Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 24, 2014

May 21, 2012

Blues Therapy

Capitol Hill can be a really stressful place. That’s why Rep. Tim Murphy routinely unplugs from all the legislative chaos via his guitar.

The Pennsylvania Republican said he occasionally jams with Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) but typically plucks solo.

“I usually play quietly to avoid winding up on YouTube,” Murphy told HOH.

The self-taught musician admitted that he does sometimes perform satirical ditties, such as his “Bailout Blues,” at charity fundraisers and comedy clubs:

I got little lax with my income tax, my payments were in arrears,
Why should I care what the taxman says if the government don’t pay theirs?
Said the IRS, “Boy you got a mess, and your payments cannot fail,
Or we’ll take your shoes and your watch and sox,
And throw your butt in jail!”


I want a bailout, he wants a bailout, she wants a bailout, too.
I’ve got no cash left to my name, so I’ll get some from you.
Show me the money, and don’t worry honey, don’t matter when it’s due,
I wanna, he wanna ,she wanna, we wanna all bailed out, don’t you?

Sticking it to the man. Always music to our ears.

Overheard on the Hill

“I am a lobbyist, but I consider myself an educator.”

— An educator speaking at the Story Partners reception held at the home of the public affairs firm’s chairman, Gloria Story Dittus.

Portrait of a Pancake Artist

Portrait of a Pancake Artist

(Courtesy Dan Lacey)

Dan Lacey, the man known as the Pancake Painter, has struggled over the years with his faith and his politics.

His recent painting, “Obama Lohan Icelandic Volcano,” encapsulates this tension.

“That painting was about nature punishing man,” Lacey explains.

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May 18, 2012

Energy Secretary Plugs ‘The Avengers’

Energy Secretary Plugs The Avengers

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu took to Facebook to show off his inner fanboy, sprinkling his pseudo-review of the box office record-smashing movie “The Avengers” with calls for tax credits and pleas for broader interest in science.

Unlike some professional film critics, Chu stays away from spoilers and philosophical debates about whether Joss Whedon’s ensemble super hero flick should be praised for carving out its own place in the Marvel-verse or panned for departing from the sacrosanct comic book canon.

What he does want to discuss is the coveted “Tesseract,” the source of unlimited energy that drives the intergalactic thrill ride:

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Democrats, Republicans All Give It Up for the Godfather

Washington, D.C., got a lot less funkier this week with the passing of local musical legend and Godfather of Go-Go, Chuck Brown.

Indeed, in a city often sharply divided along class, racial and partisan lines, Brown’s infectious grooves and gravely voice bridged every difference between Washingtonians.

For instance, as news broke of Brown’s passing, Doug Heye, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (Va.) deputy chief of staff, tweeted, “Chuck Brown, rest in peace. Glad I saw him live and that I bought Bustin’ Loose on 45 when I was a kid. #WindMeUp.”

“Chuck Brown’s funky go-go beat put hometown D.C. on the map, rescuing forever our town from its stolid, gray ‘government town’ image and giving the District of Columbia an identity of its very own.  How many cities in this country have their own sound?” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) said in a statement Thursday.

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Acting Like Animals

USA Network is jumping into the politainment arena with “Political Animals,” a new six-part series about an ambitious woman trying to rise above her career, troubled children and lecherous ex-husband, who just happens to have been president of the United States:

Film star Sigourney Weaver takes her first turn on the small screen as Elaine Barrish Hammond, a former first lady turned Secretary of State with possible designs on an even higher calling. (And we don’t mean a clever Tumblr tribute.) Ciaran Hinds portrays Donald “Bud” Hammond, the ex-POTUS with a penchant for dropping his pants. And Carla Gugino keeps tabs on everyone as Susan Berg, a reporter for the fictional Washington Globe.

We’ve not yet seen the show. Still, we can’t help but feel like we know these characters pretty well …

“Political Animals” debuts July 15 on USA.

May 17, 2012

Darrell Issa and the Ghosts of Capitol Hill

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa has seen a Ghost, a Rolls-Royce Ghost, that is.

This particular model, which runs about $250,000, has been making the rounds. Another Southern California Republican, Rep. John Campbell, was seen stepping out of a Rolls-Royce Ghost earlier this week. Campbell is known for his stable of classic and luxury cars, as well as his everyday ride, his Ferrari 550m V12 coupe.

So what’s the story? Does Issa, who ranked No. 2 in Roll Call’s list of 50 Richest Members of Congress in 2011, have a new whip?

Darrell Issa and the Ghosts of Capitol Hill

Picture of the Rolls Royce Ghost that House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa was spotted exiting. (Courtesy Anonymous)

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Overheard on the Hill

“Kucinich: not running in Washington State … Congress loses talented, if left leaning, ventriloquist and stand up comic. Great at DC Improv.”

– Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist on fellow “Funniest Celebrity in Washington” contestant Rep. Dennis Kucinich via Twitter. Doesn’t sound like he’ll miss Kucinich’s politics much, but he’s obviously heartbroken about no more stand-up.

My Hero!

Can breaking bread be the start of something beautiful between President Barack Obama and Speaker John Boehner?

One day after Boehner threw down a debt limit gauntlet, Obama hosted Congressional leaders at the White House, greeting them with olive-oil-soaked hoagies.
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Boiling Over With Excitement

The unbearable mugginess that heralds summer in Washington, D.C., has already begun to choke the area, so we might as well enjoy the spoils of the season, too.

Art and Soul is certainly looking to jump-start untold hours of patio lounging with the return of its weekly crab boils. The restaurant, located at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel, is planning to roll out the red carpet for seafood lovers by offering up Cajun-spiced, Maryland blue crabs — the restaurant’s executive chef, Wes Morton, is a Louisiana native — from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each Wednesday. Those in search of liquid refreshment can suck down discounted suds ($4 drafts and $16 pitchers of Flying Dog Brewery’s seasonal selections) beginning at 4 p.m. the same afternoon.

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By Warren Rojas Posted at 12:01 a.m.

Know Your Role

Ready to “act” like an integral part of the Congressional community?

Netflix is prepping its first homegrown series, the politically themed “House of Cards,” and needs an army of authentic-looking Washingtonians to flesh out the cast.

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May 16, 2012

Through the Drinking Glass

Alcohol has been called a social lubricant. Maker’s Mark views its high-octane elixir as more of a comity builder.

Political polar opposites (and spouses) James Carville and Mary Matalin are featured in the bourbon producer’s latest commercial — a spot advocating the rise of the all-inclusive “Cocktail Party”:

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Obama’s Sandwich Outing Almost Made Me Late

One reporter’s schedule was thrown offtrack this morning due to the presidential motorcade’s unusual stop.

[Editor's note: The view expressed below does not necessarily represent those of Heard on the Hill. Most of CQ Roll Call loves Taylor Gourmet — nom nom nom — though, as with everything, there are outliers.]

Good thing I left my apartment earlier than usual this morning.

President Barack Obama’s hankering [ed. note — It was the small-business roundtable] for a Taylor Gourmet turkey sandwich snarled up my commute by offloading my Circulator bus heading down K Street and forcing me to trek over to the McPherson Square Metro station and transfer once again to make it to our NoMA (a.k.a. North of Massachusetts Avenue) office building.

The motorcade traveled up 14th Street to get to the overpriced — and soon to be overcrowded — sandwich shop and tangled up traffic trying to cross over the thoroughfare.

Two buses, two Metro trains and one hour later, I made it into the office.

Groove Thing

A panoply of songwriters serenaded solons Tuesday night during the annual “We Write the Songs” show, an invite-only performance spotlighting the Library of Congress’s burgeoning American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.

Tunesmiths Stephen Bishop, Irving Burgie, Dino Fekaris, Dan Foliart, Melanie, Terri Nunn, Ray Parker Jr., Stephen Schwartz, Valerie Simpson, Chris Stapleton and Tom Whitlock all took their turns on stage, sharing anecdotes about their winding careers and the iconic songs they were entrusting to the LOC.

Groove Thing

(Library of Congress Photo/Abby Brack Lewis)

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It’s All Goode in the Neighborhood

With so much recent presidential campaign news surrounding figures such as President Barack Obama, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), it’s easy to forget about another bid for the highest office in the land, this one by a former Member of Congress.

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