Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Thin on the Details
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has received tepid reviews for his plan to loosen credit markets with the second half of the financial bailout money. Market professionals worry that lack of enthusiasm from Wall Street could complicate winning public opinion and market confidence.
Lynn Tilton, the CEO of Patriarch Partners — a private equity firm — tells the Washington Times, "Everybody thought there was going to be an actual plan everyone could jump on. But then we didn't get details. (Geithner) was so bad, I actually felt sorry for him."
And Bert Ely — a longtime banking analyst — also tells the Washington Times, "I think everybody is really scratching their heads and asking what happened? And now they've really put themselves behind the eight ball."
Monday we told you about Geert Wilders — the leader of the Dutch Opposition Political Party who is being prosecuted by the government for insulting Muslims. Today, Wilders was sent back to his country after attempting to defy a ban on entering Britain. The Daily Mail reports Wilders received a letter from the government Tuesday refusing him entry because his opinions "would threaten community harmony and therefore public security" in the U.K.
But he vowed to make the trip regardless saying "Let them put me in handcuffs." We're not sure about the handcuffs, but he was detained at the London airport.
Wilders called British Prime Minister Gordon Brown "the biggest coward in Europe" and said freedom of speech in Britain has been set back centuries.
Wilders had been invited to England by a member of Parliament so he could screen his documentary which juxtaposes verses from the Koran with scenes of violence from Islamic militants.
Not Easy Being Green
Some angry Australians are blaming local "green" council laws for contributing to the death toll from bushfires. One man — whose mother and brother perished in the fires — criticized the local council for failing to allow residents to chop down trees and clear bush that posed a fire risk.
TheAge.com.au reports Warwick Spooner said, “We've lost two people in my family because you *expletives* won't cut trees down. We wanted trees cut down on the side of the road... and you can't even cut the grass for God's sake."
South American Delicacy?
And in Venezuela, the military is telling voters not to eat their ballots on Election Day. Citizens will vote Sunday on whether to allow President Hugo Chavez to defy term limits and stay in power as long as he keeps winning elections.
The military says rebellious voters could go to jail if they protest by eating the paper receipts printed by the electronic voting machines. Reuters says the man in charge of overseeing election security says that some voters actually did this during regional balloting in November.
Gen. Jesus Gonzalez tells Reuters, "They've eaten them. This is an electoral crime."
— 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.