The latest pickings from the Political Grapevine:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not holding back when it comes to making her wishes known to the incoming administration. The Politico newspaper reports Democratic insiders say Pelosi has "'set parameters' for what she wants from Barack Obama and his White House staff — no surprises, and no backdoor efforts to go around her."
Pelosi is in talks with incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Sources say she wants to know when the administration has contact with rank-and-file Democrats — and why.
One insider says Pelosi is "not going to allow Obama to triangulate her." Another added, "There is going to be tension…she wants to know what they are up to."
There have been predictions that the current economic crisis signals the coming end of American global dominance economically. However one Harvard University economist says the crisis may in fact give the United States new financial authority. Ricardo Hausmann writes in the Financial Times, "The U.S. has become the only remaining super-borrower, able to issue thousands of billions of dollars in debt at record low rates while the dollar strengthens."
"The Dow Jones is down by almost 40 percent so far this year but this makes it pretty much the best performing stock market in the world."
"Unfriendly states such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela are suffering from a dual collapse in the price of their oil exports and the value of their sovereign bonds" while many other nations have "essentially lost access to external finance."
A Wisconsin lawmaker says he will not step down after being arrested on charges of drunken driving and marijuana possession. A truck driver spotted Jeffrey Wood's swerving vehicle on an interstate highway early Friday and called police.
Wood's car eventually went airborne and smashed into a caution sign and a snow bank. Authorities found marijuana in wood's vehicle and his blood-alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit. Wood is a former Republican who was re-elected this year as an Independent. He explained in an interview with WAYY Radio station that the drugs ended up in his car because "somebody offered me some and I took it, and for whatever stupid reason got in my car and decided to drive home."
And finally, Greek authorities are asking their counterparts in Israel and Germany for emergency supplies of tear gas after 11 days of rioting. The violence began after a teenager was fatally shot by a police officer earlier this month and is being fueled by public anger at government scandals and a slowing economy.
The London Times reports Greek riot police have used so much tear gas during the clashes that they are running out; and in some cases are being forced to use old canisters of gas.
One demonstrator says, "We found a tear gas canister dated from 1981. The old chemicals make us sick. People have fainted and have trouble breathing."
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.