Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 20, 2014

Posts in "Artsy"

April 15, 2014

Web Comic Riffs on Jim Moran’s Plea for Higher Pay

Internet celeb Remy Munasifi has worked up a new tax day ditty ridiculing wasteful government spending, tedious filing practices and a certain Virginia pol’s pitch to have Uncle Sam slip lawmakers a few extra bucks.

In his latest bid to again strike viral gold, the right-leaning comedian twists Pharell’s smash hit “Happy” into an anthem for those beset by paying their fair share.

One of the talking heads featured in the video is ID’ed as Rep. Jim Moranmor — a none-too-veiled-shot at Virginia Democratic Rep. James P. Moran, who recently told our colleague, Hannah Hess, that Congress-folk can no longer afford to live in This Town.

“We are so underpaid,” the Moranmor character mutters as the song begins to trail off. Full story

April 9, 2014

Forthcoming Barney Frank Documentary Aims to Inspire

Documentarians Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler are still putting the finishing touches on “Compared to What: The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank,” an unflinching look at the life and times of retired Rep. Barney Frank.

Forthcoming Barney Frank Documentary Aims to Inspire

(Courtesy Jim Ready)

The whole world will get a peek into the insights they’ve gleaned from the Massachusetts Democrat — and the handful of congressional colleagues who agreed to weigh in on his illustrious career — when the feature length project debuts April 27 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

Canavan told HOH she first met Frank while working on the transition team for then-Boston Mayor Kevin White. As a lowly college student, Canavan recalled spending many long nights (she pulled graveyard shift duty) fielding constituent calls. Frank, who devoted his days to setting up the office of public service, would keep her company after work in order to keep his ear to the ground. Full story

April 7, 2014

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

Conservative artist/provocateur Sabo is no stranger to mixing members of Congress and California, as can be seen from his mock-up of a recent Ted Cruz, R-Texas, event in Beverly Hills.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

But now that the Breitbart News Network has expanded to the Golden State, Sabo is helping mark the bi-coastal migration with a fresh batch of eyebrow-raising art.

The politically charged images, including one of a provocatively dressed and posed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., served as the welcome mat for the fledgling site, an act of aggression fitting with the anonymous artist’s MO.

“My aim as an artist is to be as dirty, ground level, and mean as any Liberal artist out there, more so if I can,” Sabo, who describes himself as a Republican and ex-Marine, declares on his personal website. He has previously taken shots at President Barack Obama and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, but elected to widen his scope this time around to better suit the media rollout.

Sabo assured HOH, however, that he is not on the Breitbart payroll.

“Just consider me a fan of Andrew, a kindred spirit with a common mission,” he suggested via email. “My contribution to said ‘mission’ is to help Conservatives find their creative voice. I admit my approach is rather hard edge. … That’s just the way I like it.”

He declined to specify how many posters had been papered across Los Angeles and indicated that it’s still too early too tell which anti-Democrat depiction will cause the biggest commotion.

“The posters just hit the street so, I can not comment on which has pissed ‘Progressives’ off more. I hope they all equally tie their panties in knots,” Sabo said.

Democrats here in Washington, D.C., had no such problem picking their least favorite contribution to the arts — the rather unflattering image of Pelosi.

“To say the least, the Breitbart News ad is foul, offensive, and disrespectful to all women. It is a disgusting new low and would be reprehensible against any woman — regardless of party,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., stated in a release. “It’s no wonder the Republicans are having problems appealing to women. If GOP leaders are serious about their rebrand, then both their elected and Party leadership should condemn this outrageous behavior, call on Breitbart News to immediately remove the ad, and not continue to use this website as a forum for their views.”

Per Sabo, Pelosi was on his hit list because she is “a typical gun grabbing liberal who fights to insure only the ‘authorities’ can possess firearms that way they, the political class, can run over us anytime they want without fear of retribution from the peasants.”

The others drawing fire — “They all suck, some slightly more than the other but not by much,” Sabo groused — this time around include:

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Jerry Brown is back-wash. Californians were dumb enough to have brought back [him] from the dead; talk about a zombie invasion,” Sabo said of the boomerang pol.

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Zuckerberg is a tech-klepto who’s nose is waaaaay too far up everyone’s business,” Sabo said.

 

CNN personality Piers Morgan

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

“Piers Morgan needs to go back home,” Sabo counseled.

Breitbart readers were, by and large, rather pleased to see their common enemies held up to ridicule and scorn:

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

 

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

One rabble-rouser even urged Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to take notes, but doubted the higher ups would hear her plaintive cries.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

Meanwhile, a left-leaning observer vowed to counter the visual offensive by coining a new definition for “Breitbart” a la the homoerotic connotation sex columnist Dan Savage affixed to former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., years ago.

Guerilla Artist Skewers Dems to Spark Breitbart California Launch

(Screenshot)

And while he may be persona non grata over in the House, Sabo appears to be in good with at least one member in the other chamber, the aforementioned Mr. Cruz.

Sabo reimagined the tea party favorite as an inked-up outlaw a few weeks back, and said the Texas Republican responded in kind. “I’m happy to report Senator Ted Cruz has a pair [of posters] and has yet to throw me under the bus,” Sabo said of his congressional fan base.

Cruz made light of the gritty depiction on Twitter, offering one small correction to the rather outlandish homage:

 

 

April 4, 2014

Harry Reid’s Instagram Feed is Picture Perfect

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be new to Instagram, but the veteran lawmaker is clearly well rehearsed in the art of putting one’s best face forward.

 

 

Though just a few hours old, the Nevada Democrat’s online photo diary is already chock full of cookie-cutter campaign art, including:

The Power Huddle

Just, you know, shooting the breeze with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif. Full story

April 3, 2014

Harry Reid Treated to Impromptu Saxophone Serenade

It sounded like Kenny G was visiting the Senate chamber around noon on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got a brief saxophone serenade from the president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, who bumped into the Nevada Democrat during the “GRAMMYs on the Hill” lobbying day.

Harry Reid Treated to Impromptu Saxophone Serenade

(Photo courtesy of David Helfant.)

“I whipped out my saxophone and just said, ‘I’ll play you a song,” saxophonist and vocalist Mindi Abair told CQ Roll Call. She picked a song called “Summertime,” which she said Reid appeared to enjoy.

Abair, who has toured and recorded with artists ranging from the Backstreet Boys and Duran Duran to Adam Sandler and Aerosmith, was visiting Capitol Hill with about 200 other recording industry advocates to push for legislation that would ensure songwriters and composers are fairly paid for their work.

Abair and other advocates had a full day of meetings with the California delegation. They were saying goodbye to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., when they bumped into Reid outside the chamber.

They will be pushing for the Songwriter Equity Act of 2014, and perhaps playing a few impromptu serenades.

April 2, 2014

Coloring Book Chief Draws on Success of Ted Cruz Title

Really Big Coloring Books ® Inc. publisher Wayne Bell captured the imagination of the politisphere last fall by releasing “Ted Cruz to the Future,” an activity book chronicling the rise to power of  a certain headline-grabbing Texas Republican.

Coloring Book Chief Draws on Success of Ted Cruz Title

The kiddie book is such a runaway hit — “Amazon the company itself orders by the pallet. Several pallets in fact,” Bell gushed — that RBCB has rushed three more politically themed projects into production. Bell declined to identify whom, exactly, might grace the mostly blank pages (“We prefer not to tell, as we really do not want those being profiled to ‘see it coming,’ ” he told HOH), but did intimate that a handful of Senate lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are on the short list, while House members remain more iffy.

The new books are expected out within the next six months.

Having amassed six years of political workbook savvy beneath his belt, Bell has learned to pick his subjects carefully.

He published the debut entry in his burgeoning catalog of  “cultural event and political coloring books and novels” shortly after President Barack Obama clinched the keys to the Oval Office. Full story

April 1, 2014

Team Boehner Recasts HIMYM Stars as Budget ‘Splainers

Look out, President Barack Obama: House Republicans are done ceding the hipster vote to your social media savvy ways.

Less than a month after social conservatives browbeat 44 for dragging his bully pulpit to “Between Two Ferns,” Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the Web to drum up support for House Republicans’ latest spending blueprint via a series of GIFs culled from the just-wrapped sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.”

Team Boehner Recasts HIMYM Stars as Budget ‘Splainers

(Screenshot)

Boehner’s debut BuzzFeed post breaks the ongoing budget fight into seven easy pieces — most of which focus on deriding Senate Democrats for effectively passing the buck on budget writing during the past few years.

Artists to Sing House Leaders’ Praises at GRAMMYs on the Hill

The Recording Academy’s annual gala, the toe-tapping GRAMMYs on the Hill awards show, will once rock and roll its way through The Hamilton on Wednesday.

Chart-topping performers Lady Antebellum are slated to be honored with The Recording Academy’s Recording Artists’ Coalition Award, while House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will move from behind the scenes — McCarthy became co-chairman of the Recording Arts and Sciences Congressional Caucus in 2013; Pelosi addressed GRAMMYs on the Hill advocates during their 2010 lobbying day — to center stage to receive the GRAMMYs on the Hill Award.

Other musicians expected to mix and mingle with lawmakers and their entourages Wednesday night include:

Hanson

The nearly shot-for-shot remake of the Ray Charles-led number from the original “Blues Brothers” they did for their “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’” video was absolutely brilliant. Full story

March 19, 2014

These Captions Will Self Destruct | Capitol Quip

These Captions Will Self Destruct | 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:

  • Looks like the truth might catch up with Brennan!
  • We hired Edward Snowden to improve the graphics.
  • Hey look, it isn’t us this time.
  • This even surpasses the game Bush vs. Gore.
  • Thanks goodness for the CIA … they always make us look good by comparison.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on March 23 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.

 

Moran Celebrates Central Asian Culture in Rayburn

Not done partying, even though St. Patrick’s Day has passed? Worry not: It isn’t the only holiday taking place this week.

Rep. James P. Moran, D-Va., celebrated Persian new year with a group of Tajik-Americans in Rayburn House Office Building Friday night, but noted that the less well-known holiday might be overshadowed. “Unfortunately you’re coming here kind of at the same time as another tradition: The Irish-American celebration of St. Patrick’s Day,” he told the crowd.

Moran Celebrates Central Asian Culture in Rayburn

(Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

“There are a few more Irish-Americans than there are Tajik-Americans,” he quipped. “I’m still Irish, but frankly I try to avoid it: too much drinking and too much, uh, celebrating.” Full story

By Julie Ershadi Posted at 11 a.m.
Artsy, Parties

March 17, 2014

PSA Urges Partisans to Quit Fighting, Focus on Real Foes

PSA Urges Partisans to Quit Fighting, Focus on Real Foes

(Screenshot)

Marvel Media founder Lily Marie wants hotheads on both sides of the political spectrum to chill out for a bit, so that the grown ups can figure out who we should really be angry with.

The pixel-packing prophet calls for an end to the whole blue- vs. red-state mentality in her “PSA for Political Partisans” — an SOS the self-proclaimed conservative/libertarian hopes will serve as a wake up call for us all.

A PSA for Political Partisans from Marvel Media on Vimeo.

“I believe that U.S citizens need to better understand that there are people in our own government and behind the scenes who are subversive. Their agenda is to move us in a direction that will be very bad news for all of us,” Marie told HOH of her motivation to digitally rattle some cages. “And that is already happening; we are losing freedom, rights and national sovereignty that many Americans have taken for granted.”

She considers the contentious Patriot Act “unconstitutional legislation that gives the government more power to spy on U.S. citizens and potentially do what they want with us,” and expressed concerns about other ongoing attempts to erode the time-honored protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

“If it continues, then ultimately it will affect everyone, even the people who naively supported those unconstitutional actions. They will be in the same boat as the people who they perceived as their political opponents,” Marie warned.

The worst part, according to Marie, is that no one really is to blame  — because everybody is.

“When it comes to those politicians (Obama, and many others) I knew early on that they would be bad news. So it wasn’t a surprise,” she suggested via email.

Given her druthers, Marie knows exactly whom she would want calling the shots: retired Texas lawmaker and three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul.

“Ron Paul is … one of the only leaders who is honest and actually cares about the principles our country is supposed to stand for,” Marie asserted.

March 5, 2014

Krist Novoselic Rolls to Republic for Democracy Party

Nirvana bassist cum political activist Krist Novoselic will trumpet the need for electoral reform around 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Republic (6939 Laurel Avenue, Takoma Park, Md.) during a fundraiser piggybacking on the unveiling of the restaurant’s live shows.

The grunge rocker has been dabbling in politics for a while now, lending his voice and stature to candidates and causes that resonate with his personal philosophy. He joined FairVote’s board of directors nearly a decade ago and has been advocating for change ever since.

A Republic spokeswoman suggested that those more interested in reliving 90’s musical angst rather than rocking the vote might be better off staying home.

“We’re not certain if Krist is performing as yet, as he’ll be there in the capacity of his FairVote chairmanship,” the restaurant aide told HOH, adding that local acts The Cowards Choir and The Beanstalk Library are scheduled to play. Full story

March 3, 2014

Don Beyer’s ‘Cups’ Song Campaign Assist

How do you stand out in a crowded Democratic primary field with nearly a dozen well-connected, viable candidates?

Distribute a catchy ditty created by children of your family friends.

That’s what former Virginia Lt. Gov. Don Beyer is doing in the Democratic primary in Virginia’s open 8th District race.

Beyer, who recently finished up a stint as ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein, is one of 11 Democrats running to replace retiring Rep. James P. Moran in this heavily Democratic Northern Virginia House seat.

His campaign recently release a YouTube video created by Mae and John Keating, two middle-school students whose parents are friends of the Beyers, which touts Beyers’ credentials for the race. The video, released Feb. 17, already has more than 1,400 views.

Full story

February 28, 2014

Pols Pounce on Kitties of Congress Campaign

Political leaders have famously compared the infinitely frustrating chore of having to steer a majority of their members toward any given goal as being tantamount to herding cats.

Too bad they didn’t have kitten-flinging, relationship builder Benny Johnson in their corners.

 

 

BuzzFeed’s Viral Politics Editor has had lawmakers eating out of the palm of his hand all week thanks to his “Kitties of Congress” campaign, a playful base-broadening ploy he launched on Feb. 21.

While he originally toyed with the idea last March, Johnson told HOH he recently decided to fully embrace the cat-to-congress crossover — and, more importantly, resolved to make lawmakers do the same.

“This year, one of my personal goals is to get followed by every member of congress on Twitter. This kitty campaign partially serves that end, but also provides a fun social interaction component that is far too rare in politics,” Johnson said of his unconventional outreach.

His plan hinges on helping solons shoot past the worst stuff on the web (“corny partisan messaging tools that no one really enjoys or shares”) and embrace some purely-for-the-hell-of-it silliness.

 

 

“Kitties of Congress is about getting members to join in a fun internet meme simply because it is enjoyable, like normal people do,” he suggested. “I’m thrilled that it has been successful and I will continue to make kitties for every member who follows me.“

By his count, over 100 lawmakers have followed him down this particular rabbit hole to date. We tallied roughly six dozen congressional followers — with Republicans outpacing Democrats, roughly two-to-one in terms of reaching out — who had opted in for the feline matchmaking.

Using Johnson’s math, this social media stunt has already dwarfed several coalition-building efforts happening on Capitol Hill right now, wooing five times the number of those willing to rally around the House GOP’s tenuous immigration plan and scores more than those who have formally lined up behind head taxwriter Dave Camp’s pitch to rewrite the Internal Revenue Code.

The response has been rather overwhelming. Full story

February 27, 2014

Snarchitect Draws Political Battle Lines Across NoVa

As the last few decades have taught us, Northern Virginia’s influence in the politisphere — fueled largely by a constant influx of upwardly mobile workers, swelling affluence and issues-minded electorate — remains on the rise.

Which is probably exactly why the bomb throwers who contribute to Judgmental Map felt compelled to cut the high and mighty area down to size.

 

The ‘hood slamming site was created by self-styled comedian Trent Gillaspie last January. The amateur cartographer fired the opening salvo by carving up his then-hometown, Denver (Gillaspie has since relocated to Austin, Texas). Over the past year, would-be satirists have taken turns dissecting metropolitan areas across the country, targeting Manhattan, Chicago, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Antonio, Nashville, Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., Memphis, Tenn., and Richmond, Va.

The dressing down of Northern Virginia appears to be the broadest-based attack to date, targeting multiple cities and, most importantly, several congressional districts. Full story

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