Heard on the Hill: PETA Spices Up the Recipe With Bikinis, Hot Dogs and Chilis

Posted July 14, 2010 at 6:23pm

The beloved annual tradition of scantily clad ladies handing out veggie dogs on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals got a new twist this year: Instead of wearing itsy-bitsy bikinis festooned with lettuce, the gals sported tiny two-piece suits bedecked with dried chili peppers.

A driving rain didn’t deter a long line of (mostly male, natch) staffers from queuing up outside the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday for the annual veggie dog giveaway.

Vida Guerra, one of the chili-bedazzled models/actresses/vegetarians doling out the goods, told HOH that she was under no illusions that the men standing in line were simply interested in learning about vegetarianism.

“But, hey,” Guerra said. “It just might open them up to something they hadn’t tried before.”

Guerra, who was partly sheltered from the rain by an umbrella-wielding PETA volunteer, said she hadn’t yet been ogled by a Member of Congress. “But we’ve only been here a few minutes!” she added.

PETA campaigner Lauren Stroyeck suggested that future visits could feature flesh-baring men, too — but this being Capitol Hill, nearly nude women were always a good draw.

“We might do that,” she told us of our suggestion to add some men to the beefcake (or is it tempehcake?) lineup. “If we had some volunteers. But people here seem to like the ladies.”

Nadler Says Taxicab Driver Broke the Law, Not Him

Rep. Jerrold Nadler fought back Wednesday against claims by a D.C. taxicab driver who says the New York Democrat refused to pay his fare, arguing that the driver broke the law.

Cab driver Abraham Habteab told Fox 5 News that he picked Nadler up at Union Station on Tuesday and drove him to a nearby hotel. Nadler asked Habteab to wait while he dropped off his luggage and then drive him to Capitol Hill.

At the hotel, Habteab asked Nadler to pay $8 for the first leg of the trip, saying he would then reset the cab’s meter. Nadler balked at this, contending that the cabbie shouldn’t reset the meter and that he would pay him upon arrival on the Hill.

A dispute ensued, which resulted in Nadler taking another cab without paying the $8. Nadler said Habteab is to blame.

As HOH first reported Wednesday on rollcall.com, Nadler confirmed that he asked Habteab to drop him off on Capitol Hill, stopping briefly at the hotel. Everything was OK until Habteab flouted taxicab rules by insisting on resetting the meter, Nadler argued.

As proof, Nadler has an e-mailed letter from Taxi Commission Chairman Leon Swain that states Nadler should be able to make a brief stop, such as one to drop off luggage, without the meter being restarted. Nadler said he also talked to Swain on Wednesday, who confirmed that Nadler’s interpretation of the law is correct.

“Of course taxi drivers have rights, but so do passengers,” Nadler said. “I am working with the Taxicab Commission and Mr. Habteab to ensure that he receives the correct payment, despite his misinterpretation of the law.”

One, Two, Three … Throw Away the Key

HOH often writes about the not-too-bright visitors who get caught carrying illegal substances on Capitol Hill, and a driver who racked up a triple penalty after being stopped by the Capitol Police certainly fits the bill.

Officers stopped a moped (yes, a moped) after it ran a red light at Constitution Avenue and First Street Northwest at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Strike one. No big deal, right? Driver just gets a ticket.

But the officer then discovered he had no valid driver’s license. Uh oh. … Strike two.

The officer arrested the driver for not having a license, and when he searched the nerdy low-powered motorcycle, he found a “green leafy substance” that — surprise, surprise! — tested positive for pot.

Strike three. Officers arrested the suspect for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Gutierrez Hip to Google, but Not to Twitter

Rep. Luis Gutierrez isn’t a Luddite … exactly. He doesn’t use Twitter, he revealed during an interview on C-SPAN, but, hey, he does know how to “get on the Internet.”

During an interview on immigration issues, the Illinois Democrat copped to being a little behind the curve on technological trends. “I still didn’t have a cell phone when most of America had cell phones,” he said. But he jokingly defended his comfort with the beast that ex-Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) once called a “series of tubes.”

“I do Google and I know how to get on the Internet,” Gutierrez told host Greta Brawner.

Whew!

And he has a Facebook page, but he confessed that it was managed by his staffers. “It’s allowing me to communicate with more people,” he said.

Brawner said C-SPAN was slightly more advanced, posing a question to the lawmaker that had come from a viewer via Twitter. “We have a tweet,” she said. “We do tweet here.”

Gutierrez spokesman Doug Rivlin tells HOH that staffers run a Twitter feed and a YouTube channel for the boss.

Danson Cheers Clean Oceans

Sometimes, you just want to go where everyone knows your name. Such was the case for actor/activist Ted Danson, who testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the dangers of overfishing.

The former “Cheers” star looked less like affable bartender Sam Malone and more like a serious thinker: He sported thick-rimmed black glasses, a somber suit and a furrowed brow. Danson, a board member of clean-water advocacy group Oceana and longtime enviro, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee’s supbanel on trade.

No sign of Cliff, Norm and the rest of the gang.

Rachael Bade contributed to today’s HOH.

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