Schumer rats out lazy roomie Durbin

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is a hands-on kind of guy. Which is a good thing, since Schumer, the son of an exterminator, has been put in charge of rodent removal at a Capitol Hill house he shares with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the two senators told reporters.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is a hands-on kind of guy. Which is a good thing, since Schumer, the son of an exterminator, has been put in charge of rodent removal at a Capitol Hill house he shares with Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the two senators told reporters.

Schumer didn’t exactly volunteer for the unpleasant assignment, though. A four-legged vermin recently was found dead in their home, and Durbin, according to Schumer, did nothing to get rid of the unwanted visitor.

“He left it there for me,” Schumer complained to reporters. He then demonstrated the technique he used to pick the dead rat up by the tail.

No word on why Schumer didn’t rat out his other roomies, Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and Bill Delahunt (D-Mass.), who apparently were AWOL on rodent duty as well.


 Yes, the senator really said ‘booty’

Book tours make for strange bedfellows. Just ask Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). At the Hill’s fifth annual Political Book Fair last week at the Trover Shop, Dorgan regaled us with this tale: During a tour to promote his book about the outsourcing of American jobs, “Take This Job and Ship It,” Dorgan recalled a time when he was a guest on a Chicago morning radio show. The host was announcing the lineup, informing listeners that Tommy Chong of “Cheech and Chong” fame would be followed by Dorgan talking about his new book. And then, the host said, the senator will be followed by the winner of the “Best Booty in Chicago” contest.

“I thought to myself, ‘Oh boy, would my mother ever be proud of me,’” Dorgan laughed.


 You say ‘de-fense’, I say ‘the fence;’ let’s call the whole thing off...

Maybe we should all agree to call it “banana” instead of “fence,” just for clarity’s sake. (“Banana,” for the record, was Alan Greenspan’s code word for “recession.”)

Or maybe we should all go in for elocution lessons. Because in the last week or so, senators and journalists have been confused by the similarities in the pronunciation of two of the hottest topics du jour: defense (the military spending bill the Senate adopted on Friday), and the fence (the wall that would be erected along the U.S.-Mexico border under an immigration bill the Senate approved last week).

The near-homonyms caused not a few mix-ups last week, including with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who answered a reporter’s question about defense with talk of border security.


 Hostettler is shifted into Illinois by Google search

Sure, all those flat states that start with an “I” look alike. If you Google the term “John Hostettler,” the following entry pops up beneath his official campaign page: “Incumbent Republican Party candidate for U.S. Representative from the 8th Congressional District of Illinois.”

Um, but isn’t Hostettler from the fair state of Indiana? Yes, that’s right. Apparently, just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true. Google gets its snippets from the Open Directory Project (www.dmoz.org), a volunteer-provided source of information on just about every topic imaginable — which is, of course, subject to human error. Other lawmakers have had similar problems in their entries.

But Hostettler’s campaign doesn’t appear too concerned about the error.

“Fortunately, when people do even a little bit of research, they do find out that he’s from Indiana,” a member of the Hostettler camp said. “But it would be nice if they fixed it,” she added.


 Foley’s ’98 Disney massage a touchy subject

Here’s a nugget from The Hill archives that seems especially relevant, given the charges that former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) sent sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages to male pages. Back in 1998, The Hill ran an item about a Foley congressional travel-expense disclosure showing that while a guest of Disney for the opening of Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Fla., he paid for massages at establishments called Muscles & Bustles and the Yacht/Beach Health Club.

The former Hill reporter who wrote the item now tells us a Foley flack called after the item ran, outraged that The Hill would print the item as a way of suggesting that the congressman was gay. The reporter, who at the time wasn’t aware of the rumors that Foley was gay, was surprised, thinking he had just been poking gentle fun at what looked like a frivolous expense.

“It genuinely didn’t occur to me that it would have been offensive,” the reporter wrote us in an e-mail.