- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2005

One and millions

Kenya was a topic of concern in the Kalorama neighborhood of the District on Saturday night, as Washington power couple Jeffrey and Juleanna Weiss opened up their home in support of Nyumbani, an orphanage for HIV-positive children founded by Jesuit priest the Rev. Angelo D’Agostino.

“We’ve just completed one of several new wings to house grandparents,” Inside the Beltway was told by the priest, who prior to joining the Jesuits in 1955 was a U.S. Air Force surgeon in Washington. “Obviously, their parents are gone, but this way the children can be with whatever family they might have left.”

During its annual Hope Awards ceremony in Washington last summer, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children honored Father “Dag,” as he’s affectionately called in Africa, for his many years of heart-wrenching work.

Prior to founding Nyumbani in 1992, he established the Center for Religion and Psychiatry in Washington.

Good omen?

There will be a President Allen, whether Virginia Sen. George Allen makes the cut in 2008 or not: at least on ABC’s new show “Commander in Chief,” starring Geena Davis as President Mackenzie Allen.

Miss Davis’ character assumes power as commander in chief when the Republican president dies during surgery. Donald Sutherland plays her antagonist as speaker of the House.

“Filming for the show will be in Richmond and in Washington,” says LaDonna Hale Curzon of Alexandria, who answered the casting call “but didn’t get a call back.”

Jungle love

Sorry, bachelors, but Washington’s “Queen of the Corporate Jungle” has gotten hitched — again.

“Some men are brokenhearted that I got married,” Evelyn Y. Davis, the nation’s leading minority stockholder and editor of the financial newsletter Highlights and Lowlights, doesn’t mind telling the PR Newswire.

Mrs. Davis married James Patterson in a civil ceremony in Arlington — her fourth trip down the aisle, his second. The couple reportedly met after he sent her several fan letters.

“She is a major investor gadfly — shows up at all the corporations’ annual meetings, pummels the CEOs with questions, a lot of them hard questions,” one of her admirers tells this column.

The couple will reside in her Watergate apartment.

Harry and Bubba

C-SPAN has asked members of Congress which books they read during their summer recess, and topping the list is Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.”

The survey, timed for the start of the network’s Book-TV Bus, finds that the most widely read author among the polled congressmen is David McCullough.

“The broader list of responses is indicative of the varied backgrounds and interests of members,” C-SPAN says. “For example, ‘Williams Obstetrics’ made the list and 9 percent of participants read an installment from the ‘Harry Potter’ series. Political memoirs also proved popular: ‘Conscience of a Conservative’ by Barry Goldwater, ‘One Soldier’s Story’ by Sen. Bob Dole, and ‘My Life’ by former President Bill Clinton all made an appearance on the list of summer reads.”

Asbestos alarm

As the nation tries to figure out how to pay for victims of Hurricane Katrina, there could be trouble ahead for a proposal to create a $140 billion trust fund to pay asbestos victims.

A report to be released today by Washington research firm Bates White shows the trust fund created by the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act of 2005 will go bankrupt within three years.

The FAIR Act, which removes asbestos claims from the courts and creates a fund to be financed by defendants and insurers, simply will be overwhelmed by the number of people claiming asbestos caused their illnesses, the report states. And taxpayers could be left footing the bill.

“When the trust fund goes broke, hundreds of thousands of claimants will be right back where they started,” says report author Charlie Mullin.

Plugging the dike

A “centrist, conservative alternative” to the AARP will be featured at the National Press Club on Wednesday, henceforth known as the National Association for Senior Concerns (NASCON).

“Sit back and take a look at what AARP has done over the years. They haven’t done much,” NASCON founder and CEO Jerry Barton tells Inside the Beltway.

He claims the “politically radical agenda of AARP doesn’t represent the majority of Americans, and other senior groups do little when it comes to fighting for reasonable public-policy reforms affecting senior citizens. No more.”

Foremost on the NASCON agenda: lobby for Social Security, Medicare and other senior citizen-related reform, and counter “destructive economic proposals of the AARP and its allies in the media and in Congress.”

“The dike is about to break — 85 million Americans are 50 years or older, and that is growing at a rate of 7.5 million per year,” Mr. Barton says.

Joining Mr. Barton for Wednesday’s press conference in Washington will be Peter Marshall, formerly of TV’s “Hollywood Squares” game-show fame, who will become NASCON’s national honorary chairman.

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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