Names & Faces

Totenberg's Courtside Seat

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Totenberg's Courtside Seat

A blog that labels itself a "legal tabloid" has been soliciting juicy anecdotes about NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg's on-the-job behavior, but Totenberg says she's just doing her job.

In a post on authored by the blog's editor in chief, David Lat, one anecdote describes the correspondent entering the Supreme Court's press section moments before a morning session begins -- and asking someone sitting in the front row to surrender the seat.

Totenberg gets her way, it says, "because nobody says no to Nina."

But not so fast: Totenberg says that since she happens to be the dean of the Supreme Court press corps, she actually has an assigned seat -- that nice one, right up front.

"I'm flattered that I have reached the stage in my career that my taking my assigned seat has become an event big enough to inspire such embellished storytelling," Totenberg said in an interview yesterday. "If I had known asking someone to vacate my seat was such a big deal, I would have also asked him to bring me a Starbucks and a bagel."

A Birthday Bash for McGovern

When storied Washington families reunite, it's important to do it right. So to celebrate former senator George McGovern's 85th birthday and the 35th anniversary of his presidential campaign, more than 200 of his closest friends and former colleagues have hit Washington this weekend.

The festivities kicked off last night with a reception for the former staff and volunteers of McGovern's 1972 campaign in the Cannon House Office Building's lavish Caucus Room. Today, the reunion shifts focus to social responsibility -- and to the man of the hour -- with a World Hunger Symposium and birthday luncheon at George Washington University. Speakers at the lunch include former senators Tom Daschle and Gary Hart, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, actor Warren Beatty and Washington Post journos David Broder and Bob Woodward.

What to get the politico who's seen it all? It sounds like guests shouldn't fret: In lieu of a birthday gift, the reunion's Web site suggests contributions to McGovern's Legacy Fund, which supports child nutrition programs through the World Food Program.

The Beckhams Have Landed

Splashy British soccer phenom David Beckham made a grand debut Friday at his new home stadium, the Los Angeles Galaxy's Home Depot Center -- but flubbed a bit when referring to his sport.

After saying his family came first, he said the second most important thing to him "is the foot-- , is the soccer," nearly slipping into the rest of the world's term for the game.

"I'll get used to that at some point. I'm sorry," the pop-culture icon said, drawing a few boos that quickly turned to laughter.

The Galaxy has switched team colors to coincide with Beckham's arrival, going from the familiar green and gold to navy, white and gold. The 32-year-old midfielder signed a five-year contract with the Galaxy in January that will yield a $32.5 million salary.

Beckham's ever-stylish wife, former Spice Girl Victoria, was also in attendance, posing for photographers in a fuschia dress and matching alligator handbag. The couple's move across the pond will be documented Monday in a one-hour NBC special titled "Victoria Beckham: Coming to America."


"It's like . . . pop luxe. Pop and luxury. Everything about me is pop and luxury."

-- the very quotable rapper Kanye West, explaining his philosophy of personal style in the August issue of Harper's Bazaar. Other gems from West concerned his fiancee, designer Alexis Phifer ("She helped me get fresh!"), and his bad-boy attitude ("I'm really shy. . . . Why do you think I'm so cocky? It overcomes it.").

-- Compiled by Marissa Newhall from staff and wire reports

© 2007 The Washington Post Company