Alexandria, Va., and Alexandria, Kan., are nothing alike.
One is a suburb of the national’s capital. The other is just a few miles from Leavenworth. But a tea party group based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., wants to host a Kansas Senate primary debate, and the long-shot challenger has already accepted the invitation.
A group known as the Northern Virginia Tea Party is offering to host a debate between veteran Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and challenger Milton Wolf. Wolf may be best known to HOH readers as a distant relative of President Barack Obama.
A March 28 meeting of Senate Democratic staffers about the appropriations process had an unexpected visitor.
According to sources familiar with what happened, a somewhat elderly tourist wandered into the meeting and sat down along with an array of senior Senate aides in the audience for a presentation by the Senate Appropriations Committee’s staff director. One source said the assumption was that the gentleman was most likely lost and wandered into a room where there was activity on a quiet Friday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
The outsider asked three questions, according to an HOH tipster, including one about how a Democrat from the state of Utah could be involved in the appropriations process. To the credit of the staff director, the individual was not tossed out of the room.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knows better than to take sides when Louisville and Kentucky meet on the basketball court.
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
“If college basketball is on, there are more eyeballs watching college basketball in the Louisville, Ky., media market than any other media market in the country,” McConnell said, an apparent reference to a recent report on the ratings for basketball games airing on ESPN.
“For the 12th consecutive year, Louisville was the highest-rated metered market for ESPN’s regular-season telecasts, averaging a 4.5 rating. Greensboro, Kansas City and Raleigh-Durham finished tied for second with a 2.8 rating,” the sports network said in a recent release.
It only lasted a few seconds, but one shot in a Web video released Tuesday by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s 2014 campaign caught the attention of eagle-eyed college hoops fans.
The video highlighted the Kentucky Republican who would become majority leader in a GOP-led Senate, but a video montage of bluegrass greatness included shots of the basketball teams from the University Louisville and (gasp) Duke University. That’s not the NCAA champion blue-and-white team the ad makers had in mind. It should have featured the University of Kentucky Wildcats, of course.
The Republican told a town hall meeting in his home state of Arizona on Tuesday that the 1996 Coen Brothers classic “Fargo,” which won multiple Academy Awards, is his favorite. McCain’s quip came in response to a question about the slow-moving approval process for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
“It’s still stalled in the Obama administration,” McCain said of the pipeline, before praising the economic boom in North Dakota as a result of energy production.
“Things that are happening in places like like North Dakota — do you know the unemployment rate in North Dakota today is less than 2 percent? They can’t get anybody to come up there and work, and I won’t go anywhere further with that,” McCain said. ”I happen to love North Dakota. My favorite movie is ‘Fargo’ … which was shot in Minnesota I understand, but anyway.”
By now, most binge-watchers have at least gotten through the first portion of the new season of the Netflix series “House of Cards.”
While we’ll steer clear of too many spoilers here, one particular sequence in the third episode caught the attention of parliamentary experts everywhere.
“We have to get medieval,” said the fictional Democratic Vice President Frank Underwood before a stint presiding over the Senate, twisting arms to get a deal with enough of the Senate’s GOP majority to keep the government from a shutdown while raising the retirement age.
Could the Senate really direct the sergeant-at-arms to arrest absent senators? Yes, of course.
Roll Call was there in 1988, when, acting on the direction of Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., and an order of the Senate, Sergeant-at-Arms Henry Giugni set off from the chamber to arrest missing senators:
A Russell Building cleaning lady told Giugni that Sen. Robert Packwood (R-Ore.) was in his personal office. Using a pass key, Giugni opened the door just as Packwood tried to block it with his arm. Packwood ended up reinjuring a broken finger.
One of Nevada’s legal brothels is rebutting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s argument that the state’s prostitution industry could be a reason Las Vegas loses out on hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Sheri’s Ranch Brothel points to the rates of sex trafficking in Tampa, Fla., as not exactly a disqualifying factor in the city’s hosting of the 2012 Republican convention.
“These serious prostitution-related issues didn’t seem to bother Republicans when they considered Tampa, so why would they have an issue with a state that enforces legal prostitution? After all, Nevada’s licensed brothels only allow safe sex between mature consenting adults in a secure, STD-free environment,” the brothel said in its response. “Sex trafficking and child prostitution are abhorred by representatives of the legal Nevada sex work community.”
Sen. Angus King is no Robert Griffin III, and he concedes that backing an effort to strip the NFL of its tax-exempt status will not help that.
“I’ve always wanted to be the quarterback of the Redskins, and this may be the end of that,” King said. “So, there’s high stakes for me.”
King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with the Democrats, has signed on to a bill introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., that would remove the tax status enjoyed by some professional sports organizations, including the NFL and the PGA.
It wasn’t all serious business when Sen. John McCain showed up on a local Phoenix radio show Tuesday.
Arizona’s senior senator made sure to call out the Seattle Seahawks’ trash-talking cornerback Richard Sherman as a “loudmouth” and underscored his grudge against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
McCain said he was picking Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos over Sherman’s Seahawks in the Super Bowl.
“I think Denver. You know, everybody is such a Manning fan,” McCain told KFYI radio. ”That loudmouth from Seattle sort of epitomizes the Seattle team to me. … I’m sure I’m going to get in trouble for that one, too.”
A full house gathered in the Capitol Visitor Center auditorium Wednesday evening to see a new film about the life of Poland’s transformative pro-democracy leader Lech Walesa — and to hear from the man himself.
Walesa, far left, and Dodd, far right, discuss the Cold War under gigantic images of their previous selves. (Photo courtesy of the Embassy of Poland)
The night, as does the Andrzej Wajda film that mixes archival footage with recreated scenes and some dramatic license, focused on Walesa’s rise from an electrician in the shipyard at Gdansk to the leader of the Solidarity Movement, through the fall of communism.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., told the audience about her own experience watching the events of early 1980s Poland unfold from her home in Baltimore, not long after the elation of the ascension of Poland’s native son Karol Wojtyla to be Pope John Paul II.
“As the summer went on in 1980, all of a sudden we heard something dramatic had happened in Poland. There was a strike in Gdansk shipyard. Some guy named Walesa jumped over a wall. What was going on in Poland? My sisters and I talked to each other. My mother called me,” the Maryland Democrat said. “Everybody was excited and everybody was frightened — what did this mean? Was this the beginning of a beginning, or was this an effort of gallantry, bravery and courage that could end in suppression and repression?”
Maybe it’s best the Washington Nationals franchise stays away from retractable roofs.
Tuesday’s news that the baseball team had approached D.C. government officials, including Mayor Vincent Gray, about the possibility of retrofitting a retractable roof onto Nationals Park at the city’s expense generated widespread scorn and comparisons to the somewhat different situation playing out in Atlanta, where the Braves are planning to move outside the city limits to nearby Cobb County. In doing so, the Braves will vacate Turner Field, an outdoor ballpark which was constructed as the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 summer games.
Of course, the team now known as the Nationals used to have a retractable roof on an old stadium, though one might not know it because it seldom, if ever, functioned. That was in the 1976 Olympic Stadium in Montreal, the home of the Expos from 1977 until they departed for Washington following the 2004 season. That stadium, known to Montrealers as “The Big O”, opened for the 1976 Olympics without a roof, although it was supposed to have one.
The Big O, as it’s known in Montreal, has seen its share of heartache when it comes to its roof. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)
Durbin, left, speaks with Consuelos and Alter before a screening of “Alpha House” on Tuesday. (Niels Lesniewski/CQ Roll Call)
Two of the lawmakers who have called Capitol Hill’s real-life “Alpha House” their home away from home were among the distinguished guests on hand at a screening of the Amazon series Tuesday evening in D.C.
But Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., wanted to make clear that the real house was nothing like the one in the TV program, lacking the usual Hollywood blend of sex, drugs and violence.
“Violence would involve rats, drugs would involve Metamucil, and the closest thing to sex is pictures of our grandkids,” Durbin said of the row house he shares with fellow Democrats Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York and Rep. George Miller of California, who is the landlord. The fictional house is shared by four Republican senators.
One former roommate, retired Rep. Bill Delahunt, D-Mass., also attended the screening.
When Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski met Thursday with Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel, she offered an appropriate gift: a Senate umbrella.
Cantore, of course, is a longtime Weather Channel meteorologist frequently dispatched toward the eyes of hurricanes and the areas most pummeled by winter storms. He’s also something of a fixture on other NBC News programs during times when severe weather makes headlines.
(Office of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski)
That Cantore and Mikulski would want to meet should come as no surprise.