Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

The Heat Is Off

A federal judge in San Francisco has thrown out a lawsuit by the state of California against the six largest automakers. The suit claimed the companies were liable for contributing to global warming. The judge said it would be inappropriate for the court to wade into what he called the "global warming thicket."

He said the implications of climate change on interstate commerce and foreign policy should be left to the political branches of government. The lawsuit was the first that sought to hold manufacturers liable for alleged global warming damages caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Dirty Tricks?

The liberal group Iraq Veterans Against the War has launched a campaign to hamper military recruiting.

The group's Web site features this page encouraging members to help end the war by monopolizing the time of as many recruiters as possible. It says — "By flooding recruiters and recruitment centers with phone calls, appointments, questions and smiling faces, recruiters will waste their time and resources on you."

The posting encourages members not to sign any papers, and to share pictures and stories of their dilatory tactics on the Web site.

Historic Failures

A study of 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 U.S. colleges and universities has found that students at the most expensive schools — with the highest paid presidents — and largest government subsidies — do the worst on a test of basic American history.

The study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute says the average score for freshmen was 50.4 percent correct — seniors got 54.2. Both of those would be "F"s in a classroom.

And the schools with the worst results were supposedly elite universities — including Yale, Princeton, Duke, Cornell, and the University of Pennsylvania. The study says students from smaller regional schools such as Eastern Connecticut State — Concordia University in Nebraska and Marian College in Wisconsin — scored the highest.

Under Siege

If someone hijacks a private plane or an airliner over Germany with the intent to crash it and kill civilians — Germany's highest court has ruled the military cannot shoot it down.

But now Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung says if there was no other way to stop the attack — he would give the order to shoot down the plane anyway. A German news service reports Jung is taking heavy criticism for the stance.

Says one former parliament official — "This was the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany that a minister openly declares he would disregard the ruling of the Constitutional Court and order that a crime be committed, if he deems it right."

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