Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

Posts in "DC"

September 22, 2014

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

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 15 (Video)

With Congress set to leave for seven weeks, members spent their final work week forgetting names, talking baseball and discussing the bad food at their uncle’s house.

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition

D.C. denizen Connie Milstein has invested a great deal of time and effort into turning her Georgetown home into a beauty to behold and a wonder to explore.

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The philanthropist and political booster, who played host to Sen. Kirsten Gillbrand, D-N.Y., Monday evening, has an eye for detail that is apparent throughout her carefully appointed domicile.

One gets the feeling that every single element spread throughout has been given incredible consideration, from the mythological beings that silently keep watch over the premises,

Embracing Politics and Art Is a Milstein Tradition
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

 

To the sassy seat cushions that encourage self-medication. (“Keep calm and have a cocktail” sounds like sage advice to us.) Full story

September 18, 2014

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

Elizabeth Roskam Paints Capitol for Ukrainian Leader

(Courtesy Peter Roskam)

Artist Elizabeth Roskam, the wife of Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, on Thursday delivered a one-of-a-kind portrait of the U.S. Capitol to visiting Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

A Roskam aide told HOH that sending Poroshenko home with the brightly colored rendering of the Capitol dome — a painting she dubbed, “Bright Horizon” — meant the world to Elizabeth, a proud descendent of Eastern European immigrants.

Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 3:21 p.m.
Artsy, DC, HillSide, Reps, VIPs

September 17, 2014

Revving the Engines of Bipartisanship

Revving the Engines of Bipartisanship

Biden spoke to the crowd at the reception Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t be too surprised if you see a Mustang and Corvette racing around Northwest D.C … followed by a motorcade of Secret Service officers.

“We agreed to a one loop race around the Naval yard,” former Utah Gov. John Huntsman joked Tuesday evening, saying he challenged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to a race to see if his Mustang could outpace Biden’s Corvette.

Huntsman, the former GOP presidential candidate and ambassador to China, was joking but that would be certainly one way to bring Democrats and Republicans together, which was the focus of a Tuesday evening reception at the British ambassador’s residence and hosted by No Labels, the organization Huntsman co-chairs that works to bridge partisan divides. Full story

By Bridget Bowman Posted at 2:46 p.m.
DC, Parties

September 16, 2014

Female Senators Work as a Team, Gillibrand Assures Supporters

If there’s one thing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has come to appreciate about working on Capitol Hill (there’s gotta be something good about #ThisTown, right?), it’s the collaborative environment she and the other 19 female senators have joined forces to foster.

Female Senators Work as a Team, Gillibrand Assures Supporters

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

“We cheer each other on,” the New York Democrat told well-wishers at a D.C. book party about the camaraderie the female pols have developed in their respective chamber.

“We don’t agree on everything. But we often want to find the common ground, because we want to get things done,” she explained to HOH. “And that makes a huge difference.”

Gillbrand trumpeted the workplace sisterhood during remarks she gave at a cocktail party in honor of her new book, “Off the Sidelines.” Political activist Connie Milstein, someone Gillibrand has apparently come to count on, opened up her fabulous art-filled home for the event.

“I’m just grateful for every bit of generosity you’ve ever extended,” Gillibrand thanked the beaming host. Full story

September 15, 2014

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

Montana State Society President Jayne Leffingwell wants hospitality heavy Spike Mendelsohn to man up and get his own thing going.

Montana State Society to Spike Mendelsohn: Que Cojones

(Screenshot)

“Mendelsohn aka the Ballburglar, is attempting to hijack The Montana State Society’s signature event ‘The DC Testy Fest’ by hosting his own DC Festicle. While a testivus for the rest of us sounds fun, stealing our original sack lunch is not ‘Good Stuff,’” Leffingwell said in a tongue-in-cheek statement.

The Montana State Society has done its part to exalt the nether regions-related nosh for more than  a decade now. Mendelsohn is jumping into the fray on Sept. 21 with the unveiling of Spiked Events’ debut soiree, a come-as-you-are affair featuring live music, micro wrestling, circus performers and culinary cook-offs.

Per Festicle promotional materials, Mendelsohn is expected to face off against fellow toques Erik Bruner-Yang, of Toki Underground fame, and Tim Ma, the driving force behind Maple Ave and the newish Water & Wall, in a “Top Chef-style” competition where the contestants will have to conjure up some tasty from the featured testes.

And that just rubs Leffingwell raw.

“With more than 750+ attendees going nuts and consuming nearly 200 lbs of testicles this year, we like to consider ourselves the reigning rocky mountain oyster aficionados,” she maintained.

“The ball is in your court Mr. Mendelsohn. We’ll see how you measure up,” Leffingwell said.

 

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September 12, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Week of September 8 (Video)

After a five-week recess, members returned to discuss the “crisis with ISIS” and Dick Cheney while reminding C-SPAN viewers to “tweet, tweet, tweet.”

 

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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September 5, 2014

Congressional Hits and Misses: Drop the Mic (Video)

Heard on the Hill concludes its August recess flashback with a look at the relationship between lawmakers and their microphones — from the fumbling to the malfunctions, to members who just can’t resist the urge to say one more thing.

 

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September 4, 2014

Nick Troiano’s Been Scoping Out Washington for Years

Aspiring lawmaker Nick Troiano is looking to broaden his fan base with a quirky new video and a crowd funded ad-buying campaign. Being on screen, however, remains a fairly new thing for the 20-something Pennsylvanian — unlike his extensive work behind the camera.

The independent candidate hoping to oust Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., this November recently unveiled a new spot pooh-poohing the contentious climate on Capitol Hill.

A Troiano aide said the plan is to plunk down whatever is necessary to get the “Washington’s a Zoo” message on TV between now and Election Day. The campaign expects to begin airing the ad during the week of Sept. 15, but is hoping to amplify the duration and scope of the media outreach by collecting supplementary capital via an online fundraising pitch.

Attracting prospective donors is always easier with personal touches.

Team Troiano will be rolling out a pair of companion endorsement videos — featuring kind words from ex-Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., (Troiano became acquainted with him through his work with The Can Kicks Back, an advocacy group focused on budgetary issues) and grunge rocker turned electoral reformer Krist Novoselic (brought together by FairVote) — before the Tilt bid expires.

The campaign is also offering up curated images from an extensive collection of time-lapse photos of D.C. Troiano and his mentor, the late Doug Bailey, captured over five years. Full story

Postpone Your ‘Recess Can’t Be Over!’ Malaise at BLT Steak

Not quite ready for Congress to return to work (someone put 12 legislative days on the clock, please) next week? Local toque Jeremy Shelton sure is.

The executive chef at BLT Steak (1625 I St. NW) has been cranking out a number of recess treats for bargoers during the past month, a specialty carte — each item priced at $10 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. — that will (mostly) be retired come Monday.

“We have two menus every night plus happy hour as it is, now throw in 10 brand new dishes every time Congress goes into recess … It’s just a lot to keep track of,” Shelton said of the extra effort that’s been required to keep the seasonal snacks (he rolled out a similar slate when lawmakers decamped for spring break) a-coming.

Everything is, of course, prefaced by the incredibly fluffy, cheese-laced popovers BLT Steak drops off in front of every guest.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

On the off chance that isn’t enough incentive to darken their door, the expense account haven also butters up patrons with warm, crusty country bread flanked by salty-rich country pate. (Another longstanding tradition, a la the complimentary popovers, that predates Shelton’s tenure in the kitchen.)

The gourmet nibbles Shelton dreamed up this time around ran the gamut from somewhat perplexing (a smoked trout salad was overwhelmed by bitter greens and bracing citrus) to utterly delicious.

The chef said he remains partial to an heirloom tomato number featuring chimichurri as well as rotating pork-powered sammies.

Postpone Your Recess Cant Be Over! Malaise at BLT Steak

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The grilled sausage patties served to us featured savory swine sandwiched between tangy pickled ramp relish and spicy mustard. Though small, the well-dressed burger knock-offs were quite satisfying. Full story

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.

 

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