Close look at Biden’s hair reveals no plugs

Let’s put all the rumors to rest: Joe Biden doesn’t have hair plugs.

Or at least that’s the account from someone who has had a close-up look at the vice president’s dome.

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Sheila McGurk, founder and owner of the Circe Salon and Day Spa in Alexandria, Va., said the White House sought her shop’s services before Biden recently appeared on “60 Minutes.” An excited McGurk subsequently sent one of her employees to do Biden’s hair and makeup.

And now, the verdict is in.

Biden’s hair is “100 percent natural,” McGurk said. “No doubt about it.”

McGurk said Biden was “very charming” to the stylist, who told McGurk that there were times during the hair/makeup session that the vice president was on two phones at the same time.

McGurk, however, would not reveal what Biden was saying while he was talking on the phones.

Biden did ask the stylist to make him look good for his mother, who watches all of his television interviews.

And exactly how much did the job cost? Anywhere near the $400 that John Edwards shells out to get his hair done?

McGurk wouldn’t say, but pointed out that all of the money her shop receives from public figures goes to charity.

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Rep. Stark ‘tethered to monitors’ as health reform unfolds

Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), one of the House’s leading liberal voices on healthcare, has been forced to sit out much of this year on the issue that’s defined his congressional career. And he’s not happy about it.

Stark, 77, who chairs the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and holds the liberal line on healthcare, has been sidelined with a persistent bout of pneumonia that has required hospital stays, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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He recently wrote his colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee to note that it is “totally ironic that at this pivotal time when we finally have a president and Congress ready to push forward with health reform, I am tethered to monitors and participating from remote. I am an impatient patient but am making the best of the situation and following orders so that I can be back with you.”

Stark, who has not been shy in criticizing physician groups and insurance companies, indicated that his unfortunate illness and prolonged treatment are giving him a fresh perspective on the condition of the American healthcare system.

“I’m seeing the health system up close and have more appreciation as a consumer than ever before. And I certainly am thankful that I have good health insurance and an excellent team of doctors — something everyone in America should have. But sometimes I do wonder if this is a plot by the health lobbyists to keep my involvement in health reform.”

Stark said he is still on the job in his hospital room, which is in the Washington area, writing that he is “very cognizant of [Rep.] Earl Blumenauer’s [D-Ore.] comments of two weeks ago that I’m failing to investigate waste, fraud and abuse and can assure you that this chairman is going to great lengths to respond: I’m taking note of the number of face masks, gowns and purple gloves that are disposed of each day in the trash.”

The Ways and Means Committee hosted Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for its latest hearing on health reform Wednesday, which Stark was forced to miss. He also was absent for President Obama’s healthcare summit in March, but he was listening to it on the phone.

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Rep. John Duncan and his baby-giraffe namesake

Some members of Congress have buildings and airports named after them. Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), however, is in a slightly different category.

The 12-term lawmaker told ITK that the Knoxville Zoo named a baby giraffe in his honor. And like a proud dad, Duncan likes to talk about his namesake.

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The Tennessee lawmaker still wears the giraffe tie that the zoo presented to him on the day of baby Duncan’s birth in 2003.

“They gave me that — after they named the giraffe Duncan. I went out to the zoo and met the mother,” he recounted fondly, noting that little Duncan now lives in Orlando, Fla.

Duncan (the congressman) pointed out that such an honor is not unusual for him.

The Republican, who voted against giving President Bush the authority to declare war on Iraq, recalled a different situation in which he was honored.

“A few years ago I went to the opening of a Hindu community center in western Knoxville county and they gave me a plaque designating me as an honorary Hindu,” the longtime Presbyterian said. “I think I may be the only member of Congress who is an honorary Hindu and has a giraffe named after him.”

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The writers behind the jokes come to D.C.

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart make skewering politicians and newsmakers for laughs look effortless, but they have a lot of behind-the-scenes help.

On Friday night a group of late-night comedy writers will gather at the Newseum to perform their own standup and share the trade secrets behind the brutal one-liners that have rattled the likes of Bill O’Reilly, the Bush administration and even the Washington press corps (remember that awkward 2006 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner?).

 

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They’ll also discuss the merging of comedy/variety shows and news and growing synergy between Washington, Wall Street, the media and late-night comedy programs.

The invite-only event, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America East, will feature writers from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report,” the “Late Show with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “Best Week Ever.”


Pomeroy not a fan of fish soaked in lye

As a founder and co-chairman of the Friends of Norway Caucus in the House, Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) represents a state that has more Norwegian-Americans — more than 30 percent — than any other.

So it’s not surprising that in 1999 Pomeroy teamed up with another Norwegian-American member, former Rep. Martin Sabo (D-Minn.), to form a caucus that has a special interest in furthering relations between Norway and the United States’ more than 5 million citizens of Norwegian descent.

Pomeroy would like to promote more cooperation between the two countries, but such cooperation has its limits, he told the spring issue of the Norwegian Embassy’s News of Norway newsletter.

“I can think of an area where we should not cooperate,” he said. “Perhaps you could send us a little less lutefisk, but keep the brown cheese and Jarlsberg cheese coming!”

Pomeroy was referring to a dish made from dried cod soaked in lye, whose gelatinous texture is, to put it mildly, an acquired taste.

As Jeffrey Steingarten, author of The Man Who Ate Everything, once told a Norwegian newspaper, “Lutefisk if not food, it is a weapon of mass destruction.”