Attention all conspiracy theorists who despair about “one-world” government: It’s starting to look like the Rockefellers and Mellons are taking over the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the panel’s new vice chairman, has hired Christopher Mellon (yes, of that Mellon family) as minority staff director.
“They worked together on the Trilateral Commission for years,” joked one committee staffer. “So it seemed like a natural fit.”
The 45-year-old staffer, whose great-grandfather started the Gulf Oil Co., is a descendant of Judge Thomas Mellon. The Senator, of course, is John Davison Rockefeller IV, great-grandson of the man who founded Standard Oil.
Both families are great fodder for people who run Web sites devoted to following the “Illuminati,” or secret society of rich people who are allegedly plotting to take over the world.
“The Illuminati banking leaders, such as the Rothschilds, the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, and the Mellons, as examples, will reveal themselves, and offer to ‘save’ the foundering economy,” says one such site. “A new system of monetary exchange, based on an international monetary system, and based between Cairo, Egypt, and Brussels, Belgium, will be set up. A true ‘one world economy,’ creating the longed for ‘one world order,’ will become reality.”
A committee aide joked to HOH: “I hate it when they find out about that. It’s very disconcerting.”
In all seriousness, Mellon brings distinguished credentials to the committee post, having spent a decade working on intelligence issues for then-Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine.). When Cohen became Defense secretary, Mellon followed him over to the Pentagon and until recently was serving under current Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
In other words, the liberal Rockefeller has hired — gasp — a Republican. In keeping with the bipartisan nature of the committee, it will probably work out just fine.
HOH just has one question: Could Mellon spare a few bucks?
Hot Stuff. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif) was heard on Wednesday in a Longworth hallway proclaiming, “I’m hot right now!”
No, Baca was not admiring himself in a mirror. He was just trying to recover from cramming 47 jalapeno peppers down his throat in a span of five minutes to steal the “Zestiest Legislator” crown from Rep. Max Sandlin (D-Texas). [IMGCAP(1)]
Chile Pepper/Cooking Zesty magazine challenged legislators to the contest, looking to see who could withstand the heat of eating green pickled jalapeno peppers in the allotted time frame. Each pepper is about 15,000 times hotter than a green bell pepper.
Sandlin, who hosted this year’s battle, managed to scarf down 40 peppers. He consumed just eight of the spicy peppers to be named the champ in the first annual contest last year.
Upon losing on Wednesday, Sandlin was itching for a rematch with Baca. He complained that the organizers “wouldn’t bring me enough peppers” to keep up with the Californian in an excuse that sounded like sour grapes — or at least sour peppers.
As the men furiously ate (while tiny beads of sweat trickled down their faces), Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Kay Granger (R-Texas) politely munched on their jalapenos with closed mouths.
Before the countdown began, Granger was even seen quietly squeezing out some of the pepper juice onto her plate. And she asked the magazine officials before the race, “Don’t we have any cornbread or anything?”
The Kerry Blue Terrier. Since all indications are that his prostate cancer surgery went well on Wednesday, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) seems intent on getting back out on the presidential campaign trail as quickly as possible.
Maybe the Senator will get a little inspiration from Mick, the 6-year-old Kerry blue terrier who beat out 2,602 other pooches to snag the crown at Tuesday night’s Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. It sounds like they share more than just a surname.
“The typical Kerry Blue Terrier should be upstanding, well-knit and in good balance, showing a well-developed and muscular body,” says the American Kennel Club’s Web site. (The Senator is known for being physically fit and enjoys rollerblading and windsurfing.)
According to the AKC, the terrier’s head is “long, but not exaggerated, and in good proportion to the rest of the body,” another similarity to the strong-jawed Kerry.
But there is one key difference: The Kerry blue terrier originated in Ireland. The Senator, as we now know from a recent Boston Globe piece, has Czech roots.
Ben Backs Down? In calling for the resignation of U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Lloyd Ward, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.) has set an interesting standard for those in the upper echelons of society.
Campbell lashed out at Ward in a Washington Post story this weekend, calling his membership in the all-male Augusta National Golf Club “disgraceful” and grounds for his ouster.
The Senator added that given Ward’s high-ranking position at an organization that promotes inclusiveness, his membership “is blatantly discriminatory” and “just plain wrong.”
So Campbell must obviously be just as peeved about the fact that two of his Senate colleagues, Budget Chairman Don Nickles (R-Okla.) and Armed Services Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), are members of the all-male Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Md., right?
No comment from Campbell’s camp on that one.
Celeb Sightings. Actor Sean Astin, who played the lead in the inspirational movie “Rudy,” was recently spotted knocking on the door of the empty headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, which is being renovated.
Jay Vincent, a staffer at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, approached the actor and found out that he needed to be at a meeting with DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe in five minutes. The celeb didn’t know that the party’s temporary headquarters are at the Motion Picture Association of America building downtown.
“I buzzed him across the town,” Vincent told HOH. “He had been given a bad business card with the old address.”
A grateful Astin, who most recently appeared in the first two installments of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, agreed to speak at an event for Democrats of a New Generation.
The actor is a busy guy who’s now a member of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, so he could only do lunch the following day. Vincent threw it together in less than 24 hours and about 70 folks showed up at the Hawk & Dove.
Meanwhile, Alex Michel, the former star of the ABC show “The Bachelor,” was spotted by a couple of Hill insiders this weekend at the Union Street Pub in Alexandria, Va.
Even though he was accompanied by a date, Michel ended up chatting up Pamela Davidson, a staffer for House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio), for more than 15 minutes.
“All I’m going to say is I’ve still got it at 33,” Davidson quipped.
Hammering Frist. The 108th Congress has barely gotten off the ground and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) is already speculating about whether new Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) should get slapped around.
In an effort to dampen expectations among conservatives, DeLay said in a recent speech that he’s hoping his friends on the right will heed the advice of former President Ronald Reagan. Early in his first term, Reagan urged his supporters not to be too hard on him.
Reagan told the story of a mom who urges a camp director to go easy on her son. If he acts up, slap the boy next to him — that would sufficiently scare her son.
“So my fellow conservatives,” DeLay said, “I only wish to be treated on those same terms. And you can rest assured, if I see you beating up on Senator Frist over the next couple of months, I’ll get the message.”
But that scenario could prove helpful in other ways to House GOP leaders, who are typically annoyed by the slow pace of the Senate.
“The good doctor is indeed off to a strong start,” DeLay spokesman Jonathan Grella explained to HOH. “But as a practitioner of the ‘ounce of prevention’ doctrine, Tom prescribes an early dose of input from the base for the good of one’s political health.”
S.S. Mikulski? It sounds like Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D) has found an interesting way to get Maryland’s Congressional delegation cracking on new funding for a city fireboat: Dangle the possibility of naming the ship after the lucky lawmaker who scores the federal appropriation.
The odds-on favorite has to be Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Appropriations panel who seems to have already warmed to the idea of getting her name on a vessel.
According to The Baltimore Sun, the subject popped up when O’Malley appeared at a recent event to thank Mikulski for securing other funds and then made a pitch for the boat.
“The S.S. Mikulski, I think it’s going to be called,” O’Malley joked.
“With a lot of ballast in the keel, I might add,” cracked Mikulski.
The newspaper reported that within a couple of days, however, O’Malley was already putting the bounty out there for Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) and Benjamin Cardin (D) as well.
“We told Senator Mikulski we would name this the S.S. Mikulski if she gets the money for it,” O’Malley said. “If it comes out of the House first, you guys can flip a coin to see if it will be called the S.S. Cardin or S.S. Ruppersberger.”
The mayor might want to be a little more careful about not upsetting Mikulski.
Sara Faiwell contributed to this report.