Newswire

Newswire

  • Reach Out And Prod Someone

    Suzanna Jones-Leddy is no shrinking violet when it comes to social issues. She boycotts nuclear-weapons suppliers, donates money to a world hunger organization and is a vocal opponent of Rust v. Sullivan, the so-called gag rule on abortion counseling at federally funded clinics. Now, Jones-Leddy's activism is getting some support from an unlikely source: her long-distance phone company. The 30-year-old teacher is a subscriber to Working Assets Long Distance, billed by its creators as "the first socially responsible public utility." The company donates 1 percent of subscriber charges to nonprofit groups working for causes like peace, human right and the environment. Last week it began offering free and reduced-rate phone calls to customers who want to make their voices heard in Washington. Says Jones-Leddy: "It makes it easier for somebody like me to rationalize talking long distance. We're making a utility service work for the good of the earth." ...
  • Dallas Is Talking...

    who says she is trying to infect as many men as possible with the AIDS virus. C.J. first wrote a letter to Ebony magazine saying, "If I have to die of a horrible disease, I won't go alone." Then Dallas disc jockey Willis Johnson made an open plea for C.J. to call in. She did--and said that every night she picks up men in Dallas bars in order to pass on the virus. Why? "Because it was a man that gave [AIDS] to me." Police are now searching for C.J. If her claims are true, she will be charged under a statute that makes the willful transmission of AIDS a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
  • A Nation Running In Place

    At first glance, it might seem like good news about the nation's public schools: American youngsters today are just as good at math, science and reading as students were in 1970. That was the conclusion last week of a federal report summarizing 20 years of national testing. But, as he released the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Education Secretary Lamar Alexander immediately warned against complacency. "What we did in 1970," he said, "is not nearly good enough in 1990." ...
  • Supreme Conservatism

    Among the scholars and the scribes, it is known simply as Footnote Two. No case name, no docket number, no decision date--no need for any of that. In only a few months, this squib of tiny print has become the harbinger of the new era at the U.S. Supreme Court. ...
  • Points Of Light

    The Dominican Republic may be suffering its worst fiscal crisis in years. But that hasn't stopped President Joaquin Balaguer from pushing ahead with a $40 million lighthouse in Santo Domingo to commemorate Christopher Columbus's discovery of Hispaniola Island. Shaped like a cross, the concrete structure will house five international museums and a library. Its 350,000-watt lighting system already glows all night while much of the rest of the city is left in the dark.
  • Bowled Over

    It gets cold in Wisconsin, and people can get a little desperate. How else to explain the state's latest drinking fad: bowling-ball shots? You fill the thumb hole with, say, tequila, then raise the ball above your head and drink. Of course, this fad has its hazards-such as potentially fractured faces. Some daredevil drinkers eschew the thumb and imbibe simultaneously from both finger holes, which can be messy. And just imagine what drinking from a sweaty old ball must taste like.
  • Health Workers With Aids: A Compromise

    It took several months and several bills, but Congress has finally addressed the problem of HIV-infected health workers. Considering the emotion surrounding the issue, the lawmakers spoke in moderate tones. The new bill, which cleared both the House and the Senate last week, recommends that medical personnel be tested for hepatitis B and the AIDS virus. But it makes testing and disclosure voluntary, and it places no restrictions on those who test positive. ...
  • Wall Street: A Greed Apart

    You've already heard a lot about these Wall Street weasels. There was "The Predators' Ball," the 1988 book on Michael Milkenomics and the junk-bond empire at Drexel Burnham. There was "Barbarians at the Gate," the 1990 page turner about the RJR Nabisco takeover. There have been scores of magazine covers and newspaper spreads moralizing over the Greed Decade. There even was the movie called "Wall Street," with a reptilian lead named Gordon Gekko who made money the new-fashioned way-he stole it. ...
  • The Story He Told Himself

    At last, it's just John Cheever and us: no intermediaries, no paraphrases, no interpretations, not even a footnote in the 392 pages between his son Benjamin's introduction and New Yorker editor Robert Gottlieb's account of putting the book together. We may have heard it all before-the tales of alcoholism, adultery, bisexuality and general-purpose misery--in daughter Susan Cheever's 1984 memoir "Home Before Dark." Or in Scott Donaldson's 1988 biography, or in Cheever's own words (bright, entertaining, not always trustworthy) in the 1988 edition of his letters. But The Journals of John Cheever (399 pages. Knopf $25) is how Cheever told it to himself. ...
  • Two Sides Of Nadine Gordimer

    When Nadine Gordimer heard last week that she had won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature, the South African novelist thought it her second great thrill in the past two years. The first was Nelson Mandela's release from prison. "Perhaps they are symbols of the two sides of my life," Gordimer told NEWSWEEK. "Writing is a process of withdrawing to create another world. This award means a great deal to me as a writer. Mandela's release was a totally shared experience, a wonderful sense of relief." ...
  • The Case Of The Vanished Russian Gold

    The Soviet Union's vast gold reserves have long been the glittering object of spy novels. But last week the Soviets' leading government economist announced that the glitter was not gold. Of the 2,000 to 3,000 metric tons once estimated to be in government vaults, said Grigory Yavlinsky, only 240 tons are left, a loss of some $20 billion. ...
  • Summitry

    for a superpower summit caught George Bush and his top advisers by surprise. Bush would like to bolster the Soviet leader's image at home by holding the talks, but aides say he doesn't want to appear to favor the Moscow government over leaders of the republics. If Bush agrees to a summit, aides say they'll also recommend visits with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and leaders of the newly free Baltic States and other republics. Another concern: a long trip abroad could hurt Bush at home. Aides have urged Bush to concentrate on his domestic agenda this month to rebut criticism that he spends too much time on foreign policy.
  • Voters To Press: Move Over

    Voters think that a big chunk of the bull they get during presidential campaigns is the media's fault, and they're absolutely right. The boys and girls on the bus (or those covering the campaign from home via C-SPAN) are vowing to do it better this time. But that resolve will run smack up against old habits. "Will journalism win, or its evil twin?" asks Robert Haiman of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. Reporters love to appear on network blab shows to give informal advice to candidates. Here's some for them: ...
  • A Problem For Clarence Thomas?

    Clarence Thomas seemed well on his way to confirmation by the United States Senate. George Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court had not exactly dazzled the Senate Judiciary Committee, but he seemed to have enough support to survive a vote scheduled this week by the full Senate. ...
  • Retiring Rosty?

    Is House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dan Rostenkowski really calling it quits this time? Rostenkowski's office says he hasn't decided. But lately he's been telling confidants he won't move if he's handed an unfriendly district when Chicago's political map is fall-fueling speculation he may not seek re-election. "In Washington, he's treated like royalty," says Chicago political consultant David Axelrod. "The prospect of shaking hands in bowling alleys may turn his stomach." Rostenkowski, like other congressmen elected before 1980, can convert campaign funds to personal use if he retires by '92.
  • Love Over Easy, Hold The Mayo

    In Frankie & Johnny, playwright Terrence McNally has radically refurbished his own two-character, one-set play, "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. " Breaking it down into short, snappy scenes, he's populated it with a colorful assortment of new characters. Most of them are the employees of the Apollo Cafe, a New York City greasy spoon where Johnny (Al Pacino), a short-order cook just sprung from prison, and Frankie (Michelle Pfeiffer), a waitress terrified of romantic involvements, meet and begin their difficult dalliance. Where the play began with the title characters in bed on their first date, the movie, directed by Garry ("Pretty Woman") Marshall, follows the conventions of the romantic comedy. The ardent autodidact Johnny must woo the skittish, solitary Frankie for almost half the movie before she will even consent to a date. And their quest to achieve intimacy--the movie's theme--is shown in counterpoint with the romantic couplings and uncouplings of their friends...
  • Casting Call

    David Mamet's no Untouchable--to Rebecca Pidgeon. The fortysomething director married the twentysomething actress two weeks ago, but kept everything as secret as a draft for his next script. Her part in his new film "Homicide" makes Pidgeon Mamet's second on- and offscreen leading lady--ex-wife, actress Lindsay Crouse, got that role first.
  • The Streets Where We Live

    Two new one-person movies create larger worlds than many films filled with today's biggest stars--the special effects. But as Trudy, Lily Tomlin's bag lady, might say, "Human beings are the most amazing special effect in the universe." Trudy is the key figure in The Search for Signs of Intelligent life In the Universe, the film version of Tomlin's celebrated stage show. As for Eric Bogosian, he finds practically no intelligent life in the universe of Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, the film of his recent stage success. Tomlin's and Bogosian's universes are really the same--the urban landscape of psychic and social breakdown. Their group portraits of the denizens of this world are joltingly funny and more than a little scary. Both Tomlin and Bogosian are masterly comedians and mimics. But they take you on very different trips. ...
  • Hold The Chintz

    After Oklahoma Sen. David Boren was re-elected last year, he had $158,133 left in his campaign kitty--and six years to go before the next election. Senators may save or spend excess funds; Boren went shopping. Among his (totally legal) purchases: Indian art for his Senate office: $15,480A jumbo illuminated globe from Hammacher Schlemmer: $4,495A black and gold temple lamp from Gump's: $522Opera tickets for constituents: $312.A Boren spokesman first said the art, bought in Oklahoma, could be considered a contribution to the state economy. Later, he said it would eventually go to a museum.
  • Help For Ru-486

    A southern California woman who is "fed up with what's happening to women's rights" is giving $10 million to The Feminist Majority Foundation headed by former NOW president Eleanor Smeal. The gift--the largest ever for a women's rights group--will fund efforts to bring the French birth-control pill RU-486 into the United States. The woman's identity will be revealed this week along with Smeal's strategy to pressure American drug companies to market the pill.