Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Chavez's Controversial Comments

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez's Bush-bashing remarks at the U.N. have brought some unlikely lawmakers to the president's defense.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Chavez "an everyday thug." New York Democrat and prominent Bush critic Charlie Rangel said, "You don't come into my country and criticize my president," adding: "An attack on Bush is an attack on all Americans."

But the reaction was different when Chavez spoke to a gathering in lower Manhattan last night.

Chavez accused the president of genocide in Iraq before an audience at Cooper Union College, comparing the administration to the Nazis and calling for President Bush to be brought before an international tribunal. Those remarks earned Chavez a standing ovation.

So who was the author of that book Chavez held up during his U.N. speech? None other than MIT linguistics professor Noam Chomsky, a self-described libertarian socialist who has advocated a society with no paid labor and says the U.S. is one of the major sources of international terrorism.

In the book Chavez was holding, "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance," Chomsky says the pretensions of the American empire place human existence at risk.

Chavez said one of his great regrets was not meeting Chomsky before he died, which probably came as quite a shock to Chomsky, who is still alive and kicking at age 77.

Barry Goldwater a Liberal?

A new HBO documentary called "Mister Conservative" looks at the life and career of former Arizona senator and presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.

It was produced by one of his granddaughters, but the film is Goldwater through the eyes of such people as Hillary Clinton, Ben Bradlee, Walter Cronkite, Andy Rooney, James Carville, Helen Thomas, Al Franken, John Dean and, oh yes, George Will.

The film shows how Goldwater late in his career became increasingly at odds with the conservative movement over social issues.

Cronkite and Thomas conclude that toward the end of his career, Goldwater actually became a liberal.

Iraq Torture Worse Now?

The U.N.'s top anti-torture expert says the mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq may be worse now than when Saddam Hussein was in power.

Manfred Nowak — who is a law professor in Austria — says police and the military are using brutal methods on prisoners, but says the worst examples of torture come from private militias and terrorist groups.

He says he got his information from people in various Middle Eastern cities.

As far as Iraq, Nowak has never been there, and he says right now it's too dangerous to go.

—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