Take My Wolves — No Really

Posted January 16, 2008 at 6:45pm

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) wants California Democrat George Miller’s district to go to the wolves.

[IMGCAP(1)]Young sent a “Dear Colleague” missive Tuesday attacking Miller and the group Defenders of Wildlife for their efforts to make it illegal to shoot wildlife from aircraft, a common practice in Alaska to help control the wolf population. Young, who

nicknamed Miller’s bill the “Wolves are Cute Act,” told colleagues the sad tale of a constituent’s 10-year-old retriever, Buddy, who was killed by wolves.

Young proposed a solution that he thinks should satisfy everyone: Instead of passing legislation, just use the money the Defenders of Wildlife raised to herd Alaska’s wolves and transport them to Miller’s district. “This proposal is a win-win for everyone, and I would suggest my colleagues present it to Defenders of Wildlife representatives roaming the Capitol this week,” Young wrote.

So far, the Alaska Republican has gotten support from many Western states, according to his spokesman Steve Hansen. But not everyone found Young’s proposal so amusing.

“Americans love dogs, but they detest the cruel treatment of wolves,” Miller spokeswoman Puja Patel told HOH. “Fortunately, Mr. Young’s letters are helping us build overwhelming bipartisan support for Miller’s [Protect America’s Wildlife] Act.”

Griping Green. The new House cafeterias, with their more upscale offerings, might have gotten kudos from food journos in Wednesday’s Washington Post and New York Times, but House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is stingier with his stars.

He shared his nostalgia for the old meatloaf-and-Jell-O menu (the Post dubbed it “1950s-era food”) with a group of reporters on Wednesday. “I liked the food before,” he said. “Food you could pronounce the name of.”

And Boehner wasn’t the only Congressional food reviewer dishing up a thumbs-down. Fresh back from a trip to Iraq, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) said on a local radio show that he’s upset now that he has to get his morning double espresso from a “green” coffee shop, since Starbucks got the ax in the cafeteria makeover. “It tasted chemical. … So far I’m not happy,” he told listeners, also going on to gripe about having his scrambled eggs served to him in a cardboard container.

Boehner also piled on the Green the Capitol Initiative, poking fun at it for purchasing carbon credits to offset the carbon emissions caused by running the Capitol. “It reminds me of the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages, when you could buy indulgences.”

Somebody might want to get this guy a pronunciation guide to help him with the transition to the new menu. One hint: It’s SOO-SHEE.

Getting the Hard Sell. Those Ron Paul supporters can be persistent. One die-hard Paul-ite recently called the office of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and tried to persuade the woman who answered the phone to get her boss to switch his presidential endorsement from former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) to Paul.

The caller then posted a tape of the slippery sales pitch on YouTube.com, to the amusement of some Wicker and other Hill staffers. In the taped conversation, labeled “Sen. Wicker Endorses Paul,” he unsuccessfully attempts to change the Senator’s mind using tactics worthy of the smoothest salesman. “When he said he was endorsing Fred Thompson, he probably meant Ron Paul,” the caller tries at first. When the staffer remains firm that the Senator did, in fact, mean to endorse Thompson, he tries another angle. “You’re not really endorsing [Paul], you’re endorsing freedom,” he assures her.

It’s worth a listen, if only for the calm demeanor of the Wicker staffer as she tries to politely rebuff the enthused Paul supporter.

Forget Bennifer, Meet DoriFleck. Actor and frequent Hill-haunter Ben Affleck was back in the Capitol on Wednesday, this time doing research for an upcoming role in which he plays a Member of Congress. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) escorted the suit-wearing star around the Hill, where he visited the House gallery and attended a Rules Committee hearing (hey, way to show him a scintillating time!).

“The Congresswoman has been very generous with her hospitality,” Affleck tells HOH. Affleck reportedly will portray a Congressman in “State of Play,” the movie in which Brad Pitt was set to play an investigative journalist. Pitt, who did his own research for the part by visiting the newsroom of The Washington Post, later backed out of the film.

A Matsui spokeswoman says the star was gracious, posing for a picture with the staff, although things were so hectic in the office that the staff barely had time to fawn over the actor. “We were darn busy,” the spokeswoman says. She says the Congresswoman and Affleck were introduced by a mutual acquaintance.

Grading the Grown-ups. Congress just got a report card, and although it isn’t one that Mom would tack up on the fridge, at least no one’s getting grounded this time. The nonpartisan Center on Congress awarded the institution a gentleman’s C for its work in 2007 — up from a C-minus in 2006.

The grade was determined by a group of 51 “top academic experts” who scored it on 19 questions, including “effective oversight of the president and executive branch” (Congress got a C-plus) and “protecting its powers from presidential encroachment” (a C).

Good thing penmanship and “plays well with others” weren’t on the list.

Briefly Quoted

“As soon as they put those cameras away, I’m going to flip you the bird.” — House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), joking with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), at the conclusion of a press conference with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). A Boehner spokesman noted that the two are old friends and that Hoyer seemed amused by the threat of said bird-flipping.

Niels Lesniewski of GalleryWatch, David M. Drucker and Jennifer Yachnin contributed to this report.

Submit your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments here.