Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

April 23, 2014

Five Sebelius Slogans Ready for Rollout | Capitol Quip

Five Sebelius Slogans Ready for Rollout | Capitol Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Let me try this again …
  • I’m going to need an extension on that campaign deadline.
  • Comes with the territory. I wouldn’t exchange a thing.
  • Yes! Definitely! Emoji symbols are planned for the finished product.
  • Would you vote for me? I can help fix Obamacare!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on April 27 and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 6:15 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Mark Begich Wins the Parody Game

Conservative activists have composed a spiteful ditty imploring Alaskan voters to give freshman Sen. Mark Begich the heave-ho this fall.

The combative tune denounces the Democratic lawmaker, who is up for reelection in November, for lending his support to the  Affordable Care Act and presumably not fighting hard enough to get the Keystone XL pipeline up and running. “He needs to pack his bags and move to 9-0-2-1-0,” the song suggests.

As for as parodies go, the song is just OK. (Not sure even Weird Al could’ve spun gold out of the dour source material.)

Begich, meanwhile, seems to have no problem lampooning the political scandals (real and imagined) that have helped grind the federal government to a halt:

Another small victory for free will, indeed.

Millennial Activist Aims to Decode Congress Speak

Part of the reason 20-something pundit Matthew Segal accepted the challenge of hosting “OurTime with Matthew Segal,” a temporary radio show SiriusXM plans to air on weekends, is because he wants to cut through all the rhetoric Washington insiders typically regurgitate when confronted with a microphone.

A seasoned activist — his non-profit group, Our Time, is already dedicated to engaging young voters via all manner of social media — Segal told HOH he’d like to break down the relevant issues of the day (health care, civil rights, the federal budget, campaign finance) through thought-provoking discussions.

Segal said he’s asked leaders from across the political spectrum to join him for the weekly chats and is looking forward to picking their brains about how the government actually works. The six-week program is scheduled to air on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. (channel 124) at 2 p.m. on Saturdays, beginning April 26.

“I want to get lawmakers to try to speak to our generation directly … [and] away from how the language of DC obfuscates these issues,” the nascent talk show host said of his anticipated interviewing style.

Segal explained that he modeled the show after Bob Dylan’s now-defunct “Theme Time Radio Hour,” a weekly gabfest wherein the folk rock icon would seize on a seemingly random topic and then fill the hour with songs, anecdotes, celebrity interviews and archival material loosely clinging to that common thread.

“I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we took that theme and applied it to politics?’” Segal said of his free-form mindset.

Of course, the reality of having to deal with congressional schedules and publicity clearances has already caused a few headaches.

The release announcing the show’s rollout stressed that it was all about non-partisan communication, yet only listed left-leaning guests. But that, Segal insists, is only because he can’t yet spill the beans about the conservatives who have tentatively agreed to mix it up on the show.

“We definitely have some Republican guests booked,” he said, listing a GOP senator and right-leaning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activist as future guests.

Each episode will be carved into three separate segments and for the debut show, Segal plans to delve into health care with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Democratic National Committee Chairman and ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

For the LGBT-related chat, Segal has lined up entertainer and Capitol Hill observer George Takei, author and transgender advocate Janet Mock and the unnamed GOP activist. Full story

April 22, 2014

Florida Special Election Winner Challenges President to 3-Point Contest

Businessman Curt Clawson capped off his victory in the Florida special election Republican primary with a challenge to President Barack Obama to “man up” and join him for a game of hoops.

“To President Obama: We aren’t going to agree on much. I am going to challenge you on Obamacare,” Clawson said, according to his prepared remarks released to the press after his primary victory. “I am going to challenge you on spending. I am going to challenge you on economic growth.”

“But first, I am going to challenge you on the basketball court,” he added. “It’s time to man up and accept the three-point challenge. My house or yours?”

The former Purdue Boilermaker basketball star won the decisive GOP primary Tuesday evening and is a safe bet to win the June 24 general election for Florida’s 19th District to replace ex-GOP Rep. Trey Radel.

Full story

Homesick South Dakotans Take Heart, Taco John Is on the Way

Midwesterners desperately in need of a Taco John’s fix should strap on their hungry pants on May 10.

That’s when members of the South Dakota State Society will once again crank out mountains of the take-out joint’s signature Potato Ole (that’s specially seasoned potato crowns to you and me, Russ) to feed the homesick masses.

The sixth annual fundraiser is scheduled to take place at the US-Asia Institute (232 East Capitol St. NE) some time in the afternoon.

Can’t wait to have your fellow Mount Rushmore Staters fling deep-fried spuds down your throat?

Warm up for the West-Mex fiesta by giving homemade Potato Oles a go.

According to Food.com contributor Annabel31, the secret to the signature flavor is, well, no secret at all. Her copycat condiment calls for little more than seasoned salt, paprika, ground cumin and crushed red pepper.

Happy snacking!

April 21, 2014

Miriam’s Kitchen Carves Out New Award for Chris Murphy

Miriam’s Kitchen is so impressed with Sen. Christopher S. Murphy’s humanitarian work that the homeless aid group plans to honor the freshman lawmaker with the inaugural “Mission Possible Champion of the Year” award on May 3.

Miriam’s Kitchen Carves Out New Award for Chris Murphy

Miriam’s Kitchen is mighty impressed with Murphy, left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

According to a Miriam’s Kitchen aide, the Connecticut Democrat has made a name for himself amongst the social assistance community by championing efforts to expand services for at-risk veterans, improving the availability of housing vouchers for displaced individuals and delving into the nutritional challenges faced by those attempting to subsist solely on food stamps.

“The reality of homelessness isn’t something that most people can easily understand. It impacts our entire community, often in ways that aren’t obvious,” Murphy asserted in a release shared by Miriam’s Kitchen. “When federal, state and local policymakers collaborate with service providers and advocates, the solutions become very clear: chronically homeless people need housing. It is the key to helping our most at-risk neighbors build a better life for themselves, and it is critical to containing the high costs of chronic homelessness.”

In addition to headlining Miriam’s Kitchen’s Mission Possible Gala on May 3, Murphy and members of his staff are scheduled to help dole out meals at the main facility (2401 Virginia Ave. NW) Tuesday night.

Murphy’s first trip to Miriam’s HQ will begin around 4 p.m. with meal prep. Dinner service is set to begin around 4:45 p.m.; the menu for the evening is a chicken broccoli stir-fry featuring bok choy, mushrooms and braised greens.

Team Miriam’s Kitchen expects to serve upwards of 150 homeless during the dinner rush — roughly 13 percent of which are typically U.S. military vets.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:43 p.m.
DC, Freshman, Staffers

Staffer Suspects Senate Burger Switcheroo

As if congressional dining options weren’t sketchy enough, a Senate aide is now all salty about a purported bait and switch, calling into question the integrity of the American Grill’s signature Senate Burger.

Staffer Suspects Senate Burger Switcheroo

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

According to the fed-up food spy, Restaurant Associates has replaced the Angus beef patties previously featured in the double-decker gut bomb with smaller, lesser quality patties while continuing to charge the premium rate ($6 solo; $8 to have extra crispy fries and a fountain drink ride shotgun).

In all honesty, we’ve not paid that close attention to the building blocks of the congressional burger offerings before (too busy breaking down the specialty misfires). And Restaurant Associates, per usual, did not respond to emails inquiring about the composition of the Senate Burger vs. the other grilled meats served around the Capitol complex.

So we got to munching.

A regular burger from the American Grill is, in fact, nothing to write home about. Full story

Is Sebelius Ready for Another Rollout? | Capitol Quip

Is Sebelius Ready for Another Rollout? | Capitol Quip

Will she or won’t she? That was the question for Kathleen Sebelius, former Kansas governor, Health and Human Services secretary and potential Senate candidate back in the Sunflower State. That brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and everyone can vote for the winner through Thursday.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 11:34 a.m.
Capitol Quip

Who You Gonna Call? John Lewis!

It’s not every day that you can be within 10 feet of both a member of Congress and a Ghostbuster.

But those streams could have crossed at Awesome Con on the afternoon of April 19. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Hill staffer Andrew Aydin’s booth to promote “March,” their graphic novel on Lewis’ role in the civil rights movement, was across the aisle from where Ernie Hudson, also known as Winston Zeddmore in “Ghostbusters,” posed with fans in front of Ecto-1 while “Who You Gonna Call?” played on a loop.

Lewis and Aydin have been to several comic conventions since “March” was published last year, but Awesome Con was their first in Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, Lewis and Aydin participated in a panel discussion about their book, where they were interviewed by Washington Post comics writer Michael Cavna and answered con-goers’ questions.

Noting the number of superhero costumes at the con, Cavna introduced Lewis by calling him “a true hero — maybe the truest hero in the house.” Full story

Dearest, Dearest Colleague | Capitol Quip

Dearest, Dearest Colleague | Capitol Quip

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry, as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

April 18, 2014

The Congressman and the Sweet Onion Queen

The Congressman and the Sweet Onion Queen

Barrow, right, poses with Miss Georgie Sweet Onion Sarah DeLoach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call.)

These are the pictures we live for at HOH. Hats off to our own Bill Clark, whose full caption is something we simply cannot improve upon:  ”Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., poses for photos with 2014 Miss Georgia Sweet Onion Sarah DeLoach at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher’s pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014. A crowd of more than one thousand law enforcement, government officials and guests from across the state of Georgia gathered to enjoy BBQ and Brunswick stew at the annual event.”

Superheroes Steer Clear of Capitol

 

Superheroes Steer Clear of Capitol

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Perhaps even superheroes can’t stand the thought of getting too close to Congress. That was one possible explanation for the failure of Awesome Con to secure a world record for assembled costumed players photographed at one time.

Superheroes Steer Clear of Capitol

Super turnout was relatively sparse at the Capitol Reflecting Pool. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Promoters had hoped to turn out thousands on Friday at noon for a record-breaking photo in front of the Capitol’s Reflecting Pool. The stage was set. Social media was activated. Commissioner Gordon sent out the Bat signal. There might have been an Aquaman siting in the murky depths of the duck-riddled Reflecting Pool.

Superheroes Steer Clear of Capitol

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. At 11:45 a.m., only a few dozen costumed players were milling around. Guinness World Record officiants were there, folders in hand, to see if D.C. Awesome Con could best China’s World Joyland, which assembled 1,530 crusaders in 2011.

Superheroes Steer Clear of Capitol

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

As the final calls went out over Twitter as the clock struck close to 1 p.m., explanations were bandied about. Some cosplayers apparently went to the Reflecting Pool connecting the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II Memorial. Apparently, superpowers didn’t include map-reading skills for that bunch. Didn’t matter. Only around 200 or so showed, well short of the record.

“Can I get a picture of Little Batman in front of the Capitol?” one tourist asked a mother-son dynamic duo. As Little Batman obliged, the shutterbug asked, “Are you there to protect Congress?”

Superheroes Steer Clear of Capitol

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

At least somebody is.

April 17, 2014

Rep. John Lewis’ ‘March’ Nominated for Will Eisner Award

A trailblazer in more ways than one, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., has another first to add to the list: the first member of Congress to be nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award.

Rep. John Lewis March Nominated for Will Eisner Award

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Eisner Awards, one of the industry’s highest honors, are awarded to the year’s best comics and graphic novels.  Lewis’ graphic novel “March Book One was honored with two nominations this year, receiving a nod in the Best Publication for Teens and Best Reality-Based Work categories.

The novel is the first in a three-part autobiographical series about Lewis’ participation in the civil rights movement.  The first installment explores Lewis’ childhood in Alabama and his early involvement in civil rights protests as a student at Fisk University.

Lewis co-wrote the novel with Andrew Aydin, his telecommunications legislative assistant, along with artist Nate Powell. The first-time novelists have been extremely successful, with “March” topping The New York Times best-seller list for paperback graphic novels and The Washington Post’s nonfiction list last year.

The winners of the Eisner Awards will be announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July.

Lewis is certainly no stranger to Comic-Con, becoming the first sitting Congressman to attend the convention last year. In San Diego, Lewis was met by enthusiastic supporters as he promoted his graphic novel.

Although Lewis will have to wait until this summer to see how “March” fares, a nomination certainly gives him a reason to dance.

April 16, 2014

Five Quips for Cherry Blossom Hanky Panky | Capitol Quip

Five Quips for Cherry Blossom Hanky Panky | Capitol Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. ET Thursday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • Now that’s a Dear Colleague!
  • He’s been watching “Lame Duck Dynasty.”
  • Looks like the idiots are in full bloom as well.
  • Mon Cheri! An affair in full bloom!
  • McAllister’s up the creek without a paddleboat!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on April 20 and in the following print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:15 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

Another day, another few thousand costumed characters kicking back outside the U.S. Capitol. That’s how Awesome Con organizers see things coming into focus on Friday, when they’ll attempt to assemble a collection of cosplayers by the reflecting pool in front of the Capitol in a bid to break a standing world record.

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

(Courtesy Awesome Con)

The point of the whimsical stunt is to trump the swarm of would-be superheroes that mugged for cameras outside China’s World Joyland in 2011.

According to one account of that Guinness World Record-breaking gathering, approximately 1,700 people showed up to participate in the momentous occasion — but roughly 10 percent were disqualified by stickler GWR judges because they had modeled their attire on “characters from video games, TV shows or story books instead of comic books.”

The remaining 1,530 cosplayers still carried the day, surpassing a previous effort during which 1,016 comic book fans stepped out in full regalia.

As we learned last summer, during our inaugural swing through Comic-Con, cosplay is all about freedom of expression and stretching one’s imagination.

Awesome Con Attempts to Morph D.C. Into Cosplay Capital of the World

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

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