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Archives: April 2012

Most Say Luke Russert Screwed Up

In our Fish Poll yesterday we asked readers to decide whether NBC Congressional Correspondent Luke Russert breached any journalism ethics when he emceed “Grammys on the Hill” Wednesday night. WaPo‘s Paul Fahri raised the issue in a column Thursday.

An astonishing 67.74 percent of respondents said yes. Here’s how the numbers broke down:

  • “Yes, he broke his objectivity; get him into Journalism 101.” — 45.97 percent
  • “Yes, this wasn’t a big deal but you can’t be too careful.” — 21.77 percent
  • “No, stop with the more-objective-than-thou B.S.” — 17.75 percent
  • “No, Fahri read a little too much into this whole thing.” — 14.52 percent

Perhaps most searing was a comment on the Fish Poll from a reader: “Luke is young, inexperienced and not the brightest bulb. But hey, he has the ‘right’ last name and in DC isn’t that enough?”

Spotted: Slate‘s Weigel at ‘First Amendment’ Party

At The Atlantic‘s “First Amendment” party, co-hosted by NJ and Funny or Die,  Friday night FBDC ran into Slate‘s one and only Dave Weigel beaming and flanked by two female friends including Politico media coordinator Olivia Petersen (pictured at left).

Weigel says he’s indifferent about actress Lindsay Lohan‘s invitation to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner by FNC’s Greta Van Susteren and hubby John Coale. Weigel remarked, however, that he’s a big fan of Lohan’s older work, “Mean Girls.” He had all the makings of a star-crazed journo. “I’m looking for [Portlandia's] Carrie Brownstein,” he said.

Ice Thermometer

We also ran into the Washington Examiner‘s Nikki Schwab shortly after the party started. As stated in our Morning Chatter, we’ve implemented a new system to gauge how icy the gossip columnist is in our encounters. For last night’s run-in, we award Schwab seven cubes. That’s one less than what she earned at Thursday’s Elle/Lani Hay dinner Thursday. Last night, even though she blew right past us, she at least returned our hello in a halfhearted greeting.

Curling Up With Lindsay Lohan

Joe Curl, who works for Drudge and is a columnist for TWT, brushed with greatness today at Tammy Haddad‘s and Hilary Rosen‘s famed garden brunch. Lindsay was polite but kept things low-key, kept mostly to herself, wore dark glasses and so forth.

Amazing that Washington’s longtime journo, the unassuming Curl, managed to snag this picture with the starlet. “And a monster is created,” said our spy.

Who are the Funniest Members of Congress?

Who are the funniest Members of Congress? All of them, if you think about it long enough and don’t mind the fact that the joke is on us. The real answer is most of them if you just focus on looks. But if you think of it in terms of comedy you come up with a different answer.

In a group that contains the notoriously unfunny Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.), damn near anything you say can be considered funny. But Businessweek decided to actually look and see if any of the 535 people voting on a regular basis to spend more money than exists in cash form are funny.

They came up with 8.

So who are these 8 special people who can crack a joke on our dime?

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who made his fortune writing comedy on shows like Saturday Night Live, and has become known on the Hill as…a guy who just isn’t funny at all. He’s trying to be taken seriously, so he acts serious. Someone should tell him it’s much more effective if it’s not an act. But they won’t, because he’s smart enough…you know the rest.

Reps. Linda and Loretta Sanchez (Dems from Calif.). Not sure why they were picked, the article talks about Christmas cards, for which they are known. Funny, not so much. Off the wall? Dead on.

Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX). He’s 88 and he’s funny, or so the article says. I don’t know if he is or not, but anyone who lives to 88 can say whatever the hell they want to about themselves.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). OK, he can be funny. And not just when he wears a T-shirt showing off his man-boobs on the House floor. But mostly he can be whiny and annoying. Considering the competition, that qualifies him to host open mic night a the Improv.

Congressman Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Sure, Flake can be funny, but anything funny he says is offset by the fact that you’re blinded by the whiteness of his teeth when he opens his mouth. Like an eclipse, you shouldn’t stare.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas). The evidence of his humor? Washingtonian said so and they can help you find your favorite Botox doctor. That’s pretty weak, but the guy is from Kansas so I’ll cut him some slack.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). She can actually be funny, so this one’s good.

But 1 of 8 after only finding 8 of 535 is a sad commentary on the state of humor in our humorous state.

Cokie Releases Statement on Missing Dog

Only in Washington would someone think to actually release an official statement about a missing pooch.

Unfortunately the news is grim. Katie, the canine that ran away the very day NPR’s Cokie Roberts adopted her from Lab Rescue, was struck and killed by a car. Roberts released a statement on it. Bethesda Patch, which has been following the story closely and breaking news on it every step of the way, first reported the sad news.

“We are so terribly sad about the news,” said Roberts in the statement. “We want to thank all who searched so diligently for Katie, and we are deeply distressed for the family who fostered Katie for three loving months.”

Blaming Cokie?

Comments under Patch’s story were unforgiving and squarely placed blame with Roberts. Dog Lover wrote, “Why did the dog go missing after just being adopted? Seems like the journalist wasn’t familiar with dogs, which makes me wonder why the rescue gave her the dog in the first place?” From another: “Katie did not deserve this.” Buzz Lightyear weighed in, saying, “She (Cokie) was warned of Katie’s history and fearfulness, but she insisted on taking her. The Rescue did their job. It’s clear who is responsible. Even if Cokie had asked someone to watche her, she was responsible.” Buzz later added, “…I’m not sad for Cokie. She was taught, warned, etc… Our rescues require a lot of attention because they sometimes come from homes where they’ve been abused. They’re scared. Perhaps Cokie adopted just for show and not because she cared.”

Please note: The photograph comes from Fuzzypants Pet Photography.

By far the worst comment… Read more

Morning Chatter

Quotes of the Day

“There will be sex.” — Creative Coalition member Tim Daly on what’s to come on his ABC drama, Private Practice, where he plays Pete, the doctor having marital troubles with his TV wife, Violet. Daly told us this Thursday night at the Elle/Lani Hay shindig at The Ritz, but couldn’t elaborate much on what will happen with the storyline, saying he could land himself in hot water for spilling.

Dana loves ‘Scandal’

“Hanging w/ the sweet & talented @kerrywashington Star of my new favorite show ‘scandal.’ it’s a must watch.” — CNN’s Dana Bash who attended TIME/People party last night at the St. Regis. In the TV drama, Washington plays hot shot lawyer Olivia Pope, who has an ongoing liaison with the President of the United States.

Cupp has arrived

“Touched down in DC, where I will sleep before reports from nerd prom festivities later.” — Conservative Commentator and GBTV host S.E. Cupp.

Uh Oh.

“#WHCD tomorrow, and with me stuck in DC I need to have a deodorizer handy to remove the powerful stench of pretentiousness…” — Josh Feldman, who contributes to Mediaite.

Boybander tries to flirt with Elizabeth Banks

Actress Elizabeth Banks of Hunger Games fame: “Excited to watch 30 Rock Live show tonight. Writers and cast skillz on full display.” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “Are you going to be in the audience?” Banks: “I will be on my couch, in my slanket, eating Girl Scout cookies.” Much to our horror, Hayes continued, “Elizabeth Banks, was hoping you’d be at 30 Rock, so I could meet you in person and fanboy out a bit.” She did not reply. Sorry, Hayes, doesn’t sound like she’s an Upper.

One of our favorite partygoers, Slate‘s Dave Weigel, showed up to a number of parties last night, namely Funny or Die. “Met Danny Strong at the #FirstAmendmentParty. My weekend’s pretty much sorted,” he wrote.

Charlize in the flesh

“Charlize Theron. Just as beautiful in person. #funnyordie.” — Washingtonian‘s Kate Bennett at Funny or Die.

The perpetual cold shoulder

“Not at all sure what Richard Kind is doing right now. He was definitely just jokingly freaking out and then on his knees “proposing.” #WHCD” — The Washington Examiner‘s gossip columnist Nikki Schwab, out and about at parties last night, commenting on Twitter on the douchebag D-lister actor, Kind, who pinched a woman’s behind at the Elle/Lani Hay dinner Thursday night. Schwab’s been rather cold to FBDC as of late. So this weekend we’re implementing an ice thermometer rating scale for just how cool she is at each party where we encounter her. For a Thursday night sighting we give her an eight ice cube rating for making a round of hellos in a line and blatantly icing us out. Remember, it was last year at this time when we (and fellow FishbowlDC readers) helped her pick out dresses for prom. My how times have changed.

Journos covering WHCD take note…

“TWILIGHT – Actor Robert Pattinson was spotted at Washington Dulles Airport this evening, look for him at the WHCD #DMV” — DC Celebrity.

Whoa! On a journo’s salary?

“10% of my income goes to the church. Period. If I see someone in need, I help. I donate 2 causes I believe in. Thats personal responsibility.” — The Daily Caller‘s Jason Howerton.

A reporter writes to FBDC late night: “OMG did you open it? I like the glittery hair stuff, the chocolate and the soy candle. ” The journo is referring to the TIME/People gift bag that we lugged out of the St. Regis along with other partygoers struggling to carry such a jumbo gym bag of gifts. NYT Washington Bureau Chief Carl Hulse was noticeably carrying two gift bags. A bystander whose name rhymes with Latt Bornic joked with him about it. To which he responded, of course I get two, we’re the NYT. Hulse added that he was, of course, joking. He was carrying the bag of goodies for a friend.

Hitting on married dinner guests: Good idea or bad idea?

“Follow @ryanngro as she live tweets me awkwardly hitting on Paul Rudd at the WHCA dinner even though he’s totally married to Diane Wiest.” — Jessica Stephens, who has worked as an editorial intern at The American Prospect.



Dangerous Party Couch

This dark gray leather couch may seem like an innocuous piece of furniture found at last night’s Funny or Die/Atlantic/NJ party at 1800 L St. Sponsored by Volkswagon, they somehow fit actual cars inside the party space. As you can see from the photograph at right, even a potential romantic hot spot. But downstairs in the darkened vast bar area was this gray piece of furniture that matched the carpet maybe a little too perfectly and caused a fair amount of trouble.

Needless to say this became FishbowlDC’s home base.

Early on in the party, a man walked by and completely wiped out, sprawling all over the couch. He managed to get himself upright rather quickly as people watched. No one really had to help him but some inquired if he was okay. Later in the night, a woman wasn’t nearly so lucky — she fell backwards onto it. And still later, in the thick of the alcohol-soaked party haze, a woman tripped over it to the point where her necklace was up over her face and she was entirely splayed on the floor. We tried to snap pictures, but the whole thing happened so fast and Eddie ( who was laughing and yelling at me not to take pictures of this) prevented me from getting the shot in time. About four people helped this last woman up.

By the end of the evening there should have been a team of medics standing by this thing.

At one point we anticipated that NYT Washington Bureau Chief Carl Hulse, who stopped by to chat with the Fishbowl team, might topple over it (horribly Peter said he had his camera ready just in case), but Hulse, after talking with us about music, his band and reporters, walked smoothly past the danger couch and made his way to the bar.

Fab or Fug?

As White House Correspondents’ Dinner weekend barrels on, we’re going to be bringing you samples of things we find exceptionally fashion-conscious or choices that went horribly wrong.

This morning we begin with rings worn last night by Roll Call HOH writer Neda Semnani. We bumped into her at Atlantic Publisher David Bradley‘s swank abode and at the Funny or Die/Atlantic/NJ party. We still have no idea how to pronounce her first name — we’re going to hound her or her HOH partner in crime, Warren Rojas, later for lessons.

Meanwhile, those rings. The turquoise ring on the left was given to her by her late mom when she got to Greece after marrying Neda’s stepfather. The white flower ring is from her Aunt Roshank (no one has normal names in Neda’s family, what can we say?). Neda tells me jewelry carries special meaning for her. For example, the turquoise ring is her “truth serum” ring. When she wears it, she says, “I am exactly who I am going to be.”

Our verdict: Fab. The rings looked beautiful with her dark gray dress.

Charlize Theron Breaks Loose

Friday night’s First Amendment Party, thrown by The Atlantic– together with National Journal, Funny or Die and Impact Arts + Film Fund, promised to deliver on some big name stars. Your entire FishbowlDC team was on hand to attend. We’ll have more on the party later, but for now, here’s a picture of Charlize Theron. She was trying to hide as she escaped the pen of “celebrities” mingling away from the common folk at the back of the party. The Charlize sighting was so brief, we aren’t sure if that’s a shot of her or a grainy shot of the Chupacabra. Among the other partitioned partiers were MSNBC’s Luke Russert, who strutted around the enclosed area. We also spotted a dead ringer for Sam Stein from HuffPost, who was putting on a clinic of bad dance moves. We can confirm that the bad dancer was NOT Stein. Although, we hear he’s a terrible dancer on his own.

A Moment at David Bradley’s House

FBDC just finished up at The Atlantic/NJ cocktail party at Atlantic Media owner David Bradley‘s home in D.C. where we ran into Georgetown University professor and MSNBC contributor Eric Dyson.

Dyson, pictured to the right with his wife, Marcia, a writer and ordained minister, said he’s definitely going to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday, but he didn’t seem sure who he’s sitting with or exactly how the hell he got into one of D.C.’s premier events.

“I think MSNBC got me the hookup there,” he said. “They give out these tickets so you never know with who or where you’re going to sit.”

Guests usually sit at the tables of the publication that invited them.

Dyson, who is also a regular panelist on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” tells us he recently finished up another HBO special with professional boxer Floyd Mayweather called “Speaking Out” (yes, he also talks about sports).

As an aside: We spotted this decorative chair sitting next to a baby grand piano at Bradley’s house that looked too delicate to sit in and like it probably costs more to reupholster than one month’s rent of my apartment.