Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Dressed to Kill
A top Muslim cleric in Iran says Iranian women who do not wear the hijab or Muslim headscarf should be put to death.
The Adnkronos Press Agency says Hojatolislam Gholam Reza Hassani says — "Women who do not respect the hijab and their husbands deserve to die. I do not understand how these women who do not respect the hijab, 28 years after the birth of the Islamic Republic, are still alive. These women and their husbands and their fathers must die."
Hassani represents Iran's supreme leader in eastern Azerbaijan. His comments came after two Kurdish feminists in Iran were accused of belonging to an armed rebel group, and of subversive activities threatening the security of the state. It is believed the arrests could spark a fresh crackdown on Iranian women who do not adhere to the strict Islamic dress code.
Reading Is Fundamental
Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu sponsored an unusual $2 million earmark to provide an experimental reading program to District of Columbia schools — just days after receiving $30,000 in campaign contributions from the company that runs the program and its employees.
The Washington Post reports Landrieu's support of the Voyager Expanded Learning program back in 2001 essentially forced D.C. schools to run a pilot program over the objections of teachers and administrators — since Congress controls the D.C. school budget.
Landrieu tells the Post she has long championed new approaches to education — and Voyager's founder says there was no link between the legislation and the fundraiser. The Voyager program has gotten mixed reviews from D.C. teachers and the Department of Education.
While more than 10,000 delegates were at this month's United Nations climate conference in Bali, Indonesia — they stayed cool — thanks to air conditioning that used what is considered one of the most dangerous pollutants on earth.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the resort's air conditioning system used highly damaging refrigerant gases called hydro chlorofluorocarbons — which are blamed for devouring the ozone in the upper atmosphere. Investigators counted 700 cylinders of the gas — and the system was said to be visibly leaking.
The report says the gases were as lethal to the atmosphere as 48,000 tons of carbon dioxide — which is about the same as the aircraft emissions of all the planes used to fly the delegates to Indonesia.
Charity Begins At Home
Thousands of Oregon taxpayers who were supposed to receive tax rebate checks from the state — are very upset that the refunds were automatically donated to the state school fund.
Media reports say it appears there was a glitch affecting electronically filed tax returns. But the maker of the popular TurboTax software says its forms automatically select "no" in the box asking whether refunds should be donated. State law requires that surplus revenue be returned to taxpayers — and refunds this year totaled more than a billion dollars.
Wednesday, revenue officials said they have not yet decided whether they will return the mistakenly donated money — but hope to reach a decision by Christmas.
— FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.