Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 26, 2014

Posts in "Nationwide"

June 30, 2014

Franken Feasts on Minnesota State Fair Menu Items (Video)

The eating extravaganza that is the Minnesota State Fair may still be months away, but Sen. Al Franken is already beating the drum about the heart-stopping offerings that attendees will encounter along the midway later this summer.

 

 

The fair, which is scheduled to wreak havoc on Midwestern waistlines from Aug. 21 until Sept. 1, is expected to field more than two dozen new foodstuffs. Those debut taste sensations run the gamut from moderately healthy (all-natural, frozen fruit smoothie pop, anyone?) to downright deadly (breakfast Juicy Lucys forged from twin, cheese-stuffed sausage patties piled high on an English muffin).

Last year, the Minnesota Democrat bowed to his constituents’ wishes and sampled an order of fried pickles accompanied by chocolate dipping sauce:

According to a spokeswoman, Franken is excited to sink his teeth into a Bison Dog (hickory-smoked, pasture-raised buffalo link smothered in pickles and peppers). The adventurous aide, meanwhile, said she was looking forward to experiencing the “chicken in a waffle” creation. Full story

June 26, 2014

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

One cobbler to rule them all. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Utah’s cherry cobbler beat out seven other regional comfort foods in the final round of Roll Call’s Taste of America, becoming the only previous champion to regain the title.

Utah’s fruit-and-starch concoction, which won in 2012, beat out Oregon’s blackberry pie, Iowa bacon, Illinois deep dish pizza, Maine’s lobster roll, Maryland crab cakes, Kentucky fried chicken and North Carolina barbecue.

Utah Cherry Cobbler Wins Roll Call Taste of America for Second Time

Team Utah stormed the Taste of America beach. And ruled. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Previous winners include West Virginia pepperoni rolls in 2013, Utah cherry cobbler in 2012 and Northern Mariana Islands apigigi, from 2011.

Maine seemed to have the inside track and was early favorite, but sugar won out over protein for culinary dominance in America. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, reacted with disappointment, yet class.

“My sincere congratulations to Utah on cherry cobbler’s culinary victory in the Taste of America Competition.  For the sake of a united country, I will not demand a recount, though I couldn’t be prouder of the Maine lobster roll’s performance in this contest. In tribute, I’ll be enjoying one as soon as I get back home,” she said in a statement.

June 23, 2014

Rangel Rap Ain’t All That

Rep. Charles B. Rangel has released a career-recapping rap ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

The last-minute attempt at shoring up the New York Democrat’s street cred isn’t completely terrible.

Yes, the background remains frozen on the campaign’s dull but clearly needed get-out-the-vote instructions rather than flipping through, say, nostalgic images of Rangel’s four decades on Capitol Hill. And the lyrics — main chorus: “If you gonna vote, you gonna vote for da Rangel/Charlie-Charlie-Charlie Rangel!” — could sound a bit more inspired. (Team Rangel did not respond to emails seeking information as to who penned and performed the supportive ditty.)

But the background chimes are hauntingly beautiful. And the song is jam-packed with information about Rangel’s upbringing, military exploits and political accomplishments.

Still, the jingle lacks the grittiness of the anthemic rhymes Memphis-based rapper Al Kapone spit for then-House hopeful Dr. George Flinn (the aspiring politico is attempting to knock off Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., this time around) during the previous cycle.

Full story

June 17, 2014

Rob Bishop Still Not Sold on Twitter

Sure, his office signed him up for the rapid-fire status sharing service more than four years ago. And he definitely gets updates when others drop his name in the Twittersphere.

But no one can make Rep. Rob Bishop actually broadcast a single character.

Rob Bishop Still Not Sold on Twitter

(Screenshot)

Of the 520-odd politicians (a roster that includes aspiring as well as sitting lawmakers) we follow on the micro-blogging platform, the Utah Republican has the unique honor of being the only person to never post a single thing — no tenuous “here we go,” or even an investigatory “testing” — to an active account.

Which makes perfect sense, since it’s really just a placeholder. Full story

June 10, 2014

Minnesota Democrats Stump for #VoteDuluth

It’s coming down to the wire in Outside’s fourth annual “Best Towns Tournament,” and Minnesota Democrats are doing their darnedest to ensure that nobody, but nobody — that means you, Beehive Staters — comes between Duluth and sweet, sweet victory.

Minnesota Democrats Stump for #VoteDuluth

(Screenshot)

The monthlong competition has seen its share of ups and downs, with the two top contenders battling hard for national recognition.

Along the way, Duluth handily disposed of Columbia, Mo. (enjoying a nearly 5-to-1 advantage in the first round); then trumped Athens, Ohio (second round); La Crosse, Wis. (third round); neighboring Minneapolis (fourth round) and Asheville, N.C. (fifth round), to reach the finals.

Provo bested Jackson, Wyo. (first round); Taos, N.M. (second round); Missoula, Mont. (third round); Anchorage, Alaska (fourth round), and then just barely squeaked by Ithaca, N.Y. (receiving just 51 percent of the votes in the fifth round), in its bid to achieve destination travel dominance.

With municipal bragging rights up for grabs through Sunday (voting closes just before the stroke of midnight June 15), the Minnesota delegation is letting the trash talk fly.

 

Full story

June 9, 2014

Reid Praises Miss USA Winner, Regrets Missing Pageant Finale (Video)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid missed the ending of Sunday evening’s Miss USA pageant, but Monday on the Senate floor, he offered praise for the young woman who won — a fellow Nevadan.

The Nevada Democrat called Nia Sanchez “gifted beyond her physical beauty.”

“I’m disappointed that I kind of caved in in watching the final of the USA, Miss USA contest because Miss Nevada won, and I’d like to have seen that,” Reid said. “I placed a call to her and I’ll talk to her as soon as she gets out of the clouds, where I’m sure she is now. But I congratulate the newly crowned Miss USA and that is our own Nia Sanchez.”

Full story

June 6, 2014

Sleazy Pol Sparks Spectacular Reddit Guessing Game

Reddit, the online hub known for its no-holds-barred “Ask Me Anything” discussions has been consumed by the SHOCKING! (shocking?) revelation that some elected official, somewhere may have slipped a paramour a few bucks to keep quiet about their extracurricular activities.

“Relative of mine slept with a notable politician and was paid to keep quiet. Has the hush letter in writing,” a Redditor who posts under the moniker diztorted floated in a forum rife with heartbreaking tales of childhood molestation and jarring anecdotes about stumbling upon unknown siblings/secret second families.

Unlike the surreptitious financial support former North Carolina senator and Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards sent mistress Rielle Hunter’s way, or the consolation prize former Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign served up to one-time aide Doug Hampton, after bedding his wife, Cynthia, this purported philanderer apparently had the foresight to contractually bar the other party from ever saying a word about what had transpired between the two of them.

“This is ‘House of Cards’ stuff here, Underwoods be damned,” said a commenter who goes by TheSouthernPunk.

Soon, everyone begun weighing in on the hush-hush, hanky-panky. Full story

June 2, 2014

Adam Schiff Embraces Rigors of AIDS/LifeCycle Ride

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., appears to be reveling in the week-long cycling challenge he started on June 1, sharing highlights from the rolling landscapes he’s furiously pedaling across with his web flock.

The seasoned marathoner swapped his well-worn kicks for unfamiliar wheels (Bang-up job, FedEx!) in order to take part in the 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle trek, an annual fundraiser benefiting the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. Schiff has completed a handful of running challenges over the past four years, but previously alerted HOH that, prior to Sunday, the furthest his limbs had ever carried him was 65-miles at a time.

Per his Instragram feed, Schiff blasted right through that benchmark on day one of the LifeCycle adventure, spinning some 80-odd miles during the first leg of the trip.

“Over to the coast and down the Pacific Highway, through Half Moon Bay and on to Santa Cruz in some of the most beautiful countryside anywhere. Rolling hills over rugged coastline, just gorgeous,” Schiff shared online.  The budding century rider shrugged off the pre-dawn start (“Up at 3:30 a.m.,” he nonchalantly mentioned) and was oddly excited about pushing himself 33 percent harder Monday (scheduled distance: 108 miles) than he’d ever attempted.

The jaw-dropping scenery unspooling before him must be quite the motivator.

Though it sounds like Schiff’s also soaring high on a combination of stress-busting endorphins and life-changing camaraderie.

“The best part of the ride, in addition to the great views, are the great riders and roadies,” he asserts on social media. “Very entertaining crowd, let me tell you.”

Glenn ‘Mr. One Minute’ Thompson Conquers C-SPAN

Rep. Glenn Thompson is done toiling behind the scenes. The Pennsylvania Republican has somewhat quietly, yet rather effectively, managed to topple two of his chattiest colleagues in the race to total C-SPAN dominance.

Glenn ‘Mr. One Minute’ Thompson Conquers C SPAN

(Screenshot)

Granted, it’s only June, so there’s still plenty of time for other talking heads to get their rhetorical swerve on.

But Thompson appears to have the dedication, discipline and time-management skills required to carry him across the “Hey, Isn’t That …” finish line by popping up on must-D.C. TV more than anyone else this year.

As (only) C-SPAN junkies can attest, Thompson seemingly came out of nowhere over the past 18 months, knocking off perennial camera hogs Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and Ted Poe, R-Texas, by amassing 155 onscreen appearances to their 136 and 124, respectively.

Full story

May 30, 2014

Adam Schiff Mounts Most Grueling Endurance Challenge Yet

Adam Schiff Mounts Most Grueling Endurance Challenge Yet

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Marathon enthusiast and Rep. Adam B. Schiff is switching sports this weekend to help support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. He’s scheduled to hop into the saddle Sunday for the AIDS/LifeCycle ride — a weeklong trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

“That is gonna be a long ride,” he said of the 545-mile trek he’s hoping to power through from June 1-7.

The California Democrat is no slouch. He’s completed endurance races staged in the District, Philadelphia, New York City and Malibu, Calif., over the past few years.

But Schiff noted that he typically does Olympic length triathlons; the predetermined biking portions in those particular contests top out at around 25 miles.

He’ll need to crank out around 80 miles a day to keep pace with the LifeCycle crew. And he said the longest ride he’s been on to date was the 65-miler he knocked out last weekend.

“It felt pretty good. But it was hard,” Schiff said of the first metric century he got under his belt.  Full story

May 29, 2014

Hospitality Vet Handicaps Taste of America Tourney

Journeyman toque Colin Abernethy was simply beside himself when he learned about what is going on in the regional grudge match that is Roll Call’s annual Taste of America showdown.

“I’m sorry, but no love for WV and its pepperoni rolls or Tudor’s biscuits? This vote is a sham!” the seasoned chef scolded the TOAverse after discovering that the much beloved West Virginia pepperoni roll was alive, but apparently not doing as well as the dominating lobster roll, in this year’s gustatory gauntlet.

Hospitality Vet Handicaps Taste of America Tourney

(CQ Roll Call Photo Illustration)

The bracket-style challenge began on May 12 and features four rounds of public voting, through June 20. The winner will be crowned on June 25 at a reception during the 53rd Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game.

Instead of bellyaching about the current state of affairs, Abernethy vowed to get politically active.

“There’s still hope for the pepperoni roll as I just notified a bunch of Facebook friends about it lagging behind,” the naturally competitive chef assured us of his campaigning efforts.

More importantly, he agreed to put on his thinking cap and plot out the culinary carnage looming just ahead: Full story

May 28, 2014

Bacon or Ice Cream? Taste of America, Round Deux, Will Decide

Round Two of this year’s Roll Call Taste of America is underway, with last year’s champ, West Virginia’s Pepperoni Roll, after polishing off Boston Cream Pie in Round One, facing off against Delaware Boardwalk Fries.

The West Virginia-Delaware matchup isn’t the only Mid-Atlantic throwdown. Maryland Crab Cakes and D.C. Half-Smokes are also going mano a mano in the Round of 32 for bragging rights.

In intriguing comfort food contests, it’s hard to beat the beef bragging rights at, ahem, stake, in the Montana Steak versus Idaho Steak Fingers fight. And how can one resolve the Missouri Ice Cream Cone and Iowa Bacon question?

Vote early, vote often, as the purveyors of Chicago politics (and deep dish pizza!) might say.

By Jason Dick Posted at 5:17 p.m.
Food, Nationwide

May 27, 2014

The Balls Are in Your Court, Testy Festers

All you Big Sky gourmands can once again feast on the unique flavors of home during the Montana State Society’s 10th annual Rocky Mountain Oyster-packed jamboree on Saturday.

The Balls Are in Your Court, Testy Festers

(Courtesy Montana State Society)

The “Nuttin’ Better” event is scheduled to fill expectant bellies with all the deep-fried bull balls, blended Canadian whiskey and cold domestic beer any red-blooded American could want Saturday from 6-10 p.m.

Tickets to the all-you-can-eat-and-drink shindig, which is returning to American Legion Post 139 (3445 N. Washington Blvd., Arlington, Va.), are available online for $25 (through Friday) or $30 at the door.

One event organizer assured HOH that everyone would be privy to as much liquid courage as they like/need, whether it be administered by the cup (Crown Royal will purportedly be served straight up or mixed with soda) or the gallon (featured suds include: Budweiser, Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon). Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:54 p.m.
Booze, Food, Nationwide

May 14, 2014

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

Ex-congressional aide Marc Litchman is coloring in his campaign themes by leveling a new line of attack against cash-strapped incumbent, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif.

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

(Screenshot)

The one-time district director for ex-Rep. Howard L. Berman, D-Calif. — the same lawmaker Sherman overcame last cycle in a bare-knuckle brawl of a redistricting fight — has plastered a none-too-flattering, Shepard Fairey-like depiction of his opponent all over social media.

Litchman also wove the colorful broadside into a campaign email poking fun at both the Sherman campaign’s debt, as well as a fundraising solicitation Sherman’s campaign sent out that bemoans his non-existent war chest and that “most people I know are too busy to come to fundraising events. If you have the time, we have an event in Washington on May 19.”

Sherman’s most recent FEC filings show him with $563,284.43 in debt and $105,968 in cash on hand. His race against Berman in 2012 was the fourth-most expensive House race, with the candidates spending approximately $6.8 million and outside groups throwing in another $8.5 million.

House Hopeful Paints Brad Sherman as a Bum

(Screenshot)

Looks like the folks in California’s 30th District may be in for another wild ride.

May 13, 2014

Food Lovers Bombard Cory Booker’s Twitter Feed

Sen. Cory Booker was up and at ’em early Tuesday, greeting his social media flock with an invitation to toss a few local shops his way in order to some them much-deserved love during Small Business Week 2014.

 

 

The New Jersey Democrat quickly learned that food is what fuels 99.99 percent of ALL discussions online.

Sure, there was an architecture group named here. And a woman-owned outfit was heralded there.

 

 

But the majority of folks were determined to spread the word about personal dining gems, a must-hit list that included:

Bagel Buffet, Hackensack: A local bakery/café specializing in sandwiches and such that also donates baked goods to neighboring food pantries (“Sounds delicious,” Booker suggested).

Giorgio’s Pasticcerie, Hoboken: Family-owned bakery specializing in Italian and French pastries.

Blueplate, Mullica Hill: Neighborhood restaurant specializing in Modern American cuisine.

Benny’s, Fair Lawn: Old school luncheonette dealing in home fries, patty melts and their signature “Overstuffed Hot Pastrami Sandwich.”

Bischoff’s Ice Cream, Teaneck: An 80-year-old sweets shop that dabbles in the likes of pumpkin fudge, coffee-cookie crush ice cream (coffee cream with crumbled Oreos) and strawberry ice cream sodas. (“I’ll believe it when I taste it,” Booker asserted)

Judicke’s Bakery, Bayonne: Family-run bakery renowned for cranking out old favorites (baklava, mascarpone mousse cake) as well as trendy treats (“Frozen”-themed cupcakes).

White Manna, Hackensack, and Kosher Nosh, Glenn Rock: The former is a fast-food haven renowned for its onion-packed sliders while the latter is a traditional deli dishing smoked fish platters, triple-decker sandwiches and Jewish comfort foods (chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, chicken-in-a-pot).

DP’s Pub, Garfield: A dive bar with a thing for seafood. (“Their garlic sauce is legendary,” Booker shared)

SeaGrass Restaurant, Ocean Grove: Polished eatery with a penchant for seasonal cooking.

Mount Royal Bagel Company, Marlton: The house that wood-fired, “Montreal-style” bagels (“boiled in honey water before baking,” the website explains) built.

Biggie’s Clam Bar, Hoboken: A nearly 70-year-old raw bar that’s since spun off into other states (Tennessee).

Osteria Procacci, Kingston: Upscale pizza joint specializing in gourmet pies.

Magic Fountain Ice Cream and Grill, Elizabeth: Deep-fried everything plus frozen goodies.

Carlo’s Bakery, Hoboken: The spot that catapulted reality TV vet- Buddy Valastro to “Cake Boss” fame. (“A favorite of mine, too,” Booker revealed)

Southside Roast, Cranford: Local java source with a few nibbles (soups, sandwiches) to boot.

To wit, the only way out of the restaurant rumble for the food-fatigued solon was to retreat to the relative safety of the chamber:

 

 

Looks like Mr. Text Happy bit off more than he could chew this time.

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