Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The list of requested earmarks in congressional appropriations bills this year runs to hundreds of pages, and will take the better part of an hour to download all the requests, even with a fast Internet connection.
Tucked away in this year's labor and health bill is two million dollars sought by New York Democrat, and House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel. The beneficiary would be the City College of New York to establish the "Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service." That's right — he wants us to pay for a building named in his honor.
Republicans tell opinionjournal.com they will target the request for criticism during the coming days — but it's worth noting members so far have rejected only one of the hundreds of earmark requests by politicians of both parties.
Keeping up Appearances
John Edwards isn't the only politician who spends big bucks on his appearance.
The Politico reports Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid $300 to a California company that describes itself as — "a mobile beauty team for hair, makeup and men's grooming and spa services." Romney's people say they actually paid $150 apiece for two sessions — but only used the company once — prior to a candidate debate in May.
The woman who actually did the makeup for Romney says he barely needs it — because he's already tan.
And it turns out Romney may have gotten a bargain. Illinois Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich is being ridiculed for spending $600 on a makeup artist prior to his annual budget speech in March. Chicago newspapers report the bill was initially covered by taxpayer funds — but now the artist is reimbursing the state.
Germany's interior minister is taking considerable heat over a statement that his country has to look at all possible ways of dealing with terrorism — including killing the terrorists.
Wolfgang Schauble told a German news magazine that Berlin would have to explore whether several possibilities would be legal — including Internet or mobile phone restrictions for terrorism suspects — and what he called "targeted killings."
Critics says Schauble's comments could threaten Germany's fragile coalition government. The parliamentary chief of the center-left Social Democrats said — "Human rights and the right to life are untouchable. This also goes for Usama bin Laden's life."
And some have even questioned whether the fact that Schauble is wheelchair-bound because of a failed assassination attempt has influenced his thought process.
A 63-year-old Boston resident is suing the IRS because it is refusing to allow a $25,000 deduction — for a sex-change operation.
Rhiannon O'Donnabhain was a married father of three — when he underwent the operation at age 57. The IRS rejected the write-off — saying the tax code does not allow deductions for cosmetic surgery unless it is medically necessary. O'Donnabhain says the surgery follows a medical diagnosis of gender identity disorder, and advocates say it should be treated like other medical procedures. They say the IRS ruling is motivated by politics and prejudice.
O'Donnabhain's case could set a precedent for the up to 2,000 people a year who undergo sex-change surgery in the U.S.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.
With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume.