Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Al Qaeda Connection
Senior intelligence officials believe Al Qaeda fighters were deeply involved in the revolt at Pakistan’s Red Mosque we referred to earlier — and last week's final shootout that ended with the deaths of more than 100 people.
And they say as many as 18 foreign fighters arrived weeks ago and set up firing ranges to teach students — including children — how to shoot.
Government sources and western diplomats say those foreign fighters helped sabotage negotiations to end the standoff peacefully — because they preferred martyrdom instead.
Amnesty International is trying to keep secret a decision to condemn as human rights violators countries that do not provide broad abortion services or try to punish abortion providers.
The Weekly Standard writes that details of the new policy are on a members-only section of Amnesty International's Web site. "The policy will not be made public at this time," the Web site says. "There is to be no proactive external publication of the policy position or of the fact of its adoption issued."
Even though it is trying to keep a lid on the policy — the Web site offers media talking points to members — including an instruction to deny that the new policy promotes what it calls "a human right to abortion." It says Amnesty International takes no position on the legality or the morality of abortion.
Some people who own businesses near the national campaign headquarters of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards say they are fed up following last week's bomb scare at the office near downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
A box that turned out to be full of ticking watches brought out the bomb squad and shut down commerce for three hours. One restaurant manager says it cost him $1,000 in business — and a dental office had to reschedule appointments worth around $20,000. It's the third time they've had a bomb or poison scare at the location.
And by the way — neighbors say the Edwards people hog the parking spots and are not all that friendly. An Edwards spokeswoman says the campaign might change how and where the office gets its mail.
Fair and Balanced?
Most of the people who took part in a Rasmussen Reports poll about news coverage believe there is too much bias out there.
The two organizations perceived as having the least bias are National Public Radio and FOX News. 37 percent say NPR plays it straight, 36 percent say that about FOX. CNN gets 32 percent, and the three major broadcast networks come in as a group at 25 percent.
No news outlet was considered biased to the right by more than 31 percent.
As far as newspapers, The New York Times is perceived as liberal by the most people – 40 percent. The Washington Post was at 30 percent. While 35 percent of the respondents felt their own local newspaper was slanted to the left.
—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.