Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 20, 2014

Posts in "media"

September 18, 2014

Rank and File Blast Opposing Leaders for Dropping the Legislative Ball

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.

 

 

 

Full story

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of ‘Slam the Solons’

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.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(Screenshot)

 

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.

 

Sports Stars’ Stumbles Spark Fresh Round of Slam the Solons

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

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.

Sexcapades

  • 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.

Self-destructive tendencies

  • 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

Questionable judgment

  • 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.

 

 

Guess that means the ball’s in your court, Web trolls.

Related:

Female Senators Write Letter to Goodell, Want NFL to Adopt ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Policy

Blumenthal Floats Changes to NFL Antitrust Exemption (Video)

Critics of Washington Team Name Target NFL Nonprofit Status (Video)

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September 16, 2014

Web Firm Shows Democrats Extra Love Behind the Scenes

There are those who suspect that politicians and, by extension, their corresponding messaging operations, will say one thing even if they secretly believe something else entirely.

Not so with Wide Eye Creative, a Web design outfit which champions its clients every bit of the way.

BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine stumbled upon just how deep the site developer’s devotion permeates while sniffing around the back end of Senate hopeful Alison Lundergan Grimes’ campaign page.

 

Web Firm Shows Democrats Extra Love Behind the Scenes

(Screenshot)

 

Those who view the page via its assigned URL would never know about the ASCII love Team WEC tucked into the coding language — because it’s not meant for them.

“Just a nice little easter egg for anyone who looks at the code,” WEC creative director Ben Ostrower said of the digital valentine inserted into a jumble of characters that give the Web meaning.

According to Ostrower, WEC began seeding its political sites with similar signatures about a year ago. Full story

September 15, 2014

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt-gate

Bizarrely stained outer wear that Urban Outfitters rather unbelievably tied to Kent State University has made Rep. Tim Ryan’s blood boil.

Tim Ryan Dresses Down Urban Outfitters Over Sweatshirt gate

(Screenshot)

 

“On May 4, 1970, four students lost their lives at Kent State University and changed our country forever. It is deplorable for Urban Outfitters to exploit the pain and suffering of this national tragedy for their gain,” the Ohio Democrat said in a tersely worded official statement. “May 4th was a seminal and transformational moment in American history and we should never lose sight of its immense impact. Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.”

Ryan is referring, of course, to the horror scene that unfolded in Kent, Ohio, some 44 years ago, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protestors, killing four students and wounding nine others.

Full story

September 12, 2014

Designer Flips Gillibrand Gaffe Into Local Fundraiser

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., has provided some cover for colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who offended local residents by demeaning a suburban enclave that wasn’t quite to her liking, via a custom made T-shirt.

Designer Flips Gillibrand Gaffe Into Local Fundraiser

(Courtesy Mark Warner)

Gillibrand got called on the carpet after ARLnow.com founder Scott Brodbeck uncovered the less-than-flattering description she provided of Arlington, Va., in her new book, “Off The Sidelines.”

Warner wrapped his head around the conundrum and came up with a unique solution: novelty wear. He presented Gillibrand with the specially-ordered shirt and made light of the turf war on Twitter.

Whether the community at large is ready to forgive Gillibrand remains to be seen.

But T-shirt creator CustomInk is betting there’s enough civic pride floating around at the moment to turn this negative into a net positive.

The designer has launched a fundraising campaign putting copycat T-shirts up for grabs at $20 a pop. The goal is to raise approximately $1,000 (organizers are requesting an initial run of at least 50 orders), with the collected funds flowing through to the Arlington Food Assistance Center. Full story

September 10, 2014

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand appears to have made enemies out of former neighbors after bemoaning the time she spent in Arlington, Va., in her road map to female empowerment, “Off the Sidelines.”

The New York Democrat got red in the face after a slew of purple staters caught wind that she’d badmouthed their neck of the woods.

 

 

ARLnow.com touched off the original firestorm by pointing out that the rising lawmaker described the Northern Virginia enclave as a “soulless suburb” — from which she apparently fled to the welcoming arms of Capitol Hill — in her book.

Some critics fought fire with fire (the “I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I” camp).

 

Arlingtonians Come Off the Sidelines to Pile On Kirsten Gillbrand

(Screenshot)

 

Full story

September 8, 2014

Grace Napolitano, Josh Thomas Team Up on Mental Health

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 5, 2014

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

Looking to light a fire under conservatives? Just try and tell ’em how to ingest flaming confections.

So learned a U.S. Forest Service aide after incensed Web readers — and later House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — got all fired up about an administration-penned blog post suggesting Americans keep fire safety in mind whilst observing National Toasted Marshmallow Day.

“For the things that government is supposed to do — like confront terrorist groups — we don’t have a strategy, but for things Americans are supposed to be able to do for themselves — like figuring out the best ingredients for s’mores — government bureaucrats have that figured out,” the California Republican fumed in his latest floor agenda update.

Online critics got even hotter under the collar, torching the regulatory guidelines involved, the tone of the public service announcement and the writer’s language skills.

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

S’moresgate Engulfs Forest Service

(Screenshot)

 

A couple of fans rallied to the Forest Service’s cause, chastising rhetorical bomb throwers for needlessly politicizing a friendly reminder. Full story

September 2, 2014

Jesse Benton’s Grammar Error of Biblical Proportions

Before Jesse Benton added chapters to the Book of James, he committed a grievous grammatical sin.

Benton, the former campaign aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who recently cut ties with the re-election effort, at least in part, because of the distracting misinformation he said the media kept flinging about, at the end of his resignation letter transgressed against the communications gods by signing off with an erroneous quote.

As conservative pundit Erick Erickson pointed out after digesting Benton’s resignation letter, there is no chapter 16 in the book of James.

 

 

The inspirational passage Benton presumably meant to hang his hat on belongs to the disciple John, who theoretically shared said thought in the final Gospel of the New Testament.

But first there was Benton’s mangling of the word choice rules for “affect” and “effect”:

Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record. This election is far too important and the stakes way too high.

To recap, “affect” is a verb that means to influence. “Effect” is primarily used as a noun that means result. Effect, when used as a verb, means simply to cause. So Benton either meant to use the word “affect” or his use of the word “effect” as a verb would change the meaning of the sentence to the following, ahem, effect: “I cannot and, and will not, allow any a possibility that my circumstances will cause the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record.”

On a side note, the first chapter of James in the King James version of the Bible has a section about “The Tongue,” which states, in James 1:5. “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!”

Vaya con Dios, Jesse Benton.

August 28, 2014

In Marie Claire Profile, Jennifer Hing Dresses Up and Opens Up

Jennifer Hing, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, is known around Capitol Hill for pairing stylish yet work-appropriate outfits with a practical pencil threaded through her ponytail or tucked behind one ear.

But in a photograph accompanying an article published today on the Marie Claire website, Hing eschews her pencil for an oversized clutch bag, and her tailored blazer for a sweeping avant-garde cape.

She’s the subject of one of three short profiles appearing in the September issue of the women’s magazine under the headline, “Change Agents: 3 Women Who are OWNING their Future.” Hing, plus Deborah Turness, president of NBC News and the creative director and executive vice president of design for Banana Republic, Marissa Webb, are presented as “power players reinventing the rules in their respective businesses and proving that the future belongs to those who seize it.”

Hing told HOH she was contacted “out of the blue” to participate in the profile and still wasn’t quite sure how she was selected or whether someone tipped off Marie Clare that she might be a good interview subject.

Full story

August 25, 2014

Conservatives Co-Opt Ice Bucket Challenge to Needle Nancy Pelosi

Can’t beat her? Mock her!

Such seems to be the mentality behind a new(ish) cyber swipe aimed at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Conservatives Co Opt Ice Bucket Challenge to Needle Nancy Pelosi

(Screenshot)

The would-be meme suggests that if the California Democrat participated in the insanely popular #IceBucketChallenge currently flooding your every social media feed, she would disintegrate — much like Elphaba Thropp famously did in the dramatic confrontation forever burned into our collective memory by “The Wizard of Oz.”

Perennial candidate John Dennis went to that same well in 2010, during his first attempt at wrestling the Bay-area seat away from Pelosi. Full story

August 20, 2014

Fed-Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

The August recess seems like the perfect time to hit the links, bask in the blessed absence of meaningless electronic blather — and perhaps settle a few political scores.

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.

Fed Up Hill Types Get LaRouche Revenge on Wikipedia

(Screenshot)

HOH hasn’t bumped into any LaRouchies since last fall. Full story

Groups Push ALS Activists to Look Past Ice Bucket Challenge

The #IceBucketChallenge, that most ubiquitous of social media stunts, has not only captured the imagination of sitting politicos, parched celebrities and well meaning, but newly hospitalized philanthropists the world over, it’s got advocates thinking about how to tap into this seemingly limitless font of goodwill.

The ranks of those who have chosen to take a stand against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, continues to grow by the second.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, got double doused — first by his wife, and then by his daughters.

House hopeful Debbie Dingell, who is vying to replace her husband, retiring Democrat John D. Dingell, in Michigan’s 12 district, rallied to the cause earlier this week. Full story

August 19, 2014

Harry Reid Snips Beard Baiting in the Bud (VIDEO)

It took  a week. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has finally come clean about why he’s not partaking in the hairy contest Nevada Republican Dean Heller floated via the local press.

Per an interview given to the Reno Gazette-Journal, Reid has officially bowed out of the collegial beard-growing challenge after taking it on the chin during a previous family vacation.

Full story

August 18, 2014

Don Young Inches Closer to Remarrying

Rep. Don Young can see himself walking down the aisle again.

Don Young Inches Closer to Remarrying

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As first reported by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, the Alaska Republican — who lost his wife of more than 40 years, Lu Young, in 2009 — stepped out with his longtime companion Anne Walton over the weekend and officially used the “f” word.

“While this was not an engagement announcement, this is the first time he has publicly introduced Ms. Walton as his fiancée,” Young spokesman Matt Shuckerow told HOH via email.

According to Shuckerow, Young, 81, and Walton, 75, have been together for three years.

They appear to be OK with taking their time.

Shuckerow said no wedding date has been set, nor rings exchanged.

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