Newswire

Newswire

  • Open Season On Science

    Wanted: a good PR man for American science. Its image has gone beyond tarnished to sleazy, thanks to allegations of fraud and the discovery that universities from Stanford to Harvard have diverted taxpayer dollars for research to such dubious expenditures as yachts and grand parties. Now, that most august of scientific institutions, the National Academy of Sciences, is dodging bullets. One attack comes from Rep. John Dingell's subcommittee: last month the panel began nosing through the Academy's ledgers to see how much it charges the government to cover overhead. Another barrage comes in the form of two suits, both pending, in which Dr. Victor Herbert of the Bronx VA Hospital charges the Academy with copyright infringement and defrauding the government of $745,560. "Let's face it: this is not a good time for science, " sighs virologist Dani Bolognesi of Duke University. ...
  • Soviet Czar

    On the eve of Secretary of State James Baker's trip to Moscow, Ukraine and Belorussia, the White House has decided to name a special czar to centralize U.S. policy on aid to the Soviet republics. The leading contender for the post, sources say, is Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who also coordinated U.S. aid to Eastern Europe. "We've got to get our act coordinated if we're going to help these new republics--and whatever democratic forces exist in them--succeed," says a top U.S. official. U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Robert Strauss is pushing Bush to propose stepped-up aid, but in an election year there's no consensus on the Hill-or within the administration.
  • Buzzwords

    If you were just hired as a salesclerk for the Christmas rush, you better know the lingo: As in Krueger. A customer who keeps returning (the merchandise).As in riffraff. What veteran employees call temps.The day after Thanksgiving-the heaviest shopping day of the year.When clerks spend their breaks wandering through the mall.Customer in an ugly outfit.For "nothing fits"--customer who asks for clothing in sizes that won't fit.
  • Play It Again And Again, Sam

    Scott Trente eyes the monitor above the checkout counter at West Hollywood's Tower Video. It's showing the "Shore Leave" episode from "Star Trek's" original run. "I've got that one," says the 37-year-old filmmaker, reverently mouthing a line of Captain Kirk's dialogue. Then he turns toward the store's collection of other shades of television past. "I have that one and that one and that one, too," he adds, pointing to multi-episode sets of "Dark Shadows...... Bonanza" and "The Hitchhiker." "I don't get tacky ties for Christmas anymore. I get tapes of my favorite shows." ...
  • Deep In The Heart Of Amazonia

    In 1965, long before it was fashionable to worry about the plight of the Indians in the Amazon rain forest, Peter Matthiessen published a much celebrated novel that depicted the collision of unreconcilable cultures. Producer Saul Zaentz ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Amadeus") dreamed of making At Play in the Fields of the Lard for more than 20 years, and finally, with director Hector Babenco ("Kiss of the Spider Woman") and a script by Babenco and Jean-Claude Carriere, this mammoth, logistically perilous project has reached the screen. It's a big, ambitious movie, seriously flawed but worth the wait. Alternately stunning and flatfooted, wondrous and prosaic, Babenco's film lunges for greatness and comes up short. You can't help but wish it were told better, but the tale itself is riveting. ...
  • He's Loaded; Will The Bases Be, Too?

    The New York Mets are banking on Bobby Bonilla, and Bonilla is just banking. Last week the Mets signed the former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder to an amazing $29 million, five-year contract that puts the Bronx-born Bonilla in a league of his own-he's the highest-paid athlete in professional team sports. Both sides are happy: the Mets see Bonilla as a ticket to a 1992 pennant and Bonilla is glad to be coming home-and even happier about being loaded. "I made a lot before," he says. "Now it's a mega amount." Come spring, he'd better be a mega hit man.
  • Fiddler On The Pouf

    In his current film, Gerard Depardieu fiddles while he earns. "Tous les Matins du Monde," which opens in France next week (no U.S. date has been set), portrays a bewigged Depardieu as Marin Marais, the celebrated bass viol player at Louis XIV's glittering court at Versailles. Marais was also the father of 19. Depardieu has only two, but gets a helping hand from his 20-year-old son Guillaume, who makes his screen debut as the young Marais. According to pere Depardieu, he and fils made beautiful music together.
  • Patricia Ireland: What Now?

    Feminist leaders know what people whisper about them: that they're all man-haters who put lesbian rights ahead of women's concerns. So when Patricia Ireland, president-elect of the National Organization for Women, revealed last week that she lives with a female companion in Washington while maintaining a 25-year marriage to a man in Miami, she reinforced that stinging stereotype. "I have never been anything but very honest about who I am and how I live my life," Ireland told The Washington Post. The news rocked the feminist community, which hoped Ireland--a more measured and mediagenic activist than her predecessors-- might rescue NOW from its fringe image. Instead, her confession will give conservatives more ammunition to argue that liberal interest groups are out of touch. Republican consultant Alex Castellanos savors the "cultural gulf " that Ireland symbolizes. "This is way deep in left field for the average taxpayer," he says. ...
  • Bonofide Pol?

    Most Americans think of Sonny Bono as Cher's disgruntled ex-husband. Even so, his 92 percent name recognition in California leads some Republican Party pros to see Bono, now mayor of Palm Springs, as a good bet to win the GOP Senate primary in the Golden State next year. Pollster Linda DiVall; Alex Castellanos, media adviser to Sen. Jesse Helms, and William Lace who ran George Bush's '88 California campaign, have signed on with Bono. A recent GOP poll shows radio and TV commentator Bruce Herschensohn with 19 percent support, Bono with 17 percent and Rep. Tom Campbell with 13 percent.
  • If Gatsby Had Been A Goodfella

    Bugsy, Barry Levinson's swank, moody evocation of the life of mobster Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel, is a gangster movie with some heady ambitions up its nattily tailored sleeve. The movie's view of the mercurial Siegel--- played by Warren Beatty with a vigor he hasn't displayed in years-is charged with ambiguity. Part visionary (he virtually invented Las Vegas when he built the Flamingo Hotel), part psychotic, he's depicted as a lethal Gatsbyesque dreamer, equally charming and chilling. Levinson and screenwriter James Toback ("Fingers") hope to find in him a resonant American symbol of the thin line between crime and celebrity, blood and money. In addition, "Bugsy" is a love story. In Siegel's tempestuous affair with '40s starlet Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), his avaricious soul mate, the filmmakers want to further complicate our emotional responses by sweeping us up in the throes of obsessive passion. ...
  • Drowning In Fairy Dust

    All along it was considered the one sure-fire, can't-miss holiday blockbuster. If there was a movie Steven Spielberg was born to make, Hook was it: a contemporary update of the Peter Pan story with Robin Williams as a grown-up version of the boy who won't grow up, Dustin Hoffman as his one-handed nemesis from Neverland and Julia Roberts sprinkling fairy dust as Tinkerbell. Never mind its gargantuan budget (reportedly $70 million): this was the movie that was going to justify Sony's mammoth investment in Columbia/TriStar. Maybe so. And then again ... ...
  • The Race For Hdtv

    In the race to develop high-definition television (HDTV), there are two hares and a tortoise. The hares-Japan and Europe-have made HDTV an industrial priority and dashed out ahead. They are anxious to show off the extraordinary images made possible by HDTV and get a head start selling the wide-screen TVs that will bring the technology to consumers. The tortoise is the United States. Though late to the HDTV game, U.S. researchers have used digital technology to gain ground on their competitors. Within two years, the United States could have the world's most advanced HDTV transmission system. What's at stake? Technological prestige, for one thing. Big money, too. In a recent report, the Economist Intelligence Unit in London estimated that HDTV equipment (TVs, VCRs, camcorders and the like) could account for one third of all global electronic sales by the end of the century-or about $100 billion. ...
  • Self-Help For The Jobless

    "I'm Bob. My background is in marketing and general management and I like building businesses." ...
  • An 'F' For The Nation's Kindergartners

    More than a third of all children aren't ready to learn when they start school, according to a survey of 7,000 kindergarten teachers released this week. The biggest problem, the teachers said, was language skills. More than half of their students (51 percent) could not perform such tasks as stating their address, identifying colors or even reciting their first and last names, teachers said. When asked how the youngsters compared to those enrolled five years ago, 42 percent of the teachers said things were worse; only 25 percent thought their students were better prepared. ...
  • Sex Crimes: Women On Trial

    Like the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings in October, the rape trial of William Kennedy Smith has turned into a prime-time exploration of private parts, a public inquiry into the murkier corners of male-female relations where power, not romance, is the driving force. Much in the way the judiciary proceedings unleashed a furious debate over sexual harassment, the Palm Beach case has generated disturbing questions about the line between consensual sex and date rape. Years from now, the nation may look back upon these moments of extraordinary frankness as a turning point-but which way? Will the collective soul-searching produce fewer men who hear "yes" when she says "no"? Or could the rough handling of accusers on the stand cast a chill on other victims, sapping their resolve to come forward? ...
  • The Media: Old Circus, New Context

    The spectators were so rambunctious that they had to be restrained from carving their initials into the judge's chair. Photographers scrambled atop desks to snap hundreds of pictures of witnesses, and one newsreel cameraman secretly filmed part of the proceedings by using a hood to muffle the noise from his camera. With 141 reporters and 125 telegraph operators, the press horde exceeded the 150 accredited hacks in Palm Beach last week. ...
  • Nukes On The Loose

    Europe gained another independent nation last week when Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly chose to bail out of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is potentially a robust country, rich in both industry and agriculture and, with 52 million people, the sixth most populous nation in Europe. On paper, at least, it is also the world's third largest nuclear power, housing an arsenal far larger than those of China, Britain or France. Ukraine's president, a newly minted ex-communist named Leonid Kravchuk, insists that his country does not want "a finger on the nuclear button." But the weapons located in Ukraine have not yet been dismantled or returned to exclusive Soviet control. And as the old empire breaks up, other new countries may emerge with nuclear arms in their dowries. ...
  • The Finest Or The Fattest?

    Proudly displayed on every blue and white squad car of the Chicago police is the motto of the force: "We serve and protect." Maybe it should add "... and chow down." So suggests Alderman William Beavers, who, with the approval of the city council, is trying to make physical fitness an issue in ongoing contract talks with the police union. Cops already have to meet minimum standards in order to join the force. Why, Beavers asks, should those requirements be ignored once the officers go on duty? ...
  • Mama Sophia

    One of the dishes Barneys New York is serving for Christmas this year is macaroni and cheesecake. As part of the store's 16 holiday windows, Sophia Loren is placed in a kitchen (dressed in peasant outergarb and glamorous undergarb) with pasta everywhere, including coming out of the sink's faucet. She once said, after all, "Everything I have I owe to spaghetti."
  • Memo To Workers: No More Big Daddy

    In 1984 Robert Levering, with coauthors Milton Moskowitz and Michael Katz, wrote "The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America," a guide to the country's favorite employers. The intervening years have brought everything from the stockmarket crash to a major recession and a rash of mergers. Now, in a strikingly different corporate climate, Levering and Moskowitz have set out once again to rate employee-friendly companies. While the authors won't reveal their choices until their latest book debuts next year, Levering offered some insights into the altered employee landscape to NEWSWEEK'S Annetta Miller. ...