Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 29, 2014

Posts in "Books"

July 22, 2014

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitt’s ‘Penny Pincher’s Cook Book’

While the Washington Post is poised to revel in the 40th anniversary of its administration-toppling Watergate investigation, we here at HOH would prefer to reflect on the positive things President Richard Milhous Nixon brought to the table.

An appreciation of cheap eats, for one.

These days, no one thinks twice about having the White House weigh in on what’s on their plate because first lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to keep nutrition and healthful dining in the public consciousness. One could argue that Nixon helped plant the seed for sustaining a public discourse on maximizing hard earned food dollars by standing firmly behind author Sophie Leavitt’s “Penny Pincher’s Cook Book.”

Richard Nixon: Cookbook Connoisseur, Fan of Sophie Leavitts Penny Pinchers Cook Book

(CQ Roll Call)

The 1971 book — which this reporter just happened to stumble upon while poking around one of those “take a book, leave a book” bins in Old Town Alexandria — encourages would-be cooks not only to adopt frugality, but to embrace it as a source of inspiration. Full story

July 14, 2014

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

The second installment of Rep. John Lewis’ illustrated history of the civil rights era, “March: Book Two” has a newly designed cover and a tentative release date: late January of next year.

John Lewis Readies ‘March: Book Two’ for 2015

(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)

Top Shelf Productions spokesman Leigh Walton said Lewis would not be traveling to San Diego next week for Comic Con, as he did last year. Congressional aide and co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell are making the trip, and are expected to update fans about the planned trilogy Friday, July 25 at noon during a Top Shelf-led panel discussion.

Per the promotional materials, Book Two appears to pick up several months after Book One drew to a close (spring 1960), with the Georgia Democrat continuing to exercise his commitment to non-violent protest by hitting the road with the Freedom Riders and, ultimately, helping to lead the history-making 1963 march on Washington.

“Pre-orders are already coming in for Book Two,” Walton said of the mounting interest surrounding the ground-breaking set of graphic novels. Much like Book One, the next episode of Lewis’ extraordinary life will be available in paperback, hardcover, and as a limited edition, autographed collectible.

July 9, 2014

Politics & Prose Gives Amazon the Business

The District’s highest profile independent bookstore is getting political once more, weighing in on the ongoing tug-of-war between online retailer Amazon and authors with some cheeky in-store signage.

“Hachette Titles: Usually ships in  … Oh, wait, just pick it up right now!” Team P&P touts in front of a display featuring the latest imprint to tangle with the one-click-and-a-drone-will-deliver-it-right-to-your-doorstep giant for control of the e-publishing revenue stream.

A secondary placard posted within the landing spot (5015 Connecticut Ave. NW) for rising/sitting/retired politicos with great stories to tell paraphrases from the commentary that prolific author and voracious reader James Patterson posted on his personal website earlier this spring about the troubling literary row. Full story

July 7, 2014

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

Some lawmakers enjoy being able to drop out of sight during recess. Others, such as critically acclaimed graphic novelist/Rep. John Lewis, find it much harder to disentangle from the swirling celebrity life.

Case in point: fans of the Georgia Democrat simply could not resist prodding him together with comics legend Stan Lee — you know, the guy who created all those spandex-clad superheroes that lord over movie screens every summer and has done cameos in many of the Marvel flicks — during a chance meeting in Las Vegas.

Stan Lee and John Lewis: The Drawing of the Two

(Courtesy Andrew Aydin)

“It was totally by accident, but as soon as they were near each other, people started pushing them together. I grabbed my phone as quick as I could and snapped the picture,” Andrew Aydin, congressional aide and co-author of “March,” the illustrated tale of Lewis’ Civil Rights Era activism, told HOH.

Per Aydin, it was the first time they had crossed paths with the nonagenarian wellspring from which the likes of Spiderman, the Hulk and the X-Men had flowed since officially joining the comic writing verse last summer.

“Neither of us had ever met him before,” Aydin said of the serendipitous encounter. A lifelong reader (“I gushed like a fanboy,” he admitted), Aydin was thrilled to hear Lee chatting with his boss about “March” and just generally soaked in the absolutely magical moment. Full story

June 25, 2014

How Congress Has Changed for Hillary Clinton

How Congress Has Changed for Hillary Clinton

Feinstein and Clinton, seen here in 2005, strengthened their friendship serving together. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has seen a lot in politics, and Congress has changed quite a bit over the course of her career. As our team read through Clinton’s detailing of diplomatic exploits in her latest memoir, “Hard Choices,” we examined it through the lens of Congress.

As a former first lady and U.S. senator, Clinton has a breadth of experience working on Capitol Hill. Should she seek the presidency once more, that interaction will matter for her political future.

The research gurus at the CQ Members Desk crunched the numbers to showcase how Congress has changed (and stayed the same) from Clinton’s perspective.

Just 69 current members of Congress have served in the Capitol continuously since Clinton began her tenure as first lady in 1993.

Full story

June 23, 2014

Marion Barry Discusses His Book, the Blues and Yogurt

Marion Barry Discusses His Book, the Blues and Yogurt

Barry, seen here at a 2009 rally, has thoughts about healthy diets and the Clinton marriage. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Marion Barry told reporters at a local restaurant he’s not afraid of their questions, as long as they read his book first.

The D.C. councilmember and former mayor is on a book tour promoting “Mayor for Life,” which he describes as “very honest.”

“I have no fear of being around reporters,” Barry told the group of roughly 20 journalists on June 20. “The only thing I ask you all to do, read the book first. … It’s the truth: the good, the bad, the ugly.”

While the reporters sat down to a dinner at Look Supper Club on K Street, a singles mixer occurred on the other side of a thin curtain. With the chattering of small talk and music, there was some confusion throughout the night as Barry and the journalists strained to hear above the noise.

At one point, the four-term former mayor was asked about the proposed yoga tax in D.C., but he thought the reporter said “yogurt,” which prompted a passionate defense of the snack.

Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 1:28 p.m.
Books, DC

June 9, 2014

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

Steve Israel: The F. Scott Fitzgerald of Congress?

The gentleman from West Egg? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

The hat rack of Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., is quite full these days.

Obviously, he represents the constituents of New York’s 3rd District. And then there is his side gig running the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But lately, he’s wearing another hat: novelist.

“I’m publishing my first novel in January,” he said in a recent interview.

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Since I knew I couldn’t play centerfield for the Mets, which was my childhood dream, and since I couldn’t get a book published, I became a member of Congress.” 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 12, 2014

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

Advocates for extending voting rights to the District are adding another weapon to their coalition-building arsenal: the (local) star-studded gala.

DC Vote Rounds Up Pols, VIPs for Inaugural Ball

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:57 p.m. | Politicos expected to strut their stuff at the inaugural “3 Star Ball: Party With a Purpose” include: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., shadow Sen. Paul Strauss and councilmembers-turned-mayoral-hopefuls Muriel Bowser and David Catania. The event is scheduled to take place May 22 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the scenic rooftop of the National Association of Realtors’ HQ (500 New Jersey Ave. NW).

Tickets to the gala, which will feature gourmet finger foods, frosty pours of DC Brau’s “The Citizen” and “Public Ale” and live entertainment, are $75 per person.

Organizers carved out a place for newly minted U.S. citizen José Andrés on the host committee. But, sadly, the bicoastal restaurateur will not be working his culinary magic for the mingling masses. That task falls to Alexandria, Va.-based Windows Catering, which is expected to ply partygoers with the likes of lobster rolls, beef Wellington, grilled vegetable quesadillas and cheesecake lollipops (among other nibbles).

DC Vote also plans to honor a pair of hometown heroes that night: regional suds slinger DC Brau, and Nancy Bagley, ex-aide in the administration of President Bill Clinton turned media maven (Washington Life Magazine).

“DC Brau has displayed extraordinary efforts to educate consumers about DC’s lack of congressional representation. They include messaging about DC statehood and representation on their cans of beer as well as in promotional advertising for their products,” DC Vote Executive Director Kimberly Perry said of the brewery’s in-your-face campaigning.

April 25, 2014

John Walsh Wants to Serve Craft Distillers

John Walsh Wants to Serve Craft Distillers

Walsh, left, swears by the bonding powers of craft liquor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman lawmaker John Walsh has hatched a new plan for making fast friends in the Senate: get in good with their hometown hooch producers.

The Montana Democrat plans to raise the bar on representing small batch booze makers by establishing the Senate Craft Distillers Caucus. He announced his intention to spearhead the liquor-friendly clique while soaking in the likes of Headframe Spirits, a Butte, Mont.-based distillery that specializes in bourbon, gin, vodka and a bourbon cream liqueur.

A Walsh aide said the newly minted solon is excited about tapping into the enterprising zeal of the spirits world — by Team Walsh’s count, Montana is currently home to 16 licensed distilleries — and hopes to recruit others to the task once everyone is back in town.

The planned outreach could lead to some tipsy-tacular lobbying.

Walsh could get rickey wit it alongside D.C. Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss, by tipping his cap to Green Hat Gin-fueled coolers.

Or he could hedge his bets on locking down support for the group from Republican colleagues Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul by inviting them over next weekend for a Kentucky Derby viewing party and feeding them nothing but Maker’s Mark mint juleps.

Inserting himself into the bromance between Virginia Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine might take a little more work. May we suggest a boys’ weekend in the scenic Shenandoah Valley, culminating with nightly campfires around which tall tales are spun and heroic amounts of Catoctin Creek’s fiery Mosby’s Spirit or Copper Fox’s rye whiskey are swigged directly from the bottle.

April 17, 2014

Rep. John Lewis’ ‘March’ Nominated for Will Eisner Award

A trailblazer in more ways than one, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., has another first to add to the list: the first member of Congress to be nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award.

Rep. John Lewis March Nominated for Will Eisner Award

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Eisner Awards, one of the industry’s highest honors, are awarded to the year’s best comics and graphic novels.  Lewis’ graphic novel “March Book One was honored with two nominations this year, receiving a nod in the Best Publication for Teens and Best Reality-Based Work categories.

The novel is the first in a three-part autobiographical series about Lewis’ participation in the civil rights movement.  The first installment explores Lewis’ childhood in Alabama and his early involvement in civil rights protests as a student at Fisk University.

Lewis co-wrote the novel with Andrew Aydin, his telecommunications legislative assistant, along with artist Nate Powell. The first-time novelists have been extremely successful, with “March” topping The New York Times best-seller list for paperback graphic novels and The Washington Post’s nonfiction list last year.

The winners of the Eisner Awards will be announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego this July.

Lewis is certainly no stranger to Comic-Con, becoming the first sitting Congressman to attend the convention last year. In San Diego, Lewis was met by enthusiastic supporters as he promoted his graphic novel.

Although Lewis will have to wait until this summer to see how “March” fares, a nomination certainly gives him a reason to dance.

April 2, 2014

Zombie Pandemics and Gobbeledygook Grace GPO’s Funny Title List

“Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic.”  It wasn’t an April Fools’ joke — this government document actually exists and was one of the Government Printing Office’s Top Ten Funny Federal Titles proving government documents aren’t always mundane.

Of course, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wasn’t actually predicting a zombie apocalypse with its contribution to the mix, so there’s no need to hoard water and binge-watch “The Walking Dead” — yet.  The agency was creatively informing the public how to be prepared for emergencies.  And the CDC wasn’t the only agency having some fun with their document titles.

Among those listed by Jennifer Davis on the GPO’s blog were “Gobbeledygook Has Gotta Go,” highlighting the issues with complex language in government documents, “America the Beautiful: Collection of the Nation’s Trashiest Humor,” and “USDA Saves French Donkey.”

“I love reading government documents for their data and their fascinating stories, but I usually wouldn’t consider them to be laugh-out-loud funny,” Davis wrote.  “And when I searched GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP), and picked my colleagues’ brains, I found that Uncle Sam sometimes gets his chuckles, too.”

And sometimes perhaps he laughs a little too hard? Read “Self-Motion Perception and Motion Sickness: Final Report on the Project.”

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

March 5, 2014

Prose-Peddling Pols Swarm CPAC

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is once again upon us, bringing together hundreds if not thousands of right-wing activists determined to crack the code to winning back over the government.

A number of prominent House and Senate Republicans are scheduled to rally the faithful during the weekend long strategy session.

Some are even bringing along some product to push.

In addition to the donation-driven receptions and private meet-and-greets sprinkled about National Harbor, several past, present and would-be politicos are expected to hunker down for book signings of their personal texts.

The nightstand stocking opportunities include:

Thursday, 2:30 p.m.: Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., signs copies of “Just Fly the Plane, Stupid!”

Currently No. 575,242 in Amazon’s Kindle rankings. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:52 p.m.
Books, Reps, Sens

January 17, 2014

Exit Interview: Philip Minardi

With just hours to go before he officially cuts ties with Congress, GOP aide Philip Minardi took a little time to reflect on the rollercoaster ride that is working on Capitol Hill.

The House flack, who most recently handled press for Rep. Erik Paulsen, R-Minn., will be juggling communications duties for the Travel Technology Association starting Monday.

Minardi told HOH there are a number of things he’ll miss about working on the Hill. Full story

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