Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 26, 2014

July 9, 2013

Congressional Hopeful Brent Roske Views Gig as a Two-Person Job

“Chasing the Hill” director Brent Roske is done playing pretend politics.

Congressional Hopeful Brent Roske Views Gig as a Two Person Job

(Courtesy Brent Roske)

He wants to give the real thing a go.

“I’m throwing my hat in the ring. And, God forbid I actually get elected, I feel I could effect some real change,” the neophyte candidate, who plans to run for a House seat as an independent, told HOH.

But rather than swoop in and just assume he knows everything there is to know about life on Capitol Hill, the first-time challenger says he would love to find a way to keep his opponent, 20-term Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., around for at least a little while. Full story

Team Englewright’s Curious Reading Habits

We get that a fledgling web series that treats working in Congress with all the reverence would-be NYC Comptroller Eliot Spitzer previously showed his marital vows would want to align itself with fellow new kids on the media block.

But we’re a bit perplexed by the consumption habits over at “Cap South.”

Team Englewright’s Curious Reading Habits


Full story

July 8, 2013

John Dingell Google-Glasses Himself

Congress’s longest-serving member, Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., can now find his favorite Chinese restaurant using only a pair of glasses.

Google stopped by Dingell’s office three weeks ago to show the 29-term congressman one of its newest products, Google Glass. Dingell, who turned 87 today, posted a video of his Glass experience on his Facebook page, saying near the end of the 55-second video, “This is quite a machine.”

Google, which has an office in the congressman’s district in Ann Arbor, Mich., launched Google Glass last June at Google I/O 2012, using skydivers and other extreme sport athletes to showcase the product’s capabilities.

Check out Dingell’s Google experience below:

Michigan Democrats Dance on McCotter’s Political Grave

It’s been more than a year since ex-Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., was obliged to quit Congress amidst a career implosion that called into question the incumbent’s ability to do simple paperwork.

Still, Democratic operatives in the Wolverine State can’t help but keep rehashing the past in hope of undermining Republican hopeful Terri Lynn Land’s bid for the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Carl Levin.

Whereas they at least put together a somewhat clever ditty about McCotter’s re-election woes the last time around, the grudge match against Land features some of the least entertaining (some are downright boring) e-cards we’ve ever seen:

Michigan Democrats Dance on McCotter’s Political Grave

(Courtesy Michigan Democratic Party)

Michigan Democrats Dance on McCotter’s Political Grave

(Courtesy Michigan Democratic Party)

Michigan Democrats Dance on McCotter’s Political Grave

(Courtesy Michigan Democratic Party)

Michigan Democrats Dance on McCotter’s Political Grave

(Courtesy Michigan Democratic Party)

Michigan Democrats Dance on McCotter’s Political Grave

(Courtesy Michigan Democratic Party)

We get that it’s a full-contact sport, guys.

But at least try to have some fun with it.

Twyman to Waters: Get Pope to Purge Capitol Hill

Pray at the Pump founder Rocky Twyman wants fellow demon-decrier Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., to formally join the cause and help him bring Pope Francis to Washington, D.C., for a full-scale exorcism of the Capitol.

Twyman was impressed by Waters’ fiery 2012 speech to the California Democratic Party convention, an off-the-cuff oratory in which she denounced Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., as “demons” and accused the GOP of dooming the entire country.

In his letter prodding her to procure an invite for Francis to the annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Prayer Breakfast (Sept. 21), Twyman praises Waters for so brazenly speaking her mind then — and implores her not to hold her tongue now.

“The sequestration, upcoming debt ceiling fights and stubborn high unemployment are a result of spirits of evil spirits infiltrating Congress and the White House. The politicians have failed to heal these serious wounds and we now need divine intervention,” Twyman said.

Full story

Costumed Kids, Moms Herding Into Hart

Fired-up moms, bedecked in bovine gear no less, plan to mass in the Hart Senate Office Building at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday before stomping into members’ offices to stump for expanded gun control laws.

The expected 40-odd participants in the MomsRising lobbying day will be canvassing Congress to express their support for the background check legislation originally advanced by Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., and Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., that was ultimately defeated by the full Senate in April.

Costumed Kids, Moms Herding Into Hart

(Courtesy MomsRising)

The group aims to huddle with Manchin-Toomey supporters and potential swing votes, dropping off novelty key chains along the way urging lawmakers to “get mooo-ving on gun safety.”

Confidence is low that the goofy keepsakes will sway pols more than, say, the millions of dollars the National Rifle Association has poured into campaign coffers or the vote-scoring threats issued by gun-friendly conservative groups.

But they do reclaim some of the cute-bovine meme from the conservative-leaning Chick-fil-A crowd.

July 7, 2013

A Cartoon for Egyptologists | Capitol Quip

A Cartoon for Egyptologists | Capitol Quip

Was it a coup or another populist uprising? Or both?

The recent events in Egypt beg for answers and careful analysis by foreign policy experts — as well as readers of Capitol Quip!

Let us know by leaving your caption in the comments section below.

Editors will pick five finalists on Wednesday, and then everyone can vote for the winner until Thursday evening.

The winner gets a signed print from illustrator R.J. Matson.

Looking for inspiration? Check out a lineup of our past winners on Pinterest.

Edward Snowden’s Excellent Adventure | Capitol Quip

Edward Snowdens Excellent Adventure | 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. And check out our past winners on Pinterest.

July 5, 2013

While You Were Away …

Congress might have left Washington for the Independence Day recess but HOH stayed the course to keep an eye on things over the hot, humid and patriotic week. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorites bits of gossip and observations while you were away.

Grassley Makes History

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, who over the past couple of years has taken shots at the History Channel for what he says is an inadequate amount of historical programming, declared recent efforts to his satisfaction. On his Twitter account, the Iowa Republican praised programming on Attila the Hun and Cleopatra.

An ‘Insane’ Workout

The man behind the Insanity workout, Shaun Thompson, punished lawmakers before they headed home for the recess, stopping by the Capitol to lead Republican lawmakers, including P90X acolyte Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., and Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich. Twitter hashtags that followed the getaway day sweat-fest included “#gradeAbuttkicking” and “#can’tmove.”

Republicans Snap Pix

Some House Republicans decided to chronicle their day-to-day activities this month via the #CongressionalPhotoADay project, a social-media experiment that yielded results that ranged from still-life shots in district flower gardens to inflammatory, damn-the-torpedoes political rhetoric.

Early adopters included Reps. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis., and Austin Scott, R-Ga.

Elizabeth Lauten, spokeswoman for Fincher, told HOH, “I’m hoping this encourages members to stay consistently engaged on Instagram and to continue to push themselves to find creative ways to reach their constituents on platforms we know that they’re using.”

How People Find HOH

And finally, every once in a while we look backstage in our Internets to see just what search terms people are using to find their way to HOH’s little slice of blog heaven. As usual, we were delighted and confused. Here were some of the top, fully formed questions people plugged into their search engines to find us on the Web:

  • Who says government doesnt listen to what its citizens have to say
  • What religion is nancy pelosi?
  • Why barney frank is an idiot
  • Who picked the gang of eight
  • Is that a tarp over the supreme court building
  • What is a roll call in the air force

Vegetarian Staffers Foster Capitol Hill CSA Growth

Members of the Congressional Vegetarian Staff Association have put their proselytizing into practice, convincing a Pennsylvania-based farming cooperative to deliver loads of healthful organic foodstuffs to a hush-hush pickup spot within striking distance of the Capitol.

Vegetarian Staffers Foster Capitol Hill CSA Growth

(Courtesy Shelby Boxenbaum)

Shelby Boxenbaum, an aide to Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., estimates nearly 40 people have elected to feast on the bounty provided by Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, including several members of Team Cartwright, other House staffers and some Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee operatives.

The events follow Restaurant Associates’ recent decision to put the kibosh on a nascent “Meatless Mondays” offering at the Longworth cafeteria.

Lancaster delivers its raw materials — a payload that has, to date, included: kale, beets, potatoes, zucchini, pickling cucumbers, fennel, broccoli, chard and mini carrots — every Thursday to a home just a few blocks from the Capitol South Metro stop. The homeowners, whom Boxenbaum believes to be ex-Senate staffers with possible ties to the office of Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., have not only signed off on allowing staffers to use their front lawn as a grocery depot, they also purchased a full vegetable share for themselves.

Lancaster, which has a handful of drop-off sites — including a pre-existing Capitol Hill spot (Washington Community Fellowship at 907 Maryland Ave. NE) — around the city, originally wanted the House-led group to guarantee at least 40 new full-share purchases, but it has plowed forward with the pilot project even though the newcomers have fallen somewhat short.

“We haven’t quite made it to 30 yet … but we’re super close,” Boxenbaum told HOH.

Full story

July 3, 2013

Five (Cartoon) Options for Edward Snowden | Capitol Quip

Five (Cartoon) Options for Edward Snowden | Capitol Quip

The five finalists for this week’s caption contest are ready for your votes.

Using the comments section below, vote for your favorite caption until 9 a.m. EDT Friday.

Here are this week’s finalists:

  • I can’t help but feel bad for this guy. He’s already beaten Angry Birds twice.
  • He can start his Rosetta Stone Russian course right here at the airport!
  • Let’s see William Shatner negotiate his way out of this!
  • Your frequent flyer miles have apparently expired, sir.
  • Let’s not tell him his flight to Ecuador changes planes in Washington.

The cartoon with the winning caption will appear on this blog July 7 and in the next 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 5:35 p.m.
Capitol Quip

Anti-NSA Demonstration Ready to Roll

We Act Radio personality Kymone Freeman has cued up the playlist and plotted a route for his inaugural “NSA Mixtape Bike Ride,” a rolling protest of widespread government surveillance practices poised to take place Thursday.

The 13.5 mile trek will depart from the W.A.R. station (1918 Martin Luther King Ave. SE) at 5 p.m. Thursday, leading participants from Anacostia through Capitol Hill and Bloomingdale, down U Street Northwest, looping around Dupont Circle and barreling straight down Seventh Street Northwest before filing into Freedom Plaza.

Freeman’s ride playlist features a number of thought-provoking tunes threaded by media clips of President Barack Obama, administration officials and members of Congress weighing in on the whole government eavesdropping vs. personal privacy brouhaha.

The songs that most resonated with us include:

Imagination – “Just An Illusion” Full story

Dem Interns Chillax in Longworth

What’s a recess week without a little socializing?

Dem Interns Chillax in Longworth

(Courtesy Office of Zoe Lofgren)

Summer interns in the employ of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., decided to make the most of this week’s downtime, hitting up the boss for permission to host a delegation-wide mixer.

A Lofgren aide said the party, which kicked off around 4 p.m. Tuesday in Lofgren’s congressional digs, included more than 70 interns — the invite was “green-badges only” — from fellow Democratic offices.

Staff supplied chips, salsa and soda (booze was verboten), while the new arrivals supplied the ear candy via their personal music players.

Lofgren spokesman Duncan Neasham praised the new recruits for showing some initiative — “It’s a cool idea these guys had for some esprit de corps,” he said — and seemed to leave the door open to future soirees.

“This is the first time I believe that we’ve held such a mixer,” Neasham told HOH. “But from the turnout, I wouldn’t say it is the last.”

July 2, 2013

GOP Photo Project Off to a Wildly Divergent Start

A handful of House Republicans have committed to chronicling their day-to-day activities this July via the #CongressionalPhotoADay project, a social media experiment that’s already yielding varied results.

Elizabeth Lauten, spokeswoman for participating Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, said the snap-happy plan was hatched in her office a few months back.

“We had tried this back in May but got pretty bogged down with the House Digital Challenge, so [we] decided to try it again,” she told HOH. “I’m hoping this encourages members to stay consistently engaged on Instagram and to continue to push themselves to find creative ways to reach their constituents on platforms we know that they’re using.”

Lauten recycled about 40 percent of the assignments from May for the latest go-around, though she also axed several images — “district dish” and “can’t live without” sounded promising — we’d like to have seen.

Full story

July 1, 2013

Sink Your Teeth Into This Winner | Capitol Quip

Sink Your Teeth Into This Winner | 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 past winners on Pinterest.

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