Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Practice What You Preach?
Democrats who accused the Bush administration of letting energy lobbyists write national policy have turned to their own lobbyists to help draft climate legislation.
The Washington Times reports that a group of environmental agencies and corporate giants known as the U.S. Climate Action Partnership has provided language included in the bill. It bars construction of new coal-fired projects for up to 15 years until clean coal technology is developed. It also gives a member of the lobby, Duke Energy Corporation, an exemption on a coal plant it is currently building. House Energy and Commerce Committee Deputy Republican staff director Larry Neal says: "the U.S. Climate Action Partnership companies must be delirious over the freebies that they've received after writing the blueprint for the House draft bill."
Put it On My Tab
The New York State Psychiatric Institute will spend $400,000 dollars of your taxpayer money to study alcohol consumption among Argentinean homosexuals.
Cybercast News reports the grant was awarded by the division of the National Institute of Health that studies alcohol issues. The effort began in September and runs through August of next year.
Researchers will travel to Argentina to determine the relationship among drinking bars frequented by homosexuals, and what the study calls "risky behavior" to see if certain bars might be good targets for HIV prevention campaigns. Researchers say information gathered in those bars might help similar efforts in the future here at home.
Government officials in China have been ordered to smoke 4.5 million cigarettes a year to help the local economy. Our sister network, Sky News, says the local government in Hubei Province has told its staff to puff their way through 230,000 packs of locally produced cigarettes, or risk being fined. Hubei Province government official Chen Nianzu says: "The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax."
China has 350 million smokers. Each year about one million die from smoking-related diseases.
Till Death Do Us Part?
And, an update on a story we brought you last week on the grapevine. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says even a public apology from his wife may not save their marriage. Veronica Lario says she is now seeking a divorce because her husband constantly flirts with younger women.
But he says his wife fell into a "media trap" after he supported a group of young women, including a Miss Italy contestant and two actresses to run for seats in the European Parliament: "We're talking about three talented girls out of 72 candidates. And what's wrong if they are also cute?"
— 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.