Newswire

Newswire

  • Another Tempest In A C Cup

    Breast surgery is a $300 million U.S. industry--or was, until a U.S. Food Band Drug Administration advisory panel recommended last month that the use of silicone-gel implants be severely limited. Breast augmentation and reconstruction have been the most popular forms of plastic surgery in the United States, accounting for more than 130,000 operations annually. Fees range as high as $5,500. Facing the loss of a substantial and lucrative part of their practices, some surgeons are furious at the FDA-and ready to do battle for their livelihoods. Armed with the belief that the advisory panel was stacked against them and that some under-endowed women need breast implants for self-esteem, the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons has launched a $3.5 million campaign to convince the public and the FDA that the devices do more good than harm. ...
  • Forcing Lee Iacocca's Hand?

    What was going on at the secret Chrysler board meeting in New York last weekend? Sources said the board's nominating committee gathered to force Lee Iacocca to name a successor. The legendary CEO is slated to step down Dec. 31, but he has been vague about his plans and who will replace him. Board members were reportedly concerned about Wall Street's reaction to the waffling. The last straw, said a source, was Iacocca's outspoken performance in Japan with President Bush in January: "[The board] was thoroughly embarrassed and began to see that Iacocca really didn't want to go." Last month Chrysler vice chairman Robert Miller became the latest possible heir to quit-in frustration over the lack of succession plans, sources say. Whom might the board tap? The favorites were Chrysler president Robert Lutz; Gerald Greenwald, a former number two, and GM's European operations president Robert J. Eaton. A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment.
  • From Biker Chic To Biker Cheek

    It's a union made in designer heaven: Hells Angels meet Charlie's Angels. At last, someone's thinking of the poor fashion victim loath to shed her biker gear when the weather heats up. Rev up your surfboards-here comes the Harley-Davidson swimwear collection. From the look of it, the designers of motorcycles and maillots share a common goal: to pack as much power into as little space as possible. How to translate the aura of leather and chains to a wisp of Lycra and tricot? It's simple, says Michael Eisenberg of T.K MAB, the official licensee for the bathing line: " We all ride. We design with the bike in mind." The result is an array of "wet leather" and bugle-beaded tanks, denim and tattoo-print bikinis, and daintily studded push-up suits, all embroidered with those potent symbols of rebellion: the eagle, the bar and shield or the motto LIVE TO RIDE, RIDE TO LIVE. For the not-so-Wild One, there are demure little " mechanic jumpers," "swim bomber" cover-ups and microscopic, lace-up...
  • The Money In Mortgages

    A few months ago, I got a cold call from a stock-broker, pitching me on a "high-rate, triple-A mortgage investment, government guaranteed." When I asked what's the catch, he said no catch. "You're only risk," he joked, "is that you'll get your money back too soon. ...
  • So Much For Family Ties

    Jackie Collins, call your agent. Have we got a script for you! The sharp-tongued wife of a rags-to-riches entrepreneur gets awarded control of her husband's company in a divorce settlement. He lives in a tony Chicago condo, married to a younger woman, while his ex-wife and CEO son run the company. But, apparently, egged on by her glamorous and ambitious daughter, Mom engineers the sudden resignation of her well-respected son. ...
  • Jerry Lewis: Points Of Spite

    Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chairman Evan Kemp Jr.'s feud with comedian Jerry Lewis may cost Kemp his job. Kemp angered Lewis with an October press release alleging that Lewis's annual muscular dystrophy telethon demeans the disabled by presenting them as "objects to be pitied." In a letter to President Bush, Lewis accused Kemp of "misusing the power of his governmental office" by making statements that could hurt the telethon. " If ever there was a 'Point of Light'. . I'm it!" wrote Lewis. Administration sources say Kemp, a wheelchair user with a neuromuscular disease, will likely stay on the commission but lose the chairmanship. The White House declined to comment.
  • Russ: A Creature Of The System

    Until last week, Jack Russ was one of the invisible potentates in the byzantine world of Capitol Hill--a tough guy and a go-getter who had the knack of making friends in high places. Then the House banking scandal broke wide open and Russ was gone, leaving only a courtly letter of resignation behind. A victim of the system, some in Congress said: too bad the buck had to stop with him. But Russ, who as House sergeant at arms commanded a salary of $119,120 a year and oversaw a $1.3 million budget, was more than a bystander to the latest congressional train wreck. For as last week's report by the House ethics committee made perfectly clear, Russ was one of those who benefited personally from the casual accounting rules at the House bank. Between July 1988 and August 1989, the committee reported, Russ cashed 19 rubber cheeks with an aggregate value of $56,100. ...
  • Peri Picks

    Hollywood is finally coming to its senses. It has stopped routinely forking out $1 million-plus for every mediocre Bruce-Mel-Kevin vehicle that comes in over the transom. In 1990 "The Ticking Man," about a nuclear-bomb-armed robot terrorizing Moscow, sold for $1 million with Willis in mind for starring role. Bruce passed--and now it's the town's priciest doorstop. An update on other bonus scripts: Tom Schulman got $2.5 million for this tedious rain-forest romp. It's earned an unspectacular $34.6 million.Big-budget Willis romp has performed only so-so, considering Shane Black's script sold for $1.75 million.Columbia sank about $40 million into this bomb about child abuse, including $1.1 million to writer David Mickey Evans. Joe Eszterhas's $3 million script outraged gays and feminists. With a $49 million budget, it'll be hard to break even.
  • Playing Hardball

    George Bush and his advisers discussed the 1992 campaign, one kind of prospective opponent made them nervous. Mr. Wrong would be a young, aggressive Southerner with solid experience and a centrist message that could lure conservative Reagan Democrats back home. They concluded that only Tennessee Sen. Al Gore, a 1988 also-ran, embodied those virtues. When Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton's name surfaced, Bush's team dismissed him with a single word: " Women. " ...
  • Uninvited Dinner Guests

    After more than 30 years as a newsman and four years in my own business, I have a Pavlovian reaction to a ringing phone. I have to answer it. I cannot ignore that noisy piece of machinery. I'm used to calls at all hours. But over the past couple of years, at least 10 times a week, the person on the other end of that ringing annoyance isn't a friend or relative or business colleague. He or she wants me to buy something or give to some organization. ...
  • Domesticated Bliss

    Lee Ryan and Robin Leonard have lived together for eight years. Last July they went to city hall in San Francisco and made it legal. While a friend took photographs, Ryan hummed wedding marches in Leonard's ear. It was, says Leonard, 31, a lawyer and editor at Nolo Press, "a wonderful emotional experience." At work, colleagues hung up streamers and put a JUST DOMESTICATED Sign over the door. Leonard and Ryan, a 33-year-old law librarian, are lesbians, and the license they picked up at city hall certifies them as "domestic partners." Christine Farren, 37, and David Ferland, 33, live in Waterbury, Vt. The town doesn't recognize domestic partnerships, but Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Inc., where Farren is an administrative assistant, does. Since 1989, the ice-cream company has offered unmarried couples the same benefits, including health insurance, that married employees receive. Ferland, manager of a small hotel with no group-health plan, is now covered through Farren. Without the policy...
  • Falls Guys

    Is Niagara Falls ready for a New Age theme park? The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation, and Canadian magician Doug Henning have been secretly buying up land in Ontario, near the falls. This week the guru and the magician will announce plans for a 1,400-acre, $1.5 billion park featuring magical rides, a Vedic (higher consciousness and all that) health center, a TM university and a residential development. The name: Maharishi Veda Land Canada.
  • Major: They're Just 'Pale Pink Tories'

    A few hours after announcing an April 9 date for the next British election, Conservative Prime Minister John Major spoke with NEWSWEEK'S London Bureau Chief Daniel Pedersen at 10 Downing Street. Excerpts: ...
  • 'Bitchier Than Usual'

    At last: 16 months after succeeding Margaret Thatcher with the promise of a kinder, gentler Toryism, and nearly a year after his public approval soared in the wake of Britain's contribution to the Persian Gulf War, John Major called an election. It is an inauspicious moment. A nagging recession has eroded the Conservative prime minister's popularity. On one flank of his party, there are mutters that he has forsaken Thatcher's rightist principles and red-meat style. Others wonder about his possession of what his friend and political stablemate George Bush calls "the vision thing." Polls show Neil Kinnock's Labor Party holding a slight lead heading toward the April 9 vote. Major thus becomes the first prime minister in the postwar era to go to the country with his party behind. Papers from The Daily Telegraph on the right to The Guardian on the left said his move was "the most conspicuous election gamble in recent history." "I don't feel like a gambler," he told NEWSWEEK (box). "I am...
  • Kiss Kiss Slash Slash

    In a more sensible era, Joe Eszterhas's script for Basic instinct at best might have been grist for a tawdry little B movie about murder and sexual obsession, the kind of cheapo noir thriller cranked out in the '40s and '50s. Instead (for this is a deeply silly era in Hollywood) Carolco paid Eszterhas a record-breaking $3 million for his highly improbable scenario, signed on Michael Douglas to star for a cool $15 mil, brought in the supercharged Dutchman Paul Verhoeven ("RoboCop," "Total Recall") to direct and ended up with a $49 million movie about a woman who likes to tie her lovers to a bedpost and hack them to death with an ice pick. And you wonder why Carolco is in deep financial trouble . . . ...
  • '92 Campaign Edition

    Per "Casablanca " the CW is shocked, shocked and dismayed about the negative tone of the campaign. It hopes, at the very least, to repossess Buchanan's Mercedes. CANDIDATES Conventional Wisdom Bush + Bouncing checks help GOP. But using sex against Clinton? Wouldn't be prudent. Buchanan - Listen, little fella, you're confused. And stop complaining about your Cadillac. Clinton + Campaign moves toward nomination; waistline moves toward nomination; waistline moves toward Marlon Brando. Brown + Turtleneck's hep under that UAW jacket, Gov. Panderbeam. Next: Zen bowling. Tsongas - Not many Volvos in Flint. And your message got lost when you hit the low road. Dark Horse - Perfect moment for Richard Gephardt or other Capitol Hill insider to enter. Not!
  • Buzzwords

    As more and more Americans get laid off, headhunters get busier. Here's what they're saying after you walk out the door: A job hunter who wants a job for which he isn't qualified.Laid-off defense workers.Someone who lives off his severance pay. A person who waits until the last minute before severance runs out before looking for a job. Usage: "How does that midnighter expect me to find him a job tomorrow?"
  • Digging For Dirt

    Look for the Democratic presidential campaign to turn nastier. Someone from the Tsongas campaign last week phoned the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette looking for dirt about Bill Clinton. The caller asked that articles on two Clinton-era mini-scandals be shipped to Tsongas's Boston headquarters. One case involved a nursing-home financing scheme. The other request was for stories about the use of a local airport for shipping guns to the Nicaraguan contras. The paper's managing editor, who reported the incident in his column, said he threw out the request. A Tsongas spokesman said the call wasn't authorized by the campaign.
  • A Guillotine For Lawyers?

    Lawyers, watch thy necks. The French Revolution, say the alarmists, has come to American legal practice. ...
  • Moose Beams

    Alaskan motorists occasionally have a problem: they crash into moose, destroying car and beast. Now there may be a solution. Swedish carmakers Volvo and Saab are developing ultraviolet headlights that make moose and other animals glow in the dark up to 200 yards away. Still, it may be years before the headlights are marketed in America because of concerns that the beams will cause sunburns or cancer. Others worry they just won't work. " When that moose decides to sit on your windshield," says an Alaskan Saab dealer, "there's not a lot that will help."