Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

February 24, 2013

Capitol Quip: Best in Show

Capitol Quip: Best in Show

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 the Heard on the Hill blog. The author will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson.

John Conyers III Sounds Off

Aspiring rapper John Conyers III, the eldest son of long-standing Michigan Democrat John Conyers Jr., wants the world to know he’s done with the trifling haters who clouded his youth. And he’s spreading the good word via song and the Web.

The younger Conyers lets his critics have it on his latest track, Glorious,” a laundry list of the 20-something’s career goals recited over some jazzy horns and mellow keyboard.
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Senate GOP Goes Full Shutterbug

As part of their latest attempt at social media supremacy, Senate Republicans broke the seal on a new Instagram account — with a haunting snapshot of the eerily vacant Capitol.

“It was fitting to have our first shot be taken from the Senate side of the Capitol,” Senate Republican Conference spokeswoman AshLee Strong told HOH.

Within hours of posting the sepia-filtered image of the empty, yawning corridor, the GOP account already had scores of followers on the popular mobile photo-sharing site.
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Capitol Quip: All Aboard for the Caption Contest

Capitol Quip: All Aboard for the Caption Contest

Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson has submitted another image for your consideration this week. Submit your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists Wednesday to go before readers for another vote. We’ll let you know the five finalists Wednesday afternoon, and readers will have until 5 p.m. EDT, Thursday, to pick their favorite.

By Emily Ortman Posted at 7:30 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Staffer’s Divorce Becomes Object of Hill Protest

Demonstrations are a dime a dozen on Capitol Hill, but it’s not every day that a group shows up to protest the actions of a Hill staffer.

Yet on Thursday, a Jewish organization plans to do just that, staging a protest against Aharon Friedman, a senior aide to Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp.

Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, was civilly divorced from his wife, Tamar Epstein, in April 2010. However, according to the group, he’s refused to grant Epstein a “get,” or a Jewish writ of divorce. Without a get, Epstein is considered an agunah — the Hebrew term meaning “chained wife” — and is not permitted to remarry within the faith.
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February 22, 2013

The Sequestration Abomination Incantation

There are those in Washington who insist there is no rhyme or reason to the looming sequester cuts. The Heritage Foundation flack Amy Payne would beg to differ — and has whimsically done so via her “Seuss-quester.”

The Sequestration Abomination Incantation

(Courtesy Glenn Foden)

Payne told HOH that once she got the rhymes down — all 19 paragraphs’ worth — the sing-songy synopsis came together in just a matter of hours.

Luckily, she’s been preparing for this moment since first learning how to put pen to paper.

“I’ve written poems my whole life,” she said, sharing that there’s been nary a holiday when her parents weren’t met by some heartfelt, homespun musings.

And while Washington insiders are likely sick of reading (and writing) the same sequester-related stories, Payne figured she’d take a step back and recap the issue for casual observers.

“This is something that can reach people who may not be following this as closely as the rest of us,” she said of the alterna-update.

Stephen Colbert Stumps for ‘Lulu’

Comedy Central poseur pundit Stephen Colbert recently opened up to late-night host Jimmy Fallon about his personal debt to his sister and South Carolina Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Colbert Busch:

The faux conservative, who’s shamed many an unprepared lawmaker during his recurring “Better Know a District” segment, spoke highly of his sibling, “Lulu,” while downplaying his role in the campaign:

 Colbert: I just hope what I do for a living doesn’t sully her good character.

Fallon: No, I don’t think so.

Colbert: Have you seen my show?

Well-wishers can hang with Colbert and Colbert Busch in New York City on Friday night or in Charleston on Saturday.

February 21, 2013

Twitter Fight: @PressSec Vs. @Brendan_Buck

Their bosses may not talk much, but lately White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has been mixing it up with House GOP flacks on Twitter, including a scrum today with Speaker John A. Boehner’s spokesman Brendan Buck. The pair traded each side’s latest talking points, although Carney’s two tweets — at last check — were easily outnumbered by Buck’s fusillade.

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Dead Kennedys Singer All In on ‘House of Cards’

Skip Greer, current front man for pioneering punk rockers the Dead Kennedys, told HOH that before breezing into town last week for a show at the Rock N Roll Hotel, he simply felt too far removed from the machinations of the nation’s capital.

His solution: gorging on Netflix’s zeitgeisty congressional train wreck, “House of Cards.”

Dead Kennedys Singer All In on House of Cards

(Courtesy LaunchGram)

“To recap, during the vamp in ‘Bleed For Me,’ our song about state-sponsored torture, I remarked to the audience that while DK is perceived as a political band, I myself am not well-versed in the inner workings of Washington D.C.,” the professional political satirist remarked. “So, in deference to our host city, I determined to make myself better informed beforehand by doing what any other intelligent, truth-seeking person would do, and I watched all 13 episodes of ‘House of Cards’ in one marathon sitting. It taught me a lot.”

Greer then played his hand by goading the crowd with a wry comment — “And now I think I understand you and your city,” he teased — followed by a tongue-in-cheek indictment of this town’s supposed knowledge base.

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February 20, 2013

Would-Bee Smugglers Get Schumer Pun Run

“This successful sting operation is sure to be a buzzkill for would-be honey smugglers,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, who may have exceeded all allowable standards by squeezing four puns into a three-sentence statement about an illegal dumping case against two U.S. honey processors.

The New York Democrat was just getting revved up. “For too long, foreign smuggling of this product has created a sticky situation for domestic honey producers. We need a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to honey laundering.”

Using up so many sticky puns in one fell swoop could cause trouble for Schumer, who might need more of them if an effort he backs gains traction again this year: He wants to crack down on the distribution and sale of counterfeit maple syrup.

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Capitol Quip: Bone Up on Your Favorite Caption

 

Capitol Quip: Bone Up on Your Favorite Caption

Here are five finalists for this week’s caption contest. Now it’s your turn to vote.

Using the comments section, vote for your favorite caption until 5 p.m. Thursday.

SPECIAL NOTE: If you submit anonymously — and you win! — we may have trouble getting you your signed print from cartoonist R.J. Matson. So before cloaking yourself, think about how we can contact you to get you your prize. If you’re super shy, you can send us an anonymous email that only we will see at hoh@rollcall.com. Thanks for playing!

Here are this week’s finalists:

• “If you’re waiting for the Senate to act on this, Buster, it may be awhile.”

• “Figured it out — those howls are from the postal workers’ union members — not wolves.”

• “No, Rover, I don’t know how we chase the email man.”

• “Look on the bright side. They’ll be moving slower on Mondays.”

• “Yeah, we COULD send ‘em a letter, but I vote we just run over to the Capitol and start biting!”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog on Feb. 25 and in that day’s print edition of Roll Call. The contest winner will receive a signed color print of their Capitol Quip cartoon from the cartoonist, R.J. Matson.

By David Rapp Posted at 3:53 p.m.
Capitol Quip

A Little Love Goes a Long Way for Neugebauer Staffer

Valentine’s Day isn’t over in some corners on the Hill, even as lawmakers spend this week’s recess back in their districts.

Anyone keen/crazy/bored enough to wander the sleepy halls of the Longworth House Office Building on Tuesday would have undoubtedly noticed a big, old heart-shaped box of chocolates, complete with a giant rhinestone on top, slip into the office of Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas.

Neugebauer aide Carole Richmond was carrying the box.

A Little Love Goes a Long Way for Neugebauer Staffer

(Julie Ershadi/CQ Roll Call)

She told HOH the chocolates were a gift — less than $50 worth, another staffer assured us with a laugh — from a constituent living in Lubbock, Texas.

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Nebraska Senate Contender: One of People Magazine’s 2001 50 Most Beautiful

The old adage that Washington is Hollywood for ugly people keeps unraveling.

First there was ex-Sen. Scott P. Brown, R-Mass., a former Cosmo model. Comely movie star Ashley Judd is flirting with a Senate run. And now, there’s ex-Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn — formerly of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, who is considering making a run for retiring Sen. Mike Johanns’ seat in 2014.

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Eight Evidently Wasn’t Enough for Pete Domenici

Eight Evidently Wasnt Enough for Pete Domenici

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In what’s fast becoming a trend on Capitol Hill, former Sen. Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., has admitted to fathering a son outside of wedlock — with the daughter of ex-Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev.

Domenici has eight other children from his marriage to wife, Nancy.

As first reported by the Albuquerque Journal, Domenici had a son, Adam Paul Laxalt, currently an attorney with Lewis and Roca in Las Vegas, with Michelle Laxalt back in the 1980s. Adam Laxalt is an Iraq War veteran and served as a staffer in the office of former Sen. John Warner, R-Va.

“One night’s mistake led to pregnancy more than 30 years ago,” Michelle Laxalt said in an official statement.

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February 19, 2013

Good-Buy, Jesse Jackson Jr.

Good Buy, Jesse Jackson Jr.

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

We’ve spent all weekend trying to wrap our head around why anyone, particularly a public official, would knowingly siphon work-related funds to satisfy personal fetishes.

To be fair, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has copped to being exhausted/bipolar/depressed since dropping from view last summer. But, as became apparent with the filing of an official plea deal Feb. 15 — a mea culpa acknowledging Jackson and his wife, Sandi, illegally directed about $750,000 in campaign funds during the past decade for personal expenses — Jackson has clearly been out of his mind for quite some time.

Some of his mind-boggling splurges include:

  • $43,000 for a gold Rolex;
  • $27,000 for Michael Jackson memorabilia, including a $4,600 fedora;
  • $10,000 for Bruce Lee collectibles;
  • $5,000 for a football signed by “American presidents.”

While we never condone embezzling, Jackson could have at least saved a few bucks on his road to professional ruin.

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