Reporters Notebook: Fangs, but no fangs: Senator, wife pen book
Too late for Halloween, but in time for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, Jim Rosapepe's new book "Dracula is Dead" is in bookstores now, 20 years after the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu and his communist regime.
Rosapepe, the senator from District 21 who left a House of Delegates seat during the Clinton presidency to become ambassador to Romania, has written with his wife, broadcast journalist Sheilah Kast, a look at the little-understood country through a "series of vignettes," according to publisher Bancroft Press.
According to Bancroft, Olympic gymnast Nadia Comaneci said they deserve a "gold medal" for looking at her native land's "many layers."
Bringing the reader views of Romanians and visitors across the spectrum "with the eye of the journalist and the ear of the politician, Sheilah Kast and Jim Rosapepe make their Romanian experience so absorbing that you'll want to jump on the next plane to go see for yourself," said political analyst Cokie Roberts, according to Bancroft.
Next? "Mayo Shattuck Has Fangs" maybe.
A singular honor
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett introduced Gov. Martin O'Malley at Monday night's "Hometown Gathering" dinner of the Women's Suburban Democratic Club in Potomac, mentioning that Governing magazine recently named O'Malley one of its eight "Public Officials of the Year."
At least that's what we think he meant. What he said was that O'Malley had been named "the No. 1 governor in the entire state."
That botch opened the door for a quick quip from O'Malley, who graces the cover of the policy wonk paradise's latest issue.
"Ike, I know you said that I was given the recognition by Governing magazine as the best governor in the state," O'Malley said. "Contrary to what Bob Ehrlich thinks, I'm the only governor in the state."
Sean R. Sedam
The "Hometown Gathering" dinner was a family affair, with mothers of Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Del. Brian Feldman and Sen. Rich Madaleno among those in attendance.
O'Malley mentioned that his mother, Barbara, and his sister, Eileen, were both seated with him at the head table.
"I don't know whether you caught it, Ike," he said to the county executive, "but when you were saying those really nice things about me and I was becoming kind of self-conscious and putting my head down humbly, my mother catches my eye and she goes ..."
With that he mimicked a disapproving mother, giving a scolding yank of the head that said "chin up."
"Thanks, Mom," he said, as the room erupted with laughter.
Barbara O'Malley got the last word on her son, however, as they posed for a photo with Leggett and a framed display of photos of the two Rockville homes where the guv grew up.
"You know we moved to Maryland before Martin was born," Barbara O'Malley said. "I wanted him to have a great base of operation."
Sean R. Sedam
Take the show on the road
Laurel and Hardy. Abbott and Costello. Allen and Burns. Madaleno and Feldman?
And no, it wasn't the respective chairmen of Montgomery County's Senate and House delegations, but their mothers, who did a vaudeville-like back-and-forth as they introduced their sons at Monday's dinner.
"Our sons never told us that they could see Russia from their house," said Catherine Madaleno, who later added that the senator and the delegate "really do read newspapers and magazines and can actually name the newspapers."
Florence Feldman said that if the boys ever ran for president, "they would know how many homes they own" and "would interview their vice president more than once."
"Even McDonald's requires three interviews," she said.
Sen. Madaleno appeared slightly less amused than the rest of the room.
"Thank you very much for that surprise, mom and Mrs. Feldman," he said.
"This doesn't feel like a normal political dinner," Brian Feldman said. "With my mom here, it feels more like a family wedding."
Sean R. Sedam
Move over, Nathan Hale
During his speech, O'Malley gave a nod to two recent departures from his cabinet.
John Porcari became deputy secretary in the U.S. Department of Transportation on June 1 after leaving the top transportation post with the state earlier this year. Tom Perez, who headed the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, followed Porcari to a federal post last month, when he was confirmed as assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
"I told [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm Emanuel that I regret that I have but one cabinet to give to my government," O'Malley said.
Sean R. Sedam
The bills are piling up
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin breezed through Rockville on Monday, touring the Montgomery County Pre-Release Center and the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children.
Cardin's tour of the Lourie Center included a lighthearted lunchtime Q&A with students of the Lourie Center School, a nonpublic program for students with emotional and behavioral problems who have been unsuccessful in public school special education.
Cardin asked: "What does a senator do?"
"Work," said one boy.
"Help make bills," said another.
"Help make bills, make laws," Cardin said. "What law would you like to see us pass?"
One boy said he wanted to go to the White House. Another must've been watching the teen driving legislation passed by the General Assembly this year.
"You're not allowed to drive until you're at least 18," he said.
"I actually introduced that bill when I think my son was 15 years old," Cardin said. "He wasn't happy with me. He wasn't very popular in school when I did that."
Later, in a briefing with the center's staff, Cardin said he had "challenged children of all ages as to what they would do if they could pass a law."
Staff members said they were surprised that students didn't come up with "no school."
"The typical one is no homework' or shorter school days,'" Cardin said.
One staff member offered that Cardin would probably rather eat lunch with kids than with most adults.
"I've had some very interesting town hall meetings," Cardin said. "These have been better."
Sean R. Sedam
Nancy King will be dining at the expense of Tony O'Donnell sometime in the near future.
As we noted in this space last week, the legislators made a wager based on the outcome of the World Series. As a result of the New York Yankees' triumph over the Philadelphia Phillies, O'Donnell will foot the bill for an NYC specialty for King a hot pastrami sandwich.
The House GOP's top dog, who was raised near Harrisburg, Pa., also will have to don a Yankee jersey April 5, the opening day of the 2010 baseball season, which falls one week before Sine Die.
Had the Phillies won, King would have owed O'Donnell a Philly cheese steak and worn a Phillies jersey.
But the Bronx Bombers closed out the series in six games Wednesday night.
Two footnotes to last week's report:
A tipster challenged Andy Harris' declaration that he shed his loyalty for the Yanks when he moved from his native Brooklyn. We're told Harris had to be regularly reminded not to ask for a Yankees update while on the campaign trail last year in Baltimore Orioles country.
But Harris stood by his initial comments and said the last Yankees game he attended was shortly after returning from Operation Desert Storm in the mid-1990s.
"I don't root for them. I don't go to the games. I'm neutral on baseball right now, which as a Mickey Mantle fan growing up is kind of interesting, but there are no more Mickey Mantles today."
Then there's Roger Manno, who initially declined to reveal his allegiance. He called Tuesday to speak up after several relatives who live in the Empire State caught wind of the piece and informed him to cease his political posturing or lose his invitation to Thanksgiving dinner. Not surprisingly, the New York native was pulling for the pinstripes.
Taking a stance on prickly issues like slots and taxes? Piece of cake, Manno said.
"Baseball, now that's real politics."