Newswire

Newswire

  • 'Whatever It Takes'

    Jesse Jackson was rapping away the other day, cataloging the shortcomings of the candidates, listing all the downtrodden constituencies that are not being sufficiently loved. When his litany reached "our forsaken farmers," the 1992 campaign reached the level of cabaret. ...
  • An American In Paris

    Some might call it culture schlock. "Formidable," the Moulin Rouge revue, features a horse, topless dancers, jugglers, three crocodiles and La Toya Jackson, who rides a flying carpet above the Paris nightclub audience. Jackson sings " The Locomotion!' and, in phonetically learned French (she doesn't know the lingo), the Edith Piaf classics "La Vie en Rose" and "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." No wonder: for a year's engagement, Michael's sister (who, yes, stays clothed throughout) is reportedly receiving $5 million. For all that, she could invest in a new number, " Puttin' on Berlitz."
  • A Breach Of Contract

    Thriller writers make a deal with their readers. In return for a willing suspension of disbelief, the author sets off on a merry, roller-coaster plot, dropping hints, feinting at shadows, setting off surprises, all with the promise of a reasonable explanation at the end. In his last book, "The Firm, "John Grisham upheld his end of the bargain, with a hugely successful tale of a young lawyer from Harvard who makes the mistake of joining a Memphis law firm secretly controlled by the Mafia. Comes now Grisham's new book, "The Pelican Brief," another of the catch-me-if-you-can genre. This time, it's a brilliant and attractive female law student who's staying one step ahead of the FBI, the CIA and a politically well-connected tycoon who has his own stable of killers. (And there are some fiendish lawyers to hiss at, too!) Grisham keeps the pages turning but, in the end, badly breaches the thrillermeister-reader contract.After a shadowy killer assassinates two Supreme Court justices, the...
  • The Face Of A Massacre

    Azerbaijan was a charnel house again last week: a place of mourning refugees and dozens of mangled corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue behind a mosque. They were men, women and children of Khojaly, an Azerbaijani village In the war-torn enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on Feb. 25-26. Many were killed at close range while trying to flee; some had their fun mutilated, others were scalped. Azerbaijanis retaliated quickly, shooting down an Armenian helicopter with 40 people aboard. Troops of #is former Soviet army were perhaps the last safeguard against civil war-and they were withdrawing from the region.
  • 'Where's The Rest Of Them'

    Maybe it will all change any day now, but this year's election dog that didn't bark is foreign policy. Only fitfully or derivatively (Japan-bashing, foreign aid-bashing) do some of the candidates talk about it at all. Why? There are several reasons, but when you inspect them you find that they are all pretty feeble excuses for failing to discuss a subject that cries out for a role in our calculations about who should be president. ...
  • Corroded Values

    Shabby chic is one thing. Now environmentally correct San Francisco trendies have taken the recession look to an extreme. Old, rusted furniture (the kind you left in the garage to rot) is the hottest thing in fashionable, EC interior design. The artsy Zonal shop sells pitted chairs, bed frames and candlesticks scavenged from junkyards. Upscale Fillamento features furniture rusted by artists and coated with sealant to protect the finish (not to mention one's rear end). But rusty doesn't mean cheap: some corroded items go for up to $4,000.
  • The Rich Get...

    Congressional studies show that the richest 1 percent of American taxpayers-about 660,000 families-pulled down 60 percent of all after-tax income gains in the 1980s. But despite a lot of populist rhetoric, congressional Democrats lack the guts to tax away much of the largesse: the families had a total of $506 billion of income in 1989 but a bill in the House Ways and Means Committee would raise only about $7 billion in additional taxes from-the group, and a Senate bill would raise even less. "In the present political climate," says a senior congressional aide, "there just isn't the stomach to do more. To get big money to reduce our $200 billion structural deficits you've got to tax you, me and people we hang around with."
  • Tsongas....And The Cancer Question

    Paul Tsongas discovered the lump in his groin on Sept. 29, 1983. It was a discovery that changed his life, and one that makes him unique .today-for Tsongas, as far as anyone knows, is the first cancer survivor to run for president. The lump was eventually diagnosed as a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a relatively rare cancer of the immune system. The diagnosis led Tsongas, then a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, to an intimate acquaintance with pain and suffering and to a dramatic encounter with the power and skill of modem medicine. His robust health more than eight years later is a point-blank refutation of the prejudice against cancer survivors in all walks of life. But his medical history is still a factor in judging his fitness for office. ...
  • The West Is Best

    Misery taught the Russian people to make grief a carnival, the novelist Maxim Gorky once wrote, but even he would be surprised to see his homeland today. Expressions of self-contempt fill the air. Moscow's Center for the Study of Public Opinion asked Russians recently which emotion they associated with their country's history; the most popular answer was "shame." More than 50 percent of the population believe the history of the Soviet Union consisted largely of "seizures and crimes." In a Times Mirror poll last September, Russians were the least patriotic out of 13 countries surveyed: only 60 percent of Russians called themselves very patriotic, compared with 88 percent of Americans. Writing in the English-language Moscow Magazine, rock-music promoter Artyom Troitsky suggested a metaphor for Russia: "A huge and hopelessly drunk oaf, wallowing helplessly in the mud." ...
  • 'I'm On The List!'

    Teenage mall-crawlers have a new symbol: fake plastic backstage passes like those worn by insiders at, say, Metallica gigs. A company called Icons has been selling scads of ersatz passes for stars like Hammer, Motley Crue and that nutty "Beverly Hills 90210" bunch. There's also a Malcolm X version. The craze has intensified because Wayne and Garth sport backstage passes in "Wayne's World."
  • Forster Revisited

    For 30 years the team of James Ivory, Ismail Merchant and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala have enjoyed a singular, civilized collaboration outside the Hollywood mainstream. This unlikely trio-an American director who grew up in Klamath Falls, Ore., a Muslim Indian producer from Bombay and a German-born Jewish screenwriter who fled to England in 1939 and lived in New Delhi for 24 years with her Indian husband-seem equally at home on three continents. But they all work out of Manhattan, where each has an apartment in the same building on East 52nd Street. ...
  • Let The 1,000-Mile Walk Begin

    When King Fahd ascended to the throne a decade ago, one of the first things he promised his subjects was greater political freedom. He built a domed marble hall in Riyadh for a royal council to advise the House of Saud. But the assembly hall stood empty while the king wavered between conservative clerics demanding strict Islamic policies and a growing number of Western-educated Saudis in search of reform. Eventually he realized that both sides have at least one goal in common: a bigger say in Saudi Arabia's political life. Last week Fahd granted their wish with a hesitant first step toward modernizing the world's most powerful oil-producing nation. ...
  • Stepping It Up

    Unlike the rest of the American economy, the political industry worked overtime last week, manufacturing state-of-the-art metaphors for the differences between Bill Clinton and Paul Tsongas. "Yin and Yang...... Elmer Gantry and Elmer Fudd...... Labor and Capital." Not surprisingly, the political shorthand represents a gross distortion of who these men really are. While they pander and gouge from Florida to Illinois, remember this: as different as they look and sound, Clinton and Tsongas actually closely resemble each other-not just on the issues, but in their willingness in the heat of battle to jettison some of the principles that got them here. ...
  • The Fertility Doctor's Private Practices

    To his defenders, Cecil Jacobson was a courageous medical pioneer who made extraordinary sacrifices to help his patients. His detractors accused him of being the worst kind of con man-preying on the desperation of infertile couples by injecting women with hormones to give the illusion of pregnancy and inseminating patients with his own sperm, which he claimed came from an anonymous-donor program. Last week a federal jury settled the question by finding Dr. Jacobson guilty on 52 counts of fraud and perjury. (Only four counts involved his questionable insemination practice; the rest were perjury charges, as well as mail, wire and travel fraud used to deceive patients.) Facing a sentence of up to 280 years in jail and a fine of $500,000, Jacobson, 55, seemed more surprised than chagrined. "I'm in shock, I really am," he said after the verdict. "I spent my life trying to help women have children." ...
  • 'The Nature Of The Beast'

    Two weeks ago, attacked by Pat Buchanan over arts funding, the White House forced National Endowment for the Arts chairman John Frohnmayer to resign. NEWSWEEKS Daniel Glick spoke to Frohnmayer in his first interview since he announced he would leave the NEA on May 1. Some excerpts: ...
  • Is Buchanan Running The Country?

    It isn't true, as the critics claim, that George Bush stands for nothing: he seems to stand for whatever Patrick Buchanan wants him to. Consider: the talk-show-host-turned-candidate criticizes the president for funding "dirty" art. The White House fires John Frohnmayer, the head of the National Endowment for the Arts. Buchanan attacks an IRS proposal that would require churches to report the names of major contributors. Quickly, the administration lets it be known that the proposal is being "re-evaluated." Buchanan takes Bush to task for breaking his "read my lips" pledge, and Bush responds by telling The Atlanta Journal that raising taxes was a "mistake" after all. ...
  • Don't Doubt This Thomas

    Thomas Hampson loves to tell jokes. Most aren't printable,, but this one is. A man digs a hole; after he finishes, his co-worker fills it in. They walk a few feet and start again, then again. A bewildered passerby finally asks, "What are you doing'.? It doesn't make any sense." The digger replies, "The guy who puts the trees in the holes is out sick." "That," says Hampson with a flourish, "is what's wrong with opera today. People are interested in shovels and holes, not what the holes are for." ...
  • Who Revived Laura Palmer?

    Fans of "Twin Peaks" already know who killed Laura Palmer. But devotees of the now defunct TV series will have to wait until September to learn why in director David Lynch's new feature film, "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me." FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) and almost everyone else will be back to play out the events of the last week of Laura Palmer's life in the film, which also features David Bowie as a G-man. Will there be a sequel to resolve the TV cliffhanger? "It depends on how this movie does," says Lynch.
  • Here Comes Peter Cottontail

    If you're going to make waves, you might as well do it at the seashore. Madonna visited Miami Beach last month and, in the skinflick of an eye, dropped her top. Then, right on the beach, she swanned around in nothing but lacy black tights. It was, however, all in the name of art: fashion photographer Steven Meisel was shooting the scene for an erotic project--either a book or a magazine spread. Though it was February, Madonna was apparently already dreaming of the Easter bunny. She also strutted around the grounds of a house in a quiet neighborhood wearing only black gloves, a G-string bottom with a white fluffy bunny tail and black stiletto heels. Could this project be called "Nude Madonna"?
  • Lapd: A Force Unto Itself

    It was a question of control. The four Los Angeles policemen indicted for beating black motorist Rodney King a year ago went on trial last week, charged with assault. They claimed they were only doing their job-that King seemed to be in a drug-induced, "trancelike state" and struggled with officers trying to subdue him. Prosecutors contended that an infamous video of the incident speaks for itself, showing more than 60 blows and kicks raining down on King. The prosecutors' version got unexpected support last week. Breaking police ranks, one defendant claimed he had tried to stop the beating-and charged that his fellow officers were "out of control." ...