Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 30, 2015

March 21, 2013

Cherry Blossom Festival Opens to Cool Temps

The Cherry Blossom Festival officially began Wednesday, marking the unofficial start of tourist season in Washington, D.C.

But festivalgoers were greeted not with blooming blossoms, but with an arctic chill that blew across the region.

Visitors who made plans for this weekend based on the initial peak-bloom dates of March 26 to 30 shouldn’t get their hopes up, as the cold weather in March has pushed the peak bloom dates back to April 3 to 6.
Full story

Dragons, Warriors, Acrobats, Predators

The circus is coming to town!

No, not the media circus covering Capitol Hill, but the actual Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus!

On Tuesday night, the “pachyderm parade” – or a band of the circus’ elephants – stomped through Capitol Hill, starting at the Capitol Power Plant and passing by the Capitol complex en route to the Verizon Center.

The stunt was in preparation for the circus’s show “Dragons,” which opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Verizon Center.

The show honors the Chinese Year of the Dragon – which wrapped up at the beginning of February – and features martial arts, fire, tigers, acrobats and, of course, elephants.

Prior to Thursday’s opening night performance, the circus will host a VIP party from 6  p.m. to 7 p.m. for all ticket holders. The party features “Asian-inspired drinks and activities.”

“We will have a number of DRAGON-inspired elements at the opening night VIP receptions, including dragon facemasks for the kids, red lanterns, dragon garnishes and trinkets,” circus spokeswoman Becky Brand said.

Brand added that Washingtonians who would like a sneak peek of the circus show can head to the Renaissance Hotel Plaza in Chinatown on Friday night, where the Chinese Shoalin Warrior Troupe will perform some of the martial arts moves from the show.

The circus will play nine shows at the Verizon Center. Tickets can be purchased at or at the Verizon Center box office, and cost between $15 and $35.

March 20, 2013

Cheer Up, Staffers! We’ve Got the Campus NCAA Channel Guide

Dear Hill creatures: Don’t feel guilty about wanting to watch March Madness on Thursday. Just be informed on how to, care of your friends at HOH.

Let’s be honest, your bosses will be watching basketball. Why should they have all the fun just because they were elected to do the people’s work and you were merely hired at a low price? Read further for the lowdown on which channels around campus you can find virtually every game. And don’t forget to fill out your Roll Call men’s and women’s NCAA brackets!

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A Crapo Fundraiser’s Interesting Optics

Not quite four months since Sen. Michael D. Crapo was arrested in Virginia and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, the Idaho Republican apparently feels right at home heading to a fundraiser at a private townhouse owned by a liquor conglomerate.

Crapo — who was pulled over on Dec. 23 in Alexandria, Va., and failed multiple sobriety tests — is hosting the event Thursday afternoon for his Freedom Fund PAC at the privately owned Diageo Townhouse at 310 Sixth St. SE.
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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.

Full story

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!


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.

Full story

March 19, 2013

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.

Full story

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

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