Drudge, global warming shut down Senate site

Internet surfers trying to access the Senate’s website on Friday (oh, c’mon, you know you were) might have encountered a bit of a delay. For part of the day, all of the Senate’s Web pages, including senators’ personal pages and committee sites, were down.

Internet surfers trying to access the Senate’s website on Friday (oh, c’mon, you know you were) might have encountered a bit of a delay. For part of the day, all of the Senate’s Web pages, including senators’ personal pages and committee sites, were down.

The culprits? Two oft-blamed scourges: DrudgeReport.com and global warming. Well, sort of.

Traffic to a blog posted by Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee was so heavy Friday, thanks to a link posted on DrudgeReport.com, that the Senate site got bogged down. The blog entry that caused the stir was critical of the Weather Channel’s call for decertification of meteorologists who are skeptical of global warming.

An e-mail sent to Senate offices by the Sergeant at Arms, whose office was scrambling to fix the problem on Friday, read in part, “Drudgereport.com established a link on their web site to a press release on a Senate committee Web site. This link was creating 30-50,000 queries per hour to senate.gov, which in turn was generating a query to the Press Application for each of those hits.”

EPW ranking member Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) started the blog in December.

Hmm, now if only the Senate could generate that kind of readership for such scintillating online features as “The Senate’s First Decade on the Web.”


 
Freshman senators make rookie mistakes with gavel

Under the Dome reported last week on how the freshman senators were all-too-eager to take turns presiding over the chamber from the Senate pro tem’s chair. They may be, but they’ve been showing their inexperience with the customs of the upper chamber.

One sharp-eared tipster caught a few rookie mistakes emanating from gavel-holders Thursday. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) at one point was attempting to call to order the unruly Senate after a vote, so that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) could speak. He banged the gavel and said authoritatively, “Have order in the House!”

Someone on the floor responded, “House?”

Tester hastily corrected himself. “The Senate. My mistake.”

A few minutes later, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) took her turn in the chair. “Are there any senators in the gallery wishing to vote or change their vote?” she asked.

The mistake? Senators can’t vote from the gallery, only from the floor. “Although,” our tipster opined, “it would be a lot more fun if they could.”

Give ’em a little time to get up to speed, we say.


 
Bush, Rep. Clay banter on baseball

After all the talk of tanking approval ratings and thwarted Iraq plans, President Bush got a chance last week to turn to a subject of which he’s much fonder: baseball. When the world champion St. Louis Cardinals visited the White House last week, Bush reminisced about watching baseball in the 1950s.

From a spot in the audience, Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) piped up: “Mr. President, did that make you a Cardinals fan?”

Bush, who appeared relaxed and in a jovial mood, according to those present, shot down that suggestion. “No, Lacy,” the baseball-fan-in-chief responded. “It made me a baseball fan and a Stan Musial fan,” referring to the Cardinals’ longtime slugger who dominated in the mid–1940s and ’50s.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), who represents parts of St. Louis, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and former Attorney General John Ashcroft also attended the event in the White House East Room.


 
Sen. Young’s red badge of communism

And we thought red was just a “power color” favored for men’s ties and women’s suits because it conjures strength (and looks good on TV). Or shorthand for “Republican,” in contrast to Democratic blue.

But no, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) reminds us that the color red has much more significance: It symbolizes dirty commies. During the House floor debate last Thursday on the energy bill, Young pointed to his shirt, a normal-seeming button-down that apparently harbored a secret meaning. “I am wearing this red shirt today; it’s the color of the bill that we are debating, communist red,” Young announced. “It is a taking,” he said of the bill.

Luckily for her, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wasn’t wearing scarlet that day; she was sporting a blue ensemble. 


 Move on over Palm, it’s time for fried rice

Hunan Dynasty, the nondescript Chinese joint on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol, isn’t exactly a fabled power-lunch spot. But the humble Hunan is basking in the spotlight this week.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) says in his book, “Positively American: Winning Back the Middle-Class Majority One Family at a Time,” which hits bookshelves today, that he often works there late at night, over spicy shrimp and green beans.

Schumer’s fellow New York Democrat, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, mindful of his fondness for the restaurant (one scene in his book describes a lunch the two shared there), is hosting a book party for him there next Tuesday.