Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Do Defense for Death Penalty?

European leaders are speaking out against the death sentence for Saddam Hussein.

Italian Premier Romano Prodi says Italy believes, "the death penalty must not be put into action," while Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says, "I will never defend the death penalty, not even for the worst politician."

The Vatican condemned Saddam's death by hanging as merely punishes a crime with another crime. Germany and France both expressed their opposition to the death sentence as well, but Germany said it was satisfied that the trial was necessary and fair, while France said the decision to execute Saddam was entirely up to the Iraqi people.

Setting Him Straight?

After meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Arlen Specter now says he wants to meet with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — not to make nice, but to "give him a piece of my mind."

Specter says, "When he says he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, I'd like to tell him how unacceptable that is. When he says there was no Holocaust, I'd like to tell him about the Holocaust survivors I've talked to" adding, "Yes, I'd like to see the president of Iran, he could use some information."

New Year, New Laws

Besides parties and resolutions, New Year's also means a host of new state laws. Eight states will raise the minimum wage on January 1 — to as much as $7.65 an hour in Connecticut. More than a dozen will move to protect personal privacy — including Arkansas, which makes it illegal to publicly show someone's Social Security number.

California will no longer allow driving with people in the trunk; Alaska will provide schools with training to stop bullies; while in Illinois, copycat musical groups who pass themselves off as the original artists will now face stiff fines.

Illinois also passed a law many people around the country will appreciate: The state will now require government agencies to provide honest-to-goodness people to answer their phones, instead of computer answering services.

Nation Discrimination

A Nashville woman celebrating Christmas in Sweden has filed a formal complaint after being refused medical treatment by a local doctor — because she's an American.

Valery Johansson visited a health clinic to check out a sore throat. But instead of introducing himself when he entered the treatment room, the doctor shouted at her — saying he didn't like Americans and disliked hearing English spoken in his office. When confronted about his behavior after storming out of the room, the doctor said "I don't deal with people like that."

Johansson says the doctor was a Palestinian who objected to American foreign policy in the Middle East.

—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