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

June 6, 2013

Norton’s Shout-Out to Frager’s Hardware

During a speech on the House floor Thursday afternoon, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., lamented the “horrendous, hot and unusual” four-alarm fire that engulfed Frager’s Hardware on Wednesday night.

Nortons Shout Out to Fragers Hardware

Residents could only watch as the fire department battled the flames. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call.)

The fire “stirred up something in me like the emotion I felt when Eastern Market went up in flames,” Norton said and compared destruction of the neighborhood institution to “losing a friend, a human friend that is.”

Norton described the “pungent smell” she encountered around her Capitol Hill home and said she had trouble navigating Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesday night after the congressional baseball social at Nationals Park.

She also praised Frager’s for the quirky, antique inventory squeezed throughout the store, noting that some of its goods may be “going out of style, but they are just what you need when you live in a home in the historic district.”

Norton plans to visit the store again this evening to check out the damage, particularly Frager’s large, outdoor nursery — her favorite spot in the store — which was spared the worst of the fire.

Eat Your Heart Out, Betsy Ross

As if commemorating National Doughnut Day (the first Friday in June) weren’t cause enough for celebration, Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken is playing the patriotism card with its latest creation:

Eat Your Heart Out, Betsy Ross

(Courtesy Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken)

The trendy treat-maker will roll out 200 “Raspberry Blueberry” donuts, each filled with a combination of raspberry and blueberry jams, on Friday morning.

The specialty sweets will run $3 a pop, with all of the proceeds benefiting the military-family-supporting Fisher House Foundation.

According to a release from the fry-happy startup, chef/founder Jason Gehring designed the Old Glory-inspired pastry to honor his brother, Travis Gehring, a Navy vet (1999-2007).

So, do your duty. Eat more doughnuts.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 4:03 p.m.

All Aboard, Hill Millennials: Time to See America

Have you ever seen America roll out before you like a picture postcard? When was the last time you got to sit and talk, and brainstorm, explore and create for days and days on end?

According to Patrick Dowd, 26, founder of The Millennial Trains Project, here’s your chance.

On Aug. 8, a caravan of gorgeous, lovingly refurbished classic 20th-century train cars will leave Silicon Valley, Calif., for Washington, D.C. Over 10 days, the train will stop at 10 cities, including San Francisco; Reno, Nev.; Salt Lake City; Omaha, Neb.; Denver; Chicago; Cleveland; Pittsburgh; Martinsburg, W.Va.; and D.C.

“There are 10 spots on the train reserved for 10 different professional categories, which include entrepreneurs, public servants, thinkers, innovators, academics, performers and others,” Dowd said. “To get a spot on the train, you pitch a project you want to advance in different communities. Then you ‘race’ to be one of the first 10 people in your professional category to meet your fundraising goal. Then you get on the train.”

Each of the up-to-100 young people are to have crowdsourced the $5,000, which would cover the cost of their trip. Like the people applying, the proposed projects are wildly diverse and include an oncologist who has proposed a scientifically inspired art project; a nonprofit leader who plans to research the effect of open data on local governments; an economist working on a short documentary; a graffiti artist who will collaborate with local artists to create murals for social change; and a press secretary who will embark on 10 days of poetry.

The projects can relate closely to a person’s work or their area of legislative expertise, Dowd explained. “It can also be a great opportunity to go far afield, do something that doesn’t have anything to do with your work.”

“The only thing we screen for is the sincerity of the project that people are putting forth,” he said. “And anyone age 18 to 34 is eligible to apply, so you can be a 30-year-old legislative director for the speaker of the House or you can be a 19-year-old intern or a freshman congressman and you have just as good a chance of getting on board the train.”

Participants will work with on-train mentors from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, State Department, City Year, The Associated Press, Cornell University, National Geographic Traveler, First Round Capital, The Chronicle of Higher Education and others to advance their project in each city where the train stops.

Deadline for applications is coming up. Get your perfect August recess project started now.

Also, check out the trains:

Full story

Hill Community Rushes to Frager’s Rescue

The venerable Capitol Hill store is now only a shell of its former self.

Hill Community Rushes to Frager’s Rescue

Frager’s Hardware was damaged by a four-alarm fire Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

But the can-do spirit at the heart of Frager’s Hardware is not only alive and well, it’s rapidly spreading to concerned neighbors hoping to provide displaced workers with immediate relief.

Restaurateurs Spike Mendelsohn, the chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery, We, the Pizza and the forthcoming Bearnaise, and Fred Herrmann, co-owner of the burgeoning Matchbox Food Group, have both vowed to find any interested Frager’s staff appropriate positions within their dining empires.

“Frager’s people have hospitality and that’s what I need,” Herrmann told HOH. “It’s a natural fit.”

Full story

Steve King: Head Hawkeye

Steve King: Head Hawkeye

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Can’t wait to attend that coronation.

John Yoo on Rice Pick: ‘I Just Don’t Get It’

LOS ANGELES–The former Justice Department official who formulated the Bush administration’s legal justification for torture diverted a panel discussion here on drones and due process to slam Susan Rice’s appointment to be national security adviser.

“I have to say, I’m very surprised that the president would pick someone who’s so embroiled in a current congressional investigation to be national security adviser,” John Yoo, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said Wednesday. “I just don’t get it.”

John Yoo on Rice Pick: I Just Dont Get It

Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call

He likened President Barack Obama’s pick to if Ronald Reagan had made Oliver North his national security adviser in the wake of the Iran-Contra Affair. The comparison drew laughter from the audience, in part an assemblage of lawyers and judges from the Federalist Society and Libertarian Law Council.

Yoo, no stranger to congressional heat himself, might have a bone to pick with Obama. Shortly after taking office in 2009, the president issued an executive order reversing U.S. policy on enhanced interrogation techniques by revoking and repudiating the legal rationales developed by Yoo and others in the administration of George W. Bush.

“I think it’s a bad choice,” Yoo told HOH after the discussion.

By Julie Ershadi Posted at 8:47 a.m.

Five Unifying Slogans for Bachmann/Dole!

Five Unifying Slogans for Bachmann/Dole!

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 9 a.m. EDT Friday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • The US Capitol is the place for me.
    Cuttin’ deals is the life for me.
    Legislatin’ a good old omnibus bill
    Keep your tea parties, just give me bipartisan will.God’s country is where I’d rather go.
    Congressional business is our biggest foe.
    I just adore the gun rights crew.
    Robert, I love you but the party needs something new!
  • If this smile lasts more than four hours, call a doctor!
  • If I open my eyes and look real hard I can see the White House!
  • American GOPic
  • I’m not retiring because my Tea Party views are out of touch: I finally realized the pen just ain’t mightier than the pitchfork!

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog June 10 and in that day’s print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of his or her Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By Jason Dick Posted at 8:39 a.m.
Capitol Quip

June 5, 2013

Frager’s Hardware Fire ‘About as Big as They Get in D.C.’

Frager’s Hardware, the quirky, cluttered Capitol Hill institution that catered to everyone from weekend gardeners to U.S. presidents, was engulfed in flames late Wednesday afternoon, with firefighters waging a four-alarm fire as black, white and brown smoke spewed across the neighborhood and blotted out views of the Capitol from the east.

Fragers Hardware Fire About as Big as They Get in D.C.

A four-alarm fire broke out at Frager’s Hardware on Wednesday afternoon. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“We don’t really know what happened, but everyone got out,” Frager’s owner John Weintraub told Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells as the lawmaker arrived on the scene. Weintraub said “everyone got out,” and all were accounted for among his employees and that he did not know what started the fire.

Fragers Hardware Fire About as Big as They Get in D.C.

Frager’s owner John Weintraub, second from left, speaks to Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells at the scene. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

“It’s at least a four-alarm fire, and that’s about as big as they get in D.C.,” Wells told CQ Roll Call.

The smell of the fire was evident from at least two miles away, and the smoke plumes could be seen from even farther as the main building, which sold everything from mouse traps to brooms and air filters, billowed smoke.

The surrounding crowd of hundreds, ranging among a wide array of ages and races, seemed to be in a state of shock. Many had likely seen such scenes before, as other Capitol Hill landmarks, such as Eastern Market in 2007 and the Tune Inn in 2011, had also burned.

Fragers Hardware Fire About as Big as They Get in D.C.

Residents could only watch as the fire department battled the flames. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Those institutions, with the support of the community, reopened.

By Jason Dick Posted at 8:28 p.m.

Booze Writer Offers to Liquor Up Congress

Call us crazy, but it sounds, at least to us, like imbibing scribe David Wondrich would prefer to see Congress folks close down local bars like it was their job.

“In recent decades, though, give or take a Vito Fossella, you don’t hear much about woozy high times in the nation’s capital,” he eulogizes in the June/July issue of Esquire.

Partisanship, it seems, has ruined the raucous good times once enjoyed by all. But rather than drown his sorrows alone, Wondrich elects to get politically active.

His solution: spotting bipartisan drinking buds a few bucks.

Full story

Van Hollen Treats Cop to Ravens Celebration

By his estimation, Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen bumps into Capitol Police Officer Aaron Smith “practically every day.”

That budding friendship — built on running conversations about family, work and, of course, football — reached a new level on Wednesday when Van Hollen made good on a promise to escort Smith to a very special ceremony.

“I told Cap. Police Ofc. Aaron Smith that if the @Ravens won the Super Bowl, I’d bring him w/me to meet the #RavensAtTheWH,” Van Hollen tweeted Wednesday, teeing up the following clincher:

Full story

Surnames Victimized at Lautenberg Funeral

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.

By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:56 p.m.

June 4, 2013

Angelina Jolie: The Photos That Keep on Giving

Actress and human rights activist Angelina Jolie turns 38 today. (Big ups, Angie!)

Rather than embarrass ourselves by offering some paltry trinket, we at HOH decided to recount the joy the mega movie star has brought to star-struck pols and congressional gawkers over the years:

Angelina Jolie: The Photos That Keep on Giving

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Angelina Jolie: The Photos That Keep on Giving

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Angelina Jolie: The Photos That Keep on Giving

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Angelina Jolie: The Photos That Keep on Giving

(CQ Roll Call archives)

Beat that, Brad Pitt!

Pocan Makes Colbert Squirm

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., made his debut on “The Colbert Report” on Monday, sliding into the hot seat against the faux conservative host in the latest installment of the recurring “Better Know a District” segment.

The rapid-fire interview — which staff confirmed was filmed here in town on April 26 — ran the gamut, touching on everything from the “Hunger Games”-authorizing provisions woven into to the Affordable Care Act (false) and Pocan’s opposition to bear wrestling (true), to “squeaky” cheeses and Speaker John A. Boehner’s hypersensitive tear ducts.

Full story

Gape-Gap Gasp! Ex-Lobbyist Looks to Prevent Inadvertent Flashing

Rochelle Behrens, an ex-lobbyist for Quinn Gillespie, did mind the gap.

As a professional woman and now a fashion designer, Behrens wanted to address the “gape,” which is her term for that special gap that appears at the summit of the bosom area on a button-down shirt. The “gape gap” shows off a woman’s, um, décolletage and can be very revealing indeed.

Behrens thought and thought and obsessed over the button-down gape-gap and finally created a flash-free shirt, which she appropriately enough dubbed: The Shirt.

It is also seriously expensive. If you buy it in stores, The Shirt can set you back anywhere from $132 to $198.

But take heart, gape-gap sufferers on a budget. Behrens has taken to Kickstarter to raise money to make a more affordable gape-gap-free shirt ($60 to $75 each).
And just like a public-radio pledge drive, Behrens and Co. will be giving out “thank you” gifts at the various giving levels.

Gingrich Lobbies to Slap Wife on Beer Bottle

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich doesn’t use his enduring clout to support just any old vanity project. But he will, apparently, go to bat for the chance to plaster an image of his platinum-tressed third wife, Callista, on a craft brew bottle.

Gingrich Lobbies to Slap Wife on Beer Bottle

(Courtesy Stevens Point Brewery)

At the moment, Callista Gingrich appears to be leading the field of exactly two applicants vying for the honor of being the next Drop Dead Blonde poster girl. Full story

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