Now She's Not Just Listening

To mark the first anniversary of the listening tour that launched her Senate campaign, Hillary Clinton will hit the trail again this week with another upstate New York campaign swing. But this time she won't be just listening. In recent weeks, she's gone on the attack against her new opponent, Rep. Rick Lazio. Though some advisers feared the offensive would raise her already high negative ratings, they now say the strategy is working. Hillary has warmed to the challenge, and her favorability ratings are holding steady. Even though she's taken some flak for her attacks on Lazio's record, aides say she is not likely to scrap her scrappy new approach.

Some aides also worry that the campaign's intense focus on issues may be a mistake. Polls show voters like Hillary's stands on topics from education to gun control but still question her motives. Aides are urging her to loosen up, mingle with the public and meet with the media. This week's tour will feature more retail politics, but issues will remain front and center, aides say. "It's not an either-or choice," says a top adviser.

Though she's now officially a New Yorker, Hillary (and Bill) hope to return to Martha's Vineyard for a fews days of R&R in August. But they'll likely take a break in New York, too--perhaps near Skaneateles, the upstate town where they vacationed last summer.


Looking for The Loopholes

Even as Sen. John McCain and other reformers hailed legislation requiring secretive tax-exempt political organizations to disclose their donors, the groups themselves were scheming to circumvent it. James Bopp Jr., a lawyer for one so-called 527 (named for the section of the tax code they organize under) formed by allies of House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, told NEWSWEEK a court challenge is "likely." The law, he contends, will "chill" freedom of speech.

Drafters of the bill say they're confident they can defeat any legal challenges. Still, campaign-finance experts say the law's impact may be limited. Most 527s will reorganize under sections of the tax code that aren't covered--or refile as for-profits. One group plans to remove the 527 reference from its Web site and continue business as usual. Other groups note they don't have to disclose millions they've already raised. "This thing is full of loopholes," says a campaign-finance lawyer.


A Dixie Mystery

Was Raynard Johnson lynched? Or did he kill himself? Kokomo, Miss., locals, including many whites, doubt two autopsy reports--one independently verified--showing that the black 17-year-old honors student committed suicide June 16. Johnson's parents didn't recognize the belt used when he was found hanging from a tree in his yard, says the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Whites in the area had harassed Johnson for being too friendly with white girls from school. "He was having fun," said a former classmate. "A lot of people don't believe he killed himself." Now the FBI will see if it agrees.


Cable Cars Are Just So 1873

Tourism can bring a lot of things to a city, but character usually isn't one of them. Except in San Francisco, where Global Electric MotorCars's "neighborhood electric vehicles" are the latest in tourist transportation, their Crayola hues visible zipping up and down the hills. Available at Fisherman's Wharf's, the golf cart/dune buggy crossbreeds rent for $35 an hour or $100 a day. Locals approve of their quiet, unpolluting nature. And tourists love them for sightseeing. Although, said one driver, "it's funny how many people sit and stare at you."


Drink of Life

If the scientists who cracked the human genome are looking to celebrate, the drink of choice is clear. DNA, a fruity, alcohol-infused spring water, will soon be available for geneticists and other "unique" customers with less impressive achievements. Made by the same company that came up with Jolt Cola, it's a zesty refresher. Just do yourself a favor: don't spill it on a blue dress.


Joni Mitchell Sounds Off--On Canvas

She's recorded 19 albums since 1968, winning four Grammies in the process. But singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell says that she's really "a painter derailed by circumstance." Now she can prove it: her first major retrospective, "Voices," opened last week in her hometown, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Though she now lives in a Bel Air, Calif., mansion, Mitchell says her oils and acrylics are inspired by the Canadian prairie.


PETA Picks a Protest

Lost causes are nothing new to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. But now its causes seem downright bizarre. A few weeks ago, PETA championed the rats on "Survivor." Then they dogged the Wienermobile ("that isn't the squeal of tires" you hear). Now they're after the Green Bay Packers. "Aren't there more important things to do?" asked Packers CEO Bob Harlan. A PETA spokesperson said the media only cover its over-the-top antics, not its "less sexy" work. Until that changes, the group will go on pushing the meat Packers to become the fruit "Pickers." And that's a handful.


Second Coming

A documentary opening July 21, called "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," reveals a new life but not a new look for the former televangelist. Poised for a comeback, Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner chatted with PERI. Amen.

PERI: Would you do it all again?
TAMMY FAYE: Yes, oh, yes. Yes, yes, I would. There's never a day in my life when people don't come up to me and say, "Tammy, you saved my life." It makes my life worthwhile. You know how a brand new baby blanket feels?


It feels like someone has taken a brand-new, warm baby blanket and wrapped it around my heart.

What do you think the reaction will be to the documentary?

At Sundance it was like a lovefest after every showing. I just stood there, tears streaming down my face, dripping on my clothes.

Aren't you selling your own makeup products?

No, I don't know where that got started.

What are your plans now?

I've had so many people tell me, why don't you take Kathie Lee's place? I'm working on getting back on TV.


Bow and (M)arrow

Atlanta has a new plan to combat the old problem of swelling suburban deer populations. Following the model of a solution used in Pennsylvania and Virginia, a team of skilled bowhunters-- now being recruited and trained--will take their sport to the 'hoods. By culling the deer, the intrepid cul-de-sac hunters should save Atlantans hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in auto-repair, landscaping and health costs. Some environmentalists have complained, but the state Sierra Club chair says, "Hunters weeding them out is better than deer starving to death." What about the risk to people? Best to keep the camouflage out of sight.


You Mean This Doesn't Go On Forever?
It's become an annual rite of summer: fireworks, hot dogs-the Yankees in first place. But their play this year looks more like Little League than big league. What's wrong with the Yanks? Here's what people are saying over the airwaves, in the papers and on the Web:

It's the Arms
The staff's old, riddled with injuries. David Cone's been awful. Until 'the Yankees get their pitching straightened out, they are ... going nowhere.' (N.Y. Daily News)

It's the Bats
Their bench, for years one of the deepest in baseball, is now 'thinner than toilet paper.'
(Arizona Republic)
Plus, 'you always worry about [David] Justice's durability.' (ESPN)

It's Pride
The Tigers' Juan Gonzalez doesn't want to leave Detroit. Chuck Knoblauch's throws land not far from there.

Nothing's Wrong
C'mon! It's July! Better question: What's up with the fans? If the Yanks need another player, they'll unleash the secret weapon: Steinbrenner's pockets.

How would you review the Harry Potter books?
1. They're wonderful.
2. They're just OK. But any book is better than what's on TV!
3. They're "cultish" and a little disturbing.
4. They're nothing more than a publicity campaign-not literature.

Who is most responsible for the rise in gas prices? (1,075 responses)
5% It's OPEC's fault.
33% It's American oil companies. They're greedy.
30% It's Clinton's fault. He's too soft on OPEC and has no domestic energy policy.
32% All three are to blame.