Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Republicans and Democrats are cranking up the spin machines in anticipation of General David Petraeus's report on the Iraq war next month. The Hill reports lawmakers are trying to anticipate what Petraeus will say — how the other side will spin it — and then how they should spin it back.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told journalists — "I'm very concerned that they — Republicans — will kick the can further down the road or talk about a few anecdotal successes that they'll try to pass off as the situation in Iraq."
A spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner says — "Liberal Democrats are going to approach this with closed minds and open mouths."
House Majority Whip James Clyburn told The Washington Post last month that a positive report from Petraeus would be — "a real big problem for us."
Bad News Good News
Now here's a government program that works. We've told you about the massive passport backlog this year because of new travel rules. But there has been a real upside — a huge increase in deadbeat dads forced to make good on delinquent child support.
The State Department refuses to issue passports to non-custodial parents who are more than $2,500 behind on child support. So those who owed money and wanted a passport have suddenly ponied up $22.5 million in back payments already this year — with state offices that collect the money sometimes getting tens of thousands — even hundreds of thousands — from one spouse.
A Washington state worker says — "It's been amazing to see how people who owe back child support ..seem to be able to come up with good chunks of money when it involves needing their passport."
What's In a Name?
A Dutch Catholic bishop says Christians should refer to God as "Allah" in order to have better relations with Muslims.
Bishop Martinus Muskens told a Dutch TV show — "God doesn't really care how we address Him."
He says Christians in predominantly Muslim Indonesia already call God "Allah." And he predicts that within a century or two — Dutch Christians will be doing the same thing.
Muskens says God is above what he calls "discussion and bickering" over his name. He says the name issue is something humans invented .. in order to argue about it.
Need More People
Russian President Vladimir Putin says his nation's most acute problem is its rapidly shrinking population.
And so the Russian region of Ulyanovsk is doing its part to try to fix it. It has declared September 12 the "Day of Conception" — and is giving couples time off from work to procreate. The idea is for a flurry of births nine months later — on Russia's national day — June 12.
Couples that hit the exact date not only have a new baby — but are eligible for great prizes — like money, cars and refrigerators.
The region has had similar contests for a couple of years — and local birth rates, as you might expect, are on the rise.
—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.