Newswire

Newswire

  • Demonizing The Sixties

    Politicians, especially Republicans, like to link their opponents to a villain. But Willie Horton is history and Saddam Hussein soon may be. Where to turn? Running against the media is dicey. Calling your foe "unpatriotic" is unseemly, especially if you skipped military service yourself or voted to sell Saddam grain before he invaded Kuwait. So the GOP has found a new all-purpose enemy: the '60s. Democrats who voted against the president on the gulf war, intoned GOP Sen. Phil Gramm last week, were "lost in the '60s." Other Republicans echoed the line. ...
  • We're No. 1

    Research scientists are talking about the recent coup scored by the University of California, Santa Cruz. The Institute for Scientific Information, which tallies and indexes scientific papers, toted up the frequency with which more than 1.1 million papers published in the three years before August 1990 were cited in later publications. That yielded an "impact" quotient: citations per paper. UCSC was No. 1 in physics, topping the likes of Caltech and MIT, and number 12 in biology, better than Johns Hopkins, UCLA and Cornell. While producing fewer papers than many other schools, said ISI, USCS's "papers really counted."
  • Basking In The Gulf Glow

    What the Falklands Factor once did for Margaret Thatcher, the Gulf Glow is now doing for John Major. When he succeeded Thatcher as prime minister last November, Major was scarcely known outside British Conservative Party circles. He seemed a pleasant but rather dull man in a gray suit. Victory over Iraq brought him into his own. Major was the first Western leader to visit liberated Kuwait - and has emerged as an increasingly close confidant of President Bush, with whom he spent two and a half hours in Bermuda last week, mapping the allies' postwar strategy for the gulf. On his home island, Major's political stock is just as high: polls show he is one of Britain's most popular prime ministers of the last 30 years. "He handled the war calmly, in a situation where Mrs. Thatcher would have been expected to go OTT - over the top," said Robert M. Worcester, chairman of the MORI polling organization. "The British look good to the British." ...
  • A Star's Crash-Landing

    As the only challenger to beat an incumbent senator, Paul Wellstone had star status. The Minnesota Democrat's maiden speech on the Senate floor - opposing the early use of force in the gulf - made all the network news shows. But when the war ended, Wellstone's star crash-landed. In Minnesota, his approval ratings flip-flopped, and only 25 percent of those polled said he deserved to be re-elected in 1996. When he returned home for his mother's funeral, he discovered that pro-war demonstrators were chanting "Wimp Wellstone." He has received phone calls at home threatening his health and safety. "It's been awful, awful," he told NEWSWEEK. "And when I say awful, I mean that I found myself starting to worry about what I say because of these threats." ...
  • How To Lobby Washington, Hollywood-Style

    In the world of lobbying, it was the equivalent of a full-scale ground war. At issue: whether the government will lift a 21-year ban that keeps TV networks out of the lucrative business of selling reruns. With a $3 billion market at stake, the combatants spent millions on PR and influence peddlers. In one aggressive move, the networks hired former Illinois governor James Thompson to put the arm on Andrew Barrett, the swing vote on the Federal Communications Commission. Thompson is no communications expert. But he has an I.O.U.: he once got Barrett appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission. When an Italian-controlled firm, Pathe Communications Corp., bought the MGM studio, NBC sent pizza to about 70 members of Congress. The point: if foreigners can get a piece of the syndication pie, why not U.S. networks? ...
  • The War At Home: How To Battle Crime

    Forget Desert Storm: the real war is being fought on the streets of U.S. cities and towns. Violent crime, much of it drug-related, is on the rise in virtually every city in America. Inner-city neighborhoods are disintegrating in an escalating cycle of mayhem. Guns, including paramilitary assault weapons, seem to be everywhere - even in the hands of children. At least 19 U.S. cities eclipsed their previous records for homicide last year, and Senate experts estimate that 23,200 Americans - a bleak new high for the nation as a whole - were murdered in 1990. "During every 100 hours on our streets we lose three times more young men than were killed in 100 hours of ground war in the Persian Gulf," Health and Human Services Secretary Louis Sullivan lamented last week. "Where are the yellow ribbons of hope and remembrance?. Where is the concern, the heartfelt commitment to support the children of this war?" ...
  • Iran's New Gulf Game

    Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could hardly have wished for more: Saddam Hussein's Army crushed and Shiite rebels fighting his loyalist forces for control of the country. Here was a chance for the Islamic revolution to break the bounds of Persia at last and burst into the Arab world. What the late imam could not have imagined was that this moment of opportunity would spring from a war with an alliance led by the Great Satan, the United States. The intensity of the religious revolt took Washington somewhat by surprise, too. "The coalition focused on regaining Kuwait and ensuring that Saddam would not threaten the region again," says a Western diplomat in Teheran. "Anything was better than Saddam, so nobody thought too much about what son of Saddam might look like." ...
  • Small, Smart And Beautiful

    Thanks to miniaturization, engineers can now put as much computing power on a fingernail-size chip like the one above (magnified 10 times) as they used to cram into a lab full of vacuum tubes. Now the small-is-beautiful revolution has come to machines. By pairing integrated circuits with micromotors, microgears and other devices smaller than the width of a human hair, scientists are producing minimachines that may one day take fantastic voyages through the body, serve as "gnat robots" in industry and even manipulate atoms.
  • Better Laws Of The Jungle

    Saving the Brazilian rain forest will require massive economic and land reform: landless peasants in this most indebted nation must be provided means of support that do not require them to burn the Amazon jungle every August. Everybody knows this. ...
  • Big Science, Bigger Bucks

    Never let it be said that scientists don't think big. But with Congress sick of their perpetual begging for more funding, megaprojects are struggling. PROJECTS Conventional Wisdom Space Station Yes, it's leaner and meaner; still a $30 billion clunker looking for a mission. Super Collider $8.2 billion but subcontractors prosper from the hunt for subatomic particles. Genome Map $6 billion to locate all 3 billion human gene pieces and cure everything. Mission to Earth $30 billion satellite flotilla to monitor planet's health in time to save it. Fusion $6 billion for a project with Japan, Europe, U.S.S.R. Be sure it's hot, not cold. Flight to Mars Bush's pregulf stab at the vision thing. At $50 billion plus, not till his third term.
  • Smug?

    Why was Virginia Sen. Charles Robb bounced from the Budget Committee last week? Chairman Jim Sasser said it was done to reduce the size of the committee. But Hill sources say it's because Democrats are furious with Robb for voting with the Republicans. Democrats also resent his smugness over backing the president on using force in the gulf. Unlike Sen. Albert Gore, who also voted with Bush, Robb hasn't defended other Dems who voted with "their conscience" on force. While he's being punished for not being "politically correct," Robb may have the last laugh. "He hasn't done anything to hurt his '96 presidential candidacy," says a Senate aide.
  • Playing Creation Games

    It was not a very promising list of ingredients: a lot of smelly ammonia and methane, a soupcon of hydrogen and some water vapor. Yet in 1953, when Stanley L. Miller at the University of Chicago zapped this gaseous stew with simulated lightning, he came closer to turning dust into life than any mortal ever had. After the flash, he found a brick-colored goo containing simple amino acids, the beads that string together into proteins. Since then, scientists have zapped other gases thought to mimic the primordial atmosphere and harvested the precursors of DNA, RNA, proteins - all that life needs to live. ...
  • The Bad And Not So Beautiful

    If you're a player in Hollywood, there's only one way to read Julia Phillips's book "You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again" (573 pages. Random House. $22). First turn to the index to see if you're mentioned in the former producer's acerbic kiss-and-tell memoir. If you've escaped her scathing scrutiny, you can relax - and start looking for names of people not as fortunate. ...
  • Night Of The Living Crackheads

    The central premise of Mario Van Peebles's new film, "New Jack City," is that the culture of greed that ran through Wall Street in the '80s also ran through American ghettos, only in grossly exaggerated form. It left intensified poverty on the one hand and, on the other, a new breed of super-Yuppie criminals. These are the new jacks: natty gangster Gekkos, with flashy sculpted hair, advanced computer systems, cellular phones and high-tech weapons. Like Gekko in the movie "Wall Street," they believe that greed is good and that human life counts for little by comparison. Crack is their junk-bond capital, a new source of seemingly unlimited - and carelessly destructive power. Their game is mergers and acquisitions. As Nino Brown (Wesley Snipes), the beautiful new jack hustler who takes over Harlem by introducing crack, says, "Gone are the days of hustling on the street corner. You change the product, you change the marketing strategy." ...
  • Of Self-Promotion And Megabombs

    Rather than trot out a laundry list of likely Oscar winners next week ("Dances With Wolves," "GoodFellas") and losers ("The Godfather, Part III"), here's an offering of special prizes for movieland '90: ...
  • Cloak And Daggers

    If only this were one of her best sellers - "The Spy Wore Red" or "The Spy Went Dancing." Then, Aline, Countess of Romanones, would surely triumph. Alas, this is real life and the villain is neither the Gestapo nor the KGB. The countess deftly overcame operatives of those enemy forces in three accounts of her years as an American agent (the last volume, "The Spy Wore Silk," has just been published). But this time, she's under attack from what could be considered friendly fire - Women's Wear Daily, the fashion trade paper that also chronicles the glittering international social set where the American-born countess has reigned since her 1947 marriage to a Spanish aristocrat. ...
  • A Forest Full Of Wise Guys

    It may be stereotyping, but Morgan Freeman is wise not to complain. Lately he's been consistently cast as a sage old man in an average guy's clothing. It was so in "Driving Miss Daisy" and it was so in "Glory." It's so, too, in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" - but this time the clothing is far funkier, and he gets to carry a big knife. In this latest film version of the legendary tale, Freeman is Azeem, wise Saracen friend to Kevin Costner's Robin. It'll be in theaters in June.
  • Hellfighters To The Rescue

    Hardly anyone thinks America should be the policeman of the world any more, but the United States does have the fireman's job nailed down firmly. As Kuwait begins this week to address in earnest the problem of hundreds of oil wells set aflame by fleeing Iraqis, it will call in Red Adair, Inc., Boots & Coots and Wild Well Control. These outfits do not work by appointment to Her Majesty, the Queen. All are headquartered in Houston - and preceded by the kind of modern-day-cowboy myths that once inspired "Hellfighters," a John Wayne vehicle based on the hair-singeing adventures of Adair. To hang out with the real-life hellfighters - as some destined-to-be-bewildered Kuwaitis soon must - is to see that even Hollywood could not exaggerate the true grittiness of these men, a gumbo of mostly Texans and Louisianans who call a spade a spade and a fire a far. During a recent scouting expedition, Boots and a few of the boys got bored with the military's help and started searching for Iraqi...
  • Down On The Fish Farm

    Thirty years from now, if a host of new and starry-eyed predictions by food technologists and the seafood industry comes true, you're likely to put some money into a vending machine and extract a ready-to-heat fish dinner. Driving home, you might warm up the meal in your car's microwave oven and dine on the spot. That should be safe enough if your entree happens to be seafood-on-a-stick; and don't worry about drips, because the product will carry its own sauce on the inside. How will it taste? Like anything you want it to. According to the seafood industry's crystal ball, products developed from, say, perch or pollack could have the flavor of salmon or lobster. Or, for that matter, a cheeseburger. ...