Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
European Backlash 'Has Not Happened'?
The deans of five prominent journalism schools say The New York Times' decision to publish details of the U.S. program to track terrorist financing was "in the public interest" since it exposed what they call the president's claims to "almost limitless powers."
Deans at Harvard, Northwestern, USC, Berkeley, and Columbia dismissed the government's concern that banks might stop cooperating with terror investigators in a Washington Post article, saying, "that apparently has not happened," even as the European Parliament demanded that governments disclose what they knew about the program, and the Belgian prime minister ordered an investigation.
But the deans insist there are situations where the press should remain silent, saying there was "no justification" for unmasking Valerie Plame as a "covert CIA officer." This despite the fact Plame turned out to have played a key role in getting her husband Joe Wilson the CIA assignment that led to his celebrated criticism of the Bush administration on Iraq.
'Offensive and Divisive'?
The racial equality council in England is blasting conservative lawmaker Sir Nicholas Winterton for what they call "offensive and divisive" remarks about Muslims. The group's director says she's "appalled" at the irresponsible comments, which "contribute to the climate of hostility towards Muslims in the U.K." and the Conservative Party Central Office has distanced itself from Winterton's remarks. So what did he say that was so controversial?
Winterton blamed the terrorist threat in the U.K. on the Muslim community's failure to assimilate into Western society, telling the Macclesfield Express that Muslim immigrants should stop wearing hijabs and burkas and learn English. Winterton is standing by his remarks, calling them much-needed "straight talk" on the issue of integration.
Pugnacious California Congresswoman Maxine Waters is planning to hit the campaign trail in the Connecticut Senate Race, not for Senator Joe Lieberman, but for his liberal challenger Ned Lamont. On the Tom Joyner radio show, Waters said Lieberman, "acts just like a Republican, has been supporting the war," adding, "I'm calling Mr. Lamont to tell him I'm gonna come up and help him."
Liberal senate Democrats such as Barbara Boxer, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer have said they'll campaign for Lieberman, and while John Kerry has refused to endorse Lieberman, he says he'll stay neutral.
More than 77 percent of Palestinians say they support the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and only 17 percent support his unconditional release — even as most see no positive outcome for their cause. That according to a new poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, which finds that more than two-thirds support more abductions as a suitable response to Israeli oppression, while 30 percent reject kidnapping as harmful to Palestinian interests.
But nearly 47 percent expect Palestinians to incur heavy losses as a result of the current kidnapping crisis, compared with 37 percent who expect positive results.
—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.