Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
‘Reread the Constitution’?
Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy has said the vice president "ought to reread the constitution" if he thinks President Bush can approve domestic surveillance without congressional oversight or a court order.
But Institute for Homeland Security director Randy Larsen says that on the day after 9-11, with the Pentagon still smoldering, Kennedy invited Larsen to his office for a briefing and asked Larsen whether the attacks meant that the government should unleash the NSA and CIA inside the United States. After a pause, Larsen says he told the Senator "we may have to look at that, but we'd need a lot of oversight." Senator Kennedy could not be reached for comment.
Officials in California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Austrian hometown have removed his name from the town's soccer stadium and deleted any reference to their most famous native son on the city's Web sites.
This after Schwarzenegger barred the town from using his name in a promotional capacity in response to local politicians, who denounced him for denying clemency to convicted murderer Stanley "Tookie" Williams, executed earlier this month.
But Graz Mayor Siegfried Nagl says most residents still admire Schwarzenegger and he wrote to the governor, saying he hopes he will soon hear Schwarzenegger say to his old home town, "I'll be back."
Angel of the Beach
A French children's magazine has named its "Child of the Year,” an 11-year-old British girl now dubbed "the Angel of the Beach,” who saved hundreds of lives during last year's tsunami in Southeast Asia. Tilly Smith had studied tsunamis in her geography class two weeks before taking a Christmas holiday to Thailand.
During a walk on Phuket island beach, she spotted bubbling water and what she called "foam sizzling just like in a frying pan." She recognized them as tsunami warning signs and told her parents, who alerted hotel staff. The beach was evacuated minutes before the giant wave crashed ashore and was one of the few on the island where no one was killed.
Finally, a much deserved Christmas gift for a New Jersey woman who spent her life quietly giving to others. Phyllis Klingebiel and her husband took in 67 foster children over the past 30 years. So when a degenerative condition forced Phyllis to look for a new kidney with no genetic matches available one of her many foster sons made what he calls "a natural choice" and offered his own.
Mark Greshan, a 23-year-old naval officer who lived with the Klingebiels for 11 years, heard about her problem, determined that he was a match, and called Klingebiel to tell her he had a special Christmas gift for her — a kidney. She says she "is forever indebted" to him. He apparently feels the same way, telling the Newark Star-Ledger, "I couldn't picture me without my mother."
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report