Rep. Taylor: a family freeloader no more

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) has been poking fun at ITK for more than a year after she called him a freeloader. After his home floated away in Hurricane Katrina, he and his family relocated to his brother’s place.

Taylor recently — finally — moved out after his brother’s home caught fire when it was struck by lightning. Taylor helped put out the blaze in his brother’s attic, but even he knew it was time to go. He and his wife, Margaret, are still waiting for their home to be rebuilt on the property where it was washed away by the deadly storm.

The congressman temporarily rents what he describes as a “400-square-foot shack” on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast in Bay St. Louis.  The “shack” is the servant’s quarters to a larger home destroyed by the storm.

“It’s better than a FEMA trailer,” he says.

Taylor expects the family home to be finished in August.


Marty Sheen offers to let Rep. Kennedy write his script

Martin Sheen, father of former bad boy Charlie Sheen, showed up to a press conference on Capitol Hill last week to support the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. All eyes were on Martin Sheen, who played the president in “The West Wing.”

When Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who has been through his own personal nightmare of drug abuse and rehabilitation, walked into the hearing room, he hugged Sheen, who remarked, “If you want me to read something, just write it out.”

Kennedy, with a nod to the press, replied, “Imagine that. I get to be a scriptwriter for Martin Sheen — a scriptwriter for the president.”

But the presser wasn’t all jokes and hugs.

Sheen spoke of his son, Charlie, who overdosed on drugs in 1998 and was a well-known client to ex-Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss. Sheen reported his son’s drug use to police and asked that he be locked up.

“Some of you know I come to this issue from a very personal point of view,” the actor said. “It’s not a secret that one member of my family was caught in drug and alcohol addiction. We went before a drug court. The judge gave him a choice—jail or rehab. My son obviously made the right choice; he has been clean and sober for years.”

Kennedy grew emotional during his speech.

“If it weren’t for the law enforcement community, I probably wouldn’t be alive today,” he said. “That’s our moment of truth, when we face the unmanageability of our lives and disease. It’s known as the teachable moment.”

Kennedy was arrested in May 2006 for crashing his car on Capitol Hill in the middle of the night while under the influence. At the time, he said he had had a bad reaction to Ambien, the sleeping medication. He left Washington and sought treatment for substance abuse.


Rep. Sensenbrenner celebrates 64th birthday with Cheetos and shrimp

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) may be a grouch in the hallways of Congress, but come birthday time he’s as happy as a clam—or at least a pile of shrimp and a handful of Cheetos. The lawmaker celebrated his 64th birthday last week with a low-key office party featuring that fare. The lawmaker is most at home with these treats, and every party thrown for him offers them.

“As long as he has a birthday, it will be on the menu,” said spokesman Raj Bharwani. “It’s pretty well known that he likes Cheetos and shrimp.”

Bharwani said the shrimp is already peeled and ready to be dipped into cocktail sauce. It was purchased at Shoppers in Virginia. As for the congressman’s other favorite food, Cheetos, he eats them whenever he has a sandwich.

Aren’t Cheetos and shrimp an odd combo?

“A happy boss makes for a happy staff,” said Bharwani, noting that the entire office attended the birthday festivities, as did aides on the congressman’s global warming panel.


Bilbray aide and ITK victims of tiger hoax

Usually Democrats are the victims a GOP spokesman’s dirty tricks, but in this case the joke was on Kurt Bardella, spokesman to Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.), and yours truly.

Early Monday morning, Bardella phoned ITK to say that a tiger had attacked his roommate, Frederick Hill, spokesman to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), over the weekend while Hill was tubing down the Potomac. He said a tiger attacked his roomie when the animal leapt out of the brush and onto Hill’s back. He said Hill used “superhuman effort” to fight off the beast.
Bardella confirmed “there are claw marks on his upper back.” He added, “I have seen the scratches.”

Bardella said friends were referring to the incident as “Siegfried and Frederick.” It was Siegfried’s circus partner Roy who was attacked by a tiger in the duo’s Las Vegas show.

Not so fast. “So much for ‘Big Fish’ stories!” wrote Hill in an e-mail to ITK. “I can confirm that someone fell victim to an unbelievable event.”

Hill was attacked over the weekend — by a rock. He jokingly told Bardella that he had been attacked by a tiger but never bothered to say he was only kidding. Bardella, apparently the gullible sort, then phoned ITK to share the news.

 “There are no tigers I know of in Virginia,” Hill said. “I think [it was] more I hit the rock than the rock hit me. There’s a rock mark on my back. I have a two-inch laceration on my back and that’s the extent of it.”


Sighting: David Gregory dines at Hook

He’s not as famous as the Bush twins, who recently showed up to Hook, but David Gregory, NBC’s White House correspondent, is one of those famous-for-D.C. types. Gregory dined at Georgetown’s chic new seafood joint Saturday night with his wife and another couple. Gregory looked debonair in a getup that could be described as tropical casual — he wore a
cream-colored suit, a white button-down shirt that was unbuttoned a few notches and no tie.

The table started off with two plates of crudos, followed by beet salad and one grilled calamari starter. Main courses included trout, snapper, amberjack and lobster risotto. Gregory and his guests drank Prosecco. They tipped well. The waiter was “well taken care of,” said a well-placed source.

Sighting: George Will shows up in Georgetown

Columnist George Will was spotted walking the streets of Georgetown alone Friday night around 7 p.m. on M Street between 29th and 30th streets. No, he wasn’t seen with a Victoria’s Secret bag, joked a trusty ITK informant. The wonky columnist was walking down M Street with — what else? — a Barnes & Noble bag. He had on his usual blue shirt, khakis and bow tie.


Sighting: Bo Derek in the Rayburn Building

ITK was minding her own business walking into the Rayburn House Office Building last week when who should be in front of her in the security line but actress Bo Derek. Derek is most famously known for starring in the movie “10” and for being
Rep. David Dreier’s (R-Calif.) girlfriend — though she has recently declared that they’ve always been just friends.

Derek was meeting with lawmakers such as Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) about the horse slaughter bill. Asked if she enjoys visiting the Hill, Derek replied, “I like the issue. I’ve made a lot of good friends here.”

Derek looked summery in white pants, white sandals and a cornflower-blue blazer.