Heard on the Hill: Harry Reid Is a Literary Critic (Again)

Posted August 6, 2010 at 4:33pm

Forget Oprah Winfrey. If you’re looking for a good summertime reading recommendation, hit up Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada Democrat took a few moments Thursday on the Senate floor to urge his Congressional colleagues to pick up the “stunningly powerful new book” by historian Bruce Watson titled “Freedom Summer,” which studies the civil rights movement in the summer of 1964.

“This book is so very vivid in talking about the summer that the young men and women from around the United States went to Mississippi to get the African-Americans to be able to vote,” Reid said. “These three young men were killed — two Caucasians and one African-American — for the work they were doing to try to bring the ability of African-Americans to vote in Mississippi. It is a wonderful book. I recommend it to everyone, a brand new book that is out.”

This isn’t the first time Reid has acted as literary promoter; he plugged the Michael Lewis tome “The Big Short” at least three times on the Senate floor during the financial reform debate.

Walking It Off

The thunderstorm that rocked the region Thursday — tagged as “#kaganstorm” on the Twitters because it struck as the Senate voted to confirm new Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan — created a nightmare commute for D.C.-area drivers.

And it seems even Senators were affected.

An HOH tipster spotted Sen. Arlen Specter get out of a car near 26th and M streets and “start walking forlornly” across the M Street bridge. The tipster notes the Pennsylvania Democrat’s walk was picturesque, as he was surrounded by a light mist.

“Georgetown traffic yields for no man, except perhaps the president,” our tipster jokes. “On a good day.”

Last Supper … for Now

There’s nothing like a little father-daughter bonding time after a hard day at the office. Sen. Bob Corker was spotted leaving Central Michel Richard on Wednesday evening with his eldest daughter, Julia, who lives in Washington. The two stopped by the French brasserie for a final dinner before the Tennessee Republican left town for recess, his office says.

“He’ll be in 26 Tennessee counties during the recess so won’t be seeing her as much as usual,” spokeswoman Laura Herzog tells HOH.

The Corker family appears to have a love of French food; he was seen earlier this summer enjoying a celebratory Father’s Day meal with his family in the courtyard at Poste Moderne Brasserie in Chinatown.

There’s Even an App for That

Worried about keeping in touch with Members of Congress over the August recess? Well, Reps. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) and Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) are making things a little easier.

Both launched iPhone applications last week that offer smart phone users a way to keep tabs on their Congressional activities and contact them directly. There are several apps available to follow Congress in general, but Myrick and Fattah are among the first Members to offer an app for their individual Congressional activities. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) released a similar app a few months ago.

Myrick’s app, which is available on iTunes, provides access to videos, updates on legislation and upcoming events.

“Many people use their iPhone or other smart phone for everything — phone calls, e-mails, social networking — so the application makes it easy,” Myrick says.

Overheard on the Hill

“Arrested another one at a bar. Interesting when two of the patrons wanted to know if I was ‘that guy on tv.'”

— Rep. Jason Chaffetz in a tweet last week. The Utah Republican was on a ride-along with U.S. marshals.

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