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August 28, 2014
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.
June 23, 2014
There are just two chances left to nominate House GOP lawmakers for ousting at the hands of HBO’s Bill Maher.
The political comedian announced during the June 20 “Real Time With Bill Maher” that he has added Republican Reps. Tim Walberg of Michigan and freshman Jackie Walorski of Indiana to his list of incumbents who might be vulnerable in the November midterm elections.
June 21, 2014
Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle — or “Coach Doyle,” as he’s deferentially called by colleagues — doesn’t want to see anybody get hurt at the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.
That’s a good thing for a team of amateur athletes with an average age far past that of a professional ballplayer in his prime, and perhaps especially good for Rep. Joseph Crowley.
“I’ve been hurt twice in the last three seasons,” the New York Democrat readily admitted. “I’ve been hurt at the game. Typically, it’s pulling a muscle.
“We’re so psyched,” Crowley explained. “The adrenaline’s pumping. You’re running from votes, you’re changing in the car, you’re running into the stadium. There’s no time to warm up, the game starts. You’re just, like, pumping. All those people there!”
He paused and smiled. “It’s a really, really cool thing.”
Crowley, the vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus when he’s not manning first base, played in his first Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 1999, as a freshman lawmaker. He’s seen a lot and has a humble idea of his place in the scheme of things. “The second year, I remember I was out in the outfield, and I didn’t have my cleats that morning, and I was shagging a fly ball,” he recalled. “The field was so wet and dewy, I just lost my feet completely. Bang! Right smack on my back. And I got up and I said, ‘Why am I doing this? I don’t know why I’m doing this.’”
Crowley uses the word “hate” for anyone who’s a standout player, and “jealous” for anyone who competes to play first base. The latter point has been the source of a rivalry between him and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.
But despite his somewhat imposing stature and gruff baritone, Crowley is quick with a laugh and his eyes twinkle when he’s talking trash — a sign he takes it all in stride.
Some of Crowley’s favorite memories? “I enjoyed watching the Weiner years,” said Crowley of former Rep. Anthony Weiner, a fellow New York Democrat and Mets fan.
Crowley’s nicknamed the Democrats’ star pitcher, Cedric L. Richmond of Louisiana, “Franchise” and calls freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy of Florida, “Franchise 2.” Murphy, Crowley said, is “like a gazelle” on the field.
He says his favorite moment inside the diamond was in 2012, the same day the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act.
“Folks made signs out in the field,” Crowley said. “‘Supreme Court 1, Republicans Nothing.’ Something like that.”
Was there ever a low-point in his congressional baseball career?
“Yeah,” Crowley said, trying to deadpan but ultimately bursting out laughing. “The day Steve Largent struck me out my only time at bat. I said, ‘I’m never gonna be here again!’ ”
The Oklahoma Republican who’s in two halls of fame — pro football’s and the Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game’s — made him look silly. “I was there at the plate, and he threw a ball, and I fouled it off. And he threw another ball, and it was a ball. And he threw another ball, it was a strike, and I knew it was coming, and all I could do was look at it. And I watched it. It was a beautiful pitch, it was a curveball over the plate, and I remember thinking: ‘That guy is such a great athlete. I hate him.’
“But that was 15, 16 years ago,” Crowley shrugged. “Every year is a new beginning. I’m hoping to hit it out soon.”
May 13, 2014
Bill Maher might be giving up on “flipping” Rep. Michael G. Grimm’s district.
The liberal comedian explained on his HBO show “Real Time” last week that the New York Republican is probably now capable of putting his seat in Democratic hands all by himself.
“There has been a development that I must tell you we here at ‘Real Time’ could not foresee,” said Maher, “and that is that the very first schmoe that we put up on our Tweet 16 board of finalists … has most likely flipped himself by getting arrested and possibly going to prison.” Full story
March 31, 2014
Comedian Bill Maher still wants to #flipadistrict from Republican to Democrat, and on his HBO show on March 28, he continued to lambast two of his GOP targets: New York’s Michael G. Grimm and Texas’s Blake Farenthold.
“They got pisssssssssssed!” chuckled Maher.
Maher read a statement from Grimm as reported in the lawmaker’s hometown newspaper, the Staten Island Advance: “From the ultra-liberal new Mayor Bill de Blasio and now the left-wing, anti-Catholic Bill Maher, a troubling pattern is emerging where the most radical progressives in the country are coming out and supporting my opponent.”
“I don’t even know who your opponent is!” Maher crowed. For the record, Grimm’s likely Democratic challenger is Domenic Recchia, a former city councilman from Brooklyn.
“It’s said that you can tell a lot about someone by who opposes them,” Farenthold told Breitbart News. “In the case of liberal pundit Bill Maher … I wear his disapproval of me as a badge of honor.”
The Texas Republican, in a separate interview with KTRH News Radio, said, “I do have a Democrat running against me. Unless Maher is able to get him a lot of money, I think I’m okay.”
“I love it when politicians reveal themselves like this,” Maher told his audience after quoting Farenthold. “That’s the point of us doing this. That yes, you have a big wallet, and I don’t think in America ‘I have the biggest wallet’ should always win.”
Fourteen additional House Republicans will be nominated by fans via Twitter over the next few weeks, ultimately to be whittled to one candidate whose midterm opponent Maher will support.
Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.
March 24, 2014
The first round of votes has come in: Reps. Michael G. Grimm of New York and Blake Farenthold of Texas are “fan favorites” — to be ousted from office in November.
The two lawmakers are among the total of 16 House Republicans who will be nominated via Twitter by the public over the coming weeks as part of political comedian and liberal firebrand Bill Maher’s #FlipaDistrict campaign.
Once all the candidates are narrowed down “bracket-style,” Maher will target the “winning” incumbent for defeat in the midterm elections.
Maher won’t be running himself, of course, but the host of HBO’s “Real Time” has plenty of money to throw behind the official Democratic challenger, plus a coterie of fans enthusiastic to aid in the effort. Full story
August 12, 2013
In our latest edition of Fictional Franchise — the series that examines fictional characters and who represents them in Congress — we look at the fictional residents of the District of Columbia and their non-voting representative, Democratic Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
The rules for the series go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (See more on the rules here.)
Speaking of rules, while the title of this series is “Fictional Franchise,” these Washingtonians are not actually enfranchised when it comes to congressional representation.
By the way, we skipped “The West Wing.” Aaron Sorkin concentrated so much on his characters’ work lives that it was to the exclusion of their home lives. So we determined that we did not have enough research to make definitive determinations on the gang.
Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen)
It’s hard to reconcile the fact that Murphy Brown, patron saint of a generation of female reporters, is not represented by a voting member of Congress. One gets the sense if she were real, the law would have been changed by now.
It is widely believed that Brown’s townhouse is on Dent Place in Georgetown, a neighborhood home to many famously fictional people.
And while she may have the dance moves of an “Animal House” extra, she is still the coolest fake journalist ever.
July 24, 2013
Somebody obviously didn’t tell Rep. Mark Sanford the House moved up the Wednesday evening vote series an hour earlier than anticipated. Otherwise, he might have changed clothing first — or taken a shower, at least.
The South Carolina Republican came into the Speaker’s Lobby sporting a sweat-soaked T-shirt, gym shorts and sneakers.
Asked by HOH if he had thought he had adequate time for an exercise run before having to report to the chamber to vote on amendments to the Defense Department appropriations bill, Sanford deadpanned, “I think that’s a fair assessment.”
For the most part, he stayed sheepishly in one corner of the long hallway, hovering near one of the chamber doorways to monitor when he needed to run out onto the floor and cast his votes and trying to ignore giggling reporters.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, is a stickler for proper attire, and has been known to admonish male lawmakers from the dais for not wearing required jackets and ties. Sanford donned a blazer supplied by an aide when he had to go into the chamber, but took it off when he was in the Speaker’s Lobby, perhaps wanting to avoid taking it into the dry cleaner’s.
June 20, 2013
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has decided to play the role of peace broker between Speaker John A. Boehner and the tea party. In a tongue-in-cheek move, the DCCC delivered to the Ohio Republican on Thursday a gift basket containing a teapot, an assortment of gourmet tea bags and mugs engraved with the names of 13 of his chief antagonists.
An intern dropped off the package at Boehner’s personal office in the Longworth House Office Building shortly before 11 a.m., according to a DCCC aide who alerted CQ Roll Call about the offering earlier in the morning.
“Dear Speaker Boehner,” read an attached note, scrawled by hand in blue ink on DCCC stationery. “With another mutiny brewing, we’re sending you a tea party to calm down your tea party. We include personalized mugs for your convenience.”
The letter concludes, “~the Democratic Congressional Campaign Cmte.”
No word yet on whether Boehner will invite lawmakers — not all of whom are officially affiliated with the House Tea Party Caucus or considered loyalists by national tea party groups — over for a sit-down.
We do wonder, though, whether Boehner’s staff will ensure every member gets his or her own special mug.
Here’s a full rundown, courtesy of DCCC:
- Justin Amash of Michigan
- Jason Chaffetz of Utah
- Mike Coffman of Colorado
- Louie Gohmert of Texas
- Tim Huelskamp of Kansas
- Steve King of Iowa
- Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina
- Kristi Noem of South Dakota
- Steve Scalise of Louisiana
- Steve Stockman of Texas
- Steve Southerland II of Florida
- Tim Walberg of Michigan
- Jackie Walorski of Indiana
April 19, 2013
By now you may have already heard the tale of the capture of Paul Kevin Curtis, an Elvis impersonator-turned-suspect for sending ricin to elected officials and who might also have believed he was being targeted for uncovering a refrigerator full of black market body parts.
But there’s always another side to every story and, the way Curtis tells it, it starts with a drive with a dog named Moo Cow. Full story
April 14, 2013
The House is alive with the sound of music — well, almost.
Last week, staffers and members of Congress rejoiced to learn that they would regain access to Spotify, a popular music-streaming program, on the House network.
They would return to Capitol Hill from a two-week recess ready to pick up where they left off before the House computer overlords blocked the program for fear it would expose government computers to cyberattacks.
March 13, 2013
Hey, buddy, want to buy some cheap toner? Not so fast, the House inspector general says.
According to a memo sent to the congressional community from Inspector General Theresa Grafenstine, lawmakers are being targeted with increasing frequency by scammers who claim to sell toner at discounted prices — that are actually as much as 10 times the market rate.
“It is an unfortunate reality that toner vendors will attempt to take advantage of individuals who may be unaware of the existence of this scam,” Grafenstine reflected.
March 6, 2013
So you came to the nation’s capital and you’re disappointed to learn that the White House is no longer offering public tours, a casualty of the sequester.
Never fear: Cruise director John A. Boehner has a backup activity the kids will love.
“I’m pleased to assure you that public tours of the United States Capitol will continue,” the Ohio Republican and Speaker wrote in a letter to his constituents on Wednesday. “I encourage you and your family to visit the U.S. Capitol during your trip to Washington, D.C.”
January 18, 2013
Self-professed New York vegetable and Kelly Clarkson fan Sen. Charles E. Schumer showcased on Friday the two crystal vases to be presented to Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Relishing his final days as master of ceremonies of the biggest event of the year — the presidential inauguration — the New York Democrat was in his favorite territory, the news conference, to offer a sneak peek at the two oversized, tapering etched-glass vases designed and donated by the Lenox Corp. Or, in his words: wine glasses.
January 4, 2013
On the heels of her re-election as House minority leader, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi has already landed herself in a bit of hot water.
It isn’t over a controversial vote or legislative negotiation, though, but rather from an effort to preserve the historical record by, well, kind of making it up. On Thursday, the opening day of the 113th Congress, Pelosi’s staff orchestrated a photo shoot of all the House Democratic women. The photo the office released to the public, however, wasn’t the same photo taken earlier in the day.
What’s being sold as the “official” shot actually constitutes two pictures meshed together: the original group portrait of 58 lawmakers with four late-arrivals photo-edited into the back row to appear they were there the whole time.
Really, the stragglers – Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Corrine Brown, and Reps. Yvette Clarke of New York and Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas – posed together in a separate photograph, Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill explained. They arrived for the photo shoot on the Capitol steps just as their colleagues were dispersing.
Here’s the group shot captured by our own CQ Roll Call photographer:
And here’s the version being distributed by Pelosi’s office: