Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 20, 2014

November 12, 2013

Redditors Ask Joe Manchin, Well, Anything

Sen. Joe Manchin will release a video response on Friday to questions submitted to a thread on Reddit over Monday and Tuesday.

The West Virginia Democrat will spend a fair amount of his screen time addressing the Mountain State’s long ties to the coal industry, a popular theme in the user-submitted comments. Manchin will divvy up the rest of his time talking about gay rights, voter identification requirements, gun control and more.

Redditors Ask Joe Manchin, Well, Anything

Manchin will respond to the Reddit AMAs on Friday. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Many public figures, including President Barack Obama and Sen. Cory Booker, have hopped on Reddit to participate in an “Ask Me Anything,” or AMA, where users often pose thousands of questions. Questions rise to the top by being “upvoted” by other users, and the subject can respond to questions at will with a comment.

Manchin’s AMA page states he “will be answering your top ten questions.” While politicians who hold AMAs typically answer many more than just 10 questions, they do choose which questions to answer or to ignore.  Full story

Library of Congress All Aglow About New Carl Sagan Collection

“This one’s for you,” said Carolyn Porco, leader of the imaging team monitoring the Saturn-circling Cassini spacecraft and friend of the late Carl Sagan, as she unveiled the mesmerizing new snapshot of Saturn she dedicated to the pioneering stargazer.

A rare scientific love fest on Capitol Hill, the Tuesday gathering of academics and entertainers at the Library of Congress was spearheaded by subversive cartoonist and trash-talking teddy bear creator Seth MacFarlane.

Library of Congress All Aglow About New Carl Sagan Collection

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

The comedian, via his charitable foundation, helped make the “Seth MacFarlane Collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan” available to the Library of Congress. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington giddily welcomed the addition of the 1,705 boxes of archival material chronicling Sagan’s deeply inquisitive life.

“It is exciting that the rich Sagan-Druyan archive is joining other great collections of scientific knowledge,” he said of the treasure trove of documents set aside for credentialed researchers.

While he had nothing but complimentary things to say about Sagan, MacFarlane unloaded on both political parties for failing the scientific community. He lambasted the far right for making too much noise (“Evolution really happened. It’s not in debate,” he jeered, adding, “I’ve never seen gravity questioned”), while browbeating the left for remaining eerily silent.

“They’ve allowed it to fester,” MacFarlane said of the cacophony of flat-Earth-style rumblings resonating in the national echo chamber. Full story

Baby Announcement by Steve King Gets Political

There are few things cuter than a proud grandfather, even if Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, used the newborn’s photo op to talk politics.

The six-term member took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to share that his sixth grandchild, Wallace Henry King, had arrived at 5:21 a.m.

Full story

Phishing Scammers Use Liberal Talk Show Host as Bait

It seems Nigeria has run out of down-on-their-luck princes.

There is no other logical explanation for a new phishing scheme touting one-time congressional candidate D. Arnie Arnesen as a stranded traveler desperately in need of a quickie cash infusion.

Phishing Scammers Use Liberal Talk Show Host as Bait


The bogus plea, which invaded the HOH inbox on Monday afternoon and appears to have originated from a hacked Gmail account, features detailed information about the liberal talk show host.

Arnesen — who ran for Congress in 1996, losing to then-Rep. Charles Bass, R-N.H., by 7 points — is a broadcaster at WNHN in Concord, N.H.

But the veteran pundit is not currently poundless in Britain.

The awful truth is that Arnesen is in New Hampshire dealing with the recent loss of her husband, Marty Capodice, who died on Oct. 31 after battling cancer.

None of that appears to be fazing the would-be grifter who has glommed onto her identity. That scumbag is apparently too busy trying to coax $4,000 in emergency aid (FYI: We found flights from Heathrow to Manchester, N.H., for under $1,500) out of terribly gullible Good Samaritans.

The would-be cyber-thief, who is corresponding via and, has apparently set up dummy accounts at Western Union and MoneyGram in the United Kingdom under Arnesen’s name to collect any ill-gotten loot.

Here’s hoping karma catches up with you real soon, pal.

Overheard: An Endangered Political Species in Montana

“The party of which I was once a member no longer exists today in Montana.”

John Bohlinger, a former Republican who is a candidate for the Democratic Senate nomination in Montana, on MSNBC.

November 11, 2013

Health Care Newsreels | Madisonville

The search for the unique combination of illness, income and family status that ends the health care debate once and for all continued last week in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and Senate Finance committees.  The winner, apparently, will be the case that reveals the total perfection/awfulness of Obamacare, causing one side or the other to abandon the cause.

Health Care Newsreels | MadisonvilleBut in the spirit of it being better to travel well than to arrive, the Senate delivered a few en-route revelations, including the rediscovery of a familiar voice from long ago.

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., sounds like the voice-over on a 1940s newsreel, the kind that delivered momentous news to moviegoers in the days before television. Teachers later relied on them to bring history to life and they’re available today on YouTube.


Full story

House Baby Boom Is in Full Effect

House Republicans Kevin Yoder of Kansas and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio have officially entered into the fatherhood phase of their careers, welcoming Caroline Lucille Yoder and Brad Robert Wenstrup Jr., into their respective folds over the past week.

Yoder’s daughter was born at 2:16 p.m. Nov. 7 at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Shawnee Mission, Kan. The little girl, the first for Yoder and his wife, Brooke, weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce, and was named in honor of several family members on her mother’s side.

“Caroline is a derivative of a male name ‘Carroll’ which dates back 200 years in Brooke’s father’s family and has been used many times as first and middle names since. Lucille is Brooke’s [late] maternal grandmother who Brooke always admired,” a Yoder aide told HOH.

“Someone once told us that having a baby is the one chance we get to help God perform a miracle. We’re so fortunate and blessed to add Caroline into our lives and thankful of God’s miracle of life that brought her into our family,” Yoder announced to the world on his Facebook page.

Wenstrup’s son — who logged in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces — arrived on the morning of Nov. 9 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Wenstrup and his wife, Monica, had held off on learning the sex of the baby before the birth. But the proud poppa appears to have slipped right into doting parent mode.

“I can fully understand, even more than I did before, the need to not only protect and defend, but to nurture and provide for one that follows us. Monica and I have always felt called to try to leave the world at least a little better than we found it,” Wenstrup declared in a release. “Brad renews that commitment for us.”

The era of good feelings is set to keep going — House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers is expecting her third child next month.

Take Five: Rep. Tony Cardenas

It’s time again for Take Five, when HOH talks with a member of Congress about topics relatively unrelated to legislative work.

This week, Rep. Tony Cárdenas, D-Calif., talks about saving an elephant, growing up in the Valley and getting lost underground.

Q. While on the Los Angeles City Council, you were a major animal rights activist. What motivated you to get involved with that cause?
A. My staff was given some info about Billy the Elephant suffering in our zoo. To be honest, I told my staff I don’t want to look at it, it’s not what I came here for, but it was so horrific, when I sat down and read it, I had to do something about it. I got involved in that issue and immediately got involved in domestic animal issues.

Q. You launched district and city-wide efforts to improve the environment, collecting more than 56,000 tons of trash. How did you go about that project?
A. This is the district I grew up in. Half is residential, [the] other half is chrome-plating plants, dump sites, things of that nature. I decided I wanted to do something about it. I created an environmental justice improvement zone. It was important for us to have the fire department and San Fernando city attorney’s office [involved] before we allowed someone to … expand.

Q. You are one of 11 children. What’s one stereotype that people may have about large families that isn’t true?
A. One of the stereotypes is that the family has too many kids. We actually heard that one. They would say “they live in the Valley” and assumed some of us would end up being a gang member. I’m the youngest, I’m 50. None of us have ever been in the backseat of a police car or involved with drugs or alcohol.

Q. Have you ever gotten lost in Washington?
A. Just last week! When I get in those tunnels, in the basement, I end up taking the wrong turn and getting frustrated. It’s kind of embarrassing for staff when they see that lost look on your face and the pin.

Q. What sporting team do you have to see when they travel through D.C. or when you’re back home in California?
A. My favorite sporting team is the Lakers. I used to love football when I was a kid and my favorite team was the Rams. If I go to one game a year, that’s a big year for me.

Overheard: Christening a Ford, not a Lincoln

“It carries the name of a president who showed us America at its best, an America that strives to bring hope to every corner of the planet and to do so with strength, but without bluster. Then-Congressman Ford brought a moment of modest humor to the solemn moment he was sworn in as vice president. He told America, ‘I am a Ford, not a Lincoln.’”

Sen. Carl Levin, speaking on Nov. 9 at the christening of the USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, Va.

Kevin Yoder Welcomes New Baby Girl

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., has leaped into the parenthood fray, welcoming daughter Caroline Lucille to the world on the afternoon of Nov. 7.

Kevin Yoder Welcomes New Baby Girl

(Courtesy Kevin Yoder)

Per Yoder’s press office, the newborn — measuring in at 20 inches long and weighing 6 pounds, 1 ounce, as recorded by the staff at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Shawnee Mission, Kan. — officially joined the family at 2:16 p.m. last Thursday.

“Someone once told us that having a baby is the one chance we get to help God perform a miracle. We’re so fortunate and blessed to add Caroline into our lives and thankful of God’s miracle of life that brought her into our family,” Yoder announced to the world on his Facebook page.

This is the first child for Yoder and his wife, Brooke.

November 10, 2013

Putting the Cart Before the Horse | Capitol Quip

 Putting the Cart Before the Horse | Capitol Quip

The foibles surrounding the rollout of the new health care law dominate Capitol Hill discussions. Who’s to blame for glitches? When will the exchanges be up and running smoothly? What kind of effect will this have on the political environment? This all brings us to this week’s Capitol Quip.

Send us a caption for this week’s contest by leaving it in the comments section of our Heard on the Hill blog. Editors will pick five finalists on Nov. 13, and everyone can vote for the winner through Nov. 14.

To see our previous winners, check us out on Pinterest.

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:05 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Obama’s Bearded Promise | Capitol Quip

 Obamas Bearded Promise | Capitol Quip

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 Heard on the Hill.

The winner will receive a signed color print suitable for framing from Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson. Check out our past winners on Pinterest.

November 9, 2013

Brad Wenstrup Takes a Crack at Fatherhood

Brad Wenstrup Takes a Crack at Fatherhood

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Brad Wenstrup scored his first child Saturday, welcoming his 6-pound, 15-ounce son, Brad Robert Wenstrup Jr. to the world in Cincinnati.

The Ohio Republican told HOH earlier this year that he and his wife, Monica, were on board for a “surprise” birth, deciding they’d rather find out whether it was a boy or girl at the time of delivery. But the newly minted pop appears to have slipped right into doting parent mode.

“I can fully understand, even more than I did before, the need to not only protect and defend, but to nurture and provide for one that follows us. Monica and I have always felt called to try to leave the world at least a little better than we found it,” Wenstrup declared in a release. “Brad renews that commitment for us.”

Per his office, Wenstrup is planning to spend a week in Ohio with his newly expanded family before returning to one of the least productive congresses in history.

November 8, 2013

Shed a Coat, Score a Beer During Charity Pub Crawl

HillVets has organized a philanthropic pub crawl Friday night where you can trade a warm winter coat for a tour of local watering holes, gratis draft brews and a show by some hometown rockers.

The Veterans Day weekend collection effort kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Bullfeathers (410 First St. SE) and will include stops at The Dubliner (4 F St. NW) and Béarnaise (313 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) before the evening is through. Interested participants are requested to bring a new winter jacket to donate to the cause.

The contributed clothing nets each attendee one free draft beer at each location, with each bar offering up their full catalog of freshly poured suds — ranging from four craft brews at Béarnaise (including DC Brau’s The Corruption, Delirium Tremens and Eggenberg Pils) to the 30-plus lines at Bullfeathers.

Local funkmeisters the B Side Shuffle are scheduled to serenade the group when everyone stumbles into the Dubliner:

Can’t crawl this evening?

Béarnaise, Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza will be accepting coat donations through Saturday. But the free beer deal is only good tonight.

John Schlimm Delivers a Mouthful for Veggie Caucus

John Schlimm grew up in rural Pennsylvania working in his father’s butcher shop — a long way from the Capitol Visitor Center, where the vegan cookbook writer lunched on Thursday with the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association.

The veggie caucus, as it’s known colloquially, has been hosting vegetarian lunches and educational events since a small group of like-palated staffers decided to fight back against the lack of vegetarian fare in congressional dining halls.

The group had an event planned last month, but the government shutdown forced it to postpone. For Thursday’s to-do, about 60 staffers filled the room to learn about eating a plant-based diet while munching away on vegan wraps provided by Zenful Bites and vegan chocolate chip cookies from Sticky Fingers. Full story

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