Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 18, 2014

Posts in "FightingWords"

February 27, 2014

Snarchitect Draws Political Battle Lines Across NoVa

As the last few decades have taught us, Northern Virginia’s influence in the politisphere — fueled largely by a constant influx of upwardly mobile workers, swelling affluence and issues-minded electorate — remains on the rise.

Which is probably exactly why the bomb throwers who contribute to Judgmental Map felt compelled to cut the high and mighty area down to size.

 

The ‘hood slamming site was created by self-styled comedian Trent Gillaspie last January. The amateur cartographer fired the opening salvo by carving up his then-hometown, Denver (Gillaspie has since relocated to Austin, Texas). Over the past year, would-be satirists have taken turns dissecting metropolitan areas across the country, targeting Manhattan, Chicago, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Antonio, Nashville, Tenn., Chattanooga, Tenn., Memphis, Tenn., and Richmond, Va.

The dressing down of Northern Virginia appears to be the broadest-based attack to date, targeting multiple cities and, most importantly, several congressional districts. Full story

February 26, 2014

Nuclear Fallout Colors Pro-Test-Ban Artist’s Memories

Standing up against nuclear weapons testing seems like a common-sense thing today. But the world was a very different place when renowned artist and test ban advocate Karipbek Kuyukov began down that very road nearly a quarter-century ago.

Nuclear Fallout Colors Pro Test Ban Artists Memories

(Courtesy Patrick Gilsenan)

The Kazakh-born activist is expected to share the culmination of his experiences in the battle to halt nuclear proliferation during a Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament reception hosted by PNND Co-President and Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey. The “Ending the Terror of Nuclear Weapons” event is scheduled to take place Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Kennedy Caucus Room (Russell 325). Prospective attendees are encouraged to RSVP here.

Kuyukov, who currently serves as honorary ambassador for the ATOM Project, told HOH he first visited the U.S. in 1991.

That year, he joined others opposed to the stockpiling of nuclear weapons in marching from D.C. to the Nevada test site — a cross-country trek during which Kuyukov warned locals about the perils of the arms race.

Nuclear Fallout Colors Pro Test Ban Artists Memories

(Courtesy Patrick Gilsenan)

“It is my mission to be one of the last to suffer from nuclear testing,” he said of his desire to spare future generations from the horrors (birth defects, physical deformity, premature death) that those, like himself, who grew up around the Semipalatinsk test site — proving ground operated by the Soviet Union from Aug. 29, 1949, to Aug.29, 1991 — experienced over time.

“The time of global competition is over and should be confined to history,” Kuyukov said. He urged world leaders to focus on more worthwhile causes, ticking off economic development, energy efficiency and pressing social issues as possible alternatives. “Turn away from the weapons as the fetish … the ultimate symbol of manhood, so to speak, of power,” he chided. Full story

Reporter to Boehner: Nice Tan, Sir (Video)

Speaker John A. Boehner has a special affinity for poking fun at reporters’ sartorial decisions. But on Wednesday, it was Boehner who found himself on the butt end of a joke.

The Ohio Republican began his question and answer session Wednesday morning with some classic schoolyard sarcasm regarding Bloomberg reporter Derek Wallbank’s decision to wear a light purple button-down Wednesday.

“Nice shirt,” the Speaker said.

Wallbank took the comment — or at least tried to take the comment — as a compliment.

“Thank you, sir,” he said. Full story

February 21, 2014

Brothel Responds to Reid’s Prostitutes/2016 GOP Convention Remarks

One of Nevada’s legal brothels is rebutting Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s argument that the state’s prostitution industry could be a reason Las Vegas loses out on hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Sheri’s Ranch Brothel points to the rates of sex trafficking in Tampa, Fla., as not exactly a disqualifying factor in the city’s hosting of the 2012 Republican convention.

“These serious prostitution-related issues didn’t seem to bother Republicans when they considered Tampa, so why would they have an issue with a state that enforces legal prostitution? After all, Nevada’s licensed brothels only allow safe sex between mature consenting adults in a secure, STD-free environment,” the brothel said in its response. “Sex trafficking and child prostitution are abhorred by representatives of the legal Nevada sex work community.”

Full story

Beware the Facebook Conversation That Spurs Birther Debate

An incredulous Redditor is trying to wrap his head around how anyone can so loathe President Barack Obama they would consciously — and deliberately — choose to cling to outright fabrications rather than cut 44 some slack.

Conversation starter Bleach3825 suffered the jarring revelation after confronting, initially on Facebook, a high-school acquaintance about her seemingly rabid disdain for POTUS.

After presenting her with what he apparently believed was adequate proof that Obama is a native-born American and questioning her unwavering allegiance to the citizenship-denying camp, the dissenting party only dug in deeper:

Beware the Facebook Conversation That Spurs Birther Debate

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

“Don’t really care if it is accurate or not at this point. Interesting fiction is still entertaining,” the die-hard detractor declared on Facebook.

How can you argue with that?

Not sure if there’s any room in your echo chamber for a little theme music, but this one’s for you, Madam Hater:

Rock. On.

February 20, 2014

Paul Broun To Tailgate Before Saturday Senate Debate

Come Saturday, Georgia Republican Paul Broun will once again face off against the cadre of aspiring Hill climbers eyeing the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss.

Except this time, he plans to feast before leaping into the rhetorical lion’s den.

The Broun for Senate campaign is still putting the finishing touches on a planned pre-debate tailgate, dangling complimentary fried chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and sweet tea for those willing to huddle with the candidate ahead of the Georgia GOP Debate scheduled to take place Saturday from 4-6 p.m. at Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga.

Paul Broun To Tailgate Before Saturday Senate Debate

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

A campaign aide told HOH the tailgate concept was a first for Team Broun, but noted that the boss had distributed hot chocolate — “It was cold outside!” the aide shared — to those who waited patiently in line to watch local pols mix it up Feb 1. at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Full story

February 18, 2014

Staff Assistants Warned: No ‘House of Cards’ Spoilers

Staff Assistants Warned: No House of Cards Spoilers

(JB Lacroix/Getty Images)

If there’s any truer maxim on Capitol Hill, it is this: Don’t mess with the staff assistants. Especially when it comes to ”House of Cards” spoilers.

On Friday when federal government workers were ordered to work, on a delayed start, at least one junior staffer was none too pleased about the circumstances. The aide issued a stark warning at 12:23 p.m. to colleagues on the infamous White House Tours Listserv: leak any details about the Season Two Netflix release and get the boot.

Here’s the full text:

I know a lot of us are excited for the new season of House of Cards and due to Snowchi being fickle with additional snow we can’t watch the new season at home.  So this is just a warning, anyone who mentions House of Cards spoilers in their emails will be automatically kicked off the list.

Officially, the Listserv is a means for office White House Tour coordinators to communicate and trade tour slots for constituents.

So, all of this begs the question: Did anyone spill the beans?

February 13, 2014

Public Embraces Bill Maher’s #FlipaDistrict Campaign

Comedian Bill Maher is considering all options before determining which House lawmaker he’ll try to unseat later this fall.

If the torrent of #flipadistrict nominees that irate constituents have splashed across social media are any indication, Maher should have no shortage of targets to choose from.

Maher provided an update about the fledgling campaign on his show “Real Time,” stressing that his team is still very much in the research phase.

“We are looking to find one really bad congressman out there. And, apparently, from the reaction we got last week, there are a lot of them … really gerrymandered lamos who people want to get rid of,” Maher told his HBO viewers. He urged people to nominate “someone who represents you who you think is a lemon, … someone who is just a useless waste of space.”

Full story

February 11, 2014

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets-First Footing for Congressional Bid

Aspiring lawmaker Tareq Salahi didn’t seem to get much traction out of the pro-business, anti-regulatory positions he built his failed gubernatorial bid around. For this next act, he’s going to the dogs.

Tareq Salahi Switches to a Pets First Footing for Congressional Bid

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Salahi, who has tossed his hat into the ring to replace retiring Rep. Frank R. Wolf, R-Va., now wants to be the animal lover’s candidate of choice.

“When I am elected to Congress, I plan on introducing a bill to create a national animal abuser registry,” the former reality TV personality announced Tuesday.

The corresponding news release suggests the sudden policy shift was at least partially predicated on the impending arrival of Love Your Pet Day (Feb. 20) — though Salahi certainly appears to have strong feelings about the issue.

“Study after study shows that violent criminals often begin their downward spiral by abusing animals and eventually escalating to abusing humans,” the House hopeful charged.

How best to institute the pet project remains a work in progress.

“Once Mr. Salahi becomes Congressman, he would like to work with a nationally recognized animal welfare nonprofit, like HSUS or the ASPCA, to ask their input,” a campaign aide told HOH, referring to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Team Salahi might be better off hooking up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Full story

February 10, 2014

Chewing on Beto O’Rourke’s Snacking Habits

Rep. Beto O’Rourke is a brave man. And not just because he’s open to rolling around town on public transportation, which he did late last week.

Nope.

The Texas Democrat wowed us by broadcasting his love for a certain guilty pleasure: Thin Mints.

 

 

Around midday on Feb. 7, O’Rourke interrupted his #BusingwithBeto adventure to stock up on the controversial confection.

Within minutes of the casual disclosure, the social-media-sphere passed judgment on O’Rourke’s shopping selection:

 

Full story

February 7, 2014

Hollywood Producer/Charlie Sheen Foe ‘Mulling’ Run for Waxman Seat

Add television executive producer Chuck Lorre to the group of entertainment people jokingly giving a look at running for Congress in west Los Angeles.

The seat’s incumbent, Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, announced his retirement in late January. The district represents Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Malibu. As a result, California’s 33rd is home to many movie stars and Hollywood players.

Lorre announced on Thursday that he is “mulling the congressional seat.” The comments came in the form of a “vanity card” he writes at the end of each of his television program episodes. This one flashed up on Thursday after an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”:

I’m also mulling the congressional seat recently opened by the retirement of Henry Waxman. Again, I think my complete lack of experience is a selling point. I’m also a big fan of incompetent government, as the overly organized ones tend to put people like me on trains to Poland. For this elective office I’m thinking I need a campaign slogan that alienates no one. Something along the lines of, “Send me to Congress and watch what happens!”

Full story

February 5, 2014

Satirist Mines ‘Mean Girls’-GOP Connection

TV scriptwriter and social media maven Nina Bargiel is completely mystified by what our elected leaders are up to these days.

Satirist Mines ‘Mean Girls’ GOP Connection

(Courtesy Nina Bargiel)

Still, she’s hoping to crack the code by utilizing what appears to be a near universal translator for modern politics: “Mean Girls.”

Yep, the cult comedy about vindictive high schoolers that’s sparked thousands — nay, millions! — of BuzzFeed contributions continues to find new life in the battle to better comprehend the day-to-day lunacy that transpires on Capitol Hill.

Satirist Mines ‘Mean Girls’ GOP Connection

(Courtesy Nina Bargiel)

Bargiel — who said said she originally envisioned applying her love of language to speech-writing, only to be lured by the bright lights of Hollywood (she’s helped pen several hit kids’ shows including the Disney Channel’ s “Lizzie McGuire,” Nickelodeon’s “Romeo!” and Cartoon Network’s “Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), launched her Mean GOP platform shortly after the new year.

Her fascination with our fractured government, however, has been a long time coming.

“I’ve become incredibly interested in politics since the George W. Bush presidency on,” she said of the psychosocial shock and awe she experienced during the previous decade. Full story

February 4, 2014

Conspiracy Theories Swirl Concerning Fate of Capitol Hill Fox

The sullen-sounding updates began trickling in just as the morning rush hour shifted into high gear.

A few tipsters seemed unwilling to jump to any soul-crushing conclusions, but many feared the absolute worst: The Capitol Hill Fox might have been dispatched to that great, big grassy Capitol complex in the sky.


View Capitol Hill Fox sightings in a larger map

“Bad news. Driving in this morning I passed a recently killed fox on the House 295 exit ramp about 200 yards before the tunnel,” a source shared post-commute.

The death notices snowballed from there, with some spotters left reeling (“Today sucks,” one heartbroken gent declared) while others attempted to rationalize the hurt away.

“I think there is actually a whole family of foxes that live on the East Potomac golf course,” began one starry-eyed optimist, only to come to grips with the CHF’s likely demise midstream by calculating that any Hains Point dwellers were unlikely to “come into the city.”

HOH witnessed the matted mound of blood-stained fur strewn outside the Third Street tunnel while driving into work as well, but was unable to conduct a CSI-style deconstruction due to the briskly flowing traffic.

While never prone to panic, the only rational choices were to accept that the CHF might truly be gone — say it ain’t so, @CapitolHillFox! — or buy into the National Park Service’s preposterous position that there are MULTIPLE foxes living among us.

As the walls of reality continued crashing down around us, HOH began wondering whether foul play may have entered into the equation.

Sure enough, a potential enemies list soon came into sharper focus. Full story

Mark Warner Ready to Kick Justin Bieber to the Curb

Canadian troublemaker Justin Bieber ought to be thankful Sen. Mark Warner doesn’t have the final word on foreign relations.

Bieber has attracted a lot of heat lately thanks to a string of rather unsavory encounters, including physical altercations, a scrap with a neighbor and, most recently, a high-profile arrest involving driving under the influence in Miami.

When asked Tuesday by the hosts of WNOR’s “Rumble in the Morning” about the status of a populist petition to have the pot-smoking pop star deported (nearly a quarter of a million signatures and counting), the Virginia Democrat hinted that he’d gladly endorse the immigration crackdown.

“As a dad with three daughters, is there someplace I can sign?” Warner quipped.

Warner then doubled down on the deportation stance on social media.

“It’s true: I’m not a #Belieber,” he confessed to the twitterverse.

This marks the second time a local radio show has exposed a rift between the once-vanilla singer and Senate Democrats. The first beef was entirely of the Biebs’ creation, given that the one-time YouTube star threw shade at Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for her pushback against the illegal streaming of copyrighted material online.

Bieber’s continuing antics have helped cement the case against him that non-fans have made to the administration.

“We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked. He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nations youth,” more than 245,000 signatories have asserted via the “We the People” portal.

Of course, he may choose to leave on his own. TMZ insists his substance abuse problems have earned Bieber a top spot on a Homeland Security watch list.

February 3, 2014

Milton Wolf’s Family Feud

Meet Senate hopeful Milton Wolf.

Milton Wolf’s Family Feud

(JM Rieger/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The tea party candidate hoping to knock off longstanding Kansas Republican Pat Roberts this fall is not only not at odds with the parties currently controlling Congress, he’s also at war with his own bloodline.

As Wolf explained to At the Races, the trained physician just happens to be a distant cousin of President Barack Obama.

The two are, admittedly, not all that close:

That’s a tough spot to be in.

And it’s not one that many others appear to be able to relate to.

Progressive problem solver Walter White is clearly stumped by Wolf’s antagonistic attitude: Full story

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