Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers no longer plans to investigate the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now — known as ACORN. The Michigan Democrat bucked party leaders when he called for hearings on voter fraud accusations against ACORN. The Washington Times reports Conyers now says, "the powers that be decided against it."
He did not say who those powers are. Spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, Michael Steel, says Conyers, "has a responsibility to explain who is blocking this investigation, and why. Is it Speaker Pelosi? Others in the Democratic leadership? Who in Congress is covering up ACORN's corruption?"
A Conyers spokesman later said Conyers had been referring to himself as "the powers that be."
Meanwhile, Conyers' wife could be going to prison. Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. She was accused of accepting money from a wastewater treatment company, for helping to award that company a $1.2 billion city contract.
She had been a vocal opponent of the deal, but later cast the deciding vote for it. Conyers faces up to five years behind bars.
Plant a Tree?
The climate change bill currently being debated in the House includes a little-noticed provision that would pay companies billions of dollars not to chop down trees around the world.
The Washington Times reports the provision has been attacked by both sides of the debate. Environmentalists say it will not actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Others criticize sending federal dollars out of the country to plant trees, when subsidies are needed at home.
William Kovacs, who is the senior vice president for the Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls the plan "a transfer of wealth overseas".
Supporters say keeping trees alive or planting new ones anywhere in the world helps combat global warming.
Tale of the Tape
And, Watergate figure John Dean, who spent much of the 1990s embroiled in litigation he brought against various authors, publishers and even a fellow Watergate veteran, is now threatening legal action against an assistant professor with an Internet site.
Luke Nichter, founder of nixontapes.org, posted audio of Dean's appearance at the Nixon Presidential Library last week, and juxtaposed those comments alongside some contradictory statements Dean made in taped interviews back in the 1980s. Dean is now asserting copyright control over both sets of audio.
He says in an e-mail to Nichter: "[L]awsuits are legalize[d] brawls and costly to both sides. But if you believe you can roll over me so easily you are mistaken." Dean added, "I have not read your piece because I was told it would anger me, not to mention that it is so over-written that it is not easily comprehensible."
Nichter's Web site now says certain audio clips have been removed while the matter is under review.
— 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.