In honor of Memorial Day, we present to you the following, courtesy of Massachusetts’ junior senator.
Following a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Friday’s commencement of the Boston College Law School, Sen. William “Mo” Cowan, D-Mass., went off script for a moment before addressing the graduating class of near-lawyers.
“Before I get into my prepared remarks — some of my staff is a little nervous — let me say something,” Cowan began. “Since that fateful morning, oh so many years ago, when the sun rose after the attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor and Francis Scott Key penned ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ it has been performed in many places and in many ways.
“But I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen, there are three versions that are considered the classics. You may recall in 1969 Woodstock when Jimi Hendrix played left handed.”
Cowan continued: “You weren’t around back then? Maybe you were around, like I was, in  when Marvin Gaye walked to the center court of the Great Western Forum at the NBA All-Star game and performed a very soulful rendition.”
“And certainly, I suspect most of you were alive, in 1991 when Whitney Houston took to the field before the Super Bowl to sing what is arguably the greatest performance of our national anthem ever,” Cowan said.
“Today, ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you a fourth version,” Cowan said about the version of the anthem that graduating BC law student Harold T. Hines belted out before the beginning of the ceremony. The crowd went wild.
We challenge you, dear readers, to watch the versions above and not get choked up from love of country.
The Washington, D.C. chapter of organized gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Republicans hosted former Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., and his husband at a small mixer Wednesday night.
The D.C. Log Cabin Republicans convened the event at the Roosevelt Camden apartments on 16th Street Northwest to discuss the Senate immigration bill and Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick J. Leahy’s withdrawal of his amendment to include consideration for LGBT families in the bill’s provisions at this week’s markup.
Kolbe and Kruse listen to a Log Cabin moderator’s question. (Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)
Kolbe expressed a personal and professional stake in the matter. Full story
Two members of the press turned the tables Thursday morning and spied on the federal government. It took only about 20 minutes before our cover as morning power walkers was blown, but the intelligence gathered will be used in the upcoming Congressional Women’s Softball Game.
Heard on the Hill, with an assist from The New York Times’ Jill Agostino, walked around the Capitol Hill field where female members of Congress practiced at 7 a.m. in preparation for their annual meeting against the Bad News Babes on June 26.
After a couple of laps, eagle-eyed Democratic National Committee staffer and league co-chairwoman Kate Yglesias Houghton spotted us and alerted her boss, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. On the next lap, Wasserman Schultz and the rest of the team launched into various taunts and catcalls.
Since we were caught, we gave up the pretense and got an up-close look at the team’s progression.
The gist of our intelligence report: While much has been made about new players’ impact (Reps. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., and Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., are downright terrifying), the real story is the marked improvement of veteran players.
None of which is especially welcome news for the reporter side.
Most members seemed amused and ready to show off their new talent. But at least one took to Instagram to protest.
“I think we do need some type of press shield,” Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., commented on the photo.
Disclosure: The author of this post is a co-captain of the Bad News Babes, the press team.
Apparently the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium didn’t get the memo that Congress is already a zoo without its assistance.
The result? Staffers for Buckeye State lawmakers got to hang with wallabies, flamingos and lynx. (Lynxes? Lynxi? HOH is unclear how to pluralize such an animal.) And staffers for Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, appear to have had a particularly good time. Portman’s communications team — new to Instagram — posted photos of their afternoon animal timeout in the Rayburn House Office Building basement. In the process, Jeff Sadosky and Caitlin Dunn are sure to have created the next viral Internet sensation: #WallabyWednesday. Like Seersucker Thursday, but less annoying.
Here is a photo of a lynx, brought by the Columbus Zoo to raise awareness about conservation efforts, on a conference table:
Talk about team spirit! Sen. William “Mo” Cowan, D-Mass., and his staff all shared in the senator’s sartorial tastes for a team photo Wednesday, with everyone donning Cowan’s signature style, the bow tie.
(Courtesy Sen. William “Mo” Cowan)
While the House has Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., flying the flag for bow ties, the Senate hasn’t had a regular bow-tie champion since the late Sens. Paul Simon, D-Ill., and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., retired.
For the latest installment of Fictional Franchise, our examination of the franchise rights of fictional characters and the real-life people who represent them in Congress, we tackle soap opera characters.
The rules 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.)
Soaps are near and dear to the heart of this writer, who once starred in a 2004 episode of “The Bold and the Beautiful” as a Spectra Fashions factory worker. Read on to see which soap star helped us with our research…
So, Dylan, Julia and Miss Ellie, let’s roll:
The Walsh Family “Beverly Hills 90210″ Beverly Hills, Calif.: Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman
It is our assessment that Jim, Cindy, Brandon and Brenda Walsh live in Beverly Hills flats — squarely in Waxman’s district. His representation of the western Los Angeles metropolitan area means that he will surface again in this category and others.
Here is a run-through of some of his constituents:
Her interest piqued by the latest Noshtalgia column, Sioux Falls, S.D., native Heather Fluit reached out to HOH about her epicurean Everest.
“I’m disappointed to see that no one advocated for Taco John’s in your call for hard-to-find regional food,” Fluit, who spends her days handling communications for Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, shared.
The beloved chain, originally born in Cheyenne, Wyo., currently serves roughly half the United States, marshaling most of its resources in the northernmost and central states. The closest outpost to D.C. is in Athens, Ohio.
But TJ lovers needn’t despair.
Fluit and the rest of the South Dakota State Society (she’s on the board) will be doing their best to re-create Taco John’s signature snack, the Potato Ole, at Saturday’s 5th Annual Taco John’s event.
Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a District” segment is back with a vengeance.
Colbert, right, at a taping years back of “Better Know a District” with Democratic Arizona Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
“The Colbert Report” anthology of awkward congressional interviews was on the verge of extinction in recent years. But in the past few weeks, a handful of Democrats have sat down with Colbert for their fair share of abuse. Full story
Local tennis fans gathered Wednesday night at the Swedish embassy in Washington, D.C., to thank tennis great Chris Evert and former Sen. John Breaux, D-La., for their continued support of the Junior Tennis Champions Center.
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
OK — that and the spread of mouthwatering Swedish barbecue (saucy ribs, rosemary-spiked beef).
The event, now in its fourth year, was, theoretically, all about the incredibly talented kids who are well on their way to joining the pantheon of tanned and toned tennis gods on hand for the ceremony.
Still, folks couldn’t help but heap praise on Breaux — “Tennis’ ambassador in D.C.,” as they called him — even while criticizing his cutthroat nature on the court.
Members of Congress and their allies, antagonists and observers ran around Washington early Wednesday morning, hoping to come out ahead in the 3-mile ACLI Capital Challenge.
The 32nd annual Capital Challenge started at 8:00 a.m. (a bit early for HOH’s taste) at Anacostia Park. The event, which raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project, is an invitational races for teams that represent the three branches of government, as well as the Fourth Estate. Full story
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s Wednesday grilling by the House Judiciary Committee was pretty tense from the start, so thank goodness Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C., provided America with a much needed “aww” moment during the hearing.
Watt looked happy while Holder and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., lit in to each other, not because he enjoys watching grown men fight, but because Nicolas Watt, the congressman’s 1-year old grandson, was snuggled on his lap.
Young Nicolas, it has to be said, is seriously, painfully adorable. This is not his first time visiting Capitol Hill. He’s been to his grandfather’s Hill office several times. This was, however, Nicolas’ first time overseeing the Judiciary Committee.
Corrected 6:50 p.m. | An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified the committee holding Wednesday’s hearing.
And a slew of artisan suds slingers will be pouring out their hearts and souls — and signature product lines (‘natch) — to lawmakers Wednesday night at a special Brewers Association-led reception on Capitol Hill.
The invitation-only happy hour is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria (B-357).
According to an event promoter, members from both the House and Senate Small Brewers caucuses are expected to attend, although the invites appear to have been distributed to a much wider audience. (“Show 113th Congress staff ID and proof of age at the door,” the email reads.)