Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 21, 2014

December 17, 2014

Liver Let Die, Foie La La Ducks Controversy

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(Screenshot)

The second annual Foie La La competition is under way on H Street Northeast, with nine establishments going beak to beak for the hearts and minds (and livers?) of diners with a taste for foie gras.

The eat-off, which started on Dec. 15 and runs through Christmas, has attracted attention from the folks at PETA, who aren’t too keen on the consumption of animal protein, much less duck livers, much, much less the sense of humor the organizers have employed in publicity material. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 3:24 p.m.
Be Merry, Eat

December 16, 2014

Shocked, Shocked Woodhouse Brothers Are Fighting on Cable TV

With all the spontaneity of a professional wrestling match, the Woodhouse brothers, liberal Brad and conservative Dallas, argued their political points on cable television today and their mom called in to scold them.

While the “Oh, God, it’s mom,” comment from Dallas and Joyce’s admonition that they get all this piss and vinegar out their system so they don’t ruin Christmas at Casa Woodhouse back in North Carolina is adorable in a #ThisTown kind of way — it’s worth pointing out this is a bit old hat for the family Woodhouse. They even made a movie about it, “Woodhouse Divided,” that catalogues in detail their cable television and public spats, as well as, yes, family holiday arguments.

Let’s get ready to rumble. Again.

Related:

Woodhouse Divided’ — The Real Life Political Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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Radici Takes Root on Capitol Hill

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Sasso at her new establishment, Radici. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Whisked away to Italy by love 18 years ago, Bridget Thibodeau Sasso returned to Washington with a piece of Italy she has now established on Capitol Hill — her Italian market Radici at 303 Seventh St. SE.

While on vacation in the Bahamas, Sasso fell in love with an Italian man, whom she corresponded with through letters and eventually married. When she later moved to Italy to begin a life with Enrico Sasso, she also opened her own Italian food export business. After 13 years there, she returned to the United States, where she opened an import business in Vienna, Va. Both have since been sold to family members.

Full story

December 15, 2014

Calendar: ‘Through a Lens Darkly’ Illuminates Screens

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Protesters march in the “Justice for All” march on Dec. 13 in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Thomas Allen Harris worked on his latest film project, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” for years, and it was released in Washington on Dec. 12.

The timing, while entirely coincidental, comes during a period of renewed discussion of race as grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., continue to reverberate and demonstrations sweep through the halls of power, including at Capitol Hill. Full story

December 9, 2014

‘Mayor For Life’ Explores the Folklore of Marion Barry

D.C. historian and author John Muller is resurrecting — for one night only — the colloquially inspired show centered around the late Mayor Marion Barry as a final tip of the hat to the political icon.

MB12914 ‘Mayor For Life’ Explores the Folklore of Marion Barry

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The revived “Mayor For Life: The Untold Story” is scheduled to be performed twice on Dec. 15 (6:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.) at the Anascostia Playhouse at 2020 Shannon Place SE. The shows, which Muller expects should accommodate between 100 and 140 patrons per seating, are pay-what-you-can and first-come, first-served. Full story

December 5, 2014

Hill, K Street: Grab a Drink, Get Your Party On

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Time to sort through your holiday party invites. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you’ve been stuck in the Capitol cramming on the “cromnibus” and missing the whole holiday mingling circuit, then it’s time to grab a drink and get your party on.

Some of the hottest December shindigs are still to come, offering a rare respite from the partisan vitriol and legislative gridlock. These are opportunities for some serious bipartisan collaboration, though the invites — or lack of — can be challenging to navigate. Full story

December 2, 2014

‘Remote Area Medical’ — a Documentary Whose Subject Is No Longer Remote

“If I’d made this movie, I’d have screwed it up,” said Stan Brock, the founder of Remote Area Medical and a man with nearly a half-century of film experience.

The movie he is referring to is “Remote Area Medical,” a documentary by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman about Brock’s organization, which provides free medical clinics to the poor. Their movie documents one of RAM’s weekend pop-ups in Bristol, Tenn., in 2012.

The organization, which Brock founded in 1985, first set to work delivering health care in out-of-the-way locales such as the Amazonian jungle and the wilds of Africa. Brock, a former cowboy in South America and collaborator on Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom,” was uniquely qualified for a medical venture serving virtually inaccessible areas in developing countries. Now, nearly 30 years later, more than 60 percent of RAM’s clinics are conducted in the United States. Full story

November 24, 2014

To Trot or Not to Trot

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Ready for Turkey Day? (CQ Roll Call File Photo.)

Staying put in Washington for the Thanksgiving holiday has its perks. No airport waiting lines. No captivity on I-95. A relaxed, convivial atmosphere. That’s good to keep in mind when arriving amid the forecasted snow and cold at Freedom Plaza for the 2014 Trot for Hunger 5K race.

The footrace, put on by So Others Might Eat, raises money to provide food, health care and clothing for the homeless. The D.C. trot, SOME’s 13th annual, is expecting more than 10,000 runners for an 8:30 a.m. start time for the kids’ 1-mile fun run and 9 a.m. for the 5K. SOME aims to raise $525,000 in its effort to feed the hungry and help the homeless.

To register for the event, go to SOME’s sign-up site at soome.convio.net. It’s $30 for an untimed run and $35 for a timed one. A hyper-competitive environment this is not. Ridiculous costumes are welcome, particularly of the avian variety. Ability is not an issue. Case in point? Your Roll Call After Dark columnist himself will be participating, rehabbing torn MCL and all.

SOME’s downtown D.C.-centered trot is just one of many in the area. Still, there’s something about seeing thousands of people running around in the cold, amid the Capitol Dome. The political world can cast a dark tone on Washington, and given congressional approval ratings, not too many folks view Capitol Hill in a positive light. Showing there’s more to D.C. than Republicans and Democrats trading potshots starts with events like this.

But surely there must be easier ways to get out of helping stuff the turkey on Thursday morning? SOME is more than eager to shoot you in the right direction for volunteer opportunities on Turkey Day and beyond. Drop them a line at some.org.

Among the many other places to volunteer are DC Central Kitchen, Bread for the City, Food & Friends, the Capital Area Food Bank, take your pick. If you want to volunteer, there’s a spot for you.

Something to keep in mind is that while Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas holidays are good motivators for community service and volunteerism — and charitable organizations are eager to accept goodwill during such busy times — the need doesn’t end with the holidays.

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November 21, 2014

‘Food Chains’ Explores Farm Worker Rights, Wages

In Immokalee, Fla., after driving around the country visiting farms, Sanjay Rawal found the solution — at least one of them.

He’d been looking, after reading the book “Tomatoland” by Barry Estabrook, for a way to show on film the struggles facing farm laborers. The result, his first feature-length film, “Food Chains,” debuted in Washington at the West End Cinema (2301 M St. NW) on Friday.

“In an age where we all take photos of our food with our phones, we care so much about our food, but we’re not protecting the hands that pick our food,” Rawal said. Full story

By Clark Mindock Posted at 4:52 p.m.
Movies

November 19, 2014

Decoding the Sometimes Mystifying Vocabulary of Politics

Have you ever found yourself walking back a dog whistle on the basis of a Washington handshake? Sometimes the political world’s vocabulary is otherworldly. In those cases, “Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs & Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang and Bluster of American Political Speech,” is here to help.

This new book, the product of veteran political journalists Chuck McCutcheon and David Mark, provides a breezy guide to the arcane shibboleths employed by the lawmakers, journalists, staffers, fixers (defined on p. 13) and other citizens primarily of the Acela Corridor (defined on p. 70). Its fun tone belies its utility, as even the most seasoned D.C. sherpa (p.25) or graybeard (p. 34) may not know the ins and outs of each and every term. Want to know the genesis of some of the budgetese (p. 102) thrown around in the coming weeks? This is the place.

This is no goat choker (p. 189), and given how often, and for how long, some of the terms have been bandied about, will likely be no snowflake (also p. 189). If you can carve a little time out of this week’s lame-duck nut-cutting time (p. 116), McCutcheon and Mark will be discussing their book tonight at the Northeast D.C. Library on Capitol Hill at 330 Seventh St. NE at 7 p.m.

As for the title? Turn to pages 136, 200 and 97, please.

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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November 18, 2014

Hiking Arizona’s Gabe Zimmerman Trail

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A memorial to Zimmerman stands at the entrance to the trailhead. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

DAVIDSON CANYON, Ariz. — The bike rack at the Gabe Zimmerman Trailhead here is a twisted oxidized metal coil molded to look like a rattlesnake. It’s a small bit of whimsy amid a majestic part of the 800-plus-mile Arizona Trail dedicated to the victims of a dark chapter in the Grand Canyon State’s history.

That would be the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting at the Casas Adobes Safeway in Tucson, where Zimmerman and five others were killed, and 13 others were injured, including Zimmerman’s boss, then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her congressional successor, Ron Barber.

A sculpted tile-work monument of Zimmerman stands at the trailhead’s entrance. This portion of the path was a favorite for Zimmerman, who was an avid outdoorsman. The monument also shows a side of the legislative staffer different than the one dedicated to him thousands of miles away in the Capitol Visitor Center. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 5 a.m.
The Sights

November 13, 2014

Cheese Making Its Way Into D.C. Culture

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A cheese plate at Sona Creamery on Capitol Hill. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“You don’t want to disturb the milk,” Genevieve O’Sullivan said as she slowly poured the white liquid into a plastic container. “That would break the fat molecules. Pour it like you pour champagne.”

A few in the room giggled. This was the first time the class participants were touching the cow and goat milk that would — after much stirring, some extra bacteria and about an hour of work — become cheese.

It would be delicious, fresh cheese actually made in Washington, D.C. — a small regulatory feat. Though small-batch and legal for the cheesemaking participants to take home, it was a symbolic step for Sona, the restaurant, wine bar, retail shop and soon-to-be-creamery on Capitol Hill. Full story

November 7, 2014

Party Like It’s 1844

An ambitious Kentucky lawmaker. A president mistrusted by his own party. Texas taking on an outsize role in Congress. Is this 2014, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell  waiting gleefully to seize the majority, President Barack Obama under withering criticism from Democrats marooned in the minority and Lone Star Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz ready to take up spheres of influence in the Senate?

Nope. It’s 1844, when Henry Clay of Kentucky dethroned President John Tyler as standard-bearer for the Whig Party in that year’s presidential contest. It was a year when Tyler bet his political future on annexing the Republic of Texas, risking war not just within Congress; but also with Mexico, which was still smarting from Texas’ secession. It was a year when religious fundamentalism was on the rise, with Mormonism in its ascent and other Christian sects predicting the second coming any day now. It was a time of economic uncertainty and hardened debate about the future of the country.

This journey into Antebellum America is brought to you by John Bicknell, a CQ Roll Call alumnus whose new book, “America 1844: Religious Fervor, Westward Expansion, and the Presidential Election That Transformed the Nation” is the latest selection for Roll Call Book Club. Full story

November 5, 2014

A Shot and a Beer and Midterm Cheer

On election night 2014, the Capitol Hill neighborhood was a subdued, quiet place.

Republicans were ecstatic, of course, and celebrated their House and Senate gains at Union Station and Republican National Committee headquarters. But outside such political party-time destinations, Capitol Hill was very much like the small town many people describe it as — half-asleep on an Autumn Tuesday night.

Eastern Market’s North Hall, frequently a gathering place for political fundraisers, was empty at 10 p.m. A homeless man in a wheelchair, covered in blankets, sat outside its side entrance. Across the street at Tunnicliff’s Tavern, one of the city’s oldest pubs, a cozy, medium-sized crowd milled around in conversation, some of it lightly about politics, most of it centered on sports. (The Washington Wizards beat the New York Knicks in New York.)

At Boundary Road on H Street Northeast, a mostly bar-seated crowd enjoyed the house special: a shot of Old Overholt rye and a can of National Bohemian beer for six dollars upon showing one’s “I Voted, Yo Vote” sticker. Boundary Road mercifully spares its patrons from television viewing. No one, even those with “I Voted, Yo Vote” stickers seemed to miss it, although everyone was politely discussing the returns among musings about the newfound popularity of rye and whether the new restaurant down the street, Driftwood, was worth a visit.

On Barracks Row, the victory party at Molly Malone’s for new Ward 6 councilmember-elect Charles Allen was breaking up by 10:30 p.m. Not much else was going on up and down Eighth Street Southeast. Most restaurants had stopped serving long ago. Two Marines walked up to Chatt’s Liquors, saw it was closed, and moved on in search of an open establishment.

Just another Tuesday night of wild abandon.

Related:

Senate Republicans Jubilant at Election Party

Roll Call Election Map: Race Ratings for Every Seat

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November 3, 2014

Let’s Do Election Day Lunch

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Consider the Tune Inn for your Election Day culinary needs. (Tom WIlliams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 2014 midterm elections are finally here, and it’s important to have a nice big lunch before settling in to watch returns. For those tending to the capital fires in the District, here is a highly subjective list of some of Washington’s best Election Day lunch options. Full story

By Jason Dick Posted at 1:09 p.m.
Eat

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