And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:

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Ways and Means Additions?
Republicans on Capitol Hill, still smarting from the Trent Lott mess, showed again last night just how eager they are to avoid being called racists. House Democrats appointed two new members to the Ways and Means Committee, Max Sandlin and Stephanie Tubbs Jones -- only to learn afterward that Republicans had decided to trim the committee by one member from each party. Well, guess what? Rep. Tubb-Jones is black, and Democrats immediately began insinuating that the GOP had sinister motives in mind when it decided to make a big committee smaller. In fact, Charles Rangel of New York, the ranking Democrat on the committee, was about to transform the procedural matter into a full-blown fight over race when House Republicans reversed course and decided to leave things the way they were.

Warns Terrorists Will Target America
Former U.S. Sen Gary Hart says terrorists will strike America if we go to war with Iraq. He told the Denver World Affairs Council, "We are about to kick open a hornet's nest." Hart, who co-chaired a commission that warned of catastrophic terrorism eight months before the 9/11 attacks, criticized the Bush administration's foreign policy, saying it lacked an overall strategy and sense of purpose, adding, "We are adrift."

Highlighting Humanitarianism
And Irish rock star, Bono, apparently impressed by the diplomacy of Sean Penn, says he's ready to take a political trip to Iraq. The U2 frontman says he wants to highlight the humanitarian crisis he believes a war with the West would unleash. President Bush has praised Bono's compassionate gestures in the past, saying, "He has a willingness to lead, to achieve what his heart tells him and a belief that nobody should be living in poverty in the world." So far, no White House comment on Bono's latest mission.

New Jersey's Adversary?
And finally, if New York Sen. Hillary Clinton ever launches a presidential campaign, she may have a hard time carrying the neighboring state of New Jersey. Roll Call reports that as she was leaving a book party, she was jokingly asked whether she planned a Senate investigation of that bungled call by NFL officials that doomed the New York Giants in last Sunday's playoff game. Said the senator: "I watched the game -- we wuz robbed!" So far, so good, but then she added: "We should do something about this, but I don't want to get greedy because the Jets are doing so good." When asked about the fact that both the Jets and Giants actually play in New Jersey, she cracked, "Well, I've always considered New Jersey a suburb of New York."

With more than 35 years of journalism experience to draw from, Brit Hume currently serves as a senior political analyst for FOX News Channel (FNC) and contributes to all major political coverage. Hume also is regular panelist on FOX's weekly public affairs program, "FOX News Sunday" on Sundays at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET. Click here for more information on Brit Hume