Newswire

Newswire

  • All Together Now-Sort Of

    First it was Eurosclerosis: by 1980, the unemployment-racked countries of the Old World just couldn't get economic policy right. Then, Europhoria: the European Community's 1985 decision to eliminate internal trade barriers by 1992 set off a wave of investment that had the continent riding high. Now this week's EC summit in the Dutch city of Maastricht suggests that the 33-year-old Community has entered a more difficult stage. Call it Eurorealism. ...
  • Desperately Seeking Furry Friends

    Humans were not the only victims of the catastrophic fire that burned more than 3,000 homes in Oakland, Calif., last month. Thousands of pets were killed or driven away by the blaze, causing hundreds of area residents to resort to desperate measures to try to find their four-legged loved ones. Vicki Cochran has hired three psychics to locate her wayward Rottweiler, Erno. No luck so far, although the psychics have assured their client that Erno is still alive--somewhere. Cochran, like a number of other pet owners, has spent nearly $4,000 for helicopter searches, long-distance calls and fees for tarot-wielding psychics. Meantime, pet owners like Laurie Dornbrand have had better luck with a more traditional tack. She and her son Aaron found their beloved cat, Sidd, at an animal shelter. A week after the blaze, firemen had found the pet--badly singed about the paws, nose and ears--lying in a storm drain with another missing feline.
  • Cash Flow

    Congressional Quarterly, a publication covering affairs on Capitol Hill, has put together a report on congressional spending in 1991. Here are some examples of where the money went. $8.4 million to maintain the 132-room White House. The 97-person staff includes five florists, five calligraphers and five curators.$1.7 million for a research center in Texas to study how to make "killer bees" less aggressive.$466 million to operate the Senate, which employs about 7,400 people; it costs $709 million to operate the House, which employs 12,500.$2.2 billion for Head Start; it will serve 39,000 more preschoolers than it did last year.$50 million to house people with AIDS.
  • No Happy Warriors Here

    New York's governor-devoutly Catholic, proudly ethnic, unapologetically Democratic in a Republican era and contemplating a run for the White House-sauntered into his office and encountered some Kansas politicians who had come East to get a gander at him. "Hello, boys," said His Excellency expansively, "glad to see you. You know, the other day some boys were in from Wisconsin and I learned something. I always thought that Wisconsin was on this side of the lake. It's on the other side. Glad to know it. Glad to know more about the place the good beer comes from." ...
  • Even When It's Over It Isn't Over

    Lawrence Jenco had just walked into his newly painted closet, intending to screw in some hooks, when the door swung shut--and suddenly he was in another closet, thousands of miles away, chained to the wall with a plastic bag draped over his head. When the Roman Catholic priest came back to reality in Joliet, Ill., he was sitting on the floor, crying. ...
  • Pearl Harbor Brought Peace

    We should indeed "remember Pearl Harbor" 50 years later, but not for the reasons that made these words a wartime slogan. Then, the slogan was a means of stirring support for the resolute prosecution of the war; its force came from national outrage at the surprise attack delivered on what FDR called the "date which will live in infamy." But we do not need that anger now. Looking back across decades in which Japan and the United States have shared one of the most rewarding political and economic connections in history, what we most need to remember about Pearl Harbor today is that this later history could never have worked out so well without that terrible event. Pearl Harbor, and nothing else, made it certain that the Americans would fight the Pacific war to a clear and complete victory, and that victory was an indispensable requirement for the emergence of the prosperous and peaceable partner we now have in Japan. ...
  • An American Revolution

    It cannot be denied that the French excel all nations in the excellence of their cuisine," wrote the influential cooking teacher Fannie Farmer back in 1896. Why she then proceeded to add ketchup to her vinaigrette and sugar to her champagne sauce is a mystery she took to the grave. But it underscores the peculiarities inherent in our historic reverence for French food. Americans both fear and worship it: All that cream and butter! All that work! All that money! As for the French, their attitude toward most American food has long been a simple mixture of horror and contempt. Increasingly, however, it's become clear that the traditional imbalance between France and America on matters culinary is starting to change. ...
  • Wanted:Some Straight Talk

    It's time for an end to cat-and-mouse campaigns. A little truth-telling is needed. ...
  • Condoms In The Classroom

    There it was. A sheet of plain green composition paper Scotch-taped to the wall just inside the gym door. CONDOMS ARE NOW AVAILABLE. SEE MARGO 301A. The simple message, posted last week at a high school in New York City's Greenwich Village, was probably the first of its kind to appear in any U.S. public school-but unquestionably not the last. Fueled by the rising rate of HIV infection among teens, school boards in Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and other U.S. cities are pushing forward with plans to make condoms freely available to teenage students. They'll be offered with counseling and instruction by trained volunteers. In New York, as elsewhere, the issue was fiercely debated, splitting the school board and pitting city officials against a powerful Roman Catholic cardinal. But Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez had little patience with the argument that giving kids condoms might seem to sanction their sex ual activity-or even encourage promiscuity. "This is not an...
  • The Bank Robbery Boom

    Can there now be any doubt that the '90s will be a decade of retrenchment--an era of smaller sirloins, fewer M.B.A.s and countless "Mr. Ed" remakes? Even in the world of criminal enterprise, it seems there is a return to basics. In the '80s, if you wanted to fleece a bank, you bought one (preferably a savings and loan) and artfully drove it into the ground, making sure of course to skim off a healthy take and to save a few dollars for your favorite senator. In the new decade, the approach is far simpler: you go into the bank and stick it up. ...
  • Between An Atom And A Hard Place

    No one promised that divining the ultimate nature of the universe would come cheaply. But they sure swore that it would not come at the price of gouging other research. For years, that has been the vow of politicians and physicists lobbying for the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC). This 54-mile-long particle accelerator, to be built in Texas, will replicate the conditions soon after the birth of the universe and reveal the deepest laws of nature. Cost estimates have risen from $5 billion to $11.3 billion, however, and despite impressive pork-barreling-subcontractors are scattered through some 40 states-the SSC maybe on the ropes. A task force within the Department of Energy, chaired by Nobel physicist Charles Townes, recently implied that the only way to keep the SSC on track in a zero-growth budget is to cannibalize other physics research. If forced to decide between funding the SSC and cutting other research, the SSC "is going down the tubes," says House science committee...
  • Amputation, Not Pedicure

    History tells us that Americans don't like standing armies in peacetime. When there is no big foreign threat, they want no big military budgets. With so many domestic problems facing the nation, they will get their wish. But it will be done the wrong way. When the Pentagon comes back from the old cutting board with its 1992 plan for reduced spending, it will be based on the obsolete military tactic of "fall out, some." The Army will give up some divisions, the Navy some ships and the Air Force some tactical fighter wings. We have been down this road before and the results are always the same: disaster. Readiness is always sacrificed. Remember the six months it took the Pentagon to deploy only one fourth of the total U.S. military force for the Persian Gulf War? ...
  • Tighter Times At Big Blue

    Ever since IBM computerized the world, it has been the great American monolith--a company so big that the Justice Department once threatened to break it apart with an antitrust suit. (The Reagan administration dropped it in 1982.) But Big Blue has been looking a bit pallid lately. Hit hard by the industry slump and nimble rivals, management keeps cutting back. And with every cut, worker morale and profits seem to take another dip. The company's core business, mainframes, is mature. Its personal-computer business has also dragged: as PCs become commodities, sales have shifted to low-cost producers like Dell Computer, and yet IBM has been slow to enter the fast-growing markets in powerful workstations and laptop computers. ...
  • Hatch's Bcci Boomerang

    Orrin Hatch threw something at the Democrats last summer, and it turned out to be a boomerang. In August, the straitlaced Utah Republican released a report attempting to link Democratic lawmakers to the scandal surrounding the Bank of Credit and Commerce International; last week it was Senator Hatch's turn to squirm as allegations about his own links to prominent BCCI figures emerged. ...
  • They Call It Puppy Love

    He may be paunchy and past 50, but he's still Hollywood's best bad boy. In "Man Trouble," due in April, Jack Nicholson plays Harry Bliss, a guarddog trainer whose business and marriage are falling apart. Before he can say "Heel," he meets Ellen Barkin, who hires his agency, falls in love with him and teaches the old dog some new tricks. Down, boy!
  • Roughing Up The Khmer Rouge

    Khieu Samphan didn't look like a mass murderer. But as the pudgy, 60-year-old economist cowered in an upstairs room at a villa in Phnom Penh, an angry mob of Cambodians howled for his head. "Khieu Samphan's hands are dripping with Cambodian blood," some of them shouted. Then dozens of rioters burst through an invitingly thin screen of policemen and soldiers. Racing upstairs, they attacked Khieu Samphan, the nominal leader of the hated Khmer Rouge, and several of his aides. They kicked and punched them and showered them with rocks. Someone threw a wire over a ceiling fan, apparently for the purpose of stringing Khieu Samphan up. Finally the Cambodian authorities intervened in force, and when order was restored, foreign journalists found the Khmer Rouge leader huddled against a wall, wearing a steel helmet and bleeding profusely from a superficial head wound. "Please help me," he whimpered in French. "Please don't leave me." ...
  • And Now, Cuomo Agonistes

    In the blink of an eye, Mario Cuomo looks as if he may have lost his moment. The decision dance is boring. The Albany Republicans aren't helping with the needed fig leaf for his budget mess. The Democratic state chairmen, original peddlers of the Mario Scenario, are now blown away by Bill Clinton. For anyone who knows Cuomo, of course, this makes it more, not less, likely that he will soon join the race. Whatever the professionals say, he usually does the opposite. And it usually works. Cuomo's at his worst with a big lead and a lot of hype. Heavily favored, he was re-elected governor last year with an anemic 54 percent of the vote against weak opponents. He's at his best when embattled by the white-bread establishment types he has loathed since the 1950s, when they suggested he'd do better in the world as "Mark Conrad." ...
  • 'Fair Trade' Is Unfair

    From Rep. Richard Gephardt denouncing the Japanese, to Sen. Max Baucus denouncing the Canadians, to environmentalists denouncing the Mexicans, allegations of unfair foreign trade practices may be at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the pursuit of fair trade has become a license for politicians to exercise vast arbitrary power over American consumers. Fair trade is a moral delusion that could be leading to economic catastrophe. ...
  • Capital Gridlock

    It was the kind of week that only a C-Spanjunkie could enjoy. Eighty-one House Republicans demanded immediate tax cuts to boost the economy. President Bush opposed their planand urged Congress to adjourn. A day later Bush decided he liked the tax cuts "enthusiastically"--and demanded that Congress pass them right away. House Speaker Thomas Foley called the bluff, offering a tax debate after Thanksgiving. Then Senate Republican leader Bob Dole declared that Bush didn't really want a tax vote after all. Finally, after a week of round-the-clock rancor, Congress packed up and went home until January-and financial markets around the world breathed a sigh of relief. ...