Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Low Marks for Economy
Just 37 percent of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling the economy in the latest AP-Ipsos poll, his lowest mark in more than a year. But a separate Ipsos survey shows Americans are increasingly optimistic about their own finances. That poll shows the consumer confidence index jumped to 81 up from 61.5 in September.
The biggest increase came in consumers' expectations for their own personal finances over the next 6 months. So most consumers think they're doing fine, but worry others are not.
Televangelist Pat Robertson is warning Dover, Pennsylvania not to count on God's help after voters ousted the entire school board over its decision to include the theory of intelligent design in the local school curriculum. Eleven city residents had already sued the board to stop teachers from mentioning intelligent design when teaching evolution. On his radio show, Robertson told Doverites, "If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city."
But one Dover resident told CBS Radio that if Robertson comes to town, he's the one who'll need God's help.
Bible Study Ban
Republican candidate for Governor Mark Green is demanding that the University of Wisconsin rescind what he calls its "unconstitutional" policy banning student resident assistants from leading bible studies in their own dorm rooms. RA's who led Bible groups on their own time were threatened with disciplinary action by the university's associate housing director, who told them students might not feel comfortable approaching RA's who teach bible studies.
But the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education accused the school of hypocrisy, noting the housing office praised an RA who put on three productions of the controversial feminist play "The Vagina Monologues" as official dorm activities.
On a recent visit to a North Korean nuclear power plant, New Mexico's Democratic Governor Bill Richardson handed out baseball caps from Albuquerque's Class AAA baseball team as a gesture of friendship. They may not have been baseball fans, but Vancouver, Canada, says drug addicted prostitutes are plaguing the city so he came up with an unusual solution. Tim Louis is proposing that the city take over prostitution, by forming a city-owned brothel. Louis tells the Vancouver Sun that the non-profit bordello would provide medical care and drug treatment and hopefully help steer prostitutes away from a life on the streets. Some of his city council colleagues took a dim view of the idea. Mayoral candidate Sam Sullivan says the last thing the city should do is become a pimp.
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report