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September 2, 2014

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August 28, 2014

#RubbleBucketChallenge? Gaza Activists Dumping Debris on Their Heads Near White House

Forget cold water — bring on the dirt and sand.

Activists in the District of Columbia plan to repurpose the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge,” during a Thursday night demonstration in front on the White House to show support for residents of the Gaza Strip.

Turmoil between Israel and Hamas means water is a scare resource in Gaza, but debris is plentiful. Organizers say 15,671 homes have been demolished or damaged since conflict began on July 7. To draw awareness to the destruction they will launch a “Rubble Bucket Challenge” at 6 p.m.

Maysam Yusuf, a Palestinian youth from Gaza, initiated the tongue-in-cheek campaign. The Facebook page she founded on Aug. 22 has generated nearly 10,000 likes. She explained it as a way to “raise awareness about the horrors that families of Gaza experience when they are bombed inside their houses.”

Instead of donating to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research, as millions have done during the past month, participants are asked to give money to help rebuild Gaza. CODEPINK and New Generations for Palestinian Children & Youth organized Thursday’s event.

“As silly as the ice bucket challenge for ALS seemed at first, it generated a lot of attention for a neglected disease,” said Pam Bailey, a freelance writer who has lived in Gaza and founded New Generations as a nonprofit. “Gaza has been neglected by the world as well, and we hope our response to the Rubble Bucket Challenge will both show our support for the Palestinians’ freedom and help educate passersby.”

The challenge will be taped and posted online. HOH will keep an eye out for Capitol Hill denizens dumping buckets of dirt and sand.

In Marie Claire Profile, Jennifer Hing Dresses Up and Opens Up

Jennifer Hing, the communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, is known around Capitol Hill for pairing stylish yet work-appropriate outfits with a practical pencil threaded through her ponytail or tucked behind one ear.

But in a photograph accompanying an article published today on the Marie Claire website, Hing eschews her pencil for an oversized clutch bag, and her tailored blazer for a sweeping avant-garde cape.

She’s the subject of one of three short profiles appearing in the September issue of the women’s magazine under the headline, “Change Agents: 3 Women Who are OWNING their Future.” Hing, plus Deborah Turness, president of NBC News and the creative director and executive vice president of design for Banana Republic, Marissa Webb, are presented as “power players reinventing the rules in their respective businesses and proving that the future belongs to those who seize it.”

Hing told HOH she was contacted “out of the blue” to participate in the profile and still wasn’t quite sure how she was selected or whether someone tipped off Marie Clare that she might be a good interview subject.

Full story

August 4, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 28 (Video)

As cell phones, rhetorical questions and Chinese drywall graced the House and Senate floor, some members prepped for “summer vacation,” while others just could not wait to get to Waffle House.

August 1, 2014

Hot Mic: Senator Can’t Wait to ‘Jet’ Out of Town (Video)

As the Senate worked through a series of procedural motions and votes on Thursday night, one senator just wanted catch his flight home.

Caught on a clerk’s microphone as the roll call for a vote on the Highway Trust Fund patch was read, the senator tells the clerk it is time for “summer vacation.”

“We have a plane home … [at] 9:30,” the senator says to the clerk. “Bags are packed, ready to go … leaving on a jet plane.”

Although the Senate is in session today, the next vote series is scheduled for Sept. 8,  when senators return from a five-week recess.

 

July 30, 2014

Congressional Jam Band Returns to Cantina Marina

Part-time rocker Rep. Collin C. Peterson can no longer recall which iteration (the fourth, maybe?) of “The Amendments” he’s playing in these days.

Congressional Jam Band Returns to Cantina Marina

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

But the Minnesota Democrat fully expects to have a blast Thursday night, when the lawmaker-led band featuring a revolving roster of current and former pols takes the stage at Cantina Marina (600 Water St. SW).

The show, headlined by “Blame It On Jane,” a group of ex-congressional aides and lobbyists routinely on the convention circuit, is scheduled to run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.; no cover charge.

Per Peterson (lead singer/rhythm guitarist), he and current band-mates Tennessee Republican Stephen Fincher (bassist), ex-Missouri Republican Rep. Kenny Hulshof (percussion/keyboards), and former Hulshof Chief of Staff Manning Feraci (lead guitar) are looking forward to dazzling concertgoers with the latest cover tunes they’ve added to their sonic toolbox, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely.”

Other former lawmakers that have cycled through the constantly evolving troupe include: politician-turned-pundit Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., as well as Republicans Dave Weldon of Florida, Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan and Jon Porter of Nevada.

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

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day

Lott, right, is tickled pink about the return of Seersucker Day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ex-Sen. Trent Lott’s dog days are over.

The man who created Seersucker Day back in the late 1990s has been on a bit of a tear ever since the Senate ditched the tradition two years ago.

But thanks to his pal Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and his successor, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Senate Seersucker Day is back on Thursday. And it comes just in the nick of time, in the final week of the summer session. ”Seersucker is great!” Lott said in a Monday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. “When it gets above 80 degrees, you need to be thinking seersucker.” Full story

July 25, 2014

Wes Morton Pops by DGS for ‘Schmutz and Schmaltz’

With just under a week to go before he cuts ties with D.C. for good, outgoing Art and Soul toque Wes Morton has carved out time to inject a little Southern flavor into DGS’s inaugural “Summer Roadshow” dinner.

Morton is scheduled to take over the DGS kitchen on July 29 for a pop-up dining experience dubbed “Schmutz & Schmaltz.”

Even though DGS’s founding chef, Barry Koslow, has since moved on — Koslow split from the restaurant earlier this year in order to help the W Hotel reinvent its fine dining program — Morton said the Dupont Circle deli remains near and dear to his heart.

“Barry was very instrumental to me when we first moved to D.C. So much so that I followed him to Circle Bistro from Citronelle,” Morton shared, recalling culinary battles waged alongside Koslow and Brendan Cox (who has since established his own restaurant, Oakleaf, in Pittsboro, N.C.).

“The DGS guys will definitely be missed along with their fantastic smoked meat!” Morton said. Full story

July 18, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of July 14 (Video)

As members discuss bathroom breaks, candy and The People’s Court, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., refuses to yield the Senate floor.

July 16, 2014

Senate Softball Rivalry Once Again in Full Swing

Party lines, schmarty lines.

The key thing that keeps Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., going while here in D.C. is the burning desire to topple the other in their annual softball showdown.

Team Scrantonicity has faced off against the Hit It Toomey squad each summer for the past three years with mixed results. Scrantonicity throttled its foes 20-10 last year, but Team Toomey has wracked up more “W”s than losses over time.

“Sadly team Toomey leads the all-time series 2-1. But I’m quite confident the series will be all even after tonight’s festivities,” a Casey aide assured HOH in a trash-talking email.

Those looking to get swept up in softball mania should make their way over to the National Mall (Seventh and Madison streets NW) around 6:45 p.m. to catch all the action.

Look for Casey to be snagging flies in the outfield (our tipster says the boss typically patrols right field), while Toomey tends to plant himself at third.

July 9, 2014

Earl Blumenauer Takes the High Road in Response to Courtland Milloy Bike Column

Earl Blumenauer Takes the High Road in Response to Courtland Milloy Bike Column

Blumenauer in his Longworth office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

If you are a cyclist or a reader of the Washington Post Metro section, you might have read Post columnist Courtland Milloy’s latest, wherein he accuses those who ride bikes of being bullies and terrorists and implies that motorists would be justified in running cyclists down in the road.

“On Wednesday, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association’s Bike Ambassadors will ride to the NoMa Summer Screen viewing of ‘The Muppets’ ‘to hand out surprise goodies to people who biked.’ There’ll be kids and bikes and Muppets, as if Kermit is supposed to make us forget about the biker terrorists out to rule the road,” Milloy writes.

Sigh. WABA and others have responded with point-by-point rebuttals of Milloy’s nonsense and HOH’s first inclination was to answer with what we do best, which is pithiness and scorn. But firstly, we wanted to give Congress’ pre-eminent cyclist, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., a chance to respond. The man from Portland chose to, ahem, take the high road.

“Mr. Milloy should get out more. I’m happy to take him on a bike ride.”

Classy.

Politics & Prose Gives Amazon the Business

The District’s highest profile independent bookstore is getting political once more, weighing in on the ongoing tug-of-war between online retailer Amazon and authors with some cheeky in-store signage.

“Hachette Titles: Usually ships in  … Oh, wait, just pick it up right now!” Team P&P touts in front of a display featuring the latest imprint to tangle with the one-click-and-a-drone-will-deliver-it-right-to-your-doorstep giant for control of the e-publishing revenue stream.

A secondary placard posted within the landing spot (5015 Connecticut Ave. NW) for rising/sitting/retired politicos with great stories to tell paraphrases from the commentary that prolific author and voracious reader James Patterson posted on his personal website earlier this spring about the troubling literary row. Full story

July 8, 2014

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

On Thursday, Holland & Knight will once again play host to the “Rooftop Deck Caucus,” the informal nickname for the throng of fun-seeking congressional staffers who flood the lobbying firm’s sun-splashed offices each summer.

Boozy Treats, Sweaty Pits Await Rooftop Deck Caucus

(Courtesy Holland & Knight)

Public policy head Rich Gold — “and DJ,” he added — told HOH the come-as-you-are gathering (800 17th St. NW) began as an in-house shindig, but noted that it has since evolved into a widely attended opportunity to blow off some steam.

“It’s kind of a tongue-in-cheek event, to say the least,” he suggested. “It also tends to get hot and sweaty, given Washington in July.”

Skyrocketing temperatures or not, Gold said he’s noticed some crossover between the more member-friendly reception his group puts on in the Cannon Caucus Room and the open-air soiree — overlooking the White House, no less — happening this week.

“It has started to get out,” he said, estimating that around a dozen intrepid lawmakers have begun routinely mixing with the 300-odd partygoers that congregate on the roof each year.

Those willing to brave the humidity for this year’s 8th annual outing, which is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., are set to be rewarded with spirited “cocktail ice creams” and “adult” sno-cones, Baja-style fish tacos, mini crab cakes, the musical stylings of the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffett and “maybe even a photo booth.”

“Come party till you pass out. Something Washington doesn’t do nearly enough of,” Gold counseled.

July 2, 2014

The Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game in 3 Minutes (Video)

From the opening stretches to Speaker John A. Boehner’s slow jam, watch members in all their glory as the Democrats capture their sixth-straight coveted Roll Call trophy in a 15-6 victory.

July 1, 2014

In Washington, No One Can Hear You Sing ‘Oh, Canada’

Happy Canada Day! Or is it?

Ostensibly, July 1 is Canada Day, but you wouldn’t know that from the Canadian Embassy in Washington, nor the two members of Congress who were born in Canada: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Though the Embassy hosted visitors this morning, the latest feature on its website is a story from Monday about Ed Fast, Canada’s minister of international trade, protesting increased U.S. border inspection fees. The embassy’s most recent Washington-specific news post was “Celebrating Friendly Hockey Rivalries in Washington.”

 

Maloney, born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, visited Continental Organics, a New Windsor, N.Y., business in his district ”that focuses on hiring our wounded warriors. This innovative business produces fresh, locally grown food using a combination of aquaponic, hydroponic, and conventional organic field farming practices,” according to his tweets and Facebook page.

As for Cruz, the Calgary, Alberta-born tea party hero was busy ignoring our colleagues’ request for comment about his dual citizenship in the Senate Conservatives Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

If a country celebrated a day celebrating itself but no one knew, did it really happen?

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:37 p.m.
DC, FightingWords

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