Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Scientists have cut in half their prediction of how much sea levels could rise if Antarctica's western ice sheets melt due to global warming. The journal Science reports water levels would rise about 11 feet, rather than around 20. Scientists say that would still be a major problem.
But the change underlines just how much uncertainty there is about the entire issue. We've told you that the earth has actually cooled over the last decade. The New York Times reports researchers say they need new ice-probing satellites and field missions to clarify the risk. And a NASA scientist says sea-level estimates cannot be verified without renewed investment in research that is currently lagging.
Projects benefiting from the president's $787 billion stimulus program generally are required to use made-in-America parts and materials. The Washington Post reports that is causing what it calls the first trade war of the global economic crisis between the U.S. and Canada.
The town of Peru, Indiana rejected sewage pumps made near Toronto. A navy official was forced to rip Canadian pipe fittings out of the ground in California and replace them with American versions.
Canada has retaliated by barring U.S. companies from Canadian municipal contracts. And American companies that use foreign materials are also being cut out of the loop. One steel company near Pittsburgh, that uses imported steel slabs not manufactured in this country, has had to furlough 80 workers because of canceled orders.
The Check's In the Mail
If you receive Social Security payments, you are probably checking your mailbox every day for a one-time $250 check from the stimulus program. The Social Security Administration is cutting $52 million of them.
But it seems some of those checks have been sent to dead people. A Long Island woman says she got a check made out to her father, who died in Italy 34 years ago. The government says as many as 10,000 checks have gone to dead people because the agency had no record of their death.
But the woman on Long Island says her father was never in the Social Security system to begin with, and was only in the U.S. for seven months after leaving for Italy in 1933.
And an update to a story we brought you Thursday about talk show host Michael Savage's efforts to get off a list banning him from Great Britain. Tonight his lawyers have filed a defamation complaint against British Home Secretary Jackie Smith, who justified Savage's inclusion on the list by saying he had sought to provoke criminal acts and hatred which might lead to violence.
Savage's attorneys have also filed a request for documentation of Smith's charges, and petitioned to have his name taken off the list.
— FOX News Channel's Lanna Britt 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.