Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 27, 2014

March 20, 2013

Satirist Spooked By Would-Be Watchdog

Satirist Spooked By Would Be Watchdog

Satirist Spooked By Would Be Watchdog

Political pot-stirrer Norm Augustinus, who has long enjoyed the role of finger pointer, recently learned what it’s like to feel persecuted courtesy of a threat against his livelihood lodged by shadowy figures.

The high drama developed after Augustinus, a seasoned journalist-cum-illustrator, uploaded his animated indictment of President Barack Obama’s terrorist-targeting drone program on March 8. Although far less graphic than the multitude of his explicit sexually oriented materials, the roughly 30-second .GIF shows Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif., “getting it” via a laser-packing dirigible.

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 6:32 p.m.

‘Shahs’ Star to Host D.C. Persian New Year Bash

A new personality on Bravo’s “Shahs of Sunset” reality show is bringing a taste of Beverly Hills fashion sense to Persian New Year celebrations in the nation’s capital this weekend.

Neelufar Seyed Ghalichi, better known as Lilly Ghalichi, joined the cast of Near Eastern descendants in the show’s second season, which just wrapped up this February. In honor of the Persian New Year, which Persianate cultures the world over begin celebrating on the spring equinox, she’s hosting a fashion show and dance party at The Park at Fourteenth, a swanky restaurant-bar-lounge downtown.
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Capitol Quip: Road to the Final Five!

Capitol Quip: Road to the Final Five!

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

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

Here are this week’s finalists:

• “It’s Simple! Everybody starts in the middle, and the winners end up as far apart as possible!”

• “I think we can work this out so nobody wins!”

• “I hope Simpson-Bowles enjoys the NIT.”

• “I’m picking Electoral College to lose in the first round!”

• “I’m picking the biggest first round upset of ‘em all — a budget agreement by April 15th!”

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog March 26 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 6:02 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Overheard: Boehner Gives It Back to Obama

“I’d rather be heckled than ignored. Or, as I like to say, you only tease the ones you love.”

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, responding on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper” to the president’s quip about Congress while in Israel.

Overheard: In Israel, Obama Takes a Break From Charm Offensive

“It’s good to get away from Congress.”

– President Barack Obama to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after touching down in Tel Aviv for a four-day trip to the Middle East.

Capitol Hill Barely Registers on RAMMY Radar

The local hospitality industry showered its members with love last night, feting a diverse fraternity of food slingers — only a handful of which ring the Capitol.

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington won’t officially crown the winners in its various dining categories until June 23, but the group got tongues wagging by rolling out its latest slate of nominees at a glitzy soiree held at the cavernous Hamilton.

Neighborhood spots in contention for top honors include:

The public is privy to voting in both of those categories (along with the Neighborhood Gathering Place section); ballots can be cast via, and the individual restaurant websites from April 4-18.

In the meantime, we’re wondering what other Capitol Hill eateries you’d have tossed into the awards mix.

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March 19, 2013

March Madness: The Distaff Bracket

March Madness: The Distaff Bracket

We brought you our version of the men’s bracket Monday night, and now it’s time to take a look at Roll Call’s bracket for the women’s NCAA tournament. Unlike the upset-prone men’s bracket, there is far less parity in the women’s bracket — with a few top-seeded schools in each region considered the heavy favorites.

Our methodology here is the same, wherein we match each school in the NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament with its House member. Since some campuses straddle one or more congressional districts, Roll Call uses each school’s admissions office ZIP code as the location by which we determine the House member who represents the school.

With a number of schools making it into both the men’s and women’s tournament, there are 25 House members who appear on both brackets.
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Behind the Scenes of the Iowa Caucuses

Documentary filmmaker AJ Schnack is turning his camera’s attention to that most hallowed of American political rituals with his new film, “Caucus.”

Schnack, known for the documentaries “Convention” and “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” offers an intimate, sometimes funny portrait of the Iowa caucuses, an event that helps mold the election of the leader of the free world.

Schnack and his team track the 2011-2012 Republican primary contenders as they navigate the obstacles and pitfalls of the Iowa political scene, including lousy weather, corn dogs and butter sculptures. The documentarians follow GOP underdogs Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann as they try to break through a field of larger-than-life opponents, such as pizza magnate Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Speaker Newt Gingrich and erstwhile front-runner Mitt Romney.

“Caucus,” in tracing Santorum’s and Bachmann’s grass-roots campaign efforts, successes and failures, offers a rare view of the American political process.

The film makes its world premiere at the 2013 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in Toronto, which runs April 25 through May 5.

New Members Subject of Intense Softball Recruiting

Months before this year’s annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game, members of Congress have begun feting recruits for their annual matchup against female Capitol Hill reporters.

HOH stumbled on a recent happy-hour gathering of female jock-lawmakers at Tortilla Coast. And when we say “stumbled on,” we mean that we knew about it ahead of time and showed up uninvited wearing our own Bad News Babes jersey. Members, on the whole, were gracious about the intrusion.

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Everything You Need to Know About ‘44’ in 101 Seconds

Hear that, Trump:

Barack Obama

The kid/man said he was born in Hawaii. (Case closed.)

By Warren Rojas Posted at 6:12 p.m.

Sandra Day O’Connor’s Big Day

When Sandra Day O’Connor strode through the curtains to take her seat on the Supreme Court bench in 1981, the Arizona cowgirl became the first woman to sit on the nation’s highest court. Visiting the chamber on Monday, she saw three women on the bench: Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Later that night, during a sold-out appearance at 6th and I Historic Synagogue, O’Connor announced her observation with a broad smile on her face. In addition to visiting the court, which was considering a case for which she wrote a lower-court brief, the 82-year-old was in town to promote her new book, “Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court.” Full story

Overlooked? How a Big Film Festival Can Overwhelm

The Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, which has been under way since March 12 and wraps up Sunday, is a monster of a festival: 190 films, 75 venues, 110 premieres. It’s the Cannes or Toronto for the green crowd.

With crowd-pleasing fare such as “How I Became an Elephant,” provocative ones such as “Greedy Lying Bastards” and classic films including “The African Queen,” though, it’s easy to overlook some of the more modest, yet still arresting, movies gracing the city’s screens over the course of the festival’s two weeks.

A case in point is Wednesday’s screening of “The Age of Aluminum.”

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A (Fake) Kids-Eye View of 1600 Penn

Imagine growing up under the watchful eye of the Secret Service.

The merry pranksters at Barely Political did just that. And here’s how they figure the First Daughters fill their days:

The impressions are priceless. But we prefer more organic photobamas.

March 18, 2013

House Members Fail Pop Quiz on Senate Procedure

Lawmakers debating a rule for the House budget resolution revealed a surprising lack of knowledge about Senate procedure Monday – a sign perhaps of how little time the chambers have spent talking to each other about budgets in recent years. Full story

March Madness, Congress-Style

March Madness, Congress Style

While Roll Call hasn’t had much to say about member-vs.-member battles since the conclusion of last fall’s redistricting-fueled election showdowns, our version of the NCAA March Madness bracket offers plenty more fun matchups in the House.

Every year, we match each school in the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament with its House member. A note on our methodology: Because some campuses straddle one or more congressional districts (we’re looking at you, University of Akron), Roll Call continues to use each school’s admissions office ZIP code as the location by which we determine the House member who represents the school.

You’ll note that a handful of members have a slightly better chance to take home the entire prize, as Democratic Reps. David E. Price of North Carolina, Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and Jared Polis of Colorado and Republican Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia each represent districts with two schools that have made it into the tournament.

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