Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Posts in "AwesomeSauce"

September 16, 2014

Web Firm Shows Democrats Extra Love Behind the Scenes

There are those who suspect that politicians and, by extension, their corresponding messaging operations, will say one thing even if they secretly believe something else entirely.

Not so with Wide Eye Creative, a Web design outfit which champions its clients every bit of the way.

BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine stumbled upon just how deep the site developer’s devotion permeates while sniffing around the back end of Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign page.

 

Web Firm Shows Democrats Extra Love Behind the Scenes

(Screenshot)

 

Those who view the page via its assigned URL would never know about the ASCII love Team WEC tucked into the coding language — because it’s not meant for them.

“Just a nice little easter egg for anyone who looks at the code,” WEC creative director Ben Ostrower said of the digital valentine inserted into a jumble of characters that give the Web meaning.

According to Ostrower, WEC began seeding its political sites with similar signatures about a year ago. Full story

September 15, 2014

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

Montana State Society President Jayne Leffingwell wants hospitality heavy Spike Mendelsohn to man up and get his own thing going.

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

(Screenshot)

“Mendelsohn aka the Ballburglar, is attempting to hijack The Montana State Society’s signature event ‘The DC Testy Fest’ by hosting his own DC Festicle. While a testivus for the rest of us sounds fun, stealing our original sack lunch is not ‘Good Stuff,’” Leffingwell said in a tongue-in-cheek statement.

The Montana State Society has done its part to exalt the nether regions-related nosh for more than  a decade now. Mendelsohn is jumping into the fray on Sept. 21 with the unveiling of Spiked Events’ debut soiree, a come-as-you-are affair featuring live music, micro wrestling, circus performers and culinary cook-offs.

Per Festicle promotional materials, Mendelsohn is expected to face off against fellow toques Erik Bruner-Yang, of Toki Underground fame, and Tim Ma, the driving force behind Maple Ave and the newish Water & Wall, in a “Top Chef-style” competition where the contestants will have to conjure up some tasty from the featured testes.

And that just rubs Leffingwell raw.

“With more than 750+ attendees going nuts and consuming nearly 200 lbs of testicles this year, we like to consider ourselves the reigning rocky mountain oyster aficionados,” she maintained.

“The ball is in your court Mr. Mendelsohn. We’ll see how you measure up,” Leffingwell said.

 

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Rock On, Rockland

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine – It may be a small town, but Rockland’s got a lot going for it.

The Maine Lobster Festival drives droves of shellfish lovers to the shores of the Penobscot Bay each August, the plastic bib-draped masses assembling to honor (and devour) the region’s claim to fame.

Bumping into newsmakers is evidently not uncommon. One New Yorker, who relocated to the area with his wife after their youngest flew the coop, said he catches sight of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. from time to time in neighboring St. George.

“He’s totally normal up here. Doesn’t like anyone to call him judge,” the Empire State expat said of his dealings with the summering Supreme Courter.

Natives, it would seem, have very specific tastes when it comes to conducting their day-to-day affairs.

Core concerns include keeping:

Activities al fresco (topless freecycling, anyone?)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

Rock On, Rockland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Full story

September 12, 2014

Designer Flips Gillibrand Gaffe Into Local Fundraiser

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has provided some cover for colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who offended local residents by demeaning a suburban enclave that wasn’t quite to her liking, via a custom made T-shirt.

Designer Flips Gillibrand Gaffe Into Local Fundraiser

(Courtesy Mark Warner)

Gillibrand got called on the carpet after ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck uncovered the less-than-flattering description she provided of Arlington, Va., in her new book, “Off The Sidelines.”

Warner wrapped his head around the conundrum and came up with a unique solution: novelty wear. He presented Gillibrand with the specially-ordered shirt and made light of the turf war on Twitter.

Whether the community at large is ready to forgive Gillibrand remains to be seen.

But T-shirt creator CustomInk is betting there’s enough civic pride floating around at the moment to turn this negative into a net positive.

The designer has launched a fundraising campaign putting copycat T-shirts up for grabs at $20 a pop. The goal is to raise approximately $1,000 (organizers are requesting an initial run of at least 50 orders), with the collected funds flowing through to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Full story

September 11, 2014

Jeff Flake, Martin Heinrich Spearhead New Reality Show

While the rest of us spent the August recess basking in the unseasonably cool temperatures that made summer in D.C. somewhat livable, Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., sneaked away to an uninhabited island in the South Pacific to find some common ground for a TV special dubbed, “Rival Survival.”

Jeff Flake, Martin Heinrich Spearhead New Reality Show

(Courtesy Discovery Communications)

The one-hour episode, which chronicles the political odd couple’s attempts to keep each other alive during a one-week stint on Eru, one of the unforgiving rocks that make up the Marshall Islands, is scheduled to air Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

According to a Discovery Channel aide, the pols actually pitched the show to the cable network, citing a desire to prove that people in Washington can work together — particularly when push comes to shove.

“Both of us know just how frustrated people are with Washington right now. We can both attest that no one is more frustrated than those of us trying to get things done in this environment. We recognize how difficult it can be to cut through the partisanship,” the duo relayed in a joint statement. “So we decided to do something completely out of the ordinary and frankly a little extreme to show the world and our colleagues that even if you have serious differences, if you want to survive you have to work together. ” Full story

September 4, 2014

Postpone Your ‘Recess Can’t Be Over!’ Malaise at BLT Steak

Not quite ready for Congress to return to work (someone put 12 legislative days on the clock, please) next week? Local toque Jeremy Shelton sure is.

The executive chef at BLT Steak (1625 I St. NW) has been cranking out a number of recess treats for bargoers during the past month, a specialty carte — each item priced at $10 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. — that will (mostly) be retired come Monday.

“We have two menus every night plus happy hour as it is, now throw in 10 brand new dishes every time Congress goes into recess … It’s just a lot to keep track of,” Shelton said of the extra effort that’s been required to keep the seasonal snacks (he rolled out a similar slate when lawmakers decamped for spring break) a-coming.

Everything is, of course, prefaced by the incredibly fluffy, cheese-laced popovers BLT Steak drops off in front of every guest.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

On the off chance that isn’t enough incentive to darken their door, the expense account haven also butters up patrons with warm, crusty country bread flanked by salty-rich country pate. (Another longstanding tradition, a la the complimentary popovers, that predates Shelton’s tenure in the kitchen.)

The gourmet nibbles Shelton dreamed up this time around ran the gamut from somewhat perplexing (a smoked trout salad was overwhelmed by bitter greens and bracing citrus) to utterly delicious.

The chef said he remains partial to an heirloom tomato number featuring chimichurri as well as rotating pork-powered sammies.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The grilled sausage patties served to us featured savory swine sandwiched between tangy pickled ramp relish and spicy mustard. Though small, the well-dressed burger knock-offs were quite satisfying. Full story

August 21, 2014

Spend the Rest of Recess With ‘The Simpsons’

FXX is effectively hijacking the rest of any animation-lovers’ summer by airing every Simpsons in consecutive order — all 552 episodes plus the 2007 feature film — beginning Thursday at 10 a.m.

Some of you may be wondering what, if anything, can we stand to learn from a cartoon that’s run roughshod over competing sitcoms over the past 25 years?

Plenty.

The award-winning series (30-odd Emmys and counting) has poked fun at politics for decades. And it has typically done so with more wit and charm than its real-life contemporaries.

Some of the shining examples that immediately come to mind include:

Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington (Season 3, Episode 37)

Civic-minded Lisa Simpson learns the awful truth about lobbying in this send-up of Jimmy Stewart’s David vs. Goliath story.

Airing this Friday at 4 a.m.

Two Bad Neighbors (S7, E141)

Spend the Rest of Recess With ‘The Simpsons’

(Screenshot)

Former President George H. W. Bush tangles with oafish dad, Homer Simpson, and born troublemaker, Bart Simpson, in a battle royal on Evergreen Terrace.

Airing Sunday at 8 a.m. Full story

August 19, 2014

Chuck Grassley and the Magical Honeymoon History Tour

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is spending part of the August recess revisiting many of the same natural wonders and tourist traps he and his wife, Barbara, would have swooned over during their original honeymoon.

 

 

The Iowa Republican, who has famously feuded with the History Channel over its lack of focus, appears to be taking one of the most patriotic trips ever.

Due to the fact that he’s being stingy with the roadside imagery (perhaps it’s time to add Instagram to your social media arsenal, senator), HOH has cobbled together an ersatz travelogue so you can follow along with the reminiscing lovebirds.

Badlands National Park

The first stop on the Grassleys’ trip down memory road. Full story

August 18, 2014

John McCain Cuts a Rug at Apollo Fundraiser

Sen. John McCain got loose over the weekend, strutting his stuff alongside Oscar winner Jamie Foxx during a glitzy charity shindig.

“It’s the ones you don’t expect. … Republicans love to dance in the Hamptons,” Foxx told the Wall Street Journal of the fun he had bringing the Arizona Republican and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie up on stage with him during business tycoon/philanthropist Ronald Perelman’s high-profile soiree. Full story

August 14, 2014

Flashdance: Lawmakers Drench Themselves in Ice Water for Charity (Video)

The Ice Bucket Challenge isn’t just for late-night funnymen and down-for-whatever daytime news anchors anymore.

Lawmakers have caught the water hurling-bug. Watch our compilation below.

Full story

August 13, 2014

Lisa Murkowski Goes All In on #IceBucketChallenge

Bucket, schmucket.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski just became the daredevil philanthropist to beat after fearlessly plunging into icy Alaskan waters.

“I’m gonna challenge every single member of the United States Senate … Demonstrate your commitment to getting rid of ALS,” the Alaska Republican prodded fellow pols who have yet to participate in the viral fundraising campaign.

Murkowski has been calling attention to ALS for years, spreading the word about the crippling disease both in D.C. and around Alaska.

August 11, 2014

Hackers Jack GPO With Swedish Beats

Is it wrong that we kinda dug the risqué enhancement rogue computer programmers unleashed on the Federal Depository Library Program homepage late last week?

A tipster noticed a disturbance in the Government Printing Office-run force, a rump-shaking hiccup online watchdogs attributed to presumably Polish pranksters operating under the guise of “SoWa BeZ OkA.”

Another cyber-sleuth spotted a similar incursion — same digitized kitty, same Swedish pop soundtrack — executed against the Finnish government.

GPO spokesman Gary Somerset confirmed the FDLP site had been compromised, but assured HOH federal authorities were on it. Full story

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

He may be gone, but the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, is not forgotten. Not even by the routinely punchy raconteurs who spin their webs on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”

The alcohol-fueled civics lessons captured by the show, which has already been renewed for a third season, typically feature tipsy storytellers recounting the exploits of prominent socio-political figures.

For Tuesday’s episode — airing at 10 p.m. — “Drunk History” turns its non-bloodshot eye on the Aloha State.

The saga of Inouye’s nearly life-threatening charge into enemy fire during World War II is sandwiched between segments chronicling British Captain James Cook’s “discovery” of the Hawaiian Islands and the tale of surfing legend Eddie Aikau.

“My favorite part of the story … is that he is the inspiration for [President Barack] Obama,” show co-creator Jeremy Konner said of Inouye’s legacy.

Per Konner, actor Steven Yeun, who after four seasons on “The Walking Dead” must be used to squaring off against bitey antagonists, had to wrestle with an entirely different kind of predator by stepping into the Inouye role.

“She said she’s never seen more rattlesnakes on a set,” Konner said of the professional snake wrangler’s assessment of their mountain side-shoot. (Guess it wasn’t filmed in Hawaii, which does not have rattlesnakes.)

Luckily, Yeun took it all in stride.

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

(Courtesy Drunk History/Comedy Central)

“Turns out, he’s a super funny dude,” Konner said.

No word on what other pols might pop up in future episodes. But Konner strongly suggested we stay tuned.

“I promise you there will be a president involved,” he said. “And there will be stories that invoke D.C. and the government.”

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

Whether gracing the silver screen (Mr. Sulu, you have the conn) or cracking wise from behind a touchscreen (Oh Myyy, that’s quite the universe of Facebook fans you’ve assembled), entertainer and political activist George Takei currently strives to live his life out loud.

But that wasn’t always the case.

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The human rights champion would like to set the record straight about everything he’s experienced to date in the revealing documentary, “To Be Takei.”

Director Jennifer Kroot has been chronicling Takei’s incredible journey — a career trajectory that encompasses his breakthrough role as Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek” as well as wildly successful forays into publishing, satellite radio (serving as guest announcer of the “Howard Stern Show”), social media and musical theater — for the past few years. The finished product, which will be released nationwide on Aug. 22, breezes into town next month for two special screenings (at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 4) at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.). Full story

August 8, 2014

MTV Gives Props to Interior Department’s Instagram (Video)

MTV Gives Props to Interior Departments Instagram (Video)

(Melanie Zanona/CQ Roll Call)

MTV admirably took a break from showcasing teen moms and teen wolves to advertise the Instagram account belonging to the U.S. Interior Department. The only problem? The department was completely in the dark about the commercial, until HOH tipped them off.

“You saw our Instagram on a commercial? We are not running TV ads anywhere in the US to our knowledge. Do you have more info?” the Interior Department tweeted.

The brief commercial — which flashes serene nature shots plucked from Interior’s Instagram account while featuring a soothing, female voice — appears to have been created by MTV, since it ends with the station’s logo in the corner.

“Did you know the US Interior Department has an Instagram account?” the commercial begins. It continues: “So pretty, oh yea, right there, beautiful. Thanks America.”

MTV Gives Props to Interior Departments Instagram (Video)

(Melanie Zanona/CQ Roll Call)

MTV did not return a request for comment on when or why it started airing the commercial and whether there are more advertisements of this nature. (Could a riveting C-SPAN Instagram commercial be next?)

For their part, the Interior Department said it does not plan to make MTV stop the unauthorized use of their Instagram pictures. Although it is unclear how MTV would even benefit from the rather strange commercial, at least the advertisement may have garnered a few more followers for the department’s budding Instagram account.

“We have seen an uptick in followers over the last couple of weeks. In fact, we just passed 304,000 this morning,” said Tim Fullerton, the Interior Department’s digital strategy director. “But we attribute that more to the stunning summer photos we’ve been posting from America’s public lands than anything else.”

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