Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

Posts in "AwesomeSauce"

June 17, 2014

Congressional Women’s Softball Batting Practices Get Wild at New York Times, Huffington Post (Updated) (Video)

They ain’t messing around at The New York Times and The Huffington Post.

Both news organizations were the sites of indoor batting practice sessions on Tuesday, in preparation for Wednesday evening’s Congressional Women’s Softball Game. The annual match between female members of Congress and the women of the Washington press corps. The game benefits the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity. Tickets can be purchased here.

Over at the Times, bureau chief Carolyn Ryan is taking her game debut so seriously that she and day editor Jill Agostino regularly hold pepper drills in Ryan’s office.

“I think it speaks volumes about our confidence going into the game that Carolyn wanted to play pepper in her glass-enclosed office,” New York Times junior reporter Emmarie Huetteman observed.

Ryan, Agostino and Huetteman joined the softball team thanks to the scouting efforts of press coach and New York Times chief Washington correspondent Carl Hulse.

As if she needed any more initiation, Ryan found herself sucked into a Twitter fight with the game’s founder, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., over the last 24 hours.

Step One: Ready the Batting Stance

Congressional Womens Softball Batting Practices Get Wild at New York Times, Huffington Post (Updated) (Video)

Courtesy Emmarie Huetteman

 

Full story

June 12, 2014

Seersucker Day Returns, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker Day Returns, Who Wore It Best?

Seersucker was in the House! (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thanks to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss, June 11, 2014 will go down as one of the most chaotic days in the modern history of the United States Capitol.

But it will also go on the books as the moment Seersucker Day returned to Capitol Hill.

The hallway leading to the GOP conference meeting where Cantor announced his resignation from leadership served as almost a Seersucker fashion runway as the ranks of the GOP members strutted, (or more often, trudged) their way to the meeting past reporters and cameras.

As one of our faithful readers coined it, Capitol Hill got its “Matlock” on. Full story

June 11, 2014

Kinky Friedman on Cantor Primary: ‘The Crowd Picked Barabas’

“Another Jewboy bites the dust,” said Kinky Friedman, reacting to the news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his GOP primary in Virginia. “The crowd picked Barabas,” Friedman added, a reference to the crowd at Golgotha choosing to grant mercy to the thief Barabas over Jesus, who went on to die on the cross.

Friedman, in town to perform Wednesday night at the Washington Jewish Music Festival, experienced his own political defeat recently, losing his race for Texas agriculture commissioner in the Democratic primary runoff last month to Jim Hogan. “The people have spoken, the bastards,” Friedman quipped with a line generally attributed to Democratic campaign operative Dick Tuck and the late Rep. Morris K. Udall, D-Ariz.

While Friedman says he’s pretty sure he’s through with electoral politics (He’s previously run for governor of Texas as well as agriculture commissioner.), he nevertheless keeps in touch with his local congressman, Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. Smith hosted Friedman at Wednesday’s Texas Breakfast Club at the American Trucking Association on Capitol Hill. Full story

June 10, 2014

Seersucker Day: Trent Lott’s Fashion Do’s and Don’ts

Seersucker Day: Trent Lotts Fashion Dos and Donts

Where it began: Lott. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Seersucker Day on Capitol Hill is less than 24 hours away, and the concept can be a bit tricky for those not from the Deep South.

So, as a service to our readers, we called on the originator of the Capitol Hill tradition, ex-Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, for his advice on how to make the most of Seersucker Day.

“It was one of those rare occasions when something was bipartisan and for both genders,” the former Republican leader said. He added that it was a fun-spirited day where members could “get a picture and laugh together a little bit.”

Trent Lott’s Seersucker Do’s Full story

June 9, 2014

Drink In the Granite State’s Awesomeness on Wednesday

The New Hampshire delegation will welcome scores of home-state businesses — including a baker’s dozen of booze makers — to the Capitol Wednesday for the fifth annual “Experience New Hampshire” reception.

Drink In the Granite State’s Awesomeness on Wednesday

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats Jeanne Shaheen, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster and their Republican counterpart, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, are poised to once again co-host the epicurean love fest.

The invite-only taste-around is scheduled to take place Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russell 325).

Per Shaheen’s office, first-timers Ali Baba’s Wholefoods Festival and Treasures, Michele’s Sweet Shoppe, gourmet chocolatier Lindt and New Hampshire Mushroom Company are all expected to inject new life into the noshing side. Shaheen favorites Granite State Candy Shoppe and L.A. Burdick are safely back in the rotation.

Meanwhile, newly recruited beer slingers Great Rhythm Brewing Company, The Prodigal Brewery and Throwback Brewery will join the ranks of an already impressive tippling line-up scheduled to include:

We’re feeling punchy (hic!) just thinking about all the guzzling — ahem, responsible sipping — that lies ahead.

June 6, 2014

Sleazy Pol Sparks Spectacular Reddit Guessing Game

Reddit, the online hub known for its no-holds-barred “Ask Me Anything” discussions has been consumed by the SHOCKING! (shocking?) revelation that some elected official, somewhere may have slipped a paramour a few bucks to keep quiet about their extracurricular activities.

“Relative of mine slept with a notable politician and was paid to keep quiet. Has the hush letter in writing,” a Redditor who posts under the moniker diztorted floated in a forum rife with heartbreaking tales of childhood molestation and jarring anecdotes about stumbling upon unknown siblings/secret second families.

Unlike the surreptitious financial support former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards sent mistress Rielle Hunter’s way, or the consolation prize former Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign served up to one-time aide Doug Hampton, after bedding his wife, Cynthia, this purported philanderer apparently had the foresight to contractually bar the other party from ever saying a word about what had transpired between the two of them.

“This is ‘House of Cards’ stuff here, Underwoods be damned,” said a commenter who goes by TheSouthernPunk.

Soon, everyone begun weighing in on the hush-hush, hanky-panky. Full story

May 30, 2014

Jose Canseco Swings for the OPM Fences

Former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco is done with being just Twitter famous. He wants into the big show.

 

The all-star slugger turned reality TV go-to dusted off his #yeswecanseco slogan Friday — you know, the one he used during his short-lived bid to unseat embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford — in order to lobby President Barack Obama for exiting White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s post.

Canseco’s Twinterview was short, but quite telling.

He provided insights into his:

Management skills

 

Full story

May 29, 2014

Redskins Magically Fumble Senate Shaming Campaign

They may not be much for winning on any given Sunday. But man, oh man, do the Washington Redskins know how to keep things interesting.

 

 

Their latest attempt at generating positive press in the face of months years decades of criticism stemming from an unwavering commitment to what a growing chorus of opponents perceive to be a grossly insensitive moniker couldn’t have been more of a disaster, as the incredibly overconfident front office tried to turn the tables on Capitol Hill by urging fans to flood the social media feeds of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., with pro-Skins rhetoric.

The public relations audible comes just one week after half the Senate petitioned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to follow NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lead on Donald Sterling and big-foot Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

The Internet, naturally, exploded.

And not exactly the way D.C.’s embattled football club likely envisioned.

Sure, some supportive tweets broke through here and there.

But the online discourse also veered into all kinds of morale-dampening territory, including:

 

  • Revisiting White Power advocacy

 

 

Full story

May 22, 2014

Hank’s on the Hill Woos Whiskey Drinkers

Our local Hank’s (633 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) is celebrating being in the running for a RAMMY award by offering up a special Jameson-spiked cooler on Thursday night.

Mixtress Gina Chersevani, potential heir to the 2014 Cocktail Program of the Year crown, assures HOH she’ll be shaking up “It’s All About the Benjamin’s” — a frozen drink featuring the aforementioned Irish whiskey, spiced sweet vermouth and atomized lemon — for only $5 (regular price: $12) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening.

The promotion is part of a citywide cocktail jamboree orchestrated by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington in anticipation of the June 22 gala.

Additional participants include:

  • Black Jack (1612 14th St. NW): Hosting a RAMMYs-themed carnival from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. complete with drink tickets, fair games, fried foods and raffles.
  • Bourbon Steak (2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW): This high roller is expected to dole out kifu, a blend of Hangar One vodka, Cointreau, ginger, lemon and basil, shaken (not stirred) and garnished with candied ginger.
  • The Gibson (2009 14th St. NW): This cocktail haven is going pre-Prohibition, rolling out classic concoctions for $8 a pop from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the upstairs bar.
  • Jack Rose Dining Saloon (2007 18th St. NW): The multi-level drinking den is spreading specialty cocktails all around. Terrace-goers can sip the Sao Paolo Sunset and Back Porch; Saloon patrons will be privy to The Art of Deception and Like Strawberry Shine; those who descend into Dram & Grain will be treated to Ode to Omaha and Skye High. Each drink will set guests back $10 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

May 21, 2014

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith has banged out a whole bunch of special appearances this week, from hanging with first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House talent show to cracking wise about the music biz in front of the Capitol.

Rocker Chad Smith Does D.C. Right

Smith has been rocking the Capitol this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The best part of the trip, though, had to be showing his eldest son, Cole, around the White House.

“My son for some reason, 9 years old, all things presidential he is just enamored with,” Smith told HOH. To wit, Smith noted that while visiting the Oval Office, Cole dropped some knowledge on the tour guide about the reason behind the circular design — something about not being able to sneak up on POTUS — that the administration aide claimed to be unfamiliar with.

“So Cole is now giving tours of the White House,” Smith quipped.

He said Cole got the shock of his young life when President Barack Obama unexpectedly popped by a FLOTUS-led event and took a shine to the nattily attired young man.

“He had on this seersucker suit, my son. Which he never wears a suit. It’s the only suit he has,” Smith shared.

When 44 got up close and personal, Smith said, Cole got all the love.

“Barack was like, ‘Nice to meet you, Chad. … Hey, nice suit. Where’d you get that suit? Ah, Seersucker. Summer’s coming,’” Smith noted. “So he was talking to my son about fashion.”

Or was he?

“And Cole’s like, ‘The president called me a sucker,’” Smith said, choking back laughter. Full story

May 20, 2014

Dave Camp Aide Extracts Reality Show From Dustbin of History

“Spymaster USA” alumnus James Brandell — aka chief of staff to retiring Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., to you civvies — is marking the 10-year anniversary of his brief flirtation with reality TV stardom by screening the pilot episode of the short-lived show Wednesday night at 201 Bar (201 Massachusetts Ave. NE).

Dave Camp Aide Extracts Reality Show From Dustbin of History

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

Brandell is resurrecting the British export (their version of the show survived for several seasons) in a bid to have a little fun while raising money for his latest Leukemia & Lymphoma Society campaign.

There is no charge to attend the two-hour extravaganza (think: drinks and chitchat from 6-7 p.m. and intense scrutiny of the unfolding melodrama from 7-8 p.m.), though Brandell would certainly welcome any contributions that arts aficionados would care to make.

“This is my kind of way of giving back,” the endurance sports vet told HOH of the low-key get-together.

Brandell originally made it his mission to stamp out cancer after his mother, the late Mary Ellen Brandell, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. He has since found another reason to keep up the good fight: his boss’ withering — but successful! — battle with lymphoma.

For those of you who missed the weekly nail-biter the first time around, the cult classic featured a handful of starry-eyed Capitol Hill denizens angling to enjoy just a taste of the spy game.

Given that no footage of the U.S.-based production remains in circulation — Brandell said a friend had the incredible foresight to burn a copy of the original The Learning Channel broadcast onto a DVD so many years ago — just imagine that this tense exchange from the U.K. programme was happening in a dilapidated cottage just south of Richmond, Va.:

In addition to Brandell, show-runners tapped Stephanie Whelpley, a Senate GOP aide who later worked her way up through the George W. Bush administration, as well as a certain then-tax reporter who may still be covering Congress today, to share in the pseudo-covert escapades. (For those who didn’t scour Tax Notes in the early part of the last decade, or follow other parts of this reporter’s un-IMDB-able show-biz career, keep digging.)

Do your part by drinking heavily (201 Bar is kicking back 10 percent of the booze tab to Brandell’s Team in Training efforts) while watching ex-Delta Force member cum “Spymaster USA” consultant Eric L. Haney put the would-be recruits through hell.

White House Surrogates Pregame at Big Bear Café

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities members Sarah Jessica Parker, Frank Gehry, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews and Chuck Close all made a night of if it Monday in Bloomingdale, taking over Big Bear Café at 1700 First St. NW for a private party filled with what sounds like good cheer and some pretty fabulous food.

HOH alumna Neda Semnani was unable to contain her excitement about the roaming celebs — the group is in town to help scrounge up additional resources for artistic programs; some have been recruited to do a little arm-twisting Wednesday while crisscrossing the Capitol — blasting out the news of the SPJ-led invasion to the Twittersphere.

A Big Bear staffer told HOH that the group of 25 enjoyed a casual dinner culled from the restaurant’s current menu — with some embellishments (natch).

“We did send out some special bites to start that included Keswick Creamery quark from the Sunday farmers market on a raisin crostini with black olive truffle tapenade, chicken liver pate with cherried brandies on sourdough crostini, smoked bluefish rillettes, and house pickled ramps and asparagus — grown by our friends at Bounty Hill Farms,” our tipster said of the gourmet nibbles sprung upon the visiting celebs.

Per our source, ex-Tabard Inn Executive Chef Paul Pelt was on hand to help craft some of the tasty new additions, including a shrimp remoulade accompanied by fried pickled green tomato that debuted Monday night and will remain on the BBC menu moving forward. We hear Parker also indulged in a portion of Pelt’s signature gumbo.

Meanwhile, newly minted pastry chef Huw Griffiths (another Tabard Inn alumnus) provided guests with sweet send-offs of rhubarb apple crisp and chocolate dacquoise.

With all those talented folks assembled under one roof, there had to be some drama, right?

Not so, swore the insider.

“Staff didn’t hear one crazy thing all night, strangely — but definitely witnessed a genuine bond and appreciation for each other; their involvement in the program and a love of kids,” our spy suggested.

The restaurant was so pleased with the way everything turned out, in fact, that staff extended an open invitation to have any (or all) of the first-timers return whenever they’re back in town.

And their local pals appear to be welcome too.

“The Obamas and Bidens have yet to visit Big Bear,” Team BBC noted. “But we’re hopeful that last night’s party will put in a good word for us.”

May 19, 2014

King, Collins: Bipartisan Texting Buddies (Video)

Kids these days are always texting, and by kids we mean Maine’s senators.

At a joint event on May 16 at the home of Margaret Chase Smith in which independent Angus King announced his endorsement of his Republican Susan Collins’ re-election bid, King said the pair traded messages about the endorsement that morning.

“Susan texted me this morning and said, ‘Thanks for the endorsement,’ and I texted her back and said this was a very easy call, and it absolutely was” King said. “I think the people of Maine are fortunate to have a representative of her caliber.”

Full story

Chad Smith, Others Beat Drums for Arts Funding

The National Association of Music Merchants and select members of the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities will storm the Hill this week to drum up additional resources for arts education programs.

The fly-in efforts include: an inaugural student “talent show” at the White House (Tuesday), the star-studded “Celebrating Music Education” reception at the Library of Congress (Tuesday night) and a camera-friendly press conference led by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., just steps from the Capitol (Wednesday).

Meanwhile, Chad Smith — you know, he who pounds the skins for the Red Hot Chili Peppers — is expected to huddle, in private, with Speaker John A. Boehner early Wednesday.

No word on whether the legendary percussionist plans to school the Ohio Republican in the art of getting folks marching to the same beat, or if he’ll share his strategy for besting comedian Will Ferrell in the charity battle (there’s a golden cowbell up for grabs) the dueling doppelgangers are expected to wage Thursday on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Not a part of Boehner’s inner circle?

Smith is also expected to float around the NAMM Foundation’s shindig at the Jefferson Building. The other celebs expected to walk the red carpet Tuesday night (flashbulbs should begin popping around 7 p.m.) include: actress Alfre Woodard, multimedia artist Chuck Close, ballet vet Damian Woetzel, Tony Award-winning actor John Lloyd Young, painter Kerry James Marshall, singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood, “House of Payne” star Doc Shaw and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

May 13, 2014

Food Lovers Bombard Cory Booker’s Twitter Feed

Sen. Cory Booker was up and at ’em early Tuesday, greeting his social media flock with an invitation to toss a few local shops his way in order to some them much-deserved love during Small Business Week 2014.

 

 

The New Jersey Democrat quickly learned that food is what fuels 99.99 percent of ALL discussions online.

Sure, there was an architecture group named here. And a woman-owned outfit was heralded there.

 

 

But the majority of folks were determined to spread the word about personal dining gems, a must-hit list that included:

Bagel Buffet, Hackensack: A local bakery/café specializing in sandwiches and such that also donates baked goods to neighboring food pantries (“Sounds delicious,” Booker suggested).

Giorgio’s Pasticcerie, Hoboken: Family-owned bakery specializing in Italian and French pastries.

Blueplate, Mullica Hill: Neighborhood restaurant specializing in Modern American cuisine.

Benny’s, Fair Lawn: Old school luncheonette dealing in home fries, patty melts and their signature “Overstuffed Hot Pastrami Sandwich.”

Bischoff’s Ice Cream, Teaneck: An 80-year-old sweets shop that dabbles in the likes of pumpkin fudge, coffee-cookie crush ice cream (coffee cream with crumbled Oreos) and strawberry ice cream sodas. (“I’ll believe it when I taste it,” Booker asserted)

Judicke’s Bakery, Bayonne: Family-run bakery renowned for cranking out old favorites (baklava, mascarpone mousse cake) as well as trendy treats (“Frozen”-themed cupcakes).

White Manna, Hackensack, and Kosher Nosh, Glenn Rock: The former is a fast-food haven renowned for its onion-packed sliders while the latter is a traditional deli dishing smoked fish platters, triple-decker sandwiches and Jewish comfort foods (chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, chicken-in-a-pot).

DP’s Pub, Garfield: A dive bar with a thing for seafood. (“Their garlic sauce is legendary,” Booker shared)

SeaGrass Restaurant, Ocean Grove: Polished eatery with a penchant for seasonal cooking.

Mount Royal Bagel Company, Marlton: The house that wood-fired, “Montreal-style” bagels (“boiled in honey water before baking,” the website explains) built.

Biggie’s Clam Bar, Hoboken: A nearly 70-year-old raw bar that’s since spun off into other states (Tennessee).

Osteria Procacci, Kingston: Upscale pizza joint specializing in gourmet pies.

Magic Fountain Ice Cream and Grill, Elizabeth: Deep-fried everything plus frozen goodies.

Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken: The spot that catapulted reality TV vet- Buddy Valastro to “Cake Boss” fame. (“A favorite of mine, too,” Booker revealed)

Southside Roast, Cranford: Local java source with a few nibbles (soups, sandwiches) to boot.

To wit, the only way out of the restaurant rumble for the food-fatigued solon was to retreat to the relative safety of the chamber:

 

 

Looks like Mr. Text Happy bit off more than he could chew this time.

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