Secretary Napolitano Misses Hearing on Christmas Day Bombing Attempt

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Fighting Mad

Top House Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee are chastising Secretary Janet Napolitano for skipping Wednesday's hearing examining the attempted Christmas Day bombing.

Pennsylvania's Chris Carney said: "I am very dismayed that the secretary herself isn't here. I mean it's probably fair to ask — where the hell is Secretary Napolitano?"

Jane Harman of California scolded: "she should have been here... I am very personally disappointed that she isn't here."

Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said he spoke to Napolitano personally two days before the hearing and the issue did not come up. Thompson says he was first told Napolitano would be out of the country. The committee later discovered her plans had changed and a deputy was sent.

DHS says it's 'unfortunate' that these members chose to raise this when they did, since they didn't raise concerns in many conversations with Napolitano right before the hearing.


Many liberal media outlets often take shots at Fox News Channel. We're used to it now. Some are very interesting. The liberal-leaning is running a correction to an article from former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich blaming Fox News for leading the charge against President Clinton and other Democrats in the 1994 mid-term elections. But that would have been tough, since Fox News was not even created and launched until 1996.

The article published Tuesday, titled, "Is the President Panicking?" compares President Obama's spending freeze to Mr. Clinton's shift to the right before the elections that saw Democrats lose eight seats in the Senate and 54 seats in the House.

Salon made a correction Thursday. The revised article no longer mentions Fox, instead saying that then-Republican Congressman Newt Gingrich led the charge.

Family Ties

It turns out Barack Obama and Scott Brown have more in common than just their political professions. Genealogists say the president and newly-elected senator from Massachusetts are tenth cousins.

The family line can be traced through both men's mothers, ultimately descending from Richard Singletary of Haverhill, Massachusetts who lived in the 17th century.

Brown says he's glad to be in such distinguished company.

With Kid Gloves

And finally, animal rights activists want to replace the symbol of Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil, with a robot. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA wants to relieve Phil of what it calls the stress from exposure to large crowds, the media, and human handling. It says: "an animatronic groundhog would attract new and curious tourists — and the real groundhogs would finally get a good winter's sleep."

But the president of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club says Phil is actually treated better than the average child in Pennsylvania.

Fox News Channel's Megan Dumpe Kenworthy contributed to this report.