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Prickly Protest

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Necessary Nuisance?

The ACLU (search) plans to investigate whether random bag searches on buses and trains violate riders' civil liberties, but most Americans apparently see the measures as a proper safety precaution. In a new Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll, 76 percent say random searches are a necessary step to increase security, while 9 percent consider them a violation of their civil rights.

Meanwhile, 49 percent say they disapprove of using racial profiling in the fight against terrorism. 42 percent approved of the practice. And in spite of arguments by some critics, 85 percent of Americans said that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would not stop terrorists from attacking the United States.

Funding Air America

New York City's Department of Investigations has shut down millions of dollars in city contracts to the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club after allegations of corruption. Part of the inquiry involves allegations that the community center's founder invested some city funds in the liberal radio network, Air America (search).

The Bronx News reports that hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars were diverted to Air America's former management company in the form of a loan, which was to be paid back with interest but was not. An Air America spokesman says, "We're committed to paying this money and the terms are being worked out... We are awaiting direction from the investigation into how to proceed."

Prickly Protest

Wisconsin's Democratic governor says his staff was wrong to deliver 1,400 used needles to Republican Assembly Speaker John Gard (search) on behalf of a citizen who wanted to protest the speaker's stance on stem cell research. But Governor Jim Doyle (search) says he sees no need to reprimand his staff or to apologize, saying merely that the bag of needles "probably should have not been accepted or [should have been] disposed of."

Speaker Gard blasted the move as a "cheap political stunt" that endangered capitol personnel, saying, "You can't deliver 1,400 used needles and act like it's delivering a pizza."

Brazilian Balance

Brazilian officials have forced a local telephone company to stop selling phone cards featuring deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (search). Authorities threatened to charge Telefonica with inciting violence and racial intolerance if they failed to withdraw the cards. So what's the problem?

Officials say the picture of a scruffy Saddam held at gunpoint by two coalition soldiers represents only the U.S. view of Saddam's situation. Telefonica says they regret any trouble that the "historic picture from the war in Iraq" may have caused.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report

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