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Are you watching State of the Union tonight? Sure, you and all of America.

But how many can say they grabbed a beer with the folks at the National Beer Wholesalers Association at Tortilla Coast? Exactly.

Get your beer and bragging rights on tonight from 6-8.

If snow were happening a week from today instead of right now, we think its surrounding hype would be better than the usual talking points, buzzwords, drinking games, prefabricated hashtags and the like.

Here’s what would happen.

1. First outdoor State of the Union address

“Tonight, thanks to the hard work of the American people,” President Obama says, “I can report that our country is doing better than — actually, wait a second. Does anyone else want to do this outside? In the snow?”

Most folks in Congress and their guests nod, and the whole gang marches out into the night, working together on West Front to make a semicircle of snow chairs that is a snow sculpture version of the U.S. House chamber. This results the most bipartisanship the country has seen in years.

2. Tradition of decorum broken by a snowball fight

“And because of the policies we’ve put in place since November-” the President pauses, turning and looking behind. Vice President Joe Biden has snow all over his face. The President smiles. This sparks a wide grin from Biden as he hurls one at the President. Snowballs fly in all directions in the chamber.

3. Majority and Minority leaders hand out hot chocolate before the address begins

No report on whether accompanying marshmallows are shaped like donkeys, elephants or bald eagles.

4. Responses to State of the Union unfocused

“America recognizes that what the President said remains– hey, are you seeing this? Do you see how high the snow is right outside this window? Look at this ruler!”

5. Traditional applause muffled by gloves, so clappers employed instead

SOTU branded applause clappers handed out as guests enter the chamber. Initially, whistles were considered for this purpose but ultimately the AOC did not want a vuvuzela situation on their hands. These turn out to be almost as valuable as boxes of White House M&M’s.

6. Congress drafts a document lifting the sledding ban on the Capitol lawn

Just as happened years ago, the US Congress comes together to allow kids the chance to ride the Capitol wave. Inspired by a spirit of cooperation in being forced to sit in the same room with one another, they pen an agreement to lift the ban on sledding on the actual Capitol’s hill as the #SnowlarVortex rages in full force. While no formal documentation is necessary, the President signs it, not wanting to miss an historic moment.

7. Ice luges (for shots) built by staff

In the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, bartenders and patrons alike work to build ice luges meant to deliver shots outside of neighborhood Hill bars. It’s cold, it’s snowing, and politicos everywhere get cabin fever staying in just one place. This is way better than your usual, “I heard ‘healthcare.’ Drink!”

8. Vice President Joe Biden makes everyone sandwiches

The VP went to Costco earlier that day and bought all the supplies necessary to make Philly style sandwiches. When a staffer nudges him to let him know  he bought an entire warehouse’s worth of ingredients, he takes orders before the address begins.

9. Interns’ fingers too frigid to humblebrag about standing within a mile of SOTU

Wouldn’t that be nice?

10. Supreme Court Justices make snow angels

Their long robes deemed the perfect attire for creating ideal snow angel shapes. They are cold, but cannot be dissuaded from their noble task.

The White House Correspondents’ Association today joins dozens of news associations and media outlets in protesting White House policies that ban photojournalists from covering the president at certain events while releasing government photos and videos of the same events.

“Journalists are routinely being denied the right to photograph or videotape the President while he is performing his official duties,” the WHCA and other news organizations said in a letter Thursday to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

“As surely as if they were placing a hand over a journalist’s camera lens, officials in this administration are blocking the public from having an independent view of important functions of the Executive Branch of government.”

The letter, also signed by such groups as the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Associated Press Managing Editors and the White House News Photographers Association as well as individual media outlets, notes that the White House has argued that certain events with the president are private and should not be opened to the news media.

However, in instance after instance, the White House has proved that claim false by allowing its own photographers and videographers into the same events and then releasing those photos or videos to a nationwide audience.

“You are, in effect, replacing independent photojournalism with visual press releases,” the groups said in the letter.

The practice is a troubling break from tradition, and belies the president’s vow to be more transparent.

“The right of journalists to gather the news is most critical when covering government officials acting in their official capacities,” the letter said.

“Previous administrations have recognized this, and have granted press access to visually cover precisely these types of events, thus creating government transparency. It is clear that the restrictions imposed by your office on photographers undercuts the President’s stated desire to continue and broaden that tradition.   To exclude the press from these functions is a major break from how previous administrations have worked with the press.”

The groups asked for a meeting to make the case face to face for a change in policy.

The White House Correspondents’ Association represents the White House press corps. It will mark its 100th year next year.

Edit: Read more on this here.

Dave Tate celebrated his 4th year at NJI Media, Seamus Kraft makes a wicked great sailor, Lira continues to toss points on the board at the NRSC, Noah Chestnut is headed to NYC to work with TNR, Adam Sharp’s luggage was misplaced, Katie Prill is one year wiser, Brian Diffell is proud to be on Team Night Owl, Jackie Kucinich and Chris Cillizza are launching In Play next week, did you tell Lia Seremetis happy birthday today?, where will Justin LoFranco celebrate his birthday?, it is time for the annual the “Redskins are going to the Super Bowl hype,”Karen Hanretty is saying goodbye to D.C., Abe Lincoln’s Thirsty Thursday turns him a bit green, send him your regards; Mike Issabella opens his new sandwich shop, get ‘em while they’re hot; #NATITUDE was restored to Navy Yard (if only for a day); DC folk went out of their way to get a whiff of sh*t; Weiner won’t pull out; Happy Birthday George Alexander Louis, but you’ve got nothing on Bob Dole; LeBron James said no more international basketball for him; “This is the point of the party where I become everything I mock.” -Mark Leibovich at his book party for “The Town”; What is Alex Trebek’s 73rdbirthday?; Have an extra $300 million lying around?; Hey, why not try to fix everything in DC?; thinking about taking a vacation to Tunisia? Ask for a refund, can you say RECESS?; Wish Ari Gold – sorry, Jeremy Piven – a happy birthday (Lloyd!!); SmarTrip gets cheaper (barely); Fox News contributor Richard Grenell and Mediaite’s Tommy Christopher duel on Twitter; Apparently a job offer at Politico is equivalent to your everyday aphrodisiac; RIP Helen Thomas; Bush 41 makes everyone saw “awww”; The Hungry Lobbyist explains how lobbying is hard work (said no one ever); Washingtonians are the ninth hardest-working city in the U.S. – so get off BuzzFeed and get back to work; Michelle Obama takes a trip to the waterfront; Jeff Forbes likes Casa Luca’s dinner menu; PandaWatch starts Friday morning; Dunkin Donuts says goodbye to U street and hello to Metro Center; Cubical guy, coming to an office near you; Need advice? Call on blogger and birthday girl Rebecca Gale; Some of your favorite DuPont restaurants forget to tidy up at the end of the day; Send congrats to Perry Stein for the new gig at WCP; Geraldo has himself a “weiner” copycat moment; Where will you dine for August Restaurant Week?; Car2Go is getting a bit bigger, watch out ZipCar; Serena Williams eyes the competition at a Kastles game; Will Jennings gets a new desk at the Glover Park Group; Not sure where you’ll be this weekend, but we’ll be here — and thank you Kelly + Stef for the help,

And, by way of BuzzFeed style post because he gets the internet, Issa gives you 7 reasons to follow him on Twitter:

If you’re not currently following Darrell on Twitter and you’re on the fence as to whether or not to do so, here are 7 reasons to go do so.

7. Because our office dog wants you to.

 6. Because you’ll get to see cool videos like this:

5. Listen to Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is wise and knows the benefits of following @DarrellIssa.

Read the full list on Issa’s site.

We recently saw CQ Roll Call reporter Abby Livingston‘s article on the upcoming Women’s Congressional Baseball game public roster and reached out to her. When she replied, her pure joy that Congressional Softball was back prompted us to ask her to write a guest post. But before we get to the best things about the game, there are a few things you should know about Abby:

  • She is co-captain of the press team (hardcore), AKA “The Bad News Babe.” In real life she’s a political reporter at CQ Roll Call
  • They play for charity, the Young Survivtal Coalition, which supports women under the age of 40 who have breast cancer
  • Both teams practice twice a week at 7am (did we mention hardcore?)
  • Get your tickets to the Fifth Annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game here or visit their main website
  • She’ll be crushing it at the game on June 26th (True story, we had to postpone this article for batting practice. Again, hardcore.)

Top Ten Things That Make Congressional Softball Great

10. Lynn Sweet’s garden gloves(Photo courtesy of Jeff Malet)

 9. Former Rep. Laura Richardson leaving her ethics hearing so she’d be on time to the game last year.

 8. Every other league I’ve ever played in made me remove my pearls and other jewelry before the game. This is how the Congressional Women’s Softball Game rolls.

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**UPDATE April 30, 2013**

We’ve just been tipped off by a staffer that Mario will be hired back. Long live the barber shop. Read the story of Mario and how the Senate Barber Shop almost closed for good: 

After four decades spent in the Russell Senate Office Building’s basement, cutting hair and shaving necks for senators, congressmen, presidential hopefuls, sleep-deprived staff, lobbyists, and lost tourists, beloved Mario and his trusty friend Tony are said to have been kicked to the curb. Come this Monday, April 29, anyone calling Senate Hair Care for the $20 services of Mario and Tony will go wanting.

The Senate barbershop has long been a staple of both sides of the Capitol, but has reportedly been muddling in the red for quite some time.  It’s unclear where the red derives from as the well-worn chairs of Mario and Tony, as well as Dave and Cindy, are packed solid from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., five days a week whether Congress is in session or not.  Try calling Mario the day of for a cut and he’ll either have to squeeze you in between two existing appointments, or stay after hours.  We’ve all been the recipients of both as Mario is usually the last man standing in the dark Russell basement at 6:00 p.m. on Friday evenings (during recess!).

The fate of our not-so-cool-but-we-think-it-is Washington hair lies in the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms, whose job description apparently includes both protecting senators and cutting their hair.  So, here’s a simple message to the Senate SAA: where go Mario and Tony, so go their loyal patrons. Good luck turning a profit!

Even Jay Leno recognizes the value of the Senate Barber Shop (skip to 1:25):