalia joined Thomas in declaring that beating a manacled prisoner may not violate the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. "Thomas and Scalia are one person with two votes," complains Bob Peck of the American Civil Liberties Union. And court observers have even given them a nickname: The D.C. Duo.
  • Come On-A Back To Her House

    Nearly four decades after its debut, Nat (King) Cole's song "Straighten Up and Fly Right" has had a busy year. Cole's daughter Natalie recorded it for "Unforgettable," a tribute album of her father's songs that earned seven Grammy awards and sold more than 4 million copies, eclipsing most of that modern stuff you hear so much about. Rosemary Clooney, for whom the song could serve as a lifetime's worth of career advice, offers two versions of it on her new album, "Girl Singer," her 16th since relaunching her career on the small Concord Jazz label in 1977. The first version comes from a scratchy 1945 acetate, recorded when Clooney and her sister, Betty, then 16 and 13, auditioned for (and won) a regular late-night spot on the Cincinnati radio station WLW. Here, amid the crackle and adolescent enthusiasm of the Clooney Sisters, you hear the youthful voice one critic derided as being "as innocent of training as a rosebreasted grosbeak." The producer Mitch Miller, who shortly ushered her...
  • At United Way, Charity Began At Home

    They were the kind of perks usually associated with politicians and CEOs. William Aramony enjoyed chauffeured automobiles, first-class air travel and an office with motorized window blinds-not to mention $463,000 in annual compensation. But Aramony was neither a politician nor a corporate chieftain; he was the head of the largest charitable organization in the country. Last week his lavish spending and management practices spelled an end to his 22-year tenure as president of the United Way of America. Under fire from many of the nation's largest United Way chapters, Aramony resigned his post at a teleconference broadcast to United Way leaders nationwide, apologizing for "any problems my lack of sensitivity to perceptions has caused this movement." ...
  • Last Taps For Fort Ord

    Fort Ord is as army as a GI boot. Beginning in 1917, millions of soldiers have sweated, cursed and learned their kill-or-be-killed skills on Ord's 28,000 acres of sandy fields. The base has sent soldiers into every American conflict since World War I. Gen. "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell, who formed the Seventh Division at Fort Ord in 1940, thought so much of the place that he had his ashes scattered along its scenic Monterey Peninsula beaches. Now military cuts are doing what a foreign enemy could never bring about. Long considered the crown jewel of army posts, Fort Ord will shut down over the next two years. The army estimates it will save between $150 million and $200 million annually. Stilwell's proud Seventh is moving to Fort Lewis, Wash., with its first-class air-force base for rapid movement of light infantry to the brushfire wars of the future. ...
  • Here's How The Presidential Candidates Really Mea

    In our appearance-obsessed world, height helps win elections. In 1990, for example, the taller candidate won 21 of 31 contested U.S. Senate races in which heights could be determined. And just remember how the diminutive Michael Dukakis was relentlessly skewered on "Saturday Night Live." Peri takes a worm's-eye view of the current presidential hopefuls: BUSH 6'2" HARKIN 6'1" KERREY 6'0" CLINTON 6'2.5" TSONGAS 5'8" BUCHANAN 6'1" BROWN 6'0"
  • Southern Voters: Beyond Bubbas And Yellow Dogs

    Mickey Thomas was 16 when a job transfer moved her family from Long Island to Little Rock. She and her husband, Bob, attended Centenary College in Shreveport, La. They're both 28 and live with their three children in the Memphis suburb of Germantown. She's working on a master's degree in education. He sells medical supplies. Self-described independents, they voted for George Bush in 1988. Now they're having doubts. Bob likes Bill Clinton in next week's Tennessee Democratic primary, one of eight Super Tuesday contests in Southern or border states. Mickey is still looking closely at Bush, but also at Clinton and Paul Tsongas. "I was pretty sure I'd vote for Bush again," she says. "But now he's coming up with all these last-minute plans to save America. What has he been doing for four years?" ...
  • Wall Street Of The Steppes

    Ulan Bator doesn't yet know from convertible debentures or collateralized mortgage obligations. But last month the remote Mongolian capital opened its first stock exchange. For four hours every Tuesday, shares of five formerly state-owned companies change hands; volume has been doubling at every session. "When we started [planning] a year ago," says N. Zolzhargal, the 27-year-old chairman of the Mongolian Stock Exchange, "the government just thought a stock exchange was something you should have-like a Cadillac." The distinction still isn't clear to many ordinary citizens, who are each given vouchers worth $250 to invest in the market. Enkhbaatar, a retired railway worker who, like many Mongolians, has only one name, rode his horse into the capital for a firsthand look at the Wall Street of the steppes. He was nowhere near as mystified as the man standing next to him: how could he avoid a loss, the man asked, if the shares he bought today at 200 tugriks ($5 at current official...
  • The Boom In Annuities

    For a brief, shining moment, I thought President Bush was going to save annuity buyers from themselves. I'm speaking of the 10 seconds of belief he gave to a proposal, offered after his State of the Union Message, for changing the way annuities are taxed. ...
  • Five Weeks And Counting

    This season, baseball's spring training camps are like those awkward mixers on the first day of college: everybody's new. It was a remarkable winter for trades and unspeakably lucrative free-agent defections. A look at some of the more remodeled clubs: A decent pitching staff gets better with Belcher and Swindell. Dibble, America's most infamous serial beaner, is very excited about it. Uh-oh.Made the league's biggest killing with Bonilla, Saberhagen and Murray. But this could just plunge them one rung deeper into Head-Case Hell.If aging stars like Morns and Winfield don't help, the owners should ice the field, get a puck and pretend baseball never existed.Jefferies, McReynolds and Joyner will definitely ring up the scoreboard. Of course, "Hitting doesn't win the pennant; pitching does."
  • A Minaret Over Manhattan

    The most impressive new house of worship in New York City sits askew the corner of Third Avenue and 96th Street, where the high-rises of the Upper East Side begin to give way to the housing projects and tenements of Spanish Harlem. It is a big, square granite building, with a vast copper-covered dome, and atop the dome is the thin golden crescent of a nearly new moon. It is a mosque, and for nearly a million Muslims in and around New York City it is--apart from small converted storefronts and brownstones scattered here and there-the first one they have ever had. ...