Gabe Starosta

New Biography Celebrates Tar Heel State Icon

Before 1976, North Carolina had not had a two-term governor in a century. Governors were not allowed to run for re-election in the Tar Heel State, nor could they veto legislation. 

A quarter of a century later, Jim Hunt redefined what it meant to be the governor of North Carolina. In fact, he very nearly became a major player in Washington during a long and successful political career. 

NoMa Arts Scene Taps Into History

Like any neighborhood on the rise, NoMa — shorthand for North of Massachusetts — is trying to attract dynamic new businesses and tenants.

But the area has another plan to build its character, too: It’s developing an arts scene that embraces the neighborhood’s ethnic history and location in the District. 

Musings on Elephant Insemination and Theft

Some writers look to the classics or to history for inspiration. Poet Lucia Perillo looks to nature — and sometimes, the innards of an elephant — for her muse.

Perillo, a poet with a background in wildlife management and the National Park Service, received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, which honors the best book of poetry published by an American in the previous two years. She received the award and did a reading Monday at the Library of Congress for her 2009 book, “Inseminating the Elephant.”

Intimate B&Bs Charm D.C. Visitors
Travelers Experience Fresh Perspective, Personal Service at Two Capitol Hill Inns

Most tourists visiting Washington, D.C., sleep in beige, cookie-cutter hotel rooms with pay-per-view movies on the flat-screen TV, stocked mini-fridges and an optional wake-up call from a drone-voiced front desk.

Others experience the city more like locals. On Capitol Hill, two bed-and-breakfast inns, tucked away on streets lined with row houses, offer more intimate experiences for guests than a Marriott or a Hyatt — visitors are sleeping in someone’s home rather than a hastily cleaned hotel room.

LOC Opens Its Doors to Country Performers

Visitors to the Library of Congress, that temple of grammatical correctness, might be surprised to hear the phrases “y’all,” “ain’t” and “bless yer heart.” But those countrified expressions recently took center stage at the Library. And they’re fixin’ to make more frequent appearances in years to come as the Library’s dignified tone takes on a bit of a twang.

On Dec. 4, the LOC Jefferson Building’s Coolidge Auditorium hosted a concert as part of the Country Music Association Songwriters Series, the second country show held at the Library in 2010. Organizers have tentatively announced a third iteration of the series for the spring, and all signs point to a country music presence at the Library of Congress that is more visible than ever before.

Waters Won’t Bring Motion on Ethics to Floor This Week

Rep. Maxine Waters took to the House floor Thursday to request a statement from the ethics committee “setting the record straight” about the disciplining of two committee attorneys working on her case. The request comes two days after Waters introduced a resolution calling for a bipartisan task force to investigate the panel’s actions.

Floridians Find Home Away From Home

On a street behind the stately Supreme Court building sits a white Victorian row house that might blend into the other elegant homes nearby — if it weren’t for the large sculpture of a candy-colored beach ball affixed to the front of the house. 

Or the large ceramic flowerpot full of oranges, lemons and tangerines that sits near the door.

Book Reveals Flaws of Players in Bribery Case

For nearly two decades, Mississippi attorney Richard Scruggs, known to his friends as Dickie, was the undisputed king of torts. He was the trial lawyer who took on the asbestos, tobacco and insurance industries, won huge settlements, and made hundreds of millions of dollars. His legal reach extended all over Mississippi and into neighboring states, and his money and influence traveled as far as Washington, D.C.

Today, Scruggs sits in a Kentucky penitentiary, serving a five-year term for attempted bribery of a judge.

Boehner’s Panama Connections

Last December, House Minority Leader John Boehner led a Congressional delegation to Panama, an event that marked a kind of reunion for his former staff members who worked together in the House Republican Conference office in the late 1990s.

The four-day trip was built around an agenda of talks on free trade and drug trafficking, but it also served as an opportunity for the Ohio Republican and his chief of staff, Paula Nowakowski, to reconnect socially with Barry Jackson, his previous chief of staff who also was in Panama at the time on a personal trip. In addition, the Boehner party was greeted in Panama by someone they knew well: Demetrio Papadimitriu, a former Boehner staffer widely known as Jimmy, who is the top aide to Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli.

Climb Into the Cockpit

The life and accomplishments of pilot Charles Lindbergh have been the highlight of many a visitor’s trip to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

But what nobody has seen in decades are the inside of the aircraft he and his wife slept in on their travels, the snowshoes that they carried in case of an emergency landing and the canned corn beef and tomatoes they ate on the road.

Former Rep. Stephen Solarz Dies at 70

Former Congressman Stephen J. Solarz, a nine-term New York Democrat who defined his tenure through his work on foreign policy in the House of Representatives, died Monday at George Washington Hospital. Solarz was 70 and had suffered from esophageal cancer for several years.

Solarz, who served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is best known for taking on corruption in the Philippines, where Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, the country’s leader and first lady, were rumored to have embezzled millions of dollars to buy property in the United States. It soon emerged that Imelda Marcos owned some 3,000 pairs of shoes, a fact Solarz often highlighted in hearings in the mid-1980s. Ferdinand Marcos went into exile in 1986, and a leader supported by the U.S. was elected in his place.

Hill Shops Offer Capitol Ideas for Holiday Gifts

When you go shopping for your loved ones this holiday season, don’t trek to Pentagon City or Tysons Corner for video games, ties or jewelry. The esteemed gift shops on Capitol Hill have shoppers covered, especially those who are looking for something more adventurous, something patriotic and maybe even something bipartisan — although these days, you’ll have to look hard to find something like that.

Some of the stores on Capitol Hill can be tricky to find, especially those buried in the basements of the Congressional office buildings. Nevertheless, here are some government-themed suggestions you won’t want to miss.

Photographer’s Angle: Unusual Views of City

In most cases, a lawyer who moved to the District 35 years ago would have become a political lifer by now.  

But this one is a photographer and has been for a quarter-century.

Search for Survivors’ Memorial Becomes Quest

The monuments that give Washington, D.C., its character and sense of history have one thing in common: They all memorialize the dead. Soon, those monuments will be joined by what organizers are calling the first monument to honor the living.

Dignitaries broke ground on the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial last week on a 2.4-acre site adjacent to the National Mall. As its name suggests, the memorial — which organizers hope to dedicate in two years — will pay tribute not to those lost in wartime, but to those who have survived and been left disabled as a result.

‘The Battles’ of Justices Shows Drama in Court’s Votes

To many in the United States today, the Supreme Court is invisible.
Its members are appointed and it operates behind closed doors, making it nearly impossible to learn much about the justices. The opinions of the court are written and filed away and read by only lawyers and historians, save for the occasional Citizens United case. We know next to nothing about the nine individuals responsible for interpreting our Constitution.

But 60 years ago, the Supreme Court’s justices were political actors, and what went on in their chamber was very much political theater.

Halls of Power Tools Serve the Halls of Power
Frager’s Hardware Store Is a Capitol Hill Institution That Supplies Everything From Soap to Lug Nuts

New Members and their staffs will inevitably find the place unfamiliar and a little quirky. It’s unclear where the hallways in this Capitol Hill landmark will take you; there are interesting, antique items all over the walls; opposite sides of the building serve distinct and important purposes; and everyone in the area can tell you how to get there.

At this Capitol Hill institution, you might pass a Senator in the corridor, but the employees won’t be wearing suits, ties and wingtip shoes. They’ll be wearing simple black T-shirts with a Frager’s logo on the chest.

How British Artists Made Precision the Point

Painters and photographers might seem like natural rivals — one jealous of the other’s technology, the other envious of a rival’s artistic skills — but the National Gallery of Art has found that in 19th-century Britain, they got along quite well.

In the gallery’s newest exhibition, “The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848-1875,” nearly 100 photographs and 20 paintings are mixed and matched to highlight the best of both mediums. The diversity of the exhibit — and in some cases, the impressive similarities between pictures and paintings cleverly presented alongside each other — give visitors a real sense of what it was like to be a British artist 150 years ago.

Ballot Order Could Affect Tight Races
Some candidates on Tuesday may get a boost — from the ballot itself. Appearing first on a ballot can be worth as much as 2.3 percent more votes, enough to swing a close race. That number comes from research by Jonathan Koppell and Jennifer Steen, political science professors at Yale University and Arizona State University, respectively. They looked at the 1998 Democratic primary in New York to test their hypothesis that ballot order mattered. Because New York rotates the order in whic...
Historic Fervor Steeped in History

As the 2010 midterm elections approach, the tea party movement is brimming with anger.

But the Boston Tea Party and other founding events and principles so often invoked by today's angst-filled activists haven't only been symbols of limited government.

Morella, Davis Throw Zingers at Norton Roast
On Wednesday night, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton was, for once, the center of attention. The Washington, D.C., Democrat played the dual roles of honoree and lightning rod for jokes at an event Wednesday night at the U.S. Navy Memorial titled 'Roasting and Toasting Miss Eleanor,' a comedy show put on by Hexagon, the popular D.C. theater troupe that specializes in political satire. The event featured original skits and songs by Hexagon, as well as speeches from several well-known District ...