Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Los Angeles Unified School District is paying about 160 teachers to do nothing while they are under review. The Los Angeles Times reports, all told, the teachers collect about $10 million a year even as layoffs are considered because of a budget gap.
They must sit idly as their cases of sexual misconduct, harassment, theft and drug possession are resolved. After the school board voted to fire one teacher for allegedly harassing students and colleagues, he was paid $68,000 a year — including benefits — for the last seven years.
L.A. Unified school board member Marlene Canter says: "It's a glaring example of how hard it is to remove someone from the classroom and how the process is tilted toward teachers." The district superintendent, Ramon Cortines, suggests they should be assigned to other jobs in the interim: "I don't believe they should just be sitting — that's taxpayer money."
President Obama's nominee for the No. 2 position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development was found to have violated open records laws during his time as a Washington state county executive.
The Washington Times reports the Washington State Supreme Court said actions by Ronald Sims and his office were so "egregious" that it scrapped a lower court's $123,000 fine — the largest ever in a public records case — and recommended an increase to as much as $825,000 dollars.
Sims' office withheld documents detailing cheaper alternatives for Seattle's professional football stadium, which was built in 2002.
But the president nominated Sims anyway, just three weeks after the ruling. A Senate committee sent Sims' nomination to the full Senate last week without asking him a single question.
And Washington D.C.'s former mayor says there could be a civil war if the district takes up a broad gay marriage bill later this year. The Washington Post reports that D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry says: "All hell is going to break lose... the black community is just adamant against this."
Barry's comments come after the city council voted Tuesday to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Barry was the only member to vote against it.
But it took him two tries to get his vote the way he wanted it. The council first voted unanimously in support of the bill. But then Barry asked for the legislation to be reconsidered, because he said he did not realize what he was voting for.
— 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.