Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
As part of his ongoing nationalization efforts, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the acquisition, by force, of a second Hilton hotel. The facility, on the resort island of M
argarita, is being taken over by Chavez's government less than a month after it hosted a summit involving African and South American nations.
Chavez has already seized the Hilton in Venezuela's capital, Caracas. The president continues to nationalize a number industries he sees as strategic to his regime's success.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is being accused of nepotism after appointing his 23-year-old son as head of the agency that overseas Paris' premium business district.
French lawmaker Jean-Paul Huchon said: "At the heart of the matter is a downward spiral to monarchism." And Le Monde daily newspaper said: "Not everything is permitted when you are the head of a Democratic nation... there are certain things you don't do and don't allow."
Sarkozy says his son Jean, who is reportedly repeating his second year of law school, is being treated unfairly and has been: "thrown to the wolves without any reason and in an excessive fashion."
Those comments came just hours after he told a group of students: "What counts in France is not to be born to a wealthy family — but to have worked hard and to have proved your worth through your studies and your labor."
A heating plant in Sweden is using dead rabbits as fuel. Swedish media reports authorities kill thousands of rabbits every year to prevent overpopulation and protect plant life in the city of Stockholm. The bodies are then used as a form of bio-energy.
But the decision has animal rights activists doing a slow burn. Anna Johannesson of the Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits says: "It feels like they're trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem."
Tommy Tuvunger of the Stockholm Traffic Police, the agency responsible for killing the rabbits, says the main problem is delinquent pet owners: "People who think that the bunnies are cute and cuddly suddenly don't think they're as fun anymore — and put the animals outside."
California first lady Maria Shriver has been caught breaking a law that her husband supported — and signed.
An entertainment Web site has posted photos of Shriver driving while talking on her cell phone. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill three years ago requiring drivers to use hands-free phone devices.
The governor has since written on his Twitter page: "Thanks for bringing her violations to my attention. There's going to be swift action."
— Fox News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.