Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Unconventional Wisdom

A member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says he and many other scientists do not see global warming as a developing catastrophe and there is no smoking gun proving that human activity is to blame for the warming that does occur.

John Christy is the director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. He and thousands of others on the U.N. panel share half the Nobel Prize also awarded to Al Gore. But he says he cringes when he hears 100-year weather forecasts when it is incredibly difficult to accurately predict the weather five days from now.

He writes in The Wall Street Journal, "Mother Nature simply operates at a level of complexity that is, at this point, beyond the mastery of mere mortals (such as scientists) and the tools available to us."

He points out that a recent CNN report on climate change made much of the shrinking Arctic sea ice cover, but did not mention that winter sea ice around Antarctica set a record maximum last month.

Higher Education?

The University of Delaware is coming under fire for a student diversity training program reportedly teaching that all whites are racist and offering what it calls "treatment" for incorrect attitudes regarding sexuality, religion and other subjects.

One training document for the program says, "The term (racist) applies to all white people... living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists, because... they do not have the power to back up their prejudices, hostilities, or acts of discrimination."

Media reports say students who live in residence halls insist they are required to attend the meetings. The school says the program is not mandatory, but one official does acknowledge some "missteps" and says some language — including the reference to "treatment" — could be misunderstood.

Dialing for Dollars

Hillary Clinton's top advisers told supporters on a conference call Wednesday that the campaign needs more money to fight off attacks following the senator's performance in a debate Tuesday night.

The Hill reports that when senior strategist Mark Penn said that Mrs. Clinton was "unflappable" during the debate — one caller countered that she had "lost her footing" and one said she "rolled her eyes" at one of the senator's answers.

Many callers criticized moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert — one saying, "the questions were designed to incite a brawl" and that their moderating was "an abdication of journalistic responsibility."

Another caller said that Russert "should be shot."

Life or Death Issue

An American Christian of Arab descent who has been doing humanitarian work in the Palestinian city of Ramallah says his life was threatened by a low-level Palestinian Authority official and after reporting it to authorities was told to pay $30,000 in protection money to ensure his safety.
Cybercast News says Pastor Isa Bajalia is legally blind, yet he was also told by the official he would be crippled for life. The trouble started after church members held a prayer session for several Palestinians. Bajalia says he has been under surveillance and receiving threats ever since.

Bajalia says the man who threatened him said he would end up like a Palestinian Bible Society worker who was stabbed and shot to death in Gaza last month.

Trick or Tax?

And a follow-up on a story we told you Wednesday: Iowa's governor has directed the state revenue department to get rid of what he called a "ridiculous" new tax on pumpkins and issue refunds to customers and retailers.

The Des Moines Register Report on the new law that classified pumpkins as decorations — and not food — sparked widespread criticism when it hit the Internet on Halloween.

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