Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "Nationwide"

August 13, 2014

Congressional Bucket Brigade Swells (Video)

At the rate things are going, every single congressional lawmaker may very will get roped into the #IceBucketChallenge before the end of the summer.

The symbolic dunk, meant to show solidarity with those stricken by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), has taken the online community by storm. Sitting, aspiring and even retired pols have drenched themselves en masse, and new supporters are pouring in daily.

Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., joined the ranks of the sopping wet not 48 hours ago.

She nominated GOP Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Renee Ellmers of North Carolina as the next in line for a cold shower. Full story

August 12, 2014

Roll Caller Throws #IceBucketChallenge to Wasserman Schultz

The friendly #IceBucketChallenge that’s got everyone on social media dousing themselves with cold water just got real: Roll Call Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni has officially thrown down.

Our fearless leader self-soaked across the pond after being called out by pal, Dan Lavoie.

 

 

Bellantoni has now passed the baton to fellow newshounds Julie Mason, host of the P.O.T.U.S. Press Pool on SiriusXM radio and CNN correspondent Erin McPike.

The Bad News Babes vet also made sure to draw Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. — co-captain of the opposing squad in the annual congressional women’s softball game — into the mix.

“I have to keep our rivalry alive,” Bellantoni quipped.

Congresswoman, the clock is now ticking.

 

Related stories:

Politicians Increasingly Game for Ice Bucket Challenge (Video) 

Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Politicians Increasingly Game for Ice Bucket Challenge (Video)

An infectious fundraising pitch has helped throw cold water on the notion that politicians today just don’t care about anything.

The social media-dominating “Ice Bucket Challenge,” a call to arms originally issued by Beverly, Massachusetts native and baseball star Pete Frates, has struck a chord with supporters ranging from sports team mascots to American political royalty.

Fans of Frates, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — the nerve-wracking malady better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — in spring 2012, have fallen in line behind an awareness raising effort that includes: 1) recording a video wherein ice cold water is dumped on one’s head, 2) contributing $100 to further ALS research (instead of taking the ice bath) and 3) nominating friends/family/acquaintances to do the same within 24 hours.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., appears to have been one of the earliest adopters of the shocking exercise (he got doused on June 30).

Full story

August 11, 2014

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

He may be gone, but the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, is not forgotten. Not even by the routinely punchy raconteurs who spin their webs on Comedy Central’s “Drunk History.”

The alcohol-fueled civics lessons captured by the show, which has already been renewed for a third season, typically feature tipsy storytellers recounting the exploits of prominent socio-political figures.

For Tuesday’s episode — airing at 10 p.m. — “Drunk History” turns its non-bloodshot eye on the Aloha State.

The saga of Inouye’s nearly life-threatening charge into enemy fire during World War II is sandwiched between segments chronicling British Captain James Cook’s “discovery” of the Hawaiian Islands and the tale of surfing legend Eddie Aikau.

“My favorite part of the story … is that he is the inspiration for [President Barack] Obama,” show co-creator Jeremy Konner said of Inouye’s legacy.

Per Konner, actor Steven Yeun, who after four seasons on “The Walking Dead” must be used to squaring off against bitey antagonists, had to wrestle with an entirely different kind of predator by stepping into the Inouye role.

“She said she’s never seen more rattlesnakes on a set,” Konner said of the professional snake wrangler’s assessment of their mountain side-shoot. (Guess it wasn’t filmed in Hawaii, which does not have rattlesnakes.)

Luckily, Yeun took it all in stride.

‘Drunk History’ Extols Daniel Inouye’s War Record

(Courtesy Drunk History/Comedy Central)

“Turns out, he’s a super funny dude,” Konner said.

No word on what other pols might pop up in future episodes. But Konner strongly suggested we stay tuned.

“I promise you there will be a president involved,” he said. “And there will be stories that invoke D.C. and the government.”

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

Whether gracing the silver screen (Mr. Sulu, you have the conn) or cracking wise from behind a touchscreen (Oh Myyy, that’s quite the universe of Facebook fans you’ve assembled), entertainer and political activist George Takei currently strives to live his life out loud.

But that wasn’t always the case.

‘To Be Takei’ Documentary Descends on Silver Spring

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The human rights champion would like to set the record straight about everything he’s experienced to date in the revealing documentary, “To Be Takei.”

Director Jennifer Kroot has been chronicling Takei’s incredible journey — a career trajectory that encompasses his breakthrough role as Hikaru Sulu on the original “Star Trek” as well as wildly successful forays into publishing, satellite radio (serving as guest announcer of the “Howard Stern Show”), social media and musical theater — for the past few years. The finished product, which will be released nationwide on Aug. 22, breezes into town next month for two special screenings (at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 and 4) at the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Md.). Full story

August 8, 2014

David Waddell Logs Next Step in Trek to Washington

It’s been far too long since we’ve had a Gene Roddenberry acolyte railing against societal injustices on the House floor.

But that could all change this fall— assuming North Carolinians are willing to stun political prognosticators and transport long shot candidate David Waddell to Capitol Hill come November.

Waddell made national headlines earlier this year after jumping ship from the Indian Trail town council using Klingon.

Per the Charlotte Observer, the starry-eyed pol has since secured enough signatures to guarantee his spot as a write-in candidate in the upcoming midterm elections.

Our politics team has tagged incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan as one of the 10 most vulnerable senators in the current cycle, but it sounds like Waddell is well aware he’s light years away from a lock.

“I’m not going to tell you I’m starting to pack [for Washington],” Waddell told the Observer. “It’s a mission to get a message out.”

August 5, 2014

Tea Party Rhetoric Strikes Some as Muy Shady

No one is surprised the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund is holding Sen. Lamar Alexander’s feet to the fire on the raging border security battle. But the group’s use of foreign punctuation has left some in Washington wondering ¿que paso?

Tea Party Rhetoric Strikes Some as Muy Shady

(Screenshot)

In the email attack, the group repeatedly frames the Tennessee Republican’s name in inverted exclamation points — punctuation typically associated with the Spanish language.

Some fellow hacks considered this rhetorical jab to be nothing short of racist. Tea party leaders attempted to brush aside any such aspersions.

“It’s a play on Alexander’s use of campaign signs with exclamation marks,” the group told HOH via email. “The Spanish exclamation mark signifies Sen. Alexander’s vote for amnesty and support for an open-borders or no-borders immigration policy.” Full story

July 30, 2014

Gabbard, Meng, Sinema Help Launch ‘Cocktails for Change’

EMILY’s List is hoping to connect more young professionals with the growing universe of female Democrats via its fledgling “Cocktails for Change” initiative.

Freshman lawmakers Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Grace Meng of New York and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are scheduled to participate in the inaugural reception, set to take place Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Policy (1904 14th St. NW).

According to an EMILY’s List spokeswoman, the evening is meant to be fun — “We’ll be featuring the EMILY’s Twist (a version of a lemon drop),” the aide said of the featured cocktail — with a little positive messaging mixed in. Those lucky enough to snag a spot at Wednesday’s kick-off should expect to hear inspiring words from the  assembled solons, as well as from EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

Didn’t make the initial cut? (Sorry folks, they’re full up this time around.)

Dry those tears.

EMILY’s List is just getting started with its happy hour diplomacy. Female pols-in-training heading to the West Coast during recess can look forward to a similarly themed happening in San Francisco come late August.

And, don’t worry, EMILY’s List is not done stirring things up here in D.C.

July 29, 2014

Mashup King Tortures Bill Murray With Droning Dick Cheney

Our condolences to involuntary time traveler Phil Connors, but political activist Diran Lyons has a rather rude awakening for you.

The “Groundhog Day Remix” is the latest viral vid bait to spring from Lyons’ news-saturated skull.

He told HOH inserting former Vice President Dick Cheney’s latest pronouncements about the war on terror into the nightmarish scenario was all about purging himself of mounting frustration.

“Cheney’s recent comments in the media about military spending, Syria and Iraq began to irritate me … I felt somewhat like Murray and the clock radio, constantly being subjected to views on foreign policy that I find disagreeable,” Lyons said. When he sat down last month to revisit the iconic flick — something he says he and his family do “at least once a year together” — the wheels started turning and, voila, another custom tailored clip was set in motion.

His most widely perused effort to date (940,000-plus views and counting) has to be the one wherein President Barack Obama choppily utters every last combative word of Jay-Z’s rap anthem, “99 Problems.”

Full story

Ted Poe Adopts Matt Salmon as a Lone Star Stater (Video)

Rep. Ted Poe has conferred upon Rep. Matt Salmon one of the highest honors his office can help provide: He’s made his fellow Republican lawmaker an honorary Texan.

Ted Poe Adopts Matt Salmon as a Lone Star Stater (Video)

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The Texas Republican said Salmon, who serves alongside him on the Foreign Affairs Committee — “We’re personal friends,” Poe said — shares several defining characteristics with native-born Texans. Poe said Salmon values independence. He’s fairly outspoken. And he displays that certain ruggedness required of those who reside in border states.

“I thought it was appropriate to make him an honorary Texan and give him dual citizenship,” Poe said of the surprise distinction for the Arizona Republican.

Full story

Life on Sarah Palin’s Wavelength

After years of randomly popping up on cable news shows, conservative documentaries and in single-season series, one-time GOP vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin is ready to build a programming empire all her own.

The former governor of Alaska has teamed with digital media platform TAPP to launch the subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel. The SPC marks the second outing by TAPP, which waded into the online market this past March with the religiously themed “New Life TV with Steve Arterburn.”

“Together let’s live life vibrantly, purposefully and boldly,” the Alaska Republican implores viewers in her welcome video.

A TAPP aide told HOH that Palin’s new project has been in development for several months, and currently features a series of “sample” video clips — watch her frag President Barack Obama in response to a reader-submitted query regarding political leadership and weave a pro-energy independence pitch through commentary about Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The company has plans to court additional constituencies (a word cloud touts “fantasy sports,” “addictions” and “paranormal” content as viable contenders) in the future.

For $9.95 a month, or $99.95 per year, subscribers get all the current content — selected “behind the scenes” videos; the word of the day from Palin’s mother, Sally Heath; a real-time countdown until the end of Obama’s second term — plus the ability to comment and contribute to Palin’s planned infotainment portal.

There’s also a two-week, no-obligation trial period for those unsure about the self-styled news aggregator.

Those who register before Aug. 1 are promised two additional months of free viewing. Military personnel currently on active duty are encouraged to email SPC (proudlyserving@SarahPalinChannel.com) to receive free access to the evolving site.

Per TAPP, programmers are still working on the exact formula for populating the channel. “It will be 95 percent original content,” our contact said.

But they are leaving the door open to revisiting some of Palin’s greatest hits. Full story

July 28, 2014

The Bard Brings Schumers Back Together

Sen. Charles E. Schumer finally caught up with his comedian cousin, Amy Schumer, this past weekend at Shakespeare in the Park.

 

 

An aide said the New York Democrat just happened to bump into his rising star relative — Ms. Schumer has been nominated for an Emmy for the writing of her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer,” and is currently working on “Trainwreck,” the feature film she penned and which filmmaker Judd Apatow is directing — at the annual theater festival in New York’s Central Park.

Per Team Schumer, the boss did not know the stand-up comedian/actress and her Hollywood pals were also headed to “King Lear.” Full story

July 25, 2014

Murkowski Tells Alaskans to Show Their ‘Inner Ted’ Stevens (Video)

Murkowski Tells Alaskans to Show Their Inner Ted Stevens (Video)

Murkowski is encouraging fellow Alaskans to honor the late Stevens, seen here posing with the Incredible Hulk in 2003. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a new video message, Sen. Lisa Murkowski is encouraging her fellow Alaskans to celebrate Ted Stevens Day on Saturday.

“Sen. Stevens, or ‘Uncle Ted’ as many of us knew him, was the Alaskan of the 20th century and always put Alaska above partisan politics,” the Alaska Republican said. “This year, Alaskans have seen me put on my Hulk scarf and channel my inner Ted Stevens to fight in the Senate for what is important to Alaska.”

Full story

July 23, 2014

Making the Most of a Swing Through Charm City

What’s a D.C.-based reporter to do when faced with ferreting out a worthwhile repast while on assignment in neighboring Baltimore? Solicit recommendations from Maryland’s congressional delegation, of course.

At least, that’s how Bloomberg BNA scribe Anthony Adragna played it Wednesday morning before hitting the road for an out-of-town conference.

 

 

According to Adragna, the dining S.O.S. was very much a spur of the moment thing.

“First time ever reaching out and didn’t put much thought into it,” Adragna told HOH. He said he meant to pose the question to Maryland Democrat Benjamin L. Cardin in person a day earlier — the two, evidently, chatted here on Capitol Hill Tuesday — but just never got around to it.

No matter.

Cardin came through on Twitter anyway. Full story

July 22, 2014

John Dingell Stumped by Kardashian Craze

Rep. John D. Dingell has spent nearly 24 hours trying to wrap his head around the dizzying world of celebutantes. And it ain’t working.

After being stumped by a seemingly random tweet from someone at the Environmental Protection Agency — which has, of course, since been scrubbed from existence — trumpeting their standing in reality TV star Kim Kardashian’s nascent iPhone-friendly time-suck, the Michigan Democrat apparently turned to staff for a crash course in all things O. J. Simpson’s-former-lawyer’s-since-remarried-wife’s-brood’s plans to prove Andy Warhol wrong.

(Et tu, EPA?)

Team Dingell did not respond to queries regarding whether the debrief on the reigning tabloid queen/bride of hip-hop mogul Kanye West/mother of North West included “A Clockwork Orange”-like screening of TMZ clips, binge-watching of E!’s burgeoning Kardashian-centric programming (have the pets been given shows yet?) or a quick flip-through men’s magazines.

 

 

It’s obvious, however, that the pop culture cram session clearly didn’t take. Full story

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