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Posts in "HillSide"
September 19, 2014
Rep. Michele Bachmann wants Sen. Al Franken to make a campaign contribution — to defeat Al Franken.
The retiring Minnesota Republican congresswoman’s campaign fundraising pitch for her home state’s GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden reached the personal residence of Franken in Minneapolis, according to a copy of the mailer obtained by HOH.
September 18, 2014
Having effectively set the country on cruise control until just beyond Election Day, House and Senate leaders did their damnedest Thursday to look really, really busy without actually doing anything that could get them into political trouble.
Foot soldiers from both sides of the aisle, undoubtedly tired of the inactivity that’s plagued Congress in recent years, used social media to fire back at partisan big-wigs for making the whole legislative body look bad.
.@SpeakerBoehner Congress shouldn’t leave. |￣￣￣￣￣￣| | THERE’S | | WORK TO | | BE DONE | | ＿＿＿＿＿＿| (\__/) || (•ㅅ•) || / づ
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) September 18, 2014
It’s frustrating that there’s so much to do to get our country back on track, but the Senate isn’t coming to the table pic.twitter.com/iCjHMlojZA
— Rep. Kristi Noem (@RepKristiNoem) September 18, 2014
Artist Elizabeth Roskam, the wife of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, on Thursday delivered a one-of-a-kind portrait of the U.S. Capitol to visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
A Roskam aide told HOH that sending Poroshenko home with the brightly colored rendering of the Capitol dome — a painting she dubbed, “Bright Horizon” — meant the world to Elizabeth, a proud descendent of Eastern European immigrants.
As if engineering new ways to kinda-sorta green light foreign wars without getting booted out of office in a few weeks weren’t stressful enough, elected officials must once again — thanks to wildly inappropriate behavior by marquee athletes — contend with age-old accusations about everything that’s wrong with Capitol Hill.
The rapid succession of domestic scandals that have upended the careers of professional running backs Ray Rice (aggravated assault) of the Baltimore Ravens, and Adrian Peterson (indicted for child abuse) of the Minnesota Vikings appears to have stirred up anti-congressional sentiments, leading to the reappearance of a meme designed to highlight pols’ absolutely worst qualities.
Per the urban myth slayers at Snopes, the original laundry list of political loserdom was most likely distilled from a five-part series called “Congress: America’s Criminal Class” which Capital Hill Blue unveiled in 1999. Six years later, the muckraking website revisited the myriad personal and professional shortcomings documented in the original expose and found a governing body still rife with human imperfection.
Team Snopes had a lot of issues with the original barrage, citing content ranging from distressingly vague (“the original publisher has steadfastly declined to provide any documentation for these claims”) to borderline absurd (“they would have no way of knowing how many members of Congress had been stopped for traffic violations without being cited”).
None of that, however, Team Snopes suggests, has halted armchair critics from subbing in the target du jour (British Parliament, the NFL, etc.) to get their preferred point across.
Making up horror stories about Congress seems like such an incredible waste of time.
Their real-life misdeeds are so much more engrossing:
The war at home
- Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.: Love’s labor’s lost.
- Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.: Perfect strangers
- Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.: Do as I say, not as I do.
- Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.: Your cheating heart
- Ex-Rep. Mel Reynolds, D-Ill.: Does not compute.
- Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.: Danger is his middle name.
- Rep. Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y.: Give me somethin’ to break.
- Ex-Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla.: You holding?
- Ex-Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill.: Shopaholic
- Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas: Rules are for suckers.
- Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.: What, me worry?
- Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont.: Don’t quote me on that.
Meanwhile, at least one incensed lawmaker is refusing to let the badly bruised NFL off the hook.
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) September 16, 2014
Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.
September 17, 2014
When Michele Bachmann came to the floor Wednesday afternoon to preside over the House chamber, there was one problem: She was wearing a dress — without sleeves.
After Speaker John A. Boehner opened the House, Bachmann was due to step in the chair. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Republican, the dress code governing the House chamber was written before the time when Michelle Obama was first lady. Bare shoulders are not allowed on the House floor.
According to a source who saw the hubbub, floor staffers huddled for a moment before approaching Bachmann and telling her she could not preside until she covered up.
“I was just told that I needed to have a jacket and it was no problem,” Bachmann told HOH on Wednesday afternoon. “I called the staff and said ‘grab one’ — I keep an extra one in my office — and they ran it over lickety-split.”
Bachmann said she agreed with the dress code, which is stricter for members when they are presiding over the House chamber than it is for when they’re on the floor. “And it isn’t different for women than it is for men, which I absolutely agree with,” she said.
While Bachmann waited roughly five minutes for her staff to bring over a jacket, Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., stepped in to pinch-hit as the presiding officer.
When her staff did arrive, they brought two options: a dark blazer and a white one. Bachmann, who was wearing a black dress, tried on both, opting for the black jacket in the end.
“I just thought this would look more professional,” she said.
September 12, 2014
Former Sen. Daniel K. Akaka got an unexpected birthday song on Thursday.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., had been trying to reach the Hawaii Democrat to wish him a happy 90th birthday. When Akaka returned the call, he was riding the Dirksen subway toward the Capitol along with New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez.
September 9, 2014
Creative Rights Caucus Co-Chairmen Judy Chu, D-Calif., and Howard Coble, R-N.C., are doing their part to help give unsung Hollywood film and TV workers their due by co-hosting an entertainment industry event showcasing the pivotal contributions the below-the-line set brings to the table.
The wide-ranging “Beyond the Red Carpet: Movie & TV Magic Day” exhibition is scheduled to take possession of the Cannon Caucus Room on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Event promoters told HOH members and staff are welcome to explore the interactive showcase.
“The shows and movies we’re all talking about, … these are the real people behind them,” a House aide said of the assembled talent expected to be on hand.
Support staff projected to get their moment in the spotlight include a make-up artist from the SyFy series “Face Off,” a costume designer from AMC’s spy-driven, Revolutionary War serial “Turn,” animators involved in Disney’s Oscar-winning, grrl power-fueled feature, “Frozen,” as well as a veteran film colorist.
Those more interested in snapping selfies than talking shop with technicians will have to make do with stalking “Breaking Bad” alumnus RJ Mitte (“Walter White Jr./Flynn”), longtime “Dallas” stars Patrick Duffy (“Bobby Ewing”) and Linda Gray (“Sue Ellen Ewing”), children’s programming star and deep sea-dweller SpongeBob SquarePants or “Cleatus,” Fox NFL Sunday’s sports robot.
September 8, 2014
Anti-Duchenne muscular dystrophy crusader Joel Wood can’t force all of Congress to come around to his way of thinking regarding the need for more funding and research to wipe the life-threatening illness off the face of the planet. But he can keep chipping away at the problem — as he has for the past 14 years — one spectacular gathering at a time.
Wood and his wife, Dana, have made it their mission to see the degenerative disorder purged from the human condition ever since their son, James, was diagnosed with DMD in May 2000.
The duo intends to keep up the good fight Tuesday evening via their 14th annual “Dining Away Duchenne” fundraiser, a gourmet taste-around scheduled to take place in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 6 to 9 p.m.
Call us crazy, but the “Please Like Me” screening and subsequent discussion on the current state of mental health affairs co-hosted by actor/show creator Josh Thomas and Rep. Grace F. Napolitano on Tuesday sounds like it could actually be interesting.
The edutainment outreach, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. in Rayburn 2103, is coming to Congress courtesy of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Participant Media.
For those unfamiliar with Thomas’ droll coming-of-age saga, the fledgling show (airing Friday nights on the youth-oriented Pivot network) centers on a 20-something child of divorce suddenly forced to wrestle with his sexual identity. Part of the growth process involves dealing with oddball friends and family members — including his off-kilter mum.
The “Rose” character has some issues she’s dealing with — cast bios describe Rose as a bipolar empty-nester struggling with adjusting to her new “normal” (“She seems to have found a nice equilibrium, but for how long?”) — many of which the show naturally plays up for laughs.
According to Team Napolitano, the California Democrat appreciates the way Josh and Rose get on. “The relationship between the lead character, Josh, and his mother is helping to eliminate stigma by approaching the subject of mental illness in a thoughtful manner,” a Napolitano aide told HOH about the heart-felt moments shared by the quirk-filled duo. Full story
September 2, 2014
By now, you’ve seen the announcement that Moira Bagley Smith is joining the staff of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., as communications director.
While on staff here at Roll Call in the aughts, Bagley Smith wrote regularly for our old Mug Shots feature. In that role, she brought readers to Sonoma just a year after the wine bar opened, to board games at Trusty’s and to a flip cup tournament at The Ugly Mug.
“The bar sport — a beer-chugging, cup-flipping relay race — is a test of concentration and nerves, rather than strength,” Bagley Smith said in describing flip cup in 2006.
August 26, 2014
Short-timer Steve Stockman doesn’t see the roughly 12 legislative days standing between him and unemployment as a time to mourn. He’d rather bring in new blood to help shake up the establishment for a few more weeks.
The Texas Republican, who took himself out of commission earlier this spring by unsuccessfully challenging Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn for his seat, is on the hunt for a new intern to keep him company until the end.
Sounds like a sweet gig for anyone looking to learn the congressional ropes, but perhaps not planning to put down roots in D.C.:
Texas Representative- 08/25/2014
The House’s most unique and courageous conservative seeks smart, happy interns (of all ages and backgrounds) for the reminder of the year. Alas, we cannot pay you. Schedules and start/end dates are negotiable if you’re worth it. We do not insist on specific, arbitrary submissions: send us whatever personal materials you think will give us reason to hire you, even if that’s just a standard boring resume and canned cover letter. Writing samples are encouraged, but not required, because even a short cover letter belies and betrays a lousy writer. Brevity is the soul of wit. This Member is not a jerk, and neither loathes nor avoids interns, but loves them, and actually speaks to them. If you are selected for this internship you will have extraordinary access to the Member and to meaningful projects that go well beyond the standard intern grunt work (or your money back). Personality and ideology are important. Please bring a confident, vigorous intellect and no drama. Ideal candidates will be true patriots who can count up to 17 in trillions, and care more about future generations than they do about sucking up to current leadership. Mushy pleasers/appeasers keep walkin’. HINT: vapid granolas who fear guns, hate babies, are ashamed of America, and think Islamic terrorists and illegal aliens are just misunderstood will not be comfortable here. Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assuming that’s not a typo in the first sentence (if so, Team Stockman may want to see about locking down a temporary copy editor, too), the incoming party will need to serve as a living testament to the travails of the past year.
Which sounds to us like “Guilty Remnant” members will have a leg up in the personality and ideology departments.
Won’t be long now.
August 21, 2014
Members of the George Washington University Colonials men’s basketball team had a ball wending their way through all the touristy spots in the Capitol.
The visiting collegians practiced taking the rock to the hole last week by performing impromptu dunks at various stops — including the Speaker’s Balcony and Statuary Hall — along the way.
The fun-loving contingent got the VIP treatment courtesy of former House aide Rich Landon. The ex-staffer told HOH he’s been pals with GWU coach Mike Lonergan since his shot-calling days at Catholic University of America.
Per Landon, Lonergan et al. ran into a number of congressional staffers — including one starstruck aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — who sought out the national championship-winning coach to ask for autographs and pose for selfies.
Next on Landon’s to-do list: seeing about showing a few aging rock-and-rollers around his old stomping grounds. And he hinted that he’s been in contact with one of the most hirsute Washington Nationals about possibly making the rounds.
August 20, 2014
Lawmakers may be away for the next few weeks, but the automated watchdogs at congress-edits noticed that one busy beaver on Capitol Hill felt compelled to share a little something about the acolytes of socio-economic gadfly Lyndon LaRouche with the rest of the world.
The online tweak to the official Lyndon LaRouche wiki, as is often the case with these anonymous changes, was less than complimentary.
HOH hasn’t bumped into any LaRouchies since last fall. Full story
August 7, 2014
Dimitri Moshovitis, co-founder and executive chef of the burgeoning Cava empire, has taken World Food Program USA’s school meals mission to heart — and he’d love to have other local toques lend a hand.
“When I heard about this I was like, ‘Why doesn’t everybody do this?’” Moshovitis said following a cooking demonstration where he taught WFP USA board chairman Hunter Biden and his daughters, Maisy and Finnegan, how to whip up grilled chickpea burgers.
Per Biden, son of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the group empowers struggling nations by combating hunger and promoting education.
“It’s truly transforming entire societies,” Biden said of WFP USA’s focus on food security. Full story
August 4, 2014
Keeping the party on message is what GOP communications guru Doug Heye has always been paid to do. Thinking things through and behaving graciously are the highly prized extras colleagues say he brought to the negotiating table.
A seasoned political operative who helped the Republican National Committee get the word out before rising through the ranks to become deputy chief of staff for communications to ex-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., Heye is saying goodbye to Congress (for now) while he goes in search of new adventures.
“I hear the Yankees need a new shortstop next season,” he floated in his farewell email to the Capitol Hill community.
He leaves Congress with few regrets. “I never learned how to get to the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Library of Congress — that’s probably a good thing,” he quipped.
Heye even managed to sound wistful about burning the midnight oil.
“On some summer nights, the military bands will play on the east front of the Capitol. Opening up the window to listen while working late is nice,” he said. Full story