Inside the Beltway

DREW FANS

Unlike the bound encyclopedias of the past, it took only seconds Tuesday for the Internet’s wealth of online encyclopedias to update their Nancy Drew pages to show the fictional girl detective’s influence on a number of prominent American women, including Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, and now President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

PRAY AND FIGHT

Delivering the recent commencement address at the University of Maryland, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta told a story “of the rabbi and the priest who decided they would get to know each other a little better. So one evening, they went to a boxing match and thought that if they went to those kind of events, they could learn a little bit more about each other’s religion. And just before the bell rang, one of the boxers made the sign of the cross. The rabbi nudged the priest and said, ‘What does that mean?’ The priest said, ‘It doesn’t mean a … thing if he can’t fight.’ ”

Mr. Panetta told the graduates that “we bless ourselves with the hope that this country will be OK, but frankly, it doesn’t mean a … thing unless you’re willing to fight for it.”

SUMMER IN ASPEN

Talk about a star-studded list of U.S. leaders, past and present, that the Aspen Institute has lined up for its 2009 Aspen Ideas Festival this summer in Colorado. Our program reveals, among others, Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, former Supreme Court Justice andra Day O’Connor, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and former secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice, Madeleine Albright and James A. Baker III.

TRYING AGAIN

At a recent meeting of the embattled and understaffed U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC Chairman Mary L. Schapiro drew attention to a statement issued by the SEC that, at first blush, appears triggered by this past year’s market crisis and resulting fragility of investor confidence.

Think again. The SEC issued the statement on April 28, 1977. It reads:

“Recent disclosures concerning a wide variety of questionable and illegal corporate practices, accomplished in certain instances with the knowledge and participation of top corporate management, have served to focus public attention on the subject of corporate accountability. A number of proposals designed to achieve a new ‘corporate governance’ have been suggested, including placing greater emphasis on the role of outside directors and audit committees, increasing federal control over corporate conduct through legislation which requires federal chartering or setting of minimum standards of corporate conduct, and providing mechanisms to assure a higher level of management accountability to shareholders through revisions of the commission’s proxy rules.”

Now, as the SEC (obviously not for the first time) considers changes to federal proxy rules, Ms. Schapiro is hoping “with all my heart that, 32 years from now, a future SEC chairman is not quoting my words, calling once again for a new rule facilitating the inclusion of shareholder nominees in corporate proxies.”

FORE! AND MORE

“… The big deal about President Obama and his [Memorial Day] golf course ‘moment of silence’ is a bit contrived. First, when someone is teeing off or addressing the ball, there is always a moment of silence. When I used to golf, that moment of silence was usually followed by a tirade of self-deprecating language.”

-Columnist and veteran radio broadcaster Dave Macy, who edits a religious Web site DoubtFreeLiving.com

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