Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Last week, London newspapers published a story accusing the American Enterprise Institute, or AEI, of taking contributions from Exxon Mobil and, "attempting to bribe climate scholars" with $10,000 to dispute the findings of the U.N.'s climate change panel. The panel recently reported that it is now 90 percent certain humans are creating global warming.
But The Wall Street Journal found that AEI had only invited leading climate scientists of varying views to debate policy changes to address whatever warming there is. Then yesterday, Senators Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein and John Kerry, assuming the London reports were accurate, complained to AEI, saying, "does your donors' self-interest trump an honest discussion over the well-being of the planet?"
But AEI says no one ever contacted them about the truth of the reports. And Exxon, which contributes a relatively small amount to AEI, hadn't even HEARD of the project until they read about it in the London newspapers. They're demanding a retraction.
Openly Gay Kicked Out
Representative Marty Meehan plans to reintroduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill that would repeal the Pentagon's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy — enacted during the Clinton Administration. It prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Meehan is trying to round up votes by pointing to an overextended military, saying the policy has robbed it of, "11,000 able-bodied, capable and willing soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women" who were kicked out of the military for their sexual orientation.
He originally introduced the bill last year, but it was blocked in committee.
Not Just Cell Phones
Vermont legislators want drivers to keep their eyes on the road. They're considering a ban not just on cellphones... but also on eating, drinking, smoking, reading, writing, personal grooming, playing an instrument, or interacting with pets or cargo while driving. Violators would face a fine of up to $600.
Representative Thomas Koch, who sponsored the bill, drew from his own experience, saying, quote, "...somebody opposite me was trying to navigate around the corner with a cell phone... in one hand and a cigarette in the other , and she wasn't doing very well."
If the bill passes, you won't be able to comb your hair, pet your dog, or drink coffee... much less play the flugelhorn... while driving.
Female lawmakers are pushing for equality in congressional restrooms. A Politico.com reporter found Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz measuring the Speaker's lobby to look into having a women's restroom installed nearby.
Wasserman Schultz said, "we have an inequitable situation here," and argued that with the extended workweek and an increased number of votes, there should be another women's room near the House floor.
FOX's own reporter checked it out ... and says it takes about ten seconds for male legislators to get to the closest men's room, which is just off the House floor, while it takes women just a little more — about thirty seconds to get to their closest restroom.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.