Newswire

Newswire

  • A Bad Omen For Black Movies? ..Mr.-

    This was supposed to be the year black filmmakers finally basked in triumph. Five years after the groundbreaking efforts of Spike Lee, 19 movies by black directors are scheduled for release in 1991, more than in the entire last decade. "New Jack City" has been a big hit; "Jungle Fever" and now "Boyz N the Hood," John Singleton's coming-of-age film set in the Los Angeles ghetto, have won over the critics. As Charles Lane, director of Disney's forthcoming "True Identity," said of the boom, "I equate this with the breaking down of the Berlin wall; there is no going back." ...
  • Who's Caring For Grandma?

    When 70-year-old Margaret Embrey arrived at the emergency room of Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston last month, her condition was appalling. She was covered with bedsores--some as large as a hand--and maggots infested the wounds that cut through to her bone. The 5-foot-7 woman weighed only 95 pounds-down 40 pounds from six months earlier--and suffered from dehydration and malnutrition. "She looked like she came out of Auschwitz," says Julie Martin, a specialist with Houston's Adult Protective Services, which was summoned to the hospital by an anonymous caller. Local police and the Harris County district attorney's office investigated and have charged Embrey's granddaughter, 19-year-old Michelle Ruiz, and her husband, Adalberto, 22, with criminal abuse under a new Texas law that may be the toughest in the nation in cases of elder neglect. If convicted, the couple faces not only a $10,000 fine, but five years to life in prison. ...
  • Just Dial 1-900-Cheater

    For 31 years Bill Colligan was a private investigator specializing in divorce. Then he got smart--or maybe just tired of taking pictures at motels. His new game is the Infidelity Hotline, a 900 number in Encino, Calif., for citizens with suspicions of philandering mates. Callers take a recorded "Suspicion Evaluation Quiz" (Wife got a chic haircut recently? Husband wearing flashy new underwear?) before Colligan comes on the line. Other private eyes may think Colligan's gone soft, mixing Sam Spade with Dear Abby. So what. This is California. Self-help is a big racket. ...
  • Pass A Snake, Hold The Rat

    According to a Chinese proverb, people will "eat anything with four legs, except for the furniture." Restaurants throughout China, particularly in the south, are proving it. NEWSWEEK'S Melinda Liu has toured several of China's more exotic culinary establishments and tasted a few offerings guaranteed not to be on the menu of your favorite takeout place. Dishes are rated on a scale of zero to four chopsticks: ...
  • A Gentle Place To Live And Die

    At the intersection of West and Christopher, only a few blocks from the tree-lined streets of historic Greenwich Village, lies a stretch of asphalt as raunchy and dangerous-as any place in New York City. Every night, along the long-abandoned piers rotting in the Hudson River, predatory drug dealers mingle with prostitutes and male hustlers, most of them teenagers, who sell themselves to drive-by johns for the price of a vial of crack. Across the street, a man recently watched the scene from the window of the building where he lives. "I know what's going on over there," he said, "and if they don't stop it, they're going to wind up over here." ...
  • Palm Beach: The Attack Defense

    Jury selection for the rape trial of William Kennedy Smith is scheduled to begin Aug. 5. But the flurry of maneuvers by both sides makes a delay almost inevitable, sources close to the case say. As part of their effort to undermine the victim's credibility, Smith's attorneys may ask the court this week to allow their own psychological team to evaluate the 29-year-old woman, who accused Smith of sexually assaulting her at his family's Palm Beach estate last spring. A juror questionnaire submitted by the defense last week included queries about TV viewing habits, car bumper stickers and political views.
  • 'Outing' The Rug Heads

    A new form of "outing" is rearing its ugly--make that shiny--head. Emulating gay activists who take it upon themselves to expose closeted homosexuals, New York's Bald Urban Liberation Brigade is "balding" alleged celebrity cueballs like Larry Hagman and Charles Bronson with retouched posters headlined ABSOLUTELY BALD. Says BULB cofounder Ed Leibowitz: "Celebrities should serve as role models to those of us who are getting a little thin on top."
  • 'Prove It'

    Former U.S. ambasssador to Iraq April Glaspie will refute charges she misled Congress about her meeting with Saddam Hussein just before he invaded Kuwait, State Department sources say. Her classified cables on the session, recently obtained by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, contradict her March testimony that she gave a stern warning to Saddam. Sources say Glaspie will insist she was tough. She'll dismiss her cables as a "quick readout," meant to fully reflect Saddam's statements, not her own. "If a senator says she lied, she'll say, 'prove it'," says a State source. "She was the only American in the room."
  • Bradley On Race: One From The Heart

    Last week Democratic Sen. Bill Bradley challenged George Bush to "tell us how he has worked through the issue of race in his own life" and offered his own personal reflection. Excerpts: ...
  • Cliffs Notes For The Rest Of Your Life

    Admit it. In college, you probably used Cliffs Notes to avoid having to read, say, "Paradise Lost." Well, cram artists: now there are Cliffs Notes for the rest of your life. Centennial Press, an imprint of Cliffs, has published a series of 25 "Bluffer's Guides"-brief paperback lessons skimming subjects from marketing to wine, computers, golf and gourmet cooking. There's even one on sex, for those inclined to give that subject the once-over lightly treatment. Doug Lincoln, vice president of Cliffs Notes Inc., says, "The books are self-help, educational guides designed to follow our readership on through life." ...
  • Ann Landers, Call The Office

    Hurricane Hugo damaged more than Karen Geiger's home in Charlotte, N.C. Her 4-year-old son, Adam, was watching as a tree toppled through the roof and injured his mother. The accident, followed by months of rebuilding, deeply upset the youngster. With Adam entering kindergarten this fall, Geiger was concerned about his emotional state but didn't know what to do. So she called SchoolSmart, a new benefit program offered by her employer, NCNB Corp., the big bank holding company. The specialist who took the call counseled her on how to work with Adam's teachers without seeming overprotective. ...
  • Buzzwords

    Sailors have always had a language of their own, but trendy sea dogs constantly concoct new jargon: Rock stars: Pro sailors, egomaniacs.Deck apes: Crew members who do the hard work with ropes and sails.Railmeat: Crew who are used for ballast only.Fantasy Land: What deck apes call the helm area, where the skipper sits barking orders.Straphanger: An owner's guest who knows nothing of sailing.Hydraulic sandwich: A liquid lunch, preferably beer.
  • Gidget Goes Ecological

    For one group of surfers, a recent trip to the beaches of southern California was not, as they would say, a totally excellent experience. Using fancy instruments, they poked around and discovered that eight out of 10 area beaches-including ever-precious Malibu-contained 20 times the acceptable level of fecal matter. Are these surfers or scientists? Both, actually. They're members of a California-based ecological group intent on cleaning up polluted beaches: the Surfrider Foundation, with 15,000 members. ...
  • Secrets Of The Couch

    LADY! LADY! LET DOWN YOUR HAIR. I am becoming a tourist attraction and there is nothing I can do about it ... ...
  • Civilizing Influence

    Hearing of the death last week of painter Robert Motherwell at 76, a young New York artist said, "It always made me more comfortable knowing he was there, a civilizing influence on an uncivilized art world." Motherwell was a dignified presence in our era of esthetic Terminators like Koons and Kostabi, as he'd been since the late '30s, when folksy realism was king. A banker's son with a Stanford philosophy degree, Motherwell went east and became an abstract expressionist. His erudition and pictorial elegance counterbalanced the blue-collar bombast of Pollock and Kline. For 13 years he was married to the painter Helen Frankenthaler. But even his best work, the series called "Elegies to the Spanish Republic," couldn't dissuade some critics from seeing his splashy shapes and late-April color as "just this side of greatness." But when our current appetite for morose abstraction wanes, we'll see Motherwell's mix of taste and daring for what it most often was: just right.
  • Mudslinging In Academe

    Carol Iannone may not have enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame, but at least they're over. Praised as a scholar by her supporters and dismissed as a right-wing nobody by her detractors, lannone, 43, is now stuck with the distinction of being the first nominee to the prestigious advisory council of the National Endowment for the Humanities ever to be rejected by a Senate committee. But last week's 9-8 vote by the Labor and Human Resources Committee represents more than simply a rejection of Iannone, a nontenured professor at New York University. The vote may also serve as a warning to NEH chairman Lynne Cheney, who lobbied hard for the president's nominee. "Excellence should be the ideal, and this nomination does not measure up," said committee chairman Sen. Edward Kennedy. Cheney had a different explanation. "If you think the fight about Carol wasn't political," she told NEWSWEEK, "then I have a bridge I want to sell you." ...
  • 'I Say A Prayer And Push On'

    It's been 22 years, but Lillian Bickel, 51, still can't talk about the day her former husband left for Vietnam without crying. She'd known James W. Grace since they were both 13. Childhood sweethearts, they married in 1959, barely a year after graduating from high school in New Iberia, La. Jim became an Air Force fighter pilot; Lillian cared for their two children, Guy and Trina. On Jan. 13, 1969, he waited to board a plane to Vietnam. "He hugged me and said, 'You're not to worry, I'll be back with a CMH'," Bicke recalls, pausing to wipe away a tear. "I guess I looked puzzled, because his last words to me were, 'That's Congressional Medal of Honor, not Coffin, Metal with Handles'." ...
  • Cracking Down On Doctors With Aids

    If the 182,000 Americans stricken with AIDS over the past decade, only five are thought to have contracted the virus from a practicing health-care professional. Yet public fears are growing, and last week politicians took notice. The U.S. Senate voted to make it a crime for infected health workers to keep their medical status to themselves, Under the terms of a measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Jesse Helms and passed by a margin of 81 to 18, health professionals who know they're infected but fail to warn patients could face 10-year prison terms and fines of $10,000, The measure explicitly bars only "invasive procedures," but it's written so loosely that, theoretically, anyone caught taking a patient's temperature could end up in jail. ...
  • New Hampshire Is Talking ...

    About the "white sock" murder trial--taking place in the same Exeter courthouse where teacher-murderer Pamela Smart was recently convicted. Paroled rapist Daniel Vandebogart, 28, is accused of strangling Kimberly Goss, 29, with a white athletic sock in 1989. Prosecutors call the sock Vandebogart's "signature"-a woman and a man raped by Vandebogart say he used a white sock while assaulting them. Even Vandebogart's mother has testified against him, claiming he admitted to her that he killed Goss. Vandebogart's defense: he was running errands when Goss was slain.
  • Studying With The Enemy

    For the first time since the Vietnam War, U.S. undergrads will be allowed to study in Vietnam. The Experiment in International Living, a student-exchange organization, has permission from Hanoi and Washington to establish a small program at the University of Hanoi this fall. Since the United States lacks formal diplomatic ties with Vietnam, the program needed a "license to trade with the enemy." Next year the program will also include Ho Chi Minh City.