Newswire

Newswire

  • Southern Hearts And Hormones

    The title character of Rambling Rose, played by Laura Dern, is a promiscuous, dirt-poor country girl looking for love in all the wrong places. Taken in by a gracious Southern family during the Depression, she predictably turns the house upside down, awakening the hormonal juices of 13-year-old Buddy (Lukas Haas), tempting the household's courtly patriarch (Robert Duvall), testing the compassion of the spacey, sophisticated mother (Diane Ladd) and driving the randy local boys wild. Rose is a familiar sentimentalized Southern literary character-the tramp/waif with a heart of gold-- and Martha Coolidge's movie of novelist Calder Willingham's 1972 comic valentine doesn't entirely transcend this cliche. But there are scenes in this warm, relaxed film that are an absolute delight--a funny, erotic under-the-covers encounter between Rose and little Buddy, and even better, a tete-a-tete in bed between Duvall and Ladd. The intimate rhythms these two superb actors work up together capture a...
  • Welcome To The Jungle

    The hype alone is a beautiful thing. At one minute after midnight this Monday night, a good thousand record stores across America open late or opened early-will rush to sell the two new albums by Guns N' Roses, "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II." A neatly staged spectacle of spontaneous demand, the release is an event. Adolescent rage, and the appetite for it, finally get their own shopping holiday. ...
  • Estrogen And Female Hearts

    After menopause, when women's ovaries stop churning out estrogen, their heart-attack rate rapidly soars. More than 325,000 American women died from coronary heart disease last year. Over the past decade, a cluster of studies have suggested that estrogen-replacement therapy after menopause--most often prescribed to prevent osteoporosis and the devastating "hot flashes" women often suffer-can lower their risk of heart disease. But many women and their physicians have been wary of estrogen because of some reports linking it to a slightly elevated risk of breast cancer. Of more than 43 million American women over 50, fewer than a third take ERT. Last week, however, The New England Journal of Medicine published the dramatic results of by far the largest study to date on ERT and heart disease. Women who took estrogen, researchers from Harvard Medical School found, had only half the risk of heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease that nonusers did. ...
  • The Last Gulag

    Revelations about China's brutal labor camps raise questions about Bush's tolerance for Beijing Watchtowers and brick walls line the lonely gray highway between Qinghai and Tibet in northwestern China. In the fields, the prisoners, in tattered blue uniforms, shuffle to work under the harsh gaze of their guards. Most of the inmates in China's labor reform camps are common criminals; but according to secret Chinese documents obtained by NEWSWEEK, perhaps 100,000 of the estimated 10 million denizens of China's prisons have been jailed for nothing more than opposing the government in Beijing. Many, like Li Lin, a labor activist, were arrested in the crackdown that followed the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Li endured months of beatings, psychological abuse and forced labor. "The prison was so horrible," Li told NEWSWEEK in Hong Kong, where he lives now, thanks to an international campaign to win his release. "I thought I'd never get out..." Many never do. Some prisoners are kept at...
  • The Mentor And The Protege

    When Clark Clifford and Robert Altman raised their hands and promised not to lie to the House Banking Committee last week, it was not the first time they had stood side by side in an emotional moment. Seven years earlier Clifford served as Altman's best man when he married actress Lynda Carter, former star of "Wonder Woman." The two men were so close that Altman later named his son Jamie Clifford, in honor of the statesman who had become his mentor. Clifford, in turn, has referred to Altman as the "son I never had." At the hearing they called each other "Mr. Altman" and "Mr. Clifford," but this was not a normal business partnership. ...
  • Limited Access

    Think there isn't a glass ceiling for women in government? Take a look at the latest figures from the Office of Personnel Management. As of last September, 7,170 women were political appointees or had attained the high job rank of GS-15, with starting salaries of $61 643. In the same category were 48,897 men--more than 85 percent of the upper echelons of government. For GS-14s and below--with starting salaries between $40,342 and $10,581--women were a majority at 825,614, compared with 783,999 men.
  • Fort Lauderdale Is Talking...

    About the ever-twisting "nympho" case. Kathy Willets first said the drug Prozac had turned her into a nymphomaniac who needed to have sex "seven or eight times a day" --and not, as prosecutors charged, a prostitute. Then a plea bargain fell apart amid a new accusation that some lawyers for Kathy and her husband, Jeff, accused of being her pimp, tried to sell a steamy videotape of Kathy and an alleged client. This raised speculation the Willetses' aim all along might have been to extort money from influential sex partners. Their chief lawyer has vehemently denied any schemes to sell tapes. Meanwhile, 50 of Kathy's alleged johns are suing to keep their names out of the case, prompting T shirts that say "I'm not on the list."
  • Court Charade

    The Thomas confirmation hearings reveal little about the nominee--but a lot about a ritual process that's become a caricature of itself ...
  • Girls' Afternoon Out

    Odd fact about the Windy City: it's begotten two of TV's windiest talk-show hosts and, probably, its most dissimilar. Who, after all, could be more different from a silver-thatched son of Notre Dame than a weight-obsessed former Miss Black Tennessee? Now another unusual yakker has breezed into Chicago: a Polish-Canadian comedienne who once sang backup for Wayne Newton. Even more improbable, the "Jenny Jones" show debuts this week on 176 stations-the biggest launch in the history of syndicated gabfests. ...
  • A Question Of Loyalty

    This December will mark my 10th year working for the same advertising agency. I'm proud of that. It's quite an achievement these days to work anywhere for 10 years, let alone at a place as hectic as my company. I'll probably be given an expensive clock or something to commemorate the feat. And given the sap that I am, I'm likely to display it prominently on my desk at work or on my mantel at home. And despite all this, and despite the fact that lots of people are surprised by my "company loyalty," I'm as confused as anyone about what that term really means today. ...
  • Sorry About That, Comrade

    The leaders of what is left of the Soviet Union were almost pathetically eager to please. Boris Yeltsin offered a small but symbolically valuable piece of his Russian Federation to its former owner, Japan. Obliging his friends in the United States, Mikhail Gorbachev took the first official step toward throwing Fidel Castro overboard. Foreign Minister Boris Pankin helped Washington achieve another long-sought objective. He and visiting Secretary of State James Baker said both countries would cut off arms shipments to Afghanistan and promote elections to end the oneman rule of another Soviet client. These almost abject concessions carried a price tag, of course. Gorbachev and Yeltsin want a great deal of foreign aid, and they want it now. "It will pay for itself," Gorbachev promised, "and then some." ...
  • Buzzwords

    Second to a good roommate, the most sought-after thing on college campuses is an easy course to make those long nights at the library a bit less taxing. Commonly called "guts...... blow-offs" and ,'snaps," here are some more regional terms: (Short for Mickey Mouse.)Like McDonald's, fast and easy.No assignments until midterm exam; if it's hard, students drop the class.A Texas term. Usage: "Last year I got an 'A' in Cowboy Chemistry. And I only went once."What U. of Chicago students call a gut, insulting their cross-town rivals at the same time.Easy grading helps grade point average.
  • Hostage Watch: One By One

    Javier Perez de Cuellar can keep a secret. He took no credit last month when Shiite radicals in Beirut freed two Westerners. He said nothing about their asking him to help secure the release of "all detainees"-even though it was the first step in his own scenario for ending the drawn-out Lebanese hostage drama. But fresh exchanges last week made it clear that the key actors are reading from the U.N. secretary-general's script. Explained Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy: "We are involved in a process whose details have already been worked out and discussed." ...
  • Mr. God Goes To Washington

    No fewer than five U.S. presidents wanted to fire FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, but none dared. "You don't fire God," explained John F. Kennedy. After all, Hoover, through his wiretaps, knew that Kennedy had slept with a suspected German spy during World War II and continued, as president of the United States, to share a girlfriend with a Mafia don. When Richard Nixon's top aides urged him to get rid of Hoover, Nixon responded, "He's got files on everybody, goddam it." Hoover had earlier informed the president that he was surrounded by a "ring of homosexualists." ...
  • Out Of Egypt, Greece

    Was Cleopatra black? Was Socrates? Did Nile legionnaires conquer the Aegean, setting the cradle of Western civilization in motion? For more than a generation African and African-American scholars have offered evidence that civilization was born on what Europeans called the Dark Continent. Led by the late Senegalese historian Cheikh Anta Diop, they have argued that Pythagorean theory, the concept of pi, geometric formulas and the screw and lever are only some of the patrimonies of Egypt, and not Greece as conventional wisdom holds. Western scholars gave these ideas about as much credence as they did spurious Soviet claims to have invented the telephone. ...
  • An Unvarnished Life's Story, Briskly Told

    Surely this woman is riding for a fall. Big star for nearly 60 years. Unrivaled grande dame of her profession. Four Oscars, 12 nominations. Then, add to that Katharine Hepburn's reputation for arrogance and remoteness. And that smug little title-like who else would it be? ...
  • Plastic Losses

    In 1987, Richard Kommit was not your average loser. The Brookline, Mass., resident had just dropped $8,000 at an Atlantic City casino--all of which had been advanced from his credit card through a casino ATM machine. Problem was, Kommit couldn't repay all the debt, and the bank was getting restless. Then Kommit got some brilliant advice. He went to court and argued that state law prohibits the lending of money for gambling. And he won. According to Kommit's lawyer, the bank encouraged gambling by placing machines near casinos. Bankers say the law, designed to prevent loan-sharking, is hopelessly out of date in the computer age. Shawmut National Corp. will appeal.
  • The Holy Grail In The Unholy City

    You can watch only 10 minutes of The Fisher King and spot it as the work of Terry Gilliam: he leaves his eccentric stylistic footprints on every frame. Gilliam's audaciousness, his visual brilliance have never been in doubt. But his movies"Time Bandits," "Brazil," "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen"-can leave you feeling worn out and overstuffed. "The Fisher King" is different. Starring Jeff Bridges and Robin Williams, it's his first real Hollywood movie. It's also the first time Gilliam's directed a script he didn't conceive himself And though his dark, prankish satirical vision pervades this story, at the end of this sometimes harrowing tunnel is a glowing romantic light. Working within the constraints of a big studio film has brought out Gilliam's best: he's become a true storyteller and a wonderful director of actors. This time he delights not only the eye but the soul. ...
  • Putting Africa At The Center

    Afrocentricity is both theory and practice. In its theoretical aspect it consists of interpretation and analysis from the perspective of African people as subjects rather than as objects on the fringes of the European experience. When Afrocentric methods are used to explain an issue, the aim is to look for areas where the idea or person is off-center in terms of subject position and suggest appropriate solutions. For example, young AfricanAmerican males who may be engaged in violent behavior are often off-center. It is the aim of Afrocentric intervention to relocate them in a place of values and cultural stability. ...
  • A New Clinton Campaign

    In order to shake persistent--and unsubstantiated rumors about extramarital affairs, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, a likely presidential candidate, at first refused to talk about his personal life. That didn't work, so now the Democrat has a new plan: he will make press appearances with his wife, Hillary. The Clintons are scheduled to appear this week at a "Sperling breakfast," a Washington institution that's a key stop for candidates. A Clinton aide says the couple will take questions about their marriage and admit that it was once rocky.