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Heard on the Hill: Loretta and Linda Lit

Looking for in-flight reading material that falls somewhere on the intellectual-engagement scale between that dense briefing book and Us Weekly? HOH humbly suggests the Sánchez sisters’ new book, “Dream in Color: How the Sánchez Sisters Are Making History in Congress.”

[IMGCAP(1)]In addition to perky truisms — “you can’t accomplish your goals if you don’t try” and “the first step toward making anything happen is to believe it’s possible” — the book actually offers some good behind-the-scenes maneuvering over legislation and a few juicy tidbits.

Among HOH’s favorites:

• Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) on the House’s letches: “I’ve had members proposition me, and there are even ones twice my age who have this sort of rock-star mentality that everybody wants to be their groupie. When they are turned down politely but firmly, some of them still won’t take no for an answer. Soon, the word gets around: they are the ones to avoid, the ones who are always a little too friendly or a little too touchy-feely.” Aw, c’mon Congresswoman, no names?

• Linda on some colleagues’ use of feminine wiles: “Among the women in Congress there are probably one or two who try to use their femininity or their good looks to finagle things out of people, and the other members really resent that.” Again, HOH is wishing Sánchez had dropped a dime on her pretty (and pretty manipulative) fellow House-ers.

• Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) describes getting into a verbal fight with Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) on the House floor, while Ehlers was chairing the task force investigating allegations that she had won her election by voter fraud. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) had to break up the fight. Since then, Sanchez and Ehlers have never had a “working kinship.”

• There’s some dish over the much-covered flap when the Sánchez sisters quit the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in protest of Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) allegedly calling Loretta “a whore.” In writing about the incident, Linda essentially calls Baca an aging sexist. “Male superiority is very deeply ingrained in some Latino men of a certain generation — the old ‘women should be seen and not heard’ mentality — and Baca belongs to that camp, although he would certainly deny that.”

A Craig-in-Court Coincidence. Sen. Larry Craig likely won’t attend the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul next week — he’s retiring from office at the end of the 110th Congress, after all. But the Idaho Republican is expected in the Twin Cities on Sept. 10 to appeal his conviction on that whole lewd-conduct-in-an-airport-bathroom thing, which, of course, prompted said retirement.

The number of journalists covering oral arguments in the appeal no doubt won’t match those at the convention, but Craig’s court date still is expected to be a media circus. Thirty seats for reporters have been reserved in the courtroom, with overflow seating in another room at the courthouse. There’s a special room reserved for reporters to conduct interviews, and St. Paul city officials are even allowing media satellite trucks to pay a flat fee to park near the courthouse — and avoid the need to keep feeding the meter.

Housing Crisis. Plenty of enterprising Denver-ites have taken advantage of the convention’s housing crunch to offer their pads out for rent to visiting politicos, but just such a transaction left one would-be renter feeling burned. A poster on the online classified Web site Craigslist complained that Heather Ryan, the long-shot Democrat vying for incumbent Kentucky GOP Rep. Ed Whitfield’s seat, agreed to rent her house but later backed out of the deal.

The unidentified — and irate — Denver resident even went so far as to post the entire e-mail exchange between herself and the candidate in which Ryan claims she, her husband, two kids and a “Kentucky Blogger” will rent the house. Ryan assures the house’s owner that they’re “not big party animals” and even offers to provide the owner an alias for the blogger to use (in case the blogger mentioned the homeowner in a blog post). According to the e-mails, she says she will call and drop a campaign check to cover the deposit, but when the check doesn’t arrive, the homeowner panics about being stood up. “If I do not here [sic] from you my noon MST tomorrow, I will begin contacting news outlets … so that the public and other politicians know you made a deal and broke it.”

Ryan’s campaign manager, Crystal Riley, then e-mails the homeowner saying they didn’t like the previous e-mail’s “threatening tone” and informing the homeowner that the Ryan camp would find other accommodations.

The homeowner complained on Craigslist that she wants the public to know about what she felt were Ryan’s deal-breaking ways. “While not a legal issue perhaps, it is definitely a character issue,” she writes.

Riley tells HOH the incident was a misunderstanding, and that the campaign figured that since they didn’t call to confirm their stay, the homeowner would assume the deal was a no-go. The Ryan campaign, by the way, ended up deciding attending the convention was too expensive after all.

And even though money is tight for the shoestring campaign, Riley says they would have been happy to send their would-have-been host a thank-you present for her efforts. “But she seems really mad, and we don’t want to make her angrier,” Riley says.

Saying Farewell. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) joined the actors, musicians and fans who attended a memorial service last week for soul singer Isaac Hayes.

Hayes, who died at his home in Memphis on Aug. 10 after suffering a stroke, was most famous for penning the theme to the movie “Shaft” and voicing the character Chef on “South Park.”

But he also was a proud Tennessean, and entered the world of politics to publicly support Cohen’s bid for re-election, appearing in a print ad with the Tennessee Democrat reading, “Steve Cohen: He Gets The Job Done … Can You Dig It?”

Cohen, who called Hayes “a soul man and a great man,” has now launched a bid to rename the Memphis International Airport after the singer.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy. With thousands of convention-goers facing hectic travel and long work hours, there will be plenty of complaints echoing from Denver and Minneapolis over the next two weeks. But Rep. Sam Graves wants to remind everybody that “having a positive life begins with having a positive attitude.”

Just before jetting off for the August recess, the Missouri Republican introduced a bill supporting “Complaint Free Wednesday,” a measure that would make the Wednesday before Thanksgiving officially complaint-free. The average person complains 15 to 30 times a day, the bill notes, resulting in 4,570,350,000 complaints each day in the United States.

The measure stems from work done by the nonprofit group A Complaint Free World, which has passed out more than 5 million purple bracelets as a reminder to folks to keep a positive attitude. Founder Will Bowen described the effort as “a great American smoke out for complaining.”

“Just go one day, just try to go one day without complaining,” he said. “We’re so busy focusing on what’s wrong in this great country, we’re not busy focusing on what’s right and building on that.”

Many of society’s ills stem from complaints, according to the bill. “People complain in order to negatively get attention from others, avoid taking action, pre-excuse poor performance, brag, or exercise control over others,” the bill reads, continuing that complaining “damages a person’s health” and “violence usually begins with complaining.”

So when you’re stuck in traffic trying to get to the Pepsi Center this week, try not to complain about it.

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