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Heard on the Hill: Burris, Holding Court Even Without a Vote

What’s a guy from Chicago to do while he hangs out waiting to find out whether he’ll get a Senate seat? Hang out at the Monocle, of course. Hey, if he can’t vote like a Senator, at least he can eat like one.

Roland Burris found himself with some time to kill on Tuesday after the Secretary of the Senate refused to give the Democrat the Senate seat to

which Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich appointed him. The controversial maybe- Senator was spotted at the Monocle, just steps away from Senate office buildings.

And Burris, who claims to be the rightful junior Senator from Illinois, is already building relationships across the aisle, something that the most veteran lawmakers say is key to success in the Senate. Sen. James Inhofe also happened to be at the Monocle, and the Oklahoma Republican visited with his perhaps-soon-to-be colleague. Inhofe was apparently tickled by the encounter and regaled colleagues with stories of it on Wednesday.

Who Needs Stimulus? Sorry, porn barons — it looks like you’ll just have to get your money from Washington the old-fashioned way.

Larry Flynt, Hustler publisher and PR stuntman, and Girls Gone Wild creator Joe Francis said Wednesday they plan to ask Congress for $5 billion to bail out the adult-entertainment industry in the face of tough economic times. But even the porn industry’s ostensible man in Congress — that would be Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), whose district includes the San Fernando Valley, sometimes referred to as the porn capital of the country — doesn’t have their backs. “I regret that two porn industry executives have used the current economic crisis to launch an obvious publicity stunt,” he told HOH. “As Americans face tough economic times, we need a serious discussion of the issues.”

Still, with all the struggling industries seeking help from Washington, the flesh peddlers’ request wasn’t so shocking. “It’s no surprise that the porn industry is also experiencing hard times in the Bush recession,” dead-panned one Hill staffer.

At least in this instance, it looks like Congress won’t be lending a helping hand.

Making It Interesting. With the Florida Gators and Oklahoma Sooners slated to hit the gridiron tonight in a battle for the college football national championship, it’s only natural that Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) have decided to bet on it.

It’s a corny Capitol Hill tradition, after all, for Members to put up a bushel of regional food whenever an athletic championship is held. (There are so many of those wagers, in fact, that HOH is hesitant to write about them.)

But the bet between Nelson and Coburn caught our eye, since the loser is going to have to belt out a tune to the winner’s constituents.

A singing Senator? Now you’ve got our attention.

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