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

    Pros and Cons

    A Government Accountability Office director spoke to Congress last week about the opportunities and challenges of oil shale development in the U.S.

    Her testimony was based on a 2010 GAO report that found the Green River Formation -- a largely vacant area mostly of federal lands that covers where Colorado, Utah and Wyoming meet -- is estimated to contain up to three trillion barrels of oil -- trillion with a "T" -- half of which may be recoverable.

    That is about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves. The report noted the potential benefits of job creation and oil production, but cautioned that environmental risks cannot be ignored.

    On defense

    The defense has begun its presentation in the corruption trial of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

    A financial officer for the campaign testified that she did not consider the $1 million dollars given to conceal Edwards' pregnant mistress -- as campaign contributions -- so she did not report them.

    Mixed Signals

    Finally, more drama for some other North Carolina Democrats.

    Embattled State Chairman David Parker verbally submitted his resignation over the weekend at a committee meeting only to return to the job hours later, after the committee voted to reject it.

    Top Democrats in the state have pushed for Parker's removal over his handling of sexual harassment allegations involving the party's former executive director.

    All of that is on top of the same-sex marriage ban that passed there last week causing headaches for the state party and the DNC convention that will take place in Charlotte, re-nominating a president who is now for same sex marriage and who Newsweek called the "first gay president."