Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
South Carolina Republican Governor Mark Sanford is accusing House Democratic Whip James Clyburn of injecting race into the fight over the prospective Obama economic stimulus package. Sanford tells the Hill newspaper that Clyburn — who is also from South Carolina – went too far when saying why he wanted federal money from the stimulus sent back home to lawmakers' districts.
Clyburn said of Sanford, "He happens to be a millionaire. He may not need help for the plantation his family owns, but the people whose grandparents and great-grandparents worked those plantations need the help."
Sanford says Clyburn is "playing the race card as (a) way of trying to defend stimulus packages and deficit spending." He says Clyburn is "ripping off the very grandparents and grandkids he alleges to support."
The president of the Alabama NAACP is unhappy that Mobile's Azalea Trail Maids will be the only group to represent the state in the inaugural parade next Tuesday. WSFA.com reports Edward Vaughn says the 50 high school seniors in the racially integrated Southern Hospitality group that features hoop skirts, parasols, and bonnets remind him of slavery days.
"These are not just regular costumes. These are the costumes that remind someone of the plantation in 'Gone with the Wind'".
The Presidential Inauguration Committee chose the parade participants. Vaughn says "If I have to blame anyone, it's the Obama campaign for selecting those girls." Montgomery resident Carolyn Tius called Vaughn's charge unfounded saying, "I don't see it. It's just a regular dress to me. Just a dress they wore back in the day."
Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders managed to persuade The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery to change the wording on a plaque accompanying a portrait of President Bush. Cybercast News reports Sanders — who describes himself as a Democratic socialist — wrote a complaint saying he believed the sign's language suggested a linkage between the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Iraq. The plaque referred to Mr. Bush's two terms being marked by "a series of catastrophic events: the attacks on September 11, 2001 that led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq..."
Gallery Director Mark Sullivan wrote back to the senator saying the plaque would be changed and the words "led to" would be omitted. A spokeswoman for the gallery says no other presidential plaque has ever been challenged or changed.
Waste Not, Want Now
And finally, Britain is receiving some criticism from Taxpayers’ Alliance Chief Executive Matthew Elliott for a government initiative to reduce the amount of food that people throw away. The Telegraph newspaper says the door-to-door campaign began this week. Officials visit homes to dispense advice on how to cook with leftovers and limit portion sizes. Critics call the visitors "food police" and one says, "This is a prime example of excessive Government nannying, and a waste of public money and resources. In the grip of a recession, the last thing people need is someone bossing them about in their own kitchen."
The project is part of the government's "Love Food Hate Waste" campaign which has cost almost $6 million dollars so far.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.