Balance Sheet



No Percentage in It. George Bush walks a civil-rights tightrope. He successfully schmoozes Ben Hooks and a dozen other civil-rights activists but takes counsel from Bob Woodson, Clint Bolick, and the individual-rights caucus. The Kennedy-Hawkins Act seems likely to pass, but Bush vows to "not sign a quota bill." Will the president stand his ground and make Congress compromise?

Save an Aisle Seat. A landmark opinion by U.S. Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski defends a cinema-chain owner from monopoly charges. By weaving more than 200 hidden movie titles into the text, the judge makes sure people will read it. Behind his wit, Kozinski scores an important point: No restraint of trade can exist without legal barriers to entry. Thanks to Kozinski's defense of the market, against all odds, antitrust could be gone with the wind.

Hungry Little Buggers. Biotech ain't dead. A Campbell, California, company sells $20 bags of grease-eating microbes to help restaurants clean up garbage. Inipol, a French-made fertilizer, munches on globs of oil in Prince William Sound. University of Louisville biologist Ronald Atlas calls this "the back-to-nature pollution cure."

Duck Hunting. John Sununu calls Congress's bluff and temporarily delays a tax increase. Incumbents up for reelection don't know what to fear most: raising taxes or cutting spending in their home districts. Meanwhile, Harvard's Lawrence Lindsey, hardly a conservative, calls for a new round of supply-side tax cuts to put the budget into surplus within five years.


Run Aground. The Goddess of Democracy never broadcasts pro-liberty messages to mainland China, thanks to Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. (See "Dream Deferred," July.) Tokyo and Taipei kowtow to Chinese threats, refusing to let the ship carry transmitting equipment. Organizers of the project will sell the ship to cover costs but plan to provide taped broadcasts to international radio services.

Hearings from Hell. First, cosmetic surgery. Then, Alar. Now, Slim-Fast? Rep. Ron Wyden (D–Ore.) takes on the $33-billion diet industry with a series of hard-hitting congressional hearings. Wyden blames "hucksters who ply their dubious wares…while government regulators sit snoozing on the sidelines." Tell that to the Keating Five.

Despot-in-Waiting. Violeta Chamorro may have won the battle, the Sandinistas the war. Ortega & Co. still control the unions and the army—and they bankrupted the treasury just before Doña Violeta's inauguration. Only Alexander Cockburn and his yanqui leftist buddies still love sandismo, but Ortega's scheming may keep the revolution alive.

Under the Lights. St. Petersburg may get stuck with a mostly empty Florida Suncoast Dome. (See "Field of Dreams," May.) Despite National League plans to add two new franchises, St. Pete could miss the cut: Its $110-million ballpark has a translucent roof, which, reports The National, "will make seeing the ball in day games nearly impossible." St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog offers a solution: "a few thousand gallons of paint or $3 or $4 million" for a new roof.