Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
As we told you earlier — oil prices are nearing five year lows. and now some oil producing countries, traders and refineries are withholding deliveries in an effort to drive up the price. The New York Times reports there are 80 million barrels of oil aboard 35 supertankers and a few smaller vessels. The world's largest owner of supertankers, Frontline Limited, says that is the most in 20 years.
The report says the slumping price of oil means traders are looking for another way to profit. So they are buying cheap oil now , storing it, and hoping to sell it at a higher price later. The supertankers are either anchored at sea — or slowly circling in the ocean.
Iran is said to be using as many as 15 supertankers in hopes that higher prices down the line will help its economy to recover.
The president of the Alabama NAACP says he regrets criticizing his state's entry into President-elect Obama’s inaugural parade.
We told you Tuesday that Edward Vaughn said Mobile's Azalea Trail Maids — a group of high school seniors who wear colorful hoop skirts and use parasols — remind him of slavery. Even though the group has 11 black members, he said they would be a laughing stock and even blamed the Obama campaign.
But the Montgomery Advertiser reports Vaughn now says, "I should not have said they would be a laughing stock. My feeling is that since it is an integrated group, that does say something about it."
But he adds, "I still have a problem with the dress, because it is an antebellum costume and it does remind some of slavery in Alabama."
A man who formerly served as the director of the Faith-Based and Community Initiatives office under Ohio Democratic Governor Ted Strickland has been arrested for allegedly running a Web site where customers could post reviews of prostitutes.
Robert McFadden is accused of trading information about online escorts and prostitutes who worked the streets, including a 17-year-old girl. Police say McFadden also helped organize a $10 per ticket raffle that offered an evening with a prostitute. McFadden was arrested Wednesday and faces numerous charges — including compelling prostitution with a minor.
Name of the Game
And finally, in a show of solidarity with his city's football team the mayor of Pittsburgh has changed his name. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Democratic Mayor Luke Ravenstahl will this week be known as Luke Steelerstahl.
"I've decided to remove the word 'ravens' from my name just like the Steelers will remove them from the AFC Championship."
That game will be played Sunday. Ravenstahl began the process of a legal name change Wednesday, although he did not complete the paperwork or pay the fee. But he did reportedly change the nameplate on his office door.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.