Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Help Wanted

Seven months into President Obama's term, The New York Times reports the White House has filled less than half of more than 500 senior policymaking decisions requiring Senate confirmation. Political expert Larry Sabato says that with health care reform and energy filling most of the Senate calendar this fall, "it wouldn't be surprising to find some of these posts empty for a quarter or more of Obama's term."

Vacant positions include Army secretary, assistant treasury secretary and transportation inspector general. No Obama appointee is running the Transportation Security Administration, the Customs and Border Protection Agency or the Drug Enforcement Agency.

There are even some appointees who are already leaving. Among those is Donald Gips, who quit as presidential personnel director and was in charge of filling vacant spots. He left to become ambassador to South Africa.

High Stakes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is in the political fight of his life -- not on Capitol Hill, but back home in Nevada. A recent Mason-Dixon poll shows Reid behind both Republican rivals in next year's reelection bid.

Reid trails Danny Tarkanian by 11 points and state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden by five in head-to-head match ups. Reid's favorable rating is just 37 percent, with his unfavorable at 50 percent.

Here are the specifics in Poll conducted by Mason-Dixon for Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/17 -8/18, 400 registered voters, margin of error +/- 6:

Sen. Harry Reid (D) 38%
Danny Tarkanian (R) 49%
Undecided 13%

Sen. Harry Reid (D) 40%
Sue Lowden (R) 45%
Undecided 15%

Stimulating Research

Who knew the $787 billion stimulus package would be so... stimulating? The New York Post reports hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to behavioral sex research at schools across the country.

One of the grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health will fund research on the "barriers to correct condom use" at Indiana University for $221,000.

Syracuse University will study "hookups" among adolescents for $219,000.

The University of Illinois at Chicago will evaluate "drug use as a sex enhancer" at a cost of $123,000.

And a study by the University of Maryland at Baltimore will spend $28,000 looking at how methamphetamine use "enhances the motivation for female rat sexual behavior."

— FOX News Channel's Lanna Brit 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," published by William Morrow, will be released on January 10, 2017.