Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Iran says today's reported North Korean nuclear test should be blamed on — the United States. Iranian state radio says, "North Korea's nuclear test was a reaction to America's threats and humiliation." It says the threat of sanctions only increased the diplomatic pressure on North Korea. Iran accuses Washington of what it calls "double standards" in its nuclear policy because it does not seek sanctions against India — which has tested a nuclear weapon — and Israel — which is believed to posses some. Iran also has a suggestion to the United Nations about a possible response — saying it should not punish North Korea — but instead disarm the nuclear arsenals of larger nations.
Fun and Games
After hurricanes Katrina and Wilma last summer the federal government gave Florida more than $22.5 million for crisis counseling. But some of that money has been spent financing and producing puppet shows, bingo games, yoga relaxation sessions on the beach, water pistol fights and a dancing activity called "salsa for seniors."
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports about 450 employees of Project HOPE — the name for Florida's hurricane relief program — spend much of their time leading games and putting on shows — even though it is believed many of the so-called victims didn't even experience the storms. Project HOPE says FEMA refuses to provide the names and addresses of actual storm victims, so workers have to drive around and look for blue tarps on houses to find likely victims.
Students at Saint Andrews University in Scotland are promising a mass protest over the school's decision to award an honorary degree to former Iranian President Muhammad Khatami. Human rights groups that claim thousands of Iranian citizens were jailed and tortured during Khatami's term are also upset. And Iranian exiles are drawing up a petition demanding Saint Andrews withdraw the invitation.
Khatami will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree when he opens the university's Institute for Iranian Studies. Tthe school says it is honoring Khatami in recognition of his efforts to encourage closer relations between Christians, Jews and Muslims.
Dead Man Walking
And a 42-year-old man in Oregon City, Oregon got quite a shock when he opened his mail last week and found out he was dead. The Oregonian newspaper reports a letter from the Social Security Administration informed Robert Charlan that he was deceased and would no longer receive his monthly payments. Charlan went to the Social Security office and the man at the counter also told him that he was dead. Charlan said, "How can I be deceased if I'm sitting right in front of you?"
A few days later he went back and they cut him an emergency check. One of Social Security's computer people says he's never seen anything like this before — saying it was probably a computer glitch.
—FOX News Channel's Aaron Bruns contributed to this report.