by Glenn R. Wilson Jr.

Daily Cougar Staff

If a word best describes <I>Guarding Tess<P>, it would have to be <I>harmless.<P>

The story concerns a Secret Service agent (Nicholas Cage) appointed to guard the widowed wife (Shirley MacLaine) of the former president. To the nation, Tess Carlisle is the most wonderful person on Earth and is adored. To the agents assigned to her, Tess is an overbearing, cantankerous slave-driver.

Needless to say, Cage's character, Doug Chesnic, is happy as the movie opens because he thinks he is finally going to receive a new assignment away from Tess, but as he soon discovers, Tess still has some pull in Washington and she manages to convince the president to ask Chesnic to remain with her.

Chesnic can't tell the president of the United States "no," so he reluctantly agrees to remain with Tess.

Most of the film's humor comes from this conflict of wills between Cage and MacLaine, but the underlying comic touches are brought about by the relationship between Tess and the seven men assigned to protect her, and their inability to convince her to let them do it "by the book."

For instance, Tess will not allow them to bring their guns into her bedroom, nor will she refrain from using the emergency alarm as a signal to see Chesnic. This pushes Cage over the edge and he threatens to leave again.

However, a couple of phone calls from the president convince him of the error of his ways and he ends up coming back to her again. Eventually, the film settles down into a story of friendship between Cage and MacLaine, then it starts to go wrong.

Director Hugh Wilson (<I>Police Academy<P>) lets the story meander into an attempt to kidnap Tess and cause moral dilemmas for Cage and the others to work out before the film's end.

Overall, the performances are better than the sitcom plot calls for. Cage does an effective job as Doug Chesnic. His Secret Service agent is sort of a smart H. I. McDonough from <I>Raising Arizona.<P>

MacLaine, who must have needed the money, is perfectly cast as the aging first lady, determined not to go quietly into that good night. But this character is similar to others she has played before, so there's no real test of acting skills here.

Probably the funniest, and shortest, part belongs to director Wilson who provides the voice for the president. Although he never appears on camera, Wilson steals a large portion of this movie from his actors, with the help of some well-written dialogue.

If you ever watched <I>Three's Company<P> and actually worried about whether Mr. Roper was going to throw Jack, Chrissy and Janet out because Chrissy accidentally threw away the rent check, then you should find this movie harrowing. For the rest of us, <I>Guarding Tess<P> is a harmless diversion from the relentless pursuit of our own rent checks.






by Mike Rush

News Reporter

The violence demonstrated by anti-abortion activist Michael Griffin, who gunned down a doctor outside an abortion clinic in Florida, is a symptom of the impending death of the pro-life movement, a UH sociology professor said.

Griffin was convicted on March 5 of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for shooting Dr. David Gunn outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic last year.

UH Sociology Professor Janet Chafetz said the shooting is an indication the pro-life movement is losing its battle against pro-choice advocates. When advocacy groups are unable to further their causes within the law, they often turn to violence and harassment as a last, feeble attempt to stay alive, she said.

Since 1973, pro-lifers have been protesting the <I>Roe vs. Wade<P> decision that made abortion legal. Chafetz said in more than 20 years of protest, life advocates have not been able to successfully influence legislation to reverse the decision. Griffin's actions represent the frustration of pro-lifers, she said.

"The pro-life movement, in its dying gasps, is becoming more violent," Chafetz said. "The movement is in its last-ditch effort."

Chafetz said she does not think the violent acts of a few people have given the general public the impression all pro-lifers are violent. The violence does, however, discourage law-abiding anti-abortionists from protesting because they do not want to be associated with radicals who bring the cause negative publicity, she said.

Tama Cravey, media spokesperson for the pro-life organization Life Advocate, said some pro-lifers have been dissuaded from contributing because of the shooting, but most people realize Griffin was a lone gunman.

She said any cause that has persisted for as long as the pro-life movement is sure to have occasional incidents of violence. "I hardly think violence is an indication the cause is losing," Cravey said.

She added the movement has been very successful working within the law to pass bills that increase the medical standards of abortion doctors and clinics. She said many abortion facilities have closed because of the legislation.

She said the Clinton administration's pro-choice stance on the abortion issue and the acts of violence have slowed down the movement, but it is far from dead. "We certainly have changed gears over the past few years," she said.

Cravey said Life Advocate concentrates on educating people on alternatives to abortion and counseling people who decide to keep their babies. Protesting in front of clinics has become a very minor part of Life Advocate's agenda, she said.

Susan Nenney, director of communications for Planned Parenthood, said Griffin's conviction will send a strong message to pro-lifers that harassment and violence toward physicians will not be tolerated for any reason.

With each act of violence, Nenney said, the movement is becoming more divided.

"What we're seeing happen is a fragmentation, as moderates distance themselves from the extremists," she said.

Gunn was the first doctor slain as a result of violence against abortion clinics, including the wounding of another doctor. Other clinic employees nationwide have reported incidents of arson, bombings, chemical attacks and break-ins.






by Christian Messa

News Reporter

Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, in the first Elkins Leadership Forum Thursday, said he does not approve of constructing a downtown domed stadium.

"I don't really plan to put tax money into it (the stadium)," he said to the audience in the UH College of Architecture auditorium. "I don't think it necessarily contributes that much to development."

The problem with downtown development is the decline in the purchasing power of the area's residents, he said. Lanier added that revitalizing the downtown residential neighborhoods will help solve the problem. Redevelopment could bring back middle-class families and their buying power, he said.

John Ettling, associate dean of the Honors College, said a $100,000 donation, marked for the Honors College from the J.A. and Isabel M. Elkins Foundation, created the Elkins Leadership Forum. The forum gives the public the chance to hear an address by someone in a leadership role, he said.

Throughout the forum, hosted by the Honors College, Lanier, who was celebrating his birthday, fielded questions from the audience that included the proposed monorail system and pollution.

The monorail system was not a feasible plan because it was planned to go only from the Galleria to downtown, Lanier said. The rail system does not work unless you have a true transportation system that will take you exactly where you want to go, he said.

Since the monorail would only travel at about 23 mph, people would not be enticed to take slower transportation, he said.

Lanier added that the monorail's lack of speed and mobility would discourage people from using it; therefore, there was no reason to construct the $1 billion system.

There is not much traffic between the Galleria and downtown anyway, he added.

In dealing with pollution, Lanier said the water and sewer system is being replaced and will probably be "the cleanest water and sewer system in the country." It will be almost leak-free, he said.

Lanier said the buses and city vehicles were converted to use natural gas to decrease air pollution.

At the same time, he added, "We need to come to grips with sensible protection of the environment." He said environmental disputes can be "too lawyer-oriented," and that some disputes are overzealous.

Lanier said his goals as mayor have been to make the city believe its diversity works, improve neighborhoods and improve the public school system.

"If you go to school, you can do anything in a society," he said.






by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

Students' Association elections ended in a surprise runoff between Uniting Students presidential candidate Angie Milner and Alliance presidential candidate Dominic Lewinsohn.

Senate Speaker Coy Wheeler, the Initiative presidential candidate, just missed making the runoff. On the first count, Wheeler and Lewinsohn tied, but after a recount, Lewinsohn had two more votes than Wheeler.

Matt Daly of Abolish SA came in fourth. In an interesting turn of events, Kevin Berglund had 28 votes to Jessica Martin's 14. Martin ran under a write-in party called Seeking Perfection in Efficiency and the Advancement of Knowledge. The results were surprising considering Martin participated in the debate and received coverage in the Cougar. Both candidates, however, fared better than other write-in candidates in recent SA history.

Milner said Lewinsohn's making the runoff instead of Wheeler was the shocker. "I assumed it was going to be Coy. When we heard the results, all of our mouths probably dropped to the floor," she said.

Lewinsohn, who has never held SA office before was considered a long shot.

Milner said she hopes this race doesn't deteriorate into a fight between commuter and resident interests. Lewinsohn has made a big issue of the fact that he was the only registered presidential candidate who lived on campus.

"Dom's a good guy. He needs to get around people who know more about SA campaigns," Wheeler said. Wheeler said he will talk to Milner and Lewinsohn privately before he endorses either of them.

Lewinsohn could not be reached for comment on the election results.

This year's SA race has been marked by relative quietness and lack of candidate mudslinging. Most SA elections are filled with the nastiness of political backfighting, but after all the ethical questions that have plagued SA this year, candidates said they planned to campaign only on the issues. Most candidates said they didn't think the students would stand for another dirty campaign.

Uniting Students, in contrast, ran a well-financed public relations campaign under Milner who now serves as SA pubic relations director. Uniting Students won 25 of the 30 Senate seats.

Milner's party spent $1200 on the general election to the Alliance's less than $40. In the runoff, Milner said she doesn't plan to spend much money.

"We'll just pass out some handbills this time, no tent this time. I'm hoping the weather will be better this time," she said.

On the vice presidential side, Initiative candidate Henry Bell will face Uniting Students candidate Dirk Moore in the runoff. Both candidates have experience in SA, with Bell serving as senator and Moore serving as director of external affairs. Bell also leads the Black Student Union.

Eva Ranshaw of Alliance came in third and Eric DeBeer of Abolish SA came in fourth.

For student regent, K.K. Little of Uniting Students won with Stephanie Felts of Initiative coming in second and Bethany Cockwell of Alliance coming in third.

Even with all the bad weather conditions, more people still voted in this year's election than last year's. Around 1200 voted this year, whereas last year, only 900 voted. The turnout was still low, but better than past SA elections.

"We were surprised with all the weather conditions at how it went," said Habib Salley, election commissioner.

Milner said she believed the election counts were higher this year because there were so many viable candidates running for SA.







by Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougars (16-11) were rude hosts on the final day of the Cougar Classic baseball tournament Sunday.

The Cougars shunned the Indiana State Sycamores 11-3 and dissed the Chicago State Cougars 10-3.

Their Sunday sweep was not enough to win the round-robin tournament, however. The Creighton Bluejays, who defeated Houston 5-2 in 11 innings Friday, took first place and the Cougars finished second. Indiana State and Chicago State finished third and fourth, respectively.

Indiana State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead over Houston in Sunday's first game. Cougar starter Brad Towns settled down after the third inning and cruised to a complete-game victory, striking out a career-high 11 Sycamore batters. The win was Towns' first since he two-hit Stephen F. Austin Feb. 8.

"It feels real good to win after my last two outings," Towns said. "This game I just relaxed and went after the hitters."

J.J. Matzke provided the offense with back-to-back home runs in the seventh and eighth innings. The second round-tripper was a grand slam.

Matzke, who has been bothered by injuries all season, finished the game 3-for-5 with six RBIs.

A hyper-extended thumb and tendonitis in his left shoulder have limited Matzke's effectiveness. Friday night, he was in a car wreck that only added to his aches and pains.

"I had a wad of bubble gum in my mouth and I just bit down real hard," Matzke said of his pain-relief techniques.

In Sunday's second game, Houston exploded for seven runs in the second inning against an overmatched Chicago State team.

Chicago State starter Tyrone Rivers' fastballs looked more like change-ups and the Cougar batters knocked them around Cougar Field like batting-practice pitches.

Perhaps for lack of a better alternative, Rivers went the distance and Chicago State's bullpen was empty all day.

Houston's bullpen had more activity than an ant hill. Nine Cougar pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts, two short of the Houston record.

Head coach Bragg Stockton said he wanted to get a final look at his pitching staff before the Southwest Conference season begins Friday when Rice comes to Cougar Field for a three-game weekend series.

"This game gave us a chance to play a lot of different people," Stockton said.






by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

DALLAS – Benita Pollard won the game of her life Saturday.

In a finish eschewing the famous Christian Laettner turnaround jumper that sent Duke into the 1992 Final Four, Pollard scored the winning basket in mid-air to send the Texas Lady Longhorns into the NCAA Tournament with a 71-69 victory over Texas Tech in the championship game of the Dr Pepper Southwest Conference Classic at Reunion Arena.

Tech's LeKisha Wiley sank one of two free throws with 10.1 seconds remaining to knot the score at 69.

The Red Raiders pressed, but Texas worked the ball three-fourths of the way up the court to forward Cobi Kennedy, who nearly had the ball stripped by tournament MVP Connie Robinson, with precious seconds left.

It forced Texas coach Jody Conradt to make a decision.

"I kept saying to myself, 'Do I call a timeout or do I trust them (the team). Do I call a timeout or do I trust them,' " she said.

Conradt decided to trust them.

Kennedy found Pollard open to the left of the basket, but her pass was high. In one motion, Pollard leaped in the air, grabbed the ball, and sent it toward the net.

It bounced along the rim several times and dropped in as the final buzzer sounded. Pollard fell to the floor in a delirium of excitement as her teammates left the bench to cover her in a blanket of bodies.

"When the ball came up past half court, I knew there would be only a few seconds left," Pollard said. "That's why I shot it the way I did."

The shot capped a remarkable game that saw both teams struggle early offensively.

Robinson, who led all scorers with 26 points, failed to find her range in the first half with 4-of-10 shooting, and teammate Michi Atkins was 2-of-14 for the game. The Raiders connected on only 32.4 percent of their attempts in the opening period and 38.6 percent for the game.

Amber Hasenmyer led UT with 16 points, including four treys, and all-tournament selection Danielle Viglione had 14.

Despite the loss, Tech received the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and plays No. 15 Missouri in Lubbock Wednesday. No. 5 Texas will play 15th-seeded Oklahoma State in Austin Wednesday.






by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

DALLAS – As soon as the Texas Longhorns stepped onto the court, there was no doubting their chances.

This was their game, and the whole country got to see it.

Texas clinched an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a convincing 87-62 thrashing of Texas A&M (19-10) in Saturday's final of the Dr Pepper Southwest Conference Classic before a crowd of 11,164 at Reunion Arena.

The Longhorns (25-7) saved their best performance for last as the ESPN-televised outburst was by far Texas' easiest win of the tournament and its first victory in seven trips to the Classic final.

Guard B.J. Tyler erupted for 35 points and five 3-pointers as he dominated A&M counterpart David Edwards.

A huge factor in the Aggies' first two tournament wins, Edwards managed only nine points on 2-of-9 shooting against Texas and the pumped-up Tyler.

"We made David work for everything he got today," said Texas coach Tom Penders. "And I think he got a little tired."

Normally a good match-up between the two stars, A&M coach Tony Barone didn't need anyone to tell him which player enjoyed the better day.

"David didn't have any fun today," Barone said. "B.J. scored like 96 points or something."

Tyler didn't waste any time either.

At the 15:15 mark of the first half, the tournament MVP already had 11 points and three treys in leading Texas to an early 17-8 lead.

His punctuation slam dunk with just over three minutes left in the half put the Aggies down for the count at 46-25.

"Before today, I had been shooting sort of flat," Tyler said. "But I was able to get my shots to fall today."

The Aggies could get no closer than 16 points in the second half as Texas continued to frustrate them with its offense and pressing defense.

"Full-court pressure wears you down," Barone said.

As a result of the tough Texas defense, the Aggies were also unable to go inside to scoring threat Joe Wilbert, who had averaged 21.5 points against both Southern Methodist and Texas Tech.

Wilbert could only muster six points on the afternoon.

The Longhorns' answer to an inside game was all-tournament selection Albert Burditt. The Texas center scored 17 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. He finished the Classic having averaged 17.7 points and nine boards in three games.

"Albert is an outstanding player – someone we can't handle," Barone said.

Another Tyler jumper gave Texas its biggest lead of the game at 84-59 with 3:54 left to play. He was then lifted in place of guard Reggie Freeman, having finished an outstanding SWC career.

"(B.J.'s) going to be a great pro," Barone said. "I've already asked him for season tickets."

Visit The Daily Cougar