Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Terror Channel
Al Qaeda and its supporters have their own 24-hour TV station in the Middle East. Media reports say Al-Zawraa — which means "first channel" in Arabic — is back on the air after the Iraqi government pulled the plug last month. Al-Zawraa broadcasts a steady stream of anti-western material, including video of sniper attacks on U.S. soldiers and bombings of U.S. vehicles — along with Michael Moore's movie "Fahrenheit 9/11."
It openly advocates violence against Shiites and the Iraqi government. The station reportedly has six correspondents who travel in a satellite truck and can uplink their reports. The channel broadcasts from an unknown location — believed to be in Syria. Its signal is bounced off a satellite run by the Egyptian government. American officials say they are trying to get Al-Zawraa off the air, but so far without success.
Plans to develop condominium complexes marketed to older gay and lesbian couples are drawing howls of protest from some people in Massachusetts who say local government is guilty of having a double standard.
State representative Brian Wallace of south Boston tells The Boston Herald city officials up to now have refused to allow developers to build seniors-only facilities because of fair housing laws. And the head of a Boston real estate group says the idea of marketing exclusively to gays is "a bit much" — and points to the uproar that would result if the condos were "just for heterosexual people, or Muslims, or Jews or Catholics." One condo project will require residents to pay for extra services that include a course on "gay grandparents." And a local builder is said to be considering a condo marketed to gays of all ages.
Free Speech Violation?
Third grader Olivia Turton in Frenchtown, New Jersey was all set to sing a song called "Awesome God" at her elementary school talent show — until school administrators said the song's lyrics amounted to preaching and she could not perform it.
The girl's parents sued, citing a violation of the girl's free speech rights. And a federal judge agreed. Judge Freda Wolfson ruled the song was private speech by a student — and should have been allowed since the talent show took place after school and attendance was not required.
And a high school choir was singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" at a ice skating show last week in Riverside, California when a city official and a police officer told the students to stop singing. The official said the music might offend Olympic skater Sasha Cohen — who is Jewish. Cohen had just finished her performance and was signing autographs. But a spokesman for Cohen says she did not make any request to silence the singers.
The city's development director explains that a staffer was trying to be sensitive but failed to talk to her supervisor or consider the wider implications. Riverside's mayor apologized to the choir members and said: "you kind of wish people would do a little checking first."
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill 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.