Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Became Friends

Actor and comedian Chevy Chase says he became friends with the late President Gerald Ford, years after making fun of him on the TV show, "Saturday Night Live." But Chase bristles at suggestions his portrayal of Mr. Ford made his career.

He tells Reuters that President Ford, "did not make my career. If anything, I took his career and put it in the dumper because I did not want him to be president of this country, that's the way it really should be written…. The man who 'made my career' did not do 'Fletch,' did not do 'Caddyshack,' did not write for the 'Smothers Brothers' before he wrote for 'Saturday Night Live,' did not write for 12 years before that and win Writers Guild awards."

But Chase says he later got to know Mr. Ford and called him "a very, very sweet man." Chase added, "He took my wife and I on a whole lovely trip through Grand Rapids to show us where he had been as a child and what not. We kept in touch and he was just a terrific guy."

Ethics Probe Ends

An ethics investigation into Michigan Congressman John Conyers has ended with the Democrat agreeing to take several steps to clarify work rules with his staff.

Former staffers had complained that Conyers used them as personal servants, made them baby-sit his children and had them do campaign related-work while on the federal payroll. The ethics committee took no action against Conyers after he agreed to "take a number of additional, significant steps" to come into compliance with House rules.

Conyers issued a statement accepting responsibility for possible violations and acknowledged what he called a "lack of clarity" in communicating with his staff. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Conyers will still become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when Congress resumes this month.

Minimum Wage Increase

Fourteen states are increasing their minimum wage beginning Monday. The highest figure is in Washington state, where the minimum wage jumps to $7.93 cents an-hour — an increase of 30 cents.

The largest wage hikes are in Colorado and Ohio, both of which are jumping from $5.15 an hour to $6.85. The smallest increase is in Connecticut, which jumps a quarter, from $7.40 to $7.65 an hour.

Holiday in the Hospital

More than a thousand Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid in hospital emergency wards after injuring themselves while trying to sacrifice animals. Muslims kill cows, sheep, goats and bulls during the holiday.

Four people were injured severely when they were crushed under the weight of large animals that fell on them. Three people suffered heart attacks and died while trying to restrain animals. Most of the people who were hurt suffered cuts to their hands and legs.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.