Newswire

Newswire

  • 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. ...
  • Where The Jobs Are

    Robbie Aube is the kind of person sociologists like to say we need more of. For nearly six years he worked to build his construction business in Plum Island in northern Massachusetts. But the New England recession devastated the business and his wife, Judy, sold few homes in her job as a real-estate agent. Aube, 38, analyzed their situation and realized drastic changes were needed. He took out a loan and went back to school for 18 months to retrain as an airplane mechanic. In a few weeks he, his wife and two children will move to Minneapolis to take a job with Northwest Airlines. Did he agonize over the decision? "I said 'yes' right there on the phone," he says. ...
  • 'The Gateway To Heaven'

    From the air, Uchiza is the picture of sylvan serenity-a neat grid of red-dirt roads and green plazas bordered by the meandering, chocolate-brown Huallaga River. But descending into the Peruvian jungle town, tucked into a valley that produces 65 percent of the world's coca, is like entering the heart of darkness. Dozens of unswerving eyes glare from the shacks lining the airstrip. The local drug traffickers, couriers for the Colombian cartels, don't like visitors. Last June, when 80 Peruvian policemen and six U.S. antinarcotics agents stormed into Uchiza to bust labs and disrupt the drug flights, hundreds of stone-throwing locals forced them to retreat. In 1990 a U.S. reporter was abducted on the airstrip. His mutilated remains were found on a roadside nearby. This time, Uchiza's unwanted visitors-a NEWSWEEK reporter and photographer-make sure they have reliable escorts: Peruvian Army officers in cahoots with the traffickers. ...
  • Rethinking The Lessons Of Desert Storm

    Military lesson No. 1 from the gulf war: don't look for sweeping lessons. The United States enjoyed a fistful of advantages it's not likely to have again. They included the support of a broad international coalition, a host country with world-class ports and airstrips, six months to get ready and a vastly overrated enemy who showed little will to fight, The result was a desert cakewalk, not a template for future conflicts. The Army is already treating the campaign as an anomaly, rewriting its war-fighting doctrine to prepare for what Desert Storm wasn't -a lightning, "come as you are" war where troops arrive ready to fight. "When history is written, Desert Storm will be a footnote," says historian Earl Tilford. ...
  • Bold Plans--And Trims On The Edges

    State Capitol offices in Little Rock had barely opened one recent morning when a caravan of wheelchairs rolled up to the office of Gov. Bill Clinton. In less than three minutes, 18 disabled people anchored themselves to the furniture with a logging chain. They were there to protest cuts in the state's Medicaid budget. For Clinton, vacationing in South Carolina, the disturbance threatened to distract from his national image as a caring, reform-minded governor. Fifteen hours later, Clinton restored most of the proposed cuts and created a task force to examine the issue. ...
  • Wisconsin Is Talking...

    About a local politician's crusade against out-of-staters who illegally receive Wisconsin welfare benefits. Rep. David Prosser thinks he's discovered a welfare-fraud strategy that's as simple as a monthly bus ride across the state line. He visited a Chicago bus station on Dec. 2-the day Milwaukee County issued welfare checks-and noticed the line of passengers was far larger than on other days. Prosser's staffers in Milwaukee then watched as passengers got off the bus and took a cab directly to Milwaukee's social-services office. Prosser's mission was not lost on Gov. Tommy Thompson, who will propose public-aid cuts this month.
  • Rambo's Revenge

    Make fun of Rambo at your peril, the folks at the Telluride, Colo., ski resort learned last week. After sending Sylvester Stallone up the slopes, a ski-lift operator said to the next guy in line, "He's not as funny as Bill Murray." But the guy was a member of Sly's entourage and wasn't laughing. Sly's people asked that the lift operator be fired. (Stallone is said to be looking to buy property near Telluride.) The operator was suspended for four days. "In this business, you treat everyone right," said a Telluride spokesman.
  • '92 Campaign Edition

    Attention, primary shoppers! Presidential produce is finally ready for your inspection in aisle 6. Not enough room for all the candidates here, but have patience. ...
  • Buzzwords

    Like everyone else, mass-transit workers can be a little cynical about subways and buses. Here's what they're saying as you read your paper: Person obsessed with streetcars, particularly antiques and retired routes.Subway bag lady.A motorman or conductor's schedule for the day.Derailment.Wet, slippery tracks.Passengers in a crowded train.The space between a subway car and the platform.Collecting tokens from the turnstiles. Usage: "Two punks robbed me when I was pulling the wheel."
  • Every Parent's Nightmare

    Trend spotters, take note. There's a new motif in villainy rumbling through the collective unconscious of Hollywood. The New Ogre, a clever devil, sets out to destroy its enemy by homing in on its enemy's children. This ogre doesn't harm kids; it seduces them into preferring the villain to their own parents. This was Captain Hook's tactic with Peter Pan's kids in "Hook." It was an aspect of Robert De Niro's revenge in "Cape Fear." And it is a primal ploy in the evil scheme of the wicked nanny in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, a thriller that cannily toys with the fears and guilts of baby-boomer moms. ...