Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 3, 2014

September 2, 2014

Flashback: Moira Bagley Smith’s Guide to Hill Booze Scene

Flashback: Moira Bagley Smiths Guide to Hill Booze Scene

Bagley Smith chronicled the intricacies of flip cup at the Ugly Mug during her time at Roll Call. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

By now, you’ve seen the announcement that Moira Bagley Smith is joining the staff of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., as communications director.

While on staff here at Roll Call in the aughts, Bagley Smith wrote regularly for our old Mug Shots feature. In that role, she brought readers to Sonoma just a year after the wine bar opened, to board games at Trusty’s and to a flip cup tournament at The Ugly Mug.

“The bar sport — a beer-chugging, cup-flipping relay race — is a test of concentration and nerves, rather than strength,” Bagley Smith said in describing flip cup in 2006.

Full story

Jesse Benton’s Grammar Error of Biblical Proportions

Before Jesse Benton added chapters to the Book of James, he committed a grievous grammatical sin.

Benton, the former campaign aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who recently cut ties with the re-election effort, at least in part, because of the distracting misinformation he said the media kept flinging about, at the end of his resignation letter transgressed against the communications gods by signing off with an erroneous quote.

As conservative pundit Erick Erickson pointed out after digesting Benton’s resignation letter, there is no chapter 16 in the book of James.

 

 

The inspirational passage Benton presumably meant to hang his hat on belongs to the disciple John, who theoretically shared said thought in the final Gospel of the New Testament.

But first there was Benton’s mangling of the word choice rules for “affect” and “effect”:

Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record. This election is far too important and the stakes way too high.

To recap, “affect” is a verb that means to influence. “Effect” is primarily used as a noun that means result. Effect, when used as a verb, means simply to cause. So Benton either meant to use the word “affect” or his use of the word “effect” as a verb would change the meaning of the sentence to the following, ahem, effect: “I cannot and, and will not, allow any a possibility that my circumstances will cause the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record.”

On a side note, the first chapter of James in the King James version of the Bible has a section about “The Tongue,” which states, in James 1:5. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”

Vaya con Dios, Jesse Benton.

Overheard: Tammy Duckworth on Being Discreet About IVF Treatments

“Being in the job I have, it was really hard to keep it, you know, very quiet.”

— Rep. Tammy Duckworth discussing her in vitro fertilization treatments on NBC’s “Today” show. The Illinois Democrat announced on Monday’s telecast that she is pregnant with a girl and is due in December. Duckworth, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot in the military during the Iraq war, lost her legs when her chopper was shot down in 2004.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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By Jason Dick Posted at 12:46 p.m.
Kiddies, Reps

August 29, 2014

Overheard: GOP Commendation, Not Condemnation, for Obama

“I think the president is being commendably cautious here about being involved in the middle of a Syrian civil war.”

— Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., on MSNBC Friday morning.

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:06 p.m.
Overheards, POTUS, Reps

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of John Boehner (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner reminds us of his love for tans, long hair and monkeys as Heard on the Hill concludes its 2014 look back.

 

Related:

Best of Nancy Pelosi (Video)

Best of Harry Reid (Video)

Best of Mitch McConnell (Video)

August 28, 2014

#RubbleBucketChallenge? Gaza Activists Dumping Debris on Their Heads Near White House

Forget cold water — bring on the dirt and sand.

Activists in the District of Columbia plan to repurpose the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge,” during a Thursday night demonstration in front on the White House to show support for residents of the Gaza Strip.

Turmoil between Israel and Hamas means water is a scare resource in Gaza, but debris is plentiful. Organizers say 15,671 homes have been demolished or damaged since conflict began on July 7. To draw awareness to the destruction they will launch a “Rubble Bucket Challenge” at 6 p.m.

Maysam Yusuf, a Palestinian youth from Gaza, initiated the tongue-in-cheek campaign. The Facebook page she founded on Aug. 22 has generated nearly 10,000 likes. She explained it as a way to “raise awareness about the horrors that families of Gaza experience when they are bombed inside their houses.”

Instead of donating to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, as millions have done during the past month, participants are asked to give money to help rebuild Gaza. CODEPINK and New Generations for Palestinian Children & Youth organized Thursday’s event.

“As silly as the ice bucket challenge for ALS seemed at first, it generated a lot of attention for a neglected disease,” said Pam Bailey, a freelance writer who has lived in Gaza and founded New Generations as a nonprofit. “Gaza has been neglected by the world as well, and we hope our response to the Rubble Bucket Challenge will both show our support for the Palestinians’ freedom and help educate passersby.”

The challenge will be taped and posted online. HOH will keep an eye out for Capitol Hill denizens dumping buckets of dirt and sand.

In Marie Claire Profile, Jennifer Hing Dresses Up and Opens Up

Jennifer Hing, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, is known around Capitol Hill for pairing stylish yet work-appropriate outfits with a practical pencil threaded through her ponytail or tucked behind one ear.

But in a photograph accompanying an article published today on the Marie Claire website, Hing eschews her pencil for an oversized clutch bag, and her tailored blazer for a sweeping avant-garde cape.

She’s the subject of one of three short profiles appearing in the September issue of the women’s magazine under the headline, “Change Agents: 3 Women Who are OWNING their Future.” Hing, plus Deborah Turness, president of NBC News and the creative director and executive vice president of design for Banana Republic, Marissa Webb, are presented as “power players reinventing the rules in their respective businesses and proving that the future belongs to those who seize it.”

Hing told HOH she was contacted “out of the blue” to participate in the profile and still wasn’t quite sure how she was selected or whether someone tipped off Marie Clare that she might be a good interview subject.

Full story

New Englanders, and Political Figures, Relieved as Market Basket Standoff Ends

New Englanders, and Political Figures, Relieved as Market Basket Standoff Ends

Market Basket employees wave to cars in Londonderry as they call for customers to boycott the embattled New England grocery store chain on Aug. 17. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Across a broad swath of New England, there’s cause for celebration this Thursday — about the local supermarket.

Driving around New Hampshire last week, the scene was unavoidable: Protesters waving signs outside of local Market Basket stores, with cars honking as they drove by. Inside the stores, bare shelves abound, especially with the perishable goods, little fresh dairy or produce to speak of, an empty butcher case. Most importantly, there were hardly any customers. The public had backed the employees with an old-fashioned boycott.

Politicians across the spectrum had called for resolution, and thus it came as no surprise when the statements started to appear lauding the announcement late Wednesday that an agreement had been reached to bring back the popular previous management, including from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. Full story

August 27, 2014

John Lewis, James Clyburn to Represent Congress at National Book Festival

John Lewis, James Clyburn to Represent Congress at National Book Festival

Clyburn, left, and Lewis, center, will represent Congress at the National Book Festival. (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

 

The National Book Festival will feature not just one but two members of Congress for its 2014 gathering, which kicks off Saturday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown D.C. — Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga., and James E. Clyburn, D-S.C.

Lewis, who’s been on a tear the last year for his graphic novel “March: Book One,” a collaboration with his aide Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell about his formative years as a child leading to the civil rights icon’s political awakening, will discuss his work on Saturday from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. as part of the Contemporary Life program. He’ll sign books available for purchase from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

John Lewis, James Clyburn to Represent Congress at National Book Festival

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Clyburn will discuss his memoir, “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black” earlier on Saturday as part of the Contemporary Life program, from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., and will sign books from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

By Jason Dick Posted at 4:16 p.m.
Books, Reps

August 26, 2014

Steve Stockman Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

Short-timer Steve Stockman doesn’t see the roughly 12 legislative days standing between him and unemployment as a time to mourn. He’d rather bring in new blood to help shake up the establishment for a few more weeks.

Steve Stockman Not Going Gently Into That Good Night

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Texas Republican, who took himself out of commission earlier this spring by unsuccessfully challenging Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn for his seat, is on the hunt for a new intern to keep him company until the end.

Sounds like a sweet gig for anyone looking to learn the congressional ropes, but perhaps not planning to put down roots in D.C.:

Texas Representative- 08/25/2014

The House’s most unique and courageous conservative seeks smart, happy interns (of all ages and backgrounds) for the reminder of the year. Alas, we cannot pay you. Schedules and start/end dates are negotiable if you’re worth it. We do not insist on specific, arbitrary submissions: send us whatever personal materials you think will give us reason to hire you, even if that’s just a standard boring resume and canned cover letter. Writing samples are encouraged, but not required, because even a short cover letter belies and betrays a lousy writer. Brevity is the soul of wit. This Member is not a jerk, and neither loathes nor avoids interns, but loves them, and actually speaks to them. If you are selected for this internship you will have extraordinary access to the Member and to meaningful projects that go well beyond the standard intern grunt work (or your money back). Personality and ideology are important. Please bring a confident, vigorous intellect and no drama. Ideal candidates will be true patriots who can count up to 17 in trillions, and care more about future generations than they do about sucking up to current leadership. Mushy pleasers/appeasers keep walkin’. HINT: vapid granolas who fear guns, hate babies, are ashamed of America, and think Islamic terrorists and illegal aliens are just misunderstood will not be comfortable here. Reply to: kim.tape@mail.house.gov.

Assuming that’s not a typo in the first sentence (if so, Team Stockman may want to see about locking down a temporary copy editor, too), the incoming party will need to serve as a living testament to the travails of the past year.

Which sounds to us like “Guilty Remnant” members will have a leg up in the personality and ideology departments.

Won’t be long now.

Overheard: Rep. Steve Cohen on Guns

“A lot of people in America like guns.”

— Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., on CNN this morning.

By Jason Dick Posted at 12:47 p.m.
Overheards

August 25, 2014

Sherrod Brown: Switch to Wendy’s or White Castle if Burger King Goes to Canada (Video)

Sherrod Brown: Switch to Wendys or White Castle if Burger King Goes to Canada (Video)

Brown is not happy with Burger King’s reported plans to go Canada. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a statement that might make the late Dave Thomas proud, Sen. Sherrod Brown said Monday that if Burger King sets up shop in Canada as part of a tax inversion, customers should switch to Wendy’s or White Castle.

“Burger King’s decision to abandon the United States means consumers should turn to Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers or White Castle sliders. Burger King has always said ‘Have it Your Way’; well my way is to support two Ohio companies that haven’t abandoned their country or customers,” Brown said.

Full story

Conservatives Co-Opt Ice Bucket Challenge to Needle Nancy Pelosi

Can’t beat her? Mock her!

Such seems to be the mentality behind a new(ish) cyber swipe aimed at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Conservatives Co Opt Ice Bucket Challenge to Needle Nancy Pelosi

(Screenshot)

The would-be meme suggests that if the California Democrat participated in the insanely popular #IceBucketChallenge currently flooding your every social media feed, she would disintegrate — much like Elphaba Thropp famously did in the dramatic confrontation forever burned into our collective memory by “The Wizard of Oz.”

Perennial candidate John Dennis went to that same well in 2010, during his first attempt at wrestling the Bay-area seat away from Pelosi. Full story

August 22, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Best of Harry Reid (Video)

As Heard on the Hill’s look back at 2014 rolls on, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid organizes his calendar, greases pigs and pays tribute to his favorite Americans — the Koch brothers.

How Expensive Is a Mug of Bacon?

How Expensive Is a Mug of Bacon?

From the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MANCHESTER, N.H. | One Republican senator from the Midwest might as well be asking: Will taxes raise the sticker price of this mug of bacon?

The menu item at the iconic Red Arrow diner currently goes for $13.99 — and for six bucks more you can keep the mug. The diner is a must stop for any politician stumping in the Granite State. Your correspondent ate breakfast this week at a counter spot marked with a small plaque noting that former Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., (now a candidate for Senate in New Hampshire) had once graced the same seat.

How Expensive Is a Mug of Bacon?But Sen. Ron Johnson’s office has a beef about government regulation of the porky breakfast product.

A new blog entry on the Wisconsin Republican’s website says, “the idea that government should be able to use taxes and regulations to make its citizens avoid the wholesome foods they prefer is repulsive.”

It references a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Oklahoma State professor Jayson Lusk about the promotion of  a vegetarian diet by some as a means to combat climate change.

Full story

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