Newswire

Newswire

  • Feuds

    The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, for its ridiculous banning of a beer brewed in rival Louisiana. The commission prohibited the sale of Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager because its name is "detrimental" to the beer industry and supposedly conjures images of witchcraft. The letter explaining the ruling was sent in January, but Dixie didn't act on it until last week because its brass assumed it was a joke. "This is the 20th century," said Dixie president Kendra Bruno. "It has no connection with the practice of voodoo." Louisiana is punching back: its house has voted 100-0 to ban Texas's Lone Star Beer. The vote carries no penalties, but that's not the point.
  • The Assault From Airbus

    The commercial-aircraft market is one of the last still dominated by U.S. companies. About 85 percent of the world's 9,800 airline jets (excluding those in the Soviet Union) were made in America, mostly by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas. In 1990, the U.S. trade surplus in aircraft and parts totaled about $23 billion. If someone said the U.S. industry faces a foreign predator - backed by huge government subsidies - you'd probably suspect the Japanese. And you'd be wrong. It's the Europeans, and the United States needs to awake to the threat. ...
  • Blindsiding The Godfather

    By Joseph F. O'Brien and Andrew Kurnis. 364 pages. Simon & Schuster. $22.95.Apparently it's impossible to write a book about the Mafia without writing a romance. "The Godfather" is at least as romantic as "Parsifal" and Lucky Luciano's alleged confessions more so. Even a couple of calloused FBI agents who have spent endless boring months eavesdropping on the table talk of the latest godfather, Paul Castellano, find their eyes misting over when they come to arrest him: "There was a greatness about Paul Castellano.. It was something in his bearing, some aura of pained wisdom earned through the acceptance of large responsibility. He may not have been a good man. but he had shrunk from nothing, he'd seen it all, he'd taken monstrous vows and stuck to them." You can hear organ chords swelling in the background.Why not? This book was meant to be entertaining and it is, irresistibly so. Until a few weeks ago, when the scandal attending its publication obliged them to resign, the...
  • Is This The Next Vcr?

    Roll over, Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news. So sang Chuck Berry three decades ago, announcing the onset of rock and roll. Now there's another revolution going on - but not just in music. This is the dawning of an entirely new medium. It's "interactive multimedia," a blend of computers and television. Whether or not the new technology is an immediate commercial hit, this development ranks with color television and stereo sound: it can change the way we have fun. ...
  • New York Meets Lake Wobegon

    It sounded too good to be true. For two weeks in a row, The New York Times trumpeted the news that New York City's much-maligned public-school students had scored "above the national average" - first on a standardized math test, then on an annual reading exam. School-board officials credited changes in the curriculum; Schools Chancellor Joseph Fernandez boasted that his reform plan was taking hold. But on closer inspection, the results could also be attributed to the "Lake Wobegon effect"--named after Garrison Keillor's fictional town in which "all the children are above-average." According to John Cannell of Friends for Education Inc., which first charted the phenomenon in 1987: "Every state using [New York's math exam] is testing above the national average." ...
  • Here's Looking At You, George

    The Republican National Convention is more than a year off, but Rick's Cabaret in Houston is ready. The "up-scale" topless bar is selling "We Salute Bush" T shirts for GOP delegates who want a sexier memento of the convention than, say, a miniature oil derrick. The tees feature a photo of four "uniformed" go-go girls, all dancers at the club, posed in front of the Stars and Stripes. At $15 for a tank top and $17 for a short-sleeved shirt, Rick's GOP souvenirs are selling briskly. So far, no word of orders from the White House.
  • Stopping The Next Sununu

    Were you happy with John Sununu when you learned that he had used your tax dollars to go on ski vacations and stamp-buying expeditions to Christie's? Were you delighted with Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield when you found out that, while serving as the ranking Republican on a congressional committee that controls millions of dollars in federal grants for higher education, he has received nearly $15,000 in gifts from one university and special admissions considerations for his children? Of course not. The displeasure you feel when you learn about these and bigger scandals is the key to the fundamental reform this country is screamingly in need of: more news about what our taxes are buying. That's fundamental because politicians take being looked at badly, but they take looking bad worse. (Indeed, this is the secret to getting tougher disclosure rules passed: if such rules became an issue, politicians would be afraid to argue against them.) ...
  • A Great Original's Lives At The Law

    The young lawyer was handsome as sin, a lean six-footer with wavy hair and a poker player's show-them-nothing eyes. For half his career. he worked on that deadly ground between the Constitution, with its pledge of equality for all Americans, and those signs at the city limits in the rural South that said "Nigger, don't let the sun set on you in this town." The old Supreme Court justice was a bulky ruin, his collar up at the corner, a cane at his side. At 82, he squinted through his bifocals at a mob of reporters trying to capture his life at law in a sound bite or two. "I'm not free," Thurgood Marshall reminded them last week. The irony was that he had lived to see his finest hours as a trial lawyer provoke a counterrevolution that cursed his life on the bench. ...
  • Finding The Missing Link

    The French and American scientists who decided to fossil-hunt in the Namibian mountains two weeks ago were only moderately ambitious, hoping to find bones from familiar 3 million-year-old human ancestors. Instead they made a mythic discovery. After just 15 minutes of scouring a thornbush-covered hill, paleontologist Martin Pickford held up a small rock. In it was a 10 million- to 15 million-year-old fossil, a pre-human jawbone that may provide the "missing link" between apes and man. ...
  • 1-800-Death

    Here's the difference between hard-nosed politics and bad taste. Nebraska State Sen. Carol Pirsch is so intent on expediting the execution of convicted murderer Harold Otey that she has gone beyond mere lobbying: she has set up a toll-free number so death-penalty advocates can register their support for the killing. Because Nebraska hasn't electrocuted anyone since Charles Starkweather in 1959, Pirsch has targeted Otey, whose final appeal is being heard. Pirsch also wants to make sure that many other convicts are executed by writing capital punishment into the state constitution.
  • By Our Writers ..Mr.-

    "Jernigan." By David Gates. 238 pages. Knopf. $21. NEWSWEEK General Editor David Gates's first novel centers on a man in the process of falling apart. Apparently an ordinary suburbanite, Peter Jernigan is also an alcoholic sociopath with a keen, unforgiving eye and a mean sense of humor. Rarely likable, never boring, he tells his tale so honestly, so self-critically, that the accounting itself becomes a kind of salvation.
  • Will Enquiring Minds Want A Share?

    INCREDIBLE and ASTONISHING, but true: in just days, you could own a piece of the National Enquirer! The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to rule this week on a filing that would allow the breathless supermarket tabloid to offer stock to the public. The Enquirer/Star Group Inc., publisher of the Enquirer as well as the raucous Weekly World News and Star tabloids, notified the SEC in May of its intention to offer 20.5 million shares of common stock. Barring unforeseen VISITS FROM SPACE ALIENS!, the Florida-based company hopes to begin peddling the stock for between $16 and $18 per share. The public would end up owning about 43 percent of the company. ...
  • A Hostage-Deal Probe?

    NEWSWEEK has learned that the House of Representatives plans to launch a formal investigation this fall of charges that Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign struck a deal with Iran in 1980 to delay the release of the U.S. hostages until after the election. The pressure to mount a full-blown inquiry is "inexorable," says a Democratic leadership aide. The House could name a special panel with subpoena powers for the probe or hand it off to an existing committee such as Foreign Affairs or Justice. Hill sources say the Senate may follow the House's lead and conduct its own investigation - or perhaps appoint a joint committee. "So far [Majority Leader] George Mitchell's attitude has been 'let the House do it'," says the House aide. But the pressure is building on Mitchell as well, sources say. And last week even Ronald Reagan called for a search of his 1980 campaign files. The Democrats have been wary of formal hearings which could leave them open to charges of political grandstanding.
  • And The Lava Traps Are Killers

    "Oh no!" boomed Charles E. Cobb, the American ambassador to Iceland. Midnight was approaching in the land of the midnight sun, and Cobb's golf ball had just careered into a patch of tangled Icelandic tundra which the locals call roff. And roff is what it was at the Akureyri Golf Club, the world's northernmost 18-hole course, only 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. "A sand wedge," said the ambassador decisively, peering into a foot-high tangle of primitive weeds for which no golfing implement has yet been invented. "This definitely looks like a sand wedge." Cobb swung. His ball sailed gracefully up and over the green - and into a patch of black and sticky volcanic sand on the way to a triple bogey. The ambassador was unbowed. "This thing," he declared at the end of the tournament, "could become Iceland's equivalent of the Masters." ...
  • 'The Sununu Of Wall Street'

    When it comes to schmoozing and winning people over, few executives can rival Steven Ross, the chairman of Time Warner Inc. Through an abundance of charm and smart moves, Ross has engineered one of the world's biggest media and entertainment conglomerates - while keeping a stable of Hollywood types happy. But these days, the magic seems to be fading. Ross and company are taking a beating - from Wall Street, from shareholders and from the press. Last week came a fresh charge of corporate interference in editorial decisions at Time Warner's Fortune magazine. Said one media analyst: "People are having a field day. It's like Ross is becoming the John Sununu of Wall Street." ...
  • Time Is On Their Side

    Nobody ever called the 1970s the golden age of rock music--which is probably a good thing. While '60s icons like the Rolling Stones and the Who now toil in the shadow of their adolescent glories, husbanding what's left of their credibility, the '70s acts have been able simply to move on; no need to recapture the magic of, say, 1975. Just by sticking around, former no-accounts like Don Henley, Sting, John Cougar Mellencamp and Aerosmith can now stand as models of musical dignity, fairly blushing with the credibility they never had in their youths. Time, which Mick Jagger once claimed was on his side, has been much kinder to rock's second generation than to its first. ...
  • Table For Everyone

    He grew up hawking Good Humor bars, dropped out of three colleges, tried to invest $7,000 in his father's restaurant and was rebuffed, and finally decided to open his own. Today Richard Melman, 49, is widely acknowledged to be the Midas of dining out. At a time when restaurants are reeling from the effects of the recession, his 30 eclectic eating spots are persistently, relentlessly, sometimes inexplicably successful. Many have tried to pinpoint Melman's secret; all one can say for sure is that it's not his palate. When he isn't seated at one of his own restaurants, a favorite place of Melman's in his hometown of Chicago is a cubbyhole where the specialty is greasy beef sandwiches. Even his admirers call them disgusting. ...
  • Iraq's Shell Game

    Now you see it, now you don't. For almost a week, Saddam Hussein ran a nuclear shell game on United Nations officials assigned to monitor Iraqi compliance with the gulf war cease-fire. First the team said it wanted to inspect the sprawling military complex outside Baghdad called Abu Ghraib. Fresh American intelligence showed it was a secret repository of Iraqi nuclear-weapons technology. The inspectors were kept waiting for three days. Meanwhile, trucks sped from the base, carrying huge objects draped in canvas covers. On Wednesday, June 26, the team was allowed in - and found nothing. Friday, the U.N. team appeared at a base near Falluja, about 30 miles west of Baghdad. U.S. intelligence indicated the crates from Abu Ghraib had been taken there. Once again, heavily laden trucks began leaving the facility. When inspectors drove quickly to the exit to take photographs, Iraqi soldiers fired their guns in the air, then tried to seize the inspectors' cameras. Finally the Iraqis said...
  • Addicted To Perks

    Drugs and alcohol are for losers: the substance-abuse problem of choice is perks. John Sununu merely typifies this addiction. His "perkoholism" may not have been chronicled yet by The New England Journal of Medicine, but it is epidemic among American elites in both government and business. The disease's symptoms include a superficial ego high, increased appetites for pleasure and a disturbing forgetfulness about what's really important in life. The mind-bending "trips" to distant locales may be real, but they are often as irrational as anything hallucinogenic. This dysfunctional behavior is abetted by "enablers" (also known as the entourage). As usual, abusers go through years of denial during which they ease their consciences with a series of rationalizations for their conduct. ...
  • How Far Right?

    When George Bush heard the news that Thurgood Marshall had resigned from the Supreme Court last week, the president did not exactly jump for joy. He did not cry, "Eureka! A victory for the unborn!" Or, "Thank goodness, now we can lock up those criminals!" Instead, Bush responded, cautiously and rather tepidly, "That's very interesting." ...