House Dem complains about his own insurance

Sure, the influential Blue Dog Democrat has indicated he doesn’t like the public option because it would drive those insurance companies out of business.

But there’s one company that’s kind of ticking him off these days: the one he pays premiums to. Seems Boyd recently had knee-replacement surgery that was covered by his health insurance. But the company isn’t being so generous about paying for physical therapy.

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“That doesn’t make any sense, does it?” he asked ITK last week. “They pay for the surgery, but not for the therapy you need for it.”

Some insurer’s government-affairs department will probably want to look into that one.

Boyd’s office did not return calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

Bayh: Sneaking around the Senate (again)

Congressional staffers are not alone in suffering from the negative health effects of pacing Capitol Hill’s marble floors day in and day out.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has spent the past week walking through the upper chamber in his customary dark suit, crisp tie — and bright white sneakers. This is the second time in three months that ITK has spotted Bayh in comfy footwear: In July he told ITK that he was recovering from a heel injury, but it appears he hasn’t recuperated 100 percent yet.

“It’s in my right heel; it’s been bothering me for three and a half months,” Bayh told ITK.

Bayh withstood the pain to play in a celebrity tennis tournament in late July sponsored by the Washington Kastles. Proceeds from that event went to charity.

The trim Democrat said, “The doctor finally said [to me], ‘The hard floors around the Senate are really part of the problem.’

“So I’ve had to wear these,” he said, adding: “It’s not about fashion, I promise.”


RSC: Shaking their money makers

A whiteboard in a second-floor conference room at the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) recently featured a unique set of instructions, according to an ITK spy.

“Shake yo’ money maker” was written in the middle of the board in big letters, with dollar signs all around it. Fitting, given that the second floor is where the finance staff sits.

The slogan was originally written as part of the popular rap song “Money Maker,” by the artist Ludacris, and the “shake” directive is apparently aimed at an exotic dancer. The full line goes:

“Shake your money maker, like somebody ’bout to pay ya.

I see you on my radar, so don’t act like you’re a faker.”

“Money Maker” proved to be exactly that for Ludacris and co-writer Pharrell Williams. The platinum-selling album hit No. 1 on various national and international charts before winning the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Rap Song.

By all accounts, the “Money Maker” theme is working pretty well over at the NRSC, too: The fundraising arm of the GOP committee has recovered from a nearly $70 million fundraising deficit last year, and is running nearly even with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

At press time, an NRSC spokesman was still looking into how the slogan got on the whiteboard.

Celebrities, mayors unite for ‘Brick City’

Actor Forest Whitaker, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty and Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker are an unlikely trio to appear together in downtown D.C., but the film they were promoting together, “Brick City,” is no ordinary movie.

Whitaker, Fenty and Booker joined filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association headquarters near Union Station at a recent reception to premiere “Brick City,” a five-part documentary showcasing Booker’s efforts to cleanse Newark of gang violence.

A native of Texas who was raised in South Central Los Angeles, Whitaker became involved in the project as the executive producer after seeing raw footage the two directors had shot for their film. The actor said he admired how the film promoted individual activism.

“It’s very important to be able to move across the veil, to allow these stories to be told, these voices to be heard,” Whitaker said. “Because they aren’t heard enough, and certainly not with any depth or clarity.”

Whitaker pointed out to ITK that Booker presided over a 40 percent decrease in crime rates in Newark during the year in which the film was shot.

“What’s going on in Newark is actually a model for what can happen in cities across the country. We want to see models, and we want to see models that are working. And this is one of them.”

Levin and Benjamin told The Hill they were initially approached by Bloods gang members from Newark in 2007 who were promoting the concept of “de-ganging,” or educating local youths to dissuade them from joining gangs.


Rep. Gerry Connolly, the taxi driver

A talent for theatrical expression has served politicians well in Congress, from Daniel Webster in 1830 to the late Rep. Silvio Conte (R-Mass.), who was known to occasionally wear costumes on the House floor to make a point.

This should all come as good news for House freshman class president Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who will show off his dramatic skills this weekend when he appears in the role of a taxi driver in a community-theater presentation of the play “Harvey.” According to a spokesman, the lawmaker has 41 spoken lines in the play, which is produced by the Providence Players.

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Harvey marks the 13th role the congressman has played over the years with the Providence Players.

The play was written by Mary Chase in 1944. Harvey is the name of the lead character’s imaginary friend, a 6-foot, 3.5-inch tall rabbit. Jimmy Stewart starred in a movie version of “Harvey” released in 1950.

Catch Connolly on stage this Sunday, Oct. 4, at 2 p.m. at the James Lee Community Center in Falls Church, Va. Tickets are $15.

Tips and complaints: christina.wilkie@thehill.com or 202-628-8516.

Reid Wilson, Molly K. Hooper, J. Taylor Rushing and Mike Soraghan contributed to this column.

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