Grapevine: Costly cursive at the White House

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Shuttered Out

A student reporter who was forced by Vice President Biden's staff to delete pictures he took at a Biden appearance has received an apology.

University of Maryland student journalist Jeremy Barr was covering a domestic violence event attended by Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Senator Ben Cardin.

He tells the Capital News Service he unknowingly sat in a non-press area and snapped a few pictures.

Well, a Biden staffer ordered him then to delete those photos, saying he had an unfair advantage over the other media.

University of Maryland Journalism Dean Lucy Dalglish called the move a fundamental violation of the freedom of the press.

Biden's press office has since apologized, calling it an unfortunate mistake.

Sequester Proof

The sequester has government agencies talking about cuts and furloughs but not every job is on the chopping block.

Paid internships for college students appear to have escaped.

The same USDA warning of furloughs for meat and poultry inspectors recently posted an opening for a student trainee at the Animal and Plant Inspection Service in Iowa -- paying more than, or up to $24 an hour.

NASA is also looking for an intern for a position that can pay up to $83,000 a year -- that's for an intern.

Costly Cursive

Here in Washington, the calligraphy budget has received a lot of attention.

The White House chief calligrapher makes more than $96,000 a year.

Combine her salary with the other two calligraphers on the White House staff and your tax dollars are funding $277,000 a year in White House penmanship alone.

Well, a local Washington TV station created an invitation on a newsroom computer and placed it side-by-side with a real White House invitation done by the pricey calligraphers.

Can you tell the difference? And is it worth it?

We report, you decide.

Premature Congratulations

And finally, an awkward moment in Rome following the appearance of white smoke at the Vatican yesterday.

Italian bishops were so convinced that one of their own had been named pope, they sent a message to the media, thanking God for the election of Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milan.

10 minutes earlier, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina had already been introduced as the new pope. Pope Francis.

For political junkies here, it was essentially the papal version of the 1948 Dewey-Truman presidential race that Truman won.