Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

April 23, 2013

Next Black Tie Affair Goes NOLA

It’s still days before the glitterati cram into the Washington Hilton for the annual running of the bullpucky known as “Nerd Prom,” but we’re already looking forward to the next stop of the black-tie brigade: the Mardi Gras-themed Radio & Television Congressional Correspondents’ Dinner.

Next Black Tie Affair Goes NOLA

(Courtesy RTCA)

Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association dinner Chairman John Wallace told HOH he’s devoted the past year to planning a blowout party, scheduled for the evening of June 5 ($245 per person), that brings the best of the Big Easy to D.C.

That entailed a few things. First, shifting things from the Convention Center to the National Building Museum. The “wrap-around balconies remind me of the French Quarter,” he said. (Just watch out for the man-eating aquatic features.)

Second: hiring a cheflebrity — “Suffice to say, it’s one of the top chefs in the country,” Wallace stated, adding that the name will be revealed April  29 — to plot an authentically N’awlins dining experience. And finally, recruiting four distinct Crescent City bands, as well as “tribes” of dancing Indians, as entertainment. All this, and carving out time to crown a king and queen of the evening.

Full story

Sequester Grounds Mile-High Trysts

General panic has hit airports over the air traffic control furloughs brought about by sequestration. Many media outlets, airlines and customers have been wringing their hands over what some are calling the “airport armageddon.” The frisky among us, meanwhile, have used it as an excuse to hook up.

The dating site sent out a release Tuesday claiming it’s experienced an 800 percent jump in membership since Sunday night, just as the hard-core delays in Los Angeles and New York were getting under way.

“We’ve noticed a 300% increase in member sign-ups out of New York and Washington, D.C., in the past 24 hours as people are preparing themselves for longer wait times and delays,” said the site’s founder, Steve Pasternack, who also started the niche site Full story

Rangel Kinda Sues Boehner

HOH loves any good story that begins with the phrase “Eyebrows raised on Capitol Hill,” particularly when it concerns two old bulls such as Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., and Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and a lawsuit!

Such is the case with this post by our own David M. Drucker about the lawsuit filed by Rangel seeking to vacate his censure by the Ethics Committee from a few years ago. It turns out that while, yes, Boehner is named in the suit, he’s not really the intended target. Instead, the suit takes aim at the bipartisan committee, which was then led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif. Rangel claims the House was “knowingly deceived” by members of the ethics panel.

Of course, Lofgren is no longer the Ethics chairwoman (or on the panel at all). Chalk it up to reason #3,452 that the Ethics committee chairmanship, as members all know, is the most thankless job in Congress.

Fictional Franchise: The Great American Novel

For the second edition of our series that examines fictional characters and the real people who represent them in Congress, we explore the franchise of American literature heroes.

The rules go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (See more on the rules here.) We welcome any dispute with our assessments in the comments section below.

The Great American Novel is a relatively easy topic to research — public curiosity in literary characters is so strong that most of the places listed below built tourist industries around these novels’ settings.

And this writer might have to plead guilty to dragging her family out to Great Neck, Long Island, when she was 19 in her quest for the spirit of Zelda Fitzgerald. So let’s start with the love of Zelda’s life, who wrote the quintessential Great American Novel.

Jay Gatsby
“The Great Gatsby,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
West Egg, N.Y.: Democratic Rep. Steve Israel

Israel’s district is full of money.

This is especially true in the enclaves along Long Island’s North Shore, the home of both Gatsby’s noveau riche West Egg (Kings Point) home and the post-Buchanan home in East Egg (Sands Point). The mansion that many believe inspired the Buchanan home was on the market in 2005 for $28 million, according to Forbes.

Judging by the trailer of director Baz Luhrmann’s new movie adaptation,  Leonardo DiCaprio’s attempt at a Locust Valley Lockjaw accent sounds terribly fake and contrived.


Full story

Steve Stockman Staffer Takes Twitter Feeds Seriously

Rep. Steve Stockman’s Twitter feed, never a source of dull content, took off last week, giving its followers a series of real-time updates of the events unfolding around the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect, with live tweets of scanner chatter and general news curation.

Steve Stockman Staffer Takes Twitter Feeds Seriously

The Texas Republican, though, largely doesn’t tweet from his official feed, leaving it to his communications director, Donny Ferguson.

Many official congressional Twitter and Facebook feeds are managed by staffers, so that isn’t unusual. Still, it’s not often you see a member of Congress live-tweeting a breaking news event, particularly in the wee hours.

Ferguson told HOH that he woke up coughing Thursday and couldn’t go back to bed. So, like many people, he couldn’t tear himself away from the chaotic events unfolding in the Boston area. Ferguson began to report police scanner news out of the congressman’s official feed. He did not identify himself as a staffer. Ferguson was also tweeting from his own personal account.

It is important to note that the tone of the two feeds vary. Ferguson keeps the congressman’s pretty focused and serious, while his personal feed is a little looser and more chatty.

Ferguson acknowledged that it was a little unusual to have an official congressional Twitter feed live-tweet a police scanner and a developing news story. Ferguson also said that, because the media had gotten aspects of the story wrong so many times, he felt a responsibility to get accurate information to the congressman’s followers.  Full story

By Neda Semnani Posted at 2:52 p.m.
HillSide, Nationwide

The Maine Event

The Maine Event

Collins and King are tentatively scheduled to be at the Taste of Maine reception Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly two dozen hospitality vendors — including breweries, distilleries and celeb-endorsed sweets-makers — will give homesick New Englanders what they’ve been missing most during Tuesday night’s Taste of Maine reception in the Russell Senate Office Building.

The inaugural event, sponsored by the Maine Chamber of Commerce, is invite-only and is expected to be restricted to Senate staff and select media. Full story

April 22, 2013

Church & State Wants to Help You Sin

Our friends over at H Street cocktail hub Church & State are releasing their new Seven Deadly Sin Menu.

We are happy to see not just the seven deadly sins — greed, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, sloth and pride — represented, but also the basic spirit food groups: gin, vodka, bourbon and rye.

And we heartily applaud the names that go along with these sins/boozies. Under Greed, you’ll drink the Boss Tweed, a concoction of Earl Grey-infused Bulleit Rye with Michigan tart cherry liqueur and lemon. Feeling lazy? Go with Sloth’s Bessie Smith, which consists of lavender-infused George Dickel Bourbon with maple, mint and lemon. Want some clear liquor to go with your shenanigans? How about Gluttony’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which provides you with sparkling wine, blueberry vodka, cardamom bitters and more blueberry.

Not listed? What they have in store for Pride. For that, perhaps we’ll investigate. Church & State, 1236 H St. NE, above Atlas Arcade.

We couldn’t help but wonder whether there’ll be some kind of David Fincher tie-in.

Girding Our Loins for Nerd Prom

The wild ride that is the White House Correspondents Dinner begins gaining steam this Thursday, picks up speed Friday night and barrels forward for the balance of Saturday before crashing into dueling brunches.

Anxious to hang — think open bar and endless finger foods as far as the eye can see — all week long? HOH has taken the liberty of plotting your itinerary. Full story

By Warren Rojas Posted at 5:53 p.m.

Being There — 2013

This photo from our own Douglas Graham caught our eye on Monday:

Being There — 2013

A worker gets set up to start patch work on the  strip between Massachusetts Avenue near Union Station. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)


It reminded us of one of the enduring scenes from the 1979 Hal Ashby film “Being There,” as Peter Sellers walks south on North Capitol Street.

Staffers Schooled on Veganism at CVC Lunch

About 200 Hill staffers were treated to a vegan lunch Monday afternoon by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and the Capitol Hill Vegetarian Caucus at a luncheon designed to spread the mantra of a plant-based diet.

Staffers munched on vegan items such as kale chips, cucumber gazpacho and grape leaves stuffed with a nut mixture, provided by the Washington, D.C., restaurant Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, and washed it all down with cupcakes provided by two-time Food Network “Cupcake Wars” champions Sticky Fingers bakery.

Staffers Schooled on Veganism at CVC Lunch

Full story

Anthony Weiner Peeks Head Out, Twittersphere Explodes

Ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., who, for some reason or another in 2011 abruptly resigned from office/bailed on the social mediaverse, burst back onto the scene Monday:

Anthony Weiner Peeks Head Out, Twittersphere Explodes


As expected, the Twitterati have been having a field day with this particular second coming Full story

Take Five With Rep. Doug Collins

It’s Tuesday, time for another Take Five, HOH’s chance to get to know a member of Congress by asking five questions relatively unrelated to their legislative work. This week, we talked with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., about his time as a chaplain in the Navy and Air Force, as well as his ambitions to be an astronaut.
Full story

PBS Takes the Constitution for a Ride

Forget the man-on-the-street shtick. NPR personality Peter Sagal became a biker on the beat during his almost two-month road trip across the country for PBS’ new historical series “Constitution USA.”

PBS Takes the Constitution for a Ride

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Rather than dwell strictly in the past, the four-part production — set to debut 9 p.m., May 7 — leapfrogs throughout time and space, giving the Founding Fathers their due while also checking in with modern man on what the living document that established this nation hath wrought.

Each installment bores down on a different tenet of the Constitution, including: freedom, individual rights, equality and the separation of powers.

In a highlight reel shown to attendees at a Capitol Hill screening last week, Sagal rolls from teachable moment to teachable moment aboard his patriotically appointed Harley. The opening sequence played like a cross between Dave Attell’s “Insomniac” and Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” with Sagal sucking down a few cold ones with everyone from heavily tattooed ex-Marine bikers in Arizona to bow-tied historians in Philadelphia.

Along the way, Sagal crosses paths with a who’s who of headstrong Americans, including: one of the original Little Rock Nine; Albert Snyder, the father of slain U.S. soldier Matthew Snyder, who sued Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred W. Phelps Sr., after the headline-grabbing group protested his son’s funeral; a proponent of same-sex marriage currently before the Supreme Court; and a Northern California marijuana grower named “Swami.”

“It’s going to enjoy a long life in classrooms across America for generations to come,” one of the series’s producers suggested.

Former social studies teacher cum Rep. Betty McCollum, meanwhile, was just happy she could finally share some work-related intel with the general public.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in this auditorium that I can talk about what I’m about to see here when I leave,” the Minnesota Democrat told those assembled in an auditorium usually reserved for top-secret security briefings.

April 21, 2013

Capitol Quip: Bulls-Eye!

Capitol Quip: Bulls Eye!

Thanks to the many readers who contributed captions for last week’s Capitol Quip contest. Here’s the winning entry as voted by readers of Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson.

Capitol Quip: 60 Votes or Bust!

Capitol Quip: 60 Votes or Bust!


Illustrator R.J. Matson’s latest cartoon needs a caption. With the Senate providing the public a civics lesson on filibuster rules recently, there should be ample fodder for captions.

Leave us your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday afternoon. The winner gets a signed print from Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

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