Grapevine: Early Christmas in Venezuela

Socialist President Maduro decrees the holiday season is now


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

It's Christmas Once Again

Christmas commercials and decorations seem to appear earlier every year. In Venezuela, Christmas came early -- really early -- as in now.

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro decreed the holiday season is right now, and even lit the nativity lights at the Presidential Palace.

The celebration means that workers will receive the first two-thirds of bonuses and pensions by today.

Critics claim it is all pandering ahead of the December 8th election -- trying to ease anger over a 54 percent inflation rate, rising crime, and food shortages.

Maduro blames the extreme right for those issues -- although he has offered no proof, and says that -– quote -- "Early Christmas is the best vaccine for...whoever wants to invent rioting and violence."

Heated Debate

A Second Amendment debate is brewing at Gonzaga University in Washington State.

Two college students used a pistol to scare off an intruder from their off-campus but university-owned apartment.

The next day campus security confiscated the gun as well as a hunting shotgun.

The students were also placed on probation.

The school's rules forbid the use or presence of all weapons.

Picking Sides

Gun-rights groups have come to the students' defense and are calling for Gonzaga to change its policy.

Gonzaga's president released a statement saying this is a good time -- quote -- "To objectively re-examine our firearms policy and openly debate perspectives and contextual issues with an eye towards an honest and open review."

The roommates plan to appeal probation.

Squatter's Rights

Want a free subway ride? Well in Russia all you have to do is 30 squats.

You do the squats in front of this machine that counts the reps.

Once you hit 30 your ticket pops out.

Russian state media says the goal is to show the upcoming winter Olympics are more than just sports on TV.

They also say it's also about getting everyone involved in a sporting lifestyle.

The Grapevine is waiting for President Putin to take his turn.