Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
New York City's homeless can get a free airplane ticket out of town as long as they agree not to come back. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration is offering one-way tickets in order to minimize homeless shelter operating costs.
More than 550 families have left since 2007, at a cost to taxpayers of about a half-million dollars/year. A relative must agree to take in the homeless, and there are no limits on where families can be sent. Tickets have been purchased to 24 states and five continents. Some of the most common destinations are Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. And some families reportedly have been sent to Johannesburg, South Africa and Paris.
President Obama is spending nearly $60 billion of the federal stimulus on building a more energy-efficient economy. But Newsweek online reports that not a single green job exists as of yet. In a piece called "What Green Jobs?" by Daniel Stone, the Newsweek article states: "No one can yet agree on what a green job actually is. The working definition paints a broad stroke — a job that's good for the economy while simultaneously healing the earth. But that leaves lots open to interpretation."
The report says the Labor Department is working on a definition, but that questions over classification make it "difficult, if not impossible, to measure whether eco-based jobs are being created." The president's "green czar, Van Jones, whose official title is "Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality," says the definition problem, "is not unusual in a democracy. It takes a while... to come to some agreement."
And in response to the president's call to find $100 million in budget cuts across government agencies, the Justice Department has figured out a way to do its part.
The Wall Street Journal reports the department will save more than $570,000 this year by setting up its printers to make double-sided photocopies. And other agencies are joining in. The forest service will no longer paint its vehicles green immediately on purchase. The Army will start packing more soldiers onto rest and relaxation flights. The Navy plans to delete unused Internet accounts. And the Homeland Security Department will e-mail more documents instead of printing them.
But despite all the efforts, the journal says the $102 million in savings amount to 0.006% of the federal deficit. Brian Riedl, a budget expert at the Conservative Heritage Foundation, says: "Some of these cuts are so small they would be a rounding error — of a rounding error — in the federal budget."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.