USA

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Reagan in the White House

Voices of America series

Dealing with Donald Trump - 30 years before he was president

Sunday Times Magazine, December 1 1987

In New York at the moment, Donald Trump is hot: he's rich; he's sexy; he's everywhere. He is the weirdest, wildest story in town. He's putting up the world's tallest building; he's making a killing on Wall Street; he's calling Ed Koch a moron. They say he'll be the next mayor of the city, the next governor of the state. The Republicans want him in the White House; the Democrats want him there too....

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Martin Luther King is dead, but racism lives in the USA

Scotland on Sunday diary column, January 18 1988

Junior Garner had only one problem, and on Christmas Day it cost him his life. That evening he left his wife and six children at home in Louisiana and drove off in his old pick-up truck with two friends through the pine woods into Texas. It was only a 30-mile trip to collect a car.

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The rise of disorganised crime

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, February 15 1988

When the end finally came in a dark and dowdy courtroom in Brooklyn last week, Joseph Gallo was just an old man with silver hair and a weak heart. Once he had been a big shot, one of the biggest in the New York mob - consigliere of the Gambino crime family - striking all the deals, running the rackets and making the pay-offs. His criminal roots went right back to the prohibition years.

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The long-lost truth about native Americans

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, February 29 1988

In February 1911, Woodrow Wilson was just launching his campaign to become President of the United States, more than 500,000 automobiles clogged the streets of American cities, an aeroplane made the first transcontinental flight from New York to California and on a grassy hillside in Nevada, a lone band of untamed native American Indians made its last stand.

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Scandal, rumour and racial politics in New York

Scotland on Sunday diary column, March 21 1988

It takes a city as crazy as New York to produce a mystery like
the saga of Tawana Brawley, a story which starts off with a
sensational crime, rapidly turns into a twisted political plot
and then becomes a city-wide debate where everyone shouts at
everyone else, everyone has an opinion, and no-one knows the
truth.

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New Age - same old nonsense

Scotland on Sunday diary column, April 4 1988

The New York Times recently eavesdropped on this touching
...

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The East Enders who showed New York how to play

Previously unpublished, May 1 1988

This is the story of two boys from Bethnal Green, Brian and Keith, and their adventures in New York. It's a good story: rags turn to riches, good guys get the girls and, best of all, the swanky know-all Americans are taught a couple of lessons they shouldn't forget by our mild-mannered British heroes.

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The best justice money can buy

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, May 2 1988

The judge wears red cowboy boots. At exactly nine o'clock, he
settles down in his high-backed burgundy leather chair, glares at
the court room over the top of his half-moon glasses, lights up a
six-inch cigar and calls the first defendant.

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Breaking through the smoke screen

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, June 14 1988

Rose Cipollone was already on her death bed when she started to fight. With her hair moulting from chemotherapy, she gave a deposition to a lawyer which, five years later, was to land a historic blow on the tobacco companies she blamed for her lung cancer.

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Why don't American sports fans attack each other?

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, June 20 1988

A Saturday night in Cincinnati and down at the Riverfront Baseball Stadium, the Reds are in trouble. They have been playing a tight game and are holding the New York Mets at 5-5 in the dying minutes when the last man batting for the Mets starts off on a run which will decide the game. The man runs to first base; the ball is thrown there ahead of him; surely he is out; but no, the umpire, Dave...

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An early warning of climate change

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, June 27 1988

There is, of course, no reason to panic. Scientists, after all, are not the sort of people who deal in panic. They deal in hard facts and tough conclusions. Even so, the three sober-suited scientists I went to see in Washington gave every indication that in a thoroughly sober and scientific way, they were just itching to get their hands on the nearest panic button and hit it very hard. But they...

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The weird and wonderful side effects of American innovation

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, July 4 1988

There are times when it will tell you about nothing more revealing than "aspirin and dipyridamole in the prevention of restenosis after percutaneous transluminal coronory angioplasty". There are other times when the New England Journal of Medicine can tell you everything you have ever wanted to know about Americans but been too discreet to ask.

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Greed v Greed in Hollywood

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, July 11 1988

According to the Hollywood rumour mill, the nine thousand film and television script writers who have been on strike for the last 18 weeks, are about to return to work. They may. They may not. Who cares?

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Reality v Fantasy in the world of child abuse

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, August 8 1988

Early in the last century, slaves who escaped from plantations in the South were smuggled to the relative freedom of the northern states along an 'underground railroad' of supporters who risked the wrath of slave-owners and bounty-hunters to protect the fugitives.

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Freedom, intolerance and the American way

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, August 22 1988

If the new film about the life of Jesus, The Last Temptation of Christ, survives the organised hysteria which is now assailing it, its director Martin Scorsese should give thanks to a frail Russian immigrant to America, who once faced a similar barrage of hostility and was destroyed by it.

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The kidnapper's revenge

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, August 29 1988

The whole state of Mississippi is agog at the goings-on in Jackson, the state capital, which lies in the pine woods and prairie a couple of hundred miles north of New Orleans, a town which has remained an outpost of the old southern way of life, where wealthy families live in genteel comfort while the less fortunate are not encouraged to complain.

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Solving the mystery of Arlena Twigg

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, October 3 1988

This is a most peculiar story. It has nothing to do with the Presidential election or the space shuttle or anything else. It does not even really tell you very much about America. It is just peculiar and rather sad.

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Neighbourhood Wars

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, October 17 1988

Outside the monkey house at Washington Zoo one day, I heard these people talking about their neighbours. It seems there was a family in their street whose children kept a pet rabbit. This family went away for a couple of nights and in their absence, the people who lived next door were horrified to discover their dog sitting down the end of the garden with the neighbours' much-loved rabbit between...

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In praise of rebel weirdos

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, November 14 1988

Robert T Morris Jnr - or RTM as he is generally known - struck a special chord here last week when the computer virus which he had developed in his study at Cornell University raced through the Defence Department and out into the rest of the country paralysing more than 6,000 computers as it passed.

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The ethics of artificial animals

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, November 21 1988

The mighty Du Pont corporation, purveyors of chemicals to the world, last week formally announced the launch of their newest product. It is a mouse. But not the sort of mouse that sells for a dollar or two in pet shops. This is the world's first one-hundred-dollar mouse.

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JFK - a quarter of a century of myth

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, November 22 1988

When Jack Kennedy won the presidential election in November 1960, he barely scraped home - less than 50% of Americans supported him. But three years later, in the traumatic days after his assassination, a strange and rather moving thing happened: millions of Americans who had not voted for him started to claim that they had. The figures spiraled upwards in opinion polls as a bereaved people...

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Return of the King

Mail on Sunday magazine, November 27 1988

January 1989.

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The great American diet - junk food and junk culture

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, November 28 1988

This may not matter, but last week Walt Disney's empire splashed its latest cartoon film across American cinema screens. It is the apparently innocuous story of an orphaned cat who takes up with a pack of dogs in New York City and is eventually rescued by a little girl called Jenny. The point here is that the cat is called Oliver, his best pal is a terrier called Dodger and the whole film claims...

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And some seed fell on stoned ground

The Scotsman and The New Zealand Dominion, December 12 1988

In Chouteau County, Montana, up by the Canadian border, life can be pretty hard. This is grain farming country. Farmers have to fight their way through every season, through the summer droughts and the huge winter snowfalls, and then they have to hope and pray that grain prices pick themselves up off the floor.

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