Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Two's a Crowd
Former President Jimmy Carter has backed out of a visit to Brandeis University to discuss his controversial new book "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid" — after the appearance was changed to include a debate with a prominent critic.
Carter tells the Boston Globe he was all for addressing the largely Jewish student body... that is, until the school also invited Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz, who has called the book "indecent" and blasted what he calls "egregious" errors. While Carter had said the book was written to provoke dialogue, he now says, "There is no need for me to debate somebody who, in my opinion, knows nothing about the situation in Palestine."
Bamboozled in Brussels
Belgian State Television broke into regular programming Wednesday night to break the urgent news that the Dutch-speaking half of the country had declared its independence — and that the royal family had fled the country.
RTBF television showed grainy pictures of the royal entourage boarding a plane, and throngs of demonstrators cheering their departure — leading to a flurry of frantic calls from viewers, and from foreign embassies scrambling to find out what was going on.
Only after a half-hour did the station finally make clear to panicked Belgians that the whole thing was a work of fiction. Belgium's royal family called the stunt "unacceptable," but RTBF defended the program, saying it showed the importance of debate on the future of Belgium.
Bringing Them in to Keep Them Out?
A southern California company responsible for building much of the border fence that helps keep illegal immigrants out of the country will pay nearly $5 million in fines — for hiring illegal immigrants.
The U.S. Attorney says as many as one-third of the Golden State Fence Company's workers were in the country illegally — even after the company pledged to clean house when authorities discovered illegal workers on the payroll back in 1999.
Two executives could also face jail time, but their attorney says the case merely proves that construction companies need a guest worker program.
Politically Correct in 2006
The Global Language Monitor says the English language will have grown to more than 991,000 words by the end of 2006. Among the most politically sensitive words and phrases this year? The term "flip-chart," to describe a large pad of writing paper... which is seen as offensive by some Filipinos; and instead of the word "history," some people suggested "herstory" — to remove the male-dominated aspect of the word.
And at the top of the list, the word that derailed George Allen's senate campaign, "Macaca," which is a racial slur in some cultures, but in others, it simply means simply "clown," which could apply to some of those pushing political correctness.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.