Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
President Bush has been heavily criticized by environmentalists during his time in office. The Natural Resources Defense Council on its Web site accuses the Bush administration of "dismantling safeguards, ignoring climate concerns... and catering to industries that endangered Americans' health and natural heritage."
That's a characterization the Bush administration dismisses. In fact, today President Bush announced the largest marine conservation effort in history. Three remote Pacific island chains — totaling almost 200,000 square miles — have now been designated national monuments.
The areas include the Mariana Trench, the Rose Atoll in American Samoa and seven other Pacific islands.
Even Greenpeace is applauding the president's efforts with Greenpeace Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar saying, "The Bush administration has raised the bar with these new monuments."
A Tennessee woman has filed complaints with three government agencies — including the Justice Department — saying she was discriminated against because she is an American-born worker. Sabrina Steele alleges a local plant farm discouraged her from accepting employment because it wanted to hire foreign-born workers.
Steele's lawyer, Melody Fowler-Green, says her client was told she would be the only English speaker performing manual labor, that the ratio of male to female workers was 20-to-one and that she would have to work 80-hour weeks; terms her lawyer says the foreign workers are not subject to.
"They purposefully offered her this position on undesirable terms... if she had been offered the same conditions being given to the other workers, she would have gladly accepted the job."
Farm management says the allegations are unfounded.
Vice President-elect Joe Biden said in his remarks to the National Governor's Association last month that "since the race is over no one pays attention to me at all."
A big laugh line that may have been a little prophetic at least according to one newspaper. The Delaware News Journal reports Biden and his wife couldn't get in to watch a movie Saturday night in Wilmington because it was sold out.
Theater employee Becky Gingrich of Regal Cinemas says Biden was surrounded by Secret Service agents but that "it didn't seem many people recognized him. Honestly, I think people were just too wrapped up in themselves to notice." The Biden camp has not confirmed the story.
And finally, Pepsi recently unveiled a new logo and ad campaign. But the refreshed insignia has caused a stir because some say the soft drink company is piggy-backing on President-elect Obama's success. Not only do the logos appear similar but one of Pepsi's new ads reportedly includes the word "hope" with the Pepsi logo in the middle — similar to placards used by the Obama campaign.
Barbara Lippert at Adweek.com says, "The new Pepsi mark is very reminiscent of the barrack Obama logo, the graphic symbol that was so swooned over by design mavens and average Joes alike."
Pepsi's move is getting a ton of blogger traffic. Evan Coyne Maloney of the Brain Terminal Blog — a blog that has multiple posts on the switch — asks, "Could Obama's campaign imagery help sell sugared water to an entire nation?" And while the Obama transition team did not respond to our request for a comment, Pepsi spokeswoman Nicole Bradley gave her company's response saying, "We can't speak to the president-elect's design sensibilities, but we're all over his prevailing spirit of optimism. That's as refreshingly bipartisan as it gets."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier currently serves as FOX News Channel's (FNC) chief political anchor and anchor of Special Report with Bret Baier(weeknights at 6-7PM/ET), the highest-rated cable news program in its timeslot and consistently one of the top five shows in cable news. Based in Washington, DC, he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau.