Lawmakers on list of leading Jewish-Americans

Two senators and two House members landed on this year’s edition of the Forward 50 list of the most influential Jewish Americans.

Selected by the editors of The Forward newspaper, the “rappers, Republicans, relief org. heads and rabbis” on the list were chosen “because they are doing and saying things that are making a difference in the way American Jews, for better or worse, view the world and themselves.”

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) made this year’s top five for being “America’s most influential Jewish lawmaker.”

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) gets the nod because “his voice is the loudest in the Democrats’ fight to block conservative Supreme Court and other federal judicial picks.”

Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was chosen because he’s the House’s only Jewish Republican and the third-ranking member of his party.

And “articulate, with a trademark halo of curly blond locks,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) made the list for bursting onto the national scene during the Terri Schiavo controversy.

Other notables on the list include Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, “Daily Show” anchor Jon Stewart, Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman and bloggers Jessica Coen and Jesse Oxenfeld of Gawker.

Specter and Cantor remain from last year’s list; Wasserman Schultz and Schumer replace Reps. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Robert Wexler (D-Fla.). Also dropping off this year’s list: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and World Bank head Paul Wolfowitz.

But what about the Senate’s nine other Jewish members, including Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)?

J.J. Goldberg, The Forward’s editor in chief, said that if you ask the 80 percent of Jews who vote Democratic who speaks for them, Lieberman probably wouldn’t be on top. But the “average Jewish person who opens the newspaper” would say of Schumer, “He’s my guy.”



Jessica Biel helps WMAL help armed service members

Actress Jessica Biel helped to pretty up Thomas Circle last week, posing on a Harley-Davidson in a photo shoot for WMAL 630 radio.

Biel was just named Esquire magazine’s “Sexiest Woman Alive.”

The shoot took place near a CVS, fortunately for fans, onlookers and other assorted gawkers, who immediately raced inside to purchase the magazine for Biel to sign, which, we’re told, she did quite graciously.

WMAL is auctioning off the motorcycle, laden with the Department of Defense insignia, to benefit Fisher House.

There are 32 Fisher Houses on the grounds of military and veterans hospitals around the country for families and friends of the wounded to stay in times of need. The six Washington-area Fisher Houses are at the National Naval Medical Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Andrews Air Force Base. 


Foxx wields a mighty metaphor

Seems like the House Repulbican Conference has Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) on metaphor duty these days.

Last Wednesday, Foxx took to the floor for a one-minute on spending.

“The Democrats’ needle is stuck in a groove,” she said, “and it is playing the same song over and over: Tax and spend. … I guess it is hard to learn a new tune when the old one is playing over and over again in your head.”

Then the next day, she was back for another one-minute. This time, the record-player symbolism was replaced by something a bit more classical.

“The Democrats remind me of the sirens in Greek mythology,” she said. “Sirens would sing beautiful songs to sailors who were unable to resist the beautiful music and would try to swim or steer their boats to the music. The problem, Mr. Speaker, is that the sirens actually lived on islands of sharp rocks that sank the sailors’ boats or stranded the sailors for eternity.

“The Democrats, like sirens, are trying to strand the American public on an island of myth.”

“She does a one-minute nearly every day,” said Foxx’s press secretary, Amy Auth. “Sometimes we collaborate, but the ideas are definitely hers.”


Members pick from dueling Wal-Mart movies today

Got an opinion on Wal-Mart? Well choose up sides and pick your movie screen tonight.

At a screening in the Capitol, members of the Arkansas delegation and other cheerleaders for the world’s largest company will watch “Why Wal-Mart Works: And Why That Makes Some People C-r-a-z-y,” a new documentary by Robert and Ron Galloway that offers a “free-market exploration” of Wal-Mart’s success.

According to a release, the film, first screened at the National Press Club yesterday, “explores why Wal-Mart is one of the greatest success stories in business history, how it improves the lives of individual working Americans and their communities, and the social pathology behind the escalating attacks on the company by special interest groups.”

Perhaps they have in mind Campaign for America’s Future, which is premiering “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price” about one mile away at the Regal Gallery Place theater in Chinatown.

That film promises to take viewers “ on a deeply personal journey into the everyday lives of families struggling to fight against a goliath.”

This morning in the Mansfield Room, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and director Robert Greenwald are holding a press conference to highlight the “devastating impact of Wal-Mart on communities.”

Arkansas Reps. John Boozman (R) and Mike Ross (D), two of Wal-Mart’s biggest boosters in Congress, are attending the NATO meetings in Europe and are flying back today. Both hope to make the Capitol film, said Boozman press secretary Patrick Creamer.


Charlie Norwood rises and walks to blast Dems

Ah, partisanship. The miracle cure.

Last Saturday, Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.) had a malignant tumor on his lung removed by doctors at Fairfax Inova Hospital.

But inspired by the floor fight over the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, Norwood checked out Thursday ready to vote.

In a statement, Norwood, who travels to votes in a motorized scooter, blasted Democrats after the vote was postponed.

“This crowd has had big posters outside their offices for the last six months whining about the federal deficit and blaming it on Republicans,” Norwood said. “House Republicans whooped ’em in ’98 to balance the federal budget for the first time in 30 years, and it’s time we started whoopin’ on ’em again if we want to get this budget back in shape. And if I can crawl out a hospital bed to do it, so can every member of this party in both chambers.”

Norwood’s doctors said no follow-up treatment is needed, although they advised rest and recuperation for several weeks before resuming any congressional duties.

So much for that. “As long as I’m up, I might as well stay up,” Norwood said.