Washington Overrun by Committee

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

There's a Committee for That

It has been said that a donkey is a horse designed by a committee. And now some people here in Washington are wondering if taxpayers are getting their money's worth from federal committees.

There are at least 1,000 advisory panels that consisted of more than 74,000 members last year. Their cost has nearly doubled over the past decade to $400 million this fiscal year.

Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz says -- quote -- "Some serve a legitimate purpose, but most of them are just bogus ways for some official to appoint who knows who." He plans to introduce legislation requiring the executive branch to reduce the number of advisory panels.

A report from last year showed just 8 percent of committee recommendations had been or will be fully implemented.

Over the Edge

A media watchdog group is asking the Justice Department and Congress to investigate whether a new MTV show is violating child pornography laws.

The Parents Television Council says the show "Skins" features way too much skin with several underage teenage actors engaging in -- quote -- "foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content."

The youngest star of the show is just 15.

Taco Bell has pulled its advertising following rumors of a boycott. MTV defends the series saying it addresses real-world issues confronting teens in a frank way.

Changing the Channel

And finally, the Venezuelan government has demanded a private broadcaster stop airing a Colombian soap opera that features a girl named Venezuela who owns a dog named Little Hugo.

Reports say Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was not amused, calling the show "horrible."

In one episode, Venezuela is shown searching for her dog and asks a friend what will become of her without Little Hugo. Her friend responds, "You will be free, Venezuela.... Hugo is messing up everything in the house.... He's making you look bad."