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Special Report

Controversial Earmark From Two Years Ago Rears Its Head Again in Congress

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

All Ears

Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn is calling for an investigation into a controversial last-minute changing of an earmark requested by Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young — who was then chairman of the House transportation committee. Coburn says he will object to the passage of any so-called "technical corrections" to the 2005 transportation bill — where Young's earmark was included.

Young's request for $10 million to widen Interstate 75 in southern Florida was approved. But after that he changed the language to authorize work on an interchange on I-75 instead — despite the fact the project was opposed by local officials. But it was backed by a real estate developer who had thrown a $40,000 fundraiser for Young that year. Now Coburn is asking Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for a committee of House members and senators to investigate.

Money Talks

College administrators, faculty and other educators are putting their money behind Democrats over Republicans by a three-to-one margin in the presidential race.

Figures from the Center for Responsive Politics say Barack Obama is the clear favorite so far — collecting $2.1 million — about one-third of all the money donated this year. Hillary Clinton is second with $1.6 million.

Mitt Romney is the top Republican, placing fourth with $564,000 and Rudy Giuliani has taken in $462,000.

God-Free Zone?

A longtime volunteer at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Fayetteville, North Carolina is calling it quits because he says the hospital is suppressing freedom of religion for Christians.

Vietnam veteran Laud Pitt says in media reports that the hospital has removed the Bible and the cross from its chapel — and put drapes over its stained glass windows. He says he also has been told he can no longer read scripture to patients or pray with them — and that he must be escorted by a chaplain when he hands out Christmas cards.

Hospital officials say are simply complying with a rule dating back to the 1950's — requiring the chapel to be religiously neutral when not in use. They say religious items are available on request.

What's in a Name?

And a court in Genoa, Italy has ruled that a local couple cannot name their baby boy Friday — because people might make fun of him — and has ordered his name changed to Gregory.

The boy's parents named him Friday when he was born 15 months ago because they liked the sound of it. He was registered with the Genoa city hall and baptized.

But several months ago a tribunal ruled that Friday violated a law against ridiculous or shameful names. It said Friday would be the butt of jokes and hindered from developing what it called "serene interpersonal relationships."

The parents appealed — but lost their case earlier this month. They say they will still call him Friday — but when he's older he will have to sign his name Gregory.

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