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

August 27, 2012

At the Movies: Tampa Edition

Updated Aug. 27 | Thanks to Citizens United and former tea party candidate Christine O’Donnell, conservative cinephiles will have their choice of dueling film festivals to stoke their enthusiasm while in Tampa, Fla., for the Republican National Convention.

While many folks will religiously troll the convention floor, those looking for a change of venue can continue actively avoiding Tropical Storm Isaac by ducking into the (hopefully) structurally secured salons at Troublemaker Fest (615 Channelside Drive) and/or Citizens United Theater at Liberty Plaza (180 S. Morgan St.).

The Citizens United program features a mix of world premiere and previously released documentaries, all introduced by prominent Republican figures. Full story

August 26, 2012

Play That Funky Music, White Boys

Play That Funky Music, White Boys

Courtesy Billy Morrison


Updated Aug. 27 | It appears that Tampa, Fla., and by extension everyone who hightailed it down here to the Republican National Convention, will be spared the worst of Tropical Storm (soon to be Hurricane?) Isaac.

Pouring rain or not, conventioneers should consider making the extra effort to catch some very special shows happening around town — including a pack of political insiders who moonlight as rock stars, and a sometime-super group with a penchant for dragging along extra special guests.

Locals Rule

They may call the bars and clubs around D.C. home. But every four years, Blame It On Jane takes their show on the road. Full story

Sex Trade Welcomes GOP to Tampa with Open … Arms?

The tropical storm watch has kinda got everyone here in Tampa feeling down.

No worries, though. Because the Tampa Bay area’s kinkiest are working overtime to keep visiting conventioneers’ spirits up.

Full story

Keeping the Faith at PAUL Fest

Keeping the Faith at PAUL Fest

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

While the GOP continues grappling with Tropical Storm Isaac, battle-hardened supporters of dark-horse presidential hopeful Ron Paul who made the trek to Tampa, Fla., continued about their business: upending our deeply flawed government.

There were only a handful of true believers still milling about the People Awakening and Uniting for Liberty Festival this morning. Most folks were already pulling up stakes and heading over to the official rally for the Texas Republican, a daylong affair overtaking the University of South Florida’s Sun Dome.

Paul and his son, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), are expected to say a few words to the “We Are the Future” crowd at around 4 p.m. Full story

August 24, 2012

Journos: Comedy Central Needs You

The good folks at Comedy Central are dying to pick the Greatest Political Mind of Our Time. To wit, the 2012 Indecision Team has created a Political Trivia Challenge!

That sound you just heard was the largest egos in Washington collectively snapping to attention.

So, how will this challenge work? First of all, journos, there is unfortunately a popularity threshold. In other words, you have to be nominated.

Should you chose to accept the challenge “[p]layers will be entered into brackets — similar to college basketball’s March Madness tournament — and pitted in head-to-head competition with the winners advancing on to the next round,” the tournament’s nomination letter reads.

Don’t worry, political heavies, we’re absolutely positive that the same fake-news team that arches a sardonic eyebrow at you daily isn’t now using you for publicity. You should definitely feel that Comedy Central is a safe place for both reporters and political pundits.

Good luck all!

Want to try your luck? Practice with a smarter-than-average phone application.

August 23, 2012

DC Water Boils Over Charles Schumer Position

Updated 5:48 p.m. | Sen. Charles Schumer has provoked a water war on Capitol Hill.

A recent announcement by the New York Democrat has drawn the ire of — of all people — the head of the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority.

Schumer announced at the beginning of this month that he would be serving water from the Saratoga Spring Water Co. at the presidential inauguration ceremonies in January. The water, which is sourced in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, is a fixture at events in upstate New York.

“Saratoga Spring water has long been one of my beverages of choice, so when given the opportunity to share its iconic blue bottle with hundreds of guests at the presidential inauguration, it was a no-brainer,” Schumer said Aug. 3.

Schumer is known as a master of helping home-state businesses, and the water choice is a case of putting his position as chairman of the committee organizing the inaugural ceremonies to good use.

The decision to opt for bottled water sparked criticism today from D.C. Water General Manager George S. Hawkins. Full story

Joe Crowley, Singing Maybe

Updated 4:24 p.m. | “One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong.”

Can you tell which thing is not like the others, by the time Carly Rae Jepsen finishes her song?

We’ll give you a hint: The “thing” appears around the 1:40 mark of the breakout pop star’s performance of “Call Me Maybe” on this morning’s “Today” show.

Recognize that face?

It’s Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), who apparently is spending his time during recess amid throngs of tweens at an early morning televised concert, happily singing along to one of the summer’s most overplayed hits.

“The Congressman’s kids are Carly Rae Jepsen fans and he brought them to the concert this morning,” Crowley Communications Director Courtney Gidner said. “He’s a big fan of music in general and he finds the song catchy. When you have three kids under the age of 13, it’s hard to not know the lyrics to ‘Call Me Maybe.’”

Crowley isn’t the first Member of Congress to be caught blissfully bopping along to the ditty. When the interns in Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez’s office joined the trend of posting lip sync videos to Jepsen’s song, Sanchez took part, dancing along with her interns from her leather office chair.

If Kevin Yoder Had Heeded Peter Bis’ Advice …

Attention people in high places: Heed the advice of those in more lowly stations. It could save you a mess of trouble.

Case in point: If Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan.) had just listened to the exhortations of the recently departed Peter Bis, he could have saved himself the recent spectacle of having to express contrition for his late-night, naked swim in the Sea of Galilee last year.

If Kevin Yoder Had Heeded Peter Bis Advice ...

A passer-by tacked this message to the tree the recently departed Peter Bis sat under at the corner of 2nd Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Bis, as HOH readers and Capitol Hill workers and denizens recall, was a genial man without a residence who made the Senate-side area of the Capitol around 2nd Street and Massachusetts Avenue NE his home. Among his many sayings to those passing by was “no skinny dipping.” Bis died on Aug. 16.

August 22, 2012

Jay Jay’s Not Gonna Take It

Jay Jay French is good and pissed at GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and he’s not going to take it. No, he’s not going to take it. He’s not going to take it anymore.

Twisted Sister’s guitarist and founding member just found out that the Ryan campaign has been using the band’s rock anthem “We’re Not Going To Take It” as the House Budget chairman’s theme song. Unfortunately, the Ryan campaign forgot to get permission from the band. Eep!

“If his campaign contacted the record label, [the label] would call us directly,” French tells HOH. According to French, the campaign did not and Twisted Sister would like the campaign to stop using their version of the song, suggesting that it gives the impression the band supports the Republican ticket.

French says that while members of the band span the political spectrum, with some  supporting GOP candidate Mitt Romney, they are categorically opposed to the current Republican social platform. For his part, French is a strong President Barack Obama supporter.

Full story

RNC Picks Theme; Irony Abounds

As Tampa, Fla., gears up for the hurricane that is Mitt Romney’s Republican Party, the Republican National Committee announced the theme of their politi-prom: “We Built This!”

The theme is an obvious dig at President Barack Obama’s recent remarks in Virginia, which PolitiFact said were taken out of context.

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

The line “You didn’t build that” has since become fodder for Republicans everywhere. Interestingly, according to the Daily Dolt and other publications, the Tampa Bay Times Forum, which is housing the convention, was built primarily with public funds.

Card-carrying members of the Irony Party are tickled pink over this outcome.

Gay Bathhouse Rolls Out Red Carpet for GOP

A gay-owned hotel/spa/bathhouse in Tampa, Fla., is flinging its doors wide for closeted conventioneers, offering free admission to all Republican National Convention delegates through August 31.

Gay Bathhouse Rolls Out Red Carpet for GOP


Ybor Resort & Spa appears to be all about mixing business with pleasure, encouraging workaholics to bring laptops to make use of the free WiFi. Those there specifically to play can take advantage of a slew of mantastic amenities, including: a central 300-square foot Jacuzzi, “gang showers,” and an S&M dungeon-themed room outfitted with leather rocking sex bench and hand cuffs. (“You provide the slave.”)

Cash-strapped travelers can also save a few bucks by packing some extra hooch (the spa is BYOB) and/or taking advantage of the “Broke Ass Wednesday” special on discounted lockers and room rates.

Jim Gerlach Makes a Seriously Awkward Comparison

On Tuesday, the presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (Wis.) galloped into Pennsylvania waving the flag and stumping the good stump.

While Ryan labeled himself a good “Catholic deer hunter,” Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) compared the House Budget Committee chairman with the decidedly liberal, anti-gun fictional President Andrew Shepherd from the 1995 film, “The American President.”

Full story

Gamer Takes on Congress

Have you got what it takes to claw your way from freshman lawmaker to the Oval Office? The new Congressional simulator, “For the People,” allows political junkies to do just that — without having to smooch a single baby, beg for cash or clumsily defend any nonsensical views on rape.

Creator Shel Mann, who helped bring to market diversionary gems ranging from the bloody-as-hell shoot ‘em up Duke Nukem to popular hunting and fishing titles (Deer Hunter and The Strike, respectively), tells HOH the political sphere is the undiscovered country of fantasy gaming.

Gamer Takes on Congress

(Courtesy For the People Fantasy Politics)

“There’s always new drama,” he said of the topsy-turvy world where pols rise and fall by the latest sound bite. Full story

August 21, 2012

Todd Akin, Prominent With Fetus

Embattled Missouri Rep. Todd Akin is still standing, this time with a fetus.

Akin’s Senate campaign website asks that people sign a petition supporting him during this time when most establishment Republicans have turned against him. Also on the page is his opponent for the Missouri Senate seat — and probably his biggest supporter today — Sen. Claire McCaskill (D).

Todd Akin, Prominent With Fetus

In what is one of the more interesting pleas for support, the website begs: “Tell McCaskill That Your Standing With Todd Akin”

Quick edit: Team Akin, the word you mean to use isn’t “your,” which is a possessive pronoun. It is “you’re,” the contraction of “you are.”

“I made a mistake,” he continues. “I used the wrong words in the wrong way.”

Thankfully, this statement can apply both to his “legitimate rape” comments and now his grammar.

Todd Akin’s Legitimate Tumblr Page

The most surprising thing about the new Todd Akin Tumblr is that it has taken so long to get to us.

After his remarks about “legitimate rape” on Sunday, the Missouri Republican Representative is getting the full pariah treatment, not just from the Internet but from nearly every relevant member of his own party. Akin, of course, is facing Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) in what was a nail-biter race that had favored the Republican.

Akin faces a 5 p.m. deadline today to decide whether to continue his bid for the Senate. With that in mind, the Tumblr page has every imaginable pop culture icon offering historical guidance, including the Simpsons, Monty Python and Star Trek. And HOH has its own contribution to the mix as well:

Full story

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