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Special Report

Is There a Family Connection in Some of the Stimulus Spending?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Family Funds

A top House Democrat is under fire about something specific in the stimulus bill — money that goes to the cause for which his son lobbies. The stimulus gives $2.25 billion to national parks. The Washington Times reports Craig Obey — son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey — is the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association. Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California says, "It really does beg the question of, is this an earmark, is this a family connection and should it have been disclosed at least in the spirit of what the Democrats said they wanted, and the answer is — it should have been disclosed."

Congressman Obey's spokeswoman Kristin Brost says nepotism was not a factor: "There is wide support for these funds."

Homeward Bound

The security situation in Iraq has improved to such an extent — that officials at the United Nations are predicting a huge influx of displaced Iraqis. Baghdad's representative at the U.N. -- U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Daniel Endres -- says ,"if everything continues to go well, including elections, property restitution and stability, it's possible that 500,000 people could return in 2009."

That would be a drastic improvement on the 220,000 Iraqi refugees who returned home in 2008. Estimates say about two million Iraqis remain outside the country — mostly in Syria and Jordan.

The Heat Is On

Presidential candidate Obama said on the campaign trail on May 16, 2008, "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times."

But President Obama may have different rules. The New York Times reports photos of the president in the Oval Office without his jacket on — are explained because he keeps the thermostat on high. The president's senior adviser, David Axelrod says, "He's from Hawaii, OK? He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there."

But Steve Milloy of junkscience.com — a leading debunker of global warming theories — says — "This is yet another example of green hypocrisy. President Obama supports policies that would force you to turn down the heat in your house while he expects taxpayers to pay for him to turn up the heat in his."

Cold Truth

And finally... as former Vice President and global warming activist Al Gore delivered his testimony to Congress on the urgency of addressing climate change Wednesday, snow and ice blanketed the nation's capital and a large section of the country. Global warming skeptic and Weather Channel founder John Coleman -- in a piece he wrote for his station KUSI News in San Diego, which appeared on the channel’s Web site -- says, "The last two bitter winters have led to a rise in public awareness that CO2 is not a pollutant and is not a significant greenhouse gas that is triggering runaway global warming."

He says theories linking carbon dioxide levels to global warming are unproven and that "the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 remains tiny."

Coleman calls global warming bad science — a hoax — and "the greatest scam in history."

— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.