Hoyer Has Tea Party Boiling

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Family Feud

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer has tea partiers boiling by implying they come from troubled homes. Investor's Business Daily quotes Hoyer as saying: "There are a whole lot of people in the Tea Party that I see in these polls who don't want any compromise. My presumption is they have unhappy families... the fact is, life is about trying to reach accommodation with one another."

The group Tea Party Patriots calls that a personal attack showing how disconnected Hoyer is.

Hoyer's office clarified the original statement saying he -- quote -- "clearly meant that everyone has to compromise sometimes as part of a family... he obviously was not referring to the personal family life of a large group of people."

Dear John Letter

The last will and testament of Elizabeth Edwards leaves everything to her children and makes no mention of her husband -- and former Democratic presidential candidate -- John Edwards. The will was signed just six days before her death last month.

The couple separated in early 2010 after he admitted fathering a child in an extramarital affair with former campaign worker Rielle Hunter.

The National Enquirer, which broke the story of the affair and baby, reports that John Edwards proposed to Hunter over the holidays. Sources with the Edwards family say the report is inaccurate.

Smoke Signals

A Long Island village has banned smoking on public sidewalks in front of businesses. It claims to be the first municipality in New York to do so. That law does have a loophole though: It is not illegal to smoke in the actual street.

Neighboring New York City is considering a smoking ban in pedestrian plazas and parks.

'Aflockalypse' Now?

And finally, first the blackbirds fell in Arkansas on New Year's Eve. Since then dozens of mass die-offs have been reported across the world.

Conspiracy theories abound, but biologists insist these things happen all the time. U.S. Geological Survey records show that on average, 163 such events are reported to the government each year.