Vision even in vacationland

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • August 02, 2005

by Karen Feld

Robert “Bob” A.G. Monks Jr., a controversial but passionate social/political visionary, who was born in D.C. and was a longtime Washington resident – his father, a minister, headed the National Cathedral in the ’40s – and his wife, Millie, known as first lady of the arts in Portland, Maine, threw an elegant garden party the other evening at their sprawling estate, Ram Island Farm, overlooking the ocean in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Monks, a renegade Republican (and an unsuccessful GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate many times over the past 40 years, including challenges to legendary Maine Sens. Margaret Chase Smith, Ed Muskie and, more recently, Susan Collins), founder of Institutional Shareholder Services, and an outspoken voice on corporate reform, said: “People are so into material things; it’s important not to forget a passion for arts.” So on this particular evening, the Portland Ballet was a beneficiary and did a spectacular preview performance on the deck of the Monks’ manse.

Still gossip on leaks

But that didn’t stop political chatter throughout the evening. A group of politically connected lawyers were buzzing that incarcerated New York Times reporter Judith Miller is the one who told Karl Rove and/or Lewis “Scooter” Libby about the CIA leak. Whether true or not, they speculated that this may provide an alibi for Rove.

Another centrist for Hillary

Monks, a successful businessman-turned-political activist – he reminds corporations that they have a responsibility to their stockholders and society – threw a successful Kerry fundraiser at Ram Farm last summer with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., as the keynote speaker. This longtime Republican, who’s currently involved in actively supporting preserving the federal estate tax, told me he’s now a huge Hillary supporter, and that means big dollars for her presidential race. Other D.C. connections at the event: Dr. Langhart Snodgrass, a psychiatrist who headed development for the Brookings Institution in Washington and moved to Lewiston, Maine, last year; and Arletta Ashe, a fashion designer in D.C. and former wife of then-Sallie Mae head Edward Fox, now living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, as well.

Justice Breyer nears record

If Judge John Roberts is not confirmed to the Supreme Court by Sept. 15 – and it’s unlikely that he will be since hearings aren’t scheduled until Congress returns from its August recess on Sept. 6. – Justice Stephen Breyer will hold the record for serving longest as junior justice: more than 11 years. Justice Joseph Story was the last to hold that record. Breyer’s main job as junior justice is to open the door, but in the 11 years he’s had the job, only one person has ever knocked on the door … someone bringing coffee to Justice Antonin Scalia.

And that’s the way it is … really


Longtime CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite, 87, whose wife, Betsy, lost her battle to cancer in March, has taken up with “You’re So Vain” singer Carly Simon’s sister Johanna, a retired opera singer in her late 60s. Both live in New York City. We hear the romance is hot and heavy. My source saw them in Annapolis a few weeks ago. They stayed overnight with a friend of hers (and Cronkite’s) and shared a room. The couple was so amorous – I know this is a little hard to believe, but the host swore to it to my friend – that they woke up others in the place – and it wasn’t with snoring.

Flip-flop flak

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has taken on a new role in her office on Capitol Hill – that of fashion police for her staff. In the wake of the Flip-Flop Flap fallout at the White House, scoop is that the senator ordered flip-flops are OK out (side, that is) while regular shoes are approved insider foot fare for staff and interns.

Safe at the First Home

Sighting: Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend was spotted among the guests cheering on the handicapped kids’ playoff teeball game on the White House lawn last Sunday.

Happy birthday, Charlie

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO commander and presidential candidate, are among those planning to attend a 75th birthday bash for Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., at Tavern on the Green in New York City tomorrow evening.

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