Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Game of Chicken
The Reverend Jeremiah Wright now says he was quoting the Iraqi ambassador when he made his famous "chickens are coming home to roost" comments after the September 11 attacks.
Apparently he meant the U.S. ambassador to Iraq because during that sermon, Wright mentioned Edward Peck, who once held that position. Just days after 9/11 Wright said, "America's chickens are coming home to roost. Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred, and terrorism begets terrorism. A white ambassador said that y'all — not a black militant. Not a reverend who preaches about racism."
Problem is, Ambassador Peck never said "America's chickens are coming home to roost" — nor did he suggest America engages in terrorism. Peck did make some foreign policy references in speaking about bombing Haiti, Cambodia and Panama — but said nothing about Hiroshima or Nagasaki as Reverend Wright also claimed.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that as an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama secured a grant worth about $50,000 for a company that helped him through some hard times.
After his unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Obama began receiving $8,000 a month from Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. in return for giving legal advice to his firm. The payments eventually totaled $112,000.
Obama later sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a tourism grant to another company that Blackwell started called Killerspin. Killerspin specializes in table tennis tournaments and eventually obtained $320,000 in state grants. But Obama's chief political adviser David Axelrod says, "any implication that Senator Obama would risk an ethical breach in order to secure a small grant for a ping pong tournament is nuts."
Some Canadian lawmakers and environmentalists want to list the polar bear as an endangered species, but a scientific committee that advises the Canadian government says that while climate change is a threat to polar bears, the animals do not face extinction.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife says the evidence is not strong enough to recommend elevating the polar bear's status to threatened or endangered. Pete Ewins of the World Wildlife Fund condemned the panel's findings "an easy way out."
But the committee's chairman, Jeff Hutchings, says he will not recommend a status change because it is difficult to say how melting sea ice — which is the polar bear's habitat — correlates with a decline in the numbers of the species.
An Arkansas inmate charged with murder is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than 100 pounds in eight months because of his jailhouse menu. Broderick Lloyd Laswell says there have been several instances since he was jailed in September when "I felt like I was going to pass out."
But the county says inmates are provided with meals that average 3,000 calories a day. That's more than the average western diet which consists of 2,000-3,000 calories a day. But Laswell says part of the problem is that he gets little vigorous activity. "If we are in a small pod all day — do next to nothing for physical exercise — we should not lose weight. The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death."
Laswell now weighs just 308 pounds, down from 413 pounds when he was first imprisoned.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.