- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2006

Cold War survivors

Eyewitnesses to history will be jogging their memories in Washington next month during a daylong symposium on the Cold War hosted by the National Archives.

Featured speakers will include Ambassador Harlan Cleveland, an executive of the Marshall Plan; Sergei Khrushchev, son of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev; Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Eisenhower; Ted Sorensen, speechwriter, adviser and legal counsel to President Kennedy; Francis Gary Powers Jr., son of downed U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers; and Timothy Naftali, director of the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library.

Reservations are a must for the Oct. 21 symposium, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and followed by an evening reception.

Melting tongues

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of California released a study last week that found a sharp decline among third-generation immigrants in the ability to speak their family’s non-English, native tongue.

“Its authors assert that preserving these languages, rather than teaching English, should be an education priority. I disagree,” Don Soifer, of the Arlington-based Lexington Institute, tells Inside the Beltway.

“English fluency is virtually the single most important key to ‘making it’ in America,” he says. “Immigrants who learn English — and the sooner the better — are statistically far more likely to graduate high school, attend college and earn a high salary.”

Mr. Soifer, who has testified before Congress on the subject, argues that the nation’s bilingual programs are too focused on preserving native languages at the expense of teaching English.

His own study, “10 Reasons Why it’s Important to Learn (and Teach) English,” can be accessed at www.lexingtoninstitute.org.

Landing on Bush

Word comes from the makers of Monopoly that Americans have voted to place New York City’s Times Square in the highest-rent blue property that generations of players have known as Boardwalk — or at least in the newly released Here & Now edition.

Washingtonians, meanwhile, will be happy to hang their derby at the White House, a green space formerly known as Pennsylvania Avenue (which makes sense, given the White House address is 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.)

As for another coveted blue property, Park Place, the address now belongs to Boston’s Fenway Park. More than 3 million Americans cast votes to shape the new edition, which went on sale Friday.

Box your boater

In no uncertain terms, women of this country continue to weigh in on the media’s intrigue and critique of outfits worn by prominent women, including newly crowned CBS News anchor Katie Couric.

Last week, Inside the Beltway heard from Washington author S. Michele Nix, who was struck while researching her book, “Women at the Podium,” at how often reporters have written about what women wear as much as, if not more than, what they had to say, particularly during the 20th century.

Now, to “broaden interest of your ongoing education,” Mrs. Thomas E. Carnell writes that as “a woman of, shall we say, mature years, I am fully informed as to these kind of things” even if I occasionally choose not to follow along.

“Here is the true scoop: A lady does not wear white shoes before Memorial Day or after Labor Day. (There is a corollary for gentlemen, who do not wear a straw hat [aka ‘boater’] in the same time frame. This was important back in the days when all men wore hats in public, but in warm weather and for slightly more casual occasions, could put aside the felt fedora they normally wore with their daytime suits and coats in favor of the more dashing — and cooler — straw hat that sported a snappy ribbon around the crown.

“(Now that men almost never wear hats [she doesn’t know this newspaper’s editor in chief, Wesley Pruden], this valuable information has faded from public consciousness, although some vague memory of a ‘white rule’ for women seems to remain.)”

Getting back to those women, Mrs. Carnell says because it is true that Mrs. Couric’s post-Labor Day white jacket appeared to be of a cotton or linen fabric, “she probably was a little ‘out of season’ with it. However, she was not violating the white rule because, as noted above, that actually applies to shoes.

“(Don’t get me started on the different criteria for women’s daytime dresses, tea dresses, cocktail dresses, dinner dresses and evening gowns, all of which are currently misunderstood — and therefore misapplied — by almost every female under the age of 60!)”

Oh, and one other thing, Mrs. Thomas E. Carnell adds: “In the days of your mother and grandmother, a lady’s name appeared in public print on only three occasions during her lifetime: when she was born, when she was married, and when she died. Occasionally, if she made a formal debut at age 18, her name also appeared then of course.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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