In the know


Rep. Miller back after six-week recovery from shoulder surgery

Some lawmakers rough it when they’re sick, such as Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) who carries oxygen in the course of his daily duties, and other wheelchair bound members such as Reps. James Langevin (D-R.I.) and Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). Others, well, take a more leisurely approach to recovery.

Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) recently returned to Washington after having been on leave for six weeks to have surgery for a torn rotator cuff. The injury, an office aide who answered the phone explained, was the result of years of exercise and nothing more specific than that. Last week Miller was spotted in the Speaker’s Lobby in a silky black Addidas track suit, a sling on his right arm and bright white sneakers. Of course, House floor rules prohibit a member from dressing in this fashion on the floor. Jeans and sneakers are particular no-no’s. 

The explanation for the congressman’s attire: He was rushed. “He was trying to catch an airplane and he wore the sling so that people wouldn’t bump into him and so people would not reach out to shake his hand,” said Miller’s Chief of Staff John Rothrock. “It was just a protective measure.”

And the tracksuit? “It was the last votes of the day,” reasoned Rothrock. “He did not hang out on the House Floor. He would hang out in the cloak room and then go to the floor and then dash back in.”

One GOP leadership aide in the Speaker’s Lobby at the time remarked, “Pretty fly for a white guy.” (Could it be that Miller was preparing for the upcoming season of “The Sopranos” that began last weekend?)

Rothrock says his boss isn’t typically in a sling — it was simply a decoy for those who might consider bumping him or shaking hands. “His recovery is going well,” he said, explaining that doctors discovered complications during surgery — there were, apparently, two tears in his rotator cuff instead of one.



Rep. Weiner was formerly roomies with Jon Stewart

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said he’d go on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” if asked, but insisted he’d never be asked.

Seems like the chances could be high since Weiner, known to be funny on occasion, used to live with the Daily Show host. Though the congressman won’t say much about the living experience (try next to nothing), he seems to have pleasant memories of the experience of sharing a beach house with Stewart in Dewey Beach in 1987.   

The two men met as a result of Weiner’s internship for then-Rep. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the mid eighties. Schumer’s intern coordinator played soccer with Stewart at the College of William and Mary, and made the introductions. Weiner said that when he moved back to New York he was dating a woman that Stewart knew.



Del. Christensen chooses her Bluetooth over teddy bears and blankets

Virgin Islands Del. Donna Christensen (D) is pretty attached to her Bluetooth.

(For the technologically challenged among us, it’s a small wireless cell phone device that resembles a small torpedo that you attach to your ear. While the benefits are incredible —it allows for a complete hands free range of motion — the cost is that people around you inevitably think you’re walking around talking to yourself.)

On a recent codel to New Orleans, Christensen joined 33 Republicans and Democrats. A GOP source reports that Christensen had the Bluetooth attached to her ear at all times, and removed it only for a press conference. Codel attendees generally found the delegate’s Bluetooth use peculiar. “It just seemed odd that we’re going through the lower Ninth Ward that she had a Bluetooth blinking in her ear the entire time,” said a trip attendee. 

Christensen said, “I had it off and on. I don’t think I spoke on the phone very much. Sometimes you forget it’s on until someone says something.”

The delegate said the Bluetooth is “a easy way to get a call without disturbing anyone, and if I’m expecting calls or planning things I will have it on. It’s often on.”

She said that initially the device was uncomfortable, but she has grown used to it. She explained that when the phone rings it’s simply a bleep in her ear that only she hears.  “If it rings where people are I’ll step away. If it’s my children I’ll answer it.”


Lawmakers to introduce oral health resolution keep own teeth clean

Reps. Jeb Bradley (R-N.H.) and Tom Allen (D-Maine) announced an oral healthcare resolution yesterday stressing the importance of oral health in the general health regiment.

As it turns out, the congressmen have fairly strict regimens concerning their own teeth and gums. “He follows the academy of general dentistry and American Dental Association recommendations,” said Bradley spokesman Stephanie DuBois, “which as you know [means] visiting the dentist twice a year, brushing and flossing on a regular basis and eating a well-balanced diet.”

DuBois said Bradley uses an electric toothbrush that sometimes inadvertently switches on in his suitcase. “I don’t think he has set off any alarms in the airport yet,” she says, responding to the obvious question of potential security issues.

DuBois assures that her boss, a former natural foods store owner, is health conscious when it comes to his teeth. She said he does, however, have a couple of cavities that he got awhile ago, but hasn’t had any in “quite sometime.”

Allen, meanwhile, said through spokesman Mark Sullivan, that he had cavities as a teenager, but hasn’t had any since. Allen said his dental health is good and that he flosses daily.  




Alec Baldwin makes fun of lobbying Washington

Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Jim Leach (R-Iowa) joined Alec Baldwin in a sing-along of “Alabama Bound” led by children’s music performer Dan Zanes yesterday morning at a breakfast to kick off Arts Advocacy Day.

Hundreds of “delegates” from the America for the Arts organization flew to Washington to take part. After the breakfast in the Rayburn Building, delegates broke up by state to lobby their respective representatives for a measure reauthorizing the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Shays, the son of two theater actors, thanked delegates for “doing the Lord’s work.”

“I love telling people in New York that I’m going to lobby in Washington,” Baldwin said. “We actually sit and eat cookies and go knock on doors [on] the Hill.”

He spoke of the importance of lobbying on behalf of the NEA, saying, “I would give the NEA $1 billion if I could.”

Addressing Slaughter’s Kentucky roots, Baldwin said, “I can’t get used to being from New York and having a congresswoman that says all y’all.”



Rep. Bartlett: the movie star

Stemming from his efforts to raise awareness on global peak oil and the crisis facing the nation, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) appeared in the premier of “Oil Crash,” a 90-minute documentary that premiered last Friday focusing on the nation’s “dwindling oil resources.” On March 18 he is scheduled to appear in a CNN documentary on the subject of oil entitled, “We Were Warned.”



Announcements

Boehner’s communications director gets married in Rome

Kevin Smith, communications director for House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), returned from Italy last week after marrying Karra Vlasaty, the legislative director for Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.). The couple got married in Rome and then honeymooned in Prague and Budapest.


St. Patty’s Day blowout at Poly Esthers with the Capitol Club

The Capitol Club’s St. Patrick’s Day fest, “Glam Rock Shamrock,” will be held at Poly Esther’s nightclub this Saturday night. The party begins at 8:30 p.m. and runs until 2:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door: women pay $10; men pay $20.