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

Posts by Giacomo Bologna

18 Posts

December 20, 2013

Yule and YOLO: The 2013 Dingell Jingle

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., released his annual “Dingell Jingle,” a lyrical gift rife with potshots, holiday jeer and even the acronym “YOLO.”

Yule and YOLO: The 2013 Dingell Jingle

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Parodying the poem “A visit from St. Nicholas,” the longest serving member of Congress penned a rhyming condemnation of the 2013 government shutdown spanning a full eight stanzas.

Here’s one poetic nugget of how the Dean felt about this year: “And so rhetoric flared, rich with words set to rile them/ As the inmates controlled the Congressional asylum.”

Many thanks, congressman.

Here’s the jingle in full: Full story

December 4, 2013

Reps, Wizards Christen Horton’s Kids Hoops

“Do y’all know how to shoot any hoops out here in Ward 8?” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., asked the crowd gathered to cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished outdoor basketball court at the Horton Kid’s Community Resource Center.

Norton, along with House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., both congressional hoopsters, were on hand Tuesday evening to celebrate the court’s reopening, a project funded by Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation — a charitable wing of the Washington Wizards organization — and the Hoops for Youth Foundation.

Wizards Otto Porter Jr. and Jan Vesely attended as well as Wizards/Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

Reps, Wizards Christen Hortons Kids Hoops

Back row from left, Norton, Vesely and Porter helped christen the refurbished court. (Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

Brenda Chamberlain, the executive director of Horton’s Kids, said the court will be put to good use. ”This court gets used by hundreds of kids every day,” she said. Full story

December 2, 2013

Big John Cornyn Hangs Out on Google

In describing his typical week, Sen. John Cornyn said in a Google Hangout Monday that he’s “kind of a boring guy.” Outside of work, the Texas Republican said he likes to hunt, read and exercise, but he doesn’t want constituents to think he doesn’t like his job in Senate.

That squares with the “Big John” imagery of his last campaign’s advertising, but we digress.

“If you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like work,” he said. Full story

November 22, 2013

On Reddit AMA, Niels Lesniewski Discusses Nuclear Option, Movember

Roll Call’s own Niels Lesniewski took to Reddit Friday to field questions about what happened in the Senate Thursday in the wake of the nuclear option being triggered.

On Reddit AMA, Niels Lesniewski Discusses Nuclear Option, Movember

Lesniewski with his favorite reading material, Riddick’s Senate Procedure. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

His “Ask Me Anything” thread is still live on the site.

“Democrats seem to have decided that being able to get President Obama’s nominees confirmed outweighed the risks of the next Republican president doing the same,” he wrote of the historic change to the Senate’s rules.

Redditor arrggg asked what the most monumental rules change was previously.

“This was probably the biggest change since 1975, when they reduced the number needed to break most filibusters from two-thirds to 60 votes,” Lesniewski responded.

But not all the questions were so serious.  Full story

November 21, 2013

For Holiday Season, Hillys Offer a Guide

Now that the Roll Call holiday gift and eating guide is out, it seems like as good a time as any to plug the Capitol Hill businesses, nonprofits and services that were recently honored at the Hilly Awards.

About 100 people milled about the Stars and Stripes Club on Nov. 16, drinking, snacking and chatting in a large room that overlooked Nationals Park from behind home plate.

“I love being part of this community. … I love being the best damn hair salon on Capitol Hill,”  said Michael Anthony, whose eponymous salon won best the award for health and beauty service of the year.

Below is list of the 2013 winners followed by the runners-ups:

Best bar: Beuchert’s Saloon. Runner-up: The Pug.

Best restaurant: Acqua Al 2. Runner-up: Belga Café.

Best retailer: Frager’s Hardware. Runner-up: Hill’s Kitchen.

Best health and beauty service: Michael Anthony Salon. Runner-up: Bubbles.

Best fitness service: Biker Barre. Runner-up: Results the Gym.

Best professional service: D.C. Access. Runner-up: National Capital Bank.

Best home and garden service: Frager’s Garden Pad. Runner-up: Moody Landscape Architect.

Best arts organization: Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital. Runner-up: Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Best nonprofit: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. Runner-up: Rural Dog Reserve.

Best cafe/coffee shop: Peregrine Espresso. Runner-up: Pound The Hill.

Best new restaurant: District Taco. Runner-up: Beuchert’s Saloon.

Best new business: Hank’s Oyster Bar. Runner-up: Beuchert’s Saloon.

Full story

November 18, 2013

What We Learned From Manchin’s AMA

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., opened up last week, answering 10 questions submitted by Redditors in a video posted by The Atlantic.

In a visual version of Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” posts, Manchin spoke widely on his political beliefs. In fewer than 20 minutes, Manchin said he believes in traditional marriage, that redistricting can and should be done by objective computer models and that identification should be required when voting in federal elections.

“I just don’t have a problem showing an ID,” he said. “I show an ID everywhere I go.” Full story

Take Five: Rep. Bill Flores

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, discusses Texas A&M football, life on the ranch and snow skiing.

Q. As a Texas A&M alumnus, how do you feel about Johnny Manziel’s behavior on and off the football field?

A. His behavior on the field is exceptional. He still has a little maturing to go through off the field. Hopefully that’ll come with age. We all go through that same struggle when we’re younger.

Q. What was life like growing up on the ranch?

A. The work was hard, the hours were long, and since I was working for family, there was no pay involved. But I have to say, the work was very fulfilling. For instance, if I built a mile of fence, the feeling of satisfaction I got when I looked back and looked at that mile of fence … that made me feel good.

Q. How long has your family been in Texas? How do you define a Texan?

A. My family came from Spain and settled in the area near Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1725. So I’m a ninth-generation Texan. But I don’t know if you’d call us Texans because it predates Texas; it predates the United States. I’ll have to go back and come up with a better definition.

Q. What are some of your hobbies?

A. Well, my two primary hobbies are snow skiing and flying. I learned how to ski when I was in high school, when I was 18. And I just love that particular sport. My other hobby of flying is something I’m passionate about as well. I’m a private pilot … I have about 2,500 hours of pilot and command time.

Q. Where do you do your snow skiing?

A. The primary place I go is Telluride, Colo. There’s just no more beautiful place in the world to ski — well, I don’t think there’s any more beautiful place in the world to do anything.

November 15, 2013

Manchin Preaches Common Sense at Common Ground Awards

The D.C.-based group No Labels wants to bridge the growing gap between Republicans and Democrats, a lofty goal but one that the Search for Common Ground praised at its Thursday night awards ceremony.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., were on hand at the National Geographic Museum to accept the award. A couple of hundred people crowded into the museum’s auditorium for the ceremony.

Before joining the Senate in 2010, Manchin was the governor of the Mountain State. Manchin, now a co-chairman of No Labels, said he had hoped to bring the common-sense solutions he worked on there to the Senate.

“I found out common sense wasn’t so common here,” he said to laughs.

Manchin Preaches Common Sense at Common Ground Awards

Manchin is a co-chairman of No Labels. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

November 14, 2013

K Streeters Downplay Their Influence on Reddit

Two D.C.-based lobbyists bore down on their keyboards Wednesday, telling Redditors in their “Ask Me Anything” that lobbyists are people, too.

In a rare occurrence, K Streeters Jack Quinn and John Feehery of  QGA Public Affairs came to Reddit — a site not known for its appreciation of corporate or special interests —with open arms.

AMAs are fast becoming the Internet equivalent of stump speeches for politicians, but K Street’s presence on Reddit is a novelty. The post received modest attention per Reddit standards, but still garnered more than 100 comments. Full story

November 13, 2013

K Street Heads to Reddit

Two veteran lobbyists are about to go boldly where others on K Street have not — Reddit, where they’re scheduled for an “Ask Me Anything” session this afternoon.

At 3 p.m., Jack Quinn and John Feehery of QGA Public Affairs will start their AMA on the popular social media site, subjecting themselves to questioning by anyone with an Internet connection.

Politicians are popular fare for AMAs, but the people behind politics, such as those who work on K Street, are not. While Reddit has communities for every point on the political spectrum, a common sentiment is against corporate spending in politics. In other words, Quinn and Feehery should expect some blunt questions.

What could be more telling than the answers Quinn and Feehery give are the ones they don’t. Good luck, lads!

November 12, 2013

Redditors Ask Joe Manchin, Well, Anything

Sen. Joe Manchin will release a video response on Friday to questions submitted to a thread on Reddit over Monday and Tuesday.

The West Virginia Democrat will spend a fair amount of his screen time addressing the Mountain State’s long ties to the coal industry, a popular theme in the user-submitted comments. Manchin will divvy up the rest of his time talking about gay rights, voter identification requirements, gun control and more.

Redditors Ask Joe Manchin, Well, Anything

Manchin will respond to the Reddit AMAs on Friday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Many public figures, including President Barack Obama and Sen. Cory Booker, have hopped on Reddit to participate in an “Ask Me Anything,” or AMA, where users often pose thousands of questions. Questions rise to the top by being “upvoted” by other users, and the subject can respond to questions at will with a comment.

Manchin’s AMA page states he “will be answering your top ten questions.” While politicians who hold AMAs typically answer many more than just 10 questions, they do choose which questions to answer or to ignore.  Full story

November 8, 2013

John Schlimm Delivers a Mouthful for Veggie Caucus

John Schlimm grew up in rural Pennsylvania working in his father’s butcher shop — a long way from the Capitol Visitor Center, where the vegan cookbook writer lunched on Thursday with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

The veggie caucus, as it’s known colloquially, has been hosting vegetarian lunches and educational events since a small group of like-palated staffers decided to fight back against the lack of vegetarian fare in congressional dining halls.

The group had an event planned last month, but the government shutdown forced it to postpone. For Thursday’s to-do, about 60 staffers filled the room to learn about eating a plant-based diet while munching away on vegan wraps provided by Zenful Bites and vegan chocolate chip cookies from Sticky Fingers. Full story

October 28, 2013

The Dean Cracks Wise About His Age

Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., is typically not at a loss of words. But the dean of the House said being honored by the LUNGevity Foundation at its third annual Musical Celebration of Hope was one such occasion.

“I am humbled and I am rendered speechless,” he said.

The Dean Cracks Wise About His Age

Dingell joked about his age at the LUNGevity gala. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Dingell even got some laughs poking fun at his age when he said that while the award, called the “Face of Hope,” was given to him, he might need a facelift before he could accept it. Full story

Take Five: Sen. Brian Schatz

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to his or her legislative work.

This week, Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, discusses life on the islands, traveling between Hawaii and D.C., and his twin brother.

Q. What’s your favorite beach or getaway location that tourists don’t know about?

A. I’m not sure I want to tell you that. But actually, my favorite place is a body surfing spot in Honolulu called Point Panic. It also happens to be near the proposed Obama presidential center, so in the president’s post-presidential time, if he wants to jump in the water, he may.

Q: How do feel about the tourists there?

A. We’re big fans of tourism. We’ve set up a situation where it’s a symbiotic relationship. There are sometimes tension in the ocean, but for the most part everyone understands how to get along.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your work with nonprofit organizations before coming Congress.

A. I ran a social service agency on O’ahu, the main island, providing language translation, mental-health services and support for homeless and people who are having difficulty with housing. I did that for just over eight years and it helped to ground me.

Q. How do you manage having a life in both D.C. and Hawaii?

A. I drink an enormous amount of water and I try to follow one simple rule which is to never complain. … You gotta drink a lot of water when you’re on airplanes for [10 hours]. You get dehydrated very, very easily and so that’s the one piece of travel advice I was given and will give to everyone is, ‘Drink more water than you feel like drinking — before and after every plane ride.”

Q. Is there anything else that would be interesting to know about you?

A. You may not know that I have an identical twin brother who lives in Honolulu. … After I became lieutenant governor and then a U.S. senator, he has taken to shaving his head and growing out his goatee so he doesn’t have to spend all of his time saying, “I’m not Brian.”

October 18, 2013

Self-Helper Urges Staffers to Let It All Out

As pundits turn to hashing out the economic and political implications of the recent government shutdown, behavioral coach Beverly Flaxington wants put-upon staffers to know that while they can’t control high-level political stalemates, they can attempt to control the emotional fallout.

“People are on these ups and downs,” Flaxington said. “We let ourselves be taken away.”

Throughout the 16-day federal standoff, Flaxington estimates many people likely accumulated unnecessary feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. And that needs to be discussed.

“I mean, people are getting sick over this,” she said, noting that even non-furloughed workers were undoubtedly affected by the administrative chaos. Full story

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