(Leigh Vogel)
Saturday, March 12, 2011

Washington's other power plays

The first sign that the hockey team you're watching is packed with politicians: The face-off is delayed for a photo op. Hill types gathered Thursday night at Verizon Center for the third annual Congressional Hockey Challenge - a pickup charity game that pits lawmakers against lobbyists.

Thrilling hockey, it was not. It was entertaining, though: Powerful Washington insiders huffed and puffed around the rink, just like typical middle-aged guys.

For some of the lawmakers, it had been a little while. "I haven't played in 25 years," admitted freshman Republican Rep. Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania, who spent a few years as an NHL referee back in the day. Come game time, he was a little rusty. Others held their own. New York Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), who played in college, proved a solid goalie. And you had to hand it to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D), who hit the ice despite having recently undergone dual hip-replacement surgeries.

In prior years, only Democrats participated. This year, Meehan and Indiana Rep. Larry Bucshon were among the Republicans joining the lawmakers' team, and partisan politics were set aside, mostly.

As the game went on, things got a little more physical. One player on the lobbyists' squad, Jeffrey Kimbell of Jeffrey J. Kimbell and Associates, said: "A few punches were thrown."

Despite the lawmakers' bipartisan effort, the lobbyists won, 5 to 3.


Mel Gibson. The actor pleaded no-contest Friday afternoon to charges of battery in a domestic dispute with his former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, reports TMZ. Now, rather than go to trial, Gibson has been ordered to serve 16 hours of community service and undergo 52 of counseling.


Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. The singer/actor/boy-band survivor, 30, and the actress, 29, had dated since 2007, People reports. No hard feelings, though. "They mutually have decided to part ways," said the couple's reps in a statement. "The two remain friends and continue to hold the highest level of love and respect for each other."


Antonio Villaraigosa. The L.A. mayor attended a Food & Friends benefit dinner Thursday night at Tosca. He was joined by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who dined with him, and also, albeit briefly, by a gaggle of drag queens who stopped by to snap a photo.

- From staff, Web and wire reports

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