A Florida jury has had its say on the devastating confrontation between armed, self-styled watchman George Zimmerman and the late Trayvon Martin. Now attendees at Howard University’s College of Medicine are firing back.
The perception-challenging pic is just the latest political statement from the historically black bastion of higher learning.
Howard students were also featured in this provocative video, released a month after Martin was killed in Sanford, Fla.
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., is also grappling with how to move forward in a world where Zimmerman has been cleared of any wrongdoing. He’s urging Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., to let Congress investigate the matter further.
“Earlier this year the United States Capitol Police (USCP) was apprised of thefts that occurred in the Rayburn House Office Building. The USCP conducted an investigation and were able to identify a subject. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 37 year old Javier Sanchez of Virginia. The arrest took place on 7/11/2013. Sanchez has been charged with Theft II,” said a statement from Shennell Antrobus, the Capitol Police’s public information officer.
When asked if Sanchez was in custody and if there was arraignment or court date for him, Capitol Police said no further details were forthcoming at the current time.
A senior Capitol Hill law enforcement official said the arrest was for Sanchez’s theft of money from Bachmann’s office, and was unrelated to other burglaries in Rayburn. “Theft II” is used to classify when the value of the stolen good falls below a $1,000 threshold.
A request for comment from Bachmann’s office was not immediately returned.
It’s been more than a year since ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., was obliged to quit Congress amidst a career implosion that called into question the incumbent’s ability to do simple paperwork.
Still, Democratic operatives in the Wolverine State can’t help but keep rehashing the past in hope of undermining Republican hopeful Terri Lynn Land’s bid for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.
Whereas they at least put together a somewhat clever ditty about McCotter’s re-election woes the last time around, the grudge match against Land features some of the least entertaining (some are downright boring) e-cards we’ve ever seen:
We Act Radio personality Kymone Freeman has cued up the playlist and plotted a route for his inaugural “NSA Mixtape Bike Ride,” a rolling protest of widespread government surveillance practices poised to take place Thursday.
The 13.5 mile trek will depart from the W.A.R. station (1918 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) at 5 p.m. Thursday, leading participants from Anacostia through Capitol Hill and Bloomingdale, down U Street Northwest, looping around Dupont Circle and barreling straight down Seventh Street Northwest before filing into Freedom Plaza.
Freeman’s ride playlist features a number of thought-provoking tunes threaded by media clips of President Barack Obama, administration officials and members of Congress weighing in on the whole government eavesdropping vs. personal privacy brouhaha.
The lead actor in a political video caught our attention with his saucy moves as a salacious senator who strips down to his red, white and blue underwear and pole dances for a pack of lascivious lobbyists.
As it turns out, Peak Kwinarian, who plays the senator, is no virgin to political roles. Kwinarian played a deputy committee chairman in an episode of “House of Cards,” the Netflix success that stars Kevin Spacey and romanticizes the dark underbelly of Washington politics. In a recent interview, Kwinarian told HOH that was a “high pressure” gig, but said he enjoyed working with Spacey.
An advocacy group for changing the role of money in politics, Represent.Us, posted the stripping ad on YouTube recently and is currently pushing to get it on national television.
“He’s very senatorial,” video producer Randy Hackett said of Kwinarian. “He looks like that kind of classic, patrician white-haired, New England type.”
“I think we could probably get him elected if he had the right campaign managing and team,” Hackett continued.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely — and not just because of the campaign finance laws with which Represent.Us takes issue. When asked about his view on politics as a career, Kwinarian said, “Why anyone would want to be a politician in the first place is beyond me.”
A Stamford, Conn., native, Kwinarian said his conservative sensibilities on health care, gay marriage and especially unions render him uncommon in his adopted home of Manhattan. Despite his views on unions, however, he is a member of the Screen Actors Guild. “You have to be,” he clarified.
Kwinarian considered the psyche of the senator he played in the Represent.Us video and wouldn’t condemn the fictional lawmaker’s actions. “I think he’s just probably more of a victim of the environment in which he was working and living, in which maybe a lot of politicians find themselves,” he said.
Kwinarian also works for the Onion News Network, where he plays an anchor named Brandon Armstrong. In a 2008 video, Armstrong argues with the fake CEOs of major motor companies for not making flying cars. We’re not kidding.
Mary M. Thompson, 42, pleaded guilty on Thursday to spending more than $16,000 of federal money on personal items while working for the Health and Human Services Department, including roller skates!
Skating apparently is a crime, if you buy the skates on the government dime. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)
According to a Justice Department statement, Thompson worked for HHS from 2010 to 2012. During that time, she was issued a government credit card and at some point started buying all kinds of goodies, including an iPod, pool cues and the roller skates.
Thompson faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.
All things being equal, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., would like to get this whole going-to-prison thing out of the way.
Chicago Sun-Times D.C. bureau chief Lynn Sweet reports that attorneys for the embattled lawyer have done an about-face on which of the Jacksons, Jesse or his wife, Sandi, should get locked up first should the court throw the book at them for the $750,000 they funneled from campaign accounts.
“Mr. Jackson’s health issues preclude him from working at this time. If he serves his period of incarceration first, Mrs. Jackson would be able to work and could stabilize the family’s finances,” Lynn said the ex-lawmaker’s lawyers proposed in a memo filed Monday.
With sentencing hanging over both of their heads just before the July Fourth holiday, it would seem Jesse is ready to get on with the rest of his life ASAP.
Updated 3:45 p.m. | An effort to pass a campaign finance overhaul bill gets racy in its most recent move to get money out of politics.
In a YouTube video published this morning, the Represent.Us campaign to “end corruption” and “get America back” portrays a fictional senator stripping down to his Old Glory underpants and allowing a pack of lobbyists to jam dollar bills just about everywhere, right up to where the sun don’t shine.
That’s a flag we don’t need waved. As our pals at sister blog Political MoneyLine wrote, “Members of Congress will not like it. Most viewers will not like it. But that may be the point they are trying to make about soliciting campaign funds.”
Randy Hackett, the ad man behind the video, produced it pro bono, Represent.Us Director Josh Silver said. “He cares so much about the issue.”
For his part, Hackett said he wanted to make sure the video would get people’s attention.
“Did it turn you on?” he asked HOH. “It’s not supposed to,” he added — but only after we conceded that yes, it did, just a little. “It’s supposed to repulse people,” he said.
Peak Kwinarian, the actor who plays the salacious senator in the video, said he was taken aback by the pseudo-patriotic drawers the creators asked him to wear for his role.
“When I originally saw them, I did have a moment there,” he said. “[But] it’s not the actual flag. … I wasn’t desecrating the flag.”
Kwinarian said this was his first foray into exotic dancing, though he said he did once wear high heels and play a woman in a musical called “Zombies From the Beyond.”
“It was a campy piece,” he clarified.
The video is only the most recent move in the campaign to get a draft of legislation known as the American Anti-Corruption Act a vote in Congress. Former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter drafted the act. Its website says the measure would transform how elections are financed, how lobbyists influence politics and how political money is disclosed.
To those who were wondering if Rep. Ralph M. Hall, R-Texas, was, in fact, lost while hanging at a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender soiree in Rayburn, the answer goes both ways.
“Last week, due to a scheduling error, I entered an ongoing reception, accompanied by staff, in the belief that we were attending a reception to honor a fellow congressman. One of the sponsors immediately greeted me, courteously welcomed us and offered refreshments,” Hall told HOH about the warm reception he received from Victory Fund folks June 5.
At some point, the worm turned.
“When I inquired about the congressman being honored, the sponsor did not know anything about that reception and presented his card. At that moment I realized that this was not the reception I intended to attend, and I put down my glass, thanked the sponsor, and told him we would be leaving,” Hall explained, adding, “Many of those in attendance probably were surprised to see me walk in, but were not surprised to see me leave quickly.”
Though not quite conceding that his long-shot bid to become the next governor of Virginia is all but officially over, tabloid vet Tareq Salahi is now eyeing one of the Old Dominion’s congressional seats.
A more cynical journalist might suggest that, based solely on the handful of gawkers (think: polo buddies and long-lost acquaintances) present at his campaign rollout last fall, Salahi’s political career seemed doomed from the start. Naysayers might also bring up that follow-up events, including one-off wine tours through the Virginia countryside and a NASCAR-themed stunt in Las Vegas, fizzled out rather quickly.
But, we here at HOH are more interested in what Salahi might bring to the table today.
“My political goals are not about me, not about publicity, but about serving the hard-working people of Virginia,” Salahi asserted in a combo release advocating a write-in effort for the governor’s race while also floating the idea of giving Congress a go in 2014.
Federal prosecutors are seeking a four-year prison sentence for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., but it could be years before he begins serving his prison term.
According to channel 5 NBC Chicago, prosecutors filed a sentencing memo today asking District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District Court for the District of Columbia to sentence the Illinois Democrat to four years in prison and to pay $750,000 in restitution to his campaign coffers, in addition to a forfeiture money judgment of the same amount.
Prosecutors recommended that Jackson’s wife, former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson, be sentenced to 18 months in prison for filing false joint federal income tax returns. They recommended she pay restitution of about $168,500.
The former congressman’s prison term could be delayed, though, because prosecutors recommended staggering the Jacksons’ prison terms, for the sake of their children, and recommended that Sandi Jackson begin serving her term first.
Those who bemoan the death of accuracy in the media must feel vindicated by the gaffe-filled news coming out of the funeral of the late Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J.
In a White House pool report of the event, Herb Jackson, the Washington correspondent of the The Record of Bergen County, N.J., points out that at least one fellow lawmaker’s proper name did not survive the program editing process.
“Sen. Al Franken’s name is spelled Franklin,” Jackson notes.
Too bad Jackson is culpable of the same sin — not just once, but twice.
In the preceding paragraph of the pool report, Jackson flubs the featured entertainment’s name (“That’s followed by music by Brian Stokes Mmitchell”) and stumbles again when referring to the former FLOTUS-turned-secretary of State (“The next speakers are former Secretary of State Hillary Rodhman Clinton …”).
Here’s hoping the printed word survives to fight another day.
In the wake of revelations that IRS officials unduly targeted right-leaning groups, a number of tea party supporters plan to publicly shame the tax man by amassing outside the agency’s headquarters on Tuesday for a lightning-fast gripefest.
The proposed “IRS Flash Rally” — “We will NOT have a permit, so be prepared to keep moving on the sidewalk,” one of the organizers counseled online — is scheduled to go down at the corner of 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest from noon to 1 p.m.
Tea Party WDC founder Lisa Miller told HOH she’s been in contact with a slew of sympathetic organizations champing at the bit to vent about IRS abuses, ranging from established political players (Americans for Prosperity) to fellow grass-roots entities (Northern Virginia Tea Party, Alexandria Tea Party).
Updated 3:45 p.m. | Moving in. It can be quite the adjustment. Just ask the team of newly sworn-in Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., which was greeted with a press release sent out under the auspices of the new congressman with this headline: “Representative Mark Sanfrod Sworn Into Office.”
A horrified staff saw this — as well as an HOH blog post noting the misspelling and other snafus on Sanford’s official congressional website — and explained what went down.
“Rep. Sanford’s official website was updated by the US House without the prior knowledge, or consent, of our office and they have acknowledged their error,” Sanford’s office said in a statement. Specifically, responsibility for the error lies with the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer.
Sanford, who was sworn in on Wednesday, certainly is one of the most colorful figures to return to Capitol Hill in quite some time. But the release was more than colorful:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., is not happy with her softball team’s practice rain-out policy.
Wasserman Schultz, second from left, is not happy with her team’s rain-out policy. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Wasserman Schultz captains the Congressional Women’s Softball team, a group of female lawmakers who play against female Washington press corps members every June to raise money for the Young Survival Coalition, a breast cancer charity.
It seems that on Monday evening, the Congressional team’s organizers canceled their Tuesday practice — set for 7 a.m. — in anticipation of rain.