National Book Festival Features Zero Members of Congress

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The 15th annual National Book Festival features the largest-ever contingent of writers (175) for Saturday's literary shindig at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown D.C. And while there will be no shortage of political and policy tomes being hawked and talked about, there will be a noticeable absence from among the authors among us: members of Congress.  

Members are typically present to share a memoir or the like, such as Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., last year discussing and signing copies of his "Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black," last year. Whether it is because the festival is held during Labor Day weekend or the timing just wasn't right no representative or senator will be present. Heck, not even a former member is scheduled to be there.  

‘Liberty’s First Crisis’ Is a Reminder of the Fragility of Freedom of Speech


Deadly attacks on cartoonists who had the temerity to portray Mohammed in unflattering terms are only the most recent and visible manifestations. Across the globe, from the dominions of tyrannical dictators to the effete offices of some of America’s finest universities, officialdom is attempting to squelch voices that dare to disagree.  

As Americans, we view our First Amendment right to free speech — to write and say what we like without interference from the government — as a first principle. Without freedom to speak, there is no freedom.  

Issa Rae: A Relatable Star in the Making  

Devoted fans gathered at the historic Sixth & I Historic Synagogue on a cold night recently to hear author — and YouTube sensation — Jo-Issa “Issa Rae” Diop discuss her new book, "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl ."  

The Interpretation of Marco Rubio's 'American Dreams'

Rubio has a new book, "American Dreams." (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

My fellow Americans,  

No three words better capture the spirit of my plan to revive the American dream than “my fellow Americans,” suggestive as those words are of the opening of an inaugural address. As I imagine myself looking down the National Mall at the sea of hopeful faces, eloquently holding forth on the American dream, I hear myself moving on to modestly recall the sacrifices of early Marco Rubios that brought me to this pinnacle of dreaming.  

Random Awesome Passages From Rep. Steve Israel's 'The Global War on Morris'

The budding writer. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., rolls out his book tour for his satirical novel "The Global War on Morris," Roll Call After Dark makes note of some of the book's passages, in a random and hopefully entertaining manner.

Want more? Israel reads from his novel at Politics and Prose at 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW on Wednesday at 7 p.m.  

Take a Trip Down Baseball Memory Lane

Things weren't always so merry with Washington baseball. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As the Washington Nationals open the National League Division Series on Friday, their second post-season appearance in three years, it's easy to forget Washington baseball teams have frequently sucked.  

Fred Frommer, author of "You Gotta Have Heart:  A History of Washington Baseball from 1859 to the 2012 National League East Champions," never forgot. His book will make any Nat fan appreciate what they have now , and he'll be discussing it at the National Archives on Friday at noon in the William G. McGowan Theater with his frequent discussion sidekick, former Senators announcer Phil Hochberg. It's a nice way to prepare for the 3:07 p.m. game against the San Francisco Giants at Nationals Park.  

A Plea to Reject 'Brutal Imperial Arrogance' in Wake of White House Breach


One of the nation's foremost architecture critics says Washington has already given up too much of its openness and beauty as a city and that the recent security lapse at the White House "is an institutional, organizational problem; it does not require an architectural solution."  

'Innovative State' Builds Case for Acting Like Adults

In the middle of a political season, with members of Congress hunkering down amid the midterm election season, it's refreshing to pick up a book — a policy book even! — that makes the case that it's possible to work across party lines for the common good.  

Aneesh Chopra, former chief technology officer for the United States and Virginia's former secretary of technology, writes in his book "Innovative State" that the way to go beyond the management cliches of "working smarter" and "doing more with less" is to both keep in mind that innovation has defined basic human progress and good people usually come around to good ideas, whether it's a non-spoils civil service or digital communication.