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Special Report

Wildfires: Global Warming to Blame?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Global Warming Connection?

The contention by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others earlier this week that the California wildfires are connected to global warming is not supported by science.

The Los Angeles Times reports a recent study that cited a slight average temperature rise in the Western U.S. concluded that there has been no increase in the frequency of fires in Southern California. Scientists say the dangerous mix of drought and wind has plagued the region for centuries. Wildlife analyst Tom Wordell says, "That is a fire-prone environment regardless of whether we are in a climate-change scenario... If you live in a snake pit, you're going to get bit."

Failure to Communicate

A Democratic congressional aide has written a memo attacking his party's strategy on getting its message across to the public, saying Republicans have "kicked our rhetorical butt since about 1995."

Dave Helfert works for Hawaii congressman Neil Abercrombie. He tells The Hill newspaper that he's received plenty of support from congressional communications staffers and plenty of disdain from party leaders.

Helfert wrote, "Almost every Republican message contains a simple and direct moral imperative, a stark contrast between good and evil, right and wrong, common sense and fuzzy liberal thinking. Meanwhile, we're trying to ignite passions with analyses of optimum pupil-teacher ratios."

City Hall

Here's an unusual twist to the "you can't fight city hall" story. Residents of the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta are living with a strict no-watering order as the Southeast endures a serious drought. But apparently the folks who work in city hall aren't getting the message.

A local TV station reports an Alpharetta police officer noticed sprinklers watering the shrubs at city hall last week and wrote up a warning. Then four days later, he saw the sprinklers were still on. So he wrote up one citation on Saturday and another on Sunday. Total fine: $500.

But city hall isn't paying, because, says a police spokesman, the city is not in the business of paying itself. City workers did — however — order all sprinklers to be shut off.

Watering Hole

The city of Paris, France has a civic issue that we in America might find a bit unusual: The penchant for men to relieve themselves in public. The London Telegraph reports Paris city workers have to clean an average of almost 700,000 square feet of urine-splashed surfaces per month.

Mayor Bertrand Delanoe decided to turn off the spigots — so to speak — after seeing dozens of men urinating on the walls of the Paris town hall during the Rugby World Cup — openly ignoring the free porta-potties nearby.

So now the city has installed a couple of new prototype walls in popular relieving areas. When someone sprays these walls, the sloping surface actually fires back the urine in the direction of the offender.

Says one city adviser, "those who get caught once don't come back."

FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.