Heard on the Hill: Green, Green Grass Week
Hemp History Week might not earn anyone time off work, but Rep. Ron Paul still thinks it’s worth celebrating.
The Texas Republican and erstwhile presidential candidate on Thursday submitted a statement to the Congressional Record recognizing next week, May 17-23, as Hemp History Week and urging his colleagues to pass legislation legalizing hemp farming. In the statement, which hemp advocates are touting as a big endorsement for their cause, Paul notes that Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both grew the leafy crop.
Paul’s arguments focused on the potential economic effect of legalizing hemp — probably making for a stronger case than the beauty of those hemp necklaces found on the necks of half the attendees of any given Widespread Panic concert. “Unfortunately, because of a federal policy that does not distinguish between growing industrial hemp and growing marijuana, all hemp products and materials must be imported,” Paul said. “The result is high prices, outsourced jobs, and lost opportunities for American manufacturing.”
A group called Vote Hemp is spearheading the weeklong celebration of all things hemp (which the advocates take great pains to differentiate from the smokable kind) and is planning events including a May 19 delivery of petitions and postcards to Attorney General Eric Holder.
So far, Paul’s bill allowing industrial hemp farming has 21 co-sponsors.
And the Celebs Keep Coming …
Today, two lobbyists heading to Capitol Hill include a model citizen and a chef known for meals on the fly. And the band Blues Traveler is set to provide the tunes next week for a Congress-studded gala.
Model Christy Turlington Burns will appear with Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) this morning to advocate for better health care for women around the globe. Turlington has a track record of Washington visits: She traveled to Washington in 2008 and 2009 to press for maternal care.
Perky Food Network chef Rachael Ray will be circulating today, too, with a stop on Capitol Hill to chat with a handful of Senators, including Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), about childhood nutrition. The Oprah protégé will tour a local middle school before heading to her lobbying sessions.
Ray might be able to ship up a yum-o meal in no time flat, but can she convince lawmakers in 30 minutes or less?
And the hits keep coming. Next week, Blues Traveler is slated to perform at an invite-only gig at Eastern Market celebrating Everglades restoration efforts as part of the America’s Everglades Summit, hosted by the Everglades Foundation and its partners. The May 19 event will feature Florida fare, including Land Shark Lager Beer and Margaritaville margaritas (courtesy of Jimmy Buffet, a foundation board member). Co-hosts include Florida Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and George LeMieux (R) and Reps. Alcee Hastings (D) and Mario DiazBalart (R).
Reed’s Little Flower Girl
Cute kid alert! HOH spotted Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) strolling toward the Hart Senate Office Building on Friday evening hand-in-hand with his 3-year-old daughter, Emily.
The adorable girl skipped and danced and stopped in one of the flower beds to play and pick a posy for her dad.
A patient Reed waited while the tot finished her flower-picking and sniffing.
It seems like we all could learn a little something from the little ones: Sometimes, you really should stop and smell the roses.
Moses for SCOTUS?
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy told President Barack Obama on Monday that some people would oppose any Supreme Court nominee the White House sent to Congress for confirmation … even Moses.
The two agreed that even such a divine nominee might run into the kind of “birther” criticism that has plagued the prez. During a call between the Vermont Democrat and the president Monday morning to discuss the nomination of Elena Kagan to the high court, Leahy said partisans might note that Moses was born in the bulrushes and would probably ask to see his birth certificate. Obama, whose own citizenship has been questioned, told Leahy that he could sympathize, HOH hears.
Moses is, after all, the ultimate partisan — at least if you count the Red Sea.