Newswire

Newswire

  • Stupid Tv Tricks

    Yes, Dave's in a "snit" that NBC picked Jay to replace Johnny next year. But reports that the "Late Night" host wants to break his contract and jump to a rival network are "grossly exaggerated," NBC sources say. The threats are just an act to win Letterman a sweeter deal, the sources say. "If Dave was truly surprised by our crowning of Jay, he's the last guy in America not to know Jay's always been our choice," says an NBC insider. Letterman has reportedly demanded more money to stay. NBC really wants to keep him, and "he'd be a fool not to take advantage of this," says an NBC source.
  • A Light For Poor Eyes

    Nobody has ever gone broke overestimating human vanity or laziness--so it's not surprising that late-20th-century technology is about to offer us yet another way to see without glasses. For those who find it too much of a drag to fuss with contact lenses--and who don't mind forking over $2,000 to treat just one eye (with no insurance reimbursement)--perfect vision without any corrective lenses may be just over the horizon. But don't throw away your saline solution yet; this new form of surgery is not for everyone--and it must still win approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ...
  • Neo-Nazis North

    Members of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations, based in Idaho, are trying to organize a political party for the "white working man" in the Northwest. Many loggers face unemployment due to the recession and environmental concerns, and the racists hope to transform the loggers' anger into political clout. Aryan Nations spokesman Floyd Cochran, who says he wants to counter his group's reputation as "brainless guntoters," admits that the Aryans have no real solutions for the loggers. The Oregon AFL-CIO plans to consider strategies for dealing with the racist organizing.
  • The Mind Of A Commando

    At McP's, the Navy SEALs' favorite hangout in the southern California town of Coronado, the regulars can always tell an impostor. He's the one bragging about his exploits. Real SEALs never discuss their missions in a bar. They call the impostors--and there are many of them, cruising for groupies--the wannabes. Only wannabes pose as Rambos. The SEALs see themselves on a higher plane. A lieutenant commander who's spent 20 years as a SEAL explains: "We are developing in these guys warrior intellectuals. They fight well. And they read everything from Rommel to Clausewitz." ...
  • The Force Of The Future?

    On a remote site at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, Delta Force practiced the rescue mission again and again. The team erected a full-scale model of the three-story Modelo prison where Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega held Kurt Muse, an American arrested for running a clandestine radio station. At H-hour on the night of the U.S. invasion of Panama, Delta's mission was to storm the prison and rescue Muse. The mock-up was intricately designed, down to the cupola on the roof that the commandos would breach. Other members played the part of Panamanian Defense Force soldiers in the heavily guarded cellblock. Casualties seemed inevitable. Secret Delta Force doctors, stationed at military hospitals around the country, were told to be ready to fly to Panama on the eve of the invasion. The mission had to succeed, not only for Muse's sake but also for the future of the newly formed U.S. Special Operations Command. ...
  • Lost: Another Health Benefit

    There were enough candles on my birthday cake this year to give my party guests a tan. I mention this as a caution to the baby boomers. A common strategy for denying 50 is to overstay your 40s and dream that nothing's going to change. But you have to start young to make a success of your old age. ...
  • An Authoritarian Solution?

    As the Soviet Union crumbles, radical reformers and hard-line conservatives agree that order must be restored. But what kind of order? Despite the country's long history of submission to iron-handed regimes, most Soviet politicians admit there's no going back to the totalitarian rule of Stalin's day--or even Brezhnev's. Instead, some thinkers at both ends of the political spectrum are looking at what they call "authoritarian" models of reform-minded government: Chile under Augusto Pinochet, South Korea under Chun Doo Hwan or even Spain under Francisco Franco. ...
  • Nixon: He's Back, Again

    There he was again, just the way wallowers in Watergate remembered him: paranoid, vengeful and mean-minded, the Unindicted Co-Conspirator, Richard Milhous Nixon. Nearly two decades after his fall, 47 hours of secret White House tapes that had been locked up in the Watergate prosecutor's files were finally released last week. And if Nixon's veneer of rehabilitative statesmanship has made folks forget why he needed Gerald Ford's presidential pardon, the pungent flavor of his unbuttoned chats should bring it back. ...
  • The Incredible Shrinking Snack Foods

    Go ahead, grab a handful. Those mini chocolate-chip cookies are only the size of a quarter, so they can't be too fattening, right? The logic might be flawed, but the strategy isn't: marketers are shrinking cookies and crackers to morsel size, hoping to sweeten their own balance sheets. Downsizing is the big new trend on supermarket shelves, where everything from rice cakes to waffles can be found in miniature. Why the boom in bite-size foods? Simple, says Nabisco Brands' spokesman Mark Gutsche: "Mini-products are eminently more snackable." Kids love 'em, and they give diet-conscious adults an excuse to nosh. For recession-squeezed companies, the scaled-down products also provide extra mileage for established brand names--and generally higher profit margins as well. ...
  • The Pay Police

    Talk about bad timing. Every spring the business press rounds up lists of the highest paid corporate CEOs and prints their compensation for all the world to see. Topping the Forbes magazine list this year was Steven Ross, the cochairman of Time Warner Inc., who received a stunning $78.2 million in 1990. Now imagine how Time Warner shareholders must have felt last week. The media giant's stock price plummeted by nearly 20 percent after Ross's team proposed a financial rejiggering that's intended to reduce the company's huge $11 billion debt. To Time Warner shareholders, the Forbes headline surely rang true: IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. ...
  • Buy--And Read With Care

    Bob Woodward has written a terrifically interesting book. You will learn plenty from it. I agree with those who say it is journalism, not history, and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is that others will regard it--and the next accounts of the gulf war that appear in coming months-as history, and not just as history either, but as thorough, settled, long-view, comprehensive history. This is a new American eccentricity. Never mind the inherent contradiction: we want our history and we want it now. ...
  • Seventies Something

    This is not a blanket statement about the city of San Francisco, but consider that one of the hottest acts in town is Enrique, a band that wears polyester jumpsuits, plays the "Maude" theme and hands out Sybil dolls that make different facial expressions when you rotate their heads. Band members own Kristy McNichol posters and say things like, "At our last concert we gave away a complete dinette set!" because their mission is singular: to make sure the 1970s never, ever go away. ...
  • Wheels Of Misfortune

    Had the world actually ended during the Harmonic Convergence of four years ago, people might recall the event more vividly. As it is, Aug. 16-17, 1987, retains its significance mostly for New Agers who believe the date marked the culmination of the ancient Mayan calendar and the dawn of an era brimming with positive energy. The forest rangers in Arizona's Coconino National Forest also think that life hasn't been the same since then. But those khaki-clad men and women-who are more likely to follow a savings-bank calendar and think of crystals as one of the girl groups of the '60s - aren't getting the same good vibes. They are perturbed by the thousands of pilgrims who come to the "vortexes" that supposedly exist in the 2.8 million-acre preserve and rearrange rocks to form "medicine wheels" of up to 200 feet in diameter. The New Agers claim that these are "prayer focal points" in the Native American tradition. The rangers say they are lousing up the landscape and that employees are...
  • A High School Fouls Out

    What schoolboy basketball player doesn't fantasize about being the next Michael Jordan? Slamdunking in front of millions, seeing his face on a box of Wheaties, having a line of sneakers named after him? For Wayne Buckingham, this was not an unreasonable dream. At Atlanta's Southside Comprehensive High School the 6-foot-9 245-pounder averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds a game and led his team to the state championship. In 1989 he graduated and enrolled at Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., where coach Cliff Ellis welcomed him as one of the most promising recruits ever. ...
  • Disarmament: Voodoo Alert

    Arms control used to be a process that involved only the two superpowers. Now it's a lot more complicated. When George Bush introduced his longdelayed plan for arms control in the Middle East last week, he sought cooperation from more than a dozen nations--both buyers and sellers of weaponry. At this point buyers aren't inclined to trim their shopping lists. In fact the triumph of U.S. technology in the Persian Gulf War has made them all the more eager to stock up on the latest hardware. "With the Mideast peace process going nowhere, the recipient side isn't very promising," admits a U.S. official. "But on the supplier side we have at least a shot at putting a lid on this thing." The catch is that suppliers, including the United States, have mixed feelings about cutting off the lucrative flow of weapons to the Middle East. To twist a phrase once coined by Bush, supply-side arms control may turn out to be nothing more than voodoo disarmament. ...
  • Growing Up Under Fire

    Lafeyette Rivers, 15, and his brother, Pharoah, 13, live with their mother in a crime-ridden public-housing project in Chicago. Avoiding neighborhood violence is an integral part of their daily life, as routine as a trip to the mall in the suburbs. They know the rules of survival: at home, drop to the floor at the sound of gunfire; outside, look to see where the shots are coming from before running for shelter. "If I grow up, I'd like to be a bus driver," Lafayette told writer Alex Kotlowitz, when they first met in the summer of 1985. Unlike most children, he wouldn't presume to begin a sentence about his future with "when." ...
  • Pullout Of The 'Barbarians'

    Picture a fairy-tale castle, perched above a sparkling river. Now take a tour. Coal fills the picture gallery. The library is a basketball court. The chapel, its priceless frescoes painted over, has become a shower room. Toilets empty directly into the cellars, where the raw sewage is five feet deep. This is the sorry legacy of the Soviet Army in Decin, a 14th-century citadel of Bohemian kings in northwest Czechoslovakia. For more than 20 years, Soviet troops used the ancient redoubt as their headquarters, barracks and occasional shooting gallery. The result is devastation. "They destroyed it like barbarians," says Zdenek Kropacek, mayor of the town from which Decin Castle takes its name. ...
  • When A Drunk Driver Kills

    Without warning, the oncoming vehicle crossed the center line and hit us head-on. When I came to, I tried to rouse Bob, my husband. He didn't respond. I checked his pulse; he was dead. Tearfully, I held his body in my arms for the last time before I again lost consciousness. I never saw my husband again. He was 47 and I was 41. ...
  • 'Cohen's Coup' In Ethiopia?

    Throwing stones and wielding clubs, demonstrators took to the streets of Addis Ababa last week. They weren't protesting the remnants of the Mengistu government, whose 14 years of brutality brought Ethiopia to the brink of annihilation. Their target was America. Rioters blamed the United States for installing new rulers in the capital and supporting the separation of Eritrea, the Red Sea province. More than 2,000 people stormed the U.S. Embassy, waving placards and chanting anti-American slogans. When the crowd charged a car flying a U.S. flag, Tigrayan rebels opened fire, killing a demonstrator and wounding several others. Two days of protests left at least 10 people dead. ...
  • For Mental Retardation, X Marks The Spot

    In 1970 scientists described a baffling genetic abnormality they called Fragile X syndrome. This was important because Fragile X proved to be the most common inherited form of mental retardation, with symptoms ranging from mild learning disabilities to severe mental retardation. It's found in about one of every 1,000 males and one in 660 females. But researchers could only describe the flaw; they couldn't isolate it amid the material crowded onto a human chromosome. ...