Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

The editor of a French newspaper that republished those controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad called the decision a "defense of freedom of expression." But the Egyptian-born publisher of France Soir didn't feel that way, firing editor Jacques Lefranc on the same day "as a sign of respect" to Muslims, and offering an apology "to the Muslim community and all people who were shocked by the publication."

Employees at France Soir Thursday stood by re-printing the cartoon running a front-page editorial defending their right to free speech.

Give Hamas a Chance

Former President Jimmy Carter says the U.S. shouldn't cut off aid to Palestinians just because their government is run by members of the radical Islamic group Hamas, saying, "Governments should recognize that administration and let them form their government."

Carter, who monitored last week's Palestinian elections, tells CNN that there's a "good chance" that Hamas will become a nonviolent government, saying the group told him they want to have a "peaceful administration."

Carter adds that he hopes the "people of Palestine, who already suffer under Israeli occupation" will not suffer because they are deprived of international aid.

Losing One Lobbying Link

Illinois Democrat Rahm Emanuel — the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who's made ethics a central issue in 2006 — quietly switched campaign treasurers last month dropping a long-time friend who is also a federally registered lobbyist.

William Singer, a former Chicago alderman and one of Washington's most prolific Democratic fundraisers, has been Emanuel's treasurer since his first campaign in 2002 and the Chicago Sun-Times reports that he's officially lobbied Emanuel on at least one occasion since then.

A spokesman for the congressman says that with ethics issues heating up in the House, Singer was replaced for "obvious" reasons.

ACLU Assistance

Four Wisconsin inmates have turned to the ACLU to help them fight a newly enacted state law that would keep them from receiving treatment for their rare medical disorder. Their condition? "Gender Identity Disorder," which is treated with hormone injections to develop female characteristics.

The law prohibiting tax dollars from being used to fund hormone therapy or gender reassignment surgery took effect last week, but the inmates say cutting off their treatment amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment" and violates their right to equal protection under the law.

A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction against the state, meaning the inmates will continue their taxpayer-funded transition to womanhood at least until the next hearing in August.

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns 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