Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Double Standard?

An Al Qaeda-linked extremist group is threatening the pope and the non-Muslim world with the very thing the pope is in trouble for criticizing last week: conversion by force.

The Mujahedeen Shura Council — which includes Al Qaeda in Iraq — says: "You and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion or the sword."

Explosive Evidence?

The Associated Press has gone public with complaints about the U.S. military's detention of a freelance Iraqi photographer — who's been held for five months without charges.

Fallujah native Bilal Hussein, whose photographs of Iraqi insurgents were part of a Pulitzer Prize winning collection, was arrested in May with an alleged Al Qaeda leader and accused of being a security threat. The AP never reported the story.

But now the AP is calling for Hussein to be charged or released, saying it hasn't found any evidence to support that claim.

The military, however, says bomb-making materials were found in the apartment where Hussein was captured and that he tested positive for traces of explosives. The AP doesn't mention that until the 36th paragraph of its story on the matter.

Ney Scandal Fallout

The woman who is running for the seat currently held by disgraced Ohio Congressman Bob Ney wants him out — now.

Fellow Republican and former political ally Joy Padgett today called on Ney to resign or be expelled. Ney pleaded guilty last week to charges stemming from the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.

The GOP leadership in the House is letting it be known that should Democrats make a move to expel Ney, Republicans will not be pressured to stand behind him.

Today Ney quit his final two committee and subcommittee chairmanships. He no longer holds any leadership posts.

Belated Apology?

After refusing to apologize for cartoons mocking Christianity, the University of Virginia's student newspaper now says it's "regretful that many took offense" and has removed two of the drawings from its Web site.

The Cavalier Daily had argued that people's "opinions or actions" were fair game for criticism, but Christian groups point out the paper apologized for making fun of the Muslim prophet Mohammad earlier this year.

Online editors removed two of the offending cartoons — including one depicting the Virgin Mary with a sexually transmitted disease — but did not pull a third drawing of Jesus using profanity.

—FOX News Channel's 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