Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Politicians' Pet Projects
While the president is trying to get his request for money for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan through Congress, some lawmakers want to add provisions to the bill that would bail out avocado farmers and pay for other pet projects.
Bloomberg News reports California lawmakers will ask for $1.2 billion for avocado, mango, orange and grapefruit growers whose crops were destroyed by a January freeze. Wisconsin Democrat David Obey says he will add $750 million for children's health insurance. Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter says his state needs more than $3 billion for flood protection. And North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad wants $4 billion for farmers hit by drought.
Conrad says the requests are for "urgent, emergency situations."
Edwards Raising 'Coulter Cash'
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards may have been offended when conservative columnist Ann Coulter used a slang term for homosexuals when speaking about Edwards last weekend, but he has wasted little time in trying to use it as a fundraising tool.
A page on Edwards' Web site asks for contributions to raise $100,000 in "Coulter Cash" to "fight back against the politics of bigotry." The page also says: "We must show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire."
Meanwhile, Edwards says that even though he has a personal relationship with God, he rejects the notion that the U.S. is a Christian nation. Edwards tells the Web site belief.net: "I guess the word 'Christian' is what bothers me, even though I'm a Christian. I think that America is a nation of faith."
But the candidate doesn't believe Americans are doing a good job of living like Jesus. Edwards — who has drawn fire from some for his new $6 million, 28,000 square-foot mansion in North Carolina — says, "I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually."
Technologically Advanced Terror Groups
The new head of the country's national counterintelligence office says spies from China, Cuba, Russia and Iran are "eating our lunch."
Joel Brenner tells The Washington Times the U.S. is the top target of "virtually every significant espionage service on the face of the earth." He says China has been very aggressive in acquiring U.S.-advanced technology, often before it is even fully developed, and that terror groups Hezbollah and Al Qaeda also have thorough and capable intelligence operations.
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.