Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 16, 2014

Posts in "Nationwide"

March 13, 2014

Members of Congress Sum Up SXSWi — in 3 Words

South By Southwest Interactive wrapped up Tuesday, just as the madding crowds for the music festival were arriving in Austin, Texas. Roll Call correspondent Grace Dobush was in town along with a surprising number of congressmen — 12 by our count. In addition to attending the panels they spoke on, covering topics from patent trolls to tech innovation, she caught up with a handful of members to get their sense of the experience — in three words.

Read more about Washington’s takeover of SXSWi (and see a photo of Darrell Issa testing out a new Microsoft dance game) here.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Charity Work Crushes the Competition — With His Tank

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Charity Work Crushes the Competition — With His Tank

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Forget breaking mere bread.

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is upping the charity auction stakes by offering fans the opportunity to pump iron, co-pilot a tank and possibly chomp some stogies, all in the name of putting more money in the hands of After-School All-Stars.

Schwarzenegger has apparently owned the ground-pounding M47 Patton tank for 20-odd years now, but only trots it out on extra special occasions.

Keeping his youth-oriented athletic program going — the non-profit organization boasts chapters across the country, including an outpost in Washington, D.C. — clearly qualifies, as Schwarzenegger is contributing his time (“you’ll live like Arnold for a day!” the contest page trumpets) and the tank adventure for only $10 (single entry).

Whoever does win the all-inclusive trip out to LA should take comfort in knowing that their time will not be wasted: Ah-nuld has been on the vanguard of crushing stuff for decades. Full story

March 6, 2014

The Early Buzz on #CPAC2014

The Early Buzz on #CPAC2014

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference is just getting started at National Harbor, but the rat-a-tat online chatter about the far-right fest has already reached a fevered pitch.

At least one randy traveler is raring to go

 

A few early arrivals may have already overstayed their welcome

 

Full story

March 4, 2014

Grayson Feud Boils Over Into Abuse Claims

Grayson Feud Boils Over Into Abuse Claims

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Alan Grayson’s rapidly unraveling marriage is spinning even further out of control amid dueling allegations of spousal abuse.

As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Lolita Grayson sought out a protective order against the Florida Democrat after a mutually agreed upon flare up at the family home this weekend. Per the Sentinel, Lolita accused her husband of forcefully shoving and knocking her down.

Alan Grayson’s office issued a statement not only refuting the claims, but also challenging Lolita’s current mental state. Full story

‘Bills and Brews’ Pours Itself Into Politics of Drinking

Congressional reporter Matt Laslo may only have one episode of his new Web show, “Bills and Brews,” in the can, but he’s already got designs on exporting the barley-and-hops-fueled gabfest to a brewery near you.

“I want to take this on the campaign trail,” Laslo said of the pet project he’s been nurturing for nearly a decade. He’ll premiere the pilot episode — featuring a freewheeling discussion with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, D-Ore., at Bluejacket— for media at 6-11 p.m. Tuesday night at The Dunes (1402 Meridian Place NW).

Laslo said inspiration for the show first struck back in 2006 while he was covering the West Coast brewing scene for public radio. “It occurred to me that, hey, this could be a fun show,” he said of the passionate and interesting people he got to know while researching the beer world.

He has since refined the scope and mission of that original vision, carving out room for a show he hopes will work on multiple levels. In DeFazio’s case, that means preparing an 8- to 9-minute segment that’s all about Oregon brews (staff told HOH DeFazio brought along IPAs from Hop Valley Brewing Co., Ninkasi Brewing Co. and Oakshire Brewing to share) and his personal drinking history (something about shoulder-tapping at gas stations); this is designed to reel in the casually interested, “Colbert Report”-viewing crowd.

Beer nerds can plunge into a subordinate 10- to 12-minute clip delving specifically into craft brewing issues. Finally, wonks are invited to drink in another 10- to 15-minute carve-out dealing with beer-related policies (taxes, regulation, etc).

The guest and location of the second show is still being worked out, but Laslo has some solid contenders. He said he’s interested in meeting Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., for a swing through Asheville’s booming craft-brewing community, and would love to sit down with Del. Eleanor Homes Norton, D-D.C., at neighboring DC Brau.

Team DeFazio said the seasoned homebrewer was happy to spend some more time at Bluejacket. “He has taken the behind-the-scenes tour and often dines there with friends,” aides said of the Southeast D.C. beer haven. His allegiance, however, remains with breweries in the greater Northwest.

Per staff, DeFazio dined at Plank Town in Springfield, Ore., this past weekend. And while he’s pleased some home-state brews are making their way eastward, DeFazio would love to see more on local shelves.

“Although the D.C. area has a good and quickly growing craft brew scene, folks are missing out on a lot!” Team DeFazio said.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:49 p.m.
Booze, DC, media, Nationwide, Reps

Pols Eat Up James Beard ‘America’s Classics’ Honors

Just thinking about the landmark restaurants the James Beard Foundation will formally crown as “America’s Classics” this May has lawmakers who have dined at the treasured eateries licking their lips with anticipation.

The hospitality industry awards celebrate a handful of timeless establishments each year; the 2014 honorees include: Hansen’s Sno-Bliz in New Orleans, Nick’s Italian Café in McMinnville, Ore., Olneyville New York System in Providence, R.I., Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas, and Sokolowski’s University Inn in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin has fond memories of fueling up at Olneyville during his college days.

“I remember going there sometimes after class or after a night out downtown,” Langevin recounted, noting that he prefers the signature hot dogs dressed with meat sauce and celery salt (“Not to be confused with ‘all the way,’ which includes onions and mustard.”)

“It’s been a while, but I’m looking forward to going back,” Langevin said.

News of the national recognition made Rep. David Cicilline nostalgic for a taste of home.

“Olneyville New York System has served the best wieners for decades and when I walk in today, the same smells and sights remind me of my visits there years ago,” the Rhode Island Democrat shared.

In addition to enjoying the food and the familial atmosphere, Cicilline hailed the restaurant for participating in his “Main Street” initiative to bolster local businesses. “I congratulate Olneyville New York System on receiving this much deserved award,” he said.

Rep. Randy Neugebauer hailed the gourmet community for finally getting wise to what he already knows: Perini’s is good eating. Full story

March 3, 2014

#FlipaDistrict Lights a Fire Under Peeved Constituents

Comedian Bill Maher isn’t the only one cracking wise about cleaning house on Capitol Hill.

Now that his “Flip a District” campaign is officially under way, “Real Time” viewers have begun firing off videos denouncing the lawmakers they’d most like to see shown the door.

#FlipaDistrict Lights a Fire Under Peeved Constituents

The candidates for early retirement profiled on the latest episode of Maher’s HBO show include:

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas

#FlipaDistrict Lights a Fire Under Peeved Constituents

(Screenshot)

“Bill Maher, as one pot smoking atheist to another, I hope you’re not full of s— with this flip a district plan,” the plaintiff pleaded. Full story

House Hopeful Brent Roske Is Having a Blast

Entertainer cum independent candidate Brent Roske has always marched to the beat of a different drummer. It looks like his bid to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is following suit.

House Hopeful Brent Roske Is Having a Blast

(Courtesy Brent Roske)

“I got the last of my signatures for the nomination papers at the Venice Mardi Gras parade today,” told HOH of his festive canvassing.

Roske’s self-styled campaign has also included party cruises and a pitch to turn the seat into a tandem gig.

The “Chasing the Hill” producer appears to all about mixing and mingling. Full story

February 21, 2014

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.

Digesting News a la Spike Mendelsohn

Restaurateur Spike Mendelsohn doesn’t just make headlines in this town, he now also serves them up to those plugged into the gastro-themed feeds he’s created for news-sharing upstart Trove.

Digesting News a la Spike Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn, center, is sharing his interests via Trove. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The media aggregating service tapped the reality-TV-star-turned-culinary-empire-builder — Good Stuff Eatery, We, The Pizza and Béarnaise have all taken root on Capitol Hill — to serve as one of its featured curators. Mendelsohn has, so far, carved out three dedicated channels: Full story

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 19, 2014

Rose’s Luxury Puts Barracks Row on National Dining Map

Capitol Hill diners, your secret’s out.

If anyone thought scoring a table at critical darling Rose’s Luxury (717 Eight St. SE) was crazy hard before, good luck snagging a seat now that chef Aaron Silverman is in the running for a prestigious James Beard Foundation Award.

The captivating locale, which debuted last fall, is one of 30 semi-finalists vying for the coveted Best New Restaurant prize. The winner will be revealed in New York City on May 2 and 5.

Other D.C.-metro entities in contention for the nationwide honors include:

  • The Columbia Room – Outstanding Bar Program
  • Rogue 24 – Outstanding Bar Program
  • Neighborhood Restaurant Group pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac – Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Jaleo – Outstanding Restaurant
  • Vidalia – Outstanding Restaurant
  • Knightsbridge Restaurant Group founder Ashok Bajaj – Outstanding Restaurateur
  • Komi – Outstanding Service
  • Marcel’s – Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine Program
  • CityZen – Outstanding Wine Program
  • Ripple/Roofers Union chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley – Rising Star Chef of the Year
  • Restaurant Eve chef/founder Cathal Armstrong – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Iron Gate chef Anthony Chittum – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Proof chef Haidar Karoum – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Patowmack Farm chef Tarver King – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Mintwood Place chef/founder Cedric Maupillier – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
  • Rasika chef Vikram Sunderam – Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Congrats to all the nominees.

Best of luck in the finals!

February 13, 2014

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

Not having an official vote undoubtedly makes it tougher for D.C. shadow Sen. Paul Strauss to stand out as much as he’d like around Capitol Hill.

Paul Strauss Stumps for DC in LA

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

He appears to have no such trouble on the West Coast, a powerbase the local pol has been cultivating for over a decade in the hopes of getting Hollywood to back D.C. statehood.

Strauss is planning another charm offensive Thursday night — that’s when he’ll lobby La-La Land at The Creative Coalition’s “Voices of Impact Dinner.” Full story

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 12, 2014

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

Hurried meetings on Capitol Hill might do for social media pushers or app designers.

But the business execs in charge of skippering a good portion of the country’s seafood supply to market prefer to slow things down a bit, serving up the delicious fruits of their labor and talking big picture when they sail into town.

Gulf Coasters Bait Congress With the Good Stuff

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Members of the Gulf Coast Industry Council and the East Coast Shellfish Association will get the chance to do just that during their upcoming “Let the World Be Your Oyster” reception. The annual outreach effort, now in its 20th year, is scheduled to take place Feb. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Acadiana (901 New York Ave. NW).

Attendees will be treated to a smorgasbord of regional specialties, lovingly prepared by visiting chefs from across Louisiana. Featured items include: oysters on the half shell courtesy of Acme Oyster House in New Orleans; oyster Rockefeller soup (fashioned from fresh oysters, butter, chopped spinach, Pernod and more) courtesy of Randol’s Restaurant in Lafayette; oysters voisin (fried oysters, creamed spinach, bacon, bordelaise sauce and extra cheese spooned over toasted baguettes) courtesy of Drago’s Seafood Restaurants; pickled oysters with sea beans, radish and caviar courtesy of Cotton in Monroe; open-faced oyster ravioli courtesy of Ruffino’s Restaurants; and charbroiled oysters courtesy of Acadiana toque Jeff Tunks. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 1:25 p.m.
DC, Food, Nationwide, Reps, Sens

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