• And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

    Have Passport, Will Travel

    Despite tough economic times and stricter ethics rules, congressional travel paid for by outside groups has actually increased this year.

    USA Today reports federal lawmakers took 415 private funded trips in the first nine months of the year, a nearly 75 percent jump compared to the same time period last year.

    The value of the trips is more than $3 million making it the most expensive travel year since Congress enacted ethics rules in 2007.

    Those restrictions were meant to curb lobbyist-funded trips.

    One of the big ticket travel destinations this year, Israel. More than 80 lawmakers have gone there courtesy of a charity affiliated with the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC.

    Keeping the Faith

    We told you earlier President Obama invoked God when talking about getting his jobs bill passed. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked about that this afternoon.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

    JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I believe the phrase from the Bible is the Lord helps those who help themselves.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

    Well, not to question Mr. Carney's biblical prowess, but that phrase is not actually found in either the Old or New Testaments.

    And late today, the White House transcript included an asterisk after Carney's remark noting -- quote -- "This common phrase does not appear in the Bible."

    Design Flaw

    And finally, a northern California school police officers union is in hot water for selling T-shirts members now admit were inappropriate.

    The shirts picture a child behind bars and the slogan "you raise 'em -- we cage 'em."

    The association's president says it stopped selling them this summer at the police chief's request.