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Heard on the Hill: The First Kids Are All Right

The Hill reporter Sam Youngman didn’t mean to set off any alarms during his stint on White House pool duty during Friday’s Washington Nationals game.

Youngman was at the ballpark shadowing President Barack Obama, who was attending the game between the Nats and his beloved White Sox — during which Nats phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg was making his second home appearance. The scribe sent a pool report e-mail describing leaving the press box at the top of the sixth inning and couldn’t help but add an admiring postscript about the rookie pitcher. “Strasburg had at that point given up three hits and one run,” he wrote. “Kid is sick.”

Youngman, of course, was referring to Strasburg, and the reporter’s meaning of “sick” was the one described on as “crazy, cool, insane.”

Twenty minutes later, he sent this message: “To clarify: Nobody is ill. Pooler meant that strasburg is very talented.”

Youngman tells HOH that his use of the slang in the first dispatch prompted an e-mail from someone asking which of the Obama children, Sasha or Malia, was sick. As in ill. Or, rather, as in under the weather.

“I couldn’t help but laugh,” he says. “And it got quite a reaction from my colleagues in the White House press corps.”

The Funkadelic Congress

The Congress isn’t just the world’s most important legislative body — it’s also the nation’s hottest club band (or so it claims).

Top 40 cover band the Congress is becoming a regular fixture in the Northern Virginia bar scene, performing pop, hip-hop and R&B hits at spots in the Arlington area. (The band will play RiRa Irish Pub on Thursday.)

Drummer Ben Marcheski tells HOH that the band, formed in 2008, picked its legislative-themed name as a tribute to the funk group Parliament.

“We’re deep-rooted with funk music, so we came up with the Congress as an American version of that,” Marcheski says, adding the group’s location in the D.C. area also played a role in picking the name.

Marcheski points out that the definition of Congress has many meanings — including sexual intercourse, which he says the band didn’t even realize at first. “Perhaps there is something subliminal there on levels I can’t even touch,” he joked.

The Congress has run into difficulties dealing with that other Congress. For example, the band’s website is because was already taken by the watchdog group Public Citizen. “I hope we don’t get in any trouble with any trademarks or whatnot,” Marcheski joked.

The band does have some connections to Congress, as vocalist Casey Elliott sings in the Navy band and frequently performs at the Capitol, Marcheski says.

Another interesting tidbit: “American Idol” fans might remember vocalist Travis Tucker, who made it to Hollywood on season four of the reality competition.

Special Dinner for Sen. Dad

Warning: This item might warm your heart.

An HOH spy eyed Sen. Bob Corker at Poste Moderne Brasserie in Chinatown on Sunday evening. The Tennessee Republican, who our spy noted sipped wine during his meal, was seated on the patio with his wife and daughter.

Corker visited the restaurant with his family as a special treat for Father’s Day, his spokeswoman tells HOH.

Everybody now: Aww.

Sebelius Makes a Run for It

Looks as if Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius isn’t just talk when it comes to fitness.

An HOH spy eyed Sebelius jogging on the National Mall on Saturday morning, heading toward the Capitol. Sebelius, wearing a light blue shirt and dark blue shorts, looked to be in the midst of a tough workout, as her trademark silver hair was damp with sweat.

Considering the temperature Saturday, HOH gives props to Sebelius (and our spy) for getting in a weekend workout.

Overheard on the Hill

“Even McDonalds is not yet open.”

— Burger-loving Rep. Jason Chaffetz in a Monday tweet. The Utah Republican did a Fox News interview around
5 a.m. and didn’t have anything to do until 7 a.m., he said in another tweet.

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