Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
April 23, 2014

April 14, 2013

Spotify Access Is Spotty

The House is alive with the sound of music — well, almost.

Last week, staffers and members of Congress rejoiced to learn that they would regain access to Spotify, a popular music-streaming program, on the House network.

They would return to Capitol Hill from a two-week recess ready to pick up where they left off before the House computer overlords blocked the program for fear it would expose government computers to cyberattacks.
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Monday Beer Gathering for Everyone!

Home-grown beer producer DC Brau celebrates its two-year anniversary Monday at Meridian Pint, an opportunity to thank the brew gods for two of Washington’s sudsiest local firms.

The DC Brau catalog of drafts and casks — everything from its everyman Public ale to its eclectic The Stone of Arbroath 2012 — will be $5 all night.

The anniversary party comes on the same evening that the National Beer Wholesalers Association is hosting its own beer celebration — Cheers: The World of Beer Delivered by America’s Beer Distributors — in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building.
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By Jason Dick Posted at 7:30 p.m.
Parties

The Funemployment Chronicles

Rather than cry about the nonprofit post quashed by sequester-mandated budget cuts, an ex-House staffer has decided to seek his entertainments elsewhere.

His current happy place? Think tank luncheons.

The Panel Crasher blog, a virtual soapbox set up by D.C.’s self-described “equal opportunity, bipartisan moocher and offender,” went live April 3, just days after its founder got bounced from a recent gig funded by government grants. With three years of congressional experience (one year as an intern, two years as paid committee staff) under his belt, the rudderless — at least until graduate school starts later this fall — wonk decided to milk the situation for all it’s worth.
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Capitol Quip: Ready, Aim …

Capitol Quip: Ready, Aim ...

The Senate continues to debate gun legislation, which means there should be plenty of ammo for this week’s Capitol Quip caption contest.

Roll Call cartoonist R.J. Matson has another cartoon for your quippy consideration this week. Submit your caption in the comments section below. Editors will pick five finalists to go before readers for a vote. We’ll let you know the five finalists Wednesday afternoon, and readers will have until 5 p.m. EDT Thursday to pick their favorite.

And when you sign in to the comments section, make sure to leave us a way to get in contact with you, be it email, Twitter or Facebook. If your caption wins, we’ll need to be able to get you your signed copy of the print!

By Jason Dick Posted at 7:15 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Capitol Quip: This Caption Had Just The Right Bloom

 

Capitol Quip: This Caption Had Just The Right Bloom

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.

April 12, 2013

Rob Lowe to Narrate the 1980s

Fire up the Hot Tub Time Machine!

It’s the event every Gen-Xer has been waiting for: Affirmation that the 1980s gave birth to every culturally significant trend of the next 30 years.

And who better to guide us through this than the National Geographic Channel’s three-night, six-hour mini-series, “The ’80s: The Decade That Made Us,” narrated by Rob Lowe, he of “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Class” and “About Last Night…”

Long before Lowe played the noble Sam Seaborn on “The West Wing,” Lowe was starring in hard-R comedies in the era of leg warmers, Aqua Net and Ronald Reagan — a time we were all duly reminded of with this week’s death of another 1980s icon, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Thatcher.

“Despite its reputation for bad hair and loud clothing, the ’80s was a big, bold time, and just about everything about the era, from the politics and technological innovations to the blockbuster movies, TV shows and ‘to the max’ fashions, continues to shape the world we live in today,” a release from National Geographic Channel pants.

Even Cyndi Lauper is back, thanks to the latest Twitter misadventure of Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.

That’s what we’re talking about! Those of you who want to remember, it all starts on National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. EDT Sunday night.

Obama Wears Things on His Head

President Barack Obama said Friday that presidents don’t wear hats. But we see plenty of evidence that he’s willing to make an exception, if the chapeau is right.

Let’s start at the beginning. Earlier in the day, Obama became the second politician to be offered a helmet in the past several months.

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was presented with a football jersey and a helmet after she returned to work following a fall and subsequent concussion.

On Friday, Obama presented the Navy Football team with a trophy. Two players then presented “44″ with a helmet, and, according to the pool report, “[s]omeone in the crowd shouted ‘put it on.’” Obama demurred.

“Here’s a general rule,” the president replied. “You don’t put stuff on your head if you’re president. That’s politics 101. You never look good wearing something on your head.”

He seems to have learned this great lesson from two politicians from Massachusetts and Democratic presidential candidates, Gov. Michael Dukakis and Secretary of State John Kerry.

Still, our current commander in chief has worn several things upon his head. Don’t believe us? HOH has gathered eight pictures of Barack Obama wearing, holding and regarding hats and helmets and one painting of the president with a pancake on his head.

Choom Gang Panama Hat

Obama Wears Things on His Head
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Jack)

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Awkward? Jane Harman and Mark Mazzetti Together Again

In a potentially awkward encounter, former Rep. Jane Harman had nothing but warm praise this week for a new book by Mark Mazzetti, the New York Times reporter who once reported on her alleged collusion with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The California Democrat became the first female president and chief executive officer of the Woodrow Wilson Center in February 2011. Months later, Mazzetti began his tenure there as a scholar, during which he wrote “The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.” The book was released earlier this week.

In her opening remarks at Thursday’s book launch at the center, Harman said her organization gives the space for scholars such as Mazzetti, who was in attendance, to do their work.

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Steve Cohen Just Wants to Have Fun

Let’s give Rep. Steve Cohen the benefit of the doubt, at the same time keeping straight all that is going into his explanation over his latest Twitter misadventure: Cyndi Lauper, his own daughter, Mavis Staples, the movie ‘Absence of Malice,’ two of his own colleagues, the White House, and, of course, the Sunlight Foundation.

At a somewhat perplexing news conference Friday afternoon, the Tennessee Democrat said that a tweet he fired off from his Twitter account Tuesday night to singer Cyndi Lauper, saying she was “hot” at a performance at the White House, wasn’t a mistake but rather a prank on the media.

Cohen gave a couple of reasons as to why he sent the tweet in question to Lauper: “CyndiLauper great night,couldn’t believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness”

First, he said he wanted to promote the White House program – which featured performances of Memphis music by Justin Timberlake, Queen Latifah, Mavis Staples and the Alabama Shakes, among others, and will be replayed on Tuesday on PBS.

Second, he said he was trying to turn “gotcha” journalism around on all of us journalists. Full story

Stockman Mixes Babies, Guns and Abortion With New Bumper Sticker

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, is rapidly becoming one of our favorite members of Congress.

Political Wire’s Taegan Goddard flagged the congressman’s campaign feed tweet, which touted the latest Stockman bumper sticker. The sticker proclaims: “If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.”

Stockman Mixes Babies, Guns and Abortion With New Bumper Sticker

By Neda Semnani Posted at 1:12 p.m.
Foolishness

McCotter Sues Former Staffers for Forged Ballot Signatures

Ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., is taking two former staffers to court, suing them for the fraudulent nomination petitions that ultimately led to his resignation from Congress in July.

In the lawsuit filed in Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court on Thursday, McCotter alleges that the two aides deliberately submitted forged ballot petitions to foil his re-election efforts, according to The Associated Press.

The former fringe 2012 GOP presidential hopeful filed the suit against his former deputy district director, Don Yowchuang, 34, and former intern, Dillon Breen, 20. Full story

April 11, 2013

Ex-Lawmakers to Explore Whether the Truth Is Out There

Stephen Bassett, an extraterrestrial issues activist, believes the time has come for Congress to open up about visitors from space.

While waiting, though, Bassett and his organizations, Paradigm Research Group and Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, are spending thousands of dollars for former members of Congress to hold a 30-hour “hearing” at the National Press Club from April 29 to May 3.

Bassett’s groups will pay $20,000 each to six former members — Sen. Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, and Reps. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore.;  Merrill Cook, R-Utah; Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md.; Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich.; and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. — to preside over the “citizen hearing” as if they were on the Hill.
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Celebrating Moran’s and Campbell’s Pet Projects

The Washington Humane Society will figuratively pat congressional animal-loving Reps. James P. Moran, D-Va., and John Campbell, R-Calif., on the head Saturday during the 7th annual Fashion for Paws gala.

The co-chairmen of the Animal Protection Caucus will be jointly honored with the 2013 Humane Hero Award, recognition for their work on the behalf of our four-legged friends everywhere.

Tickets to the glitzy shindig, scheduled from 8 p.m. to midnight at the National Building Museum, are $150 per person and benefit the Washington Humane Society.
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By Warren Rojas Posted at 7:07 p.m.
AwesomeSauce

Taste of the South Readies Down-Home Comforts

Washington’s Southern belles and their beaus will glam up Saturday night for the annual Taste of the South at DAR Constitution Hall.

Tickets for the charity gala ­— $125 per person ­— sold out within two weeks, according to the event’s chairwoman, Alyson Gabel, primarily to staffers and lobbyists excited for drinks, dancing and down-home delicacies from 13 Southern states in the name of a good cause.

Since Taste of the South’s founding in 1982, the event annually has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for charitable initiatives throughout the South. This year’s featured charity is Mercy House, a nonprofit based in Harrisonburg, Va., that helps homeless families. Proceeds will also help The Fishing School, a D.C.-based youth development organization, and other charities from the host states.
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Overheard on the Hill

“First time I can remember having a joint Democrats and Republicans lunch since I’ve been here.”

Sen. Bob Corker, regarding Thursday’s joint-caucus Senate lunch to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Sen. John McCain’s release from a North Vietnamese war prison.

By Emily Cadei Posted at 7:04 p.m.
Overheards

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