Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
President Obama said during an appearance at the Caterpillar tractor factory in East Peoria, Illinois, that the company CEO had promised in the Peoria Journal Star: "If Congress passes our (stimulus) plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off."
But after the president left, Caterpillar chief Jim Owens said there actually would be more layoffs coming — in addition to the 22,000 already expected: "We'll probably have more layoffs before we start hiring again. We don't want false expectations. If we sign a stimulus bill, that doesn't mean we'll start hiring right away."
Owens back-tracked today, saying the passage of stimulus packages could — over time — lead to the recall of some employees laid off during this downturn.
Actress Janeane Garofalo discussed some scientific and political observations during a recent interview with ecorazzi.com — "The reason a person is a conservative Republican is because something is wrong with them. That's science — that's neuroscience. You cannot be well adjusted, open-minded, pluralistic, enlightened and be a Republican. It's counterintuitive."
Garofalo also discussed former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin saying, "She's small-minded and mean-spirited...There's definitely something wrong with her."
Garofalo's newest gig is on the FOX show "24" — an action series that has been criticized as "right wing" and is a favorite among conservatives.
Make Me Go to Rehab
A Toronto mosque is offering a detox program for young Islamic radicals who are sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Specialized De-radicalization Intervention team member Muhammed Heft says the program is based on the idea that Islamic extremism can be fought by incorporating traditional teaching of the Koran into what is called a "12-Step Extremist Detox Program."
Canadian Television reports one of those steps is "finding common ground, 'not fighting ground,' with other faiths." Another involves "actively countering extremist ideology through 'education, public speaking, and writing.'"
Can't Spare a Square
And finally, in this struggling economy, leaders in Des Moines, Iowa are thinking about charging jail inmates for toilet paper. The Des Moines Register reports they are hoping to wipe away a $1.7 million deficit. The county's budget director acknowledges that forcing inmates to pony up won't balance the budget. In fact, it would only save about $2,300.
Louisa County Sheriff Curt Braby understands the motives behind the proposal — but also sympathizes with those who just can't come up with the cash: "They've got budget problems, and they're looking for places to cut. But what do you do for the guy who hasn't got the dollar for the toilet paper?"
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier is the Chief Political Anchor of Fox News Channel, and the Anchor & Executive Editor of "Special Report with Bret Baier.” His book, "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission," (William Morrow) is on sale now.