Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 19, 2014

Posts in "Celebs"

December 19, 2014

D.C. Helps Stephen Colbert Say Goodbye

Citizens of #ThisTown were among the pop culture illuminati sending off faux conservative blowhard Stephen Colbert on the final episode of “The Colbert Report,” all to a resounding singalong of “We’ll Meet Again.”

Along with longtime collaborator Jon Stewart and the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jeff Tweedy, Cookie Monster and the dragon Smaug from “The Hobbit,” the chorus of well-wishers included:

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Full story

December 18, 2014

Pols, Public Critique Wisdom of Silencing ‘The Interview’

Pols, Public Critique Wisdom of Silencing ‘The Interview’

Rogen, center, has gone radio silent since the controversy intensified. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Moviegoers from all walks of life have been stopped dead in their tracks by Sony’s decision to drop the sociopolitical football that is  “The Interview” from its schedule, due to mounting pressures from external forces.

Just days after the film’s co-stars Seth Rogen and James Franco bowed out of making any more public appearances for the film, the besieged studio packed it in as well, shelving a satirical romp that has purportedly deeply offended supporters of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. The stunning case of self-censorship unleashed a cacophony of analyses from instapundits.

Full story

December 16, 2014

DHS Not Ready to Torpedo ‘The Interview’ Opening

International troublemakers Seth Rogen and James Franco may be ready to run for cover from the mystery hackers who’ve brought Sony to its horribly bruised knees, but the feds see no reason (yet) to deprive moviegoers of a few laughs on Christmas.

Per Variety, the Department of Homeland Security has found “no credible intelligence” regarding threats the self-proclaimed “Guardians of Peace” have leveled against those who plan on seeing the farcical flick later this month.

Full story

December 3, 2014

Cooking Stars Hold Pols’ Feet to the Fire About Africa

Culinary heavies all charged up about energy poverty fanned out across the Capitol Wednesday in a last-ditch effort to illuminate lawmakers about the importance of empowering Africa.

Cooking Stars Hold Pols’ Feet to the Fire About Africa

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The lobbying blitz was coordinated by ONE, a nonprofit that works to bring change in the global health and social justice arenas. The current campaign is focused on carrying the stalled Electrify Africa Act of 2014 across the legislative finish line before lawmakers put a bow on the swirling cromnibus package and wrap up their official business for the year. Full story

December 2, 2014

Lawmakers Commemorate a Decade of AIDS Activism

Lawmakers Commemorate a Decade of AIDS Activism

Valenti (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Current lawmakers and congressional alumni are joining with the Motion Picture Association of America to tout the philanthropic efforts of the Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

The global relief organization was co-founded in 2004 by the MPAA’s iconic chief, the late Jack Valenti. Full story

December 1, 2014

Contempt for Elizabeth Lauten Spreads Far and Wide

It seems that no one, or anything, is immune from the seething rage Elizabeth Lauten fomented by launching a personal attack against Sasha and Malia Obama.

The one-time spokeswoman for Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., had to fall on her sword Monday after her widely publicized rant about teenage behavior sparked a rhetorical war that cut across racial, political and gender divides.

The presumably seasoned public relations professional — Lauten handled press for one-term tea party favorite Rep. Joe Walsh of Illinois during the 112th Congress, spent a few years as “social and earned media manager” at Purple Strategies prior to that, and earlier this year launched her own shop — inspired not one (#ElizabethLauten) but two (#FireElizabethLauten) vitriol-laden threads on Twitter.

About that firm? Perhaps Lauten tapped her classics major at East Carolina University, naming it Audeamus Communications. Audeamus means “may we dare” or “may we risk” in Latin. Do with that information what you will.

In addition to exposing herself to ridicule (it didn’t take long for the hypocrisy bashing to kick in) and scorn (The Smoking Gun unearthed a decade-old shoplifting charge), Lauten’s antics suddenly made Fincher fair game.

And he wasn’t the only one caught in the mounting crossfire. Full story

November 25, 2014

Capitol Hill Cop Spices Things Up as ‘Three Sheets Chef’

Capitol Police Officer Terry Heffernan told HOH he caught the acting bug while in college.

If only the theater crowd could see him now.

Capitol Hill Cop Spices Things Up as ‘Three Sheets Chef’

While he spends most of his time keeping the congressional campus safe, Heffernan has also been actively pursuing any and every opportunity to perform since the 1990s. “Being a police officer is my favorite way to support myself being an actor,” he quipped.

That lifelong dream has led him to blending in with the thousands of freezing cold extras seen huddled around the National Mall in that iconic scene from “Forrest Gump.” It compelled him to take a shot in an almost Doritos ad. And it inspired him to create the demented instructional series, “Three Sheets Chef.”

“It came to me while I was ruthlessly hung over, sitting on my couch watching the Food Channel,” Heffernan said of the “a-ha!” moment that led to his satirical side-gig.

The extremely low-tech series debuted in late 2011. Since then, Heffernan and a rag tag crew — including a fellow Capitol Hill cop who handles editing duties — have cobbled together just over a dozen installments of horribly misguided culinary instruction.

“We haven’t really figured out what the purpose of the show is yet, but I’ll tell you this, we’re really hoping to get on HBO.  And I have a feeling the best way to do that is for me to say ‘cocksucker’ about every three minutes,” Heffernan, channeling his perma-tipsy counterpart, explains in episode one.

Sure enough, the wheels come off each time. Full story

November 6, 2014

Barbara Lee Delivers Her Own Wave

Yes, yes, the Republicans have decisively taken over both chambers of Congress for the first time in nearly a decade.

But what’s that trivial feat got to do with the 40 seconds of awkward arm flapping California Democrat Barbara Lee endured on Wednesday’s episode of “The Colbert Report”?

The faux pundit, who is expected to bury his conservative-leaning cable news persona next month in preparation for assuming hosting duties of CBS’s “Late Show,” set up the face-to-face fanning duel (starts at the 3-minute mark) by noting during the latest installment of the pol-baiting “Better Know a District” segment that the signature sports move originated at the Oakland Coliseum.

According to ESPN, the first recorded version of the stadium-wide salute took place on Oct. 15, 1981, during a playoff game between the Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees.

So Lee’s district’s got that going for it. As well as a congresswoman who’s not afraid to rise and fall with the best of ’em.

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November 5, 2014

Clay Aiken Lost! Long Live Clay Aiken!

Clay Aiken won’t be coming to Congress. But that doesn’t mean Clay Aiken is going away, not if Esquire Network’s “four-hour limited documentary series” on the “American Idol” runner-up-turned-wannabe0lawmaker has anything to do with it.

Aiken lost to Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers in North Carolina’s 2nd District on Tuesday night, 58 percent  to 41 percent. While Aiken’s celebrity profile attracted attention to the race, he faced an uphill battle from the start in a GOP district. He didn’t solidify his hold on the nomination until his primary opponent, Former North Carolina Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco, died in May. The Nov. 4 GOP tidal wave confirmed Aiken’s runner-up status.

But with Esquire’s documentary, put together by filmmakers Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn, Aiken is due for another encore in public life. “We were granted incredible access during the making of this documentary, and in turn were able to capture the internal workings of an American campaign – the good, the bad and the ugly,” Simon Chinn said in a statement announcing the series, which is scheduled to air early next year. Ugly? Clay Aiken? Who would have thought?

Related:

Clay Aiken Primary Opponent Dies

Clay Aiken Returns to TV

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October 31, 2014

George Clinton Up to Get Down With D.C. This Weekend

George Clinton Up to Get Down With D.C. This Weekend

Dr. Funkenstein’s in the house. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images Entertainment File Photo)

Singer, bandleader and newly minted author George Clinton is scheduled to crisscross Chocolate City over the next few days, starting with an under-the-radar trip to the Library of Congress.

As part of the ongoing celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, various professional organizations — including members of the Library of Congress Chapter of Blacks in Government, the African American Cultural Association, the American Folklife Center at the LOC and the Music Division at the LOC — have invited the Godfather of Funk to chat about his book, “Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?” and decades-long musical career.

“Since this program is a sponsored by staff organizations, we have not advertised to the public. However, public wishing to attend the program will not be turned away,” LCBIG President Michele Chisholm assured HOH.

Dr. Funkenstein is expected on stage of the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building from noon to 1 p.m. Per organizers, “House of Soul” host James Funk will interview him for a bit before bowing out so folks can line up for autographs. Full story

October 15, 2014

D.C. Drowns in Whiskey Talk

“Wow! I’ve never seen so many whiskeys I don’t recognize,” one apparently overwhelmed drinker declared as he surveyed the row upon row of handcrafted tipples trotted out by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States during its latest “Spirit of Mount Vernon” gala.

D.C. Drowns in Whiskey Talk

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The annual fundraiser, held each year on the same grounds former president and founding father George Washington once called home, benefits causes ranging from the educational efforts spearheaded by the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington which has cropped up nearby, to the veterans-focused Wounded Warriors Family Support Program.

Retiring Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., was honored for his commitment to keeping tax rates low and as well as his ambitious plan to streamline the increasingly complex code.

D.C. Drowns in Whiskey Talk

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Some people paid attention to the awards presentation.

Most folks, however, remained riveted by the rare and pricey pours offered up for public consumption. Full story

October 8, 2014

John Dingell Spits Jeremih Lyrics

He might be retiring from public service this fall, but don’t expect Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., to ever abandon Def Jam singer/songwriter Jeremih.

The octogenarian lawmaker is apparently so entranced by the R&B performer’s latest single, “Don’t Tell ’Em,” he couldn’t help but blast out the chorus to his online flock — if only for a hot second.

Per the Sunlight Foundation’s “Politwoops” site, the seemingly pop-culture savvy tweeter  — or, gasp!, some staffer entrusted to clandestinely riff on current events on behalf of the  the 30-term House member — pressed the panic button on the head-scratching plug for Jeremih’s forthcoming album after less than half a minute.

Team Dingell declined to comment about who the closet Jeremih fan might be.

Will let you know what we uncover once we’re done hacking Dingell’s Spotify account.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Steve King Embraces Twitter Hate

Rep. Steve King doesn’t appear to be the least bit fazed by all the rhetorical jabs thrown at him on social media.

Steve King Embraces Twitter Hate

(Screenshot)

If anything, the cyber-sparring seems to tickle his funny bone.

The Iowa Republican recently engaged in a little self-deprecating exercise his re-election campaign has dubbed “King Mean Tweets” — an ego gut-check originally developed by late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.

“I enjoy their colorful nature,” King told HOH about the staff-selected taunts he and his wife, Marilyn, scrolled through during the inaugural video segment.

Capitol Hill got its first taste of mean tweets mania this spring, after Now This News convinced a handful of sitting pols to face the online firing squad. Full story

October 7, 2014

Jimmy Kimmel Gets a Read on Joe Biden

It’s no wonder Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. feels like he’s been reduced to a living, breathing punchline.

According to a handful of Californians, the man who is currently a heartbeat away from becoming commander in chief could just as easily be mistaken for a Republican, a terrorist or a supporting character from “Pineapple Express.”

Jimmy Kimmel Gets a Read on Joe Biden

(Screenshot)

Late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel uncovered the utter lack of name recognition that dogs the VPOTUS by posing a simple question to Los Angelenos: Who is Joe Biden?

“He’s like the assistant president, or something,” was the best this civics-challenged sample of the population could come up with.

Biden is out west raising money for the party, and is expected to roam around the city later today.

To wit, if L.A. wants to get to know the ′Vette-loving Delawarean a little better, somebody ought to open up a Capriotti’s ASAP.

Related Stories:

 

Official Transcript of Biden Event Excludes ‘Bitch’ Quip

 

Congress, Motivated by Joe Biden

Biden Stumps For Capriotti’s Subs

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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October 6, 2014

Pols Give It Up for ‘Gone Girl’

Suspense lovers weren’t the only ones desperately waiting for auteur David Fincher’s treatment of author Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” to grace the silver screen. Solons and civic leaders couldn’t be prouder of the film.

The buzzy Ben Affleck-led thriller — based on the 2012 beach read about one of the most disastrous couplings of all time — separated fans of doomed marriages from $38 million in discretionary income this past weekend.

Ticket sales are, of course, paramount to Hollywood.

But the powers that be here in Washington, D.C., and down in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where parts of the film were shot, are much more interested in the attention that comes with being associated with a highly anticipated feature.

“I am super excited that ‘Gone Girl’ was filmed in my congressional district,” Missouri Republican Jason Smith told HOH. “I hope that when people see the film, and how beautiful, unique, and historic the city is, they will come to Cape to see it in person.”

City officials are attempting to capitalize on this fortuitous close-up by cobbling together a self-guided driving tour spotlighting different filming locations. Full story

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