Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Dear John Letter
Thousands of service men and women are upset over an award given to Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha earlier this month. The secretary of the Navy awarded Murtha the Distinguished Public Service Award for his "selfless devotion to the Nation's sailors and Marines."
But an online petition created by a Marine says Murtha is unworthy of the award because of past comments accusing Marines of cold-blooded murder in a firefight in Haditha, Iraq back in November of 2005. The petition, which has nearly 30,000 signatures, asks Murtha to apologize for slandering the Marines and for "undermining the efforts of those servicemen and women who fought in Iraq." If Murtha fails to do so, the award should be rescinded, says the petition.
Those Fighting Irish
Another online petition is gaining even more steam. Nearly 88,000 people have signed a petition protesting President Obama's scheduled commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, citing the president's views on abortion and stem cell research that "directly contradict" Roman Catholic teachings. South Bend Bishop John D'Arcy, who has decided not to attend the ceremony says, "Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth."
University officials say the criticism is nothing beyond what they expected.
It's All Relative
Here's a grapevine follow-up: President Obama's aunt, a Kenyan immigrant who ignited a controversy during the election cycle for living in the U.S. illegally, is back in a Boston public housing complex to prepare for a deportation hearing next week.
The Boston Globe reports this will be the third attempt to fight removal from the U.S. by Zeituni Onyango, half-sister to Mr. Obama's late father.
A White House spokesman says the President has not had any involvement in the case and believes it should run its ordinary course.
And finally, an eighth grader in Lakeland, Florida has been suspended from riding the school bus for three days after being accused of passing gas. A local newspaper, the Lakeland Ledger, reports the bus driver wrote on a misbehavior form that, "Jonathan passes gas on the bus to make the other children laugh and it is so stink[y] that you can't breathe after he does it."
But 15-year-old Jonathan Locke says: "It wasn't even me. It was the kid who sits in front of me."
Regardless, a school district official says despite the fact that there is no specific rule prohibiting students from passing gas on the bus, there is a ban against disturbances.
— FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.
Bret Baier is the Chief Political Anchor of Fox News Channel, and the Anchor & Executive Editor of "Special Report with Bret Baier.” His book, "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission," (William Morrow) is on sale now.