Newswire

Newswire

  • Yanqui, Come Here

    Argentina's Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella took a message to Washington last month. "After 60 years, Argentina has decided to become normal," he told George Bush in the Rose Garden. Bush smiled. As well he might: in recent months Argentina has sent two frigates to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Storm; shut down its Condor II missile project at Washington's urging, and broken with Latin allies to vote for a U.N. resolution condemning human-rights violations in Cuba. Argentine troops even marched in New York's Desert Storm victory parade. What has become of the Argentina that used to regard itself as a wedge of Europe stuck into America? "We are making no bones about what our intentions are," Di Tella told NEWSWEEK. "We want to be on very friendly terms with the most important country in the world." Or, as a local cartoonist put it, President Carlos Menem and his Peronists have gone from denouncing Yanqui invasores (invaders) to luring Yanqui inversores (investors). ...
  • How To Judge A Judge

    Praise of the praiseworthy can be problematic when the person praised is a Supreme Court nominee. Come September, Clarence Thomas should be confirmed. Between now and then, the drama of his life will elicit much praise. Too much. ...
  • Closing The Window On A Bank For Scandal

    It controlled banks in six states and Washington, D.C., without the knowledge of bank regulators. It made friends in high places around the world. It allegedly laundered money for former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. But on Friday, the controversial Bank of Credit and Commerce International was all but closed down in an unusual joint raid by authorities in eight countries. ...
  • Where Does He Stand?

    All civil-rights leaders ever do, Clarence Thomas once said, is "bitch, bitch, bitch, moan and whine." He has accused black leaders of creating a "cult mentality" that has "hypnotized black Americans into a mindless political trance." He has attacked affirmative action as more hindrance than help. He regards welfare as a trap that prolongs dependency and breaks up families. And he could make it more difficult for poor teenagers to get abortions. ...
  • Muni Bonds: Play It Safe

    What's a reluctant taxpayer to do? On the one hand, tax-exempt municipal bonds never looked so good. Thirteen states raised income taxes last year and the Feds have been pulling more money from Americans in the top brackets. On the other hand, tax-exempt munis never looked so weak. Standard & Poor's downgraded New Jersey's safety rating last week; an additional five states are being watched. ...
  • Defense: The Real Debate

    Imagine: "brilliant" bombs that hunt and kill moving tanks 300 miles away with no external guidance. Air-to-ground missiles that deliver the punch of bombers without showing up on enemy radar. Computer-aimed rocket launchers that fire at dozens of targets with a single blast and then scurry away, doing the work of tanks without putting crews at risk. ...
  • Houston Is Talking...

    About a videotape in which power-company employees frolic with two nude "dancers"-named "The Salad Sisters"-lathered in whipped cream and doing some naughty things with fruits and vegetables. The stag party was not during working hours but the tape was left around the office for viewing. HL&P employee Ray Taylor, who was not at the party, made copies as "insurance" against fellow employees who he says were harassing him for allegedly being antiunion. One HL&P employee has been fired over the incident.
  • Wild At Heart

    first elected black governor that it was no surprise when he formed a '92 presidential exploratory committee. But in recent weeks Wilder's gift for grabbing headlines has backfired. Now some political observers are wondering whether he's ready for prime time. Wilder's clash with Sen. Charles Robb has made him look petty and mean. His remarks on Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas's abortion views angered Roman Catholics. "How much allegiance [does Thomas have] to the pope?" Wilder, who later apologized, asked after Thomas was tapped.
  • Baptist Brawl

    The latest battle of the Baptists is underway in Waco, Texas. Officials at Baylor University are accusing Baptist fundamentalists of dirty tricks in anticipation of the upcoming Baptist General Convention. The fundamentalists, eager to keep moderates away, readily admit they have hoarded nearly all of Waco's hotel rooms for the convention weekend in November. They want to keep the moderates out so they can't vote on some controversial proposals, including control of Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university. The university promises that all Baptists will be able to find lodging.
  • The Sultan Of Sweat

    You're in bad shape when you have to lose 60 pounds to play Babe Ruth. But that wasn't the hard part for John Goodman, starring in "The Babe" opposite Kelly McGillis; it was learning to bat left-handed. If anything, says Goodman, he's lost even more weight running around in a wool uniform in Chicago's Wrigley Field, which stands in for the 1920s-era Yankee Stadium in the Arthur Hiller film due out next spring. If he keeps it up, Goodman should be ready to play that other great left-handed batter Ted Williams-a.k.a. "The Splendid Splinter." ...
  • Cashing In On Eclipsemania

    An eclipse used to be a losing proposition: entire populations, surprised by the sudden darkness, would lose their cool; pregnant women feared that they would lose their babies; court astrologers who had failed to predict the celestial occurrence would lose their heads. And then scientists discovered that an angry sky god wasn't erasing the sun: eclipses could be forecast, studied, traveled to as part of a fantastic three-day getaway vacation, commemorated with a twenty-dollar T shirt. The July 11 eclipse will probably galvanize more people than all the previous ones put together. "People go crazy, " says Palm Springs psychologist Susan Caulfield. "It's like when there's a full moon; the liquid in our body is altered." No, rivers don't run backward, as was once thought, but folks will be sneaking across the border into Mexico, which, along with Hawaii, offers some of the best viewing spots. Speaking of an eclipse trek he made to Goldendale, Wash., in 1978, Dan Brick, 38, recalls how...
  • The Heist Of 1945

    It must have been one of the strangest sights an invading army ever encountered. On April 4, 1945, only weeks before Germany's unconditional surrender to the Allies, U.S. troops arrived in Merkers, a tiny town in the eastern German province of Thuringia. There, in a salt mine 2,100 feet below the bombed surface, soldiers stumbled on an astounding collection of art and valuables. One hundred tons of gold bars from the Reichsbank reserves were scattered on the floor. Pictures by Raphael, Durer, Renoir and Rembrandt were piled into mine-trolley cars or stacked haphazardly against the walls. There were Roman and Egyptian antiques, tapestries and precious books from Germany's most famous libraries. The soldiers quickly packed up the priceless goods and moved them to the American occupation zone in the West. ...
  • Lead And Your Kids

    When Helene and Bruce Tackling found their two-story house in New London, Conn., in December 1989, they called it "our Christmas miracle." It seemed perfect. On the very same street where Bruce grew up, it had two parks nearby, a big backyard and enough space so their 2-year-old, Jessica, and the baby on the way could have their own bedrooms. It needed some renovation, but Bruce was handy with a Spackle knife and the family moved in on March 1, 1990. ...
  • How Does The Garden Grow?

    Tradition has no haven anymore-not even in the English garden. Gone are the careful lawns with their geometric flower beds and tonsured hedges. Instead, a new generation of gardeners has sprung up to plant an eco-conscious profusion of wildflowers, water plants and ferns. "It is more a wild style now," says Gail Bromley of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. "These gardens represent a closer link with the environment than ... static plant display." These new cultivators even welcome the nettles that grow in their yards: the stinging weeds attract butterflies. ...
  • Putting Value In Diplomas

    For the last few years, employers have been complaining that high-school graduates can barely read and write. A diploma means nothing, for some students, except evidence of attending class regularly. Now, legislators in Oregon have approved a drastic overhaul of the state's schools designed to produce a work force that can add, write and think. The reform plan rests on a series of basic-skills exams that culminate in a "Certificate of Initial Mastery" for 10th graders. The ones who flunk will be held back until they pass. With the certificate, every student has a choice of two tracks: college prep or job training. Diplomas, goes the theory, will be worth the paper on which they're printed. ...
  • State Secret

    Secretary of State James Baker is likely to pass over veteran Foreign Service officers to fill the key number-three post at the State Department, Baker aides say. Superstar diplomats like Frank Wisner, outgoing ambassador to Egypt, and Ambassador to Mexico John Negroponte have been mentioned as possible contenders to replace Under Secretary for Political Affairs Robert Kimmitt, recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Germany. But aides say Baker has narrowed his list to noncareer candidates with extensive experience in foreign affairs. As number three, Kimmitt was a member of Baker's inner circle and the department's crisis manager.
  • Sununu And The Jews

    On the Washington stage, the drama was familiar. John Sununu, whose imperial way with perks had badly embarrassed George Bush, was struggling to keep his job - but his bullying tactics as White House chief of staff had left him without allies in high places. The media pack was nipping at Sununu's heels, but the president stayed offstage, making only a distant mumble on his aide's behalf: "Yeah, I'm going to support him." Sununu stayed in character, firing angrily in all directions. Some of his tormentors fell silent, but at least one shot misfired. Sununu was accused of trying to blame the Jewish lobby for his predicament, and after that his position was shakier than ever. ...
  • 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...