Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair says the west should reach out to Syria and Iran for help in stabilizing Iraq. Blair says a "new partnership" is possible with the two countries — if they renounce terrorism — and if Iran also abandons its nuclear ambitions. Iran has shown no sign of doing either. Indeed, Iran is reported to be trying to groom a new generation of terror leaders to take the place of Usama bin Laden.
The Daily Telegraph reports Tehran is trying to form "an unholy alliance" with al Qaeda — and get pro-Iranian terrorists into the organization's senior leadership.
2006 Word of the Year
The people who bring you the Oxford American Dictionary have come up with their word of the year for 2006—"carbon neutral" — which by our count is actually two words. Carbon neutral describes the practice of balancing carbon emissions — which may affect the environment — with offsets such as planting trees or investing in solar or wind power. The editor of the dictionary says the use of carbon neutral "reflects not just the greening of our culture, but the greening of our language."
Its selection means carbon neutral will be in the Oxford American dictionary beginning next year. The word is said to date from 1991, but is not in sufficiently popular use yet to merit inclusion in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate or Online dictionaries or — Oxford's own Encyclopedic English Dictionary.
Don't Like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
The San Francisco Board of Education is scheduled to vote tonight on a plan to cancel Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps classes in city high schools. Board members say they want to end the city's 90-year relationship with the program because the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays does not belong in public schools.
There are 1,600 San Francisco students enrolled in the JROTC programs in seven high schools — and they earn physical education credits for the military training they receive. The board plans to hire additional P.E. teachers to replace the 15 retired military officers who run the program.
Last year the San Francisco school board passed a measure opposing military recruiting on campus.
Global Warming Kids Book
The United Nations has published a children's book promoting fears of global catastrophe brought on by manmade global warming. The book follows a fictional boy in an arctic village who receives dire warnings from talking animals and a "sea mother" goddess. A polar bear tells the boy that his friends have starved because thinning ice keeps them from hunting. A whale says natural disasters will get harsher. And the "sea mother" blames "rich countries" that "use and waste an awful lot of energy." The boy eventually becomes upset and screams, "our world is melting!"
The book encourages children who presumably have not been traumatized to join environmental groups, only drive cars if they must, and write to political leaders. It is being promoted at the U.N.'s climate change conference in Kenya.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.