And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...
Failure to Communicate
To quote a famous movie line -- "what we've got here is a failure to communicate."
ProPublica notes Homeland Security spent $430 million on radios tuned to a secure channel so employees of Customs and Border Patrol, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, FEMA, TSA and other agencies could better communicate with DHS in a crisis.
But an inspector general's report says no one seems to know how to use them.
Just one of 479 Homeland Security employees surveyed could figure it out. 72 percent did not know the channel existed; 25 percent knew it, but were not able to find it; three percent could find the older common channel, not the current one.
Homeland Security says it will standardize its radio policy but it is rejecting a recommendation to give more authority to the office overseeing the radios.
Going Off Green?
President Obama's green cred might be in question but you probably did not hear about it.
The Hill reports, Tuesday, with no fanfare, President Obama signed a law requiring U.S. airlines be excluded from European carbon emission fees.
Environmentalists had urged the president not to sign it, framing it as the first test of his commitment to fighting climate change in his second term.
But he did anyway.
The administration stresses its commitment to reducing carbon pollution but says the EU carbon tax was the wrong way to achieve the objective.
Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican co-sponsor John Thune say the bill is a win for airline customers and will shield American carriers from an illegal tax.
Room at the Inn
It turns out there is room at the inn after all, in Colorado Springs this Christmas.
The Wyndham Grand Hotel is clearing space for the Salvation Army's bell ringer and donation kettle rescuing it from a new panhandling law.
The ban on public solicitation forced the kettle from its old location. But since the hotel is on private property the Salvation Army kettle is back just a block away from its old spot.
Before the rescue, Twitter users were expressing outrage. Here are a few.
Quote -- "Grinches in CO Springs government want to stop Salvation Army from ringing bells for fundraising?
Quote -- "Colorado welcomes illegal immigrants but no to Salvation Army in Colorado Springs for 'panhandling'....Wow."
Another user said in part -- quote -- "That's The Spirit! It's Christmas! #sarcastic."