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October 31, 2014

Posts in "Nationwide"

October 6, 2014

Pols Give It Up for ‘Gone Girl’

Suspense lovers weren’t the only ones desperately waiting for auteur David Fincher’s treatment of author Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” to grace the silver screen. Solons and civic leaders couldn’t be prouder of the film.

The buzzy Ben Affleck-led thriller — based on the 2012 beach read about one of the most disastrous couplings of all time — separated fans of doomed marriages from $38 million in discretionary income this past weekend.

Ticket sales are, of course, paramount to Hollywood.

But the powers that be here in Washington, D.C., and down in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where parts of the film were shot, are much more interested in the attention that comes with being associated with a highly anticipated feature.

“I am super excited that ‘Gone Girl’ was filmed in my congressional district,” Missouri Republican Jason Smith told HOH. “I hope that when people see the film, and how beautiful, unique, and historic the city is, they will come to Cape to see it in person.”

City officials are attempting to capitalize on this fortuitous close-up by cobbling together a self-guided driving tour spotlighting different filming locations. Full story

October 1, 2014

Hi-Ya, Jim McDermott!

Glad to see Rep. Jim McDermott is all warmed up for the new Bruce Lee exhibit coming soon to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle.

 

 

The multimedia retrospective, which is projected to run from this Friday (VIP preview kicks off at 3:15 pm) until at least November 1, is expected to feature martial arts demonstrations, examinations of Lee’s personal poetry writings, and, of course, screenings of his ridiculously fun film roles.

 

 

The Washington Democrat’s pro-Lee plug, as first reported by CNN, is the latest entry on his mostly work-related Vine account. But this contribution marks the first time the Washington Democrat has donned a costume (from Lee’s closet in “Game of Death” and paid homage to by Quentin Tarantino in “Kill Bill, Vol. I” with The Bride’s duds) to get the word out about anything.

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September 30, 2014

Noshtalgia: Catching Up With the Globe-Trotting Pasty

Noshtalgia: Catching Up With the Globe Trotting Pasty

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

One of the most rewarding things about helping you, the loyal Noshtalgia reader, reconnect with cherished comfort foods (other than finding them or the most readily accessible analog possible, of course) is learning just how integral said memory-making-meals are to their respective communities.

I have heard, for instance, about the preponderance of mom-and-pop pasty shacks that supposedly dot the landscape of Michigan’s northernmost appendage. But having never trekked across the Lake Superior-facing stretch of the Wolverine State, I am unfamiliar with the iron grip the savory hand pies have on native Michiganders.

At least until Nick Sharkey shared his deep-seated longing with me. Full story

September 29, 2014

Congressman or American Idol? (Video)

Congressman or American Idol? (Video)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — John Lennon, Lady Gaga and Bono have all covered Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.”

And on Sept. 27, Rep. Steve Southerland II took a stab at it.

The Republican sophomore, who faces an election challenge from Democratic attorney Gwen Graham, hosted a “Women for Southerland” rally in his Florida Panhandle 2nd District.

Toward the end of his speech, he sent a subtle hand signal to someone offstage. A shaggy-haired man stepped on stage and strapped on an acoustic guitar.

As Southerland closed out his speech, the opening chords of the 1961 hit began to play.

With Republican Reps. Cynthia M. Lummis of Wyoming and Martha Roby of Alabama (who were in town to support him) clapping behind him, Southerland offered up an able rendition.

Listen for yourself.

 

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September 26, 2014

GOP Capitalizes on #FlipaDistrict Frenzy

Rep. John Kline may not have asked to be thrust into the re-election spotlight. But he’s certainly not shying away from raking in some extra dough after being named public enemy No. 1 in comedian Bill Maher’s inaugural “Flip A District” campaign.

 

GOP Capitalizes on #FlipaDistrict Frenzy

(Screenshot)

 

Kline beat out three other House Republicans for the honor of becoming Maher’s pet project from now until Election Day.

While targeting the regularly low-profile chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee might seem like a stretch to some, the “Real Time” host insists that Kline’s virtual anonymity is exactly what makes him so contemptible.

“It’s much more appropriate to pick somebody who is quietly just doing the job wrong,” Maher told Minnesota Public Radio congressional reporter Brett Neely about the vetting process employed to flesh out this experiment into forced retirement.

The Minnesota Republican, naturally, is refusing to go down without a fight. Full story

Big Easy Mardi Gras Krewe Not Intimidated by ISIS

NEW ORLEANS — Dear Islamic State terrorists: You don’t intimidate the Krewe of Isis down here.

According to the Gambit,  ”the oldest continuously parading Carnival organization in Jefferson Parish isn’t changing its name for anyone.” The rise of the terrorist group ISIS has caused no shortage of angst in otherwise unrelated organizations, such as the ISIS Wallet, a smartphone app that decided to change its name, and the Institute for Science and International Security, which is sticking with the acronym it has had for years.

Another Mardi Gras krewe in Mobile, Ala., the Order of Isis, has decided to go with OOI. But Jefferson Parish’s all-female parade group? Not going anywhere.

“It is our history and our name and for 42 years it has represented proud American women, many of whom have family in the military, or have served in the military themselves,” Krewe of Isis Captain Sherrell Gorman told Gambit. “We’re not giving up our name, our dignity or our identity for something like that.”

Related Story:

ISIS or ISIL? On the Hill It Just Depends

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September 25, 2014

Jim Langevin’s Meet and Three

Rep. Jim Langevin took to the streets Wednesday to become better acquainted with the mobile hospitality scene back home.

 

 

Three made-to-order meals later — or what self-loathing comedian Louis CK might refer to as a “bang-bang-bang” — the Rhode Island Democrat had had his fill. But he’s far from done digging into the Ocean State’s unique charms.

“Tourism and hospitality are central to the overall Rhode Island economy, and our food-related businesses – from five-star restaurants to bountiful farmlands and, of course, food trucks – play a major role in strengthening and further developing our state’s reputation as a world-class destination,” Langevin, who began his statewide dining trek this past winter, said via email. “I learned so much during my RI Food Week, and this week has really given me the chance to highlight some of the other excellent food businesses in our state.”

During this stop at Greater Kennedy Plaza in Providence, Langevin got up close and personal with a handful of rolling lunch wagons.

Per his office, Langevin huddled with several food truck operators but only sampled select fare from three: Portu-Galo (Patatas Bravas), Rocket Fine Street Food (Parisienne burger) and Noble Knots (tater tots). For those keeping score at home, that’s two servings of fried spuds and a caramelized onion-covered beef bomb.

A solid start, sir.

But here’s how this hired mouth would have played it:

  • Mama Kim’s Korean BBQ: Confidence is high fiery pork kimchee and pepper paste-covered chicken Gochujang sliders — in sweet Portuguese buns, no less — would be my jam.
  • Noble Knots: Gotta go chicken confit sammie (you had me at smoked gouda). And mayhaps a double order of tater tots — smothered in the mushroom hash (booyah!).
  • Ooh Mommi Foods: What has two thumbs and likes the sound of crispy oyster mushroom po’boys and chocolate sea salt treats? (This guy!)
  • Poco Loco Tacos: I suspect I could get down with some avocado fritters and a chorizadilla.
  • Portu Galo: Um Prego no Pao sanduíche e cachorro-quente, por favor!
  • Rocket Fine Street Food: One Man in the Moon burger, please. (Though I’d add Dijon mustard into the mix.) And you best believe I’d polish it all off with a rhubarb mint pop.

All that matters, however, is that Langevin ultimately left fully satisfied. Full story

September 23, 2014

George Takei Votes for More Gay Babies

In a new public service announcement for Our Time, entertainer/gay rights activist George Takei urges all Americans to stand and up and be counted on Election Day.

He also prods heterosexuals to make more whoopee.

“I’m talking to straight young couples because you are going to be producing the gay babies of tomorrow,” Takei counsels.

The multitalented celeb has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years. He’s the subject of a deeply personal documentary. He’s published books, brought joy to millions on satellite radio, developed a signature fragrance and even fielded offers to practice the art of diplomacy.

Takei’s made his presence known here in Washington as well, weighing in on legislative pals old and new.

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Rock the Vote — Where ‘Kimye’ and Politics Collide

Keeping up with the latest Kardashian gossip and knowing the difference between the names on your ballot aren’t mutually exclusive.

At least not for Ashley Spillane, the president of Rock the Vote, a national nonprofit that has organized get-out-the-vote efforts for more than two decades, including a national voter registration day on Tuesday.

“I think the importance is that there are millions and millions of Americans paying attention to what the Kardashians are doing and it’s actually truly OK to be interested in popular culture and politics at the same time,” Spillane said. “Everyone cares about issues.” Full story

September 22, 2014

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

Not even the lure of spending some quality time with a Cheney could compel congressional Republicans to hang around the Log Cabin Republican’s Spirit of Lincoln dinner in D.C. for longer than it takes to watch an episode of “Modern Family.”

Mind you, the Cheney in question was Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and gay marriage advocate who famously fought with her sister Liz during the latter’s short-lived bid to wrest Wyoming’s Senate seat away from Michael B. Enzi.

 

GOP Mixes, (Briefly) Mingles With Log Cabin Republicans

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Still, it did appear that more Republican lawmakers made an effort to make nice this year than did in 2013.

Full story

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

Democrats vs. Republicans. Red vs. Blue. Us vs. Them.

It seems that everywhere one looks these days, bright lines are being thrown up to swiftly categorize and completely compartmentalize those who would dare disagree with any closely-held world view.

Well, Enigma of New York has had enough of it.

 

Artists Aim to Halt Political Pigeonholing

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The art collective has launched a new campaign, chronicled under the #wethepurple umbrella on social media, designed to get the general public to quit feeding into political polarization.

The opening gambit in the group’s bid to eradicate ideological grandstanding was to amend 100-odd stop signs in Washington, D.C., and New York City to read “Stop Fighting, Congress. #Wethepurple.” According to an EoN member, the stick-on addendums were put in place late Sept. 7. The plan was to get District residents’ attention just as Congress returned to work on Sept. 8. Full story

September 19, 2014

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

Michele Bachmann Asks Al Franken to Help Defeat Al Franken

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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.

Full story

September 18, 2014

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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Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

Getting Our Fill of Vacationland

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

ROCKLAND, Maine — Two airplane flights (four hours in airports, combined) and roughly 120 minutes of creeping along two-lane roads that snake their way through stoplight-free Northeastern hamlets later, I finally arrived in the bayfront oasis I would call home for the next few days.

The most pressing problem, other than a serious lack of sleep, was how to kill the 17 hours until my first official work dinner.

Coming up to investigate the gastronomic enterprises Maine Democrat Chellie Pingree is fostering on North Haven was always meant to be the crux of my assignment. The critic in me, however, could not pass up the opportunity to feast upon  — without completely spoiling my appetite — this personally uncharted territory.

I pressed Pingree for recommendations, but the savvy lawmaker kept things totally diplomatic. Full story

September 17, 2014

Grover Norquist’s Burning Man Dream Team

Anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist so enjoyed his time at Burning Man this year that he’d like to return next summer with a “Dream Team” of Republican lawmakers.

A festival virgin, Norquist admitted to HOH that his presuppositions of what transpires each August in the pop-up community in northwestern Nevada might have been a tad off-base.

“I thought everybody dressed up almost in costume,” he said, sharing that he’d carted along a Guy Fawkes mask, a Russian-style army jacket and French foreign legion hat (complete with neck flaps) for his four-day stay in the desert.

Once there, the conservative firebrand quickly realized being a freethinker doesn’t always correlate to acting freaky. Full story

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