Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Not So Wel-Fare
There are big changes coming in the Swedish welfare state — which for the last half-century has offered cradle-to-grave benefits in exchange for the highest taxes in the Western world. Thursday the parliament approved a plan to cut unemployment benefits, increase the fees workers pay for unemployment insurance, and slash personal taxes — all in an effort to get more people working. Experts say 20 percent —- one out of every five — working-age Swedes live on some kind of state subsidy.
The landmark legislation comes after an election victory by center-right candidates. The labor unions are furious and thousands of people have taken to the streets in protest. One Stockholm businessman tells Bloomberg.com "Sweden is the only country in the world where people are scared of tax cuts."
Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has promised a greater transparency when the Democrats take over next year. But she has carried on the tradition of her predecessors and denied a request by C-SPAN to use its own cameras to cover House proceedings.
Pelosi today informed C-SPAN that the House will continue to provide the cameras and control what they show — saying she wants to preserve "the dignity and decorum" of the House. C-SPAN had tried to make the case that a news organization should have independent editorial control. C-SPAN also wants the House to release individual voting records electronically as soon as voting periods end. Pelosi says she is studying that request.
Good Cop/Bad Cop
A Tyler, Texas cop described by one former boss as perhaps the best narcotics officer in the country is coming out with a new instructional video — on how to conceal drugs and fool police.
Barry Cooper's video is called "Never Get Busted Again." It promises to show viewers how to "conceal their stash" — "avoid narcotics profiling" — and "fool canines every time."
Cooper's former colleagues are not amused. An agent with the Tyler Drug Enforcement Agency says he plans to investigate whether the video violates any laws.
Keep hat, Keep job
And a school bus driver on Long Island who refused to take off his Santa hat after a parent complained will get to keep his job after all. 65-year-old Kenneth Mott has been wearing the hat during the holidays for five years. But this year a parent claimed her child was bothered by the hat. Mott's supervisors told him to lose it — he said no — and told the other parents he was probably going to be fired.
That's when Commack school district superintendent James Feltman said the hat could stay — since it wasn't a religious object. Mott said of the uproar, "I thought it was a big joke."
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.