Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Ear-ing on the Side of Caution
President Obama made a no-earmark pledge on the campaign trail and even outlined plans to overhaul a system he said was broken. But Congressional Quarterly reports the president is listed in the 2009 Omnibus Spending Bill as one of dozens of co-sponsors of a $7.7 million earmark. The request is for vocational training in two states.
A Senate Appropriations Committee spokesman says the request will be edited to attribute it to other senators and not the president. No changes are expected to be made to other special project requests by top Obama administration officials.
The president, vice president, his chief of staff and the four Cabinet secretaries who were in Congress last year are all either sponsors or co-sponsors of hundreds of millions of dollars in pet projects in the massive spending bill.
Vice President Joe Biden has his name attached to almost $95 million in earmarks, while Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is linked with over $227 million in special projects.
Throwdown With Bobby
Vice President Biden went after Louisiana Republican Governor Bobby Jindal after he delivered the GOP response to President Obama's address on Tuesday. The vice president said in an interview, "What I don't understand from Governor Jindal is what he would do? In Louisiana, there's 400 people a day losing their jobs. What's he doing?"
But a local TV station reports that according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission, the vice president is wrong. A labor market manager with that agency says, "In December, Louisiana was the only state in the nation besides the District of Columbia that added employment over the month."
Several appointments by President Obama have gotten into hot water for a variety of tax-related issues. Well, the state of Georgia is having similar problems with its state legislators.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution points to a new Georgia Department of Revenue report showing that 19 lawmakers have failed to pay state and federal income taxes — some dating back to 2002. The Georgia House Ethics Committee chairman says, "Leaders of both parties have made it clear this will not be tolerated."
Party leaders are discussing what action should be taken.
Rolling in Luxury
Some environmental groups are flush with anger over American's affinity for extra-soft multi-ply toilet paper.
The Guardian newspaper reports green campaigners say luxury quilted tissue is worse than gas-guzzling cars, fast food or large houses.
A scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council says, "This is a product that we use for less than three seconds... making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers... people just don't understand that softness equals ecological destruction."
But one industry spokesman says customers "demand soft and comfortable. Recycled fiber cannot do it."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier currently serves as anchor of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier" (weeknights 6-7PM/ET), the top-rated cable news program in its timeslot. Based in Washington, D.C., he joined the network in 1998 as the first reporter in the Atlanta bureau. Click here for more information on Bret Baier.