Grapevine: Legal personhood for chimpanzees?

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

He Can Stay

Breaking this afternoon, President Obama's Kenyan-born uncle has been granted permission to stay in the U.S.

A judge ruled 69-year-old Onyango Obama a person of good moral character.

He's lived in the country since the 1960's, was ordered deported twice, and did not leave when he lost an appeal in 1992.

When he was arrested for driving drunk in 2011, he reportedly told police -- quote -- "I think I will call the White House. The administration says President Obama has never met his uncle.

Light Bulb Goes On?

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is getting a first-hand look at the trouble with running a socialist government.

Much of the country plunged into darkness as he gave a live address on State T.V. last night.

Maduro called the blackout strange and blamed it on fascist power grid saboteurs.

It's kind of his go-to move, when anything goes wrong, to act confused and point a finger at others.

He has blamed a toilet paper shortage on rich conservatives and youth violence on Spider-Man.

Critics say the power issues are symbolic of the socialist government's policy failures and that the state-run power company is corrupt and incompetent.

Venezuela has the world's largest crude oil reserves and big rivers that generate two-thirds of the country's power through hydro-electricity.

Blackouts are caused by rationing and utility failures but do not affect oil refineries which are powered by separate generators.

As the U.S. government prepared to partially shut down this fall, the State Department was stocking up on booze for embassies.

Party Down

The Washington Times reports that State spent about $180,000 on liquor in just September.

For the year, $415,000.

That's more than triple the $118,000 spent in 2008.

A taxpayer watchdog group notes that though relatively small, the purchases are symbolic.

As the fiscal year winds down, federal agencies try to spend the rest of their budgets, rather than risk congressional cuts.

State says it's a mistake to assume the department's operational priorities by looking at individual purchases.

Personhood Precedent

Finally, an American animal rights group is looking to establish legal personhood for chimpanzees.

The Non-human Rights Project has asked a New York State court to declare a 26-year-old chimp named Tommy -- quote -- "A cognitively complex autonomous legal person with the fundamental legal right not to be imprisoned."

In other words, chimps are entitled to the basic right to be left alone and not kept for research or entertainment.