Kaitlin Kovach

Wealth of Congress Superlatives! (Video)

Constructing Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress project involves spending an extensive amount of time up to our noses in financial disclosure forms.  

Most of that is spent poring over ink on an endless numbers of pages and crunching numbers. But every so often, certain nuggets of data stand out. And sometimes, aspects of the filing form itself are what pop.  

The Mark Sanford Breakup Mixtape

Nobody likes a breakup. So when the Roll Call newsroom caught wind of South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford's 2,346-word Facebook post announcing his breakup with fiancée Maria Belén Chapur as the result of an ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife, we wanted to help.  

Who You Gonna Call? John Lewis!

It’s not every day that you can be within 10 feet of both a member of Congress and a Ghostbuster.  

But those streams could have crossed at Awesome Con on the afternoon of April 19. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Hill staffer Andrew Aydin’s booth to promote “March,” their graphic novel on Lewis’ role in the civil rights movement, was across the aisle from where Ernie Hudson, also known as Winston Zeddmore in “Ghostbusters,” posed with fans in front of Ecto-1 while “Who You Gonna Call?” played on a loop.  

Failed VP Candidates Take Varied Trajectories

You could call them the “also-ran-withs.”

Failed vice presidential candidates are in a unique position in American politics — nationally known, yet easily forgotten — a minor character in a drama that everyone watched.

Pinball Wizard Turns Hobby Into a Museum

What does a pinball enthusiast do when his collection grows to 900 pinball games? Start a museum, of course!

David Silverman has been buying and restoring pinball machines for more than 30 years in an effort to preserve the game’s history. Until this month, the only way he could display a fraction of his enormous collection was by building a small exhibit in his Silver Spring, Md., backyard. 

Book Explores Political Battles Preceding the Civil War

Anyone who thinks the past two presidential elections have been uniquely divisive needs only to look back to 1860. That race didn’t just split the voting population. It split the country.

Douglas Egerton’s new book, “Year of Meteors,” explores the heated competition between presidential candidates Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln and how politics catapulted the country into a civil war. 

D.C. Museums in Spirit of Giving

Giving goes hand in hand with the holiday season. Whether generosity takes the form of finding the perfect present for mom or dropping some change in a bell ringer’s bucket, people are more willing to give to others this time of year. And several local museums are trying to make giving a little easier.

‘Yes, Virginia’

The Images of Christmas Past
Nobody decorates for Christmas like the first family. Unfortunately, most Americans don’t get the chance to see the White House’s decked-out halls around the holidays....
Corcoran’s New Exhibit Finds Color in Collection

Fall’s bright colors have faded and the gray days of winter are just around the corner. Finding a break from the dreariness can be tough, but the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s newest exhibit might be the best cure.

“Washington Color and Light” showcases the work of the Washington Color School, a group of D.C.-based painters who worked during the 1950s and ’60s, as well as their contemporaries. The exhibit is entirely composed of works from the Corcoran’s collection, many of which have never been displayed before or are emerging from storage for the first time in decades, curator Beatrice Gralton said.

Unusual Gifts Abound At D.C. Museum Shops

Museum-goers know the best way to wrap up a visit to their favorite spot on the National Mall is with a stop in the museum gift shop. What better place to find a bit of what you’ve seen to take home? With 14 Smithsonian branches and other museums scattered around the D.C. metro area, finding a nifty gift for everyone on your list should be no problem at all.

National Gallery of Art
Aside from its massive book collection, do-it-yourself versions of famous artworks are a theme in the National Gallery’s underground gift shop.
• Kids can arrange their own fruit and veggie portraits with a Giuseppe Arcimboldo sticker book ($8.95).
• An Alexander Calder-esque mobile clip photo hanger ($13.99) is perfect for the family shutterbug.
• For the less artistically inclined, a set of Overheard at the Museum magnets says it all. “It’s all dots,” “I’m getting bored” and “Let’s go to the gift shop first” are just a few of the clever quips in the set ($16.95).

Rockman Exhibit Explores the Raw Power of Nature

Updated: 2 p.m.

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s newest exhibit showcases the beauty of the natural world, but with an ominous twist.

D.C. Looks to Dutch to Keep Up Bike Progress

Fun fact: There are more bicycles than people in the Netherlands. 

To the Dutch, riding a bike is more than just a recreational activity. It’s a major facet of their culture and essential to getting around. In fact, in Holland, almost 30 percent of trips of less than five miles are traveled by bike.

Making Music Has Never Been So Easy

Washington may be a city with a lot of turnover, but there’s one thing that remains constant: its love of music. From Washington native John Philip Sousa leading the U.S. Marine Band in the late 1800s to the booming jazz scene in the first half of the 20th century to Lady Gaga performing in town earlier this fall, D.C. always has something musical going on.

And D.C. residents don’t have to sit in the audience. Several groups offer a performance outlet for musically talented residents.

Hidden Unions Brought to Light

The National Portrait Gallery’s newest exhibit spans more than a century and includes 105 artworks in a variety of forms. But what really sets this exhibit apart is its focus.

“Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” is the first major art exhibition to explore the influence of gender and sexuality. While the exhibit focuses primarily on gay and lesbian influences on American portraiture, it includes a wide variety of sexual identities.

Capitol Hill Goes Batty Over Halloween Fun

East Capitol Street is a quiet, residential neighborhood with a few Halloween decorations in place.

Homemade tombstones stand in one yard, marking the final resting places of the Pontiac car brand, the dodo bird and 'Larry King Live' (complete with suspenders). Other lawns are decked out with skeletons, spider webs and, of course, pumpkins.

Can't Help Falling in Love With the King at 21

In 1956, a new pop culture phenomenon emerged. Rock ’n’ roll was shaking things up in the United States and Elvis Presley, 21, was its rising star.

Presley was unknown nationally, but he caused a stir at home in Memphis, Tenn., and was quickly ascending to stardom. Photographer Alfred Wertheimer was there to capture that whirlwind year and a half that not only changed Presley’s life, but also American culture.

A Long-Term Role for a Temporary Allegiance

Each morning, students across the United States stand, place their right hand over their heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

While this 31-word routine may not hold much significance for the students, the Pledge of Allegiance has a history of political controversy. In fact, it was never intended to be a long-term tradition.

Maryland Shoreline Gets Facelift

Until earlier this year, the land along the northern shore of Piscataway Park in northern Prince George's County, Md., was receding quickly. So much earth had washed from the shore into the Potomac River over the past decade that a trail used to transport student field trips by tractor was becoming dangerous.

Had the erosion continued, the Alice Ferguson Foundation, a group devoted to environmental action and education that operates the park, would have been forced to discontinue its popular canoe field trip program, foundation executive director Tracy Bowen said.

How Men Survive War's Brutal Effects

It's April 1943, and war rages in the Pacific Ocean theater. The U.S. Navy's submarine fleet is hard at work keeping Japanese forces at bay.

The Australia-based USS Grenadier is among the submarines that are deep in enemy territory, hunting for Japanese vessels between Thailand and Malaysia. A brief trip to the surface one morning leads to the sub being spotted and attacked by the Japanese. The Grenadier suffers irreparable damage, and the crew is forced to abandon ship, surrendering to the Japanese.

A Contact Sport on Wheels for Feisty Females

What moves on eight wheels, can take a body slam and goes by names like Lady Burn Johnson and Condoleezza Slice?

Folks who know anything about roller derby can figure out that this describes a DC Rollergirl. But what they may not know is that there's much more to these tough ladies than their nicknames and colorful outfits. The women who roller skate competitively on teams are actually dedicated athletes in a sport that demands intense physical training and strategic knowledge.